Cased Society

Everyday nearly every device I see has a case or some sort of cover on it.  I’ve never hopped on the “case” bandwagon for my devices and have typically carried them “bare” with either a minimal case or no case at all.  In the spring of 2019, after receiving my brand new Samsung Galaxy S10 with pre installed screen protector, my outlook on “casing” your device has changed.  The first thought that popped into my head was, “why would I WANT to put a case on my device?”, while I understand why a lot of people choose cases and skins to reflect their personality or brand support I see no need in putting a protective case like a LifeProof, OtterBox or any type of bulky case on the device unless your lifestyle or job requires it.  In the past I have put a slim case that offers some protection and a larger case when needed, however most of the time if I was at the beach or hiking somewhere the device stayed in a hard case or a padded backpack. 

OtterBox Case

The fundamental purpose of a case is to protect your device from any type of damage outside the manufactures envelope.  This “envelope” is what is typically quoted during a product announcement, product promotions and technical specifications. The strength of the frame and or glass of the device may be quoted at being able to tolerate certain levels of damage may be mentioned, but it’s no guarentte that the device will survive without any damage.  You see, these protective features” are really just for peace of mind, while I’m not saying they don’t work as advertised, its still no excuse for not being careless with your device.  In order to protect your device with peace of mind you just typically purchase a case and or screen protector and put it pin the drive right?  While this significantly protects your device more than being a “bare naked” device, you might not be getting the protection you need or even hindering your use of the device.  For years OtterBox and Lifeproof cases dominated this market, at least that what it seemed like for me since just about everybody I knew, including my family put one of these 2 branded cases on their device(s).  I never jumped on that bandwagon, and yet here I am currently with a Samsung Galaxy S10 with no case and the preinstalled screen protecter, a year and half into owning and carring the device daily with only minor scuffs that are only visible with a magnifying glass.  For me I trust the device ratings for damage and am careful enough that my routine does not allow me to handle my device in a way that could cause “catastrophic” damage to it, that’s not to say I’ve never had any close calls though.  At least twice my phone has gone flying across the counter to the floor after being caught on a stack of papers or a hand towel.  While the impact sounded deafening, the reality was just a hard impact, flat on its back to the floor, what will destroy your device is an impact to the corner or side or a direct blunt impact to the front screen or rear of the device.  The functionality of a case for a mobile device should first prioritize functionality and usability, what use is a case that needs to be removed to use any adapters or other derives that need to be interfaced with, such as barcode scanners or some other type of adapter.  It’s important to first figure out what environment your device will operate in, then determine if anything needs to be connected to it through a wire, next the time it will be used needs to be taken into effect, for tablets will a case with a handhold or strap be more comfortable or one with a soft case come in handy.  For phones there really is no reason to put a bulky case on the drive unless you are going rugged such as on a hike or job site or are prone to dropping your device.  For daily use a good screen protector, maybe glass if you like the glass feel, (these can be tricky to apply and replace and may cause damage to the underlying screen if abused) and a comfortable case that protects at least 3 sides of the device and has a raised lip around the front screen should get the job done.  It’s always a good idea to have a backup case on hand and maybe 2 different types, a “daily driver” of sorts and a rugged case for other adventures you may take.  Another option is to buy a case, such as the Pelican 1020 Micro Case to deposit your phone in while spending a day hiking or at the beach.  Most case and screen protector options come in around $30 on average with some case and screen protector manufactures taking on liability for your device up to a certain amount if damage occurs while protected by their product (check product liability details for coverage).

Pelican 1020 Micro Case

Some case are purely for joy but do offer protection, such as the below “piggy” case.  For kids cases like these are a must, comfortable to use, offers protection and are easy to replace and maintain.

A funny case

“…remember some protection is better than no protection when it comes to your device.”

