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Sparkfun RTK Reference Station

Protected: The Case for a Better Menu

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Category: Ideas

Ideas

Ideas are short commentaries about new innovations or what-if possibilities.

Doug Foster - headshot 2023

About

I ask questions, especially why. I’m an engineer who loves ideas, tools, & creative problem solving. This page is about me – both personal & professional.

SpaceX Raptor 1 vs. Raptor 2 engine changes

Undesigning is the best thing …

“… just delete it … the best part is no part. The best process is no process. It weighs nothing, costs nothing, can’t go wrong.” – Elon Musk

Category: Quotes, Thoughts
Topics: Technology
1915 Model T Roadster

Lowell Stories: Stalled On The Tracks (& more)

Dad never had a mishap when flying (well, not one that he couldn’t handle). But when it came to cars, he had some close calls. Here’s three of his car tales.

Category: Stories
Topics: People
Tags: Lowell Foster
Stock truck with cattle

Lowell Stories: Would It Still Have Happened?

This is one of Dad’s “I’m lucky to be here” stories that he wrote down for us back in 1999. I swear (so did he) that man had a guardian angel watching over him.

Category: Stories
Topics: People
Tags: Lowell Foster
The Quotable Dad book cover. The real story - the backstory - was the notes from my girls inside the front cover.

Sometimes the backstory is the better story.

Often we’re so focused on the story that we miss appreciating why the story itself became a story. Every story has a backstory; sometimes it’s the better story.

Category: Quotes, Thoughts
Topics: Life Lessons
Tags: Doug Foster

“You want me to wear a hard hat? Really??”

Pictures can make your proof argument more impressive, but it’s hard to beat a live, in-person demo. And if you can’t do a live demo – try video. Take a look.

Category: Thoughts
Topics: Show Proof, Tell-Show-Try
Tags: Demo examples

Legal

The stuff you kinda have to have: Applicable Scope, Copyright, Privacy Policy, Terms and Conditions, & Contact info.

Fork in the road

If you don’t know where you are going …

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” … Baseball great and folk philosopher Yogi Berra says to reach a goal you need a plan.

Category: Quotes, Thoughts
Topics: Life Lessons

Steve Jobs – You have to trust in something.

Steve Jobs once said “You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. … it has made all the difference in my life.”

Category: Quotes
Topics: Life Lessons

Photos

Photos are some of my favorite shots. Some were with my iPhone and others were with my SLR mirrorless camera and pro-level lenses. Enjoy!

Lakota Nation - Badlands, SD

It’s spectacular: Red Shirt Table Overlook.

On our way to Wounded Knee in the Badlands SD, we came to the crest of a hill. We were awestruck. The view was like nothing I had ever seen before.

Category: Photos
Topics: Travel

Convinsys

Convincing Systems, LLC (DBA Convinsys) has been my business since 2006. I help innovators explain & sell technology by offering courses and consulting.

Doug Foster

Home

I ask questions, especially why. I’m an engineer who loves ideas, tools, & creative problem solving. This site is about me – both personal & professional.

Quotes

Quotes are words-of-wisdom which I find inspiring or helpful. A few of them I came up with myself :-), but most are from folks FAR smarter than I am.

Engineer in Training (EIT) - certificate front

Certificates & Training

Recently I was asked to supply a list of professional/training certifications. When I looked back in my file drawers I was surprised to more than I remembered.

Category: Projects
Skills: Learning
Building a Crunch Labs kit

When we do, we discover.

Many times I see people who self-profess to be experts. They talk a good story, but can they prove what they say is true? How do they know what they don’t know?

Category: Quotes, Thoughts
Topics: Life Lessons, Technology
Tags: Doug Foster

More

Contact. Follow. Help. This is pretty much the miscellaneous category for the site. Nothing fancy, just a little info to make for a better experience.

Mark Rober glitter bomb

Make what you need. Solve the challenges.

“Engineering is the art of making what you want from things you can get.” It’s also learning to solve a boat-load of unplanned problems during the process.

Category: Quotes, Thoughts

Search

Find any post or page on the site. This search uses advanced filters which can be revealed & applied by clicking the “Filter” toggle under the main menu.

Projects

Projects are things I made or did which involved a fair amount of work. Sometimes you can touch them (like a house), sometimes they’re virtual (like websites).

Stories

Stories are longer narratives about events that happened – or might happen. They entertain or make a point, and could be about a person, a group, … or nobody.

Thoughts

Thoughts are things that come to mind on a topic (or two) … maybe interesting facts, a personal opinion, or reflections on an experience.

WEB115 Blackboard

Wake Tech – Web Technologies

Instructor for HTML5 & CSS3, JavaScript, PHP & MySQL, WordPress, and Web Design classes (online, seated, and hybrid) at Wake Tech Community College.

Category: Projects
Topics: Technology
Tags: Alison Consol, Convinsys
Skills: Internet, Making, Software, Teaching, Websites
Dr. Who - Tardis in space/time

“Well, hello good son. Where did the time go?”

Dad was my best friend. When we discussed topics, we’d leave each other with something to ponder. Two days before he passed away, he left me with a big one.

Category: Stories
Topics: Life Lessons, People
Tags: Lowell Foster
Has comments.
dougfoster.me home page - 2023

dougfoster.me – Website

WordPress website for sharing personal stories about life & work, photos, and work projects. Built with WordPress, Beaver Builder, custom code, & plugins.

Category: Projects
Tags: Doug Foster
Skills: Making, Websites
Line Defender video staging

Line Defender – Product Demo Video

Two minute video demonstrates how Line Defender™ easily prevents monofilament fishing line from snarling the propellor & motor shaft of electric rolling motors.

Category: Projects
Tags: Allen Moore, Convinsys
Skills: Explaining, Making, Video
2018 WordCamp class

Presentations & Webinars

Technical & non-technical public speaking opportunities with both small and large audiences. Events include WordCamp, indieConf, interOp, Macworld, and Cisco.

Category: Projects
Skills: Explaining, Internet
FOCUS dashboard

LIPM – FOCUS Integrated Marketing Software

Print/digital marketing campaign platform. Drip ECRM cloud, WordPress, custom JS/PHP, private URLs & QR codes, Calendly, Gyft, & Drip integrated via REST.

Category: Projects
Tags: Convinsys, Kelly Clark
Skills: Engineering, Innovating, Making, Software
LIPM website

LIPM – Website & Marketing

Marketing support for short-run print shop. Rebuilt WordPress website, web analytics, lots of pages & posts, write/edit copy, photography, videos, SEO, …

Category: Projects
Tags: Convinsys, Kelly Clark, Richard Smith
Skills: Convincing, Making, Software, Websites
TS3d.com website

Touchstone 3D – Website

WordPress website promoting product innovation & prototyping services. FooGallery plugin with Beaver Builder theme for easy to maintain, visual page structure.

Category: Projects
Tags: Allen Moore, Audio, Convinsys, Sam Felts
Skills: Making, Websites
Has comments.
chargeGuardZ sales development plan

ChargeGuardZ – Sales Development Plan

Sales development plan for iPhone cable protector from startup Zaytoun Industries. Story-based methodology, markets, differentiation, branding, pricing, …

Category: Projects
Tags: Allen Moore, Convinsys
Skills: Convincing
CSM web app

LIPM – Job Status Tracking

WordPress app to track limited-run post card mailings. Gravity Forms & View allow clients/staff access to protected pages; emails sent when jobs are updated.

Category: Projects
Tags: Convinsys, Kelly Clark, Mike Dickinson
Skills: Making, Software
afsp.com website

AFS Photography – Website

WordPress website promoting photography services; extensive blog with backstories and favorite photos. Content copy protection, Slider Revolution plugin, …

Category: Projects
Tags: Amber Foster Smith, Convinsys
Skills: Making, Websites
Has comments.
scriptcase home page

Touchstone 3D – Order Management System

Select a new tool for rebuilding company’s Order Management System. OMS was difficult to maintain and written in Java by an intern no longer with the company.

Category: Projects
Tags: Allen Moore, Convinsys
Skills: Analyzing, Making, Software
HP Wall Art video

LIPM – HP Wall Art Video

Two minute video showing the creation and installation of an in-house designed, ceiling to floor, HP Wall Art display. iPhone/DSLR cameras, hundreds of stills.

Category: Projects
Tags: Convinsys, Kelly Clark
Skills: Explaining, Making, Video
WUNC mailer

LIPM – WUNC Success Story

Success story – how Laser Image Printing & Marketing implemented a direct mail campaign to help solve WUNC public radio’s challenge with sustaining supporters.

Category: Projects
Tags: Convinsys, Kelly Clark
Skills: Audio, Explaining, Questions
Fuentek ShuttleScan

Fuentek – NASA Technical Marketing

Intellectual Property (IP) marketing & licensing for NASA. Reviewed patents for marketability, assessed technology for licensing, interviewed experts, …

Category: Projects
Topics: Technology
Tags: Convinsys, Jack Spain, Laura Schoppe, Nannette Stangle-Castor, NASA
Skills: Convincing, Explaining, Questions, Technology
Has comments.
Chuck, Eleanor, & Lowell Foster in front of their dad's Standard Oil truck

Lowell Foster – Obituary

Lowell Elliott Foster’s obituary as it appeared in the Raleigh N&O on June 22, 2015. Lowell was born on July 5th, 1922 and passed away on June 17, 2015.

Category: Thoughts
Topics: People
Tags: Lowell Foster
Dad thinking

Lowell Foster – A Pretty Good Person

It’s been said we’re the sum of our experiences. That may be true, but I think a lot of what we are – who we are – comes from our parents.

Category: Thoughts
Topics: People
Tags: Lowell Foster
Our first punkin chunker

Punkin’ Chunkin’ – A Good Laugh

Punkin’ chunkin’ is an eclectic sport. Even though “chunkers” throw things year round, they only toss pumpkins before Thanksgiving. This was our first chunker.

Category: Stories
Topics: Hobbies, Humor
Tags: Cindy Foster, Doug Foster, Jeremy Smith
old TS3D website

Touchstone 3D – Websites

Multiple websites promoting the company’s product innovation & prototyping services, Touchstone3D continues to contract with Convinsys for web based projects.

Category: Projects
Tags: Alex Coplo, Allen Moore, Convinsys
Skills: Audio, Making, Websites
PinPointRG DR story

PinpointRG – NCHFA success story

Story describing how Pinpoint Resource Group helped the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency (NCHFA) implement a VMWare based business continuity strategy.

Category: Projects
Tags: Convinsys, Gilbert Reynolds
Skills: Audio, Explaining, Questions
EDS HQ in Plano, TX

“You’ve got 10 minutes. Change my mind.”

Walk into Bank of America and you’ll find LOTS of Cisco IP phones. Want to know how they got there? This is my best sales story. (Hint – it has a happy ending.)

Category: Stories
Topics: Technology, Work & Career
Tags: Doug Foster
Has comments.
Buddy with an idea

“Who am I? It’s not an easy question.”

Discovering who you are can be really tough. For me it happened when I was unemployed, had a wife and two children to support, and had to (re)write my resume.

Category: Thoughts
Topics: People
Tags: Doug Foster
Has comments.
Dome home in Sherrill, Iowa

Building a Geodesic Dome Home in Iowa

After college, I told a friend “We’re going to build a dome home.” He said, “If it was a regular house, it’d be like like an architect living in a mobile home.”

Category: Projects, Stories
Topics: Life Lessons
Tags: Cindy Foster, Doug Foster
Has comments.
Buckminister Fuller in front of a geodesic dome

The Dynamic R. Buckminster Fuller on WUNC

R. (Richard) Buckminister Fuller was a man of many talents. I had a chance to hear him when he came to ISU back in 1975, but passed. I SO wish I had gone.

