Just, pump the brakes…

I have been an IT consultant and an IT delivery person for the past 30 years. In that time I have operated and managed solutions that were used by 400,000 or more people. I traveled the world building systems for a lot of organizations. Based on those years of experience I tend to approach things a little differently than most people do, regarding what is happening around them. Based on that, however, I did want to say pump the brakes. That is, what you do when you are driving, and are unsure of what is happening around you. Lately, there has been a lot of angry, frustrated posts about the editorial and administrative functionality presented by the Virily site.

First, everyone has the right to complain. But it is really important that when you complain you understand the reality of that complaint. “I hate.” is the phrase that pays. When you hear that you know what comes next is an opinion. “This doesn’t” is a phrase that normally is followed by a diatribe about what isn’t working. You’ve all read these statements many times. In fact, I know, there are so many things thrown around about Virily that I am beginning to realize, it doesn’t matter anymore. Since Virily pays writers, we are nominally 1099 contractors. As content creators we have to report the issues to the admin team, as they work to improve the site. And most important, we get in return what we bring to the admin team. I see so many posts on Virily talking about problems with the site. But I don’t see all the variables covered upfront first. Let’s start with some of the variables we need to consider (and if possible remove) before casting blame on the site itself. Just looking at the easy variables even before we get to Virily there are so many things to consider.

  1. The browser you are using. TRUST me each of these browsers operates completely differently than the others.
    1. EDGE
    2. Chrome
    3. Mozilla
    4. Firefox
    5. Internet Explorer
    6. Safari
  2. The computer operating system you are using
    1. Mac OS pre 10
    2. Mac OS post 10
    3. Windows 7
    4. Windows 8
    5. Windows 10
    6. Linux all flavors
    7. Android Tablet
    8. IoS Tablet
    9. iPhone
    10. Android Phone
    11. Another phone
  3. Type of internet connection
    1. Satellite
    2. Cable Modem
    3. Dial-up or modem based
    4. Internet café
    5. Provided wi-fi work
    6. Provided wi-fi coffee shop
    7. Fiber Optic
    8. DSL
    9. ISDN
  4. Consideration of your pc
    1. Corrupt
    2. Clean
    3. New
    4. Old
  5. Virus Scanner
    1. Commercial
    2. Free
  6. Malware Scanning
    1. Commercial
    2. free

Just to be clear, there are versions of number 1 and that causes issues. Edge doesn’t always work with everything. Chrome, Safari, IE, Firefox, and Mozilla all have known issues with various things.. You can have Java installed (old), or Java installed new. Or you can have no Java. There is flash players from Adobe, old and new or not installed at all. You can have the .net framework old or the .net framework new installed. All of this is the easy stuff. Your virus scanner, or malware and so on impacts the ability to interoperate with the system you are using. Virus scanners can impact your browser, your computer, and YOUR internet connection. There are at least 30 companies that release Virus scanners, and you can be way out of date with that as well.

Troubleshooting problems based on just these five variables is really hard.

So pump the brakes.

Make sure when you have a problem, post the answers to all six of these questions. Tell the admin team I am using Safari on MacOS 11, McAfee virus scanning connected at my local Starbucks.

Just listing that will help the admin team be more successful, thereby keeping Virily in business longer!!!!!

.doc

pump those brakes.

Oculus Go Review

I have, over the past month or so talking about the Oculus Go headset. The Oculus Go is one of the first true standalone VR headsets. Its, the Oculus Go’s big brother is the Oculus Rift that connects to your PC. What follows is my review of the headset and the application. First off,m the price point for the Oculus Go (around 200 dollars) is a lot less than the cost (around 900 including a PC capable of running the Rift headset).  The Oculus application is available in the iTunes store and Google Play. It allows you to interact with the headset via Bluetooth. The setup was straightforward. First, you connect via Bluetooth and then connect your headset to your Wi-Fi network at home.

From my initial review regarding must-have applications I will list them below:

  • Netflix
  • Anne Frank House Rout
  • Apollo 11 VR

By the way, all three of my highly recommended applications are free. The biggest difference from using the Rift headset and the Go headset has to be the controller. The Go has a new controller that is easier to use than the controllers of the RIFT. Some of the VR systems and headsets allow you to use an Xbox controller. The Sony PlayStation VR uses the PlayStation controllers. In both of those cases, control is very nice. The Oculus Go controller is as good as the PlayStation and Xbox controllers overall. Being able to interact with the VR world using the controller is critical. Until the Hololens you can’t use the motion of fingers and body parts to control the device.

