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Thursday - May 19, 2016
china-technology-security
China reportedly is investigating the encryption and data storage features of technology products sold there by large foreign companies such as Apple to determine whether the products pose a security threat. A committee associated with the Cyberspace Administration of China reportedly is conducting reviews that include interviews of company executives and other employees. [More...]

Thursday - May 19, 2016
twitter-tweet-140-character-limit
In an effort to better monetize its platform and boost user traffic, Twitter may relax the 140-character limit on individual tweets by no longer counting photos and Web links. The tweak could take place within two weeks, according to a report that cited an unnamed source who asked for anonymity because the decision had not yet been made public. CEO Jack Dorsey hinted at the move earlier this year. [More...]

Wednesday - May 18, 2016
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg invited a group of 15 media executives and right-leaning pundits, including talk show host Glenn Beck, to meet with him Wednesday to discuss accusations that the social media network biased it's trending news topics to omit conservative viewpoints. In addition to Beck, Zuckerberg extended invitations to Arthur Brooks, president of the AEI; Dana Perino, Fox News co-host; and others. [More...]

Wednesday - May 18, 2016
sap-hana-microsoft-azure
Microsoft and SAP have announced plans to integrate their respective cloud-based systems, allowing the SAP HANA database to work with Microsoft Azure, which will enable Office 365 to communicate directly with SAP enterprise apps. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and SAP CEO Bill McDermott sat down before a packed audience at Sapphire Now and outlined how the enhanced partnership will benefit customers. [More...]

Tuesday - May 17, 2016
AT&T on Monday announced that it has agreed to buy Quickplay Media, which will serve as the backbone for DirecTV's upcoming multiplatform streaming video services. Quickplay, which supports AT&T's U-Verse TV Everywhere service, will support DirecTV Now, DirecTV Mobile and DirecTV Preview. The services will allow DirecTV content to be viewed on mobile phones, smart TVs, PCs and tablets. [More...]

Tuesday - May 17, 2016
ntia-online-privacy-report-
Concern about online security and privacy are leading Americans to curtail online activity, the NTIA reported last week. More than 41,000 households with at least one Internet user in July responded to several privacy and security questions the U.S. Census Bureau posed for the NTIA. Eighty-four percent of those households named at least one online privacy and security concern. [More...]

Monday - May 16, 2016
apple-investment-didi-chuxing
Apple CEO Tim Cook on Monday met with executives from Didi Chuxing, just days after the company announced that it had received a US$1 billion investment from Apple. After arriving in Beijing, Cook tweeted out photos of himself taking a taxi with Jean Liu, the president of Didi Chuxing, and of her showing him the mobile app. Apple hosted a panel of iOS developers at the Apple Store in Beijing. [More...]

Monday - May 16, 2016
information-technology-tech-support-services
When small businesses choose an IT and support service provider, the two most important considerations are the provider's ability to include all of the company's devices and provide a comprehensive IT service plan. More than half of small businesses that use professional IT services use two or more services. However, small businesses may have to rely on multiple vendors to address their IT needs. [More...]

Monday - May 16, 2016
charter-twc-merger-approved
Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable last week announced that California regulators approved their planned merger following a series of hearings in which the companies agreed to open access to underserved communities. The California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to approve the merger, which requires the combined company to provide low-cost broadband access. [More...]

Saturday - May 14, 2016
walmart-shipping
Walmart on Thursday began testing a two-day unlimited shipping service priced at $49 a year. Subscribers will get more than a million items, including the most commonly purchased items on Walmart.com, delivered to their door in two days or fewer, Walmart spokesperson Bao Nguyen said. "Customers will continue to enjoy their two favorite features -- no minimum order requirements." [More...]

Friday - May 13, 2016
internet-of-things-managed-services
With every market forecast predicting rapid growth of the overall Internet of Things, industry and investor focus shifts to specific market segments that will experience the quickest adoption. While most of the attention is on applications and technologies, managed IoT services will be one of the biggest market opportunities. One challenge to widespread IoT adoption is the lack of skills. [More...]

Friday - May 13, 2016
warehouse-clubs-customer-experience
Like many, I have a love-hate relationship with warehouse clubs like Costco, Sam's Club and BJ's. I've criticized them several times over the years, but it's worth noting that some of these clubs have been improving. Others not so much. I have some ideas about what these companies are doing right and wrong, and how they can fix things to improve customer relationships, sales and profits. [More...]

Thursday - May 12, 2016
Google on Wednesday announced that it would ban advertising for payday loans in its ad systems. Starting July 13, the company will prohibit ads for payday loans and related products where funds are due within 60 days of the date of issue, as well as ads for loans with an APR of 36 percent, said David Graff, Google's director of global product policy. [More...]

