Category Archives: Technology

How to Survive Naked and Afraid

When Discovery launched Naked and Afraid in 2013, I didn’t plan to watch it. Survival shows are not new, and the provocative title didn’t appeal to me. Survivor, for one, has been around for more than fifteen years and was responsible for the concept of being “voted off the island.” Reality shows have been with us for decades. Naked and Afraid just sounded like more of the same.

For whatever reason, I ended-up recording the first episode, which was broadcast on June 23, 2013. The routine hasn’t varied much:

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Wi-Fi Wonders Come at a Price – maybe loss of your Privacy

Wi-Fi is Wonderful

The constant supply of data to your smartphone, tablet, and other mobile devices makes life easier. The reliable connection to the Internet without using your data plan allotment is priceless. That’s why your family and friends all ask for your Wi-Fi connection information.

The Dark Side

However, the Wireless Access Point (WAP) that provides the signal to you and yours can also be a spy in your home or office. The default configuration when you take it out of the box makes it easy for the bad guys to take control of it.

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The End of an Era – SkyMall Files for Bankruptcy

If you fly, you’ve seen the SkyMall catalog in the seat-back pocket in front of you. It’s been a great business model, marketing to a captive audience that may have nothing better to do for hours than watch the in-flight entertainment and read the seat-pocket reading material.

Of course a lot has changed since SkyMall came into being a quarter-century ago. Catalogs are getting thinner, and though paper catalogs aren’t going away just yet, less are printed every year. Due in part to reduced mail volumes, the United States Postal Service is losing money, and is slowing service while raising rates.

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3 Reasons Your Web Site Needs to be Mobile Friendly – and how Google is Forcing Your Hand

More and more people are using mobile devices to access the web. Why does that matter to you?

Your Customers Care

Increasing numbers of your customers use mobile devices, not only to look at information, but to buy things using those devices. For example, 37% of US iPhone Users are Buying via Mobile.

If your site isn’t friendly to mobile devices, your potential customers may go elsewhere. Even existing customers may be tempted by the web sites of your competitors.

Apps Can’t Do Everything

Your web site needs to work with mobile devices. Smaller companies, and those that don’t regularly interact with their customers online via their mobile devices, may not even have an app. People who want to find out more about the company or the products will still need to use your web site, so it had better work well with mobile.

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Find a Need and Fill It

I enjoyed reading about the Northwest Pinball & Arcade Show, and not just a because of my interest in retro technology. Logo for PinBallBulbs, offering light bulbs for pinball machines at http://www.pinballbulbs.com/I was particularly intrigued by a company listed in the Show Sponsors section. When I saw the logo for PinballBulbs, the lightbulb above my own head lit-up. I was reminded of the rallying cry for sales and marketing people to Find a need and fill it.

Seriously? A company that exists to sell lightbulbs for pinball machines? A bit of investigation confirmed that they specialize in lights and lighting upgrades for pinball machines!

Sharing What You Know

Light bulbs for pinball machines? That’s an awfully narrow niche, but apparently there’s a need for them. I suspect the proprietors didn’t start with a brainstorming session and end up with an inspiration to sell a very specific product into a very specialized market. They were probably already involved with pinball machines and saw the need to replace or upgrade the many light bulbs they contain.

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How Technology Changed our Perception of Security

It used to be that if you needed a security system at home or at the office, you’d call an alarm company. Keypad of a locked Android smart phone

They would provide the full package:

  • Provide and install a security system, complete with a console and sensors and the wires that connected everything
  • Monitor the system from their office, and notify the police or fire department if something bad happened
  • You would enable and disable the system using a key or keypad on the console, but the alarm company took care of the rest

That model served a lot of people for several decades, and there is no shortage of companies offering that kind of service today. (In some markets, you’ll encounter ads for security systems several times daily on radio, TV, and other media.)

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