Tech more on AR and helpdesk stuff

I used to print labels all the time. I don’t as often now, but I still have my Dymo label maker. I also have a photo printer,  that like the label maker I have but don’t use anywhere near as often as I used to use. I probably, in the best sense of cleaning out my office, start getting rid of those devices. It is something I have been trying to do. The same is true for the various arguments in the AR/VR world. I have three of the headsets today. I suspect when I get to the final use case state, I will probably get rid of one if not two of them. It is a part of the sloughing of my technology skin that I do from time to time. Yes, I realize that making a snakeskin reference will make some people uncomfortable.

During the 30 years of my IT career, I have had many different roles. I’ve been part of development teams and have built products. I have been part of a huge company-wide initiative to make things better. I ran an email system back in the days before internet mail took off. I integrated some technologies into our mail system. I also worked on a helpdesk for two years. Working on the helpdesk taught me the most important thing about technical problems. If someone tries to help you, accept that help. People that are willing to help you are rare. That said the interesting reality of helping people is most people are extremely hard to deal with. Read my post on helpdesk life, or Gary’s post as well (there is a link in my helpdesk post).

The other thing that is hard to convey to people is the critical nature of memory. When you have a problem, and someone helps you fix the problem, remember the fix. Try all the variations of the fix, if you have another problem. The more you can help yourself, the faster the person helping you can get to where you need to be. Honestly, the reality of solving technical problems is a huge area where AR is going to be useful. AR headsets allow you to see what you are trying to fix, at the same time seeing how it is supposed to look like. A map of all the parts, and a map of the part numbers. That ability allows you to solve problems faster. The hardest thing for techs, help desk professionals, and other support professionals is knowing what is deployed versus what things were designed to look like.


Tech Wiz

(link to the poll)

Tech Wiz: The micro-personal micro-grid for powering devices…

Portable. It is an interesting word. First off it is not something that cloud service providers like to talk about. AWS, Azure, IBM, Google, and Oracle want you to put workloads in the cloud, and leave them there. Portable, however, for the concept of a micro-personal micro-grid is critical. The value of such an addition is your ability to work anywhere. It empowers you to, as they say, talks longer and not worry. You can create this via a battery, but batteries have to be charged before they are used. With personal power production, you can generate the power from the resources you have. That is incredibly powerful. That said, portable is a relative term, Put it in a backpack? It better be something you can carry.

The other thing when building your micro-personal micro-grid is to consider what you need to change. For me, the quick answer is I change three things. My headset, my phone, and my portable projector. All three of these items actually can be charged via a USB cable. That said, my portable solar array has both USB, DC and AC plug outputs. It is probably overkilled. I also have an emergency jump start battery in all family cars. Those batteries can also be used for emergency electronic charging. You don’t want to overuse the emergency batteries, however, because you want them to have power when you need them. Now, the portable solar system I have weights 12 pounds, that is something to consider!

The two other generation systems I Have to weigh less but have limits. Solar power works as long as the sun is up. Not as much power is generated when it is cloudy, but you still get power. Wind turbines do require wind, although if you are in a car or boat, you can change devices while you are moving (the wind is created by the motion). Water turbines require moving water, making that also a bit of a need.  You cannot tow a water turbine behind a powerboat; you will cause problems for the water turbine. It becomes a balancing act over time that you have to consider. The need for power is always critical, when you need it, but not always something we plan for. Having portable power available makes a huge difference!


tech wiz Smile

A why do I do technology reviews…

I got a great email yesterday asking me why I write the reviews I write. Also a comment on the name I have for my reviews that really was quite insightful! reviews are born of my love of Technology. That loves comes from my father, NASA and also my personal quest to replace the circular slide rule my father gave me in 1974. Also to achieve the technology goals of writers like Asimov, Heinlein and Clarke. That all are equal in the eyes of technology. I write reviews not only of technology i use, but of technology I think will help and benefit people.I believe the world is within reach. That with technologies help I can do anything. I have shared this picture, HoloMe many times. It represents the value of technology to me. The Hololens is one of the new products from Microsoft that represents a new game. A new path. The device is without a doubt one of the most useable devices I’ve played with in the past year. Yes, the Sony VR, and the Oculus Rift are amazing VR products. But Microsoft’s Hololens is gateway to VR/AR but also to personal productivity.My simple answer to why reviews? I want to help other people see the value around them!

Source: A why do I do technology reviews…

Solving problems and building feedback loops…

People access, use and rely on KM systems to solve problems. We can break problems into three distinct and fairly easily considered buckets.

clip_image002[4]The three are simply new, variation and known problem. While they may be exotic types of problems that are as of yet in the new bucket but not part of a new problem to date those three work very easily in classifying problems. Once you determine which bucket you are facing you then reach into your DLM© system. But notice that variations of existing problems and known problems start at the bottom of the system with known solutions. The new problem starts at the top with the SME. The SME may tell you your new problem is actually a known issue being worked on by another group. So while the problem is new to you, it is known by the organization or group.

This is a very simply diagram showing the complexity and reality of problems. There are also scales by which we measure the “difficulty” of the problem and of course our good friend time raises its hand as well saying some problems must be solved in X time period. Time creates a funnel forcing the reduction of time you have to consider options. That’s why the new problem starts with the SME at the top of the knowledge system, you aren’t sorting through a large number of options and actions.

Going back to our OODA Loop base, we know that if time is our orientation, our actions have less available flexibility (wiggle room- my personal favorite). That said, the wrong action taken because of time pressure can also cause massive impact. So while time is the issue, we still have to evaluate the overall impact of the problem first.

Time critical problems aren’t always new problems as well. Sometimes they are variations and actually known problems. One of the feedback loops in the system that we will add is that of value over time. Value over time is simply a way for us to denote how quickly a specific solution worked. A great example of this is a machine with an oil leak. You notice the smoke and smell the odor of burning oil which causes you to fix the engine. You fix the engine ending the leak but don’t wipe up the already leaked oil so the overall original problem (smell) remains. The fix worked but the cleanup of the fix wasn’t effective as it could have been (when done with leak wipe up excess oil)!

Difficulty is the other addition that may cause additional time delays and other considerations when approaching the solution. Take that engine above that we just solved the engine leak for. This time the engine itself is not in an open space but is actually crammed into a corner or boxed into a space. Much harder to get to, we know the fix and solution but getting to the applications is actually more difficult. Our known fix says this takes 1 hour, but we know because of the position of our specific engine we should make that two hours. We now taking the difficulty and potential time constraints add the new option of replacing the engine completely and repairing it off-line rather than in the actual system.

Time and difficulty change problems. Using the DLM© system and John Boyd’s OODA Loops it’s critical that we build feedback loops for difficulty and for time. One for the two combined of course as well.


I am not a graphic artist!

Expanding the concept of a known good source


A fatal flaw with source validation is the creation of expert systems. There is a need for an expert system such as DLM© covered later in this book. But like all systems there has to be checks and balances. One of the cheeks is the reality of valid sources. A valid source is known good for a situation and has to be evaluated, a known not good source continues to be relevant for other issues just not for any one particular problem. The separation of the data from the source is critical. For example, always right data that is hard to get to, can actually be a known bad source. If I have to expend significant energy to get the data isn’t a good source.

Implementation of the system then takes into account the reality of information hoarding. The design will account for variances within sources for both applicability to the problem as well as the broader responsiveness of the system.

Our first step in building a system like this is making sure we have easy acc3ess to the information. This is accomplished in a number of ways but has to be applied to all information the system can contain.

The second step is that the data can be provided rapidly. Data that solves a problem but that arrives 10 days late or 10 minutes late isn’t relevant.

Our last step is the known or unknown source. It’s important that we not create an exclusionary system in the last step. Known good sources simply are pre-validated sources in relations to the specific problem we have. A great example of this would be a peer reviewed journal. It is a known good source, but if we are authoring the article for the journal we don’t always have the advantage of previous Intellectual Capital to base our article on.

imageOur system has to include evaluations not only of can we get to the data quickly but can we also consume it quickly. Is that data from a known good source or do we need to verify before we implement? Finally, the last piece in our overall process has to be the simple ask does the information acquired solve the problem. It is our base because frankly if information solves the problem, the rest of the points decrease. Except in the case where time is the driver. This brings us to the IP acquisition model that rides under the OODA Loop, the goal again to get to good decisions, using the model we need to evaluate the aspect of decision over time. A spectrum of decisions that starts with poor slow and moves all the way to good fast decisions.


following a knowledge loop

From Car to Geiger, information is produced, consumed and shared…

Is that data I see before me?

Not to turn a literary phrase but the concept of the Internet of Things (CPS) relies on, produces and manipulates data. Be it visual from a security camera or some other form of information that is consumed, produced or modified by the IoT/CPS Device. For example, last week I wrote about connected cars in a couple of places. The link is to a Cloudtweaks article I posted about the reality of teaching someone to drive in the world of cars that do a lot of the work for you.

IoT sensors (radar, lane cameras, front and rear cameras, and parking assist) all remove a component of what used to be expected of drivers. First off for a young driver learning it is so much better for them to learn less than more. But the other side of this is if the automated systems fail do you know how to operate without them?

Embracing the digital world also has other changes to data. For example, people under 30 share a lot more information on the various social platforms than people over 40 do. People under 30 also embrace new platforms quickly. Facebook was where younger people started, now it has become more of where the over 40 crowd hangs out as Snapchat and Tumblr exploded for younger people. The presentation and consumption of data produced by social media and consumed on your device is interesting to me.

First off, what do you share? This blog and my other blog are things I have shared on various social media platforms for a few years now. Before I posted my blogs on LinkedIn and Facebook I averaged 30-40 unique views per blog. Now that number is well over 200. Some blogs exceed 1000 unique views. The difference, the social experiment.

