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Amazon Casts Its Net on the Internet of Things
October 9, 2015
Amazon on Thursday leapt into the Internet of Things market with the announcement of its AWS IoT platform. AWS IoT lets devices -- ranging from cars and turbines to sensor grids and light bulbs -- connect to services from Amazon Web Services. That in turn allows companies to store, process, analyze and act on the mountains of data generated by connected devices.
Facebook Tests New Button-Pushing Plan
October 8, 2015
Facebook on Thursday announced a pilot test of "Reactions," a way to respond to posts on the network in a more nuanced way than its Like button allows. The new feature is live in Spain and Ireland. CEO Mark Zuckerberg previously alluded to the eventual landing of a Like alternative, although he said it would not be a much-requested Dislike button. Facebook had good reasons to resist a Dislike button.
At the Heart of OpenStack Evolution
October 8, 2015
There is little question regarding the prevalence and significance of open source software in enterprise IT, but one of the best places to more deeply examine how open source software fits into today's enterprise IT landscape is the OpenStack cloud software and project. It has come to represent the primary open source cloud in the market, considered alongside rivals such as Amazon and VMware.
Will Insider Trading Sideline Fantasy Sports?
October 8, 2015
The field of fantasy sports is faced with a fresh set of legal questions, following this week's allegations of insider trading on DraftKings and FanDuel. Having been validated by their skill component, fantasy sports have spilled across state lines and even into the world of collegiate athletics, a realm that has been closed to other forms of gambling.
App for Rating People Draws Withering Scorn
October 7, 2015
Canadian businesswoman Julia Cordray's plan to launch Peeple, a Yelp-like app that would let people post reviews about other people, has drawn fierce criticism in the tech press and the blogosphere, including a petition against the app's launch and a Twitter campaign to boycott it. "It's a legal and ethical minefield," said Alan Pelz-Sharpe, a research director at 451 Research.
Philips Smart Hub Embraces Siri, HomeKit
October 7, 2015
Philips on Monday unveiled Hue Bridge 2.0., which integrates the company's smart home products and iOS's HomeKit, giving users the ability to dictate to smart things from a Siri-enabled smartphone. Replacing its round predecessor, the square Hue Bridge 2.0 is compatible with Philips' legacy smart lights and controls. The hub will support new smart products from Philips for the foreseeable future.
Canonical Plays With Internet of Toys Idea
October 7, 2015
Canonical last week announced plans to launch the Internet of Toys, an open source initiative calling on toy makers, hackers, Internet of Things fans and innovators to build the next generation of Web-accessing toys. Participants will build the next generation of toys around open source tools such as Cylon JS, Gobot, Snappy Ubuntu Core, Snapcraft, ROS and Erle-Spider.
Many Product Searchers Skip Google, Go Directly to Amazon
October 7, 2015
Amazon has become the first stop for nearly half of online shoppers researching potential purchases, according to a report BloomReach released Tuesday. Nearly half -- 44 percent -- of some 2,000 survey participants said they go directly to Amazon to search for products. That's a substantial increase from a similar survey Forrester Research conducted in 2012.
Can Jack Dorsey Save Twitter?
October 5, 2015
Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey, who has been running the company as interim CEO for the past three months, has taken the reins for good, the company revealed in a document filed with the SEC. Former CEO Dick Costolo has left Twitter's board of directors, and Adam Bain has stepped into the chief operating officer role. Dorsey will continue to lead Square, the mobile POS company he founded, as well.
3 Ways CRM Can Help Sales in the IoT Era
October 5, 2015
It's becoming increasingly clear that the nature of the sales profession is changing. Salespeople are no longer the ones who introduce products to their customers -- in most cases, especially in business-to-business settings, customers have done a lot of research on their own and are close to a decision before they talk to a salesperson. This trend has some people in sales panicked.
Facebook, Eutelsat to Use Satellites to Spread Net Across Sub-Saharan Africa
October 5, 2015
Facebook and Eutelsat have entered a partnership to leverage satellite technology to provide Internet access to remote parts of sub-Saharan Africa. The initiative, which includes a multiyear agreement with Spacecom, will utilize the entire broadband payload on the future AMOS-6 satellite as the backbone of a dedicated system that will include satellite capacity, gateways and terminals.
Amazon Banishes Apple and Google Streamers
October 5, 2015
Amazon last week said it planned to stop selling streaming devices from rivals Apple and Google. A pillar of its Prime ecosystem, Prime Video, was incompatible with Apple TV and Google's Chromecast, the company suggested. It made the decision to "avoid customer confusion," according to a company statement. Other devices with streaming capabilities would continue to be available, the company said.
Gadget Ogling: Eyes on Google
October 3, 2015
Chromecast helps people easily stream whatever they want through their TV via a simple dongle. Now Google's adding a splash of color to the device, along with a string of new features. Instead of resembling a USB stick, Chromecast 2 is more like a colorful button, and Google says it is easier to plug into an HDMI slot. Also, it apparently can stream videos faster and with less buffering.
Benioff Flees Facebook in Search of Peace
October 2, 2015
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has quit Facebook and shut down his account, sparking speculation as to his motives. Is Salesforce at odds with Facebook? Is Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg no longer Benioff's BFF? Is Salesforce planning something with Twitter? "I'm on a FB pause," Benioff posted on Robert Scoble's Twitter account, in response to his query. "It was too overwhelming to keep up to date."
Logitech Adds Portability to Home Monitoring
October 1, 2015
Logitech on Wednesday announced a new monitoring system that links users to live feeds of their homes via an app. Called "Logi Circle," it picks up Nest's Dropcam model and expands it with mobility. On one end of the system is the app, available for both Android and iOS, which lets consumers view high-definition camera feeds live. On the other end is a portable camera, the size of a webcam.
TiVo Bolt Zaps Ads
October 1, 2015
TiVo on Wednesday urged users to give commercials the finger with its Bolt set-top box, which allows ad-skipping on some shows. The Bolt is available immediately online, and it will show up on store shelves this weekend. It comes in 500-GB and 1-TB versions, priced at $300 and $400, respectively, inclusive of one year of service. After that, users will pay $150 a year for the service.
Microsoft Pushes Deeper Into Linux, Containers, IoT
October 1, 2015
Microsoft announced a slew of corporate cloud solutions at Tuesday's AzureCon. "The value for IoT is in control, data collection and analysis, and Microsoft is apparently building a cloud service that can do all three, and wrapping it with enterprise-level security," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. Microsoft also announced a new open Azure Container Service.
New Sonos Speaker Costs $500 but New Smart Tuner Is Free
September 30, 2015
Sonos has unveiled a new version of its top-of-the-line Play:5 speaker, which includes three mid-woofers and three tweeters. It can be set up in three orientations: by itself, or paired with another speaker -- either vertically for tight sound, or horizontally for a more immersive experience. Sonos also introduced Trueplay, an iOS app for tuning its wireless speakers to a room's acoustic profile.
Google Lines Up a Batch of Marshmallow-Ready Hardware
September 30, 2015
Google on Tuesday introduced a pair of new phablets, a couple of Chromecasts and the first tablet it built by itself. The unveilings took place at its Nexus event in San Francisco. Months of leaks drew very accurate portraits of the $499 Huawei Nexus 6P and $379 LG Nexus 5X and other Android hardware, but Google filled in the details ahead of Android Marshmallow's expected Oct. 5 release.
Flights of Fancy: The Multibillion-Dollar World of Fantasy Sports
September 30, 2015
Americans are expected to spend $4.6 billion on fantasy sports this year, while vying for a payout of around $107 -- the average prize for winning the biggest fantasy league games, according to American Express. Driving that spending and risk taking are a passion for sports, the promise of purses, the push of new platforms, and the pull of camaraderie.
Google to Expand India's Internet Access With Free WiFi at Train Stations
September 29, 2015
Google CEO Sundar Pichai has announced a plan to provide high-speed public WiFi in 400 train stations across India. The announcement coincided with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the company's California headquarters. Modi is expected to promote his Digital India initiative during his U.S. visit. One objective of the plan is to bring high-speed Internet to rural areas of India.
Gadget Ogling: Pebble Goes Round, VR Hits Movies, and Smart Locks Lose Keypads
September 26, 2015
The latest Pebble looks a touch different from previous models of the smartwatch. Instead of a square screen with rounded edges, it bears a circular watch face. The Pebble Time Round also is thinner and lighter than its siblings, but it's not as water-resistant. More importantly, the battery doesn't last as long -- a couple of days rather than a week. That earns it a black mark.
The Rich Get Internet-Richer While the Poor Get None
September 24, 2015
Efforts to increase Internet access worldwide are falling short of targeted goals, according to a United Nations Broadband Commission report released earlier this week. More than half the world's population is still offline, according to the report, and growth in the number of people with access to the Internet is slowing. The digital divide has become a chasm.
Internet of Things Makes Enterprise Headway
September 22, 2015
The Internet of Things is poised to soar in the enterprise, a new survey from IDC indicates, with the planning stage rapidly shifting to deployment. Nearly 73 percent of about 2,500 respondents to the firm's IoT Decision Maker Survey said they already had deployed IoT solutions or would do so within the next year, the firm reported Tuesday. The survey respondents came from 15 countries.
Malware Jumps Apple's Garden Wall
September 22, 2015
Developers who unknowingly used a malicious tool to code their programs uploaded hundreds of malware-infected apps to the iTunes App Store, China-based iOS developers reportedly discovered last week. Security researchers around the world have analyzed it. Called "XcodeGhost," the malware is hidden in an unauthorized version of a program Apple distributes to create iOS apps.
Dreamforce and Then Some
September 21, 2015
What a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago, the booths on the Dreamforce show floor were little more than outposts for widget-makers. Fast-forward to Dreamforce 2015, and one is struck by the number, variety, and size of the partner community. That's only part of the story, though. Often out of sight is the sizable display of talent that has consolidated around Salesforce.
Skype Skips Monday
September 21, 2015
Microsoft has confirmed that network issues crippled the consumer version of Skype. Some users reported no success in logging in. Others managed to log in, but weren't recognized as being online. The network issues affected only the consumer version of the service, according to Microsoft. So Skype for Business was still in business. It's unclear when Microsoft expects to resolve the problem.
Amazon Fans Fire's Flames
September 21, 2015
Amazon last week confirmed and detailed the bare-bones Fire tablet, which will sell for just $49 -- and it announced five other Fire family additions while it was at it. Flanking the Fire tablet are the refreshed Fire HD, the Fire TV with 4K, the Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote and the updated Fire Kids Edition. Amazon announced two flavors of the revisited Fire HD.
Gadget Ogling: Fresh Fires, Tablet Touches, and Underwater Drones
September 19, 2015
In case you didn't already know it, Amazon has designs on taking over your television, and Fire TV seems a strong competitor to the refreshed Apple TV. Fire TV's big advantage is that it can stream video in ultra high-def 4K, while Apple TV cannot. Nor can Roku or Chromecast. There already are some fine games available for Fire TV, and there's a gaming edition available with a controller.
The Unsinkable Kim Dotcom?
September 18, 2015
Someone perhaps even more flamboyant than Donald Trump may be getting involved in the U.S. presidential race -- and not on the Republican side. Notorious Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom is not running for office, but as his extradition case heats up in New Zealand, a possible Democratic candidate for the presidency -- mild-mannered Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig -- has come to his defense.
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Will fitness bands fade away?
Yes -- smartwatches will take over their functionality.
Yes -- they're like diets -- people tire of them.
No -- it's smartwatches that will fade away.
No -- people are getting more health-conscious.
Not sure -- but I'd like to try one.
Not sure -- not interested.