Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pew Research Center - Future of Technology

Interesting report. I think that if this research had been started 10, 20, or 30 years ago we would see a great trend to acceptance of technology over the years. One thing of interest is the chart on "Technological change and the future". The area on household income shows that the higher household income has better view of changing technology. There are other demographics of interest. You can read the results of the report here:

Future of Technology | Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project:

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From TechRepublic - GE launches 'microfactory'

Very interesting. I wonder if other industries might not take advantage of this concept? Perhaps others should invest in this, or similar projects, so that US Manufacturing stays in front in technology. Very powerful and GE should be applauded for this move.

GE launches 'microfactory' to co-create the future of manufacturing - TechRepublic:

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Reading eBook's has changed for me.

I am a reader. I love books and that is a major problem. In the last 4 years (or so) I have become an eBook fan. My first foray into eBooks was the addition of the Kindle for PC app on my laptop. Almost instantly I was sold, so I purchased a Kindle. My wife and I have now gone through 3 editions of the Kindle, the last being the Kindle Fire 10". 

With the advent of Windows 8 and the recent acquisition of tablets we are moving our reading to different devices. A couple of problems were immediately discovered.

First the Kindle app for PC will not allow you to read magazines. We needed to add the Nook app, or some other app. Windows made the Nook app available so there we go. Then Amazon saw it necessary to change the Kindle for PC app and turn it into a true Windows app – which I did not like, or use. I could not install it, or move it, on my tablet without taking up way to much space. I like to read books while not online however for the app to work right for me I had to move it to the SD card. I was highly unsuccessful doing that so I uninstalled the app. I have now reverted to using my iPad for all my reading as the Kindle app on the iPad is good and the iPad has many other features that are really nice. I can also get my magazines on the iPad via an available app. At the moment we will keep the last Kindle Fire for my wife to read books however we are thinking that through also.

As for my reading; I have the iPad (3rd version) with the Retina Display. Admittedly it is difficult in the Sunlight however everywhere else it is GREAT - I am not usually reading at the pool. One other great advantage of the iPad is in working with PDF’s. There is an app, Document s, on the iPad that allows you to annotate PDF’s better than anything else and its cost is $10. So now all my reading is being accomplished on my iPad.

As I find things on the Internet, or work on Office documents, I can save them as PDF’s to Dropbox, go to the iPad and open Documents, grab the PDF and work with it for understanding, annotate, underline, highlight, copy, very good tool. Some textbooks are now coming to me in the PDF format and I can work wonders as I learn. I can save them back to Dropbox and re-open on any other device. 
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Friday, April 11, 2014

Will we really be able to use tablets?

If you have read previous posts here you know that I have been fascinated with my HP Omni 10 tablet, well the honeymoon is coming to a close.

Omni 10I still like the tablet however it does have one severe drawback – as do most devices like this that you really want to use. The best internal storage is 32 GB – not enough.

Problem is that I believe this restriction is the result of mandates made by others.

First you have to think what they have to lose if you really started using the tablet to be productive?. Who is they? HP, Microsoft, Intel, just to name a few. I left out the hard drive manufacturers as well as other members of the, once elite, PC Laptop/Desktop market.

I suspect it goes something like this:

  • “As long as they cannot do too much they will still need a laptop.”
  • “Be sure to focus on entertainment and get away from using the device for productivity.”
  • “We can’t have them buying a $399 device and using it as BYOD. We have to stop that.”

It’s their answer to Wall St. We are doing everything we can to keep them buying big deal laptops. For all I know the backpack people are in on this. Where are those people with conspiracy theories? This should be a hot one. John C. Dvorak are you listening? John you and Adam Curry should look into this for your No Agenda show.

Reality says (to me) that If I can add a 64 GB SD card why can’t I have at least 64 GB of internal storage? Actually the individual at the Microsoft store stated that I could put in a 4 TB card if I wanted to pay for it. I believe he said “Windows can handle up to 4TB”. I know, engineering can’t make it work unless you buy a bigger tablet. Note: HP says the SD card storage is only good to 32 GB however the salesperson at the Microsoft store said whatever you want and I bought a 64 GB card and it is working well.

How have I adjusted you ask? It turns out you can move OneDrive to the SD card as well as limit what folders are synced for off-line use. I have also discovered you can limit what folders to sync with Dropbox – moving Dropbox to the SD card is frowned on by Dropbox (they were most helpful in getting me straight on this. Actually tech support at Dropbox was very good.). I also discovered that I can move Google Drive to the SD card and limit what sync’s. One word of caution; keep everything in folders in your online storage. The syncing will bring over the folders you designate and anything not in a folder.

I am now up to 4.5 GB free in the internal storage.

I have re-directed the camera storage however that did not work as well as the PC Setting’s wanted you to believe. I had a little more to do to make that work completely.

