Going Cyber.

This is a movie that shows the art of various artist who exhibited at the Space 4 Art virtual place owned by Asmita Duranjaya.
I was visiting and I the music I played matched with the various art objects displayed. So I made this movie.
The movie is set up as a kind of exploration in which each object points to the next. To make the connection more obvious Tau takes you along the exhibitions.
The music and movie is set up to stay in synch and to create a strange feel.

I like to use neko avatars for my movies, especially the ones about these kind of art explorations as they have a kind of open minded curiosity about them.
These are the artists involved:
Harter Fall, Natsha Lemton, Celestine Ghiardie, Lusus Saule, Scottius Polke and Ohe53 (Nelun Harasgama).

Music is by “Like Spinning Plates” by Radiohead.

(Not) Being Andrew.

Christine Romein, a friend, had a link to the story of Andrew on her facebook page.
I thought it would be fun to make some random images in reaction, because someone’s burden is an inspiration to others.. and a source of income to booth. So here are some brainstormed ideas in reaction.
Initially I wanted to go with Stay Calm.. I am (not) Andrew. But since the font is copyrighted I decided to use my own font and because my font is connected to a rather fuzzy way of letter placement it became something else entirely. The reason I like to play around with letters is because it’s fun to garble a message but so that you still can get it. It is a study in messing around with the structure. I read in a book that it might be post modern. But let’s call it fun.

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This was the initial picture.

I fiddle around with font’s which are made up using primary objects from Second Life(there is a post about one I often use: the torus). I thought I add two pictures of how my builders area looks in Second Life(with my two main avatars(I always use them together because one is the camera and the other makes the things you see.. I bet it will be similar to other places were artist and builders mess around. This is the are that is cluttered with all kinds of things that have been part of projects, are part, or never will be.

After fiddling around with prims, my own font type, the Andrew picture and Photoshop Elements I came up with these:

Andrew: I am Andrew

Rorschach-test

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“There is something special about having a vampire for a lover”, Liz said to her one true love with a sigh.
Lina, her arms around Liz’s waist, stiffened and then frowned, “Vampire?  Where did the vampire part come in?”
“I was meaning to tell you..   Nadja.. she.. she is also a vampire. I meant to tell you…”
“You meant to tell me.. but you kinda forgot?”
“I was going to…”
“..But it just slipped your mind?!”
“No.. not really. I was looking for the right moment to break it to you. I thought you might get upset…”
“Upset? ” Lina tasted those words, “I might be upset?! You know why they do what they do?”
“I heard the sermon.”
“It is one thing that I tolerate you exploring yourself with your little encounters, but this is something beyond… beyond exploration and tolerance…It is dangerous.”
Liz suddenly kissed Lina on the mouth, “Oh hush..You’re so sweet in allowing me to have my little adventures.. Like you’re so sweet when you bought this gown for me. It is beautiful..”
Liz stroked the Ivory Maxi gown Lina had bought for her.
“I think black looks better on you.”
“It’s our wedding gown.. can’t have them in black. Black brings bad luck.”
“You deserve a black one..you look awesome in gowns.. Unlike me. Fat behind.” Lina slapped her buttocks.
“Why thank you,” Liz kissed Lina again, “And you are wrong about your behind: it is lovely”
“Hmm..”
“Hold on!”
“Trying to sidetrack me with kissing and flattery won’t work, young lady. I was lecturing you about vampires…. This is a serious game for them, they seduce you, drain you and leave you empty and soulless. So yes.. I am upset!

“It’s just a game, Lina. They do not really suck your blood. It’s just a silly game they play. The blood is not real. Just a computer keeping score.”
“I don’t like those games.  It makes you unsure about peoples intentions. How do you know she isn’t just being nice to you because of the game?”
“She probably is, but she also says I am a great lover…It can be both…”
“Or she might be lying just so you come back.”
“I am sure she isn’t. Not it the way she reacts.. she goes pretty wild. I am still blushing when I think about it.”
“Hmmppff.. So how much blood did this Nadja take already..”
“We have been together twice.. and. well, she really likes to bite..”
“So?”
“It goes with three percent at the time. So I guess we are at… well… the first time she bit me twice, but the first time is actually fifteen so that makes for eighteen the first time. Then the other time she bit me twice.. So that makes six. So it must be like twenty-four?. No wait.. it is twenty-seven.. She bit me three times the second time.”
“I see..my mind is boggling with the calculations.. so three quarters left… What happens when your blood runs out?”
“I understand you can buy new blood.”
“As if people do not create blood by themselves. But hey it’s a game  so you have to buy it, so others can suck it. Neat game.”
“It’s the way the people get paid for creating and maintaining the game..”
“I figure when your blood runs out and you don’t buy new, Nadja suddenly stops being wild..”
“She could buy it for me, I guess. She seems to have money.”
“But if she doesn’t? Are you going to buy it yourself?”
“Can I buy it myself? You know who has the money in our arrangement..” Liz smiled a lovely smile at Lina, “So can I?”
“Can you buy it yourself? What do you think?”
“I think the answer is no. And I would not expect anything less,” Liz smiled broadly and kisses Lina warmly.

“Right, with this vampire business settled, how about shopping for a black gown to go with the white?”
“How about I shop alone so I can surprise you?”
” Surprise me? That sounds like a deal.”
“I need some money to buy one. They are not free, you know..”
“Here you go.. Surprise me, Liz.” Lina pulled Liz against her then kissed Liz in her neck.
Liz reached up her neck where Lina had kissed her, still  moist with Lina’s kiss, and her fingers touched the still sensitive bitemarks.
“I am going to.” Liz murmured  dreamily, “I am”.

Story-telling: Being beautiful in the art scene, a PimperPuppets Production by d-oo-b.

Sometimes things happen that you need to act upon quickly.

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And so it is with the exhibition, a PimperPuppets Production and the brainchild of d-oo-b.
It’s a tale that must be familiar to artists, so I imagine, for it’s about an artist, Serge, who gets this big chance at fame: an exhibition in the Grand Hall, the Valhalla of art.. Unbeknownst to him, his moment of glory is at the expense of Lucia, an starting artist who is sees herself as much more deserving(of course), she with his art academy background, while Serges has had not artistic education whatsoever. And even though Lucia is told that she actually never stood a chance in the first place, she is determined to set Serge up for a fall. This then is the setup for the drama that unfolds.

The exhibition uses puppets set up in various area’s that are scenes or stages, if you will, that are displayed in a snapshot fashion. You could say it’s an comic in a way, for the camera moves from one scene to the next. Each scene however is not just a static display.. there is a small dialog and sometimes the camera shifts within the scene and the puppets are animated.
I would like to tell  and show more, but at the moment I would like just inform people with access that the exhibition is there. More will follow.

Here a link to Ziki Questi’s blog.

http://zikiquesti.blogspot.ch/2015/04/pimperpuppets-being-beautiful-in-art.html

Here is a link to his d-oo-b’s blog.

Events at pimperpuppets

Here is the link to the inworld location:

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/LEA9/167/73/49

d-oo-b-2

CC:Dolchstoß(Et tu, Brute)

How do people feel when they hear they might get outsourced?
They feel betrayed.
Should people feel betrayed?
Of course they should.


It doesn’t even matter if it outsourcing is actually going to happen, just the idea that their management is considering outsourcing as an option will feel like a stab in the back to their employees. This feeling will spread like wildfire and soon motivation will plummet.
Often the outsourcing solution is mentioned after a period in which the IT debt of the company has become a serious issue. IT debt is the name for failing to invest in IT over a prolong period. The IT environment is used up and starts failing.The continuity of the company is at stake.
The internal IT staff is put under increasing pressure to keep things running, sometimes working late into the night to repair the damage that is caused by failing systems or software that has outlived its lifespan and should have been replaced.
To hear that they then will be replaced, after all that effort, makes the betrayal even doubly hurtful.
But managers can make things even worse.
IT management doesn’t see it like their employees see it. To them outsourcing is the answer to the IT debt and the way to deal with reluctance of business to invest in their IT infrastructure. Business that does not feel that IT can be an enabler or an asset, but is just overhead. It is necessary, but we do not want to pay for it more than we absolutely have to because it is not our core business.
And thus outsourcing becomes the light at the end of the tunnel. It is the way out of the dark forest. It is the wizard of Oz.
And outsourcing promises a lot. It promises to reduce costs, to enable flexibility, to allow for innovation, to reduce people, to make things agile, to do things smart and allow management to control IT better.
At the expense of the employees of course.
But it’s these people they want to get rid off anyway.. for these people they do not understand or connect with.
Even triple sad is when that same management plead with those same people they are planning to outsource to put in to keep the flailing IT environment operational until the outsourcing contracts have been signed and the outsourcing providers can step in.
It is like telling your spouse to put in extra effort in running the family smoothly while aiming for a divorce and screwing behind her or his back at the same time.
Management can even go one step further Bby refusing to communicate properly.
But you know.. managers don’t see it that way.
How do they see it?
That is for another post….
So what do you think?
Leave a comment if you disagree or agree.
That is what comments are there for.

CC:No Exit( Homo homini lupus)

Why do managers outsource their workforce?
Do you really want to know?
Really?
It’s because they are afraid..

If you read the literature and studies you get another answer: you get a given one and one that is being denied. The answer that is being denied is: to reduce cost.
Reducing costs is not the aim. It is to achieve flexibility.That is the given answer.
What is flexibility?
It is the ability to reduce or increase the workforce when there is a need. And it is needed to deal with costs and ultimately: to reduce costs.. It is the public secret.
In the end the given answer lead to the denied one. It is all about the money.
But that is just one part of the tale.
Here is the other.
Companies are run by managers. Managers operate in uncertain situations. They have to make decisions that can have serious repercussions for them and others. The bigger the company and the higher the manager, the bigger the stakes.The bigger the stakes.. the harder the fall.
Managers have to deal with uncertainty, just like you and me.. And like you and me they do not like uncertainty. Like you and me they want to live in the comfort zone where we feel safe.
To deal with this uncertainty and live in the comfort zone they want to gain control of the world around them and to gain control they parametrize. The world of the manager is a world of numbers and figures called Key Performance Indicators(KPI) and they are presented in spreadsheets.
This fear goes double for the IT manager.
The world of information technology is in a constant flux. New things pop up, old things are left behind. Companies that were on top, crash to their doom, new companies pop into existence.And sometimes a company rises up from the depth because a driven capable man takes the helm and surrounds himself with capable people.. Apple is an example.
If you think your IT workforce has a hard time keeping up.. this goes double for the IT managers. Most have no clue what their workforce are on about or what IT stuff means. Big data, tiered storage strata, cloud provisioning, Saas, Paas It is to them mostly gibberish. What does it means when addressing costs? How can we do the same for less money? It is the internal secret knowledge of a group of magicians.
That is not bad.. it’s the way things work. Managers rely on key people to provide them with knowledge: their staff or those managers that report to them. And it is for the next manager in line to take this knowledge and do something with it. And often this is just presenting it to the next manager in line.
As a higher manager confided: we(high management) just present the cake, (even) higher management cuts it.
The higher the manager is up the ladder, the more global his decisions are, the less he or she knows about the details. But details matter in the IT world. If you do not know what IT does or can do, you have a hard time to make the right decisions. You need to keep up with the technology to do that..
But managers do not have the time nor do they want to know about the details.
So how to deal with this?
Have outsiders take care of the things you do not understand.
And now the manager is back in his comfort zone: contracts, service levels, performance indicators and spreadsheets. That is the world he understands. The world he does not fear: hard figures and legalities.
And there is another reason. Like any human they have a hard time dealing with other humans. The others.
The manager lives in his world and the higher up he is, the less he knows about his people.
Few managers that have like one or two managers between them and the workforce talk to their people on a regular basis. Especially in large companies. Managers live usually separated from the normal workforce..like the emperor of Japan was shielded from his own people. A golden cage.
It is the hierarchy that separates management from the workforce. Not intentionally or consciously.
If you want to see a nice example of how this works.. go and watch the movie the Sun by Alexander Sokurov(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sun_%28film%29).
Once I worked for a company in which a group of employers presented their own vision on a certain key decision. The managers were generally surprised that their employers were actually capable in doing that. It was chilling to notice how they were so caught up in their own world that they couldn’t conceive the idea that people who were not managers could actually present a coherent idea.
It’s not that these people think they are superior.. or even thing the workforce are stupid..It’s because they are socialized in that way of thinking.
So what do you think?
Is this nonsense.. do you think it’s valid?
Perhaps you like to comment or set me straight.
Well that is where comments are for.

