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This is an interesting (and pretty funny) post from MailChimp data scientist John Foreman about analyzing email addresses. For example, Gmail and Hotmail are similar in terms of number and age of users (although possibly for different reasons), as well as preferred browser. AOL and Comcast email users, on the other hand, are older and interested in way different things than Gmail users. Oh, and a surprising number of people still use the AOL browser.

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The platform-as-a-service market hasn’t caught on was wildly as some anticipated a few years ago, and Apprenda CEO Sinclair Schuller has some ideas why that it is. He says his PaaS company is killing it because it made some smart — and prudent — decisions. Read more »

In Brief

Alpine Data Labs, a San Francisco-based startup that has its roots in Greenplum, has raised a $16 million series B round of venture capital from Sierra Ventures, Mission Ventures, UMC Capital and Robert Bosch Venture Capital. The company touts its usefulness even to non-data scientists, who can create visual analytic workflows without having to write code as with a program like R. Additionally, Alpine analyzes data within the the database (or Hadoop) itself, so users don’t have to bother themselves with sampling or moving data.

On The Web

This is a good blog post from Gartner analyst Alessandro Perilli about some of the problems facing vendors selling OpenStack as private-cloud software. You should read it. My two cents: If OpenStack vendors really are at a loss for how to describe their products, perhaps they should look at how the Hadoop market has been able to (seemingly) thrive thanks to a strong community and clear product visions among the vendors involved, beyond the open source code.

In Brief

The days of the cold call might be gone for salespeople. Actually, the days of the not-too-promising call might soon be gone, too. On Tuesday, a company called InsideSales introduced a new capability that infuses neural network technology (the basis of deep learning) into its products to help identify the best leads and even the best ways to approach them. However, scoring sales leads is becoming the new black. We recently covered a company called Infer that delivers a similar service, and companies such as Intel are even doing some of this internally.

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On The Web

This post from the New York Times‘ Open blog talks about the architecture and algorithms underpinning its content-personalization engine. Its experience speaks to some larger trends around companies moving from batch to stream processing and to cloud services overall. The Times’ recommendation engine used to rely on MapReduce jobs that ran every 15 minutes, but now relies on a homegrown real-time system. It used to run on Cassandra, but now runs on Amazon’s DynamoDB service.

In Brief

It was a good day for anyone invested in the greater NoSQL market, as Riak creator Basho and Couchcase both announced big customers wins. Basho highlighted The Weather Company, which is running and replicating Riak across multiple global data centers, while travel-industry technology provider Amadeus is working with Couchbase to deploy that database across its customer-facing applications. It’s good news for the NoSQL space because any large companies choosing databases other than MongoDB is validation that they matter and a sign they’ll be around for a while.

In Brief

Amazon Web Services is now offering up free access to three NASA datasets from the NASA Earth Exchange project about the world’s weather, geology and vegetation. The cloud is a natural place to house large datasets that many people or institutions might want to analyze without requiring everyone to download, store and analyze the data locally. Scientific data has proven particularly appealing early, with numerous cloud providers already hosting various datasets, often in the fields of genomics and biology.

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In Brief

This survey from State Street and the Economist Intelligence Unit is a pretty good look at the opportunities and challenges of using data in the financial services industry. Many respondents noted the challenge of integrating lots of data sources, which is understandable and probably only going to get harder. It seems there’s a lot of promise in new services/data sources such as Dataminr and Premise Data, but they also represent a pretty big divergence from tradition.

In Brief

A Dallas-based startup called Servergy, which makes low-power servers about half the size of traditional servers, has raised a $20 million series C round of venture capital. The company’s servers run on 8-core 1.5 GHz Freescale Power Architecture processors and, although 1U high, are only 14 inches deep and 8.25 inches wide. Servergy appears to have raised just under $30 million so far, according to SEC filings, although its has not named its investors.

Correction: This post was corrected at 3:15 p.m. to correct the manufacturer of Servery’s processors, which is Freescale and not IBM.

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