CyberOSINT banner

Facebook Strokes Brain’s Pleasure Center

July 21, 2015

Why do people like using Facebook?  It is a question that researchers have asked since Facebook premiered in 2004.  It was assumed to be a passing fad like prior social networks, including Myspace and Live Journal, but over a decade later Facebook is still going strong without a sign of stopping.  MakeUseOf.com decided to answer the question using an informative infographic and many research studies, check out “Why Do People Like, Share, And Comment On Facebook?”

Apparently Facebook taps the pleasure center of the brain, because when users actively share or “like” content they feel like they are directly engaging with a community.  The infographic also explains that posting status updates relieves loneliness and increases a user’s virtual empathy.  While “likes” are a quick form of communication, comments still seem to be the favorite way to interact on the social network:

“Moira Burke, who is studying 1,200 Facebook users in an ongoing experiment, has found that personal messages are more satisfying to receivers than the one-click communication of likes.”

Direct, more personal types of communication are still preferred by users.  Facebook also is appealing, because users feel like they are getting something in return as well.  They get discounts or coupons for their favorite brands, participate in contests, receive updates, and get individualized advertisements.

There are several other studies highlighting in the infographic, but the bottom line is that people are gaining a high level of personal interactivity that they can share with their friends and family.  Facebook is an integral part of the Internet, because it connects users organically and appeals to a deep, psychological need to interact with other humans.

Whitney Grace, July 21, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Search Improvements at Twitter

June 18, 2015

Search hasn’t exactly been Twitter’s strong point in the past. Now we learn that the site is rolling out its new and improved search functionality to all (logged-in) users in TechCrunch’s article, “Twitter’s New Search Results Interface Expands to All Web Users.” Reporter Sarah Parez tells us:

“Twitter is now rolling out a new search results interface to all logged-in users on the web, introducing a cleaner look-and-feel and more filtering options that let you sort results by top tweets, ‘live’ tweets, accounts, photos, videos, news and more. The rollout follows tests that began in April which then made the new interface available to a ‘small group’ of Twitter users the company had said at the time. The updated interface is one of the larger updates Twitter’s search engine has seen in recent months, and it’s meant to make the search interface itself easier to use in terms of switching between tweets, accounts, photos and videos.”

Twitter has been working on other features meant to make the site easier to use. For example, the revamped landing page will track news stories in specified categories. Users can also access the latest updates through the “instant timeline” or “while you were away” features. The article supplies a few search-interface before-and-after screenshots. Naturally, Twitter promises to continue improving the feature.

Cynthia Murrell, June 18, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Upgraded Version of Kofax Kapow Released

June 11, 2015

The article on KapowTech titled Kofax Kapow 9.5 Adds Analytics and Simulation Capabilities discusses Kofax’s recent upgrade. The new version includes more graphic support, speedier robot design and testing, and the ability to easily share and synchronize projects. The article says,

“As a global leader in commercial intelligence for the energy, chemicals, metals and mining industries, we provide objective analysis and advice on assets, companies and markets, giving clients the insight they need to make better strategic decisions,” said Matthew Jennings, a Director Operations for Research at Wood Mackenzie. “The new analytics capabilities built into Kofax Kapow 9.5 will give our business analysts detailed, up-to-the-minute insight into how our web data integration processes are running.”

Dave Caldeira, Senior Vice President of Product and Solutions Marketing for Kofax speaks to the importance of real-time management in order for users to keep on top of their projects. The article reports that the Kofax Kapow platform is the quickest way to work with enterprise applications that also routes the need for any coding. Most importantly, it provides the ability to use information that was previously useless. Kofax has more than 20,000 users that rely on the company for its aid in customer engagement.

With Lexmark in Kentucky, the crowd in Harrod’s Creek wishes the company success as it adjusts to its new owner.

Chelsea Kerwin, June 11,  2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Online Shopping Is Too Hard

June 10, 2015

Online shopping is supposed to drive physical stores out of business, but that might not be the case if online shopping is too difficult.  The Ragtrader article, “Why They Abandon” explains that 45 percent of Australian consumers will not make an online purchase if they experience Web site difficulties.  The consumers, instead, are returning to physical stores to make the purchase.  The article mentions that 44 percent believe that traditional shopping is quicker if they know what to look for and 43 percent as prefer in-store service.

The research comes from a Rackspace survey to determine shopping habits in New Zealand and Australia.  The survey also asked participants what other problems they experienced shopping online:

“42 percent said that there were too many pop-up advertisements, 34 percent said that online service is not the same as in-store and 28 percent said it was too time consuming to narrow down options available.”

These are understandable issues.  People don’t want to be hounded to purchase other products when they have a specific item in mind and thousands of options are overwhelming to search through.  Then a digital wall is often daunting if people prefer interpersonal relationships when they shop.  The survey may pinpoint online shopping weaknesses, but it also helps online stores determine the best ways for improvement.

