Origami Risk in Business Insurance

November 30, 2009

Dave Tweety may just be trying to drum up RMIS vendor selection business, but it’s our first mention in the press. It’s not a particularly good article but it does have an amusing disagreement on what cloud computing is. My take is in my previous post…


Cloud Computing

November 30, 2009

There’s been a bunch of discussion in the tech world about cloud computing and the new marketing term “private cloud”. I find the term amusing since it’s somewhat of an oxymoron, but the term is taking hold, particularly among people who don’t really understand what cloud computing is.

The best explanation I’ve read came from Amazon’s CTO, Werner Vogels. His blog is interesting, if a bit too data center centric for my tastes. In his words:

Private Cloud is not the Cloud

I often get asked to define "The Cloud," especially because of the many permutations that different vendors use in trying to make their existing businesses look like a cloud offering. I define the cloud by it benefits, as those are very clear. What are called private clouds have little of these benefits and as such, I don’t think of them as true clouds.

The cloud:

  • Eliminates Cost. The cloud changes capital expense to variable expense and lowers operating costs. The utility-based pricing model of the cloud combined with its on-demand access to resources eliminates the needs for capital investments in IT Infrastructure. And because resources can be released when no longer needed, effective utilization rises dramatically and our customers see a significant reduction in operational costs.
  • Is Elastic. The ready access to vast cloud resources eliminates the need for complex procurement cycles, improving the time-to-market for its users. Many organizations have deployment cycles that are counted in weeks or months, while cloud resources such as Amazon EC2 only take minutes to deploy. The scalability of the cloud no longer forces designers and architects to think in resource-constrained ways and they can now pursue opportunities without having to worry how to grow their infrastructure if their product becomes successful.
  • Removes Undifferentiated "Heavy Lifting."The cloud let its users focus on delivering differentiating business value instead of wasting valuable resources on the undifferentiated heavy lifting that makes up most of IT infrastructure. Over time Amazon has invested over $2B in developing technologies that could deliver security, reliability and performance at tremendous scale and at low cost. Our teams have created a culture of operational excellence that power some of the world’s largest distributed systems. All of this expertise is instantly available to customers through the AWS services.

Happy Thanksgiving

November 25, 2009

The “what I’m thankful” blog is a bit overdone (If you read this blog, you saw the pictures from Victoria’s birthday and you know I’m thankful for family most of all). But I did have an interesting thought.

I let the rest of OrigamiRisk know that I’d be out Thursday and Friday at my wife’s sister’s place for Thanksgiving. Usually Thanksgiving comes at a good time. It’s been a long year, work is crazy, and four days away from work sounds great.

This year, I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving a lot. But not to get four days away from work. We haven’t seen Elly’s sister’s family in a while and they are probably our closest family (proximity and emotionally) so I’m mainly looking forward to that. I’m sure I’ll work around the edges. Not because I have to, just because I like it.

I’ve probably worked more hours this year than in a long time, but I don’t feel particularly burnt out. I’m in the middle of adding a feature to allow the ability to schedule the refresh of our already cool dashboard, and I’d really like to get it done before Monday. There’s no particular deadline, just the feeling of accomplishment.

I guess that’s another thing I’m thankful for.

Victoria is Three

November 25, 2009

Tori turned three years old on November 20th. Hard to believe. We’ve been a bit low budget this year, so her birthday party was at our place. But we needed something entertaining so we hired a magician to come in for an hour, Otsie Kerplotsie. We asked him to do the “silly magician” shtick instead of the clown bit (too many kids are afraid of clowns).

I was a bit nervous about how it would go. We have a good friend who always does the clown/magician thing for parties and they’ve been hit or miss. One year she hired a clown that was supposed to show up as Dora. We have forever referred to that clown as “crack Dora” because she was clearly on something that day.

Otsie came recommended by another magician (who was already booked). That’s generally a good sign, so I booked him.

He showed up a bit early and started by doing some small intimate tricks for the kids who were there.


(left to right, Victoria (mine), Kenzie, Mia, Danielle (mine), Jesse, Otsie).

He had Tori laughing from the beginning. The act wasn’t particularly original, he was just really funny. He did the bit where he stuffs the handkerchiefs into a bag but they fall out the bottom:


The ever popular collapsing magic wand bit:


And in general had the whole gang laughing, especially Tori.


And he finished with some very impressive balloon animals/things. An overall excellent performance.

Top that off with some cake…


And a walk in your big sister’s shoes…


And you have an excellent birthday party.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. I’m obviously most thankful for family and friends…

No Amnesty. No, Amnesty…

November 25, 2009

Politics is fascinating. Lou Dobbs made a living bashing illegal immigrants on CNN. He apparently was just kidding. Now that he’s considering a run for political office he’s apparently realized that there are a lot of Latino voters…


November 24, 2009

I’m on the preview of Google Wave. It looks interesting. Seems like a combination of a Wiki and email in real time. I can see it being useful for work collaboration. We’ll see.


Twitter Business

November 23, 2009

I’m intrigued by businesses using Twitter to recruit new customers by following you. Not so much the obvious porn stuff, but the businesses that clearly follow you in response to a tweet you made.

It’s happened to me twice in the past few weeks. The most recent followed my tweet about Victoria’s birthday party:

Victoria’s birthday party complete. I’m exhausted. But Otsie Kerplotsie’s magician act was excellent

From this an online Magic store that tweets as @MagicTrickStore started following me. OK, that makes sense. They are keeping an eye on the word magician.

The other one followed my random comment about the France/Ireland soccer match. The tweet was fairly vague:

Another reason to hate the French, but go Slovenia

From that, a Soccer Store that tweets under @u90soccer started following me. What in the world were they searching tweets on, “Slovenia”? (they did have a big upset over Russia). That one surprised me.

I wonder if these techniques work at all. It’s an interesting use of Twitter as a targeted advertising platform.