What I do in my Spare Time…

While I do enjoy keeping up with technology trends and figuring out how they should be used, there is more to life than just work. My curiosity prompts me to explore hobbies in unique areas. Here are two examples.

Steve planting his garden

Creating and Cultivating a Garden

I enjoy gardening. I have always liked the process of planting, nurturing and watching things grow. As a kid, I remember cultivating a small plot of land in our back yard. I have always tried to at least grow some tomatoes. when we lived in Texas, the summer heat made harvesting tomatoes a bit more difficult.

This is my second year of cultivating a 12 x 24-foot patch of ground at my church’s community Stewards Garden. This picture is of me planting earlier this year.

The Williamson County edition of the Tennesseean newspaper recently did a small article on the garden. It was fun to be quoted as part of the article. Click Here to read the article.

Cooking Helps me Destress

Another way I like to relax is by cooking. I wrote an article on LinkedIn that describes How the Science of Cooking Helps me Destress. You can read that article by clicking here.

What do you do that provides a release from work?

Agents Council For Technology Releases Hard Trends Report

The Agents Council for Technology (ACT) Strategic Future Issues Work Group has released the first phase of an initiative to identify key trends that affect the future of the independent insurance agency system.

ACT 2015 Hard Trends

“The real value of the Hard Trends Report is the great discussions and involvement of so many in the creation of the report,” says Rick Morgan, ACT Strategic Future Issues Work Group chair and senior vice president of Aartrijk in Springfield, Virginia. “We expect the release of the report to generate further discussion on the challenges and opportunities these trends present.”

The following seven trends were identified and evaluated in phase one:

U.S. Internet Speed Among Slowest in the World

The Internet first became available to the world in the late 80s through dial-up connections — Think AOL and “You’ve Got Mail.” Initially, these dial-up connections were able to reach a maximum speed of 56 KB/s.

Fast Internet access does make is key to making full use of the Internet. Fast Internet access is found in many different parts of the world. The United States, which arguably has produced some of the biggest Internet companies, has some of the slower speeds in the developed world. It’s 11th in the list of countries with the fastest Internet speeds in the world. Hong Kong has one of the fastest connections, averaging over 50 Mbps, with America lagging behind with an average high of only 39 Mbps.

Is there a Drone Under Your Tree? Better Register!

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has created a streamlined and user-friendly web-based aircraft registration process for owners of small unmanned aircraft (UAS) weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms) including payloads such as on-board cameras.

picture of drone flying at sunset

The Registration Task Force delivered recommendations to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on November 21. The rule incorporates many of the task force recommendations.

Make no mistake: unmanned aircraft enthusiast are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility.

“Make no mistake: unmanned aircraft enthusiast are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Registration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely. I’m excited to welcome these new aviators into the culture of safety and responsibility that defines American innovation.”

Erie Insurance Uses Drone on Property Claim

Erie Insurance applied to the FAA for an exception to experiment with using drones in the claims adjustment process. This short video shows how they used a drone to inspect a homeowners roof. This is just the beginning of how drones are transforming the insurance business.

Question: What other examples of drone usage in the insurance industry have you seen? You can leave a comment by clicking here.