Poohbahs Poohbahing: Just Obvious Poohbahing

March 6, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

We’re already feeling the effects of AI technology in deepfake videos and soundbites and generative text. While our present circumstances are our the beginning of AI technology, so-called experts are already claiming AI has gone bananas. The Verge, a popular Silicon Valley news outlet, released a new podcast episode where they declare that, “The AIs Are Officially Out Of Control.”

AI generated images and text aren’t 100% accurate. AI images are prone to include extra limbs, false representations of people, and even entirely miss the prompt. AI generative text is about as accurate as a Wikipedia article, so you need to double check and edit the response. Unfortunately AI are only as smart as the datasets that program them. AIs have been called “racist”and “sexist” due to limited data. Google Gemini also has gone too far on diversity and inclusion returning images that aren’t historically accurate when asked to deliver.

The podcast panelists made an obvious point when the pundits said that Google’s results qualities have declined. Bad SEO, crappy content, and paid results pollute search. They claim that the best results Google returns are coming from Reddit posts. Reddit is a catch-all online forum that Google recently negotiated deal with to use its content to train AI. That’s a great idea, especially when Reddit is going public on the stock market.

The problem is that Reddit is full of trolls who do things for %*^ and giggles. While Reddit is a brilliant source of information because it is created by real people, the bad actors will train the AI-chatbots to be “racist” and “sexist” like previous iterations. The worst incident involves ethnically diverse Nazis:

“Google has apologized for what it describes as “inaccuracies in some historical image generation depictions” with its Gemini AI tool, saying its attempts at creating a “wide range” of results missed the mark. The statement follows criticism that it depicted specific white figures (like the US Founding Fathers) or groups like Nazi-era German soldiers as people of color, possibly as an overcorrection to long-standing racial bias problems in AI.”

I am not sure which is the problem: Uninformed generalizations, flawed AI technology capable of zapping billions in a few hours, or minimum viable products are the equivalent of a blue jay fouling up a sparrow’s nest. Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.

Whitney Grace, March 6, 2024

Lawyer, Former Government Official, and Podcaster to Head NSO Group

January 2, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

The high-profile intelware and policeware vendor NSO Group has made clear that specialized software is a potent policing tool. NSO Group continues to market its products and services at low-profile trade shows like those sponsored by an obscure outfit in northern Virginia. Now the firm has found a new friend in a former US official. TechDirt reports, “Former DHS/NSA Official Stewart Baker Decides He Can Help NSO Group Turn a Profit.” Writer Tim Cushing tells us:

“This recent filing with the House of Representatives makes it official: Baker, along with his employer Steptoe and Johnson, will now be seeking to advance the interests of an Israeli company linked to abusive surveillance all over the world. In it, Stewart Baker is listed as the primary lobbyist. This is the same Stewart Baker who responded to the Commerce Department blacklist of NSO by saying it wouldn’t matter because authoritarians could always buy spyware from… say…. China.”

So, the reasoning goes, why not allow a Western company to fill that niche? This perspective apparently makes Baker just the fellow to help NSO buff up NSO Group’s reputation. Cushing predicts:

“The better Baker does clearing NSO’s tarnished name, the sooner it and its competitors can return to doing the things that got them in trouble in the first place. Once NSO is considered somewhat acceptable, it can go back to doing the things that made it the most money: i.e., hawking powerful phone exploits to human rights abusers. But this time, NSO has a former US government official in its back pocket. And not just any former government official but one who spent months telling US citizens who were horrified by the implications of the Snowden leaks that they were wrong for being alarmed about bulk surveillance.”

Perhaps the winning combination for the NSO Group is a lawyer, former US government official, and a podcaster in one sleek package will do the job? But there are now alternatives to the Pegasus solution. Some of these do not have the baggage carted around by the stealthy flying horse.

Perhaps there will be a podcast about NSO Group in the near future.

Cynthia Murrell, January 2, 2024

NewsGuard, Now Guarding Podcasts

May 23, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1]Note: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

Advertising alongside false or biased information can be bad for a brand’s image, a problem that has obviously escalated in recent years. News vetting service NewsGuard saw a niche and promptly filled it. The firm has provided would-be advertisers with reliability ratings for websites and TV shows since 2018, and now includes podcasts in its appraisals. The company’s PodNews shares the press release, “NewsGuard Launches World’s First Journalist-Vetted Podcast Credibility Ratings to Help Advertisers.”

We learn NewsGuard is working with three top podcast platforms to spread the word to advertisers. The platforms will also use ratings to inform their recommendation engines and moderate content. The write-up explains:

“The podcast ratings include a trust score from 0-10, overall risk level, metadata fields, and a detailed written explanation of the podcast’s content and record of credibility and transparency. The ratings are used by brands and agencies to direct their ad spend toward highly trustworthy, brand-safe news podcasts while being protected from brand-safety and brand-suitability risks inherent in advertising on news and politics content. … NewsGuard determines which news and information podcasts to rate based on factors including reported engagement, estimated ad revenue, and the volume of news and information content in the podcast’s episodes. The podcasts rated by NewsGuard include those that cover topics including politics, current affairs, health, business, and finance. The journalists at NewsGuard assess news and information podcasts based on five journalistic criteria:

  • Does not regularly convey false, unchallenged information: 4 points
  • Conveys news on important topics responsibly: 3 points
  • Is not dominated by one-sided opinion: 1 point
  • Discloses, or does not have, a political agenda: 1 point
  • Differentiates advertising and commercial partnerships from editorial content: 1 point”

The press release shares example scores, or what it calls “Nutrition Labels,” for five podcasts. The top scorer shown is a Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal podcast, which received a 10 out of 10. Interesting. NewsGuard was launched in 2018 by a pair of journalist entrepreneurs and is based in New York City.

Cynthia Murrell, May 23, 2023

Twit.TV: Now Advertising Itself

May 7, 2019

Technology centric podcasts are everywhere. One assumes that listenership continues to rise. Numbers about downloads, partial listens, and complete listens are tough to obtain. DarkCyber believes that the hyperbole may be outpacing ears and eye balls. One possible radar blip is the advertisement on TechCrunch for Twit.tv. Twit is the outlet for Leo LaPorte, a former TV personality and current radio host in the US. The Twit network features a number of programs. These range from the somewhat pedantic Security Now to the breezy This Week in Tech.

Here’s the ad which DarkCyber spotted on May 6, 2019:


The ad links to the Twit.tv home page. The page provides a listing of the programs available on iTunes and other outlets. Video programs are findable on YouTube.


Like other podcasts, the Twit.tv programs often feature “talk overs” in which two or more guests chatter simultaneously. The experience can make it difficult to figure out who is saying what. Once characteristic of the Twit.tv programs is the repetition: Ads for products are ones that Mr. LaPorte uses, the guests are the “best”, and themes such as “Apple does not invite Twit experts to their events.”

Several questions arise:

  1. Is the podcast “revolution” having an impact on the reach of the Twit shows? A legal podcast disappeared earlier this year, probably because of the erratic scheduling and competition from programs from law firms like Steptoe & Johnson.
  2. Has the format of the shows lost its magnetism as different types of interactive discussions focused on technology become available; for example, the peculiar Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway program which is often insightful but more frequently just strange?
  3. Have the personal idiosyncrasies of Twit management impaired the organization’s ability to keep its program formats and approach fresh?
  4. How will the advertising to get listeners (viewers) to sell ads on programs not pulling an audience in an organic way? To recover the cost of advertising on popular sites, won’t Twit have to charge more for its advertising? Won’t advertisers just go to the sites on which Twit buys ads?

The trajectory of Twit.tv may be a glimpse of the future of personality centric “networks.” DarkCyber sees the ad for the Twit.tv network as an important decision. Advertising for ears and eye balls when the advertiser itself sells ads can be expensive. Will the ads produce downloads? One thing is certain: Ads can be expensive, and their ability to deliver results is often a gamble.

Stephen E Arnold, May 7, 2019

The Dark Web and Surface Web Connection

January 11, 2017

IBM is doing its part to educate about the Dark Web. IBM Big Data and Analytics Hub shared a podcast episode entitled, Should we shut down the Dark Web?, which addresses the types of illegal activities on the Dark Web, explains challenges for law enforcement and discusses the difficulty in identifying Dark Web actors. Senior product manager of cyber analysis with IBM i2 Safer Planet, Bob Stasio, hosts the podcast. We found what one of the guests, Tyler Carbone, had to say quite interesting,

The parts of the internet we’re particularly interested in is where stolen information is posted and traded. What’s interesting is that that’s happening not through Tor…For what we’re interested in, a lot of stolen information is posted (traded and sold) on lite web sites — you can access them in Internet Explorer or Chrome. They’re just hosted in countries that aren’t particularly listed. One of the most well-known carding marketplaces…is hosted on a .cm….That’s not hidden within Tor at all. The problem is that individuals are logging in in an anonymous way so we can’t follow up with the individuals.

The line between the Surface Web and the Dark Web may be blurring or blurred. Ultimately, the internet is rooted in connection, so it’s hard to imagine clear separation between actors and activities being relegated to one or the other. We recommend giving this podcast a listen to ruminate on questions such as whether the Dark Web could and should be shut down. 

Megan Feil, January 11, 2017

Release and Connect Information Locked in Enterprise Applications with Polyspot

February 21, 2013

Competitive advantage looms large for those companies that have already explored the market of big data solutions and have started to deploy these technologies designed to produce a ROI. A recent post from the Harvard Business Review asks companies whether or not they are currently armed with the tools and knowledge for success with their big data solutions. Big Data: Can You Seize the Opportunity? offers a video with information for companies looking to execute a big data initiative.

