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Linux!


A few months ago I converted my backup computer from Windows 10 to Linux Mint, due to my computer was too weak for Windows updates. It's cool with Linux!


Linux is actually the kernel "core" in the software. When installing Linux on a Personal Computer, you select distribution (distro) and each distro has often several desktop environments to choose from. They vary in how "heavy" they are in resources, and some are more suitable for this or that type of work. So in comparison, in Windows world (or macOS), there is basically one distro and one desktop environment, while Linux have tons of them - and very many open source and free (macOS is a Linux sibling, but not free open source). As well as many free applications. Drawback there are so few PC that can be purchased with Linux from start, but some exist (seen from my Swedish horizon).

Anyway, Linux is very nice and interesting!

This article below: is a good start to get a basic idea of Linux. Pity I did not read it when I started to review Linux for my laptop!

What is Linux? From Linux.com

My articles about converting to Linux - so far: 

Short life time for my cheap laptop

Cheap laptop reborn

Cheap laptop reborn - Linux Mint upgrade

Linux Mint Badge

In my story about my Cheap laptop reborn, I wrote that I had replaced Windows 10 with Linux Mint 19. Main driver for that replacement was the big troubles to install Windows updates; too little capacity in my laptop.

I also wrote Linux Mint 19.1 was soon to come, and I was curious how that upgrade would work, considering that type of upgrade in Windows 10 was the reason for installing Linux Mint.

I can say happily, the upgrade to Linux Mint went very smoothly! Of course I first prepared with back-up and so. I also read the installation guide on Linux Mint websites about tips how to do the upgrade, and some additional actions. Just before the upgrade, I installed all other updates. Then, in the same update manager was also the Linux Mint upgrade. That upgrade took as I recall 5-15 minutes, and everything took maybe an hour for me as newbie in Linux. No real issue at all! It is now a few weeks since I did the upgrade, and no issue found. Sure there can be issues, but Linix Mint has good forums for support, both an international forum and several country local foras. 

Henrik Hemrin

19 January 2019

 

Cheap Laptop Reborn [Photo: Henrik Hemrin]

 

Half a year ago I wrote the article Short life time for my cheap laptop, about my two years old laptop which could not execute Windows updates due to low memory capacity. After the article was written, I did more trials, but I failed. I do believe it can be possible, for example by reinstallation of Windows and start from start. But so complicated handling should not be needed on a new laptop.

Now I have given the laptop a new life with Linux. After considering several, reviewing by reading and Live-DVD, I have installed Linux Mint. This Linux distribution is suitable for the characteristics of my laptop; memory is big enough with margin. Linux Mint is a distribution with many users, it has a relatively big forum for support, it has a very big software library and is seen as an easy to use distribution.

Installation went very easy, took less than 15 minutes. But. I had a severe problem that it did not start up, the boot did not find the installation… So here I had a stop with multiple testing and reading. Finally, I reinstalled but this time in ”EFI” (UEFI) mode instead of BIOS (legacy) mode, setting in the Boot menu. Linux Mint supports both booting alternatives. In order to have EFI to work, I needed to disable the Secure boot option in the boot menu. After this reinstallation, Linux Mint started perfectly! So, I must admit I had this installation issue. But after that issue, all has been working well for those first days after installation. And this issue was really to replace Windows with a completely different operating system. The normal case is that you purchase a computer with the operating system installed, so this kind of task is normally not done with Windows either by the average user.

Linux Mint, as well as other Linux distributions, are indeed user friendly. Maybe it can be good to know a bit about computers, but absolutely not a computer geek. Much software are included in the installation, so with some settings its ready to use. Linux, in difference to Windows, macOS or ChromeOS, are available in very many different variants; that is where the word distribution (or distro) comes from. And each distribution can be available for both 32 and 64 bits, and may also be available with different types of desktops.

I installed Linux Mint, Cinnamon desktop, release 19. In a couple of weeks will release 19.1 come, and it will be interesting to see how it works with update of the operating system.

Main characteristics of this laptop: CPU: 1.60 GHz dual core, eMCC (SSD) Hard drive: 32 GB and RAM: 2 GB.

As far as I have learned, this laptop which could not handle Windows updates properly anymore, and from that perspective was ready for waste, has no problem to work with Linux!

