30 March 2008

BarCamp Sydney #3

Now that Mick has done this splendid advert of course you want to come along to BarCamp Sydney #3!

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

I hate IE 6 - save the developers (and me!)

Fully support this movement - words cannot explain how much pain cross browser testing for IE6 has caused me!

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

What is a geek?

Went to an Earth Hour candlelight BBQ last night and ended up having one of those late night conversations about 'what is a geek?' and 'who is a geek?'

I'd never really thought about it like that before & so have been pondering notions with Twitterbuds this morning. But am very interested in what other people define a geek as, and who they think is a geek.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Pumas, Planets and Pens: How Cues in the Environment Influence Consumer Choice

Just read a very interesting article on this research paper: "Dogs on the Street, Pumas on Your Feet: How Cues in the Environment Influence Product Evaluation and Choice," where Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger suggests that what you see in your everyday world can influence what you buy. This indicates that association is a powerful tool in getting people to purchase.

An example he gave was participants in one study who were shown more images of dogs liked sneakers from the Puma brand more than those who had not seen the images -- because dogs are associated with cats, and cats with Puma. "Marketers ... think they have to come up with a catchy slogan or slick advertisement to create a buzz," Berger says. Instead, companies can get a payoff by creating a link between their product and a cue in the environment.

More details here: http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/index.cfm?fa=viewfeature&id=1927

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

26 March 2008

Gigantic Antarctic Ice Chunk Collapses

The other side to my post the other day about global warming

Gigantic Antarctic Ice Chunk Collapses

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

24 March 2008

Is IT becoming extinct?

Krigsman over at ZDNet asked this very interesting question.

I reckon that IT is diverging into two separate streams - firstly mission critical systems, that must be highly reliable and resilient. Secondly non-critical systems that are being democratised. I don't think any of us want to use medical or financial systems that are user generated, not tested and not highly secure and fault tolerant? But for other business systems I see socialprise as taking over.

So we see the divergence. Where high levels of reliability, redundancy and resilience are required IT departments & engineers are critical. But for the rest roll on the revolution!

Corollary: IT departments will get smaller & become irrelevant ...

The important thing that web technology is now enabling is ordinary people can generate, change and control it without need for many specialists. This means that business units can control their own technological destiny.

Also things like SaaS will continue to change the game. Thus economies of scale that old time IT departments delivered will become less relevant. They will become less relevant because to deliver economies of scale you remove freedom, choice and control from the business. Up until now the business people just had to live with it. Now they are beginning to have viable, cost effective & reliable alternatives.

We should see some interesting battles between IT fighting a rearguard action against this phenomenon and the business units pushing ahead so they can achieve their business goals.

Scott Adams is not really joking in Dilbert when he refers to the IT department representative as "Mordac preventer of information services".

NB: Caveat on all of this is exclusion of mission critical systems from above.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Now your plants can Twitter too!

New Twitter app: Botanicalls, where your plants tweet to let you know how they are doing.

As it says on the website: "Botanicalls Twitter answers the question: What's up with your plant? It offers a connection to your leafy pal via online Twitter status updates that reach you anywhere in the world. When your plant needs water, it will post to let you know, and send its thanks when you show it love. "

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

General Colin Powell: 18 Lessons from a very successful leader

General Colin Powell is a leader that I admire. I ran across this list in my travels and thought it worth sharing.

Lesson 1: "Good leaders sometimes make people unhappy."

Lesson 2: "The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of a relationship"

Lesson 3: "Don’t be buffaloed by experts and elites. Experts often possess more data than judgment. Elites can become so inbred that they produce hemophiliacs who bleed to death as soon as they are nicked by the real world."

Lesson 4: " Don’t be afraid to challenge the pros, even in their own backyard."

Lesson 5: "Never neglect details. When everyone’s mind is dulled or distracted, the leader must be doubly vigilant."

Lesson 6: "You don’t know what you can get away with until you try."

Lesson 7: "Keep looking below surface appearances. Don’t shrink from doing so (just) because you might not like what you find."

Lesson 8: " Organization doesn’t really accomplish anything. Plans don’t accomplish anything, either. Theories of management don’t much matter. Endeavors succeed or fail because of the people involved. Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds."

