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.

The Computer in Your Pocket

It is truly amazing the power we are able to pack into our pockets, purses and on our wrists.
A few years back we toted about 10 pound bricks that don’t do half of what these mighty mites do.
Now we wear them or put embed them into our glasses.
What’s next?
So far we have rejected 3D, passed on many other supposed innovations. It seems the only other option is multi-screens.
That was attempted several years ago but got still born along the way.

Posted from WordPress for Android

Digital Literacy Education

A course in Digital Literacy is more important than almost any other subject. it would be valued and appreciated more by young learners on the path to competence.
It is an absolutely essential tool in the students arsenal.

The unlearned unskilled are certain to fall behind fast. It should be our task to provide all of the resources required by the learner young or old. A connected community is better prepared to meet the future positive and informed.

Posted from WordPress for Android

The Winner: Online Retail

With the demise of the few remaining brick and mortar stores it is about time to declare that online retail has won.
What does this mean for consumers in the market for new technology?
In the short term it means fewer options and less opportunity to try before you buy.
In the long term it means concerns for tech support.
There are other immediate benefits like more competitive pricing and diacounts.
One big negative will be shipping and delivery charges added to the overall costs.
The big winner is certainly Amazon who will own the market.
This will force manufacturers to set up their own online sale sites. Customers in turn will have to do more research and price and service comparisons.

Posted from WordPress for Android

Opera: Best Mobile Browser

Back in my Mac days I flavored the Opera browser.  When I moved to using my Android smartphone I have used several ping-pong browsers that hampered my productivity. I recently downloaded Opera for mobile and am I happy. Much of what I liked about the desktop version is in the mobile. There are even a few vital improvements.

Now managing bookmarks and folders makes sense and my overall utilization is quicker and more reliable.
My only regret is that I didn’t make the switch sooner.

Posted from WordPress for Android

Face in your phone…

Are ypu addicted?

With our cellphoned stuck up to our faces we could quickly and easily  get hit by cars or truck,s, robbed, slugged, mugged, ganked or walk right pass your ultimate dream date.
These days we are much less social with the new tunnel vision.
We are more fixated than fascinated
and that is not good.
If you called an addiction you are correct

Posted from WordPress for Android

Oakland Startup Blows my Mind

I was totally surprised when I turned on the news about the pocket chip and the pocket chip computers for 9 dollars.To learn it was in an Oakland company even made it better.

Posted from WordPress for Android

Death of Retail Tech

Way back when Egghead went out of retail business I saw ominious signs. Soon followed the loss of Circuit City, CompUSA, Good guys and hundreds of other similar favorites. More recently RadioShack finally folded their tent. With stocks continuing to fall and brick and mortar retailing on more than shaky footing analysts are again predicting the absolute worst for one of the few remaining namely Best Buy.

Thank goodness we still have FRYS!

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

Posted from WordPress for Android

The Future of Bluetooth

is a great innovation. I and universal. If it were to be a means of connecting all our various devices that wouldn’t be bad. Of course there would be hacks and threats but the functionality would help users. I challenge developers to explore new uses and bring them to market before some new fangled thing changes the game yet again

Too many hoops

A warning when you request an online gift, download or service that takes you through too many steps is to simply quit. Somewhere along the line there is a hook or trick that is spurious.  The last one I followed made me opt in on something I didn’t need, sign up for a newsletter I’d never read, and download a file I suspected had a virus embedded.
If that is not a reason for caution I don’t know of one.
There are thousands of tricks that can be pulled we should be and are herewith warned.

Be careful!

Radio Shack may sell your info

RadioShack bit the big one earlier this year and now they want to sell our Info to highest bidder.

Users need to force RadioShack and  partners to seriously reconsider this heinous move and make them honor the many legal disclaimers they issued along the way to protect customers privacy.  Private and personal Data should not be viewed as assets that can be bartered, sold, or acquired in this way or any other way.

If RadioShack and the highest bidder are allowed to get away with this many many more floundering companies chock full of our data will be chopped up in order to harvest that information.

RadioShack died this year but its icy hand still holds the social security numbers of millions of customers—information they promised to keep to themselves. Noble! And bullshit! RadioShack is Dead, Long Live RadioShack

Resource Abundance

What is extraordinary about our online lives are the many and varied resources at our command. Never before have average citizens had the power of unlimited information before them.
Each of us has a magic lantern before us to do with as we need.  We can ask questions,  follow info trails, dig deep into mysteries.
Few have stop to acknowledge the sheer miracle that this is.
Once we used the Encyclopedia to  traverse information. 
Today we have the whole world at our disposal.
The question remains  what do we do with it? That will surely depend on our levels of curiosity and education.
Some will have the magic words to summon up the genie. Others will continue to butt up against the door of knowledge never able to penetrate enter or summon the genie. What to do?

Do your homework and learn how to master search and research. The deeper you are able to dig the more will be revealed to you.

Disclaimers may be lies

When a company declares what they won’t or can’t do they are probably revealing what they will do

There will aways be a reason or excuse but consumer trust has been violated.

The problem is that there is no way to hold them to their promises and little or no enforcement.

If you didn’t already know it we are all out here on our own.

BEWARE!

Subscription fishing

There are a growing number of apps and services that promise the world but their front ends are buggy and defective leaving only the option of subscribing in order to receive the promised service benefits.
This may seem like poor programming or pilot error but in a few cases it may simply be a method of drumming up business.  I don’t have a name for this scheme but it is becoming more prevalent as time goes on. Once you sign up and subscribe it can become darn near impossible to cut off or discontinue the service. In the meantime you get to pay.

ESPN: The Sports Monopoly

I am shocked that ESPN has been so thoroughly able to wrestle a choke hold onto the entire broadcast sports market.

I am now only left with the fringe “sports” fishing, golf, tennis, occasional soccer, skydiving, mountain climbing etc.

If there was a time when this could have been properly handled, it has surely passed. With major sports event ticket prices in the stratosphere sports has now become unreachable for most of us. At some point I anticipate a blow back as interest wains and market shares tumble and fall.  That may take a while but come, it will.

The Thing is …

Anytime a statement is started with “The thing is…” It is followed by the speakers usually lame opinion.  It is really an attempt to say “listen to me and shut up!”

There are certainly other such terms that pretend to be definitive statements used to halt open discussion or debate.
As an English major I fear for what we are doing to the language and state of discourse.
We must keep these verbal roadblocks and shortcuts out of the mouths of politicians and text of posts, if we can.

Online Delusions

There is a belief that the Internet can and will be able to do anything. Some who hold those beliefs refuse to take into account the roadblocks to those dreams and visions. Add to that the major forces that hold the key and are trying to retard efforts to achieve those visions.  I refer to those that are busy mettering out mere piddles of bandwidth and getting away with charging super high prices for minimal access.

Those providers should help drive and provide support for innovation but they readily and obstanetly oppose anything they do not control and cannot charge through tje roof for.

Years back we talked about Internet 2 and the extreme bandwidths that could be available when fiber came to the home. Somewhere along the line those dreams died and have not been revived.

Broadband everywhere, my ass

Whatever happened to having the Internet available for all? What we have is a patchwork quilt dominated by Comcast. Forget finding alternate sources. No matter what they say or what you heard. It ain’t gonna happen. If you live in deep urban and rural environs forget about it. Dont believe the hype!

Neglect due to Cellphone Use

I am starting to hear more stories of child neglect caused by care givers more focused on their smartphones than those young ones in their care. This may also extend to elderly care situations. All this leads us to consider the ways and times we should consider as appropriate to use our devices.

I once saw a young man lose his life while crossing (at a crosswalk) while texting. The driver was also distracted.

There are dangers to the practice of being awake, active and connected. Some dangers are obvious and others not so obvious.

We should all keep both situations in mind. Especially when others are in our care or in our wake.

There may even be a need for enhanced penalties if devices are the cause of accidents or (Lord forbid) fatalities.

X & Y Gen Babble

What seems to be in vogue these days is sounding like you know what the hell you’re talking about. Forget that that there is no point or sense in your argument. Its enough that you toss in enough tech terms to sound right. I see and hear it every day on every blog and podcast. Every TV show highlighting popular  culture co-sign and legitimizes it until we take it all to be coming trends. It’s all bullshit! Well maybe not all but dawn near all.

Founders and influentials do not have the clout to reign in the techno babble nor to apply an6 type of logic and sense to the declarations. As culture runs amok into flights of fancy and delusions of relevance we are losing our way amidst the minutiae of useless and pointless babble.

I fear and dread where this is taking us and where we will wind up.

Watching one single episode of Big Bang Theory will be enough to convince you of the correctness of my conjecture.

You have all become Spencer!

Victor Hugo 2015

Said. “One cannot resist an idea whose time has come”

I am hoping Hugo was right as far as social justice, freedom and innovation.

If it is inevitable we should soon see changes in society as well as technology.

If the two can co-exist and work together that would not be such a bad thing.