IBM Watson and Research

August 29, 2014

The IBM Watson content marketing machine grinds on. This time, IBM’s Hail Mary is making Watson into a research assistant. Let’s see. Watson does cancer treatment, recipe invention, and insurance analyses. “IBM Sees Broader Role for Watson in Airing Research” the operative word is “sees”, not hipping, sold, market dominance, and similar “got it done” phrases. Heck, there’s not even a public demo on Wikipedia data or a collection of patents.

The write up cheers me forward with:

With the aid of Watson, companies could better mine that private information and combine it with scientific data in the public domain.

One company studying such possibilities to evaluate medications and treatments is Johnson & Johnson, IBM said. But the company sees applications beyond the health realm, including making automated suggestions based on financial, legal, energy and intelligence-related information, IBM said.

Watson has to generate lots of dough and fast. IBM expects the Watson “system” to produce billions in revenue in five or six years. What Watson is producing is more credibility problems for search vendors with technology that “sort of” works.

I had a query yesterday from a consultant whose client wants to use IBM Watson technology. I suggested that if IBM will fund the quest for a brass ring, go for it. Have a Plan B.

In the meantime, I find the Watson arabesques pretty darned interesting. With HP planning billions from Autonomy, where is this money going to come from. No one seems to think much about the need to have a product that solves a problem for a specific company.

No “saids” or “sees” required. Just a business built on open source technology and home grown code. IBM is fascinating as is its content marketing methods. Quite an end of summer announcement. How about a live demo? I am weary of Jeopardy references.

Stephen E Arnold, August 29, 2014

Fixing US Government Information Technology

August 29, 2014

Short honk: I found this item amusing: “America’s Tech Guru Steps Down—But He’s Not Done Rebooting the Government.” Let’s see. There was Healthcare.gov and then the missing IRS emails. I heard about a few other minor glitches, but these are not germane. The notion is that a “tech guru” can fix government IT from outside the government. I think this means getting into the consulting and engineering services game.

Optimism is evident; for example:

Park wants to move government IT into the open source, cloud-based, rapid-iteration environment that is second nature to the crowd considering his pitch tonight. The president has given reformers like him leave, he told them, “to blow everything … up and make it radically better.”

Okay, I suppose some folks are waiting. Will Booz Allen, CSC, SAIC, SRA, and IBM Federal lose sleep tonight? Nope. Some will probably be chuckling as I did.

This is a get funding, bill, submit engineering change order, bill, get funding, etc. etc. world. Improvement is usually a lower priority task whether one is inside or outside the entity.

Stephen E Arnold, August 29, 2014

A New Look for Computerworld.com

August 29, 2014

You are familiar with Computerworld, and you may visit the Computerworld.com Web site. The emulators and name surfers somewhere in the IDG Enterprise combine wants more eyeballs. That’s why I saw this news story from the professionals at Marketwired. Note: Not “marketwire.”

The title? “Computerworld.com Integrates Responsive Design Technology and functionality Enhancements in Site Relaunch.” The “real” news story reports:

The award-winning site incorporates responsive design technology to create a universal experience by scaling editorial and advertising content to the user’s screen size, whether they are accessing Computerworld.com with a smartphone, tablet or desktop.

I thought that blog themes like those readily available for WordPress, Joomla, and other content frameworks did the responsive thing automatically. The notion of “responsive design” is getting bright lights at “the leading enterprise technology media company”, however.

I suppose on a slow news day or when an IDC unit cannot publish my information without my permission or the other impedimenta that marks professional behavior, the crackerjack experts at IDG have to dig deep and gut through the really tough news. The story reports:

The editorial voice, content and design of Computerworld.com remains unique to the brand, while functionality has been aligned across IDG Enterprise sites including back-end capabilities enhancing search functionality and digital asset management for displaying more images and video content. The reader experience is further enhanced by large more legible type and fully integrated social media tools. Ads and promotional units are highlighted in a “deconstructed” right rail optimizing effectiveness and native advertising will be threaded intuitively throughout the site.

From whence does the content come from? Well, here’s an example of how IDG maintains its alleged “leading” position:

“Computerworld.com is well known for its superb tech news. What may be less obvious to website visitors is all the other great content Computerworld serves up for senior technology leaders,” said Scot Finnie, editor in chief, Computerworld.

Interesting since the consulting outfit bandied my name about like a tennis ball between mid 2012 and mid July 2014 without fooling around with contracts, sales reports, edit cycles, etc.

Now what about Computerworld.com? Today’s Computerworld.com has 64 objects on the home page, uses 30 images, and expects my wonderful Windows phone to render a page that is a svelte 1656946 bytes. Ooops. Don’t forget that the images pumped to me today total 1612438 bytes. You can see a report by navigating to www.websiteoptimization.com.

Fascinating news about the responsive design innovation. I am surprised that IDG elected to share this secret to online success. Is it possible that Computerworld.com invented responsive design following in the impressive footsteps of Al Gore’s Internet system and method?

Well, as long as revenues rise, the long slog to responsive design will have been worth it.

Stephen E Arnold, August 29, 2014

How to End Googles Search Monopoly if You Want To

August 29, 2014

The article on makeuseof titled Help End Google’s Search Monopoly: Use Something Else implores Internet users to consider alternatives for search on the basis of a very simple concept: monopolies are bad. Without a doubt, Google is a monopoly, with the Chinese Baidu in a lagging second place. The amount of power this gives Google is the main target of the article, not Google itself, interestingly. The article states,

“The ball is always in Google’s court – they control the search game. This breeds a culture of tailoring content to what Google wants, with the problem being that nobody really knows what this is. Most “SEO experts” will tell you they know how to get your site ranking highly, but really they have no greater insight into what goes on behind the scenes than you do.

We’re not bitter, that’s not the point of this article.”

They are referring to Panda, Google’s 2011 filter that removed lower quality content websites from searches. This benefitted some sites, but it also had far-reaching negative implications for any number of sites. This is why monopolies are bad, not because Google is inherently evil but because they are making decisions that can affect huge amounts of people and businesses. It may be too late to recommend alternatives like DuckDuckGo, since Google is so ingrained in its users as the only option for search.

Chelsea Kerwin, August 29, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Heatmaps Track Where Gaze Lingers on Ads and Websites

August 29, 2014

The article on Business Insider titled 29 Eye-Tracking Heatmaps Reveal Where People Really Look provides some 25 images with heatmaps, or blobs of color ranging from red (where the eye stayed longest) to dark blue (where the eye didn’t bother to look closely.) It quickly becomes clear that the largest trend is to linger on faces, especially eyes, and to follow the eye of the face. For example, in an ad with Ashley Judd looking at a bottle of shampoo, the heatmap shows more attention paid to the shampoo when compared to an ad with Judd staring straight into the camera. The article states,

“They say the eyes tell all. Now thanks to eye-tracking technology we can tell what they’re saying. Tracking eye movements can give us fascinating insights into advertising and design and reveal a few things about human tendencies.”

This is certainly a worthwhile article to scan for those interested in the placement of Google Adwords. Knowing where people are looking on a web page will help you avoid the mistake of placing much worth in banner ads, for example, since they are practically invisible to the eye. Audience is important as well, with men and women having some divergent tendencies.

Chelsea Kerwin, August 29, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Radicati Group: Yet Another Quadrant

August 28, 2014

Every time I see my story about Dave Schubmehl’s surfing on my name, I think about the paucity of innovation among the low- and mid-tier consulting firms. It is not sufficient to lack creativity. Success appears to require surfing on the insights of others. For more on the Schubmehl surfing angle, please, navigate to “ “Meme of the Moment” and “IDC and Reports by Schubmehl.” For ethical issue related to some firms’ actions, see “Are HP, Google, and IDC Out of Square.

Please review the Marketwired story “The Radicati Group Releases Enterprise Content Management – Market Quadrant, 2014.” This analysis is not like the original Boston Consulting Group’s grid analysis from the late 1970s. That method was based on such data as market share, return on investment, revenue, and other “hard” information.

This “quadrant” seems quite similar to the Gartner Group’s “quadrant” now the subject of a legal action by Netscout. For the details of the Netscout allegation, you will find Netscout’s view of the situation at http://wp.me/pf6p2-aAo.

The Radicati approach eschews dogs, stars, cows, and question markets for:

  • Mature players
  • Specialists
  • Trail blazers
  • Top players.

Are these categories connotative and subjective? Can a trail blazer be a top player or mature player? Oh, what’s a player? Hmm.

The idea is that the Radicati analysts have created a way to map enterprise content management vendors against these categories. The hope, I assume, is that a potential licensee of one of these systems will use the Radicati’s research as a guide to purchases.

I also find it interesting that the “Radicati Market Quadrants” phrase is a service mark. Like the IDC surfing on my name issue, the inspiration from BCG’s notion is not referenced. Will potential purchasers confuse low- and mid-tier consulting firm’s quadrants with those produced by blue-chip Boston Consulting?

Nah. Just another example of the challenges consulting firms face in today’s business climate. If you are interested, there is a helpful explanation of the BCG approach at http://bit.ly/1pa5m4A.

That’s what many of these “quadrants” suggest: The work of a student trying to improve a mark. In today’s environment, doing what is expedient seems to be a popular approach. Content marketing is one way to become visible I assume.

Another, more difficult path, is to craft an original question to answer and then perform research and analysis to help answer that question.

Wow. What consulting firms have time and the expertise to tackle investigations in this manner? I can name some who avoid this approach like the plague.

