Pavlovian Marketing: The Automated Business Intelligence Engine

May 22, 2019

If you are following the rapid evolution of smart marketing systems, you will want to keep your eye on Trial Run Media. The company offers consumers free trials like toothpaste linked to automatic data collection. The consumer’s behavior informs the monitor what’s of interest. Then the monitor can push ads and similar offers to the consumer.

The approach is explained in “World’s First Automated Business Intelligence Engines That Offer On-Demand Marketing.” The approach is explained this way:

With Trial Run, consumers are in charge of the marketing experience. They choose the ‘content’ – a free sample of the brand they want to try – by entering a campaign URL into the browser of their smartphones. They are then prompted to enter their name and cell phone number, after which, they effortlessly receive a code to enter into ABIE’s keypad to release the sample.

One of Trial Run’s founders allegedly said:

“When someone has chosen to try your brand, they want to hear your brand story and with Trial Run the possibilities are endless – you can share videos, you can chat in real-time, you can invite consumers to events and even direct them to your online store in the moment when they have your brand in their hand.”

Imagine how useful the system would be, assuming it works well, if harnessed to information.The company’s Web site is Note that there is a  “fractal analytics” company with a similar name. These could be easily confused.

Stephen E Arnold, May 22, 2019

Arolsen Archives

May 22, 2019

Documents from concentration camps have been expanded. The Arolsen Archive (the new name of the International Tracing Service) makes available 13 million pertaining to more than two million people, according to the Daily Beast (Newsweek). This is the “the world’s most comprehensive archive on the Holocaust’s victims and survivors.” You can explore the collection at this link.

Stephen E Arnold, May 22, 2019

IBM Watson Studio: Watson, Will It Generate Big Revenue?

May 22, 2019

Despite its troubles, Watson lives on. ZDNet reports, “IBM Updates Watson Studio.” The AI-model-building platform relies on Watson’s famous machine learning technology and can deploy its models to either onsite data centers or in the cloud. Writer Stephanie Condon specifies:

“Watson Studio 2.0 includes a range of new features, starting with data preparation and exploration. For data exploration, IBM is adding 43 data connectors like Dropbox, Salesforce, Tableau and Looker. It’s also adding an Asset Browser experience to navigate through Schemas, Tables and Objects. For refining data, there are new tools for previewing and visualizing data. For running analytics where your data lives and to leverage existing compute, IBM has enhanced Watson Studio’s integrations with Hadoop Distributions (CDH and HDP). Watson Studio 2.0 also now includes built-in batch and evaluation job management for Python/R scripts, SPSS streams and Data Refinery Flows. There’s a new collaborative interface, similar to Slack, to the Jupyter Notebook integration. Version 2.0 also lets scientists import open source packages or libraries.”

We’re also told support for your major GIT frameworks: Github, Github enterprise, Bitbucket and Bitbucket Server. This release is in line with IBM’s goal, stated earlier this year, of making all of its Watson tech available to multiple cloud platforms. These applications, dev tools, and models now make their home under the IBM Cloud Private for Data. Back to the question in the headline. The answer, stakeholders hope, is “Yes.” For those with less optimism, the answer may be, “Probably not.”

Cynthia Murrell, May 22, 2019

Factualities for May 22, 2019

May 22, 2019

Ah, the beauty, the power, the allure of numbers. Remember. Every number has a person behind it. Within that person may be mathematical and other skills. Do round numbers make you suspicious?