Final remark: Microsoft Windows is great in many ways. So is Apple macOS. But Linux indeed is also an interesting operating system, also for a normal personal usage (or job)!

Henrik Hemrin
19 November 2018

This article is also published on LinkedIn

How safe are your keys to your accounts? [Photo: Henrik Hemrin]

It must have been in the 1990's I got my first password for private internet purpose.

I started early with a paper to note down registrations and login info. Later it has evolved to a notebook for registrations, login info, software licenses, hardware info and more. 

I started with mostly pretty simple passwords, and reused them as well. The complexity of my passwords have indeed increased over the years. I have also worked to more and more not reuse same passwords at different sites, especially those more important where I would suffer more if someone broke in. Those decently secure passwords, unique per site, have been possible to change and still decently ok to remember for more frequent logins. But notebook has been needed for all as backup memory.

Over the years, it has also become more difficult to find the objects in my notebook, difficult to keep them in any sorted order. And the trouble when I don't have the notebook nearby. And the laziness to look into the book. I have many registrations, far more than hundred!

Some codes have also been important to always have access to in my pocket. So for many years I have also used an application in the mobile for important codes.

I have over time become less comfortable with my password handling. At the same time, I have been hesitant to store passwords digitally. A paper notebook, as long as it is not stolen, is a safe place to keep them.

I have read many websites and articles about passwords. I plan to list some sources for internet privacy and security I consider useful in a separate article later.

I have read that a good, strong password is not critical to change regularly. But it must be changed if it is revealed somehow. I have also read that one method, which can be safer than having less strong passwords, or reused passwords between registrations, is to not remember passwords and instead always use “I have forgotten my password” and generate a new password every time.

Well, I concluded I want to have my passwords digitally stored in a Password manager instead of my in my notebook. 

If I now should start to use a Password manager, I wanted a product that can do more than only handle logins. 

Some of my criteria for a Password manager:

  • Secure and trustworthy
  • Possible to use on multiple devices; automatically synchronized
  • Relatively easy to use
  • Available for multiple platforms and device types
  • Handle not only passwords, but also e.g. pin codes, software licenses and other info I have in my notebook

Regarding access to the Password manager from multiple devices, I believe any such solution is a higher risk than a more stand alone solution. But it is so convenient.

After reading many articles and web sites, and trying a few solutions, I decided for “1Password”. It is a paid software. When reading articles, their own information including their white paper (although the white paper still has some non-written sections), I concluded I feel decently confident that there solution is secure enough. Surely, I do not understand all I read. 1Password has competitors, both commercial and open source and non-commercial, which to various degree meets my criteria.

With the Password manager it means I only have to create and remember one password. But this password must be strong, “impossible” to guess or test out, and not at least I must remember it.

When I migrated to the Password manager, I took the opportunity to clean up and terminate some registrations.

Generally I generate passwords which are maybe 30 characters long, with a combination of upper case, lower case, numbers and symbols. The Password manager automatically creates such passwords; I can input how long and how many numbers and symbols I want. It can also create based on words. Those very long generated passwords strings are impossible for me to remember, and very difficult to guess or will take long time for a computer to try out. If someone get access to the data base of the registration, it can of course be revealed.

When I have created new, strong, passwords, I have seen that some sites do not allow so long as 30 characters, nor all allow symbols. Some sites requires the user to use, I would argue, too unsecure passwords. 

Once I have crossed the line to give up to insert passwords manually and store them in a note book, it is no problem the passwords are long and impossible to remember. And it is not a problem for me to change them, I do not need to have a system to change passwords so I still can remember them.

The Password manager also helps me to analyze: reused passwords, weak passwords, check if my registration may have been leaked (Integration to “Have I been Pwned”), and more.

Beside strong passwords, I consider it is worth to use two-factor-authentication (2FA) where available, e.g. by SMS, a software code generator or hardware. My Password manager has a built in code generator, so I can often use that one. But I am curious to try out YubiKey physical solution.

Furthermore, I can store other codes, software licenses, free text objects etc. And I can add more information than the password to the registration. I can even store important documents. And I can add tags. All in all, a Password manager gives me a good overview of my passwords and other objects.

This is where I am today on my password journey! What about you?

