An Internet of Things prediction for 2025 — with caveats (ComputerWorld)

“A massive survey by the Pew Research Center about the Internet of Things in 2025 is very optimistic about its future, though its responses are filled with questions, doubts and caveats.

Hal Varian, Google’s chief economist, said in his response: “We will expect things to respond to vocal commands. We will be able to say ‘TV, pause’, ‘lights, on’, ‘temperature, up’, and so on. We will able to control our home systems remotely, particularly from our car. This technology will be so cheap that it will naturally be incorporated into most appliances and devices.”


Top search tips

Karen Blakeman, RBA Information Services, has become synonomous with finding better ways to access and manage information.  She recently spoke at the South African Online User Group Conference and provided significant insights into how personalization can affect your search results.

On of her passions is to compile a list of top search tips using the contributions of her workshop participants.  Below the lastest list.

  1. It isn’t your fault!
    Results can vary from one minute to the next. You run your search a second time in Google and you get a completely different set of results. Don’t worry – it isn’t you. Google results are rarely consistent and can change from one moment to the next.
  2. Try another search engine.
    If you have had enough of Google try DuckDuckGo ( as an alternative. DDG does not track, filter or personalise and several people found some of the results to be better than Google’s. Also worth trying are Bing (, Blekko ( and Yandex (
  3. Be aware of personalisation
    Get to know how the search engines personalise results and the impact this can have on your search. Google and Bing monitor what you search for, the links you click on and use this to personalise your results and sponsored links/ads accordingly. This information is stored in cookies on the computer you used for the search or as part of your Google or Bing account. They also try and work out your location from your IP address so that they can deliver local content (this sometimes goes horribly wrong!). When signed in to your Google or Bing account both search engines now include content from your social network contacts.
  4. Get to know Google
    Get to know the advanced search features of Google both on the advanced search screen and in the menus on the left hand side of your results page.
  5. Use social media search tools for more up to date information. For example, and
  6. Google Custom Search Engine
    Create your own Google search engine that searches only the sites that you have specified. Great if you are always searching the same sites day after day, or want to provide your users with a search tool covering a specific topic.
  7. Use site or domain search for large sites that are impossible to navigate or have diabolical search options. For example: chocolate labelling requirements .
  8. Repeat the most important term or terms in your search one or more times. For example ‘beer market share France Belgium Czech’ and ‘beer market share France Belgium Czech Czech Czech’ give different results.
  9. Enter your search terms in a different order . The search engines will rank and display your results differently and may even run a completely different search.
  10. Remember that you are searching an out of date index of the web when you are using search engines such as Google et Bing.
  11. Creative Commons and public domain images
    If you are looking for an image for a presentation or promotional literature, search for images that have the appropriate Creative Commons (CC) license. There are several licenses with varying degrees of restrictions. Details are on the Creative Commons web site at You can search Flickr photos that have a specific creative commons license at or use Compfight ( Geograph ( is a useful site if you are looking for landmarks, historic buildings or geographical features. It “aims to collect geographically representative photographs and information for every square kilometre of Great Britain and Ireland”. All photos have a Creative Commons attribution share alike license.
  12. If your search involves numbers, distances, weights, prices or measurements of any sort use the numeric range search in Google. For example: toblerone 1..5 kg to find online shops selling giant bars of toblerone.
  13. Google Trends
    Enter up to five topics and see how often they’ve been searched in Google over time and in different geographic regions. This is a way of identifying how people are searching on a subject. The Websites option: enables you to enter a web site URL and see what other sites were visited. This can be useful if you are not sure about the main sites that cover a subject and want to expand your search from the one you have already found. For example enter and a list including other UK online estate agent sites appears. 
  14. For a different perspective, search for pages and sites in other languages use Google’s Translated foreign pages option in the results page side bar.
  15. TinEye Labs
    Multicolr Search Lab ( searches 10 million Creative commons Flickr images by colour. You can specify more than one colour and click on a colour several times to increase its prominence within the image. You can easily click through to the original Flickr image to double check the license. TinEye Reverse Image Search ( lets you type in the URL of an image or upload one of your own and TinEye will find similar images, how it is being used, if modified versions of the image exist, or if there is a higher resolution version.

 A .pdf version of this is available from Karen’s site

Reigning in the information deluge

Information overload has definitely become the Hot Topic of the moment.  As more and more data, information and knowledge gets created, the more we as humans struggle to process the deluge.

The infographic from Mindjet is another brilliant representation of information overload and how to possibly overcome it



Managing the information avalanche

This is one of those post that gets carried over and over and over.  The original article was written by Ron Ashkenas for the HBR Blog Network and I just found an abbreviated version of it on Stephen Abram’s blog.

If is maybe because of the relevance of the topic – we live in a era and society where information is ever present and ever changing – this post is a good example of how information spreads.  Even seasoned information professionals / specialists is starting to drown in this avalanche.

Ron has five easy steps to manage the avalanche :

  1. Instead of trying to absorb everything, focus on a few key indicators. For short-term performance, look for leading instead of lagging indicators. Make sure that they give you a basis for taking action.
  2. Differentiate opinion from data. Remember that different people can observe the same event and interpret it based on their own (sometimes unconscious) bias or agenda.
  3. Examine trends and patterns. This means not only looking at indicators over time, but also examining their sources and how they may be changing.
  4. Periodically look at the ecosystem. Since information flows from everywhere, occasionally take the time to map out where data is coming from and what it says. This will show you if certain data sources are becoming dominant or just “noisy”; or if other key constituencies are not providing any input.
  5. Use information as a basis for dialogue. Interpreting information requires people with different filters, analytical tools, and perspectives. Take advantage of your team and other resources to sort through the information so that you’ll have a richer foundation for making decisions.

May you out “ski” the avalanche.