Monthly Archives: December 2006

It’s the People, Stupid

The first thing I learned about taking pictures is that it’s the people, stupid. Folks want to see other folks, not landscapes or animals. This is even more horrible for the wannabe photographer because people are the hardest things in the world to shoot!

So here are a couple people shots from the last 3 weeks. I might be much of a photographer, but I am definitely good at fiinding cute kids!

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Staunton At Sunset

I didn’t have great success this past weekend, but the river picture above, and this picture of Staunton are at least interesting. Staunton, Virginia is not only home to a tremendous amount of history and culture, it’s buildings cast an interesting painting against the evening sky. We were there to visit Black Friar’s theater, the only theater in the world built to work exactly like Shakespeare’s original theater did. The kids loved the play — A Christmas Carol.

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ISG’s Iraq: The Big Picture

I thought I would put on my process wonk hat and take a look at the Iraq Study Group report.

As you may know, part of my day job is teaching and applying technology strategy. Most anybody who uses a computer knows that computerized systems have a way of becoming very complicated very quickly. A user presses the red button one day and the system does X. He presses the red button the next day and it does Y. When you’re using one program, fixing this is known as debugging. But with 40 systems, 200 programmers, 3 divisions, and offices all over the country, it’s different. How do you organize and align key business processes in such a complex environment? How do you see the big picture?

What I find the most is that people get lost in the details. They stop seeing the forest for the trees. Part of this is because each person has their own area of interest or specialty: the guys in finance don’t understand or care much what goes on in shipping, and the guys in manufacturing don’t think of the procurement guys as much more than impediments to getting work done.

It becomes really difficult, then, for large organizations to get a grip on what’s going on, how to fix it, and what’s important to fix and what isn’t. I could write a book on this (and I am), but for now, let’s take that experience of reading committee reports and organizing complex systems and put it to work on the ISG report.

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Speaking Update

Your humble correspondent speaks at a local technology council luncheon

Your humble correspondent spoke at the Virginia Piedmont Technology Council luncheon today. The crowd was great, and we had a lot of back-and-forth Q&A after the stand-up. I really like getting out and sharing my experiences, and hopefully somebody got something useful out of it. I believe that makes four public presentations this year. Woo hoo! Next year I’m shooting for six!

Maybe I should learn to juggle.

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The Twelve Days Of Nerdmas

My true love, darling of my life, asked me yesterday what I wanted for Christmas. When you get to be an old and cranky nerd like me, you’ve already collected a lot of every kind of whack-job tech-toy out there. I mean, I have the black AND white I-Pod Nanos. I got the smart phone with 4GB of storage. I got the tablet notebook with the cool little fingerprint reader. I got stuff all over the place. So what do I want this year?

Well for once, I’ve decided I have had enough with compromising! This year, I don’t want to be limited by what’s actually in production or what really exists per se. Dagnabbit, I want to just let loose and tell the old lady what I really want, or as Dr. Phil would say, it’s time to get real, folks.

So here it is, my friends, my list of items. While technically not in existence, these items are on my wish list for Christmas. I’m a consumer: I can say it, why can’t I buy it? Gimme gimme!

In case Bill Gates or Santa Claus is reading this, I want to state for the record I’ve been good all year long. Mostly. Yes, there was that incident involving the monkey costume and the drunken circus clown, but honestly, I didn’t know that those flatulence spray cans are actually explosive. Who did? It doesn’t say so on the can. So let’s just discard that one small incident. After all, there was no police report, and that should count for something. We’re tech folks, right? Actually, I’ve heard that Santa probably gets some kind of XML downloads from the cops. He’s certainly not managing that database using a pencil. He probably has some kind of clustered Beowulf server farm up there. Santa’s a Linux man, for sure.

So I’m taking the Twelve Days Of Christmas Song and putting together a litte kick-ass list of stuff that I should already be playing around with right now. Let’s get to it:

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