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Agenda was Customer eXperience Optimisation - what was the take home?

posted Jan 26, 2018, 5:16 AM by Niels Jensen   [ updated Apr 11, 2018, 12:57 AM ]

Børsalen in Chr.IV's Børsen.
Yesterday Safepark attended Computerwolds "Get succes with customer experience"  (Dansk: "Få success med customer experience!" - well a proper Danish title would be something like "Få succes med kundeoplevelse!"). The event toke place at Dansk Erhverv's facilities in King Christian IV's old trade mart build at the northern edge of Copenhagen in the 1620's by builder Hans van Steenwinkel, who also built the large church at Slangerup. It was build to be a trading place, and the large hall for this CXO event therefore had a ramp to easily bring supplies into trading stands in the building. Today the building is owned by the Danish Chamber of Commerce (Dansk Erhverv) and used for conferences and meetings of all sizes. Until 1974 the building housed the Copenhagen Stock Exchange.

The event were arranged by Computerworld in collaboration with Dansk Erhverv og Reach Media, and the financing was provided by Adobe, BrainsBusiness, Microsoft, Miracle, Nodes and NPS Today. These companies also provided speakers for half of the talks on the agenda. 

Imran Afzal opened the conference the talk "The Science behind customer loyalty" ("Videnskaben bag kundeloyalitet"), Adobe Marketing Manager in the Nordics. He called the present time for the "Experience Business Wave" and stated it was necessary to "Make Experience Your Business" quoting from among other sources from Goldsmidth's report "Reinventing Loyalty: The New Loyalty Experience" published last year on behalf of Adobe. From this report it was clear that among 65+ years the Nordics have the highest digital involvement, and the Nordics also scored highest on the importance of convenience. The latter should not be a surprise given the availability of mobile broadband in the Nordics. However in creating a good user experience 4 things are important according to Afzal: Context, design, timing (milliseconds) and integration. Imran mentioned 3 examples of innovative marketing: Mercedes Benz connect me, SAS with experience outside the airplane trip itself, Adidas Glitch design and marketing by community. Mercedes want to be more that just a car seller, SAS want to be more than just an airplane operator, and Adidas drops the big marketing campaign for community involvement in design and marketing at much reduced cost. As far as AI, then Imran suggested, that it would automate many manual processes in the marketing departments and hence make the daily job easier. Personally I think AI will go much further and help transform marketing from aiming at groups to aiming at individuals.

The second speaker was Jimmy Uxunov from Airtame, which provide tools - software and hardware - to wirelessly stream a screen to an  HDMI port. So much like Chromecast, but with more security. The company was  founded in 2013, and their device sells for around 2000 DKK versus 300 DKK or 600 DKK for a Chromecast unit. They started being a crowdsourced company, but had to disappoint their initial sponsors, and switch to a B2B business model.  Today the company has 60+ employees, and wants more. Their key learning with respect to customers experience were:
  1. Don't be afraid to ask for feedback. And if you can't be the best guy on the block, then a least try to be the friendliest by providing fast and knowledgeable answers.
  2. Internal communication is as important as external.
  3. Communicate personally.
  5. Show appreciation.
Before you seriously jump up, and buy an Airtame, then you should consider if you really need the extra functionality the device provide beside the Chromecast or Chromecast Ultra. For example, do you really need to share the whole screen, or is your need satisfied by sharing a browser tabs? I know our answer to this question.    

After these two presentation the conference switched to two tracks. One on digital commerce, and one on mobile and apps. Safepark choose to follow the latter track. For this we moved to the library, where one of the walls featured the picture to the right. The first presentation on the mobile and apps track was by NPS.Today. This is company which specialize in providing a single question to a customer or employee for feedback. For example after a visit to a hospital or a store, then you could get an SMS with a link to a web-site on which you answer a question of the form "On a scale going from 1 to 10, with 10 being best. How well did we serve you today?" and as a follow question "What would it take to move us to a higher score?" Results are analyzed in real time and displayed on a screen as they come in. The biggest challenge for new users is the single question, which is quite a change from the pages you receive from hospital after a short visit to a clinic. However, the technology allows the company to quickly follow up on outliers, e.g. exceptionally good or bad ratings by a phone call. So NPS.Today challenge you to think about the need for many questions to get feedback, or if one is enough to start a conversation. NPS.Today had talking their client Moment - a company that connect engineers and others with jobs - along to provide customer experience feedback. Moment had started to use NPS Today for customer feedback, but now also use it internally.

Jonas Berntsen from MapsPeople followed by talking about their quite exciting last few years. One take home from Jonas presentation is the following question about a potential new employee: "Is this someone I would like to sit next to during the company Christmas lunch?" (Julefrokosttesten). If the answer it NO, then the candidate is properly not a good cultural fit. MapsPeople has their roots in the time for analog maps, and almost went bankrupt 3-4 years ago and reduced their staff to just 7 persons. Today they are a Google Maps partner specializing in inddoor maps using Google's technology and gearing up to deal with annual revenues above 1 billion. Later this year Jonas moves to Austin, where the leading Google Maps people are located. MapsPeople provide customable maps for sites with many visitors (If you have few visitors, then such maps are free) and indoor maps, e.g. for CPH and universities, also based on Google Maps, and they have the same philosophy as Google: aim high!

The final presentation before lunch was from Eva-Maria Færgemann Nielsen, who is UX consultant (I really hate titles with abbreviations) at Nodes. Nodes provides app development using the Sprint approach developed at Google Ventures, and naturally distributed copies of the book. Sprint is a five day approach to get from idea to answering the question: "Does it work?" with a first prototype. Eva-Maria had a bit of challenge giving a talk in Danish with slides in English. For example if you have slides in English and your talk is in Danish, then the more professional speaker would translate an English quote on a slide to Danish as she read it.

The afternoon started with Morten Aagreen from Telia talking about their culture change in moving from the old waterfall model to agile in IT development as they created "MIT TELIA". He stated it was not only the development of the new selfserve platform itlself, which was important reap the benefits, but the fact that customer service explained to each caller what they could accomplish themself on the new selfserve platform. However, when Safepark attempted to find "MIT TELIA" on Google the first Telia page we landed on had nothing about "MIT TELIA", but many phones for sale. So it appears the integration with the legacy system could be improved.The following two presentation were not our cup of tea. Natasha Friis Saxberg appeared more like a talkative author that a digital strategist in her talk "Become a winner - understand digital behavior". Many empty words delivered at a speed without time for afterthought. We had expected much more from the title of Julie Lind Mikkelsen's talk: "What do you offer unexpected customers? - Create intelligent customer experiences with advanced technology". At the very least what Microsoft offers unexpected customers, but maybe they don't encounter this type of customer? We have also come to expect, that someone with the title of "group lead ..." can deliver a half hour talk without using cue cards. Remember: YOU are the most knowledgeable person in the room about YOUR topic.

We honestly missed the purpose of having Imran Afzal from Adobe and Julie Lind Mikkelsen from Microsoft sit in front of fireplace picture and chatting about the collaboration between Adobe and Microsoft. They did this at a customer experience event, without talking about what customers could expect from the collaboration. We would call this a missed opportunity. At the end of the talk the person I sat next to noticed "needs are aroused, they are not created". His background was selling clothes and selling homes.

To summarize the take home: for feedback ask just one question at the right moment,  engage community as never before in design, development and marketing - and save money, and needs are aroused - not created. And then there were also Julefrokosttesten! - And not to forget the book about Sprint.
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This year IDC CXO Directions provided info on coming years biggest IT challenge: Start using AI!

posted Jan 25, 2018, 9:45 AM by Niels Jensen   [ updated Jan 28, 2018, 1:19 PM ]

Bicyles outside IDA conference center at end of dag
Today Safepark attended this years edition of IDC Nordics CXO Directions event at the IDA Conference center in the Copenhagen Harbor area. IDC's chief analyst Frank Gens opened the conference by outlining the coming years most important challenges for IT business leaders. Naturally the focus was on what IDC call the 3rd Platform: cloud, social, mobil, and big data analytics. This year with added 2nd chapter with focus on AI, robotics and 3D printing.

After a day with focus on IT, which naturally use electricity as an energy source, it is refreshing to get ouf from the conference room, and discover, that is still technology, which don't use electricity, such as these bicycles parked outside the conference venue.

In his opening presentation Frank Gens mentioned 5 things, which he thought required focus in 2018: 1) Se the Big picture, i.e the 3rd platform and the DX Economy, 2) From "Cloud Frist" get quickly to "Cloud Mostly", 3) Master the enablers of multiplied innovation, 4) Reinvent enterprise IT: The DX platform, 5) Restructuring of IT and every industry. He ended his presentation with a quote from Bill Joy, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems: "No mater who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else".

