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The PurePower Geared Turbofan Little Engine That Could

October 29, 2015

The article on Bloomberg Business titled The Little Gear That Could Reshape the Jet Engine conveys the 30 year history of Pratt & Whitney’s new PurePower Geared Turbofan aircraft engines. These are impressive machines, they burn less fuel, pollute less, and produce 75% less noise. But thirty years in the making? The article explains,

“In Pratt’s case, it required the cooperation of hundreds of engineers across the company, a $10 billion investment commitment from management, and, above all, the buy-in of aircraft makers and airlines, which had to be convinced that the engine would be both safe and durable. “It’s the antithesis of a Silicon Valley innovation,” says Alan Epstein, a retired MIT professor who is the company’s vice president for technology and the environment. “The Silicon Valley guys seem to have the attention span of 3-year-olds.”

It is difficult to imagine what, if anything, “Silicon Valley guys” might develop if they spent three decades researching, collaborating, and testing a single project. Even more so because of the planned obsalesence of their typical products seeming to speed up every year. In the case of this engine, the article suggests that the time spent has positives and negatives for the company- certain opportunities with big clients were lost along the way, but the dedicated effort also attracted new clients.

Chelsea Kerwin, October 29, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


RAVN Pipeline Coupled with ElasticSearch to Improve Indexing Capabilities

October 28, 2015

The article on PR Newswire titled RAVN Systems Releases its Enterprise Search Indexing Platform, RAVN Pipeline, to Ingest Enterprise Content Into ElasticSearch unpacks the decision to improve the ElasticSearch platform by supplying the indexing platform of the RAVN Pipeline. RAVN Systems is a UK company with expertise in processing unstructured data founded by consultants and developers. Their stated goal is to discover new lands in the world of information technology. The article states,

“RAVN Pipeline delivers a platform approach to all your Extraction, Transformation and Load (ETL) needs. A wide variety of source repositories including, but not limited to, File systems, e-mail systems, DMS platforms, CRM systems and hosted platforms can be connected while maintaining document level security when indexing the content into Elasticsearch. Also, compressed archives and other complex data types are supported out of the box, with the ability to retain nested hierarchical structures.”

The added indexing ability is very important, especially for users trying to index from from or into cloud-based repositories. Even a single instance of any type of data can be indexed with the Pipeline, which also enriches data during indexing with auto-tagging and classifications. The article also promises that non-specialists (by which I assume they mean people) will be able to use the new systems due to their being GUI driven and intuitive.

Chelsea Kerwin, October 28, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


EasyAsk Crowdfunder Campaign

October 27, 2015

In June 2015, EasyAsk kicked off a program to elicit investment funds. The EasyAsk approach is not one I usually see in the search and content processing sector.

Mobile Commerce Company EasyAsk Seeks $2.5M on Crowdfunder” reported:

With over 400 pre-eminent customers already under their belt, EasyAsk has a proven track record of providing this valuable service to companies including The North Face, JJill and others, and is looking to expand its reach into an even broader base. EasyAsk, ranked just behind Oracle and Adobe in e-commerce search, has committed to dedicating sales and marketing resources on the Magento and IBM WebSphere platforms, to attract retailers and engage partners to ensure a high growth and return on investment for our investors.

A quick check of the EasyAsk News Web page did not include any information about the Crowdfunder campaign. I noted that the most recent news posts was a June 5, 2015, announcement that Tacoma Screw Products, an EasyAsk customer, was nominated for an Internet Retailer Excellence Aware.

With the economic pressures building across the search and content processing sector, we will keep you posted on EasyAsk’s trajectory.

Stephen E Arnold, October 27, 2015

The Lack of Digital Diversity

October 27, 2015

Tech companies and their products run our lives. Companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft have made it impossible to function in developed nations without them.  They have taken over everything from communication to how we entertain ourselves.  While these companies offer a variety of different products and services, they are more similar than different.  The Verge explains that “Apple, Google, And Microsoft Are All Solving The Same Problem.”

Google, Apple, and Microsoft are offering similar services and products in their present options with zero to little diversity among them.  For example, there are the personal assistants Cortana vs. Google Now vs. Siri, options for entertainment in the car like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and seamless accessibility across devices with Chrome browser, Continuity, and Continuum.  There are more comparisons between the three tech giants and their business plans for the future, but it is not only them.  Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are starting to resemble each other more too.

Technology companies have borrowed from each and have had healthy competition for years spurring more innovation, but these companies are operating on such similar principles that it is stifling creativity and startups are taking more risks:

“Without the dual pressures of both the consumer and the stock market, and without a historic reputation to uphold, small startups are now the best engine for generating truly new and groundbreaking innovations. Uber and Airbnb are fundamentally altering the economics of renting things, while hardware designers like Pebble and Oculus are inventing cool new technology that isn’t bound to any particular company’s ecosystem. Startups can see a broader range of problems to address because they don’t have to wear the same economic blinkers as established, monolithic companies.”

