• Blockchain described in one sentence: A blockchain is really a kind of database that’s shared across loads of different computers that are each running the same software; each bit of data is secured using some complicated bits of cryptography that means that only people that are meant to be adding to or editing the data can do that job. WIRED Magazine, 2018 Recently, I had a job interview with a company that builds their business model on providing add-on services for their customers’ databases built upon the open source centralized DB platform known as PostgreSQL. Probably the reason why I was considered to do digital copywriting for them is my previous experience writing for tech companies like PTC, Satcon, and L-1 to name a few. For PTC, I did a ton of writing for their PLM Product Marketing Group. PLM (i.e. product lifecycle management) is a massive technology platform and manufacturing methodology that relies heavily on data-driven digital thread content, product data management, and databases to name a few. So as you can see, I know a thing or two about databases. Also, I have written about Blockchain Technology (or BlockTech as I will be using this portmanteau from now on) in the past; therefore, I am well aware of the hot new trends for this distributed cutting-edge decentralized data-repository/processing platform. During the interview, I asked a simple question: How is your approach to utilizing a centralized DB value-add over the hot new decentralized DB technology trend known as Blockchain? Digital Batman’s Alter Ego, Nick, 2021 Needless to say, the developer that I was interviewing with did not really like the question all that much. His answer was more defensive rather than enlightening: “…decentralized DBs are not going away anytime soon, so people need to understand that Blockchain is more like a curiosity right...
  • April 9, 2021

    Are You a Grammarian?

    I’m going to go in a different direction here with my usual pithy and challenging brain teasers. In today’s challenge, answer the following 7 Grammatical Questions correctly. And if you do, you will be a Grammarian! 1. Which of these sayings is using the correct pronoun? This is I, Hamlet the Dane! It ain’t me, babe. 2. Which of these is grammatically incorrect? Different to Different from Different than 3. Which is these is correct? The Californian Poppy is the state flower. The California Poppy is the state flower. 4. Which is ungrammatical? Telephone Television 5. What is the error in the popular Star Trek overture: To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before. Fractured infinitive particle Wrong use of a determiner They are both subjunctive clauses 6. Which of these is a grammatically incorrect phrase? A book well worth the read A path well worth the walk A meal well worth the eat 7. Why isn’t it Bill’s and Ted’s Excellent Adventure? Only Ted had the adventure It’s a compound possession—only one apostrophe is needed. There you have it! Did you get 7 out of 7? If so, then you are a Grammarian! If not, then I highly suggest you read this book! LOL!
  • April 6, 2021

    Code Golf

    The Challenge Your task is to input a string, and output the number of spaces in the string. This is Code Golf, so least number of bytes win. Test Cases "test" => 0 "Hello, World!" => 1 "C O D E G O L F" => 7 " " => 6
  • March 24, 2021

    KSR: Man of Mars and Beyond

    Digital Batman Recommends Like everything else in life, all things are connected, such as medicine and physiology, astronomy and astrology, biology and technology, zoology and ecology, or digital tech trends and literature. With visionaries and industrial pioneers such as Elon Musk and Peter Diamandis leading the way for the next phase of human civilization, we shouldn’t forget that without literary inspiration to fuel our imaginations, we would not be driven to such bold accomplishments like reaching for the stars. The authors include (but not limited to): Edgar Rice Burroughs (of the famous John Carter of Mars/Barsoom series); Jules Verne (of the iconic steampunk adventure 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea); Frank Herbert (of the socio‐economic‐political sci‐fi epic DUNE Chronicles); Sheri S. Tepper (of the Baroque interplanetary classic Grass); Ursula K. Le Guin (of the mind‐bending tome The Lathe of Heaven); and the eponymous novelist of this blog post, the highly‐acclaimed Kim Stanley Robinson. KSR for short. Robinson has won a mountain of awards for his work in the genre of hardcore science‐fiction, eco‐fiction, metaphysical‐ fiction, and political‐fiction, including the Nebula and Hugo Awards (the Academy Awards for genre literature). Of all his iconic works, his magnum opus, the Mars Series (Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars—and The Martians), are seminal tomes that discuss in phenomenal detail the exploration and terraforming of the planet Mars. The books detail not only the intense scientific, technological, and biological challenges of human activities upon the red planet, but also the socio‐economic and political costs to both worlds (Earth and Mars). And there’s a huge genetic‐engineering component to these stories that clearly portends our real future. The Martians is a collection of similarly-themed short stories set in KSR’s Mars universe. Extrapolated from the most cutting‐edge scientific discoveries at the time (ca. late 1990s), these books...
  • March 10, 2021

    Super Game-y Bro!

    Mario Mario is an international Progressive Pioneering Superstar. This simple plumber from New York City has become quite literally the most popular video game character ever! Along with his fraternal twin brother Luigi (who is in the midst of his own breakout career with a new game for the Nintendo Switch titled Luigi’s Mansion 3). Mario Mario (or simply Mario as he is known to his fans) had his debut in the 1981 Nintendo video game Donkey Kong. Back then, he went by the alias of Jumpman. His career was just starting out, and he wasn’t sure how to brand himself at the time. “It was a crazy era of video games back then,” Mario remarks, “The graphics were a scant eight by eight pixels. I wasn’t even given much to do, just run around trying to save my girlfriend, Pauline, from that mischievous ape. I had to beg just to be able to be allowed to actually jump, which was ironic since my character’s name was Jumpman!” However, in no time, Mario became an overnight sensation throughout the golden age of video games back in the eighties, racking up such titles as Donkey Kong Junior; Super Mario Bros. 1, 2, and 3; and Super Mario Land 1 & 2. Sadly, he and Pauline broke up citing irreconcilable differences as the reason for the dissolution of their romantic relationship. However, when one door closes and another opens: and so it was that Mario met and wooed Princess Peach on the set of Super Mario Bros—which some theorize may have been the reason for Mario and Pauline’s breakup. Mario’s work however has transcended virtually all forms of media from video games, television, film, to theme parks. From 1981 to the present, Mario has appeared in over 250 video games ranging from...
  • March 4, 2021

    Motor-Cycling

    This brainteaser looks so simple, but it’s not! There are 50 bikes with a tank that has the capacity to go 100 km. Using these 50 bikes, what is the maximum distance that you can go?
  • Recently, the US Department of Justice levied an indictment against three North Korean military hackers for their role in cyber-related crimes (see video below). These included (but not limited to): Targeting of and Cyberattacks on the Entertainment Industry: Such as the destructive cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment in November 2014 in retaliation for the farcical movie The Interview. Cyber-Enabled Heists from Banks: Attempts to steal more than $1.2 billion from banks in Vietnam, Bangladesh, Taiwan, Mexico, Malta and Africa. Creation and Deployment of Malicious Cryptocurrency Applications: Development of multiple malicious cryptocurrency applications including Celas Trade Pro, WorldBit-Bot, iCryptoFx, Union Crypto Trader, and more, which would provide the North Korean hackers a backdoor into the victims’ computers. Spear-Phishing Campaigns: Multiple spear-phishing campaigns that targeted employees of United States cleared defense contractors, energy companies, aerospace companies, technology companies, and more. Ransomware and Cyber-Enabled Extortion: Creation of the destructive WannaCry 2.0 ransomware in May 2017, and the extortion and attempted extortion of victim companies involving the theft of sensitive data and deployment of other ransomware. And it is to that last point that I thought a brief discussion on Ransomware would be warranted. Even Digital Batman’s own father was a victim of a ransomware attack that left him $400 poorer! In 2019 over 187.9 million users were affected by this bold malicious threat to online activities such as web‐surfing, e-commerce, gaming, and more. Put simply, this highly‐disruptive form of Internet‐viral malicious software (malware for short), not only infects your computer but holds all of your most precious files (i.e. photos, documents, apps, etc.) completely hostage—via permanently encrypting such files—until the victim is forced to pay a “ransom” to the criminal entity behind the attack for a decryption key to unlock the files. Usually to the tune of $100 ‐ $400 or more for...
  • February 15, 2021

    Men of the Line———

    In honor of Super Bowl LV and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ win over the Kansas City Chiefs (and former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s 7th Super Bowl ring as the QB for the Bucs), I thought it would make for an interesting post about how that magic 1st and 10 yellow line is created on our TV screens every February at “The Big Game!” And, during every game in the NFL among other sports broadcasts. The names of: James R. Gloudemans, Richard H. Cavallaro, Jerry N. Gepner, Stanley K. Honey, Walter Hsiao, Terance J. O’Brien, and Marvin S. White are the Men Behind the Yellow Line. That is, the yellow First Down Line you see on NFL broadcasts! What started out as project for Fox Sports to aid viewers watching NHL games over the airwaves blossomed into a new company called Sportvision, Inc. And in 1998 they debuted the First and 10 Line on ESPN. Using a combination of field cameras, 3D models of the field, powerful computers and algorithms, and the field itself as a kind of green screen, they are able to draw the line in virtual real‐time as the players move up and down the field; as well as, simultaneously remove parts of the line to make it appear that it is literally underneath the players. It’s truly digital magic! It was a such a huge success that Sportvision won an Emmy for its technology. “Winning our 10th Emmy Award is a great honor, and truly validates the impact our technology has had in the growth and popularity of a wide spectrum of sports. We are thrilled to share this Emmy with the America’s Cup Event Authority, who has been a wonderful and inspired partner throughout this effort.” Mike Jakob, President, Sportvision, Inc., 2012 They then...
  • February 4, 2021

    Science of the Heart and Stars

    In honor of Black History Month, I very much wanted to profile two wonderful Black American scientists who have greatly contributed to the advancement of humanity’s health and well-being and to our understanding of the universe! I’m speaking of none other than Progressive Pioneers Doctors Marie M. Daly and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Let’s take a look into the lives of these great Americans who make us all proud—for we are all one color: beautiful. Dr. Marie Daly STEM Revolution of Equal Opportunity When the 45th president signed into law the Hidden Figures Act honoring the four African‐American women who were instrumental in the success of NASA’s space race to the moon, we should not forget other accomplished women who have also contributed our nation’s scientific knowledge. One such venerated pioneer is Dr. Marie Maynard Daly. Dr. Daly was born in Queens, NY on April 16, 1921. She was the daughter of Ivan Daly (an immigrant from the British West Indies) and Helen Page of Washington DC. Her parents settled in the New York City area where Mr. Daly attended Cornell University in pursuit of a chemistry degree. Like her father, Dr. Marie Daly also chose to pursue a career in chemistry. She was spurred on by her grandfather’s extensive library of books about scientists and their scientific achievements. Dr. Daly graduated from Queens College magna cum laude with a BA in Chemistry. Due to labor shortages and the need for scientists during World War II, she was able to garner fellowships to study at both New York and Columbia Universities earning her a master’s and a Ph.D. (respectively). Daly’s first major publication was her thesis on the formation of pancreatic amylase on corn starch. From there, her scientific career soared. She was awarded a grant from the American Cancer Society...