So Margaret and I stopped by the Apple Store in Frankfurt and were admiring the glass staircase.
Well just a few hundred feet away at the Ziel Gallery, Samsung dominates the glass elevator, the escalators, the 7th floor balcony and even has their version of the Genius Bar in a glass adorned section.
An example of “innovation” where you least expect it…this time in Tibet
“Cybersecurity experts call this "advanced persistent threat" (APT) -- a constant onslaught of targeted attacks requiring resources that are normally unavailable to individual hackers. "Dharamsala is ground zero for advanced persistent threat, really," says Greg Walton, a doctoral candidate at Oxford University's Center for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security. Walton traveled to Dharamsala in 2008 to help the Dalai Lama's private office better understand what, and who, had been compromising its systems. His team discovered that the most likely culprit was a shadowy hacker group responsible for a series of network intrusions that American investigators had dubbed "Byzantine Hades." The group, according to U.S. State Department cables released by WikiLeaks, had ties to a unit of the People's Liberation Army, China's military, based in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu.” -
The chosen works vary broadly in terms of scale and function as well as in style and spirit, but all represent a unique vision. Some are exercises in formmaking pyrotechnics. Case in point: Zaha Hadid’s splendidly curvaceous cultural center in Baku, Azerbaijan (pictured). Others, like the minimalist open-air pavilion by Foster + Partners in Marseille, France, are sublime studies in simplicity. Inventiveness prevails, perhaps nowhere more strikingly than in Aedas’s twin Abu Dhabi skyscrapers, whose smart façades adjust to changing light conditions. And underlying all these edifices is a deep connection to place, with each design sensitively responding to its locale’s history and aesthetic traditions. To be sure, there are other spectacular new buildings—far more than could possibly fit in our pages. Consider this sample a reflection of the times, a celebration of ingenuity, and a reminder of architecture’s power to inspire.
CarPlay allows iOS users to make calls, use maps, listen to music and access messages through touch and voice-based controls. Users can control CarPlay from the car's dashboard or push and hold a control button on the steering wheel to activate the iOS voice assistant, Siri.
CarPlay also supports third-party applications including Spotify and iHeartRadio.
Automakers slated to offer CarPlay include Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Kia, Hyundai, Honda, General Motors and Toyota.
So, at the Microsoft conference in Atlanta my wife and I took a tour of the CNN studio here. I wanted to see John King’s Magic Wall – Microsoft now owns Perceptive Pixel which provided that technology. There’s Necco Ceresani, our guide using an older CNN model.
We also got to ride an escalator right up to the 8th floor – beats by a long shot one in the underground train in Prague which seemed to go on for ever.
We saw the extremely elaborate and expensive jibs,cranes and cameras in Studio 7
We watched the hive of activity which is the news room, where over a thousand stories are evaluated each day and breaking news worthy ones can move from this room to our screens in as little as 5 minutes
Finally, Margaret got to audition as an anchor – a bit soft spoken but glad it was a story about Apple, a company she has come to know very well with her new MacBook Pro.
Delta was prominent at Convergence this week with its CIO on stage and several crew members on the Expo Floor. It helps they are headquartered in Atlanta, but importantly Microsoft and Nokia devices and services are playing a growing role with its pilots and flight attendants as the video below shows. (I have also previously blogged about the inflight POS from my own experience as a passenger)
In addition, on a customer panel, Darrell Haskin of Delta IT provided some more color
a) There is almost immediate payback from the POS deployment because credit cards can be validated using the in-flight GoGo wi-fly network. Previous POS was asynchronous leading to losses from expired or invalid credit cards.
b) the ability to offer upgrade options in-flight could lead to additional revenues especially on international flights
c) the flight attendant device will have a growing number of apps which will allow for much more personalized service during boarding and in the air
d) The Surface tablets were attractive even to pilots with personal iPads because of their spilt screen functionality which allows them to view documentation and flight data at the same time.
At the Convergence conference in Atlanta this week Microsoft shared a few details on their role in the recently concluded Winter Games:
Windows Azure Media Services delivered 6,000 hours of high-definition streaming to more than 100 million fans and guests via 5 broadcasters across 22 countries.
More than 1 million fans using Windows Phone devices were also able to get instant information on the Winter Games through two mobile apps: Sochi 2014 Guide and Sochi 2014 Results.
Microsoft technologies, including Dynamics and Sharepoint, powered the infrastructure, systems, information management and communications for the games managing 800,000 units of equipment, 36,000 square meters of warehouse space, 1,200,000 liters of diesel fuel, and 18,500 truck deliveries
The city formally takes up that issue this year during its turn as World Design Capital. Cape Town is celebrating design in all its forms, putting on fashion shows by students and established designers alike, hosting architecture open houses, welcoming the public into artists’ studios and folding the annual visual arts spectacular Design Indaba conference in February into the design capital program. Also part of the lineup are locals seeking to rejuvenate impoverished black-majority townships: The Maboneng Lalela Project turns township homes into galleries and performance spaces; Foodpods constructs sustainable farms, giving residents access to healthy produce; and the Langa Quarter project seeks to make the precinct a cultural tourism destination.
