Loosing the war while trying to win the battle (part1)

The BBC news today is full of articles about the extend and background to extensive spying the government does on private citizens personal communications such as Facebook, e-mails, phone calls, and so on. As a big data professional as well as a citizen of a democratic country there are a couple of angles worth taking. For one, what does commercially available software look like that gets sold to governments to achieve this sort of thing, and what can it do and how does a big data architecture like that do it. Secondly why is all this going on? Why does a government feel compelled to spy on its own citizens and non citizens.

What will it be when it grows up

Having teenage kids is interesting. Because you probably are wrong, they are not really yours. They have their own world, and yours is completely separate. All you have hopefully done is create a net, so when they explore the real world they can fall without getting killed. Children who had nightmare grow into teenagers who learn to loose them and replace them with experience and finally grow up into adults who are not afraid of comparison, debate research and evidence (mostly).

12 stupid men?

In the UK we had a trail about a woman that took the points her husband received in regards to vehicle offences (bad driving). The case itself is pretty simple. The question put to the jury was simple enough as well. Did she accept the points willingly, and was she culpable. The the that the person involved was publicly well know, and her than husband was also a public figure in politics should be irrelevant. However the jury didn’t seem to get it. It asked silly questions about “should a possibility, that did not form part of anything presented in court be taken into account, or is the jury limited to evidence before it”. “What is reasonable doubt” was another question posed.

Note to selling self

Being a sales person must be one of the real tough jobs in this world. Being a sales person fundamentally asks you to cover a contradiction. You only can sell what you have, and there is every chance the person buying doesn’t need exactly what you have.

Imagine you sell cars, what I as a customer want is a car that can go from 0-60 in 2.5 seconds, has 2-7 comfortable seats, safe as a tank and runs on fresh air and produces 0 emissions. Oh yes, and it should also power my house for free, swap steering wheel sides over depending on what country I am in, and fly. I am happy to pay 1% of my monthly salary for that, after tax of course, and the thing should last for ever, but always look and feel modern, but also be a classic. Oh, and only I can have it.

Employment reduction

The economy is not well. This is not only basic fact, but it is also creating interesting pressures that can be decoded using basic economics and history.

I had a conversation with a colleague (about 15 minutes ago) and as a new manager (just recently appointed) of a large group of people I asked him how it was going and how he coped with the pressure.

“My brain is just buzzing. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking”.

He did in fact look very tired, with his eyes not really opening.


kindleimg. a newish form or reading. this is the real throwback to the IT dark ages. its a one trick pony. And while it is indeed specialised for it it is hardly breaking the bank in feature terms. 4GB of storage. freescale arm 11 at 532Mhz processor and 256 MB ram wasn’t even great 10 years ago. So what is it with the sales figures? forrester estimates them at over 4 million as of mid 2010. it makes no sense really until you use one for a while. Its ergo dynamic and simple to use. it does wha it does well and it lets you read anything anywhere . i can even with a small sneaky workaround post online. the reason. it is great at what it does. and it offers something book people wanted for years. their library on the move. nothing in reading comes close to it. not even a book. and tha pains me to say. the kindle is a better book. trees can breathe easier. weell….maybe not. but at least book readers don’t hae to take the blame, right?

Analyse this…

No, not the gangster movie, I do mean analytics as in maths and predictions. I am not sure if you noticed, but there is a it of a new buzz around regarding analytics. The last 3 projects I am was working on all ended up spending a lot of money on Analytics to gain more competitve advantage. Our team of analysts has grown from 3 to over 50. So I thought it might be worth noting a few things down on analytics that might be worth a few moments of your time. I’ll quote the CEO of my last multinational to set the questions (If you have seen the filme “Dogma” think of a character not unlike Jay, as in Jay and Silent Bob representing the CEO I have in mind.)

It’s not what you know…

Knowledge Management is a tricky subject and having an aligned Organisational and IT approach is seldom achieved or for that matter profitably implemented. Yet knowledge centric organisations like Software developers (Google, Apple, …), Universities, Consultancies (Accenture), Law enforcement and Intelligence but also banks, pharmaceuticals, in short everyone relies on these KM processes working like clockwork.  Yet very few organisations have successfully tackled this area. My interest in this area has been growing over the last 15 years, and was recently re-challenged by my daughter:

“Can you learn what you want to learn, and how you want to learn it?”

Nano tech-tonics

As you know nanotechnology is still on my brain. I had two major run ins with nano tech in the last week which I think are both note-worthy. So here they are, and maybe you agree that both are interesting:

a) Nanotech takes off – YouTube video on Nano-Technology

IT up the stove pipe


This is just a quick rant. I cannot understand why we are making it so difficult to share. IT people should know better. Things that should be available in general are service based access to master data from any company, serviced based access to any computer service provided and above all service based identity management (including rights distribution and so on). More than that I believe that this is a citizen ship element that should be covered by government capability and services.

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