A brain extension. Organise your thoughts
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The mind is always trying to convince us that the world is a simpler, more understandable place. Despite our protestations, we stereotype all the time - it is the only way our limited intellects can cope with the complexities of the world.

Hardly any decisions we make are based on a dispassionate assessment of facts or stats - we feel things. And I'm not just talking about those we consider less intelligent - the populists, the sheep - we are all readily persuadable as even smarter people don't make probability calculations in everyday life.

So what can we do if we don't wish to be part of the prejudiced throng - we can't stop our minds making simplifications ourselves? We can acknowledge WHERE we are making simplifications and honestly state so. There is nothing more terrifying than someone who makes a simplication on a sixpence as a means of coping but who then zealously defends it for fear they won't be able to cope if it might turn out to be wrong (or simply more complicated).

This is a rant, yes - but I'm cross with my (soon to be ex) bank. We've all been there, I know.

HSBC (who I have used for business for 10 years, and longer personally) have become more and more de-personalised over the last few years. I no longer even know if I have a bank manager, let alone what their name might be - and my businesses channel a not inconsequential amount of money through them annually (that sounded awful - sorry, I don't mean look at how much money we have - more give you understanding that we're not just talking about a few 10,000s here).

They won't lend. Ever. Despite growing at a reasonable pace over the years, and having a fantastic credit history and strong invoices going forward they have NEVER wanted to help my wonderful, small / medium tech business. Anecdotally from friends, that is not reflective of us. They simply do not give a shit about small / medium businesses. Or tech. PERIOD.

/hsbc /economics

As the CEO and Technical Architect for the Pupil Asset school system, I will clearly be claiming the future of MISes is PA MIS! But actually, we are not there yet - and where we are heading in trying to produce the system of the future is I think still interesting - as well as how far away we are from realising those goals.

When I first began looking at school software, I found it incredible that so little progress from the wider world of technology had penetrated into schools. Management software was confined to physical servers (or a Compaq PC under the secretary’s desk!) and so impossibly hard to use that everyone who had not been on the 3 day training course was scared of it. So all this complexity obviously delivered a huge amount of functionality for the school. Didn’t it? Well… beyond storing parent addresses and doctor’s details (never, ever used btw - teachers just phone an ambulance if it gets that bad) it was always a fight (and often another training course) to complete a government census return or extract data for analysis. Let me tell you - making a complex and confusing system is EASY - making a SIMPLE one, now that’s 80% of the work. Ebay is far more complex as an application than a school MIS - yet if you had to have 3 days training just to use it they would be out of business.

Worst of all about these legacy systems was the precious little “Information” in Management Information System. An impenetrable mess of menuing leading to a raw data Excel download (and often only if you’d bought the optional assessment package…) That is flexible, yes - but in the same way as buying a PC and learning to program is flexible.

The original iPhone came out in July 2007 (yes, 10 years ago!) I clearly recall the conversation I had with a friend at the time saying he already had a digital camera and an iPod - and internet connections were better through a land line. What he (and the other handset manufacturers) failed to see was that in combining these things with a simpler interface wrought something far greater than the sum of it’s parts. Schools are no different… the data is there, and it’s not hard to track - but pulling it together lets you - as a head or governor - see who in my school is not achieving to their best potential. And by “see” I don’t mean manipulate spreadsheets for 2 weeks before Ofsted come in - but have it there, at your fingertips, on a dashboard, in real time, as soon as you sit down with a coffee. What’s more, those initial widgets need to be clickable  to examine that cohort - explore WHY this Maths set is not doing as well as the English one. By combining the attendance, behaviour and assessment data together, you can see that little Jonny is struggling - but he’s been away 6 out of the last 10 days and got into a fight two weeks ago. 30 seconds - Maximum. That’s all it should take.

Consolidation. That’s the future. 
Next steps should be built in too. Texting parents (or better still free iMessage style app messaging) as soon as they need to know is a solved and relatively simple problem. Building a connection to your external messaging service is more work than just sending a text message.

In summary, the future MIS isn’t an MIS - certainly not as we know it today. It’s a system for sorting out your school full stop. So how are far along are we with this vision? Well, actually you can do everything above today with Pupil Asset. So what’s missing from our goals? You. Don’t you think it’s time to take control of your school?


Am I logged in...

me /me 11 Jan 2017

... as dpye?
Quantitative Easing gave money back to the wealthy by buying bonds they held with made up money. Money which ended up not pushed into exciting new investments and interesting new jobs, but re-invested into other assets whose prices all went up like overstuffed geese.

