Young Pastry Chef of the Year 2019 revealed

first_imgCharles Parkins has been named as the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts’ (RACA) Young Pastry Chef of the Year.The commis chef at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Great Milton in Oxford lifted the accolade after attaining the highest marks in the 5.5 hour-long christening-themed examination.Parkins (pictured right) – together with Lillian Savage from The Royal Household, Ellie Smith from The Wolseley, and Lydia Uglow from Pretty Sweet – was tasked with creating 15 vegan bonbons, 15 Swiss rochers, 15 marshmallow lollipops, and a 20cm christening cake entremets-style that sat on top of a nougatine stand.All four were named Annual Awards of Excellence (AAE) winners for achieving a score of 70% or more – the standard of excellence set by judges, who includedYolande Stanley from The Pastry Training Company and pastry consultant Sarah Hartnett.“I hope that, through the Annual Awards of Excellence, we can motivate and inspire the industry’s young chefs, pastry chefs and waiters to undertake a career of training first themselves, and then others, and to look outside the workplace to wider industry and opportunities,” said John Williams, executive chef at The Ritz London, chairman of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and chair of the judging panel.The accolade was presented during a gala dinner held at Claridge’s.Winners in kitchen and service categories were also announced.last_img read more

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Storm Blasts Long Island, Jams Traffic

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A snow thrower operator clears a sidewalk in East Garden City on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2013.The powerful winter storm that rolled across Long Island Tuesday dropped more than a foot of snow on some parts and created treacherous driving conditions that snarled traffic and caused massive headaches for drivers and straphangers.Even Long Islanders who left work in the early afternoon found themselves stuck on jam-packed roads that they had to share with large plows also trapped in bumper to bumper traffic.Some officials acknowledged Tuesday that storm arrived earlier than expected, but they attributed the traffic woes to people cutting their work day short and heading home earlier than usual.“It came a little bit earlier, but what complicates this particular storm is that our residents were able to go to work without any issue in the morning hours” but were faced with a difficult ride home, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano told the Press.But by Wednesday morning Nassau’s roads were “in wonderful shape considering the low temperatures,” Mangano said. He said crews began hitting the streets at 5 a.m. Tuesday and were still treating and plowing roads the next morning.Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone told the Press that “all county roads are passable and have been.” But, he said, “there remains snow and ice and people need to proceed cautiously.”“Pretty much we were blanketed all over,” he said of the strength of the storm. “It was that kind of system, it was that huge.”Nassau County received reports of 152 minor accidents during a 13-hour period at the height of the storm, Mangano said, but none were considered major. Suffolk County counted 380 minor accidents from midnight Tuesday until 9:45 a.m. Wednesday, according to a Suffolk police spokeswoman.The storm forced the Long Island Rail Road to operate on a weekend schedule all day Wednesday due to heavy snow accumulation—the LIRR’s threshold is 10-13 inches before it starts suspending services—and gusty winds.The railroad will operate at about 60 percent its usual service on Wednesday, and there will be no train service at the West Hempstead branch or between Greenport and Ronkonkoma. Limited bus service will be offered instead, the LIRR said.Flights at Long Island MacArthur Airport, which were canceled at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, were expected to resume after 11 a.m. for travelers flying on Southwest or U.S. Airways Express, the airport said. PenAir is scheduled to resume service at 6:40 p.m.Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in Nassau and Suffolk counties, allowing the state to make available 239 plows, 27 front loaders and 428 operators to assist local municipalities on LI.Officials throughout the day Tuesday urged residents to leave work early and remain indoors so plows could move freely.“This winter storm will bring a one-two punch of snow and extreme cold. I urge all those in the affected regions to exercise caution, and avoid travel if possible,” Cuomo said.Roads, particularly those in the north shore, will remain treacherous Wednesday with freezing temperatures expected all day, forecasters said.“It’s dangerously cold,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Tim Morrin. “We’ll be lucky to get much past the 10, 11 degree mark [on Wednesday].”He said temperatures were in the single digits Wednesday morning and will remain well below freezing during the day. He noted that gusty winds will drop temperatures to sub-zero levels, possibly around 14 degrees below zero.There will be no respite from the bitter cold until at least Saturday with forecasters calling for a high of 21 on Thursday and 19 on Friday.“This snowpack is going to be around for quite some time because there’s really no moderation in sight,” Morrin said.He added: “It’s so cold that the treatment they used is not going to be effective.”Snowfall amounts came in as predicted with some Suffolk communities—North Babylon, Selden, Blue Point, Centereach—seeing more than 14 inches of snow. In Nassau, Massapequa recorded just over a foot of snow, while other areas measured between 6 and 11 inches, according to unofficial amounts posted by the weather service.The storm didn’t spawn massive power outages, but PSEG Long Island was reporting 343 customers in the dark at 3 a.m. Wednesday. The utility, which took over LIPA’s electric grid at the beginning of the year, said at one point more than 1,200 Coram residents were without power due to a downed pole.With freezing temperatures continuing through the day, Mangano once again urged residents to remain cautious.“If you’re taking to the roadways,” he said, “slow down and you’ll get there safer.”last_img read more

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Keeping your collections operation compliant

first_imgEnsuring that your collections operation is compliant with the various state and federal regulations is no easy task. You’re required to have policies and procedures in place to ensure that your team is operating under the law, and processes to identify situations in which guidelines are not being followed so that you can address and correct any issues or potential violations.Financial institutions, large and small, are more vulnerable than ever to regulatory scrutiny. The main culprit is the “potential” compliance scrutiny they face from state and federal regulatory audits. In this article, we’ll address the problems lenders face within the realm of compliance, and provide tips on identifying potential violations.There’s No Getting Around Compliance in CollectionsLet’s begin by addressing a couple of the “facts of life” for lenders: Lending inevitably leads to collections, and collections inevitably leads to additional compliance obligations.Whether lenders manage their collections completely in-house, outsource a portion, or outsource all of their collection work, maintaining compliance with the various federal and state laws is critical in order to avoid legal action, regulatory fines, and a loss of reputation.The best way to stay out of trouble is to be well informed. Let’s take a look atthree specific regulations that are most relevant to the compliance industry.Unfair, Deceptive, or Abusive Acts or Practices (UDAAPs)This overarching and comprehensive set of legislation prohibits firms offering financial services from engaging in unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices. This has been of particular concern in the collections business, where it is essentially the consumer who determines if they’ve been treated unfairly.For a collection operation, the best line of defense against UDAAP violations is to be proactive. The first step in preventing UDAAPs (and remaining compliant with all collection regulations) is to ensure you have a well-documented, formalized policies and procedures manual. A well-defined manual gives your collections staff a guide and reference for expectations and guidelines. It should be organized, repeatable, and easily accessible to all necessary personnel.Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA)The FDCPA was designed to eliminate abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices by collection agencies. The act restricts the time and frequency of calls, as well as the tactics available to a collector. It also requires certain conduct of debt collectors, like providing verification of debt and giving the name and address of the original creditor.Collection operations have one job when it comes to the FDCPA—make sure collectors are properly trained and certified, and are operating under the rules for every borrower interaction. Proper training would cover the guidelines under which debt collectors may conduct business, define rights of consumers involved with debt collectors, and prescribe penalties and remedies for violations of the Act.Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)The TCPA was enacted to protect consumers from unwanted telemarketing calls. Regulators have expanded the protections over the years, to include restrictions of cellular phone calls. Companies found in violation of TCPA rules pay dearly, with fines of $500 to $1,500 per violation. According to JDSpura, “In 2018, TCPA lawsuits remained one of the most filed types of class actions in courts across the country.”Minimizing TCPA violations requires thorough and on-going employee training and technology. Having technology in place that scrubs cell phone numbers from calling lists can greatly reduce the chances of calling an unauthorized cell phone number.Compliance has become an even greater priority for lenders and collection agencies because consumer behavior has shifted. Consumers are digitally connected, more informed, less loyal, and more demanding. And, they’re not afraid to voice their complaints in places like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) online forums. These forums give consumers a quick and easy way to voice their complaints about things like debt collectors.Have you evaluated your financial institution’s collections operation lately?If you’d like to learn how outsourcing some or all of your collections work to us could not only put you ahead of the regulatory curve, but help you reduce delinquencies and increase collection cure rates, download our collections comparison guide today! 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Amy Bailey Amy Bailey is the Director of Compliance with primary responsibilities of supporting, developing and managing compliance policies and procedures to ensure business operations are conducted in compliance with regulatory and … Detailslast_img read more

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England U16s return with heads held high

first_img29 May 2018 England U16s return with heads held high Tags: Spain, U16 England’s U16s have returned from Spain, defeated 16.5-7.5 in their annual international – but with their heads held high.Team captain Rob Chruszcz commented: “They were awesome. We were up against it, but at no point did anyone let their heads drop or show any sign of giving up. They kept fighting right to the end and you can’t ask any more than that.“They will have gained hugely from the experience. It was tough for them but every single person got at least half a point and that should give them so much self-confidence and self-belief. And the biggest thing of all was that they absolutely loved it!”The mixed team of eight were all aged 14 and 15, while the Spanish side were at the older end of the age range, knew the course and were well-gelled as a national U16 team.However, the England team made a great start to the match when they won the first foursomes session 2.1-1.5. The Spanish team responded with a superb singles performance, allowing just Max Hopkins to take a half point. “The golf they played was incredible,” said Chruszcz. “Our guys didn’t put a foot wrong, but Spain were exceptional.”On the second day, Spain took the foursomes 3-1 before facing a very strong challenge from England in the singles. They eventually won the session 4.5-3.5, but had to fight for it.“We came out really up for the challenge,” said Chrusczc. “We fought really hard and at one point we were up in most of the matches. Considering how heavily we lost the first singles, this was an amazing performance.”The team, coached by Alex Saary, was:Rafiah Banday, 14, Royal Mid Surrey, SurreyMia Eales-Smith, 15, Lindrick, YorkshireEllie Gower, 15, Chateau des Vigiers, FranceMax Hopkins, 15, Bishop’s Stortford, HertfordshireRory McDonald-O’Brien, 14, Lilleshall Hall, Shropshire & HerefordshireMorgan Radziejowski, 15, Herefordshire, Shropshire & HerefordshireJohn Richardson, 15, Royal Mid Surrey, SurreyCaitlin Whitehead, 15, Carus Green, Cumbrialast_img read more

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Tree Lighting Sept. 6 to Honor Kids Cancer Foundation

first_imgLONG BRANCH – The Valerie Fund Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, as part of The Children’s Hospital at Mon­mouth Medical Center, will host a special Tree Lighting Ceremony and Reception honoring Make Some Noise: Cure Kids Cancer Foun­dation 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6 in front of the Sea Bright firehouse, 1099 East Ocean Ave.The event is part of the Go Gold for Pediatric Cancer Cam­paign, a joint effort between Make Some Noise: Cure Kids Cancer Foun­dation and Monmouth Medical Center.The campaign is designed to raise awareness of childhood cancer and the need for critical research funding during the month of Septem­ber, which is recognized nationally as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.According to the Ameri­can Childhood Cancer Organ­i­za­tion, each boy in the United States has a 1-in-300 chance of being diagnosed with cancer before his 20th birthday; every girl has a 1-in-333 chance. In spite of such high statistics, less than 3 percent of federal cancer research funding goes to pediatric cancer.The tree lighting event will feature personal perspectives from children and families who have benefited from The Valerie Fund Children’s Center at Monmouth Medical Center, including Tim and Beth McLoone of McLoone’s Restaurants and their son Jack, plus commentary from Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, Sea Bright Mayor Dina and Margaret Fisher, M.D., chair of pediatrics and medical director of The Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center.Gold ribbons – the trademark color of the Make Some Noise Foundation – will be available for all participants to place on the tree. After the tree is decorated, the crowd will be invited to raise their voices for pediatric cancer awareness alongside ringing church bells and fire alarms. A reception will immediately follow the program.“We are excited to bring the Sea Bright community together to raise awareness and ‘make some noise’ for such an important cause,” said Susan Dulczak, clinical director, The Valerie Fund Children’s Center at Mon­mouth Medical Center. “Pediatric cancer is a disease with a devastating impact on both children and their families. There is a crucial need for more pediatric cancer research and funding,”Also on hand at the event will be information about Roll Out The Ribbons, Monmouth Medical Center’s unique awareness campaign designed to strengthen the fight against all types of cancer and honor courageous individuals who have and are fighting the battle.To learn more about Roll Out the Ribbons, visit www.rollouttheribbons.com or call 1-877-360-6275. Get connected by “liking” Roll Out The Ribbons on Facebook and following @RollOutRibbons on Twitter.For more information about Make Some Noise, visit www.makenoise4kids.org. For further information about The Children’s Hos­pital at Mon­mouth Medical Center or the Valerie Fund, please visit www.barnabashealth.org/Monmouth.last_img read more