“ ‘This survey shows that not enough retailers are leveraging powerful and available site search and navigation solutions that give consumers a rewarding shopping experience.’ ”

People shop online for convenience, variety, lower prices, and deals.  Search is vital for consumers to narrow down their needs, but if they can’t navigate a Web site then search proves as useless as an expired coupon.

 

Whitney Grace, June 10, 2015
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

IBM Elevates Tape Storage to the Cloud

June 9, 2015

Did you think we left latency and bad blocks behind with tape storage? Get ready to revisit them, because “IBM Cloud Will Reach Back to Tape for Low-Cost Storage,” according to ComputerWorld. We noticed tape storage was back on the horizon earlier this year, and now IBM has made it official at its recent Edge conference in Las Vegas. There, the company was slated to present a cloud-archiving architecture that relies on a different storage mediums, including tape, depending on an organization’s needs. Reporter Stephen Lawson writes:

“Enterprises are accumulating growing volumes of data, including new types such as surveillance video that may never be used on a regular basis but need to be stored for a long time. At the same time, new big-data analytics tools are making old and little-used data useful for gleaning new insights into business and government. IBM is going after customers in health care, social media, oil and gas, government and other sectors that want to get to all of their data no matter where it’s stored. IBM’s system, which it calls Project Big Storage, puts all tiers of storage under one namespace, creating a single pool of data that users can manage through folders and directories without worrying about where it’s stored. It incorporates both file and object storage.”

A single pool of data is good. The inclusion of tape storage in this mix is reportedly part of an attempt to undercut IBM’s cloudy competitors, including AWS and Google Cloud. Naturally, the service can be implemented onsite, as a cloud service, or as a hybrid. IBM hopes Big Storage will make cloud pricing more predictable, though complexity there seems inevitable. Tape storage is slower to deliver data, but according to the plan only “rarely needed” data will be stored there, courtesy of IBM’s own Spectrum Scale distributed storage software. Wisely, IBM is relying on the tape-handling experts at Iron Mountain to run the tape-based portion of the Big Storage Project.

Cynthia Murrell, June 9, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

Informed Millennials

April 15, 2015

With the fall of traditional newspapers and aging TV News audiences, just where are today’s 20- and young 30- somethings turning for news coverage?  Science 2.0  tells us “How Millennials Get News,” reporting on a recent survey from the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The joint effort comes from a collaboration arrangement the organizations call the Media Insight Project. Conducted at the beginning of 2015, the survey asked Millennials about their news-consumption habits. The article tells us:

“People ages 18-34 consume news and information in strikingly different ways than did previous generations, they keep up with ‘traditional’ news as well as stories that connect them to hobbies, culture, jobs, and entertainment, they just do it in ways that corporations can’t figure out how to monetize well….

“‘For many Millennials, news is part of their social flow, with most seeing it as an enjoyable or entertaining experience,’ said Trevor Tompson, director of the AP-NORC Center. ‘It is possible that consuming news at specific times of the day for defined periods will soon be a thing of the past given that news is now woven into many Millennials’ connected lives.’”

Soon? Even many of us Gen Xers and (a few intrepid Baby Boomers) now take our news in small doses at varying hours. The survey also found that most respondents look at the news at least once a day, and many several times per day. Also, contrary to warnings from worrywarts (yes, including me), personalized news feeds may not be creating a confirmation-bias crisis, after all. Most of these Millennials insist their social-media feeds are well balanced; the write-up explains:

“70 percent of Millennials say that their social media feeds are comprised of a diverse mix of viewpoints evenly mixed between those similar to and different from their own. An additional 16 percent say their feeds contain mostly viewpoints different from their own. And nearly three-quarters of those exposed to different views (73 percent) report they investigate others’ opinions at least some of the time–with a quarter saying they do it always or often.”

Well, that’s encouraging. Another finding might surprise some of us: Though a vast 90 percent of Millennials have smart phones, only half report being online most of all of the day. See the article for more, or navigate to the report itself; the study’s methodology is detailed at the end of the report.

Cynthia Murrell, April 15, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Qwant Develops Qwant Junior, the Search Engine for Children

March 17, 2015

The article on Telecompaper titled Qwant Tests Child-Friendly Search Engine discusses the French companies work. Qwant is focused on targeting 3 to 13 year olds with Qwant Junior, in partnership with the Education Ministry. Twenty percent of the company is owned by digital publishing powerhouse Axel Springer. The child-friendly search engine will attempt to limit the access to inappropriate content while encouraging children to use the search engine to learn. The article explains,

“The new version blocks or lists very far down in search results websites that show violence and pornography, as well as e-commerce sites. The version features an education tab separately from the general web search that offers simplified access to educational programme, said co-founder Eric Leandri. Qwant Junior’s video tab offers child-appropriate videos from YouTube, Dailymotion and Vimeo. After tests with the ministry, the search engine will be tested by several hundred schools.”

