Why We Must Save Net Neutrality

Why We Must Save Net Neutrality

Yesterday, my children, both teenagers asked a lot about net neutrality.  I was explaining what it is and what it means. It was interesting as a parent to see them question a policy and government action. Watching them grow is very difficult and also exciting.

Below is a tweet that sums up net neutrality very well in the short Tweet form.

The Internet has created many industries and continues to do so. Innovations that where science fiction are now a reality.

Like Chris’s Tweet above, net neutrality prevented internet service providers (ISP’s) from controlling the bandwidth and types of services offered by content providers. What this means is that if an ISP decide they don’t to offer video over their network they can block or it limit how much video will be provided. This provides a way of preventing new innovations from being advanced if they use up more bandwidth or any other reason the ISP decides.

The main purpose of net neutrality is that the service provide (Internet provider) can NOT limit or block any type of legal service or content. This doesn’t prevent the provider from limit the amount of bandwidth providing but does prevent the provider from limiting bandwidth based on the type of service provide or the content provider.

There are a lot of memes spreading saying that people will pay for each Tweet or Facebook post. This is not entirely accurate, but the point that is trying to be made is that an ISP can decide to put limits on tweets sent. The provider could create an additional costly layer of the internet service to charge more for Netflix access because it streams video. The provider could create an additional more costly layer to use video live streaming services like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram offer.

This is the basic idea of net neutrality. This could limit more advances in the use of the Internet. We are now seeing virtual reality services which would use more bandwidth, by setting a limit on how much a person could use this technology at a reasonable cost would prevent the technology from advancing.

Net neutrality needs to be maintained so we can continue to innovate and build new industries and services that can be used for commercial or personal uses.

We must be heard and have this ruling overturned.

 

 

 

 

 

Being Part of an Agile team

As a technologist I have worked on several different types of teams over my 20+ years of technology development career. Also, as a person I have been involved in different types of groups of people that are working together to solve a common problem or outcome. Several years ago I began a journey with Agile and started working on a Scrum team. I became a Certified Scrum Master and learned from some very intelligent and passionate people who know Agile and Scrum. I have built relationships so I can continue to learn, I believe that you must always continue to learn and never become stagnant.

Today, I wanted to share a blog series that two people that I know and learned from wrote. They have been instrumental in my Agile journey and I am grateful for the knowledge they have shared and continue to share.

Agile seems easy until people get involved.

This quote from the blog series is spot on! Agile does appear very simple, but once you start working on an Agile team with other people it gets difficult. There is confusion, tension and personalities. This must be addressed for any process and Agile has tenants that are geared towards this.

This post is about sharing the series, Agile Leaders, that Russ and Jay wrote, I encourage you to read the series to learn about Agile. I would also like to hear you experiences with Agile. I will be writing more about my thoughts on working in an Agile team and my experiences and frustrations.

I think on of the biggest benefits and struggles of Agile is the short iterations. Delivering something on a short schedule that others can provide feedback on. I say this is a benefit and struggle because first, it is better to identify misunderstandings of requirements early on. Struggles, well anytime you are trying to deliver something complex in a short time, frustration and challenges come to the forefront. Personally, I love challenges, maybe that is why I chose the field I am in.

I would like to hear from you, do you work on an Agile team? What are your thoughts on Agile? How do you apply Agile in other work that is NOT development? I am using Agile to start a non-profit that I am working on and will provide my thoughts as I progress.

Full Disclosure: I work for Russ and Jay at the same company. This post is NOT an affiliate link but just something that I believe in. I do NOT write about anything on this blog that I personally don’t agree with. 

My opinions are my own.

 

EverNote or OneNote

My subscription to Evernote Premium expired about a month ago, so I had to decide what I would do. As an Evernote Community Leader I am a big fan of Evernote and use it daily. But, with the pricing model change and the addition of device limits I had to think about how I would proceed. I have an Office 365 subscription through work so I have access to OneNote. I decided to stop before upgrading from Basic and think about how I will proceed.

