Tech Wiz on blogging…

One of the things I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is the time I spend on my two blogs. Between Virily and WordPress the act of sharing blogs has begun creeping up. What used to be a 20, 30-minute romp has become more than a 2-hour expedition. I need to reduce the time (in 67 days I will get rid of one of my blogs). I have posted more than 1500 posts on Virily. I find that amazing not that I’ve posted that many, but how many of the people have enjoyed and commented on! I love the interaction of the various online communities I’ve had a chance to be a part of. I am not a fan of the new world comment rules and interaction rules online, but that is more a personal issue than anything.

It is time to start cutting down. I am not sure yet what that means. While it is always nice to get little extra money and 12 months into this Virily pays nicely, I am not sure that I need to spend the amount of time, for the benefits received. Plus my new world schedule means I am on the road more and need to be on the road earlier in the am.

In the more than 11 years I’ve been doing a daily blog I’ve missed maybe 40 days ever. Some of the missed days were ones chosen to be missed. Some were lost days to other things. But in the more than 3500 days since I started daily blogging, I’ve produced more than 6000 blogs. (I write two every single day other than the 40 or so missed days).

I have had blogs with more than 100,000 views quite a few times.

I have had blogs with four readers as well (the least I have tracked so far).

From all of this, my take away is I love to blog. I love sharing ideas with people. I don’t like being called names and I will ignore people that call me names. I also am not a big fan of ignorance. Everything else, including being told I am wrong, I fine by me.

Tech Wiz

The fastest in home wifi lie…

One of the things that have interested me for the past few years is the reality of IoT devices and networks. I have talked about the misleading advertising (fastest in-home wifi) and other things that cable companies have done to promote services that aren’t what is needed. The business problem that most homes have today is two-fold, the first is the reality of energy and the second is the increasing demand for internet access. We aren’t just talking about teenagers sucking down Netflix like it was cotton candy. I know the former teenagers now adults in our house have two to three Netflix streams open most of the time. Netflix is a minor upload and massive downloads of content.

IoT devices on the other hand or as they are sometimes called edge device don’t always do downloads. Weather stations are more likely to upload information. A download for the Bloomsky system is the updates pushed from the support team of Bloomsky or the many other stations. For the most part weather stations push data upstream. The same is true of security cameras.  These devices require decent upload capacity. By decent, there are two issues to consider.

In many cases, the fastest in-home wifi has an upload limit. People are of the thought that the internet is a download. It isn’t there are many devices that push data up to your connection. That is where the fastest in-home wifi fails.

Cable companies limit your upload speed.

As we consider the “more” of IoT, there will be a lot of things uploading data in your home. At the store, forgot what you needed to get? Ask your refrigerator (by the way an up0load). Not home, your doorbell says someone is lurking around your house? Log into your home video doorbell. The list goes on, but in all cases, it requires more outbound data from your home. Solar panels on your roof, well they need to communicate out. Weather stations communicate out. Video surveillance systems communicate out. The issue isn’t the devices connecting to the internet from inside your home; the issue is that fastest in-home wifi terminates the speed at the router installed by the cable company. When routers end up caching data, it becomes hard for the router to function.


Tech Wiz

Tech Wiz on upgrades oh yeah and digital pictures…

iOS 12 and Watch OS 5 released yesterday. I didn’t rush to download and install them yesterday because, well I forgot. I did this morning manage to update all my apple devices (other than my mac). The iPhone and iPad update were fast and easy. I was curious to see a couple of new applications that I will play with a little more. Continue on your PC popped up that was interesting. The voice memo also popped up, also interesting. I use the voice memo when I am in the car and need to capture a phone number from voicemail. Normally I haven’t used the functionality for other things but may try the new version just to see what the gain is. I still have the painful memories of updating my PPC phone.

