Monday, September 17, 2007

Design and Change in Highly Secure Corporate Settings ( a brief reflection )

The question posed was how do you design and develop in highly secure corporate settings, are there standards? what do you do when the corporate environment makes it too difficult to meet these standards?

As consultants we took standard security measures that went one step farther - everyone was required to lock computers (all laptops) upon leaving even briefly for a biobreak, all texts closed, printed matter of any kind was turned face down or placed in locked cabinets or shredded, no forwarding of internal email, text or images to external addresses, and use of Pretty Good Privacy encryption for FTP or transferred files over the Web to 3rd parties

When leaving for the day, all printed materials were removed from tables and desks, and all laptops went with the users. The building itself was cell dead, because it was a Faraday cage basically. As a scrum/agile team we shared a single phone which eliminated all but the most important and direct calls, such as arranging to be picked up from work.

This was not only the norm in the environment but specified in our contracts. Developers were required to perform a urinalysis (commonly called a 'pee test') prior to getting hired - but as it turned out that was not a requirement of the main company. A lead coming in refused on legal/privacy/moral grounds, and was transferred to another subcontracting firm where invasion of privacy was not promoted. Even better than that, the new subcontracting firm was honest, with the transfer came a $5 an hour raise. (He converted to full time almost immediately).


As PM/ team lead I requested everything be removed from all public and private working spaces which worked well. No casual public discussion of design / dev topics outside of our working environment and team members.

In prior orgs (which go unmentioned here) I encountered extreme difficulty explaining why one should use security, what the role of PGP was, and why use it (they had regulations against using any kind of encryption!) I insisted on testing Web security in application design. Finally my request went to an internal review board (Audit committee), and it gained backing for the spend (about a million to fix back end problems), using the following logical statement - "How many years do you want to have your CEO in jail for breaking privacy laws under HIPAA because the UI allows mal-use. " etc.

Some corporations are so far behind the curve on technology it is a struggle to work with them. I found shared terminology (language), and a safe phrase which worked - to a point - in convincing them to change, it was: "As your consultant I would not be doing my job if I neglected to point out X..."



A large part of being successful involved getting others onboard, through explanation and education of what is reasonable security (security audits in test, for Webapps and applications) and what isn't (pee tests for one class of workers), through associated risk assessment.

The first time an employee told me that he was doing a 'pee test' I thought it was some kind of software test for backend stuff I'd never heard of. He had to repeat himself - it was embarrassing. Then several others stepped up to say they had undergone urinalysis too.

No one even wants to say "pee test" much less do it - it just does not seem professional. If the level of what you are doing is highly specialized, you handle other people's lives, such as being a Space Shuttle Pilot, and need security, such as coding landing software for planes, and/or there are some really good reasons, such as you are observed coming to work apparently stoned, etc, ok that makes sense. But for designers and developers working on software projects, for the most part it's a scary and unnecessary invasion of privacy, with a questionable effect on security.

Usually fighting against established business practices that no longer make sense is a waste of time because the wave of change itself seems to swamp the environment eventually flattening all prior concepts of what should be used, done, or what standard processes and procedures are.

The natural quality of change in secure environments should be practical, do-able, applied uniformly for good reasons, not because "we have always done that" or "it's the rule" or "I am just following orders" - but for logical reasons that work to provide the level of security needed, even if it needs to change or be set as a standard in the future. I have found that the topic of change and security is an especially difficult one, which people resist for many reasons.

(photos in this article shot by Linda Lane, 2007)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Via Tribunali to Delight the Senses

Ok, we were not wild about the lack of great and local acts (rock and jazz) at an event that rhymes with 'Bumbershoot' - but a late night escapade to Via Tribunali more than made up for tired feet and boggled ears. We sent out a couple to save seats and order for us - what a delight! Fantastico.

Our trailblazer commented he'd seen Anthony Bourdain finishing up a meal with a smoke in the front just a few days before. PIZZA, Pizza, pizza - Via Tribunali expresses pizza with that wonderful old flare called flavor!

"WOW," I said, this is just like Karl Krogstad would cook up for his best crew, all different textures and tastie bits, and cooked in a handmade open pizza oven."

"Quite right" replied our Executive CEO Administrator as she gracefully ordered more in Italian, "that is the special pizza oven, there in white, brought to Seattle for baking." She hand spooned parmesian onto my pizza and salad, as I paused to drink wine that was really honestly more like nectar than I would like to believe. Generally I don't drink, but for this meal an exception in every way I was just going with the flow. Flow it did. We finished off din-din with a white chocolate layered frozen confection that sealed this as our reward for sticking out the whole day.

Our vegetarian professional musician paused from eating to comment several times his one word grace "Belissimo" and I knew he did not mean an Argentine electrotango band. Cheers! To your health!

913 E Pike St
Seattle, WA 98122
Phone: (206) 332-9234

http://seattle.citysearch.com/review/41615136
Posted on 09-04-2007 by wonderlane

Friday, August 24, 2007

Never Again - foods...

HDDeGroot from Flickr's "I ate this" group asked us to describe:
"Food you have tried but will never eat again. Like sea urchin or White Castle."

Ok, on a seasonal basis I ate whale sperm for breakfast as a child in Alaska. It was like eating fried cold farinia. It came in long log like shapes, and it's a creamy white color. It arrived wrapped in a brown paper with a matching wide tape- I can't recall but I think it came fresh from the butcher treated as the delicate and rare food it is. We cut it into sections, while we briefly mourned the dead whale, and fried slabs in butter in a big iron skillet. Generally we seasoned it only with salt and pepper.

Since our family is part Scottish, it was just like the old country. Being Cherokee Indian helped too.

We were smart alect three kids and we knew that some day it'd be a great story when eatting any parts of wild animals would be much more rare. One day my sister turned her nose up at sperm for breakfast, but then she saw "Swine Flu" vacine for what it was too, and refused to put that into her body.

For Fur Rondy most years we ate "Eskimo Ice Cream" - it was cold whale blubber with blueberries and other red berries mixed in with white sugar, sometimes it was mixed with snow. I remember the red cheeks of the eskimo kids who would joke with us. They offered it as an act of friendship, served in paper cups with a waxy finish and prepared in bulk by their folks. They knew it was nasty - it was like eating something on a dare. But little did the kids know that we although we were white, we were a 4th generation Alaska family and quite familiar with the delicacies of the bush.

I've eatten most every kind of rare beast from Alaska. But pretty much eating beaver, bear, and wolverine is all gamey and sweet. Moose is dry as heck - I created a recipe I handed down to all my friends called "Mongolian Moosebits". Soaking dry slabs of recently-killed-by-a-man-wearing-only-a-loincloth-and-no-shoes-with-a-knife MOOSE in a terriyaki sauce over night or as long as possible.

Being both Bear and Beaver clan, some times it felt weird eating them so I don't any more. Salmon is a downfall, especially fresh from an Alaskan River.

But the worse was the annual meeting of the two rivers known as Nuchalawoya's soup of moose meat and hair floating around. The soup was cooked outdoors in 55 gallon drums abandoned in rural Alaska. never again. but once, once was ok.(Nuchalawoya - Nu´ cha · la · woy´ · a. At Nuchalawoya the clear waters of the Chena River meet with the the silty gray Tanana River.)

More soon, I gotta get a life.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I feel happy because of Jonathan Harris' art - contemporary artist

Talks Jonathan Harris: The Web's secret stories -


Recursive art - input recursivity for Jonathan Harris to find.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Great Love Has Got You Figured Out

Great love has got you
Great love has your number
Great love has your case on file
Great love knows your name
Great love is no stranger

Great love constantly stands on guard
Great love constantly needs no guard

Great love gives great love
Great love thinks light thoughts
Great love beats heart
Great love hears an echo
Great love smiles and shakes

Great love signs a mystery
Great love hears a symphony

Great love sings a love song
Great love rubs a fat baby's rump
Great love a-scent from the garden flowers
Great love has no excuse
Great love has great love

Great love hummingbirds
Great love butterflys

Great love greets you
Great love like the morning bride
Great love offers great love
Great love minds itself
Great love gives you great love

A rub a dub dub
Great Love, Great Love
Yabba du!


(for Steve Dalos)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ingmar Bergman

Watching the shiney lacquered jitterbug pixels Ingmar Bergman interviewed by Dick Cavett watching "Wild Strawberries" close up discussing the whiskey loving actor Victor on the Island. "You see your pants?"

His light use of English, Cavett sputters questions - "did you learn anything from totally protecting the actors? a special emotion?" - by cutting it off, we did not try it, not created out of pressure, it just came.

We are back with BiBi Anderson. The sense of the artist, just a sense.

After the Seventh Seal Ingmar ended his chess game with Death and guess who won? Bill and Ted played Death and won at Battleship, Clue, Electric Football and Twister.

Perhaps there was silence in heaven.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Cool Mashup of your online subscriptions and feeds

It's a cool tool kids, but like the webintelligentsia are saying it is a terrible name: 'profilactic.com'. Hopefully someone will buy them or fund them to get a new name. Who knows one day it could be the standard by which all others are judged as is said -

http://www.profilactic.com/index.jsp

Before and After House Renovation in Shoreline, Washington

Before
Before, Renovation, Shoreline, Seattle, Washington

After
After, renovation of Shoreline, Washington house

This home improvement renovation just cheered up and modernized this house! We hadn’t had a chance to hang the art properly yet when the 'After' photos were taken, but I think you see the difference in how the lighting warmed, cheered and brightened up the place. Also we re-positioned the sofa and chairs, giving an improved flow into and around the living room. The vintage blue Queen Anne inspired library chairs the homeowner already had purchased and now put to use!

They hung the larger more colorful art in new locations, which is now the first thing you see coming in the front door (on the right out of this photo). It is so welcoming everyone wants to be in this room now, instead of instantly wandering into the media TV room.

The dedicated husband and wife team striped the popcorn ceiling with a pancake spatula and a water sprayer, covering the floor with the plastic you see in the "Before" photo at the top. They wore masks, and carefully mopped up anything which was not caught by the plastic. Once finished the new pot lights and ocular lights were hung by our electrician.

I had the couple purchase matching custom-made, simple oak book shelves for storage (see the "After" picture to the left and right of the fireplace). We kept them short, not going to the ceiling so they would not appear looming over you while seated. We faux painted the white fireplace to look like a pale and aged red brick in under 1 hour.

We also painted the interior of the house a light coral color - changing the color, warming it up made a huge difference. The homeowner was truly afraid of making a mistake color and nearly all surfaces were white, white and more white - painted or otherwise. Calling the color 'coral' instead of 'pink' helped a lot to sell the idea of something other than white.

