Talking About New Realities

Last Friday I had the honor of speaking at the DET Realities conference in Detroit, MI. The one day gathering was hosted by Grand Circus Co. They sought to gather some of the leaders, thinkers, and innovators in the Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality fields in the Detroit and Southwest Michigan area to discuss and share… and of course, network.

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I was invited by the lead organizer, Peter, after he had seen my presentation on the potential of delivering just-in-time training and learning via augmented reality on the manufacturing plant floor at the Realities 360 conference in San Jose this summer. We both felt my talk was fitting for the DET Realities conference. It exemplified what is going on in the training and AR/VR world, but more importantly it was a pronouncement of what Detroit and the industrial factories that make up it backbone is doing and envisioning.

 

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Neal Rowland presenting on AR in manufacturing at the DET Realities conference 2017

 

The speakers ranged from entertaining to enlightening to mundane to practical. One speaker discussed the legality of augmented reality. A topic I had not given a great deal of thought to. It is a topic definitely worth thinking about. Brian Wassom is a lawyer and had argued cases about the still-being-carved-out legal matters of augmented realities and their creators. He has chronicled some of his work on a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AugmentedLegality/

DETrealities_logo-300x300Another interesting speaker was Steve Dantas from VRARA [ http://www.thevrara.com/detroit ]. Steve spoke about the challenges that companies and executives are facing to leverage VR and AR in their businesses. Nobody at conferences claim to have the answers. It is way too fledgling for anyone to claim that. So his quick presentation, it was thoughtful in the sense of what we need to think about. What are the budgets, market plans, and strategies executives must consider as we venture down these still unpaved paths. The VRARA is an association that gathers liked minded individuals on the topic. I am looking forward to joining and hearing from you and others. Follow the link for more on the association: http://www.thevrara.com

Thanks again to Peter and Stephanie for pulling together a great event. Thanks to the Grand Circus for hosting the event. I am hopeful there will be similar meetups annually and maybe at other Grand Circus venues across the United States.

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Animated Cartoons and Augmented Reality – What I am Presenting at the Online Learning Conference This Week

No it is not online.

No it is not being done in virtual reality or augmented reality.

The Online Learning Conference is a conference for those of us who build, design, instruct, and assess learning and training via online tools.

This is my 4th time attending. Third as a presenter. This year, I am presenting twice. First on Augmented Reality in delivering just-in-time training.  Second on using Adobe’s Character Animator to deliver live training and/or recorded self paced training using an animated cartoon!

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The first presentation is tomorrow, Tuesday, 9:30a. The session is being co-presented with a team out of Hungary who is also exploring the power and possibilities of augmented reality (AR) in providing training and learning content. My portion revolves around the content I have presented at the Realities360 conference and the Training Conference earlier this year about the potential use of AR safety glasses to provide just-in-time training and content to manufacturing workers. Much like what was been discussed in the Wired Magazine article regarding the pivot of Google and their Glass wearable. My case study is based on work being done at Plex Systems and some of their manufacturing customers.

My second presentation is on Wednesday. It is a two and half hour session because it is a “hands-on” workshop. Originally, this workshop was to be on building an app. I have facilitated this session about 5 times for the Training Magazine and their conferences. They asked me to run it once more. I relented and said ok, even though I was thinking the topic had reached its saturation point even though the sessions do fill up every time. Then a few weeks back, as I started to review my presentation for any updates, I discovered some massively impactful news – Microsoft was sunsetting the program!

To teach the attendees on how to develop an app during a two to three hour session I use a program called Windows App Studio. The web based program was fairly simple and straightforward means of creating a Windows based app. Granted, Windows apps are far from the most desired apps around. Nonetheless, it still taught someone how an app could be made and kept true to the promise made in the session title: “Have an app ready to publish by the end of this session.”  But with Microsoft discontinuing the program, I had to scramble for another presentation topic and quick!

Win App Studio

I floated a few ideas with the conference organizers. We needed something that would not conflict or duplicate sessions are ready scheduled for the conference. That eliminated my desire to facilitate my really fun Project Management Awareness Fail to Succeed session. I always have so much fun hosting that session. But alas, there was already another project management session on project charters already scheduled.

The new topic also had to be hands on. After all, that is the name of the session blocks. That eliminated any topic that I could essentially just speak about. The topic had to be something the attendees could do AND fill up close to 2.5 hours! That limited things. If I was going to do anything with computers, I had to use a free program or at least one that can be trialed. It had to be cross platform. It had to have a learning curve that was not overwhelming. And of course, it had to be something of use and interest to learning and development professionals.

I offered the tips and tricks of Camtasia – a video editing program widely used by learning and development teams. There was no other session on the tool I also offered. I also suggested the use of Sway to create presentations and online material. Both would be useful for L & D professionals, but I was not exactly sure if I would be able to fill 2-3 hours on the topics.

In the end, we settled on Character Animator from Adobe. This is an animation tool that allows you to use your webcam and microphone to animate an Illustrator or Photoshop image in real time. I would show you a quick demo below of how I have used it, but I have not paid for the full version of Word Press and it denied me the ability to share. I will upload it to YouTube and link or embed it later.

Anyway, the Character Animator is a really cool tool that allows creators to animate without having to be full time cartoonists. For trainers, we can use this when we are presenting and don’t want our own faces to be the on screen visuals. Many of us are delivering online training from homes or offices that do not have expensive setups rigged with the latest green screens and lighting. Instead of dealing with all that hassle and expense, we could have a character do our presenting. Almost like an avatar rather that a human video feed.

 

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A simple example I am having the OLC attendees create and use for live action animating

 

Beyond the live feed presenting, Character Animator also enables us trainers to insert characters that match a motif or brand or mascot into pre-recorded online training content. For instance, if my company The Crowd Training had a client requesting sexual harassment training, we could offer them an online self paced elearning course that featured an instructor or guide that fit the company’s image and/or was purposely nondenominational or fitting any particular category. We could have an on screen presenter that was of no set ethnicity or not even human at all. That would remove the fear of featuring certain situations that might cause unease or inadvertent discrimination. Not to mention, many people prefer to see fun relatable characters over a disconnected human.

Looking forward to running these sessions. Shall post again later this week to let you know how they went. Until then, I am going to enjoy some of New Orleans and the 90 degree heat and humidity! Ok, maybe not so much the latter.

New PMBOK 6th Edition Out Now

The Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge 6th edition is official out and available for download. I have been a reviewer of the PMBOK 6th edition for many months now. I have advised many project management training companies seeking to update their 5th edition PMBOK content to the newly released 6th edition. Now it is accessible to the masses.

If you are PMI member, you can download a PDF version of the 6th ed PMBOK by going to http://www.pmi.org and entering your credentials. You are then provided the option of downloading a digital copy of the latest PMBOK to your computer or device. Every time you open the downloaded PMBOK 6th edition on your device you are prompted to enter your PMI member password. So, I recommend you keep your password easy enough to enter frequently. I had a friend who had a very complex password. Very secure, which is normally a good thing. But every time he opened the PMBOK on his Kindle he had to enter the password. And a password with too many symbols and upper/lower cases in various orders was not very convenient.

PMBOK 6th

The hard copy of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)– Sixth Edition by Project Management Institute is not yet shipping. I have pre-ordered my physical copy from Amazon, here  http://a.co/hN7Zjkd According to Amazon, the book is scheduled to ship out September 15, 2017. Currently, it is priced for $84 US for the English version.

PM6 Plan Resource Management Main

The Crowd Training’s fully interactive PMP certification exam prep course based on the PMBOK 6th edition is planned for release in October 2017. More information on this at https://www.thecrowdtraining.com/pm6

Once complete, the 35 hour project management course will be available on the web and for mobile devices. You can stay up to date by joining the mailing list on http://www.thecrowdtraining.com

PM6 Resource Management on Phone

Until then, there are 5th edition PMBOK games available. If you order a lifetime subscription, I will give you all the 5th edition versions of the games, plus all the new games that I develop for the 6th edition of the PMBOK. Currently there are over 15 games. A lifetime membership is now only $23 at http://www.thecrowdtraining.com/games

Look for a more thorough breakdown of the differences between 6th edition from 5th edition in this blog soon. Let me know your impressions, if you have taken a look at the new edition.

Another Project Management Game Added to The Crowd Training Game Pack

Designed, developed, and published another project management learning game on my The Crowd Training Games pack. This game is based on travelling to different locations and answering questions at each stop. The questions for the first set are all based on the Project Quality Management knowledge area of the 5th edition of the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). Now that I have the base structure and all the gameplay figured out, I can create multiple versions of the game for the other nine knowledge areas, as well as create updated versions of the game for the 6th edition of the PMBOK once that is formally released.

Currently, the 30 day access to The Crowd Training Games pack for $30.  This newest game release brings the number of games in the pack to 17 games. Since I am working on a full 6th edition project management professional PMP certification exam prep course in addition to more games to include in The Crowd Training Game pack, I am offering a 90 day access and a lifetime access for less than the 30 day access so you may get more games over time. The 90 day access is offered for a limited time for $23 and the lifetime is $25. Obviously, these won’t remain at that price for too long. But since I am just rolling out the new website and the new games, I thought I would extent generous pricing to my early adopters. Thanks and enjoy! Visit: https://www.thecrowdtraining.com/games to start playing!

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My Windows Phone Experiment Comes to an End

Today, I bury my Windows phone. I jumped on it when it launched. I wanted something new. Similar to when I jumped on the iPhone when it launched. Sadly, no matter how much I wanted Windows phone to succeed, it failed in the long run.