The article ends on positive thoughts, however.  The present is beating along at a consistent pace, but in order to have more diversity companies should not be copying each other on every little item.  Tech companies should borrow ideas from the future to create more original ideas.

Whitney Grace, October 27, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Apple May Open up on Open Source

October 27, 2015

Is Apple ready to openly embrace open source? MacRumors reports, “Apple Building Unified Cloud Platform for iCloud, iTunes, Siri and More.” Writer Joe Rossignol cites a new report from the Information that indicates the famously secret company may be opening up to keep up with the cloudy times. He writes:

“The new platform is based on Siri, which itself is powered by open source infrastructure software called Mesos on the backend, according to the report. Apple is reportedly placing more emphasis on open source software in an attempt to attract open source engineers that can help improve its web services, but it remains to be seen how far the company shifts away from its deep culture of secrecy.

“The paywalled report explains how Apple is slowly embracing the open source community and becoming more transparent about its open source projects. It also lists some of the open source technologies that Apple uses, including Hadoop, HBase, Elasticsearch, Reak, Kafka, Azkaban and Voldemort.”

Rossignol goes on to note that, according to Bloomberg, Apple is working on a high-speed content delivery network and upgrading data centers to better compete with its rivals in the cloud, like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Will adjusting its stance on open-source allow it to keep up?

Cynthia Murrell, October 27, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

The Alphabet Google Thing with Yahoo

October 26, 2015

The Xoogler, Marissa Mayer, has embraced the Alphabet Google thing.


Nah, a need to generate some real revenue. The Alphabet Google thing has Yahooligans in its thrall. Microsoft? Well, who knows? An outsider to the Googlers again it appears.

I read “Yahoo Signs Ad Pact with Google; Earnings and Revenue Miss.” The Yahoo financial picture is no longer fuzzy. I see the crisp, clear lines of the sharp revenue downturn. According to the write up:

Mayer, in her fourth year as chief executive, said the forecast was “not indicative of the performance we want.” “We are also experiencing continued revenue headwinds in our core (advertising) business, especially in the legacy portions,” Mayer said on a call with analysts.

I like the “we” and the “headwinds.”

With AOL in the pride of the Verizon lion king, Yahoo may need more than a deal with the Alphabet Google thing to deal with the financial storm. The questions I have include:

  • When will an acceptable purchaser of Yahoo surface?
  • What line of business at Yahoo will the leader of the pack identify as the growth engine?
  • What steps can be taken to produce organic revenue from the most promising Yahoo businesses?

The answers to these questions may be spelled out in the months ahead.

Stephen E Arnold, October 26, 2015


Beyond LinkedIn

October 26, 2015

Though LinkedIn remains the largest professional networking site, it may be time to augment its hobnobbing potential with one or more others. Search Engine Journal gives us many to choose from in “12 Professional Networking Alternatives to LinkedIn.” Like LinkedIn, some are free, but others offer special features for a fee. Some even focus on local connections. Reporter Albert Costill writes:

“While LinkedIn has proven to be an incredible assist for anyone looking to make professional connections or find employment, there have been some concerns. For starters, the company has been forced to reduce the number of emails it sends out because of complaints. There have also been allegations of the company hacking into member’s emails and a concern that activity on LinkedIn groups are declining.

“That doesn’t mean that you should give up on LinkedIn. Despite any concerns with the network, it still remains one of the best locations to network professionally. It just means that in addition to LinkedIn you should also start networking on other professional sites to cast that wide net that was previously mentioned. I previously shared eight alternatives to LinkedIn like Twylah, Opprtunity, PartnerUp, VisualCV, Meetup, Zerply, AngelList, and BranchOut, but here are twelve more networking sites that you should also consider using in no particular order.”

So between Costill’s lists, there are 20 sites to check out. A few notable entries from this second list: Makerbase is specifically for software creators, and is free to any Twitter users; LunchMeet connects LinkedIn users who would like to network over lunch; Plaxo automatically keeps your cloud-based contact list up-to-date; and the European Xing is the place to go for a job overseas. See the article for many more network-boosting options.


Cynthia Murrell, October 26,  2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Maginfo: An Unlisted Enterprise Search Video

October 25, 2015

Somehow a link to a video found its way to me. The video is produced by Maginfo. You may or may not be able to view the program at this link. The content of the video was familiar to me. I did not know about Maginfo.

Some highlights:

  • The company has a blog post which points to the unlisted video. You can check out that link only blog post at this link.
  • Maginfo says it is “a leading provider of technology development services and solutions to small, medium, and large enterprises.”
  • The company is a consulting firm in Boulder, Colorado, and it has been in business since 2001, presumably working in the search and retrieval field for search vendor Inforbix (now a mostly invisible unit of Autodesk) and Systap.
  • The company has a semantic technologies capability.

I learned that Maginfo has identified five ways can drive a firm’s competitive advantage; to wit:

  1. Save time. This benefit is one of those specious assertions based on a pulled-from-the-air consulting reports about how finding information takes time. Yep, with search systems delivering lousy precision and recall, locating information to answer a specific question often takes time.
  2. Get maximum value from existing resources. I assume this means digital content in an organization. The notion of “maximum value” begs the question, “What is value?” No explanation of the benefit has been provided to me after decades of prodding search marketers to explain the “value” of search and retrieval.
  3. Improve productive of all workers. Yikes, another categorical statement. I have a number of workers involved in my research and publishing activities. One of the workers sprays my office every eight weeks to keep insects in Harrod’s Creek at bay. I am not sure information search is going to make Irving more productivity. But there is that silly “all” assertion. One exception. Poof. There goes the argument.
  4. Improve customer support and lower associated cost. Really? I am not sure how much more cost cutting outfits offering customer service can do. If there are costs to be reduced, I am not sure search and retrieval will be the drum major for the band and the parade. A Weebly Web site and no inbound phone number coupled with an will do the trick.
  5. Improve support for telecommuters. I am on record saying that telework cannot proceed unless the worker can locate the digital object upon which one works. However, enterprise search may not do the trick; for example, for certain legal activities, the “content” will not be included in an enterprise search system. If the workers on site and off premises are engaged in a work task which is classified, my hunch is that the enterprise search system may be the last place the workers want the content.

If you want more information about Maginfo, navigate to the firm’s Web site at A fellow named Darren says, “Maginfo has been a  joy to work with.” Darren appears to have hired Maginfo to work on a social network with artificial intelligence. No word about search from Darren. Did I mention that Darren found Maginfo a joy. To me, this suggests that Maginfo’s competitors are not a joy. I have no information about what other search consultants’ joy factor is. Maybe someday.

Stephen E Arnold, October 25, 2015

Binging in the Rain. It Is a Wonderful Feeling

October 23, 2015

I read “Microsoft’s Bing Search Business Finally Is Profitable.” The question is, “Will it remain a money spinner for Microsoft?” Bing became available to those seeking an alternative to the Google in 2009. The history of Microsoft Web search reaches farther back in time. Remember MSN Search circa 1998. I do. I wonder if Microsoft’s financial wizards have included the costs of Microsoft’s Web search activities from 1998 to the present. Probably not. The reason is that the fully loaded costs plus any other financial odds and ends like the cost of money or opportunity would give the CPAs headaches. Bad headaches.

According to the super wonderfully positive write up:

Microsoft isn’t simply relying on Yahoo to grow Bing and search, however. Microsoft has been building Bing into more and more of its products over time.Microsoft officials said during its October 21 first quarter FY 2016 report that its search revenue, excluding traffic-acquisition costs, grew 29 percent, driven by higher revenue per search and search volume.

This is a nice way of saying that we can put a nice spin on this Bing thing. I immediately thought of the hit Singing in the Rain and the lyrics:

So dark up above
The sun’s in my heart
And I’m ready for love
Let the stormy clouds chase
Everyone from the place
Come on with the rain
I’ve a smile on my face

Yes, happy. Will the Jive Aces, the hit musical act, not the Microsoft cheerleaders get a contract to do the music video for this wonderful news?

The loss of the Yahoo almost exclusive for search, the use of Baidu for search results in China, and the deal with Yandex suggest that Bing may be drifting from its Microsofty technology roots. That is actually okay.

Bing’s index consistently seems to omit results which I can locate in lesser beasts, including Qwant and

I noted this passage as well:

Microsoft has been working to streamline its search and advertising business business for months.

The Bing search system is now an information access portal. Search is important, but the wrappers now differentiate information retrieval from information access. Will the revenues from the new Bing payback previous investments in search? Ask a Microsoft accountant.

Stephen E Arnold, October 28, 2015

Xendo, Can Do

October 23, 2015

While it would be lovely to access and find all important documents, emails, and Web sites within a couple clicks, users usually have to access several programs or individual files to locate their information.  Stark Industries wanted users to have the power of Google search engine without compromising their personal security.  Xendo is a private, personal search engine that connects with various services, including email servers, social media account, clouds, newsfeeds, and more.

Once all the desired user accounts are connected to Xendo, the search engine indexes all the files within the services.  The index is encrypted, so it securely processes them.  After the indexing is finished, Xendo will search through all the files and return search results displaying the content and service types related to inputted keywords.  Xendo promises that:

“After your initial index is built, Xendo automatically keeps it up-to-date by adding, removing and updating content as it changes. Xendo automatically updates your index to reflect role and permission changes in each of your connected services. Xendo is hosted in some of the most secure data-centers in the world and uses multiple layers of security to ensure your data is secured in transit and at rest, like it’s in a bank vault.”

Basic Xendo search is free for individual users with payments required for upgrades.  The basic search offers deep search, unlimited access, and unlimited content, while the other plans offer more search options based on subscription.  Xendo can be deployed for enterprise systems, but it requires a personalized quote.

Whitney Grace, October 23, 2015
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

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