Announcement: Welcome

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 to RobertWhetsel.com Diary of an αlphα Gεεk

This site is my journey of ideas, research and work – culminating into an unique perspective using computer science and business processes to create innovative and sustainable technology solutions.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Basically, you can read it, use it and improve it – giving me credit for my work and with the conditions that you are not allowed to profit from my ideas.

If you want to use my work for commercial purposes contact me: rwhetsel@ravensong.com

(CLI) tutorial

Installing R CLI Style

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This how-to is a command-line instruction (CLI) tutorial, a step-by-step guide to manually install R. I’m using Ubuntu server 13.10 r-base from the standard repositories, however you could substitute any of the r versions and Linux distribution as by your own requirements.

You need to conduct statistical analysis.

1. You have a Ubuntu system running,
2. you know how to login to your system,
3. you know how to get to a terminal, (I have no X there is only CLI)
4. and, MOST IMPORTANTLY the system has Internet access.

Install Steps:
1. First you need to install r-base, the base R package if it is not installed on your system.
sudo apt-get install r-base

2. Test your install

At this point you should see something like:
R version 3.01 (2013-05-16) –“Good Sport”
Copyright (C) 2013 The R Foundation for Statistical Computing
Platform: x86_64-pc-;inux-gnu (64-bit)
more stuff about R things….
Type ‘q()’ to quit R.

Now give R a spin:
>fred <- c(2,4,6,8)
>[1] 2 4 6 8
>fred [3]
>[1] 6

If everything went as planned it takes all of one minute to go through this process.


My Resume

Member Board of Directors

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Selected Recent Civilian Experience

Skilled Communicator • Accomplished Mentor • Analytic Problem Solver

Leader in the Cyber and Intelligence Field • Expert at Building Consensus • Technical Translator

StartUp Partners, Inc. (January 2014 – Present)

Aberdeen, MD

The StartUp Partnership (SPI) Veterans Entrepreneur Program (VEP) supports Veterans with business growth and startup ventures. Members of Startup Partners, Inc. are an elite group of people and organizations, passionate about excellence and assisting others to be successful.

  • Serve as acting CTO for SPI.
  • Founded CyIntVets, a program to help veterans build a business around their cyber and intelligence skills.
  • Mentor and educate CyIntVets in technical relevancy and marketing skills.
  • Build and sustain relationships with cyber companies and organizations.
Future Think

Best Laid Plans

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The vicious cycle is one potential impact on a sociotechnical plan for a single data strategy and is something that all large organizations may experience as this type of strategy is implemented. There are natural competing resources in any large organization and trying to align data for an entire organization under a single office calls for a reshuffling of resources, monies, personal and equipment. In addition, to be able to successfully execute the necessary steps the plan also needs the authority and support of senior leadership. This type of consolidation strategy is good for the overall organization but at the costs of the individual offices.

The different offices competing for resources creates natural adversarial relationships between directors and creates an air of distrust. According to Sherden, “reinforcing dynamic can cause small events to escalate with unexpected outcomes” (Sheden, 2011). For example, having a team of folks dedicated to data for a large organization is something that supports the entire organization in lieu of multiple offices having their own dedicated staffs would cut across on each individual office budgets. In this time of reducing cost each office is trying to hang on to as much resources as they can.

One office may feel unjustly targeted if their efforts are disproportionate to the other offices data efforts causing an escalation of counter measures such as hiding programs, personnel and resources. Even though an organization has given the resources and authority to care, feed and maintain the data strategy other office might continue their own lines of their data strategy. A clear example of this in the market place is hardware fragmentation of android devices. Creating different standards for a device that has the same basic functionality across vendors is causing a series unexpected events.

This could also cause an escalation of hostility towards the office receiving the responsibility of executing the mission by way of stonewalling of information needed for research, procrastinating on resource requests or outright refusing to support the strategy by not responding basically ignoring the authority. This in turn could become similar to an arms race or trade war but instead of hording nuclear weapons or goods they would horde data resources while fainting their good intentions.

One of the most prevalent forces is the resistance to change. Humans are creature of habit and we all like familiarity. Any change tends to cause controversy especially if the change affects the way large organization by removing roles, responsibilities and resources. Being overwhelmed offices are fighting for every person to handle existing workloads and every dollar to be able adequately resource programs. Change that takes these things away from an office will undoubtedly end in fighting any sociotechnical plan for a single data strategy.


Sherden, W. (2011). Best laid plans. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger.

Future Think

Read All About It!

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In the book Scenario Planning by Woody Wade demonstrated a case study on the newspaper industry that I found to be interesting. 1998 was the year I was working with one of the first yellow pages like content providers on the Internet. A regional Internet service provider (ISP) had a vision that the starting point for users signing onto the Internet would be key in delivering content and generating add revenue. Be the first page the users would see was the rule of thought. Like all great ideas that come before their time – the small regional ISP faded into web with the rest of the era companies. The similarities were uncanny in how Wade described one of the scenario and this dotGone business.

The newspaper business is on the cusp of being a thing of history. According to Wade, “the industry is in peril” (Wade 2012). More than most have been reduced to barely resemble what they did a decade ago and more than 150 have closed since the economic downturn in 2008 (Wade, 2012). Leaders in this industry have struggled with what to do with their shrinking market shares and revenues. Some of the larger publications are trying to remake themselves into something new, trying for find new revenue streams.

The scenario based planning proposed for four different outcomes based on four forces: mass audience v.s. targeted audience and traditional media v.s. disruptive media. This translated into disruptive media for the masses, disruptive media for targeted audiences, traditional media for the masses and traditional media for targeted audiences. The planning process achieved the goal of planning for four possible different futures for the newspaper industry. Stepping forward to the year 2020 the scenarios are fleshed out first with general statements and then more specific details are added. Through this process new revenue models were suggested, multichannel strategies were uncovered and other key issues were uncovered. The mechanics of scenario planning process allowed for creating viable future outcomes and therefore allow for preparing for likely futures in the industry.

Wade, W. (2012). Scenario Planning: A Field Guide to the Future. John Wiley & Sons.

Future Think

The Gamification of Everything

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Looking at future technologies we see that games and gamification is rapidly invading mainstream society (Xu, 2011). Asian markets, according to DeMaria, are much further ahead than western markets in monetizing games and have been successful in applying marketing gamification (DeMaria, 2007). Gamification of marketing in social user generated games is providing numerous new opportunities for game developers and companies (Chaidogiannou, 2012). This is occurring even though, according to New Media Consortium (NMC) report, Horizon Report > 2013 Higher Education Edition, game and gamification is a midterm horizon (NMC’s Horizon Project, 2013). Additionally, in the same NMC report, game and gamification was identified as a technology to watch (NMC’s Horizon Project, 2013). Importantly, the report states that this technology will be adopted into mainstream use within the next two to three years.

This prediction can be seen in motion all around us now, such as, DueProps – an app that acknowledges employees’ accomplishments by offering incentives and rewards and EpicWin – a task management app that turns the user into a role playing game character gaining experience points by completing goals and tasks. These and many other similar applications clearly show that this forward thinking technology is poised to take hold in everyday use. However, it is still not a foregone conclusion. One must also acknowledge that a number of external forces exist that will still shape the outcome of this technology. Next, in this post, we will look at a couple of these forces and speculate how they may affect this exciting technology trend.

One and probably the strongest force affecting the gamification of everything is the rapid expansion of the monetizing of the mobile market (DeMaria, 2007). The growth of mobility landscape is causing a massive disruption of technology in conventional spaces by creating new capabilities and services. Furthermore, this trend is predicted to continue to grow as the value chain is exploited and emerging technologies are implemented (Sabat, 2002). One source states that it “opens up opportunity for new type of entrepreneurs to tap into the fast-growing mobile application market, bypassing the incumbent operators and requiring minimal capitals” (Tiarawut, 2013).

Another noted external force is the social acceptance of gaming and the expansion of the casual gamer category (DeMaria, 2007). Gamification of society is becoming more accepted in different areas other than the previous accepted demographics. DeMaria noted that, in studies conducted by PopCap, a casual game producer, casual gamers ere shown to be a large and growing segment of players (DeMaria, 2007). Another key aspect of the social acceptance of gamification is the willingness of the work force and college graduates to learn outside of traditional accepted venues as shown in NMC’s Horizon Report (NMC’s Horizon Project, 2013).

In my opinion, the future is never a certainty and correctly predicting future technologies is still mostly guesswork. However, the indicators are here that mainstreaming of this technology is definitely on the horizon. It is clear that these are very exciting times for emerging technologies.


Chaidogiannou, A. (2012). Game-based marketing.

DeMaria, R. (2007). Reset: Changing the way we look at video games. Berrett­Koehler Publishers.

NMC’s Horizon Project. (2013, FEB 04). The nmc horizon report: 2013 higher education. Retrieved from
http://he2013.wiki.nmc.org/ on October 2013.

