Archive for the ‘Search technology’ Category

100 most common English words

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

First, take this fun quiz. And then ...

Thoughts on the Microsoft acquisition

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

(The usual disclaimers: my opinion only, not my current or future employers) When Powerset began a couple of years ago, a lot of commentators called us -- and still do call us -- a would be Google killer. This, despite repeated comments by senior staff that this wasn't what we were ...

Who acquired Powerset?

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

microsoft acquires powerset

You ain’t seen nothing yet

Monday, May 12th, 2008

Who invented the wireless telephone? It's been 100 years since "American inventor and Kentucky melon farmer" Nathan B. Stubblefield received the patent for the first wireless cell phone (UK Telegraph article, via Mirabilis). Today, the company I work for, Powerset, launched its search product for general public use at It's ...

Powerset is here!

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

Powerset's search for Wikipedia is now live!

Powerset is coming soon

Sunday, May 11th, 2008


Saturday, April 5th, 2008

My co-minions at Powerset have been growing (or faking growing) facial hair in the run up to our beta launch. And, of course, it has its own blog: It's even made the LA Times, and Michael Arrington's initial take on our beta product even mentions it. Chris pretty much ...


Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

I was reviewing a Wiki project,, today. Its stated mission is be a "free, worldwide business directory that anyone can edit," in the same spirit as Wikipedia. I thought it might be a good resource for company names and facts. But then I noticed that the vast majority of edits ...

New Google translation software

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

Google is now using their internal translation software for all language pairs, and my very, very brief look at their results look good. This is very idiomatic, for example: I was amused by calculating the number of video tags football (soccer) and rugby on Dailymotion (English pages). No doubt, soccer is ...

Powerset and Hadoop

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

Cool. Over at the Powerset blog, Jim Kellerman is talking about Powerset's use of Hadoop and development of HBase, an open-source replacement for Google's BigTable. If you have any idea what 'Hadoop' or 'BigTable' or 'HBase' are, it's worth checking out.

What’s the opposite of ‘hype’?

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

There must be an antonym for 'hype.' To hype something is to engage in hyperbole about it: Apple products have generated their share of hype. (For example: Steve Jobs said, "We made the buttons on the screen look so good you’ll want to lick them.") I don't mean 'anti-hype' ...

I am Thesaurus!

Monday, August 6th, 2007

Synonyms and antonyms and matching terms and words that share a meaning. All these alternate words to choose or substitute why write 'crying' when you could write 'weeping' or 'shedding a tear or two,' 'blubbering', 'wailing,' 'choking up and balling,' 'sobbing both your eyes out,' 'turning on the waterworks.' I am the Roget I'm Dr. Roget I am Thesaurus Synon-ny-nyms! Vocabulary dictionary wordy little ...

Interview with Steve Newcomb at Folksonomy

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

There's a great interview by Sian Liu with Steve Newcomb, Powerset's COO (and ultimately my boss). He describes life and work at Powerset, some of the risks, the culture of openness at Powerset,  and why we don't see Google as the enemy. Granted, it's not a hard-hitting interview (Liu even ...

Google web translation dictionary

Monday, June 25th, 2007

This is nice: in addition to automated translation, Google has now added  translation dictionaries, for English to Spanish, French, Italian, German and Korean, and back again.They seem a bit dated: no translations for "weblog" or "telecommute" or even "google." But it does have "computer virus."

Opposite of perquisite

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

I've glad Marti Hearst is writing for the Powerset blog from time to time. She's written a nice post about antonyms ('Opposites attract'), pairs of words which are 'opposite' in meaning. I also enjoy reading The Atlantic's Word Fugitive column, in which people are asked to come up with new ...

Powerlabs coming soon redux ….

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

It looks like Powerset (my company) is officially signing people up for Powerlabs, which is set to open in September, according to a message sent from our COO, Steve Newcomb, to his linkedin buddies.Powerlabs won't be fully operational until September, but we will need beta testers. If you want ...

“Google keeps tweaking its search engine”

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

NY Times article: Google keeps tweaking its search engine. Fav quote: [H]owever easy it is to wax poetic about the modern-day miracle of Google, the site is also among the world’s biggest teases. Millions of times a day, users click away from Google, disappointed that they couldn’t find the hotel, the recipe or ...

Powerlabs coming soon ….

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

Powerlabs coming soon! See the our Powerset home page.

Actually, a little more robot overlordship than I’m currently experiencing would be nice

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

Sitting down to dinner, I said something like today I wrote a program that wrote a program, and its running righ now. Daughter and wife looked slightly alarmed, and dear wife asked if there were any chance that I was working myself out of a job. I said I didn't ...

The most ambiguous place name in the US is …

Thursday, May 10th, 2007

The most ambiguous place name in the US is Lake Winnipesaukee (map) with 163 official alternatives (according to the USGS and its US Board on Geographic Names), followed by Okefenokee Swamp (105), the Mississippi River (103) and the Potomac River (93). (Lukas is right, I mean 'place with the most ways ...