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Scientific Research Has Turned into a Safe Space

December 31, 2015

The Internet is a cold, cruel place, especially if you hang out in the comments section on YouTube, eBay forums, social media, and 4chan.  If you practice restraint and limit your social media circles to trusted individuals, you can surf the Internet without encountering trolls and haters.  Some people do not practice common sense, so they encounter many hateful situations on the Internet and as a result they demand “safe spaces.”  Safe spaces are where people do not encounter anything negative.

Safe spaces are stupid.  Period.  What is disappointing is that the “safe space” and “only positive things” has made its way into the scientific community according to Nature in the article, “‘Novel, Amazing, Innovative’: Positive Words On The Rise In Science Papers.”

The University Medical Center in the Netherlands studied the use of positive and negative words in the titles of scientific papers and abstracts from 1974-2014 published on the medical database PubMed.  The researchers discovered that positive words in titles grew from 2% in 1974 to 17.5% in 2014.  Negative word usage increased from 1.3% to 2.4%, while neutral words did not see any change.  The trend only applies to research papers, as the same test was run using published books and it showed little change.

“The most obvious interpretation of the results is that they reflect an increase in hype and exaggeration, rather than a real improvement in the incidence or quality of discoveries… The findings “fit our own observations that in order to get published, you need to emphasize what is special and unique about your study,” he says. Researchers may be tempted to make their findings stand out from thousands of others — a tendency that might also explain the more modest rise in usage of negative words.”

While there is some doubt associated with the findings, because it was only applied to PubMed.  The original research team thinks that it points to much larger problem, because not all research can be “innovative” or “novel.”  The positive word over usage is polluting the social, psychological, and biomedical sciences.

Under the table, this really points to how scientists and researchers are fighting for tenure.  What would this mean for search engine optimization if all searches and descriptions had to have a smile?  Will they even invent a safe space filter?

Whitney Grace, December 31, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

 

 

New Credit Card Feature Prevents Fraud

December 28, 2015

December is lauded as the most wonderful time due to that warm, fuzzy feeling and also because retail chains across the world will be operating in the black at the end of the year.  Online shopping has shown record sales this year, especially since shoppers do not want to deal with crowds and limited stock.  Shopping online allows them to shop from the convenience of their homes, have items delivered to their front door, and find great deals.  Retail chains are not the only ones who love the holidays.  Cyber criminals also enjoy this season, because people are less concerned with their persona information.  Credit card and bank account numbers are tossed around without regard, creating ample game for identity theft.

While credit card companies have created more ways to protect consumers, such as the new microchip in cards, third party security companies have also created ways to protect consumers.  Tender Armor is a security company with a simple and brilliant fraud prevention solution.

On the back of every credit card is a security code that is meant to protect the consumer, but it has its drawbacks.  Tender Armor created a CVVPlus service that operates on the same principle as the security code, except of having the same code, it rotates on daily basis.  Without the daily code, the credit card is useless.  If a thief gets a hold of your personal information, Tender Armor’s CVVPlus immediately notifies you to take action.   It is ingenious in its simplicity.

Tender Armor made this informative animated to explain how CVVPlus works: Tender Armor: CVVPlus.

In order to use Tender Armor, you must pay for an additional service on your credit card.  With the increased risk in identity theft, it is worth the extra few bucks.

 

Whitney Grace, December 28, 2015
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

IBM Watson Competes for the Artificial Intelligence Crown

December 21, 2015

The article titled IBM Watson Vs. Amazon: Machine Learning Systems Presage the Future on Datamation dukes it out between IBM’s famous supercomputer and the Amazon Web Services platform. Both are at the forefront of the industry, but which is best? Unsurprisingly, the article offers no definitive answer beyond: it depends what you are using them for. The article states,

“Amazon offers a simplified platform for developers who want to start working with machine learning without a lot of stress or specialized tools or investment… What IBM is trying to establish with the Watson analytics engine is not just storing and acquiring data, but taking all that information and doing something meaningful with it as an AI service or Intelligence as a Service.”

Jack Gold, Principal Analyst for J.Gold Associates, emphasizes that the larger point is that the AI technologies these two companies are competing to lead will shortly be much more far-spread due to the ever increasing amounts of data. The article also discusses some of the more exciting uses of Watson and Amazon. The former, through a company called Fluid, is being put to use in the retail industry relying on Watson’s ability to “read” customer personalities (with his handy personality matrix). Amazon Machine Learning, in the meanwhile, has recently been used for predictive modeling of job-cost estimates for insurance companies and builders.
Chelsea Kerwin, December 21, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

European ECommerce Search Vendors

December 7, 2015

I read “Suchfunktion: Mehr Treffer – mehr Umsatz. “ If you read German, you will learn about several eCommerce search solutions. These are:

  • Epoq Search
  • Exorbyte
  • Fact Finder
  • Findologic
  • SDL Fredhopper
  • Searchperience

Epoq Search, according to the firm’s Web site delivers error tolerant eCommerce search.

Exorbyte is an eCommerce search system which can also handle some enterprise search tasks.

Fact Finder, the best German search engine, according to the company’s Web site, delivers a new backend experience. You can learn more about this firm’s approach to eCommerce search at this link.

Findologic wants to have customers stop searching and find. The system’s features are described briefly at this link.

SDL Fredhopper. I have always liked the name Fredhopper. The system is now SDL eCommerce Optimization. Farewell, Fredhopper. You can learn about the system which is about 20 years old at this link. SDL is the translation outfit.

Searchperience is a cloud and eComerce search system. The system does “professional indexing.” More information is available at this link.

Why did I provide links? The reason is that the source article did not include links. The descriptions of the system are helpful, but the value of the write up pivots on companies not mentioned in the write ups about search originating in the US.

Stephen E Arnold, December 7, 2015

Apple App Store: Uber Where Are You?

December 5, 2015

Short honk: Navigate to the Apple iTunes app store. (Heads up! The link won’t work from this blog post.)  Plug in the query “Uber.” What do you get? No Uber app. To find the app, navigate to travel and scroll through the listings. I am not sure which giant vendors’ eCommerce search is worse: Apple’s, Amazon’s, or eBay’s. Nifty when a key word, which is the company’s name and the product name, are not in the search results listings. Very tasty.

Stephen E Arnold, December 5, 2015

A Bezos Style World Domination Video

December 4, 2015

Oh, 1999, what a year that was!  It was full of people afraid of Y2K, TV was still analog, email was still a novelty, and AOL still reigned as the supreme Web browser.  Nobody really knew what Amazon was as many people did their online shopping on individual Web sites or on eBay.  Recode takes a look at a video blast from the past in “Watch Jeff Bezos Lay Out His Grand Vision For Amazon’s Future Dominance In This 1999 Video.”

In 1999, Amazon was a four-year-old company with $1 billion in annual sales.  It started out primarily selling books, CDs, and movies.  The Jeff Bezos video is of a talk he gave at the Association of American Publishers annual meeting, it played on Book TV and nobody watches that, which it is why it probably has gone unnoticed for so long.  While it is a good retrospect about how the company has grown, it also offers some useful information for business entrepreneurs.  The entire video is fifty-five minutes long, but the article contains some of Bezos’s best quotes.  Our favorite is this one about favoring growth versus profits:

“Amazon.com is a famously unprofitable company. And the question is: Are we concerned about it? The answer is, in the short term, no; and in the long term, of course. Every company needs to be profitable at some point in time … Our strategy and we’ve consistently articulated this, is that we believe that this opportunity is so large that it would be a mistake for any management team not to invest in it very aggressively at this kind of critical category formation stage.  We don’t claim it’s the right strategy. We just claim it’s ours. But we do think it’s right. And that it would be a mistake to try to optimize for short-term profitability.”

Jeff Bezos’s advice about favoring growth versus short-term profit definitely worked for him.  Amazon is one of the world’s retailers and it is still growing.  It is set to dominate TV, software-as-a-surface, and air delivery.

 

Whitney Grace, December 4, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

Search and Apps: A Surprising Infographic

December 1, 2015

Let’s assume that the data in “A Survival Toolkit for the Planet of the Apps” is spot on. I draw this conclusion because the write up has a title which tickled by funny bone. Yep, I have one. One.

I did not know that 27 percent of mobile apps are located via a search engine. A surprising 52 percent are found via referrals. And the much maligned Web site pitching app? The company Web site sparks 24 percent of the app action.

The data appear in this graphic:

image

Apps are, it seems, the go to way to close deals. However, for apps which focus on selling things to consumer. The write up reports that 38 percent of the folks installing an app to buy something, uninstall the app once the product is ordered.

What does this mean for outfits like the Google? The in app search function will be useful, but the old fashioned Web site cannot be kicked to the curb yet.

Stephen E Arnold, December 1, 2015

Kmart Australia Faces Security Breach

November 30, 2015

Oracle’s Endeca and IBM’s Coremetrics were both caught up in a customer-data hack at Kmart Australia, we learn from “Customer Data Stolen in Kmart Australia Hack” at iTnews. Fortunately, it appears credit card numbers and other payment information were not compromised; just names, contact information, and purchase histories were snagged. It seems Kmart Australia’s choice to use a third party to process payments was a wise decision. The article states:

“The retailer uses ANZ Bank’s CyberSource payments gateway for credit card processing, and does not store the details internally. iTnews understands Kmart’s online ecommerce platform is built on IBM’s WebSphere Commerce software. The ecommerce solution also includes the Oracle Endeca enterprise data discovery platform and Coremetrics (also owned by IBM) digital marketing platform, iTnews understands.

The article goes on to report that Kmart Australia has created a new executive position, “head of online trading and customer experience.” Perhaps that choice will help the company avoid such problems in the future. It also notes that the retailer reported the breach voluntarily. Though such reporting is not yet mandatory in Australia, legislation to make it so is expected to be introduced before the end of the year.

Cynthia Murrell, November 30, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

MarkLogic Does Ecommerce

November 25, 2015

On their blog, MarkLogic announces they are “Eliminating Shopper Fatigue: Making Online Commerce Faster, More Accurate.” Anyone who has tried to shop online for a very particular item understands the frustration. Despite all the incentives to quickly serve up exactly what a customer is looking for, ecommerce sites still struggle with searches that get too specific. Writer (and MarkLogic chief marketing officer) Michaline Todd gives this example: A site that sells 652 different versions of a “screwdriver” returns zero results to the phrase “one-quarter-inch slotted magnetic screwdriver.” You know it must be there somewhere, but you have to comb through the 652 screwdriver entries to find it. That or give up and drive to the local hardware store, where a human will hook you up with exactly what you need. Good for local business, but bad for that ecommerce site.

Todd says the problem lies in traditional relational databases, upon which any eCommerce sites are built. These databases were not meant to handle unstructured data, like supplier-created product descriptions. She describes her company’s solution to the problem, which naturally includes MarkLogic’s NoSQL technology:

“The beauty of NoSQL is that it’s a schema-agnostic data model that ingests data in whatever its current form. Codifyd uses MarkLogic to quickly and reliably merge millions of data points from thousands of suppliers into a product catalogue for each of its clients. By gathering such fine-tuned information instantaneously, Codifyd recommends products matched to specific attributes in real time, increasing customer trust, loyalty and retention. This more precise information also allows retailers to bundle relevant product offers in a set, improving upselling and increasing the average order size. For example, a retailer can serve up the ‘one-quarter-inch slotted magnetic screwdriver’ the customers searched for as well as a toolkit that contains that particular screwdriver.”

Todd notes that Codifyd also dramatically speeds up the process of posting entries for new products, since unstructured data can be reproduced as-is. Launched in 2001, MarkLogic proudly declares that theirs is the only enterprise-level NoSQL platform in existence. The company is headquartered in San Carlos, California, and maintains offices around the world.

Cynthia Murrell, November 25, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

SLI H116 and Related Info Swizzles

November 13, 2015

I read an item produced by a research outfit called Edison. What’s interesting is that the “news” refers to SLI Systems, a New Zealand based outfit which sells eCommerce search software. The company has been going through some choppy water and has two new executives. One is a president, Chris Brennan. The more recent appointment is Martin Onofrio’s taking the job of Chief Revenue Officer. Prior to joining SLI, Mr. Onofrio was, according to the Edison news item, the chief revenue officer at Attensity. That’s one of the sentiment oriented content processing outfits. (Attensity has been a low profile outfit for a while.)

In that “report” from Edison which you can read at this link, I noted a reference to H116 revenue. The report did not explain what this type of revenue is. I did a quick search and learned that H116 does not seem to be a major revenue type. H116 is a type of aluminum, a motorized stepper, and a string of characters used by a number of different manufacturers.

After some thinking whilst listening to the Jive Five, I realized that Edison and SLI Systems are using H116 as a token for “revenues for the first half of fiscal 2016.” There you go.

Another write up adds this color, which I think the Edison experts could have recycled when they made clear what H116 means:

Revenue is forecast to rise to $17.3 million in the six months ending December 31 from $13.6 million a year earlier when sales accelerated at a 27% pace, the Christchurch-based company said in a statement.

Here’s the important part in my view:

The software developer missed its sales forecast for the second half of the 2015 year, and has hired Martin Onofrio as its new chief revenue officer to drive revenue growth.

A couple of quick thoughts before I go watch the mist rise from the mine drainage pond:

  1. SLI might want to make sure that its experts output “news” which is easy to understand
  2. Inclusion of revenue challenges is probably as important, if not more important, than opining about the future. The future is not yet here, so, like picking the winner of the Kentucky Derby, touts are different from which nag crosses the finish line first.
  3. Attensity, in my opinion, has faced its own revenue head winds. I wonder if a chief revenue officer can generate revenue in a world in which there are open source and low cost eCommerce search systems?

A word to Edison: Please, do not write to complain about my nagging about the H116 thing. You offer a two page report which is one page. What’s up with that? Friday the 13th bad luck or a standard work product?

Stephen E Arnold, November 13, 2015

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