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Statistician Eclipse? No, Disintermediation Is Now Part of Data Space

July 22, 2015

The fact is that many folks who are managers responsible for profits and losses can add. Some can do basic manipulations of data in their head; for example, “What is my commission on a sale of 10,000 shares of GE?”

But the vast majority of the folks I encountered before I retired struggled with mathematics. The fact that physics, bioengineering, even civil engineering depends on math is knowledge that sits on the sidelines in the race to pay the mortgage.

The folks who are able to use math to solve problems and earn a living are in the majority at outfits like Halliburton, Google, Diffeo, and other companies with less dependency on MBAs, marketers, lawyers, and the other “soft” disciplines that constitute the majority of an organization’s talent pool.

Enter statistics. Now the notion of Big Data, like the silliness about cognitive computing and semantics, is a token, a mental shortcut, a bit of jargon. Why worry about what is required to make sense of data, whether big or little? Why concern oneself with the challenges of determining a proper local diffeomorphism between manifolds?

I read “The Risky Eclipse of Statisticians.” I liked the article. I recommend it.

The main point is that statisticians are being marginalized by data scientists. I am not sure what a data scientist is. I am sure what a statistician is. I had a relative who was pretty good with statistics. He (VI Arnold) worked for another guy {Kolmogorov) who also was good with statistics.

The data scientist thing sounds a little too New Age for me.

I did note this passage in the write up:

What speaks even louder volumes is that statisticians are often left out of some of the biggest national discussions happening around Big Data today. For instance, UC Berkeley’s Terry Speed observes:

US National Science Foundation invited 100 experts to talk about Big Data in 2012. Total number of statisticians present? 0.

The US Department of Health and Human Services has a 17-person Big Data committee. Total number of statisticians? You guessed it…0.

Justin Strauss, co-founder at Storyhackers, who previously led data science programs in the healthcare industry, can attest to this more generally. He says he has “seen an underrepresentation” of statisticians at conferences and other events related to Big Data. But statistics is the foundation of understanding Big Data. This was supposed to be their decade–their time to shine in the limelight. So, what changed? As renowned statistician Gerry Hahn once said:

“This is a Golden Age of statistics, but not necessarily for statisticians.”

The article explains the gap.

For me, however, the write up does not drive home a point which I think is important.

Statistics and the practice thereof is not speedy, necessarily intuitive, and not all that easy, even for mathematically gifted folks.

Consequently short cuts are needed to get over the skills gap and around the bellyachers who suggest that bad data will get worse with bad analysis and lead to the probability of really bad decisions. I bet you can think of a few real bad decisions in your own company, can’t you, gentle reader. Here’s a hint: The probability of the junk bond market working like the model predicted.

The push for point and click data analysis systems is a response to a dearth of people who can “do” statistics without taking short cuts. Some companies are trying to bake in safeguards so the system user does not generate a real or figurative train wreck.

I am supportive of multi dimensional teams. On the team should be individuals who are data integrity savvy. There should be people who know the business and the competition. And, in my opinion, a real live statistician should be involved. She needs a computer, a mobile phone, and a cattle prod. Zap the strays who don’t know the systems and methods appropriate for the question at hand. Zap. Zap.

Stephen E Arnold, July 22, 2015

Big Data Is So Yesterday

June 4, 2015

Chasing Big Data? Give up. Big Data are over according to “Forget Big Data — It’s Already Obsolete.”

Here’s the statement I highlighted:

That is why you need to forget about big data: It is huge data. Smart data. Think about how all of this combines to create a substantial amount of new data that will rapidly move through the evolutionary process into action oriented, near-real-time decision influence systems.

We are in “The Zettabyte Era.” Up next? Lotta yotta.

Stephen E Arnold, June 4, 2015

Microsoft Shakes Up SharePoint Online to Increase Storage

September 2, 2014

In response to an ever-increasing need for storage, Microsoft has announced changes to the way SharePoint Online manages storage blocks. Read about the latest announcement in the PC World article, “Microsoft Tweaks SharePoint Online to Free Up Site Storage.”

The article begins:

“Microsoft has tweaked the controls in SharePoint Online to let administrators make better use of storage resources allocated to SharePoint websites. The changes seek to make processes more automated, and to add some flexibility in how storage for SharePoint Online is managed within the Office 365 suite. Until now, SharePoint site collections, which are groups of related SharePoint websites, had to be assigned a set amount of storage, and that storage space couldn’t be used for anything else even if some of it went unused.”

Users and administrators will benefit from the increased flexibility. It also shows some effort on the part of Microsoft to improve the SharePoint user experience by taking care of some “no-brainer” flaws in the system. Stephen E. Arnold is a longtime leader in search and continues to keep an eye on the latest news in his SharePoint feed on Staying on top of these announcements is a great way for organizations to keep increasingly their SharePoint efficiency.