Screen Protectors

When it comes down to it, a screen protector should always be applied, their are many options weather it be plastic, glass or a hybrid combination a screen protector will do wonders for your devices screen saving it from any grit that rub against it in your pocket to its from your skin.  Most devices ship with an oleophobic coating on the screen glass to protect it from degradation from certain oils and substances, however this wears off over time, a screen protector preserves this, but may not offer the same protection on the protector.  My personal favorite screen protector is an Invisible Shield, they’re reasonably price (~$20) and offer free, yes free replacement (shipping cost not included, ~$4) to replace if it wears out or you are just not happy with you install (done that a few times) or the protector gets damaged protecting your device.  The latest Samsung Galaxy series phones have been shipping with a “pre installed” screen protector to facilitate optimal use of the under screen fingerprint reader, I have left mine on for the last year and half and have had absolutely zero issues with it, I call that a win-win.

Invisible Sheild

To close, cases may not be for everybody (me!), however it’s important to feel comfortable with your device and have a piece of mind that it can survive some mild damage and wear and tear.  Getting a good case for your device that will enable you to get the most out of your device without getting in the way and ideally disappearing entirely when using.  Not all cases are made equal and just because everybody else is using a certain type of case does not mean that it’s for you, remember some protection is better than no protection when it comes to your device.

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Technology Adoption

Adoption, embracing, incorporating, all words that describe implementing changes and new technology into your work flow and life. This is often a pain point as change usually does not come easy, usually IT guidelines and user adoption slow this. While the point of this article is not to talk about improving software and systems to ease this, we can discuss ways to ease the integration.

Informing Users

Typically the first thing that you would do as an IT lead is inform your user of the change and ways to mitigate or prevent data and service loss. This step is key as it will set the attitude of your users on the change that is coming their way. While the decision is typically already made and the inyegration is committed, most assume that its time to buckle up for the bumpy road ahead. At this point mass chaos may ensue and lots of confusion is bound to happen.

The rollout

While this process usually looks easy and no matter how much planning is done, there are always either unforseen or specific environment issues that will occur, this will take the most time and will probably lead to users complaining that the existing service is down even though they were properly informed.

“It’s Live!”

Implementing a new system or technology is never easy and takes some getting used to in both in a personal and corporate setting. Besides the overhead of notifying and training users, management and operating it there will always be new issues that arise, but having a good plan in place will ease this. It can definitely be a bumpy ride but its well worth it to ensure that systems are up to date and in compliance.

The Future of CES

With CES and NAMM being some of the only tech related trade shows to take place this year and some of the concern that the novel Coronavirous made it’s way through both shows brings up a good question of the future of trade shows an exhibitions world wide. While CES 2021 will be presented in a virtual format next year, this may not be the show we’ve always attended.

I attend CES every year and do so to to get a 10,000 foot view of what the consumer technology landscape will look like for the next 2 to 3 years and to see what need to change to get there and what needs to continue to happen. While this is my personal take on the show everybody attend with a specific need, these needs vary depending on your industry as some are buyers and other like myself are consumers in a sense that we will use or adopt a technology to offer a service or platform. A virtual format will offer more dedicated time with exhibitors Im interested in.

While I’m not a huge fan of the “virtual confenece” it does mean I can “attend” at my own pace and have more menauful engagements with exhibitors. Being able to rewatch a keynote or demonstration or even getting more information live may be a better experience. Some things that would be nice are some form of an open chat to chat with other attendees at the virtual booth and a way to virtually experience a companies product, such as a real product on the other side that you can control through the virtual exhibit.

Mercedes Benz “Vision AVTR”

Some companies, such as Gigabyte have already offered virtual conventions, Google and Amazon have been doing this for years for their developers. While not a substitute for in person events and hands on learning with devices and developers, the point is still made.

The future is always unknown and the core theme of this blog is technology use from a business and personal perspective, I think that these new “virtual environments” will force us to evaluate and change our lives accordingly.

While a return to in person events is a hopeful thought, they may not be as we remember them, hopefully for the better as this is a change to reimagine reinvent how companies showcase new technologies and services. Its still too early to say what CES 2021 will be like but I know for sure that I’m eagerly anticipating returning to Las Vegas for CES 2022 and riding the Las Vegas Convention Center Hyperloop (if finished).