$2.5 billion. Size of cloud gaming market in 2023. Source: Venture Beat

414,000,000. Number of pieces of plastic scientists “found” on a remote island. Source: Live Science

95 percent. The decline in activist hacking. Source: Engadget

69 percent. The increase in Web site and hacking. Source: Dark Reading

380. Number of submarine cables. 100. Number of submarine cables in the control of Huawei. Source: Axios

483,300. Number of shares of Amazon Warren Buffet owns. Source: Business Insider

735,000. Number of fraudulently obtained IP addresses revoked. Source: CircleID

4,629. Number of organized crime groups in the UK. Source: The Guardian

2038. The year in which electric vehicles overtake gasoline powered cars. Source: Quartz

51 percent. The percentage of marketers who think they are sending low value content. Source: Search Engine Journal

5. Number of hacker services which actually took action from a pool of 27 black hatters. Source: ZDNet

3 percent. Percentage of Americans who can pass a basic security test. Source: Dark Reading

100 percent. The security of a Google account with an attached mobile phone number. Only bots thwarted. Source: ZDNet

Stephen E Arnold, May 22, 2019

How to Pronounce CLTRe

May 21, 2019

DarkCyber was able to figure out how to say the name “KnowBe4.” This company is in the cyber security business and it obviously offers technology which can let a person “know before” something bad happens and take appropriate remediation steps.

KnowBe4 purchased a company named “CLTRe.” Here’s the question:

How does one pronounce “CLTRe”? The problem is similar to figuring out what the letters of a vanity license plate “mean”.

Here’s an easy one:

Image result for vanity license plate

What about this?

Image result for vanity license plate

Okay, back to the problem: CLTRe.

The answer appears in “KnowBe4 to Acquire Norwegian Assessment Company CLTRe.”

The word is “culture.”

The business of CLTRe is to measure clients’ security preparedness.

According to the article:

KnowBe4 currently is integrating the CLTRe assessments into its platform, and does not plan to change its pricing as a result of the deal.

We also noted this statement:

This deal marks only the latest cybersecurity merger or acquisition in an industry that analysts predict will only continue to consolidate. The data backup service Carbonite in February acquired Webroot, and some $3 billion of investors’ dollars has been pumped into the industry so far this year…

Will KnowBe4 retain the name of the company it just acquired?

WDKBWHN. This means “we don’t know but we hope not.

Stephen E Arnold, May 21, 2019

15 Reasons You Need Business Intelligence Software

May 21, 2019

I read StrategyDriven’s “The Importance of Business Intelligence Software and Why It’s Integral for Business Success.” I found the laundry list interesting, but I asked myself, “If BI software is so important, why is it necessary to provide 15 reasons?”

I went through the list of items a couple of times.Some of the reasons struck me as a bit of a stretch. I had a teacher at the University of Illinois who loved the phrase “a bit of a stretch, right” when a graduate student proposed a wild and crazy hypothesis or drew a nutsy conclusion from data.

Let’s look at four of these reasons and see if there’s merit to my skepticism about delivering fish to a busy manager when the person wanted a fish sandwich.

Reason 1: Better business decisions. Really? If a BI system outputs data to a clueless person or uses flawed, incomplete, or stale data to present an output to a bright person, are better business decisions an outcome? In my experience, nope.

Reason 6. Accurate decision making. What the human does with the outputs is likely to result in a decision. That’s true. But accurate? Too many variables exist to create a one to one correlation with the assertion and what happens in a decider’s head or among a group of deciders who get together to figure out what to do. Example: Google has data. Google decided to pay a person accused of improper behavior millions of dollars. Accurate decision making? I suppose it depends on one’s point of view.

Reason 11. Reduced cost. I am confident when I say, “Most companies do not calculate or have the ability to assemble the information needed to produce fully loaded costs.” Consequently, the cost of a BI system is not the license fee. There are the associated directs and indirects. And when a decision from the BI system is wrong, there are some other costs as well. How are Facebook’s eDiscovery systems generating a payback today? Facebook has data, but the costs of its eDiscovery systems are not known, nor does anyone care as the legal hassles continue to flood the company’s executive suite.

Reason 13. High quality data. Whoa, hold your horses. The data cost is an issue in virtually every company with which I have experience. No one wants to invest to make certain that the information is complete, accurate, up to date, and maintained (indexed accurately and put in a consistent format). This is a pretty crazy assertion about BI when there is no guarantee that the data fed into the system is representative, comprehensive, accurate, and fresh.

