Kurt Cagle Tech Guru

Kurt is the founder and CEO of Semantical, LLC, a consulting company focusing on enterprise data hubs, metadata management, semantics, and NoSQL systems. He has developed large scale information and data governance strategies for Fortune 500 companies in the health care/insurance sector, media and entertainment, publishing, financial services and logistics arenas, as well as for government agencies in the defense and insurance sector (including the Affordable Care Act). Kurt holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. 

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The Gig Economy: License to Exploit

Frederick Taylor has a lot to answer for. The father of "efficiency management", Taylor made a name for himself in the early twentieth century by consulting with companies, offering his services to improve a new metric that he had devised called "productivity". He would go onto factory floors with stopwatches and clipboards and would record exactly how long it took a given laborer to accomplish a given task. He would then take the best of these measurements and declare that this was where his factory workers should be producing at, proceeding to remove all "unnecessary" breaks or downtime for those workers.


How Structured Is Your Data?

Programmers love a fight. Ask a roomful of programmers the question "EMACS or VI", leave the room for coffee, come back half an hour later and there will be blood on the floor. For data storage buffs, the same question, at least lately, comes down to SQL vs. NoSQL. Each has its defenders, its book of holy writ, its benchmarks and success stories ... and each has its dark secrets and stunning failures as well.


Feast or Famine: What Happens When the Job Ends

As a consultant, I go through periods where the work is just not there. This is not a case of being unemployed, rather, it is rather the default mode of existence for independent contractors who have to simultaneously do the technical work and nonetheless sell their skills.


Maybe It's Not Agile

I was, once upon a time, a huge proponent of agile. I thought the manifesto made a lot of sense, and it fit with my observation that a small group of skilled, dedicated programmers, working closely with the client, can almost always produce software more efficiently than a large consulting firm. Yet, over time, I've also seen Agile applied at companies with dozens or hundreds of programmers, and if anything the results were worse than that hokey old religion of Waterfall.


Why GDPR Will Change The World

The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, the European Union's most recent efforts to combat the rise of both "fake news" and identity theft, has come from obscurity to becoming one of the biggest issues that anyone involved in data management has faced in years. The ideas behind it are relatively simple - by unifying a set of requirements on data management, the EU hopes to staunch the abuse of data about people that's collected for one purpose then sold for something very different.


Give Your Data a Bath: Ingesting SQL as RDF

In the era of Big Data, data quality - or how clean the data is - inevitably floats to the surface. Data scientists typically refer to data as dirty when it has a number of basic flaws:


The Rule of One

I'm going to put my geek hat on for a bit. Over the course of the last couple of months I've been exploring semantic modeling from the standpoint of "context-free" design - where I've been looking for patterns that seem to hold true regardless of what the data topic itself. One pattern that I feel comfortable now identifying is "The Rule of One", or put another way "Ted Codd was right".


Semantics and Machine Learning

Machine Learning is supplanting both Big Data and Data Scientist as marketing buzzwords, and as is typical, as it gains in popularity it also loses whatever more precise meaning that it had before. People tend to talk about machine learning without necessarily knowing precisely is being described, and see it as its own whole, separate discipline rather than being simply one aspect of a complex graph of related technologies.


Organizing with Google Keep

During the day, I spend a lot of time researching online. I may be looking for coding tips on articles I'm writing for my programming columns. I may see something on Facebook or LinkedIn that I'd like to reference for articles on futurist issues, or politics, or industry trends. I may come across a reference image or detailed information about a place for the novels that I write. Anyone who writes regularly likely also spends a significant amount of time finding and compiling such resources.


When the Power Goes Out

An interesting pattern emerges when you throw a potentially controversial idea out, as I did recently with the article below. I had written that I think that we need to strengthen our "local" networks - energy and information both - by utilizing more of a mesh approach, precisely because the existing (largely centralized) networks are too vulnerable to storms, earthquakes and cascading power failures.


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