Posts filed under ‘Technology’

All Together Now: All You Need is a Text Box!

By Terence Craig

All you need is text, Text is all you need (sing to the tune of The Beatles’ All you need is love).   If you are one of our regular readers you will remember that several months ago I wrote a manifesto on what the perfect analytics system would look like.  One of the last points was:

It must be as accessible as Excel (still the number one analytics tool in the world).

I was wrong – Excel is the number one non-specialized analytics tool in the world but in terms of usage, it is dwarfed in comparison to a very well know specialized analytics toolkit. The creators of this tool are a little company that you may have heard of:  it does no evil and analyzes the Internet to bring you back everything on the web based on a simple text query.  But behind that simple text box, Google has one of the most sophisticated analytics infrastructures in the world:

  • It can deduce your interests.
  • Give you the most relevant results.
  • And show you appropriate information based on them, as well as bring back highly personalized ads.

Google is not only the largest big data analytics company in the world, but it also has the easiest to use tools—proof that text is all you really need!

(more…)

October 14, 2011 at 3:22 pm 4 comments

Steve Jobs – The man who bought style to computing

By Terence Craig

Although I never met the man – I think that I and every programmer or entrepreneur that has worked in the valley felt like we had a personnel relationship with Steve Jobs.   He was without a doubt the most polarizing technology figure in the valley – known for his brilliant design sense, ability to excite an audience, uncompromising desire to get it right, and pithy emails.

My first real computer was a Mac.  That Mac Plus with an additional acoustic coupler modem – (a blazing fast 300 baud baby!) helped pay my way through college writing other peoples programs for them uh, I mean tutoring other students. The Mac was amazing it showed us that computers could be fun, quirky, and artistic. It introduced stylistic concepts that we are still having trouble bringing into mainstream computing today.  In a world of VT220 terminals and ascii art (btw the link is amazingly cool ascii), the Mac with Steve as her father proved that the digital world could be thrilling as well as functional. For that we all, whether in technology or otherwise, owe him a great debt.

Finally, lets all remember that despite his laudable achievements, Mr. Jobs was a human being who had family and friends that are mourning a man that cancer took away from them at an early age. While we can and should honor his many achievements, let’s not forget to take a breath and send good thoughts to them and all the other families who have been stricken by this deadly disease.  Or better yet, donate to the Cancer charity of your choice.

RIP – Steve.

October 7, 2011 at 6:28 am Leave a comment

No-SQL – Going All The Way

Going All The Way

We have recently made a big architectural change concerning our storage back-end and I wanted to talk about it.

Storage is key to any Big Data problem. As we’ve mentioned in prior posts, most of our performance bottlenecks and optimizations have to do with storage performance and architecture, as opposed to computation. Our architecture for the last few years has consisted of a hybrid approach with “no-SQL” analytics storage using MongoDB and “non-transactional” data stored in a traditional RDBMS, primarily SQL Server. There were a couple of reasons for this architecture. First, we started off entirely in RDBMS-land, because our initial design was done before no-SQL systems were really at a production-level of maturity. Second, most of our customers and prospects had traditional schemas and data organization – making integration easier if we could just use the same object model. (more…)

September 28, 2011 at 4:18 pm 1 comment

Real-time Analytics: It’s Always Decision Time!

By Mary Ludloff

Greetings all! I just came across a great video from eWEEK talking about the growing need for real-time (aka streaming) analytics:

“For years, business intelligence has provided valuable information to help executives and managers make decisions to increase sales, improve operations, and seize new business opportunities. With the quickening pace of business today and the need to make faster decisions based on more timely data, companies are complementing this data using information mined from social networks, mobile sensors, and even location-based information from smartphones. To get the best value from this wealth of new data sources, the data analysis must be done in real time. This allows decisions to be made based on the true conditions at that particular time.”

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September 23, 2011 at 12:04 pm 4 comments

Maps: Lessons Learned

Recently we’ve been adding new user-friendly features to our platform and I’d like to talk about our map view. In particular, I want to discuss the lessons we learned from the map in the first version of the PAF (PatternBuilders Analytics Framework) versus the one in our new Silverlight client.

You may have already seen some screenshots of the map in our AJAX web client – when we released the first versions of PAF, we integrated with Google Maps to help users see their data on a map for quick comparisons and analysis. It’s always been a helpful tool, but suffered from a learning curve for new users and could potentially confuse people due to the way it displayed data.

