the world of fragile information

Superfragileinformation is a term I’ve coined, and it reminds me of Mary Poppins favorite word. The one she says in the movie, that you spend a week after the move learning to say. Even though the sound of it, is something quite atrocious.  Information is something that organizations stress over. The concept of information security is one that organizations spend resources to achieve. Information preservation, protection, and governance have become law in many countries and regions. There are laws and regulations around the concept of what is and how can information be used and seen.

Information is the most and least fragile element of any organization.

  • Least fragile in that there is information that won’t impact the organization if it is lost
  • Most fragile because there is information that if lost, would destroy the organization

Its why I often use what I call the information framework. The three components of the framework are risk, value and time. Where risk represents the spectrum above, can we afford to lose the information? Value is the other side of risk, where we can attribute the value of the information once shared and finally time. How quickly does the information become stale? How quickly does the user need the information for it to be valuable?

The best example of this is information that is provided to a user quickly can be consumed properly and ultimately benefits the company. The other side of this is that same information not provided in a timely fashion resulting in a loss. When the information arrives can greatly influence both the ability to act on that information but also the reality of the impact of the information based on the time. Bill Gates always used to say “right information, the right time to make the right decision.”

More to come…


information wanderer

It is information. But it could be more…

I brought up the concept of fragile information. Millions of dollars a year are spent protecting the information that is deemed in the fragile category. There is an entire world of anti-fragile information, but that isn’t what companies are trying to protect. Anti-fragile information works regardless. If you consider an author is publishing a book, the book is anti-fragile (within reason of course). In that negative press can achieve the original goal (sell more copies) of the book. Authors are unique in that presentation of anti-fragile information. You see companies don’t always have that luxury.

The formula for something the company owns is truly fragile information. Information that cannot be lost by the organization. Lose the information that is the formula for the soda that is your major product, and you lose market share. Lose market share, and eventually, you lose a company. Fragile information is information that cannot suffer the slings and arrows of bad press, but also would, pending its loss cause irreparable damage to the company.  That reality that is information becomes a problem. For example, this blog, a presentation of ideas I have in the area of fragile and anti-fragile information. It is to a degree anti-fragile information. Anti-fragile to the point where comments that impact me, may hurt my feelings but also may increase the numbers of readers that read my blog, which is the primary goal.

The reality of our ability to functionally address the fragility or lack of fragility (anti-fragility) of information today is one of the reasons why we are still far from a true information age. In the information age, when it does finally make its appearance, there won’t be issues separating data into the various buckets. We will be able to say that all information lives into a system, and that system can change the delivery speed of the information based on the fragility or anti-fragility of the information. IE, anti-fragile information may have a longer response time allowable than fragile information. If we cannot deliver the information relative to a procedure that would save someone’s life quickly, it may cause the loss of a person’s life.

Information fragility is more than response time though. It is also the secure delivery of as my hero Bill Gates said many years ago “the right information at the right time to make good decisions.” The fragility of information can be sending the wrong information at the wrong time. Or the right information too late.

The dawn of the information age occurs when we solve these problems.


information ambulance chaser

On chasing butterflies and what comes next!

crowdfundingA post by a writer I follow got me thinking this morning. I have for many years been a technologist. As someone in the technology field, there are two things that happen. The first is the reality of integration, I know the pain of start down a path, and then stopping and starting over. It means that everything you did, has to be undone and then redone in the new system. I also understand the competition that is new and shiny.

Balancing the desire to chase the butterfly (we all to some degree want to stop and chase the butterfly) against what is there now and requires attention is hard. The butterfly in the case of technology represents the cool new thing. The reality of what we have is much harder than what the butterfly offers. No matter what we do, the alluring butterfly will always pop in front of us when we are not ready.

For me the butterfly is gadgets. I acknowledge that as a technologist I am a butterfly chaser. Not because I can or should, but because I do and have. The reality of the butterfly for me is more that it is part of who I am, and part of what I do. There is an identity in chasing the butterfly. For many years I have been the person with the device in the meeting, not the person asking about the device. I realize however that makes it hard for me to approach life in the way I desire.

maturityI wish to be a minimalist, but I know the allure of the butterfly for me, won’t let me. So I struggle internally with the reality of who I am, what I do and ultimately how I perceive myself. I am the contradiction.

Accepting who we are is a difficult thing. I am a technologist. I believe technology can still change the world. I know this because technology has changed the world. But I also understand now, that the butterfly isn’t always the right answer.

I have at least 35 cables within arms distance of me, as I write this blog. But if I need a specific cable I cannot often find them. I have them, but wouldn’t know where they were. I can show you a 360-degree video of my office, it is a mess. But that is more or less, it is not my problem. My concern, my fear is more of loss than of finding.

I collect manual typewriters and toys from the old animated Christmas show Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. At the same time, I removed thousands of slides and pictures from my life and converted them to digital. Clutter went, and clutter added. My butterfly seeks always to find something new, something just beyond the horizon.

Does my butterfly, in fact, chase me?

I wonder that sometimes, as I sit here in my quiet space. Alexa playing classical music, and Google answering my questions about what is cool what is hot. My butterfly has a name, it isn’t OSCAR, but when borrowing from a commercial for a line, you think about both the line and the concept. The name of my butterfly is not Alexa or Siri.

The reality of my butterfly is not that it is just out of reach. All butterflies are just out of reach. Just out of our ability to see, and touch. It is not that I never catch my butterfly, nor is it that like many others, I always seek my butterfly. Dancing there, in the distance, taunting and encouraging at the same time.

“Come chase me,” my butterfly says, it is good to get up and move not being at a desk. My #Fitbit, rejoicing that it is finally able to track something other than the dancing of fingers on a keyboard. I am alive, my #Fitbit says. The siren call of the butterfly of no concern to wearable fitness trackers. Why, when it promotes motion, would they care?

My butterfly is two sided. The one side is the many things that could have been but never were and the flipping it, the next big thing.

I cannot stop chasing my butterfly. It is part of who I am. It is part of what I do. Someday I will see the color of my butterfly.

What color is your butterfly?


Chasing Butterflies and charging my Fitbit!

The rumor mill that killed the information age…

bag012The distance between my desk, my chair, computer itself and monitor is an interesting distance. A few years ago, I had the CPU of the computer closer to me than it is now. I used to have to insert DVD’s all the time. Then I got a device called a PowerFile that let me store and share more than 300 DVD’s as a set of network shares. But then I didn’t need DVD’s anymore (and PowerFile went out of business L).

Now, I can’t remember the last time I installed anything from DVD. I think it was an old version of TurboTax that I had to reinstall because I couldn’t open the old file in the new version of the software. Other than that, I haven’t used DVD’s or Blu-Ray discs for anything other than movies in a long time. The age of find it, get it and install it are here. The internet is finally ready for use.

Well that is except for all the disinformation. I cannot imagine and I cannot read news on the Internet anymore. I know most of it is false. I know most of it is at best ½ truths or worse ½ fabrication half-truth, Analysts keep calling this the information age. Frankly we will never be in the information age when you can still find ½ trusts that are presented as facts.

bag033This morning I posted a joke a twitter and Facebook to gauge reaction. I said I had written an application for my smart watch that would filter out or remove disinformation from social media. Now my watch screen is blank. The reality of disinformation is the impact. You can, if you so choose, copy and paste the same comments over and over. This is disinformation. This is wrong. This is incorrect. This isn’t right. But the problem isn’t the reality of information.

The problem is the maturity of the information we have.

Someday historians will look back at this period of world history and once they are done laughing because we called ourselves the first pioneers of the information age, they will look at all the disinformation sources we see every day and they will wonder how anyone got anything done.

You can’t stop the flood.

I moved the CPU of my computer further away from me, because I don’t need the Blu-Ray drive as often now. I wonder if I can push social media disinformation far enough away that it won’t impact me anymore? At some point, you cannot post on every single thread that offers inane views of the world. You can’t correct everyone. You can’t keep making butter out of skim milk. Why? It takes nearly an infinite amount of time to make butter from milk that specifically was made to have ITS FAT Removed. Butter is after all the fat produced in milk.

What I am trying to say is the reality of the world is we have instant news. We have information everywhere and there is not drop to drink. The concept I put forth in my book The Syncverse is one of information brokers and information merchants. Those exist today, verified, valid information sources. They don’t post on social media with information often however. In fact, those valid sources tend to be focused on their medium of distribution.

The hoax of information is the reality of social media.

bag043My personal feelings aside, we have to do something about the disinformation. We cannot expect the world to filter information all the time. For the primary reason that some people don’t filter information. We need to move towards the shining light that is the information age. It lies there in the future, in a time when you can sit at a screen and get information that is verified, From a known good source. That way when you are angry about a horrible event, the event was real. The information you got about the event was validated.

Please stop posting disinformation. Don’t share it. Just comment on it, this isn’t the only side to an issue. This isn’t the only fact in evidence.

Now the rumors about me replacing Brad Pitt on his current project might be true. We do have similar talents J.

(images today courtesy of Henry O. Andersen circa 1965).