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New Shopping Center Coming to Newman Springs Road

first_imgBy John BurtonSHREWSBURY – Development of a new shopping center on the former site of Memory Lanes by the firm behind The Grove promises to please Two River shoppers within a month.“That’s what I always try to do,” with these projects, said Metrovation/Terranomics Chris Cole. “Create an interesting mix of tenants for the customer.”Speaking of the 89 Newman Springs Road location, Metrovation’s retail and commercial site is in the final stages of construction and Cole said his firm is looking to fill the relatively small site with the type of businesses that would appeal to the Two-River-area shopper. The site is expected to have three to four businesses, with one tenant already signed, and construction estimated to be finished within the month, according to Cole.Metrovation/Terranomics is a Seattle, Washington-based firm behind The Grove and Grove West shopping centers on Broad Street/Highway 35, in Shrewsbury, and the Brook 35 and West shopping centers, Sea Girt, and is a partner in the large-scale residential and commercial project West Side Lofts, completing construction on the west side of Red Bank.The approximately 48,825 square-foot lot, on the southern side of Newman Springs Road/County Road 520, a short distance from the Grove and Grove West and about a mile from downtown Red Bank, had been the home to Memory Lane Bowling until it was destroyed by fire in June 2009 with Metrovation purchasing the site in 2013.Cole regularly drives along Newman Springs Road and when the property became available he “thought it was a good location for another retail spot.”Platypus, a home furnishings store, has closed its Grove shop and will relocate to 89 Newman Springs Road. “They wanted to stay in this market,” Cole said, believing the move is “a logical place for them.”The development has been approved and can accommodate up to a 1,500 square-foot restaurant, and Metrovation is continuing to secure an appropriate eatery for the site. In addition, the firm is in negotiations with a mix of national, regional and independent retailers about taking the additional available spaces.“We’re trying to figure what the right mix of it is,” for the shopping center, he said.And that’s the strategy for Metrovation, he explained: “A certain synergy between the tenants,” and businesses that would appeal to area shoppers. “I think the Grove has a little bit for everyone,” Cole said, “and I think this one will as well.”He expected the shopping center will be fully leased by the end of spring.last_img read more

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BCHL welcomes US-based Wenatchee Wild to league for 2015-16 season

