Tuesday, December 10, 2013

World of Spycraft - NYTimes.com

"Today we learned that the N.S.A. and its British soul mate, Government Communications Headquarters, have been infiltrating online video games, hunting for secret bands of terrorists posing as Worgen and warlocks in World of Warcraft, snipers and sappers in Xbox games, or supermodels in Second Life. The forces of evil, the N.S.A. reasoned in the latest document from the Edward Snowden cache, could be using those games for clandestine meetings and recruitment, or even money transfers."

More at, http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/12/09/world-of-spycraft/?emc=edit_tnt_20131210&tntemail0=y

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lions go digital: The Internet’s transformative potential in Africa | McKinsey & Company

Lions go digital: The Internet’s transformative potential in Africa | McKinsey & Company

The report projects implications of the Internet’s transformative potential to Africa’s financial services, education, health, e-commerce, agriculture, and government sectors.

Africa’s digital development is accelerating. A new report from the McKinsey Global Institute says the Internet could account for $300 billion of GDP by 2025.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Researchers Draw Romantic Insights From Maps of Facebook Networks - NYTimes.com

Researchers Draw Romantic Insights From Maps of Facebook Networks - NYTimes.com

So says a new research paper written by Jon Kleinberg, a computer scientist at Cornell University, and Lars Backstrom, a senior engineer at Facebook. The paper, posted online on Sunday, will be presented at a conference on social computing in February.

The pair used a hefty data set from Facebook as their lab: 1.3 million Facebook users, selected randomly from among all users who are at least 20 years old, with from 50 to 2,000 friends, who list a spouse or relationship partner in their profile. That makes for a lot of social connections to analyze, roughly 379 million nodes and 8.6 billion links. The data was used anonymously.

Their key finding was that the total number of mutual friends two people share — embeddedness, in social networking terms — is actually a fairly weak indicator of romantic relationships. Far better, they found, was a network measure that they call dispersion.

“A spouse or romantic partner is a bridge between a person’s different social worlds,” Mr. Kleinberg explained in an interview on Sunday.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Girls Tweeting (Not Twerking) Their Way to Power - NYTimes.com

Girls Tweeting (Not Twerking) Their Way to Power - NYTimes.com

A variety of organizations now support girls and women in creating online campaigns to counter widespread problems like sexual violence.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Attention, Shoppers: Store Is Tracking Your Cell - NYTimes.com

Big Data Hits Real Life: Brick-and-mortar stores are looking for a chance to catch up with their online competitors by using software that allows them to watch customers as they shop, and gather data about their behavior.

Using video surveillance, and signals from shoppers’ cellphones and apps, retailers are tracking customers’ behavior and moods.


Monday, July 8, 2013

France, Too, Is Sweeping Up Data, Newspaper Reveals - NYTimes.com

PARIS — Days after President François Hollande sternly told the United States to stop spying on its allies, the newspaper Le Monde disclosed on Thursday that France has its own large program of data collection, which sweeps up nearly all the data transmissions, including telephone calls, e-mails and social media activity, that come in and out of France.

More at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/05/world/europe/france-too-is-collecting-data-newspaper-reveals.html?emc=tnt&tntemail0=y

Want Your Data Back? Pay Me - NYTimes.com

Hmm. If the government can spy on my online life, maybe I should be able to profit.

More at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/07/business/mutfund/want-your-data-back-pay-me.html?emc=tnt&tntemail0=y&_r=0

Technology Workers Are Young (Really Young) - NYTimes.com

In case you could not figure it out from the cubicle dogs and Nerf guns, a vast number of the workers in the technology industry are young and male. How young may surprise you: a new survey shows the top tech companies have a median work force age up to 15 years below the national average.

More at: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/05/technology-workers-are-young-really-young/?emc=tnt&tntemail0=y

Monday, July 1, 2013

Massive data collector Acxiom plans to reveal the dirt it has on you | The Verge

Massive data collector Acxiom plans to reveal the dirt it has on you | The Verge:

One of the biggest personal data collectors around is getting ready to open its vaults to the public. According to Forbes, you'll soon be able to request your personal files from Acxiom, a marketing company that holds a database on the interests and details of over 700 million people. That database reportedly holds information on consumers' occupations, phone numbers, religions, shopping habits, and health issues, to name a few. That data has traditionally been given only to marketers — for a fee, of course — but Acxiom has decided to let consumers peer into its database as well. Whether individuals will have to pay too is still up for debate, but it's been decided that a person can only view their own file.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Where We Are Shapes Who We Are - NYTimes.com

Where We Are Shapes Who We Are - NYTimes.com

environment influences our behavior to a great extent.

SINCE 1982, when Professors Wilson and Kelling proposed their theory, the littering example has received plenty of experimental support. In one study, social psychologists placed paper fliers on 139 cars in a large hospital parking lot and watched to see what the car owners would do with them.
Again, the environment appeared to shape the response. When drivers emerged from the hospital to find a parking lot littered with scattered fliers, candy wrappers and coffee cups (arranged by the researchers, of course), nearly half of them removed the fliers from their cars and left them on the ground. In contrast, when the researchers swept the parking lot clean before the drivers returned, only 1 in 10 dropped the flier.
Unwittingly, the drivers adopted the behavior that seemed most appropriate given their understanding of the area’s prevailing norms.

BBC News - Cracking crime with Twitter in Spain

BBC News - Cracking crime with Twitter in Spain: With the use of the information gathered on Twitter, in the past year the Spanish police have been able to warn people against new viruses and online fraud, continue the hunt for some of the most-wanted fugitives and arrest people accused of spreading child pornography on the internet.

Input from Spanish users of Twitter is proving a vital part of the strategy.

One of the biggest coups for the Spanish police was a tweet raid last year that led to the seizure of 277kg (610lb) of cocaine, hidden in cowhide which arrived in Spain from the Dominican Republic.
The Spanish police received the tip-off by email and this allowed them to identify and capture a drug-trafficking ring distributing cocaine in Spain.
According to Spanish police, they are just trying to use the online tools available to become what they call "police 3.0", and a model for other police forces worldwide.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Finding Alternatives to Building a Web Site

Finding Alternatives to Building a Web Site 


Friday, May 31, 2013

A Face in the Crowd: Say goodbye to anonymity - CBS News

A Face in the Crowd: Say goodbye to anonymity - CBS News: Over the last 10 years, the ability of computers to identify faces has gotten 100 times better, a million times faster, and exponentially cheaper.

Yet facial recognition technology is still a work in progress. While investigators in the Boston marathon bombing had multiple images of both suspects, the technology did not come up with a match. They were not identified by their faces, but by their fingerprints! Authorities won't say what went wrong. One possibility is that government data banks - through which the photos would've been searched - are not big enough.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Online, Everyone’s a Makeup Critic — Skin Deep - NYTimes.com

Online, Everyone’s a Makeup Critic — Skin Deep - NYTimes.com

Matin Maulawizada, a makeup artist based in New York, used to spend hours prowling department stores’ beauty floors to find out what was new and noteworthy. Now, Mr. Maulawizada, the global artistry director for Laura Mercier, likes to log on to Pampadour.com, a sleek new beauty-focused social network, to see what products colleagues are using — or, in the company’s parlance, “pamping.” “It really saves me time,” Mr. Maulawizada said.

Quietly introduced at the end of February, Pampadour says it has already signed up more than 3,000 users, many of them beauty professionals. The site has joined a small but growing number of social platforms that allow members to tag and review cosmetics with others in their network, potentially shifting power from traditional retailers.
Among them are Bloom.com, which has accrued about 250,000 members since it started in August 2011. Like Pampadour, Bloom allows users to upload pictures of hair, makeup and nail looks they’ve created, as well as tag the products they’ve used in those looks. But Bloom, which boasts a database of 50,000 products from 700 companies, is also able to direct members to Web retailers where some of those products may be sold.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Much Ado About a Fake Tweet - NYTimes.com

Much Ado About a Fake Tweet - NYTimes.com

A tweet from a hacked Associated Press Twitter account sent United States stocks tumbling.
Patrick Chappatte is an editorial cartoonist for the International Herald Tribune. View more of his work, visit his Web site or follow him on Twitter.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wall Street Jumps After Recovery From Twitter-Led Drop - NYTimes.com

Wall Street Jumps After Recovery From Twitter-Led Drop - NYTimes.com: United States stocks climbed on Tuesday in a broad rally, recovering from sharp declines set off by a bogus Associated Press Twitter post about explosions at the White House.

