Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ivory tower (2)

many companies have those research departments. Those propellerheads who feed revolutionary ideas to rest of the organization, willing or not.

It's fascinating how different types of people work in these different units, research, r&d and production. Production guys are conservative nitpickers who don't like anything new or changing (a small exaggeration if you may). And r&d guys, depending on the situation and person, either calculative project managers or techno-oriented geeks.

Research people are different, too.Some child-minded, one-track-minds with awesome concentration on details. Some others are dreamers with difficulties to end anything.

Question remains whether we should relieve the tension between these different parties? Like earthing a bit the propellerheads and loosening up in the production. Actually no, I think. Part of the strength of the researchers is that they don't know too much about the evil everyday world, they should be left in their ivory tower. Research is intricate business where you travel basically based on faith. If the faith trembles your creativity starts coughing. That is of course if we are going to create something totally new, not just more me-too.

I could be wrong but this is the view I've got from working on both sides. BTW: it is interesting and educating to change for example from research to production and observe how slowly your thinking actually adopts the new mindset required by the new job. These changes are valuable not only for expanded knowledge and diversification but they also make you aware of your own static mindsets and prejudice.

First published 2007:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Take the 'A' train (2)

when a train approaches a station, almost always half of the people standing a
on the platform starts walking to the same direction as the coming train is moving. Why is that?

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first published 2008:

Monday, March 5, 2012

Stop for internet

especially when mobile phones were a new thing, it was found amusing that people felt an urge to walk around aimlessly while talking on a phone.

It doesn't bother me but what instead bothers is that I have to stop walking when wishing to enter internet. Although it is possible to use internet on my phone while walking, it requires concentration and sometimes is not wise for example if there is a lot of traffic or slippery road.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Not alphabetical order...

What significance has alphabetical order in your daily activities? It came to me that I could nowadays do pretty well although I hadn't learnt alphabetical order in the school. Again one another skill doomed to oblivion like the ability to do sums without a calculator or remember person's phone number.

Where I used to need that was in many occasions related to searching information. Went to a library, locating right book required mastering alphabetical order. And when the book was found, using the index required that as well. Now that I use google instead, where do I still need alphabets?

When I really think this through, I still use alphabetical order in some occasions.
- many times parking lots have guide letters designating the are in which you parked your car.
- at the airports terminals have letters (I'm not sure, does their order help you in any way)
- in Washington DC you have streets named "E", "F",... and located conveniently in alphabetical order

Why are these all related to place and location? Could it be that it is the one realm where information technology has not yet really left it's mark? Waiting for GIS, internet of things and augmented reality to kick in.

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Quote from a movie: High fidelity

Dick: It guess it looks as if you're reorganizing your records. What is this though? Chronological?
Rob: No...
Dick: Not alphabetical...
Rob: Nope.
Dick: What?
Rob: Autobiographical.
Dick: No fuckin' way.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Erp (2)

based on this story (in Finnish) about ERP(enterprise resource planning) going personal:

a system taking care of person's dull everyday formalities like bills, receipts, bureaucracy. not bad.
your own personal secretary who knows your calendar and whom you can put the do the errands like book a dentist etc.
Isn't this the normal direction of evolution, to get rid of dull routine? Sometimes it works, like you buy your bread and cheese ready sliced. Addition is done by computers, potatoes grown by someone else. But you have to recycle bottles and sort the garbage, type your own documents.

I.e. some tasks you can loose and some you don't. You also get new tasks. It's easier to acquire knowledge via web but then on the other hand, somebody feel compelled to write wikipedia.

Distantly, this relates to a book I read( was it Utterback can't remember). There was an example of cereal-growing in America, how it got more effective during centuries. At a given time the crop increased threefold. But at the same time, the energy needed got tenfold. Efficiency getting worse was the price for more centralized production serving a changed society structure.

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first published 2007

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Instant payback (2)

could it be possible, for people to reward fellow citizens when they do something unselfish. Like clean up garbage from the streets or help an elderly lady across a street. If only people witnessing this could instantly reward this person by making a small donation to the persons account, paypal-style and anonymously.
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first published

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bradley - the vehicle (2)

movie "Pentagon wars" contains a priceless description of a r&d project going haywire by ever-changing and contradictory requirements.
very educational and oh-so familiar.

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first published 2007