Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Mastering the Mess

Mastering the Mess
An article found in ACM Communications in April, 2007.

What this articles talks about sounds quite obvious and straightforward, but not many people understand it.

When people face problems that are hard to solve, then after a while, people give up trying to solve it and they just adjust themselves to the problem and change their life around it. When someone finally finds that answer to the problem, people often resist accepting the solution because it will change the way they've been working whether it was right or wrong.

The author seems to say, the "innovator" should accept this fact of people not trying to change old ways, and try to bring gradual change without people noticing it, rather than bringing in a sudden revolution. The process could be slow but with that way, the innovative solution could eventually work out without scaring the majority.

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This is another dilemma. Innovators are often hot-tempered, and fast-paced people who just can't stand the problems they are faced with. And they want to see their solutions to kill the problem right away, so they push it hard. Often it's too hard, and it scares majority of people who are just too afraid of the unexpected things that it could bring. So his innovation gets bullied and killed, even though it would've solved the problem.

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These kinds of things happen everywhere. In life, in politics, at work...
Those who followed the author's approach often eventually won the crowd at the end. The ones who try to turn things upside down in a short time often get squashed by the scared majority. I think Korean president, Roh Moo Hyun, had good intentions and answers for solving South Korea's many decades-old problems, but he pushed his intentions a bit too hard - and he tried to do them all while he was in presidency, only 4~5 years. Guess what happened? His policies were too much for people to take and thus his sides was crushed by the top opposition in the last week's presidential election big time.

The ultimate convergence of IT and machinery tech

The marvel of machinery technology must be automobiles. I mean it requires lots and lots of new and old technologies related to machines - engines, suspension, tires, materials, etc.

Now there is this Nissan GT-R, which I must call it the ultimate convergence of IT and machinery. It's got so many features accomplished by IT. I hear from the news that one could change the car's settings like damper ratio, gear changing speed, and etc, with touchscreen LCD, just as easily as one could do it in a video game.

It even has an location based speed limiter. It has a GPS receiver and the limiter allows the car to be driven up to 180km/h if it's outside a race track, and allows unlimited speed if it's in the track. BTW, this is an overkill and I am sure there will be hackers who will do some tricks to disable this features.. I mean who wants to drive that nice car to drive up to only 180km/h...?

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Anyways, I personally don't really like cars that have too many computer assisted features. I am probably more like European drivers, who like firm and stiff rides more and don't care much about anything else but driving when driving. (This sounds funny, by the way, but there are lots of people who buy cars not based on how it drives) One thing Japanese car still are behind Europeans is in making more rigid body structures, which help make the car feel more solid and handle more torsional force. What they lack in that department, they make it up with all those IT assisted features.

By the way, I really think European, especially German makers, could throw in those IT assisted features, but they probably just choose not to. More features require more parts, and more parts mean more costs and more possibillities for malfunctions. Also, their cars are great enough so that they just probably don't find a need for them as much.