Personal Cloud Redux…
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You cannot fall if you do not climb.

Yesterday I delved into the area of haircut software. Basically software you buy knowing that the minute you walk out the door of the store you have to patch it to make it do the things on the box.

Today I would like to delve into the world of personal clouds. I spent a lot of time in my book “The Syncverse” talking about what the reality of a personal cloud could be. A personal productivity platform that made things easier for people to interact with the “real” and the “digital world.”

The problem we have today is that the personal cloud is wholly focused on storage. I’ve dived into a number of the components, my favorite remains the Gostacked system. It didn’t get funded on Kickstarter but I am hoping they are continuing down that path. the problem with storage is search. the problem is search is processing. Truly the personal cloud is a combination of things I carry (what I might need right now) and things I can get to (managed or remote cloud storage).

Logic says there is an easy fix here. Simply store the data you need in a logically retrievable fashion. The problem with that is the time required. So we are back to search. In the concept of the Myverse (part of the Syncverse) I talked a lot about intelligent synchronization. We talk about what I need right now, what I may need, and what in the past I have enjoyed having available. The problem is that all three of these requires a fairly complex set of mathematical algorithms to implement.

  • The amount of storage I have available locally.
  • The amount of data I move around in a typical day.
  • The type and format of that data.
  • The size of the screen of the device I am using.
  • The speed and capacity of the processor I am using right now.
  • The security nature of the data.
  • The length of time that particular data is relevant to my “today” tasks.
  • How am I connected, right now. What is my connection pattern over the past 30 to 60 days.

Balancing all of this on a mobile processor with a program that would not overwhelm the processor is hard. Pushing it to a cloud based engine is easy, but then connectivity is the issue.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

(The Syncverse is available on Amazon, simply follow the link above in my blog links)

Streaming haircuts a look to the future…
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Is the age of haircut software over?

You get a haircut (ok you get all of them cut). Once you pay (it at least has the courtesy to wait that long) your hair starts to grow. The length of time between barber (or stylist if you have more hair than I do) determines not only how much you get cut but how often you have to do.

Modern software is so much like that haircut its scary. By the way the longer you go between updates (haircuts) the more updates (hair) you have to cut (or in the case of updates install).

The first part of the metaphor that bothers me? The length between the release of the haircut (software) and the number of updates you have to install later to make it usable.

An update to software should do one of three things:

  • Fix a security problem
  • add, improve or augment existing services of the software
  • Fix a bug or performance issues

Now we could argue that the second one is the only update and the other two are patches – which is fine by the model. Either way there is a large number of “updates” to install post haircut release.

That is what kills me and of course the metaphor. There is no shave 2.0 or haircut You get haircut 1. Yes, we can argue that the metaphor can be extended by showing the change and improvement overtime with the tools barbers use. But the reality is, depending on when you get your haircut in the time process, the experience is the same. For the initial user of new software the experience is much different than the later user.

It used to drive me nuts when people would say “I don’t install 1.0 software,” but I am beginning to understand that. 1.1 and 1.2 are much better versions of the software and incorporate many of the patches that will drive you nuts with 1.0.

Back to my metaphor then. With your haircut complete you leave the barber or stylists shop and head on your merry way. You know that you will be back because frankly your hair is going to grow again and again.

What is your barber was able to provide streaming haircuts? You would never know that your hair was cut, it would just always look the same. I wonder what that experience would be like?

Is the age of haircut software nearing its end?


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Simple, easy and always on…
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What is missing?

Organizations well, internal organizations ask themselves that question all the time. Why? It’s the great divide. No one cares what you did for me, or what you are doing for me. Those things have already happened. I want to know what you are going to do for me.

Why again?

Part of it is the cultural reality of now. When I started in computers we were comfortable with a 3 to 5 minute boot time (turn it on, go it coffee, be social, come back, get to work). People don’t like that anymore. Moore’s law destroyed patience. The reality of processors doubling in capacity every 18 months was that in fact computers got faster. You could do more and more with your computer so waiting for it went out the window.

