Saturday, 6 August 2011

How I used YouTube (and a Python) to explain something uninteresting about IT

I wanted to find an easy way to explain to a client what could happen if you introduce change too quickly into a complex business environment.

More specifically, the complex business environment was functioning normally but with obvious inefficiencies. The point I was trying to make was that even a positive change that clearly makes sense and which will bring immediate benefits can still have associated risks. Especially if the changes are introduced to the existing business process without comprehensive unit and end-to-end testing.

The vehicle I selected to deliver this message was Terry Gilliam's 1977 movie: Jabberwocky, staring Michael Palin. Specifically one scene which takes place in a Blacksmiths shop, which starts 4 mins 0.5 seconds into this YouTube clip:

Result: the client got the point, and then forwarded the email around the office. There could be something in this… IT management via YouTube clips.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

TV & Mobile apps

This is a blog about sitting in front of the TV watching a Wesley Snipes Movie. That's what I did last night. And as per usual I got bored with the plot halfway through (happens all the time - not just on Wesley Snipes movies) and I started wondering whatever happened to Wesley Snipes. He got arrested didn't he? Is he still in jail? So I reached for the iPad and surfed to Wikipedia and started reading about Wesley's real-life (which is a mess) and not about some Vampire-killing nonsense (which was on the TV).

Ok, so actually this is a blog about a recent phenomenon in my household: multi-screening.. by which I'm absorbing consumer media information from two screens at pretty much the same time. What used to be the habit of software developers (you know the type: lots of big screens on their desk) has crept into the home. And my home is better for it. I can follow-up, on a whim, whatever my wandering mind feels like without disrupting anyone else's Tube time. 9 times out of 10 my mind is interested in exploring something related to what's happening on the TV. And that's an interesting statistic. Why? Because it means there's a relationship between my TV and my Tablet. At the moment that relationship is bridged by myself. But in the future it could be bridged by.... apps.

Look at this from another angle. Mobile tablets can resolve what I think is one of the biggest challenges the TV has yet to meet: how do you permit an individual to have a 1:1 relationship with the content on the TV while not disturbing the experience of the 1:many (meaning everyone else in the room). Answer : you build an app which knows what's playing on your TV and helps your explore related content, or share thoughts with friends, or bet on the outcome, or choose the next song, or find out how long Wesley Snipes has been put away for.

So here's a little prediction for the next 18 months: TV & apps.