Monthly Archives: July 2014

My name is Jason and I work for Mozy

 

I define my workspace as…

My preferred workspace is at home on the couch with my laptop in my lap and the TV on as background noise. I work best comfortable, with some distractions. In the office my workspace is my cubical with a 21.5 in screen; it is big and nice. I flip between three desktop spaces to stay organized and keep work separate from quick distractions when I need them for a mental break. I also use my huge white board for structuring projects before I create them.

A device I can’t live without….

I always tell myself that I could go tech-free for a while if I want to, but I am probably too attached to my phone. I get lost a lot when away from home because I have no sense of direction. Without my phone’s GPS, I would never make it anywhere new on time.

When I arrive at work, I typically start my day off by…

I start by marking my time in a Google doc, so I can know how many hours I have worked in the day/week. I don’t want to cheat the company or my wife! Then I check my emails for anything pressing. After that I try to get done anything I want done before standup, then lead standup because I am the scrum master.

My work routine is…

Come in and work on those things that everyone expects me to have done. When I have done that, I work on more exciting things, like tools to make my job easier, and making the automation we have better. I love that I can use my ideas to improve my job and the work of those around me.

I do/do not listen to music at work and it helps me work better because …

Having something to listen to helps me to not lose focus. It depends on the day what I want to listen to. Some days it is audio books; some days it is music; some days it is just others in the cubical farm. I prefer audio books because I feel like that’s a better use of my time.

The best advice I can give a recent college graduate looking to do what I do is …

Believe in yourself and have ideas. Anyone can do most any job, but if you are able to innovate even on little things, everyone will like you. Don’t think just because you haven’t done much outside of classwork that you cannot contribute, because it will surprise you what you know.

Outside of work, I am passionate about …

People, programming, and baking. I love being around people; they give me the energy I need to be happy. I am not the best programmer; I am learning a lot every day, but it’s fun to know that I can make things that are useful for the world around me. I have cooled down from baking because I gained weight, in part because I have a job where I mostly sit, but I love the look of delicious things when they come out of the oven, and the faces on people when I share those delicious things.

My eating habits are …

Spastic. Before I was married and had someone to cook for, or for me, I lived off of chicken breasts and quesadillas. Now I get in more vegetables, and have a few recipes that work for meals, like chili, meatloaf, and the classic spaghetti and meatballs.

If I could be someone for a day, I would be …

This is a hard one. I would either be the best friend of Nikola Tesla so I could see him work from up close, or my wife so I could understand why she appreciates me so much.

The “secret sauce” that makes me who I am …

My “secret sauce” is my belief that I can do anything. I know things can take a lot of work, but I truly believe if someone else can do something, I can do it too. Maybe not as fast or not as perfect, but I can do it. I can even do things that no one else has done before because I am original. I am not going to try everything in the world, but if I want something, I can reach that goal.

 

It’s not about the bike; it’s about what you can do with the bike and technology

1818. When you think about cycling, you probably don’t think of 1818. But the velocipede—as that first two-wheeler was known—for all practical purposes was the first bicycle to hit the road. (Some might argue that the velocipede wasn’t the first bike because it didn’t have a drivetrain and riders had to push themselves forward with their feet. But take a look at a picture. The velocipede is a bike.) It was invented by Baron Karl Drais, who called his invention Laufmaschine or “running machine.”

Cycling has come a long way since the Laufmaschine. If the Baron were alive today, he would be astounded by how cycling has evolved. First, consider that the Laufmaschine was made from cherry wood, brass, and iron and weighed nearly 50 pounds (22.7 kg). No carbon fiber or lightweight alloys back then. Even so, Baron Drais must have been pretty proud that on his first ride he was able to cover 8 miles (13 km) in one hour. For comparison, the speed record on a modern bicycle is 83 mph (133 km/h), unless you’re racing down a volcano. That record is 102 mph (165 km/h) (it would have been faster had the volcano been erupting).

Next, consider that today’s modern racing machines in the Tour de France weigh 15 pounds (6.8 kg). Interestingly, these bicycles could weigh less. They are required to weigh at least 15 pounds. It’s not uncommon for riders to add dead weight to the frame to meet the minimum weight requirement. BTW, if you want lightweight and are not planning to race in the Tour de France, there is a road bike that weighs 6 pounds (2.7 kg). Got $45,000? (Yes, even your bank account will be lighter.)

But these days, it’s not just about the bike. It’s about getting the most out of the bike by adding high tech to the riding experience. The following are some of the ways technology can change the way you approach cycling and improve your performance.

