Local collector has a keen eye for WW2 military memorabilia

Collecting is a hobby for many people and can even be a passion for some. Here in Olds we have a collector of World War II military memorabilia which features items from both sides of the conflict. Andrew Kelly is passionate and knowledgeable about his collection and he took some time from reviewing his latest acquisitions to talk to us about his collection. Collecting memorabilia and artifacts takes a keen eye to see the difference between fakes and the real thing. Although he has many replicas in his collection such as this German army uniform, Andrew is always on the lookout for authentic pieces to add to his growing inventory.People in the area have been known to ask him for advice and an evaluation of items they have uncovered in attics and trunks. Andrew welcomes anyone who comes to him with memorabilia and usually has a story to tell about the item and its place in history.

Andrew has an exhibition called Kelly’s World War 2 Front coming up in March at the Olds College Frank Grisdale Hall where he will have many of his items on display.

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Old habits die hard

So much for blogging every morning while I have coffee! It’s easier to just sit there and consume content via my iPad. But we will not give up…and we are at it again.

The good news is that the PC running our Olds Community TV feed is working. And it’s working without a failure for more than 100 hours. The bad news? Last Sunday the landlord was doing some renovations to the back office and they switched off a breaker which shut down the server. Although the PC is on a battery backup, the main power was off long enough to drain the battery and shut everything down. I spoke with him on Sunday while I was in the office rebooting everything and we worked out a deal. He’ll let me know when they plan to do something like this again.

Then there’s more bad news…the PC that server as our main video editing workstation had the power supply burn-out. It turns out that there is an air filter on the bottom of the case where the power-supply fan draws in air and it hadn’t been cleaned since…well forever! I didn’t know it was there and it was solid with dust and what ever. The local computer shop doesn’t carry that type of high-end part in stock but they could order it. Since we can’t afford the delay we went to Calgary to pick up the part. So far too busy to install the part . . . stories to work on you know . . . but later today I’ll install the part and perform a back up.

Still struggling with the best way to cover the town council meetings. Recording the entire event doesn’t make a lot of sense since we will never play it back (or maybe we will via the live stream at 3:00 in the morning [light-bulb comes on]) in its entirety. What it does do is provide us with leads to news stories. Such as the story on the future plans for the Olds Cemetery we were working on when the edit workstation shut down.  An interesting story that has elements that span time – from the past and into the future. Kind of like a time machine. Hmmm… just had an idea to deal with the town council content issue. Now back to work.

Let’s go 2014

What good is a personal log if you don’t use it? In looking back through the posts on this blog I can see that it has one through a few iterations in content topics. We here goes another new topic: starting up a new project in Olds – a community TV station.

January 1, 2014 is the official stat date of the station and through this blog I plan to keep track of the progress of the start-up.  My morning coffee time is usually spent trying to wake up, consuming local news TV, reading news on my iPad and drinking lots of coffee. From here on in I’ll add or substitute blog writing into my morning routine. There will be some rants but mostly it will be a journal of the activities and thoughts as the project progresses.

So… in keeping with the new topic theme: While writing this I’m watching Global TV News out of Calgary. Olds Community TV has no interest in duplicating what already has been done. We are after a new look and format. Watching the mainstream news I see a few things that strike me as identifying elements (good or bad). Essentially the mainstream news at this level curates the stories with the hosts being the link between the segments. What strikes me odd is that the segments are local, regional, national and international.  Not bad and certainly not the political influenced news that we get to see on other channels such as CNN or SUN. Not what we want to do but it’s okay. On second thought maybe not okay. There is a lot of news going on every minute of everyday and this type of reporting is just too narrow for me. Time for more coffee.

Ya snooze ya loose: Bell beats Rogers and buys CTV

In a move which surprised many of the Canadian media observers, BCE (aka Bell) just bought 100% of CTV. Although they owned a small amount of the CTVGlobemedia shares it was always speculated that Bell’s competitor, Rogers Communication would be the winner in the media wars currently being waged in Canada. The major communications companies are consolidating their control over media production and distribution which is reminiscent of the stranglehold the Hollywood studios had in the last century, of the motion picture business. Rogers is not out of the game completely since they own CityTV but compared to Bell owning CTV they come out in at best in third place, most likely fourth.

Quebecor Media owns much if not all of the Quebec telecom and media market, Shaw is in the final phase of adding Canwest-Global to their broad communications empire, Rogers owns CityTV and now Bell owns CTV. One journalist pointed out that Telus, the only other major Canadian tele-com, is left out in the cold. There are smaller regional networks out there but none that would elevate Telus to the level held by their cohorts. The last major broadcast network is the CBC and even though it is a federal government entity it might not be too surprising to have the government set them free in order to divest themselves of a chronic money loser. Strange things are happening in the world of Canadian media and this wouldn’t be all that out of line. The real big winner in this deal is Bell and no doubt the ghost of Ted Rogers is turning over in his grave at having his legacy missing a great opportunity. Sorry guys, ya snooze – ya lose!

On a side-note, CTVGlovemedia announced today that they are selling all but 15% of their ownership of the Globe and Mail, a venerable Canadian newspaper steeped in history, to Woodbridge Co. Ltd., the holding company of the Toronto-based Thomson family. In a move some say makes sense to support Bell’s consolidation of their broadcast assets it may be that they see the writing on the wall and are jettisoning a dying media platform.

Future of local media is . . . well . . . local

Towards the end of the latest This Week In Media episode, the panel examines the future of local television. One of the statements to come out of the round-table discussion was delivered with great insight but really obvious. In order to succeed or even to survive, local television needs to be local. Not just as a re-broadcaster of national or international news and programs but a truly local channel featuring local news and events. The mobile web was suggested as the best platform for this local/hyper-local content.

Imagine that . . .

Innovation: a new way of doing the same old thing?

Morning coffee time for me is spent catching up on what’s going on in the world. My sources are email newsletters, RSS feeds in iGoogle and tips from tweets. Today I was caught up in an IT World article on innovation in IT. They weren’t talking about buying new gadgets but actually creating a workplace culture to develop new ideas and ways to do business. Having worked in IT for almost twenty-years, I understood what they were talking about and I’ve seen these ideas before. The IT World article shows shining examples of IT process innovation. Most IT departments, particularly in large organizations are sweat-shops. The pressure is on to find ways to have programmers write one more line of code a day and the help-desk to answer one more phone call an hour.  But is finding a new way of doing the same old thing – only more of it in a shorter period of time – truly innovative?

In the current economy businesses are struggling to just keep alive and survive until things turn around. Managing to the margins through cutbacks  is one way to get through. In other words – finding new ways of doing the same old thing. Finding innovative ways of doing business or even innovating by developing a new business can be a stretch but it may pay off in greater rewards.

The future of computer tech support

In answer to this article from Bill Detwiler, “Will Society Always Need Us Geeks?”, my answer is yes! Not just on the consumer side of things but in business computing as well. As a matter of fact I expect that small and medium enterprises need IT pros more now than ever. Either in house staff or contracted support. The CBS – 60 Minutes video that Bill includes in his article is a little older now but most of it is still relevant. In the video segment they identified three types of technology users: do it yourself, can’t do it themselves and those who think they can do it themselves. Since I sell computer technology into both the consumer and small business market I get to see all three of the above on a daily basis. The consumer and the business user have some needs in common:

  • low priced computers, which is easily achieved now that computers have become commodities;
  • simplicity and ease of use, most times this is something that can be achieved – with a little help;

After that the needs change between the consumer and the business computer owner. Business want their technology to work, they want it to work now, need it to be reliable and if it breaks – they need it fixed in a hurry. Because computers in this group are a business tool, businesses can’t afford to be without it or they lose business opportunities – AKA money! Consumers on the other hand  are willing to wait for technology to work for them even as painful as that wait can be.

Here’s my sad tale of woe to illustrate my point. Two years ago I purchased a laptop computer with a one-year extended service plan from a big box store. When it failed recently (during the extended service period), I took it in for service and waited a total of thirteen weeks for it to be repaired back to working condition. It came back from service twice  during that three month period – and had to be sent back the next day when it was found that the original problems hadn’t been solved and on one trip discovered a new problem had developed. I still have a desktop computer so production wasn’t stopped dead. After a month of waiting for the laptop to be serviced, I bought a new one because we just couldn’t be without a working portable computer. Thirteen weeks is a long time to be without a computer. A consumer can tolerate it – barely, but a business can’t and shouldn’t.

If you’re a small business owner, try to avoid being in the group of technology buyers and users who think they can do it themselves. On the other hand, don’t tolerate poor service from your technology support people. There are geeks who play with technology and then there are professionals who know technology and understand the value of computing that works in support of your business goals.

Dean

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Microsoft retail stores – a grand experiment

There is some leaked info regarding the Microsoft stores which are scheduled to open in the fall of 2009. Many pundits and industry folks think this is hilarious and doomed to failure (MS had a store in San Francisco that bombed years ago). A common opinion is that instead of emulating Apple (or Google, or – the list goes on) MS should stick to what made it rich and famous – software. Let’s not forget that MS is a multi-billion dollar enterprise composed of many separate billion dollar entities. When you are that huge, you can pursue many different opportunities. Some work, some don’t. While we can laugh at them cloning Apple stores, or going after Google with MicroHoo and Bing, the fact is they also have some solid and far reaching products and services which anyone who touches a computer these days is impacted by.

We will not see a MS store in Red Deer and that you can pretty much count on. At present we don’t even have an Apple store and probably never will. Although there were rumors that Mosaic (Apple’s outsourced retail marketing partner) was going to bring us an Apple store within a big-box store (I won’t mention the name but the initials are F&S) it doesn’t look like they completed the deal. BTW: Red Deer does have some great Apple retailers and Apple fans, but a dedicated store just isn’t financially viable.

On the other hand there are some great MS business partners here in town and those types of VAR’s and integrators are what steadily fuels MicroSoft’s billion dollar operation. Products like the Zune and Microsoft Press and their foray into retail store fronts are a pleasant and relatively harmless diversion. Unless you are a MS stock holder, but that’s another story.

Dean

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Quote of the day – Susan Cramm

Susan Cramm is an IT leader who coaches IT and business managers on how to get along and play well with each other. This quote is from her Harvard Business Review blog and the post: How to get IT and the business working together.

Your business processes are fueled by IT and mastery in managing IT (the asset, not simply the organization) is table stakes to lead in this lean, flat, fast-paced, and risky world.

Note: the bolding of “the asset, not simply the organization” is our addition.

Dean

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NAS Drives, a quick and easy option for data growth on small networks

With burgeoning data requirements in even the smallest of businesses, simplifying access to it becomes a major headache. Obviously, dumping data on a PCs internal hard drive isn’t a viable option anymore. The complexity increases with the advent of devices like laptops, smart phones and PDAs, hooking up to the LAN and trying to access data conveniently through a central location.

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A NAS (network attached storage) box is an acceptable option for small business networks. Not only are these devices small, but they are equipped with hard drives which can store up to 4TB of data, and connect through an ethernet cable into a network port or router. You can also plug in a USB device such as a printer, to NAS device and make it accessible over the network. These devices are ideal for small offices with 10 to 15 PCs for compact, centralized storage accessible from anywhere, including over the Internet.

HP Mediasmart server

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Advanced Systems

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