The “INFLUENCER” in social media.

I’ve often been invited to link to the current ‘INFLUENCER-DU-JOUR’ from Social Media sites. And ofttimes is a Successful entrepreneur, or angel investor, someone who has hit it big. And in many cases the success is a one off, and the personality at the center, is now an established ‘Expert’ in all things, even outside of their granted success niche.

I have encountered such people, and with rare exception, the success, their victory, has been more a ‘in the right place, at the right time’ event. Call it one time lucky. Mind you some have been very lucky, and struck big. And either by ego, or genuine desire, seek to do it again, or to help others ‘make it’. More often it’s the former, reveling in Ego, lies at the root. I won’t begrudge their Win, I just won’t listen to them any more than I would the next stranger on the street. I read once, that one of the great brokers before the great crash in the 1930’s, claimed he had received ‘Stock Tips’ from his shoeshine boy, at which point, he got out of the market, and saved his own shirt.

I feel that here, too many shoe shine boys.

Language of computing

I was reminded this Christmas Holiday season that computers do not ‘know‘ any human language, only binary, and that it takes humans to provide the translation from the machine to something human readable. And while most computer programing languages are ‘English’ like, they need not have to be in the English Language. It’s just what’s what happened first, and could be changed into another language at anytime.

This came to me in an inspired way, by listening to Carols, where non-native speakers were singing in latin, and other non-english speakers were singing in English, or German, or French. That you can sing in a language, and not know how to speak in it.

I suspect that is the same method that most non-english speakers program computers in ‘english like’ programing languages. By layering another translation over the programming, or like in singing, which uses another part of the brain, different from the part that provides language skills, another part of the brain is used to converse with computers. Thus making the point that people who program, do think with altered brains.

If you Love/Hate Nokia read this


Will the Real Stephen Elop, Please Stand Up?

I couldn’t on my best day, speak to this better than this article.

If anything it should speak to any CEO/CFO/CTO that arrogantly enters a new company environment with preconceived notions of what strategy should be applied to their new positions. So this article isn’t just about Nokia, it’s about ignorance of facts.

Kindle as the fire of Fahrenheit 451

In the science fiction book Fahrenheit 451 I often wondered what the catalyst was. In the current age, that has become apparent, control, with government leaders demanding ‘controls’ over the Internet, and most other communications media the books presented in the Novel are information. However, there is another aspect of books which in this age of electronic books (eBook) presents itself as a missing element in control.

While experimenting with the Kindle on Android I found that the Android Pad I was using, while reading a Kindle book was in constant communication with Amazon Books. Almost every page turn was being recorded and sent to Amazon, even the location of where I was reading them was a requirement during the reading of the eBook.

I discovered that if you turn off location features in your pad, or Android Phone, the kindle software will prevent you from reading a downloaded book. If you can not communicate with Amazon via WiFI or other wireless channel, you can’t open your books, even if they were previously downloaded.

Sometime back Amazon became embroiled in a controversy over publishing rights to a book, and directly removed it from peoples ebook readers, without the consent of the user.

Amazon/Kindle does not allow the loaning of books to others, even if they have been paid for. The owner just doesn’t have that right anymore.

All of these elements add up to the same thing, printed books are ‘out of control’ they can be read by anyone, loaned to anyone, and their content is not subject to change once printed. These are things that Amazon eBooks can do. Change content, disappear, track readers, prevent distribution and dissemination of content.

Not to get too scary, but fundamentally the loss of printed books marks a point where knowledge has peaked, and the end of freedom of thought. No longer will information be available freely. The internet will be throttled, bottled, canned and banned to suit the requirements of the controlling society. Books will be available, eBooks, with controlled revisable content, restricted to cleared and sanctioned readers from known locations. And every word will be monitored as it is read.

More Pseudoscience in the Press

This video at the BBC U.S. Site that claims Technology ‘rewires’ our brains Is yet another Pseudoscience attempt to baffle with Bullshit, the viewer. It comes off all Super Tech and is really no better than claiming that “Technology destroys our Brains”. Just more Yellow journalism. The disappointing thing is, that it’s coming from the BBC. This is for the U.S. (read American) audience, so I suppose it has to be Dumbed down to that level of that group.

