Monday, June 7, 2021

Unexpected AR

Museums that surprise - and teach!

Wandering around the CaseIH Experience Center recently, I was surprised to find an Augmented Reality (AR) experience designed to help customers understand farm operations and equipment technology.

Point the iPad at different locations on the giant screen and learn about software applications for agri-business.

Of course, the experience included tractors produced over the years and a Case car.

Tractor displays featured the expected product specifications, smartly joined with product and brand positioning assets.

The company is a leading supplier of agricultural and construction equipment. Competitor John Deere offers product and museum venues in Moline, IL and Waterloo, IA. Explore those locations in amuz: iPhone Android

Market Background

A distant observer of this market, I have long been somewhat amazed at the proliferation of models and price points in the midst of massive farm consolidation.

I learned that the market for > 140hp tractors is around 7,000 units annually. I've plotted price and horsepower charts below:

Background: Deere Fights Fendt’s Market Share with Dealer ‘Financial Incentives’

Monday, May 24, 2021

Tule Lake National Monument (Camp Tulelake)

The concentration camp site was 1,110 acres; including the farmed areas, Tule Lake was 4,685 acres. It was situated on a dry lake bed created by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which drained the lake in 1920 to create farming homesteads that were allocated by lottery. Today, the former camp site is under federal and private ownership.

The Tule Lake site lies within a volcanic corridor in the Cascade range; to the south of Tule Lake are the lava beds that flowed from Medicine Lake Highlands. From State Highway 139, looking west, the most prominent geologic feature on the horizon is an 800-foot bluff composed primarily of basalt. Japanese American inmates named the bluff Castle Rock; local farmers and ranchers call it the Peninsula. To the east is a dome-like hill known to the inmates as Abalone Mountain, and to the locals as Horse Collar Mountain.

The area was the ancestral home of the Modoc tribe; however, a treaty with the U.S. in 1864 led to a decade of Modoc resistance against removal from their homeland. The legendary battle of Lost River took place at the geological and historic landmark, Capt. Jack's Stronghold in Lava Beds National Monument, where a band of fifty to seventy Modoc fighters held off an army battalion whose numbers rose to nearly 1,000. After five months of resistance against army efforts to roust them from the Stronghold, the Modoc were eventually overwhelmed by army reinforcements. On October 3, 1873, the leader of the Modoc, Kintpuash, known as Captain Jack, was hanged. Surviving tribal members were exiled to Oklahoma.
- Densho Encyclopedia.

The Tule Lake National Monument will bring increased understanding of the high price paid by some Americans on the home front. The Tule Lake Segregation Center National Historic Landmark and nearby Camp Tulelake in California were both used to incarcerate Japanese Americans forcibly removed from the west coast of the United States. - National Park Service

"I remember the soldiers marching us to the Army tank and I looked at their rifles and I was just terrified because I could see this long knife at the end . . . I thought I was imagining it as an adult much later . . . I thought it couldn't have been bayonets because we were just little kids." Children of the Camps. Lesson Plan

Camp Tule Lake History

Gillems Camp, one of the principal military encampments of the Modoc War of 1872-73, came to life again under very different circumstances sixty years after the army left the lava beds. The old campsite became the center of Camp Tulelake, a base for a succession of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) crews that would transform the newly established national monument.

The CCC was a very successful relief program during the Great Depression. In an effort to alleviate unemployment while making needed improvements to public lands, President Franklin Roosevelt’s administration started the CCC in 1933. Men enlisted for six-month tours of duty, and most re-enrolled for a full two years. Up to 150 young men were formed into work crews under Army supervision. The CCC swiftly constructed thousands of camps all over the country, including hundreds in neglected or newly established western national park sites.

Among the tasks assigned to these crews were road and trail building, firefighting, the installation of electric and telephone lines, and the construction of park administrative and visitor services buildings. For his work, a young CCC enrollee received room and board in an Army-style camp and $30 a month, of which $25 was sent home to his family. With over three million total enrollees, the CCC program contributed enormously to the economies of many impoverished hometowns.
- National Park Service

The story of the Tule Lake camp has its own resonance. It was there, beginning in 1943, that the government sent internees of Japanese descent whom it deemed “disloyal,” based primarily on their refusal to go along meekly with the government’s denial of their civil liberties. Many answered no when asked whether they would they swear allegiance to the U.S. or serve in the military. The answers for some were not simple. Would a noncitizen who swore allegiance to the U.S. be left stateless? Some sought to qualify their answer to the military question: Yes, if their families were released. At its peak the maximum-security camp at Tule Lake held 18,000 people secured by 1,200 guards (many with machine guns) monitoring fences from 28 watch towers, and backed up by eight tanks.

Like the other internment camps, Tule Lake closed down after the war. Many of the barracks were repurposed by nearby residents, and are still used on local farms or as parts of houses. But other buildings are part of what is known as the “World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument,” a multi-site confederation of war-related locations anchored by Pearl Harbor. It is an inapt merger of sites. The U.S. actions at Pearl Harbor were undeniably valorous. What happened at Tule Lake was an embarrassment.
- Los Angeles Times

Franklon Roosevelt Executive Order 9066: Resulting in the Relocation of Japanese.

My great-grandfather was a farmer.

Kaneshige Matsumoto was a Japanese immigrant and thus prohibited by California law from owning land. Instead, he worked on farms in Lodi, California, where he lived with his wife, Shizuko Matsumoto, and their three sons. Money was tight, but he set aside what he could. Before the war, he had finally started to amass some savings. - Samantha Matsumoto

Rebel Lawyer: Wayne Collins and the Defense of Japanese American Rights by Chuck Wollenberg

“Rebel Lawyer” fuels indignation at both Roosevelt and Trump. It also invites liberals to rethink the role that the American Civil Liberties Union played in the wake of Executive Order 9066. Rather than rush to the defense of Japanese Americans who were rounded up and placed in “detention centers,” the national office aligned itself with the White House. Wayne Collins defied both the president and the ACLU leadership and carved out a role for himself as a San Francisco rebel lawyer in the mold of Vincent Hallinan and Melvin Belli.
- Jonah Raskin

Wayne Collins - Tule Lake Pilgrimage 2014 from Claudia Katayanagi

Curated and publshed by Jim Zellmer. Explore Tule Lake National Monument and the world in amuz. iPhone Android

Thursday, May 13, 2021

The Jolly Green Giant: A fascinating history of trade, the drug war and agriculture

Philip Elmer-Dewitt's use of the well known "Green Giant" reminded me of Eastern Washington's "Jolly Green Giant" monument:

The monument is northeast of fascinating Walla Walla, Washington.

Explore in amuz. iPhone Android

Monday, April 26, 2021

Stuttgart/Munich: Gazing West, to Cupertino

"Digital experiences are marketing"

"If you don't have digital experiences, you are not on the radar screen. You're irrelevant" - Kjell Gruner [1].


Tap Sport. Launch. Paddle: M1 - M2 - M3 - M4. What's the point of 5 - 8?

Twin Turbo. Intercooled. Open space. No traffic. A blast to drive.

Two days exploring 2 and four lane roads in a fun, German car. The unusually long Friday evening Hertz queue paid off in a terrific ride.


CarPlay worked some but not all times with the BMW's iDrive computer/display. Curiously after an occasional stop, my iPhone would continue displaying directions, but the iDrive screen reverted to an unresponsive connect my device mode. I drove on without a visual map, audio book controls or the car's audio system voice prompts.

The behavior was identical, whether my iPhone was tethered via a USB cable or wireless CarPlay.

I later discovered that a phone call would restore all aspects of CarPlay + BMW to their intended state.

Touring beautiful, open spaces while glancing at the BMW's many buttons and screens offered an opportunity to reflect on my February, 2014 BMW i3 drive and subsequent words: The i3 Long Bet:

I’ll digress a bit and suggest that auto manufacturers will rue the day that they decided not to make software experience a core competency. I am not suggesting the the car companies do it all, rather that they focus on the essentials and make the owner’s experience paramount. The software, or metadata interface is the likely path into the game for car sharing and other value extraction services. (see also Ford said to drop Microsoft for Blackberry’s QNX)

BMW’s iDrive joins the i3 party. The interior materials and finish are nicely done and I found the front and back entry/exit door design to be interesting. I then turned my attention to the driver interface.