Category: Thoughts
Topics: People
Tags: Buckminister Fuller
Rebuilding an Opel Cadet engine

Machinist to ME – An Unplanned Life Change

I had just started at Iowa State. Reb’s mom and I were watching Saydel play their first football game of the season. “You didn’t know? Jeff committed suicide.”

Category: Stories
Topics: Life Lessons, Work & Career
Tags: Doug Foster
Has comments.
High school chemistry lab

Chemistry Class – “Sign zee papers old man!”

Close to graduation I decided to pull a prank on a favorite teacher – “MadMan” Larry Dean. MadMan was our chemistry teacher & his nickname was well deserved.

Category: Stories
Topics: Humor
Tags: Doug Foster
Donald Davis at the National Storytelling Festival

5 Ideas – National Storytelling Festival

My dad told me once “If you learn one thing, then it was worthwhile.” Sometimes you learn more, like at the National Storytelling Festival last weekend.

Category: Thoughts
Topics: Tell-Show-Try
Has comments.
Fit 2 View - sales & marketing plan

Fit to View – Sales Development Plan

Sales development plan for patented mortician’s product from startup Fit to View. Story-based methodology covers value, markets, differentiation, branding, pricing, competitors, and distribution strategies; go-to-market section defines priorities and activities.

Category: Projects
Tags: Convinsys, Dan Fuccella, Melvin Huell
Skills: Convincing
telephone switchboard

VoIP Hi Def Conferencing. Amazing & Free!

I’ve been working with data/voice/video networking (especially VoIP) for most of my career. But the other day I lived through an abysmal audio conference call.

Category: Thoughts
Topics: Technology
Tags: Rodney Wines
Has comments.
Chuck Robbins, Cisco

Five Principles of Selling

As a senior executive (now CEO/Chairman) at Cisco, every quarter Chuck Robbins is responsible for generating hundred-million-dollar revenues from North America.

Category: Thoughts
Topics: Selling
Tags: Chuck Robbins
NASA EBF3 - Karen Taminger

NASA Langley – Selling the EBF3 Story

Working with NASA scientists and engineers, I learn about technology they develop, then help them find licensing opportunities for the Intellectual Property.

Category: Thoughts
Topics: Technology
Tags: NASA
Jimmy Buffett

Jimmy Buffett and Social Media

Last night at Walnut Creek I heard Jimmy Buffett’s best concert ever. It got me to thinking about how much social media and Jimmy Buffett have in common.

Category: Thoughts
Tags: Jimmy Buffett
Cisco sales training

Cisco – Sales Training

Three one-hour training class for Cisco Product Marketing group: 1) Sales strategy, 2) How Stories Help Sell, 3) Presenting Tips & Best Practices.

Category: Projects
Tags: Convinsys, Mike Dilio
Skills: Explaining, Teaching
EBF3 NASA presentation

Fuentek – NASA EBF3

Fifteen minute video explaining NASA’s Electron Beam Free Form Fabrication (EBF3) technology. Facilitated exploratory licensing between NASA and Stratasys, Inc.

Category: Projects
Topics: Technology
Tags: Convinsys, Laura Schoppe, NASA
Skills: Explaining, Making, Video
eNC netcasting project

eNC – Netcasting Manual & Classes

Manual with training class on how to create podcasts and webcasts. Delivered to four of the rural North Carolina Business & Technology Development Centers.

Category: Projects
Tags: Convinsys, Jane Smith Patterson
Skills: Audio, Explaining, Internet, Making
Cisco Press - Networking Simplified

Cisco Press – Technical Editing

Technical reviewer for Cisco Networking Simplified books from Cisco Press. Reviewed drafts, consulted with authors and editor to confirm topics were …

Category: Projects
Tags: Convinsys, Jim Dougherty
Skills: Explaining, Internet
ECU VoIP plan

ECU – VoIP Business Plan

Business plan for East Carolina University to migrate voice services from a Nortel Class 5 telephone switch to Cisco’s Unified Communications (UC) products.

Category: Projects
Tags: Martin Jackson, Mike Curtis, Scott Wertz
Skills: Analyzing, Engineering, Internet, Learning, Questions
Colonial Baptist write-up

Cisco – Cisco Network Academy

Internal success story describing how students from Athens Drive High School installed Cisco IP phones, voicemail, and a voice-data network at a mega church.

Category: Projects
Tags: Bill Reece, Mike Murray, Scott Wertz
Skills: Explaining, Internet
AVVID demo diagram

Cisco – AVVID Demo Room & Kits

Portable kits and training room demonstrated Cisco Unified Communications (UC) solutions. The kits and demo room offered opportunities for hands-on evaluation.

Category: Projects
Tags: Matt Mullady, Ronnie Harrell
Skills: Convincing, Explaining, Internet, Making
Interpath POC network diagram

Cisco – Interpath P.O.C.

Proof-of-concept network for delivering next generation high-speed voice, video, and data services. Designed for Internet Service Provider (ISP) Interpath.

Category: Projects
Tags: Charley Bratton, Chuck Robbins, Mike Dilio
Skills: Convincing, Internet
DCAP plan

CP&L – DCAP

Data Communications Architecture Project (DCAP) provided a vision and plan to overhaul Carolina Power & Light’s data network. A high speed, switched Ethernet, TCP/IP over SONET fiber network replaced the slow & unreliable Token Ring/Banyan Vines network.

Category: Projects
Topics: Technology
Tags: Bob Metz, Bob Warren, Dave Furiness, Ed Sharp
Skills: Innovating, Internet, Teams
Swift Creek technology plan

Swift Creek Elementary – Technology Plan

School-wide data network – including fiber connections to outside trailers and a T1 connection to the Internet – implemented at Swift Creek Elementary.

Category: Projects
Tags: Cindy Foster, Francis Shepherd, Tony Pierce
Skills: Innovating, Internet

Alcatel – Engineering Systems

Plan to rebuild computing environment & IT group supporting Product Engineering for Alcatel Network Systems (ANS). Supported by CIO & CFO, new staff hired, …

Category: Projects
Tags: Ed Galloway, Rodney Wines
Skills: Internet, Teams
TEAMnet org plan

Team CP – Products Division, TeamNet

Plans to start a new Products/Systems Integration group at Team Connecting Point, also implement company intranet with Internet connection. IBM authorized …

Category: Projects
Tags: Mark Kittrell
Skills: Internet, Making, Teams
John Deere harvester

John Deere – Wide area Integrated Network (WIN)

Global, multi-protocol network connecting major John Deere facilities and the early public Internet. IBM mainframes, mini-computers, CAD/CAM workstations …

Category: Projects
Tags: Keith Enstrom, Tom Hein
Skills: Innovating, Internet, Technology
MacVet logo

MacVet – Veterinary Software

Veterinary clinic management system, included multi-location inventory management, heard health reminders, and full service/procedure invoicing. Written in a 4GL database language, MacVet ran on a local network of IBM PC and/or Apple Macintosh computers.

Category: Projects
Tags: Cindy Foster
Skills: Making, Software
ISU Freshman Engineering competition - we won 1st place!

ISU – Freshman Engineering competition

Multi-media presentation with live demonstrations; won first place in Fall Freshman Engineering competition at Iowa State. Designed a series of vehicle alarms.

Category: Projects
Topics: Humor
Skills: Explaining
Hawkeye Science Fair - Rolamite project

Hawkeye Science Fair – What Is a Rolamite?

My exhibit at the 1969 Hawkeye Science Fair explaining rolamite technology. It was hailed as a new, simple machine on par with the lever, fulcrum, and wheel.

Category: Ideas, Projects
Topics: Tell-Show-Try
Skills: Explaining, Technology