Proof that hard work does pay off …

I’ll keep this short and sweet, but thought I’d share this recent mail.  Now that I’m not buried in preparations for projects and comprehensives, I should be able to work through and publish some of what I’ve been holding back now.  I certainly won’t be able to use it during dissertation.

Thanks to all that have supported me thus far, and I look forward to sharing and discussing some of my other work.


Comprehensive Exam Pass






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Posted by on December 30, 2014 in Uncategorized


Still Behind on Posts and Publishing

I’d hoped to get a couple of papers, presentations and videos I’ve been working on out before comps start in the fall; but schedules and other projects have delayed that goal by more than a bit.  I appreciate the patience from those that have been looking for updates, so I thought it worthwhile to give a hint at the subjects I’ve got nearly ready to distribute:

  • Algorithms, tools, techniques, and decision aids for project planning and estimating.
    • I’m wrapping up the Erlang, COCOMO and Adaptive parametric models from the calculators I’ve previously released into a single application suite based on the Orchestra shell.  It’s all coming together in an MVVM design; with the plan being to port it all to a SaaS stack should I ever find the time.
  • An update to the WordMerge application – I’ve started working on the OpenXML version of the reader/writer; but have updated the current version to support other revision options to include worksheet exports of changes and comments.  I’ll have a repackaged version ready for use out in the next week or so.
  • Power BI stack examples and guidance for using Microsoft’s free PowerQuery and PowerPivot plugins for Excel to transform, analyze, and produce meaningful reports.
  • Concepts and prototypes of human-computer cognition techniques for knowledge & research management.
  • Example software, and demonstrations of the effectiveness/ease that document construction and assembly can be automated using Microsoft SharePoint and XML extensions to MS Office.

The big thing, however, has really been getting ready for my Doctoral Comprehensive examinations this fall.  I’m proposing a new technique for formal estimation, and consensus decision-making based on blending what I consider the best aspects of the Analytic Hierarchy Process, the Delphi technique, and the Planning Poker estimation method.  There’s a lot of work that’s going into validating the theoretical basis of the proposal, and in the design of the research plan to test it (given the time, money, and resource constraints of the dissertation phase itself).  As soon as it’s in a state that I can start releasing work based on the method – I’ll certainly get it out there.

So … it is certainly going to be a crazy October.  I’ll be in DC for a conference, followed immediately by a drive to Kansas for a cousin’s wedding, followed by a flight to Florida our first-ever family vacation (which happens to coincide with my birthday); which will be followed by a week-long working session in Huntsville, AL.

Perhaps I didn’t think this through that well, since those final assessments start right in the middle of it all! Gonna be a crazy October! I’ll be in DC starting next Friday for work, then drive to Kansas for cousin’s wedding, then fly to Florida for Aemilia’s first-ever family vacation (for my B-Day). As soon as I’m back, it’s off to Huntsville, AL for work … and my final school assessments start right in the middle of it all!

… Breathe Levii … Breathe. It’ll be okay.

As always – thanks for keeping in touch, and forgive my delayed replies.


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Posted by on September 21, 2014 in Uncategorized


Any advice on approaching VC or incubators prior to patent?

Is there anyone that’s been through the patent process as an investor, or as the inventor/business entity that has some advice or light to share?

I have more than a few patentable concepts for business method patents, and from my own preliminary search would be first-to-file on each.  While I’ve got the ability to implement them on my own from a technical standpoint, I find myself short on time (the PhD is a time-consuming monster), capital, and experience in the process of commercialization.

Since I realize that ideas are essentially worthless … I’m soliciting any advice, partnership, mentor, or other guidance from someone that’s been through the process in order to bring what I think is among the best of my backlog to market.


While I’ve been expanding my marketing and branding experience through the process of launching the LiquiCig brand and The Vaping Shop as a distributor and retail company to fund the brand grown; I’ve also been helping Tara expand the business itself. I’ve been taking notes of gaps and difficulties in small-business platforms as I go; and in conjunction with my academic research I’ve been developing a framework and set of methods, systems, and technologies to fill them (more on that in a different post).

Recently, I identified what I think is a opportunity in a method to significantly improve on the ability to voluntarily collect valuable information in a highly targeted manner, and the simplicity of execution/distribution has brought developing the method as a platform and licensable piece of intellectual property to #1 of my list of supporting activities.

Applicability and Scope

The method would be applicable to marketing and data collection for any organization, and on any platform. They could add significant value to providers like SurveyMonkey and be internally applicable to organizations in developing their own visible dashboard of capabilities and experience.  It could be licensed as a method, or provided as an SaaS API to integrate with client platforms; and would be valuable to the enterprise holding the data (on the SaaS side) in generating independent revenue streams.

The closest competitor that I can think of is Google’s AdWords & I’m confident that with a little concept refinement – this method (and technology platform to drive adoption) has a larger scope & more accurate method of targeting as part of it.


So my question is … what’s next? I’m slightly capital constrained and am not personally familiar with any VC firms / investor groups that support patent search and development as licensees (or leaving me just as a royalty holder at the end).  The amount of advice online is mind-boggling and frequently contradictory. Any advice, partnership, mentorship, or other guidance from someone that’s been through the process would be truly appreciated.



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Posted by on May 3, 2014 in Business


I realize the site is still a bit of a mess. I certainly appreciate the comments thus far, and for my followers bearing with me as I consolidate content from old versions of this site, rework material from my portfolio to be more suitable to public presentation, and work through an effective presentation of my professional profile.

I realize that can be read as “my resume is a wordy wreck”, or “I have no real focus”; but I firmly believe in the value proposition of blending the CIO/CTO roles in many organizations. At the very least the value in having business analysts, strategists, and technologists aligned horizontally within an organization in order to identify and solve problems both internally, and externally is necessary for many types of process efficiency and innovative developments in application. That dual role and practice of utilizing internal capabilities as customer offerings, and those that are developed as products/solutions being adopted internally is occasionally a difficult bridge to cross.

The cultural aspects of change, the need for transition and turnaround expertise, and thought leadership all need to come together in a singular and concise vision which I’ve found difficult to generalize and distill. It seems from my self-reviews that discussing top and bottom line profitability/growth in the same sentence as business transformation has me sounding like an out-of-touch idealist & the descriptions either become excessively verbose, or somewhat esoteric. Not good on either end.

So while I’m still getting it all together, and am occasionally slow to respond – I wanted to take the opportunity to reach out and thank those that follow and send me comments.  Keep them coming and I’ll get back to you as quickly as I can.


The Site, It’s Still Coming Together

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Posted by on February 23, 2014 in General Informaion


Invited to Present at the UIS Cyber Defense and Disaster Recovery Conference


It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything of substance … being buried in transitioning a new 24-person software development contract, academic papers for the PhD program, and bid & proposal efforts, it’s likely to be a bit yet.  Even so, I thought it worth posting that I’ve been invited to present at the 2014 Cyber Defense and Disaster Recovery Conference (CDDR) at the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) on Thursday, March 13.  There should be a mid sized (~225+) paid audience of practitioners, business people & academics.  The event is sponsored by InfraGard Springfield with coordination and support by the FBI and UIS.

For more information on the conference, take a look at their archives – they’ve had a great list of presentations and speakers; and I’d certainly be privileged to be among them.

The theme I’ve been asked to present is on security incident and response as firms migrate to distributed storage technologies, and I just about proposed a presentation title of The bits be everywhere – keeping them in their tubes & cleaning up the mess when they spring a leak.  I did come to my senses, and the actual topic is TBA after I’ve confirmed my availability, but the general subject remains the same & is something I’ve written around the edges of on this blog in the last year.  The working title (at least for the moment) is a bit more professional, and is something on the order of Minimally intrusive governance & distributed storage systems: Considerations for disaster recovery and contingency planning in a mobile world.

Knowing that there will be small business leaders in attendance, and having been asked to make the presentation instructional; I’m tempted to fall back to the broader areas of governance, compliance & risk.  When considering the ways that varied attendees might prepare for security and incident response, and the answer being “it depends”; I think a broader perspective of the criticality of good governance and orchestrated process of BCP/DRP specific to distributed data storage should be appropriate.  If there’s one thing I know, it’s that awareness of security is insufficient, as is the presentation of a solid business case.  The competing priorities of security and workflow efficiency must be addressed or people will work around the controls.  Though a recent area of study, Albrechsten (2007) and Takemura (2011) both provide very good evidence of this, with an identified need to blend not only awareness, but the practical actions that can be embedded into process, without significant impact to the overall efficiency of operations.

