Posts tagged Time

The 5 Most Spammy, Lame SEO Tactics of all Time – Tech Cocktail

Tech Cocktail
The 5 Most Spammy, Lame SEO Tactics of all Time
Tech Cocktail
As we all know, the fundamental objective of SEO in the past was to trick the search engines into giving a website better rankings. This was usually done for a very narrow set of high search volume keywords. Search engine optimization used to be a
5 Things Your SEO Strategy Needs to Focus on Entering 2015Huffington Post
7 Easy Steps To Optimize Your Website For SEOBusiness 2 Community
The 4 Most Difficult Parts of SEO Broken DownAllBusiness (blog)
Marketing Land -Chief Marketer -Samuel Scott (blog)
all 33 news articles »

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Big Data Source Code: Getting Better All The Time

Not only is most Big Data infrastructure open source, but it’s also better, on average, than proprietary software. While the average Java project boasts an acceptable 2.72 defect density rate (defects per 1,000 lines of code), roughly 62% of the Big Data projects scanned by Coverity were even better with lower DDRs.

See also: Why Your Company Needs To Write More Open-Source Software

Not content to rest on their high-quality laurels, Big Data’s open source elite have significantly improved code quality since last year, according to a new report released by Coverity. Pity the poor proprietary vendors that have tried to keep pace with open source innovation in Big Data infrastructure.

Bigger … And Better

It’s no secret that open source dominates Big Data software. In fact, open source dominates all infrastructure software today, as Cloudera co-founder Mike Olson declares:

[For years we’ve witnessed] a stunning and irreversible trend in enterprise infrastructure. If you’re operating a data center, you’re almost certainly using an open source operating system, database, middleware and other plumbing. No dominant platform-level software infrastructure has emerged in the last ten years in closed-source, proprietary form.

Part of the reason is that developers increasingly rule the enterprise, and want the speed and flexibility that open source affords.

But part of it comes down to rising trust in the quality of open-source software.

On average, open-source software now exceeds proprietary software code quality, according to a 2013 Coverity report analyzing thousands of open source and proprietary code bases. And while open source’s Big Data elite still have a ways to go—a DDR of 1.0 or less is considered industry standard for good quality, with Linux coming in at 1.0 and most open source C/C++ projects averaging a .59 DDR—it’s impressive that as they grow they keep getting better. 

Source: Coverity 2014
  • Since the 2013 Coverity scan, Hadoop has improved from a 1.71 defect density rate to 1.67, despite adding hundreds of thousands of lines of code. Significantly, this improved DDR involved squashing a number of concurrent data access violations, null pointer dereferences and resource leaks: HBase added 200,000 lines of code yet lowered its DDR to 2.22 (from 2.33); and
  • Cassandra dropped to a DDDR of 1.61 from 1.95. As with Hadoop, this has involved  eliminating a range of null pointer dereferences and resource leaks.

While it would be interesting to see these Big Data projects tackling the volume of defects, it’s even more impressive how these communities have taken on some of the most serious issues. Indeed, the top three most commonly fixed issues were some of the most serious: null pointer dereferences, resource leaks and concurrent data access violations.

As the report notes, these Big Data projects fixed nearly 50% of the resource leaks, a rate consistent with the level Coverity finds in C/C++ projects. But over the 2013 Java resource leaks found by Coverity’s report, only 13% were addressed by 2014. 

It Takes A Community

Of course every project—proprietary or open source—tries to squash its bugs. That’s par for the course. But these open source Big Data projects have something going for them that no proprietary code can match:


It’s easy to point to things like the Shellshock exploit as a failure of open source community. But this misses the point of open source. 

Open source isn’t necessarily about crafting better code from the outset, though there is significant motivation to release high-quality code when you know others could be reviewing it. Rather, open source enables discovery of problems and then communal iteration to resolve them.

As Simon Phipps writes, sometimes it’s enough simply for a community to be able to spot the source of a problem after it has happened:

The big difference [between proprietary and open-source software]? We would likely never know they applied [with proprietary software]. Closed development by unknown teams hidden behind corporate PR would seek to hide the truth, as well as prevent anyone from properly analyzing the issue once it became known.

In the case of open-source Big Data projects, entire industries are being reshaped by data, data stored, moved or analyzed by Hadoop, MongoDB (my former employer, BTW), Spark, Cassandra and other open-source projects. Those industries have a huge, vested interest in making sure these projects continue to get better and better. 

Which is why it’s time for every company to become an open-source company, helping to build the software upon which every organization increasingly depends. 

Lead image courtesy of Shutterstock

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Getting Fit Is A Race Against Time

ReadWriteBody is an ongoing series where ReadWrite covers networked fitness and the quantified self. This week, it is presented by Fitbit.

Take more steps! Work out more! Get more sleep!

That’s the cascade of haranguing advice you get when you start tackling your health. There are plenty of trackers and apps that will measure your activity and give you reports. None of them seem to acknowledge the hard limits of the clock.

So how do you move the needle on fitness while acknowledging all of your obligations at work and home? I’ve tried a lot of different tactics, from using a treadmill desk to tracking steps. My conclusion: The changes that last are the ones you fit into your existing schedule. For me, that’s doing phone calls in the morning while walking to work, or upping the intensity of my workouts rather than trying to get into the gym more frequently.

Maybe you can take that phone call while taking a walk.

There is a role for software and hardware here: A step counter, whether it’s a wristband or an app that uses your smartphone’s GPS, can verify that you’ve actually moved more from one day to the next. More advanced wearable devices will actually read your heart rate, which is a better proxy for effort, and there are even more advanced sensors on the way.

I recently got a chance to test the Fitbit Charge, a new fitness tracker out now, and with Fitbit’s help, made a video about my experiences in squeezing more fitness into the average day. Please share your own strategies in the comments.

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HBO Go Cord-Cutting Is Coming, Just In Time For ‘Game Of Thrones’

You won’t need a cable package (or your parent’s HBO Go login) to watch the next season of HBO’s most popular original series.  The cable channel plans to launch its long-anticipated streaming only service in April, according to an internal memo published by Fortune, the same month Game of Thrones returns for its fifth season. 

CEO Richard Plepler said in October that HBO is finally ready to take the money of the 10-million broadband-only homes that don’t subscribe to cable, but he didn’t mention a cost or time frame. Now, because of a memo explaining HBO’s decision move to an outside contractor for streaming service, we know to expect the cord cutting in April, though cost is still up in the air. If you remember those HBO Go streaming outages during Game of Thrones and True Detective episodes, or saw the Twitter meltdowns as they were happening, you get a pretty good idea of why. 

See also: Why The CBS Strike Against Dish’s Auto Hop May Actually Be A Win For Dish

For viewers however, the big news isn’t that HBO is likely contracting MLB Advanced, which provides streaming for the  WWE Network, according to Fortune. It’s that there’s a date on the calendar when HBO Go will be free of its cable package. For entertainment junkies, this is the biggest news since earlier this year, when some of HBO’s original programing became available through Amazon’s streaming service. 

Plepler said in October that the stand-alone HBO Go offering will appeal to viewers who aren’t interested in the full cable package, or even a TV connection at all. CBS All Access currently offers  6,500 episodes on demand as well as live TV for $6 a month. As viewership on mobile devices increases and Netflix and Amazon continue to produce popular programming, more legacy TV outlets feel the pressure to finally cut the cord. 

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Is It Time For Us To Disregard The Turing Test?

Editor’s Note: This was originally published by our partners at Kill Screen

“Can machines think?” This is the question that Alan Turing, perhaps the first true computer scientist, posed to us almost 65 years ago and one that we’re still grappling with today as digital machines become (or rather, are made) more and more human. 

But the question itself raises many more questions. Which machines do we consider? Certainly I don’t need to worry about the thoughts of my microwave or my car, right? And what even is thought? I’ve spent hours at the DMV or on Twitter considering if humans are really capable of thought.

For more stories about video games and culture, follow@killscreen on Twitter.

Turing himself readily admitted that the question itself could lead to absurd abstractions and answers. In fact, Turing thought that the question might be best replaced by an entirely different formulation, an “imitation game,” which inspired the recent movie of the same name.

Turing proposed a game where a man (subject A) and a woman (subject B) go into separate rooms and a third party (subject C) must then determine which of the two is the woman only by typed or transcribed communications. But then Turing proposed replacing subject A with a machine. Would it be possible for a third party, the interrogator, to perform equally well against the machine?

Turing offers this as his solution to the idea of machine thought. In his 1950 article “Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” Turing proposes the beginning of what will become known as the “Turing Test” where a machine replaces the man but the woman remains. The goal of the computer is to act deceptively and direct the interrogator to the wrong choice, as the man did when he was subject A. Later, in the same article, Turing proposes another variation where a man competes with a machine in attempting to deceive a human. 

See also: “Mr. Windows” Bets Big On The Mesosphere Datacenter OS

James Lipton, who serves as vice-chair and professor of Computer Science at Wesleyan University, points out that, “Turing uses the word ‘think,’ and not necessarily the words ‘have consciousness.’ He figured that astute questioning would be impossible to respond to unless there was thinking involved.”

However, over time, this original test has been superseded in our collective mind by the question, “Can a machine reliably trick a human into believing that it is a human?” At the very heart of the question lies another: can a machine reliably act human? This is what most think of when they hear of the “Turing Test,” despite it never being truly stated by the man himself. This is the question that computer scientists have competed over and developed software to solve. It’s the one that has spawned chatterbots such as Eugene Goostman, PARRY, and ELIZA.

We Want To Believe

All three of these bots operate on a similar principle. Each “knows” a certain amount of real-world knowledge and uses language processing to estimate what the user has said and then respond with something somewhat sensible—thus simulating human-to-human interaction. Each also has a sort of known peculiarity that attempts to make up for the fact that as machines they may behave in peculiar ways. 

ELIZA, the first of the widely known chatbots, is a therapist who answers many questions with a question or a follow up. She resists needing a large database by deflecting questions back onto the questioner. PARRY acts like a paranoid schizophrenic, providing context for outlandish or nonsensical responses. Most recently, Eugene Goostman is supposed to emulate a thirteen-year-old Ukrainian boy, and as such questioners are more likely to forgive poor grammar or responses that seem off. Instead, they can rationalize any otherness by reminding themselves he’s a young boy with a limited knowledge of the English language.

To an extent, all of these chatterbots have “passed” the Turing Test that they sought out to conquer. Many people may even consider the brief moments that they were convinced SmarterChild was an actual human until they actually asked if it was a human or not. The reality of the situation is that it is not particularly difficult to convince a human if something is a human. Because of this many have called the Turing Test into question, wondering how useful it is, considering the ease of accomplishment.

See also: Popular Coding Framework Node.js Is Now Seriously Forked

In fact, as a species we all suffer from a relatively large and inescapable facet of our own humanness—pareidolia, that is, the perception of random stimulus as significant. This is why we see a face on the moon or feel the sadness of pain au chocolat. Carl Sagan thought this was a survival measure, but most people could tell you that a baby never needs to be taught what a human is; it simply knows. As a species, we seek out order to randomness and in doing so we see humanness in a vacuum.

Winograd schemas have somewhat emerged to fill this void. These tests use pronouns that may be vague to a machine but easily deciphered by a human. One such example is that “The delivery truck zoomed by the school bus because it was going so [fast/slow]. What was going so [fast/slow]?” A human could fairly easily interpret that when “fast” is used that “it” refers to the truck and when “slow” is used then “it” refers to the bus. 

University of Toronto computer scientist Hector Levesque claims that a Winograd schema test because “a machine should be able to show us it is thinking without having to pretend to be somebody.” However, Turing himself was clear that all that was required was a sufficiently advanced machine and program. In other words, Winograd schemas still don’t test intelligence, they test the ability to pass the test.

How ‘Humanness’ Is Defined

This is why it’s important to remember that this was not the test that Turing imagined; it’s one that has sort of emerged over time. The original imitation game is unlike the more common Turing Tests in that in both formulations the interrogator is not attempting to discern between a human and a machine. In the original formulation the interrogator is attempting to discern which of the two players is female, and, thus, the human player can fail. In fact, in a one-to-one test “humanness” is entirely defined by the interrogator’s preconceived notions of humanness and thus based on deception. The original two-to-one test is relational. 

Since the human player can fail at attempting to either convince or deceive the interrogator they must display more than general knowledge: they must be clever. “Fooling someone of your gender requires a sophisticated knowledge of cultural cues,” said Professor Lipton. In this way a machine would have to display reason. Thus, in order for a machine to pass this imitation game it must do more than act human; it must demonstrate a level of cleverness that is, well, human.

In reaction to the Turing Test, philosopher John Searle proposed the thought experiment known as the Chinese Room. Whereas Turing considered “thought” Searle questioned whether a machine could have a “mind” or a consciousness. He proposes that given a man in a locked room with a sufficiently sophisticated dictionary or rulebook might be able to receive questions in Chinese and then respond to those questions accurately with the rulebook. Thus, the man in the room would be able to convince the interrogator that he can speak Chinese despite having no ability to comprehend or understand the meaning of the responses he is making.

Searle believes that such a program could pass a Turing Test but in no way understand what it has done. This leaves us wondering: What is the point of a machine intelligence if it cannot understand the responses it is providing? Without an understanding of semantics involved is a machine intelligent? Certainly ELIZA had no means of understanding such things; it was designed to dodge them. The same with Eugene Goostman. Both evade true understanding by misdirection and misunderstanding because they simply lack the capacity for it.

See also: How Not To Manage An Open-Source Community, Courtesy Of Docker

Further complicating the Chinese Room is that the human involved is intelligent, despite the fact that it has no way of communicating that intelligence. Professor Lipton said, “A critique of the Turing Test might be that it doesn’t get at whether or not there is a consciousness there. Does the machine have sense impressions [such as sight or touch] that it experiences? Does it see the color red? Does it have a sense of self? That may not be possible to ascertain.” 

