Designing around cell phone failures…

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I have blogged before about the great cloud concept of design for failure. (not design to fail which is always a bad idea). In this concept you make sure you build alternate solutions that can solve breakdowns as they occur.

The cellular telephone network is designed for failure. It may not feel like it when your call gets dropped but in fact it is. The cellular phone itself however is not designed for failure. It fails when the network connection is lost. Perhaps there is a better way to maintain that connection – ie – we lost the network signal captain, we will keep retrying to automatically connect. Or, if you lose a connection to a conference call go ahead and re-establish the connection to that call after prompting the user (should I reconnect?)

Here we are considering the two end points of the solution (cellular network and cellular phone). There isn’t a lot of room in the cellular phone to add additional antennas (can you imagine people wearing hats that doubled as cellular towers? They would be pointy haired bosses the rest of their lives.)

You could probably create an interception program that grabbed your cell dialer and entered all information into a cache (of course, that isn’t fraught with HUGE security concerns). The other option is to head down the RSA path and create a secure Bluetooth token that would work as a secured cache only with proximity. You could even set the device to forget everything once it was out of range of your phone and start remembering once the Bluetooth connection with the phone was validated. You would need a greater security string than the four characters supported by Bluetooth today (perhaps 8 or more) but it would be possible.

Then you have another device to carry, but in the end it would be a great solution that wouldn’t violate security principles too much. That said it would have to be Bluetooth 4, low power consumption and be able to run 3-4 days or more on a single charge. It would have to fit on a keychain and couldn’t setoff airport security.

Sounds like a Kickstarter project to me.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Lowest cost technically acceptable creating what?

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The business case against lowest cost technically acceptable (LCTA). If, considering the short term business need the cost is acceptable why shouldn’t the organization accept the LCTA?

I’ve asked myself that question a number of times. In the end I have to ask the question what is the goal of transformation? If you are looking to move to a new solution and you head down the LCTA path what are the potential business risks?

  1. The solution is obsolete before it is deployed
  2. The solution doesn’t function like other solutions in the space that are more widely used.
  3. Lowest cost gives the vendor no room for add on or features resulting in a flurry of change orders.
  4. it doesn’t create a partnership where the vendor (partner) and the customer work together to solve complex problems.
  5. LCTA doesn’t work in all cases.

The biggest risk I see with LCTA is tomorrow. You certainly can survive the reduced budget using LCTA but tomorrow’s cost almost certainly increases because of the LCTA model.

The concept of pushing cost to tomorrow isn’t effective for a number of reasons. The primary being of course that when tomorrow gets there you are forced to leverage the LCTA model, because you can’t afford the upgrade cost.

The second is the lag in technology created by leveraging LCTA. You in the end force your organization to become a catchup player. That means you lose out on people who may join your organization because frankly they can’t use the older technologies you have.

Finally and perhaps most critical is the reality of tomorrow. Gartner published an IT maturity model many years ago that had four distinct components. LCTA is a function of the lowest end of the model, the basic organization. Moving from basic to dynamic can be expensive, but being a basic organization for ten years in the end will cost more than the transition.

Thanks for reading!

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Still not deep enough for diving, but…

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Podcasting technology has come a long way in the past 5 or so years. I haven’t gotten to the video podcast stuff very often, but its actually quite easy to do.

The thing about podcasts and blogs is consistency. To build an audience you have to post often. Of course, if you only have one or two messages, they are useful but in the end they should be posted on the Internet not added to a blog.

Blogs and podcasts are intriguing changes to the world of writing and sharing information. I predicted in my book “The Syncverse” that YouTube would have an explosion of how to video’s. It has. I find myself going to YouTube often to find out how to do something specific. Two summers ago we had an awesome intern who actually went out and compiled a lot of great cloud training, from YouTube.

Once I wrote (back in 2005) that the Internet is an ocean of information but don’t dive in head first because well, you can never tell how deep it really is. It is still that way, but the depth on consistent basis is improving. Google, Microsoft, Amazon, IBM and others are releasing more and more information into the universe for free. It is slowly increasing the depth of information and the validity of sources on the Internet.

(hashtag #headfirst)

There will be a time coming soon when that isn’t the case. When it will be safe to jump into the Internet’s data pool head first, anywhere. That time is sooner than we think.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Your gesture was ignored because, well its just rude.

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Yesterday I talked about my thesis that motion was the new touch. I got a great email from a “long time reader first time caller” from an old friend of mine from Cincinnati Ohio (and frankly a huge Bob & Tom fan also).

His concern was actually the same as mine. He said “motion is restricted as much by space as it is by ability to move per the applications expectations.” I agree with that assessment and have mentioned that to a couple of the motion vendors I’ve talked to.

