About The Undude

The Undude

The Undude lives in New England. By day, he successfully markets enterprise software, and by night he plays a brutalized guitar in an unsuccessful rock band. When he's not in conference calls, moving information from PowerPoint to Excel and then back to PowerPoint, or pondering the significance of his insignificance, The Undude is passionate about music, unnecessary technology and finding a good parking spot.


Latest Posts by The Undude

The Future of Mobile Apps

June 18, 2012 by  

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How will companies leverage new sensor input from mobile devices to accelerate and stream-line workflow in the accounting department?

If the iPhone opened the door to the possibilities of mobile applications, the iPad has kicked the door off of its hinges!

The first wave of enterprise mobile apps essentially is just porting capabilities from the desktop apps to a mobile device. This is kind of like the “screen-scraping” trend that existed in the 1990s’ during the first part of the transition from mainframe computing to client-server computing. And just as screen-scraping was only a stepping stone, so too is taking web-pages and reformatting their content for display on mobile devices. This is not the future.

For the most part, previous enterprise application development has taken for granted that applications would be used by workers sitting at desks and primarily using keyboards for data input. Porting these applications to a tablet is a step forward – and proving to be challenging for a host of reasons. But neither does this expose the potential of what is possible.

The real future of enterprise mobile applications will:

1. Leverage the many available sensors that existing on mobile devices (gps, camera, microphone, etc.. — and others that will arrive: infra-red, air pressure, temperature, humidity…), and
2. Combine sensor input with workflow / app functionality / rules-based systems to enable NEW types of applications.

Instead of just having a keyboard for data input, mobile devices can see and hear things… they know where they are, and “when” they are… All of this input is available to be used in real-time.

So, the technology today enables capabilities that for the most part enterprises don’t have a roadmap on how to leverage.

How to move forward? Enterprises need to create mobility swat-teams to examine how workflow, departmental value propositions and customer interactions can be accelerated, steam-lined and simplified with these NEW mobile applications.

Separately, I would suspect the biggest developments in mobile applications will be made in networking device-embedded applications as much as, or more than, apps for people to use on devices carried by people. We’ve already seen some of this with RFID and active Wi-Fi asset tags. But we’ll see much, much more development here very quickly.

How Do You Beat the Heat?

August 4, 2010 by  

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"Beating" The Heat

In 2009, Boston experienced one of its worst summers in many years. With 22 days of rain, and seemingly a month-long cloud formation blocking any direct sunlight, June 2009 is remembered dimly as Boston’s greyest summer month ever.

Fast forward to Summer 2010 and Boston is experiencing one of its hottest summers on record.   Global warming scientists warn us that a global one-degree rise in average temperatures will likely be accompanied in many parts of the world by increasing numbers of ten-plus-degree temperature swings.  That means for many people around the world we can expect more heat waves.  That might be good news to the sun-worshiper in you or if you own stock in Coppertone or Panama Jack.  But we can also expect some harsher winters too, and I for one am getting sick of shoveling snow.

So, if it’s a blistering hot summer day while your reading this, I suggest you revel in the heat.  Seek it out.  Enjoy the summer evenings with friends and a few tall ones.  Roll down the windows and let it all in! 

Remember the cold winds of Valhalla will be back with us in a few months.

The Hunt for a Good Parking Space – Ended!

June 27, 2010 by  

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Fred Flintstone always found a parking space

Anthropologists say early humans were hunters.  But has anything really changed in a few hundred thousand years? 

If you drive a car in an urban environment, you practice your hunting skills every time you search for a parking space.  And if someone quickly fills a spot you have your eyes on, your inner Neanderthal awakens ready to hurl expletives if rocks aren’t readily available.

Or maybe you’re the cool and collected type who knows that riding up and down streets stalking empty spaces is a suckers game.   No, you’ve evolved to parking lots!  But are you any better off?  Instead of driving round and round on the surface, you’re driving round and round on different levels underground or steadily up and up and up.   And when eventually you do find a space big enough to squeeze your car into, let’s hope you have awesome hunting skills to find it again a few hours.   And there’s nothing like the adrenalin rush of being alone in a parking lot late at night when the sound of your footsteps seems to telegraph your solitariness to every would be mugger.

But what is a poor man or woman to do?   What’s the alternative?

Well, check out this video (with audio):   http://www.woehr.de/en/projekte/budapest_m730/index.htm

It’s easy to imagine scenarios where clever things like this breakdown.  But imagine all the benefits to you, to the environment and to urban planners.   So, do you know anyone who works in your city’s local government?   Send them a link to this video and maybe in a few years hunting for parking spaces will be something we read about in history class.

Death: Real World vs. Cyber World – Where are we headed?

June 25, 2010 by  

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Kim FlintOn June 19th, 2010, Kim Flint was hit by a car in a tragic bicycle accident.   He died instantly.

Kim is someone I never met and only spoke with occasionally.  Yet he was someone I “knew” online for 14 years.   

Kim’s energy and creativity has allowed thousands of musicians across the globe – including myself – to make music that otherwise would have been impossible.  His vision and skill helped create the Digital Echoplex Pro, an audio looping tool that has helped define what is possible with loop-based music.  In my interactions with Kim over a 14 year period, he always had a sense of humor and displayed a warm and balanced outlook on life.

Kim also brought together a worldwide community of musicians through his Loopers-Delight.com website.  This website has become an iconic resource for all things to do with audio looping since its inception in 1996.  Through his efforts many have found within themselves music that might otherwise not have been possible.

Kim, we on this Earth will all miss you.

————-

But Kim is still alive in the digital world.

Kim’s Facebook site lives on.  Friends can still send him email and updates.  Kim’s Loopers-Delight website lives on.  The website will probably need a new administrator, and the listserve will need a new moderator.  But his site lives on, like a house passing to new owners.   Kim may have liked playing online games.  He might have game-characters who live on.

Kim’s automatic bank withdrawals to pay various bills will continue, as will savings plans that automatically withdraw funds on set days.  His wife will probably have to proactively seek to have all electronic payments stopped.  Payments for the car or payback for loans will need to be handled.   And then there are all the other subscriptions she may not think about, or know about: the monthly fee for the gym, or magazines, or various online sites like LinkedIn, The Ladders, Match.com… 

It’s all gotten more complicated. What can be done?

At the root of the complication is the separation of our real-world “identified” and online “anonymous” lives.  If they could be more closely linked, then our death in the real-world can connect to our online lives.  Let’s think about what this may entail:

1) The world wide web was founded on the premise of anonymity and anonymous personas (hello The Undude!) – we’d need a way for each individual to have a unique online personality that is constantly verified and assured against fraud and spoofing: a digital passport of sorts.  Like a real-world passport which needs to be recognized and accepted by each nation for it to be meaningful, a digital passport would need to be recognized and accepted across digital domains.  This will require all sorts of standards and protocols. 

2) We’d need the online world and various digital domains to be live linked to the real-world, and indeed this is happening more and more every day in various ways.

There are clearly some technical difficulties to be solved before this can become a reality.  But the biggest challenge will not be technical.  The move from the anonymous web to the identified web will require a dramatic change in web-psychology.  And it will require clear and unassailable benefits for end-users to make such a change attractive.  

Rest assured, technology companies have been incubating ways to create, enable and service this radical change to verified online identities. It represents a tremendous business opportunity to sell and service some kind of identity verification and assurance “policy” to everyone with computer access.  Different technology companies are going to define their identity verification offerings as extensions to their core commercial offerings.  Various alliances between security companies, social networks, service providers, retail and financial powerhouses are being formed.  Why?  Because they all want a cut of the business potential.  Their challenge is to make ”verified and assured identities” something simple to understand for consumer.  Also, vendors don’t want to open up new risks and liabilities for themselves, so they want something robust enough that can’t be spoofed.

From a commerial point of view, “identity-vertified” and “assured” web-users are less likely to be villians and fraudsters, so online businesses might offer these identified web-citizens “premium” services and better rates, compared to the far more risky anonymous web-users. 

So, where is this taking us?  Are we getting closer to a two-tiered Internet?  I think so.  Being able to charge for something that previously was free is just too tempting and who has the power to stop it?  Will this happen soon?  It’s anyone’s guess really. Ideas about how to launch identity verification and assurance services have been incubating for years already.   Maybe Google or Microsoft will announce something.  This is big stuff.

In the meantime, we continue to live our lives.  And I will miss a man who I never really knew but, through his work and in online interactions, has impacted my creative life more than more than anybody else.  

YouTube Video – Remembering Kim Flint

O’ Lucky Man!

June 24, 2010 by  

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O Lucky Man

“Smile while you’re makin’ it, Laugh while you’re takin’ it,

Even though you’re fakin’ it, Nobody’s gonna know…”

Now, that’s a slogan to live by, no?

These lines, taken from the English 1973 movie “O Lucky Man” staring Malcolm McDowell, Helen Mirren and musician Alan Price, have been with me ever since I came across them written on a t-shirt I found one day as a teenager.   And many years later they still have a romantic hold over me.   Shouldn’t I be more passionate? Shouldn’t I be less careful?  Shouldn’t I somehow be more me?  Aren’t these questions we all ask at times?

In this blog, I’ll be looking for answers.  And perhaps some readers will find sympathy with some of what’s covered here.  Others may take offense.  Still others might try to shape the course of any dialog that establishes itself.  These are all worthy responses.  And I encourage them.

Topics that I suspect will be discussed in this blog might include: the place of technology in our lives; recent musical discoveries I’ve made; stupid stuff about working in a hi-tech company; and even more stupid stuff about being in a rock band.

Where shall we start?