November 29, 2013
The article on MakeUseOf titled SayHi Translate Is Quite Possibly The Closest Thing To Star Trek’s Universal Translator promotes the Iphone app SayHi as the best translation app available. At one $1.99, the app provides translations between some 40 languages (more are available with the premium version). The user says their phrase slowly and clearly into the phone, hits done and waits a few seconds for the phrase to appear in the original and translated languages. At the same time the app reads out the translation so that the person you are attempting to communicate with can hear it as well.
The article explains:
“The star allows you to create a list of favourite phrases (accessible from the star icon at the very top of the screen). The arrow is the usual iOS sharing options (email, iMessage, Twitter, Facebook, etc), the arrow pointing right enables you to play the phrase back again if you need to hear it again, and the trash-can deletes the phrase from the screen.”
The author even claims that SayHi beats out the Google Translate app, although that may become an issue of personal preference. Ultimately, these resources are a must-have for people traveling in foreign countries where they don’t speak the language. (And in galaxies far far away?)
Chelsea Kerwin, November 29, 2013
November 25, 2013
Has Google has found a way to monetize translation? This is not the basic Google Translate we all know and utilize; Google is now connecting Android developers with third parties who sell higher-quality translation services. The Next Web tells us about the program in, “Google Launches App Translation Service, Lets Android Developers Buy Translations from Pre-Qualified Vendors.” Writer Emil Protalinski explains:
“The new offering lets developers browse a list of third-party vendors pre-qualified by Google to offer high-quality translation at ‘competitive prices.’ Best of all, the service is integrated straight into the Google Play Developer Console (it’s at the bottom of the APK section). Developers simply need to get their APK ready for translation, upload the strings they want translated, select their target languages, and choose a vendor based on time and price. When the translations are ready, developers can easily import them back into their app using the ADT Translation Manager Plugin.”
Along with updating their app with the new translation, developers can otherwise localize their Google Play listing. (See Google’s Localization Checklist for advice on adapting software for a particular region.) The App Translation Service, says Google, is a key part of their efforts to make building a global user base as easy as possible for Android applications.
Cynthia Murrell, November 25, 2013
October 23, 2013
In the world of business process software, it can be tricky deciding which one to deploy at your organization. That is when one resorts to research and relying on opinions and experiences of others to help them make a choice. Forrester is always a great resource to turn to for business matters and in March 2013, they released “The Forester Wave: BPM Suites, Q1 2013,” detailing the top ten business process management vendors. Bitpipe archives the report.
Ten vendors were reviewed: Appian, Bizagi, Cordys, HandySoft, IBM, OpenText, Oracle, Pegasystems, Software AG, and Tibco Software. Each software has their positives and negatives, what is really interesting is if they are compatible with the leading data content managers, such as Kofax:
“All of the vendors in this evaluation can support the three most common use cases for BPM: dynamic case management, human workflow, and straight-through processing. However, this does not mean that all vendors must or can offer exactly the same approach or the same functional depth for each use case.”
They are Kofax compliant, which is wonderful because Kofax owns Kapow Software –the big data integration platform. Big data is one of the primary concerns of organizations and a business management software that does not have the capability to handle said processes is useless in a competitive market.
Whitney Grace, October 23, 2013
October 18, 2013
What’s the best way to find a mobile app? The answer may just be Quixey, which has recently secured some hefty funding. We learn about the company and its novel approach in, “Quixey Raises $50M from Alibaba & Others to Build the Search Engine for the Mobile Era” at TechCrunch. Quixey already underpins the app searches for several browser makers, OEMs, and even Sprint. Now, the company is gearing up to bring their app searches directly to mobile consumers.
It seems that search optimism is alive and well. Even as it captures funding from Alibaba and other investors, Quixey is working to build revenue with its recently launched sponsored-ad feature. The company also plans to expand overseas, which means they are hiring engineers in Europe, India, and Israel. A unique goal sets Quixey apart—they are working to locate not just apps, but also content within those apps. Writers Natasha Lomas and Sarah Perez report:
“‘We think our company’s mission is to get people into apps, which doesn’t just mean finding you a new app, it means we should be able to find you the content within apps,’ said Quixey co-founder and CEO Tomer Kagan. An example use-case could be a user searching for Thai food — and being returned results across apps, as well as things like Yelp reviews and a current Groupon deal for a restaurant, for instance.”
