Self-Driving Cars Will Run You Off The Road

I predict that there will be division / classification of roads which will shape and change our roadways and push drivers off the road. Here’s why:

Telsa is an amazing story in the otherwise lacklustre world of Automotive innovation. Elon Musk took on the entire industry in a way that was going to fail in many people’s eyes – he brought an all-electric vehicle to market, with success and then incrementally delivered a system that can now drive at level 5 (source: Tesla Ships with Level 5 Autonomy). The industry is still trying to work out how long it has until it really has to catch up – hint: that’s up to the vocal demand of the consumer.

The biggest risk of driving on the road is attributed to humans – drivers themselves are the biggest issue on the road; not everyone is capable at the same level in all conditions – and some would argue, even in the best conditions, some still struggle. Having that uncontrolled variable exposed to autonomous cars can be controlled for – in most situations. But there are still risks – a Telsa owner recently died when his car hit a tractor due to a combination of sensor “failure” and his lack of attention as driver (source : Tesla cleared of Driver Death)

Self-Driving will be costly

Imagine you are running an insurance business. Which would be the biggest risk for you: A self-driving car or a human driver? Human driving is significantly more variable than a logic program with active sensors – Insurers will start to increase premiums for drivers who insist on driving their own cars. Those logic programs will also control for speed and conditions and could even report them back to the insurance company to qualify the owner for “discounts”. As self-driving car ownership increases, human drivers will see increasing challenges such as increased premiums and / or the need to report their driving ability / history through devices like Progressive’s Snapshot (see: A review of Snapshot)

Uber and Lyft Aim to remove the need to own a car

Although the lift-share model currently uses self-employed people to drive cars, the long-term aim of these services is to provide self-driving cars to achieve the service levels desired. This provides mitigation of additional insurable risk and the variability of availability of drivers. Likely individuals will have the opportunity “invest” in self-driving fleets, and ensure their service levels are maintained and operate them through the Uber/Lyft networks.

Road Networks will be Divided

Long term this suggests that road networks will be divided into two or three models:

  1. Autonomous only : Level 5 cars will only be allowed on these roads; Cars on these roads will offer least insurable risk and can handle more capacity due to the predictable nature of the way they operate. They will also see least police interaction as likely speeds will be regulated
  2. Hybrid Roads : Level 0-5 cars (including human-operated) – ultimately these road types will serve as a stop gap and be removed until all autonomous cars are level 5
  3. Human Operated : As today; human operated and controlled vehicles. These roads will have the most insurable risk and have most police scrutiny for speeding, etc.

Ultimately it will be costly and prohibitive for many to drive their own car on a daily basis. This change in behavior commoditizes travel and will cause a shift in the way that vehicles are made and look. There are many implications to car manufacturers, dealers, insurers, fuel & energy providers and consumers. The automotive industry has not been known to move that fast but a shift in consumer demand to Tesla-like performance will force a shift which will be the catalyst for my predictions.

So would you want to own a purely autonomous car? Tell me what you think in the comments!

(this is a short-form version of my thoughts on this subject; if you would like to connect more on this or other automotive discussions, please connect with me via linkedin – paulmorgan)

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QUICK FIX : MacOS Freezing at Login – how to resolve quickly

After upgrading to macOS 10.12.1 my 2010 MBP would freeze after the first login. Searching the internet I discovered some similar issues and potential resolutions. Most revolved around rebuilding the LaunchServices database – using Onyx I tried that and it sometimes worked, but I still had the issue recur.

I would also occasionally get the message :

"The version of HandsOff.kext is not compatible with your version of OSX. Please contact the developer for updates."

I used to have HandsOff installed but had uninstalled it a while back. Frustrated I was not able to enjoy a stable OS environment, I figured the best way would be to backtrack and remove all the errors and see if anything made a difference – and removing this offending kext file seemed a good start.

Most kext files are found in the /System/Library/Extensions folder – however I could not find the HandsOff file, either in this or any other location.

To resolve the issue, I installed EasyFind and searched for “HandsOff” and found some other files (plist was certainly one file type) and deleted them directly from EasyFinder. I then re-ran Onyx to rebuild the LaunchServices, rebooted and hey-presto! No more login freezes!

UPDATE:
I ran a Malwarebytes scan and found a few nasties - removing those also seemed to help with the smoothness of things

American Election 2016: Caveat Emptor

Let The Buyer Beware. The buyer assumes the risk that a product may fail to meet expectations, or have defects.

“If I built what customers wanted, I’d make a faster horse” – attributed to Henry Ford

The 2016 US Election has left many shocked and surprised; many, including Trump, were gearing messaging that the election was rigged and yet when it came to the final tally, the result wasn’t the one the pundits were predicting. What happened and what does this mean?

Neither Candidate Was Top-Shelf

There’s enough paper trail on both candidates to show neither have a clean sheet. If it wasn’t the DNC email leaks showing the intent to remove Saunders regardless of what the Democratic voters wanted, it was the lying, misogynistic and undiplomatic comments from Trump that had even his own Republicans turning their backs on him. The American public was asked to choose “Puke or Poop?”. The credibility and statesman-like demeanor of prior candidates on both sides were set aside for what we saw in the candidates. This is somewhat uncharted territory.

The American Public Is Fed-Up

A President from one party and a Congress lead by the other party leads to an impasse that leads to outcomes not based on what was good for the country. This lead to inaction, blame, and frustration. Intents of greatness were compromised to get something moving forward which lead to less-than-great outcomes.

With years of this being forced on the American public, the frustration has boiled over.

The American Public Has Yet Accepted Itself

They are you, your neighbor, your colleague. They may be black, white, Hispanic, gay, straight, atheist, Jew, Muslim, and they are your fellow countryman. It’s a melting pot of people with diverse thoughts, beliefs, needs that require that the Land of the Free let them be free.

Just because some people don’t understand an arranged marriage doesn’t mean to say it should be outlawed. Because a rape victim becomes pregnant from her rapist doesn’t mean to say someone else’s pro-life beliefs should be enforced on them, should they decide to abort. Because a same sexed couple wants to express their love for each other by getting married doesn’t mean someone else’s religious beliefs should dictate whether this happens or not.

America has still yet to understand and accept this and itself.

Some of America Is Still Fighting Not Being A Christian Nation

America’s somewhat turbulent history has seen a division between north and south, slavery, and open racism – and during that time the predominant populous was white and Christian. Over time, diversity in race and attitude has changed the face of the nation. The Founding Fathers did a pretty good job through the Constitution in trying to look ahead at an infant nation and predict how it would grow up. They were able to understand that there were fundamental principles that transcended the current state of the nation.

  • Nowhere in the Constitution does it state that the country is a Christian Nation. In fact, the First Amendment bars all laws “respecting an establishment of religion” and protects “the free exercise thereof.” – that’s ANY religion (or none). This is the separation of Church and State you hear of.
  • The US Government has documented NOT being a Christian Nation. The Treaty of Tripoli states (in Article 11) “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” (ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Tripoli)
  • The Pledge of Allegiance was only recently changed to include “Under God”. Originating in 1887, amended in 1892 and adopted as the Pledge of Allegiance in 1945, it was changed finally in 1954 to how you know it today.

My point here is that America is a nation of many – many races and beliefs. While there are many Christians, there are also many other denominations, atheists, and agnostics. None of them through their religious beliefs should dictate how life should be for the others. Those who can’t accept that are stopping the progress of the country.

American Has Yet To Unify

Many people wish Obamacare had never happened. Many are glad to finally be able to get cover on pre-existing conditions. When it was introduced, my more left-aligned friends welcomes the additional means of millions to access healthcare, whereas my right-aligned friends were bemoaning having more deductions from their salary and supporting the hangers-on.

When I heard the bemoaning my response was “If a loved one of yours became severely ill, even with your medical insurance, you would find yourself committed in a significant financial way that could find you facing a decision based on cost – it’s then you wish you lived in a country with universal health”.

This is not a statement on health care per se, but the attitude I believe is still pervasive: “it’s not my problem… unless it becomes my problem”. Whilst no-one can deny there are those that will try to abuse the system to profit from financial support mechanisms, we cannot let the worse case dictate the policy for the majority. Once you care for your fellow countryman, you remove the barriers and walls that may have existed, for they will also care for you. Only then will unification become more pervasive.

No matter which party you voted for, this is a time to take stock at what the country has said through the voting ballot; The old school way of politics is not fit for today’s America – America is asking for change.

America is a living, breathing nation that still looks to reinvent and challenge itself. There growing pains and lessons to learn, but acting as one worldly nation is the path where the most success will come. Greed and selfishness are enemies of the nation.

 

 

Software a CxO should know

In the last few years, many open source applications have become more mainstream, answering the need of many to solve developer, network, backoffice, security and business processes (to name a few). There are many you will have likely heard of (such as OpenOffice [see: LibreOffice)], or VirtualBox), but possibly there are some less familiar to the CxO community.

So here’s my breakdown of some of the software that won the BOSSIES open source awards and should be on your radar:

BonitaBPM – Designing and mapping out business processes can be timely; being able to effectively map them to actors and other systems and do it in a graphical way is going to be essential to make sure it’s effective.

Talend OpenStudio – Take multiple sources of data in, transform and validate and output – Alteryx does this really well; Talend does too.

Warewolf – Service Orientated Architecture gets a boost with graphical microservice design with a powerful UI workflow. Your developers will love this.

KNIME – Data-mining and predictive analytics in a very well put-together package. Big data may be a buzzword rammed down everyone’s throat, but regardless of the size of your data, mining and determining new value from that data is really important.

Teiid – Take multiple sources of data, expose them as one with caching, optimization, security and additional metadata and you have Teiid

RethinkDB – Possibly we have a NoSQL database that can really scale – and speaks JSON natively and provides real-time updates. You’ve probably heard of CouchDB or MongoDB – RethinkDB is also worth a look

For a full list of 2015 Bossies, check out the InfoWorld site

BSOD on Windows 7 – Faulty Memory or Motherboard ?

If you experience a Windows Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) with the error

DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_THAN_OR_EQUAL_TO

or

MEMORY_MANAGEMENT

There are a few reasons this could be caused Either:

  • You may have a conflicting driver
  • There is a faulty memory chip
  • There is a faulty motherboard
  • Some other reason

While there’s a bewildering number of articles on what it could be (and some of them are as helpful as a chocolate teapot), this one hopefully cuts to the chase:

Resolve your drivers

Download SlimDrivers – https://www.slimwareutilities.com/slimdrivers.php . It will tell you which drivers are out of date and offer to download them for you. Regardless of if you have a BSOD issue, this isn’t a bad thing to do.

Do a memory test – The download-less, almost-helpful version

  • Click on the “Start” button and open the “Control Panel”

  • Type in “memory” in the Control Panel’s search bar located at the upper right hand corner.

  • Look for “Administrative Tools.” Click on “Diagnose your computer’s memory problems.”

  • Choose “Restart now and check for problems” to run the scan immediately
  • Wait for the computer to restart and then follow the instructions. When the scan finishes, the diagnostic tool will let you know if RAM is the cause of the blue screen error.

Well it kind of will – I got “There is a hardware problem. Contact your PC Vendor” – so I have a problem with my hardware but I don’t know much else. Not helpful

Do a memory test – the yes-this-works-but-requires-more-effort version

Download Ultimate Boot CD (https://www.ultimatebootcd.com/) – you could just download memtest+ but given Ultimate Boot CD gives you a myriad of tools that might come in useful one day, download and burn this CD and keep it for a rainy day.

Once you have burned the CD (read how to burn an ISO image to CD/DVD):

  • Power down your PC and remove the power cable
  • Open the case of the PC

STOP HERE – THIS IS IMPORTANT

You have now entered a world where static electricity is your enemy. You should remove any chance of static build-up (typically wearing socks on a nylon carpet on a really dry, humid-less day will not be a good idea). When you are working on your PC you should earth yourself. Some people just touch the case of their PC, other are more robust about it.

  1. Once you have earthed yourself
  2. Remove all but one of the memory by pushing on the clips that hold the memory in (on both sides) and pulling the memory chip(s) out. Some configurations mean you have to have the memory in pairs, so if this is you, leave two memory chips in. You’ll know this is you if on step 4 you hear a constant beeping and your PC doesn’t start up
  3. Place the pulled memory somewhere safe and static free
  4. Restart your PC
  5. Press F8 or F12 to get to the Boot Options
  6. Boot from your Ultimate Boot CD – if this doesn’t appear as an option you should adjust your bios to enable the CD as a bootable device (read how to do it here)
  7. From the menu that appears, pick “Memory” > “memtest +” (it will have a version number after it
  8. Let memtest do its magic
  9. If you start to see red lines of text appear then you likely have failed memory
  10. Confirm this by swapping out memory chips to test either those that were set aside, or to see if one of the already tested chips is the faulty one (e.g. if you are testing two chips at a time, swap out one chip and re-run the test).

If all your memory chips pass, move onto the “Something else” section

Something Else is Wrong

In the case of my own BSOD woes, i found out after the memory test that dust had entered the memory slots and was causing an issue. A quick blast of the air duster resolved it.

If you have made sure all your memory and cards (E.g. graphics cards) are properly seated in their respective slots, other issues can be harder to identify – for example if there’s a thermal fracture; this is where the circuit is broken (sometimes old solder can crack and will only make connection when warmed up – so a cold booting PC would fail but a warm PC might work).

Here’s some additional resources on checking

FIX: Windows 7 WIFI disabled and Can’t Connect

WIFI Stopped Working on Windows 7?

If you have a wireless adaptor that used to connect to a Wifi network and is unable to then your WLAN adaptor is likely disabled. To further verify this, when you go to Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network Connections, your wifi adaptor is greyed out indicating it’s disabled and right-clicking on it, choosing “Enable” does not resolve.

Fix / enable your network adaptor again on Windows 7

  • Start > Run > type services.msc (enter)
  • Scroll down to WLAN AutoConfig, right click and choose properties
  • Change Startup Type  to Automatic
  • Click Start below the “Service Status” text

To be extra-cautious, you could also make sure the order of your network is set correctly:

  • Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network Connections
  • Advanced menu > Advanced Settings
  • Make sure your Wifi connection (adaptor) is set to the top-most entry

Why does this happen?

Seems it could be a multitude of reasons; it might be that your network card got in a tizzy and or that some condition occurred where your system disabled it. If it keeps happening, this could be a more significant issue. I would do the following:

1. Virus scan your system – I usually use Microsoft’s own Virus scanner as well as Malwarebytes AntiMalware

2. Make sure you have the latest drivers for your network card

Installing Angular.js on Windows

If you’re new to Angular.js and are trying to follow their example app (see http://docs.angularjs.org/tutorial/), chances are you might get an error like this:

node ./scripts/web-server.js
module.js:340
 throw err;
 ^
Error: Cannot find module 'C:\Users\<user>\scripts\web-server.js'
 at Function.Module._resolveFilename (module.js:338:15)
 at Function.Module._load (module.js:280:25)
 at Function.Module.runMain (module.js:497:10)
 at startup (node.js:119:16)
 at node.js:902:3

What the tutorial failed to mention is that you need to be in the directory of the angular-phonecat directory – so the sequence is :

cd angular-phonecat
node ./scripts/web-server.js

Then access your browser at localhost:8000 and it will work. Remember if you’re using Windows that port 80 is typically reserved for IIS so unless you want to mess around with IIS default ports….

http://docs.angularjs.org/tutorial/

FIX: Asus RT-N56U doesn’t see the second USB hard disk

The Asus RT-N56U has been out for a little while now; it’s been proven to be quite a popular home consumer router as it comes with many features for a decent price (dual-band including N-band wireless and media streaming, for example).

As with most hardware products, there’s an occasional need to upgrade the firmware, to address bugs, security issues and/or introduce new features. Around 2013 ASUS introduced a completely new firmware for the router which removed features from the router – chiefly the media server. Instead these features had to be installed on an attached USB hard disk. Not only that but the latest version of the media server software ASUS supply (minidlna v1.0.33) has a bug which fails to index all content.

Media Server Fix 1 – Downgrade to 1.0.0.22

Simply follow these steps – version 1.0.0.33 has the issue mentioned. You’re basically doing a manual merge of file to over-write the media server. If you need a copy of the files, you can download from here.

Media Server Fix 2 – Second Hard Drive Doesn’t Appear for DLNA devices (like PS3)

If you’re like me, your media server install (and other router related files) is on the same drive as media you are streaming. But when you connect a second drive, you may find that you can see the drive using the file share (samba) or FTP but DLNA devices (like the PS3) don’t seem to see it. This appears to be because the second drive takes a few seconds to mount (or register – the router uses unix and this is how it handles hard disks) and so when the media server goes to look at what’s available, doesn’t see it.

Solution 1 – Web Interface

You can try to either disable and then re-enable the media server via the web interface:

ASUS Wireless Router RT N56U   USB application

or telnet into the router and force a restart with re-index:

  • Start your telnet session
    • For Windows see this link
    • For OSX, go to Utilities > Terminal > type “telnet <your router IP>”
  • Login using your router username and password you setup
  • If you want to confirm you have multiple disks mouted, type

cat /proc/mounts  – you will see

/dev/sda1 /tmp/mnt/Media ufsd rw,nodev,nls=utf8,uid=0,gid=0,fmask=0,dmask=0,force 0 0

(Media refers to the name i gave this drive)

/dev/sdb1 /tmp/mnt/Shared ufsd rw,nodev,nls=utf8,uid=0,gid=0,fmask=0,dmask=0,force 0 0

(Shared refers to the name i gave this drive)

the key part is sda1 refers to the first hard disk; sdb1 refers to the second; note they’re both mounted via /tmp/mnt

  • Type minidlna -f /opt/etc/minidlna.conf -R which will force the DLNA server to re-index.
    For info, the “-f /opt” refers to the config file for miniDLNA and “-R” is the command to force a re-index
  • Now go to your routers miniDLNA status page – this should be http://<router-ip> :8200 – e.g. http://192.168.1.1:8200 – this will give you a count of the re-index process. Depending on the number of files, this could take a while!

And you’re done! Hopefully this helped take the mystery out of resolving this issue.

IMPORTANT NOTE: There is a known security issue with the router that has been resolved with the latest firmware – if you are using the ASUS cloud service that lets you access your files over the internet you need to update ASAP. See the ASUS files site for info.

FIX: Windows 7 boot option doesn’t appear after installing Ubuntu via WUBI

You’ve decided to install Ubuntu using WUBI – all went well during the install and now it’s time to reboot and…. YOU GET BOOTED AUTOMATICALLY INTO UBUNTU! You were expecting a menu to appear with both Ubuntu and Windows 7 options….

Fear not – I had this happen to me and here’s the easy answer:

  1. In Ubuntu, go to Terminal (can be found in “Dash Home” and typing “terminal”)
  2. Type “sudo gedit /etc/default/grub”
  3. Ubuntu will ask you for you user account password (the one you login to Ubuntu with)
  4. Put a “#” infront of both “GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT” & “GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT_QUIET“, e.g.
    #GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT=0
  5. Change “GRUB_TIMEOUT=10” to some higher value (I set it to 30)
  6. File > Save
  7. File > Quit
  8. In the terminal window type “sudo update-grub”
  9. Although the message might indicate that it hasn’t worked (you might see something saying Windows 7 skipped), this is fine.
  10. Reboot your PC and shortly afterwards the boot menu with both OS’s will appear.

Searching the interwebs there were some other variants of this issue, but basically it comes down to GRUB not configured to show the bootloader menu option – which above typically solves.

 

 

Dominick’s Grocery Stores Exit Chicago Market

My thoughts to this, as Twitter’s 140 characters do not suffice.

As someone who has worked on Consumer Packaged Goods market dynamics, I was always wondering at the play and positioning Dominick’s team had in the Chicago Market; my view of the typical Chicago shopping consumer was this:

  • Jewel – A Chicago staple through longevity if nothing else; has tried to reinvigorate the brand through several marketing activities (loyalty card, collect stickers to get pots and pans, etc), but was mid-tier in terms of quality and pricing. Store locations were typically prime catchments which saved it
  • Trader Joe’s – For those who want decent product at a decent price and didn’t want to pay Wholefood’s prices. Choices are limited.
  • Wholefood’s – The top tier for organic produce; believes its’ prices are reasonable, but in reality, the majority don’t consider doing their weekly shop here as it’s too expensive.
  • Aldi – Came in to market with a budget perspective; has slowly been changing consumer perceptions. Still has some work to do on brand image but product quality is definitely on the up
  • Food4Less – And quality to match. Budget all the way
  • Kroger – More of a south side / burbs thing; wants to be a Jewel but doesn’t have the brand presence or quality of store premesis
  • Meijer – Target with more food choices

Which left Dominick’s; it tried to place itself in the upper-middle catchment – a notch above Jewel in terms of store premises quality, a fair balance of price and quality, but way below the high priced Wholefood’s. Unfortunately store placement seemed to be a barrier to entry, as did the perceived image (“I don’t shop there – it’s too expensive” heard many times). Almost every time I visited a Dominick’s store the footfall was low and so it seemed only a matter of time until the inevitable happened.

I guess Chicago and its’ circumstances (placement, economic) sealed the fate.