Super Storms. Snow. Global Warming. All myths. The real problem is…

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I heard weather predictions this fall and early winter that we in the DC area were going to get 30 inches of snow. When it was 54 degrees on Christmas day, and 44 degrees on New Years day that prediction was well not believed. What they didn’t mention was we would get 30 inches in one snow fall. One 36 hour period of snow fall non-stop producing – well the picture above. My driveway in the DC area. Not covered, but buried in snow.

Weather prediction used to be as much art as science. Now it is mostly science. Its amazing how accurate they are in predictions. They were calling for bands of snowfall and ranges within the bands and frankly they were really close. Well I shouldn’t say they, I should say the weather forecaster in the DC area that I personally listen to. He was spot on. The range he predicted that includes where we live was within 2 inches of the actual snow fall. I remember in the last century we used to make fun of the weather people because they were more often wrong.

Technology allows them to build and follow models all the way through. To see how all the variables will impact that particular storm. Instead of relying on the older concept of “the last 10 times a storm like this followed this path this happened” they can play out 100 versions of the same storm. They can predict tidal flow and air movement. A new level of accuracy. That’s why I wonder. You see scientists have advanced weather predictions and models well beyond where they were 20 years ago. 20 years ago more and more scientists began to say the earth was warming. That we were changing the weather patterns and making the planet warmer with all the greenhouse gasses we were releasing into the atmosphere.

People argued against that and those scientists 20 years ago. They argued against Al Gore’s inconvenient truth now 15 years ago. They argued against the change in weather patterns after Karina, and Super Storm Sandy. They continue to, in the face of now insurmountable evidence argue against global warming. Some still argue against what is now sadly a hugely insurmountable truth. There are no reputable scientists that say global warming isn’t true.

The ocean is 12-14 inches higher now than it was in the 1700’s. Who cares. 2011 was the warmest year ever recorded, well until 2015. Who cares. It’s a cycle. It will come around.

Nature loves a balance. Things will self correct. I’ve heard the many arguments. Measure temperature over and epoch. Any one year is a variance. That’s true, any one year is a variance. Any two years are a variance. But when you start talking about the hottest year ever recorded in more than 200 years of recording temperatures its not a variance.

The impact of humans on the environment is now fact. Look at Beijing and Shanghai. People are told to stay indoors because the smog is so bad it is dangerous. Los Angeles has a smog problem because of the topology it sits in. It is there, facts that lie before us. Lies we tell ourselves, that scientists are wrong. 10 years ago you could find a scientist that would argue against global warming. Now you can’t find a reputable scientist that would say anything like that. You can see and hear conservative politicians speak out against global warming. I heard an ad by Marco Rubio that scared me. He said that Obama says global warming is our biggest threat not ISIS. That  he as president would take care of ISIS because global warming wasn’t a threat. That terrifies me, to have that on national television without being censored.

Dear Marco, given that global warming has impact on the entire world, where ISIS certainly bad and horrible, has a much smaller impact. Marco, some of the predictions for the impact of the ocean rising could mean millions of people are displaces. Millions of acres of farmland gone. I think perhaps you should amend your ad on TV. You should say ISIS is the crisis we are facing right now. But let’s not take our eyes off the bigger crisis that will change our world forever if we aren’t careful. There is an easy solution for global warming. It is a two step process that we can implement cheaply and worldwide very quickly.

1. Teach everyone to swim

2. Give life vests to the people we like.

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Global Warming Monger…

Super-storm Jonas and the quest for Microgrids.

As far as the eye can see, which this time of the day isn’t very far, but still it is snow everywhere. One of the interesting concepts in the broader reality of Transactive Energy or the new Grid is the reality of Microgrids. In the scenario of a Microgrid as it applies to both energy production as well as energy consumption is something like Super Storm Jonas and its impact.

Power is generated either at your house or at a power plant. It is then either distributed directly back into your house or it is distributed over the grid. Microgrids today, for the most part, would be a collection of homes that have their own power production and distribution grid. Currently the exampels of this would be a home wind turbine. A home solar implementation. Finally those who also have a traditional home generator. When the grid is shut down due to power lines or other failures, a Microgrid switches to a different power source and continues.

This Microgrid dream house maintains solar and wind power local. It has a connection to the traditional grid (most likely paying a monthly line maintanence fee) and supplies energy to the broader power grid. The smart meter is key to success and the electric car certainly presents an interesting addition to the dream house.

You could, for around 40,000 dollars add this installation onto any home. Those prices will continue to come down. If you have a 200 dollar a month power bill your ROI on the investment takes just over 16 years. In this scenario the bulk of the expense is the solar implementation which only works during the day. Adding batteries and wind turbine drives cost up but reduces your overall reliance on the grid further. But it is a 20 year investment. You can lease solar equipment for your home at 0 cost, your payback being quicker in the sense that you reduce your powerbill and the solar company will normally charge you less for the power you are using than the utility does. It should be noted that the solar tax refund from the US Federal Government ends in 2016. It does pull your implementation cost down to roughly an 8 year ROI however.

The other option is to lease with an optoin to buy at the end of a period (normally 5 years. That leads us to home owners associations. Somehow, and the courts have backed them up, HOA’s have gotten the power to say no to Solar and Wind Turbines. Some have rules that prohibit solar panels on both sides of the roof. Some prohibit them completley.

1. We need a federal mandate that wipes out the power of HOA’s in the creation of, building of and deployment of home Microgrid solutions. Personally I think a progressive HOA would find a way to offer UPS services and power storage services to its home owners increasing the value of all hosues. Who doesn’t like their own Microgrid that ALWAYS HAS POWER!

2. Continue thte tax rebate and include those who are leasing. Every KW of Solar power produced is a KW less that has to be produced. At the very least the ecological reduction is worth the reduced tax revenue. Local, city, state and federal government agencies could look towards my City Broker concept as a way to increase the overall tax revenue. Expand the tax base, increase the overall revenue.

In 1959 the Soviet Union launched a satellite (Sputnik) into space. They beat the US twice, first orbiting device and first astronaut in space. The new Space race is capturing energy and creating home micro grids. It is time for a broad call to action in the US destined to move us forward faster.

I have a dream (to borrow from Dr. King) that every house will become a Microgrid and the concept of a brown out or power failure will be something we tell children as we sit by a fire and share horror stories. “It used to be, that in the summer people would consume so much power that the actual grid had to shut down. People actually went home to houses that were hot.”

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TE dreamer

Leadership. Starting with the last perfect college basketball team…

I am, and have been an IU Athletics fan for many years. This year is special, in that it is the 40th anniversary of the perfect team. The 1976 Indiana Hoosiers. The highlight of that team for me, was a fast break. It was early in the season and the ball was stolen by Quinn Buckner. It was passed to Bobby Wilkerson, then Scott May and then back to Wilkerson for a layup. The thing is, the ball never touched the floor. There was no dribble just precision passing. To me that remains a perfect team. Also, the last team to go undefeated and win the NCAA championship in Basketball.

Team is an interesting concept. No matter what teams are hard to build. They don’t come together and then taken apart recreate themselves quickly. You can’t pour water and reconstitute a team. You build a team carefully. As much in how you pick the members as anything else. You see, you need various pieces in order to build a great team.

One of the concepts of OHI that doesn’t get much air play is the feelings a team has towards a manager. Its often discarded but it should be something upper management keys on. Why? Because the health of an organization is dependent on those front line managers. A manager who promises and doesn’t deliver or one who listens to rumors and acts on rumors has to be removed. Or retrained, you can take them and train them but either way you have to do something.

You see teams are really living creatures. You have to have the right pieces and while it certainly critical to have managers, the most important aspect of team is a leader. I know for many years at Microsoft that I annoyed my manager because my leader wasn’t him or her. Leadership is the ultimate team creation tool. But leadership comes into three flavors and they aren’t talked about. Those three flavors are game changers when it comes to team building.

Let’s talk instead about what good leaders do. The first and potentially most important thing a good leader does is ignore rumors. If it isn’t substantiated then walk away. Rumors are a tool of people playing politics. Leaders rise above and don’t care about politics. One leader I respected and frankly would follow today if he weren’t retired used to say just do the right things. Its more important to do things the right way, then it is to be right.

Great leaders do:

  • Focus on the right things to do
  • Listen to people
  • Ignore rumors
  • Base judgment on the actions of people
  • DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU WILL DO
  • Look for the good in others
  • Find the good in others

Such a simple list. But frankly one that isn’t measured by OHI. Effectively one that is measured by not the political view of the person but the more important reality of the person. Do they succeed at what they are trying to do. Do other’s seek their advice and ask them to support concepts and ideas. Jealousy and politics ruin careers. OHI doesn’t measure either. So in the end you don’t measure leadership in an OHI survey. You measure how effective managers are in hiding reality.

People derided Coach Knight at the end of his career at Indiana University. They based on a few public actions made a decision. The public runs on rumors. Other than the few people that hated playing for Coach, most of his players are loyal to him to this day. He helped boys become men. He helped men become human beings. Knight took care of his players long after they left Indiana University. That is what great leaders do.

Rumors reflect as much on the leader as they do the person in the rumor.

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Futurist

What happens when the concept of broker meets the concept of #mysmartcity.

what does the broker mean

All drawings are done using Zamuri. I can honestly say when I found that iPad whiteboard program I was hooked. The new Apple Pencil just makes it that much easier to use. It is the portable whiteboard I always wanted! This image in particular talks about the broader concept of a Cloud Broker. Where brokers offer IaaS, PaaS and SaaS, note however there is a change in order. In particular the broker should enable the organizational PaaS, moving it ahead of SaaS in the deployment order for the organization. A cloud broker though, based on the concept I’ve shared before needs to be more.

There are many products on the market today that deliver the functionality in the drawing. The umbrella broker able to offer a variety of services provided by Cloud Service Providers. It creates an abstraction layer that removes some of the complexity of cloud computing.

cloud broker and market

You see brokers could be so much more. There are many shared services that have NOTHING to do with IT that the broker could aggregate. Creating an incubation and support market place for small businesses. You want to encourage the economy to grow? Encourage small and emerging businesses. The best way to do that is to create an incubation marketplace via the broker marketplace. It would be quite simple to create a catalog experience that included services beyond IT. Large format color printers could be shared. Fleets of drones could be shared. Expensive trucks and shipping could be optimized. Instead of one truck per organization, one trust shipped or one railroad car for the entire industrial park.

The Broker market place would be a huge plus for small businesses. Allowing them to support and consume services that normally during startup they couldn’t afford. This new world of incubation would potentially also decrease the failure rate of small businesses or potentially the consumption rate by larger companies of great ideas. Not every innovator is meant to create the next GE. Some innovations are meant to be pushed into other technologies to make them better.

smart city broker

#mysmartcity. So why wouldn’t cities or counties, states or even entire Countries offer a broker service and a broker marketplace as a front end for both cloud services, aggregated non-technology services and finally and potentially most important digital citizen services? A taxon consumed services allows people, businesses and organizations to each pay their fair share. A city revenue system that allows for equal taxation. Organizations that consume massive amounts of power, compute and other services pay more than those that don’t. A small business just starting would pay less than a small business with 20 employees. The city would be able to increase its tax base without unjustly increasing the tax paid by any one person.

Additionally a city could also, should also, must also offer security services within the marketplace. Managed security to reduce the risk for end points. In the case of City Marketplace end points could be city organization delivering the mission of enabling citizens, citizens and their homes and small, medium and large business. I suspect that medium and large business would not require the security service, but would contribute to them. (all images, concepts and ideas in this blog are Copyright Creative Technology & Innovation).

#mysmartcity. Services, potential and a safe place to connect to the internet. Imagine the market potential of a system designed to support and incubate small businesses, offering both the IT and non-IT services they require as they begin their journey. It takes the concept of the Shark Tank and distributes the required services to more than the 50 or so companies that can appear on Shark Tank during the season. The value of Shark Tank is access to the many services the Sharks provide. With a City Marketplace combining the non-IT and IT capabilities available in a city, the concept of incubation for small, emerging and innovative businesses will take off like never before.

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Broker Marketplace Dreamer…

Hey Apple, my last iPhone has an audio jack…

Produce endorsement – Seek Thermal great add-ones and stand alone Thermal imaging systems. I have the iPhone plus in and it works very well. It does however make me wonder about the future of the audio jack. Rumor is the iPhone 7 won’t have an audio jack. If that is the case, I won’t probably ever have an iPhone 7. That audio jack is the most useful CPS device jack ever.

You can plug weather stations into that jack. Just a device that has a thermometer, plus UV and other sensors. Why would apple even threaten to remove that useful component? Well cost of manufacturing would be a large factor. Plus, I suspect there is a high error rater with the audio jack. I know we’ve gone to the Apple store twice to have broken headset jacks removed. Many add-ons have moved to protocol based connections (Wi-Fi or Bluetooth) but many haven’t.

It would extend the life of the PC however, if cellular phones stopped being as expandable. People would need a laptop to go with their tablet. The laptop would offer itself as a consumable resource for the tablet. Hey it may not even be a laptop. It may just be a computer in a small wallet sized package with USB, Audio and other jacks. A Jack as a Service.

I hope this is just another rumor. They pop up every year after new products are released and during the CES show. Sources, in the know, release information about what is coming. Half the time it is wishful thinking by the analysts releasing the information. Half the time it is true or at least close to the truth. So you just never know. It would spawn a huge market for add-on audio ports.

Can’t help when music you don’t like exists the device via the audio port. Bad music is not yet a service. It is a component of a service (streaming) but not specifically a service.

The investment in devices is an interesting CPS problem. It is one that I spend a lot of time one. The first issue is that of device security. I have come to release that CPS devices would be a lot more usable with removable security components. The one thing guaranteed to change in small devices is security. If that hardware is removable more organizations and people would replace their CPS devices. Its cheaper to replace part of a device, rather than the entire device every time security standards change.

I guess, the answer to the question is quite simple. Hopefully the removal of the audio plug is a rumor. Or sadly the reality of my blog title will come to pass.

