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Logan Hochstetler

Logan Hochstetler

Founder of the dominant Chinese search engine urges Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurs and coders to set up shop in China

Software coders, engineers and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are welcomed in China if they are put off by the anti-immigration comments espoused by the president-elect of the United States, said Baidu Inc’s founder and chairman Robin Li.

Stephen Bannon, executive chairman of Breitbart News and strategy adviser to Donald Trump, noted during a November 2015 interview with Trump on the website’s Sirius XM radio talk show that two-thirds or three-quarters of Silicon Valley’s CEOs are from South Asia or from Asia, according to a Washington Post report this week.

“I hope these migrants would come to China, so that the country can play a bigger role in the world’s innovations,” Li said on Friday during the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen. “Many entrepreneurs have said that they are worried that Trump’s victory will hurt creativity in the US.”

China, home to the world’s largest Internet-using population and biggest number of smartphone users, is throwing its doors open to attract talent and capital to help give the country a leg up in technology.

Interested technologists and entrepreneurs will have to contend with China’s “cyberspace sovereignty,” espoused by president Xi Jinping last year in Wuzhen and reiterated this year by the Communist Party’s propaganda chief Liu Yunshan, an unambiguous affirmation of Beijing’s tight grip on censorship and control of the Internet.

Still, the country’s size and growth pace offer rewards for entrepreneurs who are willing to live without accessing Facebook, Twitter, Google, or websites including The New York Times, and the South China Morning Post. Baidu, operator of the dominant Internet search engine in China, owes almost all its revenue to the country’s advertisers and users.

“China is the largest internet market in the world, and it’s also the fastest-growing market,” Li said. “I hope more talent comes to China, and we can embrace entrepreneurship together.”

Along with larger peers Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group -- which owns the South China Morning Post -- Baidu is at the forefront of China’s push to harness artificial intelligence to drive its business growth.

This week, Baidu showed off a fleet of 18 self-driving cars in Wuzhen, demonstrating its ability to power vehicles using its AI technology.

The lack of talents in the field has been a bottleneck that’s stumped the industry’s progress, analysts said.

There’s urgent demand for engineers specialising in artificial intelligence in China, but the current education system is unable to churn out enough talent, said Hao Jian, chief consultant at online recruiter Zhaopin.com

“China’s college training is unable to catch up with the changes in the Internet sector, forcing many companies to look overseas for talent,” he said.

Author:  Phoenix Kwong

Source:  http://www.scmp.com/

Artificial islands above water, and nuclear submarines below

As tensions mount in the South China Sea, China has deployed its first operational nuclear-armed submarines in the undisputed Chinese waters on Hainan Island, which could pose an even greater danger to security in the region, Malcolm Cook writes.

The ripples of unease over China’s actions in the South China Sea are being felt across the world, but an even greater threat could lie beneath the ocean.

The decisions to rapidly build a number of large, military-grade artificial islands in the disputed Spratly islands and to enhance Chinese military activity on Woody Island in the Paracels have raised concerns about China’s long-term intentions in Southeast Asia and beyond.

Taiwan was the first to raise the alarm over Woody Island, the European Union was critical, and ASEAN – a consensus-based organisation not known for bluntness – adopted the sharpest language yet,.  There are signs that Malaysia, long seen as the quietest, most diplomatic Southeast Asian disputant in the South China Sea, may also push back against China and work more closely with fellow disputants the Philippines and Vietnam.

These increasingly vocal concerns in Southeast Asia are grounded in three deep strategic fears. Firstly,  that China is seeking to control the features and waters within the nine (sometimes 10)-dash line that covers over 80 per cent of the sea that links maritime Southeast Asia to each other and the rest of the world.

China’s current actions are also perceived as a worrying harbinger for how the country will act in the future as its power asymmetries with the “peripheral” states of Southeast Asia grow, and its power asymmetry with the United States reduces.

In addition, the South China Sea is or risks becoming a major arena of US-China strategic competition, undermining Southeast Asian states’ influence, autonomy and security, and ASEAN centrality and unity. This neuralgic fear was given voice in the Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs’ sharp response to the US October 2015 freedom of navigation operation in the Spratlys.

To borrow a polar maritime analogy, China’s artificial islands may be the proverbial tips of a major iceberg where the real threat lurks below. There are signs that the artificial islands are also there to support growing Chinese submarine activities, which should deepen existing fears.

China has deployed its first operational nuclear armed submarines (SSBNs) on Hainan Island in the undisputed Chinese waters of the South China Sea. Yet, for this nuclear capability to pose a threat to the US mainland and make Chinese nuclear deterrence credible, these SSBNs will have to sail the breadth of the northern South China Sea and access the Western Pacific, most likely through the Luzon Strait between the northern Philippines and southern Taiwan. Similarly, to escape to the safer, less congested waters of the Indian Ocean, these less-than-stealthy SSBNs would have to sail the length of the South China Sea and exit through the Straits of Malacca, or further south through Indonesia’s Sunda Strait.

The deployment of China’s sea-based nuclear strike capability on Hainan Island changes the strategic significance of the South China Sea in a way that aggravates Southeast Asian fears. For China to protect its most important, expensive and vulnerable asset in its military rivalry with the US, China will need to have much more confidence in its ability to control the South China Sea. The artificial islands and their clear military uses could well be part of an extended bastion strategy to defend these SSBNs.

The US now has a vital homeland defence interest in being able to track these Chinese submarines in the South China Sea in times of non-conflict, and block them from the Western Pacific in other times.

The docking of US hunter killer submarines in January at Subic Bay in the Philippines is a sign of heightened interest. The US-Philippine Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, now that it has passed muster with the Philippine Supreme Court, will significantly revive the US-Philippine alliance in ways that benefit this US interest. The agreements with Singapore and Malaysia over supporting US P-8 flights also align with this heightened American interest.

Japanese submarines and anti-submarine warfare assets are a major feature of the military side of Japan’s ongoing rebalance to Southeast Asia. A Japanese submarine will visit the Philippines in April, the first such visit in 15 years, and two of the escort ships are then scheduled to make a historic visit to Vietnam’s Cam Rahn Bay. Last year, Japanese P-3C surveillance planes with anti-submarine warfare capabilities participated in bilateral exercises with the Philippines off the coast of Palawan, with Tokyo encouraging Manila to purchase some. While submarines were the big winners (in announcement terms) in Australia’s 2009 defence white paper, anti-submarine warfare capabilities more broadly are in the recently launched 2016 defence white paper, a document that stressed Australia’s enduring security interests in the South China Sea to Beijing’s ire.

Chinese military actions in the South China Sea above and below the waves are turning the whole South China Sea into a major arena of US-China strategic and military rivalry. China is seeking greater control over the waters and land features it claims, while the active US interest, and that of its allies, including the Philippines, in countering China’s military actions is growing. China’s sovereignty-challenging actions also are putting greater pressure on the Southeast Asian states with maritime boundary disputes with China, and increasing their demands for ASEAN to do more. The Philippines was widely criticised in the region in 2012 for taking China to court over their South China Sea dispute, siding closer with the US, and demanding ASEAN take a stronger stance. Today, these steps look less reckless and more prescient.

Source : policyforum.net

Author : Malcolm Cook

Google boasts that its latest update to Google Translate has given it the biggest leap of the past decade in natural language translation.

Google Translate might not be as good as humans at translating language, but the search giant's recent work using neural networks to improve speech recognition and computer vision has made it hard to beat in machine translation.

The latest update to Google Translate utilizes Google's Neural Machine Translation (NMT) system for translating phrases, which is rolling out to eight language pairs.

