Silly Word of the Day #94

Marchitecture. I shamelessly stole this from a presentation I attended the other day (names withheld to protect the innocent). If it resonates with you, it probably doesn’t need explaining, but marchitecture is IT architecture that is used for marketing reasons rather than technical ones. Sometimes the marchitecture looks the same as the ‘real’ architecture, sometimes not. Wikipedia’s definition seems a bit narrow (I’m not sure what electronic architecture is anyway), but hey. No original research seems to one of the more widely violated Wikipedian principles.

Second Life - Second Look

James has just given me a brief tour of Second Life. Once again I had problems - cracking graphics and a crashing client - but I was a bit more impressed than last time - having a guide to show me the good stuff and get the hang of the controls helped. I also met one or two of the other IBMers using Second Life. It’s clear that there’s still a lot more to explore. I’ve decided that I should attend one of the virtual IBM events - this seems to be one of the best uses of Second Life I’ve heard of so far.

My Architect

Perhaps it’s because I rent DVDs online, but I often seem to watch films with similar themes close together in time (Christiane F and Trainspotting, for example). I’ve just watched My Architect for the second time; and spent the entire film realising that it’s everything Tarnation could have been. Nathaniel Kahn goes looking for the spirit of his architect father, Louis Kahn, by travelling the world and finding the buildings (and people) that he touched. This film has real poignancy and warmth. Louis was a quality-over-quantity artist, and it’s apparent in all the architecture here, beautifully photographed.

There’s little crying but still the full gamut of emotion - one can tell Nathaniel really wants to understand the father he barely knew. The film is as much about the relationship between people (Louis Kahn had children by three women) as it is about architecture, but it’s a masterful experience, well documented and with a well-chosen score. A quality documentary, and well worthy of its Oscar nomination.

Flaky Trackback / Pingbacks on Wordpress 2.0.x

It seems that pingbacks and trackbacks (which are pingbacks’ more awkward, older cousin) are a bit flaky on Wordpress 2.0.x (for more information on how both are supposed to work, see this excellent tutorial). I’ve long suspected that’s the case, because blog entries I’ve linked to haven’t had pingbacks appear, and it seems I’m not the only one with such problems. However, I’ve tested pingbacks with this blog in both directions against TestTrack, which enables you to test ping- and trackbacks, and it does seem to work. TestTrack is running an 2.1 alpha level of Wordpress, so let’s hope that sorts out the bugs when it arrives.

Speakers from a Van

When I was at Imperial not so many years ago, there was a story in Felix, the college newspaper, about local ruffians selling knocked-off speakers from the backs of white vans in the South Ken area. At the time, students were advised not to approach them and to inform the police. I thought not much more of it, apart from it being a slightly bizarre way of fencing.

However, I recently read a story in Seth Godin’s book, All Marketers are Liars, which cast a new light on this. Apparently, something similar was happening in 80s Harvard: entrepreneurs would buy last year’s model of speaker (hence cheaply) and sell them to local students from the back of a van. Because the students assumed they were stolen, they could rationalise why they were cheap. The entrepreneurs made a tidy profit.

Is there something more to the Imperial story? Did the folks at Felix skimp on their research?

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