Factualities for September 5, 2018

September 5, 2018

Believe ‘em or not.

  • $13,470. Cost for 30 minutes of T Mobile Internet access. Source: Hardocp News
  • 2.2 million customers’ data lost in data breach by T Mobile. Source: Naked Security
  • $60 billion. The size of the global blockchain market in 2024. Source: Blokt
  • 20%. Number of employees who share their email password with co workers. Source: ZDNet
  • 2 percent. The number of teens who read a newspaper. Source: Science
  • 64 billion. Number of fake emails sent each day. Source: Dark Reading

Stephen E Arnold, September 5, 2018

Gray Literature May Face a Backlash from Professional Publishing Companies

September 3, 2018

I read “Read Research Papers Trapped Behind a Paywall With This Chrome Extension.” The write up describes a Google Chrome extension which helps a user locate a pre-publication version of a journal article. This makes veering around a paywall a little easier for some people. Here in Harrod’s Creek, we just ignore articles for which someone has assigned a price tag. We believe that ignorance is bliss, and we wouldn’t want to have our halcyon life disrupted.

The write up explains:

the extension searches for the article to see if the author has posted a free version anywhere as well.


The write up explains in a somewhat labored manner:

Important to note: This isn’t getting you around the paywall or stealing the content. Instead, what it’s doing is seeing if there’s another legal version online that you can read instead. Emphasis on the “legal” in that sentence. If there is another copy online, you’ll see a green tab on your screen letting you know.

The visual clue is a green tag. Click it and, in theory, you will see the so called pre-publication, gray version of the write up.

Beyond Search believes that some of the professional publishers will note this innovation. We hypothesize that some of these savvy executives will come up with some ideas to nuke these unauthorized versions of the publishers’ for fee articles.

Some professional publishers charge authors for the work required to take their drafts and convert them into professional publishing recurring revenues.

Authors, some of whom are academics, often have zero choice about publishing in journals owned by professional publishing outfits. Do gooder researchers often have different ideas.

Professional publishers can make life difficult because most have outstanding legal teams, a keen desire to keep the recurring revenue flowing, and a need to make sure another Google-type existential threat does not blindside them. To be fair, some professional publishers were not able to perceive how disruptive, Google-type outfits could affect their businesses until they were in the hospital after being hit by the digital trains.

If you want the Chrome extension, navigate to the source article. We don’t use Chrome, and, as I said, we don’t use content in peer reviewed journals. Why?

Sorry, like some of the work I did in my 50 year working career, I won’t talk. Move forward I say. But here’s a question for you, “How much are those must have medical and engineering journals either in dead tree or digital form?” That’s a fact worth knowing.

Stephen E Arnold, September 3, 2018

EU Not Taking Terror Lying Down

September 3, 2018

Applause are due to the European Union, who have instituted a unique plan for battling online extremism. We learned more about this tactic and were able to think about its potential stress points from reading an interesting Inquirer article, “EU Wants Tech Firms to Remove Terror Content Within an Hour of Facetimes.”

According to the story:

“In March, legislation passed that presented the hour-long purge window, but it was only marked under voluntary guidelines. But it looks like tech firms aren’t volunteering to work to these guidelines so the EU wants to force them to do so by imposing fines on firms that are blasé about terrorism-related materials on their services, networks and platforms.”

This is a very exciting prospect in the war on disinformation and violence planned online. However, it’s not time to celebrate quite yet. As reported recently, the EU is a complex machine itself and several countries failed to step in line with the cybersecurity deadline that loomed this summer. Beyond that, we are very curious to see how the various nations and governing bodies work together to oversee this new security measure. We hope it makes some headway, but will be watching from afar.

Patrick Roland, September 3, 2018

Quote to Note: Walled Gardens

August 30, 2018

I spotted a quote which I immediately tucked into my “Research” folder. Here it is:

The trouble with a walled garden is that if the thing outside the garden is bigger and better than the thing inside the garden, then the wall only serves to keep new customers out rather than lock them in.

