Monday, March 25, 2013

More On Current Day Publishing

Just picked up the recent issue of WIRED magazine in the mail - yes I am still getting paper magazines delivered to the house. Interestingly I also get this as a digital subscription.

In this issue there is a really good article on the publishing industry and things that are happening with authors and publishers. You have to read the article; The Plot Thickens by Evan Hughes, to reflect on the changes going on. There is one quote that I like:
At a time when a writer can post a novel online and watch the revenue pour in by direct deposit, the publishing industry's skill at making books, selling them by hand to bookstores, and managing distribution of the product threatens to become irrelevant.
 There are other great articles in this months issue so if you have a chance pick up a copy and read on. 

Digital History and Future Generations

In sending an email this morning to my wife I was mentioning that I had already put a picture on Facebook this morning. At that point I began to wonder about our digital life representations and expectations. Pictures are a form of communication and posting to Facebook, or sending in a text message to someone, is one way of expressing that communication. The question becomes one of how do we share in the future?

I watch as people take out phones, tablets, and such, to show off pictures, however how do we pass them along to future generations? Is there a BIG cloud photo album that we can sign up and then let only family in? Or is it Facebook with family and friends our big photo album in the sky? How will that work?

I wonder if Mark Zuckerberg will read this and come up with an answer?

I know the pictures we are taking with our phones these days are superior to most we took with instamatic's in the 80's. We do not have to pay for processing and printing. In our house we still have drawers of photographs but nothing recently.

On another note the same thing with books and writing's, how do we pass along the Kindle purchases? What about the hand-me-down library of the past? Of course the big questions was/is will the recipient of my treasure's of Robert A. Heinlein or Isaac Asimov books move anyone to want to read them? Some of them to me were like reading the bible. Unfortunately the people of tomorrow will be living the life they only dreamed of.

What of my great books by Anthony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, and Jim Rohn? How about my collection of social history, the books about creating a new world? Will they go unread? Yep!

I do not believe that the digital world is a throw away world, or even one of instant renewal. And I do not believe that it is a disposable world however those could be possible outcomes.

I have those old pictures of great grandad but who was he? "Yep, that's him, my great granddad." I can see the excitement - for about 3 seconds and then on to someone of more notoriety (Mark Zuckerberg for instance).

We can believe what we want about out treasures but they are still OUR treasures. That goes for the pictures and the books and the clothes, and in some cases, the furniture.

My suggestion? Sell them now and spend the money. Go on a vacation, See the world. Live an example of what others after you should do.

Put all you pictures on DVD's, USB drives, whatever, and give them out each major holiday once a year - to everyone you want to have them. Then they can share them on.

See what happens when I sit alone with a keyboard. I need more coffee. As I sit here at my iPad writing

I wonder how far these digital words will go?

Early this mornin' round 7 o'clock

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Dell Buyout and The Money People

This morning in reading the NY Times there was an article re: Blackstone and Icahn Are Said to Make Preliminary Bids for Dell. One of my responses on Google+ was to basically say 'let them have it'. If this is the only salvation for Dell Computer then it's already too late. I said that Michael Dell should go and look up Steve Case. He had the same misfortune of having to deal with people who do not understand the changing world. Their only interest is $$$$.

Well this afternoon at c|net I found the following story; Second act for the unorthodox Steve Case. I think that there is something in the story about the AOL / Time Warner merger and cultures that will verify my thinking. 

As for the investor's Michael; there is no passion there for the business - ONLY money. Now is the time to take your winnings and leave the table, not after they have destroyed, bankrupted, or dismembered, the company. 

Time to leave Dell Computer Michael, YOU can do more and better.  

Just sayin'.....

Books, Publish, and The Future

I have to thank Bob for pointing me to the TechCrunch  article "The Business Of Literature Is Blowing Shit Up" by Jon Evans. Very interesting read and it has many other links regarding the past, the future, and current state of book publishing. I suspect if you go from here to read it all you will get a great dose of information about the current state of affairs in the publishing industry. These are changing time's. The information is good.

Recently Guy Kawasaki has published a book regarding self-publishing that is a very good read. The book, "APE - How to Publish a Book" can be purchased for the Kindle (at Amazon) which is the way that I have read it

In the past year I have purchased, and read, over 20 books - all with the Kindle format. I say Kindle format since I also read these on my computers, smartphone, the iPad, and my Nexus 7. I, for one, cannot see purchasing printed material unless it is the only way I can get it (and NEED it).

I do all my news reading on one of my devices and that depends on whether I am at MacDonald's, Starbucks, or my doctor's office (the phone works best there). There are so many app's and the news services themselves are beginning to realize that if they want to connect this is the way.

The graphic in the article at TechCrunch shows the changing times.

