Taking Amateur Radio on the Road

AD5EN mobileI have been a ham radio operator (AD5EN) since the early 70s and have only worked portable on field day (like most folks).

Now I have an issue that will probably require me to be remote for most weekends. So I thought: “Why not take my radio with me?” I want to see what it will take to get set up quickly, remotely and hopefully without a connection to “the grid“.

I hope to put out a series of posts about what I take with me and how things go. We’ll see if I have the discipline to get this done. I plan to post about once a week on taking amateur radio on the road.


Broad vs. Deep knowledge and preparing for the future

T-shapedI was talking with a group the other day about their career development vision and goals. I found it concerning how narrow their view was of their development needs and the industries expectations of them.

Recently the trainingindustry.com website provided a post titled Bridging the Gap to the Future by Investing in T-Shaped Professional Development. If you’re not familiar with the concept it is about how the shifting needs of our ever-changing business models combined with the relentless drumbeat of technology development is requiring those who want to have a long lasting career to be both broad and deep.

The article describes being T-shaped in general and then focused on an effort at Harvard to create an IT Academy where they have created 6 competency tracks, to help broaden your horizons.

  • Service Mindset
  • Trusted Advisor
  • Core Practices
  • Specialized Disciplines
  • Management effectiveness
  • Leadership & Coaching

Unfortunately, these courses appear to only be available in face-to-face training, at this point.

ISSIP.org is a community that is focused on Service Innovation and also has committed to developing T-Shaped individuals. Membership is free so if the topic interests you – check it out.

Gartner’s 2015 predictions are out for the coming year

Gartner’s annual Hype Cycle chart was just released. As usual it covers a number of technologies that I’ve blogged about over the years. One that seems to be rising from the trough of disillusionment and into the mainstream is enterprise 3D printing. Consumer 3D printing has peaked and is on its way down but anyone who’s done much in that space probably realizes it. 3D printing in medicine though is just starting to climb, even though it has been around for a long time.

As far as a prediction goes, there doesn’t seem much to argue with in the 3D printing space, that’s probably where I’d put those as well.

On charges like this there are always a few that I find interesting. ‘Software-defined security’ is nearing the top between ‘digital dexterity’ and ‘Neurobusiness’, also above ‘Citizen data science’.

I must not be reading enough tech rags, since none of those technologies ring a bell.

First 3D printed drug

drug dataThe US Food and Drug Administration has approved the first prescription drug made through 3-D printing: a dissolvable tablet that treats seizures. The drug, manufactured by Aprecia Pharmaceuticals, is Spritam for adults and children who suffer from certain types of seizures caused by epilepsy. The tablet is manufactured through a layered process via 3-D printing and dissolves when taken with liquid.

The printing system can customize drug doses of up to 1,000 milligrams into individual tablets. It expects to launch Spritam in the first quarter of 2016. Likely the first of many custom formulation possibilities. I find the possibilities of this pretty exciting and it makes me wonder how long before we see some variation of this in pharmacies.

Since I know people who take 10-20 medications every day who are always worried they will forget one. Personalized creation could combine drug formations and get that number lower – and possibly prevent some drug interactions.

Why is it inevitable that Computer Intelligence Blooms?

AIThere are a number of aspects of computing that are better than the way humans learn and behave. Computers:

  • Don’t start front scratch – when a human is born, they have to learn how to walk, talk and even eat. You reboot or rehost and computing just carries on.
  • Never forget – unless there is some unforeseen hardware failure, once information is stored in a computer it can be kept forever at that same level of detail. That is definitely not the case for humans. Granted media transfer can be an issue for computers
  • Make repeatable decisions – Humans often cloud their decisions with feelings to the point where many decisions are based on emotions and justified with data. Unless there is something technically wrong, a computer should come up with the same results every time. Using this approach the decision approach can be tuned (debugged).
  • Are patient – All too often humans leap into action prematurely. Computers will wait forever for conditions to be met. This is also a limitation though since sometimes actions are required, that concept can be programmed in.
  • Communicate – Once a computer is connected to a network, it can be monitored and communicate with the environment around it. People have a habit of disconnecting and being hard to track down.
  • Improve – Each generation of computers builds effectively on the previous generation. That’s true for people in most cases, but computers are on a steeper curve.
  • Are fast – This is probably the dominating factor that allows them to expand in how they generate value. The decisions computers make are fairly simple, but since they take place so quickly they can compound into very complex efforts like pattern recognition and virtual reality.

Having said all that, each of these characteristics has had people at the foundation of the research and innovation. Hopefully all these advances will supplement and focus the scarce resource that is human creativity and attention.