Categories
Economics

Message of the market

Joe Saluzzi tried to get the word out. He really did make a good faith effort. This was one of his numerous appearances on Bloomberg, Fox Business News, CBS etc. The mainstream news media did not ignore him. He was interviewed for about 10 minutes in each station’s Manhattan studio. Each appearance was broadcast live. Receiving that much air time is unusual.

Joe Saluzzi comments on problems with the stock market
The temporal backdrop for this interview was particularly good. I enjoyed watching the market tickers running across the screen. They were triple stacked, and occupied a lot of screen real-estate! The results of a New York State election were reported around the 5 minute mark. I am no longer familiar enough with the NY-NJ-CT area to gauge the significance, but phrases like, “concedes the election” are portentous.

I’ve followed Sal Arnuk, @ThemisSal on Twitter, since 2012. He is Joe Saluzzi’s business partner at Themis Trading. That isn’t how I found this video. Rather, I was reading an Amazon book review, about one of Ernest Chen’s algorithmic trading books. That led me to R. Ryley’s Message of the Markets blog.

The following excerpt is from an anonymous comment on Ryley’s blog post, faithfully reproduced here under Creative Commons License by-NC-ND and replete with all-cap’s

YES. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT NEWS CLIP IN THE PAST SIX MONTHS. THE THEFT OF GOLDMAN SACHS’ MICROSECOND TRADING CODE HAS FURTHER REINFORCED THIS MAN’S COMMENTS… [Such] CODE* CAN BE USED TO UNFAIRLY MANIPULATE THE MARKET IN A WAY THAT GIVES AN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE TO WHOMEVER POSSESSES IT… THEN FACTOR IN THAT 49% OF MARKET ACTIVITY IS PROGRAM [trading], WE KNOW THAT THE IMPACT…IS MATERIAL. IN OTHER WORDS, MANY MARKET PARTICIPANTS, INCLUDING RETAILERS, ARE BEING CHEATED.

In retrospect, it doesn’t seems so strange, e.g. US Taxpayers Pay For SEC to Arrange Early Release of Data to High Speed Trading Firms.

* I am not certain, but believe that Anonymous refers to the circumstances that led to former Goldman Sachs programmer Sergey Aleynikov’s conviction in 2011.

Categories
Tech

Compressed data for prayer, anagrams and digital rights management

I found an oddly contemporary-looking New York Times article that is in fact, quite vintage for the Internet. It begins with a review of a most peculiar e-commerce company:

doing business with Newprayer.com may require a leap of faith.

– Compressed Data: Beaming Prayers to God’s Last Known Residence
via The New York Times Online, 31 August 1999.

The Internet Fraud Watch for the National Consumers League was deluged with complaints about fraud on the Net, having received 7,700 last year and 6,000 through the first six months of 1999.

If they only knew what was to follow, in less than ten short years.

Digital rights management

The next article was about a new “pact” between Adobe and Xerox, to address the needs of companies

…seeking a way to prevent the rampant piracy that has plagued the digital music industry from overtaking digital publishing. The technology, called Content Guard, is to be announced at the Seybold 21st Century Publishing Conference in San Francisco.

When was the last Seybold 21st Century Publishing Conference, I wonder? Not for awhile. The proposed approach seems so straightforward! It would be

integrated… with Adobe’s existing PDF format for distributing documents on line… publishers that have agreed to adopt the technology, include Thomson Learning, the National Music Publishers Association, and Haymarket Publications, a European business publisher.

Java

Content Guard was expected to be superior as a form of digital rights management software, as it was

based on an industry standard: Java, an Internet programming language developed by Sun Microsystems.

I just received my n-th zero day patch for Java last week. Yet Java lived up to this part of its promise, and still does:

The flexibility of Java would allow users to read Xerox protected documents [and non-Xerox protected documents too] on various types of software operating systems using any of the standard Web browser programs.

I don’t think Adobe had fully enabled the following functionality in PDF’s viewed with Adobe Reader until much later; I have rarely seen it used, even though it is available:

Publishers, corporations or individuals could specify who had access to the document, set a time frame for protection and even designate the type of authentication (like a password or a fingerprint) needed to read the document.

Adobe introduced these features in 2009, with the exception of fingerprint authentication for most of us, for digital signatory and general purpose security rather than digital rights management purposes.

Anagrams for free

I’ll end on a more positive note, rather than gloomy nostalgia. The wonders of natural language processing were just emerging into the larger population.

The letters that form the name Boeing can be rearranged to spell “big one.” Time Warner can be converted to “mean writer.” And the title of Rupert Murdoch’s sexy London tabloid The News of the World is an anagram for “tender, hot flesh — wow.” These are just a few of the possibilities in business anagrams, a game being played by office workers throughout the English-speaking world.

The language in the following paragraph caught my attention for several reasons. First, the exact and accurate wording, to “contact the server”, would be uncommon now in a daily newspaper.

To play, contact the Internet Anagram Server at www.wordsmith.org/anagram, which provides immediate answers, or another site called Anagram Genius Server at www.anagramgenius.com/server.html, which gives a more considered response and replies by e-mail after a few minutes or hours, depending on traffic volume.

Then there’s the reminder of the absence of web apps, as the requested anagram is sent by e-mail, in minutes. Or hours.

At no charge, these sites will attempt to create anagrams from any word or phrase, not just company names. But somehow there’s a special mischievous thrill…

Emphasis mine. If you want to find out what that thrill is, read the New York Times article, linked above. I only hope that the New York Times will remain extant, rather than joining so many worthwhile news and information services, preserved for us only through Internet archives.

I’m sorry. I tried. Gloom won.

Categories
Tech

eDiscovery and demise of News of the World

A new use case for text analysis is emerging in the legal field. It is referred to as eDiscovery. Such methods are not widely accepted, let alone implemented as yet, but they are receiving increasing amounts of attention.

What is eDiscovery?

eDiscovery is a platform, combining algorithm, software and productivity tools. It is most obviously useful for expediting in-house legal document retrieval. I learned of the existence of eDiscovery quite recently. Inside Counsel gives this definition as part of an 8 June 2012 post on the limitations of eDiscovery:

eDiscovery offers search methodologies to rein in time spent on electronic document review. One strategy is “computer assisted review,” also known as “predictive coding” or “predictive analytics.” Predictive analytics is the nonspecific term for a computer program that uses algorithms to sample and predict relevancy across large collections of electronically stored information.

Both terms, “predictive analytics” and “predictive coding”, were confusing to me. The terms are similar to ones used in quantitative analysis. They may almost be considered as applications of the same methodologies, but in a legal context. There is a greater emphasis on text though. There are other details which I haven’t read enough about, thus cannot hazard a better guess as yet.

Further refinement needed

According to a 2010 Duke University survey of major companies (via the same Inside Counsel article), emphasis all mine:

The expense of electronic discovery is the most rapidly increasing item in the average litigation budget… This growth in e-discovery expenses is even more alarming [because] there is no evidence that it has resulted in a corresponding increase in the volume of relevant or important material being produced in litigation.

An Analysis of Hackgate

eDiscovery can be exciting, especially when it is about the recent demise of ‘News of the World’ (‘News of the World’ is the much publicized and scandal-ridden Rupert Murdoch flagship publication). Here’s the premise:

What if the analysis were to have been approached with an eDiscovery-enabled perspective?

Categories
Tech

Especially useful curation

A list of uncommonly useful links and news items by an uncommonly astute person, Greg Linden (formerly of Amazon search in the early days) follows below. This is the best of all worlds: Having access to someone who has superior insights due to field of expertise, is reasonably articulate, and is willing to share without ulterior motive or bias.