That said I thought I would share my process for upgrading. The first thing I do is a full backup of the system being upgraded. That is so that I can do a restore. Then I start the upgrade. When the upgrade completes, I do another backup since the upgrade changes the OS. It is a simple process but sticking to it helps you in cases of recovery, just in case.

Backing up your phone and pictures becomes more and more critical as we move down the path of smartphones.

Of the last 2000 pictures I’ve taken, nearly 30% of them have been done with the cellular phone camera. Now, I know I am low and that there are many people that don’t even have digital cameras. So the 500 or so cellular phone pictures I’ve taken may be high for the last 30 days. In part because I went to a wedding and a couple of other family events in late August/September.

How many pictures do you take a month?


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Tech Wiz on Chalkboards!

I am unable (right now) to pre-order a new iPhone. I am going to upgrade to the new iPhone later this fall. For the most part to take advantage of more memory and the additional graphics capabilities of the new A-12 chip. But, I can’t upgrade right now. I have to wait a couple of weeks due to a few things. From time to time I try a use new programs. I am, as a former teacher, always interested in finding new ways to connect with my audience and those around me learning. Doodly is an interesting application for building fast videos. I made one this morning just playing around. The link to it is here. The teacher/professor reminds me of my father; he loved chalkboards. Mostly, by the time I was old enough to remember, to hang things on.

Dad had three chalkboards in his office. All three were covered with posters and papers. I don’t think I ever saw dad use the chalkboard in his office.  I know I did, but the janitors would always erase the messages I left. When I was first a teacher, I was in an old middle school building (it was a middle school then it was an elementary school, then it was a middle school again. It is still a middle school now). Anyway, my classroom was at the end of the old science hall, so I had four chalkboards in my room. The kids used to get mad at Mr. Andersen because I used to wander around the room using all the chalkboards. It decreased their ability to sleep or lose focus.

I do miss the feel of chalk on a chalkboard.

Grease boards or whiteboards are nice but other than the strange smell most of the markers have; there isn’t that feel of chalk on a chalkboard. Plus, you can’t angle a whiteboard mark the right way to produce a  horrifying sound. “stop that Mr. A” the kids used today, but they were paying attention then! I miss that from time to time.

I suspect if I were teaching today I would have AR stickers all over my room.


Tech Wiz

Tech Wiz Bee Careful!

I answered a comment made on yesterday’s technology post with an analogy about computer’s and Bee’s. I wanted to expand that answer a little to potentially help people as they consider troubleshooting, but also as they consider connecting to and using remote applications. The analogy is quite simple, but it is also very complex, so I decided to put it out, as a post to give you a better and broader view.

First, think of the processor (s) in your computer as a flower. Your computer, depending on age and nature may have one (core) or two (core+ graphics) processors. The metaphor/analogy is that it is a single flower. Now, if your computer is running a 32-bit operating system, you have limits as to what the flower can do to improve its root structure and visibility for bees. If your e is running a 64-bit operating system, you have twice as many ways for bees to see the flowers. The problem of course then is the capacity of the flower to interact with bees and the type of interaction the bees require.

  1. Payment systems (PayPal, your bank, etc.) require more direct processor attention than do things like news sites (CNN or mSNBC). Unless you are watching breaking news via your browser  (say Hurricane Florence live coverage) in which case the news station sucks up a whole lot of the flowers attention.
  2. The flower only has a limited amount of attention it can give.
  3. There are also a limited number of bee’s that can directly connect to the flower.
  4. The more bees you have, the more the bees have to wait.
  5. Some bees don’t like waiting.

As I said, it is a very simple analogy. Think of the bee’s you have on your computer right now (every open browser window and every other application you have in your system tray is a bee). The picture I’ve shared with this post is from my computer this morning. It shows everything that is currently a Bee. Add to that a couple of other factors, and you see why your flower sometimes wilts!

  1. Pending or required restarts that you postpone can cause your computer to deteriorate.
  2. Old or non-updated software performs differently depending on, of course, the status of the overall system.
  3. The what of all those Bee’s becomes critical quickly.

I have 5 Google Chrome windows open. That produces a level of strain on the CPU or flower that the bee’s talk to. It is a pretty big strain.

I also run outlook, that also adds additional impact on that flower.

Let’s talk about the bee to flower ratio to end today.

  1. 100 bees isn’t a bad thing. For windows, computers hit ctrl, alt and delete and bring up task manager. How many running processes do you have?
    1. If you have eight gigs or less of memory on your computer your bee to flower ratio (running processes) should be less than 50 to 1.
    2. The more memory you have and the faster processor you have, the more open things you can have.
    3. (32 bit OS) vs. (64 bit OS) means you need to cut in half the number of bees with a 32-bit flower.
  2. It isn’t that hard.

The quickest way to overwhelm your flower is to have a long line of demanding bees,

.Tech Wiz

Bees are good, just be careful!

Tech Wiz considering troubleshooting (I know, again)!

I have a really good friend that works on a helpdesk. He often emails me after helpdesk posts to say things like “tell people that when we are trying to help, there are two reasons why it seems like we say the same thing. The first is, we need to figure out where you are really. The second is the reality of vanilla; if we can get you somewhere that we understand or that both of us understand, we can move forward.” I keep meaning to share that; he has sent it to me about five times so far. Helpdesk professionals, and people trying to help you aren’t mean. They are simply trying to remove all the variables. For example, if you have more than ten browser windows open, that impacts three things on your computer.

  • The processor
  • The network
  • Your graphics chip

On low-end computers, any one of those three will blow up. Getting people to understand that sometimes the problem is on their system is hard. I know it is something that many people struggle with. We, in the US, have spent the last two years playing blame the other person for all the failings around us. The easy way to solve your problems is to blame someone else.

Now, back to the technology issue, if you are trying to run a complex website on an i5 chip, you’ll have a different perspective than someone running an i7 chip and so on. If you are running chrome with ten open websites, you’ll have a different experience than someone else. If the ten sites are loaded with updating information, you will impact both the processor and the network you are connected to.

All of these things are what cause you to have computer issues. There are many more.

As you work to remove the variables, you have to make sure you remove all of them!

I finally shared my friend’s request! I hope this helps you as you evaluate how to solve your problems with your computer.


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Tech Wiz on Weather

I am a weather geek and have been for many years. I have had some different weather stations over the years. The first was an outdoor Oregon Scientific. I also had a weather alert radio from Oregon scientific. Here is a link to my daily recap or time-lapse video of the weather over my house. By the way, you can view hurricane impacts on the website as well. There are some Bloomsky systems in North Carolina.  The other side of why a weather station at your house is interesting. It is more than simply something I’ve been doing for years. Knowing what the weather is doing where you are is a very valuable tool. Boaters always want to know what the weather is.

But so do people that want to host an outdoor party. Or (a wedding) you want to know what the weather might be, and then will be. That way you can react accordingly to the weather. The difference between having a great wedding (such as my nieces last weekend) and a bad weekend is the difference between 40 umbrellas by prepared guests, and 2 to be shared amongst 100 people. Sharing can be fun, but when you only have two umbrellas for 100 people, it takes a long time to traverse the wet areas. What you don’t know will impact you. Well at least from a weather perspective if you are not careful. Of course, you do have to consider the source for information, and in my case, I am a weather geek.

The other thing that having a weather station helps you better understand is the flow of weather. We have a dog (Raven) that is terrified of Thunder Storms. Because of the Bloomsky Micro-Weather system, I can tell where the thunderstorms are so that we can support Raven. She is a lot better now about storms than she was a few years ago. But she is clearly terrified. Taking her to my office (and my chair, yes Raven it is my chair) is a start. If we get there early and get the music on, she soothes pretty quickly. Either way, she is so much better than she used to be (running around the house in terror). Now she and her brother Dylan hide in my office. It is important to know when storms are coming!


Tech Wiz