The price of controls – what does it cost to eliminate risk?

Thomas Alva Edison

From Joel Spolsky’s Camels and Rubber Duckies: (some minor editing)

Software is priced three ways: free, cheap, and dear.

  • Free. Open source, etc. Big companies are still a bit afraid of open source.  They want someone responsible who will take their call when something goes south.  Even if it’s just to complain about the lousy software they were sold.  Open source feels risky because there is no one else to blame.
  • Cheap. $10 – $1,000, sold to a very large number of people at a low price without a salesforce. Most shrinkwrapped consumer and small business software falls into this category.
  • Dear. $75,000 – $1,000,000, sold to a few rich big companies using a team of slick salespeople that do six months of intense PowerPoint just to get one sale. The Oracle model.

All three methods work fine.  Notice the gap?

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Minority Report and Big Data

“The United Arab Emirates holds the largest biometric database in the world, the Emirates Identity Authority has announced. The population register of Emirates ID has over 103 million digital fingerprints and over 15 million digital facial recognition records, which includes multiple records of each UAE resident, and digital signatures as of October 11, senior officials said. Dr. Ali Al Khoury, Director General of Emirates ID, said the authority has submitted an official application to the World Record Academy to recognize this record. Asked about the confirmation of the authority’s claims about the world record, an official spokesman of the authority told Gulf News on Sunday: ‘We have made worldwide surveys and inquiries with the similar official authorities and agencies of the world governments holding such databases and confirmed that our database is the largest. The World Record Academy also confirmed to us that no other government or authority has made a similar claim for such a record,’ he said.” 1

The question you should be asking yourself right now is “for what purpose?” Collecting and storing all that data costs millions. So what is the value of having it? Who has access to it? Why make it so publicly known?

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TEDx Orange Coast

LabYesterday I had the pleasure of mental stimulation.  The theme of the TEDx OC conference was relevance.  Specifically how do you stay relevant in today’s world?

As the day progressed this theme blossomed for me.   I took away a number of new ideas and perspectives.  I learned things from people whom I expected to learn things from but also from unexpected places, which quite frankly is the best kind of serendipity.

Rick Warren was the host in the late afternoon.  Rick Warren is the founder of Saddleback Church.  Today, it is an evangelical congregation averaging 22,000 weekly attendees, a 120-acre campus, and has more than 300 community ministries.  He is large in stature as well as personality, but as the host I wasn’t thinking of him in the same manner as a presenter – subtle way of saying I wasn’t expecting much.

It’s obvious in hindsight that Rick must know some things about growing and nurturing an organization.  When he spoke of relevance it was startlingly relevant!  I took away two really great points and I thought I’d share them here.  [Read more…]

Apple reaches for greatness, without apology

I haven’t got any sort of odd chip on my shoulder about proving anything to myself or anybody else.  And remember, though the outside world looks at success from a numerical point of view, my yardstick might be quite different than that.  My yardstick may be how every computer that’s designed from here on out will have to be at least as good as a Macintosh.
Steve Jobs, 1985

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20.5 Million hits a day using an Amazon Micro server ($15 a month) and Node.js

I have been building a website recently just to get current with the latest web technologies and scaling.  I  saw this post on Hacker News: 10 Million hits a day with WordPress using a $15 server and was intrigued.  It was time to benchmark one of my own applications ( since it also runs on an Amazon Micro server for now as my development/production machine. [Read more…]