Google Thinks Dell Support May Harm My Computer

January 31, 2009

It’s a cold sunny morning. I wonder why Google is displaying a message that Dell Computer’s support page will harm my computer. I poked around and found quite a few sites identified as harmful. I ran the query at 10 15 am Eastern. Pretty annoying because the warning page forces me to copy and paste the “offending” url into a browser address bar. Here’s the results page for my query Dell 2950 Server:

dell harmful

Here is the hugely annoying “warning” without a hot link to go to the page with a single click.

dell warning page

If I were Dell Computer, I would consider trying to get one of the world’s smartest people to look at this behavior. In a lousy economy, Dell probably wants to get referrals from Google. Handling 75 percent of the Web searches means that Google’s slapping and “unsafe” flat on Dell.com may be the digital equivalent of putting a road block in front of a bricks and mortar store.

I ran a query for PS4 crack and no warnings appeared. Is Dell irritating Googzilla? Maybe it’s just moi?

Stephen Arnold, January 31, 2009

BA-Insight Triples in 2008

January 31, 2009

The economy is wobbly. Most search and content processing vendors are working hard for double digit growth. BA-Insight just raised the bar. The company reported a tripling of its revenue in 2008. The news release summarizing the private company’s performance is here. For me the most interesting comment in the write up was:

“Our strong customer growth proves that we’re delivering value to the market,” said Guy Mounier, CEO, BA-Insight. “As a result, we have tripled staff, and opened offices in Europe to fuel growth for 2009. It’s an exciting time for BA-Insight, and we will continue to lead the market with affordable, powerful, and innovative search solutions.”

The company’s 2008 performance caught my attention. You can read an exclusive interview with Guy Mounier, the senior manager for the company in this Web log on February 2, 2009. If you want more information about the company, click here.

Stephen Arnold, January 31, 2009

SurfRay Management

January 31, 2009

I did some poking around on Friday, January 30, 2008. One of the more interesting items was confirmation that SurfRay president Bill Cobb resigned from SurfRay earlier this month. There has been some chatter that he was forced out of the company. That’s not exactly on the money. I spoke with Mr. Cobb and he is interested in exploring leadership opportunities. With regard to the future of SurfRay, I can say with confidence that the company is indeed sailing in rough waters against a headwind. If an investment firm is poised to acquire the assets, that deal will have to be made quickly. In my opinion, time is running out for SurfRay.

Stephen Arnold, January 31, 2009

Useful Middleware from Transoft

January 31, 2009

The addled geese here near the mine drainage runoff pond enjoy COBOL. Some of the younger information technology wizards in Big Impressive Companies enjoy COBOL not so much. For the php and python crowd, help has arrived from a unit of Iris, which is not exactly a household name in Harrod’s Creek.

Iris is a software company with over 1,000 employees worldwide. As I recall, the company is one of the largest in the UK. The company has thousands of licensees. Now its Transoft unit offers CIO. Think of the middleware as a wrapper which insulates today’s programming whiz kids from legacy applications written in COBOL. A representative use of CIO is a COBOL application that needs access to data on SQL Server. CIO translates data between the relational format used by SQL Server and COBOL application. With trophy generatiion kids somewhat unaware that memory in a mainframe can be corrupted with a bit here or a bit there, CIO will be useful. These little issues crop up at the most inopportune moments when the perl crowd finds that COBOL and its hierarchical databases don’t work like the Codd jobs in some organizations. Instead of mucking up the works with hacks, CIO can move COBOL code on to a relational database server such as Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle or DB/2. Happiness ensues for the lone mainframe consultant who tends the legacy systems for the trophy whiz kids. For more information, navigate to Transoft here.

Stephen Arnold, January 31, 2009

Semantic Universe Sighted

January 31, 2009

A happy quack to the reader who alerted me to this Yahoo News story here about the Semantic Universe. According to Tony Shaw, Editor of Semantic Universe Network, “The semantic community needs a vehicle to communicate the comprehensive business applications and benefits of semantic technology, as well as a better way to connect developers, customers, entrepreneurs and investors. Semantic Universe Network will be that vehicle.”  Sponsorship opportunities are available too. You can get additional information from the Web site here. The goslings at Beyond Search wish the information service well.

Stephen Arnold, January 31, 2009

Big Newspaper Says, Google Kills Bambie’s Mother

January 31, 2009

Now this was a headline: “Google Kills Bambie’s Mum.” You can read the story here. Here in the goose pond we have considerable fondness for gentle animals like deer. Kentucky hunters work hard to blast ducks and deer to tiny pieces. Google, from our vantage point, has seemed gentle by comparison. Now we have learned that Google is a killer. What the newspaper said was:

The search giant has confessed that, while its truck was driving around taking images for Google Street View, it had a collision with a deer in New York state.

Reports were mixed. Perhaps the deer was only woozy after getting run down by a Google vehicle. Others believed the deer to be headed for the big nature preserve in the sky.

Whatever the outcome, Google is dangerous to deer and most certainly to Beyond Search geese. First, the helpless animals, then the bigger game, right?

Stephen Arnold, January 31, 2009

Documenting the Obvious: The Google Generation

January 31, 2009

Google is 10 years old. Who cares? The company now represents the “out there” intellect and YouTube.com content package for lots of people. What’s obvious? The article “Is Technology Producing a Decline in Critical Thniking and Analysis” here in Science Daily confirmed my perception of the trophy generation’s preferred method of learning: watch a video. I prefer books and when I can find a person willing to discuss concepts, I will give that approach a whirl. The study reported by Science Daily documents how the Google Generation sucks in video, news crawls, learning from video games, and other methods I find annoying. Little wonder that a procurement teams with an average age of 30 wants a “just like Google interface,” memos that are less than one page, and analyses that can be converted to a couple of PowerPoint slides. Alexander Pope pointed out the danger of a “little learning”. I wonder what he would have thought about financial VPs, newly hired corporate executives, and venture capital wizards who exist in a cloud of unknowing, fed with a diet of information without provenance captured on the digital equivalent of animated 3×5 inch  note cards.

Stephen Arnold, January 31, 2009

Facebook and Twitter: Who Owns What

January 30, 2009

If a Facebook or Twitter fails, what happens? What a silly question. According to Jeremy Liew, Facebook is “pretty comfortable” about where the company is “right now”. You can find this statement and quite a bit of useful commentary in the article “Warning: Dependence on Facebook, Twitter Could Be Hazardous to Your Business” here. For me the most important comment in the write up by Mark Glaser was:

If you are planning on using either Twitter or Facebook as a marketing platform for yourself or your business, be sure to read the Terms of Service carefully. That’s what Facebook’s Larry Yu advised when I talked to him. “The important thing for people to do is to review the Terms of Service,” he said. “A lot of people don’t do that. They don’t have experience with it, and we encourage people to do it…There are also terms for application developers. As people decide to develop on the platform, they have to be comfortable with those terms.”

This addled goose is wary of social networks. Some trophy generation denizens believe that they don’t exist unless providing information on these publishing platforms. The trophy kids want to “hook up” and keep their “friends” informed about their activities and where abouts. When one of the trophy kids becomes a person of interest to law enforcement, those social postings are going to be somewhat useful to certain authorities. I wonder if the trophy kids realize that some information which is innocuous at the time it becomes available might provide insights to a more informed thinker. Run a query for profiling and see what you think of that discipline. Finally, there’s a nifty tool called the Analyst’s Notebook. If you are not familiar with it, run a Google query for that puppy. From my point of view the information “in” social systems is fascinating. Technology is an interesting construct. The consequences of technology can be even more interesting. Think search, content processing, link analysis, clustering, and other useful methods crunching on those social data. Yum, yum.

Stephen Arnold, January 31, 2009

Google Checkout: Monetization Push

January 30, 2009

In The Google Legacy, I created a diagram that showed Google pushing its Checkout service toward several sectors. I identified merchants as an obvious target. Over the last three and a half years, Checkout has gained traction. You can see the reach when you navigate to Google Shopping and run a query for a common tech product like motherboards. Here’s a screenshot of the logo for Google advertisers:

checkout 01

When you view a Google Shopping results display in standard or grid form, you see a modest blue shopping basket. The blue basket identifies that the merchant accepts Google’s payment services.

check out cart

“How do you want to pay? Google?” here, written by George Lekakis and Jason Bryce, is a very important write up in my opinion. The authors have made clear Google’s increased appetite for monetization of services running on the Google infrastructure, what I call the “digital Googleplex”, not to be confused with the tacky Silicon Valley buildings and the make shift cube hatcheries in other cities. Google’s taste runs to engineering, not sky scrapers at least yet.

For me, the most interesting point in the write up was that Google is probing Australia, where there has been considerable Google interest of late. My talk in 2007 at the policing conference sparked quite a bit of interest in the notion of dataspaces. Australia is moving forward with this type of technology with or without Google’s support. Google nailed the New South Wales education deal. There are other interesting “down under” activities as well. Australia has quite a few wizards and boffins, and most American companies find the markets in Chicago and Cleveland more appealing. Probably an error, but that’s another topic.

What’s going on in Australia? I don’t want to spoil your fun reading the article, but I can highlight one comment of interest to me:

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission recently issued Google Australia with an authority to provide deposit and payments services to local merchants and shoppers. While the licence does not permit Google to provide cash-based payments services to Australian clients, it will enable the group to facilitate digital or online transactions.

I know zero about banking. Oh, the one thing I do know is that the banks who were my customers seem to have disappeared. Some of the clients now wear orange jump suits, not Armani duds.

Here’s what I think is unfolding:

  1. The payment plumbing is in place and has been since Googzilla started doing ad sales
  2. The missteps of eBay have now shackled the company making it easy for the GOOG to cherry pick among buyers and sellers disaffected with eBay and PayPal
  3. Google has a brand that remains untarnished. What’s your view of banks, I ask? See what I mean
  4. Googzilla can monetize some information access. I would pay to use Google. What about you? What if you have no choice?

The regulatory approval is a nice touch, but I don’t think it matters. Google is simply playing by the rules. After all, who worries when buying an AdWord. Government regulators still don’t understand that business. When Google slaps matchmaking services into advertising, government regulators will really be in a bowl of vegetarian soup.

I dig into this monetization issue in my new Google study, Digital Gutenberg. Think of this Australian test as similar to printing money. Google bucks, anyone?

Stephen Arnold, January 30, 2009

Maxxcat: Search Appliance Challenger

January 30, 2009

Maxxcat Corp., has released an enterprise search appliance to compete with Google’s. The Maxxcat XB-250 was designed with simplicity and speed in mind, and it offers all sorts of bells and whistles such as clustering and mirroring, customizable rankings, scripts and real time edits, field-based indexing, and remote support for diagnostics. They’ve posted a fact sheet at http://www.maxxcat.com/datasheet_final.pdf comparing the XB-250 and the GSA Mini (info available at http://www.google.com/enterprise/gsa/), and the more complex MaxxCat EX-5000 versus the Google™ GB-1001. For more specific details, check out http://maxxcat.com/compare.html. Maxxcat says its appliance is 16 times faster, takes three minutes to install, and is only a quarter of the cost for its basic model. You can also take the two systems for a head-to-head performance test at http://maxxcat.com/head2head.html. Added to our watch list. More later.

Jessica W. Bratcher, January 30, 2009

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