About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

01 May 2012

The 4 Commandments of Cities

A recent TED talk, Eduardo Paes, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro gives a talk on how cities should be evolving to the future. He makes some great points - the need to have us able, efficient public transport; the need to seamlessly incorporate parks and the environment; the need to be socially integrated across the board on city services and the use of technology to make everything more efficient. The idea of a centralised operations centre - similar to that of IT operations centre - is quite interesting and I think does have a lot of potential; but off course it needs real direction and quite a lot of investment to make it work.

What is equally fascinating, are the comments to the talk, from Brazilians. While the talk, complete with a live cross over to the operations centre, is impressive - the Brazilian reaction is actually quite negative. The claims are, that what was shown is mostly fake; the city politicians are corrupt, and the showcases (of public health in favelas etc) are too few to really impact actual lives. I went to Rio over 4 years ago; and the city did not have the efficiencies then - but that doesn't mean it hasn't improved since. After all Gauteng, 4 years ago didn't have a high speed train or a bus transit system. What I liked of the talk is the promise that cities can be better; and cities can be more efficient. The talking points are applicable to all cities - we can argue on the effectiveness of the implementation.


29 April 2012

Jeremiah Grossman's "Hack Yourself First"

Jeremiah Grossman's RSA Conference Talk this year was an extended version of his TEDx talk from a few weeks earlier. While his RSA talk is not available on the web (as far as I can see), his TEDx talk is. It is centred around the concept that hacking (or breaking) into your own systems, regularly is going to be one of the most effective means of understanding the system vulnerabilities than relying on defence mechanisms only.

Movie: The Iron Lady

It's easy for me to review The Iron Lady in one word: Unfulfilled. Unlike other recent biopics, such as The Queen or The King's Speech, The Iron Lady, offers a lot of snippets but very rarely the full story. While Margaret Thatcher's character as an uncompromising, principled politician is well portrayed by an excellent performance by Meryl Streep, the interweaving stories are too short and sometimes too abrupt. I found it unfocused, and as a biography too simple.