The torchiere relocated to the media room leaving more space here in the main room where it was needed; the yellow sofa, and large TV set we moved to the completed media room.

The lady of the house told me that no one ever wanted to sit in that cold living room. Now people sit and talk comfortably and you can see everything.

In other major changes we added a dining room, the hot water heater was once in the center of the house, we dropped it into the basement, replacing it with an automatic heat on demand style water heater. This expanded their useful space quite a bit. Since they had no basement the space for the heater had to be dug out and a small concrete floor and utility stairs poured. Diging out the hard packed soil was more difficult than first imagined – but with friends and family, it went fast.

They engaged in a large number of improvements, including adding a new roof. The lights need to be focused in that quick shot I took. We are looking for a suitable living room table, and continually try to pare things down. It’s clean and more than livable now, it is a pleasure.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

What Annie Leibovitz learned from John Lennon

Leibovitz:
"What I learned from Lennon was something that did stay with me my whole career, which is to be very straightforward. I actually love talking about taking pictures, and I think that helps everyone. You're not there in the room talking to someone about something else while you're really trying to take their picture. You know, talking about the weather or the Knicks game because you're trying to pretend you're not really taking pictures. I always think that's funny. We're not really taking pictures here! This will make you relax! Lennon was very straightforward and helpful. What he taught me seems completely obvious: he expected people to treat each other well."
http://www.powells.com/authors/leibovitz.html
Annie Leibovitz Puts Down Camera, Talks
Dave Weich, http://www.Powells.com

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Controlling IT Costs; Enterprise Architecture (EA) strategy, a shared lexicon, and enforced change

Tree on the beach. Golden Gardens Park, twilight, Seattle, Washington, USA
To control Information Technology (IT) costs we think about and act within the enterprise as a whole, in part because we sell enterprise and mid-level solutions. We apply an Enterprise Architecture (EA) strategy which at the top level is comprised of infrastructure and communication considerations. This is not just about technical infrastructure, defined or designed by IT, because it is highly likely that such individual solutions (one offs) will not align to core business strategies (vertical needs verses horizontal needs spanning the whole company).

It is not really possible to do this, that is consider the entire company's needs, without significant participation by the business for which we use terms such as Solution Delivery or Product Management. Product and program managers from a solution delivery framework gather information, report back to the business, and return to apply the business strategies to align with short, medium, and especially long term business goals.

This business and implementation strategy focus is a change agent, to reduce siloed thinking, and achieve more horizontal capability across units. We reduce multiple applications, which take time to manage and maintain, and where it makes sense, fold them into one. Because we take security and privacy of our customers very seriously, any applications which may be at risk have been identified and are brought up into our standards. The process of combining risk management goals, application and data reduction streams saves money, although the process of so much change at once can be stressful at the unit, project, and personal levels.

We seek to empower self-service among our partners, customers and employees, for access to all kinds of information they need, and internally reduce redundant data stores, for example referring to customers by one identifier if possible. This is especially challenging in our partner relationships with multiple data stores that contain similar information about customers which are identified in completely different ways. This is the reason for serious data modeling and tight or loose coupling where needed – to retrieve and move information back to the partner systems. We leverage Microsoft software, and then buy, build, minimize or reuse existing systems.

In order to be more successful in our efforts to control IT costs we strive to increase flexibility among existing staff and provide rewards for strategic thinking – this strategic thinking aligns along company-wide goals. We need people with the right skills who work in efficient methods, only including the people who need to be included to make decisions or act. In fact we need to change confrontational and passive aggressive behaviors internally to collaborative personality styles – changing the organizations culture is doable but difficult. For more information I recommend reading "The Heart of Change" by Kotter and Cohen.

The technologies we invest in to help control IT costs are our own. We custom write stuff served up on Microsoft servers and plan to use SharePoint as the UI for our new change request tool. We are substantially reducing and eliminating the number of different applications (SQL stored procedures or XML Blobs mostly) we use and maintain on a daily basis. We are moving from C++ to C#/.NET (C Sharp and .Net technologies).

We use Microsoft software as our strategy to control IT costs - it is easy to manage, and has great support. Some team members keep an eye on relevant Open Source software as competitive analysis.

Our company is getting the maximum value from its data center investment because we have not invested to the level we need for our infrastructure. We expect to remediate this lack of investment after deploying skilled, thoughtful product managers with the right combination of education and practical experience to assist in this effort through the next couple of years.

What is our organization doing to maximize the value from its data center investment? In addition to the other things mentioned we outsource development and support to India, Israel, and developing countries, etc. We also are making use of tax advantaged locations for large savings in transactions.

We are adding metrics and measurements by which we evaluate not just personal progress but internal and external customer satisfaction with our IT initiatives on a project by project basis to self-improve.

The practices which enable us to maximize value from our IT investment are varied and multifaceted. To maximize ongoing investment we are adding solution delivery strategies, planning ahead, and aligning IT with company-wide goals. Of course in our space we have some unique issues, and as a public company even more so. One thing that may surprise you is some of our projects we do end to end locally because of how critical success is. We leverage our best, most successful local managers to produce projects and design larger scale solutions if we determine it is the best strategy – so in this way we are flexible – we don't just out source everything.

We are in the process of reducing the number of applications we need to maintain, and where it is appropriate fold one into another so long as the user interface or back ends do not become unmanageable. We are making over our change request platform from top to bottom which we feel will enable quicker turnarounds on change requests – it is both loosely and tightly coupled where it needs to be. For the presentation layer we choose Microsoft SharePoint.

Conversely, what factors are inhibiting our organization from reaping the maximum value from its data center investments? The factors inhibiting the maximum value include a lack of foresight in strategic planning for long term goals –

1. Putting temporary things together to just meet immediate needs.

2. Focusing on small details and not seeing the big picture.

3. Lack of metrics to evaluate progress, process, and client / customer / partner success.

4. Unwillingness of team members to change or promote change even when it is in their and the companies' best interest.

5. Having too many data centers, identifying customers in too many ways.

How important is productivity within the IT function in our efforts to control IT costs and maximize our data center investment? Functionality, capacity, and reliability far outstrip productivity, but that is only because we have already hit very high productivity goals and exceeded them. Here are some of the metrics we examine:

Metrics
  • Percentage of project budgeted costs
  • Scope requirements
  • Total cost of ownership
  • Traceability
  • Defects rate (sev1, sev2, sev3 bugs - zero tolerance for sev1)
  • Completed requirements
  • Customer satisfaction scores (cust sats)
  • Schedule slippage
  • Flexibility of management styles
  • End-to-end throughput time per client-side user request
  • System extensibility
  • Scalability
  • Maintainability
  • Defects per thousand lines of code (KLOC or by function)
  • Support functionality and documentation availability, and completeness prior to launch
  • Rates of failure
  • Restoration (emergency)
  • Availability
  • Test effectiveness
  • Business acceptance
  • System acceptance (signoff)
  • Average turn around time for service and change requests
  • Number of security or privacy defects (last two should be zero tolerance in launch candidates)
  • Number of post freeze change requests

Among the mandatory metrics used are peer review effectiveness of code, and post mortems and overall customer satisfaction. In other words we do not consider just ontime delivery of products, enhancements, or new functionality.

What is our organization doing to improve productivity within its IT function?
Getting the right people – some people grew with us or came to us with deep knowledge from the school of hard knocks – work experience – we seek to capture the most knowledgeable and either increase their education or find those with both practical work experience and advanced degrees. Good thing this is Seattle with its heavily educated population. New programs at the university level such as Informatics and Information Management are producing the people we need – not just MBAs or Master of Comp Sci - because so much of our development work we outsource to India and developing countries, and IT is not traditionally closely aligned with marketing or sales. We do outsource much of the development work as is possible.

The undergrad Informatics and Master of Science in Information Management programs at the University of Washington are housed in Mary Gates' Hall, renovated and named in honor of Bill Gate's late mother, it's headed by Mike Crandall (Dublin Core, Microsoft, Boeing). So you can see this is the direction we are going regionally, because that is where the spend is. Another great information school is at the University of California at Berkeley, housed in one of the oldest and most architecturally beautiful collegiate buildings on the west coast, South Hall. On the physical level all Berkeley had to do is add wireless. Excellent academics such as the seminal thinker Dr Michael Buckland are there at Berkeley, and business leaders such as Mitch Kapor. Industry wide I think iSchools are having an effect, adding a more well rounded, even playful culture to high tech operations.

Improving and opening the culture is important. Having a shared lexicon is one of the benefits of educated people; those with MSIM (master of science in information management), Informatics, technical MBA degrees can comunicate effectively with highly technical people - this can produce enormous savings and long term cost benefits. Increased, clear, enthusiastic communication saves IT costs.

In strategy meetings, for example, we often include Enterprise Architects to assist in stack ranking program and project development, because this helps reduce redundant systems.

Our organization's ability to measure the return on investment (ROI) or success of its IT investments is “Fair but mixed,” we want ROI to be easily measureable and this means evaluating the correct things, asking the right questions in the first place, not following other organizations techniques, although we examine them as examples.

We are adding ways to evaluate our ROI – we do use business analysis methods. There is always an identifiable way to analyze and measure the relationship of what something costs even if it appears intangible such as Brand protection.

Considering the strategic and tactical stuff we are doing, at the core, creativity is what drives our success. Creativity is always a very difficult thing to measure. In fact it could be said that if you try, you are barking up the wrong tree. However creative thinking around practical goals has provided us success. This is where the ideas around flexibility and being very responsive come to play.

We have found very very high ROI around outsourced projects because they must be clearly defined within the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) and Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) compliance.

Those people who actually think out of the box are oftentimes not recognized by co-workers and management. Change is perceived as negative among full time staff. We seek to show support for both full time employees and consultants, and change this view and enhance their ability to communicate ideas. That is why our management keeps an open door policy. Unfortunately like any other policies the hazard is that individual managers must believe in our policies around openness and creativity; such self-selecting polices are impossible to enforce.

Our organization uses balanced scorecards, Six Sigma and other types of internally derived quantitative value measurement methods to measure the ROI or success of our IT investments.

The continued use of these methods we expect will substantially improve the management and measurement of our IT investments. Some of the metrics are at the discretion of the product or program manager, others are mandatory. In part we have some success- at issue is adopting metrics and measurement as well as Enterprise Architecture and engaging with open arms increased strategic thinking and planning.

