Archive of ‘Library and information science’ category

top ten speech recognition APIs

https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-top-ten-speech-recognition-APIs

Online short utterance

1) Google Speech API – best speech technology, recently announced to be available for commercial use. Currently in beta status. Google also has separate APIs for Android OS and Javascript API for Chrome.

2) Microsoft Cognitive Services – Bing Speech API same from Microsoft, many different nice addons like voice authentication

3) API.AI – analyses intent, not simply recognizes speech. Useful to build command applications, belongs to Google.

There are also offerings from Amazon, Facebook and many others.

Online large files

4) Speechmatics – large vocabulary transcription in the cloud, US and UK English, high accuracy.

5) Vocapia Speech to Text API – not very user friendly, but a good technology

Offline Proprietary

6) Speech Engine_IFLYTEK CO.,LTD. not very well known Chinese company, but it continuously excels in competitions.

7) UWP Speech recognition from Microsoft for Universal Windows Platform

Open Source

8) CMU Sphinx – Speech Recognition Toolkit – offline speech recognition, due to low resource requirements can be used on mobile. OpenEars – Pocketsphinx on iOS, there are also APIs for Node.js, Ruby, Java, Android bindings.

9) Kaldi – speech recognition toolkit for research. UFAL-DSG/cloud-asr – Kaldi-based cloud platform, alumae/kaldi-gstreamer-server – another kaldi-based cloud platform. iOS Speech Recognition – kaldi adopted for offline recognition on iOS from Keen Research.

Bulgarian police Bitcoins

Bitcoins Bulgarian police seized from an ‘organised crime gang’ would now pay off a FIFTH of the country’s national debt after value rises by 600% in six months

  • Officers seized hundreds of thousands of units of the virtual currency in May
  • It was worth $500million at the time but the value of Bitcoin has since surged
  • The haul of 213,519 units is now worth a staggering $3.3billion
  • Thta is enough to pay off almost a quarter of Bulgaria’s national debt

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5163209/Bulgaria-Bitcoins-pay-FIFTH-debt.html#ixzz50rvA3d4d
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

That is enough to pay off almost a quarter of Bulgaria’s national debt, although it is not known what the authorities have done with the currency. 

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more on Bitcoin in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=bitcoin

academic library teaching information technology

Does your library have exciting, innovative ways to train your patrons about
information technology?
The ALA/Information Today, Inc. Library of the Future Award honors an
individual library, library consortium, group of librarians, or support
organization for innovative planning for, applications of, or development of
patron training programs about information technology in a library setting.
The annual award consists of $1,500 and a 24k gold-framed citation of
achievement.  All types of libraries are welcome to apply!
The 2017 award winner was the Muncie Public Library for their innovative
“Digital Climbers” program that motivates and inspires children ages eight and
up to experiment with technology and master skills that contribute to learning
in science, technology, engineering, art and math.
ALA is currently accepting nominations for the 2018 Library of the Future
Award: http://www.ala.org/awardsgrants/awards/213/apply.  The online
application is to be submitted to ALA by February 1, 2018.  For additional
information, contact Rene Erlandson, Award Jury Chair,
rene.erlandson@gmail.com or Cheryl Malden, ALA Governance Office,
cmalden@ala.org.
My note: where I work, such effort will be dismissed as “this belongs to public libraries.”
Does it? What does your academic library do to excel patrons in information technology.
where I work – not much. All is “information literacy” in its 90ish encapsulation.

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more on information technology in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=information+technology

Advancing Online Education in Minnesota State

Advancing Online Education in Minnesota State

Advancing Online Education – Full Report-1s94jfi

Defining Online Education
The term “online education” has been used as a blanket phrase for a number of fundamentally different  educational models. Phrases like distance education, e-Learning, massively open online courses (MOOCs),  hybrid/blended learning, immersive learning, personalized and/or adaptive learning, master courses,  computer based instruction/tutorials, digital literacy and even competency based learning have all colored the  definitions the public uses to define “online education.”

online education” as having the following characteristics:

  • Students who enroll in online courses or programs may reside near or far from the campus(es) providing the course(s) or program.
  • A student’s course load may include offering where attendance is required in person or where an instructor/students are not required to be in the same geographic location.
  • Students may enroll in one or more individual online course offerings provided by one or more institutions to that may or may not satisfy degree/program requirements.
  • Student may pursue a certificate, program, or degree where a substantial number of courses, perhaps all, are taken without being in the same geographic location as others.

Organizational Effectiveness Research Group (OERG),

As the workgroup considered strategies that could advance online education, they were asked to use the primary and secondary sources listed above to support the fifteen (15) strategies that were developed

define a goal as a broad aspirational outcome that we strive to attain. Four goal areas guide this document. These goal areas include access, quality, affordability and collaboration. Below is a description of each goal area and the assumptions made for Minnesota State.

  1. Access
    Over twenty percent of existing Minnesota State students enroll in online courses as a way to satisfy course requirements. For some students, online education is a convenient option; for others, online is the only option available
  2. Quality
    The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation guidelines review the standards and processes institutions have in place to ensure quality in all of educational offerings, including online.
    There are a number of ways in which institutions have demonstrated quality in individual courses and programs including the evaluation of course design, evaluation of instruction and assessment of student
  3. Affordability
    a differential tuition rate to courses that are offered online. If we intend to have online education continue to be an affordable solution for students, Minnesota State and its institutions must be good stewards of these funds and ensure these funds support online education.
    Online education requires different or additional services that need to be funded
    transparency is important in tuition setting
  4. Collaboration
    Distance Minnesota is comprised of four institutions Alexandria Technical & Community College, Bemidji State University, Northland Community & Technical College, and Northwest Technical College) which collaborate to offer student support services, outreach, e-advising, faculty support, and administrative assistance for online education offerings.

 Strategies

strategies are defined as the overall plan used to identify how we can achieve each goal area.

Action Steps

Strategy 1: Ensure all student have online access to high quality support services

students enrolled in online education experiences should have access to “three areas of support including academic (such as tutoring, advising, and library); administrative (such as financial aid, and disability support); and technical (such as hardware reliability and uptime, and help desk).”
As a system, students have access to a handful of statewide services, include tutoring services through Smarthinking and test proctoring sites.

Strategy 2: Establish and maintain measures to assess and support student readiness for online education

A persistent issue for campuses has been to ensure that students who enroll in online course are aware of the expectations required to participate actively in an online course.

In addition to adhering to course expectations, students must have the technical competencies needed to perform the tasks required for online courses

Strategy 3: Ensure students have access to online and blended learning experiences in course and program offerings.

Strategy 4: These experiences should support and recognize diverse learning needs by applying a universal design for learning framework.

The OERG report included several references to efforts made by campuses related to the providing support and resources for universal design for learning, the workgroup did not offer any action steps.

Strategy 5: Expand access to professional development resources and services for faculty members

As online course are developed and while faculty members teach online courses, it is critical that faculty members have on-demand access to resources like technical support and course assistance.

5A. Statewide Faculty Support Services – Minnesota State provide its institutions and their faculty members with access to a centralized support center during extended hours with staff that can assist faculty members synchronously via phone, chat, text/SMS, or web conference

5C. Instructional Design and Technology Services – Establish a unit that will provide course design and instructional technology services to selected programs and courses from Minnesota State institutions.

Quality

Strategy 1: Establish and maintain a statewide approach for professional development for online education.

1B. Faculty Mentoring – Provide and sustain faculty mentoring programs that promote effective online pedagogy.

1C. Professional development for support staff – including instructional designers, D2L Brightspace site administrators and campus trainers, etc.)

