Helvetica

October 8, 2010

I just finished watching a documentary called “Helvetica” on Netflix. It always amazes me when something so seemingly simple turns out to be quite complex. I just don’t have the kind of eye required to care about fonts. When I was in college using the first generation Apple Macintosh computers in the computer lab, I remember using New Century Schoolbook for all my papers. Now I just use whatever default font Bill Gates happens to choose. The movieĀ  reinforced how much the right expert can add to a project. I can’t imagine looking at fonts all day long, but these people really love it; makes the world go round.

This is another aspect of the IT field that I love. IT either encompasses or touches many professions; it is impossible to know them all, and in order to be effective, we rely on collaboration to get the job done. It isn’t important to know all those professions, but it is certainly nice to appreciate them.

Watching an 80 minute movie about a single font is a new experience for me. I am not sure that I’d recommend you watch it, but if you do I’d like to know what you think. Will you be using Helvetical exclusively from now on? Is there another font you prefer? Are you quitting your day job to go design fonts?

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Why Have a Design Review?

October 5, 2010

Just saw this on @NASAGoddard’s Twitter page and is just as applicable to IT projects as space flight projects.


Collective Intelligence: How to Determine Which Groups Will Perform Better

October 3, 2010

Gartner Fellow Tom Austin blogged about an article in Science on defining and testing “collective intelligence”, the ability of a group to accomplish cognitive tasks. You’ll need a subscription to Science to read the article, or pay $15 to purchase the article, but lead authorĀ  Anita Williams Woolley discusses the research in Science’s podcast available for free.

In the podcast, Woolley said that the a group’s collective intelligence was higher when members took turns speaking. Groups with a few members who dominated conversations had a lower collective intelligence. They found very little, if any correlation between individual intelligence of members of the group and the collective intelligence of the group. They also found no correlation between high extrovert scores of members and collective intelligence. But there was a strong correlation between groups of individuals with high social sensitivity and collective intelligence.

Incidentally, the higher proportion of women in a group the higher the collective intelligence. Woolley explained this because women tend to have higher social sensitivity than men and she did not seem to think there was any other factor influencing this gender difference.

As we move toward technology that gives groups unprecedented ability to collaborate, how can we use this research to more effectively manage our efforts?

Can we use tools that either mandate turn taking, or allow everyone in the group to participate as she or he sees fit to lessen the impact of low social sensitivity?


Mobile Security in the Cloud

October 1, 2010

I found the blog posting called Embed or Empower? by Rik Ferguson very interesting.

Now granted, he works for Trend Micro, so taking shots at McAfee is to be expected. But I find his argument compelling. Are we really going to move to hardware based security as Intel clearly believes in their purchase of McAfee? Is that the best model?

Read Rik’s blog and let me know what you think.