IBM Watson analysis of Niels Jensen LinkedIn profile picture
The second speaker was CIO of 2017 in Denmark Torben Kjær from the engineering consultancy conglomerate Rambøll. He explained how the company within a relatively should time shifted from IT development following the waterfall model to agile IT development. In the middle of 2017 the company was completely agile, the last project executed after the old waterfall model went live just before Christmas 2017. During the transition the business strategy and the digital strategy became one, Torben Kjær gave control of daily operation to someone else, and IT moved from being country specific to be global. IT also required the CIO to take an aktive role the business strategy definition, and that you have a solid and efficient IT operations. The mornings third speaker was Peter Sommers from IBM. IBM - in my view - have always been very good at marketing, and I was not disappointed yesterday. IBM had Watson analyze each participants LinkedIn profile picture and also analyze participants public profile on LinkedIn and facebook, and IBM provided each participant with a copy of the results on an A5 size card with the participants name on one side and the results on the other. With the limited input Watson judged me to be 65+ years and with 100% certainty a male - see picture to the left.. In the presentation Peter Sommers also told us, that the did a prototype for Finanstilsynet in which Watson read 200 pages reports form financial institutions in Denmark and scored the compliance with Danish regulations in just 15 seconds. In the past analysts at Finanstilsynet used many hours to fil out the same score card. Now they can used the result provided by Watson to dig down into problem areas directly. Four other use cases were provided.

The morning featured two presentations from very different types of companies. First Adform, which develops enterprise solutions for advertisers and agents and has the challenge of processing many transactions in real time - much like in stock trading, and Nutanix, which sells complete enterprise IT systems in a box including compute power, storage and networking. All you have to do is basically supply the electricity. The final presentation of the morning was by Kenneth Messerschmidt from Top-Toy, who in saw a perfect storm hitting them in the spring of 2015. At the time company IT systems were quite old with dating to the early 1980's and often in-house made. Those systems were replaced with a modern standard ERP system in less than two years to provide a more agile company with more focus on customer experience. For example if a customers comes into a store and looks at a small trampoline, then the store employee can on her iPad show the customer, that they also have larger trampolines, and that these can be ordered either online or in the store, and delivered directly to the customers home.

The afternoon started with presentations from
Veeam, who provide systems to quickly restore operations after a disruptive event, and Celonis, which perform analysis of company processes based on existing data. Weeam creates a backup in Microsoft Azure Cloud or another cloud. They provide a free backup agent for a number of operating system, e.g. windows and several linux distributions among them openSUSE. The third speaker of the afternoon was Mikael Munck, who started as an entreprenør and then became CIO at Saxo Bank, but now is back as an entreprenør at 2021.AI, a company which aim to package leading open source AI software, such as Google's Tensorflow, so these tools become usable by ordinary company employees. The company describe themself as an IT technology provider. However, reallity is, that initially they also need to help companies develop the necessary models.

The CIO of Arla Torben Fabrin closed the day by talking about creating the future diary through agile experimentation and and digital technologies. Their first agile development was development of an app for their farmer owners. Through this app was able to supply their farmer owners information about the milk they delivered just fours hours after the milk was picked up at the farm. This allowed the farmer to quickly adjust feed to impact millk quality. Before the app the information was delivered to the farmer on a piece of paper the next - a 20 hour delay in action. 

Anders Elbak of IDC summarized the day left us with a picture of legacy and heritage IT as represented by the picture on the left. The tmajor take home message from this edition of IDC's CXO Directions is: If you are a CIO who don't use AI within the next years, then you properly would end up as a CIO without a job.
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Can new clamp-on temperature sensors be used in tower control?

posted Oct 4, 2017, 3:21 AM by Niels Jensen   [ updated Oct 4, 2017, 3:26 AM ]

Clamp-on temperature sensor
At Emerson Global Users Exchange BP reported on a test comparing the new wireless clamp-on pipe temperature sensor with a type K temperature sensor in a thermowell. The test showed the clamp-on sensor measured 5 Deg.F lower than the nearby thermowell thermocouple in the temperature range from 446 Deg.F to 485 Deg.F. A typical type K thermocouple has accuracy of +/- 4 Deg.F. So the observed lower readings from the clamp-on sensor could easily be due to incorrect parameters for either the clamp-on sensor or the thermowell thermocouple. 
The clamp-on sensor have three parameters: pipe diameter, pipe material and pipe wall thickness. The thermowell thermocouple have nine design inputs. 
Having worked quite a bit with tower control both in chemical plants and in academia, it is easy to ask if it would be possible to developed a "clamp-on" sensor for distillation towers to give control engineers a low cost option to monitor the tower temperature profile and use it for advanced process control? Would be nice if some enterprising academics could follow up on this idea.

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Don't break your privacy on LinkedIn!

posted Jun 24, 2017, 12:25 PM by Niels Jensen   [ updated Jul 11, 2017, 11:49 PM ]

LinkedIn protect your privacy by not directly exposing your email adress in discussion groups such as HSEQ Professionals, which has more than 130,000 members currently. However, lately some group members have promoted rather simple excel templates they have created in this group. These post look like the one in the picture on the right (identifying information have been removed using GIMP). Group members are promised an Excel template for creating a funnel chart, if they respond to the post with their email adress. It appear, that most of the persons responding to the post replied with either a gmail or yahoo account.

