Published: Five fallacies of cloud computing

Five fallacies of cloud computing.

My article about cloud computing fallacies was recently published over at Tech Target. The cool part for me has been seeing people reference it in Twitter posts. Big thanks to my college buddy Richard Puig for asking me the question that set me off on this rant. 😉

Unlike past articles I’ve had published there this one does not have a comments sections, so I can’t see the feedback. I’ll have to ping my editor and see what sort of cranky emails he’s been receiving .

Cringe worthy word abuse

I’m not a grammar nazi. I don’t correct people in mid-sentence. I don’t flame people online who make language missteps. I can’t even profess to being mostly correct in my writing as lord knows I abuse it constantly with ellipses and parenthetical statements (as I’ll soon demonstrate … d’oh!) I’m sure all my English teachers would tell you I was nowhere near the top of their class when it came to grammar. Sometimes though I see things that make me cringe.

I have pre-built RSS searches that scour Craigslist’s “Free Stuff” section for things I use to make BioDiesel. One of those searches is the word “barrel”. When I was setting up my system I needed barrels and why pay for one when somebody is always giving it away somewhere? I no longer need barrels (in fact I should give a few away!) but occasionally people give away a barrel full of stuff (waste oil, veggie oil, methanol, Diesel, etc) that I can use, so I leave the search there in my preferred RSS reader, Safari.

I swear, at least once or twice a month, this one comes up…

It is not always this person Samantha giving it away. I’m sure she is not an idiot, and in fact could very well be a very nice person. Most people I’ve met named Samantha have been nice. I even dated a wonderful woman named Samantha when I was in college. But … THE WORD IS WHEELBARROW DAMMIT! Wheelbarrow. Look it up!

ah… there … I feel so much better now.

126 MPG, and no, we can’t buy or drive it in the USA. WTF?

308 HDi

I’m talking about the Peugeot 308 HDi.

Yes, I know that Peugeot has not been available for decades here in the USA, but my point is the self-defeating regulations that have been put in place that limit the American car buying market. We’ve erected trade barriers in the guise of safety and emissions that have excluded the very technologies we need the most. The EURO/NCAP safety regs are adequate for our roads as much as theirs. California’s emissions laws are the tail that wags the dog here in the USA. The result? we get Smart cars that average 37 MPG instead of the 70 MPG they enjoy in Europe. We get mid-sized sedans that strain to reach 20 MPG, whereas they have ones that enjoy 35 to 40 MPG.

Why not just scrap all these regs, adopt the European standards and open our market to these imports? Do we really think we’re protecting a domestic industry anymore?


I’ve had a series of thoughts rolling around in my brain for a while, and a comment made by Robert Farago made them all gell and roll out all at once. I offered it to him as a sort of “rebuttal” to his statement and he published it today. You can read it here:

I normally “preview” things I write here on my blog, but this one came out so fast it never had a chance to show up here first, sorry.

Defending The Data Center… from WHAT exactly?

absurd or plausible? I think the former.

Defending The Data Center –

This “datacenter as terrorism target” meme has to die. Seriously. It clouds (pardon the pun) the real issues of physical and network security in our industry. If you have to seize a hot button topic like “terrorism” to communicate something important (yet completely unrelated) then you are not communicating properly.

I’ve written about this previously but it bears repeating: Datacenters are genuine parts of the first world’s infrastructure, but infrastructure is never the target of terrorism. The minds of people are the target, and in the case of 9/11 infrastructure was the weapon and symbols of capitalism and government were the targets.

It is far too expensive and time-consuming to attack infrastructure. Infrastructure only becomes a target in times of war between nations. If we’ve reached that point, then we have much larger worries. Meanwhile the realistic focus should be on criminals, infiltrations & DoS attacks (which the recent attacks on Twitter & facebook mentioned in the article actually were!) and perhaps competitors (aka industrial espionage) long before we start throwing terrorists into the mix of threats to datacenters and their contents.

Enderle Idiocy, Schneier Wisdom: “Terrorist Risk of Cloud Computing”

Schneier on Security: Terrorist Risk of Cloud Computing.

Bruce Schneier gets it COMPLETELY right, (about Rob Enderle being completely wrong,) when he says:

“…the main point of the article, which seems to imply that terrorists will someday decide that disrupting people’s Lands’ End purchases will be more attractive than killing them. Okay, that was a caricature of the article, but not by much. Terrorism is an attack against our minds, using random death and destruction as a tactic to cause terror in everyone. To even suggest that data disruption would cause more terror than nuclear fallout completely misunderstands terrorism and terrorists.”

There is a common logical error people make when trying to asses risk: planning without thinking. Making invalid assumptions without proper analysis. Nowhere is this as obvious as when people discuss protecting things from terrorist attack. Terrorism ignites all manner of fear in people, even without the “terrorists” having to actually DO anything. Fear is indeed the mind-killer here as people toss away all logic and let their imaginations run wild, conjuring up all manner of fearful outcomes. They literately lose their minds and lose the ability to think clearly.

Of course Rob Endlerle is a proven idiot and is obviously incapable of thinking. He merely lobs grenades and trolls for flames wherever he writes, always constructing bizarro arguments on assumptions and fallacies. Schneier rightly points out one of these fallacies when he scoffs at Enderle’s statement: “The Twin Towers, which were destroyed in the 9/11 attack, took down a major portion of the U.S. infrastructure at the same time.” The U.S.A.’s infrastructure suffered virtually zero damage on 9/11. In the grand scheme of things the 9/11 attack was less than a pinprick in our national skin. The air transport system was back to normal within a week. The stock exchange was trading again in a few days. More people die falling off ladders each year in the USA than those killed on 9/11/2001.

The point of terrorism is found right there within its name: terror. Shock. Outrage. Fear. Paralysis. Over-reaction. That is what terrorists want. Their aim is to provoke maximal emotional reaction with minimal effort. Therefore terrorists attack specific targets chosen for maximum shock and outrage. They attack symbols. They attack people. They seek to have visibility. They don’t attack infrastructure. In the case of 9/11 infrastructure was the weapon, not the target.

Nation-States engaged in warfare attack infrastructure. The fastest way to disable an enemy is to destroy their means of communications, transportation, and manufacture. This is how warfare has been conducted since the mid-20th century. Technology allowed the expansion of the battlefield into entire continental “theaters of war” and technology allowed warring nations to attack each others’ technology. This is the natural evolution of conflict that began when our ancestors first beat each other with rocks.

The error that Enderle, and so many others make is mistaking terrorism for warfare. Terrorism is NOT warfare. The purpose of attacking infrastructure is to weaken the opponent so as to make warfare easier. The destruction of infrastructure allows the next logical step in warfare: the attacker destroying their enemy and/or invading their enemies territory. Terrorists are not interested in those steps. They are not seeking to invade or destroy. They merely want to inflict maximum emotional damage at minimal cost. Osama bin Laden spent very little money to execute the 9/11 attacks. Sure, it may have been over a million dollars but it provoked a trillion+ dollar response. THAT is the point of terrorism.

Datacenters, Telecommunications Infrastructure, Carrier Hotels, Long-Haul Fiber-Optic Circuits, and by extension, “Cloud Computing” will never be terrorism targets. Ever. They have no emotional value. Their disablement or even destruction provokes no visceral emotional reaction or outrage (except in the people like myself who must build and maintain them of course!) Ask yourself this: If the 9/11 hijackers flew those planes into One Wilshire, The Westin Building, and the Google Datacenter in The Dalles, Oregon would we be fighting wars in two middle-eastern countries today? The answer is: “No.” In fact it may not have even been seen as a terrorist act at first, instead being seen as a random set of accidents. It would not have been seen live on TV around the world, and people would not have even been affected much technically and certainly not emotionally. Today it would be one of those dimly recalled events of yesteryear. “Oh, remember when those plane crashes made the Internet slow for a few hours?”

Car Photo of the Day: This car is DRIVEN.

You didn't know the Jaguar diet includes insects?

There is something of a hulabaloo going on within the JCNA (Jaguar Clubs of North America) at the moment, concerning the “Driven” class within the Concours competition. The crux of it is a ruling whereby cars in the “Driven” class are now allowed to be trailered to the competitions. To some people, including your author, this is ludicrous.

JCNA Concours are judged on “originality” and “authenticity”, meaning that as presented a car should be as close to the condition it left the factory at Brown’s Lane, Coventry all those years ago. To win at a concours requires a lot of effort, in preservation, and in restoration (if required.) This is a bit different than the more general and widely known “Concours d’Elegance” competitions such as Pebble Beach and Amelia Island, where subjective issues of beauty, rarity, historical significance, and provenance are thrown into the mix. Theoretically the JCNA style event is objective, where a judge compares a guide (canonical data compiled by JCNA concerning the models) to the physical car, and deducts points for parts judged not original, or not authentic. They have three classes: Championship. Preservation, and Driven. Championship class cars are frequently almost flawless, and are usually freshly restored, or are “trailer queens”… that is they are never driven on public roads if it can be avoided, and often are only driven on and off trailers. They are truly “show cars”. The Preservation class is for older cars who are original, but have gathered that wonderful aging we call “patina” in the car world. The ‘Driven’ class was created for people who actually drive their cars. The point scale is more generous, ignoring things like dings in the paint, and not judging the engine bay or boot of the vehicles. Overall originality is important, but “drive-ability” and “comfort” modifications are allowed, such as contemporary tire sizes and CD players.

To those of us who DRIVE our cars the Concours field is looked at with opinions that range from mild amusement to derision. Terms like “Competitive Car Washing”, “Concours d’Arrogance”, and ‘The Q-tip Brigade” frequently come up. When you drive a car, as it is meant to be driven, it collects dirt, bugs, replacement parts, and often modifications for the sake of driving pleasure, reliability, or economy. My car could NEVER win any JCNA Concours in the Championship or Preservation classes. It is not original, nor is it authentic. I could enter it in the Driven class, but it could never win. It is just not possible. The standards of “originality” and “authenticity” are kind of like the central plot point in that old 80s fantasy flick “Highlander“… there can be only one. So long as your car has even JUST one thing “wrong” with it, you WILL lose.

By allowing “trailer queens” to compete in driven, honest to goodness driven cars will only be driven from the Concours field. It will become merely the second-tier of the Championship class, where older trailer queens go when they can’t compete anymore. The truth here is that a Concours is a competition. Sure, there’s all sorts of joy to be had by hanging out with car guys all day and shooting the breeze… but at the end of the day one car wins and the others don’t. That is the difference between a “show & shine” and a Concours, JCNA or otherwise. If they are going to award a prize at the end of the day then driven has to mean driven. Otherwise it is just a farce.

I love the JCNA Slalom, and literally maintain my membership for that reason only. If they’d have TSD rallies in my region I’d do those too. But if you sever see my car on a JCNA Concours field then you will know I’m dead – the Concours rules as they stand today, are just patently absurd.

I love the history, beauty, and refined rawness that is the Jaguar E-type. It is truly a snapshot of all that was possible in 1961. It is however a machine with utility in mind. Like the horse it replaced, the automobile is a beautiful beast of burden. Just as the horse is meant to be seen at full gallop across a field of grass, a car is meant to be seen roaring over asphalt. To trailer a car to a Concours is akin to having a stuffed horse on display. It is an insult to the viewer, and a mortal injury to the horse.