Handhelds will Replace Laptops

06/25/05 | by JAdP | Categories: Mobile and Wireless, Mobile, Wireless

"Handhelds will Replace Laptops" and desktops, and clip boards, note pads, planners, sticky notes and more. This is a concept to which I subscribe whole heartedly. The question is what's an handheld?

Is an handheld a PDA, a smart phone, a Linux Slate, a Windows TabletPC, a wireless network appliance? What does the UI look like? How does one present information in a meaningful manner? What data visualization tools make sense on the available screen size? How do you deal with the casually connected state of most, if not all, wireless systems? I've been pursuing solutions to these questions since I first worked with Oracle Mobile Agents in 1994 using snail-slow wireless modems and greyscale handhelds that could be used for strength training.

Times have changed quite a bit, but I'm still amazed at how many people don't use - or want to use - an handheld of any type. Or at how many people, young professionals even, need to print something out before it becomes real to them. While many technical challenges have been solved, and while millions of folk use computers and handhelds and smart phones, there are still many challenges to be overcome, both technical and behavioral.

I agree with the following

"Now mobile users are just as hooked into corporate networks as their desk-bound brethren. Their data is as fresh and accurate and their response time is nearly comparable. Data in the field is no longer untimely or out-of-date; it is just as accurate as data available at the desk top."


"All these consequences, generated by wireless applications, will continue to squeeze inefficiencies out of operations."end quotation

Though I would replace each "is" and "are" in that quote with "may". The statement could be true, but it rarely is. But I like the "will". Things are headed in that direction, the quicker the better. I'll be pushing all the way.

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MIT Web Log Survey

06/23/05 | by JAdP | Categories: Blog

Some of the questions were difficult to answer, and don't seem to reflect blogging usage, especially how often I read a blog on my blogroll - when their feed tells me they updated, I read it. So, please help these guys out, and take the survey...

Take the MIT Weblog Survey


Survive Commoditization

06/23/05 | by JAdP | Categories: General Thoughts

Over the centuries, high profile, highly sought after, highly priced products become commodities. Spices may be the first example. Salt and black pepper were once rare and expensive items; now, they are commodities throughout much of the world. More recently we have seen the same process happen to photocopiers and telecommunications equipment. It's happening with computer hardware, and it looks as though software will follow.

How do companies survive commoditization of their industry?

I've always liked the restaurant analogy; though I don't know where I first heard it. A restaurant faced with declining business can do one of two things.

  • They can reduce costs, lower prices and hope to make up the profits through quantity. This usually means lower quality or less exotic ingredients, and less experienced staff.
  • They can increase the "top line" by increasing service and actually raising prices. Go after the high end market.

Consider the telecommunications industry. During the Internet Bubble years, the PBXs, switching equipment and networking gear were fast becoming commodities. Margins were shrinking to less than 10%. VAR sale personnel were accustomed to giving away system engineering and design services, but the margins were no longer there to cover such benefits. The largest deals generally lost money because of the "freebies" that were traditionally thrown in. The only way to get around this was to add services. Outsourcing of Move/Add/Changes was the traditional service offered. But innovation in developing "high end" products and services that truly changed the nature of the business was needed. Most large companies can't accomplish this, and consolidation is the result. Either in one large company acquiring other large companies, or larger companies hoping to make up for their lack of innovation by acquiring small and start-up firms. Sometimes this works, sometimes not. The process takes years.

We're still waiting to see what companies survive and what innovation will bring.


Survey Software

06/22/05 | by JAdP | Categories: TIA Life, Open Source, Blog

We prefer hosting our own wiki(survey) software, vs. using a third-party or using email. There are two good open source survey software packages: phpESP and PHP Surveyor. We chose phpESP for our purposes. There are four potential advantages to hosting your own software, if you can:

  1. The survey is up if your blog site is up with no additional lag time
  2. Some users may not be willing to follow an "off site" link
  3. You have the advantage of understanding and controlling the underlying statistical manipulations
  4. The survey will have the same look as your site

Email surveys may be ignored, or treated as spam. We've found that if folk are at your site, they will be more willing to complete a survey on your site than respond to an email survey.

Both phpESP and PHP Surveyor are written in PHP and use a MySQL database. They both allow you to format the public [presentation] areas of the survey using CSS templates. Both also allow you to export your survey results to CSV so that you can analyze the results in a spreadsheet such as Excel, though phpESP offers internal statistical analysis and presentation of results without exporting, including cross analysis and cross tabulation. PHP Surveyor has more predefined quesiton types, though phpESP gets there with increased flexibility. phpESP has gotten good reviews on its ease of use and statistical rigour. As soon as we free up some time, we'll subject both to Bernard Golden's Open Source Maturity Model and see how they compare.

Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey is looking for software to conduct a survey concerning blogging for her ECON 475 Econometrics class. We hope this information helps you. Let us know if you need anything in this area.


Learning Audacity

06/16/05 | by JAdP | Categories: General Thoughts, Open Source, Podcasting

We've recently recorded a conversation in a café and we're now learning the open source software Audacity in an attempt to clean it up. It may not be the easiest listening, but we think our upcoming podcast(s) will be very interesting.

Audacity is a very powerful program, but there just doesn't seem to be any way to remove noise that is quantitatively similar to the signal [voices ordering coffee as noise, voices discussing open source as signal]. :-/

But that's OK. We're learning. And the one thing that I have learned about myself is that I enjoy learning, more than doing. That's why I made the move to information mangement from aerospace - quicker learning curve required, over and over again.


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I'm Joseph A. di Paolantonio and this blog has two main foci: my interest in food, and my interest in the future. This provides a look into my personal life, and is separate from my consulting work…though there will be overlap. I am an independent researcher, working as a strategic consultant and I'm an executive with over 20 years of commercial experience with a technical interest in the intersection of Internet of Things, with advanced data management and analysis methods. I view data science as a team activity, and I feel that the IoT must be viewed as a system. I am leveraging my past activities to understand the adoption and impact of the IoT; first, as a system engineer in aerospace, where I developed Bayesian risk assessment methods for systems within the Space Transportation System (including the Space Shuttle), Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer, Gravity Probe B, and many more, and second, as a enterprise data warehousing, business intelligence and analytics professional. Between my aerospace and IT careers, I indulged my hobby of cooking by starting a food company, Montara Magic, centered around my chocolate sauces. My education combined chemistry, mathematics and philosophy. I performed research into molten salt fuel cells in graduate school, and in photovoltaic materials for a short time in industry. The lure of bringing the human race into space was strong, and when I was offered the chance to combine my chemistry and mathematics skills to develop new risk assessment and system engineering methods for space launch and propulsion systems – I couldn't resist. I perform independent research and strategic consulting to bring value from the Internet of Things, Sensor Analytics Ecosystems and data science teams.I am a caregiver, a lover of science fiction and speculative fantasy, and my passion to learn has led me to a pilot's license, an assistant instructor in SCUBA, nordic and alpine skiing, sea kayaking, and reading everything I can, in as many topics as I can.

View Joseph di Paolantonio's profile on LinkedIn

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