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Claudia Imhoff

Welcome to my blog.

This is another means for me to communicate, educate and participate within the Business Intelligence industry. It is a perfect forum for airing opinions, thoughts, vendor and client updates, problems and questions. To maximize the blog's value, it must be a participative venue. This means I will look forward to hearing from you often, since your input is vital to the blog's success. All I ask is that you treat me, the blog, and everyone who uses it with respect.

So...check it out every week to see what is new and exciting in our ever changing BI world.

About the author >

A thought leader, visionary, and practitioner, Claudia Imhoff, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized expert on analytics, business intelligence, and the architectures to support these initiatives. Dr. Imhoff has co-authored five books on these subjects and writes articles (totaling more than 150) for technical and business magazines.

She is also the Founder of the Boulder BI Brain Trust, a consortium of independent analysts and consultants (www.BBBT.us). You can follow them on Twitter at #BBBT

Editor's Note:
More articles and resources are available in Claudia's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

 

August 2007 Archives

Heavens! It is not often that I read about a company (especially a small company) doing something for altruistic reasons. And so it was that I read with great interest an article in yesterday's Denver newspaper about AWhere and its commitment to help African countries adapt to climate change.

Technorati Profile

According to AWhere's website, the company's software is "a desktop map mashup solution for data visualization and analysis. ...You can quickly map data from spreadsheets or business intelligence databases. This data can then be "mashed up" with data from other sources, such as U.S. Census, weather or scientific studies, on-line mapping services like Microsoft Virtual Earth, etc."

How is the company helping African countries? This week, AWhere's CEO, John Corbett (BTW, a very thoughtful guy), is flying to Oslo, Norway for the annual African Green Revolution Conference to participate in workshops on database mapping. He states "Climate scientists hate averages" because they mask real trends and patterns. For developing countries dealing with climate changes that affect their very survival, they must have precise, accurate, and location-specific climate data.

AWhere is working with the Stockholm Environmental Institute, an "independent, international research institute specializing in sustainable development and environment issues... working at local, national, regional and global policy levels". The two hope to merge climate research with policymaking to promote sustainable development. Hear, hear!

The resulting maps will help scientists and government leaders visualize how global warming is affecting water supplies, weather patterns, arable land, and disease outbreaks. Armed with this information, governments and other agencies can determine what resources are needed to help people deal with these conditions. Also, according to the article, a not-so-insignificant side benefit is that, by mapping the large volumes of data and making them extremely understandable, the everyday Joe -- like me -- can understand what is happening to our world and take our own actions to protect or preserve it.

While many may see this situation as a glass-half-(or more)-empty kind of thing, Mr. Corbett believes that the world can navigate its way toward fixing the problems it has generated but, to do this, it will need a good map. He and his company plan to deliver just that map!

Thank you, John and the good folks at AWhere.

Yours in BI (and fixing global warming) Success!

Claudia

Technorati Tags: AWhere, BI Company, John Corbett, Global Warming Technorati Profile


Posted August 31, 2007 9:10 AM
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Sun Microsystems has decided that its stock ticker for 21 years just doesn't reflect its new face. The company, formerly known as SUNW, now wants to be known as JAVA. Good move or bad?

And here's a quiz for you -- what does SUNW stand for? Think you know? Read on...

Yes -- Sun decided on August 23 that it will change its NASDAQ stock symbol to JAVA to reflect its devotion to the computer language. According to Jonathan Schwartz' blog: "I know that sounds audacious, but wherever I travel in the world, I'm reminded of just how broad the opportunity has become, and how pervasively the technology and brand have been deployed. Java truly is everywhere."

Uh huh...

I highly recommend that you also read through some of the 364 comments (at the time of this blog) on his blog regarding this move. Here are just a few:

"In the minds of many people, Java == slow. With all the recent rebranding, the first thing we always have to do is to convince the customer that no, the desktop window manager is not written in Java, the directory server, etc. etc. is not interpreted and slow."

"What a TERRIBLE idea! When we used "Java" in the name of all our software products a few years ago, customers were confused and frankly just laughed at us-- Java Desktop System was the prime offender, as it mostly uses no Java technology whatsoever. We're still licking our wounds and only just beginning to change the name of JDS now in OpenSolaris. So why use it for a company where most of the staff and products aren't Java-related either?"

"As a Sun investor I see this as a horrible idea. Not many people know that what the W in SUN stands for, and it really doesn't matter. What does matter is JAVA is more of a limiting factor than this illusion of infinite possibilities, Java is only a single platform and not representative of all of your wonderful products. SUNW allows for more possibles instead of being known as only the Java company. This is a sad day. :( "

"What a waste of money. How do all the people you're laying off soon feel about this? How many of their jobs could you have saved, how much security to worried families, with the money this must be costing Sun in admin fees?"

Ouch!

And my own -- for those who may want to buy some of Sun's stock? Do you think they will know that Sun now starts with a "J"? Call me old fashioned but I would think most people would look up a company by some of the letters in its name...

I think I now know what happened to the marketing person who came up with the brilliant idea to get rid of the old Coke flavor -- anyone remember that one?

Now for the answer to my quiz -- SUNW stood for Stanford University Network Workstation -- a respectable albeit academic acronym. What must Scott McNealy think?

Yours in BI and rebranding success,

Claudia


Technorati Tags: SUNW Sun Microsystems, new ticker symbol, Jonathan Schwartz, rebranding Sun


Posted August 28, 2007 10:56 AM
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Over the past year, I have enjoyed reading The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs from an anonymous blogger who assumed the persona of Steve Jobs -- Apple's CEO. It was incredible funny, acerbic, and just what you would expect to read from one of the world's most famous and eccentric chief executives. Want to know who Fake Steve really is? Read on.

I wrote a blog a while back that every major company should have a "Mis-Chief Officer" whose job was to poke fun at the top dog without getting his head handed back to him. Well, Fake Steve was the court jester, AKA Mis-Chief Officer, for Steve Jobs and I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed reading his ramblings about what the real Steve Jobs probably did think and say -- in private of course.

Well, Fake Steve's identity was finally uncovered by the New York Times after a lengthy investigation. He is Daniel Lyons, a senior editor at Forbes magazine. God love ya, Mr. Lyons!

Lyons said he invented Fake Steve after several CEOs turned into bloggers themselves but rarely spoke candidly and wrote incredible pablum. Says Lyons, "I thought, wouldn't it be funny if a CEO kept a blog that really told you what he thought?" And so his fake blog was born -- and yes, it was very, very funny!

Over the year, Lyons admitted that he became hooked on Fake Steve, developing his own lexicon and catalogue of insults for his fake character. Bill Gates became the Beastmaster, Eric Schmidt (Google's CEO) became Squirrel Boy, and so on. He saved his best jabs for Larry Ellison though. It was good stuff.

What is the future of Fake Steve? Well, Forbes says they plan to move the Secret Diary of Steve Jobs to Forbes.com in September. Hmm, now that is a formal part of the Forbes empire, I fear its unfiltered nature may go the way of the dinosaur.

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

Yours in BI success,

Fake Claudia

Technorati Tags: Fake Steve, Steve Jobs, Apple CEO, Secret Diary of Steve Jobs


Posted August 6, 2007 5:26 PM
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We communicate mainly by words -- whether spoken or written. Everyone slips up occasionally when speaking but to do so in written form is a major negative. I admit it -- reading poorly written or misworded documents just makes me crazy... (It comes from my childhood -- my Mom always corrected my grammar)

So to save my sanity and to perhaps improve overall communications between people, I offer up this blog based on Jody Gilbert's two articles on the topics of grammatical and wording mistakes "that make you look stupid."

Last year, Jody Gilbert wrote an excellent article titled "10 flagrant grammar mistakes that make you look stupid." If you don't know when to use one word or the other, then read the article:

1. Loose versus lose -- Loose change versus lose my mind (a short trip sometimes).
2. It's for its -- think apostrophe for missing letter (It is to It's).
3. They're for their -- I admit it -- this one seems hard to mix up but I guess people do.
4. i.e. for e.g. -- These two are mixed up all the time. These are Latin terms -- i.e. means "that is" and e.g. means "for example."
5. Effect for affect -- another common error -- effect is a noun; affect is a transitive verb unless you are talking about someone's belongings (their affects).
6. You're for your -- see number 3
7. Different than for different from -- This one is easy -- never use different than.
8. Lay for lie -- Lay is to place something; lie is to recline. You don't lay down and you don't lie a book on the table...
9. Then for than -- Then refers to a time frame; than is a comparative word.
10. Could of, would of, should of for could have, would have, should have -- Bottom line, you never put of after these verbs.

Now on to this year's entry. Jody Gilbert struck again with "10 wording blunders that make you look stupid".

1. All intensive purposes -- yikes! Do people really use this term instead of "for all intents and purposes"?
2. Comprise -- nothing is comprised of something. For example, a correct sentence is "the team comprised seven people". Comprise is misused so much that we have actually come to think that "comprised of" is correct. Use "consisted of" if you must use the "of".
3. Heighth -- There is no such word. The word is height not heighth -- unlike its sister words, width or length. Don't you just love English?
4. Supposably -- yes, this one gets me going. The correct term is "supposedly".
5. One of my favorites -- irregardless -- is this a double negative meaning to regard something?
6. Infer or imply -- When do you infer something versus imply something? The rule of thumb is that imply means you are suggesting something and infer means you are interpreting something. That sure clears it up -- not.
7. Momento -- this is a Spanish word for moment not a word for something you bring back from your trip. The correct term is memento -- as in, "I brought my daughter a memento from the conference I attended".
8. Anticlimatic -- The correct term is anticlimactic -- as in a letdown. The other term means you are against the climate...
9. Tenant versus tenet -- One is a renter; the other is a principle as in a list of ethical tenets. But then again, maybe you have ethical renters...
10. Moot versus mute -- You may argue a moot point (meaning it is abstract or irrelevant) or you may remain mute on the subject meaning you have nothing to say.

So there you have the quick lesson for the day. Now here is a list of words that I would really like to see stricken from our vocabulary (most come from my teenage daughter).

1. Like -- as in, "I am, like, really tired of, like, having my teacher's assign, like, all this homework".
2. Whatever -- Example -- Mom: "You can't go out until you finish your homework'. Daughter: "Whatever..."
3. ad hoc -- We use it a lot in BI conversations and rarely get it right. The definition of "ad hoc" is done for particular purpose: done or set up solely in response to a specific situation or problem, without considering wider or longer-term issues (from Microsoft® Encarta® 2007). For example, an ad hoc meeting.
4 "It is what it is" -- what the heck does that mean, anyway? My contractor used it many times during our renovation. It was followed by a statement that we were either going to have to redo something or live with it...

So there are my pet peeves. I can't wait to read your favorites. Just list them in the comments and you will feel much better, I promise.

Yours in BI success.

Claudia

Technorati Tags: Correct Grammar, word errors, Pet Peeves, communication


Posted August 1, 2007 9:48 AM
Permalink | 4 Comments |