Viewed from the broader perspective, these are not easy challenges to solve; and unfortunately the problem is less frequently technological in nature, and more often is tied to the behavior of the organization itself.   Addressing change in technology, workflow, and culture (regardless of reason) require a more deeply rooted desire to change behavior patterns from those that must implement them. In a fashion similar to the myriad theories and models of change management and/or organizational behavior, it’s the individuals within the group that have to be effectively targeted.  Throw in a twist of technological adoption and the typical fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) normally used in areas of security & that are often seen as “keeping people from doing their jobs” … you’ve got the perfect storm of things that are tough to change. Focusing then, on the intersecting issues of storage management, IA, and the optimization of information security investments within a framework of process re-engineering & adoption strategies borrowed from the TAM (Venkatesh, 2000, 2003, 2008; Morris, Davis, G., & Davis, F., 2003); I’ll be pulling from other research and courses I’ve developed to combine as a one-hour session.

At the very least, it did force me to take a look at my short bio … which I haven’t done in far too long.  While not fantastic, I think it still gets the point across & I’ve attached it here for my own entertainment. I’ll post more detail as this gets flushed out over the coming weeks, and as always I welcome any comments or input you have.

Short Bio – Levii Smith



Albrechtsen, E. (2007). A qualitative study of users’ view on information security. Computers & Security, 26(4), 276–289. doi:10.1016/j.cose.2006.11.004

Takemura, T. (2011). Statistical Analysis on Relation between Workers’ Information Security Awareness and the Behaviors in Japan. Journal of Management Policy and Practice, 12(3), 27–37.

Venkatesh, V., Morris, M., Davis, G., & Davis, F. (2003). User Acceptance of Information Technology: Toward a Unified Veiw. MIS Quarterly, 27(3), 425–478.



Application for Microsoft Academic Search App ID

Contact Person: Levii Smith
Contact Email: 

The abundance of academic publications coupled with the highly specific nature of each publication makes the process of research extremely tedious. Existing academic search engines generally rank results by relevance to query keywords. Furthermore, the results are returned as a long list of links, which is easy to skim but difficult to actually use. These characteristics (based on web search) are not ideal for the domain of academic publications – when doing research, we want to know what the important papers are as well as the relevant ones, and also easily navigate between papers while remaining aware of the context of the search.

One useful measure of importance is number of citations (used by e.g. MS Academic Search and Google Scholar). We propose using this reference information to visualize the local neighborhood of a paper within the larger graph of academic publications. This is similar to the MAS citation graph, but would present both forward and backward references as well as make the vital features of importance and relevance more obvious to the user. This would facilitate rapid discovery of important information in fields unfamiliar to the user.

I have read and agreed with the Microsoft/MAS Terms of Use.
Microsoft Terms of Use
Microsoft Academic Search Terms of Use

Project URL:


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Safely Moving Sensitive Data Outside of the Organization: Using Outlook to Encrypt to External Entities

Sensitive information, whether: PKIMail-Simplified

  • FOUO documents being handled for the government
  • PII during hiring and staffing
  • Proprietary or confidential company information
  • Competition sensitive intelligence
  • Or any other protection required data (PRD)

Require special use and handling of digital communications.  Unfortunately, a lack of education and familiarity with available methods leads to (1) data either being exchanged using insecure means, or (2) a breakdown in communication.

Sharing this information without protection has significant implications under both criminal and civil law, as I’ve discussed before relating to issues of negligent entrustment.  Even so, it is quite often an area of Information Assurance (IA) delegated to the lowest levels to implement and follow from a policy perspective.  Given that breach could be a public-relations nightmare, and that statutory liability could be financially destructive to a firm; it’s essential that data is protected at rest, and while in transit.

Truthfully, among the methods available for dealing with risk (i.e. insurance, transference, mitigation, avoidance), the simplest in this regard is avoidance.  “Just don’t send PRD”.  However, a knee-jerk reaction not share sensitive data can be problematic to the operation of many organizational programs, and an intentional breakdown of the ability to engage in transparent operation is not only inefficient, but can signal larger communication issues likely to exist.

Too frequently, I’ve encountered the assumption that encrypted mail cannot be exchanged between unrelated organizations, though it really is a simple process that seems extraordinary. I think this is due in part to the lack of education we provide as part of corporate/government/etc. cyber-awareness programs, but is certainly due to the fact that the first step in the process (the public key exchange) is typically automated and transparent.  Since the advent of Kerberos, however, virtually every directory structure with a modern authentication uses some form of certificate authority (CA), and having neither PKI certificates available within an organization, or certificates signed by an external CA (eCA) borders on negligence.

This paper provides a short guide to address this gap, and assumes one of the most common scenarios within the enterprise; the use of a public key infrastructure and Microsoft Outlook. Though certainly relevant to contractors and the DoD, it remains applicable anywhere that meets these two criteria.

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