PermaLink The new hard drive (and IdeaJam) cannot possibly get here soon enough03/12/2008 08:31 PM
The MacBook Pro is down to a mere 1.67 gig, barely enough space to turn around in in 2008.  And way below the empty space Mac OSX would like to have available to run efficiently.

As I might have mentioned, the 100Gb drive in the MBP is pretty much full, so a new 320Gb drive is on its way to replace it. Sure, I thought briefly about a solid-state drive (SSD), but with the largest commonly-stocked drive clocking in at 64Gb for $1300 at most sites (compared to a conventional spinning 60Gb drive for $32), that idea vanished pretty fast.

In five years nobody will have a spinning hard drive in a laptop. But not now. Prices for SSD are falling, but not that fast. When they get to the fifty-cents-a-gig price point presently occupied by big notebook drives, or (even better) the 25-cents-a-gig pricing common to midsized desktop drives, we'll talk again.

It's odd... I can remember the first time I paid less than $1 per megabyte for a drive. It was 1992, and it was a used Connor 210-megabyte drive I paid $200 for. It's probably still around here somewhere. And now, drives are well under a dollar a gig. Nobody really buys backup tapes any more... you just get another drive (usually double the size and half the price of the one you got a great deal on a year ago) and clone the old drive to it. Somewhere around here I have an old HP 4mm tape drive that brand new, was probably $1000. Its capacity: 4 gig per tape. And it took all day to write it.

I am about to go rather subversive at work. I am going to start showing executives (and anyone else who'll listen) IdeaJam. The thing is, any organization with any sense would love to have such a tool in-house, a way to get the pulse of what people want, both in terms of systems as well as pretty damn near anything else, from cafeteria food to retirement plans. You don't even have to ask "poll" questions, because people will come out of the woodwork and post their wishes and other people will come out of the woodwork to support them or hoot at them.

I said, "any organization with any sense." Thing is, in my day job, over the years I've learned a couple of things, both of them germane to Domino and IdeaJam:

  1. The easier you make it for people to share information, the more you realize they don't want to.
  2. The easier you make it for executives to find out what the employees or the public think, the more you find out they really don't give a shit what anyone else thinks.

Both of these things are sort of an obstacle to implementation of collaboration tools where I work during the day. Nobody wants to share anything, because if you can just get the information you need, their entire artificial value, as a pinch-point in the free flow of their their their information, goes to zero. Nobody really gives a shit what other people think because at the highest levels, executives are political appointees whose job is not to answer to the public or the employees, but ultimately to that ape in the White House. And they know they'll all be gone in ten months, so their object is to figure out the most effective way to sniff enough asses to assure their 2009 outplacement in some nice conservative think tank or on the board of some corporation owned by one of Cheney's friends.

Spending money on implementation of a tool that removes layers of suckups and minions between the real customers (the public and the employees who do real work) would tend to obligate the political appointees and their sycophants to actually listen to the results. Since this would cut into their valuable ass-sniffing time, they won't be interested.

Further, you'd encounter real resistance to anything that allows for really, really easy and direct acquisition of information about what the workforce really needs and wants. They have entire departments devoted to obtaining that information, through the use of highly-advanced things like optical-sense paper questionnaires prepared over the span of months by people who then spend months and months divining the results. if you could do all that in real time, anonymously, yet! you'd make those people's jobs superfluous, and that cannot happen.

Notice I emphasized 'anonymously.' It would be critical that something like IdeaJam be anonymous or at least anonymized, because if an opinion can actually be tracked back to a particular humanoid, nobody will use the system. "What if I suggest something dumb, would that affect my year-end review?"

In an organization with sense, no, it wouldn't. But in a place where the search for blame ranks much higher on the scale of importance than the search for a real solution, yeah, it would probably completely fuck your year-end review.

So, if I want to try to get something like IdeaJam in there, I have to be subversive. Find a few up-and-coming non-political-appointee career execs who might actually like a tool like this, take them aside and say, "hey, kid, take a hit of this. This one's free; there'll be better stuff later."

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1. Lars Olufsen03/13/2008 07:49:37 AM

Turtle - Nail - Head

Ouch ...

I'm struggling to get some leverage for IdeaJam as well, and I must admit, that I had never thought about what you're saying here before, but it absolutely makes sense.

It was that way "back in the days" when Notes and Domino grew into organizations with a very discreet bottom up approach. And it still is with all these fantastic collaborative and social oriented tools.

There's a fear that knowledge will replace control and disrupt the power structure. That's why we have to sneak these things around and plant seed outside the traditional power realm. Subversive indeed. We need to Cloak and Dagger our way through the corporate hierarchy, hiding in the shadows. Thank god, that Yellow is the new Black, then

Oh - and good call on the 320Gig drive. Don't forget to clean up before migrating (unless you're going to scratch and start over).

2. Gregg Eldred03/12/2008 10:54:40 PM

You have found my "dirty little secret" concerning IdeaJam and other collaborative tools. This is the exact same thing that I am faced with and how I go about planting the seeds.


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