Great Moments in High School Science Club Management: Twitter and Zoom

March 30, 2020

Bird is a company with venture money renting scooters. One effect of scooteritis is the desire to throw scooters in ponds, dumpsters, and bushes.

A string of Tweets at this link report an example of the HSSCMM or high school science club management method. The technique is to use the Facebook friendly Zoom video conferencing app to hold a company meeting. (Why not have everyone move their Alexa close to the conference call too?)

Instead of a meeting Bird terminated with HSSCMM 400 employees. The happy news was provided by a pre-recorded Zoom message. Another Twitter service user insisted that the message was delivered by an allegedly human person who “started crying halfway through.”

Okay, Zoom. Firing lots of people. Nifty HSSCMM nevertheless. It will be interesting to see what the next “coming down to earth” high technology company can extend this method.

Efficiency when dealing with those NOT in the science club.

Stephen E Arnold, March 30. 2020

Duh Research: Screen Time Dumbs Down Mental Processes

March 26, 2020

Baby Boomers complain that Millennials spend all their time on their phones, the latter complain that the older folks are stuck in their ways ands ruined the world. Generational arguments are tales as old as humanity and the Arkansas Democrat Gazette preaches to the choir, “Screens Encourage Shallow Reading; Here’s How To Dive Deeper.”

Due to the amount of work done digitally, people have developed habits to complete their work quicker. This includes skimming emails, texts, and other reading materials. People have the intention of going back to their reading lists and completing them later, but more work and more reading piles up. The “going back” never happens. Skimming content without fully digesting it or even delving into deeper mental dives does create a reading problem.

Wise reading involves searching for clues, key details, and practicing sequential thinking. If these skills are not used, they wither.

Other schools of thought, however, believe that digital work will not mess with brain functions, but there are disadvantages to digital reading. People comprehend and retain material better when it is printed on paper. It does not matter, though, how content is published it is meant for entertainment.

Digital reading platforms imitate physical books by including “page turns” and removing distractions like ads, while others send the reader encouraging notifications or they are designed like social media platforms.

The way people read has changed and the articles explains that new and old technologies have their own languages. There is a list of suggested habits to practice better reading and screen time:

When you can, pick the right environment.

“For a lot of us, it’s kind of romantic to read in a coffee shop,” Willingham said. “But if you’re doing difficult reading, that may be pretty distracting.”

Then, cut out remaining distractions. Turn off WiFi or even put your phone in airplane mode, Willingham said.

Take breaks. There’s lots of evidence that taking breaks truly refreshes your mind, Willingham said. The best timing for those breaks could vary from person to person.

Don’t use breaks for Instagram and email. “That’s not actually very restful, it’s just a different type of work,” Willingham said. It never hurts to take a walk.

Take mornings or evenings (or both) off-screen. Contemplation and reflection are just as important as the work you’re leaving behind, Wolf said. Get in the habit of bookending your days with an “alternative view of what productivity really needs.””

It is the same advice listed in other similar columns and beats down to: turn off the screen. Screen time is addictive, but it does not make people stupider. It makes them less observant. Moderation is the key to everything, but how often is that taught? Answer? Duh.

Whitney Grace, March 26, 2020

DarkCyber for March 24, 2020, Now Available

March 24, 2020

DarkCyber for March 24, 2020, covers four stories. You can view the video on YouTube or on Vimeo.

The first story explains that phishing is a contentious issue in many organizations. Managers see phishing one way; information and security professionals often have a different view. The divide can create more vulnerabilities for organizations ignoring the escalating risk from weaponized email.

The second story provides some information about Banjo (a US firm engaged in providing specialized services to law enforcement) and BlueDot (a Canadian company applying advanced analysis to open source and limited access medical information). The story makes clear that the methods of these firms provide excellent insight into how some specialized software systems deliver high value intelligence to law enforcement and intelligence professionals worldwide.

The third story provides information about a Department of Justice report aimed at Dark Web researchers. The document is available without charge from the url provided in the program. Failure to follow the guidelines in the document can convert a researcher into a bad actor.

The final story reviews recent steps taken by the Russian government to exert tighter control over Internet applications. The affected software includes Tor and the Telegram Open Network. Mr. Putin has become Russia’s first digital tsar.

Kenny Toth, March 24, 2020

DarkCyber for March 10, 2020, Now Available

March 10, 2020

DarkCyber for March 10, 2020, includes four stories. The first is a look at how BriefCam’s smart software generates video synopses of surveillance viden. The second presents information about the geotracking capabilities enabled by aggregated data from vendors like Venntel and Oracle, among others. The third story dips bnack into phishing-rich data flows. There’s is a reason why bogus email exploits are increasing. Watch to find out the reason. The final story discloses the Amflyfi and Deep Web Technologies mergers. Is a new intelware giant taking shape. Check out this week’s video to learn what DarkCyber thinks.

Kenny Toth, March 10, 2020

Tools for TikTok and Twitch

March 5, 2020

DarkCyber spotted “JOBY Launches New Line of Accessories for Content Creators.” The idea is that there are quite a few people streaming video. The equipment required for IRL and some popular streaming situations has to be cobbled together. Enter Joby. The company offers a

  • Video streaming kit for $200
  • An LED halo light for $90
  • A stand for iPhone and Android devices for $40.

Are there other brands competing for the vloggers’ money? Yes, Razer, Neewer, and Homall among others.

If you want to locate these products, be sure to search for products tagged for games, vloggers, streamers, and Twitch. Amazon will sell you beannie’s, hoodies, and a book “Twitch for Dummies.”

A new Amazon Basics category may be coalescing. TikTok fame awaits.

Stephen E Arnold, March 5, 2020

DarkCyber for February 25, 2020, Now Available

February 25, 2020

This week’s DarkCyber video news program features an interview with Dr. Rado Kotorov, the chief executive officer of Trendalyze. The company provides time series analytics on steroids.

Most professionals are aware that some Wall Street traders analyze time series data for stocks. In the last decade, the business of buying and selling stocks has evolved. Today there are more data available and the importance

of obtaining certain data in near real time has sky rocketed. Plugging numbers into Excel is useful; however, more sophisticated analytic systems are required to deal with financial data.

The shift from a hard working broker making trades before heading to the Kiwanis club has ended. The focus is now on high frequency trading and using advanced analytics, pattern analysis, machine learning, deep learning, AI, and a suite of tools designed to exploit price fluctuations in nano seconds.

In this interview, Dr. Kotorov explains that the methods of Wall Street high frequency traders have now moved into other business sectors. Examples range from health care to companies like Amazon, Tesla, and Walmart. Time series analyses provide high-value results for policeware and government systems.

Dr. Kotorov reviews a theory of intelligence which relies on time series analysis of real time flows of large volumes of data. Specifically, the approach enables more refinement in certain machine learning applications as well as adding precision to some artificial intelligence approaches.

Dr. Kotorov, who holds a law degree and a Ph.D. in philosophy, heads one of the fastest growing analytics firms in the world.

For more information about Trendalyze, navigate to the url presented in the interview.

DarkCyber is a video news program produced by Stephen E Arnold, publisher of DarkCyber blog. The blog and the twice-a-month video news program are provided without advertising or sponsored content.

Kenny Toth, February 25, 2020

YouTube: About Findability or Futility

February 21, 2020

I am a librarian. My view is that YouTube search is not too good. When I was in library school, one of my professors used the technical term “stinks” when describing some retrieval systems. Maybe that term works in this post’s context?

Let’s try it out, “YouTube search stinks.” Would my former professor agree? I don’t know.

YouTube wants to improve its search function and Make Use Of reports on how, “Searching For The Right YouTube Channel Gets Easier With These 5 Sites.” It is difficult to find specific channels or even decent recommendations on YouTube, unless you know exactly what you are looking for. You can spend time mastering YouTube search or you can use Web sites that do the work for you.

The first useful tool is actually on the YouTube Web site. The YouTube Trends page update every fifteen minutes and highlights the most popular videos of the day. It is not catered for individuals, but it does show what is trending with other viewers. More specific categories can be selected showing what is popular in selected area.

Channels Stacks is another choice if you are searching for educational videos. YouTube has always been an excellent platform for free educational content. Alexander Olssen created Channel Stacks to curate educational content by topic. There are currently four categories: technology, creative, business, and lifestyle.

With the rise of streaming TV channel surfing should be a thing of the past, but organic discovery still exists on YouTube. If you do not know what to watch, check out Neverthink which does the task thinking for you. All one needs to do is select download the Neverthink app, pick a theme, and zone out. Neverthink curates videos based on the them, they will be good quality, and can lead you to a creator’s other work.

CreatorSpot is the new YouTubers best friend:

“CreatorSpot is quite like ProductHunt for creators on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. The site features eight new creators every day and that gives you a window to discover a fledgling YouTuber to follow. With thousands of videos uploaded every day, it’s difficult for a new content producer to come to everyone’s attention on platforms like YouTube. The bigger names benefit from YouTube’s algorithm while the fresh creators just about try to survive. This site attempts to help them get some limelight. The platform relies on user submissions, to begin with. The creators are evaluated on quality, originality, attention, and frequency. You can use the site to not only discover new videos and content creators behind them but also recommend photographers, YouTubers, writers, influencers, and producers you know who are doing great work.”

Walnut TV literally combines YouTube and Reddit into one, which is great because Reddit’s search feature is a millions times better than YouTube. Walnut TV is exactly like Reddit with Subreddits, except everything is videos.

PocketTube is a subscription manager service that helps you organize your videos and channels. With PocketTube you can organize subscriptions into groups, personalize them with icons, and change the layout. This makes it easier to search, add, and delete videos.

