Syncverse Essays (2)

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1. The quest for the Dulcinea of devices

The quest of Quixote was the beauty of fair Dulcinea. He sought that beauty in quest after quest with this faithful companion. I was a faithful device companion!

Over the years I have bounced from device to device. Mostly for functionality and sometimes for cool factor but the largest goal has always been reduce the number of devices I have, while still covering the overall goals I have for the gadgets.

I’ve blogged about this concept a number of times. What is the perfect device. Many years ago I considered a variety of devices as being essential.

· One that support remote connections (RDP) back to my larger more powerful computer

· One that support media in a variety of formats with enough space that I didn’t ever have to trim my collection

· One that accepted and converted media on the fly

Based on this (and other lists I’ve published over the years) I have been refining my requirements. The device has to have a good screen and the ability to connect to other media services (inputs like recording video on the fly from broadcast TV, TV out and so on). Additionally the device has to be light enough to carry and use while walking.

The device needs to be able to support an application library and support applications running on it. That means it has to have a reasonable screen and resolution.

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Syncverse Essays Continued

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A Collection of Essays in support of the Syncverse:

This last section of the book comes straight from my blog and addresses some of my key points and relevant arguments for the Syncverse that I posted there.

1. The Great Data Ride

In November 2010 I upgraded my cellular device to the new Windows Phone 7, the one thing that I was most excited about was that I got my phone and then was heading off to India to conduct some training. Normally a week overseas with a mobile device is a scary prospect. Data charges can be as high at 15 dollars per MB. What that means is that with a smart phone and 10-15 megabytes of mail every single day, means the least charge you would have is 150 dollars per day or more. That doesn’t count surfing the web or using any of the other features (translators etc.) that make your life easier but consume data like race horses chew up the track. So the coolest new feature of Windows Phone 7, it shuts off your data connection when you are roaming. It runs antithetical to the goals of the Syncverse but it does keep more money in my pocket.

I mentioned early on in this book that the Syncverse fails if in fact there is no support for sharing and moving data on various devices around the world cheaply and effectively. It becomes a vicious cycle at some point. You are paying data charges to cover the cost of various data lines laid by phone companies more than 30 years ago in some cases. Or, the cost of launching a satellite into space so that they can beam a microwave off of it and provide you with data on your device.

The thing is it can’t really be that expensive. The economics just don’t work. If it costs 10,000,000 or even 100,000,000 dollars to launch a satellite into space it still doesn’t make any sense.

1. The amount of data flowing across the network

2. 1 billion cellular devices in the world

3. Somewhere between 50 cents and a dollar average per person in monthly data fees

4. That gives phone companies some amount of money in excess of the 100,000,000 they spend to put that satellite into space

5. The cost of supporting the phones and people using them (routers etc.) are normally baked into your actual phone contract and not your data charges

The reality is, and it is quite sad, it probably doesn’t cost them $15 to move any single megabyte of data. In fact it probably costs them less than a penny. Data does not have a weight or physical mass that requires physical devices to actually move it (shipping, airlines etc.). So the real proposition here is what does the data really cost?

· Data transfer cost ($1 per transaction)

· Line Maintenance Cost ($100 per hour)

· Transient data storage costs ($2 per hour)

· Operations Cost ($40 per hour)

· Facilities Cost ($80 per hour

· Customer Service and Support costs ($20 per hour)

Looking at these six cost factors it is still hard to consider this a $15 a megabyte issue. Assuming a cost of each of the above per hour would figure a net hourly cost of between $220 and $250 for the total operation of the system. Assuming that you have to maintain a large number of these facilities (say 100000 or more per phone company) you can see the costs climbing pretty quickly to around 220,000 to 250, 000 thousand dollars per hour.

Which really isn’t the cost that is being passed to you (that would be closer to 1.2 to 1.3[1] trillion dollars per hour assuming 1,000,000 @ $15 per megabyte per user worldwide) based on the average user requiring 10 megabytes per actual connection.

This assumption of cost versus income is of course somewhat false as I created a number of the numbers myself. Many of the estimated costs for the telecommunications company are probably low and I suspect there are glitches in my formula that would increase the overall cost of the solution for the telecommunications company. What I am pretty sure is that in fact it would not create a need or cost basis that was anywhere near the income.

So why is that?

· Not many people using roaming data when out of their home country today

· No one has screamed yet.

The first thing is the easiest it is time to scream. Telecoms are making a large amount of money doing something (moving data) that would benefit everyone. Getting more people to use the system would require a reduction in the overall cost of the solution. So we start with screaming and when the price is a little lower we add the concept of more users, greater overall volume to drive the price down even further.


[1] 1,000,000 users x 10 megabytes of data per user *150 (10*15) =

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Syncverse Essays, number 1

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For the next few days (weeks pending my whim’s direction) I will be posting a series of Syncverse Essays. This is the first in that series

The Great Data Ride

In November 2010 I upgraded my cellular device to the new Windows Phone 7, the one thing that I was most excited about was that I got my phone and then was heading off to India to conduct some training. Normally a week overseas with a mobile device is a scary prospect. Data charges can be as high at 15 dollars per MB. What that means is that with a smart phone and 10-15 megabytes of mail every single day, means the least charge you would have is 150 dollars per day or more. That doesn’t count surfing the web or using any of the other features (translators etc.) that make your life easier but consume data like race horses chew up the track.

I mentioned early on in this book that the Syncverse fails if in fact there is no support for sharing and moving data on various devices around the world cheaply and effectively. It becomes a vicious cycle at some point. You are paying data charges to cover the cost of various data lines laid by phone companies more than 30 years ago in some cases. Or, the cost of launching a satellite into space so that they can beam a microwave off of it and provide you with data on your device.

The thing is it can’t really be that expensive. The economics just don’t work. If it costs 10,000,000 or even 100,000,000 dollars to launch a satellite into space it still doesn’t make any sense.

1. The amount of data flowing across the network

2. 1 billion cellular devices in the world

3. Somewhere between 50 cents and a dollar average per person in monthly data fees

4. That gives phone companies some amount of money in excess of the 100,000,000 they spend to put that satellite into space

5. The cost of supporting the phones and people using them (routers etc.) are normally baked into your actual phone contract and not your data charges

The reality is, and it is quite sad, it probably doesn’t cost them $15 to move any single megabyte of data. In fact it probably costs them less than a penny. Data does not have a weight or physical mass that requires physical devices to actually move it (shipping, airlines etc.). So the real proposition here is buried profit.

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More closing thoughts on the Syncverse

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From thought, to dream (with stops along the way for vision)

As stated in the book a number of times, I have been thinking about this idea for a long time. It began for me in 1975 when my father presented me with a circular slide rule. It wasn’t a slide rule only, it had the periodic table of the elements and many other things that came with it. One device that I used all the way through college, and quite simply was the most effective tool I ever had. It had a ruler, periodic table and the circular slide rule. It had a pull out section that includes many useful instructions including how you were to convert from regular slide rule to circular.

From there I had a dream, a single briefcase that included a functional programmable calculator, the slide rule and a telephone. That of course was replaced by my first Pocket PC device and from there it is simply gone well, the opposite of what I would have predicted.

In the early 1970’s Steve Job pronounced the computer a “personal productivity” device. It has become that and more. Ten years ago when I got on an airplane few people if any were carrying the gadgets I carried. Now, the person next to me may have more gadgets than I do. It’s not that I have changed my habits and reduced my love of gadgets; it’s just that the rest of the world has caught up. Personal productivity has been pushed aside, being replaced by simply personal.

Then came the cloud and everything started to change again. Initially the cloud thinking I did produced the book Transitional Services. Then I started thinking about how to apply the changes to a problem that was beginning to be larger for other people as well as myself. How do you keep your devices in sync without having to constantly change, convert or alter the files you are trying to sync. It becomes both a quest (I want my data) and a long pondered thinking process. The problem becomes time, as over time you find various devices that you want to use . You end up with a number of devices each doing things very well and worse, each selling you items that you can use but only on that device. It was the dream of Java many years ago that we would be able to write applications once, and run them everywhere. The reality is instead we end up with a visible plant that seems to be compatible with all the other solutions we have and probably is. The problem is the root system that “device” has built. Everything you buy for specific devices from online or vendor stores are locked to that device often. The DRM capabilities of software are wonderful and provide a great amount of security. That security however forces portability to be sacrificed. You become locked into one platform or device for those things you’ve bought.

So we end up with as Jim Wilt once said “A 40 pound bulb root” that you can never really get rid of. I read a story in the newspaper once about a police officer in New Jersey who planted bamboo in his backyard. It cost him thousands of dollars to remove the Bamboo from his yard because the roots become interconnected. That interconnection makes it nearly impossible to remove and that is the metaphor that fits the various devices we use and leverage.

That first device we purchase is something we cherish. The software we use to connect to that device asks us to modify everything so that new device can see and touch everything we own. And most likely the first device we do this.

But over time we begin to realize that we have set roots into the soil that we will not be able to pull out, or for that matter a weed we will not be able to kill.

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Along the way to the Syncverse

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https://docandersen.wordpress.com

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B004C15NNW (my amazon author’s page)

From thought, to dream (with stops along the way for vision)

As stated in the book a number of times, I have been thinking about this idea for a long time. It began for me in 1975 when my father presented me with a circular slide rule. It wasn’t a slide rule only, it had the periodic table of the elements and many other things that came with it. One device that I used all the way through college, and quite simply was the most effective tool I ever had. It had a ruler, periodic table and the circular slide rule. It had a pull out section that includes many useful instructions including how you were to convert from regular slide rule to circular.

From there I had a dream, a single briefcase that included a functional programmable calculator, the slide rule and a telephone. That of course was replaced by my first Pocket PC device and from there it is simply gone well, the opposite of what I would have predicted.

In the early 1970’s Steve Job pronounced the computer a “personal productivity” device. It has become that and more. Ten years ago when I got on an airplane few people if any were carrying the gadgets I carried. Now, the person next to me may have more gadgets than I do. It’s not that I have changed my habits and reduced my love of gadgets; it’s just that the rest of the world has caught up. Personal productivity has been pushed aside, being replaced by simply personal.

Then came the cloud and everything started to change again. Initially the cloud thinking I did produced the book Transitional Services. Then I started thinking about how to apply the changes to a problem that was beginning to be larger for other people as well as myself. How do you keep your devices in sync without giving up everything.

 

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Bringing it all together (the syncverse of the syncverse)

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Bringing it all together

This book is filled with design ideas, business ideas and solutions to various problems that I have observed over my technology and teaching careers. You almost need a Syncverse for the book itself. The overall goal of this book was to present a specific problem (device synchronization) but it quickly expanded into a solution to a number of other problems.

Syncverse Mottos

· Your data, safely and securely under your control

· Your data, your way, no problem[1]

· Data isn’t as data does[2]

The Syncverse in 2015

After 3 years of successful operation the Syncverse today announced that it would expand into the hardware world as they build the world’s first Syncpad,. These “pads” will be installed in the users home, car and office. They will synchronize themselves with the most current information from both the external Syncverse but also from each other. The user will carry a small device, about the size of a miniature cellular phone from 2010 that will allow for voice access and interaction with the Syncpads. The pre-orders based on this announcement will set a new device record at the current rate, even more devices pre-ordered than Windows Phone 9. The Healthverse should come online with limited capacity starting in 2016 and will be fully completed by 2020. Havenverse has already helped more than 100,000 people who were suffering from abuse or other forms of terror.

How was this accomplished?

· The Syncverse was developed as a series of independent modules, but each module was based on the concept of data flexibility.

· Core processes were transferred from the Myverse to the other solutions as requested by the user

· As needed groups of people formed spontaneously to build and share open ware rules and processes to improve the Syncverse for all

How was it built?

· Leveraging commercial and open source software to provide a structured balance to the solution the Syncverse was built using Windows Azure and a number of open platform solutions.

· In all cases the only available option was to build a solution that allowed the data to flow within the system and between devices without issues of translation or processing requirements on the device being used

Like any deployed solution as we look at the Syncverse in 2015 there are a number of changes that are expected to improve both the overall solution and the usability of existing features. The roadmap for the Syncverse and how it will change will be available soon in the Syncverse master library. There are however 5 things that are coming online this year that will be very exciting for our users:

1. The complete library of congress including all books and lists

2. The initial scan of the religious libraries for the majority of major world religions

3. The news Sportsverse will offer expanded fantasy play while continuing to support the existing Sportstatsverse that has been offering information to sports fans since the beginning of the Syncverse.

