Monday, July 28, 2014

Smart Watches Not Ready for Prime Time

They look cool but they are not ready for prime time.
I take a few weeks off and the entire world looks like it is falling apart.  Israelis and Palestinians are killing each other again.  The saber rattling in the Ukraine has claimed the lives of innocent airline passengers and my Chicago White Sox’s continue to grapple with mediocrity.  It makes me grateful that I can concentrate on my work and my business.  This week on the blog I would like to discuss something which is all the rage; mobile computing.

It has been no secret that I have been spending the last three years talking about how two major trends are changing computing and how you run your business.  This first was the growth of cloud computing which makes it possible to manage your IT infrastructure for pennies on the dollar.  The other is the rise of mobile computing where smart phones and tablets are taking over the computing world.  As part of this trend it the rise of Google Glass and other wearable computers. 

If you are not familiar, Google Glass was a skunk works project which makes it possible to wear a computer on your face like a pair of eyeglasses.  The user can record video and surf the net just by using your glasses.  It is expensive and the users of the product have created a tremendous amount of resentment among those who aren't decked out with the devices.  As a business owner you can see the potential for the product.  Having people in your warehouse scan bar codes using glasses only.  Truck drivers could get directions beamed to their glasses.  Using facial recognition technology police could use them pull up information about criminals.  Sadly, this technology is still in its infant stages so these dreams will have to wait until the Google Glass gets cheaper and they have more useful applications.

This brings me to the next big thing in technology.  Smart watches are now being debuted for consumer public and it is clear that while they are a good next step they are not ready for prime time.  First, the products require an Android device to connect to so they cannot work on their own but rather behave like Bluetooth devices.  Next the devices are big, heavy and clunky.  You can wear the watch but it looks more like a phone strapped to your wrist than a watch.  Finally, the devices are power hungry so they need to be charged with the same frequency as your phone. 

These devices are going to be great but right now I recommend that you wait until the technology is perfected.  They remind me of an old Saturday Night live parody commercial from the 1970's for the “Chromega” digital watch; in order to tell time you needed three sets of hands to operate it. 

I am a big fan of technology and the next big thing but I am going to wait a while before I get a smart watch.
Until next time. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Things you learn on Vacation

Getting some exercise on vacation.
The blog has been on hiatus for the last three weeks because I have taken some time off to rest and recharge.  In that time, I witnessed a family member get married and I experience some of the American frontier.  Now that I am starting to settle back into my usual routine; I wanted to share with my readers what I have learned.

First of all, I desperately needed some time off.  I was working during the week over fifty hours and struggling to maintain my business at night and on weekends.  It took an emotional and physical toll upon me.  I was eating poorly.  My sleep cycle was swinging wildly between insomnia and twelve hour power naps on weekends.  I also noticed that it was becoming increasingly difficult to concentrate on anything.  I was a textbook definition of burnt out.

The next thing I notices is that when I finally got on the road on my trip to Jackson, Wyoming was that the cycle of my work had become so consuming it took about three days before I stopped checking mail from the office.  I felt like I should be doing something when what I really should have been doing is enjoying myself. I was exhibiting the pathology many professionals suffer and it was the inability to disconnect.

I also noticed that relationships with my family were frayed and that I needed to spend time with them.  Most of my cousins are grown and have spouses and children of their own.  I began to reconnect with them.  It was a nice and a chance to focus on what was important.  It amazed me what remarkable people my cousins has become in their adult years.

The good news was that Jackson was the perfect antidote to my self-induced fatigue.   The altitude was bracing for a Midwestern fellow like me.  The scenery reminded me how important nature is in our lives.  I also attended one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever witnesses with the Grand Teton Mountains acting as the cathedral.  I even got to get some exercise which I have been neglecting for most of my career.

While I was away a few things became obvious to me.  First, when you are striving to be successful the only people who are going to be in your corner are family.  Next Jackson, Wyoming is a weird mixture of conspicuous wealth and rugged cowboy heritage.  The juxtaposition is very disorienting.  Finally, for most of my trip I could not escape the presence of the technologies which are responsible for my livelihood.

The great frontier is no different than my sweet home Chicago.  Tourists fill the streets listening to music streaming on smart phones.  Jackson had 4G LTE service.  Tablet computers and laptops were being user openly in the national parks.  Finally, all of my pictures were taken with my phone.  You can try to escape the 21st century but it keeps finding you.

All of the revelations were good for me and I look forward to getting back to work and making sense of my business.  We are also working on a new project for the business which we will be sharing on-line soon.  It is nice taking time off and I am glad that you could indulge me.

Until next time.