Jan. 9, 2007 SDF Award to DJ Cline

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On January 9, 2007 at the SDForum headquarters in San Jose, volunteers were recognized for their service to the organization. I was given an award for contributions to their publications. Over the years, I have written over 30 articles on emerging technology from biotech to venture capital for SDForum.

SDForum is a vital independent business and technology community in Silicon Valley that has global reach. For twenty years, it is the place to go if you want to see an idea become a successful company or even a new industry. They say history is written by the winners. I write for SDForum.

Continue reading Jan. 9, 2007 SDF Award to DJ Cline

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Jan. 17, 2007 WCA

The Wireless Communications Association International (WCA) had its thirteenth annual event at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose last week. It’s an odd mix of cable companies, telecoms, start-ups and government types all trying to understand one another. My impression is that the wireless market will explode if they can all get out of each other’s way. Continue reading Jan. 17, 2007 WCA

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Jan. 10, 2007 SDF Semantic Web

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On January 10, 2007 at Cubberly Community College in Palo Alto, SDForum’s Emerging Technology SIG’s AJ Chen and Peter Hallinan presented ‘Shrinking The Meaningless Web for 2007’. Peter Rip of Crosslink Capital moderated a panel including Lew Tucker of Radar Networks, Giovanni Tummarello of Dbin, Alain Rappaport of Medstory, and Ramana Rao, founder of Inxight Software.

Continue reading Jan. 10, 2007 SDF Semantic Web

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The Good German Shepherd Review

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This animated film noir spy thriller is adapted from Rin Tin Tin’s unpublished autobiography, All Good Dogs Go To Berlin. George Clooney plays the hero of a WWII canine unit who tries to reconnect with a dachshund played by Cate Blanchett, who turns out to be a real female dog. Meanwhile Matt Damon plays a terrier trying to trap terrorists under the guidance of Robert DeNiro as a basset hound. In the end Angelina Jolie adopts them all. At last, a serious discussion of moral ambiguity interspersed with happy songs the whole family can enjoy.

I am kidding. I just needed a laugh after seeing some of the grimmest movies of the year.
You have to admit, it would be funny.

Copyright 2006 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

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Nov. 16, 2006 Commonwealth Club Steve Wozniak

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On November 16, 2006 at the Santa Clara Marriot, Commonwealth Club hosted Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak. Guy Kawasaki interviewed him about his new book, iWoz.
You can hear the podcast on commonwealthclub.org/podcast.

The big news out of Woz was that he is planning another US Festival in September 2007 at Moffet Field so start hydrating now.

I’ve already read and reviewed Wozniak’s book and recommend it. He is trying to undo years of myths and misquotes about him and Apple Computer. He is also trying to explain his philosophies on life and technology.

Guy Kawasaki tried to point out the ethical issues of building blue boxes that made free phone calls and then selling them. Considering all the luminaries in Silicon Valley currently under investigation for far worse offenses, it seemed trivial.

Wozniak has an penchant for pranks. If you want to pull off the prank of the century, Woz is the guy to talk to. He is always pushing the boundaries in a way most professional comedians only dream of.

That attitude carries over to technical challenges and Wozniak thought himself lucky to be broke and struggling, because it allowed him to do more with less. This austerity in design resulted in flawless code and graceful design of the first Apple computers. He believes that Apple will do best adapting its technology to human behavior rather than the other way around.

Copyright 2006 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

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Sept. 12, 2006 SDF Search Analytics

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On Tuesday September 12, 2006, the SDForum Search SIG was held at AOL’s Mountain View headquarters. Dave McClure of SimplyHired.com moderated a panel consisting of Don Loeb of Feedburner, Scott Rafer of MyBlogLog, LeeAnn Prescott of Hitwise and Jeff Gillis of Google Analytics. They discussed the tools and techniques they use to analyze traffic to and from websites and blogs.
Continue reading Sept. 12, 2006 SDF Search Analytics

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Pluribus 28

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September 30, 2031, 9:00 PM.

After the show, their hostess Suzy Mankiller came up with two liter-sized plastic buckets. “Here are your complimentary tokens.”

It was full of buffalo nickels.

Don was astounded. “Do you know how much these are worth?”

Suzy shrugged “About a nickel? They are for the old fashioned slot machines in front. Old people like the feel of real coins.”

“They are real?”

“No silly, they are tokens, replicas. They have little chips inside them called RFIDs so we can keep track of them.”

“Is this a common practice in casinos?”

“I guess so. Tommy Raven came up with it a long time ago.”

“I need to find a VR conference center in this casino right now. Can you show me?”

