Scott Berkun's chapter on creating a schedule is a great example of why it's the "art" of project management. If you approach creating a schedule as if time is an object that can be measured both precisely and accurately, then it is much more likely you will fail to generate a schedule that has any relationship to how the project will actually unfold. But Berkun really gets (and likes) people. When he asks why everyone is always a little late to meetings, he's not interested in the lateness so much as the way one person may be 5 minutes late and another 7 and another 10 but each of them can perceive themselves as being on time. (Music is sometimes called the art of time, and one of my favorite musician sayings is "Close enough for jazz.") Berkun embraces the subjective nature of time as we experience it, which makes a schedule a valuable tool for getting everyone on the same page in ways that are even more important than mere commitments to deadlines and milestones.
(Although David Allen says that you can't manage time you can only manage action, in fact his book Getting Things Done is actually all about the psychological experience of time and how to manage it. When I read Allen I think about the relationship a poet has with language versus a lexicographer.)
Every 6 months or so I'll do a vanity search on Technorati or elsewhere, and this morning I was tickled to find that Jess at bottleworld.net had grabbed an old photo of mine off Flickr to help illustrate how nasty the plant world can be.
It's a fun post and worth a read. Just don't scroll down too far if you think you might be offended by the fir on fir action in the Hoh.
I recently wrapped up a job search and started a new gig (more about that later, but it's pretty exciting), and am now getting back into a groove where I can start reading and writing on a regular basis.
The Art of Project Management by Scott Berkun looks like a witty and practical guide to successful software and Web development projects. He's a long time Microsoftie, so I'll have a common base of experience from which to read him.
I'm also looking forward to reading a couple Richard Lanham books: The Economics of Attention: Style and Substance in the Age of Information and Revising Business Prose (4th Edition). (I think he published a 5th edition this summer). While the first title seems to be of intrinsic blogger interest, I'm looking forward to it because this UCLA English prof seems to have had a similar arc of interest to mine. I first encountered him back when I was spending a lot of time reading Plautus and teaching UW freshmen how to write, so when I saw his new book I thought, "No way, is that the Handlist of Rhetorical Terms guy?" Turns out it is.
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I’ve been thinking about security lately, particularly from a parent’s point of view. Since I myself don’t have kids, I’ve been thinking more along the lines of how a smart teen would get around parental or school oversight to do things he shouldn’t. My post EBG-13 Rapbqrq Cbfgvat uses ROT-13 encrypting to lay out a scenario for pretty basic student cheating. If you want to read, here’s a tool for you.
In this article Maria Kantzavelos does a great job describing how the legal profession is taking to blogging and why. Good concrete examples of how Benkler's ideas are playing out for lawyers.
Once again I'm proud McDermott is my guy in the other Washington. It doesn't make any sense at all for the government to not fund access to social networking sites. It's pretty embarassing that in the land of the free and the home of the brave something like DOPA would pass based on fear, ignorance, and the impulse to control the citizenry.
Thanks for voting no, Jim McDermott.
“Ugly when compared to preexisting notions of taste is a bummer, but ugly as a representation of mass experimentation and learning is pretty damn cool” zefrank
For a long time I’ve been fascinated by the do-it-yourself page design of eBay sellers, so I was really intrigued when Bryan Zug mentioned zefrank’s ugly MySpace contest. If you are looking for a good concrete example to illustrate the ideas about cultural production that Benkler is putting forth in Wealth of Networks, watch this video.
Ze responds to a comment that he is mocking people with no artistic training or education, and he gives a very clear explanation about why untrained design is important at this point in time. Up until recently the capital required to produce artistic work was so prohibitive that rigorous and narrow rules developed regarding what was good taste or bad taste, and access to the apparatus of production was denied to all but a few. (He gives the example of the cost of $600K in the 60’s to design and cut a font family). He goes on to explain, people who trick out their myspace pages aren’t being influenced by the criteria of the design world, but they aren’t naive either. The accessibility of cheap and easy to use tools like iMovie and Movie Maker have created a formal awareness of meticulous artistic processes like movie editing. As easy to use authoring tools become more widely available and used, entirely new aesthetic criteria will emerge and things won’t look the way that today’s design elite would want. And that’s a very good thing.
To quote Chris Anderson’s original Long Tail article “And the cultural benefit of all of this is much more diversity, reversing the blanding effects of a century of distribution scarcity and ending the tyranny of the hit.”
Here’s an analogy from my own experience about how things are playing out: I used to listen to National Lampoon albums like That’s Not Funny, That’s Sick over and over again because there just weren’t that many places to find that kind of humor. Today, I get almost daily podcasts from The Onion that are every bit as funny. And in the podcast world, The Onion is in the same category as traditional, overproduced media with a corporate smell, so we’re only at the very beginning.
BTW –here’s the winner of zefrank’s contest. And I gotta admit, it’s exciting design.