However, generally LinkedIn is quite good at not showing people your email adress. But by posting your email adress in a response to  post, then you break the privacy, which LinkedIn is attempting to create. Similarly LinkedIn protect you from receiving messages form members you are not connected with.

If one google either "how to create funnel chart in excel" or "how to create funnel chart in google sheet" then one get links to numerous posts with instruction on how to create such charts. So I wonder if HSE professionals are so internet illiterate, that they are unable to find simple things on the internet, such as instructions on how to create certain charts? I how that is only the case for the minority 0.15% who responded to the post shown here.Here is a link to a 3 minute video on YouTube, which shows you how to make a funnel chart in Excell:

Tot the left is another of the same programmers contributions. An audit tracking chart. It shows open, closed and total audits per department, i.e. three barts for what could better be shown on a single stacked barchart. So again, you are better off creating your own charts for reporting HSE data, than giving this programmer your email.
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Copenhagen Open Source Community Day not professional enough

posted Mar 19, 2017, 3:00 PM by Niels Jensen   [ updated Jun 24, 2017, 12:27 PM ]

Yesterday Safepark participated in Copenhagen Open Source Community Day 2017. This years Community Day toke place at Metropol's Campus Nørrebro on Siggurdsgade 26 about one block north of Copenhagen University's Science City. A ticket to this years event cost you 200 DKK, and for that price you received admission to three tracks of lectures and a T-shirt with sponsor logos on the front and the event logo on the back. Last time we payed to participate in the community day was in 2011, and then a ticket cost you 250 DKK. However, at that time the ticket also included lunch. So it is easily arguable,  that the price is unchanged since six years ago, since yesterday we spent 50 DKK on lunch.

Missing Professionalism

When we arrived at the reception just before 10 AM things were a bit chaotic. I showed an enlarged version of the bar-code on the Ticketmaster ticket to the receptionist, and was told that the computer system was down. She then attempted to manipulate the display of my ticket while I was holding the phone in order to find my name in print on the ticket. Eventually she found my name, and then wrote my first-name by hand on the two sides of the A6-sized badge, folded the paper, and inserted it into a badge holder. While handing the badge holder to me, she asked what size T-shirt I needed. I didn't hear her asking for my name in either Danish or English, and why should we specify our T-shirt size on the registration information, when that was not used. The friend, who accompanied me, was treated differently by another receptionist. He just told the other receptionist his name, and then she search for an already printed badge with that name on the counter next to us. She found a badge with his name, and gave it to him.
To me this looks like a broken access control system. At past community days the bar-code on the event ticket was scanned electronically, and the automatically triggered printing of badge with name, wifi-information and ticket for T-shirt, ticket for lunch, etc. which were handed to the guest. Other volunteers handed badge holders to guests, and others again handed out T-shirts. I wonder what happened to the label printers used just two years.
It seemed like prior to this years event there had been no thoughts about the workflow in the reception area. That resulted in an image of lacking professionalism. Professionalism is something we have become used to at past community days in Copenhagen.

This impression was re-emphasized a few minutes later at the coat room. There were three people manning the coat room, but two of them were talking to each other without paying any attention to customers. So quickly there was a line up.

I can't avoid looking for safety issues, when I visit a new place. Thise sockets are located in the middle of tables at which students and other guests to the facility sit an eat their lunch and drink coffee or soft drinks. There is no edge between the table surface and the sockets surroundings. I looks like any spilled liquid would run directly into the plugs. It was tempting to pour some water into the sockets, just to see what would happen. However, I leave that experiment for the next curious visitor to Metropol.

Community Day Program

The days program consisted of 3 parallel tracks starting with a keynote at the opening of the conference at 10 AM and another keynote at the closing of the conference at 5 PM. The rest of the day there were 3 parallel tracks and after each track there were a 20 minute break. So there were amble time to visit the exhibition area for a chat. However unfortunately the track host failed to remind the guests, that they should visit the exhibition area and talk to the vendors.

As far as we remember past community days had the organisation leader open the event, by introducing her or himself, thanking sponsors, and volunteers, and welcoming attendees. I didn't see this happening at this years event. I think this is unfortunate for the OSD image.

Most presentation slots were 40 minutes long, which to us indicate, that there is sufficient time to give a well thought out and well structured presentation. Unfortunately too many presenters have not thought about what the used should take away from the presentation or what actions they wanted the attendees to take after they got home. This meant, that many failed to promote what the had to offer. Here is the community day program with the presentations, which we choose to attend, shown in orange:

Open Source Days 2017 Community Day Program

I opening keynote talk was titled "How Danish municipalities use open source to drive development and cooperation and cooperation" by Rasmus Frey, who is the daily coordinator for this cooperation about development of open source solutions for municipalities. The speaker tool us what the top level technologies were, i.e. JIRA, Github, www and OS2Cloud. JIRA is a service desk developed and marketed by Atlassian. I believe, that OS2 is using JIRA Software for project and issue tracking. You can try it for free, but the software does not appear to be open source. Github is free for public and open source project, but also offer storage for others for a fee. OS2 currently have 12 product, which can be freely download from their Github storage, and they have 8 active project. Unfortunately absolute no screen shots of any of the products were shown in the keynote, and no information were given about the underlying technology, e.g. that os2dagsorden use Drupal. I mention os2dagsorden because this sound like a product, which could be of use to many small organisations, such as e.g. patient support groups, and developers could be insterested in making a Typo3 version of this facility. I think the presenter should have thought a bit more about what the audience take away from the keynote should be, e.g. this type application looks like something my organisation could also benefit from, and secondly what actions he encourage people to take for a better understanding of OS2 and their products and projects, e.g. take a look at os2indberetning if your organisation have many employees driving around the country as sales representatives. Again os2indberetning looks to be something other organisations could also use, and hence open source developers could be interested in developing a similar product for use by private companies. Caveat: I have as of this writing not done any work to see if the mentioned two products already have equivalents in the open source community.
The second part of the mornings keynote was by titled "Developing open source geospatial software in a governmental agency" by Kristian Evers. Basically he mentioned three programs developed by the organisation, which he is part of DHMQC, MALSTROEM and as well as use of PROJ.4. We did see some screenshots in this part of the talk, as well as pictures of output. However, there seem to be a lag of how can the audience as open source developers take the products devleoped by Evers group and extend them to moneymaking private enterprise products?
We believe it would have been better if all the time of the keynote was used by the first presenter, and the second presenter was given a 20 minute slot in track 2 or 3 at another time during the day.

After the keynote we attended Cornelius Kölbel's presentation "Tow factor authentication with open source project privacyIDEA". Why should I go through the trouble of deploying this open source system and maintaining it in stead of relying on a third party service. Neither was the question "Is someone providing privayIDEA as a service?" that I can subscribe to just like VPN-services. Clearly Cornelius knows the technology, but after the presentation I was thinking: Why should we spend time on this and not just use Google's services?

The last presentation we heard before lunch was titled "Is Linux Desktop security worse than Windows 10?" by Hanno. He talked about using technology like ASLR and PIE, which have been in the Linux kernel since version 2.6, to avoid that programs run in the same address space every time. This will make it more difficult to exploit automatic downloads on access to a site. He mentioned, that he did not know how far openSUSE was with this fix. However, today I discovered, that the chair of openSUSE responded to this question in February by stating, that a lot of work had already been done, but that it is unfortunately not complete yet, and then promissed, that he would speed things up.

After lunch we first attended Bo Simonson's presentation "Kopano - sharing &  communication software for business". Kapano is basically an open source groupware tool forked from Zarafa. Unfortunately Bo failed to convince me to try Kopano, because at several points during the presentation and quenstions period, he indicated there were features in Kopano, which he did not use. That is not a good response, when you are attempting to get people to try something new and different. The second presentation after lunch was "(Lack of) Cryptographic Security of NemID, Dankort, and Mobilepay" by Thue Janus Kristensen. Thue had a point about the NemID login screen not indicating, that your attached to Nets' servers during the login process, and there is no indication of this on the screen. Unlike the Google Login popup. However, we are not certain why Dankort and MobilePay are mentioned in the title, since they are quite different technologies from NemID, and I don't really see the connection between the three. Thue unfortunately did not have content for a 20 minutes presentation, and his statement was unsubstantated and taken apart by the audience.

The community day finished by two excellent presentations. First Georg Koppen's "Surfing the Web over Tor with Tor Browser", during which we learned that privacy technology from the Tor Browser is being implement in the main Firefox Browser, which the Tow Browser is based on. This has already happened with code in version 52 of the Firefox Browser, and is also planned for version 59 of the browser. The Tor Browser allows you to surf the internet through the Tor network of servers, so all the destination can see about you is, that you came from the Tor network, but not which computer you entered the Too network with. Naturally such technology can be misused with criminal intend. Georg also told us, that a Tor Browser for Android is under development.

The final talk of this open source day was not about software, but about hardware. Alicia Gibb gave an excellent presentation about "Open Source Hardware".

Value for money?

Overall it appears, the organizers were less prepared than at past Open Source Community Days in Copenhagen. Maybe that reflected on the speakers, also appeared less prepared, than at past events. If OSD is to survive, then both organizers and speakers need to come to the community day better prepared. If the Business Day was of similar quality, then it would have been a disaster.

There was also to be a speakers corner for impromptu talks, but without any slide presentations. However, there were no pre-announced talks, as at previous community days, and there were no facility to show slides. That makes technical talks a bit of a challenge. Although most of us coped with that 40 years ago.

It appeared as if the people at the reception and the coat room were hired as a group, and the organizers didn't have volunteers for these positions. We noticed quite few of the leaders and organizers from past community days.

A decision to attend next year is dependent on better speakers, better organizers and organisation, and better facilities for impromptu talks (speakers corner).
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What can we learn from the "human error" during the Oscars?

posted Mar 5, 2017, 6:21 AM by Niels Jensen   [ updated Mar 22, 2017, 3:43 AM ]

At the Oscars 2017 the wrong movie was at first declared a winner of the best movie award. That turned out to be a mistake. Others would properly call it a human error, because the wrong envelope was handed to one to the two host on the stage in Hollywood. If you are in the latter group, then I suggest using a few minutes to watch a video from Lund University's Human Factors and System Safety department here.

First learning from the Oscars is that, what happened at the Oscars was NOT a human error. I would classify it as an envelope design error. However, one could also argue, that it was a envelope circulation control error. Maybe it was actually the circulation system, which did not work this time around.

In his blog Steven Shorrock points out, that what happened at The Oscars was essentially the start of the discipline human factors and ergonomics during WWII. More relevant however, is that the design of the envelopes, were such, that it is a surprise, that this has not happened before in the history of The Oscars. On the outside all the envelopes at the Oscars were completely identical. This means if was completely up to the assistancts from PriceWaterhouseCooper to ensure that the correct envelope was handed to the host on the stage. Given the number of envelopes and the fact, that duplicates of each were available the likelihood of a wrong envelope being handed to a host can easily be calculated.

Second learning from the Oscars is that, handing information from one person to another should be analyzed as a transportation system, where items can e.g. be wrongly delivered. Although the Oscars considered something could happen to the host on stage, their risk assessment did not consider the transportation risk involved in handling the envelopes. 

As Steven writes: "Experience of human factors suggests a number of coding methods, e.g. shape, colour, size, that used appropriately, can help to make vital distinctions.", and points out that within the pharma industry both the European Medicines and the UK's National Health Service have developed guidelines for design for patient safety of medication packaging, attached below. 

From the outside it appears, the stage host at the Oscars did in some way realize, that he did not have the correct envelope. Since this situation was properly not covered in the rehearsal for the Oscars, the host became uncertain about what to do. 

Third learning from the Oscars is that, you should train people on abnormal situation handling. 

Steven finnish by writing that, for the post part the human in the system is less like a golden Oscar, and more like someone using the abilities of mind and body to connect parts of a system that only work because people make them work. This aspect of human performance in the wild is usually taken for granted. But in the real world, peopel create safety. And for that, they deserve an Oscar.
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Could this hazard have been discovered if a computer assisted HAZOP was performed?

posted Jan 28, 2017, 12:00 PM by Niels Jensen   [ updated Mar 22, 2017, 3:32 AM ]

Blocked In - Williams Olefins Plant

Safepark certainly believe the answer to this quesiton is YES. The reason is that MFM models of the unit can easily be developed, and that such models allow the reasoning about causes and consequences of deviations, the results of which would assist HAZOP teams during either a MoC or HAZOP study. A simple model could be developed with less than a days work by an expert in MFM model development.

The video to the left was recently released by the #CSB. A small design change that was performed at the Willams Olefins Plant many years ago to allow a distillation tower to run with just one reboiler instead of two in parallel resulted in 2013 in an #overpressurization and rupture of one of the reboilers. The resulting explosion killed two workers and injure many more. A copy of the CSB Case Study can be downloaded from this page. The above pictures are curtesy of CSB.

The design change resulted in it being possible to isolated the reboiler from its protective safety valve. This hazards was not discovered during a MoC or 3 later PHAs. That different teams of experts did not identify the hazard which caused the explosion in 2013.

