Thursday, February 28, 2008

Imitation – Flattery, or just good sense?

I’ve always heard that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. But in business that imitation isn’t usually intended to flatter the imitated – it’s intended to make money! The mantra “Good artists create, great artists steal” is still alive and well, as evidenced by LinkedIn’s recent updates.

Facebook is currently king of the social networking hill, and LinkedIn has recognized that, if they’re going to be taken seriously as a networking utility, they need to take a few leaves from Facebook’s, er, book. Of course, they’re still taking the business aspect very seriously, so I wouldn’t expect a “Hot or Not” module any time soon, but it’s only a matter of time before people find their work relationship status on LinkedIn.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Education vs Expertise:
A lesson from "Cuckoo's Egg"

Education does not equal expertise. Only experience can produce expertise, especially in fields in which there are not yet experts. So much of technology has been invented and researched that many of us don’t think we will ever end up doing something that we didn’t study, much less something that has not yet been created! And more than that, to become the expert! Yet that’s exactly what happened to Cliff Stoll, and that’s what I got out of his book “The Cukoo’s Egg.”

In case you’re not familiar, Cliff Stoll is an astronomer by education, but through an interesting turn of events became one of the early leaders of Internet security. He was inventive in his tactics and methodical in his tracking. He was everything that a Microsoft or Google or Amazon would want in a security tester. That’s because he was the prototype, the version 1.0, of security testing!

I’m about to graduate from university, and I’m going to start off my career in a fairly typical IT department. I have the option to only learn what my job requires of me and do my job precisely how I’m expected to. I’d probably make a decent living doing it, too. But I may get the opportunity to solve a problem that no one’s solved before, in a manner that I’ll have to devise. I could become the expert of a field that I help to create! That would be more than fulfilling – that would be cool!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cyber Bullying

The pen is mightier than the sword, and the keyboard is the pen of this generation. According to a recent article by the Associated Press, a new website,, promotes anonymous gossip that is literally destroying students’ lives. In previous generations you knew who was bullying you, and gossip was relatively contained. Today cyber bullying is so easy and powerful that it has resulted in lowering self-esteems, soiling reputations, and even the suicide of a young teenage girl. I’m not typically in favor of censorship, but when there’s malicious intent someone needs to intervene.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I often hear about how massive the Internet is, and one Google search on any topic confirms that to be true. Yet I only have a handful of sites that I visit regularly and rarely add to that list. I used to just find out about really cool sites from friends and the sites I currently visit. Then, a few days ago, my wife came across in Parents Magazine. is like this cool, new mixture between Google and Facebook and something else that I can’t really describe. Set up was minimal, and stumbling is addicting! Try it out, and you’ll be glad you stumbled upon!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Family History and the Information Age

I believe that a society’s true motivations are revealed by how it utilizes the available technology. When you search Google for “genealogy OR family history” you instantly get 457,000,000 results (as of February 6th, 2008). Searching for “American Idol” only returns 31,200,000 results. Maybe it’s the search for identity, the desire to find familial connections, or the simple hope to know that we’re not alone, but something drives us to build and utilize tools for researching family history. Whatever the case, it feels good to know that genealogy is more important than American Idol.