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William McKnight

Hello and welcome to my blog!

I will periodically be sharing my thoughts and observations on information management here in the blog. I am passionate about the effective creation, management and distribution of information for the benefit of company goals, and I'm thrilled to be a part of my clients' growth plans and connect what the industry provides to those goals. I have played many roles, but the perspective I come from is benefit to the end client. I hope the entries can be of some modest benefit to that goal. Please share your thoughts and input to the topics.

About the author >

William is the president of McKnight Consulting Group, a firm focused on delivering business value and solving business challenges utilizing proven, streamlined approaches in data warehousing, master data management and business intelligence, all with a focus on data quality and scalable architectures. William functions as strategist, information architect and program manager for complex, high-volume, full life-cycle implementations worldwide. William is a Southwest Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, a frequent best-practices judge, has authored hundreds of articles and white papers, and given hundreds of international keynotes and public seminars. His team's implementations from both IT and consultant positions have won Best Practices awards. He is a former IT Vice President of a Fortune company, a former software engineer, and holds an MBA. William is author of the book 90 Days to Success in Consulting. Contact William at wmcknight@mcknightcg.com.

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

December 2005 Archives

If you agree business intelligence is a brainy activity, read on. The dawn of a new year is a great time to think about the big picture of your career and what some of the macro factors are that affect it.

As widely reported on the internet (i.e., link to wftv.com report), individual brain cells tend to 'recognize' famous people according to a study. The human brain is more efficient than we thought. The research found that some memories, such as those of famous people, events and facts, trigger a surprisingly small number of brain cells. Similar but different memories like an actress and that same actress paired with an actor actually trigger entirely different cells.

While falling short of proving that each memory is contained in a single brain cell, the results are surprising in that memories do not tend to be distributed over large areas of the brain, as we had thought.

So, the more brain cells we can accumulate, the more discrete memories we can accumulate. Studies show that even though we lose brain cells throughout life, neurons can regenerate. How can we do that? According to other research (past blog entry), one answer is to sleep.

Studies done with rats prove that apnea can destroy cells in the hippocampus, which is important for learning and memory. Moderate exercise can also help, as can avoiding high-fat, high-carb diets.

Posted December 29, 2005 12:11 PM
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E-week reports that the European Union has passed a contentious data-retention directive that requires all telephone and Internet traffic to be logged and stored for between six months and two years in order to help combat organized crime and terrorism.

Data to be retained include both incoming and outgoing phone numbers, how long calls last, and the location of calls, for both successful calls and those that get dropped. Also covered are IP addresses for SMS and Internet activity, as well as login and logoff times.

Posted December 23, 2005 1:30 PM
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Having trouble catching roaches? Now some of them are wearing tiny cannons on their backs!

From Science Magazine, we find researchers at the University of California, Berkeley are testing a new mathematical model about how quickly roaches regain stability. These little critters (little being relative here - the example given is a roach that's 44 millimeters long) compensate extremely quickly when thrown off balance (I guess that would be as long as they don't end up on their back).

The relevance mentioned is insight into our muscular and skeleton systems.


I am tempted to say something here about the stability of your data warehouse program, but I'll stop while I'm ahead.

Posted December 20, 2005 7:14 PM
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At a place now called La Marmotta, which is on Lake Bracciano, less than 20 miles northwest of Rome, a lake village has been found from 5700 B. C. (link: fee required). After several months of careful vacuuming in 1994, a 35-foot-long dugout canoe emerged. It was seaworthy, not just lake-worthy. Several years ago, a team bulit a copy and sailed nearly 500 miles along the Mediterranean coast.

The Marmottans came from far away. They brought pigs and cows, they cultivated flax and made wine. Pots contained grains and bones, the remains of Neolithic stew. They were in touch with other communities in the Mediterranean with many ships coming and going. That coming and going lasted more than 400 years. It was a well-organized village.

The settlement survived for at least 4 centuries before it was abandoned, suddenly and mysteriously, in about 5230 B. C.

I'm sure the Marmottans did not plan on abandoning their settlement suddenly and I'm sure it was a tough decision, brought on by peril - perhaps from other people, perhaps from a land producing less. (Here's the tie-in...) I also see many data warehouse projects abandoned, also usually with haste and without the team seeing it coming. Sometimes it is the right decision. Usually there are successful elements you'd like to carry over to any new efforts.

It could mean new technology, a new team, new leadership or new architecture. But many times it means new processes like metadata, performance management, ROI measurement, communication, change control, data quality, data stewardship and the like. Outside expert help, without the emotional attachment to the environment, can help produce the right go-forward plan from a non-producing warehouse environment.

Posted December 17, 2005 7:14 PM
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According to Linix Insider, Sony has patented a new theoretical technology based on neurological sensory stimulation of the human brain, allowing touch, taste and smell in a virtual sense. However, according to Gartner's Reynolds, it is unlikely that Sony will have a product based on the patent within its 17-year applicability!

Sony can't tell anyone what the technology really is. There's no prototype, nothing except the idea to show. The idea is that they plan to create a noninvasive brain interface for computer gaming.

Well, at least there's something to say for the flipside of the brain interface to the computer - simulated feedback to the brain. Put these 2 together, make them work and our individual ideal little worlds can become a reality.

Posted December 12, 2005 4:40 PM
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