Have you quit beating your wife, InformationWeek style

I found out this week that a set of former Los Alamos National Lab (LANL) coworkers of mine have gone into the startup business. They are using some netflow security code that they worked really hard on internally to get the business rolling. Yesterday was the official rollout of the code and getting all the usual press buzz. 24 hours later you get the inevitable counter-ads by people.

The article basically does the usual backhanded compliments and mischaracterizations that make me steamed even when I don't know the people slaving away at the project.

  1. Did the author download and try the software? From the article it doesn't seem so. That clearly makes the author more of an expert than if he had done so.
  2. Was the author able to make spurious associations about the product and where it came from? Yes. The only thing he missed was the free Google hit by saying "Los Alamos, birthplace of the nuclear bomb." By quoting various computer security problems that either happened outside of the LANL network (the email breach was done from home computers if I recall correctly) or events that were completely physical in nature, he is assured to get a free blog post to various blogs.
  3. Could the article be spun also negatively if its main premise was the opposite? Yes. The author could have rewritten the article as "Company tries to leave the slime of its origin behind" if Packet Analytics had not mentioned where the software was started. He makes a big deal about the connection between LANL and the startup when a good portion of the press I read yesterday was about how the software had helped FBI issues.
  4. Does Net/FSE do what it claims to? Who would know.. fact checking would seem to be outside of knowing what a startup really offers.
I will state for the record that Los Alamos National Labs has a lot of issues, but that doesn't tell anyone about what the startup is really about.