The injustice of slights. Or the worst mistake I’ve ever made as a manager.

There are times as people we carry slights. They, the slights, are often unintended but they happen. We, as people, carry them, remember them far longer than they deserve. I wonder sometimes, why we let the slight dig in so deeply. I suspect deep inside this issue there is a communication pattern and communication anti-pattern just waiting to be expressed.

Just let it go.

Some of the best advice that all of us give. Just let it go. We tell our children that, our friends that and our often our co-workers that. Just let it go. But the thing is, do we? Now I am not talking about injustice here. If someone has truly wronged you, you have to deal with that. I am talking instead about a perceived wrong. Not a real wrong. Please don’t email me or comment about real wrongs done to you. Those are things you have to deal with.

Rather it is the perception of being wronged when in reality you weren’t wronged. I have a former boss that frankly I have nothing to do with, that once promised me in front of the entire team “if you win this deal with this customer I will get you an award.” We did win the deal with the customer. But the award never happened. Nor was it ever acknowledged. That is a real wrong. So I have nothing to do with that person, period.

Over the years though there are times when I’ve thought I heard someone say something they actually didn’t say. That perceived injustice is the one that gnaws at you. Keeps you from considering that you didn’t hear those words. I find that many times simply stopping and asking the person resolves the issue.

That said, systemic issues also exist. If someone feels slighted and they address that by approaching their boss. It is critical as a boss that you deal with the issue. As a boss I once dealt with a situation that I know I should have handled differently.

The team was bringing in a new manager. The new manager was a great person and a great fit for the role of team lead. There was a person on the team who felt they should be the leader of the team. They however, never expressed that feeling directly. Bringing in this new manager onto my team without knowing the person in question felt that way ultimately undercut the new manager completely.

First off, the person on the team that ultimately wanted the manager’s job wasn’t qualified. The person also wasn’t either fair to the new person or to me. The person undercut me with my boss and undercut the new manager with my boss. Eventually the new manager couldn’t take the political games played and ended up leaving the company. I still to this day feel horrible about the way that was handled. I feel like, I know actually I let the new manager down. I also feel like I know there was an injustice done by the employee. Twice in fact that person did their best to completely destroy the team we were trying to build. In the end that person completed one of the worst acts of team destruction I’ve ever seen or been a part of. Sad in the end.

I will forever feel bad about how that happened.

Balancing the knowledge that you slighted someone accidentally or on purpose is part of being human. We all make mistakes. When you do, don’t compound the mistake by making a worse one. Go first the first one. Talk to everyone involved. Don’t compound everything by making that team weaker.

As the line from the song goes “you have to live with yourself.”


Still sad, but trying to learn…

My VCR stopped flashing 12 because I unplugged it. The same isn’t true for the long proclaimed flashing 12 of the information age.

Do you remember the VCR? Not the actual hardware but the change that made? Once upon a time we were locked to the schedules of the TV networks. If you missed a show you had to hope it would come around again, later. There were many fewer stations and ultimately there were many fewer time slots and some things never really came around again. Then the VCR came and you were freed from the TV networks schedule. You could watch shows, replay shows and start recording shows in the middle to finish them later. The VCR changed home entertainment.

That change is nearly here in relation to information and information devices now. If you wander around Kickstarter or Indiegogo there are a number of projects that are trying to get the concept of universal translation off the ground. There are a number more trying to create secure home data shares. Google, Apple, Microsoft, Dropbox and Box all have interesting products that provide both cloud storage but also a means to an end. Enterprise sharing of data and cross group sharing handled by cloud based information stores.

I’ve complained for the past couple of years that in fact the information age isn’t here yet. My case is built around the reality of information. Once upon a time, 400 or so years ago, most people didn’t know or weren’t given the opportunity to learn how to read. The explosion of reading came right after the invention by Gutenberg of the printing press. More books available meant it was advantageous for more people to be able to read. The same is true today in the information world. The ability to deliver more information to more devices and in a rapid manner makes ubiquitous information possible. That is the darkness right before the dawn of the information age.

The VCR changed television viewing by taking control out of the hands of the networks and into the hands of users. The result is the creation of on-demand television services. The addition of the Internet and an easy to connect home viewing system made the on-demand services possible and they took off from there. Digital Video Recording or DVR’s changed viewing even further. You could now easily watch part of a show you recorded or live, and pause at any point. You not only controlled the time of playback but the playback rate. Channels went from local stations to all-sports and all-nature channels. 100’s of channels. On-demand services added even more viewing choices.

Information is in that incubation stage now, the one that television experienced with the VCR. The pupa of the future information butterfly is now formed. As the butterfly of information matures and prepares to leap forth into the brave new world, what does it need to succeed? It is beyond search. It is beyond information stores.

We need the VCR of information to launch the information age. Those Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects along with universal translation applications are a start but none of the translation systems are the VCR. The ability to capture information quickly and change control of the information. Today we remain in the expert system. Where a portion of the critical information needed to solve problems remains locked in the Locked PDF file, and tacit knowledge stores of experts.

How do we effectively record experts? To date the value of an expert has been the new ideas and new ways to solve problems. We’ve built an economy around the expert system. Experts and analysts are the one’s running around calling this the information age. Not the dawn, but the information age. Without actually considering the concepts of information flow.

What and how do we record experts? How do we quickly get good information from the napkin to the data store of the world? Over the past 50 years there have been many programs aimed at doing just that. Peace Corps (begun by John Kennedy) sent experts to places with the intent of building new systems and new experts. (thank you to all who served in the Peace Corps). But that was one to few or possibly one to quite a few, but not one to all.

We need to figure out the VCR of information. The game changer that forces the way things are, into the way things could be. A system that captures all information and shares it. Not at the schedule of the expert, nor in a locked PDF File, but freely and for all.

Until the door opens there is no light. Until the window opens there is no air. Until the VCR of knowledge there is not information age.


Information age decrier

IoT and the ever growing question of my personal privacy…

As a devoted fan of Peter Sellers I loved his Pink Panther movies. However, the one movie of his that always comes to mind for me is Dr. Strangelove. The reason in part for that is the sheer talent of the actors in the movie. It is an amazing story of both corruption and ultimately comedy. It is, as some comedies are a very dark comedy. One of the things that interests me about the movie is the plot within the plot, and the number of characters played by Peter Sellers.

The concept of the plot within the plot is my focus for today’s Internet of Things blog. I saw a demonstration yesterday (August 25th 2016) of an interest array of sensors. Combining a number of sensors to increase data captured while at the same time reduce the cost of capturing that data. A single array with sensors that cover a number of interesting systems.

Within the concept of data collected is the need for the data collected. What data do we urgently need to capture and then the other question raised over what area do we need to capture it. The examples I would use have to do with two things. The first traffic. We’ve talked about that before here on my blog. The capture of information about traffic flow is something cities do now. The other side of this remains a concern of mine. Who owns my image?

Estimates today put between 20,000 and up to as high as 40,000 or more video cameras deployed in New York City and its suburbs. The average person commuting from the ‘burbs into the city will encounter upwards to 200 cameras every day. Some of that is good. You would think that the more cameras there are the less crime there is. That isn’t always true. But it would reduce the number of places crimes of opportunity could occur.

When I was first in IT we talked about the Wide Area Network (WAN) philosophy. There were two camps the WAN is always up, or the WAN is always down. You built your systems based on the camp you were in (off-line able if the WAN is always down, On-line if the WAN is always up). The same now is true for criminals. You either assume the video camera is a decoration (and doesn’t work or transmit) or the camera is always on and you don’t care.

But the other side of that is the privacy issue. I’ve talked about this before the ownership issue of my image. While I understand the need for security cameras I do not accept that I don’t own my image if I commit no crime. As more and more arrays are deployed with sensors to capture data about not only the atmosphere and weather, but the traffic flow and congestion points, the number of cameras taking my picture is going to climb. At some point to make it 20 miles from my house in Maryland to Washington DC I may encounter 400 or 500 cameras. That is 400 or 500 pictures of me that I was:

1. Unaware were being taken

2. Not sure of how long they are kept

Again I do not intend to commit crimes on my way to work. I accept if I speed in an area with a speed camera that I deserve the letter from the State of Virginia or the state of Maryland (or even the District of Columbia if I wander across the river too fast). In that case I have committed a crime. Yes, a misdemeanor but the entities in question have right to keep the picture of me, or me and the license plate of my car.

I do not and will not accept keeping my picture when I don’t speed or turn right on red (red light cameras remain stupid. That is something that needs to be fixed. If it is legal to turn right on red, and I stop look both ways there is not traffic and I proceed I shouldn’t get a letter in the mail).

It is an argument of personal privacy that needs to be had now. No camera should be deployed without a privacy statement. Those statements should be published by the company, city, regional or national government entity. Organizations with cameras in front should also. Publishing the privacy rules, they adhere to is critical.

1. We keep all video for x time period.

2. We do, with a warrant, release all video to the police

3. We do, without a warrant releases all video to the police

We need these! It is after all my image! How can I have a virtual wall around me, Please!


No, that picture is not me.

IoT and the story of getting the right information to the right people at the RIGHT time!

One of the things that I find interesting is the concept of a Maginot line for data. Where there is data on both sides of the line, but without proper authorization one set of data remains separate from the other. The concept is one that many US Government, and other countries Governments are considering. They, government, doesn’t really care how many miles you’ve driven between hard breaking events. They do, care, when your airbags deploy. Or who is flying the drone into restricted air space. You get the idea. There is data that lives in the vast ocean of information and frankly governments and people only want to have some of that data available.

What would such a line look like. It would have to be better than the original Maginot line (it kind of didn’t stop anything in the end). But the concept is true. A single point of egress for information moving from the mass (IoT) to the consumer (user, system or company/government).

First you have to ask why would you want that?

110 Zettabytes of produced data. The issue of course is that much of that data gets filtered. But the other side from the perspective of a government agency is additional filtering. The concept of a connected car is a great example.

1. Regional Level DOT wants to know the following:

a. Your car hits a pothole

b. Traffic information on all roads other than country of municipal roads.

I. Volume of traffic

1. Number of vehicles per day

2. Number of vehicles per hour maximum (and time)

3. Number of vehicles per hour minimum (and time)

ii. Type of vehicles

1. Total volume of trucks

2. Total volume of cars

3. Total volume of Motorcycles

4. Then each per hour

c. An accident this occurred

2. National Government Level

a. Traffic information on major national roads

I. Volume of traffic (numbers only per day)

ii. Type of traffic

So the connected car sends information to the state but not to the top level. The top level would receive traffic information as part of proposals for national level money to improve specific roadways. They would however get data related to national roads or major thoroughfares. There would even be a layer below the regional government say large cities such as New York or Amsterdam would have a local department of transportation that would focus only on the roads of the municipality.

So the line is simple to draw but harder to implement. The first line would be the ownership and management of traffic cameras along the national level roads. The national level of the Department of Transportation (DOT) wouldn’t care about the visual information about traffic. They would care about volume of traffic and type of traffic on the road. But the fact that traffic slows down when it rains or increases when it is sunny, but the sun isn’t directly head of the road path (the road doesn’t have an East/West directionality).

So the data gets controlled as it passes up the system. Less data shared as it goes up with a consolidation of the information provided. That is the function of a Maginot line of data. Filter information so that we don’t flood any level of the system.

Giving us an interesting view of who gets information and why.


IoT futurist

Integration is the bane of the Internet of Things…

As a technologist I have broad interest. From the reality of Transactive Energy, Micro grids and how will power be produced to the ever evolving technology landscape of my various hobbies. My interests in gadgets range from personal communication gadgets to personal productivity gadgets. It’s because that my interests are so broad that I am an early sufferer of IoT integration issues.

Let’s start out with integration of car and drivers. Today I can press a single button in my car, connect to a service and the service will let me ask questions. If I need directions, they can send directions directly to the GPS of the car. That is great step one integration. Now, I can also add a device like the Automatic system that will also upload information about my driving to a site where I can then review and evaluate. That ability helps change my driving habits to be more safe. Other integrated systems that exist include predictive driving (once a route is entered, evaluate the route for traffic issues). Weather alerts also appear on the screen as weather is also a predictive process that impacts the driving experience. But the services work in the car. They work with the car acting as a sensor and sending data to me. Like, temperature in the car is now 100 degrees so as I am walking to the car go ahead and start the car, turning on the ac. That predictive integration isn’t there yet. I can do the remote start, but the automated process isn’t there yet.

