Input, output and Kickstarter
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The concept of inputs is interesting to me both from a what can be input but also from the broader concept of what information you can capture and share.

Here are two very interesting Kickstarter projects that I things are quite interesting input devices.

The concept is creating a night vision add on for the iPhone. It presents an extremely interesting market area – the addition of capabilities to the iPhone that extend it into more and more intriguing areas (same for the Android phones).

This next project is a file sharing system that ends today (11/30/2013) around 4 pm EST. If you are interested in this one they are 1500 dollars from their goal.

It opens the world up to your phone in terms of being able to connect to and share with anyone. Personally if I were looking from a DropBox or Box perspective I would snatch this project up and incorporate it into their products.

Inputs are interesting because they are in the end game changers. What you can consume on the device you are using creates a solution. How you use that solution then makes you either more successful or you stop doing it.

Truly in the end its why I love Kickstarter and Indiegogo. It is a chance to see if in the end there isn’t a better way to input data than the method you are using now.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Motion is the next touch. Virtual reality is the new paradigm…
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I’ve argued a few times on this blog that motion is the new touch. I’ve played with the leap controller for the past several weeks (and the Kinect both for Xbox and XBOXOne). During that time I’ve come to embrace motion as a controller for what I am doing.

Motion, as I have mentioned to a couple of the teams running Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects does have a limitation. Traveling with a motion controller is fine, but using it on a bus, train or airplane requires some reworking of the overall control surface. there are a couple of interesting KS and IG projects that are considering what the user’s space should be.

(imagine a future scene)

People walking around the streets waving their arms, gesturing and invading your personal space to send an email to Aunt Emma and Mary-Lou their cousin. Where their personal screen switches to available surfaces constantly and invades your personal visual space as well.

It could happen.

(turn off imaging system for future scene)

The perfection of motion computing, like touch computing will move us a step closer. You see today watches and other technologies that are pushing not only motion but also the very concept of wearable computing to the next tier. Vuzix and Google have wearable eyeglasses shipping (someday) that may become game changers as well.

Projectable 3d images are probably the next leap. Interact with a 3d image projected from your watch or phone directly in your path. it could be as simple as a keyboard and mouse projected (you can get those today) or as complex as a voice conversation with another person. It extends your personal space about 3 feet around you in a circle, and of course you would have to question the social construct of such a system.

(imagine a future scene)

Sorry, I can’t talk to you right now. I am interacting with my 3d friends. Perhaps we could speak later today (said to a living breathing real person).

(turn off imaging for future scene)

It, as they say, could happen.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

In search of the ghost simplicity
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Complexity and the saga of reduction.

To reduce. Make smaller. If I had a voice like Tevia from Fiddler on the Roof I would sing “Reduction – if I could reduce things, make them smaller and less complex to use. All day long I reduce complexity if I were a reduction man.” (sung to the tune of if I were a rich man).

It is important first to consider why you wish to remove complexity and reduce something to a more elemental process. Why you are seeking less complexity is critical.

In the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance the protagonist is seeking Phaedrus. The perfection of quality. Quality is a form of reduced complexity. It is an essence of what is possible rather than a preponderance of what you cannot do because well it is frankly far to complex to complete as outlined.

Complexity makes things more than they should be.

But I seek reduced complexity. Not on a motorcycle churning through Minnesota and heading out to the Columbia river across the Western US. Rather sitting at my desk look at the compute environment around me thinking – this is to much.

Experts define computing as on-premise and cloud today. They define management of the solution as either ISO, ITIL or Cobit. They define the development processes as SDLC – adding that you must secure the solution from beginning to end.

From all of this sprang Google Play and the iTunes App store. Simple. Easy. Clean. Both are easily assessed regardless of device and both are easy to use.

Like the ghost of Phaedrus the protagonist chases in Zen and the art of Motorcycle maintenance complexity is a ghost. It has no substance of value. it simply exists. It plagues us. Generating a need for things like regression testing. Why? Because it is hard to move from one solution to the other.

The dream of portability today, is still a dream.

The dream of simple is well still a dream.

But in the words of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn you can take away everything except what is in my mind. I dream of simplicity. A solution concept that simply works.

I seek that ghost simplicity knowing that he or she is just beyond my grasp I strive ever to reach the branch it is sitting on. Always one move on the chessboard away.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Do…the right thing
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I am writing a new “Architect’s Should” blog for IASA if you are following those. This one is around the concept of doing the right thing, even when that is the hard thing.

I’ve argued that for a long time, that it is often harder to do the right thing than it is to just do something. We as human beings are usually wrapped around the concept of the right thing which at times leaves us vulnerable to missing the mark.

Many years ago I took a class about working with people – the key message (there were many key messages but this particular one has stuck with me) “do the right things and the money will follow.”

Not that the money was the critical driver, rather doing the right things was more important than chasing money first. This of course leads to the question, what are the right things.

  • Be honest
  • Listen more than you talk
  • Connect with people
  • Remember to acknowledge the reality others are in
  • Be responsible – when you make a mistake be the first one to own it and move forward from there.

The right things aren’t a single one time act. They are in fact a series of things you have to do over time. You can’t suddenly put on your right things hat and be effective. You have to do the right thing, every time.

Those first two kill a lot of people I know. The third one is the most critical in many cases though. If you don’t know where someone is, you can’t hear what they are saying. If you don’t acknowledge where they are, you can’t connect with them. If you are dishonest or dominate the conversation in the end you will miss the signs.

The last one is painful for everyone. No one wants to accept the blame. But in the end, it is all about doing the right thing. Not, about chasing after a perceived value.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Utility computing expanded…
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I have an application idea that is bouncing around in my head right now. I started thinking about this application a few years ago as a concept for a customer but the customer went a smaller direction and I shelved the application.

I have resurfaced it again in thinking about some of the overall concepts of change in the technology world in the past two years. The concept of your laptop as no longer the be all end all but rather as a base-station. It expands on my often alluded to concept of the screen as a service rather than as a screen. It extends the life of the laptop concept a few more years although in the end I suspect even the laptop will go the way of the dinosaur focusing more on the functionality in the new PS4 and the XboxOne. With that centralized function provided by that box and the remainder of the overall solutions provided by existing cloud solutions.

This brings me in a long kind of detailed ramble to the concept that I am working through today. The concept of utility computing where the computing resources not only are paid by the use but also that the actual computing power is in fact a utility. This changes the consumption paradigm and also the required computing as well as the overall design of the computing reality.

Cloud computing as defined by NIST and implemented by a number of organizations has the concept of elastic. A concept likened to a rubber band stretching and returning. What isn’t real today is the concept of elastic utility. Where I start an application on my phone, throw it to my console and then to the cloud if additional processing power is required. That reality of elastic computing is the future.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Can you hear me…
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Do you listen? There is an old adage that you have two ears and one mouth so you should listen twice as much as you talk. I often sit in meetings and watch people to see if that old adage holds true. I’ve published 100+ blogs talking about various communication models.

People spend far too much time talking.

Which is in the end fine, if they have something to say. But listening means you hear what other people are saying. You don’t sea gull (fly in and drop stuff then fly off) either.

It is an interesting problem in the end, this broad concept of listening.

For example listening to your children or for that matter any children. Young people strive to be heard. It is a huge frustration for them that they are often not heard. But if you listen to children or better yet ask them positioning questions you will find that there is a lot of process in learning. You build your knowledge set over time by adding the pieces in and seeing how they work together. It makes for a very interesting discussion, when you talk to children about how things work.

Do you listen?


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow?

Identify, me…
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Proof that you are you.

Question, what are the forms of accepted identification that you can use to get a passport.

Drivers License, Birth Certificate

Did you know many states actually change your license when you turn 21 (I found that out this week when my daughter turned 21 and got a new license).

The only reason for that preamble is the reality of identification. It worries me because the primary form of personal identification used in this country is a picture. you can get a fake id with your picture and a different identity. You can’t release your social security number and use it, once out you can easily lose your identify.

We need to move towards a more unique way to identity people than using a picture. Plus honestly I don’t really like many pictures taken of me.

What are the options?

  • Fingerprints
  • Retina scans
  • Aura?

The first two are possible although when you watch minority report you see why (retina replacement surgery) and gloves with latex copies of someone else’s finger prints to scam the readers.

