Wednesday, July 20, 2016

What is Innovation anyway? Guest Blogger, Andy Marken

Innovation is About Thinking Different, Not Copying Different
By Andy Marken
        You don't know anything about space.” – Skipper, Gilligan’s Island, CBS, 1964-1967
When I grow up, I want to be one.
One what?
The CIO (Chief Innovation Officer).
Obviously, he or she is smart, a tastemaker, a visionary.  After all, the CIO understands innovation when it comes to or is presented to him/her.
If you’re not quite sure about the job, Wikipedia describes innovation – “a new idea, more effective device or process.Innovation can be viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, inarticulated needs, or existing market needs. This is accomplished through more effective products, processes, services, technologies or ideas effective that are readily available to markets, governments and society. The term innovation can be defined as something original and more effective and, as a consequence, new, that "breaks into" the market or society.”
Do you really have a clue as to what that says?
Writers and speakers do.
They use it in every other headline, every tenth word in a news release and every other conference presenter proclaims an innovation, engineers/product designers pitch it to their bosses. The CEO (Chief Executive Officer) tells shareholders/analysts the company is delivering true innovation to the marketplace.
When they’re really cool; they write, talk about disruptive innovation.
Now that is freakin’ awesome!
What is it really?
-        Change that cannibalizes existing profit streams
-        Change that usurps prior businesses
-        New products/services that are better than, less expensive than those used today
-        Different ways of doing things faster, more easily, more economically
Translation – it’s different.  Maybe better, maybe worse; but only time is going to tell.
Outta’ Sync – Innovations and market acceptance are totally out of sync and they always have been.  Gartner’s hype cycle follows bleeding-edge users and media drumbeats while consumers adopt technology/products at a much slower pace which Geoffrey Moore described in his chasm.  The “innovators” abandon products long before they gain widespread sales/usage.
The problem is we have two bell curves – Gartner’s Hype curve and Geoffrey Moore’s chasm curve – and they are not in sync.
By the time most of us get what the innovation is, the innovators have forgotten about it and moved on.
We only know by looking in the rear view mirror if the new whatever is a good new or a bad new. If it fails, the innovator can say it was a good innovation but execution doomed it.  If it succeeds, the innovator can put another winner on his/her resume.
However, as David Ogilvy, a pioneering ad man, said; “In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.”

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

TECHIEGEMS (copyright by Carolyn Rhodes)


This website is copyrighted.


2016 CES


Black Widow Spider in my yard

It's a dark summer night and we open the patio door. I switch on the night light.  It's the night before garbage pick up and my son ties the tie on our last trash bag for the weekly pick up.  Off to the left in the corner of the patio step is a web.  He inspects it.  

"It's a black widow. Holy Cow! I'm going to spray it and then carefully place it in a jar, very carefully." 

 He identifies it by the red hourglass shape on its abdomen. It packs a venom as strong as a rattlesnake bite.  And this one is a mature female about 1"long.  Now I'm listening because if he misses, this "spider woman" will become aggressive.

I don't fear spiders and most are good insect eaters. After this catch, I think I'd better take some of these creatures very seriously.  Easy to say they are nocturnal and not interested in biting humans for no reason -- but neither are rattlesnakes!  

Proceed with caution 


The black widow spider is timid and reclusive, preferring to make its home in dark, protected areas, such as in boxes, among firewood and under ledges. It is nocturnal, which means it only becomes active and does its hunting at night. *

The black widow spider's web is usually located within a foot of the ground. It is slightly erratic in appearance and made with stronger silk than most other spider webs. *

The web is used to catch prey and to hang the female's cocoon of eggs.Black widows are usually found in dark corners of the house or around the edges of your yard or garage where their webs will have a lesser chance of being disturbed.*

 They may also be found under vehicles, even those that are being driven periodically. Check for webs near the tires, or under/around the engine.Black Widows are territorial so you will often find their webs spaced about a foot apart.*

If bitten, go to the emergency room immediately.  You life will depend upon it.  Without urgent care, death may follow.   

Don't kill any spider. They are necessary in our ecosystem and most are quite harmless.  

Bell and Howell makes an ultrasonic pest repeller  for indoors . I have placed one in each room. It is for rats, mice, spiders, ants and roaches.  So far, after 2 weeks, I have had complete success and it really works!  

* For more information on the elusive Black Widow, go to and google your question. 

ENGADGET Guest Post News: Endangered Rhinos and wildlife. Let's help.

Thanks to Engadget for this article and raising awareness that there is hope through technology to catch these poachers. Please follow the link below for full story.  And, the organization we can support to protect our endangered species. Photos from

Please read above Engadget article.  Technology is here to save the day -- cameras and the lives our our dwindling Rhino population? Can we save them from poachers!

And, please support   RAPID (anti poaching device)


Here is my story about 2 years later .. 2016
FITBIT  still rocks a great product.  OK, the band on my  "new" CHARGE, which replaced the one I sent back a year ago stretched out again recently, after a year.

I don't wear it in shower or get it wet or abuse it. So, I guess the bands are bound to stretch out and lose the shape.

However, this Charge is still working well and I'll deal with little stretching around the face of it .. . I rely on it for steps, call alerts, time, alarms, etc .. and it keeps me in shape .. wanting to do at least a mile a day .. I know -- I do more .. but let's say, there are days which if I am honest, I am writing and not doing over 6,000 steps ..
There is a CHARGE which measure HR (heart rate)  and I am sure it has the same band problem.  I haven't heard or read about any complaints .

The ALTA seems to a nice upgrade in that they must have noticed the bands were flimsy and went ahead and made inter changeable bands. So, you won't have to worry about that problem. The mechanism works without a hitch really.  

I got a good look at the BLAZE and it's probably going to be my next purchase when the price goes down .. It's around $189 .. already down from $229 .. It's got a nice sophisticated look in the form of a watch .. and it looks like my next purchase .. even though there are so many others out there competing ..

These days I count on Customer Service and the way corporate treats their customers.

FITBIT has filled that requirement.  And, after 2 years, I am still not tired of tracking my day.


My story below was and is still true. I will stick with Fitbit.

You can find similar version under "community news," on the Fitbit website.

Hello everyone . 
I love my Fitbit.  I have worn it "around the clock," since November, 2014 ....

t have followed most of the rules to keep my Charge in good working order.
--- keep it clean for one  and out of water. .  Learn how to optimize all the features. 

 Nothing wrong with the mechanism, however, my band warped before the warranty was up after about 9 months.

 I was pleased that when I called and asked for instructions on how to "fix" the band, they said they would just send me a new Fitbit Charge.   I thought that perhaps the extreme heat while on vacation in Florida may have done it, but, whatever it was.. I may have gotten it wet at some point at the beach ... no explanations needed as they honored the one year warranty. 

 .. I'm glad the customer service team was helpful and sent me the new one.   I'm not worried about sleeping wth it or exercising with it... it's a baby bear. ..   Honestly, it really keeps its promises .. tracks sleep pattern with good accuracy. Occasionally I have to sync it again, and, or, get notifications back on, but, it's a small price to pay for working on fitness goals.
 By using all the features -- tracking your daily activities, you'll appreciate all you really do (or don't do) every day.  
 Follow how to learn to get the most out of it .. on the site for one  and the instructions, of course. 

Fitbit Charge -- Burgundy has pink OLED  (organic light emitting Diode) .

Go to:
write your own experiences

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Uncharted 4 Intro, By, Casey Rhodes


The Maverick .. only $94,000 ..Come fly with me -- to the next town.


 Take a look at your latest dreamboat/car.  Sure it can fit in your garage -- no problem!  I think the only downer is that it can only fly for about 400 miles.  But heck it's enough to fly me from Tuscaloosa to Panama City,both small airports .. I think!

Friday, July 1, 2016

BIO Carolyn Rhodes -- What's New in 2016

 Welcome to the digital world Find a place in it -- a journey into exploring how digital times can improve your life at any age.

Website created by Carolyn M. Rhodes with Casey Julian Rhodes

CES 2016 Test Drive BMW 

Editor: Carolyn Rhodes

Associate Editor: 

Casey Julian Rhodes

Electronics Consultant 

Sister blog: 

Carolyn M. Rhodes, B.A. Dramatic Arts and Dance; Certified as arthritis instructor. Professional freelance CES Reporter on tech innovations in health related topics and all latest tech topics for consumers.  Reviewer of tech products. 

 Presently uses X Box 360 games such as YourShape and Dance Central  with FITBIT as my guide.   Also, give  arthritis training and tips for class participants.  

Creative writer in many other genres. 

 Mentored by Editor of College of Business Alumni Magazine, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa  as feature contributing writer; mentored by Suzanne Beyer, Associate Editor of Northwest Prime Time, Washington; my sisters - one a literary published poet and author and teacher. Another sister  a teacher and textile artist.  Son and associate editor, Casey Julian, an electronics consultant and buyer adds knowledge to the What's New in technology.

As the digital world refreshes each and every day, Carolyn researches digital news and collaborates with her son who is an electronics consultant and buyer. 

When it comes to the latest market trends and her contacts at the trade show, she will introduce devices and gadgets  some of which have not been placed in the marketplace .  Know what's "the latest" and how to get more "bang" for your buck  and how much some may cost you.

 Carolyn and her son, Casey Julian, attended CES International (computer electronics show)  in Vegas from January  2012 to  January 2016.  

Carolyn continues to give presentations on technological advances, with an interest in digital health as a certified arthritis instructor and life long dancer.   Tech  news with a special connection for writers  and consumers of the "tech kind," are welcome to guest here. 

 Her published articles go into print. e-zines, blogging and literary journals.She is an award winning writer and continues to publish on this website and other magazines 

New trends for 2016 -- Virtual Reality, Wearables, Robotics, Drones, 3-D printers, smart homes and smart phones, entertainment.   

January 2016 - 
Editor: Carolyn Rhodes 
Associate Editor on Electronics: Casey Julian Rhodes 

CES reporter on "Living in Digital Times."  (freelance)
Reviewer of tech products
Reviewer of tech books 

April, 2016:  "How to Navigate a Big Event and write great articles."
Tuscaloosa Library Rotary Room.

Publications and presentations 2015: - new domain for writegems.blogspot

Presentation at Miller Center, Tuscaloosa  (July 27, 2015). 
" How to be your own best friend using technology."

Presentation at Tuscaloosa Public Main Library, Rotary Room  (February 23, 2015). 
"The latest on International CES, 2015. "

Birmingham Arts Journal, "The Unexpected." Vol 12, Issue 1 , (May, 2015)

Presentation: Tuscaloosa Library, May, 2015
Emerging Technologies: What a writer should know about "The Internet of Things," 

Prime Life Style Magazine 
Living Healthy in the Digital Age and living  International CES 2015  (in progress)
Robotics and what's the latest from CES 2016 (online news) Circulation: 200,000 
Latest on International CES 2015 from Vegas 

2014:   Accomplishments: 

Published Writer (over 100 in print) Blogger and Speaker 
Certified Arthritis Instructor ( also include discussions with seniors from Presbyterian senior living complex on health innovations) 

Tuscaloosa News Opinions
November 14, 2014 - Patient Portal - a good sign for healthcare.

Christian Writers of Tuscaloosa 
October 10, 2014 
Tech Smart Writer - From high school to boomers and beyond 
Digital Health:  From head to toe. Get smart 

 Techie Writer: The Basics and Beyond
May 2014,Tuscaloosa Public Library, Rotary Room. 

AARP EXPO -  The TEK pavillion teaches seniors new  skills offering short seminars. 
Presentation :
 November, 2013  Tuscaloosa Public Library

Primelife Style of Alabama:
Tech news for seniors 

June, 2013:  Northport Senior Complex  Center --  (many talks here)
How  exercise with technology can help you live longer. 
(offering classes in arthritis exercises and movement)


 "How the latest technology has changed our World.   Digital Innovations add up to a happier, healthier and longer life. "   (based on article in PrimeLife of Alabama 
April, 2013, Tuscaloosa Public Library.  
June 2014 -  Tuscaloosa Public Library   


September 2012
Macabee  Center at Veterans .Administration  -  Alabama Heroes post  9/11 (2nd place award) 

 AARP EXPO  -Press - Atlanta , Georgia, 
 November, 2013 
 Contributed article to PrimeLife Style to be re-printed December, 2014 on "TEK" for Seniors"  
See article on this blog.  
Life @ 50 and Beyond, A Life Re-imagined.


