Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Reagan Diaries.

Ronald Reagan was my favorite president of all time. This mornings meet the press had a discussion about his new book, and a special video session highlighting the number of times that Reagan was on meet the press. Click on the title of this entry for the MSNBC website.

His greatest legacy is the economy that we have today. Instituting "Reaganomics" was terribly difficult. His administration was battered badly as a result of bringing a new economic order to the world. Hanging on took immense courage and fortitude. For 2 years there was never any doubt in Reagan's mind that it would succeed and it was the right thing to do. It makes one reflect on this stoic persistence in facing the associated difficulties that we have today. To my way of thinking President George W. Bush is an excellent protege of the Reagan mold.

The influence and dedication of Nancy Reagan throughout the political career of Reagan leaves me empty and to be frank a little jealous. For it is the dedication and commitment that she showed the country and her husband that made his accomplishments possible. And it is for this reason that Laura Bush will be known for as well.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The U.S. Democrats are insane.

Today on NBC's Meet the Press Senator Joe Biden stated that the bill that he passed last week, establishing a firm date for retreat, stated.

No we are not setting a deadline, read what it says, it says that the target date, left up to the Generals, to determine whether or not it is appropriate to withdraw all forces.
The U.S. Democrats, on the bill they have passed, and the President will veto, has handed the authority of war to the non-elected Generals.

This will be the end of Biden's political career, and the Democrats will be so damaged by this, they will loose in 2008.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Two new blogs and one common denominator.

I have discovered two excellent blogs that provide excellent content. Both are based on classes taken at the various universities. These blogs enable you to follow on and learn the important points of each course.

The first one is from Cornell http://expertvoices.nsdl.org/cornell-info204/

The second one is from Stanford and follows the course of economics professor Paul Romer. Located at http://econblog.aplia.com/index.html

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A very great man.

The Wall Street Journal reported today the following;

Professor Liviu Librescu, 76, threw himself in front of the shooter when the [murderer] attempted to enter his classroom. The Israeli mechanics and engineering lecturer was shot to death, "but all the students lived--because of him," Virginia Tech student Asael Arad--also an Israeli--told Army Radio.

Several of Librescu's other students sent e-mails to his wife, Marlena, telling of how he had blocked the gunman's way and saved their lives, said Librescu's son, Joe.

"My father blocked the doorway with his body and asked the students to flee," Joe Librescu said in a telephone interview from his home outside of Tel Aviv. "Students started opening windows and jumping out."

Librescu was a Holocaust survivor who escaped communist Romania for Israel in 1978 and moved to Virginia in 1986. By coincidence, he was murdered on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

A man who clearly understood what freedom, survival and heroism means. It is people like this who are fighting for the safety and security of our way of life, whether it is a suicide bomber or a South Korean it makes no difference, I hope we can recognize this.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Not the right answer.

I am a proponent of the Dr. Carlotta Perez long term economic thinking crowd. I have written about these in the past, and have a concern that the average person whom is relying on their retirement income, home and investments in mutual funds will amount to a hill of beans when the time comes the people who depend upon them. The only security you have is the material between your ears. This is consistent with Perez, in that she sees the need for this in order to transfer to a new and better economic level.

I just read an interesting piece of analysis regarding the Amaranth Hedge Fund failure. That the risks are being transferred from the Hedge Funds to the Pension Holders and Mutual Fund owners. The risk is noted by one who had reviewed the theory as Caveat Emptor or Buyer Beware. Which to me is not the right answer.

If the average pension beneficiary, or mutual fund investor has to understand these highly complex principles and tools being used within these funds and being developed as we proceed. Then we are headed toward the melt down that Perez speaks of, and I guess the good news is that it will be soon. Far better for most of these losses be incurred when the people are young enough to recover and move forward with their retirement.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Just realized something about RSS.

Time doesn't matter. RSS eliminates the need to stick to a schedule. Why because your readers will get to it when they are ready. RSS is an asynchronous time portal.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Ralph Waldo Emerson

As I have done in years past, a quotation from my favorite author, Ralph Waldo Emerson. This years selection is Abraham Lincoln, an address made at the president's funeral.

RWE.org - The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson - Volume XI - Miscellanies (1884)
Contributed by Ralph Waldo Emerson
XV
ABRAHAM LINCOLN

REMARKS AT THE FUNERAL SERVICES HELD IN CONCORD, APRIL 19, 1865

" NATURE, they say, doth dote,
And cannot make a man
Save on some worn-out plan,
Repeating us by rote:
For him her Old-World moulds aside she threw,
And, choosing sweet clay from the breast
Of the unexhausted West,
'With stuff untainted shaped a hero new,
Wise, steadfast in the strength of God, and true.
How beautiful to see
Once more a shepherd of mankind indeed,
Who loved his charge, but never loved to lead;
One whose meek flock the people joyed to be,
Not lured by any cheat of birth,
But by his clear-grained human worth,
And brave old wisdom of sincerity!
They knew that outward grace is dust;
They could not choose but trust
In that sure-footed mind's unfaltering skill,
And supple-tempered will
That bent, like perfect steel, to spring again and thrust.

Nothing of Europe here,
Or, then, of Europe fronting mornward still,
Ere any names of Serf and Peer
Could Nature's equal scheme deface; . .
Here was a type of the true elder race,
And one of Plutarch's men talked with us face to face."
LOWELL, Commemoration Ode.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN

WE meet under the gloom of a calamity which darkens down over the minds of good men in all civil society, as the fearful tidings travel over sea, over land, from country to country, like the shadow of an uncalculated eclipse over the planet. Old as history is, and manifold as are its tragedies, I doubt if any death has caused so much pain to mankind as this has caused, or will cause, on its announcement ; and this, not so much because nations are by modern arts brought so closely together, as because of the mysterious hopes and fears which, in the present day, are connected with the name and institutions of America.

In this country, on Saturday, every one was struck dumb, and saw at first only deep below deep, as he meditated on the ghastly blow. And perhaps, at this hour, when the coffin which contains the dust of the President sets forward on its long march through mourning states, on its way to his home in Illinois, we might well be silent, and suffer the awful voices of the time to thunder to us. Yes, but that first despair was brief: the man was not so to be mourned. He was the most active and hopeful of men; and his work had not perished: but acclamations of praise for the task he had accomplished burst out into a song of triumph, which even tears for his death cannot keep down.

The President stood before us as a man of the people. He was thoroughly American, had never crossed the sea, had never been spoiled by English insularity or French dissipation ; a quite native, aboriginal man, as an acorn from the oak ; no aping of foreigners, no frivolous accomplishments, Kentuckian born, working on a farm, a flatboatman, a captain in the Black Hawk War, a country lawyer, a representative in the rural legislature of Illinois ;- on such modest foundations the broad structure of his fame was laid. How slowly, and yet by happily prepared steps, he came to his place. All of us remember - it is only a history of five or six years - the surprise and the disappointment of the country at his first nomination by the convention at Chicago. Mr. Seward, then in the culmination of his good fame, was the favorite of the Eastern States. And when the new and comparatively unknown name of Lincoln was announced (notwithstanding the report of the acclamations of that convention), we heard the result coldly and sadly. It seemed too rash, on a purely local reputation, to build so grave a trust in such anxious times ; and men naturally talked of the chances in politics as in-calculable. But it turned out not to be chance. The profound good opinion which the people of Illinois and of the West had conceived of him, and which they had imparted to their col-leagues, that they also might justify themselves to their constituents at home, was not rash, though they did not begin to know the riches of his worth.'

A plain man of the people, an extraordinary fortune attended him. He offered no shining qualities at the first encounter ; he did not offend by superiority. He had a face and manner which disarmed suspicion, which inspired confidence, which confirmed good will. He was a man without vices. He had a strong sense of duty, which it was very easy for him to obey. Then, he had what farmers call a long head ; was excellent in working out the sum for him-self; in arguing his case and convincing you fairly and firmly. Then, it turned out that he was a great worker ; had prodigious faculty of performance ; worked easily. A good worker is so rare ; everybody has some disabling quality. In a host of young men that start together and promise so many brilliant leaders for the next age, each fails on trial ; one by bad health, one by conceit, or by love of pleasure, or lethargy, or an ugly temper, - each has some disqualifying fault that throws him out of the career. But this man was sound to the core, cheerful, persistent, all right for labor, and liked nothing so well.

Then, he had a vast good nature, which made him tolerant and accessible to all ; fair-minded, leaning to the claim of the petitioner ; affable, and not sensible to the affliction which the innumerable visits paid to him when President would have brought to any one else.' And how this good nature became a noble humanity, in many a tragic case which the events of the war brought to him, every one will remember; and with what increasing tenderness he dealt when a whole race was thrown on his compassion. The poor negro said of him, on an impressive occasion, " Massa Linkum am eberywhere."
Then his broad good humor, running easily into jocular talk, in which he delighted and in which he excelled, was a rich gift to this wise man. It enabled him to keep his secret; to meet every kind of man and every rank in society ; to take off the edge of the severest decisions ; to mask his own purpose and sound his companion ; and to catch with true instinct the temper of every company he addressed. And, more than all, it is to a man of severe labor, in anxious and exhausting crises, the natural restorative, good as sleep, and is the protection of the overdriven brain against rancor and in-sanity.

