Honkin' News banner

HonkinNews for September 27, 2016, Now Available

September 27, 2016

This week’s HonkinNews video tackles Yahoo’s data breach. Stephen E Arnold reveals that Beyond Search thinks Yahoo is a hoot and tags the company Yahoot. Plus, HonkinNews suggests that Oliver Stone may want to do a follow up to Snowden. The new film could be “Marissa: Purple Sun Down.” Other stories include Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s opportunity to see the light with Dr. Michael Lynch’s Luminance. The video explains puppy bias and comments on Harvard’s interest in sugar and fat. You can view the seven minute video at https://youtu.be/64rJdlj4Lew.

Kenny Toth, September 27, 2016

Key Words and Semantic Annotation

September 27, 2016

I read “Exploiting Semantic Annotation of Content with Linked Data to Improve Searching Performance in Web Repositories.” The nub of the paper is, “Better together.” The idea is that key words work if one knows the subject and the terminology required to snag the desired information.

image

If not, then semantic indexing provides another path. If the conclusion seems obvious, consider that two paths are better for users. The researchers used Elasticsearch. However, the real world issue is the cost of expertise and the computational cost and time required to add another path. You can download the journal paper at this link.

Stephen E Arnold, September 27, 2016

Snowden Revelations: Many Clicks, Few Will Access Documents

September 27, 2016

I read “This Is Everything Edward Snowden Revealed in Just One Year of Unprecedented Top-Secret Leaks.” I love “everything” articles. If you follow the Snowden documents, you know that these are scattered across different sites. Most of the write ups referencing the documents point to mini versions of the slides. I had high hopes that this write up would create a list of direct links to downloadable PDFs. No such luck. My conclusion about the article is that it does little to make the Snowden documents more readily available. Nevertheless, I love writes ups with the word “everything” in their title. Easy to say. Either too difficult, too time consuming, or to risky to do.

Stephen E Arnold, September 27, 2016

Recent Developments in Deep Learning Architecture from AlexNet to ResNet

September 27, 2016

The article on GitHub titled The 9 Deep Learning Papers You Need To Know About (Understanding CNNs Part 3) is not an article about the global media giant but rather the advancements in computer vision and convolutional neural networks (CNNs). The article frames its discussion around the ImageNet Large-Scale Recognition Challenges (ILSVRC), what it terms the “annual Olympics of computer vision…where teams compete to see who has the best computer vision model for tasks such as classification, localization, detection and more.” The article explains that the 2012 winners and their network (AlexNet) revolutionized the field.

This was the first time a model performed so well on a historically difficult ImageNet dataset. Utilizing techniques that are still used today, such as data augmentation and dropout, this paper really illustrated the benefits of CNNs and backed them up with record breaking performance in the competition.

In 2013, CNNs flooded in, and ZF Net was the winner with an error rate of 11.2% (down from AlexNet’s 15.4%.) Prior to AlexNet though, the lowest error rate was 26.2%. The article also discusses other progress in general network architecture including VGG Net, which emphasized depth and simplicity of CNNs necessary to hierarchical data representation, and GoogLeNet, which tossed the deep and simple rule out of the window and paved the way for future creative structuring using the Inception model.

Chelsea Kerwin, September 27, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph
There is a Louisville, Kentucky Hidden Web/Dark Web meet up on September 27, 2016.
Information is at this link: https://www.meetup.com/Louisville-Hidden-Dark-Web-Meetup/events/233599645/

The Uncertain Fate of OpenOffice

September 27, 2016

We are in danger of losing a popular open-source alternative to the Microsoft Office suite, we learn from the piece, “Lack of Volunteer Contributors Could Mean the End for OpenOffice” at Neowin. Could this the fate of open source search, as well?

Writer William Burrows observes that few updates for OpenOffice have emerged of late, only three since 2013, and the last stable point revision was released about a year ago. More strikingly, it took a month to patch a major security flaw over the summer, reports Burrows. He goes on to summarize OpenOffice’s 14-year history, culminating it the project’s donation to Apache by Oracle in 2011. It appears to have been downhill from there. The article tells us:

It was at this point that a good portion of the volunteer developer base reportedly moved onto the forked LibreOffice project. Since becoming Apache OpenOffice, activity on project has diminished significantly. In a statement by Dennis Hamilton, the project’s volunteer vice president, released in an email to the mailing list it was suggested that “retirement of the project is a serious possibility” citing concerns that the current team of around six volunteer developers who maintain the project may not have sufficient resources to eliminate security vulnerabilities. There is still some hope for OpenOffice, though, with some of the contributors suggesting that discussion about a shutdown may be a little premature, and that attracting new contributors is still possible.