The video’s purpose is summarized in the blog post:

But Donald Marchand and Joe Peppardhave found that when Big Data and analytics projects are implemented like other major IT initiatives, they often fail to produce the results desired by executives. Their conclusion: these projects should be implemented differently from other IT projects and should be based on understanding how people create and use information. Ultimately, businesses need to focus on the business problem and choose the technology that best addresses that problem.

Some technological tools do not provide the necessary infrastructure to connect multiple silos of information locked up in various applications across the enterprise. There are tools that have been devoted to amassing a library of these connectors to deliver information such as PolySpot. We recommend looking into these types of big data solutions.

Megan Feil, February 21, 2013

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Beyond Search.

ThisWeekIn on its Way Out

January 10, 2013

ThisWeekIn podcaster Jason Calacanis throws in most of the towel with Leo LaPorte logos on it. Tech Crunch announces, “Jason Calacanis Says He Will Shut Down Podcast Network ThisWeekIn.com, This Week In Startups Will Continue.” Yes, ThisWeekIn will be no more, and Calacanis is returning leftover funds to his investors. Though the company is closing shop, the associated podcasts “This Week in Startups,” hosted by Calacanis, and “Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show” are to continue.

Calacanis doesn’t want us to get the idea that ThisWeekIn failed, however; he insists the show was moderately successful, but believes it would not be able to scale up to reach breakout success. Very few podcasts do, he notes, and only a team made of those who have already triumphed in this arena (like Leo Laporte, Kevin Rose, Adam Carolla, and Kevin Pollak) would be worth the bother. Hmm.

The article informs us:

“Back in 2010, the company raised $300,000 in funding from Matt Coffin, Sky Dayton, and Calacanis himself. At the time, Calacanis compared the model to Weblogs Inc., the blog network that he sold to Aol. (Before the funding was announced, Leo Laporte, host of This Week In Tech, criticized Calacanis for using the ‘This Week In’ name. Calacanis responded that he’d gotten Laporte’s blessing.)

“Over email, Calacanis . . . emphasized that the company was doing all right, breaking even with $500,000 in annual revenue and two hit shows (Calacanis’ and Pollak’s). He also said that there will be no layoffs, with the five full-time employees continuing to work on This Week In Startups.”

So. . . if the company is shutting down, how is it that it is doing alright, two shows are continuing, and there will be no layoffs? I’m a little confused on that point. Oh, well, I’m sure it will all work out.

So, what’s next for the great emulator? Discovering fire?

Cynthia Murrell, January 10, 2013

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Hlava on Indexing, Metadata, and Findability

September 1, 2011

On August 31, 2011, I spoke with Margie Hlava, president and co-founder of Access Innovations. The idea for a podcast grew out of our lunch chatter. I then brought her back to the ArnoldIT office and we recorded a conversation about the challenges of “after the fact” indexing. One of the key points surfacing in the interview is the importance of a specific work process required for developing an indexing approach. “Fire, ready, aim!” is a method which can undermine an otherwise effective search solution. In the podcast, Ms. Hlava makes three points:

  • Today’s search systems are often making it difficult for users to locate exactly the information needed. Access Innovations’ software and services can change “search to found.”
  • Support for standards is important. Once a controlled term list or other value adding indexing process has been implemented, Access Innovations makes it easy for clients to repurpose and move their metadata. Ms. Hlava said, “We are standards wonks.”
  • Indexing and metadata are challenging tasks. On the surface, creating a word list looks easy. Errors in logic make locating information more difficult. Informed support and the right taxonomy management system is important. The Access Innovations’ solutions are available as cloud services or as on premises installations.

The challenge is that automated content processing without controlled term lists creates a wide range of problems for users.

You can listen to the podcast by navigating to http://arnoldit.com/podcasts/. For more information about Access Innovations, point your browser to www.accessinn.com. Be sure to take a look at Access Innovations’ Web log, Taxodiary. Updated each day, the blog is at www.taxodiary.com

Stephen E Arnold, September 1, 2011

Sponsored by Pandia.com

Land Podcast

March 13, 2011

ArnoldIT.com sponsors a podcast by Dr. Tyra Oldham. The subject of the podcast is green engineering, technology and management. You can listen to the most recent podcast by navigating to http://www.landsds.com/podcasts . For more information about Dr. Oldham’s capabilities, navigate to http://www.landsds.com/.

Stephen E Arnold, March 13, 2011

Intel Stream Number 3: An Interview with Mats Bjore, Silobreaker

November 3, 2010

Our third podcast in the Intel Stream series is now available. In addition to five news stories, you can listen to Mats Bjore, founder of Silobreaker, explain his firm’s next=generation information platform. A former McKinsey consultant, Mr. Bjore developed Silobreaker to make a wide range of information available in an easy-to-use discovery system. The news stories for this week cover open source business intelligence, a Coplink sale by i2 Ltd. to the San Antonio police, CNN’s surprising assertion that Microsoft has lost its consumer appeal, and more. You can access the podcast at this link or by navigating to the ArnoldIT.com rich media index page.

Stephen E Arnold, November 3, 2010


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