Henrik Hemrin
17 October 2018

Phone booth and bust outside Ericsson former headquarter "HF". [Photo: Henrik Hemrin]

When I was young and blonde (now I am less young and blonde), I joined Ericsson 1985. 

Over all my Ericsson years, I have been in internal and external contact within Sweden as well as globally.  

When I started my journey at Ericsson, paper mail was the normal communication method. Especially for documents. Of course beside the landline phone, which was extensively used as well. A nice thing with paper mail is that after the envelope is posted, the task could I  rest for a while. 

For short and very urgent messages we had telex. We had a paper form to write in the text, and handed over the form to the secretary, who had access to transmit telex messages. 

Actually we had already when I started an internal global electronic mail system; Memo which was developed by Ericsson, Volvo and I think some more companies. My manager urged us to check e-mail (Memo) once a day. A routine he suggested was to check in the morning while changing from outdoor to indoor shoes. In those days the PC was not invented, we had a mainframe terminal, shared by 4-5 persons. Later a few other big companies were possbile to reach via Memo on the mainframe terminal. 

Several years later, the fax (facsimile, telefax) machine arrived. What a great invention! Now we could send messages we had used telex for by ourself, also when secretary was not available. And not at least, documents were possible to transmit. 

I come to think of the Ericsson slogan "It's all about communication. The rest is technology."

And indeed what an evolution, or revolution, we have had and still ongoing, with communication technologies!

This has happened over only a few decades. The fax machine is already outdated (at least in most business). The landline phone is also halfway outdated, and the mobile phone is a very common tool. E-mail is well established, not only at big companies like Ericsson who had Memo back in 1980's. We even can read the e-mails in the phone. And we have SMS and numerous chat programs in addition. We can share and colloborate with documents stored somewhere over internet, e.g. in the cloud. And the video conferences which recently required equipment in special rooms can now take place via laptop or mobile phone (although more professional video rooms still can be relevant for more advanced video conferences). 

It's all about communication. The rest is technology. 

#communication #technology #Ericsson #telex #fax

Blended branding

Branding is important for many companies. It can be a very important economical asset for the company. Today is also personal branding a known term; branding of myself. 

Sometimes a company leader; e.g. owner or CEO also is part of the branding of the company or somehow plays an important role in the view of the company; more important than in some other cases. I use the term Blended branding to reflect some of these thoughts.

One example is Virgin and Richard Branson. Virgin uses Richard a lot to promote the company; or you can say Richard uses his own personal brand to promote the company. He is very active on social media. 

Another example is IKEA and Ingvar Kamprad. "Everybody" knows Ingvar was founder of the company. Ingvar recently passed away, now his sons have taken over, and we have to see how they and the IKEA culture will cope with the future.

Both these examples are fully or to large extent privately held companies. 

Gerteric Lindquist has been CEO at the Swedish company NIBE for almost 30 years. NIBE actually comes from same local area as IKEA. For people in the stock market, it is well known he has been there for many years, and in a very successful way. Trust in him give trust in the company. And surely it gives a trust also to employees and business contacts. I read in Aktiespararen (June/July 2018) that he enjoys meetings with shareholders, and that he travels a lot. I do not really know that they actively work with blended branding, but it is a good example of long term relation between company and upper manager. 

A few decades ago Volvo and its CEO Pehr G Gyllenhammar were very closely related. He left the company 1993 after a disagreement about a merger with Renault. Volvo has been robust to stay in business also after this "divorce" (they have had problems, but I would say for other reasons). Gyllenhammar has also been very active after this divorce, although I think mainly in other business segments. 

In USA we have several relatively recent examples of Blended branding; like Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and Tesla.

Microsoft and Bill Gates is interesting as Bill actually has stepped down from an active role in the company and spend much of his time into more philantropic engagements. 

Elon Musk is tightly connected to Tesla, and some other companies and projects. 

Blended branding is a risk for a company, when the connection for one or another reason is lost. A risk that surely can be taken into consideration and be prepared for, and the trust for the company can continue.

It also can lock the person to the company. It is hard, as example, to imagine Elon Musk to leave Tesla and instead become CEO of Fiat. Hard both for the branding of Tesla and Musk. 

