Archives

All posts for the month May, 2002

Kartoo
A search engine that presents results as a network of interlinked graphic objects. Jorn considered it “mildly interesting”, but was clearly not impressed by the Flash content. (He picked up from the AI Forum). I reckon the idea is magic – in fact it exactly mirrors the Mind Map (or the Fuzzy Cognitive Map version of it) that I had in mind for organising research thoughts and references. Currently limited compared to (say) Google due to incomplete indexing of content out there, but very promising.

[I like the way that the links as well as the nodes are characterised - powerful concept - I wonder if they're using RDF ? I wonder if the software is available as a tool to index and link any collection of information ?]

Deliberate failure to see the facts
(Another link brought to us by Robot Wisdom.) Those of you following the threads winding through this Blog, can’t fail to have noticed my “Emperors Suit of Clothes” thread. The in-built cultural tendencies to not see the obvious, even to justify not seeing it. This is part of, or at least closely related to my “Western Arrogance” thread, in terms of east vs west streams of philosophy and also parallels cock-up vs conspiracy theories. Formal management doctrines also recognise institutionalised “skilled incompetence” (ref Argyris et al.) in business decision making. These are facts that cannot be denied, but that’s the point, they are, always – Catch 22 again, again and again.

The linked article from Peggy Noonan is about the FBI failure over avoiding September 11th (surprise, surprise). It includes the line “FBI officials didn’t fail to connect the dots; they refused to see a pattern.” The refusal is not a malicious conspiracy, but a western conspiratorially-institutionalised cock-up. It gets better (worse if you like); it also contains the line “in an effort to avoid or minimize personal and/or institutional embarrassment” – the motivation straight out of Argyris, or my quoting of him in the earlier dissertation.

Wake up and smell the burning kerosene. Committees of moral men have been making immoral decisions since long before Ralph Nader pointed it out, and John Z Delorean heard him. Let’s not look for people to blame, let’s look at the information communication and decision making models with which we are comfortable in the west, and then move out of our comfort zone. Look east, or at least outside the rational positivist box.

Yet another day at the office ? Letter of Resignation, Poem by Matthew Rohrer
Quote [extract] This office was designed to be pleasant, not the charnel house of lies and insinuations you have made it ….. I’m telling you this because you obviously have no marketable skills. Unquote. There’s a lot of it about apparently – see earlier post on terrorist mob training simulation.

Diskless in Detroit – Why Your New Car Doesn’t Have a Built-in PC
Cringely says not just UI and apps problem, but disk drives just not rugged enough, and car / disk business development cycles will always be out of sync, however ..
Quote : Cars are the perfect Trojan horse for distributed communications, for example.
Cars are everywhere people are, they are generally outside, they have their own power source, and they have extra places to stash black boxes. An enlightened car company — or better still EVERY car company — should put a [Telecomms] node in every car they make whether the owner wants it or not. Unquote.

All the Hits – Site monitoring is interesting. I can recommend Site-Meter.
Over the past 3 or 4 months I have to say the majority of hits are Google hits. What Google indexes is mind-boggling. Amazing number of recurring Google hits from people in the US looking for Friedrich Durrenmatt references on “Die Physiker” (The Physicists), which is only an incidental part of this site. Next most hits direct from Blogger users and Internet Research Register.

Most interested (and hence interesting) hits from a few anonymous parties who seem to dwell at length on certain pages. Come on, don’t be shy, make contact.

Blogdex
MIT Project, keeps tabs on who’s linked to your site.

We Enterprise ?
Link from Blogger to “Time to Blog On”, article by Ben Hammersley of The Guardian.
Quote
“This is my guiding principle in journalism. My readers know more than I do, and that’s great! We have gone, [claims Dan Gillmor of the San Jose Mercury News], from Old Media, through New Media, to We Media: The idea of using the power and the knowledge and the energy of people at the edges.”
Unquote
This is the same thread as my interest in the post-Napster-world. The power of peer-to-peer user communities, both processing power and the power of the shared knowledge. So rather than just readers, perhaps a systems developer should always be well advised to recognise “My users know more than I do.” So not just We Media, but We Enterprise computing too ? (See my Manifesto). Also plays directly to Douglas Adams’ line on the social reality of the web oft quoted earlier in this blog. Another of DNA’s lines of thinking which pre-date blogging.

On a similar subject, I’m currently reading “Knowledge is Power“, by John Henry (Edinburgh Univ.), a biography of Francis Bacon – the father of “modern” scientific method. Superbly interesting read on the “aspiration of objectivity vs the social reality of subjectivity”. (Ref p.9 of 2002 Icon Books edition.) Knowledge as power is also the subject of a Jul/Aug 1985 Harvard Business Review article “How Information Gives You Competitive Advantage” by Porter M.E. and Millar V.E. (Michael Porter, the very same guru of Competitive Advantage in many subsequent best-sellers. Article quoted in my earlier MBA Dissertation, a reference provided originally by John Vincent.)

(Academic credentials of John Henry, impressive in the history of science, end somewhat eclectically with the line “and has also illustrated a book on darts.” !?! )

Mentioned in Dispatches
Quote from my 1998 Paper in response by NASA (!) to FAQ on the importance of exploiting information standards …

“Taking a step forward with FLAIR (Foster Wheeler Lifecycle Asset Information Architecture — [Standard Information Model])”, arguing that information management is more important than information technology, Ian Glendinning of Foster Wheeler describes the progress being made towards putting [Standard Information Modelling] into practice in the process industries:

At last year’s [1997] UK Process Industry IT Strategy Conference, organised by IChemE and PRIMA, several speakers referred to the success of IT in many service and manufacturing industries and contrasted this with the failure of billions of dollars of IT investment over 10 years to deliver such benefits to the process industries. The lack of success was blamed on ‘failure in the boardroom to grasp the information management agenda.’ [ the same PRIMA conference mentioned earlier in relation to Clive Holtham btw ]

These same speakers — directors from the oil, gas and chemical majors — shared their visions of information and knowledge as their key corporate asset to be exploited by making it available to anyone, anywhere in their organisations. Most agree that the key issue is not IT but Information Management, and that a major dimension of this involves soft issues like knowledge, people, and business culture.

Although the data integration and standardisation objectives are widely accepted, few people … would accept [Standard Information Models] as fully proven in the bottom line. However, there is already a threefold drive to create a strategic framework … at this stage:

Firstly, the pace of change in IT [and the web - ignored in a 1997 conference !] continues to be so great that planning future exploitation cannot be left until the potential is fully proven and developed in detail.

Secondly, the potential changes are so far reaching in terms of ‘business re-engineering’ possibilities that the cultural changes needed cannot simply be switched on once [Standard Information Models] become a shrink-wrapped solution.

Finally, the complexity of the detail is such that fully detailed [Standard Information Model] solutions will not arise from standards development alone, without the iteration provided by early implementation.”

(The entire arcticle is preserved on-line at the Impact of Standards User Group Project of the Commission of the EU and cached by Google.)

Learning – as in getting oneself educated for your purpose, as opposed to
Learning – as in assimilation a piece of information – receiving communication.
Part of education / learning confusion apparent within and between learning organisation approaches in business organisations in general, and those “educational” organisations whose “customers” are learning. Some references suggested by Sylvia from IAG / CFL / LLL perspective.
Bill LucasCEO of Campaign for Learning, Author of Your Brain – A User’s Guide.
Dr Peter Honey – Learning styles guru. Own .com web-site organisation
Guy Claxton - Author of Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind. Some interesting East / West stuff in here, like “The best thinking takes place below the level of consciousness”, and a focus on subjects that might be seen as “airy-fairy or unscientific”. Evocative of Michael Kinsey’s “The tortoises will win the dot.com race”.

Virtual Mobs, Terrorists For Troop, Police Training
From UniSci via Jorn
Importance of subjective content in simulations.
QUOTE
There’s a growing realization that more realistic training simulations lead to higher levels of skill attainment for trainees, but current training games are more concerned with eye-catching graphics than with modeling real human behavior,” said Silverman, professor of systems engineering and computer and information science at Penn. “Our goal is to build in factors like fatigue, stress, personal values, emotion and cultural influences.”

Silverman’s crowd-modeling work will offer detail to the level of single provocateurs within a crowd, taking into account, for instance, young agitators’ frequent desire to assert themselves, dominate conflicts and avenge wrongs.

The simulation can model terrorist behavior based upon observations of extremists’ sense of commitment, feelings of competence and need to right perceived injustices.
UNQUOTE
Mob Violence ? Funny, sounds like a day at the office !