Cloud Electricity

Tom Raftery of Greenmonk asks "What if electricity were like the Internet?" that is, what if electrical transmission grids distributed electricity in much the same way as the Internet replaced contiguous point-to-point communication circuits (POTS) with communications transmitted via packets that can be routed separately, though different paths, and reassembled at the intended reception point, thus bypassing or supplementing trouble spots.

Tom posits various scenarios, such as excess wind energy generated at night in one region being used to power the grid in another region that is at peak demand, and a read/write electrical grid, where consumers of electricity can also be producers. Tom concludes by asking

What if most of the technologies to make this happen already existed? How long will it be before the utilities embrace the Internet model in the same way the Internet is jumping on the utility model?end quotation
-- Tom Raftery on Greenmonk: The Blog in "What if electricity were like the Internet?"

And actually, as I'm sure Tom knows, much of this technology does exist today, either in production or in a nascent form. There are many smart grid companies forming, mostly selling instrumented (wired, Zigbee, WiBee or other remote feedback technologies) meters that can help either consumers or utility companies monitor or regulate load. In many countries, including the USA, one can run their meter "backwards" if they have power generation capacity where they normally consume electricity, such as photovoltaics, and generate more electricity than they use.

There are however physical limitations to this. Losses over the power lines will likely prevent transmitting or selling electricity half-way around the world. Being an open minded scientist at heart, I hope to see these limitations overcome (high-temperature superconductors maybe). Even given these limitations, better distribution and retransmission of electricity is certainly possible. For example, Microsoft and Google both have recently announced predictive traffic routing for their driving map/direction services. Similar concepts can be applied to the electrical grid anticipate and redistribute power to anticipate loads and reduce generation costs.

More local generation of power (thank you, Tesla, and future examples such as adaptiveARC, coupled with Smart Grids, will definitely bring the world closer to Tom's vision.

I have to run for my meeting and weekly lunch with Earl of Tigo Energy. I'll update links here later.

Tigo Energy First Round

For the past several months, I've been acting in a technical and business advisory role to one of the founders of Tigo Energy. We've known each other for 23 years, from the days when I was consulting to UC Berkeley's Space Science Lab. Two weeks ago, Tigo Energy finalized negotiations with Matrix Partners and OVP Venture Partners on a $6,000,000.00 round of financing.

Congratulations, Earl, and all the team at Tigo Energy.

The Dark Side - iPhone

Today is my 52nd birthday. At lunch with my partner, Clarise, she surprised me with an iPhone. And I'm blogging this from the phone. This is going to take some getting used to, and some soul searching about my 10+years of loyalty to Palm. More later.

Update: I'm actually publishing this from back at my computer, as the mobile Safari couldn't show the scroll bar in the "Categories" selection area of our blog administration software. Ah well, and so it goes.

Update: On Saturday morning, I was able to make a phone call with the iPhone, 15 minutes later, when I "awoke" the iPhone to make another call, it was showing an error message that the I had an invalid SIM. After an infuriating experience with the Apple Idiot Genius, Lach, and his supervisor Robert, trips to an AT&T store to get a new SIM, this one being invalid, and a wonderful experience with the Apple Care representative, Rachel, I now have a new iPhone. I'll post another day on the full story. For now, you can read about my experience and others with similar experiences, on the Apple support forums, "Out of the Blue - Invalid SIM Card".

Open Source Lessons and Tools for Project and Product Management

Over the seven years that Clarise and I have been running InterActive Systems & Consulting, Inc. we've used our 6D™ methodology to manage InterASC Professional Services project engagements. This methodology came about from Clarise's 20-plus years of working in the software industry, and her training and experience as a project manager for IT implementations at HP, Oracle, CapTech, Williams and KP. And she's a PMI certified PMP. In the 1970's & '80's I worked as a program, project and line manager in Aerospace, switching in the '90's and 00's to working in IT. We brought our expertise together first at Oracle, and over the 14 years since, have been working together on refining our approaches to managing IT projects implemented by and for distributed workgroups. Colleagues pointed out that our 6D™ methodology was becoming more and more Agile in its techniques. Over the past two years, as we've been working more with open source, IT appliance and SaaS companies, we've been experiencing more and more about the community approach to managing distributed workgroups.

Learning from the Beekeeper James Dixon, CTO of Pentaho, Susan Gasson of Drexel University, the Agile Alliance and various scrum practitioners, such as Todd McGrath of supergloo, inc. and our own experiences, we had been selected to speak at the PMI NorCal 2007 Symposium at the end of September. For a variety of reasons, we didn't get to present our mindmap of our current thinking.

We generally start our presentations with the mindmap collapsed so that only the first level of branches show, and then expand along the branches in which the audience seems interested. If they don't tell us what interests them, we ask. &#59;) That's difficult to do through a blog, so we're just showing the whole thing.

As time permits, we'll be discussing our 7D™ methodology with it's Strategic, Tactical and Scrum tracks in this blog.

Barriers to Telecommuting

On my recent trip to D.C. I hooked up with an old college friend and his wife, both of whom are attorneys for different government agencies. The wife, who is the more technically astute of the two, was a regular telecommuter; the husband an occasional one. Neither do so anymore because the security restrictions have become overbearing, and the implementing technology confusing and policy restrictions on telecommuting have become onerous.

Most importantly though… The nail in the coffin of their telecommuting days… A new policy on "snow days"… Telecommuters must use PTO to not work on any days that the office is closed, and all non-telecommuting workers get a day off, due to weather making it unsafe to drive to work.

We know managerial resistance is still the biggest reason that distributed work is still the next big thing. And of course a good chunk of our consulting revenue comes from organizations needing help in developing and implementing distributed work programs. But it's still discouraging to hear that the message just isn't getting through the way it should. Could there be a leadership issue here?end quotation
-- Jim Ware, Managers Continue to Resist Telecommuting in the Future of Work Weblog

A leadership issue indeed, and all too prevalent.

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The TeleInterActive Lifestyle is about the business processes, life choices, management challenges and technical issues facing organizations and individuals as individuals and organizations adopt the Internet of Things, Mixed Reality, wireless networks of all levels, mobile devices, long-distance collaboration, social networks, digital transformation, and adjust to growing urbanization.

Sensor Analytics Ecosystems for the Internet of Things (SAEIoT) brings value from emerging technologies through data management and analytics, advances in data science, as the IoT matures through the 5Cs: Connection, Communication, Contextualization, Collaboration and Cognition. The socialization of machines will allow for Privacy, Transparency, Security and Convenience to be flexibly provided with two-way accountability to build Trust among Humans and Machines.

AsDataArchon, we have evolved our consulting data scientist work from learning how to incorporate sensor analytics into data warehouses, business intelligence and analytics to focusing on IoT data management and forming sensor analytics ecosystems.

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