schnell writes: Foreign Policy magazine is running a fascinating portrait of Gen. Keith Alexander, the "techie general" who leads both the NSA and US Cyber Command. It paints a picture of a leader with both a career-long background of SIGINT engineering skills and exceptional political savvy, expanding the NSA's scope to fulfill his "big data" vision and its ability to map far-flung connections into a picture of intelligent threat analysis. While some of the anonymous intelligence officials quoted in the story call into question the results of Alexander's big data approach (including impressive-looking "contact maps" for suspected terrorists that included unrelated points like pizza shops), Alexander's techie vision for the NSA has transformed its mission into one of potentially much greater usefulness... but also one with the potential for much greater abuse.
Programmers used to batch environments may find it hard to live without
giant listings; we would find it hard to use them.
-- D.M. Ritchie