Monday, April 10, 2017

Fun with lifelong learning

A new distance learning pursuit for me - Warblers!

Going back a few months, when I decided to give my monthly Observations a rest, I also committed to doing some alternative coverage on this blog. In my mind, this meant shifting from exclusive focus on the printing and imaging industry to something surrounding both my personal and professional interests.

It's been a bit difficult withdrawing from the former focus, as I look back at my irregular posts since last Fall. But today I'm mentioning my latest pursuit - The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology's "Get to Know Your Warblers" course, which consists of seven weeks of one-hour classes. The sessions started last week and will continue through mid-May, timed very well for the return of the migratory Parulidae family (the New World Warblers). And so far, so good - I was very impressed with session one and look forward to the remainder.

This is technically not my first class from the CLO. I was a participant, back in the late 1970's(!), of "Seminars in Bird Biology", a now very-old-fashioned-style "correspondence course" where weekly lessons were sent by mail, quizzes were filled out and returned, and a grade was given at the end. I passed!

The "Lab" now has an entire division entitled The Bird Academy devoted to birding education, and I am excited to continue with "Warblers", and then see what else they have to offer. For the past several years, noting the decline in my skills based on too many years of not enough birding, I had been hoping to find a local bird education opportunity specifically focused on identification skills, both visual and aural (songs). So when the Cornell offering came along I jumped on it and I am happy I did - it was sold out at 1,200 students before the first class! Speaks to the interest in birds these days.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

HP-Boise sells out to State of Idaho

Stunning news today, at least from an Idaho perspective

In a stunning development, at least for a few HP old-timers like me, it was revealed that the State of Idaho is in the process of buying the HP-Boise site, with the company leasing back half the space for its ongoing business at the Boise site. revealed in the "scoop" by the Spokane (WA) -based Spokesman Review reporter Betsy Russell.

Shortly following Russell's story, the Idaho Statesman has the story adding additional details and perspective, including a local real estate leader's worries about the future of HP in Boise. While that concern has many factors that will play out over time, this change is significant in itself. Going back to my early days working at the what was then the shiny-new site, the thought of our "Silicon Valley North" oasis being taken over by something as mundane as the State of Idaho's Tax Commission would have been unthinkable.

I joined the Disc Memory Division in 1981, then a "captive" supplier for HP minicomputers, had the Idaho Tax Commission as a customer. They were a small customer, but nearby, and I remember a team heading out for a "field trip" to help them get their new drives up and running, with lengths of HP-IB cables in tow. How times change!

The Idaho Statesman story features a lovely airborne shot of the soon-to-be State of Idaho property





Wednesday, January 25, 2017

GIF Printing


Today brought to light a development in printing that I view as more fun than anything else. But since fun often places high on the interest list for me, I am sharing here.

The new-product site Product Hunt, one of my favorites, is featuring Print a GIF - and the interest is quite high. The solution - to "Turn any gif into a printable flip book" - is ranked in second place in today's listing, based on reader "likes" of the over-20 entries. As already mentioned, I mostly think of "fun" when I look at "Print a GIF", but it is tagged in five categories in PH, leading with "Productivity" and "Get Shit Done". Interesting!

"Print a GIF" holding a lofty #2 position among today's Product Hunt entries

Monday, January 23, 2017

Apps for your Printer - Remember when HP tried those?

Report - Problem with voice apps - stickiness
As an owner of Amazon Echo aka Alexa, and a gifter of Google Home, I was extra-curious about this morning's story in ReCode. Covering the market with a focus on "voice apps", writer Jason Del Ray looks at a new report by VoiceLabs and their analysis of the burgeoning market and the accompanying "Skills" (in Amazon lingo), or something more generically referred to as "apps". I recommend reading the article as well as the report summary.

The analysis also took me back to HP's "Printer Apps" which were announced in 2009 (hard to believe it's been nearly eight years). It was part of an overall launch of web-relevant printing-related products. From a post I filed on June 22, 2009, the day of the event in San Francisco (see "HP Reveals! Web-enabled inkjet all-in-one sets new industry direction"):

When it came time to unveil, at the Current Media studios in San Francisco, HP Imaging and Printing leader Vyomesh Joshi unveiled the "The HP Photosmart Premium with TouchSmart Web", a $399 inkjet all-in-one (available in September) that features direct Web access and provides a platform for application developers, with print-centric interests, complete with API's and an iTunes-like online app store dubbed "HP Apps Studio".
I remember talking to HP's then-top printer executive Vyomesh Joshi at the event, and suggested that his business was quite savvy in recognize the growth of apps for smartphones and tablets, and being a "fast follower" getting into their own apps. When I expressed that same sentiment to other HP attendees, also suggesting that it was a low-risk, worth-a-try endeavor, they argued that it was virtually guaranteed to be a success (this included that printer all-in-one with the multisyllabic name) and not a risk at all. that  I reported when their Apps Studio came online in September, and then visited and reported a few more times as the stable of apps, and reviewers, grew over time.

But the individual apps and Apps Studio never did pick up any real momentum, that printer model is now long forgotten, and the overall effort is only a memory for me, and I am betting that I am among the few who even remember "printer apps" at all. As to be expected, the old link to the app store from my post "HP's Print Apps Store update" gets hung up when I try to click through it, and the "home" site back then, the "HP Creative Studio", now takes me to Snapfish.com - quite interesting since that part of HP was sold off in April 2015 prior to the split into HP Inc and HP Enterprise. (See "HP Sells Snapfish - cites focus".)

That's probably enough looking back for now. And as I write so long here, let me say out loud, "Alexa play nostalgic music" and bingo, "she" says "Here's some music you might like", and serves up Van Morrison singing "Crazy Love", followed by America's "Horse with no Name" - love my Amazon Echo!

What the HP Printer App store (dubbed App Studio) looked like in October 2009





Follow me on Blogarama