And in other news, Tennis

I picked up a tennis racket in 6th grade.  Been playing ever since.  The last year, I played at one of the local clubs.  Got included in some weekly doubles matches, which was nice, as many players there from years ago when I played competitive.

Although I won the winter singles league 4.5, I got waxed in the club champion tournament, glad I entered though, gave a good fight.

I decided to cancel the membership recently, as I wasn't getting much time of the courts, and it was kind of expensive.  I got a call to play at the city club from a player I've known for a while.  We played a good first set, tied at 3-3 went on to win.  Next set, same thing, tied 3-3, then went on to loose.  Suppose I simply tightened up towards the end.

Reason being, I'm not in great shape, not competitive shape.  These guys play a few times a week.  And its a new generation, as none of them remembered me from before, which is good and bad perhaps.  Afterwords, I learned that several players are 5.0 or were 5.0 so splitting sets wasn't all too bad for first time.  One guy said I serve like a right handed McEnroe, never heard that before.

The tennis community really is a small world.  After sitting out for a decade, then playing at a club for a year, its still good just to get out of the house and bang the ball for a while, as I work out of the house and never leave except for doctor appointments, errands, food shopping, restaurants and attending soccer matches.  So its one thing I can do solo, get good exercise and socialize.  This club, you pay per match, so its cost effective and they have good players, maybe I'll play again, hopefully!

And there you have it~!

How Did You Get Here

In all fairness, I didn't talk much.  Usually under my breath, some sarcastic remark, finding humor in everything.  When growing up, when the newspaper arrived, I reached for the comic section first, with age, Business section was next.

I remember, college, pledging the fraternity, we'd get assignments to clean the fraternity house, they assigned me "spec patrol" every time.  Pick up specs of dirt from the carpet, that's how much they believed in my abilities, hard to mess up spec patrol.

Upon graduation, with a degree in Anthropology, no business experience, during a recession, I had no prospects for a good career.

So I took temp jobs at minimum wage day jobs, until landing a part time job, as my mother knew the hiring manager where she worked.  It wasn't until a few years later, after a few jobs, my manager sat me down as I was transferring to new job within the company.  Enjoyed working with you, you may not believe this, you are the smartest person I've ever met.  No kidding.

That initial jolt of confidence, fueled the storms of low wages, low impact, low on the totem pole for years.  At some point, I wasn't the one asking questions, I was answering them.  People were looking to me solve their problems.  And salary began to reflect.

When asked to teach on online course, I first disregarded.  I have no experience teaching courses, I usually don't speak in pubic, and what would I teach.  After getting past the jitters, I created the entire 4 hour course in less than a week, from initial design, to structuring the outline topics, to installing software and filming.  Granted I didn't sell a ton of courses, yet it was another boost to the confidence.

Earlier this year, I was promoted to Lead Data Analytics Consultant, and that's where I'm at today.  Although I know the various cutting edge technologies, I never got real world experience, in regards to Azure, AWS, Machine Learning, IoT, Artificial Intelligence, BlockChain, although I have one Big Data project under the belt.

My current contract consists of writing SQL statements against Hive database in AWS.  It's sort of the bread and butter of career, getting numbers to match.  It's sort of like picking out specs of data amongst the carpet, sort of like spec patrol.  See, they did know my career path way back in college, just took me a few decades to realize.  Epiphany.

I've had this blog for about 10 years, I wrote auto-biography a few years back on Amazon, except I pulled it off the market, I once interviewed at Facebook and Amazon, yet stopped mid-way as they required relocation, and I got married later in life.  Having started with computers in 1983, things sure have changed quite a bit, yet, in some ways, they haven't.  Still requires logic and command prompts.

And there you have it~!

Massive Data Breech of Significant Proportions

There's a lot of commotion in the news, justly so, regarding data privacy.  Many corporations are selling data.  Some of this data could be considered private, as in medical, as in perhaps Hippa data.  That's sort of a no-no.

You have to look back at the Equifax data breech, to realize the implications.  Before doing reports, I approved loans, as in reading credit reports for Equifax, TransUnion and TRW.

Credit reports tell us everything about a person, their shopping habits, payment records, previous address', any bankrupcy/foreclosure/unpaid student debt, etc., in a nice, easy to read format.  I could ask the customer their basic demographics over the phone, enter into the mainframe terminal at my desk, and pull the credit report, have a decision with an average talk time of under 2 minutes.  That's average, meaning many calls were under 2 minutes.

What does the app + credit report tell us.  It tells us their potential repayment probability, plus, throw in some good old fashion experience plus hunches, into the credit decision to approve or decline, you'll receive a letter in the mail in to 7 to 10 business days explaining the reason why.  

Of course, there were over-rides to the system, but not many, maybe 10%.  So we agreed with the computer model 90% of the time.  And the model bounced up the demographic info such as age, address, length of time on job along with credit report and spit out an answer almost immediately.  It would compare against a model of past customers and their payment history.  We do the same thing now, yet its called data science.

My boss said, from reading the customer's credit report, you should know if they drink whiskey, beer or milk.  In other words, we should have a good picture in our minds of who this person is based on the credit report and demographics.

Back to the main story, with a data breech of credit reports, that data can be constructed to form a financial picture of every person in that data set, not to mention all the credit card info, loan info, social security numbers, address and previous address, alias, you name it.

Its a massive breech of significant proportions.  And that data is swimming through the hands of dark web, being sold and resold.  How about that, food for thought.

And so it goes~!

What Day and Time Is It

How do you track time in the database.

You could base off the timestamp of the web user, which could vary drastically across the globe and different time zones.  You could determine their time zone and subtract Greenwich Time Zone as an offset.

You could base off the time zone where the server resides, except if its in the Cloud across multiple locations, then what.  You could base the time off the store that a person is physically in at the time of transaction.  How about call centers, could be in variety of locations across the country or globe or span multiple time zones.

What time is it.  What day is it.  These seem like easy questions, yet the more you dig into it, the solution varies greatly and requires a systematic consistent architecture that spans the globe.

