The best part of traveling is coming home. So why not cut out the first part ;-)

I ended my blog streak of more than 300 straight days yesterday. It was a travel day and in the end I just ran out of time.

Ended up spending a ½ day in Chicago. Staying in a hotel that was probably booked the rest of the week for the NFL draft. I rode up in the elevator with a young man invited by the NFL to the draft. At best I felt old and really really small. Very nice young man – I wished him a first round selection!

Prior to 2011 I posted more than 1 million miles on United. Since 2011 I have flown 1-2 times per year. It’s amazing how much your status slips and how far down in the queue you end up in just four years. I guess in the end that is the end game though. I was over traveling by the end of 2010.

Still I did feel a pang of jealousy watching the people in group 1. Not that the people in group 2 weren’t as wonderful. It’s just that I used to be the person sipping orange juice while everyone else struggled to get on the plane. It is not as fun when you are struggling watching the sippers.

Of course then I got home and I remembered why I don’t travel as much anymore. There is something to be said about being home.

Perhaps I should create my own queue and put the various airlines in group 2. I wonder how they would feel then, standing in a queue knowing they wouldn’t get orange juice.

At the end of April last year I made a horrible mistake. I shouldn’t have made the decision I made but in the end I did. It is in the end still costing me. I can only say that in the end vindictive organizations end up with people disliking them. Sad but it’s all I have for that now.

I won’t make that kind of mistake again.

It’s funny in the end. I haven’t been in Chicago in more than 5 years. The last time I was in Chicago I was flying through O’Hare. The streets are the same now as they were then. Times change but Chicago doesn’t change. It is the same place now that it was. I was born near Chicago (Evanston) and it remains one of my favorite cities on earth. I rate it right above London and just below Amsterdam and Bangkok. Although I rate the two ahead of it for different reasons that you would suspect. My rating is based on the kindness of people and how comfortable I feel in the city. Of the top three the only one I never lived in for more than 6 months was Amsterdam.

Scott’s Favorite Cities (in order)

  1. Bangkok
  2. Amsterdam
  3. Chicago
  4. London
  5. Seattle
  6. Tokyo
  7. Sydney

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Great question–why do you write 2 blogs Scott?

I got a great question I haven’t gotten in awhile – why 2 blogs? (actually its many more than 2, but it is 2 daily blogs). In February 2005 I started a monthly blog back when the Live Blogs were still active (Live was sponsored by Microsoft). I was writing articles for MSDN and books for MS Press and wanted an Avenue to share some of my experiences. So I started blogging. I didn’t really start daily blogging until later in 2006.

I created my first blog series on my http://Scottoandersen.wordpress.com blog modeled after my favorite NPR show A Prairie Home Companion (An Architecture Home companion was a series of stories and podcasts about a town that didn’t have software architects at all). As I was rolling along in 2008 posting once and sometimes twice a day to my blog someone pointed out that I should separate my business/professional posts from my personal posts. I created my https://docandersen.wordpress.com blog in 2009. Initially I kept my serious blog at Scottoandersen. I used the new wordpress blog to point out the failings of a specific VOIP company in relation to my account and lack of customer services by that company.

In March 2009 I started writing communication blogs. My very first communication blog was about the concept of Ilackasourceism, It was on Wikipedia for about five minutes. As however, Wikipedia should have Ilackasourceism was taken off because there was no source for it. A fitting end to my first attempt to humorously remind people that not having a source can be dangerous.

It was in late 2009 that I came up with the split in my blogs. My original intent was to consolidate to one blog. But I had gotten into a routine with my personal blog and my professional blog so the consolidation never happened. The simple reality of two blogs is that I never finished the initial plan to consolidate to one blog and just kept going. Beyond that I’ve added a number of other blogs that I write for over the years.

So while I explain the family history project here on my professional blog – there is some value in sharing the how of the project I post the history project on my personal blog. I started reviews here on this blog but moved them to my personal blog for the most part. I do occasionally post reviews on this blog still but for the most part they are on my personal blog.

I also developed my blog rules. I will not post names on my blogs unless two conditions are met:

  1. I have direct permission to do so in writing
  2. The company in question has provided exceptional customer service or horrible customer service

I also tend to write more generically on purpose to avoid any conflicts of interest or other risky conversations. In the end while the original issue was a failure to consolidate the reality is I like having two blogs now. This conversation can be had with one group of people. Meanwhile I can post images and stories from the Family History project on my other blog.

Makes things a little easier to manage in my head. Why two blogs? In the end past consolidation to keep things somewhat separate. This blog focused on more professional things. My other blog focused on my personal topics.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow)

5 technology trends that are peaking soon (at least I think they are)…

5 Trends I see peaking in the next 6 months. I often look ahead just to see what is coming, As much for personal curiosity as my job but elements in the end of both.

In the end the five trends I am currently watching that I think are on their upward path may end up not peaking in the time period. It is to a degree as much a market and people issue as it is a look ahead to see what is possible. The order these choices are in is not specific not the order I wrote them in.

  1. 3d pens – the market has grown radically in the past six months. Where once there were one-two 3d printing pens now there are 8 and the number is growing rapidly.
  2. Wireless speakers = I love my Sonos. Frankly having the speakers in virtually every room is a great addition to any house. Turn on the music you want where you are. The Amazon Echo and other’s are entering the market with many additional features. Bose and Samsung have wi-fi speakers as well. This market is going to explode soon.
  3. ROVs – you can get land based ROV’s now for less than 100 dollars. They offer the ability to transmit video back from where they are. If you don’t like crawling into the crawl space of your house this is the device you need. Water and Air ROV’s are also going to expand. The new hobby is unique video’s taken by ROV’s in places people don’t normally go.
  4. 3d cameras– these are going to explode.The market has had a setback – roughly 8 months of waiting makes it harder for the market to explode. But these cameras are coming and they will offer unique new expanded views of the world around us.
  5. Home Automation – frankly it has been around for 20 years now. Its been for hobbyists and people in the end trying to automate complex tasks in their home. But the systems are coming down in price and going up in functionality. The home of tomorrow will interact with your car to gage your mood, the outdoor temperature and when you hit the driveway. Your car connected to your home, no longer having to have a garage remote your car becomes the garage remote.

We can check back in 6 months on these – some may take as much as a year some may peak much sooner than that. The trends are already in place. The market is already building for these devices. The only questions will be which one hits first. Of course all of these solutions will be changed from now to their mass market. Mass market devices don’t have builders fingerprints on them. They are easy to install, operate and consume.

Of the five I think 3d cameras and 3d pens are the closest to ease of use expected for the mass market. Home automation is a close third and could very quickly pass the other two given a couple of breaks. As I said it is somewhat of a guessing game. You never know what people will find interesting.

Perhaps what we need for the ROV’s and 3d cameras is a YouTube contest from Google – the most bizarre safe videos. Using ROV’s get videos of places people don’t go. But safe because you are sending in an ROV not a human being!

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

IoT getting to the right information at the right item.

Personal note: For those of you requesting more Fred and Ed stories there is a new one on my podcast as of yesterday.

I’ve been thinking about connections for awhile now. In the IoT world connections can be physical, virtual or a combination of physical and virtual. The devices connected then provide functionality that you would have without the device.

In terms of portable measuring devices let’s think about what is out there for a minute:

  • Infrared camera you can connect to your cell phone and use
  • Geiger counter that connects to your phone
  • better microphones
  • better speakers
  • Breathalyzer
  • thermometer
  • UV radiation
  • Night vision camera
  • Drones (water, land and air)
  • your phone connected directly to a projector – big screen phone

All connect to your cellular phone and provide you with additional information. As I have said before the IoT is really the IoC. The connections and where the connections are made remains the critical piece of puzzle.

To be connected. It is the rallying cry of the IoT revolution. Don’t you want to know what the temperature is in your house right now? How about what the wind is doing in your yard or how your solar panels are preforming? It is in the end all about connections. Little bits of data flowing from sensors to you. Or if you choose HD video then big bits.

Streaming to your device. Then parsed and presented to you. Air transportation flattened the world. Made it easy to go from one place to another in a reasonable time period. Sensors flatten the world even further. Collecting an sharing data allowing people to interact with their world in ways we haven’t been able to.

The Internet of connections making the Internet of things possible. The only question left now – will we get an application that will act as a filter for all this flood of information. I coined the phrase the screen as a service for smart watches. What we need now is data as a service. Where the service is an interface, controller and in the end filter to get us the right information at the right time.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

What if I had stayed being a teacher?

My IT career began now more than 25 years ago. Before IT I was a school teacher. My transition was in moving to Cincinnati Ohio and starting a new life.

I do occasionally wonder what my career path would have been had I stayed a teacher. Would I have gone on to be an administrator? Could I have lasted 10 years? During an interview once a superintendent of schools said to me – you are not going to be a teacher n 10 years. In the end he was right.

But what if I had stayed? Would the Society of Dead Teachers have continued to grow? At one point there were 15000 people on the listserv all over the world.

I wonder sometimes what that path would have looked like. I would have taught more than 600 students by now. Opening doors of science and technology.

If only…

Instead I went another direction as that superintendent said all those years ago. I made it 7 years as a teacher. 3 short of ten years. Part of my desire to be a teacher was to be like my father. My father was an awesome teacher and I wanted to honor that family tradition and become one myself. My father’s oldest sister (Aunt Barbara) was also a college professor. My father’s youngest sister was also a school teacher (Aunt Patty). So the family was heavily steeped in education lore.

in the end I still wonder what may have been. I can honestly say that I never intended to be a teacher forever. I knew before I was told that I wouldn’t make it past 10 years. I had the skills but not the heart required to last longer than I did.

I guess in the end the value I got from being a teacher is the ability to quickly take a complex subject and make it real for other people. Connect with them in a language and format they understood. That is the job of a elementary school teacher. Take the complex and break it into consumable chunks.

So in the end I guess I still use the skills even if I wasn’t able to stay in education my entire career.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

The concept of IoT one way and two way communication…

There are a number of stayable devices and they produce two kinds of interaction. Some are built for a smart phone or tablet application to manage. Others produce a web interface that allows management from a PC or tablet/smart device.

Wearable devices also do this dual project but theirs is more connection to a smart device for two way interaction. They show a telephone number when your cellular devices gets a phone call. you can answer it or dismiss it right from the wearable screen.

Most IoT slayable devices are one way broadcast (weather stations, sensors, NEST devices). When you add a home automation system your home becomes a two way connection to the world. Two-way connections are interesting as much for the reality of the security issues they present as for the reality of the data they produce.

The reality of medical devices as IoT sensors opens up a number of interesting realities. Your doctor could see your vitals over the course of a day.  Blood pressure was up from 6:30 am to 7:45 am? what were  you doing? (oh yeah driving in the DC area). Your BP went down around 12:15? Oh yeah it’s the time our walking club starts walking. Stress relief obviously.

It would make the stop doing these things, start doing these things conversation much more effective. What are the ten ways to reduce stress while driving? 1. have a camera with a shutter connected to your driving wheel and at License plate level. Every time someone cuts you off don’t get mad just report them for aggressive driving. 2. listen to good radio entertainment while driving or listen to Audio books. And so on – there are a number of things to do.

Imagine a two way medical device you are sitting in a stressful meeting. Your BP goes up and your doctor announces over the speaker of your BP monitor. “You need to get away from what you are doing right now it is KILLING YOU.” Other than a few communication anti-patterns that would motivate most people to change the meeting format quickly.

As IoT expands more and more stayable devices will add two way connections. Some will simply be because they can have two way communication. Others will add significant value. For example a remote video feed from your house allows you to notify the person that broke into your house that 1 the police are on the way and that 2 they should just wait for the police as you already sent the police their picture.

Other two-way connections won’t be as interesting or valuable at first. But like the change that IM brought to the world of communication it will eventually tilt the boat. SMS, IM and applications like twitter, snap chat and other’s have changed the way people communicate. An open communication platform to your house will change the way your home operates.

All back to those little tiny things that connected to the Internet in the end create the mesh that is IoT. Happening around us even as we sit and read this blog.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Application Portfolio Management doesn’t have to be a huge cost…

I worry sometimes. People spend so much energy preparing to move to the cloud that they take their eye off the ball. Why move everything you have?

Cloud vendors and analysts say you can save 20% on average by moving to the cloud. It is in the end probably true but there are a lot of caveats to that 20%. In fact I can honestly say after years of visiting US Federal Agencies and US and International Commercial companies that I can save most companies 20% and not move to the cloud.

Simply by creating a rationalized managed portfolio. I built a process when I was at Microsoft for Lotus Domino customers. The goal was not only to figure out what Domino were deployed at the time but to build a portfolio.

People always say Application Portfolio Management is expensive to do. In the end it actually isn’t, it’s expensive not to do. The concept was simple take a look at the architectural view of the enterprise (perfect state what should be deployed) then let’s see what management tool is in place (LANDesk, SCCM etc.) and ask it to pull a listing of everything deployed on desktops and servers. Now we have a list of what is deployed. Map that to should be deployed and we immediately see that there is a lot more deployed than we thought.

You only need one tool + training for PDF creation. That can be said for a number of capabilities in your organization. The what of your portfolio in the end can be as telling as the how. So what capabilities really contribute to your business or mission overall?

In the end why not do these first two steps. Once you have them done and a good idea of the money you are wasting you can remove that cost from your business and deploy a APM solution. Doing this in a two-step fashion reduces the amount of money your organization has to lay out in the beginning of the project. In fact if you do it in this order you won’t increase your budget at all.

