Columnar Data Storage

Hasso Plattner, SAP
Image by dfarber via Flickr

At the SAP academic research conference yesterday Hasso Plattner spent a lot of time talking about database design and why it’s still important. More significantly, he drilled into why re-architecting applications to take advantage of a fundamentally differently database than what we are used to with relational databases is critical if we are to simplify code bases and develop new generations of applications that take off where the current state of the art ends.

This area has a pretty steep learning curve so to get started here’s a good explanation of the distinction between columnar vs. row database architecture.

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The Nature of Anonymity and Who is Tyler Durden?

Several stories have popped up, thanks to @pkedrosky for the links, about the popular blog Zero Hedge and who exactly is behind Tyler Durden.

It is quite clear just from the variety of writing styles associated with the name “Tyler Durden” that more than one writer is associated with that name, It is also clear that the folks at Zero Hedge are unusually well plugged in, independent of their sources. The operation appears to have had a Bloomberg terminal from its early days (no minor expense), suggesting the writer(s) at a minimum co-located with a trading operation. I had though initially ZH might be a former hedgie who was trading for his own account and posting, but the volume of posts (and effort required to produce them) now suggests that some writer/researchers there are close to full time.

[From naked capitalism: Who is Tyler Durden?]

There are 3 reasons why people author under pseudonyms and why in two of those scenarios I don’t have a problem with it. However, let’s deal with the one case where anonymity is abused and has no place in the legitimate blogosphere, because you want to embarrass, harass, or slander. If what you are writing is not something you would say face to face or wish to have your name associated with, then don’t write it.

Anonymity has a long tradition on the internet and where it has been abused the result has been to devalue the internet as a whole and give ammunition to critics who have an agenda of command and control of information. I don’t have much patience for people who hide behind made up identities to say things as authors or commenters to other sites they are too cowardly to say mano e mano.

There is another very innocent reason why some people chose to blog anonymously… they are shy. I don’t have a problem with this and nobody else should either.  

Anonymity does have legitimacy as a tool for exposing information to the public that is for the public good. Quite often that comes with great risk, professional or even person safety, to the person exposing it and anonymity is exceptionally valuable to ensure the flow of information that would otherwise remain buried.

We could get dramatic and use examples like Deep Throat but it does not have to be dramatic, as is the case with many industry insiders who expose the inner workings of businesses, whatever their motivations. Zero Hedge is a great example, they consistently turn out some of the best reporting on the financial services industry from the perspective of someone who knows where to look for the dead bodies. it is not clear who is among the 40 people who contribute to the pseudonym Tyler Durden but they are becoming reviled on Wall St. for exposing the practices that make the insiders insiders while everyone else remains on the outside.

Who is Tyler Durden? I don’t know and I don’t care… if other media outlets delivered the in depth, highly informative coverage that the crew at Zero Hedge are doing, then maybe the public at large would not only be less dismissive of traditional media but also better informed. Naked Capitalism asks if this is a new kind of media platform… I think it is and hope we see more of them.