The costs of unreliable data

In a recent survey we carried out, to be published later this month, we asked professionals involved in Hydrocarbon Accounting (HCA) how confident they were in their data. Around 65% said that they were “not at all” or only “somewhat” confident in the data they were using as input to the hydrocarbon allocation process. This situation is problematic, given that allocation is all about determining the division of ownership of hydrocarbon products, and that mistakes can have a real and substantial financial impact. Inadequate systems and processes can make it difficult to manage routine issues like mismeasurements, and initially small problems can give rise to a cascade effect with consequences that are difficult to unravel. A failure of compliance is not the least of the potential problems.


Please stop talking about private cloud

I made a presentation at yesterday’s conference on Developments with the Digital Oilfield in London. The title of my talk, “Why private cloud is a cul-de-sac of doom”, was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, and intended to be mildly provocative. However, I had a serious purpose, in that the words and terms we use to describe things are important in creating clarity and driving ideas. Misusing them dilutes their power and ultimately diminishes opportunities. In that context, the term “private cloud” is one that has minimal value and causes confusion.

In my talk, I referenced the NIST definition of cloud computing, and my version of the three key elements that embody the transformational impact of the cloud:

  • A usage-based payment model, whether that’s per user, per cycle, per cpu, or whatever
  • Rapid elasticity, or the ability to seamlessly grow and shrink your demand without needing to stop to add new hardware or software
  • No barrier to exit or entry

Why low cost is not enough

In a recent posting to LinkedIn, comments from an oil company contact were reported to the effect that high levels of investment in hydrocarbon allocation systems were unsustainable. The poster invited people to consider whether it was time to concentrate on value for money. I won’t link to the post, partly because it was on a closed group, but also because I wanted to focus on the general issue that it raises, rather than the specifics of the post.


The cloud: Why not, not why

When I do presentations of, and I show how good it is and how it can transform a company’s business, I’m often asked whether it can be installed locally, and why we’re delivering our solution in the cloud. The answer to the first question is “no”, but the second question requires a more considered response. Why, indeed, do we deliver our solution for production reporting and allocation in the cloud?


Why saving is so last century….

When Palm, Inc produced the Palm Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) way back in 1996, they were revolutionary in many ways.

First and foremost, they simply worked. Pop your Palm in the bundled cradle, press the button, and your calendar, contacts and other information were in sync with your desktop, and you had a complete backup.

Secondly, the Palm really was small enough to slip in the pocket. The Psion Series 5, which came along in 1997, was a brick in comparison, though the fact it had a keyboard was sufficient to convince many of its merits. Personally, I found the Palm’s weird, shorthand notation for text entry to be easy to learn and extremely fast.


The Dyson Airblade is impressive

If you live in the UK (I’m not sure how far these little beasties have travelled) then you’ve almost certainly encountered one of Dyson’s Airblades in a toilet or rest room near you. In the past, not that many years ago, hand dryers were weak and wimpy affairs, which seemed designed to do little more than push the water up your arms so that the sleeves of your shirt or jersey would absorb the moisture. No real drying went on. Then came Dyson, with his big engine and novel “no rubbing” design.


Java on the Apple Mac [UPDATED]

The recent announcement by Apple that the “Java runtime ported by Apple and that ships with Mac OS X is deprecated” has caused some concern and rather extreme responses. As a company that has recently invested heavily in Apple hardware for our development team, it might seem that we have fallen victim to the latest idiosyncratic or autocratic move from Apple and Steve Jobs. However, while I do think the story has implications, I don’t think it’s particularly troubling or consequential, except to those for whom the announcement is reinforcement of whatever particular world view they support (for example, is it proof that Java is dying, or evidence that Apple doesn’t understand the enterprise, or developers?).