Back in Action

Sorry dear readers for the unplanned absence. Needless to say some things supercede blogging. In my case I took a hard fall and wound up fracturing some vital stuff, so, after a down month in a noisy hospital and rehab post surgery I have returned, with a hitch in my Gittyup but on my feet thank God.

So what’s been happening? I missed a couple of key conferences but I sure others have done their work so I’ll review their posts and take notes.
Offhand, I see that Samsung has finally emerged to become a major unstoppable force in mobile computing and incidentally launched a bevy of products worth a look.
A few of my favorite apps have upgraded and fixed some of the issues that plagued me. THANK YOU!
On the downside I see that some big player retail stores like Best Buy and Radio Shack have stumbled into tough times.

Best Buy, Buying the farm?

With stocks falling and brick and mortar retailing on shaky footing analysts are predicting the absolute worst for retailer Best Buy.

If true, consumers nationwide will be SOL and will have to go online to buy their gadgets and gear.

Years ago, few saw this coming when we had our choice of Circuit City, CompUSA and Egghead competing aggressively for dominance in a market that is now fading fast into obsolescence.

In my region (Northern Calif.) Fry’s may turn out to be the sole survivor other than those Apple Stores.

I hope I am wrong and wish that Best Buys survives and thrives and over the holidays put money on this hope.

Nonresponsive

This frustrating condition is getting to be constant with apps and OS’s. It is as if things are breaking down and degenerating. The problem here is that the developers and manufacturers are saying nothing nor are they publicly fixing a damn thing for fear of affecting sales.

There is even a more insidious occurrence when in the middle of your work your system freezes and then quits and resets/reboots. That used to happen once a week now it happens several times a day and sometimes once an hour. Now this IS a problem.

Smartphones are really “Controllers”

Now you can really have your world in the palm of your hands and that is no longer just a fanciful cliche.

I have long held the view that we need a device that integrates and controls the various devices, apps and digital elements of our lives and work.

This seems to have become the end game goal of both Android and Apple iOS

Now will come the flow of forms and functions that utilize those platforms to deliver products and services we can’t live without.
I for one am very excited to see what’s next now that I have my best smartphone/tablet (Samsung Galaxy Note 3). Let the controller ecosystem begin.

I had no sooner posted the above article when a story came out of CES that “Smartphones can carol everything. I would suspect the author bit me. Except that I have put forward this argument for 5 full years after supporting “embedded computing” for well over a decade.

So the concept is not a new idea but one who’s time and capability has come now that all elements and factors have aligned including consumer interest and demand.

I applaud any additional industry support in ultimately realizing this approaching vision, however disruptive.

CIS 2014

It is a new year and time for new things courtesy of the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Sin City Las Vegas.
Among the myriads of product displays and isles of innovation there are a few that may shape the lives and businesses into the next decade.

The problem is sorting out the prospects from the suspects.

Among the many misses are a few hits. In the next few weeks I will hunt them down and point you at them.

I am most anxious expecting to monitor new products in wearable computing now that Smart Watches are gaining traction and long-rumored Google Glass finally creeping onto the market.

There was actually too much activity in the category of Fitness wristbands. I sense in response to Obama care.

Your Mobile Self

The Mobile You has become just as real as your physical self for some even more so. Philip K. Dick would have easily understood this alternate world. In fact he predicted it and feared the ominous implications of our digital world And masterfully wrote about it.

One set of nnovation Factors  that drives our move to digital personification is the prevalence of Social Media.

If we can only get our Digital selves to pay the bills, show up for work and take out the trash.

State of the Web 2013

2013 proved to be a challenging year for things online. The big story is the massive invasion of personal privacy by everyone and his brother. Companies we thought we could trust sold our data and information to info brokers and that have had tragic implications and impact. Even our own government engaged in this nefarious activity.

It seems that every piece of data we so natively entered in response to every offer has been analyzed and collated to create behavioral profiles that have led to an ultimate form of discrimination when we provide our location data we open up the doors to potential abuse.

We have not considered how this info and data is being used and by whom. For many of us it is too late to put the horses back in the stable. There is years of personal data lingering out there for anyone to use for any purpose.

 

Book Review: The Vigilant Fundraiser

Do you desire fundraising success?

If you run or volunteer for a community organization the start of a new year is vital to your sustainability. This is the time when donation commitments are made and tax deductions are planned wth April 15th just around the corner.

I located a book that could help organizations map out their fundraising efforts in 12 steps. The book is The Vigilant Fundraiser by George Stanois and published by Civil Sector Press. ISBN 978-927375-12-9 (paperback)

There are tons of such helpful books and resources available but many confound and complicate what could and should be a simple process of mapping out your approach. Using 12 concise steps is an effective method.

It starts with Step 1: : Case for Support written by Victoria White.

You narrow your fundraising documents down to a well-crafted description of what your organization does, what your stakeholders and community needs, the impact you are having and making, your key core priorities,how you plan to use provided funds, how the funding will benefit those you serve.

The other steps written by subject matter experts are intended to help you develop a tight strategic funding plan. Much of what you develop will be useful content for responding to RFP’s on and offline.

Because I am a strong proponent of effective processes and this book fits right in my wheelhouse. To date I have read over 50 books on the subject of fundraising and attended hundreds of seminar hours and online webinars.

All I really initially needed was to read a book like this. Too bad for me it came to me after 15 tough years of fundraising struggles trying to figure it all out. Good for you that you can get this important book now and jump right in.

Platforms

We quietly moved beyond simple OS’s and wound up firmly in the realm of platforms. IOS and ANDROID are more than operating systems. They are ecosystems which is another term for platforms.

So what then are platforms?
According to Wikipedia:
A computing platform includes a hardware architecture and a software framework (including application frameworks), where the combination allows software to run. Typical platforms include a computer architecture, operating system and Runtime libraries.[1]

A platform is a crucial element in software development. A platform might be simply defined as a place to launch software. The platform provider offers the software developer an undertaking that logic code (a general term for bytecode, source code and machine code) will run consistently as long as the platform is in place.

So, What Now?:

– CMS solutions are also platforms mainly intended for content development via templates.

– iOS and Android are platforms for devices and developers

This movement towards platforms is exactly the twist that Microsoft missed because they were thoroughly invested in and the proponent of operating systems because that was were they lived and what they controlled.

Now that times and trends have changed Microsoft is having very difficult time redefining themselves and dialing down and scaling back their OS philosophy to become just a platform. Microsoft is still attempting to hold up the banner for Windows/OS.

Users after years of Windows horror stories and overcharging don’t seem to be buying it and aren’t willing to step back into the muddled OS past.

The age of The Platform has arrived!

Unnecessary Daily Updates

I am beginning to wonder about the reason for, and an becoming ever more suspicious of apps that demand daily updates seemingly for no good reason. Are programmers that busy or is something else really the reason?

One issue I have is that those updates cripple my tablet just at the moments I need it most.,    really seldom see much improvement in the performance or presentation of those updated app’s. I couldn’t even edit this post having to wait for some update or the other to complete its mission. This is a problem that will compound itself the more apps you have loaded.
Now I see that an update has disabled my CMS solution so now my work is impacted. FTS.

 

Exploiters Pimping Social Media

Vampires look for inexhaustible sources of blood, criminals go after the money. Scammers look for the deepest source of suckers. At this time Social Media serves these up on a platter. Hackers exploit the holes and openings that weak programming and loose policies present.
The combination of unscrupulous marketers and scammers has created a minefield that is better carefully navigated by the newbie and unsuspecting.

The upshot will undoubtibly be the impending demise of social media and eventually the absolute wariness and distrust by users and consumers.

There will be additional impacts that will dig deep into many of the currently thriving industries and market segments.j

Initial reactions to this post come from folk with vested interests in the robustness of Social Media. Please understand that I am not trying to bring down their altar nor grind axes. I am simply working to see that we improve it to Jake it live up to its potential and promise. This can only be done if we weed out those that would run it into the ground for profit and pleasure.

Does Social Media Matter?

Social media in just a few years has completely changed the way we do just about everything from the way we communicate, shop to how we manage our careers.

Social Media is a powerful tool still maturing and expanding into new areas of our lives with potential for greater relevance that is high as are the countless drawbacks that are beginning arise that are frequently driving new users away.

BENEFITS:
* Drives trends
* Provides new means of communication
* Social media has the power to support wide and diverse needs.
* Social media allow individuala a voice in all thins
* Provides marketing opportunities
* Influences Events

DRAWBACKS:
* Lack of privacy and security
* Abundance of scams, malware and hacking
* Constant change for the worst
* Lack of trust
* Poor programming and development
* High costs of Bandwidth and access
* Duplication of services
* Oversatuation of Useless Information and Clutter

CONCLUSION:
Does Social Media really matter? The answer to that differs for each user. Some can plumb the depths and come up with ways to draw revenue and uncover opportunities while it is a time drain for many others hoping to strike it rich.
Social Media matters as much as the watch you wear. It is a tool for some and more like a magic lamp for others.

Half-assed Apps

What I have noticed is that this whole mobility ecosystem is plagued through and through with a multitude of half-assed incomplete and often non functional apps that in no way deliver on their promise nor accomplish what they claim to do. We waste countless hours trying to reign them in and make them do what we need.
Try as we might they do not nor cannot satisfy our ever increasing need for robust apps that actually work.
Even the simplest apps are insufficient to do even the most mundane of functions. I am almost tempted to declare that quality programming is a lost art.

eBay’s competitor! Cose5.

You can’t have missed the blitz of commercials about a service called Cose5.
Ebay has had things their way for close to two decades and suddenly something changed.
Craigslist was a challenge but did not dethrone ebay.
East tried but was a weak challenge at best.
Amazon offered the greatest challenge but became a thing in its own realm.
So here we are mid 2015 and there is a new threat on the move.

At first glance it is no ebay but neither was ebay this early in its life.
Let’s give it time and see if it amounts to anything.

Life without broadband

Is almost not worth living. it feels like nothing you say or matters and no one you want to reach is out there. Nothing you need or want to do is available and nothing you need know is for you.

Getting cut off is actually worst that being dumped by the mate of your dreams.
thus we have given providers too much influence in our lives. that they can affect our level of well being is disastrous.  They use this to blackmail us into paying sky high prices for minimal service.

Brand Discrimination

When I went Android I was not aware that the move would lose me Apple iCloud making my transition counterproductive which I assume is the purpose. This stinks and is anticompetitive in the extreme. Apple did not invent it nor is the only perpetrator.
Howver, if Apple is allowed to do it
others will surely cite it as a precident and do their worst. If this continues transparency between devices disappears.

Missed Opportunities

Every corporation and each individual can look back and regret missed opportunities. When some great new product or concept comes out have you ever said “I thought of that”?

Those missed opportunities can pile up and lead one to despair.  We must find a way to launch into plans and actions that realize those unique visions.

A brilliant friend used to say “No one has a monopoly on brains”. You have as good a chance to succeed as anyone.

I recently thought Apple had missed it’s opportunity when 3rd parties early on turned the ipoh Nani into a watch and Apple never followed up till Pebble, Samsung and others proved the marlet. Apple has finally tossed it’s hat into ring and are scoring big. So though late the opportunity was not missed. That type of circumstance is rare

Google changing Search game

Just announced,  Google is about to revise it’s search algorithms to change how it finds and recommends sites. This will of course throw off all the many SEO apps and strategies built on the previous patterns.
Some see this as a reaction to recent and substantial European antitrust challenges.
Others just viewing it as Google changing the game to out distance competition.
Either way we will look deeper to determine what’s in store.

Disruption in Technology

Disruption continues to be an operative strategy for entering the market. Aggressive disruption is when one entity does anything they can to dirty up the image or status of another.
Innovative disruption means making a better product to replace or displace the other.
More passive disruption is when they allow others to rant and rage about the other and proceed to take advantage of the chaos.
There is also the strategy of draining the team or talents of the other company to strengthen ones own.
Cyber hacking or espionage are yet other disruptive tactics.
There are a great many more examples. Some are more or less honorable all have similar results.

Play Store may be screwing us.

When you leave Play Store’s Download Manager running it attempts to download and update everything inatalled on your snartphone or tablet.

The result is that you are sure to overflow your data limit or it may cause you to get throttled down or heavily charged for you “extended” use.

I sense some form of collusion between major bandwidth providers who profit from this and Google who gets theirs in a number of ways.

Users can turn off the download manager or force quit downloading apps but as you are warned this could lead to problems.

Just add the word “Social”

Take an old world anything and stick the world social in front of it and you have a new trend. One that hot shot trend hoppers and early adopters will swear is the new thing.

Take the latest “Social Marketing”. As if marketing hasn’t already swooped up everything online now it has to declare itself a whole new thing. Now Social Marketing experts are marking out territory to mine and exploit.
I still don’t know exactly what it is but I have a sense that I won’t like it once I do.

What happened to Podcasting?

Podcasting back in 2007-8 was thought to be a whole new and powerful adjunct to information dissemination.  In the subsequent years and months the shine is off. There are many interesting podcasts out there but they have a hard time gathering an audience.
This does not mean that podcasts will end. No, there could be a resurgence in excitement in times to come. If like every other trend podcasts will evolve and integrate or incorporate more of the powerful aspects and features of Social Media. It might even become a crucial factor in online education.

Factors

What are the factors that go into you device decisions?

Performance
Looks/appearance
Style and design
Pricing and discounts
Upgradeability
Manufacturer Reliability
Accessories
Reviews and recommendations
Support resources
Purchase Source
Apps and extensions

Those are just a few factors upon which I personally use to decide. You may have others.

I hope that you will let me know what they are and if desired I will credit you.

LG G4

Samsung must have hit the sweet spot with the Note 3 because most other competitors have borrowed it’s design and specs.

Even though many early adopters and reviewers complained that the Note 3 was too big it must have been just the right size cause even Apple joined the Phablet game with their new larger iPhone.

Now here comes LG once a real mainstay phone provider seriously attempting to rejoin the SmartPhone fray with their new G4.

As the expected specs trickle out of the rumor mill we can conclude that the G4 may indeed be a quite worthy new offering deserving a good look by serious users.