The headset easily adjusts to your head. The screen has great display capabilities. I watched a movie on Netflix while relaxing with the Go headset. Sounds is good, although I suspect you will eventually be able to pair the Go with a speaker set or a headset for even better sound. I haven’t played any of the games at this point. But I have enjoyed the three apps listed above. The future of what the VR world can be is incredible. At the very least, the interactive ability to see where a part is before reaching for it in your washing machine would be worth it. The same of course, true about both large machine repair. I know that some of the AR headsets are already in production with Airplane Engine applications and so on.

My rating for the Oculus Go headset – 10 out of 10!

.doc

technologist

Help the IT team succeed

One of the things I am often asked about is the role of IT in business. Mostly not what is the role actually, more the person is not happy with the overall value of the IT organizations they are dealing with at that moment. Let’s start out with the jails of information technology departments. The first, probably most important thing the IT department has to consider is the short and long-term security. Security has to be both a driver and a systematic approach that IT takes. Not considering, valuing or implementing solid security will cause major problems in the long run. After all the intellectual property that makes your organization special and unique isn’t something you want to be freely available.

The reason that I am focused on this today has to do with two thing,s. First, I see a lot of people complaining about technology issues constantly. The reality of complaint is that unless you focus and make your complaints actionable, they are useless. I remember many years ago when I was a central IT person for the company I worked for. We were having a meeting about a series of issues we were having. There were some regional managers in the room, invited to share the issues they had. They all threw out all the issues, and there were a lot of them. Although looking back, most of the issues were parts of other issues, but at the time it felt like a daunting list.

My boss stood up and smiled. He started off by saying “thank you,” to everyone. Then he shared the following story.

“I went to the doctor the other day. I had a few health issues. The doctor started by saying how are you. I told him everything that was wrong with me, Then I held out my hand and said give me my medication to solve all my problems.” The room was silent. Why is that so hard for Doctors and IT people. In part, it is the reality of linkage. Systems don’t operate in a vacuum. An organization represents a system of systems. It is many interconnected components, as is the human body. IT does not have a magic wand that connects all the problems in the room. There is no magic whiteboard that once all the problems are listed, draws the connections between them. In fact, you are doing IT a disservice when you force them to chase every single problem. Lots of problems are inter-related, connected or simply causative. My boss then looked at all the managers and said, let’s write all the problems on the whiteboard. Let’s draw the lines between the problems and the systems you are using. Let’s see if we can build a path forward to fix everything.

Understand. Document. Discuss. AND prioritize. That is how you help IT people.

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tech Wiz

Tech Wiz safety column!

I was kind of stuck on how big the boat we saw was, I know. Not something that I would normally be wound around, we see big boats all the time. I think it was the size of the small ferry boat they were using, a boat that was as big as our boat, that caught my eye. Boat systems, are very similar and very different from car systems. First off, boat systems have to be able to get wet. It changes the kinds of screens you can have on a boat, versus inside a car. But using Lidar (a variation of radar) in a car to create a collision prevention system is similar to the Radar capabilities of a boat. The goal of radar is to report objects in your way either near you or coming towards you. The same is true of a cars Lidar system.

Sonar is used to see what is beneath you in a boat. Unlike the car, where you pretty much know what is under the vehicle (a road). There are exceptions, but people who choose to wander off the road are aware of the risk of not knowing what is under your car while driving.

That got me thinking about the concept of safety a little. I know that I don’t drive as fast as some people do. I also know that I tend towards cautious when I am in my car. It comes from how I was taught to drive. To be aware of the road. I learned to drive a boat (14) long before I learned how to drive a car (15) and the learning of boat operation has stuck with me. Don’t put yourself; my grandfather always used to say, in a place you can’t get out of. I applied that to piloting the boat on Lake Ripley and later driving cars in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Be careful about what and how you are considering when you are operating a vehicle. It is important to me to be careful.

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safety first

Tech Wiz on Pen vs Electronic (and link to a poll!)

The difference between paper and electronic is interesting. In part because I love writing on paper. There is something about the feel of a pen on paper. I know that I shouldn’t be stuck on paper, but I still love the feel. I still think better sometimes when I have a pen in hand. It is why I like pens that are connected and whiteboards that are connected. There is something wonderful about merging the two worlds (paper and electronic).

There are some fun poll questions below and a couple of tough questions. I find the reality of integrity to be more interesting right now, than the reality of pen versus electronic.

