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Smart Software List

May 3, 2016

If you are looking for lists of “smart software”, you may want to check out the G6G Web site. There are a number of listings for medical related artificial intelligence solutions. The Bayesian Network Systems includes more than 20 vendors. I noticed that HP Autonomy was not listed. The full list is accessible at this G6G link. How quickly will a mid tier consulting firm download the list, sell “coverage”, and recycle this collection? Pretty quickly I surmise.

Stephen E Arnold,  May 3, 2016

Google Relies on Freebase Machine ID Numbers to Label Images in Knowledge Graph

May 3, 2016

The article on Seo by the Sea titled Image Search and Trends in Google Search Using FreeBase Entity Numbers explains the transformation occurring at Google around Freebase Machine ID numbers. Image searching is a complicated business when it comes to differentiating labels. Instead of text strings, Google’s Knowledge Graph is based in Freebase entities, which are able to uniquely evaluate images- without language. The article explains with a quote from Chuck Rosenberg,

An entity is a way to uniquely identify something in a language-independent way. In English when we encounter the word “jaguar”, it is hard to determine if it represents the animal or the car manufacturer. Entities assign a unique ID to each, removing that ambiguity, in this case “/m/0449p” for the former and “/m/012×34” for the latter.”

Metadata is wonderful stuff, isn’t it? The article concludes by crediting Barbara Starr, a co-administrator of the Lotico San Diego Semantic Web Meetup, with noticing that the Machine ID numbers assigned to Freebase entities now appear in Google Trend’s URLs. Google Trends is a public web facility that enables an exploration of the hive mind by showing what people are currently searching. The Wednesday that President Obama nominated a new Supreme Court Justice, for example, had the top search as Merrick Garland.

 

Chelsea Kerwin, May 3, 2016

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Be the CIA Librarian

May 3, 2016

Research is a vital tool for the US government, especially the Central Intelligence Agency which is why they employee librarians.  The Central Intelligence Agency is one of the main forces of the US Intelligence Community, focused on gathering information for the President and the Cabinet.  The CIA is also the topic of much fictionalized speculation in stories, mostly spy and law enforcement dramas.  Having played an important part in the United States history, could you imagine the files in its archives?

If you have a penchant for information, the US government, and a library degree then maybe you should apply to the CIA’s current job opening: as a CIA librarian.  CNN Money explains one of the perks of the job is its salary: “The CIA Is Hiring…A $100,000 Librarian.”  Beyond the great salary, which CNN is quick to point out is more than the typical family income.  Librarians server as more than people who recommend decent books to read, they serve as an entry point for research and bridge the gap between understanding knowledge and applying it in the actual field.

“In addition to the cachet of working at the CIA, ‘librarians also have opportunities to serve as embedded, or forward deployed, information experts in CIA offices and select Intelligence Community agencies.’  Translation: There may be some James Bond-like opportunities if you want them.”

Most of this librarian’s job duties will probably be assisting agents with tracking down information related to intelligence missions and interpreting it.  It is just a guess, however.  Who knows, maybe the standard CIA agent touts a gun to the stacks?

 

Whitney Grace, May 3, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

IBM: Revenue Continues to Decline

May 2, 2016

I understand the appeal of marketing. Sitting in a room with bright young people, conjuring images of “to be” products, and using Excel’s built in functions to build revenue confections—the sport of MBAs.

I read “IBM Reports Worst Revenue In 14 Years, Shares Slide.” I know I have highlighting the antics of the IBM Watson unit. How can I ignore a TV game show win, a recipe book, and assorted partnerships designed to make IBM the money machine it was in years of yore?

Right here in my office I operated the Threat Open Source Intelligence Gateway on IBM servers. I recall with fondness the eight drive DASDs, the multiple CPUs, and the redundant power supplies. I bought my Movin Cool Classic 14 to knock the room temperature to a pleasant 70 degrees. Ah, the noise. Ah, the joy of a $750 minimum roll charge when the Serveraid software nuked a SCSI set up. I loved IBM.

