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April 16, 2006

Kamen Rider Zo Downloads

I've never seen Kamen Rider. It is a Japanese TV show kind of like a cross between Ultraman and Power Rangers. As with those shows there were several generations. One of which is apparently Kamen Rider ZO. Ever since my registration lapsed for a day I've seen a lot of traffic from people looking for it. I looked up the plot summary and it turned out to be oddly familiar (cue wavy screen and theremin music)...

"RIDER ZO concerns itself with a human being who is transformed into a cyborg hero"
Hey, that sounds like me...

"and subsequently challenges a ruthless and powerful menace (frequently an alien organization using a series of bizarre creatures to enforce their will) which rises to threaten the Earth."

Hey, that sounds a bit like PMI...

"Slightly unbalanced scientist Dr. Mochizuki is experimenting on the creation of a mysterious and vaguely threatening organism. Along the way, he pauses to create a human/locust cyborg. Alarmed at his new form, ZO retreats to a nearby forest and hides away. In the meantime, Dr. Mochizuki has finished his work and the organism is set loose on an unprepared world. ZO returns to defend the deranged scientist's young son and the world in a series of battles."

Yep, that's me all right.

April 13, 2006

Cherry Blossoms by the light of the Moon

It seems to be raining almost everyday. So the only time you can go outside is at night. This was taken late last night by the light of the moon and a streetlight. The cherry blossoms seem to have a deeper color in this sort of light.


An interesting rebuttal of the Agile Manifesto here:
Burningbird » Technology is already Extreme
The points about belief, group behavior and diversity are worth investing a few minutes to digest. Fortunately it is leavened with one-liners like this:

"The tech equivalent of The Beach Boys"

It dovetails nicely with Glen's latest post on evidence.

When am I ever going to write anything thoughtful again?

April 11, 2006

Microsoft Office Project 2007 Beta expected this spring

According to Lidiane, the public beta will be available this "spring" which means sometime in the next couple months. The best way to get the beta is to sign up here and they will let you know when it is ready. Considering the large number of changes in this version it is probably worth your time to check it out in advance.

April 8, 2006

What better sign of Spring?

Sakura Prunus Yedoensis
Prunus yedoensis "Akebono"

April 7, 2006

"People come to us in weakness"

In 2003 Sergey Brin of Google told Quentin Hardy:

"People come to us in weakness. They are admitting that they don't know something. When we tell them what they want to know, it creates a strong bond."

Geez. Going to google is a sign of weakness? Imagine what going to the library must mean! Or reading a book!

Since you are here reading, and since I'm ultimately non-entertaining, the only real conclusion I can draw is that you are coming because you don't know something. You are weak. There. Now you know because I told you. Feel the bond? I knew you would.

Despite the arrogant attitude this quotation projects, the article it is drawn from is not too bad. It contains some amount of over-conjecture, but you can filter it yourself. The entire article which covers google, information and the "collective mind" is here:
Can we know everything?

April 2, 2006

What is Project Scope

There is considerable discussion on the Newgrange discussion list about what scope is and what it isn't. While I find it interesting enough to dip in and read a couple of arguments in the debate about it I think I have skipped more than I have read so I feel out of place commenting on it there. In my opinion scope is simple. It is the definition of what you are going to do. That is inclusive of meeting whatever specifications have been agreed upon and the work necessary to deliver on that agreement.

Any more time spent on it in a hypothetical frame of mind is wasted. For a specific project or program it is wise to spend time on it and get it right. Ultimately scope is determining what you are getting paid for. Not much more to it than that.

March 31, 2006

Wisteria Macrobotrys after the Rain

Friday is a slow day and I have no Friday humor to share so here is a picture of one of my favorite spring flowers, wisteria. This was taken just after a torrential downpour:wisteria macrobotrys
Click on the picture for some larger versions.

March 28, 2006

So soon?

My registration expired this morning. But if you are reading this it is all better now. It is hard for me to believe this site has been up and running for almost a year now, serving up PMBOK downloads, PMP Certification, MS Project Macros and the occasional flower pot manufacturer.

Keep the clicks coming folks so I can give you another year of the same old stuff!

March 25, 2006

2007 = 2007: Microsoft Office Project 2007 Delayed

There is a reason why they decided to call it Project 2007. Seems that they are slipping the release until 2007 corresponding to the slip in Vista. Some more information here:

Since Vista most likely will require a new PC due to heavy hardware requirement, I guess they are thinking that most office users (read corporate IT) would hold off on an upgrade to office until the Vista dust settles. Or at least that is what I think they may be thinking.

