Why I chase Knowledge Management Systems…

I began my professional career as a school teacher. In particular or to be specific as an elementary school teacher. I brought my personal computer to the classroom, and the kids and I built the application. We used my computer to track, measure and eventually publish our findings on Acid Rain. We, well my school was upwind of the Indiana University coal-fired power plant during the winter months. Our acidity of rainfall was far greater in the winter than in the summer. We, my students and I planted corn and grew it in both the winter and summer acidity to demonstrate the impact of acid rain on corn.

For me capturing, sharing and evaluating information is critical. I am not by profession a data scientists. I have and do build systems designed to support the capture of data. I do not design information systems that encompass the metadata and evaluate the data quality. I build the capture systems. I can honestly say in the past 20 plus years of chasing IP, the worst problem in any organizational IP management system is not the technology. In fact, I can almost guarantee that it is never the technology that causes the problems.

It is the reality of human beings. There is a perception sometimes that what you know is what makes you important to an organization. To the degree that is true but not fully. The nature of the information people has why people move up in an organization. The breadth of the information allows you, supports and enables decision making. You have to have people with experience in the organization. That experience allows, supports and enables stronger decisions. You also have to have new ideas. Just because something has always happened a certain way, doesn’t mean that way is the only way something should happen.

Empowering employees to share the information they have is difficult. As I opened with, I have chased reality for more than 20 years now. I can tell you within 10 minutes of a meeting starting where the information is in the room. I can also within a couple of hours tell you why the information isn’t known to everyone. I am not talking about the reality of information governance. That is a different issue. Simply the reality of information flow. It has been my life’s work for the past 20 years. I know that I have failed to improve that reality. I am not going to quit. It is possible for organizations to build responsive, receptive and managed IP systems that will benefit all employees and customers.

More to come…


knowledge seeker

Starting a Family History Project…

A pixie said I should write down the what and how of a Family History project. I did once a long time ago on my WordPress Blog, and again on Niume, but sometimes Pixie’s are right. First of all scanning images can be a daunting task. We started our project because going through and watching slideshows of more than 30,000 images would be arduous and at best painful. Plus, the problem with some of the slides is that they were more than 50 years old and maybe didn’t have 10, 12 or 15 more showings in them. We had to come up with a permanent solution to the problem of our old family pictures.

  1. We bought an Epson Perfection scanner. Yes, the Epson costs more than a standard scanner, but it is capable of handling slides and pictures. Plus the software they bundle with the scanner makes it easier to use.
  2. We also got an external Hard drive and an online picture backup (Carbonite and Amazon), so we had multiple copies of our pictures.

The first part of the project is to separate slides from pictures. In our case that was straightforward, the slides left to me by my father and grandfather were already organized into containers. We then simply placed the slides on the bed of the scanner and away we went. 30,000 slides (actually 38,000 in total) took us a little more than eight months to scan. In part because lives intercede and in part to keep the project rolling, but not make the project overwhelming. We scanner between 1,000 and 1500 slides per week. Some weeks we didn’t make our goal. Some weeks we blew well past the goal.

Organization of the pictures is still ongoing. We began the project in September 2014. The scanning process (38,000 slides and 26,000 prints) was completed in February 2016. We finished the project one week before the big snow in the DC area. They are organized in a series of the folder.

The biggest issue now is that most of the images scanned are much larger than the eight gig limit here on Virily. Plus, the images scanned were not always scanned in the way you would expect  Half of them at least are upside down. Towns the last say, well during all of the project, the scanning crew wasn’t always as interested in scanning.

The other side of the project is what I will speak to tomorrow.


More on Net Neutrality…

I don’t like political rants, and I try to avoid them like the plague. That is why I try to present both sides of every argument. I realized, in posting twice about the upcoming Net Neutrality hearings by the US Government Agency FCC, that I was close to rant and hadn’t presented both sides. Based on that realization I want to clarify both positions being presented and the “discussed” intent of both sides. I am not going to describe the personal intent, just the broadly listed positions.

  1. Security and the implementation of security
  2. Privacy and the loss of privacy

Look let’s not hide the fact that both sides think the other is completely wrong. But let’s argue the two points that are publically shared today. Information should be easily and readily available to all, but it isn’t, and it hasn’t been in a long time. Let’s talk about why each side is wrong, and what we can do to avoid getting caught up in a mess.

  1. More information isn’t going to improve security. Having access to and control of more aspects of any one person doesn’t increase the ability to act and react to the actions of that person. I always tell people about the windows computer tech support scam. There is more than 1 billion computers running form of Windows in the world. Each of them, on a good day, generates 7-10 messages a day. Sorting through that many messages is impossible today. The same is true by the way for all the information sources on the internet. Yes making them only available as a premium service would reduce the number of users and therefore increase the likelihood of finding or catching abnormal behaviors. Even with the reduced access, it doesn’t solve the security issue. The dark web is called that because it is in-routed. That means only people that know the IP address of a website on the dark web can use that website. You can’t assign additional costs to sites that don’t follow the IP rules of the DNS world.
  2. Privacy is a painful issue. If you think you will lose all your privacy because Net Neutrality is removed, then you are in for a shock. In the past year, I have run into three different selfie drones. Each of them captured a picture of me, without my permission. There are laws about public locations and images captured, but the reality is those laws need to be changed. The other day I watched a video from south beach of a tiger shark swimming within 5 feet of beachgoers who were unaware of the shark. The photographer using a drone said, “I was too far away to warn them about the shark.” Those images, however, made it to the national news. While it is a free-use issue, it is still a loss of privacy. Ask anyone after a crime is committed in their neighborhood if they would be willing to allow the police into their home in the event of an attempt to capture a criminal. Before a horrible crime more than ½ the people would say no, or something even stronger. After a crime (and there are some studies to support this) more than ½ would say yes please do.

The world is evolving. Net Neutrality is a very complex issue. If someone says to you about Net Neutrality “it is all about this,” and point to a single issue pause and smile. Walk away, they are wound around that issue and not going to budge. Reality is both sides have strong points and extremely weak points.

Net Neutrality is an extremely complex problem. It is more than privacy, it is more than security, and it is more than a way to raise taxes and a way to increase the revenue of network providers. I think what people are missing right now on both sides, is that advertising will suddenly change the cost of the internet. Where today you can log in and use the side you want, tomorrow you may have to wade through 10, 12 ads before you are allowed to use the site you want to use. But we also have to consider the impact of terrorists and other criminals.



More thoughts on Net Neutrality being lost…

Again, I am not going to launch into a rant, I am concerned but not angered. The reality of removing net neutrality is two-fold. The first is that it allows governments to insert themselves into the overall process more than they are now. That increases the potential delivery of security and more secure services. Companies also find this to be critical from a profit perspective as they will make considerably more money.

Security isn’t everything, although I do understand the what and why of the security issue. There is a global problem (Terrorism) and a global problem (radicalization) that we have to figure out. But I suspect the concept of increasing the vigilance won’t decrease the impact of radicalization. Angry people remain angry and in fact, when you limit their access or worse make them pay more, they will, they are angry. Anger isn’t an easy problem to solve. Perhaps we could examine the actual issues driving the anger rather than limiting the how of the anger.  We see the impact of the anger all around the world now. It isn’t just terrorists; it sometimes seems like it is all the time. It isn’t just terrorists. The anger has spread to the general populace around the world.

Net Neutrality is simply a way information can get out quickly. It is, however, part of the disinformation problem.

Hopefully, I would think that the FCC will consider the financial and social impact of this decision. Today they are in the process of holding hearings. It is not the time to flood the FCC website with bot attacks. It is time for reasoned conversations about the cost of the problem and the reality of the impact. The business case for net neutrality is freedom of information. The support of those who get their information from the internet, because they can’t afford more than one connection to the world. We cannot force those who cannot afford to do things, to have to do without. The other side, however, is that we need to do something about the overall security management of the internet.

IMHO the instantiation of a commercial internet, removing net neutrality rules, will impact those who are disadvantaged now. It will greatly benefit the few. Just not in the ways we think. Effectively this is going to allow providers to cram more and more advertisements down our throats. They won’t make more money, but they will bog down the internet with crap.

Oh, brave new world to have people such as this in it. (Aldous Huxley).



of Net Neutrality and Translation hardware…

The world of translation hardware is about to change. I suspect that this will generate a lot of bad accents. (hola Y’all). It will however also move us a little further up the stack towards the universal translator. There are two products coming in this space that I find exciting. One is an earbud that allows you to hear roughly real-time translations. Now, for the most part, these use the internet connection to your phone. That is somewhat problematic in that when you travel outside of the country you live in, the data costs for your cell phone can be horrifying.