But it is a sorry thing to watch happen.

Vaporware label only requires 3 delays.

I’m hoping that the Nokia N900 doesn’t become Vaporware as it has now delayed, or at lease allowed the perceived ship date to slip twice now, from October 2009, to End of October to now ‘November’. If there is a third slippage, it begins to make the N900 the subject of Vaporware rumors, and that kind of talk is death to a new product.

Selling your self

I’ve been engaged in a discussion on facebook on a subject proposed by Bernard Goldbach. The subject has shifted a bit into what ‘marketing’ is. Or more so perhaps to what discussions in a public forum are. It’s also the basis of why the Delphi Method and my Idea Forecasting project are so important. But the only way I can illustrate this is like a 3 year old would do, with the ‘Why’ drill down to find the basic question. So here is my attempt;

Why do you blog, or post on any public forum?

To participate in the dusscussion.

(good, nobel thought. ed)

Why?

Well I think it’s a good disscusion.

Why?

Well I think I have some thoughts on the idea which I wish to contribute.

Why?

Well I think my Ideas are good.

Why?

Well I’ve had these experiences which have taught me a lot, and I think everyone should hear them.

Why?

Well I think everyone should know them, they can learn from them as well.

Why?

because they are important

Why?

because they are great ideas.

Why?

etc ad nauseam …

They are personal, you deem them valuable, and wish to give (read sell, promote, peddle) them to others.

The Delphi Method is a way to remove the ‘Personal‘ the Ego from the the Idea. The idea, and the discussion is on the merits of the Idea, and the comments, not on the personality, or the need of the individual to promote that Idea.

Idiotic Small Business Shop behavior

I know there is a recession on, I really do. But there are things to do to cut costs, and there are things that you can do to cut your own throat, and you should never get them confused. I’ve seen a recent example of the later, under the guise of the former. Curry’s in the Ballincollig Shopping Center have chosen to close their shop on Tuesday and Wednesday’s of every week rather than pay salaries to idle staff!

In my past experience with the shop I have often observed 4 or more staff shuffling around their premises with little to occupy their time so cutting staff hours would make sense. But why not shift their hours so at least a fewer staff are on hand on Tuesday and Wednesday’s rather than close the store.

Closing the store is a permanent commitment to earning ZERO sales for two days out of the week. Shifting the worker schedule will not alter the saving earned from reduced staff salaries, while maintaing an open store. Closing for two days of each week will close ANY sale, and will put off ANY future sales from people who will go elsewhere to purchase items.

In other words Curry’s is cutting their own throat!

In this market there are two strategies that you can adopt, reduce costs, and increase customers. Funny, those are the same strategies that you have to employ ALL THE TIME! A recession only makes the urgency more poignant.

And on that point, let me call most Irish shops foolish. Think of a coffee shop or Pub that could offer free refills of simple coffee, how far will that go in earning customer returns and loyalty? Would a shop full of coffee drinkers be more inviting than an empty one? Could you maybe offer them a bit of cake to go with that refill?

What would be the benefit to the shopkeeper to stop charging for WiFi and offer it Free to customers who might like to use it with their coffee and scone? Wouldn’t it be nice to have your office have a meeting in that shop and use the WiFi to conference.

What makes to so hard for the average shop owner to shake themselves out of this ‘Celtic Tiger’, greedy take no prisoners behavior, and get back to being generous with quality customer treatment. (that last, wasn’t a question)

What simple difference could you make to the customer experience that would elevate you in their mind to choose your business over another? (that was a question)

Webmin back door

NOTE: Do not accidently drop your own permissions to su to root.

{Unless you happen to remember to have Webmin running. }

This weekend while trying to get CUPS to print on my DYI-Server I managed to grant myself ‘CUPS management’ and lost all other permissions, including the ability to su to root. If you aren’t a sysadmin this is roughly the equivalent of locking your keys in your house. OpenSolaris, and most of the modern Linux distro’s don’t allow root login. So I thought I was thoughly screwed, until I calmed down, and realized that I had Webmin running, so permissions repaired. Yet another harrowing learning experience.

I’m learning too much that a classic, easy to administer desktop operating system might be beyond Linux and OpenSolaris. Windows and MacOSX have just managed to hide most of the pain involved from the average user. And believe me, there is a lot to hide. Unfortunately for Linux and OpenSolaris, the developers and discussion groups associated with these OS’s ARE NOT end users for the most part, and have little interest in the area of user experience. So if printers don’t print and webcams only work ‘sometimes’ that’s Ok, something of interest, just not a serious impact on their development or their perceptions of the impact to the end user experience.

I appreciate that OpenSolaris is reasonably stable, and features are abundant. I’d just like to snap a picture off the webcam, and play a DVD movie once in a while and not just marvel at ZFS time shifting and what not.

Now back to the books….;-)

Another mucker for Zanzibar

With all the violence of late, I am reminded of a novel Stand on Zanzibar. It should be required reading, and was a Hugo winner in 1969. But it introduces a concept of the Mucker, a person that is running ‘Amok’ out of control. The cause, in the book, is attributed to social pressure, population explosion and the general degradation of the personal, environmental, social and political world. I’m sure there will be many reasons given for each of these current events, none will be adequate and no one will be satisfied with the answers.

The Recession and Comfort food

I’m making a bold prediction that this Recession with bring on a resurgence of Comfort food in the Irish diet, and really the world. Many exotic restaurants will begin to feel the pinch long before the local carvery closes it’s doors. The question you could ask, can you still find proper Comfort food these days. I was reminded of this after the wife prepared a fine feast of Shepherd’s Pie and bread pudding.

The Belief in Economic Recovery.

Economics is as much of a Belief system as it is matter of math and relative perceived value exchange. And as such is subject to Self-fulfilling prophecy . If the belief is strong enough the value or a rock could be zero, of worth vast sums of currency. So also when a people believe in their leadership, and believe that they will fix the underling issues in the economy, almost by magic, the economy will turn around. The reciprocal is also true, when a majority loose faith in the economic plans of a government, nothing that government will do will generate a reversal of economic decline.

This is why the U.S. will recover from the world recession quicker than the Irish. A faith in the Obama plan far exceeds the faith that the Irish have in Brian Cowen and Fianna Fáil. At this stage nothing that Brian will do, can have any impact on the downturn in the Irish economy. The Banks will not get their reputations back, credit will not be extended, recovery will not happen. The faith of the Irish people must be regained. This can only happen if Brian makes drastic actions against the criminal intent of the banks, developers and regulators. Or else the government must be replace with one that does regain the faith of the Irish people. Fianna Fáil is intimately linked with the white collar crimes, lack of enforcement, and general corruption that currently exist. It’s unlikely that the membership will change the the color of their balaclavas.

A revolution is in the wind, and the Irish are not unfamiliar with revolution.

The (subtle) war on Science

Outside of the blatant Anti-Science attacks like Sarah Palin’s War on Science! There are more subtle attacks, a smearing of Science research that undermines Science such as this article; The world’s smelliest magnets I call BS on these sort of studies, any farmer knows that cows face away from the Sun when grazing. No Magnets involved. But the assertion is that this is what constitutes ‘Science’. The attempt is to make a mockery of more Hard Core Scientific Research. Science has a hard enough time getting funding, but to allow anyone to point at magnet cows as an example of ‘Fundamental Scientific Research’ undermines all scientific research. So the next time you muse at a ‘Scientific Study’ of why Men find red-clad women hotter you will know that you are being manipulated against Science.

A sheep in Wolfs (Windows) dressings

If I were managing Microsoft, I’d announce a new Operating System (OS) and prepare copies to hand out of Windows 7 “pre-betas” at PDC, WinHEC which consists of a slightly re-skinned Vista OS which no one wanted when it was called Vista.

And you know, no one will notice, or care that 99.9% of of the new OS is just the same as the old OS and relabeling it will make all the difference in the world!