In 2015, essay, "The Unexpected," is accepted to Birmingham Arts Journal, Volume 12, Issue 1. Additional blogs and her latest presentations are listed above. Articles are in progress for 2015.

In 2012 her article, "Lightning at the Airport" was included in Birmingham Arts Journal, May 2012 (Vol. 9, Issue 1).  And, a feature article in Antique Week News was published in their March 28, 2012 issues (eastern and mid west editions).  In that same year (September 2012),

Ms. Rhodes has written  features as a contributing writer for University of Alabama Alumni magazine and wrote several feature articles as contributing writer for The Executive Magazine at the College of Business. 

Additionally, she has written  and published many feature articles on diverse subjects for various print magazines and e-zines. 

Carolyn has had speaking engagements on how emerging technology continues to benefit the writer and how medical advances are changing lifestyles and lifespans in all age groups.   Her services extend as a writing coach and an editor 
Carolyn was awarded 2nd Place for her article on fallen hero Mike Spann. The contest,  Tribute to Alabama Heroes Post 9/11,  was celebrated at the McAbee Center, Tuscaloosa, Alabama along with a reading.  Rhodes is also the recipient of three past awards from 2005 - 2006 for magazine article and editorial.  June, 2009,  honorable mention from the well attended Southern Christian Writers Conference contest for a newspaper article she submitted to Northwest Prime Time, Washington. 

Earlier writings  are available under published articles under Google site MyWriteGems. (by request) 

Carolyn was first published in American Libraries Magazine having written her childhood story, "Mr. Mitchell's Liberry Girls."  Earlier years, she performed, wrote, choreographed and directed dances and musical theatre from the Renaissance and Medieval courts . She taught exercise classes after college and taught ballroom dance, 

Presently, she is a certified Arthritis Instructor and CPR certified until 2016.  

Carolyn is a member of Alabama Conclave of Writers, Christian Writers Club of Tuscaloosa, Consumer Electronics Association, Ballroom Dance Association, AARP. Social Media: Linkedin, Twitter, Tumblr,Facebook and YouTube.  

Casey J. Rhodes, Electronics Advisor

She can be reached at

Friday, June 17, 2016

GUEST BLOG: KIDMIX APP -- Kids Social Network and Playdate Planner LAUNCHES:

McKendall Communications 

New Kids Social Network & Playdate Planner Launches Go to link for features.  (Safe, Secure and Free.)

Rockville, MD (June 16, 2016) – The first social network designed by parents for kids ages 5-12, KidMix, launched today.  KidMix provides a new way for kids to connect with friends and to plan their own playdates all within a private, secure, monitored environment.  KidMix is COPPA compliant and membership is free.   

“We created KidMix because we were looking for a way for our children to schedule their own playdates online and to be able to communicate with their friends in a safe, kid-friendly way,” said Clay Goldberg, Co-Founder of KidMix along with his wife, Lisa.  “KidMix is a first step in helping kids become more independent and for parents to become comfortable with kids’ online communication.”

Children can use KidMix to connect with their classmates, sports teams, neighbors, camp friends, relatives and many more.  KidMix allows kids to share their thoughts and photos, and message friends while parents monitor all activity using the integrated parent dashboard.  Children will learn how to use social media in a safe positive way and will gain independence by planning some of their own activities while parents are able to simply accept, deny, or change them.  By using KidMix, parents are no longer burdened with the task of coordinating a playdate for their kids, they just have to approve the request!

Since KidMix is kidSAFE COPPA + Certified, all members are verified according to the FTC’s compliancy law for child online privacy protection.  The robust parental ID verification process requires parents to verify their ID before they are allowed to create an account. KidMix is able to ensure that all members are not only who they say they are, but are using the platform with both parental awareness and permission.  The registration process is simple, quick, and free.  The KidMix App is available on iOS, Android, and Amazon.

KidMix includes a proprietary Parent Dashboard that enables parents to oversee all activity and allows them to set parameters of how they want their children to use the network. As a social network, KidMix not only enables younger children to communicate and socialize with each other but they can also learn about a variety of subjects in KidMix’s SmartZone.  The SmartZone includes thousands of curated videos kids can view and share with friends.

KidMix membership is free and parents oversee all communication from friends, groups, photos, and invitations allowing for appropriate communication at all times. KidMix can be found at