The Hobart Institute of Welding Technology has been around since 1930 and is considered one of the top national programs in the trade. To get in, you need a high school diploma or a GED, plus about $25,000 to cover the cost of tuition, books, and living expenses. For nine months, students learn how to weld structural steel and pipe, spending more than 1,000 hours under a hood practicing the art of fusing different pieces of metal. As they advance, they learn to work with more complicated alloys, such as aluminum, titanium, and stainless steel, always striving for that perfect weld that makes the metal stronger. “A nice weld is a work of art,” says Andre Odermatt, Hobart’s president.
NSA’s spies divide targets into two broad categories: data in motion and data at rest. Information moving to and from mobile phones, computers, data centers, and satellites is often easier to grab, and the agency sucks up vast amounts worldwide. Yet common data such as e-mail is often protected with encryption once it leaves a device, making it harder—but not impossible—to crack.
Retrieving information from hard drives, overseas data centers, or cell phones is more difficult, but it’s often more valuable because stored data is less likely to be encrypted, and spies can zero in on exactly what they want. NSA lawyers can compel U.S. companies to hand over some of it; agency hackers target the most coveted and fortified secrets inside computers of foreign governments.
Entrepreneur magazine lists 75 new franchise ideas started in last 5 years. They reflect our changing taste in foods, lifestyles etc including Bricks 4 Kids which offers “Lego-engineering classes, camps and parties” and Tide Dry Cleaners, Procter and Gamble’s foray into the service side of laundry.
InformationWeek’s annual issue shepherded by Chris Murphy, one of my favorite technology observers, is as usual chockfull of case studies
“Kroger is using people-counting sensors at its grocery store cash registers to alert managers when lines are piling up. Merck is using new data collection and analysis models to improve the reliability of its vaccine manufacturing process. Capital One lets credit card customers convert a cash purchase of a plane ticket to one using reward points, even months after the buy, with a feature called Purchase Eraser.”
Some of the findings
“We asked the Elite 100 companies which of eight factors are among the top three ways they’ll use technology to innovate this year. Two responses fall in the “provide a better product” category: 48% will introduce new IT-led products or services; 25% will create a new business model or revenue stream. In the first case, companies seem to be in-fusing digital elements into the offerings they already have. In the second, much less common case, companies are getting into an entirely new product segment or market using digital technologies. In the cost-cutting category, technology plays an almost equally important role: 46% of Elite 100 companies are using technology to make business processes more efficient, and 21% are doing so to lower IT or business costs.”
These days, places like Attolini or such stately pleasure domes as the top floor of Ermenegildo Zegna on Fifth Avenue face competition from a far more democratic, rambunctious class of operations that promises closer, quasicustom fits. Now more than ever, a man doesn't have to spend a lot of money to look as good as he might ever want to look, making dressing well a relatively inexpensive proposition, with few barriers to participation. With a few clicks, a man can get a custom suit from online stores like Indochino or J. Hilburn for less than a grand. (Stories and suits are like dogs and ponies; the purebreds are going to cost you.) Or he can visit the emporium of plenty that is Uniqlo: Rows upon rows and floors upon floors of men's wear in minute and dizzying gradations of color and fit influenced by recent designer collections and offered at joke-seeming prices. (A cashmere sweater for thirty-nine dollars? I'll take three.) Uniqlo is a mass operation, fully mechanized and massive, and it caters to the mass interest in looking good with dazzling efficiency. And though there's nothing handmade here, no bearded craftsmen who toil away listening to NPR and knitting the sweaters by hand, a man can still purchase slim-fitting denim jeans along with a cashmere sweater and a blended-wool two-button blazer and appear, from at least a few feet away, to have come from boutiques like Attolini or Odin. We may not have the means to honor the craftsmanship and integrity of heritage and/or bespoke clothing, but we have the aspiration. To look great. To feel good. And to forge a connection, however real or imaginary, with the human hand.
Had a chance to go to the Museum of Science in Boston last night and I was impressed at the wide range of science and tech artifacts.
Exhibits on contemporary innovators like Dean Kamen and Helen Greiner
Ancient Sequoia tree
Map of the Apollo 11 moon walk Armstrong and Aldrin took, along with replica of the lunar module
Replica of a mature, male, 40 foot long, 20 foot tall, 8 ton T-Rex
Replica of Mt Everest with base camp and other trails to the peak
Van de Graaff Lightning Generator
And since we were there after hours as part of a private Oracle event many of the other exhibits like the 3-D movie theater and the Butterfly Garden were not even open.
Bring your kids next time you are here. Bring yourself for a few hours after you are tired of Boston’s historical, sports, academic and other attractions. Or visit virtually from wherever many of the exhibits.
Infor is making quite an impression in complex, capital intensive environments – as complex as those at CERN with its Hadron Collider I wrote about here and City of Corpus Christi with its innovative mesh network as I wrote here
“Some of the most accomplished scientists on Earth work at the LLNL on projects that could really change the world. The lab spans a wide range of critical research areas, and is exploring how stars explode, building the next generation of ultra-high powered lasers, developing new methods to analyze proteins by x-ray, and pioneering ways to turn unwanted carbon dioxide into electric power. Six of the elements on the periodic table were discovered at the LLNL.
On my visit I saw the largest laser in the world, which is about the length of a football field (about 90 meters for those of you outside the US) with thousands of components managed by Infor EAM (Enterprise Asset Management). This giant laser shoots into a plastic capsule no bigger than your fingernail, frozen to -427F (-255C), to convert two chemical elements into energy via fusion instead of a fission. The advantage of fusion is that it’s cleaner and safer; helium is the byproduct, not nuclear waste and spent fuel rods.
Scientists have been trying to create fusion energy for decades, but the amount of energy required to fire the giant laser has always exceeded the amount produced by the reaction. In recent months, however, the LLNL discovered the holy grail – energy gain. For the first time they were able to produce more energy than consumed by the laser. The potential can’t be understated - a coffee cup full of deuterium and tritium could provide enough energy for an entire family for a full year!
The laser is an expensive and unique asset and Infor EAM ensures maximum utilization for the scientists which means more research hours. LLNL is now reviewing options to expand their relationship with Infor in other areas.”
Dr James Cash who has taught countless executives about IT at Harvard Business School presented at the Oracle Industry Connect event this morning the perspective of a tech-savvy board director. Dr. Cash serves on the boards of GE, Walmart, The Boston Celtics and has previously been on the board of Microsoft and several other companies across industries.
He said every board is under tremendous pressure to become “digital” and there are 5 areas he advises IT to work on
1. Primary focus should be in generating top line growth. He cited GE’s Industrial Internet and Walmart’s move to become a “predictive retailer” as examples. He classified IT spend as “that which allows companies to stay in business” versus “that which assumes we will continue to stay in business”
2. A focus on generating operational efficiency – to be able to generate funds to make the growth investments above.
3. Support for corporate governance especially in a growing global marketplace. The opportunity from new markets has to be balanced with increased needs for local investments. Managing the resulting complex set of investments and resources for effective growth is another area where IT needs to step up
4. Participation in formulation of corporate strategy. He said for years we tried to “align” IT with business. That is passé – he said he is constantly surprised to see even today retailers do not list Amazon as one of their primary competitors
5. Rethink infrastructure. “Most startups would not build what we are trying to manage today”. “We have to be inspired by entrepreneurs”. Most large companies can scale a $ 20 million business and take it to $ 200 million. But going from 0 to $ 20 million still calls for a “distributed innovation” model.
“All the better, then, when the idea they offered up was to take everything less seriously–but in a thoughtful way.”
Throughout this issue, that’s what we aimed to do. Yves Béhar gives us serious health help wrapped in touchable, matchable, wearable tiles. Internet scholar danah boyd offers a useful corrective to parental worrying when it comes to children’s digital diets. Chef Dan Barber shows us how to use the whole buffalo (so long as that buffalo is a parsnip) in his argument for a new, more environmentally sustainable cuisine. Trevor Cox sends us on an aural vacation that will make us see–and hear–our world more clearly. And Navid Khonsari offers a glimpse of a future in which we could play history like a video game.