November 11, 2013

Cautionary tales

Before the advent of cheap computing power, statistics was a rather dismal subject. David Lax scared me off from studying much of it by saying that 90% of statistics was done on sets of measure 0.

The following cautionary tale also dates to that era. Other light verse below.  Read more

November 2, 2012

Three old jokes

Modern analytics described in three old jokes.

The drunk under the lamppost

A man is on his hands and knees, looking for something under a lamppost and obviously not finding it. The neighborhood policeman asks what he is doing.

“I’m looking for my keys.”

“Did you lose them around here?”
“Not exactly; I think they fell out of my pocket down the street a bit.”

“Then why aren’t you looking for them down the street?”
“The light is better over here.”

But seriously

Some people use statistics the way a drunk uses a lamppost — more for support than for illumination.

Seek and …

A family that’s looking to start organic gardening has a large pile of manure dumped into their backyard. Their daughter grabs a shovel and digs in excitedly, shouting:

“Look at all this … stuff! There must be a pony in here somewhere!!”

March 21, 2012

Comments on Oracle’s third quarter 2012 earnings call

Various reporters have asked me about Oracle’s third quarter 2012 earnings conference call. Specific Q&A includes:

What did Oracle do to have its earnings beat Wall Street’s estimates?

Have a bad second quarter and then set Wall Street’s expectations too low for Q3. This isn’t about strong results; it’s about modest expectations.

Can Oracle be a leader in both hardware and software?

Beyond that, please see below.

What about Oracle in the cloud?

MySQL is an important cloud supplier. But Oracle overall hasn’t demonstrated much understanding of what cloud technology and business are all about. An expensive SaaS acquisition here or there could indeed help somewhat, but it seems as if Oracle still has a very long way to go.

Other comments

Other comments on the call, whose transcript is available, include: Read more

June 15, 2011

Metaphors amok

It all started when I disputed James Kobielus’ blogged claim that Hadoop is the nucleus of the next-generation cloud EDW. Jim posted again to reiterate the claim, only this time he wrote that all EDW vendors [will soon] bring Hadoop into their heart of their architectures. (All emphasis mine.)

That did it. I tweeted, in succession:

*Woody Allen said in Sleeper that the brain was his second-favorite organ.

Of course, that body of work was quickly challenged. Responses included:  Read more

October 3, 2010

Notes and links October 3 2010

Some notes, follow-up, and links before I head out to California:  Read more

July 23, 2010

Some interesting links

In no particular order:  Read more

July 6, 2010

The Wonderful One-Hoss Shay

I often write of Bottleneck Whack-A-Mole, an engineering approach that ensues when parts of a system are out of balance. Well, the flip side of that is the One-Hoss Shay, as in Oliver Wendell Holmes’ marvelous poem. (Here’s a version with Howard Pyle illustrations.)  Read more

April 1, 2010

Netezza nails April Fool’s Day

Netezza has nailed April Fool’s Day this year. :) (Their site will revert to normal after April 1, so I may later edit this post accordingly.)

Related links

March 29, 2010

Pranks, apocryphal and otherwise

I’ve been posting a bit about pranks of various kinds, mainly geeky ones. But so far I’ve only covered real pranks, rather than the much funnier imaginary ones.

The classic of that genre, of course, is a certain database-oriented xkcd comic strip. (If you haven’t instantly guessed what I’m talking about, you must see that strip.) And in a similar vein, I further offer six examples of xkcd’sMy Hobbystrips. (The last two are not for the sexually squeamish, but the others are pretty G-rated.)

One thing I just learned about xkcd — if you mouse over the strip, you get another joke. Some are almost as funny as the main strip. So even if you have already seen the database-classic xkcd linked above, you might want to revisit it. ;)

In a very different vein is Dadhacker’s list of real or imaginary past shenanigans, (Edit: The original link is fried, but here’s a partial replacement) which starts:

I am not permitted to replace a coworker’s reference books (including his Knuth, Sedgewick, and C++ reference manuals) with several linear feet of steamy hardback romance novels.

I will not name my variables after nasty tropical diseases, or executives who are under indictment for fraud.

Elevators are not toys, nor should they ever be wired into the corporate net.

Funny and vaguely prankish (and not for the language-squeamish) is this non-xkcd comic about NoSQL. And finally (definitely also for the non-squeamish), see the first long comment in this Reddit thread, which seems to have successfully pranked a whole lot of readers.

November 23, 2009

Boston Big Data Summit keynote outline

Last month, Bob Zurek asked me to give a talk on “Big Data”, where “big” is anything from a few terabytes on up, then moderate a panel on cloud computing. We agreed that I could talk just from notes, without slides. So, since I have them typed up, I’m posting them below.

Read more

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