Latest Read: Blockchain – Blueprint for a New Economy

When Melanie Swan’s book Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy written under the O’Reilly series was available I was eager to start reading. This is a thoughtful overview to the Blockchain. There is much to learn about the role of cryptocurrency and the blockchain but this is not the sole focus of her work.

Blockchain - Blueprint for a New EconomyMelanie, like Tapscott paints a wide brush across the Blockchain. Too similar to Tapscott perhaps? No. If the blockchain’s focus was just security then it would command a smaller, narrow focus on IT infrastructure. Yet Melanie provides a wider arena to learn how Blockchains especially in healthcare hold enormous possibilities.

My first book Don Tapscott’s The Blockchain Revolution was interesting. William Mougayar’s The Business Blockchain was better. My thirst for knowledge continues.This is possibly the best of the three at providing a deeper dive to the possibilities of a truly changing technology.
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Latest Read: The Business Blockchain

William Mougayar’s new book The Business Blockchain: Promise, Practice, and Application of the Next Internet Technology provides a blueprint overview that compliments Tapscott’s Blockchain Revolution previously reviewed. Mougayar is able to specifically touch on the Blockchain’s architecture. Tapscott painted with a wide brush addressing everything possible with the Blockchain’s decentralized trust solution.
The Business Blockchain: Promise, Practice, and Application of the Next Internet TechnologyMougayar moves slightly forward addressing v 3.0 aimed at audiences wider than banking. A key view is that Blockchain will not just be for the enterprise. This will create a new crypto economy. It will be interesting to watch this grow. Care to take a live look? Here is the blockchain.info site.

He views the blockchain will revolutionize the roles of existing financial intermediaries including PayPal. Blockchains will force change upon them. They can adapt or die like the dinosaurs. Blockchains will disrupt oldschool, imperial organizations as the trust boundary shifts value away from them after hundreds of years.

Banks are clearly the key target of the blockchain infrastructure. To no surprise even the Federal Reserve has been given a blockchain briefing in June. The focus byMougayar beyond another blockchain overview is a breakdown of trust, obstacles and challenges to the Blockchain technology. The issue is much stronger in the financial services marketplace as Wall Street and international banks are now testing blockchains. He touches briefly implementing Blockchain technologies and closes by pushing the message of decentralization as a key in moving forward.
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Latest Read: The Blockchain Revolution

Blockchain as a financial technology (FitTech) surged in late 2015. Wall Street banks and other international financial firms stress tested this technology and are investing in blockchain infrastructure. Even Janet Yellen and The Federal Reserve received a blockchain briefing within June.

Don Tapscott’s Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World is a worthy introduction to this advanced security ledger technology. This book is NOT about Bitcoin.

The Blockchain RevolutionTapscott paints with a wide brush across the underlying architecture. Looking for blockchain infrastructure, cryptocurrency or blockchain as a service than take a glance at the table of contents. O’Reilly’s Blockchain books are more targeted to tech folks anyway.

Hard to believe I have been a fan of Don’s writing for over 10 years. Just looked at my review of Wikinomics and MacroWikinomics, his previous books published way back in 2006. His follow up Macrowikinomics was released in 2008. It was interesting to me to understand Don lightly wrapped an element from Wikinomics called Ideagoras into The Blockchain Revolution. Sometimes you just cannot leave home….

Clearly FinTech sees the blockchain’s potential to disrupt their world. The focus for Tapscott is how to address Blockchain beyond Wall Street. The blockchain allows participants of public and private distributed systems to agree on a common view of a system and track changes across those systems with highly secure encryption. Security is also the core of healthcare blockchains with the focus on the crypto in cryptocurrency.
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Latest Read: Keeping Up with the Quants

Have been looking forward to Tom Davenport’s Keeping Up with the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics for longer than I care to admit. I throughly enjoyed his book Competing on Analytics all the way back in 2008. His followup Big Data@Work provides the same scope for business regarding the emerging era of Big Data.
Keeping Up with the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics Tom has truly mastered the role of business analytics for well over two decades. He is acknowledged as revealing the path of metrics and just as important how success can be defined by adopting a mindset of analytics over intuition. It should be no surprise that I am a big fan of Tom Davenport.

Seems like a lifetime ago in the competitive and fast changing world of analytics. Quantitative analysis with a side of regression is not a diner order but a key skill to identify patterns in data.

An easy read with great common sense approaches for leaders to understand and professionals to embrace it proves not only how business gains insights but how to defend Kobe Bryant.

On the heels of reading Nate Silver’s bestseller The Signal and the Noise, Davenport reveals how quants have not only broken down NBA basketball defensive measures to each quarter when playing Bryant and the Lakers but how to guard him in a last possession game scenario.
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Latest read: Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by Wharton’s Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner is another great read addressing analytics, human behavior and analytic technologies for establishing and sharpening forecasting abilities for any organization.

superforecasting the art and science of predictionThe book title is a wonderful attention grabber for me that demonstrates we live in the era of big data with business driving the age of immediacy.

Superforecasting acknowledges data lessons supplied by Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise as helping to define standards to data and how it misled the national media.

Yet just into the second chapter Tetlock and Gardner point to the research by Daniel Kahneman excellent work Thinking Fast and Slow to help determine behaviors shaped over time that have fundamentally changed how we predict success.
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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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Latest Read: Makers: The New Industrial Revolution

Makers: The New Industrial Revolution is the best book hi-lighting the impact Makers have established over the last five years. The Maker movement is growing due to the collision of powerful digital tools, the internet of things and cost effective manufacturing. As a child I always wished for these advanced tools to bring to life my ideas, inventions and the toys my childhood friends would talk about and dream about making.

Makers The New Industrial RevolutionMy ideas for creating art was always apart of my Saturday art classes at the Toledo Museum of Art. The drawings I kept of my inventions have all but disappeared.

This is where Makers: The New Industrial Revolution comes into focus for parents and educators today a generation later. What is making this possible? The industrial global supply chain has driven the cost of affordable powerful IoT including the new $5 Raspberry Pi Zero that will drive new innovations at incredibly efficient price points.

We should be careful at home because the world is embracing these technologies. Remember Anderson shares his belief that inventors and creative types are actually makers. Now this is happening on a truly global scale.

If the buzz of 3D printers and filament reels make your eyes glaze please remember that YouTube is the best example of Makers sharing their passion. Look at any dedicated YouTube channel – say woodworking- and you will find Makers creating and uploading passionate lessons regarding their craft. Look no further than Esty for a commercial success as a reseller of Maker’s crafts now listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Simply unheard of just 5 years ago.
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Latest Read: Makers

Makers by Cory Doctorow is the fiction book about the Maker movement. Doctorow writes about two makers Perry and Lester who invent seashell robots that make toast or modified Elmo dolls that can drive a cars.
Makers by Cory DoctorowThe companies of Kodak and Duracell closed and their product inventories are absorbed by venture capitalists with a noted blogger along side writing the story of their new company.

The story goes kinda weird when Perry and Lester begin building interactive rides in abandoned Walmarts in the New World world.

But as they find success they suddenly find themselves on the defensive as a Disney executive plans an aggressive attack on the interactive rides by convincing police that Perry and Lester are actually using 3D printers manufacture AK-47s assault rifles. Kinda went off the deep end for me.

As much as I generally dislike fiction this is a title that is focusing on the Maker movement and I really wanted to see a creative story about the promise and implementation of makers shifting the economy in small steps from their home garage or workshop. My interest regarding digital fabrication machines including CNC milling.

If you are looking for a better understanding of the Maker movement in general I would strongly suggest Chris Anderson’s book Maker The New Industrial Revolution as the best and most inspirational text to see how Makers are shaping the world around you.

Latest Read: Making Makers

Making Makers is a wonderful book for parents and educators who are interested about how to guide their children to become “makers” to improve their live and chase their dreams and childhood curiosity.

Making Makers: Kids, Tools, and the Future of InnovationBy reading stories of noted inventors and creators you learn how important it is for children to become makers as the world is changing rapidly with advanced, personal, affordable technologies and why it is crucial to encourage today’s youth to be makers.

Lifelong creativity is a learned skill. The role of online learning communities today including eduX and Coursera have helped develop and establish tools to foster interests in topics explored in childhood. I believe this is a book every parent of a child should be reading today regardless of their age.

The role Makers will play in the immediate future are already being established. Again this is an opportunity for parents and educators to give their children a step up in developing new skills not only for school but also for their interests and developing new talents with friends or groups.

Maybe the most important aspect of the book is really all about how a parent can identify and foster the Maker inside their child. For many parents who have also become part of the content mindset and may have lost their way to reviving their own Maker experiences from childhood this serves as a guide to help further their own personal growth and redevelopment of their interests.

Maker Faire Saturday

littleBitsOur Saturday in Milwaukee included trips across town to maker faire events in both Brookfield and Mayfair. My son enjoyed making littleBits at Brookfield. However no Milwaukee area store held a Raspberry Pi meetup.

I was pleased to see much more products were in place at Brookfield across four spaces on both their first and second floor. Mayfair’s workspaces were on their second floor. Greenfield is a ground floor facility.

Barnes and Noble Maker Faire

This weekend Barnes and Noble is sponsoring nationwide an in-store Maker Faire. The greater Milwaukee area will see Mayfair, Greenfield, and Bayshore stores participating. The Maker Faire event actually starts on Friday. If your children are in school then prep them for all the events on Saturday and Sunday. There is a Raspberry Pi event on Saturday at 2:00pm.
barnes and noble maker faire Invite your children to meet their local leaders of the Maker movement. These are local people like your neighbors changing the way we learn, design, create and build the future. “Makers” are DIYers with a tech twist.

Get ready for a tech-educational expo, your children will see products like 3D printers, drones, robots and programming. YMMV. Barnes and Noble will provide the materials. Let your children dream up and create their own product. The only limit is their imagination.