my recent reads..

The Weather Makers

My sister gave me a copy of Tim Flannery's The Weather Makers for my birthday (thanks!) but it sat in my reading queue for half a year. I packed it when travelling last week and once picked up, was not put down. I wouldn't say this is a happy or hopeful book to read, but it is important. I'm glad this is a best seller, but I'd be happier if we see that translated into action.

I guess the three facts of importance
  1. that climate change is upon us - we have reached the tipping point

  2. that the change is for the worse - the only disagreement being about the specific effects our planet will need to endure

  3. that while human activity is not the only contributor, we know that it is a factor, and more importantly we know ways in which our impact can be lessened
So the question is no longer "should we act" but "will we?"

I particularly liked the quotes that Mr Flannery uses to introduce each chapter. For example from Alfred Russel Wallace:
It is amongst those nations that claim to be the most civilised, those that profess to be guided by a knowledge of laws of nature, those that most glory in the advance of science, that we find the greatest apathy, the greatest recklessness, in continually rendering impure this important necessity of life...
The astonishing point to note is that this is from 1903. It is sobering to realise that the warning bell has been ringing for well over a century, but humanity is nothing if not a master of allowing short term goals undermine the future. Of course, it has always been quite valid to answer the question of climate change with a "Pish!" Well, that is until 2005 when finally we had the published, refereed scientific proof that global warming is in fact, fact.

Read this before it is too late!

PS: my soundtrack recommendation for reading this is Gwen Stefani's Don't Get It Twisted from The Sweet Escape
..don't get it twisted, don't get clever, this is the worst craziest shit ever..

read more and comment..

The Warden

I've had Anthony Trollope's The Warden in my iPod for a while, and finally listened to it last week. This is the LibriVox recording of the 1855 novel.

It's a great story that deals in part with the unexpected ethical dilemmas that often attend foolhardy idealistic pursuits. A nice dab of dry wit, to whit:
..but in matters of love men do not see clearly in their own affairs. They say that faint heart never won fair lady; and it is amazing to me how fair ladies are won, so faint are often men's hearts! Were it not for the kindness of their nature, that seeing the weakness of our courage they will occasionally descend from their impregnable fortresses, and themselves aid us in effecting their own defeat, too often would they escape unconquered if not unscathed, and free of body if not of heart.

I couldn't help thinking that if you notch up the drama a bit and don't take it too litterally, the story would make a great "romantic-comedy-drama" movie. I can't dislodge a feeling that there's a stuffy British 1950's B&W version, but I can't find a reference to it. I did discover that there's a BBC series of The Barchester Chronicles from 1982 with Donald Pleasence playing Rev. Septimus Harding (perfect casting). The Warden is one novel in the series.

read more and comment..

SOA/Enterprise 2.0. The Rebel Alliance takes on Deathstar-2.0

What is the driving force for *2.0 in the enterprise? Deathstar-2.0 jokes aside, Billy (Fusion ECM) and Jake (AppsLab) have been nutting this out. Billy's in the "its all about the data" camp, and Jake's taking the "power to the people" stance. Bex has chipped in with a view that "its about knowledge".

You may think its a cop-out, but I think its a case of you're all right. Depends on what perspective you want to take.

Yes, its all about me, but in the same way that driving around town is all about me. Until a semi wants to cut into my lane. On the road we have established ways of collaborating to keep things moving nicely (signals, lane markers, the odd toot of a horn). It's all about me in the sense that I want to safely get to where I'm going. But the roads department has a broader objective.

I'd suggest that the real difference with Web-2.0 in the wild is that there really is no broader objective to speak of. I blog. I like. That's good enough for me.

But in an enterprise, there's always an over-riding agenda that's bigger than any individual: profitability, customer satisfaction, market share etc. If that's not front of mind, you deserve a pink slip .. give you lots of time for facebook!

With that in mind, I'd like to share a visualisation of the enterprise I call the "SOA Sphere". Not perfect, by tries to cram a number of key concepts together:

  • Information (data/knowledge) is the core asset of an organisation

  • Business Services/processes/applications collaborate with users and act upon the knowledge base

  • Security is an all-encompassing capability; a key enabler of innovation

  • People live, breath and work together in the environment that these services create. No distinction really between employees, customers, partners or the great unwashed

read more and comment..

Comically Large Things

Comically Large Things is a site devoted to the supersize. Why? Apparently because big = big laughs!
read more and comment..