May 17, 2013
A recent article from Business Insider reports that there is a large body of evidence supporting the idea that governments are using sophisticated spy software. ”This Powerful Spy Software is being Abused by Governments Around the World” has the details on the report and findings by The Citizen Lab, a digital research lab at University of Toronto that has found this software is being used against groups like human rights activists.
The report is called “For Their Eyes Only: The Commercialization of Digital Spying” and zeroes in on surveillance software called FinSpy. This technology remotely scans webmail and social media networks in real time. Additionally it collects encrypted data.
According to the article:
In December 2011 WikiLeaks began publishing FinFisher brochures and videos, which tout the software as enabling governments to monitor targets who ‘regularly change location, use encrypted and anonymous communication channels, and reside in foreign countries.’ Another remarkable thing about the FinSpy, Jean Marc Manach of OWNI notes, is that it can take control of any major operating system while none of the top 40 antivirus systems can recognize it.
There are 36 countries that host FinFisher Command and Control Servers including the United States. During the end of Mubarak’s rule, dissidents found a contract from Gamma mentioning a $380,000 license to run the software for five months. In addition to governments, we wonder what companies use FinFisher as well.
Megan Feil, May 17, 2013
May 15, 2013
Do not get the pitchforks and torches ready, instead set a countdown clock and wait for the explosion! The Verge tells us that you can “Give Tweets A Death Sentence With Efemr.” Efemr is a web app that gives tweets a time limit and then it is permanently deleted. The idea is replicating SnapChat’s popular idea: snap a photo, add destruction time, and it is lost to the ages. Once you download Efemr, you give it access to your Twitter account and you create the time limit with hash tags.
Despite the momentary life span of its content, Efemr has a purpose:
“The web app is advertised as a means of making your Twitter activity more fleeting, but also as a tool to “protect your e-reputation.” That latter point is somewhat questionable, since all it takes is a retweet to ruin any attempt to cover your tracks on the popular service. SnapChat has shown there’s demand for this type of erasable social media, though we’re not convinced trying to shoehorn the concept within Twitter is a good strategy.”
The demand is that people want these social media Web tools to be more life real conversation, momentary and fleeting. Social media documents everything and leaves visible evidence that used to disappear. The Library of Congress will not like that, because when the tweet “goes boom” there is nothing to search for.
Whitney Grace, May 15, 2013
May 14, 2013
The innovative community of open source software developers have created many new applications in a variety of fields, but a recent Datamation article narrows in on one field in particular — health care. “50 Open Source Replacements for Health Care Software” shares a rundown on all fifty electronic health record software solutions.
A study from PricewaterhouseCooper revealed that 79 percent of health care execs expect to see an increase on their technology spending this year. EHR capabilities are a major area in need of an upgrade at many health care institutions but still others anticipate needing analytics to help improve care for patients. Costs may be an issue for some.
In light of expenses, the article states:
“However, expensive, proprietary software isn’t the only option for these sorts of initiatives. The open source community has a wealth of projects related to EHR, imaging, and hospital, laboratory and practice management. Small practices and facilities in developing countries, in particular, have found that these applications met their needs while minimizing their expenses. We’ve put together a list of fifty of these applications and noted proprietary applications they resemble.”
We found this to be a useful resource. While it may not be completely comprehensive it appears to be a step in that direction, which is always beneficial in such ever-evolving marketing like health care technology.
Megan Feil, May 14, 2013
May 3, 2013
Zurmo is an open source based customer relationship management application freely available for download. In their latest release, much of the functionality is enhanced. Read the full press release by PR Web in, “Zurmo Open Source CRM Hits Major Release Milestone.”
The release begins:
“Developers of the Zurmo Open Source Customer Relationship Management application today announced the release of Zurmo 1.5. The latest version brings significant additional functionality including Advanced Reporting, a Workflow Engine, new Marketing Automation capabilities, and enhanced Mobile Access. All new features in Zurmo 1.5 are freely available in the Open Source Edition of the application.”
Zurmo’s focus is on “gamified” interactions with users, which is a new twist on CRM technologies. The company seems to be an up and coming contender in the CRM game, with an eye toward creativity, user experience, and scalability. In much the same way, LucidWorks is a leader in the enterprise search and Big Data market. However, LucidWorks adds value to the Apache Lucene and Solr core by fully supporting the solution and providing an all-encompassing platform that is ready to go out-of-the-box. So whether users are drawn to the open source core, or the industry-leading support, everyone is sure to win with LucidWorks.
Emily Rae Aldridge, May 3, 2013
May 3, 2013
Who would have though a simple Microsoft spreadsheet program would be the downfall of the entire world? Well it is in Fortune’s, “Damn Excel! How The ‘Most Important Software Application Of All Time’ Is Ruining The World.” While rampant poverty, war, and environmental issues are still global crises, Excel is being blamed for the US’s weak economy recovery, Europe’s growth problems, and other world financial issues. It boils down to smart people not knowing how to use the program.
“Prominent financial blogger James Kwak calls Excel “one of the greatest, most powerful, most important software applications of all time.” But perhaps we ask too much of the program, or perhaps of our ability to cut and paste. In the past few years, Excel has been implicated in some of the biggest blunders on Wall Street and in finance in general.”
The Barclays purchase of Lehman Brothers, Utah schools falling short on enrollment numbers, Fannie Mae, MF Global’s failure to improve end user tools, and the JPMorgan Chase trade loss are all attributed to Excel errors. With all this great technology that is supposed to wipe away human error, it still exists and apparently is doing more harm on a greater scale.
Whitney Grace, May 03, 2013
May 2, 2013
If you want to do math in Hadoop, this information on Oxdata/h2o from GitHub is for you. Apache Hadoop, the software library designed for the processing of large sets of data is run by H20 to do math over BigData. The vision for the introduction involves using the primary execution framework for whatever algorithm is presented. The program also reads and writes from and to HDFS, S3, NoSQL and SQL. It is even able to pass and evaluate R-like expressions. The article explains,
“H2O keeps familiar interfaces like R, Excel & JSON so that big data enthusiasts & & experts can explore, munge, model and score datasets using a range of simple to advanced algorithms. Data collection is easy. Decision making is hard. H2O makes it fast and easy to derive insights from your data through faster and better predictive modeling. H2O has a vision of online scoring and modeling in a single platform.”
The targeted users are mainly data analysts. H20 hopes to vitalize the community of invested software engineering enthusiasts and provide everyone concerned with the tools to hack data with math and algorithms. If you are interested in being a part of this community, join the Google group h20stream.
Chelsea Kerwin, May 02, 2013
April 30, 2013
This week, the Text Radar content intelligence, compliance, and big data news service covered quite a few interesting stories.
The first that I would like to highlight is, “Smartphone Data Used to Better Serve Customers.” According to the article, thanks to smartphones, app stores can tap into a wide range of data sources about user preferences and activity.
The article states:
“This ‘big data’ available within an app store can significantly help to tailor the user experience and offerings. For example, a user who lives in NYC and just landed in London might be interested in the ‘TimeOut: London’ app or ‘Booking.com’ app for booking a hotel. A user who posted a video on Facebook of the latest Knicks game may be interested in the ‘New York Knicks Official App,’ and a user who listens to Coldplay a lot, might want to download some Coldplay wallpapers.”
Another story, explains how big data has brought the IT and marketing community together. “Creating a Customer Centric Culture with Big Data Analytics” advocates the use of big data to create a customer centric corporate culture.
A study found:
“* 40% of marketers and 51% of IT executives said it’s critical for improved decision making.
* 36% of marketers and 23% of IT execs said data drives the ability to personalize customer experiences.”
The final story that I would like to highlight for this week’s issue involves big data’s impact on the health care industry. “Turning Unstructured Data into Healthcare Improvements” explains how doctors can find value using data from your mobile phone and other devices.
The author provides this example:
“For example, she said, an app could process data from a mobile carrier to determine whether new supplements for early-stage arthritis are actually helping a patient. If the patient is checking her phone earlier in the morning and moving around more frequently, that could indicate that the medicine it’s doing its job.
Service providers may balk at the prospect of releasing their troves of user activity data – and Estrin acknowledged that they would likely worry about PR headaches and privacy issues.”
It is important to understand the various outlets that you can use big data to be beneficial to your company’s success. Smartlogic’s Semaphore Content Intelligence Platform runs on semantic technology giving your organization’s information rich value and a better experience for your users.
Jasmine Ashton, April 30, 2013
April 27, 2013
Have you heard of the Global Data On Events, Location, and Tone project yet? Head on over to Foreign Policy and its article, “GDELT: What We Can Learn From The Last 200 Million Things That Happened In the World?” The article summarizes how the GDELT project tracks political events from all over the world. Similar databases exist for a particular region, but GDELT separates itself out by covering the expanse of the globe. It records events and categorize them by four different types: material conflict, material cooperation, verbal conflict, and verbal cooperation and within those categorizes the event is classified with CAMEO, a 300 category taxonomy system.
GDELT can be used to track political events and political rhetoric and from its data it can possibly predict the future and it might even be a tool for complexity theory mathematicians.
“Of course, for all the high-tech software behind its creation and its potentially far-out applications, GDELT is, at its core, a way of summarizing news coverage, and old fashioned legacy-media news coverage at that. The sources used to identify events include world news coverage from Agence France Press, the AP, BBC,Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, UPI, and the Washington Post, as well as a few more specialized outlets and Google News. Leetaru notes in his recent paper introducing the project that the increasing availability of news on the web has led to a ‘dramatic increase [of recorded events] since the beginning of the 21stcentury.’”
There are concerns for the project such as rural areas gaining as much frequency as developed areas and bringing in social media. Mainstream journalism has quality behind it, while social media is still relatively new and there is a lot of junk in it. The information needs to be gathered no matter where the source is from. The problem is sorting the wheat from the chaff.
Whitney Grace, April 27, 2013
April 25, 2013
Things are changing for everything with the broach of technology and that goes the same for old selling methods. Read Write has some disappointing news for old time sales associates in, “Why The Traditional Sales Methods Can’t Sell Enterprise Software.” The old sales methods rely on the manufacturing process that has made the US a booming economic giant. The classical sales method relies on territories, quotas, and commissions, but enterprise software does not fit into this tidy little model. Why?
Buyers are informed and they want solutions more than a sales pitch and then enterprise software is specifically tailored to fit the client’s needs. No one is buying a generic product anymore, expecting a universal solution. The buying teams cross different company departments and all have to figure out a solution instead of one sole person. Another big factor is that with the Internet, buyers are spread all over the world. Sellers do not know where their next customer will come from. Good-bye, traveling salesman.
“In the new normal, enterprise software buyers increasingly seek solution white-boarding sessions – not sales pitches. Traditional sales models simply can’t cope with the changes, but effective replacements have yet to appear. Until a solution is developed, enterprise software vendors – and buyers – will find themselves under increasing pressure.”
Does this spell more trouble for enterprise search and content processing vendors? Maybe, but since enterprise software is the basis for most companies, adaptation may be hard for the sales team but it will happen.
Whitney Grace, April 25, 2013
April 25, 2013
New releases hit the market everyday and Kana Software’s next generation enterprise customer service application for agent-based desktop and self-service has arrived. Ecommerce Times takes an in depth focus on the new release in the article, “Kana Adds Context, Subtracts Search.” Kana had worked on Kana Enterprise for over a year and they added a new contextual layer for users. What is most prevalent about the new software is the consistency between applications and the user interface. Other enterprise systems lack the same consistency, even though they use the same source code.
The enterprise system is supposed to make the entire user experience fluid:
“The process is similar for customers who access self-service via a Web page. ‘We will proactively push them the right knowledge so they don’t have to search,’ said [James Norwood CMO.] ‘They get what they need and are less likely to abandon that process or call the contact center’.”
The new user experience takes out the search and retrieval function. Even with a simple user interface and ease between applications, users still need to search for specific items if they are lost in the mad software jumble. Is this yet another indication of the diminution of search and retrieval?
Whitney Grace, April 25, 2013