• WoW as a management training ground?

    Almost every morning, I have to endure my colleagues' talks about their latest adventures in World of Warcraft. "Yesterday, we spent hours on that quest in Shnirzelwood until we, finally, almost had Blargelfarg tanked, and then that stupid hunter just ran away!" Oh please. Spare me.

    Reading about how Joi Ito, a successful venture capitalist and well-known figure in the IT business, draws parallels between managing his WoW guild and organizing a company, could make me reconsider trying out WoW myself, though.
    Strategy+Business" explains in "The Ambassador from the Next Economy how Ito perceives managing his WoW guild of about 250 people as a good example of leadership in modern business:

    Long frustrated by the fairly conventional hierarchies in even the most innovative technology companies, Mr. Ito says he sees in his Warcraft guild a new way to organize, manage, and motivate people. With his guild doubling in size every month, he does a lot of learning on the fly. "Every week or so, I have to add a new rank, build a whole bunch of new rules, and throw in kind of ad hoc structures," Mr. Ito says. "Im playing with all the different kinds of management ideas Ive had for companies with a bunch of people who are actually very dedicated. They will set their alarm clocks for 3 a.m. to run a raid of 40 people. They are committed to each other like people in a normal company wouldnt be committed to each other. So as a test bed for these ideas, this is actually pretty amazing."

    He considers himself more a "custodian" than a "leader", putting the different abilities, backgrounds and experiences of his diverse guild members to their best use. And he doesn't really care much for hierarchies:

    In the World of Warcraft, much of what you learn is how to improvise or accumulate the resources you need. [...] Once he knows what he really has to do, then he becomes incredibly creative in finding resources anywhere in the organization. He never even thinks about the fact that hes just jumped over three silos. Hes found out how to find who knows what, and how to engage that person to help him.

    Next year, Ito is going to launch a new company of his own, its staff recruited from the ranks of his Warcraft guild.

    Well, that gets me thinking. WoW is about getting the job done, in time and under pressure, in a team. Maybe I should ask my next job applicants about their leadership experience in World of Warcraft.

  • Recommendation: Netgear WG311T WiFi card

    After my unnerving WiFi problems, Kai was so kind to get me a Netgear WG311T PCI card.

    I just installed it, configured WPA and it works like a charm with Ubuntu 6.06.1!

  • Virtual lynch mobs

    I'm a strong proponent of online privacy. I want to feel secure living my online life, and I want the means to do so to be kept legal. (That's why Kai Raven always freaks the hell out of me.)

    The recent case of a guy faking a craigslist ad, posing as a woman looking for a dominant guy and publishing more than 100 responses including names, photos, phone numbers and email addresses, raises another question: what about your right of privacy if you aren't clever or savvy enough to protect it sufficiently?Sure, it's quite stupid to respond to such a classified ad by giving up your name, phone number, work email address or even marital status along with compromising pictures. And it may be immoral to some people to cheat on ones wife or pursue BDSM practices. But that, let's be clear here, doesn't at all give Jason Fortuny, the guy who made up the ad, the right to publish their private information, put them on a virtual pillory and destroy their lives. What time do we have -- the dark ages? I sincerely hope he gets his ass sued off.

    I'm with Ryan Singel in concluding that this prank was an act of pure arrogance and feeling of superiority. But what's even more reprehensible to me is the number of people approving his action because "those people deserved it", because they're "immoral scum" and "were dumb enough to put their information out there". That's making me sick.

    The purpose of laws and basic rights is to secure the lives of all people, also and especially of those who don't know how to protect themselves sufficiently -- regardless of person, religion, sexual orientation, IQ or race. That's why phishing and the infamous "Nigerian scams" aren't legal. That's why misusing personal information isn't legal either, and publishing such information without the owner's consent is misuse.

    We're used to the fact that in some smaller villages, you'll be quickly rejected, defamed or even mobbed into moving away if you don't fit in, or worse, get known for doing things that contradict the common norm.

    The "global village" doesn't seem much different now, does it?

  • I hate fiddling with hardware

    When I first tried to connect my father's PC to my WLAN, I purchased a Linksys PCI card. After the Linksys WRT54G router worked so well and because the WiFi configuration of my Thinkpad notebook was totally hassle-free, I expected the same from installing the PCI card. Little did I know.
    Ralink's RT2500 chipset on the card needs a special configuration for WPA encryption (it doesn't use wpa_supplicant), and I couldn't get it to work flawlessly on SUSE Linux 10. Sometimes the interface would be "ra0", sometimes "ra1" -- I couldn't find out why. Well, I don't have the patience any more that I had ten years ago when I actually enjoyed getting my gear going with Linux. So I put the Linksys card on eBay and got a SMC WPCI card. The Atheros chipset worked right out of the box after 5 minutes of configuration. That's how I like it!

    Since Carolin's PC will be connected to my WLAN in the new flat, I ordered a second SMCWPCI card a few days ago. But this time, 5 minutes weren't enough to get it working. Even after 5 hours all I got it to do was making the Ubuntu kernel freeze. The problem: SMC exchanged the Atheros chipset with a RealTek 8185 chipset -- without changing the product label! And it seems like the rtl8185 support in the Ubuntu kernel is buggy. First, I tried all PCI slots, changed BIOS configurations, used several run levels, but every time sooner or later, the machine would freeze.

    Finally, I removed the card from my father's PC, inserted it into Carolin's PC and, hey presto, it worked! The machine ran stable and smooth.

    Dear hardware manufacturers, would you please be so kind and give your products a new name or at least version number when you change their internal technology? It would make buying and using them a lot easier.

    So now, I'll get a Netgear WG311T -- hoping that it still has the Atheros chipset that seems to work so fine on Linux.

  • Truth with background music

    On yesterday's episode of the Daily Sourcecode&episode_id=25113, Adam Curry played a song that I liked immediately: "Underwear goes inside the pants" by LazyBoy. Like "Facts of Life", it's again speech -- I'd say a rant, to be exact -- combined with some backing beats and melody, and it's really resonating with me.

    Download the song from the LazyBoy MySpace page&friendID=74874292 and tell me if you like it!