Philip Argy – no such thing as a free lunch

I went to Philip Argy‘s retirement lunch today, it was strange to be amongst the legal glitterati of Sydney and it was very kind of Phil to invite me. Special guests were former Chief Justice, Sir Laurence Street, and Senator Helen Coonan (who assured us she was not presently suffering from “relevance deprivation”). I refrained from throwing any food at either guest speaker (in spite of various tweets requesting it).

Many people drew word pictures of Phil’s character (determined, resolute) and his demeanour (hyperactive, argumentative) and all of this rang true for me. But for me the thing that I’ve always enjoyed (apart from the chocolate milkshakes) is the inquiring mind and willingness to explore new ideas. It’s what makes Phil a great lunch or dinner partner.

But it was when I realised that Phil has yet to be introduced to the LOLspeak and LOLcat memes that this post had to be done. Phil you need to check out to icanhascheezburger to successfully deconstruct my good wishes from lunchtime today.

On a more serious note, Phil is an eminent lawyer in the areas of intellectual property, science, technology and competition law. He has been a quite geeky type who still programs, and has done much public service for the ICT industry as well as being a former ACS el presidente, and many other eminent person type of things.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Geek-i-odic Table of the Elements

Now there is a shorthand means of communicating the particular nature of your geekiness – the Geek-i-odic Table of the Elements.

Invented by @Alegrya and @JodieM for #barcampsydney3 it has been great fun

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Counterinsurgency Theory

One of my favourite strategic thinkers is John Nagl. He has written intelligently on counterinsurgency for many years. I first came across him via his book Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife, which is about counterinsurgency lessons from Malaya and Vietnam.

He has been serving with the US forces in Iraq, and has freely explained how this led him to revise his earlier ideas. Nagl appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in late 2007. Probably the best quote from this clip is: “Be polite, be professional, but be prepared to kill”. Sounds almost like another day at the office!

What is so very interesting about his writings on counterinsurgency is how much of it is about ‘soft’ issues and skills. Sure he understands that in war you need to be willing to take final action. But he really understands what is important for winning is the winning hearts and minds of people.

What does all this have to do with technology? Well, we technologists are actually counter insurgents who are seeking to win over hearts and minds of other people. We want people to adopt our ideas, our products and use them. We want people to come over to our way of thinking, to gain allies and limit the ability of foes to act against us.

We are true subversive elements within society. As such, it is worth taking the time to read works by thinkers like Nagl to help us think about our mission.

Military theory has a lot of to offer technologists as they battle to change the world. Many of the idioms make sense because what we do is seek to shake the equilibrium of society.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Tools for Building Democratic Process

For help with “deliberative democracy, participatory governance, flat organization models and large group decision making techniques” check out Co*Op Tools

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

National Cable & Telecommunications Association (USA) Chief Calls Broadband ‘Engine of Our Economy’

If only people in Australia thought this way! We still have no concept of how modern telecommunications, technology and broadband can drive our economy and we still allow the silly games of Telstra and the rest. It is about time Australia got decent broadband and a really big shakeout of the TV as well.

“NEW YORK ( — Speaking at an annual gathering of cable television public relations chiefs, the president-CEO of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association declared that broadband is now ‘the engine of our economy.’ Kyle McSlarrow expressed surprise that so little of the current presidential campaign debate was focused on the regulatory fate of broadband.”
April 03, 2008 [Source:]

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Great site with Agile Methodology resources

Luigi Buglione has amassed a great selection of Agile Methodology resources. Really worth a look, as it has everything from origins of Agile to Barry Boehm and making CMMI and Agile work together.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

What Is Pangea Day?

Came across this today (hat tip: James King):

Pangea Day taps the power of film to strengthen tolerance and compassion while uniting millions of people to build a better future.

In a world where people are often divided by borders, difference, and conflict, it’s easy to lose sight of what we all have in common. Pangea Day seeks to overcome that – to help people see themselves in others – through the power of film.

On May 10, 2008 – Pangea Day – sites in Cairo, Kigali, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai and Rio de Janeiro will be linked live to produce a program of powerful films, visionary speakers, and uplifting music.

The program will be broadcast live to the world through the Internet, television, digital cinemas, and mobile phones.

Of course, movies alone can’t change the world. But the people who watch them can. So following May 10, 2008, Pangea Day organizers will facilitate community-building activities around the world by connecting inspired viewers with numerous organizations which are already doing groundbreaking work.”

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire