7 Tech Predictions for 2014

I feel compelled to make my first post of 2014 one of those non-evergreen prediction posts that will let everyone look back a year from now and see how wrong I was. Here’s my cliche New Year’s Post

It’s a new year in tech and that means we have another 12 months of new technology to look forward to.

I’ve already read a few tech prediction articles for 2014, so some of these may have popped in my head from somewhere else.

  1. Google+ will become more widely adopted as the platform is forced into relevancy by Google changing their web search algorithms to favor their social media users.
  2. A dominating Motorola phone will be released or announced. The iphone was brought down a few pegs by Samsung and its Galaxy line. I’m looking forward to seeing what Google does with its new hardware line.
  3. Windows phone will stick around. Poor Microsoft just can’t hit a winning streak, but Office 360 and the hardware in Windows phones will keep MS in the mobile game.
  4. Windows 8 Second Edition. There are a lot of great improvements in Windows 8, but they don’t make up for getting rid of the start menu. 8.1 helped a little, but it’s not done yet.
  5. Quora will double in size and popularity. It’s a great platform. Like Wikipedia back in 2005, but more social.
  6. YouTube will become a major TV network. This might take a little longer than a year to happen, but it will become much more obvious in 2014 that Google wants YouTube to be bigger than Fox.
  7. Twitter (TWTR) stock hits 100. I don’t know much about the market, but I know we’re just beginning to see what Twitter can do.

I think 7 is enough–that’s half of 14.

Happy New Year everyone!

Future of Health Technology Infographic

Looking through my blog today made me think it needs more pictures, so I googled tech picI scrolled through the results until something caught my eye–naturally it was an infographic that kinda resembled the symbol for the Galactic Empire. Original Link

Infographics are one of the greatest byproducts of Web 2.0. They allow people to visually arrange information in a way that is easy to digest. A complicated topic can be simplified and arranged according to informational flow and different categories. I think the standardization of infographs will change the way people share information and learn.

Imagine a constitutional amendment for the digital age that required laws to be written in a manner that could be explained to the people with simple information graphics and charts.

The infographic below does a great job outlining the possible future of Health Technology.

Here is a breakdown of the Main categories:

  1. Regeneration
  2. Treatments
  3. Bio-Gerontology
  4. Telemedicine (Remote Doctors)
  5. Diagnostics
  6. Augmentation

It also mentions some neat technology including:

  • Synthetic & Artificial Organs
  • 3D Printers
  • Life Extension
  • Cryonics
  • Remote Virtual Presence
  • Mobile Health
  • Big Data
  • Sensors (Internal/External)
  • Neuroprosthetics
  • Sensory Augmentation

Health Technology Infographic

How Tech Fails Impact Health

Happy Freelance Friday folks! Today, I have been thinking about how an office technology failure has impacted my health this week. Since my office is also my home, some other freelance tech workers might be able to relate.

My home office setup is pretty good. I have two separate workstations. In my bedroom, there is a desktop using the Standing Desk I built. I use this computer primarily for writing and gaming. Sometimes for reading when I feel like standing. I feel more creative on my feet, and I can dance while I work.

In my front room, I have a 32-inch screen on a stand with a sitting desk in front where I put my laptop. In this setup I use dual screens–TV above the laptop. I use this workstation for control panel management, reading news and blogs, doing research, website maintenance, social media, Web 2.0 platforms etc. I have to sit while multi-tasking.

This is how I work to stay healthy. I usually spend 30-40% of my time at my standing desk and log about a half mile a day walking back-and-fourth between my workstations. Sometimes I setup obstacles in my apartment so I have to step-over or duck-under things. I also have a 6ft piece of bamboo that I use to stretch with throughout the day.

Last week, the computer at my standing desk had a mechanical failure. The timing of the fail was a double bummer because I had just purchased a Humble Bundle of games for Steam. Most people, especially techies, know the stress & anxiety of technology failure. The adverse health impacts of stress are well documented and so are detrimental health problems associated with sitting in front of a computer all day and not really exercising.

Because the computer at my standing desk was down, I had to sit all week. I was hardly getting-up and moving around going between workstations, I did not make any obstacle courses, and I only stretched with my bamboo about twice a day. Not being able to game this weekend is also going to bum me out, but at least I’ll have time to get my desktop PC working again.

