The Cost (and Benefit) of Abstraction

The Cost (and Benefit) of Abstraction – This originated with Seb [via Spike] [via Lilia]. I commented on Spike’s blog that least abstraction “necessary” is a good qualification, because we certainly couldn’t do without it – in fact humans succeed because they are evolved to be good at it. The problem is that abstraction is part of “compression” – packing all those “bits of knowledge” into manageable communicable units on which to base decision rationale. It would be so inefficient any other way.

This is how language evolves – words / jargon / acronyms / metaphors as brief memorable tokens for complex stories. One adage I use all the time with colleagues (at the interface between business analysis and system design) is “Why use one word when a sentence will do ?” – you only abbreviate to a jargon word once all parties exhibit common understanding – but crucially, not before.

Zero-Tolerance equals Zero-Intelligence

Zero-Tolerance equals Zero-Intelligence – Morons in the News [via McGee’s Musings]. Can’t quite see how this Richard Gayle quote get’s to be here [Quote] Oh. What a wonderful Catch-22. A 6 year old is facing expulsion for having a plastic butter spoon in his backback. A spoon he got in the cafeteria and wanted to take home. So if they press for expulsion, the parents will sue the school for provding a dangerous weapon to their 6 year old. Zero-tolerance is for morons. I hope the parents get a ton of money. [Unquote] But I think this is my Hyper-Rationalism thread – it is just not intelligent to apply “laws” scientifically in unscientific situations. Catch 22 at two levels, one at the level of it being rational to be irrational (less than 100% rational anyway), and two at the level of the double-bind of the parents having the school in a no-win situation.

As We Know It

As We Know It – A truly excellent blog from Paul Kelly. Will add to my side-bar, (and blogroll when I get that organised). I blogged earlier the link to a couple of articles I picked-up from the Knowledge Board RSS Klog Aggregator, though Paul’s blog doesn’t actually appear in the K-Board blogroll (?), and I’ve since discovered that Paul has a very rich and balanced vein of philosophical thought and links on what matters about knowledge. I’ve taken off-line copies of the articles to preserve them for the future – it’s amazing how quickly important stuff disappears. (Incidentally, is it my imagination, or is Canada a hotbed of good KM Stuff .)

Blogging was for Hippies ?

Blogging was for Hippies ?Gerry McGovern [via James Robertson] says [Quote] the “hippie” period of “anything goes” in website design and information architecture should well and truly die – if information architecture is to solve problems cost-effectively, it will have to become rigorously defined.[Unquote]
I have interests in standardisation too, in fact that’s how I came to KM, but we need to be very careful not to seek standards in the wrong places. I say, we need to be careful not to throw baby out with the bathwater here. Part of the power of the web and blogging is its freedom and democracy – not very scientific I know, but true. The freedom of extensibility within common frameworks and protocols is good, but fixed ontologies can be the death of us. Democracy is the other key aspect, that whatever standards do come into play, they do so because a community finds it useful to have them, they evolve, adapt and are adopted, not “set”.

Blog Tools

Blog Tools – This from BlogComp, [via Lilia’s blog]
The main current deficiencies in Blogger Pro for me are Categorisation and RSS Aggregation. Although I host my blog content with my own ISP, I make use of Blogger’s own hosted tools and service. I’m not really in a position to have the software hosted elsewhere, unless someone would like to suggest how, in a way that is likely to be cheap and reliable ?

Incidentally, there is an error in the comparison. Blogger Pro does support e-mail posting and active e-mail notification, and it works.