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Lexmark: The Former IBM Printer Unit Prints Pink Slips

July 22, 2015

I live in rural Kentucky. Hopefully the layoffs at Lexmark will not cause new trailers to appear adjacent my property and my spiffy Clayton mobile castle.

I read “Lexmark Announces 500 Layoffs Worldwide as Revenue, Earnings Are Flat.” I know that the Lexington, Kentucky based company is trying. The firm is nosing into healthcare. The company is building facilities to cater to the new work force.

Lexmark is even nosing into the search and content processing sector which interests me. I don’t pay much attention to printers. My Lexmark laser went to the local thrift shop a decade ago. Come to think of it. I just create PDFs. I assume that other people find that printers are no longer must-have devices.

Lexmark splashed some cash for search and content processing companies. The firm bought the quite wrinkled and aged search technology founded by Ian Davies in 1988. That works out to more than a quarter century ago. Lexmark bought the Brainware technology, which is based on a rather nifty concept of trigrams. When content is processed with the trigram numerical sausage machine, it becomes easy to match the patterns. The higher the pattern overlap percentage, the more likely the documents are about the same thing. At least, that’s the idea as I understand the explanation given to me face to face before the deal went down. Lexmark also snagged Kofax, which itself had purchased Kapow, an outfit into the normalization of content and some other “interesting” functions.

Lexmark is a sponsor of the Bluegrass Disc Golf Association competition to be held in August 2015. This is an event of note in these here parts.

When I learned about these deals in 2012 and the 2015 Kofax purchase, I realized that Lexmark was emulating the thinking at two other companies. Hewlett Packard bought Autonomy in the hopes of riding a revenue rocket. I still marvel at the shallowness of HP’s understanding of how Autonomy grew to $700 million in revenue in 15 agonizing years of effort and perspiration. But HP caught spreadsheet fever and has not yet recovered. IBM allegedly bet $1 billion that Lucene, home grown code, and acquired technology could create a computing revolution. IBM touts the cognitive revolution at the same time it reports its 13th quarterly decline in revenues. I learned today that IBM is pushing the cooking angle via a partnership with Welltok.

Lexmark, I submit, did the same thing: Looked at search and decided, “Our management team can make more money that these acquired outfits ever did.” The result is that Lexmark is probably: [a] Doomed to suffer cash outlays in order to keep the search and content processing systems current with alternative software; [b] going to struggle to develop organic revenue streams which deliver profits to stakeholders, and [c] reposition itself the way Sprylogics has. As you may know, Sprylogics shifted from an intelligence oriented content processing system to a mobile fantasy sports app.

I have to stop now. I hear the sound of a four wheel drive’s wheels slipping. Yikes. Someone is putting a 2006 Fleetwood 14×70 across the pond from my Clayton. One of the people is wearing what looks like a Lexmark disc golf logo on a T shirt.

Stephen E Arnold, July 23, 2015

When Today Is Not As Good As Yesterday: Two Google Signals

July 21, 2015

Two Google items snagged my attention. The first is the new that a Xoogler has returned to Googzilla’s nest. The story was “The Soul of Google’: What the Return of Omid Kordestani Says About the Mountain View Monolith.” I interpreted this to suggest that Google has been operating without “soul” for five years.

According to the write up:

A year ago last week, CEO Larry Page brought him back to the position he birthed at Google, installing him permanently in October. Kordestani had come back to a very different Google. Revenue growth, once soaring, had started to flatten, and Google had suffered some embarrassing product setbacks. Wall Street was drumming louder about wasted funds on so-called moon shot projects such as Project Loon — its Internet-giving balloons — and Glass. More critically, Google faced rising criticism that its bloated size and insular leadership was stifling its ability to innovate. It risked becoming Microsoft.

Google is not Microsoft. Microsoft has its own demons and a unique fingerprint. Microsoft generates revenue from several different product and service lines. Google has one source of revenue: online advertising. Big difference in my opinion. The monoculture thing can endanger bananas and the GOOG. Charm may not work when parasites chip away at a monoculture.

The second item was “Silicon Valley’s Biggest Companies Take Samsung’s Side in Apple Patent Fight.” When you cannot innovate, litigate. I heard that mantra a number of times before I retired to my rocking chair in rural Kentucky.

For me these two stories point to a significant challenge Google faces. The company is fresh from a Wall Street home run. But are Wall Street home runs a one in four play? Google is not batting 1000 in the diversification of revenue department. The idea that a number of big companies are ganging up on the much loved, though slightly off center Apple outfit strikes me as a sign of weakness, not strength. What MMA fighter sends a lawyer into the octagon.

The message of Thomas Wolfe’s novel written in the 1930s seems clear, no matter what that wild and crazy Dr. Ed Chapman told me and my classmates: There is hope when you return home.

I am not so sure. Home and a return home are two different things. The return occurs with a flock of legal eagles and a vastly different online landscape. Search is different too. Relevance is still on vacation.

Stephen E Arnold, July 21, 2015

SharePoint Expert Rehmani Talks SharePoint 2016

July 21, 2015

There is enough news regarding the upcoming SharePoint Server 2016 release to keep every tech writer busy around the clock. Users are crafting expectations and experts are analyzing the little bits of pieces that have become known. Now a known expert, Asif Rehmani, is weighing in with his early assessment. Read more in the Redmond article, “Microsoft MVP Talks SharePoint 2016, Deprecated InfoPath and Getting Help.”

The article begins:

“Microsoft plans to improve usability aspects with its forthcoming SharePoint Server 2016 product, but people still will need help when it arrives. And that’s where Asif Rehmani comes into play. He’s tracked SharePoint from the beginning as a lecturer, educator and trainer and is a nine-year Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for SharePoint.”

The article goes on to discuss some of Rehmani’s thoughts on the upcoming release, including user expectations and how the cloud will integrate into the new version. Stephen E. Arnold is another expert who has his eye on the latest SharePoint news. He reports his findings in an easy to follow format on his Web service, ArnoldIT.com. In fact, his SharePoint feed is one of the go-to destinations for SharePoint tips and tricks on the Web.

Emily Rae Aldridge, July 21, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Whither IHS Goldfire Search

July 18, 2015

Short honk: I followed the Invention Machine for a while years ago. Developed to display systems and methods which could solve a problem, the Invention Machine was acquired by IHS, a Swiss Army Knife outfit.

The company made a push for Goldfire, the Invention Machine packaged as an enterprise search solution, a couple of years ago.

Curious about its market position?’

I navigated to the Goldfire blog and saw that 13 months have elapsed since the last post. That article was “Unlock Corporate Knowledge to Avoid Repeating Past Mistakes.”

The post stated:

Have you invested a lot of time, effort and money in file management systems yet still can’t find relevant engineering answers?

Good question. Perhaps IHS has come to understand that finding revenues from patent-centric technology can be tricky. On the other hand, the company’s revenues from search may be so massive that IHS does not have time to update its blog.

The individual whom I understood was one of the leaders of the IHS search pack is, according to LinkedIn, responsible for Virgil Visions, which is an independent video company, which according to Vimeo is owned by Mr. Belfiore. I could not determine who the IHS top search boss is. Use the comments section to help fill my addled goose’s brain.

Is IHS another in the long line of non search oriented outfits to gain access to information not available before it owned a search system?

Stephen E Arnold, July 18, 2015

dtSearch and Encrypted PDFs

July 18, 2015

Short honk: The Little Engine That Could information access system is dtSearch. Long a fave with Microsoft centric folks looking for an alternative for keyword search, dtSearch has added some oomph. “New dtSearch Release Enhances Support for Encrypted PDFs.” According to the write up:

The release expands these document filters to directly support a broader range of encrypted PDFs, covering PDF files encrypted with an owner password up to 128-bit RC4 and 128-bit and 256-bit AES.

For more information about what can be processed, navigate to www.dtsearch.com.

Stephen E Arnold, July 18, 2015

Short Honk: Open Semantic Search Appliance

July 17, 2015

Several people have asked me about Open Semantic Search. I sent a couple of emails to the professional identified on the DNS record as the contact point. No response yet from our inquiry emails, but this is not unusual. People are so darned busy today.

The Open Semantic Search organization is offering an open semantic search appliance. The appliance is not a box like the much loved Google Search Appliance or the Maxxcat solutions. The appliance is virtual.

The explanation of the  data enriching system is located at this link. The resources required are modest and based on the information I scanned, the open semantic search appliance is a solution to many information access woes.

I will be able to search, explore, and analyze. Give the system a whirl. We will add it to our list of tasks. We assume it will present the same exciting challenges as other Lucene/Solr solutions. The addition of semantics will add a new wrinkle or two.

If you are into semantics and open source, the system may be for you.

Stephen E Arnold, July 17, 2015

Google Patent Search: Wake Up Call for Derwent and TotalPatent

July 17, 2015

Patent documents are not something that high school students read. To be more accurate, patent documents are confections of legalese and engineering incantations read by those [a] paid to read them or [b] folks who have a dog in the fight.

The Google was not into patents in its Backrub days. That changed over time. Now the Google is inventing its way to a Great Wall of China patent fence.

Along the way, the Google hit upon the idea that some patent documents could be scanned and made searchable. The public version of the service became available in 2006. You can explore the collection at Google Patent Search.

After nine years of Google style evolution, the system includes US, European, and World Intellectual Property Organization documents.

The system returns results without ads. I ran a query for Sergey Bring and received this list of results. I noticed that some documents do not show a thumbnail of the document image. In my experience, some functions work; others do not. Glitch or feature?

I read “Google’s New, Simplified Patent Search Now Integrates Prior Art And Google Scholar.”

The write up points out that Google Patents includes information germane to the user’s query from Google Scholar and “results of Prior Art.” I read:

The idea is that the new patent search will be easier to use both by experts in the field as well as the general public to look for patents and related materials. Given the rising interest in safeguarding IP among developers and founders who may have never had to consider patents much before, this could prove to be especially useful.

When I click on a patent, I see additional options:

image

The “find prior art” button displays:

image

The service is likely to get some tire kicking by those interested in patents.

My take on the new service is that the Google may have an opportunity to generate some fresh revenues.

Patent searches conducted on the for fee services from Thomson Reuters and Reed Elsevier can be expensive. There are also some useful “free” services such as FreePatentsOnline.com.

The Google with a bit of effort can add some bells and whistles and charge for them. For the “free” crowd, the Google can continue to integrate open source content, not just books and references to scholarly literature. Prior art often has a generous embrace.

For the for fee crowd, the Google can add the types of entity functions, among other advanced features, that the for fee services offer.

In short, the Google may be looking at the hundreds of millions of revenue available from those with a must have motivation and add some functions that make advertisers sit up and take notice. Maybe the USPTO would consider the Google as a source for its search technology.

I see this development as an important one because the GOOG can make some waves in a market most humans know little about. Think of the ads the Google can run for student debt advice.

My question remains, “Why has Google been so slow to take advantage of market niches in which complacent competitors and providers of free services have been slow to innovate?”

Stephen E Arnold, July 17, 2015

On Embedding Valuable Outside Links

July 17, 2015

If media websites take this suggestion from an article at Monday Note, titled “How Linking to Knowledge Could Boost News Media,” there will be no need to search; we’ll just follow the yellow brick links. Writer Frederic Filloux laments the current state of affairs, wherein websites mostly link to internal content, and describes how embedded links could be much, much more valuable. He describes:

“Now picture this: A hypothetical big-issue story about GE’s strategic climate change thinking, published in the Wall Street Journal, the FT, or in The Atlantic, suddenly opens to a vast web of knowledge. The text (along with graphics, videos, etc.) provided by the news media staff, is amplified by access to three books on global warming, two Ted Talks, several databases containing references to places and people mentioned in the story, an academic paper from Knowledge@Wharton, a MOOC from Coursera, a survey from a Scandinavian research institute, a National Geographic documentary, etc. Since (supposedly), all of the above is semanticized and speaks the same lingua franca as the original journalistic content, the process is largely automatized.”

Filloux posits that such a trend would be valuable not only for today’s Web surfers, but also for future historians and researchers. He cites recent work by a couple of French scholars, Fabian Suchanek and Nicoleta Preda, who have been looking into what they call “Semantic Culturonomics,” defined as “a paradigm that uses semantic knowledge bases in order to give meaning to textual corpora such as news and social media.” Web media that keeps this paradigm in mind will wildly surpass newspapers in the role of contemporary historical documentation, because good outside links will greatly enrich the content.

Before this vision becomes reality, though, media websites must be convinced that linking to valuable content outside their site is worth the risk that users will wander away. The write-up insists that a reputation for providing valuable outside links will more than make up for any amount of such drifting visitors. We’ll see whether media sites agree.

Cynthia Murrell, July 17, 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

 

Tips for Enterprise Search Vendors When They Disappoint Their Venture Pals

July 16, 2015

The video is not about enterprise search vendors. But I found the video via a recommendation from a person who spends endless hours with a dragline for odd ball management advice.

I clicked on the link to “Disappoint Someone.” The video is interesting because it provides the sort of advice that is guaranteed to create some excitement combined with consternation.

The video omits one tip which I have found helpful now that I am retired.

Make a video and send the person whom you wish to disappoint a link.

Works really well, but if you are into the face to face thing with funders who want revenue and profits now. Go for it.

I assumed the creator of the video would have included this tip. Their video delivered the goods for me.

Stephen E Arnold, July 16, 2015

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