Outside-Invest Website and Blog

Based on my last article New Youtube-Channel Outside-Invest it is clear that such a channel also needs a web site. And as the video description is pretty terse, it makes sense to have a web site and blog where more details and links can be shared. 

Well so, welcome to the new Outside-invest website https://www.outside-invest.de with the same visual look and feel as the channel. The website includes an about page, more details on the motivation and channel intro and a list of social media channel besides Youtube: Pinterest and Twitter at the moment. Furthermore there is also space for having references to other blogs that I listen or watch. I think that is also important because I want to cite or refer to other channels for more detailed videos that I do not provide. We’re not in the self-marketing business overall.

A bit of disclosure for the material used there, the nice free background is from https://www.pexels.com/. On the story why the Youtube channel and this website has been  started, can be found, of course on the website, in https://www.outside-invest.de/about/.

New Youtube-Channel Outside-Invest

All the thing I ever did in life as a profession had been super interesting, be it IT management, IIoT, IT security or innovation management. But even when I worked in my own “startup” until 2015, I effectively was not working for myself but for a company, and be it mine. In the end in my own company, I’d been responsible for research and development and all kinds of technical functions but not for finance, that was the only area I kept my nose and fingers out. I though other would be better suited to do this area and I should stick to my business, which is technology. 

Rich dad poor dad
That was until last year, when I got the book “Rich Dad Poor Dad” from Robert Kiyosaki as a gift. Surely one thinks that this is yet another book from an American author that repeats one simple message over and over again to fill 200 pages of paper. While to a certain extend this is true of course, this book literally changed my life!

For the first time I got aware of the rat race I’m in as an employee of a company, be it my own or a renown big one as today. In the end one works the full 40 hours and much more before I started looking at work-life balance and looks forward for the next vacation time or weekend, just as everyone else does, right?

Having a good job, a decent house this is the way so many employees spend their life without looking at their own business and without trying to get out of that rat race seriously. Well when reading this book I realised how much I fit in this picture and that it is time to change something fundamentally. That doesn’t necessarily means not working at a good company as I do today. But it means also looking into my financial situation and how I can improve in order to at least work less at some time, even when being financially free seems very far away at the moment.

So I started to look seriously into the topic of financial education for myself and as always I tend to do such learning with very much energy and dedication, just like the other topics like security before. So one year I was thoroughly learning about finance, investing and real estate using books, youtube videos and blogs. 

Finally I was knowledgable enough to notice missing topics on youtube in the income investor community and I was doing investments that are absolutely not common to that investors do after short time. So the next phase starts, that I can myself start to publish content about finance and investment that bring value to the community and not just consume information.

outside-investThat is why I now started in September 2020 my own Youtube channel, called “outside-invest” a new channel for income investors. A new adventure and opportunity to learn how to create videos that provide value beyond company-inside videos in IT security. The introduction video provides details about motivation and what can be expected from the channel. The plan is of course to provide regularly new videos, though not weekly, regarding investment topics and systematic summaries of financial concepts. I do not intend to duplicate other content of other channels, that provide deep analytics of single stocks or funds. I leave this to the experts in the finance industry. But what I think i can provide is summarising and systematically present certain concepts as I learn them. And second transfer knowledge from areas outside of finance into the area and thus contribute to a broader understanding, such as in the first video about risk management.

Note, that the videos are currently in German but the slides display are at least partially in English.

Please feel free to watch the videos and don’t forget that even a new channel can be subscribed, you know that means the world to me! 

See you there on Youtube, on the inside-invest channel for income investors!

Books, that shape the thinking

Since last year, I’ve read plenty of books on the topic of innovation management, startups and business models. Among them classics like Eric Ries’ lean startup or the innovation dilemma from Clayton Christensen. Good basics, no doubt, but the books that really impressed me to the level that I can say they are pieces of literature that change the way one thinks are the following:

The book from Alberto Savoia (ex-Google “innovation agitator”) THE book about pretotyping. Pretotyping is the concept to validate that one builds the right “it” (e.g. product or service) before thinking and spending a lot of time, money and effort in defining how to build the product (building it right). All too often we start by building a prototype of a product and then try to verify it in the market. But even building a prototype is sometimes quite some effort, especially in bigger corporations. Pretotyping tries to make the validation of product-market fit before building a prototype with minimal cost (metric dollar to data, $TD), minimal time (hours to data, HTD) and minimal effort (distance to data, DTD). Alberto presents some, after you’ve heard it, obvious tools like market engagement hypothesis (MEH), XYZ hypothesis, hypozooming and the importance of collecting your own data (YODA). A must read, valuable for each innovator from the first to the last page! If I’d only had read this book before delving into the world of startup.

The small cross-industry innovation book is more a collection of pointer to ideas and lots of example of how to translate concepts that are established in one domain or part of an industry into a seemingly completely unrelated other industry. This is something that I already did several times in my life, so this book was a late confirmation that this type of innovation is really a very valid and relevant one and not just a dump tactical technique. 
Especially in industries, like manufacturing, that seem years behind other areas of IT, this is a very interesting source of innovation. I do think though that it requires a extremely open mind and is not easy, if one is deeply involved in a domain. Being an expert, say in manufacturing or logistics, probably makes it very hard to recognize that there are shortcoming in areas that you take for granted, that have long been solved in other domains. 

Finally the best, Simon Wardley with his wardley maps. Not yet a book, only a series of online blog articles but probably the most significant contribution to thinking about and visualizing strategy, that I’ve ever seen. He thinks so differently but sharp like a knife, that you have to be alert when reading the articles every minute, in order not to miss one of the important points. I would rate this work as one of the epocal ones and most inspiring that I’ve ever read. 

And guess what, I’ve started to use wardley maps immedately to map out the innovation landscape or solutions at work in order to understand them. But I have to say, it is somewhat difficult to create maps that other understand without explanation. One automatically creates the maps based on the own way of thinking, which might not be how others look at such a “landscape”. So it is an extremely valuable basis for having a conversation or explanation but can’t just be forwarded without adding words by mail. 

So, Simon Wardley’s articles and videos (youtube) are an absolute MUST READ for someone that is trying to find tools for detecting opportunities and evaluate innovations.

BarCamp Stuttgart 2019 (#bcs12)

BarCamp Stuttgart #12This weekend Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th of September the 12th yearly BarCamp Stuttgart took place again. As usual the event communications happens via twitter, see https://twitter.com/bcstuttgart hashtag #bcs12. I had paused for 5-6 years since last attending BCS. While the topic focus has shifted a bit since that time, it became more open and non-technical IMHO, it had been a really interesting and enjoying event again. I had the impression that this event is a place where some of the most motivated and engaged people from Stuttgart meet once a year. 

As usual, the topics on the open BarCamp had been very diverse but there were many new inputs and things to learn. The most technical session was probably on the Python scripting language, that answered some of the questions I had from my fight with python 2 versus 3 and virtualenv.
While the most physical and practical session has been Augen-Yoga:

A bit worrying is that the number of participants declined from last year’s 250. The Hospitalhof could have easily hosted more participants. So is the format of a BarCamp out of vogue eventually? It would be a pity as the organisation team did a great job again and in the contrary the BarCamp format could be used as a hack to the culture of a company potentially. No other format of event is so open, free and basic democratic that it could be an alternative or addition to corporate management updates or question and answer sessions.

So join next year again when BarCamp is again in Stuttgart or anywhere else!

Installing filebeat on Raspberry PI 3 (amd64)

Currently I’m experimenting with using a Raspberry PI 3 B+ as a network security monitoring (NSM) sensor node. So I have Bro and Suricata installed on that little guy running Kali Linux for arm64. But I need a modern way to transport the logs to its log monitoring station. So not using syslog-ng or ryslog but the best log shipper for the elastic stack, and that is Beats, better the Filebeats.

Problem: Elastic does, unfortunately, despite desperate inquiries from users in the forums not provide binaries or a .deb package for Beats. After trying some other paths I came across some receipts to install Beats on arm64 by manually compiling the binary with Go. I have to say, Go is marvelous! On the PI itself, I had bad luck, because the “go build” quickly finished with out-of-memory. So that didn’t work unfortunately on that little pal.

But because Go is so cool, I just “cross-complied” it on a bigger laptop, also running Kali Linux. And that’s so easy that I have to tell the world, because the other receipts are sometimes too specific and parts are missing for a full running manual installation, which is more than just the filebeats binary.

Step one on the other Debian-base system, the laptop, you need of course also Go installed.

# mkdir -p go/src/github.com/elastic
# cd go/src/github.com/elastic
# git clone https://github.com/elastic/beats.git
# export GOPATH=$PWD/go

You could also get the sources with “go get” bu that doesn’t matter, result the same.
Now the important step, watch out:

# export GOARCH=arm64
# cd beats
# go build -v -x

Flags just so see what’s happening, as go build is very silent otherwise. Magic, in a few seconds, you have a “filebeat” binary in this directory!

# file filebeat
filebeat: ELF 64-bit LSB executable, ARM aarch64, version 1 (SYSV), statically linked, Go BuildID=svVi8LJGhqXEjRJveTrA/7cOYouMPn1VzyeJqwq3W/TXZ3DZ8Wa_QYdKnsR8cm/8bg35yoawYw18mAJ30oX, not stripped

Remember we are on amd64 not arm64 on the laptop!
Now just copy the file over to the PI using ssh and test it there:

# ./filebeat –help

Works! But when you try

# ./filebeat modules list

It does not show any, because we are missing something, all the module configuration and kibana dashboards that are normally also contained in the .deb package.  So on the laptop just install filebeats, as for amd64, there is of course package:

# cd ~/Downloads
# curl -L -O https://artifacts.elastic.co/downloads/beats/filebeat/filebeat-7.1.1-amd64.deb
# dpkg -i filebeat-7.1.1-amd64.deb
# filebeat modules list

Here you get the modules of course.
Now just let’s see what’s in the debian package:

# dpkg –listfiles filebeat|more

As you can see, besides the binary (for amd64) no other binaries are really in the .deb, just lots of YAML and JSON files. Now that’s of course good news.
So what I did for getting a fully functional installation is just copy the files over form the laptop to the PI using SSH in /etc/init.d/filebeat, /etc/filebeat/*, /usr/share/filebeat, /lib/systemd/system and /usr/bin/filebeat (a script). Then place the compiled arm64 binary in “/usr/share/filebeat/bin/filebeat” and we’re got to go on the PI:

# filebeat modules list

And here we get the list.
Now this is not a package that will be manged by apt-get of course. Maybe, I didn’t try one could for to install the official amd64 .deb package and only exchange compiled binary.

Hope this helps, Peter

New paknet blog


in the past there were multiple blogs for private, software architecture and the unofficial MIDAS weblog. I decided to restart with one single blog that can potentially include material for all topics and probably new ones as well.

Don’t expect any more material on MIDAS though. First Blue Elephant Systems is dead, MIDAS as a product is dead and the whole topic of IT management is dead in my mind. You will potentially see references to MIDAS from Atos or 4Things Solutions. These companies try to market what is left from MIDAS to HP OM customer that did not notice yet that MIDAS is gone with its author. The last brain that knew anything about the complete product suite is me, and I’m not with Atos nor 4Things. And don’t believe anyone else that they understand the product nor further develop it nor be able to maintain its rests, just don’t. I will keep the old content of the blog in the archive, this is where it belongs.

I’ve changed work and also the area. No more IT management, monitoring or stuff that is just a necessary evil that needs to be done. IoT and industrial internet/i4.0 or connected industry as it’s called is now the new topic. And its thrilling and interesting like hell! This is the topic I will be writing about.


Worst Crap on a Computer: COM

Name it: COM. The worst that Microsoft ever produced as technology. Sure it is old now but still destroys the time of a lot of developers. Sad that some of my time, otherwise usefully spent has been spilled of this piece of crap. How can someone come up with the idea of requiring every thread to do some initialization and uninitialization before accessing a COM component? Do you know how difficult that can be if your threads get created in some far-away HTTP server, get cached and re-used for completely other thing, of course COM un-related?
So why did HP believe that they should write OMW in COM? I hate them for this.

And why does Jacozoom not finally support 64bit Windows, as they are the far best COM-wrapping library for Java? Don’t they know this and that all other libraries, including ComfyJ expose you all these nice quirks of COM that you simple do not want to deal with?

Relational versus XML DB

All the world uses relational databases to store and query each and every item. To me this is like having a hammer that worked nice and now you use it to eat sushi. The alternative of the XML DB has long grown mature and it gets time to use it for what it is good for. A example of missuse of relational databases can be regarde e.g. in HP Operations Manager for Unix aka OMU 8 and below, where policies (configuration for monitoring) is stored in a relational database (Oracle) in many many complex tables. Just use a XML DB for such highly structured document-oriented objects, it is easy to query still but very easy to store and access. My split of when to use a relational DB and when to use a XML DB is exactly that, use XML DB for low-volume complex document-like objects. Clearly if one has a simple object with a fixed schema or mass-data such as measurements or audit logs that go into thousands and millions, not using a relational DB would be silly. Its two different weapons, use them when they are suitable.

A common way to avoid the hassles of relational multi-table splits is to use blobs but that only kills the option to query the inner structure of the object. If one would have used a XML DB document one could still nicely and quite efficiently be able to query inner values using XPath or XQuery!

There are several commercial and open-source Java-based XML DBs available, such as Xindice or eXist. I prefer eXist, it supports all query mechanisms is efficient and has good admin capabilities and can be easily integrated into other software e.g. as a war file.

Presentation JUGS 2008

Posthum, I’d like to mention that I was presenting on this years’ Java Forum Stuttgart 2008 (http://www.java-forum-stuttgart.de) organized by the Java User Group Stuttgart (JUGS) a architecture presentation “SOA oder so – ESB für Querdenker” (Abstract E7). The topic was how to use a enterprise service bus (ESB) to build products in contrast to using them in projects. I mainly reported on experiences we got from the MIDAS architecture including special techniques we use, tips and tricks etc.

There was quite a audience in the room and it was a good experience holding a presentation in front of such a audience. I was though not sure whether it was really interesting the the audience in the end as there was not too much feedback. Check out the slides if you like.