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Office365 on web

Today I started up my laptop and I found this message on all Office365 applications:

The operating system is not presently configured to run this application

So apart of looking into Internet for a solution and open a ticket to the service I have started to use all these applications through the web and some from the mobile.

The issue and the solution

Apparently the applications are trying to open in safe mode and they are not allowed to run properly.

The solution is to upgrade the Office365 from the web. A task that is taking hours.

The alternative, work on web + mobile alternatives

The Office365 upgrade blocks all the other activities of your computer, so this limits that you only can work with your browser.

  • I was fortunate as I had a chrome session opened and I can switch to it.
  • I can open Outlook, SharePoint, excel online, word and one-drive.
  • I cannot download files, but I found that this is something related to the block forced by the updated program.
  • I cannot open Skype call on the web as it tries to open an emergent screen, and the lock forced by the updated program.
  • I had to reboot the computer and now the OS works well, I tried to install Office365 again but a message that there is another installation in process showed up. I continue waiting.

Finnally, now it works again.

After 7 hours downloading and doing things on the background, a screen with the installation showed up. The process completed successfully but I had to re-start the laptop again.

Now I can comeback to my day to day.

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Hello Woocommerce, bye bye Prestashop

Lately I had a lot of problems with Prestashop that I was not able to solve. Maybe because I was not experience enough with it, or maybe because I did not understood how it works. The point is that I need to have something operational and with ability to solve the issues.

Yesterday I was looking for an alternative to rescue the data in an affordable format, and given the fact that some months ago I did a test with WooCommerce I though: I must not be the first one doing this.

So I installed a new WordPress instance, I installed WooCommerce and I used one of the plug-ins I found in the market place.

FG PrestaShop to WooCommerce

By Fréderic Gilles is the plug-in I used, very straight forward, with clear documentation, and nice log that tracks the situation of the data migration.

After that I cleaned some old data, review the categories and tags and that’s it. Now we only have to organize the menu and some widgets (I will do it during the weekend).

Total amount of work: 5 hours

My customer is now evaluating the alternative solution, let’s see what happens.

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Naufragios

Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca is the main character of this book, which explains in old Spanish, all his adventures in America. The tone of the book is very basic, the stories are brutal and without any “sweeter”.

The way they advanced, the starving periods they suffered, how they engaged with the original people of the places they were…

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Solar plants asset management

Today I was learning about on solar plants, how the projects are funded, the assets are created, exploded and managed. The technology aspect of the solar panels is not the key focus today, it’s how the asset is managed into a regulatory environment that is evolving.

The asset management of major assets as oil and gas, eolic or solar plants is a very closed market, where you have to be very well connected to be able to grab a contract.

Value Chain Mapping: Solar Plants Asset Management

Value-chain-mapping-solar-plants-assets

The main stakeholders:

  • Banks: they are adding around 70%-80% of the funds, and they continually claim reports and evidences that their investment is progressing well.
  • Investors: they are adding around 20%-30% of the funds, and they continually claim reports and evidences that their investment is progressing well.
  • Authorities: per country, per state, local authorities… the governments are raising new regulations that are basically rules that enable the solar plant to operate and sell the electricity in a very tricky market.
  • Account manager: person in charge of providing the customer the service.
  • Asset Manager: person in charge of the day to day operations in the asset management company. The ideal profile is a very organized person with knowledge of asset management and ability to handle with many type of people.

The concepts on the map:

  • Physical maintenance: it’s very mature, the specialization is easy to acquire, and the learning curve is not a stopper. To increase the skills of a electric engineer on solar panels is not complex.
  • Operations & Maintenance: there are so many companies specialized on this field. The data is typically taken from SCADA, and exploded on upper layers. To take a relevant O&M operator is key, fundamentally to obtain the funds. On top of that you build additional O&M deliverables adapted to your needs. These needs are now becoming a standard, but each one depends on where they come from. The ability to capture data from SCADAS is key on your O&M. The use of dashboards, alarms, incident management, preventive maintenance, basic data analysis, forecast is already a very mature area. So many companies provide these services since so much years ago, as they were covering in the past gas and oil customers, doing almost the same thing. For these companies, to add eolic or solar customers is not a big deal.
  • Data analysis: here is one of the areas of evolution where you can use machine learning techniques to find points of efficiency, track new scenarios and adapt yourself to new business requirements.
  • New regulatory requirements are one of the major challenges in terms of this industry. The right election of the O&M is key to be compliance, and its ability to adapt to every country/estate regulation is key to continue having the right to operate.
  • From traditional billing to billing per XXX, where XXX could be hours, days… The electric companies acquiring the electricity are adopting new ways of procurement to adapt to legislation, hence solar plants has to adapt too.
  • Use of drones, and other technologies (for instance more sensors connected to the existing SCADA) for increasing the efficiency of the plant are things to explore (for instance therm-cameras to identify the right level of work of the panels). Here the alternatives are large in number and not clear in terms of ROI.

Companies offering these services

Around this industry a lot of companies have grown, some of the focused on the technology, other focused on the business. All of them with something in common: they are working with one or two investing companies.

Energy market

Traditionally the energy market has always working on looking for the best synergies to understand how other players are contributing to the market with their energy (oil, gas, eolic, coal…). Ok, but what contribution?, for sure the one that influences the price.