Here Lipton suggests that philosopher Thomas Nagel might be useful. In Nagel’s seminal 1974 work “What is it like to be a bat?” Nagel points out that despite our intense interrogation or investigation there may still lie an element of being a bat that is impossible for us to know. Thus, according to Lipton, “There is a first-person quality of consciousness” that the Turing Test may not be able to address.

More From Kill Screen

For more stories about video games and culture, follow@killscreen on Twitter.

Photo Credits – Header, Graphic, ASIMO, Venn Diagram

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Twitter Lets Retailers Tweet You Deals—Just In Time For Black Friday

Consumers may trample over each other to get cheaper TVs and laptops this season, but Twitter’s advertising partners may have found the best Black Friday deal of all—the ability to tweet you promotions. 

Just in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the microblogging network announced “Twitter Offers” on Tuesday. 

See also: Search All The Tweets! Twitter Now Indexed All The Way Back To 2006

The service lets retailers tweet deals directly to customers, and users can easily grab one of these promotions within the tweet itself. 

Tweets, As Commerce

When users see deals they want, they tap the “add offer to card” button to tie the offer to their credit card number. When they go to the store and purchase with the item (with that card), the cash-back savings will show up on their next credit card statement.

Twitter makes its money on this specialized version of promoted tweets by charging the advertisers, a select group of whom will participate in the launch phase. The initial stage essentially amounts to a test, allowing Twitter and its advertisers to see how effective and popular the approach is among the network’s 284 million or so users. If the response rate proves that people like having deals tweeted at them, it could become a valuable profit center to boost the company’s already impressive earnings. 

Twitter posted $320 million in advertising revenue in the last quarter, ending in September 2014, which was up 109 percent from the same period last year. 

The frenzy of post-Thanksgiving shopping may provide the best barometer of the service’s success. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, roughly 6 in 10 people (about 140 million) plan to shop over the holiday weekend. 

In conjunction with the launch, the company opened a fresh new Twitter account, @TwitterCommerce. Its first tweet introduced the service; its second retweeted a deal from AMC Theatres offering free popcorn when you buy a $30 AMC gift card. 

Lead photo by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite

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Target Adds Product Search to App in Time for Black Friday

Target looks to make Black Friday easier for shoppers with the release of new search features on its mobile app.

View full post on Search Engine Watch – Latest

How To Make Your SEO A Google Graveyard Smash In Time For Halloween – Business 2 Community

How To Make Your SEO A Google Graveyard Smash In Time For Halloween
Business 2 Community
In the spirit of Halloween I wanted to take this opportunity to suggest a creepy content experiment idea that may help your overall SEO strategies. When Hummingbird rolled out earlier this year a lot of websites with poor content took an axe to the

View full post on SEO – Google News

Google Continues Testing Mobile Friendly Notices In Search Results, This Time With Text Version

Two weeks ago, Google began testing mobile-friendly icons in the mobile search results, next to sites that were mobile-friendly. Maybe giving a carrot to sites that adopted good mobile-friendly web site practices? Yesterday, Google tried the opposite approach by testing non mobile-friendly icons in…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

View full post on Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

Thank Comcast’s Late Homework For Delaying FCC Review Of Its Time Warner Deal

If you’ve got something to say about the pending Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger but never found time to formulate your thoughts, we have good news for you, The Federal Communications Commission extended the Oct. 8 public deadline by 21 days, largely due to a “voluminous” (and tardy) document Comcast filed in response to the commission’s request for more information on broadband management.

“As such, the analysis presented is critical to the review of the proposed transactions and additional time is needed to evaluate it,” the FCC said on its website.

See also: The FCC’s Net Neutrality Crash Gives You Time To Learn What John Oliver Got Wrong

Comcast’s nearly 850-page document responds both to the FCC’s information request and to Dish Network’s complaint that neither Comcast or Time Warner fully answered the FCC’s original information request. What’s more, Comcast missed its due date—it filed the document on Sept. 23, almost two weeks after the FCC’s September 11 deadline.

There’s a lot of “new information” in Comcast’s epic filing, the FCC points out, including “an empirical analysis investigating the question of Comcast’s discrimination against non-affiliated programing.” The Dish Network, as well as consumer rights groups, argue that a Comcast-TWC behemoth would rule the cable and broadband access of 30 million subscribers, and thus would be able to dictate what those Americans watch on TV and how they access the Internet. 

Notably, all this extra work does not make up for Comcast’s tardiness so far as the government is concerned. Instead, the FCC points out, the Comcast filing “represents a relatively substantial body of new material that perhaps could have been presented in the initial application.”  

Shoulda. Coulda. Woulda. 

It does, however, give you, the American consumer extra time to read up on the merger, at least if you’re able to access it on the FCC’s quaint old-timey website.

Lead image by anthony kell

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