October 24, 2008

Attensity update

I had a brief chat with the Attensity guys at their Teradata Partners Conference booth – mainly CTO David Bean, although he did buck one question to sales chief Jeff Johnson. The business trends story remained the same as it was in June: The sweet spot for new sales remains Voice of the Customer/Voice of the Market, while on-premise/SaaS new-name accounts are split around 50-50 (by number, not revenue).

David’s thoughts as to why the SaaS share isn’t even higher – as it seems to be for Clarabridge* – centered on the point that some customers want to blend internal and external data, and may not want to ship the internal part out to a SaaS provider. Besides, if it’s tabular data, I suspect Attensity isn’t the right place to ship it anyway.

*Speaking of Clarabridge, CEO Sid Banerjee recently posted a thoughtful company update in this comment thread.

When I challenged him on ease of use, David said that Attensity is readying a Microstrategy-based offering, which is obviously meant to compete with Clarabridge and any of its perceived advantages head-on.

October 11, 2008

Lynda Moulton prefers enterprise search products that get up and running quickly

Lynda Moulton, to put it mildly, disagrees with the Gartner Magic Quadrant analysis of enterprise search. Her preferred approach is captured in:

Coveo, Exalead, ISYS, Recommind, Vivisimo, and X1 are a few of a select group that are marking a mark in their respective niches, as products ready for action with a short implementation cycle (weeks or months not years).

By way of contrast, Lynda opines:

Autonomy and Endeca continue to bring value to very large projects in large companies but are not plug-and-play solutions, by any means. Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft offer search solutions of a very different type with a heavy vendor or third-party service requirement. Google Search Appliance has a much larger installed base than any of these but needs serious tuning and customization to make it suitable to enterprise needs.

In particular, her views about FAST (now Microsoft) are scathing.

October 10, 2008

More on Languageware

Marie Wallace of IBM wrote back in response to my post on Languageware. In particular, it seems I got the Languageware/UIMA relationship wrong. Marie’s email was long and thoughtful enough that, rather than just pointing her at the comment thread, I asked for permission to repost it. Here goes:

Thanks for your mention to LanguageWare on your blog, albeit a skeptical one :-) I totally understand your scepticism as there is so much talk about text analytics these days and everyone believes they have solved the problem. I guess I can only hope that our approach will indeed prove to be different and offers some new and interesting perspectives.

The key differentiation in our approach is that we have completely decoupled the language model from the code that runs the analysis. This has been generalized to a set of data-driven algorithms that apply across many languages so that you can have an approach that makes the solution hugely and rapidly customizable (without having to change code). It is this flexibility that we believe is core to realizing multi-lingual and multi-domain text analysis applications in a real-word scenario. This customization environment is available for download from Alphaworks, http://www.alphaworks.ibm.com/tech/lrw, and we would love to get feedback from your community.

On your point about performance, we actually consider UIMA one of our greatest performance optimizations and core to our design. The point about one-pass is that we never go back over the same piece of text twice at the same “level” and take a very careful approach when defining our UIMA Annotators. Certain layers of language processing just don’t make sense to split up due to their interconnectedness and therefore we create our UIMA annotators according to where they sit in the overall processing layers. That’s the key point.

Anyway those are my thoughts, and thanks again for the mention. It’s really great to see these topics being discussed in an open and challenging forum.

October 7, 2008

Languageware — IBM takes another try at natural language processing

Marie Wallace of IBM wrote in from Ireland to call my attention to Languageware, IBM’s latest try at natural language processing (NLP). Obviously, IBM has been down this road multiple times before, from ViaVoice (dictation software that got beat out by Dragon NaturallySpeaking) to Penelope (research project that seemingly went on for as long as Odysseus was away from Ithaca — rumor has it that the principals eventually decamped to Microsoft, and continued to not produce commercial technology there). Read more

October 5, 2008

Worst search UI ever

On the whole, the Barack Obama campaign has been very internet-savvy. Maybe their web site JohnMcCainRecord.com is yet another example of same. But to my eyes, it has such an appallingly bad search interface that people going to the site are apt to be annoyed. To wit:

And then, of course, there’s the funny stuff. For example, if you search on foo, you are taken to Rural Issues.

In general terms, I like the idea of the site. But absent some serious changes, JohnMcCainRecord.com should not have a search interface.

Edit:  More here in my post on The Obama campaign’s Search Engine to Nowhere

September 20, 2008

Attivio update

I talked w/ Andrew McKay of Attivio for 2 ½ hours Thursday. I’ve also been working with some Attivio engineers on a blog search engine. I think it’s time to post about Attivio. 🙂 Read more

September 19, 2008

Low-latency text mining in the investment market

I’m not at Gartner’s Event Processing conference, but there seem to be some interesting posts and articles coming out of it. Seth Grimes has one on Reuters’ integration of text mining and event processing, including sentiment analysis. Well worth reading. Lots more detail than I’ve ever posted on similar applications.

September 13, 2008

One overview of e-discovery

I just found a year-old (almost) blog post from EMC executive Andrew Cohen that succinctly lays out his view (which he believes to mainly be a consensus stance) on e-discovery. Cohen is evidently both a lawyer and a honcho in document management system vendor EMC’s Compliance Division, which is probably relevant to interpreting his outlook, in the spirit of the old Kennedy School dictum that “Where you stand depends upon where you sit.”

Highlights included:

September 11, 2008

Blog user interfaces

Over on A World of Bytes, I’ve started highlighting interesting tech blogs people might enjoy. However, I chided each of my first three selections for UI failings. A comment thread quickly ensued, and social media maven Jeremiah Owyang asked how he could make his blog easier to read. This post is a followup to that discussion.

Jeremiah’s blog and my most active ones – DBMS2 and Text Technologies – have a lot in common. Specifically, they are multi-hundred-page websites, featuring dense material meant to be read by busy, tech-savvy people. And so my core advice boils down to: Make it as easy as possible for people to find and recognize what is interesting to them.

In particular, I suggest: Read more

September 8, 2008

The layered messaging marketing model as applied to Attensity

My general layered messaging theory survived its first test against an IT vendor example – Netezza. Let’s try another, in this case a company that’s not a Monash Research client. Read more

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