Archives for November 2004

How Sound Works

Any questions?


Customer-centric development is the most important product trend in a long time. The Trendwatching folks present a great write-up summarizing the issues and opportunities. Product development today is all about listening to feedback loops. The broadcast mentality of “message, message, message” is dying. [Doc Searls: “There is no demand for messages.“] Instead, product developers will […]

On Directing Film

I read this book by David Mamet yesterday. It’s a concise 107-page summary of directing for motion pictures, based on a course he taught at Columbia in 1987, after he had finished his second film (following many plays and stage productions). Here are a few excerpted paragraphs: The job of the film director is to […]

The Seven Basic Plots

Very interesting review of a new book about narrative story forms. Excerpt: The histories of the novel and of storytelling ran together until the early 20th century; since the 1920s, that history has been one of formal drift, away from the novel as a social form that described how characters live in relation to others, […]

Futurists Beware

A friend sent along this photo, which hardly needs any discussion: Most enjoyable is how it integrates the two most important technologies of 1954, namely, the television and the automobile! Update: An anonymous commenter says it’s fake, and they’re right — thanks!

Jetta GLI Snow Tires

If you own a 2004 1/2 VW Jetta GLI with the stock 18″ BBS wheels and you have to drive in the snow you’ll want to read this post to learn what steel wheels will fit on your car for snow tires. Everyone else can read along to learn about how complex products requiring complex […]

Beware eBay Identify Theft Scams

This is a long post with images to clarify just exactly how easy it is to be scammed into giving up your eBay information and much more. I received an email with the subject “Your account at eBay has been suspended.” The text looked like this: “We regret to inform you that we had to […]

I Am Charlote Simmons

I read Tom Wolfe’s new novel last week. A super-smart country girl from Sparta, NC heads off to the prestigious Dupont University to explore the life of the mind. (My comments will not spoil the plot.) The book is getting fairly bad reviews. NPR panned it. David Brooks in the NYT found at least something […]

Iterative Development

New Dog Old Trick has an interesting post called The Train is Leaving the Station about date-driven vs. content-driven software releases. Actually, the New Dog’s post points to and is titled the same as Ed Sim’s post on the same topic. Excerpt from Ed: There are a couple of different ways to manage engineering releases.

Viruses could be good

Computer viruses are bad. There’s all manner of havoc they can wreak on unsuspecting users. Spyware, adware, popups, data loss, drones, hidden ftp sites, etc. etc. etc. And the talent required to write some of these viruses is astounding. Yes, there are some “script kiddies” who just cut and paste, but original virus authors are […]

Multi-pass processes

If you’re testing something (software code, a web page, whatever), it’s often helpful to use multiple passes to accomplish your task. The first thing you want to know is: Is it grossly wrong, or basically okay? Then, once you know that it MIGHT be working as expected (as opposed to “definitely not working”), you can […]

Accountable once a decade, at least

This year I’ve personally observed just how hard it is to fire someone in academia (newsflash!). Some people turn out to be non-productive — that’s to be expected. Much worse if they’re toxic to the people who are ARE productive! But somehow they stay forever. (Note to clients: I’m not talking about any of you […]

Opportunity: VW-branded biodiesel

Here’s an example of an important new product opportunity. Volkswagen has a turbo diesel engine called the TDI. It’s available in the US and Canada in their Golf, Beetle, Jetta, Passat, and Tourag cars. It runs on diesel fuel, and depending on the model gets up to 50 mpg. It’s also really fun to drive; […]

What do you want to create today?

Ten or twelve years ago I was talking a lot about the choice between being a “creator or consumer.” Today, I re-affirm my choice as creator. This is about more than “being creative,” whatever that means. It’s about making things, making connections, making artifacts, making a difference. It’s about playing my small role to improve […]

Updating Weblog Archives

This morning I’m reorganizing my weblog. Deleting categories, reorganizing entries, changing archive URLs. I’ve probably broken most inbound permalinks to the site, but it had to be done at some point and I decided “the sooner the better.” If you want to see if your links to me are broken, here’s an advanced Google query […]

Peter Senge Event

Peter Senge (The Fifth Discipline) gave a lecture in my hometown on the day after the election, Wednesday November 3. It was sponsored by two excellent community organizations, the Upper Valley Business Education Partnership and the Upper Valley Teacher Institute. I was involved in hosting the event, and introduced him onstage. For posterity, here is […]


As a prelude to my return to active blogging, I have upgraded to MT 3.121. Last month there were almost 1,000 comment spams on this backwater blog. Hopefully the new tools in 3.x will help manage the junk. [Update: They do. Much better, thanks.]