28 July 2006

Simplicity Cycle update

I just came across this article by "R. Todd Stephens, PhD," which quotes rather extensively from my Simplicity Cycle manifesto. Too fun!

It was published in something called The Data Administrator's Newsletter (TDAN), which contains articles with titles like "Introducing Date Unification and Harmonization." Stuff I should probably be interested in, but strangely, I'm not. :)

27 July 2006

Word Length & Familiarity

I have a long-held, seldom-expressed theory about word length. It's just one of those crazy little things that bounces around in my head, and I wonder if there's any meaning to it.

Specifically, I suspect that familiar objects & activities generally get short words... and the more familiar, the shorter the word. While some very common objects & activies have longish words, I have not yet been able to think of a three letter word for something that is not familiar - can you? Check it out:

arm, leg, gut, eat, die, kid, sky, sun, run, see, hug, kiss (I count the double s as basically one letter), mom, dad, man, boy, dog, cat, cow, moon (see note on kiss)...

As an example of how words change, consider the Horseless Carriage, which became the automobile, and then became the Car. Or the computer becoming the PC (or Mac).

Why isn't water a three letter word? Why isn't "person" shorter? I don't know.

Anyway, I poked around online a little and came across this Ask Oxford site, which presents some data that seems to support my hypothesis... Most of the 100 most common English words are one syllable and in the 2-4 letter range...

24 July 2006

Happy Face

I carry a little black
moleskine notebook everywhere I go. I use it to capture notes, ideas, sketches, etc. If we've ever had a face-to-face conversation, you've probably seen me whip it out and scribble something down.

Anyway, I guess I left it sitting on the island in my kitchen one day, and sometime later came across this picture, compliments of my 3-year-old daughter Jenna:

She didn't scribble on any other pages - she just opened to a blank page and drew this happy little face. I think it's the coolest thing anyone has written in my notebook (myself included).

21 July 2006

One more Exposure comment

If anyone out there is actually reading this blog, you are probably getting bored with the Exposure book. Sorry about that, but I couldn't resist one more posting.

See, I just noticed that Exposure is offered under a Creative Commons license... specifically, an Attribution 2.0 License, which basically says people can do what ever they want with the content, as long as they attribute the work to the originators.

This includes commercial use.

If any of you creative-types out there are interested in 21st century intellectual property management options, please check out the Creative Commons site for the stuff you need.

Gary Larson's Intellectual Property

Ever since coming across the Exposure book, I've been thinking about the whole copyright & intellectual property issue. Actually, it's been on my mind for a while, probably ever since Napster first came out... and then again when I started writing books...

At any rate, I was looking for Far Side cartoons online and came across this crazy note from Gary Larson. I am reasonably certain it's legit, and he basically says "No, you can't put Far Sides online anywhere."

His note strikes me as remarkably dumb.

Doesn't he realize his fame & fortune are due in large part to countless people posting Far Side cartoons on office doors, cube walls, bulletin boards, etc? He got a lot of free advertising from his fans, and quickly became a cultural phenomenon. Now he doesn't want that to happen anymore? I'm not a cartoonist, but I have a hard time imaginging there is much "emotional cost to me, personally, of seeing my work collected, digitized and offered up in cyberspace beyond my control." That actually sounds like a good deal, particularly if you replace "beyond my control" with "without any effort on my part." It seems to me he should be saying Thanks, not Stop.

Today's doors and walls and bulletin boards are online - they're called webpages and blogs and MySpace. And Gary Larson apparently wants none of it.

How can he overlook the fact that the value of his ideas & cartoons increases with familiarity (to paraphrase Mr. Barlow's chapter in Exposure)?

If he wants or needs to stop drawing Far Side, fine (and I believe he stopped drawing them some time ago). He can still sell Greatest Hits collections, calendars, etc... but it is unreasonable, illogical and unwise to expect that he will still control the distribution of (and still profit by) stuff he produced 15 years ago.

It's a bit like an author objecting to used book stores, because he or she isn't getting a cut of the action.

It's a bit like a musician objecting to people humming their tunes within earshot of someone else...

It's a lot like the music industry, which has decided to treat fans like criminals.

And in this new digital world, it just doesn't make much sense.

17 July 2006

Information Sharing

I just received a (long!) email announcing the release of a report by "the Markle Foundation Task Force on National Security in the Information Age." Described as "a must read for all information sharing stake holders," I was intrigued (even though I'm not sure how much steak I hold...)

Even through the message had more buzzwords than a interactive collaboration of dynamic paradigm shifters, I read (ok, scanned) through it and clicked on a link or two. If I'm parsing the techno-speak correctly, I think they're the good guys. Here's a short excerpt...

...a group of over 50+ forward thinking leaders have been working together
to stand up such an Institute for Information Sharing

Those interested in the Institute for
Information Sharing can find its charter, white papers, meeting notes, GSA
Schedules and related materials at
www.ICHnet.org on the right hand margin.
This is an open and non-partisan research institute that leverages lessons
learned from existing information sharing research, testing and implementation
efforts so as to accelerate the planning and architecture process.

With failure rates of major govt IT programs approaching 80%, costing the
tax payer $21.3 Billion a year, our country’s leadership can ill afford to
continue to engage the same processes that continue to lead to failure.

If you're a stakeholder, you might want to peruse the report.... Enjoy!

14 July 2006

The Change Function

I recently came across a book in the airport, titled The Change Function. Then I checked ChangeThis.com this morning, and found the manifesto version.

Very interesting ideas, particularly for anyone who's interested in injecting change and/or introducing disruptive, innovative technology into the market (military or commercial).

Don't miss it...