Archive for the 'Fun' Category

How most companies’ policies get established

True? True! Laugh IT loud on the Monkey Experiment:

Put eight monkeys in a room. In the middle of the room is a ladder, leading to a bunch of bananas hanging from a hook on the ceiling.

Each time a monkey tries to climb the ladder, all the monkeys are sprayed with ice water, which makes them miserable. Soon enough, whenever a monkey attempts to climb the ladder, all of the other monkeys, not wanting to be sprayed, set upon him and beat him up. Soon, none of the eight monkeys ever attempts to climb the ladder.

One of the original monkeys is then removed, and a new monkey is put in the room. Seeing the bananas and the ladder, he wonders why none of the other monkeys are doing the obvious. But undaunted, he immediately begins to climb the ladder.

All the other monkeys fall upon him and beat him silly. He has no idea why.

However, he no longer attempts to climb the ladder.

A second original monkey is removed and replaced. The newcomer again attempts to climb the ladder, but all the other monkeys hammer the crap out of him.

This includes the previous new monkey, who, grateful that he’s not on the receiving end this time, participates in the beating because all the other monkeys are doing it. However, he has no idea why he’s attacking the new monkey.

One by one, all the original monkeys are replaced. Eight new monkeys are now in the room. None of them have ever been sprayed by ice water. None of them attempt to climb the ladder. All of them will enthusiastically beat up any new monkey who tries, without having any idea why.

And that is how most companies’ policies get established.

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The Arduino has landed…

I admit it, I am too curious to pass the opportunity to play with another gadget.

Today has a Arduino landed, fast shipped from Watterod. What a nice toy.

Some link for those that ask themselves “what the hell is an Arduino”.

The projects homepage: www.arduino.cc

Good books on Arduino from O´Reilly:

German c´t had an article recently and as a nice page with a hell of links.

Ideas for dozens answers the question “Why the Arduino Matters“, and yes, this could be true.

Jan-Piet Mens has created a monitor for Nagios and Icinga, the Naguino.

An interesting project is TinkerKit, an Arduino-compatible physical computing prototyping toolkit aimed at design professionals. Still under development, but very interesting.

And finally, O´Reilly has also a book on Arduino in german:

McCarthy’s Four Laws of Software Estimation.

Some principles from Michael “Mac McCarthy, repackaged and labeled by Alan Zeichik :

The First Law: If you ask a developer for a project estimate, and if he thinks the project is a good idea or would pose an interesting challenge, then he’ll say, “three weeks.”

The developer has no idea how long it will take, but “three weeks” sounds encouraging enough that you’ll probably go ahead with the project.

The Second Law: If you ask a developer for a project estimate, and if he thinks the project is a bad idea or wouldn’t be fun to work on, then he’ll say “six months.”

The developer still has no idea how long it will take, but “six months” sounds negative enough that you’ll probably say, “never mind.”

The Third Law: Whether the developer estimated “three weeks” or “six months,” if the project proceeds it actually will take a minimum of nine months.

That’s because, Mac says, developers are bad at software estimation.

The Fourth Law: When asked why the project is behind schedule, the developer will blame inadequate or incomplete specifications

Simply the truth. (via vowe@twitter)

Saturday night mix

The PersonalMBA on “Experimenting with Delegation and Outsourcing“. Sure he is inspired by Tim Ferriss, isn´t he? But this might be an interesting approach, especially when you want to offload work to free up your capacity.

WebWorkerDaily: 6 Strategies Freelancers Can Learn From Corporate Cost-cutting. Yes, when everybody is tightening the belt, also freelancers have to adjust.

The Crisis of Credit visualized. Excellent.

Mindfuck Movies:

Some movies inform. Some movies entertain. And some pry open your skull and punch you in the brain. MATTHEW BALDWIN gathers up the films that have caused him to clutch his head and moan.

David Pogue shares his greatest hits from TED.

I had a separate post on better presentations a few days ago, but here are Edward R. Tufte´s Presentation Tips – not dependent on a particular tool.

Going for a Netbook? GigaOM with 5 Resources for Netbook Helps, Hacks and How-To’s

Louis Gray asks: Is there room for anyone else besides Twitter? Yes, there is, even though Dave Winer is still looking for Twitter´s WordPress. Look over to identi.ca, folks. I am @arminauth

Quite some commentary on the deal between IBM and Amazon to Deliver Software via Cloud Computing With Amazon Web Services.

Nick Carr: Another little IBM Deal

It doesn’t seem like such a big deal, and it probably isn’t. But you never know. The licensing of MS-DOS seemed like small potatoes when it happened.

Vinnie Mirchandani: Will IBM regret this also?

So, IBM now announces a relationship with amazon for its web services ostensibly to expose more of its software to the lower end of the market.  In the meantime,  it continues to do similar stuff in its own data centers for larger outsourced clients.

The question is will history repeat itself.

Dana Gardner: Who makes most rain from IBM-Amazon cloud deal? Oracle.

So we come to Oracle. Larry Ellison’s entertaining position on cloud is a hedge. He knows the substantial cloud economy is inevitable, and he knows its at least 10 years in the making. And he knows the transition will be ugly and bloody.

It’s too soon to tell whether the rainmaker-enabled marketplace approach of IBM (remember Java, Linux, n-tier) will beat out the shoot-for-the-moon strategy of Microsoft when it comes to the cloud. But I like Oracle’s margins better through 2016 as the battle ensues.

Twitter 10 Commandments from @thealmightygod:

I saw God the other day – he had just come down from the mountain (OK, so it was Camelback Mtn) and Tweeted to me in my sleep. He told me he had come to bring me the 10 Commandments of Twitter

The NY Times (Registration required) on Mark Shuttleworth and Ubuntu: A Software Populist Who Doesn’t Do Windows

Music DRM

xkcd.com, cynical as always:

Varia

The Scoverity Scan Open Source Report 2008. Here.

Mythbuntu – a Ubuntu based home entertainment addon .

And the XBMC Media Center, which is multi platform. Anyone having experiences?

The Sopranos, uncensored. Consider yourself warned.

Overview of WebOS. From Palm for the new Pre. Interesting Stuff.

The Mark Cuban Stimulus Plan – Open Funding. Hard Rules, but hey, if you want some of his money, you have to play according to his rules. (via)

Jakob Nielsen: Macintosh: 25 Years. Love this quote:

During its first decade, the Mac offered clearly superior usability compared to competing personal computer platforms (DOS, Windows, OS/2). Not until Windows 95 did the PC start to approximate Mac-level usability.

Despite this Mac advantage, PCs have sold vastly better in every single year since 1984, and the Mac has yet to exceed a single-digit market share.

The Mac’s miserable marketplace performance seems to pose a strong argument against usability. Why bother, if it doesn’t sell?

The counter-argument is that usability is the only reason Mac survived.

Programming Sucks! Or at least, it ought to. From Alex Papdimoulis of the Daily WTF. Lots of truth in that piece. Developers, developers, developers!

A brief summary of GTD. Shit, I am still not disciplined enough.

Coding Horror: The Ferengi Programmer. Who has not seen at least one from that tribe? And: The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition. Love this one:

#208: Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer.

NerdGuru Pete Johnson: The Software Sales Pitch – Choosing Wisely

It’s a common tale:  Some business need arises for capability your IT department doesn’t currently offer but there are multiple commercial alternatives available and maybe even an open source solution that can help you fill your gap.  Then again, you could always write the thing yourself.
Build? Buy? Both?

A cheat-sheet for WordPress. Worth a look if you haven´t one already.

That´s for now. More maybe tomorrow. Potential topics: Cloud Computing, Better Presentations, Microblogging and Social Networks.

Jahresende-Links

So, jetzt zum Jahresabschluss die gesammelten Links der letzten paar Wochen. Sorry, aber wegen zu vielen Reisen vor den Feiertagen und PC-Abstinenz über Weihnachten etwas verzögert:

Nicht ganz neu, aber passend zur aktuellen Eskalation im Nahen Osten: Evolutionary Psychology, Memes and the Origin of War

The present article proposes an evolutionary psychology based model of social prediction, particularly for wars and related social disruption such as riots and suicide bombers.

Frankfurt Story – Danke Robert, gut davon zu lesen, bin ja schliesslich in Frankfurt am Main geboren…

Wo ist das Geld geblieben? – Eine Spurensuche bei der Zeit

The benefits of a monthly recurring revenue model in tough economic times –  Jason Fried von 37signals. So wahr.

Palamida: In a Time of Less, Do More with Open Source: Top 25 Open Source Projects That Will Help Trim Development Budgets (via)

70 Tools Freelancers Rely on Most – auch was für euch dabei?

Und dazu Web Worker Daily: 6 Free, Open Source Resources for Web Workers

Die Jungs und Mädels von EDS sollten´s eigentlich wissen, zumindestens aber eine Meinung haben: How Will Cloud Computing Affect the Information Technology Outsourcing Marketplace? (via)

Endlich mal erklärt 😉 : But What Exactly “Is” Cloud Computing? (via)

Stefan verweist auf ein Paper zum Tema XML Performance. Lesen!

Das Wall Street Journal: Outsourcing: Not Immune to the Downturn, But Holding Up – gibt ja sicherlich noch eine Menge, die Outsourcing primär als Mittel zur Kostensenkung sehen. Der “Do my mess for less”-Ansatz geht aber schnell in die Hose, aber manch lernen eben nur durch Schmerz.

A B2B Recession Survival Kit: Three Not-so-painful Tips for Thriving in a Miserable Economy:

  • Survival Strategy #1: Cut the waste.
  • Survival Strategy #2: Harvest the “best practices” of other companies.
  • Survival Strategy #3: Ask customers what they want.

GMail Blog: SMS messaging for chat – wahrscheinlich (?) bis jetzt nur in USA

Stephen Fry reist mit leichtem Gepäck 🙂 : Gee, One Bold Storm coming up….

Ein paar Takeaways von Nick Carr:

Elliotte Rusty Harold: You cannot trust the cloud (via)

Traditional payware like Oracle, Perforce, and Microsoft Office had lockin issues, but at least you controlled the software. Vendors couldn’t (usually) shut you down just because they decided your app no longer fit their business model. Cloud vendors can, and you have little to no recourse when they do.

Boring meetings? Get a canary…

Dilbert.com

Royal Pingdom: Google Apps SLA loophole allows for major downtime without consequences (via)

Coding Horror: Hardware is Cheap, Programmers are Expensive

Not quite what I had in mind. Oder wie es sich anfühlt, bei Flickr gefeuert zu werden.

Lehman-Chef Richard Fuld: Der Mann, der die Welt in die Knie zwang (via)

The 10 Coolest Open Source Products Of 2008 – inclusive Identi.ca/laconi.ca (via Cem)

InformationWeek mit dem CTO of the Year: Werner Vogels von Amazon. (via Dave). Gratulation!

Drei Posts von Garr:

10 design rules to keep in mind
(1) Communicate — don’t decorate.
(2) Speak with a visual voice.
(3) Use two typeface families maximum. OK, maybe three.
(4) Pick colors on purpose.
(5) If you can do it with less, then do it.
(6) Negative space is magical — create it, don’t just fill it up!
(7) Treat the type as image, as though it’s just as important.
(8) Be universal; remember that it’s not about you.
(9) Be decisive. Do it on purpose — or don’t do it at all.
(10) Symmetry is the ultimate evil.

Robert Scoble polarisiert ja recht häufig, trotzdem (oder gerade deshalb) zwei Posts von ihm:

Alex Payne von Twitter:  How I Use TextMate

Dare kommentiert einen Artikel von Jeff Atwood: The Myth of the Open Source Business Model Sein Ergebnis:

There are basically three business models for companies that make money from Open Source software, they are

  1. Selling support, consulting and related services for the “free” software (aka the professional open source business model ) – RedHat
  2. Dual license the code and then sell traditional software licenses to enterprise customers who are scared of the GPL – MySQL AB
  3. Build a proprietary Web application powered by Open Source software – Google

As you scan this list, it should be clear that none of these business models actually involves making money directly from selling only the software. This is problematic for developers of shrinkwrapped, consumer software such as games because none of the aforementioned business models actually works well for them.

For developers of shrinkwrapped software, Open Source only turns piracy from a problem into a benefit if you’re willing to forego building consumer software and you have software that is either too complicated to use without handholding OR you can scare a large percentage of your customers into buying traditional software licenses by using the GPL instead of the BSDL.

Peter Thomas in der FAZ über Tilt-Shift-Objektive: Wie scharf ist das denn. Dazu den hervorragenden Post von Benedikt Hotze über Architekturfotografie mit Kleinbildkamera und Shiftobjektiv

Brent Simmons über Browser CPU usage:

The thing is, web developers should test their pages for CPU usage the same as app developers do. And anytime a page is idle, CPU usage should be at 0%. Same as with any other app.

eWeek: IBM Virtual Desktop Bundles Lotus, Ubuntu Linux to Freeze Out Microsoft (via)

Phil Fersht: Emerging from the rubble of 2008: BPO has a breakthrough year

Charles Miller: My 2008 end-of-year tech stock tips. (via)

A comment thread on a blog post I can no longer find a link to saw a rosy future for Microsoft because they spend nine times as much on research and development as Apple. There’s the problem. Microsoft pour R&D money into multi-touch interfaces and come up with a table that is relegated to tech demos and gimmicky election coverage. Apple put R&D money into multi-touch and produce the frickin’ iPhone.

Of course, Windows 7 will fix everything. We’ve never heard that before.

So, das solls mal gewesen sein. Bleibt nur die Frage, welches Netbook kleine 10″-Laptop ich mir zum rumspielen gönnen soll. Muss ist eine große Platte (160+GB), Aufrüstbarkeit auf 2GB RAM und eine gewisse Robustheit. Los, wer kann was empfehlen?