Duet Display

Duet Display

Duet Logo

Duet lets you use your iPad as a second monitor on your Mac or Windows computer.

Subtitle:  I carry a second monitor in my bag…

Every now and again you find a tool that is so useful you need to share.  When that happens you OWE it to the manufacturer/service provider to share for two reasons:

  1. get off your butt – it’s the right thing to do, and
  2. it’s self-serving; candid and positive product endorsements are IMMENSELY valuable for growing companies!

Duet – Space if a Beautiful Thing

Space is a beautiful thing.

and I can’t get enough of it.


  1. LOOVE my MacBook Air (MBA) ((still) gorgeous, small, crazy convenient, good battery life, great keyboard, more than powerful enough even for VMWare) – I could go on.
  2. I am a screen-space snob – the more screens and resolution the better.

Until Duet I was SOL.  At my work- or home-desk I have multiple monitors.  On travel / when mobile I endured the MBA’s small screen. I’ve tried to get into MacOS’s Spaces but never felt it work for me.  I need to see a lot of stuff all at once not have a better way of hiding it.

In fairness there are wireless solutions that use WiFi to extend screens from one machine to another.  I tried these but the flakiness of the networks on which I work routinely frustrated me.

Then I met Duet.  ♥

and then I met Ten One Design‘s Mountie.  ♥♥♥

What does Duet do?

Duet allows you to use your iPad as second (or third+) screen.  Using Duet you can extend your desktop onto your iPad just like you would do with a second “real” monitor or projector.

If you add in the Ten One Design Mountie you get something that works / looks like this:

Duet and the Mountie

For a mobile worker this is really good stuff.

What do I need to use this?

  1. Download the Duet.app for iOS from the App Store.  This costs $15.99.  The one-time $15.99 price lets you use Duet on all of your iOS devices (that use the same iTunes account) and on as many Macs as you want.
  2. Download the Mac/Windows software from the Duet website.
  3. Find the cable (lightning or 30-pin) you need to connect your iPad to your computer.  By the way, Duet works with your phone too!
  4. Connect iOS device to computer
  5. Launch Duet on the computer
  6. Launch Duet on the iOS device
  7. Wait for your computer to recognize the external display.
  8. Done!

I’ve been using Duet + Mountie + iPad Mini for a while and it’s great.  That said, an iPad Pro is on my list and when I get it I’ll be using Duet with it.  The Mountie won’t hold the iPad Pro (at least not in its current incarnation) so I’ll end up with some sort of slim stand.

Highly recommended!!

Other Points

  • Former Apple engineers developed this which leads me to believe that the mildly unnatural act of using an iPad as a display has been well optimized
  • Past a certain angle the weight of the iPad Mini on the Mountie – attached to the MacBook Air “tips.”  This causes the screen on the MacBook Air to want to open fully which, in turn, causes the MBA to want to tip backwards.  If I had my druthers I’d like to adjust the screen hinge tension on my MBA.  Since that’s not possible my practical usage is restricted to environments where I don’t need to look on the MBA screen at a downward angle (e.g.,  in airplanes).
  • As a pleasant surprise Duet works with other USB display systems.  I was recently in a customer’s conference room using a USB projector.  Duet and the USB projector co-existed nicely.  As far as OSX El Capitan was concerned they were both external monitors.


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Stick to your guns; or, WHY would we EVER need THAT data?!

Note to my colleagues:  this blog post is a reminder to myself that I need to stick to my guns. 🙂

Sticking to your guns

Sticking to your guns

I’ve long believed there are interesting and non-obvious patterns in human behavior.

Uber recently shared their discovery that Uber passengers are willing to pay higher surge pricing when their phone battery is low.

That “makes sense” but Uber has DATA to show the correlation!

I can only imagine this discovery was made by crossing random variables in a scatter plot and seeing the correlation.

The point?

I’ve advocated for capturing as much data as possible during a customer encounter.  Pushback from developers has always taken the form – what questions do you want to answer and we’ll collect that data.

The moral of the story is collect everything you can.  In most cases you don’t KNOW what questions you want to ask or ever that a question could be asked.

I can’t imagine anyone at Uber told the development team they wanted to analyze surge pricing tolerance versus device battery levels 🙂

Collect it all; people always surprise.

