This and That from Magazines and Newspapers

I get a lot of magazines, most of them free IT trade-rags. Here’s some articles from my latest magazine pile reduction raid:

  • “Mad as Hell” – as illustrated in the AT&T Wireless story, once people feel that their jobs are in danger, their commitment to quality nose-dives.
  • This month there were several articles on application integration:
  • Newsweek has a good Cliff’s Notes type article on Woodward’s new book, Plan of Attack. His paper has a 5 part series of exceptions: 1, 2, 3, 4, and
    5.
  • This month’s Business 2.0 (one I actually pay for) didn’t have much that jumped out at me. I really have no interest in the whole entertainment-movies-music-Hollywood-computer slice of the tech world, and the cover story was all about Microsoft and Hollywood…or some such “digitize the world of entertainment” subject.
    • “Roll out the Blue Carpet” – a short one about the extreme seriousness Ritz-Carlton gives to customer service; they even give classes to other businesses on the topic. The most interesting thing, which I recall reading somewhere else, is that each employee (from maids to managers) is authorized to spend up to $2,000 to help out customers: that is, they don’t have to get permission to spend money to help a customer.

      This connects with a point in Lean Software Development that I’ve been meaning to finish a post about for sometime, that agility can be obtained by giving employees all the tools they need to solve problems, e.g., allowing employees to spend up to $2,000 instead of having to check with their manager first. (Obviously, this wouldn’t work out if you couldn’t trust your employees.)

    • “Giving it Away” – about the Creative Commons copyright stuff.
    • They highlight the the FrogPad mini keyboard in the “Gizmos” column. Reminds me that that’s one of the things I want to get when I start making frivolous purchases above $50 again ;>
  • I know some of you would puke all over the ever liberal Harper’s (another one I pay for), and damn them for not putting all their content online, but their April cover story was pretty good, “Lie Down for America How the Republican Party sows ruin on the Great Plains.” It basically asks the question, why do so many people vote for Republicans when clearly the GOP does them more (economic) harm to them than good — it is Harper’s, so what do you expect?

    As with most Harper’s “essays,” and all of Lapham’s editorials, the articles managed to get out it’s knife, sharpen it, and even hover it right above the neck, but the knife never goes farther than that, it just dances around and glints menacing in the light. Bob (or Ted?) posted a short excerpt.