Blended branding can indeed be a very useful asset for a company. I believe it also helps a company to have a long term strategy, to consider its financial goals over long term instead of quarter by quarter. 

What do you think? 

#branding #blendedbranding #personalbranding #Virgin #IKEA #NIBE #Volvo #Microsoft #Apple #Facebook #Tesla #Aktiespararen

This article has also been published on LinkedIn

Photo: Henrik Hemrin


Often, when we interact with other persons, we categorize other persons in relation to ourself. For example: Swedish - Foreigner, Black - White, Male - Female, and all kind of other ways to decide if the other person is Us or Them.

National Geographic Magazine, April 2018, International edition, has an interesting and hopeful article about this. The article is ”The things that divide us”, by David Berreby. He writes:

”People everywhere are ”identity crazed”, as the evolutionary psychologist John Tooby has put it. We can´t help it: We're wired from birth to tell Us from Them. And we inevitable (and sometimes unconsciously) favor Us - especially when we feel threatened.”

Further into the article, David Berreby writes:

”As the Robbers Cave experiment illustrated, human beings can shift their group perceptions in both directions. Sometimes we turn Us into Them. But we can also turn Them into Us.”

This is hopeful! Also strong division between different group of persons can be changed into friendship.

Henrik Hemrin

16 April 2018

This article is also published on LinkedIn

Photo: Henrik Hemrin.

Aktieinvest is an internetbased Swedish broker for stocks and funds. As an Aktieinvest customer and interested in sustainability, I became curious in this tool. As every broker, you can search for stocks by name, and parameters like P/E. Very recently Aktieinvest added a new block of search and filtering criteria – Sustainability! This is great!

I search in Aktieinvest for Ericsson, a company I love. And yes, Ericsson and myself, we have been in a long relationship, they have paid my potatoes and jeans for a long time. The summary for Ericsson looks as below:

Ericsson S Ray

 

  • Preferenser – is about the company involvement in certain areas, for example defense.
  • GC – stands for UN Global Compact and is an evaluation of GC core elements.
  • ESG – is sector specific comparison in environment, social and governance.

All above data comes from Arabesque S-Ray tool.

The basic version of the tool is free. I can make a similar search for Ericsson on the free and open S-Ray tool and it looks as below:

Ericsson S-Ray

 

Ericsson performs pretty well in the score. But they are far from max 100.

Why don't they have 100? What is Ericsson not doing? Or what have Ericsson done wrong?

Well, I don't know. And I have no method to find out. S-Ray is based on ”machine learning and big data” they collect and digest somehow. All this is proprietary. So, I have no chance to know the details.

Arabesque writes the S-Ray is a ”transparency lens that can empower all stakeholders to make better decisions for a more sustainable future”. But there is no transparency how they come up with their result!

And now I believe I understand their business model for this free tool: The tool with summary data is free for anyone. But for Ericsson, or any other company, to dig into details of their score, there are services for a more detailed data – and those services are far from free. Investors is another target group for paid service, and I assume Aktieinvest is one of them.

I search (in S-Ray own tool) for another big Swedish company: IKEA. They are not in the report. I suppose it is because they are a privately held company, not on the stock market.

Next search: Fagerhult, medium sized Swedish company, on the stockmarket. Nope, they are not listed.

I read, S-Ray currently holds data of 7000 companies from 70 countries. That's of course impressive. But it also means a lot lot of companies, traded and not, are not listed.

The Board of Arabesque holds two for me very well known names in human rights and social responsibility: Georg Kell and John Ruggie. Those names I believe gives the S-Ray tool a higher credibility.

Arabesque is not only the S-Ray tool. They are also an investment company themselves. Their fund Arabesque Systematic is available in the Aktieinvest portfolio for investment. Arabesque started as a buyout from Barclays Bank.

My conclusion:

It's great with this possibility to select stocks for investmest, or which company I should buy a product from or work for, based on their sustainability score. But I must still keep a sceptical mind on the data; it is data where I have no insight in how they came up to the result.

Henrik Hemrin

30 March 2018

This article is also published on LinkedIn

My cheap laptop. Photo: Henrik Hemrin.

 

 

I bought this laptop on the photo above two years ago. To me, that is a very new laptop.

I bought it mainly for a specific purpose where I need very little space on hard drive as well as memory size and processor. Windows 10 was needed.