In my IT career I’ve believed in the message of two different iconic innovators. I was a long time Macintosh user (from 1984 until 1992) and believed in the message of Steve Jobs and Woz. Creativity and innovation were critical to me. That is why I moved into the Microsoft world and frankly began listening to Bill Gates.

Bill has published a number of iconic books, and there are a number of interesting things Job’s published as well. For a long time you couldn’t really “follow” the inclinations of both as they were seemingly extreme polar opposites.

I wonder now if in fact they were. Let’s for a moment dive into my past and look at three time periods and the messaging I was uttering to those around me…

2003 Message:

“Apple is all about style, not substance. Microsoft is about substance”

1993 Message:

“Apple is about innovation and creativity, Microsoft is all about machining and mass production.”

To completely discredit myself I have to say in 1995 I was an Apple product champion for a reseller in Cincinnati Ohio (in 1993 I ran an Apple Computer Users group called “The Society of Dead Teachers.”) In 2003 I worked for Microsoft.

In 2013 I am beginning to realize that the message the two men were really both striving for was simplicity. They had different views of what simple was in terms of how we got there, but they were both looking to have simple answers to hard questions.

So yes I want my computer to be on when I want it to be on. In fact I would like to leave it in hibernate mode and be able to instantly use it all the time. But I also want a battery that lasts 8 hours and frankly a simple, stylistic and colorful enabling environment as well.

After 30 years I have reached the middle.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

On the path to understanding…
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The path to understanding.

It is a path paved with small paving stones that lock together into a unified path that can be easily missed. You have to concentrate as you walk to see the path that lies beneath your feet one moment and then beyond your grasp the next.

Each stone represents a different view. For understanding is not seeing things one way, it is in fact seeing things from many ways. Some fall aside after the first stone their journey to understanding incomplete, but they do not care. They seek the lesser truth of information rather than the greater truth of knowledge.

Some step two or three pavers into the path. But they to fall away, sometimes because the truth is painful and not something anyone in the end wishes to hear. Sometimes because the concentration to stay on the path consumes all the energy they have and they fall to the side exhausted.

Each of us is consumed by this path. We based on time and place will fall somewhere along the path no one can completely understand everything around them.

The path becomes a dream for some, they tend to fall off the first paver over and over again unable to progress. Unable to see beyond the universal truth they perceive. Others struggle and strive to move along the path in the end finding small meanings within each paver that change how they perceive the world they are in. Others make it far down the path and look upon the rest of us and try valiantly to help us reach where they are. We call them masters and they are grand to behold.

One foot in front of the other. On the path to understanding.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Interesting future…
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The concept of the Kinect system built by Microsoft is pretty intriguing. When you pair that with the Leap system or the NUIA system it becomes every more interesting.

Imagine for a second, a 3d space around your computer. With Kinect and NUIA you can use your eyes to control the computer. With Leap you can use the rest of you. That means in theory you could actually work on three separate computers at the same time. I wonder what that will do to the already fading human attention span.

That of course would also call into play the cube concept a bit. You wouldn’t be able to have a small cube, because the interaction with the computer would be limited, unless you could decrease the solution intensity so that it only focused on a space around two feet or so from your monitor.

Still, the future shows a wonderful promise. Neither of these solutions will be perfect day one. 1.0 solutions are always a little flakey, and when you go way beyond what has been before the number of bugs will be greater. Most of the bugs of course are in changing the behavior of the human’s using the solution.

Of course, if you mix my personal favorite screen as a service concept with this newer computer interface interaction what’s next? Imagine a Cisco Telepresence experience as part of a side by side home gaming experience. (some of that is coming with the new XboxOne). Imagine truly being able to combine physical and intellectual/verbal interaction and video into a single gaming, computing or for that matter meeting experience.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Ego is a boundary, what is self?
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Is self a concept or a restriction? the outlines of what we consider to be ourselves remains the outlines of both our connections and our retractions from the world.

Ego is of course a component of self, although I wonder sometimes if ego is more attached to self delusion rather than self as a concept. In the case of Ego it is more a restriction than a concept.