My ongoing longterm reality is that it is a joke how much telecom companies get away with charging. As the US government considers the potential removing of net neutrality laws, they leave the cellular industry alone. It doesn’t cost a company more than 2-4 cents to move a mega of data. Even if we assume they upgrade the hardware environment on a monthly basis (they don’t), it is still a huge overcharge. Just look at the profits phone companies are making. One of the impacts (IMHO) of the removal of net neutrality is going to be the addition of more and more fees to the use of the internet on mobile devices.

People often ask me what I see as the limiters in the implementation and delivery of technology solutions. One of the biggest concerns I have in the short run is the removal of net neutrality rules in any form. I believe the removal of these rules will ultimately result in a significantly higher cost overall for internet solutions. From the higher cost of home access to the reality of the increased cost of mobile access, I am truly concerned with this initial concept.

I don’t often post political rants. I am not ranting now. I believe personally that the impact of net neutrality removal is going to be the reality of higher cost. The Higher cost of the internet doesn’t impact the wealthy. It impacts those struggling to get by. It reduces the number of people that can and will use the internet. It will slow the expansion of smartphones (no internet or high-cost internet makes a smartphone well, useless). It will slow growth of the global economy so that companies can make money today.

My grandfather always told me to pay attention to this rule. You can make a dollar today, or a dime for the next 400 days. Which do you choose?



More on digital projectors….

One of the things I do is post every day. There aren’t always topics that are biting, cutting or sometimes even interesting. Lately, however, I have posted more than 6000 blogs on more than seven different blogging sites. That isn’t the point of this morning, more than in that period I have had some themes that lasted more than one or two blogs. The concept to me in technology that resonates and keeps popping back up is the digital projector.

First off there is two distinct type of digital projectors. The first is the static projector. I have had several stationary projectors in my home over the years. I have two different screens (one was my father’s) mounted in my house. One is mounted in my home theater. The other is mounted in my office. For mounted or static projectors you need a screen. I have a portable screen I got a few years ago as well, that one is in our utility closet. The portable screen is nice because we can take it out on the back patio and enjoy a movie outdoors (outdoor speakers are another topic I will someday cover).

The what and how of digital projectors is a point of interest for me. As the early rise of 360-degree cameras gave you a glimpse into what was possible, probable and ultimately what could be delivered, the reality of digital projects is that they continue to improve. The most important things with digital projects are:

  • What can I plug into it (input types)
  • What can it do on its own (having an OS on the projector)

For iPhones and Android phones, you want to be able to leverage either a connector (Prijector is a great one for this) or directly an application on the device that allows screen sharing. Portability is a question you also need to ask. The smaller the projector, the smaller the output of light. Therefore it isn’t as strong, and you need to be aware of it. HDMI only connections are fine for most newer laptops, but if your computer doesn’t have HDMI, you need a VGA connection or an HDMI to VGA adapter. That by the way, is a risk because the adapters often lose resolution based on distance and the connector type.

There are some products in this space. Over my last few posts, I have mentioned quite a few. If you are interested my other posts are also posted here on my blog.



Beyond digital projectors lies the HomePod…

The concept of digital projectors is something I’ve spent a lot of time on. A couple of days ago I dived into the upcoming and current market for digital projects. I mentioned the wonderful ODIN2 product. I didn’t mention the wonderful projector from Touchpond that allows you to turn any surface into an interactive whiteboard. As in using their non-ink pens you can shine your meeting on eh wall and draw on the meeting whiteboard, or pause and put a whiteboard on the wall without actually writing on the wall!

There are some other services coming that continue to be interesting. The concept of screen sharing is pretty straightforward, and again, I discussed that in my previous article. But what remains intriguing is the upcoming homePods, what is a HomePod you ask? First off HomePod lives in your house or your place of business. It is a device that can move. It has speakers, an interest connection, and an operating system. This means you can use the HomePod to play movies and TV from various services (Dish Anywhere, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, and others) without having a phone or tablet doing the broadcasting.

A HomePod also has speakers.

Now, what this means honestly is that anywhere in your house can become a theater. Anywhere in your home can be a conference room. Keecker, like the robot products, knows to go back to its base to recharge. It knows when you need it, by simply activating the application your phone, tablet or computer. The easy button for conference calls. You can take a call in your car, get out of your car and transfer the call to your phone, then push the call to your HomePod. By simply muting the HomePod and phone’s microphone you can move around the house making dinner while listening to the call! If someone launches a web meeting, the HomePod can display that on the kitchen wall. The homePods will be arriving in January. You can find out how to buy one at Keecker.


HomePod fan!