Category Archives: Information Technology

Hackers Announce Japan Nuked by N. Korea??!

Back in 2007, hackers broke in to a website for the Intelligence Community and made off 64,000 email addresses.

Now, using that same list, they sent out a fake news report apparently from an intelligence agency bulletin. The email is directly traceable to Georgia and Hungary, but likely misdirection from another country entirely…

What’s interesting is that it’s written intelligibly (as far as government-speak goes) and follows conventional structure. Pretty sophisticated for a link going to a weight-loss site!

From: SSC@dia.mil [mailto:SSC@dia.mil]
Sent: Sunday, March 07, 2010 11:17 AM
Subject: FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Office of the Director of National Intelligence INTELLIGENCE BULLETIN UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

(U//FOUO) DPRK has carried out nuclear missile attack on Japan

06 March 2010

(U//FOUO) Prepared by Defense Intelligence Agency

(U//FOUO) Today, March 06, 2010 at 11.46 AM local time (UTC/GMT -5 hours), US seismographic stations recorded seismic activity in the area of Okinawa Island (Japan). According to National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has carried out an average range missile attack with use of nuclear warhead. The explosion caused severe destructions in the northern part of the Okinawa island. Casualties among the personnel of the US military base are being estimated at the moment.

(U//FOUO) In connection with the occurred events, it is necessary for the personnel of the services listed below to be ready for immediate mobilization:

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY:
OFFICE OF INTELLIGENCE AND COUNTERINTELLIGENCE

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY:
OFFICE OF INTELLIGENCE AND ANALYSIS

DEPARTMENT OF STATE:
BUREAU OF INTELLIGENCE AND RESEARCH

DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY:
OFFICE OF INTELLIGENCE AND ANALYSIS

DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION:
OFFICE OF NATIONAL SECURITY INTELLIGENCE

FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
NATIONAL SECURITY BRANCH

NATIONAL GEOSPATIAL-INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

NATIONAL RECONNAISSANCE OFFICE

NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY

UNITED STATES AIR FORCE

UNITED STATES ARMY

UNITED STATES COAST GUARD

UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

UNITED STATES NAVY
________________

(U//FOUO) Additional information can be found in the following report:

[LINK REMOVED]
________________
Office of the Director of National Intelligence Washington, D.C. 20511

UPDATE: hundreds of visitors are seeking information about this from all over the country – from Maryland to Oklahoma; from outside consultants to intelligence agencies. Post a comment with your reaction. Did you click the link?

AnythingResearch.com – Industry Analytics and Research

AnythingResearch.com has released 2009 research reports on over a thousand industries providing instantaneous access to market size, typical financials (e.g., income statement, balance sheet), salary benchmarks, etc etc.

The goal is to shed light on  small businesses in “main street” industries by providing accurate and detailed statistics.

http://www.AnythingResearch.com

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Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) Hosting Market Opportunity Analysis

MARKET OPPORTUNITY

The MMOG market is expected to double in the next five years. MMOGs differ from typical computer games because they are perpetual virtual worlds, meaning that users can continue to play forever building on previous play. New players are constantly starting to play these game and continue playing them, creating a snowballing user base.

Traditional game developers are beginning to discover a new sources of revenue from MMOGs. The developers typically offer a free version or trial period to attract users, and then a subscription-based version (typically $10-$20/month) to keep the on going revenue stream. In the future, MMOGs are likely to generate additional revenue through advertising and non-traditional revenue sources such as virtual sale items.

Overall, DFC Intelligence estimates the market will double by 2012, reaching $13B worldwide. Half the revenue will come from East Asia, 25% from North America, and the remainder from Europe and Japan.

MAJOR GAME OPERATORS

The 15 largest MMO Games are as follows:

MMOG List

Of these fifteen MMOGs, the fastest growing (based on 2006-2007 subscribers) are:

  • World of Warcraft
  • Second Life
  • Guild Wars
  • Dofus
  • Runescape

Additionally, the following venture-backed MMOG developers are likely to launch in the next 1-2 years:

  • Real Time Worlds will be launching “APB” in 2008
  • Red 5 Studios is developing an as-yet unnamed MMOG
  • Areae is developing an as-yet unnamed MMOG

MMOG HOSTING and IT REQUIREMENTS

Leading MMOG Hosting companies:

  • AT&T
  • Online Game Services (OGSi)
  • Hypernia
  • Valve Software

Additional hosting companies used by MMOGs:

  • APIServers (www.apiservers.com)
  • Go Daddy (www.godaddy.com)
  • JHServers (www.jhservers.com)
  • ServePath (www.servepath.com)

Most game developers do not have the capabilities to host games themselves. Rather, they rely on outsourced MMOG hosting services. Even the largest MMOG developers such as Blizzard, Activision and Electronic Arts use third party MMOG hosting services.