In the last paragraph of the TechCrunch article there is a line that states;

"Doesn’t really matter. Books will remain, and because they’re books, because they’re that razor-barbed size and shape, they’ll remain a genuinely powerful and subversive medium."

I will agree however I would qualify it with stating they will be digital, or  electronic, in form. Tree's will return to power.

Hey it's Sunday, my time for review and thoughts of the times ahead. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Windows 8 and The Unable To Change World of IT

The benefits of Windows 8 out weights all the rhetoric against upgrading to the NEW thing. What surpriseswindows 8 me most is that the biggest amount of whining is coming from IT and IT Journalists. The one group that years ago thought it was cool to be on the leading edge. Today that same group wants things to stay the same.

Topics like; “How to make your Windows 8 look like Windows 7”, or “How to get rid of Metro”. Better yet; “these tiles are not right”. What I find is that rather than learning the best way to utilize the ‘new’ thing they fight it. The resistance to change in IT is awesome.

After reading “Reaching Those on the Wrong Side of the Digital Divide” in the NY Times this morning I am convinced the people they are trying to reach will take to Windows 8 and LOVE IT! Read the article (I hope you do not need to register – that will be the NY Times loss).

Something to think about. Those who are new to the ‘computer’ thing do like Windows 8. They understand it quicker and can handle the Tiles and Desktop very easy. It is intuitive to those who have not used one before. The same can be said for Office 2010 and now Office 2013. Those who have not used a computer before catch onto both Windows 8 and the Microsoft Office package very easy.

Perhaps you will be hiring new people in the years ahead. I have a question for you. When hiring IT people; are you looking for someone who is really good with old technology? Or are you looking for someone who is connected to the future of both technology and people? Someone who can handle change with excitement and great anticipation? Someone who can help you build your business? Or make it grow?

When I come across; “I heard that Windows 8 is a problem.” I laugh and say “Well I love it and have it on my desktop and notebook. I have been doing this for over 30 years. It’s the best one yet.”

Food for thought: “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Working between iOS and Blogger - An Experiment

Just a little experiment working between Pages on my iPod, my iPad, and my blog. I will have to see if I can connect my wireless keyboard to this iPod.  OK the keyboard connects. I guess I should be looking for one of those folding keyboards to make this work. Obviously this is not the best tool to be using to insert graphics however if all you want to do is connect then perhaps this will work.

OK here it is on my iPad and one thing that confusing is that in using the Bluetooth keyboard on the iPod you have to be sure to turn off the Bluetooth on the iPod before attempting to connect it to the iPad - or it will not work.

Now to see how well it goes to Blogger.

Well the text transferred however I lost the picture that I had placed in the writing. I did copy and paste the picture independently but it came in FULL size and I did not discover how to shrink it down.  On the other hand I was able to add the picture you see above from my Picasa album and I could control it's word wrap and placement to some degree. As I said yesterday; you can get into the HTML and work with that so this is a possibility. 

Spell check in Blogger is manual and that is not a great thing. I tend to forget to push the button.

I guess the final answer (for now) is that; Yes, I can use Pages to type the text and yes I can copy and paste it into Blogger using the web connection (not the app) however Windows Live Writer is still my tool of choice - and it is FREE -  just not available on the iPad.

I will not buy a Surface just to get the tools. I will continue to use the iPad, the iPod, and the Nexus 7 when they fit my needs. I may become a Pages junkie however.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Running On The iPad

This morning I had a great time with a friend working out some issues of moving (and editing) documents between the Pages app on the iPad and Microsoft Word on a notebook (laptop) computer (or desktop for that matter). We had a few trial runs and then it all came together very nicely with the use of Dropbox.

It also worked for me using SkyDrive however it was not as clean or easy. This puts the iPad back up on top for me as I had been straying over to the Nexus 7. Pages is a very clean word processing app on the iOS platform and is easily accessed on the iPhone and the iPod as well. For me this is unfortunate for Word.

Now I have gone to Blogger online to access the composing tool to see how I could use this rather than the Blogger app which is limited. I really like the Microsoft Windows Live Writer however, or I should say as normal, there is not an app for iOS.

I have always been a Microsoft fan however they just cannot seem to get out of their own way when it comes to change and to projecting in the future.

I would like more controls however I am sure we can learn to work with it. Blogger does give you HTML control and I know a little about that so perhaps this is the way. Time to publish and see what happens. 

Microsoft's Subscription for Office 2013 as a Perk?

There are so many advantages to having Office 2013 today that any way an office can get upgraded would be the best. We are a connected group and this office package not only adds technology advancements it is aimed at being connected.

The new office 2013Employees that are using the latest software both at home and at work would become more efficient and this would be both a benefit to the company/organization as well as to the individual. 

