The Return of Tech Times – The Podcast

Tech Times Podcast

Greetings all,

If you’re fortunate enough to have Labor Day off and not working as I type this, I hope you’re enjoying the weekend.

This post signifies the return of a podcast I started back in the Summer of 2013, entitled Tech Times. It started out as an answer to the annual AudioMo challenge and evolved into a podcast I actually enjoyed doing. Part of the enjoyment came via the ease of using my iPhone to record the episodes on the go and quickly upload them, with tags and artwork, to the then BLIMS server associated with the ADN (Application Developer Network) for streaming and/or download. ADN was primarily a place for developers to talk software coding, app development, and the like, but subjects were wide open beyond that. It was a user run, free microblog, with the developers creating the infrastructure and apps to build it. It was like a young Twitter without the advertisements and other aspects that Twitter is now known for. A nice breath of fresh air with great members. With ADN going away, that site has now evolved to Pnut which is essentially the same as ADN with many of the same users. I’m fortunate to have been able to grandfather in after the transition, and still engage their regularly.

After listening back to all of the previous Tech Time episodes today, I found it interesting to compare what was then to what is now, in terms of how the technology of these topics evolved. That said, I’ve decided to continue the podcast by now employing the ever simple to use Anchor app in the iOS Store. It didn’t take long for me to create the trailer episode, add background music from the app’s library, add tags, and submit for possible upload to a number of different streaming services, including Spotify, pending approval.

I’ll be posting episodes 11 through 22, one a day, through the middle of September, then start the new episodes after.

So yes, this should be fun again, especially talking about my thoughts on some of the current technology that wasn’t even in existence or barely in existence 5 – 6 years ago, as well as those that have evolved. You can stream the new episodes after 11 Sep 19 here: Tech Times – The Podcast. Hope you enjoy listening.

oceans of rhythm,
Fresh!

  • PNut (nee ADN)
  • Tech Times – The Podcast
  • Bot fun (no, not the social media type): Mindstorms NXT + Android

    Greetings all, hope all is well.

    I’m an AFOL. You may be asking what that is. I grew up playing with and very much enjoying Lego as a child, back in the day, like in the 70s (LOL). Since it has evolved, just as I have, I never really lost interest and have become an AFOL (Adult Fan Of Lego). If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen a few recent tweets from me on just how much this “play system” has evolved, especially in the area of robotics. I started getting into the Lego Mindstorms robotics kits about six years ago – nothing heavy, just dabbling here and there. It got to the point where I developed a six week summer camp Mindstorms Robotics curriculum for my son’s school and got involved with the local 4H chapter to see how that curriculum could be evolved for the next year, as well as help me with one of his school science projects involving robotics.

    In any event, I got the urge to play around with a simple bot I built some time ago and found an Android app that I downloaded to my daughter’s old Droid. Took it for a spin last night. This kinda rekindled my interest in it again because I hope to be doing some software coding for it next year, to use along side the graphical user interface code blocks programming app designed by Lego (these kits are used by young kids all over the world so… 🙂 )

    Anyway, that’s it for now. Should be fun getting back into it when I have time as it’s technically stimulating, for sure.

    oceans of rhythm,
    Fresh!

    POTD – 19/365

    Life is a sport, make it count.

    Happy 7th birthday to the NikeFuel Band. I won’t wax poetically about this fitness tracker because I’ve provided a number of previous blog posts I’ve done that go into depth about my relationship with it. Breaking with the one-photo-a-day approach, I’ve included a few of my favorite video and images in honor of today.

    The Fuel Baand wasn’t just designed to be an activity tracker but also as a bit of fashion statement, as with there gold and silver editions.

    Unlike the Apple Watch, the idea behind the NikeFuel band was to track all kinds of activity. If memory serves me correctly, the Fuel Band tracked 288 types of activities, and allowed for customized input of ANY activity, as opposed to the Apple Watch which iists 66 different workouts, including an entry called “Other” which only allows you to save the workout as “Other” or one of the 66 in the watch’s list. Below is an excellent video explain what’s behind the idea of the FuelBand.

    And this video is the official launch of the NikeFuel Band (it’s about 40 mins long).

    There’s still a good number of folks that wish the FuelBand would return, despite the ups and downs it faced. I really, really enjoyed its entire concept.

