On Friday, with Fox & Friends on the WH lawn, Trump met people he loves, erect and at attention

 On Friday, with Fox & Friends on the WH lawn, Trump met people he loves, erect and at attention

The stench of cowardice and corruption of this generation of elected GOP officials will linger for decades. That no one will stand against the lies, lawlessness, cruelty, corruption, irrationality and just plain old fashioned idiocy of TRUMP and say ENOUGH! Is a profound disgrace

— Steve Schmidt (@SteveSchmidtSES) June 15, 2018

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Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Nonprofits: Leverage your Donor Database

Donor Data 300x225 Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Nonprofits: Leverage your Donor Database

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is one of the best-kept secrets in the nonprofit world for Donor Management Software. While often overlooked in Top 10 lists of Donor Software many of the most well-oiled nonprofit machines leverage it to keep their donors engaged and their mission thriving.

As a donor management tool, Microsoft Dynamics 365 can be a solid investment for the nonprofit that is ready to move out of the stone age of Excel and Rolodexes and start to transform donor data into more strategic, meaningful interactions.

Have you ever fantasized about any of the following questions for yourself or your organization?

  • What if there was a way to see a donors’ complete giving history in one place?
  • What if there was a way to easily see all donors’ pledged or planned giving for forecasting?
  • What if there was a way to access real-time totals of my Annual Fund or Capital Campaign for this fiscal year?
  • What if there was a way to easily generate a Prospect Pipeline of my major donors and then track where they each are individually in the pipeline?
  • What if there was a way to clean up all our old, dirty donor data?
  • What if there was a better way than my whiteboard or Outlook calendar to organize my Grant Report tasks and deadlines?
  • What if there was a way to easily assess the success of our Mass Marketing Campaigns, both email and direct mail?
  • What if there was a way to have Event Management or Volunteer Management in the same system as my donor information?
  • What if there was a better way for our donation and/or pledge information to integrate with the Accounting department?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 has solutions to all of the above for organizations of any size. Additionally, PowerObjects can even work with your NPO to customize your database specifically to your organization’s mission, terminology, and business processes.

What does “CRM” even mean?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management software. Sound somewhat familiar? At the end of the day what does your fundraising really boil down to? Building and maintaining relationships with donors, rather than customers. Microsoft Dynamics 365, while often used in a Sales or Service capacity, can easily be re-framed within a nonprofit context. Instead of sales (where customers are being sold on a product), or service (where providing timely, tailored service helps retain customers), Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Nonprofits uses the best of both worlds. Donors are managed similarly to a sales contact. You have an increased ability to sell them on your mission and follow-up with them regularly to continue to receive their support.

How will I get the buy-in from my Director or the Board for new software?

PowerObjects understands that your business is different from our business clients. You’re often coming up against thinner budget lines with minimal resources and often find yourself facing either very high turnover or extremely low turnover that might make change in the organization hard. Regardless of the particulars, we also know that every year your goal is to serve your mission bigger and better with greater lasting impact.

While software, data migration, and/or customizations can be pricy, a robust and flexible database software like Dynamics 365 is a long-term investment for your organization. Not only having but also using clean, accurate data is key for the longevity of any modern organization, for-profit and non-profit alike. Whether you are dealing with a rapidly growing number of constituents or a shrinking number of donors and donations, Dynamics 365 can help you expand and manage your growth.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 even has the ability to interface with other programs like MailChimp, Mail Merge, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Excel, and many others. You can look forward to having your information in a centralized location and a reduction of redundant work. Dynamics 365 even has mobile and tablet capabilities so you can access donor information on the go at fundraising events or board meetings. With optimized donor insights and streamlined business processes, your staff’s time will be better spent.

We know that in a nonprofit environment your organization has to be even more strategic about your engagements and expenditures. By using Dynamics 365, you can lay the long-term foundation for lasting change by boosting your fundraising potential with data. Need a real-life example of nonprofit success with Microsoft Dynamics? Check out this case study featuring WomenVenture.

Reach out to PowerObjects today to find out how we can help you take the next step in running your nonprofit less like a charity and more like a thriving business!

Happy D’365ing!

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PowerObjects- Bringing Focus to Dynamics CRM

Generation Z and Mainframe Programming

When you think of mainframe programming, images of scruffy old men stuck in the 1960s might come to mind. Yet as Caroline McNutt, a young mainframe programmer at Ensono explained recently, this image does not reflect reality.