He is the author of a multitude of good sayings, so disguised as pleasantries that it is certain they had no reputation at first but as jests ; and only later, by the very acceptance and adoption they find in the mouths of millions, turn out to be the wisdom of the hour. I am sure if this man had ruled in a period of less facility of printing, he would have become mythological in a very few years, like Æsop or Pilpay, or one of the Seven Wise Masters, by his fables and proverbs. But the weight and penetration of many passages in his letters, messages and speeches, hidden now by the very closeness of their application to the moment, are destined hereafter to wide fame. What pregnant definitions ; what unerring common sense ; what fore-sight ; and, on great occasion, what lofty, and more than national, what humane tone ! His brief speech at Gettysburg will not easily be surpassed by words on any recorded occasion. This, and one other American speech, that of John Brown to the court that tried him, and a part of Kossuth's speech at Birmingham, can only be compared with each other, and with no fourth.

His occupying the chair of state was a triumph of the good sense of mankind, and of the public conscience. This middle-class country had got a middle-class president, at last. Yes, in manners and sympathies, but not in powers, for his powers were superior. This man grew according to the need. His mind mastered the problem of the day ; and as the problem grew, so did his comprehension of it. Rarely was man so fitted to the event. In the midst of fears and jealousies, in the Babel of counsels and parties, this man wrought incessantly with all his might and all his honesty, laboring to find what the people wanted, and how to obtain that. It cannot be said there is any exaggeration of his worth. If ever a man was fairly tested, he was. There was no lack of resistance, nor of slander, nor of ridicule. The times have allowed no state secrets ; the nation has been in such ferment, such multitudes had to be trusted, that no secret could be kept. Every door was ajar, and we know all that be-fell.

Then, what an occasion was the whirlwind of the war. Here was place for no holiday magistrate, no fair-weather sailor ; the new pilot was hurried to the helm in a tornado. In four years, - four years of battle-days, - his endurance, his fertility of resources, his magnanimity, were sorely tried and never found wanting. There, by his courage, his justice, his even temper, his fertile counsel, his humanity, he stood a heroic figure in the centre of a heroic epoch. He is the true history of the American people in his time. Step by step he walked before them ; slow with their slowness, quickening his march by theirs, the true representative of this continent ; an entirely public man ; father of his country, the pulse of twenty millions throbbing in his heart, the thought of their minds articulated by his tongue.

Adam Smith remarks that the axe, which in Houbraken's portraits of British kings and worthies is engraved under those who have suffered at the block, adds a certain lofty charm to the picture. And who does not see, even in this tragedy so recent, how fast the terror and ruin of the massacre are already burning into glory around the victim ? Far happier this fate than to have lived to be wished away ; to have watched the decay of his own faculties ; to have seen - perhaps even he - the proverbial ingratitude of statesmen; to have seen mean men preferred. Had he not lived long enough to keep the greatest promise that ever man made to his fellow men, - the practical abolition of slavery ? He had seen Tennessee, Missouri and Maryland emancipate their slaves. He had seen Savannah, Charleston and Richmond surrendered ; had seen the main army of the rebellion lay down its arms. He had conquered the public opinion of Canada, England and France.1 Only Washington can compare with him in fortune.

And what if it should turn out, in the unfolding of the web, that he had reached the term ; that this heroic deliverer could no longer serve us ; that the rebellion had touched its natural conclusion, and what remained to be done required new and uncommitted hands, - a new spirit born out of the ashes of the war ; and that Heaven, wishing to show the world a completed benefactor, shall make him serve his country even more by his death than by his life ? Nations, like kings, are not good by facility and complaisance. " The kindness of kings consists in justice and strength." Easy good nature has been the dangerous foible of the Republic, and it was necessary that its enemies should outrage it, and drive us to unwonted firmness, to secure the salvation of this country in the next ages.

The ancients believed in a serene and beautiful Genius which ruled in the affairs of nations; which, with a slow but stern justice, carried for-ward the fortunes of certain chosen houses, weeding out single offenders or offending families, and securing at last the firm prosperity of the favorites of Heaven. It was too narrow a view of the Eternal Nemesis. There is a serene Providence which rules the fate of nations, which makes little account of time, little of one generation or race, makes no account of disasters, conquers alike by what is called defeat or by what is called victory, thrusts aside enemy and obstruction, crushes everything immoral as in-human, and obtains the ultimate triumph of the best race by the sacrifice of everything which resists the moral laws of the world.' It makes its own instruments, creates the man for the time, trains him in poverty, inspires his genius, and arms him for his task. It has given every race its own talent, and ordains that only that race which combines perfectly with the virtues of all shall endure.'

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Apple wish list.

A favorite past time of mine is predicting, in the form of a wish list, what Apple will be announcing at the MacWorld conference in January. This, as I have said many times before, will be an interesting year for the products and services of our favorite company.

First 2006 should be recognized as the year of the public opinion turn around. Apple is now shining far more strongly in the consumer mind then Microsoft ever has. Maybe I am mistaken, but it seems like their is healthy renewed interest in technology and that includes anything but Microsoft.

Lets break this wish list into those that we know of, and those that are possible surprises. We know that iTV will be available since it was announced previously. A product that will bridge the computer to the television and the rest will be history. The ease of use that Apple products will make this a sure winner and have the TV companies doing all kinds of innovative combinations with the wizard's at Apple.

We also know that OS X 10.5 will be available and includes Sun Microsystems phenomenal Z File System (ZFS). What is not known is the price of the OS and I would not be surprised if Jobs et al fired a missile across Microsoft's bow and provide all of its OS upgrades for free. This I think would be Killer, as in Microsoft.

The iPhone is unknown at this time and without the specs and functionality its difficult to figure out how Apple will make this difficult transition. I'll leave it up to their imaginations to provide the wow factor.

Two things that I would really like to see is some blade servers for XServe and a home configurable server type of device. Something that has high bandwidth, TeraBytes of storage and GigaRam capacity to sit in your home, use minimal power and provide a central location for all these nice file we all have.

Finally I would like to see Apple and Sun Microsystems do some kind of strategic lockup in terms of how they can and will saturate the business market. Just public recognition of the symbiotic nature that the two firms have.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Say Goodbye Mr. Dinning.

This past weekend we saw the Alberta Progressive Conservatives hold their leadership convention. The first ballot showed a couple of good surprises.

1) First surprise is that Dinning did not take the leadership. With 30% of the vote he leads but should have locked it up. He's out in my opinion, it shouldn't take 10 years for him to secure the leadership, but apparently he has.
2) Peter Morton looks like our man. A good leader that will take it to Ottawa.
3) Stelmeck (sp) should be able to secure a nice cabinet post in Morton's Legislature.
The comments of the leaders at the end were very interesting. Morton would not accept the endorsement of other candidates, preferring to use the voters results on the second ballot. Gotta love that.

Dinning's comments were that he polled #1 in both Calgary and Edmonton and #2 in the rural areas. Isn't it just like the perfect bureaucrat to note the statistically positive results of an abject failure?

Free the MIPS

Goodmorning Silicon Valley is reporting the following today.

"Free the MIPS!: The unofficial motto of high tech may be "smaller, cheaper, faster," but it's easy to forget how far we've come and how fast. In a post Sunday, Chris Anderson, of Long Tail fame, took note of a milestone in computing economics -- we have recently reached a consumer price on processing power of a penny per MIPS (million instructions per second). Intel's Core Duo running at 2.13 GHz costs around $200 at retail and can perform about 20,000 MIPS. "I remember my first 6 MHz 286 PC in 1982 that did 0.9 MIPS," Anderson writes. "I have no idea what the CPU cost then, but the PC it came in cost nearly $3,000 so it couldn't have been cheap. Say it was around $1,000/MIPS back then. Now it's $0.01/MIPS. I know I shouldn't be astounded by Moore's Law anymore, but that really is something."

Alec Saunders offers a few more data points:
• In 1977, Digital Equipment's Vax 11/780 was a 1 MIPS minicomputer, and the Cray-1 supercomputer delivered blindingly fast execution at 150 MIPS.
• A 1999 era Pentium III/500 delivered 800 MIPS of processing power.
• A year later, in 2000, the Playstation 2 pumped out an astounding 6000 MIPS.
• Current embedded processors (like the PXA900 in [the] Blackberry Pearl, or the ARM 1136 in the Nokia N93 ...) are capable of 2000-era desktop processor speeds — in the range of 1000 MIPS, depending on battery consumption.

"It's 2006 now." Saunders writes. "If the current trend holds true, and we can each carry 20,000 MIPS of processing power in the palms of our hands by 2012, what will we do with that power?" Good question; care to speculate? "
Wow, that is astounding. Based on this information the Supercomputer that was installed in the University of Calgary in 1983 and costs $400 million, could be replicated for $4.00.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Found this quote from Paul Romer

Most economists would agree with Paul Romer:

“...the most important ideas of all are meta-ideas. These are about how to support the production and transmission of other ideas. The British invented patents and copyrights in the 17th century. North Americans peer-reviewed competitive grants for basic research in the 20th century...[T]he country that takes the lead in the 21st century will be the one that implements an innovation supporting the production of commercially relevant ideas in the private sector.”
Meta ideas are what I have pursued in both:
  • http://innnovation-in-oil-and-gas.blogspot.com
  • http://mammals-shed.blogspot.com

Friday, September 29, 2006

The toxic level of the U.S. election.

The boys are getting quite nasty in the Democratic party. First we have the blow up of President Clinton on Fox last Friday, secondly we have MSNBC's Olbermann sterling defense of Clintons integrity and possibly his feelings.

I know one thing, in ten years people will reflect on President Bush as having the guts to do what has to be done against an aggressive enemy. One that cowers and hides in the civilizations and blows up innocent people. But that will take a long time for people to realize that the strength of the president was just right.

The other thing we do know is that the strength of the vile language of Olberman defense of Bill Clinton is a necessary and vital service to the former president. Understanding that the buck stops at the presidents office, we know that Clinton was out beating the bushes for more young female targets, and therefore needs the defence and cover stories.

They say rape is about power. You have the most powerful man in the world, in his 50's subjecting a 23 year old women to sex. That it is fair to say is a classic definition of rape. Secondly, the wonderful President that Mr. Olberman must defend fails to recall that the president lied about his relations with Ms. Lewinsky. He also used the full power of the white house and his position to run this girls reputation into the ground. Lets call this the second rape of Monica Lewinski by the former President Bill Clinton.

I know that history will judge President Bush fairly, and I know that history will judge Ms. Lewinski fairly. I only hope that the world sees the full scope of slick Willie deceit and scumbagedness soon. As I say politics is toxic.

Apple, Google and...

When I first tried an iPod I went out and bought three of them. Why, two for the kids and one for myself. The first piece of technology that I had an instant love affair with. Now I had fallen in love with Apple many years ago and the postings her probably reflect that this relationship has not disappointed.

I have been a rabid fan of Google's for the majority of their existence. Now it is very clear that at some point I fell in love with their products. I use literally all of their solutions and have thought about what I would like next and invariably, these things on my wish list appear! Gotta love em.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

One thing about being an Apple fan...

They never disappoint. The new MacPro and XServe products round out the transition to Intel. The latest products making Apple the first company to go full dual core throughout their offerings.

Vista will have its hands full with Leopard. One thing you can be assured of is the availability of Intel Processors will not be a limit on the future Apple shipment volume.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Have been busy...

Writing to my two new "other" blogs. Maintaining all three will be a bit of a challenge but we'll see how it goes.

The address for innovation in oil and gas.

The address for mammals shed.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Premier Manning

This is an absolute must do. Preston Manning as Alberta's Premier can make this province into something significant.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Fun with closing stock prices.

A few months ago, when Apple formally announced the use of Intel chips the stock rose and closed that day at $80.86.

Now Sun seeing their own revival happening are getting into the act. Yesterday Sun stock closed at $4.86. Sun uses their own proprietary Sparc chips and AMD's Intel compatible chips.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The writing is now on the wall...

By clicking on the title of this entry you will be taken to an article in Forbes magazine.

This story has significant implications to the economic situation we are in. The two largest credit card companies are in a fearsome battle to lower their borrowing costs. What MBNA did was merge with a large bank, and what Capital One is doing is buying up a series of smaller regional banks.

The stated reason that these two large institutions are doing such is to lower the cost of capital. As their cost of capital is rising, they are seeking out lower cost of capital sources to fund their operations. What both are able to achieve in terms of lowering their costs is the ability to access depositor monies that are available through the bank.

Yikes, if you ever thought that a credit crunch was possible, now would be the time to start acting to mitigate the impact of any crunch. Where is the regulation that has to stop this type of activity? Oh, I forgot, the Fed is financing itself on credit cards.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Canada West Foundation

The Canada West Foundation have published a report "Coming up next: The transformation of Western Canada's economy."

An excellent report published by a Western Canadian think tank located here in Calgary. The report documents in fine detail the attributes of the western economy and breaks it down by industry, province and other means. They have also gone through each major industry with recommendations of what type of actions should be taken to secure the longer term value of the province. It will be interesting to see if the reports recommendations make it into the mind set of the policy makers.

The point that it highlights is of particularly concern for me as well. As an entrepreneur I would think that access to risk capital is the lifeblood of new ideas. I would think, because I gave up looking for investment capital in this city (Calgary) many years ago. If you are selling the latest idea in oil and gas you are oversubscribed 10 fold. If you have anything outside of the explicit oil and gas exploration and development domain, forget it.

This town has now become a myopic, poorly balanced oil and gas town. No alternate industries exist. When it comes to innovation and using local firms, forget it. The companies now consider only the high priced American firms as being representative of "proper" suppliers. The number of time I have been told that "we don't hire locally" for research or any higher level work, only the filler stuff. Frustrating.

These people are now able to reap what they sew, and they have sewn nothing. It is an absolute ghost town. An innovative thought is to get a good U of C education and work in the oil and gas industry until you retire. Compare your vehicle and home with the neighbors and friends and all is well.

The Canada West Foundation has highlighted this same issue as a concern. I don't think that much will be done about it, both oil and gas made billionaires, Murray Edwards vice chairman and Allan Markin a donor of the Canada West Foundation have essentially told me to go to hell regarding financing of Genesys. So mark me down as un-optimistic about this report meeting or stimulating any real change.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Ambassador Wilson.

Just doesn't have that ring as ambassador Manning would have. We can only assume that Mr. Manning was other wise not interested and has better things up his sleeve.

Sticking with the Americans, the Wall Street Journal published an editorial that states Newt Gingrich may be a candidate for the Republican nomination. I think that Newt is exactly what the Americans need. A fiscal conservative that gets the job done. The congress, since he left has been a sham of over spending lost souls. Gingrich would be an excellent follow on to Bush.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

No tribute, accolade or assertion is adequate...

To suggest that the next American ambassador is possibly Preston Manning is purely a selfish choice.

What Mr. Manning could provide Canada is immeasurable and that is why it is our choice and desire. He has effectively saved Canada and for that we are eternally grateful, and hope that he takes the position.

As a country, we can not provide anything to Mr. Manning that is worthy. God let it be so.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Noticed a trend.

The past few years have been interesting from the point of society in general. What I see is a decidedly different behavior of people. Lets categorize them as "plugged-in". Usually younger, toting a back pack, iPod's are ubiquitous, something in their hand to read, and most of all a quasi-nomadic / driven attitude. I am seeing more and more of this situation in many types of major facility, Library, train etc.

People are morphing into intellectual bots. The Internet has provided these people with any and all information regarding their areas of interest. As a result they are "living" in their own intellectual world 24 / 7. Fascinating and I will continue to observe, as I feel that the last few years have become somewhat of an ever expanding funnel of information. Managing, controlling and operating in this world needs you to be "plugged-in".

Apple is just beginning...

It was noted that on Friday 13, 2006 that the market capitalization of Apple had now exceeded Dell. If they are still paying Steve Jobs $1 per year, that has to be the best salary in the history of time. It was also noted that after Tuesday's Intel annoucement, the stock closed at $80.86.

Now that Apple has achieved the markets recognition of a solid performer, it will be on a tear. I would predict that apple's market cap may ultimately top $250 billion before the end of the decade. A sound investment, but wait there's more, and maybe the first company to breach the $1 trillion market cap level.

When Apple achieves that lofty level, then the ding that Jobs says he wants to put in the universe, will begin to show.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Ralph Waldo Emerson

As in 2004, the best way to end the year is with a quotation from Emerson. My nominee for the finest author of all time, his writing style and quality are unmatched. The choice of subject manner being highly philosophical, and provides the reader with an understanding that transends the times. This years selection is a selection from his book of poetry. I selected "The Problem" for its discussion of the church and ties in strongly with his speech entitled "An Address" in which he delivered to the Harvard Divinity School's senior class on July 15, 1838. An address that provided such controversy and conflict that he was not asked back for nearly 30 years.

I like a church, I like a cowl,
I love a prophet of the soul,

And on my heart monastic aisles
Fall like sweet strains or pensive smiles;
Yet not for all his faith can see,
Would I that cowled churchman be.
Why should the vest on him allure,
Which I could not on me endure?

Not from a vain or shallow thought
His awful Jove young Phidias brought;
Never from lips of cunning fell
The thrilling Delphic oracle;
Out from the heart of nature rolled
The burdens of the Bible old;
The litanies of nations came,
Like the volcano's tongue of flame,
Up from the burning core below,
The canticles of love and woe.
The hand that rounded Peter's dome,
And groined the aisles of Christian Rome,
Wrought in a sad sincerity,
Himself from God he could not free;
He builded better than he knew,
The conscious stone to beauty grew.

Know'st thou what wove yon woodbird's nest
Of leaves and feathers from her breast;
Or how the fish outbuilt its shell,
Painting with morn each annual cell;
Or how the sacred pine tree adds
To her old leaves new myriads?
Such and so grew these holy piles,
Whilst love and terror laid the tiles.
Earth proudly wears the Parthenon
As the best gem upon her zone;
And Morning opes with haste her lids
To gaze upon the Pyramids;
O'er England's abbeys bends the sky
As on its friends with kindred eye;
For out of Thought's interior sphere
These wonders rose to upper air,
And nature gladly gave them place,
Adopted them into her race,
And granted them an equal date
With Andes and with Ararat.

