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It might have priced in the lower range of its purported value, but enterprise tech stocks have done pretty well recently and Violin has been one the bigger companies in a red-hot flash market. More interesting in the long run might be how Violin’s IPO affects — or is affected — by planned IPOs for smaller flash vendors like Pure Storage and Nimble Storage. Expect an update on the Violin public offering on Friday.

On The Web

This article from Klint Finley at Wired Enterprise raises some good questions about the ideal integration of big data into nonprofits. I rather prefer the efforts of DataKind and the SumAll Foundation, which try to help nonprofits solve problems rather than harvest email addresses. The flipside, of course, is that individual donors are what keep the lights on in many cases, so access to more of them is good.

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This seems like good advice from Hortonworks’ Ofer Mendelevitch. Python? Check. Java? Check. Hadoop? Check. SQL? Check. Stats? Check. But his closing remark — “The road to data science is not a walk in the park. … This takes time, effort and a personal investment.” — might be the most important. We often talk about democratizing some of the data science tools, but the really good ones can do it all.

In Brief

Hadoop startup MapR has released a new version of its commercial HBase database, called M7. According to a press release, “HBase applications can now benefit from MapR’s high performance platform to address one of the major issues for on-line applications, consistent read latencies in the less than 20 millisecond range across varying workloads.” MapR released M7 in May and claims its architectural improvements over open source HBase result in a faster, easier experience.

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Is there a line beyond which people are no longer mere Quantified Selfers but something much more annoying? Could data really be used as “success theater” to make someone seem more successful than he really is? Of course. You know who you are …

In Brief

NGDATA has raised a $3.3. million venture capital round led by Capricorn Venture Partners. The company sells a software product called Lily that stores and indexes wide varieties of customer data using HBase and other open source technologies, and then layers various various analytic functions and applications on top of it. The data layer of Lily is available as an open source download.

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photo: U.S. House of Representatives

When U.S. lawmakers and policy experts get tired of fighting ideological battles over the past, they might want to put a little effort into helping improve the country’s future. Here are four technology issues that could help improve the economy and outline Americans’ digital rights. Read more »

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This is an interesting patent application, in part because of its techniques and in part because — like many technology-related patent applications — it’s hard to see how it’s particularly novel. The idea of using someone’s social graph to find influential connections that could inform mobile-app recommendations is pretty good, but at the core aren’t we just talking about the decision to value one variable more than another in a recommendation system?

In Brief

Hadapt, a startup that has been pushing SQL on Hadoop since 2011, is rolling out a new technology it calls “schema-less SQL.” Essentially, the SQL portion of Hadapt’s platform will automatically form columns from the keys of JSON and other data types, thus making the associated values queryable like values in a standard relational database. This sort of joint SQL-NoSQL support is likely to become a lot more normal for analytic databases. Curt Monash has a good technical breakdown of the new Hadapt feature.

In Brief

The Comparing Constitutions Project has launched new web tool called Constitute, which lets users search their way through the world’s constitutions by keyword or theme. Not only is the tool handy for gathering info on international laws, but it’s also indicative of how the web can ease access to valuable data via nice interfaces masking lots of complicated data-prep work. The organization’s website has lots of other constitutional data and visualizations, too.

In Brief

Recommind, a San Francisco-based company that sells machine learning software optimized for e-discovery in the legal industry, has raised $15 million from SAP Ventures. The new money will go toward growing the company’s footprint outside the legal space via enterprise software that lets humans and machines work closely with one another around data analysis — something Recommind CTO Jan Puzicha discussed with me in March at Structure: Data.

In Brief

DataSift, one of the two companies (along with Gnip) granted real-time access to the Twitter firehose, now offers real-time and historical analysis of Tumblr data. While it’s best-known for Twitter, DataSift actually analyzes dozens of social media and commenting platforms, which is pretty handy if you want to compare sentiment, engagement or whatever else across platforms where people behave quite differently.

In Brief

An MIT professor has conducted some handy research that could help make applications run faster and use less energy by overcoming an inherent drawback of multicore processors. The problem is that although the local caches on chips save them the latency of having to access RAM, the hardware-wired algorithms powering them often assign data to cache locations randomly without considering the core trying to access it. The new software-based technique, called Jigsaw, tracks which cores are accessing what data — and how much — and assigns data locale accordingly. The paper detailing Jigsaw is available here.

In Brief

New research out of Carnegie Mellon University shows that analyzing fans’ tweets can help gamblers make better bets on NFL games. Sometimes. Their technique wasn’t very effective at picking winners or betting the over/under, but it was 55 percent accurate on bets against the spread (and then only during the middle of the season). I doubt anyone will undertake this effort themselves for such a slight edge, but there might be a business here if someone can figure out a consistently accurate model.

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Couchbase is officially opening up two new technologies to mobile developers as part of a public beta program. Couchbase Lite is a lightweight database designed specifically for iOS and Android devices, while Cloud Sync Gateway syncs local data with a bigger database in the cloud. Read more »

On The Web

Yup. Makes me wonder if the tech companies that have been lobbying for Patriot Act reform over the past few years were doing so in part to get out from under the NSA’s thumb. Policy discussions were always couched in geopolitical language, but they must have foreseen the backlash even from U.S. customers if word ever got out about what was up.

Dallas-based enterprise-search company PureDiscovery has closed a $10 million series C funding round that should help it brings its BrainSpace platform to the masses. The idea is one to build knowledge about the content of documents rather than just an index of what’s where. Read more »

In Brief

A San Mateo, Calif.-based startup called Space-Time Insight has raised a $20 million series C investment round led by London-based firm Zouk Capital. Space-Time provides a platform for analyzing and visualizing streaming data, and is gaining traction in the utility sector. We profiled the company in 2011, specifically its work with California ISO to put real-time energy data on an 80-foot screen in the agency’s control room. Space-Time closed a $14 million series B investment round last September.

In Brief

Narrative Science, a startup that turns complex text documents into reports or articles that are supposed to resemble something written by a human being, has raised an $11.5 million series C funding round. News organizations have already used the company’s software to turn sports stats or corporate earnings statements into articles, but it has potential anywhere someone is trying to analyze loads of text documents. CIA-backed venture capital firm In-Q-Tel invested in Narrative Science in June.

In Brief

Hortonworks is making progress on its mission (via a project called Stinger) to speed up SQL-like queries in Hadoop using Apache Hive. New features in the latest version of Hortonworks’ Hadoop distribution have improved Hive performance tens of times in some instances, and the company is aiming for 100x improvements soon. Hortonworks has also added support for new types of SQL data. Competitor Cloudera opted to forgo Hive in favor of its own Impala technology for interactive queries.

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