Information Management and Data Integrity

CA Magazine’s Sept. 2011 issue lists the top 10 tech issues facing the accounting profession, according to the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants. The number 1 issue is information management and data integrity.

This corroborates my own professional experience. For too many businesses, there is no way to tell which copy of a document is the one “true” version, all the more difficult if there are multiple copies of the document scattered across personal directories and shared network directories. Almost as bad, there is no way to tell what changes have been made to a document over time, by who, for what reason, and if they were authorized by someone in authority.

Big business solves this in typically big business ways, and with a big price tag. Achievo is a solution for SMEs (and medium organizations that know better).

My Japanese friend Toshi

IVL and Xing Staff in Japan, 1997

My thoughts have been with Toshi Ikeda lately in the aftermath of the devistating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Toshi was the Japan business agent for IVL Technology in the mid-to-late 1990’s when I was responsible for technical product managment and licensee support. On my many trips to Japan, Toshi accompanied me as both colleague and friend. He made sure I knew where to catch my next train, and where the best noodle shops were for a late night snack.

Some years later, I was in Japan on behalf of NovAtel and was able to catch up with Toshi at a Yakitori bar. I don’t know how he has fared as a result of the earthquake, but sincerely hope he and his family are well.

Here’s a picture of Toshi from a 1997 dinner in Japan, including Fred Speekeen and Barry Larson from IVL, and Nishikawa from Xing.

Maestro Trial Screencast

I’ve been experimenting with creating Maestro screencasts using Ubuntu GNU Linux on my ThinkPad T23. Here’s a short demo showing the Project Management component. It should play without issue using FireFox, but you will need to install the Ogg Theora codec if you use Internet Explorer (FireFox comes with it built-in).  Oh, and there’s no audio….. (I said it was an experiment <wink>)

 

The Law of Explanation

I came across the Law of Explanation yesterday and it really resonated with what I’ve been trying to explain to our children:

The first half says “When you’re explaining something to somebody and they don’t get it, that’s not their problem, it’s your problem.” Anything that’s important, that’s deep enough to matter, is probably not self-evident; it’s going to require a lot of explanation, and that’s an essential part of your job.

The second half says “When someone’s explaining something to you and you’re not getting it, that’s not your problem, it’s their problem.”  The effect of this one is that you have to do a very courageous thing: say “No, I don’t understand.”

Wouldn’t the world be a better place? Tim Bray, XML co-inventor and Director of Web Technologies at Sun Microsystems, reportedly explained the law in a convocation speech given at his Alma Mater this spring (and shamelessly stolen by me from Barton George’s excellent blog http://bartongeorge.net/2009/07/23/tim-brays-law-of-explanation).