Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Meaningful Statistics and Kim Kardashian

I never thought I would EVER be quoting Kim Kardashian, but here you go in a tweet she sent out.

Yes, you should lose sleep over an armed toddler 10.5 times more than being killed by an Islamic jihadist immigrant.   And yes you should lose sleep an ENTIRE YEAR - EVERY NIGHT before you lose sleep being killed by an Islamic jihadist immigrant.

Maybe Kim Kardashian can educate Sean Spicer and Donald Trump on this :-)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Machine Learning With Drones -- The Coming Swarm -- 60 Minutes Segment on Drones

If you missed the 60 Minutes segment on Drones, this is a must watch.

Below is the description at 60 Minutes:

The following is a script from “The Coming Swarm,” which aired on Jan. 8, 2017. David Martin is the correspondent. Mary Walsh, producer.

"One of the biggest revolutions over the past 15 years of war has been the rise of the drones -- remotely piloted vehicles that do everything from conduct air strikes to dismantle roadside bombs. Now, a new generation of drones is coming. Only this time they are autonomous -- able to operate on their own without humans controlling them from somewhere with a joy stick. Some autonomous machines are run by artificial intelligence which allows them to learn, getting better each time. It’s early in the revolution and no one knows exactly where it is headed, but the potential exists for all missions considered too dangerous or complex for humans to be turned over to autonomous machines that can make decisions faster and go in harm’s way without any fear. Think of it as the coming swarm, and if that sounds like the title of a sci-fi mini-series, well, stay tuned. As we’re about to show you, it’s already a military reality."

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Worldwide Women Protests On Trump's First Day

Thanks to my father for telling me to turn on my TV to see this.  I am extremely proud of these WORLDWIDE women protests!  These numbers are HUGE.

Trump's inauguration speech was 4D - dark, depressing, dishonest and disgusting.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is right when she just said, "WE need to FIGHT for ALL OF America!"

I loved it when she said, "I am going to say something that is controversial in Washington, DC - we believe in SCIENCE!"

The great NBA coach Gregg Popovich said it best, as reported in the Washington Post By Jeremy Gottlieb January 21 at 9:23 PM:

“The march today was great. The message is important. It could have been a whole lot of groups marching. Somebody said on TV, ‘What’s the message?’ The message is obvious. Our president comes in with the lowest rating of anybody whoever came into the office. There’s a majority of people out there, since Hillary won the popular vote, that don’t buy his act.

“I just wish he was more … had the ability to be mature enough to do something that really is inclusive, rather than just talking and saying, ‘I’m going to include everyone.’ He could talk to the groups that he disrespected and maligned during the primary and really make somebody believe it. But so far, you’ve gotten to the point where you really can’t believe anything that comes out of his mouth. You really can’t. All those thousands that were on the rooftops after 9/11? There were two. ‘We went to Hawaii and checked his birth certificate, and my investigators couldn’t believe what they found.’ There wasn’t anything there. It’s over and over again.

“The CIA today, instead of honoring the 117 people behind him where he was speaking, he talked about the size of the crowd. That’s worrisome. That’s worrisome. I’d just feel better if someone who was in that position showed the maturity and psychological and emotional level of someone that was his age. It’s dangerous, and it doesn’t do us any good.

“I hope he does a great job. But there’s a difference between respecting the office of the president and the person who occupies it. That respect has to be earned. It’s hard to be respectful of someone when we all have kids and we’re watching him be misogynistic and xenophobic and racist and make fun of handicapped people.

“And what really bothers me are the people around him, the Sean Spicers, the Kellyanne Conways, the Reince Preibuses, who know who he is and actually have the cynical approach and disingenuous attitude to really defend him and try to make it look like he didn’t say what he said. When he’s mad at the media for them reporting what he said, it just boggles my mind. When Kellyanne Conway said he wasn’t really making fun of the handicapped person, it’s incredible. It really makes you wonder how far would someone go to actually cover for somebody that much. I think the comment was ‘You had to look in his heart. You don’t know what’s in his heart. He wouldn’t do that.’ But he did it.

