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  • Tom Brannon

Tidbits and Commentary on Technology

Updated: Oct 20, 2018

Tech can be "off-putting" and bothersome. But chances are it's working OK right now



The trouble is, "right now" doesn't last long enough. It would be nice if it hummed along for years. Many of us pretend it does, like 100s of millions of Access databases. If you have one of these and there's anything important in it, call us quick - your data's days are numbered.


The industry seems to run about a 3-4 year cycle. That's when the next new chip is announced. When that happens we notice new software (and new versions of existing programs) following closely behind - to take advantage of the new capabilities. Next comes the coders, as new coding, or even new languages, are needed as well. Meanwhile we're back in the office, betting on our legacy systems. And what % of our IT budget is spent on patching, resolving the growing exceptions bucket, etc. Participatory Technology Group is arriving in 2019 to be your source for learning and using new technologies.


Create Relevance from Technology


As PTG members learn and perhaps think about technology and perhaps even cascade this to their employees, then the more it happens and the more likely it is to happen again. This is called the Sheldrake Effect and it may even help us all to infuse technology into all parts of our businesses. And the first time we figure out an added use for technology that saves time or money, or provides a better experience for our customers, then the more likely that is to reoccur. But another practice that's even better is the Hawthorne Effect, where worker productivity was increased by just turning the lights on, then off - an effect caused by paying more attention to their workers: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawthorne_effect


We need to realize and remember - the value of technology grows when it's shared - not hoarded. Is that why Microsoft is embracing Open Source?


When Workers Automate Their Own Work, Who Should Benefit?


Here's an interesting item that likely happens more than we can even imagine. It makes me wonder how many man hours might be saved by greater awareness of technology: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/10/agents-of-automation/568795/

Within eight months of arriving on the quality-assurance job, a coder had fully automated his entire workload. “I am not joking. In the past six years, I have maybe done 50 hours of real work.”


Where are We Headed?


Here are a few predictive observations:

1. EDGE will be our desktop - a virtual desktop.

2. Microsoft will keep doing amazing things. And I've heard that EDGE won't even work with Windows16.

3. There will soon be a single sign on - for everything we do - everywhere (good for security if it works right).

4. Very soon (now?) coders will be separated into three classes: (1) DIY/the app user, (2) average code jockey, often/mostly GitHub cut+paste code snippets, (3) Code specialists/ engineers.

5. Everything-as-a-service. Everything Cloud. The best model is Platform-as-a-service. Recently we're hearing Data Center-as-a-service (to help .gov get their Cloud direction started.


Final Words (for this post)


If dealing with a business problem, to see how to get technical about it, don't hesitate to look at both new and prior technology. Join PTG as a Member - we'll be looking in all directions, too. My favorite example is, in building the space shuttle, the engineers were stumped on how to control the heat on reentry, so astronauts could survive. The answer? Specifically design it to burn up (ablation / ceramic tiles), look at old practices of glassblowers, tile makers.






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