Potential Econobonics

Managerialized – to have had one’s mind changed to think more like a “manager” and less like a “worker”, esp. Ignoring “realistic” technical limitations and problems E.g., “Ever since Smitherson got promoted to EVP of Pants, he thinks we can churn out 30 pairs of jeans by hand an hour. He’s been severely managerialized.”

Creating Unicode Characters from Hex Codes in Windows

I’ve long wanted a simple way to go from Unicode hex values to actual characters, mostly so I can test out using non-English characters in my code. Thanks to fontboard — a great source for MS-Windows i18n tips and howtos — I finally have any easy way: WordPad.

If you type in the hex (or “code point” for super-technical) for a Unicode characters (all nicely listed in the Unicode charts PDFs),

and then press Alt-X, the hex gets converted to it’s Unicode glyph,

Isn’t that awesome?! (OK, so I’m a dork.)

If you’ve got a standard MS-Windows install, you might need to get special font packs for some of the non-Western code points.

Morning Coffee

A note on drag-and-drop usability:

The most surprising result that CA discovered was that drag-and-drop is not as intuitive as we all think it is. Of course, this may be fine when it comes to IT developers and those that are used to IT in general, but it turns out that many users are not as happy with the idea of dragging windows around a desktop as we all thought.

I tried to find the source, but CA wasn’t very yeilding.

And some comments from Intel CEO,Craig Barrett, on one of our favorite topics:

[A]ll this discussion of productivity, competitiveness and outsourcing will increasingly drive U.S. companies to recognize that to be competitive in the world, they will have to invest in IT infrastructure. Those two things will probably pivot IT spending up in the enterprise space.

. . .

Taiwan, with a population of 25 million, makes 50 percent of computer peripherals. Let’s imagine a country like China with two and a half billion people coming into the system. Would it be an impact 100 times as big? Even if it’s only 10 times as big, it’s cataclysmic.

Classical economists will tell you it’s wonderful; a rising tide lifts all boats: If they get the jobs, the standard of living and consumption power goes up and then we’ll sell to them. But the devil is in the details. If they take all the jobs before they start buying things, is that a challenge? The one clear thing is you have to move your contribution to a higher level on a continuing basis.

There’s an interesting tangent on Barrett talking to/with the Whithouse: you don’t usually see anything about politics in the tech rags.

Also, for Thursday chart drawers, The Cat has off-hand comment about Magic Quadrants.

Recent Trends and Thoughts

  • I’ve noticed quite a few mentions of how baby boomers leaving the work force will effect the economy, employment, etc. The idea is that the baby boomers (my parent’s generation) are going to retire in the next 10 years; they’re absence from the work force will create a huge staffing need.

    As one article puts it,

    “Bill Gates is pushing 50,” says Joe Cortright, head of Impresa Inc., an economic consulting firm in Portland, Ore. “The next big companies that get started will probably not get started by baby boomers.”

    A government publication from 2000 has some good numbers and facts, albeit a few years old.
    Many of the off-shoring article I come across, esp. the more positive ones, mention his idea.

  • Bookending nicely with the Rise of the Creative Class (article, book) angle of the above: the corporate life of ladder climbing isn’t for everyone, and some folks don’t even want it, e.g., the NY Time‘s recent articles on highly qualified white women opting out of the exec life and the increase in former execs getting a franchise.
  • There seems to be a pick-up on the anti-XP front. Maybe the publication of Extreme Programming Refactored: The Case Against XP has provided crack for existing sentiments to burst through.
  • I feel like I’ve read lots of articles along the line of “Technology folks in companies must start caring about the business side of things.” One article, for example, goes over financial vocabulary like “hurdle rate” and “material”; euphemism for shit-canning people aren’t covered. Of course, one of my favorite pie-in-the-sky architectures, Business Process Modeling is all about this.

XP, Pair Programming Negative Chatter

Check out this entry and comment from “Mr Ed.” It’s a well done anti-XP discussion.

In another (this time, pro) XP/Agile post, there’s a good quote on the need for business to re-jiggering how success is determined when Agile methods are adopted,

Agile approaches excel in volatile environments in which conformance to plans made months in advance is a poor measure of success. If agility is important, then one of the characteristics we should be measuring is that agility. Traditional measures of success emphasize conformance to predictions (plans). Agility emphasizes responsiveness to change. So there is a conflict because managers and executives say that they want flexibility, but then they still measure success based on conformance to plans. Wider adoption of Agile approaches will be deterred if we try to “prove” Agile approaches are better using “only” traditional measures of success.