The statement appears in “What the Hell Was the Microsoft Network?” The history of this early Microsoft adventure is fascinating. The write up does a good job of bringing alive the thought process of smart people essentially unable to think about a problem outside of their beige cubicle.

But the quote has relevance today because walled gardens may be coming back in vogue. Apple is a walled garden. Facebook is a walled garden. Even Twitter is a walled garden. And if services are not becoming walled gardens, the gardeners are busy fixing fences, locking gates, and planting thorny hedges.

Worth reading the cited article.

Stephen E Arnold, August 30, 2018

Factualities for August 22, 2018

August 22, 2018

Believe ‘em or not. This week’s factualities are:

  • 25,000. The number of  illegal gambling apps removed from Apple store due to the Chinese government. Source: Wall Street Journal with a pay wall at this link.
  • Museum puts sewage on display. Source: Ars Technica
  • 33, the number of clinical trial centric scientific papers published by a Japanese expert. How many identified as containing made up date? Just 23. Source: Science Magazine
  • Get paid to watch dirty movies. Yep, but you get a special crypto currency. Source: Metro Newspaper at this link
  • 500. The number of English speaking robots to be deployed in Japanese schools. Source: ZDNet at this link
  • Who is the leader, according to Forrester and IBM, in industrial Internet of Things platforms? IBM. Source: IBM at this link
  • The secret to managing millennials? Don’t assume they are millennials. Source: Inc. at this link

Ah, the modern world with mobiles and online.

Stephen E Arnold, August 23, 2018

China Charts a Course in Cyber Space

August 19, 2018

I am not much a political thinker. But even with the minimal knowledge I possess about world affairs, it seems to me that China has made its cyber technology objective clear. Of course, I am assuming that the information in “When China Rules the Web” is accurate. You will have to judge for yourself.

The write up states:

Chinese President Xi Jinping has outlined his plans to turn China into a “cyber-superpower.”

My reaction to this statement was to ask this question, “When US companies make changes in order to sell to China, does that mean those companies are helping to make the Chinese cyber space vision a reality?”

There are other questions swirling through my mind, and I need time to sort them out. Companies define the US to a large part. If the companies go one way, will other components of the US follow?

Worth considering. A stated policy that is being implemented is different from a less purposeful approach.

Stephen E Arnold, August 19, 2018

Factualities for Wednesday, August 15, 2018

August 15, 2018

Believe these items or not. We found them interesting:

  1. China has built 350000 5G cell sites; the US, 30 000
    Source: CNBC
  2. Five billion videos are watched around the world each day, with the vast majority of viewers being between 18 and 49-years-old. Source: Express tabloid newspaper
  3. Americans are now spending 11 hours each day consuming media. Source: Quartz
  4. Criminal activities account for just 10 percent of Bitcoin transactions. DEA via CCN.com
  5. Google will lose $50 million or more in 2018 from Fortnite bypassing the Play Store. Source: Techcrunch
  6. Baltimore will pay a person $176,800 to maintain Lotus Notes. Source: Baltimore Sun newspaper

Real or fake? A question smart software will have to answer. We cannot.

Stephen E Arnold, August 15, 2018

Internet Platforms Are Something New. But What Does “New” Mean?

August 12, 2018

“New” is an interesting concept. A new car suggests a vehicle that emits the mix of polyvinyls, warm electronics, and snake oil. “New” in a camp in Yemen means a T shirt abandoned by a person and claimed by another. “New” in a temple in Kyoto means repairs made a century ago.

But I learned in “Platforms Are Not Publishers”:

Google, Facebook, Twitter, and the internet are not media. They are something new we do not yet fully understand.

Would it be helpful to have the context and intended connotation of “new” defined?

Nah, after the Internet revolution, everyone knows the meaning of the word.

The problems generated when flows of data rip across the digital landscape is that these bits and bytes erode. The impact is more rapid but less easy to detect than the impact of a flash flood gushing through the streets of a Rio hillside slum.

The notion that commercial enterprises are the context. The platforms emerged from the characteristics of digital technology; that is, concentration, velocity, disintermediation, etc.

The large platforms are like beavers. Put a beaver in the observation deck of the Chrysler Building in Manhattan and the beavers are going to do what beavers do. They may die, but their beaverness makes them behave in a way that to some degree is predictable.

I like the idea that individuals in the “media”—another term which warrants defining—have to shoulder some of the blame. Better hurry. I am no longer sure how long the real media and the real journalists will survive.

Their future will be finding a way to exploit the digital flows.

In short, Internet platforms today are not much different from the BRS, DataStar, Dialog, and Lexis type systems before the Internet.

What’s different is the scope, scale, and speed of today’s digital flows. In the context of the information environment (what I continue to call the datasphere) is unchanged.

The problem is that today’s digital experts have a limited perception of “new” and the context of online systems and services.

In short, too late folks. Russia, Turkey, Iran, and other countries have figured out that the shortest distance between A and B is censorship.

Censorship is now a content fashion trend. That’s “new” as in governments are punching the “off” button. The action may be futile, but it is a reminder that old school methods may deliver because responsible commercial organizations ignore what may be their “duty.” Publishing? What’s that?

Stephen E Arnold, August 12, 2018

Kindle: There Are Free Options

August 7, 2018

Here’s a handy resource for anyone with an Amazon Kindle e-reader—PCWorld shares “Where to Find Free Books for our Amazon Kindle.” You may want to make a note of this because one thing is for sure—you won’t find this list via Amazon. Reporter Séamus Bellamy introduces:

“When you own an Amazon Kindle, the cost of supporting a voracious reading habit can get very steep, very quickly. A quick glance at Amazon’s list of the Best Books of the Month shows that a decent read can set you back between $13 and $15 for a Kindle edition book. Sure, Amazon offers deals on great e-books, but waiting for a deal could take forever. Many titles can be had for two bucks or less, but it takes work to find the gems among the dross. What you need are some solid options for finding free, absorbing content to devour on your Kindle. We’re more than happy to point you in the right direction. (And if you need a new e-reader, find one among our reviews of the best Kindles.)”

The first two sources on the list, Project Gutenberg and OverDrive, offer free content. Founded by the creator of e-books, Michael Hart, it is no exaggeration to say Project Gutenberg has made a crusade of digitizing public-domain books. Meanwhile, OverDrive allows anyone who holds a card from a (participating) public library to access their facilities’ digital collection. The next two items are actually little-touted Amazon features: It turns out you can “loan” someone a Kindle e-book for 2 weeks, during which time they can view it but you cannot. Furthermore, two adults from each household may freely share each e-book purchased form the Kindle store. See the article for more on each of these options, including click-by-click instructions for the latter two.

Cynthia Murrell, August 8, 2018


Amazon and Special Data

August 6, 2018

Amazon Web Services is ubiquitous with cloud computing and big data power. We all know dozens of companies use these tools, but until recently it was all a little hazy as to who was and how. But, a Silicon Angle gives us some tea leaves to read. According to the story, “In Conversation With: AWS Serverless Chief Tim Wagner Peers at the Future of Cloud Computing:”

“If you have traded any stocks, or had any stocks traded in your behalf, FINRA processes those stock trades at the end of the closing day using Lambda, so there’s a big chance here that the trade you made was evaluated and validated by FINRA using Lambda. Thomson Reuters does four thousand transactions every second with it, Fannie Mae runs its 20 million mortgage calculations through there. So these are not ancillary, some line-of-business, or over-in-the-marketing-department kinds of pieces These are mission-critical software that is now tied at the hip to a serverless architecture.”

This is significant, because we get a little first hand confirmation of AWS client base. Doing a little more research, it suddenly comes as no shock that Fannie Mae reported big earnings in its last quarter and Thomson Reuters is venturing into new territories. It’s fascinating to finally get to put a story to AWS’ offerings and it would not shock us if more big name corporations jump on board.

Quick question: What new revenue opportunities do these data create?

Patrick Roland, August 6, 2018

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