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Technological Renaissance

After all the lockdowns and restrictions are lifted I believe we may find ourselves in a new era of coesxiting with technilogy. From personal fitness to healthcare and our “smart” devices around the house, techniloogy will be even more deeply integarted and the new normal in our lives. Just like the last great plague, and the period of enlightment that followed, humanity will reach a new high over and during the next 10+ years as push forward.

As humans we adapt thru growth and this current time is no different. We have had to adapt to remote work and the “new normal” in regards to virtual meetings and how we contact people, order food and see doctors. We have so far adapted even of it’s somewhat uncomfortable or not to our liking. In the long run this is good for our adoption of new technologies and virtual intreating on general. While I anticipate a rebound to our previous way of meeting and working in person at some point, we have had a taste of what the future holds and this will be fresh in our minds for a while.

Ultimately I see a shift in the current work environments to a more remote focused workflow which will impact all of us since most services we depend on and use will be almost entirely virtual. A side effect of this which will cause some challenges is that it will force more people to get acclimated to using technology in their everyday lives and earning to use their mobile and smart home devices to live smarter and not harder. This will foster a desire to learn about technology in general and hopefully provide a path for future engineers and innovation so that we can avoid future technological boundaries and continue to grow as human beings.

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Technology in Isolation

By now you not only have heard of the Coronavirus or COVID-19 as it’s known everywhere else, but are probably living and working a far different lifestyle than you were 2 months ago. These changes have affected our day to day business and how we approach the world and our products. As soon as President Trump announced a national state of emergency in March, we got to work at Foose Industries. Being a small technology business, we have the knowledge, equipment and skills needed to leverage our systems and products to not only better pour business but to help the world in the fight with COVID-19. On March 15th 2020 we re-tasked all of our servers to aid in the distributed computing effort facilitated by folding@home to aid researchers in their work with COVID-19. While this was an unexpected shift in operations, we were able to pull it off in under 2 hours. So far we have been online and running computations for researchers for the last month!

While this was an unexpected shift in operations, we were able to pull it off in under 2 hours. So far we have been online and running computations for researchers for the last month!

I thinks it’s important to also note that our infrastructure has remained just as secure as it was before we joined the distributed computing effort and even though we reduced some operation capacity from our product support systems to the COVID-19 research effort, we still have plenty of overhead capacity and are still operating smoothly.

A Remote Life

One of the primary themes of this blog is to capture elements of both business and consumer technology and educate both parties on uses and differences of a particular technology. One thought that came to mind while putting together this post now that most of the country is working remotely, this really brings together both consumer and business technology as a lot of people are using everyday applications and devices that they are familiar with for business uses now.

For more information on VPNs, see https://fooseindustries.home.blog/2019/12/31/something-about-vpns/

In this day and age most of our business and customers do a large number of tasks online, for the most part we have been ready for this, not only have we revised our current infrastructure and implemented new processes to support the new “Remote work” and “Remote service” environment, but we have dedicated permanent resources to support this as it’s here to stay. Yes, remote work is here to stay, while not entirely a new concept going forward our infrastructure and client programs will be geared towards this and offer more automation to supplement an already robust platform and dynamic customer support program.

Yes, remote work is here to stay, while not entirely a new concept going forward our infrastructure and client programs will be geared towards this and offer more automation to supplement an already robust platform and dynamic customer support program.

Future

As the future is always uncertain we can look to our past to help determine and shape what the future will be like. From what I’ve seen the last few months I’m certain that no matter what challenges the future holds we can face them with a certainty to overcome and improve to ensure that there will be more challenges ahead. As always Foose Industries is ready to face the challenges of the future head on and to anticipate to stay one step ahead to build tomorrow thru technology!

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CES 2020 Review

This years CES was unlike prior years, not so much in the technology and products shown but in a shift in what consumers and business are pursing. While the show itself was great and felt more like the CES of the past in regards to the atmosphere of the show, not as many flashy presentations or over the top demonstrations in the parking lot, but there was alot of new and emerging “technologies” shown. Now I say “technologies” because one such technology is the Impossible burger, while not an electronic device it is consumer technology since consumers will eat [consume] it.