Extending that concept beyond the simple, motion will create issues in airplane, bus and train scenarios. In a car other than the back seat gestures aren’t the best control option. But neither is touch. You can use voice control in your car but that has drawbacks as well. You can’t use voice control on an airplane or train. The people next to you will wonder who you are barking orders to. They may all suddenly open, close or launch something.

But I was specific in saying it’s the new touch. Touch computing hasn’t completely launched yet. There are devices that continue to get better but its still a year or so away from perfection.

Gesture based computing is probably two or possibly three years away. The concept here is that eventually devices will offer a mix of motion, touch and voice control.

For now it is fun to play with the various motion controllers that are available. As they improve so will my finger painting and game playing. I wonder however, in the future when motion improves how will motion controllers handle rude gestures?

“Previous gesture ignored due to nature of gesture.”

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Motion is the new touch

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Contrary to the email sent to me this week by a friend I am not a futurist. I do however like to think about what is next in the world of computing for a variety of reasons. Not the least of which is staying ahead of what’s next.

My premise: Motion will replace touch or will extend touch beyond the boundary of the machine.

Right now I am and have been playing with a number of motion devices. The Leap controller is the first one I’ve looked at the rest are in process on Kickstarter.

Motion is the new touch. As touch was as recently as two years ago, motion is the new touch. The difference being (and I’ve had this conversation with a couple of the project teams above) is that motion requires more space.

Leap is a great system (as is the incredibly useful Kinect) for the broad concept of motion but both require significant space. The second project uses a device you carry in your hands to create the 3d space, it requires less space overall but you lose the use of your hands to a degree.

I’ve played with some of the new Windows 8 touch devices (sorry MS friends, the iPad is still a better touch interface – Win8 is a great improvement but it isn’t there yet.) I’ve used the iPad as a word device for the past two years. In all cases touch is good, but has it limits.

A couple of the projects above actually also include iPhone or iPad capabilities. I have to say it is interesting to see how this unfolds.

Motion will replace touch. Touch is bound to the edges of the device. A stylus is also bound to the edges of the device. Motion sensors can open up the infinite.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

The smartest person in the room, drinks for free.

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Three geeks walked into a bar. The first a man who had made millions of dollars selling his software ideas. The second a man who had made billions of dollars selling his software company. The last, the wealthiest of all the woman that had bought the companies and the software.

The first man said “A round of beers for the house. I am feeling generous.”

The second man said “A round of your finest scotch for everyone in the house.”

The woman sat at the bar quietly enjoying her two drinks. Finally the bartender came up to her and said.

“You are the wealthiest person by far of the three of you. I’ve seen your picture in Fortune magazine. Why aren’t you buying a round.”

The woman looked at the bartender and smiled “I am in fact the wealthiest of the three of us. How do you think I got rich in the first place, I drink for free.” with that she smiled.

The bartender smiled as well.

A wise person told me once that the smartest person in the room isn’t in the center of the spotlight. They aren’t the ones making the huge gestures or trying to prove how smart they are. They simply wait in the corner for everyone else to seek glory.

You see the smartest person in this story drinks for free.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Routers, lies and video streams…

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I’ve been watching the recent commercials about in home Internet and I find it quite interesting. One company talks about the consistent bandwidth experience in your home, the other talks about the consistent experience from your home to the Internet and beyond to Cloud solutions.

Over the years I have talked about this (recently I blogged again that the total available bandwidth at some point won’t be enough for the required bandwidth for users to consume the solutions) concept a lot. Today however I am considering the concept of in-home versus Internet experience.

First off, throwing numbers on a screen isn’t relevant. Show me four devices in a house streaming Netflix video and we can talk. We get three going and the fourth doesn’t have great connections. That is of course two more than we could do before so its kind of cool. Show me someone downloading 7.03 for their iPad while another person is watching Netflix and you have something.

The reality of what you are doing at home is that you have n-1 total connectivity. There is some level of baseline (since you probably use DHCP from the provider’s servers and DNS from the provider as well) that you maintain. Let’s say that runs between 1 and 3% of your total capacity. The reality is that if you are fast to the router but slow to the Internet you will experience lag. If you are slow to the router but fast to the Internet you will experience lag.

If, however your router has a high speed rating, but as each device is added it slows down, then you will have an even greater lag. A router takes information from one network (home) and translates it to another (Internet provider). If they have for example a total capacity of 10, then devices each get a percentage of the overall total. If on the other hand they support 10 connects at 10 each it’s a totally different model. The first router may have a higher overall speed rating, but in the end be much slower if you have more than one device connected. Eventually everything in our houses will connect to the Internet. Go with model two, and ask about model two when talking to providers.

I wonder, as my last thought when the concepts of bandwidth will allow for the various solutions to bid for your business. That would be intriguing.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow