Category Archives: Compassion

Tip #204: It’s a press release, not a graduate thesis

While there’s something perversely beautiful about a press release that’s aimed way over the heads of the reporters who are likely to get it, please remember that the generally-accepted protocol is to at least hint at what you’re talking about in plain English, so the clueless journo who receives it can figure it out if he or she knows anyone who possesses the knowledge to decipher it. Then it can be forwarded. Opaque releases get dumped.

Happy Holidays! Thought I’d update you on LexisNexis Big Data as we roll out new use cases in the upcoming year!

HPCC and Hadoop are both open source projects released under an Apache 2.0 license, are free to use, with both leveraging commodity hardware and local storage interconnected through IP networks. Both allow for parallel data processing and/or querying across architecture. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that certain HPCC operations don’t use a scatter and gather model (equivalent to Map and Reduce), but HPCC was designed under a different paradigm and provides a comprehensive and consistent high-level and concise declarative dataflow oriented programming model.

One limitation of the strict MapReduce model is that internode communication is left to the Shuffle phase. This makes iterative algorithms that require frequent internode data exchange hard to code and slow to execute (as they need to go through multiple phases of Map, Shuffle and Reduce, ea representing a barrier operation that forces serialization of the long tails of execution). HPCC provides for direct inter-node communication at all times and is leveraged by many of the high level ECL primitives.

Another disadvantage for Hadoop is the use of Java for the entire platform, including the HDFS distributed filesystem — adding overhead from the JVM; in contrast, HPCC and ECL are compiled into C++, which executes natively on top of the OS. This leads to more predictable latencies and overall faster execution — we have seen anywhere between 3 & 10 X faster execution on HPCC when compared to Hadoop on the exact same hardware.

Would love to explain more — any chance to set up a meeting or call on this?


[Professor Incomprehensible]

When I was a tech magazine editor, my general rule was to make 10% of the stories in each issue over the head of the majority of the audience. I wanted to give readers something to shoot for, and to show them what was beyond the horizons of their knowledge.

But I do not think this is a good guideline for press releases.

Hat tip: Pat Houston.

1 Comment

Filed under Compassion, Email

Tip #199: What kind of circus is this?

I don’t usually write Pro PR Tips about stories that carry my own byline, but man, I had to hold my nose when I pasted this bit into today’s story about the Yahoo/Facebook patent battle resolution. From the official press release:

Going forward, Yahoo! and Facebook have agreed to work more closely and collaborate together on multiple tent-pole and anchor events annually over the next several years to provide unparalleled experiences for consumers and world-class sponsorship opportunities for advertisers.

As usual, emphasis mine.

Am I supposed to know the difference between a tent-pole event and an anchor event? Can one event have both tent-poles and anchors? That would seem to me to be the safest. And what if there’s neither? Is that like doing something outside in the open air?

I just don’t know how to dress for these things, assuming I get invited. And can I bring a guest? Someone help a guy out.


Filed under Compassion

Tip #195: Super what?

Don’t start a phone pitch with a geeky tech journalist by going on and on about the Super Bowl. I’m not saying that no tech journos are football fans, but the chances are significant that the person you’re pitching is not. From my office I can see three writers who see the Super Bowl as a great opportunity to go for a nice hike on a popular trail, since everyone else is indoors. Or better yet, hit the CostCo.

And if we were really sports nuts, we’d be writing for ESPN, wouldn’t we?

Hat Tip: Paul Sloan

Leave a comment

Filed under Compassion, Phone

Tip #189: Zoom in and enhance

A smartphone is an intensely personal device. It’s hard to share one. So when giving a demo of mobile software, especially to a writer with trifocals (ahem), use a tablet instead.

This works especially well for iPhone apps. They’re actually readable from more than three inches away when run in 2x or “compatibility” mode on an iPad. If you really want your small app to shine on the bigger iPad screen, install RetinaPad (via Cydia). But it’s not completely necessary.

Leave a comment

Filed under Compassion

Tip #165: Pros, stay home on amateur day

It’s April Fools’ day, otherwise known as the worst day to be a tech journalist. Every other pitch is a lame attempt at humor. Maybe one out of 50 is halfway funny. I don’t want to complain too much, though. It’s like open-mic night at the comedy club. We all know what we’re in for today.

The problem is that the real pitches are blended in with the fake ones, and sometimes it’s sadly hard to tell the difference. Especially when non-joke pitches have April-Foolish headlines like “This is no joke…”

Look, we’re just confused. If you have a real pitch, have a heart, save it for the next day. Thanks.

Oh, but then there’s this: A joke that should be real. (See TV industry turns blind eye to non-3D viewers.)

Read more: CNET’s directory of foolishness, 2011.

Leave a comment

Filed under Compassion

Tip #158: Homeless nerds

If you want someone to actually wear your company’s swag T-shirt, donate it to a Salvation Army or give it to a homeless person.

I already have a ton of vendor T-shirts that I’ll never wear, clothing for a lifetime of painting projects I’ll never get to. While I appreciate the offer of the T-shirt advertising your company or product, I’d feel better knowing it was going to someone who could really use it.

Happy holidays!

Leave a comment

Filed under Compassion

Tip #136: A blessing in disguise

When you pitch me and I say, “No,” I’m doing you a favor. It means you can move on with your life. If I say, “Maybe,” you’ve got one more thing to manage. And most maybes become nos anyway.


Filed under Compassion, Phone

Tip #57 (bonus): Don’t gloat

Layoffs should not be part of your PR strategy.”  

-Lawrence Coburn at Sexy Widget

Leave a comment

Filed under Compassion