Thursday, 24 December 2015

KallDoc Spring & Summer 2016 Internships [Notice]

KallDoc is still recruiting for the Spring and Summer 2016 Internships.

Ideally we will have talked already or you will have attended one of our online intern tele-conferences, but if you want to progress your application (even if you have not done the above) please follow the instructions below.

Business Development Interns

  • KallDoc is growing rapidly and at the time of writing this includes an expansion partnership that will add 20,000 users in the next six weeks or so followed by a further 80,000 users.
  • For the Business interns we have a number of projects developing materials and collateral including building partnerships with doctors, clinics and insurance companies. You can also work on our venture capital and crowd funding programs if you specify an interest. Here is an example of information about out clinic outreach program  and clinic deck 
  • Interns generally work in peer teams with mentors communicating by Skype and meeting up occasionally when in the bay area 
  • January part-time interns will work remotely.
  • In June interns will work in Menlo Park.
  • Our aim is to form a long term relationship with interns offering positions to suitable ones on graduation.

If you are interested please do the following:

Send us the following information 

  • Start and end dates and number of hours available per week (these are all important).
  • Your resume
  • The names and contact details of two referees. Ideally one will be from your university, the second from the most suitable former employer. References are normally from the most senior person who knows you and your work well.
 Send everything to mark@kalldoc.com and dilip@kalldoc.com



Wednesday, 16 December 2015

How Graham's hierarchy of disagreement allows us to objectively judge media and politicians.


I'm not sure if anyone has thought of this before, but Graham's hierarchy of disagreement gives us a quantitative way of objectively assessing the quality of journalism and political debate.

If we give each level a score of 0 to 6 and go through a media resource like a political speech, or a newspaper article which contains a criticism of a political action (for example) or a magazine or chat show in it's entirety as a source we can quickly create an average score for each media resource by summing the scores of 0-6 and dividing by the number of assertions scored. It can then be expressed as a percentage which give a quality score to any article, journalist, program, magazine or even channel.

In fact you could actually do this creating a crowd site to assess the quality of media assets and news sources and let discerning users chose the best. It would give an independent, quantitative view of quality.

Graham's Hierarchy of Disagreement-en.svg

Saturday, 5 December 2015

SPOB The Single Point of Blame

This weekend I had a delightful conversation with an old friend and a rather senior British civil servant who told me about a new management concept, the single point of blame or SPOB. For large or complex projects the team, or superiors find a single individual who any and all failure can be allocated to regardless of source. It is an extremely powerful concept for complex and risky projects and a formalization of a set of concepts that have been employed in a less structured way since the time of Niccolò Machiavelli, and such a class of formulation is truely worth of masters such as
Stephen Potter and Laurence J. Peter.

In common parlance the SPOB is identified when the potential SPOB articulates the decision to "take ownership" of the project.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Adult ADHD, creativity and organization

The question was recently asked on the website Quora "Do people who have ADHD/ADD tend to be more chaotic?"

My answer was

"No. As an adult with ADHD and four ADHD children, and good knowledge of the background and research into ADHD I’ve learned to spot the signs in other people too.
External controls and structure don’t just help to manage symptoms, they can turn a serious invisible disability into a superpower.

Successful adult ADHD sufferers (rather than those who continue to suffer and have a negative impact throughout their lives) are often super disciplined and have extremely structured parts of their lives. By creating external support structures they can benefit from the strengths of ADHD (rapid thinking, free flow and merging of ideas, creativity). In another answer to the question on Quora, Quoran Travis Brown described what I would call a creative tree function which ADHD sufferers have and can easily be trained to create some very impressive mental benefits in terms of creativity and ability to make good decisions.

However, all this leaves a certain misunderstanding by people looking for limited stereotypes (and they will already be saying - none of this sounds like ADHD - and how can it be a superpower?).