CC: Kick off(Genesis)

What makes you an expert?
Is it because you know something very well?
Is it because you know more than someone else does about a given subject?
Is someone an expert because she writes a book on a subject? Just one book? Or many books?
I wondered about it.
Am I an expert because I have read a few articles on a subject and have some experiences?
I think not.
So who would be mad enough to start a blog about a subject she knows next to nothing about?
I would, I guess.

In the series of blogposts starting with CC I will write down my experiences and observations about (out)sourcing in the world of information technology.
Don’t get me wrong. I do not pretend to be an expert in outsourcing. But since a lot of people feel that way and hesitate to write about this subject, I want to write about it anyway, and from the standpoint of someone who is in the middle of a process of outsourcing and is in the middle of a discussion about it.
I think there is a need because when I was confronted by outsourcing I had a hard time to find sources with a balanced view. You will find that the searches are filled with companies selling outsourcing as a product. They will tell you what a blessing it is. They have to, just like car companies tell you their cars are the hottest thing in town. And if it is not a business promoting outsourcing then it’s experts, consultants and anyone else who make a living from outsourcing.
Dissenting voices can be found. They are pushed down to the bottom of the searches. The internet has it’s own system of unintentional opinion suppression: one buys their way to the top of the searches. Lacking money your descent is imminent.
Outsourcing is part of what is called sourcing. Sourcing deals with one subject: how to provide for an (adequate) workforce. Often this gets turned into: how to reduce the cost of the workforce.
Reducing the cost of the workforce is pretty easy: fire the lot of them.
But you can spot the problem: without a workforce there is no work being done. Without work nothing gets made and when you make nothing you can only sell nothing and nothing cannot be sold for a profit. Well, not normally.
Sourcing has always been a challenge, but with the internet new ways of sourcing develop. The internet makes it possible to have work done in other countries using a workforce that is far cheaper. This is basically outsourcing: using an cheaper workforce in another country to get the same work done.
In later posts I will expand on this.

Fear of Flying: Covering a controversial book.

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I never read Fear of Flying, a book written by Eric Jong and published in 1973. It was a controversial book at the time as it was about sexual fantasies held by a woman who actually gives in to them. Women freely indulging in sexual fantasies was something of a shocking novelty especially when openly written about in a book.

Nowadays we have books with erotic subjects aplenty and with Fifty Shades of Grey making bondage mainstream, Fear of Flying is reduced to that status of a precursor in at least one advertisement. It is probably meant to boost sales by hitching Fear of Flying to the bandwagon of Fifty Shades but it seems to me that these books do not belong together. The one is about liberation of women, the other about a woman subjugating herself to a man. Of course some people claim that subjugating is actually liberation(mostly people who actually practice bondage). I wonder if Erica Jong or feminists would agree.

But I never read any of these books and I do not intent too, but I was involved with Fear of Flying because it was used to inspire the name of a place in Second Life. Since the book is now over forty years old and has sold over twenty million copies throughout it’s history there were a lot of covers available on the internet. Since these covers a peculiar to their time I collected what is out there and placed them together.

What follows is a sample of book covers that I collected from the internet. The quality varies and I cannot tell you from which year they are, but it is interesting how varied covers can be. Perhaps you can guess from which year  or decade a cover is. Have fun browsing.

Due to the fact that this book has an erotic subject some covers are adult by nature.  Since I do not want to make my blog an adult one just because of one post I have put them below.

A slight note: in Dutch the title is not translated from Fear of Flying but it is Het Ritsloze Nummer, which translates as the Zipless F**. This concept is put forward in the book. What it means you can find in the wikipedia of this book.

Below are pictures of a more adult nature. If you do not like such please do not proceed. I also added two of my own making as I wanted to see if it was possible to make something using second life avatars.

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