Find it, fix it, tell me…

1 09 2014

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The home network balancing act.

I started managing my home network more than 20 years ago now. In our first house we had wires running the length of the ceiling in the basement. Most of the connections were in the basement (where my office was) and barb didn’t have a home office. She had a desk in the dining room that we snaked a cable up through an air vent so she could take advantage of the Internet.

We actually wired our second house in Cincinnati with Ethernet and cable for TV. It all came back to a box in the basement and I was able to route things from there. We only had dial up Internet back then so for the most part we each connected to the Internet via a modem connection. So we mostly used phone jacks.

Then we moved back to Indiana and over the years we added wiring to the house so we could have Internet on every level. Then wi-fi became reliable. So we moved away from wired connections to expanded wi-fi connections.

Now everything is wired and wireless depending upon if the device is close to a connection or can leverage wi-fi. The problem? I have two devices that aren’t playing nice on my network. Every Saturday/Sunday night Dish Network sends a packet to the two hoppers in the house and every Sunday morning or Monday morning my network is saturated. I’ve traced the problem to the two dish receivers. I moved one to a wired Ethernet connection and one to wireless and still the two Hoppers on their own flood my network.

Once I reset them they operate fine the rest of the week. But on the weekend they seem to consistently blow up after midnight. Everybody else on my network plays nice.

It’s a balancing act and frankly one that I don’t really have time to play. So I get frustrated really quickly. Luckily both my grandfather and my father taught me calm down before you call people. So I am calming down, its been five weeks of troubleshooting an hour a day on the weekends. I am going to call Dish and see what the heck they are doing to the hoppers.

As we move further and further into the interconnected world of Stayable, Wearable and Portable, the ability of a device to realize it is flooding the network, or a network monitoring device that is smart enough to shut off a segment that is doing poorly (or even a specific IP address) is going to have a huge impact on the home market. Don’t make me find the bad network device, solve it and then notify me.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow&

About CT&I

We issued the first Creative Technology & Innovation report yesterday (part 1 of home automation). There are more coming in the new few months.

CT&I focuses research on consumer electronics and work/life balance solutions in the technology space. If you have questions for CT&I please contact us at this blog or any other blog we sponsor.





CT&I report on home automation

31 08 2014

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http://docandersen.wix.com/ctisolutions is the site for my personal/long time company web site. CTI is a company Barb and I started more than 20 years ago and is a support company that works as an advisory group for innovations and innovators.

So where in my professional job I look at cloud solutions and what is possible, at CT&I I focus on the outside the box innovations. For the past three months I’ve been working on Home Automation systems.

We’ve installed the Control4 system. There are a number of smaller less complete systems that we have considered as well. Kickstarter and Indiegogo have had a number of successful automation and integration projects that have been funded.

So I’ve built out a conceptual pick list for what it is you are trying to do:

  1. Security
  2. Remote interaction
  3. Home management
  4. Home Automation

Today I am going to talk about items one and two. Later we will publish the rest of the report on 3 and 4. Security is two parts, the first is to connect to and expand your existing security system. The second is add features not currently in the security system (although you can call any of the security companies and they will add these features). Its like the home solar debate. There is a fixed cost you have to figure out which fixed cost is best for you.

What do you intend to do with your security system.

  1. Live Video?
  2. Indoor and outdoor (indoor only, outdoor only)
  3. Police notification?

The last one is the riskiest. You have to be careful (boy who cried wolf) about how many times you contact the police. That is why the systems you pay for monthly (ADT, Brinks etc.) are good because they can verify information from your house before they call. So for police notification allow the monitoring service that ability.

For video though there are a number of things you have to consider. If your ultimate goal is security + remote interaction when you aren’t home then you have to have both indoor and outdoor video. Canary and Jibo are a couple of great projects you can consider and leverage for building out your indoor video options.

There are a number of excellent video systems that incorporate with the Home Automation systems. You want to make sure you home automation and your camera DVR system cooperate. If they don’t work together it reduces the ability of your system to react to odd events at 3 am.

Finally if you intend to connect with your family via video device there are a number of interesting solutions. Personal presence devices (Padbot) and others such as Jibo and Canary offer you the opportunity to interact at different levels. There is the easiest level to set-up (view) and the hardest (two way interaction including audio) so consider carefully what you want to have in place.

The last two components of this report will be available either here or on the CT&I web site.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.





Does anyone really know what PaaS is (does anyone really care)

30 08 2014

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Apologies to Chicago for taking the line from their wonderful song. I do in fact know what time it is and do in fact care about time.

I struggle sometimes with custom or unique definitions of cloud computing. A long time ago I headed down accepted the standardized NIST definitions. Working with US Federal agencies that is the best fit not only for what they do (mission) but also for what we are trying to do (support their mission).

