Peering into other lives

Enormous wonders are hiding in plain sight. Sometimes they are the world around us, and other times they are people. Vivian Maier was both – she was studiously particular abut her craft, and highly secretive in her practice.

I see something interesting in her life’s work…it could not have been so excellent if she were to become even a trifle famous, let alone familiar. She was a ghost taking wonderful pictures of people and world around her. A kind of urban combat photographer.

Also, it gives me pause to consider the giants in this world who eschew notoriety. Mny of the subjects interviewed who knew her were oddly put off by the wonderful sew ret life she lead. I wonder if they would have been as put off if she were ordinary and not gifted. How sociopathic of us to *need* attention even when we are wonderfully gifted. There is something huge and beautiful about being great at something and merely being happy to be able to do it.

Take a peek at the material…I can’t imagine the effort it will take to unearth all of her works (consider the mountain of *un*developed film she left behind), but what a gift, and it will keep on giving.


Data is the new oil.

Verizon draws fire for monitoring app usage, browsing habits | Politics and Law – CNET News.

“We’re able to view just everything that they do,” Bill Diggins, U.S. chief for the Verizon Wireless marketing initiative, told an industry conference earlier this year. “And that’s really where data is going today. Data is the new oil.

While not new to anyone in the IT Services industry, anyone in touch with IT administration knows just how much we can deduce with advanced real time monitoring tools…it’s a good reminder as to the motivations at play in the open market at the consumer and B2B level. The knowledge of what happens on the network is the first step. Manipulation or redirection of what happens on the network is the business goal for many network owners. (think Netflix vs Comcast, net neutrality, etc…). Those who successfully gain these advantages have major advantages over competitors and anyone looking to bring new services or component services to market (think twitter, vimeo, youtube, pastebin, scribd…any service that allows embedding as a primary or secondary means of presentation).

It’ll be interesting to see what happens with this. This is the first time in my memory an executive in the network services player has openly admitted the value of the data in such simple terms. While this is generally the goal of any private network, it appears that some private network principles are being applied to the open network

But that’s really what is at stake now…data is the new oil.

LinkedIn Security Breach Triggers $5 Million Lawsuit – Security – End user/client security – Information Week

LinkedIn Security Breach Triggers $5 Million Lawsuit – Security – End user/client security – Informationweek.

Key statement:

…that LinkedIn did not recognize its databases had been compromised until it was informed through public channels provides further evidence that the company didn’t adhere to industry standards.

I do not agree with this assessment. It is possible to be compromised and simply not have a positive sign that it has occurred – until the results are circulating publicly or others notice that there are symptoms of a breach.

We’re seeing information systems develop the same kind of complexity that biological systems exhibit – one to one, one to many, and many to one relationships were common…but now we’re looking at behaviours of complex systems no one party understands. Rather than concrete evidence of changes or breaches we have insinuations of breaches. Smart actors are using heuristic techniques to gain entry without tripping defensive responses, and there is no way to guarantee a breach can’t occur, even with “industry standard” projections.

What do you do when your “industry standard” protections must evolve weekly?

I’m interested to see what level of protection LinkedIn purports to adhere to, but even if it’s good enough there will be another breach. How do we plan for that reality?

I’m curious about the practical expression of these skills in the enterprise. Every breach I’ve been privy to or personally uncovered has occurred due to the lack of maintenance in one part of the system, lack of attention to detail, or poor process (A problem is found but is unreportable as noone will act on the information or take ownership of the issue, or worse, profess ignorance out of fear for taking blame as the first responder). Any of these familiar? They’re solvable now.

So hopefully the problem at LinkedIn *is* the latter (process, policy, or technical failures), because the former – sophisticated breaches that are coming from all angles using co-operatively integrated components (inside the network, outside the network, human and robot/AI players) is concerning, yet incredibly exciting. We’re seeing complex networks behaving like biological systems and I expect data protection and AV vendors to step up to the plate. Just don’t expect the breaches to stop…they’ll inevitably continue as long as we present high value targets.

Speaking of grains…

Clean energy adoption won’t be about any single big idea. It will be the cumulative effect of major technological advances being utilized in simple, small ways. Bloom Energy has developed a type of fuel cell that is cheap to produce (silica sand is a major ingredient), runs with little maintenance, and can utilize a range of available fuel options. It is scalable, and stackable!

Seeing the simplicity of this device and its potential make me sad it is not being touted more widely nor loudly, but I like what they’ve done with their product development and the clear marketing plan – sell it by using it!

Take careful note of how they not only demo’d the device, but outed the many (!) commercial customers who are already using the devices. It seems eBay is getting 15% of their LA campus’ energy needs from a small farm of these Bloom Boxes. Ditto a range of top tier corporate clients.