Monthly Archives: January 2014

Craft Beers in and of Hong Kong?

(original post: July 17, 2013) I have a few opportunities to try out some craft beers in the United States, especially IPA types. Here is just one example. One flavor of Lagunitas Beer I am now having a can of Harbin beer, with a 3.6% ABV and an ingredient of rice (大米). There are other choices such as the Pearl River Beer and the Heineken. I wonder if craft beer can have a place in the beer drinking community in Hong Kong or in Southern China? Wonder if any brewmasters out there is thinking of testing out such markets? I am quite interested in such endeavor, now trying my hands first time in home brewing. Not sure how it comes out yet – I will know in another week.

If you share similar interests, drop me a line with ‘craft beer’ as the subject line.

Happy Fun Pig Bar (樂趣朱爸)

(original post: August 25, 2013) I started the ‘Fade to Black IPA’ brewing last week (15th of August). A recipe from the Wine & Hop Shop in Madison, Wisconsin. A bit struggling with the cooking, or steeping as I could only use the medium burner in my gas range!! Well, I was happily following directions from the instruction that came with the recipe. I was happy when I poured the two plastic bottles of dark malt extract into the water, knowing now that for another hour, I would be watching the bubbles rising from the bucket of wort!! Yeah! The cold break took a bit effort as ice did not come easy. I can’t jump into the car, speed down to the neighbourhood Smith’s grocery store and come back with a bag or two ice. No, siree. Not here in Hong Kong. So, I filled my water bottles with tap water and made a few ‘ice bottle cubes!’ the cold break went slowly with the help of running tap water. The wort finally reached the desired temperature without killing the yeast that was about to jump in and kick into action fermenting… In the wort, there were two packages of Columbus hop and one Centennial hop. I do like the smell of hops. Will find other ways to use the hop later. So, into the bucket with the wort and some cold water; dumped the package of dry yeast in, snapped on the lid, tightened the fermentation lock, and stored the bucket into the air-conditioned room. Happy. Day one, the bubbling was going up here and there; felt a bit curious as it was not as rigorous as the one gallon brew I did last time (the very first time after the lesson from HK Brew). Well into the 7 days, the bubbling subsided too early; no head that I could see through the ‘clear’ white plastic bucket!!

Anyway, I opened the bucket on the 8th day and racked the content into a carboy (with a package of Columbus and a package of Centennial inside already). Color looked ok, smell was ok and the taste a bit bitter; ok for me. Not crisp. Not clear. No worry. Capped the carboy with the air lock. Then I went back to the recipe for a checkup – because when I got those two packages of hops for the second stage of fermentation, I found two remaining packages in my recipe pack!! One is glucose (for bottling), and one pound bag of brown sugar. Yes, I checked the recipe, there was that one pound. Scanning down the instruction, and there it was – add malt extract AND brown sugar!! Oh no. I skipped completely – smart alley not looking at the recipe when doing the wort!! No wonder the yeast was not happy. They were not fed right with the sugar, seriously reducing their fermenting behaviour.

Ok, to save myself, I panically dumped the whole pound into the carboy and wish myself luck. To be continued.

Back to Title of this post – that would be my first try to a name of the bar that I am trying to start. Good luck to me. More on this later.

Visibility Home (original post: April 5, 2013)

It is not a phone. It is not an OS. It is just a ‘family of apps.’ Well, that was said about ‘Facebook Home’ – from our view, an integrative presentation of what concerns you most when you wake up in the morning. So much as we label the web is now migrating into an integrative era. We are used to getting a software in a box that satisfies an identified need that can be enabled by starting that software in a computer, or now that compute node in the cloud. Nonetheless, we don’t expect there is one software that can be customized to do what one wants to do, from word processing to that Facebook posting. It is unlikely in my lifetime that Adobe and Microsoft will become one company that an Adobe Home software package can allow me to do any fancy creative suite manipulation while I am in powerpoint – really, I just want to remove that dimple from the person in that image I grab off the Internet. Tough. As tough as the reasoning behind gay marriage arguments.

If we take that thought, an integrative view of supply chain would be most beneficial to any supply chain participant at anytime anywhere. That elusive supply chain visibility is what we want to crystalize in this blog (yes, I changed the label from RFID Adoption in Supply Chains to Supply Chain Visibility). Riding on the chit chat, ‘Visibility Home’ would be what the vCloud (Visibility Cloud) would offer. Yes, in our design of vCloud, apps is the one interface that each participant will have to gain supply chain visibility. Not sure I like the label ‘Visibility Home’ (VH), and the ‘concept’ of it. ‘Home’ is too comfortable!! ‘War Room’ is too urgent, yet it is true that losses or wins can be accomplished. Anyway, I need a word, like ‘playbook’, ‘makeup kit’, ‘vPad’, …

vCloud Update (original post: April 4, 2013)

A lot of efforts has been put into the development and justification for the vCloud project. With many unfortunate requests from the granting governmental agencies, we managed to reach a state that only final supporting documents were needed to submit to complete the process and project should begin soon after. The surprise came when the key sponsor backed out of the project, comfortably covered their behinds and left the project dead not even on arrival!! Anyway, equity has been created by the team. We will document the idea here.

I will move on to other interests so this blog will have a mix of topics that you will find appearing with different tags. The website will also be re-layout to show the change in focus. Let me know if you have any comments.

Invisible Weakness (original post: October 9, 2012)

The Visibility Cloud (VC) project is still broiled in misplaced save-my-own-ass bureaucracy of a government agency. Instead of waiting and getting into the finger-pointing room, I become invisible to save my own sanity. On the flight from Madison, WI to Las Vegas, NV, I read the Lee Child’s Bad Luck & Trouble, a question was asked of one’s weaknesses and strengths. Weaknesses are many, but what matters in a two party dealing, the weaknesses of the other party are most important. Quite often than not, the weaknesses, if any, of the other party, are not apparent; even some are invisible to both parties. VC is an IT innovation that is most effective when the invisible weaknesses of a supply chain (or supply chains) are discovered. Using SCOR to establish a common baseline (of the supply chain in question) is a start of the discovery process (yet to be documented, discussed and improved if it is a viable tool). With the invisible weaknesses identified, (RFID-enabled) hotspots are mapped, then the VC comes into play with a short deployment period (I would say 3 months) for the supply chain parties to gain Supply Chain Visibility (SCV) to immediately put the invisible weaknesses now visible in check. Sound exciting? It is to me!! During my cooling period, I must re-align my priority, reduce my spread and concentrate on a few areas of interests. It is likely that I will complete my effort to ‘define’ SCV, and do some programming on the side (it is a pain now since GoDaddy is pulling Java off my hosting site – basically killing what I have done so far!!) for fun. To de-stress once in a while with gardening and cooking!! Oh, I read A Wanted Man and it was not good as the unknowns at the beginning become too tangled and illogical at end later half of the book.

Visible Super Moon (original post: May 7, 2012)

Yesterday (May 5, 2012) was the super moon day. The moon was bright and larger (see this news article). Can we say the moon was ‘very visible?’ And because of that, we probably comment on ‘marks’ that we may not see on the moon every day (and night) before. Visibility raises our level of curiosity to a heightened state – in every aspect of our life, professionally or personally. The desert dust gathered on the front door was aptly reflected by the late morning sun when I opened the door to receive the landscape gentleman – unacceptable, I immediately rushed and wiped the door clean. Some telltale signs of aberration in supply chain operations, when visible, should garner the attentions of those responsible (SC) parties for corrective actions – on hindsight, one would wish that such signs should be ‘visible’ as soon as they manifested in the supply chains. The visibility cloud project is to prototype not just visibility but on-demand on-target push visibility that is enabled in the cloud. I will be at the Interop 2012 in Las Vegas to see where are we in the cloud computing business and what are the topics in discussion and issues at hands.

I was told the ‘invisibility” notion was too philosophical. Now, how could I explain it better?

Visibility & Invisibility (original post: April 9 2012)

I was invisible to the general public. No one in the public knows where I am now (ok, ok, I did turn off my ‘Latitude’ apps on the Android phone – even Google, I believe, is not tracking me by my WiFi spot and/or my GPS position). My social invisibility remains even I step into the land of the Great Britain with those CCTV cameras ‘looking’ at you! Right, ‘looking’ at you as in the generic you as Person X. You are only visible until perfect facial recognition software picks X up with identity. With that, my tracks are available, tracing me is another matter. Privacy issues come up when my tracks are looked at for no apparent (legal) reasons and without my consent.

Anyhow, my invisibility is eroding for sure if I carry my Android phone everywhere with some tracking apps on. In supply chains, tracks by default are created at all operational points, such as receiving, put away, pick-n-pack and shipping. With supply chain business transactional data and third-party information agents, tracing of the goods (raw materials, WIPs, products, etc.) could be constructed, and thus, visibility of the supply chain is available to some extent. Yet, we are still talking about how to gain SCV. Why?

In the field of visibility, supply chain invisibility is created by, at least, two main culprits. First, the ‘boundaries’ drawn up inherently in a supply chain!! We speak of supply chain management from the perspective of a number of echelons working together by adding values to goods in transit from upstream to downstream. The boundaries are walls that create discontinuities resulting in discussion such as supply chain integration, and daringly the classic bullwhip effects. The discontinuity renders invisibility. The second culprit is ‘thresholds.’ At this time, I would collectively label that as ‘entitlement threshold.’ What threshold would one (supply chain partner) tolerate without sacrificing data and information that adversely affect its competitiveness and sovereignty, among other sustainability characteristics. How much of one’s operations is your partner entitled to be seen? Yes, in the field of (SC) visibility, we must consider both seeing and to be seen – purely seeing has minimal value (like the CCTV). Whom to be seen and what to be seen are the entitlement consideration.

