FarmBot: Open­source precision farming

FarmBot is an open­source and scalable automated precision farming machine and software package designed from the ground up with today’s technologies. The world’s population is growing and is projected to surpass 9 billion inhabitants by 2050. As a result farms must increase production by about 60 percent to meet demand which is stunning since many believe we have reached the limits of traditional farming.
FarmBot

In comparison to desktop digital 3D printers and CNC machines FarmBot extends the idea of X, Y, and Z directions and applies it to plows, seed injectors, water and sensors in order to accurately and efficiently grow plants and soil. I think that I would like to try this out in my own backyard.
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Introducing the AWS IoT cloud

The emerging IoT developer community received a much anticipated jolt of news when Amazon finally announced new enterprise services dedicated to the AWS IoT cloud launch at their 2015 re:Invent conference.
AWS IoT Cloud PlatformThis new AWS IoT cloud service will permit web based interfaces to manage IoT events from various devices: sensors, wearables, drones, and of course mobile tools and apps around an established AWS ecosystem.

The AWS IoT cloud emerges as Amazon’s long term platform following the SalesForce Thunder platform announced last month. Both vendors look to establish key IoT cloud solutions in the corporate enterprise space. They join Cisco’s IoT, Microsoft’s Azure IoT, Oracle’s Movintracks along side GE’s energy launch of Current IoT. The race is now on to process millions of data events from light bulbs to dishwashers and cars over the MQTT protocol and process those messages in their respective clouds.

Amazon is leveraging 11 services around their IoT Cloud strategy to include existing AWS services: Kinesis, Redshift, S3, SNS, SQS, ML, DynamoDB and Lambda. A key investment to this strategy was the recent acquisition of 2lemetry, a IoT enterprise company tuned for transforming raw data from IoT devices onto their ThingFabric platform.
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Latest read: The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires

Tim Wu’s second book The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires is wonderful examination how American information empires were established and stifled innovation at the same time. 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: Need, Speed, and Greed: How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World’s Most Wicked Problems

Every company and school needs to add Need, Speed, and Greed: How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World’s Most Wicked Problems to their mandatory reading list.
Need, Speed, and Greed: How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World's Most Wicked ProblemsVajay Vaitheeswaran really understands the need for innovation, change and embracing new ideas in order for America to survive and thrive into the future.

This is especially true for those in aging markets like the auto industry and higher education.

Need, Speed, and Greed is divided into three sections: Why Innovation Matters, Where Innovation is Going, and How to win in the Age of Disruptive Innovation.

This is cover-to-cover reading for everyone. I really looked deeper at the closing chapter Can Dinosaurs Dance. While applied to the American auto industry, think about the strides made by Elon Musk and Google, the application of dramatic change fits quite nicely into many universities around the country.
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Need, Speed, and Greed Preview

Just started reading Need, Speed, and Greed: How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World’s Most Wicked Problems.
Need, Speed, and Greed: How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World's Most Wicked ProblemsMust say its another refreshing look at how we must innovate in today’s global world. Written by Vajay Vaitheeswaran of The Economist, it is providing so far excellent lessons for any company, non-profit, innovation center or educational organization.

Addressing global health and education is just the beginning. Need, Speed, and Greed is laying out how companies must adjust (via lessons from IBM, Google and P&G) or watch the world run you over and out of business.

The one thing Need, Speed, and Greed is making very clear: we are now able to collaborate in a global view with advanced technologies and new open business thinking to solve complex problems around the globe.

This is shaping up to be the kind of book every school kid in America should be reading.

Latest read: The Art of Capacity Planning

The impact of cloud computing on O’Reilly’s 2008 Art of Capacity Planning has shifted quite a bit to say the least. Its still a great resource and well worth the read for any web administrator, manager or director.

The Art of Capacity PlanningMy interest in revisiting is remembering Chapter 4: Predicting Trends. This touches two important factors today: cloud and procurement.

While in 2008 it was possible to ramp up a cloud, today a very high capacity cloud can be deployed in less than 10 minutes.

At the time of the book’s publication (2008) AWS pricing looked competitive. Yet today those prices are considered somewhat excessively high.

The Art of Capacity Planning now is all looking at cloud solutions by Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure has kept Amazon’s EC2 busy in releasing new services and even more aggressive pricing models. Under AWS users get free access to CentOS, LAMP stack, Git and WordPress.

But the Art of Capacity Planning touches on the very important component of Procurement. Procurement and Cloud contract solutions taught by UCLA has been very beneficial to my cloud projects.
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BMW i3 Vorfreude

Vorfreude is German for anticipation. The BMW i3, their new new electric car will be announced this month.

WaaS: Warehouse as a Service

As the crowded cloud space continues to rapidly change today’s business landscape an emerging service is finally just arriving: Data Warehouse as a Service or WaaS, is joining SaaS, PaaS, IaaS and the still late-in-arriving SuperComputer as a Service or SCaaS.

Is it remarkable to see this type of new service that offers data warehousing as a service? This big data service can be consumed rapidly across companies and still keep the hardware layer in the background.  While Amazon’s RedShift (still in limited preview) will capture a lot of attention, BitYota is just coming out of private funding.  BitYota is moving their solution around SaaS:

Warehouse as a Service

Clearly we are moving into a dynamic change in network enhanced services for a new cloud empowered internet.  BitYota’s initial focus is mobile, advertising and educational applications.

University cloud computing contracts

Did you hear about the university professor signed up for a cloud service and unknowingly left his department on the hook for two years of service beyond his grant….or the university who had more than 500,000 student records (social security, addresses and grades) hacked? Cloud computing poses special demands upon Universities who can no longer employ the same procurement process used to acquire computers and software since the 1980s.

Are you aware that today many Universities (and K12 School districts) use a popular email marketing program that sells contact information of students to vertical marketing firms who in turn re-sell them to other marketing and product companies?

Today’s aggressive marketplace and the business of cloud services has radically changed the procurement process. Many of us have a fiduciary duty to protect data of our students, research and institutions.  Regardless of how students freely give away their data on Facebook, our institution will still be held responsible to  protect all of our institution’s data.

My views on the impact of Cloud Computing in Higher Education have been slowly evolving. This past May I was given an incredible opportunity to further my learning by participating in an Engineering & Technology Short Course with the UCLA Extension.
Remember those “must-take classes” in college?  UCLA’s Contracting for Cloud Computing Services is one on my list of those opportunities you cannot afford to ignore.  My advice: Find your way to UCLA.

Again, I hope this can help as many people as possible understand the lessons taught in class.  Due to the nature of the beast they are in no specific order. They are all top level concerns:

BACKGROUND
For over a generation traditional desktop PC vendors focused on features and price. Since the late 1980s schools established trust in vendor’s products to conduct business, educate students and store student data. From floppy disks to magnetic tape all data was stored locally on campus.

Today’s globalized internet marketplace is radically different when compared to the modem era of computing. The cloud computing model represents a number of fundamental shifts including Software as a Service(SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) are well established.

And although it’s a bit ahead on the radar we should not overlook the quickly emerging SuperComputer as a Service. While there is no  standard acronym, there are established vendors like SGI’s Cyclone, Amazon’s Cluster Compute, IBM’s Watson, and with forthcoming merge between PiCloud and D-Wave‘s quantum computing….more options for High Performance Computing will be available to many smaller, lean and aggressive institutions.

These new services are directly tied to the “consumerization” of technology: advanced technologies at affordable price points. As a result the new focus is around access.  The shift to mobile computing via netbooks, smartphones and tablets is well underway, yet many school’s do not have a sufficient wireless infrastructure. Students, faculty and administrators are today carrying a laptop, smartphone and probably an iPad. Schools are struggling to to handle bandwidth demands of so many devices in concentrated areas around campus, from the Student Union to the ResHalls.

IMHO the tipping point with Cloud computing and digital devices is the convenience of access. Today many diverse schools have a campus community that simply demands anytime/anywhere access to data. And it’s no longer just email and web.  Its BIG data from data base research to the delivery of HD media. For better (or for worse) society has become trained to demand mobile solutions that easily integrate into the app economy and their mobile lifestyles.
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MDNA: sales vs. torrents

I simply burst out laughing reading the Detroit News‘ article regarding Madonna’s sharply falling record sales.  Her latest release MDNA debuted at #1 last week after selling 359,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan. Yet as the article indicated: Madonna set to make the wrong kind of chart history.  Clearly author Adam Graham (@grahamorama) has no idea how torrents have simply crushed the music industry.  If he does understand — it was not mentioned in his article.

Riddle me this: How does Nielsen, Billboard or any other entertainment resource accurately reflect the impact of torrents on sales?  Ah….they can’t. The fact that Nielsen/Billboard still lists “traditional chart history” tells me another analog business is choking to death on the globalized internet.

I have come to accept that illegal downloads are no different than drugs, ebooks, guns or music.  All are in heavy demand.  The only difference: ebooks and music use the internet. Supply and demand.  Nothing more.

Its been a long standing issue for me to see mainstream media really show how inept they are when it relates to the globalization of the internet.  So what exactly did Adam Graham miss?

If you really want to understand the way the world works…

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