Business intelligence is a tool. Use of a BI system does not generate guaranteed outcomes.

Stephen E Arnold, May 21, 2019

DarkCyber for May 21, 2019, Now Available

May 21, 2019

DarkCyber for May 21, 2019, is now available at and on Vimeo at

The program is a production of Stephen E Arnold. It is the only weekly video news shows focusing on the Dark Web, cybercrime, and lesser known Internet services.

This week’s story line up includes: A new version of Tor; digital bits trigger bombs; highlights from the FBI’s 2018 Cyber Crime Report; more details about the Wall Street Market take down; DeepDotWeb seized; Telegram used to sell weapons; and the size of the Dark Web.

This week’s feature provides more details about the take down of the Dark Web contraband ecommerce site, Wall Street Market. DarkCyber reports that the operation involved law enforcement from several countries, including Germany and the US. One moderator of the site initiated a blackmail scheme as law enforcement prepared to seize the site’s servers and arrest its owners. As part of the takedown, providers of drugs were arrested in the US. The take down revealed millions in cash and digital currency accounts worth more than $14 million. Investigators also seized data and other information, including customer details.

Other stories covered in the May 21, 2019, DarkCyber video include:

First, information about the new release of the Tor software bundle. Firefox is used as the base for the Tor browser. Technical issues with Firefox required some scrambling to address technical issues. The new release is available on the Web site. DarkCyber points out that in some countries, downloading Tor is interpreted as an indicator of possible ill intent.

Second, a cyber attack on Israel prompted a kinetic response. The incident marks the first time Israel has responded to an act it regarded as information warfare with a missile strike on the alleged perpetrators’ headquarters. DarkCyber points out that the US may have used force in response to an adversary’s leaking classified and sensitive information on a public Web site. The use of traditional weapons in response to a digital attack is a behavior to monitor.

Third, DarkCyber selects several highlights from the FBI’s report about cyber crime in 2018. Among the key points identified is the data about the most common types of online crime. Most attacks make use of email and use social engineering to obtain personal financial information or user name and password data. The FBI report verifies data from other sources about the risks associated with email, specifically enticing an email recipient into downloading a document with malware or clicking on a link that leads to a spoofed page; for example, a PayPal page operated by the attacker, not the legitimate company. DarkCyber provides information about how to obtain this government report.

Fourth, an international team of law enforcement professionals seized the Sheepdog, an online information service. This site was accessible using a standard browser, no Tor or i2p software was required. The site referred its visitors to Dark Web sites selling drugs and other contraband. The seizure is an indication that Europol, FBI, and other law enforcement agencies are expanding their activities to curtail illegal eCommerce.

Fifth, DarkCyber explains that a story about bad actors using Telegram, an encrypted messaging app, to sell weapons should be viewed with caution. The story originated with a report from MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute. The organization was founded by a former Israeli intelligence offer and has been identified as an organization generating content which may have characteristics of disinformation. DarkCyber provides a link to the MEMRI organization to make it easy for viewers to follow its information stream.

The final story reports that another vendor has sized the scope of the Dark Web. The most recent size estimate comes from Recorded Future. The company reports that it was able to identify 55,000 Dark Web domains. Of that number, only about 8,400 are online. DarkCyber notes that of the active site, a relatively few sites dominate illegal eCommerce, sharing of sensitive information, and other questionable services.

DarkCyber appears each Tuesday and is available on YouTube, Vimeo, and directly from the DarkCyber news service.

Kenny Toth, May 21, 2019

Mayochup: Why Machine Translation Can Let You Down

May 20, 2019

Short honk: DarkCyber spotted a story about “mayochup.” The word’s origin is Kraft Heinz. According to The Star:

Kraft Heinz has acknowledged an “unfortunate translation” of its latest buzzy condiment of pre-mixed mayonnaise-ketchup that has reached Canada. Mayochup, which was a crowd-sourced name, can mean something entirely different in some Cree dialects, according to linguists and Cree-speakers.

