Monday, November 27, 2017

Whaddya Mean, Big Data?

It's been going on for a while now. We hear the term "Big Data" used repeatedly and often in contexts that suggest various meanings.  To some people, it seems to suggest an insidious assault on personal privacy. To others, it seems to mean the collection of companies like Facebook and Google that thrive and use their success to influence public policy.

Except among IT professionals, the term seems to mostly be used as a pejorative. Something that evokes fear, or derision, or some force to be resisted. In common usage, Big Data ignites the same sense of dread that Big Petroleum, or Big Government, or Big Pharmaceutical do.

But what does it mean when used in the Information Technology lexicon? Is it something to watch hawkishly, or is it something that holds the promise that we could know more, make better decisions, and innovate more rapidly?

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Who Ya Gonna Trust?

In society of today, we face many questions about what information to trust, whose perspective to trust, and which technologies to trust. Only history will provide us with the right answers, but we have to live in the present, not blessed with the retrospective that will inform our future selves and our progeny.

One of the fabricated perils we have been hearing more about of late is "Big Data." Sometimes it's called "Silicon Valley Elite" or "Tech Elite." And one of the dangers that supposedly comes from this new threat to our way of life is Cloud Computing.

Certainly, since there's a lot of misinformation available about this important development in the world of Information Technology, it's easy to accept viewpoints derived from casual, poorly researched, and superstition-driven irritation or fear. I saw one such article this past week, and perhaps we should forgive the author (Steve Rosseau) for reacting during the heat of the irritation when faced with the possibility that a great deal of his work was lost.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Tech Security Black Monday

It's not a good day for IT security. Two vulnerabilities were announced today, one affecting WiFi for almost everyone, and another that affects public key encryption.

Those who know me are aware that I often relate to most conversations about IT security as alarmist, and often find measures taken in Enterprise security to be self-defeating.

But this time, it's different.

This time the scope of these vulnerabilities is so widespread that many are calling this Black Monday.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Robodialer Defense

Sure, you could hide your phone number from view, and refuse all calls except those from numbers on your carefully crafted whitelist. That's one way to keep robo dialers from interrupting your life and work.

But why should you skulk in the shadows, eyes cast downward in defense against callers who might simply be an annoying disruption to your "flow" but who are very likely the shock troops for disreputable or dishonest businesses?

You can read at Gizmodo, or at CBS News about measures you can take. But what irritates me about many of the suggestions is that they constitute an inconvenience for me, or for my callers. I am not satisfied with letting the polluters extort time and effort from me or from my people. (You may have guessed that from my attitudes in my earlier article, Passwords Must Die.)

So let's talk about something you can do that doesn't take much effort (beyond initial setup) and that might provide considerable entertainment. In fact, this might be the most fun you can have with your telephone receiver down.