Category Archives: Business

Podcast – Manager Tools

I was riding to an IEEE meeting a few years ago with a friend. The trip was going to be about 45 minutes long so he turned on a podcast he regularly listened to, Manager Tools, to help pass the time. After listening during our trip, I was hooked and subscribed to the podcast myself. I regularly listened to it until I retired.

This is a weekly podcast begun in 2005 and presented by Michael Auzenne and Mark Horstman.  It focuses on how managers can be more effective and provides career planning suggestion. There are now over 500 episodes in their library. Each episode of this award-winning podcast is between 30 minutes and one hour in length.

I found this podcast to be very informative and useful. I recommend it to anyone in a leadership role. They can be subscribed to in iTunes.




macOS New App Release – INSIGHTS 6

Product Announcements – KnowledgeMiner Software of Berlin, Germany  has released INSIGHTS 6 for macOS, a groundbreaking modeling and predictive analytics tool to forecast macroeconomic development in a powerful, new way. It is a major update to its critically acclaimed application that implements original self-organizing modeling technologies based on GMDH Deep Learning for forecasting complex problems in order to provide decision support. INSIGHTS 6 introduces Systems of Equations, a superset of Vector Auto-regressive Models, to allow model development from observation data of linear and non-linear interdependent systems and processes for easy multi-step ex ante forecasting. Accompanying examples such as forecasting the U.S., Japanese, or German national economies until 2021, compared to forecasts provided by the International Monetary Fund, demonstrate the power and productivity of this outstanding modeling technology.

Following the principle of Occam’s razor the app autonomously develops complexity-minimized predictive models from observation data and generates new knowledge in form of explicit, dynamic regression model equations that describe the data for further analysis, interpretation and theory formulation purposes. INSIGHTS extracts all information needed for model development from observation data, which is why it is increasingly recognized as a superior alternative and supplemental tool to established domain knowledge-based modeling approaches.

Feature Highlights:

  • Original, high-dimensional, self-organizing, inductive knowledge mining from observation data based on GMDH Deep Learning
  • Systems of Equations for model development of linear and non-linear interdependent systems and processes for easy multi-step ex ante forecasting
  • Automatically develops analytical models and model ensembles from data along with explicit mathematical equations that describe the data as an interpretation of how the model works
  • Integrates all complex tasks – such as relevant variables selection from up to 25,000 inputs, knowledge extraction, model development and validation – into one process that hides it from the user
  • Cost-optimized, prevalence-sensitive classification and sequential Similar Patterns technologies
  • Model deployment and export to Microsoft Excel, ready-to-use Python, Objective-C, AppleScript source code, or TEXT to be used in Matlab
  • Powered by 64-bit, parallel, cross-platform, self-organizing modeling engine for multi-core CPUs

“INSIGHTS data mining and self-specifying model capabilities help us develop more robust and useful tools for ourselves and our clients,” says Dr. Randall Pozdena from ECONorthwest, a Pacific Northwest-based economics and finance consultancy. “We have built regional and national macroeconomic models, securities trading tools, event study approaches, and microeconomic market characterizations. Specifically, INSIGHTS is at its most useful when the natural systems are complex and the a priori structure of the equations are unknown. In such settings INSIGHTS data mining and self-organizing capabilities are extremely helpful.”

INSIGHTS is applied by corporations, consultancies, universities, research institutes and individuals worldwide for health and life sciences related problems, energy forecasts, sales prediction, economic and financial forecasting and planning, engineering problems, climate change modeling and many more.

Language Support: English, Spanish, and German

System Requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.9 or later
  • Any Mac with 64-bit CPU, 8 GB RAM recommended
  • Minimum screen resolution of 1400 x 800 pixel

INSIGHTS for macOS is available as either Free, Student, Advanced, Professional, or Ultimate edition exclusively from the KnowledgeMiner Software website. Academic versions can be purchased by contacting KnowledgeMiner Software directly.

macOS New app Release – Healthcare Solution Park for ConceptDraw PRO


Product Announcements – CS Odessa of San Jose, California has released their newest addition to Solution Park for ConceptDraw PRO. A new set of libraries provides a wide range of objects to support documentation and graphics that deal with Healthcare Management workflow. The Healthcare Management Workflow Diagrams solution allows one to quickly assemble any medical process, build medical instructional posters, enhance the medical education experience, and explain complex medical health issues in a straightforward manner.

A large percentage of the medical profession is involved in explanation and education, ConceptDraw PRO v11 with its new paid medical solution makes quick work of visually communicating medical information to any audience. ConceptDraw PRO is well-known for its ability to exchange documents with Microsoft Visio. It can open files (VSD, VSS, VDX, VSDX, VSSX) that can be processed by Microsoft Visio users.

ConceptDraw PRO is compatible with Apple macOS and Microsoft Windows. It provides a perpetual cross-platform license with no annual fees associated with it.

The Healthcare Management workflow is $49 (USD) for current users of latest ConceptDraw PRO 11. ConceptDraw PRO is supported by the powerful business solutions located in Solution Park, and retails for only $199 (USD) per end user license. It is included in ConceptDraw Office v4 – the third generation suite of software products that uses InGyre4 integration technology to share data between its applications, allowing one to switch gears for different tasks more quickly. ConceptDraw Office retails for $499 (USD) and can be purchased directly from CS Odessa or their resellers.

macOS New App Release – Invoices 3.1.1


Product Announcement – Tension Software of Milano, Italy has released Invoices 3.1.1, an important update to their app designed to create, manage and print commercial invoices on the Mac. Using Invoices users can create commercial invoices with just simple click operations inserting pre-made values.

Invoices allows to have a pre-made list of:

  • Customers
  • Products and services as a custom long free-form text description
  • Products and services as rows of a multi item invoices with automatic calculation of total based on quantity and prices introduced
  • Bottom notes where to specify payment methods and others
  • Private note for internal purpose only

Invoices is smart in creating and making your invoices:

  • Invoices are created with customizable date and unique serial per invoice
  • Data input is easy, fast and error proof.
  • Can manage track number and order number
  • 2 different value of taxes can be applied to total
  • 2 different tax ID can be used for customers
  • It can assign VAT values based on the customers automatically (very useful as example for VAT in Europe if customers is in another country or outside Europe)
  • It can change on the fly price, discount, quantity of product items you are going to insert in item based invoices
  • Invoices can be printed with custom company logo and header
  • Page format A4 and USA-Letter are managed in native way
  • Free form text descriptions and items by row invoices can coexist in the same document
  • Invoices can be searched and sorted early by year customers and many other values
  • Data used for input can be sorted and filtered before inserting for an easy to do input
  • Invoices can have layout with customer on right or on left with position ready to be used for mail shipment
  • Invoices can be seen as they will be printed and zoomable at different values
  • Generated invoices are easy to print using your printer
  • Import/Export functions to import form TSV and CSV values and export in many formats included custom formats, all with a wonderful native and easy to use Mac interface
  • Generated invoices are easy to save as PDF (for email sending)
  • Full User Guide in PDF explaining in details how to use it, accessible under the Help menu.

Invoices is easy to use and adjustable to any country requirements:

  • All the label composing the printed invoice can be customizable in the preferences according with your language.
  • You can generate final invoices with only labels in your language.
  • Tax ID and Tax percentage over total are customizable and optionally usable, you can set it in accordance to your country/state rules.
  • Settings are different for different documents, so you can have different set of values for different companies you manage.
  • Numbers, currency, money amount, date are all customizable in accordance with your settings.

Invoices is document based, users can manage as many company as they like, one for document and in a document they can manage all the invoices of a single company for all the years. If users need to keep records also of credit invoices for a company, as example, they can simply create another document to manage them.

Invoices is Apple CoreData native, it can manage a very very large amount of data with no problems at all. Invoices is fully optimized for macOS 10.12 Sierra.

New in this release:

  • Now allows up to 3 decimal number in Tax %
  • Improved visualization of decimals numbers when value is < 1
  • Bug fix quitting with opened documents
  • Other minor bug fixes

System Requirements:

  • OS X 10.10 or later
  • 64-bit processor
  • 7.6 MB

Invoices 3.1.1 is just $34.99 USD (or an equivalent amount in other languages) and is available through the Mac App Store in the Business category.

Macs at the Top in Reliability!

Rescuecom of Syracuse, NY has released its “Annual Computer Reliability Report“. Rescuecom, which was founded in 1997, provides computer repair and support services for PC’s, MAC’s, Tablets, Phones, hardware and software. Their estimated annual revenue is $18.2 million.

As we who have used Macs for years could predict, Apple tops the list of computer vendors in terms of hardware reliability. As they state in the report “The annual RESCUECOM 2017 Computer Reliability Report shows that Apple is leading the pack for computer reliability, while continuing to hold a large U.S. market share.” They go on to quote Fletcher Previn, VP of Workplace as a Service at IBM “Every Mac we buy is in fact continuing to make and save IBM money.

Good information to keep in mind when you are contemplating your next computer purchase or when a friend is about to make a purchase. Macs to cost more, but there is value to the product.