Whether an MMOG game developer is hosting a game in-house or outsourcing it to a hosting company, the following three issues are most important in selecting IT vendors:

  1. Price – minimize price of both hardware and bandwidth. A rough estimate for hosting prices for 100k subs requires 30 servers plus bandwidth and costs $50k/month. (Note this includes ammortized hardware costs, bandwidth, and managed services)
  2. System stability and scalability – ensure data isn’t lost or corrupted and system can scale to handle growing subscriber base.
  3. Bandwidth and latency – maximize uptime at all hours of the day, since most MMOGs are highly international and cross all time zones. Provide sufficient bandwidth for peak usage. Minimize latency by using NOCs collocated near major POPs and with localization in areas with large numbers of gamers.

The largest IT vendors for the MMOG market are IBM, HP, and Dell.

ENTERING THE MMOG MARKET

A vendor seeking to serve the emerging MMOG market should take the following approaches:

1) Target both large MMOG developers that do their own hosting and also outsourced MMOG hosting companies. To avoid competing on price, focus on system stability, scalability, and management tools that can support the MMOG environment.

2) Focus on the development stage. Historically, MMOGs could be hosted on any vendor’s hardware, but as developers seek to increase system stability they are increasingly becoming platform dependent. This means that if an MMOG developer uses a specific vendor’s hardware for development and testing, they are likely to request the same vendor’s hardware for hosting.

In order to assess exactly how a company can enter this market, it is necessary to understand how the company is currently positioned. The Ansoff matrix provides a basic framework to understand what type of entry is needed – based upon a company’s product portfolio and market space.

Ansoff Matrix

A go-to-market strategy required for a Market Development play is quite different from those required for a Product Development play, and different still from Diversification.

One of the immediate next steps to take will be to benchmark your company’s current status along key dimensions. Using a “Points of Differentiation” graph, it is possible to tailor the go-to-market strategy to take advantage of the company’s strengths.

Points of Differentiation

In the example above, a company may be strong in performance, reliability, average in scalability, reputation, service and price, and weak in value-added services. After analyzing other vendors using a similar framework, a company with these particular points of differentiation might choose to focus on midsized MMOGs with 100k-200k subscribers.
SOURCES

MMOG Data
http://mmogdata.voig.com

DFC Intelligence – Online Game Market Forecast
http://www.dfcint.com/game_article/may07article.html

IGDA (International Game Developers Association) – Hardware and Hosting
http://www.igda.org/online/quarterly/1_3/persistenthw.php

GigaOM Top 10 Most Popular MMOs
http://gigaom.com/2007/06/13/top-ten-most-popular-mmos

MMORPG Developer’s Forum
http://mmorpgmaker.vault.ign.com/phpBB2/index.php

FURTHER READING

IDC – ASEAN Online Gaming 2007 – 2011 Forecast and Analysis
http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=AP3221S4P

IDC – China Gaming 2007-2011 Forecast and Analysis
http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=CN656102P

IDC – India Online Gaming 2007–2011 Forecast and Analysis
http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=AP3221SSP

Digital Asset Management

When choosing a company’s DAM solution, there are five key criteria that should be evaluated. The relative importance of any criterion will vary based on the strategic objectives and particular situation of your company and should be adjusted accordingly.

  1. Scalability of platform
  2. Versatility of solution (media files supported, specialized applications)
  3. Accuracy of results
  4. Speed of indexing/retrieval
  5. DAM System Type

The first four criteria are self-explanatory. However, the fifth require some additional context. Typically, DAM systems were designed to serve one of two purposes:

  • Search Indexing consists of cataloging thumbnails of original media in an indexed database that can be searched using keywords. The source files are left untouched. At present time, most indexing approaches rely on embedded tags manually encoded into files. An accurate and reliable computerized method for visual query of still images and comparison of visual similarity of video shots to “create and embed tags into files” is an open problem with ongoing research
  • Asset repositories store the source files in a secure database. Benefits include security, referential integrity, and centralized data management along with full storage management and disaster recovery. DAM systems based on the asset repository model are most suitable for managing rights and access permissions that include intellectual property rights, and structuring global access by customers. The centralization of assets requires significantly higher performance hardware such as high-end UNIX servers, substantial online storage, and very high-speed networks. Capital investment requirements for catalogs are 10x to 50x the cost of catalogs.

Based on the five criteria listed above, we have evaluated a number of DAM products to determine their suitability for the multimedia search and content management. We found many jack-of-all-trades asset management solutions. However, these solutions tend to have crude and rudimentary search functionality. For best-in-class multimedia search capabilities, we suggest you look into Virage for still-images and video, and Truveo or Blinkx for video-only search. Additionally, Microsoft is developing next-generation tools that may alter the competitive landscape in 4-7 years. Below are details on each company.


virage.pngVirage
Autonomy, Inc.
19th Floor
Spear Tower
San Francisco, CA 94105
Tel: (415) 243 9955The Virage video indexing applications offer an array of commercial grade features, plus additional specialized applications (such as surveillance video analysis). The system quickly indexes video and still images, and encodes it for real-time searchability. Virage is a wholly owned subsidiary of Autonomy, Inc, a UK-based company with a $2B market cap.

Cost of the Virage software is between $200k-$500k if used internally. If the system is “monetized” for use on a website, the company would charge $1M


truveo.pngTruveo, Inc.
An AOL Company
333 Bush Street, 23rd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone: 415-844-9000Truveo powers many of the main video search sites including AOL, Microsoft, Search.com, Excite, and Infospace. In 2006, it released the Truveo Developer site, which provides a variety of APIs for 3rd party sites.


blinkx.pngblinkx Inc. (London AIM:BLNX.L)
One Market, 19th Floor, Spear Tower
San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
Phone: 415 848 2986

Blinkx’s accuracy in searching video comes from analyzing the closed captions and using speech recognition (English, German and Spanish) to generate transcripts. Image analysis is also done, though on a lesser scale. Their website boasts of 14 million hours of searchable videos.

 

 

 


ms.png Microsoft Live LabsSources at the National Security Agency report that Microsoft’s blue-sky research is head and shoulders above other companies. Two products under development illustrate these advances:

  • Photosynth is a tool that takes images of related topics and seamlessly reconstructs them into a navigable universe
  • Seadragon is a technique that removes the computational performance barriers of image search and display

These technologies do not directly solve the problem of multimedia search – since they require a collection of related photos. However, as these tools are developed, they will be instrumental in changing the way we search.


dvml.pngDigital Video Multimedia Lab
Department of Electrical Engineering
Columbia University
1312 S.W. Mudd
500 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027
Phone: (212) 854-3105Academic research labs such as that at Columbia are developing new algorithms for content analysis. The Digital Video Multimedia Lab is sponsored by AT&T and the National Security Agency. Research focuses on five areas:

  • Multimedia indexing and management
  • Feature extraction and object/text recognition
  • Pervasive media
  • Authentication and watermarking
  • Multimedia standard, testbed, and evaluation

 

 

 


ibm.pngIBM Multimedia Analysis and Retrieval System
Intelligent Information Management Dept.
IBM T. J. Watson Research Center
19 Skyline Drive
Hawthorne, NY 10532 USAIMARS employs a multi-modal machine learning algorithm. In its demonstration form, it supports 10-20 semantic concepts over a mere few hundred hours of broadcast news clips. A fully functioning version requires a semantic ontology of 1,000 concepts – just to cover broadcast news. Although it is still far from commercial viability, the techniques employed appear very promising, given additional development.


quick-square.pngQuick Square LLC
3510 Snouffer Road Suite 200
Columbus, OH 43235
Phone: 866-849-5844Enterprise-grade multimedia management and repository, with keyword-based search and categorization


artesia.pngArtesia
700 King Farm Boulevard, Suite 400
Rockville, MD 20850
Phone: 301.548.4000Enterprise-grade multimedia management and repository, with keyword-based search and categorization. Typical license costs $100k – $200k, with customization available.

APPENDIX: Technical Approaches to Video Indexing

Recent developments in indexing videos have used optical recognition software to scan video files for closed captioning. Speech recognition software employing neural networks and machine learning using “hidden Markov models” can index video files that do not have closed captioning.

An accurate and reliable computerized method for visual query of still images and comparison of visual similarity of video shots is an open problem with ongoing research at academic universities and private firms. Video contains an enormous amount of visual information with 25 frames every second, high VGA resolution, and a high color depth. A popular method to simplify the data analyzes key frames as a representative sample of a video scene rather than keeping thousands of frames. When there is motion or large variance in the sequence, key frames may not capture complete visual information.

Researchers are proposing an algorithm that uses motion estimation to generate a series of key frames based on detection of significant camera motion. Producing even a few key frames of a scene presents a serious indexing problem along with redundancy clutter.

The standard approaches are the “query by example” and “query by keyword” models. Research is now exploring “probabilistic semantic indexing” to accommodate concepts in addition to key words.