Tag Archives: best practice

Smart Grids and Stupid Policies

Rolling power blackouts, a common resort in northeastern US states when extreme weather takes hold, are now steamrolling into an overheated Texas (although not yet as widespread as initially feared).  Unfortunately, the outages are largely indiscriminate thanks to an outdated, dumb electrical grid.  This puts people and produce at risk.

Tonight we lost power for a few hours and felt the impact immediately.  Our 30-year-old air conditioner was already struggling to overcome 111 degree Fahrenheit heat– without it or fans going, our little house quickly turned into a big oven.  As I walked around in the dark lighting candles and contemplating my car’s lovely air cooling ability, my mind went back in time…  Continue reading

Best Practice: Contextual Business Cards

Business card for Dustin Maciag of HundredEyes

image source: http://creattica.com

In this age of electronic identification, paper stock business cards may seem a little passé, but they’re still the most common mode of contact exchange as far as I can see.  But they need not be “dumb”: even lowly paper media can be enhanced with smart elements, such as 2D (matrix) barcodes and, some day, electronic ink.   Continue reading

Drag-and-drop Process Improvement

When I was young and naive I used to believe in the  Big Lie of the Best Practice.  That is, if one migrates from one employment island to another, their best practice baggage will be warmly accepted and checked in at the new place.  The only problem is, the Not Invented Here cloud can be thick and forbidding.

I had the good fortune of cutting my professional teeth at an employer that was functionally well ahead of not only its peers but many other industries as well.  But seven years spent at Texas Instruments (TI) were more than enough to brainwash a budding engineer into thinking their robust, proactive approach to arcane arts like configuration management and process improvement represented some kind of norm.

So imagine my youthful surprise at subsequent employers when attempts to share some truly remarkable business practices and experiences were met with high resistance.  “We don’t care how you did it at TI, welcome to Bob’s Amalgamated Lugnuts”.  Continue reading