Life happens and apparently then messes up my office :-(

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After 5 years of talking about it, next weekend I get to finally organize and clean my office. I suspect there will be a huge celebration in the nations capital – as I suspect my dirty office and the economy are somehow linked.

One of the things I noticed is the wires and devices I have, that I haven’t used in more than 10 years. I still have all the cables needed to setup a 3 mac AppleTalk network. Why? I don’t know. I even have over 500 floppy disks still in the containers.

Some of the floppy holders I have to keep. I sold Slots (floppy disk holders) that were stackable when I first moved to Cincinnati Ohio. I ended up selling them to a couple of colleges in the northern Kentucky area.

I also found the 28 issues of “Kindle the Flame.” When I was running the Society of Dead Teachers in the late 80’s and early 90’s I indulged my long time fantasy of publishing a magazine devoted to teaching. We had over 100 subscribers at the peak of the publication which was really quite fun. I suspect most of them just read the front page and filed it, but it was a magazine.

Another thing that I found was the 11 poetry notebooks I wrote from 1977 to 1991. Each of the poems in there carefully handwritten on notebook paper (in pen Mr. Sturbaum). But I can’t look at those right now or I will never finish the overall cleaning process. If anyone needs coax cables – let me know!

I also found my old packet network modem and something like 20 coaxial cables. Not sure why I have so many cables, but then again not sure why my office became such a mess in the first place.

I guess life happens.



Samsung D8000 3d tv review

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The path to 3d. We recently upgraded our television to the new 3d TV’s. First off I have to say Samsung does an amazing job with TV’s. The picture and sound are simply amazing. I haven’t even gotten my home stereo system connected yet and it is well amazing.

(my daughter – long my cohort when it comes to television purchases selected this one as well. She began her TV career as a 3 years old – telling the sales representative at that time that she wanted the TV “with bigger Barney”. Most of the televisions in the store were playing a wonderful aquarium scene, three were playing Barney’s Playhouse. We took the largest one playing Barney. How could you say no to the logic of bigger Barney?

This is the first television coming into my house that I didn’t setup. My daughter has also moved on to become the resident home theatre techhead and she actually setup the TV.

Things I like:

  • Awesome picture
  • Easy to use menu – although I would like direct input from the keyboard – it would help a little in some of the internet applications
  • number of HDMI slots (can you ever have to few connections?)
  • Size and shape
  • edgeless design – there is no huge section of TV, after the TV is done.
  • color of set (black) it simply looks fantastic
  • Base – very cool base for the TV –
  • thinness of the actual set – wow – compared to my old Sony I have two feet of space behind the TV now.

I’ve been a Sony TV guy for a long time. For the first time in my life I don’t even own a Sony TV. LG has really improved the 29-40 inch market so for large monitors and smaller TV’s LG is the best. Samsung now has the best picture  I’ve seen in the stores. So its Samsung for bigger screens. My Sony’s are all now dinosaurs.


Missing my radio–my way

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Sitting in traffic last night (I didn’t have time to think in the airport I was running because of the traffic) I was thinking about the fact that I missed my Sirius radio. I left my car dock and portable xm player with my family and headed to the airport. The car I was in (why is that I wonder) from the rental company didn’t have its Sirius subscription active. I realized very quickly that while listening to NPR is informative it isn’t the same as having my selections on Sirius/XM.

It took FM radio (invented in the 1930’s) nearly 40 years to supplant AM radio in terms of number of listeners etc. I wonder how long it will take satellite radio. While HD radio is interesting – Sirius/XM seems to have a lock on better programing and service. You don’t have the annoying hiss and pop of a bad connection.

You just get good music or good talk radio.

Radio which has been dead a couple of times now (dead with the invention of television and now again with the invention of the internet) continues to remain relevant. I suspect it is the multi-headed hydra of myth – you can’t kill it by cutting off its head – it just grows another one. Instead I think radio will continue to remain relevant as long as there are commuters.

The question now of course, why don’t rental companies enable Sirius for their customers?


Its time for NCAA 12 and Madden 12!!!!!

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I am a long time football fan (both college and pro) so the recent turn of events makes me very happy. I really however, have come to love this time of year as much for the new NCAA football and the Madden games.  I really enjoy playing football and golf on the Xbox. It is my one gaming pleasure but the problem is I really only like to play them before the season. Of course as a technologist/sports nut you had to expect I was a Madden geek. I do have to admit I actually turn the sound off at times, the commentary in the game is a little dry sometimes.

Once the seasons start I would rather watch a real game than play the game. I suspect that is a bit weird but it is the way “I roll” Smile. Which is why I really enjoy this part of the summer. There is no baseball to watch (the Cubs swooned early this year so what do you watch, lesser teams? I think not, its go blue or go home for me).

This year I am excited because the Indiana Hoosiers are actually an average rating (not all D’s as they have been at times in the past). Now if there was only a portable Xbox that let me use the Xbox controllers. I have tried madden on the PSP and the DS (and the windows phone/ios devices) and I need those buttons to use the game effectively. My fingers are too fat to enjoy the small screen gaming experience.


Moving and some initial thoughts on a formal KM system

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The insanity of moving Smile

As we progress towards our very rapid move (now only 3 weeks to go) we are starting to realize the insanity of moving our family that quickly. The moving company has been awesome – supportive and helpful – but reality is starting to sink in. There are so many things you have to do, in order to move forward.

I guess when you put everything into perspective you have to do some crazy things, sometimes in order to maintain stability.

That I suspect is why I don’t miss being where I would normally be this time of year. At some point the impact of thousands of your peers in the same place is lessened. The value of learning diminished. I reached that more than 5 years ago – so its nice to be somewhere else (all the way on the other side of the country).

There is a great value in having people able to speak a single message. I will never argue with that. What I argue with for the most part is the methods we use for that. I began my career as a professional in the classroom. I still hold that many people could learn a lot about the world around them by working in a 2nd grade classroom for a week (with no hope of relief – no break – just them and 22 2nd graders). Education should be about entertaining, engaging and opening the door.

You can tell me anything once. If you teach me how to reason to the answer – I can get the answer for the rest of my life. It is a method that many people forget as they get older. You see teaching leveraging the methods begun by Socrates is much harder than people realize. We are conditioned to quickly provide the answer – but in the end we provide that answer over and over.

Knowledge management systems are built on that concept (ask a question to get the right answer) which in the end is not cost effective. Over the years I have watched organizations build massive KM systems, with the goal of answering that question (right time, right answer) as quickly as is possible.

In the end those systems fail. Not because they can’t answer the questions, but because the questions never stop. Effective learning is never the goal of km, its controlling answers and responses within a system. Effective learning is a concept that expands beyond the Socratic method. It takes the teachable moment and expands it.

A KM system designed around this method would have an entry system that captures the napkin moment (which is and has been a massive failure of KM systems to date, they don’t capture the creative moment effectively). The first thing is an effective model that captures the “idea phase.” The next component is a system that supports sharing that idea phase in a crowd sourcing model. You can find out more in my upcoming book Transitional Services (which I’ve threatened about for months – it is now very close).

Of course a KM system without a platform is useless but that is another story.


Another shameless review (Blackberry Torch 9800)

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Playing with the new Blackberry Torch after a number of years away from the RIM platforms. The first impression I have is that they have done a remarkable job integrating the touch technology with the RIM look and feel. I used a RIM device more than 13 years ago, it was the brick you carried (in addition to a cellular phone). I loved having access to my email at all times.

The newer devices have improved significantly so this initial review is more praise than anything. I will post another review after a few months of use and let you know if that changes.

Things I like:

  • Great phone (awesome reception and easy to use)
  • Great battery – I charged it yesterday and it is still at 90% 18 hours later.
  • Small/easy to carry
  • Light weight
  • I love the fact that you can install applications
  • facebook and twitter integration is solid
  • Still a great email interface!!!!! I love the fact that all messages are brought into a single inbox – that is credibly useful.

Things I don’t like:

  • Keyboard doesn’t work well with fat fingers (oh yeah, I have fast fingers – and worst of all I am a touch typist – so the tiny keyboard makes me think about typing to much).
  • Screen is pretty small for multimedia presentations and other
  • Office integration isn’t that good –

So far a great tool that I am looking forward to learning about. If you can pick up a new phone and have it working in less than an hour, that is a completely different platform from what you have been using, does that make you a geek?


