Google Plus Once the Future of Google Is NOT a Gone Goose

May 31, 2015

I read “Death of Google+ Greatly Exaggerated, Says Its Chief.” This came as a surprise to me. I don’t use any of the social media directly. We have software which squirts some info into various social media channels, but I am happily oblivious to the bloviating about the social media revolution. Isn’t Facebook a version of Geocities? Isn’t Twitter a messaging application? Isn’t Google Plus a chat/bulletin board system? You may find truth, beauty, and the American way in these social apps, but I see variations of email, the telephone, and the old school video conferencing of Databeam (a client decades ago).

The article reports that Google Plus is not dead. Okay, but I didn’t know it was doing much more than trying to figure out how to do what Orkut did before it found itself the object of a certain user cohort’s affections. What did those Brazilians do with Orkut? Gee, I just don’t know.

The write up says:

Google’s embattled social network is alive and well, the product’s boss said at a press event Thursday. But the team behind the product — which has had trouble gaining traction with consumers — is rethinking the goal of the service.

I suppose it is good to have a goal for an expensive, complex service which, if I read the passage correctly, is not exactly growing like Topsy, an electrocuted elephant. Those amusement parks are interesting places.

The new Google Plus will do the Flickr thing with automatic categorization. The new push is, according to the write up:

So why separate the photo features from Google+? Bradley said the social network has a new mission: to connect people based on shared interests. Earlier this month, Google announced a new feature for the product called Collections, which is similar to what rival Pinterest does with its online bulletin boards.

Now there is a “goal”? Splitting up Google Plus services? That rethinking is moving like the pre-electrocution elephant it seems.

Stephen E Arnold, May 31, 2015

The Mt. Everest of PowerPoints: Meeker KPCB 2015

May 31, 2015

You Internet user you, download and read “Internet Trends 2015” by Mary Meeker of KPCB. In case you forgot, that’s the outfit which a certain female found wanting. Ms. Meeker seems to be a happy and productive camper in terms of PowerPoint outputs.

I have no problem with the data on the slides. In fact, even though some of the data may be a bit difficult to verify, the overall messages are clear. I would summarize the 196 page deck with this summary:

Yo, mobile is important.

Your takeaways from this tour de PowerPoint are likely to be different from mine.

For me, the complainers who want PowerPoint outlawed may have to do some extra work to convince Ms. Meeker and her merrie band to ditch the slide presentation habit.

The slides lack the élan of some of the decks released by the poster boy for leaking classified information, but there are a couple of nifty touches.

I liked this slide a great deal. It is similar to a Van Gogh sunflower:

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In case you are wondering, the USA is the red line. If you are color blind, well, you may be out of luck with the blue, green, and gold lines.

But the Starry Night equivalent is this gem:

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Data? Who needs data?

I am looking forward to the 2016 edition. The US government PowerPoints have to meet this new benchmark in communication.

Stephen E Arnold, May 31, 2015

Elasticsearch and SQL Queries

May 30, 2015

Short honk: Want to use Elasticsearch for SQL queries? Now you can learn how. Navigate to “Elasticsearch-SQL.” Explanations, code samples, and a feature summary are available. LucidWorks (Really?), your serve.

Stephen E Arnold, May 30, 2015

SharePoint: Enterprise Search Which Will Never Ever Let You Lose Anything Again

May 30, 2015

Bold assertion. I read “Why Using Microsoft SharePoint Will Improve Your Business Performance with a Simple Search Feature.” Memorable for several reasons:

  1. SharePoint has “amazing search capabilities.” (I mistakenly understood that the “new” SharePoint search was not yet available. Oh, well, I am in Harrod’s Creek, not a “nice venue in London.” Search is better when viewed from a “nice venue” I assume.
  2. I will never lose anything again. I assume, perhaps incorrectly, that the “anything” refers to a document I created and either parked intentionally or had parked for me by Microsoft’s “amazing” SharePoint. I note that the statement is a categorical, and then often present logical challenges to someone who asks, “Really? What’s the evidence you have to back up this wild and frisky claim?”
  3. I note that I can type a word or phrase to “surface every relevant document across all of the sites I have access to.” The author adds, “It’s brilliant.” Okay, got it, but I don’t believe it based on observation, our own hands on experiences, and the weed pile of third party vendors who insist their software actually makes SharePoint usable. I would list them, but you probably have these outfits’ burned into your memory.

What is interesting is that the focus of the write up seems to be Microsoft Dynamics GP. It is mentioned a couple of time. There are also references to Delve, another Microsoft search system.

Frankly I am not sure if the cheerleading for “brilliant” search is credible. We have worked on projects in organizations where SharePoint is the “pluming.” In a conference call last week, the client, a relatively large outfit in the Fortune 100, reported these “issues” with SharePoint:

  • Users cannot locate documents created within 24 hours and written to the designated SharePoint device
  • Documents in a results list do not include the version of the document for which the user searches
  • Images of purchase orders for a company issued with a unique code cannot be retrieved
  • Queries take more time than a Google query to complete
  • The information about employees with specific expertise is not complete; that is, there will be no data about education or certain projects
  • Collaboration is flakey
  • The system crashes.

I could work through the list, but the point is that SharePoint is big business for those who get a job to maintain it and, in theory, make it work. SharePoint is the fertile field in which third party vendors plant applications to improve on what Microsoft offers. There are integrators who have specialized skills and want SharePoint to remain the money tree plantation the consultants have come to call home.

In short, what can one believe about Microsoft search? Delve into that.

Stephen E Arnold, May 30, 2015

 

Stephen E Arnold, June 2, 2015

The US Government and Its Colors: Newspaper Gets Excited

May 29, 2015

I am not sure why the Washington Post content is catching my attention. I don’t look for information about the colors which the US government says are acceptable. The Bezos newspaper does find this subject important. Navigate to “The US Government Has 650 Official Colors. Can You Tell Them Apart?” The answer to the question is, “Nah. Don’t care.” I was looking for information about search and content processing yesterday, May 29.

Somehow “search” and “color” aimed me at a color article. The write up includes a link to the panoply of colors. But the keystone of the write up is a test. No, I am not kidding. There are color swatches and click boxes. The idea is to figure out which color denotes a mail box. I know I spot mail boxes by driving into the post office parking lot and looking for the boxes which have a slot for the mail. I am not sure I process the color because I have learned that the post office in Harrod’s Creek has one box with a  slot in front of the house trailer which serves as the official USPS facility. I don’t know the color of the trailer either.

Here’s what the test looks like:

image

So what?

Question 5 asks, “Which of these is described as Public Building Standard?” The answer is green.

image

My recollection of my government work is different. The White House is sort of creamy white.

The GSA building is stone tan and gray.

Justice is sort of light gray.

The CIA has no color which I can recall because I have no memory of the facility.

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How many green government buildings do you recall? Even Ft. Knox paints it buildings a sort of yellow white.

The point is that there are some stories which warrant coverage; for example, the valuation of Temis, which was acquired by an Italian outfit at a price which is stunningly low. How about tackling the China-Indonesia matter? What about the US budget?

But color? The only thing the story did not include was a link to Amazon so I could buy some paint to daub on my print out of this story. As the story itself points out:

Right. That dull beige is 34554, the color of mediocrity.

There you go. Journalism and reportage uses the word “mediocrity.”

Stephen E Arnold, May 29, 2015

Amazon and Elasticsearch

May 29, 2015

If you are curious about the utility of Elastic’s technology, you will find “Indexing Common Crawl Metadata on Amazon EMR Using Cascading and Elasticsearch” a useful article to review. The main idea is that Amazon made Elasticsearch do some circus tricks. The write up explains the approach, provides code snippets, and includes a couple of nifty graphics which help those zany Zonies figure out the implications of the data crunched. the main idea is that Elasticsearch did something use with content in everyone’s favorite magic wand Hadoop. Why didn’t Amazon use LucidWorks (Really?)? Hmm. Good question.

Stephen E Arnold, May 29, 2015

Unstructured Data Challenge: An Infographic Does the Job

May 29, 2015

Search and content processing vendors talk about their systems’ handling structured and unstructured data. One outfit thinks that the challenge is unstructured information. After decades of floudering, the search sector lacks a solution that makes accountants and users beam with happiness.

What’s the fix?

According to “Meeting the Challenge of Unsructured Data,” the unstructured data speed bumps can be resolved by realizing there are challenges. The fix begins with realizing that one may not be prepared for them, which is like showing up for Marine boot camp in formal wear.

The inforgraphic does a good job of presenting the issues which most organiations are not willing to shift from the business of making money to the business of dealing with lots of email, PowerPoints, and Web pages.

For example, the infographic asserts:

  • Big data comes from many sources, and Big Data come in many shapes, sizes, and colors
  • Network loads with go up in 24 months
  • 60 percent of organizations are ready for “the surge in network traffic.”

Okay, let’s step back.