Teaching youngsters the ways of the search engine is important in our present age. The concept of listing pornography “very far down” on the list of results might unsettle some parents of young teens smart enough to just keep scrolling, but it is France! Perhaps the expectation of blocking all unsavory material is simply untenable. Qwant is planning on a major launch by September, and is in talks with Brazil for a similar program.

Chelsea Kerwin, March 17, 2014

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

AWS Wants to Make Using ElasticSearch Easier

March 12, 2015

Amazon Web Services is one of the biggest purveyors of cloud and remote computing, but it still faces stiff competition from its rivals. AWS continues to add features and new technology to attract more users. TechTarget alerted us to how AWS is making developments with its search offerings: “Amazon Preps AWS ElasticSearch To Ease EC2 Integration.” AWS wants to make running ElasticSearch, an open source search engine, easier on its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) with a new service option.

Another open source search engine based of Apache Solr is already available on AWS called CloudSearch, but ElasticSearch has become more popular in recent years. Solr is still considered by many an open source project rather than a competitive application. ElasticSearch has remained on top of valuable open source products since created in 2010.

Response to an ElasticSearch service for EC2 has been positive and end-users are eager to see it deployed. Integrating ElasticSearch into EC2 is tricky, leading to memory shortages and leaks. If AWS manages the backend for ElasticSearch integrations, it would be a relief for users who have head to deal with the issue. They would be able to focus on other projects rather than keeping the backend running.

“’ I wouldn’t be surprised to see this kind of offering,’ said Dan Sullivan, a consultant with DS Applied Technologies, located in Portland, Ore, who did not have any direct knowledge of the upcoming service, but said it would make sense. ‘ElasticSearch is growing in popularity … and [an AWS service] would be something a lot of people would be interested in.’”

What does this spell for Apache Solr-based companies like LucidWorks? It puts more pressure on them to be a more viable rival.

Whitney Grace, March 12, 2015
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Tips for Improved SharePoint Experience

January 27, 2015

It is about time for those New Year’s resolutions to be wearing off. There’s likely a little more dust on the treadmill come mid-January. Yet, it is never too late to commit to a few resolutions for your organization’s SharePoint installation. Read some handy and attainable tips in the Network World article, “5 New Year’s Resolutions (Tips) for SharePoint Power Users.”

The article begins:

“For my first blog post of 2015, I’ve compiled a list of New Year’s resolutions for SharePoint Power Users. These are my favorite tips and best practices to improve user experiences for SharePoint sites. They are in no particular order but they are all designed to improve the user experience for power user designers and/or end users of SharePoint sites.”

Tips go on to include things like organizing content, making meaningful links, and embedding PowerPoint pages via hyperlink. These are not life-changing tips, but they are helpful, and research has found that these small changes make a big impact on overall user experience. Stephen E. Arnold has a vested interest in these tips and tricks when it comes to SharePoint. He has made a career out of all things search and he reports his findings on his Web site, ArnoldIT.com. His SharePoint feed is a treasure trove for those who are interested in these practical suggestions for improved usability.

Emily Rae Aldridge, January 27, 2015

Google Steers SEO Pros Toward User Experience

January 21, 2015

Curious to learn where Google is driving the search-engine optimization field these days? Search Engine Watch tells us, “6 Major Changes Reveal the Future of SEO.” Writer Eric Enge declares, “Google is doing a brilliant job of pushing people away from tactical SEO behavior and toward a more strategic approach.” Um, okay. As long as that means more relevant information for users.

The article lists Eng’s six observations and what each means for SEO approaches. For example, Google has stopped handing users’ keyword data to websites, requiring them to use other methods to monitor keyword performance. Then there’s the Hummingbird algorithm, which Enge says is really a major platform change. The write-up also considers the current influence of Google+ and Google’s Authorship program. Finally, Enge cites the In-Depth Article feature Google introduced last August, which points users to more comprehensive sources of information. See the article for more on each of these points. Enge concludes:

“All of these new pieces play a role in getting people to focus on their authority, semantic relevance, and the user experience. Again, this is what Google wants.

“For clarity, I’m not saying that Google designed these initiatives specifically to stop people from being tactical and make them strategic. I don’t really know that. It may simply be the case that Google operates from a frame of reference that they want to find and reward outstanding sites, pages, and authors that offer outstanding answers to user’s search queries. But the practical impact is the same.

“The focus now is on understanding your target users, producing great content, establishing your authority and visibility, and providing a great experience for the users of your site.”

Well, this does sound like a good shift for users. Will SEO workers used to focusing on PageRank data and keywords learn to adapt?

Cynthia Murrell, January 21, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Next Page »