The AJAX Client Map View

The AJAX Client Map View

Showing time series data on a map is a tricky proposition – the map is already two dimensional, and the addition of the two dimensions of time series analytics takes it into the 4th dimension. As exciting as it would be to see a four dimensional map view (we’d definitely be the only company doing it!), I don’t think most human beings would be able to understand it.

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September 6, 2011 at 8:04 am Leave a comment

Gartner, Hype Cycles, and Big Data

By Mary Ludloff

Gartner Hype Cycle Greetings all! While we’ve been super busy at PatternBuilders working on a destination application that we are all very excited about, doing some development work, talking with potential partners and prospects, AND not to mention the fact (but I will) that Terence and I are getting close to the finish line on our book, I came across this interesting article on Gartner’s hype cycle and the recent addition of big data to it.

Now, I am pretty sure that you all are familiar with Gartner’s magic quadrant methodology that essentially evaluates all the particular technology players in a specific industry across four quadrants: challengers, leaders, niche players, and visionaries. For those companies looking at vendors for a specific solution, the magic quadrant can help them understand how they stack up against each other. For the vendors, it’s an opportunity to take an objective look at the industry as a whole and understand what they do well and where they could be better. (more…)

August 17, 2011 at 8:37 am 2 comments

Thoughts on Identity Theft, Government IT, Facebook and Google Plus

By Mary Ludloff

Before I begin, I must admit to being in a very grumpy mood which may (ever so slightly) color the topics in the post title. As you know, Terence and I are not only “work-working” but in our copious amounts of spare time, working on our book (plug fully, absolutely intended). While the book is going well, I must say that it has affected my Zen-like ability to remain calm (I can hear Terence chortling) when others may “lose it.” This leads me (you’ll understand in a minute) to the issue of identity theft. (more…)

July 20, 2011 at 6:58 am Leave a comment

It’s About Time: Series Data, Streaming, & Architecture

 

In previous posts, we have talked a lot about the PatternBuilders Analytics platform and streaming analytics. This platform is able to scale for huge amounts of data and stream results to the user as they are processed in real time. As mentioned before, we can do this because we have focused on time series analytics, making optimizations to our architecture that beat generalized MapReduce types of solutions by orders of magnitude. I’d like to discuss this focus and how it came about.

Why time series data?

Time series data is ubiquitous. It’s actually more difficult to think of an analytics question a user would be interested in that doesn’t involve time in some capacity. Even a non-numeric query like “Order the list of products by units sold” is almost useless without specifying a time period for which to sort. (more…)

July 14, 2011 at 6:20 pm 7 comments

MongoSF: Our Streaming Analytics Video is Now Available

By Terence Craig

As you all know, Tim and I spoke at MongoSF recently. Our session was focused on how to build a streaming analytics system with Mongo. For those of you who might have missed this post thread, here are the highlights (with the appropriate links):

Our session was videotaped and I am happy to announce that it is now available on the 10gen site. You’ll notice that we got a lot of great questions. If, after viewing the video, you have some thoughts or questions please send them my way through comments or email—it may take me some time (we are, as Mary said in her last post, crazy busy right now), but I will follow up!

July 11, 2011 at 11:53 am 4 comments

Founder Showcase: PAF’s Smart Deployment and Uber Performance

By Terence Craig

I am going to be attending the Founders Showcase in San Francisco this Wednesday.  We were looking for a warm-up event before we put the company back in fundraising mode, and thought that this venue would be a nice low key but quality event to get back in the groove after being completely focused on all things product for a while.  Well, it’s definitely going to be a quality event but low key it’s not.  Not only was the event sold out but the demand was such that they offered more tickets, moved to a larger venue, and that venue is now sold out!  The same thing happened at the Mongo show that I spoke at a couple of weeks ago.

I am excited about this event. It involves three of the guys that have changed the way the venture game is played for the better (see my previous post).  Adeo Ressi is the organizer, and the keynotes are going to be delivered by Mark Suster of “Both Sides of the Table” and the man who is turning seed funding on its ear, Naval Ravikant. It will be a great opportunity to see what other entrepreneurs are doing, meet some partners and future customers, and show off our technology. (more…)

June 14, 2011 at 9:38 am 2 comments

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