YouTube may not conform to my professor’s definition of “stinks,” but the online ad giant has an opportunity to improve. YouTube may deliver futility, not findability.

Whitney Grace, February 21, 2020

Amazon: A Dark Underbelly or Just Low Cost Content?

February 20, 2020

Here is something they don’t tell you when you sign up for that $120/year Amazon Prime membership. From Vox’s article, “The Dark Underbelly of Amazon Prime Video,” we learn that almost two-thirds of the service’s streaming videos are user-generated. There also seems to be little to no vetting of this content. That explains why it is difficult to find something good to watch on the platform if one is not searching for something specific. The piece cites a recent feature from the Wall Street Journal. Writer Marc Atkins adds:

“We did some more sleuthing and found even more weird and potentially offensive content. It’s almost as though Amazon welcomes the bad videos, which count toward the total number of titles available on Prime Video. According to Ampere Analytics, Amazon Prime Video boasts 65,504 distinct titles — almost 10 times the 7,177 on Netflix. Users who upload videos, WSJ reports, also get a small cut of revenue based on how many people watch their videos, so there’s an incentive to upload even more. A quick glance at what turned up in a handful of search results shows that quantity can outweigh quality.”

Atkins lists a few examples, from mere oddities to the truly bizarre. See the write-up for those titles. He continues:

“We’ve come to expect off-putting content from social behemoths like Facebook and Google’s YouTube, where many regular people — and the occasional coordinated efforts from foreign governments — post their memes and videos. Amazon Prime Video, on the other hand, presents itself as a Netflix competitor, and that might lead its users to believe that the content on the platform has been vetted. To the average user, it’s not even clear that any of the content on Amazon Prime Video is user-generated, much less the majority of it. Unlike YouTube, Amazon doesn’t label user-generated content as such.”

That is misleading, to say the least. The WSJ article reports Amazon does use both AI and human reviewers to screen for offensive or illegal content. However, Atkins is dubious about their effectiveness, considering the gems he turned up in his search.

And the content may cost less than a Hollywood blockbuster conjured from Jack Warner’s former stomping grounds.

Cynthia Murrell, February 20, 2020

DarkCyber for February 11, 2020, Now Available

February 11, 2020

This week’s program includes three stories. The first describes an open source repository of intelligence-centric and investigative information. The listing of programs and resources is available on Github. The second story explains why facial recognition is of interest to law enforcement agencies. Vendors provide free trials to their systems. The goal is for the vendor to make a sale. The law enforcement agency has an opportunity to learn and test the systems. Because facial recognition is in its infancy, DarkCyber believes that use of advanced systems will increase. The final story provides information about the CIA’s online information service. A free book about the craft of intelligence is reviewed. You can view the video at either of these locations:

The video runs about 10 minutes.

Kenny Toth, February 11, 2020

Amazon and Twitch: Monetizing an Interesting Streaming Service

February 7, 2020

The write up “Amazon Might Offer Twitch’s Streaming Technology to Businesses” is an interesting business analysis crafted by Engadget. Like other Silicon Valley infused information services, writing about gadgets is definitely the platform one can use to write about business strategies and tactics.

The write up states:

Twitch would still exist, but Amazon would have a new way to monetize its technology.

Twitch is a collection of individuals who “play” games. As the DarkCyber team has documented for my lectures to law enforcement and intelligence professionals, Twitch serves up a number of interesting digital experiences:

  • Pole dancers
  • Pirated first run videos
  • Streams of protests, some displaying a Russian communications service logo
  • Live “instructional” gambling
  • Partially clothed individuals (assorted genders)
  • A Hollywood Squares style discussion of jobs and other compelling subjects
  • Emojis used to signal intent, some good, some bad.

Oh, there are streaming games played by individuals with “rigs” and lightning fast reflexes. Microsoft has been luring the star gamers to its streaming platform too.

Streaming services like Twitch, however, are expensive to operate, but Amazon keeps those costs under wraps. Plus, there may be some risks to the Amazon entity. What type? See the list of content DarkCyber identified above.

The Twitch technology is remarkable, particularly for a person who has never seen what the future of video programming may be like. However, Amazon Twitch looks a bit frumpy when compared to Neverthink, TikTok, and Walnut.

Engadget writes:

Amazon seems to think that Twitch’s streaming technologies could have a lot of value to other companies, thanks to the robustness of the platform.

What could go wrong for business? Stream hijacking? Bad actors using a corporate stream to inject interesting content?

Net net: Amazon may tap Engadget to assist with repositioning the Twitch property. DarkCyber’s view of Twitch is the stuff of my lectures for law enforcement and intelligence conferences, not a free blog. Money losing units at Amazon may not be too popular if bonuses are eroded. Difficulty level: Comparable to selling business Amazon blockchain technology.

Stephen E Arnold, February 7, 2020

Next Page »

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta