Monday, March 30, 2009

Tilting, again

I'm noticing two distinct camps emerging out of this GFC (oh, for want of a better descriptor). The group who argue there is no true accountability for the burst of this bubble tend to the view it is a "once in a century" happenstance, a 'perfect storm' "no one" could have predicted VERSUS the group who can point very clearly to institutions, types of individuals and value sets that are clearly to blame.

Personally, I fall quite clearly into the latter camp, but, as I have been told, I have always tended toward the 'tilting at windmills' side of life. I actually believe we can and need to do better. This, of course, would be despite the abundance of evidence surrounding me that humans can in fact, generally speaking, not do better, and that people, given even a small amount of leeway, will on a whole behave in a self-centered, miserly and quite probably 'bad' manner.

Still, tilt, I do.

On a related note, I was just listening to the latest podcast from the BBC World's 'Interview' series. [You can download it from iTunes. It is dated 27 March 2009. I am sure you can search for it on the internet and find pointers to it over on the BBC site as well.] The interviewee was a London financial type who as the BBC World iTunes blurb says:

Geraint Anderson worked for twelve years as an analyst in London's financial district, the City.
He earned several million pounds before leaving his job a year ago. He's now written a book -- described as fictional but which he says is mostly true -- which reveals a world of wining, dining, drugs and illicit sex.
On The Interview he tells Owen Bennett-Jones how the City works.

I haven't read the book, but in the interview Anderson's opinions are an excellent reflection of my own conclusions gathered over the decades encountering city / financial types and those that cover them in the UK, Japan and Australia. In that sense, there was nothing new to what he said.

But, the tilt in me was left hoping. He concludes towards the end of the interview, that there will be a similar bust in another ten years, and again ten years or so later if we don't change our values. Again, I am quite convinced these self-deluded bubbles are also set to continue, particularly if the 'perfect storm, no-accountability' crowd win through, as they to often do.

But, still I hope. Could this crisis bring about some real change?

I know I really hope it will. I also know I have seen little reason to believe it will.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Always Innovating: Introducing the Touch Book

"Netbook reloaded"

Another innovation in the MIT space: see the details here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Managing THAT inbox

I am still often drawn to tips and trick guides to the computer that declare they will help you do things better. I've read enough of them over the years to, by now, find most of them irrelevant; simply because they contain basic advice or I feel I have worked out better ways to do things faster (for me).

Still, occasionally, I will scan through an article and there will be one or two nuggets of gold worth looking into.

But, I was reading one from the New York Times the other day that has been hanging around in the back of my mind. You can read it here. There is nothing wrong with it, the advice is perfectly solid.

But, there is something about the title that has nagged me. An empty inbox? Well, yes. I nearly always have an empty inbox. That is not my problem.

The issue is with reading and acting on everything that comes through the email program (including RSS). That is my time killer.

Perhaps, that is why I am so keen on finding the perfect Mobile Information Terminal. Something, I can pull out and use AND read from anywhere, anytime -- for a minute or an hour, or more.

AND then to be able to tag, move, email, act on the information then and there -- now that would be productivity!

And maybe then I could kill of at least some of those perennially nagging 'to do' lists. :-)

For the record, I seem to manage my inbox a little differently to most people, which is why it is nearly always empty. I use rules to siphon off all incoming emails to relevant folders. Certain email addresses etc. are flagged to alert me as soon as they arrive (a special box opens up in the middle of the screen, with flashing lights and bells, if necessary). The remainder are viewed from the 'unread mail' box, grouped by sender -- to be read as time permits. All filing is taken care of automatically. If I need to act on something flags and other alerts can be attached to the message or it can be shipped off to Onenote, as required.

But, as I said, that doesn't resolve the greater issue -- TIME -- as always.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Fujitsu's color e-paper mobile terminal FLEPia

Now this looks well on track in the e-paper/ mobile computing market. As Fujitsu terms it "the FLEPia is the first ever mobile information terminal to feature color electronic paper (color e-paper)."

Mobile Information Terminal, now that has a ring to it. MIT beats FLEPia hands down.

Anyway the 100,000 yen new play toy comes with Bluetooth, high-speed wireless LAN and Windows CE5.0 (Japanese), which apparently incorporates the use of MS Office and web browsing/email. The product was released March 20, 2009 in Japan only. And with a Japanese language OS, I can't recommend it to anyone who doesn't know their way around kanji (been there, done that), but there is hope. One day, in the near future (how many more years, for heavens sake?) someone will actually bring out a usable piece of electronics that effectively incorporates all we need in one device.

The press release can be read here. Caveat emptor, I have not even seen the actual product in real life. All the information here comes purely from the press release provided online.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Hmmm, financial journalists constructing complete fantasies that people buy into. Hmm, now where have I seen that before....

Hmmm, people buying into it because:
a) they don't know any better
b) their livelihoods are at stake
c) it is better to go along to get along
d) there is some kind of mutual support system for mutual delusions built into society
e) their careers/livelihoods etc are likely to improve by buying into it
f) someone has pressed the 'right' buttons

And people STILL wonder why identifying and standing up to this kind of behaviour important!

For a current example, see: