Passionate about open data, geospatial technology and the web. Live and work in beautiful #Nanaimo. Opinions my own! (not speaking for employer)
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Jerry Gretzinger's World

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Jerry Gretzinger began doodling a map of an imaginary town in 1963. When he got to the edge of the page, he added another and the map began to take on its own life. The map now has over 2600 panels and covers 2000 square feet. Here is panel N1/W16.

He takes a playing card from a deck with instructions that tell him what to do next. Panels are often redone and sometimes a card will tell him to place a void (a white space) over part of a panel obliterating what was underneath. Some important areas, like most of the largest city of Ukrania have walls surrounding them to protect the citizens from being wiped out by one of these voids. His blog details one of these voids that happened in January - his words appear below the image.
The Void Incursion which most recently hit the Polk neighborhood of Wybourne in Map Years 752 and 805 yesterday (Map Year 1045) consumed another large expanse of that city carrying off to another dimension an estimated 28,590 people. Taken, too, were over 20 commercial blocks and one rail station.

Since there is no defense wall in this area it is widely assumed that the entire West end of Wybourne will, one day, be lost to the Void.
He also began adding artistic elements like cut out images or words from magazines. For more information on his process you see see his video on vimeo.

You can see the entire map interactively. It takes a while to load and then it may take you all day to stare and marvel at it. Here is a bit I landed on showing an area called Duggan. The town is surrounded by one of those walls to protect it from being victimized by a void. 
Much of the map (about 800 of the central panels) will be on display at the Brattleboro Museum in Vermont starting November 1st.

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jasonbirch
2935 days ago
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Nanaimo, Canada
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A good day for the little format that could

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Today was a pretty good day for the GeoJSON format.

Josh Livni announced on Twitter that the Google Map Engine API had been published. The little format that could has a good role in the API.

Ed Summers blogged about wikigeo.js, a library that gives you a GeoJSON interface to Wikipedia API results. Ed is absolutely right about how usable and right for the web right-for-the-web mapping software has become since younger web developers and designers have started to displace the older earth science programmers like myself.

A good example of which is Tom MacWright's edit geojson app: app; draw a shape and copy the GeoJSON representation, paste some GeoJSON and render the shape.

The business of geospatial standardization may have hit a rough patch recently, but things aren't all bad. Developers are still finding ways to agree, share, and do good work.

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jasonbirch
3053 days ago
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Nanaimo, Canada
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BC ICM Footnote

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Early this year, the ICM project released a system assessment reportfrom Queensland Consulting which was seized on by the BCGEU and others as showing ICM to be "deeply flawed and serious question remain regarding the software’s suitability for child protection work".

I found two things curious about the Queensland report: first, it was willing to talk about the failing of COTS methodology in a way that is rare in the stodgy conservative world of enterprise IT; and second, a large number of the process recommendations were reiterations of a previous report, a "Readiness Assessment" by Jo Surich, Victoria tech eminence grise and former BC CIO. If the Surich report was so good that Queensland was quoting from it rather than writing their own material, I wanted to read it, so I filed an FOI.

You can read the full Surich report now, on the BC open info site.

I found two items of particular interest in Surich's report. interest.

First, the date. Surich reported out in April of 2011. Over a year later, the Queensland consultants were re-iterating many of his recommendations. Surich was not listened to.Since a second set of consultants saw the same problems Surich did, letting his recommendations gather dust was a tactical error, to say the least.

Second, the big picture plan. Surich notes that, in addition to replacing all the tracking and reporting systems used in child protect, the Ministry was simultaneously changing the practice model (the "business process", in the usual IT terminology) that social workers use for their cases.

Simultaneously changing the business process and technology is a time honoured and widely replicated failure mode in enterprise IT development, because it makes so much sense. If you're changing the business process, you'll need to change the systems to match the business process. So, why not replacethe systems at the same time as you change the business process?

Lots of reasons!

  • Your mutating business process will constantly change the system requirements underneath you, resulting in lots of back-tracking and re-coding.
  • You won't know if your business process is bad until you deliver your system, which will then require further system changes as you again alter the business process.
  • You double down on changes your staff need to ingest, in both tooling and methodology, and triple down as you add in fixes to business process after deployment.
  • It's been done before, and it's led to some epic, epic failures.

As I learn more about the background to ICM, I have to ask myself if I would have done any differently. Particularly given the timelines and promises that backstop the huge capital commitment that gave birth to ICM, I find myself saying "no", I'd have made the same (similar) mistakes. I'd have walked down a very similar path. Probably not using COTS, but still trying to do business process and technology at once, trying to deliver a complete replacement system instead of evolving existing ones. Taking a set of rational, correct, defensible decisions leading down a dead-end path to failure.

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jasonbirch
3075 days ago
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Nanaimo, Canada
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All Adobe Updates

15 Comments and 31 Shares
ALERT: Some pending mandatory software updates require version 21.1.2 of the Oracle/Sun Java(tm) JDK(tm) Update Manager Runtime Environment Meta-Updater, which is not available for your platform.
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jasonbirch
3086 days ago
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Adobe. Almost as bad as Oracle/Java...
Nanaimo, Canada
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13 public comments
oyerista
3082 days ago
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There's an update from Adobe..
In my shoes
warrenfparker67
3083 days ago
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Yep.
Washington, District of Columbia
claudinec
3085 days ago
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Oh yes.
Melbourne, Australia
Michdevilish
3085 days ago
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Adobe, adobe
Canada
tedder
3085 days ago
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this.
Uranus
attackofhubris
3085 days ago
reply
Hah. Silly adobe.
Fayette-nam
jrgifford
3085 days ago
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Yup.
Cleveland Heights, OH
jorunn
3085 days ago
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<3
mrobold
3086 days ago
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No comment necessary.
Orange County, California
BN
3086 days ago
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When your software is a laughing stock, that means you should give up.
danatnr
3086 days ago
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The only thing missing is the offer to download McAfee security.
Ohio
cluebcke
3085 days ago
It'd be worth it if they through in an Ask Toolbar as well
TheRomit
3086 days ago
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Yup, nailed it.
santa clara, CA

Comic for April 7, 2013

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jasonbirch
3089 days ago
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Nanaimo, Canada
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Flowchart

8 Comments and 23 Shares
The way out is to use the marker you have to add a box that says 'get a marker' to the line between you and 'start', then add a 'no' line from the trap box to 'end'.
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jasonbirch
3091 days ago
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Nanaimo, Canada
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8 public comments
cloudtamer
3089 days ago
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LOL
Reno, NV
Putty
3090 days ago
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Yep...
oliverzip
3090 days ago
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It's a trap!
Sydney, Balmain, Hornsby.
Door
3090 days ago
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My kingdom for an Admiral Ackbar gif.
Vienna, VA, USA
teh_g
3091 days ago
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ITS A TARP
Roseville, CA
adamgurri
3091 days ago
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it's a trap!
New York, NY
gcapell
3091 days ago
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My first shared post.
Sydney, AU
tachfine
3091 days ago
interesting
lepht
3088 days ago
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