first_img“The Wild will quickly develop rivalries with our existing franchises and I believe they will be a big draw in opposing buildings.”The Wild are no strangers to junior hockey, having been a member the North American Hockey League (NAHL) since the 2008-09 season, playing out of Wenatchee’s Town Toyota CenterDuring 2008, the Wild have had six players on their roster committed to National Collegiate Athletic Association Div. I programs.“We could not be more excited or humbled to be joining the BCHL,” said said head coach Bliss Littler, a native of Minot, N.D., is entering his 22nd year as a junior hockey coach.“Knowing the history and reputation of the league, be it sending players to play NCAA Division I hockey, NHL draft picks or the professionalism of the member teams and league have, we look forward to being a good league member on and off the ice.”As a U.S.-based club, the Wild will be allowed to roster a maximum of four Canadian players.BLUELINES: Trail Smoke Eaters completed its spring camp this past weekend at the Whistler Park Sports Centre in Whistler, BC. The team opens training camp in September for the 2015-16 season. . . .The BCHL will hold Bauer Showcase September 24-27 in Chilliwack at Prospera Centre. The BC Hockey League is getting another team — its 17th franchise starting with the 2015-16 season.The Wenatchee Wild was announced as the latest team to join the BCHL during a press conference Monday in the Washington State City.The franchise is the first American team in the BCHL since Bellingham Ice Hawks, operated from 1990 to 1995.“The BCHL is gaining a strong franchise in the Wenatchee Wild and we value the passion and professionalism they bring to our league,” said BCHL commissioner John Grisdale in a press release.last_img read more

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Break even point and yield estimates

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest With little bullish old crop news, corn continues to trade a very tight range. There continues to be too much grain in bins and farmers using deferred pricing (DP) to push prices higher. End users seem to have good coverage on. No one knows when or if this will change.Bean prices rallied to recent highs with the U.S. dollar losing some value to the Brazilian Real, helping U.S. export potential. One issue, the early spring may push cattle to pasture sooner in the Southern states, which would mean feed demand reduction. Similar to corn, many think too many beans are still stored on farms, which may limit upside potential.Weather storyThis spring there has been a flower “super bloom” in the Death Valley desert. This phenomenon has happened twice in the last 30 years (1998 and 2005). In both years the corn crop yield was near normal. Also, corn prices peaked in March for 1998 and July for 2005 with both losing 80 cents in value from the high by December. Interestingly, comparing Great Lakes ice levels those years, 1998 had the third lowest on record and 2005 was the 13th lowest level of ice in the last 40 years. Will 2016 be similar?Market actionSensing beans may stay in the current trading range, I priced the remainder of my 2015 crop (8.98 against July futures). I’m disappointed I didn’t improve the price of my position after harvest when beans were about $9, but I’m happy I didn’t take much less either.This means my average futures price for my 2015 bean position is $10.79. I still have basis to set on these beans sometime in the near future.Break even points and yield estimatesI ran the break evens for a new client. Initially, we ran a profitability test based upon conservative estimated yield numbers for both corn and beans. The test showed, based upon these estimates, they would not be profitable planting beans and would only break even planting corn. Reviewing the numbers, my client said the yield estimates may have been too conservative. After rerunning the test with more “normal” yield results, it showed they could potentially have a profit for both corn and beans. And with the run up in beans earlier in the week, it was nearly even to plant corn versus beans.When farmers run budgets for the year, one bushel per acre yield changes on soybeans can mean nearly a $10 per acre difference in income more or less, depending on the average bushels per acre and the price on the CBOT.For instance, if a farmer raises 45 bushel per acre beans, changing the estimated yield by 1 bushel changes their break even by 20 cents per bushel. So, if the estimate is too conservative (say 5 bushels), break evens can be $1per bushel off. Similar with corn, a 5 bushel per acre difference accounts for nearly $20 per acre in income. Based upon the 165-bushel per acre national average this could change the breakeven price by 12 cents.Many farmers do not take the time to find out what their break evens are. With tight margins facing farmers this year it is imperative that farmers understand these numbers. All farmers have their past performance to start building a budget. After going through the process, you may be surprised to learn your breakeven point isn’t as high as you expected.Jon grew up raising corn and soybeans on a farm near Beatrice, NE. Upon graduation from The University of Nebraska in Lincoln, he became a grain merchandiser and has been trading corn, soybeans and other grains for the last 18 years, building relationships with end-users in the process. After successfully marketing his father’s grain and getting his MBA, 10 years ago he started helping farmer clients market their grain based upon his principals of farmer education, reducing risk, understanding storage potential and using basis strategy to maximize individual farm operation profits. A big believer in farmer education of futures trading, Jon writes a weekly commentary to farmers interested in learning more and growing their farm operations.Trading of futures, options, swaps and other derivatives is risky and is not suitable for all persons. All of these investment products are leveraged, and you can lose more than your initial deposit. Each investment product is offered only to and from jurisdictions where solicitation and sale are lawful, and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations in such jurisdiction. The information provided here should not be relied upon as a substitute for independent research before making your investment decisions. Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC is merely providing this information for your general information and the information does not take into account any particular individual’s investment objectives, financial situation, or needs. All investors should obtain advice based on their unique situation before making any investment decision. The contents of this communication and any attachments are for informational purposes only and under no circumstances should they be construed as an offer to buy or sell, or a solicitation to buy or sell any future, option, swap or other derivative. The sources for the information and any opinions in this communication are believed to be reliable, but Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy of such information or opinions. Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC and its principals and employees may take positions different from any positions described in this communication. Past results are not necessarily indicative of future results. He can be contacted at [email protected]last_img read more

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Twitter Data Dump: InfoChimps Puts 1B Connections Up for Sale

first_imgThis is particular, extracted data though – not the full text of Tweets. “We’re trying to be careful,” Kromer says, “we are not yet exposing the contents of tweets.” And this data isn’t cheap if you want the numbers broken out by the hour instead of the month.This is a very big move because most developers struggle to get access to a large quantity of data from Twitter.Here’s what InfoChimps is putting on sale:Tweet #38 in the History of Twitter: “oh this is going to be addictive” – by @dom 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… marshall kirkpatrick Hashtags, links and smiley emoticons used across Twitter on an hour-by-hour [email protected] messages, RT and favorites and who they came from: 1 billion relations, making what the company calls a “conversation metric.”A useful if less exciting set of data that will help developers map user ID numbers from search.twitter over to the different ID numbers used in the primary Twitter API. These systems were never merged and it can require a lot of API calls to merge user data.The company believes it is capturing about 10% of the total data on Twitter right now, but Kromer says that he believes he can ramp that up to 30%. Data as a Pot of GoldInfoChimps is a bulk data marketplace with more than 5000 data sets in its catalog so far. The vast majority are free and were added by the company’s own staff, but not all. The decades-old polling firm Zogby International, for example, is selling some Iraqi polling data through InfoChimps. Cross-reference that polling data with publicly available data about civilian casualties in Iraq and you can see some interesting patterns, InfoChimps’ PR rep Josh Dilworth told us. (Dilworth is known as the most data-savvy PR guy in the Web 2.0 world and also represents Wolfram Alpha and Twine.)The company hopes that it can sell the data derived from sitting on the Twitter API as a demonstration of the value that this and other data sets have. InfoChimps says it can help companies monetize data that they’d otherwise be paying to serve up through repeated API calls, if at all.From sentiment analysis (not yet an option with the current InfoChimps data set) to social graph discovery (definitely an option), we’ve written extensively here before about the impacts that social data could have on business, social and political policies in the future.John Zogby, founder of polling firm Zogby International, spoke to us at length (in a separate phone interview several months ago) about the value of using online social networks to measure public opinion. “We’ve been particularly known for innovating and polling new technologies,” he said.“83% of all households are online today and 92% of likely voters, so with online polling we are today about where the country was with telephone penetration when telephone surveys started. Social networking is not as representative as online access [in general] yet, but I’m comfortable with caveats: that you can do a random sampling, so long as you claim that’s what your universe is, as long as you don’t extrapolate to all Americans, etc. It has tremendous, tremendous value. “I know that the landline era is coming to an end – not today or tomorrow but we’ve got to find new and different ways of doing our work. It’s the same kind of crossroads as the ’70s, when we moved away from the door-to-door and mail-in results to the landlines. “Online, frankly just like telephone, doesn’t have the minority population, but for market surveys you may be looking for a different kind of consumer. “We know that the landline phone is pushing us away; we know that we can’t use the cell phone in the same way; and we know that we’ve got to reinvent this industry [of measuring public opinion]. What’s happening are simultaneous new technologies and at the same time growing penetration of these new technologies. We’re riding a bucking bronco.”Use CasesThe conversation metric data that InfoChimps is selling is the most exciting to me. Imagine a third-party app using historical social-conversation data to filter Twitter or other messages based on the strongest social connections that I or other people have. Imagine, for example, social Q&A service Aardvark combining the Twitter Lists API with this InfoChimps data set for a scenario like this: “You have a question about stock options? How would you like us to find a person who knows about that, is regularly conversed-with by people on Robert Scoble’s Twitter list of Venture Capitalists and is available right now?” That sounds pretty great to me. The possible applications are many. “I see Twitter as a data acquisition device for what people talk about and how they relate to each