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Category Archives: Technology

Personal Streaming – and what you’re going to want to share

personal-cloudWe are becoming a society that excessively shares.  From creating online photo albums for family to tweeting about what we had for lunch, we share our lives with those around us becoming a nation and society where personal boundaries are slowly eroding.  In my humble opinion, I believe this is helping us stay connected with those too far away to talk to every day.  Data and the proliferation of the ability to store through third parties has allowed us to follow the most minute details of friends long forgotten, keeping that friendship strong when daily contact is no longer available.

So why, with all this access to technology and the trends of over sharing would we not start streaming some of our more exciting events with friends and family who could not otherwise celebrate with us? 

Being a tech-geek at heart, I jumped on this bandwagon of early adapters and have streamed many life events since moving across the country and away from my family.  From graduations to baby showers, my family has always been invited to share without having to fork over $500+ for a plane ticket to Boston.

Now, it seems, this trend is starting to take off and there are many companies out there evangelizing on this next generation event attendance.  Teams of people can show up to your Wedding and broadcast it for all to see, allowing brides the small/intimate wedding of their dreams without having to offend second cousins and long lost friends.  I can even see a future where these broadcasts are retained in the cloud, eliminating the need for home movies collecting dust on book shelves.

What events would you share?

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2013 in Technology

 

How the Cloud is Transforming the way New Yorkers Commute

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Imagine, waking up and heading downstairs for your daily commute by bike. But instead of unlocking your own personal bike, you log into an app on your iPhone and check the status of the closest bike hub walk down and grab a ride. This is what thousands of New Yorkers are doing today.

Owning a bike in a big city can be cumbersome. First you have to worry about daily maintenance, pumped up tires and oiled chains. Then, you are ultimately worrying about theft and is your bike secured in a good location.
New York City transportation took these concerns and turned, like so many large cities today, to bike share. Customers, or citizens of NY, are able to get a bike card (think monthly train card) and take out bikes on demand for kiosks around the city. This is a fantastic program that not only promotes physical activity, but dramatically reduces congestion for local travel, which is a major problem for anyone who has ever visited the big apple.

Now, I’m not sure how many people have used these bike share programs before; but coming from a major consumer I can tell you finding bikes where you want them and then finding spaces available at your final destination is a serious issue. It always seems like the bikes are congested together at the same hubs leaving me stranded with no where to park.

Enter New York’s sophisticated cloud! New York’s transportation department generated an app that customers can download onto their iPhone allowing them to check the status of different hubs around the city; letting them know where they can pick up a bike, and where they can drop it off. Additionally, city workers can monitor for congestion and use patterns so that they can move bikes to where they are missing. This cloud media is allowing the city and its citizens to commute faster and more efficiently, which makes you think: what can the cloud do for you?

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Technology

 

How the cloud has brought my family together

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From a personal standpoint, I never really thought much about my own personal data or ever needing to use “the cloud”. For the most part my data consumption outside of work has been, up to this point, very limited. And then it happened I had a baby. Being 3000 miles away from my family, everyone was asking for new ways to connect and be a part of Nolan’s (cute name right!) life through technology.

To help our long distance family members watch as Nolan grows we set up a Picasa library that anyone could log into and see our daily escapades. This, I found, was an amazing and terrible mistake. After just a few days we got tons of requests from Grandparents to load up MORE photos. Thinking my son is the most adorable thing on the planet, I was happy to oblige. Now, 3 months down the road we are still going strong. In addition to having a great place to share, I feel great knowing all of his first days are backed up somewhere besides my own personal computer. Plus, it’s a lot of free storage, which at the rate I’m going we would need our own personal NAS!

With the proliferation of data sharing through Facebook, YouTube and Picasa the need to stay close to home isn’t as great. This made me stop and think: how did families stay this strongly connected BEFORE cloud? So, I’d like to throw out a big thank-you to the many companies investing in cloud technologies so that we can continue to stay connected to the ones we love.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2013 in Life, Technology

 

The emergence of Big Data, and what it means for consumers

Do you feel like you’re being watched?  Well,  you  are.  In today’s digital proliferation, companies are becoming smarter in the way they research and understand their consumers.  Notably, we can see this online, while surfing, shopping, networking, or just emailing.  Have you noticed how the advertisements that pop-up seem to match your interests?  Just how did Amazon know I would buy the next Nora Roberts novel?

The answer lies in IT, and the development of Big Data analytics.  IT was often times considered a money pit, constantly pulling resources from other parts of (your?) business. Data analytics have transformed IT into an integral part of marketing and business development.  Gone are the days of mass emails and blanket marketing.   Companies are now able to collect HUGE amounts of data on their customers’ hobbies, interests, personalities and perhaps most importantly, their buying trends. The data enables highly specialized marketing campaigns, reduced costs and increased  ROI of marketing blitzes.

 So, as a consumer, should we be afraid of “big brother” watching our buying trends and knowing when and how we are going to purchase?  Personally, I like the new model.  I enjoy only receiving commercials on Hulu that I want to watch and getting coupons at the grocery store for products I was planning on buying anyways.  With the proliferation of data analytics and the migration to a digital world, we can only expect our world to become more customized.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2013 in Storage, Technology

 

Netflix, and their move to the cloud

Over the past couple of years we have seen a slow migration in the way consumers purchase and view entertainment. Originally, there was only one way to rent a movie. You would need to run down to the movie store and obtain a physical copy. As technology slowly took over, and internet connections were upgraded to allow home users the same high speed bandwidths as large corporations, a new invasive technology arose: the internet based rental. This invasive technology originated with just a few start-ups, most notably Netflix, but within a few years the larger corporations realized the profitability of this new market and also decided to jump in, enter Amazon and the major cable providers.

With more and more material being made available via streaming straight to your TV through your cable provider and less new content available on Netflix, where does this leave the once major giant of online streaming?

In a major fight for lowering their cost of operations and to continue to maintain profitability Netflix’s VP of IT, Mike Kale, has decided to migrate 95% of their internal operations to the cloud and utilize new SaaS products. With this move, Kale is looking to outsource the tedious tasks of HW refreshes and outages and focus more on the application side of the house. But, with the recent outages they have been experiencing with Amazon’s AWS, is a fully private cloud the right move?

While moving to “the cloud” sounds like a great advantage, many IT professionals miss the inherent dangers that migrating all of your data to someone else’s charge. Primarily, you’re no longer in charge of your data! That means you have no say in when scheduled outages occur, the type of disaster recovery that is in place, and if you are utilizing SaaS…how to you get your data back if you decide to use a different platform? And, who actually “owns” that data? This was a major question when international poker companies were keeping their data in US based clouds.

While migrating to the cloud provides start-ups and small businesses the opportunity to run an Enterprise level IT department within their budget and can be a great place for tier two data where service levels are more lenient, I am surprised that a giant like Netflix is willing to risk their primary data and their business to someone else’s control, especially after their Christmas disaster with AWS.

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2013 in Technology