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Innovation in authentication

BYOD and off-premise access to on-prem and/or behind-the-firewall resources is a huge problem for IT security.

Don't feed the phish. Image credits to the University of Idaho.

Don’t feed the phish. Image credits to the University of Idaho.

Google has been testing new/different/alternative ways for their customers to authenticate (i.e., identify themselves).  The addition of your phone into multi-factor authentication (MFA) is not new.  What is slightly new is how the phone is used.  Google authenticator (the “standard” way of adding your phone to MFA) is a pain – who wants to type in a number?  There’s no password on Google Authenticator.

This new experiment relies on possession of the phone to enable access.  An interesting concession to convenience.

Here’s my (free to use) suggestion for phone-based MFA:

  1. authentication request pushes notification to phone
  2. open alert takes you to the New and Improved Google Authenticator
  3. Fingerprint authentication required for the Google Authenticator app
  4. BIG BUTTON that reads “Do you want to login to Application X?”
  5. Tap yes

Dear Google – off you go to implement please.

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Software has eaten the car and it’s NOT good

Not sure how I missed this…

On Jul 21, 2015 Wired Magazine ran a story by Andy Greenberg titled “Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway—With Me in It.”

According to the story, hackers were able to remotely take control over only instrumentation and “dashboard functions” but operational components like steering, brakes, and the transmission.

An autonomous car

An autonomous car

In response, Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal worked to introduce legislation designed to introduce standards to protect against digital attacks and privacy.

In danger of allowing a good point stand on its own Markey added, in a statement, “Drivers shouldn’t have to choose between being connected and being protected.”  Nice alliteration, right?

The bill was going to call on the National Highway Safety and Transportation Administration and the Federal Trade Commission to keep us safe from the software in our cars.

Josh Corman, one of the cofounders of the security industry group I Am the Cavalry, which is focused on protecting things like medical devices and automobiles, was wary of a possible bill when he spoke with WIRED about the possibility earlier this month.

Their code is an automaker’s nightmare: software that lets hackers send commands through the Jeep’s entertainment system to its dashboard functions, steering, brakes, and transmission, all from a laptop that may be across the country.

Corman worried that the ensuing law could be comparable to payment card industry rules that are widely seen as outmoded and ineffective.

Ya think?

Can anyone think of anything scarier than asking the NHSTA and/or FTC to create ANYTHING that would keep our connected cars safe from hackers?

Psst – Congress – government (and the legislative branch in particular) has no business in cybersecurity.


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If a tree falls in a forest; If a packet crosses a network

Some observations of late:

  1. The only reason to have a network is so that application traffic can traverse it.
  2. The days of network engineers being able to keep up by typing IOS commands are quickly coming to an end
  3. Network engineers are, out of necessity, learning to write software to help them do (and keep and excel in)  their jobs
  4. The space between networking- and applications-management is disappearing quickly
  5. Application-Centric Networking is currently (c. May 2016) a philosophy and will become a technology
  6. SDN will make the network invisible (iow, software will eat the network)


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Seriously – SDN is going to explode

I recently joined CFN Services (check it out – despite my new bias – cool stuff :).  At CFN Software Defined Infrastructure (SDI) is a massive topic.  Our CEO, Mark Casey (LinkedIn), talks about how prevalent dematerialization is.  Below, Peter Diamandis (Mr. Dematerialization) talks about how many things we used to have are now mere features of your phone:

We are about to see this in explosive fashion as what the industry calls Network Function Virtualization (NFV) or the dematerialization of the data center.

Below is a Google Trends plot of the following terms from ~2005 – Today:

  • SDN (Software Defined Networking)
  • SD-WAN (Software Defined Wide Area Networking)
  • NFV (Network Function Virtualization)
  • OpenFlow (a technology that enables software defined networking)


  • Cisco (the 500 lb gorilla in networking
SDN v. Cisco Trenads

SDN v. Cisco Trenads

What’s happening with Cisco?  I think two things:

  1. Cisco has become synonymous with mission critical networking
  2. Buyers think less when there’s a safe choice AND when taking a risk has no upside

There’s a new game coming to town in SDN (wait, what does SDN really mean?).  This is a new game, there is perceived risk which is tempering early adoption.  However, when it gets safe it will quickly dominate networking?  Why?  There are huge opportunities to take out cost and add agility to networks.

If you believe (as I do) that all companies’ end state is as a software company then all companies will need a kick ass network.  Private MPLS-based WANs are NOT that kick ass network.

SDN, SDWAN, accelerated SaaS – these are the ingredients in tomorrow’s kick ass networks.

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SDI, SDN, NFV, SDWAN (or Lions and Tigers and Bears, OH MY!)

Dilbert and complexity...

Dilbert and complexity…

I was a networking person as an intern in college and during my time in the Marine Corps.  When I left active duty I crossed over to the software side of things.  I’m pretty good at technical things and a reasonably quick study.

I recently started a new thing at CFN.  CFN provides next-generation networks to its customers.  These next-gen networks need to be fast, reliable and well-appointed with features.  We use terms like SDI, SDN, SDWAN, and NFV.

The terms SD-WAN, SDI, SDN, and NFV sounded complicated.  I read; I studied; I read some more; I wore out YouTube watching videos and webinars.  I read the definitions over and over, certain I’d missed something.  I mean really, Software Defined Infrastructure (?!), that has to be pretty difficult to understand, right?

A really complicated thing with guys in  lab coats

A really complicated thing with guys in lab coats


You can describe it with big words or you can use “normal people” words.  In the end, software is eating the world.  Marc Andreessen said it famously in a 2011 (!) article in the Wall Street Journal entitled, “Why Software Is Eating The World.”  Five years is a loooong time in tech and the fact that Andreessen had it right that long ago is impressive.

Here’s my straight-scoop glossary for those out there, like me, who thought they were slow on the uptake:

  • Software Defined Infrastructure (aka “SDI”):  The stuff that used to require a “thing” to do its job (e.g., the GPS that suctioned onto your windshield) is now an “app” running on some other thing (e.g., your phone).  Note – GPS always WAS a software app; it just ran in dedicated hardware (<- key point).  Now your GPS can run on a standard hardware platform.
  • Software Defined Networking: Receiving a packet on wire #1, deciding it needs to go out on wire #2 and then sending it that way – that was the stuff of big router vendors like Cisco, Juniper, and Brocade.  These routing decisions now run in software as an app on a server.  Note – routing always WAS a software app; it just ran on dedicated hardware.  Now your router can run on a standard hardware platform.
  • Network Function Virtualization:  Firewalls, load balancers and stuff like this – these things take packets that come their way and decide what to do with them.  Firewalls decide who gets to pass and who gets tossed aside.  Load balancers decide which door a packet is to be sent through.  These decisions now run in software as an app on a server.  Note – firewalls and load balancers always WERE a software app; they just ran on dedicated hardware.  Now your firewall and load balancer can run on a standard hardware platform.

So, the pattern?

[Disrupted thing] now run in software as an app on a server.  Note – [disrupted thing] always WAS a software app; it just ran on dedicated hardware.  Now your [disrupted thing] can run on a standard hardware platform.

Simple right?  Yes, by itself it means you can go get a reasonably powerful Dell 1U server and “dematerialize” your router, firewall, load balancer, intrusion detection system, and more.  That’s not the hard part.

The hard part is thinking about what new opportunities that creates.  Those opportunities will be in software.

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The Pyramid Was Built in a Summer

The Fawn Lake Ski Club produces a ski show each summer.  Usually held on Labor Day weekend the show is an opportunity for the club to highlights the skills our members have developed that summer.

One of the many highlights of the ski show is the pyramid.  The ski club produced a video of the building of the pyramid – shared below.  Enjoy!

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Ski Club Video

In the summer weekends I help with the Fawn Lake Ski Club.  During a recent week we took some GoPro footage of our Slalom Ballet Squad and stitched it together to make a video.  It’s linked below.  I hope you enjoy it!


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Apple Watch Report Card – Now that I’ve had it a while (45 days)

My Apple Watch

My Apple Watch

Since getting my Apple Watch I’ve gone from “meh” to eager anticipation of the development of the Apple Watch ecosystem.  This post captures the background of my optimism.

Continue reading

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