What in the end is the boundary of self? Does self extend from the outward edges of our humanity inward? Or does it leverage our actions to spread outward based on what we do?

Can we, in the end measure self as the furthest reaches of our finger tips or the end to end of the vehicle we are driving? Or is self the inward piece of us?

It is I suspect a billion dollar industry by now, the concept of self help. Let me tell you what is wrong with you. Seriously. I know how to fix you.

I have a friend who used to teach a class and every once in awhile he would replace the word I with Self. People would look at him because he was “speaking incorrectly” they would begin to formulate arguments against his Self…in the end however they listened. He didn’t do it often and he never did it for a long time, but it worked when he did.

Self wonders about self sometimes. Where are the confines in which the self lives? What is the size of the ballpark. If you hit self down the line straight away right field just inside the foul pole, what’s a long fly out and what’s a home run?

They talk about selfless acts. But can we truly ever be selfless? There is value for self in everything self does. Sure pulling a person from a  burning building is heroic. But for it to be selfless you would have to hold your breathe the entire time as well, because you took care of yourself during the rescue.

The last paragraph is a joke FYI.

I argue the meanings of words because if you don’t agree with the people in the room on the meanings of the words you are using, in the end you aren’t communicating. Words have means for a purpose.

Self likes that words have meanings.

(Selfless, self effacing etc.) The interesting self words are intriguing but in the end I come back to my original question. Ego is always a restriction to self, but is self itself a boundary or a concept?


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Connections and connectivity redux
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A ramble yesterday around my theory that while processors have slowed down in the past 3 years, the rate of connections doubles every 18 months.

If you think about connections there are many more things today and the number is growing, as is the type of connection. Devices that previously were silent can now send information to any device you so choose.

  • Weather Stations
  • Refrigerators and freezers
  • Cars
  • Thermostats and security systems

The world of connections continues to double as well as the available connectivity. if you believe the TV commercials of the large wireless companies between 50 and 60% of the US is within range a percentage of the day of their LTE networks. That number continues to grow. The bandwidth you can get at home (connectivity) continues to drop in price and grow. Although as a dear friend points out it is far more expensive in the US for corporate and home bandwidth.

Eventually of course we are going to run into an IP v4 problem that will force the full (and rapid) adoption of IP v6. The reality of that problem has been talked about in far more technical blogs than this, suffice it to say IP v4 only has a limited number of total available address combinations (somewhere in the range of 255 raised to the 4th power or 4,228,250,625 total IP addresses and figure roughly +/-5% of the total devices have more than one IP address and that number is growing not shrinking. A number of people only use dynamic addresses so in fact if the device isn’t on the Internet for awhile the lease expires and goes back into the pool. Every ISDN, Cable, DSL and Fiber connection has one IP address consumed every day for the router itself. You can see that number shrinks very quickly). Its less in the end than a device per person throughout the entire world.

In 1992 I had four devices that had Internet facing Ipv4 addresses. Per my theory that in the past 6 years that connectivity has doubled 3 times would mean that I now have 32 devices in my house with unique IP addresses. 3 iPads, 5 cellular phones, 2 Samsung televisions, PlayStation, Xbox, Wii and roughly 8 computers in the house means we have 32 IP addresses connected today. In the end when you count all the connections (we have devices not listed connecting as well) we have 54 IP addresses assigned to devices in our house.

We are nearly ready for the next doubling that will be occurring in the next 18 months now (or 64 devices).


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

To reflect…
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Happy Wesak day.

The path to personal growth lies in reflection. This however should not be mistaken for wallowing. Wallowing is where you take a negative view of the events around you attempting to shape the impact as negative, which in the end it in fact becomes.

To improve we must look inward.

Its hard sometimes to do that however. The world around us pushes into the world within us. People, noise and even the very air we breathe intrudes into the inner world.


So you take a moment, sit quietly and breathe. In breathing you begin to examine not just the air around you but the quality of the air in your lungs, the world begins to fade from view and you can see within.

The journey cannot begin with punishment. We can always look back over the edges and corners of our life and punish ourselves as much for what we did not do as what we did. There cannot be retribution with self inspection. We did what was done.

