Tag Archives: strategy

Google’s Ngram Viewer exposes Gartner’s Hype Cycles

The Books Ngram Viewer from Google Labs provides a fascinating insight into language usage in the past 200 years. An Ngram is a series of one or more items from a sequence, in this case a word or phrase from a published text. Google’s viewer plots the frequency of occurrence for Ngrams found in books published since 1800. It is possible to narrow the search to specific collections of books or corpus. Available corpora include American English, British English, English Fiction etc. Researchers at Harvard University’s Cultural Observatory have put together some tips for using this data and have invented a new word

Culturomics – The application of high-throughput data collection and analysis to the study of human culture.


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The Imortal Game


The Immortal Game, originally uploaded by Virtual Traveler.

This is a photo of a painting I commissioned from Blair Bradshaw last year. It shows the final crushing move of the Immortal Game, circled in red. I chose Blair because I have a print of one of his other pieces and had been to his studio so was familiar with his style. I thought he would do a great job of the immortal game, which I had been thinking about getting painted for some time. The piece is 5ft square and is comprised of 64 small square mini-canvases. Blair and I spoke at length about how to visually show the history of the game. I think he did a great job and am very pleased with what I got.

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Online Banking with Quicken for Mac. Why I don’t give a damn about free checking.

One day towards the end of 2000 my wife finally lost her financial patience with me. As she threw a pile of bills and receipts at me she screamed “That’s it! I’m never doing the accounts or paying the bills again. You never collect receipts, you never write a memo in the checkbook, and your work expenses are impossible to understand!” She then stormed out of the room. I was in no doubt that she meant it and she has remained free of the household accounting burden ever since. I unfortunately have not. It is true that until that day I had never balanced a checkbook in my life and habitually threw bank balances in the trash without even opening them – another contributing factor to my wife’s rant. In fact the only time I ever knew my bank balance was when the ATM refused to dispense cash. So it was with great trepidation that I began my fiscally responsible life. I figured that as I had designed and built large financial software systems I ought to be able to use a small one. So after some research I selected Quicken as they had a large share of the market and had a version for Mac.

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Using a Balanced Scorecard to align Enterprise Architecture and System Architecture with Corporate Strategy and Business Strategy

The Balance Scorecard Approach

The concept of a balanced scorecard was developed by Dr. Robert S. Kaplan of the Harvard Business School, and Dr. David P. Norton, and is explain in their book Translating Strategy into Action. The Balanced Scorecard. The basic idea is that the, vision and strategy of an organization can be expressed as a set of goals and their associated objectives, measures, target values and initiatives. I covered defining goals and objectives for system design in a previous article. The Balanced Scorecard approach extends the scope of goals and objectives to the entire enterprise. Originally this approach was suggested as a business-measurement system but it has evolved into a business-management system. By continually measuring progress toward the objectives, the execution of a strategy can be monitored, corrections can be made, risks can be reduced, and the chances of success increased.

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Defining Goals and Objectives for System Development

Clearly expressed, goals and objectives are essential prerequisites for successful change management in complex environments. System design, implementation, and commissioning in the broadest sense are classic examples of this type of change. The only rational way of measuring the success of complex systems is to assess the degree to which goals have been achieved by measuring the attainment of objectives.

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The Interaction of Business Policy, Strategy, and Architecture in System Design

Most Software systems are developed by corporations to gain parity with, or advantage over, competitors. These systems are either intended for sale as products or to be used internally but in both cases they are supposed to produce positive business results for the corporation that uses them. As anyone who has ever been involved in the development of software systems will know they often fail to produce a return on investment and sometimes fail to produce any benefit at all. This failure to achieve business value stems partly from difficultly system designers have in tracking the changing relationships between Policy, Strategy, and the Architecture they are responsible for designing.

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A Process for Prioritizing and Managing Problem Resolution in a Complex Environment

Just because you can make a decision or solve a problem does not mean you should. There are times when it’s better to delay until the last possible moment, others when its best to go half way and stop, and of course times when action must be taken immediately. Recognizing the best way to handle any given situation is fundamental when handling large numbers of problems. Recently I’ve been working with a client on defining a change management process for a large system and have been thinking about these issues.

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Convergent, Iterative Optimization of Solutions – Why Solving some Problems is Easier Said than Done

For some problems the challenge is not to identify the solution. The real challenge is working out how to put the solution in place. Anyone who has setup a theodolite will understand what I mean. The solution is simple to describe. Position a precision optical measuring device so that it is; perfectly level, at a reasonable height for operation and directly above a predefined mark. Sounds easy, but given a tripod and a theodolite most untrained surveyors will take hours and usually give up in frustration. The problem is that there are too many degrees of freedom in the system. Everything is interdependent. Make one small adjustment here and it knocks things way out of whack there!

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The Immortal Game – Maybe the Greatest Game of Chess Ever Played

In July 1851 two mathematics teachers, Prof. Adolf Anderssen (1818 -1879) from Breslau, and Lionel Kieseritzky (1806-1853) from what is now Estonia, played a game of chess at Simpsons on the Strand, a London chess Salon. The game was so startling in its brlliance that in 1855 it was named The Immortal Game by the Austrian player Ernst Falkbeer. The chess Canon contains very few named games. This game is considered by some to be the greatest ever played. It has been been studied and replayed for over 150 years.

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