I would be relatively easy to construct a functional model using multilevel flow modelling (MFM) to investigate possible overpressure scenarios, and hence identify the hazard, which humans overlooked. Safepark is involved with a Danish research group at DTU, which is working to make computer assisted HAZOP a reality for situations, such as this one. 
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Challenges in editing mp4-videos under openSUSE Leap 42.2 solved

posted Jan 8, 2017, 10:10 AM by Niels Jensen   [ updated Jan 8, 2017, 10:11 AM ]

About a year ago I inherited my sons Nexus 6 phone, and during this first year I have been quite pleased with it. I can record mp4-videos with excellent sound and picture quality. However the challenge start when I want to edit one of thee videos in openSUSE Leap 42.2. My preferred tools are ffmpeg and openshot. I use ffmpeg for croping, and then openshot for adding an opening picture and ending credits. This has for years worked fine with videos recorded with my Canon EOS 550D camera, which creates mov-videos, that are easily converted to other formats using ffmpeg. This is more abotu knowing your OS and the software installed on it, than anything wrong with the software or the error messages it provides.

Increasing frustration with ffmpeg

No such look with mp4-videeos. Or any other formats, which are containers for mp4. However, I was able to play the mp4-videos in smPlayer. While attempting to solve the issue I tried different output files to ffmpeg, without what demuxing and muxing capabilities my installed version of ffmpeg had. For example the command "ffmpeg -i SK.mp4 SK.flv", gave the error message "[NULL @ 0x798ea0] Unable to find a suitable output format for 'SK.flv' " followed by "SK.flv: Invalid argument". Later inspection of the output from "ffmpeg -formats" reveiled, that ffmpeg was correct. I even googled the message "Unable to find a suitable output format", and discovered that others encountered this message. But I did not find anything pointing towards a solution. So the learning here is: Check that the installed version of the software you are using is able to do, what you want to do!

Since I was pressed for time I turned to VLC. This video player also have some editing capabities, e.g. specification of cropping parameters before convesion to another format. I chose the ogg-format. This resulted in a playable file, but with somewhat reduced picture quality compared to what I was used to from ffmpeg.

What I should have done in the first place

Turns out the trick is to go to the openSUSE Community webpage at and use the 1-click installer for either KDE or GNOME. If things don't work after installing the codecs, make sure all your multimedia packages are coming from Packman. Go to YaST Software Managment, click "View", click "Repositories", select the Packman Repository, click on "Switch system packages". This will replace already installed packages with packages from the Packman repository and also install any packages your are missing. On our system we were missing 8 packages and 36 packages were replaced. And as usuall with linux no restart is needed. Both in openShot and in ffmpeg.

At first I had followed the instructions at "Unoffical Guide to openSUSE Leap 42.2 13. Multimedia Codecs" at but overlloked the small print, which states "Afterwards make sure all your multimedia packages are coming from the Packman Repository: Start "YaST Software Management", then click on "View" and select "Rositories". Then select the Packman Repository and click on the buttom "Switch system packages" at the top of the list, and finally click on "Accept" to install the pacakges from the Packman Repository.

The legal reason for my problems is that openSUSE Leap 42.2 has to comply with the DMCA. I think that is this case the issue is the difference between "free to use" - properly for non-commercial perposes - and "free to distribute". 

Discovered a new feature of convert - the linux commandline workhorse!

posted Nov 29, 2016, 1:06 PM by Niels Jensen   [ updated Dec 6, 2016, 11:12 PM ]

For years we have been using pdfsam to manipulate pdf-file, such as merge, rotate, extract etc. Today, I had to manipulate af pdf-file, which would not open in pdfsam. A quick Google search indicated, that convert could be used to extract parts of a pdf-file. The first attempt "convert file.pdf[48-52] newfile.pdf" worked, but the quality of the resulting pdf-file was rather poor. So we decided to use the density parameter in the extraction, and "convert -density 300x300 file.pdf[48-52] newfile.pdf produced an excellent extract. 

Linux commandline utilities, may take some learning, but in many situations the learning pay off. Pdfsam will likely still be our choice if individual pages have to be taken from different pdf-files and merged into a new file with some rotations.

Exciting day with PhD students from DTU Chemistry

posted Nov 11, 2016, 4:40 AM by Niels Jensen   [ updated Nov 11, 2016, 12:26 PM ]

Yesterday DTU Chemistry had their 6th annual PhD Symposium at Pharmakon in Hillerød about 45 minutes drive northwest of Copenhagen. It was an exciting day with 13 oral presentation and 27 poster presentations ranging from reservoir simulation to drug discovery. There was also a guest speaker from Zealand Pharma. DTU is the largest engineering university in Northern Europe, and DTU Chemistry is their integrated inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry and physical chemistry with activities ranging from oil reservoir simulation to synthesis of new cancer drug candidates. This fall 21 new PhD students joined the department. Department chairman is Erling H. Stenby, who for many years was the leader of the IVC-SEP group at DTU Chemical Engineering. Professor Stenby moved to DTU Chemistry about six years ago. The PhD Symposium was arranged and hosted by the ChemClub - at club for PhD students at DTU Chemistry.

