Theory of, and the Internet of EVERYTHING!

Physics has a pursuit of the Theory of Everything. It’s goal is to provide a single framework that connects the physical universe. It gets into some pretty heavy stuff that we all have heard of like Einstein’s General Relativity and the hot topic of Quantum Mechanics.

The idea that there is a single mathematical equation to explain the universe brings me back to meaning of the universe defined in Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy. 42 may be the answer but the answer is beyond most of us to understand. Continue reading Theory of, and the Internet of EVERYTHING!

My Applications I use on a daily or regular basis

I get asked at least once a week what applications I use on my iPad and Computer to make me functional. I had an email I would send to people but have decided since I need to get my Blog entries back up, this would be a good place to point them to.

Here are my applications…

Evernote: I refer to this as my primary application sometimes. I use it daily to as their tag line says “Remember Everything.” This application takes input from web, camera, email and a variety of other ways, does an OCR for text and indexes it all. It’s fuzzy logic search, tagging, reminders make it one app I wouldn’t function well without. If you register through this link, you can earn yourself a one month premium subscription trial and help extend my subscription by a month! EVERNOTE REGISTER

PDF Expert: My favorite application for editing, drawing and commenting on PDF files on my iPad.

Quickoffice Pro HD: My favorite application for editing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents on the iPad.

GoodReader: Between Quickoffice and PDF Expert, this may be duplicate of some tasks but I have found several times that PDF and office documents are viewed better with formatting in GoodReader. If I have time one day, I’ll work on a comparison chart.

Pages, Numbers Keynote. These are Apples alternative to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. If you are going all Apple then you may consider changing to these. But then you need to learn how to save as Microsoft format to exchange documents with other people that use those. May be better to stay Microsoft Word and Excel even if you are all mac.

DropBox: I use dropbox to sync and have access to files between my PC, iPad, iPhone and from the web on computers when I don’t have mine. Also many of the applications I mention here can access the Cloud based storage directly.

TurboViewer: DWG and CAD file viewer. This is faster and better than the official app from AutoCAD below.

AutoCAD 360: AutoCAD viewer for CAD files. Need to get a free account to use. This is the “Official” AutoCAD viewer and sometimes displays files better than TurboViewer but TurboViewer has been more consistent in displaying better and faster.

VSD Viewer: This is for Microsoft Visio. I’m not sure you need to view Visio files. We do a lot of our one lines in Microsoft Visio but publish them in PDF format.

Skitch: An editor to put documents/images/pictures directly into an Evernote folder.

Talkboard: A whiteboard application used to collaborate with other people on a drawing.

Magic Plan: A neat application that I use to take a camera picture of a room and it draws the room for me. Not 100% in its abilities but it has helped me several times save a few hours of work.

WolframAlpha: An encyclopedia style application that provides answers to lots of measurement and statistical questions.

Basecamp and Wrike: These are two project management applications I use for getting non-computer people involved with my projects. Basecamp is simple and has made the difference in several projects but lacks some real defined PM features. Wrike is still fairly simple but operates like a more formal project management application.

Audible: This is my book listening application. I only list it because I do use this several hours a week to listen to business books and information. Including wall street journal. It by far is the application I spend the most amount of time in.

Mark Munger

Hotel Internet Access for Guests

One of the more often debated topics in hotel technology is internet access for guests. The debate is whether to give away Internet or charge for it or some combination of the two. Many who have engaged me in this debate know that I am a proponent of a mix. I am a big proponent that if you don’t charge for electricity or water or basic TV channels then you should not charge for basic internet service. I get criticized for reducing internet access to a basic utility but this is how most of our guests look at it.

I am not advocating that you provide multi-megabit service for free. But just as we provide basic TV viewing, providing basic internet access is a standard amenity that should be provided. If you charge a resort fee to provide TV, phone and other services then including internet fees there works too.

That said I am also in the business of helping hoteliers figure out how to make money from all these technologies. With that in mind comes the idea of providing steps to our guests so that those that want a more luxurious Internet experience are able to purchase and consume it at a level that they desire.

There have been a few examples from the music industry which I believe provide a good lesson on how to serve an entire customer base. Nine Inch Nails awhile back served their segmented customer base providing songs for free to download at the low end while selling a box set of the same music with memorabilia for $300. The basic music was the same but the experience for the customer was entirely different.

I believe that the same should be true for Internet access. The base service should be free and easy. There should also be tiers that let a customer choose to experience the Internet at the level that they need or that their budget allows. Using this stepped approach ensures the customer gets the experience they want while still providing a revenue stream to the hotelier.

I acknowledge that there are other opinions on this. Hoteliers pay a significant expense installing and maintaining the infrastructure for guest Internet. But done right that same infrastructure should be providing other value as well. And overall, it should be a win-win for hotelier and guest together.

Educational reform and funding

This is not directly about technology or related subjects but something I feel strongly about. The education of our kids. Recently, pink slips were given to number of teachers in my daughters school district because funding was going to fall short. One of the major areas was the performing arts and specifically music. I grew up in band playing trombone with some of the best teachers around. Winning championships, marching in Rose Parades, World Series, countless band reviews and a tour of Australia. I can directly trace some of my understanding of logic and teamwork to my music and experiences.

I have two issues with the recent pink slip issuance. One is the idea that we cut programs entirely or reduce the money allocation. I look at the amounts that are allocated per student and wonder how even on the reduced amounts, there is not a way to make it work. The other issue is that less productive teachers with seniority are being kept while others who are clearly better teachers as acknowledged by their peers, students and parents, are given the slips.

I’m a fan of some of the models Bill Gates has presented about education. #WashingtonPostArticle# I believe as far as compensation, teachers are more like engineers wishing to have a guaranteed base with bonus potential rather than a truly variable commission structure. But I believe without incentives, most individuals will not rise to their best. For the sake of our kids and future, we need to figure this out.

1 million purchased

I was looking on LivingSocial today and remembered that I had forgotten to purchase the Fandango deal earlier this week. When I checked and saw 1 million had been purchased, equating to 2 million tickets, it occurred to me how powerful this is. That’s 9 million dollars going through the web site in one day. I’m not sure how many of the Amazon certificates they sold but I would guess that it was similar.

What does this tell me? Consumers are spending money. Deals are still driving sales for items that people want and use. And if there are many like me, then Living Social likely could have sold double what they did. With most movies lasting 90 minutes, thats 1.5 million hours spent in movie theaters. Not to mention the 6 dollar drinks and 5 dollar popcorn!

Verizon iPhone – I can hear you now!

I received my Verizon iPhone today. I’ve had mobile phone service since 1985 through Pac Bell, AirTouch and all the other iterations up to Verizon Wireless. But when the iPhone came out, I got an AT&T account as well and have used it as my primary phone for a few years. So will I switch back?

First glance:

Data & Speed: I’ve decided that if I really need to be on the phone and use the data connection at the same time, I am rarely not within a WiFi zone. So that doesn’t bother me. Running speed tests from a few locations in the Las Vegas area this morning I found that AT&T does have some slightly fast data speeds but at best it’s 2368kbps vs 2011kbps.  I can live with that.

Converting / Restore: I restored the backup of my AT&T iPhone and it notified me one app, PageOnce, had an invalid signature. Another app, PocketScan, failed to restore for some misc reason.  I also noticed my song count is off by about 20 songs out of about 2000. Not sure where they went but I’ll look into it. Other than that, the restore appeared to be a great success. If anyone is interested, my critical apps are Toodledo, Evernote, and Trillian. Other apps of personal value are Pandora, Tweetdeck, Facebook and Mashable.

Phone Calls: Vegas has good AT&T coverage except when big conventions come to town or in some of the casinos. I’ll test this out further as I go. But I look forward to my drive to California tomorrow to watch my AT&T signal go away and still have a few bars on my Verizon iPhone!

Tethering: I tested using the phone as a WiFi hotspot and it worked well. .8Mb/s down and .4Mb/s up. I can live with that was well. I’ll test it against the MiFi in a few days.

Should I have waited for the iPhone 5? Well since I pass my technology down to other family members, I’m sure nobody minds another iPhone 4 in the mix. I’ll likely still upgrade in June just like I always have.

Otherwise than above, it really is an apples to apples conversion. 🙂

CES 2011 takeaways

Overload of stuff. All good stuff though. But what were my impressions about technology and products.

Television bezels are getting thinner and thinner with almost all picture and no frame.

3D without glasses is getting better but not quite here.

There are enough tablets being shown that they may move beyond tech enthusiasts to everyday users.

My phone can do everything I want including make a phone call IF i happen to be within a good coverage area.

Technology acceptance and use is at an all time high and rapidly increasing. This is one industry that is not having a recession.

Microsoft takes 30 days to process digital order?

I recently renewed my Microsoft Action Pack. This is a benefit that Microsoft provides to it’s partners allowing then to use, demonstrate and close sales on Microsoft technologies to increase productivity at customers business’s. I went online, completed the information and paid with a credit card. Very smooth, or so I thought…

I needed to download something over the weekend to show and got the message that I didn’t have access. I checked my credit card statement and indeed, the charge had gone through. Thinking it was just a system error, I emailed to inquire but didn’t quite know what to think of the response

Thank you for your inquire however, the Partner Network states that the order could take up to 30 business days to process… WHAT? 30 days to process an all electronic order for a digital download. I ordered a product from a neighbor of Microsoft’s,, on a Saturday and had my product delivered to my doorstep on Monday.  And Microsoft can take up to 30 days for a digital download? Maybe the folks in Redmond need to take a field trip down the road to see how internet commerce should really work.

Technology and Management Consulting for Residential, Hospitality, Casino Gaming and Tech Companies