August 4, 2008

It’s too early to go back to Twitter

For a while, I’ve made very little use of Twitter. The reasons are familiar:

Back from vacation, I just tried again. My experiences include: Read more

July 20, 2008

Cat retirement homes, spam tortilla sandwiches, and the dubious relevancy of Gmail “contextual” ads

I’m a big fan of outsourcing one’s email to Google, and then continuing to use one’s favorite email client. (I’ve never switched away from Eudora.) Accordingly, I rarely use the actual Gmail interface – except when traveling and hence away from my desktop computer.

For the past week I have been on vacation, logging into Gmail a lot. And so I started noticing the contextual ads that appear above the lists of messages. Well, it turns out that – well, on the whole they’re not terribly contextual. Let me explain. Read more

July 20, 2008

Micro- and full-length-blogging use cases overlap greatly

Steven Hodson ranted on Mashable that Twitter is not a micro-blogging tool.  His case was, in essence, “Blogs are thoughtful and Twitter isn’t, so the two aren’t comparable.”  I disagree.  Hodson was over-glorifying blogging, while trivializing the broad variety of Twitter use cases.*  Consider, if you please, the following list of use cases that are met both by Twitter and by conventional blogging:

  1. Reporting on your life. By the way, I had a great first week in Grand Cayman, but now it’s raining heavily, which is a big part of the reason why I’m blogging.  Broadband is slow and my laptop is old, so being online is a bit frustrating, so I’m cutting a few corners in thoroughness.
  2. Expressing feelings. That’s pretty inseparable from #1.
  3. Bashing those who you feel need bashing. It works, too. 🙂
  4. Communicating news.
  5. Expressing analytical opinions.
  6. Promoting your services, opinions, and links.

*More precisely, Hodson was underrating the use cases for a version of Twitter that actually works, but I’ll try to refrain from posting at length again about that problem until I’ve looked into the changes at recent Twitter acquisition Summize.  That said, I think it will take Twitter quite a while, if it ever does, to recover from the terrible loss of momentum due to its lack of scalability.  Certainly my usage has dropped to near zero since the disastrous period in which they disabled the Replies search.

July 11, 2008

The phrase “business intelligence” was COINED for text analytics

Late last year, there was a little flap about who invented the phrase business intelligence. Credit turns out to go to an IBM researcher named H. P. Luhn, as per this 1958 paper. Well, I finally took a look at the paper, after Jeff Jones of IBM sent over another copy. And guess what? It’s all about text analytics. Specifically, it’s about what we might now call a combination of classification and knowledge management.

Half a century later, the industry is finally poised to deliver on that vision.

July 10, 2008

Chatbot game — Digg meets Eliza?

I forget how I got the URL, but something called the Chatbot Game purports to be a combination of Eliza and Digg. That is, it’s a chatbot with a lot of rules; anybody can submit rules; rules are voted up and down.

I don’t think I’ll want to play with it for a while (I’m heading off on vacation for a while), so I thought I’d post it here to see if anybody else had any thoughts about or familiarity with it.

Related link

July 9, 2008

Has JLove taken the dishonest pages down?

On June 19, I wrote of a very dishonest gambit by a dating service called JLove. Specifically, JLove generated pages for many (First_Name, Last_Name) combos, falsely claiming that people — me included — were members of its site. The story was picked up by Slashdot and by some other blogs. Numerous aggrieved victims found the post and contacted me directly, and in some cases contacted the company as well.

Today, one JLove victim emailed me to say JLove had taken down the offending pages. That looks to indeed be accurate! (At least for now.) If you click on, you no longer see what I described in a prior post; rather, you are redirected to the generic

Those pages seem to already be completely gone from Google, as well as Microsoft’s Yahoo, however, still has them. To see that, search on each engine for curt monash. Yahoo’s cache, at least for now, will also show you what the original page looked like. Read more

July 9, 2008

Google Health spoof

FutureFeedForward is on a roll:

MOUNTAIN VIEW–Information search giant Google, Inc. announced Thursday the release of Google Body, a search service aiming to index the internal and external anatomy of every living creature on the planet. …

Early testers have remarked upon a fuzzy-logic “match my organ” feature, which helps users get in touch with the nearest, most suitable donor for multiple organ systems. …

Responding to criticism from privacy groups, Google’s Hind pointed to the program’s opt-out policy. “We are very concerned about user privacy, and that’s why we will not make publicly available any information about anybody who let’s us know they do not want to participate by wearing an Opt-Out headband when in public. Google archives information about those individuals, but does not make it searchable.” The yellow and black vinyl headbands can be requested free of charge by writing to the company at its Mountain View headquarters.

July 9, 2008

Fun with the Google External Keyword Tool

Google announced a major upgrade to the Google (External) Keyword Tool — it now gives actual numbers of searches, instead of vague logarithmic green bars. This now makes it very cool for figuring out what people actually search for. Estimated average monthly search volumes include: Read more

July 8, 2008

The Attivio angle on the FAST story

Attivio CEO Ali Riaz was previously CFO and COO of FAST. He tried to avoid involvement in the recent expose’ of his former employer. For his troubles he got a parking lot ambush, a big photograph, and some unflattering coverage. Read more

July 8, 2008

Recent reporting on the shenanigans at FAST

A Norwegian newspaper did an expose’ on FAST, dated June 28. Helpful search industry participants quickly distributed English translations to a variety of commentators, including me. TechCrunch posted a scan of part of the article.

The gist is that FAST followed a pattern very common in the packaged enterprise software industry: Read more

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