TEDTalks – Ideas Worth Spreading – Video Worth Watching

TED is an annual conference at which a bunch of (hopefully?) remarkable people say remarkable things. I’m using the word in a Seth Godin sort of way: remarkable things are those which inspire people to literally remark about them.

It appears to be “A-list” event, meaning that I’m not likely to make the cut anytime soon.

Fortunately, many TED sessions are available to the rest of us online: TEDTalks. Here are some that I bookmarked to watch again; the download links are for QuickTime videos. Many of these are also on Google Video or elsewhere.

Burt Rutan

Barry Schwartz

Malcom Gladwell

Steven Levitt

Nicholas Negroponte

Hans Rosling (One word summary: Wow.)

Ken Robinson – Do schools today kill creativity?

Dan Gilbert – The (misguided) pursuit of happiness

The Secret of Happiness, according to Dan Gilbert:

  1. Accrue wealth, power, and prestige. Then lose it.
  2. Spend as much of your life in prison as you possibly can.
  3. Make someone else really, really rich.
  4. Never ever join the Beatles.

(watch the video for the story behind this)

Emergencies, and How to Kill Creativity

A post over at Slow Leadership: Slow Leadership: How to Kill Creativity is closely related to a “rule” we have at Oasis Digital: we have a limited “budget” of emergencies; we will spend no more than a small percentage of time in “emergency mode”.  If there appear to be so many fires that that the team spends most of its time fighting fires, we first review who is doing what work – and usually find that most of our developers are mostly doing the right things in the right way.  There is a bit to be gained by “trying harder” – in the short term.  The real solution is not to try harder – in fact that approach almost never works over time.  Rather, the solution is to slow down and get to the heart of the matter, which is usually some variation or combination of:

  • The software doesn’t have the right features to handle unusual situations or inputs gracefully.  Add them.  Make it so our customers/users have the data and features they need, to deal with new situations directly, rather than those situations becoming our emergencies.
  • The software doesn’t have the right documentation and training, to enable its users do deal with new situations directly.  Add that documentation and training.  Users are often far smarter and more capable than the typical software developer gives them credit for.  We have repeatly been amazed and thrilled at what our customers have been able to accomplish when handed even the roughest of tools and explanations.
  • Our software has a deep mismatch to the problem it is intended to solve.  Change it… even if it means something scary like rearranging the core of a large DB schema.
  • We don’t have the right team for the problem/project at hand.  Swap someone around.
  • The team isn’t big enough for the problem.  Grow.
  • The problem is too big for the team/budget.  Trim scope, do a great job on the new scope, then consider expanding it again.

By doing these things, we apply more brainpower / creativity to automation, innovation, and genuine progress on the problems at hand.  This is the antithesis of the “pressure based culture” described in the article linked above.

Email2Face, a good idea

Jonathan Goodyear‘s ASPSOFT just announced Email2Face, a public database mapping email addresses to photos.  This strikes me as a good and useful idea.  If it gets some traction, it would be nice to have an email client plugin to automatically retrieve them.


What I would really like to see is something with a similar results, but rather than be a project from one company, instead be open, scalable, and RESTful; perhaps some mapping from email address to web site containing information about the owner of the address.  For example, agree that for aaa@bbb.com, information will be a http://bbb.com/email/aaa/ and from there have links to specific kinds of information, such as… a face photo.

Grid Components for Delphi

This list of Grid components available for Delphi. is originally from a Usenet post by Anthony Richardson (anthony_r at sageautomation.com). I’ve added more since then.

The following is a list of Third-Party Grid suppliers:


TAdvSpreadGrid – http://www.tmssoftware.com/
TSpread – http://www.jt.w1.com/products.htm
TSpreadSheet – http://www.uniyar.ac.ru/~dimak/delphi/spread.shtml
THyperSpreadsheet – http://www.pablop.demon.co.uk/


InfoPower – http://www.woll2woll.com/infopower/
Top Grid – http://www.objectsight.com/
TAdvStringGrid – http://www.tmssoftware.com/
TStringAlignGrid – http://www.hoerstemeier.com/
TSMTableGrid – http://www.sunsoft.ru/
THyperGrid – http://www.pablop.demon.co.uk/
TCoolStringGrid – http://www.cooldev.com

Data Aware:

TDBAdvStringGrid – http://www.tmssoftware.com/
QuantumGrid – http://www.devexpress.com/
InfoPower – http://www.woll2woll.com/infopower/
TOPAZ – http://www.softsci.com/topazd.htm
Top Grid – http://www.objectsight.com/
DbAltGrid – http://www.dbaltgrid.com/
TIB_Grid – http://www.ibobjects.com/
TDBGridPro – http://vipper.downloadit.gr/
TSMDBTableGrid – http://www.sunsoft.ru/
X-DBGrid – http://republika.pl/kszyszka/x-files.html
TExDBGrid – http://www.gjl-software.co.uk/
TVizDbGrid – http://www.vizacc.com/i_prod_gexpert.php

Grid Print Engines:

PrintDAT – http://www.grebarsys.com/
ExpressPrinting System – http://www.devexpress.com/
My (Kyle’s) own grid print engine, developed just before these started coming out.

Header Footer Add-ons:

DbHdrCtrlGrid – http://www.dbaltgrid.com/
TSDBGridFooter – http://www.sedlan.com

Specialist Grids:

TIB_Ledger – http://www.ibobjects.com/