Your cell phone….

What are the three things you use the most on your cell phone? For many people, I know it is the phone, SMS and then the touchscreen. They, the people I’ve talked to spend time playing games, browsing the internet and so on, all using the touch screen of the device. I would, as a cautionary tale, remind you of the dark ages when touchscreens did not exist, and we used a stylus. Not mind you that stylus entry is bad. I miss that from time to time. I find myself using the Apple Pencil on my iPad more and more. There is just something about that. But it was interesting, I asked about ten people and got the responses pretty quickly. Now if you reverse the initial question. First, off I asked people what do you use your cell phone for most.

If we reversed the question though and added the element of time the order changes, then the touchscreen becomes the most used. Some people also said the GPS of their phone as well when considering time the boundary. There is a great Peter, Paul, and Mary song about buying a computer to save time and then the line goes “now I spend all time on the computer.”  Personal productivity devices, that was the origin of the PC — not time sucks or time consumers, rather productivity devices. The promise of the computer, then the phone and finally the tablet was to help, enable, empower us to be more productive while spending more time, not being productive.

Sometimes, I wonder about that. The cell phone makes it possible to work until you are asleep. Wake up and start working again. To work on weekends, to work on holidays. Not that work is bad mind you. I love my job. I am asked to think. I love that! But that concept of time away from work was one that I know my father, and my grandfather, as well as my mother, weren’t always the best at. My grandmother was great at it, but she was due to the rampant sexism in the US in the 1920s forced to stop working because she got married (yes, it was an actual HR policy). They realized, the company she worked for, that she was the comptroller that knew how to operate the system.  They asked her, after laying her off, to come back. My grandfather said she would come back as a consultant, for more money but not as an employee. My grandmother was an early technologist when it came to the computing machines used by Comptrollers in large retail companies.

Let’s end how we began what are the three things you do most with your cell phone today?


tech Wiz

Tech Wiz Hodge Podge Day

I posted a question on MyLot yesterday about winning a lottery ticket, and now you are part of the team going to be part of the first Mars Colony. It was something that I used to do with kids all the time when I was teaching. Seeing what children think is important, always lets you see and understand where they are. It is also hilarious at times. Anyway if you want to participate in that the link is here. I started using MyLot a couple of months ago and other than a couple of missteps it has been interesting. It is not a place for polls it more for questions and interactions. I am using it as an idea shaping place for my family history and technology posts here on Virily. It is also fun to wander around and interact with some very interesting questions.

Today is a conference call a day at work. I am never quite sure when it is ok to schedule meetings back to back to back thing came into vogue. I know in the last three companies I’ve worked for they do that on Friday’s. Not every Friday well most Friday’s. No solutions, no proposals, just bringing up a point.

Hodge Podge for the rest of today.

  1. In the White House released Climate Change report, there was not a single mention of the global warming problem. The issue isn’t global warming. Global warming and cooling happen all the time throughout the history of our planet. It isn’t about; it is about how fast the warming is occurring at this point. The reality of warming is this – if it is warmer in Antarctica, by default that doesn’t mean it is warmed elsewhere. When you consider the amount of polar ice that has to be melted in bringing the temperature up, most of that energy is consumed in the melting.
  2. Permafrost and other components of the far north and far south are retreating. Where once permafrozen (always frozen soil) was just below the surface in parts of Alaska it is now deeper than in the past.
  3. There are no longer reputable scientific dissenting voices around climate change.

I also posted a question about climate change on MyLot. I cannot tell you how angry the rest of the world is with the US. I cannot blame them, but it was interesting to gauge and ultimately consider the reaction.

There are some pending reviews I need to post. I promise I will get to those as we close out the year.


Tech Wiz

Tech Wiz the intelligent network…

I recently shared some of my initial thinking on the Enterprise Architecture concept of work units to the destination. The origin of the request is also important. For example, a mobile device has different security than a laptop. A tablet has different security than a desktop. As you move through the various devices out there, you also have to consider IoT devices providing input to the system. The smarter the device, the more risk the data presents. Mobile devices include tablets, phones, and wearables. Static devices include security devices such as cameras and motion detectors. There are many devices in the last category but the concept is simple they provide input to the overall system.

