SkyNet

  • 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...
  • In the battle of the Virtual Assistants (VA), it seems like everything else, there are too many choices. Alexa, SIRI, Google Assistant, and Cortana are practically household names at this point. While each has their particular set of benefits, no one AI (i.e. Artificial Intelligence, because that’s what we’re really talking about here) can fulfill every request made of it. With next year’s pending launch of my company’s (PTC) flagship PLM platform, Windchill (integrated with Microsoft Azure’s cloud solution)—facilitating manufacturers’ efforts to rollout NPIs (i.e. new product introductions)—I thought it would be interesting to explore some aspects of where VAs/AIs are these days in a practical sense from home to business. I’d venture to guess that most homes feature more than one VA. The Digtal Batman household runs both SIRI on our iPhones/iPod and AppleTV 4K, and we run an Echo Dot featuring Alexa. It’s interesting to note the significant differences for our needs. For example: Alexa comes in handy when playing music from Amazon Music Unlimited and radio broadcasts over IHeartRadio. Whereas, SIRI dials our phone numbers, reads our texts, provides us with navigation, and helps us search/navigate our Apple TV 4K streaming device. Conversely, like most PTC employees running Windows 10 on their laptops, Cortana can easily be enabled. But I think it would be a little weird if everyone in the open seating at Seaport HQ started talking into their computers all at once! Though I haven’t used “Okay Google” in a while, it does come in handy for general searches and navigating the plethora of online/cloud‐based productivity, calendar, and meeting tools available—especially if you’re using Google Chrome. And what’s really interesting is now each of these separate VA platforms are starting to work together: organizing calendars across different devices (like cell phones), providing email from multiple...