Five Stages of Autonomy

I came across an article by Matt Mullenweg about what he calls the Five Levels of Autonomy. It is an interesting article which is worth reading at length, but in brief the five levels are: Level Zero autonomy is a job which cannot be done unless you’re physically there Level One autonomy where the work isn’t remote-friendly Level Two where work is enabled remotely, for a while, but not intended as a long term solution....

July 13, 2020 · 5 min read · 963 words

A Change Management Primer

Jack Welch was a believer in the importance of a company’s ability to change. To the extent he asserted that when the rate of change inside a company is slower than the rate of change outside it, the end is in sight. Conditions before, during and after change are best illustrated in Lewin’s Force Field Analysis Model. On one side is the driving forces and on the other are restraining forces....

July 5, 2020 · 6 min read · 1069 words

Confessions of a Platform Junkie

Hello, my name is Robert and I am a platform hopper. I know, I know, not the sort of thing most people confess to in polite society, but this is a circle of safety and it is time I confess to you all. In the not so distant past, I have run Windows, Mac OS, Linux (Ubuntu, Debian, Kali, Mint, OpenSEUSE and currently Pop! OS). I have hand-held iOS, then Android, back to iOS, back to Android and now back to iOS again....

June 20, 2020 · 4 min read · 656 words

The Case of the Dangling Toad

I learn today a manuscript of Isaac Newton’s is being offered by Bonhams. The two page manuscript is based on Tumulus Pestis [The Tomb of the Plague] by Jan Baptist van Helmont, a Flemish physician who treated victims during the Antwerp plague of 1605. Van Helmont’s writing on chemistry was not only influential on Newton and Robert Boyle, but he invented the word ‘gas’ and demonstrated that other gases exist which are distinct from atmospheric air....

June 4, 2020 · 2 min read · 292 words

Parliamentary Privilege

Scrolling down the home page of one of my newspapers of choice the other day, I could only find one article not about Coronavirus. While one of the greatest challenges facing our world at the present, it is a public disservice to permit a single topic to dominate all media channels unless there is a topical angle. In this climate, it came as something of a welcome change to see the news channels lighting up on a different topic; social media vs The President....

May 30, 2020 · 4 min read · 771 words

Dead Certainties

In a New York Times book review in 2016, Michiko Kakutani delivered an assessment of Volker Ullrich biography of Hitler which was perceived as drawing a comparison between Trump and der Führer. One does not need to know much about the rise of Hitler and the NSDAP to see that even though Kakutani never mentioned Trump by name, the comparison was so thinly veiled as to be positively naked. While the approach is but one of a long line of ‘historical’ comparisons which pervades political discourse, what is of particular interest is that while many historical comparisons are used to normalise a present event or set of choices, comparisons involving Trump leverage history to abnormalise him....

May 20, 2020 · 3 min read · 490 words

Code is Speech?

In the early 1990’s, Daniel Bernstein, a Berkeley mathematics PhD student, wanted to publish the source code for an encryption algorithm he had written along with an accompanying mathematics paper. In the age of Github, such an event would go largely noticed. Particularly if the author is a student, who usually struggle to get their professors to read their work, let alone anyone else. But in the 1990’s, this was groundbreaking....

May 19, 2020 · 3 min read · 627 words

So this is how privacy dies...

Maciej Cegłowski coined a phrase which I think should resonate far beyond the circles in which it currently does. The phrase: ‘ambient privacy’. He defined it as: the understanding that there is value in having our everyday interactions with one another remain outside the reach of monitoring, and that the small details of our daily lives should pass by unremembered. What we do at home, work, church, school, or in our leisure time does not belong in a permanent record....

May 11, 2020 · 4 min read · 645 words

May the Third be with you

As a boy I clung tight to Wicket the Ewok, my childhood companion from the forest moon of Endor. Given my affection for this furry friend, it would be remiss of me to let May 4th pass without making a Star Wars reference: As an adult, the day which precedes this wonderful interlude of sci-fi reminiscing looms larger: In many ways it is fitting these two memorial days are side by side....

May 4, 2020 · 2 min read · 417 words