Monthly Archives: June 2005

Reaching Down The Leopard’s Mouth

I wonder sometimes why companies don’t implement the MAT as they should. Right now, I think it’s more of a marketing problem than anything else. Part of my goal with this blog is to communicate to people what the MAT is all about and how it can really help them do their jobs better. But in some cases, I think people are just afraid of what the answers are. But if this man can reach into an attacking leopard’s mouth and grab him by the tongue to kill him, you can certainly learn a little bit about what’s working and what’s not at your company.

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Gates Says Companies Should Not Outsource Core Functions

“If you rely too much on people in other companies and countries … you are outsourcing your brains where you are making all the innovation,” Gates said to a group of Japan’s top businessmen. We’ve hit this before, but if you don’t understand and valuate your business processes you won’t know what to outsource and what not.

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From the “Beats Me” Department

Kuro5hin has an interesting article today about Artificial Intelligence, or the lack thereof. (Warning — I don’t know or vouch for this site. Looks like there is some harsh language in the comments) There has been a very long-running debate in the computer science field about artificial intelligence, going back as far as I can remember. The author makes some good points, and those interested in AI should give it a read. But the question I have is “suppose you have written an artificial intelligence engine, let’s call it a call-center psychiatrist, how would you go about knowing if it was working okay?

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Fujitsu Launches New Biometric Device

Fujitsu announced today that it was releasing a device to measure identity by means of reading veins in the palms of users. This whole area looks ripe for cost control, as there are a lot of different biometric systems out there. How about a quick tour?

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Stone Age Factory Found

Looks like scientists have discovered a stone age factory that made primitive tools, one of the earliest ever found (2 millions years old). I just hope those guys weren’t eating too much lettuce while they were making tools, because as we know now lettuce is actually an aphrodisiac.

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War Of The Wonks

Program management, for some reason, seems to have more than it’s fair share of wonks. For those of you who don’t know what “wonk” means, it’s “Without Normal Knowledge”, which is a nice way of saying educated beyond your natural intelligence.

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Is it the Tools? or the People?

One of the things I get the most as a process consultant is “Do we need better processes, or better tools?” Usually it shows up in cases where tools were bought to fix process issues (after all, buying a tool is simply writing a check. Fixing a process means getting consensus among dozens, if not hundreds of people — which do you think is easier?) But there are cases where infrastructure is needed. How do you find out where this is the situation?

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Maybe Worf Was Right?

In the show “Star Trek: The Next Generation” there was a Klingon who served on the Enterprise. Worf, being highly skilled in the art of weaponry, was always wanting to use this or that weapon to solve whatever problem appeared. Aside from the fact that all of the aliens in NG were parodied to a point where they could never have a working civilizaion, perhaps there is a lesson here. There’s a theory in computer science that says whatever programming language you use can affect your choice of solutions.

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The Love Boat Meets Santa’s Workshop

What happens when you take a boatload of foreigners and park them off the shore of a major American city? You get a new form of offshore development, that’s what. Instead of worrying about pesky local labor laws, if you’ve got a ship in international waters, in some ways it’s like being your own king. And it’s good to be king.

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RFID Clouds On The Horizon

For all the hype and promise that RFID brings to the table, there are a lot of people that believe it’s not going to be planned well enough. Network world has a great article about this. From the article,

Dave Husak, Reva’s CTO, has a nightmare vision of the next phase of RFID. Imagine, he says, a Fortune 100 applications architect or CIO walking up to the network IT manager’s desk and saying “I’ve just bought 500,000 RFID readers. I’d like them installed and operating.”

“I can guarantee you that guy [the network IT manager] has not been at the table during the RFID discussions,” Husak says.

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