On the use and abuse of Technology and its Management from the perspective of an academic at UCL specialising in Project Management, Systems Engineering and Space Science/Technology.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

We're Doomed!

Of all my projects I like the Doomed ones the best. Here's a Computerworld Q&A with Sue Young on, essentially, how to sense being doomed.

no more e-learning.

I loathe the use of e-. e-marketing, e-governance, e-ducation. Its use seems to denote an immature reaction to the existence of new(ish) tools. I prefer the e-is-everywhere-get-on-with-it approach. On a parallel track, here is an industry columnist saying, rightly, that the days of the "IT Project" are over.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Chris Argyris

This biography of Chris Argyris, who was instrumental in developing the models of single-loop and double-loop learning and applications to organisational (for example, let's say "Management") behaviour, includes extensive references and links to the Monitor group (where Argyris is a director).

From infed.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

The robots are playing around with wierd stuff.

This time they are doing Origami, and working in other non-manufacturing domains. Some snippets from the bench of Devin Balkom, a grad student at the CMU manipulation lab.

How to get knowledge

... according to Denham Grey. Think: do we do this?


Another fish dragged in. This is a nice mindmap homepage index from a guy who's doing some research in the knowledge management area. Here's his blog (en francais).

Sunday, May 23, 2004

social software: Thou Shalt

Social software, what's that? Online groups, how do they work?

Clay Shirky, of Many2Many, gives the lowdown. Cruise through this 10-minute talk, Google the terms you don't know and get back to me. Let's talk.

He's on again on the subject of Wikis. This time try wikipedia first (Read an entry where You know more than They do. Edit it. You are Them) then read why this works. Talk to me.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Beagle 2 criticised

What? UK semi-amateur mission to Mars, added on (by embarrising series of press conferences) to ESA orbiter. Or, depending on your POV, glorious Blur/Hirst brit-art spin-off with science bit added in for show. Come Christmas day 2003, there wa-as no-o blee-eed-din signal.

What happened? It left the mothership (ugh) Mars Express Orbiter in a nominal manner, but then probably crashed, probably probably because the height detection part of the freshly-developed and innovative landing system (aero braking, chutes, airbags) sent false data.

A comission of enquiry has critised the handling of risk in the project.

Why? Start here. Seek the ESA report.

24/5/04: "Report won't be published, only ... recommendations" Press Conf today ...

24/5/04: So, space robots are tricky, but surely the answer isn't space men? Link

Why blog?

You may be wondering what the Business Case for this whatever-it-is that you are reading is. Well, in lieu of one, this: Bill Gates says it's a neat thing.

Systems Behaviour

In case anyone is in any doubt as to the importance of systems-aware project management and engineering, let them take five minutes to read this, from The Register.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Cube solver

I'm not sure what this has to do with my core topics, but here it is mentioned anyway. A chap called JP Brown has built a machine to solve the Rubik's Cube ... out of Lego. And an imaging system, natch. Seen on Joi Ito.

Beats my 27-seconds in the back of the school bus in '79.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Mind fullness illustrated

OK, here's a Visio mindmap, illustrating my research directions. It's a bit rough at present ... more to come.

Technically, the process of drawing this in Visio was OK, rather than wonderful. Visio drawing concepts are unlike standard illustrating tools. Once this hump is over, everything is easy.

I would like links to external documents and sites to complete the mindmap.

Free Mind mapping software

Ah haa! Some open-source mind-mapping software. Goodee!

It's in development so there's a few features to come - like rich graphics? If you want to explore further, the authors give background info that refers to other breeds, some non-free, of mind-mapping stuff. Mind maps? Examples: here.

It's time for me to get back into this style of paperwork. I'll be seeing how MS Visio (search: mind map)copes with the task as well.

Qualitative Research

Coming at things from a physics/engineering POV, I need help with
qualitative research methods. This site at SLAIS/UBC provides one of the best collections of resources I've seen.

Friday, May 14, 2004


The degree of risk in a project should be reflected by the
penetration of prototypes into the development life-cycle.

I will have something to say about this in due course. In the mean time,
have patience, perhaps go here for guidance.


I declare this journal open

The title of this blog refers to the following distiction between learning styles.

Single-loop learning is identified as "the ability to know what to do in a particular set of circumstances, or in response to specific triggers and stimuli." Individuals learn how they can do better, improving what they are currently doing. This may also be seen as learning at operational levels, or at the level of rules."

Double-loop learning is concerned with "why" in relation to what is being carried out. Lines of reasoning are added to the "what" approaches of single-loop learning so that, as well as learning new qualities and attributes, the "mental model" of reasoning, justification, evaluation and analysis is adjusted and developed also.

Sounds like A Good Thing, no?

Practically, this will be about academic teaching, e-learning and associated new media developments, and the application of emerging and existing tools to the management of innovative technology development.

Essentially, this is a discussion forum related to certain themes within my work.

Thanks to Richard Pettinger for summarising the two loops. Now buy his book.