IT for the cranium

IT for the cranium

2008 is the year in which I should actually live according to the technological precepts I have laid down for others. So I decided to undergo a mental consolidation and virtualise my brain.

I've always been lousy at new year resolutions and planning my life in any meaningful way. But as 2007 drained away, I resolved that it was time to take charge. Rather than drift for another year, I decided to make resolutions and stick to them! I even decided to practise what I preach. Years of telling my employers and anyone else who will listen that information technology is fabulous and can transform the world, means 2008 is the year in which I should actually live according to the technological precepts I have laid down for others.

So I decided to undergo a mental consolidation and virtualise my brain.

That may sound a little odd, so let me explain. My brain has different parts, an arrangement I'll assume we all share. So I hope you understand when I talk about the very annoying part of my brain that never quite stops wondering who it is that just walked into my peripheral vision. I also have a lobe that cannot resist reading an email as soon as it arrives, and some kind of synaptic cluster that switches itself on at about 10.45am and starts to contemplate the really excellent Malaysian restaurant around the corner. Whenever that bit switches on, the part of my brain dedicated to remembering my cholesterol scores and what the doctor said about them shuts down.

There are other bits of my brain, too. Some are new, small and feeble, like the bit that tries to understand Facebook. Others are large, old and powerful, like the bit that remembers obscure music from the eighties. Other segments I hardly know about until they swing into action at 11pm in front of an ATM and decide it is a fine idea to buy a third bottle of red.

A hypervisor to rule them all

Operating so many mental processes is clearly not a good use of my mental resources, as it takes a literally scatterbrained effort to manage the diversity and complexity that is the result of having so many bits of the brain functioning at once.

Hence my recent inventory of brain parts and their collective requirements, and the subsequent consolidation of my brain into one large pool of cognitive resources.

Of course, one large slab of brain has its limitations, so my obvious next step was virtualisation, so I could re-apportion my mental faculties when needed. I therefore planned to install a mental hypervisor to dynamically allocate bits of my brain to different tasks.

I got under way on January 1 and so far the ROI has been pretty good. My pilot project saw me work with the mental resources devoted to sly, furtive glances at attractive members of the opposite sex and the nerve clusters devoted to constant low-level worry about global warming. I used the mental hypervisor to re-assign both to boost the part of me that worries about my health and appearance. As if by magic, this act of virtualisation resulted in my Christmas weight gain melting away.

It seemed prudent, at this point, to see if virtualisation could help me at work, too. So I virtualised the parts of my brain devoted to worrying about cricket scores (which usually messes up January) and re-assigned the mental cycles to my strategy centres. All went to plan and I developed a 2008-09 IT budget in just a week!

Once the year got into full swing I devoted extra resources to the subroutines I use when trying to appear interested in meetings, with the result that I can now stay awake and appear attentive during gatherings that previously sent me to sleep. Another trick has been to divert some unused brain capacity to figuring out just why some of my colleagues behave the way they do. This is a particularly useful task for virtualisation, as my unaugmented brain had never been able to understand their motivations. Sublimating the part of my brain that thinks about what to do on the weekend and using it to help me think about people management has really paid off.

I'm now diverting cranial capacity from every low-priority process to cook up a compelling argument for a pay rise, which between you and me should be spectacular now that I have plenty of mental horsepower to devote to the job.

When that fat, new pay cheque rolls in, it will confirm my new-found belief that new year resolutions are very, very powerful and important. So powerful, in fact, that I have already set up a small virtual process to devise my resolutions for 2009. At first I thought that my next resolution should be to outsource my brain, but once I focused all my mental power on the problem, a far better solution became obvious: next year I go dual core!

Fairfax Business Media

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