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Elastic What: Stretching Understanding to the Snapping Point

April 10, 2015

I love Amazon. I love Elastic as a name for search. I hate confusion. Elasticsearch is now “Elastic.” I get it. But after I read “Amazon Launches New File Storage Service For EC2”, there may be some confusion between Amazon’s use of Elastic, various Amazon “elastic” services, and search. Is Amazon going to embrace the word “elastic” to describe its information retrieval system. Will this cause some confusion with the open source search vendor Elastic? I find it interesting that name confusion is an ever present issue in search. I have mentioned what happens when a company loses control of its name. Examples range from Thunderstone (a maker of search and search appliances) and the consumer software with the same name. Smartlogic (indexing software) is now facing encroachment from Smartlogic.io (consulting services). Brainware, now owned by Lexmark, lost control of its brand when distasteful videos appeared with the label Brainware. The brand was blasted with nasty bits. Where is the search oriented Brainware now? Retired I believe just as I am.

Little wonder some people have difficulty figuring out which vendor offers what software. Stretch your mind around the challenge of explaining that you want the Amazon elastic and the Elastic elastic. Vendors seem to operate without regard to the need to reduce signal mixing.

Stephen E Arnold, April 10, 2015

Enterprise Search and Marketers: Think Endpoint Computing

April 9, 2015

I have to hand it to the mid tier consultants. Just when I thought the baloney about enterprise search had begun to recede, I learned I was wrong. That puts me in my place.

Search is now “endpoint computing.” I know this because I received an email from the incubator-spawned X1 search company. I have tested X1 over the years, and I have come to think neutral thoughts about the company’s administrative options and its interface.

The method of communicating with me was a somewhat dry email that began with the salutation, “Hello.”

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The email offered me a report by the ever fascinating Gartner Group. The point of the email is that X1 is a cool vendor. That’s nice. Curious I clicked on the link and was redirected to this page:

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Okay, a lead generating system. I filled out the information and then I received another email. This one was a bit more serious.

The author, an earnest person named “Janice” wanted to speak with me to discuss my search requirement. Furthermore the person looks forward to speaking with me about “unified search and discovery for virtual, cloud, and hybrid environments.” X1 was founded in 2003and has experienced several management changes, which is common in the “unified search and discovery for virtual, cloud, and hybrid environments” market.

What makes X1 cool? To answer the question I had to read the Gartner Report, a task which I know is a chore.

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The idea is that search is now endpoint computing. Okay. I guess. The report reassures me that the information in the report is not an “exhaustive list of vendors.” That’s good because in the report there are five companies mentioned:

  • Login Consultants, a workspace consultant, but I don’t know what this term means
  • Tanium, a company offering endpoint security and systems management, which strikes me as a consulting outfit
  • X1, a search and retrieval vendor offering desktop search, eDiscovery, and enterprise search
  • Kaviza (a where are they now company which puzzles me) a virtualized desktop outfit now owned by Citrix
  • Framehawk (another where are they outfit), a company in the high definition user experience business (I have no idea what this means). Apparently Citrix does because Citrix also acquired Framehawk.

Quite an eclectic list. I remember when I worked at Ziff Communications in Manhattan. I listened to a group of editors working up a list of top trends over lunch. So much for methodology. The approach produced a somewhat eclectic list which was, in my opinion, of little value. The list was silly. But these were professionals. Who was I?

So the Gartner list is neither exhaustive nor coherent from my point of view.

What’s cool about X1 search as endpoint computing?

According to the mid tier consulting firms’ authors, X1 is cool because:

“Implementing VDI that provides a user experience that’s equal or superior to a distributed PC environment has been a huge challenge for organizations. While much of the innovation in the VDI space over the past few years has been focused on reducing cost and complexity, some vendors, like X1, have concentrated on removing barriers or exceptions that make VDI a compromise rather than a business enabler.” (page 3)

In the context of the firms profiled by Gartner’s “expert, the explanation of the X1 cool factor baffles me. I am not confused. I just don’t know what Gartner is trying to communicate.

I have several thoughts running through my head:

First, Gartner obviously has a financial model in place that makes it possible for the mid tier consulting firm to crank out analyses that seem to be authoritative. On closer inspection, the terminology and the information provided are not particularly useful. Does Gartner write these for free and allow the “cool” vendors to distribute these analyses for free? Why do I get a copy for free? Hmmm.

Second, there are obviously companies which value the Gartner endorsement even if it is not exactly clear what the message is. These companies—specifically X1—have seized upon the Gartner report as a way to generate leads and sales. I have no problem with that, but sending information that makes sense would appeal to me more than what I perceive as “information free” commentary.

Third, I continue to worry about the chance for meaningful discourse about the relative merits of information retrieval systems. The presentation of vendors in the context of buzzwords does little to convince me of the merits of X1 or the credibility of Gartner Group. I suppose that is why there are blue chip consulting firms and mid tier (azure chip) consulting firms. One good point: Unlike IDC’s Dave Schubmehl, the report was not $3,500 available on Amazon with my name slapped on as the “author.”

Score one for Gartner’s merrie band.