And so it goes~!

Madness to the Method

I thought everyone noticed these things.  Like when the car odometer has a unique number like 123,456 or you glimpse at the digital clock at 12:34.  Or sometimes you see 9:11 and get a sinking feeling in the stomach, premonition of bad omen?

How about organization, do other people group their socks together according to color, or stack t-shirts based on sports team or brand, or have some unique way of stacking junk high to the ceiling.  People think it's merely chaos, yet there are patterns to the clutter, that only the stacker is aware.

Call them idiosyncrasies, eccentricities, oddities, perhaps there's a method to the madness.  Or as one person once said, a madness to the method, either way you slice it, every person is unique and has their way of doing things.

And so it goes~!

For Data to Truly Become Valuable

Data is the new Oil.  Data is the new Gold.  Data is the new energy from the Sun.

If so, why haven't citizens latched on to something of such great wealth.  Seems only business' and organizations are reaping benefits of connecting the dots through data to find insights.

Why haven't average Joe's reaped the benefit of data intelligence.

Primarily, they don't have access to their own personal data, yet their data is everywhere.  People don't know where there data is, how to access it, how to consolidate it and how to report on it, to gain insight.

If data is going to really grow into its hype, it needs to trickle into the living rooms of everyday people.  Then, it will truly be of value to everyone.

Currently, only business' are reaping the rewards, using the people's data, sometimes, without their knowing.

And so it goes~!

Throwing in a picture of a deer, cute!


Who Could Ask for Anything More

People often ask me how I met my wife.  And I tell them, I used to hang out at the jail during parole day, scouting out a future mate.  No but seriously.

I was living in a rental villa, after selling my second home.  I had resigned from my job, to do nothing.  By doing nothing, I did websites for people and taught tennis, nothing lucrative.  And I spent my time down at the marina with the local yocals.

During my free time, I sat out front, watching the world go by.  My neighbor, would walk her dog each day.  A Golden Retriever named Maddie.  That dog pulled Karen every day, over to see me.  I'd pat Maddie on the head and talk with her.  I'm on vacation this week I'd say.  Next week, same thing.

A group of us residents decided to walk down to the marina to see the free concert.  Just before heading out, we all looked up, a double rainbow.  We proceeded the mile walk down to the marina and listened to the music.  The other lady hooked up with some friends and it was just me and Karen.  Hey would you like a hot dog and soda?  Sure.

And we proceeded to eat our dinner, down at the marina, listening to music, watching the sun set.  Afterwords, we began the mile walk home, just the two of us.  We talked the entire way home.  Then we each went to our villas, side by side, it was about 9pm.

I saw that a movie was playing, knocked on my neighbor's door, hey would you like to see a movie?  Now?  Yes.  And so, we went to the late movie.

The next weekend, I had a team tournament in Orlando, we made it to the playoffs, I asked Karen if she could watch my cat.  As I was heading out of town, there was something on my windshield.  A card wishing me good luck.

At the hotel in Orlando, I mentioned to my roommate about the card, he said that one might be a keeper.  So we had our first date the following week, at the steakhouse.

At the time I didn't have much going on, career wise.  I was spending my days and nights down at the marina loitering with the folks telling stories, fishing, doing nothing.  Karen figured I didn't have any money since I wasn't working, said if I need an extra room to stay, she had one.  I don't think she knew I had enough cash saved up to purchase her villa outright, and I had a private banker at the time from savings and selling the houses.

So when I had nothing, she didn't seem to mind.  Sure, I had a few dozen address' over the years, didn't know much about my past.  Just someone to spend time with, do things and be ourselves.  Shortly after, I broke my lease early, moved to her villa, and soon proposed.

They say you should purchase a ring 2 and half your monthly salary, so I purchased a diamond.  Then, they said you need a ring to put the diamond.  Then you need to purchase wedding bands, so little did I know about these matters.

Karen and I have been married for a while now.  The last 3+ years there have been health problems.  Still we enjoy spending time together, travel, attend sporting events, restaurants, cabin in the mountains.

Who could ask for anything more~!


Compete with Autonomous Beings

Autonomous Intelligence is the future.  And here's why.

When you look at any product or service, the most expensive part of the equation is human capital resource.

In ongoing effort to reduce costs and increase profit, from caveman days to printing press to steam engine to factor lines to personal computer to now, the bottom line is what counts.

When you consider movies based on the future, we see some patterns emerge.  Let's take Star Wars as example.  You have some humans directing things from above, and you have Android beings carrying out orders.

Androids are portrayed as non gender specific, they don't use toilets, they don't stop during the day at the bank to do withdraw, because they don't purchase goods or services.  In fact, they own no belongings, which prevents money flowing into the economy on buying goods and services.

In fact, the only things that belong to an Android is their shell or hardware, the software used to run the thing, and its energy supply.

No sick days.  No insurance.  No bathroom breaks.  No maternity leave.  No pensions.  No yearly costs of living increases.  No Unions.  No nothing.  A fixed asset with predictable life span amortized over time with some ongoing maintenance.

How can humans compete with that.  This is just one scenario based on one movies series.  Obviously there's some wiggle room for error and standard deviation.  However, suffice to say, from a cost savings benefit, humans may be sent out to pasture with the printing press, steam engine.

Perhaps time will tell.


Train Legacy Programmer or Bring in Expert

Hey there's a hot new technology.  Cutting edge.  Seems really cool.

Yet you work full time for an organization.  That organization doesn't jump into cutting edge technology for variety of reasons.  So you continue to work on code that was hot 5 years ago.

And then, you get wind that a new project is starting.  They'd like to use new technology.  Does the org let you get your feet wet and tackle the new project with new technology.

Or do they bring someone in from the outside that already has experience.

What do you think?

Train legacy programmers or outsource cutting edge technology.

How does one get experience using new technology without having experience using new technology.  That's another age old question.