Mobile

I expect to see more foldable and compact devices this year as the mobile device, phone,tablet,etc remains at the core unchanged the chassis will change. This means more ruggedized and durable devices as well as more “comfortable” devices. One thing I have appreciated from Samsung is the pre installed screen protector on the Galaxy S10, while this is due to the special in screen fingerprint sensor it’s an added bonus to the device. While the primary mobile focus is on phones because of the smaller size, “foldables” are on the rise, with a foldable device you can fit more tech into a smaller package, only time will tell if this will be a viable product. Smaller laptops are also considered mobile as they enable a user to stay productive on the go, just about every company has a “mobile” laptop with samsung introducing newer high end Chromebooks.

Samsung Laptops

Desktop Computers

In previous years it seemed like desktop computers were a thing of the past giving way to laptops and tablets. This year a few new desktops, all in one PCs and monitors were shown that show that desktops are still alive. One such desktop innovation that falls into the all in one category is the Dell Optiplex 7070 Ultra, this is a modular PC, like the internals of laptop, that offers multiple configurations and fits inside a dell monitor stand. This is good for “kiosk” desktops that will sit in libraries, doctor’s offices and even for front desks and offices.

Automotive

Vision AVTR

While the automotive industry has been catching up in recent years, integration between your mobile devices and your car is even easier with NFC, Bluetooth 5.0 and wireless charging. As well as ease of use vehicles are getting smarter in regards to driving patterns and taking some of the work away from operating the vehicle on your trip keeping you rested and alert. Some of these technologies are notifications and alerts on vehicle status and information on your destination such as weather and traffic. By also using AI data such as travel habits your vehicle can suggest when to fuel up and even condition the interior before you even need to leave. Mercedes Benz showed off an out of this world concept car with the Vision AVTR, a partnership with James Cameron and Avatar. While the car itself is functional the concept is still far off but put into perspective a potential outcome of our current take of automotive vehicles.

Emerging Tech

A new emerging “Technology” is the impossible meats burgers, this year they were showcasing their impossible “pork” product. While most of the attention on it was on religious practices with pork and it’s impact their product overall has gotten better over the last year and a half and the free White Castle hamburgers they were handing out sure were tasty! Other than future food a few more merging trends are more AI and Machine learning integration into our phones and connected devices to make our everyday lives easier, while this comes with the argument of privacy invasion only time will tell on companies commitment to consumer privacy. While the tides of technology are always changing this year looks promising for new and emerging technologies as well as a pivot point in technology use in our daily lives.

Photo Highlights

Impossible Burger
Google “Building”
Google Slide
Alienware Gaming Monitor
Attending a presentation on 5G and automotive vehicles.

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CES 2020

This year I will be attending CES 2020, it’s one of the most exciting times of the year for me as I get a glimpse into the future with all the new and emerging technologies shown at CES. I’ve attended the last 5 CES shows and each time more and more has shown up at the show, it can be overwhelming at times but over the past few years I have developed a “plan” of sorts to get the most out of the show. I’ve heard before that some people come to the show to see what will be “big” next year and some come to get a head start on all the new technologies shown. No matter the reason you are attending I have put together some ways to see enough to get a good grasp on the show and the many exhibitors.

Demos

On thing that may distract you are of products that have minor improvements or are not paticularly relevant, such as the motorcycle demo put on by BMW. Now if you have time or just happen to be near when some of these exhibitions take place then by all means watch and take part. While CES has a lot to offer and the BIG companies have capitalized on that, Google, Samsung, Sony, etc, it’s still important to pay attention to smaller companies and or niche markets as I have seen more than a few of these show up year after year bigger and with a more refined product.

Giveaways

Google is famous for it’s CES giveaways and while not as big as they have done at other events such as Google I/O you can still walk away with some pretty sweet gear. Last year they gave out free Google Home, now Nest Hub, vouchers for anyone that rode their interactive ride, and their were free macaroons at the end :). The other major Google attraction is their “Gumball” machine, a giant Gumball machine located outside the main entrance to the central hall, this always has a ridiculously long line (upwards of 3 hours in some cases) and occasionally really great items such as a Pixel is dispensed but otherwise most participants walk away with a hat. Samsung has jumped on the bandwagon as well as GoPro with giveaways with GoPro doing a daily giveaway at 3 everyday, I have personally won a GoPro giveaway and it was worth it since it only takes about 20 minutes out of your day.

