Latest read: The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires

Tim Wu‘s excellent 2011 book The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires is wonderful examination how information empires were established and stifled innovation. This is my second book by Wu following his brilliant Who Controls the Internet.
The Master SwitchWu identifies long business cycles surrounding the birth of information systems. While they begin open over time they were consolidated and driven by the market to become closed.

We displays how they become open again following amazing innovations force a business change in order to survive in the new marketplace. The Master Switch opens with the birth of the Bell AT&T telephone monopoly. This is a facinating story when held against the garage startups of Apple and Google.

There is an amazing look at how countries and cultures also view information empires differently. The case for Wu is the capitalist, independent market approach to radio vs the UK’s BBC dominated by the royal family.

The Master Switch reveals how four key markets actually hold government infrastructure: telecommunications, banking, energy and transportation. These four and their capitalist owners for generations established control over any citizen’s attempt at challenging their monopolies. The lesson Wu establishes is corporate control by closed technologies. Yet one cannot help but understand they magically protected the country from the devastating affects of revolution leading up to and more importantly the horrific aftermath of World War I that forever removed Paris as the hub for film entertainment.
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Latest read: Navigating the Health Data Ecosystem

The unique data issues explored in Navigating the Health Data Ecosystem by O’Reilly prove to be accurate regarding today’s modern, fast moving data environments. Health care has the unique demand regarding datasets that do not sync when compared to retail or corporate enterprises.
Navigating the Health Data EcosystemThe most perplexing issue surround support for human physiology is computing standards and compliance requirements. I recall working directly on large datasets for clinical trials that confirm the challenges outlined.

Navigating the Health Data Ecosystem indeed has “Six C’s”: Understanding the Health Data Terrain in the Era of Precision Medicine. Honestly at times it felt like 6 dozen C’s in O’Reilly’s guide from 2014.

Clearly the biggest “C” challenge is complexity. From the outside it may seem like an uphill battle but from within the health care data marketplace its like climbing Mount Everest…over twenty times. Many views navigating the Health Data ecosystem are a direct result of the Affordable Care Act.

However we should not ignore the opportunities facing the health care industry. It is still surprising to fully understand that electronic medical records (EMR) is still hand coded, data can be accurately labeled in multiple ways (including fax) while legacy data systems are still in operation. This causes a tremendous burden for effective change management systems to be effective given the unrealistic demands the public has regarding Health care data.

Latest read: The Internet as Material Empowering the Next Phase of Connected Hardware Innovation

Ayah Bdeir wrote The Internet as Material Empowering the Next Phase of Connected Hardware Innovation as a way to introduce the iPad generation to digital legos. This is a resource that should be in every elementary school across America.
The Internet as MaterialLego turned the cement block into a toy that we have all played with growing up. Ayah is doing the same for the circuit board.

littleBits Electronics has launched a revolution in the open hardware movement that somehow remains in a ‘quite’ mode.

Her idea needs a bigger platform like for example the Gates Foundation to be catapulted across a national audience.

littleBits has a product solution for children that is the next step to the Raspberry Pi’s breadboard. Microsoft has really embraced Raspberry Pi and breadboards for their IoT projects.
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Latest read: The Emperor’s New Clothes: Exposing the Truth from Watergate to 9/11

Richard Ben-Veniste’s book The Emperor’s New Clothes: Exposing the Truth from Watergate to 9/11 is a unique look at the political coverups that have engulfed Washington and the country. I find his approach to understanding the facts of highly publicized events to be a lesson in approaching internal reporting.
The Emperor's New Clothes: Exposing the Truth from Watergate to 9/11Ben-Veniste proves in The Emperor’s New Clothes that time will not and cannot alter Washington’s presidential change of power and the implications when tragic mistakes lead to institutional change.

It is clear to Ben-Veniste that established, solid governance can actually alter the accepted, institutional approaches in seeking important answers to events that bring organizations to the edge of collapse.

Clearly lessons from Watergate still ring true today. Since The Emperor’s New Clothes was published in 2009 Ben-Veniste‘s experiences as a commissioner on the 9/11 Commission have been given time to understand his successful, seasoned approach in dealing with the Nixon Administration and the conflict over Archibald Cox and the Saturday Night Massacre provide lessons in dealing with Condoleezza Rice and Attorney Generals (John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales) under W. Bush regarding executive privilege, another throwback position to Nixon and his defense of the White House taping system.

It would not be pressing to understand how Ben-Veniste is an accomplished lawyer, Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District service from 1968 to 1973. And then from 1973-1975 serving as the lead prosecutor on the Watergate Task Force. He was also a presidential appointment to the US Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group in 2000.

Latest read: Valley of Death: The Tragedy at Dien Bien Phu That Led America into the Vietnam War

The Valley of Death: The Tragedy at Dien Bien Phu That Led America into the Vietnam War by Ted Morgan is a simply stunning read. This book proves to be a perfect follow up to the CIA’s Archimedes Patti revealing Why Vietnam? Prelude to America’s Albatross and Bernard Fall’s excellent Hell In A Very Small Place: The Siege Of Dien Bien Phu.

This review below includes a series of powerful quotes from the 700+ pages that should turn your stomach as French leaders permitted men to die just to save face for their failing empire. It is truly stunning across this book to see a morally bankrupt France fight to recolonize IndoChina.

Valley of Death: The Tragedy at Dien Bien Phu That Led America into the Vietnam WarMorgan set the post-World War II stage inside IndoChina for any reader to learn how France was able to maintain a rule over IndoChina during the occupation by the Japanese Imperial coup in Vietnam. Valley of Death reveals how the CIA approached Ho Chi Minh before D-Day to rescue downed US Air Force pilots from Japanese troops throughout IndoChina. Ho urgently cooperated and was rewarded with munitions and a US Army Deer Team sent by the CIA to Ho Chi Minh. Their mission? To train and lead Viet Minh troops against the Japanese. This includes raids on Japanese positions in northern Vietnam after both atomic bombs were dropped.

Again Valley of Death clearly reveals US and Viet Minh relations were bonded against Japanese control of IndoChina during World War II.
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Latest read: Google Analytics Integrations

Dan Waisberg has written an excellent book Google Analytics Integrations that is well tested for Google’s Analytics Platform. He has been a long time respected contributor to the Analytics marketplace. In this book he adds an expert voice one of the strongest today about all things analytics.
Google Analytics IntegrationsGoogle Analytics Integrations reveals code, methods and best practices to streamline any existing metrics reporting to bringing together multiple enterprise services into a single data reporting and visualization engine running Google Analytics.

For users and teams seeking to gain executive support for their GA service Google Analytics Integrations will help build your needed message to unite metrics reporting across your organization to ensure accurate end-to-end reporting. By also including the ability to pull metrics from email a la DirectTarget and the much needed understanding of how to understand web metrics for social media, the overviews here will help solidify a solid measurement campaign moving forward.

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Latest read: Hell In A Very Small Place The Siege Of Dien Bien Phu

Bernard Fall wrote a somber yet compelling book Hell In A Very Small Place: The Siege Of Dien Bien Phu. Fall was a respected journalist who predicted the failure of French efforts to re-colonize IndoChina after World War II. Fall gives a first hand account as he was on the ground with French troops beginning in 1953. He returned to IndoChina multiple times before dying in a 1967 ambush along US troops in Operation Chinook II.

hell in a very small placeHe revealed on more than one occasion in the opening chapters how the French considered permanently passing on Dien Bien Phu. Here is the Google Satellite Map of the valley Dien Bien Phu.

At first glance this was a Greek Tragedy. Yet as you progress Fall reveals how to simply save face on the global stage France continued to send men to their deaths over the 56 day siege.

At the earliest stages of the French occupation General Henri Navarre and Lt. General Rene Cogny would spare over the definition of the Dien Bien Phu defensive parameter with tragic consequences.

Cogny defined Dien Bien Phu as a guerilla camp or mooring point defense, Navarre interpreted a heghog or airhead defense be established which had proven successful for France against the Viet Minh a the Battle of Na San. Regardless their defense was never implemented to withstand the onslaught that came.

Hell In A Very Small Place reveals during this early confusion French intelligence intercepted multiple radio messages revealing strong evidence of the enemy’s shift of two established divisions heading towards Dien Bien Phu. Yet this intelligence was only debated as Navarre and Cogny never acted on this report which led to increased disagreements between them at the cost of their men.

Yet what no French military leader could forecast was the coming cease fire in the Korean War. This allowed Communist China to shift much needed weapons from Soviet Russia and material into Dien Bien Phu in mid 1953. It is discouraging to read Fall’s account of the Allied losses around Dien Bien Phu beginning in November 1953, three months before the Viet Minh would launch their initial attack at Dien Bien Phu. The cold war shifted tides from Korea to IndoChina.

Fall’s other recognized book Street without Joy reveals how 400 French Union troops were confronted by nearly 1,000 Viet Minh in hand to hand combat. They “simply fixed bayonet and walked into death.” Fall’s Hell In A Very Small Place extends this horrific sacrifice.
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Over breakfast this weekend at a popular farmhouse two high school teachers sat next to me to discuss how their respective LMS solutions made teaching difficult. Both were from wealthy suburbs outside Milwaukee. What really peaked my interest was hearing how one spent over 45 minutes trying to add polling for in-class feedback.
LMSaaSI helped lead the adoption of a Moodle LMS at a private Wisconsin college in 2007 that is still in use today and also had the pleasure of attending a conference at UW-Madison with Martin Dougiamas, founder of Moodle.

Yet over that breakfast I was intrigued by their difficulty with all things LMS for the upcoming school year. Frustration ranged from how one teacher received no LMS training (poll example above) while the second teacher spoke about her district migrating to a new LMS vendor over the summer.
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