Palantir Awaits a Decision on its US Army Matter

October 28, 2016

More information is available about the Palantir – US Army legal matter. You can find the write up at this link. The decision, according to Bloomberg, may arrive on Monday, October 31, 2016. Palantir awaits its trick or treat day.

Kenny Toth, October 28, 2016

Governance for Big Data. A Sure Fire Winner for Consultants

July 28, 2016

I read “What’s Next for Big Data Analytics?” I didn’t know the answer to this question, and I still don’t. The angle of attack is common sense. Companies with experience is dealing with digital information often have viewpoints different from the marketing collateral produced by their colleagues. This write up seems to fall in the category of Mr. Bush’s request, “Please, clap.”

The idea is that an organization has to have information policies. That sounds like consultant speak. Most organizations struggle to figure out what their company party policies are. Digital data policies are one of those tasks that senior managers allow others to wrestle to the ground and get a tap out.

The write up includes a number of diagrams. I highlighted this one:


The red area is the governance and management thing. Good luck with that. Companies need revenue. Big Data is supposed to deliver. If not, those policies and governance meeting minutes along with the consultants who billed big bucks for them are going to the shredder in my opinion.

Stephen E Arnold, July 28, 2016

MarkLogic: Not Much Information about DI2E on the MarkLogic Web Site

April 11, 2016

Short honk: I have been thinking about MarkLogic in the context of Palantir Technologies. The two companies are sort of pals. Both companies are playing the high stakes game for next generation augmented intelligence systems for the Department of Defense. Palantir’s approach has been to generate revenues from sales to the intelligence community. MarkLogic’s approach has been to ride on the Distributed Common Ground System which is now referenced in some non-Hunter circles as Di2E.

You can get a sense of what MarkLogic makes available by navigating to and running a query for DI2E or DCGS.

The Plugfest documents provide a snapshot of the vendors involved as of December 2015 in this project. Here’s a snippet from the unclassified set of slides “Plugfest Industry Day: Plugfest/Mashup 2016.”

palantir vs marklogic plugfest

What caught my attention is that Palantir, which has its roots in CIA-type thought processes, is in the same “industry partner” illustration as MarkLogic. I noticed that IBM (the DB2 folks) and Oracle (the one-time champion in database technology) are also “partners.”

The only hitch in this “plugfest” partnering deal is Palantir’s quite interesting AlphaDB innovation and the disclosure of data management systems and methods in US 2016/0085817, “System and Method for Investigating Large Amounts of Data”, an invention of the now not-so-secret Hobbits Geoffrey Stowe, Chris Fischer, Paul George, Eli Bingham, and Rosco Hill.

Palantir’s one-two punch is AtlasDB and its data management method. The reason I find this interesting is that MarkLogic is the NoSQL, XML, slice-and-dice advanced technology which some individuals find difficult to use. IBM and Oracle are decidedly old school.

MarkLogic may not publicize its involvement in DCGS/DI2E, but the revenue is important for MarkLogic and the other vendors in the “partnering” diagram. Palantir, however, has been diversifying with, from what I hear, considerable success.

MarkLogic is a Silicon Valley innovator which opened its doors in 2001. Yep, that’s 15 years ago. Palantir Technologies is the newer kid on the block. The company was set up in 2003, that 13 years ago. What I find interesting is that MarkLogic’s approach is looking a bit long in the tooth. Palantir’s approach is a bit more current, and its user experience is more friendly than wrestling with XQuery and its extensions.

What happens if Palantir becomes the plumbing for the DCGS/DI2E system? Perhaps IBM or Oracle will have to think about acquiring Palantir. With technology IPOs somewhat rare, Palantir stakeholders may find that thinking the unthinkable is attractive.

What happens if Palantir takes its commercial business into a separate company and then formulates a deal to sell only the high-vitamin augmented intelligence business? MarkLogic may be faced with some difficult choices. Simplifying its data management and query systems may be child’s play compared to figuring out what its future will be if either IBM or Oracle snap up the quite interesting Palantir technologies, particularly the database and data management systems.

Watch for my for-fee report about Palantir Technologies. There will be a discounted price for law enforcement and intelligence professionals and another price for those not engaged in these two disciplines. Expect the report in early summer 2016. A small segment of the Palantir special report will appear in the forthcoming “Dark Web Notebook”, which I referenced in the Singularity 1 on 1 interview in mid-March 2016. To reserve copies of either of these two new monographs, write benkent2020 at Yahoo dot com.

Stephen E Arnold, April 11, 2016

US Control of Internet Over

March 20, 2016

Short honk: I read “Quietly, Symbolically, US Control of the Internet Was Just Ended.” The write up explains that at a meeting in Morocco, people who run the “Internet’s naming and numbering system” have a plan

to end direct US government oversight control of administering the internet and commit permanently to a slightly mysterious model of global “multi-stakeholderism”.

What’s multi stakeholderism? I noted the reference to Snowden but multi stakeholderism?

Stephen E Arnold, March 20, 2016

Alphabet Spells Fiscal Controls

February 17, 2016

I read “Google’s Alphabet Poaches Intel Veteran Jim Campbell as Its First Controller.” My father was a controller at one time. He told me that he was not the most popular person at budget reviews. Gee, I thought he was lovable year round.

Here’s the passage I highlighted:

When speaking about the Alphabet reorg (particularly to Wall Street), the company’s execs have stressed that its intent was to instill tighter financial discipline around its various projects, particularly those outside of core Google, lumped on the balance sheet as Other Bets. “

I like the notion of investments as bets. I wonder if the controller will be able to reign the gambling losses as Google bets. I would bet on death remaining an unsolvable problem. Loon balloons? Pony up.

Stephen E Arnold, February 17, 2016

Photo Farming in the Early Days

November 9, 2015

Have you ever wondered what your town looked like while it was still urban and used as farmland?  Instead of having to visit your local historical society or library (although we do encourage you to do so), the United States Farm Security Administration and Office Of War Information (known as  FSA-OWI for short) developed Photogrammer.  Photogrammer is a Web-based image platform for organizing, viewing, and searching farm photos from 1935-1945.

Photogrammer uses an interactive map of the United States, where users can click on a state and then a city or county within it to see the photos from the timeline.  The archive contains over 170,000 photos, but only 90,000 have a geographic classification.  They have also been grouped by the photographer who took the photos, although it is limited to fifteen people.  Other than city, photographer, year, and month, the collection c,an be sorted by collection tags and lot numbers (although these are not discussed in much detail).

While farm photographs from 1935-1945 do not appear to need their own photographic database, the collection’s history is interesting:

“In order to build support for and justify government programs, the Historical Section set out to document America, often at her most vulnerable, and the successful administration of relief service. The Farm Security Administration—Office of War Information (FSA-OWI) produced some of the most iconic images of the Great Depression and World War II and included photographers such as Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and Arthur Rothstein who shaped the visual culture of the era both in its moment and in American memory. Unit photographers were sent across the country. The negatives were sent to Washington, DC. The growing collection came to be known as “The File.” With the United State’s entry into WWII, the unit moved into the Office of War Information and the collection became known as the FSA-OWI File.”

While the photos do have historical importance, rather than creating a separate database with its small flaws, it would be more useful if it was incorporated into a larger historical archive, like the Library of Congress, instead of making it a pet project.

Whitney Grace, November 9, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

ZL Technologies: From Ziplip to Enterprise Search

November 5, 2015

Ziplip opened for business in 1999. That works out to 16 years ago. I looked at the company’s archiving technology when I did a comparison between Ziplip and Index Engines, an outfit which has some tendrils originating at the post Judge Green Bell Labs.

I took another look at Ziplip, respoitio0ned as ZL Technologies, in 2009. ZL had a bone to pick with a mid tier consulting firm. Complaining about mid tier consulting firms, their approach to analysis, and the business models is a game some vendors play. The vendor believes it should be a highly rated, but the vendors gets low marks. Aggrieved the vendor complains about the mid tier consulting firm.

I thought about ZL when I read this item, “ZL Technologies to Establish the ROI of Information Governance at Enterprise Search and Discovery Conference 2015.” What I found interesting is that Ziplip has allegedly solved a problem which has given headaches to licensees of search and content processing systems; namely, laying out a method for calculating “true ROI.” I assume that regular MBA ROI is not going to do the job. Hence, we have the “true value” angle.

This paragraph caught my attention as well:

For enterprise-scale organizations, the difficulty in calculating true numerical ROI for data management initiatives has traditionally posed a major roadblock to planning and securing funding for governance architecture. This has been especially true for firms driven by quarterly performance; given specific requirements and constrained budget, this has often resulted in an ad hoc “point solution” approach, spawning multiple data silos and paradoxically increasing the overall long-term cost of information governance. The session hosted by ZL Technologies takes a strategic approach to calculating true ROI, examining oft-neglected factors and broad interdepartmental benefits of holistic governance practices.

I am old fashioned and think that ROI can be a slippery fish. Here’s a basic definition:

A profitability measure that evaluates the performance of a business by dividing net profit by net worth .

The key seems to be how one captures cost, converts the fuzzy notions into more numbers, and then using a mathematical procedure baked into Excel. Hey, it’s not perfect, but it is close enough for horses shoes.

The key, of course, is the assumptions for the calculation, the process for capturing and verifying the data, and the methodology to pin down the “worth” and “value” generalities. In short, spending money on search requires that a wide range of direct and indirect costs be captures, diligence to ensure that downstream costs are collected, and that the assumptions line up with the numerical recipe.

What has baffled me about ZLTech’s approach is that the approach is based on “information governance.” I don’t know what that means. Furthermore, I am not sure how an archive converts to enterprise search. What happens to the social media, the videos, and the images.

My hunch is that ZL is mounting a marketing campaign and using as many buzzwords as possible. Will MBA classes embrace the ZL approach to “true worth”?

Nope. After 16 years, a revolutionary value method has had plenty of time to filter into the mainstream of ROI methodology.

Stephen E Arnold, November 5, 2015

Google to the French: Wrong to Be Forgotten

July 31, 2015

i read “Google Says Non to French Demand to Expand Right to Be Forgotten Worldwide.” When third parties want the GOOG to do something, those suggestions face headwinds. It is okay for the Google to terminate unused Gmail accounts. It is okay for the Google to nuke APIs. It is okay for the Google to deliver “relevant” results which are beyond the statistical embrace of precision and recall analyses.

But when a third party wants to be forgotten? According to the write up from the increasingly anti Google folks in the UK, I learned:

Google has rejected the French data protection authority’s demand that it censor search results worldwide in order to comply with the European Court of Justice’s so-called right to be forgotten ruling. The company’s rejection of the ruling could see its French subsidiary facing daily fines, although no explicit sanction has yet been declared.

The write up also reminded me of Google’s official view of third party requests to be forgotten:

In a blog post, Peter Fleischer, Google’s Global Privacy Counsel, said: “We believe this order is disproportionate and unnecessary, given that the overwhelming majority of French internet users – currently around 97% – access a European version of Google’s search engine like, rather than or any other version of Google.” Additionally, Fleischer added, the company is concerned that complying with the French courts could potentially set a precedent that one country’s laws can control access to content globally.

My hunch is that Google wants its policies and procedures applied globally. Google has suggested that some nation states alter their behavior to better mesh with the Googley universe.

Standing by for more Google vs. France dust ups.

Stephen E Arnold, July 31, 2015

SharePoint Gets Serious with Information Governance

March 19, 2015

SharePoint has enjoyed continued success over the last 15 years, but it has not been without some bumps along the way. Information governance is one of the noted areas in which Share has fallen flat. Read more in the CMS Wire article, “Keeping SharePoint In Check with Information Governance.”

The article begins:

“Historically, SharePoint was thought to cause as many information governance problems as it solved. The 2001 to 2003 versions did not show Microsoft putting much effort into helping customers with information governance. But after the massive take up of SharePoint Portal Server 2007 licenses, and the often negative conversations coming out of the sizable SharePoint user community, Microsoft started to take governance issues seriously.”

In addition to keep an eye on your news feed for the latest SharePoint buzz, staying tuned to experts in the field is a great way to save time and get pointed information pertaining to improving a SharePoint installation. Stephen E. Arnold has one such SharePoint feed on his Web site, Focusing on tips, tricks, and news, Arnold collocates much of content that users and managers alike will find helpful for navigating day-to-day SharePoint operations.

Emily Rae Aldridge, March 19, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at

Hewlett Packard: The Dodge Em Method

February 27, 2015

I read an interesting article called “Hewlett Packard Tries to Duck Investors with Virtual Meeting.” I thought it was hip to do meetings via Skype and the plug in on my Web site. Guess not.

The write up makes a point that I don’t consider when firing up the tele-meeting software. Here’s the passage I noted:

Hewlett Packard’s recent decision to ditch its annual shareholder meeting in favor of a virtual one is just bad corporate governance. The forum gives ordinary shareholders their one chance each year to directly question and even confront the CEO and board of directors. And when it comes to HP, investors should be asking plenty of questions.

Ah, corporate governance. I thought this was an area reserved for Wharton business school instructors. You know, Wharton, one of the fonts of management perspicuity for eager consultants and CEOs to be. (I wonder what “governance” means: Good decision making, prudent use of financial resources, innovating, generating sustainable revenue?)

The article points out the MBA type reasoning that HP management seems to be using. There’s a reference to the Autonomy flap, cost savings, and, of course, the somewhat lackluster financial performance.

I don’t agree with this statement:

Under Whitman, a former eBay CEO, HP has stabilized.

Like IBM, these large “information technology” companies are a bit like a whale stuck in a small bay. Everyone arrives to help, but in most cases, there is not much to be done. A confused whale is pretty much a challenge for everyone involved. When a whale thrashes before its death, I want to be standing well away from the creature.

I suppose that’s why I am confused about what HP is doing with the Autonomy technology. Some of the zeros and ones date from the mid 1990s. I don’t drive a 25 year old automobile. HP apparently plans to sell some.

Stephen E Arnold, February 27, 2015

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