The rumors of my demise were greatly exaggerated (Mark Twain)…

Wandering IoT security and other disconnected topics…

Aunt Dorothy, Uncle Rick and Karl (the dog)I am going to make a small change in my professional blog starting today. From time to time, or several times a week I am going to share the pictures of my father and my grandfather. Some of the pictures will be from more than 40 years ago, they have never been seen by another other than the photographer twice (once when taken, once when developed) or have only been shared with family members. It is a small change but one I am going to try to do for a while. I have more than 40,000 slides scanned now and need to share some of them.

Today’s images are of the Wisconsin River, near Wisconsin Dells Wisconsin.

Yesterday I realized just how rusty my UNIX command skills are. Trying to install on a device running embedded Linux and I am really rusty. A little research is in order to figure out what command I am running incorrectly. Sadly, the skills we don’t use are the ones that fall away.

The concept of connected projectors is one that interests me right now, first off because I got the new XGIMI H1 device and secondly because I am trying to reduce the wires in my home media room. Today I have a wire running across the floor from time to time to use the PC running Oculus Rift. In part because of the reality of cabling, in part because the video card doesn’t have two HDMI out puts. That is a device that would be a huge market boost for VR/AR systems an HDMI in with two active outs. Today there are a lot of HDMI switches (one in, switch one out).

Sep18_16I’ve been playing with a product called Prijector. Interesting solution, it connects to your projector and to your network allowing you to connect. The XGIMI H1 has android/iOS integration already, so I am using the Prijector for my computer. First off it is a great solution for the problem of creating a network connected projector. The software is easy to install.

I do like the native iOS software that came with the H1 better overall (it is easier to use) but you don’t have the flexibility Prijector gives you with a PC connected. Again, the goal of a network connected projector is to reduce the number of wires. Currently with the computer and Oculus Rift installed (plus other devices) there are a large number of cables in the media room.

Yesterday the Federal Trade Commission opened up its 25,000 dollar grand prize for anyone submitting a solution to the reality of IoT and home security. The link takes you to the description of how to enter the program.

Personally, I am an advocate for creating modular home security components for IoT devices across he boards, industrial, commercial and home. A modular security system would allow the owner to remove the existing security module and replace that module with another one. The overall cost of deploying IoT devices would be lessened with this model. Additionally, given the nature of IoT devices the security module could be reprogrammed to move it from existing software levels to a new software level quickly. The reality of security is more making the attacker have to guess multiple times, rather than one time and in.

Sep20_26Of course, rewriteable IoT device security modules do present a problem, the hacker can also rewrite the security module. That is why the removable part is also important. I can take my video surveillance device and remove the existing security chip to place a new one into the device. This allows companies to quickie upgrade to newer security, the same for home owners. Without massive replacement projects (just someone walking around lifting existing security chips off IoT devices and replacing). You could even create specific location rules for security changes of IoT devices, forcing a local presence rather than a remote presence thus reducing the remote change risk.

Overall, it is a really cool contest from the FTC. Nice to see the US Government start thinking about the security of the art of the possible!



All pictures copyright Henry O Andersen.

Wandering the edges of cool tech and presentations…

I at times play beyond the bleeding edge of new technology. Based on that I am going to be more up front about cool Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects. I am willing to risk money on something that may never come to be. Based on that if you are not willing to risk money, do not back the more extreme projects I back.

The ones that interest me right now have to do with supporting my wife in her job. She at times works with patients from a number of nationalities and language barriers can be huge, when your job is helping someone prepare for the death of a family member. The translation systems that plug into your ear and allow you to hear and speak another language are interesting to me. It is an extension of the cellular device and using translation as a service. There are companies such as Language Line and other’s that provide this as a physical service, but the cost of those services is pretty high, and at times the speed is a limiting factor. Plus, you are speaking into a phone, getting a translation and there is by default always a slight delay.

Another area of technology that has peaked my interest for years is that of Robotics. The upcoming Aibo, Jibo and Keecker products are interesting. All three have extended development projects that led to their existence. Each is looking at the problem from a slightly different angle so it is interesting to see where they end up. Keecker is more a personal entertainment device, or as they call it a home pod. A device designed to make your entertainment experience that much better. Jibo is a static robot, in that it doesn’t move, but offers a number of potential interactions for the elderly and for children. When I was traveling years ago, I recorded myself singing the song I wrote for my kid’s bedtime. That way they would always hear me signing the Moon song before they went to bed. Finally, Aibo is another interesting project that is more aligned with the traditional robot. Both Keecker and Aibo are not fixed in one place and can move.

I did an IoT/drones/robotics talk for high school students a couple of years ago, in that talk I had a number of IoT devices that I shared with the kids, plus a look at the art of the possible. The art of the possible changes virtually every single day so that talk was always a blast. The last one I gave I had a line of kids waiting to talk to me well after school ended. The teachers had to come in and tell the kids they had to get on the buses, but that I would come back. So, I did go back and sat in the lunch room talking to some of the brightest people I’ve ever met. The best part of the talk was the very first time I gave it, when I launched the drone and played back the video of the drone watching the audience. Some principals were not comfortable with a drone flying in their auditorium so I only did that a couple of times. But the concept was cool and I showed the video of that to the kids that didn’t get to see the live drone.

Keecker will change that presentation I am sure. Having a portable projector that comes when you call it (via your cell phone for the connection and communication) will be pretty cool. Since it is also a device living in that connected Internet device space it will also fit in nicely.

Perhaps in a new presentation I can call Jibo from Keecker and have a conversation with someone sitting in my house. The only thing that worries me in the end is all the bandwidth. I am 1 step away from the maximum bandwidth Verizon offers via FIOS. (No cable modems are not as fast as fiber. I know they advertise that they have the fastest in home wi-fi but really? You are interested in things that live in your house only? You don’t connect to Netflix, Amazon instant video or Hulu? Because while the fastest in-home wi-fi is great for the family history pictures on your network, it does nothing for Netflix, Hulu and Amazon instant video).

Plus, I can also demonstrate the Hololens.

See, already rewriting my IoT presentation to share more things that are here, the art of the possible a lot more today than it was just a year ago,



The Rise of Cloud Brokers….

cloud brokerI had a discussion yesterday with someone that I wonder about. It was one of those discussions that afterwards you wonder, what exactly started the conversation. We ended up talking about the concept of cloud brokers. Yes, I know that is not a topic of conversation that most, if in fact any people bring up or have. Even at the geekiest holiday parties. The conversation was around technology and what is coming, I postulated as I have been for the past several years that brokers will rise. In fact, for the most part they have, but the overall concept left now is the automation.

The person in question does not see the value in brokers. I understand that, although I don’t understand the market logic of denying brokers. I think there are many organizations that will benefit from broker technologies. In fact, I think personally that my concept of the City Broker remains a variable way to solve the initial implementation problem. I also see value in a US Federal Cabinet level agency have its own broker to build and deploy solutions.

Most people today look to the market as it has been for the past 10 years. It is evolving and as is often the case those who spend to long standing at the edge of the cliff looking at the sunset are the ones that get left there when the tour bus packs up and drives away. For a variety of reasons brokers are coming. The what and who of that eventual automation is the question.

EvolutionI believe it is critical that cloud brokers be of two distinct natures. The first is the inward facing broker, not that it only has internal services. Rather than for large companies or US cabinet level agencies the broker is run within the organization, both owned and managed by that group. The second broker is a broader municipal or regional government broker service. The goal of the second is to create a safer stronger overall computing environment.

The reality of hackers is that they will find weakness in systems. Therefore, the stronger the walls of the system the better everyone will be. The security framework that a municipal broker can offer is pretty big. It won’t solve the problem, but it will start the process of moving a little further and a little faster towards a better place.

For large corporations or cabinet level US Federal, or for large government sponsored agencies throughout the world having a broker internally gives them a couple of layers of control. They can enforce strict you cannot build in the cloud without approval rules. They can also manage the cost and the reality of systems. Look, I’ve moved applications to the cloud at the request of customers many times. I’ve told the customer at the time that the applications didn’t need three, four or more VM’s but I was over ruled. With a metering system in place such as what a broker can offer, you gain the ability to know which systems are over preforming (need to increase the number of VM’s) and which ones are under performing (reduce cost by releasing machines).

DevOpsEffetely and in reality, brokers are inevitable. I believe given the concepts laid out in this paper the broader reality of cloud brokers will become real in a short-term view. By short term I figure 24 months for the rise of the internal agency and large corporation brokers. That is just a good financial decision for the two to make. The city broker is one that will take longer, but is one that will benefit many more people throughout the world.

The last component of the overall concept of brokers is the reality of the coming tide, IoT. The value proposition of the IoT explosion is amazing information. The really bad thing is security and data management. Not traditional data storage, but live feed massive data what do we do with it? That data management layer begs for an IoT broker, given the reality of how devices connect it also calls for an integrated gateway layer that sits in the cloud (there are three available right now, Azure’s IoT device gateway, the IBM BlueMix and the Amazon IoT gateway).

I walked away from the conversation realizing that the distance between where someone is, and the future isn’t how far can they see. It is ultimately being they willing to actually look.


Broker lover, cloud dreamer