The Hobson and Holtz Report – Podcast #20: March 31, 2005

Content summary: Listeners’ comments: audio comments and a few written ones, too, on VNRs, multimedia search, and new blogs; Elizabeth Albrycht’s advice column; Nielsen-Norman’s top 10 intranets; Microsoft’s newly named stripped-down Windows XP for Europe; new bloggers at GM’s Fastlane blog; Yahoo 360; faux blogs; and monitoring employees’ online behavior.

Show notes for March 31, 2005

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Welcome to For Immediate Release: The Hobson & Holtz Report, a 63-minute conversation recorded live from Los Angeles, California, USA, and the UK. Download the file here (MP3, 28MB), or sign up for the RSS feed to get it and future shows automatically. (For automatic synchronization with your iPod or other digital player, you’ll also need software such as the FeedDemon RSS aggregator, or the free ipodder or DopplerRadio).

In this Edition:


  • 00:29 Shel on what’s in this week’s show; how to give your feedback; show notes
  • 02:01 Comments from the last show


  • 28:36 Elizabeth Albrycht’s new blog advice column
  • 29:53 Nielsen-Norman’s 2005 top 10 intranet listing
  • 35:29 Microsoft and the EU settle on a new name for Windows XP in Europe
  • 35:29 New executives are blogging to the General Motors Fastlane blog
  • 39:50 Yahoo launches Yahoo 360
  • 44:34 Faux blogs
  • 47:49 Employee monitoring


  • 58:07 Comments and show notes reminder


  • 58:45 "Jean Jacket Girl" by the Gordon Bennett Band

Links for the blogs, individuals, companies and organizations we discussed or mentioned in the show:

Intro – Peter West Public Relations, Sony Minidisc, Electrovoice Microphones, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Brian Kilgore, Sebastien Keil’s new blog, (Carl Rogat’s e-mail is appended to the end of these show notes), Nexidia‘s NexMiner, Blinkx, Lee Hopkins, British Broadcasting Corporation, Shel’s blog post on use of the word "blogosphere," the Contra Costa Times, the San Jose Mercury News, MSNBC’s earthquake moblog, MSNBC’s citizen journalism site, Marqui, Stowe Boyd’s post on Marqi and WordPress, WordPress.

Features – FeedDemon, Elizabeth Albrycht, Elizabeth Albrycht’s blogger advice column, NewComm Blog Magazine, Blogging Planet, New Venture Marketing Blog, Nielsen-Norman Group, NNGroup’s 2005 top 10 intranets, Cisco Systems, Banco Espanol de Credito, Electrolux, NedTrain, Orbis Technology, Gerry McGovern on the Nielsen Norman intranet list, Shel’s post on the Nielsen Norman list, Microsoft’s Windows XP N, European Union, GM Fastlane Blog, Yahoo 360, David Jackson’s Internet Stock Blog, Danah Boyd’s review of Yahoo 360 in Corante, MSN Spaces, Kevin Dugan’s Corporate PR blog, Steve Rubel’s review of Yahoo 360, Captain Morgan blog, Herring & Waffleman faux blog, Ned Lundquist’s Megalocorp faux blog.

Outro – The U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, The Gordon Bennett Band, For Immediate Release, A Shel of My Former Self, NevOn.

If you have comments or questions about this show, or suggestions for our future shows, email us at, or call the Comment Line at +1 206 984 0931. You can email your comments, questions and suggestions as MP3 file attachments, if you wish (max. 5Mb attachment, please!). We’ll be happy to see how we can include your audio contribution in a show.

So, until Monday April 4…

(Cross-posted from For Immediate Release, Shel’s and my podcast blog)

Text of email from Carl Rogat,

In your March 28th podcast # 19 you mentioned that it would be quite useful if there was a way to search audio files for specific occupancies or words or subjects without having to depend on the rather meager data included in metatags.  Several companies are now marketing search products that use new approaches to accomplish this task.

E-Content Institute  ( states in their May/June 2004 resource section that:

Nexidia’s ( ) NEXminer product processes unstructured multi-language audio and video content so that users can search actual audio or video files phonetically for any set of sounds. Rather than using speech recognition technology, which tries to match your words against a spoken lexicon, or transcription technology where you search a full text index, they have created a way for you to find what you’re looking for simply by spelling it out fo-net-ik-lee (or as it sounds, not necessarily how it’s spelled). Which, of course, comes in handy when a proper name or place or thing can be spelled several ways and when the content you’re searching comes in a variety of languages (for example, international news clips).

Your search terms get resolved down to phonemes (the units of sound at the heart of any language) and the search engine returns all spoken references that match. Without having to transcribe or index, the process of getting new content into the system is fast and so is performance — over 30 hours of material can be searched in less than one second. What about homonyms (words that sound the same but are spelled differently)? That’s a problem. So are text mining strategies like pattern searching for related concepts (remember — there’s no text index).

The system currently supports American English, Latin American Spanish, Modern Standard Arabic and Iraqi. Nexidia has partnered with others in the search market, like Convera  , to provide an audio search capability where users can search for spoken words without having to convert the audio to text.

Source: )

Nexidia (an outgrowth of a company formerly known as Fast-Talk)) has also partnered with: CACI International Inc. (, IBM (, Dictaphone (, and SAIC (


Blinkx  ( a new search engine for audio video content with a focus on Television, also uses a phoneme search technology, possibly Convera‚s platform.  An Article by By Dinesh C. Sharma on  Dec 16, 2004  notes that Blinx uses:

Ground breaking automatic transcription technology, which transcribes content straight from the cable box on the fly or from video already stored on the Web, together with advanced phonetic matching speech recognition technology, automate the process of searching TV clips for the first time," Blinkx founder Suranga Chandratillake said in a statement.


In Blinkx‚s own words "The system technology is based around decomposing digitized speech into its phonetic constructs. The phonetic sequence is then analyzed in conjunction with acoustic model and statistical improbabilities to calculate which is the most probable sequence of hence words and utterances."

In addition to Convera, another company that has a phoneme search engine is Aurix  (  Their site states:

Aurix miner enables fast searching of large audio or video archives for specific spoken words of phrases.  Aurix miner meets the need of trawling through large audio or video archives by a two-stage approach. The first stage is a one pass phonetic recognition of the audio stream using Aurix asr to determine a phonetic representation of the data. The phonetic representation accurately encodes not just the most likely sequence of phonemes but also less likely phoneme sequences. This enables the miner to smooth over phonetic recognition errors and to retrieve a higher percentage of relevant material in the audio archive. The phonetic representation is converted into an ‘index’ for efficient searching.

In the second stage the user-specified search keywords are converted to phonetic sequences by looking them up in a phonetic dictionary, or by using letter-to-sound rules. A fast search algorithm then searches through all the indices in the archive for the phonetic sequences and returns a list of ‘hits’ sorted by audio by confidence.


An interesting  summary of phoneme development by Leavitt Communications (  can be read at

Another interesting articles Article appeared on Panda Central‚s website out of Oslo, Norway.  It discussed Blinkx and it’s phoneme search engine. Check out

Finally, an excellent, article that appeared in the December 13,2002 issue of InfoWorld, though dated, it is worth checking out at

I enjoy your excellent podcasts and find your meticulous show notes of tremendous value.  I am sure that it takes a great deal of time and effort to produce your shows and hope that the two of you pace yourselves and do not burn out too quickly.  If you were to drop off the podcast scene it would be a real loss to what I am sure is a growing audience.

Carl S. Rogat, Pres.