I made a makeshift raiser stand for my wireless keyboard so I can write this article  on my TV whilst standing–my laptop below. Being eye-level with the TV isn’t bad, but having to stand on the cold, hard tile is brutal and my laptop screen is now useless. I hope this is the last article I have to write with my keyboard on top of an old printer box.

Freelance Friday

I wanted to use this Friday to give a shout-out to all the freelancers out there. I know it’s tough and dirty sometimes. Freedom is worth it! Freedom to chose the gigs you sign up for. Freedom to chose the projects you want to work on. Freedom to learn and grow towards what you think is interesting in this  incredible industry of the Internet.

I have been doing freelance tech work exclusively for the past three years. I have been doing it on the side for the past ten, and did it exclusively for a year at the end of high school into college.

Being a Freelance Tech Consultant is not so glamorous as some people may think. Doing the dirt work is exactly that–dirty! After a few years experience, some people find the more desirable jobs like c-panel management, content curation and distribution, web development, consulting, etc. The good tech work is out there, but most freelancers spend a few years at the bottom and know what I’m talking about.

Here is a List of My 8 Favorite Things about being a Freelance Tech Guy

    1. Crawling under dirty desks and through the dirty cable nests behind PC towers.
    2. Smokey, dingy home offices filled with pet hair, dust, ancient technology, and stacks of useless papers.
    3. Working in the dirty basements, attics, and crawlspaces where the network cabling is.
    4. The endless, mindless clicking and captchas of Amazon Mechanical Turk to make rent.
    5. Virtual Windows XP environments that run legacy software managing ancient databases.
    6. Graveyard and swing shift to bring down systems and servers after hours.
    7. Opening and sorting hundreds of computer boxes before running initial setup and software configuration.
    8. Running initial setup and software configuration on hundreds of computers. (One or two or more always fail right near the end so you have to restart the process and wait after everything else is already finished!)

There are also platforms like www.elance.com and www.fiverr.com to add extra revenue sources, but I don’t have any experience with those sites yet.

Happy Friday! Keep up the good work and remember–It’s all about the user!

I Wanna Sell Desks

I started this article while I was sitting, but noticing the irony, I moved to my standing desk

On Thanksgiving, I was golfing with a friend who sits at a desk all day in his state job. He is an athletic guy who gets plenty of exercise, but I worried about what sitting all day was doing to his general well-being. He is not the only person I know who has to work at a desk, and it makes me sad that they have to sit all day.

I’ve always thought I would be a good salesman if I found the right product that I believed in. Lately, I have been recommending standing desks to people even though I have not yet purchased one myself. I built one out of a milk crate and phone books.

I have a really awesome desk. It’s vintage. My dad’s dad built it well before I was born. The craftsmanship is excellent and it’s really light. My dad put wheels on it a few years ago before I sweet talked him out of it. I have another sitting desk in my living room, so I wanted to use my grandfather’s desk as a standing desk without physically modifying it. I put the keyboard and monitor on top of an overturned milk crate, and I used phone books to elevate my mousing surface. This idea was one of my better life hacks.

Balancing my work between standing and sitting (in 2 different rooms) has doubled my productivity. I feel more creative and active when I’m on my feet, yet I’m more attentive and better at multi-tasking while sitting (in front of a 30 inch screen above regular screen). I also have a six foot piece of bamboo that I stretch with while standing, and I can lean on it.

Since dividing my time between standing and sitting, my back, neck, and shoulder pain has reduced drastically and my standing posture has greatly improved.  I like to help people whenever I can, and I feel like convincing someone to use a standing desk will add years to their life and improve their general well being.

If I can make a few backs while making people’s lives better, that’s a double bonus. Now I just have to see whats out there that I can resell. Any suggestions? First stop–Amazon!

 

We’ve Got a Connection Problem

This rant is just my opinion about one of the biggest problems my generation is facing. What’s the answer? Younger people in politics–duh! Take the debate online and see who can hang with the trolls, bashers, ranters, and flamers.

I recently read an article about how policymakers don’t understand the emerging workforce. It’s true that most politicians grew up without technology, so they don’t understand the current generation. Our leaders in Washington are disconnected!

