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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

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

Big Data Vendors Don’t Understand Big Data

August 27, 2015

Sit back and absorb this article’s title for a moment: big data vendors don’t understand big data.  How can IT vendors not understand one of the IT industry’s largest selling products?  According to Computing, “SAP, Oracle, and HP ‘Don’t Get’ Big Data, Claims Massive Analytic Chairman” in a very bold statement.

Executive chairman and founder of the Oscar AP platform George Frangou claims that companies that like Oracle, HP, and SAP do not know how to help their customers take advantage of their big data and are more interested in getting customers hooked into their ecosystems than providing true analytical insight.

One of the reasons Frangou says this is because his Oscar AP is more “advanced” and allows users to foretell the future with various outcomes.  The Oscar AP platform is part of the next round of big data called massive analytics.  HP, Oracle, and SAP cannot wrap their heads around massive analytics yet, because they are more concerned with selling their product.

“Because of this, Frangou said Massive Analytic is ‘quite unashamedly following a displacement strategy to displace the incumbents because they’re not getting it.’  He added that SAP HANA, Oracle Exalytics and HP Haven are essentially the same product because they’re built on the same base code.”

Frangou went on to say that big data customers are spending more money than they need to and are getting sucked into purchasing more products in order to make their big data plans work.  It appears to be a vicious cycle.  Frangou said that cloud analytics are the best option for customers and to go with SAP, although still more barriers remain getting a decent cloud analytics platform off the ground.

It does not come as surprising that big data products are falling short of their promised results.  A similar comparison would be the Windows OS falling well below expected desired performance expectations and users spending way too much time troubleshooting than getting their projects done.

Whitney Grace, August 27, 2015
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

SharePoint May be Last Remaining on Premises Hold Out

August 18, 2015

In conversations surrounding enterprise software, the on-site vs. cloud debate is not a new one. However, it is one that is heating up. Microsoft’s announcements relating to SharePoint Server 2016 and its continued support for on-premises infrastructure definitely stoke the fires of that conversation. CIO takes on the debate in their article, “Why SharePoint is the Last Great On-Premises Application.”

The article begins:

“While it seems like almost every piece of IT is moving to cloud these days, there are still plenty of reasons to keep SharePoint in your server room – where it belongs . . . SharePoint Server is such a sticky product with tentacles everywhere in the enterprise that it may well be the last great on-premises application. Let’s explore why.”

The article goes on to delineate many reasons why on-site is still favored among IT professionals. Only time will tell if the cloud really is able to completely take over, or if the market will demand continued access to on-site solutions. Until the verdict is clear, stay on top of the latest updates on both sides of the aisle with ArnoldIT.com. Stephen E. Arnold is a lifelong leader in search, and his dedicated SharePoint feed is of particular value for SharePoint professionals.

Emily Rae Aldridge, August 18, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Thunderstone Rumbles About Webinator

August 6, 2015

There is nothing more frustrating than being unable to locate a specific piece of information on a Web site when you use its search function.  Search is supposed to be quick, accurate, and efficient.  Even if Google search is employed as a Web site’s search feature, it does not always yield the best results.  Thunderstone is a company that specializes in proprietary software application developed specifically for information management, search, retrieval, and filtering.

Thunderstone has a client list that includes, but not limited to, government agencies, Internet developer, corporations, and online service providers.  The company’s goal is to deliver “product-oriented R&D within the area of advanced information management and retrieval,” which translates to them wanting to help their clients found information very, very fast and as accurately as possible.  It is the premise of most information management companies.  On the company blog it was announced that, “Thunderstone Releases Webinator Web Index And Retrieval System Version 13.”  Webinator makes it easier to integrate high quality search into a Web site and it has several new appealing features:

  • “Query Autocomplete, guides your users to the search they want
  • HTML Highlighting, lets users see the results in the original HTML for better contextual information
  • Expanded XML/SOAP API allows integration of administrative interface”

We like the HTML highlighting that offers users the ability to backtrack and see a page’s original information source. It is very similar to old-fashioned research: go back to the original source to check a fact’s veracity.

Whitney Grace, August 6, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Hey Google Doubters, Burn This into Your Memory

August 6, 2015

It has been speculated that Google would lose its ad profits as mobile search begins to dominate the search market but Quartz tells a different story in the article, “Mobile Isn’t Ruining Google’s Search Business After All.”  Google’s revenue continues to grow, especially with YouTube, but search remains its main earner.

According to the second-quarter earnings, Google earned $12.4 billion in Google Web sites, a $1.5 billion increase from last year.  Google continues to grow on average $1.6 billion per quarter.  Being able to maintain a continuous growth proves that Google is weathering the mobile search market.  Here is some other news, the mobile search revolution is now and not in the future.

“That is, if mobile really was going to squeeze Google’s search advertising business, we probably would have already seen it start by now. Smartphone penetration keeps deepening—with 75% saturation in the US market, according to comScore. And for many top media properties, half of the total audience only visits on mobile, according to a recent comScore report on mobile media consumption.”

There are new actions that could either impede or help Google search, such as deep linking between apps and the Web and predictive information services, but these are still brand new and their full effect has not been determined.

Google refuses to be left behind in the mobile search market and stands to be a main competitor for years to come.

Whitney Grace, August 6, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

Connecting SharePoint with External Data

July 28, 2015

One of the most frequently discussed SharePoint struggles is integrating SharePoint data with existing external data. IT Business Edge has compiled a short slideshow with helpful tips regarding integration, including the possible use of business connectivity services. See all the details in their presentation, “Eight Steps to Connect Office 365/SharePoint Online with External Data.”

The summary states:

“According to Mario Spies, senior strategic consultant at AvePoint, a lot of companies are in the process of moving their SharePoint content from on-premise to Office 365 / SharePoint Online, using tools such as DocAve Migrator from SharePoint 2010 or DocAve Content Manager from SharePoint 2013. In most of these projects, the question arises about how to handle SharePoint external lists connected to data using BDC. The good news is that SharePoint Online also supports Business Connectivity Services.”

To continue to learn more about the tips and tricks of SharePoint connectivity, stay tuned to ArnoldIT.com, particularly the SharePoint feed. Stephen E. Arnold is a lifelong leader in all things search, and his expertise is especially helpful for SharePoint. Users will continue to be interested in data migration and integration, and how things may be easier with the SharePoint 2016 update coming soon.

Emily Rae Aldridge, July 28, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

Hadoop Rounds Up Open Source Goodies

July 17, 2015

Summer time is here and what better way to celebrate the warm weather and fun in the sun than with some fantastic open source tools.  Okay, so you probably will not take your computer to the beach, but if you have a vacation planned one of these tools might help you complete your work faster so you can get closer to that umbrella and cocktail.  Datamation has a great listicle focused on “Hadoop And Big Data: 60 Top Open Source Tools.”

Hadoop is one of the most adopted open source tool to provide big data solutions.  The Hadoop market is expected to be worth $1 billion by 2020 and IBM has dedicated 3,500 employees to develop Apache Spark, part of the Hadoop ecosystem.

As open source is a huge part of the Hadoop landscape, Datamation’s list provides invaluable information on tools that could mean the difference between a successful project and failed one.  Also they could save some extra cash on the IT budget.

“This area has a seen a lot of activity recently, with the launch of many new projects. Many of the most noteworthy projects are managed by the Apache Foundation and are closely related to Hadoop.”

Datamation has maintained this list for a while and they update it from time to time as the industry changes.  The list isn’t sorted on a comparison scale, one being the best, rather they tools are grouped into categories and a short description is given to explain what the tool does. The categories include: Hadoop-related tools, big data analysis platforms and tools, databases and data warehouses, business intelligence, data mining, big data search, programming languages, query engines, and in-memory technology.  There is a tool for nearly every sort of problem that could come up in a Hadoop environment, so the listicle is definitely worth a glance.

Whitney Grace, July 17, 2015
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

Is SharePoint A Knowledge Management Tool

July 9, 2015

One of the biggest questions information experts are asked a lot is, “is SharePoint a knowledge management tool?”  The answer, according to Lucidea, is: it depends.  The answer is vague, but a blog post on Lucidea’s Web site explains why: “But Isn’t SharePoint A KM Application?”

SharePoint’s usefulness is explained in this one quote:

“SharePoint is a very powerful and flexible platform for building all sorts of applications. Many organizations have adopted SharePoint because of its promise to displace all sorts of big and little applications. With SharePoint, IT can learn one framework and build out applications on an as-needed basis, rather than buying and then maintaining 1001 different applications, all with various system requirements, etc. But the key thing is that you need someone to build out the SharePoint platform and actually turn it into a useful application.”

The post cannot stress enough the importance of customizing SharePoint to make it function as a knowledge management tool.  If that was not enough, in order to keep SharePoint working well it needs to continuously be developed.

Lucidea does explain that SharePoint is not a good knowledge management application if you expect it to be implemented in a short time frame, focuses on a single problem, the users improve the system, and can meet immediate knowledge management needs.

The biggest thing to understand is that knowledge management is a process.  There are applications that can take control of immediate knowledge management needs, but for long term the actual terms “knowledge” and “management” need to be defined to get what actually needs to be controlled.

Whitney Grace, July 9, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

MIT Discover Object Recognition

June 23, 2015

MIT did not discover object recognition, but researchers did teach a deep-learning system designed to recognize and classify scenes can also be used to recognize individual objects.  Kurzweil describes the exciting development in the article, “MIT Deep-Learning System Autonomously Learns To Identify Objects.”  The MIT researchers realized that deep-learning could be used for object identification, when they were training a machine to identify scenes.  They complied a library of seven million entries categorized by scenes, when they learned that object recognition and scene-recognition had the possibility of working in tandem.

“ ‘Deep learning works very well, but it’s very hard to understand why it works — what is the internal representation that the network is building,’ says Antonio Torralba, an associate professor of computer science and engineering at MIT and a senior author on the new paper.”

When the deep-learning network was processing scenes, it was fifty percent accurate compared to a human’s eighty percent accuracy.  While the network was busy identifying scenes, at the same time it was learning how to recognize objects as well.  The researchers are still trying to work out the kinks in the deep-learning process and have decided to start over.  They are retraining their networks on the same data sets, but taking a new approach to see how scene and object recognition tie in together or if they go in different directions.

Deep-leaning networks have major ramifications, including the improvement for many industries.  However, will deep-learning be applied to basic search?  Image search still does not work well when you search by an actual image.

Whitney Grace, June 23, 2015
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

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