Lesson 9: "Organization charts and fancy titles count for next to nothing".

Lesson 10: "Never let your ego get so close to your position that when your position goes, your ego goes with it."

Lesson 11: "Fit no stereotypes. Don’t chase the latest management fads. The situation dictates which approach best accomplishes the team’s mission."

Lesson 12: "Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier."

Lesson 13: "Powell’s Rules for Picking People" – Look for intelligence and judgment and, most critically, a capacity to anticipate, to see around corners. Also look for loyalty, integrity, a high energy drive, a balanced ego and the drive to get things done."

Lesson 14: (Borrowed by Powell from Michael Korda): "Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand."

Lesson 15 Part I: "Use the formula P=40 to 70, in which P stands for the probability of success and the numbers indicate the percentage of information acquired."

Lesson 15 Part II: "Once the information is in the 40 to 70 range, go with your gut."

Lesson 16: "The commander in the field is always right and the rear echelon is wrong, unless proven otherwise."

Lesson 17: "Have fun in your command. Don’t always run at a breakneck pace. Take leave when you’ve earned it: Spend time with your families."

Corollary: "Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves, those who work hard and play hard."

Lesson 18: "Command is lonely."

[Source: Little Africa]

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

23 March 2008

Global Warming or Global Cooling?

I was listening to the ABC Radio on the way home the other night and heard a conversation between Counterpoint's Michael Duffy and Jennifer Marohasy, a biologist and senior fellow of Melbourne-based think tank the Institute of Public Affairs. Now many think that the IPA is a neo-con front, but it was a seriously interesting set of data under discussion. The podcast of their conversation is here.

The story has also been picked up by The Australian

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Some interesting perspectives on the Skills Shortage & Talent Wars

So nothing appears to have changed - we continue to hear the rhetoric of talent wars and continue to see the demonstrable lack of interest or investment in the 'talent' that is already there.

Blame CIOs for the IT Skills Shortage

We can't hire enough "talent." Oh, and we're eliminating 3,000+ jobs

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Quote of the day on women's rights

This quote seems appropriate given the day ..

"Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them. "

Source: "Ain't I A Woman?", by Sojourner Truth, Delivered 1851 at the Women's Convention in Akron, Ohio

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

22 March 2008

Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace

Danah Boyd (2007) wrote an interesting discussion of class issues in America as revealed by usage of Facebook and MySpace. Her article , Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace, raises some interesting questions about corporate reactions to social networking being based on class issues (e.g. the military blocking use of MySpace for soldiers but retaining use of Facebook which is used mainly by officers).

Wonder what the usage patterns are in Australia? Also wonder if they reveal any class distinctions?

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Bad Ajax & Flash

Ajax Flash Mistakes

From: jboutelle, 1 week ago

For SXSW 2008

SlideShare Link

The Haters

Duncan has shared a good one (beware it does contain 'colourful' language)

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

IT failures and social media

It is worth having a look at Krigsman's interview on IT failures and social media. Shel Israel, co-author (with Robert Scoble) of the influential book on blogging, Naked Conversations, recently interviewed Michael regarding on social media and IT failures. He used the interview to summarize his views on some key, failure-related issues. There is a summary of the interview; the topics were from Shel, the answers from Michael.

The key issue of communication in preventing failure is discussed, as is user adoption of the technology.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

21 March 2008

Social media for PR

Jason Falls over at Social Media Explorer has noted a good (or blatant) use of social media for PR. Worth a look to check out their modus operandi.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Obama - yes we can video

I wish Australian politics had such inspiring ideas as the Barack Obama campaign ...

or Obama's recent speech on race:

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Climate Change Music

Fifikins mentioned desert island music today, which somehow got me thinking about favourites of mine. Mozart's Requiem is one fave. Then I came to suspect that this little piece by Mozart is good climate change music ;)

The words translate as:

Day of wrath, day of anger
will dissolve the world in ashes,
as foretold by David and the Sibyl.
Great trembling there will be
when the Judge descends from heaven
to examine all things closely.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change

I'm wondering why I have not seen anything about this in the mainstream media? All very interesting ...