A false post by hackers about two explosions at the White House that supposedly injured President Obama provoked a steep drop in stocks, before they quickly recovered minutes later.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

How to Sever Ties to Social Networks and Other Web Sites - NYTimes.com

How to Sever Ties to Social Networks and Other Web Sites - NYTimes.com

First you’re smitten by a social network or Web service and can’t stop spending time on it. Then it starts asking how you’re feeling, what you like, where you are, with whom, and why you don’t share as much anymore.

Pretty soon, you’re ready to call it quits.

But trying to end your relationship with some prominent online services can be like breaking up with an overly attached romantic partner — they make it pretty hard to say goodbye.

And with good reason — more users are beneficial to a company’s bottom line, which often depends on generating revenue by selling you targeted advertisements. Possibly no social network understands this better than Facebook, whose chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, proudly announced last October that his site had surpassed one billion active users.

“Their business model is about getting users to create content,” said Jeremiah Owyang, an industry analyst with the Altimeter Group. “It’s users who are creating content, liking things, and, ultimately, a brand sees this and comes to deploy advertising dollars. The product is us.”

A 'Whom Do You Hang With?' Map Of America : Krulwich Wonders... : NPR

A 'Whom Do You Hang With?' Map Of America : Krulwich Wonders... : NPR: Look at the center of this map, at the little red dot that marks Kansas City. Technically, Kansas City is at the edge of Missouri, but here on this map it's in the upper middle section of a bigger space with strong blue borders. We don't have a name for this bigger space yet, but soon we will.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Cybersecurity - A View From the Front - NYTimes.com

Cybersecurity - A View From the Front - NYTimes.com: At the same time, Estonia is also remembered as the first publicly known target of politically motivated cyberattacks in April 2007, which inundated the Web sites of Parliament, banks, ministries, television stations and other organizations.

Disruptive as the attacks were, they were by today’s standards primitive, consisting of “distributed denial of service” attacks (DDoS), which essentially overload servers with signals from hijacked, hacker-controlled PCs. Six years later, as computing power and IT dependency have increased hugely, cyberattacks are far more sophisticated and our vulnerabilities are far greater.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Rally Demands Anti-Blasphemy Laws in Bangladesh - NYTimes.com

Rally Demands Anti-Blasphemy Laws in Bangladesh - NYTimes.com

The giant rally in Dhaka took place amid heightened security in the capital and elsewhere in the country after Hifazat-e-Islam members singled out bloggers who they said were atheists.
The bloggers, who deny they are atheists, are seeking capital punishment for those found guilty of war crimes during the nation’s 1971 war of independence against Pakistan. They also want a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami, the country’s largest Islamic party, for campaigning against Bangladesh’s independence more than four decades ago. The party is an important partner of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, which is led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia.

Pro-Palestinian Hackers Attack Israeli Sites - NYTimes.com

Pro-Palestinian Hackers Attack Israeli Sites - NYTimes.com

Officials said only minor disruptions had resulted from what a loose international coalition of pro-Palestinian groups threatened would be “a massive cyberassault” against Israel.

Daybees Aspires to Be the Google of Event Search Sites - NYTimes.com

Daybees Aspires to Be the Google of Event Search Sites - NYTimes.com

Daybees lets people fine-tune searches for things to do, using keywords, location or time and date.

Monday, April 1, 2013

French Scientist Invites Public Into Research Realm - NYTimes.com

French Scientist Invites Public Into Research Realm - NYTimes.com: “It’s crowdsourcing, but instead of crowdsourcing in a way that the owner is very passive, we want to engage them in proposing ideas and suggesting hypotheses,” he said. “It’s making them part of the research community rather than exploiting them as just data providers.”

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Facebook’s Graph Search Makes Use of Friends and Likes - NYTimes.com

Facebook’s Graph Search Makes Use of Friends and Likes - NYTimes.com

Most Internet users have become accustomed to using Facebook to keep up with friends — or at least, Facebook “friends” — while using more specialized sites and apps to search for restaurants, books and people. But if you have built up a network of friends on Facebook, those connections can now help you find people, places and things in the real world, in ways that more specialized sites like Google, Yelp and Amazon cannot.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Good News Spreads Faster on Social Media - NYTimes.com

Good News Spreads Faster on Social Media - NYTimes.com

BAD NEWS SELLS. If it bleeds, it leads. No news is good news, and good news is no news.

Those are the classic rules for the evening broadcasts and the morning papers, based partly on data (ratings and circulation) and partly on the gut instincts of producers and editors. Wars, earthquakes, plagues, floods, fires, sick children, murdered spouses — the more suffering and mayhem, the more coverage.

But now that information is being spread and monitored in different ways, researchers are discovering new rules. By scanning people’s brains and tracking their e-mails and online posts, neuroscientists and psychologists have found that good news can spread faster and farther than disasters and sob stories.

Urban World: A new iPad app for exploring an unprecedented wave of urbanization | McKinsey Global Institute | McKinsey & Company

Urban World: A new iPad app for exploring an unprecedented wave of urbanization | McKinsey Global Institute | McKinsey & Company The app also places urbanization in a historical context, using a view from space of the global nighttime distribution of light as a proxy for the global distribution of economic activity. Users can visualize the world’s shifting center of economic gravity during the past two millennia, to 2025. The app serves a purpose similar to a 16th-century map—a rough but helpful tool to help navigate the evolving urban world. The growth of some urban markets can exceed that of entire nations, which is why cities matter for strategy. Companies can use the data to compare the economic growth from different cities. For example, Vienna had roughly the same GDP in 2010 as Istanbul. By 2025, the scenario presented in the app shows that the GDP of Istanbul will be comparable to the entire country of Austria. Auckland (New Zealand) had roughly the same GDP in 2010 as New Delhi but, by 2025, the GDP of New Delhi will be almost as great as the GDP of the entire country of New Zealand. In 2010, 100 of the world’s largest companies headquartered in developed economies derived just 17 percent of revenue from emerging markets—despite the fact that those markets account for 36 percent of global GDP. Companies that neglect these new markets risk missing out as much as 70 percent of global GDP growth between now and 2025.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Google Admits Street View Project Violated Privacy - NYTimes.com

Google Admits Street View Project Violated Privacy - NYTimes.com

In agreeing to settle a case brought by 38 states involving the project, the search company for the first time is required to aggressively police its own employees on privacy issues and to explicitly tell the public how to fend off privacy violations like this one.

While the settlement also included a tiny — for Google — fine of $7 million, privacy advocates and Google critics characterized the overall agreement as a breakthrough for a company they say has become a serial violator of privacy.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Computer Algorithms Rely Increasingly on Human Helpers - NYTimes.com

Computer Algorithms Rely Increasingly on Human Helpers - NYTimes.com:

Although algorithms are growing ever more powerful, fast and precise, the computers themselves are literal-minded, and context and nuance often elude them. Capable as these machines are, they are not always up to deciphering the ambiguity of human language and the mystery of reasoning. Yet these days they are being asked to be more humanlike in what they figure out.

And so, while programming experts still write the step-by-step instructions of computer code, additional people are needed to make more subtle contributions as the work the computers do has become more involved. People evaluate, edit or correct an algorithm’s work. Or they assemble online databases of knowledge and check and verify them — creating, essentially, a crib sheet the computer can call on for a quick answer. Humans can interpret and tweak information in ways that are understandable to both computers and other humans.

