How Fast Is The New Fast?

The BBC reports on a study showing that computers are bunging up the work place due to lack of proper implementation. Here is the
executive summary of the report
, which includes the following:

The problem lies with people rather than the systems themselves,
concludes the iSociety think-tank. Workers do not have enough guidance about technology, support staff are cut off from other staff and managers are “naive”, said the year-long study. This contributes to “endemic annoyance” with computers which can be avoided with better understanding.

Having worked in a
number of digital offices in the public and private sector since 1990, I can confirm my experience that implementation of IT resources often is about as thoughtful as buying Winnebagos for wheelbarrow functionality needs as both are things with wheels. Why is this? The drive to upgrade needlessly pushed by
consultants, IT marketing and procurers without the information required to say no to the bright new toys. Before buying new communications and information
systems few organizations seem to themselves ask questions about how they communicate, what information they need and, most importantly, why.

Narcissim Used To Be A Fault

Can we be collectively narcissistic? Could it be that too much access and too much information can be too much? What happens to a society when everything is ok and everything should be open and available to and from all? Is it only simply a flourishing or are their limitations inherent either in a healthy society or being human? We can hardly be both tribal and non-hierarchical. We can hardly be exposed and not take in or be shaped by that exposure. Yet that seems to be a working principle:

“Most of the content on the network is contributed by the users of the internet,” he said. “So what we’re seeing on the net is a reflection of the society we live in. Maybe it is important for us to look at that society and try to do something about what’s happening, what we are seeing.

He added: “When you have a problem in the mirror you do not fix the mirror, you fix that which is reflected in the mirror.”

That is an odd analogy. You do remove the mirror when it is a distraction, is aimed into someone else’s space or is just in the wrong place. It does not seem to capture what we are. Is it possible that we are so obsessed with not having certain people tell us the modern is corrupt that we have determined that free discourse is an absolute, utterly uncorruptible and uncorrupting?

Still Six Games Up…Let Me Check…Wow…Six Games

Well, it was a damn good thing the White Sox got a thrashing last weekend and that the Tigers played well against the Yanks or it would be more like a two game lead instead of six. That being said, the Yankees have played the last two games like…the Yankees. Pettitte and Clemens were both powerhouses on the pitchers mound, though to be utterly biased, their strike zone was a tad bizzare. And Damon [Ed.: pittuie] has played…(gak)…[Ed.: hairball sounds]…well. Yet, if Shilling plays well today, the season’s games in the Bronx will be over and the lead will be seven.

No, the concerns (because what is a fan without concerns) are really long term. One wonders what will happen way down the road, you know, in September. Here are my thoughts:

  • Dice-K has been a minor bust. But so was Beckett in his first year. Maybe it does take a year to settle in sometimes but there is something sloppy about Matsuzaka that seems dislocated in relation to big innings. It’s like he averages one really poor inning every ten to fourteen. That is disconcerting. It will be interesting to see if he ups his game or if he can.
  • Mike Lowell is the A-Rod of the Red Sox. If he wasn’t on the team, the race would now be tied. Youk and Pedroia are the something of the surprises of 2006 and 2007. Likely they are not surprises to those in charge (note: me fan) but it is these three players who have the Sox where they are this year.
  • There may have been a combination of bad picks (Drew and Willi Mo) and neccesary reliance on certain guys for too many seasons (Shilling, Ortiz, Manny) but there is a gap between the young players and the players at the end of their careers that could be looming and may be a reason that the rest of 2007 is not too pretty.

Thankfully, there is an afternoon game today. I will have to deal with it at a distance, though I think I can jimmy a make-shift antennae at work to pick up the Yankees broadcast if I can reach high enough and the chair will stay up on the bookshelf.

Sign Of The Endtimes #3378

There are some things I won’t put on the beer blog – including some new gack called “Guinness Red”. Apparently the much jiggered with recipe moves over the last few decades have done their deed leaving the brewer to consider “the brand is the asset” now that it has destroyed the actual drink:

The launch of Guinness Red is the latest in a series of slightly odd, innovative brand extensions for the famous beer brand, which has been hit with declining sales. In February, in time for St Patrick’s Day, Diageo tied up with Marmite to produce a limited edition Guinness-flavoured Marmite spread, with just 300,000 hitting supermarket shelves. The company also launched the battery-powered “ultra-sonic” Guinness Surger that enables Guinness fans to create a proper “tight creamy” head to their beer when drinking at home. Perhaps the most bizarre brand extension was a tie-up with Northern Irish bread company Irwin’s Bakery, to create – after two years of research and development – Guinness bread. Guinness Wholegrain Bread, which has 17% Guinness content, is described as “the perfect malty bread” by Irwin’s.

Stonch has it right: “If this diabolical stuff passed the taste test, I despair of the British people.”

One Man Burning Man Crime Wave!

So at Burning Man it is a crime to…burn the man. You know the free collective spirit of the communal community (that is and then is not – like the wind) can’t work without a schedule, people! Not to mention the need to do what you are told by the leadership. This is up there with that Ayn Rand Society or organization or whatever.

And always a nice touch when libertarians and anarchists call in the cops.


Time To Confess!

It’s too bad there isn’t an independent body to study stuff that no one wants studies that much. I would submit an application for a grant for a calculation of how much waste computers and the internet have caused:

“The issue is now you have something that seems to be genuinely irresistible because it’s such a gateway to the whole planet that’s right there on your desk and easily concealed to people passing by,” said Wallace, a professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Employees who cyberslack have been shown to spend most of their time emailing, and almost a third of their messages were not related to work, said James Philips, a psychology professor at Australia’s Monash University. Many workers manage finances or shop online. Popular social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace are also common cyberslacking destinations. It is not uncommon to see a user write on his “status” report that he or she is “at work”.

I think that underestimates the capacity and the long tradition of people to fund ways to not do. The inclusion of solitaire and battleships on the first desktops lead to a generation of well qualified lonely card playing admirals. But we were promised a world of leisure and the three day work week when the future was first envisaged, not just jet packs and food in tubes. All that has turned out is that the food is in plastic and not aluminum and the hours of leisure are spent in a cubicle not at a cottage.

Sour Beer Studies: Grand Cru, Brouwerij Rodenbach, Belgium

There’s plenty of good stuff down in the stash but I had to think hard about what was the right beer for the Sox and Yanks tonight. I settled on Rodenbach Grand Cru as it is a Flemish Red. I previously reviewed it but that was so 2004 when I thought it was over the top in tartness.

Ah…the innocence of youth. That was before the on-set of my relationship with Cantillon. Sure this one is acidic but there is plenty of bright vanilla, cherry – though there is still a sharp vinegary catch at the back of the throat. It pours a reddish mahogany with a thin roam and rim of off white. A little less rich than other Flems of recent sipppery but there is an interesting apple and beef thing in there if you rearrange the tastes. Refreshing and revitalizing. I will save the dry gueuze for the fish and chips now.

This one could soak a mean ribeye. Strong but not unanimous BA love.

Group Project: Do We Really Need Another Leader?

None of the above. Like most Canadians, the lack of a compelling leader is either a big problem or an admission that we really do not need someone to tell us what to be, we just need someone to administer. It is interesting that many of our southern nieghbours may feel the same thing if ry is right. The Globe and Mail is running articles today examining the current Canadian leadership and gives PMSH some advice:

He should start by asking himself why they haven’t bitten so far. After all, in terms of party standings, the Conservatives are still tied with the Liberals in the low 30s. What’s holding them back? The reasons are evident in the data. A large majority of Canadians associate words such as “controlling” and “partisan” with Mr. Harper. They think he’s too right-wing. Most believe he’s too close to U.S. President George W. Bush. He’s not seen as particularly likeable. A majority don’t think he cares about people like them. And most Canadians feel his government has accomplished little during its time in office.

I dunno but if I have to choose between likeable and capable give me capable. But I am not all that certain that Stephen Harper is all that capable. For me, a center-left non-supporter, he seems more like the first or second leg in a relay. Preston Manning tried to reframe the ideology of conservatism in Canada without any real plan for taking the helm and running the place. Harper has the task of proving a majority is possible but maybe he has to stand aside in a few years for that more charismatic person who can implement policies more in tune with the vision of Reform, someone who can convince me and other swing voters that meddling with actual institutions and constitutional principles is something I want them to do.

Notice I do not even speak of others as leaders even though those parties represent the majority of Canadians and are all to the left (to the left) of the conservatives. For the last two decades, whether under rural or urban overlords, Canadians have been happy to have conservative management by any name as long as enough socialism is being administered by them.

  • Has our relationship to leadership changed? Do we not need someone to frame a national vision preferring just decent management?
  • Is the place of conservatism in the US really any different after the ideological disappointments of the last seven years? If the relay analogy is apt, has the race been won and lost? Can a sensible centrist now reframe it to move it into popularity or is another puritan revival required or, if not, going to be foisted anyway?
  • Is there any major shift in the way politics plays out in North American in the offing? The conservative movement of the second half of the 20th century has been both hugely successful and an utter failure as both nations to one degree or another are reformist social welfare states with hugely successful capitalist infrastructures. What should the next ideological revolution look like? Should it not just be an admission that things are pretty robust, fair and acceptable?

There you go. Something to chew on on this quietest day in the quietest day of the year.

Considering Fred

Like the vast majority, I don’t know enough to write with any particular insight on politics…or most stuff for the most part. But this article in the NYT on Fred D. Thompson has me interested in the what might be. Specifically, someone called President Fred. I thought having a Prime Minister Steve would sound odd. And it does. Fred is one of those names that has been forever altered. In this case by Mr. Flintstone. But this Fred seems to be made of some interesting stuff.

Next month, Mr. Thompson is expected to join the Republican race for president. While he is perhaps best known for playing the tough-minded District Attorney Arthur Branch on the NBC show “Law + Order,” it is his real-life role as an investigator of government wrongdoing that has become a central part of the political biography he hopes will propel him to the presidency…Mr. Thompson rose to national prominence in the mid-1970s. As chief counsel to the Republicans on the Senate Watergate committee, he famously asked the question that revealed the existence of the White House taping system that ultimately led to President Richard M. Nixon’s resignation. But Mr. Thompson was also an active participant in the White House’s efforts to deflect blame from the president and discredit his accusers, plotting strategy with Mr. Nixon’s lawyers and leaking them information.

Law + Order never much caught my imagination, at least not in the way that Homicide: Life on the Street did or House has – it lacks the wit and/or performance. So the claims of an actor to leadership, as with those of ideological hack, should fall on deaf ears. It is in the doing that a person makes of him or herself what they can be.