Archive for the 'Analysis and Opinion' Category

Broken Communication Across the Generation Gap

Posted on May 25th, 2017 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Impact and Symptoms

Fathers and Sons I was talking to a veteran manager and he told me an anecdote that caught my interest. This man had a son that had a room in the upstairs floor of the family house. One day the son told him he was sending him a web link of interest; the link failed to arrive. The father asked for a resend, which the son promptly effected; yet still no link was received. Finally my friend asked what email address the kid was sending it to – and the son, surprised, said “Skype!”… via million eyez A growing communication.. Read more

Email, Digital Photography, and the Hole in our Historical Record

Posted on April 30th, 2017 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Impact and Symptoms

Letters from the past One fine day in the 20th century BCE Ilabrat-bani, an Assyrian merchant from Kültepe in Anatolia, wrote to one Amur-ili a letter concerning shipments of textiles, and providing advice for travel. The letter, written in cuneiform on a clay tablet, survived to reach present day historians and inform their research. On June 8th of 1511 Piero Venier, a merchant living in Sicily, penned a letter to his sisters in Venice. It contained his observations from an Auto de Fe he’d witnessed in Palermo, where the Spanish Inquisition burned at the stake conversos suspected of heresy amid.. Read more

The Problem with Work-Life Balance

Posted on February 24th, 2017 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

Guest post by Toby Ruckert (Twitter / LinkedIn) Originally published on my blog. I’ve been self-employed essentially my whole life, and this year marks the 25th anniversary since starting my entrepreneurial journey in 1992. Being an entrepreneur naturally comes with a lifestyle that makes it hard to draw the line between work and life. Discussions about work-life balance simply aren’t very productive when your business is (such a big part of) your life, especially when you’re the one who started it. And while many told me that we should separate life from work to be happy, I don’t believe in.. Read more

Thoughts on the Pew Report on Information Overload

Posted on January 20th, 2017 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

The news about a report from the Pew Research Center drew some media attention recently. Pew surveyed the American public and found that Information Overload is not a big deal! Specifically, they found that: Some 20% of the surveyed adults in the U.S. say they feel overloaded by information, a decline from the 27% figure from a decade earlier. 77% of them told Pew that they like having so much information at their fingertips. 67% say that having more information at their fingertips actually helps to simplify their lives! 79% say that having a lot of information makes them feel.. Read more

How Can You Deal With Social Media Overload?

Posted on December 30th, 2016 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Individual Solutions

The Info Overload guru is taken by surprise I was talking to a college student, and she threw me a question:  how can she deal with the overwhelming  information overload afflicting her life? She then elaborated, and to my surprise it turned out the overload was not the familiar push-mode problem typical of email; she was talking about pull-mode, specifically, Facebook and RSS. This was a surprise for two reasons: first, because here was a Gen Y person complaining about Facebook, the social network that her cohort is so famously in love with; and second, because I’d always advocated RSS.. Read more

Proofreading: an Art and a Parable

Posted on August 14th, 2016 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Off-topic

Taking on the formidable Murphy These days I’m working part of my time as the editor of Coller Venture Review, the journal of the Coller Institute of Venture at Tel Aviv university. An interesting job, where I get to interact with interesting researchers and experts around the world who write interesting papers for this interesting publication. And then there’s the less interesting – yet vital – part of the job: making sure everything in the printed journal is perfect and error free. In other words, Quality Assurance, which in this domain is called proofreading. As an engineer I’ve learned very.. Read more

Should We Reintroduce Computer-free Activity into the Workplace?

Here is a strange idea: reduce the use of computers in the workplace. Huhh?!?… Bear with me and read on… Computers and Stress Back in the nineties management at my Intel campus realized that non-stop computer use was causing health damage in the form of RSI (repetitive stress injuries – remember all those weird wrist bandages?). To address it, we implemented structured “stretching sessions” where everyone stopped typing and came together to do directed exercises with music and fun. Today we see that non-stop computer use is causing health damage in other forms – and it may be time to.. Read more

Should You Buy a Smartphone for Your Child?

Posted on February 6th, 2016 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

Should you? Not without first understanding the implications. This question derives from a real life situation, which happens a lot: a kid approaches a parent asking for a smartphone. Please? Pretty please?? All the other kids have them! I’ve heard of six year olds popping the request, and parents in our society of abundance are all too likely to give in. But a smartphone is not a toy; it is a supercharged technology powerhouse, with incredible potential for both good and evil. It’s not exactly like giving a loaded gun to a kid, but it merits some serious thought. After.. Read more

What would Ada Lovelace think of Knowmail?

Posted on November 3rd, 2015 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Individual Solutions

This post was first published on the Knowmail blog. Cross-posted with permission.   The computer will never be creative or intelligent by itself; it can only do what we tell it to do. I like to call this statement “The Frankenstein clause”: it plays down the primal fear we humans have of our machines getting better than us, then taking over the world. Basically it says, “Move along, folks… Nothing to worry about, we’re the real brains here… These dumb computers will always obey us…” This statement was made by many during the 20th century, but the first to articulate.. Read more

Wearable Devices: Cool Tech or Big Brother?

Posted on August 21st, 2015 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

How to measure knowledge worker productivity  is a recurrent question, and in my business of reducing information overload my clients often ask me how we can characterize the benefit of my recommendations for action. For years I used to reply, “Easy! You fix a Productometer gizmo to every employee’s skull, and it senses how productive they are!” Of course, that was nonsense: Characterizing the impact of a productivity program in domains as complex as knowledge work is a challenge requiring less direct means. It may not remain nonsense for long, though… Not just a cute gadget Wearable sensing technology has.. Read more