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Deep Learning: Concepts Are Difficult

February 4, 2015

Quote to note: I read “Google Brain’s Co-Inventor Tells Why He’s Building Chinese Neural Networks.”

Here’s the quote I noted:

Deep learning algorithms are very good at one thing today: learning input and mapping it to an output. X to Y. Learning concepts is going to be hard.

I support research projects. I don’t support marketers who ignore fact for hype. Also, note, that the co-inventor Andrew Ng jumped from Google to Baidu. The human brain can figure out compensation and opportunity I suggest.

Stephen E Arnold, February 3, 2015

Quote to Note: Julian Assange about Larry Page (Google)

September 28, 2014

I read “Julian Assange Makes digs at Google’s Eric Schmidt.”

Here’s the quote I noted:

“[Co-founder] Larry Page is an apolitical genius,” Assange admitted. “His ambition is a megalomaniacal ambition, but it’s the same ambition that many CEOs have, which is just to make Google as big as possible . . . [Page] is constructing this giant machine . . . but it has no color. It’s like white rice . . . and it will adapt to any flavor put on it.”

I don’t agree. Mr. Page is worried about money. Yep, I know that sounds crazy. Also, there seems to be some tension related to Google from some corners of the world, not Harrod’s Creek, of course.

Stephen E Arnold, September 28, 2014

Quote to Note: From the SEO World about Google and News Corp.

September 26, 2014

I tucked this paragraph in my keepers’ file:

Yes, there’s plenty Google does that raises concerns. The growth in showing direct answers taken from other sites, the inability for people to understand if they were hit by an automatic penalty, the failure to update some of its automatic filtering systems in a timely manner are some of these. And Google deserves criticism over them. But News Corp has a long history of lashing out at Google in ways that exaggerate some concerns way beyond reality. For a media giant that could take a real leadership role, its latest more-of-the-same letter is a disappointment.

The source is “Dear News Corp & Google: An Open Letter On Their Open Letters To Each Other Over Competition.” I find this fascinating for three reasons:

First, I chuckled with the notion that search engine optimization helps explain the actions of two hyper capitalist operations. (SEO is one business focused squarely on manipulating precision and recall when one runs a search. Hey, this is the brave new world of search. The customer’s information need is secondary to sizzle and ad revenue.)

Second, the squabbling of actual / would be monopolists is a reprise of the Vanderbilt – Gould dust ups. Does anyone remember what happened? The fellows teamed up. Could this happen again?

Third, both companies take a dim view of nation states’ strictures unless it is to their advantage. The approach is, it seems, situational. However, when a government can disadvantage another operation, the law is truth and beauty.

Stephen  E Arnold, September 26, 2014

Quote to Note: Radio Shack and Focus

September 17, 2014

Navigate to “History of Misses for Radio Shack.” Hurry. I have no idea how long the source document will remain online. The write up is a business school type paper that explains why Radio Shack is essential running out of oxygen.

Here’s the quote I noted:

RadioShack tried many paths. But going in all directions without a full commitment is not enough, particularly when the core brand is not sustained. RadioShack has branded itself well but it led itself too far from its strengths.

Remind you of any large companies in the online business? If you buy enough race horses, one of them is going to win. At least that’s the theory that motivates some folks.

Stephen E Arnold, September 17, 2014

Quote to Note: HP and Autonomy

August 5, 2014

I read “HP and Autonomy Bitter Battle.” I found the write up interesting, but I remember my high school Latin teacher offering some phrases to learn. One of them was caveat emptor. According to the Cornell Law Web site, the catchphrase put shoppers on alert when prowling the more interesting shops in 2nd century BCE Rome.  The translation which even aspiring and real lawyers learn is:

Let the buyer beware.

The BBC article is less evocative than Milton’s reference to a blue mantle, but it did contain one quote to note for my collection. After explaining the $11 billion deal, the story offers:

The two sides have been at war since HP had to write off most of the purchase price in what now looks like one of the worst deals in corporate history.

I fancy the superlative. The BBC’s position is clearly stated:

What is far from clear amidst the claim and counter claim is whether Autonomy did break any accounting rules in the run up to its sale to HP – and if so, why that was not spotted in the process of due diligence which is a key part of any such deal.

There was one Autonomy when the deal was closed. Prior to the purchase, there were many HP directors, officers, and accountants going over the deal.

I know that Mike Lynch is a pretty bright guy, but was he smart enough to outwit so many folks with green eyeshades, MBAs, and HP calculators?

I have a modest question racing through my mind:

Who was on the HP Board of Directors when the deal was approved?

I may look up the names of this roster of business and technical luminaries some day. I wonder if Meg Whitman recalls who gave the green light for the biggest deal in enterprise search and content processing history?

Even the relatively swift Microsoft paid $1.2 billion for a search company that subsequently was found to have done some fancy dancing with its revenues. HP’s team paid 10 times as much and has become a business school case study for “what now looks like one of the worst deals in corporate history.”

Yikes. Enron displaced?

Stephen E Arnold, August 5, 2014

SharePoint Search: A Very Positive View

March 25, 2014

Navigate to “Dump the File Server: Why We Moved to the SharePoint Online Cloud.” Tucked deep in the bowels of the rosy tipped discussion of Microsoft’s cloud services is this statement:

And the search power in SharePoint is disgustingly accurate, providing the accuracy and file previews that we were used to on Google Drive.

I like that “disgustingly accurate.” Sounds objective to me. Much more meaningful than such silliness as relevance, precision, and recall.

Stephen E Arnold, March 25, 2014

Quote to Note: Big Data from a Xoogler Angle

March 24, 2014

Tucked deep into the Wall Street Journal’s stunning analysis of Big Data was a gem. Here’s the quote, allegedly made by Zest Finance’s big data dog, Douglas Merrill. This Xoogler is quoted in “Big Data Weird Data” as stating:

Machine learning isn’t replacing people.

Interesting. Many professionals at the Dubai intelligence conference in March 2014 were asserting that whizzy new systems worked without having to depend on humans.

Read the entire article in the Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2014, page R 5. It’s online but you may have to pay. Humans can be expensive when asked to do work like report on the underbelly of Big Data.

One question: I thought Google had figured out the automatic thinking thing. Is a disenchanted Googler not getting with the smart data program?

Stephen E Arnold, March 24, 2014

Quote to Note from News Corp. Executive

May 27, 2013

My New York Times arrived late in Harrod’s Creek, Kentucky today. I did read “News Corp. Says It Was Not Told of Subpoena for Reporter’s Phone Records.” You may be able to find the story online. The hard copy in my had ran the item on Page B3.

I don’t know too much about News Corp. I recall that the firm had some push back with regard to allegedly improper access to some folks’ telephone messages. I also know that the company is planning on splitting into different parts. I am not sure if Fox News is journalism like the Wall Street Journal or TV like the “great wasteland.”

Here’s the quote I circled:

In e-mail to employees on Thursday, Roger Ailes, chairman and chief executive of Fox News, rejected the validity of the investigation, “We will not allow a climate of press intimidation, unseen since the McCarthy era, to frighten any of us away from the truth,”Mr. Ailes said.

Fascinating stuff. Invocation of McCarthy, a reference to intimidation by the US government, and the truth. I wonder how “truth” factors into the information in the NPR story at

Stephen E Arnold, May 27, 2013

Quote to Note: Craziness about Facebook Search

January 29, 2013

Here’s a quote to note. I don’t want to lose this puppy. I spotted it in the dead tree edition of the New York Times. The location of this notable phrase is the business section, page B 7. The story containing the quote is “Facebook’s Search Had to Go Beyond Robospeak.” The story explains the wonderfulness of Facebook’s beta search system. We love Facebook search. How could the company possibly improve on a graph surfing system which blocks outfits like Yandex from indexing content. No way. Anyway, here’s the quote:

Letting users talk with a computer on their own terms.

Oh, baby. Do I love this type of insightful comment about search and retrieval. I was not aware that I was able to talk with Facebook, but what do I know. Even better I live the idea of doing the talking on my own terms.

How interesting is this statement about letting users talk with a computer? Beyond interesting. The statement ventures into the fantasyland of every person who watched and confused Star Trek, Star Wars, and Mary had a little lamb.

A keeper.

Stephen E Arnold, January 29, 2013

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A Nokia Quote to Note about Google

January 24, 2013

I read “Nokia CEO Stephen Elop: Google Is Making Its Open Ecosystem More Closed.” I was not surprised at Nokia’s suggestion. What I noted was this alleged quotation:

“The situation that Android is facing, where the amount of fragmentation that you’re seeing is increasing as people take it in different directions, is of course offset by Google’s efforts to turn an open ecosystem into something that’s quite a bit more closed as you’ve seen quite recently.

Who cares? Maybe Samsung? What if Samsung goes its own direction with mobile operating systems? Impossible? Absolutely. Why would Samsung surf on Android and then want to do its own thing? Crazy?

Stephen E Arnold, January 24, 2013

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