Areas of Expertise:
Andy Oram is an editor at O'Reilly Media, a highly respected book publisher and technology information provider. An employee of the company since 1992, Andy currently specializes in open source, software engineering, and health IT, but his editorial output has ranged from a legal guide covering intellectual property to a graphic novel about teenage hackers. His work for O'Reilly includes the influential 2001 title Peer-to-Peer, the 2005 ground-breaking book Running Linux, and the 2007 best-seller Beautiful Code.
Andy also writes often for O'Reilly's Radar site (http://radar.oreilly.com/) and other publications on policy issues related to the Internet and on trends affecting technical innovation and its effects on society. Print publications where his work has appeared include The Economist, Communications of the ACM, Copyright World, the Journal of Information Technology & Politics, Vanguardia Dossier, and Internet Law and Business. His web site is www.praxagora.com/andyo.
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April 08 2014For some people, it’s too early to plan mass consumerization of the Internet of Things. Developers are contentedly tinkering with Arduinos and clip cables, demonstrating cool one-off applications. We know that home automation can save energy, keep the elderly and … read more
April 07 2014Reformers in health care claim gigantic disruption on the horizon: devices that track our movements, new treatments through massive data crunching, fluid electronic records that reflect the patient’s status wherever she goes, and even the end of the doctor’s role. … read more
March 25 2014Free and open source software creates a natural — and even necessary — fit with government. I joined a panel this past weekend at the Free Software Foundation conference LibrePlanet on this topic and have covered it previously in a … read more
March 24 2014As governments and businesses — and increasingly, all of us who are Internet-connected — release data out in the open, we come closer to resolving the tiresomely famous and perplexing quote from Stewart Brand: “Information wants to be free. Information … read more
March 05 2014Thrust into controversy by Edward Snowden’s first revelations last year, President Obama belatedly welcomed a “conversation” about privacy. As cynical as you may feel about US spying, that conversation with the federal government has now begun. In particular, the first … read more
February 26 2014Last Saturday’s IoT Festival at MIT became a meeting-ground for people connecting the physical world. Embedded systems developers, security experts, data scientists, and artists all joined in this event. Although it was called a festival, it had a typical conference … read more
January 16 2014A court ruling this past Tuesday on FCC “network neutrality” regulation closes and opens a few paths in a three-way chess game that has been going on for years between the US District Court of Appeals, the FCC, and the … read more
January 08 2014I’m sure it was a Wired editor, and not the author Steven Levy, who assigned the title “How the NSA Almost Killed the Internet” to yesterday’s fine article about the pressures on large social networking sites. Whoever chose the title, … read more
January 06 2014This should be flush times for firms selling security solutions, such as Symantec, McAfee, Trend Micro, and RSA. Front-page news about cyber attacks provides free advertising, and security capabilities swell with new techniques such as security analysis (permit me a … read more
December 09 2013Although readers of this blog know quite well the role that the Internet can play in our lives, we may forget that its most promising contributions — telemedicine, the smart electrical grid, distance education, etc. — depend on a rock-solid … read more
May 16 2013Taking advantage of a recent trip to Washington, DC, I had the privilege of visiting three non-profit organizations who are leaders in the application of computers to changing society. First, I attended the annual meeting of the Association for Computing … read more
December 14 2012I came to LISA, the classic USENIX conference, to find out this year who was using such advanced techniques as cloud computing, continuous integration, non-relational databases, and IPv6. I found lots of evidence of those technologies in action, but also … read more
December 03 2012Somehow, recently, a lot of people have taken an interest in the broadcast of canned educational materials, and this practice — under a term that proponents and detractors have settled on, massive open online course (MOOC) — is getting a … read more
October 17 2012Scala, a language designed for well-structured and readable programs, is richly provisioned with testing frameworks. The community has adopted test-driven development (TDD) and behavior-driven development (BDD) with zeal. These represent the baseline for trustworthy code development today. TDD and BDD … read more
September 13 2012This week has been teaming with health care conferences, particularly in Boston, and was declared by President Obama to be National Health IT Week as well. I chose to spend my time at the second ITdotHealth conference, where I enjoyed … read more
September 09 2012Chris Vander Mey, CEO of Scaled Recognition, and author of a new O’Reilly book, Shipping Greatness, lays out in this video some of the deep lessons he learned during his years working on some very high-impact and high-priority projects at … read more
September 05 2012Health care costs rise as doctors try batches of treatments that don’t work in search of one that does. Meanwhile, drug companies spend billions on developing each drug and increasingly end up with nothing to show for their pains. This … read more
August 29 2012The stress of falling seriously ill often drags along the frustration of having no idea what the treatment will cost. We’ve all experienced the maddening stream of seemingly endless hospital bills, and testimony by E-patient Dave DeBronkart and others show … read more
August 28 2012Patent ambushes are on the rise again, and cases such as Apple/Samsung shows that prior art really has to swing the decision–obviousness or novelty is not a strong enough defense. Obviousness and novelty are subjective decisions made by a patent … read more
August 13 2012Who has the gumption to jump into the crowded market for collaboration tools and call for a comprehensive open source implementation? Perhaps just Miles Fidelman, a networking expert whose experience spans time with Bolt, Beranek and Newman, work on military … read more
August 09 2012The quantum leap we need in patient care requires a complete overhaul of record-keeping and health IT. Leaders of the health care field know this and have been urging the changes on health care providers for years, but the providers … read more
August 08 2012The concept of an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) reflects modern hopes to improve medicine and cut costs in the health system. Tony MCormick, a pioneer in the integration of health care systems, describes what is needed on the ground to … read more
July 26 2012In this video interview, Matthew McCullough of GitHub discusses what they’ve learned over time as they grow and watch projects develop there. Highlights from the full video interview include: How GitHub builds on Git’s strengths to allow more people to … read more
July 25 2012There has been enormous talk over the past few years of open data and what it can do for society, but proponents have largely come to admit: data is not democratizing in itself. This topic is hotly debated, and a … read more
July 16 2012The Community Leadership Summit this past weekend roused thoughts in me about the predictions and analyses I’ve heard over the past few years about social networking and to contrast them with what we were saying about community. I realized that … read more
July 09 2012In honor of the third health care track at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention, I invite everyone to join me in five ways to have a healthy conference. read more
June 26 2012Michael Italia from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia discusses the tools and methods his team uses to manage health care data. read more
June 21 2012SMART and Indivo offer a far-reaching platform for giving patients access to data and working seemlessly with other cooperating institutions. read more
June 20 2012In this interview, Federal Health Architecture director Dr. Lauren Thompson discusses the state of health information exchange. read more
June 15 2012A few existing and upcoming projects that illustrate what games are doing in health care, and some trends to watch. read more
June 13 2012Privacy is caught up with issues of security, clinical decision-making, mobile health, and medical errors. So the topics at this conference are relevant to all the issues health care advocates talk about regularly: data exchange and ACOs, clinical research, the use of apps on mobile devices, the Quantified Self movement, and… read more
June 12 2012Releasing public data can't fix the health care system by itself, but it provides tools as well as a model for data sharing. read more
June 11 2012A convocation of trend-setters and organizational leaders in U.S. health care advised two government organizations driving health reform--the Office of the National Coordinator at the Dept. of Health and Human Services, and the Dept. of Veteran Affairs--how to push forward one of their top goals, patient engagement. read more
June 07 2012Sau Sheong Chang describes the intriguing projects in his upcoming book, "Exploring Everyday Things with R and Ruby" and how other people can develop their own experiments. read more
May 31 2012In this interview, Jan Erik Solem, author of the upcoming book "Programming Computer Vision with Python," describes the uses for some common operations, and choices programmers have. read more
May 24 2012After finishing the second edition of "Version Control with Git," author Jon Loeliger talked to O'Reilly editor Andy Oram about how to use Git effectively as changes to code pile up. read more
May 21 2012In health information technology, we have a rare chance to ensure that the most affected members of the public actually have their own direct representative. A letter in support of Regina Holliday. read more
May 16 2012Great piles of cash are descending on entrepreneurs who develop health care apps, but that doesn't make it any easier to create a useful one that your audience will adopt. About the Spring Fling conference, enterpreneurship, and open data. read more
May 11 2012With a modern search engine and smart planning, web sites can provide visitors with a better search experience than Google. Why turn-out for the new "big data" track was lower than I expected, and other news from this week's conference about using Lucene big and small. read more
May 06 2012The letter conveys a rather sorrowful message about the state of health IT in the United States. One request--to put brakes on the requirement for hospitals to let patients see their own information electronically--has received particularly strong coverage and vigorous responses. read more
May 02 2012To move from a hothouse environment of experimentation to the mainstream of one of the world's most lucrative and tradition-bound industries, Sage Bionetworks must aim for its nucleus: rewards and incentives. Comparisons to open source software and a summary of tasks for Sage Congress. read more
May 01 2012The Vioxx problem is just one instance of the wider malaise afflicting the drug industry. Managers from major pharma companies expressed confidence that they could expand public or "pre-competitive" research in the direction Sage Congress proposed. The sector left to engage is the one that's central to all this work--the… read more
April 30 2012Through two days of demos, keynotes, panels, and breakout sessions, Sage Congress brought its vision to a high-level cohort of 230 attendees from universities, pharmaceutical companies, government health agencies, and others who can make change in the field. read more
April 19 2012A conversation with Sage Bionetworks founder Stephen Friend about how open source can support a business model in drug development, the progress of current data sharing projects, and more. read more
April 14 2012Contrasting deployments at craigslit and Pinterest, trends, commercial offerings, and more read more
April 06 2012Part of a series about efforts by VoIP Drupal collaborators to find the right media and tools with which to promote a small, little known software project. read more
April 05 2012Although a lot of government agencies produce open source software, hardly any develop relationships with a community of outside programmers, testers, and other contributors. NCI sees the advantages of a give-and-take. read more
March 26 2012Despite the disappointments I've undergone in learning about health care, I expect the system to change for the better. Those who want a better system need to look at the areas where change is most likely to make a difference. read more
February 29 2012Recalcitrant instincts that depressed me and progressive suggestions that restored me. Details DICOM, Watson, and other interesting projects. read more
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"I found it a very interesting book that examined the actual empirical evidence to support or refute some of the sacred cows in software engineering. I think this this is a refreshing step forward for our profession."
"Overall I found the book a very fascinating and enjoyable read, and since no jargon is used it should be accessible to any audience. If you want to find out what the cyber criminals are up to and what security professionals are doing to counteract, then this is a very good place to start."
"Right from the beginning, this book offers a startlingly fresh perspective on the realm of computer security...This work is a must for anyone investigating security on a professional or cursory level."
"This is a book that you, the programmer and designer, will ﬁnd worth your time. "
"Beautiful Security is an enjoyable book that answers many questions and does so in a simple, yet effective way. It is particularly suitable for all those people who have been around the net for a while and have learned many terms and phrases concerning information security, but they have still only a vague idea of the notion they represent."
"As with any good security book, theres plenty of well-done content which will likely scare you in to re-thinking how you and your company approach security. Beautiful Security can help you identify practices, problems, and mindsets which leave you, your company, or your clients at risk."
"Beautiful Security goes well beyond the confines of traditional security books that dive into technical minutia and bore you to tears. Yes there is technical jargon to be seen throughout, but the real hook
to this collection of ideas and best practices is the thinking and logic the various contributors gracefully convey through the pages within. "
"...a required read. For those that have an interest in information security or those that are frustrated by it, Beautiful Security is an eye-opening book that will challenge you, and change the way you think about information security."
"The preface states that the purpose of the book is to convince the reader that security is not bureaucratic drudgery but is an exciting career, and I think the book is successful at this."
"In Beautiful Security, experienced insiders share some rarely spoken truths about the real problems in information security today, and point the way towards how the situation could or should be improved. The challenges we face in security and personal privacy are not always purely technical--in fact they rarely are. Instead, they
are social, geo-political, legacy, or simply when interests are not in alignment. Taking into account all the external factors, the authors behind Beautiful Security explore more modern and practical information security approaches, with a healthy skepticism for conventional wisdom."
"There is no doubt that the way we manage information security in the future will need to evolve as significantly and swiftly as the technology itself and adapt to the new ways we choose to embrace it. Information security plays a critical role in enabling a secure and reliable business that earns the trust of our customers. The thoughts and ideas shared by the authors in this book can shape the
security "cogs and levers" of tomorrow."
"Whereas a lot of books are either narrowly focused (and convinced that their focus is all that matters), or too wide to be useful, Beautiful Security draws a wide net and collects a representative view of the state of the problem in infosecurity today."
"Computer security is quite possibly the most intellectually
challenging field today, an interdisciplinary and rapidly evolving arena that straddles the realms of people and technology. Hacking, both positive and negative, is simply the activity of smart people stretching the limits and repurposing what a computer can do for their own objectives. Beautiful Security gives us a window into the minds of the passionate people who defend us by out-thinking and staying one step ahead of our black hat adversaries.
"Any project that undertakes to get students and professionals interested in security issues is laudable. This book is no exception. I found Jim Routh's chapter on 'Forcing Firms to Focus' to be profound. It is not often we get to look under the hood with leaders actually doing the work--rather than listening to vendors and experts talk about what 'might' work."
"This collection of thoughtful essays catapults the reader well beyond deceptively shiny security FUD (the drum major of the bug parade) toward the more subtle beauty of building security in. Security is an essential emergent property for all modern systems--something that most people implicitly expect and few people explicitly enjoy. This
book demonstrates the yin and the yang of security, and the
fundamental creative tension between the spectacularly destructive and the brilliantly constructive. Read. Learn. Emulate."
"What a spectacular book--each chapter written by someone who actually knows the topic--and each chapter short enough that it is full of interesting stuff. And most of them are quite timely."
"This isn't a book you have to read but if you are a programmer at almost any skill level you will find it deeply enjoyable. "
"A collection of thirty three chapters from experts in their fields, Beautiful Code comes as a whiff of fresh air into the book shelf of the programmer...The book will give color to imagination of programmers used to reading bland text-book type documentation and programming manuals."
"Beautiful Code seems the rare kind of computer programming book that tends to resist well the test of time; while it is quite technical and full of code samples, the ideas being discussed are mostly independent of the programming language in question. "
"If you want to take your mindset as a developer to the next level, this is a good book. It's also an interesting insight into certain programming problems and their solutions."
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