Article Library

Digital Knowledge - Captured! For over 15 years, Jim MacLennan has been writing about business, technology, and the intersection between the two. This page presents the complete collection of over 400 articles,  presented in several ways. If you want to jump to the "good stuff," check out this group of the most popular articles over the last ten years. Are you just looking to browse around? You can also browse by Category, or check out the Tag Cloud for a…

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Fun with Ngrams – Art, Science, Programming

A recent gift from Google Labs - the NGram viewer, a fascinating tool that searches the Google Books database for words and phrases, and charts their relative frequency. For example - let's take some of the themes of this blog ... Apparently, Art and Science have grown closer, and enjoy a somewhat parallel existence together. Design (Inspiration) started strong, had a bit of a lull, but is enjoying a bit of a renaissance (as it were). And unfortunately, "management" is…

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Art and Science of Data Visualization

"Data Visualization" has been an extremely active and popular topic for a few years - we can use Google's Timeline search feature to see the growth in interest since 1980: That local high in July of this year was due in no small part to David McCandless' Information is Beautiful talk at TED this past summer. It appeared in my RSS stream here, here, and here, so I got the hint, spent 18 minutes watching it, and got suitably jazzed…

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Sorting with Sound

via Geek.com - yes, I subscribe to stuff like this in my RSS reader ... httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8g-iYGHpEA I thought this was interesting on two levels ... The Engineering student within appreciates the differences in sorting techniques (although I think I could speed up that bubble sort ...) I also think these videos provide a simple illustration of the power of multi-media information sharing; the audio helps the animated "description" of the sorting techniques httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXAjiDQbPSw I freely admit to be a bubble-sort…

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IT Budget Hacking (w$$t)

Some block-and-tackle IT management stuff for today - taking a long, hard look at the IT budget, a task that is less-than-pleasant for many. Most of my peers have already cut any and all low hanging fruit - it's time to start thinking aggressively. Software Maintenance for the Small Stuff Most have concentrated on their ERP and other large, strategic vendors - but what about all of those little invoices that come every year? I'm talking about development tools, management…

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If I Told You a Fractal Solution, Could You Change the CEO’s Mind?

As the new year approaches, debates over the "value" of IT and business projects intensify; it's not holiday stress, but the excitement of the approaching New [fiscal] Year. Lately, I'm hearing more about the struggle to quantify business value, especially when selecting those few projects that will "make the cut". We will definitely iterate on our scoring framework, adding a cost / benefit template to facilitate more apples-to-apples comparisons between projects (yes, don't scoff  - it is possible - more…

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Who owns Master Data in your company?

I've had to respond to this question, inside and outside of the company, in a number of different conversations over the past few days. It's interesting, because this is one of those conversations where semantics mean a lot - what people say is just as important as what people don't say. I only mean that people assume their listeners have precisely the same understanding of the concepts - which is often a mistake. Case in point - who owns the…

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Notes from SAPPHIRE 09

Yesterday at work was "catch-up day" from a week at SAPPHIRE 2009, the annual user conference for SAP. As with the JDA/Manugistics conference earlier this year, there were concerns that attendance was going to be low, because so many companies are limiting travel expense. At the conference, I did hear that attendance was only was 60% lower than last year. Conferences like this are great opportunities for IT to do a ton of learning - about the specific technology, of…

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Another Take on Enterprise Open Source

Today's best conversation was with Christopher Young, of B2BSX, a startup software exchange where corporate IT departments can buy and sell their development efforts, and make a little cash to offset stressed budgets. It's an interesting idea, and spawned some ideas in a couple of different directions. Andy Hardy, IT Director Every company I've worked for has toyed with the idea of selling some of their custom-developed stuff - well, every company except the first one, since it was a…

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Hacking the Google Chart API from Excel

a bit of code on a Saturday night ... I've written before about a simple way to measure and report IT value to the business - quantifying alignment with strategic initiatives  project spend in context. It all culminated with a single, simple slide - numbers, with some Tufte-esque Sparklines thrown in. Well, technologies come and go, and without going into the boring details, I've had to come up with a new way to generate the mini-bar charts along the left…

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