Ensono provides managed IT services for a variety of infrastructure, including mainframes. McNutt, who has worked with Ensono’s mainframe teams in the company’s Conway, Arkansas location since 2016, recently spoke to us about the state of the mainframe, the role of young women in computer science, and more.

Here’s what McNutt had to say.

Generation Z and Mainframe Programming banner Generation Z and Mainframe Programming

What’s your role at Ensono, and how long have you been in the position?

I am an associate mainframe systems programmer. I’ve been with Ensono for about two years.

I first worked with Ensono in summer 2016 for a two-month college internship. After I graduated, they hired me to work full-time.

What does your day-to-day mainframe programming work entail?

I’ve been going through some of the older, legacy processes and trying to automate them through SAS. I also work on mainframe monitoring.

I work with z/OS. Other people at the company work with mainframe VM systems, but I kind of like my green screen.

How much interest do you see in mainframes among other young people and women?

Among women, a lot! On my current team at Ensono, we’re about 50/50 males and females. And there are quite a few females across the company as a whole.

[For more on women in the technology industry, check out our recent blog post “Women in Tech: Recognizing Female Leadership in Technology.”]

As for young people, most people at the company are older than me. But I’m twenty-four, so that’s not necessarily saying much.

bigstock Businesswoman pointing to word 68287039 600x Generation Z and Mainframe Programming

What was your experience with becoming a woman programmer who focuses on mainframes like?

At Ensono, I have faced no challenges at all as a woman programmer.

In college, though, things were harder. Even female teachers looked down on [women majoring in computer science]. A professor told me I was only hired for mainframe programming because I was a quota filler. And as I progressed further into the computer science degree program, [women programmers] would drop off.

Learning about mainframes in college was hard, too, even as a computer science student. They don’t teach mainframes. I didn’t even know what a mainframe was at first. And I think that’s a problem.

Given the lack of coverage of mainframes at universities, what do you think the future looks like for mainframes?

I definitely don’t think the mainframe is going anywhere for the foreseeable future.

A lot of people talk about cloud coming in and replacing mainframes. But cloud performance just doesn’t match what we already have in place on the mainframe.

Plus, a lot of the time, mainframes have been around for so long that the effort it would take to convert a mainframe to another platform would be so costly and time-intensive that it’s not practical to do that.

I definitely feel like I have a stable career here working on mainframes.

Download our eBook, Data Encryption in the Mainframe World, for even more on mainframes!

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Syncsort Blog

6/18 Webinar: My Power BI report is slow: what should I do? by Marco Russo

This week have one of our crowd favorites and Rock star MVPs, Marco Russo who has volunteered to cover the topic: 

My Power BI report is slow: what should I do?

Abstract: You created a wonderful Power BI report, but when you open it you wait too much time. Changing a slicer selection is also slow. Where should you start analyzing the problem? What can you do to optimize performance?
This session will guide you in analyzing the possible reasons for a slow Power BI report. By using Task Manager and DAX Studio, you will be able to determine whether you should change the report layout, or if there is something in DAX formulas or in the data model that is responsible for the slow response.  At the end of this session, you will understand how to locate a performance bottleneck in a Power BI report, so you will focus your attention on the biggest issue.

When: 6/18/2018 9AM PST

Where: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-h3Pohtn1Y 

About the Presenter: 
51kVzGgqZAL. UX250  6/18 Webinar: My Power BI report is slow: what should I do? by Marco Russo
Marco Russo
Consultant and Mentor, SQLBI
Marco Russo is a Business Intelligence consultant and mentor. He has worked with Analysis Services since 1999, and written several books about Power Pivot, Power BI, Analysis Services Tabular, and the DAX language. With Alberto Ferrari, he writes the content published on www.sqlbi.com, mentoring companies’ users about the new Microsoft BI technologies. Marco is also a speaker at international conferences such as Microsoft Ignite, PASS Summit, PASS BA Conference, and SQLBits.


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Voice assistants: Moving from party tricks to practical applications

googleduplex Voice assistants: Moving from party tricks to practical applications

Video: CRM playaz with Pega’s Jeff Nicholson at PegaWorld 2018

Google I/O 2018

One of the most interesting developments from last month’s Google I/O event was the Google Duplex demo, where Google Assistant actually made a call on behalf of a human to make a beauty appointment… meaning Google Assistant called a human and had a conversation that led to an appointment being booked. Now that’s a cool trick (some folks might not characterize it as such, but that’s another story). It’s not available right this minute, so it kind of has a feel of being a gimmick or party trick that grabs your attention for a while before we move on to the next thing. And that party trick theme came up last week when the subject of voice assistants came up at Pegaworld in Las Vegas — the party trick capitol of the world.

Read also: What is Google Duplex? (CNET)?

The CRM playaz — aka Paul Greenberg and yours truly — caught up with Pega VP of CRM Product Marketing Jeff Nicholson for an impromptu conversation at the conference. We covered a lot of ground in the time we had with Jeff, including some bragging about the Patriots winning five Super Bowls, which was countered by the Yankees’ 27 World Series championships, which left me and my Rams’ one Super Bowl win pretty speechless during this time. But when I asked Jeff about voice assistants and their role in business, things got pretty interesting, as he feels that we’re currently in the era of party tricks; and that we need to get into an era of practical applications within the next year or two — or it might only be a flash in the pan. Finally, Jeff feels the only thing really holding it back are people coming up with serious use cases.

To see the full conversation, you can check it out above.

Now, there’s a lot to agree with in Jeff’s observations about voice. And many vendor executives I’ve talked to over the past 12 to 18 months or so agree with him. It’s easy to see why, as the things like ordering a pizza or starting your car brings a lot of attention and hype to Alexa and Google Assistant. But a deeper look beneath the surface reveals the move from party tricks to practical applications is already taking place; and the charge is being led by folks who were drawn in by the party tricks but are now taking the inspiration born from those experiences into their workplace after the party is over.

Below are a just a few examples of how quickly that transition is happening in areas that are no laughing matter.

From Ordering Pizza to City Government Call Center

When Pega’s Nicholson said voice-first needed to go from parlor trick to practical purpose for things to take off in the industry, he perfectly described the path Alexa took in reaching the city of Albuquerque’s call center. As told via a piece by my buddy Don Fluckinger, it was the city’s digital engagement specialist Matt Maez’s ability to easily reorder his favorite Domino’s pizza that led to the creation of an Alexa skill that addresses residents’ 150 FAQs.

Read also: Google Duplex beat the Turing test: Are we doomed?

The skill was rolled out last month as a soft launch and a a bigger push is expected to take place later this year, with a goal of reducing call volume by 15 percent in two years. But there are concerns about scaling issues as Alexa interactions increase over time. However, in the long run, based on AWS’ track record, it’s expected to be less of a concern. And I suspect that using voice assistants will become a viable way to scale self-service capabilities that will become generally attractive as time goes on.

Senior Communities

This one hits close to home having a mother currently residing in a senior independent living community, and I use an Amazon Echo Show to talk daily to her. But these devices are gaining traction in senior communities for more than just that. Touchtown, a company specializing in resident engagement solutions used by more than 1,200 retirement homes and senior living communities, offers services aimed at improving resident wellness and experience via computers, tablets, or smartphones. Now, Touchtown is offering residents the ability to easily find important information using Alexa and Echo devices. For example:

  • Activities: “What is going on tomorrow?”
  • Dining Menus: “What is for lunch today?”
  • Announcements: “Are there any announcements today?”

One of Touchtown’s customers, North Florida Retirement Village, recently beta-tested the Alexa integration with a few residents and found it made immediate impact with scheduled reminders for taking medication. Using voice commands also makes it easy for seniors with declining motor skills. In fact, because of the initial positive response from the beta, North Florida is in the process of constructing smart apartments for future residents that will allow seniors to control lights, fans, televisions, and other devices with their voices.

Erica, How Much Money Do I Have?

Alexa and Google Assistant aren’t the only game in town (and no I’m not talking about Siri). While they can do many things on your behalf, they can’t get into your Bank of America accounts for the time being… but Erica can. Erica is a financial AI assistant designed for BofA customers use their smartphone to manage their personal bank accounts. After activating Erica by tapping on the app, a user can ask her, for example, to lock their debit card after losing it or having it stolen, transfer funds between accounts, and look up past transactions. You can also schedule meetings with specialists at a branch, schedule payments, and even send money to people via Zelle. You can also ask for your past five purchases from Amazon.

Read also: Google Duplex: What should businesses expect? (TechRepublic)

According to Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan last month, 450,000 people were using Erica, and the BofA app had logged more than one million interactions. While the things she can do are relatively easy to start with, over time Erica will learn what’s important to customers and will perform more complex tasks to improve the customer experience.

Suki — Alexa for Doctors

Focused on simplifying the laborious process of medical notetaking, Suki is an AI-powered, voice-enabled digital assistant for doctors, allowing them to spend more time treating patients than filling out forms. Having recently announced raising $ 20 million in funding (with Salesforce’s Marc Benioff being among the lead investors), the company is comprised of engineers, technologists, and clinicians from a who’s who of companies, including Apple, 23andMe, Google, Salesforce, and Oracle.

According to a company press release, Suki is personalized at the individual doctor level to remove friction from day-to-day activities, but it’s also built to scale. And even though doctors spend a lot hiring workers to manage the accuracy of patient records, that still doesn’t insure those records are in good shape. But company founder Punit Soni says Suki will be able to:

“Distill a doctor’s conversation with a patient into an actionable plan, based on the doctor’s known preferences and clinical practice guidelines. The doctor can tell Suki, ‘I’m concerned this patient has the flu,’ and Suki will take the initiative to document the conversation in the proper format, with a proposed plan of care based on the way that doctor typically treats a patient with suspected flu. And if the doctor prescribes medication, Suki will stage and route the order through the health record system.”

These examples represent a rapidly growing number of projects that illustrate the “party tricks to practical applications” transition that is taking place. And Jeff Nicholson’s suggestion that the transition needs to be led by practitioners out there in the trenches is exactly what’s happening — in important areas like health, banking, senior living, and government services. All this adds up to an era of voice eventually crossing the chasm into the mainstream of even the most important areas of life. We’re still early days as most of what’s going on currently are beta projects. And important areas of concern like privacy and security, both from a consumer and enterprise perspectives, need to be entirely flushed out and thoroughly tested. But we’re moving in that direction, and I can’t wait to have my voice assistant call my barber to set up my next cut.

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Ctrl-labs’ armband lets you control computer cursors with your mind

Controlling a mouse pointer with your mind may sound like science fiction, but Ctrl-labs, a startup based in New York City, is working hard to make it a reality.

I recently swung by the company’s new digs in Manhattan — a high rise suite overlooking Herald Square, a few blocks south of the Theater District, overlooking Herald Square. It had been two weeks since Ctrl-labs’ employees moved into the Midtown office, lead scientist Adam Berenzweig told me, and the smell of fresh paint still hung in the air.

“We haven’t finished unpacking the furniture,” he said.

Ctrl-labs can afford the upgrade. In June, it raised $ 28 million in an investment round led by Lux Capital and GV (formerly Google Ventures), the venture capital arm of Alphabet (Google’s parent company). The two join a long, growing list of high-profile backers that includes the Amazon Alexa Fund, Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital, Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, Tim O’Reilly, Slack founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield, Warby Parker CEO Dave Gilboa, and others.

What convinced those tech luminaries to fund the three-year-old neuroscience and computing startup, I’d soon find out, feels a little bit like magic.

Finding the neural link

Thomas Reardon, the founder and CEO of Ctrl-labs (formerly Cognescent), was something of a child prodigy. He took graduate-level math and science courses at MIT while in high school and spearheaded a project at Microsoft that became Internet Explorer. A few years later, he enrolled in Columbia University’s classics program, where he studied neuroscience and behavior and went on to earn his Ph.D.

It was in 2015 at Columbia that Reardon, along with fellow neuroscientists Patrick Kaifosh and Tim Machado, conceived of Ctrl-labs and its lofty mission statement: “to answer the biggest questions in computing, neuroscience, and design.” After three years of research and development, the team produced its first product: an armband that reads signals passing from the brain to the hand.

The armband — a bound-together collection of small circuit boards, each soldered to gold contacts meant to adhere tightly to forearm skin — is very much in the prototype stages. A ribbon cable connects the contacts to a Raspberry Pi in an open plastic enclosure, which in turn connects wirelessly to a PC running Ctrl-labs’ software framework.

It’s deceptively unsophisticated.

 Ctrl labs’ armband lets you control computer cursors with your mind

Above: A view from Ctrl-labs’ new offices in New York City.

Image Credit: Kyle Wiggers / VentureBeat

Berenzweig thinks of the armband as an interface much like a keyboard or mouse. But unlike most peripherals, it uses differential electromyography (EMG) — an effect first observed in 1666 by Italian physician Francesco Redi — to translate mental intent into action.

How does it do that? By measuring changes of electrical potential, which are caused by impulses that travel from the brain to hand muscles through lower motor neurons. This information-rich pathway in the nervous system comprises two parts: upper motor neurons connected directly to the brain’s motor center, and lower axons that map to muscle and muscle fibers. Neurotransmitters run the length of that long neural pathway and turn individual muscle fibers on and off — the biological equivalent of binary ones and zeros.

The armband is quite sensitive to these. Before Berenzweig kicked off a demo of the wristband, he made sure to put distance between it and a metal pushcart nearby.

“It acts like an antenna,” he said, “so it’s susceptible to interference.”

While the armband’s 16 electrodes monitor the electric fields generated by nerves in the wearer’s arm, Ctrl-labs’ software ingests the data, and with the help of a machine learning algorithm trained using Google’s TensorFlow, distinguishes between the individual pulses of each nerve.

Berenzweig, who had put on an armband before I arrived, showed me on a PC an EKG-like graph of colored lines representing each contact. As he lifted a digit, one of the lines tremored slightly. Then he let his hand rest at his side, motionless. It tremored again.

 Ctrl labs’ armband lets you control computer cursors with your mind

Above: Ctrl-labs’ prototype armband.

Image Credit: Kyle Wiggers / VentureBeat

The wondrous thing about EMG, Berenzweig explained, is that it works independently of muscle movement; generating a brain activity pattern that Ctrl-labs’ tech can detect requires no more than the firing of a neuron down an axon, or what neuroscientists call action potential.

That puts it a class above wearables using electroencephalography (EEG), a technique that measures electrical activity in the brain through contacts pressed against the scalp. EMG devices draw from the cleaner, clearer signals from motor neurons, and as a result are limited only by the accuracy of the software’s machine learning model and the snugness of the contacts against the skin.

That’s not to suggest they’re perfect. Waterloo, Ontario-based startup Thalmic Labs began shipping an EMG armband in 2013 — the Myo — that can detect muscle movements, recognize gestures and joint motion, and map neural signals to keys on a keyboard and video game hotkeys. But many of the less-than-stellar reviews mention the inconsistency of its gesture recognition.

Ctrl-labs prototyped its machine learning algorithms with Myo before developing its own hardware, and Berenzweig owns one personally. But the current iteration of Ctrl-labs’ armband is far more precise than the Myo, and can work anywhere on the forearm or upper arm. Future versions will work on the wrist.

He explained this to me as he typed a few commands into a Linux terminal and fired up the first demo. A likeness of a human hand appeared onscreen and Berenzweig manipulated it with his fingers, their movement mirroring that of his digital doppelganger.

Then he strapped the bracelet on my arm. I had worse luck — the thumb on the computerized hand reflected the motions of my thumb, but the index and pinkie finger didn’t — they remained stiff. Berenzweig had me recalibrate the system by angling my wrist slightly, but to no avail.

He chalked it up to the demo’s generalized machine learning model. Experimental versions of the software, he said, are performing much better.

In a second demo, I watched as Berenzweig moved a computer cursor toward a target. Unlike in the first, movements in the demo actively train a neural net, tuning the system to each user’s neural idiosyncracies.

When it came time again for my turn, I wasn’t exactly sure how to control it. But after a trepidatious start in which the cursor made maddening laps around the target, coming close to it but not quite touching it, the algorithm — and by extension, precision — improved drastically. Within just a few seconds, moving the cursor with thought became almost second nature, and I was able to steer it up, down, and to the left and write by thinking about moving — but not actually moving — my hand.

Berenzweig believes this kind of algorithmic learning, which is crucial to the system’s accuracy, could be gamified in other ways. “We’re trying to find the right way to approach it,” he said.

An eye on VR — and smartphones

Ctrl-labs’ armband won’t be relegated to the lab for much longer. By the end of this year, the company plans to ship a developer kit in small quantities and make available software that will expose the band’s raw signals. The final design is in flux, and at least a few will be manufactured in-house.

Pricing hasn’t been decided, though Berenzweig said it will be higher than the eventual commercial model’s price point.

Around the corner from the demo and adjacent to a room with a MakerBot (which the team uses to quickly prototype shells), Berenzweig showed me a poster board of concepts and potential form factors. Some looked not unlike Android Wear smartwatches — while the developer kit will have to be tethered to a PC for some processing, he said, the processing overhead is such that all of the hardware will eventually be self-contained.

As for what Ctrl-labs expects its early adopters to build with it and for it, video games top the list — particularly virtual reality games, which Berenzweig thinks are a natural fit for the sort of immersive experiences EMG can deliver. (Imagine swiping through an inventory screen with a hand gesture, or piloting a fighter jet just by thinking about the direction you want to fly.)

But Ctrl-labs is also thinking smaller. Not too long ago, it demonstrated to Wired a virtual keyboard that maps finger movements to PC inputs, allowing a wearer to type messages by tapping on a tabletop, and at the 2018 O’Rielly AI conference in New York City, Reardon spoke about text messaging apps for smartphones and smartwatches that let you peck out replies one-handed. Berenzweig, for his part, has experimented with control schemes for tabletop robotic arms.

“You know how early versions of Windows used to ship with Minesweeper and Windows sort of became known for it?” We need to find our Minesweeper,” he said.

 Ctrl labs’ armband lets you control computer cursors with your mind

Above: A few Ctrl-labs armband engineering samples.

Image Credit: Ctrl-labs

One field of research Ctrl-labs won’t be investigating is healthcare — at least not at first. While Berenzweig agrees that the tech could be used to help stroke victims and people with degenerative neural diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), he says those aren’t applications the company is actively exploring. Ctrl-labs is loath to submit its hardware for approval by the Federal Food and Drug Administration, a potentially years-long process. (Reardon’s stated goal is to get a million people using the armband within the next three to four years.)

“We’re focusing on consumers right now,” Berenzweig said. “We think it has medical use cases, but we want it to be a consumer product.”

By the time Ctrl-labs hits retail store shelves, it’ll likely have competition. Thalmic Labs is developing a second-generation EMG armband, and a new a venture funded by SpaceX and Tesla head Elon Musk, NeuraLink Corp, aims to develop mass-market implants that treat mood disorders and help physically disabled people regain mobility.

Not to be outdone, Facebook is researching a kind of telepathic transcription that taps the brain’s speech center. In September 2017 at the MIT Media Lab conference, project lead Mark Chevillet told the audience that it plans to detect brain signals using noninvasive sensors and diffuse optical tomography. Effectively, it would allow a user to type words simply by thinking them.

Berenzweig is convinced that Ctrl-labs’ early momentum, plus the robustness of its developer tools, will help it gain an early lead in the brain-machine interface race.

“Speech evolved specifically to carry information from one brain to another. This motor neuron signal evolved specifically to carry information from the brain to the hand to be able to affect change in the world, but unlike speech, we have not really had access to that signal until this,” he told Wired in September 2017. “It’s as if there were no microphones and we didn’t have any ability to record and look at sound.”

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Big Data – VentureBeat

Data Science and Visual Analytics for Operations in the Energy Sector

iStock 855386302 e1528773593698 Data Science and Visual Analytics for Operations in the Energy Sector

In recent years, Oil and Gas Companies have been challenged to adapt to lower crude prices. With the recent crude price increase, there has never been a better time for energy companies to transform their operations.

From upstream exploration and production to logistics and downstream refining, energy trading, and the portfolio investments; there are opportunities for optimization. All of these areas benefit from today’s advances in data science and visual analytics. The past few years many companies were forced to reduce costs or consolidate; it was a period of survival. Now, the successful companies of the future are digitizing smarter.

Driving business operations from analytic insights applies to many facets of the digital energy business including:

Modernized Grids and Smarter Oilfields

With TIBCO Systems of Insight:

  • Analysts can create self-service analytic apps to deliver insights into all aspects of a process, quality, and costs.
  • Data scientists can develop machine learning intelligence into sensors, processes, and equipment to reduce data bottlenecks and take action at the point of impact.  
  • Operations and IT developers can empower more users and scale complex, computationally intensive workloads in the cloud.

Asset Portfolio Value Optimization

Using Spotfire, analysts can invoke smart data wrangling, data science, and advanced geoanalytics to develop accurate valuation of assets and resource plays for optimal capital allocation. Spotfire community templates for decline curve analysis and geoanalytics enable these sophisticated calculations to run with point-click configuration, invoking Spotfire’s powerful inbuilt TIBCO Runtime R engine.

Predictive Maintenance, Process Control, and Process Optimization

Spotfire and TIBCO Statistica can readily analyze large amounts of data from internal and external IoT data sources. The combination of your industry expertise with TIBCO’s latest visual, predictive, and prescriptive analytics techniques enable you to address all of your process and equipment surveillance challenges.

Business Operations and Supply Chain Management

Provide managers, engineers, and business users self-service access to data, visualizations, ​and analytics for visibility across the entire value chain. Respond to evolving needs and deliver actionable insights that enable people and systems to make smarter decisions. Reduce time spent on compliance reporting and auditing.

Energy Trading

Develop insights faster and bring clarity to business issues in a way that gets all the traders, managers, and financial decision-makers on the same page quickly. For companies trading in multiple commodities, TIBCO Connected Intelligence can be deployed as a single analytics platform that brings a consolidated view of risks and positions, compliance, and results. Read more about it.

Learn More Firsthand

Listen to TIBCO’s Chief Analytics Officer Michael O’Connell explain how companies are leveraging the latest Spotfire innovations, optimizing exploration and production efforts and investments, and gaining a decisive advantage. And hear Stephen Boyd from Chevron present a real-world case study on TIBCO Connected Intelligence. Register now for the quarterly Houston area TIBCO Spotfire® User Group Meeting taking place on Thursday, June 14th, at the Hilton Garden Inn. Or find a Spotfire Meetup near you.

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STEM: Breaking Down Gender Stereotypes

 STEM: Breaking Down Gender Stereotypes

In a recent survey, people were asked to name female tech leaders. Many said “Alexa” and “Siri.”

Alarming, isn’t it? When LivePerson asked a representative sample of 1,000 American consumers to name a female technology leader, 91.7% of respondents weren’t able to think of any. Of the remaining 8.3%, only 4% actually could name one, and a quarter of those cited Siri or Alexa.

When we break down the numbers, this represents only about 10 people in the survey group. But that’s 10 people out of 1000 for whom the most famous woman in tech is a virtual assistant. How many more people could that be when you expand the sample size?

Meanwhile, more than half of the respondents were able to correctly identify a male leader in tech, with Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg topping that list. Not only do these results highlight a lack of high-profile women in tech leadership roles, but it also reflects the tech industry’s persistent problem with gender inequality. While there are many reasons and arguments as to why STEM fields are male-dominated, the underrepresentation of women in STEM roles is a real problem, with only 24% of jobs in STEM fields held by women, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Arguments such as “women wouldn’t be interested in science or tech jobs anyway,” and “if they really wanted to work in STEM roles, they would” (yes, these are actual arguments that I have heard people say) are narrow-minded and miss the point.

One factor is the general perception that many people have of STEM fields, gleaned largely from media portrayals. A survey of films made between 1931 and 1984 showed that most portrayed scientists as villains (fewer than 1% portrayed them as the hero). Since then, teenagers interested in STEM have often been portrayed as nerdy social outcasts, ridiculed by the “cooler” kids at school. In a phenomenon often referred to as an “accidental curriculum,” people do learn from film and television, whether or not they are aware of it.

If you asked people to close their eyes and describe what they picture when they think of a scientist, an engineer, a programmer, or even a physics professor, most would probably describe a male. In fact, since 1983, repeated studies have shown that when children are asked to draw a scientist, they overwhelmingly draw old white men. Children usually cited film or cartoon characters as their main source of inspiration, and in the original research, children drew these stereotypical characteristics more and more frequently as they grew older.

Fortunately, this often-misguided perception of STEM professionals is changing for the better. One study found that adults in 2001 were much less likely to hold negative stereotypes about scientists than they were in 1983. They were also more likely to consider a STEM career a good choice for their children or themselves.

This is also starting to improve in the film and television industry also. For example, the popular Marvel movie franchise has not only sought to provide more scientifically accurate references by consulting with actual scientists, but also the films also promote a more diverse culture in an effort to change the perception of the STEM field.

For example, the original “Thor” comic had Natalie Portman’s character, Jane Foster, portrayed as a nurse. The writers and physicists consulted for the Marvel Cinematic Universe version thought it would make more sense if her character was actually a physicist who was studying the wormhole that brought Thor to Earth. It’s a good place to start breaking down gender stereotypes, along with cultural, ethnic, and societal ones.

Plenty of evidence shows that organizations and industries with a more diverse workforce enjoy better reputations, but they also see advantages such as increased profitability, greater innovation, and a broader talent pool. In fact, some research also suggests that many consumers would trust big tech companies to be more ethical if women were at the helm.

While the gender gap is slowly closing, STEM industries have a long way to go to create an environment that welcomes all types of workers.

For more on women in technology, see Women In Tech: Taking On The Gender Divide On Their Terms.

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Tiffany Haddish Details Brief Feud With Tracy Morgan

TiffanyHaddish Tiffany Haddish Details Brief Feud With Tracy Morgan

Tiffany Haddish isn’t bothered by what appeared to be shade by fellow comedian and The Last O.G. co-star Tracy Morgan recently.

In her cover story with The Hollywood Reporter Wednesday (June 13), the triple threat opened up about her adored career and the many lessons she’s learned along the way. One was knowing her artistic worth, which caused a bit of tiff on the set of the TBS comedy The Last O.G. 

Booked before the release of Girls Trip, Haddish plays the role of Shay, Tray’s (Morgan) former girlfriend whose life has evolved during Tray’s time in prison.

As he hilariously navigates through a gentrified Brooklyn 15 years later, he also tries to win over his former flame. As her brand grew, expectations for her to bust out “She Ready-isms” as Shay came with it, which she refused to do. She also shared how her relationship with Morgan changed as well.

While doing promo for the Vulture Festival in May, Morgan took part in an interview where he brushed off a question about his co-star. “We’re not gonna go there,” he said. “Because this isn’t Tiffany’s show. This is Tracy Morgan. This is The Last O.G. If you’re going to go there, ask that about Tiffany, ask that about Cedric [The Entertainer], ask that about Kraft services, everyone that comes to work on that show. I don’t like that.”

The series was thought of years ago by Morgan and with the help of Jordan Peele, became a reality as the first season wrapped earlier this month.

As comedians like Lil Rey Howery came to Haddish’s defense on social media, the comedian shared how it didn’t bother her.

“You guys, chill. He’s probably just tired of hearing my name,” she said. “It’s exhausting. I’m tired of hearing my name. I could see how that could be irritating, like, ‘Hello, I died, people. I’m back from the dead. Tiffany’s cool, but it’s me sitting here now.’ So, I get it, I’m not mad about it, I love me some Tracy.”

During a sit down with the Associated Press in April, Morgan and Haddish were candid about their unique chemistry. “I already knew that she was a tough cookie before I got to the set,” he said. “That’s what made me pick her [for the role].”

Haddish hinted towards their artistic differences but explained how her ideas were always respected. “You’re able to give more input on how you feel about the character, what you think this should be, or that should be and your point of view of respected,” she said. “It may not be what we do, but it’s respected.”

Haddish and Morgan will reunite with the rest of the cast this summer to film season two of the comedy.

Check out more from her chat with THR here.

Source: VIBE, The Hollywood Reporter

'Struggleing' Comedy Web Series Developed by USMC Combat Veteran Headed to Emmys

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Webcast: Introducing the Latest in High Availability from Syncsort

Syncsort has released their latest on-demand webcast: Introducing the Latest in High Availability from Syncsort. In a recent survey of 5,632 IT professionals – on the topic of data protection strategies and IT priorities – 67% responded with data availability as the top measure of IT performance. These statistics clearly state how the impact of downtime on customers, partners and employees is increasingly visible and costly in today’s constantly connected world.

Introducing the Latest in High Availability from Syncsort banner Webcast: Introducing the Latest in High Availability from Syncsort

Syncsort’s market-leading portfolio of high availability and disaster recovery solutions continues to expand and evolve to meet the demands of organizations faced with exploding data volumes, limited IT resources and intensifying pressure for non-stop access to data and systems.

Learn about the latest developments in our IBM i high availability portfolio that can help your organization meet their critical recovery point and recovery time objectives.

View the webcast now!

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