Bad reviewer decapitated…?

January 12, 2010

Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier (26 August 1743 – 8 May 1794), father of modern chemistry, was executed by means of decapitation.  It appears as if a few years earlier when he curtly dismissed a “preposterous scientific invention” by Jean-Paul Marat he might have signed his own death certificate. Marat subsequently became a leading revolutionary and might have played a key role in the acquisitions against Lavoisier.

So should scientific reviews be blind?  Given Lavoisier’s experience I would go for blind, even double-blind… long live both the reviewer and the author!

What do you think?

(Read more on Lavoisier on Wikipedia.)

Personal Capacity Management? Reading it later…

January 6, 2010

Do you always have time/energy/… (capacity) to read everything you need to? No? Well neither do I.

So what typically happened? I become aware of something (digital) to read.  Its just too long, but it looks interesting.  Good add a bookmark.  Later when you remember wade through the bookmarks and read it.  Was it interesting? Not always, but I tend not to remove the bookmarks and sooner than later I have gazillions of bookmarks i can do nothing with as it turns out it was never really interesting anyway.

However, some time ago (maybe a bit more than a month ago, cannot remember exactly) I learnt about the Read-It-Later add-on for Firefox.  This allows me to manage some of my personal capacity management problems, while my request for a 48-hour day is being approved.

What does this wonderful tool allow me to do?  In some way or another I still become aware of the page (twitter, facebook, email, google, ….). I go to the page and see that it will take more time to read than what I have available… No problem I click on the  in my address bar, it turns to .

Later, when I have some reading time available I can catch up by clicking on the Read-It-Later button  in Firefox and see my whole reading list

When I am done, I can bookmark it (I use directly from the reading list. Of course if was not so useful, or don’t have a need to be gone back to I can just delete it from the reading list.

But wait, there is more…

I can also synchronize my reading list between different computers – so tonight at home I can read something I saw at work computer at leisure. Not at your computer, no problem view your reading list through an RSS feed… Google Reader also allows me to natively integrate ReadItLater, very convenient to add reading items from RSS feeds. Apparently I can make pages available for off-line reading, but I did not need this yet – waiting for the next roadtrip alone in non-cyberspace…

Of course, there are other ways to add items: right-click on a link and save to reading list.  There is also a click-to-save mode – it can be handy when you just want to filter through a lot of possible link quickly to come back to some.  This gives you something sensible to do in those odd 3-5 minute periods which tends to be too long to do nothing, yet too short for most things.

(I don’t own an iPhone, but I see there is also an app to take your Read-It-Later to your iPhone… I also note that it can be used with Explorer, but that’s not something I am likely to test…)

After starting to use Read-It-Later my personal capacity for reading from the Internet are definitely better managed!

Now which other personal capacity management tools are out there that I don’t know about? Please let me know.

What’s on the menu? Building interoperable service catalogues…

January 4, 2010

Robert Stroud posed the question “What do holiday shopping, booking travel and the service catalog library standard all have in common?” on his blog earlier today. I enjoyed reading the analogy, and had a quick re-look at the SPACL documents which I was only marginally aware of. However, this made me think….

I like the analogy with travel services…  and agree wholeheartedly at how much easier traveling has become.   However, the main problem I see is that the travel services used underlying terms that were much more agreed upon than what is the general case in ITSM. Vendors seem to add their own meaning and interpretation in a bid to differentiate their service offerings from one another, leading to confusion even in the presence of good practice guidelines like ITIL, which also has some inconsistencies (see eg The IT Skeptic blogpost: Do we overcook services).  In the travel business, however the commonality (call it the underlying ontology if you wish) was much better defined: a “destination” has the same meaning to just about everybody. I am not sure that the commonalities as far as “IT Services” is at the same level of abstraction as in the underlying concepts in traveling. Looking at the draft object model the (what looks to me as a) lack of common well-defined attributes shows as much.  Many of the fields allow for a kind-of meta-modeling approach allowing you to hook on just about anything (which is not necessarily a bad thing), but its debatable how much standardization that is…

Of course this comment may sound negative, but, alas I agree that something needs to be done, and a start is necessary somewhere – but I think the road is much further and full of obstacles than what the SPACL White paper suggests. Like the old adage goes: “The devil is in the details…”

So my conclusion?  Open standards is the way to go, the service catalogue/portfolio makes a lot of sense and deserves our attention and cooperation. However, we seem to be dealing with more heterogeneity and a less well-defined ontology than many other “catalogues” – certainly at least as far as the travel industry is going…

Please tell me what I miss? Please tell me that its easier than it is… (of course feel free to tell me that its even more complicated than I think…)