What does this disconnect mean for us? It means we’re screwed. How are we supposed to carry-on our pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness, when lawmakers have no idea what those words means for us. We could all call our representatives, write our leaders in Washington, and make our dreams and concerns clear, but everyone knows that doesn’t work. The gov’t is broken.

Past generations are programmed different for a different world–a slower world. Anyone over 50 has obsolete source code (Sorry, it’s just incompatible).

I’m not trying to be insulting or a dissenter, I’m just worried. I wouldn’t want my life support machine running on Windows 3.11 for Workgroups.

If Harry Reid started his career in Data Processing, maybe I would be more inclined to trust him as a leader. When IBM was building mainframes and my dad was fixing Xerox machines, Harry was building a career in politics–no time for technology.  Reid’s boyhood home was a shack with no indoor toilet, hot water or telephone. That’s admirable, but I just can’t relate. My boyhood home had a 386 with a 9600 baud modem.

I’m sure John Boehner is pretty smart, but he got a bachelors degree in business when people were still using type writers, slide rulers, and abacuses. Now people graduate with business degrees in information systems and become web developers.

Generation gaps in the past have been less serious because the world moved at relatively the same pace. Now everything is hyper-connected, instant, with every answer in our pocket. We’re dumbstruck watching these old codgers trying to understand the world today. It’s like watching our parents on Facebook.

It’s pretty sad when our gov’t can’t even launch a website properly. Now everyone under 35 is laughing at them. I built my first website twelve years ago in 10th grade. It was amazing.

Do you agree? Disagree? Leave a comment, start a flame war. What kind of Internet Troll are you?

YouTube Tuesday

Today is YouTube Tuesday! It’s not official or anything, but it is the day of the week that I focus on YouTube and advise people to do the same. I guess this post makes YouTube Tuesday official for the networkn8 blog. Why Tuesday? YouTube Tuesday just has a nice sound to it–kinda flows off the tongue.

Did I mention YouTube enough to get noticed by search engines? I stylized the name correctly, but should I also be linking to YouTube? Out of all the Web 2.0 platforms and avenues to the Organic Internet, YouTube is my favorite. I know it’s not nice to laugh at the cable companies and satellite providers while there is a mass exodus from cable subscriptions to Strictly Streaming, but they had it coming. Checkout my article about The Future of Streaming Online Content.

I recently discovered that YouTube has a Creator Academy. I wouldn’t say I have enrolled yet, but I started watching the videos. It’s free and shows users how to produce the best content possible. I am really excited to see what gets created in the next couple years. Netflix already changed everything about the way we watch TV and movies, then they started producing incredible content of their own. House of Cards is one of the top three television shows EVER created. YouTube won’t be far behind. The major TV networks and studios that have been around for decades will soon be scratching their heads trying to figure-out how YouTube, Netflix, and others became the top content providers and producers.

Big Bad Data

Big Data is the collection of data sets so large and complex that even storing and sorting becomes difficult. The analysis of big data is big bucks and your privacy is tied to its future.

Big data can refer to a lot of different applications that include research and knowledge to benefit all mankind, but these noble and glorious ideas are not what people talk about when they mention big data. Big data is nearly a curse word–only spoken at low breath in some tech circles. It puts a foul taste in your mouth invoking images of a file that contains all your purchases, preferences, history, and information about your personal life. The insurers, banks, and credit card companies know everything about you!

I am embellishing, but only a little. Companies want to know everything about their potential customers in order to build the best product profile possible. Corporations exist to make money and to sell. Any information that helps them achieve that purpose is valuable for them. Modern technology has allowed market and product researchers to obtain massive amounts of information that they barely know what to do with.

As database functions and algorithms improve, it will be easier to make profitable use of what is being collected. Search queries and data mining will become more sophisticated and efficient. The power of computing technology has been growing rapidly over the past decade, but the advancement of its use and application has been slower. New languages and development platforms have to be created to improve the user experience and create new functions and tools.

computer-hug-cartoon

With the closer integration of technology into daily life and the continued growth and popularity of social media, big data will also become more organically and intimately connected to the human experience. Whether this relationship will be good or bad is difficult to say, but maybe it will make everyone a little more honest and open.

I doubt big data corporations will ever really care about the people. The only hope for the future is the software engineers. If groups of programmers come together to create algorithms that help people, then maybe such a movement could counteract the aggressive invasions of privacy that people are expected to tolerate.