I can do that predictive analysis in my house, but I cannot today control the furnace to the point where I am on evenings where the outside temperature is cooler than the house, turn off the AC and suck in enough outside air to keep the house cooler than the set summer temperature. The same is true when the heat is on. That balanced energy system doesn’t quite exist today. We are close but not quite to that integrated point.

The last day of the Rio Olympics was the day for the Gold Medal game in men’s basketball. I watched the US Women’s team dismantle their opponent in the Woman’s game on Saturday and wanted to see if the Men’s game would be close (the two teams had played once in the tournament a 3-point game won by the US with a 3-point shot in the air as time expired so nearly a tie). I ended up because of various things I was doing, watching the event on three different TV’s (I had recorded it). With the integration now of DVR functionality, I could resume the game on any TV in the house without having to start over. I can take TV and push it to any device connected via Wi-Fi in my house. I can rebroadcast TV anywhere my device is live or recorded. The integration is much better now, then it ever has been. There are a few things that could be better but overall the experience of television can be had anywhere.

There are many integration points of weakness now. The problem isn’t the many points of weakness the problem is that the size of the pool is greater than before. I talked about the concept of continuation over a year ago. Where one device knows about the other devices you use. Transferring calls form the car phone to the home audio system seamlessly. That is just one step in the broader integration pattern of IoT devices. Today we have devices that exist as physical objects. Eventually that one physical object may actually be two or three visual objects along with the physical. Sensors continue to get smaller and smaller. But the integration needs are what we should focus on for the next couple of years.

Today we have systems that using analytics reduce the clutter produced by IoT devices. By clutter I mean all the information (110 Zettabytes or more) produced by IoT devices that we don’t need. By don’t need it is information that isn’t going to impact the decision we have to make. Basically applying Boyd’s OODA Loop process, it is information that does not impact the orientation of the observer thus information we can discard. We however need a system to go back and see if in fact the orientation needs to be modified for the system evaluating the information presented to the observer. IE today video is monitored for new events. Eventually you will also want to monitor for patterns that are recently established but outside the new time boundary. New patterns would often be discarded as noise when in fact they may be a precursor to something else.

All of this integration built around sensors, data and devices. Where the goal is to produce information and quickly provide it to the observer in a manner the observer can consume quickly. The integration framework for IoT devices is critical for this to happen smoothly.

Otherwise you will spend a day reviewing yesterday’s video feed to find what happened this morning while you were reviewing yesterday’s security footage.


Boyd Fan, gadget freak

The sign post says The information age is just ahead. But the question is, just ahead of what?

Devices. I spend a lot of time looking at and considering the impact of and utilization of devices. Not because my job requires it, although it does, but because I am curious about the devices and connections around me. The Internet of Things (or Cyber Physical Systems) presents a great canvas on which to write a new story. From creating and challenging people to be more active (Fitbit, Smart Watches) to integrating the mundane tasks into automated execution packages. The world is changing to a digital version of itself.

I have, a number of times in fact, decried the arrival and then passage of the markers at the edge of the information age. We aren’t there yet. The information age will appear eventually, perhaps truly in my lifetime but there are things that still have to change. One of the big changes is the reality of the way things are cultures. Cultures built around knowledge retention not knowledge sharing. In the bronze age of human history, the presence of bronze and access to bronze increased the ability of all humans of that item to hunt more effectively, farm more productively and increase human population because of the tools they could make with bronze. The information age when it does finally decide to come out of its shell and make an appearance will be the free and open movement of information between, among and to people.

From a pure technology perspective, the technology is there. We could now build the infrastructure of the information age with what we have. There are still too many nooks and crannies in the overall Internet for pure information absorption but the technology is there. The data, like a small child yelled at for opening the cookie jar, sneaking into the kitchen to get the cookies without making noise. Yes, the information is there, but it is still locked. It is still controlled by the few.

It is more than a FOIA issue. (Freedom of Information Act). The amount of data that is classified and withdraw from consumption is small overall. We are talking about information that isn’t classified but is kept under lock and key. The information age will be the free distribution and sharing of information. Not the presentation of information in a locked (and therefore unusable) PDF file. Or information doled out like Halloween Candy. “I am sorry but I recognize your costume. I already gave you candy.” One piece of information shared, once consumed you back for another only to be told that well you’ve been there before.