The newspaper did not spell out the translation of the Cree word. That’s okay. Google did not recognize the word, preferring to render the translation as “mayochup.” Helpful.

Is this important? To the Cree, yes. To Heinz Kraft, probably because it will cost real money to deal with the PR problem. For users of automated translation systems, if the word is a new one, the translation won’t reflect the actual meaning.

That means some high flying technologists will be mayochuped.

Stephen E Arnold, May 20, 2019

Forcing China to Fill the Google Gap

May 20, 2019

I read the Reuters’ exclusive “Google Suspends Some Business with Huawei after Trump Blacklist – source.” The news story presents some information which on the surface is interesting. Google allegedly has “suspended business with Huawei.” There is a caveat; namely, “except those publicly available via open source licensing.” Huawei mobile phone users can chug along for now. Reuters quotes an unnamed source in the rich tradition of “real news.” The source allegedly said:

“Huawei will only be able to use the public version of Android and will not be able to get access to proprietary apps and services from Google.

The number of blog posts and “real” news stories about this Google move is intriguing. Most of these follow the standard impact on business, what about the users, and whither Android lines.

My thought is that innovation often is a result of adversity. If I narrow my focus to topics related to intelligence analysis and a bit of the lawlful intercept activity, this development could have some unintended consequences. Put aside fears of more industrial espionage, hassling of Google and other US firms as a retaliatory measure, and the grousing of US companies faced with losing Huawei and its suppliers as customers.

Chinese engineers may turn their attention from reasonably effective facial recognition and surveillance systems to the job of moving beyond Google’s technology, creating parallels for some US technologies, and innovating in ways to lock out prying eyes from certain types of data transmissions.

The thrill of making life difficult for Huawei and demonstrating that Google is on board with US trade policies may be short lived. Maybe China moves some of its more interesting technology into the “Google gap”? Perhaps China steps up the for functionalities no longer easily available? What if China finds a way to shut certain mechanisms for monitoring information shoved around by Huawei and other Chinese vendors’ equipment?

The unintended consequence is that the US and possibly some of its allies will be forced to become more technologically innovative.

The big question for me is: “What if this is the turning point for Chinese technology?” China could force the US to become makers of buggy whips and seat covers for the new communication vehicles which may come down the information superhighway.

That’s a big and unintended consequence to consider in my opinion.

Stephen E Arnold, May 20, 2019

Microsoft and Misconduct

May 20, 2019

Microsoft acknowledges it has a problem with workplace misconduct, and is dedicating resources to get to the bottom of it. Quartz reports, “Microsoft Is Tripling the Size of its Team Investigating Workplace Misconduct.” Since March 2019, the company has been coping with reports of harassment and discrimination that were first expressed on their internal message board. Within a week of those reports, some preliminary changes were implemented, including increased manager training and a promise of more data transparency. Writer Dave Gershgorn tells us:

“Microsoft’s head of HR, Kathleen Hogan, told employees she had met with 100 men and women who have come forward about misconduct inside the company, a number Microsoft confirmed to Quartz. Hogan will focus on reforming five areas of internal culture: behavior, manager expectations, investigations, accountability, and data transparency. Each of those areas was also mentioned in a letter Nadella sent to Microsoft employees last month. Microsoft chief legal officer Brad Smith also told employees that the company is expanding its Corporate, External, & Legal Affairs (CELA) team, which investigates these matters, from 7 people to 23. The senior leadership team (SLT) now meets every week about this topic, employees were told, though a Microsoft representative notes that company culture has long been a staple of the weekly SLT meetings.”

Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella allegedly said: “I want people to point out my flaws.”

Admitting there is a problem and making an effort to fix it is often the wisest course. We shall see where Microsoft takes it from here.

Cynthia Murrell, May 20, 2019

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