Is the Cloud Really Raining Dollar Signs?

October 5, 2016

Cloud computing offers people the ability to access their files from any place in the world as long as they have a good Internet connection and a cloud account.  Many companies are transferring their mainframes to the cloud, so their employees can work remotely.  Individuals love having their files, especially photos and music, on the cloud for instantaneous access.  It is a fast growing IT business and Forbes reports that “Gartner Predicts $111B In IT Spend Will Shift To Cloud This Year Growing To Be $216B By 2020.”

Within the next five years it is predicted more companies will shift their inner workings to the cloud, which will indirectly and directly affect more than one trillion projected to be spent in IT.  Application software spending is expected to shift 37% towards more cloud usage and business process outsourcing is expected to grow 43%, all by 2020.

Why wait for 2020 to see the final results, however?  2016 already has seen a lot of cloud growth and even more is expected before the year ends:

$42B in Business Process Outsourcing IT spend, or 35% of the total market, is forecast to shift to the cloud this year. 25% of the application software spending is predicted to shift to the cloud this year, or $36B.

Gartner is a respected research firm and these numbers are predicting hefty growth (here is the source).  The cloud shift will surely affect more than one trillion.  The bigger question is will cloud security improve enough by 2020 that more companies will shift in that direction?

Whitney Grace, October 5, 2016
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


Google and the Future of Search Engine Optimization

September 30, 2016

Regular readers know that we are not big fans of SEO (Search Engine Optimization ) or its champions, so you will understand our tentative glee at the Fox News headline, “Is Google Trying to Kill SEO?” The article is centered around a Florida court case whose plaintiff is Worldwide LLC, accused by Google of engaging in “search-engine manipulation”. As it turns out, that term is a little murky. That did not stop Google from unilaterally de-indexing “hundreds” of’ websites. Writer Dan Blacharski observes:

The larger question here is chilling to virtually any small business which seeks a higher ranking, since Google’s own definition of search engine manipulation is vague and unpredictable. According to a brief filed by e-ventures’ attorney Alexis Arena at Flaster Greenberg PC, ‘Under Google’s definition, any website owner that attempts to cause its website to rank higher, in any manner, could be guilty of ‘pure spam’ and blocked from Google’s search results, without explanation or redress. …

The larger question here is chilling to virtually any small business which seeks a higher ranking, since Google’s own definition of search engine manipulation is vague and unpredictable. According to a brief filed by e-ventures’ attorney Alexis Arena at Flaster Greenberg PC, ‘Under Google’s definition, any website owner that attempts to cause its website to rank higher, in any manner, could be guilty of ‘pure spam’ and blocked from Google’s search results, without explanation or redress.

We cannot share Blacharski’s alarm at this turn of events. In our humble opinion, if websites focus on providing quality content, the rest will follow. The article goes on to examine Google’s first-amendment based stance, and considers whether SEO is even a legitimate strategy. See the article for its take on these considerations.

Cynthia Murrell, September 30, 2016
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph



Open Source CRM Galore for Salespeople, Manufacturers, and Even Freelancers

September 26, 2016

The article titled Top 10 Open Source CRM on Datamation weighs the customer relationship management (CRM) options based on individual needs in addition to features and functions. It highlights certain key benefits and points of strength such as EspoCRM’s excellent website, SugarCRM’s competitive edge over Salesforce, and the low cost of Dolibarr. The typical entry reads like this,

EPESI – The last in this list of Linux compatible CRM options is called EPESI. What makes it unique is the ability to take the mail page of the CRM and rearrange how things are laid out visually…it’s pretty nice to have when customizing ones workflow. In addition to expected CRM functionality, this tool also offers ERP options as well. With its modular design and cloud, enterprise and DIY editions, odds are there is a CRM solution available for everyone.

What strikes one the most about this list is how few familiar names appear. This list is certainly worth consulting to gain insights about the landscape, particularly since it does at least allude now and then to the specialty of several of the CRM software. For example, Dolibarr supports freelancers, Compiere is based around the needs of warehousing and manufacturing companies, and Zurmo was designed for salespeople. It is a good time to be in the market for CRM apps.

Chelsea Kerwin, September 26, 2016
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monographThere is a Louisville, Kentucky Hidden Web/Dark Web meet up on September 27, 2016.
Information is at this link:

Gleaning Insights and Advantages from Semantic Tagging for Digital Content

September 22, 2016

The article titled Semantic Tagging Can Improve Digital Content Publishing on Aptara Corp. blog reveals the importance of indexing. The article waves the flag of semantic tagging at the publishing industry, which has been pushed into digital content kicking and screaming. The difficulties involved in compatibility across networks, operating systems, and a device are quite a headache. Semantic tagging could help, if only anyone understood what it is. The article enlightens us,

Put simply, semantic markups are used in the behind-the-scene operations. However, their importance cannot be understated; proprietary software is required to create the metadata and assign the appropriate tags, which influence the level of quality experienced when delivering, finding and interacting with the content… There have been many articles that have agreed the concept of intelligent content is best summarized by Ann Rockley’s definition, which is “content that’s structurally rich and semantically categorized and therefore automatically discoverable, reusable, reconfigurable and adaptable.

The application to the publishing industry is obvious when put in terms of increasing searchability. Any student who has used JSTOR knows the frustrations of searching digital content. It is a complicated process that indexing, if administered correctly, will make much easier. The article points out that authors are competing not only with each other, but also with the endless stream of content being created on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Publishers need to take advantage of semantic markups and every other resource at their disposal to even the playing field.

Chelsea Kerwin, September 22, 2016
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph
There is a Louisville, Kentucky Hidden Web/Dark Web meet up on September 27, 2016.
Information is at this link:

Verizon Strategizes to Get Paid for Installing Big Brand Apps That You Will Probably Never Open

September 5, 2016

The article titled Verizon Offered to Install Marketers’ Apps Directly on Subscribers’ Phones on AdAge discusses the next phase in Verizon’s marketing strategy, a seeming inheritance of product placement: automatic installations for big brands onto your phone. Next time you notice an app that you didn’t download on your phone, look no further. Verizon has been in talks with both retail and finance brands about charging between $1 and $2 per device, which sounds small until you multiply it by 75 million Verizon smartphone subscribers. The article discusses some of the potential drawbacks.

Verizon has stoked some user frustration in the past with “bloatware,” as have many carriers and phone manufacturers. Bloatware comprises the often irrelevant apps that arrive pre-installed on phones, though they’re less often major brands’ apps and more often small, proprietary services from the carriers and manufacturers…There is no guarantee, however, that Verizon subscribers open the apps they find pre-installed on their phones. “If a user is not interested, they just delete it without activating.

Sara Choi, COO of AirFox, is quoted in the article making a great point about the importance to carriers to innovate new strategies for profit growth. Ultimately, the best use for this marketing technique is a huge number of immediate downloads. How to engage users once you have gotten into their phones is the next question. If this goes through, there will be no need to search to get an ad, which could mean bad news for online ad search.

Chelsea Kerwin, September 5, 2016
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph
There is a Louisville, Kentucky Hidden Web/Dark Web meet up on September 27, 2016.
Information is at this link:

Microsoft Considers next Generation Artificial Intelligence

August 24, 2016

While science fiction portrays artificial intelligence in novel and far-reaching ways, certain products utilizing artificial intelligence are already in existence. WinBeta released a story, Microsoft exec at London conference: AI will “change everything”, which reminds us of this. Digital assistants like Cortana and Siri are one example of how mundane AI can appear. However, during a recent AI conference, Microsoft UK’s chief envisioning officer Dave Choplin projected much more impactful applications. This article summarizes the landscape of concerns,

Of course, many also are suspect about the promise of artificial intelligence        and worry about its impact on everyday life or even its misuse by malevolent actors. Stephen Hawking has worried AI could be an existential threat and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has gone on to create an open source AI after worrying about its misuse. In his statements, Choplin also stressed that as  more and more companies try to create AI, ‘We’ve got to start to make some   decisions about whether the right people are making these algorithms.

There is much to consider in regards to artificial intelligence. However, such a statement about “the right people” cannot stop there. Choplin goes on to refer to the biases of people creating algorithms and the companies they work for. Because organizational structures must also be considered, so too must their motivator: the economy. Perhaps machine learning to understand the best way to approach AI would be a good first application.

Megan Feil, August 24, 2016
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

No More Data Mining for Intelligence

August 23, 2016

The U.S. intelligence community will no longer receive information from Dataminr, which serves as a Twitter “fire hose” (Twitter owns five percent of Dataminr). An article, Twitter Turns Off Fire Hose For Intelligence Community from ThreatPost offers the story. A Twitter spokesperson stated they have had a longstanding policy against selling data for surveillance. However, the Journal reported their arrangement was terminated after a CIA test program concluded. The article continues,

Dataminr is the only company allowed to sell data culled from the Twitter fire hose. It mines Tweets and correlates that data with location data and other sources, and fires off alerts to subscribers of breaking news. Reportedly, Dataminr subscribers knew about the recent terror attacks in Brussels and Paris before mainstream media had reported the news. The Journal said its inside the intelligence community said the government isn’t pleased with the decision and hopes to convince Twitter to reconsider.