Senior management must come together and present a unified strategy for the entire company – which is a top down management style but it must be embraced from the bottom up. This is within a framework of enforced change as we seek to achieve excellence in all of our business units, especially in core infrastructure – those units which either produce money, or cost money. Some of our key investments we know are lost leaders, but other research will more than make up for those. Enforced change in this context means business units receive minimum budget until they comply.

We are still feeling the effects of the changes the Web brings in enterprise directly and for our customers; we continue to learn from the effects of communities and communication via the Web. The opportunities for growth are so enormous that it is all the more important that we curb spending where it is not required and apply it as much as possible to grow in creative arenas which still have huge untapped profit potential. It is not just about money, among hard core technologists – those who really love it – money is secondary in many ways - it’s about the fun stuff technology can bring as well as the benefit to serve humanity that technology brings.

High tech, information technology, and software development have made some strides to maturity but we are still learning new things; it will be a learning industry, discovering and inventing stuff for a long time to come.

p.s.
Enforced Change is a radically different challenge, and promises different ways of looking at human-to-human, individual-to-corporation, corporate-to-corporate, human-to- computer interactions, etc, which I plan to cover in future articles, so stay tuned!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Thinking - System Architecture

Along with some very difficult challenges (which I won't go into) there are threads of joy in my new job.

One thing I love about my job as a Solutions Delivery Product Manager is hanging out with other System Architects - when we speak together, imagining and extrapolating about what doing this set of things vs that set of things we can jump into the future and understand what "that" and "things" means - it is so cool that we finish each other's sentences, or enumerate logical parameters to the next state without much explaining.

Man o man that is fun, for me it is the real juice - I just love doing abstract visualizations - just a fantastic stream of energy! Visualizing complex computer software systems is highly thought provoking and exploratory. One System Architect I work with just so gets me and I so get him. We were talking about the future of product activation and digital streams and speaking about digital watermarks and the value of credentials - and had discussed several options over an hour and 1/2 just like it was 5 minutes. From that thread my ideas around the IOS (Internet Operating System) have grown and become enriched. It's funny to think I am a fine artist by nature but the skills needed for visualizing systems are quite similar.

I have real confidence about the peace enhancing properties of the World Wide Web through ecommerce, so such conversations which may lead to that kind of worldwide success are engaging to me on a personal and professional level. I feel we have an effect in the world like a sonic wave of protection through productivity influencing more and more people, moving farther away from war and conflict.

Recently we were meeting about the tax and system implications of tax advantaged locations with our tax finance manager, when my System Architect friend said, "well Linda I don't think those business rules should be part of that software application no matter if the tax advantaged location will be in play a long time."

So the tax guy immediately launched into giving us some explanations and examples of various forms that the business rules were taking in other applications he has advised on - including more than 40 applications in 6 months. That's what we were there for, the expertise that well-thought-out even long conversations among subject matter experts bring to the table.

As I listened to our tax expert speak about the various requirements I visualized what this meant from a system wide point of view, and the future, I reasoned what the system implications were and how flexible they needed to be, how loosely coupled makes sense - as our tax man finished his sentence I leaned into the phone and said - "Sold!" - I swear I could hear my System Architect friend's smile break out.

Later as we wrapped up that same meeting the System Architect said, "so our advice will be to include the business rules within the applications not inside the key selling structure, if there are any objections - speak now or forever hold your peace - going once, going twice, sold!" echoing my sold! statement.

I feel such glee when I get to use that totally abstract part of my brain’s reasoning capacity in such a practical application, even if we will only see one application do this in the next few months (if I still have my job) for a worldwide ecommerce solution. Better yet is being recognized for that ability since so few people understand it.

The other folks in the room know that we are figuring something out, and occasionally, but thank heavens more rarely, someone will become jealous. There is a camaraderie among the System Architects because you have to possess an incredibly developed ability to visualize and extrapolate several functions and their implications, with the solution in mind all at once, finely tuned to what the actual results need to be, and what the capability, capacity, and through-put are. It actually feels electric.

In the past when designing an application as I completed the work, the other system designer /aka product manager I was working with came back with the business and functional requirements and asked me to glance through them gratis. So of course I could not resist and immediately found two logical conundrums with the UI, if you choose this, you will get to this location and that choice is not what you have documented. 'This here? see this is the wrong option here...' and so forth. All of this in my mind, not on paper, not in the flows, not in the writing. It's so fun.

System Architects tend to be sort of giddy when they speak they get so excited - their personalities tend to be somehow on both the sunny and sour side. Maybe there is a little tendency to be know it all but the best among us are very relaxed about this kind of knowledge and skillset.

Dealing with the opposite kind of person, with no visualization ability, and no big picture view whose mad-as-a-hatter level of attention to detail borders on comical and insane - those folks are a real headache and heartache; much harder to deal with because they are so literal and only see what is placed directly in front of them - they mean well but just cannot recognize the value of those with big picture world views. When a micromanager is standing on your dress, it feels exactly as if they are afraid of space, of something which is not in a box - of anything with wings of thought or ideas. Ideas are very scary for some people. It's a quality of change. Change is what brings those flighty ideas into reality.

I read some place this story - haven't been able to find the reference - Bill Gates was young, maybe high school or so, and from another room his mom asked him "what are you doing?", and he replied "thinking", so she asked him again, "but what are you doing?" and he said, "I told you I was thinking -- have you ever tried it?" or some similar statement, "you really should try it sometime".

I empathize with Bill. It's why I consider his use of the term "stuff" to be a technical term.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Phone Tree - just in time - self service safety

"Automated phone: Hello, and welcome to the Springfield Police Department "Rescue Phone"! If you know the name of the felony being committed, press 1. To choose from a list of felonies, press 2. If you are being murdered, or are calling from a rotary phone, please stay on the line.(Bart presses four numbers on the phone) You have chosen- "regicide!" If you know the name of the King or Queen being murdered, press 1.(Bart hangs up)" - The Simpsons

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Hiring Strategies for HelpDesk and Support

Reading four IT helpdesk support and hiring reflection papers (listed below) brought to mind several social issues regarding support that are rarely openly discussed but appear to be true from my own experience. Over and above setting up all the work flow and planning, tracking, and feedback tools for communication and all the myriad processes into the helpdesk and support structures you have to address who you are hiring to do support and what your goals are relative to those employees or consultants.

My recommendation for success is when seeking support engineers is to hire smart, ugly people with social problems, select those from middle class or lower middle class backgrounds who seek approval from others because they will be lifers in the support industry. Select those who may be physically odd but whose motivations are altruistic towards the company and the users. Writing something so harsh and politically incorrect is critical to do when you have solid motivations around it.

Some people who are bright and technical but not as fortunate to be well trained or to have higher levels of self esteem go into the Support industry for a multitude of reasons, not the least is to indulge their technophile passions, and keep their distance from other people while earning a living. They often come from middle class or lower middle class families. Those from upper middle class families often have abuse problems or unresolved self-esteem issues, and tend to be less friendly over the phone or in email. Both sets of people need to earn a living and their needs for social and career development should be integral to the Help Desk or Support managers' view of their staff.

Others find entrance into a technical support job or even customer support services as a stepping stone into development jobs. The structure of the helpdesk and support environment is similar to a development environment, and access to technical goodies is there too, such as the applications, computers, servers, documentation, and other highly technical people from whom they can learn and bounce ideas off, so it is a good career choice in that sense.While working at a large software company as a front line support technician handling anyone who called in on virtually any question, I supported an estimated 18,000 people in a two year time frame, often teaching the users beginner information such as what a menu item was, and that the file menu item was always located in the same place.

When I say we would support anyone, for example I taught an emotional distraught man who had just survived brain surgery how to import a Word document into Aldus Pagemaker over and over again as he sobbed loudly into the phone. I was glad I possessed the emotional fortitude to encourage him and the technical knowledge which made it easy to do. As long as customers had questions and did not swear at me, I answered them; it was not only company but personal policy. Simultaneously I supported accountants seeking to construct complex pivot tables, as well as Disney animation artists working out detailed timing mechanisms for film making, and rocket scientists from Los Altos trying to figure out why their fonts would not display properly in presentations.

So when people say "it isn't rocket science" I always think of that team of rocket scientists telling me that 6 or 7 of the smartest people in the world were in the room and they couldn't figure it out, so if I did, that put me ahead of their team. Of course I figured it out. Immediately I realized that having accomplished that, it was time for me to move on from product support into something else.

The point is I am speaking from experience. My resume reads that I was a technical engineer – it does not address much about what I engineered because I sought to distance myself from being pigeonholed in the support field. As soon as I began diligently looking for a new job within the large software company I worked for, I realized pretty quickly that there was no upward ladder in Support to anything else in the company. In fact if anything the system was unconsciously designed to prevent workers from moving into other groups at the company. Being in support interacting with actual customers was seen as a dirty job that someone had to do, and information collected from customers regarding their needs and wants had no real path for communication. There was no commitment from the company for support technicians or for the information they gathered.

Right about this time three events occurred that changed the way I thought, or you could say, reinforced what I was thinking. First the CEO visited, second we got a new Unit manager, and third - a random phone call from a development manager came in asking questions the company was not answering.

The CEO of the company came to make a rare visit to the Support unit, and he actually supported a DOS user over the phone. The end user was of course completely surprised and was handled the same way as anyone this famous executive dealt with, directly without pulling punches. On his way off to another meeting the CEO stopped and took a few questions. I asked him if he'd be building a new building to house the support staff now or in the future. At least he was honest- he thought about it for a few seconds and said, no, Support would never be housed on the main campus.

At about the same time a new manager was placed in charge of the unit, and not someone hired from within or promoted. This new unit support manager was female, which in a department where the men outnumbered woman 11 to 1 was very rare. Unfortunately we soon realized she had both things we did not need and want – she was technically incompetent and had severe emotional problems.

As a mentor I was often called in to resolve both software and hardware problems. She selected my co-worker and I to support problems she was encountering with her Macintosh, which even then was pretty easy to use. When we began troubleshooting the network issues she appeared in the doorway and bellowed "Don't touch my mouse!" and demanded answers from us on enough questions which lead us to understand she probably had never worked with any computer before, MacOS or WindowsOS. Worse yet, she was unsophisticated in working with people. I crawled out from under her desk and began searching the company for another job and as swiftly as possible.

Then, staying after work one night, I received a call from a development manager on the East Coast who was randomly dialing into the large software company's phone extensions and got mine. She asked me what the company's plans were because they kept investing in doing some thing, learning to code against some software just to be surprised by the large software company's direction, and also by the lack of communication. Immediately I realized that the lack of communication in our department with customers extended to developers and I knew the company had a problem - one that I could help fix.

All of these things, combined with the rocket scientist’s calls caused me to diligently seek a new job within the cutting edge firm – I had successfully graduated from support and moved into development documentation and communication.

Occasionally, now 20 years later, I run into people that I worked with in support and they still work there. Not the pretty ones, not the ones from excellent families with money, or that have an inkling about business, not those with all or straight teeth, but those oddly devoted people with hearts of gold who may be less than handsome characters but they actually care about users. I think that company is very lucky to have such loyal staff. They have jobs they are very competent at, even if repetitive, and where their rewards come in small incremental doses each time they help a member of the unwashed public figure out how to do something with software or at least why it won't.

The ladders for social development and growth are still individual in Helpdesk and Support – you have to help yourself to success or movement on the ladder – when you are ripe, you leave and find another job – Support will never help employees do that itself, because the need is great, the status low, and the need for support never ends. That's why it has been outsourced to developing countries, because as we know everyone is beautiful in this American paradise.


IT Help Desk
Clarke, S. and Greaves, A. (2002). "IT Help Desk Implementation: The Case of an International Airline." In Annals of Cases on Information Technology, 4, pp. 241-259.
Walko, D. 1999. "Implementing a 24-Hour Help Desk at the University of Pittsburgh." In Proceedings of the 27th Annual ACM SIGUCCS Conference on User Services: Mile High Expectations ( Denver, Colorado, United States). SIGUCCS '99. ACM Press, New York, NY, pp. 202-207.
Duhart, T., Monaghan, P., and Aldrich, T. 1999. "Creating the Customer Service Team: An Ongoing Process." In Proceedings of the 27th Annual ACM SIGUCCS Conference on User Services: Mile High Expectations (Denver, Colorado, United States). SIGUCCS '99. ACM Press, New York, NY, 51-55. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/337043.337090.
Padeletti, A., Coltrane, B., and Kline, R. 2005. "Customer service: help for the help desk." In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM SIGUCCS Conference on User Services (Monterey, CA, USA, November 06 - 09, 2005). SIGUCCS '05. ACM Press, New York, NY, 299-304. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1099435.1099504

List from Lee Dirks IMT520b, Week 5: Modalities of Information Delivery, iSchool, University of Washington, Seattle Spring 2007

Saturday, May 19, 2007

the uncontainable wisdom loves

finding love does not mean keeping it
knowing love does not mean having it or holding it
the knowledge of love means experiencing it even if only for a brief time

so for a person who tries to contain their emotions
experiencing love is like light for the sighted
when they thought in the darkness
they were blind

love is not something which can be captured
it fleets

all fears lack love
wisdom loves

Sunday, May 13, 2007

4′33″ Digital, Tacet 1, 2, 3

LL 2007-05-13 06:23:25
Sand, rest assured that I am playing John Cage's piece right now.

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Sand 2007-05-13 08:40:59
And I am listening with great appreciation since your innovation requires no instrument and has attained the status of conceptual art.

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LL 2007-05-13 21:06:54
Sand - what a fabulous response. I can hear the applause now.

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Sand 2007-05-13 21:30:20
I'm always appreciative of a skilled artist and a great performance.

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"4′33″ Digital, Tacet 1, 2, 3" performed for 4 minutes and 33 seconds, then communicated and documented via Windows XP Pro running in a virtual machine on a MacPowerBook Pro, over a high speed cable connection to the Internet, by Linda Lane, in Seattle, Washington, USA, May 13, 2007 for Jan Sand in Helsinki, Finland. "4′33″ Digital, Tacet 1, 2, 3" is based on John Cage's "4′33″, a three movement piece for the piano, originally premiered August 29, 1952, at Woodstock, New York, performed by David Tudor.

Lane's prior work in homage to Cage, a performance piece consisting of many found objects suspended by transparent fishing line tied to bicycle wheel rims over a platform, and carried by two men, performed at Cornish, Seattle, Washington in 1981, and broadcast live over public radio.

Dedicated to my Mom, on Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Pop-tech vs Communication & Contemporary Risk Takers - Consultants

The basis of the individual digital divide is essentially someone who is informed by the desire to change, improve, learn verses people who have the desire to retire or retreat from thinking – the writing that most concerns me is the idea of “pop-tech” (IMs - instant messaging, chat, blogs, games/joysticks, wireless communications such as RFID, smart phones, etc), which I personally find idiotic, because it is such old fashioned thinking. It is part of an older paradigm that does not significantly comprehend communication at its root. Worse yet thinking that any part of communicaton is "pop-tech" is in fact what caused a significant delay at software firms in building technical communication tools based on such significant innovations as email.

When will people get the idea that people are important, not machines?

The idea that email is unimportant held software development firms up for more than ten years, nearly twenty years, in putting the investment and processing power into email that as a tool it deserved. Two years ago more value in seats for first class email tools were sold at software firms than for any other product. This success was much more about customer demand that any planning or extrapolation at “The Factory" as my friends there call one giant software firm, referring to it’s decreasing ability to pivot and change based on end users' needs and wants. But who cares? Such a large company will keep going by the sheer weight of it's existing value and profit and it is not going to fold anytime soon.

However at this late date, it should be easy for anyone in a technical consulting role to recognize that technical culture has revolutionized the very idea of communication. This is evident even in American comedy, which I won’t go into here. Consultants should have been able, even in 2004, to recognize new software tools such as chat, IM, wikis, wireless etc as having intrinsic value if only for technical exploration into new tools, the effort behind development which should be guided by questions, a strong desire to know what really works for people, and not any foggy old fashioned notions of pop-thisness or pop-thatness. Why? Because “popular” means accepted or high enjoyment factors, and that equates one way or another directly to economic benefit – directly this means money. Let’s just say “Popular & technical = money” and that is where one should invest massively.

The key missing idea in the “pop-tech” writings is that technology is its infancy – still is, will be for a long time, certainly throughout my lifetime. Any new thing we create in the technical scheme of things should be considered just that, a baby’s toy, no matter what it is used for now.

Who was it that said that work must be hard, continuously performed the same way, and no fun? It’s almost that pre- and post- Second World War era tainted the national consciousness to believe that we must all be farmers and toil long under the hot sun to add value. The hippies of the 60’s could said to be a reaction to the conformity of the 1950’s bedroom communities, urban fecundity and desire to get ahead in life and make their place in life better for their own children, with little or no consideration of the rest of the world. It’s as if culturally we were sold an ideal, which was reflected and reified by television and the nation’s leadership speaking to this standard of behavior as they themselves as individuals veered far away from it, and the national character completely changed under foot.

What is wrong with America's national character that we don’t believe in leisure time or at least open time without fixed hours if we can enable "always on" communications and work flows?

Exposing information about the way things really are seems to make a difference in terms of information gathering and wisdom, such as the Vietnam television coverage. As a young person I was so very glad the war ended, for many reasons, not the least of which was I did not have to watch bloody dying people on TV as I ate dinner any more. There is no question in my mind that this is why Mr. Bush did not permit live coverage of the Iraq war, because the truth would have barred the dirty, ugly, and banal realities. These realities of the War people of the US are not really prepared to personally accept as part of their access to oil and the things the petrodollar allows them to enjoy in their gas guzzling SVUs and anything made of plastic.

So as my reader you may wonder what does combat and communication have to do with a view of technology? What is this author ranting about – this ranting is about communication. Communication intrinsically bares reality, or one’s perception of it. And that is not only new, and different, but dangerous. Characterizing such technologies as “pop-tech”, writers using this terminology have distinguished themselves little between their document and a page on which is written “this page left intentionally blank.” All they demonstrate is that they have little or no understanding of the bigger picture.

Technical tools that allow distant persons to communicate without any moderation in between is radically new in this world, and I argue it is not only good for commerce but for the effects of peace. But for now, just consider the effects of a single ‘pop-tech’ toy, the joystick, on the effective training of the military in virtual environments such as aircraft, etc, the value add of the joystick is already well understood. Where does the joystick come from in technology? Joysticks come from aircraft to games and back around again through technology fitting it better to the educational and use need through virtual realities. Games are pop-tech, well, aren’t they? No, maybe not.

On the other hand, Outsell writers in another piece seem to understand a different basic change in how people consider their work – with the cleverly reasoned writing entitled ‘Dude, What Happened to My Company? The Changing Nature of Work” in the Characteristics of Old and New Enterprises, in terms of Old and New roles for real people. Some of those characteristics in new are effectively how I live – Decentralized, virtual, “flat” mobile, instead of Centralized, hierarchical, static – free agents verses ‘careers’, now this is useful information, and also radically true.

But even companies which are fairly far ahead in their use of technology can be said to have set their slider bar back into the past as far as their commitment to encouraging their current employees to step over the line into those new flexible working characteristics. In fact it is almost as if each new person they add as a full timer causes someone or some conservative mechanisms at “The Factory" to go, “Whoa, better lock this cog in the machine down, and force them to follow the tried and true working patterns of the past.”

I can only hope the sentiment and advice I have received regarding the importance and value of human capital, and its relationship to product planning, management and maintenance of systems can be communicated effectively up and down the chain at the Factory. Could my next step be to begin writing proposals for floater groups to compete within The Factory with those cogs outside tThe Factory that supply bodies at a premium?

It costs larger companies approximately 60K each year to find people like me – after a long time working for the same firm is it worth it? Don’t these companies know and trust their consultants already? Couldn’t they just pay us to find our own jobs within the company and add more value, by far, than what we cost? Pay me a retainer of an additional $59K to find my own job every year and save a thousand dollars. Have me dream up and build new products. There have to be legions of people in my same situation that form a valuable vendor class that larger firms loose money on rediscovering every year – people they should employ, and help them discover and structure their work at these same firms instead of leaving it to others outside of the larger company.

To me this adds up to mean that someone at the Factory’s management does not understand the value of communication, or the reality of ubiquitous computing power, any more than the “pop-tech” writers did about technology in general. Maybe it is hard to understand. Maybe you have to be steeped in communication technology and willing to take chances in the ways that only free-lance consultants ever will.

In the news, have you tried Paypal's moble pay system? Sweet! The setup alone is slick slick slick - it is so SJP - Sweet Japanese Princess - my cohorts term for cutting edge usefulness and fun! SJP refers to the Western marketplace's interest in how Japanese schoolgirls are using technical advancements. http://www.paypal.com

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Deep Ecology of Interviewing for a Job as a New Graduate

Considing the answer for a job interviewTo interview for a job you need to be relaxed in order to communicate effectively, and many people are nervous in job interviews, especially when you are just starting out in your career. So I recommend practicing centering yourself to relax any time and any place. Here's my recommendation for how to approach a job interview.

1. Shake hands, with a warm deep handshake, feel the energy of the other person and look into their eyes, then prepare for your interview.

2. Sit down, with your hind quarters squarely in the seat.

3. Square your shoulders at right angles to your chest, straighten your spine so you can feel your energy flowing.

4. Breathe the "vase breath",
(a. exhale by using your diaphragm to push out all the air you can
b. inhale slowly through your nostrils so the breath flows down the back of your throat and into the bottom of your lungs and piles up to the top, comfortably.
c. Exhale using the diaphragm again to push the air out slowly the same way as you brought it in.

Repeat your breath two times. To become good at this you may wish to practice this some when you wake up, have lunch, and go to sleep so that you can do it any time.
Air is free - it nourishes you - you deserve all you can get, so get all you can, and it will refresh your nerves and stabilize your mind )

5. Feel the ground you cover all the way to the center of the earth and all the way out to the endless universe... This technique expands your mind and grounds you at the same time. Temporarily wherever you are you own it all.

Notes: The ground you cover is a metaphor for the fact that you need to earn your own living. The universe will provide exactly what you need but your job is to help yourself and others, and that includes finding the right job.

6. Exchange yourself for the person or people about to interview you. Feel their human condition as well as your own. This is mutually respectful and sets the tone for your interview.

7. Speak in a clear voice, and project. Be brief in your answers, and start with a summary, then delve into finer details if there is time.

Culturally some people do not brag, but in Western culture you have to state that which may be obvious from your resume - here's a sentence that does that -

"What makes me the perfect fit for the job you described is that I love to use my intelligence and attention to detail to help people build cool technical solutions and software toys."

8. Stop to clarify anything, such as asking if that is the level of detail the interviewer is seeking. Remember to fulfill your needs first - ask for water, to go to the bathroom, should some need arise, even if you feel nervous explain this to the interviewer etc. They are just a person too. If you have to pause to consider the answer let the interviewer know what you are doing.

9. Look for signs that it is a good match on your side as well. If the interview is a waste of your time, pause, graciously thank them for the time, explain that it does not appear to be a match and leave. It does not matter what the reason is you have for this decision. but it is better to leave than to let it drag on for hours and through several people. Reaching for the golden treasure

10. Follow up with a thank you letter whether you land the job or not. Work in any discipline in any city can be very small and interconnected.

11. Keep brief records of who, where, and what you interviewed for, with contact information. They need not be any more detailed than that. This can be very useful in the future, such as through LinkedIn.com or similar social business networking site.

12 Always, but always ask for more money, unless the initial offering is liberal, especially if you are female. Woman still tend to be paid less for the same work as men. Asking for more money helps you develop negotiating skills. Never sell yourself short - you can do anything.

And lastly, because an interview is a little like a date, remember to smile, naturally when you feel like it, and keep your examples and stories from past experience as positive and upbeat as possible.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Bush as Miserable Failure - Notes

http://searchengineland.com/070125-230048.php

Targeted results for Search - Live or whichever type- web, intranet
cashing, deep week, spam, verticals. (driverssm which paerts)

uerying / SERL
Scale
Rleaveance

Old or non viable search

content in lots of other document type formats

Enterprise Search

line of business applications

information about job as employee

Crawk Management

Gogle page rank does not work as well with Enterprise

Role-based

User Needs - Desktop search - I know it is there - getting the user back to information they know about

Or Organizing

Index set of results verses Query cycle

walled gardens

idc forrester

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Long Past More

Speaker Samantha, iSchool UW
haven't been comfortable
having so many ways to go no place
winter on the left, spring to the right
headed down the same path
ever looking for more

sang 'forward yesterday'
like a waterfall sand of leaves
hold an ideal, things to think about
hear even the flannel clad go out
with more more more
what am I looking for
in dreams

reached the door
the last set of doors
turned back one last time
seeking more
who will suggest
stepping through that door
see, see, touched near you
and you said Good thing
Less is more
is more is more

for M.P.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Internet Operating System

Brilliant way to view the internet - as an operating system - where is our data and do we care? Do we really just want the freedom to compute without worry? Recently it was the CEO of Google on the topic of IOS and he is someone in a proud position to speak up on the subject - Text of Wired's Interview with Google CEO Eric Schmidt, from http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/news/2007/04/mag_schmidt_trans

"True. Google docs and spreadsheets don't work if you're on an airplane. But it's a technical problem that is going to get solved. Eventually you will be able to work on a plane as if you are connected and, then when you get reconnected to the Internet, your computer will just synchronize with the cloud.

Here's another way of saying this - and these are not my words. People call this an Internet operating system. And by "this" I don't mean Google, I mean the sum of this vision. And if you think about it as an Internet operating system, the Internet operating system will have to have all of the normal features of the older versions of operating systems. It will have to have security, it will have to have caching, it will have to have replication, and it will have to have performance."

I was reading an analysis of the forgotten war manual The Strategikon http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/strategikon/strategikon.htm when I decided to concentrate and prep for our guest speaker on Search:

wired has an article on Google CEO Eric Schmidt's comments worth reading in the May edition p.172 - view online at--
http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/news/2007/04/mag_schmidt_qa

Schmidt so loves YouTube... its cute in a megabillionaire, don't you think?

I can hardly wait to introduce my Mouse Search idea to Alex Wade of the Microsoft Live Search Team, who is coming as a guest speaker to Lee Dirks class for:

Week 6: The Systems Behind the Services
Friday, 5/4
Topics:
* What Kinds of Services Can Technology Enable?
* Elements/Components of an Information System
* Managing Complexity: Integrating Systems & Information
* Modalities: Search (and Search Services); Dashboards; Wikis; RSS Feeds, Notification Systems; Physical and Digital Libraries; Records Management

I believe Alex Wade will see how it adds value (as Jaggi said... hen hen hen)

Still I find myself drifting back to basics in my mad romance with the information industry - Turing http://www.loebner.net/Prizef/TuringArticle.html

"I propose to consider the question, "Can machines think?" This should begin with definitions of the meaning of the terms "machine" and "think." The definitions might be framed so as to reflect so far as possible the normal use of the words, but this attitude is dangerous, If the meaning of the words "machine" and "think" are to be found by examining how they are commonly used it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the meaning and the answer to the question, "Can machines think?" is to be sought in a statistical survey such as a Gallup poll. But this is absurd. Instead of attempting such a definition I shall replace the question by another, which is closely related to it and is expressed in relatively unambiguous words."

Is the Internet an Operating System? Yea it can be - and Google has been selling this idea for a while - a giant linked computer where all computers are yours by virue of your security.

See http://www.seroundtable.com/archives/001689.html

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Introduction to Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery

trees in church courtyard Mexico
From this week’s reading I learned three new things and added a fourth from the class discussions.

1. Data and information is fluid to information managers in the same way that steel is a liquid to a steel worker.

Imagine a person holding a piece of data between their hands like someone might hold a basketball – but this blob of information is superflexible, and changes completely in shape or dimension while it is moved around -- because it is data it may be viewed from any position or shape changed as affected by a model or compared to other data.

2. Data has three basic states:
• Stored
• Processed
• Communicated

The original data should not be written back to its original source, so information once it has been altered, if it is going to be kept, and not just the results, needs to be reposited someplace other than the original source location. Storage is expensive.

3. Managing data and transforming it into information or actionable knowledge means moving the data, by applying different dimensions and techniques.

Storing data is expensive. Generally unless it is a secret, and retains value by being secret, like CIA intelligence, or a corporate secret like the Coca Cola recipe stored data is not useful.

Data in motion, that is data being viewed, or altered, or accessed is commercially valuable and can produce value and revenue. Mexican tree, like a full database with lots of branches

The The Two Crows Corporation article "Introduction to Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery" was particularly engaging to me beginning with its definition –

"Data mining is a process that uses a variety of data analyst tools to discover patterns and relationships in data that may be used to make valid predictions."

Wow, sounds like software can do something spooky – as in supernatural – and that special talent is to "predict the future." But this is in fact what software can do – and it requires three things to do this –

+ data from a source
+ ability to munge data to information
+ a place to store either the data or just the results, but the data to be effective must affect some thing else.

All this means is that either you move and store, or you move and munge and never permanently store results. Data is currently stored, or moving, processing or mungeing, which includes modifying other data. ( see: http://www.twocrows.com/booklet.htm )

From this appears that the removal of one of these nodes might serve to improve speed – such as the uploading into memory, and logically this means that computers which never turn off and continuously churn data in some way, such as very refined "data supermarts" would be most efficient.

The illustrations provided in these articles were very helpful in visualizing and made the understanding of these models and concepts easy. Reflecting on this made me think about what a visual model for the entire process of Data Engineering into Actionable Information. What I envisioned but haven't had time to draw is a person holding a glob or blob of data between their hands like someone might hold a basketball – but this is superflexible, and changes completely in shapes while it is moved around -- because it is data it may be viewed from any position or shape changed as affected by a model or compared to other data.

Reviewing data to detect empirical patterns and so forth makes sense – but this section was particularly interesting:

Tree on the Park Strip, Anchorage, Alaska April 207"New techniques include relatively recent algorithms like neural nets and decision trees, and new approach to older algorithms such a discriminating analysis. But virtue of bringing to beat the increased computer power on the huge volumes of available data, these techniques can approximate almost any functional form or interaction on their own. Traditional statistical technologies rely on the modeler to specify the functional form and interactions."

"Data mining is a tool for increasing the productivity of people trying to build predictive models."

If this isn't the most interesting thing a futurist, a scientist, a medical researcher, or a sales team, can hear and understand about computer science and data modeling I don't know what would be. Predictive models in and of themselves are recursively fascinating. This may lead us to the question of what does that take?

"While the power of the individual CPU has greatly increased, the real advanced inAnchorage Park Strip, Alaska, Moon near full scalability stem from parallel computer architectures. Virtually all servers today supposed multiple CPUs using symmetric multi-processing, and clusters of the SMP server can be created that allow hundred of CPUs to work on finding patterns in the data."

Yes, that is more exciting news, this is the same way that linked computers in off times are used to search as a massive array for unexplained patterns in space's background noise hoping to hear a signal. They are looking for alien life. Clearly such a method is helped by all that linked volunteer processing power. But that's the lesson, if you really want to find something out, it's possible, and lots of businesses and individual people use these techniques in all kinds of application because it's cheap enough.

"Visualization works because it exploits the broader information bandwidth of graphics as opposed to text or numbers. It allows people to see the forest and zoom in on the trees. Patterns, relationships, exceptional values and mission values are often easer to perceive when show graphically, rather that as list of numbers and text."

Another exciting wow when it comes to how to work with data to information to predictive modeling – how to represent it and what the most impressive thing about this is – the same as geniuses such as Da Vinci – he had the ability to visualize complex information visually, as did Faraday, and Einstein – they used visual models to create predictive models of behavior in the world. What this is telling us is that anyone with proper understanding and access to the tools can munge data so that it represents data in the same way that our greatest minds naturally accomplished.1

One of the interesting ideas which came from reading the information on link analysis, from mention of the two kinds of inquiry commonly used "association discovery" and "sequence discovery" (with the factors of support, relative frequency, confidence, association) is the idea that a database that links to an additional database besides association and sequence, over time might arrive at many expected detections in patterns of data – if for example the data base was the "Life Database of Patterns of Obvious Qualities". Such a database would contain many thousands of facts such as 'dead people do not buy anything', and corollaries such as, 'so there is no point in sending advertising to their residence.'

Such a mammoth database would be a unique scientific challenge to create, maintain and link to, of particular interest to me, is how much of the data collected would be true and how much be useful? We can not always tell how solving a problem may serve to inform something else, such as the discussion on Microsoft's edge checking algorithm, email scanning software in use to weed out spam from Microsoft email servers – as it turned out this edging method was used to sort through DNA in the successful search for a vaccine for AIDs going into clinical trials.2

Seattle Greenlake tree and reflection Also of interest was the categorical explosion in data, as well as the concepts around pruning tree structures. I found myself wondering what would happen if processing power and storage capability exceeded our ability to create new data? What would happen if every tree was allowed to grow permanently and one branch contained no splits as part of the earlier described Obvious Qualities database? In a way this is similar to the rapid irregular growth of a smart internet, combined with such simple tools as cookies, and the analysis of purchasing behavior - what will that data come to predict if applied to a large model. What can be predicted will be of interest for a long time to come.

Even the acronyms at this level sound spacey – MARS – the Multivariate Adaptive Regression Splines. This is a much more interesting field than I was prepared to encounter, and in summation, I come away quite curious at how far our creative intelligence and need and desire to know will be able to drive the technology to the computational limit, and over into helping humanity on a mass level.

1. West T, "In the Mind's Eye: Visual Thinkers, Gifted People With Dyslexia and Other Learning Difficulties, Computer Images and the Ironies of Creativity". Prometheus Books; Upd Sub edition (September 1997)

2.The application description from Phil Fawcett, Microsoft Research Liaison PM, in person presentation on "optimized applications" http://research.microsoft.com/ivm/HDView/HDGigapixel.htm, University of Washington, Seattle, April 17, 2007.

Week 5: Modalities of Information Delivery
Data Mining

The Two Crows Corporation, "Introduction to Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery, Third Edition" 1999. Accessed on 2/25/2006 from http://www.twocrows.com/intro-dm.pdf.

Witten, I.H. and Frank, E. (2000). "What's It All About?" In Data Mining: Practical Machine Learning Tools and Techniques with Java Implementations. (Chap. 1). San Francisco: Morgan Kaufmann. pp. 1-35. (Focus on Sections 1.5 and 1.6)

Editorial Review & Delivery

McGovern, G. & Norton, R. (2002). "Editing Content." In Content Critical: Gaining Competitive Advantage through High-Quality Web Content. (Chap. 6). Pearson Education Limited. pp. 109-122.

IT Help Desk

Clarke, S. and Greaves, A. (2002). "IT Help Desk Implementation: The Case of an International Airline." In Annals of Cases on Information Technology, 4, pp. 241-259.

Walko, D. 1999. "Implementing a 24-Hour Help Desk at the University of Pittsburgh ." In Proceedings of the 27th Annual ACM SIGUCCS Conference on User Services: Mile High Expectations ( Denver, Colorado, United States). SIGUCCS '99. ACM Press, New York, NY, pp. 202-207.

Duhart, T., Monaghan, P., and Aldrich, T. 1999. "Creating the Customer Service Team: An Ongoing Process." In Proceedings of the 27th Annual ACM SIGUCCS Conference on User Services: Mile High Expectations ( Denver, Colorado, United States). SIGUCCS '99. ACM Press, New York, NY, 51-55. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/337043.337090.

Padeletti, A., Coltrane, B., and Kline, R. 2005. "Customer service: help for the help desk." In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM SIGUCCS Conference on User Services ( Monterey, CA, USA, November 06 - 09, 2005). SIGUCCS '05. ACM Press, New York, NY, 299-304. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1099435.1099504.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Understanding Business Intelligence


“Even though we live in the Information age, where ever increasing masses of data are at our disposal, we often struggle to understand what the data means.”

Describing Business Intelligence’s goals are three main items -
• “Making better decisions faster
• Converting data into information
• Using a rational approach to management
Making better decisions means improving any or all parts of the process; this also results in fewer poor decisions and more superior ones.”

It also seeks to analyze actions “resulting in progress towards company objectives.” Business who move too slowly “will lose out to their quicker rivals. There is a need to make not only better decisions but also better decisions faster.” In addition the “negative consequences of no information or old information can be huge” such as loosing customers or continuing to produce a product that no one wants.

Converting data into information” is a component of BI, the gap between large amounts of data and actual useful information is termed “the analysis gap.” Raw data which may be measured in gigabytes, terabytes and so forth needs to be processed to deliver information in “ relevant subsets instantly” in a form which people can relate to – “some call this ‘analysis at the speed of thought”.

Technology may be considered “a baseline definition of Business Intelligence, but this is “too narrow of a view” according to one author (Vitt, E., Luckevich, M. & Misner, S. (2002). “Understanding Business Intelligence.” In Business Intelligence. (Chap. 1). Microsoft Press. pp. 13-27.)“Often the hardest aspect of business intelligence is useful and relevant to a decision, such metrics are termed “key performance indicators (KPIs)… With advancements in e-commerce, business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) transactional systems, business intelligence is increasingly about delivering actionable information to people outside the organization – often as a revenue source.”

A rational approach to management can be characterized as:
• Seeking “measurable quantitative facts”,
• “organized methods and technologies to analyze the facts”,
• “inventing and sharing models that explain cause and relationships”,
• “experimenting with alternative approaches”,
• “understanding that people are not always rational”, and
• “running the business based on these characteristics.”

To me in all of the reading which explains the Business Intelligence model, this is the most key information being introduced. We can become educated on these business intelligence practices; we have known people who have astounding qualities and facilities of analysis and the ability to extrapolate beyond the data to its implications. But the key issue remains that we are people dealing with people’s needs, desires and wants. Both in business and in business analysis we need to remember what we are dealing with and for whom – so the closer we can get to allowing people to cleverly munge their own data, the closer we really come to real Business Intelligence, because the business of business is people.

Defining the BI cycle is “more than a attitude or enabling technology; in fact, it is a performance management frameworks, an ongoing cycle by which companies set their goals, analyze their process, gain insight, take action, measure their success,” and iterate. We call this progression – the BI cycle.”

Analysis is a filtering based on “our basic understandings and assumptions of how our business operates”, and as such can be referred to as a “mental model” or “tribal wisdom” and it can be a vision of what the business views as their goals.

Business Intelligence “systems that support freestyle analysis can help … break through the limits of … current mental models and even conceptualize new ones.” Step one of the BI cycle is to ask and answer many questions rapidly both the conventional and the unconventional. That is what real analysis is – the freedom to be curious and ask lots of really stupid questions until you ask a brilliant one.” Unfortunately in the real world not many business process analysts have a quality education, or a spontaneous or creative mind, so in the past in my own experience I have witnessed companies being lead down a garden path where there was no garden, and then cornered -- left without choices they made the only one presented, a bad one, which resulted in failure for both companies. Spontaneous reasoning, creative insight, and modeling using the open techniques described here could have resulted in more insightful investigations.

Even brainstorming has its uses in visualizing various aspects of business process analysis. “An insight is not always accepted because it is brilliant or even correct.” This being true what are the things that drive change into businesses and business modeling? – it appears to be time and success and failure. Sometimes stunning failure can be the only way for members of a company or unit to understand the results of their poor practices and decision making practices or lack thereof.

This brings us right to measurement – “key performance indicators” are fancy words for how you know you are right. Measurement is what keeps the iterative practices pointed in the right directions.

Moore’s Law corollary is that the computing power of microprocessors doubles ever 18 months but prices remain constant. For BI this means massive calculation power is increasing, and with the increase comes the ability to visual data in new and exciting ways. “The greater the quantity of data, the more certain the analysis and conclusion are correct.” This statement is humbled by two others,
1. Dirty data (quality of data), and so …
2. Asking the right questions.

By entering the “era of Information Democracy” we can hope that the privately funded research which may not have reached the right audiences does come out from behind the iron curtain of the Information Cold War, where companies zealous guard their research so that they make the profits they deserve based on their hard work – which unfortunately may mean that more friends like my friend Laura, who died of cancer two days ago in Fairbanks, Alaska will continue to die.

I am not suggesting that if "Sir Isaac Newton had observed more apples falling, he would have developed his laws of gravity sooner” because not many people were immediately and directly affected by his scientific statement of them, but in our case the potential good for data sharing of certain types is beginning to outweigh the relatively minor issue of money.

Even small businesses may soon not be able to navigate by dead reckoning any more if they could more easily afford some kind of Business Intelligence. Larger companies can afford more encouragement of “experimenting and tolerating good try failures” than smaller firms can.

To conclude, business intelligence is logical, communication, and analysis done in a timely manner to promote and provide for business needs, in a clear, rational and open way, using whatever tools are available to the practitioners, even if they are manual. There are many things that we are “dying to know” and I hope those needs will be met for ethical reasons if for no others.

