Monday, April 25, 2011

It's a mad, mad, interconnected, discombobulated world

Early this year I posted about cloud computing. (This has been one of my most popular posts and was syndicated by the Netherlands edition of Computerworld.) The moral of that post was: no one watches out for your data like you (should).

Cloud computing, also known as "software as a service" envisions that most people and most organizations will outsource the provisioning and maintenance of computer hardware and software to specialists. You don't generate your own electricity, the argument runs, so why would you want to run your own computer center?

Never mind that with solar panels and windmill generators, a still small but growing community is moving toward providing their own electrical power. Including big IT shops like cloud-app provider Google.

Having mastered the running of very large data centers and handling very large user communities, Amazon entered into cloud computing as a "side" business. It generates a mere half billion or so this way in annual revenues.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Authorial angst

Writing science fiction for a living does not preclude occasional discomfort with change.

Take Google's grab for the right to digitize and display everything ever written.  That, essentially, is the agreement Google struck with the Authors Guild -- a group that, despite its name, does not represent all authors. By making every book searchable, Google would have more online content with which to sell ads. How much negotiating power do you suppose the typical author has vs. Google about sharing that ad revenue?

Yes, the agreement "allows" authors the right to opt out. That's not good enough! Such terms would stand on its head the totality of copyright law and precedent. As in, the author has the rights to what he has created, unless and until he agrees to grant those rights to another party.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Postscript (or is that post post?)

Last summer, without any fanfare (or while my attention was elsewhere, also a possibility), Blogspot began providing its clients with detailed statistics about their blogs. When I noticed the stats feature and clicked through, I found a wealth of interesting info about SF and Nonsense.   

So: today's post is a quick look at past posts. I was sometimes surprised. Maybe you will be, too.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

It's the tsunami, stupid

Political strategist James Carville, seeking to maintain focus in Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign, hung a sign in the campaign headquarters. The sign read: It's the economy, stupid.

Short and sweet -- and directly on point.

In the aftermath of last month's disasters in Japan, I feel the need (not that this blog has Jim Carville's influence!) to point out: It's the tsunami, stupid. Contrary to the conclusions one might draw from ongoing press coverage, the Fukushima reactors are not a major source of catastrophe in Japan. Not even close ...