I come not to praise information. I come not to speak volumes of the wonders that information provides. I come instead to bury the talk of the information age being here. Information at your fingertips, yea verify it is possible. But the free content only provides advertising for the paid content that has the information you need.

Information is not an infomercial waiting to collect credit cards and upon swiping the card give you the one nugget you need. Information is haring pictures of your family with the world. Sharing stories and pieces of the past so that others can find it, by simply opening their eyes.

The information age is when that is possible. That I open my eyes and there is what I need. Not a locked PDF file that I cannot change. Or a brain storming session led by the master of the parking lot. Where all ideas not coming from the leader of the meeting are placed in the parking lot. A place, the parking lot, where ideas go to die.

The information verily is the time in human history when you can walk down the streets of Prague and without speaking a word understand what is said around you. Universal translation, universal understanding and the ability to see the information you need clearly.

I asked the magic 8 ball of destiny if the information age had arrived. The answer was “seems cloudy.” I shook the ball perhaps the decahedron of answers was stuck and it came back with the answer “no” So I asked a third time, seeking the answer I was seeking but it came back “hell no” the third time. So I put down the eight ball of Destiney and wandered away.


Wither tis nobler in the minds of people to share, or not to share that is the question.

Pre-Meeting ritual, turn off watch, turn off phone, turn off computer. Why? There is no off button for the Internet of Things.

The conversation had just begun. In earnest, a discussion of what was possible. We were sitting in my office to have the conversation. The problem was all the noise. We couldn’t hear each other. I guess it is hard to have a conversation with many other conversations going on at the same time.

“Alexa Stop.” Was the first thing I said cutting out the music. The room was still a babbling brook of noise. Each stream of conversation wrapping around our conversation and drowning it out with the noise.

“I am putting my phone on vibrate.” I said reducing the noise a little more. The constant chirp of announcements now gone from the room. But still it was more ambient noise than a conversation enjoys. So once more into the breech.

I pressed the off button for all notifications. The easy button of IoT. The one button that rules them all and well in this case in the silence binds them.

Between two applications on Sunday August 22, 2016 I got 123 notifications. Just two applications on my device that I am connected to that aren’t even IoT driven services. True that it was the last day of a 31st Olympiad so ESPN was churning out a larger than usual number of notifications. Facebook was bouncing around a lot as well but it wasn’t the number two talker. The number two talker on my device on Sunday was my weather station. An IoT device that was pumping out NWS warnings and changes in forecast at a rate of almost 4 every half hour.

One of the things that IoT will generate is the concept of information overload. Information overload has two distinct reasons for being problematic. Information you need to have and information that impacts what you are doing directly.

How we filter information is an interesting problem. As discussed on this blog and many others the IoT universe generates much more data today than is consumed. Probably factors more than 3 or 4 times as much data is produced as is consumed.

That said, the number of IoT devices in the world is set to triple. The filtering system for users has to get better as more and more devices appear. Otherwise we will end up with a meeting that is drowned out by notifications.

We need to off button to the Internet of Things.

I’ve talked before about building a notification system with the many Screen as a Service device that are soon to be, or on the market the market now. That simple filtering process will allow the user to manage the notification noise better.

The devices I’ve talked about in that SCRaaS space include:

· Smart Watch (such as pebble)

· Laptop screen/keyboard for your smart phone (such as Nexdock)

· Managed additional cellphone screen (such as Popslate)

The three are either shipping now, or soon. The smart watch allows you to publish specific notifications to it. The advantage is you can dismiss the ones you don’t need quickly. Popslate allows you to publish more details information on the second screen of your cell phone (that PopSlate adds) and finally the concept of a laptop type replacement allows you to interact with larger data presentations via an external screen for your cell phone. All of these then allow to increase your interaction with the notifications’ without the notifications drowning you out. You manage and control what gets to you and where it is displayed.

That would just be the start. Having a single application, you can then use to manage the SCRaaS process and define what is placed on which screen is the next step. A notification manager that would become your best friend. THE OFF BUTTON! Yes, having a single application managing all the notifications would create the off button. You could even automate the off button by having it read your calendar to see if you are busy.

The Internet of Things, eventually will become the Internet of things that are smart. Not, by putting smart in the marketing name. But by actually presenting the user with smart options!


BaaS (blogger as a Service)