Web IQ Slumping

November 26, 2014

I read “How Much Do You Know about the Web?” The write up reports that a US research firm discovered that “only 21 percent could identify Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.” This is a surprise? The most interesting point in the write up struck me as:

… College grads are likely to score relatively high on most Pew Research knowledge quizzes, and this one is no exception. Compared to Web users who have not attended college, graduates have a great awareness of facts like Twitter’s character limit, or the meaning of terms like “URL.” They aren’t whizzes at everything, though: only 12 percent knew the first widely available graphical Web browser.

I thought that US education was the best in the world. I assumed that our citizens are fully informed about social, political, financial, and technical matters.

I will have to get back to the Honey Boo Boo reruns. When is the next basketball game? Oh, oh, I am out of Doritos.

Stephen E Arnold, November 26, 2014

Expert Systems Brags API Thinks Like a Human

November 25, 2014

Computers are only as smart as the humans who program them, but they lack the spontaneous ability that humans possess in droves. This does not mean that computers are not getting “smarter,” in fact, according to Market Wired their comprehension levels just increased. Market Wired reports on “Expert Systems Extends The Cogito API Portfolio: To Fashion, Advertising, Intelligence, And Media And Publishing Applications.” Expert Systems is one of the world’s leaders in semantic technology and the Cogito API has been designed to increase an organization’s use of unstructured data.

” ‘Companies want to better exploit the ever growing amounts of internal and external information,’ said Marco Varone, President and CTO, Expert System. ‘Cogito API is the perfect match for these needs and we’re thrilled that the community of developers and all the organizations can leverage our semantic technology to increase in a significant way the value of their information across any sector, whether that is entering new markets, extending their customer reach, or creating innovative products and services for market intelligence, decision making and strategic planning.’ “

Cogito is available as part of the CORE or PACK packages. Expert Systems promises that its technology can be tailored to suit any industry and provide an array of solutions for semantic technology.

Whitney Grace, November 25, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Synthesio Leads in Listening Platforms in Forrester Wave Report

November 19, 2014

The article titled Synthesio Named a Leader in The Forrester Wave Enterprise Listening Platforms Report on Synthesio.com provided some new jargon in the discussion of enterprise listening platforms. (Listening platforms, not surveillance platforms.) The work these “listening platforms” do is largely tuning into the discussion of a given company on social media and use the information to better satisfy customers. The report named Synthesio as a leader among the eleven providers that “matter most.” The article quotes the report,

“European-based listening solution Synthesio was a leader in this study due to its superior global data coverage, automated analysis built from human coding, and functional dashboard. Synthesio has a strong road map that focuses on cooperative and connected sources of consumer feedback data. Well-satisfied customer references score the vendor highly for its flexibility and the frequency with which it recommends new approaches… Today, buyers need tools that provide more stakeholders with access to listening data.”


It is customer support that seems to have won this high ranking for Synthesio. Additionally, the report credits the user-friendly nature of their platform, even stating that the tools for this listening platform require “little training.” The field of enterprise eavesdropping platforms seems likely to grow as more and more conversations happen on social media, and Synthesio is leading the way, ears-first.

Chelsea Kerwin, November 19, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Loons Afloat in Australia

November 17, 2014

I enjoyed reading “Google’s Bal-LOON-y Trial Gets QLD Telstra Spectrum.” If you are a 20 something at heart, there’s a video too.

The point of the write up is to document Google’s teaming with Telstra, a telco with some appetite for interesting ventures.

Loon is a secret Google project to provide Internet to those in the world not yet able to gobble Google results and advertisements.

Australia, based on my travels, has quite a bit of space and not too many people yet. I am not sure how the cost of the Loon works out in terms of ad revenue. Perhaps this is a proof of concept, not a money making play.

I hope the precision and recall of the Google Web search systems gets some attention. More timely index refreshes for less popular content would be a plus too. For now, Loon is getting the resources.

