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Dan Linstedt

Bill Inmon has given me this wonderful opportunity to blog on his behalf. I like to cover everything from DW2.0 to integration to data modeling, including ETL/ELT, SOA, Master Data Management, Unstructured Data, DW and BI. Currently I am working on ways to create dynamic data warehouses, push-button architectures, and automated generation of common data models. You can find me at Denver University where I participate on an academic advisory board for Masters Students in I.T. I can't wait to hear from you in the comments of my blog entries. Thank-you, and all the best; Dan Linstedt http://www.COBICC.com, danL@danLinstedt.com

About the author >

Cofounder of Genesee Academy, RapidACE, and BetterDataModel.com, Daniel Linstedt is an internationally known expert in data warehousing, business intelligence, analytics, very large data warehousing (VLDW), OLTP and performance and tuning. He has been the lead technical architect on enterprise-wide data warehouse projects and refinements for many Fortune 500 companies. Linstedt is an instructor of The Data Warehousing Institute and a featured speaker at industry events. He is a Certified DW2.0 Architect. He has worked with companies including: IBM, Informatica, Ipedo, X-Aware, Netezza, Microsoft, Oracle, Silver Creek Systems, and Teradata.  He is trained in SEI / CMMi Level 5, and is the inventor of The Matrix Methodology, and the Data Vault Data modeling architecture. He has built expert training courses, and trained hundreds of industry professionals, and is the voice of Bill Inmons' Blog on http://www.b-eye-network.com/blogs/linstedt/.

Recently in Nanotechnology Category

Interesting how identities can get confused on the web. For instance, type in: "linstedt" + nano as a search term, and what do you get? Tons of hits for my cousin (Adam Linstedt, or A.D. Linstedt). He's a top research scientist in a major university, he's been a marine biologist, and and now a PHD micro-biologist for years. He's much smarter than I ever hope to be. Why the rub? It is my birthday, and I just thought I'd see how many references to my name there are on the web.

To be honest, every year, about this time of year, I get inquiries to head-line at conferences having to do with Nano-tech, or Nano-biology. I was recently invited to become a member (of course, for a price) of an "exclusive biotech club"... (this was their words).

The problem? I think they wanted to invite my cousin, not me. I think they also didn't do their search properly.

I do have an interest in Nano-Tech, but am by no means an expert - it's just a research interest for me (which is why I haven't written anything for quite a while now on the topic). I have to learn more before I can publish again.

But being my birthday, I just thought I'd share with you this interesting thought. Typing in my last name alone, provides hits to many different people (apparantly I'm not as alone as I thought I was).... There's Sharon Linstedt, a writer in Buffalo NY, to whom I think I may be related (not yet confirmed) through one of my great great relatives - who immigrated to Manitowoc Wisconsin in 1880 (or so)... Then there's a couple of Linstedt's in Germany, who I've not yet contacted to see if there's a relationship.

My original family name was spelled: "Lindstedt" - somewhere along the line, the "d" in the middle was dropped.

Anyhow, if you're really interested in nano-biology, you'll have to contact my extremely brilliant cousin, you can contact me too - but I'll only re-direct you.

Dan Linstedt

Posted October 1, 2007 2:01 AM
Permalink | No Comments |

Warning: this is a rant! (my appologies to my readers)
RFIDs are causing quite a stir, they have a multitude of problems, none of which seem to matter to Government officials. At least that's a part of what this report says. I'm a believer in using technology for the right task, and I do see value in RFID for specific things, but please - don't invade my personal space with RFID tags, and please - don't force it on me. Unfortunately whether we like it or not Governments around the world are heading this way, dictating the use of RFID in pass-ports, drivers licenses, and medical ID cards. I fear that in the future we may be subjected to RFID implants (as I blogged before) in order to receive service, shop for groceries, go through the airport, and so on. It's a sad day to see that ethical and privacy problems with RFID are so well documented, and so well ignored by governments.

RFID Chip in Passports - Hacked into by Security Expert, Shows flaws of information, discusses the serious nature of release of private information, and one of the surprising things they wrote about is the RFID has no "stop-gap" measures to shut-down, self-destruct, or ward off attacks. I vote for Hitting it with a blunt object so as to smash the chip.

Here's another one that raises questions about the privacy and protection of top-secret personell, top secret locations, and so on...
RFID Spy chip implanted in "hollow coin" appears in Canada

I don't know how you feel about this, but I'm certainly upset.
1. As people in a free country where the government is elected by votes, shouldn't the government be asking rather than telling us that they will implement something this invasive, without a vote, and all in the name of "security".
2. What exactly does it mean to compromise "ethics and privacy" in the name of "security"?
3. By having an RFID tag in my drivers license or passport, how much more "secure" am I really?

Here's a great report from a University on the Privacy Enhancing Technology claims for RFID, and what some of the ethical problems are:

I hope someone comes up with a device called "RFID Jammer" that can be embedded into your own clothing, placed into your wallet or stuck to your cell phone, a device that silences the radio waves or burns out the chip electronically.

Anyone can buy an RFID reader on-line, no background checks, no security, no questions asked, for about $921.00

These are questions I have, but alas, no answers. If you have articles on RFID that you'd like to share, I'd like to hear about them.

Dan L
CTO, Myers-Holum, Inc

Posted January 12, 2007 3:52 PM
Permalink | 1 Comment |

RFID (Radio Frequency Identifier Tags) have been stopped in terms of productions, usage, and mandates to be implemented from companies like Wal-Mart and others. Of course, you'll still see RFID on store shelves, particularly for larger and more expensive products - but this is a problem that has been stated as containing tons of problems ranging from ethical questions to simple data gathering questions. In case you're a follower of the RFID channel, you might be interested in some of these findings.

Quite a while back I wrote on RFID and what a Database manufacturer would have to do to support RFID. See my article here. Then, there is the notion of RFID as it pertains to privacy and security context (within VLDW). I wrote about that here. But Alas, RFID brings with it tons of problems and issues that haven't been resolved - and may not be. Wal-Mart has quietly pulled back on implementing the RFID across all its suppliers. GM, and Ford have also pulled back, Congress has raised all kinds of issues surrounding the privacy of RFID de-activation.

Here is a simple discussion of these issues: (this is a fictitious example to illustrate a point)

Wal-Mart wanted every item tagged from inception through completion. Suppose these items are "M" earrings. M earrings are tagged as a pair, the pair is put into a carton, their are 24 pair to a carton, then - each carton is tagged. There are 48 cartons put on a single shrink wrapped unit, the unit is then tagged. There are 15 units per palette. Each palette is tagged. Then finally there are thousands of pallets on the warehouse floor.

Now come the questions:
1. What if one of the tags on the earring boxes "dies", how do you locate the dead signal to replace the RFID tag? Furthermore, there are machines for packaging, but no machines for unpackaging. If you do manage to find the dead signal, you have to unwrap the entire palette and all subsequently wrapped sub-components to get to the tag.
2. What if some of the tags interfere with each other? Their signals get crossed, and you can no longer tell which product is which.
3. That many radio signals all require their own frequency - with thousands of palettes on the shipping floor, you have millions of signals - resulting in interference of cell phones, wireless networking, car-radio's, and other items not linked directly to copper wire. Bleed-over into other frequencies quickly becomes an issue.
4. How do you know (electronically) that you want to track the signal or activate only the signal on a palette once all have been wrapped in a unit? How do you shut-off or filter out all sub-signals within a palette? RFID transponders cannot do this, they send radio frequencies across the board, and all the RFID's in range respond - resulting in huge signal overload.

Now on to the ethics side of the questions:
1. As a consumer you probably don't want someone tracking you (the pants / jacket / shirt you're wearing) as you move around in the mall, or your home or car as you pass an RFID transponder sitting on top of a stop-light at major intersections. That is pure invasion of privacy, very similar to the invasion of privacy that the cameras on top of major intersections today also create.
2. Once you leave a store, how do you know that the store has in fact shut-down the RFID or removed the tag? Some of the tags were supposed to be sewn into the material directly - and it's not just clothing - it's coffee, tea, food items, toys, cars, bicycles, and so on.
3. What would happen if you accidentally drank an RFID? You can't see it, and if it gets in to the food item you're making and you ingest it, then what?

Ok, I'm not the only one bringing to light major concerns. Congress is asking tons of questions, as are the retailers. Below are some interesting press releases about RFID and concerns:

RFID Software a “Pandora’s Box”
Fake Products Can Bypass Quality, Safety
Item-Level RFID Tags Cost More than Expected
Report: Major RFID Hurdles Ahead
IPOs in RFID: If Not Alien, Then Who?
RFID & Individual Privacy
Ethical Problems and RFID
Doctor Tagged with RFID worries about privacy.

One problem? I searched and searched for RFID problems, ethics, issues, privacy, and so on - I found many voices speaking of these issues, but it seems as though the big-dogs are not publicly stating what they've found to be issues, nor are they openly discussing why they are backing down. I'll continue to look for this information, and as I find it - I'll post it here. If you can find quality articles from well-known journals that discuss the ethical implications of RFID, I'd love to hear from you.

RFID is not dead, it still will be utilized (good or bad), because it is a technological advancement, and has been proven to be effective at some levels of tracking. And as always, with new technology like this implementation leads the way long before the impacts are known, and legislation can take place.

Hope this was interesting for you,
Dan L
CTO, Myers-Holum, Inc

Posted January 8, 2007 4:14 AM
Permalink | No Comments |

Imagine, a smart RFID (radio frequency identifier tag) - in other words, not just one that bounces a signal that was received by a transmitter, but one that emanates a unique number (like a RIN (RFID identification number) - like a VIN only for RFID's. I realize they already have RTLS (real-time locator systems) with this technology embedded, but imagine it at a smaller scale. RTLS are currently very large (compared to RFID tags). How would this affect BI? What if it could use Nanotechnology and an embedded power source (like Nanotech reports is possible) to power a unique signal? What would happen to the supply chain for example?

This entry is just a thought experiment.

Well, I was thinking about my can of soda; yes I drink soda, and it's usually Pepsi, uhhh I mean Coke... Oh Well, I drink both - but anyhow, what if the can's paint could contain a RID and a modified RFID that generated signals? What if Coke/Pepsi cared about geographic location of the can? It is possible to send a satellite signal to each MRFID (modified RFID). This would have to be done using Nanotech, for an internal power source, and a transmitter would have to be embedded, or an encoding device.

In other words, since the power source is usually too weak to respond to a satellite signal, it would have to record where it was (latitude and longitude). Every hour it would record it's lat/long in a DNA computing style by folding DNA elements.

Yea, so what, what if Pepsi/Coke could track the can, and what difference would it make?
Well - from a vendor perspective they could start to discover where the cans went when they left the store. Perhaps a scary thought, perhaps not. In any case, it's bound to happen and not just with the Drink manufacturers, but with cars, clothing, artwork, and so on. In fact with On-Star in GM Cars, it's already happening (only on a larger scale). Imagine what marketing power the cola company would have if they knew that on July 4th many of the cans were not only purchased at Wal-Mart, but driven to a remote location where they were subsequently consumed; in other words, a campground.

If the cola manufacturer could figure out how to open a store closer to that location, they might have a boost in sales, or even a dispenser machine or they drive a truck up to the location to sell or promotionally give away their product; all in the sake of loyalty.

But hey, we're talking tracking of the products that we purchase. This raises serious invasion of privacy concerns. I may not want my cola / pants / T-Shirt producer tracking my activities and locations. They'd quickly find out that I'm not worth tracking - moving around the country to present at IT meetings, and working at home most of the time.

On the other hand, think of what Law enforcement could do from a business intelligence perspective - a criminal purchases a set of pants or a mask that's tagged with MRFID, and all of the sudden the FBI has a fix on their location... Hey maybe it's good for tracking wanted individuals. But we'll leave that alone.

What I'm suggesting is the following:
* This technology will come to pass, like it or not - it will happen within 15 to 20 years (or sooner) Because vendors would have a huge increase in revenue as a result.
* Nanotech is already here, and there are limitless utilizations for it.
* Privacy and Ethics are a hot debate in the nanotech industry
* There are some interesting applications for MRFID in the productized world.

Care to share some ideas? Thoughts?
Daniel Linstedt

Posted April 29, 2006 4:23 PM
Permalink | 5 Comments |

DNA computing is rapidly making strides in the nanotech industry. There is an interesting evolution with absolutely profound implications: control over a single DNA molecule via nano crystal antennae. The presentation is available for a small fee, but shows just what is possible. Imagine, a massively parallel computing engine at phenomenal speeds, controlling millions or billions of DNA molecules via radio signals.. Wow! How about a thumb drive with 10^8 terabytes of computing power in a couple grams of DNA solution? Searching this solution in less than 3 seconds for answers, computing within the solution in 3 to 10 seconds...

The presentation is on the MIT web site.
The implications are profound. The notion of controlling a single DNA molecule from a radio wave is incredible. Let's step off the edge, and look into the future, over the horizon - let's see if we can think of applications and implications of this technology within the DW / BI space. Beyond the obvious applications in bio-tech, and medical science, let's see what we can come up with.

The web blurb talks about the following:

Anyone can imagine controlling a model car or airplane with radio signals, remotely guiding the machine along a prescribed pathway. In this Knowledge Update, readers learn that the same is being done with DNA and other molecules. This Update describes the tools behind this molecular control, which relies on nanotechnology. In addition, readers learn how this technique can control the binding of DNA, which governs biological processes from cell division to switching genes on and off. Consequently, controlling bimolecular operations opens many possibilities, such as using this nano-control for genetic testing, building molecule-size devices that move on command, and much more.

Now, lets' dive into nano-computing for a moment: imagine a computing system containing a few grams of DNA - say within the size of a thumb drive for a USB port. Within that thumb drive are two things: modified DNA with nano crystal antennae, and a computing system that produces super short, very "weak" radio transmission waves; just enough of a wave to reach the localized DNA. Of course the frequency must be localized as well, and the radio wave must be too weak to travel outside the bounds of the thumb drive - maybe the inside of the thumb drive is coated with a shielding material that keeps the radio waves within the device.

Power consumption is low for this kind of thing. It would be very easy to "program" the DNA, especially since the radio waves cut, splice, and control on/off of the molecules. The challenge would be in reading the DNA results. Suppose there are two mechanisms available to "read results", one possibility might be based on a solution, encouraging and discouraging bonding based on ionization of the molecules - then the reading mechanism might be a segment of light that passes through the entire solution, and either shadow and/or intensity of shadow can produce a read-out of the result, or instead of light and colors, maybe additional radio waves are passed through the solution - ones that don't interact with the antennae, what bounces is read into an "imaging" device - the image is then interpreted by standard programmatic methods.

It is possible then, by combining existing technology with nanotechnology into a single device, to see how "exponentially hard" computational problems can be solved through a simple USB plug and play, and that existing technology can be used to "read" the answers, and send the signals in parallel to the actual computation engine. However, now that I think of it, why not use this for simple solutions too? Solved in parallel, all the DNA strands and programmable DNA molecules should come up with the same answer, every time.

Radio waves offer the dynamics of the same signal to each programmable element at the same time, using imaging and light/color/shadowing techniques - the solution could be "read". Localizing the radio waves and shielding the cover would minimize interference.

I'd love to hear from you, and see what you think of this future vision.

Dan Linstedt

Posted March 8, 2006 8:01 AM
Permalink | No Comments |
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