Sabat, H. K. (2002). The evolving mobile wireless value chain and market structure. Telecommunications Policy, 26(9), 505-535.

Tiarawut, S. (2013). Mobile Technology: Opportunity for Entrepreneurship. Wireless Personal Communications, 1-7.

Xu, Y. (2011). Literature Review on Web Application Gamification and Analytics. CSDL Technical Report 11-05.

Future Think

Games and Gamification of Education

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The Horizon Report 2013 Higher Education Edition by the New Media Consortium’s (NMC)’s Horizon Project lists key technologies and their trends. As well as the impact of key emerging technologies on education and the likely time-line of when those new technologies enter into our mainstream lives. One key technology trend from the Horizon Report is the emerging of games and gamification. The target “Time-to-Adoption Horizon” for games and gamification of education is two to three years, a mid-term horizon, according to the report (NMC’s Horizon Project, 2013).

Educational games are on the horizon of a great awaking – meaning that games are poised to transcend the current genre of first person shooters, blasting asteroids or fighting monsters for gold and glory. Future game technology for higher education is being taught in game and emerging media programs in colleges and universities (Full Sail University, 2013). Research on game studies have proved that games provide secondary effects and awards (DeMaria, 2007). DeMaria believes, “video games can offer opportunities for positive collateral learning” (DeMaria, 2007).

Games have matured and the types of people playing games have morphed as well. The old demographic of a game player is no longer the 14 year old male spending hours in front of the console dedicating all of his free time in finding every little trick that programmers have hidden in the game (Juul, 2012). The casual gamer is the largest growing population of gamers, “played by men, women young and old” (Juul, 2012). Bringing a new error of design game developers have the ability to use games as an “intentional medium of positive change”, (DeMaria, 2007). Additionally, with the advancement of mobile technologies the variety of types of games for access to games, “anytime from anyplace”, has allowed traditional non-gamers to become gamers (NMC’s Horizon Project, 2013).

Gamification of education is the act of offering reward for completion of learning events. The idea of changing mindsets of the players and creating a reward system to redirect student’s efforts is nothing new. However, applying those concepts to games of learning can create a positive impact. DeMaria described these concepts in his book, Reset. He called this teach, model, simulate, and inspire and points out that this has been used in previous game design (DeMaria, 2007). We also this at work in the example in the NMC Horizon Report when using the Foursquare example of reward (NMC’s Horizon Project, 2013).


DeMaria, R. (2007). Reset: Changing the way we look at video games. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Full Sail University. (2013). Masters of science – mobile gaming. Retrieved from http://www.fullsail.edu/degrees/online/mobile-gaming-masters/courses/game-theory-and-innovative-game-design-MBG-550 on Nov 02 2013.

Juul, J. (2012). A casual revolution: Reinventing video games and their players. The MIT Press.

NMC’s Horizon Project. (2013, FEB 04). The nmc horizon report: 2013 higher education . Retrieved from http://he-2013.wiki.nmc.org/ on October 2013.

Future Think

Comparing and Contrasting the Nominal Group Technique with the Delphi method

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Delphi Technique, ideas are gathered from group members (who are experts and can be anywhere in the world) but there is no communication between participants. These ideas are compiled and the most common are put forward for further comment by the group members. Multiple rounds can follow with the intent to reach as much a consensus as possible. This could be a protracted process depending on the number of rounds necessary to achieve some consensus. Therefore, it would not be amenable for situations where predictions are needed for short-term decision-making.

In contrast, Nominal Group Technique (NGT) involves face-to-face meeting and opinions are given which allows for direct interaction. The structure involves members working by themselves and contributing their initial thoughts. There is then a period where members can discuss and after that members split off again to finalize their individual conclusions. The majority consensus would be drawn from these final individual work efforts. This type of approach is particularly amenable to specific problem solving that cannot afford long protracted rounds of deliberation. Both techniques use contributions from experts but there is opportunity to discuss face to face in NGT.

One example for using NGT would be for problem solving using a small group of experts where the problem is narrowly focused and consensus needs to be achieved within a short time (Graefe, & Armstrong, 2011). In my job, one example would be a team with representatives from different agencies. The team is charged with coming up with best practices for a future technology initiative that is imminent. There is no time for many iterations and involves a motivated group of experts. They would be able to identify top priorities in best practices through the NGT method.



Graefe, A., & Armstrong, J. S. (2011). Comparing face-to-face meetings, nominal groups, Delphi and prediction markets on an estimation task. International Journal of Forecasting, 27(1), 183-195.