Google Mobile Search: The Future

October 14, 2016

Google may be poised to upgrade its mobile search service. In theory, desktop search is king. The king, however, may be on life support. Read “Google: Fragmentation and the False Universal Search.”

Kenny Toth, October 14, 2016

Yippy Revealed: An Interview with Michael Cizmar, Head of Yipy Enterprise Search Division

August 16, 2016

Administrative and organizational issues.

In a Two Class Society: Which Is the Target?

June 2, 2016

I read two articles this morning. The first was, I thought, a bit of factoid candy. Your view may be different. Navigate to “Apple, Microsoft and Google Hold 23% of All U.S. Corporate Cash, As Tech Sector Accumulates Wealth.” The meaning of “all” and “wealth” are not defined. Who worries about the definition of terms? Ted Cruz maybe? Another member of a high school debate team? Interesting. Money in quantity is bad. Interesting.

The main point of the write up is, in my opinion:

For the first time, the top five companies on the Moody’s cash ranking are tech companies, with Cisco and Oracle following Apple, Microsoft and Google. Technology companies overall held $777 billion in cash, or 46 percent of the total cash across all non-financial industries.

So what? I worked for Halliburton years ago, and my recollection is that it had cash then. No once seemed too concerned, even Halliburton knowledge workers.

I then read “We Need to Challenge the Myth That the Rich Are Specially-Talented Wealth Creators.” Hold those horses. The idea that Thomas Edison types a “specially talented” seems at odds with what I have learned with my close encounters of the third kind with the individuals who have oodles of money—at least on paper.

There is the arrogance thing. There is the confidence that trivial problems like death and mass transit visionaries are going to solve. There is the spending for parties like a Yahoo Christmas, a Google off site, Palantir warm up jackets, and other high technology “investments.”

The write up states:

We need a finance sector that is fit for purpose as a servant to the economy instead of a master. Currently, most of what it funds is not productive industry but lending against existing assets: in the UK lending by the financial sector to productive businesses declined from 30 per cent in 1996 to 10 per cent in 2008, and has stayed low since, while lending to other financial institutions and the property market grew. But then, to the financial sector, £1 million profit from useless speculation is no different from £1 million from any other source. Yet the difference matters to the economy as a whole and hence to us.

There is a shift to a somewhat parental attitude:

There are other reasons why we can’t afford the rich: their undemocratic and indeed antidemocratic influence in politics (witness Davos and TTIP), their excessive and wasteful consumption, their bloated carbon footprints and the fact that many are in effect betting on unsustainable economic growth in the rich countries and have interests in continued fossil fuel use. I deal with all these in my book, but above all, we need to challenge the myth that the rich are specially-talented wealth creators; it is time to halt the flood of unearned income that goes to the top and reassert democracy in facing the challenge of organizing economies that stop rather than accelerate global warming.

When I think about the big outfits with cash and the sentiment about those with cash harboring “undemocratic” and “antidemocratic Influence”, I have a question:

What’s the fix?

I recall that in the Dark Ages, unruly peasants could make life unpleasant for the dukes, earls, and barons.

Today I assume the “fix” is to stop using online devices, flip open manifestos about social and technology policies that eliminate that rich poor gap, and get some folks in office who can pass more effective regulations.

I am okay with my computers, smartphone, and muddling along with my Palantir and Dark Web notebook projects. It seems evident that some folks have a different orientation. Maybe “dad” will curtail online access, implement filters, and put an end to the big outfits’ success? I am delighted I have a manual typewriter.

Stephen E Arnold, June 2, 2016

AI Startups Use Advanced AI Technology to Improve Daily Chores

February 11, 2016

The article on e27 titled 5 Asian Artificial Intelligence Startups that Caught Our Eye lists several exciting new companies working to unleash AI technology, often for quotidian tasks. For example, provides for speeder and more productive decision-making, while Mad Street Den and offers AI shopping support! The article goes into detail about the latter,

“Niki understands human language in the context of products and services that a consumer would like to purchase, guides her along with recommendations to find the right service and completes the purchase with in-chat payment. It performs end-to-end transactions on recharge, cab booking and bill payments at present, but Niki plans to add more services including bus booking, food ordering, movie ticketing, among others.”

Mad Street Den, on the other hand, is more focused on  object recognition. Users input an image and the AI platform seeks matches on e-commerce sites. Marketers will be excited to hear about Appier, a Taiwan-based business offering cross-screen insights, or in layman’s terms, they can link separate devices belonging to one person and also estimate how users switch devices during the day and what each device will be used for. These capabilities allow marketers to make targeted ads for each device, and a better understanding of who will see what and via which device.


Chelsea Kerwin, February 11, 2016

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Dickens, the Dark Web, and IDG 2016

January 12, 2016

I read “The Dark Web & Business Report: A Seedy Dickensian Underworld Online.” It appears that this is a distillation of a longer and probably not free document from the mavens at IDG.

I noted this passage:

In reality, the dark web is a set of services, accessed via special gateways or software configurations that leverage encryption technology to make access or communication anonymous to a greater or lesser extent.

This is a statement from one of the employees / executives at one of the 31 companies interviewed for the report.

The full write up is a helpful summary for a person who wants to gave the chestnuts about the “hidden” Internet roasted with literary chestnuts.

What made the write up less than appetizing was the string of references to Charles Dickens. I am not sure that the Dickensian underworld was a reality, but it was a wonderful literary convention and helped sell books.

Is the inspiration for IDG anchored in reality or a Dickensian fiction? I thought of American Notes and this statement offered by Mr. Dickens:

“All that is loathsome, drooping, or decayed is here.”

No problem. Charlie ran into some money difficulties when reality collided with his made up world. Consulting firms, particularly the mid tier variety, face an interesting challenge in 2016. My appetite for Dark Web information is unsated.

Stephen E Arnold, January 12, 2016

Quote to Note: What Animal Defines Yahoo?

October 23, 2015

Short honk and quote to note: Navigate to “Portal to Nowhere.” Here’s the keeper:

Marissa Mayer has failed to revive the Internet sloth.

Wow, a sloth which is defined as  ‘the quality or state of being lazy”. I would have used a different animal. Something purple maybe?

Stephen E Arnold, October 23, 2015

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

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