One can imagine the planning meetings where a variety of interior experience scenarios were discussed, fought, battled and likely not settled. Ulimately, BMW’s iDrive made the cut, perhaps with blood on the floor, which meant bringing along nearly 15 years worth of evolution (some might say “technical debt“) along with a return to more interface buttons. That just does not seem to fit the i3 ethos, particularly in a car that broke the BMW exterior styling mode. Compare the Tesla Model S (admittedly more money) approach (image) and the i3 (image).

Fast forward to April, 2021.

I remain astonished that BMW's iDrive plus many buttons remains largely the same as my 2014 i3 experience - now more than 7 years ago. Will the experience be different in +7 years? Will the auto players be the same, or might new entrants establish a beachhead?

Over dinner recently, a friend and recent VW SUV driver mentioned that Volkswagen aims to be the largest Electic Vehicle producer. I cautioned "we'll see". The basis of competition is changing, as Porsche's US boss recently noted [1].

1. President of Porsche US, quoted in Bloomberg.

Explore the world with amuz.



Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Sunrise with the Sandhill Cranes

Enjoy one of "earth's greatest migrations" in amuz on your iPhone or Android device.

Get it on Apple Books

600K to 700K cranes spend 6 to 8 weeks along the Platte River near Kearney, Nebraska to fuel up before continuing their journey north.

Explore the world with amuz.



Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Madison: A Place for all Seasons

"The country’s biggest tech migration increase took place in Madison. The city was gaining 1.02 tech workers for each one that left last year, and it’s now gaining 1.77, a 74% jump." - Mckinsey/Linkedin [1]

We're pleased to announce a new way to explore Madison. Ideal for

  1. Recruiting/HR
  2. Economic Development
  3. Education
  4. Tourism: food/drink, lodging and activities
  5. Real Estate [2]
  6. Marketing: visual first, immersive, elegant.
  7. Promotions: swipe/scan current offers.

  1. An interactive iBook with fast QR scans
  2. See and be seen
  3. Favorites
  4. Effigy mounds: panoramas & drone views
  5. Trails
  6. Architecture + podcasts
  7. Escapes
  8. Food
  9. Sleep & Camp
  10. Ski
  11. A major employer: Epic + Judy Faulkner interview

Get it on Apple Books

1.5 billion reasons why we chose Apple books:

  1. > 1 billion iPhones in use. 87% of American teens have an iPhone, 67% of the population. amuz users enjoy Apple Search, photos, panoramas, video and full screen drone experiences.
  2. 350 million active iPads. The amuz book displays beautifully on iPad screens.
  3. Interactive. Explore the book and with a simple QR code scan, quickly enjoy beautiful visuals.
  4. Distribution in 51 countries.
  5. 90M monthly Apple book users
  6. Apple devices now generate about 50% of Google searches (Google supports 90 to 95% of US searches [3]).
  7. Modern, growing interaction points: amuz experiences/media, ibooks and podcasts are quickly discovered on Apple Search [examples].

QR Code link to the iBook

Explore Madison and more in amuz on iPhone and Android.

[1] Where Tech Workers Are Moving: New LinkedIn Data vs. the Narrative. McKinsey: The Future of Work after Covid-19

[2] “The Starlink arbitrage may be the greatest real estate repricing of all time. Details matter, and prices may be propped up by bailouts, so a long-only strategy is probably best.

But conceptually: short NY/SF/LA/etc, long rural areas & well-run cities around the world.” - Balajis.

[3] How Apple and Google Formed One of Tech’s Most Powerful Partnerships

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Fanless Football: 2020

A few scenes from the recent Indiana Wisconsin football game at the barren Camp Randall stadium.

Experience Camp Randall scenes in amuz, the multi-lingual and privacy friendly app for explorers on iPhone and Android.