No problem with Windows 8.1 Update – loaded up and ran well. I suspect my biggest problem is the Office 365 subscription that I installed. I could not find a way to limit what was installed. I really did not want Access, Publisher, Outlook, OneNote. If there is a way limit the download Microsoft did not make it obvious, at least to me (the qualifier).

The Office 365 app on the iPad is really great as it is on my Android phone. I was pretty amazed at what I could do on the phone. When Microsoft brings out the Mobile Office app for one of their own I will remove the complete package from the tablet and load the app.

The last thing to consider is that you cannot search for the HP Omni 10 tablet at HP. You have go to the Internet, search for HP Omni 10 tablet and you will get a link to the tablet at .Hmm….Somehow I think I adopted an orphan.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

More on Glass Experience

I have been missing from the blog-o-sphere for a bit. I have to blame it on Google Glass. If something below is a repeat I apologize in advance.

I have enjoyed most all experience with Glass including showing others how they work. My first time out someone asked for the score of the Ohio State vs. Nebraska game so I said “OK Glass what was the score googleglass002of the Ohio State Nebraska basketball game?” I got my answer and had to hold in my excitement while she just looked totally amazed and I am acting like that was the norm. I still felt a bit of a rush. Oh yes, Ohio State won 71 to 67.

In the days after it was one piece of excitement and learning after another; picture taking, video’s, answering email, video call, wearing the battery out.I did discover over time that the battery had good life when Glass was treated as a normal device and used when needed. I also had to learn to charge Glass correctly. Often it pays to read the instructions.

As for instructions the Support web site is really great. I spent a lot of time reading and re-reading. The first time over you miss things with the rush of trying to get to the good parts so that you can show Glass off. I think, at least in my case, part of being the first one is, in the words of Richard Feynman, “The Pleasure of Finding Things Out”. Secondly comes show and tell.

Often I get more excited showing something to someone. It is true that if you really want to learn something teach someone else. Your enthusiasm generates excitement in others. I have always been excited about learning and then finding out what you can do with whatever is the next new thing. Glass was no exception. Actually more excitement here than teaching Excel.

Voice recognition with Evernote was fantastic for taking notes. I could not believe how easy that was. I am one who has never really wanted to talk to a computer and yet I had no problem making notes using Glass and Evernote as I went through my day. I had to learn to ask questions out loud. When I was a kid I got yelled at for talking to myself (“People will think your crazy”) and it still hangs on today. I could not come up with enough questions so others would ask and I would search. I also enjoyed Google Now on the Glass, weather, appointments, and local information.

I guess it took about 2 weeks to get down the tapping and sliding of my fingers on the touch pad to control the screen. At this point it was getting to be second nature. In the beginning I actually sent a picture to a friend by total accident. I also sent one to Leo Laporte however Leo does not know me so I doubt he received the picture. Leo missed a nice shot of a gift basket.

My excitement with Glass was, and is, ongoing, not the same for Word on the iPad. My excitement there was short lived.

I found many areas that Glass would could be a valuable tool. Anywhere you wanted to make hands free notes, take a picture to show something. The example could be: a part in the process of mfg., broken item, inspection of a building, I can go on and on in the number of ways I could have used something like this in my past life’s work.

What I didn’t find interesting was Facebook or CNN Headline news. I liked taking video however watching video on the screen was a bit difficult. The smallest successful device that I like to use to watch video of any kind (UK Basketball) is the Nexus 7. I can watch video on my Samsung Galaxy S3 however it is too small for gathering everything in.

I would like to find an easy way to clear history, especially in the beginning of the learning experience.

If there was something that would be very good it would be to be able to view something as in video, but not actually taking a video, and then being able to show it via Screencast (or transmit it) to someone else. The idea being that you could be taking the tour and transmitting it to someone else. I know you can do video phone calls and I have done that however I was never able to do that ala Screencast. Screen cast was one of the best ways to demo Glass. Using my phone it would amaze people – the note taking was awesome as was search.

I have talked with, and worked with, people who are involved in the area of compliance. These were developers as well as actuators. We spent time discussing and looking for more ways to utilize Glass in a days work. There are so many ways to utilize this tool.

I have not mentioned Bluetooth with my phone most likely because I felt that would be a given. It was very good and with the ear bud fantastic. If I made a mistake it was not in getting the stereo ear bud’s, then Google Play Music would have been great however I don’t play music on my phone so not sure there.

All in all it was a GREAT experience and if you have the opportunity to become a Glass Explorer go for it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Resurgence of OneNote via the iPad? Hmm…..

This morning in Computerworld, “Microsoft's OneNote’s Strategy: Battle Evernote or something bigger?” brought back all my memories of using OneNote for 5 years or more - as well as the frustration.

The writing by Gregg Keizer points to a number of reasons' and potential thoughts on why Microsoft could be pushing OneNote onto the iPad. At the end he does make the comment that to use OneNote you must have a Microsoft account as all data is stored on Microsoft’s OneDrive.

