John’s Recon

September 22, 2008

In 40 years, China will have tripled its people over 60

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 5:58 pm

I subscribe to Richard Watson’s future trends site (see my blogroll in the right side panel). As some of my job involves strategy, I try to keep up with the grand picture. I find him most interesting because he looks at people and situations to understand trends. This in turn helps him to understand people’s needs. He uses these to make his predictions in technologies. It makes sense to me anyway. He sends out a news letter that has interesting things. This fact in his latest news letter caught my eye.

The population of China is 1,330, 044, 605 (give or take). By the year 2050 this is expected to hit 1,424,161,948. However, the really interesting statistic is this. There are 130 million people aged 60+ in China at present. By 2050 it will be 400 million.  Ref: China Daily (China)

This suggests that in the near future the concepts of “Aging In Place” will make a major jump. This just means that monitoring people at home instead of doctor office and hospital visits will be the norm. Think of the infrastructure to do this and think of how our company needs to be positioned to help/lead this area. It won’t be our culture or European culture that drives this (well maybe at first) but what China will need to do to support its culture. Since they have primarily outfitted their country with cellular wireless … it will definitely be rooted in wireless … but with a whole lot more.

September 8, 2008

Where should Open Source Software start in our company?

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 3:50 pm

Where should Open Source Software (OSS) start in our company? In the IT world, where openness is not an issue. In the IT world, we don’t compete with our company’s competitors. Since IT is a support organization, it only strives to support its business better. Just like the knights of old, the knights all competed with each other but the knaves who supported them all compared notes on the best salves, ointments and medicines to help their particular knight. Just like our network guys and our competitor’s network guys can meet, compare notes, and not be sworn enemies at a conference.

The world of IT is a ripe one to start returning to a culture of a little make versus buy. Of course, we will have to train/build up a small community that knows how to interact with the Open Source community. Unfortunately, many in IT have lost the skill set of recognizing good code and how to recognize if it has good support. Back when IT used to develop its own software rather than buy it, we had great developers throughout the division and this was not a problem.

Today we resort to trusting go-between companys to interact with the open source world for us and to help us keep up with the steady improvements. However by doing this we don’t get the full benefits of using OSS. A good comparison to illustrate this point is car maintenance. Back in the old days most of us knew something about cars and maintenance. We weren’t afraid to go to a cheaper garage because we had the ability to tell a good mechanic from a poor one. However, today we don’t know anything about our cars. So to be “safe” we take it to the dealership. It doesn’t mean that they can fix it/maintain it any better, but we are reassured that we have made a “safe” choice. This certainly is more expensive and can be a poorer choice.

Why did we change from writing to buying IT software in the first place? Because writing good software is hard work and supporting it has lots of issues. However, OSS is a middle ground. It shares the costs of innovation of new code, testing new code, and supporting code with a larger community from different companies.

There is an article “Open source: What you should learn from the French” that is being passed around on the mailing lists that says the French are introducing students to OSS in school so that they will be ready when they get to industry. Even if these students never write another line of code when they get into business, they will be familiar/comfortable with the open source model.

So the world of IT needs to start up a small culture of people who know software and can interact/work with the Open Source community and gain expertise at recognizing good from not so good. This way we can start a change in culture back to one who is in more control of its destiny. IT needs OSS because it can get us out from under the Microsoft’s and IBM’s relentless march of functional increase which in turn drives increase of bloat and error.

Dear geeksugar, adults have been doing social networking before you were born

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 1:58 pm

This blog post has been circulating, 58 Percent of Adults Don’t Know About Social Networking. Although it is true that they might not know about the current applications called social networking, adults have been doing social networking before this author was born … using the web to do it. At the beginning of the web, even the beginning of the internet, adults whose loved ones were diagnosed with some kind of ailment, often used the internet for research on the disease and to bond with others whose loved ones were also afflicted. This is just one example. Cars and car lovers were also very near the beginning. Of course before the web you used fraternal and professional societies, clubs, etc. to get your social and business networking done.

Tools don’t make a social network. People do. And there have been many social networks long before the introduction of facebook and myspace. I guess I found this post naive. It is almost as absurd as someone saying that old guitarists never heard of and don’t know Guitar Hero.

So why do 58 percent of adults ignore facebook and myspace? My guess is that these adults are busy and that they can barely dole out their time to their friends as it is. They don’t have time to go on the prowl for new ones, much less stalk them to find out who they are making friends with and what they are up to. So for emergencies they get a phone call but most of the time the occasional letter (snail mail) summarizing what the friend and family are up to is the proper pace their busy lives can handle. But when the need arises, they jump on whatever network the specifics require and a general network like facebook and myspace just doesn’t satisfy those particular needs.

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