For example, when Mitt Romney talked of cutting government money for public broadcasting in a presidential debate last fall and mentioned Big Bird, messages with that phrase surged. Human judges recognized instantly that “Big Bird,” in that context and at that moment, was mainly a political comment, not a reference to “Sesame Street,” and that politics-related messages should pop up when someone searched for “Big Bird.” People can understand such references more accurately and quickly than software can, and their judgments are fed immediately into Twitter’s search algorithm.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Study: Facebook users sharing more personal info despite increased privacy concerns

Study: Facebook users sharing more personal info despite increased privacy concerns

Carnegie Mellon University conducted a study following more than 5,000 Facebook users over six years, from 2005 and 2011, and found that changes in the social network's privacy policies caused users to share more -- not less -- personal data. Lest you think this means that users suddenly trusted the site more, Carnegie Mellon says that Facebookers became more and more protective of their personal details as the social network grew in membership -- and that the uptick in shared information is a result of increasingly granular privacy settings. If you recall, Facebook introduced new in-depth privacy controls in 2010, and the study found that the release of these new settings corresponded to users sharing more personal data, both within their network of friends and with strangers and third-party applications.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pissed Consumer

Pissed Consumer

Author Interview: Kenneth Cukier, Co-Author Of 'Big Data' : NPR

Author Interview: Kenneth Cukier, Co-Author Of 'Big Data' : NPR: "The example comes from Charles Duhigg, who's a reporter at The New York Times, and he's the one who uncovered the story. What Target was doing was they were trying to find out what customers were likely to be pregnant or not. So what they were able to do was to look at all the different things that couples were buying prior to the pregnancy — such as vitamins at one point, unscented lotion at another point, lots of hand towels at another point — and with that, make a prediction, score the likelihood that this person was pregnant, so that they could then send coupons to the people involved... there might be a coupon for a stroller or for diapers ...

Also to note that "why Big Data doesn't care about causes, just correlation"
"They crunched the numbers, and they found out that cars that were orange tended to not have breakdowns compared to other colors of cars ... So why might this be? Well, we can sort of concoct different scenarios. One is that orange tends to be a custom color, and if you order an orange car, perhaps the rest of the car was made in a custom way, a little bit more care was taken into it. We don't know why, and it's frankly, it's not that important. It might just bring us down a rabbit hole for us to try to find out why. But, again, if you just want to buy a car that's not going to break down, go with the correlation."

Full article at: http://www.npr.org/2013/03/07/173176488/the-big-data-revolution-how-number-crunchers-can-predict-our-lives

Unreported Side Effects of Drugs Are Found Using Internet Search Data, Study Finds - NYTimes.com

Unreported Side Effects of Drugs Are Found Using Internet Search Data, Study Finds - NYTimes.com: Using data drawn from queries entered into Google, Microsoft and Yahoo search engines, scientists at Microsoft, Stanford and Columbia University have for the first time been able to detect evidence of unreported prescription drug side effects before they were found by the Food and Drug Administration’s warning system.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

I.B.M. Exploring New Feats for Watson - NYTimes.com

And Now, From I.B.M., Chef Watson

I.B.M.’s Watson beat “Jeopardy” champions two years ago. But can it whip up something tasty in the kitchen?


Monday, February 11, 2013

Social networking sites and our lives | Pew Internet & American Life Project


The number of those using social networking sites has nearly doubled since 2008 and the population of SNS users has gotten older.

On Facebook on an average day:

15% of Facebook users update their own status.
22% comment on another’s post or status.
20% comment on another user’s photos.
26% “Like” another user’s content.
10% send another user a private message

Facebook users are more trusting than others.

Facebook users have more close relationships.

Facebook users get more social support than other people.

Facebook users are much more politically engaged than most people.

Facebook revives “dormant” relationships.

Social networking sites are increasingly used to keep up with close social ties.

MySpace users are more likely to be open to opposing points of view.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Stats — Kickstarter

Stats — Kickstarter

Bonus Feature: Kickstarter by the Numbers
Total Projects Posted: 84,502
Total Projects Fully Financed: 35,405
Total Donations Since 2009: $470 million
Category With the Highest Success Rate: Dance (70.12%)
Lowest Success Rate: Fashion (27.42%)
Successfully Financed Projects That Raised More Than $1 Million: 20
Highest Total Amount Raised by One Project: $10,266,845 (Pebble E-Paper Watch)
Projects That Failed to Receive a Single Pledge: 9,265
Kickstarter-Financed Films That Appeared at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013: 17
Number That Won an Award: 5
(All statistics as of Jan. 29. From Kickstarter.com/help/stats.)


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Philosophy of Data - NYTimes.com

The Philosophy of Data - NYTimes.com: We now have the ability to gather huge amounts of data. This ability seems to carry with it certain cultural assumptions — that everything that can be measured should be measured; that data is a transparent and reliable lens that allows us to filter out emotionalism and ideology; that data will help us do remarkable things — like foretell the future.

Monday, February 4, 2013

B2B Marketing Stats for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn | Social Media Today

B2B Marketing Stats for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn | Social Media Today: Key Findings

In summary, these are the three key findings for each channel:

Facebook: Strongest channel for driving visits
LinkedIn: Strongest channel for driving pageviews
Twitter: Strongest channel for driving leads
This data reveals that one social channel might be more effective than another based on the goal you're trying to accomplish. However since they all have different strengths, an integrated marketing approach will give you the greatest results for your effort.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Literary History, Seen Through Big Data’s Lens - NYTimes

Big Data is pushing into the humanities, as evidenced by new, illuminating computer analyses of literary history.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Employers’ Social Media Policies Come Under Regulatory Scrutiny - NYTimes.com

Even if It Enrages Your Boss, Social Net Speech Is Protected

As Facebook and Twitter become as central to workplace conversation as the water cooler, regulators are ordering employers to scale back policies that limit what workers can say online.


France Proposes an Internet Tax - NYTimes.com

The government, frustrated by its inability to tax U.S. digital giants active in France, has outlined a new levy that would be a tax on the collection of personal data.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Facebook's new 'Graph Search' could be social game changer - Computerworld

So far, there have been two major pillars of Facebook, the Newsfeed and Timeline, Zuckerberg told about 150 reporters at the event. Now Facebook is adding a third pillar: Graph Search.
The feature, which will appear as a bigger search bar at the top of each page, is designed offer up an answer after combing through Facebook's own massive store of user information.
Want to find a great seafood restaurant in San Francisco, for example? Graph Search will find out what restaurants your friends, and even their friends, have tried and liked.
If two people ask the same question, they're very likely to get different results because the results will be based on their individual set of friends and contacts.
Facebook has a massive collection of information about what restaurants, sneakers, appliances and bicycles its users have tried. It also has a similar amount of data on who has attended a certain college and now works at a certain company in a particular city.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Smartphones Become Life’s Remote Control - NYTimes

The smartphone is no longer just a portable computer in your pocket. It has become the remote control for your life.

Want to flip off the living room lights, unlock your front door or get a reading of your blood pressure? All of this can be done through mobile apps that work with accessories embedded with sensors or an Internet connection.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Saudi Arabia’s King Allows Women to Join National Advisory Council -NYTimes

King Abdullah for the first time granted women seats on the Shura council, but they will have to wear conservative Islamic head covering and use doors, offices and seating areas separate from the men.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Mobile Apps Drive Rapid Change in Searches - NYTimes

Nowhere has technology changed as rapidly and consumer behavior as broadly. As people abandon desktop computers for mobile ones, existing tech companies’ business models are being upended and new companies are blooming.

Still, Google is even more dominant on mobile phones than on desktop computers. It has 96 percent of the world’s mobile search market, according to StatCounter, which tracks Web use. It collects 57 percent of mobile ad revenue in the United States, while Facebook, its nearest competitor, gets just 9 percent, according to eMarketer.