The concept of a software personal assistant has long captured the imagination of a generation of science fiction writers and computer scientists. Oliver G. Selfridge, the artificial-intelligence pioneer who died this month, is credited with coining the term “intelligent agent,” as well as the idea of a computer software “demon” — a simple software program that could monitor its environment and make appropriate responses when changes occur.
Spotfire, a division of the software maker Tibco, has used its statistics expertise to come up with a tool for sorting potential presents. With the Spotfire Holiday Gift Finder, you can churn through thousands of products, including apparel, electronics, jewelry and tools. The software lets people narrow down their choices based on price and reviews and then points to the appropriate spot on Amazon.com where the product can be purchased.
I see WebNotes as the online equivalent of that highlighter and sticky note solution but updated for the way we work on the web, with the bonus functionality of being able to organize, search, find, and aggregate all of those notes together in one place.
Like many of us, I spend quite a lot of time on the web and come across a staggering number of interesting things. In Clearing The Cache I pull out some of my favorites and share them with you here.
The value of the outsourcing deals signed in the third quarter of 2008—when the downturn was apparent, but before things got really bad—was the lowest of any quarter in six years, according to TPI
Indian-based companies are preparing for a slowdown in growth. Infosys, one of India’s largest outsourcing companies, says that it has frozen recruitment for all but a few specific jobs. Nasscom, a trade association for Indian-based outsourcing companies, said recently that the rate at which its members would hire new employees would slow for the first time, as would salary increases. (The new numbers would still be the envy of most industries: New hires will dip from 280,000 last year to 200,000 this year; salaries will be up between 7.5% and 9%, down from 13% growth last year, according to Nasscom.)
Fifty-four percent of businesses have cut staff or instituted a hiring freeze, according to a Hackett Group survey of 200 multinational corporations. However, these same businesses report that the percentage of tech jobs that are outsourced will grow from 15.4% in 2008 to 25.1% in 2010.
Instead of long contracts for sophisticated services, businesses are signing shorter deals for simpler projects—a small call center dedicated to one product instead of a 100-person shop that services multiple products