Chaos & Complexity in Public Organisations

AT LAST – Chaos and Complexity theories reach the public consciousness as issues for management of organisations.
BBC Radio 4 Today – Analyst looking at Health Service organisation identifies these issues as blockers to predictable behaviour.
Tiny inputs – Large unpredicted outcomes, yes, but equally
Enormous inputs – No predictable outcomes.
Relevant message – Buisness rules for information management must be held separately from purely logical / deterministic codings, because these rules may turn out to be “fuzzy”.

The Learning Machine

The Learning Machine Challenge
Spin off from the AI Forum

Management Information Systems Quarterly
Academic & Research Journal on MIS
Includes “Qualitative” scope amongst more traditional aspects.
Has Mike Myers (Uni of Auckland) on the editorial board.
Previously associated with Geoff Walsham (Judge Institute, Cambridge)

Technology is Useless

Remember A.C. Clarke’s 3 stages of reaction to technological breakthroughs:

(a) It’s completely impossible.
(b) OK, it’s possible, but it’s practically useless.
(c) Well, I said it was a good idea all along.

And Douglas Adams (Quoting Bran Ferren) – “Technology is the stuff that doesn’t work yet”

Windows XP

Living with Windows XP

XP: Released last week

BBC News Online’s Paul Rocks explains what it has been like living with an evaluation copy of Windows XP for the last couple of months.

(Text copy deleted)

My six weeks with XP have been pleasurable. No system crashes, no major problems and no phone-a-friend to sort out areas I don’t understand. Just the way it should be.

Peer to Peer Explosion

Monday November 5 2:00 PM ET
Use of Napster-Alternatives Rose in Oct. -Webnoize
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Users swapped 1.81 billion media files on Napster (news – web sites)-alternative services like Kazaa, MusicCity and Grokster, which have seen usage rise since Napster shut down in July to legal pressures, a research firm said on Monday.

Web research firm Webnoize said these services’ October levels represented a 20 percent increase from the 1.51 billion files downloaded during September.

All three applications use software licensed from FastTrack, an Amsterdam-based peer-to-peer technology company, and share the same network.

“The growth of the FastTrack network continues to be astounding,” said Webnoize analyst Matt Bailey. “During the last four months the number of users typically logged on has risen by 480 percent, and in November will likely surpass the 1.57 million simultaneous users that Napster, the popular song-swapping service, enjoyed at its peak.”

During October, 1.3 million users were typically logged on to the combined network at any one time, compared to 1 million simultaneous users in September.

Scoffing at Autonomy

From: CorporateInfo (
Subject: Expert scoffs at Autonomy software
View: (This is the only article in this thread) | Original Format
Date: 2001-08-23 21:49:53 PST

At Genentech headquarters today in South San Francisco, there was a
seminar on “Metadata & Controlled Vocabularies: What Are they and What
is their Value?” given by Amy Warner, faculty member in Information
Architecture at UMichigan, Genentech’s consultant on taxonomy creation
and a well-known corporate consultant on information technology. Dr.
Warner had a final slide with “Autonomy”and “Semio” written on it, and
here’s what she said:

“I always get asked, aren’t there automated tools to build
taxonomies? There is some ‘Hiearchy Generation Software’ available,
but it generally relies on the principal of Collocation, not
aboutness, which is preferable. Collocation simply means statistical
clustering. Two examples are Autonomy and Semio. Beware of these.
They don’t work very well. They make many promises, but Collocation
only works some of the time. I shouldn’t bash, but I haven’t talked
to a company yet that likes Autonomy, including those that have bought
it. In many cases they are overselling their product.”

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