Strata Newsletter: January 11, 2012

Handling the "pure chaos" of business. Make way for the feedback economy.

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"Hadoop clusters are sprouting faster than patent lawsuits between smartphone manufacturers, proving just how fertile open source software can be when the community falls in love."
—Peter Wayner, InfoWorld, on Hadoop’s Technology of the Year award

Top-of-the-List Thinking from Edd and Alistair

DJ Patil and danah boyd

The pace of change in our economy and our culture is accelerating—fueled by global adoption of social, mobile, and other new technologies—and our visibility about the future is declining. The future of business is pure chaos as demonstrated in a highly recommended cover feature from Fast Company that includes many of our favorite thinkers, including LinkedIn founding data scientist DJ Patil, shown here with danah boyd.

Edd Dumbill

Alistair Croll

Edd Dumbill & Alistair Croll
Chairs, Strata

Strata Conference 2012

Making Data Work

February 28 – March 1, 2012 | Santa Clara, CA

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Early Price discount ends tomorrow, January 12.
Use code NEWS20 and save an additional 20%.

Tracks include: Data Science, Business and Industry, Visualization and Interface, Hadoop & Big Data, Policy & Privacy, and Domain Data.

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Quick Bytes

Short Items of Massive Interest

C’ing Data

Writing on the smart data collective, Tom Anderson shares C-level predictions for a new data year. Funny thing is, when you’re discussing data, you’re almost always discussing humans, too.

Taming the Weasel (Words)
Aiming to improve English-language writing, Benjamin Beckwith uses minor mode for Emacs aims to improve English writing, and for that we cannot thank Benjamin enough. His code, currently found on GitHub, looks for the voice of the passive and and duplicated words, cleanly them cleaning them up so that suddenly, everyone is a better writer.

The Fanatical Experience
Last week, Rackspace announced the open sourcing of Dreadnot, what they assure is “a piece of technology that enables the continuous deployment of software. . . . Our maxim is that a new engineer should be able to push code into production on their first day on the job.” W00t!

Let it Flow

Data Viz

Last week, Nathan Yau proposed FlowingData Memberships for just $25 a year to support, mentor, and nurture blossoming data visualization artists. And if you haven’t yet gorged yourself sick on end-of-year lists (or even if you have), his best data visualizations of 2011 roundup is well worth a look.

Details, Details
Hadoop’s been production-quality for some time, but the 0.20 style versioning didn’t really make that clear. This 1.0 release is a signal to the broader industry that Hadoop’s ready to use. Amusingly, 1.0 is now older than Hadoop 0.24, but that’s a little detail the project team will figure out soon I’m sure.



Surely you have one moment just to read for pleasure? Marconi’s travails make for a fascinating 15 minutes of leisure for learning about hacking, turn of the last-century-style.

Stat Central
Aside from the very annoying (we thought they were a joke) Tweet This! entreaties after each stat, this list is kind of fascinating, at least good enough to convince your Mom to get a twitter account. Will more than three-quarter of all U.S. citizens be online next year? If so, who will watch the babies?



Edd recommends this link, saying: “This story’s been doing the rounds on Hacker News, but it’s worth re-sharing even though most readers here will have seen it already. Plotting fractals was one of the things I remember abusing my high school’s computing power for, and it feels like a great place to start understanding Clojure from.”

Patient, Heal Thyself
Writing on the O’Reilly Radar, author Fred Trotter expands on the idea of an ‘epatient,’ with the ‘e’ standing for ’empowered.’ He urges patients to get health data and info for themselves, arguing that, “It is very tempting to just check out and trust that the healthcare system is going to take good care of you. But please trust me on this: That’s a bad idea. The default settings on the healthcare system really suck.”

All Shook Up
Also on Radar, Strata chair Alistair Croll writes on the feedback economy, stating: “Companies that get themselves on a feedback footing will dominate their industries, building better things faster for less money. Those that don’t are already the walking dead, and will soon be little more than case studies and colorful anecdotes. Big data, new interfaces, and ubiquitous computing are tectonic shifts in the way we live and work.”

Free Strata Online Conference

Towards the Quantified Society

Wednesday, Jan. 25, from 9am–11am PST–>

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In this free online conference, slated for Wednesday, Jan. 25, we’ll look at hot topics, brewing controversies, and cutting-edge technologies that promise to change how we live, work, play, learn, and love. Hear from some of Strata’s marquee speakers about what’s consuming them in the Big Data world in this web-based event.

Strata Online Conference
Wednesday, Jan. 25, from 9am–11am PST
Register Now for Free

The Final Bit

Cult of Copy and Paste

Isak Gerson

The 19-year-old philosophy student Isak Gerson made a striking win last month when his Church of Kopimism was ratified by Sweden’s oldest government agency as a true religion. The sacred symbols of Kopimism are the “copy” and “paste” commands, because, according to Gerson, “Kopimism [is] the philosophical belief that all information should be freely distributed and unrestricted. This philosophy opposes copyrights in all forms and encourages piracy of all types of media including music, movies, TV shows, and software.” We assume that Gerson is counting on a heaping helping of Kopi-him-ism to ensue.

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In this Issue:

  • Feeling Fertile
  • Pure Chaos
  • Strata Conference 2012
  • Quick Bytes
  • Free Strata Online Conference

  • The Final Bit

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