3月 072009
Earlier last week, Skittles created a lot of buzz around the relaunching of their web site as part of a social media marketing campaign to direct Twitter comments containing the word "skittles" to the Skittles home page. For a little Friday afternoon frivolity, I decided to download some of the Twitter comments to analyze automatically using SAS Text Miner . Given my experience with analyzing web text, and having read the reports about the Skittles campaign, I was sure I would be subjected to colorful language and other less than savory comments - Web 2.0 at its best AND worst - I was right. Additional related opinion has also been posted by Dave Thomas on his Social Media at SAS blog.

I downloaded 1400 posts about Skittles from the Twitter social networking site. It was not enough to cover all of the campaign and the buzz it created, but it is a start.

Some of my initial results show topics about:click here for a bigger, better view

-- Vodka Skittles! [I'm hoping they'll make some Margarita ones];
-- Religion, Viagra, Rihanna, and taste the rainbow (although not all together);
-- the campaign itself.

This visual (click on it for a better look) gives you a glimpse at the breath of information contained in the postings (people really thought their postings were interesting!)... I spray painted over some bad language so as to avoid offending anyone.

I plan on exploring the data a little more with Text Miner, then maybe (given time) adding SAS Content Categorization to the mix allowing me to create a taxonomy using advanced linguistic techniques.
3月 072009

Donna Daniels, the SAS program manager for SAS Global Forum, talks about lessons learned from last year's conference and what's new for 2009. Learn more about the exciting new venue and location for this year's conference, the Gaylord National® Resort and Convention Center on the National Harbor outside Washington, DC.

Video Links



3月 042009
In just nineteen days, SAS users from around the world will be convening in Washington, DC. The countries from outside of the U.S. with the most registrants are Canada, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Top industries include Government, Education, Consulting & Systems Integration, Pharmaceutical, and Insurance. You can use the social networking tool CrowdVine to find fellow attendees with common interests and to browse for people within your industry. First, add your profile, second, start networking. It’s pretty simple! You can find friends, be a fan or request to meet fellow attendees. The SAS Global Forum Conference Leaders are part of the vine, in case you want to introduce yourself and ask questions. CrowdVine is a also great tool for setting up meetings during the conference. Consider this an opportunity to start networking before, during and after SAS Global Forum and have fun!
2月 252009
Seth Grimes has compiled an excellent set of quotes from interviews he had with leaders and software developers in this field. you can find his article posted now on the Business Intelligence Network along with Yves Schabes, Manya Mayes and Keith Collins’ views on 2009 challenges and opportunities for text analytics at SAS and Teragram.

From discussions and Q&A with attendees at the Predictive Analytics World conference - I can personally confirm manya's first projection. Namely when she said 2009 challenges will call for
"A broader set of vertical/horizontal offerings including more automated unstructured (text, voice, image) capabilities delivered for customer/product/competitive intelligence"
Although text mining was not addressed in the title or absract of any of the 30 talks on the agenda there were 3 separate discussions that did include ways text analytics fit in. My favorite was when John Elder applied text analytics to "build his haystack" out of the pile of Social Security disability claim forms. By applying text mining, 20% of the cases could be automatically approved quickly leaving more time for the manual review of the others. John's point was that while Text Mining didn't specifically find the needle in the haystack , the technology most certainly helped organize and arrange the haystack so he could allocate tasks to the "artifical intelligence" of the computer and help people do their job faster.

Yes , I say 2009 will be the year business and industries open their eyes to see untapped potential for insight now laying around as unstructured content...for example see this blog where Jason Burke says
As pharmaceutical firms have learned, you can create great solutions for sharing data, and the information still not be useful. For example, if data is sitting in an EMR as an unstructured block of free text, your ability to get to better decisions and predictable outcomes will be considerably constrained. Thankfully, we do have more mature interoperability standards today that can help us along the way. But interoperability should not just be about pushing data across systems -- it should be about facilitating medical insight across stakeholders

Jason has laid the groundwork ...and i wait with baited breath to see his next blog entry - because its the INSIGHT that excites me about analytics.

Text analytics is not promising easy answers - infact it may spur additional new questions for investigation --resulting in worthwhile innovation. Finding case studies will be a challenge for 2009 - just as the yahoo group discussion here has pointed out.
2月 252009

We're glad to announce that we're going to launch our Inside SAS Global Forum video series again this year! Alan Hoffler will be back as our roving reporter, providing that fun, informative and sometimes irreverant, behind-the-scenes look at this important SAS users conference.

You may have caught our behind-the-scenes video reports from SAS Global Forum last year in San Antonio. We posted our videos to the SAS YouTube channel and embedded them in the sascom Voices blog. This year we'll be embedding our videos right here in the new SAS Global Forum blog.  We're also not only posting our videos on YouTube, but will also provide an alternative location for our videos on sas.com.  This should help viewers who have employers who block YouTube.

Covering SAS Global Forum last year was a lot of fun, but Alan and I want to make this year even better.  We need your comments and suggestions!

  • Who would you like us to interview?
  • What questions would you like asked?
  • What interests you more about SAS Global Forum?  Behind-the-scenes interviews with SAS employees at or getting ready for the conference -OR- interviews with paper and demo floor presenters?  Both?

Just add your comments and suggestions right here on the SAS Global Forum blog.  I'll also be "tweeting" our activities on Twitter.  As Alison Bolen pointed out on the sascom Voices blog, you can follow all SAS Global Forum tweets with the hashtag #sgf09. This will make it easy for anyone to follow conversations about SAS Global Forum now and during the conference by searching for or subscribing to #sgf09.

If this will be your first time attending SAS Global Forum, we'd like to talk to you and possibly interview you at the conference.  Drop an e-mail to Brendan.Bailey@sas.com.

Alan and I look forward in reading your comments and suggestions.

2月 212009

I can vividly recall my first SAS Global Forum (it was SUGI back then).  The year was 1996, the city -  Chicago, and it was COLD. We used to have a “Fun Run/Walk” as part of the conference activities, and we literally ran on the snow along Lake Michigan. Some of our attendees used to take this run/walk very seriously, but I just wanted to finish. Sure I was pumped up to participate, but I was a little overwhelmed with the conference and all that it had to offer. I had never been around 3,000 SAS users at one time before. Have you?   

To those of you that are new to SAS Global Forum, we now have lots of ways to prepare for an optimal conference experience. If fact, you’re already on your way.  You’re on the Web, and we have a ton of information to share, from the highest level conference overview to the smallest detail, such as what presentation is going to be given in Room Maryland D at 4pm on Tuesday, March 24. Use the Personal Agenda Builder to map out your course before you ever get to Washington, DC. 

Have you registered yet? The early registration deadline has been extended to March 2! There are several ways to save

Want some recommendations? On Monday night, make plans to hear Franc D'Ambrosio of "The Phantom of the Opera" fame. He’s bringing his three-year, 200-city, sold-out Broadway concert tour to SAS Global Forum, and all proceeds will benefit the Children's Book Drive charity. The SAS Global Forum Children's Book Drive collects books to donate to reading centers in shelters and community organizations in Washington, DC. Another option for Monday evening is the Georgetown shuttle. While the DC Metro is famously easy to use, it doesn’t stop in Georgetown, but the shuttle does.     

Here’s a little about me. Over the past 13 years I’ve worn a lot of different hats in support of SAS Global Forum, such as coordinating the now-defunct SoccerFest, managing conference signage, creating the conference program, handing out registration badges, working in the Demo Area, writing emails and Web News articles, and more. But I’ve never written a blog. This is a new opportunity for me, and I’m excited to share what I know and to introduce you to other folks that know A LOT more than I do about SAS Global Forum. Please stay tuned!  

2月 192009

We had five warm sunny days in a row last week. It felt like spring. Even a few daffodils were fooled into thinking that spring had arrived. The weather has returned to a winter-like chill but these early bloomers stand tall anticipating more warm days. The promise of spring has me looking forward to March and warmer days. The next few weeks promise to bring exciting events, news and content to support.sas.com. Because SAS Global Forum 2009 is right around the corner, I have started to receive new content for support.sas.com that will be made available just before the conference. We are also planning updates to search, and new content for large sections of the site to accommodate the next release from SAS.

What can you expect?
  • New technical papers and presentations
  • Documentation updates
  • New samples and notes
  • Software release announcements
  • Search enhancements, starting with discussion forum content

How will you know when this information becomes available?

Did you miss this?
If you aren't subscribed to the RSS feeds or reading the SAS blogs, you may have missed the discussion around SAS and R. Bob Rodriguez and Radhika Kulkarni talk about the interaction between SAS and R in an article posted to the Statistics & Operations Research focus area on support.sas.com. This short article talks about the "R Interface Coming to SAS/IML Studio". If you are interested in this topic, the following links will enable you to catch up and participate in the conversation:
2月 182009
Greetings from San Francisco and the Predictive Analytics World conference!

Surrounded by hundreds of data miners, i'm keeping my hears open to hear who is integrating their unstructured data from text based sources in with their predictive models to build improved scoring engines. I'll fill you in with conference highlights in my next blog.

Monday,this week we announced our first TERAGRAM based offering that implements powerful linguistics - it is separate from our SAS text miner product and does NOT require any of our SAS/STAT or analytical technologies to run. In case you missed the news - check out the press release here

As to the title of this blog entry - I'm cheering cause we have a new medium for reaching broader audience. Interest is building as more people become aware of Text Analytics. Manya's interview on the B-eye network is now available as a podcast on I-tunes.