Another US Outfit Learns about the Online Idiosyncrasies of Nation States

October 27, 2016

Google learned that China does not listen to suggestions from the ad giant about its online policies. Now LinkedIn has bumped into a similar ethnocentrism in Russia, altogether a really fun place in some folks’ eyes. I read “LinkedIn Runs Afoul of Russian Data Law — Is It on the Verge of Being Banned?” I highlighted this passage:

Russia could end up banning LinkedIn in a matter of weeks as the government reportedly seeks to make an example of the business-oriented social network. The company is being targeted following its failure to comply with a 2014 federal law that demands online firms that deal with the personal information of Russian citizens store their data within the country. Earlier this year, the Kremlin’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor attained an injunction against LinkedIn from a lower court. If a Moscow city court decides to reject an appeal, set for November 10, the platform will be blocked.

As the punk band learned in 2012, Russian authorities have some interesting approaches to resolving life’s little challenges. Not only did the band end up in jail, few knew in which jail the musicians resided. I was told at a conference in Prague that losing track of the female prisoners was an unfortunate administrative error.

LinkedIn may want to keep the fate of the punk rock band in mind if the Moscow authorities gear up and speed to locations where LinkedIn may have advisors, employees, fellow travelers, or folks who are championing the social media recruitment online service. Just an idle thought.,

Stephen E Arnold, October 27, 2016

HonkinNews for 25 October 2016 Now Available

October 25, 2016

This week’s video roundup of search, online, and content processing news is now available. Navigate to this link for seven minutes of plain talk about the giblets and goose feathers in the datasphere. This week’s program links Google’s mobile search index with the company’s decision to modify its privacy policies for tracking user actions. The program includes an analysis of Marissa Mayer’s managerial performance at Yahoo. Better browser history search swoops into the program too. Almost live from Harrod’s Creek in rural Kentucky. HonkinNews is semi educational, semi informative, and semi fun. Three programs at the end of the year will focus on Stephen E Arnold’s three monographs about Google.

Kenny Toth, October 25, 2016

The Thrill of Rising Yahoo Traffic

October 21, 2016

I love the Gray Lady. The Bits column is chock full of technology items which inspire, excite, and sometimes implant silly ideas in readers’ minds. That’s real journalism.

Navigate to “Daily Report: Explaining Yahoo’s Unexpected Rise in Traffic.”

The write up pivots on the idea that Internet traffic can be monitored in a way that is accurate and makes sense. A click is a click. A packet is a packet. Makes sense. The are the “minor” points of figuring out which clicks are from humans and which clicks are from automated scripts performing some function like probing for soft spots. There are outfits which generate clicks for various reasons including running down a company’s advertising “checkbook.” There are clicks which ask such questions as, “Are you alive?” or “What’s the response time?” You get the idea because you have a bit of doubt about traffic generated by a landing page, a Web site, or even an ad. The counting thing is difficult.

The write up in the Gray Lady assumes that these “minor” points are irrelevant in the Yahoo scheme of themes; for example:

an increased number of people were drawn to Yahoo in September. The reason may have been Yahoo’s disclosure that month that hackers stole data on 500 million users in 2014.

“People”? How do we know that the traffic is people?

The Gray Lady states:

Yahoo’s traffic has been declining for a long time, overtaken by more adept, varied and apparently secure places to stay on the internet.

Let’s think about this. We don’t know if the traffic data are counting humans, software scripts, or utility functions. We do know that Yahoo has been on a glide path to a green field without rocks and ruts. We know that Yahoo is a bit of a hoot in terms of management.

My hunch is that Yahoo’s traffic is pretty much what it has been; that is, oscillating a bit but heading in for a landing, either hard or soft.

Suggesting that Yahoo may be growing is interesting but unfounded. That traffic stuff is mushy. What’s the traffic to the New York Times’s pay walled subsite? How does the Times know that a click is a human from a “partner” and not a third party scraping content?

And maybe the traffic spike is a result of disenchanted Yahoo users logging in to change their password or cancel their accounts.