“It is well known that America’s military dominates both the air and the sea. What’s less celebrated is that the US has also dominated the spectrum, a feat that is just as critical to the success of operations. Communications, navigation, battlefield logistics, precision munitions—all of these depend on complete and unfettered access to the spectrum, territory that must be vigilantly defended from enemy combatants.
Having command of electromagnetic waves allows US forces to operate drones from a hemisphere away, guide cruise missiles inland from the sea, and alert patrols to danger on the road ahead. Just as important, blocking enemies from using the spectrum is critical to hindering their ability to cause mayhem, from detonating roadside bombs to organizing ambushes. As tablet computers and semiautonomous robots proliferate on battlefields in the years to come, spectrum dominance will only become more critical. Without clear and reliable access to the electromagnetic realm, many of America’s most effective weapons simply won’t work.
Yet despite the importance of this crucial resource, America’s grip on the spectrum has never been more tenuous. Insurgencies and rogue nations cannot hope to match our multibillion-dollar expenditures on aircraft carriers and stealth bombers, but they are increasingly able to afford the devices necessary to wage spectrum warfare, which are becoming cheaper and more powerful at the same exponential pace as all electronics.
“Now anybody can go to a store and buy equipment for $10,000 that can mimic our capability,” says Robert Elder, a retired Air Force lieutenant general who today is a research professor at George Mason University. Communications jammers are abundant on global markets or can be assembled from scratch using power amplifiers and other off-the-shelf components. And GPS spoofers, with the potential to disrupt everything from navigation to drones, are simple to construct for anyone with a modicum of engineering expertise.”
Charles Zedlewski, a fellow Entrrprise Irregular, discusses some of Cloudera’s over 100 Hadoop use cases with Dennis Howlett
A number of customers are handling hundreds of billions of IT events where they’re looking for patterns that might represent a threat as compared to ‘normal’ behaviors.
Monsanto is taking geo-spatial and other data to figure out the seed sowing patterns that will deliver uplifted yields for their customers. Early results are encouraging. That data is being sold as an additional service to farmers.
Skybox uses satellite images to tell traders how busy specific ports are for different types of commodity. It can also tell retailers how busy their shopping areas are by counting the numbers of vehicle in their own and competitors’ parking lots.
A large bank is taking both marketing and risk data to make the combined data part of a continuous analytic process. This optimizes marketing efforts while minimizing risk.
Another in a 2014 guest column series which builds on the one in 2009 where 50+ had written about how science /tech has evolved their hobby/interest.
This time it is Vijay Vijayasankar, a software and services exectuive at IBM, SAP and other enterprise technology companies. Here he writes about his love of dogs and the shows they compete in
There are some games that I only play to win - like chess , cards etc . Dog shows are not one of those - I do that strictly for fun . I am a dog lover first and a dog show competitor next . I was not always that way - in my younger days , I was quite competitive in my approach to dog shows and was reasonably successful too. If I were to do it again at the highest level - trust me , I would use every analytical tool/Big Data technique available.
Dog shows can be fairly qualitative . Every recognized breed has a written standard (which would say things like the dog should have almond shaped eyes , should look like a clever hunter , should be 24 inches tall etc). Dogs get compared to this standard by a judge and the one coming closest wins . That is the theory - but that is not enough to win if winning is important to you.
A lot of things need to be considered before a dog wins at the highest level - and it takes a lot of effort , time and money . To begin with - you need to find a dog that will grow into a top specimen of the breed . Several breeds ( like Golden Retrievers) have been in existence for a century or so , while others ( like pharaoh hounds) have been around longer . It takes a lot of experience to increase odds of picking the right dogs to breed to get the right pup.
But if you pick the very best Golden Retriever or Labrador Retriever on the planet - your odds of winning a best in show like at the annual event in New York of The Westminster Kennel Club in New York (graph of their mobile app on right) is still slim. This is despite the fact that Labradors have been the most popular breed in USA and Goldens have been in top 5 in many years . In the event’s entire history - not a single Golden or Lab has ever won the top award ! Your chance of going best in show with a poodle is pretty high . Why is that? Several poodles have been Westminster winners before . This doesn't mean that poodles are superior to Goldens - it just means that if you are going to campaign a dog to win big, you have better odds of reaching your goals if you tried it with a poodle.
But buying the top poodle doesn't increase your odds sufficiently either - you need a top handler and you need to show under the right judges to build up momentum. There are more than a thousand shows to choose from in a year - but there are only a selection of that that you can physically show at .
And then there is the matter of advertisements. These ads are not cheap and you need to advertise multiple times in dog magazines . You can easily throw the money down the drain if you advertise in magazine issues that don't get the attention of the judges under whom you are showing.
Science and technology have affected many parts of the game of pure bred dogs already . I read somewhere recently that pet food companies earn more money than baby food companies . They apparently spend more money on nutrition research than baby food companies too . Similarly genetics , hereditary disease diagnostics and so on have taken big strides too . But there is a lot more that can and should be done
Today, the game of dog shows is played like how baseball was played prior to the quantitative techniques described in the book and movie, Money ball . It takes anywhere from $100000 to $500000 to show a dog for one year at the top most level . There are occasional exceptions , but for the most part at this level only the richest people can play to win . And they tend to "carpet bomb" with advertisements with no optimization . They guess the best shows to enter based on their handler's input . These handlers don't have any quantifiable way of making those recommendations either .
But does it have to be that way ? I firmly believe it doesn't have to be .
There is plenty of information compiled on every show and American Kennel Club and various dog magazines have compiled that data . If the fanciers take a Moneyball approach - it should be eminently possible to get the same high odds of winning spending a whole lot less money . That would mean a whole lot more fanciers can attempt to play at the highest level - and who knows, maybe I will live long enough to see a Golden Retriever or Labrador Retriever win the top award at Westminster.
"Looking back, Google’s emergence as a robotics powerhouse seems obvious—and inevitable. First came the scattered hires of roboticists and the release of self-driving cars into Bay Area traffic. Then, the search giant reportedly bought two humanoid HUBO robots from South Korean university KAIST. But it wasn’t until December’s revelation that Google had acquired eight robotics companies—including Boston Dynamics, maker of BigDog, WildCat and a stable of other astonishing Pentagon-funded bots—that it became clear: Google means to build robots."
Garnering comparisons to Star Trek's starship Enterprise, the SeaOrbiter is the brainchild of French architect Jacques Rougerie. Set to begin construction this spring, the 190-foot-tall semisubmersible vessel will be the culmination of nearly 30 years of Rougerie's research and development.
Six of the SeaOrbiter's 12 floors are below sea level, allowing for uninterrupted underwater observation. Although the ship's main mission is to research the biodiversity and climate of the sea, the real goal for Rougerie is to give the public a better understanding of how crucial the ocean is to Earth's well-being.
Ninety-nine percent of the $50 million project was financed through the French government and private companies. To get people more involved, Rougerie is crowdfunding the last 1 percent of the project. "The more humans understand about the underwater world, the more respect they will have for it," he says.
One night last April, 500 cells at the Montgomery County Jail in Maryland clicked open. No convicts wandered out, and authorities brushed off the incident as a simple computer glitch. But across the globe in Moscow, the security breach sent chills through a Russian billionaire -- Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky Lab, one of the world's biggest computer-security companies.
To Kaspersky, the malfunction proved his years of warnings: that increasingly digitized infrastructure is vulnerable to attack, including stock exchanges, power grids, and rapid-transit systems. "We are fighting with the cyber-devil," he says over a dinner of oysters, fish, and beer in Brussels in December. "We have to expect we will be fighting against very professional people."
“I switched to Mozilla Firefox, and I jettisoned my Googling habit in favor of a new search engine, DuckDuckGo. I downloaded Tor, an anonymizing browser bundle that hides your identity—it’s slow but worth using if you’re on an open Wi-Fi network. Right now I am locked in to an iPhone contract, but next time I’ll go with Android, which is open-source. So far, so easy. Next, I set about installing encryption software on my laptop and phone. Honestly, I’d never even heard of some of the tools my sources recommended—with names like Cryptocat, Autistici/Inventati, and GNU Privacy Guard. Downloading a secure instant-messaging client was a cinch. So was adding plug-ins to my browser to block tracking by ad companies. However, it took me an afternoon to wrestle PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) encryption into my email, partly because I insisted on learning how to encrypt my Facebook messages too. I started using a password manager, then promptly forgot the long master password I’d created. But I worked through the mishaps and felt much more secure once I was done.”
Competition to host the (FAA selected) test sites was fierce, with state economic development agencies predicting the expansion of a major industry.
The six winners, chosen from a field of 25, included Griffiss International Airport, a former Air Force base near Rome, N.Y., which will fly some tests from Cape Cod in Massachusetts, and Virginia Tech, which will fly in Virginia and has an agreement with Rutgers University in New Jersey for testing there as well. Virginia Tech plans to conduct “failure mode” testing — finding out what happens if the aircraft’s control link is lost.
The other winners were the University of Alaska, which plans to test in Hawaii and Oregon as well as Alaska, the State of Nevada, the North Dakota Department of Commerce, and Texas A&M University Corpus Christi. Michael P. Huerta, the administrator of the F.A.A., said the sites provided diverse geography, climate and air traffic density.
I loved this series FastCompany ran of how CEO/Product or Creative guru collaborate at many successful companies including Starbucks, Tesla, Jawbone (Hosain Rahman and Yves Behar below), Pepsi, Facebook and others here and here
Another in a 2014 guest column series which builds on the one in 2009 where 50+ had written about how science /tech has evolved their hobby/interest.
This time it is Bill Hewitt, someone I have known for over 15 years as an accomplished software executive. His baking skills are even more impressive as he describes below.
I grew up in a home where fresh food was always being prepared. My mother was, and still is, and excellent cook, so I was always comfortable in the kitchen. After one of my companies was sold, I even went to cooking class in New York City to learn the basics of knife skills, sauces, cooking techniques, even how to make the perfect omelet! But one thing that has always frightened me was baking. Bread to be exact. Big, crusty breads that require pre-ferments and solid technique in kneading, forming and baking.
So I was delighted when my wife gave me a baking course as a Christmas gift; I deferred it once because I was “too busy” but she made me go. I finally did spend last week at the King Arthur Flour Baking Education Center. The center, located in picturesque Norwich, VT, is a state of the art facility to train professional bakers. I have to say I was initially intimidated but I was there as a “tourist” baker, learning how to make artisan breads, like baguette, sourdough and croissant at home.
Much of our time was learning the chemistry behind baking and the proper techniques to make high quality artisan bread. As we were all amateurs, our technique of preparing the dough varied, which had the most effect on finished product.
The technology for baking bread has not changed much, but has gotten more precise; scales have replaced measuring spoons, proofing ovens that can duplicate any condition now exist, and ovens that blast freshly inserted bread with a blast of steam are now commonplace. There are also excellent web sources like The Fresh Loaf and mobile apps like the Dough Pro to keep us from going too wrong.
The equipment these days is amazing. For the most part it has removed the areas of the process that are most prone to outside forces, like weather, humidity, the “heavy hand” and oven temperatures.
What tech cannot replace however is the skill of the baker. We compared “mass produced” breads like those baked at semi-fast food restaurants. They tend to be lighter in color, have a finer crumb and less crust, mostly because they are machine made. The process, and product are consistent, but not high quality.
What makes the difference is the bakers feel for the dough; how much hydration and rise it needs, how it is shaped and how long it gets to develop. Like any good business process, the “winners” are often those who understand that a process requires finesse, not just automation, to be the best.
What I do know is that my teenage sons now believe I am a demi-god of sorts for learning the magic of making flaky, buttery croissants. I wish I would get the same response when I implement software applications!
The new computing approach, already in use by some large technology companies, is based on the biological nervous system, specifically on how neurons react to stimuli and connect with other neurons to interpret information. It allows computers to absorb new information while carrying out a task, and adjust what they do based on the changing signals.
In coming years, the approach will make possible a new generation of artificial intelligence systems that will perform some functions that humans do with ease: see, speak, listen, navigate, manipulate and control. That can hold enormous consequences for tasks like facial and speech recognition, navigation and planning, which are still in elementary stages and rely heavily on human programming.
Designers say the computing style can clear the way for robots that can safely walk and drive in the physical world, though a thinking or conscious computer, a staple of science fiction, is still far off on the digital horizon.
Another in a 2014 guest column series which builds on the one in 2009 where 50+ had written about how science /tech has evolved their hobby/interest.
This time it is Bertrand Dussert, Vice President, HCM Transformation and Thought Leadership for Oracle. In this capacity, he serves as HR transformation and executive advisor to some of Oracle's largest clients. Prior to Oracle, Bertrand was the global leader for HR Shared Services, Recruitment Operations and Workforce Planning for American Express. When not at work, Bertrand is an avid cyclist and Ironman triathlete.
When I’m not working, flying, reading, tweeting, or spending time with family, I can usually be found riding a bike or thinking about Ironman Triathlon (or riding a bike and thinking about technology). Or swimming/running and thinking about how I would rather be cycling…
So what exactly is an Ironman, and why is technology so central to this sport?
Ironman Triathlon is a one-day event that involves swimming 2.4 miles in open water, riding a 112-mile cycling time trial (no drafting), and ‘running’ a full marathon. Given the extraordinary length of the events, leveraging performance data is a critical aspect of racing and training for the distances.
Some of you may have heard of the running ‘wall’ that many hit in a marathon around miles 20-23. In an Ironman, most athletes have already raced for 7 hours before starting the marathon. Even the world’s fastest pros take over 5 hours before starting the marathon. This creates a need to carefully manage pace on race day to avoid ‘bonking’ and ‘blowing up.’
To successfully complete, much less race, an Ironman Triathlon, training is required in swimming, cycling and running. All three sports are balanced, but more time is usually spent on riding in training, as it limits impact damage to joints, builds aerobic capacity well, and is the longest part of any Ironman event. So just what kind of technology do I use in my training?
- Garmin 910Xt: This device that looks like a large watch has amazing data logging capabilities:
Swimming:track swim distance, pace, strokes per lengths, lap times, and distance covered for open water races (it has GPS).
Cycling: track speed, distance, average lap times, heart rate, average heart rate, ‘Training Effect,’ calories burned, elevation changes (it has a GPS and altimeter) and many more
Running: measure and record speed, pace, heart rate, elevation….
- Cloud based data tracking and gamification software
Garmin Connect – this application allows athletes to upload training data, including courses on maps, temps and many many more variables
Strava – this application allows athletes to do much of the same, but also has a built in competition feature with Strava Segments. Once someone has ridden a course segment, others can complete to try to better the time on the same segment (includes a leaderboard, workout logging and many more features)
- Equipment – in addition to software and sensors, the bikes and wetsuits are worth mentioning
Bikes: high end triathlon bikes have frames made of carbon fiber, are wind tunnel tested, have airfoil shaped wheels also made of carbon fiber, and are designed and built to very high standards (think of them as highly engineered vertical land gliders with pedals and wheels)
Indoor Trainer: most of my riding during the week is done in the evenings on an indoor trainer. I use a direct drive bike trainer that provides very realistic feel in the pedaling action.
Wetsuits: modern triathlon wetsuits are capable of improving swim speed by 5-15%, and allow athletes to swim in much colder water than without them.
Many triathletes also train with power meters (a really great way to go). Perhaps the most frequently used technology in Ironman is simply data. Cumulative training loads, meso-cycle tracking, VO2Max, heart rate recovery, lactate threshold measurement…if something can be measured, I guarantee an Ironman triathlete somewhere is using the data to try to get an edge. How can I tell if I’m ‘race ready?’ I find the best indicator involves two measures, combined with feel. If my resting HR is below 50 bpm, my body mass is in the right range, and I feel unstoppable in my training (minimal soreness after 100 mile solo ride, followed by a 3 mile run), I know I’m as ready as I’ll be.
Unlike some other sports, all the training and fitness in the world won’t get you through an Ironman triathlon if you aren’t smart about your race day. For most people, the use of technology and data are critical to managing a great race day. That combination of training, thinking and technology needed to succeed is what makes Ironman so much fun for me. Oh, and there is NO feeling in the world like running down the finish chute of an Ironman and hearing over the load speakers, “Bertrand Dussert, YOU’RE AN IRONMAN!”
My blogs are celebrating their 9th birthdays – New Florence this month, its older sibling Deal Architect did in February. Together, they represent my longest “book” – 9,000 posts long.
It’s been quite a run. In many ways they are ying and yang. Deal Architect is punchier and reflects the voices and disappointments of many of my consulting clients about the pace of and payback from enterprise technology. New Florence is pure joy as I catalog innovation across products, places and projects.
In the earlier years, Deal Architect had an unfair advantage because my consulting practice and social network call signs used the same moniker. Also, enterprise viewers used to have a narrow view of innovation and thought New Florence was too removed from their world. Boy has that changed, and in a sign of optimism for all of us that innovation is accelerating around the globe, New Florence has been growing at a faster pace than Deal Architect both in content and audience the last couple of years.
Blogging has brought me so many benefits
Readers from around the world – a pleasure to meet many of them during my travels
Many new friends including the Enterprise Irregulars, a group that came together in 2006
Fodder for 3 books I have worked on since 2009
A chance to invite many casual writers to guest blog. I am especially proud of the 2009 and continuing in 2014 series where nearly a hundred folks have written about how science and tech have helped evolve their passions and hobbies
An introduction to many obscure industries and places around world which constantly make me stop and go “wow”
I have so many people to thank
My sponsors who have been immensely supportive while respecting the independence rules I have laid out
Countless technology and other companies who keep me informed of their products and invite me to their events
Typepad, my blogging platform, which has performed without hiccup and at very reasonable investment. While many professional bloggers sneer at it, I challenge anyone to show me many service providers which could match the cost and service levels I have received.
Tools like MS Windows Live Writer and Bit.Ly that have helped format then compress addresses for thousands of the blogs
Google for bringing readers sometimes years after a blog is posted and from places farther than the mind could imagine would be interested in a post.
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for allowing me to share these posts with a changing set of communities.
My parents for the DNA with the C – curiosity – chromosome which makes me look and admire so many things others find not so interesting.
And again, my loyal readers
Look forward to your continued support as we march to the 10 year, 10K milestone. Thanks again.
“To make the sound of the glow urchins flying through the air and hitting a body, Myers did the following:
“The first is sort of a synthesized tone that I put through a Doppler program. I took that tone, pitched it down a bit, I think I added a little bacon frying with it. To give it some texture.”
That’s right. He adds the sound of bacon frying. And just so you know, this isn’t a fancy industry term. It’s literally the sound of bacon in a pan.
And beyond the pitched up tone and the bacon frying, there’s also the sound of two Hot Wheels cars banging into each other. And at one point, they used the sound of someone hitting a giant, empty water bottle.”
“As a solution, they turned to materials that shift from a solid to a liquid—a process known as phase change—at the target temperature. The material—which Maxwell refuses to name but claims is non-toxic and “could be eaten if you wanted to”—has a wax-like consistency at room temperature. After a hot beverage is poured into the mug, however, the material begins absorbing that energy and melting into a liquid. When it reaches the perfect beverage temperature—an inherent quality of the material the team selected—its atoms begin to slow down, resolidify and release energy back into the beverage as heat. A vacuum insulation layer around the outside of the mug prevents heat from escaping or entering.”
a hub for the smart home with a very wide ecosystem of devices
Staples Connect is the most accessible and encompassing of their offerings thus far and consists of a $100 Linksys hub module, with no recurring fees, and the requisite apps for designing activities and home control. Think Harmony Remote for Home Automation. Again, the power here is their agnostic approach. View your D-Link security cam on your Samsung HDTV, as shown above, or tell your Jawbone Up fitness band you’re headed to bed which, in turn, triggers your Lutron dimmer-controlled lights to power down.
“As part of my research (for the Iron Man project), I wanted to interview two people: John Underkoffler [the chief scientist at computer interface company Oblong] and Elon. I thought it was really interesting that he literally had decided to become a rocket scientist. And although the similarities kind of end with a certain -- what would you say? -- just an amazing self-agency, you know, that I think Elon really embodies. I was looking to Underkoffler for straight technology [advice]. You remember in Minority Report, the character is wearing those gloves and moving the screens around? He and his company built that into a reality, so I was taking some cues from him: If Tony had designed his own software and his own programs and the machinery to operate them, what sort of language would he design to be able to manipulate his environment? And over the course of all these movies, that's been as much a part of Tony's character as anything else. The spirit of Elon was really inspiring to me because Tony goes from doing one thing so well and so successfully, and goes to do something that's a lot more risky and much more far reaching.”
Courtesy of Troy Angrignon I saw this Apple tribute to mountaineers Adrian Ballinger and Emily Harrington who have scaled many of the world’s tallest peaks. It is a gorgeous page built around their use of the iPad and the Gaia GPS topography app but provides an amazing amount of detail about other equipment and physical challenges of such extreme climbing.
The point isn't the gadget: it's the combination of the intimacy of a device that is always with us and that only we use, with the power of cloud-based processing and storage. The wearable device itself is actually only the small, physical manifestation of a much larger service: Google Glass gives its wearers a head-up display, voice control and a forward-facing camera, but it's only through a connection to the internet that it can live up to its potential.
“With reasonably obtainable yield goals as a target, the fertilizer is not only applied as needed across the field per data-based recommendations, but also precisely and strategically placed into the soil geometrically. This allows the roots of each plant to reach the bands and best utilize the nutrients. As with all other uses of smart technology in the business world, human brains and ingenuity are ultimately more important. In this case, the Downing family’s keen knowledge of root systems enables the technology to work optimally. The same John Deere processor that auto steers the machines across the field also controls the machine’s hydraulic driven pumps at variable rates. It can blend different formulations from up to five products, all carried on the machine in separate tanks. The processor takes input from the custom prescription maps and blends the prescribed rates on the go. It also saves and produces “as applied” maps and data that allow Brian and his colleagues to overlay the application maps on top of the harvested crop production maps to study how well the initial decisions came out.”
AG Maps Online talks about the growing role of drones (UAVs) in precision agriculture as "platform + GPS + autopilot & communication + sensor + data processing & integration + legal & operation". Photo Credit below from Ag-Wing
Nice InformationWeek story on Penske Truck Leasing as they moved to selling used vehicles to consumers, not just to resellers
“The Penske team knew it needed the right terminology and keywords to get the attention of shoppers and search engines, so IT and marketing did customer interviews to get it right. "We say 'cargo van,' but some people refer to it as a high cube or a box truck," says Stobbart. After the added keywords and cross-referencing, "we went from having a keyword base of about 100 vehicle names to 2,200," he says. Another problem was something Stobbart says he and the team took for granted in the planning stages: collecting and organizing photos. "Getting images on the site wouldn't seem like a challenge," he says, "but we don't have a centralized truck lot. Our total fleet runs out of 2,500 locations nationwide." The fix required reengineering Penske's fleet management system and requiring that whenever the company lists a new vehicle for sale on the site, five images must come with it. Having a good product and building a useful website are table stakes these days. Attracting customers takes an aggressive search engine optimization and social media strategy.”
Though the design of the device remains much the same as its predecessor, the Galaxy S4, the new model boasts a slightly larger 5.1-inch body with a high-resolution 1080p display, a 16-megapixel camera, and two crucial features that will have the enterprise cheering and Apple cursing: a fingerprint reader, and an in-built heart-rate sensor.
Google has spent more than $1 billion to buy and renovate a former paper mill in Finland that can store its user data. Nestled in the caves of a Norwegian mountain, a regional IT company uses a facility built by a local investment group and cooled by a fjord. Microsoft says it will spend $250 million to construct a data center in Finland to manage its cloud services, as part of its agreement to acquire Nokia’s device business. In Luleå, a city of 50,000 on the banks of the Lule less than 70 miles south of the Arctic Circle, Facebook fired up a 300,000-square-foot data center last year.
To test combinations of chemotherapy drugs without inadvertently harming a patient, Champions Oncology implants pieces of a patient’s tumor in specially bred mice and gauges the effectiveness of various drug cocktails.
These eyes in the sky (the SportVU tracking system) will provide reams of real-time data instantly crunchable into an array of advanced statistics. Tracking every pass – including free-throw assists (passes that led to a player being fouled), secondary or "hockey" assists (passes to the passer that got credit for an assist), and potential assists (passes that would have led to assists if missed shots had been made) – will determine who's actually generating the most offense and setting up teammates for the best shots. Being able to intricately follow players and the ball will reveal who's securing the most rebounds in traffic and who's creating the most rebound chances. Metrics related to protecting the rim (how a defender near the basket affects both shot selection and field-goal percentage) will offer an assessment of defensive impact insufficiently detailed by such fuzzy statistics as blocked shots. "Up until this point, they haven't been able to measure these adequately," says Brian Kopp of Stats, the pioneering company that purchased SportVU five years ago and adapted it for use in the NBA. (It is also used in soccer and could eventually come to the NFL.) "Hopefully some of these new statistics become part of the language of basketball."
The company, called Planet Labs, flew four prototype satellites in 2013. Those proved successful, enabling the firm to quickly follow up with production of a 28-member network that already is aboard the International Space Station and awaiting launch.
The constellation, called Flock 1, is comprised of 4 inch-sided, cube-shaped satellites stuffed with mostly off-the-shelf consumer electronics components, including imagers.
“Things that were once the province of huge 10-ton satellites are now in these tiny things. That’s what enables us to generate a data set that is unprecedented in terms of coverage and cadence,” company co-founder and chief executive Will Marshall told Discovery News.
As the aviation industry struggles with a record number of winter related storms, a fascinating story in Time (sub required) about how and why the airlines make decisions on which flights to delay or cancel
“On the afternoon of Feb. 12, American's integrated Operations Control Center just outside the Dallas--Fort Worth airport gives no hint that the Atlantic Coast is choking on snow and ice. The crisis room that hovers like a skybox above the 36,340-sq.-ft. (3,376 sq m) nerve center is empty. The main floor is a trading pit of meteorologists, airport managers, flight-attendant supervisors, crew schedulers, customer-service teams, diversion coordinators, specialists in each type of jet that American flies, maintenance and parts trackers, flight-operations engineers and other groups needed to keep what is now the world's biggest airline aloft. In a centrally located pod designated for American's air-traffic dispatchers, Ron Schulz and Billy Szendrey are manning the desk. They are, for this eight-hour shift, the masters of the Cancellator.
On one monitor they track federal air-route operations, which has information about airport conditions, traffic patterns, ground delays and gate capacity. Another screen shows the positions of all aircraft, superimposed over the weather radar. It's looking grim. On a third, there's a live view of how well American is performing in the midst of all this. It tracks metrics by airport and flight, gathering arrival and departure data, flight-delay minutes, passenger-delay minutes and whether crew members are in danger of reaching their hourly work maximums. A big issue when storms hit is that planes and crews end up in far-flung places, and retrieving them is time-consuming and expensive.”
Interesting age based differences in this Consumer Reports survey focused on auto infotainment.
Respondents 65 and older who owned a car with an installed infotainment system were significantly more likely to have trouble operating them (68 percent), compared to similar respondents aged 45 to 64 years (52 percent) and those 18 to 44 years old (37 percent). However, the younger users were apt to report more problems.
Some technologies like tablets and their apps of course have even more diversity in skew of users – as kids as young as 2 watch shows on them and folks as old as 90 read books on them. It will also be interesting how these trends play out as the more tech savvy younger consumers come to expect tech in everything – toasters, thermostats, tennis gear etc.
Electornic House has a gallery of kitted out ski homes such as the one near Japan’s Nagano ski slopes.
“To make the inside equally as picturesque as the outside, the homeowners called in The Automated Lifestyle to install a Control4 system. After a hard day on the slopes, the owners can use one of the home’s many iPads to fire up the under-floor radiant heating, dim the lighting, close one of the 30 connected blinds, or prepare the eight-person automated hot tub. Other features include streaming audio, a 3D-capable plasma TV, and snow sensors for the roof, driveway, and ground heating systems.”
Analytics of the world’s oldest living folks in infograph below from Topcollegesonline
SmartPlanet on the other hand lists the Swiss as the longest living citizens
"the research says that residents of Switzerland born in 2011 are expected to live 82.8 years -- as they are generally healthier, and do not have such high rates of obesity-related illnesses, cardiovascular disease, and cerebrovascular disease such as strokes and aneurysms."
Another in a 2014 guest column series which builds on the one in 2009 where 50+ had written about how science /tech has evolved their hobby/interest.
This time it is Don Berk who I met when he was Creative Director at Gartner. Don introduced electronic visual support, special effects, multimedia, and even theatre to our presentations. It was at that time that Don saw a need for coaching and refined his skills. He had done this as writer, producer, and director of his video production company. The common thread in all these diverse videos was the engaging and persuasive performance of each company’s spokesperson. Here he writes about something he is even better at – his paintings and his sculptures
Few of my recent acquaintances (over the last couple of decades) knew it but my Master’s from NYU was in Art with a primary focus in painting. When my new girlfriend first visited my home, she asked where I got the cool art. When she learned I did it, she encouraged me to enter Donna: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman in the Bucks County Sculpture show. I was pleased it was accepted and surprised when it was an award winner.
After a stint as a working artist in New York, family needs took precedent and I put away my paints. Work and painting or work and physical activity? My daughters thought I should paint until I asked them, “Do you want me to still be ambulatory when you have kids?” They quickly said, “Go exercise, dad.”
I had a video production company, and when one of my clients, Gartner, made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, I became their creative director. Perhaps the biggest draw was the collegiality of these brilliant analysts, and the chance to learn about IT from them. I saw a need to coach our presenters and began developing my speaker seminars and workshops that I still constantly refine and use today. After all, I had experience pulling performances out of corporate reps for a wide variety of companies, most of whom were Gartner clients. The ability to provide instant feedback via video is an enormous aid. My speakers don’t need to take my word for it; I can show them what I see, and the lessons stick.
I moved to Pennsylvania in 2002 and worked as a communications consultant and speaker coach I was plugged in even more. During stints as Director of Communications for a couple of global pharmaceutical companies, I had to be accessible. The 24/7 thing can become addictive. Now, if I leave home without my cell phone, I feel naked.
But it’s exhausting to have no alone time and I needed a way to recharge. With one daughters out of college and the other a senior, I set up my studio in one of their bedrooms and I’m at it again. I sit in my studio, plug in my iPod, and dance around my canvass, listening for it to speak to me. I have a reminder sign that proclaims “Movement Defines Me & My ART”. I hear my creation tell me which colors to use and where, what positive and negative space to emphasize, what movement to accentuate? I may sit silently for more than an hour, contemplating the painting’s current state and what nourishment it needs to grow to completion. And upon completion, I live with it for a while to see if it’s truly finished. It’s my respite from the digital 24/7 world. My painting stays old school and I stay sane, or at least relatively so. Unplug to recharge!
Tech takes over, though, when a piece is finished. Although I show and sell most of my completed pieces at Rich Timmons Gallery in Doylestown, folks also reach me through my web site, (although it’s hard to appreciate a piece that’s 48” x 36” or even larger in a snapshot). When a work I’m particularly fond of is finished, I first turn it over to Graphic Imaging. They digitally scan (much like a high resolution copier) and prepare it for reproduction as a Giclee.
Over a series of sessions, I direct the finished resolution based on desired brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, etc. I may even alter it from the original if I decide that I prefer that version. This super high quality reproduction is often printed on canvas and mimics the original so closely that it’s hard to tell one from the other. Clients can buy an affordable high quality reproduction in whatever size they desire and the original remains for me or one of my high rolling patrons of the arts.
What pleases me most is the act of painting, but I must admit that I love hearing people talk about my paintings and what they see in them when they don’t know I’m the artist. I take pride that the paintings are great companions over time and people are always discovering new elements in them.