HP: Caveat Venditor Becomes the Company Slogan

March 31, 2015

[I was going to post this on April Fool’s Day. But I thought that some of my very small audience would think I was posting a joke. This is no joke, I fear.]

I am not sure my high school Latin is working, but I think I am close. You know the phrase, Caveat emptor. My view is that Hewlett Packard’s new slogan is, “Seller beware” or caveat venditor in my version of the dead language.

Navigate to “HP Sues Autonomy Co-Founder Lynch in U.K. for $5.1 Billion.” The write up reports:

Hewlett-Packard Co. escalated its more than two-year-old battle with Michael Lynch, suing the Autonomy Corp. co-founder, as well as a former chief financial officer, for $5.1 billion. Hewlett-Packard has maintained that before it agreed to buy the Cambridge, England-based software company for $10 billion in 2011, Lynch and other managers gave an overly optimistic representation of its financial health.

There you go. Let me get this straight. HP decided to buy something. That something triggered much work by HP executives and its consultants. The something became Autonomy. More analyses and conversations ensued.

HP believes that the sellers (Dr. Mike Lynch and his senior managers) did the Norman Vincent Peale thing to sway the $100 billion corporation. You remember. The Power of Positive Thinking. I assume Dr. Lynch and his team did the normal sales pitch complete with diagrams, buzzwords, and lots of upbeat comments about the market opportunity, the IDOL and DRE technology, and the future for smart software. Most of the pitches I have heard in my 50 year business career are more marketing than verifiable facts. Buyers want to buy. Sellers want to sell. Sellers usually have a tough time forcing a buyer to buy unless the situation takes place in a Netflix entertainment experience.

false advertising

A happy quack to http://www.owned.com/search/advertising-fail/

The article points out:

The U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office in January dropped its probe into the takeover after finding “insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction,” the agency said at the time. The U.S. Department of Justice is still investigating, and the SFO said it gave its files to the U.S. authorities. The U.K. accounting regulator, the Financial Reporting Council, is still looking into the matter. The fight has been played out in the open on both sides of the Atlantic, with Lynch posting comments and documents on his blog and Hewlett-Packard aligning with shareholders to pursue Lynch and Hussain in court.

Okay. The SFO seems to okay with the deal. FRC is still analyzing.

The winner is going to be the law firms working on this matter. From my point of view, HP bought Autonomy. Dr. Lynch sold Autonomy. As far as I know, Dr. Lynch did not use direct or implied threats to cause the deal to occur. HP, managed by adults, made a decision.

Now, years and billions later, HP is going to “prove” that a known technology wizard with a strong marketing sense fooled a multi-billion dollar company, its handpicked team of managers and analysts, and legions of brains for hire folks.

I know Dr. Lynch is good. I did not know he was a magician and hypnotist.

Fascinating but HP has to do something in addition to splitting its company in two, ignoring the threat posed by Amazon and its ilk, the absence of management wisdom, and the uncertain market into which HP knowingly jumped.

I wonder if HP will take a look in the mirror and wonder what business message the company is sending. Auto dealers in Palo Alto are probably wondering if they are next to be sued. Every auto salesperson with whom I interacted stresses the positive. I, when the buyer, have to do my homework and understand the facts about a purchase BEFORE signing the deal and forking over hard cash.

Stephen E Arnold, March 31, 2015

HP Vertica and IDOL: Just Three Short Plus Years in the Making

March 31, 2015

I read an article from the outfit that relies on folks like Dave Schubmehl for expertise. The write up is “HP Links Vertica and IDOL Seeking Better Unstructured Data Analysis.” But I quite like the subtitle because it provides a timeline; to wit:

The company built a connector server for the products, which it acquired separately in 2011.

Let’s see that is just about three years plus a few months. The story reminded me of Rip Van Winkle who woke to a different world when he emerged from his slumber. The Sleepy Hollow could be a large technology company in the act of performing mitosis in order to generate [a] excitement, [b] money, and [c] the appearance of progress. I wonder if the digital Sleepy Hollow is located near Hanover Street? I will have to investigate that parallel.

What’s a few years of intellectual effort in a research “cave” when you are integrating software that is expected to generate billions of dollars in sales. Existing Vertica and Autonomy licensees are probably dancing in the streets.

The write up states:

Promising more thorough and timelier data analysis, Hewlett-Packard has released a software package that combines the company’s Vertica database with its IDOL data analysis platform. The HP Haven Connector Framework Server may allow organizations to study data sets that were too large or unwieldy to analyze before. The package provides “a mixture of statistical and contextual understanding,” of data, said Jeff Veis, HP vice president of marketing for big data. “You can pull in any form of data, and then do real-time high performance analysis.”

Hmm. “Promising” and “may allow” are interesting words and phrases. It seems as if the employer of Mr. Schubmehl is hedging on the HP assertions. I wonder, “Why?”

Read more

Are You Ready for EAPAASW?

March 31, 2015

I saw a tweet about a new report from a mid tier consulting firm. I was interested because a former employee suggested that the company was “virtual.” None of the McKinsey/Booz Allen walnut paneling or assistants with cool accents. Folks work from Starbucks, home, or a tomb silent Barnes & Noble I assume.

The write up is “Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Application Platform as a Service Worldwide.” I am into magic. I believe in the tooth fairy. I know that there are pots of gold at the end of every rainbow.

But I was surprised to learn about EAPAASW. I think the idea is that cloud computing makes it possible to use Amazon, Google, or Salesforce instead of on premises implementations of hardware and software. I think that the idea is reasonably well accepted.

According to the report I saw, the mid tier consulting firm sees the world from a different perspective. I suppose I would too if I had to pay a mortgage, save for a child’s college fund, and make it through the day as a high powered technology expert. The segment I marked was:

Application infrastructure functionality, enriched with cloud characteristics and offered as a service, is platform as a service (PaaS). Gartner refers to it more precisely as cloud application infrastructure services. Application platform as a service (aPaaS) is a form of PaaS that provides a platform to support application development, deployment and execution in the cloud. It is a suite of cloud services designed to meet the prevailing application design requirements of the time, and, in 2015, includes mobile, cloud, the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data analytics innovations.

This paragraph is chock full of buzzwords. And it sounds almost important with the Internet of Things, design requirements, and the hook “application infrastructure services.”

Now who are the big dogs in this kennel? Salesforce and Microsoft are the leaders. I find this interesting. Poor old Google is relegated to challenge status. Really? A challenger. Hmm.

The niche players are interesting because I recognized only one company in this group: Zoho. The others are essentially new to me. How many of these do your recognize as the niche players in this EAPAASW space? Engine Yard? OutSystems? CloudControl? NTT Communications? OrangeScape? Quite a mixed bag. I wonder if NTT Communications knows that it is a niche player against the likes of OrangeScape?

But who are the visionaries? This is a fascinating list because it mixes some large and confused outfits who are not in the Marco Polo category from my vantage point in Harrod’s Creek. check out these firms: IBM and SAP are visionaries?

But there are some others who can define the future; for example, Indra gnubila? Okay. Indra gnubila. Interesting. I wonder if IBM and SAP know much about that outfit or Mendex or MIOsoft for that matter? RedHat makes the list as does the ever sharp eyed Software AG. And what about Progress Software? Yep, still around. Still low profile. I think that outfit made a run at search and content processing and fell on its sword.

There is an interesting omission. Where is the modest outfit Amazon? Where is the giant and somewhat confused Hewlett Packard?

If you need to know about EAPAASW, check out this report. If the link goes bad, well, that’s life. On the other hand, if you find a report that makes Google a challenger and IBM a visionary, you may want this document now. If you are interested in the next big thing, Gartner has identified outfits which are likely to make your really wealth when you invest in them. I wonder if I can invest in Indra gnubila, which may not be exactly like Google. (See Gnubila.)

Quite a remarkable document from a mid tier consulting firm. Dave Schubmehl’s recycling of my research under his name on Amazon now faces a challenge in work from another mid tier firm. What’s next, experts?

Stephen E Arnold, March 31, 2015

SharePoint Fest Coming to Seattle

March 31, 2015

SharePoint training and education is essential for any SharePoint manager and daily user. The updates and changes are so constant that a concerted effort must be made to stay on top of the latest news. One way to stay in touch is to attend a conference, which provides a concentrated burst of information. SharePoint Fest is one notable event and the details of SharePoint Fest 2015 are available in the Benzinga article, “SharePoint Fest Announced for Seattle Washington August 18-20.”

The article begins:

“After an attendance setting record conference in Washington DC, SharePoint Fest will be setting its sights on Seattle. This 13th iteration of SharePoint Fest will take place in Microsoft’s backyard at the Washington State Convention Center . . . The event will consist of pre-conference workshops on August 18th, followed by a two-day conference August 19-20.”

For those who are interested in a daily, low-investment way to stay on top of the latest SharePoint developments, consider ArnoldIT.com. Stephen E. Arnold is a long-time expert in search, and his dedicated SharePoint feed is a concentrated place for SharePoint news, tips, and tricks. Consider adding an ArnoldIT reading it to your daily routine.

Emily Rae Aldridge, March 31, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Tweets Reveal Patterns of Support or Opposition for ISIL

March 31, 2015

Once again, data analysis is being put to good use. MIT Technology Review describes how “Twitter Data Mining Reveals the Origins of Support for the Islamic State.” A research team lead by one WalidMagdy at the Qatar Computing Research Institute studied tweets regarding the “Islamic State” (also known as ISIS, ISIL, or just IS) to discern any patterns that tell us which people choose to join such an organization and why.

See the article for a detailed description of the researchers’ methodology. Interesting observations involve use of the group’s name and tweet timing. Supporters tended to use the whole, official name (the “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant” is perhaps the most accurate translation), while most opposing tweets didn’t bother, using the abbreviation. They also found that tweets criticizing ISIS surge right after the group has done something terrible, while supporters tended to tweet after a propaganda video was released or the group achieved a major military victory. Other indicators of sentiment were identified, and an algorithm created. The article reveals:

“Magdy and co trained a machine learning algorithm to spot users of both types and said it was able to classify other users as likely to become pro- or anti-ISIS with high accuracy. ‘We train a classifier that can predict future support or opposition of ISIS with 87 percent accuracy,’ they say….

“That is interesting research that reveals the complexity of the forces at work in determining support or opposition to movements like ISIS—why people like [Egypt’s] Ahmed Al-Darawy end up dying on the battlefield. A better understanding of these forces is surely a step forward in finding solutions to the tangled web that exists in this part of the world.

“However, it is worth ending on a note of caution. The ability to classify people as potential supporters of ISIS raises the dangerous prospect of a kind of thought police, like that depicted in films like Minority Report. Clearly, much thought must be given to the way this kind of information should be used.”

Clearly. (Though the writer seems unaware that the term “thought police” originated with Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, the reference to Minority Report shows he or she understands the concept. But I digress.) Still, trying to understand why people turn to violence and helping to mitigate their circumstances before they get there seems worth a try. Better than bombs, in my humble opinion, and perhaps longer-lasting.

Cynthia Murrell, March 31, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Is Google Net Neutral?

March 31, 2015

When the FCC passed laws that protect net neutrality, the Internet rejoiced that its crazy antics would be safeguarded and content would not be as regulated when it comes to search retrieval and indexing. Big technology companies that make the bulk of the revenue from Internet related services and products are beginning to voice their opinions on the matter, including Google. Drew Crawford wrote on his blog Sealed Abstract a very heated post about Google’s stance in the entire net neutrality argument: “Google, Our Patron Saint Of The Closed Web.” The blog points out the Google is net neutral with the Droid open market and its employees’ blogs, but apparently Google is also out to destroy the free Web too.

Google plans to take control of all .dev domain addresses and possible others in an effort to have these extensions solely related to Google products and services. In short, if you want to use any domains with this ending, like a blog, you will be forced to use a Google service. It is reminiscent of when Google forced people to sign-up for Google Plus if users wanted to continue using YouTube.

“My point is that if you think Google is some kind of Patron Saint of the Open Web, shit son. Tim Cook on his best day could not conceive of a dastardly plan like this. This is a methodical, coordinated, long-running and well-planned attack on the open web that comes from the highest levels of Google leadership.”

The news is not surprising when you assemble the pieces, but it is disheartening that there do not seem to be any big companies on the little guy’s side. And I thought Google was committed to not being evil.

Whitney Grace, March 31, 2015

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Microsoft Changes Its Tune on SharePoint Server Update

March 30, 2015

In February, Microsoft announced an unpopular decision to push future SharePoint server product updates through Windows Update. The concern was that the service would automatically install “important” updates, which could pose a threat if no prior testing had been done. However, it appears that Microsoft has heard the frustration and repealed that decision. Redmond Magazine covers the latest in their article, “Microsoft Rescinds Windows Update Policy for SharePoint Server.”

The article quotes Microsoft’s Stefan Gossner:

“In response to a question in his post, Gossner clarified that ‘now the decision was made to only release security fixes through Windows Update.’ In other words, the new policy is now the same as the old one. Microsoft won’t push down product updates through its Windows Update service. The rollback decision may give IT pros some peace of mind as they regain a modicum of control over their production environments.”

Without forced pushed updates, IT pros have the time to test updates before launching them. For organizations that are affected by Microsoft’s policies and decisions, stay tuned to ArnoldIT.com. Stephen E. Arnold a lifelong leader in all things search. His Web site features a devoted SharePoint feed, where the latest tips, tricks, and news is shared. It is a simple way to keep an eye out for the good, bad, and the ugly of SharePoint.

Emily Rae Aldridge, March 30, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Great Content and Google Quality: An Important Factor

March 30, 2015

I read “Facebook Hosting Doesn’t Change Things, the World Already Changed.” The idea is that there are some apparent truths to which everyone needs to kowtow. Examples of these statements about the status quo include:

  • News is a commodity
  • Marketing is cheaper
  • Getting attention is tough
  • Facebook and Twitter are the feeders to the information highway’s best tourist stops.

You can work through the other statements on the list.

There are some examples of success. One of which is Adam Carolla, the former radio personality turned into a podcasting and liquor machine. Other apparent winners are Buzzfeed and HBO.

The point is that great content is not a commodity. Greatness, by definition, is for the few who are—well—great.

The only hitch in the git along is that Google seems to be in the greatness game. The idea is that Google’s quality score will make certain content findable. Now I don’t know much about real publishing nor do I have the skinny on Google’s Deep Thoughts.

It seems to me that if Google defines great content by making it findable to the universe of users its serves each day, then folks with content excluded from the Google podium have some “facts” to confront.

First, Google will want to get paid to make another person’s great content findable to Google’s great content machine. Think Adwords, conforming to Google’s webmaster policies, and generally being part of the great, big, happy Google family.

Second, great content about topics other than Lady Gaga, crooked contractors, and faux Rome may not mesh with the university of Facebookers and Tweeters. Examples include developments in genetic engineering, solid state physics, and analyses of Heisenberg’s marginalia.

I am okay with big media companies asserting their content is great. I am okay with real journalists cranking out detailed analyses.

But I think the notion of “great” has to adjust to Google’s increasing skill in assigning a quality score. If Google’s methods flag content as great, the publisher gets a gold star like those Miss Costello handed out in the sixth grade. If Google does not pass out a star or even an “Also Participated” certificate, the notion of “great” may need some fine tuning.

But there are options. Facebook and Twitter await. Good if one if Lady Gaga or a denizen of Silicon Valley, Madison Avenue, and Austin coffee shops.

Where’s the money? Probably near those who are able to define great and make it visible.

Stephen E Arnold, March 30, 2015

The Google: A Somewhat Negative View

March 30, 2015

I no longer work in Manhattan. The world looks different from an aerie high above the city. I recall my office at 245 Park Avenue. It was a cubicle, but when my boss, the resident Godzilla, was out, I was able to use his lavish manse.

It comes as no surprise to me that a New York newspaper sees Google in a manner different from my humble underground cellar in rural Kentucky. On a good day when I am alert and listening to the lone bird in my yard, I can hear the echo of gunfire. Squirrels and automatic weapons go together like apple pie and ice cream.

These juxtapositions are not likely to disturb the analysts, journalists, and former music majors covering the world of high technology. For evidence of the difference, read “Google Controls What We Buy, the News We Read—and Obama’s Policies.”

Dear, ageing Google. My what capabilities you have. Here in Harrod’s Creek, the Google provides me with objective information about products, what’s happening in the world, and the antics of elected officials.

Quite a difference, right? Here’s a glimpse of the Google and the Obama team. According to the write up:

Schmidt [Google executive wizard] was especially fond of a madcap corner of the Obama campaign office known as “the Cave,” where, at 4:30 every day, staffers would dance madly under a disco ball to the tune of a mashup of Psy’s “Gangnam Style” and an automated campaign phone call made to prospective voters.

Managers have to relieve stress, right?

With regard to truth, the newspaper in the world’s leading city, reports:

Google says that in the future, its determinations about what is true and what is untrue will play a role in how search-engine rankings are configured.

Ah, truth returns to journalism. Content marketers who sell advertorial space in New York newspapers may want to up their game.

I am not sure about the “what I buy” argument. Here in Harrod’s Creek, I rely on the truth singers at Amazon. Our local businesses are gone. On Sunday, the US Post Office delivered me a product I ordered six days ago. Well, the delivery worked, just not in two days. But, who’s complaining. I can drive to Cincinnati, or I can sit on the porch and wait for a Sunday delivery. Amazon is allowing me to reduce fuel consumption. But Google is not really in the product game unless one considers Google’s plans for entertainment and digital amusements.

From where I sit, looking at the mine run off streaming through the dead weeds, I see Google as an objective, reliable source of information. Maybe if I lived in Manhattan I would see things differently.

I love the GOOG. Keep on truckin’, dudes and female CFO. You are able to define truth when others fail to deliver. Run the query “Obama” on Google. There are no ads displayed. See objective.

Stephen E Arnold, March 30, 2015

CyberOSINT available at www.xenky.com/cyberosint

Microsoft Delve and PowerBi Make Data User Friendly

March 30, 2015

Microsoft Delve is a new part of the Office 365 package and it is similar to Facebook Graph Search or your Internet browsing history.  ChannelWorld posted “Microsoft Rolls Out Delve To Office 365, Previews PowerBi And Skype For Business.”  Microsoft will release Delve soon and it comes as demand for relationship-building tools grow in demand.  Delve tracks information from Office 365 applications such as Outlook, PowerPoint, Bing, Word, and more.  Microsoft is calling the collected data the Office Graph, showing how people interact with the software.

PowerBI is another rollout from Microsoft:

“Microsoft also announced that it has now rolled out the technical preview of PowerBI for Excel around the world, following its launch a year ago. PowerBI is designed to be a tool for non-techies to access technical data, quickly composing their own sales reports through natural-language queries against robust data sources–typing in a query like “what was our most popular product in Brazil last year?” should deliver a graph or even a map of those results. Incorporating Google Analytics, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, Acumatica, Zuora and Twilio will come soon, Microsoft said.”

Microsoft will also incorporate Skype in Office 365.  Office 365’s is one of Microsoft’s most viable products and people have complained they have not done much with it in recent years.  Upgrades like Skype, Delve, and OfficeBI demonstrate that Microsoft is still invested in making Office 365 a competitive, usable, and reliable product.

Whitney Grace, March 30, 2015
Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

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