Emily Rae Aldridge, September 02, 2014

Fortune, Google, and the Seven Deadly Sins

August 6, 2014

I read a darned amazing article at The story is “The Seven Deadly Sins of Googling.” The article is not about Google. The article is about the humans who use Google.

What I find interesting is that Fortune has reached into the world of cardinal sins. Instead of the ethics embraced by folks, Fortune hooks SALIGIA to using an ad supported online service.


“I don’t have much time. Please, don’t confuse me with facts,” says the modern MBA. Image source: 

I find the linkage fascinating because it illustrates the type of analysis that seems to be sophisticated with the so called search expertise of Fortune readers, executives, and writers.

I liked the envy section. The article states:

Envy: When you’re jealous of someone else’s Google results. Social media can lead to envy. It can lead, possibly, to depression. In a 2013 study, University of Michigan researchers Ethan Kross and Philippe Verduyn texted people while they were using Facebook, and found that as time on Facebook increased, a person’s mood and overall satisfaction with their lives declined. In other words, Facebook can make you jealous. It can make you feel more alone than connected. Kross and Verduyn didn’t look at other social media networks, but it’s fair to say that looking through lists of other people’s accolades, impressive resumes, and social media clout can just as easily turn you green around the ears.

I found this amusing, although I am not certain that Fortune intended the write up to be funny, even Onionesque.

The meshing of the Seven Deadly Sins with lousy research skills is an example of faux intellectualism. Another recent example is an IDC report that uses the phrase “knowledge quotient” in its title. The reference to cardinal sins sounds good and seems  to make sense. “Knowledge quotient” seems to make sense until one looks at how the phrase was used 40 years ago, then the jargon is almost meaningless and little more than an attempt to sound intelligent.

I am encouraged that Fortune is, to some degree, thinking about the dependence business professionals have on the results from a Google query. I am troubled that the information presented is superficial.

There are some important questions to be answered; for example:

  1. What are the searching and online information behaviors of Fortune readers?
  2. What specific methods do Fortune readers use to obtain online information?
  3. What do Fortune readers do to verify the information obtained online?
  4. What additional research does a Fortune reader do when searching for information?

Answering these questions would provide more useful information. But in the pursuit of Web site traffic, many “real” journalists and publications embrace the listicle.

Is this the 8th deadly sin? Superficiality.

Stephen E Arnold, August 6, 2014

The Many Versions of the SharePoint Migration Nightmare

May 6, 2014

SharePoint migration is one of the most highly blogged about topics within the SharePoint arena. Regardless of the way that an organization brings up SharePoint, chances are they are performing some type of migration. But for all the need to migrate, there is a high risk of messing up the migration. SearchContentManagement covers the topic in their article, “Does SharePoint Migration Have to be a Nightmare? Lessons Learned.”

The article begins:

“There are many, many ways to migrate into SharePoint: from an earlier version of SharePoint, from a platform other than SharePoint, in-place upgrade, and into a new farm. And as many ways as there are to migrate, there are even more ways to botch it up.”

Stephen E. Arnold is a longtime leader in search and follows SharePoint on his Web service, For the latest SharePoint news, and for tips on how to avoid frustrations, such as migration failure, stay tuned to ArnoldIT.

Emily Rae Aldridge, May 6, 2014

Add On Support Continued for SharePoint 2010

December 4, 2013

While many enterprises were eager to make the update to SharePoint 2013, others were reluctant. For that reason, many supplemental vendors who offer SharePoint add-ons decided to continue support for SharePoint 2010. Extedo added their name to that list. Market Wired covers their news in the latest release, “EXTEDO Releases Extended SharePoint 2010 Support.”

The release begins:

“EXTEDO, a key Regulatory Information Management solutions provider for life sciences firms, today announced the release of a new SharePoint 2010 connector for its regulatory submission management solution eCTDmanager. EXTEDO’s eCTDmanager is an off-the-shelf electronic submission management solution that satisfies requirements for eCTD, NeeS, eCopy, DMF, ASMF, and many other submission structures. Users can build and review submissions, add, edit and delete elements or even set hyperlinks and comments at any time during the submission compilation.”

There are a lot of decisions that go into running an enterprise, especially when it comes to document management and enterprise search. Knowing the supplemental vendors that offer support is a great benefit, but having a one-stop shop for the latest in all things enterprise search is even better. Stephen E. Arnold is a longtime expert in search, and his Web presence, ArnoldIT gives a lot of attention to SharePoint and other enterprise options. Keeping an eye on ArnoldIT is a good way to stay informed without all of the hard work.

Emily Rae Aldridge, December 4, 2013

SharePoint Mobile Still Falling Short

October 17, 2013

SharePoint 2013 is attempting to catch up when it comes to mobile options and technologies, and yet, in many ways it still falls short. CMS Wire covers the latest in the article, “7 Ways that SharePoint 2013’s New Mobile Features Fall Short.”

