Show of 9-18-2010

  • Email and Forum Questions
    • Email from Ms. Bartiromo: Dear Dr. Richard Shurtz, : This sounds pretty interesting and I hope you might comment on it: The article is titles: The Pen that Never Forgets and was published in the New York Times. (Link to NYT Article). Thanks, Ms Bartiromo
    • Tech Talk Responds: The Pen that Never Forgets is an excellent way to retrieve recording information. It links what is written to the words that were being spoken at that moment. (http://www.livescribe.com/) Livescribe’s second-generation smartpen, dubbed the Echo, has more memory (4GB for $170 or 8GB for $200) and a slimmer design than the Pulse.
    • Like the Pulse, the Echo works only on special dot paper. Notebooks at $20 for a four-pack of traditional-style notebooks or $25 for a two-pack of hardbound journals.
    • Email from Eddie Quinlan: Dear Dr. Shurtz, In regards to your explanation about the Diffie-Hellman key exchange encryption technique. What keeps me from intercepting your part of the key being sent to someone, and then me intercepting the end user’s key being sent back to you, and then I put the keys together to use as the encryption key? Hope the question is understandable. I enjoy listening each week to the mp3 files. Sincerely, Eddie Quinlan, G.I.S. Coordinator/Cartographer, Okaloosa County Property Appraiser
    • Tech Talk Responds: Very good insight. You have just described the man-in-the-middle attack. That is why we need to have public key certificate authorities. They validate that the key which we have received is in fact the correct public key.
    • Email from Angela: Dear Doc, How do I deal with one email account on two machines?
    • I run a desktop PC also a Laptop. They both have the same email address as my husband and I share this. When the PC is switched on the emails come into that one, but when the laptop is on, they come into that one if the PC is switched off. Is there any easy way to transfer emails from the laptop to the PC without having to set up a new email address, or sending each individual email to myself? Thanks, Angela
    • Tech Talk Responds: You must have a POP3 account for your email using Outlook Express, rather than a web based account like Gmail. You simply to Tools/Accounts. Highlight the Email account in question. Then click on properties and select the Advanced Tab. Check the sentence: Leave copy of message on server.
    • If you used a web-based account, your inbox will always look the same through the browser on a any machine.
    • Email from Peggy: Dr. Richard Shurtz, A Government contracting firm interviewed me this week. They told me that I needed to get up to speed on Data Warehousing and Star Schema and mentioned names: Inmon and Kimball. I don’t recall this topic being discussed on Tech Talk. Would it be possible to do a "Profiles in IT" on one of these men and / or discuss data warehousing and how it relates to enterprise software development efforts? Thanks for a great show! Peggy, Bethesda
    • Tech Talk Responds: Excellent suggestion. The Father of Data Warehousing is our Profiles in IT subject today. I will also discuss the Kimble versus Inmon debate (bottom-up versus top-down approach) in data warehouse design. Finally, I will address data structure (normalized versus non- normalized) as it relates to the Star schema.
  • Profiles in IT: William Harvey Inmon
    • William Harvey Inmon is recognized by many as the father of the data warehouse.
    • Bill Inmon’s association with data warehousing stems from the fact that he wrote the first book on data warehousing, he coined the original term in 1990, he held the first conference on data warehousing (with Arnie Barnett), he wrote the first column in a magazine on data warehousing, he has written over 1,000 articles on data warehousing in journals and newsletters
    • Bill Inmon created the accepted definition of what a data warehouse is – a subject oriented, nonvolatile, integrated, time variant collection of data in support of management’s decisions.
    • Compared with the approach of the other pioneering architect of data warehousing, Ralph Kimball, Inmon’s approach is often characterized as a top-down approach.
    • Bill Inmon was born July 20, 1945 in San Diego, California.
    • He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Yale University, and his Master of Science degree in Computer Science from New Mexico State University.
    • After graduation, he has worked for American Management Systems and Coopers & Lybrand.
    • In 1991, he founded the company Prism Solutions, which he took public.
    • In 1995 he founded Pine Cone Systems, which was renamed Ambeo.
    • In 1999, Bill created the Corporate Information Factory Web site to educate professionals and decision makers about data warehousing and the Corporate Information Factory. (http://www.inmoncif.com/)
    • Inmon coined the Government Information Factory (http://www.inmongif.com) and Data Warehousing 2.0.
    • In 2003, Bill founded Inmon Data Systems, a company that reads and manages unstructured data – emails, telephone transcripts, documents – and processes them for inclusion into a structured data warehouse. (http://www.inmondatasystems.com/)
    • In 2008, he co-founded Forest Rim™ Technology LLC, with his wife Lynn for the integration of textual data into the structured environment.
    • Bill has developed Textual ETL technologies that allow an organization to move various types of unstructured information into a data warehouse and consolidate it with structured data into a single shared data store.
    • He has provided a methodology that has shown how to accomplish “data integration” across both worlds of structured data (e.g. table-driven and file-driven) and unstructured (e.g. notes, documents, pictures, voice and multi-media and various web-driven data formats).
    • In July 2007, Bill was named by Computerworld as one of the ten people that most influenced the first 40 years of the computer industry.
    • He has written over 50 books and 1,000 articles on date warehousing.
    • His books include "Building the Data Warehouse" (1992, with later editions) and "DW 2.0: The Architecture for the Next Generation of Data Warehousing" (2008).
  • The Great Data Warehouse Debate
    • Bill Inmon’s top-down paradigm
      • Data warehouse is one part of the overall business intelligence system.
      • An enterprise has one data warehouse, and data marts source their information from the data warehouse.
      • In the Inmon vision the data warehouse is at the center of the "Corporate Information Factory" (CIF), which provides a logical framework for delivering business intelligence (BI) and business management capabilities.
      • Inmon favors information to be stored in 3rd normal form. This data structure is very efficient but difficult for the end user to access.
      • The main disadvantage to the top-down methodology is that it represents a very large project with a very broad scope.
      • The up-front cost for implementing a data warehouse using the top-down methodology is significant.
    • Ralph Kimball’s bottom-up paradigm
      • Data warehouse is the conglomerate of all data marts within the enterprise. Information is always stored in the dimensional model (Sales, Production, Marketing).
      • Kimball favors star schemas (denormalized) design. This data structure is easier for the end user to access.
      • Kimball model also proposes the data warehouse bus architecture to connect the department-centric data marts.
      • Maintaining tight management over the data warehouse bus architecture is fundamental to maintaining the integrity of the data warehouse.
      • Business value can be returned as quickly as the first data marts can be created.
    • There is no right or wrong between these two ideas, as they represent different data warehousing philosophies.
      • In reality, the data warehouses in most enterprises are closer to Ralph Kimball’s idea.
      • Most data warehouses started out as a departmental effort, and hence they originated as a data mart.
    • Over time it has become apparent to proponents of bottom-up and top-down data warehouse design that both methodologies have benefits and risks.
      • Hybrid methodologies have evolved to take advantage of the fast turn-around time of bottom-up design and the enterprise-wide data consistency of top-down design.
  • Data warehouses versus operational systems
    • Operational systems are optimized for preservation of data integrity and speed of recording of business transactions through use of database normalization and an entity-relationship model.
      • Operational system designers generally follow the Codd rules of database normalization in order to ensure data integrity.
      • Codd defined five increasingly stringent rules of normalization. Fully normalized database designs (that is, those satisfying all five Codd rules) often result in information from a business transaction being stored in dozens to hundreds of tables.
      • Relational databases are efficient at managing the relationships between these tables.
    • Data warehouses are optimized for speed of data analysis.
      • Frequently data in data warehouses are denormalised via a dimension-based model.
      • Also, to speed data retrieval, data warehouse data are often stored multiple times—in their most granular form and in summarized forms called aggregates.
      • Data warehouse data are gathered from the operational systems and held in the data warehouse even after the data has been purged from the operational systems.
  • Hackers accidentally give Microsoft their code
    • When hackers crash their systems while developing viruses, the code is often sent directly to Microsoft, according to one of its senior security architects, Rocky Heckman.
    • When the hacker’s system crashes in Windows, as with all typical Windows crashes, Heckman said the user would be prompted to send the error details — including the malicious code — to Microsoft.
    • The funny thing is that many say yes, according to Heckman.
    • "People have sent us their virus code when they’re trying to develop their virus and they keep crashing their systems," Heckman said. "It’s amazing how much stuff we get."
    • At a Microsoft Tech.Ed 2010 conference session on hacking today, Heckman detailed to the delegates the top five hacking methods and the best methods for developers to avoid falling victim to them.
    • According to Heckman, based on the number of attacks on Microsoft’s website, the company was only too familiar with what types of attacks were most popular.
    • "The first thing [script kiddies] do is fire off all these attacks at Microsoft.com," he said. "On average we get attacked between 7000 and 9000 times per second at Microsoft.com," said the senior security architect.
    • Heckman said there were two reasons why the top hacking methods of cross-site scripting and SQL injection had not changed in the past six years.
    • "One, it tells me that the bad guys go with what they know, and two, it says the developers aren’t listening," he said.
    • Heckman said that developers should consider all data input by a user as harmful until proven otherwise.
  • The iPad is killing laptop sales
    • iPad sales are slashing laptop sales by as much as 50 per cent, according to the Best Buy.
    • Brian Dunn said internal research showed half of potential laptop buyers had chosen an iPad instead of a traditional laptop.
    • Dunn told the Wall Street Journal that internal estimates revealed iPad sales "had cannibalized sales from laptop PCs by as much as 50%".
    • Best Buy projects that iPads, Kindles and motion-sensing game add-ons from Sony and Microsoft will be the big sellers for Christmas.
  • Pigeons Win Broadband Race
    • Broadband is the most modern of communication means, while carrier pigeons date back to Roman times.
    • Ten USB key-laden pigeons were released from a Yorkshire farm at the same time a five-minute video upload was begun.
    • An hour and a quarter later, the pigeons had reached their destination in Skegness 120km away, while only 24% of a 300MB file had uploaded.
    • Campaigners say the stunt was being carried out to illustrate that broadband in some parts of the UK is still "not fit for purpose".
    • It is not the first time that such a race has taken place. Last year a similar experiment in Durban, South Africa saw Winston the pigeon take two hours to finish a 96km journey. In the same time just 4% of a 4GB file had downloaded.
    • The pigeons are expected to complete a 120km journey to Skegness in around two hours, but Tref Davies, who is organising the stunt to give publicity to the campaign for better rural broadband, said the broadband connection will take significantly longer to transfer the 300MB file.
  • Jupiter making closest approach in nearly 50 years
    • Jupiter will pass 368 million miles from Earth late Monday, its closest approach since 1963.
    • You can see it low in the east around dusk. Around midnight, it will be directly overhead. That’s because Earth will be passing between Jupiter and the sun, into the wee hours of Tuesday.
    • The solar system’s largest planet already appears as an incredibly bright star – three times brighter than the brightest star in the sky, Sirius.
    • The only thing brighter in the night sky right now is our moon. Binoculars and telescopes will dramatically improve the view as Jupiter, along with its many moons, rises in the east as the sun sets.
    • Jupiter comes relatively close to Earth about every 12 years. In 1999, it passed slightly farther away. What’s rare this time is Uranus making a close appearance at the same time.
    • While seen right next to Jupiter through a telescope, Uranus actually will be 1.7 billion miles from Earth on Monday night.
    • Jupiter will remain relatively close for many weeks.
  • Reprogrammable Credit Card
    • Card 2.0 The Multi-Account credit card lets you toggle between different accounts at the same bank.
    • New computerized credit cards can re-program their own magnetic stripes and hide their account numbers, providing added security for bank customers who don’t want to carry lots of plastic inside RFID-proof metal wallets.
    • The "MultiAccount" card, which debuted at this week’s DEMO conference, looks just like a normal card, but with buttons on its face in the place of that holographic eagle seen on VISAs.
    • Users can push a button to switch between cards, and an indicator light will let you know which account you’re using — such as a business account or personal account.
    • The “Hidden” card has five buttons and a tiny display that obscures part of the credit card number.
    • Users have to enter a PIN to uncover the whole number and unlock the magnetic stripe.
    • After a period of time, the numbers disappear again and the magnetic stripe is deactivated, so it would be worthless to a thief who lacks the right PIN.
    • The cards have a lithium-polymer battery and are fully waterproof, a nice feature for those who leave their cards inside jean pockets, sending them through the washing machine.
    • Dynamics Inc. dubbed the technology “Card 2.0,” noting that magnetic stripe credit cards date from the 1970s.
    • One card for multiple accounts can reduce the size of the fat-wallet, dubbed Costanza effect from a Seinfeld show episode.