All posts by Lisa

New INCOSE CSEP Handbook v4.0 to be Released! Pass the CSEP test Now!

New INCOSE Handbook – New CSEP Opportunities

The newest INCOSE SE Handbook (version 4.0) is expected this month (June 2015). Now is a great time to plan for the CSEP/ASEP exam best suited to you, because the transition gives you a choice!.

Insider Hint – Since the CSEP application process can be long and time intensive, sign up first to become an ASPE. Once you pass the exam, you then can take your time to complete the more demanding CSEP application process.

The Handbook was delayed to coincide with the recent release of ISO-15288. Now INCOSE will offer a transition period for you. From now through December 2015, the current exam will continue to be primary, based on Handbook v3.2.2. The new exam will become primary in January 2016 – but the new exam can also be available by special request as early as July.

ATI matches the transition with our Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP) Preparation course. You can still take our 2-day course based on Handbook v3.2.2 on July 7-8, 2015 in Chantilly, VA. Or you can expand your knowledge with our new 3-day version based on Handbook 4.0 on September 24-26 (and forward). The new course will cover the significant expansion in the new Handbook (another 50 pages!) and will also include more exercises and activities to help you “seal in” the knowledge for the exam.

You can choose! Take the shorter course and get your ASEP/CSEP now, before the change – or take the longer course to get the full set of new knowledge and more learning activities. Either way, you advance your career by gaining the INCOSE certification!


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Eric Clapton, Tom Logsdon, & the Kitchen Stove: A Tiny Tale of Creativity & Innovation

Last week when a customer had questions I talked with Tom Logsdon about the 6 methods of training used in his

Creativity & Innovation course. The six methods are spelled out in his book Six Simple Creative Solutions that

Shook the World. Tom is a mathematician and rocket scientist by training (and he teaches courses on GPS and

Orbital & Launch Mechanics in his spare time) who teaches creativity paired with discipline.

Yesterday, my husband called to alert me to a minor crisis at home. Our 2 year old gas stove, both burners and

oven, had ceased to heat. It was fine at breakfast and not at lunch. Although fueled by gas it has electric igniters.

During the phone call we took a scientific approach.

Six Simple Creative Solutions that Shook the World #1: Break your problem apart & put it back together:

we concluded that since the burners could be started with a lighter that the problem was not in the gas

feed. Additionally, the digital clock didn’t work. Everything pointed to something electric. However, the

circuit breaker was fine.

Later, when I came home we pulled the stove out and

6SCStStW #2: Take a fresh look at the interfaces. The electric connection appeared secure on both ends

and it didn’t work with an alternate outlet.

By this time -in a too-crowded kitchen with a malfunctioning appliance- the (wall) clock was ticking, no food was

being prepared and my husband and mother were chomping at the bit. I reached for the iPod, plugged it in to the

speaker and turned on some vintage Eric Clapton Unplugged….and nothing…..happened. Zero sound. Then the

Eureka moment occurred! Or

6SCStStW #6. Happy Serendipity. Believe me, I needed those mellow acoustic notes. That is when I

realized that the outlet circuit had tripped. I hit the reset button and Voila! Eric Clapton strummed the

guitar and Chuck Leavell dazzled on the piano.

Electricity was restored to the stove and dinner was prepared and served. Thank you Tom Logsdon & Eric Clapton!

Note: Tom Logsdon’s Creativity & Innovation course is available for training at your facility.

What is the Future of Cyber Security?

Author Bio: Jack is interested in everything to do with technology and has recently purchased secure web hosting with JaguarPC so he can launch his own analysis and opinion website related to the industry. In his spare time, Jack enjoys painting.

As far back as the 1990s, technology analysts were saying that wars of the future wouldn’t be fought with tanks on the battlefield. Instead, war would rely on technology experts being able to hack computer systems and access and extract data for analysis by individuals in various fields. While there are still plenty of examples today of ‘traditional’ wars being fought around the world, there is no question that the level of cybercrime has increased.
Increased Problems
There are many reasons why cybercrime occurs. The most common appears to be when cybercriminals deliberately target a specific organisation with the objective of stealing data or accessing personal details with a view to committing fraud of some type. However, cybercrime, or a cyber-attack, might be committed by an individual or a group who mean to expose how flawed a system is. These people aren’t hacking to necessarily cause harm, but to raise awareness and say “This is what would happen if…” although critics of this approach often scald such initiatives, as they are perceived to be an open invitation to criminals.
Cyber Security Priorities
Because of these issues, cyber security is an increasingly large priority both for governments and for companies around the world. At the beginning of 2013, we saw high profile hacking cases involving the New York Times, while Google have also been a target and, in recent days, Adobe have admitted that details of nearly three million customers have potentially been compromised.
The Chinese Government have also publicly admitted in recent weeks that they have been victims of a cyber-attack, while it is thought Western governments “legally” target so-called rogue states like Iran and North Korea to get information about potential nuclear development, among other things.
When names such as these are being targeted, it is clear the size of the problem is gargantuan. The important thing with cyber security is that it is seen as a continuous priority and that it is accepted that the job is never done. As soon as an update is released or a website or database protected and made more robust, there is someone somewhere trying to break it, and history tells us that eventually they will do.


Small Business Risks
In recent months, analysts have been pointing out the dangers of not having adequate cyber security to small businesses. Although a small business might not have the depth of data a large corporation or a government will hold, they could be seen as an easy target, particularly if security is seen as lax by criminals and they’re able to get all the information they need almost unnoticed.
The lesson for all webmasters to heed is that, if it can happen to Google and Adobe, for example, it can happen to them. An attitude of “I have nothing to offer so I’m not at risk” is a dangerous one to have. Even a large company would struggle to maintain its reputation if it was compromised to the extent that large-scale fraud was carried out based on data gleaned from them, so how would a small one survive?
The importance of cyber security is clear, what matters now is that everyone acts on it and ensures they’re in the best position not to be compromised.

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Sequestration and the real world

The Washington Post had an article on June 30, 2013 titled “They said the sequester would be scary.  Mostly, they were wrong.”  It said the effects were largely mitigated by political means and methods after all.


I just want to say that for us at ATI, the predictions of large cutbacks are mostly correct.  It has had a tremendously adverse effect with attendance at public courses down more than 40 %  People either do not have money for travel and/ or they do not have money for training.  Both training and travel are the first to be cut in a tight budget.  The story that best illustrates this came to me from a gentleman who, along with his colleague, had registered –and paid- to attend one of our courses last winter.  In the eleventh hour they had to withdraw as travel funding was no longer permitted.


I contacted him when the course was next being held to find out if they might be able to attend this time and the answer was “no”.  He elaborated, “They’ve even stopped cutting the grass (knee high is some places) and our restrooms only get cleaned twice a week.  Sequestration is hurting us badly.”


To this I responded, “Holy cow! Knee high grass.”


He came back with, “We could use a few cows.”


Please feel free to share your Sequestration story.

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Not so Goodnight Irene: Tree Totals Lisa’s Home

The sound woke Nicholas and Lisa Badart just after 3 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 28. You know Lisa as the course registrar for Applied Technology Institute.

“I heard this rumble, and then a creaking noise, and I was half asleep, and I thought, ‘Oh no,’ and the whole roof came in,” said Nick Badart.

Seconds later the family was trapped by their champion ash tree. It was the second largest white ash in the country with a 9 foot diameter. Whipped by the heavy overnight winds of Hurricane Irene, and destabilized because of saturated soil, the award-winning, 300-year-old ash tree in the front yard of Badart’s historic home in the Lawyer’s Hill area of Elkridge had uprooted – and came smashing into the second-story bedroom.

Lisa was pinned to the bed, under the ceiling fan, surrounded by drywall, insulation, and 4” x 6” beams from the ceiling. Lisa realized that 2 feet or so from the edge of the bed was one trunk of the prize winning ash and the roof and ceiling were gone. If it had shifted about 3 foot feet, it would have been fatal. Lisa couldn’t move at first, because the fan was on top of her. Wind and rain came swirling into the room.

Cell phones and flashlights. You gotta love them. Lisa called 911. Rescue was there within 15 minutes. They had to signal with flashlights to determine where each group was located. The rescue personnel had to crawl over and under the massive tree to free the Badarts. Fortunately the whole family, including two dogs and several cats, escaped with minor injuries.

Lisa said “ I’m as much a junkie for hurricane forecasting as anyone and had watched the satellite pics on The Weather Channel, local news, and NASA links ( as Hurricane Irene moved her way toward the mid-Atlantic. Last Friday, “just to be safe” she made preparations in the ATI office “in case” something would prevent business as usual on Monday.” In fact, ATI was without power for 3 days. Lisa calmly worked on Monday from her temporary hotel suite checking emails and sending confirmation letters.

Repair of the house could take up to nine months. Periodically we will post updated pictures on the blog.

GEO Satellite question

Freddy posed the following question to Dr. Robert A. Nelson:

Dear Dr. Nelson: I understand that GEO satellites are 2 degree appart in its orbital position. How is possible that  some satellites ( Telstar 11N and NSS 10 located at 37.5W; Astra 2C and 1D at 31.5 E) occupied the same orbital position ?. Could you please, help me to understand this ?.
Thank you Dr. Nelson.

Dr. Nelson responded as follows:

The two-degree spacing requirement applies to satellites that use the same
frequencies at C-band or Ku-band.  Interference is avoided through the use
of highly directional Earth Station antennas, although there is inevitably
some adjacent satellite interference, with a C/I typically around 22 dB.

Satellites that share the same orbital slot use different frequency bands
and sometimes also different polarizations.  For example, at 101 degrees WL,
there are several satellites, including an SES Americom C/Ku-band satellite,
an MSAT L-band satellite, and three or four DirectTV satellites that use a
special portion of Ku-band for DBS and also use different polarizations.
These satellites are separated by only about 0.02 degrees, or about 15
kilometers.  Very exact stationkeeping must be maintained.

Dr. Nelson’s Satellite Communication Systems Engieering course is next scheduled December 8-10, 2009 in Beltsville, MD.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Yesterday, instructor Mark Lewellen was explaining some of the background to UAVs:  from aerial attacks on Venice through Marilyn Monroe to sizes of UAVs and likely future uses. If prospective attendees knew they would enjoy the thought-provoking subject half as much as I did,  ATI would be running this course once a month.

IP Networking Over Satellite Acronyms

Additonal Acronyms

ABS   –   Accounting and Billing Server

ARP    –   Address Resolution Protocol

CRTT   –   Compressed Real Time Transport Protocol

CS-ACELP   –   Conjugate-Structured Algebraic Code-Excited Linear Prediction

CTP   –   Circuit to Packet

DAS   –   Direct Access System

DCM   –   Dynamic Coding and Modulation

DVP   –   Distance Vector Protocol

FEC   –   Forward Error Correction

FH   –   Frame Header

FT   –   Frame Trailer

IANA   –   Internet Address Naming Association

IKE    –   Internet Key Exchange

IPH   –   IP Header

IS-IS   –   Intermediate System to Intermediate System

LSP   –    Link State Protocol

MIB   –   Management Information Base

MOS   –   Mean Opinion Score

OC    –   Optical Carrier

PPP   –   Point to Point Protocol

RAS   –   Remote Access System

RED   –   Random Early Detection

RTCP   –   Real Time Control Protocol

SIP   –   Session Initiation Protocol

TCPH   –   TCP Header

TIPH   –   Tunnel Internet Protocol Header

VAD   –   Voice Activity Detection


IP Networking Over Satellite   taught by Burt H. Liebowitz was held on July 20-22, 2009 in Laurel, MD and was very well reviewed by all.  One attendee, Dennis Almer,  supplied the preceding acronyms to complement the course.