Part of my journey as a writer was through a Royal Manual Typewriter. My father taught me to write what I was thinking. Then when I was done to go back and clean things up. I should probably do a better job of cleaning things up. I found a Royal like the one my father had all those years ago on Etsy. I also have a 1930’s portable typewriter with the case, but it is in really bad shape. I keep them to remind me of my father. I also keep them to remind me of the journey. I used to sit in front of a blank sheet of paper, now it is in front of a taunting flashing cursor. Either way there is blankness in front of me as I start my journey, my wander project each day. It is a journey that mixes the joy and sorrow of my life around me. This blog focusing on the various components of the Family History project my kids and I began now nearly three years ago.
Nick used to take lego sets and make new creations!
Over the years there are a number of things that change and a number of things that stay the same. The family history project focuses on tracking the things that changed. We got married on the hottest day of June 1991. It actually wasn’t the hottest day, but we were outside in wedding attire and it was hotter because of that. As we stood there on the porch of my parents farm, listening to the minister read the ceremony a bee buzzed around us. That moment in 1991 was not the end of a previous journey nor was it the beginning only of a new journey. It was the mixing of two journey’s together. The past, present and future captured in a series of photographs and video. We have 20 DVD’s worth of family videos, plus more than 100,000 images that have been scanned, archived and we have begun sharing them.
I still love to take pictures of people taking pictures.
The folder I found to share for today is one from 2006. Many things happened that year. I actually finished my project in Malaysia that year. I stopped by Bangkok to visit my parents who were there (dad was still teaching in Bangkok long after he returned from IU). Barb’s parents were living in Franklyn Indiana by then, in an apartment as part of a retirement facility. The world was still shaken by the events of the previous five years. 2001 had a huge impact on those of us that traveled for a living. The kids were growing. The boys turned 8 years old in 2006. Their sister was 14. Great kids then (that hasn’t changed they are still great kids).
One of those rare Wander Indiana/Maryland blogs where we actually wander Indiana. In particular a destination that Indianapolis is famous for. Well one of the destinations Indianapolis is famous for. The big attraction has to be the Indianapolis Speedway. For me, visiting the Kurt Vonnegut museum and the James Whitcomb Riley house were always high not he list but the other place was always the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. Long one of the very best children’s museums in the world. ICM offers a variety of seasonal, topical and scientific considerations for kids to wonder, wander and explore. I used to take my class there at least once a year when I was teaching. It is easier to excite young children about learning via science and exploration than virtually anything else. Giving them the opportunity to not only ask why but break it down and figure it out is beyond a gift. First off, if you have kids and you go to Indianapolis, plan on a day at least to explore this amazing museum. Historical presentations of Indiana. scientific exploration and without a doubt one of the coolest holiday seasonal displays make the museum beyond amazing.
I think the first thing we got upon returning to Indiana in 1999 (as far as living in Indiana. We visited frequently from Cincinnati) Barb wanted to get a season pass to the Children’s Museum. I suspect over the course of the next seven years (she went back to school when the boys were in Elementary School but late Elementary school) they went to the Children’s Museum frequently. It was a place, as you see in the top picture where scientific principles were demonstrated. But it was also a place where kids can get hands on with exhibits. Not static art that is looked at and considered, a discussion among adults. Hands on, interactive displays that you can touch. Walk a child through a museum, their natural instincts are to pick them up, to manipulate them. So it is no wonder that most kids by the time they are teenagers don’t like museums. They find the controlled, managed displays well too distant. The Children’s museums of the world work to break that barrier. To break the fifth wall of museums (DO NOT TOUCH THE DISPLAYS) to make the displays more two way. There is much to learn from creative young minds. Plus, they are only young once.
I know, when we took the boys to the Field Museum in Chicago, that they struggled with the whole not touching thing (well Nick really struggled with all the dead animals but that is a different sensitivity issue). At the Children’s Museum there is so much to do. My personal favorite display is the intricate water clock in the main entrance of the museum. Once you pass the front entrance the entire museum is open all the way to the roof five floors above. That open foyer is where the water clock is. I can admit that I have stood there amazed by the flow of water. I also know, the feeling of a stroller botching with boys ready to explore, and STOP STARING at the stupid clock dad. There is something about an interactive museum that just works. Beyond show, in a controlled environment, allow discovery. I know in part, my personal belief in non-static, interactive displays comes from the fact that I was taught the inquiry method my entire life. But I believe there is amazing power in letting children discover the world. Let them see what is there, for themselves and then when it is said and done, talk to them about what else is possible. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is a great place for children and adults to shake off the burning reality of DO NOT TOUCH museums and just have fun, together!
(This picture is actually from Greenwood Indiana not Cincinnati the memories are from Ohio, the picture from Indiana) Beyond King’s Island there are a number of other reasons to visit Cincinnati Ohio. One of them is a converted Warehouse by the Ohio River that is now a Children’s museum. Like play areas we seldom passed a Children’s museum. There were many years when we spent more time visiting children’s museums than art or other museums. Here the crew is getting ready to go into the museum. The boys were at the true Toddler stage of life. They toddled everywhere rather than walking. Until they saw something they really wanted then they ran. Downtown Cincinnati Ohio is nestled against the Ohio River. Jakki’s favorite park as a small child was the river park. At one end the park has a pole showing the height of flood waters at various times in history (the top of the pole has the 1930’s marker, a scary flood.) The park has serpentine wall that wanders along the Ohio and has a quay in the middle of it. The old restored riverboats docked there. During our time in Cincinnati we lived on the North side (Fairfield) then on the East side (Maineville) and then our last two stops were on the West side (Western Hills and Mt. Airy).
Inside the Children’s museum. Becca (barb’s oldest) attended the Cincinnati School for Creative and Preforming arts. That school was located in an area of Cincinnati known as Over the Rhine. Primarily because at the time it was settled the primary residents of that part of the city were of German descent, and missed the Rhine River. There, somewhere in the Over the Rhine district of Cincinnati is the never finished subway. There is also an abandoned trolley car system that connected two of the seven hills of Cincinnati Ohio. The city is surrounded by Seven Hills and all slope down to the Ohio River. Nestled near the river, but on the other side of the city from the Children’s museum is Jakki’s favorite restaurant. It wouldn’t be her favorite now but it was then. We would go to the Montgomery Inn Boathouse for dinner on occasion. The Montgomery Inn which started in a location in Montgomery one of the cities on the East side of Cincinnati, was the best rib joint in the city! Also famous for their cobbler. One night we were at the boathouse actually sitting on the river side at a table and Barb asked Jakki (pointing out at the river) what is that?
Jakki said “bath” although, if you do ever visit Cincinnati, I would not advise bathing in the Ohio. Across the river from downtown Cincinnati was actually one of our favorite locations later on in our living there. They built an amazing aquarium in Northern Kentucky. It was one of the coolest (not as nice as the Shedd aquarium, but nice) it was in Norwood Kentucky. We would often zip down and spend the afternoon enjoying the fish experience. We kept our first boat on the Eastern side of the Cincinnati River front. I won’t say where, because frankly the place was a dive but we enjoyed taking the boat out on the Ohio river and cruising. There are many things to do, and many things to remember about Cincinnati Ohio. We spent 9 years in the city. Our second longest tenure in a city. Our longest tenure so far is Greenwood, and Bloomington. I have 19 consecutive years in Bloomington and Barb has 19 consecutive years in Bloomington. (Barb moved to Arizona when she was 19 years old breaking her first streak. I moved to Cincinnati Ohio breaking my post Bangkok longest streak in Bloomington). Anyway, the children’s museum is a nice Cincinnati stop. The first and last picture are on the way in, and the way home. The middle picture is of the sand tables. We spent a lot of time at sand tables.
One of the drivers (other than the circular slide rule my father gave me) for me and technology was NASA. I loved everything to do with the space program. It started for me in 1967. It went the wrong way when VI Grissom died in Apollo 1 but like so many kids my age back then I was steadfast in the race to the moon. I learned later that race was in part based on a brilliant speech by John Kennedy. It was in the end a race that changed humanity in so many ways.
I watched (and watch although less now because of work) every launch. I applied for the teacher in space program but of course we all know I didn’t get that or I wouldn’t be typing now.
NASA along with the original Star Trek made me into a technologist. Not for the seeking of what could be but instead the as a friend always puts it “the art of the possible.”
One of my favorite books is the discussion of what you would take on a journey to Mars. Could you be introspective for a year? Two years? Sitting alone or possibly one/two other people reading, writing and evaluating the universe? What would you need on that journey?
I have made packing for Mars lists. I know that is geeky but I have done it. Several times in my life I’ve sat down and thought about the 40 things I would need for a 3 maybe 4 year journey. Before the Kindle it would have been boxes of books. Now its just my Kindle. What would you need to ride that craft into the great beyond.
Packing for Mars
- Kindle of course you would have to disable whispersync. Oh yeah and you would need more memory than the existing Kindles or a computer to store the additional books on
- Pictures – everyone I know and have known. Plus a way on occasion to burn precious bandwidth and get new pictures of people I love.
- Music – I would have to have a lot of Neil Young. Everything he has written over the years and a place to store that either an MP3 player or perhaps the computer with the Kindle Library.
- IoT sensors around me to both have an deploy. Be able to gather as much information as possible about the journey to consider.
So many more things but you are limited. In effect you would take with you your connection to the world. That connection would have to support aging. That in the end is the problem. That connection changes. So you would have to be prepared not for the loneliness of space. That would get to you a bit in the 4 years. But rather the biggest shock might be on arriving home.
The world would not be as you left it. Things change in a week, four years may make more changes than you would want to deal with upon return. That means you would have to select people that in the end don’t want require human interaction all the time and don’t mind being different when they do return to constant human interaction.
I guess in the end you have to pack certain communication patterns in the craft with you. Oh and make sure you don’t hit the triggers that create the anti-pattern reaction all patterns have.
I struggled to build a combined wired and wireless network when we lived in our house in Indiana. I could never get the right balance of wired ports to wireless adapters and as the kids got more into computers they overloaded the wi-fi network really quickly. When we first moved to Maryland the house we leased the first two years was in a nice neighborhood but it had not been updated. Even though they added roughly three bedrooms and a huge common room to the house they didn’t wire the house for anything.
Our new house has a better balance and most of that is because of the Apple Airports. I would have never deployed an apple product in my house five years ago, but now I am not sure I could remove them. Our new house has a great balance of wired and wireless now. I can move the kids to wired connections reducing the Friday Night and Saturday morning overloading of my network.
The reason for this interesting networking post today has to do with a couple of different things. The first I won’t go into very deeply. I have discussed the topic of the the total available bandwidth and the internet of things overwhelming that. What interests me this morning is the concepts of home automation systems and the home of say five years from now.
Project one for home automation (for us) was integration of security and the home automation system. Adding video and other security solutions so that your house is safe not just when you are there but also when you are gone. The peace of mind factor. There is a requirement for video surveillance systems however they need bandwidth so adding that means balancing the overall wi-fi network and moving other things to wired connections. By the by if your Internet provider doesn’t give you equal upload and download speeds there is an issue you won’t overcome in your home automation project. Routers by nature have fairly small caches. If you have sensors that are generating x amount of data where x is greater than he size of the cache (and if there is a lot of movement around your house that is why you want video surveillance) then x is greater than y, you have a network problem. Your router normally has a balance of cache (inbound and outbound data) if you overwhelm the router with outbound it slows your network down a lot.
I am speaking from sad experience. We were luckily enough to land in a Verizon FIOS neighborhood. We embarked on this project in March 2014 and in the middle of the project I noticed the network went South. Just to access and use things remotely the network was struggling. Then on June 1 2014 Verizon raised our FIOS uploads to the same as our downloads. I can’t say enough what a difference that has made. We don’t have periods of router overload. That means uploads aren’t cached and you can cache a larger portion of downloads.
That in the end is the second problem I spoke of, if your network tips over nothing works in the end. Connection is great, it in the end will be a game changer for the world around us. The more Internet of things devices (sensors) we get deployed the smaller our networks get. The smaller our networks get at home the less room for error we have.
It is in the end a balancing act. I am in the end just trying to keep my home network simple.
It seems small on the screen
the tiny beady eye
is it looking at me?
Like the Mona Lisa, following
as you walk to the right or left
is it following me?
Not the crafters beads that heated
to create an image.
Like a nervous sweaty eye
staring from its singular socket
projected to touch ground
people long then for beady eye
long then for the moment
knowing the eye is upon you.
before bracing again
as the beady eye is past.
such a tiny eye on the tiny screen.
there on the edges by the liner
can you see it?
It dares not approach
teeth bared and hackles raised
Is that fear we feel?
Standing there steadfast in our resolve
knowing we are there
we are in the moment
between us a tiny tree
sprung to life three springs ago
grasping for the sky
to the other side an empty bucket
the red eyes
the bared teeth
is that fear we feel?
the moment slipping away
as the squirrel darts up a tree.
Kickstarter and Indiegogo project blog – yes it is that time again. I also need to post some January podcasts! But for now the KS and IG blog. Like the world around us KS and IG slow down a little during the holidays. If you are 100% sure your product is going to be a blockbuster it is best to stay away from the December to mid-January posting. You will lose about a 1/3 of your potential market.
That said there were a few interesting projects I found this month that I thought were worth sharing.
“HiFi-Skyn: iPhone case for Audiophiles”
The first project is iPhone specific and it places a hi-fi case on your iPhone. First off, I suspect this would work beautifully as a true high quality speaker phone although they don’t talk about that much in their campaign. It is built to hear high quality music from your iPhone. I have XM radio and use my iPhone as my portable XM player – I also use it with Hulu and Netflix when traveling (connected to wi-fi) so this unit will add significant value for me. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/hifi-skyn-iphone-case-for-audiophiles/x/3230074 is the link to the campaign.
This time of year is slow – only one campaign that caught my eye. It is much harder in the din of the holiday season to catch my eye.
