Essay 1: Changes in the computer market…

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Over the next few weeks I am writing a few essays on the things I see as potential changes in the computing market over the next 12-18 months. This is the first of those…

The next big market change in computing. Today, telestrator programs cost between 2 and 5 thousand dollars. Why? I suspect because like most software markets they are very specialized and don’t sell many copies today.

But tomorrow? I wonder. The reality of home computing is fairly amazing right now. Things that once cost thousands of dollars no longer cost thousands of dollars. SSD drives cost a fraction of what they cost just five years ago. Internet access costs a small fraction of what it used to cost for 10 and more times the bandwidth.

Software to edit and republish live television is something many people will start pushing for in the home market. As camera’s get better and more ubiquitous the software that people use to build and edit home videos will get cheaper. It has been an artificial market for many years in the areas of prosumer (professional grade consumer products) in the video market. I suspect over the next 6 to 8 months that will begin to change.

I suspect that because today they are artificial prices. Higher than they need to be by rights. Sure there are a number of free and low cost products that get you close to what a telestrator can do today. Camtasia allows you to focus on a specific section of the video and allows you to add additional drawings. Its reasonably priced (compared to the other competitors in that market) but doesn’t have all the features of functions of a full telestrator.

As that market of potential users grows I suspect you will find the overall price of the solutions will drop (you don’t have to recover R&D costs with every sale – you spread them over 1000 sales which reduces the overall footprint and cost of R&D). So, which of the professional grade programs are going to take a swing at the consumer market? Sometimes being first is all you need.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow!

Voice Recognition–not yet…

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Voice recognition – I’ve been waiting for a long time (and yes, I’ve used Dragon – its good, but not great). Certainly the product has improved in the past five years I’ve used it, as has Omnipage (for OCR conversion) but processors on PC’s have grown significantly better while the improvements in these programs. Between handwriting recognition (which by the way is even worse), voice and scanned page I’ve been expecting a big explosion in features and functionality now for nearly 10 years.

Again, not to knock the programs because frankly they are much better now than they were, but somehow I’ve been expecting more. The reality has to do with the human voice and in particular the slight variations all human beings have in how they pronounce words. The scanning and optical character resolution (OCR) capabilities aren’t growing as fast because the number of paper documents you interact with is declining. But voice recognition is a growing area. Try telling your car where to go if you have voice enabled GPS. Sure, it looks cool in the commercials, but it is something to rely on in an emergency.

Its not like we can go into every school in the world and teach people the same 84 words to make it easier on voice recognition programs. We need to have a way to harness the power of the voice. You can train dragon and yes it does it get better over time. You can use a higher quality audio input device (that also helps) but in the end the technology is still to slow.

So, I guess I keep waiting.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Random IT thoughts…

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There is a line in the movie Skyfall that intrigued me. The former MI agent loosely translated you can do more damage with a computer. It does seem to be the case now, that you can impact the world around you a lot more with a computer now. Virtually the world is very small, packets of information can circumnavigate the globe in the time it takes one person to upload them to Youtube. The more personal one on one style often used by Bond in the movies in the end is less effective – you can only impact one or two people at a time.

It also showed the arrogance of people in IT a little. It was the mistake made by the IT team that releases the virus. Arrogance is a failure to be aware of what may happen if you aren’t as good as you think you are.

Humans fail, it is part of the reality we live in every day. The what and how of our failure determines our next steps in every situation. Luckily in the movie, the person in question who fails is able to redeem himself.  That is of course typical in the movies. That isn’t always the case in the real world.

Time to head back to resting. I can now sit up for 2 hours at a time without getting dizzy, but right about 2.5 hours I still get a little dizzy.

Rest is the only cure.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

mobile security

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There is a concept around of mobile device security being a limiting factor. The reality? I suspect (I don’t have any data that backs this it is MHO) that most device thefts in the mobile space today are to resell the device not the information. Of course the other side of that is that most people don’t have mission critical data on their mobile device that would be worth more than the device today.

I have long argued that getting information out that is correct and effective (quickly) is critical path core functionality of a KM system. Questions that take time to answer cost money. So there is a value proposition in having information on mobile devices. There is of course the greater risk (the smaller the device the easier it is to steal that device).

So in effect I guess there is a security limitation around mobility today.

What I wonder is could there be a solution that moved the overall security problems to the backburner. A two factor solution that would force the device security to improve by focusing on the connection between any one user and a specific device. A what you know and a what you have connection (fingerprint or retina scan possibly) combined with a random passcode (yeah frustrating but if it allows security to move forward worth it).

Would that be possible? It could be automated like an RSA token built into the phone that was only active when the users fingerprint was connected or time based scans were enabled.

Just an odd thought…

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

ER Technology–very cool

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The ER experience.

Having recently spent 3+ hours in an ER as a patient (and about 2 years ago 3 hours as a parent with a child going to the ER) I have to say things are really quite impressive. The use of and application of technology to solve the health problems presented to the ER team is very nice.

Things that once took paper forms and time, now are doe via computer and with significantly reduced time. I sat in the ER waiting room for about 23 minutes. That was pretty impressive because at that point 23 minutes felt like a lifetime to me.

The efficiency has also extended to the processes and procedures they use to eliminate the problems and begin to make you feel better is quite impressive. I felt much more at ease and comfortable within 30 minutes. (in fairness a huge amount of that comfort was Barb reading a book to me).

I was never asked (until being released) to sign anything via paper. All of my vitals were taken and instantly entered into the computer system. The nurse taking my blood pressure the second time had all the information from all my tests readily available for her to consult.

The experience was end to end quite impressive. I only wish it didn’t ruin my families vacation.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

there are days…

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Today has been a tough day starting my blog. It happens sometimes, the screens staring blankly at you without anything to say. The monitor stares blankly at me. The cursor blinks over and over as if that is something I can react to. Look the flashing cursor has ideas in it, you simply have to reach out and grab between the flashes.

They aren’t there, those promised ideas. I’ve tried. So I spend 20 minutes meditating trying to come up with an idea. There are no ideas.

I guess you just have days like that.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Why is it so hard to ask for help

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Why are some technical people unable to ask for help or acknowledge that other people helped them get to where they are? It it something that bothers me. I would not be the person I am without a number of people that influenced me from an early age. I am however sometimes afraid to ask for help.

It puzzles me, to realize that I suffer from that weakness. It is so stereotypical (men don’t ask for help, men don’t ask for directions). That I worry about it.

If we think about the concept of asking for help there isn’t much risk in that process. You reach out and someone chooses to help you or not to help you. It isn’t rocket science. It is simply an opportunity for both parties to be successful (win win as we love to say).

Yet there are times I struggle with it. The acknowledgement piece is relatively easy – you simply have to admit that no matter how good you are in reality you aren’t able to do it alone. There is always someone else helping you get to where you are. But asking for that help is another story.

I have no answers today, simply questions. Why is it so hard for some IT people (and for that matter any person) to ask for help?

Why do some people struggle with giving others credit?

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.