The one that gets me lately is the 1000 plus definitions of PaaS. I get that PaaS is the most unique of the cloud services. Platform as a service has a number of connotations. You can argue that Virtual Desktop (VDI) and DevOps both leverage the concepts and capabilities of PaaS.

In fairness VDI should actually fall down to IaaS. Its pretty straight forward and perhaps we have made it appear more complex in the end that it really is.

If you would build it today, its probably IaaS. Except for something build as part of a development project (DevOps) that is PaaS. A system built in the cloud designed to allow your users to build, manage and deliver custom reports would be a PaaS system operating against your IaaS infrastructure. The same system that would allow you to test and build applications or modify existing applications in a non-production test/dev environment is PaaS.

DevOps is the more modern consolidation of the traditional Agile development models (extreme, scrum etc) and the traditional operations models (cobit, Itil, ISO etc) resulting in a new combined environment that is more than an implementation of PaaS. It’s the process where by something is created (development). tested (development and then operations) and finally deployed and managed or (O&M Operations).

By itself DevOps is a consumer of the PaaS infrastructure. PaaS is a layer on top of your IaaS so it doesn’t matter ultimately where you believe your VDI system is built.

But I struggle with the reality of confusion that exists in this space. Why do people confuse this so much?

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.





Travel Experience…

29 08 2014

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Recently Linkedin began a series for influencers to post about travel experiences. I was thinking about that for a bit and I read a couple. Of course when you are flying first class in the end you do have an advantage over the rest of us.

With overseas trips no matter what you land tired. The best advice I ever got was from a dear friend, he said get out and walk (or run) once you land in the new place. It will help you adjust to the new time zone better. It also helps me get out of travel mode.

Traveling isn’t easy. It shouldn’t be and it isn’t. The first part of travel has to be a consideration of the George Carlin routine. What stuff should you take on vacation?

I always took my point and shoot camera. I am probably one of the last owners of a point and shoot camera. They are quick, easy to use and take good pictures. I’ve carried one for more than 20 years now. (start with a Casio, carry an Olympus TG-3 now). The reason for the small camera was easy. No matter where in the world I was going I was going to take back pictures for my family. It made traveling a little less painful.

There were times I would take a printer with me (usually one of the portable HP inkjet printers). If I was traveling by car I always took the printer. If I was traveling for more than two weeks I took the printer with me in the airplane as well. Why? You always need a printer and frankly its frustrating to go down to the business center and pay $1 a page when you can easily do that in your room. Plus when you screw up you can print 10 in the room on your printer.

Those are two examples of the technology of travel. There are many more. I started carrying a kindle the day the kindle became a product. I’ve carried a number of them over the years and each time have relished having my library with me. The newer ones aren’t as good with storage, but they are still incredible media machines. So I guess that is three examples of travel tech.

In fact I would argue the Linkedin articles should be broken into travel tech, travel comfort and in the end travel methods. Travel comfort is the consideration of the plane flight length (or train or car) and what you are wearing. I always dressed comfortably when traveling. You never know what and where you are going to end up spilling so don’t wear your best clothes. Be comfortable and last but not least consider carefully the method or mode of your travel.

If you can travel by train to get somewhere do it! My best train trips so far:

  • Baltimore to New York City
  • Dublin to Belfast

In both cases comfortable trains. Wi-FI the entire way and you don’t have the movement of a car so you can work while you are driving. I was shocked at how much Amtrak has improved since the last time I rode an Amtrak train.

I guess in the end its all about getting where you are going. I love traveling with my family. That way half of what I would be missing is with me. I do miss my home components when I travel but that moves me back into the stayable, wearable and portable argument of the past couple of weeks.

onward and upward

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow





Thinking about a great Steam/Stem lesson plan….

28 08 2014

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My very first published book was called “There are days you just want to go home.” It was a fictional diary of a school teacher throughout the course of a 185 day school year. The sad thing about the book is that while fictional, all the stories were true. Not all of them happened to me, most of them happened to other teachers I knew and worked with.

I realized at a very early stage of my career that teachers weren’t always held at the level they deserved to be held at. I also realized that given a little reallocation of funding we could easily fix the problems in American Education.

The concept was use science to teach reading, and use math to build thinking skills. In the end it became STEM and now STEAM. The concept that science and mathematics can change people’s lives is an important one.

I love working with a classroom full of excited kids. Its where the rubber in the end meets the road. You find in a very short time period that in effect the world is a place of potential and possible. That isn’t always the case as we head into our daily career lives. There we are often met with impossible and impractical. But with STEAM we can leverage the energy of our youth.

There have been a few STEAM lesson plans published here on my blog. As I’ve said it has been near and dear to me now for the entire 30 years of my professional career. The concept of reaching students where they are resonated then and it still does now.

One of my favorite STEM lessons from long ago was the mission to mars. There is an incredible book “What would you pack for a trip to Mars.” I’ve used it with adults and with 5th graders and up. Younger children can also do this I’ve just never had the opportunity to do this with 2nd and 3rd graders.