Stephen E Arnold, November 18, 2014

Insights into Selling an Enterprise Search System

November 16, 2014

I find sales and marketing difficult to understand. The reality in which I watch the mine drainage dribble is different from the shiny world of “access to all information.” I was confused. Then I read “7 Secrets That Sales and Marketing Colleagues Should Know about Each Other.”

The segment I found mildly interesting concerns prevarication. You know: Telling your mother a fib about what you did on the sleep over. Check this:

Sales teams lie. This is a reality, and it’s not a bad thing. Whether it’s because they don’t know their product well enough, they’ve been trained to be too empathetic, or they’re only focused on a performance-related bonus, the sales department’s dirty little secret is that their day is awash with lies. These lies may be to colleagues or emerge from the evasive tactics of prospects, but they are something every marketer should be aware of.

Wow. So lying is endemic. Wait. The author shifts the burden to the 20 somethings’ organization, not the individual:

It’s your organization’s responsibility to create a culture of honest communication. It is much easier to get repeat business than it is to land new accounts. Focus on the long term.

If you want to be encouraged in your sales and marketing expertise, you will not want to fail to miss it. Quite a listicle. I have only highlighted one modest tip.

Stephen E Arnold, November 16, 2014

Welltok Embraces IBM Watson for Personal Health Platform

November 14, 2014

It’s so satisfying to watch a young A.I. grow up and give back to the community. VentureBeat tells us “How Welltok Tapped IBM’s Watson to Upgrade Its Health Optimization Platform.” Ever eager to expand Watson’s resume, IBM reportedly approached Welltok in 2013 about working together. Writer Devindra Hardawar reports:

“Welltok has been developing a health optimization platform for years, dubbed CafeWell, which analyzes your health profile from a variety of sources and offers up insight on how to stay fit…. Welltok announced last summer that it was taking advantage of Watson for a souped-up version of its product, CafeWell Concierge, which is currently in beta testing with an unnamed partner. And earlier this year, Welltok was also the first startup to receive funding from IBM’s Watson Group (and it just recently raised another $25 million). Rather than waiting until you get sick to head to the doctor, CafeWell Concierge always keeps track of your ‘personal health itinerary’ (Welltok’s cutesy name for your health profile) to offer up health help. If you’re traveling while on a specific diet, for example, it could automatically recommend restaurants near your hotel that suit your needs. Or it could remind you that it’s been too long since your last doctor’s appointment.”

The piece quotes Welltock’s CMO Michelle Snyder, who was happy IBM turned its gaze on her company when looking to shift Watson’s healthcare-related focus from the clinical to the personal. It seems the A.I’s cognitive-computing chops are the perfect solution for Welltock’s need to create personalized user experiences — a crucial detail that will likely prompt many more patients to actually use the platform.

Calling itself the “health optimization pioneer,” Welltok aims to make it easy and rewarding for people to take a more active role in their own healthcare. The company was founded in 2009, and is based in Denver, Colorado.

Cynthia Murrell, November 14, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

IBM and Airstrip Work for Mobile Health Monitoring System

November 12, 2014

The article titled Airstrip and IBM Partner to Develop Predictive Analtics Solution on HIT Consultant explored the announcement of the partnership to the development of mobile monitoring of patients in critical conditions. The University of Michigan Center for Integrative Research in Critical Care (MCIRCC) will also be involved. The article explains,

“MCIRCC will pioneer the application of this technology with AirStrip by developing the advanced analytics and testing its ability to identify and predict a serious and unexpected complication called hemodynamic decompensation, one of the most common causes of death for critically ill or injured patients. MCIRCC researchers anticipate that the resulting solution may provide the clinical decision support tool that enables clinicians to identify patient risk factors for early intervention. Early intervention can enhance critical care delivery, improve patient outcomes, and reduce ICU admissions..”

The top goals of the research are to reduce healthcare costs while improving patient outcomes. This is to be achieved through the combination of the AirStrip ONE® platform and the IBM® InfoSphere® Streams. Especially exciting is the ability for this technology to assess patients inside and outside of the hospital walls.Patients with conditions including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, and congestive heart failure could be monitored for “clinical deterioration” and possible complications could be prevented with this technology.

Chelsea Kerwin, November 12, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Google and Search Relevance: Will a Robot Do This Work?

November 11, 2014

I flicked through Drudge Report this morning (November 11, 2014). One story and graphic caught my eye.

Here’s a snap of the animation for “Dawn of the Google Machines.”


Source: Drudge.com

Now this is a pretty friendly robot. I think most children under the age of five would see this device as a variant of a bunny, a deer, or a puppy.

The technology is impressive. My question, “Will the resources flowing into this friendly chap improve query relevance on Google Web search?”

I am confident this cuddly creature will make search really, really better. Perhaps Google can provide this fuzzy creature to pre-schools and kindergarten to explain why Google search is just so darned relevant.

Whir, beep, click.

Stephen E Arnold, November 11, 2014

Internet Scale Facial Recognition

November 10, 2014

Whatever the privacy qualms, facial recognition software is here to stay and only getting better. (Or worse, depending on one’s perspective.) We’ve found a resource that provides a useful review of algorithms and accuracy: “Computer Vision and Image Understanding” (pdf) is an Elsevier-published paper by the University of Central Florida’s Enrique G. Ortiz and Carnegie Mellon’s Brian C. Becker. Not surprisingly, Facebook photos played a part in the team’s research. The paper’s Abstract explains:

“With millions of users and billions of photos, web-scale face recognition is a challenging task that demands speed, accuracy, and scalability. Most current approaches do not address and do not scale well to Internet-sized scenarios such as tagging friends or finding celebrities. Focusing on web-scale face identification, we gather an 800,000 face dataset from the Facebook social network that models real-world situations where specific faces must be recognized and unknown identities rejected. We propose a novel Linearly Approximated Sparse Representation-based Classification (LASRC) algorithm that uses linear regression to perform sample selection for 1-minimization, thus harnessing the speed of least-squares and the robustness of sparse solutions such as SRC. Our efficient LASRC algorithm achieves comparable performance to SRC with a 100-250 times speedup and exhibits similar recall to SVMs with much faster training. Extensive tests demonstrate our proposed approach is competitive on pair-matching verification tasks and outperforms current state-of-the-art algorithms on open-universe identification in uncontrolled, web-scale scenarios.”

I’m no software engineer so, to be honest, I only understand about two-thirds of the preceding paragraph. However, I’m advised by someone who does know a smart vector from a hole in the ground that this is a resource folks interested in the field should check out. He also points us here for supplemental information.

Cynthia Murrell, November 10, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Google and Containers

November 5, 2014

I have been following the container technology now associated closely with Docker. The Docker Web site offers useful information about the innovation. In a nutshell, if you love virtualization, you know that it has some portability issues. If the notion of “portability” does not resonate with you, you probably won’t need to dig into containers. Containers eliminates most, but not all, of the hassles of creating an application, sticking it on a virtual machine somewhere, and then moving it, changing it, or integrating it. With containers, life gets a little easier.

In the write up “Google Cloud Platform Live: Introducing Container Engine, Cloud Networking and Much More” Google embraces containers. The article is long by Google’s standards. You can work through it and learn one surprising thing: Google did not wrest container leadership from Docker.

I find this interesting because in the period prior to the run up for Google’s initial public offering, Google was the leader in distributed processing. I can recall Jeff Dean explaining some of Google’s innovations in a couple of lectures. I thought that Google had snagged the best ideas from research computing and productized them for the Google Web search system. Google looked like the leader in next generation cloud-centric processing.

Docker’s emergence as the go to container company illustrates that Google has matured. The company is supporting containers in the manner of Docker. Google explains this in the article. Has Google lost its ability to spot and commercialize innovative ways to deliver apps and services?

This container move is not taking place in a vacuum. Amazon and others are eager to “me too” containers. And what of Docker? Good question.

Stephen E Arnold, November 5, 2014

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