These temples grew as grows the grass,
Art might obey but not surpass.
The passive Master lent his hand
To the vast soul that o'er him planned,
And the same power that reared the shrine,
Bestrode the tribes that knelt within.
Even the fiery Pentecost
Girds with one flame the Countless host,
Trances the heart through chanting quires,
And through the priest the mind inspires.

The word unto the prophet spoken
Was writ on tables yet unbroken;
The word by seers or sibyls told
In groves of oak, or fanes of gold,
Still floats upon the morning wind,
Still whispers to the willing mind.
One accent of the Holy Ghost
The heedless world hath never lost.

I know what say the Fathers wise,
The Book itself before me lies,
Old Chrysostom, best Augustine,
And he who blent both in his line,
The younger Golden-lips or mines,
Taylor, the Shakspeare of divines,
His words are music in my ear,
I see his cowled portrait dear,
And yet for all his faith could see,
I would not the good bishop be.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The annual ritual

The annual Apple computer wishlist.

This year Macworld will be held on January 10, 2006 and will provide much mystery in terms of the new offerings from Steve Jobs et al. The wishlist this year is more strategic then the actual product announcements that some are hoping for. The first one I think should seriously be considered.

What would the strategic value for Apple be if in the future all operating systems upgrades were free. The company earns a sizable amount of revenue from operating system sales, but would it be too costly to hand out all upgrades for free?

What would the effect on the marketplace be? Apple is one of only two firms in the world that are charging for upgrades, and it should be an area of competitive differentiation for Apple to clearly identify their difference to the other firm that charges for operating systems. This has been an area where Microsoft has eliminated many of their competitors in the past. Establishing the free browser was the fatal blow to netscape, as it then could not charge for its wares.

This would put Apple in the majority with Sun, Linux and most computer vendors that sell Intel boxes. The only firm remaining would then have to do the same when their long awaited and highly touted system arrives in 2007, or whenever. The reduced costs of the overall purchase would be offset by maintaining only a current offering, and more rapid reductions of the older systems, and the enhanced volumes of computers that could be sold.

The second recommendation or wish on the list is something that is inevitable. The innovation and building of a business around the iPod has to be winding down. They have done a good job, and the focus could now change to enhance the halo effect on their computer offerings.

With Intel, IBM, and Freescale providing processors to Apple there is none of the restrictions on the upside of selling computers. Complaining about IBM's slow response to provide PowerPC chips is inconsistent with the companies DNA. They do things themselves and now have the three major chip manufacturers providing them with their wares to ensure a solid volume of computers. Look to have the company increase the market supply of their offerings.

The rumor of having a home entertainment computer I think is a given. The video based iPod makes that a given. The war with the rest of the world for the home entertainment systems will have begun in earnest after January 10. Look for 40" monitors to go with those new systems.

I still would like to see more high end systems that are providing the "home server" type of offering. Having the data and applications that you use available anywhere and anytime needs a dedicated server that is fairly high end. The problem is the configuration issues, well handled by Apple traditionally, especially in their server based operating system. The other problem is the power consumption, heating, noise and size of a traditional 1U sized unit. An affordable home server would be something that I think would sell.

That's it, the demands for more are mitigated by the knowledge that the company will have a few surprises and the general mood of most mac owners, such as myself.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Welcome to the party...

Read two articles in the Harvard Business Review and McKinsey Quarterly regarding collaboration, the future value of it, and most importantly the need for new business models and better performing organizational structures. Points that are of keen interest to me.

A little of my history of the past few years, I published my master's thesis entitled "Plurality should not be assumed without necessity" (the simpler way) in 2003, only to have it become the lightening rod of my misery. In not realizing what I was saying would be interpreted differently by the large oil and gas companies, I thought that they would see the value in what I was saying from the point of view of the positives of organizational performance and innovation in oil and gas. Instead they chose to see it as an attack on their bureaucracy, and as a threat to their station in life. Lesson learned, and one that I hope others can learn from my experience.

The key to my thesis was a revised use of the joint operating committee. This organizational structure is an international cultural basis for oil and gas investment, it's legal and financial framework, and the primary manner of operational decision making. These four well established frameworks are fundamentally ignored by the hierarchy who have justified their existence by managing the accountability of their actions.

If the poorly managed accountability was moved over to the joint operating committee, then all five of these frameworks could be aligned to work in a harmony that has predominately alluded the oil and gas industry. This method of organization is consistent with both the Harvard and McKinsey recommendations noted here, however, another key point in my thesis was that to institute the proposed "radical" changes would need the ERP style systems be built for the proposed organization first.

Nonetheless, the need to re-organize an oil and gas firm away from the hierarchical bureaucracy and move toward the collaborative and innovative joint operating committee is necessary and should be premised on the higher commodity prices reallocating the resources to fund the innovations created through the joint operating committee.

The key note in making this change happen is that the supporting organizational ERP style systems have to be built to support the new collaborative and innovative organizations. The desire to change does not exist in the bureaucracy, who have it quite comfortable and don't desire to work any harder or smarter. They have high prices, and the problem will fall to the next generation after their retirements. This I feel has been a complete capitulation of their responsibilities to the organizations and the oil and gas consumer.

The references to the two articles are located here McKinsey and Harvard's.

Now that these well regarded institutions have piped in with comments that are directed globally to all businesses and 100% consistent with the comments that I have made for oil and gas, maybe my misery will diminish, or Harvard's and McKinsey's misery is just about to start.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A new corporate objective.

Reading this article in the Hellenic News, I found to be of significant coincidence in my overall thinking. First the recent news regarding GM and Ford and the issues that they currently are facing lead me to conclude, as I have been wanting to conclude, that the traditional market forces are carving new organizational structures, and new business models on predominately North America, but specifically on the U.S. in the form of, accelerated creative destruction.

The former Soviet Union systems eventually became incapable of meeting the most basic needs of the society, and subsequently was the downfall of communism. New systems of government and organizational means are replacing the old Soviet methods and providing a way of life for Russians etc. I often thought that there is no reason that the information technologies couldn't provide a similar means to erode the authoritarian control of large organizations, and as a result, technology mirror the decline of the Soviet Union here in North America.

With GM and Ford now seriously questioning their competitive nature, and faced with their ultimate downfall, the time has come to seriously consider the ways and means that the United States and its "comfortable" European and Canadian businesses, with new means of conducting their operations. The large organization, much like the communist party in Russia doesn't function and is being replaced, by what I describe as self organizing groups. The writing is on the wall, and the time for them to have solved these problems has now passed, and only their advanced decline to be exposed and finally their existence extinguished.

But what is it that will replace the ways and means of the old corporate model. Something has to provide the means for society to function and progress. This progress needs to be mirrored in the organizations performance, or in this case, has to provide a way to fill the void left by the larger organizations. I think I found it in the highlighted article, and that is, the pursuit of happiness. The U.S. constitution embraces this objective and is the primary reason for the U.S. to continue its dominance. The pursuit of happiness is, as the author of the article noted, what Aristotle discovered as the key objective of all mankind. That the author notes this should now be a corporate objective seems counter to the needs of the organization, and maybe it is, but I think it is in direct support of the society and its individuals.

Key to this entire blog entry, is the Dr. Anthony Giddens theory of structuration that has resonated with me for the past two years. The objectives and progress of Society, Organizations and People are constrained, and supported, and must move together. One can not "break" out from the others or advance without similar points of progress elsewhere.

Key to structuration is how do the organizations move with the people and societies. I have felt that the organizations were holding back society, and new models needed to be created to support the society in the future. Now, by adopting the corporate objective of "the pursuit of happiness" these organizations can move forward together in harmony with society and its people. This to me is key in the acceleration of positive change in the ways and means of Western society.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Google Base

Google announces "Google Base" and what I think is a key component of their strategy. Managing the necessary attributes of a web server to host your content takes valuable time and effort away from the contents development.

Focusing on the content of your site should be your primary concern and with Google Base that is available, free. The title of this entry will take you to the site that I have set up.

Microsoft sounds and looks pathetic.

Every major piece of news regarding technology announced by Google, Yahoo or anyone else is quickly followed by Microsoft's version. These Microsoft announcements take the point of view that when their product is launched it will be the best. The value of the others innovation is verified based on the time that it takes Bill Gates to say, "me too".

Time for the big guy to realize his run is over and the world is passing him by. Microsoft's venture into High Performance Computing is too little, and way too late. Announcing products in there planning stage was an effective strategy to stifle innovation and ensure Microsoft's monopoly was maintained. Microsoft's problem is that their competitors announcements of new products are all that are announced, leaving them looking truly pathetic.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Dr. Peter Drucker, 1910 - 2005

Dr. Drucker was a leader in the business consulting area during the 1900's and has many of his theories and principles being used in business today. Many have gone as far as stating that Drucker invented large organizations. A fitting tribute, however, not necessarily the appropriate methods for business to lead this century, where competitive advantages, business cycles and globalization make the structured hierarchies look like dinosaurs.

Maybe Dr. Drucker's passing will coincide with the death of big business. Let the innovation and new organizations take a shot at the game. As I have been desirous of having new organizational structures replace the structured hierarchy. The new organizational structures will use the Internet to facilitate self organizing teams using collaboration and web services as replacements.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Justice in France?

Today marks the French comments that the fighting as a result of the riots is the worst they have seen since WW II. Something seems to be just in this statement. As I have noted in this blog before, I am not a fan of the French and think they need to change their ways to be more in line with globalization.