  1. Preform initial evaluation of what should be deployed. Based on what should be deployed (both architecturally and contractually) determine the what and how of your capabilities.
  2. Map that to the assessment of what you actually have deployed. The difference is what you can remove.
  3. Begin removing the extra and non-compliant software.
  4. Develop training and deploy training (at the same time as removing software) to reduce fear of change.

As I said that is for all intents and purposes what we developed back in 2005 and AAEP (the link is above). Simply put it actually isn’t expensive to build a portfolio of your applications.

In the end its pretty straight forward.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Technology has changed the world. It continues to change the world. But I am not Ozymandias…

There are devices that change your life. The GPS is such a device. Not that it changed only my life but actually changed the life of everyone around me. It used to be the only GPS we had in our car was my original portable GPS. Then it slowly migrated to the phones. HP released a Pocket PC Phone device with integrated GPS in the mid 2000 time frame. That was when I was able to stop carrying a portable GPS and only use my phone.

Those devices evolved to the in dash units we now have in every car we own. When you are going somewhere you haven’t been before, a GPS is a great tool. I remember getting off the planes when I was first traveling and using maps. Turn by turn directions from the airport but if you missed one turn you got lost. With the GPS as long as you were going to the right place you got there.

It is and remains a game changer. There are a number of things that have slowly modified how we operate. The laptop was a big change. The original laptops were large and bulks. Now they are small and easily used. Battery life used to be an hour sometimes two. People would go from meeting to meeting with their cords dangling behind them as they walked. Battery life has improved. Then the iPad came along and like the iPhone changed the entire market. Pocket PC Phones were the dominant smart device before the iPhone. There may be more Android phones out in the world now, but the iPhone is the device that changed cellular phones. The iPad changed tablets.

Along the way to changing tablet’s the iPad/IPhone/Android revolution in the end also changed portable GPS’s and portable music systems. You simply carried the one device to rule them all. Suddenly you could have the very best features of the very best portable devices as well as your entire music collection on a single device. In the end it was a game changer.

So do we stand now with our iPads or Android Tablet’s held defiantly in the air? Do we inscribe on the back of each of them “Look upon my tablet ye mighty and despair.” Nope we have learned from Ozymandias. We push onward. What began as an Internet revolution is slowly creeping further and further into our lives. The Internet of things (IoT). Where things can be intelligent or they can simply report what they know to your device. Sensors and management devices systems that have rules of engagement that we can consume. Video, temperature, air quality and traffic all leading us to knowing what is happening around us at all times.

In the end an evolved world. A path to knowing more eventually than any generation before us. My father loved books. He had thousands of them. In the end they had to reinforce the floor of his house because he had so many books. I love books as well. But I have one book. Its electronic and called a Kindle. I have thousands of books on it. I can reference, search and quickly find data in any of them. Additionally I have my Audible library on the device. One device that I carry with me that has the thousands of books my father loved. Plus if needed I can access the millions of books I am not carrying by simply searching the World Wide Web on my tablet. The world evolved away from bulky books towards eBooks. That evolution is not yet done. Many people still love the concept of paper. The funny thing is book lovers are now the outliers.

As child I was entranced by NASA and space. I looked to the heavens and I wondered what is that star. What is that shape in the sky. Now with a GPS enabled iPad and Star Walk, I look to the heavens and I know that is Polaris I am seeing. I snap a picture of a leaf without touching it to find out it is poison ivy and move on. I listen to the sounds of a bird in the tree as I walk and then identity that bird based only on the sound. The world is evolving around us.

In the end technology will change our world further. It will help us make it better for many more people by allowing us to give a child 1000 books. Not one single book, but a book of books. Thousands of books the universe at their fingertips. So they don’t wander around looking at the night sky wondering is that light in the sky Skylab or Venus. They will know what it is.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Intelligent sensors and in the end personal devices that are game changers…

The concept of intelligent devices is intriguing. Capable of completing a task and then based on the outcome of that particular task launching a second, third or even more actions. It is in the ned like the new programmable thermostats. If it gets above x turn on the air conditioner and cool the house. If it falls below y turn on the furnace and warm the house. If the outside temperature falls above y but below x, pump in fresh air rather than heated or cooled air. The last part is a future feature for furnaces and air conditions and doesn’t actually work now.

Intelligent thermostats makes your furnace a home IoT device. The same is true for connected security systems, home automation systems, fire protection systems and so on. Adding intelligence to the systems above makes for an interesting conversation. Now the question is of course if you don’t often set your thermostat (because it is automated) will you remember how to if you ever need to again?

(Note: wasn’t the rise of the intelligent machines how Skynet was created?)

