So I’ve been playing around with Apple ShortcutsExternal Link here lately, working on automation routines to try to help out with a few things. By the way, if you have ADHD, this may be something that can help… I’ve made some location-based routines to turn off lights and the TV when I leave the house, and then turn on a light when I get home, but that started me thinking about some things. With work from home during the pandemic, I’m still at home and thus inside the geofence, but I’ve got things I want to have happen, for example, when I sit at my desk to start working. I’ve made some buttons on the phone to kick off some of these, but half the time, I’m searching for the right icon to tap to start that process. So I had an idea… We just started a project at work to replace all of our door locks with the same kind of card access system, so that they’ll all work together and one card can be set to open any facility. That got me thinking. Modern phones all have NFC readers, so what would it take to setup a few small “tokens” to kick off a routine?

Looking in the Shortcuts app on the phone, there’s an option in the personal automations section to execute when they read an NFC tag. Ok, we’re getting closer, but how do these things work? I did a quick bit of research and found that what I’m looking for are Ntag215 Standard NFC tagsExternal Link. This standard is readable by both Android and iOS that have NFC readears. That’ll do what I want. But now the real question became how much would that cost to get these tags? They’ve got to be expensive, right? Not really… Amazon has them all over the place. I searched and grabbed this 50 packExternal Link of them for $15.99 USD (why go small when you can just test to your heart’s content?).

I live in an iOS ecosystem at home, so it’s pretty simple, and I’ll add another post later on how to setup automation based on Apple’s Shortcuts app, but you can do a very similar process in Google’s Home app. Either way, it’s becoming a fun way to remember things (that ADHD thing again), like turning off lights when I leave. Hard to forget when there’s a tap-tag sitting right at eye level when I walk out the door. Either way, more to come as I start down this path…

Getting started

So a few things have happened recently that kind’a kicked me into getting a blog up and going again… First, It’s just so hard to stay in touch with people while we’re in the middle of this pandemic, and 280 characters on Twitter just isn’t cutting it anymore. I want to have a place to start putting things out there without the noise and “ick” of Faeebook. So, here I am. While I’ll do a lot of tech stuff here, especially in light of what all has changed professionally, I also wanted a place to keep up with what little solo travelling I’m doing. Don’t worry, when I go out it’s practically always alone and into the woods (like the title says) so I don’t encounter people. The second thing that’s happened it a bit of a job role change. I’m now heading up our migration into the cloud and the strategy that goes along with that, as well as our security posture and data platform use. We’ll see how many of those hats I keep as time goes by, but I know which one’s I want to keep hold of…

So that all leads into one question: what is this place and what will it be? Well, I want to try to build out my own website, list the things I think about in a blog, and also have a bit of a portfolio of sorts that I can use to show off some of the things that I’m doing. We’ll see how well that all works out, I have a bad habit of starting to keep up a blog, only to let it start to fall apart after a while. I’m also going to make some changes to the layouts, and if you’ve ever had the chance to meet me in person, you know not to get used to the style and colors here, as the ADHD will kick in and it’ll look completely different the next time you come by.

Do you want to be a goose or a crab?

It’s interesting sometimes to look at how animals behave. Take the crab and the goose, for example.

You can put several crabs in a small bucket, maybe 10 inches deep or so, something they could easily climb out of. But it’s interesting to watch them, one crab will try to reach up and pull itself out of the bucket and the others will grab hold of it and pull him back in. The next will try to climb out, but again, the others will grab hold and pull it back into the bucket. So it will go as long as they’re all in that bucket. Reaching up, getting pulled back.

Now, if we look at the goose, we see something different. When geese fly together, they fly in a “V” shape. Biologists have determined that the V-shaped formation that geese use when migrating serves two important purposes:

First, it conserves their energy. Each bird flies slightly above the bird in front of him, resulting in a reduction of wind resistance. The birds take turns being in the front, falling back when they get tired. In this way, the geese can fly for a long time before they must stop for rest.

The second benefit to flying in the “V” formation is that it is easy to keep track of every bird in the group. Flying in formation also makes it easier for the geese to communicate and coordinate within the group where they’re going and when to stop and rest or feed.

So today’s question is: Do you want to be a goose or a crab?