At this time, most sentient managers know that there is a great deal of unstructured information in their organization. Most managers are not able to find information in a way that makes them emulate a happy face. Accountants wrinkle their baby smooth foreheads when tallying up the costs for digital information storage, findability, maintenance, and unbudgeted expenses to get the existing systems to do their often weak kneed thing.

These challenges are truisms.

My question: “When will innovations have an impact on these challenges?” Based on progress in the last few decades, solutions will arrive with marketing parades. The results, in my view, will be the same old issues: User cannot locate the information requjired to make their work a doddle.

It is easier to identify deal breakers than unbreak the deals. It is easier to use jargon to help close deals than provide solutions that deal with information challenges.

One does not meet the challenges of unstructured data with lists of facts that make clear that today’s solutions are not, shall we say, efficacious.

Stephen E Arnold, May 29, 2015

JobSamurai Offers Alternative Job Search Method (Without the Search)

May 29, 2015

The article titled Take the Search Out of Job Hunting with JobSamurai on MakeUseOf describes the perks in using JobSamurai next time you are out of work. A lot of people rely on services like Craigslist, but anyone who has searched for a job there knows that a good portion of the listings are frauds, or just non-existent. The number of irrelevant posts are also high and weeding through them all is time-consuming and frustrating. JobSamurai claims to have the answers, with a job website that minimizes the search factor. The article explains,

“JobSamurai uses your information to find jobs around the web that match your profile, then shows them to you as banner adverts on the websites you visit most often. They do this by leaving a tracking cookie in your web browser that sends data back to JobSamurai to notify them of where to display their content. It typically takes 10-15 days for their internal search engines to find all the jobs that match a candidate.”

While this means that users will need to exercise some patience before seeing results, it is balanced out by the absence of those terrible spam emails that job search websites love to litter your inbox with. JobSamurai promises to limit itself to one email every two months- which really seems like no emails at all.

Chelsea Kerwin, May 29, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Search Functionality for the Roku 2

May 29, 2015

In with search, out with the remote-based headphone jack. Roku has had to weigh their priorities while considering user-friendly features, we learn from “Roku 2 Gets a Facelift with New Search Engine” at ITProPortal. The need for an affordable price point required the Roku 2 media-streaming player to drop some features so new ones could be added. Writer Sead Fadilpaši? reports:

“The new remote will work on IR, meaning you’ll need a clear line of sight to switch channels. The remote has also lost the headphone jack, which some will find quite saddening, as well as the motion sensor. Both remotes will now feature four dedicated buttons, which can’t be reprogrammed, giving users quick access to Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, and Rdio. New features also include a search engine and show notifications, letting people know when a certain show is available. The new Roku 2 will cost as much as the Apple TV after its price drop – a very competitive £69. Aside from improved hardware specs Roku has confirmed to Pocket-lint the new box will come with improved software that should have a dramatic affect in speeding up accessing your favorite channels, shows and movies.”

All Roku devices will be getting the revised interface, which adds a couple of features and is expected to speed boot times. The write-up reminds us that the Roku has a mobile app, with a new version due out soon. So if you really miss that headphone jack, just swap their remote for your smart phone. I leave the motion-sensor hack to you.

Cynthia Murrell, May 29, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

IBM and Hadoop: Closer Than Ever

May 28, 2015

I read “Hadoop and IBM i: Not as Far Apart as One Might Think.” The letter “i” is important if you are in the IBM lingo parade. The letter “i” refers to the EBCDIC based operating system which runs on IBM Power and Pure Systems. If you don’t know EBCDIC, you should go back to your iOS device and wait for an Apple IBM app that runs on this puppy.

If your inner AS/400 itch needs scratching, you can fire up your system and use wrapper software from Mrc Productivity. You can then do the Hadoop thing.

The write up mentions other vendors working in this sector, but if you are an IBM i shop, you have companies like mrc on your iPhone’s speed dialer.

The article does state:

Not every IBM i shop is asking for Hadoop capabilities, but there have been some inquiries, says mrc’s marketing director Steve Hansen. [mrc is leading the Hadoop thing on the i/AS/400 platforms]… We’re not telling people it’s time to replace IBM i. We’re saying the data is getting bigger. There’s unstructured data and social data, and businesses just aren’t doing much with it yet. I think it’s overwhelming. Right now we’re [mrc folks] trying to build awareness to what Hadoop is and how people who are using IBM i can take this data that they’re not taking advantage of and put it into Hadoop. I don’t see it as a replacement for their IBM i. It’s more something that can enhance what they’re currently doing and tracking all this data they’re not tracking.

Yep, overwhelming.

For more information about mrc, navigate to http://www.mrc-productivity.com/.

Stephen E Arnold, May 28, 2015

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