4. The news science and history systems will be available as part of the Eduverse. This includes the continuing adult education area as well.

5. Personal Trainers are now available in the Syncverse. You simply take your mobile phone with you when you work out, and the data will be uploaded to your new personal trainer. They can evaluate what you are doing, offer suggestions and help you reach your goals!


[1] Apologies to Burger King

[2] Apologies to Forest Gump

 

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Myverse Design Considerations revised (v2)

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Myverse Design Considerations

· Security

· Security

· (oh yeah) security

· Structured data for easy use regardless of device

· Edits from one platform flow to the next without reentry

· Device independence

· Information independence

As this your personal information the security requirements are greater than they would be for a company. Companies have security structures and processes that allow them to react quickly to a security issue or breach. A person doesn’t always have that capability. The first three design requirements have to be a strong and secure process for storing, and managing your information in the Myverse.

· My information is “not freely available”

· I determine/decide who/what is allowed access to my information in my “Myverse”

· I can easily lock people out of “Myverse”

The second piece of the Myverse is the concept of structured data that is device independent. Device independence is both a UE and UI issue. User Experience (or UE) is engaged in the sense that the overall user experience has to be similar from device to device with greater automation being available to lesser devices. In this scenario lesser has to do with screen size rather than capacity of the device. This of course conflicts slightly with the broader concept of device independence but we will cover that in a moment.

One thing that is critical is keeping the edits moving from one platform to another. If someone takes the time to edit a document on a cellular device and the system loses those changes it just isn’t doing a good job. Preserving the edits users make regardless of editing platform is critical.

Device Independence actually refers both to the broad concept of data fitting the device you are using but it also fits the even wider concept of allowing the data to existing in devices that traditionally don’t have feedback systems (televisions, game systems etc.).

Finally the last design requirement in this initial list is information independence. This has an interesting concept attached to it, the relevance, value and positioning of information. The first part of this process is the relevance of any specific information. If you are seeking information about an earthquake, valid source and least oldest information is preferred over oldest and least valid source. In that scenario your device may connect to your Syncverse store first rather than checking your local store. The same might be true for contractual information from your company (newest iteration of the data would be best in that scenario). Reference data about things you are interested in however can be oldest data, validated source so you wouldn’t need to update that information as often, Shakespeare has been dead for a number of years so updating the day of his death probably isn’t required as often.

All of these initial components are important to the Myverse end of the Syncverse. They provide you with a platform, editing process and information validation system that will allow you to function with less information, but more relevant and timely information.

Myverse Design Requirements

· Data security (see security section)

· Identity security (see security section)

· Data cache of my relevant data

· Data cache (short term) of data deemed relevant to me based on the rules system

There are considerable risks with the Syncverse proposal (mostly located in the Myverse area) involving the storage and release of personal information. There are a number of solutions that could/can be considered for this data and are addressed more specifically in the next section on security requirements.

How you store and interact with the data in the Myverse is very important. The cache has a series of layers:

· Quick access

· Long term storage

· Short term storage

· Transient storage

If we express this as a three dimensional equation where quick access represents the x access and long term storage represents the y axis we begin to see the process of moving data into your Myverse.

Figure 31: Myverse data considerations

The reality of transient data is that it will either disappear or move to short term storage. Short term storage would trend towards long term access with less “quick access.” Quick access would allow data to be grabbed quickly with long term access fading the quick access but providing the data remains in the Myverse store.

This is the same process that will be applied within the Syncverse itself. Watching for data that has a quick access requirement but has a transient nature (won’t be relevant within 10-20 days) is different than data that will have an ongoing relevance but won’t have a quick access requirement other than with the initial usage.

For the Syncverse there will be a process that allows for the movement of data (most likely much faster than in the Myverse) where the data you require quickly will always move from the Syncverse quick hit cache to your Myverse Transient cache. The application of rules for that specific data will support or remove that data going forward in your Myverse as the figure above demonstrates. It will be the application of the Myverse rules to the Syncverse data that will move some of that data to the Transient and Short Term caches. Data deemed no longer necessary will move within the Syncverse’ s system to near line or other forms of limited access storage.

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