January 8, 2009

The Twitter fail whale has resurfaced

I’ve had a multi-week service saga trying to get my Dell desktop computer fixed. So I Twittered about the fact that my last email on the matter of multiple freezes/cold reboots per day hadn’t been answered for 3 1/2 days.  A Dell representative almost immediately messaged me.  Then, like so many service representatives, he asked me to repeat what I’ve said many times before (only now 140 characters at a time).

Except I couldn’t get the direct message through for a while, because I ran into the Fail Whale.  Nor is that my first recent encounter with same.

If Twitter goes back to being maddeningly unreliable, I will likely go back to living without it.

After multiple weeks with a malfunctioning computer, I am NOT in the mood for even petty problems like this.  Arggh …

January 2, 2009

Daniel Tunkelang idealizes Twitter

Daniel Tunkelang has a couple of recent posts decrying what amounts to, at least in his eyes, the abuse of Twitter. (My word, not his.)   For example, he writes in criticism of Loic LeMeur:

Twitter is a communication platform, not a marketing platform, and there’s a subtle difference.

But I’d disagree that there’s a bright line separating the two.  In particular, I think most business blogs serve or should serve as both, in no small part because the areas of marketing and communication overlap heavily. And in my opinion Twitter (microblogging) and ordinary blogging aren’t that far apart.

Earlier this evening I posted praise of the BI expert Twitter community — of which Daniel is indeed a member — even while admitting that unlike other members, I “follow” too many Twitterers to actually keep up with their posts.  Daniel refers to following patterns like mine as an attention Ponzi scheme, Read more

January 2, 2009

Enterprise IT experts on Twitter

It was my birthday yesterday (New Year’s Day), and I remarked on Twitter that I seemed to be getting more automated greetings from message boards and the like than I was getting from real people.* Naturally, a number of folks set out to redress the imbalance :), specifically J A di Paolantonio, Rob Paller, Neil Raden, Claudia Imhoff, Gareth Horton, Donald Farmer, IdaRose Sylvester, and Seth Grimes.

*In retrospect that was a silly comment, made soon after midnight while humans were generally either partying or asleep. But it’s the set-up for the rest of this post. 😉

Sheer self-indulgence aside — “Happy Birthday To Me!!” — I see something blogworthy in that. Indeed, it reflects the emergence over the past 6 months or so of one particular Twitter community. Takeaways include: Read more

November 24, 2008

Google is reported to be cutting back

Google seems to be cutting back its workforce, or at least radically scaling back its growth plans. It’s tough to quickly assess details just based on the blogosphere, given all the Google hate out there. But WebGuild Silicon Valley offers a post claiming that Google’s 20,000 actual employees are paired with 10,000 more contractors, and the latter are being pared way back. Various other posts linked in the comment thread say similar things.

Before you get too excited about hiring opportunities, however — it’s not obvious how many victims are in the core search business in any capacity, and it’s certain not clear whether anybody is being let go in areas like search algorithm research.

November 19, 2008

More website weirdness

Here’s something longer-lasting and weirder than Vertica’s “We sell turkeys” theme: Mark Logic, whose product is used primarily to help enterprises make their content more acceptable, doesn’t have a search engine on its own website.* Read more

November 16, 2008

The silly fuss over Obama’s use of YouTube

President-Elect Barack Obama is posting videos on YouTube. Clearly, his use of relatively cutting-edge communications technology is a Good Thing. It’s also unsurprising, giving the sophistication and importance of video in the recent presidential campaign.

However, various commentators — even ones as smart as Dan Farber — see something wrong with the use of YouTube for this purpose. I think that’s silly. Read more

November 11, 2008

The Google flu search story is pretty interesting

Google reports that it is tracking flu outbreaks via search. Actually, that’s a misnomer. Google is not tracking articles written about flu; HealthMap et al. do that. Rather, this Google project is tracking search queries about flu-related subjects. They have graphs suggesting a strong correlation between flu-related searches and actual cases of flu, notwithstanding that many searches on “flu” would be for, say “flu shot.” The key point is that Google tracks where searches come from, and hence detects which geographical areas are suffering flu outbreaks. And it does this 1-2 weeks faster than the alternative method, which is physicians reporting to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).* Read more

November 11, 2008

Lukewarm review of Yahoo mobile search

Stephen Shankland reviewed Yahoo’s mobile voice search, which works by taking voice input and returning results onscreen (in his case on his Blackberry Pearl). He found:

No big surprises there. 😀

October 28, 2008

Google and the Author’s Guild establish an ASCAP for books

Most of the coverage of the Google/Authors Guild settlement today seems to focus on Google’s side of things. But I think the authors’ side is much more important. This deal paves the way for traditional publishers to become quaint and useless — and not a moment too soon.

Below are some quotes — fair use!! 🙂 — from the Authors Guild official statement on the deal (emphasis mine): Read more

October 24, 2008

Maybe text mining SHOULD be playing a bigger role in data warehousing

When I chatted last week with David Bean of Attensity, I commented to him on a paradox:

Many people think text information is important to analyze, but even so data warehouses don’t seem to wind up holding very much of it.

Read more

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