Google actually announced NMT in September in a paper describing how it's using neural networks to close the gap between human and machine translation. However, until now it had only switched on NMT for Chinese to English translations.

The system still makes some mistakes, such as dropping words or failing to understand a person's name, but it has allowed Google to cut errors by 55 to 85 percent in several languages.

It also improved Translate's ability for contextual translation by analyzing a phrase or paragraph rather than a single word to reconstruct a more grammatically correct and natural translation.

Google has now rolled out neural machine translation for eight language pairs "to and from English and French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Turkish". The feature is enabled in Google Search, as well as in the Translate app and website.

These language pairs cover 35 percent of Google Translate queries, but Google plans to eventually enable NMT support for 103 languages.

"With this update, Google Translate is improving more in a single leap than we've seen in the past 10 years combined," Google Translate product lead Barak Turovsky said.

Turovsky also notes that developers can also access its Google Cloud Platform Translation API to give their apps some of the features that enabled NMT.

Just like Microsoft, Google is betting the future of computing lies in machine learning and to woo new enterprise customers to its cloud platform, it announced the new Cloud Jobs API to help business match recruits with career openings.

Google also announced its new Google Cloud Machine Learning Group would be headed up top machine-learning researchers, Stanford professor Fei-Fei Lie, and Jia Li, formerly a top exec at Snapchat.

Author:   Liam Tung

Source:  http://www.zdnet.com/

Friday, 18 November 2016 17:53

The dark side of the internet

Fourteen years ago, a pasty Irish teenager with a flair for inventions arrived at Edinburgh University to study artificial intelligence and computer science. For his thesis project, Ian Clarke created "a Distributed, Decentralised Information Storage and Retrieval System", or, as a less precise person might put it, a revolutionary new way for people to use the internet without detection. By downloading Clarke's software, which he intended to distribute for free, anyone could chat online, or read or set up a website, or share files, with almost complete anonymity.

"It seemed so obvious that that was what the net was supposed to be about – freedom to communicate," Clarke says now. "But [back then] in the late 90s that simply wasn't the case. The internet could be monitored more quickly, more comprehensively, more cheaply than more old-fashioned communications systems like the mail." His pioneering software was intended to change that.

His tutors were not bowled over. "I would say the response was a bit lukewarm. They gave me a B. They thought the project was a bit wacky … they said, 'You didn't cite enough prior work.'"

Undaunted, in 2000 Clarke publicly released his software, now more appealingly called Freenet. Nine years on, he has lost count of how many people are using it: "At least 2m copies have been downloaded from the website, primarily in Europe and the US. The website is blocked in [authoritarian] countries like China so there, people tend to get Freenet from friends." Last year Clarke produced an improved version: it hides not only the identities of Freenet users but also, in any online environment, the fact that someone is using Freenet at all.

Installing the software takes barely a couple of minutes and requires minimal computer skills. You find the Freenet website, read a few terse instructions, and answer a few questions ("How much security do you need?" … "NORMAL: I live in a relatively free country" or "MAXIMUM: I intend to access information that could get me arrested, imprisoned, or worse"). Then you enter a previously hidden online world. In utilitarian type and bald capsule descriptions, an official Freenet index lists the hundreds of "freesites" available: "Iran News", "Horny Kate", "The Terrorist's Handbook: A practical guide to explosives and other things of interests to terrorists", "How To Spot A Pedophile [sic]", "Freenet Warez Portal: The source for pirate copies of books, games, movies, music, software, TV series and more", "Arson Around With Auntie: A how-to guide on arson attacks for animal rights activists". There is material written in Russian, Spanish, Dutch, Polish and Italian. There is English-language material from America and Thailand, from Argentina and Japan. There are disconcerting blogs ("Welcome to my first Freenet site. I'm not here because of kiddie porn … [but] I might post some images of naked women") and legally dubious political revelations. There is all the teeming life of the everyday internet, but rendered a little stranger and more intense. One of the Freenet bloggers sums up the difference: "If you're reading this now, then you're on the darkweb."

The modern internet is often thought of as a miracle of openness – its global reach, its outflanking of censors, its seemingly all-seeing search engines. "Many many users think that when they search on Google they're getting all the web pages," says Anand Rajaraman, co-founder of Kosmix, one of a new generation of post-Google search engine companies. But Rajaraman knows different. "I think it's a very small fraction of the deep web which search engines are bringing to the surface. I don't know, to be honest, what fraction. No one has a really good estimate of how big the deep web is. Five hundred times as big as the surface web is the only estimate I know."

Unfathomable and mysterious

"The darkweb"; "the deep web"; beneath "the surface web" – the metaphors alone make the internet feel suddenly more unfathomable and mysterious. Other terms circulate among those in the know: "darknet", "invisible web", "dark address space", "murky address space", "dirty address space". Not all these phrases mean the same thing. While a "darknet" is an online network such as Freenet that is concealed from non-users, with all the potential for transgressive behaviour that implies, much of "the deep web", spooky as it sounds, consists of unremarkable consumer and research data that is beyond the reach of search engines. "Dark address space" often refers to internet addresses that, for purely technical reasons, have simply stopped working.

And yet, in a sense, they are all part of the same picture: beyond the confines of most people's online lives, there is a vast other internet out there, used by millions but largely ignored by the media and properly understood by only a few computer scientists. How was it created? What exactly happens in it? And does it represent the future of life online or the past?

Michael K Bergman, an American academic and entrepreneur, is one of the foremost authorities on this other internet. In the late 90s he undertook research to try to gauge its scale. "I remember saying to my staff, 'It's probably two or three times bigger than the regular web,"' he remembers. "But the vastness of the deep web . . . completely took my breath away. We kept turning over rocks and discovering things."

In 2001 he published a paper on the deep web that is still regularly cited today. "The deep web is currently 400 to 550 times larger than the commonly defined world wide web," he wrote. "The deep web is the fastest growing category of new information on the internet … The value of deep web content is immeasurable … internet searches are searching only 0.03% … of the [total web] pages available."

In the eight years since, use of the internet has been utterly transformed in many ways, but improvements in search technology by Google, Kosmix and others have only begun to plumb the deep web. "A hidden web [search] engine that's going to have everything – that's not quite practical," says Professor Juliana Freire of the University of Utah, who is leading a deep web search project called Deep Peep. "It's not actually feasible to index the whole deep web. There's just too much data."

But sheer scale is not the only problem. "When we've crawled [searched] several sites, we've gotten blocked," says Freire. "You can actually come up with ways that make it impossible for anyone [searching] to grab all your data." Sometimes the motivation is commercial – "people have spent a lot of time and money building, say, a database of used cars for sale, and don't want you to be able to copy their site"; and sometimes privacy is sought for other reasons. "There's a well-known crime syndicate called the Russian Business Network (RBN)," says Craig Labovitz, chief scientist at Arbor Networks, a leading online security firm, "and they're always jumping around the internet, grabbing bits of [disused] address space, sending out millions of spam emails from there, and then quickly disconnecting."

The RBN also rents temporary websites to other criminals for online identity theft, child pornography and releasing computer viruses. The internet has been infamous for such activities for decades; what has been less understood until recently was how the increasingly complex geography of the internet has aided them. "In 2000 dark and murky address space was a bit of a novelty," says Labovitz. "This is now an entrenched part of the daily life of the internet." Defunct online companies; technical errors and failures; disputes between internet service providers; abandoned addresses once used by the US military in the earliest days of the internet – all these have left the online landscape scattered with derelict or forgotten properties, perfect for illicit exploitation, sometimes for only a few seconds before they are returned to disuse. How easy is it to take over a dark address? "I don't think my mother could do it," says Labovitz. "But it just takes a PC and a connection. The internet has been largely built on trust."

Open or closed?

In fact, the internet has always been driven as much by a desire for secrecy as a desire for transparency. The network was the joint creation of the US defence department and the American counterculture – the WELL, one of the first and most influential online communities, was a spinoff from hippy bible the Whole Earth Catalog – and both groups had reasons to build hidden or semi-hidden online environments as well as open ones. "Strong encryption [code-writing] developed in parallel with the internet," says Danny O'Brien, an activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a long-established pressure group for online privacy.

There are still secretive parts of the internet where this unlikely alliance between hairy libertarians and the cloak-and-dagger military endures. The Onion Router, or Tor, is an American volunteer-run project that offers free software to those seeking anonymous online communication, like a more respectable version of Freenet. Tor's users, according to its website, include US secret service "field agents" and "law enforcement officers . . . Tor allows officials to surf questionable websites and services without leaving tell-tale tracks," but also "activists and whistleblowers", for example "environmental groups [who] are increasingly falling under surveillance in the US under laws meant to protect against terrorism". Tor, in short, is used both by the American state and by some of its fiercest opponents. On the hidden internet, political life can be as labyrinthine as in a novel by Thomas Pynchon.

The hollow legs of Sealand

The often furtive, anarchic quality of life online struck some observers decades ago. In 1975, only half a dozen years after the internet was created, the science-fiction author John Brunner wrote of "so many worms and counter-worms loose in the data-net" in his influential novel The Shockwave Rider. By the 80s "data havens", at first physical then online locations where sensitive computerised information could be concealed, were established in discreet jurisdictions such as Caribbean tax havens. In 2000 an American internet startup called HavenCo set up a much more provocative data haven, in a former second world war sea fort just outside British territorial waters off the Suffolk coast, which since the 60s had housed an eccentric independent "principality" called Sealand. HavenCo announced that it would store any data unless it concerned terrorism or child pornography, on servers built into the hollow legs of Sealand as they extended beneath the waves. A better metaphor for the hidden depths of the internet was hard to imagine.

In 2007 the highly successful Swedish filesharing website The Pirate Bay – the downloading of music and films for free being another booming darknet enterprise – announced its intention to buy Sealand. The plan has come to nothing so far, and last year it was reported that HavenCo had ceased operation, but in truth the need for physical data havens is probably diminishing. Services such as Tor and Freenet perform the same function electronically; and in a sense, even the "open" internet, as online privacy-seekers sometimes slightly contemptuously refer to it, has increasingly become a place for concealment: people posting and blogging under pseudonyms, people walling off their online lives from prying eyes on social networking websites.

"The more people do everything online, the more there's going to be bits of your life that you don't want to be part of your public online persona," says O'Brien. A spokesman for the Police Central e-crime Unit [PCeU] at the Metropolitan Police points out that many internet secrets hide in plain sight: "A lot of internet criminal activity is on online forums that are not hidden, you just have to know where to find them. Like paedophile websites: people who use them might go to an innocent-looking website with a picture of flowers, click on the 18th flower, arrive on another innocent-looking website, click something there, and so on." The paedophile ring convicted this autumn and currently awaiting sentence for offences involving Little Ted's nursery in Plymouth met on Facebook. Such secret criminal networks are not purely a product of the digital age: codes and slang and pathways known only to initiates were granting access to illicit worlds long before the internet.

To libertarians such as O'Brien and Clarke the hidden internet, however you define it, is constantly under threat from restrictive governments and corporations. Its freedoms, they say, must be defended absolutely. "Child pornography does exist on Freenet," says Clarke. "But it exists all over the web, in the post . . . At Freenet we could establish a virus to destroy any child pornography on Freenet – we could implement that technically. But then whoever has the key [to that filtering software] becomes a target. Suddenly we'd start getting served copyright notices; anything suspect on Freenet, we'd get pressure to shut it down. To modify Freenet would be the end of Freenet."

Always recorded

According to the police, for criminal users of services such as Freenet, the end is coming anyway. The PCeU spokesman says, "The anonymity things, there are ways to get round them, and we do get round them. When you use the internet, something's always recorded somewhere. It's a question of identifying who is holding that information." Don't the police find their investigations obstructed by the libertarian culture of so much life online? "No, people tend to be co-operative."

The internet, for all its anarchy, is becoming steadily more commercialised; as internet service providers, for example, become larger and more profit-driven, the spokesman suggests, it is increasingly in their interests to accept a degree of policing. "There has been an increasing centralisation," Ian Clarke acknowledges regretfully.

Meanwhile the search engine companies are restlessly looking for paths into the deep web and the other sections of the internet currently denied to them. "There's a deep implication for privacy," says Anand Rajaraman of Kosmix. "Tonnes and tonnes of stuff out there on the deep web has what I call security through obscurity. But security through obscurity is actually a false security. You [the average internet user] can't find something, but the bad guys can find it if they try hard enough."

As Kosmix and other search engines improve, he says, they will make the internet truly transparent: "You will be on the same level playing field as the bad guys." The internet as a sort of electronic panopticon, everything on it unforgivingly visible and retrievable – suddenly its current murky depths seem in some ways preferable.

Ten years ago Tim Berners-Lee, the British computer scientist credited with inventing the web, wrote: "I have a dream for the web in which computers become capable of analysing all the data on the web – the content, links, and transactions between people … A 'Semantic Web', which should make this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines." Yet this "semantic web" remains the stuff of knotty computer science papers rather than a reality.

"It's really been the holy grail for 30 years," says Bergman. One obstacle, he continues, is that the internet continues to expand in unpredictable and messy surges. "The boundaries of what the web is have become much more blurred. Is Twitter part of the web or part of something else? Now the web, in a sense, is just everything. In 1998, the NEC laboratory at Princeton published a paper on the size of the internet. Who could get something like that published now? You can't talk about how big the internet is. Because what is the metric?"

Gold Rush

It seems likely that the internet will remain in its Gold Rush phase for some time yet. And in the crevices and corners of its slightly thrown-together structures, darknets and other private online environments will continue to flourish. They can be inspiring places to spend time in, full of dissidents and eccentrics and the internet's original freewheeling spirit. But a darknet is not always somewhere for the squeamish.

On Freenet, there is a currently a "freesite" which makes allegations against supposed paedophiles, complete with names, photographs, extensive details of their lives online, and partial home addresses. In much smaller type underneath runs the disclaimer: "The material contained in this freesite is hearsay . . . It is not admissable in court proceedings and would certainly not reach the burden of proof requirement of a criminal trial." For the time being, when I'm wandering around online, I may stick to Google.

Source :   www.theguardian.com

Author  :  Andy Beckett

Tuesday, 15 November 2016 16:42

The 25 Best App iphone Apps For Business

That little computer in your pocket has come a long way over the years, huh? Here are 25 incredibly useful apps that can help you run your business a whole lot smarter than ever before. And every one of them is free, at least in basic form.

For Putting Paper in Its Place
Try as you may, sometimes it’s impossible to avoid paper. That doesn’t mean you can’t digitize it, though. Evernote Scannable makes short work of dead trees, automatically cropping documents, business cards, receipts, and whatever else you can scan with your phone’s camera.

 

For Getting It Done, One Task At A Time
Work your way through the day in 30-minute chunks with 30/30. Feed it your to-do list and it’ll guide you task by task, counting down until it’s time to move on to the next one. Don’t worry: you can finesse the timer in five-minute increments in either direction if 30 minutes doesn’t cut it for you.