The shift at the company has done little to renew my faith in the firm’s ability to generate solid revenue and a bounty for stakeholders. I learned in the write up:

International Business Machines Corp reported its worst quarterly revenue in 14 years as results from newer businesses including cloud and mobile computing failed to offset declines in its traditional businesses, sending shares down nearly 5 percent in extended trading. Revenue of the world’s largest technology services company fell 4.6 percent to $18.68 billion in the first quarter, but beat analysts’ average estimate of $18.29 billion. It was the 16th straight quarter of revenue decline for IBM.

Yep, 16 consecutive quarters of revenue decline.

Seems like a trend. What is clear is that the company will continue to promote products and services which have yet to have a significant impact on IBM revenues. What if IBM has asked its “cognitive” system Watson what to do? What if IBM is implementing IBM Watson’s ideas? What if IBM Watson does not work? Will IBM marketers will respond with more partnerships and cook books.

Stephen E Arnold,  May 2, 2016

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 ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Out of the Shadows and into the OpenBazaar

May 2, 2016

If you believe the Dark Web was destroyed when Silk Road went offline, think again!  The Dark Web has roots like a surface weed, when one root remains there are dozens (or in this case millions) more to keep the weed growing.  Tech Insider reports that OpenBazaar now occupies the space Silk Road vacated, “A Lawless And Shadowy New Corner Of The Internet Is About TO Go Online.”

OpenBazaar is described as a decentralized and uncensored online marketplace where people can sell anything without the fuzz breathing down their necks. Brian Hoffman and his crew had worked on it since 2014 when Amir Taaki thought it up.  It works similar to eBay and Etsy as a peer-to-peer market, but instead of hard currency it uses bitcoin.  Since it is decentralized, it will be near impossible to take offline, unlike Silk Road.  Hoffman took over the project from Taaki and after $1 million from tech venture capital firms the testnet is live.

“There’s now a functioning version of OpenBazaar running on the “testnet.” This is a kind of open beta that anyone can download and run, but it uses “testnet bitcoin” — a “fake” version of the digital currency for running tests that doesn’t have any real value. It means the developer team can test out the software with a larger audience and iron out the bugs without any real risk.” If people lose their money it’s just a horrible idea,” Hoffman told Business Insider.”

A new user signs up for the OpenBazaar testnet every two minutes and Hoffman hopes to find all the bugs before the public launch.  Hoffman once wanted to run the next generation digital black market, but now he is advertising it as a new Etsy.  The lack of central authority means lower take rates or the fees sellers incur for selling on the site.  Hoffman says it will be good competition for online marketplaces because it will force peer-to-peer services like eBay and Etsy find new ways to add value-added services instead of raising fees on customers.

 

Whitney Grace, May 2, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

A Partnership or a Sale for Gartner

May 1, 2016

I read an article that confused me. Its title is “Mirum Partners with Forrester to Help Brands Compete with Disruptors like Airbnb and Alibaba.” Forrester is a mid tier consulting firm. The outfit lights up my radar with the lightning over waves and the confusion of blobs in its analyses.

Mirum, on the other hand, is a “global digital agency.” This evokes images in my mind of ad professionals on the beach in Half Moon Bay watching videographers shoot footage of people riding horses through the surf in an inspired attempt to sell a consumer product. Mirum tells me “never to lose my sense of wonder.” Okay. Noted.

Now back to the write up.

Both Forrester and Mirum provide services to other organizations. That means both are consultants moving information around for money. That’s a noble pursuit, but the question is, “Who is paying whom?” Did Forrester sell consulting to Mirum? Did Mirum sell consulting to Forrester? Are both just teaming up in order to pump up their revenues with the idea that a small B&B in Camden, Maine, can compete with Airbnb?

I learned:

J. Walter Thompson digital agency Mirum in APAC has announced that it’s bringing on board Forrester’s Digital Maturity Assessment Tool. The agency believes using the tool will help support its work in trying to help more traditional brands modernize and digitize their businesses, in order to better compete against the new breed of disruptors like Airbnb and Uber.

Ah, ha. A tool. And for which prospects? The answer is Asian markets. Too bad for the B&B in Camden.

My hunch is that Forrester has a service and Mirum is going to try to sell it. I further assume that if and when Mirum makes some sales, both Mirum and Forrester will chop off some of the prime rib.

Why doesn’t Forrester market its own products? Why does Forrester use blobs instead of hard analytics in its gentle waves? From Harrod’s Creek, it appears that making sales directly might be too hard for the mid tier folks. Hence, a partnership.

Stephen E Arnold, May 1, 2016

An Open Source Search Engine to Experiment With

May 1, 2016

Apache Lucene receives the most headlines when it comes to discussion about open source search software.  My RSS feed pulled up another open source search engine that shows promise in being a decent piece of software.  Open Semantic Search is free software that cane be uses for text mining, analytics, a search engine, data explorer, and other research tools.  It is based on Elasticsearch/Apache Solrs’ open source enterprise search.  It was designed with open standards and with a robust semantic search.

As with any open source search, it can be programmed with numerous features based on the user’s preference.  These include, tagging, annotation, varying file format support, multiple data sources support, data visualization, newsfeeds, automatic text recognition, faceted search, interactive filters, and more.  It has the benefit that it can be programmed for mobile platforms, metadata management, and file system monitoring.

Open Semantic Search is described as

“Research tools for easier searching, analytics, data enrichment & text mining of heterogeneous and large document sets with free software on your own computer or server.”

While its base code is derived from Apache Lucene, it takes the original product and builds something better.  Proprietary software is an expense dubbed a necessary evil if you work in a large company.  If, however, you are a programmer and have the time to develop your own search engine and analytics software, do it.  It could be even turn out better than the proprietary stuff.

 

Whitney Grace, May 1, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Google and Reliability Engineering

April 30, 2016

There’s a new book about Google SRE. You can find some information about it at this link. In order to understand how the real world works, you may want to navigate to “Google Cloud Status.” The write up explains why “On Monday, 11 April, 2016, Google Compute Engine instances in all regions lost external connectivity for a total of 18 minutes, from 19:09 to 19:27 Pacific Time.” Good news. According to this article “Google Blames Two Bugs for 18 minute Global Comute Engine Outage,”

Benjamin Treynor Sloss, Google’s vice president of engineering, explained on the Google Cloud Status blog that a “timing quirk” in the IP block’s removal occurred when the engineers tried to spread out the new configuration for Compute Engine.

A Google wizard is quoted in the article as saying:

We will conduct an internal investigation and make appropriate improvements to our systems to prevent or minimise future recurrence.”

I assume that the pertinent section of the forthcoming book was not available to the Googlers with their fingertips on the keyboard prior to the outage. Books are one thing; site reliability in the real world is apparently another.

Stephen E Arnold, April 30, 2016

Watson Joins the Hilton Family

April 30, 2016

It looks like Paris Hilton might have a new sibling, although the conversations at family gatherings will be lackluster.  No, the hotel-chain family has not adopted Watson, instead a version of the artificial intelligence will work as a concierge.  Ars Technica informs us that “IBM Watson Now Powers A Hilton Hotel Robot Concierge.”

The Hilton McLean hotel in Virginia now has a now concierge dubbed Connie, after Conrad Hilton the chain’s founder.  Connie is housed in a Nao, a French-made android that is an affordable customer relations platform.  Its brain is based on Watson’s program and answers verbal queries from a WayBlazer database.  The little robot assists guests by explaining how to navigate the hotel, find restaurants, and tourist attractions.  It is unable to check in guests yet, but when the concierge station is busy, you do not want to pull out your smartphone, or have any human interaction it is a good substitute.

” ‘This project with Hilton and WayBlazer represents an important shift in human-machine interaction, enabled by the embodiment of Watson’s cognitive computing,’ Rob High, chief technology officer of Watson said in a statement. ‘Watson helps Connie understand and respond naturally to the needs and interests of Hilton’s guests—which is an experience that’s particularly powerful in a hospitality setting, where it can lead to deeper guest engagement.’”

Asia already uses robots in service industries such as hotels and restaurants.  It is worrying that Connie-like robots could replace people in these jobs.  Robots are supposed to augment human life instead of taking jobs away from it.  While Connie-like robots will have a major impact on the industry, there is something to be said for genuine human interaction, which usually is the preference over artificial intelligence.  Maybe team the robots with humans in the service industries for the best all around care?

 

Whitney Grace, April 30, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

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