Stephen E Arnold, October 21, 2016

HonkinNews for October 18, 2016 Now Available

October 18, 2016

From the wilds of rural Kentucky, Stephen E Arnold highlights the week’s search, online, and content processing news. Two services make it easy to buy a product with a mouse click. Will Amazon’s eCommerce business be threatened by eBay and Pinterest? Plus, this week’s program comments about Google and Pindrop, National Geographic’s new topographic maps, and another of Yahoo’s mounting public relations challenges. The program explains that Google is taking a step toward marginalizing the “regular” Web in favor of the mobile Web. You can view the video shot in eight millimeter film from a cabin in a hollow at this link.

Kenny Toth, October 18, 2016

Artificial Intelligence: Time to Surf, Folks

October 17, 2016

I read a remarkable article in Fortune Magazine: “Google Artificial Intelligence Guru Says AI Won’t Kill Jobs.” I had a Dilbert moment mixed with a glimpse of bizarro world.

The main point of the write up is that smart software is the next big thing. Unlike other big things such as outsourcing work from the US to other countries with lower cost labor, work will not be “killed.” Strong word.

Image result for bizarro world

I highlighted this statement from the prognosticating write up:

humanity is still “many decades away from encountering that sort of labor replacement at scale.” Instead, the technology is best used to help humans with work-related tasks rather than replace them outright.

Sounds great. Zooming to the subject of Google, the write up reported:

Google has “developed techniques to safely deploy these systems in a controllable way,” countering fears that A.I. systems are left to run on their own accord.

I assume that’s the reason a consortium of folks are going to gather together to figure out how to make artificial intelligence work just right.

I spoke with a person who drives a truck for a living. He was interested in robot driven trucks. He said, “There won’t be much demand for guys like me, right?”

I reassured him. The truth is that “guys like him” are definitely going to lose their jobs. The same full time equivalent compression will operate in law firms, health care delivery, and dozens of other areas where labor is one or the if not the biggest expense. Leasing a system able to work without taking vacations, calling in sick, or demanding a pension will be embraced. Cost control, not work for humans, is the driving factor.

Online may benefit. Think of those folks who lose their jobs and the free time they have. These people will be able to surf the Web, talk to Alexa, and binge watch.

Informationization (a word I first heard in the early 1990s at a conference in Japan) means disruption. Work processes will change. There will be more online consumers. I am not sure what these folks will do for a living.

Unlike the individuals who work in certain types of companies, the guys like the trucker, the legal researcher, the librarian, etc. are going to have plenty of time to be social on Facebook.

Fortune Magazine seems to buy into the baloney that “A.I. will help humans with their jobs, not replace them.” How’s that working out in traditional publishing?

Stephen E Arnold, October 17, 2016

Knowledge Management: Dazed and Confused?

October 16, 2016

I read an interview posted by TallyFox. If you are not familiar with the company, TallyFox provides a collaboration and content management system. The idea is that a company’s real and off site workers can share information. The company states on its LinkedIn page:

TallyFox’s intelligence platform, makes knowledge sharing fun and dynamic. With our proprietary algorithm SmartMatchPro, access to expertise is facilitated, collective knowledge becomes accessible, and you can benefit from it right now, anywhere in the world.

The TallyFox interview with Dr. Nancy Dixon (Common Knowledge, a non profit and a book) is interesting. I noted these factoids and assertions:

  • almost 50% of workers are virtual, or “distributed”
  • people who are communicating only virtually tend to lose the sense of purpose of what the organization is about.
  • A challenge is “to motivate our experts to share tacit knowledge to make the knowledge from inside of a project available to the team of another project.”
  • “Collective Sensemaking is a piece of the process which will show us how to take advantage of the virtual and still stay connected in a human way. We are doing it by crowdsourcing, by Innovation Jams, by Working Out Loud, and all of those ways are bringing back the Human Side into the Virtual.”
  • “People don’t offer their knowledge because they don’t know what the other person needs…”

Sounds good.It strikes me that Facebook’s Workplace may be encroaching on the collaboration segment. Does Facebook embrace knowledge management?

Stepping back: Knowledge management leaves me dazed and confused about what, how, where, and why? Perhaps knowledge management should become knowledge “Kumbaya” with people online and posting to Facebook while sitting around a Mac with a fireplace screensaver.

Stephen E Arnold, October 16, 2016

IBM Watson in the Third Grade, Doing Math

October 5, 2016

The IBM Watson PR hyperbole machine seems to have been idling. Summer’s over. IBM Watson marketers are back at their work stations.

I read “Next Target for IBM’s Watson? Third-Grade Math.” Keep in mind that you may have to pay to read this bit of PR inspired content. That’s not my fault, gentle reader.

The write up reveals:

For the past two years, the IBM Foundation has worked with teachers and their union, the American Federation of Teachers, to build Teacher Advisor, a program that uses artificial-intelligence technology to answer questions from educators and help them build personalized lesson plans.

When I was a student, sleeping, talking, and day dreaming had a high priority. I didn’t have a mobile device to distract me.

The idea is that IBM Watson is going to make the students of the 21st century drop their mobile phones and learn mathematics.

How will IBM Watson pull off this trick? I learned:

For teachers, one thing Watson will do is help them digest the Common Core standards and incorporate them into daily lessons. The standards are learning goals, a map of what students should be able to do at a given level. Third graders should be able to measure area, for example, by counting out units, like square centimeters or square inches. But rather than just listing a group of skills, Watson serves up the prerequisites those skills are built upon and a set of exercises to break down the standard.

Sounds darned good. I am confident that IBM Watson will make learning today a really fun experience. Great assumption. However, I think schools may find that IBM Watson could end up with a dunce cap or texting with friends. IBM may be sitting next to the innovator who predicted that Apple iPads would energize Los Angeles’ classrooms. How did that work out? Oh, I remember. Not too well.

Stephen E Arnold, October 5, 2015

Singularity 1on1: Fund Raising Event

September 22, 2016

Editor’s note: To donate to Singularity 1on1, click this link[.

In a conversation with Nikola Danaylov, the engaging entrepreneur behind Singularity 1 on 1, has tallied more than four million downloads. When I first met him, he referenced Socrates, the Athenian philosopher. Danaylov’s approach to information is based on questions. My thought is that he is the modern counterpart to the individuals who learn and cause others to learn via rigorous questioning. The remarkable video interview series has been featured on BBC, ArteTV, and TV Japan, among other high impact outlets.


The service, available at this link, is a conversation about exponential growth, accelerating change, artificial intelligence and ethics – because technology is not enough.

The main idea is that we are not experiencing a shift in technology but rather a shift in humanity.  So everything that we know for certain is certainly going to change if we are to survive the 21st century; for example, political processes, economics, law, religion, and the very meaning of what it means to be human.

Danaylov told me:

The blog is not meant to provide definitive answers, but rather, to ask the tough questions in an attempt to generate discussion, provoke thought and stir the imagination. It aims to spark a conversation about the impact of technology, exponential growth and artificial intelligence where everyone’s opinions and participation are greatly encouraged.

He added:

So while I do not shy to provide my opinion but place no claim on its superiority because the goal is to get the audience actively involved in the ever-evolving conversation about the future of humanity.

From my vantage point, Singularity Weblog’s value may be not so much in the answers it provides, but in the Questions it raises — the kind that everybody could or should be asking.

In addition to the video interviews, Singularity Weblog:

  • Publishes relevant articles by Socrates and his friends.
  • Posts interviews with the best scientists, writers, entrepreneurs, film-makers, journalists, philosophers and artists.
  • Brings attention to relevant news stories, films, media and scientific developments.
  • Provides an online discussion forum where readers and supporters can start a conversation on issues important to them.
  • Gives people a platform to write and share your own great content.

Danaylov is deeply in love with learning but keenly aware that his personal knowledge is always going to be dwarfed by his ignorance: a man who knows that he doesn’t know; a man with many questions and few answers of his own… Thus Singularity Weblog is, and will always remain to be, an open and collaborative work in progress. And Nikola is, and will remain to be, a student and a host, rather than a teacher or an owner.

Yet, I learned that Danaylov is of the strong belief that we can attain profound insights by asking challenging questions in the company of good people, gathered within an open, informal and interactive symposium. Danaylov hopes to be the midwife, and Singularity Weblog – the setting, where you come to examine the questions, search for your answers, challenge, be challenged and, ultimately, give birth to your own ideas.

