FirstRain Escapes “Death Spiral” Through Work of Penny Herscher

October 31, 2014

The article on Fortune titled The Company Was In a Death Spiral. She Brought It Back From the Brink lauds the work of Penny Herscher  at data analytics firm FirstRain. Herscher took over the company in 2004 after successful work at Cadence Design Systems, Simplex and Texas Instruments. FirstRain was a bankrupt company with a great prototype but no product. Herscher embraced the challenges posed by FirstRain and began her overhaul with a move from New York to California. The article goes on,

“She raised $20 million from new investors and hired a trusted team, including chief operating officer Y.Y. Lee, a mathematician and software engineer… Today, more than 50% of FirstRain’s senior leadership is women. The fledgling company had barely started developing a product when storms began brewing on the horizon. It was 2008. The global economy was beginning to collapse. “The wheels came off the bus,” Herscher says with lament. To survive, the company had to completely change course again…It pulled through.”

But only after major lay-offs and changes in the structure. Today FirstRain customers include IBM and Cisco, and it is only continuing to grow, with new offices in San Mateo. Herscher’s story of success is one of commitment and creative problem-solving.

Chelsea Kerwin, October 31, 2014

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Presto the Software Formerly Known as JackBe

October 30, 2014

The information page titled What You Can Do With: Presto on Software AG Products provides an overview of the data-combining software formerly known as JackBe until its acquisition by Software AG. JackBe is now Presto! (Exclamation point optional.) Information flow since March 2014 has been modest. The article offers an overview and some of the capabilities of the software, such as in-memory analytics and visualization and data mashing. The article states,

“Presto combines data from any source for data visualizations. Accessing the original data—directly from data warehouses, news feeds, social media, existing BI systems, streaming big data, even Excel spreadsheets—lets business users respond to changing conditions as they happen. Presto’s “point-click-connect” assembly tool, Wires, makes it easy to bring together and manipulate data from multiple existing systems into meaningful data visualizations. Simple, powerful data mashing means IT and power users can create new apps and dashboards in hours—even minutes…”

Software AG began in 1969 in Germany and in 2013 acquired JackBe. According to the Company History page, the deal was actually awarded the title of Strategic M&A deal of the Year by the Association for Corporate Growth. Other acquisitions include Apama Complex Event Processing Platform, alfabet AG, and Longjump.

Chelsea Kerwin, October 30, 2014

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

A New Partnership For Better Organization

October 28, 2014

Partnerships offer companies ways to improve their product quality and create new ones. Semantic Web reports that “Expert System And WAND Partner For A More Effective Management Of Enterprise Information.” Expert System is a leading semantic technology company and WAND is known for its enterprise taxonomies. Their new partnership will allow businesses to have a better and more accurate way to organize data.

Each company brings unique features to the partnership:

“The combination of the strengths of each company, on one side WAND’s unique expertise in the development of enterprise taxonomies and Expert System’s Cogito on the other side with its unique capability to analyze written text based on the comprehension of the meaning of each word, not only ensures the highest quality possible, but also opens up the opportunity to tackle the complexity of enterprise information management. With this new joint offer, companies will finally have full support for a faster and flexible information management process and immediate access to strategic information.”

Enterprise management teams are going to get excited about how Expert System and WAND will improve taxonomy selection and have more native integration with in-place data systems. One of the ways the two will combine their strengths is with the new automatic classification: when a WAND taxonomy is selecting, Expert System brings in its semantic based categorization rules and an engine for automatic categorization.

Whitney Grace, October 28, 2014
Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Connotate on the Importance of a Data Supply Chain

October 27, 2014

Here’s a new spin on scraping and parsing from Connotate’s blog, Web Data Insider. The recent emphasis on predictive analytics has writer Laura Teller discussing “The Data Supply Chain… and Why You Should Get One.” She reminds us that businesses now do much more with data than they used to. In fact, she asserts, any company that invests in data analytics possesses a critical advantage. Of course, as a prominent web-data extraction firm, Connotate does have a dog in this fight; at the same time, Teller has a point—for many businesses, especially larger ones, data analytics can be an indispensable tool.

Companies put considerable effort into streamlining their supply chains for other resources, so why not data? The article elaborates, and gives us a checklist for investigating our own data-supply needs:

“Once we start conceiving of data as a critical input or a brave new resource, it changes the paradigm of how we think about it, manage it, and leverage it. Data is no longer just an artifact of the ‘real work’ of companies. Rather, it’s something that has to be strategically sourced, managed, and leveraged. Just as companies have supply chains for other raw materials, like sugar, steel, electronic components, etc., they have to think about data in the same way and with the same rigor. They have many decisions to make:

*What to get and where they’ll get it

*How to ensure supply

*How to protect their ability to get it

*Who they’ll source from and how they’ll manage them

*What to pay for it

*How to store it

*How to refine it and add value to it

*How to package it for sale”

Teller notes that her company welcomes this “paradigm shift,” which is no surprise, considering that they are well-positioned to help customers address this burgeoning need. The company’s platform has been named a KMWorld “Trend-Setting Product” a healthy nine times. Based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Connotate was founded in 2000.

Cynthia Murrell, October 27, 2014

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

The Problem with Data Silos for Companies and Consumers

October 13, 2014

The article titled What If Your Data Worked Together on The Woopra Blog makes a plea for normalized and federated information. It also stomps data silos in the dirt for causing frustration in both customers and employees. The call for efficiency in this article does laud certain companies for organizing relevant data, with the example that follows,

“I had ordered a bed from ( and called them a few days later to ask a question about the delivery. The woman who answered my call didn’t ask me for a single piece of information, just “How can I help you?”. She already knew exactly who I was and what I had ordered…she told me that their system automatically gave her my profile based on my phone number.”

This particular example resonated with me, especially after dealing with certain cable companies who seem to keep all of their data in lockboxes and throw away the keys. The article went on to suggest that data silos hurt companies as much as customers by segmenting data and making it more difficult to understand the entire story in a certain usage. This article ends with a promise that it will follow up with more information on data harmony, and we can only hope that someone out there is listening.

Chelsea Kerwin, October 13, 2014

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Google and Images: What Does Remove Mean?

October 4, 2014

I read “After Legal Threat, Google Says It Removed ‘Tens of Thousands’ of iCloud Hack Pics.” On the surface, the story is straightforward. A giant company gets a ringy dingy from attorneys. The giant company takes action. Legal eagles return to their nests.

However, a question zipped through my mind:

What does remove mean?

If one navigates to a metasearch engine like, the user can run queries. A query often generates results with a hot link to the Google cache. Have other services constructed versions of the Google index to satisfy certain types of queries? Are their third parties that have content in Web mirrors? Is content removed from those versions of content? Does “remove” mean from the Fancy Dan pointers to content or from the actual Google or other data structure? (See my write ups in Google Version 2.0 and The Digital Gutenberg to get a glimpse of how certain content can be deconstructed and stored in various Google data structures.)

Does remove mean a sweep of Google Images? Again are the objects themselves purged or are the pointers deleted.

Then I wondered what happens if Google suffers a catastrophic failure. Will the data and content objects be restored by a back up. Are those back ups purged?

I learned in the write up:

The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday published a letter to Google from Hollywood lawyers representing “over a dozen” of the celebrity victims of last month’s leak of nude photos. The lawyers accused Google of failing to expeditiously remove the photos as it is required to do under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. They also demanded that Google remove the images from Blogger and YouTube as well as suspend or terminate any offending accounts. The lawyers claimed that four weeks after sending the first DMCA takedown notice relating to the images, and filing  over a dozen more since, the photos are still available on the Google sites.

What does “remove” mean?

Stephen E Arnold, October 4, 2014

Among More Changes Connotate Adds New Leader

September 30, 2014

Connotate has been going through many changes through 2014. According to Virtual Strategy they can count adding a new leader to the list: “Connotate Appoints Rich Kennelly As Chief Executive.” Connotate sells big data technology, specializing in enterprise grade Web data harvesting services. The newest leader for the company is Richard J. Kennelly. Kennelly has worked in the IT sector for over twenty years. Most of his experience has been helping developing businesses harness Internet and data. He has worked at Ipswitch and Akami Technologies, holding leadership roles at both companies.

Kennelly is excited about his new position:

“ ‘This is the perfect time to join Connotate,’ said Kennelly. ‘The Web is the largest data source ever created.  The biggest brands are moving quickly to leverage that data to drive competitive advantage and create new revenue streams. Connotate’s patented technology, scalability, and deep technical expertise make us the natural choice for these forward thinking companies.’”

The rest of the quote includes a small, but impressive client list, more praise for Kennelly, and how Connotate is a leading big data company.

If Connotate did not have good products and services, then they would not keep their clients. Despite the big names, they are still going through financial woes. Is choosing Kennelly a sign that they are trying to raise harvest more funding?

Whitney Grace, September 30, 2014
Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Automating Data with SharePoint to Boost Efficiency

September 25, 2014

Automating data with SharePoint in order to save cost and time is the subject of an upcoming webinar, “SharePoint Automates EHS Programs: Easy, Flexible, Powerful.” Occurring October 1st, the free webinar focuses on how environmental, health, and safety managers can streamline data collection, processing, and reporting. Read the details in the article, “Automate EHS Data Collection & Reporting with Microsoft SharePoint to Save Time & Cost is Subject of October 1st Webinar.”

The press release says:

“Environmental, health and safety programs require the ongoing routine tasks of data collection, data processing, data analysis, corrective action tracking, and report generation. The essentially manual and time-consuming process places a significant strain on already stretched EHS resources. However, with the use of Microsoft SharePoint — already available in many companies and institutions — EHS managers can automate these tasks to cut both processing time and costs.”

Stephen E. Arnold has a vested interest in SharePoint news and events. His career is focused on following the latest in search, and he makes his findings available via His SharePoint feed is particularly helpful for users who need to keep up with the latest SharePoint news, tips, and tricks.

Emily Rae Aldridge, September 25, 2014

Data Burping

August 14, 2014

Data integration from an old system to a new system is coded for trouble. The system swallowing the data is guaranteed to have indigestion and the only way to relieve the problem is by burping. Chez Brochez has dealt with his own share of data integration issues and in his article, “Tips and Tricks For Optimizing Oracle Endeca Data Ingestion” he details some of the best way burp.

Here he explains why he wrote the blog post:

“More than once I’ve been on a client site to try to deal with a data build that was either taking too long, or was no longer completing successfully. The handraulic analysis to figure out what was causing the issues can take a long time. The rewards however are tremendous. Not simply fixing a build that was failing, but in some cases cutting the time demand in half meant a job could be run overnight rather than scheduled for weekends. In some cases verifying with the business users what attributes are loaded and how they are interacted with can make their lives easier.”

While the post focuses on Oracle Endeca, skimming through the tips will benefit anyone working with data. Many of them are common sense, such as having data integrations do the heavy lifting in off-hours and shutting down competing programs. Others require more in-depth knowledge. It beats down to getting content into a old school system requires a couple of simple steps and lots of quite complex ones.

Whitney Grace, August 14, 2014
Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

OnlyBoth Launches “Niche Finding” Data Search

August 12, 2014

An article on the Library Journal Infodocket is titled Co-Founder of Vivisimo Launches “OnlyBoth” and It’s Super Cool! The article continues in this entirely unbiased vein. OnlyBoth, it explains, was created by Raul Valdes- Perez and Andre Lessa. It offers an automated process of finding data and delivering it to the user in perfect English. The article states,

“What does OnlyBoth do? Actions speak louder than words so go take a look but in a nutshell, OnlyBoth can mine a dataset, discover insights, and then write what it finds in grammatically correct sentences. The entire process is automated. At launch, OnlyBoth offers an application providing insights o 3,122 U.S. colleges and universities described by 190 attributes. Entries also include a list of similar and neighboring institutions. More applications are forthcoming.”

The article suggests that this technology will easily lend itself to more applications, for now it is limited to presenting the facts about colleges and baseball in perfect English. The idea is called “niche finding” which Valedes-Perez developed in the early 2000s and never finished. The technology focuses on factual data that requires some reasoning. For example, the Onlyboth website suggests that the insight “If California were a country, it would be the tenth biggest in the world” is a more complicated piece of information than just a simple fact like the population of California. OnlyBoth promises that more applications are forthcoming.

Chelsea Kerwin, August 12, 2014

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

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