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Research Like the Old School

April 24, 2015

There was a time before the Internet that if you wanted to research something you had to go to the library, dig through old archives, and check encyclopedias for quick facts.  While it seems that all information is at your disposable with a few keystrokes, but search results are often polluted with paid ads and unless your information comes from a trusted source, you can’t count it as fact.

LifeHacker, like many of us, knows that if you want to get the truth behind a topic, you have to do some old school sleuthing.  The article “How To Research Like A Journalist When The Internet Doesn’t Deliver” drills down tried and true research methods that will continue to withstand the sands of time or the wrecking ball (depending on how long libraries remain brick and mortar buildings).

The article pushes using librarians as resources and even going as far as petitioning government agencies and filing FOIA requests for information.  When it makes the claim that some information is only available in person or strictly for other librarians, this is both true and false.  Many libraries are trying to digitize their information, but due to budgets are limited in their resources.  Also unless the librarian works in a top secret archive, most of the information is readily available to anyone with or without the MLS degree.

Old school interviews are always great, especially when you have to cite a source.  You can always cite your own interview and verify it cam straight from the horse’s mouth.  One useful way to team the Internet with interviews is tracking down the interviewees.

Lastly, this is the best piece of advice from the article:

“Finally, once you’ve done all of this digging, visited government agencies, libraries, and the offices of the people with the knowledge you need, don’t lose it. Archive everything. Digitize those notes and the recordings of your interviews. Make copies of any material you’ve gotten your hands on, then scan them and archive them safely.”

The Internet is full of false information.  By placing a little more credence out there, will make the information more safe to use or claim as the truth.

These tips are useful, even if a little obvious, but they however still fail to mention the important step that all librarians know: doing the actual footwork and proper search methods to find things.

Whitney Grace, April 24, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Stalled SharePoint Deployments Do Not Deter Adoption

April 23, 2015

Despite SharePoint’s broad adoption, it suffers from a perceived lack of user commitment. So it becomes a paradox that it is one of the fastest growing software options ever, and shows no signs of slowing down. CMS Wire tells us more in their article, “Businesses Committed to SharePoint, Despite Stalled Deployments.”

The article begins:

“It is little surprise then, that in a recent AIIM survey of 422 organizations respondents described their SharePoint projects as stalled (26 percent) or just not meeting expectations (37 percent). Inadequate user training and a general lack of planning, investment and expertise were the main reason given for this malaise. And the recent talk about how Office365 and cloud fit in with SharePoint has further muddied the waters. And yet support for SharePoint remains strong.”

In recent news, Microsoft has pushed the general availability of SharePoint Server 2016 back. Combine these release delays with the local delays organizations face regarding customization, investment, and expertise, and most deployments face an uphill battle. For most users and managers, staying in touch with the latest news is essential. Stephen E. Arnold of ArnoldIT.com offers an efficient newsfeed regarding all things search. His SharePoint feed is an efficient way to keep an eye on news, tips, tricks, and workarounds that impact all aspects of SharePoint use.

Emily Rae Aldridge, April 23, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Gartner VP Claims Researching “Ethical Programming” Necessary for Future of Smart Machines

April 17, 2015

The article on TweakTown titled Gartner: Smart Machines Must Include Ethical Programming Protocols briefly delves into the necessity of developing ethical programming in order to avoid some sort of Terminator/ I,Robot situation that culminates in the rise of the machines and the end of humanity. Gartner is one of the world’s leading technology research and advisory companies, but it hardly sounds like the company stance. The article quotes Frank Buytendijk, a Gartner research VP,

“Clearly, people must trust smart machines if they are to accept and use them…The ability to earn trust must be part of any plan to implement artificial intelligence (AI) or smart machines, and will be an important selling point when marketing this technology.”

If you’re thinking, sounds like another mid-tier consultant is divining the future, you aren’t wrong. Researching ethical programming for the hypothetical self-aware machines that haven’t been built yet might just be someone’s idea of a good time. The article concludes with the statement that “experts are split on the topic, arguing whether or not humans truly have something to worry about.” While the experts figure out how we humans will cause the end of the human reign over earth, some of us are just waiting for the end of another in a line of increasingly violent winters.

Chelsea Kerwin, April 17, 2014

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

The Enterprise is a Jungle Search

April 16, 2015

The word collaboration has become one of those corporate power words like “synergy” and “KISS method.”  Many people groan inwardly at new ways to “collaborate,” because it usually means another tool they have to learn and will fall out of use in under a year.  With the myriad of ways to collaborate digitally, getting any actual collaborating done is difficult.  The SAP News blog says enterprise collaboration might be getting a little easier in the article, “EnterpriseJungle Tames Enterprise Search.”