In fact, OpenOffice was downloaded over 29 million times last year, so obviously it still has a following. LibreOffice is currently considered more successful, but that could change if OpenOffice manages to attract a resurgence of developers willing to contribute to the project. Any volunteers?

Cynthia Murrell, September 27, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph
There is a Louisville, Kentucky Hidden Web/Dark Web meet up on September 27, 2016.
Information is at this link: https://www.meetup.com/Louisville-Hidden-Dark-Web-Meetup/events/233599645/

 

 

Palantir: On the Radar of the Dept of Labor. Yes, Labor

September 27, 2016

I received an email from a friend who works in Washington. He wanted me to read “Palantir Alleged to Have Discriminated against Asian Job Seekers.” I read the article. The main point is that the US Department of Labor

sued data miner Palantir for discriminating against Asian job applicants for software engineering positions, the government…

Palantir is a government contractor. Government contractors have to follow the “rules of the road” where government contracts are concerned. Discrimination, like excessive profits on government work, is not a plus when seeking government contracts.

What is interesting to me is the timeline. Palantir filed suit against the US Army in June 2016. Now nine weeks the Department of Labor is finding fault with the high profile Palantir.

I noted this statement in the article cited above:

If Palantir doesn’t end the practice, the OFCCP will request the cancellation of the company’s contracts, as well as bar it from getting federal contracts in the future.

I no longer work in Washington. Heck, I no longer work. I do recall my experiences, however. I wonder if Palantir may find itself on the radar of the IRS and the Securities & Exchange Commission? What happens if the Office of Personnel Management reviews certain clearances?

I know that many events occur in Washington circles which are just coincidences. Sheer chance. I assume it is possible that Event A could be a trigger for Event B. I do not know. I have to do more thinking.

I do know from my own experiences that lighting up the radar of certain government institutions with enforcement authority can add considerable friction to the normal course of business in Washington.

The author of the article heard radar pings, and I assume Palantir might be able to pick them up as well. Foe me, this ping from the Department of Labor’s radar is like the gentle strumming of acoustic guitar. Other US enforcement agencies’ pings make an amped up Metallica guitar seem subdued. Ah, the legal Pathétique.

Stephen E Arnold. September 27, 2016

US Government: Computer Infrastructure

September 26, 2016

Curious about the cost of maintaining a computer infrastructures. Companies may know how much is spent to maintain the plumbing, but those numbers are usually buried in accounting-speak within the company. Details rarely emerge.

Here’s a useful chart about how much spending for information technology goes to maintain the old stuff and the status quo versus how much goes to the nifty new technology:

image

The important line is the solid blue one. Notice that the US Federal government spent $0.68 cents of every IT dollar on operations and maintenance in 2010. Jump to the 2017 estimate. Notice that the status quo is likely to consume $0.77 cents of every IT dollar.

Progress? If you want to dig into the information behind this chart, you can find the report GAO 677454 by running queries on the Alphabet Google system m. The title of the report is “Information Technology. Federal Agencies Need to Address Aging Legacy Systems.” Don’t bother trying the search box on the GAO.org Web site. The document is not in the index.

If you are not too keen on running old school mobile queries or talking to your nifty voice enabled search system, you can find the document at this link.

I want to point out that Palantir Technologies may see these types of data as proof that the US government needs to approach information technology in a different manner.

Stephen E Arnold, September 26, 2016

Google: The Power of Consumer Appeal

September 26, 2016

Ah, Google and technology. The two go together like bread and butter. I read “Google Maps Adds Support for Logging Caught Pokémon.” Quite a breakthrough. When a person snags a Squirtle, it is important to capture the details.

image

I noted this passage:

Google added support for Niantic Labs’ mobile game in the latest Maps update. More specifically, Google Maps Timeline feature now allows logging of Pokémon caught in Niantic Labs’ mobile game. For the uninitiated, Timeline is basically a geo-journal of sorts which shows Maps’ users where they’ve been and when.