Unsocial Media

Everyday we about some new way that Social Media may get really social. Now unsocial types have constantly used this for nefarious and libelous purposes.

They tell lies, spread rumors and hype, curse and damn others and rant and ramble about folks that have done nothing to warrant such ill treatment.

Because there is no curation they are free to blast out whatever B.S. suits their fancy.

They are not concerned with the harm nor damage done so they do not have good reason to cease nor desist.
Somehow, sometime this has to change without the spector of draconian censorship setting in.
How any of this is actually social totally escapes me.

An Internet Bust?

Some are predicting that boomers are getting bored or fed up with the web.When asked they often state that cap marketing, hacking and privacy concerns are paramount.

Even die-hard Web fanatics are voicing displeasure in the state of things but until there is organized and significant protest things will not change.

The coming generations view and use the Web differently. There is little chance of having one Web for all so I anticipate a layered Web ecosystem in the future.

Updates and Upgrades

Barely does a new model get launched before talk of a successor leaks out.

In this instance I refer to the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and rumors of Note 6. Also the new iPhone 6 and 7 scuttlebutt counts.

It is absolutely frustrating to anyone hoping to make a good or right choice. “Should we fo ahead and bite now or later?”

This chaotic never-ending cycle also includes apps and some services.

I think all this may actually harm sales by scaring off the more timid and tentative buyers.

It doesn’t seem to harm Apple who’s users seem just happy to just get the latest iPhone whichever one it is. They also don’t hesitate to throw big bucks after the idevices.

Soon will come a bust that usually follows the boom. When these new phones hit their funtional mark content users will wonder if or why they need to either upgrade or update.

Sometime soon a more modular phone might hit. Such a device that does not have to be replaced in total just added to via hardware or/and software.

Apple’s new MacBook

Some are calling it the ultimate laptop. It may be good or even great but I don’t really think ultimate is possible unless it can buy me dinner.

The new MacBook sports a thin 12-inch Retina display, new USB-C port, ultra-thin design and that typical Apple coolness is a draw.
The serious lack of ports is a connectivity downer and of course the price is way out of reach for most conscious users.

Another con is that the new MacBook may be the most difficult laptop on the market to repair.

Lastly, since the trend towards mobile apps development of complete iOS applications has slowed almost to a crawl.

True, there are some substantial professional level applications out here. It is also true that too few new ones are reaching the market.

Pace of Change 2015

Today things seem herby jerky. When a new product is launched then everybody rushes to market with me too alternatives. When an expo like CES spotlights new product industries companies jostle to flood products to the media to block others. Then by  Xmas they rush many more onto the shelves.
This is all dysfunctional. There has to be a better way for innovation to emerge. 
It is time that a few great minds devise that way. We no longer have retail computer tech stores to help us preview and purchase new products. Navigating our way through all the online hype no longer works.
We are stuck in some sort of retarted loop where nothing happens until something happens.

Fed up with Retarded Logons

I hate being locked of my information because apps have not built effective log ons. Then you get wrong password messages forcing you to start over and get caught between dueling passwords, neither working.

There has to be a better way.  When 2 step authentication is in vogue I suspect things will be even more complicated and complex.

Buying by Brand is over!

The days when Apple products sold on the strength of their brand alone has ended. Apple’s watch has helped bring that about.

There are many good or at least decent more affordable alternatives out here. Unless hot companies can show us clearly why their product is better we will no longer pay higher prices just to be a bit cooler than the next guy or gal sporting a lesser branded device.

I have owned Samsung’s Gear watch for over a year. It lead me to toss my iPhone in favor of Samsung’s Note 3/4. Since then I have not looked back and have neglected to drink Apple’s Kool Aid ever since.
Apple had their chance to spit out a smart watch years ago.

I understand that Apple was going through a great deal of flux due to the gradual decline and subsequent demise of Steve Jobs but that is only an excuse that does not really hold up under deep scrutiny.

Consider all of the other great companies that were in the ascendant a decade back. Most are dead or dying and the others are merely limping along.

cnet, still the best!

Cnet has for a long time been my tech news source. I was even a fan when they ran cnet radio and TV. I even remember Ryan Seacrest as a cnet host before he blew up.

I have also worshipped all the beautiful female hosts from the beginning.

Many a product in my basement were the result of cnet reviews.
My point is this. I am glad cnet has endured all of the twists and turns technology has taken. They were their for me from jump and remain. I hope big things for them into the future.

Super Cheap Smart Watches

If you want a Smart watch you don’t have to line up at an Apple store to pay half a grand. Simply go to ebay and find one that might meet your immediate needs for under $30. You may not find super advanced features but there is much you can do on your way to a better phone/watch.

Take your time to do the research and make up your mind. If you can make it work for you you will be a step ahead of those waiting for the ultimate device.