Data

We all have “data” that we store on our devices and maybe even in the cloud. This “data” takes on many forms, video, music, pictures and documents are all forms of data. As humans we tend to collect and store our “valuables”, data has now become the new treasuredand valued objects that we possess. It’s amazing how our possessions nowadays are represented by 1s and 0s and these can be gone in a flash! In the first part of this 3 part series we will discuss what data is and how it’s stored.

Data Foundations

No matter what your data is, a file, a video or information streaming across a network, data has digital “mass”. This “mass” may be in the form of electrical energy over a wire or inside your computing device. Binary data is the root level of every digital file, these “numbers” will typically reside on a storage device somewhere, nowadays it may be in the cloud. Data sometimes is shrouded in mystism as it’s true form can be difficult to comprehend,

2020 has been a year of many challenges and many growths in technology within our everyday lives. Roughly a year ago, most of the world had to transition to working and socializing online “full time”.  For most this was relatively straight forward and easy, for others it was difficult. However here we are one year later, using technology to accomplish daily tasks, with no definite end in sight, there are many reasons to continue and improve in this use of technology in our lives.

While things are slowly starting to get back to familiar ways we should ask ourselves, “should we go back

Data Organization

In this second installment to this three part series in data storage and organization, we will finally be talking about organizing your stored “data”. In part one we learned what data is, how it’s represented on your device(s) and storage methods, in this part we will discuss how to organize this stored data. To start, stored data or files as you are used to calling them can sometimes be overwhelm to organize and sift through to find what you are looking for. Over the years I have personally found many tips and tricks to keeping everything nice and tidy in the digital realm, a lot of these methods have carried over to how we store our data at Foose Industries.

The first thing to do is identify what type of file(s) you are storing, the primary file types are listed below,

  • Media (Pictures/Video)
  • Audio
  • Documents
  • Other files (files for other programs)

A typical file structure on a computer will resemble the file tree below,

This base structure is great, it provides a way to store each unique file type in a place that defines it’s root function (photos, you expect photos there!), however there is one major drawback, every other “custom” file type (files for other programs or “non standard” file types) are typically dumped under documents and in most cases (hopefully) sorted into sub directories. To remedy this you can either create sub directories (or libraries on Windows) in the file system root (fancy word for “Home folder”) this is personal preference and if you are a more savvy user you can create the directory elsewhere and link it to your user’s home.

The key to any file structure is maintaining good organization and separation of data while still being able to navigate and use your file tree. Once you have a system, use it and stick to your rules, don’t just throw files in random places. Be mindful of where your files are at all times! If you need a place to temporarily put files or stage them, put the on your “desktop”, if your files are downloads, leave them in place until you are done with them. A good rule of thumb when ingesting files is to “file” them immediately. Having a clean and easy navigable file structure will help you to work quicker and find that memory in the form of a photo or video mich faster.

In Part 3 will discuss backing up and recovering your data.

IF

CES 2021

CES 2021 was an event like no other, with the convention being entirely digital, we will break down the pros and cons of this format and some cool new tech we saw this year.

First off, with CES 2021 being an all digital conference I was already somewhat uninterested from the start, while the registration and account process was the typical chore that CES always makes it, this involves creating an entirely new user account every year and lack of instructions which always leads to confusion as to whether the login page is asking for my old credentials or my newly created (new to me) credentials. The “virtual show floor” was already intimidating, but I found my way around, built my “Show Plan” and was off to vendors virtual booths. I would like to say that I anxiously awaited January 11th, but I didn’t, I logged on and spent a few hours browsing and watching videos before my eyes needed a break, I worked my way through keynotes and other vendors throughout the week.

Amazon Reinvent took place this past December, registration was free and the entire event was spread across 3 weeks with on demand streaming of recorded sessions available into January. ReInvent does their video presentations really well, it’s very hard to tell what content has been pre recorded and what is actually live. While CES relied heavily on pre recorded content it wasn’t entirely the same, part of this different experience for me was the expectation of an in person event that I have previously experienced at the Las Vegas Convention Center in years past.

To the future…

While the future of conventions and trade shows is still uncertain, they will inevitably need to come back to support the networking of industry professionals. This type of networking is crucial for

Data Backup

In the first 2 parts of this series we took a look at what exactly data is and how it makes up all of our digital possessions and how we can manage that data to make life easier and have access to what we need when we need it. In this final installment to the three part series on data, we will take look at effective ways and process to backup your data so you never have to worry about losing your digital possessions.

It’s inevitable that hard drive will fail, a device will break or you may accidentally delete or misplace your treasured data. Having a backup strategy and plan in place will give you peace of mind that your data is safe and secure. A lot of people are sometimes put off by the process and setup of creating and managing backups for their data, their is a lot of mis information and technical jargon involved in other guides, videos and tutorials that can intimated someone who is looking to setup a backup system. At the core of a good backup plan is automation, you should never rely on yourself to initiate a backup, yes I just said that we, as humans are the weak link, while you should never trust yourself with maintaining backups, you should ensure that you confirm that backups are hapeegin and retrievable.

Backup Technologies

There are many backup technologies in the form of both hardware and software, most operating systems, theater on mobile or a desktop or laptop will offer some sort of settings for creating backups. The hardware that is typically needed is an external hard drive, a 1TB external hard drive is typically enough for the average computer user that is looking to back up a workstation or 2, if you are looking to back up business workstations or servers you may want to look into a larger drive or even better a NAS RAID array such as Synology.

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.

IF

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).

IF

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.

IF

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!

IF

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