Monday, May 26, 2014

Bogus Vendor Graphics

Warning: this is just a log, in the spirit of What I Did Today. Just messing around a bit on a morning of a long weekend.

The background was that I saw yet another impressive graphic that spelled yet more security-related doom and gloom. I am, at best, only cautiously optimistic about the future of {information | systems | personal} security.

That said, this graphic (from a vendor) did not survive even casual long-weekend-morning-with-coffee-and-bagel thought about how the data used in creating it might be biased. I counted eleven issues, and that was with no knowledge of their methodology, because that wasn't described, other than in marketing terms.

Out of curiosity, I took an entirely unrelated data set, accumulated from March 2010 to present time, and attempted to duplicate the spirit of this graphic. I came way closer than I would have liked, because I know that data set has at least 20 sources of bias.

How do I know that? Because I accumulated the data myself, and thought about sources of error as I did it, as the effort involved, over several years, is measured in hundreds of hours. The data source was local bird counts.

You might want to keep this in mind in your next purchasing decision.

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