other,” InfoChimps’ Kromer says.Right now InfoChimps is selling the hashtag and link dataset for $8,000 and the social metric data set for $9,500. Eventually the company will likely move to a subscription model.How They Got the DataHow did InfoChimps get the data? The company hits the Twitter Developer API 20,000 times an hour (the standard for developers) but takes big swaths of data each time it does. “I have a priority queue,” Kromer told us. “I can set a search term, and for each search term I can get 1500 tweets per API call. If I get 1500 tweets at a time, then the number of wasted tweets at the end of a series of searches is the smallest. If I’m searching for a term and get less than 1500 results back, then I forecast how long it will take to fill that number of results back up to the maximum and move it down the priority queue accordingly. On the lowest priority I have searches for RT or http. There will always be 1500 results for that. It’s only API calls that limit me. As is, it’s like a fisherman setting nets: what matters is that dinner is tasty.”Does that sound so hard? Worth thousands of dollars? Here’s what Kromer says:“It’s not magic. If you talk to people who use Hadoop and do social networking analysis, this is underwhelming. You take 30 million users, 1 billion links, adorn each link with info at the end of the link and acrue it with the person at the head of the link. That breaks conventional databases; the plumbing is hard. The math is easy but when you do it a billion times, it starts to get interesting. You have to be careful and clever. We plan to do stuff that is structural – a clustering co-efficient true pagerank.”Ultimately it’s about specialization and data as a service. “The people we need to come in and connect this info with human beings,” Kromer says, “aren’t the people who should be wasting their time on the math. And the guys who are good at doing these things should not be building Web apps.”But Can They Get Away With It?There’s some question whether Twitter will allow InfoChimps to sell data based on Twitter data. Kromer says he’d much rather resell the data on a commission than have to do all the work he’s done to set up the extraction system. But it was a year ago that InfoChimps caught the eye of people who love data: by releasing a large collection of scraped Twitter data. The InfoChimps blog post for that read: “Big huge thanks to twitter.com: they have given us permission to share this freely. Please go build tools with this data that make both twitter.com and yourself rich and famous: then more corporations will free their data.”But then Twitter founder Evan Williams asked InfoChimps to take those data sets down until a Terms of Service for them could be figured out. That never happened, and communication between the two companies hasn’t progressed very far over the last year. InfoChimps does not have Twitter’s permission to do what it did today, but Kromer says Twitter hasn’t contacted them either. No one from Twitter headquarters has responded to our request for comment yet.“We talked to our lawyer about this a lot,” Kromer told us, “we are on absolutely solid ground with regards to copyright, user privacy and use of the API. This is clearly for the benefit of their community.”That’s nice that Kromer feels so assured, but his attitude seems a little unrealistic.We asked technology journalist Robert Scoble what he thought of the dilemma, and his opinion is pretty clear. “If Twitter wants to be a platform, they have to behave like a platform,” he said. “Don’t be king-makers. Let the marketplace choose the winners. If they are going to say nobody should study the data because we’re going to sell that, that’s not being a platform. Twitter tries to pick the winners and it pisses me off. They admit that they are king-makers. All that does is make everyone vote against them and hope a competitor comes around.”Perhaps time will tell. But these are very early days in what looks to be an era of widespread innovation built on top of social data analysis.center_img Tags:#Analysis#Data Services#news#NYT#web Data extracted from 500 million Twitter messages was released today by a tiny Texas startup company that forward-looking geeks have been watching for a year. Austin-based Infochimps announced this afternoon that it is now selling two important and very large sets of Twitter data. Limited samples of the data are available for free and a third, most important, set of data still won’t be ready for a few more hours. “What we want is to see people use this to build web apps,” Infochimps co-founder Flip Kromer told us today. “You take this data, mash it up with any other very large corpus of data with timestamps – and you’ve got a web app.” Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more

