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Sunday
Oct112009

Do you speak Cherokee?

Saturday
Oct102009

Exit Strategy

Vendor lock-in is an issue with any data storage system - in the cloud or hosted in-house. We need to look into and investigate the tools that the vendor provides to extract the data out of the system.

From what I seen (and experimented with), Google provides excellent set of APIs to access the data stored in Google's Cloud. And Google is always working on to improve the APIs. Google usually first adds functions to the API, and then introduces them in the UI. Compare this to other software vendors, who usually introduce the new functions in the UI and then at a later time provide API access to those functions - if it all.

I currently use both Google Docs and Windows Live Workspace to store my personal / school related stuff. I use both of these because they both have their benefits. Windows Live Workspace provides complete integration with Office 2007, whereas Google Docs provide editing capabilities in a Web browser.  Recently I have been thinking of writing an application that will synchronize the content of both of these repositories. Google provides APIs that make this task easy from Google's side, but there are no Windows Live Workspace APIs, so I have to devise a workaround to get documents into the Windows Live Workspace.

No amount of precautions can avoid problems that we do not yet foresee. We need to find solutions to the problems, not just avoid them. An ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure, but that's only if we know what to "prevent".  We should be looking into ways to reduce the security and privacy risks associated with Cloud Computing and improve data-portability- efficiently and cheaply.

With problems that we are not aware of yet, the ability to put right - not the sheer good luck of avoiding indefinitely - is our only hope, not just of solving problems, but of making progress. - Physicist David Deutsch

Oh btw, also check out Data Liberation Front

Monday
Sep282009

Innovating using Social Computing

This year IDF had a interesting presentation by Eleanor Wynn and Abram Detofsky on how Intel is using Social Computing to promote Innovation @ Intel. The following are some highlights from the presentation. More to come later.

People often mistake Social Media (content) for Social Networks (connections). - Eleanor Wynn (Paraphrased)

social_computing

 

A robust social network (connections) is required for innovation emergence - Eleanor Wynn and Abram Detofsky

 

Measuring Robustness of a network

The following are some measures used to measure the robustness of a network

Density

Percentage of Connections

Cohesion

Average number of Hops

 

KiteWork1
In this network graph, Andre is a 4 hops away from Jane
Source: The Network Thinker 

Degree Centrality

Number of ties a person has with others in the network. Read more.

Betweenness Centrality

People who sit on short paths between many sub-groups. Read more.

 

Roles in a Network

Participants in network may play one or more of following roles:

Hub

Central figure in a subnet or clique.

Maven

Edge figure who is a trusted expert in a particular field, who seeks to pass knowledge on to others. Read more.

Broker

Link between two or more cliques

 

Sources:

https://intel.wingateweb.com/us09/scheduler/catalog/catalog.jsp

http://www.orgnet.com/sna.html

http://www.thenetworkthinker.com/

Friday
Sep252009

Stealing credit card numbers from corporate computers is a serious crime, but it is not “identity theft.”

 

Why does terminology matter? Larry Downes explains:

quote

No one’s “identity” is being stolen, but the use of the term to describe every financial fraud involving a computer amps up the terror level of consumers who largely have nothing to fear.  The vast majority of “real” identity theft has nothing to do with computers at all, but rather  begins with a stolen or lost wallet, stolen or simply discarded mail, or inside jobs pulled by clerks and others with legitimate access to the data.

The real problems are on the back-end, where credit card systems are left insufficiently secured, or where laptops with sensitive data are left in the back seats of cars where they are stolen not for the data but for the hardware.  We keep hearing horror stories of government employees, university officials, and private sector employees who can’t even be bothered to put password protection on their logins, let alone encrypt their data.  And the continued use of social security numbers by private enterprises both as a customer ID and an authentication field is probably the most dangerous practice of all.

[A]s long as consumers are being misdirected to think it’s their behavior that needs to be controlled, the financial services industry can avoid solving their largely self-made problems.

 

Friday
Sep252009

Defining Cloud Computing – The Lewis Carroll Way OR Humpty Dumpty Explains

`When I use a whumpty_dumptyord,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

`The question is,' said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

`The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master -- that's all.'

 

Alice was too much puzzled to say anything; so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. `They've a temper, some of them -- particularly verbs: they're the proudest -- adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs -- however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That's what I say!'

 

`Would you tell me please,' said Alice, `what that means?'

 

`Now you talk like a reasonable child,' said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased. `I meant by "impenetrability" that we've had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well if you'd mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don't mean to stop here all the rest of your life.'

 

`That's a great deal to make one word mean,' Alice said in a thoughtful tone.

 

`When I make a word do a lot of work like that,' said Humpty Dumpty, `I always pay it extra.'