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.

November 7, 2008

Technology highlights of the 2008 US Presidential campaign

I’ve been writing quite a bit over on A World of Bytes about the technology used in the 2008 Presidential campaign. Subjects included:

I’m also writing over there about what I think the Obama Administration should do with respect to technology policy. First up is a ringing recommendation of Charles Rossotti for CIO/CTO. More to follow.

September 22, 2008

Good riddance to Secure Computing

McAfee has announced a takeover of Secure Computing, ending that company’s independent existence. To this I can only say: It’s about time! Early this century, I was asked to revive my old investment research career and find stocks to short. A promising candidate turned out to be Secure Computing, whose main product lines included:

The short idea was in large part that the firewall-on-a-board idea had caused great overoptimism, stoked by the company. On further digging, I found that CEO John McNulty’s resume, as stated for example in Secure Computing’s SEC filings, seemed inconsistent with his resume as stated in SEC filings of his prior employer. Nobody seemed to care much about correcting that, however. Read more

August 20, 2008

Announcements, announcements, announcements!

A couple of months ago, we set up a category in this blog called Monash Research highlights for the purpose of clueing you in to our biggest news. Indeed, if you ever decide you can’t handle our full integrated feed, there’s a special Highlights feed that will keep you at least partly clued in to what we’re up to.

Other than the highlights feed itself, we have four pieces of news to share today:

Let me explain. Read more

August 18, 2008

High-energy physics considered by means of a rap video

CERN brought us the World Wide Web, which no matter what else it ever does leaves it on the plus side of the ledger. (Unless, of course, it creates black holes that destroy the planet, but that seems thankfully unlikely.) The Web led to blogs and YouTube. And now things have come full circle, as Jason Perlow has blogged a YouTube video that explains CERN’s main new venture — the much discussed Large Hadron Collider — in the form of a rap video.

It’s pretty funny and actually somewhat informative. Check it out.

Meanwhile, another video has time-lapse photography showing the building of the Large Hadron Collider. I actually only watched from about the 7:30 to 8:00 marks, but that part was pretty cool.

August 8, 2008

I’m going to be doing an online chat

August 19, 2-3 pm Eastern time, I’m going to be doing an online chat, hosted by Network World.

But please pay no attention to the listed description. Any topic goes — from Attensity to Zilliant — and the write-up is just one editor’s idea of what would be a good hook to attract participants. (And please, definitely, pay NO attention to my antiquated and scrunched up picture, to the missing text, or to any other aspect of’s user interface.)

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