Category Archives: Technology

Google Chat on Motorola Atrix Smartphone

In the process of evaluating the ZTE ZXV10 T700 (I will post the entire product review by weeks end…I hope), I went ahead and made a three way video conferencing call using  our friends at cloud-based video conferencing service provider Vidtel.

The picture above shows a Google Chat connection via my Toshiba Laptop computer (middle), the ZTE using H.323 (top), and my Motorola Atrix smartphone again using Google Chat (bottom right).

On the phone, I can change the camera, mute the mic, and send text chats.  In fact, Vidtel recognizes some of the text chats as commands…..very cool!

The moral of the story is this:

You are no longer tied to a conference room to participate in a video conference!  Anytime, anyplace, anywhere is here……NOW!

More to follow….

iGoogle Going Away

The world is changing again!

My comfortable iGoogle homepage has served me well for quite a long time (I moved to Google from Yahoo a few years ago…).  I use Chrome (fast, reliable, etc) and have almost totally moved to the Google universe…and I am very happy here.  But….

Now I see a banner on my iGoogle home page that says iGoogle is going away.  Yikes!

After clicking on the information link, and pondering what this meant….not one to let grass grow under my feet…..I moved on and downloaded separate apps that give me quick access to the Google features I use the most:  Mail, Docs (Drive), Chat, Voice, News, YouTube, etc.

As I work, I will add more….Ah….Calendar…see…the more I work, the more I add…how funny.  :-)

My new Chrome homepage looks like this:

Alternatively, I can have this page showing my most visited sites show up:

Google Chat and Voice show up in the top right hand corner of Chrome:

Using the NEW WAY

I moved very quickly to using the separate apps to access my Google universe.  I suspect since I was already doing this on my smartphone, the move to this way of navigating on my computer was virtually painless.

Time marches on….keep up or fall behind…

:-)

Video Conferencing As We Know It Is Changing: Ready or Not

I have been working in the video conferencing industry since hmmmm, about 1988 and have  been blogging about it since 2006, or so.  Yikes!  So many products, so many conferences, so many changes, so much fun….

Anyway, so much for nostalgia….lets roll with the FUTURE….

The title of this blog entry kinda says it all:

Video conferencing as WE know it, is changing…..and unlike previous years, this upcoming change will wait for no one, as it will be driven NOT by the video conferencing industry, but, are you ready for this, by our USERS.  Wow!  Did you hear that?  USERS will drive this industry from here on….do you know how profound that is?  Up until now, the video conferencing industry has been providing a (really cool) TOOL, that no one (well, not exactly, but, you get my point) knew how to use.

Sure companies and individuals “used” video conferencing technology (for same old reasons like “it saves money on travel”) but did they REALLY understand how profoundly video conferencing could change their lives both at work and at home?

NOPE.  Not even close.

Up Until Now…

Video conferencing companies sold their USERS a TOOL.

Then the companies taught these USERS how to set-up that TOOL, how to use that TOOL (…here is a device we call a shovel……this is how you use it……DIG!), and sure enough, the users used that TOOL, but, only as instructed:  Sit down around this table, call this number by punching this button, talk, hang-up.

They did nothing more….they just used the TOOL.

Day in and day out, month after month, year after year….the users sat around a nice table  in a conference room, meeting with similar people in far off places.  Boring.  (But, I must say, it was amazing for it’s time….but, I am getting too nostalgic).

For 20 plus years, we provided our USERS with this (amazing) TOOL that had no external benefit except to “save money on travel” (did I already say that already?) .

THEN we added stuff to this TOOL like:  Application sharing (great!), improved audio quality (Grreat!), and high definition video (eh) so we could all sit in that expensive, beautiful, BORING, conference room and see our counterpart’s wrinkles, waddles, yellow teeth, bad hair, as they sit and (Play football?, Run?, Throw a ball?….no they) TALK (i.e. is move their lips, maybe turn their heads a bit, or roll their eyes) in glorious high definition?  You don’t need HD video to do your job, or talk to people (take off your glasses to experience SD, or worse), you DO need to collaborate effectively by: Working on documents, exchanging ideas, drawing up timelines,  throwing out ideas that can change the world, and getting feedback on those ideas…. then…. collaboratively writing papers that let the world know how dang smart you all are.

THAT is collaboration.  Voice, video, and data  working in harmony as if you were all in the same location….but, remotely located from each other.  Very Personal Telepresence like….oh, see here for the ORIGINAL Personal Telepresence concept.

But, I digress.

The Future….the kids will change our world…..

As I was saying….the world of HD / Telepresence conference room video conferencing to “save money on travel” (or to provide a wonderful human to human communication “experience”) is ending (shhhh, listen to the screaming of discontent….hear it?).  Our future USERS will end it, beeeeccaaauussseee, our USERS are finally understanding the true value, the true usefulness, the true beauty, of video conferencing.  Yipppeee!

They finally understand how to use the TOOLS we gave them to enhance their lives both at work and at home.

But not ALL of our users……mainly……just the kids.  The teens of today, the young 20 somethings, these are the USERS that will change (in the next decade or two, maybe sooner, maybe later, but it will happen) our entire world (from a video conferencing perspective).

The kids of that age grew up with computers, they grew up with the Internet, and now they go bonkers over social media in all it’s wild and diverse forms: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Blogging…..whatever.

The kids of today are comfortable with communicating virtually, they are comfortable with remote work, they are comfortable with……video conferencing.  These wunder kids call it video chatting and it comes in all forms (thanks to us for providing these TOOLS):  Skype, ooVoo, Google+ Hangouts, even Facebook tried it (it was awful and they are trying again), etc. etc.

The difference is…..

The kids of today (and leaders of tomorrow) do not care to drive to a conference room and chat in HD (even though they are, by and large, wrinkle & waddle free).  They do it from Starbucks, McDonalds, Barnes & Noble, the bedroom, the family room, the airport, the airplane, trains, a corn field, playground, and, yes, the conference room…..ANYWHERE!

The kids of today do not seem to have a sense of  TIME (believe me I know…I wake up at 3 AM and do my obligatory safety check around the house, and my 20 year old is on Facebook, or video chatting).  They video chat (i.e. meet and do homework) with friends……ANYTIME!

And the kids of today are helping us old farts figure this stuff out too.  Suddenly, Grandma and Grandpa can now EASILY video conference with family (thanks to a TOOL called a Smartphone).  They can use Facetime, or Skype, or any number of really cool apps on their Smartphone.

NOW, truly, the time has come that video conferencing can be used as easy as making a phone call (ahhhh, how long have I been saying this was needed….too long…) by…..ANYONE!

Let me ask THE question:  Are these kids going to have an impact on how video conferencing is used in the workplace in the near future?  YES!

And therein lies my point…..the world of video conferencing (as we know it) is going to change to a virtual work environment (not saying when, or even saying completely, so don’t get all worried about losing your job…..yet).  People of the future WILL be working from ANYWHERE, collaborating with ANYONE,  at ANYTIME.

The conference room of tomorrow will be a virtual meeting place in the cloud (for giggles read this article on virtual work I wrote in August 1995).

The video conferencing TOOLS that WE (the collective we in the video conferencing industry) provided……are finally being understood, and utilized to their true potential, by the KIDS of today.  :-)

Summary

Anytime, anyone, anywhere.  Visual collaboration leaves the conference room and finds true love….

Video Conferencing Consultant

Want YOUR product reviewed?  Go here.

Looking at video conferencing for your company?

Independent video conferencing consultant with 23+ years (yup…since the very beginning) of experience in real world video conferencing design, implementation, and administration can help you:

+ Help you understand video conferencing technology (from Telepresence to Mobile BYOD) and how you can implement video conferencing to maximize your productivity.

+ Separate the wheat from the chaff (i.e. understand your needs and pick the right vendor(s))

+ Design an architecture specific to your needs

+ Project Manage the installation / testing of your system(s).

+ Train your employees to run your video conferencing operation

+ Provide long term support

+Independently troubleshoot problems.  Work with vendor to fix.

My Resume

Commercialized Space Flight

For those of us who grew up idolizing the original Astronauts…this, to me, is a very significant step toward the future of space exploration.http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_20678827/private-rocket-maker-tries-again-launch

Berkeley Ridiculously Automated Dorm (BRAD)

Mike Pihlman:

Engineering companies take note! :-)

Originally posted on ForCarol.com:

I saw this video on Facebook.

