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.

Another Fitness Bracelet?

Do we really need another fitness band? There are smart bracelets and huge monster ugly ones. Most will probably wind up in thrift store sale bins or recycling dumps and a couple will find their way into fitness clubs and Doctors offices but for the most part this seems a trend with an end and the end seems near.
I will kick in and plunk down my cash when my Smartphone communicates more effectively with my Smartwatch. New Google offerings like the Note 3 and S5 plus Google Gear 2 seem to be on target there.

I sincerely hope that our precious fitness data never becomes slips into the purview of predatory insurance companies and such.

Acquiring Smartphone Skills

Are some of the most important skills to master to navigate modern society. While most only stick a toe in the water there are those that dive in.

Each device has a learning curve. One may discover something new with each use. Over time all those acquired bits may add up to a consummate skill.

The more you use it the better you get the better you get the more able you are.

When you realize that you’re totally comfortable with your device and the specific app choices you have made you can then begin to seriously use it for any and all aspects of your digital life

For some mastery will only come after about a full year of intense use. Others may assume capability after a few days use.

HTC ONE M8

HTC phones till now usually do not get the pub and acclaim that iPhones and Galaxy’s get. That does not mean they are inferior devices. If fact the newest HTC is quite exceptional.  With the new HTC ONE M8 arriving on the shelves the status quo might soon change.

This never ending game of technology leapfrog will definitely not end anytime soon. We can certainly expect the industry leaders to quickly respond by piling new features and functions into their latest offerings.

At some point we will hit a point of diminishing return when our phones are about as good as we need and can expect.

New buzzword: Augmented World

Well it’s not actually So new more than its just been retooled to fit the new circumstances and services so so exploitation by marketing companies hoping to find a new thing. You know a thing as a thing when did generates its own trade show such as the augmented world conference to be home soon. Some of the elements to be included or wearable technology, automobile integrated technology, eyeglass computing products and a host of other technologies they do not have a certain category to fit in.

I have for a long time tried to figure out where wearable technology would go and what it would bring us maybe this is a chance for me to find out exactly where we’re at.

Ads are killing YouTube

It has gotten increasingly difficult to get to content on YouTube without stumbling through piles of adverts and BS. The tried to strategically place the ads now they just toss them up at every opening. It has totally ruined what was once a truly great media content delivery service that deserved the popularity it now panders to Madison Avenue and the million marketers that have no respect for content.

If there is a true YouTube competitor out there get ready cause your time is coming and an opening is appearing. In the meantime I will struggle through these ads to see a few moments of stuff.

What’s Up!

Are we in some Bizarro World phase of nothing excoting or compelling happening in the world of innovation?

I sit waiting vested in broadcast with a smartphone and tablet packed full of apps waiting for something to spring forth from the minds of the millions of geniuses out there.

After a full day of fruitless searching and surfing I remain totally bored in fear that the real good times may be past us. New products, services, apps whatever. I could use some pointers.

Incomplete

Most things like OS’s, apps and such are not anywhere near finished. They are if nothing else unfinished works.

When you find one that works it doesn’t share the functions and features of any other solution. This leads to a highly fragmented dysfunctional ecosystem held together by Scotchtape and rubberbands.

CES 2014: The Takeaway

So what is the bottom line and the implications that carry the industry into 2014 and the years that follow?

If we are to draw any conclusion it would be that technology is a monster that threatens to insert itself into and eventually consume every other industry like a mole that burrows through a little opening and takes over from the inside.

Last year it was smartphones, tablets and fitness bands, this year it was watches, cars and XXX. Next year it will be something totally other.

With all that in mind the takeaway may be that disruption and change are constants and no one knows what they will bring.

One Game at a a time

It’s the same lesson that France and Germany learned just as sports ream know.

Take one game at a time. Or overcome one challenge at a time. It is too much to ask that anyone needs to or must struggle on multiple fronts at once.

In fact that almost insures victory on neither front. When you can muster your forces and plan strategistical or tactical means it lends to a more concerted effort.

You can be replaced…

…By an app!

That’s right. There’s an app for you!

We were looking out for androids, robots and AI then apps and algorithms showed up to threaten our existence. Not even Philip K. Dick called this one.

So you weren’t actually so irreplaceable after all. All it took was some geek with a little skill to throw together a little code and you are out. Along with you goes everything you are and know including all your experiences and relationships.

Backed into a Corner

Some of the best innovation and development comes when folks have their backs against the wall and are forced to innovate their way up and out.

This is where those companies that used to be king of the mountain find themselves these days.

One or two can and will pull a rabbit out of their hats. Most others will throw up their hands and succomb.

It will be interesting to follow the fates of Microsoft, Dell, HP and other former market leaders.

Spell Checkers from Hell

Imagine my surprise when I read an older post of mine that had gross misspellings that I knew weren’t mine. I retyped it and sure enough it replicated the errors. Is this what we can expect from innovation where a feature intended to remedy one thing actually compounds and create it. That is a poor statement of how far we have come and where things are headed.

It is as if human editors designed them to keep their jobs.

Google Cars?

That was the buzz a CES as Good talked up a joint venture with GM, Honda and Audi. In other news BMW was talking up self-driving cars. We should see the term SmartCars get traction.

But excuse me if I don’t buy it.
We can’t get our self-defrosting refrigerators right nor can we set the time on digital alarm clocks then why would I trust my life and yours to Google Android or Apple for that matter and Lord knows never MS Windows?

This SmartCar talk reminds me of all the 3D TV hype of the past few years but in the end it ain’t gonna happen unless we move to a parallel universe.

Updates Cost You!

They apply to your data limits which are charged by broadband providers so you do pay for them even though the developers don’t get a dime.

The more frequent and data massive the update the bigger the hit on your data download limit.

It ain’t meant to work

What do we do when we realize that none of this crap actually works and is held together by scotch tape, rubberbands and spit. Think about this in a few minutes when your stuff doesn’t work right.

We are supposed to get so darnn frustrated that we settle for going for the one way that does. All the rest is bullshit meant to lure us into believing it all does work when in fact it’s just a pile of broken promises and unmet expectations.