Google’s potent timeline combined with Pokémon logging means that competitive Pokémon GO trackers can get lost. The consumer appeal of the Google Pokémon logging illustrates how technology continues to improve lives, further education, and generate savvy hunter gatherers of digital fantasy characters.

Stephen E Arnold, September 26, 2016

Open Source CRM Galore for Salespeople, Manufacturers, and Even Freelancers

September 26, 2016

The article titled Top 10 Open Source CRM on Datamation weighs the customer relationship management (CRM) options based on individual needs in addition to features and functions. It highlights certain key benefits and points of strength such as EspoCRM’s excellent website, SugarCRM’s competitive edge over Salesforce, and the low cost of Dolibarr. The typical entry reads like this,

EPESI – The last in this list of Linux compatible CRM options is called EPESI. What makes it unique is the ability to take the mail page of the CRM and rearrange how things are laid out visually…it’s pretty nice to have when customizing ones workflow. In addition to expected CRM functionality, this tool also offers ERP options as well. With its modular design and cloud, enterprise and DIY editions, odds are there is a CRM solution available for everyone.

What strikes one the most about this list is how few familiar names appear. This list is certainly worth consulting to gain insights about the landscape, particularly since it does at least allude now and then to the specialty of several of the CRM software. For example, Dolibarr supports freelancers, Compiere is based around the needs of warehousing and manufacturing companies, and Zurmo was designed for salespeople. It is a good time to be in the market for CRM apps.

Chelsea Kerwin, September 26, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monographThere is a Louisville, Kentucky Hidden Web/Dark Web meet up on September 27, 2016.
Information is at this link: https://www.meetup.com/Louisville-Hidden-Dark-Web-Meetup/events/233599645/

The Design of Our Future

September 26, 2016

An article at Co.Exist suggests we all pause to consider what we want our world to look like, in “We Need To Spend More Time Questioning Our Technology-Driven Future.” Along with the boundless potential of today’s fast-evolving technology come consequences, many of them unforeseen. Writer Ben Schiller cites futurist Gerd Leonhard, author of the book, Technology vs. Humanity. Far from a modern Luddite, Leonhard is a consultant for Google and a daily advocate for the wonders of advancing technology. His thorough understanding of the topic allows him to see potential pitfalls, as well.

The shape of technology today calls for society to update the way it approaches doing business, says Leonhard, and move past the “industrial-age paradigm of profit and growth at all costs, or some outmoded technological imperative that may have served us well in the 1980s.” He also points to the environmental problems created by fossil fuel companies as an example—if we aren’t careful, the AI and genetic engineering fields could develop their own “externalities,” or problems others will pay for, one way or another. Can we even imagine all the ways either of those fields could potentially cause harm?

Schiller writes of Leonhard:

The futurist outlines a philosophy he calls ‘exponential humanism’—the human equivalent of exponential technology. As a species we’re not developing the necessary skills and ethical frameworks to deal with technology that’s moving faster than we are, he says. We may be able to merge biology and technology, augment our minds and bodies, become superhuman, end disease, and even prolong life. But we’re yet to ask ourselves whether, for example, extending life is actually a good thing (as a society—there will always be individuals who for some reason want to live to 150). And, more to the point, will these incredible advances be available to everyone, or just a few people? To Leonhard, our current technological determinism—the view that technology itself is the purpose—is as dangerous as Luddism was 200-odd years ago. Without moral debate, we’re trusting in technology for its own sake, not because it actually improves our lives.

The write-up gives a few ideas on how to proactively shape our future. For example, Facebook could take responsibility for the content on its site instead of resting on its algorithm. Leonhard also suggests companies that replace workers with machines pay a tax  that would help soften the blow to society, perhaps even with a minimum guaranteed income. Far-fetched? Perhaps. But in a future with fewer jobs and more freely-available products, a market-driven economy might just be doomed. If that is the case, what would we prefer to see emerge in its place?

Cynthia Murrell, September 26, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph
There is a Louisville, Kentucky Hidden Web/Dark Web meet up on September 27, 2016.
Information is at this link: https://www.meetup.com/Louisville-Hidden-Dark-Web-Meetup/events/233599645/

Next Page »