Reality Mining the Organization

"Reality Mining" the Organization talks about tracking whom employees talk to, what they talk about and what tone of voice they are using. My first response was “how scary!” I mean, I don’t care if my company knows who I’m talking to, but to know when I talk to them, what I say and even what tone of voice I use sounds like big brother. Now, in practice, nobody is actually going to listen to the conversation, like nobody actually reads all my emails that they track. However, I think the data will much more likely be used to correct than to collaborate. So I think it’s much more likely that they would discover someone is antagonistic to 90% of people, and decide that combined with their poor performance, they aren’t worth keeping, then someone would decide that because someone regularly talks about the latest technology with ten of their friends, that they should be on the new technology team. But you never know, like all technology, its usefulness will depend on how well it’s deployed.

Wired News: Playas Pay to Spread the Luv

Wired has an article about a new networking site called FunHi, Wired News: Playas Pay to Spread the Luv. People join, pick a ganster personality type, post a picture and then give each other electronic gifts. These electronic gifts (like virtual airplanes or diamonds) cost less than a quarter on average and you can give them to anyone, but they can’t be regifted. You can also rate people on how cool or sexy they are.

FunHi has pulled in more than $10,000 in their first month. Talk about social networking and web based businesses!

Virtual Reality

The MIT Tech Review article My Avatar, My Self talks about virtual reality sites. You logon, define your character and wander around meeting with people, playing games, shopping, etc. It’s like the online games such as Everquest but you’re not playing a game. You’re talking to real people about whatever you want. It’s the first version of the “cyberspace” concept prevalent in science fiction books by authors like Neal Stephenson and William Gibson.

The National Marrow Donor Program

I would like to encourage everyone who is able to sign up as a bone marrow donor with The National Marrow Donor Program. Only 30% of people in need of bone marrow find a match within their family. The rest of them rely on people in the donor database.

One of my collegues is currently still looking for a donor for his treatment scheduled in the spring.

Ender’s Game

Ender’s Game is an excellent science fiction book. The setting is a world in the future where Earth has been attacked once by an alien race. Earth expects the aliens to come back again, and in order to prepare the best and brightest to fight the next invasion, they set up a military school … for children. The most intelligent and mentally capable children are selected at a very young age to attend the military academy. At the academy they train using “The Game” – a sports game in no gravity that prepares them for war.
Orson Scott Card does an excellent job of character portrayal, and his children, while geniuses, are very believable.
I’ve read the print edition of this book and recommend it. However, I recently listened to the audio version of this book and it was excellent. It’s done in several voices.

Mona Lisa Smile

Mona Lisa Smile is a movie about a young professor from California who takes a job at Wellesley College, a prestigious women’s college, in the 1950’s. The young professor is played by Julia Roberts. Julia Stiles and Kirsten Dunce play several of the girls.
During the movie, Julie Roberts’ character struggles greatly with the attitude of both the Wellesley administration, who want her to teach a traditional curriculum, and the students, who are looking forward to getting married. Roberts’ character wants the students to think and challenges them to achieve higher academic and career goals. However, most of the girls in the movie are planning on getting married and starting a family, not a career. The movie illustrates the changing roles and attitudes of women in American society in the 1950s and how difficult that was for many people.
What struck me most was how different I would have been if I’d grown up in the 1940s and how little understanding and tolerance women of my generation have for the women of previous generations. While being a mother and housewife is certainly still a respectable career, we have little patience with someone who doesn’t understand the importance of our outside the home career. Not too long ago, it would have been unheard of for most of us to have the careers we have. I don’t think we realize how much we’ve changed in such a short time.

Just in case after seeing the movie, you think Wellesley College is a school for coeds looking for husbands, you should know that many, many prestigious women have graduated from Wellesley, such as Madame Albright and Hillary Clinton. And 5% of the women that sit on Fortune 500 boards graduated from Wellesley, according to author Harvey Mackay.