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Jack of all trades

One of the hardest questions I find myself having to answer outside of work is 'what do you do?'. Chris Pratley takes a shot at it:

I'm not sure where this saying came from originally, but one way to describe PMs is that they not only "pick up and run with the ball, they go find the ball". That really defines the difference between "knowing what to do and doing it", and "not knowing what to do, but using your own wits to decide what to do, then doing it". That means as a PM you are constantly strategizing and rethinking what is going on to find out if there is something you are missing, or the team is missing. You're also constantly deciding what is important to do, and whether action needs to be taken. The number of such decisions is staggering. I might make 50 a day, sometimes more than 100 or even 200. Most of the time there is not nearly enough hard data to say for certain what to do, and in any case almost all these decisions could never have hard data anyway - you need to apply concentration and clear thinking.
I don't know how anyone could resist taking a job with that description. Despite, or because of, all the schedules, meetings, project plans and specs, this is where it's at.
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Flower-Power Could Help Clear Land mines

Been a bit busy since the New Year but things are finding order again. Plenty to report but I'll save that for another time.Meanwhile, one of the coolest things I've heard in ages:

A Danish biotech company has developed a genetically modified flower that could help detect land mines and it hopes to have a prototype ready for use within a few years... The genetically modified weed has been coded to change color when its roots come in contact with nitrogen-dioxide (NO2) evaporating from explosives buried in soil... Within three to six weeks from being sowed over land mine infested areas the small plant, a Thale Cress, will turn a warning red whenever close to a land mine.
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The Spanish Armada

Now that's got me thinking about safety of the homeland. I learnt two interesting things about the Spanish Armada of 1588 this week.

  1. The British long-barrel cannons called culverin or snake fired shot faster than the speed of sound. Don't get in the way.
  2. The beacons used for the single message of 'I see them!' were effective, carrying the message from Plymouth to Carlisle in probably 40 minutes. I figure that's about 600mph.
Ah the joys of the History Channel.
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Outsourcing America

The employment multiplier effect:

This phenomenon is referred to as an employment multiplier effect. The employment multiplier measures the number of indirect jobs created for every direct job. Employment gains from IT investments cascade throughout much of the economy, creating a sizable stimulus to economic growth. While the multiplier effects from deploying a next-generation broadband network should exceed those found in the general economy (estimated to be around 1.5 to 2.0), it is likely to be less than the multiplier effects attributed to Microsoft (estimated to be 6.7).
The rest of the tech sector is estimated at about 4.0. Lou Dobbs has been doing an `Exporting America' segment on CNN over the last few weeks claiming outsourcing will bring about the end of the US economy. It makes you wonder.
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