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Instagram’s Search Feature Is A Vast Improvement

July 27, 2015

Instagram apparently knows more about your life than you or your friends.  The new search overhaul comes with new features that reveal more information than you ever expected to get from Instagram. VentureBeat reviews the new search feature and explains how it works: “Hands-On: Instagram’s New Search And Explore Features Are A Massive Improvement.”

Many of the features are self-explanatory, but have improved interactivity and increased the amount of eye candy.

  • Users can Explore Posts, which are random photos from all over Instagram and they can be viewed as a list or thumbnails.
  • The Discover People feature suggests possible people for users to follow. According the article, it dives deep into your personal social network and suggests people you never thought Instagram knew about.
  • Curated Collections offer content based off pre-selected categories that pull photos from users’ uploads.

Trending tags is another new feature:

“Trending Tags is Instagram’s attempt at gauging the platform’s pulse. If you’ve ever wondered what most people on Instagram are posting about, trending tags has the answer. These seemed very random and oddly insightful.”

Instagram is quickly becoming a more popular social media platform than Facebook and Twitter for some people.  Its new search feature makes it more appealing to users and increases information discovery.  Be sure that you will be spending hours on it.

Whitney Grace, July 27, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Hewlett Packard: A Fashion Forward Management Moment

July 26, 2015

I read “HP Bans T Shirts at Work, and Employees Are Furious.” The write up explains:

several teams within HP’s 100,000-employee-strong Enterprise Services division were sent a confidential memo cracking down on casual dress in the workplace, because higher-ups in the company are concerned that customers visiting the offices will be put off by dressed-down developers, reports The Register.

I enjoy the management antics of HP. I recall the dust up with the board of directors. There is the MBA play of splitting the company in half in hopes of doubling the “value” for someone, maybe a banker or a senior manager. And, who can forget, HP’s purchase of Autonomy, the subsequent mea culpa, and the long flights of legal eagles. A deft touch for sure.

The write up states:

An HP spokesperson said the company does not have a global dress code but had no immediate comment on the report of the memo about the Enterprise group dress code.

Organized to a T shirt like this one:


Stephen E Arnold, July 26, 2015

What We Know About SharePoint 2016

July 23, 2015

Everyone is vying for a first look at the upcoming SharePoint 2016 release. In reality those details are just now starting to roll in, so little has been known until recently. The first true reveal came from Bill Baer at this spring’s Microsoft Ignite event. CIO distills Baer’s findings down into their article, “SharePoint 2016: What Do We Know?

The article says:

“The session on SharePoint 2016 was presented by Bill Baer, the head of SharePoint at Microsoft. This was the public’s first opportunity to learn what exactly would be in this version of the product, what sorts of changes and improvements have been made, and other things to expect as we look toward the product’s release and general availability in the first quarter of next year. Here’s what we know after streaming Baer’s full presentation.”

The article goes on to discuss cloud integration, migration, upgrades, and what all of this may point to for the future of SharePoint. In order to stay up to date on the latest news, stay tuned to, in particular the dedicated SharePoint feed. Stephen E. Arnold has made a career out of all things search, and his work on SharePoint gives interested parties a lot of information at a glance.

Emily Rae Aldridge, July 23, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


When Today Is Not As Good As Yesterday: Two Google Signals

July 21, 2015

Two Google items snagged my attention. The first is the new that a Xoogler has returned to Googzilla’s nest. The story was “The Soul of Google’: What the Return of Omid Kordestani Says About the Mountain View Monolith.” I interpreted this to suggest that Google has been operating without “soul” for five years.

According to the write up:

A year ago last week, CEO Larry Page brought him back to the position he birthed at Google, installing him permanently in October. Kordestani had come back to a very different Google. Revenue growth, once soaring, had started to flatten, and Google had suffered some embarrassing product setbacks. Wall Street was drumming louder about wasted funds on so-called moon shot projects such as Project Loon — its Internet-giving balloons — and Glass. More critically, Google faced rising criticism that its bloated size and insular leadership was stifling its ability to innovate. It risked becoming Microsoft.

Google is not Microsoft. Microsoft has its own demons and a unique fingerprint. Microsoft generates revenue from several different product and service lines. Google has one source of revenue: online advertising. Big difference in my opinion. The monoculture thing can endanger bananas and the GOOG. Charm may not work when parasites chip away at a monoculture.

The second item was “Silicon Valley’s Biggest Companies Take Samsung’s Side in Apple Patent Fight.” When you cannot innovate, litigate. I heard that mantra a number of times before I retired to my rocking chair in rural Kentucky.

For me these two stories point to a significant challenge Google faces. The company is fresh from a Wall Street home run. But are Wall Street home runs a one in four play? Google is not batting 1000 in the diversification of revenue department. The idea that a number of big companies are ganging up on the much loved, though slightly off center Apple outfit strikes me as a sign of weakness, not strength. What MMA fighter sends a lawyer into the octagon.

The message of Thomas Wolfe’s novel written in the 1930s seems clear, no matter what that wild and crazy Dr. Ed Chapman told me and my classmates: There is hope when you return home.

I am not so sure. Home and a return home are two different things. The return occurs with a flock of legal eagles and a vastly different online landscape. Search is different too. Relevance is still on vacation.

Stephen E Arnold, July 21, 2015

The Bestest Enterprise Search Diagram Ever. Really.

July 19, 2015

I like the word “bestest.” It is so right for diagrams that summarize the complex nature of search. The write up “The Best Enterprise Search Diagram You’ve Ever Seen” is a fetching smile to attract me the person who has never seen a better diagram ever to order a special report. What does the diagram look like? Here’s a not too legible version, but it is close enough for horseshoes:

Enterprise search - Ishikawa diagram DWG

The pink boxes are contributing activities. The red boxes in the middle of the diagram are direct search management tasks, and the red box in the gray rectangle is the total experience of search. Have at it. Let me know how you fair with your strategy tasks. Also, fill me in on how “search strategy” meshes with the location of the search box. Just askin? I am eager to hear how the search log insight is going to work. I like insight.

For those following this diagram, may I offer a suggestion: Look for a lateral arabesque within your organization or get a Subway sandwich franchise.

Stephen E Arnold, July 19, 2015

Tips for Enterprise Search Vendors When They Disappoint Their Venture Pals

July 16, 2015

The video is not about enterprise search vendors. But I found the video via a recommendation from a person who spends endless hours with a dragline for odd ball management advice.

I clicked on the link to “Disappoint Someone.” The video is interesting because it provides the sort of advice that is guaranteed to create some excitement combined with consternation.

The video omits one tip which I have found helpful now that I am retired.

Make a video and send the person whom you wish to disappoint a link.

Works really well, but if you are into the face to face thing with funders who want revenue and profits now. Go for it.

I assumed the creator of the video would have included this tip. Their video delivered the goods for me.

Stephen E Arnold, July 16, 2015

Information Technology: The Myth of Control

July 12, 2015

In the good old days circa 1962, one went to a computer center. In the center was a desk, usually too high to be comfortable for the supplicant to lean comfortably. There were young people ready to ask the supplicant to sign in, fill out a form to request computer time, and wait. Once in a while, a supplicant would be granted a time slot on a keypunch machine. Most of the time, the supplicant was given an time slot. But that was the start of the process.

I won’t bore you with the details of submitting decks of punched cards, returning to get a green bar print out, and the joy or heartbreak of finding out that you program ran or did not.

I figured out quickly that working in the computer center was the sure fire way to get access to the computer, a giant IBM thing which required care and feeding of two or three people plus others on call.

The pain of those experiences have not gone away, gentle reader. If you are fortunate enough to be in a facility with a maybe-is or maybe-isn’t quantum computer, the mainframe mentality is the only way to go. There are research facilities with even more stringent guidelines, but the average mobile phone user thinks that computer use is a democracy. Wrong. Controls are important. Period. But senior management, not information technology, has the responsibility to steer the good ship Policies & Procedures.

It is not. It never will be.

When I read “Cloudy with a Chance of Data Loss: Has Corporate IT Lost Control?” I was not comfortable. The reality is that corporate information technology has control in certain situations. In others, for all practical purposes, there is no organizational information technology department.

MBAs, venture capital types, and those without patience what what they want when they want it. The controls are probably in place, but the attitude of these hyper kinetic history majors with a law degree is that those rules do not apply to them. Toss in a handful of entitled but ineffective middle school teachers and a clueless webmaster and you have the chemical components of bone head information technology behaviors.

The information technology professionals just continue to do their thing, hoping that they can manage the systems in today’s equivalent of a 1960s air conditioned, sealed off, locked, and limited access computer room.

Other stuff is essentially chaos.

The write up assumes that control is a bad thing. The write up uses words like “consumer oriented,” “ease of use,” and “ownership.” The reason a non mainframe mentality exists among most people with whom I interact is a reptilian memory of the mainframe method. For most people, entitlement and do your own thing are the keys to effective computing.

If an information technology professional suggests a more effective two factor authentication procedure or a more locked down approach to high value content—these people are either ignored, terminated, or just worked around.

As a result of organization’s penchant for hiring those who are friendly and on the team, one gets some darned exciting information technology situations. Management happily cuts budgets. One Fortune 100 company CFO told me, “We are freezing the IT budget. Whatever those guys do, they have to do it with a fixed allocation.” Wonderful reasoning.

The write up concludes with this statement:

Modern IT departments realize that to overcome security challenges they must work together with users– not dictate to them. The advent of the cloud model means that smart users can readily circumvent restrictions if they see no value in abiding by the rules. IT teams must therefore be inclusive and proactive, investing in secure file-sharing solutions that are accepted by users while also providing visibility, compliance and security. Fortunately, there are good alternatives for the 84 per cent of senior IT management who admit they are “concerned” over employee-managed cloud services. The bottom line is this: there are times when we all need to share files. But there is never an occasion when any of us should trust a consumer-grade service with critical business data. It simply presents too many risks.

Nope. The optimal way in my view is for organizations to knock off the shortcuts, focus on specific methods required to deliver functionality and help reduce the risk of a “problem,” and shift from entitlement feeling good attitudes to a more formal, business-centric approach.

It is not a matter of control. Commonsense and the importance of senior management to create a work environment in which control exists across business policies and procedures.

The hippy dippy approach to information technology is more risky than some folks realize. As the wall poster in my server room says, “Ignorance is bliss. Hello, happy.”

Stephen E Arnold, July 12, 2015

Watson Still Has Much to Learn About Healthcare

July 9, 2015

If you’ve wondered what is taking Watson so long to get its proverbial medical degree, check out IEEE Spectrum’s article, “IBM’s Dr. Watson Will See You… Someday.” When IBM’s AI Watson won Jeopardy in 2011, folks tasked with dragging healthcare into the digital landscape naturally eyed the software as a potential solution, and IBM has been happy to oblige. However, “training” Watson in healthcare documentation is proving an extended process. Reporter Brandon Keim writes:

“Where’s the delay? It’s in our own minds, mostly. IBM’s extraordinary AI has matured in powerful ways, and the appearance that things are going slowly reflects mostly on our own unrealistic expectations of instant disruption in a world of Uber and Airbnb.”

Well that, and the complexities of our healthcare system. Though the version of Watson that beat Jeopardy’s human champion was advanced and powerful, tailoring it to manage medicine calls for a wealth of very specific tweaking. In fact, there are now several versions of “Doctor” Watson being developed in partnership with individual healthcare and research facilities, insurance companies, and healthcare-related software makers. The article continues:

“Watson’s training is an arduous process, bringing together computer scientists and clinicians to assemble a reference database, enter case studies, and ask thousands of questions. When the program makes mistakes, it self-adjusts. This is what’s known as machine learning, although Watson doesn’t learn alone. Researchers also evaluate the answers and manually tweak Watson’s underlying algorithms to generate better output.

“Here there’s a gulf between medicine as something that can be extrapolated in a straightforward manner from textbooks, journal articles, and clinical guidelines, and the much more complicated challenge of also codifying how a good doctor thinks. To some extent those thought processes—weighing evidence, sifting through thousands of potentially important pieces of data and alighting on a few, handling uncertainty, employing the elusive but essential quality of insight—are amenable to machine learning, but much handcrafting is also involved.”

Yes, incorporating human judgement is time-consuming. See the article for more on the challenges Watson faces in the field of healthcare, and for some of the organizations contributing to the task. We still don’t know how much longer it will take for the famous AI (and perhaps others like it) to dominate the healthcare field. When that day arrives, will it have been worth the effort?

Cynthia Murrell, July 9, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


Walmart and the Big Data Elephant Riders

July 7, 2015

Navigate to the Capitalist Tool’s write up “Walmart: The big Data Skills Crisis and Recruiting Analytics Talent.” Stating the obvious is something that most jargon delivery mechanisms avoid. Why be clear when obfuscation provides so many MBA-type chuckles?

The write up states about Big Data:

There just aren’t enough people with the required skills to analyze and interpret this information–transforming it from raw numerical (or other) data into actionable insights – the ultimate aim of any Big Data-driven initiative.

I had to sit down. Imagine. Specific skills are required to assemble data, formulate hypotheses, configure the numerical recipes, obtain outputs, and then analyze what the magic of math delivers.

Who would have thought that the average marketer might be a tiny bit under equipped to deal with Big Data in the here and now?

The write up states:

Last year, they [sic. The reference is to the single firm Walmart] turned to crowd sourced analytics competition platform Kaggle. At Kaggle, an army of “armchair data scientists” apply their skills to analytical problems submitted by companies, with the designer of the best solution being rewarded – sometimes financially, in this case with a job.

That’s a great solution. No problem with confidentiality in the crowdsourcing ecosystem. But Walmart hired candidates. Walmart explains what it seeks:

“Fundamentally,” says Thakur [Walmart manager], “we need people who are absolute data geeks–people who love data, and can slice it, dice it and make it do what they want it to do.

Walmart also uses an “analytics rotation program.” I assume this is designed to ensure that the Big Data analytics wizard can “run in the right direction.”

Walmart, it appears, is the leader in using crowd sourced methods for finding talent. Perhaps Walmart perceives itself as one of the leaders in the use of this method. It is good to be a visionary in Walmart land. What is Walmart’s next innovation? I cannot anticipate the next revolutionary breakthrough from the retailer many local retail stores perceives as a good neighbor made better with Big Data.

Stephen E Arnold, July 7, 2015

Lexalytics: GUI and Wizard

June 12, 2015

What is one way to improve a user’s software navigational experience?  One of the best ways is to add a graphical user interface (GUI).  Software Development @ IT Business Net shares a press release about “Lexalytics Unveils Industry’s First Wizard For Text Mining And Sentiment Analysis.”  Lexalytics is one of the leading companies that provides sentiment and analytics solutions and as the article’s title explains it has made an industry first by releasing a GUI and wizard for Semantria SaaS platform and Excel plug-in.  The wizard and GUI (SWIZ) are part of the Semantria Online Configurator, SWEB 1.3, which also included functionality updates and layout changes.

” ‘In order to get the most value out of text and sentiment analysis technologies, customers need to be able to tune the service to match their content and business needs,’ said Jeff Catlin, CEO, Lexalytics. ‘Just like Apple changed the game for consumers with its first Macintosh in 1984, making personal computing easy and fun through an innovative GUI, we want to improve the job of data analysts by making it just as fun, easy and intuitive with SWIZ.’”

Lexalytics is dedicated to helping its clients enjoy an easier experience when it comes to data analytics.  The company wants its clients to get the answers they by providing the tools they need to get them without having to over think the retrieval process.  While Lexalytics already provides robust and flexible solutions, the SWIZ release continues to prove it has the most tunable and configurable text mining technology.

Whitney Grace, June 12, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

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