Duncan Wilcock


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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Live Like your Grandpa

Living like you're grandpa (or grandma) is a good model, when one is trying to be green. Between WWII & the depression era, people from that generation knew how to be thrifty, which was often in sync with being green.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

[CR] The Googiverse

Someone at Google has probably already coined this term, but Googiverse is the only term I can think of for Google's insane expansion/proliferation into all aspects of the internet. Everytime i think of some information or service i need, i find that google has already built it, has it online, & is offering it for free.

Either they will be the internet soon, or they will go bust trying. I wonder which it will be? I'd be interested in your thoughts, since you are reading this.

I think they have "got it" in terms of the internet, collaborative models, and ethics - the 21st century business.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

[CR] Stopping "Bad-ware", Accountability & In defense of Gossip

There really are some neat things going on - on the internet. It's a whole new "sphere of existence" in a way, literally in places like "Second Life" http://secondlife.com/ but it's more interesting what's going on in the wider internet.

From what I can see, it's evolving into an instrument of accountabilty. It's certainly enabling accountablity where before real accountability was not practical.

In small towns & communities - accountability is handled by a natural - probalby evolved - system - a system called "The grapevine" or with less positive connotations - gossip. Well - that's not strictly true - i suppose gossip could be defined as the malicious use of the grapevine.

Just to be explicit, I mean the "informal network of people talking to people - in a natural socializing kind of way" when I say "The Grapevine." I'm pretty sure it's a universal aspect of human experience, because I also think it's probably an evolved-in trait, because it serves a purpose that would select for the success of a small group or tribe - the natural unit of human evolution until a few hundred years ago. (again - in my opinion)

Anyway - so - in defense of gossip - I think/believe that it (in it's non-malicious incarnation - "the grapevine") is an important enabler of accountability within tribal units/communities. I figure the natural group size is @ 50 people, but can probably scale to several hundred - even a thousand or two. Think how many people you know, how your experience in highschool was - how many people did you know, know well, etc. I've also noticed that department sizes/management group sizes in large corporations seem to cluster @ 50-ish in size.

So - Accountability is a good thing & a natural thing in small communities. That's why small towns are such gossip-mills & again I think this is a good thing in general, but as always the balance of positive intentions vs. maliciousness exists.

IMO - (In my Opinion) what has been a problem in the past with big business, with government & large groups in general - is a lack of accountability, because mechanisms for accountability on a large scale have not existed. This has allowed "jerks" to act badly - ie without a balance of respect for others with self-interest and not only get away with it, but effectively do well because of it. People have been able to "do well by doing bad" - which sucks! A far better model is that which the quakers espoused - "Doing well by Doing Good"

What a big problem has been is that in large groups without a mechanism for accountability, the benefits of doing good were not realized - those such as endorsement from others, repeat business, what-have-you. Even worse - the negative effects of doing bad became negligible the larger the group size has become, because there was "always a new sucker around every corner" because there was no reasonable, convenient way for a bad reputation to develop.

Anyway - hopefully you get the idea - because i think this post is @ long enough now.

If you don't believe me that the internet is providing a way for this to change check out:

http://stopbadware.org/ and http://www.google.com/corporate/software_principles.html

which are what inspired me to write up these thoughts.

Also think about e-bay & the accountabilty system of rating that has been built into it. Interesting no??

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

How to Avoid being Sued

Had a funny thought about our excessively litigious society...

The most effective (and cheapest!) defense against being sued, is to not have anything worth being sued for.

This trick also works for avoiding being robbed. If you don't have anything worth stealing, there's nothing for anyone to take from you.

The implicit connection made here between sueing & robbery wasn't part of my initial intention, but now that they concepts are compared - the shoe does seem to fit...

Ah well, enough for now. Over & Out.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Massively Parallel Processing

A market economy could be considered a massively parallel processing system. I bet there are some interesting connections emerging in the study of both markets & massively parallel computing.

The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy was right.