For File-Moving Minimalism
It’s 2016: sending huge files to someone shouldn’t still be this difficult! Thankfully, Send Anywhere makes the process about as simple as it can be. Your recipient uses a six-digit code to slurp down whichever file you send, with a 10-minute timeout and no file-size limits.

For Organizing Anything And Everything 
There’s not much you can’t do with a custom database. Airtable helps you roll your own in a few taps, whether you’re looking to get organized with lists, catalog a bunch of items, or line up a collection of projects. You can grant real-time access to other people, as well.

For Getting Your Group's Act Together
Collaboration powerhouse Slack finds its way onto many a best-of list, and for good reason. It’s an outstanding way to keep in touch with your team, handling chat and file-slinging with aplomb, and integrating with a heaping helping of third-party productivity services. 

For Making Web Conferencing Remotely Bearable
Trying to dial into a meeting remotely is a special circle of hell. MobileDaymakes it miraculously easy by integrating with your calendar, figuring out which services you have to call into, and reminding you when it’s time to call in. It works with WebEx, GoToMeeting, and several other popular services—no fumbling around with PINs or guest codes.

For Lining Up A Day And Time
Sometimes just finding a time that everyone’s available to meet is the worst part about meetings. Invite democratizes the process somewhat, letting you send out multiple possible meeting times and letting your potential invitees vote on which times work best for them.

For Airfare At Fair Prices
If a face-to-face meeting is the surest way to seal the deal, Hopper is a good place to find a cheap flight. Tell the app the dates you’re looking to fly, and it’ll tell you whether now’s a good time to buy or if you’d be better off waiting a bit. If prices are too high, you’ll get alerts telling you when things have cooled off a bit.

 

For Running The Show
Nobody likes meetings, but everyone has to attend them. Minute helps you make the most of your meetings by combining pre-meeting agendas and necessary files, along with in-meeting notes and post-meeting action items. The free version lets you hold up to five meetings each month; it's a good option for those recurring Monday-morning huddles you’re dreading every Sunday night.

For Instant Video Meetings
Set up a four-way video chat in seconds with Room. The app requires no sign-up: you tap the "Get a Room" button, share the link with up to three other people, and you’re off to the races. The service works across multiple platforms, so people can join from Android phones, Macs, and PCs.

For Smarter Social Networking
Being on social media is a must, and being on multiple networks is a must-must. Buffer lets you post to multiple popular social networks at scheduled times throughout the day, and sports built-in analytics so you can see how your updates are faring. The free version hooks into five accounts and lets you load up 10 scheduled updates at a time.

For Quick And Dirty Storytelling
If you’re looking to create marketing videos and you have next to no video skills, Adobe Voice is a godsend. You record your voice in several-second increments, automatically lining each quip up with one of bajillions of built-in images. Once you’re ready, play it all back and watch as the images magically bounce and slide into place atop your narration, all with a pleasant bed of music underneath.

For Connecting Your Contacts' Dots
You know those movies where the big-shot business tycoon has the assistant who whispers in his ear all the details of whichever person is walking toward him? That’s Cloze, in app form. It scans your contacts and pulls in all the times you’ve spoken previously, relevant notes, important email messages, and more.

For Do-It-Yourself Site Building
You need a website. You could pay someone thousands of dollars to build and maintain it, or you could try Weebly—a service so intuitive, you can build a respectable site entirely from your phone. Drag and drop prebuilt elements, upload photos, create blog posts, and a whole lot more. The free version lets you build a site up to 500 megabytes in size, with unlimited pages.

For Getting Someone's John Hancock
Enough with the email-print-sign-scan cycle. CudaSign makes signatures a snap, leveraging the lowly finger as a 21st-century ballpoint pen. Upload a document, send it off for a scribble, and have it emailed back to you without any peripherals involved. The free version is good for up to five signatures each month.

For Putting It Down In Writing
Note-taking apps exist in spades, but finding the right mix of simplicity and features can be tough. Simplenote is an easy choice as a no-nonsense note-keeper, with the added bonus of cross-platform support and notes that sync in real-time to all of your other devices.

For Highly Visual Brainstorming
The free version of Concepts gives you five layers of sketchable real estate to work with, allowing you to import inspiring images or drum up your own doodles using one of several built-in brush types.

Prioritize what matters with ChoiceMap

For Chosing Your Own Adventure
Sometimes it’s best to slow down and think things through. ChoiceMap lets you build customized decision templates that force you to prioritize your ideas option by option. Once you think you’ve come to your desired conclusion, you can share it with friends in order to get their input as well.

For Planning Without The Pain
A little process goes a long way, even if you have a small team. Pivotal Tracker helps you chip away at a shared backlog, epics, and stories, and integrates with popular tools such as GitHub. The free version lets you collaborate with up to three people across two private projects, with two gigabytes of file storage.

For Thinking Like A Business Superstar
Hammer business fundamentals with SmartUp. The app features new content every day, consisting of quizzes, games, case studies, and more that cover entrepreneurship and innovation. You can join a community of like-minded builders, or simply level your way up through the leaderboards as you complete the various educational modules.

For Keeping Your Ears Occupied
When you just need to strap on a pair of gigantic headphones and tune the world out, TuneIn Radio is a good app to have on hand. Tapping into more than 100,000 radio stations around the world, TuneIn serves up a never-ending supply of stuff to listen to. You can feed your favorite podcasts into the app as well.

If is the ultimate automator 

For Making Your World Programmable
The best way to deal with busywork is to automate as much of it as you can. If (formally known as IFTTT) helps you create connections between various devices and web-based services you already use, telling one to behave a certain way if another performs a specific action first. There are almost 200 compatible apps and services to play with, making the possibilities nearly endless.

For Getting You Ever Closer To Inbox Zero
Plow through your email like it's freshly driven snow with Spark. It intelligently parses whether your messages are personal, business, or marketing, and groups them together for quick triage. You can pin important messages as to-do items, and quick-reply to other messages with a simple "Thanks" button.

For Making Sure Your To-Dos Get To-Done
Nothing feels quite as nice as checking things off a list. Checklist strikes a nice balance of quick list making with a great interface and nice extras such as nested items and gesture-based navigation.

For Making Distractions Less . . . Distracting
Lock onto your work like a tractor beam of attentiveness with Focus Zen. The app sports neurally enhanced audio tracks meant to stimulate your brain into honing in on the tasks at hand. There are various options for different types of work styles, and pomodoro timers in 10-, 25-, and 60-minute increments.

Source : fastcompany

Tuesday, 15 November 2016 16:13

5 Scientifically Proven Steps For Success

You’re frustrated…

You want to achieve your grand goal but you are feeling lost somewhere in the track

You have started out with great excitement and working in line to achieve your goal

But

You’ve lost in the midway… And feeling you could have done it better

I understand your frustration because I was also in this position but some scientifically proven steps changed my life and now I am programmed to achieve any goal in my life. This is why I am writing this post.

In this post you are going to find out five simple scientifically steps that help you success in your life doesn’t matter either you want more money, great life-partner, a new car, a new house, higher grades, best salesman award etc. Simply, these five scientifically proven steps remain same doesn’t matter what you want from your life.

Let’s talk about these 5 scientifically proven steps to success

STEP #1 – SEE YOUR GOAL REGULARLY:

“Review your goal twice every day in order to be focused on achieving them.” –Les Brown.

Many people set goal for whole year and they start working on it but after two months they forget about it. I am sure it happens with you as well. You started something very excited but after few months (2 months) you forget about it.

If you want to achieve your goals you have to review it twice a day. Many experts say that, “out of sight is out of mind” that proved that if you want something you have to keep it in your sight.

For instance,

You are salesman in XYZ company and you want to achieve a target of earning $10,000 every month and you start working on it with excitement and motivation. How long do you think motivation with last? Maximum 2 months. The only way to keep yourself motivated is to find a way to keep your goal in front of your eyes. This is how you will remain motivated.

STEP #2 – SET EXACT DATE TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOAL:

Without exact date you will have no motivation to achieve your goal. If you want to achieve your goal it is very important for you to define exact date when you want to achieve your goal.

When any company create goal for sales team they also set exact date (for example 6 months and 12 months) because they know to keep track of the progress exact date is necessary.

If you don’t have exact date there will be no motivation in achieving your goal.

For instance,

If you set sales goal for yourself to make $10,000 every month and you know you can achieve it but you will not have same motivation after few months that you have when you set $10K goal. This is why it is important to define your goal with exact date. This helps a lot in keeping you motivated in your progress.

STEP #3 – CREATE A PLAN AND DAILY ROUTINE:

“Setting goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go to achieve it and staying with it.” – Tom Laundry

Now you have proper plan with exact date to accomplish it now what you want more?

You want to break your big goal into smaller one and plan your daily routine. Your goal may be looking big at the moment but when you break it down and create daily routine then it will look easy for you.

For instance, take $10K example

You want to make $10K every month after 6 months which look almost impossible to you but by breaking it down like $2100 in a week or $300 in a day it will look achievable. You know you only have to achieve $2100 in a week and now you have to plan for selling items that give you $2100 weekly. This is the strategy I have to use to get my first $10K mark.

This is the same principle that applies to every goal of your life. If you want to lose weight then you have to set your daily routine. This daily routine will help you in staying motivated in your life.

After setting goal and exact date to achieve it you have to write down what you will going to do on daily basis. In other words, getting success in your life needs strategic planning.

STEP #4 – FIND PARTNER OR FRIEND:

You need a partner or friend who believe in your dream and encourage you. When you have friend or partner to encourage you then you will remain motivated and help you lot in accomplishing your goal.

For instance,

If you want to lose weight then get trainer to work with you. He will keep encouraging you and want you to challenge yourself. If you can’t afford trainer then tell your daily dietary routine to your friend who want you to look slim.

If your goal is about achieving $10K per month then your partner can help you in staying motivated. When you explain your goal and daily plan to your partner then you are naturally telling your subconscious mind that you have to achieve your goal. This is how your mind and your body will stay in one direction.

STEP #5 – CELEBRATE LITTLE VICTORIES:

Finally the last scientifically proven step to success is celebrating little victories. This is because little victories will give you great motivational boost that you need you achieve your goal. If you don’t celebrate your little victories then your mind will never know what you want to achieve.

Additionally, by celebrating your little victories your all energy will encourage you to achieve success.

For instance,

If you want to accomplish your $10K goal then you have to achieve $2100 weekly or $300 daily goal and celebrate it. This will help you in keeping track of achieving your goal.

CONCLUSION:

In the end I would like to say,

Moving from where you are now from where you want to be need determination and strategic planning. You can control yourself and tune your mind towards success by combining these 5 scientifically proven steps to success with secrets of Total Money Magnetism. Many self-made millionaires used these steps to change their life and now it is your turn to change your world by accomplishing your goals.

Source : thetotalmoneymagnetism

What does Edward Snowden think the future will look like with a President Donald Trump at the helm of the US National Security Agency?

"This is a dark moment in our nation's history, but it is not the end of history," said Snowden, the former NSA contractor who revealed widespread government surveillance, including the bulk collection of internet user information and phone records.

Speaking remotely from Russia to an event hosted by search engine company StartPage in Amsterdam, Snowden urged the audience to get involved in protecting online privacy. Snowden appears regularly at events via video conference. His lawyers recently launched a campaign asking President Barack Obama to pardon him of espionage and other criminal charges Snowden faces for taking and leaking NSA secrets.

"We have to be political," Snowden said. "You have to talk about these things."

Snowden pointed to 2008, when many believed President-elect Obama would pump the brakes on surveillance programs developed by the administration of President George W. Bush. Obama's efforts fell short, Snowden said, as he urged the crowd not to count on politicians to rein in government overreach.

"This will never be the work of politicians. This will only be the work of the people," he said. "We cannot hope for an Obama and we should not fear a Donald Trump -- rather, we should build it ourselves."

Snowden went on to encourage the young people watching to start working on technology that could "guarantee human rights," and not leave it up to governments check their own power.

Before noting that he enjoys his own role as an advocate for freedom from government surveillance, Snowden urged others to respond to the US election by getting involved in pro-privacy causes.

"A vote is a start," he said, "but it will never be enough."

Source:  cnet.com

Google may have shifted its focus from keywords to "entities" in recent years, but columnist Stoney deGeyter reminds us that keyword research is still an important and useful part of the SEO process.

Ever since Google rolled out Hummingbird in 2013, there has been some question about the value of keyword research. Moving from a keyword-focused process to a topic-focused process has led some to devalue the long, arduous process of keyword research. Many wonder if it’s even worth the time.

After all, if Google no longer looks at keywords (Hummingbird), and people no longer search with keywords (voice search), we don’t need to research keywords, right?

Wrong!

As with most predictions of the death of anything related to web marketing — how’s that fork in guest blogging going? — more often than not, they turn out to be false. And in the case of keyword research, it turns out that it’s just as important today as it was in 2012. Maybe more so.

No, I don’t have a keyword research tool to sell you. But I do want to make sure that you don’t take a pass on keyword research because you think it’s no longer relevant to today’s SEO.

I could give you a dozen reasons why keyword research is still important. Oh look, I have! Plus one more for good measure. :)

1. Topical niche domination

There is no better way to get a full handle on any topic you want to dominate than to perform keyword research on that topic. Whether you want to write one exhaustive article or a series of articles, keyword research will show you every possible nuance of information that searchers are interested in.

Not only will keyword research help you write content for your products or services, but it will also give you plenty of ammunition for all your other content, such as blog posts, e-books, white papers, infographics and more.

2. Answering burning questions

question-.jpg

answer customers burning questions

Part of dominating a topical niche is answering questions that searchers have. There are great sites such as Quora and Clarity, where people ask questions that need answers, and social media is also a good place to monitor. But people still ask questions to search engines, and that presents an opportunity for you to provide the answer.

Due to low search volume, keyword phrases that are questions tend to get ignored. After all, you want to optimize where the money is! But don’t disregard these questions altogether. They can be the backbone of your blog content.

3. Making existing content more robust

You can always improve your content, am I write? (See what I did there?) Using your keywords provides ample opportunity to improve existing content, whether it is optimized text, a blog post or something else.

I’m not suggesting you rework your content just to add in more keywords for rankings. Instead, I’m saying you can use keywords to expand the depth and breadth of your content. Keywords can help you add in new information to keep content current or fill in some missing pieces that were not included and should be.

Remember, frequently searched keywords change frequently. Words that didn’t show up in research a year ago might be popular today. Continuing to perform keyword research to update your content keeps you current and allows you not only to make your content more robust but also to keep it evergreen.

4. Learning your customers’ “language”

yada-yada-.jpg

 

Almost every business has a handle on the industry lingo. They know what their products and services are called, as well as the language used to refer to what they do. But what many businesses don’t have a handle on is the language used by those who are less familiar with the product or those outside the industry.

Keyword research uncovers the nuances of product descriptions, and even the problems that are in need of a solution. When you only use your known industry lingo, you miss the opportunity to meet the needs (let alone get the attention of) the rest of the world that is in need of your solutions. Why? Because they are looking based on their understanding, not yours.

Keyword research will let you see how potential customers view your product or service and write content that speaks the same language as them. This lessens the learning curve and keeps visitors more engaged with your solutions.

5. Improving your website’s navigation

One of the first orders of business for many of the sites we work on is using keyword research to improve the site’s navigation. Not only do we use keywords to establish new pages of content based on what searchers need, but those very same keywords become the link text for the navigation options.

This is just another step to learning — and using — your customer’s language to meet their needs. When visitors land on your site, having a navigation that uses the terms they searched helps them find the content they want.

When they don’t see familiar words, you increase the amount of time it takes for visitors to get the information they are looking for, which can lead to site fatigue. Too much of that and visitors leave in search for easier grounds.

6. New product or service research

coming-soon-1583793_1920-768x576.png

keyword research can help you find new product ideas

When performing keyword research, it’s important you don’t stay so narrow that you only find keywords that are relevant for you today. By broadening your search a bit, you can uncover information that can help you expand your product or service offerings for a more robust business tomorrow.

Years ago, I had a client that sold bags of all kinds. Our keyword research indicated that many searchers were also interested in laptop bags. This opened up a huge opportunity for new business that they were not already targeting (or at least targeting effectively).

Keyword research can show you valuable new opportunities to offer products and services that you currently don’t have. That doesn’t mean you jump on those right away, but you can keep them in the back of your mind for when you’re ready to expand.

7. Finding high-volume opportunities

When it comes to delivering traffic to your website, there is nothing more compelling than optimizing for frequently searched keywords. This is one of the metrics that gives keywords value. No sense optimizing for keywords no one is searching for, right?

Optimizing for high-volume keywords gives you an opportunity to get a lot of traffic to your site, which can be a boon for business. Word of caution, though: Volume alone isn’t worth justifying the optimization of a phrase. You also have to look at the quality of traffic a keyword will deliver, among other things. But when the stars align, volume can be good. Really good!

8. Finding non-competitive long-tail opportunities

ring-tailed-lemur-1364114-697x600.jpg

don't discount long tail keywords

On the flip side of that, sometimes there are some highly profitable opportunities with the less competitive (and usually lower-volume) phrases. I’m talking low rather than no volume here. As long as a phrase has a potential to deliver traffic, it’s worth considering for inclusion in your optimization campaign.

Many times, these low-volume phrases are also very low on the competition scale, which can signal a big opportunity to create content where no one else has it. And that content can deliver rankings for which no one is currently competing.

Optimize for enough of these low-competition phrases, and you may find that collectively, they deliver more traffic more quickly than the high-volume phrases.

9. Increasing click-throughs from SERPs

Because keyword optimization is really all about creating content that uses the same language as your visitors, it’s important for you to use your keywords in a way that will entice visitors to click from the search results to your website.

This is where title tag and meta description optimization comes in. Don’t optimize just for search engine rankings. Additionally, write enticing title and meta description tags that compel searchers to click your result over competitors who are also ranked on the same page of the search results.

10. Understanding the searcher’s needs

think-622689_1920-768x543.png

understand searchers' needs

Aside from getting the click from search results to your page, you also need to deliver searchers to the page that best fits the intent of their search. Keyword research can help with this.

We often think of keyword research as the process of uncovering phrases, but it is also the process of understanding them. It can often prove useful to perform a search for your keywords and assess the results. Follow a few links and look at the content. If all the results show similar content, this gives you a good idea of what searchers are looking for. If the content varies significantly, then perhaps even Google doesn’t know what searchers want.

When you can determine what information a specific searcher is looking for, you then have an opportunity to drive them to the… well, that’s my next point:

11. Delivering searchers to the most relevant pages

Only when you know the searcher’s needs will you be able to send them to a page that meets it. Not every search for a similar keyword wants the same thing, so you have to make sure to have content based on the need for a particular phrase.

Some searchers will be researching, some buying, some shopping and some just looking for how-tos. Each of these needs requires different content. By delivering the right content for the searcher, you will keep them engaged with your site and have the best chance of turning them into a customer.

12. Assessing your competition

goats-692660_1280-600x338.jpg

assessing competition

While keyword research itself doesn’t often give you any information on your competition, you can take your keywords and use them for competitive research.

Use your keywords to find out what keywords your competitors are optimizing for or bidding on. There are plenty of third-party tools that will let you do that, or you can just plug them into the search results and see what you find. While knowledge itself doesn’t help you overcome the competition, it can be used to produce a strategy that will.

One of the most important factors in creating an effective digital marketing strategy is setting the right expectations. Without knowing what to expect, in terms of what success looks like and when it will be achieved, there is simply no way to “win” at web marketing.

Armed with the keyword knowledge that you get above, you can set some expectations and metrics for success. This can be important for keeping the right people happy and feeling good about how the campaign is going.

So I hope I have wiped away all doubt you have had about the value of keyword research. By taking the time to invest in keyword research, you not only get a list of keywords to optimize, but you can get the information necessary to ensure a successful web marketing campaign.

reasons-to-do-keyword-research-infographic-1.jpg

Ever since Google rolled out Hummingbird in 2013, there has been some question about the value of keyword research. Moving from a keyword-focused process to a topic-focused process has led some to devalue the long, arduous process of keyword research. Many wonder if it’s even worth the time.

After all, if Google no longer looks at keywords (Hummingbird), and people no longer search with keywords (voice search), we don’t need to research keywords, right?

Wrong!

As with most predictions of the death of anything related to web marketing — how’s that fork in guest blogging going? — more often than not, they turn out to be false. And in the case of keyword research, it turns out that it’s just as important today as it was in 2012. Maybe more so.

No, I don’t have a keyword research tool to sell you. But I do want to make sure that you don’t take a pass on keyword research because you think it’s no longer relevant to today’s SEO.

I could give you a dozen reasons why keyword research is still important. Oh look, I have! Plus one more for good measure. :)

1. Topical niche domination

There is no better way to get a full handle on any topic you want to dominate than to perform keyword research on that topic. Whether you want to write one exhaustive article or a series of articles, keyword research will show you every possible nuance of information that searchers are interested in.

Not only will keyword research help you write content for your products or services, but it will also give you plenty of ammunition for all your other content, such as blog posts, e-books, white papers, infographics and more.

2. Answering burning questions

answer customers burning questions

Part of dominating a topical niche is answering questions that searchers have. There are great sites such as Quora and Clarity, where people ask questions that need answers, and social media is also a good place to monitor. But people still ask questions to search engines, and that presents an opportunity for you to provide the answer.

Due to low search volume, keyword phrases that are questions tend to get ignored. After all, you want to optimize where the money is! But don’t disregard these questions altogether. They can be the backbone of your blog content.

3. Making existing content more robust

You can always improve your content, am I write? (See what I did there?) Using your keywords provides ample opportunity to improve existing content, whether it is optimized text, a blog post or something else.

I’m not suggesting you rework your content just to add in more keywords for rankings. Instead, I’m saying you can use keywords to expand the depth and breadth of your content. Keywords can help you add in new information to keep content current or fill in some missing pieces that were not included and should be.

Remember, frequently searched keywords change frequently. Words that didn’t show up in research a year ago might be popular today. Continuing to perform keyword research to update your content keeps you current and allows you not only to make your content more robust but also to keep it evergreen.

4. Learning your customers’ “language”

Does your site sound like blah, blah, blah to visitors

Almost every business has a handle on the industry lingo. They know what their products and services are called, as well as the language used to refer to what they do. But what many businesses don’t have a handle on is the language used by those who are less familiar with the product or those outside the industry.

Keyword research uncovers the nuances of product descriptions, and even the problems that are in need of a solution. When you only use your known industry lingo, you miss the opportunity to meet the needs (let alone get the attention of) the rest of the world that is in need of your solutions. Why? Because they are looking based on their understanding, not yours.

Keyword research will let you see how potential customers view your product or service and write content that speaks the same language as them. This lessens the learning curve and keeps visitors more engaged with your solutions.

5. Improving your website’s navigation

One of the first orders of business for many of the sites we work on is using keyword research to improve the site’s navigation. Not only do we use keywords to establish new pages of content based on what searchers need, but those very same keywords become the link text for the navigation options.

This is just another step to learning — and using — your customer’s language to meet their needs. When visitors land on your site, having a navigation that uses the terms they searched helps them find the content they want.

When they don’t see familiar words, you increase the amount of time it takes for visitors to get the information they are looking for, which can lead to site fatigue. Too much of that and visitors leave in search for easier grounds.

6. New product or service research

keyword research can help you find new product ideas

When performing keyword research, it’s important you don’t stay so narrow that you only find keywords that are relevant for you today. By broadening your search a bit, you can uncover information that can help you expand your product or service offerings for a more robust business tomorrow.

Years ago, I had a client that sold bags of all kinds. Our keyword research indicated that many searchers were also interested in laptop bags. This opened up a huge opportunity for new business that they were not already targeting (or at least targeting effectively).

Keyword research can show you valuable new opportunities to offer products and services that you currently don’t have. That doesn’t mean you jump on those right away, but you can keep them in the back of your mind for when you’re ready to expand.

7. Finding high-volume opportunities

When it comes to delivering traffic to your website, there is nothing more compelling than optimizing for frequently searched keywords. This is one of the metrics that gives keywords value. No sense optimizing for keywords no one is searching for, right?

Optimizing for high-volume keywords gives you an opportunity to get a lot of traffic to your site, which can be a boon for business. Word of caution, though: Volume alone isn’t worth justifying the optimization of a phrase. You also have to look at the quality of traffic a keyword will deliver, among other things. But when the stars align, volume can be good. Really good!

8. Finding non-competitive long-tail opportunities

don't discount long tail keywords

On the flip side of that, sometimes there are some highly profitable opportunities with the less competitive (and usually lower-volume) phrases. I’m talking low rather than no volume here. As long as a phrase has a potential to deliver traffic, it’s worth considering for inclusion in your optimization campaign.

Many times, these low-volume phrases are also very low on the competition scale, which can signal a big opportunity to create content where no one else has it. And that content can deliver rankings for which no one is currently competing.

Optimize for enough of these low-competition phrases, and you may find that collectively, they deliver more traffic more quickly than the high-volume phrases.

9. Increasing click-throughs from SERPs

Because keyword optimization is really all about creating content that uses the same language as your visitors, it’s important for you to use your keywords in a way that will entice visitors to click from the search results to your website.

This is where title tag and meta description optimization comes in. Don’t optimize just for search engine rankings. Additionally, write enticing title and meta description tags that compel searchers to click your result over competitors who are also ranked on the same page of the search results.

10. Understanding the searcher’s needs

understand searchers' needs

Aside from getting the click from search results to your page, you also need to deliver searchers to the page that best fits the intent of their search. Keyword research can help with this.

We often think of keyword research as the process of uncovering phrases, but it is also the process of understanding them. It can often prove useful to perform a search for your keywords and assess the results. Follow a few links and look at the content. If all the results show similar content, this gives you a good idea of what searchers are looking for. If the content varies significantly, then perhaps even Google doesn’t know what searchers want.

When you can determine what information a specific searcher is looking for, you then have an opportunity to drive them to the… well, that’s my next point:

11. Delivering searchers to the most relevant pages

Only when you know the searcher’s needs will you be able to send them to a page that meets it. Not every search for a similar keyword wants the same thing, so you have to make sure to have content based on the need for a particular phrase.

Some searchers will be researching, some buying, some shopping and some just looking for how-tos. Each of these needs requires different content. By delivering the right content for the searcher, you will keep them engaged with your site and have the best chance of turning them into a customer.

12. Assessing your competition

assessing competition

While keyword research itself doesn’t often give you any information on your competition, you can take your keywords and use them for competitive research.

Use your keywords to find out what keywords your competitors are optimizing for or bidding on. There are plenty of third-party tools that will let you do that, or you can just plug them into the search results and see what you find. While knowledge itself doesn’t help you overcome the competition, it can be used to produce a strategy that will.

13. Establishing expectations of success

One of the most important factors in creating an effective digital marketing strategy is setting the right expectations. Without knowing what to expect, in terms of what success looks like and when it will be achieved, there is simply no way to “win” at web marketing.

Armed with the keyword knowledge that you get above, you can set some expectations and metrics for success. This can be important for keeping the right people happy and feeling good about how the campaign is going.

So I hope I have wiped away all doubt you have had about the value of keyword research. By taking the time to invest in keyword research, you not only get a list of keywords to optimize, but you can get the information necessary to ensure a successful web marketing campaign.

reasons-to-do-keyword-research-infographic

reasons-to-do-keyword-research-infographic

Source : searchengineland

The Earth's next mass extinction -- the first caused by people -- is on the horizon. And the consequences are almost unthinkably dire: Three-quarters of species could disappear.
This has happened only five times in the planet's history -- including the mass extinction that killed the dinosaurs.
    What's different now is that humans are causing these changes.
    How? Well, we're burning fossil fuels and consequently heating up the planet; turning massive chunks of land into farms; spreading invasive species and diseases around the world; boosting our own numbers and consuming more and more resources; and causing all sorts of trouble for the oceans, from overfishing to filling them up with plastic. (Did you know researchers expect the ocean to be equal parts fish and plastic, by weight, as soon as 2050?)
    This subject certainly is alarming, especially when you consider the global picture.
    Another frightening data point in this trend toward extinction emerged on Thursday in a reportfrom the World Wildlife Fund, an environmental advocacy group. The report claims 58% declines in certain vertebrate animal populations since 1970 and says that if trends continue, then two-thirds of all of these individual birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals will be gone by 2020.
     
    Vaquita porpoise nearing extinction
     
    Some scientists see those numbers as potentially misleading. Stuart Pimm, the Doris Duke chair of conservation ecology at Duke University, told me that 58% is "a fairly silly kind of number to report because it mixes what's going on in the ocean with what's going on in the land." He continued, "It mixes studies of bird populations in Europe with mammal populations in Africa. It has very few data points in South America. The idea that you in the media can only handle a single number to summarize the state of the planet -- you should be insulted by that."
    I agree with Pimm that these numbers can be misleading, but that's only if people misunderstand them. I also spoke with Anthony Barnosky, executive director of the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve at Stanford University. He told me the most important thing to remember is that this report is limited in scope -- it has little data from some important tropical regions, for example, and only covers animals with backbones. But it highlights an important and little-considered fact: It's not just that species are going extinct at an alarming rate -- at least 100 times what could be considered "normal," and maybe much higher than that -- but that populations of still-common animals are declining very rapidly.
    "I don't think I would quibble with the trend they're pointing out -- we're losing individuals of species and geographic ranges at a really rapid rate," he told me. "If you keep that up, extinction of lots of species is inevitable."
    Importantly, the WWF report deals with individual animals disappearing, not with entire species.
    For first time in 100 years, tiger population growing
     
    A mass extinction, by definition, means three-quarters of all species disappear.
    That could happen in 100 or 200 years, Barnosky said, but not by 2020.
    Don't look at that figure and think we have time to count our blessings. Barnosky told me we have maybe 10 to 20 years to stop the sixth extinction from becoming an inevitability. If we do nothing, expect three-quarters of species to disappear over the next century or two. In other words, what we do (or don't do) right now will shape generations on this planet.
    "Yes, species are going extinct very, very much faster than they should be," Pimm said, "which means we are depriving countless generations to come the extremely rich diversity we inherited from our parents."
    And others experts, including Paul Ehrlich, the Bing professor of population studies at Stanford University, say the sixth extinction is already here.
    "We've probably lost, say, 200 species -- kinds of big animals -- over the last couple of hundred years, but we may well have lost on the order of a billion different populations," he said. "We are basically annihilating the life on our planet and that is the only known life we know about in the entire universe. And it's life that shaped the planet, that made it possible for us to live here. And it's life that still makes it possible for us to live here. (If) we don't have the diversity of other organisms, we're done."
    Pimm told me we have "about a human generation" to do something before it's likely too late.
     
    Only four northern white rhinos are left
    "If we don't start doing a lot of things to stop extinction, we are going to see very significant losses of species," he said. "There are a lot of things we can do and I would rather concentrate on the positive (rather) than just wallow in this really appalling number" presented by the World Wildlife Fund.
    "In the last 50 years, roughly, we've lost 50% of the individuals in these species," Barnosky said. "If we lose another 50% in the next 50 years we're down to 25% of the original. Basically, in a couple hundred years you'd have almost all of these species we're talking about blinking out -- if we keep going at that rate."
     
    We know how to slow the rate of extinction. We need to ditch fossil fuels to blunt climate change. We need to protect more of the land and ocean on behalf of biodiversity. (The biologist E.O. Wilson has called for half of the world to be protected, a bold and exciting proposition.) We need to stop the spread of invasive species, and we've got to get a handle on illegal trades like that in ivory, which Barnosky said could wipe out Africa's elephants in 20 years if poaching rates continue.
     
    The first step, however, is waking up to the crisis and its monstrous scope.
    "The best way to envision the sixth mass extinction," he told me earlier this year, "is to look outside and then just imagine that three out of every four of the species that were common out there are gone."
    I'd rather imagine a world where we stop anything close to that from happening.
    Source : edition.cnn
    Wednesday, 09 November 2016 17:33

    All You Need to Know About Elasticsearch 5.0

    ElasticSearch 5.0 has been updated with new indexing, improved searching and read-write support.

     

    Elasticsearch 5.0 was released last week, as part of a wider release of the Elastic Stack which lines-up version numbers of all the stack products. Kibana, Logstash, Beats, Elasticsearch - are all version 5.0 now. This release is quite a large one, and includes thousands of change items. I personally find this release exciting.

    It's quite easy to get lost in the details due to the sheer number of changes in this release. In this post I will summarize the items I see as important, with some of my own commentary and advice. Hopefully, it will shed some light on where Elastic is standing and where they are headed.

    This first post is focusing on search related topic . Future posts will focus on indices and cluster management, data ingestion capabilities, new debugging tools, ad-hoc batch processing, and more.

    Full-text Search

    One fundamental feature of Elasticsearch is scoring - or results ranking by relevance. The part that handles it is a Lucene component called Similarity. ES 5.0 now makes Okapi BM25 the default similarity and that's quite an important change. The default has long been tf/idf, which is both simpler to understand but easier to be fooled by rogue results. BM25 is a probabalistic approach to ranking that almost always gives better results than the more vanilla tf/idf. I've been recommending customers to use BM25 over tf/idf for a long time now, and we also rely on it at Forter for doing quite a lot of interesting stuff. Overall, a good move by ES and I can finally archive a year's long advise. Britta Weber has a great talk on explaining the difference, and BM25 in particular, definitely a recommended watch.

    Another good change is simplifying access to analyzed/not-analyzed fields. Often times you need to avoid tokenizing string fields because you want to be able to look for them as-is, or need to use them from aggregations or to sort by them - even if they include spaces or weird characters. Instead of calling both "string fields", they are now text (analyzed) and keyword (not-analyzed). This should improve readability of mappings and accessibility of that feature. The only remaining item in my opinion is the not-tokenized-but-lowercased case - it is common enough but will still require some rigorous configuration. It probably makes sense now to allow specifying "token-filters" to execute on "keyword" fields directly in that field's mapping; luckily there seems work on that is already underway.

    While on this topic, one advice - if you need to lowercase keyword-type fields, you probably want to also asciifold them.

    Better Search Due to Low-Level Indexing Tweaks

    Historically, Elasticsearch is a text-search engine. When search for numeric values and ranges was added, it was still using string-matching based search by translating the numerics to something searchable also on ranges. Same goes for geo-spatial search - Elasticsearch (rather, the underlying Lucene engine) required a translation from whatever into a string to make it searchable.

    Starting in ES 5.0 every index now also has a k-d tree, and that data-structure is where search is performed for all non-string fields instead of the string-based inverted index. This means numbers, geo-spatial points and shapes, and now even IPv6 (IPv4 was already supported before) are indexed natively and searches on them - including ranges - is multiple times faster than before.

     

    You should be expecting to see more sophisticated geo-spatial queries, aggregations and other operations also thanks to Lucene's LatLonPoint which highly optimizes memory and disk footprints and search and indexing speeds. WKT supportsearches on 2D shapes, 3D and even 4D+ shape search, adding dimensions from other sources (geo-spatial + some other metric collected from some datasource for example), interesting applications of nearest-neighbor searches, and more. The underlying libraries support many of them already and I've been hearing quite a lot of request for such capabilities. With this significant performance boost I reckon they will be finally exposed.

    Lastly, since every value type which can be encoded as an ordered byte[] of fixed length can be searchable via k-d trees, we will probably start seeing some new types of data being indexed into Elasticsearch.

    Read-your-write Support

    Anyone who ever wrote a CRUD-type application with eventually-consistent databases is familiar with the common gotcha of posting a form and then not seeing the new piece of data in the listing page, being confused for a moment and then refresh the page a second later and see it. This is annoying in back-end applications used internally, but can be terrible user experience if experienced by your end users.

    Elasticsearch indexes are eventually-consistent. The search is officially defined as "near-real-time", or in other words - don't expect to immediately see the document you just added in search results. It can appear within one second (the index refresh rate), or a bit longer if you happen to query a replica.

    Until now there wasn't a good way to know when to display the listing page after a successful form post. Adding a synthetic wait is just not deterministic enough and to be frank is quite a code smell, and forcing a refresh on write isn't recommended for many reasons.

    ES5 adds the ability to wait for refresh on a query. If you specify ?refresh=wait_for on any index, update, or delete request, the request will block until a refresh has happened and the change is visible to search. If too many requests are queued up, it will force a refresh to clear out the queue. The refresh is awaited cluster wide - primaries and replicas.

    Next Up

    I will be posting more posts about Elastic 5.0 focusing on more interesting capabilities, like new debugging enablers, batch processing support, index management improvements, data ingestion architectures and more. Stay tuned!

    Furthermore, check out my Elasticsearch courses — currently running in London and Israel via BigData Boutique, for developers and operations.

    Source : dzone

     

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