Thursday - May 12, 2016
us-government-information-technology-products-services
What's not to like about the U.S. government offering IT vendors $17.5 billion for products and services? The opportunity is attractive, and many vendors have expressed interest in a Department of Defense contract that covers the acquisition of a broad range of IT capabilities. A request for proposals for the Encore III contract was issued in March. Bids were accepted through late April. [More...]

Wednesday - May 11, 2016
Facebook-curators-algorithm-news
Facebook hired promising journalists in their 20s and early 30s to work on its secretive trending news project but did not treat them -- or journalism -- well, according to a recent report. The curators served as training modules for Facebook's algorithm, they said. They selected trending news, and decided which news sites each chosen topic would link to. [More...]

Wednesday - May 11, 2016
apple-sap-enterprise-applications
Apple and SAP last week announced an agreement to create applications for the iPhone and iPad using SAP's HANA data management platform as well as an iOS software development kit and training academy for outside developers and customers. The move marks Apple's latest attempt to break through to the enterprise market and comes at a challenging time for the iPhone and sluggish sales for tablets. [More...]

Wednesday - May 11, 2016
Amazon on Tuesday announced the launch of Amazon Direct Video, a service that will let content creators not only reach tens of millions of potential viewers with self-generated video uploads, but also participate in revenue sharing. Amazon will use the new service as an additional incentive to boost its Prime membership, which includes free two-day shipping for online purchases and other perks. [More...]

Tuesday - May 10, 2016
Pivotal last week announced a $253 million round of Series C financing. Led by new investor Ford, together with Microsoft and previous investors GE, EMC and VMware, the deal is expected to close this month. Pivotal's customers include seven of the top 10 U.S. banks and three global automakers. Its agile-based approach lets enterprises build and operate software rapidly, the company said. [More...]

Tuesday - May 10, 2016
amazon-atlas-air
Amazon has entered a 10-year lease agreement with Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, the aircraft company announced last week. Under the agreement, Amazon has the right to buy up to 30 percent of Atlas Air. Amazon will lease a fleet of 20 Boeing 767-300 converted freighters -- including crew, maintenance and insurance -- for seven years, with extensions to 10 years. [More...]

Tuesday - May 10, 2016
twitter-government-surveillance
Twitter reportedly has blocked U.S. intelligence agencies from accessing information from Dataminr, a firm that tracks tweets in real time to provide actionable information for financial, media, security and other types of institutional clients. The block suggests Twitter is unwilling to cooperate with government agencies on intelligence gathering. Twitter owns a 5 percent stake in Dataminr. [More...]

Monday - May 9, 2016
Microsoft last week announced the acquisition of Solair, a move to expand its global Internet of Things business. Solair's IoT customization and deployment solutions have helped many businesses improve efficiencies and profitability, according to Microsoft. Solair is "an important part of [Microsoft's] ongoing efforts to build the intelligent cloud," noted Microsoft spokesperson Lenette Larson. [More...]

Friday - May 6, 2016
adblock-flattr-plus
Adblock Plus, which has been in the forefront of online ad blocking, this week announced the beta of Flattr Plus, which promises no less than to revolutionize Web monetization. Users decide how much money they want to have distributed among their favorite sites, and the Flattr Plus algorithm automatically divvies up the proceeds among the sites they engage with the most. [More...]

Thursday - May 5, 2016
russian-hacker-collector-stolen-email-credentials
A hacker dubbed "The Collector" turned over 272 million stolen email credentials in his possession, Hold Security announced Wednesday. The hacker bragged online about the stash, which included usernames and passwords, the firm said. It got a copy of the data -- which the hacker was peddling for 50 rubles, or less than US$1 -- after giving him a shout-out in the forum. [More...]

Wednesday - May 4, 2016
India's telecommunications ministry has rejected Apple's proposal to sell refurbished iPhones in the country. Officials apparently based their rejection of the proposal on rules that prohibit importing used electronics. The country's environmental ministry nixed a similar request last year. With smartphone sales starting to stall, India could become an important market for Apple. [More...]

Wednesday - May 4, 2016
cybersecurity-us-government-software-spending
The U.S. government is on track to significantly boost spending on cybersecurity solutions. However, evolving requirements to greatly improve federal protection of information technology resources will shape that spending. In fact, federal cyberprotection goals should be augmented and significantly modified, according to recent studies of the federal market. [More...]

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Google just announced Home, a voice-activated speaker similar to Amazon's Echo. What do you think of these devices?
I have an Echo and I love it.
I have an Echo but rarely use it.
I plan to buy an Echo or Home.
Google's Home will be much better than Echo.
They're expensive novelties.
They're intrusive and creepy.