  1. Time management. ADHD sufferers natural timing and time management just does not work in the industrialized world when trying to coordinate with other people. Time drifts by and we’ve either shifted into ADHD Hyperfocus or are exploring some aspect seemingly far from the original task. ADHD sufferers Bill Gates, Walt Disney, Richard Branson, IKEA founder and chairman Ingvar Kamprad, John F. Kennedy, Thomas Edison were all brutal time managers because of this. By doing that we can capitalize on our speed and efficiency of thinking. We are often under a lot of pressure to break this disciple as being inflexible, uptight or even weird. However, without it things go rapidly go badly wrong.
  2. Keeping in the Flow. Us ADHDers don’t have much bandwidth for distractions or diversions. I’m very aware that if I’m working on something, if my attention is broken, even if I have to wait, my mental buffers will very quickly get filled and I will lose the thread. Badly. This is considered by people unaware of ADHD management to be immaturity or impoliteness. I have to work out extra strategies to manage this but, it’s actually a fundamental part of my mental processing. In normal conversation, as a part of everyday politeness as an ADHDer I’ll listen to what you have to say, focus on you and your thoughts and feelings. But if we are trying to get something done in a professional context we hit the problem that I may have already recursed the decision tree to about five steps ahead and need to tell you where I’ve got to because while I think fast, I can only buffer the same amount of information as my peers - and it sounds odd - but if I break my flow then I lose a cognitive advantage that is basically why you’ve probably employed me to be there. It sounds arrogant but the answer is that I may have a reputation for being able to solve almost impossible problems, but I’ve also got ADHD and they are part and parcel of the same thing.
  3. Focus. Once they have decided on a target and a strategy successful ADHDers are often inhumanly focused (https://www.whatsbestnext.com/2014/02/the-cornerstone-of-winston-churchills-time-management/). Certainly in comparison normal capable people seem to have butterfly thoughts and flop over and give up very early in a complex task. When an ADHDer has disciplined themselves to NOT head off at a tangent every few seconds, it can be frustrating to be taken off task by diversions that you have already thought off assessed and discarded along with hundreds like them. I notice MBA do a lot of this, probably through training. So part way through solving one problem they spot one of maybe fifty or a hundred solvable problems and lock onto that losing site of the goal. The ADHDer already knows how complex problems are, has floated dozens of objections but has disciplined themselves to focus on the goal. I can come up with new ideas as fast as I can speak (much faster actually). And because I read a lot (and very, very fast) they tend to be good ones. The fact that when an objection is raised in a piece of teamwork I can see it as just one of scores of problems that are obvious and that we just need to address to overcome the problem.

So once you learn to manage the big challenge of ADHD I’ve found that you tend to look super calm and in control to people (and in fact, other people seem sort of ADHD-like).
I’ve spent most of my life quietly learning to manage ADHD. If you learn to manage it, it becomes an invisible disability. But, if you undermine my support structures (and people really like to do that - maybe because they think it reveals the truth), that’s very much like taking a paraplegic's wheelchair away because you find it offensive. People find it very funny or go around saying “there - he’s not so smart” - but the analogy with the visibly disabled is closer than you might imagine.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

The Medical Graph: Not Just An App: The Front End Of The Trillion-Dollar, Full-Stack Revolution

I've been thinking about this for some time, but conversations with Colin Simpson of Triscribe, Stephanie Zhan of Sequoia, Robert Leong of KallDoc and Vinod Khosla,  have made me come up with the concept of the Medical Graph as a dataset by analogy with Zuckerberg's concept of social graph.


So when you look at concepts like KallDoc what you are looking at is Not Just An App: it is in fact The Front End Of The Trillion-Dollar, Full-Stack Revolution the access point to patients at the point of primary healthcare delivery. The thin end of the wedge if you like.

As you remember, the social graph in the Internet context is a graph that depicts personal relations of internet users. In short, it is a social network, where the word graph has been taken from graph theory to emphasize that rigorous mathematical analysis will be applied as opposed to the relational representation in a social network.