    Have a great day!
    Fresh

    References:

    1. Why The NikeFuel Band in 2017 – Band on The Run
    2. Apple Watch Calories to NikeFuel Points
    3. Farewell NikeFuel Band, It’s been a sheer pleasure

    POTD – 17/365

    “….Adele got a flip phone…”

    Greetings all…

    I’m a bit of a gadget monger. While I don’t keep every bit of outdated, dead tech (I’m about to throw some on eBay and Craigslist though), I have kept a few devices. Kept not only for nostalgia, but good memories of using them as my tech journey continued along. One item I fondly remember using is the Motorola Razr V3 above. It was my second mobile phone and I loved everything about it, from its sleek design, lines, futuristic look, operation, and form factor. After leaving it for two BlackBerrys and then the iPhone, I always wished I would still be able to use it on current networks. It was early last year that I actually became weary of all the convenient technological features (believe it or not) of my great iPhone and actually longed for the days of simplicity (and truthfully far less distraction) of a mobile phone.

    Surprisingly, Verizon announced today that they are re-introducing the Razr V3 in limited quantities, only 200,000…but the cost of $1500 a pop…$1500?? No. I’m sure there are those with pockets deep enough to easily scarf one or two of these apparent “collectibles” up, but…nah. At the same time, I’m glad to see it back. If they were to release one at a far cheaper cost, I’d highly consider going back, even if Adele didn’t have a flip phone😏. (Sunny Mabrey is mad hilarious! LOL)

    Peace,
    Fresh

    Reference:

    1. A New Motorola Razr Will Be Released This Year as a $1500 foldable phone | Android Central

    POTD – 16/365

    “There ‘s an app for that.”

    I started seriously, or maybe I should say consistently, going to the gym in my very late 20’s…(yeah, yeah, there have been a FEW hiatuses, but that’s not what this post is about,😂)…long before the iPhone or any wearable fitness tracker was even in existence. It was then that I recorded all my workout data in a notebook: pen and paper.

    Fast forward to 2019, when wearables are still the rage and smartphones are pretty ubiquitous, and everyone’s fitness data touches the cloud (if you use these devices for such) at some point. Yes, it makes it convenient, even motivating for sure, but there are still times I write down stuff in notebook – easy access, no power needed, right there whenever I need it on a sunny day (in other words, no “clouds” (get it??) in sight.

    Best,
    Fresh

    POTD – 11/365

    …and you’re complaining about that download time, huh?

    So, yeah… New Year’s Day, early in the wee hours of the morning, there was a celebration of another type going on at my job. The photo above explains it all – it’s a certificate marking a historic event of a flyby of a mission by NASA and Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab.

    In short, I’ll explain what happens next, a process that is typical of all space missions that gather images for relay back to earth for science processing. Such images are stored on the spacecraft, just as you would save them to your mobile device, computer, or the cloud, until transmission to earth takes place. The New Horizon spacecraft has SSD (solid state drives – hard drives) that store the images taken of Ultimate Thule as the flyby occurred. In this case, during the flyby, it was known that the spacecraft would “go dark” (meaning that there would be no communications with Earth) as the camera was taking the photos – all could go successfully or there could be any kind of anomaly – either way neither could be known in dark mode. Fortunately, communication back to Earth after the flyby sequence essentially meant the spacecraft saying “Hey, my SSD is full and I’m going to start sending you images back to you!” – which is just what began happening. The interesting thing with the design of this is NASA wanted to study the images as soon as possible BUT in order to do so, low resolution images are the first to be sent because of their size with respect to the distance from Earth the spacecraft is. It will be *two years* from now until any hi-res images will reach Earth. So…the next time you’re crying about how lonnnnnng it’s taking to download your file (raises hands)….think about the Ultima Thule images 😏🙂.

    Peace…

    Fresh

    Where in the world is…(my privacy)?

    unsplash-logoNESA by Makers

    NP: Daneel – Debris (Inner Ocean Records)

    Greetings, all…

    I’ve been out of the blogopshere for awhile, but this topic has been brewing within me for months. As you’ve probably guessed by know, it’s on the aspect(s) of data privacy in this, today’s information age. I can go on for, seemingly, forever citing the many data breaches report on in the news over the last few years – everything from Yahoo, to the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management, to Equifax, to Strava, to the latest faux pas’ involving Facebook and Google. While they all are about personal data (or what I like to also call Personally identifiable information (PII)), what I’m going to write about here more aligns itself with location awareness data.

