Shameless review, Smove!

Smove arrived yesterday. Why do you care well in part because even if you don’t care, I am writing about it? Smove is a device designed to reduce the motion issue with cameras. In particular, it is made for cellular phones. It is a selfie stick with an integrated gyroscope to reduce the horrible shaky camera syndrome problem often associated with cellular phone images. It comes with a vvery nice application and a very cool box!

The image shared is the Smove charging.

It is, to a degree a slight reversal of some previous comments about selfie sticks. But most of my ire was directed at the ever-expanding reality of selfie drones, not selfie sticks. I did, in my last cloud tweaks post mention knowing selfie drones out of the air with a selfie stick.

I am also not a huge fan of cell phone cameras. In part because of the issue of shake. In part because, and I am still of this opinion, a Swiss army knife or a Leatherman are awesome tools, but you would take down a 100-foot oak tree with their included saws. I will share some video taken with the Smove device later. For now, it is charging, and I am winding down for the day of posting. Funny how Sunday’s are the one day I really try to relax each week!



Technology Wander…

The concept of instrumentation is one that most of us understand. We watch speedometers, look at cellular devices and use instruments all the time. At some point, we don’t think about what we are using and where that data originated. I understand that most people don’t have a seismograph in their home. Frankly, I wouldn’t either, except that less than a year after moving to Maryland we had a fairly large Earthquake and it scared me a little. I decided that having my own would be a great addition to the house. Plus it is fun to see how much a quake in Costa Rica impacts the ground under my feet.

At this point in my life, I don’t have any illusions about if I am or have been a geek. I do truly understand that not everyone seeks information as much as I do.

Understanding that I am often beyond the curve, I still think more and more people will be adding some of the things I use to their homes. The value of home automation is that no matter what you can make your home look lived in, no matter where you are. The integration and instrumentation of your house also help you understand what is going on. From the quality of the air in your house to the noise level you are dealing with!

Beyond home automation, and home seismographs, there are some things I believe people are going to add to their lives. Not everyone is a weather geek, but solar powered USB boards is a nice addition. Outside, need to change your phone or in an office with a window? The value of these is pretty easily shown. Being able to add talk time to your phone can make a much better day. I know, because I have over the years run out of power for my phone many more times than I care to even think about.

My job as a geek is to share with everyone. That is the goal of this column, and I hope it helps!


just a geek

I may be headset crazy…

I have been struggling with my technology focused blogs for the past few days. In part, because there are some technology “items” I am excited about, but they have not shipped as of yet. I am stuck on the edge of the cliff, ready to jump into the beautiful blue water below, but need to follow my new rules of not hyping things that are not now shipping. It is my rule, and I understand that as the rule maker, I can also be the rule breaker, but I don’t want to lead people to things that may never happen.

Headsets are always interesting to me. I have a couple I use for work (one for my PC and one for my iPhone). I also have a pair of noise-canceling headphones from my traveling days. The last interesting headset I have is the Glyph, a personal theater you can wear. All of these headsets integrate with various devices. What I expect and need from headsets varies, and I tend to have more headsets than I need.

My favorites right now overall are the Jabra. Both of the headsets I have are from their new evolve series. One is a USB connection right to my PC, great for at the office training and VOIP calls. The wireless headset from Jabra 9also evolve) is a great tool to use with your cell phone> Both offer noise canceling. I’ve had headsets over the years that connect to my PC, and phone. These are the first that truly office noise canceling and frankly I won’t ever have a headset again that doesn’t do noise canceling. It makes all the difference when you are trying to listen to a call or watch training on your computer.

The quality of these headsets is also truly the boom style microphone. I love earbuds, but their microphones are limited at best. The Jabra’s have great Microphones that you can swing in front of your face. You will not talk on a crowded subway, but it makes for a better conversation overall!


headset crazy person

Technology conversation and updates…

Sometimes by Tuesday or so, December 12th, I will post my 600th post here on Virily. It was Monday the 11th, and it ended up being 604 posts. It was a busy weekend!  I posted roughly a little more than that on Niume (yes I still miss the community of Niume). It would seem a milestone but not really. I post every day. Two posts a day adds up quickly. Plus I try to share movie reviews and poems on the weekends, so things begin to add up quickly. In that posting frenzy I find that I spend 1-2 hours or so a day on Virily as a site. I would like to spend more of my time on the site reading other bloggers works, and less time sorting through the comments on the site at this point. That is my only real big complaint today about Virily.

Overall its good site for sharing, and a good site for the most part for connecting with people. Given that I have been using the platform for the past few months I do have a few suggests that I think would make the process and site flow better. The first is to separate the Virly’s people get. Comments should be in a separate container so that you can quickly answer all of them. I get 40-50 comments a day, and I doubt that I am even in the higher end of that. I do try to answer every question asked. I do also hate the copy paste comments that some people think are acceptable. Seriously? It takes time to respond to comments on Virily now, please don’t waste my time.

