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When Do You Snack? ADL Nails You, You Sneak

August 29, 2015

Know much about ADL or Activities of Daily Living? You can get up to speed on the sneak factor of home surveillance by flipping through “Distributional Semantics and Unsupervised Clustering for Sensor Relevancy Prediction.” Sounds pretty slick, right?

The idea is that the embedding of computing devices into your possessions provides useful data to someone. Next one can apply various analyses to make sense of the data. For example, you watch TruTV’s World Dumbest program. Then you hit the fridge. Grab a beer. Open the cupboard and snag a bag of Cheetos Crunchy Flamin’ Hot Cheese Flavored Snacks. Pick up your laptop and navigate to Backpage.com. Lean back in your Barcalounger. Live the life.

The fun part is that predictive methods can figure out what you will do next. Good for advertisers. Good for you. Good in general.

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Sound creepy? Invasive?

Hey, get with the program. The major benefit is that with these data and the outputs, the metadata, and the bits and bobs like GPS, many magical things can be crafted from passive observational data capture and analysis.

Home delivery of a Backpage solution? Entirely possible.

Just connect the data points. Predict interests. And the Backpage offers come calling.

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Why worry?

Stephen E Arnold, August 29, 2015

Quote to Note for Ad Lovers

August 28, 2015

The world seems to be focused on the stock market excitement. I want to highlight a paragraph in the dead tree edition of the Wall Street Journal. You might be able to access “Mobile Readers Abound—The Ads, Not So Much” online. Not my problem. Pick up the real newspaper. Flip to the Business & Tech” section and look for this paragraph on page B1 of the August 24, 2015 edition:

It [lagging mobile device ad revenues] is a similar story at News Corp’s Dow Jones & Col, publisher of the Wall Street Journal. More than half of unique visits to the Wall Street Journal Digital Network—which includes the Journal, MarketWatch, Barron’s, and WSJ Magazine—now come from nondesktop devices, but mobile accounts for less than 20 percent of the network’s digital ad revenue, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Interesting comment. So as the world goes mobile, Google goes Alphabet. Publishers perspire.

Without ads, where will online information journey? I would recommend that real journalists who cannot identify co workers as anything other than “a person familiar with the matter” consider podcasting. There may be jobs at Alphabet too.

Stephen E Arnold, August 28, 2015

Jargon Overload: MoSCoW

August 28, 2015

Vladimir Putin is probably confused. My hunch is that when he hears “Moscow” uttered, he thinks about a lovely city, its courteous drivers, its delightful social groupings with idiosyncratic tattoos, and outstanding Moskva stile borshch.

Gentle reader, Mr. Putin would be off base.

MoSCoW, according to “Bats, Dolphins, and Semantic Search,” means Must, Should, Could, and Would. The application of these parental verb structures is to search engine optimization.

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Please, take out the garbage and straighten your room, kiddies. MoSCoW now.

No, I don’t understand this, but you may want to check out the presentation. You may need to register for LinkedIn/Slideshare. I am never sure what I do to access the knowledge jewelry on this site. Here’s the link to try.

I am not into the parental thing. Click if you want. If not, no biggie.

Stephen E Arnold, August 28, 2015

Beyond Google, How to Work Your Search Engine

August 28, 2015

The article on Funnelback titled Five Ways to Improve Your Website Search offers tips that may seem obvious, but could always stand to be reinforced. Sometimes the Google site:<url> is not enough. The first tip, for example, is simply to be helpful. That means recognizing synonyms and perhaps adding an autocomplete function in case your site users think in different terms than you do. The worst case scenario is search is typing in a term and yielding no results, especially when the problem is just language and the thing being searched for is actually present, just not found. The article goes into the importance of the personal touch as well,

“You can use more than just the user’s search term to inform the results your search engine delivers… For example, if you search for ‘open day’ on a university website, it might be more appropriate to promote and display an ‘International Open Day’ event result to prospective international students instead of your ‘Domestic Student Open Day’ counterpart event. This change in search behavior could be determined by the user’s location – even if it wasn’t part of their original search query.”

The article also suggests learning from the search engine. Obviously, analyzing what customers are most likely to search for on your website will tell you a lot about what sort of marketing is working, and what sort of customers you are attracting. Don’t underestimate search.

Chelsea Kerwin, August 28, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Google Admits to Being a Copycat

August 28, 2015

In elementary school one of the biggest insults a child could throw a their fellow classmate was the slur “copycat.”  All children want to create original work, but when they feel their skills are subpar the work of another student their feel is superior.  Tossing in the old adage that “copying is the sincerest form of flattery” gives way to arguments about patents, theft, and even time outs for those involved.  The Techdirt podcast discussed copying in a recent episode and how big tech companies simply copy the ideas of their rivals and put their on name on it.  The biggest copycat they could find was Google: “The Failure of Google Plus Should Be A Reminder That Big Companies Very Rarely Successfully ‘Copy’ Startups.”

Techdirt points out the fallacy with big companies trying to steal the little startup’s idea:

“As we’ve discussed, in the rare cases when “copying” succeeds, it’s because the second company doesn’t really copy, but actually comes up with a better product, which is something we should celebrate. When they just copy, they tend to only be able to copy the superficial aspects of what they see, rather than all the underlying tacit thinking that makes a product good.”

The article discusses how Google finally admitted that Google Plus was a copy of Facebook, because they search mogul was fearful of losing profit, users, and Web traffic.  The biggest problem that Google Plus had was that it was “forced” on people, like the Star Trek Borg assimilating unsuspecting planets.  Okay, maybe that is a bit of a drastic comparison, but startups are still fearful of their ideas being assimilated by the bigger companies.  This is when the patent topic comes in and whether or not to register for one.

There is good news for startups: “if a startup is doing something really amazing and innovative that people actually want, you can almost always guarantee that (1) the big companies will totally miss the boat for way too long and (2) once they finally wake up, be clumsy and ridiculous in their attempts to copy.”

Also Techdirt sums everything up in an eloquent paragraph that explains the logic in this argument:

“People think it’s easy to copy because copying seems like it should be easy. But it’s not. You can only copy the parts you can see, which leaves out an awful lot of understanding and tacit knowledge hidden beneath the surface. It also leaves out all the knowledge of what doesn’t work that the originator has. And, finally, it ignores the competing interests within a larger business that make it much harder for those companies to innovate.”

In other words, do not worry about Borg assimilation if your startup has a good idea, but do be on the defensive and arm yourself with good weapons.

Whitney Grace, August 28, 2015
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Lexmark: Signs of Trouble?

August 27, 2015

I read “Shares of Lexmark International Inc. Sees Large Outflow of Money.”

The main point of the write up in my opinion was:

The company shares have dropped 41.65% in the past 52 Weeks. On August 25, 2014 The shares registered one year high of $50.63 and one year low was seen on August 21, 2015 at $29.11.

Today as I write this (August 26, 2015), Lexmark is trading at $28.25.

Why do I care?

The company acquired several search and content processing systems in the firm’s effort to find a replacement for the firm’s traditional business, printers. As you know, Lexmark is one of the IBM units which had an opportunity to find its future outside of IBM.

The company purchased three vendors which were among the companies I monitored:

  • Brainware, the trigram folks
  • ISYS Search Software, the 1988 old school search and retrieval system
  • Kapow (via Lexmark’s purchase of Kofax), the data normalization outfit.

Also, the company’s headquarters are about an hour from my cabin next to the pond filled with mine run off. Cutbacks at Lexmark may spell more mobile homes in my neck of the woods.

Stephen E Arnold, August 27, 2015

Old School Endeca Yields EneCom

August 27, 2015

I read “iBiz Software Inc.’s EneCom, a standalone Endeca eCommerce, extends powerful Endeca’s Guide search with Cart functionalities.”

The main idea is that an Oracle partner has used Endeca (a late 1990s chunk of technology) to build an “end to end eCommerce omni channel solution.”

I thought that’s what Endeca’s system did.

I learned:

EneCom is a robust, scalable and cost-effective eCommerce solution that integrates with 3rd party vendors including Shipping Carriers such as FedEx and UPS, Tax engine using Avalara and Credit Card Payment Gateways using Chase Paymentech, EpicPay, and WorldPay etc. EneCom is self-sufficient and can be standalone. Existing Oracle Endeca customers can further extend their Endeca investment by taking advantage of the integrations and omni-channel capabilities.

I concluded that iBiz stood up a ready to roll implementation of Endeca.

No information about cost. As I recall, Endeca was an expensive solution. iBiz, which empowers cloud commerce, may have found a way to make Endeca’s approach mesh with the real time, go go mobile world.

It strikes me that EneCom is Endeca without the time consuming, expensive consulting work required to make the computational intensive system deliver useful outputs.

Without pricing information, it is tough to tell if the solution is a viable alternative to the numerous low cost eCommerce systems available.

Stephen E Arnold, August 27, 2015

OpenText: The Linear Value Chain Becomes an Ecosystem

August 27, 2015

EMC is into data lakes, wheels, and hubs.

OpenText has a different view. Navigate to “What Is a Digital Enterprise?”

The main idea is that a digital business is “empowered by digital technology.” Okay, I think that means computers, mobile devices, software. For the last 50 years I have been involved with organizations which have leased, purchased, or invented digital technology.

Is this a news flash?

The write up explains:

This means that the business engages customers and conducts business through digital channels, uses digital assets and/or capabilities, and sells digital products or services. As in the case of startups, the value proposition is keenly focusing on serving digital consumers and is enabled by digital technology. This fundamentally impacts an organization’s value chain.

But the real payoff is this statement:

The value chain of a digital business is more cyclical than it is linear.

But wait, that’s only sort of correct. The value chain is going the way of the snail darter. The Darwinian law of software and service companies is that the future is the ecosystem. Here’s a diagram which makes sense of these remarkable leaps from sequences (what a mid tier consultant calls algorithms which is equally wacky) to value chains to ecosystems.

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I like the use of a circle, the interior pentagon, and lines. Very Euclidean in a somewhat four dimensional world. But, hey, Euclid is high school and reality is something else again.

I liked this closing statement:

As we move rapidly toward a Digital World, one thing is clear: information lies at the heart of innovation and disruption. No longer considered just the cost of doing business, information is instrumental in driving innovation and growth. When used the right way, information leads to greater customer satisfaction, accelerates time-to-market, helps to create new opportunities, and enables businesses to remain relevant and competitive. Information is a key strategic component for every organization today and critical to enabling transformation.

I suppose my work career which spans more than a half century in things with zeros and ones, the “rapidly” surprises me.

Perhaps OpenText will open the door to the future. With technology from Fulcrum, Information Dimensions, BRS, and many other slightly long in the tooth digital giants, OpenText may become the go to outfit for this digital stuff.

Stakeholders hope so. The revenues are creeping up but the profitability of the firm has flat lined.

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Maybe the digital future thing does not deliver the bottom line impact that some senior managers are supposed to deliver. Without enough money to invest in refurbing old search technology, the future may not be too bright and shiny.

What happens if the ecosystem dies?

Stephen E Arnold, August 27, 2015

A Search Engine for College Students Purchasing Textbooks

August 27, 2015

The article on Life Hacker titled TUN’s Textbook Search Engine Compares Prices from Thousands of Sellers reviews TUN, or the “Textbook Save Engine.” It’s an ongoing issue for college students that tuition and fees are only the beginning of the expenses. Textbook costs alone can skyrocket for students who have no choice but to buy the assigned books if they want to pass their classes. TUN offers students all of the options available from thousands of booksellers. The article says,

“The “Textbook Save Engine” can search by ISBN, author, or title, and you can even use the service to sell textbooks as well. According to the main search page…students who have used the service have saved over 80% on average buying textbooks. That’s a lot of savings when you normally have to spend hundreds of dollars on books every semester… TUN’s textbook search engine even scours other sites for finding and buying cheap textbooks; like Amazon, Chegg, and Abe Books.”

After typing in the book title, you get a list of editions. For example, when I entered Pride and Prejudice, which I had to read for two separate English courses, TUN listed an annotated version, several versions with different forewords (which are occasionally studied in the classroom as well) and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. After you select an edition, you are brought to the results, laid out with shipping and total prices. A handy tool for students who leave themselves enough time to order their books ahead of the beginning of the class.

Chelsea Kerwin, August 27, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Yammer Improvements and Changes on the Horizon

August 27, 2015

A few years ago, Yammer was an integral part of SharePoint’s marketing campaign as they sought to persuade users that they were moving toward a focus on social. With the upcoming release of SharePoint 2016, social is still important, although it feels less forced and more natural this time around. There will be changes to Yammer and Redmond Magazine covers it in their article, “Microsoft Announces Yammer Improvements To Come While Deprecating Some Yammer SharePoint Apps.”

The article says:

“Microsoft announced this week that it is working on a more team-oriented Yammer, and it will be bringing along some mobile app improvements, too. Yammer is Microsoft’s enterprise-grade social networking application that’s part of some Office 365 subscription plans. Yammer can be used as a standalone service, but it’s also used with SharePoint Server products and SharePoint Online implementations.”

To stay current on what else may change with the release of SharePoint Server 2016, stay tuned to ArnoldIT.com. Stephen E. Arnold is an expert on search and the enterprise. His dedicated SharePoint feed is a great way to stay up to date on the latest new surrounding SharePoint.

Emily Rae Aldridge, August 27, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

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