Sunday, November 12, 2017

Tell 'em about the food

This past week the was invited to attend the AVIT Summit in New York City. It was very well done. Very well done indeed.

The Stewart Hotel was an amazing venue for such an event, right across the street from Madison Square Garden. I don’t think there is a venue anywhere in the world that competes with “The Big Apple” for meetings or live events.

The AV/IT Leadership Summit is a must-attend for stakeholders making AV and IT technology decisions and those needing to know how these decisions can affect a company or institution. Not knowing can put the health of an institution or facility at risk.

The stakeholder table expanded to include AV/IT technology directors, managers, CIOs, CTOs, VPs, technology engineers, media directors, educational technology directors, and facilities managers tasked with moving an organization forward and shaping the bottom line through technology.

The Summit covered today’s most important AV/IT topics through panel discussions, AV/IT Talks, idea exchanges, and networking opportunities. Once disparate systems now ride on the enterprise network, with some moving to the cloud. We discussed solutions and methods for analyzing data and creating efficiencies. We explored the pitfalls to avoid with networked AV. From control systems to displays to managed services, attendees met with key vendors about the products in the pipeline that could make a real and immediate difference in how we all live, learn, work and play - in the clouds.

Enough “geek speak” for today. Here was my epiphany - the just attended “A Summit” to discuss how to NOT attend - Summits.

The technology that allows us to NOT travel - technology solutions that allow us to NOT physically attend meetings, or not physically attend a class, or learning of ways to collaborate around the world without the need to travel - required an in-person live summit.

We attended a LIVE Summit - to learn how to NOT attend LIVE Summits.

I love working from home. And I also love going into New York City for the day - and then sleeping in my own bed at night. I LOVE hosting meetings on Zoom with a distributed global workforce. But I also love hosting dinner meetings with staff and clients at Brother Jimmy’s BBQ across the street from Madison Square Garden. Or the Beer Authority, across the street from Microsoft at 11 Times Square. I have a list. Email me for a list of “go to” NYC meeting venues with SUPER fast WiFi and extra wet naps:

We need both. We need live, and we need virtual events. Humans need both real and virtual realities.

Technology enables us to live, learn, work and play in the clouds. But we are people. We are humans and we need human interaction. You can do some amazing things with global collaboration technology. But you cannot buy a round of drinks for the table.

When we advertised and launched marketing the AV/IT Summit we stated WHO SHOULD ATTEND:

• AV and IT Managers
• Technology Directors
• CIOs, CTOs, VPs of Technology
• Technology Coordinators
• AV Media Engineers
• Classroom Technology Specialists
• Conferencing and Media Services Directors
• AV and Studio Service Directors
• Multimedia Managers
• Collaborative Infrastructure and Audiovisual Strategy Director
• Facilities Directors
• Other staff involved in AV/IT technology decisions

We should have added Brother Jimmy’s BBQ as “a draw” for the event. It would have sold out twice as fast.

On the 27th of this month, we have another event, just a few hours south of The Big Apple. It will be an amazing gathering of thought leaders, subject matter experts and amazing vendors from the world of telecom and technology - at The Logan Hotel in Philadelphia. “The Logan” is one of the best venues in the City of Brotherly Love. Oh yes, on the 27th of this month there will be Philly Cheesesteaks at our event.  

We need to remember to tell ‘em about the Philly Cheesesteaks, and the amazing view from the rooftop bar of The Logan. The outdoor heaters will be cranking on the rooftop, of this I am certain.

When hosting live events, always remember to tell ‘em about the food. After all, we are only human.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Video Killed the Radio Star

This weekend the helped to sponsor an amazing event at Madison Square Garden - New York City.

“THE GARDEN!” Just saying it can give you a chill. Walking into the building, you cannot help but think about all of the historic events and concerts since February 11th, 1968.

20,789 seating capacity. “The World’s Most Famous Arena” and “Unforgettable Starts Here” are clearly seen on the largest banners hanging from the rafters.

I am not so sure that massive stadiums and arenas are in our the future.

Don’t get me wrong - this past weekend’s event was AMAZING. The speakers were AMAZING.


Even those with $3000+ tickets had to wait in line for over an hour to get inside.

The speakers timelines were…..well…

Some speakers complained about “the lights” or the sound or the microphones.

Was it a great day? YES. Did people have a great time?  Absolutely.

But just as we have Airbnb and Uber and Amazon and Netflix…….