Don broke in on the conversation Tap and Deputy Deer were having about the show. “I hate to break up your critique gentlemen, but I think I know what these coins are all about.”

Deputy Deer looked down at the bucket. “They are tokens.”

Don held one up to the light. “They have chips in them. They are protected by a metal casing. They do not attract attention. They circulate widely. Tommy Raven told Jeff Redman that the answers are between the Indian and the Buffalo.” He turned the coin on its side. “The answer to Pluribus is in here.”

Tap was not paying attention. He was looking up into the rafters at something. He shoved Don to one side as Deputy Deer fell over with bullet hole in his head. The lights went out and people started screaming.

It looked like Anita Gromex was still in town.

Copyright 2006 DJ Cline. All rights reserved.

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Pluribus 27

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September 30, 2031, 8:00 PM.

“And now Ladies and Gentlemen, the Story of the Stolen Circle!”

Don and Tap sat in a theater in the round at the Raven casino. Deputy Deer sat next to them in what were supposed to be the best seats in the house. Deer had been a gracious host after the jurisdiction issues had been worked out. Loman was under heavy guard at the hospital. An all points bulletin was out for Anita Gromex. It turned out she had a string of restraining orders across seven states on top of several murder investigations.

The lights dimmed. Chanting and drums began quietly. An old man in a fur robe stepped into the spotlight center stage. “There are many circles in the world. There is the circle of water that falls from the sky to the ocean and back again. There is the circle of fire and forest. There is the circle of the sun and moon. The Raven has shown us the circle of all living things. We are born and die and our spirits change as we move around the circle.

One day the invaders, the people with only one way came. They said you only have one name and one spirit. You cannot move around the circle. You must stay put. They took our land and told us to pray only to their god. Their soldiers came and they took our circles away.”

The drums pounded to a stop. The old man stepped out, replaced by a young woman in deerskin. Mournful flute music began.

“Their medicine men captured our medicine men and said they were sick. No one can be another spirit. But the circle does not stop. One of their medicine men figured out how to make anyone see the circle of spirits. He gathered the children of the tribe and kept them from dreaming so he could fill them with his dreams. Then he did this to others and built a tribe of his own. We called it the stolen circle. They used it to keep people in and out. As the Raven knows, you cannot be inside or outside a circle. You are part of the circle.”

The woman stepped out of the light, replaced by a boy with a raven headdress. War drums started up.

“One of the Raven children held all the dreams and learned how to free the circle of spirits. They tried to stop him, but the circle would not work for them anymore. Like the invaders, they told him he could not practice the old ways. He could not laugh. He could not find food or shelter. He could not move. They took everything but the sky from him. Then the Raven laughed and the other circles turned on them. The circle of the land shook their villages. The circle of fire burned their villages. The circle of water came and flooded their land. Then our cousins from the west came to visit. Now the circle of spirits spins for us again. It spins for everyone.”

The stage lit up with a laser show and dancers moving in interlacing circles to thunderous beats and chanting.

Deputy Dan leaned over and shouted. “Tommy thought you would enjoy it.”

Don shouted back. “If you have to sit through a deposition, it helps if it ends with a big musical number.”

Copyright 2006 DJ Cline. All rights reserved.

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Pluribus 26

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September 30, 2031, 12:15 PM?

Deputy Daniel Deer of the Raven Reservation Police came through the front door.

A tall man with thin red hair in ponytail and a van dyke beard, he surprised both Don and Tap.

Tapas tried to ask politely. “I could not help but notice, but you do not look like an Indian.”

Deer was slightly annoyed. “Well, you do. Sorry Mr. Kalki, but most tribal societies traded members and accepted outsiders. When Europeans showed up it was just expanding a healthy gene pool. Unfortunately some people think that blood defines culture. Do you?”

Tap bowed. “Forgive me. As you see Mr. Loman is wide awake, despite my efforts.”

Deer crouched down in front of Loman on the sofa. “Shelley, is Sherman all right?”

Loman sneered. “The bastards shot him!”

Deer turned to Tap. “You could have emptied your gun into him and had no effect. Hell, you could have used a real gun and only slowed him down. It is a lucky thing we intervened. Our trackers probably will not find the shooter if she is like Mr. Loman here.”

At that point, the paramedics came in and took Loman to the ambulance in a stretcher.

Don looked at his watch it said 12:20 PM. The clock on the microwave oven said 12:25 PM. “Hey Tap, what time is it?”

Tap looked at his Rolex. “It is 12:15 PM.”He noticed the clock on the living room wall said 12:05 PM. “Deputy Deer, what time is it?”

Deer laughed. “I see you finally noticed. If you had killed him, you would have been here all day. As you will see tonight, it is not a good idea to mess with people like him. Let us go. It is always time for lunch.”

Copyright 2006 DJ Cline. All rights reserved.

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Pluribus 25

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September 30, 2031, Noon.

The phone rang again. Don answered it. “Hello?”

“Hello, this is Deputy Daniel Deer of the Raven Police Department. May I speak to Sherman Loman please?”

Don looked at Tap and then at Loman. “Mr Loman is indisposed, may I take a message?”

Deputy Deer was unfailingly polite. “Whom am I speaking with?”

“This is Don Jin of Wakima, I am here with Tapas Kalki of Applied Karma. We are here to meet with Mr. Loman.”

“We have reports of shots being fired. Is everything all right?”

Loman shouted in woman’s voice. “The bastards shot Sherm!”

Deer was concerned. “Is Mr. Loman all right? We will send an ambulance.”

Tapas picked up the extension. “This is Mr. Kalki. I shot Mr. Loman with a tranquilizer dart. Mr. Loman seems a little confused, but conscious. I am authorized by my company’s contract with the UN Free Trade Zone Task force to take Mr. Loman into custody.”

Deer was firm. “You are on sovereign tribal territory. We will not allow unauthorized extradition to the FTZ. There will be no extreme rendition.”

Don stepped in. “Gentlemen we will argue this out later. God fights on the side of the most expensive lawyer. Right now there is a sniper with a 22 pistol outside taking shots at us. We can stay here a while but there is only so much American beer and beef jerky I can eat. If you do not hurry we will not fit through the door. Can you assist?”

“Of course, our trackers are on it. We will have to make sure Mr. Loman is examined by a doctor. He has several medical conditions needing treatment. We will also need to take you into custody for our own investigation.”

Tap had to ask. “Will you torture us like Americans do?”

“Oh no Mr. Kalki. We have our own methods. We are going to take you to dinner and make you watch our casino floor show.”

Copyright 2006 DJ Cline. All rights reserved.

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Pluribus 24

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September 30, 2031, 11:45 AM.

Don turned to Tap. “Should he be awake this soon?”
Tap had his gun pointed at Loman. “No. Of course, body size might reduce the effectiveness of the tranquilizer.”

“Screw you!” Loman said in a sharp shrill woman’s voice. “You shot Sherm, not me!”

Don asked. “Who is shooting at us?”

“It is Anita Gromex. We were lovers at Netrosonics until I didn’t need her anymore. She stalks people. She had daddy problems too.”

Tap held his gun steady. “So why doesn’t she shoot daddy instead of us?”

Loman laughed a wicked laugh. “Because you are here and he is not! I’ve been waiting for her to show up. She still works for Antzen, and he needs money.”

The phone in the kitchen rang. Don and Tap glanced at each other. Tap shouted. “Answer it Don, I’m busy!” The phone rang again. “Just because I am Indian does not mean I am the one who answers the phone.”

The phone rang again. By the time Don picked up the phone in the kitchen, Loman picked up an extension on the coffee table. In a deep voice he said. “This is Dr. Andrew Loman, how may I help you? No, my daughter is not in right now. I will tell her you called.” He hung up.

Don walked back into the living room and tilted his head. “So you are Dr. Andrew Loman, captain US Army?”

“Yes. How may I help you?”

Don waited for a second. “Tell me about Pluribus.”

“That is classified. You will need clearance.”

Don reached into his pocket and put the coin Jeff Redman had given him in San Jose on the coffee table. “This is my clearance.”

Loman smiled. “Okay. It is your nickel.”

Copyright 2006 DJ Cline. All rights reserved.

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Pluribus 22

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Pluribus 22
By DJ Cline

September 30, 2031, 11:15 AM.

“What can you tell us about Pluribus?”Don asked.

Sherman Loman shifted uneasily and lit another cigarette. “I don’t want to talk about it. I signed papers.”

Don tried to reach him. “Yes. You signed papers from a company that screwed you and doesn’t exist anymore. I think you can talk now.” Don pulled out his phone, typed out a large figure and leaned over to show it to Sherman. “I am prepared to send this to your phone, right here and now if you help us.”

Sherman’s eyes bulged. “Is that dollars or yuan?”

Don smiled. “Yuan of course. You could live in California again.”

Sherman pulled out his phone. Don hit his cash button. “Okay, tell me about Pluribus.”

Sherman a lit a third cigarette. “The executives were getting bonuses but the company was losing money. To get a stock bump they needed to fire people. I knew if I were going to stay, somebody else would have to go. It was like one of those old reality shows. I formed alliances and then betrayed people to stay in the game. I got really good at it. I manipulated Lacy Chin to send Tommy Raven to Building 3 instead of me. Hey, I had bills to pay.”

Don saw Tap start to reach for his dart gun. Tap spread his hands. “Okay Don, I won’t do it, but you know how I get when people say that. Please continue Mr. Sherman.”

“Tommy took one for the team. Always going on about a tribe being a big family. That is not a normal family, not like mine.”

Tap interjected. “And yours is? You exposed your daughter to your father!” Don glared at Tap. Tap apologized with a look.

“I get to say what’s normal, pal. Anyway, the bastard met the deadline and pulled it off. He was not supposed to succeed. I had to come up with a whisper campaign to get rid of him. Tommy was always making jokes, said it was his religion. Ha! That’s a laugh. Who can walk around making fun of everything all the time? Religion is not about being happy. My old man said all religion is just a way to keep people in line. He showed me how to do it. I can make people do whatever I want.”

Don was more than a little confused at this Byzantine view of the world. “I’m sorry what was your job?”

“In a place like Netrosonics, my job was to keep my job. Don’t you get it? It doesn’t matter what you do. As a matter of fact, it helps if you have a job that doesn’t do anything at all. You can’t spend all your time doing your job if you want to keep it. Only suckers like Tommy actually create stuff. I’m a winner.”

Don looked around at the trailer and turned to Tap. “It seems like you have stuck to the right strategy Mr. Loman. Tap, is there something you want to say?”

Tap smoothly pulled out his dart gun and shot Sherman. “I am so glad we worked out those key phrases ahead of time.”

Don tried to support the slumping Sherman. “Dr. Eagle was right. Sociopaths rose to the top. Who would sacrifice their kids to a creepy guy like Antzen for a job? My only regret is that both of us are going to have to carry him off this porch to the car. And what is it with all the ravens around here?”

Tap tried to help Don lift the man up. “Well, this is the Raven reservation. From what I have learned about their culture, I think the ravens are laughing.”

Copyright 2006 DJ Cline. All rights reserved.

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Pluribus 21

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Pluribus 21
By DJ Cline

September 30, 2031, 11:00 AM.

A fat man in a dirty sweatshirt and overalls stood on the trailer porch aiming a shotgun.
A raven squawked in a nearby pine tree. The fat man swung the shotgun and shot at the bird. It squawked and flew to another tree. “Damn ravens!”

Don and Tap sat in their limo. It had been a long drive from Spokane to the American Resettlement Area on the Raven Reservation in northern Idaho. The last five miles was down a red dirt road past rows and rows of house trailers.

Don carefully opened the limo bulletproof window a crack. “Excuse me. We are looking for a Shirley Loman. Does she live here?”

“After a fashion. Who are you?”

“I am Don Jin of Wakima, a company in China. I am with Tapas Kalki of Applied Karma. We have a business proposition.”

The man frowned. “A business proposition huh? Your godammed people ran me out of my house in California with your taxes. That Free Trade Zone was not so damned free. Paid me crap and turned around and sold it to one of your friends for ten times what it was worth. Told me the only way we were gonna get Social Security is if we moved to this damned reservation. You cannot push me off my land. I am not a godammed Indian.”

Tap kept his mouth shut. Now was not the time for a lecture on karma. Don tried to figure an angle that might work. “We might be able to help you get your house back. Can we speak to Shirley Loman?”

The man stuck his double chin out. “Talking to her. I got myself reassigned a few years back when I had insurance. Come on up on the porch and have a few beers.”

They sat on dirty white plastic patio chairs. Don had a beer in his lap and Tap had his on the wood deck floor, probably to get to his dart gun before Sherman could get to his/her gun.

Sherman lit up a cigarette. “So what brings you boys out here?”

Don tried say it in a neutral tone. I would like to ask you some questions about your time at Netrosonics.”

Tap thought Sherman was going to get up and shoot them. Instead the man swore. “Can you get my pension and stock options back? They cheated me. All my years of brass polishing and backstabbing to get ahead and I wind up not more than fifty miles from where I grew up. Life sucks. They took my daughter you know.”

Don was genuinely surprised. “No, I did not know. How did that happen?”

Sherman flashed the regret of a mother. “I left the Circle when I got reassigned. They kept her. She wound up in that big fire.”

A raven called out, unopposed.

Copyright 2006 DJ Cline. All rights reserved.

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For Future Reference