Posts filed under ‘Uncategorized’

Even Geniuses Pass Away

By Terence Craig

Today, I got the sad news that a dear friend and an early contributor to PatternBuilders passed away.

Andrew (Andrei) Leman was a gruff, kind and generous man who will be deeply missed.  Andrei was also a very talented mathematician and software engineer who created some of the fundamental theories around the mathematics of graphs.  His papers on that subject are still heavily cited.

More importantly Andrei was a loving husband to his wife Elena and a great friend  and mentor to many, many folks.

He will be missed but his work and the respect and affection he engendered will endure.

пухом my friend.

November 8, 2012 at 6:19 pm Leave a comment

Data Security Reminder: Strong Passwords are Your Best Line of Defense

By Mary Ludloff

Yes, I am still working on my second post about the McKinsey Report which focuses on the U.S. health care system and what we can do to “analytically” fix it but I am also, as always, keeping an eye out for interesting news items to pass along. In particular, a WSJ blog post about data security (yours and mine) caught my eye because it reminded me of the importance of passwords.

As you may remember, a while back the WJS “broke” a story that smartphone apps are hijacking our personal information. Well, according to the WSJ, this is still the case:

“Computer security firm viaForensics has found the applications for top Internet companies LinkedIn Corp., Netflix, Inc., Foursquare and Square, Inc. stored various forms of users’ personal data in plain text on a mobile device, putting sensitive information at risk to computer criminals… The Android applications of LinkedIn, Netflix and Foursquare stored user names and passwords in unencrypted form on their Google-powered devices. Storing that data in plain text violates a commonly accepted best practice in computer security. Since many people tend to use the same usernames and passwords across any number of sites, the failing could help hackers penetrate other accounts… ViaForensics also found the iPhone version of Square’s mobile payments app exposed a user’s transaction amount history and the most recent digital signature of a person who signed an electronic receipt on the app.”

(more…)

June 10, 2011 at 3:26 pm 2 comments

Data Privacy: Facebook, Facial Recognition, and Opting Out

By Mary Ludloff

I have been neck deep in the McKinsey Report working on my post about big data and the enormous impact it could have on the U.S. health care system when the whole Facebook facial recognition brouhaha came across my digital desktop. Followed by lots and lots of emails and calls from friends and family asking me what it means and what the heck (stronger words were used, but I like to keep my posts PG) they were supposed to do to TURN IT OFF. So, without further ado, my thoughts on this new great (sarcasm on) opt-out feature from Facebook as well as what appears to be a disturbing industry trend towards opt-out privacy settings.

First, full disclosure to any new readers: I do not have a Facebook page. Long story short: I decided long ago and far away to keep my personal life off the Internet (as much as possible). Yes, I am in marketing and yes, I love social media, but I live my professional life pretty much for everyone to see and I like to keep my private life, well, private. I also believe that everyone has the right to keep their private lives private (time to plug our book on “Privacy and Big Data”) no matter what those pesky personal information data collectors and users, like Facebook or Google or Amazon or fill-in-the-blank, would like you to do. (more…)

June 8, 2011 at 11:44 am 2 comments

Reflections on pii2011 and MongoSF and a Shout Out to Rackspace for Great Customer Service

By Terence Craig

Regular readers may have noticed I have been a bit quiet on the blog front lately – but as Mary mentioned, things got very hectic here in PatternBuilders land over the last couple of weeks.  In the midst of all the business-related activities, I was also invited to speak at two great conferences—pii2011 and MongoSF 2011. 

pii2011 is one of the premier events on digital privacy and included smart people from the entire spectrum of the privacy debate.  The speakers and the audience were very diverse but included: technologists, analysts, journalists, folks living off the grid, consumer advocates, chief privacy officers, privacy related startups, lawyers, executives from the large Internet properties, including Facebook and Google,  large data collection services (including Acxiom, and Intelius) and even a few folks from the government (but as one of the speakers pointed out, not nearly as many as you would hope for such an important issue).  (more…)

May 26, 2011 at 12:06 pm 3 comments

Speaking at MongoSF Conference: Building a Streaming Analytics System with Mongo

By Terence Craig

I am excited to announce that I will be speaking at MongoSF 2011 with my fellow data wrangler, Tim.  Our talk will cover how we used Mongo to build the PatternBuilders Analytics Framework. The official title for our talk is: Building a Streaming Analytics System with Mongo.

In a previous post, I talked about the impact our Social Media Analytics solution had on our deployment choices. Briefly, we wanted to make a beta version of our solution publicly available on the web and to do that, we needed to ensure sufficient capacity.  Since we did not want to make a massive investment in the infrastructure to support it, we investigated the state of cloud servers. Long story short, as part of our move from our colo to the cloud we made a significant change in architecture, fully embraced some of MongoDB’s more advanced capabilities, and created a radically improved product – although the previous version was pretty cool too! (more…)

May 16, 2011 at 7:14 pm 5 comments

Social Media Analytics: What is the Value of a Hug?

By Mary Ludloff

You know it’s going to be an interesting day when the CEO (that would be Terence) who also happens to be your esteemed co-blogger asks: “How much is a hug really worth?” This question was brought about by a recent article on how banks are using social media analytics tools to gain insights about their products and services. Here’s a direct quote from the article:

“Though she gets asked a lot about the ROI of social media, SunTrust’s Buckridee acknowledges that it’s hard to measure the ROI on goodwill generated through positive social media conversations. My question is, how do you measure the ROI of a hug? … Because that’s what we’re doing with the Twitter team. We’re putting a face to the brand — giving them a human voice and talking to them. We’re focused on building loyalty. … We’re starting to turn that thorny dialogue into happy customer tweets.”

Okay. Well, first of all, as most marketers will tell you, “hugs” have value. Actually, what most marketers will tell you is this: “You better be able to measure the value of that hug so that you can justify how much you are willing to spend to get it and show just how that ‘spend’ results in sales.” Because if you don’t, you may find yourself standing in front of a CEO (say from a fortune 500 company) and when you tell him that you grew Facebook friends by 20%, have the CEO reply, “I don’t care how many friends we have! I need more revenue!” True story (and believe me, every marketer has at least one of these). (more…)

May 11, 2011 at 6:03 pm Leave a comment

Whither Mono?

By Terence Craig

The rumors have been flying hot and heavy about the future of Mono, the portable version of Microsoft’s .NET platform since Novell has been purchased by Attachmate. While Mono was, and remains, open source, its development was driven primarily by a team at Novell led by the brilliant hacker Miguel De Icaza. The gist of the rumors seems to indicate that some/all of the Mono developers have been laid off and that further development of Mono by Novell/Attachmate is in jeopardy.  If either is true, it is a shame.

Mono never got the support it deserved from Microsoft, who never seemed to appreciate its potential to increase Windows legitimacy and presence in the server room by increasing the number of folks using the .NET framework. This lack of support, combined with some concerns about certain patents that Microsoft has that could be problematic for OS vendors who bundled Mono, dramatically slowed its adoption rate. And although the Java programming language left “the window open,” falling behind Mono/.NET technically due to political battles about its direction, Mono was unable to gain ground. (more…)

May 9, 2011 at 5:33 am Leave a comment

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