Happy Christmas and best wishes to all my ChiefTech blog readers! I'm on holiday at the moment and I've taken the opportunity to do a bit of reading, including the following books:
- Longitude : The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time
- The Surgeon of Crowthorne
Both books are about the history surrounding the development of two "technologies" that today we take for granted (chronometers for plotting longitude and the Oxford English Dictionary or OED).
Longitude in particular highlights how a mix of politics, bad luck and different perspectives can impact on technology innovation - so good reading for anyone trying to innovate with information technology today. The longitude story continues even today, with the launch of the first European Galileo satellite which they hope will eventually crate an independent GPS service.
The effort of volunteers who contributed to the creation of the OED also reminds me a little of Wikipedia - I wonder how much quicker it would have been to create the first edition if the Internet and tools like wikis had been available to them? BTW You can still help contribute to the OED (an early social technology then?).
Tags: innovation, longitude, oxford english dictionary