Watson in a Beta Phase

December 18, 2014

IBM has put Watson to work in different fields, including: intelligence, cooking, and medicine. The goal is to apply Watson’s advanced analytic software to improve the quality and workflow in these fields as well as discover new insights. Watson Analytics will launch its first public beta test this month, three months after its private beta tests, says ZDNet in “IBM’s Watson Analytics Enters Public Beta.”

Watson Analytics will be freemium software available for mobile and Web devices to run predictive analytics and use the information for visual storytelling.

How does it work?

“Users of Watson Analytics feed in their own raw data, say, in the form of a spreadsheet, which the service then crunches with its own statistical analysis to highlight associations between different variables. It saves execs from needing to know how to write their own scripts or understand statistics in order to derive meaning from their data.”

Watson Analytics is still being changed to meet users’ needs, such as allowing them to create dashboards and infographics and being compatible with other programs: Oracle, SalesForce, Google Docs, and more.

IBM is still programming all the Watson Analytics features, but more details will be revealed as the public tests it.

Is this another PR scheme for Watson and IBM? How much have they spent on public relations? How much will Watson Analytics generate for IBM?

Whitney Grace, December 18, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Sony Sees the Future: A Google Glass Inspired Gizmo

December 17, 2014

Nope, this is not about Sony’s outstanding network and system security. Do you recall the Mavica line of cameras. The one that caused me to avoid Sony products and services was the Mavica with the built in CD recorder.

The idea was that instead of more traditional, standards based memory, the camera included a small CD. Take a picture and store the image on the CD. I ended up with this gizmo and learned two things:

First, the write process was slooooow. The camera was unusable for walk around photography. We did get decent results when it was in the studio. But we had purpose built cameras that did that work better, faster, and cheaper.

Second, the data format was proprietary. I recall the thrill of upgrading Windows and discovering that the Sony software would not work. Guess what? No update was forthcoming.

I read “Sony’s Latest Concept Smart Eyewear Can Be Fitted to Any Glasses, Will Be Demoed at CES.” Read this story. Think of the wonky Mavica. Google seems to have walked away from Glass or at least Dr. Babak Amir Parviz (yep, the fellow with different versions of his name) has hightailed it to Amazon.

Perhaps Sony could marry the Mavica with the CD writer to the Google Glass-type device. I wonder how that would look hanging from my trifocals.

Stephen E Arnold, December 17, 2014

Verizons SugarString Turns Sour

December 17, 2014

Verizon tried to create a news site dedicated to technology. It is not a simple thing breaking into Internet journalism, it might appear to be simple, and Verizon had enough capital behind it. Things did not go as planned and ARS Technica tracks “Verizon’s Widely Mocked Tech News Site Is Now Completely Dead.”

SugarString got off to a bad start when its editor Cole Stryker told prospective reporters that the Web site would not discuss anything about net neutrality and spying. That is an odd statement considering those are very hot topics in the tech industry right now. It turns out SugarString has not been updated since October 28.

What did Verison say?

“We asked Verizon Wireless yesterday if SugarString is being shut down or if there are any plans for new stories. “As you know, this is a pilot/trial project, and pilot projects undergo a lot of changes/evaluation (and this one is no exception),” a Verizon Wireless spokesperson replied, adding nothing further.”

This was a few days ago. On December 2, the Web site went offline completely and it appears Verizon has learned what they wanted from the pilot project (which failed) and may or may not do something in the future.

What have we learned? A phone company might not be the best place to go for tech news.

Whitney Grace, December 17, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

A DeepMind Could Improve Google Search

December 16, 2014

DeepMind was invented by London-based genius Demis Hassabis to teach computers how to master complex tasks. He later taught the machines to play classic videogames, which caught Google’s attention and they bought DeepMind for $650 million. Technology Review looks at how the new technology can improve Google in, “Demis Hassabis, Founder of DeepMind Technologies And Artificial-Intelligence Wunderkind At Google, Wants Machines To Think Like Us.”

The article acts as a brief biography of Hassabis, highlighting his intelligence program. Computers programmed with the software were told to play Atari games, but were not programmed with any of the rules. Through trial and error the computers mastered the games through reinforcement learning.

“Artificial intelligence researchers have been tinkering with reinforcement learning for decades. But until DeepMind’s Atari demo, no one had built a system capable of learning anything nearly as complex as how to play a computer game, says Hassabis. One reason it was possible was a trick borrowed from his favorite area of the brain. Part of the Atari-playing software’s learning process involved replaying its past experiences over and over to try and extract the most accurate hints on what it should do in the future.”

Now called Google DeepMind, the team of seventy-five people work in London to apply the technology to all of Google’s products. While learning how to apply AI to Google, Hassabis also dreams of new ways it can be used for bigger and better projects. Until then they’re still playing Atari games.

Mr. Hassabis, start applying DeepMind to search.

Whitney Grace, December 16, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Delve, Social, and Other SharePoint Highlights of 2014

December 16, 2014

It is that time of year again – time for year-in-review articles regarding the tech that we know and love. And so it is for SharePoint. Lots of changes have been made and there are plenty of assumptions about the future. So CMS Wire tackles the overview in their article, “The SharePoint Landscape from 30,000 Feet.”

The author begins:

“With the end of the year around the corner, it’s a good time to take a 30,000-foot view of the lay of the SharePoint land and see what’s in store for 2015. While SharePoint may not be perfect, the technology is something many enterprises count on. We’ve seen great growth and energy in SharePoint over the past year and there are some events and developments that will be driving the technology next year.”

The author then goes on to discuss Delve and social projects, including apps. But experts caution that privacy will experience a resurgence in coming months, and the pendulum will swing back the other way, with enterprises concerned about keeping a tight reign on information. To stay on top of all of the latest developments in the new year, stay tuned in to Stephen E. Arnold at ArnoldIT.com. He has made a career out of parsing all things search, and his SharePoint feed is extremely helpful for all levels of users.

Emily Rae Aldridge, December 16, 2014

HP: New Memory, New Operating System, New, New, New

December 11, 2014

Short honk: The news about HP creating a new operating system must have thrilled the folks at MIT Technology Review. I read “HP Will Release a “Revolutionary” New Operating System in 2015.”

Okay.

I also read “HP sees HP-UX Sticking around for 10 Years.”

How long will it take to port Autonomy IDOL and DRE to the new operating system? And the big question, “Which of the two HPs will have the honor of supporting the beastie?

Nothing beats a prediction about something so revolutionary as a bunch of “news.”

Stephen E Arnold, December 11, 2014

New Version of Sail Labs Indexer

December 11, 2014

We’ve learned that Sail Labs has put out the next iteration of its Media Mining Indexer from the company’s post, “Sail Labs Announces Availability of Release Version 2014-2 and Media Mining Indexer 6.3.” The refreshingly straightforward press release offers bulleted lists of new features and major changes to be found throughout the new version. For the indexer, it lists:

    • Support for sentiment analysis, i.e. classification of text segments into positive, negative, neutral or mixed sentiment
    • Currently supported languages: US and International English, German and Russian
    • Support for continuous intermittent result output, without final XML result, which increases performance in cases where collective results are not required.
    • Support for licensing using a central license manager/server (LiMa), which is intended for use with cloud based use cases.
    • Script-based building of language models using lmtscript.

For those not already familiar with Media Mining Indexer, it processes speech from multiple sources into XML, which can then be uploaded into a range of digital-asset-management systems for subsequent search and retrieval. The software boasts automatic speech recognition, speaker ID, speaker change detection, story detection, and topic classification.

Sail Labs specializes in high-end software for speech and multimedia analysis for vertical markets. Its name derives from “Speech Artificial Intelligence Language Laboratories.” Sail Labs is located in Vienna, Austria, and was founded in 1999.

Cynthia Murrell, December 11, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Bye-Bye Google Glass Stores

December 4, 2014

The great thing about owning an Apple product is when you need service all you have to do is schedule an appointment and visit a store. Apple is quite unlike any other company with technical support, because they actually help resolve issues without trying to sell you more products at the same time. Also person-to-person help is more effective than phone support.

Google must have been thinking the same thing, because Digital Spy reports in “Google Glass Basecamp Stores Closing In The US?” the search giant opened three Glass Basecamp storefronts for Google Glass tech support and to buy accessories. Just as quickly as they opened, the storefronts are closing in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

According to the article, the stores were not meant to be permanent, which is strange considering the consumer version of the Google Glass is set for release soon.

“Earlier this month, it was reported that the launch of the consumer version could be delayed until 2015.

The apparent delay comes as developers are reportedly losing interest in the technology, with some pulling out of making apps.

While there are almost 100 apps available, there are some notable omissions including Twitter, who stopped supporting Glass in October.”

It sounds like Google has a blunder on its list along with forcing all users to sign up for Google Plus. Is the world ready for technology like Google Glass, the answer is yes. The technology, however, is still clunky and not widespread. What can it be compared to? There is Nintendo’s Virtual Boy and Power Glove, the DIVX player, and laser discs.

Whitney Grace, December 04, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

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

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