Monday, March 30, 2009

Dyson Cool on Global Warming

It seems to me that global warming has become as much a hot button topic as Cuba, abortion, evolution or the Holocaust. That is to say, there are people on both sides with apparently deep convictions who make claims that strongly contradict each other. I counted myself on the side of believing that global warming was real and an apparent and compelling danger, that is to say until I read this past weekend's NY Times Magazine article on Freeman Dyson.

I have always had a lot of respect for this venerated icon of the scientific intelligentsia. I have put him up there with other greats such as Richard Feynman and Bucky Fuller. Even his daughter, Esther, is a well known and respected intellectual. So, when this article told his take on global warming, it gave me pause to reconsider my opinion about it.

You can read the article for yourself but here is my short take away from it. This is in my own words and not a reflection on the thinking of Freeman Dyson. Global warming has become politicized to the point where there is very little good science behind it. Global warming has become for the liberals what terrorism is for the conservatives, that is to say a rallying cry and red herring for distracting public opinion away from more compelling topics that need discourse and public attention.

I'm not saying that global warming is just some liberal revisionist's wet dream. But Dyson's position does motivate me to revisit Al Gore's Inconvenient Trust with a more critical eye.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

IBM to Acquire Sun

Whoa! My world was rocked today when I picked up the NY Times and read about yet another decline in the stock market. Even more upsetting is that Sun Microsystems is in talks with IBM to be acquired.

This acquisition shouldn't really be all that upsetting. It does make perfect sense for IBM, which has always prided itself on its servers, to want to acquire the other technology company who also pride themselves on their servers. I'm sure that those two companies have competed head-to-head for years.

Sun is also the founding company of Java Technology which IBM is now heavily invested in. IBM has shown a lot of commitment to Open Source over the years with their development of a major OSS IDE called Eclipse and their endorsement of Novel's SUSE on the desktop and Red Hat for servers. So, when Sun Open Sourced Java, that most probably made Sun that much more of a desirable acquisition target to IBM.

The Sun blade servers have always been very respectable hardware from an engineering standpoint so I hope that IBM doesn't just retire the line to get it out of the way of their own similar offerings.

Maybe what is really the most upsetting part of this news for me is to have to see Scott McNealy down play his hot headed nature to be more compatible with IBM's more staid Sam Palmisano.

Or maybe it's the fact that the article clearly ties the reasoning behind this move to the faltering economy.

April Update: It looks like IBM has withdrawn its offer for now.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Harnessing the Collective

If you've spent any time in I.T., then you have most probably heard of Forrester Research, Inc. They are a $391M tech and market research think tank. They are kind of like an upscale Gartner Group. Like the Gartner Group, they release these extremely high priced executive documents. Today, they released a document (hey, it's only $2G so be sure to pick up an extra copy) called Vendor Landscape: Innovation Management Software. What used to be called workgroup software has passed through the adolescent stage of Knowledge Management to bloom into full adulthood as Innovation Management Software which has grown from the intersection of idea management, threaded discussions, and Web 2.0 concepts like voting and ranking.

This is how organizations will leverage the growing Web 2.0 trend of collective wisdom. I believe that the release of this research paper heralds the transition of this trend from early adopter to mainstream.