The medical graph, by analogy would be a multidimensional graph (and more importantly the underlying data) depicting medical relationships not just of a single individual, but of groups, pathologies, treatments, outcomes etc and encompassing both deep personal data and epidemiological data. Again the word graph has been taken from graph theory to emphasize that rigorous mathematical analysis will be applied as opposed to traditional medical methodologies like case studies (which would be a single vector on such a graph).

Currently much of the information that would form the Medical Graph exists but is not connected such as current (2o15)  electronic medical records (EMR) as well as the corpus of medical literature and more global data such as the data derived in the Human Genome Project (HGP) and data sets such as the Icelandic Health Sector Database (HSD).

Ethically it is likely that "ownership" of personal data on the medical graph data will be primarily by the individual patient but to participate and benefit from shared sets patients will need to take part in sharing arrangement. Of course  interpretation of big data is a key part of the medical graph and the key value will be in the combination of algorithms, data and insights, as is always the case.

A number knowledgeable people have told me that the Medical Graph market is not big enough to excite their interest, much as I was told that downloadable music and video was too small a niche by a number of angels and VCs funds, but as before I beg to differ.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Natural Philosophy Society NPS Oxford 30 Years On

It's now the 30 years since the Natural Philosophy Society was formed at Oxford University. It was an "experimental philosophical club" run weekly (latterly bi-weekly with a weekly speaker meeting and a second discussion meeting) and styled on the  Oxford Philosophical Club which it succeeded.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Characterizing the Google Books Corpus: Mitigating the effect of putative influencers who have a low dissemination level.

Pechenick, Danforth & Dodds PS recently suggest [1] that treat frequency trends from the Google Books data sets as indicators of the "true" popularity of various words and phrases and that a single, prolific author is thereby able to noticeably insert new phrases into the Google Books lexicon, whether the author is widely read or not. They say that this call into question the vast majority of existing claims drawn from the Google Books corpus.

I'd like to humbly suggest a new methodology - that such claims are weighted by the citation index of the book which should mitigate the "unread influencer" syndrome. I.e. Each occurrence in the frequency count is multiplied by the citation index of the publication or book in which the phrase occurs. If it is never cited it does not count. This should correct for the prolific, unread (or at least uncited) author.


Post Script: "Neuroskeptic" observes quite rightly that the "books dataset" as expressed in the NGram viewer does not contain this information. The primary data are, of course, the books themselves rather than the "books dataset", and, as is often the case, we have to go back to primary data rather than a flawed subset of the data.  At the very least, the books dataset could be used alongside Google scholar - hardly a great challenge for serious work.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Bootup World and the Cuckoo's Nest

Great being invited to visit Boot Up World in Menlo Park by Riccardo Pisano, MS. CEO & Co-Founder PROsimity.com along with Jason Drury Thanks also to Cameron Nazeri, Director of Strategic Partnerships for showing us around the accelerator space and also showing us Tim Draper & Mark Cuban's "Cuckoo’s nest club" for founders, CEOs & investors & artists right in the middle of the accelerator - very novel way for disruptive founders and CEOs, risk-taking venture capitalists to network and to stay in touch with a range of early stage star-ups outside their portfolio - something that I think is very important (and I'll explain why later).

The location of the Cuckoo’s Nest turns out to be on the same road as the Menlo Park Veterans Hospital where and about which the influential Ken Kesey wrote One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The quote that is used to link the two is that "The patients were not insane, they just did not fit the conventional idea of how people are supposed to act." and is extended by a quote from another local, Steve Jobs, took this observation a step further, “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

The Beam telepresence robots that are found around the campus will seem strangely familiar to anyone who has seen this though - but I can't complain - I'm waiting to get my hands on one myself (although I guess I could do this by drone these days).


Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Digital Transformation of Healthcare: Chatting to Vinod Khosla on HealMet

Vinod Khosla is a man with a vision. In his own words it's "Healthcare today is good, but far from the best it can be. It’s the result of approaching medicine according to practice and tradition, rather than real science primed by statistically validated data and conclusions."

So when I got a chance to talk to him face to face for a few of his legendary 15 minute slots on Tuesday about one of the projects that I've been involved with, the HealMet, my thoughts were whether we could apply a Pareto principle to medicine and how the HealMet device that I've been working on would fit with his vision of the  20%  percent-doctor .