“Erasable Circuit Marker: Draw and Edit Circuits Smoothly:
I backed this campaign the first time (they were building a printer for circuits) they have added the capability to erase the circuit ink. This is a really good project (they were really close to on time with the last project). I suspect this one would be great in any technology classroom or any home where you are interested in seeing the what of possible. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1597902824/erasable-circuit-marker-draw-and-edit-circuits-smo
“Electrically Conductive PLA 3D Printer Filament”
This project caught my eye as it uses your existing 3d printer but allows you to with a two nozzle printer actually have one of the filaments be conductive (i.e. creating small circuits with the 3d printer). I saw it, I https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1375236253/electrically-conductive-pla-3d-printer-filament
”WorldPenScan X-The World’s First Pen Scanner for iOS/Android”
Yes I am a geek. I like to be able to translate and view anything regardless of the original format. This pen reminds me of the translation pens of a few years ago, they were fraught with issues. But this one moves that to the right by instead connecting it to a cellular device. So in the end you could quickly utilize that device to get the latest and greatest definitions. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/839338150/worldpenscan-x-the-worlds-first-pen-scanner-for-io . Where the ones of a few years ago were limited to the languages they had preloaded this one gives you more flexibility. I took this next part from their actual campaign site.
Recognize multiple languages, barcodes and bank fonts.
- Support Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese (Hong Kong), English, Japanese, Korean, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Vietnamese and other languages on mobile devices.
- Not only support multiple languages, but also recognize barcodes and bank fonts such as OCR-A, OCR-B, MICR on PCs.
Next week I am going to resume picture blogs. I am trying to balance my backlog of blog topics. I have two different picture topics. Pictures we’ve taken over the years (mixed in with places i have traveled to) and old photos either Barb took or my father, and now adding in Joan Ralstin’s old photographs.
Beyond that I want to get back into my Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects. I am adding a new concept of projects I wonder about. Not good wonder but projects that I think have missed their market or worse have identified the wrong market. I will continue to post projects that I am excited about and also adding now ones that make me nervous (promise too much or promise something that just doesn’t feel right.).
Then there are the occasional family event posts that I need to get back to doing and my reviews. I have a number of reviews that I have considered writing that were never posted. I am open to suggestions and additions
Last year in review blog for 2014 is coming next week probably new years eve or at least around that time. This has been an interesting year and frankly I am happy to nearly see 2014 in the rear view mirror.
To all my readers I wish a happy holidays and the best possible start to the new year coming. To everyone that commented and provided email feedback I thank you as well – your comments, emails and phone conversations are why I blog!
My Amazon author page!!!!
I frequently talk about innovation and leadership in my blogs. Why? Well as someone that loves innovation I have watched leadership build innovative teams and destroy them. We do things a certain way is the death at times of innovation (of course the reverse is also true if the organization didn’t do things the same way every time there would be no need for innovation.)
Over the past couple of years I have watched a number of organizations slip into the “the way things are” mindset. It takes time to observe that process (figure a year or so) but when you see it you will know it. Organizations settle over time. Not settle in the sense that they are taking less but rather settle like a house does on its foundation. A little slippage from the original foundation is normal. The reality that can be bad is the that in fact the house slips and no one notices.
Settling can be a bad thing.
Of course you can always bring in disruptors but they tend not to last long. When the organization is fully settled disruptors won’t stay long. Why? Because the stress the disruptor brings to themselves makes it hard for them to deal with that reality day in and day out. Sometimes though disruptors can in fact move things forward rapidly. So the balance is important.
How can an organization support innovation (and disruptors) while maintaining some level of the status quo? That balance is why I am interested in leadership. Great leaders make mistakes. They understand they are going to make mistakes and they are willing to acknowledge the error and move on. Its why John Boyd’s OODA loops resonate with me. One long slow good decision can be quickly replaced by 2 quick bad and 1 quick good decision. In the end the first one to the new concept wins.
I took a class where we talked about the concepts of fast moving companies (designated an A company), companies that can adapt to fast moving companies but are also stable. C companies are heading towards mature markets and finally D companies are in price competitive markets where margins are thin. If you were to map that to the Boston Groups Experience Curve you would have the emerging companies or A’s at the top of the curve with new technology and limited operational experience. The D companies would be at the bottom of the curve with lots of operational experience but razor thin margins.
B’s and A’s are natural fits, sometimes. D’s and A’s are seldom natural fits. So as you move through the market you can see companies over time that are good at absorbing new innovations and moving slightly to the left. There are also companies that absorb new companies and end up back where they were, heading towards a D market.
The natural entropy of time pushes companies towards the mature markets. Again the BCG experience curve applies. Over item you get better at operations and innovation becomes an irritant not a savior.
Getting back to innovation is hard. It requires commitment and a willingness to accept that they way things are, isn’t the way things are.