Landline Caller ID With Names

Isn’t it funny how things that you take for granted services that you use on a regular basis. Remember when your land-line phone used to tell you the number that was calling you, unless they blocked it. The problem with me was that, having had mobiles for years with Caller ID, derived from my contacts list in my Smartphone, I was (and still am) useless when it came to recognising numbers. Just clicked that I called it a land-line, but of course it isn’t a POTS phone any more, its VOIP now, but it doesn’t make any difference to the store.

My mobile contact list came from the exchange server and was combined with my mobile contact list, and as I preached in my book Unleashing the Road Warrior, way back when, if I met you, your details ended up on my mobile one way or another. That way, as soon as I answered the phone I would be prepared for the conversation, whether it was friends, family or business, my mind was on track, rather than asking, Chris who? Sorry Chris, but like many Anglo Saxon names, I have 9 people called Chris in my contact list.

Recycling the old unused Phone Book

I digress. The service I wanted to mention was the way they finally linked the phone directory to all phones, which was so obvious that I wonder why they didn’t already offer that back in the early 2010’s when the White and Yellow Pages were on such a down-slide.

I would hate to go back to not knowing who was calling me any more. If it’s the accountant, a client or a friend, I know straight away who it is, whether it is for me or someone else, and from a business perspective, I can open up my CRM notes on that client as I answer the call, before they announce themselves.

I hope the new legislation comes through that requires call centres to identify their client when they are calling for fund raising too, so that I can decide whether to answer the call or not. Besides the fact that they always call when I am having dinner, I have selected my annual charities and find it hard to say no to some of them. There are certain ones I will still take and support, but I can’t support everyone.

Now the directory companies get a few dollars a month from most subscribers who opt into this service, they don’t have to print the directory books that we used to use as doorstops any more and provide a great current service. It definitely is one of those how did we ever cope without services, that could have been done years earlier if they had simply taken their mind of BAU (Business As Usual) and taken their minds of the problems of print and distribution. As a footnote, it looks like video calling is now starting to become more popular again as people know who is calling them (if they are not using Skype). The telco’s will probably increase their data revenues as a result of this move.

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My Toilet Says I Don’t Drink Enough Water

I remember back in the days when I used to visit Tokyo regularly and the ToTo toilets at the Tokyo Hilton in Shinjuku had seat warmers and ‘showers’. It was cool novelty value although I never thought I’d have anything like that myself.

Today many of us live in Smart Homes where M2M communication between appliances is pretty normal. Hard to think back to the day when I thought I was really cool having Cat 1 cable with double jack points throughout my house.

Now we have the smart fridge sending a grocery list to our mobiles, the heat pump notifies us that the temperature in the lounge is only 13 and given that my car GPS telematics system has told the that I am heading in the direction of home, it prompts me to turn the home climate control on to a comfortable 21 degrees.

As to the new toilet, I have a wife who can tell me that I don’t drink enough water and I’m not sure I need the toilet analyzing my urine every time I take a pee. Of course if I had Crohn’s Disease, Diabetes or some other ailment, it might be handy, but otherwise a toilet that does poo analysis is really a bit of a stretch in the motion sensor department.

It started with the smart scales which monitored our weight as we were dieting and gave each of us a weekly graph of our weight and BMI on the iPad diet app, but I thought it was a bit OTT when the toilet started notifying us of our weight as well. Of course it did validate my theory that I weighed more prior to my morning constitutional than after.

I’m just not sure that I really need to be sitting in a business meeting, checking a notification coming through on my iPad telling me that my pregnancy test was negative. I don’t know where my daughters get their sense of humor from, but it seems they have hacked my toilet password.

Surrounded by Screens From Bed to the Stage

I woke up Sunday morning (only just morning it was 11:30AM, the night after an awesome gig I played in town last night) to the melodic song of the Tui and chirrup of the Fantail I had sampled in my front yard on my iPhone last weekend, played through the bedroom surround speakers, all but invisibly mounted in the ceiling corners of my bedroom walls.

I tapped on the bedside touchscreen, programming a flat white coffee to be ready in 20 minutes after I had my shower and selected the Billboard Country Top 100 to start playing in the bathroom, hoping there might be some new songs heading into the Top 10, like ‘If You’re Listening’, which I finally sold to Kelly Clarkson for her latest album. I swiped 23 degrees for the bathroom climate control and headed in for a shave. Hey, its winter and I like to be warm alright?

I could smell the aroma of the fair trade beans from my coffee as I walked into the dining room and flipped on my HoloDesk to check for news and see what my friends were up to this morning, thinking back to what an amazing night I’d had. I loved the HoloDesk, designed by my friend Kevin Andreassand of ICE AV in Auckland, which basically gave me all the benefits of an HD touch screen, but was projected in front of me as a hologram so that it wasn’t in the way of the dining table furniture. It was controlled by voice and hand gestures and one of Dropbox my favourite new tools ( think big boys toys).

