Thursday, January 24, 2013

That's big data entertainment!

In the past, the device held by someone watching television was usually a remote control. In the future, it is just as likely to be a mobile device. Starting next fall, television ratings will be measured in tweets as well as Nielsen numbers as social conversations are analyzed to calculate the reach of a program. Nielsen and Twitter announced the new form rating last month, but their partnership has been in the works for over a year. Read more at Social Data to Give Deeper TV Ratings 

Snoopy was prophetic. 3-D movies have made a comeback. Consequently, movies today pack a lot more data per frame. But big data is also involved in the trend toward data streaming that is displacing discs and in the data on what people want to watch. Read more in Big Data on the Big Screen

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Seeing stones for military, rescue, and security operations

What do JRR Tolkien, JP Morgan Chase, the military, and rescue workers have in common? Palantir.
"The Palantír" is the title of the 11th chapter of Tolkien’s The Two Towers. The name refers to the "seeing stones" that allow one to view what is happening elsewhere. In 2004, the name was also taken on by a company that develops software organization to extract meaning from various streams of data to combat terrorism, fraud, and disaster damage.

Palantir distinguishes its approach from data mining by calling it "data surfacing." Read more at 

From Sorcery to Surfacing Data

For more on big data used by the army, see  

National Safety in Big Numbers

 "You can't have a data Tower of Babel" in which each system keeps its data isolated from other systems, Patrick Dreher, a senior technical director at DRC, told Military Information Technology.His company worked with the US Army on the Rainmaker cloud-based intelligence system, which integrates different data models used by the intelligence community. "For example, when Afghan drug lords finance Taliban insurgents, data from one database can be combined with Taliban financing data from an Army database inside the cloud, allowing analysts to make timely, critical connections and stay one step ahead of insurgents."

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Big Data on the Final Frontier

Missions in space may come and go, but the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has always stuck to a mission of bringing in data.

One of its early achievements in this field was sending a spacecraft close enough to Venus to get accurate readings of its surface and atmosphere. On Dec. 14, 1962, the Mariner 2 spacecraft got within 34,762km (21,600 miles) of the planet. Over a 42-minute period, it was able to pick up many points of data that proved Venus, which had been thought of as Earth's twin, would be uninhabitable, with a surface temperature of 425°C (797°F) and a toxic atmosphere.
This picture (from NASA's site) of the data gathered in that mission is cropped. The paper showing the data that was gathered is actually much longer, as this uncropped version shows.

Back then, the data covered a roll of paper, but the data NASA handles today takes supercomputing power to process. As Nick Skytland wrote in NASA blog post in October:
In the time it took you to read this sentence, NASA gathered approximately 1.73 gigabytes of data from our nearly 100 currently active missions! We do this every hour, every day, every year -- and the collection rate is growing exponentially...
In our current missions, data is transferred with radio frequency, which is relatively slow. In the future, NASA will employ technology such as optical (laser) communication to increase the download and mean a 1000x increase in the volume of data. This is much more then we can handle today and this is what we are starting to prepare for now. We are planning missions today that will easily stream more 
[than] 24TB's a day. That's roughly 2.4 times the entire Library of Congress -- EVERY DAY. For one mission.
read more at 

Big Data on the Final Frontier

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Is your face your calling card?

Many books include pictures of the author on the back cover or inside the jacket. That is one thing I never bother to check when considering whether or not I want to read a book.  I  still don't really think about the author's appearance as I read. And I don't really think about my own as I write. 

I use a quill for my signature picture here, as well as on my other blogs. It also serves as  my profile photo  on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. I feel it conveys what I am about more accurately -- in terms of my role as writer - than my photo would. Or maybe I'm just camera-shy.

On  the other hand, my actual photo does serve as my profile picture for the UBM boards on which I write. The policy there, as it is for many newspapers, is to require a photo for the writers. Those who comment only and don't blog can get away with using any picture they like for their profile photo or just use the default picture if they don't bother to upload one of their own. 

Once I had my picture posted in that way, I put it in for my LinkedIn profile, as well. It seemed more consistent to have the same picture represent me there. Also the more standard practice on LI is to use an actual photo than a representational picture.  I still can't see attaching a photo to a resume, though anyone who wishes to find my photo simply has to do an online search to find one in a fraction of a second.

While the net dooes tend to attach author faces to content,  I don't believe I am more drawn to articles that feature faces.I must be  in the minority, though, because I'm certain that those who demand faces find that they are effective at drawing more audience interest. 

. What do you think about  the face as calling card?