2014 January

Innovate or Exploit? Some thoughts on Rigidity vs. Flexibility, and Myopic Measurement

I’m just reading Schermerhorn et al. There’s an interesting chapter on innovation which captures the topic of flexibility vs. rigidity, or exploration vs. exploitation, that I’ve recently discussed with a group of research fellows in the context of the dichotomy of exploration vs. exploitation: “too much emphasis on exploration will yield a whole list of potential ideas for new products and processes to new clients and customers in new markets, but little pay-off . . . Conversely, an emphasis on exploitation stresses control and evolutionary development. Such exploitation can be planned with tight budgets, careful forecasts, and steady implementation. It is often much easier to stress exploitation because most organizations have a structure and culture that emphasize stability and control.” (2010, pp. 381–382)

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Innovation Culture: Thoughts about allowing for more flexibility.

For a well-formatted version, see here .


What is required—and why—to establish a balance between flexibility and stringent order to enable a company to be receptive to innovation? And what focus areas should be considered for implementing such change?

This paper is organized as follows: section  2  contextualizes innovation with organizational culture, innovation and change, the findings of which section  3  utilizes to explore why and how to allow for flexibility and change. Section  4  brings in some of the author’s own experiences, and section  5  concludes.

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Automate copying the Citation from BibDesk

Even though BibDesk has a very useful “Cite Tray” from which you can drag and drop your citations to the document you’re writing, what I consistently end up doing is to use, always, mostly the same format. As an example, I may be saying something like as \citeauthor{Nott:2014} said so eloquently, “repetitions are a sign of laziness.” (\citeyear[10]{Nott:2010}) So in essence, I am dragging and dropping twice, and am then entering (or not) the page I’m quoting from. And as repetitions are obviously a sign of laziness in the sense that for just too long I’m too lazy to automate the process, it took me probably 5,000 citation marks until I decided to do this in a better way using a nice dialog box that fetches the relevant information from the currently selected article in BibDesk, asks for the page number and finally copies the correct citation key to the clipboard:


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By mnott on 2014/01/25 | LaTeX, Research, Science | A comment?

Awesome Read: Douglas Adams on Artificial Gods

I just saw that the audio recording of Douglas Adams, attached the transcript of his speech on biota.org is pointing to archive.org. So I’m just going to host a copy of this marvelous talk, along with its transcript. Original credits, of course, go to biota.org.

Click here for the audio recording: 



douglas_adamsIs there an Artificial God?

In honour of Douglas’ memory, Biota.org presents the transcript of his speech at Digital Biota 2, held at Magdelene College Cambridge, in September 1998. I would like to thank Steve Grand for providing this to us. Douglas presented this ”off the cuff” which only magnifies his true genius in our eyes. — Bruce Damer

This was originally billed as a debate only because I was a bit anxious coming here. I didn’t think I was going to have time to prepare anything and also, in a room full of such luminaries, I thought ‘what could I, as an amateur, possibly have to say’? So I thought I would settle for a debate. But after having been here for a couple of days, I realised you’re just a bunch of guys! It’s been rife with ideas and I’ve had so many myself through talking with and listening to people that I’d thought what I’d do was stand up and have an argument and debate with myself. I’ll talk for a while and hope sufficiently to provoke and inflame opinion that there’ll be an outburst of chair- throwing at the end.

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By mnott on 2014/01/24 | Philosophy | A comment?

Gardening Hack: Lawnmower modded so that it goes uphill, for less than 5$

Field-tested for over three years now, this hack will set you back about 5$ and make your lawn mower go straight up hill 45°. Sorry for the portrait format, but it is apparently awesome enough that it was even featured in Honey Bee (I’m active in the Honey Bee network of India that “has been the source of pollination and cross-pollination of ideas, creativity and grassroots genius” (Gupta, 2013) contributing hacks such as using wood screws to allow a lawn mower running up-hill (Nott, 2013, p. 23).

