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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Convergence: Phones and Cameras

Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, July 19, 2013
8:51 am

Little did I realize when I was growing up and falling in love with photography and electronics that camera and telephone technologies would converge. Now my kids have grown up taking that convergence for granted. Poor Ziggy is trapped in the past with my parents and others who still resist the inevitable.

Ziggy 130718

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Digital Arizona Broadband Test

General, Technology
Author: Mark Dixon
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
9:16 am


This morning, I responded to an invitation from the Arizona Telecommunications and Information Council to participate in “The Official State of Arizona Internet Speed Test.”

The Digital Arizona Program:

… created an Internet Speed Test and Survey on the Digital Arizona web portal to measure the upload and download (connection) speeds at tens of thousands of locations (i.e. homes, offices, etc.) around the State. The combination of data from large quantities of speed tests along with answers from the related survey questions will be analyzed by the Digital Arizona team to determine potential areas and/or communities that may be poorly served. … This will assist us with our goal of facilitating access to better high-speed Internet service for ALL Arizonans, especially those residing in the rural areas of the State.

Here are my results:



Not bad service!  But, of course, I live in the city of Mesa, AZ, not in a rural area.  We’ll see what service we get during our family reunion in Pinetop-Lakeside, AZ, later in the summer.

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Solaris 11 is Coming!

Author: Mark Dixon
Thursday, October 27, 2011
6:19 pm

What are your plans for November 9th?  Why don’t you plan to join Mark Hurd, John Fowler and an elite cadre of Oracle folks at the Solaris 11 launch at Gotham Hall on Broadway in the Big Apple!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. ET

Gotham Hall, 1356 Broadway at 36th Street, New York, NY 10018

You can register here for an in-person seat.

You’ll take away knowledge of how to build your infrastructure with Oracle Solaris 11 to accelerate internal, public, and hybrid cloud applications, optimize application deployment with built-in virtualization and achieve top performance and cost advantages with Oracle Solaris 11–based engineered systems.


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Rest in Peace, my Floppy Friends

Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, August 26, 2011
4:16 pm

After many years of gathering dust on a shelf in my office, my erstwhile floppy disk friends, containing a veritable cornucopia of hopelessly outdated software and useless data, must go.  I felt an intense inner tug-of-war between my tendencies towards compulsive hoarding (or disposophobia) and my more rational desire for a clean office.  My desire for cleanliness, plus some coaching from my decidedly anti-disposophobia wife, won out, and I carried the floppy disk stash out to the garbage.

Farewell, dear floppy disk.  How many years it will be before my CDs and DVDs join you in the dustbin of history?

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Happy Discovery: Weather in Google Maps

Author: Mark Dixon
Thursday, August 18, 2011
10:39 am

A Lifehacker tweet caught my eye this morning:

From the ‘why wasn’t this part of it before?’ files: weather in Google Maps lifehac.kr/rntesc

What a great addition to Google Maps! For one who travels frequently as I do, the weather overlay on Google Maps is a godsend. Many times during my career, I have showed up somewhere ill-equipped for the weather and had to buy a coat or sweatshirt to survive. Now, if I can only remember to look at Google Maps, I will be much better prepared.

I wonder when it will show up on my iPhone app?

By the way, do you want to visit us in Mesa, AZ? Maybe in November.


However, although the temperature outside is verifiably toasty, my wonderfully air conditioned office registers a mere 78 degrees!

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Happy Discovery – Fluid Apps

Author: Mark Dixon
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
3:27 am

Yesterday, I got tired enough of Tweetdeck intermittently hanging while I tried to check my Twitter feeds that I started checking for an alternative.  I use the Hootsuite app on my iPad, so I checked to see if Hootsuite has a dedicated Mac client.  It doesn’t, favoring a browser-only user interface for Mac and PC.  However, in the search, I stumbled across a blog post by David Chan, outlining how to use Fluid to set Hootsuite up as an dock-able application.  Fluid “lets you create a Real Mac App (or “Fluid App”) out of any website or web application, effectively turning your favorite web apps into OS X desktop apps.”  It essentially dedicates a separate browser instance to each website.

So, I “Fluidized” Hootsuite and liked it so well that I did the same thing to the WordPress Dashboard, where I am writing this post.  I like the capability to have these “apps” in the Mac dock, and really like the ability to use Command-Tab to cycle between them like the rest of my apps. Who knows what my next Fluid App will be!