Your aura has a unique signature but reading that would require different equipment than we have. There has to be a better way…


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

All the hype = what?
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I have been watching the TV commercials of the Internet companies (ISP’s) lately and wondering. First off do they really think a flashy TV add will change our perceptions?

  • The fastest in home wireless.
  • The fastest upload and download speeds

Wi-Fi is a spectrum. It is by the way the same spectrum based on the wi-fi designation (n/g etc). It is for all intents and purposes a layer in your house. Most routers don’t go to far beyond your house, why? because your neighbor most likely has one as well and frankly there isn’t a lot of collision protection built into the routers you get.

Now if you are a company you will have high end routers that can handle a much higher load but the reality of most routers is that they can only handle X load. Where x=the number of devices that can connect and interact with applications.

Your Internet connection be it cable, DLS, ISDN or Fiber also has a limit. For the most part you are limited by the maximum upload and download speeds and the total available capability for uploading and downloading. Few houses exceed the upload bandwidth but on a Friday night with four boxes running connections to Netflix you can easily exceed your download capacity.

So they play on your innocence in the space. Fastest in home wi-fi doesn’t mean anything if you don’t also have the fastest inbound and outbound connection. Fastest inbound and outbound connections don’t matter if you are in the end limited by the bandwidth available and device capacity in your house.

It’s a balancing act. Like many organizations that measure their bandwidth and manage it carefully you need to do the same in your house. In fact let’s talk about who is eating your bandwidth today:

  • Cell phones that have wi-fi consume a connection how many cell phones in your house?
  • Wireless or wired cable/satellite boxes consume a connection to your router and consume bandwidth.
  • Tablets consume bandwidth
  • Computers consume bandwidth
  • Game CONSOLEs consume bandwidth

You get the idea. The connected living room and the connected lifestyle of today consumes bandwidth. How much is left is up to you to manage.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Someone, is watching you!
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The CBS drama “Person of Interest” starts off with an interesting line. “You are being watched.” The Manning and Snowden affairs have left people wondering what is being watched and by whom.

Sensors are everywhere.

But you know what video sensors aren’t the problem.

If it were simply video sensors watching us then frankly we could all wear hats and trench coats, hunched down so that our faces were only in the shadows.

Of course, it isn’t just that. Recently there was a news article talking about a father who looked up the Google map of his neighborhood and saw the dead body of his son, the picture presented in street view was 3 years old. You see there are camera’s watching you all the time.

Still isn’t the problem. The camera’s that are watching you and recording you are in the hands of your friends. They are on Instagram, YouTube and a thousand other social sites. Without a doubt they are everywhere and watching us.

That paradigm shift is interesting. People decry the Federal Government or foreign governments spying on their citizens. You could with some time really and if you think about it, it makes sense, justify governments watching people. In this age of terrorism and devices that can kill thousands you want someone paying attention to the risk profile.

It’s the ones you can’t control that aren’t watching you for your own good, it’s the ones watching you for their entertainment that you in the end should be worried about.

Someone is watching you – and they aren’t asking permission.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

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I frequently talk about communications patterns I’ve identified over the years (there are quite a few in my book Transitional Services).  I have identified anti-patterns that destroy meetings, patterns that make for great team builders and anti-patterns that are well, extremely bad for team morale.

Communication is an interesting problem. There is an old adage that there are three rules to kicking off a project.

  • Rule 1 Communicate
  • Rule 2 Communicate
  • Rule 3 when in doubt, refer to rule 1

But there are also barriers created around communication that effectively render good solid patterns ineffective. It’s the politician’s mantra – smile, wave and always shake the hand of the people you work with. The name while supposed to be a slang word really does describe this communication process “glad handing.”

Good news delivered with a smile they sometimes call it. It is however more important to glad hand when delivering bad news or news that may be perceived as bad. The reality of the three rules of communication is quite simple, don’t assume everyone is happy with the status quo or the changes coming. Assume, in the end. that they are in fact unhappy and glad hand accordingly.

Change is hard for people. Leaders who make sure the change is communicated about in the end are much more effective. Perhaps the three rules of communication should become the four rules and should include the Communicate, Glad Hand, Communicate and now the new fourth rule when in doubt refer to rule 1 and 2.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow