Tales from the Technoverse

Commentary on social networking, technology, movies, society, and random musings

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The Spread of Technology

April 18th, 2014 · education, technology

I teach a graduate Capstone class at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) which focuses on the Strategic Management of Innovation & Technology.

We look at what exactly strategic management is and then spend most of the semester looking at how an organization can optimize developing Technology internally and also looking at the implications of acquiring from external sources.

In addition, we look at three or four ‘edge-of-the-art’ technologies and discuss their implications.

One of the issues we deal with is how technology impacts on the culture of an organization and the marketplace.

Recently there was an interesting column about the impact of technology dispersion on the US in a blog I frequently look at  called the Conversable Economist. In addition to posting it in class I thought others might find it an easy and interesting read:

http://conversableeconomist.blogspot.com/2014/04/when-technology-spreads-slowly.html

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Passover Seder 2014

April 13th, 2014 · judaism

For those who read this blog – Hello? Hello? Knock knock, anyone there? – well, anyway, and for those who know Ellen and I well, you will realize as we come up on Passover that we do our own version of a Seder. While based on a standard Haggadah based approach, we typically add some kind of theme which leads to the readings we select to accompany the regular material. In addition, I have gotten in the habit of putting quotes on 3 x 5 cards associated with our theme. As we go around the room during the seder, each participant reads from their quote as well as their reading.

Over the years we have moved us made adjustments because of the size of the crowd, this year at 25. I used to sit at the end of one table, now both Ellen and I sit in the middle. Also when we started doing seder’s at our house we would have participants selected one after another around the table(s). When we recognized that this meant that the readings would tend to be in only part of the group for a period of time, we changed it to have the assigned participant/reader selected sort-of-randomly moving the conversation back and forth.

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Everything in Government is Based on Data

April 7th, 2014 · big data

(this was originally posted on the Powertek Corporation blog at http://www.powertekcorporation.com/index.php/blog/162-everything-in-government-is-based-on-data)

Data.

Whether it is prefaced with “Big” or sometimes with “Open”, it is the lifeblood of government IT.

We talk about using data to do Business Analytics. We write about XML and XBRL standards. There is a famous saying that “Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” In this month’s blog we will focus on how companies doing business with the Federal Government might dosomething about data standards.

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Still More Proof That the Bob Newhart Finale Was the Best Ever

April 1st, 2014 · Entertainment, Firefly, Serenity

So last night was the finale to the TV show, How I Met Your Mother.

As some of you know I only on a regular basis watch four TV ‘shows’ on a regular basis:

  • Hockey games
  • Baseball games (and wasn’t the Nationals season opener something)
  • The Big Bang Theory (as I tell people I was not as smart as they are, but I ate at their lunch table in high school)
  • The Game of Thrones (there is nothing that gratuitous sex and violence will not improve)

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Big Data in Agriculture

April 1st, 2014 · big data

Interesting article on the growing amount of information being collected, much of it by sensors and thus automatically generated, in Agriculture:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/american-farmers-confront-big-data-revolution/2014/03/29/186e93ae-b74f-11e3-9eb3-c254bdb4414d_story.html?algtrack=cfrec-1&tid=btm_rex_2

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Nationals Season Starts Tomorrow

March 30th, 2014 · baseball

Two very nice articles about Nationals players (we will ignore the fact that Sports Illustrated for the second straight year picked the Nationals to win the World Series since we know how well that turned out last year:

One about Strasburg:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2014/03/30/stephen-strasburg-i-think-the-sky-is-the-limit-with-this-club/

And a somewhat longer one talking about what a great person Ian Desmond is, as well as being an All-Star Shortstop:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/ian-desmond-has-become-the-backbone-of-the-washington-nationals/2014/03/30/50a68986-b798-11e3-a7c6-70cf2db17781_story.html?tid=pm_sports_pop

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The Beginning of the Nationals 2014 Season

March 30th, 2014 · baseball

So yesterday, Saturday, March 29th, we were able to experience two aspects of the Nationals preceding the Monday opening day game against the New York Mets in New York.

We first attended the rainy ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy in Southeast Washington, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2014/03/29/ribbon-cut-on-nationals-youth-baseball-academy-in-southeast/.

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President Obama’s Visit to Saudi Arabia

March 28th, 2014 · international

When a country plays a significant role internationally, that mere fact can bring on a lack of popularity.

Becoming irrelevant is not necessarily the solution and often leads to being even less popular.

As Machiavelli wrote (long, but relevant quote) “I say that every prince ought to desire to considered clement and not cruel. Nevertheless he ought to take care not to misuse this clemency. … Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be dispensed with.  …men have less scruple in offending one who is beloved than one who is feared, for love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails.”

Interesting article from the New York Times about the current relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia where there US is neither loved nor feared: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/28/world/middleeast/obama-courts-a-crucial-ally-as-paths-split.html

The article does not even mention the fact that Egypt, the new Saudi best friend (and these days not so much a friend to the US) has been reaching out to Russia to develop a stronger financial relationship. Thus Putin not only is moving to reestablish the “19th century” Russia but the 20th century relationships to the Middle-East. I hope the current Administration notices this. It is not clear that this is the mark, as President Obama put it, of a regional power unless he perceives the Middle-East part of Russia’s region.

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A Discussion of the Hobby Lobby Case

March 27th, 2014 · law

This last week, the Hobby Lobby case was argued before the Supreme Court.

For those unaware of the case, the owners of the Hobby Lobby company feel that the requirement under the Affordable Care Act to provide certain kinds of contraceptive coverage violates their religious beliefs. The case brings up, once again, the intersection between public policy and religious practice which at best is a complicated topic and at worst a source of emotional arguments which rarely move the strongest believers.

For the record, I am fairly comfortable with what I understand basic Jewish law takes toward these general topics which is that contraception is acceptable and further in general regards abortion as legal but discouraged (it is more complicated than that but that provides a general outline).

In The Volokh Conspiracy blog, published in the Washington Post, one of today’s posts was a summary by Stanford law professor, Michael McConnell, giving his reasons why he believes Hobby Lobby should win the case. It is an interesting, though a bit lengthy, read:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/03/27/prof-michael-mcconnell-stanford-on-the-hobby-lobby-arguments/?tid=up_next

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Tastes of Baseball Are In the Air

March 27th, 2014 · baseball

From the Washington Post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/wp/2014/03/27/nationals-park-to-feature-new-food-items/

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