Saturday, June 26, 2010

Free Ubuntu 10.04 Manual

For those of you who are using Ubnutu Lucid Lynx (10.04) or are at least considering it, check out the free Ubuntu Manual. The Ubuntu Manual is available in many languages! Very nice!

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

"Yee haw" instead of Yahoo?

"Yee haw" instead of Yahoo? Got a tweet from @BenABaker that pointed to a collaboration of 13 companies from Eastern Kentucky working together to solve the region's technical challenges. You've heard of Silicon introducing Silicon Hollow. Go Silicon Hollow!!

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Posterous - from Pipe to Post Point

Originally, I was using Posterous as an entry point for blog and social media posts. Posterous enables you to have a single point of entry to various blogs and social media outlets via e-mail or the web.
Now Posterous is attempting to attract users of sites such as Ning and Tumblr. What I did this morning was import all my old blog content from my Google's Blogspot site from February 2005 to the present into my Posterous blog. It was a matter of point, click, and wa-la.
So, that is my rationale for stating that Posterous is moving from a pipe, or a single point of entry, to a post or end point for user-submitted content. It will be interesting to see how successful they will be in attracting rival blog site users.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Linchpin Quadrants of Discernment

Recently I finished Seth Godin's book Linchpin. Along with many good sections, there is a discussion on an effective combination of passion and discernment. Here, discernment is the ability to understand, in a nutshell, that things change and what area(s) are in the scope of one's influence and/or ability to affect the circumstance(s) . A discerning, passionate person, a.k.a. a Linchpin understands that things change and knows what she can effectively do in the midst of that change.
Looking at the diagram used in the book below, quotes explaining the quadrants follow (from Kindle Locations to 3061 to 3083).

In the bottom right is the fundamentalist zealot. He is attached to the world as he sees it....Change is a threat. Curiosity is a threat. Competition is a threat. As a result, it's difficult for him to see the world as it is, because he insists on the world being the way he imagines it. At the same time, he has huge reservoirs of effort to invest in maintaining his worldview. Fundamentalist zealots always manage to make the world smaller, poorer, and meaner. The RIAA's campaign to sue people for listening to music online is the work of a fundamentalist zealot.
The top left belongs to the Bureaucrat. He's certainly not attached to the outcome of events, and he definitely won't be exerting any additional effort, regardless. The bureaucrat is a passionless rules follower, indifferent to external events and gliding through the day. The clerk at the post office and the exhausted VP at General Motors are both bureaucrats.
The bottom left is the corner for the Whiner. The whiner has no passion, but is extremely attached to the worldview he's brought into. Living life in fear of change, the whiner can't muster the effort to make things better, but is extremely focused on wishing that things stay as they are. I'd put most people in the newspaper industry in this corner.
And that leaves the top right, the quadrant of the Linchpin. The linchpin is enlightened enough to see the world as it is, to understand that this angry customer is not about me, that this change, in government policy is not a personal attack, that this job is not guaranteed for life. At the same time, the linchpin brings passion to the job. She knows from experience that the right effort in the right place can change the outcome, and she reserves her effort for doing just that.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The future of IT: Data Centralization, everything else...Decentralized

Interesting article by Kishore Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at Accenture, IT 2015. In short, decentralized hardware and data access with centralized data.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Who Are You (on Twitter that is)?

Within a retweet by @prblog from @EmpowerMM that provided a link to various social media graphics. One in particular caught my eye that categorizes twitter users. Based on these categorizations, who do you follow? Do you tolerate the "smore" and/or follow the "maven?"
It appears to be a matter of one's interest. Some like to hear others complain so they will follow the "b1tch." Also, one's maven is another's smore.
How do we as twitter users become more like the "mensch" who observe the flow of information until others need our expertise and then come to their aid?

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Text Data Mining/Visualization - Did I really say it that much!?!

Was poking around looking at text data-collection and analysis tools since a lot of our data is not in standard database or data file formats but in text. I ran across Wordle, an on-line text mining / analytic tool that generates "word clouds" from text . The clouds give greater visual prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. To create your own word cloud simply copy and paste your text into the tool or point your website/blog to Wordle via the same tool and it will formulate the word cloud.
Often, data mining/visualization will show unexpected patterns in the data that enable you to sometimes verify, or at least postulate, the cause of what the data displays. Ideally, the analysis will assist you in predicting future customer buying habits, upcoming income/expenditure levels, etc.
Anyway, pointing my blog to Wordle produced the image below. In looking at the word cloud, I know I have been discussing Ubuntu a good deal lately but I was not aware to what degree. Again, data mining/visualization shows that I need to move on to other topics in my blog!

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Imitation over Innovation?

Browsed to Google's search page and thought I was looking at a Bing screen for a few seconds. Google is, at least for now, showing a large background image as Bing as been doing since its onset.

Reminds me of a recent article, Defend Your Research: Imitation Is More Valuable Than Innovation by Oded Shenkar which argues that, "In all cases, he found imitation to be a primary source of progress, even though that progress often went unrecognized by executives and scholars. He also discovered that good imitation is difficult and requires intelligence and imagination."

Yet, Google imitating Bing?!?!

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

What Should You Be Measuring?

Dan Ariely, Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University wrote an interesting column entitled, You Are What You Measure. He states:
If we want to change what they care about, we should change what we
measure…..It can’t be that simple, you might argue— but psychologists and economists will tell you it is. Human beings adjust behavior based on the metrics they’re held against. Anything you measure will impel a person to optimize his score on that metric. What you measure is what you’ll get. Period.

Okay. With that said, what are the numbers that I should measure? My thinking is that in addition to the day-to-day numbers that are normally applied to me in my job, metrics such as these are good: how often do I help co-workers, what is the level of my customers' (manager, business line(s) I code for, etc) satisfaction, how many times do I take ownership of problems that are not mine, etc? Can you think of other numbers?

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Ubuntu Lucid Lynx with Windows XP Dual Boot

After getting my replacement hard drive for my Dell desk top I compromised between the need for a Windows Operating System and the desire to mainly use Ubuntu by setting up the system to dual boot to Ubuntu by default and Windows XP implicitly.

For an example of Ubuntu niceness, I had to update an Excel 2007 spread sheet. I was currently in Ubuntu and really did not want to shutdown Ubuntu and restart in Windows to make the update. I browsed to the the Places section in Ubuntu and noted that there was a File System that was separate from the Ubuntu install. Sure enough it was the Windows partition. And what do you know...I was able to browse the Window's partition files and select the Excel spread sheet. It then opened in Open Office's Spreadsheet application, which comes free with Ubuntu's Desktop install, from where I was able to make my change and save the updated file.

Okay, that seemed too easy. I then rebooted to check to see that the Excel file would still open in Excel and sure enough, it opened and had the changes that were made while in Ubuntu! Lucid indeed!

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