The Skeptical Informer 2013 number 3: Books rock

The IT Skeptic's Skeptical Informer newsletter for 4th February 2013.

I have friends who are converting their libraries (and record collections) to digital versions, freeing up space in the house.
I can't bring myself to part with my printed books, for three reasons:
- I love the tactile experience of books
- Digital versions of my Dad's and great-grand-dad's books wouldn't be the same
- You don't own digital books

Think about that last one. If Amazon decide to take their books back, they can. They do, if the book is deleted/withdrawn for whatever reason, or they just don't like you.

I have a programmable calculator and a PDA from the 1970s (yes!) and neither works any more. My Kindle won't work in 2040 either. Will the Amazon cloud of my books still be there? But I have century-old books on my shelf that work just fine. My son will have them when I am gone. His great-great-grandfather's name is in some of them.

One of my websites was ahead of its time but suffered from my absence of marketing, so it never took off. It was called the Digital Family Trunk, and it addressed the issue of all this digital heritage that may well never pass on to the descendants. Ironically, the DFT site will be gone sometime, as I am not upgrading it. On the home page it says:

    "But Daddy, if Nana was a writer, where is the stuff she wrote?"
    "It was what they used to call a 'blog'. It is gone now"

It's all in vogue to be predicting in the volatile modern world. I predict someone - probably Google as custodians of the world's knowledge (they ARE!) - will offer a paid service to my descendants to get access to legacy sites, documents, and data. There is huge money in it. (I also predict my descendants will be here to read it.)

But I'm not relying on it. The first three years of my blog are edited into a book, The Worst of the IT Skeptic, which is on my bookshelf. A project for 2013 is for me to do Even Worse of the IT Skeptic, the next four years. I also want to bind up some of my personal blogs. Maybe nobody else reads them, but I'd love to read what MY great-grand-dad wrote.

Books rock. They survive a millennium in a cave. Only stone carvings last longer and they tend to be a bit terse.

Even digital books rock. Any book is an effort by the author(s) to construct a cogent, reasoned set of ideas; to share more with the reader than just the stream-of-consciousness half-baked babble that the internet spews over us.

I want my books to be the core of my contribution to the community; to be my body of work. All this blogging and commenting and posting and tweeting and speaking and G+ing is fizz - evanescent Hollywood sound-bites that don't count for spit in decades to come.

So I'm pleased to say my book Owning ITIL® is back on sale, after all the crap you read about in the last newsletter. TSO are still being strangely elusive about sharing with me a copy of the complaint letter they sent to Lulu. I'm not sure what that is about but I'm going to find out, as it smells a bit whiffy to me.

I'm even happier to tell you that a new book is out for Spanish/Castilian readers: Gestión Esencial de Servicios, a translation of my book Basic Service Management.

Plus! Standard+Case coverEven MORE exciting, my new book Plus! Standard+Case is out as a proof edition, and I expect to have the final revised proof for the PINK13 conference in Las Vegas in two weeks (if you are there, come see me in my booth in the Exhibit Hall).

Roughly yearly, I pick up on a big idea and promote it (see some of them in the list below). In 2013 I want to reconcile DevOps and ITSM. This was triggered by an article about Nassim Taleb's "anti-fragile" by Jez Humble that made me reconsider my position and think about common ground. I had a really interesting conversation about it with Gene Kim and will have more with Gene (after my review of his important book The Phoenix Project he's still nice to me) and as many other thought-leaders as I can engage on the topic through 2013. Hopefully that idea of common ground may lead to another book!

Because books rock.

Big ideas (don't forget to check out the comments! Always good):

The Standard+Case approach to response management
an exciting new approach to categorising and resolving any sort of activity "tickets", such as requests (including incidents) on a service desk, problems, or changes.

How business has failed IT
like a bad parent.

Tipu: a method for service management Continual Service Improvement (CSI)
Tipu is a method for creating and executing a service improvement programme which centrally plans, prioritises and coordinates the efforts of staff to improve the organisation as part of business as usual. It has something to contribute to everyone wanting to improve Service Management.

Checklists for getting service management right
Checklists are an essential tool to minimise errors and maximise efficiency when the heat is on and you need to act.

Eating ourselves
IT operations’ business as usual (BAU) is crumbling under the load of project work.
They have too many projects at once, and they use BAU staff to do them. The operational capability gets gutted to meet project demands. We are eating ourselves to keep moving forward - it is not sustainable.

Operational Readiness
There is a whole activity or function or ITIL-would-say process that gets neglected: Operational Readiness.
Without Operational Readiness we get Dead Cat Syndrome: dead cats chucked over the wall from Solutions to Operations.

Big Uncle
is the concept of “benevolent security”. Privacy is a dated concept, disappearing fast. People get all tied in a knot over this, but the consequences are only as bad as we let them be. Like any technology, there will be evil applications and there will be good ones.

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