The man-made supply chain invisibility calls for supply chain visibility. We might have a solution with RFID.

Clouding the Issues (original post: December 24, 2011)

Cloud computing did raise attentions to some colleagues in the technology field. I have been struggling with a number of issues in VC (Visibility Cloud) and the clouding cold weather is not helping. Let’s look at the following picture I dreamed up while in Pattaya doing nothing:
Supply Chain Visibility Clouds

What’s on my mind: 1) not sure if ‘cloud services’ are fully in business here in Hong Kong. Was told that Singapore has most of the data centers of the big (US) players. One conversation on if ezTrack was deployed in a cloud, the discussion ended up in the efficiency of the so called provider P and the technical know-how remained to be seen. The database giant O was currently only at the partnership level with the local telecom H. No publishable cloud services were available. Please, someone sends in the clouds to Hong Kong!! 2) not sure if Android 4.0 apps development is fully entrenched in the local software companies here in Hong Kong. Few mentioned that they were capable and had the manpower, and one suggested that they did know some good Android apps developers here in Hong Kong. Could an Android app, not from the Market, once deployed in a mobile device, be able to deployed another in that device OTA? This is an important trait of our cloud-based intelligent apps. Still looking for answer – but first have to find out where to look first, and 3) not sure if a ‘dual’ inlays are at all not possible both technically and is engineering challenged – putting a NFC RFID inlay (ISO-14443) and a UHF RFID inlay (ISO-18000-6C) on one tag? The source tagging, say, of a pair of jeans at the manufacturer should demand a UHF tag for ease of handling, up until at the display shelf of a retailer. Current NFC phones would require upgrade (protocol-wise at least) before an UHF tag could be read, thus, pointing to a straightforward solution to ‘re-tag’ the jeans with a NFC/HF tag and/or a QR code.

Well, too many ‘not sure’ already!! Will have to read more to get an idea how to tackle these issues. At the same time, will read about a ‘traceability implementation case study’ from GS1 to design the plan to a GTC take on a garment supply chain. Back to work. Happy holidays.

Visibility Cloud (original post: November 17, 2011)

Trying here to formulate a better conceptualization of SCV (supply chain visibility) in the cloud. Let me just call this concept: Visibility Clouds. Yes, Clouds as in many clouds – crossing country borders and jurisdictions. We will not touch on those legal and political issues here now. Visibility Clouds is a concept where your self-service visibility is readily available in the cloud across all related supply chains in the clouds. The visibility is on-target when the RFID-IS resides in the clouds as it would be avail for Hadoop-type apps to glean information off RFID event data. What is required for this Visibility Clouds (VCs) is to push with some redesign of the visibility platform (VP) to be active in the cloud. The plug-sync-play by each supply chain party to VC will be resulted as an instance of a personalized VM in the cloud with synchronization of both on-cloud and off-cloud supply chain data (such as from the ERP-IS). Such instance will be destroyed along with data for and in the session. We must also look into inter-cloud interoperability and synchronicity. More importantly, how would, e.g., a private cloud (say, a supplier with ezTrack) gives access to a request from a party in a community cloud. We understand that this can be leveraged with the ReBAC model (Relationship-Based Access Control model, based loosely from the Role-based Access Control model) that we have developed. In principles, we argue that the conceptualization of VC is preliminary ready for reference and some realization (or verification as in design science terminology) of VC can be articulated at the technological level.

Supply Chain Visibility Service in the Cloud (original post: October 29, 2011)

Wow, anyone wants to touch on that topic? Let’s just say having ‘in the Cloud’ means that the IPSaaS (Infrastructure, Platform & Software) are all in the cloud for all the supply chain parties. Given that, how do we provide the visibility service in the cloud? In a service economy, knowledge is exchanged together (and applied) via a service to co-create value. If we take this line of service-dominant logic marketing thinking, then the service is accomplished by the existing of a visibility platform (VP) and the on-demand need of a supply chain party to gain a current snapshot of the supply chain. The knowledge of what to see is beneficial (the user) and the knowledge of how to gain that view (the technology) are being exchanged and visibility is created. Obviously, the user can access SaaS in the cloud to ‘express’ (as we have a drag-and-drop interface in the VP) the view needed, and the app that composes the accesible data and information in the RFID-IS and ERP-IS (please see previous posts) can exist also in the cloud. MapReduce may play a role in accessing the RFID-IS as it is likely to be a pool of distributed data sets (not necessary all database – or there could be NoSQL databases). I am not sure if ‘in the cloud’ requirement imposes any design issue on the visibility service? Will see once I know how to characterized the visibility service. For example, would ‘perishability’ be a characteristic? That is, a visibility service can be reused if the perishability can be tweeted. More later.