The Esoteric Techie

What is the Point of Your Project?

Posted by in Project Management

It seems like a simple question, but you would be surprised how many project managers can’t answer it when someone asks. A well reasoned and thought out business case is often neglected by even the savviest of organizations. As project managers, it is our responsibility to ask these questions and make sure that we understand what need the project is fulfilling. Whether we are talking about market demand, technological advances or simply a customer request, the important thing is to get to the root of the cause. Without this simple…read more

The Stubborn Stakeholder

Posted by in Project Management

A favorite quote of mine from the great Mark Twain is: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” One of the hardest things about managing projects is dealing with stakeholders that do not understand the technical of what, often times, is a complex and nuanced process. This situation is magnified when that stakeholder is incorrectly under the impression that they do understand and therefore resist explanation from the project manager. A saying of mine that I’ve…read more

The Project Wilderness

Posted by in Project Management

Project Initiation Early in 2015, I made up my mind to attempt a solo thru-hike of the Lone Star Hiking Trail (LSHT). At 128 miles (with loops), the LSHT is the longest wilderness footpath in Texas. It runs through the 163,037-acre Sam Houston National Forest about 50 miles north of Houston. Considering it would be my first time doing any serious backpacking, this was a fairly formidable undertaking. My experience up until this point mainly consisted of “glamping”; that is, camping out in well-established campgrounds with ready access to electricity…read more

Virtual Scrum Boards

Posted by in Project Management

Digital marketing often requires the undertaking of large, complex projects. Whether it is an enterprise-level website or a complicated native mobile application, the key to executing these projects is breaking them down into smaller, more manageable steps. As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Increasingly, agencies are turning to agile practices such as Lean, XP and Kanban to help them manage these types of endeavors. An agile process has the advantage of offering flexibility to an industry that moves way too fast for the rigid framework of…read more

Mountain Biking and the Art of Project Management

Posted by in Project Management

Several years ago, I rather naively took up the sport of mountain biking. I’ve always had a casual interest in cycling and would often ride my bike on the many roads and paved trails around my house. It was fun and a good way to get a little exercise. So when my brother asked me if I wanted to go with him to a local mountain bike trail for a ride, I thought “sure, sounds like a good time.” I had no idea what I was getting myself into. After…read more

Amazon Echo, The Connected Hub

Posted by in Technology

Amazon Echo is an Internet connected appliance that has the potential to change your life. I’ve written before about my disappointment in voice recognition technology. It’s been over three years and Siri, Apple’s “intelligent personal assistant” still fails to impress me. Echo, however, immediately made me a believer in the power of voice interface. Alexa is the name that Amazon has given to the friendly voice companion that inhabits its Echo device. Simply speaking the word Alexa allows you to wake up the device and give it commands. Using far-field…read more

Amazon Dash Button

Posted by in Technology

The Internet of Things (IoT) is still in its infancy. While most people have at least one or two connected devices already populating the house, it currently remains unclear exactly how they all interact with each other. This month Amazon announced a new service that attempts to bring the IoT one step closer to practical application. The Amazon Dash Button is a free device that you can stick to your pantry/washing machine/medicine cabinet that provides one simple function. When you notice you are running low on your supply of mac &…read more

Pencil by 53 – iPad Stylus

Posted by in Technology

Pencil is at it’s core a stylus for your iOS device. But the team at 53 knew that for a stylus to be useful, it would have to do more than than simply replace your finger. Pencil can do this by allowing the stylus to connect to your device via BLE or Bluetooth Low Energy. This new standard in Bluetooth technology allows devices to communicate with one another without the drain to battery life that has traditionally come with pairing a bluetooth device. What this means for Pencil is an…read more

Web Design Process: A Scientific Method

Posted by in Project Management

Web development can sometimes be a mysterious process. It’s a large undertaking and many people are intimidated by the prospect. Each website is different and has it’s own unique specifications and requirements. But just like the Great Pyramid or the Panama Canal, it is all possible given the right process framework. The trick is to understand the big picture, but to focus on the small achievable tasks; to have a plan, but not panic when things go awry; to maintain a sense of urgency, but portray a calm demeanor to…read more

Navdy Feels Like Driving In The Future

Posted by in Technology

The HUD or heads up display in your automobile has been a promise of technology for a long time. We’ve seen them in sci-fi movies and coveted them for a long time. A few auto manufactures like BMW and Cadillac have even given it a shot, but these implementations have been fairly limited. Doug Simpson and Karl Guttag are trying to deliver the HUD as a practical application that can easily be installed in any car. Navdy connects to your smartphone, so it doesn’t need a lot of computing power….read more

Tech Can Turn Your Black Thumb Green

Posted by in Technology

I love plants, but I’m terrible at caring for them how I should. I’m not positive how many Japanese Peace Lilies I’ve killed, but I’m pretty sure that it would classify me as a serial killer by most definitions. Fortunately, technology may be able to put to an end my murderous rampage. The guys over at French company Parrot have created a little gizmo that could turn even that blackest thumb a stunning shade of emerald. The Parrot Power Flower retails at $59.99 and is availabe online through Apple, Amazon and several…read more

IFTTT Automates Your Digital Life

Posted by in Technology

Wouldn’t you like to web to work the way you want it to? Have you ever posted an image to Instagram and then had to go through the same process of posting it to your Twitter account? I bet you wish there was some way to automate that process. If This Then That (IFTTT) is a service that connects all the other services and products in your digital life. The way it works can seem a little complicated at first, but it’s actually remakably simple once you’ve gotten the hang…read more

Timeful Makes The Most Of Your Time

Posted by in Technology

Time is one of our most valuable resources. It’s finite and fleeting. For many of us, filling our free time with meaningful activities is a challenge. Human beings are easily distracted. It’s in our nature. The founders of Timeful have tackled this problem head on with a new iOS app that brings a bit of artificial intelligence to your daily schedule. By combining a to-do list with your calendar, Timeful can learn how you spend your time and allocate tasks in between your appointments. Need to finish that client presentation,…read more

Stitcher – Smart Radio

Posted by in Technology

For a while now I’ve been using a podcast aggregation app called Stitcher. Many of you may already be familiar with this little slice of app heaven, but for those of you that are not…get ready. Stitcher does for podcasting what Spotify did for streaming music. It makes the medium itself much more useful. Sticher works directly with podcasters and collects feeds from all manner of topics. Everything from news and commentary to sports talk to educational podcasts. The app is available as a web-based service, but the most useful platform…read more

Jibo: Your New Robot Butler

Posted by in Technology

The tech world is abuzz right now talking about the “Internet of Things” or as it’s also known, the connected home. The idea is that more and more of the items that we interact with on a daily basis are now enabled with wifi, bluetooth or some other means of connection to the internet. With that connectivity comes a vast sea of possibilities. I recently wrote about Google’s recent acquisition of Nest and how their home thermostat is vying to be the platform that ties everything together. There is, however,…read more

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