Journaling my IoT self-education

It’s been years since I last made an effort to keep track of my thoughts and opinions, on any topic, in any form of public dialog. My last venture was from 2004-2009 when I dug into urban development and real estate in Columbus, Ohio. Without getting into the details of those past efforts, the thing I remember most vividly about the experience is the clarity of thought that developed as part of the writing process. Having to do the research, formulate a coherent perspective, and put those perspectives in writing helped bring that clarity. Today, that writing process is something I hope to get back to as I continue a self-educational dive that started last year into the Internet of Things (IoT).

IoT is a very broad term that covers a wide swath of consumer and industrial markets. It encapsulates every aspect of design and development for both digital and physical goods, and it requires a wide range of technical expertise in order to bring a connected device to market. From user experience to customer management, embedded computing to predictive analytics, there is almost no element of the entire digital ecosystem that IoT products do not touch. There are hundreds of companies, organizations and people stepping into the IoT ecosystem offering everything from end-to-end IoT solutions to general thought leadership. It is a vast, relatively nascent market where the boundaries are being defined as I write this. There are no clear leaders as of yet, at least with respect to the consumer market, despite the current efforts of Apple, Google and Amazon. I find this to be the most exciting aspect.

There is clearly plenty of room for thought leadership. As I continue to evolve my own understanding of this market, I hope to share my perspectives on what I learn as I go. I have been, for most of my 20-year professional career, an agency developer programming everything from websites and backend web services to touchscreen kiosks and mobile applications. As I expand into some of the specific areas and markets of connected devices, I feel pretty confident that I can, at the very least, contribute a unique perspective to the IoT conversation.

As part of my learning process, I will be practicing a little bit of knowledge management by aggregating my IoT research in an online repository of sorts that will be linked to my website. I will be starting off by sharing my “IoT” Twitter list but will be quickly expanding to contain information about organizations and products that I come across during my research. Have a look:

Welcome to my learning journal.

Speeding up the learning process, one video at a time

Nerd tip: Want to watch all those <developer conference of your choice> videos but don’t have 45 minutes or an hour at a time to spend on one of them, let alone dozens of them? Read on…

There are dozens of videos I always want to watch from Apple’s WWDC each year, but depending on the presenter, they can be painful to sit through. has a customized video player in their website that has ability to speed up the video while you are watching is without distorting the presenter’s voice too much, so I was hoping that I could find a way to watch Apple’s videos in the same manner.

If the videos you want to watch are available to download, (i.e. WWDC 2015 videos are as HD or SD .mp4’s) pull them down locally and play them in the QuickTime Player app. Once they start playing, hold down the option key (on a Mac anyways) and tap the fast forward button. It will speed up the video in increments of .1, all the way up to 2.0. The cool part is that it maintains the pitch of the audio, so you aren’t listening to chipmunks.

Screenshot 2016-01-07 22.01.05

I find my ability to absorb what they are saying is pretty stable at 1.7. If they get into new material that requires some deep listening and processing, I’ll kick it back down to 1.4.

You’ll cover a lot more videos this way. Enjoy!

Apple To Release New Apple TV In September, Report Says via TechCrunch

Finally, Apple should release an SDK as well as a dedicated App Store for the TV. It would bring the Apple TV up to par with Android TV and make the device much more powerful. Even if Apple doesn’t launch its streaming service at the same time, third-party developers could start developing for the new device right away before the Apple TV becomes a must-have.

Source: Apple To Release New Apple TV In September, Report Says via TechCrunch

I’ve been hoping and waiting for the Apple TV ecosystem to expand and allow custom application development to take place. I really believe that a new Apple TV SDK opens the next door of innovation for blurring the lines between computers and televisions.

Granted, there are a lot of products and companies who have already been working on this type of crossover for some time, but since I’m all-in on the whole Apple ecosystem, this is the one I’ve been waiting for.

At the moment, I’m not really concerned with what the rumors and specifications are said to be. Just opening the door to integration between television and computing leads to a whole new generation of apps.

I’m particularly interested in what opportunities will arise for educational and training apps. So much of the tech training I go through these days is video-based, or at least has a video element to it, that being able to watch training on a TV would grab my attention. Being able to go through training, away from my desk, with my iPad as a companion to work in conjunction with an Apple TV app (note taking, scheduling, building personal lesson plans) is very appealing. If nothing else, it’s a potential app idea…