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Affinity for Obsolete Old Things

Humor, Technology
Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, July 22, 2011
4:16 pm

All our married kids have at least 1 HDTV system in their homes – one son has four!  But their “stuck-in-the-dark-ages” dad still has the same old reliable Sony flat screen 36″ set that was state-of-the-art back in 1997.  I can really identify with Earl Pickles.

And yes, Opal, I may also be an obsolete old thing.

But seriously, when we break down and buy a new HDTV system later this year, what on earth should we do with the Trinitron?  Give it to Earl?

By the way, the ghostly image in the screen is not me bowing in obeisance to the TV Gods.  I am just taking a photo for this blog.

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My Brain on Google

Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, July 15, 2011
5:01 am

I was intrigued by the recent article in IEEE Spectrum entitled “The Web is Your New Memory.”  The author, Erica Westly, observes:

The idea that the Internet has become a sort of “hive mind” is certainly not new, but researchers are still figuring out how the hive mind affects how our own minds work. A study published in today’s Science suggests that the Internet has changed how we remember facts. The study shows that the Web has become a sort of external hard drive for factual information. So instead of remembering specific details, such as who directed the film Casablanca (Michael Curtiz), we remember the name of the website where we can look up that information (IMDb).

That suits me just fine.  I really admire my son who has a near-photographic memory, with an uncanny ability to remember a wide variety of facts and figures.  I once worked for a fellow who could name and discuss every person who had ever coached or starred on any NCAA or NFL team, with the fluency of how a mother discusses her children.

However, I have always been one who was better at remembering how to look up stuff, rather than remember the details.  I’m much better at carefully crafting an analysis report or creating a presentation focused on resolving a specific customer problem than with impressing folks at dinner with quick recall of esoteric facts.  For me, cyberspace has indeed been a blessing for my way of thinking – a vast expansion to my short- and long-term memory.  I keep my to do lists on line, I take almost all my notes on line, I study and annotate scriptures on line … the list goes on and on.  In a way, this blog is as much an extension to my memory as anything.  I often refer to back issues when researching subjects of interest.

So, Erica, I think you are spot on.  But I take a bit of exception to Gary Small, whom you quote:

My guess is that you would see this effect in older subjects. The younger people may have grown up with this technology, but the digital immigrants are catching up.

I’m an old guy, many years removed from college.  But I prefer to think the young folks are catching up with me. After all, I started college before floppy disks were invented … and my online storage has been expanding ever since.


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Happy 100th Birthday, IBM!

Business, Technology
Author: Mark Dixon
Thursday, June 16, 2011
7:34 pm

It was 100 years ago today that the Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation was incorporated through a merger of four companies: the Tabulating Machine Company, the International Time Recording Company, the Computing Scale Corporation, and the Bundy Manufacturing Company.  It’s name was later changed to International Business Machines Corporation.  Today we salute IBM for its innovation and endurance, its ability to remake itself time after time, and for leading the way to the era of modern computing which we now enjoy.

I highly recommend that you read the ZDNet Article, “IBM at 100: 15 inflection points in history” and step through the accompanying photo gallery, “IBM: 100 years of THINKing big.


I love old photos of the big panels with so many flashing lights.  And that guy probably knows what each of those lights means!

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Internet of Things: For Real

General, Technology
Author: Mark Dixon
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
6:01 pm

TendrilLast month, I created a series of posts (one, two, three) about the Internet of Things.  I turns out that one of my colleagues who inspired that series of blog posts is now employed by Tendril, a company that is involved in this Internet of Things business for real.

According to their press release footer:

Tendril is a leading energy platform company that is helping to drive the large-scale deployment of the Smart Grid through the development of forward-thinking solutions as well as its work to establish industry protocols. The Tendril platform provides an open standards-based, scalable and secure end-to-end solution for the Energy Internet – the network for existing and upcoming Smart Grid technologies. With applications, products and services enabled by the platform, Tendril creates a dialogue and marketplace between energy providers, consumers and the energy ecosystem.

The Smart Grid concept will certainly be involved in attaching lots of devices to the Internet. For one intriguing project, Tendril has teamed with Whirlpool to focus on the roll-out of smart home appliances in the US. For example,

For a refrigerator to actively manage its energy consumption, it must be able to quickly, reliably and seamlessly communicate with the electric utility company. … In this case, the refrigerator will automatically move its defrost cycle to a non-peak time without impacting the performance of the appliance.

I like the idea of having smart appliances coordinate with the electric utility to save energy and reduce my energy bill. It will be great to see what companies like Tendril will do to productively contribute to the Internet of Things.


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