    As we all know, the explosion of location awareness really took off with the invention of GPS, but with respect to social media, the sheer personal alignment came with marrying it to mobile phones and GPS enabled smart watches. I really took notice of it after reading an article in Wired Magazine entitled “I am Here: One Man’s Experiment With The Location-Aware Lifestyle”. This article (see the reference at the end of the post), almost ten years old, really enlightened me to the implications (good and bad) of location awareness. Fast forwarding to today, location awareness capabilities are deeply pervasive. Again, with respect to the social media world, many people see it as welcomed convenience, if not a boon. I personally don’t see it as the latter. While there are aspects and applications of it that are truly welcomed by me in some situations I could name here, the act of using it – just because I can – doesn’t interest me at all. The primary reason is because of the vast development of the technology when it comes who and how location awareness data is being collected and what it is used for. While I certainly have nothing to hide, I dislike the fact that my location awareness data, in the most innocent sense, can be used, in so many ways, to market ads to me – marketing in which I have NO INTEREST WHATSOVER. The fact that this data can be collected against my will, brokered and sold to whoever can male use of it, bothers me, bothers me to the point where I refuse to give it up, willy nilly. I won’t even get in to the aspects of how it can be used for ill purposes (geolocation meta data on photographs uploaded to the web, aggregation of data regarding every place I traveled for a day, how long I’ve been on vacation (or similar) away from my home for ANYWAY to know and for how long simply because I keep uploading pics and status everyday I am gone, checked into, established I reviewed on Yelp, or similar, ultrasonic beacons being used to assess my shopping habits and likes when in a clothing store, etc, etc). The issue I have with apps (especially those smaller companies), is while they ensure that your data is protected via their technical design and terms of service, they can no longer ensure your data will be protected in the same way if their company is purchased by another company. What happens to my, one protected data, then? Sure, this is an everyday, common issue, but still…

    I know what you’re thinking….”He’s paranoid, for sure”.
    .
    .
    .
    (cues Paranoia Will Destroy Ya/Black Sabbath)
    .
    .
    .
    Honestly, because “1984” (and then some) has been here for a minute – I’d agree with you – to a certain extent. Now that you’ve read this far, what do you think? Is it even passe’ to be paranoid at all in this day of of the information age. Is it something we should just accep? I’ve had this conversation with two friends of mine, two I consider to be technically adept, and they both gave me some interesting opinions. They are as follows:

    1) Brian Tramuel (@btramuel). He’s is an avid user of the Gyroscope app and is even found on their website with a featured story. Not only is he an avid user, but a subscriber to their pro app (Gyroscope has a free version which I use daily and really like). Essentially Brian’s take on location awareness is not unusual, hey…it may even be common – “Every one is being tracked. The net, for as long as I’ve been using it, has tons of info on me already, so it doesn’t really matter nor am I bothered with putting my location awareness out there.

    3) DarrenKeith Wyatt (@myloveformusic2). He made an interesting comment regarding the concern of today’s generation vs future generations. If I recall correctly, his thought was that future generations will have a far greater concern with data privacy, in general, than this current generation. I found that intriguing, because I’d say the opposite – I think it will become SO normal in the future that the concern will vanish.

    In short, we are being tracked via cellphone tower triangulation all day everyday. I’m not one to purposely hand over location awareness data freely, 24/7. I continually monitor my app settings on my phone to only use location awareness when needed by me, I make certain (as best as I can) not to embed location data in EXIF data on my digital photos upload to the internet, and a few other things, and try not to post information about my location (DIRECTLY) at anyone given PRESENT time (although it could be inferred if makes the effort of aggregating enough data points (if many) at said given time). Yeah, call it paranoid if you want, but that’s “how I roll”) (pun intended).

    I’m truly interested on your take, your opinion…feel free to leave a comment or two (or ten).

    Thanks for the read,
    Fresh!

    References:
    1. I am Here: One Man’s Experiment With The Location-Aware Lifestyle (Wired, 2009)
    2. GPS on Wikipedia
    3. Ultrasonic Tracking – A Twenty Thousand Hertz podcast
    4. Gyroscope – The Operating System For The Human Body

    Farewell, FuelBand….it’s been a sheer pleasure.

    Greetings all,
    It’s Friday, 10:31PM EST to be exact, and I’m glad that the start of a long(er) weekend is here.

    This post is about the end of a journey, a journey that began with the use of what became a fitness tracking device I became very fond of. While I won’t rehash all my feelings about it in this post, I’ll provide links to previous posts that you can read, should you be so inclined. The beginning of the end of the journey began on 20 April of this year. That is the day that Nike officially shutdown the Nike Plus website and pulled the Nike+ Connect app as well as the iOS NikeFuel and Moves App from the app store. The API was no longer available for quite sometime and the Nike Fuel Developer Site was also shut down. What this meant for users of the Fuel Band, Nike GPS Watch, and a number of other legacy Nike fitness tracking devices was that they were no longer able to sync their data or change any current user profile data to the Nike website. This also meant that once the device’s memory was full, it would essentially become useless. The day the announcement went up on Nike’s site, there was mixed emotions around the interwebs. Those emotions pretty much centered around two camps: 1) I haven’t used mine in YEARS/It broke, and 2) Being pretty much upset that Nike discontinued all support (even though they stopped selling it new years ago). With bearing much repeating, Nike and Apple eventually agreed to integrated NikeFuel into the four OS apps – Nike Fuel, Moves, Nike Run Club (NRC) , Nike Training Club (NTC). With April 30th arriving, Nike Fuel and Moves got the boot from the app store. Along with that, the Nike Training App ceased to generate NikeFuel points from their workouts (which I was not happy with – especially going back with the dolts at Nike Support who took about four Twitter messages to finally answer my question “Will the NTC app continue to track NikeFuel points because you didn’t make that clear in your website announcement).