Today, I got an *gulp* Android phone. It was the last phone OS I had not jumped to yet. I figured it was time to give it a try.

Galaxy S8 64GB (Verizon)

I got my new Samsung Galaxy S8+ in Orchid Gray. It is slick. It is bright. And fast. All of which I noticed in the first few seconds of turning it on. My HTC M9 running 8.1 had some of the elements… once. But over time it has dulled and slowed. If HTC would have been willing to at least allowed the device to upgrade to Windows 10 mobile, I may have stuck with it longer. Alas, they failed to stay current. As consequence, I was left behind on an island. Like a manufacturing town where the primary business has left town and all that is left are the few operations struggling to stay afloat. A few once great businesses that are no longer receiving any investments or updates. Like a Kmart in Flint, Michigan.

kmart

I have tried to hold out as long as possible. Trying to remain loyal and proud of device that makes up less than 1% of the market share. I hoped. I was optimistic. I scouted the websites of https://www.windowscentral.com/ and https://www.thurrott.com/ and others regularly for some glimpse of hope. Maybe a spark of light far off in the future in the form of a rumor to entice me to stay a little longer. But no. Nothing coming from Microsoft that gave me any hope of hanging on.

If anything, the more I read, the more I got the impression that Microsoft too had given up on their experiment.  All the news from Microsoft was about their efforts on Android and iPhone. Even in those rare occasions where they did anything on Windows Mobile, it was not for my 8.1. The abandonment was tiresome. I was all out of hope. I was out of contact. My HTC was well past 2 and a half years. It was failing. The Camera would not load. The volume button frequently decided not to cooperate. The few apps I had were hit or miss. Oh, the apps…

The first time opening the Google Play store on my S8 was an overwhelming experience. There were apps for everything. When I did a search for an app… it was there! There were no sacrifices required. If I wanted it, it was there and more.  Not like the annoying situation of a conference I spoke at recently where the guide and everything else was only available on other mobile systems. I could not even see my session’s evaluations. And in one session, the presenter bragged about a service being available “on every device!” Yeah, just not Windows phone, Blackberry, or even my Amazon Fire tablet.

One of the first apps I downloaded was the Microsoft To-Do app [see my review]. I have found Wunderlist to be one of my favorite productivity apps/programs. Since the intent is to sunset Wunderlist in favor of To-Do, I figured it makes sense to only download one of the two. Trying my best not to be stuck on another obsolete island.

After 6 years, today I officially claim end to my Windows Phone experiment.

 

Added Another Project Management Game

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In my effort to give more options to those studying for the Project Management Professional – PMP – exam, I have developed and uploaded another PMP game. This one helps you test your knowledge of the terms in the glossary of the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge or PMBOK. I used the 5th edition glossary to author the game, but most of the terms carry over to the 6th edition of the PMBOK. Once the 6th edition is formally released, I shall update the handfuls of terms requiring updating. Since my games are offered in an online repository of games you get all the versions of my games throughout your subscription period – so you are set whether you are planning to sit for the 5th edition or the 6th edition of the PMP exam or simply looking for fun ways to improve your knowledge and gain PDUs!

In this game, you are presented with three doors. One door is the correct door with the correct project management term according to the PMBOK glossary [note: some other project management references may define the terms differently].

The game randomly selects 15 glossary terms from the pool of 378 terms created for the game. There is a counter in the bottom right hand corner to let you know how many you have answered. At the end of the 15, you are provided your overall score. I choose 15 terms in each set to not overwhelm you each time you play but give you enough in one term to see how you do. Let me know your thoughts if that amount should be adjusted. I can easily change it or offer options.

If you want to download and own the Project Management Definition Game, click here to purchase the game for $12.

If you want to gain access to this game and the dozen other games currently offered (with more arriving all the time), then click here to subscribe. For a limited time, the normal $39 rate for 90 day access can be reduced to $14.50 using The Crowd Training’s coupon code opening50 when checking out.

Discounted 5th Edition PMP Exam Questions Course to $10

For those needing to get a few more Project Management Professional (PMP) certification exam questions before sitting for the real PMP exam, I created a course featuring some of best PMP exam questions along with my advice.

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Instead of just having a learner take a 100 questions, I also:
– introduce each knowledge area and provide some pointers
– draw out with my hand drawings and explain each of the process in the knowledge area
– give you an knowledge area concentrated exam
– debrief and provide tips on each and every question

Since this was made with 5th edition questions, I decided to cut the price from $75 to $10.  PMI is changing the PMP exam to reflect the update to the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) to a 6th edition in Q1 of 2018, this 5th edition focused practice exam course may be obsolete by the end of 2017. Figured it better to reduce the cost so more people can take advantage of its contents.

So if you are in need of some more exam question practice before you sit for the PMP exam, use coupon code ‘success10′ at https://www.thecrowdtraining.com/product-page/success-pmp-exam-questions-and-answers-5th-ed