Their story begins:

“SharePoint 2013’s new mobile features are definitely a step up from the mobile features in previous versions. In fact, one could argue that mobile devices get better support than ever before, with better mobile browser support; new features such as device channels, push notifications and location services; and Office Web Apps integration. But there’s still much room for improvement. Following are seven areas in which I believe that mobile in SharePoint still falls a little short.”

The article then goes on to list the noted issues and possible workarounds. Similar coverage is often offered by Stephen E. Arnold of ArnoldIT, a longtime search industry leader and expert. He writes about the pros and cons of SharePoint, and recently covered the SharePoint – Yammer debate. SharePoint, for many organizations, is a necessity. But for those who are interested in alternatives, there are good suggestions out there. Stay tuned for additional information about SharePoint’s strengths and weaknesses, and effective workarounds.

Emily Rae Aldridge, October 17, 2013

IT Encouraged to Get Back to Basics for Cost Optimization

December 20, 2012

I recently came across “IT Basics: Cost Optimization for Small and Medium Business” on ZDNet and was impressed with the article’s focus on simplifying and getting back to basics. The article encourages IT to pay attention to service delivery and project execution; essentially, execute and deliver on the basics of business and operations. It can certainly be easy for one to get caught up in innovations and big data trends, all while losing sight of what really matters.

The article confirms:

“Business executives will listen to a CIO who delivers the basics really well.

The importance of basic IT operations means it is worthwhile to review topics such as infrastructure, productivity based on technology, efficiency, cost savings, and establishing strong relations between IT and lines of business. For smaller organizations, in particular, these issues are the day-to-day lifeblood of IT activities.”

While this article focuses on small and medium businesses, IT cost optimization is important for any size business. In an enterprise, it is challenging to find the right search solutions that offer reliable, secure, and comprehensive capabilities. Intrafind is one way to get more optimization, with its user-friendly and high-performance solutions.

Andrea Hayden, December 20, 2012

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

The Truth Behind Why Steve Jobs Had Trust Issues with Google

October 1, 2012

Steve Jobs disliked Google, because the Internet search giant betrayed the Apple guru’s trust.  If you want an in-depth snapshot of their relationship degeneration head over to Gizmodo and its article, “What Really Made Steve Jobs So Angry at Google?”  When Google first started up, the co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page approached Jobs and asked him to be their CEO.  He declined, but decided to mentor the pair.  Apple started iPhone development in 2004 and in 2005 Google bought the Android start-up.  The iPhone was launched, but only eleven months later a startlingly similar Android phone in an online video.  The Android phone was officially released in 2008. What followed was a timeline of betrayal of trust with lawsuits, patent infringements, and mud slinging all around.  Jobs  was quoted as saying, “…I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

“The big overall takeaway here is that if Google’s leadership is willing and comfortable stealing from longtime personal friends and colleagues who have given generously to them and greatly helped them succeed at most every stage, Google could be expected to have no compunction stealing from people they don’t know. This also helps explain why Google has by far the worst intellectual property infringement record of any major American corporation and why so many companies and people are suing Google around the world for intellectual property infringement.”

Google is not as benign as we are led to believe.  The company promised to do no evil in its IPO, but isn’t stealing a crime?  Maybe the definition of “stealing” has changed since the Ten Commandments or maybe intellectual property infringement is treated differently than other property in the world of bits and bytes.

Whitney Grace, October 01, 2012

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Publishers Sour on Apps

May 12, 2012

Have you noticed a slowdown in attempts to app-ify traditional publications? Technology Review describes "Why Publishers Don’t Like Apps." Writer Jason Pontin describes early attempts of publishers to cure their Internet woes with apps. They seem to have expected tablet and smartphone users to relate to the written word more like, well, the written word than like a Web site. Sure, most of the projects supported some limited interactability, but publishers also expected people to be happy viewing simple replicas of print materials. And, they expected to be able to charge for this paltry access.

Problems abounded from the beginning, including grossly underestimating costs (an age-old problem), and technical difficulties converting print matter into apps. The write up emphasizes:

"But the real problem with apps was more profound. When people read news and features on electronic media, they expect stories to possess the linky-ness of the Web, but stories in apps didn’t really link. The apps were, in the jargon of information technology, ‘walled gardens,’ and although sometimes beautiful, they were small, stifling gardens. For readers, none of that beauty overcame the weirdness and frustration of reading digital media closed off from other digital media.

"Without subscribers or many single-copy buyers, and with no audiences to sell to advertisers, there were no revenues to offset the incremental costs of app development. With a couple of exceptions, publishers therefore soured on apps."

Ah, so publishers don’t like apps because the golden goose is a sparrow and lays small monetary eggs. Got it.

Cynthia Murrell, May 12, 2012

Sponsored by PolySpot

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