More for the cyclists..





Arndt is a designer based in Berlin. I hope this goes into production. Yes. it is made of wood.  I’d always imagined building a fixie out of an old Colnago steel frame, but something like this might just change my mind.

There is another metaphor here for software types, but not today.


On DJs and the history of computer music

While flying back from South Africa the other day (more on my SA trip another day), I got to sit next to a professional DJ.  My knowledge of house and trance music would fill the back of a postage stamp in a big font, but we had an interesting chat about Emerson Lake and Palmer,


as well as Yello, Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk and role of computers in modern music.  Marc plays in some of the world’s top clubs, such as 1015  (on Folsom)  the Redwood room in San Francisco, and Tresor in Berlin    I was expecting him to have lots of specialized equipment and software, but his set up is remarkably simple and cheap.

2 x macbook pros.

i-pod for planning sets.

pioneer HDJ headphones.


Apparently the really cool bit on these headphones is the swivel bit.

Total Control mixer, cost less than 600 dollars.



Beatport is an excellent source of trance and other electronic music.

On the software side, he uses traktor. more details here. and

It was fascinating to talk about how the music business works with someone making a good living out of it. We talked about copyright, sampling, remixing, how you read the crowd, the importance of preparation, and life as a DJ after 15 years…

And then over on the BBC website this morning I read about the Ferranti Mark 1 computer and the birth of computer music.


A scratchy recording of Baa Baa Black Sheep and a truncated version of In the Mood are thought to be the oldest known recordings of computer generated music.

The songs were captured by the BBC in the Autumn of 1951 during a visit to the University of Manchester.

The recording has been unveiled as part of the 60th Anniversary of “Baby”, the forerunner of all modern computers.

The tunes were played on a Ferranti Mark 1 computer, a commercial version of the Baby Machine.

You can listen to the recording here.

Things have come a long way since then.


New perspectives. Redwood, Berlin and telescopes.

(photo from klara on flickr, danke)

I’m not in Orlando this week at Sapphire, partly because I spent last week in the San Francisco and Bay Area.

The main purpose of the visit was to meet the folks at Oracle. Having competed against Oracle and PeopleSoft for much of my working life, it was more than a touch surreal entering the Redwood Shores complex.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I met a group of smart, engaged, friendly and deeply knowledgeable people.   They have an interesting blog too. 

I’m having something of a Hubble experience since joining Gartner.  I’m realising there is a lot more going on out there in the HCM space than I did when my orbit was tethered to Planet SAP.  (more on my Paris trip in another post)

In a couple of weeks I’ll be heading to back into the SAP zone, to  Berlin for the European  Sapphire. I’ll be looking at SAP through a new lens.

Sure,  I’m interested in the goings on with Business By Design, and the business objects integration,  but there are colleagues here at Gartner that will be covering that in depth, and I expect there will be  lots of blog coverage too. 

I’d like to talk to customers at Sapphire,  and I hope to understand more about what they are actually doing with the SAP HCM products.  I’m seeking evidence of ERP 6.0 traction beyond the technical upgrade.  There are several potentially  interesting presentations on the agenda.  (The search engine  on the sapphire site doesn’t work properly, so you need to dig to find them.)

I’m also very interested to look at RIA deployments in an HCM context. There are some funky funky tools out there, but I’m keen to hear about actual deployments.  I’ll also wander the halls and check out what the partners are up to.

It will be excellent to meet up with old colleagues, and also to see some new ones too.  I also get to go to Berlin, which as many of regular readers know, is my favourite city.


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Art and Berlin

My Berlin infatuation continues. Last weekend I went to Max Liebermann’s villa on the Wannsee. It is a spectacular setting.

Max Liebermann Villa am Wannsee - Berlin


Max Liebermann Villa am Wannsee - Berlin

(from flickrstream of infactoweb.)

The lake is just a few kilometers from the centre of Berlin, but it feels like you are in the country.  

His art is equally memorable. Max Liebermann’s life and the Wannsee itself provide a poignant illustration of the highs and lows of German culture and politics. I’m not an art expert, but there is something rather special about this painting.

It makes me want to go and find a bench to sit on, and read about the Berlin Succession.

You can buy  books and prints etc in the on-line shop, and the museum is a must see.

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