Is there a correlation between France's current difficulties and their position on terrorism. Clearly they are not being attacked directly, but appear to have a stronger friendship with the terrorists then they do with the countries that saved their butts in that world war they were in. But it goes deeper then that, the French were involved in direct business with Saddam Hussein and lost out on post Saddam commercial involvement with the coalition in Iraq and had Iraq's debt to France relieved.

Mean while back at the ranch, the U.S. has consistently held the highest ethics in dealing in the international marketplace. Although race riots occurred during the 1960's in Detroit, generally the population remains united, barring well articulated political issues. Here-in lies the reasons that the U.S. remains peaceful and France faces these riots.

Both are open and free countries. However the U.S. is the so called melting pot. Where the individuals rights trump any and all other considerations. Where you can actively participate in any legal activity where ever you want. The point is the individual is free.

In France it appears segregation of the Muslim immigrants is the root cause of the riots. Segregation was outlawed in the U.S. from the Rosa Parks episodes. France should learn its lesson quickly and establish appropriate anti-terrorism and immigration policies. France would certainly state that the Muslim religion is the right of Muslims to practice. Note this does not necessarily extend to the individuals within France.

Segregation limits the rights and freedoms of the people that are segregated. Not integrating these people within their country has been the allegedly civilized (i.e. the French way) approach the French have pursued. Now hiding these people in the back closet won't work for the French anymore. They have to do some severe soul searching and I don't see the capability, or desire for them to do the serious business of integrating their population. How much of the European countries that have implemented similar policies and procedures.

To all the French and their like thinkers, this is what happens when you do not support the war on terrorism. War is ugly, but necessary in certain times. After all what would France be like today if we didn't save their bacon from Hitler?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Capability vs. The right.

I think I have mentioned this topic here before, however, I think it needs to stated once again as it doesn't seem to be catching on as maybe it should. The issue is the capability to do things vs. the right to do things.

The three components of intellectual property, trademarks, patents and copyright limit the use of the property to those that own it, or those that have acquired a license from the owners to do what they require of the property.

We can do literally anything that our mind can conceive of. Barriers to entry in most business have been lowered to include a greater volume of competitors. The ability to explore any and all sciences is accelerating so fast that most have difficulty keeping up. Think of it and it can be done. But when the "thing" has been created, it retains its value through the various methods of securing intellectual property. The need then to have a license to use it comes into consideration.

If the capability of a company is such that they could do anything, that does not mean they have the right. And this is the main point of this entry. The focus on capability has been lost by companies acquiring the capability to produce more, however, this is on the basis of the assumption of securing the rights to do so firsthand.

Now with the move towards a more capable world companies are faced with a dilemma. They certainly have the capability, however sometimes, they don't own the rights to do what they do. In software we see Microsoft being challenged by any and all forms of open source. Why, primarily Microsoft never has had the rights to what they do. They've had the capability to sell Word, Excel and Office, however, do not own the exclusive rights of the product. Each competitive system, Linux, Open Office, MySQL etc, are open source and make the Microsoft value proposition very dim in direct comparison.

Dan Bricklan I believe is the property owner of the spreadsheet idea, however, he has done nothing to secure the rights to it and these rights have essentially fallen into the public domain. Other then that, Microsoft would have had to pay him for the creation of Excel and it is for this reason that Sun Microsystems has been able to successfully re-engineer Open Office.

The right to do something has the ability to provide the user with "monopoly" powers over the IP. Particularly in the area of copyright and patent, these monopolies provide their owners with the opportunity to make some significant input into the value of the products. The capability is lessened to the point where its value has been severely diminished.

Monday, October 31, 2005

What a coincidence.

That the Canadian government's performance over the past ten years is about to have its real report card released in the Gomery commissions report tomorrow. The Prime Minister has stated that, with few details being noted by the public, and the seriousness of the content, that he will call an election within 30 days of the reports release.

Expect the report to show that the Liberal party was directly funded by the government to ensure that Quebec did not vote to leave the country. Can't think of too many things as undemocratic as the government funneling illegal government money to a party for the personal enjoyment of the chosen few. But then again that is the Canadian way.

Claims that Quebec voted to stay in Canada 10 years ago is the official premise as to why the government / party did what they did. That the hundreds of millions were a wise investment. This is irrespective of the fact that the government poured billions to support Quebec during the same time does not receive the accounting or justification that it should.

The irony is that the Quebec "separatists" have started to rattle their swords prior to the release of the Gomery commission report. Look for another round of the bull coming from the government / party in Canada.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

More energy trivia.

This week Exxon and Shell announced quarterly earnings of almost $20 billion between them. This is impressive and a testament to the prices that are being realized.

From my point of view the most important factor to consider is the fact that Shell also reported that production volumes were down 11% from the prior year.

Recall that Shell had the reserves issue of a few years ago where they were deemed to have over reported their oil and gas reserves. Now as most companies report that the production volumes are indeed declining, the "Peak" theorists will have further evidence of their theory.

I am curious as to what the Dr. Yergin et al arguments will be?

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Energy fact that proves the Peak theory.

Reading in the linked url that the reason for the Iraq production declines is due to the determination that at the Iraqi pre-war production rates, damage to the reserves was being done.

The American's, seeing the overproduction was not sustainable, reduced the production from these pre-war volumes to levels that would stabilize the reservoir and leave the formations undamaged.

If this is the case, the Simmons et al may be right in asserting that Saudi, or OPEC, are on the verge of some significant production declines.

Again, if the prices seem high today, just wait until this winter. Simmons is predicting $160 for oil and $40 for gas. I think that he is probably right.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Supply chain whiplash.

Complex supply chains have a phenomenon known as "whiplash". This as the name suggests is an inability to mitigate the shortages and surpluses of the various components within the supply chain. As a result these shortages and surpluses' travel through the chain leading to other shortages and surpluses up and down the line.

Oil and gas now has been disrupted by the two hurricane's. Much has been said and done to offset the spiking of prices in these commodities. However, as these whiplash events continue to travel through the supply chain, problems will occur. Expect this to begin showing based on the timeline of the actual supply chain, 30, 60, 90 or 120 days from the hurricane.

What was an abundant supply of gasoline last week may lead to critical supply shortages the following week. Add to the mix the concern of the consumer, potential runs against the gas stations and cold weather, panic could help to define the upward price spikes of these commodities.

Yesterday we saw Refco declare bankruptcy. The covering of hedging positions by producers will now start in earnest and lead to "paper" demand that is above the actual inventory. This could get ugly, and I would suggest that Mr. Greenspan might have to begin bailing hard and fast to get through the last few months of his appointment.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Sources Procedures and Microeconomic Effects of Innovation

Continuing on with the review of the material for this research.

Dr. Giovanni Dosi, Journal of Economic Literature.

III Innovation: The Characteristics of the Search Process.

B. Technological Paradigms and Patterns of Innovation: Technical Trajectories.

Jumping right back in, Dosi states "A crucial implication of the general paradigmatic form of technological knowledge is that innovative activities are strongly selective, finalized in quite precise directions, cumulative in the acquisition of problem-solving capabilities. Let us define as a technological trajectory the activity of technological process along the economic and technological trade-offs defined by a paradigm."

Its a good time to note the research of Dr. Jurgen Habermas and the effect his Theory of Communicative Action dove-tails with Dosi's discussion here. The next blog entry will be regarding Habermas theory specifically, and I will only briefly introduce the concept here and note the future discussion.

Theory of communicative action, from the point of view of this entry, and to tie in with Dosi's "trajectories" is. Research is driven by the need to support certain vested interests. For this limited point of view, application of this could be seen in the drug companies manufacturing and researching only items of long term commercial interest. That as time passes, medicine is focused on new and better chemicals to solve the medical problems of the world. This is because that is how the world has started to function.

To conduct research requires money from the drug companies who are interested in selling new drugs. Therefore all research soon becomes focused on the chemical solutions to human problems. I am not stating this is wrong, only describing an excellent analogy of how the theory operates. It is my opinion that much of the research in genetics is misguided from the point of view of the chemical angle, or perspective that genetics is looked through. I believe this thinking limits the opportunities of the medical community. There will be much more on this point as I am writing a book on this topic.

It could be argued that the discovery of new sources of energy has been constrained by the very low cost of fossil fuels. The opportunity to discover "better" sources of energy to power the world will have to wait until the financial resources and focus is on commercial levels of cost recovery of those technologies.

Dosi established many innovations are derived from the fields of science. Like energy, the use and innovation is ongoing and they in turn provide a further expansion of the underlying understanding and hence, the science itself. What we know today about fossil fuels is about twice what we knew 2 years ago. Dosi also notes that the trajectories for aircraft development have followed two definitive veins. One military in its application with the other in the commercial or airline field. The theory of both Habermas and Dosi can be seen in these medical, energy, and military examples.

The final point that Dosi notes in this section is that the innovations are sometimes sourced from differences in the underlying technologies. A good analogy for describing this would be when an assumption is altered, then the conclusion is also altered. The underlying technological cost or performance has a direct influence on the performance trajectory of the items being studied and therefore, are a ripe field for innovation.

The particular point of this entry is to point out the capacity of western societies is constrained by the organizational structure as noted before, preconceived notions and, the infrastructure used in our advanced economies. But specifically I want to highlight the general access to supercomputing power.

Supercomputing processing power has been around long enough to note that the term, use and understanding by the general public as "old" news. Much time and money has been spent building and supporting supercomputers that can now be replaced by the average desktop or notebook computer of today.

Back in 1983 the University of Calgary purchased a supercomputer for $300 million that processed 400 million instructions per second. A good Apple PowerBook probably has about 4 times the power of that 1983 supercomputer. So the general public perception is re-enforced through this generally available knowledge. Comparing a 1983 supercomputer to a desktop pc of the same vintage would be a better contrast to the differences in the capabilities. With x86 and 68k style processors of almost 1/4 of million transistors, the performance differential was significant, I'll be generous and say 2,000 fold. Where it was then possible to conduct operations in a day that would have taken over six years otherwise.

Today, the gap between the performance of the average desktop and a good supercomputer is much wider in terms of performance. At the extreme, IBM's Blue Gene, the # 1 supercomputer, can process 136 teraflop's in its current configuration. Or, approximately 136,000 fold. This is with the high probability of achieving a PetaFlop in the next few years which would make the factor grow to 1,000,000 fold as the expected speed of the average notebook / desktop is believed to be at or near the reasonable limits of probable performance.

Coincidentally the mathematics and sciences are expanding at a speed where the average desktop is constrained in solving fairly common problems. The ability to conduct research can be either the 3.88 years between a good notebook and 15 minutes on Blue Gene, or soon to be, 28 years for the notebook to conduct the same research that a PetaFlop can do in 15 minutes.

Costs associated with this type of performance is also down significantly. Sun Microsystems sells their grid computing services at $1 per processor per hour. The current Blue Gene leader is 65,000 processors and therefore, based on Sun pricing this type of capacity would cost the scientist $16,250. Not bad considering the time differential and certainly within the budgetary discretion of a good projects request for funding or grant.

The question then becomes, who benefits from the researcher conducting research that is of interest to him. Clearly this would help all of society, the scientific community and the people that the research would benefit. By removing the constraint that Habermas noted, the pursuit of the pure science could be achieved through the access of any researcher that can use the facilities of a powerful supercomputer.

Can we really wait the 3.88 years to find out? Are we able to assume that this type of infrastructure is beyond the commercial interests? Should the role of a government by redefined to include this type of service as a core to their innovative objectives and strategies? If not the government, then who? And as I asked here recently, who benefits from this type of investment in processing capacity?

Change at the World Bank.

Click on the title to read the Wall Street Journal article on the ideas behind Paul Wolfowitz, the new president of the World Bank.

Bureaucracy has had the better part of the past century to rule the world. As much of this research is based on the ways and means that organizations can become more innovative, bureaucracies and hierarchies stand in the way. The Internet is showing the way with the open source software development model works, and works extremely well.

Bill Gates may think that most developers cut hair during the day, his favorite saying regarding open source, but I am certain that most would be snapped up in a minute by Microsoft, but then Darth Vader was unable to convince Luke to do the same. Google and IBM have both been actively poaching these developers. Anyway using this model of organizational structure, or self-organizing teams, is applicable to most situations in business.

That Giddens theory of Structuration defines the interrelationships between organizations, societies and people and the harmony in their change orientation and speed. Clearly organizational bureaucracies are an impediment to society and people and the innovative methods are constrained through these archaic organizational structures.

So why in the world would Paul Wolfowitz leave the Pentagon to become the president at the World Bank. Reading this article clearly shows that his thinking is aimed directly at new methods of third world development, the reduction of the banks bureaucracy and reform the ways that countries use the money borrowed from the bank. A long term project that he seems to be oriented and motivated for.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Canada's Federal Minister of Finance comments.

The honorable Ralph Goodale has made negative comments regarding the "trust" method of organizational structure. He noted that the ability of a trust to innovate was too limited, and I think he would admit damaging to the Canadian economy. Therefore he has stopped the review of companies that were applying for trust status. Not a fan of the "trust" model, I have however supported the idea that companies limited exposure to debt and equity should be an area of more innovation.

To have additional means of structuring firms and dealing with the standard methods of management need to have greater number of tools and methods of financing. So from the point of view of more options, trusts are a good thing. But like all solutions that deal with the symptoms and not the root problem, Trusts have created significant problems due to the volume of companies that have altered their corporate structure to the Trust model.

A capitulation the long term vision of the company in order to generate maximum cash for, in some cases, monthly distribution to the shareholders has a role in many industries. It is however, not a good way to run an entire industry. To many companies have rushed into the trust model, primarily because they are unable to compete. Trusts have tax benefits that permit them to out bid the value of acquired assets.

Goodale needs to repeal the double taxation of Canadian companies. This is the root problem, and as he now realizes the need to deal with it explicitly is the only way to deal with it appropriately.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Source Procedures and Microeconomic Effects of Innovation.

III Innovation, the Characteristics of the Search Process.

Dosi identifies many of the common characteristics of innovation and notes the critical importance of the economics of technological changes. (Section III will be split between three sections or blog entries.)

A. Innovation as Problem Solving: Technological Paradigms.

Solving problems is the root cause of innovation. This is inherent in most peoples understanding, but Dosi identifies and quantifies the difficulty in moving to an innovative mind-set in the following. "In other words, an innovative solution to a certain problem involves discovery and creation since no general algorithm can be derived from the information about the problem that generates its solution automatically." Or in other words, innovation is not as easy as it appears.

Dosi continues, "Certainly the solution of technological problems involves the use of information drawn from previous experience and formal knowledge, (example, from the natural sciences) however, it also involves specific and un-codified capabilities on the part of inventors."

Dosi notes the difficulties and complexity of the innovation process and the tie in to the scientific, mathematic and academic pursuits. Drawing on the tacit knowledge of many participants, these collaborations have the effect of releasing the creative process of innovating.

As I noted before, in Alberta, the governments current focus is on innovation. This province has a large installed base of "science" focused around the earth sciences and applied engineering disciplines. This is primarily due to the significant influence of the oil and gas industry as its core industry.

The Alberta governments focus to broaden the scope of innovation to include oil and gas, other industries and areas is consistent with the needs of a modern or innovative society.

So we have a province that is ripe for exploitation in terms of becoming an innovation based society. A strong financial infrastructure, a strong level of scientific knowledge, a focus or objective of more innovativeness, and the appropriate time frame for moving in this direction.

Google Wifi.

Brilliant.

They have the resources to tie the wireless world under a free wifi service.

The only request I would have is to make that network IPv6.

The revolution is about to begin, long live Google.

Monday, September 19, 2005

A topic of discussion during this research.

One topic of discussion that is the outcome of this analysis will be the effect that information technology and innovation has on the various roles of society, organizations and people.

As I've asked before in this blog, what effect did Henry Ford have on society, organizations and people. Clearly the type of worker that Ford employed after the invention of the assembly line was fundamentally different from the worker that was employed prior to Ford's invention. The role of the organization was changed with the explicit and radical thinking that included paying his workers better wages, because it was in Ford's best interest as it directly affected the number of people that were capable of purchasing a car. Remarkably, it also appears to have sponsored the organization of labor unions that appeared more about power then worker's rights. This also took the better part of the last century to unfold.

What kind of worker is needed in this networked, virtual world of information technology and innovation. Ideas are not 9 to 5 and what more is there, other then the pursuit of ideas, ultimately? Just as Ford today is challenged by its competitors effective use of the assembly line, and is in jeopardy of facing its own demise, what roles need to change, how do people act and react?

I wanted to note that the traditional roles are changing overall and discuss these changes broadly over the course of this blogs research project. Today I want to ask what the role of governments are in the future, and what changes can be prepared for today.

Regulation and market access are tools that have provided excellent monitoring and control, particularly from the western point of view of democracy. However, are these changing? What use will there be in the future where the speed of change is so disruptive and destructive to established markets and new ones exist in zero time.

Google is an $84 Billion, 8 year old company that has a power and influence that is greater then any company before it. It has a mission statement that is simply, "Do no Evil". What government has the authority to control such a large and powerful force, the U.S., China, the U.N.? Truly we live by the collective will of the people that use the tools provided. No one can directly control Google or would generate any benefit if they could. It is there for all to use to the best of their ability.

So what can a government do in an uncontrollable world where the competition is less company vs. company, but country vs. country. Where the tools of commerce and finance are global and available to everyone, despite their political affiliation, corporate involvement or philosophical bent. Is this within the mind-set of most governments, or are they continuing to borrow money to fund past promises that continue to escalate in cost and dependency by its citizens. What infrastructure are necessary to be provided. Does the traditional communication and transportation continue to be defined in the traditional fashion?

If the technology vision I noted here recently was implemented today. (With the only impediment being the IPv6 roll out.) A person would have tools to monitor and control any device throughout the world. Who will be the wiser, who will be authorized to do something about it. If my domain of influence extends beyond the physical world that I occupy, to include the virtual world that may exist throughout the globe, and this virtual existence is available to anyone who can solve the complex mathematical, genetic or other science, what would the role of government be?

Thankfully I live in Alberta. A province in a heavily established democracy, that has a massive budgetary surplus, one of the highest GNP's per capita, and a stated goal to facilitate innovation. Instead of concerning ourselves with the methods and financing of yesterday's initiatives, this government has a clear focus on the future and has adopted the innovative means to acquire the right posture for the future.

So what should the Alberta government provide its citizens. Infrastructure will continue to be key services, however, not in the traditional sense. The communications are different. The transportation continues to be important and energy has taken on a much larger role in the lives of progressive democracies. So what additional roles does the government have to undertake?

Some of the ideas that need to be discussed fall within these and include access to raw computing power, wireless networks and storage. Where will the math geniuses solve those more advanced math problems. Supercomputing is not generally available to everyone, yet should it be? When a math problems solution is in need of half a petaflop and 80 Gb of Ram, where will the scientist go? Does the mathematician continue to drive to work in a 9 to 5 manner, or solve it online through a public facility at 2:00 am? Who benefits if the scientist is able to get his answer in 15 minutes, vs. 15 years?

This kind of debate will be sponsored through this blog through the next year. As this is undetermined at this time, it is necessary to think in the context of Giddens and Orlikowski's structuration theory and model. Clearly in this example the mathematician has changed, his organization and society have also changed.

We need to answer how these changes to government will occur without the systemic fallout noted in Giddens structuration theory. Now avoidance of failure on a large scale must certainly fall under the role of government?

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Sources Procedures and Microeconomic Effects of Innovation

Dr. Giovanni Dosi, Journal of Economic Literature.

Part II, Searching for innovations - The general patterns.

Dosi establishes through various statistics the breakdown of the various expenditures incurred in research, applied research and development. These statistics are also broken down between the government, industry, academic research and non-profit institutions.

Nothing of interest jumps out of these statistics other then the annual expenditures seem to be fairly constant over time. They also appear to be sizeably influenced by the American military and space programs. As these two engines of research make a clear demarcation from what the U.S. spends and the other countries.

The consistency of the expenditures from year to year seem to reflect that the amount of research and development spending is constrained by the quality and quantity of the research industry.

Dosi goes on to note that there are undocumented expenditures incurred in the innovative process of "learning by doing, and learning by using". These are not quantifiable or measurable as they are incurred as required and may be directly associated with the culture of the country and the value assigned to research by the country of origin.

I will however assert that the time frame of this research was 1988 and much has changed since that time. And particularly the Java programming language has now celebrated its 10th year. As noted here in the past week this object based, typed language is a key attribute of the vision this analysis is being viewed through. Another not discussed point in the vision, but tacitly stated, is that of Java, or object based inheritance and therefore re-use.

As a developer the ability to build off the works of others is one of the reasons for the success of the language. A massive level of infrastructure is available to the developer and the more time spent researching the availability of capability, and the less time spent actually writing code is at a cross roads. If more then half of the time that a developer is spent reviewing code that was written by, in almost all cases, very smart people, the extension to the "Learning by doing and Learning by using" is being augmented by "Learning by leveraging".

That this is happening in a time where the methods of doing things is being questioned, and alternative structures are providing alternate ways of working more efficiently and effectively. One would only assume that these skills of Java Programming will become the necessary tools of the average worker in 10 years. Without these skills, the worker would be limited to the amount of efforts that they can produce in a "manual" environment.

It would be just as fool hardy for someone to remain employed today by using 14 column paper today. Spreadsheets are too powerful to offer any kind of reasonable alternative methods. These same attitude and questions are going to be applied to the same worker when the cumulative effect of all the Java developments provide the "Learning by leveraging" capabilities noted here.

Where we are.

Just wanted to summarize the past few blog entries. Their is an overall theme that has been defined in this blog in the last few days. (Innovations, their impact, technology, software and oil and gas.) I have written enough major articles and research to know that the process of writing reveals aspects that the author did not know he was saying in his writing until it is complete. I don't know where the result of this public verbiage is heading too, however, I know that their is something of real interest and it needs to be "found" or identified through the process of this public dissertation.

Again I would enjoy any reader to join me in this process as I think their is much to be accomplished in the next year or so.

First things first, I want to focus on some "public" research of the methods and procedures of innovation. And particularly extend the research to current documents of Dr. Giovanni Dosi. I also want to review this in light of the innovations that are occurring in oil and gas, and in the software industries and how these are linked.

Additional research is being conducted from a Dr. Anthony Giddens Structuration theory and Dr. Wanda Orlikowski's model of structuration point of view. These are important in the context of the changes that may occur and their particular impact on society, organizations and people.

This overall discussion needs to be put in a different type of context. If the user is expected to be the driving force of the innovations, then we will be stuck in a limited range of opportunity. However, the limits of this innovative time is in the hands of the developer and therefore can't be defined until fully implemented. If companies such as HP, Dell and IBM to a lesser extent, are waiting for their clients to call with the new and innovative technologies, they will be sitting by the phone for a long time.

Companies such as Apple and Sun understand the markets that are of real value, the iPods and x86 server markets are under innovated because the limited user imagination has been the driving force behind most of their competitors offerings. Companies such as Apple and Sun employ very smart people that will lead the innovations with new and radical products that most don't initially understand.

What in essence I am saying is that the innovative mind-set is not something that can be controlled or managed. The innovators are unconstrained in their approach to new products and services. Speed is the other aspect of this infrastructure that is of interest. The time necessary to do something is limited to the speed of electricity and the chemical reactions in ones brain. Fascinating times and place to be living today.

Scary statistic.

Especially for those that do not fully comprehend the significance of the Sun Microsystems announcement that there are approximately 2.5 billion Java enabled devices in the world.

This is an infrastructure that is surprisingly large. When the vision I have about where technology is heading, meets this type of infrastructure, change is inevitable.

How I see things changing from here has never been published before, and here it is now.

Simply the Java programming language is really quite something. The language has some inherent qualities that make it such a good language and these qualities are as follows. In no particular order Java is a programming language with a strong security model, object based, and typed language. The combination of these creates a situation that Java can be modeled to replicate any 'object' or 'type' of object in the real world. Enabling the programmer to emulate the object in real time enables monitoring and control to the developer / user.

The second aspect of this is Wi-Max. Wireless will sponsor it's own revolution and when access is literally virtual to any device, this will change many things.

Thirdly we are now at the beginning of a new Internet protocol that is profound in its primary capability. Addressing 2 to the power of 128 in IPv6 vs the current IPv4 capability of 2 to the power of 32 enables the worlds devices to be accessed through permanent static Internet addresses. What you now need a server to provide will soon be provided to each and every Java enabled device in the world.

Remember the vision is formed around the components of this vision. Even though each component provides significant impact on its own, the cumulative or combined impact is the real story.

Fourth we have a new programming paradigm being implemented in Java. Asynchronous communications. The real world has always had a nasty habit of interrupting the sequence of events that the systems were attempting to manage. Unless the world behaved in the same manner as was expected, the value of the technology would fail its users. Asynchronous Process Management can be implemented into the Java programming model and as a result deal with the manner in which Murphy has written his laws.

What you have is a confluence of events that are moving to make anything and everything, virtual or real, monitor-able and controllable. Anyone who understands what can be done will be able to do so relatively easy. This power and capability should not be underestimated.

The key attribute here is the ability to monitor and control your world, might I add in an automated manner. Opening up significant levels of productivity, capability, and speed to anyone and everyone who can appreciate this.

Recall that Microsoft's human interface "Bob" never made it out to see the light of day. That is because the complexity in IT is its power. The finite level of control is what and where the value is. Therefore I see the divisions between those that do the work that make the computers do their work will be separate from those individuals that do the work that the computers can't do, or in other words manual labor. These divisions are being formed now so one should choose the right side of the fence to be on now. Recall that the Chinese and India are more interested in the work that computers can do.

This has been received by my audience as more or less the equivalent of Y2K revisited. For the record anyone selling Y2K solutions didn't and never will understand technology. If a user seeks comfort in the effect of the Y2K fiasco as being representative of the software community, they are very wrong. Threats that one should guard against this vision coming real without your involvement are summarily ignored. So don't say that you were not aware or warned of the impact of this vision becoming reality, and according to Sun, yesterday.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Framing the discussion further.

In addition to the discussion regarding Dr. Giovanni Dosi. I am also going to discuss the point in time, or the context of when, that the industries we are applying Dosi's work to, those being oil and gas, and software, with the theory and application of Dr. Anthony Giddens Theory of Structuration and Dr. Wanda Orlikowski's Model of Structuration.

Structuration was put forward by Dr. Giddens in 1984 and is simply stated that society, organizations and people move together in lockstep. Distortions in the pace of change experienced by one group need to be mirrored by the other two groups. Simply as society moves so do its people and organizations, and if not failure occurs.

Dr. Orlikowski's work has been to extend the theory of structuration by noting that technology, and particularly information technology, define much of the structure of society. That this is a recursive relationship in defining the components within structuration theory. With the model of structuration having four specific components.

1) There is ongoing maintenance and adaptation of technology and "human action constitutes technology through using it".

2) "Technology is the medium of human action and it conditions social practice by both facilitating and constraining it."

3) "Institutional properties influence humans in their interaction with technology"

4) "Interaction with technology influences the institutional property of an organization, and this influence is more likely to be reinforcing rather that a transforming one."