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How Google Can Combat Content Farms

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#Analysis#NYT#web 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market In my recent post about the rise of content farms like Demand Media and the current incarnation of AOL, I posited that Google (and search in general) risks becoming less relevant as the Web gets drowned in lesser quality content. This is due to the scale at which these content farms are operating at – Demand Media alone pumps out 4,000 new pieces of content every day. The solution is of course for Google and other search engines to find better ways to surface quality content, whether that be from traditional news media, blogs or even Demand Media (not all of its content is poor quality).So how can Google evolve to identify quality content better?Quality! Pah, Does Google Need to Bother?Perhaps we should first answer the question: why should Google be worried about the quality issue? After all, it has a virtual monopoly on the search market. The obvious and PR answer is that Google wants to provide the best search results possible for its users. But there is another big reason why Google needs to do something. So-called “quality” content providers are already well advanced in routing around Google, or at least making them less relevant.As I wrote yesterday, Reuters is onto something with its subscription business model. According to Chris Ahearn, President of Media at Thomson Reuters, the company already makes the “vast majority of its revenues” from subscription-based business models targeted to “vertical and niche markets.” Reuters also provides services as well as just content. Bloomberg is another leading media company finding success with this strategy. The subscription model is making inroads, because the users themselves are flocking to it. A prime example comes from VC Paul Kedrosky, who became frustrated after doing various Google searches for “dishwasher reviews” and getting unsatisfactory results. He says that this has made him “more willing to pay for things” – in that case a Consumer Reports review of dishwashers. As Kedrosky archly noted, “the opportunity cost of continuing to try to sort through the info-crap in Google results was simply too high.”What Google Can DoGoogle surely knows that quality (or lack thereof) in its index is a problem. As one part of the solution, Google is currently experimenting with real-time search results from social media sites like Twitter, MySpace and even Facebook. The theory is that users are more likely to get timely, relevant results by tapping into their social network. That’s all well and good, but real-time search is unlikely to give you better results on the dishwasher search and other topic-focused search queries. So what else can Google do to identify and surface quality material?Some readers in Sunday’s post (Tadhg, Charles Coxhead and others) argued that Google’s current algorithm accounts for quality well enough, through the link economy. But many others thought that Google must improve its ranking of quality. Here were some of our readers’ suggestions:Neutralize the link dilution; A.J. Kohn, who further wrote that “the introduction of SearchWiki, their measurement of short-clicks versus long-clicks, the new domain/brand SERP listing, snippet links, and use of breadcrumbs all point to a gathering movement to help determine quality without such a reliance on an ever diluted link ecosystem.”Do a better job ranking authority; for more on this read Clay Shirky’s post on “Algorithmic Authority.”Introduce a user rating system; Tony Masinelli.Leverage sharing networks to determine where the quality is; Alex Kessinger.Special curation and algorithms on top of that; William Mougayar, whose company Eqentia does precisely that. p2p recommendation (i.e. filtering through your peers); Nick Taylor.Capture engagement data; Mark Littlewood.Give special weightings to categories of content, e.g. content farms, social media bookmarks blogs and Twitter; Aaron Savage.Use anti-spam type software to identify content that makes too much use of keywords; Barry.Track reputation against authors rather than URLs – a ‘PageRank for People’; Marshall Clark.These are all great ideas. Google is almost certainly already doing at least some of these things already, as would other search companies. Will this lead to an improvement in 2010? John Battelle is even expecting a “major breakthrough” in search in 2010. I hope he’s right. One thing is for sure, Google will need to do more in 2010 if it’s to stay ahead of the content farms and continue to surface quality content for its millions of users. Related Posts center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting richard macmanus Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more

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