I wanted to look at the features and functionality of Evernote as compared to OneNote to confirm my decision to use Evernote with the changes made in the last year. Below is a summary of my decision criteria that I consider and why I stayed with Evernote.

Searching Notes

I find the search functionality in Evernote to be very powerful and easy. I can search through all of my notebooks and find the text I am looking for. I also can search for text that is contained in images (with Plus) and documents (with Premium).

Todo Lists

I make heavy use of Todo lists in Evernote, I take notes and add todo lists for action items that I have from meetings. I also create a note to just keep tasks that I have to complete with todo lists.

Reminders

I use reminders along with todo lists, setting a reminder on a note to go back to on a specific date. This is very useful for my workflow, Flagging notes that I want to review for actions or just to review for further research. Reminders are a wonderful feature.

Sharing notes and collaboration

Collaboration is key to my workflows, I work with many different people professionally and on other projects I am involved in. Sharing a note or notebook is simple, I can send a link to the note and provide them access to contribute. Now, with iOS 10 I an send text messages to include a note. This is a cool feature, I haven’t used it yet but am excited to try it out. I click in my text message and I can have access to my notes so I can choose which note I want to share.

Access on all devices

Devices, we use so many devices and having notes available anywhere anytime is so vital to having an electronic note workflow. Evernote has been available on all devices for a long time and they update the feature set on a regular basis.

Summary

So, I kept my subscription active so I can still use the powerful feature available in Evernote. I decided at this time to go with Plus instead of Premium. I am not sure if I will stay with Plus or upgrade to Premium again. Right now I needed to have my notes all on devices and not limited to 2 devices and also use the search in images functionality often. This alone provide the value for the price of Plus.

I am curious which plan you subscribe to and why? I would love to hear about your workflows and how you get value from Evernote. Please comment below and let’s see how we can enhance our Evernote experience.

Publish to WordPress with Ulysses and Markdown

Publish to WordPress with Ulysses and Markdown

Today I decided to also try out the Ulysses app on my iPad, it is a bit expensive for an app but has some great reviews and I received some good recommendations on it.

Publish to WordPress out of box

Ulysses has publishing to WordPress out of the box, this is one of the reasons that I decided to try it out. Nothing to add to the app, I just setup the connection information for my hosted WordPress site and it is ready to go. My site is configured to accept and interpret Markdown so I will publish Markdown.

Library of sheets with iCloud

Ulysses uses iCloud as one of the cloud services for storing sheets that are written. They are also grouped together for organization. I liked this concept, I don’t have to keep the sheets locally and back them up I can just use iCloud to store everything I write. I also created a group for this site that I will store everything together. I added a goal to this group of 300 words for each sheet.

Add images to posts

Ulysses also provides built in ability to add images to posts using Markdown. I don’t have to upload separately and then get the URL to add the Markdown to my post.

This is the first post with Ulysses to my site. I wanted to write some using Ulysses and publish it to see how the experience is. I will be writing about the experience this weekend to provide a retrospective of the experience.

Markdown, Editorial And WordPress

I have been thinking about using Markdown for my writing for a while and decided to look at some of the available apps for my iPad. I found several that had very good reviews and functionality.
* Editorial
* Ulysses
* Drafts

The idea behind Markdown is to making writing so you can concentrate on text in a readable text format. Files are just text files that can be transformed into many different forms and the language is easy to learn. The reason I wanted to move to Markdown is simple, I wanted a clean interface to write that is available in a small app that loads quickly and is plain text. Markdown provides powerful transformations to can go to HTML, PDF, DOCX and many other formats.

“Markdown is a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers. Markdown allows you to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML).” John Gruber

I have some research I have decided to purchase Editorial in huge part to the inclusion of a Python editor and interpreter. I can install workflows, build workflows with a easy to user interface or just code them in Python right inside of Editorial. The first Workflow, Post Markdown to WordPress, [http://jasonkratz.com/]I installed I am using right now to publish this post to my WordPress blog.

This is my first post written with Editorial and also written in Markdown. It took me some time to find the option to turn Markdown on, but it was easy once I knew where to look. So, go to Jetpack Settings and select Writing.