I think I'd have prefered a more of a dialog rather than a flat "pitch" - I'm always happier probing in depth and discoursing the more tricky aspects rather than trying to deliver part of a one size fits all talk.

So what's the deal? Basically the thinking that Vinod reached out on was that by targeting the number one and two killers worldwide, Cardiovascular disease and stroke and targeting the most cost effect way to reduce their impact, i.e. screening, and creating an automated, deskilled package that could be used not by the most technological hundred thousand, but by the next hundred million (in the US - more worldwide) HealMet could be one of the most effective life savers and one of the greatest improvements to quality of life improvers being designed anywhere.

So the real value is moving from just delivering raw data - like an ECG trace or even information, but instead delivering actionable insights - what we might call wisdom - to the point where it can be applied.

What's more, an open platform for multi sensor input and big data analysis can be combined with concepts like auto prescribing and 3D printing of medicines (a fine trojan horse concept) to act as the doorway to the concept of the AutoDoc - the desktop 80% doctor replacement. Can start to open up this closed door at this stage? The challenges are high especially at the stages of a UX to ECG, EDA and PPG that anyone can use and will use and an automated analysis which de-skills the analysis -  those are the things that make HealMet different from the hundreds of monitoring devices out their - but transforming the world in this way could be the biggest thing that Vinod starts.


The 20% doctor in a snapshot

Monday, 31 August 2015

The Wizard of Wagistrasse Schlieren.


Head olfactory nerve.jpg

Great meeting up again with old friend and mentor Mohi Rezvani now CEO of  Swiss Bioscience GmbH at the Royal Society of Medicine on Wimpole Street.  I always learn something new! Among his numerous skills Mohi is an expert on exosomes as delivery systems, a topic dear to my heart (you'll know why if you remember my Master's thesis). Well amongst the feast of learning (and I tell you about stem cells later) Mohi tells me that Exosome contents can be delivered intact directly along the CN1 

Actually if you look at this diagram you can see exactly how this works allowing exosomes to be a direct delivery system to the brain. So it makes exosomes even more interesting and I've got even more things in the pipeline relating to these fascinating structures and their synthetic analogs.



Friday, 28 August 2015

Smell like a Neandertal

I had breakfast last month in Borough market with Professor Kara C. Hoover of the Department of Anthropology University of Alaska Fairbanks. Kara has been doing research into Allelic variation at 4 loci in the human olfactory receptor gene OR7D4 is associated with perceptual variation in the sex steroid-derived odorants, androstenone, and androstadienone (tell me if I've remembered this wrong Kara!).

One interesting upshot is that Denisovan Neandertal had specific scent receptors that modern humans lack and Kara wondered if  I could come up with any insights on how to we could illustrate this effect to modern humans. Essentially this is a problem of qualia of unexpressed pathways. If we don't have the receptors we can't detect or react to the stimulus. However we can address it by analogy. I suggested that we could create a series of virtual environments that would illustrate the impact of  sex steroid-derived odorants, and allow the viewer so gauge the impact with and without the appropriate olfactory input. We know for instance that androstenol – a steroid derived odor which Activates the Hypothalamus in Women and so it suggests a set up a little like this:

Subject wars a Oculus Rift which shows (and provides sounds for) the scene of a sophisticated dinner party. A high temporal resolution, high fidelity scent delivery system (design outlined but I guess we might want to patent it so I won't describe it [2]), simulates all the requite scents at exactly the right time including nasal stereo - e.g. flowers, candles, wines, foods. The watcher moves a slider or pushes a bar to indicate level of interest. In some studies there is no  androstenol (or whatever we choose as an analog) in other there are appropriate pulses. We establish that such scents are still influential and at what intensity they influence the watcher. Now we can show those influences again - we can re-run the life of the Denisovan Neandertal. The scents this time are grass, sweat, cooking meat, smoke and of course androstenol. The watcher can't experience the lost scents, but they can get part of the emotional impact and see how they fit into the life pattern. It's VR smellovision - the next generation!