Sure hope Derek does not mind me reposting it here for all our readers.  :-)

VERY COOL, VERY CREATIVE.  Here is the web site for U.C. Berkeley.

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Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

View original

Amazon Kindle Fire

Today, Amazon introduced the Kindle Fire tablet.

I watched a few news reports and to summarize:

The Kindle Fire is fast using a dual processor, it can run Android Apps but you gotta get them from Amazon (not a bad thing).

One analyst says it is NOT an iPad killer since the Kindle Fire is a consumer of media not a producer of media / content like the iPad can be.

Makes sense.

However, this same analyst says it can put a dent in Barnes & Noble’s Color Nook.

It works on WiFi only and costs a “reasonable” $199 U.S.  Storage of your media is via the Amazon cloud and they say that is for free.

The Fire will be available in mid-November but they are taking pre-orders now.  When you get it, it will be pre-configured with your Amazon account information…that is cool.

Here are two videos:

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–From the techy’s at CNET.com

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–Some guy playing with Fire (sorry, I had to say that…)–

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You gonna get one?  Comment below!  :-)

VUDU Now Streaming on the iPad

++Originally posted on ForCarol.com++

If you have read our Movie Reviews on this blog, you may have run across the fact that we sometimes watch movies on “VUDU”.  As an engineer, and blogger, several years ago, I tested a new Internet-based streaming technology and LOVED IT!  That was VUDU (see my original blog post raving about it).

We own a VUDU box and it is the BEST…

Well word now comes that Wal-Mart (they bought VUDU a year or so ago) has released the ability for VUDU to work on your iPAD!  How cool is that?  All together now:  VERY COOL!!!

Here is the link to a Forbes article.

I’ll quote a bit of it below, if you are interested.

Walmart Launches Video Service for iPad

MarketNewsVideo.com , 08.10.11, 03:10 PM EDT

Walmart (WMT) said today it has launched its VUDU video-on-demand service for Apples (AAPL) iPad. The service will allow iPad users to rent or buy entertainment content and stream it over their iPad browser, without being obligated to sign up for a subscription, as they are with other services such as Netflix (NLFX).

Walmart said today it has launched its VUDU video-on-demand service for Apples iPad.

The service will allow iPad users to rent or buy entertainment content and stream it over their iPad browser, without being obligated to sign up for a subscription, as they are with other services such as Netflix ( NFLX - news -people ) .

VUDUs library includes more than 20,000 blockbusters, Hollywood classics, independent films and TV episodes.

VUDU movie purchases and rental can also be watched online at walmart.com or vudu.com, as well as on other consumer electronics devices like internet capable TVs, Blu-Ray players, and Sonys () PlayStation 3.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

Barnes & Noble Introduces a New Nook

Surfing the Internet today I spotted this article from the NY Times stating that a new Nook eReader has been introduced!

Very cool.

Here are some basics of the $139 eReader:

It is WiFi only, it uses e-ink technology so glare will not be a problem, the entire display is touch screen, they claim the battery can last (without WiFi turned on) for 2 days, and it has a slot for SD memory expansion.

It weighs 7.48 ounces, and is as thin as a #2 pencil.  It is 6.5 inches tall and 5 inches wide.

Unless I missed it, the article does not say anything about an Android OS or Android apps?  I’ll dig a bit more after I post this….

Here is a page comparing the new Nook to the Kindle 3.

And a page showing the specs….no word about Android…how interesting.  Found it! It is Android (it is on the Nook / Kindle compare page), but, guess what?  No web browsing.  Not sure if that was smart….

Anyway….this looks really cool….I may have to request one for my 60th…ouch.

Information Technology

The world is changing. Rapidly.

Bits are flying over the Internet at an unprecedented pace.

As my loyal reader…..you know my feelings about Cisco and video conferencing, but, it looks to me as though they are getting back to focusing on handling bits….a very good thing.  For everyone!

This commercial by Cisco is interesting.  I LOVE the part where they say that you do not need to be in the office to be productive.

DUH.   Telecommuting = Coworking = Telework

Comments?

Dare I say it?   Cisco rocks?   Ouch….that hurt…. :-)

Oh yeah…the bridge at the end is awesome…again, back to cisco’s roots.

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