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more on online education in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=online+education

Social Democrats in Disarray

What’s Left?: Social Democrats in Disarray

Alan Johnson Summer 2015

Why has the right, including the populist right, rather than the left, been the main political beneficiary of the anger and bitterness that has roiled Europe since the 2008 financial crash, the eurozone crisis, and the resulting deep recession and brutal austerity? After all, these events surely proved the relevance of the left’s critique of capitalism.

The left is increasingly marginal to political life in Europe despite the fact that, in the words of Owen Jones, an important voice of the British left, “Living standards are falling, public assets are being flogged to private interests, a tiny minority are being enriched at the expense of society and the hard-won gains of working people—social security, rights in the workplace and so on—are being stripped away.” And the radical parties and movements to the left of the social democratic parties have been faring no better. In the brutally honest assessment of the British Marxist Alex Callinicos, “Nearly seven years after the financial crash began, the radical left has not been weaker for decades.”

But the European left’s inability to forcefully meet the crisis is not due to a failure of individual political leaders, but the fact that it has not developed, in theory or practice, a response to the three great waves of change—economic, socio-cultural, and politico-intellectual—that have crashed over it since the late 1970s.

The fruits of this radical transformation of European social democracy into a political force pursuing a slightly kinder and a slightly gentler neoliberalism—which some dub “social neoliberalism”—have been bitter.

While capital is global, mobile, and regnant, organized labor is increasingly deindustrialized, indebted, and precarious; often temporary, part-time, insecure, and, quite frankly, unorganized.

an explosion of inequality, relative poverty, and acquisitive individualism.

The manic, pathological quality of neoliberal consumerism has produced an explosion of personal debt.

the crisis of the European left is also intellectual.

 

Malware, Phishing, Hacking, Ransomware

Keeping Safe in a Digital World

How Not to be Hacked

Malware, Phishing, Hacking, Ransomware – oh my! Learn about the threats to you, your users and your library.  During this session, we will explore the threats to online security and discuss solutions that can be implemented at any level. Most importantly, we will look at how we can educate our users on current threats and safety

Date: December 5th, 10AM

Presenter: Diana Silveira

Register: https://netforum.avectra.com/eweb/DynamicPage.aspx?Site=SEFLIN&WebCode=EventDetail&evt_key=bec597af-02dd-41a4-9b3a-afc42dc155e4

Webinar December 5, 2017 10 AM

  • create policies. e.g. changing psw routinely
  • USB blockers for public computers (public libraries). like skimmers on gas stations
  • do not use admin passwords
  • software and firmware updates.
  • policy for leaving employees
  • HTTP vs HTTPS
  • Cybersecurity KNowledge Quiz Pew research Center
    http://www.pewinternet.org/quiz/cybersecurity-knowledge/ 

diana@novarelibrary.com

slideshare.net/dee987

facebook.com/novarelibrary

twitter @Novarelibrary

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more on hacking in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=hacker

weaponizing the web RT hybrid war

Fake news and botnets: how Russia weaponised the web

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/dec/02/fake-news-botnets-how-russia-weaponised-the-web-cyber-attack-estonia

The digital attack that brought Estonia to a standstill 10 years ago was the first shot in a cyberwar that has been raging between Moscow and the west ever since

It began at exactly 10pm on 26 April, 2007, when a Russian-speaking mob began rioting in the streets of Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, killing one person and wounding dozens of others. That incident resonates powerfully in some of the recent conflicts in the US. In 2007, the Estonian government had announced that a bronze statue of a heroic second world war Soviet soldier was to be removed from a central city square. For ethnic Estonians, the statue had less to do with the war than with the Soviet occupation that followed it, which lasted until independence in 1991. For the country’s Russian-speaking minority – 25% of Estonia’s 1.3 million people – the removal of the memorial was another sign of ethnic discrimination.

That evening, Jaan Priisalu – a former risk manager for Estonia’s largest bank, Hansabank, who was working closely with the government on its cybersecurity infrastructure – was at home in Tallinn with his girlfriend when his phone rang. On the line was Hillar Aarelaid, the chief of Estonia’s cybercrime police.

“It’s going down,” Aarelaid declared. Alongside the street fighting, reports of digital attacks were beginning to filter in. The websites of the parliament, major universities, and national newspapers were crashing. Priisalu and Aarelaid had suspected something like this could happen one day. A digital attack on Estoniahad begun.

“The Russian theory of war allows you to defeat the enemy without ever having to touch him,” says Peter Pomerantsev, author of Nothing is True and Everything is Possible. “Estonia was an early experiment in that theory.”

Since then, Russia has only developed, and codified, these strategies. The techniques pioneered in Estonia are known as the “Gerasimov doctrine,” named after Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the general staff of the Russian military. In 2013, Gerasimov published an article in the Russian journal Military-Industrial Courier, articulating the strategy of what is now called “hybrid” or “nonlinear” warfare. “The lines between war and peace are blurred,” he wrote. New forms of antagonism, as seen in 2010’s Arab spring and the “colour revolutions” of the early 2000s, could transform a “perfectly thriving state, in a matter of months, and even days, into an arena of fierce armed conflict”.

Russia has deployed these strategies around the globe. Its 2008 war with Georgia, another former Soviet republic, relied on a mix of both conventional and cyber-attacks, as did the 2014 invasion of Crimea. Both began with civil unrest sparked via digital and social media – followed by tanks. Finland and Sweden have experienced near-constant Russian information operations. Russian hacks and social media operations have also occurred during recent elections in Holland, Germany, and France. Most recently, Spain’s leading daily, El País, reported on Russian meddling in the Catalonian independence referendum. Russian-supported hackers had allegedly worked with separatist groups, presumably with a mind to further undermining the EU in the wake of the Brexit vote.

The Kremlin has used the same strategies against its own people. Domestically, history books, school lessons, and media are manipulated, while laws are passed blocking foreign access to the Russian population’s online data from foreign companies – an essential resource in today’s global information-sharing culture. According to British military researcher Keir Giles, author of Nato’s Handbook of Russian Information Warfare, the Russian government, or actors that it supports, has even captured the social media accounts of celebrities in order to spread provocative messages under their names but without their knowledge. The goal, both at home and abroad, is to sever outside lines of communication so that people get their information only through controlled channels.

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24-hour Putin people: my week watching Kremlin ‘propaganda channel’ RT

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/nov/29/24-hour-putin-people-my-week-watching-kremlin-propaganda-channel-rt-russia-today

 Wednesday 29 November 2017 

According to its detractors, RT is Vladimir Putin’s global disinformation service, countering one version of the truth with another in a bid to undermine the whole notion of empirical truth. And yet influential people from all walks of public life appear on it, or take its money. You can’t criticise RT’s standards, they say, if you don’t watch it. So I watched it. For a week.

Suchet, the son of former ITV newsreader John Suchet and the nephew of actor David Suchet, has been working for RT since 2009. The offspring of well-known people feature often on RT. Sophie Shevardnadze, who presents Sophie & Co, is the granddaughter of former Georgian president and Soviet foreign minister Eduard ShevardnadzeTyrel Ventura, who presents Watching the Hawks on RT America, is the son of wrestler-turned-politician Jesse Ventura. His co-host is Oliver Stone’s son Sean.

My note; so this is why Oliver Stone in his “documentary” went gentle on Putin, so his son can have a job. #Nepotism #FakeNews

RT’s stated mission is to offer an “alternative perspective on major global events”, but the world according to RT is often downright surreal.

Peter Pomerantsev, author of Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible, about Putin’s Russia, and now a senior visiting fellow in global affairs at the London School of Economics, was in Moscow working in television when Russia Today first started hiring graduates from Britain and the US. “The people were really bright, they were being paid well,” he says. But they soon found they were being ordered to change their copy, or instructed how to cover certain stories to reflect well on the Kremlin. “Everyone had their own moment when they first twigged that this wasn’t like the BBC,” he says. “That, actually, this is being dictated from above.” The coverage of Russia’s war with Georgia in 2008 was a lightbulb moment for many, he says. They quit.

