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: Actionable Intelligence: A Guide to Delivering Business Results with Big Data Fast!

Actionable Intelligence: A Guide to Delivering Business Results with Big Data Fast! falls into the must read category for leaders of any organization. Actionable Intelligence is in the Lean model well beyond the vanity metrics that so many leaders have embraced. Lessons on implementing a secure framework comes from lessons including Estee Lauder, Procter & Gamble, Lifetime Brands and the CIA. Yes the CIA.
Actionable Intelligence: A Guide to Delivering Business Results with Big Data Fast!Reading this book I have found tested lessons by Keith B. Carter regarding the lack of Actionable Intelligence in many organizations. The start always seems to be the lack of organized data and determining which is the most pressing to actually use in order to be successful in a fast changing world.

Maybe his most powerful work revolves around how executives at any company (or university) even question the value of actionable intelligence regardless of the tools already in place. Too many silo examples reinventing the wheel while overlooking the need to understand their own data reporting methods.

Sustaining delivery of actionable intelligence by the evolution from Dashboards to Cockpits. IMHO to many university leaders are just beginning to understand the Dashboard and their tools miss the Cockpit opportunities.

Business lessons alone describe how to mine actionable intelligence prove the validity of this book. Lessons from Estee Lauder include how the company was able to leverage secure data reporting in order to adjust following the powerful Japanese earthquake and tsunami that triggered the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. And in some ways Carter points to a crisis in order for executives to embrace actionable intelligence:

People do not trust data, they trust other people and their opinion of the data. So when the data owners, the people who input the data and/or use it, raise their hands and say, “This data is good; I trust it,” that will make it more likely for other people in the organization to believe it. It also means that it’s clear. It’s not just that they trust it from the point that 1 + 1 = 2. It is also clear how the data has to be used, and the definition of the data is clear.

Carter helps breakdown the old data principle “People don’t trust data – they trust other people.” Its true. Estee Lauder’s use of actionable intelligence is such that every organization should be striving towards in order to stay competitive.

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: Reliability Assurance of Big Data in the Cloud: Cost-Effective Replication-Based Storage

While focused on the task of generating data for astrophysics Reliability Assurance of Big Data in the Cloud is a worthy read when focused around designing cloud service contacts.
Reliability Assurance of Big Data in the CloudThe work of authors Yang, Li and Yuan surround capturing big data reliability, and measuring disk storage solutions including from noted cloud vendors.

Their work at Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University of Technology focused on reducing cloud-based storage cost and energy consumption methods.

They also share the impact of multiple replication-based data storage approaches based upon Proactive Replica Checking for Reliability (PRCR). That was very interesting in their research data gathering.

I found Reliability Assurance of Big Data in the Cloud also supports moving data into the cloud across advanced research networks including Internet2.

Processing raw data inside the data center impacts network models (based upon available bandwidth) in their work. Their research gathers and stores 8 minute segments of telescope data that generates 236GB of raw data. By no means in the petabyte stage (yet) but it still sets a solid understanding of contractual demands on big data cloud storage.

My interest peaked around impacts developing knowledgeable contracts for cloud services. Their background regarding data gathering and processing should influence procurement contract language. This is even more applicable when applied to petabyte data sets and the SLAs regarding data reliability requirements. Never leave money on the table when scaling to the petabyte range. Must read for purchasing agents and corporate (and university) CPSMs.

Latest read: No Sure Victory

In many ways my desire to understand the US failure in Vietnam has been a long difficult road stretching many years. No Sure Victory: Measuring U.S. Army Effectiveness and Progress in the Vietnam War by Gregory Daddis answers many long held questions.
no sure victoryAfter digesting so many resources in reading, watching documentaries and listening to interviews with veterans, politicians and social leaders during the long duration of the war I believe No Sure Victory brings together strong indicators regarding our nation’s failure in Vietnam. The focus is the failure of MACV to gather and process data against an established set of goals (KPIs) over the long stretch of this war.

Daddis documents McNamara’s injection of data gathering when LBJ increased the American commitment to South Vietnam. McNamara’s experience as one of The Wiz Kids set the stage in his role as Secretary of Defense.

Our enemy was determined and battle tested. America was fighting a larger, strategic cold war with an emerging China and established Soviet Union in both Europe and Asia.

Daddis sheds light throughout No Sure Victory not only on the lack of White House direction but how MACV leadership could not adapt to fighting a war of counterinsurgency. Johnson, McNamara nor Westmoreland were able to establish measurable KPIs for reporting progress in the war. The impact of this television war confused the US government, media and population. At the same time Daddis points to key failures in not understanding the affects of the French Indo-China war regarding counterinsurgency. This lack of understanding established a crippling third leg the US consistently fought to balance against the cold war political spectrum.

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Latest Read: No Sure Victory: Measuring U.S. Army Effectiveness and Progress in the Vietnam War

No Sure Victory: Measuring U.S. Army Effectiveness and Progress in the Vietnam War by West Point instructor and military historian Colonel Greg Daddis appears to detail a much needed analysis to fighting counterinsurgency in Vietnam. I am very interested to learn how the military began implementing data collection for battlefield analysis.
no sure victoryNo Sure Victory may offer lessons for data collection today as we combat the war on terror. Daddis opens No Sure Victory with views that our early leadership in the 1950s including General Paul Harkins took an outdated, World War II approach to fighting communism in Southeast Asia.

Harkins was appointed the first commander of US Military Assistance Command in Vietnam(MACV) and his lack of understanding counterinsurgency looks to be a chief contributor to early failures in Vietnam.

In chapter two “Measurements without Objectives” Daddis reveals how President Eisenhower and the US Military failed to establish clear objectives in supporting South Vietnam following the 1954 Geneva Convention that split the country at the 17° parallel. This apparent lack of establishing key, measurable objectives remained unchanged even after sending military advisors. Daddis also sheds light on the apparent same inability to reach an attainable focus by Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon never changed even after General Westmoreland was replaced by General Creighton Abrams. Why no changes to data collection or reporting after Abrams took control of fighting the war?

At just 87 pages into the book I feel that this is one of a very few books that finally helps learn how and why we failed not only win but an obvious inability to adapt fighting a war that was not improving over a long time. How was the impact of Body Count and Kill Ratio and Search and Destroy impacting the change to Hearts and Minds that emerged later in the war as we moved to pacification efforts after 1966.

It is very frustrating to see how our legacy military and political leaders were unaware of their need to adopt counterinsurgency following the French debacle at Dien Bien Phu, especially as Daddis reveals US Military learned much from the French approach to counterinsurgency in Algeria.

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CIA torture modeled from The Vietnam War

The CIA’s Torture report has quickly left the nightly news and Sunday talk shows.

tortureContinuing my read of the full report I was somewhat intrigued the CIA enhanced interrogation techniques were sourced from the North Vietnamese in a war fought over 40 years ago.

Have our intelligence teams not evaluated more recent torture programs from the former Soviet Union, East Germany or Chile?

With the revelations of the NSA high tech spying from Edward Snowden its somewhat surprising that more efficient forms of intelligence gathering were not deployed against Al Qaeda in order to capture high level leaders.

Abu Zubaydah’s capture and subsequent torture by the CIA is a key focus on the early CIA Torture report. It appears that most of the intelligence gained from Abu Zubaydah was a result of standard interrogation techniques, not the enhanced torture that serves has a source for the Senate’s report:

In May 2003, a senior CIA interrogator would tell personnel from the CIA’s Office of Inspector General that SWIGERT and DUNBAR’s SERE school model was based on resisting North Vietnamese “physical torture” and was designed to extract “confessions for propaganda purposes” from U.S. airmen “who possessed little actionable intelligence.” The CIA, he believed “need[ed] a different working model for interrogating terrorists where confessions are not the ultimate goal” 139

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
Committee Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program
Exec Summary Background and History Part I and II – Page 33

While this page serves as merely a sidenote to history, seemingly forever linking our military actions to Vietnam, there are more concerns regarding the actions taken by the CIA, The White House and the FBI in regards to withholding informaiton on the torture program from our elected leaders.

CIA torture report: The role of enhanced interrogation methods

Enhanced interrogation is simply today’s political spin to a torture technique used for over 500 years. Waterboarding as a method of torture dates back to Spain in the 1500s. The Senate’s declassified report regarding the role of the CIA’s use of torture in the war on terror after 9/11 has been a most revealing so far. I wonder if the full report will ever be declassified. Maybe to further strengthen our democracy it should take less than the 40 year wait for the Pentagon Papers.

torture

In today’s instant twitter-world of “news” the world has learned of CIA techniques as abhorrent as rectal rehydration and a technique — so innocent at first glance — prolonged standing until you realize how this form of torture, as written by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago is hideous to a human under interrogation.

Torture is simply inhumane. I am respectful of US Senator John McCain’s address on the floor of the Senate indicating his view that the CIA’s torture was wrong. The US can be better by not torturing prisoners. Proven, established interrogation methods (not torture) firmly established provide information needed in the war on terror. Senator McCain himself was tortured as an American POW during the Vietnam War. He speaks from a point of view that most Americans cannot fully understand. I applaud his service to our country during the War in Vietnam and more importantly his personal survival as a tortured prisoner of war. As outlined in the Pentagon Papers the US military used waterboarding in Vietnam.

In just reading the Senate’s executive overview the most chilling issue is that the CIA specifically withheld their acknowledgement of torture to the President. The second most important, but seemingly forgotten is the destruction of videotapes by the CIA of prisoners under torture. Clearly the CIA learned from Nixon’s Watergate.

I am beginning to feel again, after reading the Pentagon Papers that our democracy and leader of nations in today’s complex world has taken a temporary step backward.

Latest read: The Changing Role of the CIO

We live in a world of constant change in IT. O’Reilly’s The Changing Role of the CIO provides a foundation regarding Big Data for any IT team and every manager, executive or board member. Today if your not embracing change your getting run over by it whether you know it or not.

The Changing Role of the CIO From the corporate boardroom to the campus research lab we indeed are undergoing a fundamental paradigm shift in our digital lives.

Without a doubt it is also an educational shift. Questions of Excel cubesets in a world of unstructured big data analytics will be a much needed training opportunity not for your IT team but actually or your entire workforce.

The Changing Role of the CIO is about the opportunities to engage your IT team over data. Today data is fueling actionable analytics not just vanity metrics. The IT team needs to embrace the idea that data is the new oil.

After leading your organization to a cloud solution that eliminates in-house, legacy enterprise systems you never can look back. Helping my organization migrate to a CMS public cloud that reduced just one enterprise service $400,000 annually resulted in our senior leadership never looking at me the same way. You gain a seat at the table.

And due to the nature of the mobile beast, The Changing Role of the CIO shows its now easier than ever to measure quality engagements in real time with your customers. The future of data, how it can be measured, immediately reported within your office or from the other side of world is a game changer.

Think like a freak

think like a freakHow many options do soccer players have before a penalty kick?

Think like a Freak, out TODAY from Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner is really, really enjoyable. I would stop just about everything (In a perfect world) to read this cover to cover. More to come….