Do you want to track your ride? You can with Strava. By using your iPhone, Android, or dedicated GPS device, you can analyze and quantify your ride. But Strava does more than just measure your performance; it’s designed to motivate you to seek continual improvement in how you ride. You do that by comparing your performance to past rides and other riders who have ridden the same route. If you’re faster than another rider, then you know you’re doing something well. If another rider is faster, then you’ve got some catching up to do. Which might motivate you to train harder to stay at the front of your imaginary peloton. But Strava is more than just about competition; it’s about camaraderie in the biking community. It’s kind of like riding with others who are not riding beside you.

If you like the idea of having a personal trainer but don’t want to pay for a personal trainer (the human kind), there’s the Garmin Edge 305. This GPS-enabled device attaches to your handlebars and automatically measures speed, distance, time, calories burned, altitude, climb and descent, and records all of this data to analyze later. If that weren’t enough, this personal trainer also includes a barometric altimeter to tell you the elevation. The Edge includes a heart rate monitor and a speed/cadence sensor. Clearly, this isn’t your father’s bicycle speedometer.

If you cycle, you know that eyewear is a must. But today’s glasses are more than just eye protection. Consider Recon’s cycling glasses. The Recon Jet glasses provide heads-up display for the serious cyclist. They’re kind of like sunglasses on steroids (but since we are talking about cycling, let’s be perfectly clear that we’re not talking about those kind of steroids) just for the cyclist. Recon’s on-board sensors provide speed, distance, elevation gain, and more. And they connect to your heart rate monitor, power meter, and cadence sensor. Talk about instant information in your face, literally.

Today’s cycling gear can make you look and feel pretty darn good. Carbon frame. Check. Form-fitting Lycra shorts and jersey. Check. Cool looking, multi-functioning glasses. Check. Aerodynamic helmet with catchy design. Check. Technology device to measure and analyze your progress. Check.

But let’s not get too serious about all of this high tech cycling gear. After all, no one says you can’t have a little fun, right? If you’re game and you’re willing to embrace a bit of LED low tech, consider adding rainbow Hokey Spokes to your modern Laufmaschine. Attach these blades with LED lights on your bicycle wheel spokes to brighten your image—and even display text. If the Baron could only see you now! Come to think of it, everyone will be able to see you now, at least at night.

Mozy Summer Photo Contest 2014

Summer is in full swing in the northern hemisphere!

We know you take incredible photos and trust Mozy to keep them safe. To thank you for that trust we are happy to feature our 2014 Summer Photo Contest. Take a great shot, attach it to this blog post, and you could be the winner of one of three $25 gift cards, or the grand prize winner of a $50 gift card!

To submit your summer photo, please follow these steps:

  1. Make sure it is your own original work. No copycats!
  2. The photo should be appropriate for all ages.
  3. In the comments section below give your photo a title and then click on the photo icon below the text box () to upload your photo.
  4. You will also need to sign in to post. You can use your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, or Google login.
  5. Then just wait! Your photo will be reviewed and then posted.

Once it’s live, you may also want to share it with your friends and family. Photos that have more “likes” will certainly get our attention.

Photos will be judged on the following criteria:

  1. Originality
  2. Has a distinct summer feel
  3. The “Aww” factor, as in “Aww, cute!” or “in awe” of the scene.

Entries must be submitted before August 18, 2014. Winners will be announced in the August newsletter and posted on this blog.

Good luck! We’re excited to see your amazing photography skills!

*Void where prohibited by law.

You can have smart technology but still drive like a dummy

A few weeks ago I noticed one of those beautiful $20K motorcycles coasting down the street. Yes, with a rider on board, sort of. Let me explain. The bike was nearly impossible to miss—and hear: classic design, two-tone paint, plenty of chrome, and that unmistakable rumble. But it wasn’t any of those characteristics that held my attention; it was something completely unexpected and unrelated to the bike itself. With one hand on the left handgrip, the rider’s right hand was holding a smartphone and using his thumb to punch in numbers. I assume he was texting or using a GPS. You can’t easily talk on a cell phone with that kind of rumble. Granted, he was coasting down a hill and there wasn’t any oncoming traffic, but still, a motorcycle is best controlled with two hands on the bars. Besides, it’s only with two hands that a rider is able to manage the clutch, front brake, and throttle.

As a motorcycle rider myself, I wasn’t impressed. I have learned that if someone is behind the wheel of a car or is riding a motorcycle unsafely, they not only endanger themselves, they also endanger others on or near the road, be that another driver, motorcyclist, jogger, pedestrian, or cyclist.

Today, many states restrict the use of cellphones while operating a motor vehicle. In fact, some laws are so specific that they spell out the restrictions. For example, in some states cellphone use is banned while motor vehicle operators are traveling through school crossing zones. This and other laws are defined as “distracted driving laws.” Some states prohibit all drivers from using a handheld cell phone while driving. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking or texting. It’s a primary law and you can get pulled over for breaking it. Some states just ban novice drivers (that is, teenagers) from using a cell phone while driving. But really, anyone who drives distracted is a novice. An experienced driver should have learned that lesson long ago.

In case you’re interested in the distinction between primary and secondary laws when it comes to cell phones, a primary law means that an officer can ticket you for using a cell phone without any other traffic violation taking place; a secondary law means that an officer can issue you a ticket for using a cell phone only if you have been pulled over for another violation, such as speeding or coasting through a stop sign.

What are some of the results of using a cell phone while driving? If you consider this one fact, then it’s easy to see how quickly an accident can occur when you’re driving and texting: “Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55 mph (88.5 kph), that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field [about 91.5 meters] blindfolded,” according to one source. And it’s not just texting, it’s other related behavior. For example, talking on a cell phone or even listening to one increases your risk of causing an accident. Even reaching for a cell phone is considered distracted driving and increases your risk of being in an accident. The National Safety Council estimates that each year 1.6 million crashes involve drivers who are using cell phones and texting. In other words, one in four accidents is the result of using a cell phone while driving.

And if you think using a hands-free device makes it all right, you would be mistaken. Using a headset or hands-free device does not result in fewer accidents. You’re still multitasking while driving. You’re still driving distracted.

You might be familiar with Pulitzer Prize winning columnist and very funny guy Dave Barry, who wrote a number of newspaper columns during his career about what he called “driving stupid,” wherein he highlighted some of the crazy things people do while driving. I still vividly remember something I witnessed not long after reading one of his columns. Call it “fact is stranger than fiction” or “I never would have thought of doing that.” A woman was flossing her teeth while doing her best to steer her vehicle by using a very small percentage of the sides of her hands against the wheel. I can barely floss my teeth standing in front of a mirror. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I don’t think I would have believed that a driver would endanger not only herself but also endanger those driving near her for the sole purpose of cleaning her teeth. (Hey, why not just gargle while you’re at it?) You’ve probably seen other more common distractions as well, such as drinking coffee or soda from small to very large containers; shaving (fortunately—if there is a fortunately in this situation—shaving with an electric shaver and not with shaving cream and a razor); applying mascara or lipstick; eating burgers, donuts or other fast foods; or letting Fido rest his paws on the wheel so that his owner can pretend that Fido is pretending that he can drive the car. The list is probably endless.

A tool is only as smart as its user. The car will move if someone starts it and steps on the accelerator. A cell phone will function if it’s in someone’s hands and fingers are pressing buttons. But sometimes a car or a smartphone isn’t in the hands of a smart person. The bottom line: when you’re driving a motorized vehicle, drive the vehicle and focus on what you’re doing and where you’re going. If you need to use your phone, be smart about it and pull off to the side of the road. Or better yet, wait until you arrive at your destination. Sure, there are always “emergencies” or excuses to justify driving distracted, but by doing so you risk creating another emergency. And there’s no excuse for that.

Read your Facebook EULA lately?

There’s been a huge amount of discussion in the media over the last 48 hours about Facebook’s experiment on emotional contagion and whether it was appropriate for the social media company to carry it out. Here’s one such article from the Wall Street Journal.

What a lot of people are finding frightening, as Gismodo explains, is that they didn’t realize that they had actually agreed to take part when they signed up to the company’s EULA.

No idea what a EULA is? You’re not alone.  A EULA is an end-user licensing agreement. It’s essentially the big blurb of terms and conditions that you have to tick the “I agree” box next to in order to be able to use the service.

Do you remember agreeing to taking part in Facebook experiments? No? Well, if you’re a Facebook user, the chances are that you have agreed to it. Statistically, there’s a strong possibility that you never read the EULA before you agreed to it. In a recent Mozy investigation,[1] less than 10 percent of people told us that they made a point of reading a EULA before signing up to an online service and more than 30 percent never read any of them.

If there’s one lesson to take away from this incident, it’s to carefully check the EULAs on the cloud services you’re using, both personally and at work. Can your provider view your data? Can they change the location of your data center? Who owns your data if you want to leave the service?

And it’s not just the core cloud services that your company uses that you should check over. Many companies have a huge “shadow IT” infrastructure set up by people who might not have access to legal support and are often unfamiliar with best practice in selecting IT partners. If your business lets individuals choose their own services to move large files, sync data to the cloud, outsource role-specific IT support—or anything else—make sure you have a policy for checking those EULAs. Because, if it’s not being done centrally, there’s a good chance that it’s not being done at all!

And, if you don’t know what sort of issues to be looking for in your EULAs, check out this white paper from IDC.



[1] Online poll carried out in December 2013 of Facebook users in the USA, Ireland, UK, France, Germany, and the Netherlands.