We Used To Be Heroes

Standard

Originally posted on PK AUDIOVISUAL:

When Exactly Did The AV Guy Become The Bad Guy?

By Paul Konikowski, CTS-D

Novato City Council

An audiovisual system can be a necessary evil, and an eyesore. Its no wonder Architects hate us!

I recently watched the movie White House Down and (spoiler alert) very early in the film, the audience is introduced to the audiovisual installers who are in the President’s residence to work on the home theater surround sound speakers.  The foreshadowing is thick and it doesn’t take long to realize that these six AV guys are actually the bad guys, part of a much larger terrorist plot.  I didn’t care much for the movie, except maybe the setting, but it did make me think about the general perceptions of audiovisual designers and installer, and how we are perceived as members of project teams.

Not long ago, we were heroes.  In 2002, everyone wanted a see-through touchscreen and wireless glove interface like Tom Cruise…

View original 1,162 more words

About these ads

MyEcheck ($MYEC)

Standard

What The Heck Is MyEcheck ($MYEC)?

By Paul Konikowski, CTS-D

MyEcheck LogoAny audiovisual contractor or consultant will tell you that the hardest part of any project is getting paid on time.  As sole proprietor of PK Audiovisual, I can tell you that even my BEST clients are often late with payments, and its really not their fault.  Its a systemetic problem, because contract work is normally paid using paper checks.  Even if I send my clients an electronic invoice 30 days before payment is due, it still takes a certain amount of time for them to “cut” me a check and then mail it to me.  I find that the more automated the check cutting process is within a company, the more likely my invoices will be paid late.  If the payment check is from out-of-state, some banks will make you wait another 5 days before you can get your cash.

Up until now, contractors had almost no choice but to wait for paper checks from their clients. There are some exceptions. For example, I use QuickBooks Online to generate my invoices, and it allows my clients to pay me using a credit card; but that means they have to then cut a check to the credit card company a month later.  I have also been paid via “wire transfer” to my bank which cost me about 20 dollars just to accept the transfer.

MyEcheck ($MYEC) will solve this contractor invoice / client payment check delay by making the whole transaction electronic and safe . According to their new website,

MyEcheck is developing and will be launching a mobile Person to Person (P2P) payment system in 2014.  The system will include User downloadable apps that can be registered to a bank account to enable real-time payments to and from any other user on the system.

Contractors can also accept payments from any checking account through your own website in real-time using MyEcheck Web Services.The patented MyECheck Acceptance System electronically validates their bank account, and approves the transaction in real-time. MyECheck’s patented technology generates fully electronic checks that are formatted for immediate clearing through the Check 21 system.  MyEcheck will also develop custom integrated comprehensive payment solutions for any large-scale enterprise.

So what sets MyEcheck ($MYEC) apart from other electronic payment services?

MyEcheck recently announced two new apps: G-Pay and MJ-Pay.com  G-Pay is  an app that will allow real-time payments between two government accounts.  So if the IRS needs some missiles… but seriously, this is big news, considering the amount of government projects and contractors involved in them every year.  According to the MyEcheck website

MyECheck G-Pay service is the only fully electronic payment service that is capable of processing fully electronic transfers from government owned bank accounts.

The G-Pay application provides easily implemented security and payment capabilities for government entities to process authorized funds transfers to and from any government owned checking account.

The MyECheck G-Pay system has been developed to facilitate an easily implemented solution for government entities to transition from paper items to real-time fully electronic payments.  G-Pay works with governments existing check payment issuance and tracking systems that are designed to issue and report paper check transactions.  Other system features include secure system access and transaction authorization verification, and customizable automated reporting.

Speaking of the government, the IRS recently released guidelines for banks to deal with the rapidly growing cannabis business, and My Echeck’s MJ-Pay.com is the direct result of those new policies.  To put it simply, MJ-Pay will allow marijuana growers, medical marijuana dispensaries, hemp product resellers, and anyone else involved in the medical marijauna business (or recreational outlets in Colorado and Washington) to properly pay their taxes.  MyEcheck makes it all legal, all secure, and all very simple to use.  Well, almost legal. The irony is that the U.S. government DEA and ATF agents are still shutting down the same the same businesses that are paying taxes legally according to IRS guidelines!

To learn more about MyEcheck, check out their new website:

http://www.myecheck.com/

and be sure to check out MJ-Pay once it goes live in a little over a month:

http://www.mj-pay.com/

Wearable Technology

Standard

Why Is Wearable Tech So Damn Addictive?

By Paul Konikowski, CTS-D

In February 2014, FitBit announced a voluntary recall of its FitBit Force wristband activity trackers, as some users of the popular wearable tech were complaining of itchy rashes and burns on their wrists. Then, on March 12, 2014, The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) officially announced a full recall of the Fitbit Force, recalling over one million units sold in the United States and about 28,000 units sold in Canada.  As of today, over 1,000 people have complained of blisters on the company’s forum.  FitBit fully supports the recall and promised every user a full refund.  So, one would think most FitBit Force users will be returning their wristbands, right?

Wrong.  Many FitBit users are actually ignoring the recall, because they are addicted to the technology. They see no need to stop if the negative effects are not showing up on their own wrists.  Let’s do some quick math.  And a general guideline, about 1 of every 10 people who have an issue with a product will complain about it, either publically online or directly to the company.  Which means if there are over 1,000 people complaining about blisters, there may be as many as 10,000 FitBit Force users who are actually experiencing blisters.  10,000 people experiencing blisters divided by roughly 1 million daily users equals 0.01.  This means about 1% of the FitBit Force user population is experiencing the rash or blisters.  It’s tough to put an exact number on, but I would say a large majority of FitBit Force users are really happy with it, and see no reason to return it if their own wrists look fine.  Very few FitBit Force users have actually returned them even though the Company and CPSC have made the recall mandatory for all users.

It’s this writer’s opinion that this widespread consumer push-back to the mandatory recall can be largely attributed to America’s new addiction to wearable technology and moreover, the information overload that wearable technology causes. Let me give you an example.  In the old days, when a baby cried in the middle of the night, the parent(s) would wake up. Ahh, nature.  Then the baby monitor was invented, so parents could listen more closely to their children, and from other parts of the house.  Nowadays, baby mamas can watch a live video stream of their sleeping babies, with some parents even constantly monitoring the baby’s pulse like the NYSE ticker.  Don’t get me wrong, these new monitors have saved lives and are critical for monitoring sickly newborns or special needs children.  My point is that there is WAY more information available now than ever before, and the increase in personal monitoring is making people more aware of themselves.

Not all wearable tech will make you more self-aware.  Some products will make you more pet-centric; the Whistle is supposedly like a FitBit for dogs.  The Whistle provides a visual summary of your dog’s daily activities, including walks, playtime, and periods of rest  There are also GPS products that will help you find your pet if they run away, or worse, get stolen.  Or maybe you just want to make sure your dog-walker is dog-walking where they say they are.  Many Whistle users often become obsessed with their dogs heart rates and sleeping patterns, but in turn, their dogs are living longer lives, so what’s wrong with that?

It would be interesting to see what would happen if hypothetically Whistle had a similar recall to the FitBit Force.  How many dog owners would be likely to follow the manufacturer’s mandatory recall, if less than 1% of the dog owners were complaining? Personally, I think the dog owners would be more likely to return the recalled product, because their pets can’t exactly complain about a rash like a human would.  They would play it safe, right? Let’s try another 1 out of 100 example.

Pretend you enjoyed Brand C cola every day, but one day you found out that 1 of every 100 people got a rash and blisters after drinking Brand C cola.  Even if you did not have a rash, you would probably expect a full recall of that product, and you would probably stop drinking it until they fixed the issue, right?  You might try another cola until Brand C was determined safe. Or maybe you are a gun enthusiast who bought a rifle and later found out that 1 out of every 100 of that model would misfire after a year. You might think about returning that gun and getting another, right?

So why is wearable tech so addictive? Why are FitBit Force users acting like cigarette smokers? It’s because of the constant stream of information, the big data of the human body.  The addiction can be held by a single person tracking their own progress, or a group of individuals, who like to share their data.  Its not the technology they are addicted to, if it was the calculator watch would be more popular. No, its the constant flow of the data, the big data of the human body, and the ease of sharing that data with your peers, that makes it so popular and addictive.

Don’t believe me?  Try this experiment.  Find 10 people who work in the same office with who each want to lose 10 pounds.  Have them each give you 10 dollars up front and the first one to lose the weight gets the 100 dollars.  Now put a scale in a public location and let the 10 folks in the contest post their current weights on a chart or whiteboard near the scale. I guarantee you the first people to lose the 10 pounds will be the ones who weigh themselves most often, and post their progress publicly against the group. Not necessarily those who seem to be the most active!  There will always be some who seem to “drop out” of the contest and not weigh themselves at all, saying they don’t care about the weight lose contest. Just like those who say wearable tech is a fad.  These are the same folks who quit using Facebook (crazy, right?)  But not us; we will use Facebook daily, and we will post our weight proudly.  We believe in Big Data, even on the small scale……get it?

More:

SXSW Proves Wearable Tech Is Here To Stay