May 12, 2009

Star Trek companions

Hat tip to Linda Barlow for a long list of allusions and references in the recent Star Trek movie, including the comment thread.

Meanwhile, this is as good a time as any to offer lyrics and music/video for the classic Leslie Fish filk song “Banned from Argo.”

Our proper, cool first officer was drugged with something green
And hauled into an alley, where he suffered things obscene
He sobered up in sickbay and he’s none the worse for wear
Except he’s somehow taught the bridge computer how to swear

Actually, this version has better sound and image quality, but the video part doesn’t speak to me.


April 20, 2009

I’m holding forth on public policy again

I was interviewed by Federal News Radio again, and will edit in a link to an audio file if/when they give me one.  (Here it is.) The subject was the completion of the Aneesh Chopra/Vivek Kundra team for United States CTO and CIO, something I find alarming due to their lack of focus on the tough project management/data integration and privacy issues at the heart of government IT.

Overall, the interview went a lot better than my last one with the same station.

March 12, 2009

Interesting times in the Monash home

The set-up

I work from my house, as does my wife Linda Barlow. That makes it an interesting place right there, as Linda has published 15 novels, served two terms as a director of the Author’s Guild, testified as an expert witness on HTML technology in Federal court and, for variety, taught neurobiology at a local college. She is also a much better MMO player than I am.

Monday night, however, things got interesting in another way. On the whole, I’m not apt to be particularly celebrity-struck. I grew up in Beverly Hills; worked with bunches of politicians, Nobel Laureates and Fields Medalists at Harvard; talk for hours with some of the tech industry’s biggest names; and have met some extremely popular authors through Linda. Still, I thought it was cool to be Twittering back and forth with LeVar Burton, of Roots and Star Trek fame, especially when he sent a direct message that read, in its entirety, “Exactly!!! Well said.” But unfortunately, that wasn’t the most interesting part either.

The flare-up

While I was tweeting away in the middle of the night, I heard a shout from Linda. It turned out that we had a fire on our 49-year-old electric stove. (A burner had failed to turn off, a plastic cutting board had fallen onto it, and flames had started.) Read more

February 7, 2009

Should we include my blog A World of Bytes in our general feed?

As is pointed out in the right-most column of this and every other blog page, we publish five blogs, all written by me. As per the boilerplate:

But I actually write a sixth blog too, which has taken over much of the role previously filled by The Monash Report. It also overlaps coverage of internet technologies with Text Technologies.

That is A World of Bytes, which I write for Network World. Read more

January 19, 2009

When law meets technology, and you can help

I’ve been arguing passionately for years that technologists and policy-makers need to work together on ensuring information systems meet life-and-death needs without compromising essential liberties.*  This is obviously a tall order, and last night something struck me — the case of electronic health records should be handled first, basically because it is free of the national-security rigmarole infesting other kinds of privacy issues.

Please take a look. (And please overlook the UI at those links.  It’s been embarrasingly bad, especially in the matter of bullet points, ever since I started blogging there, and this month it got a lot worse. I’m sorry.)

Then please help, by advancing your take on these ideas by any means at your disposal.  It’s going to take years to get all this right.  Freedom hangs in the balance.  We need to start NOW.

Discussion is also underway on Slashdot.

December 12, 2008

It’s been one of those weeks

Dashing cross the Pond
Flown there by BA
Computers crashing ’round
Coughing all the way (hack, hack hack)

It’s been a heckuva week — personal computer crash, Massachusetts’ electrical outage, two-day trip to the UK, and the flu. I’m badly backlogged on email, blog posts, and the holidays.

I’ll catch up as best I can, starting this weekend.

November 24, 2008

You can help with one of the most important public policy issues of our times

I’m pretty passionate about electronic freedom these days.

Issues of privacy and liberty take at least five forms:

  • Censorship
  • Admissible evidence in court
  • Admissible evidence in investigations (not exactly the same thing)
  • The consequences of damaging information leaks from the government to the private sector
  • Potential chill on useful technologies (e.g., electronic health records) caused by any of the other four kinds of issue

Taken together, that amounts to much of the Bill of Rights – or other countries’ equivalents — plus a whole lot of life-saving technology on the side. I.e., it’s more than huge.

That’s from a detailed recent post that ends with a call to action:

Please join me in raising awareness. Blog yourself. Send email to those who might have influence. Or – and this one’s really easy – just go to the suggestion page at and help draw the incoming Administration’s attention toward these crucial issues.

Please, please do at least one of those things. There’s still enough time for freedom to be preserved, since the worst practical threats are still some years off. But if it doesn’t happen during an Obama Administration, when will it happen, in the United States or the rest of the world? The time to make a difference is now.

November 16, 2008

I’ll be on DC-area radio Monday 11/17. An MP3 will be available.

I am to be interviewed at 7:28 am Monday 11/17 on Federal News Radio, AM 1500 in the DC area. That’s also an internet radio station. The producer writes:

We’ll zap this interview to the entire Maryland/VA/DC tri-state area. We’ll also stream it live at And afterwards, we’ll archive it online in its entirety (MP3 format).

Hopefully I’ll get a more precise link to the archive once it’s up, in which case I plan to edit it into this post.

The subject is what Obama should look for in a CTO, and what the Obama Administration’s technology priorities should be. This interview was surely triggered by my post arguing the new United States CTO needs to be more of a CIO, and the Slashdotting of same.

Related links

November 12, 2008

Positioning Choices in the Analytic DBMS Market

For the first time in ages, I put up a Monash Advantage Members-only Monash Letter at Passwords can be obtained from my principal contacts at each Member. (If you can’t guess who that is at your company, please feel free to contact me directly.)

The subject is Positioning Choices in the Analytic DBMS Market. (Aka data warehouse DBMS, data warehouse appliance, analytic appliance, or whatever.) I proposed eight ideas that I think work, but they overlap a lot – four are variants on “great price/performance” and three are variants on “the safe choice.” I also called out a few that I don’t think work, including at least one that one of my clients is pretty much betting the company on.

Obviously, there’s a huge amount of research backing up this analysis over on DBMS2. (Just one example – my recent Teradata product line overview.) But I also invoked some underlying marketing theory. Part of that has been posted on Strategic Messaging. Other exists only in very crude draft form. (Sadly, that’s what my whole company website used to look like, until Melissa Bradshaw rescued it.)

November 10, 2008

Who should Obama appoint as United States CTO/CIO?

During the campaign, Barack Obama promised to appoint a national Chief Technology Officer. Naturally, vigorous discussion has ensued as to who that should be. I’ve been right in the thick of it:

Much of the blogosphere and trade press discussion started out silly, speculating on Eric Schmidt for the job and so on. Richard Koman was one of the first to analyze the subject more sensibly. But now Dan Farber has weighed in with a great post, looking at the practicalities of the position in detail, which was quickly echoed by his old partner Larry Dignan.

Getting Federal IT straight is a VERY difficult job. It’s also utterly crucial. I hope the Obama Administration gets it right.

← Previous PageNext Page →

Feed including blog about enterprise technology strategy and public policy Subscribe to the Monash Research feed via RSS or email:


Search our blogs and white papers

Monash Research blogs

User consulting

Building a short list? Refining your strategic plan? We can help.

Vendor advisory

We tell vendors what's happening -- and, more important, what they should do about it.

Monash Research highlights

Learn about white papers, webcasts, and blog highlights, by RSS or email.