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How big should a release be?

I've been pondering this one for a while and spurred into action by a recent (ish) post by Glenn Engstrand on 'The flow of product' I'm finally going to get some thoughts onto paper. The obvious answer is - 'it depends', which is true if a little tautological. The interesting question is 'What does it depend on?'.

Psonar open to pre-registration

We're finally ready to start to tell the world about the Psonar revolution – a service that lets people organise their music across all their mobile music devices (and PCs), share their current passions and discover new ones.
The timing of the launch couldn't be better, our CTO Rich is AWOL at Glastonbury plastering the festival with stickers and plastering himself with pear cider. I'm just about to fly off to a wedding in Ireland, leaving the keys to the website in the safe hands of the CEO!

Unit tests: headlights or handbrakes?

A wise colleague of mine once described unit tests as "the headlights of the project - the better they are, the faster you can go". Another wise colleague of mine claims that, in an early phase start-up, unit tests are more of a hand brake, slowing you down in the need to iterate, iterate, iterate. So who's right? Well, that depends...

Product names are like bikesheds

We've recently undergone a renaming at mobdok psonar and are starting to really engage with beta users, potential investors and the like. Putting the two together results in whole pile of comments about the brand name. Now, to state the obvious, I'm not a marketing expert and I know next to nothing about effective corporate branding but that doesn't stop me having an opinion and that's precisely the problem.

Wolfram Alpha and the semantic search space

Everybody is buzzing today with the announcement of Wolfram Alpha's launch date in a couple of months so I felt I ought to throw my two pence worth.

Blogger's block

I've had blogger's block recently - stuck half way through a gripping analysis of search intentionality and the real time web, I just can't summon up the enthusiasm to finish it. Worse than that, its been blocking any thought of more interesting and tractable posts. So I've binned it, some times you have to know when to move on.

Xyggy demo launched

Xyggy is one of the companies I've been working with over the last year and they have just launched a demo site, to showcase their technology. Xyggy finds similar items to those already selected by the user. The same method can be used for text-based items, as shown by the US patent search, as is used for image search or even for music search.

The business of web search

I've been thinking a lot recently about the business of web search and where the up and coming semantic search offerings fit in. Google, Yahoo! et. al. make their money via the paid links and adverts that they provide to supplement the main search results. From their perspective not all user searches are equal; the difference is in the users intentions. Take the following list of the top 10 searches on ask:

1. MySpace 6. Online Dictionary
2. YouTube 7. Craigslist

Workplace warning signs

I've only had the misfortune to work at a couple of places that I would consider 'bad places to be' but I'd like to generalise wildly from this limited data set to provide a useful rule of them that can be applied at interview time to discover the likelihood of your next job being a disappointment. My general theorem can be stated quite simply:

The fewer previous jobs that your peers have had, the worse the workplace.

Searching: Vector Space methods

Following on from my previous post describing the basic theory of text processing for a search engine, I want to go on to describe some of the theory behind the evaluation of search results. This post is only going to cover vector space methods.

At the end of the previous post we had generated a list of tokens and a list of their occurrences in each document.