Here is the video. Also features Swiss mountains, Swiss cows, Google (my dog, not the search engine) in the corner of the image at one point, and entirely incorrect gardening footwear.


  • Gupta, A. K. (2013). Honey Bee—Who are We? [Online]. Available from: http://www.sristi.org/hbnew/contactus.php (Accessed: 17 January 2014).
  • Nott, M. (2013). ‘Mowing the lawn uphill—A spiky story from Switzerland’, Honey Bee, 24 (1), 23. [Online]. Available from: http://www.sristi.org/hbnew/html/vol-23-24/ (Accessed: 17 January 2014).
By mnott on | Hacks | A comment?

Finally solved: BibDesk failing at generating Preview.

Now what I don’t like with automated solutions is that occasionally they don’t work – and that’s of course when you’ve no time to debug and fix it.

My automated solution of bibliography generating using BibDesk is massively effective, except that it occasionally fails. Read more…

Awesome DIY Helping Hands


DIY Helping Hands

Now occasionally, I stumble across real cool hacks. This one came out top today: How to make a helping hands soldering station out of material you already very likely have, at about no costs – and that beats every el cheapo Chinese rubbish big time. Only mod I’d do would be to use shrinkdown tubing as I don’t like that electrical tape which’ll come off at some point. And being a convinced wood worker, I’d probably use less aluminium tape and actually build the stuff from wood. Yet, what’s important is that “I’d” vs. “that guy did it.” So here’s an image, and click on it to get to the actual site (which has other cool hacks on it; just put on your JavaScript blocker as it is as infested with trackers as everything today).





By mnott on | Hacks | A comment?

Innovations in Storage Technology…

In the picture below, you see the first hard disk drive. Developed by IBM in 1952, it carried a whopping 5 MB of data on fifty twenty-four inch disks. It was leased to customers at about 3,200 USD (equivalent to 27,500 USD in 2013) a month. It weighted over a ton and was typically delivered via cargo plane. Here is some more information about it.

On the same picture, and massively scaled up so you can even see it, is a 64 GB, USB3 thumb drive developed by pkparis.com in 2013. It is sold at about 80 USD, weighs about two grams and is delivered via normal postal mail, attached to a small card board.

In other words, within 60 years, not only has the price per GB come down from a (very theoretical: neither was the space feasible, nor did you really own the device, so we’ve to depreciate over 12 months) 5.5M USD to about 10 cents and the weight per GB down from about 200 t to 0.3 g.

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By mnott on 2014/01/23 | Business, Computer | A comment?

Forward external request IP behind reverse proxy behind OpenWRT


With the help of tommie from the #linuxger channel, I’ve finally been able to configure my port forwarding to my web server in a way that I see the actual source request IPs in the web server’s access log. So here’s the overall picture:

  1. A request from an external IP like comes to my external, static IP address, which is the eth1 WAN interface of my OpenWRT router.
  2. The router should do a port forward of incoming requests on port 80, via its internal LAN  interface br-lan,, to my reverse proxy,
  3. The reverse proxy shall, depending on the URL that was actually called, forward the request to one of the actual web servers, say,
  4. In that web server’s access log, I want to see as originating IP

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By mnott on 2014/01/22 | Computer | A comment?

How to paste a URL from the Clipboard to BibDesk as a LaTeX (and Harvard) compatible reference

Now after I’ve ended up about 700 times to always do the same thing: In BibDesk, add a “Note” field to a publication, copy my template for that note field, paste it into the publication, then copy and paste the URL I want to refer to into the right place, I got bored. Here’s another way of doing it (obviously attached to a keyboard shortcut by one of the usual means, e.g. BetterTouchTool). It takes the URL on the clipboard, escapes some characters that LaTeX would choke on, wraps it with my template, calculates the current date, and adds it to the notes field (which is created if it wasn’t there). If the field was there, nothing is added, but the result is copied back to the clipboard. Read more…

By mnott on 2014/01/21 | Code, Computer, Research, Science | A comment?