All of this, data. Information. Moving around us, about us and through us. Consumed and discarded, wandering the desert of knowledge seeking a watering hole. It is all there. You can, start at 5 in the morning and consume data all day long and not even get to 1% of the data produced by the sensors in your devices. Let along sensor produced on your way to work, at your place of work or school and your home.

The amount of data is staggering. The transient nature of the majority of that data gives rise to data classification structures. Geiger counter, critical information (if it pegs move quickly to the nearest exit). Seismograph data, critical the moment of an earthquake and also critical for the aftershocks. A week later, interesting but not critical information that we had an earthquake.

It’s the need for intelligence in the IoT/CPS device. The need for the device to understand the nature of the information and data produced. In the path of a tornado, estimates of direction and future path are critical, past direction and path not relevant to the people still in the path. So know and understand who needs the data and why.

The rise of smart devices will make for a number of new categories. First off, as you examine the reality of Transactive Energy every home may eventually become its own Micro grid. Only drawing from the larger power grid when its batteries are low or at night when there is no solar. Micro grids in the home will change the way power moves around the world. The information needed then will be how to modify production so there is just enough power in the system to back up the Micro grids in the case of failure.

Smart devices will learn to sip power through the straw of intelligence. Be on your battery when the power is low. Shut down when you aren’t needed. Truly shut down instead of being a power vampire (appearing to be off while still consuming power).

Smart devices will also know that something isn’t right and therefore it’s time to alert someone about the problem. They will know and understand the nature of connectivity and be able to use/leverage every form of connectivity available within your house, business, car or personal device. They will become grid sensors, able to connect and communicate in numerous ways.

Data, data everywhere and now that it is becoming smarter, useful data!

Chasing a rabbit down a hole, we are not in the digital age (or the information age). Seriously…

I have brilliant friends that have gotten to a place where they were stuck. Not just in jobs, but social and personal situations as well. Being stuck isn’t bad. All of us get stuck at various times of our lives. It doesn’t make us bad people. It just means for one period of time we aren’t moving as much.

Humans aren’t sharks. Most (not all) sharks have to move to stay alive. The ultimate killing machine is fairly easily killed. I guess that is to make it fair. Or a cosmic sense of humor. Being stuck isn’t horrible. It can feel bad, but it shouldn’t. Sticky is an interesting problem. In the world of marketing sticky is seen as remarkable. The goal, the ultimate prize. That idea is sticky. I still occasionally hum (plop, plop, fizz, fizz) to myself when my stomach hurts. Or the Coca Cola song from the 70’s, it wasn’t their song (Coke) but “I’d like to give the world a Coke” is now stuck forever in my head.

The information age is here. Stuck between the proverbial rock and the hard place. Many are pushing for the move to the digital age. Some are still struggling to enter the information age and frankly its all nomenclature. There is no age. No epoch of information. No great dawn of the digital tomorrow. It’s a spectrum and we play around the edges with names and labels. Reality is we are in an age, historians 200, 300 years from now won’t call us the information age or the digital age. We have far too much information that remains analog. Far too many sensors that don’t report in a smart automated fashion.

An information age is coming, perhaps to be known as the digital age but we are the initial steps on that path, not the path. You see in the information age, information will follow us like a faithful pet at our beck and call. We will always be with and around information. The compute, screen. storage and brokering will be automatic. We won’t think about it, it will just happen. The dawn of the true information age is just ahead of us.

When the concept of a human aging doesn’t mean you wear glasses it just means the device that presents your world view makes it a little bigger, a little clearer. When the music you choose, knows your moods and plays automatically.  When the world is digital you don’t carry analog devices. Everything is connected and everything is secure. Yes the digital age will include security.

That wi-fi hot spot you know the one in the coffee shop? It isn’t secure. That house you rented on AirBnB, that wi-fi is also compromised.  The digital age will be secure. When you are a live and virtual presence in two, three or four locations at the same time securely, the digital age has arrived.

We at the cusp of the age strive ever to be in the age. To rush headlong into naming ourselves the information or digital age. To quote the great show Big Bang Theory, and the incredible character Howard Walowitz “you don’t pick your nickname, they pick it for you.” We don’t get to pick the name of our age. Besides the fact that we aren’t there yet, we don’t get to pick the name.

Let’s focus on the problem that is going to cause problems very soon. All of those analog humans that are going to leave the work force with all that knowledge. It isn’t the cool new information age technology that we lose connection with. It is how it was built in the first place. If you don’t listen to those who came before, you are never going to move as fast as you could. To put that in more blunt terms “those who don’t read history, are doomed to repeat it.” History is counting the days to retirement.

Seriously. They are counting the days. If this truly were the information age, we would have a system to capture that intelligence. As it isn’t, we are going to lose it if we don’t pay attention.


Explicit knowledge only works if it is captured.