Business Intelligence

Vitt, E., Luckevich, M. & Misner, S. (2002). “Understanding Business Intelligence.” In Business Intelligence. (Chap. 1). Microsoft Press. pp. 13-27.
Vitt, E., Luckevich, M. & Misner, S. (2002). ”Defining BI Technologies.” In Business Intelligence. (Chap. 3). Microsoft Press. pp. 49-63.
Vitt, E., Luckevich, M. & Misner, S. (2002). “Implementing a BI Solution.” In Business Intelligence. (Chap. 10). Microsoft Press. pp. 145-177.
Whiting, Rich, “Search and Business Intelligence: Complementary Tools,” Information Week, March 6. 2006. Accessed on 3/14/2006 from http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=181500684
Information Lifecycle

Goodwin, Phil. "Information Life-Cycle Management and Enterprise Content Management: The Confluence of Technology and Business." (2-18-2004) Accessed on 3/24/2006 from http://www.documentum.ru/pdf/analytics/reviews_meta_ILM_ECM.pdf.
Information Assessment

Outsell, Inc. “Information Management Best Practices: 2006 Product Satisfaction Scorecard – A Tool For Making Portfolio Choices,” InfoAboutInfo Briefing,Volume 9, February 10, 2006.
Knowledge Creation, Capture and Collections

Davenport , Thomas H., Thomas, Robert J. and Desouza, Kevin C., “Reusing Intellectual Assets,” Industrial Management, 4 (3), 2003, pp. 12-17.
Desouza, Kevin C., and Awazu, Yukika, “Maintaining Knowledge Management Systems: A Strategic Imperative,” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 56 (7), 2005, pp. 765-768.
Supplemental Readings

Business Intelligence

Vitt, E., Luckevich, M. & Misner, S. (2002). “Identifying BI Opportunities.” In Business Intelligence. (Chap. 9). Microsoft Press. pp. 113-143.
Whiting, Rich, “BI Spending to Increase,” Information Week, March 6. 2006. Accessed on 3/14/2006 from http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=181500685.
Information Lifecycle

Horton, F. Woody. "Government Information Life Cycle Management: The Mission, the Needs, the Operational Requirements, the Roles." (10-13-2002) Accessed on 3/24/2006 from http://www.nclis.gov/govt/assess/assess.appen16.pdf.
Knowledge Creation, Capture and Collections

Awazu, Yukika and Desouza, Kevin C., “Open Knowledge Management: Lessons from the Open Source Revolution,” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 55(11), 2004, pp. 1016-1019.

Reflection Paper Week 4:
Information Sources, Quality & Presentation

For Lee Dirks
520b
University of Washington iSchool
April 18, 2007

Liz Vitt (Intellimentum) spoke to the class on April 20, 2007. How do you know the data you are recieving is even reliable - data integrity.

Key term from Phil Fawcett (Microsoft) on "optimized applications" http://research.microsoft.com/ivm/HDView/HDGigapixel.htm

TechnologyVentres - from Idea to Enterprise
Richard C. Dorf
Thomas H. Byers

Ubuntu 7.04 is Born

Drums beat a mad jungle pattern to announce the arrival of a new god in operating systems as Ubuntu 7.04 crawled out from under wraps and greeted the bright new day!

"I stand on the back of Giant Turtles " said the spanking new youngster," speaking of his dominance in the free-to-you market, while gripping a snake in one hand (curiously labeled 'Windows') and a tarred and feathered Macintoch apple in the other (also labeled perhaps with affection - "Mac"). "Not only do I stand on the backs of Giant Turtles,' the cherubic Ubuntu asserted, referring to his universal appeal, "I stand on them ALL THE WAY DOWN!"

The crowd of bronzed gods and godlets cheered wildly as some of the goats swooned from standing in the heat for hours awaiting his magnificent arrival. His parents were on hand to usher the not-to-long-awaited Ubuntu 7.04 to his home on their Web page where he expects to be a rapid and popular download for many weeks to come.

Those who arrived by boat cast off into the darkening light to party long into the next day - meanwhile the rapid clicking of acceptance resounded on computer keyboards worldwide.

http://mako.cc/talks/20041126-ubuntu/ubuntu_gulev-talk_notes.html

Ubuntu is a Zulu word that in English means something like:

Humanity towards others.
Another translation would be:

The belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.

Desmond defined Ubuntu in the following way:

A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole.

—Archbishop Desmond Tutu, from "No Future Without Forgiveness"

Ubuntu is a pretty common concept in South Africa. There are pictures of billboards that people routinely send us about "Ubuntu this" or "Ubuntu that."

See - https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntues/attachments/20051202/4abe3cb1/ubuntu_5.11.jpg

http://www.ubuntu.com/

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

UW Architectural Commission Meeting - April 2007

UW Architectural Commission
As a member of the UW Architectural Commission -- today April 16th 2007, I listened to presentations by 8 architecture firms from early to eve, with our 10-15 person Commission (I'm the student rep, but I am a voting member). There must have been 60-85 architects, engineers, architectural PMs, and architecture support staff, and so forth. They appeared and left in waves.

It was very exciting - the UW master plan calls for the renovation of -

* The Hub (we already approved the team last meeting) AKA the Student Union Center
* Clark Hall (already under renovation)
* Lewis Hall
* Denny Hall (the oldest building, Lewis and Clark are the other oldest buildings)
* Savery Hall
* a new mammoth UW School of Business building with a curved roof, long and L shaped like twin boats.
* a new set of south hospital buildings - ( sections are already old, and part will need to be redone soon - it's an amazing maze of linked and interconnected structures) - just the preplanning generally survey.
* and the south shore development of the UW campus down near the fish pond and half basketball court, old fisheries and oceanography buildings.
UW Architectural Commission, Model of the new School of Business
So we saw the folks from Denny, Lewis, Business Building, South Hospital (beds and service entrances) and south shore (which I call recreational).

I love working with these folks - they are so formal (Roberts Rules of Order) I need to reign myself in, but it is fun! Who doesn't like to spend other people's money? Especially when it's your job?

The last set of architects presenting I felt could have the most influence and discussion with in preplanning. Since the site was something I am particularly fond of -- I advised them to go to the south UW campus (it's the most romantic best kept secret in Seattle) waterfront park and play some basketball, and walk the paths. They just CANT build more giant structures along that coast it is much too valuable. Like the cutest of puppies it begs for recreational use.

UW Architectural Commission
I was also able to quickly bring forth my ideas for some variation in the coastline, more use of water. I mentioned it there for the south campus and in downtown Seattle along where those horrible old docks are - they should dig out the old fill from where they dumped the Denny regrade soil and return that area to the water that it used to be. It would be so great to have instead of dock, spits of land coming out, with walkways, restaurants, shopping, educational parks, museums and more - it would be a huge draw to our city if we made over that area.

The younger architect I was talking with could see the vision and the idea of negative spaces, and the shoreline and water ideas - he got fabulously excited about them too. We also discussed round spaces with buildings that reflect the shape, and including underwater buildings and a kind of - like a Seattle Venice (moats and gondolas ? ) with waterways and land where the docks are now. We were sort of jumping up and down and dancing with these ideas by the day's end.

We approved the overall design for the school of business' center and I commented to Mark Emmert, President of the University, that it will naturally attract money to the university because of it's central placement. An architect added - yes, it's close to the attorneys har har har.

UW Architectural Commission
I made several positive comments about the loveliness and flows of the designs. There was a bunch of creative and design energy and it was just a joy. My eyes must have been like saucers!

Unerringly we caught design ambiguities, or where the architectural planners sort of didn't mention what the outstanding issues were - like the wheelchair access placement is still an issue with the Business Building, but they are on top of that. Or that security is a serious concern, the loading docks are all at the same place on the South Medical Center and they just want to add more. How is that wise? How about making an alternative tunnel to support the medical center separately from the regular traffic. Keep the floor heights the same once you determine them so it's easier to link future building. What the heck is going on with those elevators?
UW Architectural Commission
I got to vote on the architects for Denny and Lewis, and vote on approving the design for the business center! How cool is that? Of course I shot photos - they were grateful I had my live wireless MacWin box with me so we could keep up with the news...

Architecture seems to be one place where age is an advantage... Really great experience, learned a lot, esp. about presentation and enthusiasm. Great people the UW architectural commission - love 'em. The local and regional architects who made presentations were wonderful.

I believe the state is going to receive the best use of the money with the best results from such a sensitive and concerned, educated and historically interested group as the present architecture commission and from the architects they both select and advise to perform the design, and accomplish the work.

I love this quote from UW President, Mark Emmert, being "elitist is not in our DNA".

Here's the link to the UW Architectural Commission's page:
http://www.washington.edu/faculty/facsenate/handbook/01-03-04.html
UW Architectural Commission, model of the new Business School building on the Seattle campus

More info:
ARCHITECTURAL COMMISSION STUDENT MEMBER:

GPSS Representative: Linda Lane
Committee Type: University
Chair: Daniel Friedman
Chair's Title: Professor and Dean, College of Architecture and Urban Planning
Meeting Frequency:
Description: The Architectural Commission Student Member is charged with the responsibility of reviewing significant matters relative to planning and architectural design of campus. It reviews and recommends general and specific planning and design policies, campus plans and the selection of building sites
Website Address:
http://www.washington.edu/faculty/facsenate/handbook/01-03-04.html

All photos used in this article are by Linda Lane.

- AGENDA -
UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON
ARCHITECTURAL COMMISSION MEETING
April 16, 2007
Location: UW (Faculty) Club Conference Room

REVISED AGENDA (rev 4/11/07)

7:50am Call to Order Friedman
Approval of Agenda
Approval of Minutes
Campus Landscape Advisory Committee Report (written) Cole

8:00am Savery Hall Renovation, Design Development Review & Approval
Project Manager/Presenter: Brian Berard
Architect: SRG Partnership

8:25am Denny Hall Renovation, Architect Interviews
Project Manager/Presenter: Randy Everett

8:30am Interview Firm #1, Bassetti Architects
9:30am Interview Firm #2, Mahlum Architects
10:30am Interview Firm #3, Thomas Hacker Architects
11:30am Break
11:35pm Lunch
Denny Hall Renovation Discussion and Recommendation
12:25pm Lewis Hall Renovation, Architect Interviews
Project Manager/Presenter: Randy Everett
12:30pm Interview Firm #1, Mahlum Architects
1:30pm Interview Firm #2, Mithun
2:30pm Interview Firm #3, Snyder Hartung Kane & Strauss
3:30pm Break
3:35pm Lewis Hall Discussion and Recommendation
4:15pm Break
4:30pm New Business School, Phase 1 and 2, Schematic Design Review & Approval
Project Manager/Presenter: Steve Tatge
Architect: LMN Architects
5:15pm UW Medical Center Expansion, Pre-Design Review and
Review and Approval of the South Campus Planning Study
Project Manager/Presenter: Will Smith
Architect: Anshen & Allen
6:00pm Adjourn

** Please arrive and be ready for your project presentation 30 minutes prior to your scheduled time. **
Next meeting – June 4, 2007, UW Club


ARCHITECTURAL COMMISSION regarding UW Medical Center Expansion
April 16, 2007

PROJECT SUMMARY: UW Medical Center Expansion
PROJECT NUMBER: 201385
PROJECT MANAGER: Will Smith
ARCHITECT : Anshen + Allen Architects, San Francisco
ACTION REQUIRED: Approval of Pre-Design and
Review of the South Campus Planning Study

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:

Design and construct a new building addition directly south and contiguous with the Medical Center’s Mullenberg and Pacific Towers. This addition will support the goal of delivering world class care and educational space in a technically advanced and patient-centered healing environment for the Medical Center’s high acuity inpatient population. The expansion will be in two phases. Phase One (this project) is a four-story approximately 127,700 gross square foot building with a mechanical basement level and roof top penthouse configured to accommodate a future Phase Two vertical addition. Phase Two will add three levels and approximately 95,100 gross square feet to Phase One. Together, these two phases will provide up to the total maximum allowed 226,000 gross square feet approved by the minor plan change to the University’s Master Plan to address the majority of the need identified in the 2005 Comprehensive Facility Planning Study of 260,000 gross square feet for year 2015. An additional 350,000 gross square feet is forecast as need in 2025.

