Sunday, 15 December 2019

Why I left, and the reason for my return

I pretty much left Twitter - and my blog - in 2013. Whereas I usually quit cold turkey, this time I lingered a bit, publishing a handful of blog posts in 2013, even one in 2014, and I'm sure that my Twitter activity followed much the same pattern; I've always said that the combination of the two is what upholds my 'Circle of Inspiration'.
Why did I leave? I became increasingly aggravated with the downsides of Twitter's going mainstream, and after 4-5 years on Twitter I also was fed up with all the 'social advocates', the 'social business revolutionaries'; evangelists in general who were little less than nobodies last week, likely fired yesterday, and today suddenly found themselves a new stage where they could proclaim whatever they wanted and thought that would sell - or at least would chime in with the hype(s) of the day

So. What has happened in the past 5 years? A lot, most of which is private stuff, involving parents, Alzheimer's disease, and a lot of less pleasant stuff that simply is in the small print that you ignore when you sign the Contract of Life. It is what it is.
My dad died November 2014, fortunately, after 1.5 years in a nursing home. The good news is that, while he had to relive the war on his way down to the very depths of Mr. Alzheimer's pits, when he came out as a blank slate he was a very pleasant blank slate. While there is immense sadness and powerlessness in watching your beloved go down the Dementia Drain, it was comforting to see that the new Dad who was reborn (or is that de-dualised?) was a friendly, kind, happy chappy. He would talk for minutes or hours, to anyone or anything (he seemed to have a fondness for the curtains in the hallway), and while he did have a few moments of rage early on in the nursing home, those turned out to just be part of the deal.
It all changed when he got pneumonia. He was visibly in pain (I won't have to explain that communication had become impossible a long time ago, and had reached the level of general sympathy and empathy only), and it was terrible. Two weeks afterwards he got a 'mini' stroke, and became half-paralysed and confined to bed. There was little to no hope of him moving back to mobility, and we were all glad when a few weeks after that he finally died

The funeral was great, as he had been a teacher for his entire working life, and many people showed up (newspapers do have purpose sometimes) to say goodbye and tell their story of him - every single one saying how he had made a great positive impact to their life, and how they never forgot about him

So. After that there was still Mom, all alone in the house, fairly advanced in the barbs of Mr Alzheimer already, and the biweekly visits became weekly, the communication with the neighbours and community care almost daily, and it wasn't until 2017 that we managed to get her removed from the house with a court order - just like Dad. The first nursing home was hell, and we moved her to The Hague in the Summer. After a few months that appeared to work out well, and I directed my attention towards the house: neglected for 10-30 years depending on which aspects you look at. Ten cubic metres of clothes, 10 cubic metres of trash-worthy furniture, and 10 cubic metres of hoarding stuff like plastic cups, 'useful things for later', and so on. It took me hundreds of hours to remove all that, and then there was the garden, with trees and bushes 4-5 metres high just adjacent to the house. Mom would go nuts if we only looked at them, so we were somewhat glad that our agenda didn't have to make room for yet another topic related to the place where we grew up. Yes, I say 'we' sometimes, I have a brother. He was pretty useful for sharing the visits at first, utterly useless for cleaning out the house - it is what it is.
December 2018 is when the house got sold, and that was a fine excuse to also quit the job that I had gotten around there 2.5 years earlier, for obvious reasons - on both occassions

This year I've taken a break, bummed out, spent to my own. I did have some odd errants (which made me decide to edit my LinkedIn and state that I only do audits - no consulting - for companies under 1,000 FTE), yet am back to full-time consulting since a month or so.
I have also started picking up my interest in the so-called gospel of Thomas again, published a few papers on it, and as it goes, whenever I have an appetite for something, I bite - and don't let go while still hungry.
This time, it seems that my plate simpy has no end to it, and while reading the so-called gospel of Thomas, for every bite I take two or three new spoonfulls are dumped onto it. I have made great and ground-breaking discoveries, published those among academics, and they are completely ignored. Knowing me, you might suspect that they're slightly out of the ordinary, and I can guarantee you that they are. And while you may have admiration or respect for scholars, academics, and more like those, I can tell that my experiences with biblical scholars in general are quite disappointing.
Of course I know, and understand, the principles of 'not invented here', but one would expect at least some interest out of supposedly 'brainy' people like scholars.
Well, tell you the truth, scholars are ruminants, and quite useless ones too. They either mindlessly parrot what the top shots say, or keep silent. Even when you poke them a little, and even when I poke them quite a little. It's turned out to be a no-go, everything moves at turtle space there, and given the six decades of useless non-research done on the gospel of Thomas by professors of Christianity, Theology, Egyptology and whatnot, it will take at least fifty years before mine kicks in - and it probably never will, because it stands squarely opposite to every single find on Thomas that the allegedly esteemed professors have made.
I have found that even all translations of Thomas are corrupt and bogus, and am now reading the original Coptic of the only extant copy known to mankind. Yes, this time I certainly have gotten myself into a wasp's nest

Hence, drum roll, my return to Twitter - and oh boy was that a mistake! It took me a week or so, but the audience I have here doesn't give a damn about my findings, and, truth be told, neither should it, given the interaction in the five years that I was active.
So, here I am: come back to Twitter for the wrong reason, failing to apply the goal I had in mind, and even blogging again as if I don't have a pile of research to finish, papers to publish, and books to finish writing

But I thought I owed you the story, so here it is. I think I'll stick around for a while, we'll see.
And I'll be my usual old me, and try not to bore you with Thomas, Coptic Greek, and predictions about how my novel will set the entire world on fire for decades, perhaps even centuries

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

The Roadmap to 'Hadoop in the Cloud'

The Twitter ball started rolling again just now. Matt Asay posed an interesting question about Forrester suggesting Hadoop isn't a great fit for the cloud. (Even) without context Vijay Vijayasankar and I started firing off questions and answers which inevitable led to my promise of writing down the transition plan for it

Here it is

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Influence tools: the devil is in the details

For those of you who haven't heard of Klout, let me give you a brief history: they started back in 2009 with a lot of marketing, a so-so product and non-existent service. They had two ways of handling criticism: either shower the critic in increased Klout score, or ignore him (or her).
With criticism multiplying as Klout was not willing or able to tackle it, Klout decided to take away the cause for it: detailed data on the components making up the Klout score. If you look now, Klout consists of a single score - just a number. Surprisingly, Tweetlevel has travelled the other way - or have they?

The business case for obfuscating Klout details is strong: not anymore will I be able to prove that their figures are statistically impossible:

The above pics show Klout's former marketing manager Megan Berry's @mention count and people mentioning her for a 30-day straight period: every single day the exact same number

The two pics above show Megan's friend count according to Klout, and according to Twittercounter. I'm sure you can see a striking resemblance - between the 3 Klout pics.

That was back in October-November 2010. I notified Klout of my post, several times, but never got a reaction. It wasn't long after that when Klout decided to not show these stats anymore, and just put out a single number for "all-time" RT's, mentions, etc:

That was back in May 2011. You can see the poor attempt at incorporating Facebook into their stats as well, but the most important point is that you can't spot a rotten trend anymore - or can you? I found it odd to notice that no two daily scores ever were the same exactly, but maybe Klout did improve the quality of their code?

Fast forward 4 months, when I investigate the so-called True Reach and find that it's basically your Twitter follower count multiplied by 2.6, give or take 10%:

Within a month, Klout decided to recalibrate True Reach into something even I couldn't recalculate, and eliminate all other subscores except "Amplification" and "Network", which resulted in dramatic increases but mostly drops for pretty much everyone they kept a record on. Soon after, popular opinion forced Klout to enable opt-out for everyone which resulted in a Klout o' Calypse where 2.5 million people opted out of Klout within a month.

Today, Klout is one measly single score without anything below to find out what it's made up of (see the picture at the top of this post). Now, on to Edelman's Tweetlevel: I've always liked their service. They only had one single number with 3 subscores (yes, I know!) and those were steady. They revealed their scoring mechanism to a good detail and appeared to be a roch in the rough sea of Online Influence. Until November 2012, when they revamped the layout and look of it:

That's my Word Cloud right there, plus some stats. The quick stats seem accurate-ish, but the Word Cloud certainly isn't. Thanks to Twitter allowing users to archive their tweets, I can guarantee you that I used the hashtag #Irene 5 times, the last one dating back to August 28 2011. Needless to say, #e20 hasn't been on top of my tweets since roughly then either.
I contacted Johnny Bentwood of Edelman about this and other inconsistencies, and his complete response was:
Thanks – as we are in beta, we are implementing many code fixes so that would explain your 440 errors, please try again later
I'd say he's following Klout tactics there. For completeness' sake, that conversation took place almost a year ago, and this is today's picture...
So I notice that I'm not that happy about Tweetlevel anymore, simply because I witness that part of the data used is over 2 years old - so how can the rest be even close to accurate?

I wonder whether or when Tweetlevel decides to pull detailed sub scores like Klout did, in order to evade simple questions that have no pleasant simple answer. Looking at the buzz around both, however, I'm pleased to see that Tweetlevel is flatlining and not even Microsoft pumping money into Klout raised any eyebrows whatsoever, with Klout attention being back to the same level when they still showed detailed subscores, no matter how ridiculously flawed they were.

The lesson learned? We're still very far away from measuring "online influence" or even Twitter use, and as long as we don't fully master semantics (perfect translation machines would be a proper indication of that), in stead of quality only quantity of interaction can be measured - and as far as we can check, both Klout as well as Tweetlevel stink at even that