You simply throw the concepts out:

  • Seeing things that have never been seen before.
  • What would you pack for a 730 day trip.
  • What food can you take, can you grow food?
  • Will oxygen run out?
  • What will the spaceship look like?
  • How will you land on Mars.
  • What do you do with the after food?
  • (5th graders spend a long time on this last one).

It is a fantastic exercise with a lot of potential application.

.doc

IASA Fellow





LOL Cats and other social media trends….

27 08 2014

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I got a great thought provoking email yesterday from an old friend. One of those, stop what you are doing and think about this for a bit emails.

He mentioned that trends are a problem.

His first point was that band wagons and trend riding are dangerous activities. The second point was that trends by themselves are normal but they are a problem because not of the trend but of the band wagon effect.

I have to admit that I read that and at first I thought, wow he’s losing it. But then I thought about it a little more. Trends are a problem. People hop on band wagons and frankly whomever started the band wagon might not be heading in the direction everyone things they are heading.

By the 3rd email I was agreeing with him. Trends produce problems (we modified his original statement a little to better fit his theory). His other point was sometimes you need a bunch of trends to make change effective.

That was when we started talking about social media. His point of examination was the ALS challenge. It spread like wildfire throughout various social media channels. In the end the trend produced great results (more than 16 million dollars raised for a charity that normally in the same period gets 2-3 million in donations). The rise and now ebbing of that trend produced good results. People jumped all over it as a fun summer activity.

So the problem caused by the trend (traffic on social media and challenges to dump water on your head) caused a good outcome (more money for ALS research). But it does in the end raise some questions.

  • What was the intent of the person that started the challenge?
  • Why a bucket of ice water?
  • Why challenge other people?

The, if I may coin a new word, “virality” of social media can extract and remove the original meaning of trends. Virality is my term for the way something explodes on social media. It has as much the life force of a virus as it does anything else. Some people are somewhat immune (and don’t get the virus until later) some people are completely sucked in (and get the virus right away) and some people are the control group (they never get the virus). A virus never spreads in a linear fashion. It ripples and flows around people, groups and in the end organizations.

To quote Penny from The Big Bang Theory “Everyone loves LOL cats.” It’s a social media event. The so horribly named Arab Spring (couldn’t we simply call it the Middle East push for democracy) was driven as much by social media reporting as by anything. Where once the media was the change agent now its Facebook and Twitter.

My friend was right, trends are a problem. Sadly this ends today’s post I have to go watch some Facebook video’s of cat’s doing agility training and dogs looking pitifully into the camera.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow





Wandering around Wearable, Stayable, Portable and now intelligent routing…

26 08 2014

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In my book the Syncverse I talked about moving information and securing that information while it was moving. But moving the information in a way that was both logical and intelligent. Sending a 20 gig file to your cellular phone, even if the phone were connected to wi-fi isn’t the best option.

I expanded that with my screen as a service blogs of last year and my long argued SOA 2.0. (the joke was services as a service). Yesterday I talked about an email I got invoking IT responsibility when it comes to dumping tons of stuff that doesn’t decay into a landfill.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the missing engine in all of this was talked about in the book a little but wasn’t called out to the level it needed to be called out.

Intelligent routing of information. In the Myverse concept we talk a lot about who can put data or request data from your Myverse. From one time locked down access for an emergency room physician 10,000 miles from your home to your company putting specific data available only for you. The concept was simple to have a place in the cloud where your data was that your device was connected to effectively (and securely).

Looking around my office I haven’t lived up to the overall tenants of my own idea. I have multiple copies of some information (that is as much due to fear as anything else – I don’t want to lose my digital pictures.). The reason is that the routing piece is missing. The value proposition of the Stayable, Wearable and Portable argument is the convience of the user. But today all of those are presented by a unique vendor solution. While I can access information (photos, weather, security video) remotely I have to use three different vendor cloud solutions. The good news is that to a degree that presents interesting new security options (3 systems, 3 id’s 3 passwords). But not the unified experience that I presented now nearly 3 years ago in The Syncverse work.

In the end the value proposition of information is its ability to solve problems. The end game of pictures is a little different, Its form and function is to trigger a moments memory (or for me looking at some of my pictures, remembering what I missed with my photograph). But the concept is still sharing information. Weather is a little diff4erent in that you access weather information as much to know what is happening right now, as what will be happening per estimations.

The intelligent routing process would take the information that is available for you and tailor you needs. If you are inside a building (and an office) all day you only need to know the weather going into the building and going out at the end of the day. If you go outside for lunch its good to know if the weather is going to be bad around noon as well. Other information you have need is different. You may require client information while visiting or talking to a client on the phone. All of that managed by the intelligent routing system that knows what you are doing.

Its all possible – it could turn into Big Brother if not managed separately from other forms of personal access. It goes back to the free internet movement. Access should be free for everyone.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.








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