A follow-up review–Live scribe Echo pen

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I remain a huge fan of the echo pens. I’ve now had one for more than 8 months and frankly it is as useful today as it was when I got it 8 months ago. It has moved from a nice to carry along item, to something that I need to have in my bag when I travel. I don’t even carry a voice recorder with me anymore as the live scribe has replaced that functionality completely.

Five Great Things about Echo (Live scribe) Pens

  1. You can use it as a poor person’s tablet computer with the tablet software
  2. It has a built in dictionary
  3. It records voice data and links it to the page of notes you were taking, make the voice and notes more useful
  4. there are a number of awesome applications available online including a ruler (for literally drawing on paper and having it measure the amount you drew!)
  5. You can now connect to Facebook and beyond

The new update Live scribe has added is the ability to take your pen casts and post them to Facebook and other social networks (as well as email). It makes the pen casts even more valuable.

Now if I could only write in 3-d Smile


Welcome back Mainframe (with apologies to Welcome back Kotter)

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What was, what will be and frankly what probably already is.

Many years ago I heard the great sage Arnold Horshack with his truly inspiring mantra (what is will be, what will be was, what was was but will be again). The most circular view of the world I had heard at that point. But someone so true. When I think about cloud computing and how it is moving into the various phases of business and architecture it really is a return to a mainframe view of the world.

It however, a view modified by the reality of the intervening years. Networks are better now than they were 30 years ago. Chips are faster, and storage that once cost a 1000 dollars or more, can be had for 100 dollars at your local retailer. And that 100 dollars is nearly fast enough to render real time video. You could never do that with the older drives (with less than a mb of throughput – it would take hours to render videos).

Bandwidth remains the primary limiter however. More from a perspective now that there is more data to move now, rather than before. In fact I suspect there is probably 10 to the 10th more data on the wire now than just 10 years ago.

So the centralized data store returns.

What do we do with that going forward?

In my book “the Syncverse” I talk about computing as a force for social change. A reality created by simply applying the technologies that are available to us today and using them in effective ways to make the world a better place.

The time has come to begin.

What was, is (new and different but similar) and will be is up to us.


Cloud-Crowd-Sourcing the future is near…

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The cloud as a vision of what could be.

In my blog series (and maybe someday book) on the Syncverse I talked about a lot of concepts that the internet could help humanity as an entity improve. Freedom, communication, structure and information processing are all things that will continue to improve the further into the cloud age we head.

It is the future but it is also a view of what could have been better in the past. We began the computer age in the mainframe era, centralized computing that allowed multiple people to have the same view of data. The data was far more limited then than now so of course what you could do with that information was also therefore limited. And if you ever spent more than an hour on a green screen you will understand the eye strain concept created out of the initial era.

The problem now is the reality of crowd sourcing. That is the single thing about cloud computing that I think will change the world. In the time of Edison you had one really smart guy (and quite a few helpers) working on a core set of problems in a specific geography. They were limited by what they knew, where they lived and the very cultural experience that led them on the path. Yes they eventually succeeded, but what if they were able to crowd-source that idea?

What if they were able to throw the idea out to the ether and have hundreds, thousands even millions of people look at the idea? Some of them not bound by the rules and strictures and that may enable a solution faster. A crowd-sourced solution becoming more and more flexible over time. It is the inherent promise of cloud computing.


Should all thank you’s be equal?

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A little to the left please.

Yeah – over there. Just a little more to the left. Perfect. thank you.

How many conversations in a day do you say thank you to someone? I read an article in a business magazine that talked about how to approach people and that we didn’t say thank you enough. I practiced that for awhile and came to realize it isn’t just about saying thank you, it is about meaning thank you.

So then I started to qualify the thank you’s I was giving. Did it mean the same thing when someone did something nice for me, versus someone doing their job? If you do your job well, you deserve a thank you but do you deserve as good a thank you as the person who is going above and beyond the call of duty?

IE a waiter doing a good job deserves a thank you. The person holding the door for you while you struggle into the building also deserves a thank you but are they equal?

Does it matter?

It is something that I have been thinking about for awhile. I don’t really have a good answer, just a few concepts that are banging around in my head. I suspect that thank you means something different every time. For example if you come up to a counter after someone who has just yelled at the person – saying thank you for even average service will help that person feel better about what they are doing.

Isn’t that in the end what humanity is all about? Saying thank you for the little things and the big things, so that everyone knows that you appreciate what they are doing.