This RSS Reader Puts Out

I’ve had at least a few people pitch me their RSS readers in the last few weeks telling me how their method of news consumption is so far superior to the Google Reader method. If I thought that GReader sucked, I wouldn’t be upset that it was gone. I’d have migrated away years ago – it was certainly easy enough to do. Don’t pitch me your RSS reader or newsreader by telling me you’re better than GReader. It’s not going to work. It’s like telling me that I’ll love this girl you’re setting me up on a date with because she’s so much better than my wife who just died. Not the best pitch method....

Breeching the gulf of space and time …

What you’re looking at is a picture of my great-great-great-great paternal grandfather Edward Hopkin’s tombstone, located near Neath or Margam, Glamorganshire in Wales. Based on my research so far, he and his wife lived in the area their entire lives, never venturing outside the area, during the first half of the 19th century. Written at the bottom of their tombstone are the words: "ni cheir hi er aur periag ni ellir fwyso fi cwerth hi o arian." I’ve very recently become enthralled with looking into the past, specifically through the lens of the genealogy of my family. It is, perhaps, an interesting hobby to take up for someone who is professionally obsessed with the future, and perhaps even doubly interesting for someone who is adopted, and thus not genetically tied to their known ancestors (as perhaps most genealogical researchers are). I’ll leave aside the very interesting technological discussions one could have about the nature of big data and what it is that the digital archiving seeks to do in the modern age (and trust me, there’s a very interesting structured v. unstructured data exposition to be had there). I’ll save that for another time. What is particularly fascinating to me, at least at this moment, is the wormhole in time that technology has allowed me to hear the last words of one of my ancestors (mind you an ancestor of no great particular historical import, in the grand scheme of things): "The value of my wife cannot be measured in riches nor gold." It’s not what most would call the most earth-shattering sentiment ever expressed by an individual, but...

A Few Thoughts on Maintaining Audience and Creative Integrity

Justin Kownacki put together a thought provoking piece, and addresses what is, to me, the most interesting aspect of not just writing, but anything that involves audience building (which for me, includes building blogs and video vehicles like like and on demand programming). He quotes George Saunders (emphasis, Justin’s): "If there are 10 readers out there, let’s assume I’m never going to reach two of them. They’ll never be interested. And let’s say I’ve already got three of them, maybe four. If there’s something in my work that’s making numbers five, six and seven turn off to it, I’d like to figure out what that is. I can’t change who I am and what I do, butmaybe there’s a way to reach those good and dedicated readers that the first few books might not have appealed to. I’d like to make a basket big enough that it included them.” But then Justin asks the question: "What if the tactic you employ to reach “those good and dedicated readers the first few books might not have appealed to” actually alienates the audience you do have?" This is a question I ponder regularly. I began my blogging career as a youngster in the 90s creating pages on Tripod. I moved on to Diaryland, chronicling to an audience my weird life working with nerds in the dot-com era boom and bust cycle. Eventually I started more heavily newsblogging around the time of 9/11, and turned it into a career as a freelancer. Then I focused on one type of tech while I was at Mashable, and here at SiliconANGLE, we’ve gone with...

How Big is Big Data? IDC Says Only $24B. I Say “Close, But No Cigar.”

Derrick Harris posted about IDC, who finally released a Big Data market sizing report. The headline from the post is “IDC says big data will be $24B market in 2016; I say it’s bigger.” Research firm IDC is predicting a big data market that will grow revenue at 31.7 percent a year until it hits the $23.8 billion mark in 2016. That’s a big number for a relatively new market, but it only tells part of the story of where big data technology will make money. Defining “big data” isn’t always an easy task, and breaking it out into a group of separate technologies might not be either. While this report appears to subsume a May 2012 report from IDC predicting an $813 million Hadoop market, it certainly doesn’t include the market for analytics software. In July, IDC predicted that market — which is a critical piece of the overall big data picture — would hit $51 billion by 2016. (Heck, IBM’s Steve Mills said he expects IBM to do $15 billion in analytics revenue itself by 2015.) I generally like Derrick work, but he’s totally ignoring (or nicking?) the good work that Jeff Kelly did earlier in 2012 on the Big Data market sizing report. Originally published in Februrary, and updated in November of last year, it put the Big Data market at $53.4 in 2016. From Jeff’s report: As of early 2012, the Big Data market stands at just over $5 billion based on related software, hardware, and services revenue. Increased interest in and awareness of the power of Big Data and related analytic capabilities to gain...

Gee willakers. It must be obvious day on Camp Stupid. [Happy Birthday!]

Mike, our engineer at SiliconANGLE and #theCube, alerted me this morning that the Free Music Archive is having a contest to replace the Happy Birthday song. The Free Music Archive wants to wish Creative Commons a Happy Birthday with a song. But there’s a problem. Although "Happy Birthday To You" is the most recognized song in the English language and its origins can be traced back to 1893, it remains under copyright protection in the United States until 2030. It can cost independent filmmakers $10,000 to clear the song for their films, and this is a major stumbling block hindering the creation of new works of art. A panel of judges that doesn’t include Geddy Lee or Zach Wylde (but does include Lawrence Lessig) will determine which entrant will win some sort of funky distribution agreement that includes recipients at “Jai Alai squads and bowling alleys.” I’m not making any of this...

My Thoughts on the Impending(?) Ruin of America

One of the things that drove my political inclinations on this election cycle was the runaway spending and how addicted we are to our entitlements and military security. This doesn’t have anything to do with political ideology, although if you attach yourself too firmly to political ideology, you’re probably not going to like this post. Of course, the “solutions” on fixing our economic and fiscal crisis are “obvious.” The left says “increase taxes, cut the military.” If we raised tax rates on all income brackets to 100% at the federal level, we still wouldn’t have enough money to pay off the debt. Even if our debt were zeroed out today, we can’t afford to live in the PRESENT, as is. Our CURRENT spending is so high, that taxing 100% of the ‘rich’ wouldn’t pay the CURRENT bills. As for the military? Don’t be simplistic and naive. Why do you think all these European countries have the luxury of trying things like socialized medicine? Why do you think Japan was able to rebuild their economy after being literally nuked? It’s because the US military was used for their border protection, instead of just our own. The world doesn’t like to admit it, but they rely on the US to be the world’s policemen, and they don’t pay us for it. Perhaps it is time to retreat into our own borders and let the world descend into utter chaos? You’d rather have that? What effect do you think that would have on our economy? I don’t advise it – I do think that a slow and wise draw-down on our presence...

Facebook’s Launching an External Ad Network (or are they?).

I’ll make this quick, because I’ve spent most of the evening searching my old coverage of Facebook from 2007 in an unsuccessful bid to back up with written word what I remember predicting repeatedly back then – that Facebook would (or should) launch an external ad network. I distinctly remember feeling a bit embarrassed when I had to publish this post at Mashable, that detailed precisely what Project Beacon was (and wasn’t – that is, a threat to Google). I remember using the line “you can never go wrong underestimating the foresight of the Facebook ad team” several times over the years. All that to say, I’m pretty sure that I’ve made the prediction a few times – just not sure exactly where that prediction showed up. My guess is that it’s lost to history in one of the mis-managed Mashable podcast archives. Why did I waste all that time tonight looking up what I said way back when? Because Mathew Ingram at GigaOm published a post that supposedly confirms that Facebook is finally doing just that – launching an external Ad Network. He says it’s because of the new Privacy and TOS that Facebook is implementing that puts the writing on the wall that this is becoming a reality. I didn’t find his logic nearly as convincing, though, as I found these court documents that John Furrier came across last month. We never published anything on it, mostly because we’re really not in the business of highlighting it when our competitors are involved with Wall Street scandal, but if you do peruse the linked documents, you’ll find that the Wall Street...

Breaking Analysis: A Timeline of the Autonomy Acquisition

CNBC has been doing a pretty decent job getting first hand perspectives from the players involved with the big news out of HP today, with regard to the alleged fraud and writedown of Autonomy that came along with today’s quarterly earnings from HP. CNBC has been repeatedly pointing to the fact that Wall Street Analyst Jim Chanos spotted this potential situation earlier than other street analysts, back in June of 2012. Ahead of the curve, as always, SiliconANGLE and the enterprise analysts at Wikibon picked up on this much, much earlier. Below, a timeline that documents our breaking analysis before, during, and just after the Autonomy acquisition. 12/16/2010 – Will Oracle and MSFT bid on Autonomy? AllThingsD speculated on rumors of a buyout earlier than most other publications. 8/18/2011 – HP Spinning Off PC Business? What about webOS? The first mention of the official Autonomy buyout confirmation at SiliconANGLE. The news at SiliconANGLE and elsewhere was largely overshadowed by news that broke the same day that then-CEO Leo Apotheker was sunsetting both WebOS and the PC division at HP. After Apotheker was dismissed from HP, the company later wisely decided to keep the PC division. 9/22/2011 – How To Guide For HP Unwinding Autonomy Deal – By Wikbon’s David Cahill John Furrier and David Cahill detailed how and why HP should pay $117 million and end the buyout attempt on Autonomy. From the post: The $117 million Mulligan: Extending HP’s focus up into the application layer is a dangerous exercise with material integration and selling risk. Entering the application arena by acquiring a rollup of well-marketed but legacy software...