“Global warming” is not a global crisis

We, the scientists and researchers in climate and related fields, economists, policymakers, and business leaders, assembled at Times Square, New York City, participating in the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change,

Resolving that scientific questions should be evaluated solely by the scientific method;

Affirming that global climate has always changed and always will, independent of the actions of humans, and that carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a pollutant but rather a necessity for all life;

Recognising that the causes and extent of recently-observed climatic change are the subject of intense debates in the climate science community and that oft-repeated assertions of a supposed ‘consensus’ among climate experts are false;

Affirming that attempts by governments to legislate costly regulations on industry and individual citizens to encourage CO2 emission reduction will slow development while having no appreciable impact on the future trajectory of global climate change. Such policies will markedly diminish future prosperity and so reduce the ability of societies to adapt to inevitable climate change, thereby increasing, not decreasing human suffering;

Noting that warmer weather is generally less harmful to life on Earth than colder:

Hereby declare:

That current plans to restrict anthropogenic CO2 emissions are a dangerous misallocation of intellectual capital and resources that should be dedicated to solving humanity’s real and serious problems.

That there is no convincing evidence that CO2 emissions from modern industrial activity has in the past, is now, or will in the future cause catastrophic climate change.

That attempts by governments to inflict taxes and costly regulations on industry and individual citizens with the aim of reducing emissions of CO2 will pointlessly curtail the prosperity of the West and progress of developing nations without affecting climate.

That adaptation as needed is massively more cost-effective than any attempted mitigation, and that a focus on such mitigation will divert the attention and resources of governments away from addressing the real problems of their peoples.

That human-caused climate change is not a global crisis.

Now, therefore, we recommend –

That world leaders reject the views expressed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as well as popular, but misguided works such as “An Inconvenient Truth”.

That all taxes, regulations, and other interventions intended to reduce emissions of CO2 be abandoned forthwith.

Agreed at New York, 4 March 2008

[Source: Climate Science International]

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Can Accounting Tools Lead to, Rather than Prevent, Executive Mistakes?

For the last two weeks I have been lecturing on information systems controls and using the recent internal control failures at Societe Generale as an example. Issues of internal control generally lie at the heart of corporate failures be it deliberate fraud (as at Enron) or general incompetence.

Each corporate failure generates an avalanche of increased compliance regulation from the authorities. Yet the failures continue and the general public continues to suffer in one way or another, as do the staff who are required to undertake the additional compliance activity.

When thinking about better controls it is often argued that better, more timely and useful accounting data would help. That it is like the canary in the coal mine, giving early warning of potential problems.

However, there is an interesting article by Gavin Cassar over at K@W on Biased Expectations: Can Accounting Tools Lead to, Rather than Prevent, Executive Mistakes? He argues that:

"It's been shown in many studies that people are overly optimistic," saying that "What's interesting here is that, when you use the accounting tools, the optimism is even more extreme. This suggests that using the tools, which a lot of academics and government agencies say is good practice, can lead to even bigger mistakes."
Cassar then goes on to discuss how new entrepreneurs create storylines of their success that influence the spreadsheets upon which they rely for their business plans. The tendency for optimistic projections becomes part of the "objective" business plan. Given these tendencies for humans to think optimistically and to create narratives that support their optimistic views it is not surprising that companies and individuals can get into trouble.

The interesting question, is if we know how people think and the problems they have in being objective how can we control for that in business? I don't know the answer, but it is definitely something to think about.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Adoring Google Calendar Sync & Microsoft Outlook

IMHO the greatest productivity improvement in my life in recent times has been the release of Google Calendar Sync. This has finally allowed me to combine multiple calendars & get a consolidated view of my life.

Microsoft Outlook remains my favourite email client. I've tried many of the others, Eudora, Thunderbird, Notes, Entourage, Novell, some others I cannot even remember. But the one thing they do not offer is good calendar management. And, up until now, Outlook only offered this when used in combination with Exchange.

But now, using Google Calendar together with Outlook I am happy and can work out what is going on in my diary. This is a great innovation!

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

17 March 2008

Teh Definitive Lolcats Glossary

The Definitive Lolcats Glossary

sumtiems teh kittehs gets teh letters mixed up


O hai n welcum, Lolspeakrz n chzfrenz! This wiki is designed to be the *definitive* collection of key lolspeak terms and phrases, both native and borrowed, as well as an answer to questions like "why IS that walrus looking for a blue bucket?" Kthx. "

This site has everything - LOLspeak, web 2.0 like wiki-ness, etc etc

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

And so the LOLBible came into being

Agen teh kitteh leads teh wai ...

Humorous Pictures
see more crazy cat pics

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

16 March 2008

Racism, Sexism & Privilege

Just came across two fairly old articles that are really worth reading:

The Male Privilege Checklist by B. Deutsch
This is a summary of the unconscious privilege to which able bodied white men are generally subject. This is not a criticism of white men - really it is just how they experience the world unless something intervenes to reveal their own privileged situation.

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh
This is the 1990 article that sparked the Male Privilege Checklist - it looked at the unconscious privilege to which white people are generally subject. Peggy McIntosh says, "I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group".

This is all very interesting because the other day I was listening to Jackie Huggins talk about her life and her family. It was a long drive so there was nothing to distract me. As I listened it became clear to me how hard it must be to become a successful aboriginal woman. So many unconscious freedoms that I take for granted were and remain blocked to non-whites in Australia.

I've studied sociology, philosophy and anthropology so I've known intellectually about these phenomena. But it was listening the Jackie talk on the radio that humanised the whole thing.

It behoves us as a nation to bring to an end this unconscious privilege and the associated unconscious discrimination. And it behoves me as an individual to think about what I can do. This post is the first step.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

About the Brain: TED talk by Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor

This is an amazing TED talk by Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor. One morning, she realised she was having a massive stroke. Her observations of this process and how our brains work are really thought provoking. This talk made me think about how our brains work and define us, and how the brain connects us to each other. NB: she uses a real brain as a demonstration.

Transcript is here

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Another win for Twitter

Yet again Twitter proves its utility ...

Yesterday SilkCharm was stuck at Dubai airport en route to Saudi Arabia with her mobile phone's global roaming not working. Using the free wireless at the airport (unlike in Australian airports) she was able to tweet her plight. After a few tweets back & forth she provided her phone details & I called the carrier on her behalf & they reset her global roaming. All working fine now.

This happy resolution was possible because of Twitter's ability to (a) broadcast a message, (b) send direct messages with non public information. But it is important to note that it was all predicated on a non-third world telecommunications system. Lucky she was in Dubai & not Melbourne or Sydney.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

15 March 2008

Apparently I'm a bulldog ..

I always thought I was a little taller than that?

What dog breed are you? I'm a Bulldog! Find out at Dogster.com

You are a Bulldog! You may look like the troublemaker of the pack, but it turns out your tough guy mug is worse than its bite. You're really a softie, loyal to your friends and family and A-OK with meeting new pooches, but you prefer to do so with a high-five instead of a paw-shake. Proud of your great sense of humor, you've got a whole litter of jokes you draw from to keep the mood playful and the positive energy alive. A perfect afternoon for you involves a leisurely stroll with a pal, followed by a little downtime in an easy chair with a frosty can of brew and a remote control within easy fetching distance. You shed accusations of being lazy, knowing perfectly well that you're kenneling the energy you might need for... well... something.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

11 March 2008

Zuckerberg'd - A kind take on Zuckerberg's SXSW address...

This is too funny - hat tip to Dickie Davis - ROTFLMAO

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

10 March 2008

Cloudcat - my favourite LOLcat

This is perhaps my favourite of all teh LOLcats - this one floats by unnoticed by teh humans:

funny pictures

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Singing kittens and a bank

Saw the Bankwest singing kittens ad recently and thought it was a nice approach. It is also interesting to note that they are using an informal voice throughout their other customer service channels too. So it is not just creative but IVR, online, etc. This integrated approach seems to be part of their overall positioning strategy to support their east coast expansion.

I don't really care - I just liked the kittehs!

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

9 March 2008

SXSW: 7 Fake Startups Compete for 'Worst Website Ever'

This is one of the funniest things I've seen in recent times - there are actually some businesses I think people have really pitched!

SXSW: 7 Fake Startups Compete for 'Worst Website Ever'

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

6 March 2008

Canadian Friends on Facebook

I am always amazed by diversity of groups on Facebook. Given my love for all things Canadian (gotta respect people who invade America & burn down the White House) this group tickled my fancy - Canadian friends on facebook.. Come meet a Canadian friend!!

Currently wishing I was in Montreal to practise my French, drink red wine, and go snowmobiling (apparently it is -11 degrees centigrade there at the moment).

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

5 March 2008

100+ Resources for Web Developers

Here is a fabulous resource: 100+ Resources for Web Developers

There are a bunch of neat tools I'll be having a play with over the next little while - hat tip to Jeremiah Owyang for the link :)

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

4 March 2008

Went to Mobile Monday Sydney Last Night

First time I've made it to a Mobile Monday Sydney session - nice venue (apparently it rained last time & everyone got wet) and there were some interesting discussion re mobile technology. But do suspect that some presenters need more practise with the short time allotted to their talks.

My view is that these mobile applications are not yet simple enough for users en masse. Very close though - good usable mobile apps are not far off.

The interesting realisation I had was that, while the US has lots of 3G phones, they don't have any 3G networks. So while large players like this are not in the game we are unlikely to see the scale to drive better UI and user experiences. It was also a shock to realise that Canada had a more restrictive regulatory regime.

From my own perspective mobile web is so slow as to remind me of olden days with dial-up internet! Can't wait for it to get better, I hear a rumour that the government will fix it (but that could just be a joke?).

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

3 March 2008

2nd Annual BRW Digital Media For Marketing Leaders Forum 2008 - APPARENTLY CANCELLED!

UPDATE #2, 3 Mar 2008: Well have finally received half hearted and limp 'apology' email from someone at IIR late this afternoon. Apparently they sent the email a few weeks ago to an old email address. This is in spite of the fact that I sent them an email & made a telephone call pre-Christmas 2007 to advise the conference organiser that that address was no longer valid. Also they would have received a 'no such address' response from the mail server at the old address. All around a pretty annoying situation.

UPDATE #1, 3 Mar 2008: Well it seems that I will not be presenting at this conference after all since it was cancelled. The only problem with this is that nobody told me that. Much to my chagrin I turned up at the venue only to find nobody else there! To sum up, I am more than a little miffed at this. Not only did I take a day off paying work to present at this conference, I also spent a lot of time preparing my presentation. Thus far the conference organising firm - IIR - has NOT contacted me even after I phoned them this morning to ask what was going on. Nor has the website been updated to indicate the cancellation. Not a very professional approach to things in my book!

NOTE TO IIR: I'm not feeling the love y'know :(

I'm presenting a session on "Leveraging Multiple Platforms To Deliver An Integrated Marketing Ecosystem" at this event on 3 March. It has been interesting to think about this topic and consolidate practical experience with theory.

2nd Annual BRW

Digital Media For Marketing Leaders Forum 2008

Using Online Connectivity to Deliver Dynamic Business Results
3 - 4 March 2008, Amora Hotel Jamison, Sydney

"IIR's 2nd annual BRW Digital Media for Marketing Leaders Forum 2008 will provide you with interesting, proven case studies and invaluable insights into the latest global trends and techniques. BRW Digital Media for Marketing Leaders Forum 2008 will allow you to learn how to synthesise your marketing efforts using digital media and be inspired by successful best practice digital marketing models to help you select and exploit the optimum digital medium to launch your branding campaign."

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

2 March 2008

International Women's Day 2008

It is coming up to International Women's Day again and it made me think about how far women have come in the last 200 years, and how far we have yet to go.

There is a good summary of the history (or herstory as some call it) at the Australian Women's Intra Network.

But it is interesting to think how close we western women are to being chattels and not able to have accepted existence apart from men.

Following are some legal milestones in England (Australia diverged slightly from these, but not by much). So to think that only just over 100 years ago all my earnings would have legally belonged to my husband no matter what I thought!


  • 1832 - First Reform Bill extended the vote to men who owned or rented property worth an annual rate of 10 pounds or more (about 18% of the adult male population). It included half of the middle class but excluded agricultural labourers and most industrial workers, and introduced the word 'male' into suffrage legislation for the first time.

  • 1839 - Infants and Child Custody Act allowed women who were divorced or separated but had not been proved adulterous to ask for custody of children under seven. Previously, the father was immediately awarded custody of all children, regardless of the reasons for divorce.

