Cyber OSINT Surprise: Digital Reasoning

December 19, 2014

I read “Machine Learning Can Help Sift Open Source Intelligence.” I found one familiar name, Basis Technologies. I found one established vendor, Opera Solutions, and I noted one company that has a content processing system. In the run up to the February 19, 2014, Cyber OSINT conference, Basis Technologies pointed out that it was not really into cyber OSINT at least on February 19, 2014. Opera Solutions is interesting and was on the list of 20 firms to invite. We filled the 12 slots quickly. Some deserving companies could not be included. Then there is Digital Reasoning, an outfit in Nashville, Tennessee.

The write up says:

The company’s cognitive computing platform, dubbed Synthesys, scans unstructured open source data to highlight relevant people, places, organizations, events and other facts. It relies on natural language processing along with what the company calls “entity and fact extraction.” Applying “key indicators” and a framework, the platform is intended to automate the process of deriving intelligence from open source data, the company claims. The platform then attempts to assemble and organize relevant unstructured data using similarity algorithms, categorization and “entity resolution.”

The idea which unifies these three companies appears to be fancy math; that is, the use of statistical procedures to resolve issues associated with content processing.

The only hitch in the git along is that the companies that appear to be making the quickest strides in cyber OSINT use hybrid approaches. The idea is that statistical systems and methods are used. These are supplemented with various linguistic systems and methods.

The distinction is to me important. In the February 2015 seminar, a full picture of the features and functions associated with content processing in English and other languages is explored. There are profiles of appliance vendors tapping OSINT to head off threats. But the focus of the talks is on the use of advanced approaches that provide system users with an integrated approach to open source information.

The article is good public relations/content marketing. The article does not highlight the rapid progress the companies participating in the seminar are making. Yesterday’s leaders are today’s marketing challenge. Tomorrow’s front runners are focused on delivering to their clients solutions that break new ground.

For information about the seminar, which is restricted to working law enforcement and intelligence professionals and to place an order for my new monograph “CyberOSINT: Next Generation Information Access,” write benkent2020 at yahoo dot com.

Stephen E Arnold, December 19, 2014

New Azure Search Compared to Veteran Solr

December 19, 2014

Wondering how the new search function in Microsoft’s Azure stacks up against open-source search solution Solr? Sys-Con Media gives us a side-by-side comparison in, “Solr vs Azure Search.” It is worth noting that Azure Search is still in beta, so such a comparison might look different down the line. Writer Srinivasan Sundara Rajan sets the stage for his observations:

“The following are the some of the aspects in the usage of Solr in enterprises against that of Azure Search. As the open source vs commercial software is a religious debate, the intent is not aimed at the argument, as the most enterprises define their own IT Policies between the choice of Open Source vs commercial products and same sense will prevail here also, the below notes are meant for understanding the new Azure service in the light of an existing proven search platform.”

Rajan’s chart describes usage of each platform in four areas: installation and setup, schema, loading, and searching. Naturally, each platform has its advantages and disadvantages; see the article for specifics. The write-up summarizes:

“Azure Search tries to match the features of Solr in most aspects, however Solr is a seasoned search engine and Azure Search is in its preview stage, so some small deficiencies may occur in the understanding and proper application of Azure Search. However there is one area where the Azure Search may be a real winner for enterprises, which is ‘Scalability & Availability’…. Azure Search, really makes scalability a much simpler thing.”

As Microsoft continues to develop Azure Search, will it surpass Solr in areas besides scalability? Stay tuned.

Cynthia Murrell, December 19, 2014

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Former Autonomy CEO Moves to Imperva

December 19, 2014

Anthony J. Bettencourt’s name probably rings a bell if you are a familiar with Autonomy. He used to be CEO of Autonomy Zantaz and Autonomy Interwoven, but according to Business Wire, he’s found a new position: “Imperva Appoints Anthony J. Bettencourt As New President And CEO.” Bettencourt will serve as Imperva’s president, CEO, and a member of the board of directors. The company’s founder, Shlomo Kramer, will continue to hold his place on the board and be the chief strategy officer.

“ ‘We are very excited to welcome Anthony to Imperva. He was chosen for his distinguished track record of executive leadership, as well as his ability to build highly effective organizations. Anthony has demonstrated an ability to drive shareholder value in competitive market segments and he brings experience driving technology excellence and global growth,’ Mr. Kramer commented, ‘I look forward to working with Anthony and am confident that he is the right person to lead Imperva on the next stage of growth.’ ”

Both Bettencourt and Imperva will focus on helping the company reach its highest potential, most likely to increase revenue, company image, grow the product line, and augment reputation in its field.

Whitney Grace, December 19, 2014
Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Narrative Science Gets Money to Crunch Numbers

December 18, 2014

A smaller big data sector that specializes in text analysis to generate content and reports is burgeoning with startups. Venture Beat takes a look out how one of these startups, Narrative Science, is gaining more attention in the enterprise software market: “Narrative Science Pulls In $10M To Analyze Corporate Data And Turn It Into Text-Based Reports.”

Narrative Science started out with software that created sport and basic earnings articles for newspaper filler. It has since grown into help businesses in different industries to take their data by the digital horns and leverage it.

Narrative Science recently received $10 million in funding to further develop its software. Stuart Frankel, chief executive, is driven to help all industries save time and resources by better understanding their data

“ ‘We really want to be a technology provider to those media organizations as opposed to a company that provides media content,’ Frankel said… ‘When humans do that work…it can take weeks. We can really get that down to a matter of seconds.’”

From making content to providing technology? It is quite a leap for Narrative Science. While they appear to have a good product, what is it they exactly do?

Whitney Grace, December 18, 2014
Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Watson in a Beta Phase

December 18, 2014

IBM has put Watson to work in different fields, including: intelligence, cooking, and medicine. The goal is to apply Watson’s advanced analytic software to improve the quality and workflow in these fields as well as discover new insights. Watson Analytics will launch its first public beta test this month, three months after its private beta tests, says ZDNet in “IBM’s Watson Analytics Enters Public Beta.”

Watson Analytics will be freemium software available for mobile and Web devices to run predictive analytics and use the information for visual storytelling.

How does it work?

“Users of Watson Analytics feed in their own raw data, say, in the form of a spreadsheet, which the service then crunches with its own statistical analysis to highlight associations between different variables. It saves execs from needing to know how to write their own scripts or understand statistics in order to derive meaning from their data.”

Watson Analytics is still being changed to meet users’ needs, such as allowing them to create dashboards and infographics and being compatible with other programs: Oracle, SalesForce, Google Docs, and more.

IBM is still programming all the Watson Analytics features, but more details will be revealed as the public tests it.

Is this another PR scheme for Watson and IBM? How much have they spent on public relations? How much will Watson Analytics generate for IBM?

Whitney Grace, December 18, 2014
Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Dynamics NAV Partners with SharePoint

December 18, 2014

Microsoft is encouraging tighter integration with software partners that can promote greater specialization within its customer base. One such partnership is highlighted in the PR Web article, “Dynamics NAV and SharePoint – Perfect Partnership in Microsoft Technology.”

The article begins:

“Microsoft is actively encouraging tighter integration and co-operation between Partners with different specialisms, such as TVision and Ballard Chalmers, especially for customers looking to leverage Cloud solutions. The benefits to customers are extensive, a complete and scalable business solution in the familiar Windows environment supported by specialists but all held within a single project framework.”

Allowing partners to develop specialties is a major win for Microsoft, allowing customers to meet their needs while preventing SharePoint from having to be all things to all people. To keep up with which solutions are contributing most to the SharePoint landscape, keep an eye on Stephen E. Arnold’s findings at His SharePoint feed makes keeping up with the latest SharePoint news fast and easy.

Emily Rae Aldridge, December 18, 2014

Sony Sees the Future: A Google Glass Inspired Gizmo

December 17, 2014

Nope, this is not about Sony’s outstanding network and system security. Do you recall the Mavica line of cameras. The one that caused me to avoid Sony products and services was the Mavica with the built in CD recorder.

The idea was that instead of more traditional, standards based memory, the camera included a small CD. Take a picture and store the image on the CD. I ended up with this gizmo and learned two things:

First, the write process was slooooow. The camera was unusable for walk around photography. We did get decent results when it was in the studio. But we had purpose built cameras that did that work better, faster, and cheaper.

Second, the data format was proprietary. I recall the thrill of upgrading Windows and discovering that the Sony software would not work. Guess what? No update was forthcoming.

I read “Sony’s Latest Concept Smart Eyewear Can Be Fitted to Any Glasses, Will Be Demoed at CES.” Read this story. Think of the wonky Mavica. Google seems to have walked away from Glass or at least Dr. Babak Amir Parviz (yep, the fellow with different versions of his name) has hightailed it to Amazon.

Perhaps Sony could marry the Mavica with the CD writer to the Google Glass-type device. I wonder how that would look hanging from my trifocals.

Stephen E Arnold, December 17, 2014

Short Honk: Google and Fish

December 17, 2014

You may want to read “Google Helps to Use Big Data for Global Surveillance—And That’s Good.” I have no big thoughts about this write up. Googlers like sushi, so protecting fish from overzealous fisher people seems logical to me. I would raise one question you ponder after you have read the article:

What happens when humans are tracked and analyzed in this manner?


Is this function in place as you read this?

I have no answers, but I enjoy learning what other people think. We do not need to discuss the meaning of “good.”

Stephen E Arnold, December 17, 2014

Google News in Spain: The Sound of Declining Traffic

December 17, 2014

Well, the Googley conquistadores seem to have caught the attention of the Spanish news sites. I read “External Traffic to Spanish News Sites Plummets after Google Move.” I find it remarkable that “real” journalism outfits fail to understand the power of the GOOG. Axil Springer pumped millions into Qwant. I bet you use that Pertimm-based service each and every day, right? A quick dust up with the Google, and the German publisher rolled over like my clueless boxer Tess. She is deaf, has three good legs, and one eye. But Tess figures stuff out without have to do much more than be aware of her environment. Perhaps there is a lesson there?


Is Tess the rescue boxer smarter than the average European publisher chock full of “real” journalistic wizardry? I can make a good case for Tess. She uses Google to help me research Cyber OSINT and NGIA.

The write up states:

Spanish publishers are now asking for help from the government because of the impact of the law, even though Google warned that it would have to remove their links if the law was passed (any links to Spanish sites are also removed from other content on non-Spanish versions of Google News, but they remain available through a regular Google search).

The reality is that the folks with the wonky logo and teenagers on the payroll are the gatekeepers. If you are not in Google, you do not exist. This applies to cold blooded northern Europeans and the more excitable southern Europeans. Thomas Mann explained this is his novels. Well, some “real” journalists may want to refresh their memories. Reality check: Google has traffic power. Sartre provided some insight in No Exit. I have an idea. Let’s run a modern European literature class for “real” journalists. Yes, students, you can use Google. I excuse from class the wizards at IDG/IDC who suggested that Google pull out of Europe. Europe may request that Google remain available. Look for a report from IDC expert Dave Schubmehl explaining why Google should put its tail between its legs and scurry back to Silicon Valley.

Stephen E Arnold, December 17, 2014

It Is DuckDuckGo PR Time Again!

December 17, 2014

DuckDuckGo remains a strong rival to Google. It might be a small company in Pennsylvania and controls only a small amount of the Web traffic, but it keeps gaining traction because it respects user privacy. Fast Colabs has an insightful piece called, “Inside DuckDuckGo, Google’s Tiniest, Fiercest Competitor.” Gabriel Weinberg started DuckDuckGo in 2008 and it has slowly earned notoriety. In 2011 Union Square invested $3 million in the search engine and Time Magazine listed it as one of the 50 Best Web Sites Of 2011. DuckDuckGo grows 200-500% each year with more traffic.

Weinberg designed DuckDuckGo to provide specific answers to queries over providing a list of results. Also privacy is always a big issue:

“It quickly became clear that taking a no-holds-barred approach to privacy would give DuckDuckGo a unique selling point as Google gobbled up more private user data. So the company positioned itself accordingly and started amassing attention as the issue of online privacy slowly ballooned in the public’s consciousness.”

The article continues with information on how DuckDuckGo is entirely open source and relies on its community for development and improvement. It ends on a description of the employee’s work environment, explaining how there are ever only a few employees in the office due to most working remotely.

DuckDuckGo continues to defy odds and deliver a user Web experience often lacking in Google.

Whitney Grace, December 17, 2014
Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

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