User data shared on social media has such a myriad of potential applications for business, law enforcement, education, journalism and countless other sectors. This story highlights how applications for journalism may be better received than applications for government intelligence. This is something worth noticing.

Megan Feil, August 23, 2016
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph
There is a Louisville, Kentucky Hidden /Dark Web meet up on August 23, 2016.
Information is at this link:

Summize, an App with the Technology to Make Our Children Learn. But Is They?

August 2, 2016

The article on TheNextWeb titled Teenagers Have Built a Summary App that Could Help Students Ace Exams might be difficult to read over the sound of a million teachers weeping into their syllabi. It’s no shock that students hate to read, and there is even some cause for alarm over the sheer amount of reading that some graduate students are expected to complete. But for middle schoolers, high schoolers, and even undergrads in college, there is a growing concern about the average reading comprehension level. This new app can only make matters worse by removing a student’s incentive to absorb the material and decide for themselves what is important. The article describes the app,

“Available for iOSSummize is an intelligent summary generator that will automatically recap the contents of any textbook page (or news article) you take a photo of with your smartphone. The app also supports concept, keyword and bias analysis, which breaks down the summaries to make them more accessible. With this feature, users can easily isolate concepts and keywords from the rest of the text to focus precisely on the material that matters the most to them.”

There is nothing wrong with any of this if it is really about time management instead of supporting illiteracy and lazy study habits. This app is the result of the efforts of an 18-year-old Rami Ghanem using optical character recognition software. A product of the era of No Child Left Behind, not coincidentally, exposed to years of teaching to the test and forgetting the lesson, of rote memorization in favor of analysis and understanding. Yes, with Summize, little Jimmy might ace the test. But shouldn’t an education be more than talking point mcnuggets?



Chelsea Kerwin, August 2, 2016

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Emerging Technology May Have Application for Security

June 6, 2016

New technologies for use in security are increasingly receiving attention. An article, Lip-reading technology ‘could capture what people on CCTV say’ claim researchers from Mirror discusses one example. The University of East Anglia in Norwich developed what is called a visual speech recognition technology. The purpose is to identify what people are saying in situations where audio is not good enough to hear. One application mentioned is for videos recorded from security cameras. The post describes more,

“Helen Bear, from the university’s school of computing science, said the technology could be applied to a wide range of situations from criminal investigations to entertainment. She added: “Lip-reading has been used to pinpoint words footballers have shouted in heated moments on the pitch, but is likely to be of most practical use in situations where there are high levels of noise, such as in cars or aircraft cockpits. “Crucially, whilst there are still improvements to be made, such a system could be adapted for use for a range of purposes – for example, for people with hearing or speech impairments.” Some sounds like “P” and “B” look similar on the lips and have traditionally been hard to decipher, the researchers said.”

Whether in real life or online, security and cybersecurity efforts and technologies are making headlines, keeping pace with security threats and breaches. It is interesting that applications for emerging technologies like this have such a range, but this particular technology seems to be rooted in brick-and-mortar security. We think there is a need for more focus on security as it relates to the Dark Web.


Megan Feil, June 6, 2016

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


The Most Dangerous Writing App Will Delete Your Work If You Stop Typing, for Free

May 2, 2016

The article on The Verge titled The Most Dangerous Writing App Lets You Delete All of Your Work For Free speculates on the difficulties and hubris of charging money for technology that someone can clone and offer for free. Manuel Ebert’s The Most Dangerous Writing App offers a self-detonating notebook that you trigger if you stop typing. The article explains,

“Ebert’s service appears to be a repackaging of Flowstate, a $15 Mac app released back in January that functions in a nearly identical way. He even calls it The Most Dangerous Writing App, which is a direct reference to the words displayed on Flowstate creator Overman’s website. The difference: Ebert’s app is free, which could help it take off among the admittedly niche community of writers looking for self-deleting online notebooks.”

One such community that comes to mind is that of the creative writers. Many writers, and poets in particular, rely on exercises akin to the philosophy of The Most Dangerous Writing App: don’t let your pen leave the page, even if you are just writing nonsense. Adding higher stakes to the process might be an interesting twist, especially for those writers who believe that just as the nonsense begins, truth and significance are unlocked.


Chelsea Kerwin, May 2, 2016

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

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