To wrap up my technology blog and veer away from talking about blogging platforms there are a couple of interesting things floating around right now. The first is the update of iOS to 11.2. Get this one as soon as you can; there are some fixes that will improve both your iPad and iPhone experience. There are some critical Windows 10 patches coming, but they are more towards the end of this month, so I won’t bring them up now!



Why I chase Knowledge Management Systems…

I began my professional career as a school teacher. In particular or to be specific as an elementary school teacher. I brought my personal computer to the classroom, and the kids and I built the application. We used my computer to track, measure and eventually publish our findings on Acid Rain. We, well my school was upwind of the Indiana University coal-fired power plant during the winter months. Our acidity of rainfall was far greater in the winter than in the summer. We, my students and I planted corn and grew it in both the winter and summer acidity to demonstrate the impact of acid rain on corn.

For me capturing, sharing and evaluating information is critical. I am not by profession a data scientists. I have and do build systems designed to support the capture of data. I do not design information systems that encompass the metadata and evaluate the data quality. I build the capture systems. I can honestly say in the past 20 plus years of chasing IP, the worst problem in any organizational IP management system is not the technology. In fact, I can almost guarantee that it is never the technology that causes the problems.

It is the reality of human beings. There is a perception sometimes that what you know is what makes you important to an organization. To the degree that is true but not fully. The nature of the information people has why people move up in an organization. The breadth of the information allows you, supports and enables decision making. You have to have people with experience in the organization. That experience allows, supports and enables stronger decisions. You also have to have new ideas. Just because something has always happened a certain way, doesn’t mean that way is the only way something should happen.

Empowering employees to share the information they have is difficult. As I opened with, I have chased reality for more than 20 years now. I can tell you within 10 minutes of a meeting starting where the information is in the room. I can also within a couple of hours tell you why the information isn’t known to everyone. I am not talking about the reality of information governance. That is a different issue. Simply the reality of information flow. It has been my life’s work for the past 20 years. I know that I have failed to improve that reality. I am not going to quit. It is possible for organizations to build responsive, receptive and managed IP systems that will benefit all employees and customers.

More to come…


knowledge seeker

Cleaning my office.. (sort of)…

I have over the course of the last two months managed to reduce the crap in my office by more than the new items added to my technology world. That is a trend I am trying to establish, continue to nature. More out than in. I did add stuff from the boat, that shouldn’t be stored in the cold to my office, but that doesn’t count in my system. It leaves some march when the boat is back in the water. The rest of the stuff are things I am no longer using.

One new technology time that I know is coming is the new Amazon Connect. Amazon connect let’s you have your Echo’s become speakerphones. You can answer the phone, make calls and interact with your landline via your Amazon Alexa. That means I have to get rid of a couple of things in the house! I am curious, as I don’t have the device if it will work with Echo Multi-room. That would make the speakerphone capability even better.

That said one in two out. So I am cleaning my office today getting rid of additional things.

One of my rules for my office is if I am not, and have not used it for a year, I have to sit down and figure out why I kept it. There has to be a valid reason (you can never have too many USB cables) then I will keep it. If there isn’t (it’s the connector for a device I sold over a year ago, just forgot to clean out a drawer) than it is time to get rid of it. I suspect the folks and goodwill dread us coming. Might as well donate things you can’t sell!


technology wanderer

Family History IV, the wrap-up!

I promise this is the last in my family history project series. IV seems to cover all the topics. First off, here are links to the first three.

The first component I recommend is scanning all the old pictures and slides you have. For that, I highly recommend the Epson Perfection series of the scanner. The software is really easy to use, and the scanner is a dream. High-quality scans that are easy to edit. The higher the resolution of the scans the happier you will be later. In fairness, most of the scans we have done are between 14 and 24 megs. Too large for posting on some online sites, but better to have higher-quality pictures later anyway.

For me, the second component was converting my grandfather’s films. Lot’s of 16mm films. I considered the possibility of me doing that conversion, but decided instead to ship the films off and have them converted. I choose iMemories, and honestly, it was the right choice. They not only converted all the film to digital video files but also sent me a very nice DVD collection (3) of my Grandfathers 30 or so 16 mm films. I highly recommend iMemories.

The last part of the Family History project is the blog. Now, I had a blog before the project started. But I began a focused blog that later became the Wander project shortly after I realized just how many slides and pictures we had, that few humans had ever seen. I took my blog and converted it to the Family History project blog, and that I started calling the Wander Project in honor of the work my kids did in the fifth grade. You can find that blog here

I also post family history videos (I have a lot of them) on my families YouTube Channel.


family history starter and tech guy