“And all the things he said during that time, if our children would have said it, we would have grounded them for six months. Without a doubt. But we ignore all that, because … because why? That says something about all of us. And that’s what’s dangerous. That’s what scares the hell out of me to this day and makes me uneasy.

“But I felt great today watching the march, in protest to how he has conducted himself, because it tells me I really do live in a country where a lot of people care. We have to be vigilant, to make sure that although we all hope he does good things for our country, we don’t get embarrassed by him and roll back liberties that have been worked for for so long in so many different areas.”

A brief pause brought a follow-up question, with Popovich asked whether he was defending the media, a group with whom he has occasionally sparred.

“Well, I think you know when the media reports what he says, I’m not sure why he can get angry about that. But it does boggle the mind how somebody can be so thin-skinned. It’s all obvious, it’s about him. If anything affects him, if it’s Saturday Night Live or Hamilton, or she got three more million votes than you. ‘They’re illegal.’ It doesn’t matter what it is; there’s a pattern there. And that’s dangerous.

“I’d like to have someone with gravitas, but he got there through the electoral college, which is part of our system, and I hope he does some good things. I just, there was a young lady on today who said, ‘I just wished he had gone up there and said something like, and, I know I said certain things, or you know I would really like to bring the people who don’t feel, or I know some of you are scared.’ But he can’t do that because bullies don’t do that. That’s why.”


Monday, January 16, 2017

Technical Latency Limits on Corvette's Amazing MagneRide - "Ever Faster" Corvette Magazine

In the June 2016 version of "Corvette Magazine", there was an excellent article by Hib Halverson titled, "Suspension of Belief".  Hib Halverson is a legend in Corvette circles, so I knew when I saw his name as the author that it would be a great article.

I must first say that I have been reading Corvette magazines for literally decades now and without question "Corvette Magazine" is the absolute best.  The articles are extremely well written.  The photography is second to none.  The physical quality of the magazine itself is top notch.

I am thrilled that a question I sent in made into the Letters to the Editor in the March 2017 edition of the Corvette Magazine, and even more thrilled to be called a "deep geek" by Hib Halverson!

Below is my question and at the end I include a image of the cover of the March 2017 edition as well as my question:

​"I really enjoyed Hib Halverson's Suspension of Belief article in the June Edition.  It was the best article that I have ever read on this topic.  I have had MagneRide in my 98, 11 GS and now in my 16 Stingray and absolutely love it.

Whenever I have read articles on this topic, it seems there are theory response times and implementation times.  In Mr. Halverson's great article and in many other articles, the theory time seem to be 1ms as stated "The calculations are performed once per millisecond, so at 60mph the system is calculating the optimum damping for every inch of travel."  Whereas the implementation time, at least for the Stingray and the 3rd generation MagneRide, is 5ms as stated in the article, "I was covering 176 feet every second, and MR took about 5ms to respond. That means the car moved around 10 inches while MR "decided" what to do and shocks began to change."  My question is, where is the latency (delay) with the sensors, microprocessors and other systems that are feeding the variables into the MR system so it could execute at its fastest possible speed of a change in 1ms?  In other words, what will have to change to have for a MagneRide the ability to change at its fastest speed?  I realize 5ms is ungodly fast and MagneRide is a true engineering feat, as well as this is a geek's question, but Mr. Halverson's excellent article made me think of this."

Hib Halverson's Response:

"First...thank you for the kind words on the MR story.

As for your question, I didn't discuss latency in the article because of length constraints. Admittedly, to "deep-geeks" such as yourself, the absence of that discussion does beg questions about it. While I understand the latency in the system, I decided to send your question to my pal, Darin Dellinger at BWI, to get an answer straight from one of the top engineers working on MR. Here's what he said:

"This is a very good question! Today's MagneRide electronic control module (ECM) works on a 1 mSecond cycle time, as it has from the beginning.  As you mention, reading the input, processing the information, and driving a physical output into an electrical load are all individual actions that consume time. A fast processor internal to the ECM is a must, as are responsive circuits  on both input and output. All of these things and a few more have changed over time to improve the overall system response time, as well as other attributes. In the race to faster overall processing, all of these things must considered and then implemented with an eye on value.

I'll add that you sort of answered your own question with regard to from where stems the current generation MR's latency. I say that because you seem to get the idea that doing the computations is one thing and how quickly the entire system can change states is another.

To get the overall system response time from about 5-mS down to 1-mS would be a huge engineering challenge. In fact, I think just to reduce it by 50% to 2.5-mS would be a tough mountain to climb.

Only time will tell if additional decreases in latency are possible."

Below is the cover and my question in the magazine EVERY Corvette owner should subscribe to:

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Thank You President Obama - My Favorite President in my 57.5 Years On This Planet

I watched President Obama's extremely moving speech in Chicago tonight and I miss him already.  He will go down as a top five president.  I guarantee it.

You have to judge someone, and especially a President, on the cards he was dealt.  President Bush and VP Cheney did tremendous damage to the country by starting wars on lies, tax cuts for the rich, driving the economy into the ditch and raising taxes without paying for them.  My generation will never recover from what Bush/Cheney did to America.

As The Onion said when Barrack Obama was elected President:

"Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job"

He also had to deal with the worst rated congress, whose goal was NOT to do what was best for America, but to make sure President Obama was a one-term President.

As President Obama listed tonight:

Here are just some of his many, many accomplishments:
  • Reverse THE great recession
  • The United States was losing 750,000 jobs a month when he took office and when he left we had the longest continuous streak of job growth (80 months) EVER
  • Unemployment was 10% and it dropped to a low of 4.6% in November 2016
  • Reboot our auto industry
  • Unleash the longest stretch of job creation in our history
  • We would open up a new chapter with the Cuban people
  • Shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program without firing a shot
  • Take out the mastermind of 9/11
  • We would win marriage equality
  • Would make it that people of all sexual preferences can open serve their country
  • Secure the right to health insurance for another 20 million of our fellow citizens
  • The economy is growing again
  • Wages, incomes, home values, and retirement accounts are rising again
  • Poverty is falling again
  • The wealthy are paying a fairer share of taxes even as the stock market shatters records.  
  • The unemployment rate is near a ten-year low.  
  • The uninsured rate has never, EVER been lower.  
  • Health care costs are rising at the slowest rate in fifty years.  And if anyone can put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we’ve made to our health care system – that covers as many people at less cost – I will publicly support it.  
  • Leave with a 60% job approval rating
  • Did all of this in the classic "No Drama Obama" mode
  • There were NO attacks on the homeland during his presidency
I know for a fact he did more for manufacturing than any other president before him.

He believes in FACTS when he stated:

"Take the challenge of climate change.  In just eight years, we’ve halved our dependence on foreign oil, doubled our renewable energy, and led the world to an agreement that has the promise to save this planet.  But without bolder action, our children won’t have time to debate the existence of climate change; they’ll be busy dealing with its effects: environmental disasters, economic disruptions, and waves of climate refugees seeking sanctuary. 

Now, we can and should argue about the best approach to the problem.  But to simply deny the problem not only betrays future generations; it betrays the essential spirit of innovation and practical problem-solving that guided our Founders.

It’s that spirit, born of the Enlightenment, that made us an economic powerhouse – the spirit that took flight at Kitty Hawk and Cape Canaveral; the spirit that that cures disease and put a computer in every pocket. 

It’s that spirit – a faith in reason, and enterprise, and the primacy of right over might, that allowed us to resist the lure of fascism and tyranny during the Great Depression, and build a post-World War II order with other democracies, an order based not just on military power or national affiliations but on principles – the rule of law, human rights, freedoms of religion, speech, assembly, and an independent press."

He did all of that and more with intelligence, class, style, integrity and humor.

President Obama will go down as as the most talented and funniest command in Chief as well.

Most importantly, he was and is a role model for all of us.  Did we EVER have to worry that President Obama would say, do or tweet something that would embarrass the country?  Of course not.

