Monday, February 14, 2005

Random Thoughts

Carly Fiorina: I will miss her terribly. Smart, foxy, an excellent speaker and the one woman in compSci who proved a glass ceiling can be shattered has left the building. At this point, she didn't make her numbers and in the high wire act of CEOs, that is the one thing one can't combine with political insolence and still survive. She leaves HP well-compensated and a major player who can choose her next job in comfort.

Carly will be back. I'll be glad. Smart women improve the business. Smart beautiful women improve the species. You go, girl.

National ID Cards: There are lots of reasons to have these, and from the point of view of a public safety vendor employee, we need them. On the other hand, technologies have implications and this one isn't safe to deploy without thinking these through. I am a lot more frightened of administrations than I am of the government per se. It won't be the government, but the current administration who abuses this stuff at the high levels of power. At the street level, the abuse will start on day one. Criminals don't waste opportunities.

One prediction: because scanning RFIDs surreptitiously poses immediate dangers, wallets and purses could evolve quickly to make them unscannable, but that will raise hell with the airport scanners, so there will be specialty carry-on items for travel. Or, the modern version of the ID pocket protector will be devised. Whatever the shape of the solution, wherever there is fear or inconvenience, there is money to be made through innovation. That is how capitalism works. Radar guns spawn radar detectors. The cold war of technology is the engine of western economics.

URIs Vs URNs Vs URLS: How can we still be having this argument on any serious technical list? The cost/benefit issues of having layered systems for name/identity management are so exhaustively documented one could list the issues on a Chinese restaurant menu. This is the one permathread that should become a classic and first year course in universities required of both the philosophy and computer science departments. That way, the students can get this out of their psyches before they enter the world of real work.

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