The Secret Of Systems

Information In The Information Age.

So, is this a poem or an image… or what, precisely?
This is all a computer gets, and the algorithm has to do the rest.

We live in a world that is knee deep in information. Just walking to the supermarket in our village would add a few details to the log of my mobile phone’s activity.

Well, it would if I carried it about. Information of this kind can never be perfect, and that is on account of the nature of the computer itself. A computer can’t do anything without being told to do it – this can come from another machine, but that machine will have had to be programmed. There’s a problem with programming that I’ll address at another date; suffice it to say that the programmers act out of their comfort zones. What they see is all they can see. This post will take a look at a different angle of what people want that satisfies their comfort zone. That is to say, what people want to see, where the reality is a whole lot simpler.

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A Sideways View · The Comfort Zone

A Sideways View Of Fences.

Please note that we are working inside the comfort zone here. Everything that is done fits in with how the bureaucrat sees the world – and in that he can't see anything else, nothing else can happen.
The bureaucrat’s answer to a pathway: something to block it. A fence. You can see where my path lay, there is a road in the background that leads to the allotments.

It was a good few years ago now that the council dug a tunnel under the motorway and railway to allow cyclists a quicker route from the north of our village to the south. This reduced my journey from over a kilometre to one that is a lot less. My allotment is within 300m of my home, it’s just that there’s a double track railway and a six lane highway in that space along with a minor road. Not the kind of thing one wants to cross on a dark night, even if it were possible what with all the barriers they’ve put up. Thus a tunnel was a welcome addition to our village.

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Architecture · Mind The Gap!

A Visit To The Bathtub.

Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum.
The new wing is the grey, um, thing and the old museum is the stripey brick building. [Source: Wikipedia].
In the Museum Quarter of Amsterdam there is the unimaginatively named ‘Museum Plein’ – the Museum Place. No surprises that you’ll find museums here. Well, that’s what it’s all about: the Dutch are straightforward people. Well, that is when they’re aware that is; when they are, things are made very easy. Unfortunately, the kind of architects this breeds are unimaginative – something that is the direct result of a lack of awareness. They’re not alone in this, most of the worlds architects are the kind of people the world would be happier without.

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Mind The Gap! · The Secret Of Systems

Folding Bikes and Bent Rules.

The Secret Of Systems, Part 12

I wheel my folding bicycle onto a Dutch train. This is strictly against the regulations, but it is tolerated as it makes boarding much faster.

So here is my folding bicycle, on the local train that will take me home. Bicycles that fold up travel free on the Dutch railways, if you have an ordinary bicycle, you have to buy a day ticket that costs €7. Now, according to the rule book, a bicycle has to be folded before you enter the train. As you can see, my bike is still unfolded – and will only be ‘broken’ in the middle for the swift journey home.

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Economics · Mind The Gap!

Goin’ Nowhere.

Because he knows that it’ll look new and everybody that needs to know will know that it is new. That is to say, his business partner will know that Piet has a newer car than he has.
This is the kind of backside men dream of when not dreaming about other backsides.

Piet is my friend Hendrik’s brother in law, and he wants a new car. Actually, he’s wanted a new car for a few years now. His business partner bought one. Only these are tough times for businesses and if you’re in business, you know that there’s one thing you need: a backup. That is to say, lots of cash to cover the dry periods. Just as an aside, if you hear someone talk about needing this, you know they’re in a commodity market and they don’t have any leverage over their competitors.

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A Human Menagerie · The Secret Of Systems

When The System Bites Back.

The worst thing about working behind a desk is that you have to read the paperwork that is in front of you. You can’t switch off in the way you can if you’re fitting wheel-nuts on a production line. Physical work is a tonic in itself, repetitive physical work doesn’t need the brain to be active.
At ten in the morning, the office is humming nicely.
With the waft of coffee in the air.

It’s a Monday morning here in Holland and the week has begun. The newspapers have been spread across the desk, now at half past ten, the second – third? – mug of coffee is being drunk. The interesting headlines are a tranquillizer to the yawning desert that stretches ahead, ended with the joy of meeting the river on Friday evening.

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