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more on Russian bots, trolls:
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2017/11/22/bots-trolls-and-fake-news/

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more on state propaganda in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2017/11/21/china-of-xi/

Timothy Garton Ash Germany

It’s the Kultur, Stupid

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2017/12/07/germany-alt-right-kultur-stupid/
http://librev.com/index.php/2013-03-30-08-56-39/discussion/politics/3333-it-s-the-kultur-stupid
Book reviews [and more]
“The reason we are inundated by culturally alien [kulturfremden] peoples such as Arabs, Sinti and Roma etc. is the systematic destruction of civil society as a possible counterweight to the enemies-of-the-constitution by whom we are ruled. These pigs are nothing other than puppets of the victor powers of the Second World War….” Thus begins a 2013 personal e-mail from Alice Weidel, who in this autumn’s pivotal German election was one of two designated “leading candidates” of the Alternative für Deutschland (hereafter AfD or the Alternative). The chief “pig” and “puppet” was, of course, Angela Merkel.
Xenophobic right-wing nationalism—in Germany of all places? The very fact that observers express surprise indicates how much Germany has changed since 1945. These days, we expect more of Germany than of ourselves. For, seen from one point of view, this is just Germany partaking in the populist normality of our time, as manifested in the Brexit vote in Britain, Marine le Pen’s Front National in France, Geert Wilders’s blond beastliness in the Netherlands, the right-wing nationalist-populist government in Poland, and Trumpery in the US.
Like all contemporary populisms, the German version exhibits both generic and specific features. In common with other populisms, it denounces the current elites (Alteliten in AfD-speak) and established parties (Altparteien) while speaking in the name of the Volk, a word that, with its double meaning of people and ethno-culturally defined nation, actually best captures what Trump and Le Pen mean when they say “the people.”
Like other populists, Germany’s attack the mainstream media (Lügenpresse, the “lying press”) while making effective use of social media. On the eve of the election, the Alternative had some 362,000 Facebook followers, compared with the Social Democrats’ 169,000 and just 154,000 for Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
Tiresomely familiar to any observer of Trump, Brexit, or Wilders is the demagogic appeal to emotions while playing fast and loose with facts. In Amann’s account, the predominant emotion here is Angst. 
For eight of the last twelve years, Germany has been governed by a so-called Grand Coalition of Christian Democrats—Merkel’s CDU in a loveless parliamentary marriage with the more conservative Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU)—and Social Democrats. This has impelled disgruntled voters toward the smaller parties and the extremes. The effect has been reinforced by Merkel’s woolly centrist version of Margaret Thatcher’s TINA (There Is No Alternative), perfectly captured in the German word alternativlos (without alternatives). It’s no accident that this protest party is called the Alternative.
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my note: an excellent fictional depiction of the rise of AfD in the second season of Berlin Station: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5191110/

K12 technology preparation

Better teaching through technology? Only with thoughtful preparation

Nov. 30, 2017

https://www.educationdive.com/news/better-teaching-through-technology-only-with-thoughtful-preparation/511896/

Dive Brief:

  • Research from the Yale Center of Teaching and Learning highlights the ups and downs of classroom tech use, including the juxtaposition of increased engagement from using familiar platforms for assignments and decreased motivation and grades from limitless internet exposure, eSchool News reports.
  • Educators must ensure a cautious approach to tech use that doesn’t make students overly reliant upon it to complete tasks and solve problems, using social networking and collaborative platforms as a means to an end rather than the be-all solution.
  • Before adopting and implementing it, educators should consider how any given piece of classroom technology will improve studying, what the possible pitfalls are and how to avoid them, how it will help meet goals or close gaps, and how it will improve workflow, according to eSchool News.

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more on K12 technology in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=k12+technology

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