    That said, I was only able to track NikeFuel points via the NRC app…the issue there is…I’m not a regular runner, so that wasn’t going to me any good in tracking on a daily basis. As you’ll see from the previous posts below, I had already cobbled some math together that would allow me to “estimate” NikeFuel points derived from Apple Watch calories so this was going to be my way of tracking Fuel points once the Fuel Band ceased to work. I wore the Apple Watch and the Fuel together from 1 May to tonight (it’s still on my wrist). Since then, I became an admin in the Apple Watch Fitness Fans Group on Facebook, and continually posted my stats and photos of the band in that group.

    Since since the website and apps were no longer available, I had to now log my daily Fuel points manually. Since I have a wee bit of knowledge in using Excel, I developed a spreadsheet to enter the daily goals into. I also created a graph that was a mild facsimile of the one used on the Nike Plus site. In a notes column, I entered anytime I logged Fuel points by using the NRC app, along with any workout exercises that added to my daily points.

    This has been going since 1 May. Graphical data for the past four months. My Fuel Band user buddy, Hope asked me why I won’t continued until the band’s data is maxed out. I decided to only track dated for whole months. The band is giving me the “Memory Low -Sync Now” warning, which means it can be filled up anyday now, so I’ve decided to call it quits tonight, the last day of the month. Here’s what the data looks like since May 1.


    Monthly Avg.: 2265
    Exceeded Goal by: 67.7%


    Monthly Avg.: 2299
    Exceeded Goal by: 76.7%


    Monthly Avg.: 22384
    Exceeded Goal by: 77.4%


    Monthly Avg.: 2142
    Exceeded Goal by: 58.1%

    And the grand total Nike Fuel Points earned (23 Sep 17 through 31 Aug 2018): 641,206

    I spent the last week of July in Jamaica, came back in August and slacked off – hence the lower stats. LOL. nike has stated in its Fuel Band FAQ the band can go for about 30 to 45 days (max) without before the memory fills up and needs to sync with the website to empty the memory I believe I was able to extend that time frame because as of May 1st, my daily goal was only at 2000 points and the highest goal I reached in the past four months a little over 4000 (as seen above).

    Well, tomorrow starts tracking Fuel points via the Apple Watch. I was fortunate enough to connect with a Sr. Data Scientist at Nike who worked on the Fuel band, who was kind enough to vet my math and provide some comments and suggest corrections for the conversion to be as accurate as possible, considering difference in accelerometer technology between the Apple Watch and the Fuel band. For those interested (see my previous posts via the links below on how I got started with this), I use this simple formula to continue tracking NikeFuel points using the Apple Watch:

    [AW calories x 3.84]/0.892]
    .

    In addition, I was able to connect with some other employees that worked on Fuel band development, I was told that Nike had some discussion about releasing the Nike+ Connect (desktop) app as open source, but later found out that it is not on their list of priorities. There have been a few people who were able to establish bluetooth low energy (BLE) connectivity with the band and log certain types of data. There’s a software engineer I connect with on Twitter who has been working on doing the same in his spare time but, again, that is low priority.

    On a whim last night, I decided to do one last Google search on the band, this time via Behance’s website. Behance is a portal for creators of illustration, photographic, animation, and product design content. To my surprise, I came across the work of Valentin Dequidt and his “recent” concept idea for a Nike Fuel Watch. Totally fell in love with what I saw. Here are two graphics of it.

    For the entire concept, click on the link below.

    NikeFuel Watch Concept – Valentin Dequidt

    Well that’s it. It is officially Sept 1 (12:09 am). Goodbye Fuel Band 🙂 There never was and will never be another fitness tracker that will take the approach to fitness/activity tracking the way you did. The advertising Nike put into it’s ecosystem was phenomenal.

    Nike Fuel Band "The Inside Story" from New North Sound on Vimeo.

    It was a long post I know. I appreciate you taking the time to read it!

    peace!
    Fresh!

    References:
    1. The NikeFuel Band SE in 2017: Band On The Run
    2. Apple Watch calories to NikeFuel Points: An experiment
    3. Nike Discontinues NikeFuel Legacy Devices and Software

    The Phone Zone – Lessons in Reduction

    Greetings and good evening….

    As is often said, “Where did the month go?” Three more days until we enter in the last quarter of 2018. It’s just after 9pm and it was a long day at work – two hour meeting followed by coming up to speed on various aspects of the current mission I’m working on, via a lot of reading. Top that off with the fact I should have gotten my tail in the bed earlier last night.

    In any event, those of you that have been following my many blog posts this month, Darrenkeith and I have been on an accountability journey regarding this sabbatical we’ve both taken from Facebook, Instagram, and a few other social media sites (save Twitter), waxing philosophically as we go. As said earlier, what I thought (in the beginning) was spending too much time engaged in social media turned out that the result of that was the lack of putting my phone *away and out of sight*. I’m convinced now that is the crux of the issue – an issue that I’m glad became clear during this sabbatical. I’ve read and shared a few articles with you on the subject already and came across one that I shared with Darrenkeith this morning. It was interesting because it involved a handful of subjects who sought to deal with this particular issue in their own, separate ways. I’ll share a link to that article below. I’d be interested in reading your comments on the article. in addition, there is a podcast that I recently listened to that provides fantastic insight and balance on the exact topic of this blog post, it talks to considerations of persuasive technology.

    Suffice it say, I’ve come up with a number things I plan to put in to play in hopes of dealing with the same, in a way that I hope to prove beneficial. That said, if I am a lot slower in getting back to you via text, Messenger, Twitter DM, and the like, as Jermaine Jackson sang “Don’t Take It Personal….” (it truly isn’t)… just attempting to return to a time, long, long, ago (LOL) of less distraction from mobile device-ism, less “device dopamine hits” and more movements towards being in a “tech-less” moment and goals achieving state.

    In a few days, I’ll reactivate my FB account and deactivate my personal Instagram account but keep two music production Instagram sites for branding purpose – the only difference this time is that neither FB or IG apps will be back on my phone. All (what I continue to be) my best photos will be seen from my Flickr account from here on out. The pleasure of blogging from my own “theater” has returned this month, so be on the lookout for this relationship:

    content creation > content consumption
    (where content = blogposts/music/podcasts/photography/code/film score music and video)

    Come 1 Sept, the rubber (of the sabbatical) meets the road (of reality) – let’s see what sticks after a month off.

    Thanks for bearing with me….

    :::oceans of rhythm:::

    Fresh!

    References:
    1. Tech Titans Dish Advice About Phone Addiction – Great Escape – Medium
    2. This World My Life – Darrenkeith
    3. “Persuasive Technology” from Let’s Know Things – A podcast about context and the news.

    NP: Lovely Standards/Amel Larriuex

    Social Media Sabbatical (SMS): Day 23 – 23 Aug 18 – Using less social media – Pt. 3

    Greetings all…

    Long work week, but the good thing is one more day left, until a two-day break from it all. So, as those who have been keeping up know, I have eight more days until this FB/Instagram/Reddit/etc social media break OFFICIALLY ends. One major thing I have learned up to now is that it turns out it wasn’t just the social media scrolling that I thought was the issue. What I believe the truer issue is…constantly having the phone in my hand which leads to said scrolling every time I subconsciously needed that “dopamine hit”.

    I came across an interesting article a few days ago that I purposely saved for this blog post – one that I find totally ironic. The title of the article is

    Use the New Tools in iOS 12 and Android 9 Pie to Fight Your Phone Addiction.

    I think you may be able to understand why I find this ironic. I do get it, in that the said features in both operating systems are supposed to make you aware of how much time your spending surfing, scrolling, clicking, and the like, in hopes that, in time, you will spend less time doing it. Thing is, the very thing it is trying to get you to do…involves the same tool you are trying to get away from.

    For me, I have no interest in the tools. What I do have an interest for is continuing what I have attempted over the last week and that is just to “put the phone down”. Foundationally, it’s that simple…no?

    My mom is staying with us for sometime, I sat down to eat dinner after I came home from work today and (this is a perfect example) pulled out my phone to check my Twitter feed while my plate was in front of me. In true “nother mode” she says…”Can’t you eat without your phone in your hand?” She was timely (as usual), but this time…so very, very correct.

    That has been my biggest insight out of this sabbatical…admitting that I subconsciously had some form of FOMO, something I always said I didn’t have. Realizing and admitting it’s something to be dealt with, I’m up for overcoming the challenge.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks for the read…

    peace,
    Fresh!