To relate and tie this discussion in with the implications that are noted during the Dosi review will be the objective. The timing of this discussion is attempting to relate the implications that I see that many are or will be seeing during the near future. A future in which I anticipate turbulent economic times and disruption of lives due to the implications of the innovations in the two industries being studied.

Sources Procedures and Microeconomic Effects of Innovation

Part I, Introduction

This articles research is comprehensive in its scope and quality. Dosi lays a lot of preliminary groundwork through the works of others and takes the science of innovation much further. Significantly further then I think even he set out to undertake. Much of the discussion in this blog will center around the pertinent areas of software development and the oil and gas industries. These being two industries that I believe are involved in, and will be involved in the processes of innovation to a material extent.

Starting his discussion Dosi dives in and speaks to the motivation that drives the innovative process within organizations. Noting that much of the motivation falls to that one intangible in business, that being a "belief" that the "existence of some sort of yet unexploited scientific and technical opportunities provide economic value in excess of its costs.

Setting out to establish some broad objectives, Dosi then points to the main aim of this work as;

1) Identify the main characteristics of the innovation process.

2) Identify the factors that are conducive or hinder the development of new processes of production and new products.

3) Identify the processes that determine the selection of particular innovation and the effect on industrial structures.

Lofty objectives that set the stage for the scope of this seminal piece.

Application of these principles to the two noted industries that are of my particular interest, we can see that the software industry is going through a period of massive change and innovation, primarily driven by the two structural changes of the open source business model and free software development tools. What is 'possible' lays the foundation of 'what can be innovated'. A phenomenon that I would like to refer to as the first revolution of intellectual thought. Where the imagination of the user is limited in its value unless they fully comprehend the scope and application of the technology that is available today. In other words, the user understands how the technologies capability can be used to provide incremental improvements in the range of 10 - 20 percent, vs the technology when used in an unconstrained manner can provide the quantum increase in capability.

The oil and gas industry on the other hand is currently being driven to innovation through the capacity constraints of the industry, and is in contrast to the sources of energy demand. Much of the industry has been occupied with a banking mindset of optimizing production and providing reasonable returns. I am suggesting that the need for these types of oil and gas concerns is expiring and an innovative mindset is required to build off the sciences of applied engineering and geology.

So if we were to identify the main characteristics, the factors that are conducive or hinder innovation and thirdly the processes that determine the selection of innovation and its impact on industrial structure we begin to see the value that Dosi's work has the potential of achieving.

Dosi defines two key issues that also provide evidence of the scope of this document that helps to define it as a landmark piece. The issues are;

1) "The characterization, in general, of the innovative process."

2) "The interpretation of the factors that account for observed differences in the modes of innovative search and the rates of innovation between different sectors and firms, and over time."

Dosi has therefore framed the scope of this research and clearly has undertaken a large project. However, as he is ultimately successful, the issues and outcomes that he is seeking have already framed his research and lead in my opinion to the significance of this research.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Innovation.

The focus of this blog has been to discuss the area of innovation, particularly in the software and oil and gas industries. I wrote my thesis on the basis of the published works that Dr. Giovanni Dosi of Italy has written. If you have a chance to pick up these works I highly recommend them as I consider Dosi as the leading researcher in the feild of innovation.

I wanted to review much of the works that Dosi has produced in the past decades. Comprehensive in nature and thorough, Dr. Dosi's research is without equal in my opinion, and hence difficult to plow through. As a result of the scope of his works, the next year will have a theme in this blog dedicated to this review. I would also like to engage in some discussion of these principles and would encourage comments and communications.

The first article that Dosi wrote was in 1982. I think that his seminal works began in 1988 with "Sources Procedures and Microeconomic Effects of Innovation" Journal of Economic Literature which will be the first document I review in this blog.

Hope that you enjoy it as much as I do and find the scope and quality as valuable as I have.

The first thing I want to post is Dr. Dosi's CV for future reference. (Click on the title to his website)

Friday, September 09, 2005

Koffi's got to go.

Looks to me that the time remaining for Secretary General Koffi Annan is minimal. The Volker report is an artful piece of work of systemically breaking down the oil for food program and extrapolating it to the U.N.'s method of operations.

The most surprising aspect of the report is the stark nature of the conclusions. At one point indicating that Annan claimed to have saved Iraqi's from starving, which is true. However, the money, over 100 billion U.S. was controlled by Saddam Hussein and directed towards his political operatives. So yes, Oil for Food did save those from starving, however, it directly supported a corrupt regime that starved it's people.

Another stark conclusion is that the benefactors that Saddam supported with the oil for food money was China, France and Russia. Noting that these are the security council members had worked to stop the U.S. from removing Saddam. Serious stuff.

If this is the method of operations of the U.N. we can certainly live with out the secretary general and the institution. I think it should now be clear why Ambassador Bolton is there.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Our way of life.

The destruction of New Orleans is a tragic and difficult problem for those that are directly affected by the hurricanes. The issues for them will soon be solved and I hope that much of their way of life can be recovered.

Those that are indirectly affected are throughout North America, and their way of life may have altered significantly for a long time. I am concerned that the oil and gas companies are unable to grasp the scope of the problem that they are faced with. I find that many are now beginning to question the assumptions that they have used in preparing their budgets and asking what validity was used to base those assumptions. In retrospect these assumptions are continuing to surprise in that they are so fundamentally wrong. Watch for this trend and sea change in the opinion leaders in the oil and gas industry.

Secondly the petroleum volumes that were produced in the Gulf of Mexico and the volumes that were imported and channeled through the port of New Orleans are now for all intents and purposes, shut down. An optimistic point of view would be that the people will be able to resume operations within a few months and all will be well. I think that, unfortunately, before the oil and gas operations resume in the Gulf, the opportunity for all who think that oil and gas are their god given right, should begin to appreciate the value and importance of energy to their way of life.

Specifically without oil and gas, North America would starve to death in a matter of months. Serious delusions or valid analysis? That will be for the reader to determine. But when the crops wrought in the field because the farmer can not operate his machinery, when the trucks to haul the goods to market are unable to do so, when those that need the food can not make it to the crops, one sees in the panic and lawlessness of New Orleans what really happens when people begin to become hungry and this phenomenon takes hold.

We have a serious problem on this continent. It is time to realize this before it is too late. We all need to begin to prioritize our way of life by adjusting our attitudes and behaviors accordingly. Our choices are becoming more and more obvious in New Orleans, lets hope it's contained there.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Internet growth slows?

The statistics supporting the claim that the Internet growth rate has slowed from an annual pace of 100% to 50% in the 2005 year to date. As we know, statistics are a function of the representation of facts. This on the surface, is validity to many that the Internet hey-days have past. My opinion would be that I don't think there could be anything further from the truth.

I am going to assert a "Google bias" into these statistics. That if the statistics were recalculated based on consideration of the bias' assumption, Internet use is accelerating.

The "Google bias" is defined as the textual basis of their offering. Simply limiting their offering to a textual basis represents much of the revolutionary nature of their services. No photo's, videos or other broadband devouring activities for Google, everything being textual allows them to reduce their comparative costs and increase the speed of their services. The popularity of Google in the past year has brought the majority of the consumers with the better textual based services.

This in turn having created the illusion that fewer people were using the Internet then actually were. I think that during the 2006 year many will find it surprising that the Internet growth has resumed its pre 2005 growth pace and a satisfaction that their explicit reduction of the medium was un-justified and sadly for them, incorrect.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Energy choices, a serious business.

The link provided is to a website that deals in used forklifts. The one specified in the picture is assumed to have around 100 horse power. The choices in powering the forklift is the point of discussion of this blog.

Our first issue is the ability to replace gas / diesel in this vehicle to power it for the 8 hour shift. Let's also assume that it will consume 15 gallons of gasoline during an 8 hour shift, note that it is ready it willing to work for the entire 24 hours without complaints.

The fuel costs for a shift would cost approximately $45 / day to fuel based on the prices noted in the U.S. today. Now the ability to replace this with a hydrogen fuel cell, often touted as the natural progression of our advanced society, does not currently exist, nor would the internal combustion engine be able to deal with that fuel source. It is for this latter reason that we will assume that the alternative of using coal or wood will not to power the forklifts engine.

The most natural alternative would be to use good old elbow grease. So @ 100 horse power this unit could approximate the efforts of 300 men on the basis of each man able to sustain 500 watts of output for the 8 hour shift. So this alternative is now starting to become viable / doable and we could easily let them settle for their ($45 / 300 man days) = $0.15 each of alternatvie energy pay.

The importance of this analysis is its validity. Their is no replacement engines, no replacement energy source to provide the value that a 100 horse power gas powered forklift could provide during each 8 hour shift.

We need to take this small example and place it into the critical context of why energy use is so important. Farmers are systemically high users of gas and diesel, what are their opportunities or alternatives to power the combine or tractor? The regression to a manual sickle is not something that is on offer as their probably is not enough people to make a harvest necessary to continue to feed the world. Certainly the oxen skills of past are in high demand.

We are dependent on energy to this extent in our lives and we have no alternatives. We are committed to the internal combustion engine and its "installed base" of users for at least the next 10 years, probably 100. It's time to realize that the value of a gallon of gas is far in excess of the local Starbuck's coffee and deal more constructively with these issues. As the press says the energy costs take spending power away from the consumer. Without energy costs, the consumer doesn't exist.