November 26, 2015
The article titled Don’t Toy With The Dark Web, Harness It on Infoworld’s DarkReading delves into some of the misconceptions about the Dark Web. The first point the article makes is that a great deal of threats to security occur on the surface web on such well-known sites as Reddit and social media platforms like Instagram. Not only are these areas of the web easier to search without Tor or I2P, but they are often more relevant, particularly for certain industries and organizations. The article also points out the harm in even “poking around” the Dark Web,
“It can take considerable time, expertise and manual effort to glean useful information. More importantly, impromptu Dark Web reconnaissance can inadvertently expose an organization to greater security risks because of unknown malicious files that can infiltrate the corporate network. Additionally, several criminal forums on the Dark Web utilize a “vouching” system, similar to a private members club, that might require an investigator to commit a crime or at least stray into significantly unethical territory to gain access to the content.”
A novice could easily get into more trouble than they bargained for, especially when taking receipt of stolen goods is considered a felony. Leave the security work to professionals, and make sure the professionals you employ have checked out this Dark Web reading series.
Chelsea Kerwin, November 26, 2015
November 25, 2015
The article titled Business Intelligence Vendor Yellowfin Signs Global Reseller Agreement with Zinnovate on Sys-Con Media provides an overview of the recent partnership between the two companies. Zinnovate will be able to offer Yellowfin’s Business Intelligence solutions and services, and better fulfill the needs that small and mid-size businesses have involving enterprise quality BI. The article quotes Zinnovate CEO Hakan Nilsson on the exciting capabilities of Yellowfin’s technology,
“Flexible deployment options were also important… As a completely Web-based application, Yellowfin has been designed with SaaS hosting in mind from the beginning, making it simple to deploy on-premise or as a cloud-based solution. Yellowfin’s licensing model is simple. Clients can automatically access Yellowfin’s full range of features, including its intuitive data visualization options, excellent Mobile BI support and collaborative capabilities. Yellowfin provides a robust enterprise BI platform at a very competitive price point.”
As for the perks to Yellowfin, the Managing Director Peter Baxter explained that Zinnovate was positioned to help grow the presence of the brand in Sweden and in the global transport and logistics market. In the last few years, Zinnovate has developed its service portfolio to include customers in banking and finance. Both companies share a dedication to customer-friendly, intuitive solutions.
Chelsea Kerwin, November 25, 2015
November 24, 2015
I saw this image in the Daily Mail. This reality enhancing device is discrete and, in my opinion, fashionable. Will the design influence other augmented/virtual reality devices? Is this the precursor of Google Glass?
I like the symmetry of the design. Tasteful and I assume it goes with formal and informal wear. One question: Does this implementation deliver on point search results and permit voice search?
Stephen E Arnold, November 24, 2015
November 24, 2015
The article on Kurzweil AI titled IBM’s Watson Shown to Enhance Human-Computer Co-Creativity, Support Biologically Inspired Design discusses a project set up among researchers and student teams at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The teams input information and questions about biomimetics, or biologically inspired design, and then Watson served as an “intelligent research assistant” for a Computational Creativity course in Spring 2015. The professor teaching the class, Ashok Goel, explained the benefits of this training.
“Imagine if you could ask Google a complicated question and it immediately responded with your answer — not just a list of links to manually open, says Goel. “That’s what we did with Watson. Researchers are provided a quickly digestible visual map of the concepts relevant to the query and the degree to which they are relevant. We were able to add more semantic and contextual meaning to Watson to give some notion of a conversation with the AI.”
Biomimetics is all about the comparison and inspiration of biological systems for technological system creation. The ability to “converse” with Watson could even help a student study a complicated topic and understand key concepts. Using Watson as an assistant who can bounce answers back at a professional could apply to many fields, and Goel is currently looking into online learning and healthcare. Watch out, grad students and TAs!
Chelsea Kerwin, November 24, 2015
November 20, 2015
IBM has created a free Paper.li blog that features information about the company: IBM’s InfoSphere Master Data Management Roundup. Besides the general categories of Headlines and Videos, readers can explore articles under Science, Technology, Business, and two IBM-specific categories, #Bluemix and #IBM. If you love to watch as Big Blue gets smaller, you will find this free newspaper useful in tracking some of the topics upon which IBM is building its future.
Oddly, though, we did not spot any articles from Alliance at IBM on the site. Some employees are unhappy with the way the company has been treating its workers, and have launched that site to publicize their displeasure. Here’s their Statement of Principles:
“Alliance@IBM/CWA Local 1701 is an IBM employee organization that is dedicated to preserving and improving our rights and benefits at IBM. We also strive towards restoring management’s respect for the individual and the value we bring to the company as employees. Our mission is to make our voice heard with IBM management, shareholders, government and the media. While our ultimate goal is collective bargaining rights with IBM, we will build our union now and challenge IBM on the many issues facing employees from off-shoring and job security to working conditions and company policy.”
It looks like IBM has more to worry about than sliding profits. Could the two issues be related?
Cynthia Murrell, November 20, 2015
November 19, 2015
If you need help communicating with the higher-ups, see “Sales Pitch: How to Sell Your IT Strategy to the Board” at SmartDataCollective. Writer Simon Mitchell points out that, when trying to convince the higher-ups to loosen the purse strings, IT pros are unlikely to succeed if their audience doesn’t understand what they’re talking about. He advises:
“Step out of your technological mindset. Long presentations on subjects outside your audience’s core competence are a waste of everyone’s time. Don’t bore the board with too much detail about how the technology actually works. Focus on the business case for your strategy.”
The write-up goes on to recommend a three-point framework for such presentations: focus on the problem (or opportunity), deliver the strategy, and present costs and benefits. See the post for more on each of these points. It is also smart have the technical details on hand, in case anyone asks. We’re left with four take-aways:
“*Before you present your next big IT initiative to the board, put yourself in their shoes. What do they need to hear?
*Review how you can make tech talk accessible and appealing to non-technical colleagues.
*Keep your presentations short and sweet.
*Focus on the business case for your IT strategy.”
Mitchell also wisely recommends The Economist’s Style Guide for more pointers. But, what if the board does not put you on the agenda or, when you make your pitch, no one cares? Well, that’s a different problem.
Cynthia Murrell, November 19, 2015
November 19, 2015
The article titled Petition: Facebook Betrayed Us By Secretly Lobbying for Surveillance Bill on BoingBoing complains that Facebook has been somewhat two-faced regarding privacy laws and cyber surveillance. The article claims that Facebook publicly opposed the Cybersercurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) while secretly lobbying to push it through. The article explains,
“Facebook has come under public fire for its permissive use of user data and pioneering privacy-invasive experiments in the past. They have also supported previous versions of the cybersecurity info-sharing bills, and their chief Senate lobbyist, Myriah Jordan, worked as General Counsel for CISA’s sponsor, Senator Richard Burr, immediately before moving to Facebook. Facebook has declined to take a public position on CISA, but in recent days sources have confirmed that in fact Facebook is quietly lobbying the Senate to pass it.”
This quotation does beg the question of why anyone would believe that Facebook opposes CISA, given its history. It is, after all, a public company that will earn money in any acceptable way it can. The petition to make Facebook be more transparent about its position on CISA seems more like a request for an apology from a company for being a company than anything else.
Chelsea Kerwin, November 19, 2015
November 18, 2015
Patent information is available to peruse via the USPTO Web site and Google has an accurate patent search (that is significantly easier to use than USPTO’s search), but this does not tell the complete story of US patents. GCN announced that the USPTO plans to remedy missing patent information in the article, “USPTO Opens The Door To Four Decades Of Patent Data.”
With the help of the Center of Science and Innovation Policy (CSSIP), the USPTO launched the new tool PatentsView:
“The new tool allows individuals to explore data on patenting activity in the United States dating back to 1976. Users can search patent titles, types, inventors, assignees, patent classes, locations and dates. The data also displays visualizations on trends and patent activity. In addition, searches include graphic illustrations and charts.”
People will be able to conduct the equivalent of an “advanced search” option of Google or an academic database. PatentsView allows people to identify trends, what technology is one the rise or dropping, search a company’s specific patents, and flexible application programming interface to search patent information.
The USPTO wants people to access and use important patent and trademark data. It faces the issue that many organizations are dealing with that they have the data available and even with the bonus of it being digital, but its user interface is not user-friendly and no one knows it is there. Borrowing a page from marketing, the USPTO is using PatentsView to rebrand itself and advertise its offerings. Shiny graphics are one way to reach people.
Whitney Grace, November 18, 2015
November 18, 2015
A few words of wisdom from a Google veteran went from Quora query to Huffington Post article in, “What It Takes to Rise the Ranks at Google: Advice from a Senior Staff Engineer.” The original question was, “How hard is it to make Senior Engineer at Google.” HuffPo senior editor Nico Pitney reproduces the most popular response, that of senior engineer Carlos Pizano. Pizano lists some of his education and pre-Google experience, and gives some credit to plain luck, but here’s the part that makes this good guidance for approaching many jobs:
“I happen to be a believer of specialization, so becoming ‘the person’ on a given subject helped me a lot. Huge swaths of core technology key to Google’s success I know nothing about, of some things I know all there is to know … or at least my answers on the particular subject were the best to be found at Google. Finally, I never focused on my career. I tried to help everybody that needed advice, even fixing their code when they let me and was always ready to spread the knowledge. Coming up with projects but giving them to eager, younger people. Shine the light on other’s accomplishments. All that comes back to you when performance review season comes.”
Knowing your stuff and helping others—yes, that will go a long way indeed. For more engineers’ advice, some of which is more Google-specific, navigate to the list of responses here.
Cynthia Murrell, November 18, 2015
November 16, 2015
Have you ever heard of Icann? You are probably like many people within the United States and have not heard of the non-profit private company. What does Icann do? Icann is responsible for Internet protocol addresses (IP) and coordinating domain names, so basically the company is responsible for a huge portion of the Internet. According to The Guardian in “The Internet Is Run By An Unaccountable Private Company. This Is A Problem,” the US supposedly runs the Icann but its role is mostly clerical and by September 30, 2015 it was supposed to hand the reins over to someone else.
The “else” is the biggest question. The Icann community spent hours trying to figure out who would manage the company, but they ran into a huge brick wall. The biggest issue is that the volunteers want Icann to have more accountability, which does not seem feasible. Icann’s directors cannot be fired, except by each other. Finances are another problem with possible governance risks and corruption.
A supposed solution is to create a membership organization, a common business model for non-profits and will give power to the community. Icann’s directors are not too happy and have been allowed to add their own opinions. Decisions are not being made at Icann and with the new presidential election the entire power shift could be off. It is not the worst that could happen:
“But there’s much more at stake. Icann’s board – as ultimate authority in this little company running global internet resources, and answerable (in fact, and in law) to no one – does have the power to reject the community’s proposals. But not everything that can be done, should be done. If the board blunders on, it will alienate those volunteers who are the beating heart of multi-stakeholder governance. It will also perfectly illustrate why change is required.”
The board has all the power and the do not have anyone to hold them accountable. Icann directors just have to stall long enough to keep things the same and they will be able to give themselves more raises.