March 24, 2006

How to cheat on the pmp exam?

OK, I know people are out there looking for free study material and even bootleg copies of the PMBOK, but it is a bad sign for the profession when I get people coming to this site trying to find out "how to cheat on the pmp exam":

Whoever is out there searching google for:
you have lowered my respect for you by at least a notch or two. Spend some of the energy you are currently using to game the exam to study a bit. It isn't that hard. Read the dumb Guide to the PMBOK and take some notes. Study the terminology used. That should cover it. If you think that you need to cheat to pass it, you have already failed.

I'm even more convinced that the whole PMP certification is just a scam.

March 23, 2006

Schedule Assumptions

Have you ever thrown out an old project schedule? Have you ever had to start from scratch? Have you ever had to look at a schedule with no supporting documents and tell if it is "OK" and be unable to say more than "well, it depends"? If you have been managing projects or schedules then I guess the answer is yes. At least once. And one of the key reasons is that the assumptions made are either wrong or are missing.

This might even be true of some of the schedules for projects you are currently working on. One of the tragedies of scheduling software is that it is rather poor at capturing the basic assumptions on which the schedule is built. Sure, you might have a WBS which describes the work, but the manner in which the work will be performed is not really included there. Further, there is often little documentation about whether the estimated work and durations are based on an optimistic or pessimistic view.

The whole point of this is that the schedule "file" is nearly unintelligible to outsiders without some narrative which describes the basic assumptions which it is built upon. I'm still struggling with determining what the proper amount of documentation for this might be, but at the very least, you should have a page or so which describes what you and your team were thinking when they came up with the schedule. And it is worth reviewing it every once in a while to make sure that the assumptions are still valid. Too bad tools like Microsoft Project don't really have a convenient way of capturing this sort of stuff.

At first I thought it was a joke

My logs show someone from Chinanet showing up here looking for Plastic Flower Pot Manufacturer:
I mean, hey, if they really wanted plastic flowerpots they would search with Accoona not Yahoo.
But perhaps I was wrong and plastic flower pot manufacturing is more popular than I ever imagined.
Next up "Mifare MF rc-531 (wireless chip)". I'm more interested in what I might have to say about a spring festival though.

March 22, 2006

Sell on the News - Google enters the world of Finance

If you haven't seen the new google finance pages ( http:\\ ) it is worth taking a look. At first glance it looks like a rip-off of, but when you look a little closer, the charts are actually rather interesting. First, they are draggable like google maps, but more importantly they are annotated with key news stories and announcements. Take this example of the chart for Intel:
Those marks with letters in them like "E", "F" and "G" are links to news stories. Click on them and you go to the headline, from there it is another click to the story itself. There is an old saying which goes "buy on the rumor, sell on the news". At least this chart of Intel seems to illustrate the wisdom of that. It would be interesting to see if there is any more corroborating evidence - and now you have a way to find out.

March 20, 2006

Mercedes 2007 S Class Review

Can you judge a book by its cover? Well, maybe. I'm going to try.

This weekend I got a big package from Mercedes Benz NA. Hmmm... Why are they sending me this I thought. So I opened the cardboard box. And inside was another box, but first it was necessary to break through the plastic shrink wrap surrounding it. It would not render to my dexterous fingers without a serious fight.

Under the shrink wrap was a slipcased box. Also a very tight fit. Pulling it out caused a tear in the virgin black-flocked imitation velvet lined plastic box and a bit of styrofoam packing popped out. No worry, I got the rest of the box out in one piece. Emblazoned across the top in metallic writing were some words to the effect of "Introducing the 2007 Mercedes S Class".

From this point my troubles were few. The flimsy plastic opened without a hitch and I was confronted with a series of slightly larger than post card images of the latest Mercedes Flagship. On the back was some glowing prose, I think. I didn't really read it. I tossed it out. Sorry Mercedes. It doesn't look like a Mercedes any more. The cheesy packaging intended to tempt me to create a vision of my own self importance surrounded by plastic luxury just doesn't do it for me.

Maybe it was one too many lectures on deconstructivism in college, but your marketing which appears to be centered around choosing a car which implies a certain lifestyle just makes me laugh when behind the message is a mass of plastic and styrofoam. Gone is the focus on engineering and in its place is a world of things to buy which will show you are special, or at least will make you think you are special. Unfortunately, I know I'm not, so your marketing is wasted on me. Why not a postcard which says "come drive it here..."?

How can it be true that I'm happier driving a car that you built 19 years ago than with any of your current offerings?

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