Monthly Archives: April 2011

Wall Street To Use Social Networks…But How?

Andrew Graham of Mashable wrote a wonderful article this week, Why Wall Street is Betting Big on Social Media Data.  Here, he outlines the potential benefits and risks of culling data from Social Networks.

Uses of what’s alternatively known as Computational Linguistics or Natural Language Processing are popping up in Finance, Marketing and have a tremendous potential to change the Service Industry.  Yet to most people the process is as mysterious as santeria ceremony.

I believe that anything, as complex as it may be, is worthwhile to try understanding when it’s apt to have such a global impact.  Here I’ll give a quick and high level look at steps in the Computational Linguistics pipeline.  All links will be the chapters describing how to do these steps in the CL torah, Natural Language Processing with Python-Analyzing Text with the Natural Language Toolkit by Steven Bird, Ewan Klein, and Edward Loper.

 Step One:  Get the text from the internet.  This takes a couple of steps.  First you’ve got to copy pages from the internet, which is written in natural language but wrapped up in html, the stuff that makes web sites look like more than scrolls of typewriter paper.  So you strip that off. Then you’ve got a series of words.  One series of words.  You can’t do much with that, so you cut it up into a list whose length is the number of words.  Here this process is described in such terms that a non-Computer Science major could learn to do it in a weekend in Processing Raw Text.

Step Two: Turn a list of words into words whose functions are known.  What here is a noun?  What’s an adjective?  Where are the prepositions?  This seemingly impossible task (imagine for example reading content from 50,000 Twitter feeds and manually tagging the sentences.  Yet in Categorizing and Tagging Words, one could seriously learn this process in a manner of hours (imagining that they’d already read the previous chapters).

Afterwords one learns more complex (and more fruitful) activities like using statistical tools to classify texts for sentiment analysis, a superpowerful idea for Finance and Marketing in Learning to Classify Text.  Also useful for grabbing facts from Social Networks and determining relations between entities is their chapter Extracting Information from Text laying out how to use logical and pattern matching techniques like Regular Expressions and Chunking.

Computational Linguistics is extremely useful for Marketing, Finance and Service professional of the future and the surprisingly good news is that you don’t have to be a computer genius to learn it.

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Posted by on April 28, 2011 in Uncategorized


HTC EVO Finally Ousted From Smartphone Throne By…HTC EVO 3D

America’s finest smartphone, the beautiful EVO, courtesy of our fine Taiwanese friends at HTC and available on the Sprint network has spent a stunning year as the most-loved smartphone on Earth. Running Android 2.2, capable of eating up many a Flash media from the internetz, 4G-capable, superfast and responsive and with that massive 4.3 inch screen, the EVO faced a bit of competition from the likes of the iPhone 4, Samsung Galaxy S and more recently the Google Nexus S, but ultimately given its newly lower-price point and HTC’s not-too-offensive software layer over Android, nearly universal concensus holds it as the still-reigning-champ.

Until now.

The kind people of HTC are beating the EVO by giving it to us again but with a few key new features. Of course all the hardware is the shiny new stuff we’re seeing in Nexus S and the coming Galaxy refresh. Expect a blazingly fast 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, Adreno 220 GPU, Qualcomm MSM8660 chipset. You can get you’re JVM on with its JAVA MIDP Emulator.

What’s more exciting is actually the only confirmed detail of the product: Glasses-Free 3D Screen and, this is nuts, camera.

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Posted by on April 28, 2011 in Uncategorized


YouTube to Throw $100 Million at Professional Content

Not to be out-innovated by Netflix and spurned by networks not warm to GoogleTV,  YouTube has announced that in addition to its oft-viewed semiprofessional content like Ray William Johnson’s =3 viral video review channel and Songify This, the minds behind the highly popular Bed Intruder hit of last summer, they will shortly be going the whole 9 yards by establishing 20 professional channels.

Each will have an initial budget of 5 million dollars and the company has already opened offices in Beverly Hills, far from their Mountain View Bay-Area territory.

The changes at Google do not appear to be limited to YouTube though.  Google 2.0 (or is it 3.0?) seems to be focusing intently on Mobile, Social, Core Search Services and Media/Content and interpreting Media as something larger and more company-comprehensive than just YouTube.

TechCrunch reports that they are buying up multiple domain names associated with Cloud Computing and Online Music Streaming.  Amazon and Apple are definitely watching this domain stocking anxiously.

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Posted by on April 10, 2011 in Uncategorized


Students Addicted to Social Media

According to a new global study by the International Center for Media ad Public Affairs using IBM’s Many Eyes software for data visualization children are increasingly developing symbiotic relationships with their technology.

Throughout the study technology was repeatedly referred to in metaphorical terms comparing it to an appendage or a drug.  Many young people spoke of acute withdrawal symptoms.

As you can see below young people from Chile, China, Mexico, Lebanon, Slovakia, the U.S. and Great Britain spend 3.5 to 5.5 hours a day on the Internet at least half of which is spent wandering around social networks.

Somewhat surprising is the lack of smartphone penetration in quite unexpected markets.  Notice that both Lebanon and Mexico have wider penetration than the United States.

Students were encouraged to abandon their devices for 24 hours.  Although some students reported benefits of their unplugging experiment the majority felt lost, irritable and bored without their electronic appendages.

This is perhaps attributable to the near constant presence of technologies in their lives as seen in this final graph detailing their first age when using key technologies such as the smartphone, the PC and the internet.

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Posted by on April 10, 2011 in Uncategorized