The Pebble and the Avalanche

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Current Revolutions in Business and Technology

by Dr. Moshe Yudkowsky,

author of The Pebble and The Avalanche: How Taking Things Apart Creates Revolutions


Mon, 2008-Jun-02, 08:35

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Spreading Spreadsheets

I ran across a brilliant idea at "TECH cocktail" last week here in Chicago.

Kirix sells a very interesting product: a specialized web browser that supports data analysis. Instead of downloading spreadsheet data (the ubiquitous "CSV" files) into your computer and working on it there, the CSV files shows up in your browser window. You can manipulate the data and bookmark it, and when you visit the web site again you get a fresh copy of the data and retain all your manipulations.

The browser also includes a complete SQL database access tool, which gives you a view of the database as a spreadsheet. Furthermore — and this is what makes the entire concept brilliant — the browser combines databases even if they are at different places on the Internet; even if they are at different companies. The Kirix provides a graphical interface that allows users to create, e.g., "joins" between the two databases. Instead of disconnected pools of information, a Kirix user sees one large relational database.

In other words, the Kirix browser disaggregates spreadsheet data and databases from their individual locations. As such the browser is an extraordinarily useful tool.

Mon, 2007-Apr-23, 09:47

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Specialized Writing Skills

Every profession has niches and specialized skills. Writing, for instance; writing a book is very different from writing a blog. Here's some tips on how to write obituaries.