9
Jul

Digitaal en fysiek

by Kris in Technology

Ik kwam laatst een interessante blog post van Bart tegen die zegt dat de waarheid in digitaal + fysiek zit en eerder had hij het al over dat bedrijven full stack moeten gaan om echte disruptie te realiseren. Hij wil daarmee zeggen dat bedrijven de volledige waardeketen van begin tot einde dienen in te vullen met een eigen standpunt en business model. Dat wil volgens mij niet zeggen dat bedrijven zelf de gehele ketting dienen te controleren, maar door je anders te organiseren dan wat gangbaar is kan je de coördinatie- of transactiekost die gepaard gaan met de verschillende activiteiten in de keten misschien wel drukken.

De echte innovatie vandaag zit in de digitale laag. Maar daar zit ook het probleem, want er is geen marginale kost voor software. Dat wil zeggen, dat de bijkomende kost voor een software bedrijf om een nieuwe unit van bijvoorbeeld Angry Birds aan te bieden gelijk is aan nul. Akkoord, er zijn initiële investeringskosten rond engineering et cetera maar daar houdt het mee op. Vandaar dat de opbrengsten voor software dus eigenlijk ook heel laag zullen liggen. Dat is best wel een belangrijk inzicht!

Hardware staat synoniem voor fysiek. Nu, vele van die hardware is vandaag geïndustrialiseerd met behulp van assemblagelijnen en goedkope arbeidskrachten. Prijzen van simpele producten worden bovendien nog meer gedrukt door opkomende 3D printer technologie. En ééns een product een commodity wordt, kan je het verschil maken met customer experience. Dat wil dan dus niet meer zeggen: betere features, hogere performance of een betere customer service, want die zaken zijn nu al eenmaal geëxploiteerd. En het Internet heeft het speelveld zo drastisch uitgebreid. Dat is vooral te danken aan TCP/IP, waardoor iedereen nu wereldwijd met elkaar over het netwerk kan communiceren. Het strijdtoneel werd globaal en daardoor is alles al wel eens gedaan door iemand. Het is dus een kwestie van je beter te organiseren in de waardeketen, zowel digitaal als fysiek.

De combinatie hardware+software is eigenlijk al heel normaal vandaag. Je auto zit vol electronica en er zit behoorlijk wat software in om al die waardevolle gegevens op je dashboard tevoorschijn te toveren. Sommige bedrijven zoals IBM en HP hebben dat pas laat ingezien, maar ze produceren al lang niet alleen meer mainframes. Naast lineaire groei bestaat er immers ook nog zoiets als niet-lineaire groei. Een belangrijk element in het business model is de groeistrategie. Dat is de bestaansreden van een bedrijf: winsten blijven maken. Met de opkomst van het Internet werd het strijdtoneel globaal, en tegelijk is er meer en meer roep naar transparantie en maatschappelijke aanspreekbaarheid. Het motto luidt als volgt: door je open op te stellen, haal je niet alleen zelf ergens voordeel uit, maar eigenlijk wint iedereen erbij. Bedrijven zoals Apple hebben het zich kunnen permitteren om met eigen connectoren te werken die enkel werken met hun materiaal/infrastructuur, maar de vraag is maar in hoeverre ze daar zelf voordeel blijven uithalen. Voor de consument en de maatschappij in het algemeen is er alleszins geen voordeel; het belemmert innovatie! Een opmerkelijke zet om innovatie aan te zwengelen en een meer duurzaam voertuig landschap te bouwen kwam van Elon Musk van Tesla. Hij besliste om bedrijven die zijn patenten misbruiken niet langer te vervolgen. Hybride auto’s zijn we al gewoon, maar volledige elektrische auto’s zijn nog steeds zeer zeldzaam en met deze stap wil Tesla daar verandering in brengen. Een Open Source model is geen evidente keuze, maar kunnen wel gezonde ecosystemen ontwikkelen en walled gardens/vendor lock-in voorkomen. Bedrijven zijn gedreven door winst en bij enterprise software worden marges gecreëerd uit torenhoge licentiekosten of winsten gehaald uit patenten. Dat staat haaks tegenover Open Source. We moeten ons er wel van bewust zijn dat het de integratie van data over systemen/activiteiten heen die blijvende waarde creëert. En daaruit volgen niet alleen nieuwe toepassingen, maar ook geheel nieuwe businessmodellen.

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29
Jun

Her

by Kris in Film

What’s on my mind? A movie I have just seen. It’s written and directed by Spike Jonze and called “Her”. The movie, a romantic science fiction play, is just brilliant. I really loved it. Its outlandish and innovative theme got the movie an Oscar for the same.

The story is about a lonesome writer called Theodore who is going through an impending divorce. Theodore lives in a tiny apartment in Los Angeles high up in the sky in the nearby future. As a person, Theodore is very sensitive and perceptive of what happens around him. Then one day Theodore goes to an exposition about artificial operating systems. As such, Theodore gets acquainted with the OS, which calls herself Samantha. Theodore can share anything with her. Samantha can see things through the eyes of a smartphone camera, which Theodore carries around. He talks through her via ear plugs. She can help him organize, play games and proof read his letters.

Theodore keeps reflecting back on the past, about the good and not so good memories from his time with his ex wife with whom he grew up, going through the arguments again, pondering how he could have done things better and how they influenced each other. And Samantha can feel his pain, love and anger and as she watches lives through the eyes of Theodore, she also evolves from a programming construct to a computer with human feelings. Samantha’s main difficulty is that she misses a human body and cannot have physical contact with Theodore. Theodore then goes on a date, which is a really big thing for him, yet the date ends very awkwardly and he sends his date home.

While Theodore feels as if he cannot get back the same feeling as before and that it’s all going downhill from here, finds love in the artificial operating system. They both appreciate and share feelings of anger, fear, love, humor and creativity. Getting back a grip on himself, Theodore then decides to meet his ex to sign the paper work to finally settle the divorce. Theodore explains her that he has been seeing someone over the fast few months, Samantha, and that she is an OS. His ex gets furious and criticizes him over the fact that he cannot deal with real emotions and life. In the meantime, the husband of Theodore’s friend Amy takes a vow of silence. Theodore is very close to her  and discovers that she also found love in an Operating System.

There’s one scene where Theodore is desperately reaching out for Samantha. And he cannot find her. Then it turns out she went offline for a an upgrade to the system. Theodore discovers that Samantha can apparently talk to simultaneously persons at once and that she also can fall in love with multiple people at once. Theodore collapses and Samantha leaves. At the end Amy and Theodore sit together and continue with their lives.

This whole idea of falling in love with an artificial operating system is quite absurd and silly (there’s an interesting foreplay in it), yet the film touches on two very important topics: identity and reality. Identity in how the artificial operating system, yet not constrained by time and space, has to accept it physical limitations (how a photograph can be presented through a piano play) and how to deal with this unique kind of love or reality. There’s a reference to philosopher Alan Watts and I hope to be reading more from him some time.

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3
Jun

Meta

by Kris in Technology

Over the weekend a blog post on Mashable about eyewear technology got my attention. Augmented reality glasses are hot!

It was through an interview by Robert Scoble that I learnt about a company called Meta. I hadn’t really talked about them and now feels like a good time. I like people with big, crazy ideas and the folks over at Californian-based startup do exactly this.

Meta is building the SpaceGlasses. It can do a while lot more than Google Glass (the screen oss said to boast 15 times the display area of Google Glass) and it’s trendy. Wearing the device creates a hologram-like display that users can sort through with their hands, similar to the technology seen in Iron Man and Minority Report. So you can manipulate virtual objects with your bare hands, or view informational overlays on top of your surroundings. Apparently you can also create 3D scans of objects too. Imagine the possibilities!

The glasses are a two-part system: one half 3D output display, and one half 3D scanner. The output display allows the user to see holograms — say, an image or computer file — and the scanner scans the environment and tells the computer where to place the graphics relative to the wearer. Pretty exciting if you ask me.

Here’s the interview with Scoble:

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1
Jun

Veni Vidi Vici

by Kris in Life

There’s an important update regarding my running endeavours.

Yes, I have been logging the miles and tracking my progress. It took me lots of workouts, lots of sweat and pain. But I reached a major milestone! On 27 April I ran the Antwerp marathon. Heck: I ran the full marathon distance! My first ever.

Why would someone be so crazy to run 42,195km? First of all, it’s lots of fun! Yes, it takes a lot of training and energy. But on raceday, you will soon forget about that. It just feels amazing to see people cheering all over the place. The support you get from your family and friends has a big impact too.

I ran the marathon for myself to see what I am capable of. Obviously, it takes a lot of dedication and commitment to reach such a goal. But I am very proud of myself. I don’t want to proof to other people that I am a fighter or a disciplined person. I am not bloating about it. But people keep asking about it. And I notice it does give me respect and self-confidence. And I am so happy with the accomplishment.

So how did it go? In overall good. My time was 3h32, really good for a beginner. The first 20 miles went really great, but then I completely collapsed. I did not expect this to happen. My heart pumped as crazy and my lungs couldn’t keep up flowing the oxygen through my veins. I don’t mind admitting that I had to walk a couple of times. It was my first time after all. Next time I will follow one of the pace makers as I did at the 20KM in Brussels. This really seems to help you dose your energy.

On a side note: at my younger years I have always been a good runner. I really haven’t been doing much of sports during my days at University. But I’m picking that up again. And I want to continue building this up. Note to self: in bits and pieces as everything has to be in balance. That’s the recipe to success.

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5
Apr

Breder perspectief

by Kris in Links

Vandaag op een interessant verhaal over alcohol consumptie gestoten van Ernst-Jan Pfauth (ken hem van The Next Web) en zo gefascineerd geraakt door De Correspondent.

Want we dienen groots en meeslepend te leven. Wie even niet op wereldreis is of onlangs geen briljante roman geschreven heeft, kan altijd nog tien glazen achteroverslaan en zien waar de avond hem brengt. Dwalen door de straten, als Shaffy.

Misschien dat er daarom zo’n alcoholmist boven mijn omgeving hangt. Niet omdat we iets moeten vergeten, maar door de belofte die inherent is aan de drank.

Maar dan de schaamteloze reclame voor de De Correspondent: ik hou écht wel van hun visie! Nieuws gaat altijd over uitzonderingen op een regel, altijd wat vandaag gebeurt maar nooit wat er elke dag gebeurt. Als je de wereld dan uitsluitend via nieuws volgt, mis je dus perspectief. De Correspondent wil zich nu net laten leiden door wat invloed heeft op de maatschappij of het leven.

Ze brengen dus de niet alledaagse dingen, doen rauw verslag en er wordt nog eens nagedacht. Alle wetten die gelden bij de mediamaatschappijen worden naast hun neergelegd. Bovendien zijn ze volledig onafhankelijk en advertentie-vrij en alleen leden kunnen reageren.

Heerlijke verdiepende journalistiek, it seems, en zelfs Arnon Grunberg is correspondent!

 

 

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22
Mar

Philles

by Kris in Life

So Philip decided a while ago already to pull the plug on philles.be. It is no longer.

It’s very sad to see his site going.

Here’s what he wrote to me (in Dutch):

Het is nu al een tijdje dat ik er nog iets mee gedaan heb en ik heb besloten om er komaf mee te maken en een nieuwe start te maken. Ik ga mijn website volledig herdenken en er iets nieuws van maken. Hoe dat er zal uit zien weet ik nog niet, maar ik weet wel dat mijn huidige site niet meer in dat verhaal past.

The good news though is that he is rethinking his place on the Web and building it from the ground up. I’m very curious!

Here’s a tribute to one of his best posts. It appeared as one of the last, but it was one of his greatest:

There must always be balance. A personal balance, life balance, natural balance, spiritual balance or the day-to-day daily balance. A scale with alternating weights but a constant average. A perpetuum mobile in the form of a resistance-less swinging pendulum. A gust of air heating up and cooling down as it is pushed up and down by high and low atmosphere pressure. A borderline as thick as a knife’s edge in the middle of the distance between the water levels of high and low tide.

No man is happy always. No man smiles 24/7.

No man suffers always. No man frowns 24/7.

There is value in balance. Adversity grows strength, but becomes fatal without joy. Joy renews mind and body, but loses value and meaning when not challenged.

That was so resonating with me!

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22
Mar

Just as rivers keep flowing and clouds drift endlessly

by Kris in Film

Great marketing for Antwerp, the city I will soon be moving to.

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15
Mar

Splunking

by Kris in Technology

So I just downloaded Splunk and I’m getting hands on my MacBook Pro! It was during an IT Service Management training that I first heard of Splunk. No wonder as it has its roots in the IT shop and I met such folks there.

Splunk is a platform for operational intelligence. It processes data and streams, coming from different places. Just like in an IT department where you have tons of servers generating massive amounts of data. So if there’s an interruption for instance, Splunk helps you find find the needle in the haystack. Splunk can help custom reps for instance to mine through the big data.

From another perspective, splunk is also a platform. It’s like a whole set op APIs. It also offers a JavaScript SDK that a front end developer or node developer can build on. And it gets even better: with the web framework toolkit, you can extend splunk’s dashboard features.

Splunk got my interest as it seems to offer lots and lots of goodness for the Web — it’s build on HTML5, Django, Jquery for visualization et cetera. Stuff that a typical  Javascript engineer is comfortable with.

Splunk seems to understand that a lot of data nowadays (Internet of Things) is generated in JSON and that JavaScript works a good platform for this. This doesn’t require you to have classess, methods and properties, but allows you to work with loose information directly.

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8
Mar

Still going strong and getting serious about HRM

by Kris in Life

Well, no more running stats. Yet I’m still disciplined to run the miles. I’m having fun as ever and it’s bloody addictive. Indeed, the Antwerp Marathon is coming quite close now and is just one month and a half away. I suffered from a few injuries here and there, mostly with my left knee. But then I switched to softer grounds. I’m trying to maintain the 40+ regime every week. It’s tiring I must admit but each time it feels like such an accomplishment.

Schermafbeelding 2014-03-08 om 11.14.57As for the tracking, I’m no longer tinkering with MyTracks. I switch to runkeeper and strava nowadays. Why? Richer data, features, the social dimension and so on. It’s logical. But now I know my way around in the Google world too. Runkeeper has some great reporting features. It’s clear and simple and almost all my sporty friends use it. And then well, Strava has segments and all. More importantly: I got myself a Wahoo fitness Blue HR strap. I mostly use it to see how intense my trainings are. I’m not a premium user, so I cannot really set custom heart rate zones and dial in to my workouts for deeper analysis. As for the strap itself: it fits really fits well and the battery should last for about a year. Heck, it’s low energy!

BTLE, or bluetooth low energy, is the new bluetooth setup and Wahoo is one of the first heart rate monitors that is built on this technology. iPhone 5 supports this technology too and so do the apps. The thing is that almost no runner app supports BTLE with Android at this moment. Despite that Android is such a large market, it is only available since version 4.2 I believe. And then of course, your hardware should support this new technology. You could sort of say that Android is behind the curve on this. It is only now that apps are expermenting with the integration of BTLE for Android. Luckily I got my hands on a beta version for Strava (now also Endomondo). It works flawlessly and has reported good data throughout. Apparently runkeeper is going to be supporting BTLE HRM’s in the future for Android too. They do not have a set ETA at this time though.

Eventually I will stick to one app and I’m not quite sure yet which one. Runkeeper has training plans in its newest release and I’m finally getting to grips with Strava :-) Using both of them is just not practical.

 

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3
Feb

Defiance

by Kris in Film

So I started watching Defiance. Here’s the IMDB intro:

In the year 2046, it’s a new Earth – with new rules. Over thirty years after various alien races arrived on Earth, the landscape is completely altered, terraformed nearly beyond recognition. To the town of Defiance, on what used to be St. Louis, comes the mysterious Nolan (Grant Bowler) and his charge, Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas). As they settle into town – overseen by the mayor, Amanda Rosewater (Julie Benz) and filled with residents like the powerful Rafe McCawley (Graham Greene), enterprising lounge owner Kenya (Mia Kirshner) and the ambitious, alien Tarrs (Tony Curran and Jaime Murray) – events begin to unfold that threaten the fragile peace this border town has fought for.

The enjoyable pilot was filled with lots of action, drama, a post-apocalyptic Earth, political intrigue and some mystery. There’s lots of similarities with the themes in the amazing Battlestar Galactica spin-off Caprica: immigrants, races and inequality. It’s adventurous science fiction with impressively rendered monsters and breathtaking views. And well, the story seems interesting!

As the rest of season 1 unravels for me, I hope it can keep me warm for season 2, which is to air in June 2014.

 

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