Sunday, March 04, 2012

Sunday Snippets - cloud problems, intelligence with a dash of Greece

From time to time I have written about problems associated with our growing dependence on certain types of technology. In Problems with cloud computing - and paperless offices, one of those presently rare posts on my professional blog, I looked at issues associated with working in a cloud environment.

As an aside, I have to do something to restart my professional writing. It's not that I don't have things to write about. I have an in-tray overflowing with story ideas. It's just an issue of time and motivation. Next week I have a post coming up on a US site, a little later in the month my next ABS column. At the moment, any traffic attracted to my professional blog by those pieces would be sadly disappointed.

Anyway, Friday evening I was working away on some planning material. I was being a good little pumpkin and saving steadily to a flash drive because I wanted to take the material home with me.

About four the whole cloud system froze. It was worst on my machine because I had so many documents and programs open, but affected others as well. In the end, I had to shut down and restart. I then found that the three documents I had open that I was saving to the flash drive had been completely wiped on the flash drive itself. Grrrr! Three hours work down the drain.

  The release of the Stratfor emails by Wikileaks brought memories back.

Before going on, have a read of Mark Corcoran's Confessions of a Stratfor subscriber on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's the Drum. Then have a read of the first two parts of Aymever Days. You see, on Aymever's information Services side we did just what Stratfor did, although hopefully the standard of our research and strategic analysis was a damn sight better!

Stratfor seems to have relied upon gossip, something that we rarely reported except sometimes to entertain! Central to our work was a rather marvelous piece of technology called the telephone. Remember the telephone? And no, I don't mean mobiles.

One of the deskilling elements that has taken place over the last twenty years has been the loss of knowledge about the best way to use the phone. We were masters at using the phone. One of our mantras was that all the public record information in the world and much of the rest too was just three phone calls away.

When we set Aymever up, we installed software that allowed us to track calls and record costs to activities. We deleted this because we found that it was stopping people making calls. Indeed, we went further.

Staff were told that they could use the phones on personal business, that there were no limits on nor records kept of personal use. We relied on their judgement as to what was fair. We also explained why: the phone was a key weapon in our arsenal. We wanted all staff to know how to use the phone! Our phone bills were huge, but the results superb.

It's almost a month since my second Aymever post. I hope to continue next week.

Our Greek trip is another stopped series, one that stopped abruptly on 18 October 2011 leaving us stranded on Rhodes. There were very particular reasons for that stop, but I do want to complete the series if only to complete my historical review.

I have watched events in Greece with great sadness, although I haven't commented on them. In my last official Express column, Belshaw's World - the ever-changing face of Sydney, I mentioned the old Greek lady that I met in the street near our current house and her sadness about events.

For the life of me, I cannot understand the policies applied to Greece by its Eurozone partners.

Say one of the Australian states got into economic trouble as happened in both Victoria and South Australia. Then it may make sense to apply nasty economic medicine to that state because the impact will be cushioned to some degree by economic activity in other states. But apply nasty medicine to multiple states at the same time and you remove the cushioning, creating a vicious cycle. Then your policies can't work.

The house is stirring. I need to move to the next thing on my agenda.  


Anonymous said...

More on iCloud today:

Call me old fashioned, but I'm not going to use this service - or any lookalike service.


Jim Belshaw said...

I suspect that's wise, just at present.

It was an interesting piece, though.