Kagan emphasizes that his company’s solution cannot accurately be called a “Google for apps,” because the focus is different. Leaving aside the charge that Google falls short in the mobile space, Quixey is all about the apps. “In the mobile space, apps haven’t been given the opportunity to shine and reach users on an equal footing; Quixey wants to change that,” he said.
In their pursuit of a (non-beta) consumer-facing tool, the company is eyeing Android. The article tells us:
“One possibility is an Android app that will allow Quixey’s app search to get baked in directly into the OS of the device. ‘Android is best place to start doing something unique and different because of the flexibility of the operating system,’ [Kagan] said. ‘We want to go deeper into the apps — something that Android lets us do. That’s the whole point of why we raised this money — so that we can explore that…how can we find the best answer inside of the apps.’”
Best of luck to Quixey. It is good to see someone pursue a fresh take on mobile search. Kagan and co-founder Liron Shapira started the company in 2009 and secured their first round of funding in 2011. Quixey is headquartered in Mountain View, California.
Cynthia Murrell, October 18, 2013
October 8, 2013
There is a new startup called Shadow that records your dreams and shares the info with the world. Sounds creepy, right? Yes, but The Telegraph gives the title to another startup, “Is ‘Shadow’ The Creepiest Startup Ever? Nom CIA Investment Palantir Still Owns The Crown.” Palantir Technologies still reigns supreme as the creepiest IT company, because its main business principle is that artificial intelligence software is not enough to track people. It also relies on human analysts coupled with automated data analysis. Palantir has dubbed this concept “intelligence automation.”
Palantir is the brainchild of Peter Thiel, with the participation of Alex Karp, Joe Lonsdale, Stephen Cohen and Nathan Gettings. Its name derives from a Lord of the Rings artifact called a seeing stone, most often wielded by evil bad guys. Thiel developed Palantir’s technology from his PayPal venture to detect fraud. The success caught the attention of some very big clients: the CIA and Us Army.
Why makes it creepy?
“Though it seems quite clear that Palantir has a role to play in moves by the US and her allies – including the UK – to battle growing online threats from Russia, China and others, it definitely earns its Most Creepy Startup award. In 2010, Palantir itself was exposed as somewhat complicit in moves by Hunton & Williams (a US lobbying firm) to combat “the WikiLeaks Threat”. In early 2011, elements from Anonymous leaked documents that included the plan. The strategy proposed using Palantir software “as the foundation for all the data collection, integration, analysis, and production efforts”.”
Thiel does not take any direct responsibility for how his technology could be used for evil purposes. His company’s technology is used all over, mostly without any one knowing it. Right now it is watching you and me.
Whitney Grace, October 08, 2013
October 7, 2013
Apps on the mobile market are like trying to build an audience for your book. You try to get the perspective readers, but if you do not have enough of a hook they never get past the summary on the back. According to Kontagent’s article, “Your App Is Dead: Why You’re Losing Users And Revenue Without Even Knowing It” most users download an app, use it once, and then uninstall it. This tells us that if the app does not impress on the first try, it gets recycled and you are losing money.
“Profit in the app world is a numbers game dictated largely by your app users. Theoretically, the more users you have, the more money you can make. Take freemium apps for example. Generally, conversion rates range from one to 10 percent. If you had one million users and were able to convert 10 percent into paying users all monetizing at $5 each, you’d rake in about $500,000. Pretty good, right?”
Even more awesome would be if you could retain the 90% of customers you lost in the first round. It would make your customer base even larger and you could bump your revenue up to $950,000. The secret is optimizing the first time user experience by figuring out what is wrong. Some of the biggest mistakes app designers make is having a complex registration process, a bad login experience, or an application full of bugs. Fixing these common problems could mean the difference between a living app and one that rests in peace after launch.
Whitney Grace, October 07, 2013
September 23, 2013
We love open source, not just because they offer free software and save us money, but also because the community downright rocks. Here is another reason open source rules from Datamation: “50 Noteworthy New Open Source Apps.” Datamation likes to compile a list of open source apps every once in a while to help its readers be knowledgeable about the latest projects because new ones pop up everyday. When they were making the list they found these interesting trends:
Browse through the list and you will find everything from database tools to Web development, which takes up more than half the list. Beyond basic development tools, there are apps for fonts, games, videos, task management, and forums. Some of the apps require a little code savvy, while others can be downloaded with zero to none. We love useful lists here and this is one of the best we have found.
Whitney Grace, September 23, 2013
August 30, 2013
TIBCO has something new to offer its clients, according to the main Web site in the press release: “TIBCO Enterprise Message Service 8.9 Helps Businesses Scale And Streamline IT Systems.” So what exactly does that mean? The company has updated its enterprise messaging platform to version 8.0. The new message platform allows administrators to monitor and configure their EMS servers from a centralized location. Plus TIBCO added the new Java Message Service (JMS) 2.0 specification, which is the latest messaging standard.
TIBCO want to make sure that it does not fall behind in the fast-paced IT market:
” ‘To remain competitive in today’s environment of ever-increasing data volumes, organizations must develop a strategy to scale and streamline IT systems to support business growth while reining in costs. EMS version 8.0 goes a long way to help organizations do just that,’ said Denny Page, chief engineer, TIBCO. ‘The new Central Administration capabilities greatly simplify the management of large complex deployments, while support for JMS 2.0 with its simplified APIs, help reduce application development costs.’ “
Despite the 8.0 upgrade, the JMS 2.0 is the big attention grabber, because it is the first time in over a decade that TIBCO updated its JMS specifications. The main reason is TIBCO wants its product to handle larger message loads and perform more applications on a server. The new marketing angle is TIBCO is going faster to meet its clients’ demands. The times are moving faster and faster.
Whitney Grace, August 30, 2013
August 27, 2013
Citing freedom and security concerns, the makers of Replicant are calling for donations, we learn from “Fundraising a Fully Free Fork of Android” at Boing Boing. The project hopes to give us all the choice to run our Android-based mobile devices entirely upon free software.
But wait, you ask, isn’t Android is already open source? Well, most of it, but a few “key non-free parts” keep our Android devices tethered to proprietary programs. Such parts, they say, include the layer that communicates with hardware; yes, that would be pretty important.
Also of concern to Replicant developers are the pre-loaded applications that some of us call “bloatware,” but upon which many users have come to rely. The team plans to develop free software that provides the same functionality. (I hope they also include the option to delete applications without them returning uninvited. That would be a nice change.) Furthermore, they have set up rival to the Google Play store, their app repository called F-Droid. That repository, the article notes, works with all Android-based systems.
The write-up summarizes:
“Mobile operating systems distributed by Apple, Microsoft, and Google all require you to use proprietary software. Even one such program in a phone’s application space is enough to threaten our freedom and security — it only takes one open backdoor to gain access. We are proud to support the Replicant project to help users escape the proprietary restrictions imposed by the current major smartphone vendors. There will still be problems remaining to solve, like the proprietary radio firmware and the common practice of locking down phones, but Replicant is a major part of the solution.”
Replicant is underpinned by copyrighted software that has been released under an assortment of free licenses, which their site links to here. This is an interesting initiative, and we have a couple of questions should it be successful: Will Google’s mobile search revenues come under increased pressure? What happens if Samsung or the Chinese mobile manufacturers jump on this variant of Android? We shall see.
Cynthia Murrell, August 27, 2013
August 2, 2013
Rocket Software is making it easier for clients to do business across language barriers, we learn from “Rocket Software’s System Builder Extensible Architecture 6.2.2 Provides National Language Support” at Database Trends and Applications. This latest iteration of the company’s platform embraces national language support technology, as well as other improvements. We learn from the write-up:
“Along with the new SB/XA Designer and integration with Rocket CorVu Business Intelligence tools, SB/XA now provides National Language Support (NLS) to UniVerse customers, enabling them to store data in many character sets. The new support addresses the increasing globalization of the world economy, requiring software developers to implement solutions that can be easily adapted to different languages, cultures, customs, and regulations in order to establish a stronger presence in the worldwide market. With multi-language translation in SB/XA, NLS support allows organizations to run their business in the language and data format of their choice.”
The addition of NLS was prompted by feedback from a customer overseas, who wished to furnish an application to its call-center employees in their native language—a step that I’m sure considerably reduces misunderstandings.
Founded in 1990, Rocket Software distributes its enterprise software and hardware worldwide through independent service vendor (ISV) partners. The company is headquartered in Newton, Massachusetts, and maintains offices around the world. Rocket Software focuses on helping each organization get the most from their unique IT situation.
Cynthia Murrell, August 02, 2013