More Appropriate Blog

I thought I would open up a new blog that is more appropriate for gadgets, car reviews, and everything non-strategic. Check it out!

 

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My IoE World: Starting the Day Fit and Connected

A great example of what’s possible today with connected devices. Going to have to look at the Phillips Hue lights, that’s pretty cool.

Cisco Canada Blog

It’s mind-boggling to see the speed at which people, process, data, and things are becoming more and more connected. The Internet of Everything (IoE) world is already happening.  But what does that world really look and feel like in our daily lives?  How are our everyday experiences changing as a result? How is it helping us attain our goals and desired outcomes?

To answer these questions, we need to take a step back to understand a few critical elements.  First, IoE is coming at us like a freight train, but it may not be evident because it’s happening in silos and with very specific technologies and applications.  To appreciate how much activity is going on in this space, it’s critical to begin looking at the IoE landscape in specific segments. Here are two things that can help:

  1. A video of an interview I conducted with Rick Smolan, author of “The…

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Cisco Champion

cisco_champions BADGE_200x200Some exciting news, recently I was selected by Cisco to join the “Cisco Champion” Program.   You may ask just what is the Cisco Champion Program?  Well you can click on the icon on the left for more details but a quick summary would be; to create and nurture a network of people who are passionate about Cisco and enjoy sharing their knowledge, expertise, and thoughts across the social web and with Cisco.  I’ve heard of other such programs but never knew how people were invited, now I know.

I’m pretty honoured to be invited by Cisco and looking forward to contributing where I can on areas that interest me.  I’ve expressed some of my interest areas to Cisco around Community, IoE, and Social Media/Social Enterprise and that’s where most of my focus will be within this program.  You can actually find one of my latest blog posts on the Cisco Canada blog around the Internet of Everything “IoE” here where I talk about the NEST Thermostat. 

I’m still quite new to this program so stay tuned for more updates on this and other posts!

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The Internet of Everything

You’ve heard this term many times now, if you haven’t then head over to the Oxford Dictionary which explains it. Basically it is “a proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data”. I’ve always been a gadget guy since I can remember and that has not changed to this day. 

My venture into the Internet of Everything started this year with the purchase of the Nike Fuel Band which I blogged about earlier this year.  This taps into the “People” dimension as described by Dave Evans, Chief Futurist at Cisco in an article Huffington Post released today. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dave-evans/cisco-beyond-things-the-interne_b_3976104.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003  I highly suggest you read this article, it’s short and describes what Dave describes as the four dimensions of The Internet of Things.

I also picked up a NEST thermostat which also applies here in the “Data” and “Things” dimensions talked about in the above link.  I figured as a gadget guy I wanted to have better visibility and in turn control over my heating and the NEST does just that.  It’s overkill for most people but these type of thermostats will become the norm over the next few years as people look to cut costs in areas like heating and cooling.  I know by April next year I’ll notice a difference in my heating bills and the cost of the NEST will have been justified.

The Internet of Everything is in it’s infancy and is just taking off.  We are going to see some pretty amazing things connected that we never thought of before. If you want to stay in touch with The Internet of Everything / Internet of Things check out Cisco and their blog, as are in touch with where things are going and have great content.  Check it out. http://canadablog.cisco.com/

So a question I have out there for those who follow, where do you see this fitting in with the Corporate Enterprise?  A lot of this is being driven through the consumer side (NEST, FuelBand) so how does this technology fit within the every day business?

Here is a great video on “What is the Internet of Everything?” http://www.cisco.com/web/tomorrow-starts-here/ioe/index.html

IOE

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Microsoft Surface Pro 2–Initial Thoughts

Microsoft has recently announced the release of the Surface Pro 2 which is slated to ship October 21st.  For anyone following this blog, you’ll know I’ve been using the first Microsoft Surface Pro as my only desktop at work.  I’ve been pretty happy for the most part and very vocal about my feedback and suggestions to Microsoft via many social media outlets (@MicrosoftCanada, @Surface, and the Microsoft Canada Enterprise Forum via LinkedIn) as well as our Microsoft Account Manager.  There are a few things that Microsoft could have done to make this a game changer and I’ll get to those in a second.

The new Surface Pro 2 has some great features which will contribute to what I think has been a pretty good device. 

  • Intel i5 processorsurface-pro-2-in-purple-640x353
  • Up to 512GB of Flash Storage
  • Dual-angled kickstand
  • Increased battery life
  • 1080p display
  • 200GB of additional SkyDrive storage
  • Docking station (Early 2014)

Now these features really don’t change a lot, just increase the performance of the devices.  What I was looking for was more enterprise features that would make this device a game changer and would help penetrate the enterprise. 

  1. Direct Access – This was something I’ve mentioned multiple times however has not been well received.  If Microsoft wants to see more of these devices in the Enterprise they need to incorporate Direct Access out of the box.  Currently the only way is for IT shops to reformat the Surface device and install Windows Enterprise edition.  Not acceptable.
  2. Docking Station Accessory – I do have to give props in that Microsoft did listen to consumers and created this accessory.  However “early 2014” is to late.  Accessories need to be delivered when the device goes live.  Unsure why the delay here, no explanation to date.
  3. LTE/4G cellular support – A lot of laptops and tablets from other manufactures are including this which helps extend the connectivity of the tablet. To compete with the iPad this needs to be standard fare and is another miss.

Time will tell if Microsoft hit the mark with it’s consumers and I’ll probably end up getting one to test however Microsoft needs to be ahead of the curve here not behind.  I’m afraid they are still behind the mark when compared to the rest of the tablet market and if they want market share they need to do better.  I’d love to replace the iPad’s in our environment however won’t be able to until at minimum Direct Access is enabled out of the box.

If you’re looking to pre-order one you can check out the Microsoft Store here

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2013 Ford F150 Lariat

2013-Ford-F-150-Exterior-Lariat-623x389A few weekends ago I had yet again the pleasure of taking out another Ford vehicle for a test.  This time I was rocking the 2013 150 Lariat which is the first time I’ve driven a real pick up truck since my parents owned a 1997 Ford F150 XLT.  16 years later and what Ford has done with the F150 is quite amazing. 

I really have to start off and talk about the EcoBoost engine which continues to amaze me in all the vehicles I’ve driven with this option.  This vehicle as tested was equipped with the 3.5L V6 EcoBoost engine and is rated to get 16 MPG City / 22 MPG Highway.  I believe I was able to get 13.9L/100KM while driving out to Mount Robson doing around 124 km/h which is pretty standard driving speeds on Alberta highways with 110 km/h speed limits.  I was amazed because that’s about 1.0L/ 100KM better than my horrible Jeep Patriot which just frustrates me.  (lets not get started there)  The power when required was there and overall I didn’t feel the engine was to small for the vehicle.  You can get that sometimes however this EcoBoost was phenomenal.

Inside technology wise it really had everything that I’ve come to expect from Ford.  WP_20130916_17_00_39_ProYou’ve got the MyFord Touch with SYNC Technology which is so easy to use and a snap when connecting your Bluetooth devices.  It has new HID Headlamps which have a nice touch of the F150 logo within the assembly.  However I expected it to be keyless like the other vehicles I’ve been driving.  That’s a miss I think and should be standard fare these days. 

Some convince features I really liked were the kick out side steps that help you get into the box by the cab. This is a great feature that I’ve always thought pick ups should have.  Not sure how long these have been around but worked well for putting in our hiking gear.

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Tucked away

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Kicked out

The space when the back seats are folded up is massive.  I could not believe how much storage was here.  Want to put a bike inside? No problem.

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Overall this was a very comfortable ride as we took it out to Mount Robson to go hiking at Berg Lake.  While a bit of overkill for just our backpacks it was nice to get the F150 out on the highway and see what it could do.

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Where the F150 got us, well not here…
we had to hike 23 km and 3000 ft. elevation gain!

Thanks once more to Waterloo Ford – @waterlooford and Ford Canada – @fordcanada for the vehicle and opportunity.

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2013 Ford Focus ST

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One word, WOW. I honestly think Ford should steal Mazda’s “Zoom Zoom” moniker and brand it as their own for this Focus ST.  I wasn’t sure what to expect when I was told I could review the Focus ST.  At first I thought “A Focus?!?”, but after 2 minutes in this car my view of the Ford Focus has changed… at least with the ST version.

WP_20130801_012The first surprise really came as I sat down in the car.  These are not your typical “bucket” seats as these really were stiff racing style bucket seats that really did hug you.  You needed the hugging effect in order to stay in your seat when taking corners at speeds you probably shouldn’t take corners😉

The second surprise was the 2.0L EcoBoost engine this car comes with.  Dishing out 252 HP on a 3,223 lbs car really gives you the feeling of driving a go-kart.  The EcoBoost within this car was hands down the best EcoBoost experience I’ve had.  The car just went when you hit the gas and “went” is an understatement.  Since my days working as an auto detailer for a GM/Chevy dealership in town, I’ve not really had the chance to drive a car with any amount of performance so this was a treat.

WP_20130801_004The ST “Sport Technology” markings can be seen everywhere on this car from the seats and the door runners, to the front grill back to the hatch.  This car definitely has some nice styling throughout and definitely was a head turner when stopped at the lights.  Still I thought, I’m driving a “Focus”, this can’t be.  And yet it’s unlike any Ford Focus you’ve ever driven.

I had been awhile since driving a manual transmission and with this ST it was a pleasure.  I noticed gear ratio’s within this car much different than standard manual transmissions.  Helps give it that sporty feel which those looking at this car will appreciate.

There were only a couple of downfalls I saw with this car and they are not major by any means.  The turn circle on this car was surprisingly high, I found myself turning into the oncoming lane when faced with tight turns.  This wasn’t cool and something that should be looked into.  The other issue was in reverse there was no back up camera.  This really ought to be a standard issue especially if there is a Ford SYNC system within the vehicle.  That was a miss in my opinion.

Overall Ford has really out done themselves this time and if you are looking for a cheaper sport car, packed with all the technology that typically comes with Ford these days, then this is your car.  I’d be in the market if I was in my early 20’s again…

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Thanks again to Waterloo Ford – @waterlooford and Ford Canada – @fordcanada for the vehicle and opportunity.

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