As the first sips of coffee soothed my vocal chords which I had hammered last night with some raucous blues, I went to the fridge touchscreen and got it to sync with the pantry, placing an automatic grocery order with Countdown to be delivered that afternoon between 3 and 5. I was staying in today.

I’d planned last night’s gig for over a month and on the way in to the club last night I had quickly car Skyped my friends (the heads up display switched off the video when I put the car in gear) Andres Roots (in London recording a new album) and Charly Nice ( at his home studio in virtual Düsseldorf) who were going to be playing with me remotely, one of the benefits of the UFB project that finally brought high-speed internet into NZ. They were going to be joining me for the finally at about 12:30AM NZ time, gentlemanly hours for musos who played late and got up late.

I’d sent them links to the songs I had on the proposed set list and we had agreed on enough tracks so that we could build on the mood of the audience on the night and indulge ourselves as well, after all we’re musos. They came back with suggestions and some arrangement ideas and I synced them with my band tablets and put them up on Dropbox for the rest of the band to check out.

When I got to the club, I got out the music stand tablets, checked that the WiFi network was working and synced a copy to the sound engineer so that he could see the set lists and watch the music and lyrics we selected as we went through the night, including when the international guests would be joining us. I got my guitars out, caught up with the rest of the band, we ran sound checks and then did a sound check with Andres and Charly who were going to appear life-size on plasma screens with us.

I connected my guitars to the tablet on the stand in front of me with WiFi and using more of Andreassand’s IceAV technology, selected the virtual amps and effects I wanted, dragging them together with finger motions and syncing them to the pedal box at my feet.

Relaxing before the gig, we sent music videos to each other to check out, reminiscent of back in the day when people used to text each other in the same room, used our iPhones to order some light food and drinks from the bar and shot the breeze as you do.

I guess this has become a bit of a blog about the gig, rather than the screens, but I guess we take these things for granted today. Anyway this is my blog and I’ll tell it how it is:) So the highlight of the night for me was the last track.

I got out my Gibson Firebird XV (Looks very similar to the one to the left which I captured at the Memphis factory back in 2012) tapped on the touch screen at the top of the body telling it I wanted Open A tuning and selected a phat Marshall tube amp model, got out my original Tex Morton slide that came with my Tex Morton original guitar and had an amazing slide jam with Andres in London, with Charly playing some mean honking sax from his home in Düsseldorf. That Little Red Rooster crowed like all of its Christmas’ had come at once. 

The UFB meant that there was no lag in the music even though we were playing with guys who were on the other side of the world, it was amazing. As far as the audience were concerned they wouldn’t have known that we weren’t all in the same room and of course Andres and Charly were able to see and hear everything as of they were right there on the stage with us as it was all mic’d and video cameras were beaming it all back to them.

I was buzzing as I drove home, tapped the car entertainment system to play back the last set of the gig, through the in-car 7 speaker surround system, which had been recorded and instantly uploaded to my Spotify station, then tapped into my home controller to put the electric blanket and climate control on for when I got home at around 3AM, tired and satisfied. It had been a great night.

Facetiming home on the new Air New Zealand 787

Its a wonder that I flew with Air New Zealand again, I said several times in the past that I wouldn’t, given that their service just didn’t meet my expectations on many flights. I stopped flying with them other than for domestic flights a few years ago after the flight I blogged about to Rarotonga. Then was a gap of a couple of years before that after they left me sitting at San Francisco Airport for about 10 hours stuck with all my luggage when I flew in from Munich because Air NZ didn’t interconnect luggage with Lufthansa, which is a whole different story about a trip back in time. I had loads of plans to do sightseeing there, but all I saw was the inside of the airport for a day. I felt a bit like Tom Hanks in that old movie The Terminal. So other airlines got my business for a few years.

I remember when I first flew on an Air New Zealand flight that had the ability to use mobile data during domestic flights. I was quite excited to be on one of the first flights, but horrified when I saw the cost. From memory it was something  like $10 for 10MB.

Anyway, enough whinging I wanted to tell you about something cool on their new 787. When I got on the plane the other day, instead of having them tell me that I needed to turn my mobile off in case my phone told their fly-by-wire system to do a sudden bank, I was invited to connect my iPhone to create a local WiFi network with my in flight entertainment system. Nek minute I’m talking to my daughter using Facetime and then Skyping the hotel to tell them that my flight had been delayed and not to give my room to anyone else.

There was also an iPhone dock on the fold out table so that I could charge my mobile at the same time. Sorry Android lovers but the fact that Apple still has a uniform plug means that it continues to take pride of place in planes, cars and consumer electronics. Apple did release some new products with the new micro dock connector, but there was a huge resounding protest from people who couldn’t plug their new iPhones and iPods into their cars and home theatres, that it was dropped again.

There are rumours on Mashable, TechCrunch etc saying that next season’s iOS devices won’t have docks at all and will be totally wireless, including coming with Powermat chargers. This does make a lot of sense given that some car manufacturers have already supported this technology.Watch this space.

Shortland Street Goes 3D and I Get my 84″ TV

I don’t know how I did it but I finally managed to get my wife to agree to the new TV with a bit of help from the sales person at 100% Electrical. It will be a long time if ever that I achieve what I’ve always wanted, which is a whole wall that is a TV, but of course that’s still too expensive. Anyway, its an 84″ 3840 x 2160 UD. Its lucky that we have a big lounge, but it still makes the photos and other things look small.

The old TV was starting to play up. It’s probably from all the power brown outs we had over the last 2 winters, the substations don’t seem to be able to handle the levels of rain that seem to be the norm in Auckland these days.

The clincher was that the new TV doesn’t need you to wear glasses any more to benefit from the 3D experience. It was really frustrating when we had the Olympics in 3D HD but we only had 4 pairs of glasses. Even back then with HD it made it so much more exciting watching sport in 3D but it meant if we had visitors we turned the 3D off, which was frustrating, besides the glasses were a pain during the day when you looked away from the screen and got pulsating lines all over the glasses.

I wasn’t really surprised when Shortland Street went 3D, they were one of the first programs back in the day that went wide screen. What’s really surprising is that the program still exists. There must be a lot more people that don’t admit they watch it and staying ahead with the technology won’t hurt them.

The whole 3D thing went quiet for a while, but when the Olympics were on it was just amazing. It was like the sprinters were going to come crashing into the lounge. Then of course came the league. Gate sales are down of course, they used to say that TV was better than being there except for the atmosphere, but I have to say that with the 7.1 surround sound, its almost hard to realise that you aren’t right there watching the Warriors looking to win yet another NRL. I guess the only thing that brings it crashing home is that the girls still think the football is a chance to have a good chat, but they do like seeing the boys in 3D UD.

Mitre 10 Gave Me A Leaf Blower

It was just another ordinary Saturday morning. I woke up, showered, made myself a Capuccino, scanned the now empty milk bottle out of the fridge and listened to the new Rolling Stones album on Spotify. Who would have thought they would be launching another album? I have to tell you mockers, it has some really good tracks on it. Maybe you forgot what great songwriters those guys are.

My wife and I decided to go out to brunch and I plugged my iPhone into my Belkin car mount which still has that bit on the top that broke the second day I got it. I love it but I must get around to claiming on the warranty. It connected to the Wi-Fi entertainment system in the car and we drove off listening to the rest of the album. I must say, whilst I still have all my record and CD collections, that I am loving Spotify. I just can’t believe how long it took them to get to New Zealand.

Anyway, so we were heading down Oteha Valley Road in Albany when the heads up display in my car told me I had a notification from Fly Buys. I used to mock those loyalty systems, but things have changed since they picked up Proximity Based Marketing. Anyway, it said Mitre 10 Mega had an offer I couldn’t refuse if I could get there in the next 15 minutes. Well we were about to drive right past, but we agreed we might as well stop, and their cafe on the 1st floor was pretty good.

We arrived and I put the Belkin in the boot (next car I get the entertainment system will just connect to my phone and it won’t need a mount, isn’t it funny that no matter what advances there are we are never satisfied?) so my car wouldn’t get broken into and were walking through the car park into into the entrance, just as my mobile got another alert.

It said “Welcome back to Mitre 10 Mr Cappel, glad you could make it. Please look up and to your right.”

I did that and all of a sudden there was a bit of loud music and a green light started flashing above the information counter. There were a few people entering the store with us but when the girl called “Over here Mr Cappel”, I figured she meant us.

Well to cut a long story short, I had purchased a new battery powered lawn mower there 6 months earlier and they were running a location based promotion. The deal was that the first person who had bought a lawn mower from them in the last 12 months who responded to the promotion by coming into the store within 15 minutes of the of the proximity based notification, was going to be given a free leaf blower / leaf vacuum mulcher, and guess what, the first person was me. Our neighbors still hadn’t cut down the giant oak tree that bathes my driveway in golden brown crunchy leaves every May, so this was a pretty good win.

Of course while we were there we bought some more plants and had our brunch, did I say they are nice people in that cafe?

I enjoyed sucking up those leaves with my new toy in the Saturday afternoon autumn sunshine (sunny weekend? I know, right!) that afternoon and made sure it got locked up in the shed straight afterwards, so the dogs wouldn’t chew up the bag like the did on the one I bought a few years ago, the day after I bought it!