The Data Scientists’ “War on Punditry”

I’m getting tired of seeing the "war on punditry" waged in the wake of Nate Silver’s accurate election predictions. These thoughts were spurred by a post I spotted by principal research scientist at MIT Andrew McAfee entitled The Pathetic Pundit Playbook. He’s not the only one to advance this ridiculous narrative – only the latest. Most of the folks providing this "punditry is awful and must be destroyed" line of messaging are they themselves pundits… otherwise we wouldn’t be talking about this. Pundits are simply "people who provide opinions to mass media." If you’re a blogger with any kind of opinion, or you’re appearing on a radio show, podcast or tv show, you’re a pundit. You’re providing color commentary on anything online? You’re engaging in punditry. In this, Andrew McAfee undermines his own editorial when he says “…pundits become easy to recognize. When you spot one, move calmly and purposefully toward the nearest exit.” Nate Silver, to the best of my knowledge, didn’t ever reveal the precise nature of his algorithms, nor the methodology he used for normalizing his data, nor on what methods he used to ensure his source data integrity. I certainly remember the things I and most students were told in math class: show your work. Because Silver and his organization isn’t responsible for making the observations (conducting the polls), there’s a bit of a black box involved, and his methodology won’t be unassailable. There were plenty of well-reasoned critiques of Silver from me and others, including the comments on McAfee’s own blog: Questioning whether his inputs (state polls) were valid isn’t a conspiracy theory. Pointing...

Votehacking is as legitimate a concern as the President’s birth certificate [2012 Edition].

Yesterday, Harmony Tapper put together an excellent post on the state of voter roll security, highlighting the fact that very little attention has been paid to the security of the systems that are responsible for registering voters and the systems that are responsible for storing voter registration. I’ll let Harmony’s post stand on it’s own (even though I did briefly address it on a segment I did for NewsDesk this morning), but I feel compelled to write on the topic of voting machine security, particularly since I see so many ostensibly credible sources of journalism speaking to the topic today. In fact, this morning I had an email in my inbox from a concerned voter after reading a post he found on Yahoo! News entitled: Voting Machines: Why we’ll never trust them. In the post, the editorialist (a left wing blogger who’s worked for The New York Times, Harpers, New Yorker, and Slate) presented a great deal of FUD, but no facts, surrounding voting machines nation-wide. She admits being mystified by her phone, but doesn’t let her lack of technical mastery prevent her from spreading what she admits are unverifiable rumors of security questions around voting machines. And machines—in the age of pocket telephones so cerebral that “smart” seems to understate it—have become like valets to gentlemen in the 17th century. They’re indispensable, entrusted with our deepest secrets and profoundly suspicious, all at once. No wonder, then, that Democrats, too, fear the devious machinations of voting machines. A rumor has persisted throughout the election season in blogs like Truth-out.org and the e-book “Will the GOP Steal America’s 2012 Election?”...

Top Five Guests on #theCube [#bigDataWeek]

Next week is Big Data Week for SiliconANGLE and Wikibon. During our editorial call today, I opened up the view of our YouTube channel analytics to the beginning of the year. When looked at from that particular lense, it was particularly interesting to see that our top four guests were Mike Olsen, Ryan Dahl, Tim O’Reilly and a tie for fourth with Joe Tucci and Pat Gelsinger. Big Data is truly big, which is why it cracks me up when I see some of our competitors in the media landscape continue to put the term in quotes in headlines and long form posts, as if to somehow put airquotes around this “newfangled terminology.” If you have any interest in cloud or storage, you need to watch all these videos (and as a sidenote, watch how nicely Joe Tucci wraps up every detail we covered in the first three in his video). If you miss this trend, you’re asleep. Mike Olsen at the inagural Hadoop Summit, giving the world “Hadoop 101.”   Ryan Dahl at Node Summit 2012 on the creation of NodeJS     Tim O’Reilly at Strata Conference 2012 on the global penetration of Big Data.     Joe Tucci and Pat Gelsinger at EMC 2012, on the history of storage and computing and the advent of Big Data....

Are Googler’s Crazy, Or Am I?

According to a cartoonist (http://bit.ly/OIEKva), Google employees are in the top three groups of contributors to the Obama campaign, when ranked by employer. You’d think that despite their politics, as a group, Google would rather have a President that didn’t have it out for their employer in office. Since the President has taken office, there have been a number of high-profile attempts to break up the company into smaller parts and impose crippling restrictions on the search giant. According to people I’ve known who work for the non-profit arm of Google, the founders of the company tend and trend libertarian in philosophy. You’d think they’d work harder to make sure that ethos infected their employees, rather than support financially and socially a candidate and a party that would rather see their company ended. So here’s the question: Are Googler’s nuts in putting their trust in President Obama, or is Mitt Romney just as likely to pursue the crippling of the search giant as the current...