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Futurist

To memorize or not to memorize that is the question…

There are customers I visit that ask you nicely (with an armed guard) to leave your cellular phone by the front desk before you enter the building. I say ask only in the broadest sense of they won’t let you in if you say no.

I have customers that let vendors bring cell phones in. In either case I wonder if either is effective security. If someone wants to record or access information during a meeting that is helpful (from the vendor to the customer) you force communication to be disjointed. Now you have to rely on email or faxing to share information.

When you think about information it has a time to live. A time when that information is relevant to solving a specific problem. That is the problem generated by connection.

When (yes we had lights, no we weren’t out of caves yet) I was young we memorized many more facts than students do today. Why? Because the relevance of what they need to remember how to operate versus the things they have to remember is significantly different. A dinner conversation at our house not to long ago was around did you ever think you would be at a meal, ask a question and someone would give you the answer, from a hand held device. You see what you have to operate now, is much different.

Information is at your fingertips. So now you memorize how to operate different systems. I started out my computer use as a Macintosh user. Actually I started out with a TRS-80, then moved to a commodore and finally an Apple IIc. My first however, professional use of a computer came on the Macintosh. I worked for Microsoft for many years and learned the nuances of windows both server and desktop. Since then I have spent a lot of time working with Linux and Unix. Why would I mention this? Because I carry the knowledge in my head of how to operate within the different systems.

My Dish network receiver runs an operating system loosely based on Linux (embedded). My Chrome book and Macintosh run a loosely based GUI over a Linux or Unix kernel. Windows 10 runs on the Windows Server kernel and so on. My iPhone runs iOS. My Android tablet runs android. Each a unique operating system, I operate in each and whenever I try a new OS, my first goal is can I publish my blog on that operating system. I haven’t published a blog from a dish receiver yet, but I am sure someone is working on that.

The argument right away to this part of the post is that I am an IT consultant I have to know OS’s. But the thing is, my kids float between most of those systems as well. All my kids can operate a Mac, Tablet running either Android or iOS and a windows computer. They operate the Dish system as well. In the modern age a portion of our memory is spent operating devices.

Plus, if you can Google the answer why memorize it? As a teacher I always told my class know how to get the answer. With the modern devices you can easily get it, and you don’t in the end have to spend a lot of time. Simply unlock your device, type in or hold the microphone button and talk, and whammo you know the answer. That leaves more human memory power for things that are important like birthdays and cute stories about the time you put someone on your shoulder and they barfed on your head.

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Memorize nothing, look it up!

We must carry on with Dr. King’s dream for we are not yet done…

“By the contents of their minds.”

Those words have moved me, pushed me and ultimately changed me. They are the words within the second line of Dr. Kings Dream. The first line being that his children could easily walk down the street without fear. Can we do that today? Can a person regardless of anything walk down every street of our country? I wouldn’t even try to say yes. I know the the answer is no.

But that dream, Dr. King’s dream is still there. It is the dream of equality. Equal opportunity, equal access and perhaps most importantly equal education. It is Dr. King’s second line that leads us to education. The contents of their minds.

I believe in that second line with all my heart. The world is a better place if we know all the pieces in it. If we understand the path to decision. What is observed, what are the actions to be taken fro the decision. All of these things can be measured. They can be built.

Dr. King wanted us to measure people on the contents of their minds. I couldn’t agree more. But I do wish education was equal around the world. That everyone got the chance to learn and explore the wonders of the world beyond where they are. There are temples in India that are more than 3000 years old. There are buildings in China that span the entire border with Mongolia. A wall built to stop invaders. But testament as much to dreams of humans as to the will of invaders. There is tower in Italy that leans. Once Galileo Galilei stood on top and tested the theories of Newton.

John Kennedy started the Peace Corps. To bring what was known to those just beginning the path. To jump start by educating.

The Peace Corps worked. Works. Now however embroiled in a conflict, a war on terrorism we cannot remember that as clearly. The Peace Corps worked. Yes there is tremendous value in strong military deterrence. The US Military is often the first responder to horrible disasters around the world. Soldiers not asking what is the risk, but how can I help.

Equality and equal opportunity are however forever locked with education. If we teach everyone than we all know the same things. If we all know Mt. Everest is the tallest mountain (discounting of course the fact that there are volcano’s that rise from the floor of the ocean that are much taller) is there any argument? Does it matter that across the table is a person agreeing with you. Their skin darker or their eyes different color? Does any of that matter to education?

Dr. King’s second part of his grand dream was so much harder than the first part. “The contents of their minds.” What a world this could be if we would all have equal education.

We are still on the path Dr. King. Without a drum major it’s a little harder for the band to play together. But we are trying Dr. King. We are still trying…

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I have a dream…