A plug for Kickstarter –


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Kickstarter-the crowd funding site. I’ve been a fan for awhile both of the concept of crowd funding as well as the broader concept of crowd sourcing for ideas. Kickstarter however remains one of the most interesting sites I’ve found in awhile. Its fun to see the creative ideas people have in building out new solutions to problems that while they seem to be small – in the end are pretty critical. I am always on the lookout for gadgets I can use in teaching science to my kids so it’s a great place to troll for new technology ideas.

There were a couple of new/interesting projects there today that I’ve decided to back. I have to say the entire process is fun. This is the fifth project I’ve backed (and later I found my sixth so this is six now). Two weren’t funded to the right level. Two have already been delivered (and frankly they are very cool, one converges multiple source networks to create a converged Internet connection – great when you have multiple network connections (like weak wi-fi and reasonable aircard you want to combine). The other is the metawatch. I am now waiting for three more projects to complete (Pebble watch and a couple of others).

Half the fun is reading the updates as the solution gets built and tested. The other half the fun is playing with the new technology. There is no risk for the funding person as if a project doesn’t get funded, you simply don’t get charged. Overall it’s a rather interesting way to contribute to the crowd developed and funded system. You become in effect a single VC backing the projects you find interesting. No one puts in millions of dollars and the projects are put together as cheaply as can be established. If you lose your investment its not a huge loss (usually 200 dollars or less). I believe that ideas will be solved and problems will be vanquished more quickly with this new model than they have been in the past. I am a huge back of Kickstarter and commend the creators!

http://www.kickstarter.com

 

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow!

Portable Power


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I’ve been thinking about the concept of power for awhile. In the beginning of my IT career (and during my teaching career) for the most part I went to one place and then went home. The same places the vast majority of the time. I had devices (Apple II and Macintosh) computers that were at best quasi portable. Later when I moved into consulting I was often in different places, both work, hotel and home. You begin to evaluate the concepts of portability when you are on the go like that.

My concept because power. How do you find enough power to be successful. Sure, you can carry batteries. That works for a time – extending your life to 12 or even beyond hours. But it doesn’t solve the problem of recharging a number of devices (try a printer, they make power disappear fast). when you are mobile.

You can consider solar, but that is today a trickle change at best which can charge a cellular phone at best with someone you can carry and not look like someone from a Hollywood movie (The solar creature from planet X).

Power becomes a limiting factor – batteries continue to improve but they haven’t really doubled or tripled the capacity. Or for that matter create and leverage reusable fuel cells.

I wonder if that isn’t the reality of portable power very soon. Fuel cells…

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Another shameless review…EYETV Mobile


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First off – Skyfall – not what I was expecting. A little darker and a little quieter than a Bond movie. So overall didn’t enjoy the movie as much as I have Bond movies of the past. The last Phoenix scene (rising from the ashes of his past to become Bond again was kind of cool).

I’ve been playing with the Eyetv device. This device let’s your iOS device receive live television wherever you are (of course the cities supported today are similar to the list FLOTV had until the end of that awesome device). The downside to the new TV devices is that they require the old apple connector so the iPhone and the Ipod Touch can’t use them without adapters. Luckily my trusty iPad still has the old connector so that was a quick connect and setup process.

You first download the EyeTV Mobile software from the App store. Took about 2 minutes to download on wi-fi, probably a little more on your cellular connection.

note one: The system uses over the air broadcast television so you don’t use your data plan (makes this different from Dish’s remote access, Hulu or other data driven services).

The device comes with two antennas, one with a suction cup for windows and mounting further away from the iPad. The other is smaller and has the old FM radio type telescoping antenna. Both worked pretty well and I after the initial setup got access to four stations right away from the greater DC broadcast area. Fox, CBS, NBC and ABC currently working and actually pretty decent picture quality. Eventually I suspect your iPad will become another DVR. Archos had a DTV antenna system but they never actually brought it to the US. That device (500 gig hd and ability to record both broadcast and Satellite tv) would have been the best possible combination but overall this is pretty good.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

On the slow mend…


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I have a couple more post Christmas device reviews coming. I’ve been playing with the EyeTV Mobile device that is very interesting. Elgato has an interesting set of video tools that are unique and quite fun to play with.

I feel better today than yesterday. We trekked out to see a movie but the movie was cancelled due to a technical problem at the theatre so we had a leisurely dinner and headed home. The car didn’t make me sick but it was darn close. I think that was more my fear than the reality of riding in the car. But my mom said “take it easy and don’t push your recovery.” so I am being careful.

Reflection for today:

Your image reflected in the rippling pool is never the image from your mirror.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

I am better (a little)


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Its been a five day blog vacation. Not, by choice I promise, rather by illness. It started Saturday morning – I was dizzy when I woke up, well I was dizzy when I got up to make coffee. At first it was flu-like symptoms – vomiting and the dizziness. Around 4 pm I noticed that my right ear actually felt blocked. Like there was cotton shoved into it and I couldn’t hear as well. I fell uncomfortably asleep that night and woke around 1 in the morning. I woke again around 2, 3, and then finally 4 before sleeping until 8. I didn’t wake with usual vim and vigor. After barfing the night before I felt pretty bad. I couldn’t keep anything down. Around noon I vomited again, at which point we went to the ER. I managed to make it to the ER but then puked right in front of the admissions desk (had a bowl thank goodness). Got admitted, they gave me stuff for the nausea and the dizziness and I started to feel better. I was thinking maybe Christmas vacation wouldn’t be ruined and that I might be better by Monday. (That wasn’t to be by the way).

We got back into the car after the ER process. We then drove home. Barb came a different way because the GPS wasn’t clear about a turn, which in the end turned out to be the right answer. I ended up making it to the front porch before throwing up everything I had in my stomach all over the front porch. I crawled back to bed and stayed there. I really didn’t getup or move around until Monday end of day. That was a scary experience as I couldn’t take three steps in a straight line.

For the first time in more than 18 months I won’t crack 20,000 steps this week in fitbit without a huge improvement Friday and Saturday.

I haven’t blogged in five days (of course, confined to bed not much has happened in those days so no net loss).

Feeling better today than I did yesterday (baby steps). I hope I continue to feel better every day. Because I would not wish this on anyone. It is the worst feeling ever.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

A moment of silence and the ringing of bells.


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I hear the sound of bells ringing. A chilling sound that starts and stops 26 times. In the words of John Milton ask not for whom the bells tolls it tolls for thee. I hear the bells.

When light is taken from us we cannot see.

When our burden is to heavy we cannot walk.

When we stumble and fall who will pick us up?

I hear the bells.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Sometimes that is all you can do


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I’ve written more than 3000 blogs. Out of that number (and the more than 50,000 views) I would say frankly that I’ve written maybe 250 good blogs and probably 10 good series. But it isn’t about quality its about clearing the machine. So in the end the low quality stuff costs the same as the good stuff so, it really doesn’t matter.

We were talking at lunch the other day and one of the guys said “I grew up on a farm.” When I was a kid I used to go to Wisconsin all the time, the little town (Cambridge WI) where my Grandparents lived was surrounded by farms. My mother went to school with the sons and daughters of farmers.

We lived in an Indiana town that was focused on Indiana University. It was hilly so we didn’t have as many people who made their living farming around us. I wonder though was that simply a trend in my life or in general? The statistics say fewer people make a living as farmers today than 50 years ago.

Which is why I brought this topic up today. Not a great blog but one that fills the time between 5 am and 5:15 am.

Sometimes that is all you can do.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.