We Own Our Own Data! - or - Why both Google and Microsoft already know this and are TOTALLY fine with the idea.

by M. David Peterson

Related link: http://www.understandingxml.com/archives/2005/10/the_return_of_t.html

There seems to be a general belief in the hacker world that if Microsoft, Google, Yahoo!, and a handful of other companies were given the chance they would steal your wallet, your shoes, and as a result, your girlfriend too as theres not a girl on this planet who dreams of dating a shoeless, pennyless, and all together "poor unfortunate soul" as yourself who is now rushing home to make sure your comic book collection is "still where I left it..." which just so happens to be buried 16 feet underground in a Gun Safe thats been welded shut to ensure that *EVEN IF* they decided to go digging in your backyard AND as a result were lucky enough to stumble upon the safe, "THEY'RE NOT GONNA GET MY COMIC BOOKS TOO!!!" or so you said when you sparked that flint to "seal the deal" "once and for all!"

Way to go tiger... roar.

Just one question before we move on...

How'd ya get the girl in the first place?

No big deal, just wondering...

So heres the deal. I just did a mental survey of all the data that I have personally created that I could in any way, shape, or form classify as "mine." Being a Consultant/Contract Software Developer now entering my 10th year of "service" in particular field of software development theres a *HUGE* chunk of code that, while technically was written by me, with the price I was being paid to write it I most certainly can't even come close to claiming any of that should in some way still belong or in any way be attributed to me.

Extending from this I also had to delete from this list anything I have written and published to the open domain, as such material, when published to the open domain without any sort of "licensing" or "terms of agreement" attached to it becomes the property of the open domain. As such, that too has been deleted from my list.

Now I am sure there is a lawyer or two out there who would be willing to help me, for a "small fee" of course, reclaim some or even all of that data, sending a bill to each and every person on this planet who has so much as read one letter of one word of such writings without first paying me for such luxury. First off, using the word "luxury" would be a bit of a stretch... no, in fact a flat out lie. Thats not to say that I'm a junk writer will little to no self esteem. Trust me, I have plenty of self esteem. Furthermore, while I will admit (and I assure you I know plenty of people who will back up this claim) that such a proposition could put me in retirement before I even finish this post, sorry.... not interested.

As a side note: Personally I believe phreaks like you (refering to lawyers who seek out this kind of ambulance chasing legal work) ought to be "marooned" on a desert island that "no one even knows exists" along with all of your other "buddies" and left to handle things from there... While I'm sure such a proposition would make for a *GREAT* reality show... I don't watch T.V. so, again, not interested.

So moving past this, lets get down to the nitty gritty. Of all the content that I could possibly claim as my own, with a quick and simple calculation my guesstimate suggests that I am still in possession of *AT LEAST* 95% of it. The other 5%? Well, simply put... we don't need to dive into that particular girlfriend story right at the moment.

Boy do I miss her...

and the remaining 5% of my personal belongings (which includes my cat!)...

No, I'm not bitter. Why do you ask? :)

Well, now that we've come full circle to sad and pathetic "girlfriend'less phreaks" lets get back to why Microsoft, Google, etc.. etc.. etc.. could really care less about your personal data. However, instead of just laying it down in opinionated smut, I'll just leave you with some facts, some links, and then let you figure out for yourself what you think they could possibly mean...

Fact One: Since a few years back when Microsoft released MSDE, their SQL Server-based personal use database engine(at the time, geared towards developers such that they could write and test code against their local instance of SQL before actually deploying it to a test or production server.. or so they said anyway) various sources began to suggest that this was going to become a much more permanent fixture on the Windows Desktop. As the years continued what was rumor became accepted and now proven fact, culminating into what is now called SQL Server Express which is prepared to ship along with its full-featured counterpart, SQL Server 2005, in about a month from now.

While there are more than just these two, heres a couple possibilities as to why they would just give away what has turned into be pretty powerful little mighty-might, licensed to contain up to 4GBytes of data per database install:

* They believe that Structured Query Language(SQL) and the English language, which from what I understand is the language most often spoken by a current Microsoft customer, are both syntactically AND semantically so close that its only a matter of time before it becomes the prefered and more often used language of the English speaking human population. As such, "get em' hooked now" and then "charge em' big for it" later.

- or -

* They believe that as we move closer and closer to "the Bigtop" the line between desktop and server will become all but transparent and as such they best prepare now and begin to place on the dektop the tools that developers will be using in the future to deliver applications and information securely and at incredibly high speeds that customers have subsribed to through various mechanisms. While data is still the key operative here, "ownership" of that data in a centralized and Microsoft controlled location is not whats important. Whats important is how the data got there in the first place and was it able to do so securely, without any concern for compromise, especially when that data happens to be extremely sensitive, a list too long to try and even pull an example from. And most of all, will the customer pay for this?

Yeah, they will.

NOTE: Anybody who just started screaming "DRM!, DRM!, DRM!"

Please stop. This post isn't about DRM, please don't make it become one. WAY TO BIG of a subject to try and talk about in a blog posting.

Plus, I don't care.