I think we shall see more and more “virtual” events, from the comfort of your home or office conference room. I think that events with total seating capacity of 20,789 shall be replaced by unlimited global capacity.

Classrooms are being flipped into virtual classrooms. The need for skyscrapers in big cities seems to be slowing. Self-driving cars and buses will make living (and working) in the suburbs more and more attractive. Collaboration tools like Zoom and the explosion of podcasting are changing the way that we live and work in the clouds.

I am not sure if Augmented Reality/ Virtual Reality will kill the skyscraper or the arenas. Or if modern arenas and future auditoriums will take this technology and become experience centers.

THOUSANDS of people attend events, but these events are seen by tens of millions of people on a global basis.

I grew up “Wanting My MTV!” Today, I'm a podcast addict - less video and more audio.

At 12:01am on August 1, 1981, history was made when MTV, the first 24-hour video music channel, launched onto our television sets and literally changed our lives with the birth of the music video. The first video ever played on the network was quite ironic — “Video Killed The Radio Star” by The Buggles.

I wonder if "The Cloud" will kill the Skyscraper?

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Make America Gooder Again

Greatness is over-rated.

Remember the clip from HBO above? This was the opening scene of HBO's "The Newsroom".

America is not the greatest country in the world…….. anymore.

Please give me the timelines (the exact date range) of when the USA was THE GREATEST country in the world.

We all remember Muhammad Ali, the silver-tongued boxer and civil rights champion who famously proclaimed himself "The Greatest of all time" and then spent a lifetime living up to the billing, is now dead. How do you (today) feel about this man?  Was he a hero? Was he a criminal? I was born in 1960 and I grew up HATING this man, because my father hated him. Draft dodger. So, hate him we must!

Today I have very different feelings about Muhammad Ali.

We were the first country to land a man on the moon, and return him safely to earth. Was THAT when we were the greatest country in the world?

If I remember my history, we were beating people with clubs and blasting them with fire hoses at the exact same time we were shuttling men back and forth to the moon.

That does not feel too great.

A More Perfect Union may refer to the Preamble to the United States Constitution. You can read more here:

Is it not amusing that many historians feel that “more perfect” is bad grammar?

The United States of America was never the greatest country in the world, just as it was (and never will be) perfect. The USA has had its share of villains and heroes in the Oval Office, sometimes in the same person.

Was Lincoln our greatest President? Many say yes. Others say that he was a very troubled man, suffering from depression and anxiety most of his life. Was the Civil War about slavery, or about economics? I am not smart enough to comment, and I was not there. And even if I were alive at the time, we all know that eyewitness testimony is bunk.

I love my country. I never fought in a war. I fully recognize that every good thing that I have in my life, I owe to others, especially our veterans. I grew up never wanting anything. I had two loving parents who both died way too young. From the day I was born, I enjoyed every benefit that living in the USA can possibly deliver.

The USA was never “The Greatest” country in the world. But from our birth as a nation, we have tried to form a more perfect union. It was this pursuit of perfection that made us amazing. Look at all we have accomplished in less than 300 years. As a nation, we are just a baby.

And it is the ONGOING, never-ending pursuit of greatness, the constant attempts to be better, to do better, to learn from our past - that is our destiny.

Make America Great….Today.

Learn from our past to make tomorrow better.

But let’s not go backwards.

"Made in the USA"

Please Watch This

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Darwin would be amazed

The Darwin Awards are a tongue-in-cheek honor, originating in Usenet newsgroup discussions around 1985. They recognize individuals who have supposedly contributed to human evolution by selecting themselves out of the gene pool via death or sterilization by their own actions.
The project became more formalized with the creation of a website in 1993, and followed up by a series of books starting in 2000, authored by Wendy Northcutt. The criterion for the awards states, "In the spirit of Charles Darwin, the Darwin Awards commemorate individuals who protect our gene pool by making the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives. Darwin Award winners eliminate themselves in an extraordinarily idiotic manner, thereby improving our species' chances of long-term survival.

This week, there were people flying INTO Florida. There were people choosing to travel to Florida.

We are not talking about First Responders, or Nurses, or Emergency Rescue personnel. We are talking about normal, every day people who made the choice to be in Florida - during Hurricane Irma. They choose to GO TO THE STATE with mandatory evacuations in place.

Folks, if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.
Forget about the storm surge. Forget about days (weeks?) of no electricity, or fresh drinking water. And the lack of food, or supplies. It might take days for gasoline supply trucks to replenish the “out of gas” stations.
As I sit here writing this blog in New Jersey, I cannot help but remember Hurricane Sandy. Our town was without electricity for days. Gas lines were long for a week. It took a full month for some basic utilities to be restored.
People with little to no money were so desperate to evacuate Florida. If they could get out, they would have done so. Some people had no choice, they did not have the means to follow the mandatory evacuation orders.

To those of you who choose to travel TO Florida during such an event, I salute you. You were safe, and you choose to place yourself in harm’s way. You were out of danger, and you choose to place yourself in danger. You are selfish, as you will be just one more person that our already over-worked First Responders and Emergency Personnel now need to worry about.

OK, new topic:
Every 40 seconds, someone in the USA has a heart attack.
Why do more heart attacks and sudden deaths occur on Monday than on any other day of the week?
According to researchers, an "outpouring" of stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, occurs within working people on Mondays. These findings were substantiated in a study of 683 patients, predominantly middle-aged men with implanted defibrillators and a history of life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias. The data led researchers to conclude that Monday is the most stressful day of the week when it comes to risk factors for heart attack.
What I find provocative about the study is that its participants showed a prominent peak in arrhythmias on Mondays—21 percent of episodes—even if they were no longer working! That was followed by a mid-week decline in arrhythmias and a second peak on Fridays. Not surprisingly, Saturdays and Sundays saw a 50 percent lower arrhythmia rate than did Mondays.

Why do Mondays continue to be the peak day for arrhythmias? Your body always remembers and anticipates stressful events. So, even though the participants in the study were not working, the fact that their bodies anticipated going to work on Monday triggered the identical biochemical stress hormones, increasing the heart attack risk factors that led to potentially lethal ventricular arrhythmias.

So, let’s tie it all together.  Tomorrow is a Monday. And in Florida, tomorrow is a Monday - with a 100 year Hurricane. A Monday in Florida, with millions of people without electricity. Millions of people without the ability to travel. What a great time to have a heart attack (or any emergency medical condition).

Those of you who decided to travel TO Florida (from safety) to harm’s way, your Darwin Award will be waiting for you.  Or for your next of kin to pick up for you.

From CNN today:

"There is imminent danger of life-threatening storm surge flooding along much of the Florida's coastline. The threat of catastrophic storm surge flooding is highest along the southwest coast of Florida, where 10 to 15 feet of inundation above ground level is expected. This is a life-threatening situation."

Still, not everyone heeded orders to evacuate Florida. Wayne Ploghoft is hunkered down on the third floor of a building on Marco Island -- where catastrophic storm surges are imminent. Ploghoft said he wasn't able to evacuate because his flight plans didn't work out. Now Ploghoft and three others are holed up with stockpiles of water, canned food and battery power.

Wayne WANTED to get out of harm's way, but could not.
To those of you who traveled TO Florida, ignoring all of the warnings, congratulations. You are now part of the problem. You are now just one more person that our First Responders have to worry about. Thanks!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Mother, what have you done?

Pictured here is one of the better images yet recorded of a waterspout, a type of tornado that occurs over water. Waterspouts are spinning columns of rising moist air that typically form over warm water. Waterspouts can be as dangerous as tornadoes and can feature wind speeds over 200 kilometers per hour. Some waterspouts form away from thunderstorms and even during relatively fair weather. Waterspouts may be relatively transparent and initially visible only by an unusual pattern they create on the water. The featured image was taken in 2013 July near Tampa Bay, Florida. The Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida is arguably the most active area in the world for waterspouts, with hundreds forming each year.

Some people speculate that waterspouts are responsible for some of the ship losses recorded in the Bermuda Triangle.

As of the writing of this blog, the water is still rising in Texas from Hurricane Harvey. With the technology of the day, we can predict a Hurricane many days before it hits landfall. We can take pictures from space, monitoring the massive storms. We can prepare, we can warn the people. But there is nothing that we can do about the storms themselves.

Technology allows us to prepare for Mother Nature having a bad day, but never preventing her from reminding us who's boss.

It will be interesting to see the role that technology plays in the recovery and the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. 51.88 inches of rain. 27 trillion gallons of rain over 6 days - these are national records. Thousands of homes destroyed with only around 28% with flood insurance. 20,000 rescues reported. 37,000 living in shelters as of Friday night. Gas prices are up $0.23 in a week.

Total estimated costs of cleanup from this single storm: up to $180 Billion.

And the 2017 Hurricane Season has just begun.

To donate, Visit: 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

That's news to me

HOUSTON, TX — After double-checking their math, scientists have announced that the total lunar eclipse predicted for August 21, 2017, will occur August 3, 2018.
“Due to a computational mishap, the eclipse we projected for later this month will actually take place late next year,” stated NASA astrophysicist Dr. Theodore Moneta at a hastily-planned press conference from Johnson Space Center in Houston. “We were a bit off.”
Dr. Moneta explained that in calculating the date of the eclipse, scientists utilized a complex formula involving geocentric ephemeris for the Sun and Moon, various parameters, constants, and the Besselian elements, but along the way an error went unnoticed.
“In layman’s terms, we forgot to carry the one,” explained Moneta, a mistake that has plagued 12-year-olds in 7th grade math for centuries.
“It’s disappointing,” stated Matt Mead, governor of Wyoming, upon hearing the news. “Obviously, the NASA nerds really dropped the ball on this one.”
[ The above, is what is known as “Fake News” ]

Fake news is a type of yellow journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional print and broadcast news media or online social media. Fake news is written and published with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically, often with sensationalist, exaggerated, or patently false headlines that grab attention. Intentionally misleading and deceptive fake news is different from obvious satire or parody which is intended to humor rather than mislead its audience. Fake news often employs eye-catching headlines or entirely fabricated news stories to increase readership, online sharing and Internet click revenue. In the latter case, it is similar to sensational online "clickbait" headlines and relies on advertising revenue generated from this activity, regardless of the veracity of the published stories. Fake news also undermines serious media coverage and makes it more difficult for journalists to cover significant news stories.

In the 1200s BC, Rameses the Great spread lies and propaganda portraying the Battle of Kadesh as a stunning victory for the Egyptians; he depicted scenes of him smiting his foes during the battle on the walls of nearly all his temples. The treaty between the Egyptians and the Hittites, however, reveals that the battle was actually a stalemate.
During the first century BC, Octavian ran a campaign of misinformation against his rival Mark Antony, portraying him as a drunkard and a womanizer and a mere puppet of the Egyptian queen Cleopatra VII. He published a document purporting to be Marc Antony's will, which claimed that Marc Antony, upon his death, wished to be entombed in the mausoleum of the Ptolemaic pharaohs. Although the document may have been forged, it invoked outrage from the Roman populace. Marc Antony ultimately killed himself after his defeat in the Battle of Actium upon hearing false rumors propagated by Cleopatra herself claiming that she had committed suicide.
During the second and third centuries AD, false rumors were spread about Christians claiming that they engaged in ritual cannibalism and incest. In the late third century AD, the Christian apologist Lactantius invented and exaggerated stories about pagans engaging in acts of immorality and cruelty, while the anti-Christian writer Porphyry invented similar stories about Christians.

I just made this all up.
Or did I? Or, did I simply “cut and paste” these accounts of history from the Internet, from a website that someone else “cut and pasted” from another website?
The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) published a summary in diagram form to assist people to recognize fake news. Its main points are:
  1. Consider the source (to understand its mission and purpose)
  2. Read beyond the headline (to understand the whole story)
  3. Check the authors (to see if they are real and credible)
  4. Assess the supporting sources (to ensure they support the claims)
  5. Check the date of publication (to see if the story is relevant and up to date)
  6. Ask if it is a joke (to determine if it is meant to be satire)
  7. Review your own biases (to see if they are affecting your judgement)
  8. Ask experts (to get confirmation from independent people with knowledge).

So, unless you were there and unless you saw it with your own eyes, then it is all fake news, right?

Google: Why Science Tells Us Not to Rely on Eyewitness Accounts

Google: The Invisible Gorilla

All news is fake, just as all eyewitness testimony is fake. All history books are fake, because the author was not there. What you read on Wikipedia today, can be edited and updated tomorrow.

So before we act (or react) based on ANYTHING that we read or hear, remember this: all news is fake, to some degree.

One of the earliest instances of fake news was the Great Moon Hoax of 1835. The New York Sun published articles about a real-life astronomer and a made-up colleague who, according to the hoax, had observed bizarre life on the moon. The fictionalized articles successfully attracted thousands of new subscribers, and the paper suffered very little backlash after it had been disclosed as a hoax.