In light of this and the potential of the BYOD of today; could Microsoft have a way that an employer could offer their employees a monthly $9.99 Perk to not only upgrade their software on their BYOD device but to have the same software at home on another computer (or computers) of their choice?

I realize the SkyDrive feature would be beneficial for both the individual and the employer. The employer’s account, or SharePoint connection would be different and could be controlled.

I see this as an opportunity to keep everyone current and up to date and the cost to be a variable expense of doing business. There would not need to be a one-time expense for software every three years, it would be expensed over time as needed.

Should the employee leave the company it will then be up to the employee to continue the subscription. The connection to the employer’s SharePoint or SkyDrive account could be terminated.

As I stated this could work both as a Perk for the employee and a benefit for the employer. Employees would become more efficient at the use of the software and continued updates would be there without a hassle. 

Are there support packages for Office 2013? Hmm… I see a potential there.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Smartphone Assistant, Admin, or Annoying Pop-up

If you have a smartphone today there are many apps that can help you get you life in order – or at least that is the premise of what they say. I am not quite sure that anyone can really help me but I keep trying.

Today with the advent of the smartphone our email goes with us everywhere and that does not matter what device or OS you are using, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, as well as others. Along with email is our calendar, SMS or text messaging, and then numerous note taking apps.

With Google Now I know how long it is to get back to my home and what the weather is outside as well as anything else I may need to know on an instant notice.

I personally have tried a number of the note taking methods starting with Microsoft’s OneNote. At the time (2003) I thought this was the best of the best and away went the yellow legal pad. A number of years later, while trying to figure out a successful method of having my notes everywhere; desktop, laptop, I discovered Evernote. At the time OneNote did not make the leap so I ventured out. It took awhile but I eventually succumbed to the pull of Evernote and OneNote went away.

Once the smartphone made it’s inroad into my life Evernote was right there.  Now I have my notes everywhere I want them. I am now a premium member of the Evernote tribe of users. It’s FREE however there are advantages to paying the $5.00/fee to be a Premium member. Membership has it’s privileges. 

Just recently I used Evernote and Skitch (an Evernote product that allows annotating photo’s as well as other things) to take a picture of a sink, show the dimensions, and make a note so that when I was in the local DYI store I could pull out my phone and get the information I needed.


While in the store we found some a fixture of interest and wanted to be able to review it later. With my phone and Evernote I took a picture and added it to a Bathroom notebook in the Home ‘stack’ in Evernote.


I do still carry a tape measure in my pocket but one day I suspect there will be an app that will allow me to move the phone across a small distance like the top of the sink and it will record the exact dimension. Now wouldn’t that be cool. I do have a leveling app however I do not carry my smartphone in the toolbox.

Having said all of the above I am still looking for “scrap paper” type of note taking tool for my phone. One that is quick and a throwaway. I am a prolific note taker and since I have traded in my pen/pencil for a stylus I want something that I can scribble on and go back to later. If important I can send it up to Evernote.

I have been using AK Notepad (by Catch) for just that but I keep looking. AK Notepad is available at Google Play.

This morning at Computerworld  there was a list of 10 free Android apps for your to-do list. Now another quest to find the best of the best.

If there is a problem with my note taking it is how does one successfully clean the capacitive rubber tip of the stylus? They collect the dirt from the phone or tablet and then start sticking rather than flowing nicely over the surface. On the other had you can fine all the stylus’s you want at Amazon for prices that make you wonder why clean it. Let’s see; I found 6 for $8.99 or 9 for $8.99. At a dollar apiece do we want to clean them? I like the 6 as they are by The Friendly Swede. Why not, it’s Saturday. So I placed the order and shared it on Facebook. Now the world knows and it’s true because it’s on the Internet.

I think I need more coffee.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Billions and Billions of Pixels

Not pixies, Pixels.

With the latest snow fall here in the Cincinnati area I find myself taking more and more pictures. First with my Samsung G S3Samsung Galaxy S III phone and then with my Samsung CL80 camera (14.2 megapixel), which is a few years old. Click, click, click, another Samsung moment. Click, click, and then up to Facebook.

Many of these pictures not be seen by anyone. Isn’t that just throwing pixels away? Can we use up pixels?

Koday JrI grew up with camera’s. My Dad, a very good amateur, taught me how to both take pictures and develop them. Ah yes, film. I developed my first pictures around the age of 5 in our Kitchen. Memories hawkeye2of working in the Red Light area – different connotation here.

My first camera was a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye and I have that camera in the basement. It will soon be part of history, along with all the other camera’s that I have been carrying along and looking to get rid of.

My first 35mm Minolta SR1 SLR was fantastic. I did the same thing after I got married by developing film in the kitchen and turning the living room into the printing darkroom. My wife had to hide out in the bedroom. All those glorious prints. Now the days of film are disappearing along with the devices that used the film.

Today everyone has access to taking great pictures that do not cost to process (develop and print). We can just take pictures. Let the eyes do the walking/talking. Good pictures are in the eye and heart not necessarily in the equipment. The equipment becomes important when we want to refine our output. Serious photo art can require some great expense. 

Today anyone can have digital camera’s but better we have GREAT digital phones. My Samsung Galaxy S III has the following specs.

Camera: The Galaxy S III is as powerful as it is stylish. For starters, the camera has 8.0 megapixels and absolutely zero shutter lag, so you can catch memories the moment you press the shutter. Want more? Take up to 20 continuous shots in seconds with Burst Shot. The front-facing camera even has a full 1.9 megapixels, so you can get yourself into the HD action.

I long for the days when I was shooting pictures of our son playing baseball, football, or just playing. Click, click, click, another memory. More pixels with instant gratification.

My first Sony Mavica MVC-FD5 (1997) stored it’s pictures on a 3.5 inch floppy and if you printed them over 2” by 3.5” they did not look good. Actually some did not look good even at that size. On a computer screen they looked great. WOW – ahead of my time. I cannot tell you how many times I heard; “Digital camera’s will never replace film.” Yes, Kodak thought that also.

Today we have a deluge of camera phones. Just look at the statistics below and then discover that we have not reached all of the market. These phones make the instamatics of the late 60’s and 70’s and even later look really bad. And you had to have the ‘film’ processed.

Some current statistics regarding the proliferation of camera phones.

You will find more statistics at Statista

We shoot and shoot and shoot but what happens to all of the pictures? We don’t post everything to Facebook or even YouTube, only the ones that we like. Most of these phones will take a picture and let you post straight to Facebook or wherever. I do that. Where are all those pixels going that do not get posted?

We are all photo journalists right? The eyes and ears of the world. Go out and take some more pictures. I understand the pixels are free.

RIP Windows Start Button

You have served us well but it is time for you to retire. You can rest up there with Clippy and return occasionally when we have reunions'. Have a safe trip. Who knows, maybe like Clippy you will bring your historical wisdom to us in a game. We will look forward to telling the great-grandchildren  that we knew you personally.

Now for the rest of you IT pundits – get over it. You learned to use the Start button in 1995 (if you go back that far) and it is time to move on. They moved the high-beam button off the floor and we accepted that. No more 3 (or 5) on the floor.

“Know what I mean Vern?”

The “NEW” Start Window is so much better. Easier to navigate and can be made to fit your needs. It is customizable. It’s right up there with the push button radio and Power Steering..

Get over the change, it happens every day. This one happens to be for the good. I suspect it will be with us for some time.

To often IT gets in the “what’s good for me” mode. You need to think about those, the many, who do not use a computer hourly. The Ribbon succeeded at  making it easier for those new to Office. The new Start Window (and Tiles) will bring enlightenment to many people.

Now back to another episode of The Green Hornet (on the radio). Radio? 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What is the data you collect good for?

I have just finished reading one GREAT short article my Om Malik at GigaOM and I highly recommend you take the time to read this.

The article; "Data? What is it good for? Absolutely………something”, is spot on. I do not believe that this could be said any better. If fact go read it, I will just ramble on below as Customer Service is one of my favorite conversations.

I spend way too much time ranting about WHY you collect data, and we keep collecting it, but does anybody use it for the right purpose/objective? Is it just an Excel (Access) exercise for reporting?

I know we have inventory and we have personnel, however we also collect purchasing data. Doesn’t it stand to reason that we should be using our customer/client data for something other than historical looks at what we did last month?

What did your customer(s) do last month? Should they be thanked? Should they be rewarded? Is the only time you connect with a customer when they stop buying? That makes the job even harder. I see, you have a Facebook page and that takes care of it.  Not likely.

If you buy things, personally or for your business, you know how you like to be treated. Your customer/client has the same issues. Now if you don’t really care then I am hoping you sell to people who don’t really care. What will your next business be?

Hey, just sayin’……..

Friday, March 1, 2013

Google Trial and The Reporting Conundrum.

This morning in reading about a trial in Germany regarding the Google Search Engine, I found two different headlines as a result of the outcome.

First: Google Defeats Publishers Over Web Copyright in German Vote. This headline was from Bloomberg BusinessWeek – a primarily print production. From the headline it appeared to be a slam-dunk for Google.

Second: German parliament passes ‘Google tax’ law, forcing royalty payments for news snippets. This headline from GigaOM, a primarily digital magazine/report. No so much of a slam-dunk, perhaps a loss.

Both of those headlines are the result of the same trial.

Who won? Did the print people (newspapers, magazines) get raked over? Did the digital world of search just get a small setback?

I guess it all depends on your perspective. Same trial, same vote, same words in the court. Who is doing the reporting? Were the reports biased? Hmm….