The thing in the end about automation is that it should reduce effort. You should be able to automatically connect, collect and distribute based on intelligent devices. There shouldn’t be a lot of complexity other than the creation of security rules around the connections. There has to be something unique about humans that we can capture so that sensors are locked to a specific collection device and a specific reporting device. Like the long proposed FCC kill switch that automatically turns off any phone reported stolen. Really in the end kills the value of stealing someone’s phone other than for the information on the phone for the short time you can get at that information.

(Note: many CSP’s consider automation to be a web page, and then behind that page human beings delivering work. That isn’t automation).

My gut tells me that as the intelligence of sensors increases there will be some interesting outcomes. I track devices that are game changers. 3d cameras, VR systems and personal media devices are the ones I am following today. The first because it will change the reality of work. With a 3d camera on both ends you can have more interactive remote meetings. With VR there is huge potential for moving mesh video from simply a flat to a multi-dimensional view of the feed. The last being the personal media device that encompasses both interaction, intelligence and a connection to what you need a connection for. The long awaited video telephone of the Jetsons. Today none of the technologies I am watching are directly related to IoT. They will be in their 2nd or 3rd generation but for now they would not be IoT focused devices. VR will consume IoT data initially and will with the upcoming Hololens and other products become an IoT production system. The personal devices are the ones that I think eventually will change everything.

A device that can interact with you. Based simply on how you shut the door on the way into the house play music for you. Project your schedule on the ceiling as you wake up in the morning. Answer the phone for you in the house and display for you the caller ID including pictures, names and locations. A personal call screening device. Able to project multiple video images including VR and 3d. Portable, flexible and able to move on its own.

The first generation of these devices is hitting the ground this year. The next generation of these devices is still in the minds of the innovators. But they are coming. I believe they are the game changer.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Blowing past ITaaS to arrive at ITaaV!

IT as a service. It’s the next big thing. Or is it? Is in fact IT already a service just not one that is recognized at times? As a long time service to IT in many businesses I have come to realize that IT is already a service. It already builds and delivers solutions that are consumed by the business.

Is it however an actual service based offering? Consultants are rental experts. Skills that are expensive to maintain on your team that can be a shared resource. Its why consulting exploded in the mid-70’s and beyond.

The dictionary definition of a service is something done for something else. Or something provided (the 2nd definition to others such as electricity or regular buses.) IT has been doing that for years. Email, CRM and a myriad of other business processes have been automated and improved. Services the business consumes every day.

Within the concept of ITaaS is the problem. The business would like to pay for IT that it consumes and well who can blame them. It is just really hard for two companies to share an IT department. So we push workloads and solutions to the cloud where we gain a bit of IT as a Service. We get infrastructure provided for us. We still have to manage the rest of the overall solution in house but in theory we pay less. Well at least that is a theory.

Let’s stop for a moment. Let’s get off the ITaaS merry-go-round. Its time to evaluate the reality of IT rather than the perception of IT. In 1820 if you wished to get an urgent message from San Diego to New York City you paid someone from the Pony Express or a courier to basically ride a horse across the country (do the math – average 12 to 20 mph and travel 2200 miles or so). That wasn’t effective and in the end the Pony Express was replaced by the telegraph. It was expensive to hang wire so you still had to get from the telegraph office to your place of business and back but the message could be sent in hours not weeks. From there the telephone, facsimile and then email.

That was IT cutting months out of a communication process. The speed of business increased radically. In fact you can take many examples of IT speeding up the business. Cloud presents some really interesting opportunities to speed up your business.

First off for a new company you don’t have to buy IT gear anymore. Other than someone to manage your actual local area network you don’t even need IT anymore. You simply rent a consultant to manage your LAN and you purchase everything else as SaaS offerings. The cost in the end of growing a business quickly goes down with cloud. So does the time it takes to get an infrastructure that supports your business up and running.

That isn’t ITaaS that is a cloud offering. The ITaaS is the person managing the LAN. You bring them in when you have an issue, otherwise you never see them or pay for them. That works great for small startups and new companies. Larger companies end up running into issues that slowly require bringing some manner of IT staff on-site. Going back to one of my personal favorite books the Blue Ocean Theory companies embroiled in a cost cutting red ocean would love ITaaS. Until they create a Blue Ocean advantage.

You see once you have created the advantage that is your companies Blue Ocean, you have to work really hard to keep that advantage. Innovation can end up being “a what have you done for me lately” game, if you don’t watch out. So then we introduce the new concept. ITaaV. That’s right IT as a Value add for the business. IT as a partner in the Blue Ocean and a driver in that process. ITaaS is a great start but in the end ITaaV is a better end.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.