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

December 29, 2008

Where “semantic” technology is or isn’t important

At Lynda Moulton’s behest, I spoke a couple of times recently on the subject of where “semantic” technology is or isn’t likely to be important.  One was at the Gilbane conference in early December.  The slides were based on my previously posted deck for a June talk I gave on a text analytics market overview. The actual Gilbane slides may be found here.

My opinions about the applicability of semantic technology include:

So what would your list be like?

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 12, 2008

Are denial-of-insight attacks a threat to search logs and/or VOTC/VOTM apps?

TechTaxi points out that it’s at least theoretically possible to, by polluting the Web, pollute somebody’s web-wide information gathering. (Hat tip to Daniel Tunkelang.) They further assert this is a relatively near-term threat.

The theory can’t be denied. What’s more, bad actors have other motives to pollute the Web. For example, if they plant favorable automated comments about their own products or unfavorable about the competition’s, Voice of the Customer/Market applications will naturally be confused. And if automated reputation-checkers get more prominent, there will be a major incentive to game them, just as there has been for Google’s PageRank. So VOTC/VOTM market research tools could polluted as a side effect.

Similarly, if somebody wants to test your e-commerce site by throwing a ton of searches at it, your search logs will lose value.

But disinformation of competitors for the sake of disinformation? Or, as the article suggestions, vandalism/extortion? Off the top of my head, I’m not thinking of a serious near-term threat scenario.

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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