Stephen E Arnold, April 9, 2015

Image Search Might Not Be Enough

April 9, 2015

Did you know there is a Google of image search? No, it is not the image option on the actual Google search engine.  Rather it is Giphy aka the Google of GIFs (and a way to kill an hour) is stepping up into the world by buying other startups.  TechCrunch reports that, “Giphy’s First Acquisition, Nutmeg, Is A Big Step Towards Mobile.”

Giphy has been interested in expanding its mobile search offerings and they recently acquired Nutmeg, a mobile GIF messaging app that makes it easier to send those fun moving pictures in a text message.  Giphy founder Alex Chung and Nutmeg founder Julie Logan have discussed a partnership for the past year and after a recent $17 million round of funding by Giphy it felt like the right time.

“ ‘Nutmeg and Giphy share the same philosophy, but Julie brings a lot of expertise around what we’re doing from the mobile perspective, and that’s invaluable,’ said Chung. ‘The simplicity, the curation and the UX and the UI, drew us to Nutmeg.’ ”

GIFs are a universal Internet language with many of them transforming into memes and making the Reddit rounds.  GIFs lucrative market due to their popularity and there is money to be made there.

Whitney Grace, April 9, 2015

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

The Cost of a Click Through Bing Ads

April 9, 2015

Wow. As an outsider to the world of marketing, I find these figures rather astounding. MarketingProfs shares an infographic titled, “The 20 Most Expensive Bing Ads Keywords.” The data comes from a recent analysis by WordStream of 10 million English keywords, grouped into categories. Writer Vahe Habeshian tells us:

“WordStream analyzed some 10 million English keywords and grouped the them into categories to determine the most expensive types of keywords (see infographic, below).

“(Also see a similar analysis of the most expensive keywords in Google AdWords advertising from 2011.)

“The most expensive keyword on Bing Ads is ‘lawyer,’ which would cost advertisers seeking the top ad spot a whopping $109.21 per click. Not surprisingly, the top 5 keywords are related to the legal world, indicating how lucrative clients can be.”

Yes, almost $110 per click whether legitimate, a human error, or a robot script. That’s a lot of fruitless clicks. It seems irrational, but it must be working if companies keep spending the dough. Right?

The word in second place, “attorney,” comes to $101.77 per click, and “DUI” is a comparative bargain at $68.56. After the top five, law-related words, there are such valuable terms as “annuity,” “rehab,”  and “exterminator.” See the infographic for more examples.

Cynthia Murrell, April 09, 2015

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

Funnelback and Its Value Proposition

April 8, 2015

Short honk: I was cruising through the Web sites of search vendors which have dropped off my radar. The Funnelback Web site is now red and gray. Aside from the bold colors, the Web site introduces an interesting capability of the Funnelback system. I won’t go into the long history of Funnelback and how it became a commercial enterprise search system. I want to focus on this phrase: tangible insights. Here’s the context for the phrase:

Funnelback is a search platform that enables you to go further, faster, with tangible insights that help you transform your business.

I thought that “tangible” meant this courtesy of Dictionary.coma:

1. capable of being touched; discernible by the touch; material or substantial.

2. real or actual, rather than imaginary or visionary: the tangible benefits of sunshine.

3. definite; not vague or elusive: no tangible grounds for suspicion.

4. (of an asset) having actual physical existence, as real estate or chattels, and therefore capable of being assigned a value in monetary terms.

I thought that “insights” meant this:

1. an instance of apprehending the true nature of a thing, especially through intuitive understanding: an insight into 18th-century life.

2. penetrating mental vision or discernment; faculty of seeing into inner character or underlying truth.

I remember the former president’s comment to me that my write up of Funnelback was no good. The wizard did not recall that I provided the draft to him and he delegated the editorial review to a member of his staff. The wizard, who is undoubtedly brighter than I, was criticizing his own colleague’s inputs to the document. I suppose that is an example in the addled world of big time search based on government funded research a “tangible insight.” Well, could it be an example of how addled thinking can surface because of the organization’s DNA?

Now the question: What exactly is a tangible insight output from the Funnelback system?  I am waiting because I do not want to go further or faster. I want some clear thinking when it comes to explaining what an enterprise search system actually does? Has language lost its meaning before the search engine optimizers bring semantics to their fine work?

Penetrating and real too.

Stephen E Arnold, April 8, 2015

Google Altered Search Results?!  

April 8, 2015

If you know anything about search results, search engine optimization, and search algorithms, you probably wondered if Google ever changed its search results so they would be favor one search result over another.  Google already alters results with Google AdWords, the Right to Forgotten, and removing results if they break rules.

The FTC revealed via The Wall Street Journal that Google has been altering its search results for profit: “Inside The US Antitrust Probe Of Google.”  The FTC found that Google was using its monopoly on search to harm Internet users and its rivals.  FTC recommended a lawsuit be brought against Google for three of its practices.  The FTC voted to end the investigation in 2013, which is strange, but they did so because they had competing recommendations.

Google continues to stand by its own innocence, citing that the case closed two years ago and that people continue to use its services.  There is one big thing that the Wall Street Journal points out:

“On one issue—whether Google used anticompetitive tactics for its search engine—the competition staff recommended against a lawsuit, although it said Google’s actions resulted in “significant harm” to rivals. In three other areas, the report found evidence the company used its monopoly behavior to help its own business and hurt its rivals.”

Can this be considered part of their “do not evil” bylaw?

Whitney Grace, April 8, 2015

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

Attensity Adds Semantic Markup

April 3, 2015

You have been waiting for more markup. I know I have, and that is why I read “Attensity Semantic Annotation: NLP-Analyse für Unternehmensapplikationen.”

So your wait and mine—over.

Attensity, a leading in figuring out what human discourse means, has rolled out a software development kit so you can do a better job with customer engagement and business intelligence. Attensity offers Dynamic Data Discovery. Unlike traditional analysis tools, Attensity does not focus on keywords. You know, what humans actually use to communicate.

Attensity uses natural language processing in order to identify concepts and issues in plain language. I must admit that I have heard this claim from a number of vendors, including long forgotten systems like DR LINK, among others.

The idea is that the SDK makes it easier to filter data to evaluate textual information and identify issues. Furthermore the SDK performs fast content fusion. The result is, as other vendors have asserted, insight. There was a vendor called Inxight which asserted quite similar functions in 1997. At one time, Attensity had a senior manager from Inxight, but I assume the attribution of functions is one of Attensity’s innovations. (Forgive me for mentioning vendors with which some 20 somethings know quite well.)

If you are dependent upon Java, Attensity is an easy fit. I assume that if you are one of the 150 million plus Microsoft SharePoint outfits, Attensity integration may require a small amount of integration work.

According the Attensity, the benefits of Attensity’s markup approach is that the installation is on site and therefore secure. I am not sure about this because security is person dependent, so cloud or on site, security remains an “issue” different from the one’s Attensity’s system identifies.

Attensity, like Oracle, provides a knowledge base for specific industries. Oracle made term lists available for a number of years. Maybe since its acquisition of Artificial Linguistics in the mid 1990s?

Attensity supports five languages. For these five languages, Attensity can determine the “tone” of the words used in a document. Presumably a company like Bitext can provide additional language support if Attensity does not have these ready to install.

Vendors continue to recycle jargon and buzzwords to describe certain core functions available from many different vendors. If your metatagging outfit is not delivering, you may want to check out Attensity’s solution.

Stephen E Arnold, April 3, 2015

Hidden Value Oxymoron: Another Me Too Webinar?

April 2, 2015

Look what I received in my email on April Fool’s Day.

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I know zero about direct marketing. It did cross my mind that when sending out content marketing spam, one should make sure the message does not appear as a spoof. “Hidden value.” Okay.

I also wondered why IDC and BA Insight would want me to attend a webinar when I have been an outspoken critic of webinars and mid tier consulting companies recycle my content without bothering to issue a contract, pay for rights, or make sure I am okay with the pricing and the method of selling. I don’t want my content on Amazon, a company focused on offering one button ordering of laundry detergent, thank you.

Mid tier consultancies and their experts are another kettle of fish from an unregistered trawler operating near Samut Sakhon, Thailand.

This buzzword filled marketing spam is an invitation to yet another advertising webinar. The company footing the bill is BA Insight, which is one of the SharePoint centric search vendors working to generate sufficient revenue to keep its stakeholders calm and carrying on. The best way to achieve sales, it appears, is to pay IDC’s “search expert” to explain the value of hidden information. Oh, yes. The value of hidden information. There is gold in them thar hills.

If you are not familiar with IDC and information, may I point you to this item about IDC’s Dave Schubmehl. You may also find this article mildly amusing: Meme of the Moment.

Keep in mind when you listen to this infomercial that IDC and Mr. Schubmehl sold my content on Amazon without my permission. I buy from Amazon. I don’t sell via Amazon. My legal eagle managed to get the $3,500 eight page document out of the Amazon store. I make my information somewhat more affordable. CyberOSINT is only $99 with the offer code LEA99. That’s a good price for an original chunk of work. The Amazon $3,500 eight page item is, even with my name on it, a pretty crazy play for cash. Maybe an adventuresome five year old might fall for the $3,500 price tag. I would not.

How much of the information in this BA Insight infomercial will be recycled? How much of the information will be of “value”? Well, sign up and drink deep of the Pierian spring.

Remember: If products are not advertised, products may not sell. If products do not sell, there is no money to pay back investors keeping outfits in business. Without business, the mid tier consultants will get fired. Money is what’s important.

Value? Hmm. Good question when experts who use other individuals’ information are the “talent” on a Web infused late night infomercial. Why not hire Guthy Renker and get the job done in a manner that can be measured. Talk about value is not value. Remember. Eight pages of stuff with my name on it was only $3,500.

Such a deal. Ah, the power of presumptive management and challenged search vendors. Why not invite me. I just love this content marketing, webinar, value, best practice fluff.

Note: I almost wrote, “Don’t fail to miss it.” I did not.

Stephen E Arnold, April 2, 2015

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

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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