Monday, May 04, 2009

Family Photography

Family photos are not on my list of favorite things to do, but, sometimes, everything comes together at once. Big smiles, bright blue sky, picture perfect background and a person who knows how to use a camera. They all came together to make a great family photo.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 28, 2009

3D-based Captchas become reality | Crave - CNET

3D-based Captchas become reality | Crave - CNET

I'm fascinated by the idea of the CAPTCHA. Not the least of which, is the fact the CAPTCHA is an acronym. Because of the continuing risk/reward systems that all humans operate under, this convention is most probably here to stay.

What's funny to me regarding this 3D addition, is that in order to work around the system one of two things will need to happen.

1.) Spammers hire a person to do the work (and in that case, the CAPTCHA actually does exactly what it is intended to do: ensure a human is using the system.

2.) Computers are programmed to better recognize three dimensional objects from virtually any angle.

Option 2 is what intrigues me. I have to believe that someone is already working on this problem. Allbeit for use in robotics applications. If the spammers and hackers of the world decide to spend their time on option 2, the system will need to evolve again. Only this time we will have added the concept of computers recognizing three dimensional objects in the process. A process that we will need to have at somepoint in the future.

This has got me thinking, what other kinds of difficult computer recognition problems are out there? The best I can come up with at the moment is idiomatic expressions. The other problems I can come up with are already being worked on, or they've been solved (voice recognition and facial expressions recognition).

As a society we need to find ways to put value to the problems that we may hackers work on more valuable. These people spend loads of time working on a problem, so, let's give them a problem that really needs to be solved.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

There are no new ideas

If you spend any time around me, you’ll hear me say this phrase somewhat regularly.  As I have now been working in the IT industry for 10 full years, obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Business Computer Information Systems and a Master’s degree in Information Technology, it becomes more and more clear to me that there are no new ideas, only a new way to implement the same old ones.

For instance, take ERP system such as SAP and PeopleSoft.  There is absolutely nothing new about putting your business information into a computer.  In fact, the only new about the an ERP system is that is has more information available, in a shorter period of time, and in a way that people can understand. Hmm, that sounds a bit like a chart… more information available, short time, more people can understand…. exactly.

The same goes for the various kinds of computers systems that run today corporations and small business.  30 years ago we talked about virtualization on the mainframe, and now we talk about on mid-range or mini-computers.  Still virtualization, still the same old making one computer look like or act like many computers at the same time.

I find that extraordinary.  So, really, the big ideas are not new, only new ways to implement the same old ideas that have already been proven successful decades, centuries or millennia ago.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Master of Information Technologies

After completing my Master of IT in May of 2008, I’ve now had some time to reflect back on both the experience and it’s implication for my daily work as an IT professional.

Probably the most startling revelation that I take away from the experience is that most IT people are IT because of the technical interest.  That IT is any help at all to the BUSINESS, is only coincidental.  As IT people, struggling with the bits and bytes, we sometimes loose sight of what all our efforts are for. 

If IT people fail to see how IT can help the business, we’re all doomed to failure.  We must, as individuals, departments, divisions and companies understand how IT is critical to the business (whatever business that may be) and strive to find how IT can serve and not be served.