My Review of the Eight Sleep system.

One of the interesting crowdfunding projects I backed was called Luna. Now, if you search for Luna, you won’t find it anymore. The company, after their successful crowdfunding campaign changed its name to Eight as in Eight hours of sleep. One of the members of our partnership between my wife and I is a blanket hog. I won’t mention names, but I will mention that I often wake up without a blanket and cold. Well, I used to have that problem.  The initial solution to the problem was to have two quilts on the bed at night. At least that way I got a blanket. But my wife often gets cold. We’ve tried electric blankets (they last about one winter season and then, well never work again). We’ve tried some different solutions overall.

None of them worked. Until Eight! Eight is a mattress cover that lets you do two things. The first is to warm your bed in the winter automatically. You can, quickly set the time the bed is warmed at night. Ours turns on around 7:45 pm. The image shared with this post is my sleep report from last night. I prefer the number was 8 hours, but 7 hours isn’t horrible. A score of 88 is nearly where you want to be! This is the iPhone version of the application. There is also an Android version. The beautify of this is you can have two sides of the bed, and two temperatures. My wife prefers a heated bed around the temperature of a solar corona. I prefer warm but not hot.

Setup is easy, and the software helps. You simply put the cover on the bed and plug it in. You then connect to the dongle via wifi. Each of you can connect to the system and set the temperature for your side of the bed. You also receive a separate sleep report. As I said the image shared is of my sleep report. Now my wife runs her side of the bed hot and for a full eight hours every night. I heat the bed during the winter and only for about 5 hours. That lets me fall asleep in a warm bed, and then when I wake up, it’s cold, and I have to get out of bed right away! The quilted top of the Eight-bed cover is comfortable. They also sell a mattress called the Pod. It does look interesting but, we like our bed.

Overall I give Eight Sleep a 9 out of 10!


Community thank you and being nice.

I made a friend many years ago when I was traveling. He was the gate agent for the United Gate at Indianapolis Weir Cook airport. We would, most Monday’s talk for a  little bit. After 2 or so years of traveling, we exchanged emails. We were IU fans.  He transferred to O’Hare airport as a supervisor around 5 or so years into my ten-year traveling window; we often ran into each other at the bigger airport. As a supervisor he no longer ran one gate, he ran 12. We would stop, grab a coffee and catch up.  He always took his name badge off while on break. People, even when he was sitting down on a break would yell about their situation at him. Throughout the now nearly 20 years, we’ve been friends; I have to say that as my friend, I’ve stepped in a couple of times to stop people from yelling at him.

When all you do is complain, it is yelling. My friend had a great ability to smile and listen even when the only thing the other person did was be nasty, or complain. The reason I am bringing this up is the email he sent me yesterday. He is now married (he wasn’t when I was first traveling). They live in Chicago and are expecting their first child. They found out their first child was twins, so he was asking for advice. He also wanted to point out to me that I have been complaining a bit about the community on Virily and he reminded me “sometimes people remember more the nice things you say.” His rule was a focus on the nice things that some people say; it makes the complaints a lot easier to deal with when you start from a position of nice things.

Based on that, first, a thank you to my friend for reminding me to find positive things! The reality of the internet over the past few days has been a slowdown. The live-streamed events in New Zealand seem to have impacted overall speed. That said, there are many positive things to note. The first is that views are up on average on Virily. The vast majority of thoughtful and warm comments keep me going on a cool spring morning. Well,, spring is still a couple of days away. The 365 photo challenge lives on with a couple of folks nearing the century mark (that is an incredible achievement)! 365 days, 365 photos (except for the new calendar folks, apparently they are posting 356 days in a year ).  Thank you to everyone that reads my pieces! You are the reason I write!