The day started with a presentation on simultaneous calculation of chemical and phase equilibria of closed systems by Christos Tsanas. Christos' algorithm used Lagrange multipliers for minimization of Gibbs energy, and involve two steps. In the first step the total numbers of moles and the number of phases are fixed, and a subset of equations solved for the Lagrange multipliers.In the second step these Lagrange multipliers are used to solve the complete set of equations. The the stability of the phase(s) are tested, and phases are added if the system is found to be unstable, and the calculations repeated. Christos have successfully tested the algorithm on VL and VLL equilibria of reactive systems. Among the systems tested were MTBE synthesis (I believe the compound was no longer relevant?) and alkylation of m-Xylene to separate it using distillation. The final oral presentation by Duncan Paterson on flash calculations in thermal reservoir simulation solved a similar problem, but did not account for reactions. Duncan's work allows the use flash calculation is reservoir simulation of heavy oil deposit in Canada were steam injection is used to make the oil moveable, such as found e.g. at Cold Lake and Kearl.

Esben Thomas gave a very interesting presentation on deracemization using shaped-pulse dynamic stark control. His simulation involved separation of isomers of 3,5-difluoro-3',5'-dibromobipenyl. The associated experiments was done in collaboration with Aarhus University, and can result in purity of around 90%. Rouzana Thumbayil presented work on development of selective catalysis with metal nanoparticles in porous materials for one step production of MIBK. To my surprise I learned, that MIBK is increasing used in paints, with annual production increasing by10% to currently around 380,000 tons MIBK. In the eighties and nineties MIBK was widely used for washing printed circuit boards, and it was discovered MIBK has a negative effect on pregnant woman. Rouzana catalyst is able to produce MIBK in one step from acetone and hydrogen, and she is comparing nanoparticles with Palladiun, Platin and Gold.The figure to the left shows a TEM of zeolite containing encapsulated gold nanoparticles. Nedjelko Seselj also presented catalyst related resutls, but related to fuel cells and using a graphene supported gold and platinum catalyst.

Arun Kumar talked about understanding the role of structural and chemical properties of the membrane protein presenilin-1 (PSEN1) in Alzheimer's disease. Almost 200 mutations in PSEN1 are believed to cause early-onset of Alzheimer's disease. His work is however, purely molecular dynamic simulations.Gianluca Levi used molecular simulation in direct dynamics studies of transition metal complexes for solar energy conversion. The work done in collaboration with the Department of Physics use the X-ray Free Electron Laser facility at Stanford to study reaction on femto-second time-scales.Peter Jakobsen gave an interesting presentation on use of ionic liquids for NOx removal - not in powerplants, but in other situations. The diagram to the right shows a catalytic cycle for the oxidation of NO in ionic liquids.

Arnab Halder talked about his bioengineered graphene based flexible biosensing platform, which he has developed for measuring blood glucose and cholesterol. The current versions are printed on a flexible substrate for use on the skin. The developed sensors had a linear response in the ranges of interest for medical usage, and have been sucessfully compared to hospital laboratory measurements.

During the afternoon three medical related results were presented. Jorge Peiro talked about prodrugs sensitive to reactive oxygen species for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases and cancer. Prodrugs are compounds, which are converted to drugs at the action site inside the cells. Hence they don't have an effect on healthy cells. Kim Motensen talked about high-throughput screening technology for profiling of substrates for histone deacetylase enzymes in rational design of selective HDAC inhibitors. Finally Christian Kjeldsen talked about dynamic nuclear polarization NMR of enzymatic carbohydrate conversion. Equipment has been installed both at Skejby and Rigshospitalet, and clinical application will start early next year. The diagram on the lift shows spectra of a sample containing pyruvate-1 labelled with C-13. The top spectrum is 2048 scans without hyperpolarization, and the bottom a single scan after hyperpolarization.

The poster presentations were dominated by medical related topics, such as Alina Kulakova's poster on "Protein-Excipient Interactions and Protein-Protein Internation in Formulation" or Gokce Engudar's poster on "Development of Transmembrane Ammonium Sulfate and pH Gradient Liposomes for Combined PET/CT Imaging", and by catalysis related topics, such as Irene Tosi's poster on "Zeolites Catalysts for the Hydrolysis of Glycosidic Bonds" or Bo Jessen's poster on "Developments of Catalytic Reactions to Prepare Bio-Based Polymer Building Blocks". The PhD students at DTU Chemistry don't shy away form using advanced technology in their presentations, such as a video clip in an oral presentation or a vidoe presentation as part of a poster.

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