So we continue to breathe, to let out all the things that were and look at them, picking each up and examining it in the light of acceptance. Place each thing carefully on a shelf in your memory, not tightly but loosely. Couple them with other memories and fragments to create a mosaic in your mind. The things that were good. The things you remembered.

Let your breathe flow outward from you, slowly filling the room with all the things you remember and cherish. Don’t punish yourself for the times you tripped or fell. Breathe and allow the good to fill you with silence.

It is good to reflect upon who and what we are.

Happy Wesak day!


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Connectivity will continue to double every 18 months…
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So yesterday I was listening to a partner talk about technology and I realized that in fact the person had hit on a fantastic concept. The linear progression of technological improvement continued to increase exponentially.

Scott’s law “Connectivity will continue to double every 18 months…” The Internet of things is here.

We were once bound by Moore’s law, the doubling of processing power every three years. That law ruled the computer landscape for most of the past 30 years. The speed of the increase has begun to slow, but the reality of what that increase means continues to grow exponentially.

Speech. What once was is no longer. You can now dictate into your computer microphone and in short order train your computer to be a highly effective voice dictation system. You can use a pen sized scanner to capture an entire page and convert that back into text.

Its fairly easy to capture HD video and have it on your computer to edit and share. You can also capture HD video of someone actually working on their computer, make that into a video and share. But the advancement that intrigues me the most right now is the broad concept of the “Internet of Things.”

Interconnection seems like a simple thing, but in the end it is not. I wrote an article in the NASPA journal now more than 20 years ago stating that the Internet would take off when home bandwidth got to the useable level.  That in the end was true. Bandwidth = growth for the Internet because people began to thrive on what they could get online. The birth of LinkedIn and Facebook can be linked to the fact that now suddenly you could be connected, all the time.

The Internet of connected things is the new growth area. Bite sized functional applications are changing the way we consume information. The information we consume is growing but the focus of that information is increasing.

In part the reality of the growth is the expansion and improvement of searching capabilities. Microsoft has been doing the Bing Challenge lately (TV Commercial). Its an interesting commercial but it is asking the wrong question. I use both Google and Bing. why? Because each is good at a specific search and when those are the searches I am doing I don’t want bad results. Google has an awesome store and engine when trying to solve technical problems (including by the way a better index of Microsoft TechNet than well Microsoft has). Bing is awesome for finding out about things you are interested in purchasing.

The expansion and growth of this overall concept “the Internet of things” will continue to drive the overall change in the market around us. Where once it was the doubling of processor capability now it is the doubling of connectivity. Eventually connectivity will reach its plateau but I suspect by then there will be another technology that continues the upward growth.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

What’s next…
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I get asked frequently what I think the future holds. The long term future is easy, I fall back to the science fiction writings of my young adult years. Flying cars, personal communication systems, holograph phones are all coming, just not today. The mathematics of a flying road system in this country as astounding, it would require a very large computerized system or caps on how high the cars could rise off the ground. Although in places like DC you could cure traffic problems by simply stack 8 or 9 roads on top of each other. Going all the way downtown, you ride along at 200 feet off the ground. If yours is the next stop then you are 2 feet off the ground.

The things that are coming, tomorrow are the hard things. For example a few years ago I thought tablets were simply going to be extensions of the desktop, replicating the software and environment you had in the office on the go. In the end, the concept of bite sized mobile applications changed the environment. I don’t need a desktop replica, I need an extension of the things I need to do, but smaller.

For example when I look into the near term I am amazed that this particular Kickstarter project even stumbled slightly. The gostacked system gives iPhone users the ability to change out their extended cards as they go (Solar, battery, 64 gig HD). It is the one Kickstarter project I’ve backed this spring that I thought would be a hit, that in the end isn’t. They have 3 days left towards their goal and frankly even stretching, they are a long way away.

I suspect my short term crystal ball is broken. By the way, for those of you who are non-iPhone users, back the project anyway. The technology can be transferred to any mobile platform, it just takes a little rejiggering.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow