Monthly Archives: October 2011

On non-disclosure and keeping trade secrets

Is a non-disclosure agreement the right agreement to draft for a first meeting with a potential partner, investor, or venture capitalist?

There might be a much more straightforward approach to this, one that does not require as much resolution of ambiguity between the entrepreneur and the VC. Consider the approach where you treat the key information to be protected as a trade secret. The entrepreneur impresses upon the VC the value of the trade secret and the efforts maintained to protect the trade secret by carefully marking all documents which would disclose the trade secret and visibly restricting their distribution. The VC in turn provides value by vetting the value of the allegedly valuable trade secret and is prepared to say “that’s not a secret, Paul Baran started a company doing that in 1985“.

A crafty tradesman is perpetually disclosing some relevant fragments of their trade knowledge at all times, in part to demonstrate competence, and in part to test whether what they know is really true.

As far as disclosure of trade secrets goes, I’d be much more worried about details leaking out inadvertently via ill-considered partners and subcontractors than via an investor.

Originally posted as a comment on Summation, in a story on Why Entrepreneurs Should Ask VCs to Sign NDAs.


Snowtober: power outage maps for Halloween 2011 storm

THIS WEEK IN MAPS, for Sunday, October 30, 2011: A late October snowstorm is heading up the East Coast of the United States for Halloween. Here’s maps of the affected areas, showing what parts of the electrical grid have had the worst impact from the heavy, wet snow in the forecast.

New Hampshire

As of 2:00 a.m. Sunday, 32% of PSNH customers are without power.

Picture 28


NSTAR list of power outages by town (PDF) for midnight, Sunday; no map. The NSTAR outage center lists contacts. Over 52,000 customers without power out of 1.1 million served (5%).

National Grid at 1:30 a.m. on Monday shows substantial outages statewide.

Picture 30


Connecticut Light and Power, a Northeast Utilities company, has a map that shows that the outages from the storm are worse than from Hurricane Irene. Over 700,000 of CLP’s 1.2 million customers are without power (56%) as seen on this map as of 1:38 a.m. Sunday, October 30. Area codes affected include 203, 475, and 860.

Picture 27 - CLP outages for Snowtober

The Ridgefield Press storm live blog notes trees down, power outages, traffic accidents, electrical fires due to trees falling on live wires, and other storm-related damage in Ridgefield, CT.
More local news coverage of southwestern Connecticut news from papers in the Hersam Acorn Newspapers chain.
Power consumption, actual and forecast, from CT Energy Info.

New Jersey

Eastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

The story about the outages has photos of the tree damages in Bucks and Montco counties. PECO spokesman spokesman Ben Armstrong told the paper that Saturday’s storm was the worst October storm in the utility’s history.

West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania

Is Your Power Out? Call 1-800-Allegheny (1-800-255-3443) and let us know.

Map as of 8:06 a.m., Saturday, October 29, 2011.

Map as of 8:17 a.m., Saturday, October 29, 2011. / Allegheny Energy / 1-800-255-3443

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== Updates ==
* Tue 8:30 a.m. PA, NJ, CT updates
* Sun 2:25 a.m. More CT including Hersham Acorn news chain for SW CT
* Sun 2:00 a.m. Connecticut Light and Power
* Sat 8:21 a.m. start work on map collection for Sunday “publication”; Allegheny Electric

Northern lights visible from Ann Arbor, Michigan, October 24, 2011

ANN ARBOR, October 25, 2011, 6:00 AM.

Did you see them?

The Northern Lights were visible from Ann Arbor at about 10:30 p.m. on October 24, 2011, described by Julie Weatherbee as “giant red areas like someone had set off a red smoke bomb”.

This epic time lapse was captured by lakefxnet as seen from East Martin, Michigan, north of Kalamazoo.

Eric Hines captured the aurora over Lake Michigan, near the Indiana Dunes.

Aurora over Lake Michigan by Eric Hines (EHinesNWI)) on
Aurora over Lake Michigan by Eric Hines

Discovery Magazine notes that this was an unusually active event, and that the aurora was visible into the southern United States including Missouri (via KSPR).

The Michigan Tech Aurora page is a good starting point for the science. The POES auroral activity map shows geomagnetic activity.


In terrestrial weather for Ann Arbor, this is shaping up to be a three layer day. Wear a shirt, sweater, and fall jacket, and you should be good for a chilly morning and a nice day with a slight chance of rain. Forecast graph is from Weatherspark.

Picture 21

More Space weather for October 25, 2011 from

— 30 —

  • 6:05 a.m. fix lede to be clearer
  • 6:00 a.m. Eric Hines photo, KSPR Missouri sighting. needs a map too.
  • 5:26 a.m. time lapse video. now, need exact timestamps for storm
  • 5:15 a.m. aurora map
  • 5:00 a.m. Space Weather site
  • 4:45 a.m. Weatherbee quote, Discovery Magazine

Google Analytics real time vs. mybloglog

We are writing to inform you that you have now been added to the beta for Google Analytics Real-Time! As we announced the Real-Time reports show you what is happening on your website as it happens.

Once upon a time, there was mybloglog. It was great, and then Yahoo bought it, gave it the big purple Yahoo squeeze of love, and then killed it.

Google now has a real time version of Google Analytics, which does some of the things that mybloglog once it. It tells you in real time what pages are being looked at, where people are coming from to look at them, and which keywords and referring sites are driving traffic. It scratches some of the same itch that mybloglog used to scratch, when there’s some kind of burst of news and you want to know what’s going on in real time and not on tomorrow’s reporting.

mybloglog had something that GA doesn’t have and really hasn’t had: tracking of clicks not to the site you’re looking at, but to something out there in the world that you linked to. That was great to use – and something that made it easy to see that you were successful as a blogger because you were driving traffic elsewhere. That’s gone; maybe someone will build it, but maybe they won’t.

As for the big purple squeeze of love, see also delicious, mangled by carpetbaggers after being abandoned by Yahoo. I have to wonder whether there’s a web 3.0, the clipped corner remake of web 2.0 properties that were acquired and then sunsetted.

Typepad on iPad, edited elsewhere

No support for rich text editing in safari, but otherwise performant. Kind of nice.

I’ll need to really learn markdown for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is that it descends from setext.

Ann Arbor

A2B3 lunch is Thursday as always.
Ann Arbor Parks did trick or treat today, Sunday, noon to 4pm on the Huron River.

Arborwiki makes a good companion as you go for errands around town.
Ann Arbor City Council elections and a millage are coming up. The Ann Arbor Chronicle has characteristically thorough coverage of the League of Women Voters forums.
Some project, not yet identified, has North Main torn up at Catherine. A second project has North Division down to a single lane. Expect delays.

No one was hurt in last week's fire on Harpst.
I'm trying a neighborhood LinkedIn group to see what kind of density I need to get enough people to make a group worthwhile; it might make sense to grab people closest first and then out by distance.

Metro Detroit

Tigers lost in the ALCS, and I’m looking forward to spring training.

Power outages from the Saturday windstorms were worst in Warren.


Occupy Chicago has had a lot of protest, via the Chicago Tribune which was on the scene.

Occupy Wall Street took over Times Square.


I am tracking steps with a pedometer again, thanks to Paul Resnick and a research group at UMSI.
Statler and Waldorf have taken over the Muppets twitter account. New movie due for Thanksgiving. Cue the Muppets.


The wind on Saturday made farmers market blustery. Squash of all sizes and varieties were there, and there’s nothing like a big old Hubbard squash to keep the corner of a table down. A farmer was doing the frost dance but said they had none at the last full moon. Traditionally, it’s said that the best way to open a Hubbard is to take an axe to it, or to throw it down into the cellar.


It’s hard to have great weird ideas when you are closing trouble tickets.
My new employer Nutshell has an office where my former employer Pure Visibility used to have it's offices.


Steve Jobs, Dennis Ritchie, Einar Steffrud.


Books moved recently include Kawabata’s, Snow Country, to be shelved on the Heikki Lunta shelf to prepare me for winter.


Pinboard now supports Gopher urls in bookmarks.


Michigan football lost to State. It was as good an excuse as any to call my aunt who went to East Lansing.


Wow, I have a lot of categories.

Pinboard now supports gopher:// URLs

from @pinboard

@Pinboard@vielmetti @doctorlinguist alright, extremely proud to announce Pinboard now supports the gopher:// scheme
To test, go to and examine what you get, following the link to its logical conclusions. To really test, get a Gopher client; I am using Overbite Chrome from Floodgap Systems.
Thanks to Cameron Kaiser for noticing, and to Maciej Ceglowski for making it happen.

For more coverage of Gopherspace, I occasionally write something at