Thank you President Obama.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

David Autor at TED - Best Presentation On How Automation Will Affect The Future of Jobs

This is the best presentation that I have ever seen on how automation will affect future jobs.  (Thanks Ian for passing along this presentation!) This is unlike the classic Luddite gloom and doom scenario on progress, such as Catherine Clifford writes on CNBC in November on Elon Musk's views:

"Computers, intelligent machines, and robots seem like the workforce of the future. And as more and more jobs are replaced by technology, people will have less work to do and ultimately will be sustained by payments from the government, predicts Elon Musk, the iconic Silicon Valley futurist who is the founder and CEO of SolarCity, Tesla, and SpaceX."

We have heard these predictions many times before in history.

I especially like his O-ring principle and never-get-enough principle.  Below is from the transcript in couple of minutes into his talk. 

He starts off asking an counter-intuitive question:

"Here's a startling fact: in the 45 years since the introduction of the automated teller machine, those vending machines that dispense cash, the number of human bank tellers employed in the United States has roughly doubled, from about a quarter of a million to a half a million. A quarter of a million in 1970 to about a half a million today, with 100,000 added since the year 2000."

He then lays out the framework for the answer:

"Why are there so many jobs? There are actually two fundamental economic principles at stake. One has to do with human genius and creativity. The other has to do with human insatiability, or greed, if you like. I'm going to call the first of these the O-ring principle, and it determines the type of work that we do. The second principle is the never-get-enough principle, and it determines how many jobs there actually are."

Mr. Autor does a great job answering the important questions, quantifying the data and providing the best model in terms of how to think about how automation will affect the future of jobs for carbon based units (humans :-)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Successful Software/Hardware Product Managers

I have both worked with and had Software and Hardware Product Managers (PM) work for me.  There are some high order bits that are critical to be a successful PM.

A PM is a very difficult job because you must be passionate, creative, intelligent, organized, pragmatic, work well with others and must be able to both speak and write well.

When it comes to actual development, here are "Edstrom's Commandments on Product Management"
  1. Owns the Application Development Lifecycle Framework to include:
    1. Requirements Analysis and Tracking
    2. Source Code Management
    3. Bug and Issue Tracking Management
    4. Beta Management
    5. Release Management
    6. Upgrade Management
    7. Patch Management
    8. EOL Management

  1. Drives product quality by ensuring:
    1. Don’t drop bits when moving/using customer data (ask me about Sun Microsystems e-cache (external cache) sometime if you have a couple of hours to talk about the right way to handle quality issues).
    2. Must provide the correct answers.  Sounds obvious, but you would be surprised the number of times I have said or hear the phrase, "Wait, that can't be RIGHT!"  Never assume the calculations are correct.
    3. Testing, testing, testing.  Regression and automated testing are a must to go along with manual human testing. This includes customer and employee beta testing.
    4. Scalability - as Mike O'Dell famously states with his First Law "Scaling is ALWAYS the problem".
    5. Extensibility- did you create spaghetti monkey-code or do you have a real and viable product that can grow and be extended over time without a complete rewrite or new tapeout?
    6. Platform - this is the big picture architecture question.  Are you creating a bunch of one-off components or is there a method to separating out the implementations from the interfaces with a growth strategy?
Finally, when it comes to what your developers tell you, you need to have the attitude that Ronald Reagan had with economists, "trust, but verify."

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

TED Talk: How A Driverless Car Sees The Road By Chris Urmson of Google

I was at Google Atmosphere in 2011 and saw a very detailed presentation Google's driverless car as well as an evening event where we got a close-up view of the technology.

As Google states on their website regarding Google Atmosphere:  "This annual event unites 350 of the world’s leading CIOs to explore how successful businesses are using the cloud to develop innovative solutions to today’s business challenges. As with previous events, the focus will include thought leadership from noteworthy speakers and lively debates with business leaders, well-known authors and industry experts."

Below is a more recent (June 2015) TED Talk presentation by Chris Urmson of Google that does an excellent job demonstrating how Google's driverless car sees the road.