Look and feel can be very important. I know that is why I still like to use paper from time to time. Funny, when doing computer diagrams and designs, I almost never use a pen and almost always use something digital. That is more because I find that I often need to be able to refer to and reuse the diagrams I create. That makes going straight to digital a much smarter idea for the diagrams I create.

Oh, brave new world.

Interesting follow up on my initial thinking on the Oculus Go. I am enjoying the fit of the device more than the Oculus Rift. I suspect they took some time and worked with end users to make the Go fit better. The virtual world is getting a lot easier to use. My new idea for the title of my upcoming review is an Homage to Inspector Gadget (Go-Go Oculus)! The really sad thing about Inspector Gadget is that I loved that show as an adult, and effectively and to bribe my kids to watch it with me!

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tech wiz

Is integrity dead?

There are so many things that make me uncomfortable right now, more, it feels like that at any time in the past thirty years. I worry about the concept of honesty now, more than I ever have before. Honestly is an important interpersonal requirement. In fairness, I should add the provider to me, in that sentence. But it is really important to me. I don’t just mean honesty in interpersonal communication; I mean the entire package of honesty for me. The importance of following rules is an example of honesty to me. If there are rules, and you choose to ignore them,  then shame on you. If you do it in a way that impacts me, I will react to that, because as I started with honesty is important to me.

Has it become the reality of the world today that honesty isn’t important? I worry about that reality now. I mentioned the other day the overzealous application of political correctness. Part of my ethics is that I try not to offend people. I do understand, however, that I on occasion offend people. It is not something I am proud of; it is something that happens. What worries me, is that people can sit and correct me, tell me that what I’ve said is offensive, when I know that person doesn’t follow the rules as well. Being PC is a rule, it is also ethics. Honesty and following rules are all part of the broader bucket we call Ethics. I worry that over-zealous application of right means you can skip the reality of the rules.

I guess I have to ask. Does personal integrity matter anymore? Do the ethics of political correctness overwhelm the reality of interpersonal integrity? Does integrity matter anymore? Let’s take the sites where I post blogs. All of them have rules for posting. I work very hard to follow all the rules. If I break one, I apologize right away and remove the post that broke the rules. I take the time to write comments for people that are both heartfelt, but also conversational and relevant to their post. I follow the rules. There are those who don’t. Sometimes they benefit from breaking the rules, and for that I am embarrassed. Because I have to continue asking myself does Integrity matter anymore? It is not just in the online world that I consider this growing problem. It truly makes me sad.

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Tech Wiz

Tech Wiz and the future of entertainment devices…

I have had a chance to play with two distinctly different personal media devices over the past 20 days. In both cases, there was a learning curve, funny but in both cases, the learning curve for me was around the concept of charging. It was also, sadly in both cases my issue, not the technologies issue. Sometimes, you have to stop and carefully pay attention to what the manual is saying. What is the future of home entertainment? I know when I was a kid cable TV was new. Originally when we lived in Bloomington Indiana, we had four stations. The only one that mattered to my dad was Channel 4 because they carried IU Basketball games. But we also got a couple of other stations. There ended up being 4 out of Indianapolis that we got, 1 PBS station from IU and a CBS station out of Terre Haute Indiana. Cable brought many more stations.

But that was the wired age, when we were dependent on what came into our houses form the air (antenna) or via a cable (cable). My kids don’t watch TV. They still watch TV shows but a lot differently then I did at their age. I’ve tried a few times to explain that once upon a time you got two chances to watch a TV show. Once was the first time it aired, the second during summer reruns. If you missed it, you never got to see it. If you were lucky and the show had enough episodes to syndicate, you could watch it later. But that did require that there were more than 22 episodes. At least it did back in the day. Now shows are syndicated before they are even done with the season.

Streaming changed everything. My kids watch a show, sometimes in what they call the binge form (all of them in as long a period as it takes), sometimes they watch them once a day. The reality is, entertainment is changing, and devices like Oculus Go and Keecker are the new wave. First, because they allow you to interact with your media/ For example, I converted my grandfathers home movies. 13 hours of video. I have 13 hours a year of video, starting when the twins were born. Lot’s more video is available to be viewed and seen. Plus, who wants to go downstairs, find the family video disk, put it in the player and watch home movies. I would rather be able to stream my movies.

Keecker and Oculus are riding that first wave of change. There are more devices to come!

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of what is to come…