February 2010

More Ebook Thoughts: Barriers, Business and Battles

A book goes electronic. Sort of.

A while ago, we tried defining ebooks, and figure out what they are, and what they aren't.
Now, let's have a look at some success factors, or barriers, business implications and the (un)necessity of DRM.

How to Add Creativity to Your Technology Career and Save Yourself from Automation and Outsourcing

In a recent blog article about the future of IT admins, my MUCOSUG-Buddy Wolfgang wondered whether the new generation of self-managed, appliance-like systems like Oracle Exadata, Oracle Sun Storage 7000 and their friends from other vendors are making IT personnel redundant, or what kind of jobs IT people are supposed to be doing in the future.

This reminded me of Dan Pink's book "A Whole New Mind" (Amazon.com|co.uk|de, BooksOnBoard). Pink argues that today's "left-brainish" jobs are threatened by "abundance, automation and Asia" (the latter really meaning "outsourcing") and that today's knowledge workers need to learn how to better employ their "right-brain" and add creativity to their jobs, as a new competitive differentiator.

How does this relate to Technology or IT jobs?

Seven Useful OpenSolaris ZFS Home Server Tips

AMD Athlon II X2 240e

A lot of people have read last year's article "A Small and Energy-Efficient OpenSolaris Home Server" (Thanks a lot to Andre Lue from the EON project for linking to it!) and there was quite some discussion on different RAID options as a result of my RAID-Greed article.

So let's continue the theme and have a look at the following home server tips that helped me a lot during my own home server planning, building and installing:

How To Properly Cut An Image From A PDF Into Your Presentation Or Blog

I give a lot of presentations to customers and I tend to create a lot of new slides for the presentation decks I use. I'm also a huge fan of Presentation Zen, the book and the blog, as well as Duarte Design's blog, with their excellent slide:ology book. When giving technical presentations about computer hardware or software though, sticking to good presentation principles is tough at best.

But there are a few simple tips that everyone should follow when preparing a presentation, and I hope to collect a few of these in this new category. Today's topic is simple, almost trivial, but powerful. And I see too many slides on an almost daily basis that violate some basic graphical principles:

3 Cool Science Fiction Thrillers to Prepare You for the Future (Plus a Bonus One)

Science Fiction stretches our imagination and makes us dream about cool, future, distant worlds and realities. And it's fun, too.

But Science Fiction also serves an important purpose: It prepares society for the future. What will happen when technology X becomes available? How will our work, social and emotional lives change? What challenges and opportunities will we face, once certain new technologies become available?

There's also a feedback circle around scientists, engineers and SF writers: Scientists discover new laws of nature, engineers apply them to create new technologies and SF authors show us the possibilities, inspiring the scientists and engineers where to look next, what new principle to explore and which new technologies to make real.

Here are my top 3 Science Fiction, but realistic novels of all time that help us prepare for the future. They are all based on solid futuristic research, still they are mind-boggling and thought-provoking. When you read them, you'll get a true glimpse of the future - and view the present and the past in a new light.