Advertising is sometimes hard to figure out…

The first technology I remember from my childhood was a shortwave radio. I took that radio with me to Thailand, and for a time it was my only connection to the outside world. I learned about Shortwave, AM and FM radio technology. Later, I was introduced to the CB radio craze in the US. I still have a CB radio. In fairness, I am more inclined now if I am carrying a radio to carry a VHF radio. The VHF radio system is designed for Marine vehicles. I was interested in HAM radio for a long time, I have a portable HAM radio, but my license has lapsed. I suspect I will renew that at some point in the future. The reason for talking about this is the reality of radio versus networks.

We don’t realize just how much bandwidth 4g LTE advanced (or for those who like to compare carriers the delightfully misleading 5g e).  You can legitimately watch a movie on Netflix on your phone or tablet and suffer a massive amount of lag. You won’t spend all your time waiting for the system to bugger the video. Yes, there will be some buggering, but not a huge amount of time. Your cellular phone also has a built-in camera and GPS. But the next generation or the more properly called 5th generation or 5g networks are here. There are three US cities that have 5g for home networking, and two cities that will serve as of April 1, have 5g availability for cellular phones in the US.

There are already cities in Europe as well that will have 5g or have 5g service now.

The thing that interests right now is the growing area of portable projectors to go with that bandwidth. There are a couple of products that are shipping in the May/June time frame that is interesting. You see I believe that in the next five years you will not rely as much on a laptop, desktop or another computer. In the next five years as we head into the next industrial revolution, we will carry cell phones and tablets, and not much else.

The future of the world around us is the reality of the network of tomorrow, now available in Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Houston, and several other US cities.


on projects and getting to done

The infamous acoustic tile project is one I wish to say looks good for me. It doesn’t the project has now taken more than two years. Half the ceiling has acoustic tiles, ½ does not have acoustic tiles. Again it is a project I should have just finished. Oh well! Following up on previous tech posts, the first batch of beer is now officially done, decanted and in the mini-keg in the garage refrigerator. The tasting will occur in a few days, Need to get the CO2 cartridges so we can carbonate the beer. I will say it has a delightful amber color! Acoustic tiles are critical when you want to focus on the sound from the speakers. In the cases of the basement media room, I want to focus the sound forward and at the same time block noise from above.

The media room is under the living room and the kitchen. The dishwasher is quiet overall, but still makes noise when you are trying to watch TV in the basement. Noise is important when you are trying to enjoy! In fairness, I also have a record player in the media room. I like to listen to LP’s. There is something about the sound of a record versus and tape of a CD. There is a certain something that you can’t hear with the cassette, CD or streamed music. A record provides a different soundscape for the music! I do have to say that the only piece of recording technology I personally never really utilized other than professionally was a reel to reel tape.

I will be finishing the acoustic tile project this weekend!

Later this month I will update the status of several more reviews and will post a picture of the finished ceiling for the media room.

The next project for my office improvement is the addition of a whiteboard. I am then moving things around, so the office is a bit more organized. I have tubs that I need to both reviews (what is inside) remove (get rid of things I don’t need) and finally add (put in loose things that need to be put away) so that the overall office is cleaner! I also need to finish up the video conference system for the media room, but that won’t happen for a while!


on voice control

Part of the magic that will be AR/VR is the integration of audio, video, and motion. What once was a very hit or miss reality (voice recognition) continues to improve. In my last ten years of scanning, converting and speaking I can say now that the reality of voice control, voice conversion, and audio to text has continued to improve. The long-promised audio and video search, still a ways off. When I first played with the voice-activated speakers, I found the Microsoft Cortana product as the best. Since then, the Google Home and the Amazon Alexa products have begun to lap Cortana. In part because they followed the split rule, or what I call the new software and hardware rule.

Once upon a time, Microsoft was expensive software on cheap hardware. Alexa and Google Home have arrived on free software and cheap hardware. The thing that is for me, the most interesting is the spread. Alexa launched around four years ago. From the speaker launch to the addition of video and now the addition of a car system Alexa has exploded. The Google Home following right behind Alexa. The two have focused n integration. I can ask my Google Home to connect to my Fing internet security system and shut the internet at my house. Why would you do that? Well if you know someone has hacked a computer at your house, it behooves you to shut off that router.

I guess the interesting this is the integration of motion now. Leap was an early company in the world of motion integration. There are some other players, but Leap ships with the new AR monitor. The AR monitor allows you to connect to your computer or laptop and have an augmented reality display for your laptop or PC. The leap motion controller allows you to integrate motion into that experience. Oculus, both the Rift and Go headsets, include the gyroscopic controllers. The Sony PS4 VR system also includes motion-sensitive controllers. The amazing changes continue to roll in! The concept of moving, seeing and interacting with the world on multiple levels remains beyond interesting.

I am looking forward to a brave new world!


The sky, has fallen and cannot get up…

Well, another day in paradise. I suspect overall when we consider the condition of the Virily site; things aren’t rosy. The “sky is falling” posters should quickly follow this post. There will, after this post be some Virily is down posts or as I like to call them “the sky is falling” posts. The things don’t work posts. So I would devote my technology column space today to a more rationale post.  Yes, the site is having an issue. The issues appear to be focused on upvotes and comments. New posts (as of this morning) allow you to comment. The checkbox (GDPR related perhaps) has returned. Either that means the admins had to restore from an older copy of the site, or, that the checkbox is back. Comments, and replies to older posts (those without the checkbox, don’t work currently. Please note they don’t work is as of 7 am EDT US.

I was able to post, so that is good! I was able to open old posts and share those which is good. The reality of comments, however, is that ongoing conversations are limited. Interesting, I am curious as to what the Virily community has to say. I like starting the day knowing what people are thinking. It helps me get focused in the morning. I had been average between 100 and 120 comments per day, so it was strange today to wake up to one new comment.

Update: You can now reply to old posts and old comments. This was as of 7:03 US EDT.

The reality of the internet is that it isn’t the power company. We know, from time to time, the power company has blackouts. Someone driving along the road loses control of their car or truck and takes out a telephone pole (they are called telephone poles, but MOST of the wires on that pole are for the power company). The result of that collision is a power outage. The internet is the same. You have to do the same troubleshooting you would do in the event of lost power.

  1. Start with your computer. The easy way, check other websites. Are they working?
  2. If yes, then check your connection to Virily. End your browser session and open up a new browser session. Do is it now?
  3. If no, try another browser (using chrome, try edge or IE and so on) Does it work?
  4. If the last one is No then most likely the site is down.

It is ok to be frustrated. It is ok to voice that frustration. Just let the world know when things are fixed!


Improving blog views and follow up on some of my reviews!

I have been posting some of my early thoughts on MyLot to judge the response and reaction. I think it is extremely interesting to get lots and lots of points of view about topics I am interested in. I posted yesterday about Driverless cars and will follow-up with more information this weekend.

One of the things I have been using since I started capturing and following the Influencers here on Virily is the Twitter Dashboard. You can quickly find out how much of a reaction and engagement your tweets of Virily posts get. It is a really useful tool when you want to find out, your influence on your posts! IT doesn’t help as much for others. But, that you can get by tracking when people comment, and changes.

What I do is establish my rate per day of views and then break that into hours. Based on Albert’s question I still wonder if the time of day impacts posts. But I haven’t figured out a way to track that.

I have also noticed a significant increase in views and comments in the past month. Will ask that as a poll question to see if it is just me!

Finally, follow up on several recent reviews!

  1. PicoC – first batch of beer is nearly done. Will let you know if it turned out!
  2. Keecker and the touch wall, I have to say I’ve used it several times now, it is really interesting!
  3. Bamboo Folio – I am still enjoying using it, but I am a huge pen and paper user.
  4. Littlebits R2D2 kit is a lot of fun to play with!

So many technologies yet to review, I am far behind on reviews.

What I need to figure out is time! That is the one thing I never have enough of!