EnterpriseJungle created an application with the SAP Hana Cloud Platform to help companies connect quickly find and connect with experts within or outside their company.  The Principal at EnterpriseJungle states that a company’s people search is vital tool to locate and harness information.

“ ‘Large companies are desperate to get a handle on understanding and accessing the expertise available to them at any given moment,’ said Sinclair. ‘Our solutions help companies solve fundamental questions like how do we find the people who are fantastic at what they do, but only known to their closest core group of co-workers? And, how do we easily bring their knowledge and expertise to the front line with minimal extra work? If we can help get information to employees that need it, we’re fundamentally making their lives easier, and making the company’s life easier.’ “

After a description of how EnterpriseJungle’s works and its usefulness for companies, it makes a claim to offer Google-like search results.  While it might be a people search tool, the application is capable of much more.  It can help people locate experts, track down skill sets, and even improve IT relations.

EnterpriseJungle is hitting on a vital tool for companies.  People search has a severe need for improvement and this might be the start of a new enterprise niche market.

Whitney Grace, April 16, 2015
Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Mobile Office 365 Usage on the Rise

April 16, 2015

A recent study by harmon.ie has found that Mobile Office 365 is growing quickly among its users. Mobile is a huge consideration for all software companies, and now the data is proving that mobile is the go-to for even heavy-hitting work and enterprise applications. Read more in the AppsTechNews article, “The state of mobile Office 365 usage in the workplace – and what it means for SharePoint.”

The article begins with the research:

“24% of harmon.ie mobile users are now using mobile Office 365 in the cloud, compared to 18% six months ago. Not surprisingly, the most popular activity conducted by business users on mobile devices was online and offline document access, according to 81% of the vote. 7% most frequently use their mobile devices to add a SharePoint site, while 4% prefer to favourite documents for later offline access.”

Retrieval is still proven to be the most common mobile function, as devices are still not designed well for efficient input. To keep up with future developments regarding mobile use in the enterprise, stay tuned to ArnoldIT.com. Stephen E. Arnold has made a career out of following all things search, and his SharePoint feed is an accessible place to stay tuned in to the latest SharePoint developments.

Emily Rae Aldridge, April 16, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Visual Data Mapper Quid Raises $39M

April 14, 2015

The article on TechCrunch titled Quid Raises $39M More to Visualize Complex Ideas explains the current direction of Quid. Quid, the business analytics company interested in the work of processing vast amounts of data to build visual maps as well as branding and search, has been developing new paths to funding. The article states,

“When we wrote about the company back in 2010, it was focused on tracking emerging technologies, but it seems to have broadened its scope since then. Quid now says it has signed up 80 clients since launching the current platform at the beginning of last year.The new funding was led by Liberty Interactive Corporation, with participation from ARTIS Ventures, Buchanan Investments, Subtraction Capital, Tiger Partners, Thomas H. Lee Limited Family Partnership II, Quid board member Michael Patsalos-Fox…”

Quid also works with such brands as Hyundai, Samsung and Microsoft, and is considered to be unique in its approach to the big picture of tech trends. The article does not provide much information as to what the money is to be used for, unless it is to do with the changes to the website, which was once called the most pretentious of startup websites for its detailed explanation of its primary and secondary typefaces and array of titular allusions.

Chelsea Kerwin, April 14, 2014

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Bing Predicts it Will Have Decent Results

April 13, 2015

Bing is considered a search engine joke, but it might be working its way as a viable search solution…maybe.  MakeUseOf notes, “How Bing Predicts Has Become So Good” due to Microsoft actually listening to its users and improving the search results with the idea that “Bing is for doing.”  One way Microsoft is putting its search engine to work is with Bing Predicts, a tool that predicts who win competitions, weather, and other information analyzed from popular searches, social media, regional trends, and more.

It takes a bit more for Predicts to divine sporting event outcomes, for those Bing relies on historic team data, key player data, opinions from top news sources, and pre-game report predictions.

Microsoft researcher, and serial predictor David Rothschild believes the prediction engine is ‘an interesting way to show users that Bing has a lot of horsepower beyond just providing good search results.’  Data is everything. Even regular Internet users understand the translation of data to power, so Microsoft’s bold step forward with their predictions underscores the confidence in their own algorithms, and their ability to handle the data coming into Redmond.”

Other than predicting games and the next American Idol winner, Bing Predicts has application for social fields and industry.  Companies are already implementing some forms of future analysis and for social causes it can be used to predict the best ways to conserve resources, medicinal supplies, food, and even conservatism.

Whitney Grace, April 13, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

A Former Googler Reflects

April 10, 2015

After a year away from Google, blogger and former Googler Tim Bray (now at Amazon) reflects on what he does and does not miss about the company in his post, “Google + 1yr.” Anyone who follows his blog, ongoing, knows Bray has been outspoken about some of his problems with his former employer: First, he really dislikes “highly-overprivileged” Silicon Valley and its surrounds, where Google is based. Secondly, he found it unsettling  to never communicate with the “actual customers paying the bills,” the advertisers.

What does Bray miss about Google? Their advanced bug tracking system tops the list, followed closely by the slick and efficient, highly collaborative internal apps deployment. He was also pretty keen on being paid partially in Google stock between 2010 and 2014. The food on campus is everything it’s cracked up to be, he admits, but as a remote worker, he rarely got to sample it.

It was a passage in Bray’s “neutral” section that most caught my eye, though. He writes:

“The number one popular gripe against Google is that they’re watching everything we do online and using it to monetize us. That one doesn’t bother me in the slightest. The services are free so someone’s gotta pay the rent, and that’s the advertisers.

“Are you worried about Google (or Facebook or Twitter or your telephone company or Microsoft or Amazon) misusing the data they collect? That’s perfectly reasonable. And it’s also a policy problem, nothing to do with technology; the solutions lie in the domains of politics and law.

“I’m actually pretty optimistic that existing legislation and common law might suffice to whack anyone who really went off the rails in this domain.

“Also, I have trouble getting exercised about it when we’re facing a wave of horrible, toxic, pervasive privacy attacks from abusive governments and actual criminals.”

Everything is relative, I suppose. Still, I think it understandable for non-insiders to remain a leery about these companies’ data habits. After all, the distinction between “abusive government” and businesses is not always so clear these days.

Cynthia Murrell, April 10, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

 

Predicting Plot Holes Isn’t So Easy

April 10, 2015

According to The Paris Review’s blog post “Man In Hole II: Man In Deeper Hole” Mathew Jockers created an analysis tool to predict archetypal book plots:

A rough primer: Jockers uses a tool called “sentiment analysis” to gauge “the relationship between sentiment and plot shape in fiction”; algorithms assign every word in a novel a positive or negative emotional value, and in compiling these values he’s able to graph the shifts in a story’s narrative. A lot of negative words mean something bad is happening, a lot of positive words mean something good is happening. Ultimately, he derived six archetypal plot shapes.”

Academics, however, found some problems with Jockers’s tool, such as is it possible to assign all words an emotional variance and can all plots really take basic forms?  The problem is that words are as nuanced as human emotion, perspectives change in an instant, and sentiments are subjective.  How would the tool rate sarcasm?

All stories have been broken down into seven basic plots, so why can it not be possible to do the same for book plots?  Jockers already identified six basic book plots and there are some who are curiously optimistic about his analysis tool.  It does beg the question if will staunch author’s creativity or if it will make English professors derive even more subjective meaning from Ulysses?

Whitney Grace, April 10, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Google Altered Search Results?!  

April 8, 2015

If you know anything about search results, search engine optimization, and search algorithms, you probably wondered if Google ever changed its search results so they would be favor one search result over another.  Google already alters results with Google AdWords, the Right to Forgotten, and removing results if they break rules.

The FTC revealed via The Wall Street Journal that Google has been altering its search results for profit: “Inside The US Antitrust Probe Of Google.”  The FTC found that Google was using its monopoly on search to harm Internet users and its rivals.  FTC recommended a lawsuit be brought against Google for three of its practices.  The FTC voted to end the investigation in 2013, which is strange, but they did so because they had competing recommendations.

Google continues to stand by its own innocence, citing that the case closed two years ago and that people continue to use its services.  There is one big thing that the Wall Street Journal points out:

“On one issue—whether Google used anticompetitive tactics for its search engine—the competition staff recommended against a lawsuit, although it said Google’s actions resulted in “significant harm” to rivals. In three other areas, the report found evidence the company used its monopoly behavior to help its own business and hurt its rivals.”

Can this be considered part of their “do not evil” bylaw?

Whitney Grace, April 8, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

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