Traditional economic theory explains that giving in to the age-old governmental temptation to simply print money leads to inflation. More of anything sloshing around makes that thing less valuable. But an interesting thing happened with QE - no inflation (and even deflation in some countries) - it's a miracle cure! But that says more about how inflation is measured. The prices of many things - houses, classic cars, art, stocks - skyrocketed, but they aren't generally measured in official inflation figures. At the same time, wages stagnated and food & oil prices dropped. So we had differential inflation - the top 20% of the population (the non-wage earners generally) experiencing huge, positive inflation of things they own - and the bottom 60% (those with jobs) benefitting only if they were already home/stock owners and having no effect on the rest. When I say no-effect, what is actually happening is that in-relation to the cost of property etc they have got considerable poorer, but using a pernicious type of inflation that also keeps salaries low.


Money printing has caused inflation. It's just that so precious little of that wealth has trickled past the highly wealthy, the working population saw no pay rises, and supermarkets could not up their prices consequenty. I predict: food and consumer goods inflation has to come soon, leading to even measured inflation rising. Some supermarkets will go bust as they can no longer hold back the force of £ devaluation and rising input prices vs consumer's ability to pay higher prices.

/economics /inflation

In polling, 75% of Trump supporters want to repeal Obamacare even though they are mostly the poor beneficiaries. If you ask the exact same question without calling it "Obamacare" that drops to 13%http://www.salon.com/2016/12/21/drain-the-swamp-of-all-those-p-c-liberals-turns-out-trumpers-dont-care-about-lobbyists-or-plutocrats/

Those fighting against the USs fledgling ability to catch up with the rest of the civilised world and look after people who are ill are able to keep popular support against it by reminding people it was proposed by a black man.

In Kentucky, they even rebranded it so that those in need would take it up: http://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2016/12/13/13848794/kentucky-obamacare-trump

It's only after reading comments against various Obamacare articles that I understand (though disagree) with the opposition to it from poor white Americans. The rebranding of ACA as "Obamacare" is a racist issue THAT makes it sound like healthcare for poor black people, paid for by increased premiums to wealthy whites.

jamesklik /jamesklik 29 Jan 2017

Does it?

James Leeds /jamesleeds 29 Jan 2017

Doing so at a state level is fascism. Trump's ban on all muslims entering the US is on the same continuum as kicking Muslims out, then rounding them for extradition, then holding them in camps because there is nowhere for them to go.

Is ironic or terrifying (both?) that this executive order was issued on Holocaust Remembrance Day?

James Leeds /jamesleeds 20 Jan 2017

- Comments / mentions (thoughts on thoughts?)
- Margin notes (always specific to you, but can be written against anyone's big thoughts!)
- "Following" people or piles?
- Different "levels" of friendship
- Collapse big thoughts into summary paragraph

James Leeds /jamesleeds 20 Jan 2017

Trump's inauguration day crowd was both tiny and a see of one colour - white: 
Compare that to Obama in 2013: 

James Leeds /jamesleeds 20 Jan 2017

... it gets it really wrong.

This is a 1980 Ford Mustang with a 4.2L V8 petrol engine that produces 119bhp. My older, 1974 1.6L makes more than that.

/trumpinauguration /cars

James Leeds /jamesleeds 20 Jan 2017

Reply to: http://www.bigthoughtslittlethoughts.com/davidpye/195/GamifiedIncentivised-Sign-Up-for-PA-Freenbsp /davidpye
Yes, have been thinking about gamification for a while. Probably something for the free version

me /me 20 Jan 2017

/jamesleeds I think it's more than likely it actually already exists. How hard could it be for a Windows Engineer who knows Linux to retrofit Linux to operate the way windows does on the surface?
In other words, flying /cars won't be here until self-driving has been solved. I'm betting that Average people aren't safe enough pilots; and wider adoption of autonomous vehicles will drive up expectations of safety.


Tim Cook's focus on making lots of money over making great products is short-termism writ large. Alienating those people who original evangelised Apple products is a long term strategic misjudgement - cementing Apple's decline (started even before Jobs' death with the bungled iCloud)?


James Leeds /jamesleeds 17 Jan 2017

I would be surprised /davidpye if there aren't several future thinkers at MS calculating the effort in replacing the Windows core API with UNIX


Would require a similar transition period to the move from OS9 to OSX, with MS universal binary equivalents.

me /me 01 Jan 1970

Hopefully it saves?