The generation, transport and storage of energy contributes to the price of the energy and defines the futures market. New type of energies as solar and eolic that are starting to have impact in the major markets will also have to learn how to maximize their prices (in those countries where the regulation allow it).

For 2019-2020 some of the companies will be able to systematically maximize their efficiency analyzing the electric market prices and react according to the best “move”.

Someone could tell me, “well, we always looked to the energy market, analyzed it and try to react to the best move”.

I agree, the difference is I see machine learning making deeper analysis that enable to make decisions in a different way.

Value-chain-mapping-solar-plants-assets 2019-2020

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Hard labor, by Sam Smith

This is a tough book to read, each page is difficult to digest, and every single story is hard to read.

When I read Red and me, I found some hard stories about the racism, the challenges the players were having to dedicate their lives to this sport, etc, etc. Hard labor explains how this happens across the whole country without exception.

Hard Labor: The Battle That Birthed The Billion-Dollar NBA

The whole book goes around the Oscar Robertson’s lawsuit against the NBA that finally made possible the free agency for the NBA players.

The first days of the free agency were not good days, and the players involved in this mechanism were always in trouble.

The suit took 6 years (1970 – 1976) and it blocked the ABA – NBA merge. So you can imagine how Oscar and the other 13 players pushing the NBA as an adversary, so they treated accordingly; not easy days for these players that were spending their savings on attorneys.

The book also covers so many inside stories about the game,

and this is something that makes the book warming about the stories, the personalities of the players, and how the things happened during those days.

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The impact of ICOs on cryptos’ value

I have had some conversations related to this during the last months.

The topic

So many companies/start-ups are opening ICO processes to fund their blockchain business. They create a business plan with a budget to fund it, the currency is in dollars/euros or other FIAT currency.

The majority enable the investors to fund the project with crypto-currency, mainly bitcoins or ethers. (It would be ironic that a company based on the block-chain will not trust the 2 main block-chain coins, right?).

The point is that the money they have raised is to fund the project that is based on real cost needs: salaries, equipment, other services. The majority of the services are paid in FIAT, so you are obliged to sell these coins in the market and then use the money for your business plan.

The questions I ask my self are

  • How many of these “sells” are provoking the market to bear?
  • Is there a real impact on the market?

Let’s do some math

I have used the data from https://www.coindesk.com/ico-tracker/ to do some basic math of the situation, and this is the result.

Let’s assume:

  • Take only in consideration the number of ICOs from 2018, as the ones for 2017 are already cashed in FIAT.
  • that the companies only enable to fund with Bitcoin and Etherium (data taken from https://coinmarketcap.com/ on August/2018).
  • Let’s assume 2 scenarios:
    • Scenario 1: 30% of the collected money is done in crypto-currency.
    • Scenario 2: 70% of the collected money is done in crypto-currency.

The math would be:

The result

Ok, the analysis is very simplified, and there could be a lot of bias on it.

But at rough estimate it looks like the impact is very low even if a high percentage of the collected funds comes from crypto-currencies.

On the other hand it’s a good bunch of dollars, isn’t it?

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Crypto-currencies are more stable than some fiat currencies

Since I look into trading on crypto-currencies, I use to invest sometime reading news about them, trying to understand the real use, the real applications that are solving real problems with these virtual coins.

The predominant comment you find when you talk to anybody is:

Bitcoin is very unpredictable and the value fluctuates a lot, it’s too risky.

So well, you read and read, and then you find so many users from countries as Venezuela and Argentina, that moved their money into some of the crypto-currencies. For them this is not a risk, is an opportunity to save their savings.

Why?

The graph below shows the BTC/USD (blue line) in comparison with BTC/USD.

You can clearly can see how unstable is Bolivar in comparison to BTC, both compared with the USD.

I live in a country that is stable, economically, politically and socially. But there are other people that are not as fortunate as me. And for them, doing the simple math demonstrate that crypto currency is more stable than their own local currency.

Why they do not change to dollars?

In so many countries for the tourists they offer hotels, adventure activities, flights… with a different price every single day. The business person, the first thing they do in the morning is to consult the USD value in comparison to the local currency and then s/he defines the prices for the day.

You can pay with local currency or in dollars, but they ensure some grade of parity.

It works like this and the fact is that the continuous flow of foreign currencies and many other things that work makes the things stable. I have seen this in different countries as Thailand, Costa Rica or Vietnam.

My point is that in countries that are not as stable as the ones mentioned above, the lack of foreign currency makes the companies and the people to run behind the USD, making the supply/demand balance very unbalanced.

So, for some of these people who are able to trade to crypto-currencies, they do it, it’s not risky, it’s an opportunity.

Venezuela

In Venezuela there are so many initiatives that are evolving to escape of the inflation situation. I found these two the most interesting ones:

https://www.bitcoinvenezuela.com/ is a place where you can learn from scratch how crypto currencies work.

Banano , this is a crypto currency that comes from Nano project and tries to offer instant micro-transactions at low cost. Banano distributes the coin freely and easily using a couple of different mediums. There are individual initiatives where people is trying to use as coin to obtain food in Venezuela.

  • Here a video explaining how they do it.
  • Here an entry in Reddit asking about support.

Banano at this moment is still in distribution mode