It is for this reason that, having spent the past six years producing over 900 articles and interviewing more than 190 of the world’s best known experts, Danaylov has made his treasure trove of information available without charge.

He has a crowd funding campaign underway. Beyond Search readers can support his work at

I asked him what’s next for Singularity 1on1 and the Web log. He replied:

After doing 200 interviews I have learned that it is perhaps best to keep those secret until they are totally recorded, edited and ready for publishing. So you will have to subscribe to the Singularity 1on1 podcast to find out.

As part of my support for Danaylov’s information service, I noted this statement from Darian Wawer:

“There are probably only three things that have impacted my life to such an extent. Carl Sagan with his love for science, Elon Musk and his dedication to improving the quality of the world we live in and finally, the third person would be… Nikola Danaylov with his website Singularity Weblog. Obviously, there are a thousand people whose work I deeply appreciate (Kurzweil, Natasha-More, and so forth) but you are the hub that allows us to stay connected. You have also committed and sacrificed a lot to do so. You are the real deal.”

For more information about Danaylov’s impact, see

Stephen E Arnold, September 22, 2016

Open Source Log File Viewer Glogg

September 21, 2016

Here is an open source solution for those looking to dig up information within large and complex log files; BetaNews shares, “View and Search Huge Log Files with Glogg.”  The software reads directly from your drive, saving time and keeping memory free (or at least as free as it was before.) Reviewer, Mike Williams tells us:

Glogg’s interface is simple and uncluttered, allowing anyone to use it as a plain text viewer. Open a log, browse the file, and the program grabs and displays new log lines as they’re added. There’s also a search box. Enter a plain text keyword, a regular or extended regular expression and any matches are highlighted in the main window and displayed in a separate pane. Enable ‘auto-refresh’ and glogg reruns searches as lines are added, ensuring the matches are always up-to-date. Glogg also supports ‘filters’, essentially canned searches which change text color in the document window. You could have lines containing ‘error’ displayed as black on red, lines containing ‘success’ shown black on green, and as many others as you need.

Williams spotted some more noteworthy features, like a quick-text search, highlighted matches, and helpful Next and Previous buttons. He notes the program is not exactly chock-full of fancy features, but suggests that is probably just as well for this particular task. Glogg runs on 64-bit Windows 7 and later, and on Linux.

Cynthia Murrell, September 21, 2016
Sponsored by, 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:

Online Searching Proves Shakespeare Ripped Off Words and Phrases

September 16, 2016

Original phrases? Bah. Neologisms? Poppycock. William Shakespeare, like Mozart, ripped off other people. Imagine that. Listening to people, noting interesting turns of phrases, and learning new words from those around him. Where was the DCMA and copyright when we really needed them?

I read “The Game Is Up: Shakespeare’s Language Not As Original As Dictionaries Think.” My first reaction was, “Do dictionaries think?” I thought dictionaries were compilations of the work of individuals who chased down the meanings of words. Who am I but a lonely recluse in rural Kentucky? I know that real journalists know much more about dictionaries than I. So think they do.

But the guts of the story is that a person working at a university ran online queries across the digitized text of early British texts. Guess what? When running a query for the phrase “It’s Greek to me”,

the academic points out that searching for it in the digital resource Early English Books Online throws up its usage in Robert Greene’s The Scottish History of James the Fourth, printed in 1598 but possibly written in 1590.

Who said Shakespeare was a wordsmithing genius? The answer, gentle reader, are those folks who compile dictionaries.

But that’s not the only rip off performed by the guy who wrote plays loved by students the world over. He stole “wild goose chase.”

The article pointed out that the Bard seems to have saddled up his imagination and actually created the phrase “to make an ass of oneself.”

The repercussions from this discovery are significant. The lively and flexible editors of the Oxford English Dictionary will hop to making the necessary changes. I will have to replace my copy of the Shorter  Oxford English Dictionary in due course. What if I learn that “wild goose chase” is not a coinage of a fellow suspected of being a closet Catholic.

Online is good for something. “Lord, what fools these mortals be.” No wonder creating a link is a violation of the law. If a recusant does not own up to the source, punishment is needed. Bad Sharkespeare.

Stephen E Arnold, September 16, 2016

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