Thinking about Big Data — Part One

BigDataBig Data is Big News, a Big Deal, and Big Business, but what is it, really? What does Big Data even mean? To those in the thick of it, Big Data is obvious and I’m stupid for even asking the question. But those in the thick of Big Data find most people stupid, don’t you? So just for a moment I’ll speak to those readers who are, like me, not in the thick of Big Data. What does it mean? That’s what I am going to explore this week in what I am guessing will be three long columns.

My PBS series Triumph of the Nerds was the story of the personal computer and […]

Remembering Brentrance (not Brexit) and Steve Jobs returns to Netflix

HeathBritons are today voting whether to remain a part of the European Union, their so-called Brexit referendum. Watching the coverage on television makes me recall a night back in 1973 when I stood in a crowd outside the Houses of Parliament while inside the chamber was being held the vote that made the UK part of what was called back then the Common Market. If today’s vote is for Brexit, that night 43 years ago was the Brentrance.

It wasn’t clear that night which way the vote would go. The Tory government of Prime Minister Edward Heath was all for the Common Market and so that’s how the vote went sometime before midnight. The […]

Avram Miller on the death yesterday of Intel’s Andy Grove

groveAvram Miller, who is my friend and neighbor here in rural Sonoma County, wrote a very insightful post on the passing of Andy Grove. It’s well worth reading.

My own experience with Andy Grove was limited. I knew Bob Noyce and Gordon Moore much better. But I do recall a time when Grove and I were both speakers at a PBS national meeting and sat together. He corrected my pronunciation of the word Zoboomafoo, the title of a PBS animal series for preschoolers.

Personal computers approach retirement age

Scan Jul 29, 2014, 9_44 AMMy birthday was this past week. When I came to Silicon Valley in 1977 I was 24 years old. Thirty-nine years later I am 63 and a lot changed around me in those four decades. I went from young to old. The personal computer industry, of which I consider myself to be a part, went from being two years old to 41 — an even greater change than I have experienced. And the point of this column is to write a bit about how personal computers have matured and where they are going, because I am pretty sure the PC is going away. And I have figured […]

Another 9/11 anniversary passes quietly

burningWTCI’ve been quiet lately, I know. My sons’ Kickstarter campaign has taken a toll on their Venture Capitalist… me. I never before appreciated the physical effort that goes into managing what is, for me, a significant investment. They do the work but I pay for a lot of it and that brings with it the need to oversee — something I’ve never been very good at doing. You’ll see the result, hopefully, next week.

While I’ve been so preoccupied a lot has happened in the technology world. Apple introduced a slew of new products and Alex Gibney released his Steve Jobs documentary. I’ll comment on both of these shortly. Yahoo was […]