Therefore I selected this one, with performance good enough for my need. But I was not aware of one thing: how much additional space on hard drive that was needed for the major Windows updates.

Already at the beginning, I had problem with a major software update, but I managed that one and other so far. Now in March 2018 I need to do another major upgrade: My version of Windows 10 will not be supported after 10 April. I have spent many hours already to update, including trying to upgrade with support of an external drive during upgrade. So far I have failed. I am not computer expert, but pretty good at computers. I have not given up fully yet, I will try more. In best case, it will only take me many hours to update. But not unlikely, this computer will within two years of purchase be too old to be updated in a way so it is use supported software. Only because the hard drive has too little capacity.

IC circuits and everything else to make a computer requires many chemicals to manufacture them. And a lot of energy to make the part. Even if computer will be recycled, it will be a lot of wasted resources including energy. Not at least the production is a big contributor to the environmental impact when a LCA (Life cycle assessment) is done.

I am not an expert of LCAs of computers, but for all I know from general electronics knowledge and what I read in LCA reports, I am confident there is indeed an environmental impact. For example, those reports can be read as reference:

It is pity that computers are manufactured and sold with so short product life time.

Dandelion. Photo: Henrik Hemrin.

Henrik Hemrin

27 March 2018

This article is also published on LinkedIn

Process fundamentals

 

A couple of days ago the Swedish newspaper Smålandsposten wrote about Tage, 93. Tage had fallen in his home and couldn't raise from the kitchen floor for a couple of days.

He had a service from home-help service for elderly that they call him daily by phone. They had indeed called him, but he couldn't answer as he was on the floor. The phone service didn't follow up when he didn't answer. Those who found him on the kitchen floor after some days later were there for another care reason, a visit planned earlier. They called for an ambulance and after a period at hospital he is now at home again.

Thankfully a happy end for that accident.

A manager from home-help service was interviewed how it could happen than nothing happened when call wasn't answered. Some of response was related to: Lack of knowledge about the routine, follow the known routine, knowledge about the purpose of the routine, thinking one step further by routine user what to do - written in the routine or not.

I have been into process management for several years. Based on my process experience, and with inspiration from this newspaper story, I write this list of some Process fundamentals:

  • Purpose

Why is the process needed? What is the purpose? The purpose of the total process, but also each step. In the home-help phone service above, the main purpose is to check if everything is well. A secondary purpose may be that the caretaker get a social contact. The purpose must be clearly understood by the process user.

  • Understood

The process must be written in such a way it is understood by the user. Not just understand what to do, but also why. When understood why, it is far easier to remember the process and do it right. Proper eduction in the process for the user.

  • Logical

The order of activities in the process must be logical and content must be in accordance with the process purpose. If connection between purpose and the activity is not obvious, the process will not be understood.

  • Common sense

In many processes, not at least the kind of engineering processes, the process cannot give all details. The user of the process must have competence in the specific area. The process is often at a general level and do not cover all activities, or some activities can be irrelevant for a specific case. Common sense is needed in addition to the written process.

Process fundamentals summary

Henrik Hemrin

13 November 2017

This article is also published on LinkedIn

Agile by Henrik Hemrin

Agile methods has many aspects and of course comes in many flavors.

I have been thinking about my understanding of agile and its core. If I, with my background as electronics engineer, should explain Agile in one simple drawing I may do it as below:

Agile

What do you think?

Henrik Hemrin

6 November 2017

This article is also published on LinkedIn.

A process

 

When I started to handle a process some years ago, my first thought was it will be an easy work - the process was existing, ready and would only require some small adjustments. However, my first thought was not fully correct. Also this existing process required continuous improvement as well as a never ending need to change as the environment changed.

When PLM, Product Lifecycle Management, is discussed, it is often in my opinion focused on the tools to do the PLM job.

For me, as as working with both process and the IT tools (in this article especially PLM system) to handle the process, I like to share a few thoughts about the relation between the process and the IT tools.

The PLM system must support the process. I think that is obvious. But also the opposite direction must be considered. The PLM system can have features never thought of when making the process, but found to improve the process (or actually the product coming out of the process). The PLM system can also have limitations to meet the process, hence it can be efficient to adjust the process to meet the process.

The PLM system can, generally speaking, be fully customized, fully standard (doubtful), partially customized and finally more or less configurable. Without having facts, I believe it is normally considered to be most cost efficient to have a standard PLM system using configuration but as little customization as possible.

The PLM system can consist of many tools, modules and so on. Two of them can be to store data, directly in data base or as document, and the second is supporting the process flow.

Coming back to the "trouble" that the process is never in its final revision. To change the process in a text document or flow chart can be done over a cup of coffee. But to change the PLM system to meet the process can be far more difficult with far longer time line, and it can involve many persons from different disciplines to make it work in the PLM system.

It is a never ending challenge to make the process and the PLM system to go hand in hand in a never ending world of changes.

Henrik Hemrin

8 October 2017

This article is also published on LinkedIn

Photo: Henrik Hemrin

Before a component (or module, board etc) can be released, it needs to undergo testing. Some tests can be required by regulations or customers, some are done to verify the performance or yield level. And more. Some tests are "characterization" and some are simulating aging and other aspects that can be expected over desired life time.

As example: for optical components is Telcordia standards (formerly Bellcore) more or less the de facto standard to use in telecommunication. The most known is GR-468-CORE, for optoelectronic devices such as optical transceivers.

The standard gives a list of tests to be done in the qualification work. This is a kind of minimum tests to be considered. But other tests may be needed: the technology may be different and need other tests, the use case/condition can be different etc. It must always be a reviewed if the standard tests are relevant case by case.

Testing consumes time and money. Therefore all tests, the minimum list as well as additional tests, may not be needed to be done on the specific component. Because it has already been tested on a component built on same platform, with same technology etcetera.

A test can be omitted and seen as approved based on similarity. The expert, the person who takes this decision, must in the test report give the arguments why similarity apply.

Welcome to share your thoughts on my article!

Henrik Hemrin

1 October 2017

This article is also published on LinkedIn

Dial on a telephone. Photo: Henrik Hemrin

 

I had a summer job at Televerket, the Swedish PTT. Summer 1982. At that time a telephone typically had a dial like the one on the photo. And owned by Televerket, you could not own one yourself.

It happened that customer claimed the phone bill was too high; "I have absolutely not made so many phone calls!"

Televerket had a machine, I recall it was a wooden box approx. 30x40x10 cm including a printer typing e.g. phone number and time. I haven't find a photo of the machine, happy if you can find one.

The machine was connected to the subscriber who claimed for a period, maybe a few weeks. The machine logged all calls. Then they could compare how much calls were made now and compare with the calls on the bills.

By that, Televerket had facts if the bill was reasonable or not. Not facts of the actual period, but the current facts helped to make a reasonable assumption of bills were correct or not. The result could be presented for the subscriber.

As I recall (I do not have facts on this), my more experienced colleagues at Televerket said the bill was normally correct. They said that one scenario was that other person in family had made calls the bill payer was not aware of. And this could lead to unpleasant disputes in the family.

Back at this time, there was no Caller ID for a subscriber available. The subscriber didn't have access to the facts.

Facts is not the only base for decisions. But indeed facts can help and be essential for the right decision, or to avoid the wrong decision.

Henrik Hemrin

24 September 2017

This article is also published on LinkedIn

An old FM radio represents the engineering processes discussed in this article. Photo: Henrik Hemrin.

”The process must be updated”, is a common action requirement in a Root Cause Analysis (RCA).

And yes, it is relevant to review and possibly also update the process.

But it is also easy to unjustly blame the process for the problem.

It must always be considered what and to which extent the details should be stated in the process.

Some processes can and must be very detailed and precise, let say the manufacturing steps of an electronic IC circuit.

Other processes, like a process to develop an electronic equipment, cannot be detailed as as much as the manufacturing process above.

An engineering process requires a person with engineering knowledge to execute it. The process must be written so general it can be reused for next similar but not identical cases. The process has to balance between a general and detailed level.

In addition to what is written in the process, Common sense must be used to make the process working. The Common sense is based on reflection and thinking each time the process is used, on education, experience, collaboration and so on.

Common sense – an important addition to the written process

 

Henrik Hemrin

11 September 2017

This article is also published on LinkedIn

Henrik Hemrin shows the Ericsson publication discussed in the article. Photo: Henrik Hemrin

The publication I hold in my hand was written by Per-Olof Harris at Ericsson about the same time as I joined Ericsson 1985. Its core message is as valid today as then.

The publication is about reliability assurance of electronic components, but has a general validity:

Reliability; to assure the product will work over its entire desirable life time with an acceptable failure rate, is important to consider at product development.

And, although redundancy can be built in, no part of the product must not be forgotten if the complete product should work. Also the more "boring" or "simple" parts can be the reason for the total fail.

The title is excellent for remembering the importance of reliability:

No system is stronger than its weakest component

 

Henrik Hemrin

15 June 2017

This article is also published on LinkedIn.

Software example. The code has no connection to the issue. Snapshot from w3schools.com.

In software coding every sign, or lack of, can make the difference between a working or non working software.

Today I installed the latest release of Joomla! Content Management System (CMS) along with a few new Extension releases, for a web site.

After the updates, I directly opened the web site for sanity check. The full web site was down... fatal error... just a page with the error message!

However, this trouble had a happy end - here is the success story steps:

  • I had a log of the new releases I had implemented
  • Sanity check direct after release to detect the issue
  • Thanks to the error message I could search on internet and I got a hint which Extension that may have caused the issue
  • In the Admin tool I disabled this extension. After this, the web site was fully functional again, except for the features from this Extension. If I enabled, the web site was down again. The trouble maker was narrowed down
  • I sent a Tweet directed to the Extension developer somewhere on the earth, including the error message
  • I got a Tweet back from Extension developer there now was a new release with the fix
  • I went back to the Admin tool, installed the new release and enabled the Extension again
  • Now the web site was fully operational again!
  • I sent a confirmation Tweet to Extension developer
  • Before the update, I did a back up of the web site. I didn't need to use it this time, but always good to have a backup not too far back in time

The whole work from sanity check failure to fully operational web site took less than an hour.

 

Henrik Hemrin

23 May 2017

This article is also published on LinkedIn.

Cactus. Photo: Henrik Hemrin

I listened to a radio interview today. They talked about "...we who have creative jobs...".

I try to think of a job which does not include or gain of any creativity. My examples are:

?
Do you have any example?

 

Henrik Hemrin

22 May 2017

This article is also published on LinkedIn.

Photo: Henrik Hemrin

1973 Volvo acquired JOFA. JOFA was a company making sports equipment and famous for its ice hockey helmets. 1983 Volvo acquired Beijer invest, which held companies like Abba fishery food. Volvo sold those business and then focus (again) on e.g. vehicles, engines and construction equipment. Later Volvo have also been divided into one company for cars and one for the other parts, but that is maybe a different story.

I find it interesting to compare company models. Here I look into two models: focus and narrow business with a common core and considering synergies, in comparison to conglomerates which diversify business where the business areas may not have anything in common.

Volvo has left the conglomerate model I wrote about above into a much more focused business.

I recently read the leadership book The Virgin Way by Richard Branson. Well worth to read for anyone interested in leadership.

Virgin is still in the conglomerate company model. Although there are some synergies, Virgin business is not hold together by a common business core.

Virgin, as my understanding, has a common culture and way to approach business in common rather than a common core product or technology.

With a more focused company model it is easier for the board to take decisions, for owners to understand the company. Conglomerates likely requires multiple boards and to delegate of more strategic decisions.

This article is about innovation climate in relation to company model.

For very many, if not for all commercial companies, innovations in one way or another are needed for company survival. Magnus Mackaldener has written the good article When you don't recognize the company you once chose about innovations.

As a human being you get all sort of ideas and innovations, and you get them not at least at work. Many of them will surely not work or make business sense, and for many of them you will not know until you have given them a try. It can surely be beneficial if this review or trial can be done within the company rather than the creator has to do it outside the company.

My thesis is that a too narrow and focused company model can limit innovation and business opportunities for the company. If the company is too concerned to consider if the new idea is within the company strategy or not, I believe it can also limit the innovations which actually are within the strategy. In this perspective, I believe a conglomerate company model can have an advantage to foster innovations.

Henrik Hemrin

4 May 2017

This article is also published on LinkedIn