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I heard an interview with Jeffrey Rosen, who has an article in today's New York Times. The article is called "Silicon Valley's Spy Game", and it's all about how many Valley companies are rearranging their products to be sold as national security and anti-terrorism items.

Prominent among these companies is Oracle. Oracle tends to pitch their databases as great predictive tools -- Amazon can guess which books you'll buy because they track you in an Oracle database, your airline can predict your travel patterns, etc. Now they're trying to sell the idea that they can predict who terrorists are, just by integrating various governmental databases, both at the Federal and local level.


In an anecdote not in the Times article, Rosen told interviewer Terry Gross, on the radio program Fresh Air, how he visited Oracle's headquarters campus one day. Apparently, it's notoriously difficult to find parking there, and the space he finally found was far enough away from the door that he had to walk something like 15 minutes to get to the building.

Here's the big question: If Oracle can't even reliably predict how many people will park at their own building -- which is presumably why they haven't built adequate facilities, and not because, say, Larry Ellison is a cheap bastard who doesn't care about his employees much -- how reliable do you think they'll be at predicting terrorists?

Just a thought.


A related in-the-Valley parking anecdote.

Apple also has parking problems, it seems.

Steve Jobs is a guy well known for running late.

Apple, at the time, didn't have assigned parking.

So... One time, the Interim President for Life got into the lot, and everything was full.

He decided, in that ever-so-considerate Jobsian way of his, to park in a handicapped space.

When he returned to his car at the end of the day, he allegedly found a note stuck into his wiper blades:

"Park Different"


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Apr. 15th, 2002 04:26 pm (UTC)
I worked at Apple and can confirm that. Heh. I would see Steve's Mercedes parked in whatever "spot" he could locate at the time.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )