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Rachel Bilson

Rachel Bilson

PALM BEACH, Fla. – President-elect Donald Trump, in the final hours of 2016, restated his doubt about the validity of U.S. intelligence analyses that the Russian government hacked various political organizations with the goal of putting him in the Oval Office.

“I just want them to be sure, because it’s a pretty serious charge, and I want them to be sure,” Trump said in a brief question-and-answer session as he prepared to enter a New Year’s Eve party at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

“And if you look at the weapons of mass destruction, that was a disaster, and they were wrong. And so I want them to be sure,” Trump said, referring to the faulty argument pushed by proponents of the 2003 Iraq invasion that dictator Saddam Hussein possessed banned weapons. “I think it’s unfair if they don’t know. And I know a lot about hacking. And hacking is a very hard thing to prove. So it could be somebody else. And I also know things that other people don’t know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation.”

Trump then stated his belief that extremely sensitive information should not be communicated via computers at all, citing the expertise of his pre-teen son.

“It’s very important, if you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier, the old-fashioned way because I’ll tell you what, no computer is safe. I don’t care what they say, no computer is safe,” Trump said. “I have a boy who’s 10 years old. He can do anything with a computer. You want something to really go without detection, write it out and have it sent by courier.”

President-elect Donald Trump talks to reporters as he and his wife, Melania, arrive for a New Year’s Eve celebration with members and guests at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, on Dec. 31.

When asked what, specifically, he knew about alleged Russian hacking that others did not, Trump said he would reveal his insights into the controversy in due time. “You’ll find out Tuesday or Wednesday,” he said.

The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI this week released a 13-page document outlining how Russian-based hackers stole emails of Democratic officials, which were then released online and to the outlet WikiLeaks in the closing months of the campaign.

Following the release of that report, Trump announced that during the coming days he would meet with U.S. intelligence leaders to discuss Russia’s interference in the election, even though he thought it was better for the country to move on from the election.

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton herself raised the issue of Russia’s involvement during one of the presidential debates. But Trump said it was impossible to know who actually had done the hacking, suggesting it might have been a 400-pound hacker sitting in his bed and, later, that it was someone in New Jersey.

Author: S.V. Date
Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-russian-hacking_us_58686f8de4b0d9a5945bc5e9

With a record number of iPhone activations over the holiday season, coupled with Google Home being sold out everywhere, owners of new tech are no doubt getting acquainted with the personal assistants built into each device.

Apple device owners rely on Siri — while Google Home, Google Pixel, and Allo users can call upon Google Assistant. On paper, it would seem that they do a lot of the same things. Is one technically better than the other? We’ll leave that for you to decide.

Zlated has put together an infographic dissecting the two personal assistants to see which one comes out on top in various categories. We’ll summarize the findings for you here in this post, or you can skip ahead to see the full infographic.

Summary of Findings

  • Memory: Google Assistant was found to be better at remembering previous conversations than Siri.
  • Apps Integration: Siri integrates better with other apps installed on the same device.
  • Friendliness: This is a highly subjective category, but Zlated believe Google Assistant is more friendly to have a conversation with.
  • Features: Compared to Google Assistant, Siri is lacking in the ability to play games, ask riddles, read poetry, translate, and show query suggestions. Google Assistant lacks Siri’s ability to find friends, post on social media, and recognize music from Shazam.
  • Overall Winer: Zlated picked Google Assistant as the overall winner because of its superior ability to remember information and respond in a more conversational manner.

What do you think is the top personal assistant? Learn more about them in the full infographic below.

Google Assistant vs. Siri Infographic

Siri v/s Google Assistant

Author: Matt Southern
Source: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-assistant-vs-siri-best-smartphone-ai-infographic/182455

 

Most of us have heard of Google's well-publicized moonshots: Self-driving carssmart contact lensesinternet-beaming balloons, and more.

While those products and services sound amazing, most of us can't use them just yet. But the company actually has a bunch of other ones that are incredibly useful that you might not even know existed. 

For example, did you know Google has a massive free font library?

Here are some of the under-the-radar services Google offers.Jillian D'Onfro contributed to an earlier version of this story.

Google Keep is a killer notes and reminder app that works across both desktops and smartphones.

Google Keep is a killer notes and reminder app that works across both desktops and smartphones.

You can set a timer on Google (and get an alarm to sound when time is up) by Googling any amount of time followed by "timer."

You can set a timer on Google (and get an alarm to sound when time is up) by Googling any amount of time followed by "timer."

Google.com/sky lets you explore the far reaches of the universe using images from NASA satellite, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and the Hubble Telescope.

Google.com/sky lets you explore the far reaches of the universe using images from NASA satellite, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and the Hubble Telescope.

Google Books nGram Viewer is a fun tool that lets you search for words in 5.2 million books published between 1500 and 2008 so you can see how they've been used and changed over time.

Google Books nGram Viewer is a fun tool that lets you search for words in 5.2 million books published between 1500 and 2008 so you can see how they've been used and changed over time.

Intimidated by huge numbers? Google will help you figure out how to pronounce that 12-string behemoth if you type "=english" after it.

Intimidated by huge numbers? Google will help you figure out how to pronounce that 12-string behemoth if you type "=english" after it.

There's a "Manual" feature in Google Translate that lets you draw characters or symbols.

There's a "Manual" feature in Google Translate that lets you draw characters or symbols.

Similarly, Google Input Tools lets you type in over 80 different languages without having to download a special keyboard.

Similarly, Google Input Tools lets you type in over 80 different languages without having to download a special keyboard.

Find a gorgeous font that you can use for free (Google.com/fonts).

Find a gorgeous font that you can use for free (Google.com/fonts).

Google Scholar makes it incredibly easy to search for information in professional journals and papers.

Google Scholar makes it incredibly easy to search for information in professional journals and papers.

Get your culture on by using Google Art Project to check out super high-res photos of artwork from the world's greatest museums.

Get your culture on by using Google Art Project to check out super high-res photos of artwork from the world's greatest museums.

Think with Google is a "digital cheat sheet" for marketers where it uses its data to glean what's on deck for the industry.

Think with Google is a "digital cheat sheet" for marketers where it uses its data to glean what's on deck for the industry.

Want to get a pulse on what people care about at any given moment? Google Trends shows the most searched terms every day.

Want to get a pulse on what people care about at any given moment? Google Trends shows the most searched terms every day.

You can even plot how different search terms have waxed or waned over time.

You can even plot how different search terms have waxed or waned over time.

Google Express lets you get same-day delivery for food, electronics, books, and more. The service now covers about 90% of the United States.

Google Express lets you get same-day delivery for food, electronics, books, and more. The service now covers about 90% of the United States.

The Google Sound Search widget works like Shazam to help you identify songs you hear. It will also link you to buy each track in the Google Play Store.

The Google Sound Search widget works like Shazam to help you identify songs you hear. It will also link you to buy each track in the Google Play Store.

Google has a catalog of animal noises that you can easily find by typing in "animal sounds" or by typing in the name of a specific animal. Hot tip: Whip this one out while babysitting and it'll keep kids entertained for a long time.

Google has a catalog of animal noises that you can easily find by typing in "animal sounds" or by typing in the name of a specific animal. Hot tip: Whip this one out while babysitting and it'll keep kids entertained for a long time.

Gboard is an app for iPhone that enables Google search right in your keyboard, eliminating the need to hop back and forth between apps.

Gboard is an app for iPhone that enables Google search right in your keyboard, eliminating the need to hop back and forth between apps.

If you can't decide between causes to donate to, or have trouble finding a reputable charity, Google's One Today app makes it easy. The app shows different charities, gives a short description, and lets you know how you can help.

It's October, and there's a good chance you're looking for a new job.

According to LinkedIn data, this is the month job applications spike on the social networking site.

To find out what exactly employers are looking for, and what it takes to successfully land a job, LinkedIn looked at billions of data points and analyzed all of the hiring and recruiting activity that occurred on its site so far in 2016to identify the most sought-after skills.

Ultimately they uncovered the top 10 skills that can get you hired in 2017 in 14 different countries.

"While we see job applications spike on LinkedIn in October, we know companies aren't actually hiring at the same rate until January," says LinkedIn career expert Catherine Fisher in a press release. "While some skills expire every couple of years, our data strongly suggests that tech skills will still be needed for years to come, in every industry. Now is a great time for professionals to acquire the skills they need to be more marketable."

Here are the hottest, most in-demand skills around the globe:

1. Cloud and Distributed Computing

2. Statistical Analysis and Data Mining

3. Web Architecture and Development Framework

4. Middleware and Integration Software

5. User Interface Design

6. Network and Information Security

7. Mobile Development

8. Data Presentation

9. SEO/SEM Marketing

10. Storage Systems and Management

In a post on LinkedIn, Fisher explains that the "top skills" list reveals several trends about the global job market, including:

1. Demand for marketers is getting lighter

While marketing skills were in high demand in 2015, "things have changed," she writes.

"This year, SEO/SEM dropped five spots from No. 4 to No. 9 and marketing campaign management dropped completely off the list. Demand for marketing skills is slowing because the supply of people with marketing skills has caught up with employers' demand for people with marketing skills."

2. Data and cloud reign supreme

"I smell a dynasty in the making!" Fisher writes. "Cloud and distributed computing has remained in the No. 1 spot for the past two years ... . Following closely on its heels is statistical analysis and data mining, which came in No. 2 last year, and No. 1 in 2014. These skills are in such high demand because they're at the cutting edge of technology. Employers need employees with cloud and distributed computing, statistical analysis and data mining skills to stay competitive."

3. User interface design is what's hot right now

"User interface design (No. 5), which is designing the part of products that people interact with, is increasingly in-demand among employers," Fisher writes. "Data has become central to many products, which has created a need for people with user interface design skills who can make those products easy for customers to use."

Author:  Jacquelyn Smith

Source:  https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/10/2017s-most-in-demand-skills-according-to-linkedin

Saturday, 24 December 2016 00:39

5 tech trends that transformed retail in 2016

Retailers investing in new technologies during 2016 did so in many cases to keep up with the competition, often represented most specifically by Amazon — the company that influenced how many of them pursued e-commerce, and now is prompting them to consider innovations in the emerging area of conversational commerce.

Retailers also pursued new innovations this year in the name of enabling better interactions and stronger relationships with their customers. That notion is the common thread running through what we believe were the five most significant areas of retail technology innovation in 2016.

1. Artificial Intelligence

It’s very likely a lot of retail folks feel AI was the biggest and most broadly impactful innovation to shape the retail sector in 2016. And it’s not just a single innovation, but a vast field on innovation, affecting everything from chatbots (more about those little guys shortly) to other forms of virtual shopping assistants to mobile and visual search to mall directory services.

The most familiar AI-powered solution is Amazon’s Alexa, and though it arrived before this year, Amazon did a lot of work this year to build an ecosystem around its AI-based assistant — work that will inform future AI innovations all across the retail sector. Late in the year, Amazon made several key moves, including creating an accelerator program releasing some of Alexa’s core technology components to developers, that should help trigger an explosion of AI initiatives in retail for years to come.

Significantly, Amazon also teamed with a couple of other heavyweights  —  Google and Facebook  —  for an alliance intended to advance understanding of AI technology and help craft best practices for its development and use. This teaming could help ensure recent AI innovations are responsibly implemented, something that surely will affect broader retail adoption. As Murray Shanahan, a professor of cognitive robotics at Imperial College London, said at the time of the announcement, “A small number of large corporations are today the powerhouses behind the development of sophisticated artificial intelligence. The inauguration of the partnership on AI is a very welcome step towards ensuring this technology is used wisely.”

Aside from Amazon, there were too many launches of AI-driven solutions in 2016 to list here, but milestones include the just-announced AI-based navigation and information apps for Mall of America and Fashion Island mall; eBay’s use of AI in creating curated marketplaces and other solutions; separate efforts by MasterCard and Stripe to deploy AI to fight fraud; and Staples' efforts to infuse its familiar Easy Button with AI.

These aren't just innovations for the sake of innovation. The chief aim with many of these efforts is to enable better customer shopping experiences, often through AI-driven conversation commerce functions. When Target teamed with startup AddStructure this fall to develop an Alexa-like assistant, a Target spokeswoman told the Chicago Tribune “One of the great things about the technology is it works with customers the way they naturally talk and the way they search for things. Anything we can use to create a better experience for our guests, that’s what is most appealing to us.”

Not surprisingly, AI also was at the center of several acquisitions and executive migrations during 2016. Etsy acquired new AI talent by buying Blackbird Technologies, while eBay, another early champion of AI in retaillost a key AI exec to Amazon. As the retail’s AI revolution ramps up, there is surely more of that to come in 2017.

2. Chatbots

Some of you surely are thinking “Aren’t chatbots just one form of AI? Is Retail Dive cheating us out of hearing about other innovations?”

Gentle reader, we would never do such a thing — and also, while chatbots are indeed one form of AI-based solution, they also represent their own vast area of innovation in how retailers are helping their customers interact with them. While AI is the enabler, a number of parties are taking the concept and running with it to create useful and distinct chatbots, and no company may have done more during 2016 to the emerging retail chatbot economy than Facebook.

The social media giant back in April unveiled a suite of support functions for chatbots to run on its Messenger platform, a move the seemed to release a lot of pent-up energy, as more than 11,000 chatbots joined Messenger over the next few months. Facebook has continued to beef up its program by adding new services and making it easier for its members to find chatbots through newsfeed ad capabilities.

The new chatbots in some ways represent a re-innovation of some functions retailers have tried to offer through their mobile apps, with varying degrees of success.“All these brands have written apps and no one uses those apps,” Razorfish executive and retail blogger Jason Goldberg told Retail Dive at the time of Facebook's original chatbot announcement. “The bots don’t require any installation, so a lot of people, myself included, feel the bot is the new app."

Several retailers have aggressively moved to develop chatbots. The year began with Sephora launching its Virtual Artist chatbot, which it continued to enhance it throughout the months to follow, and activity continued right until the final days of 2016, as Nordstrom launched its first chatbot.

One of the more intriguing chatbot rollouts came from eBay, which launched a still-learning beta version of its ShopBot chatbot with the belief that could learn faster and become increasingly useful to eBay customers by interacting with them. Retail chatbots are right now where retail mobile apps were a few years ago — they’re nice-to-haves, but they soon will be must-haves.

3. Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality

Before we go any further, maybe we should talk semantics: Virtual reality has to do with the creation of immersive virtual environments, while augmented reality is intended to indicate the mixing of virtual and real elements in a hybrid environment. That said, it’s gotten pretty hard to separate the two notions, and the differences may not so much matter to all the retailers than have embraced them in the past year.

VR/AR (not be confused with AC/DC) is an overnight sensation that was at least 25 years in the making. Early VR/AR tools lacked quality and consistency, and were too costly even for adventurous early adopters. We’ve seen that change in recent years, with the development of high-end VR headsets and more affordable solutions from the likes of Google and Samsung, VR/AR technologies and startups have started to draw much more funding, and several industry experts suggested that 2016 was the start of a VR/AR boom.

In 2016, VR/AR certainly played a major role in retail on two different levels — both as a marketing and sales tool for retailers, and a viable product worth their shelf space. Home décor retailer Wayfair.com arguably led the way among individual retailers using VR/AR as a tool to help them sell and interact with customers: The company launched its Patio Playground VR app, developed by its Wayfair Next lab unit, in July, and continued to enhance and expand its VR offerings in recent months.

Wayfair co-founder and chairman Steve Conine called VR a "transformative discovery platform," and explained how Patio Playground allows the retailer to liven up its customer interactions: “By combining our advanced first-party 3-D scanning and visualization capabilities with Facebook’s virtual reality headset, the Wayfair Next team has created an interactive and entertaining way for customers to get inspired and browse items for their home.”

Home improvement retailer Lowe’s also advanced its own VR/AR strategy, expanding its HoloLens virtual design program with partner Microsoft. Meanwhile, Alibaba advanced its aims to allow VR users to pay for items while engaged in VR sessions. Elsewhere, the wildly popular Pokemon Go game helped raise the profile of VR/AR, not that it needed help.

In sales of VR gear, the year started promisingly, with AT&T committing to in-store demonstrations of new VR gear, and got even better when Best Buy expanded its own demos of VR gear to more than 500 stores. Whatever you want to call it, the VR/AR era is here.

4. Payments

Like everything else on this list, online and mobile payment technologies and payment apps didn’t just come to light in the last 12 months, but 2016 certainly was a game-changing year of innovation and new releases.

This year featured the fizzling of retail’s ambitions to have a unified payments app, as the Merchant Customer Exchange consortium’s ill-fated CurrentC gave way to new apps from individual retailers, banks and tradition payment card networks. Among the new launches were Walmart PayCVS PayCiti Pay and others.

Likewise, payments apps from mobile sector players also made strides in 2016. After some stagnant years, contactless in-store payments from mobile devices as well as mobile online and in-app payments started to pick up steam. Apple did its part when it updated Apple Pay for acceptance on retailer websites. Perhaps feeling some pressure, the powers behind Android Pay and Samsung Pay also made moves to expand the availability and utility of their payment solutions.

Finally, 2016 is ending with forecasts of a mobile payments boom unfolding in the coming years. There is some concern about how crowded the market is, but it is very likely that the broad emergence of new payment apps we started to see this year will carry into next year. There are plenty of other retailers who may feel that have something to gain — or customers to keep satisfied — if they launch their own branded payment offering.

Speaking at an industry event this fall, Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of Wal-Mart Services, suggested retailer-branded payment apps represent an evolution in customer loyalty and satisfaction efforts. “We’re all about engaging consumers and not based on any loyalty scheme,” he said. “Time is a currency in our customers’ lives. Saving the customer time is just as valuable as [giving them a discount]. We saw the value [in Walmart Pay] with time and convenience, versus a loyalty scheme.”

5. Personalization

This is another one that could easily have fallen into the broad spectrum of AI, and in many cases, when retailers talk about efforts to enable greater personalization, AI is the technology platform they are using to enable it. But personalization in its own right was the concept often subject to innovation as retailers rolled out new customer service features in 2016.

The recently launched My Starbucks Barista ordering feature in Starbucks’ popular mobile app was a great example of this sort of innovation: The coffeehouse goliath is enhancing the app with a voice-based ordering feature that it plans to evolve to include product recommendations and paring suggestions. It’s the type of capability that Amazon pioneered on a large scale, but other retailers are now putting their own spin on.

eBay is another company that recently has done a lot to enable more personalization within its mobile app, redesigning it with more personalization features, like product recommendations and more search filtering options. R.J. Pittman, the online marketplace’s chief product officer, explained what the company is aiming to accomplish with such efforts: "Shoppers have complex needs, which are often not fully met by traditional search engines. While offline retailers can offer human experts to help, there aren’t enough experts around to help us with everything we want and need," Pittman wrote in a blog post. "Combining AI with eBay’s breadth of inventory and unique selection will enable us to create a radically better and more personal shopping experience."

Personalization capabilities also were a key driver in IBM’s acquisition of Fluid’s personal shopper unit. IBM is intent on further integrating the personal shopping capability with its Watson AI to increase Watson’s ability to engage on a more personal level with shoppers. The desire to create a more personal bond with customers also drove Bed Bath & Beyond to buy PersonalizationMall, a company which creates literally personalized products.

Studies suggest these 2016 endeavors are a step in the right direction for retailers. Deloitte found that many shoppers prefer a personalized, self-directed shopping journey, and Experian reported that personalization efforts improve the open rate of marketing emails.

Getting personal with customers may sound like an old an obvious idea, but this year retailers have begun to put a new spin on it, bringing new capabilities to mobile and online platforms that underline the value of personal engagement in the purchasing process.

Author:  Dan O'Shea

Source:  http://www.retaildive.com/news/5-tech-trends-that-transformed-retail-in-2016/432316

For non-website designers, it is nearly impossible to stay on top of the technological advances and countless new design options emerging almost daily. But you know that your website must be user-friendly and engaging on any device.

As a business owner in the digital marketing space, I often become the translator for designers and coders. Here are five of the most important website design trends to help you engage visitors and achieve your website conversion goals in 2017:

1-Responsive Website Design

Responsive website design is a requirement in today’s mobile society. Users may not know what it takes to make a website design responsive, but they know that without it, they will be looking elsewhere for answers, products or a viewing experience. In short, a mobile responsive website is one that is designed so that it looks the same when viewed on any device. A great source to view some prime examples of responsive website designs can be found at Awwwards.com; browse them and compare on different devices to see the unified effect.

2-Semi-Flat Design

Semi-flat design makes the elements appear as though they exist on a single surface. The widely-used design approach can bring clarity to the website for the viewer, while making transitions appear more unified. While it can be difficult to execute convincingly, when done correctly, semi-flat design makes it easier for website visitors to understand the cues and directions of the website. The result is a more intuitive navigation experience across the entire website.

lat designs from a year or two ago had a lot of problems with their inability to draw users into the site and create a more immersive experience. This was because the images and characters were flat without any shading or differentiation, making it difficult for users to know where to click to navigate the websites. The discovery was chronicled in Windows 8 Usability Tests conducted by the Nielsen Norman Group.

Semi-flat designs overcome those challenges, and the use of the style in both Android’s and Apple’s software releases make it something that many mobile users are used to seeing.

3-Minimalism Paired With Micro-Interactions

It’s all about the mobile experience in 2017 and beyond. Micro-interactions are user enabled interactions that provide control, guidance or rewards, or just impart fun to the experience for the user. Minimalist design means web pages are uncluttered. By combining these semi-flat and minimalist design trends in 2017, websites can deliver great user experiences that take advantage of visitors’ short attention spans and need for instant gratification.

In the last two years, my firm began to discover that even though our clients’ websites had been optimized for mobile, we weren’t always seeing the bumps in conversions or longer visitor interactions that we expected. The biggest challenge was having too much content on the page. Best practice search engine optimization is in our blood, and having at least 200 words on each page tends to improve search engine results. But, in an era when people are looking for faster mobile interactions, users were getting frustrated navigating through too much content per page.

We adjusted by balancing snackable content on scrolling pages, and have seen great results.

4-Parallax Scrolling And Interactivity

Moving different parts of a website page at different speeds (parallax scrolling) is not new, but those who know how to use it innovatively reap the rewards of visitor engagement.

An example of using it innovatively would be applying it to interactive storytelling and interactive assessments. Each engages the user at a deeper level. We’ve all experienced websites with great parallax scrolling where the images and text are highly structured and fold on top of one another as we scroll down through or swipe across the page.

Parallax scrolling enables the user to have a one-touch scrolling experience that engages them, provides an interactive experience, and can tell a story through progressing content and images that they control. They can have the same experience on any device, which helps to enhance their experience as they learn about a brand, a product or a solution.

5-Stronger Use Of Typography

It seems we are always learning about effective fonts and using them in new ways with website design. One of the latest and most enduring trends is to blend fonts that work well together in a single page. This works with both different (but compatible) fonts as well as font sizes. As always, the fonts must match the product, the brand and the target audience, and be web responsive to be effective.

We recently developed a website for a professional services firm that provided services that could be used as part of a package or in an a la carte fashion. How could the client explain all of these services on a single page holistically, while also offering them as a suite of individual services?

We accomplished this with a single graphic element using a short text description and tag line for each service. The individual services were separated by differing bold colors, and different fonts for each group of related services. Optimized for mobile and scrolling, the user can quickly see all the services, differentiate them through color and font, and tap on individual "learn more" buttons to get more in-depth information on each service.

Conclusion

These are website design trends that users can expect to be prevalent in 2017 and beyond. By keeping user needs in mind with the specific messages that will resonate with your target audience, you can choose the right methods for action and conversion on behalf of your intended users.

Author : Sheila Kloefkorn

Source : http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2016/12/21/the-five-most-important-website-design-trends-that-will-emerge-in-2017/#260f9bb9402a

Looking to be the next leap forward in data organization, computation, and delivery for big data Databricks, the business built on top of the popular Apache Spark open source project, has raised $60 million in new financing.

Taking the route mapped by so many big data companies before it, Databricks is the business that the open source Apache Spark project built.

Spark is the next step in data scientists’ long march to make massive amounts of data easy to understand and use in the next generation of applications.

Data processing at velocity and volume has any number of applications in today’s data-rich world. And the victor — the company that can process that data and effectively serve it up in a way that folks inside businesses can understand and use effectively — will take the most spoils.

The Spark project is part of an open source family of tools under the Hadoop umbrella that has already collected a ton (and I mean A TON) of cash.

Companies like Cloudera, which raised roughly $1 billion (actually $900 million — including $760 million from Intel) during the effervescent days of 2014, came to market with claims of a better way to store and manage large amounts of data far more cheaply than any previous infrastructure technology.

It’s the stuff that companies like Facebook and Google use to process the billions of pieces of data that they collect. Spark… is the next step… focusing not on the storage of data, but on how to manage it most effectively. The two work in concert, but are not the same.

With its latest financing, led by the company’s previous investor, New Enterprise Associates, and including participation from Databricks’ initial investor Andreessen Horowitz, the company is looking to take its tech to the next level.

The San Francisco-based company has already taken its product through some pretty intense paces, wresting the pole position in the CloudSort benchmark from an open source offering developed by the University of California, San Diego.

Databricks dropped the price of sorting 100 terabytes of data from the previous record of $4.51 per Terabyte to $1.44 per TB (for data scientists… that’s a spicy meatball!). The company worked with Nanjing University and Alibaba Group to form the team, that now holds the world record.

The CloudSort Benchmark is a competition designed to develop technologies that will reduce the total cost of ownership of the cloud architecture (a combination of software stack, hardware stack, and tuning) and encouraging organizations to adopt and deploy big data applications onto the public cloud.

Beyond the business case, data scientists are flocking to the project, according to Databricks. There are now more than 288,000 members of the community, and over 1,000 active contributors from 250 organizations, the company said.

Databricks launched its first product in 2014, around the time it raised $33 million in the first round to include NEA. In all, the company has raised roughly $100 million.

At the time of the last financing, my colleague Ron Miller wrote about the first product:

… the company also announced a new cloud platform called Databricks Cloud that Stoica, says has been designed to simplify big data processing by bringing the process under one cloud umbrella.The cloud solution consists of three pieces: The Databricks Platform, Spark and the Databricks workspace. The idea behind the product, Stoica says, is to provide a single place to process data without having to worry about managing a Hadoop cluster to process your data. It’s all done in the cloud instead in a managed environment.After you add your data to a project, you can begin working with it immediately. The product has several core concepts starting with Notebooks, which provide a way to interact with the data and build graphs. As you discover ways of displaying your data, you can begin to build dashboards to monitor certain types of data. Finally, the platform includes a job launcher, which enables users to schedule Apache Spark jobs to run at certain times.

The company’s product has found a home with more than 400 customers and the new money will expand sales and marketing, the company said.

“Apache Spark has enabled countless enterprises and cutting-edge early adopters to create business value through advanced analytics solutions,” said Ali Ghodsi, CEO and Co-Founder at Databricks, in a statement. “As Spark’s adoption and the demand for our managed Spark platform continues to rise, this funding will advance our engineering and go-to-market strategies to address all of our customer’s pain points as we continue to grow the Spark community.”

Author : Jonathan Shieber

Source : https://techcrunch.com/author/jonathan-shieber/

Recruiters will soon have new tools and technologies to help match candidates with open positions, based on recent announcements from tech giants Facebook and Google.

Both companies made it known in November that they are in the early stages of staking larger claims in the talent acquisition space and disrupting the status quo.

Facebook is blurring the once-indelible line between personal and professional networking by adding a job-posting and application-collecting functionality to Facebook Pages.

Talent acquisition professionals already use the ubiquitous social media site for sourcing, branding and posting paid ads.

Facebook is testing a new option that allows employers to share specially formatted job openings in the company's status update box as well as in a separate, dedicated jobs tab on the company page. Ads can also be promoted to target specific users by education, geography or other criteria allowable by Facebook's advertising settings. An interested job seeker can click on an "Apply now" button to launch an application form prepopulated with information from the user's public profile. The form is then delivered to the page administrator as a Facebook message. This is just one of a number of recruiting features Facebook is experimenting with, the company said.

"It was inevitable, as Facebook attempts to get more into people's lives," said Martin Burns, a strategic consulting leader with Boston-based HireClix, a digital recruitment advertising agency.

Other vendors offer services to build jobs pages on Facebook, but this announcement formalizes postings for employers directly through the site.

"Past attempts to plug in mini careers sites onto Facebook pages haven't worked very well in terms of traffic and conversions," Burns said. "I wonder if that was because they were third-party apps or [because] people don't want to look for jobs while they are on Facebook. The idea sounds good in theory, but it hasn't really worked."

Manually posting jobs and dealing with applications sent as Facebook messages will be challenges for large employers that rely on automated job postings and delivery of applications into their applicant tracking systems.

"Whether or not Facebook users can upload a resume or use their LinkedIn profile is unknown, but this might be the hard part for many employers to swallow," said Joel Cheesman, a recruiting technology industry veteran and the founder of Ratedly, which monitors anonymous employee complaint websites.

"If you're the Facebook admin for a Fortune 500 company, good luck," Burns said. "They will get slaughtered. They will have to watch that channel carefully and filter it and make sure only the right folks see the ads."

Both Burns and Cheesman said that the tool may be most appealing to small and local businesses and companies that have hard-to-fill positions.

"This could be a market for companies who need a version of a LinkedIn corporate page but lack the budget to pay for it and don't want the restrictions that come with it," Burns said. "It may work for a facility in eastern Kentucky or northern Minnesota, where an Indeed posting doesn't really convert folks for jobs in call centers or as forklift drivers."

But the experts agreed that Facebook has the potential to improve engagement with the much-sought-after passive job seeker. Facebook offers demand generation potential, organically reaching people going about their daily life. "Facebook's professional-oriented groups are getting better engagement than LinkedIn, and if employers were able to start running job ads targeting groups, that could really hurt LinkedIn's model," Burns said.

"If at some point Facebook users are able to add a professional profile that complements their already-available personal pages—which, let's be real, is eventually going to happen—and attach that profile to a job opening, and companies can manage and search those profiles, then I think they're really onto something," Cheesman said.

Google's New Jobs API Aims to Make Hiring Smarter

The world's most popular search engine has developed a new tool with the potential to greatly improve hiring. The Google Cloud Jobs API (application programming interface) uses machine learning to understand how job titles and skills relate to one another and which job description, location and seniority level are the closest match to a job seeker's preferences.

The goal of the API is to address the disparity among job titles, job descriptions and the skills needed that "comes from a lack of industry standards to define and describe occupations and how they align to specific skills," according to Google.

The company compared the new tool—currently available in alpha testing—to Google's translation API, which translates text into many different languages. "Cloud Jobs API understands the nuances of job titles, descriptions, skills and preferences, and matches job-seeker preferences with relevant job listings based on sophisticated classifications and relational models," wrote Christian Posse, group data scientist with Google Cloud in this blog post.

At the core of the tool lies two proprietary galaxies of 250,000 specific occupations and 50,000 hard and soft skills, as well as relational models between them that encode the popularity and specificity of each skill for any occupation. For example, the relational models that encode JavaScript, HTML and CSS are skills related to the occupation of user interface engineer.

Posse explained that before the tool spits out a match, job posting titles are standardized and "cleaned" of any language not directly related to the occupation definition, including location, employment type, salary information, company name, marketing lingo and administrative jargon.

The tool is intended for job boards, careers sites and applicant tracking systems, where it will sit in the cloud, allowing partners to call on Google's algorithms only when needed. Early adopters include job boards Dice and CareerBuilder and Jibe, which develops careers sites for clients.

The eventual outcome of this tool, powered by Google's data, is that the jobs will find the people, Burns said. "That's the way it should be. It's the idea that you can visit a job board or careers site and be automatically served up appropriate career options based on your online browsing activity, geography and job title. Employers wouldn't need a recruitment marketing platform that captures your data. That step would be eliminated."

Was this article useful? SHRM offers thousands of tools, templates and other exclusive member benefits, including compliance updates, sample policies, HR expert advice, education discounts, a growing online member community and much more. Join/Renew Now and let SHRM help you work smarter.

Author : Roy Maurer

Source : https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/talent-acquisition/pages/facebook-google-invest-job-search.aspx

Friday, 16 December 2016 00:06

10 Search Engines Explore Deep Invisible Web

No, it’s not Spiderman’s latest web slinging tool but something that’s more real world. Like the World Wide Web.

The Invisible Web refers to the part of the WWW that’s not indexed by the search engines. Most of us think that that search powerhouses like Google and Bing are like the Great Oracle”¦they see everything. Unfortunately, they can’t because they aren’t divine at all; they are just web spiders who index pages by following one hyperlink after the other.

But there are some places where a spider cannot enter. Take library databases which need a password for access. Or even pages that belong to private networks of organizations. Dynamically generated web pages in response to a query are often left un-indexed by search engine spiders.

Search engine technology has progressed by leaps and bounds. Today, we have real time search and the capability to index Flash based and PDF content. Even then, there remain large swathes of the web which a general search engine cannot penetrate. The term, Deep Net, Deep Web or Invisible Web lingers on.

To get a more precise idea of the nature of this ‘Dark Continent’ involving the invisible and web search engines, read what Wikipedia has to say about the Deep Web. The figures are attention grabbers – the size of the open web is 167 terabytes. The Invisible Web is estimated at 91,000terabytes. Check this out – the Library of Congress, in 1997, was figured to have close to 3,000terabytes!

How do we get to this mother load of information?

That’s what this post is all about. Let’s get to know a few resources which will be our deep diving vessel for the Invisible Web. Some of these are invisible web search engines with specifically indexed information.

Infomine

invisible web search engines

Infomine has been built by a pool of libraries in the United States. Some of them are University of California, Wake Forest University, California State University, and the University of Detroit. Infomine ‘mines’ information from databases, electronic journals, electronic books, bulletin boards, mailing lists, online library card catalogs, articles, directories of researchers, and many other resources.

You can search by subject category and further tweak your search using the search options. Infomine is not only a standalone search engine for the Deep Web but also a staging point for a lot of other reference information. Check out its Other Search Tools and General Reference links at the bottom.

The WWW Virtual Library

invisible web search engines

This is considered to be the oldest catalog on the web and was started by started by Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the web. So, isn’t it strange that it finds a place in the list of Invisible Web resources? Maybe, but the WWW Virtual Library lists quite a lot of relevant resources on quite a lot of subjects. You can go vertically into the categories or use the search bar. The screenshot shows the alphabetical arrangement of subjects covered at the site.

Intute

invisible web search engines

Intute is UK centric, but it has some of the most esteemed universities of the region providing the resources for study and research. You can browse by subject or do a keyword search for academic topics like agriculture to veterinary medicine. The online service has subject specialists who review and index other websites that cater to the topics for study and research.

Intute also provides free of cost over 60 free online tutorials to learn effective internet research skills. Tutorials are step by step guides and are arranged around specific subjects.

Complete Planet

search invisible web

Complete Planet calls itself the ‘front door to the Deep Web’. This free and well designed directory resource makes it easy to access the mass of dynamic databases that are cloaked from a general purpose search. The databases indexed by Complete Planet number around 70,000 and range from Agriculture to Weather. Also thrown in are databases like Food & Drink and Military.

For a really effective Deep Web search, try out the Advanced Search options where among other things, you can set a date range.

Infoplease

search invisible web

Infoplease is an information portal with a host of features. Using the site, you can tap into a good number of encyclopedias, almanacs, an atlas, and biographies. Infoplease also has a few nice offshoots like Factmonster.com for kids and Biosearch, a search engine just for biographies.

DeepPeep

search invisible web

DeepPeep aims to enter the Invisible Web through forms that query databases and web services for information. Typed queries open up dynamic but short lived results which cannot be indexed by normal search engines. By indexing databases, DeepPeep hopes to track 45,000 forms across 7 domains.

The domains covered by DeepPeep (Beta) are Auto, Airfare, Biology, Book, Hotel, Job, and Rental. Being a beta service, there are occasional glitches as some results don’t load in the browser.

IncyWincy

how to use the invisible web

IncyWincy is an Invisible Web search engine and it behaves as a meta-search engine by tapping into other search engines and filtering the results. It searches the web, directory, forms, and images. With a free registration, you can track search results with alerts.

DeepWebTech

how to use the invisible web

DeepWebTech gives you five search engines (and browser plugins) for specific topics. The search engines cover science, medicine, and business. Using these topic specific search engines, you can query the underlying databases in the Deep Web.

Scirus

how to use the invisible web

Scirus has a pure scientific focus. It is a far reaching research engine that can scour journals, scientists’ homepages, courseware, pre-print server material, patents and institutional intranets.

TechXtra

TechXtra concentrates on engineering, mathematics and computing. It gives you industry news, job announcements, technical reports, technical data, full text  eprints, teaching and learning resources along with articles and relevant website information.

Just like general web search, searching the Invisible Web is also about looking for the needle in the haystack. Only here, the haystack is much bigger. The Invisible Web is definitely not for the casual searcher. It is a deep but not dark because if you know what you are searching for, enlightenment is a few keywords away.

Do you venture into the Invisible Web? Which is your preferred search tool?

Author:  Saikat Basu

Source:  http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/10-search-engines-explore-deep-invisible-web

A masculinity expert says he fears heavy internet porn usage may have left up to one in 10 young men with erection problems.

Dr Andrew Smiler said that easy access to endless streaming porn is leaving healthy young men with the sexual problem.

He told The Independent: “The guys I see, most of them are between 13 and 25. The vast majority are, for the most part, the picture of physical health.

“So if I’m masturbating to porn once a day for 15 minutes but I do that every day for five years, I’m pretty well on my way to being an expert to having an orgasm to porn.”

He warned that because many heavy users are young, the habit becomes even more concerning.

“If I’m 17 and that is 90% of my sexual orgasmic experience, then I’ve put a lot of effort into that particular variety/flavour of sexual development but I’ve put in very little time developing my sexuality with another person, so it makes it more challenging to become aroused to another person and you find yourself in this other direction which is often very different to sex with a person.”

A 2014 study found that one third of men watch porn every day, and given that porn consumption has been increasing over the past few years - largely due to the advent of the smartphones and super-fast data connections - it’s likely that number is now even higher.

Dr Angela Gregory, psychosexual therapist at Nottingham University Hospital, said: “Men are becoming both physically and psychologically desensitised to normal sexual stimulation and arousal with a sexual partner.”

For some men, however, they develop hypersexuality and are constantly aroused. “It’s like an itch they can’t scratch and is always on their minds,” Dr Gregory said.

Despite the prevalence of porn-consumption, as of yet there is no official diagnosis for “porn addiction” so Dr Smiler, author of Dating and Sex: A Guide for the 21st Century Teen Boy, doesn’t like to use the term. Gregory, on the other hand, believes some men do develop very real addictions to porn.

She frequently sees young men with erection problems but often they don’t make the link to porn as it’s deemed so normal to watch it.

Fortunately, porn-induced erectile dysfunction is fixable, most easily if you’re a healthy young male: “If you can stop [masturbating], you can reboot your system to normal arousal,” Gregory explains.

She recommends going cold turkey for 90 days - some men find it easy, others really struggle. And Dr Smiler points out that you have to retrain both your body and your mind, so he talks to a lot of his clients about what they find attractive. 

Whilst porn-induced erectile dysfunction is a huge problem for men who regularly masturbate to porn, simply watching it is also creating an unrealistic idea of sex in their minds.

“In porn, sex always happens very easily, everybody has a great time and nobody ever refuses or says ‘I don’t want to do that’,” Dr Smiler said.

“But in reality, people aren’t always in the mood. Sometimes you fall over when you're taking off your pants and it’s funny. But none of that happens on screen and so guys go in expecting it to all be easy and they don’t know what to do,” he explained.

There’s also the issue of the majority of people not looking like porn stars. Dr Smiler, who works predominantly with young men aged 13-25 and wrote a book on masculinity, believes high porn consumption “alters perceptions and expectations of who is attractive,” meaning a lot of these men find they develop extremely narrow tastes.

Gregory believes that as porn becomes more harcore, explicit and ubiquitous, more men will suffer from intimacy problems and sexual compulsion.

So is there a safe amount of porn a man can watch? It really depends on the person, but Dr Smiler believes that a man can masturbate to porn once to three times a week and “it’s not going to have any more effect on his sex life than 50 years ago when guys were masturating to posters of pin-up girls.”

But when you find yourself masturbating to porn every day - and that’s the only way you masturbate - that’s when you’re heading for problems.

Author:  Rachel Hosie

Source:  http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/love-sex/porn-sex-impact-men-health-and-desensitisation-a7449311.html

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