The Internet of Everything – from toilet seats to human bodies

  • Post category:General
  • Reading time:3 mins read

I walked into the restroom. A mechanic stood at the sink fixing something. It saw him holding a toilet seat. He was fooling around with the wiring of the apparatus. Then he replaced some electronics components and rewired the seat.

Toilet sensors

It never occurred to me that even toilets could be usefully equipped with electronic features. I asked the mechanic. He explained that the toilets in the building are all connected to the Internet. If there is something wrong with the antiseptic fluid produced by the toilet, it starts calling out for help. He told me that the towel dispenser was also connected to the Internet, so that when it runs out, a maintenance operator is called in. Makes sense.

Never has technology so much helped improve the The Loo.

To cell sensors

So all things will be supplied with sensors. And it looks like these sensorized things are getting smaller and smaller and a reaching the nano space.

Sensors are gtheetting so small that they can flow through our blood and mend our bodies. And maybe fix cancer cells in the future. Or detect issues with blood vessels. Or measure the chemistry in our bodies. They can be injected in plants to protect themselves from diseases. Or be used in constructions to measure stability at smaller scales than we had ever assumed possible. Possibilities beyond imagination.

Neb sensors surveilling the body 

Imagine what it would mean if we could instrument every cell we like to. I would like a surveillance team of bot swimming through my body, like the Nebuchadnezzar in the Matrix flows through the sewers and tunnels of the abandoned cities.

To signal when my internals run out of supplies.

Simple, complex, quality

  • Post category:General
  • Reading time:1 mins read

How to set an incentive to create/buy simple solutions.

The problem is that complex solutions are perceived better than simple solutions.

“It can’t be that simple”.

And complex solutions have more features. 

And new technologies make complex solutions even more attractive (reverse grandmother and Lindy effect), and intellectually more interesting. 

We can wrap a complex solution and new technology in Newspeak.

A solution based on existing technology can’t beat that.

But simpler solutions can beat on quality: fit-for-purpose. Simpler means cheaper, easier to design and develop, and easier to use and maintain.

Status quo discomfort

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  • Reading time:1 mins read

A thought:

The status quo should feel more uncomfortable than the uncertainty of the future.

Best practices, theories, grandmother

  • Post category:General
  • Reading time:2 mins read

Best practices stem from the practical, not from the theoretical. 

A theory explains reality. The current theory explains reality best. A theory is valid as long as there is no theory explaining reality better.

Best practices are ways of doing things. The practice is based on year long experience in the real world. Grandmother told us how she did it. It is not theory. It is not proven formally, by mathematics. It is proven by action and results.

Best practices are perennial. They change very infrequently. Theories change frequently.

In IT best practices are independent of technologies. Examples are: separation of concerns, layering, encapsulation, decoupling. 

Best practices exist for a reason: they work.

A theory may explain why they work. But it is not necessary.

Best practices have been around for years. They were not invented half a year ago. They may be theories. More often then not theories about the applicability of technologies.

I think we need to question “new best practices” .

Instead we must rely on grandmother’s wisdom. 

*All of this very likely inspired by (or rather, stolen from Nassim Taleb’s Anti-fragile writings, and the Lindy effect)

Eggheads not coaches for winning soccer

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  • Reading time:1 mins read

Egghead models for soccer.

In the Dutch Correspondent I found an interesting article from 2019 about data and soccer. It seems that a scientific approach to managing a soccer team is more promising than a hiring a charismatic coach.

The scientist Sumpter at work

Transition to obverse

  • Post category:General
  • Reading time:1 mins read

This blog is now transitioning. When I started the blog I wanted to write about IBM mainframe technology, giving space to other readers, presenting a fresh view.

My intentions have changed, challenges have changed, and readers have changed.

After some posts expressing somewhat obverse standpoints of mine, readers reacted they wanted more of that. Also, in an earlier blog I shared snippets called ‘Principles of doing IT’, which got positive feedback. In this blog I will now bring these together. I will categorize my posts so the reader can easily filter what he wants so see. Yet, I give myself the freedom to keep posting in the order I like, and on the topic that I feel most urgently needs an obverse view.

I hope you enjoy. Please let me know what you think.


Theropod blog on Medium

  • Post category:General
  • Reading time:1 mins read

Thought you might find this blog by IBMers interesting: Theropod.

Let’s hope they can keep up the good work.

Will add this site to the Link Pack Area collection.

z/OS Container Extensions Live demo

On 2 December, in a session organized by the Dutch GSE, the IBM User Group, specialists from the IBM Garage in Montpellier performed a presentation and live demonstration of running Linux containers in a z/OS Container Extension (zCX). After the session there was a short discussion about use cases for z/OS Container Extensions, introduced by a view on this topic by Rabobank.

You can find the presentation in the GSE Google Drive: Link to the presentation

And we’ve also recorded the whole event, so you can watch it on the GSE NL YouTube channel:

John Mertic on the importance of open-source for the mainframe

Interesting podcast, in which Reg Harbeck talks with John Mertic about the history, future role and community impact of open-source technology for mainframe clinet and in general.

… their ability to have a technology stack that enables them to execute and serve their customers better, is a competitive advantage. We see open source as kind of as little bit of that leveling appeal. It’s enabling people to get to that point faster than they ever had before. You don’t need a vendor to be that person. Even legacy organizations and companies have turned themselves into software companies because open source has opened that door for them.

Go fix it while it ain’t broken yet – modernize the mainframe

Reg Harbeck wrote an excellent article in Destination z, Overcoming IBM Z Inertia, in which encourages IBM Z (mainframe) users to take action on modernizing their mainframe.

The path of action Harbeck describes is to assign new mainframers (RePro’s) with the task to find and document what the current mainframe solutions in place are expected to do, and to work with the organisation to see what needs to retired, replaced or contained.

In other words task a new generation with the mainframe portfolio renewal, and not leave this to the old generation, who are “surviving until they retire while rocking the boat as little as possible” (hard words from Harbeck but it is time to get people in action).

In additional to the general approach Harbeck describes I think it is important to assure senior management support on a level as high as possible. Doing so you prevent that the priority of this program is too easily watered down by day-to-day priorities and you assure perceived or real “impossibilities” and roadblocks are moved out of the way resolutely. So:

  • Make modernization a senior management priority. Separate it organizationally from task from the KSOR (Keep the Show On the Road) activities, to make sure modernization priorities compete as little as possible with KSOR activities.
  • Appoint a senior management and senior technical exec with a strong Z affiliation to mentor and support and guide the young team from a organisational and strategic perspective.
  • Have a forward thinking, strong and respected senior mainframe specialist  support the team, with education and coaching (not to do it for them).

It will be an investment and, according to the “survivors” never be as efficient as before, but one very important thing it will be: fit for the future.