Jul 242017
 
Biggs' Labs: Home Automation Progress Update

It was November the last time I talked about my Home Automation and Lab projects; it is time for some updates. Unfortunately I don’t have a lot to tell. The last eight months have been busy on the work front and on the home front. If you know me at all you know that November through the end of December is my craziest time of year. There were a few things I had to sort out that were pretty significant changes to my work and home life. Changes that also require some time to adjust and acclimate. Here is a quick reminder of the projects [… Click to Continue …]

Apr 112017
 
When It's Not Biting The Hand That Feeds You

Everyone knows the old idiom “Don’t Bite the Hand that Feeds You”. It is often used in the context of criticizing someone or some place that helps and/or pays you. It is also often used against me when I’m on one of my Microsoft tirades. Yes, the majority of my job requires me to use Microsoft tools and technology. I think my years of experience, however, gives credence that my rants are not “biting the hand that feeds you“. In my opinion, it’s “biting the hand that’s punching you in the face”. I am going to pick on Microsoft again to illustrate my point because they [… Click to Continue …]

Dec 132016
 
The Era of the Wearable has Plateaued

This coming January will mark four years since I started using FitBit’s fitness devices. During that time we have seen the rise (and fall, in some cases) of other wearable tech devices; Apple Watch, Pebble, Microsoft Band (**snicker**), Garmin. While FitBit wasn’t the first company to create a wearable they certainly figured out how to be a catalyst. A couple of weeks ago one of my co-workers told me FitBit wasn’t doing as well. Today I noticed their stock has been steadily declining. Perhaps the era of the wearable has plateaued. It isn’t a surprise that the wearable tech fad is starting to wane. FitBit did [… Click to Continue …]

Nov 222016
 
Biggs' Labs: Smart Home Phase I [Complete]

The summer presented some additional challenges which pushed back phase I of my smart home project. I am also adding another phase to the project. Every time we see some new appliance or module we immediately start to budget to add said module. Be that as it may, I have updated the project checklist: In Home Network MythTV, Plex and FreeNAS (DVR and Media server) Home Automation Phase I Home Automation Phase II – with Raspberry Pi integration (in progress) Home Automation Phase III (in draft mode) There are many flavors of home automation you can choose from and several factors you should consider before you choose one. How dirty do [… Click to Continue …]

Oct 202016
 
Tech Talk: Lateral Career Development

This Tech Talk is going to be a little different than prior posts in this category. I’m not going to talk about a new gadget, technology milestone or the latest news headline. I want to know what it takes to achieve lateral career development. You can advance your career along two axes. The common route is vertical by getting a promotion, perhaps a title change and some underlings. You can also advance your career along the horizontal axis (i.e. laterally). This is most often accomplished via some form of training. When you improve a skill set or acquire new skill sets, you are a better asset. Depending on your employer, lateral [… Click to Continue …]

Sep 142016
 
Tech Talk: Apple's Decision to Remove the Headphone Jack

Apple has, yet again, sparked relentless controversy on the Internet with their recent announcement of the iPhone 7. The new iPhone will not have the standard headphone jack. You would swear Apple is trying to abolish Twitter. Everyone lost their minds. The ironic thing is Apple isn’t even the first company to do it! Many are going to accuse me of being a fanboy because I support Apple’s decision to remove the headphone jack. My reason is very simple: USB. Folks are clamoring that removing the headphone jack is absurd. The 3.5 mm jack has roots that extend all the way back to 1878 when switchboard operators used 6.35 [… Click to Continue …]