Food

While there are many options to eat inside the convention spaces, at the LVCC (Las Vegas Convention Center), a few exhibitors may have a treat for you. In years past Google has provided macaroons for rides of it’s exhibit and Logitech offered up a waffle truck, it’s always worth a look and usually free!

Bottom Line…

The bottom line is to remember your purpose at the show, if you are there for serious business, stick to that, if you are there for research and market insight, have fun but remember to look at enough to deliver a firm decision and accurate information. While I have outlined what I thinks works best for someone on business and someone there to just “observe” for future reference, I have been in the shoes of both and have always had fun and able to walk away with enough industry contacts and great memories!


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Something about VPNs

VPNs have been the buzzword for the past few years not only in the consumer world but in the business world as well. While VPNs have been around for some time now, the term and use of a VPN has only recently made it’s way over to the consumer market. With many different companies advertising for their VPN on services such as YouTube, TV commercials and even on news papers, their popularity has spread like wild fire across social media and word of mouth however many are still clueless about the purpose of a VPN. To fully understand a demystify what exactly a VPN is or does we first need to go back in time to when VPNs were first used. VPNs were primarily used in the business world to “bridge” an external network with an internal one through a secure tunnel, many people who have a company issued laptop or mobile device will often use a VPN to connect to business resources. Today VPN are more accessible and used by consumers and business users alike. Below we will dive into the differences between a consumer and a business VPN.

Consumer Use

A typical consumer nowadays will use a VPN on a mobile device or home computer to avoid things such as ad tracking, content restrictions (usually media related), or simply to protect their privacy when accessing websites. While the privacy aspect is what most users jump on, it’s not actually as private as you think, all a VPN does as stated above is “tunnel” your connection to another network. So if you are accessing sensitive data through the tunnel, it may still be traced back to you if you are not encrypting your connection or being lazy with data and computer security. In most cases a consumer is better of without one as it can add complexity to your setup as well as frustration, our advice is if you are not trying to protect yourself from services such as ad trackers or are not sure exactly what a VPN is or the use of one, you are probably better off without one.

Business Use

A typical business user will use a VPN to access corporate resources, this will typically be through some sort of proprietary client software such as Cisco AnyConnect. In most cases this is setup and managed from a company IT department and all the user needs to do is login. While a business user has it easier since they do not have to shop around for a VPN provider they are limited by the VPN configuration. In some cases it may be a “Split Tunnel” VPN where they access the internet through their local connection but all corporate resources are through the VPN, which means that all web searches and downloads will be over their private or public (not good) internet connection, this may put them at risk if not practicing proper computer hygene.

final thoughts

To finish this topic and make it through our first blog post we will end with this, if you are consumer worried about privacy and understand the fundamentals of a VPN, shop around for a VPN provider, a quick google search will turn up more than a few. Be aware of each providers terms of use as some may not provide a truly private service. As for a business user, all offsite corporate activity should be done through a “Private” company managed VPN and each user should follow the company IT rules to maintain a secure environment. See, VPNs aren’t so scary after all?


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Hello Blog,

Foose Industries Logo

Hello World! It’s good to finally have a blog presence after all this time. At Foose Industries we have been building, learning and innovating during our 5 years of existence and many, many projects and products in multiple areas of hardware and technology, we are finally ready to share some of that with the world through our business and tech blog. The purpose of this blog is to educate and inform both businesses and consumers on many topics related to technology and how that interacts with their business or their “business” as a consumer. One if the many challenges we have faced is dealing with uneducated clients and consumers when it comes to the technology they use when doing business. One of our new services which we are fully rolling out in the form of this blog is to give an inside look on technology and business so both parties can be educated and confident when making purchasing and operational decisions. Some topics we will be exploring in upcoming blog posts are VPNs and how they work for YOU, online payment processing explained and playing offense with smarthome and IoT technologies. We hope you find this blog helpful and informative no matter if you are a consumer or business affiliate!

Ian Foose
Founder, Foose Industries

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