From what I've seen, some people claim to have experience when they don't.  Others have experience, yet if you look under the hood of code at their "experience" project, its a nightmare.  Yet they get the work, at much higher rate, and the full timer gets to support the app after its thrown over the fence.  And get the bugs out, down the road.  While the guy / gal who wrote it is long gone, making hefty chunk of change.

This is an age old question in the industry and affects lots of programmers.  Yes, the full timer has some degree of stability and job security, steady paycheck.  It's a question each full timer must ask.

And so it goes~!

Go Deep or Wide

We all know what we know.  Some are good at what they do.  Yet that's all they do.

The best baseball player in the league, may not know how to balance a checkbook.

The best financial guru may not be a great tennis player.

We know what we know.

You know.

It's when you realize how much you don't know that you become aware.  Once aware, you realize just how big the world is.  And how much there is to learn.

We cannot know everything.  Yet we can learn about what interests us.  Or what's useful to fortify our position.

This surrounds the age old question.  Do we focus on specific items to learn to become expert, or do we go wide and learn a little about a lot, high level knowledge.

One thing to keep in mind, if you go deep on specific topic or area, when things change, you are no longer the expert and have to re-learn.  If you go wide, you never become expert in specific thing.

So expert level in specific niche, or high level knowledge about lots of subjects.

And there you have it~!


Sports Prepares Us for Adult Career Life

When you play sports the goal is to win.  Could be individual sport or team sport.

When you play individual sports, like swimming or tennis, your individual effort determines your outcome.  That means you two things: nobody to lift you up & nobody to pull you down.  Yet, you may be part of a team that plays another team of individual events.

When you play a team sport, you have members of your team, each with different positions such as baseball or soccer.  Everyone knows their assigned responsibility and work as a unit to overcome the opponent.

People who grew up playing sports, in my opinion, have something extra they bring to the workforce.  Workers who play or played sports have mental toughness.  That toughness shows through in their everyday work, as well as crunch time when pressures rise.  Like a big deadline, big demo, big sales call.  Sports players tend to rise to the occasion and push the nervousness to the side in order to take care of business.

Team players also know the goal is to win as a team, such that, you help out when possible and ask for help when needed.  There are small battles that need attention every day, but the end goal is to win the effort.

Sports players also tend to bounce back after tough days as they know we all have hiccups along the way.  The trick is to view the event, learn from it, and move on.  Tomorrow is another day.

I remember working in the branch of a finance company.  One day I did particularly well and sold a lot of loans, to exceed the monthly quota.  Next day, the boss said yesterday's sales are over, today is a new day, start from scratch.  And that's the mentality you need in the workforce, never rest on yesterday's wins, never accept defeat from yesterday's loss.  Next day start anew.  To bring your A-game.

People that grew up playing sports tend to have a good attitude in the workforce overall in my opinion.  Sports can teach us a lot about the business world.  Playing sports in youth prepares for the battles of life, this includes 40+ year career.  Do you witness this in the workforce - yes or no?


You Never Know What You'll Find

I've been going to garage sales and flea markets since early teens.  Its amazing what you can find there.  Quality items good prices variety like you've never seen.

We attend garage sales every Saturday.  Set aside specific amount of money, get in the car, head out to fun and adventure.  When the lot of ones are used up, we go home.

And bring our haul into the house, amongst the piles of clutter from Saturday's long ago.

Its surprising to see the variety of items.  And each garage sale is different.  Never the same twice.

The one thing you get good at, is assessing the quality of items as you drive up to the sale.  Within a few seconds you get a feel.  What is the condition and location of house.  What items are for sale.  How are they arranged.  What do the sales people look and act like.

You get a glimpse into people's entire lives by looking at their stuff.  One thing you tend to see, which may surprise people, is most people have basically the same stuff.  Except the richer neighborhoods simply have nicer stuff, nicer toys, better quality.  The stuff is basically the same however.

There is so much to purchase you have to become selective.  Just because the price is good, you may not need that item, so you pass on it.  How many can openers does a family need.

Its fun to talk with the sales people, get a glimpse of who they are, where they are in life, with their items providing a snapshot of their entire lives.

At some point, you look at all this stuff, and realize, stuff is okay, but the world has more to offer than stuff.  Like the movie Brewster's Millions in the 1970's, the main character has to spend gobs of money within time frame, if completed, he gets even more gobs of money.  So he throws away the money at frivolous items, expected to decline in value.  What he learns is spending money, although fun at first, is not really fun.

There is more to life than just stuff.  But going to sales is a good hobby.  And guess what, you never know what you are going to find.

And so it goes~!

You Are a Solar System

You are a planet.  You revolve around the Sun.  You have moons and satellites.  Bet you didn't know that.

Your Sun is your energy source.  Which supplies energy and helps growth.

You have Moons that orbit you.  Moons for Health.  Moons for Finances.  Moons for Family, friends, spirituality, personal development, etc.

Each Moon varies in size, based on personal  bias and needs.  Likewise, each Moon varies in distance from you, depending on how much attention you pay it.

How often do you visit each Moon, tend to it, till the soil, water the crops, reap the harvest.  Do some Moons get ignored over others, vacant and abandoned.

Perhaps the size and distance of each Moon, affects the tides and moods of your life, like the tides of the Ocean rise and fall.

Perhaps our thoughts are stored in the dark matter that surrounds your Solar System.  Keeping tabs of all your thoughts, actions, from birth.

You yourself are an ecosystem, a Solar System, out in the wilderness of the Galaxy, interacting with other Solar Systems.

Each day, your Planet continues its journey around the Sun.  Your Moon revolve around your Planet.  And each day your Solar System revolves around the center of the Universe.  All connected.  Same matter that exists in the Universe exists in your personal Solar System and makes the content of every atom everywhere.

And so, are the days of our lives.


Real Time Learning

With the advent of cloud architecture, we no longer do specific things.  We do a variety of things in variety of ecosystems for a variety of clients doing a variety of offerings.

So you work with data.  You may build and design databases.  You may load databases.  You may report on databases.  You may build cubes.  You may build solutions using web based product.  You may build solutions using on-premise products.  You may build build hybrid solutions across variety of vendors and variety of technologies.  You may work with relations databases.  You may work with pair valued databases.  You may work with large data sets, location data, disparate data sets, you may work with graph databases.  You may embed your solutions within other applications.  You may build dashboards that pull data across the internet.  You may scrape data from the web in real time.  You may build models stored in the cloud.  You may call other people's models.  You may build machine learning applications.  You may build Artificial Intelligence applications.  You may do all of the above a pieces of each.

You no longer simply do a specific thing.  You do many things.  And those many things will evolve and change over time.  We are working in a moving environment.  Things are changing in real time.

When someone asks if you have x years in specific technology, that's really not the question.  The question is how do you apply past experience to latest technology.  Because nobody knows every technology.  And even if you did, it's already changed.  Specific years is outdated.  Real time learning is where its at.


Machine Learning and AI to Become Commodity

The mainframe took up entire floors.  Bugs were actually moths.  Code was input using reams of punch cards.  Memory was low, code had to be tight.  These were the days before Assembly language.

Think of the minute details involved at such a low level.  Perhaps bundle some logic, create a reusable function.  Perhaps allow parameters.  With 2KB of memory, you need to control your code the nth degree.

Eventually, higher level languages appeared.  And its continue to progress exponentially.  So little to no coding involved.

You can almost see the same pattern emerge in the machine language spaces.  At first, colleges had access to large data sets and could attempt recognition systems on university time and budget, perhaps in effort to earn PhD.  And big government agencies had access to powerful machines for such use.  And large corporations like IBM had financial backing, resources and expertise to take on complex data projects.

Eventually, machines learning got a rebirth.  Software became accessible, hardware became available, memory was available, utilization of distributed servers came to fruition, as well as Cloud resources to spin up some heavy deep learning processing power.  Software, Hardware, Memory, Large Data sets and enough information became available for a surge in machine learning.

You can Cluster, Classify, Anomaly Detection, Recommend Engine from your living room couch.  Many websites and applications have already bundled some level of machine learning models into everyday products.

Large corporations are working to teach machines how to learn on their own, advanced unsupervised learning, such that the machine can teach itself to become expert level experts in video games, chess, go and more.

Artificial Intelligence has financial backing across public and private sectors.  With drones that can fly unassisted, cars that can maneuver on highways, robots than can perform tasks in factories.  IBM Watson was fed tons of data on medical information, and it can assist medical practitioners diagnose and treat patients, as the machine can search really fast, look for patterns, past use case studies across multiple domains, very quickly.

The pattern of mainframes with low level code into sub-routines and functions into higher level languages into little to no coding, is duplicating with Machine Learning and Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence.  We already got passed the resource, software, technology into the hands of laymen, next, we'll see higher level languages to stream line the process of data cleaning, data modeling, data ingestion, model training time reduced, cross collaboration of domains in real time.  It's going to be easier, cheaper, faster to get Machine Learning and AI into production with little to no coding, with more automation and re-usable code.

That's how technology works.  We use what we have today, tomorrow it becomes cheaper and easier to use.  From Mainframes to AI.  We already see Cloud based Machine Learning in AzureML, drag and drop components, easy to bundle and deploy to production, with easy access via exposed endpoints web services, which can be called from a variety of applications and languages in real time.

My early computer days were sitting on the family computer IBM PC in the early 1980s with PC Dos and BBS, then the VAX in college, then a 286 with AOL, then OS2 / Windows 3.1, then Internet, then C++ / Visual Basic 4 / Oracle / Crystal Reports, eventually getting to today, where technology has advanced beyond comprehension and fragmented into thousands of tiny slices of vendors and products and offerings and interconnected world including Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.

Pretty soon AI will become a commodity and integrated into small chips that reside in Internet of Things (IoT) devices, just about every industry public and private, and coding will be at higher level with less thinking required.  Perhaps AI devices will create new AI models, on the fly in real time, as needed, then archived for later use and re-use across cluster of AI devices.  Perhaps AI will monitor security across the globe, audit BlockChain transactions in real time for fraud detection.  One thing is for certain, technology will continue its march forward to simplify the complex and infiltrate the core of society to a high degree.  And for now, while humans still hold the keys to progress, let's try not to make enemies with technology, for one day in the future, we may be answering to it.

Thanks for reading~!


FORTRAN Exam not so Easy

I remember taking FORTRAN for Business in college.  Would write Pseudo-Code, then type on Terminal, send Job to run, then send Code to the Printer.  Would have to wait for print outs with other students, they handed out every half hour, on Green Paper.

I remember showing up for the final exam.  Showed ID, sat down, students didn't look familiar.  Started exam, questions made no sense.

So I called the Proctor over, explained.  He said you are just nervous, take your time.  No, I  didn't know answer to a single question.  We determined that the final exam was for FOTRAN for Engineers, not FORTRAN for Business.

I showed up for the wrong test.  I guess in order to pass the test, you have to show up at the correct building, correct room and correct time.  Who knew.

College for me was not easy.  Little known fact, I had to drop Pascal Programming Language Class, because I was flunking.  Not sure why, it didn't click in my head even with some tutoring from my Brother, who was in the Computer Engineering path at the University same time I was there.

That was in the late 1980s.  I received his hand me down laptop at the time, weighed about 50 pounds, size of a large suit case, had Orange screen about smaller than a Lunch Box.  That was big time back then.  I should have hung on to that relic, sold it a few years later for $100 to a guy at work, he paid in installments, $25.

And so it goes~!

Where & How Will Society Be Disrupted

Where will Technology Disrupt Society?


Education - think Students prepared for work life at fraction of Time and Cost.  Electronic Portable Records.

Healthcare - think Medical Records.  Faster Claims processing.  Holistic view of patients.  Doctor Collaboration.

Finance - think new Digital Currency to replace Paper Money across Globe, instant Stock Transactions.