Facebook Owes You Nothing

Richard McManus and Robert Scoble have been poking around at the edges of this most recent Facebook privacy scandal. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s the whole thing in a sentence: If you used Facebook in 2010 or earlier, you may have used your profile wall as a way to message your friends. I didn’t, and no one I know except Robert Scoble did, but that’s what’s being said, apparently. Richard McManus said: “This is the story that won’t go away, unfortunately for Facebook. Now Robert Scoble has highlighted it. The big question remains though: has anyone yet conclusively proven that these old messages were in fact private messages? Initially I thought that, but in all the cases I’ve seen it has been shown to be old wall posts (hence my post on the matter: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/yes-facebook-this-was-a-privacy-bungle-heres-what-you-shouldve-done.php). If anyone has conclusive evidence, please share it.” I haven’t seen a single shred of evidence anywhere. And I’ve looked. As usual, this is FB users getting butthurt about change. That’s to be expected. As I said the other day on NewsDesk with regard to MetroUI, change is scary on a human level. Privacy on a Social Network: Security via Obscurity There is no “reasonable expectation of privacy” any time you post something to a social network – ever. Security through obscurity simply doesn’t work – and posting something to a wall that almost no one ever reads doesn’t make sense if you want the data to stay private forever. If the data matters to someone other than the intended recipient, that someone will seek it out. FB never promised anyone that *any*...

The Dude Abides

Many of you have heard me talk about my encounters with The Dude at SxSW (if not, go catch up). This documentary gives a nuanced look at Jeff’s more positive characteristics. It’s clear that the filmmakers either didn’t know Jeff that well (or only wanted to remain positive about him). I don’t know Jeff that well either, but I know that he can occasionally be a bull in a China shop (is Asian-tableware the preferred nomenclature?). At any rate, watch it. It’s very well shot, and worth the time you’ll spend viewing it....

Is Big Data Scary for Most People?

This is a post about Big Data, and our inevitable near future. [View the story “Is Big Data Scary for Most People?” on Storify] Is Big Data Scary for Most People? This is a post about Big Data, and our inevitable near future. Storified by Mark ‘Rizzn’ Hopkins · Tue, Aug 14 2012 16:54:20 I’ve been covering the Big Data movement since before we called it that over at SiliconANGLE. It’s interesting to see the veil of realization start to dawn on the general public as they realize that Big Data isn’t science fiction, but reality. How Big Data Became So Big – UnboxedFirst, here are a few, well, data points: Big Data was a featured topic this year at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, with… I had a conversation on Facebook earlier today with some folks that might be considered social media gurus, but for whatever reason still seemed essentially Luddite, and fear the privacy implications of a Big Data world. Sun on Privacy: ‘Get Over It’The chief executive officer of Sun Microsystems said Monday that consumer privacy issues are a "red herring." "You have zero privacy anyw… The Cube – EMCworld 2012 – Scott McNealysiliconangle Scott McNealy said (a long time ago): “You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.” When he said this in 1999, it was shocking. Over a decade later, I’m surprised by folks who haven’t adopted his viewpoint. There will be a schism, I fear, in society. On one side, there will be people who have adopted and make use of every advantage technology has to offer. On the other side, there will be...

A Response to the President’s Weekend Remarks about Businessmen

Dear Mr. President, When you go fuck off in November, please realize you didn’t fuck off all on your own. Millions of stupid, helpless Americans helped you fuck off by voting against you. Why does America hope you fuck off? Perhaps it’s because you can’t stop insulting them. I’ve worked with a lot of folks with doomed political campaigns (hey, I am a Libertarian) and none of the folks I’ve ever run for office have ever made a habit of insulting every potential voting block with the degree of regularity you do. You’ve insulted my demographic a few times, but none so solidly as you did this weekend. You see, I’m an entrepreneur. You told a group of supporters in Roanoke, VA this weekend that their business owning friends are basically standing on the shoulders of their betters in the Federal government. You said, and I quote, “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” This quote, which when I first heard it, thought must have been taken out of context by a stupid pinhead at Fox News or something. I mean, who else would possibly misconstrue your words of love to the American public to mean that you think they’re incapable of basic business success. Oh wait, sorry. You’re a Democrat. My bad. At any rate, when you put your previous quote into it’s proper context, it somehow gets worse. I didn’t think this would be possible, and you probably don’t either, so let me re-read your words back to you. “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. there was a great...