The Skeptical Informer, April 2008, Volume 2, No. 4

The newsletter of the IT Skeptic. All the IT skeptical news that is fit to print... and then some!

Governance is the new kid in town. "Everybody's talkin' 'bout..." In a short period of time, I did an article for Novatica (coming out soon), my local ISACA chapter ran a governance think tank discussion, and ISO/IEC is about to release an IT Governance standard. Just like "management" and "consultant" and many other words, the IT industry is in the process of debasing the word "governance" to the point of meaninglessness.

The new ISO standard will force us to understand what governance isn't, which covers most of the current usage of the word, especially by analysts, commentators, journalists and of course vendors. Just as "managing" now means "doing" and "consulting" means "working", so too "governing" is coming to mean "measuring or monitoring or checking". Which it isn't.

Scuttlebutt: For those who missed it, Ian Clayton and the IT Service Management Institute® (ITSMI) have parted ways. Given Ian's bombastic style (the IT Skeptic is but a pale shadow) I guess it was only a matter of time before this happened, as every Institute needs an aura of conservatism and respectability. It would seem to be in the best interests of both parties, as Ian is free to say what he thinks and ITSMI can cosy up to the establishment. They'll need to sort out between them as to just who founded the Institute though... (Ian can now be found at Service Management 101)

This is a busy month for the IT Skeptic, attending the itSMF Netherlands conference. That may not sound like a big deal for you Northern Hemisphericals, but for we Antipodeans it is a long trek: 36 hours each way to be exact. Add a day to at least begin recovering from jetlag, and a couple of days to look around since I've never been outside the international zone in Amsterdam airport, and suddenly there is a whole chunk of April gone. As soon as I get back, my son and I will make our annual trip into the Southern Alps, so there's the rest of the month trashed. All this is the long way of saying sorry there is no review of comments from the blog this month. Please contact me if this deeply upsets you.


You would think all the early work by Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility to counter-act plans for a fully-automated nuclear response on the grounds, basically, that computers are stupid might have taught technocrats something, but it seems not...

Governance is hot. "Governance" is the "in" word right now in IT. It is also a word that is suffering badly from terminological debasement, something the IT Skeptic has railed against on this blog before. Look for more on this in the near future.

There have been a whole list of amendments to the five core ITIL Version 3 books. The IT Skeptic has gone through these for you, cross referenced them to the BOKKED database, and listed here the ones that are worth knowing about.

Several readers of The IT Skeptic have asked where is the IT Swami and in particular where were his New Year's predictions for 2008? Now we can reveal all.


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DNS problem fixed on

I found a DNS error for this site today. So if you have been experiencing problems accessing, I hope they will be a thing of the past.

I'd like to say a special thankyou to Deaf-Llama for reporting the problem with excellent trace information so I could nail it quickly and easily.

I wonder how long it has been that way? Please drop me a note if you had similar DNS problems accessing this site and when.

Change to the way this blog works: BOKKEs displayed

I've modified the website so that I will promote some of the new BOKKEs (Body of Knowledge Known Errors) so they show up on the blog as well as in BOKKED. I won't do this for pedantic stuff but I will do it if they seem worthy of debate, such as the first one so treated: definition of incident. Check it out and have your say.

P.S. I don't know if you will get subscription notification of these, sorry.
P.P.S. I see we are now up to 505 nodes - that is quite a body of knowledge in its own right!

Recent podcasts

A podcast of the original blog postITIL Certification: a technique for passing multiple-choice exams

Multiple-choice exams test how well someone can do multiple-choice exams. Depending on how well written the qustions are, they might also test some understanding of the topic ... or not. With good technique you can get a pretty good score with limited knowledge

Classic Skeptic

A recent patent application appears to indicate that Microsoft is applying to patent CMDB. This issue is not attracting the outrage that it ought to. Next time you see your Microsoft rep, ask him/her WTF they are up to. And if you get anything like a rational answer, post it here so we can all understand.

From the blog

Since I had it wrong in my own mind, I thought I'd clarify the terms of use of ITIL as a copyrighted work.

The March edition of the IT Skeptic's newsletter, the Skeptical Informer, went out and it included the statement:

The certification industry still seems to have an attitude of "F*** the quality of teaching! Maximise profits!"

A little strong? That was before I knew that ITIL exams have been withdrawn from Prometric (a respected online provider of certifications). You should have heard me then! [Updated: now available again]

The IT Skeptic's Crap Factoid Early Warning Service has detected another Crap Factoid (pure B.S. that will be presented so often that everyone will think it true) emerging.

[Bumping this back to the top - any more comments folks?]
In my summary of ITIL Version 3, I predicted:

Even though OGC are trying to make ITIL3 more integrated than ITIL2, it is a good bet that users will concentrate on the Service Transition and Service Operation books (at least initially), in the same way as we focus on the red and blue books in ITIL2, so that ITIL3 will have its own "lost processes", as I call them.

How is this shaping up? What are your preferred books? Which ones do you spend the most time with?

In the unlikely event that a reader is not on TSO's mailing list, you should know that ITIL V3 Key Element Guides are now available after itSMF IPESC review.

These are the pocket versions of the five core books. Thirty eight quid for the set of five. The V2 books produced by itSMF were good - let's see about these ones. Any reviewers want to give us a sneak preview?

Perhaps the IT Skeptic is not the only one pulling an April Fools prank. The British Computer Society announced

IT professionals taking the BCS - ISEB ITIL V3 Foundation Exams can now take them online. The new facility enables students to sit their exam and receive their results on the same day.

But look in vain for any link in the announcement to take you to it.

ISEB is now offering ITIL V3 Foundations on Prometric but EXIN isn't (yet).

The IT Skeptic got most of this second hand so please contact me with corrections, but it seems to me the story went like this:

  • EXIN lists V3 Foundations exam on Prometric
  • EXIN gets told to take the exam down "until all Examination Institutes have received a copy of the database of questions"
  • ISEB beats EXIN to get the exam back up on Prometric

A recent comment on the IT Skeptic website suggested there had, but nothing official shows up. There is some evidence of it though.

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