Category Archives: Uncategorized

Google Gets into the Debt Game

Big deal here today: Google has closed it’s very very first Corporate Debt offering ever.  This cash-rich company has been on a stampede buying up companies like adMob and slide and YouTube.  Even Android came from an acquisition.  So it makes sense that given its healthy businesses and its their huge cash reserves, Google ought to take advantage of credit markets.

Despite the stock’s flat performance over the past year investors apparently are piqued as decent demand has Google getting money for nearly as cheap as the government does.  Wall Street Journal describes the deal, “The three-year piece was sold with a risk premium of 33 basis points over Treasurys to yield 1.258%; the five-year at 43 basis points, yielding 2.241%; and the 10-year was priced with a spread of 58 basis points over Treasurys, yielding 3.374%”

Orders came in at over 10 billion for this 3 billion offering, with such apparent voraciousness that Google is now swimming in free money.  So the question is: What are they going to buy next?

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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Uncategorized


Last Shuttle Launch Begets Twitter Phenom #trendingtopics

Wow.  The last shuttle launch.  The end of an era in spaceflight.  As the government switches over to an era of comercial spaceflight, an unlikely star is born.  Palm-Beach-bound New Yorker Stefanie Gordon snapped this photo of the Endeavour:

This 1800 Twitter-follower saw a 1000 follower increase in a few hours plus fielded calls from ABC, CNBC and the BBC.

This out-of-work event planner was quick to capitalize on her new-found social media capital and plugged her LinkedIn account.

CBS is currently monetizing the video with a pretty large 30-second ad spot.  That’s twice the length of the actual video which I think is one of the craziest ad-to-TV margins I’ve ever seen.  Check it out below and tell me in the comments what was your commercial?  Mine features Manny Pacquio’s.

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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Uncategorized


Too Many Buttons!?!?!?!?

Fresh off of the news of Google’s search-enhancing, social-media-enabling ‘+1’ button, we’re getting news that Tumblr is now adding their on Tumblr Share button to be embedded in the bottom of essays, blogs, news posts and photos.

I wonder though if we’re hitting social media sharing widget overload.  The Wall Street Journal, not even the most ambitious of the sharing-botton-bonanza throws a Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, StumbleUpon, Viadeo, Orkut, Fark, Reddit, and MySpace sharing buttons.

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Posted by on May 10, 2011 in Uncategorized


Microsoft Buys Skype

Microsoft has been on the defensive for some time now batting back Apple and to a lesser extent Google for their prized Operating System business-line and Google and to a lesser extent Apple in their office-productivity business-line.

Not all is lost of course.  Bing has made some inroads in search market share and the Kinect was the greatest selling consumer electronics device in history during its first 60 days.  Sadly though, these successes have not been accretive to Microsoft’s stock, which has been roughly flat since the dotcom bust.

Microsoft is looking to keep Apple and Google on their FaceTime and GoogleVoice empires.  Microsoft has just purchased Skype for $8.5 billion.  Skype, the popular voice and text messaging service has 170 million users, or more than the population of Mexico.

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Posted by on May 10, 2011 in Uncategorized


The Intel Empire Strikes Back

Intel, long trumped by newcomer Arm Holdings in the market for mobile computing has struck back in a major way with their new 20 nanometer manufacturing process.  Intel, long known for their virtual monopoly in the x86 market (the processors behind our PCs) has struggled to break into the low-power SoC (System on a Chip) market that powers the smartphones in tablets behind the new mobile and social web revolutions.

Immediately following the announcement shares of Arm Holdings slipped as much as 5.5 percent in midday trading while Intel had a temporary 1.5 percent bump.

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Posted by on May 5, 2011 in Uncategorized


Playstation Network Massive Hack

Playstation users beware, while you were busy playing Mortal Kombat a massive user data theft was in the works in which 77 to 100 million names, addresses and possibly credit card numbers were stolen.

Many blame Anonymous, the group behind the Wikileaks retaliation a few weeks.  Anonymous denies all involvement with the scandal.  MIcrosoft’s xBox team has implied that this was an inevitable after Sony’s Playstation team cracked down on people hacking their PS3 systems.

Hacking game systems has become increasingly popular now that kinetic live-action censors are in vogue.

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Posted by on May 5, 2011 in Uncategorized


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