But I still love you!!! Don't worry, all the love is still here. Just not when DRM becomes the topic. Then my love goes as far away as it possibly can.

Thanks for understanding. :)

POINT TWO : Six words, all nouns, several even Proper Nouns :

"Adam Bosworth's MySQL Developers Conference Keynote"

Read it.


If the original is still available online for download, burn it onto a CD and listen to it over and over and over until you can finally understand the point he is trying to make...

Which, by the way, when paraphased suggests in no uncertain terms:

"Forget Oracle. The Money is On The Desktop!"

Those are not code words. That wasn't his way of stating "don't look now, but a mad Gorilla is running down the hallway... save yourself while you still can!"

While much more entertaining, I promise, there were no mad Gorilla's at the conference.

Wait, were talking about MySQL aren't we. Hmmm...

Well, while there could have been mad Gorilla's, this wasn't what he was refering to, I promise.

The money *IS* on the desktop.
Chant that over and over and over. Sing it if it helps. Don't dance though. I've seen you dance. Please don't dance again.

Thanks :)

Oh, and if you're not already aware... Adam Bosworth kinda' knows a thing or two about this whole computer business thingamajig.

How so?

Google for him. It shouldn't take long.

One final point and then I'll leave you in peace:

By the way, this is going to be chopped up and in bullet points. But it should make complete sense. If it doesnt, read it again. If you want I'll read it aloud and record it, of which for the rediculously small asking price of three easy payments of only $9.95, I'll send you a copy on CD such that you can play it alonside Adam Bosworth's keynote, rotating them to keep things fresh and exciting :)

The chopped up statments presented in all there bullet point glory are as follows:

* Ray Ozzie

* Groove

* Peer-to-Peer

* Microsoft

* Reorg

* Chief Technology Officer

and finally, from the recent reorg press release that most of the above refers to:

"Kevin Johnson and Jim Allchin will be co-presidents of the Platform Products and Services division, which will comprise Windows Client, Server and Tools and the MSN division. Microsoft said Allchin will hold that new position until he retires, once the company ships Windows Vista at the end of next year."


"Ray Ozzie, who joined the company as one of its three chief technical officers earlier this year, following Microsoft's acquisition of Groove Networks, will expand his responsibilities to drive the software-based services strategy."

and one more for good measure:

"Under Ray's technical leadership and weaving together both software and software-based services, I see incredible opportunity to better address the changing needs of our customers' digital lifestyles and the new world of work," Ballmer wrote in the e-mail."

So you can end this article and start your day in fun heres a little brain twister for you:

What does:

- the merger Windows Client, Server and Tools and the MSN division.
- combined with Ray "Peer-to-Peer" Ozzie
- which, as Microsoft's Chief Technology Officer, Steve Ballmer states:
- "Under Ray's technical leadership and weaving together both software and software-based services, I see incredible opportunity to better address the changing needs of our customers' digital lifestyles and the new world of work,"

suggest as to where Microsoft's focus and direction will be for the next 10 years?

I'll give you a hint:


It doesn't matter where it resides, data is data and services are services. "You want to host it on your Vista box? Great! That'll save us 500 million a year in data center costs PLUS you pay us for a copy of Vista" which, if I were to guess would be exactly the type of thing Steve Ballmer would say... [NOTE: THAT IS NOT IN ANY WAY A REAL QUOTE. SPECULATIVE ONLY, AND MY OWN SPECULATION AT THAT. EXTENDED NOTE: The reason I say it sounds like something Steve Balmer would say has to do with and old (and faked) TV commercial that had him in an infomercial setting selling copies of Windows 1.0. If you've seen the video, you know what I'm refering to when I state its the funniest damn thing you ever seen, even when you know its fake, and even more fun to watch with someone who doesnt know its fake. The "dropped-jaw" look on there face is worth every re-run :)]

Peace and Love unto you all :D

Oh, and also. I do recognize that control of your own data is EXTREMELY important. Please don't think that I am suggesting that its not. I just don't believe that MS, Google, Yahoo!, etc... are all that concerned about where content resides, and instead how it got there and did they get paid to deliver it to you.

I'm pretty sure thats what Web Services are all about.

But I could be wrong. :)

Again, all my XOXOXOXO

Oh, almost forgot... The link at the start of the article goes to an article written last night by my good friend Kurt Cagle who always ends his posts with an interesting twist to his bio. This one had me smiling so I thought Iw ould share it with you.

When I came here to make a quick post regarding his comments on the Google/Sun deal I noticed and read a couple of the recent points regarding owndership of data and, as you can tell, got a bit sidetracked.

All in good fun, right? :D

The quote:

Kurt Cagle is an author and software architect for Mercurial Communications, and is the author of seventeen books and a couple of hundred articles on web technologies. He lives in Victoria, British Columbia, where he's discovering WHY the Canadian symbol is a maple leaf.

If, in Canada, enjoy your Maple Leaf'ed enhanced day :)

Am I right? Am I wrong? Do you even care? And are you still thinking about the mad Gorilla's? Hmmm, sorry bout' that! Hope you don't have nightmares cuz' of it!!