A wander, to wander, wandering technology

In the past few years, I have spent a lot of time seeking the perfect VOIP setup. I do a lot of meetings in my job, many of which are online. I find that there are three things I need. The first is the ear noise canceling headsets. I need that because honestly, it is a more natural feel for me. It is a personal choice, I know for a long time I considered, evaluated and owned the one ear smaller earbuds. I always found myself either having to reach up to more often to adjust them or to push them into my ear more. I would love to hear what other people think is critical in headsets so feel free to comment!

For a long time, I also chased printers, but that phase is no longer as critical for me. We are down to three printers in the house; I suspect we won’t go below 3. Two are specialty printers (color laser and large format plotter).  It is an interesting change for me; I used to love having a good printer. Now I don’t care as much. I do have a Canon photo printer, but that is more to print the occasional picture.

The other things I often consider or evaluate are keyboards and Mice. I switched recently to a new keyboard and mouse (trackball actually) from Logitech. I will do a review in a couple of weeks. Keyboards is something that bloggers focus on. The better your keyboard, the easier it is to produce content! I find myself often considering the fragility of keyboards. In fairness to the companies that make them, I drop them on occasion. I need a keyboard that has a strong case. I am not a big fan of the newer mechanical keyboards, but I have tried a couple of them.

Time to roll!

.doc

Edge computing…

One of the technologies that I am interested in currently is the growing world of air quality devices. It comes from my ever-growing love of remote data, remote or edge sensors and weather information.There are some interesting air quality sensors on the market. First, the NetATMO system includes an air quality sensor as well as an indoor coach. The indoor coach focuses on the quality of the air in a specific space, but also, the sound and other variables.

IT is one of those things that I think about. In part because the presence of higher amounts (non-toxic) of CO presents interesting problems. The other side is the Ozone levels in the outside air and of course, the UV level. All of these things are components of what I like to measure.

The reality of what is called Edge Computing adds some flavor to the conversation. Edge computing is pushing the computing required for data analysis to the edge of the network. Bloomsky is an interesting implementation of that (Bloomsky is a time-lapse video weather station). Part 1, the computing required to measure wind, rainfall, and temperature as well as UV levels are processed on the device. The time-lapse video is processed offline and reloaded back into the station for you to consume.

Other edge devices go even further at this point, processing and analyzing the data they are collecting as far from the user consuming as is possible. Edge, Cloud and the Internet of Things are all relevant conversations to have as you consider the reality of measuring air quality, weather and other using the distributed nature of Edge. Edge has a risk of course, like anything the how and what of security is critical.

As we go forward in this space, there is so much to come.

.doc

well…

Are rules important?

One of my father’s favorite saying was “keep honest people honest.” I used to wonder what he meant for the longest time until I started putting together the communications patterns and anti-patterns. You see the internet is the wild-wild west. Wild, in that I don’t see, or talk to you most likely in person. Wild in the sense that the username you have, isn’t always your name. Wild in the sense that there are lots of places to hide.

Because it is the wild-wild west, then it means that users of systems have to take the time to make sure other users are following the rules. Complaining about people cutting corners is fine, but you also have to make sure that you follow the rules. The only way a site can improve is if we let them know when people aren’t following the rules. Responsibility is doing the right thing, not hoping the next person does the right thing. It comes back to what my father said. Keep honest people honest, if people cut corners, let them know. If they keep cutting corners on websites, let the admins know. It is when someone cuts corners, your job to keep things moving forward.

The reality is, and the argument you are going to hear about this is I don’t want to be the police.  No one does, but by simply reporting bad behavior you are doing two things. The first is you are helping the rule breaker operate within the rules. The second is you are reducing the amount of churn for other site users by reducing the number of people not following the rules. Ask not for the whole the bell tolls; it is always tolling for you. We as members of groups have to help keep honest people honest. We have to make sure that when people break the rules, we first them personally and then we report that.

Otherwise we live in the wild-wild west.

.doc

rule bender

thoughts on how to deal with patterns and anti-patterns of communication…

I got a great email after the last communication anti-pattern I posted, not the usual question from the reader, a new one. Normally the reader who emailed me, says is that one about me? But this time he asked “interesting, how do you avoid that type of interaction.” The interaction in question is the one where the person announces they are right. Communication is a two-way street; there are different positions and thoughts involved in the conversation, always!

The easy solution is to ignore the person if you can.  Don’t interact with him if that is possible. When it is online, you can do that. If it is someone in your office, neighborhood or at the Gym, it is a little harder to ignore them. At that point, you drop into the polite mode. The polite mode is where you compliment them for nice things they do, like what they contribute but you do not do more than that. You stop engaging the baiting.

Now, I wish I could say I am a master at doing this. I am not. I fail often, and sometimes I let people get under my skin. I let someone bait me recently, and I felt stupid for that right away. I have to fit into my perception of the world around me. I also have to acknowledge that I fall prey to this. The easy answer I gave my long time reader was ignored the person if you can, kill them with kindness if you can’t. I stand by that advice, and I am going to work hard to live up to it!

.doc

communications watcher…

More on communications anti-patterns…

I got a great email after the last communication anti-pattern I posted, not the usual question from the reader, a new one. Normally the reader who emailed me, says is that one about me? But this time he asked “interesting, how do you avoid that type of interaction.” The interaction in question is the one where the person announces they are right. Communication is a two-way street; there are different positions and thoughts involved in the conversation, always!

The easy solution is to ignore the person if you can.  Don’t interact with him if that is possible. When it is online, you can do that. If it is someone in your office, neighborhood or at the Gym, it is a little harder to ignore them. At that point, you drop into the polite mode. The polite mode is where you compliment them for nice things they do, like what they contribute but you do not do more than that. You stop engaging the baiting.

Now, I wish I could say I am a master at doing this. I am not. I fail often, and sometimes I let people get under my skin. I let someone bait me recently, and I felt stupid for that right away. I have to fit into my perception of the world around me. I also have to acknowledge that I fall prey to this. The easy answer I gave my long time reader was ignored the person if you can, kill them with kindness if you can’t. I stand by that advice, and I am going to work hard to live up to it!

,doc

communications wanderer

What are you searching for?

Many years ago when I was first starting out, I used to run a bulletin board. A BBS was a dial-in collaboration system that we used heavily before the rise of the internet. I was thinking about that system The other day. In part because I miss the sound of modems. In part because I was looking at an old picture of a Macintosh SE/30.  I had a Macintosh SE, SE/30 and an IIci from 1985 to 1991. I got a new Quadra 700, and that was the last Macintosh I owned until 2012.

I do have a MacBook now. I just didn’t for more than 15 years.

I didn’t intend, by the way, to wax nostalgic about my mac days today. I was thinking about the reality of change because of the internet. Two days ago I was looking for a specific part of a projector I have that is a little older. I typed the part number into Google’s search and had the part, as well as three places I could, in fact, buy it from on my screen in less time than it took me to type the part number.

We sometimes forget the amazing reality that search has created. I wonder if it was even possible to explain to a 20-year old what the world before the search was like. You can search inside of video games. You can search on your mobile phone. You can search for minute details or massive blasts of information. You can even search within mapping applications to find gas stations and places for lunch.

Do you remember the world before search?

.doc

technology wanderer

Another communications anti-pattern

One of the things I often post about is Communications Patterns and Anti-patterns. One of the most intriguing anti-patterns I have encountered over the years is the I am right, and you have dismissed me anti-pattern. I don’t have a cool name for that one; it is one that makes me nervous. When I realize I have entered a conversation or discussion with someone in that Anti-pattern space, I try to get out. You know you have hit this anti-pattern when they keep repeating the same things but don’t acknowledge that you also posted something. Socrates, the master of rhetoric, spoke of the concept of discussion. A discussion is where two people have differing ideas, both sides present their views, and they two sides move on.

A discussion that model is where both sides present, there is no acceptance of one side, and from there it decays into what we call an argument. Look, arguments are healthy. Arguments are a good thing. But when the anti]pattern above emerges the argument is no longer mutual. That person is always right. Based on their being right all facts they present are facts. The argument usually ends with one side declaring they are right. That, by the way, is the final tactic of the I am right, and you’ve dismissed anti-pattern. The declaration that their argument was not heard and that they were right in the first place.

I learned many years ago that when you meet someone online or in person with this communication anti-pattern, the best thing you can do is to give them, and yourself a way out of the discussion with dignity. You simply post things like “I understand your point. We disagree, but that is ok.” Or any of the many iterations of that type of sentence. Give them a way out with dignity. The reality is based on that anti-pattern they won’t take the way out, but the best you can do as a person is offering it.

Remember that when they declare victory, the conversation is over. Well sadly the conversation is actually over the minute they start arguing. Once the anti-pattern reveals itself the best thing you can do is stop. You can’t win. When someone with that anti-pattern asks for an opinion they are looking for people to agree with their opinion; they are not open to new ideas. They are only open to what they want to hear.

.doc

communications dreamer