Level 1 accommodates Columbia Road, mechanical/electrical space, loading dock operations and future support space shelled for the Medical Center’s materials management and food services departments. Level 2 provides expansion space for Diagnostic Imaging and shell space to expand Surgery in the future. Level 3 houses a 32-34 bed Acute Care Nursing Unit, and Level 4 will house a 50 bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Future levels will house additional Acute Care Nursing Units.

A detailed Functional, Technical and Site program for Phase One has been developed as part of the Pre-design effort and a test-fit blocking/massing study with a project cost estimate has been completed. The Campus Landscape Advisory Committee reviewed and approved the Site Program in September 2007.

* Project Budget: $ 155 M
* Estimated Construction Cost: $ 116 M
* Estimated Construction Start: October 2008
* Estimated Project Occupancy: April –May 2011

DESIGN RELATED ISSUES:

Design and medical planning excellence are both critical for this project, given; a) the highly visible location of the project site; b) the project’s influence on the surrounding campus environment and existing southern views from within the Medical Center; c) the project’s organizational context as part of the Medical Center for patient wayfinding and patient care movements and; c) the importance and highly technical nature of the state-of-the-art medical functions and services within the building. The project will embrace sustainable design and green building principles so that this expertise is also very important

PREVIOUS ARCHITECTURAL COMMISSION ACTION:
May 2007 – Architect Selection


ARCHITECTURAL COMMISSION - New Business School Building
April 16, 2007
PROJECT SUMMARY: New Business School Building Phase 1
PROJECT NUMBER: 3673 Predesign; 201837 Phase 1 Building
PROJECT MANAGER: Steve Tatge
ARCHITECT: LMN Architects

ACTION REQUIRED: Schematic Design Approval

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
The University of Washington Business School intends to place itself among the top-ranked business schools in the nation. The physical facilities of the Business School require significant upgrading and expansion to house desired program offerings. The Business School intends to supplement its currently assigned space in MacKenzie Hall, Lewis Hall, Bank of America Executive Education Center and Balmer Hall with a new facility funded primarily through development efforts. This new facility will join with a replacement for Balmer Hall, the existing MacKenzie Hall, and the existing BEEC to form a new unified Business School complex. MacKenzie Hall and the BEEC will not be modified under the current approach.

The major academic goals for this new facility include:
* Physically consolidate all Business School programs to the greatest degree possible.
* Provide large, flexible classrooms optimally configured for multiple teaching styles.
* Provide formal and informal interaction spaces that promote synergy and collegial interaction among faculty and students.
* Provide significant technological resources and access.
* Provide student support spaces.


LMN Architects developed the Business School’s original conceptual program in September 2001 and refined it further in a 2002-2003 Predesign. The 2006 Predesign Study identified approximately 123,000 gross square feet in the Phase 1 building and 61,000 gross square feet in the Phase 2 replacement of Balmer Hall. Program elements include undergraduate and graduate classrooms, faculty and staff offices, an auditorium, public commons space, and support spaces. Both phases will be designed to achieve LEED Silver certification or better.

* Project Budget (Total)/ Phase 1 Maximum of $80,000,000 (2009 dollars)
* Estimated Construction Start/ Phase 1 September 2008; Occupancy September 2010

DESIGN-RELATED ISSUES:

* Building massing, organization, and architectural expression
* Interior public spaces
* Relationship to nearby campus buildings, trees, circulation, and open spaces
* Approach to meeting both the design goals and the construction budget
* Implications for design of Phase 2 building

PREVIOUS ARCHITECTURAL COMMISSION ACTION:

Site approval March 2003; AOR approval June 2002; Predesign Study briefing May 2006; Predesign Study approval September 2006; Early Schematic Design guidance December 2006


ARCHITECTURAL COMMISSION -Denny Hall Renovation

April 16, 2007
PROJECT SUMMARY Denny Hall Renovation
PROJECT NUMBER 202039
PROJECT MANAGER Randy Everett
ARCHITECT To be selected

ACTION REQUIRED Architect Recommendation

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Denny Hall was constructed in 1895 as the original University administration building. The last major structural and interior renovation of this building was in 1956, the exterior masonry was restored in 1990 and the slate roof was restored in 2005. The facility is approximately 89,745 gross square foot in area. Denny currently houses the College of Arts and Sciences’ Departments of Anthropology, Classics, Germanics, and Near Eastern Languages & Civilization with approximately 23,000 square feet of departmental offices and over 11,000 square feet of specialized classrooms and labs, including the College’s Language Learning Center. There are also approximately 12,000 square feet of general assignment classrooms totaling 765 seats in Denny Hall.

The purpose of this project is to completely correct the facilities deficiencies including those related to instructional, fire and life safety, seismic upgrades and accessibility. The project must achieve LEED silver certification per State mandate.

Funding approval is pending by the State Legislature for the design phases.

* Project Budget: $56,900,000
* MACC primary: $27,000,000
* Pre-design: July to December 2007
* Design phases: April 2008 to November 2009
* Construction December 2009 to September 2011
* Occupancy November 2011

BACKGROUND

Seven firms/teams submitted qualifications in response to the RFQ. Of these, three have been selected to be interviewed: Bassetti Architects, Mahlum Architects, and Thomas Hacker Architects.

DESIGN RELATED ISSUES

The evaluation team short listed the consultants based upon:

* Successful experience with higher education facilities.
* Experience in design and renovation of existing buildings.
* Proven ability to work within project budgets and schedules and for public institutions.
* Staffing plan and LEED certification experience.


ARCHITECTURAL COMMISSION - Lewis Hall Renovation

April 16, 2007
PROJECT SUMMARY Lewis Hall Renovation
PROJECT NUMBER 202040
PROJECT MANAGER Randy Everett
ARCHITECT To be selected
ACTION REQUIRED Architect Recommendation
PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Lewis Hall, constructed in 1896 as the men’s dormitory, was later used as a women’s dormitory. This historic structure has never undergone major renovation. The 23,220 gross square feet building currently houses offices and program space for the Business School’s Dean of Business Administration, the Department of Accounting, and Educational Outreach program including nearly 13,000 square feet of offices and approximately 1,000 square feet of study and special use spaces. There are no general assignment classrooms in this building.

The purpose of this project is to completely correct the facilities deficiencies including those related to instructional, fire and life safety, seismic upgrades and accessibility. The project must achieve LEED silver certification per State mandate.

Funding approval is pending by the State Legislature for the design phases.

* Project Budget: $18,500,000
* MACC primary: $7,900,000
* Pre-design: July to December 2007
* Design phases: April 2008 to August 2009
* Construction September 2009 to July 2011
* Occupancy September 2011

BACKGROUND

Fifteen firms/teams submitted qualifications in response to the RFQ. Of these, three have been selected to be interviewed: Mahlum Architects, Mithun, and Snyder, Hartung, Kane Strauss Architects.

DESIGN RELATED ISSUES
The evaluation team short listed the consultants based upon:

* Successful experience with higher education facilities.
* Experience in design and renovation of existing buildings.
* Proven ability to work within project budgets and schedules and for public institutions.
* Staffing plan and LEED certification experience.

ARCHITECTURAL COMMISSION - Savery Hall Renovation
December 4, 2006
PROJECT SUMMARY: Savery Hall Renovation
PROJECT NUMBER: 200911
PROJECT MANAGER: Brian Berard
ARCHITECT: SRG Partnership
ACTION REQUIRED: Design Development Final

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Constructed in 1917 and 1920 in the Collegiate Gothic style, Savery Hall is one of four buildings on the Seattle campus’ liberal arts quadrangle. At 102,105 GSF building is a major instructional building with 25% of its area dedicated to general purpose classrooms and a 200-seat auditorium. The Departments of Economics, Philosophy, and Sociology occupy the building. Savery also houses the Center of Social Science Computation & Research, a computer center supporting all of the social sciences. Usage is anticipated to remain the same.

Over the years a range of isolated remodels and other improvements have been made; however, a major renovation has never occurred. The purpose of this project is to completely restore and preserve the core facility while making current fire and life safety provisions, seismic upgrades, accessibility accommodations, and other improvements to enhance instruction.

The GCCM procurement method is planned. Condon Hall will serve as the surge space.

Design funding has been appropriated by the State Legislature. Construction funding needs to be allocated by the state in early 2007.

* Project Budget: $61,510,000
* Estimated MACC: $30,000,000
* Estimated Construction Start: Fall 2007
* Estimated Project Occupancy: Fall 2009

DESIGN RELATED CONSIDERATIONS:

* Finalized Design Development package includes re-design of interior spaces from the SD approval that contain reductions in the gross SF necessary to meet the budget.
* Redesign floor plate and interior spaces.
* Reduced and eliminated mezzanine floor space. Re-used existing fourth floor attic for occupied space.
* Reduced ADA Access to two locations.
* Exterior proportions of lowered modified entry locations on Spokane Lane (SW) and Chelan Lane (W).
* Continued development of the natural ventilation and mix mode ventilation systems.
* Developed open common areas for teaching assistance office and meeting areas. Eliminated closed TA offices.
* Relocated mechanical chiller systems to a roof well area from prior SD exterior at grade location for sound and visual considerations.

PREVIOUS ARCHITECTURAL COMMISSION ACTION: Design Development – in progress review