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Analysis: You better figure out what the Semantic Web is and soon, because its concepts have graduated from academia and are starting to contribute to your competitor’s bottom line.

But don’t worry; you’re covered.

If anyone is capable of explaining how the Semantic Web is going to work it’s Eric Miller. Not long ago, Miller led the Semantic Web Initiative for the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) at MIT. There, Eric’s responsibilities included the architectural and technical leadership in the design and evolution of the Semantic Web.

But like the Semantic Web, Miller has shifted his focus toward business. Now he’s president of Zepheira, which provides solutions to “effectively integrate, navigate and manage information across boundaries of person, group and enterprise,” according to its Web site. Miller will also deliver the keynote address at this October’s Semantic Web Strategies conference in San Jose.

Miller described the Semantic Web as a system that takes individual points of data on a network, such as documents or digital media, and allows users to describe the connections between these points in a way that makes those points of data more accessible and useful.

One way to imagine the benefits of semantic technology, Miller told chúng tôi is to imagine a marketing department and an engineering department working on a product at the same time.

Suppose, Miller said, these hypothetical engineers call the product “Killer-X,” but the marketing department names it “Sun-I.” The different names could make it difficult for marketers to figure out what the engineers are up to in product development.

But with Semantic Web technology, marketers and engineers could tie the two product names together at an early stage so that later, when developers search for marketing documents related to “Killer-X” the search engine understands it’s also looking data related to “Sun-I.”

Miller said the pharmaceutical industry is already making good use of this type of semantic technology by allowing researchers working on different projects to share information in new ways.

SchemaLogic CEO Jeff Dirks told chúng tôi his company’s business semantics management technology could also help pharmaceutical companies organize their research and data with user tags.

Already, Dirks said, SchemaLogic is providing a similar service for the Associated Press, digital images provider Corbis, Reed Business Services, and the International Press and Communications Counsel.

For these companies, SchemaLogic developed simple ways for content producers to tag their own data, such as news stories and photographs, at the “point of creation” before uploading it the company network.

It’s why the Semantic Web is finally going to work.

“Companies are recognizing the need and assigning a very real ROI to the implementation of [semantic technologies],” Dirks said. “The market is starting to become aware of these social, collaborative approaches.”

Jans Aasman, director of engineering, at Semantic Web consulting firm Franz Inc., told chúng tôi he’s noticed the same uptick.

“It’s come from, ‘Hey this is a cool technology,’ to now, suddenly they’re thinking, ‘How am I going to use this to save my company money or build new services?’”

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Behind The Places That Facebook’s Iphone App Goes

Continuing in my short lived residency here at iDB is my Friday

Continuing in my short lived residency here at iDB is my Friday rant that is usually based off a particular story in the week that rubbed me the wrong way. When we reported about Facebook adding GPS check in capabilities I knew my topic had been sealed. I will preface my outburst by informing you all that I am one of the few individuals I know who doesn’t have a profile in the world’s biggest social platform. I had one for less than a month and every lousy expectation I envisioned came to life.

I have no bones to pick with users who have Facebook accounts. If I did I would have almost no one to talk to. My beef comes from the irresponsible undertones involved with the new Places feature embedded within the iPhone app. I have yet to hear a responsible or even reasonable explanation for desiring to participate in sharing your location with your “friends”. The whole memories still not being captured song and dance that Facebook cites as motivation is as corny as a field in Iowa.

The sole purpose behind Facebook’s approach is only more self centered than it is potentially dangerous. There aren’t even any dukes to be crowed like in Yelp, or badges to be earned like in Foursquare (as flimsy as those goals may be). Nope. The only point to checking in through Facebook’s service is to show off your latest stop on the road, and to drag whatever friends in your company down with you. I know users can opt-out of the service, but let’s get real. The very nature of the social media site is to broadcast your life as much as possible. The more you show, the cooler your life seems, is the agenda Facebook pulls off better than anyone.

Who cares about your latest stop at Walmart to buy razor blades or the visit you just partook in at the pizzeria? Other than you probably no one. No one except those who may want to do you harm. Many users I know have hundreds upon hundreds of “friends” on their page and some couldn’t recite their last names if the site didn’t already show it to them.

People are braver online than in any other platform. The lack of face to face accountability makes people behave in ways they would never otherwise consider. Forgetting to delete a weirdo you recently met, combined with the addition of Places has now given this shifty person a roadmap to your whereabouts. There have already been people killed due to the allure that Facebook inflicts before users were giving out real-time addresses. Why make it easier?