Once this option is activated you can then switch to text in WordPress and write Markdown. Or you can use a Markdown editor like Editorial and the Workflow I am using to publish to your blog.
I have to say it was easy to write with Editorial and the text looks clean. Workflows making processing the text very simple. Stay tuned for more information as I used Editorial and work on some custom workflows.

Using Evernote For Blogging

Using Evernote For Blogging

I have been using Evernote for a long time. I have my notes available on all of my devices. I even take pictures of hand written notes and add them to Evernote.

Today though, I want to talk about how I use Evernote for blogging. I have tried several ways but found that using Evernote for my blogging is the most efficient for me.

The workflow that I use is not difficult, it makes use of tags and saved searches in Evernote.

As I am sure many of you do, I get all kinds of ideas about blog posts, some never see the light of day and others turn into a published post. Some I have other people involved with and need to collaborate on. I tried using WordPress (my blogging platform of choice) but found it lacking. I installed a plugin called Drafts for Friends and it was useful. It let me share via a link a draft post and get feedback, but didn’t let people edit. I have created accounts for people but some just don’t want to work within WordPress, they may not be tech people who just want to contribute using an easy system for editing, proofing or providing feedback. This lead me to start using Evernote for my blogging. I do NOT publish my notes from Evernote, this is a manual workflow that provides a way of having people contribute and collaborate on a post and also for helping me brainstorm and dive deeper into ideas I for my blogs.

I have a notebook, not a shared notebook called “Web Sites”. This notebook has notes related to my sites, all sites. I have structure in this notebook and other relevant information. Like I said this is NOT a shared notebook.

I make use of Evernote tags by using the following tags:

  • Site Name (Rainaldi.org in this case)
  • Status
    • draft
    • published
    • idea

When I have an idea for a post I create a note in the Web Sites notebook and tag it with the site name and “idea”. This is usually just that, an idea that needs more thinking. It might be a phrase, a picture or event another post that I used Evernote Clipper to send to this notebook. Something I want to respond to or reference. I can do this from any of the Evernote applications that are available, Web Clipper like I said, Phone app, Web App or Windows Client.

I have a saved search that searches within the “Web Sites” notebook for notes tagged with ideas. This will present a list of only those notes. I haveSavedSearch a shortcut saved for this search so I can look at these notes very easily. You can see how I built the saved search and that I am define the search to look inside the “Web Sites” notebook for notes tagged with “draft” and NOT having the tag “ideas”.

I create a note with the idea, add “ideas” and the site name as tags. When I am ready to start writing the post I pull up the note and start writing, I don’t worry about graphics or images. I just focus on the content that I want in the post. I will add images, graphics and links to the note, but not in any order. At the very end of the note I put a collection of these assets so I can reference and use them.

I then will add the “draft” tag to the note an my saved search will make it easy to find so I can refer and edit it as time permits. I can also send a shared link to someone for them to review and contribute to this post if needed. I use Evernote Chat to talk about the post.

ShareNote

I share just the note to the people I wish. They may or may NOT have an Evernote account. I encourage them to have an Evernote account and most do.

 

CopyAsTextOnce I have the post ready I log into my site and copy the text from the note. I paste the note into WordPress as “text” and click on the “Copy as Text” icon in the toolbar. I have found issues with formatting when I just paste the text into WordPress. I like to use WordPress for my formatting as that is the destination and I can make use of the WordPress tools and preview to make sure the post looks as I wish.

I also like to have all of the meta data for the post listed in Evernote. WordPress tags are just listed as a comma separated list, Categories are listed and the feature image is just noted. I have the title in the note so I can refine that as well.

Once I published the post on my blog, I add the tag “published” and remove the tag draft. This will clear up the saved search, I can also just add the filter to the saved search to remove notes with the “published” tag.

Sample

Currently, I am looking at a few templates from fellow Evernote Community Leaders that I like and will be incorporating those templates into my workflow. I follow up with a post once I have that in place.