Fluff Stuff: Better Governments, Better Processes, Simplr Insites

Cities are heading towards bankruptcy. The credit rating of Stockton, CA was downgraded. Harrisburg, PA is actually bankrupt.  It is only a matter of time before Chicago implodes. Since 1995, city debt rose by between $1.3 and $1.8 trillion. While a large chunk of this cost is from waste, more is the result of using intuition over data when tackling infrastructure and new projects. Think of your city government as the boss who likes football more than his job so he builds a football stadium despite your company being in the submarine industry.

This is not an unsolvable nightmare.

Take an effective use case where technologies and government processes were outsourced. As costs rose in Sandy Sprints, GA, the city outsourced and achieved more streamlined processes, better technology, and lower costs. Today, without raising taxes, the city is in the green. While Sandy Springs residents are wealth, even poorer cities can learn from this experience.

Cities run projects in an extremely scientific manner and require an immense amount of clean, quality, well-managed data isolated into individual projects to run appropriately. With an average of $8000 spent per employee on technology each year and with an immense effort spent in acquiring analysts and modernizing infrastructure, cities are struggling to modernize.

It is my opinion, one I am basing a company on, that the provision of quality data management, sharing and collaboration tools, IT infrastructure, and powerful project and statistical management systems in a single SAAS tool can greatly reduce the $8000 per employee cost and improve budgets. These systems can even reduce the amount of administrative staff, allowing money to flow to where it is needed most.

How can a collaborative tool tackle the cost problem. Through:

  • collaborative knowledge sharing of working, ongoing, and even failed solutions
  • public facing project blogs and information on organizations, projects, statistical models, results, and solutions that allow even non-mathematical members of an organization to learn about a project
  • a security minded institutional resource manager (IRM better thought of as a large, securable, shared file storage system) capable of expanding into the petabytes while maintaining FERPA, HIPPA, and state and local regulations
  • the possibility to share data externally, keep it internal, or keep the information completely private while obfuscating names and other protected information
  • complexity analysis (graph based analysis) systems for people, projects, and organizations clustered for comparison
  • strong comparison tools
  • potent and learned aggregation systems with validity in mind ranging from streamed data from sensors and the internet to surveys to uploads
  • powerful drag and drop integration and ETL with mostly automated standardization
  • deep diving upload, data set, project, and model exploration using natural language searching
  • integration with everything from a phone to a tablet to a powerful desktop
  • access controls for sharing the bare minimum amount of information
  • outsourced IT infrastructure including infrastructure for large model building
  • validation using proven algorithms and increased awareness of what that actually means
  • anomaly detection
  • organization of models, data sets, people, and statistical elements into a single space for learning
  • connectors to popular visualizers such as Tableau and Vantara with a customize-able dashboard for general reporting
  • downloadable sets with two entity verification if required that can be streamed or used in Python and R

Tools such as ours significantly reduce the cost of IT by as much as 65%. We eliminate much of the waste in the data science pipeline while trying to be as simple as possible.

We should consider empowering and streamlining the companies, non-profits, and government entities such as schools and planning departments that perform vital services before our own lives are greatly effected. Debt and credit are not solutions to complex problems.

Take a look, or don’t. This is a fluff piece on something I am passionately building. Contact us if you are interested in a beta test.

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Can Romer-G Switches make you More Productive at Work?

The past few years have brought large cost increases to basic computing accessories. E-sports, tariffs, and, to an increasingly lesser extent, the saturation of computing have driven up prices.

The cost of a keyboard and mouse in my area is now over $100, sending me on a distracting morning quest when I should have been working. It is my fault for stepping on my mouse and keyboard, obliterating the USB housing and contacts.

The result of replacing my AST keyboard with a Logitech G413 is an 8 of 10 at a cost of $59.99 at MicroCenter.

The Romer-G’s are cheaper than their domed counterparts, last longer by 10-15 million key presses, are potentially more productive, and are more enjoyable. Not spending $99-$120 on an ergonomic keyboard, a wrist pad is only $8.99, was a great decision.



Ergonomics

These keys are actually ergonomic. Logitech claims that the indentation on the key caps help fingers slide into position.

This is true. Where my hands used to lie flat, I now find myself typing with the curl my 8th grade typing teacher would slap a gold star on.

Typing Speed

Logitech claims that the lower actuation point than domed and design can increase typing speed by 25 percent.

While the target consumer is a gamer, this concept should work both ways without producing redundant letters.

Never taking anything on face value, I ran a test.

I chose the Aesop Fables test on https://www.typingtest.com. The results:

  • Dome switch keyboard typing speed: 77
  • Romer-G  speed: 86

According to the test, my speed increased a whopping 9 words per minute. The test claims that my speed went from fast to pro.

This seems embarrassing considering I know someone who can type at 110 wpm.  Still, while this keyboard only gives a slight edge, less than 25 percent, the boost is almost noticeable. Also, my typing goddess of a friend is a former semi-professional Star Craft player, the one with all of the Koreans.



Click Factor and Pleasure

No review of a mechanical switch is complete without the ASMR factor. These keys are clicky. They feel better than domed switches. The ergonomic factor plays a role in this as my posture is never great.

Overall, these keys are faster, cheaper than most of their domed and Cherry counterparts, and tend to wear out fingers less. Modern mechanical keyboards use a more human friendly plastic.

Conclusion

The Logitech keyboard works well and the switches have a better feel than their rubber domed counterparts. While not as great as their Cherry counterparts, the Romer-G supposedly lasts longer and costs less than the ergonomic domed key keyboards. Being more responsive than a typical keyboard, a Romer-G keyboard can also increasing typing speed while helping combat carpel tunnel disease.

Product Review: Canon Rebel T7i is a Great Starter Camera

We live in a world where phone cameras have roughly as many pixels as a digital camera. That said, there are an unrivaled number of products available for an SLR that greatly enhance picture quality and allow for high quality imagery without spending for a 250 mega-pixel camera or one with 4k video support.

The Rebel T7i is showing its age proudly and offers a great and relatively cheap way to move from your phone or handheld digital camera to producing high quality images. It may not offer a stock focal length at the level of a Nikon D3400 but is easier to grasp, more durable, and has the terrific support of nearly every local camera shop and Canon itself. With a wide variety of available lenses, I still recommend this camera over the Nikon D3400.

Well everyone, I am starting to add product reviews. In full disclosure, I am reviewing products from time to time (maybe 10 to 20 percent of my content), out of interest and profit.

My first rating here 7/10 (comparable to a Nikon D3400 but loses a point for the stock kit)



Rebel TI Qualities

  • Price of Camera and Accessories is an unbeatable $639
  • Supports a great number of lenses and features that allow a user to produce images better than can be obtained from a handheld device or digital camera
  • Produces high quality images
  • Decent Non-4k Video Support
  • Terrific AI
  • Durable
  • Lower stock lens focal length than the Nikon D3400

Overall Quality

Stock image quality on the Rebel Ti is no longer discernible from your typical high definition Samsung camera phone. However, mega-pixels are no longer a good way to define the quality of a camera.

The stock qualities of the Rebel Ti are actually what leads to the lower score. If you want  a camera that works better out of the gate and are not looking to dive into the world of photography, the Nikon is a slightly better option.

However, Canon is a well-established company with more visibility than Nikon. It is easier to find lenses in your camera store, equally easy to find lenses and accessories online, and of equal quality to it’s counterparts once you decide to accessorize. With a high quality lens, the T6 can even serve as a durable backup for a professional photographer or the main camera for someone just getting their feet wet.

All of the photos I sell were shot using either an older Rebel T6io or newer Rebel T7i, the newest mountain images were shot with the Rebel T7i.

The EOS also offers terrific video quality. Of course, the camera is not rated at 4k.

Finally, the backing of Canons terrific default settings make the Camera terrific for anyone wanting to try an SLR without knowing how to fiddle with aperture and iso. I particularly find the portrait and landscape settings great for comparing against my own skill set.

Durability

This may seem odd but, as an adventurer or photographer, you will need to find interesting photographs to survive. The old days of going down to the dock and snapping a quick picture are not going to cut the mustard.

Canon cameras and lenses are durable. My Rebel T6i still works despite being taken on dozens of backcountry ski trips, up many mountains, on top rope routes, on boat rides, on plane trips, and on many road trips. In short, I can mistreat the Rebel and still take a picture at the end of the day. That said, treat the camera with care. No technology lasts as long as Teflon.

This camera and even the lenses can take more of a beating than others.

Accessories and Lenses

The Rebel Camera is established with a large number of available lenses that are terrific for getting a hang of digital photography, starting to sell images, or making high quality imagery. Canon cameras receive high remarks for their accessories, glass, and tools that can easily help

The 18-135mm lens is a must for anyone looking to produce high quality lenses. At the time of writing a full kit including a telephoto lens and the wonderful 18-135mm lens is selling for $900 on Amazon. In the age of high-megapixels, it is creativity and glass that makes a photographer stick out.



Canon customer support is also terrific. The factory helps with repairs and the staff is knowledgeable.

Verdict

It is difficult to give this camera a 7/10. However, with some shortcomings, the result is inevitable. This is still my go to starter camera.