Automation is coming…

The first rule of automation is, does what you are doing require automation? I ask that question often when I consider technology issues. That said, several things are adding automation that may not quite be ready. So let’s play ready or not. I will post a bunch of poll questions about technologies that are currently or will soon be automated. You get to share your thoughts, should that be automation or not? It is a fun game we can all play on a Monday.

The technologies are listed below:

  • Driverless cars (with a driver still sitting in the driver’s seta)
  • Driverless cars with no driver in the driver’s seat.
  • Remote surgery performed by a doctor far away from you.
  • Full robotic surgery

Let me expand these to make sure everyone understand what each one means:

A driverless car means that the car and the AI does the driving. The two options are with a human sitting in the driver’s seat but not during, able to take over or no human.

Fully robotic surgery means that a robot performs the entire surgery, no humans involved.

Remote assisted surgery means a human operates a robot, remotely, that performs the surgery.

I am always interested in what people think about automation. I can argue both sites of automated driving. The single largest accident type in the world is rear-ending another car. More than 57% of all the accidents in the world involve one car striking the rear of another car. Insurance rates are higher in areas where people drive more miles, around more traffic, because the likelihood is that you will have an accident (not your fault) for every 250,000 miles driven. The other side is that the AI may choose six people on the road injured versus the one person riding in the AI-driven car. Both sides are valid, and both sides have excellent points.

The remote surgery is interesting. A doctor who is extremely skilled at an operation has a greater success rate for the surgery. I do not have numbers for this, but it is something you can find on the internet. I know that the move from Scalpel based surgery to arthroscopic surgery where possible reduced recovery time, the impact of surgery, and capabilities of surgical procedures. ACL and MCL tears (ligaments in your knees) used to derail professional sports careers; With the new method, athletes can recover in less than 12 months.

Enough of me talking – it is your turn – enjoy the poll!!!!


Modify your network at home to better support tomorrow…

I manage my home network; one of the things I have to do is separate the gamers (twins) from the worker (wife)! The reason for the separation has to because the gamers can chew up a lot of bandwidth. The worker doesn’t use as much bandwidth as the gamers do, but her traffic is more time-sensitive. You see., when you are connected to a verified system, some checks and balances have to happen. Are you trying to put information into the system, and are you authorized to do that? Most of you are familiar with an authorization system, you type in your password, and you use the site you are connecting. Not all sites have passwords before you use them.

But some do, some go one step further, beyond connecting to the site, or the organization, they ask you to connect first via a VPN connection. VPN or Virtual Private Network changes the status of your connection to an organization. You are on the actual extended network of the company or organization that you VPN into. Then you connect to the company directory system, and you are authorized to use the resources. But, that connection is timed. It isn’t connected once (as many web sites) there is a period of authorization. The example would be a banking website. When you connect, you are only connected for a specific period; once you are inactive, the system logs you out.

Like most homes, we have three types of network connections in our house. The first is the ethernet. The cable that normally plugs into the back of your router. The other is Wifi. In our house, we have a 2nd wifi segment that is set aside for my wife. That way, she never has an issue. I moved the twins over to ethernet by running cables to the switchback in the basement. That way, my wife has the bandwidth she needs without the twins have an issue while gaming. Having three segments also allows for faster troubleshooting when one of the users tells me their computer can’t connect to the internet. I check the connection between their segment and the internet.

I realize this is probably overkill for most people, but it is important to make work at home easier for my wife when she can!


who do you call? when the lights go out?

One of the things that interest me is using and providing technology solutions for problems. One of the jobs that recently transitioned from human outdoors, to human indoors is the Drone management system for verifying pipelines. The reality of watching and checking a pipeline is that in the past, ten works could over a week, cover about 20 miles of pipeline. That meant that the overall cost of the pipeline was increased because they had to have more humans walking the pipeline. Plus, as noted by many spills over the last 30 years, the rate of failure was high enough that it was an issue. Now with a drone, two things can happen. The drones working for human reduces errors.

The same is true for electrical lines and phone lines. The drone operated by an educated human (what to look for) can cover more ground. This allows the operator of the drone to dispatch repair crews more effectively. Breaks and issues are noted, and because of the GPS settings of the drone, the dispatch goes right to the problem. That reduces the time repair crews spend trying to find the problem. The other very interesting thing is that it allows for more overall repair crews. This means that the company can deal with larger and more difficult outages quickly. You wouldn’t fly the drone in bad weather, but you can fly the drone once the storm is passed.

We often don’t see crews out until there is an outage.

Both of these things are great examples of how technology and automation can help people. The other thing that you will see more and more is the use of drones when trying to find people. An operator in a building can fly a drone, 200, 2000, or even 12000 miles away. They can quickly be using the drone to cover a lot of ground. With infrared cameras, they can see a human being at night.

The cool thing is that automation and technology and help people be more effective in their jobs.


Get that next picture…

What do you see? It is a concept that is interesting. Many people carry their cameras everywhere (they often call them smartphones).  The camera has evolved significantly in the past ten years. The large cloud backup solutions for Apple and Android devices talk about the fact that the rate of pictures has gone from a year over the year growth rate of 10% to a year over the year growth rate of nearly three times that. Billions of pictures taken and added to cloud services over the past year. But the smartphone isn’t the only camera out there. As is often the case, the market existed before Smartphones changed it. Yes, there are more pictures taken by smartphones now than ever before.

The technology of cameras continued to evolve. While smartphone cameras got better and better, so did traditional cameras. The rise of digital made it easier for users to do more with less. Many people only have a smartphone as a camera. But, there are now specialty cameras that provide features and capabilities that smartphones aren’t as easily able to provide. I thought it would be fun to talk about what you can do with a digital camera now.

Things cameras can do now:

  • ROV –and underwater camera, you can drive anywhere you want to see underwater!
  • Drone – an aerial camera came as an ROV, you control what you see from above
  • 360-degree camera – allows the camera to take an image all around the camera.
  • Infrared camera – see heat signatures on objects.
  • AR cameras designed to help you capture an area for creation as a virtual room identical to the real room. Realtors use this often now to create 3d walkthroughs of homes they are selling.

The best part of all of these new capabilities is most of them directly integrate with your phone. The future is the smartphone in your hand. As we move towards that new world, it is fun to see how cameras are evolving.

Now I wonder, what is going to evolve next?


is technology the solution or the problem?

My grandfather always used to say, “are you part of the problem, or part of the solution? It is not an easy question to answer. Many of us struggle with the question for most of our lives. Situations change, problems arise and decline, and in some cases, we are part of the problem; we are part of the solution. As a technologist, I often look at solutions to problems. Here is the thing that 30 years’ experience in the IT world has taught me.

Most problems are related to how people use the solution.

That is not a condemnation of users, simply the reality that I built a solution to a problem. I perceived that problem. I perceived the solution and acted on it. The reality of that is that I look at things differently than you do. Most likely, you and I or we or them or someone else looks at things very differently than I would or you would. Or, for that matter, we would.

As I peer into my crystal ball seeking solutions to problem suing technology, I often realize that it is harder for someone people to understand the technology. It, technology, creates a fear reaction in some. I have a really good friend that has spent his life as a Car Mechanic. He is really good; when I lived in Indiana, I always took my car to him. But, he hates technology. He will use it only because it is in the cars he repairs, but he doesn’t use it outside of work. That is certainly one way to live your life. I have another friend who is a doctor, and he spends his life seeking technology that will help his patients. He is the person that turned me on the Fitbit technology when it was first available. He embraces new technology in the exercise area.

But, both of my friends who are very knowledgeable in their fields (and people I trust and rely on) don’t use technology as I do. In realizing that, I changed my technology posts over the past couple of years. I no longer talk about technology that is so far away from where most people are, that they don’t understand. It isn’t that they are mad or frustrated with me; there isn’t a connection between the technology and them. That connection is what drives me. It is what drives everyone in their lives. What we are connected to is very important.

So, I will once again offer to read and share your old posts!

I am picking a user a day and going back and reading their old posts and sharing them.


is the phone by your face, clean?

One of the things that I always do when I get a new phone or tablet is buying a screen protector. It is honestly the quickest way to protect the screen of your device. I have been doing that for many years. The only time I cracked my iPhone screen in all the years I’ve owned a smartphone was the day I dropped the phone earlier and ruined the screen protector (I had one of the glass protectors). As fate would have it, I had the phone in my hand at home when I found the second patch of ice for the day and lost my balance; the phone went flying. Phones can land facedown with a projector, and the screen will not crack. They can face up with or without a projector, and most likely, they will not crack.

They cannot land on the corner however, they crack. So I always have a screen protector. I also now that I use the iWatch don’t take the phone out of my pocket as much. The other thing that a screen protector does is keeps the smudgy fingers off your actual phone. But did you know that was a security risk for you? You see, the smudges on your phone screen or projector align to the numbers you press for your access key (if you don’t have an access key today, I will set one). I use the Windex electronics wipes. I store them in a sealed plastic bag (that was my mother-in-law’s recommendation 20 years ago, and honestly, it works. The wipes last 2-3 times longer.

What they do is remove fingerprints from the screen protector. That reduces the risk of you revealing your phone passcode accidentally. The other thing we have is a device called PhoneSoap. What phone soap lets you do is place your phone in a cradle that kills all the germs and bacteria on the device. It, your phone, often lives next to your fingers, and your face, knowing it is clean, is a good thing.

My four recommendations for phones are detailed below!

  1. Set a passcode for your phone. Yes, it is only a little bit of projection, but it is better than nothing!
  2. Put on a screen protector to help your phone stay well, not broken!
  3. Get some electronic wipes and clean your phone’s screen.
  4. Finally, get the PhoneSoap Device. It will kill the germs on the one thing you often put to your face!!!!


New Beginnings…

An interesting modification of Carol’s awesome idea to share the posts and spotlight specific writers. Let’s give the challenge a name – my choice is The New Beginnings Challenge!

First, we want to be able to quickly find the oldest post of the authors we are including. Let’s start with how to get to an author’s oldest post, you go to their author profile page. Select the more button. Select posts. This takes you to a listing of all of their posts. Now click the highest number on the list you see and share the very first post they made on Virily. Views are slightly up based on the initial challenge (spotlighting by CarolDM). Let’s see if we can get things moving forward! The goal is to get the community engaged and involved moving forward with positive posts. Some of the older posts that authors have had on Virily for a while have many hundreds of views. Some of them are themes we see throughout our time here writing!

So I interrupt your regular schedule technology broadcast to join The Challenge of the new Beginning!

The challenge that was issued was by Ghostwriter. The rules are as follows (totally making these up there are no rules)

  1. Pick three authors and go to their profile page!
  2. Go to the last page of their posts in the author profile and share their very first post.
  3. Then send a message (see above) to the last person on your list of 3 authors. Include the link to the person who challenged you like a chain letter.
  4. If you have already been challenged you don’t have to participate more than once!

So to be clear – 3 authors. The author that challenged you, an author you read often, and finally, the author, you are challenging.