Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Avatar Heaven

Kevin Poulsen reports in Wired News that:
Psychologists and salesmen call it the "chameleon effect": People are perceived as more honest and likeable if they subtly mimic the body language of the person they're speaking with. Now scientists have demonstrated that computers can exploit the same phenomenon, but with greater success and on a larger scale.
Won't intelligent avatar video spam of the future be great? Read about it here.


Princeton Art of Science Gallery

For example:

"Driven" by Anton Darhuber, Benjamin Fischer and Sandra Troian



Daniel Teriman reports in Wired News that
researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are developing an ad hoc networking system for cars that would allow any driver to broadcast music to any other vehicle within a 30-mile radius. . . vehicles with built-in 802.11p could serve as nodes in mesh networks and send each other safety notifications in case of accidents, or potential accidents. Acting as nodes in a mesh, each car would extend the network's signal a mile at a time.

Talk about mobile computing!

Monday, May 30, 2005


Just how good are those software requirements anyway?

This evening I listened to Malcolm Gladwell's keynote speech to the October 2004 Pop!Tech Conference. This is a must listen-to for anyone involved in gathering and implementing customer requirements for software development. BEWARE. Here is the podcast.


Componetize it

This afternoon I listened to Clayton Christensen's keynote address to the March 2005 Open Source Business Conference. Applications architects take note! It is a powerful justification for moving to a services-oriented architecture. Here are the podcast and the slides.

Friday, May 27, 2005


Thinking about Thinking, Part 1 of 4

I have been invited to a roundtable discussion on thinking about thinking. I interpret this to mean how one can learn to think better or what one can do to practice to think better.

One idea is to use a thinking framework or tool. The hallmark of modern western thinking derives from Aristotle's deductive logic and Bacon's inductive logic combined into Galileo's scientific method. Using this framework should not be overlooked.

graphic by Craig Rusbult

The simplest and maybe most widely used thinking tool is the journalist framework: who, what, when, where, why, and how.

Zachman put this journalist framework in the columns of a matrix and added reference perspectives in the rows of the matrix to create a framework for use in thinking through enterprise architecture. Modifying the reference perspectives, or the artifacts in the cells to the problem at hand would yield a very robust thinking framework.

Another good thinking framework is De Bono's Six Thinking Hats. Mindtools.com summarizes these as follows:
[continued in part 2 . . .]


Thinking about Thinking, Part 2 of 4

[. . . continued from part 1]

Complexity theory suggests that an emergent process approach would be more fruitful than applying the formal frameworks cited in Part 1. Please bear with me as I develop this notion.

Edison said:
Genius is one per cent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration.
If I twist that just a bit, we could say that
It takes 99 common ideas to generate one brilliant one.
So, in simple terms, we start with a two-step process:
  1. generate lots of ideas
  2. winnow down to the brilliant ones.

Newton said:
If I have been able to see further, it was only because I stood on the shoulders of giants.
I assume he was standing on the one percent brilliant ideas, not the 99 common ideas. In essense he was saying, when I contemplate the brilliant ideas that others have had, I get brilliant ideas I would have not otherwise had.

Let's add three more steps to the process:
  1. generate lots of ideas
  2. winnow down to the brilliant ones
  3. share the brilliant ones
  4. be inspired by the shared brilliant ideas
  5. go to steps 1 or 3.

An old French proverb says:
Le malheur des uns fait le bonheur des autres.
Which means "the troubles of some make the joy of others" or as we say in English, "one man's trash is another man's treasure."

The question is, how do we know before hand which of all those common ideas is the brilliant one? We can't. What is a common idea to one person is a brilliant idea to another. It is almost circular -- what make's an idea brilliant is the brilliance it inspires in others. The important task is to preserve the intellectual pedigree(s) of brilliant ideas. This means preserving all the ideas, because we never know which we will want to link to (be brilliant) down the road.

We need to modify the process a little:
  1. generate lots of ideas
  2. preserve the ideas
  3. share the ideas
  4. be inspired by the shared ideas to be brilliant
  5. establish the links between your brilliant idea and its predecessors
  6. go to steps 1 or 3.

[continued in part 3 . . .]


Thinking about Thinking, Part 3 of 4

[. . . contintued from part 2]

Steve Fuller observes:
Major scientific breakthroughs tend to come out of left field, often as a result of people trained in one field moving to another one, or of one field borrowing ideas and techniques from another.
In the language of this essay, we would say that a person creates a new brilliant idea by linking together several disparate pre-existing brilliant ideas and adding enough intellectual glue that the whole new idea is greater than the sum of its parts.

In the language of complexity theory we would say that when feedback from the environment impinges upon a local stew of brilliant ideas, new brilliant ideas emerge as an adaptation to the changing environment. There is a sense of brilliant ideas bubbling up to the top of the heap. In the marketplace of ideas, the brilliant ideas become sought after hot commodities.

So how do we actually create, capture, save, search, and link to common and brilliant ideas?

I hope the reader has already come to the answer: BLOGS!

Blogs are designed for individuals to capture their brilliant ideas and their intellectual capital. It behooves all knowledge workers to document the creation of knowlege, or to narrate their work.

The blogosphere is full of 99 percent common ideas hiding one percent brilliant ideas. But blogs allow us to capture and save our ideas. Blogs can be indexed and searched. Blogs allow us to link to other ideas.

This last point is particularly important. It is this linking that allows a brilliant community to emerge. As important as a few brilliant ideas are, the real value comes when thousands of brilliant ideas create a brilliant ecology that is greater than the sum of its parts (cf. Aristotle, The Metaphysics).

[continued in part 4 . . .]


Thinking about Thinking, Part 4 of 4

[. . . continued from part 3]

In part one, I cited several thinking frameworks. These frameworks can be used by individuals or well organized, well managed, tight-knit groups operating in more or less real time. By contrast, the complexity theory approach to the generation of brilliant ideas is loosely coupled in time, across space, and throughout the organization. The complexity theory approach has a genetic algorithm feel to it. Ideas are combined and re-combined in many, many combinations and the brilliant ones survive.

To survive in the blogosphere means to have incoming links. The more incoming links to a particular post, the more value it has in shaping the community. Because authors want their blogs to be read (have their ideas considered to be brilliant), authors have an incentive to cite what they consider to be the most brilliant ideas by others, in hopes that their readers will also find the cited ideas brilliant. (See Dresner and Farrell paper.)

This is the mechanism that bubbles good ideas to the top. Frankly it doesn't matter what technique or framework is used to generate the idea. Its importance is in the value to other people, not in the method. Thus, in this model, it is more important to have lots of ideas propagating in the blogosphere. Applying the 99 to 1 rule tells us that we get more brilliant ideas out of 10,000 common ideas than we do out of 100 common ideas.

The keys are to blog early and often; to link frequently and generously; to share and share some more. While the thinking tools identified in part 1 will generate wisdom for a few, the blogosphere takes advantage of the Widsom of Crowds. Frankly, as a country we prefer electing candidates by the general population rather than by a few back-room polititians. The same principle applies to the blogosphere. There is more brilliance in the crowd than in the workgroup or task force.

[I'm not done, but I will stop here.]

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Internet Appliance

The Mac Observer reports that Nokia will ship a Linux/Opera/Tablet/WiFi appliance for surfing the web. It is about 4" by 6" by 3" and weighs half a pound.


Inny or Outty

Laren Wood has a great piece in The Gilbane Report about Enterprise wikis and blogs. She makes the distinction between outward facing and inward focused wikis and blogs.


IT Consulting

Tim Bray on his ongoing blog notes that IBM makes nearly as much from consulting ($46B) as it does from hardware and software ($50B). He takes this as an indicator of how the IT industry has failed its customers.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Narrating Your Work . . .

. . . is an essential part of every knowledge-worker's job. See Doc's Blog.


The Big Time?

From the "don't spend it all in one place" department. . .

According to Blogshares, this blog is (today) worth $73.33. Where is venture capital when you need it?


Getting a Facial

A4Vision has a cool identification system that uses 3-D biometric facial scans, which creates a facial signature. It is already in trial use at Gatwick Airport.


Random Thought

I am thinking about writing an article which will be based at least on

and maybe on


Great Music Links

Just discovered garageband.com and allmusic.com. Where have I been?




Hold hands and sing S.O.A.

Grady Booch (famous software architect) suggests that the impending end to Moore's Law is a compelling reason to adopt a services oriented architecture sooner rather than later, according to InfoWorld via Yahoo News.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Don't Try This at Home

Boing Boing points to some wacky videos exemplified by the cybernetic parrot sausage.


MS Virtual Earth vs Google Earth

Microsoft has announced it will, this summer, imitate what Google Maps can do today -- show satellite imagery of a location found on a map. Here is the Google view of our home.


Cyber Extortion Attack

AP via Yahoo reports Websense Security Labs has an alert on a Cyber Extortion Attack, where the hacker encodes the files on your hard drive and require you to pay them money to decode the files.

Image source: us.news3.yimg.com

Friday, May 20, 2005


Crying While Eating

Boing Boing pointed me to this wierd site that has videos of people crying while eating.


Google as Portal

Google has seriously entered into the MSN / Yahoo / AOL market with its latest release of Google Lab's "personalize your homepage." See this PCWorld article by Tom Krazit.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


All Podcast Radio

KYCY (1550 AM) in San Fransisco now only broadcasts podcasts that their listeners submit, according to an article by Benny Evangelista in the San Francisco Chronicle. They call themselves "open source radio." Listeners can upload podcasts online and can listen live over the internet.



Here's another example of the bad use of good technology. Katie Dean reports in Wired that when you buy your favorite DVD at the store, you will be required to have your fingerprint data written to an RFID tag on the DVD, so that before your player will play the DVD, you have to give your finger to the player, so it will verify that you are the person who bought the DVD before it will play.

Not only is this bad, it is dumb.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Dead Podcasts

Doc pointed me to Closet Deadhead for Grateful Dead podcasts. Listening to CDH 22 right now.


New External Links

Just added the Technorati, Blogarama, and the free Site Meter icons. Try 'em!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Readers as Partners in Conversations

A friend pointed me to a great paper by former CNN correspondent Rebecca MacKinnon entitiled, "The World Wide Conversation." She says:

In an upcoming book titled We the Media, Dan Gillmor of the San Jose Mercury News. one of the first professional journalists to start a weblog . points out that new interactive forms of media have blurred the distinction between producers of news and their audience. In fact, some view the term "audience" to be obsolete in the new world of interactive participatory media. In the similarly-titled "We Media," a treatise on participatory journalism, Shayne Bowman and Chris Willis suggest that the "audience" should be re-named "participants" After several months of blogging, I prefer to think of them neither as an "audience" nor "participants," but as an "information community."

Redefining one's readers as converstion partners is a powerfully paradigm-shifting concept.

Monday, May 16, 2005


Great iPod Case

Over on katyblog there is a clever iPod case.

The finished product


IBM Blue picks Firefox Orange

Desktoppipline reports that IBM is adopting the Firefox browser. Firefox now has 8% of the market and Safari has 3%. This means that IE is below the 90% level for the first time in about 5 years.


CNN gets a White Hat

According to an AP article reported at Yahoo, CNN is going to make its existing on-line video available for free starting 20 June. This is great news for bloggers, powerpointers, and school projecters. MSNBC already offers free video.



Microsoft and Sun are working together on a web Single Sign On (SSO), according to wepronews. It looks like Sun's Liberty Alliance effort will take precedence over Microsoft's Passport.

Friday, May 13, 2005


Firefox Fixes

InfoWorld reports that Firefox has fixed the security flaws announced earlier this week. That is great response time. Get update 1.0.4 here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005




Interesting . . .

Microsoft funded the University of Derby to offer an honors CompSci course on game design. Over 100 men but no women applied. Hmmmm.


Tiger Terror

Mac OS 10.4 "Tiger" has a feature, called Dashboard, which can be used by evil websites to put nasty software on the desktop. See this CNet article.


BioTech Food in Your Bowl

According to AP, the billionth acre of biotech seed has been planted. Eighty-five percent of the soy and 45% of the corn in the US is biotech.


Baby Babble Machine Translation

One wonders how humans have survived their first two years of life without this new device. According to AFP, the Japanese researchers who created a machine translator for dog barks, are coming out with one that translates baby babble. This will be great for first time parents. The novelty will wear off, as any parent of a two year old--whose favorite word is 'no'--will tell you. Now, if they could create a machine that would translate a parent's lecturing into the mind of a teenager. That would sell!

Monday, May 09, 2005



My thinking about complex adaptive systems has been greatly influenced by the book entitled, Emergence, by Steven Johnson. Here is a an interview he gave to David Sims and Rael Dornfest at O'Reilly.


Knowldege Trees Falling Down?

Release 1.0 has an article by David Weinberger with a clever metaphor that all the leaves on the hierachical knowledge trees are falling to the ground. Suggests some tagging strategies.



Geek.com has a story about a couple of serious security flaws in Firefox. As much as that hurts, they still have a long way to go to catch up to the number of security flaws in MS-IE, however.

TechNewsWorld reports that Google was down for 15 minutes. The fact that a 15 minute outage is a news story indicates how much progress we have made on the internet. If only our internal network enterprise applications were so reliable.

Saturday, May 07, 2005


My First Wikipedia Graphics

OK, I'm several years behind, but I just uploaded a couple of my graphics into the Wikipedia. I stuck the one in the articles on Complex System, Complex Adaptive Systems, and Emergence. See my Wikipedia home page! I created these graphics for a paper I recently wrote on complexity theory. The graphics are available to all under the GNU FDL.


Casey Jones, Watch Your Speed!

Time Magazine has in intersting story this week by Barbara Kiviat, entitled, "HAL on Wheels." It reports that in the United Arab Emirates, all cars will have GPS and wireless. The location and speed of the car will be continuously sent to the nearest police station and when the car exceeds the limit, a ticket will be written. (Now, they just have to get everyone's credit card number on file, so they can just bill the driver automatically!) Business are interested, so they can target their ads to cars that are close by. Won't the future be wonderful?

Thursday, May 05, 2005


Google beats Microsoft in Software

Slashdot also points to a Fortune Technology article that identifies how the underdog Google threatens Microsoft -- and it is not search, it is software.


AMD beats Intel in Dual Core

Slashdot pointed me to an article on CoolTechZone that suggests that Intel has lost the dual core war to AMD. This is the American dream -- the underdog has a chance to win.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


flickr Fan

Originally uploaded by acadac.

I have finally signed up for flickr. Here is my first upload--a graphic which depicts simple local relationships emerging into complex adaptive behavior. The other cool thing is that flickr allows me to put any keywords I want as metadata. Flickr publishes its most popular keywords. The flickr ontology was thus created as an emergent behavior -- just like depicted in my graphic.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?