The KIT ─ Knowledge & Information Technology
No. 123 - 1 Jul 2014
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In This Issue
Agile! The Good, the Hype and the Ugly
Orkut Goes Kaput
Trends in Text Mining
Cloud Industry Symposium
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Bertrand Meyer on Agile Hype
There are good enough reasons to favor agile methods that it shouldn't be necessary to make excessive claims. That seems to be the core message of the new book by Bertrand Meyer, Chair of Software Engineering at ETH in Zurich, "Agile! The Good, the Hype and the Ugly." In just 170 pages, Meyer combines a primer on agile methods and a critical analysis that deplores how some zealots toss out processes and architecture, a misreading of the original Agile Manifesto.
And Then There Was One Fewer
Orkut, created in 2004 by a Google employee, was one of the earlier social networks, a contemporary of Facebook. With Google trying to create traction for Google+, and Orkut only retaining significant popularity in two countries, Brazil (where it is hosted) and India, it was inevitable that Google would pull the plug, and it finally did. As of today, no new accounts can be opened and users have three months to export their data and migrate to another network.
The story is fairly unremarkable except for reinforcing some recurrent points. First, who does the data belong to? Second, there are no social media standards to ease the migration of one's profile data across networks (a form of "cloud provider lock-in," a subject well known in the cloud standards community). Third, the providers will argue that we shouldn't have any expectations from a free service. (But is this really free, given the barrage of ads that allow the providers to make money?)
While the move makes sense for Google, it will be interesting to see who the users migrate to. Instead of moving to Google+, they may decide to join Facebook (chances are, most of them already use it too).
Text Mining Comes of Age
The common definition of "big data" revolves around the "three V's": volume, velocity and variety. Part of the variety comes in the form of unstructured data, especially text submitted in survey forms or social media. A specific text mining market is developing fast, with companies such as Connotate, Mozenda, xplenty and many more. But to have a market, you also need clients, and the interest is fast increasing too. The tourism industry is interested in the feedback submitted by travelers on booking sites (such as Expedia or Priceline), social networks (Facebook, Twitter...), and general customer feedback sites such as Yelp. Education agencies are also interested in leveraging social media to compensate for the lack of sufficient inspection staffs. Finally, you need to make sense of the collected data, and the sophistication of semantic analysis is increasing, including some systems based on "concept networks" such as Luminoso.
Notes from the Cloud Industry Symposium
The Cloud Standards Customer Council held a one-day event in Boston on June 18. Some of the highlights were:
  • A clear, realistic talk by Charlie Benway, Executive Director of the Advanced Cyber Security Center (ACSC), on "Getting Past Security and Privacy Concerns with Cloud Computing."
  • A talk by Judith Hurwitz, who just published a book called "Hybrid Clouds for Dummies." She stressed the need for cloud service management services.
  • A talk on "trust and transparency" by Jim Reavis of the Cloud Security Alliance, which administers the "Security, Trust and Assurance Registry" (STAR) and certifies cloud providers -- although the speaker admitted that the larger companies tend to ignore this effort. 
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