[2] There are  400 functional genes coding for olfactory receptors and there is no reason why we can't deliver 400 different scent channels tuned to each receptor with te method outlined to Kara.
[3] Kara Hoover is on @KaraCHoover

Friday, 17 July 2015

Kishore Asthana of Dhruva, Mensa India's Underprivileged Gifted Child Identification & Nurturing Program

I've been talking to Kishore Asthana of Dhruva, Mensa India's Underprivileged Gifted Child Identification & Nurturing Program looking at the current resources and potential available.

My vision for some time has been to provide autodidactic resources at a point where they can be leveraged to provide much higher levels of help. Helping the underprivileged (and indeed street children) survive from day to day is a worthy cause, but is essentially ploughing the sea in that it is an ongoing task that if anything grows each day. This is very worth if your primary goal is giving to charity, but if you want to create a lasting change there needs to be a better way.

For me this is not about Mensa, or India - it's about doing the maximum good globally both in the short and long term, and in us having the humility to see that our legacy can be enhanced geometrically by enabling others to help.

By helping the underprivileged, but highly talented to develop in such a way that they can develop to become the people who address the problems first hand  rather than simply being drip fed charity. This is more like being Johnny Appleseed rather than just giving a bite of your apple to a growing hungry crowd.

So how do we do this? If you've read Neal Stephenson's excellent book "The Diamond Age" you'll remember it features the Young Lady's Illustrated Primer. This is an electronic book that features everything needed to take a young, just literate child us to University level. The aim was also not just to turn out a "walking dictionary" capable of spouting facts and figures but creating an emphasis on training logical as well as practical and emotional skills to develop a capable well rounded personality with a developed Emotional intelligence as well as intellect. There are many improvements and ramifications that an electronic device can add, everything from testing to provide feedback and engagement, to training pto clear, international pronunciation and processing to develop mental skills such as super memory skills. This can be fitted into the context of creating an effective, satisfying life as we now have extensive data from the Harvard longitudinal Grant Study to help that

The ideal starting point for that is through Mensa India's Underprivileged Gifted Child Identification & Nurturing Program has a key set of "100 underprivileged gifted children and about 50 other underprivileged class toppers"  and the aim would be not just to provide them an unstructured resource but rather a structured, balanced resource to guide them though their formative years.

Like the idea? Then link to this post, G+ it, tweet it, spread it on all your social media and reach out to me to tell me how you can help.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Freya and the Hydra: The decendent of the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS on some old, heavy iron.

As you all probably know I don't think that there is any one solution to almost anything you care to name - the reality is that most solutions are local optima, not revealed truths and this applies to OSs as much as anything else. So - moving away from the badass to a more "mediated experience" in the next few days I'm trying out Elementary OS Freya popularly said to be said to be the Next Big Linux Distro.  It is based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, which was released in April 2014.and the final version of Freya was released on 11 April 2015.

So Freya is going onto my multi screen control center PC, Hydra - an old but sturdy four headed workhorse that I use to monitor multiple projects in parallel in the Adstock Labs. Of course I've always had different metrics from other reviewers or tech pundits - I'm interested in outcomes, not processes. So the fact that my lightly loaded i7 chipped MacBook took 27 seconds to respond to a mouse input is more important than the IT nerd's response that I need to think of how many operations the bloatware needs to do that and how many other processes have priority over user input. So Freya is up for a much bigger challenge with me than with most reviewers.

The original plan was to move Hydra to Lubuntu but since they share derivatives of the LightDM is X display manager there is a reasonable chance that Elementary will match Lubuntu as a fast, low-maintenance platform and, as always I have underlying reasons for this experiment.

This is a post that will evolve over time but here is the current state of play.
  1. The Elementary download starts by trying to ask you for $10 but since I don't actually know if this is going to work I have to go back - set up a donation and come back again to get the iso.
  2. Next it turns out that the iso is 893 MB - too big to fit on a CD and I've been phasing out DVDs for some time now and don't have any blank ones.
  3. On to EBay to get a bootable CD sent out and to get some extra hardware so I can run this from an old SSD http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/261377510900  
  4. More soon when the CD and SSD arrive
  5. Should be easy to start rolling as the installer is Ubiquity, the default installer for Ubuntu and most of its derivatives. Legacy hardware support will be an issue though as Hydra as certainly legacy.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Digital transformation of Health Screening

The Scanadu Scout starts to solve this problem and is the ideal product for trekkies  replicatinf the Star Trek TRICORDER and and techies allowing medical data to be stored on a smartphone app that patients can use to monitor their health, The Scout measures heart rate, breathing and temperature. It contains a variety of different sensors alongside a microphone on the top of the gadget that together, can read vital signs, including body temperature, heart rate, blood oxygen level, heart rate variability and pulse wave transit time (PWTT). PWTT is the time it takes for a heartbeat to reach somewhere else in a person’s body and is related to blood pressure.

Walter De Brouwer, a Belgian entrepreneur based at Nasa’s Ames Research Centre in California, who is behind the device, was inspired by Dr Spock’s Tricorder.  ‘Star Trek was more than just a movie, it was a business plan,’.  The Tricorder was used by the doctor 'Bones' McCoy in Star Trek to wirelessly scan a patient, either in a ‘sick bay’ on a star ship or during an away mission, to assess an individual’s medical status, and allow him to quickly and easily diagnose their condition without an intensive or invasive examination. The Scout was one of the 10 finalists for the 2014 Qualcomm Tricorder Xprize, but already the technology has moved on from the 23rd century of Star Trek to the 27th century century of Larry Niven's classic "Tales of Known Space" and Healmet of San Diego are launching a table-top auto-doc that eliminates the need for the doctor or for a health nerd to look at graphs and charts, simply focusing on the top preventable issues in the developed world and informing the user or texting their carer or physician if there is need for a further check up.

Finalists for the the 2014 Qualcomm Tricorder Xprize

  1. Scandu (Moffett Field, California), a team from Silicon Valley-based start-up Scandu led by technology entrepreneur and company co-founder and CEO, Walter De Brouwer.
  2. Aezon (Rockville, Maryland), led by Tatiana Rypinski, a team of student engineers from Johns Hopkins University partnering with the Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design.
  3. CloudDX (Mississauga, Canada), a team from medical devices manufacturer Biosign and led by company chief medical officer, Dr. Sonny Kohli.
  4. Danvantri (Chennai, India), a team from technology manufacturer American Megatrends India and led by company Director and CEO, Sridharan Mani.
  5. DMI (Cambridge, Massachusetts), a team led by Dr. Eugene Y. Chan of the DNA Medicine Institute partnering with Nasa, the National Institutes of Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  6. Dynamical Biomarkers Group (Zhongli City, Taiwan), a team of physicians, scientists and engineers led by Harvard Medical School professor Chung-Kang Peng.
  7. Final Frontier Medical Devices (Paoli, Pennsylvania), a team led by the founders of Basil Leaf Technologies - brothers Dr. Basil Harris, an emergency room physician, and George Harris, a network engineer.
  8. Mesi Simplifying diagnostics (Ljubljana, Slovenia), a team from diagnostic medical device manufacturer Mesi and led by company CEO, Jakob Susteric.
  9. ScanNurse (London, England), a team from diagnostic medical manufacturer ScanNurse and led by biomedical engineer and company founder, Anil Vaidya.
  10. Zensor (Belfast, Ireland), a team from clinical sensor and electrode company Intelesens and led by chief technology officer, Professor Jim McLaughlin.


Thursday, 4 June 2015

My recent favorites from Quora

In retrospect these only seem to reflect a tiny part of what I've been thinking and understanding why I've asked them is like reconstructing the skeleton of a Brontosaurus from a fragment of the third cervical vertebrae 

My Questions

Here are some of my recent questions 

  1. What's a good name for a walking trip where the participants discuss philosophy and brainstorm new ideas or solutions?
  1. Why is the idea that "animals tend to be altruistic toward those with whom they share a lot of genes" claimed to be false?
  1. How was the original content and user base for Wikipedia obtained?
  1. If I heated a sealed tank of water at what temperature would it reach 200 atmospheres?
  1. How much energy does it take to get a kg of water to the critical point in a sealed container?
  1. Is a RAID 10 of HGST 4TB drives a good option for a desktop workstation where priorities are speed and performance? What other factors do I need to consider?
  1. What oscilloscope app is there for the iPhone?
  1. In a recent episode of The Big Bang Theory they reported on a new psychological method that makes people fall in love. TBBT normally uses real science (a little distorted for story-line) so what's the truth behind this one?
  1. What is Britain's exposure to the Greek debt?

My Answers

And here are some recent answers.

  1. Start Ups: hat are some books that are a must-read for employees who work at tech startups?
  1. Entrepreneurship: How do I convince my 17-year-old-son not to be an entrepreneur?
  1. Society:Do most men think that women today should be more like the women of the 1800s?
  1. Engineering: How many wing(s) is/are needed to fly an aircraft?
  1. Innovation: What are some of the cleverest inventions and ideas ever?
  1. Engineering: How does the suspension system of a tank work?
  1. Culture: When in history and how did someone arrived at the idea of wine glasses having a stem and feet?
  1. Historical Innovation: What are the origins of the Greenwich Zero longitude line?
  1. Britain: Why are there crossings in the UK that have no pedestrian lights or exclusive pedestrian crossing time?
  1. Ecofriendly: Tesla Announces Powerwall (May 2015): Does it make sense for a typical homeowner to buy a Tesla Powerwall?
  1. Fashion: Why would anyone buy a Rolex watch?
  1. Speculation: What would you do to start over, if you are transported to a parallel universe, where everything is the same the only difference is you know no one?
  1. Oxford & Cambridge: What is life like as an Oxbridge fellow?

Friday, 1 May 2015

Tesla new energy products

The Powerwall

Tesla has unveiled a suite of new energy products based around the lithium-ion energy storage products used in Tesla Cars. The range includes a wall-mounted battery that will be sold for use in consumers' homes called the "Powerwall.". For user who are used to thinking of electricity as something supplied entirely off the grid it does not, at first seem like "must-have", but the advantages are apparent when users consider that they will now only have to use low tariff electricity around the clock by charging the battery at night. In addition not only does it make solar energy more practical, but also makes home generated wind energy pay for its capital set up costs quickly and efficiently.   The home batteries charge up overnight, when energy companies typically charge less for electricity. Then, they can be turned on during the day to power any appliance in the home.

As the name suggests, the unit is designed to be mounted on a wall, and connected to the local power grid. It will be sold to installers for $3,500 for 10kWh, and $3,000 for 7kWh. For domestic users the price is a bit higher as these are DC sources and for most use you'll need an AC output that will cost another $2000. It's not clear whether the Powerwall cells are available for users wanting to use them for other purposes like RV power supplies, off-the grid living and small electric or hybrid vehicle manufacturers.

Elon Musk's Comments

Elon Musk(CEO and Founder of TESLA) believes they can help people in emerging markets or remote locations ‘leapfrog’ the need for existing power systems, in a similar way that mobile phones have become more important than landlines in remote parts of the world.

The batteries typically cost thousands of dollars, though many utility companies offer rebates. The new battery will  cut consumers' electric bills by 25%. In addition to the Powerwall, Tesla also announced an energy storage system for businesses, and a large scale system for use by utilities. "The issue with existing batteries is that they suck," said Tesla CEO Elon Musk. "They're really horrible." When coupled with solar energy, the batteries will help accelerate the move away from fossil fuels, he said.

So do these make economic sense?

They do if

  • You have a substantial source of Solar Power that needs storing.
  • You have a substantial source of Wind Power that needs storing.
  • Your local night electricity rate is substantially lower than your day rate and you are consuming much of your electricity during the day.
  • You have an electric car that needs charging during the day rather than at night.
Or if you are not on the grid. These would be great for "Tiny House" living (or any very moderate family use) as 10KWh would change well from an array of say 2KW solar cells and a 1KW wind turbine (remember that in most places outside the tropics you will only get a fraction of the sunlight potential actually generated each day). 10KWh hours would run a modest home entertainment system, microwave, a couple of laptop PCs, mobile phones, a refrigerator and daily use of a washing machine (but not drier) for two or three days - which is about what you'd need in Northern Europe where you might easily have a few days with minimal solar charging AND no wind.
You can only decide properly by creating a spreadsheet with the correct figures for your own specific usage.


Thursday, 30 April 2015

Debian Jesse 8.0 is launched!

The new stable distribution of Debian - version 8, (codenamed jessie) has just been released on April 25th, 2015.

For many Linux Power Users Debian is the most important Linux distribution. From it springs such popular Linux distributions as Mint and Ubuntu. It's not that well known to non-power users because it's purely a community operating system which means that there is no company behind it, as there is with Red Hat and CentOS, Fedora, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). However, Debian is more than just the foundation for other better known Linux distros, it is a powerful desktop and server Linux in its own right.

If you wondered Jessie is named afer the Cow Girl in Toy Story,

Friday, 10 April 2015

Numbers that every computer engineer should know.



  • L1 cache reference: 0.5 ns
  • Branch mispredict: 5 ns
  • L2 cache reference: 7 ns
  • Mutex lock/unlock: 100 ns
  • Main memory reference: 100 ns
  • Compress 1K bytes with Zippy: 10,000 ns
  • Send 2K bytes over 1 Gbps network: 20,000 ns
  • Read 1 MB sequentially from memory: 250,000 ns
  • Round trip within same datacenter: 500,000 ns
  • Disk seek: 10,000,000 ns
  • Read 1 MB sequentially from network: 10,000,000 ns
  • Read 1 MB sequentially from disk: 30,000,000 ns
  • Greatest latency that appears real-time for interactive UI: 100,000,000 ns
  • Greatest latency that appears real-time for query based UI: 250,000,000 ns
  • Send packet CA->Netherlands->CA: 150,000,000 ns

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

New Out: The Internet of Things: A Decision Makers' Guide.

The Internet of Things: A Decision Makers' Guide.
Paperback
  • ASIN: 1508807442
  • ISBN-13: 978-1508807445
  • A must for every C-Level Executive or Senior Manager in any field with touch-points in retail, manufacture, logistics or information services. If your organization wants to catch-up, get ahead or stay ahead in digital this is an essential "must read" book. "Cuts through the hype and confusion to tell you what you need to know to survive." Organizations are profoundly changing the way they understand they way they carry out every single activity that makes up their business, from the movement of every single item in retail from creation to leaving the store, through to every single detail of operation and device use in manufacture through to being able to track and understand every important aspect of any product through life cycle. "The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it." Dr Mark Weiser Xerox PARC Labs

Friday, 16 January 2015

Panel Discussion: Key Issues in Digital Transformation in 2015

7 pm, Tuesday 20th January

The House of St Barnabas, 1 Greek Street, London W1D 4NQ.

Panelists include:

Jora Gill, Chief Digital Officer at the Economist
Prior to becoming Chief Digital Officer for the Economist, Jora was Chief Technology Officer for Elsevier and before that Chief Technology Officer at Standard and Poor’s.

Jaya Deshmukh, Director of Digital Transformation at PwC
Prior to moving to PwC Jaya was Director and Practice Lead and Principle Consultant in Digital Channels at Cognizant Interactive. 

Christian Purser, Chief Digital Officer at M&C Saatchi Group.
Christian is responsible for accelerating the digital performance of M&C Saatchi. Prior to Chief Digital Officer he was Group Head of Digital Strategy.

Chaired by Mark Baker, author of 'Digital Transformation' and the 'Chief Digital Officer Handbook'.