Stephen E Arnold, August 28, 2014

Free Law Textbooks Challenge Copyright Maximalism

August 28, 2014

The article titled Duke Professor Looking To Make Legal Texts Affordable; Kicking Off With Intellectual Property Law on Techdirt refers to the work of James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins. Both work in the Center of the Study of Public Domain at Duke Law School and hoped to mitigate the prices of textbooks for college students. They have already released their Intellectual Property Statutory Supplement (free to download, about $10 to print). They are quoted in the article,

“We are motivated in part by the outrageously steep cost of legal teaching materials, (and the increasing restrictions on those materials — such as the removal of the right of first sale). This book is intended for use with our forthcoming Intellectual Property casebook (coming in the Fall) but can also be used as a free or low cost supplement for basic Intellectual Property courses — at the college, law school or graduate school levels.”

The book that this supplement is basically equivalent costs more than $50. This may not come as a surprise to more recent college graduates, who often shell out hundreds of dollars (per semester!) for required textbooks in addition to the ever-growing rates of tuition. The article notes that this is a part of the danger of copyright maximalism, which Thomas Macaulay warned against as far back as his famous 1841 speech because it would lead to utter disregard of the law. To Jenkins and Boyle, we can only say: good luck.

Chelsea Kerwin, August 28, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Big Data Players Line Up

August 28, 2014

Technology moves fast. The race is always one to remain on top and relevant. Big data companies especially feel the push to develop new and improved products. Datamation makes a keen observation about big data competition in the article “30 Big Data Companies Leading The Way:”

“For Big Data companies, this is a critical period for competitive jockeying. These are the early days of Big Data, which means there are still a plethora of companies – a mix of new firms and old guard Silicon Valley firms – looking to stay current. Like everything else, the Big Data market will mature and consolidate. In five years, you can bet that many of the Big Data companies on this list will be gone – either out of business or merged/acquired with a larger player.”

Datamation continues the article with a list of big data companies that specialize in big data analytics. It is stressed that the list is not to be used as a buyer’s guide, but more as a rundown of the various services each of the thirty companies offers and how they try to distinguish themselves in the market. Big names like Google, Microsoft, IBM, and SAP rare among the first listed, while smaller companies are listed towards the bottom. Many of the smaller firms are ones that do not make the news often, but judging by their descriptions have comparable products.

Who will remain and who will stay in the next five years?

Whitney Grace, August 28, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Using SharePoint as a Video Platform

August 28, 2014

Video and other forms of dynamic media are an increasingly large share of the information market. This type of media has historically been a bit harder to index and make sense of in the business realm, but that is beginning to change. Read more in the TechRadar article, “Why You Should Use SharePoint as a Video Platform.”

The article begins:

“In the modern age, video is emerging as a content medium of choice, especially for the next generation worker who has grown up with video content playing a key role in their daily lives. The SharePoint platform, while not built with video in mind, can be enhanced to become a powerful and effective video content platform, catering for both live video events and on-demand video content.”

The article then goes on to explain how you can work with video content by enhancing your existing SharePoint setup. These non-traditional functions of SharePoint can really help an organization get the most bang for their buck when it comes to SharePoint. However, it can take a good bit of time and customization, and to help ease that burden, Web sites like ArnoldIT.com can be helpful. Stephen E. Arnold has made a career out of all things search and devotes a good bit of time to the best tips and tricks regarding SharePoint. Keep an eye on his SharePoint feed for more ways to help your organizations squeeze all the good out of SharePoint.

Emily Rae Aldridge, August 28, 2014

Open Sourcers Believe In Cassandra

August 27, 2014

In Homer’s Odyssey, the character Cassandra had the gift of prophesy, but she was also cursed to where no one believed her. The NoSQL database of the same name shared a similar problem when it first started, but unlike the tragic heroine it has since grown to be a popular and profitable bit of code. Wired discusses Cassandra’s history and current endeavors in “Out In the Open: The Abandoned Facebook Tech That Now Helps Power Apple.”

Cassandra is the brainchild of Jonathan Ellis and he used it to found DataStax. Facebook used Cassandra to better scale information across machines and open sourced it in 2008. It faded into the background for a while, but DataStax continued to gain traction with its proprietary software. Apple has since joined the Cassandra community and is its second largest contributor. DataStax, however, will not acknowledge that Apple is one of its clients.

The article points out that a single database product cannot reign supreme in 2014’s market. New ways to house and utilize data will continue to grow, much of it driven by open source. What does that mean for DataStax and Cassandra?

“Ellis says the strategy for Cassandra and DataStax will be ensuring that its technology can work with any new technology that can come along. For example, DataStax recently released a connector for Spark that will enable developers to easily use Spark to analyze data stored in Cassandra. ‘We’re trying to be the database that drives our application, not necessarily the analytics,’ he says. ‘There’s nothing that marries us to one of those platforms.’”

From reading this, it seems the big data push has quieted down somewhat, but companies based on open source software are trying to create products that allow people to use their data smarter and without the holdups of earlier big data pushes. One thing for sure is if DataStax truly does have Apple as a client, they can kiss success on the mouth.

Whitney Grace, August 27, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

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