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August 23, 2009

WiFi Scales can weigh and tattle at the same time

Every week a couple of people search for "WiFi Fridge" and end up at my blog postabout the LG refrigerator that has a video screen in the door.  It doesn't really have a WiFi connection, but that's what I was thinking about when I named the post back in 2006.  (Maybe I should build it since I have the number one or two spot in Bing and Google with that post.)  LG seems to have discontinued the refrigerator, though you can buy a wireless TV from them now.

Recently I discovered the Withings WiFi connected scales, which you've got to have I think if you are getting an WiFi refrigerator.  Not only are the scales wireless, they have an easy-to-use programming interface so all sorts of interesting applications could be build.  I could build an app for instance that would send a message via Twitter or Facebook if my weight went above (or below) a certain number.  Surely someone will build this into one of the sites like dailyburn.com that help people track their exercise and match their progress with friends.

The scales aren't available in the U.S. yet and hopefully the price will come down before it arrives.  At almost $200, that's out of reach for my toy budget.

Wifi Scale

August 23, 2009 in Web/Tech | Permalink | TrackBack

August 13, 2009

Social Networking in the Enterprise

I talked to Dan Miller from Opus Research this week, and when he blogged about our conversation I realized that *I* had not yet blogged about this. 

Dan and I talked about how Microsoft's Office Communications Server can be extended and even embedded into other applications.  At the Worldwide Partner Conference this year in New Orleans I was doing a demo of how we had created "Twitter for the Enterprise" using OCS, and on the last day of the conference I recorded this live demo.  I was sitting in the U.S. Partner area, which of course included a Starbucks.  If you listen carefully you might hear the barista in the background.

Today Unified Communications and Office Communications Server in particular are getting attention because enterprises see the technology as cheaper than buying and maintaining legacy phone systems.

If they get some productivity improvements, which can be tough to quantify, then that's just a bonus.  But to me that's like replacing typewriters with PCs in the old days.   The future potential of the PC was far more valuable than the incremental costs savings that were gained by improving word processing.  The same thing will happen here.  Applications of great value will be created that simply aren't possible with today's communications infrastructure that is based on hardware more than software.

Enterprises will not buy phone systems in the future, any more than they buy word processing systems today.  Communications of all types, not just voice, will be a part of all of our applications and it will be because today we are rebuilding the infrastructure using software, not silicon and copper wire running to each and every place where we need to communicate.

August 13, 2009 in Unified Communications, Web/Tech | Permalink | TrackBack

August 12, 2009

Windows 7 RTM Installed via upgrade


Microsoft released the final RTM version of Windows 7 to partners via MSDN last week.  I have four computers, and I just finished upgrading all of them to RTM.  Microsoft recommends a clean install from the test version, but that is a LOT of work and I decided I would risk it and do the unsupported upgrade.  I've had a great experience with Windows 7 and I would recommend upgrading to at as soon as you can.  My experience, and benchmarks that I've seen, seem to indicate that it is even faster that Windows XP.  I have had very few issues and have been off of Vista and XP since the day the first Beta version of Windows 7 was available.

After finishing the last machine tonight, I wrote these notes up for a few people at Gold Systems who are also early adopters.  Remember, Microsoft recommends a clean install, and I recommend backing up your systems in case anything goes wrong.

I decided to upgrade all my computers to Windows 7 RTM, rather than do a clean install.  I found this website telling how to do it, and it really was easy.  Basically,

1.    Copy the DVD to your hard drive

2.    Edit an ini file to set the minimum version required to upgrade.  The file is 3 lines long and you just change a number

3.    Run setup from the hard drive

Here’s the link:


It seems to be working just fine, but here are the gotchas.

Because of patch Tuesday I think, my machines needed a reboot before I could install RTM.  The installer doesn’t check that until 5 or 10 minutes in, so you should start with a  reboot of your machines to make sure your patches are installed before starting the install.

RTM won’t install with McAffe virus software (my version)  installed, so uninstall it and reboot before starting.

On one machine I had an old SoundBlaster card that was listed as incompatible, but I went ahead with the install, and Windows update was able to find a good driver after the install was done, and it seems to be working now.

Once the installation gets going, you don’t have to do anything so you can just let it run.  I think it took 2 or 3 hours per machine.

The background wallpaper is new, and the stock tracker gadget has disappeared which is strange.  Other than that, I don’t see any difference.  Oops, I just noticed my printers on my laptop are gone.  And my homegroup is gone, which I’ve found to be useful, but it will be easy to set that back up.  Outlook, Communicator, etc. all seem to be working fine.

I hope this helps and saves you a few false starts.  Ned and Steve – THANK YOU for being so tolerant of me insisting on being on the bleeding edge!  J


P.S. - one of the computers is the FJ Car Computer, a strange piece of equipment if there ever was one.  The initial install and upgrade of Windows 7 worked flawlessly.   

August 12, 2009 in Car Computer, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 04, 2009

Interview with W3W3 about Conference Server

Last week Larry Nelson from w3w3 dropped by the office to interview me about Gold Systems' new Conference Server product that's based on the Microsoft Office Communications Server.  We talked about the new product, but I tried to not turn it into a commercial and spent a fair amount of time talking about what we're doing to make it easier for companies to say "yes" to new purchases.  Now more than ever as entrepreneurs we've got to take the risk out of purchases.  In the interview I listed a few specific things to do and talked about how the new product was designed to be "easy to buy."

I can't seem to find a permalink at w3w3.com, but the interview is on the page for August 2009 and shouldn't be too hard to find.  There is a picture of me in front of my bookcase and speech-enabled crank phone.  By the way, has anyone ever seen Larry without a camera?  He likes to joke that one source of revenue for w3w3 is people paying to have their pictures removed, but I'd have to say he's a pretty good photographer.

You can also read the w3w3 blog at http://w3w3.blogs.com/

Thanks Larry, it's always fun to talk to you!

August 4, 2009 in Entrepreneurship, Unified Communications | Permalink | TrackBack