  • 1857 - Matrimonial Causes Act/Divorce Act established secular divorce in England. Prior to this secular divorce required an act of Parliament and cost hundreds of pounds, and only four women had ever achieved a divorce this way. The 1857 law provided that (1) a court could order maintenance payment to a divorced or estranged wife; (2) a divorced wife could inherit or bequeath property, enter contracts, sue or be sued, and protect her earnings from a deserter; (3) a man could secure a divorce on the grounds of his wife's adultery. For women, a husband's adultery alone was insufficient grounds--she had to prove another charge such as desertion, extreme cruelty, or incest to secure a divorce.

  • 1867 - Second Reform Bill doubled the electorate by extending the vote to almost all working men except agricultural day-labourers. The feminists' amendment, for which they had presented the petition to John Stuart Mill, which would have substituted the word 'person' for 'man' in the description of eligible voters, was overwhelmingly defeated.

  • 1870 - Married Women's Property Act mandated that women could keep their earnings and inherit personal property and small amounts of money; everything else (whether acquired before or after marriage) belonged to their husbands.

  • 1873 - Custody Acts: Women could be awarded custody of children up to age 16, and adulteresses could petition for custody.

  • 1882 - Married Women's Property Act. Married women could keep all personal and real property acquired before and during marriage.

  • 1884 - Third Reform Bill extended suffrage to rural male householders, to almost all men over 21 (thus a male labourer could vote, but not the wealthy woman who employed him).

  • 1884 - Matrimonial Causes Act: a wife deserted by an adulterer could petition for divorce immediately, rather than waiting two years, as previously required.

  • 1886 - Custody reform: stipulated that the mother automatically got custody of children if the father died.

  • 1918 - Women's Suffrage: women aged 30 and over could vote and stand for Parliament.

  • 1925 - Guardianship of Infants Act recognised that both parents had equal rights and responsibilities for children.

  • 1928 - Women's voting age lowered to 21

[Source: http://www.hastingspress.co.uk/history/19/legal.htm]

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Social Media Breakfast - Old Media reporting on New Media

Jeff Pulver's Social Media Breakfast in NY as covered by a reporter from Fortune Magazine. Discovering the face-to-face interaction of Web 2.0 fans and the applications they are generating.

read more | digg story

1 March 2008

Krigsman's Qantas Predictions ...

It will be interesting to see if Michael's predictions for IT failures at Qantas are on the mark. Watch this space ...

Qantas Airways: a perfect storm for IT failure? by ZDNet's Michael Krigsman -- Qantas, the Australian national airline, has endured two high-profile IT failures in recent years and a third major project appears to be at substantial risk. In many respects, the company offers a case study for examining how underlying management issues can cause multiple IT projects to go bad. Project eQ. In late 1995, Qantas canceled its [ ...]

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

The web is not forever ...

Over the past few days I have been thinking about history, in particular the history of telecommunications. It is easy for us to imagine that the Internet will be with us forever, indeed many cannot imagine what we did before it was invented. But technology that enables communication has come before and been vanquished by a newer and better technology.

For an example of this we can take the telegraph, which was the Internet of that time. Newspapers called it a miracle, and the 6-12 week wait for news from overseas was no longer. At the time people wrote quite poetically about it:

"The contemplated extension of the Magnetic Telegraph by private enterprize, from New York to Boston, may be hailed as a stride in the march of intelligence of no ordinary importance. It is one of those triumphs of the arts of peace that knit our people in closer relations of union and brotherhood. The Magnetic Telegraph annihilates distance." [Source: Albany Argus, January 4, 1845.]
Companies used it to trade shares and commodities, giving rise to the stock tickers we've seen in old movies. Nations used the electric telegraph to move armies faster and more efficiently than ever.

The telegraph even gave rise to an online community, that of the telegraph operators. Who used 'handles' and who developed something like a Twitter community.

This little journey into the fairly recent past shows how quickly innovations are superseded. Thus the telephone, television and computers arose and caused us to almost forget the telegraph. This very fact makes me conscious that this interweb we love so much is ephemeral and that our business models need to be enabled to respond to technology changes.

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