When the government taps our phones or the airport takes full body screenings it is considered to be a gross violation of our right to privacy. When we do it ourselves it’s considered Facebook. If you think that the data from this ability is only available to those on your friends feed, then I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.

For starters the developers within the Facebook arena will likely top the list. Now add everyone that person chooses to share that information with. If you think the government isn’t going to be eying up the potential behind hundreds of millions of self-tracked people I urge you to wake up.

This is just my opinion though. What does the founder of Facebook think of the trusting nature of his users? Here’s an exchange via The Register in which CEO Mark Zuckerberg refers to his initial trusting Harvard members as “dumb fucks” Take a look.

Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard

Zuck: Just ask.

Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS

[Redacted Friend’s Name]: What? How’d you manage that one?

Zuck: People just submitted it.

Zuck: I don’t know why.

Zuck: They “trust me”

Zuck: Dumb fucks

Perhaps the then 19 year old has since matured but nevertheless, Zuckerberg certainly saw the folly of strangers handing over their personal information. And those were Harvard students.

Webauthn: What You Need To Know About The Future Of The Passwordless Web

WebAuthn is a new way of logging into websites that may finally free you from remembering passwords. Instead, you’ll use you: your fingerprint or face, or a hardware token.

What makes WebAuthn better?

You may have heard of the Collections data breaches: millions of usernames and passwords, some linked to one another, and published to the web. In part, that’s because websites currently ask you to log in and store a username and password within the site itself. If that data leaks publicly, then bad actors can use that information to see whether you’ve used the passwords elsewhere. That can lead to a cascade effect, where hackers gain access to more and more of your personal information.

WebAuthn doesn’t ask for a password. In fact, because it creates a one-time authentication token each time you log in, it’s basically following the recommended security practice of creating a unique password for every website. And it does so without forcing you to remember a thing. 

If you don’t need a password, what do you use instead?

WebAuthn supports two main categories of authentication: biometrics and hardware security tokens. You probably understand and already use biometrics such as fingerprint recognition via sensors in your smartphone or computer; or facial recognition, such as the depth camera that works with Windows Hello on your PC. 

IDG / Mark Hachman

Windows Hello scans your face on Windows 10 PCs with a front-facing depth camera.

Hardware tokens are a little bit more obscure. The Yubico YubiKey is one popular example of a hardware token: Instead of using a password or biometrics, you simply put a Yubikey into a USB port on your PC. This is obviously handy for PCs that lack a depth camera. A YubiKey is essentially a complex password that you keep with you at all times. If you lose it, you’ll have to notify the site in question that you’ve lost it, deactivate that key, and then purchase and activate a new one.

How does WebAuthn work?

The Sophos Naked Security blog sums up the WebAuthn process rather neatly. If you log into a website that supports WebAuthn, that site challenges your browser to ask your PC (or smartphone) to prove that you are who you are. In this case, the browser asks your trusted authenticator to supply that proof. Your authenticator could be your phone’s fingerprint reader, Windows Hello, or a hardware token.


Yubico YubiKeys like this one plug into the USB port on your PC for authentication.

When the website asks you to log in, the browser asks your authenticator to ask you to prove yourself by touching your fingerprint, for example. The authenticator then confirms that yep, you are who you say you are, and the browser passes that encrypted confirmation back to the web server. 

Here’s another way to look at it: Let’s say your bank representative was driving to your house to drop off your cash, and you had to prove who you were. You could shout your personal information and password to the driver to verify your identity, and let the whole neighborhood listen in. But it’s far better to bring a trusted friend inside your home, prove that you are you, and then have that friend go outside and yell,”hey, everything’s cool!

Is there a WebAuthn demo? How does WebAuthn differ from two-factor authentication?

Essentially, WebAuthn is single-factor identification: a pretty ironclad way of identifying that you are you, but that’s all. If you passed out, could someone take your finger and authenticate yourself to your banking site? If that was the only way to verify your identity (i.e., no password), then yes, conceivably. Will WebAuthn work in conjunction with existing 2FA methods? That remains to be seen.

Vijay Kumar / Getty Images

WebAuthn isn’t just for PCs; it works on mobile sites, too.

Two-factor authentication generally combines two of these three: something you know (a password) with something you have (a smartcard or token) or something you are—basically, you. In other words, your bank may still encourage you to use WebAuthn biometric identification with a password for even better security than what’s available today.

What needs to happen to make WebAuthn a reality?

Much of the groundwork for WebAuthn has already been completed.  Windows 10, Android, and Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Apple Safari (in preview) already support it.

What happened this week, though, was an important step forward. The W3C essentially legislates web standards. With WebAuthn in place, sites are now clear to make it a reality.

