A Non-Programmer’s Adventures In The Internet Of Things

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Besides re-vamping my office setup to allow standing as well as sitting at my desk, I’ve also been working on outfitting my home with lots of Things — Things as in the Internet of Things (IoT).

It started, I believe, with our need for a new garage door opener. Rather than do the simple thing and just buy a replacement, I decided to complicate matters and determined to automate the door’s opening and closing. The idea: whenever myself or my husband pulled up in one of our vehicles, the garage door would open automatically. When we left, it would close automatically.

Handy, right? Well, it started me down the path of Home Automation, which is working out as either amazing, revolutionary and wonderful or frustrating, broken and time-consuming. How I feel about it depends on the particular day. [click to continue…]

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My Standing Desk Initiative

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I’m sure I’m not the first person you’ve heard of adopting a standing desk, but there’s likely still more to learn. Everyone’s different, after all. Maybe I’ve experienced something that will help you in your own ergonomic working endeavors.

The Rationale

When I was in journalism graduate school at Columbia — one of the most intense periods of my life, work-wise — I experienced carpal tunnel syndrome for the first time. When I visited a doctor to get treatment, he talked about the perils of being a desk jockey and even said that people who sat all day at a keyboard should do strength-training to enable them to handle the rigors.

Since then, we’ve seen study after study determine that sitting all day is “the new smoking,” leading to early adopters experimenting with treadmill desks, standing desks, sit/stand desks, etc. One thing I’ve learned in reading their accounts is that people’s bodies really aren’t meant to STAND all day, either. Therefore, I determined to try a set-up that allowed me to switch positions — not to mention walk around a bit — throughout the day. [click to continue…]

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How To Get Accepted To Speak at an SMX Event

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I’d share my own advice, but one of my panelists for the upcoming West show has already encapsulated it all so well in his post: How I Got Accepted To Speak At SMX West 2015.

Best of luck in all of your speaking endeavors!

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Not Just Gingers And One-Offs: The Enrichening Of English Around The Globe

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This morning, I caught up on the news by reading about the recent terrible accident in Glasgow that took six lives. Most headlines I saw referred to it as the “Glasgow Bin Lorry Crash.” Here, we’d call it the “Garbage Truck Crash.” Sad as the incident was, It got me thinking about a less-tragic cultural phenomenon that I’ve been observing for some time.

When I was a kid, I wouldn’t have had any idea what a “Bin Lorry” was. I remember having to look up words like “treacle” after I’d come across them in books. And books were nearly the only places I ran across such words. I met an exchange student from Australia in high school and was fascinated by slang he taught me like saying “no worries” rather than “you’re welcome” or “not a problem.”

I also remember being confused about the term “mince” or “mince meat” — I thought I’d figured out that “mince” was what we termed “hamburger meat” or “ground beef,” but then I heard about a “mince pie” or a “mincemeat pie,” which sounded like dessert to me. And speaking of dessert, that Pink Floyd song that asked “how can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat!” mystified me a bit, too. I thought I knew what pudding was, but this seemed an odd usage of it. [click to continue…]

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