Note: you can get a OneDrive account by just having an Outlook email account and you get 7 GB storage for free.

Gregg does state that the FREE OneNote for the Apple environment can only be used at Home or School (not for business) whereas Evernote can be used any where – even the FREE version.

Evernote does have a business package now which adds better collaboration tools.

As for me: I am a prolific note taker and for years I used Microsoft Word for this. When I was introduced to OneNote in 2003 I became one of it’s biggest fans. I was an evangelist for OneNote. I had notebook on notebook on notebook. What a fantastic tool. I gave seminar’s on OneNote and taught it.

I started synching OneNote on all my devices (at that time devices were Desktop and  2 laptop’s – circa 2003). I began using Microsoft’s Mesh – (now ‘OneDrive’), when it became available. Most of the time the synchronization worked well however was not perfect. Occasionally I would have multiple copies of my notebooks.

Sometime around 2008/2009 I was introduced to Evernote in it’s Beta form and, although not as powerful as OneNote, it’s synchronization was better - and I could access it on the web from any computer. It did everything I needed and I opened a FREE account. For awhile I used both Evernote and OneNote.

With my acquisition of a smartphone Evernote suddenly became the only way for me. OneNote was not available and I did not see a benefit to using two tools. Evernote was it. I stopped using OneNote completely. When OneNote did become available for the Android phone it was not easy and did not sync well for me. It was like having two different version's of the app.

Forward to today; I have an Evernote Premium account (pay) and it sync’s with my Samsung Galaxy S3, my iPad, my Nexus 7, my HP Desktop, my HP laptop, and this device, my HP Omni 10 and it sync’s very well between all devices.  Evernote is also on my Google Glass and performs exceptionally well with voice recognition.

The desktop, laptop, and HP Omni 10 tablet are all using Windows 8.1. The phone and the Nexus 7 are Android, and the Apple iPad is running the latest iOS 7.

I can share folders within Evernote and collaborate with others – which I have done. I have many folders as one might have notebooks in OneNote.

I am also a user of Skitch by Evernote for making sketches as well as annotating pictures and drawings. There are also handwriting tools like Penultimate (by Evernote), which on the iPad works very well. Evernote has voice recording and well as a camera connection.  Handwriting is now good within Evernote for the Windows user.

There are many other tools in the Evernote portfolio as well as many web extensions for the Chrome browser. 

Yes there are only (?) 80 million users of Evernote at this time and a billion users of Microsoft Office. I use Microsoft Office (Word and Excel can’t be beaten) however I just can’t see my way back to OneNote.

In the end I am not sure that by providing OneNote as a FREE tool it will bring many people to the table when Office arrives on the iPad. The many users of the iPad already have something that they use to take notes. I think OneNote is very powerful however does everyone need all that power to take notes?

Just sayin’…..

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

PewResearch Predicting Life in 2025

Digital Life in 2025. This is an interesting report by PewResearch and one, if you have some time, you might want to read. The report was put together to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the creation of the World Wide Web by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Happy to say that I have been there for most of it.

Reading through the various contributors is quite interesting. You can see where we have been, maybe (opinion) where we are, however where we are going with the Internet can be mind boggling – depending on who you read. The opinions vary greatly with one exception – we are going somewhere and life as we know it is changing. Perhaps more rapidly than we can see. At least one contributor won’t really predict.

An idea that appears to be common is that the Internet and our lives will be seamless. It will be everywhere, integrated into all aspects of our lives – and the lives of our devices.

The one thing constantly in my mind is that they are not talking 2050, they are talking 2025 -  eleven years out. Where will you be in eleven years? Where will your children be? My favorite thought; where were you eleven years ago and what were you doing? Where did the Internet fit in to your life eleven years ago? Where does the Internet fit into your life today? Where do you think the Internet will fit into your life eleven years from now?

Today, when someone stares at me with my Google Glass, what will they do when they see me (or someone) riding in a car that is driving itself? What will happen to modes of transportation as we become more adjusted to working when and from wherever we like? The Internet is not yet everywhere however the world is working on that.

I read a tech journalist yesterday that was laughing at the fact that going paperless was a failed idea. His opinion appeared to be that this cannot happen. I am not sure that he is very current with his technology. Paper companies are having serious problems because the printing, publishing, industries are losing to the digital world. His own way of life could be threatened. Ironically I did read his post on my computer.

A large number of people are in self denial. Are you with your job? Do you think your job will be the same in the next eleven years? If not, are you doing something about it? Problem is that the people I am speaking to are not reading this blog. Hmm…….

Things change, times change, the weather changes. We change!

I will leave the philosophy for now to go find new things on the Internet. I need to check the news, find out why my back is hurting, and maybe discover a new recipe. Our problems may still be the same however how we get to answers is going to be different.