Blinkist Enables You to Read Several Books Per Day


I am a big proponent of Continuing Education. I saw a Tweet recently by a IEEE colleague (@DevonRyan) extolling the virtues of Blinkist. Blinkist provides insightful summaries of non-fiction books (1000+ and growing) that can be read in about 15 minutes each using your web browser. These can also be read use their mobile App (available for both Android and iOS) and you can listen to the audio versions.

These allow the reader to read and absorb a tremendous amount of information without dedicating too much of our increasingly scarce free time. Now this is a service that does not come free (well, it does sort of).

If you check the available plans, there are three:

  • Blinkist Free (Free), read one pre-selected book per day, browse the catalog
  • Blinkist Plus ($49.99/yr)- any title, read off-line
  • Blinkist Premium ($79.99/yr) – All features of Plus as well as ability to listen to audio

I joined a few days ago and have read their summaries of two books. I can see where it is helpful, but clearly condensing a full book into what can be read in just 15 minutes must skip over a lot of material. However I can see where reading the summaries would be useful to point you at which books you might want to devote more time to.

If you are trying to improve yourself or wanting to learn, but have limited time, this may be the perfect service for you.


Paper Book Sales Grow


I made the switch from paper books to eBooks when I bought my first iPad back in 2010. I have read a paperback or two since then, but I really prefer eBooks. The larger adjustable print size, the ability to easily carry around a library of books, and the back lighting allowing me to read in the dark are big pluses for me. It surprised me when I saw that eBook sales figures showed a drop in 2014 of 1.2% to $3.20 billion, then again in 2015 by 11.3% to $2.84 billion.

Surprising too was the increase for 2015 in sales from brick and mortar book stores, increasing 1.8% to 4.15 billion. I am glad to see this particular statistic as I really like visiting book stores. I guess that is why Amazon has begun opening their own brick and mortar stores.

Source: AAP Sales: 2015 Store Sales Rose 1.8%


IEEE Innovators, Engineers & Entrepreneurs Workshop


Being involved in the activities of the IEEE Central Texas Section, I want to promote the workshop that we are hosting next Friday, February 26. The “Innovators, Engineers & Entrepreneurs” workshop, a full day at the AT&T Conference Center on the south side of the University of Texas at Austin campus. This will be our capstone event for Engineers Week.

The workshop will feature some well known speakers – Bob Metcalfe, co-inventor of Ethernet; Donna Wilkins, founder of Charity Dynamics; and Devon Ryan, founder, LION Mobile – among others. Please take a look at the program and see if the presentations are of interest.

Workshop topics include:

  • Power & Energy, Energy Storage, Photovoltaics, Water
  • Internet of Things
  • Privacy and Security
  • Incorporating Legal Organization, Intellectual Property
  • Robotics, 3-D Printing, Manufacturing Automation

If you are thinking of creating a start up, then this will be of great value. Among the presentations are:

  • startup funding
  • how to start a company
  • working with legal teams
  • dealing with security

The workshop is open to all interested parties. You can still register on-line or Friday at the door, though the cost jumps up to $125.

Conference Calling with

I have used many conference calling facilities over the years, both in business and with volunteer organizations. I am currently the chair of two committees of the Central Texas Section of IEEE and, because our members are spread out over a 100 mile stretch of IH-35 in Central Texas, it is not always possible to have face to face meetings. We had been using a paid service, but one of the committee members suggested that I look at FreeConferenceCalling.

Anyone can sign up for a FreeConferenceCalling account. FreeConferenceCalling limits the free conferencing service to just 10 simultaneous callers, though more can be added for a charge. The meetings I hold all have 10 or fewer members in attendance so this service works very well me.

I signed up and we have now been using FreeConferenceCalling for a few months. While a very few callers to my committee meetings have complained about call quality, overall, I think that the service is quite good. The conference number I was assigned when I signed up is in a different area code, so all of the calls are long distance. However, everyone calling in to my meetings have cell or home service with free long distance so that is not a problem.


  1. Free for up to 10 callers
  2. Anyone can sign up for an account
  3. Additional services can be purchased if needed


  1. Only 10 callers can use service without charge
  2. Users must have phone service with free long distance or they are charged by their phone provider for the call
  3. A few users have complained about call quality

This is a great idea for a small business, small non-profit or even for a family wide conference call.

Review of “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right hook”


“Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” was published in 2013 and was written by Gary Vaynerchuk ( This is Mr. Vaynerchuk’s fourth book.

This is a non-fiction business book discussing the best ways to use social media for marketing. This is a little outside my area of expertise, but I did find the ideas interesting as I use various channels of social media.

I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (