Monthly Archives: October 2007

Cleaning up the computer

Nifty little program: Duplicate File Finder. Works like a charm, allows you to delete, and looks at content rather than name and time. Highly useful for a quick spin-through. And delightfully devoid of "user-friendly" bells and whistles. (Incidentally, set a minimum file size of at least 1000 bytes – or you will find out how many empty files your computer contains.)

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A CASE of Oslo?

Microsoft is embarking on a multi-year strategy called "Oslo", offering a model-based approach to systems development.

To me it sounds a bit like what we used to call CASE tools, i.e., Computer Aided Software Engineering, only now done with SOA components. Upper CASE, come to think of it. I am all for it – it seems to me that for every new technology generation, from 3rd generation though 4th to OO and SOA, we need to rediscover ways to describe what we want to do and processes for converting description into implementation.

Plus ça change…

Corn flakes

Chris Anderson, editor of Wired, has had it with lazy PR hacks sending him all kinds of irrelevant junk and publishes his kill file on his blog for the rest of the world (including spammers) to pick up. Way to go!

The comments are really interesting, from the single-company photographer who finds himself blocked because he trusted a mailinglist company to Kevin Kelly chiming in as former editor of Wired (10 years ago, the spam still coming). I liked the idea of "tost" or perhaps better, "corn flakes" as a term for spam that is sent by literate but inconsiderate PR hacks. Cereal filters cannot be far behind….

(Via Boingboing).

Update: Chris follows up with a mea culpa when it comes to paper-based spam – that is, all those cards that come inside magazines. Not that he promises to stop the practice or anything… I wish The Economist would see the light here – they have gotten rid of the tear-out junk that destroys your copy, but retain that stupid little card that gets thrown out without at much as a glance.

Cognitive outsourcing

Daviu Brooks comments on how more and more of what he had to know now is available as a service.
Of course, there is an academic term for this as well. It is called “cognitive reapportionment” (there is an article somewhere, but I don’t have access to Google right now…). Or, as Brooks calls it, outsourcing your brain.

Garbage can

This is the best Dilbert cartoon I have ever seen, and that says something. Of course there is an academic name for this situation, and it is called a garbage can, from Cohen, M. D., J. G. March, et al. (1972). “A Garbage Can Model of Organizational Choice.” Administrative Science Quarterly 17(1).

Aw shucks, I’ll just post it:


Update 10 minutes later: Now it dawned on me – it is the garbage man saying this. Which leads me to think that Scott Adams has read a lot more organizational theory than he wants to let on.

Discussing monkeys

Daniel Drezner has had a brush with the realm of the extremely overextended analogy at a recent conference.

It seems to me that what he experienced was discussing monkeys discussing monkeys. Which would make the commenters to his blog (and me, for that matter) discussing monkeys discussing monkeys discussing monkeys….

(posted here since his comment script appears down) 

The empty luxury stores

This interesting review in Access Asia’s Weekly View on Asia may be the explanation for a phenomenon I had a hard time understanding: The last few times I have been in China, I have been surprised at the number of luxury brand stores, and also by the complete lack of customers in them.

Both in Beijing and Shanghai, there are real Armani, Gucci, Coach, and what have you stores, with prices equal to or even higher than in Scandinavia (and that is saying something.) Luxury stores sell fantasies, of course, and not products. But even so, I wondered how the stores in the shopping center of the basement of the World Trade Center in Beijing could survive – the only customers I could see were those following their kids to the indoor skating rink, having a drink or a meal, or buying toiletries at the one convenience store.

The tourists were nowhere to be seen – they go to the Pearl Market to match their bargaining wits with the seasoned pros selling Pashmina scarves and yes-Sir-we-will-change-that-Gucci-belt-buckle-for-a-Docle&Gabbana-one leather goods.

(Hat tip to Cory Doctorow, who was in Beijing at the same time as I was)