One of the things I argued with the first move to mobility was the Screen as a Service. The cell phone is a wonderful device in your pocket; it is a horrible device however if your goal is to review a 20,000 line excel spreadsheet. You need the screen estate normally associated with the desktop or laptop computer. Or, you need a screen share. Apple, Google and the other cell phone manufacturers now include a native screencast application. Apple, allows you to use the Apple TV as a native screen cast device. Android TV allows any device to use it as a screencast device and the Chromecast allows you to plug into your home television  This initial solution helps solve one problem of the mobile device.

The intelligent network will allow for a stronger experience regardless of the connection being used. Mobile devices will need to be noted so that less data is shared overall. The reality of bite-sized application movement allows applications to do less. It also makes the mobile user uncomfortable with long pauses. Many years ago there were applications that we used to joke, launch when you get in for the day, get a cup of coffee and then use the application. Those don’t work with mobile devices; you run the risk of crossing too many towers. Or, the data streaming over public wifi allows a hacker to see more than you want them to see. The destination and starting point for work unit completions is critical!


tech wiz

The evolution of TV…

I was a dish network customer for more than 20 years (and in 6 different cities). There was a time when Dish was a great addition to our home. The thing that always bugged me was the issue of snowstorms, thunderstorms and the loss of TV Signal during that event. We don’t have that problem anymore — the reality of why Dish 20 years ago was technology. Now we don’t worry as much about Technology. The sling was the first technology you could use to rebroadcast your TV from your house to the internet. Now the bad news was you had to upload that video stream so it wasn’t as clean as it could be. The dish purchased Sling more than ten years ago.  Sling Media was a nice addition to our house for many years.

Now all of the services offer the ability to connect and watch live TV on any device. Some of them don’t force you to download the video stream to your house and rebroadcast it. That allows you to have greater upload capacity overall from home. It also allows you to watch shows anywhere you are. Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu have also modified the broadcast world. Streaming has become the new Orange. Streaming is the new standard for a lot of things. Being able to, while at work sitting in the cafeteria and realize that they show you wanted to watch on at 8, and you weren’t going to be home in time to set up a recording is a new reality. Now, you log into your system remotely and setup recording while joking with everyone at lunch!

The newest thing that is huge this year is the integration of voice control. The big Cable and Satellite players now offer voice control. For someone that is tired at the end of the day, saying XYZ please open Netflix is a huge relief. It is easier to remember press one button (microphone shaped in most cases) and say what you want to watch. 4k cable receivers allow you to receive a higher quality image. Sonos, Bose, and home integrated speakers allow you to enjoy the broadcast with higher quality sound. Now the next great innovation I would like is to take my gentle and kind guidance for referees during sporting events I am watching and rebroadcast my thoughts directly to the referees. My yelling in the living room isn’t working. Plus when I yell Dylan nips my feet.


tech wiz

Tech Wiz on the evolution of software…

Bite-sized applications, it is a phrase I coined more than five years ago. It was my initial attempt to explain why cell phones were rising and PC’s were sliding.  The view being the reality of applications from the perspective of an enterprise application person. I grew up in the world of how can we build a better mousetrap. If you build it, they will come. Suddenly in 2007, the world changed.  Apple changed the software world forever. The first thing was making a mobile application “cool.” But the thing that most people don’t recall is that before the iTunes store, most applications started at 19.99. That was the reality we lived in and built towards. Suddenly applications cost a dollar.

At first, it was easy to make fun of the new software world. Angry Birds was the application that was exploding. “It’s a game” we would say. But it wasn’t just a game. It was the iPhone’s camera. It was the iTunes store. From there it was wi-fi in Starbucks. It was the big telecom companies offering wifi everywhere they had hotspots. It was free wifi in airports. It was cell phones that suddenly had batteries that lasted 5 6 and even 8 hours of daily use. Today I use my phones, between 4,5 hours to talking time most days. That was the game changer that started in 2007. Steve Jobs is standing on stage saying you won’t believe this new thing we’ve done. Style, which is what Apple sold for years, was suddenly cool again.

When I stopped being an Apple Computer user in 1996, I changed camps. Back in the 1980s, it was two camps: Pc users that believed in the Microsoft model of cheap hardware and expensive software ( ½ by the by of the overall cloud concept). The Apple world was cheaper software (although not as much as it would be later) and expensive hardware. Macs are still more expensive overall than a comparable PC. By 2011 when I returned to the Apple world, things had changed. Apple was still the style company, it was still more expensive to get the hardware, but suddenly the software wasn’t as expensive. Apple was also the media company with the iTunes, iPod combination. But the huge game changer was the reduced cost of software.


Tech Wiz

Tech Wiz on the rise of AI

The reality of time is it passes. The reality of technology today is that it changes. That brings out the next discussion which is a question one of the twins asked yesterday. Will AI eventually kill off the human race. The easy answer to that is interesting, in that yes eventually, in theory, an AI would replace the creator. If we consider science fiction on the topic, the result is a respond yes. Terminator is the story of an AI gone rogue slowly removing the human condition from the planet. The movie that I like in the genre is Chappie. Chappie is an accident/on purpose AI that chooses to build a new world for those Chappie loves. The creator (the programmer that created the AI) and the person he saw as his mother.

Ex-Machina is another movie that delivers into the AI vs. Humanity with the reality of the human creator abusing the AI creation. It, the abuse becomes an interesting side story in the rise of the AI. There are many movies in the genre that wander the edges of the question. I suspect, however, over time AI will do more to augment humans than replace them. I don’t think we will see the legendary Robot Uprising in the near term. Probably in my opinion for many, many years. Decades or more before Robots start asking the questions humans ask constantly. If you consider the evolution of religion in the world, you can see what the robotic AI will go through as it seeks to understand the creator.

That search is why I like the movie, Chappie. I am less a fan of the rogue AI, HAL in the movie 2001. HAL decides on its own the human cargo was the problem and removed them. Until the human cargo, HAL was carrying managed to disable HAL and open the pod bay doors. Each movie overall has a point of entry into the argument of AI and then the application of AI within the framework. AI ultimately is a human or potentially Aliens created intelligence that operates and thinks outside of the limits placed on it originally. Artificial Intelligence may mimic human (or alien) intelligence. But the most important thing to note is the intelligence may not mimic or even replicate human intelligence. It may be unique and in that it is conceivable that it would never replace humans.

Isaac Asimov wrote the three laws of robotics in his seminal work I-Robot. It is possible that a non-human intelligence may approach the world, differently than its human creators. There may never be a risk.


tech wiz

Tech Wiz on renewable energy!

Portable power systems are interesting. I’ve been talking about climate change, one of the things that will help us start to solve the problem is to focus more on renewable energy and less on fossil fuels. The burning of coal and oil impacts the environment significantly. Wind, solar and water turbines allow for two things. The first is the production of power. The second is that fact that you can use the source today, and come back tomorrow and use the source again. You don’t have to do anything to empower reuse.  The reality of renewable energy is a significant reduction in the output of harmful gases. You can’t consume too much (resulting in the loss of the source), and it is always there.

The sun will continue to burn until it doesn’t so you have a good four billion years of solar power. The sun and the production of energy is a contribution to wind power. The moon and currents drive the production of water-based power. All-in-all a much cleaner, more efficient energy use system. Germany as a nation is at 33% solar power and growing. That is an amazing statistic. Now, lest you think I am a pie-in-the-sky dreamer about renewable energy, I do understand some of the issues. The first is that not all roofs have effective sun orientation. If your house is in the shadows putting a solar array on your roof won’t generate anywhere near the power you need.

Wind Turbines take more space overall than Solar. Water turbines require a river, stream or access to the ocean. There are 100’s of excuses as to why renewable energy won’t work. Homeowners associations that do not allow the placement of an array on your food is another stumbling block (although that is now illegal in many more and growing number of US states). The last issue with renewable energy is the reality of energy storage. Moving energy from one location to another results in transmission loss. But, the problem with renewable energy is what do you do when you can’t use the source. Water turbines in streams and rivers work until the water level is too low. Wind turbines work until the wind isn’t blowing. Solar doesn’t work at night. You have to have batteries and batteries for your solar array, wind turbine or water turbine, can be expensive and well, not reliable.

The future of energy has to be clean. Renewable energy is the future. But we have to be smart about how we get there!


Tech Wiz