Project Management Work After The Covid

The COVID pandemic has bought a significant change in the way we operate, live, and socialize. There’s no industry that this global pandemic has left unaffected. Millions of people lost their jobs worldwide, while others had to shut down their businesses. A common change that nearly every organization experienced during and after the pandemic is a transition to remote work. Hybrid and remote work settings have increased employee productivity and helped people cut down rental costs and other office expenses. Read on to learn more about how the pandemic changed the project management landscape.

What does Project Management Look Like after COVID?

While that was supposed to be a temporary change, the flexible timings and heightened productivity from remote work settings made it mainstream. Even after the pandemic ended and things returned to normal, people are still promoting the work−from−home culture to execute their routine business operations as flawlessly as possible. So, what does it mean for the project management department?

Remote Work in Project Management

Remote work has become a new standard in project management. But, managing the entire project−from planning to execution−comes with a set of challenges. Communication, for instance, is the biggest issue a manager faces when leading a digital team. That being said, remote work has proven quite effective for this industry. Earlier, managers had to select freshers from the same town. Today, they can hire candidates from all over the world after evaluating their skills, qualifications, and experience.

The focus of the managers is on general preparation, which involves future planning. The events that might or are highly likely to happen in the future are the most discussed ones in general meetings. For example, managers plan the potential risk, errors, budgets, deadlines, and everything for the project ahead of time. They document all these elements before starting work. A few things that can help make remote project management effective are seamless communication, setting clear goals, and giving constructive feedback.

As mentioned above, communication has become the biggest challenge for organizations. There’s no in−person communication, which means there’s no way for the managers to get a spontaneous response from their team. Fortunately, technology has made it possible for teams to connect face−to−face over Zoom, Slack, Skype, and other online meeting apps and conduct meetings as usual.

The New Normal in Project Management

The goals remain the same. The manager has to delegate their responsibilities to the team based on the employees’ skills, experience, and qualifications. They do everything in their power to finish the project within the deadline. The manager tracks the progress of these projects against the pre−determined milestones. They motivate the employees and facilitate the tools and resources needed to execute different tasks efficiently.

They will focus more on issue management, which involves identifying the issues before they arise, brainstorming the steps to overcome those challenges and the changes they may have to introduce to their original plan to ensure the team is on the right track. Even if an unplanned challenge crops up in the middle of the project, the team should be equipped and trained to deal with it.

Which Areas of Project Management Are Most Affected?

Many eCommerce businesses that don’t even have a physical store have performed exceptionally well during and after the pandemic. It’s clear that you don’t need a land−based store to turn your business idea into reality or expand your existing business on a domestic and global level. Both small−sized businesses and large corporations are focusing on new, innovative ways to increase their revenue. The focus is also on investing in flexible and modern infrastructure that can help speed up business growth.

At times, the old business model needs to be dropped, and organizations must embrace the change to keep up with customer demands and evolving technology. Sometimes, new opportunities emerge during challenging times. Identifying these opportunities won’t only give you a competitive edge, but it will also improve your chances of surviving the challenges. These challenges show us creative ways to improve our product line, services, customer experience, and other departments. 

Take the flour mills’ business strategy, for example. During the Great Depression in the 1930s in America, flour mills started selling flour in printed, washable, and customized sacks, as these cloth sacks were largely used as fabric for clothing, then. By selling washable and pretty sacks, some flour mills attracted the attention of a massive crowd and gained immense popularity in the US market. That was an example of how opportunities can emerge in tough times, and managers who identify and embrace them can take their businesses to a new level.

Project Management Challenges due to COVID

Hiring Contractors − Working with contractors is a challenge for project managers post−pandemic. They need to evaluate the financial stability and perform a risk analysis before they hire contractors to work on a new project.

Supply Chain − Project management is a proactive industry where managers can’t wait for an issue to arise in the supply chain. They need to identify these challenges ahead of time and come up with solutions that can fix the supply chain disruptions and other logistic issues before it causes any problem in the project.

Risk Mitigation− Having contingency plans for risk management has become managers’ top priority, especially now that we’ve witnessed rapid virus transmission and lockdowns. These security plans must be checked and updated from time to time.


A project manager has to tap into modern tools and software apps to streamline the management work and ensure each project is executed as planned. From budget issues to potential delays, a manager must be capable of handling all challenges effectively.

Onedrive Gets New Interface Design On The Web

Microsoft announces interface changes for OneDrive.

The new features and improvements will be available for school and work accounts.

Some of these changes include a new “Home” page, improved navigation, organization, and file sharing.

The company isn’t saying if some of these improvements will roll out to consumers.

Microsoft unveils a revamped design interface for OneDrive on the web for school and business accounts, making navigating and organizing files and folders easier and more options to improve customization. The new experience resembles the existing interface for consumers but with some additional changes.

On the new “Home” page, the “For you” section uses AI to recommend and prioritize timely and relevant files. Also, a new context-based organization on the left navigation allows you to browse files using different views, including recent, favorites, shared, people, and meetings.

The “People” view organizes the files based on the people you are collaborating with. According to the company, sometimes users remember more the people they are working with than the file name, and this new view should make it easier to find files based on the people collaborating on the project. You can also pin people at the top of the view and review activities without opening the file.

The “Meetings” view aims to organize content based on what has been shared during meetings, including chats, notes, and loops. If you are invited to an upcoming meeting, you will even have access to the files before the meeting.

If you want to mark some files as favorites, you can now do that with the “start-tap” option. Your favorite files will appear in the “Favorites” view.

In addition, the search for OneDrive has also been updated to surface files more accurately using keywords, file types, and more, and the service will even suggest files and folders based on the search history. Even further, the “Home” page now includes filters to quickly sort Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF files.

Another change that users will find in this design update is the ability to change the color of folders, which provides a visual queue to help identify the contents of folders more quickly.

The company is also improving the file-sharing experience within OneDrive across the Microsoft 365 platform. As part of the overhaul update, Microsoft is updating the sharing dialog to make it more useful while removing the clutter. Additionally, you can now add File Shortcuts links to make sharing files much easier.

These new features and changes will also become available for the Files app on Microsoft Teams since when accessing files with the collaboration service, you are technically accessing OneDrive.

Finally, OneDrive will expand the ability to open files on the web or with a desktop application. In the past, you had the option to open Office files on the web or desktop, but the option was not available for every file type. In this update, the company is adding an “Open in App” option from the context menu to open other types of files (such as “.mp4,” “.jpeg,” and “.pdf”) on the web or the desktop with the default application.

Microsoft isn’t saying exactly when these new features and changes will roll out to customers, but it’s expected that they will ship sometime this year. Although these improvements are meant for schools and businesses, it’s likely that some of these features will eventually appear for regular consumers.

Fortress Mac Is — Whoops — There It Goes…

Mac hardware is fabulous in every sense of the word. The shell that Apple can wrap around motherboards, hard drives and the other components that go into making a modern computer is truly a thing of beauty. Sure, it’s not magic and, like any other computer, it won’t type these words for me any more than my toolbox will spring into life and fix all the little things around the house that await my attention.

But one thing is for sure – home computers no longer have to be ugly, unstylish beige boxes. Now you can have a computer that tells everyone who sees it that you have style and good taste.

But strip away that outer shell and what you end up with isn’t all that different to what’s inside those beige boxes. You have a bunch of parts all hooked up to a motherboard and an operating system bringing the hardware to life. And that’s the weak link. Don’t for one moment be fooled into thinking that an operating system comes to life through a magical process that concludes with a flawless product. The reality is that operating systems are written by programmers who have too much to do and the birthing process is constantly being hurried along by managers at all levels who want the product to go out of the door and onto shelves as quickly as possible.

In reality it’s an ugly process, and while every company wants you to think that the software it is delivering to you is perfect in every way, the reality is that this can never be achieved, especially given the conditions under which it is put together. To err is human, they say (and they’re right). Windows is imperfect, Mac OS is imperfect, and Linux is imperfect. But, more importantly, users are imperfect.

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Apple Arrogance Unleashed!

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Last week we saw the first example of a criminal group targeting the Mac OS X platform with a Trojan disguised as a fake codec. While this attack was very basic and the process far from smooth, it’s the kind of attack that has been very effective in netting Windows users in the past, so why not apply the same kind of attack to the Mac platform?

After all, since about 50 per cent of those purchasing new Macs are new to the OS, chances are that many of them were using Windows not all that long ago and gave up because they couldn’t manage the OS well enough – and as a result had set malware loose on it through their own actions. No matter what the OS, if users allow malware to get a foot in the door, their system can and will be compromised. All it takes is the smallest crack for the fortress to become insecure.

Mac users have long claimed that their OS is somehow immune or impervious to the collective intelligence of the hacking and cyber crime communities. Others say the reason for the lack of Mac OS X specific malware is due to the comparatively low number of users. Why go after an OS with a market share down in the low single digits when you can go after Windows users? Assuming that the proportion of ID10T usersare about the same for both Windows and Mac, hackers should be able to find ample victims without having to make their code work cross-platform.

Next page: The hackers are coming…

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