Transportation - think Driver-less Autonomous Vehicles carrying Human passengers as well as Cargo.

Communication - think Instant access to Anybody Anywhere Anytime on Any Device.

Retail - think Instant access to Any Product Delivered promptly.

Insurance - think Faster Claims, Insightful Dynamic Precise Models on Specific Products.

Specific Technologies:

Artificial Intelligence - think Smart Everything connecting the Physical World with Digital World.

Drones - think National Security, Delivery Mechanisms, Photography, Weather, Provide Internet Access Faraway places.

Augmented Reality - think Removal of Boundaries between Internal Mind and External World, where Physical Properties dissolve and Reality Expands beyond Comprehension.

Blockchain - think distributed Ledger, Faster Cheaper Transparent Digital Transactions with Audit Trail.

Quantum Computing - think Simple Solutions to Infinitely Complex Problems, technology trickle into mainstream Development.

Microscopic Technology - think Embedded Chips and Sensors in Things, Cargo, People, Animals to Monitor in Real Time.  Also think Data Storage at the Atomic Levels.


Numbers Are Fun

People don't make sense.  What makes sense?  Numbers.  Numbers are concrete.  They are logical.  Have patterns.  You can combine them to form other numbers.  Can, add, subtract, divide.  And they are infinite.  They spawn in two directions, with zero sitting in the middle.

A lesser known fact, zero was taboo in older society.  It represented nothingness.  Not something.  Deemed taboo.  Zero was excommunicated.

Actually, zero is something, NULL is nothing.

You can extend whole numbers to have decimals, that also go to infinity.  Prime numbers are only divisible by 1 and themselves.  Numbers have interesting properties to say the least.

Numbers can be considered building blocks, combined to create new numbers.  Like elements of a biological chart.  Like letters of a universal language.

Imagine life without numbers.  Impossible.

Life is divided into pairs.  True/False.  Binary opposites.  Yin/Yang.  Good/Evil.  Positive/Negative charges.  Much of the smaller parts of life depend on aligning charges to pair or repel each other, even at the molecular level.

What if God was positive charge, Devil negative.  Connected opposites.

Computers depend on Zero/One.  Binary language.  Most all computer languages and processors interpret binary language.  Either true or false.

Except.  Quantum Physics does not.  For some odd reason, you can be positive, negative or both.  1, 0 or 1 & 0.  How can that be?  Not entirely sure.  That's what the experts tell us.  They probably know, they went to school for a long time, if anyone knows I'd image in were them.

A quebit can have a charge.  And it's associated quebit also can have a similar charge.  If it changes, the other is also changed, instantly, across vast distances they say.  Sometimes you don't know the state until you ask what the state is.  Imagine that.  Undetermined state until reality enters the picture.  Reality as in human interaction.  If a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it, does not make a sound.

For some reason, this bizarre state of 0, 1 or 0 & 1, can process more possibilities in faster time.  This could impact future computers, throwing the binary shackles to the side, cracking codes that 1000 computers could not solve in 100 years.

True Quantum Computers do not exist per say.  They say they can duplicate the environment to produce quantum behavior in unique physical conditions.  Even still the number of simultaneous quebits alive at a time depends on the power of the servers, which operate in freezing temps, so costs are high and access is limited.

Limited, except now we have programming languages at our fingertips, to send code to Quantum Computers, how about that.  Call Quantum Computers from your living room.

Some say that understanding Quantum Computers, will shed light on the hidden properties of the Universe.  Sort of an old riddle perhaps.  I think Einstein dabbled in Quantum Physics, but I don't want to play dice with one of the greatest minds in history.

Quantum Computing is probably the highest level of though in computer world today, perhaps storing data in atoms may be close second.  I wonder what will be the next higher intellectual concept for technology to conquer.  Replicate humans, artificial general intelligence, hybrid humans/robots, space travel, worm holes, time travel, faster than light.

Personally, I think one of the highest achievements we could imagine would be to get a human on the phone in under 5 minutes when calling Customer Service line AND having them solve your problem.  That's high achievement, so don't hold your breath.  We can only imagine.

Suffice to say, numbers are fun!


Wearing Shorts, T-Shirt & Sneakers-Your Interviewer Will Now See You

Then there was that one time.  Back when jobs were posted in the newspapers.  My current job hours fluctuated, answering calls all day, so people could apply for credit over the phone, at Retail store.

I was heading out to play tennis, in shorts and t-shirt and sneakers.  Parked car, took elevator to floor, got out, headed over to the window, lady said hello.

I would like to apply for the Credit Analyst position posted in the newspaper.  Sure, do you have a resume.  Here.  Thank you.  Do you have a minute to wait here, I'll be right back.  Thanks for waiting, do you have a few minutes, the hiring director would like to speak with you.  Sure, I not dressed properly.  That's no problem.

Entered the office, down the hall, lots of people in suits working on computers in cubicles.  Sat in Director's office, took a seat.  Did the interview right then and there.  Asked my degree, qualifications, what I did for a living.  Then left.

I got a phone call few days later, with a job offer.  Soon after starting, the Director asked if I knew anyone else with similar backgrounds.  I got 2 people hired from my old job.

I later found out one of the higher ups in the company played tennis as well.  He was looking for a 4th player for the weekly doubles match.  I played with the group, in Downtown Buckhead, at a Mansion with tennis court in back of house.  We played every week.  They told me I got the job because I could play tennis.  Might have been joking.  Not sure.

Then we got downsized and I moved to Florida.  Shortly after got a call from that same guy.  He offered to hire me back, pay for moving expenses back to Atlanta in Mortgage company.  Unfortunately, I just got hired in the IT department and decided to make programming my new career.

And that's how I interviewed in shorts, t-shirt, sneakers, and got the job.


Stealth Project

Working on an idea for market.  Currently in stealth mode.  Sort of hush hush.

Yeah, its cool working under the radar.  Sammie, she's in charge of research.  Snoopy, she's in charge of HR, keeping the books and snacks.  Chloe, she's our chief product engineer and maintains the network and database.

Can't go into too much detail.  Suffice to say, all three dogs work cheap.  We are on some very tight deadlines.  Hoping to have a prototype to show soon.  Until then, you didn't hear anything.

Pros and Cons Working from Home

Working from home really sucks.  You know why?  Just kidding.  Working from home is great!  For so many reasons.

  1. You save money on dry cleaning.
  2. You save money on gas for the car.
  3. You save money on eating out for lunch every day.
  4. You save money on coffee.
  5. You save time on commutes, about 2 hours per day.
  6. You can begin work as soon as you wake up, or shut the laptop late in the evening.
  7. You can check emails during non-work hours if needed.
  8. You can vary your lunch hour to coincide with appointments.
  9. You can do the laundry during the day.
  10. You can work from anywhere you have an internet connection.

You have tons of more freedom.  As the only interaction with home office or client is remote.  As in Instant Messaging, Emails and sometimes Cell Phones.

What are some downsides to working out of the house?

  1. Limited face to face contact with real people.
  2. Can become a hermit.
  3. Pay for your own internet, cell phone, electricity, printer, office supplies.
  4. Distractions like neighbors, lawn mowers, airplanes, dogs, garbage trucks, sirens, spouses, etc.
  5. Motivation may be tough for some people, that's why having deadlines and daily stand ups keeps on toes.
  6. You don't get face time with co-workers, out of mind, out of sight.
  7. Laptop repairs not easy when home office or client out of state.
  8. Miss out on important information at home office / client, out of the loop.

Some people don't enjoy working from home 100%.  Not me.  I've worked out of the house for the past 5+ years and really like the setup.  So long as the work gets done on time and accurate, haven't been too many issues.

I think remote work is the future, at least partially, as many clients have work from home days.

And there you have it~!


No Rules, Laws or Ethics for AI, Still?

What is interesting is the same rhetoric time after time.

Data is the new oil.  8 years ago.
Data is the new oil.  7 years ago.
Data is the new oil.  6 years ago.
Data is the new oil.  5 years ago.
Data is the new oil.  4 years ago.
Data is the new oil.  3 years ago.
Data is the new oil.  2 years ago.
Data is the new oil.  1 years ago.

Okay, we know that.  Except its not new news.  It was new news a while back.  Typing an article about it is rehashing old news.  Which other people reported about years ago.

On another note, we read time and again, ¨we really need to architect some type of rules and ethics for Artificial Intelligence¨.

Well, that´s true.  Except it hasn´t been done.  And it should have been done.  And it still isn´t done.

That leaves the door open for nobody writing the rules of law and ethics.

Or, it allows those in the know to write the rules.  Not a great idea to allow the gatekeepers of the technology to write the rule books.  Leave that to letting the credit card companies writing the new bankruptcy laws.

AI will be here before we know it in one form or another.  Without proper rules, laws, etc. we are asking for trouble.  And the fact that people keep saying rules need to be created, amplifies the fact that it hasn´t been done yet.






Early Computers

I have never walked on the moon.  Yet.  Anything is possible.  They say some people landed on the moon back in 1969, just in a nick of time.  To comply with JFK ambitious initiative to start space flight.  That is one small leap.  Quite an accomplishment.

The computers used to in the mission were antiquated as you can imagine, probably not as powerful as a smart phone.

Computers were once limited to NASA, Government Agencies, Universities, Research facilities.  Personal Computers took center stage in the early 1980s.  We had an IBM PC top of the line 1200 buad modem.  Used to dial up BBS download files, find lists, etc.  Early day hackers.

Anyone remember ¨global thermonuclear¨ in the war games movie.  A lone wolf smart kid outwits and outsmarts the greatest minds of the day.  Seems possible, or not.

Hackers have been around since the beginning of computers.  How to outsmart people, processes and systems.

Sort of a mentality of underdog, wits, whatever it takes mentality.  Only downside, in today´s world a hacker will spend time for their crimes.  I was never a hacker.  But one can easily understand the mentality behind them.  Do what can not be done, for fun, on a computer.

Another movie from a while back was ¨Real Genius¨" some smart students discover new ¨ray¨ device in college setting, only to be under minded and sold out by their professor.  I believe the smart kids win in the end.

Then of course there is Robert Redford ¨Sneakers¨ movie about paid hackers that discover great device to crack any code, ¨No more secrets¨:

Computers was once the domain of nerds.  Now, its become big business.  Social skills now required.  Some of us nerds are still working in IT, nerds as in early day computer users and programmers at young age.  It is amazing how embedded computers are in society.  Way back when, if you knew your way around a computer, you were among a unique tribe.  Now, everyone has jumped on board the bandwagon, for good reason.  Computers are the future, and present.  Only question, will humans survive or be cast aside for smart intelligent machines.

We will soon find out...

Time to Make the Reports

Time to make the reports.  Been working on the TPS reports for 20+ years.  They still are not done yet.  Not sure if they ever will be.  Working on the reports for multiple decades may be boring to some people.  Trying to get the numbers to match up just rights.  It is meticulous, some say boring.  I do not mind.  Keeps the mind active.  Solving puzzles all day.  Not a bad living.

No, I don´t work on ETL.  Nor Cubes.  Nor Hadoop.  Nor IoT.  Nor Machine Learning.  Nor Artificial Intelligence.  Nor Quantum Computing.

I write SQL.  For the past year or so.  Waking up each day, getting started on the code.  If you write SQL for decades, chances are you enjoy it.  I still do.  Not bad for an Anthropology with Minor in Business.


Crypto Currency Bubble

BitCoin.  I heard about BitCoin a while back.  Was going to purchase a server to Mine BitCoin.

Free Money!

Who doesn´t want that.

Well, if we take a step back for a second.  There are no free meals.  There are suckers born every minute.  History dictates the appearance of manufactured bubbles every so often, to fuel the economy and displace money from the bottom upwards.

Based on this limited subset of information, I chose not to invest in BitCoin.  And now we hear that some big Tech Companies refuse to support BitCoin.  And leading investment advisers, billionaires in fact, shrug off as well.

I hate to be the messenger, but if you want to become wealthy, why not try working hard for it.  Yes, it sure would be a lot easier to lie, steal, cheat or ride the next bubble, but working hard builds character.

Try it, you may like it.

On another note, I would venture to guess that an alternative Crypto currencies appears in the not so distant future, built on similar foundation of BlockChain.  Except it will be regulated and controlled similar to current currency, yet it will cross country boundaries and be accepted worldwide currency.  Or segmented digital currency in North & South America, Europe, Africa, etc..

And who is this guy that created BlockChain.  A mystery man indeed.  Don´t you just love when new technology is created out of thin air by some phantom of the night, doesn´t stick around for accolades and wealth.  Seem funny to you?

Wasn´t there a super hero from another planet that had superior strength and his only downfall was ¨Crypto¨ Night.  Ah who knows.

And so it goes~!

We Replaced You with a Bot

We wrote a ¨bot¨ to replicate your personality.  Took about an hour.  You´re services are no longer needed.

Funny, but possible.

You as an entity, besides all the drama, are designed to work and spend money.  If your job description could be automated, you could be replaced by technology, in one form or another, and you would not have the capital to spend.  No work, no spend.  Then what?

What makes you ¨you¨.  Probably your accumulated experiences and thoughts and patterns and relationships over time.

One thing that´s baked into everyone, are their personal bias.  Your favorite color, your favorite meal, your view of the world is slanted towards your experiences plus your preferences.

If we remove your preferences, and distill your experiences down to simple truths, then combine them with others, a mash of consolidated truths across cultures and ages, we could create a generic intelligence, minus the personal preferences.  The Borg.

Who cares what your favorite color is.  Or your SAT scores.  Or your net worth.  What unique knowledge do you possess that could benefit the group?

Your believe that your are separate being entity, that´s is the mass hallucination we are taught from early age.  Kids are labeled from early age, how well does this child look out for themselves, how good are they are getting what they want, are they ruthless.  That´s considered a good trait, at least when I was growing up.

If you were deep thinker, lost in thought, shy, and didn´t care much for competition, they labeled and tossed you aside, make room for others.

When did we decide that aggressive winner takes all behavior was favorable?  What about those with deficits that can´t compete or choose not to compete?

Society is about to awaken to a new reality.  Job security.  Pensions.  Low cost education.  Expensive healthcare.  Inflation.  Elderly population without savings.

As we approach the perfect storm, we have automation waiting on the wings, ready for their entrance, to take center stage.  People have so much baggage, intelligence systems do not.

Does anyone maintain the belief that their role in society is going to remain in tact?  Just look around, the tides are beginning to shift.  With everyone looking out for themselves, instead of group effort, let´s see how this turns out.

Best of luck!


Cavemen, Dirt, Wheelbarrows, Blockchain, CryptoCurrency and AI

Data is the new oil. Sort of a good analogy.

Except new oil is constantly required.  And there is only so many oil wells on the planet.  At some point, they will dry up.

Data is more like the new sunshine.  Chances are the Sun will be around for a very long time.  Giving off light and heat energy for many generations.

You could say we have been collecting data, or let us say dirt, for a long time.  We collect our dirt, store in Buckets.  At some point, someone discovered very large Buckets, or big Buckets (big data).  You can store a whole bunch of dirt in big Buckets.

We still need a way to transport that dirt from one location to another, we use wheel barrows, or ETL for Extract Transform and Load.  We move a pile of dirt from here to over here, we do this every night during ETL process, make copies of dirt over and over.

Next we reinvented a system to store that dirt across vast spaces, totally transparent, with rules to identify if the dirt is allowed to be approved for delivery and transaction, the block-chain.  We will split up the pile of dirt, keep some in varied locations to ensure accuracy and accountability.

Block-chain appears to be a good technology, can be leveraged across many sectors for near real time instant transaction recording, think Insurance, Healthcare, Stock Transfers, Voting Polls.  Block-chain raised its head in the form of Crypto currencies.  Thing to remember, if you control the creation of money, you are well positioned, let us not discount the fact that money printers are not going to relinquish their position any time soon.  So Crypto Currencies many come to fruition, putting dents into the banking system structure, but it will be a controlled currency, across the globe, with fees and specific groups that allow new currency units to be created into economy, all tracked electronically for audit trails and fraud prevention (or fraud creation).

Artificial Intelligence, great concept, to mirror the human brain.  Except as researchers explore the human brain, they realize teaching data models to become guests on Jerry Springer show is not all that great an accomplishment, as humans pretend they are logical, yet lack evidence for such.  Emotional creatures that know best practices, and go to great heights to completely ignore, think diets, savings, exercise, faithful, etc.

Augmented Reality is an up and comer.  As if Real Reality was not strange enough, we created artificial reality, with no holds bar, anything is possible.

Perhaps cavemen and cave women had it best.  Hunt.  Gather.  Mate.  Sit around the campfire.  That does not sound all that bad if you think about it.  Technology has propelled mankind forward, and added new dimension of Temple of Babble by confusing, over complexing, splintering, re-inventing new ways to solve same business problems, for a fee.  Yet that fee drives the economy.  And who could not use a few extra artificial units of currency to display their artificial status in artificial society.

I would say cavemen were just as smart, if not smarter, than today.


How do we Scale & Speedup Artificial Intelligence

People have filters.  If you ask someone that drinks at bars a question about a bar, chances are, they will have more information that you care to know, as in what bars are in the vicinity, the culture of clients, the menu, etc.

Same with a person that enjoys coffee.  They have an internal map of all the coffee joints in town, hours, locations, people, baristas.

Reason being, they are domain experts in their specialized interest.

They say the average mind listens to thousands of signals a second.  Because the fact is we are bombarded by too much stimuli, so we filter out the stuff not important to survival or interest.  Perhaps running anomaly detection routines in the background for protection, subconsciously in the back of the brain.

The mind is always awake, processing stimuli into information for processing.  We filter on the basics, push aside the not important stuff, and go about our lives.  Perhaps we have special areas of interest that we are knowledgeable.  Perhaps we learn up to a point, then shut down anything new, at a certain age.

Artificial Intelligence is intelligence produced artificially.  Intelligence is derived as any other computer.  It takes Input.  Processes the input.  Returns Output.

We have developed multiple ways to teach computers patterns over time by feeding input data, process through multiple layers to produce output results based on percentages of predictability.

We have specific sets of data to train specific data models.  We tune these models for better accuracy, over time so the training can learn based on new data.

We have data models that watch other data models, receive input via feedback loops, for instant feedback, so the models can learn faster with better accuracy.

Yet, they are limited in their domain.  They may be experts in a specific area, but chances are, not multiple domains, in real time.

Input.  Process.  Output.

That is how computers work, and to some degree, that is how brains work.  Brains could be considered very advanced data models, how the data gets stored & archived, accessed on demand, memory, are sort of becoming more known, yet still a black box indeed.  Brains are extraordinary equipment and are a mystery.

Artificial Intelligence has progressed recently, as in the past 10 to 15 years.  Because data sets are more available, processing power has increased, software is freely available and expert thinkers and designers are hard at work at well funded organizations working night and day tirelessly to solve this unique riddle.

Some of the issues confronted are domain specific models do not scale easily, they take time to train, perhaps not real time models.  The process of obtaining data, cleansing to some degree, processing models through multiple layers is tedious, not fast and performed by trained professionals in unique office conditions.

With all the advancements so far, as in winning at Jeopardy, becoming master level at video games such as Othello, Atari, Go, Chess, Poker, how do we integrate multiple layers of AI across multiple domains in real time as well as scale globally with increased accuracy, better performance and lower costs.

Input.  Process.  Output.

With AI, we have facial recognition, classification of objects, speech, vision, natural language processing, predictions based on statistical probability, anomaly detection based on data points that do not comply with expectations.  Most of this is performed via computer software.  Robotics are entering the space as well as in manufacturing jobs and machinery to increase efficiency across physically demanding and repetitious patterns.

So if a software program can be trained by processing large sets of data, what if we could teach machines to learn faster.  As in learn by example.  A picture says a thousand words.

What if a computer could simply watch an action over time, and learn the techniques to duplicate the behavior, with efficiency and accuracy.  How would that be done.

Well, if you had a camera, that translated the external world into a digital world, for processing, that would handle the data input.

The processing could be short wired to watch the patterns, learn the best practices as well as exceptions.  The core learning wouldn´t take that long, its learning the exceptions that may take longer, and those can be archived and appended over time.  This is a challenge for humans as well, as long as things go as expected, people can process and move forward.  Its when exceptions occur, how do you handle, forward to manager as they have more experience or authorization, same with computers, flag occurrence for future follow up.  Otherwise continue as usual.

Teach computers to teach themselves by showing them actions to perform, may speed up the training of models.  And those models can be integrated with other models.  Each component becomes expert in their niche, other models can access each other model, such as a bee hive.  A series of combs together form a structure, the bee hive.  Each comb could display its meta data, what the model does, what its domain expertise is, how to interact with it, who created it, when, how often updated, etc. etc.

A combination of multiple domains spiced together across giant networks, to form a unified collection of knowledge across multiple domains in real time, scaled across the planet, continuously being updated with newer information.  New data models could leverage the already learned knowledge from other Data Models across similar domains.

When we think of Artificial Intelligence, we think technology, as in data or programming or algorithms, or what have you.  What you also need to consider are the liberal arts, the actual arts, the sciences, different cultures as in Anthropology, history, medical, banking, traffic patterns, engineering, politics, governments.  There is no set of knowledge outside the realm of AI, it encompasses everything, including languages, religions, tactical warfare, currencies, economies, etc..

It may be possible to speed up the development of Artificial Intelligence by leveraging the ability of software applications to learn by watching, osmosis.  We can not depend on huge volumes of new data sets, to take hours to program and train specific models in specific domains, which do not scale and perhaps not real time.

We need AI systems that can scale, faster, more accurate, by learning the basics of new systems by watching repetitious patterns and learning, as well as pickup up information from other trained models in other or similar domains.  We can expose these trained models using meta-data, telling users information about specific models, so they can be leveraged, why reinvent the wheel when that info has already been learned.

We have made great strides in the field of Artificial Intelligence.  I wonder if we could speed things up a bit, by introducing new ways to train models, and bypass the process of training models based on large data sets.  Let the models train themselves by watching and learning, over time, in real time, as well as leverage a network of trained models across the globe.

Any opinions on this line of thought.


Are You A Data Scientist

Data Scientist cropped up a while back, became all the rage.  Here are a few requirements:

  1. Enjoys working with data
  2. Intellectual curiosity
  3. Programming skills
  4. Domain knowledge
  5. Cleanses data
  6. Big data
  7. PhD
  8. Statistical Algorithms
  9. Visualizations
  10. Problem Solver

I would say 20+ years working with data, programming and creating reports is a good skills set and foundation for career in IT.  I do not possess a 7.) PhD nor Masters Degree.  And I have not had much experience with 8.) Statistical Algorithms.

I have no intention of going back to school to earn PhD, that boat sailed years ago.  Adding Statistical Algorithms is just a matter of getting a juicy project in which to work with Statistics and training models in Machine Learning, to officially say I have real world experience as Data Scientist.

We see the rhetoric surrounding FAKE DATA SCIENTIST.  Perhaps they do exist.  Looking at the skills I've acquired over time, it sure looks like they overlap to a high degree.  The probability that I am a Data Scientist is fairly high percentage, plus or minus 3% (snark).  Until I get real world experience, will remain a data jockey.