Just another shameless review Occipital’s Structure 3d Scanner

The structure sensor from Occipital is a very interesting tool. Originally the tool was designed as a 3d scanner. They have added additional tools including room scanning and other tools. The scanner attaches to your iPad or Android Tablet and integrates with the software on the device to provide 3d scans. The sensor itself is very small. It doesn’t make the tablet unwieldy or cause you to have to alter the way you use the tablet.

You can point the sensor just like the camera. This is important when considering using a scanner attached to a tablet. First off because, well wandering around using a tablet as a camera isn’t the best look anyway, but unbalanced or heavy makes it very difficult to hold the scanner as steady as the need for a 3d scan.

Finally, the software is easy to use. The sensor connects to your tablet directly via USB. That means you aren’t having to connect via Bluetooth or WiFi, making the scans faster overall. The software is easy to use, you can find it in the iTunes store or the Google Play store. I’ve used several 3d scanners overall. There are three things that are critical, and Occipital hit all three.

  1. Good Software
  2. Light enough and comfortable to use
  3. Good scanner quality.

Overall I give the Structure scanner and 8 out of 10!


3d scanning fan

More on end points…

If we consider the things that evolve as far as technology is concerned. One of the initial things I watch is the drone world. I have published lots of articles about drones over the past year. Another area that I find interesting is the ever-expanding voice command and voice control world. Cortana, Alexa, and the Google home. The voice control world is interesting.

Another area that I am interested in and considering heavily right now is the growing area of edge computing. I spend a lot of time thinking about what edge looks like. Edge represents the “end” of a company or organizational network. By the end, in this case, we are talking about the point at which an organizational network ends.

The end is a funny word; normally when we say end, we mean full stop. In the case of technologies focused on the end, we are more curious about the device that creates the endpoint.  IE are we talking computer, mobile phone or an IoT device. The endpoint becomes critical because of the conversation then. What can I do to that endpoint if anything)?

More to come!



The reality of the edge…

The what is to be posted. It is one that I try to post every year. I haven’t this year, mostly because I spent most of last year posting somewhat could be or will be posted on various other blog sites. Most of those pigeons have not come home to roost yet, so it is still waiting and see a number of my predictions. One of the future states that do, however, merit some inclusion and discussion is the evolution of what the edge of computing.

Edge once was a hard outer shell used as a barrier by a company. With the expansion of computing to beyond the existing edges, our world’s have changed, but our definitions haven’t kept up. Edge now represents the farthest reaches of any person, company, and government on the internet. That, by the way, is never as far as the organization thinks it is. It is also never as far as we would like it to be.

In particular, the reality of IoT changes the edge of computing. Internet of Things devices often includes their computing power. They can connect back via the internet (hence the name) to a central solution. Or they can operate in a stand-alone manner. That operation is what causes issues for most organizations. We are used to what used to be, but now things have changed.

As computing evolves around us, it does force us to ask where the Edge is?


functional technologist

2018 Tech Blog Goals…

My technology resolutions for 2018. I made them yesterday but waited a day to post them. In part because I forgot to post them not any attempt to obscure them. The goals are as much for me to stay on track as they are anything else. The first one is the new iteration of my long-time blog series cool tech or shameless reviews. I redid both the scoring system and I am going to focus on posting the reviews more regularly. I have posted them sporadically over the past couple of years. I am going to try and focus on them.

I am reducing the clutter that is my office. I started over the reduced holiday week (between the two US holidays) and got my main desk that used to be my father’s somewhat cleaner. I need to also reduce the sheer number of cables in my space overall. That is my new goal, to unwind and reduce the mess of cables on my various desks (I have three in my office).

Finally, I am going to see how many review suggestions I get. So far I have three. I will be getting to all three of them over the next couple of weeks. One of them I have to talk to the pe3rson that asked, mostly because it is something I don’t currently use. Not that I haven’t considered using it, but it is a technology area I haven’t explored.

2018 is going to be a fun blog ride, I promise!


seeking an end to Mr. Toad’s wild ride…

The business of business has become technology

My chosen profession is information technology, but I live on the far side of the tracks. I am a consultant. Often, like a seagull, I swoop in and grab something, then take off! Or worse, as my friend says about seagulls I swoop in, poop and then leave. Consultants are often like that. The reality of the IT workplace now, versus when I started is significant  I used to complain about the reality of infrastructure expansion (what once was a project is now a required component of the organizational infrastructure), but I’ve moved past that complaint. Until the last six months or so I also complained about the reality of IT/Business separation, but I am giving that one up as well in 2018.

What once was can’t be anymore. First, the business and IT can’t be separated anymore. From automated payroll to hybrid cloud solutions IT is the business. Many organizations live in a world of providing services that are IT services. Most businesses use online payroll, online taxes and so on. Empowering their employees with more automated HR functions is a great boon. HR is a component of the business; it is part of IT.

That said, I know that the reality of what people do and say is often different than the reality of what is. IT is still perceived as a cost drain on the business. Look we are saving 20% moving to the cloud solution. (yeah but that is 20% less IT cost overall not 20% direct sales gains!). What used to be IT is still IT, but now so much more is expected. Time to ask the question of the business what doesn’t IT touch now? That answer is the reality of what IT doesn’t bring to the business. Certainly, IT doesn’t lathe the perfect bolt for a tire. But IT runs and manages the computers that manage that process.

IT is the business. Time to stop this discussion and fix some real problems!



Just another shameless review SkyBell HD!

A second review is an interesting idea and solution. I was one of the original backers of the crowdfunding project SkyBell. What, is a SkyBell you ask? It is a wi-fi connected camera enabled doorbell. You can replace your existing doorbell in about five minutes. It uses the existing wiring and gives you a significant security addition. First off it can watch your porch as packages arrive. The reality of porch pirates is that they are willing and brazen, stealing boxes right off your porch. You won’t stop them with a video doorbell, but once the system sees motion you will at least get their picture.

The second value proposition is that you can talk to the person at the front door. You no longer have to open the door or peep through the peephole to see who is there. You simply use the application on your smart device, to see and talk to the person at the door. The newest version of the product is now an HD camera. The image I am sharing with this review is from the camera of the SkyBell.

  1. Easy to set up and connect. The first thing you do is take your old doorbell off, replace it with the SkyBell.
  2. When it is powered on you connect to the SKyBell wi-fi and using the smart device application connect your SkyBell to your home Wi-Fi network
  3. Then, wherever you are you can connect to your front door see who is there, and talk to them.

Overall this is a great product and I highly recommend this. I give SkyBell a 10 out of 10. I suspect in the future we will all have video doorbells!!



Just another shameless review Sonos One with Alexa!

Today, the last Friday in 2017 is the day I am launching my 2018 technical reviews. The rules for me are posted here. You are welcome in the comments of this review to ask for additional technology items to be reviewed. I am happy to add many more items going forward. Today we are focused on a device that I debated buying for a long time. It was more would I find the value in the device. Not that I didn’t think the quality was high, just could I use it.

The device in question is the Sonos-One speaker. This is the second generation of the Sonos-One speakers. The first generation was a network connected additional speaker you could add to your home. The product combines the Amazon Alexa and a Sonos Speaker. Sonos is the home audio solution I chose about five years ago. We have 11 speakers located in the house now all Sonos and all connected. It means when we have a party we can have music playing throughout the house. Now with the Alexa integration with Sonos, it means we can play music on all the Amazon Echo’s and Sonos speakers in the house.

The Sonos One (pictured) is a nice speaker. Sound quality is impressive. Microphones are well placed (when you enter into the voice activation world microphones become critical). The setup process was incredibly simple, plug in the speaker, launch the Sonos application on my iPhone, and in one minute I was up and running. Then a quick prompt, log into my Amazon account and the Sonos speaker was connected, and Alexa activated. It allowed me to remove a speaker from my office (Sonos) and move it to my bedroom. I do think I have too many home voices activated speakers now; I may have to get rid of a couple.

Overall my rating is a 9. Overall this is a Solid product that is a great starting point. Plus, you get a lot more speaker than you do buy the actual Amazon Echo.