August 12th, 2013

A Purple Straw Hat

_The Org_, Fisman and Sullivan (kindle)

Subtitled: The Underlying Logic of the Office

I picked it up along with a large chunk of this reading list.

There are problems: they authors say librarians (or at any rate some of them) miss card catalogs. As in, the paper ones. Seriously? Who are they hanging out with? And the idea that serendipity was any more likely in a paper catalog than in a computer catalog today is just nuts. They are, in general, really uninspectedly down on the idea of going fully paperless, rather than making an effort to understand limitations on going paperless that were true in the past and then trying to understand whether they are still true.

But as a whole, the authors basically approach bizarre and annoying corporate behavior and try to figure out why it happens, rather than just acting like there is no reason (which is an understandable, but not very explanatory response). They largely succeed. It's an extremely worthwhile book to read and I heartily recommend it to everyone.

That said, they are _definitely_ apologists for the status quo. Any status quo. They are downright Panglossian at times, and not necessarily in a good way.
A Purple Straw Hat

Hey, I know that guy

I'm now reading _Big Data_ (off the same reading list as _The Org_), and early on, a paragraph starts, "In 2003 Oren Etzioni needed to fly from Seattle to Los Angeles".

Hey, I know that guy!

IIRC, he taught an AI class I took at the UW in 1991 or thereabouts. And some years later married an acquaintance.
A Purple Straw Hat

Daily Activities Include: for $70 I will drive to Chelmsford

I'll actually drive to Chelmsford for a lot less than that -- even to go eat at Applebee's, so it's kind of a low bar. However, I made a trip to Chelmsford today for no other purpose than to drop off an electronic device that we have no further need for, but which PowerON says they will give us an Apple Store gift card if we ship it to them. This worked with our phones (more money for those, same principle), so I am optimistic that it will work again.

Other activities: we had a couple of neighborhood boys over for a playdate/babysitting (that is, I was responsible for them for three hours). If you say something like, hey, I'm going to take three developmentally delayed boys out for a bike ride, all kinds of appalling things might spring to mind. We had a great time, right up until my bike broke. The rear fender broke at the top of the wheel and the back half crawled up under the front half preventing the wheel from turning. I was able to pull it back out (meanwhile, I spotted a $10 bill on the ground and had T. retrieve it -- I'm apparently getting paid for all kinds of things today), but couldn't get it to stop creeping. Then the boys' mom called wondering where we were (not at the house with the scooters that we had started out with, that's for sure), then mom and dad came over. The kids' dad is some kind of genius, because it took him all of 30 seconds to figure out how to stabilize the rear half of the rear fender by strapping it down to the foot rest of the Bobike Maxi. He used to be an engineer and still does IT and could apparently give MacGyver a run for his money.

Anyway. We got back to the boys' house (mom walked, dad drove back to work) and then T. and I rode home.

Decluttering continues. We've been passing some of the more persistent baby items off to A.'s sitter, whose daughter is expecting twins. Today included a few toys, three DVDs and one of those folding plastic slides.

I'm feeling happier and happier about the ripping project. I listened to Zooropa on the way home from Chelmsford and didn't mind being stuck in traffic on 495 at all. On the way up, I'd seen the results of the accident that caused the backup. Oooof. Glad that wasn't me.