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Gadget Ogling: Up In The Air, Big Reads and Ghastly Wearables
October 25, 2014
This week in Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, a peek at newly announced gadgets that caught my eye, we're going back to the future. Yes, there's an actual hoverboard on the agenda, alongside a larger Nook tablet, a high-end Kindle, smart luggage, and the tipping point for wearable tech. As always, there are ratings for each item, which are based on how interested I am in using them.
CRM Selection: Getting Requirements to Reflect Reality
October 24, 2014
Perhaps the most important thing you can do before buying business software is to understand what you really want. Software is different from buying a car -- a physical thing you can inspect and whose operation you understand. It's different from buying a commodity, whose characteristics are already clear and there's little variation from purchase to purchase.
The Customer Science Revolution
October 23, 2014
Bluewolf, the consultancy that was founded to assist customers implementing and deploying Salesforce.com, has released its annual State of Salesforce report. There is very little that's controversial. Salesforce is a juggernaut at this point, growing at an exceptional and exponential pace. My only quibble with the account is that it does not look very far beneath the surface of the statistics.
Apple Is Confusing Tablet Leadership With Awesomeness
October 23, 2014
The new super thin iPad Air 2 is starting to get tepid reviews, most of which begrudgingly call it the "best tablet" in the market, while admitting it's boring. Instead of talking up all the great things about how it makes their lives better or fun, the focus is starting to turn to the glaringly obvious annoyances about what it doesn't do well at all.
FOSS and the Fear Factor
October 20, 2014
In a world that's been dominated for far too long by the Systemd Inferno, Linux fans will have to be forgiven if they seize perhaps a bit too gleefully upon the scraps of cheerful news that come along on any given day. Of course, for cheerful news, there's never any better place to look than the Reglue effort, run by longtime Linux advocate and all-around-hero-for-kids Ken Starks.
Tablet Wars: The iPad Drifts Toward Mediocrity
October 20, 2014
There have been a lot of interesting tablets launched over the last month, but Apple -- the primary driver in this market -- didn't launch one of them. Remember when the first and second iPads came out? They were magical, amazing devices. Fifty percent of the installed base is still generation 1 and 2 iPads, according to studies. Tim Cook can't get people to give them up to buy new ones.
Gadget Ogling: Apple vs. Google, a Bossy Activity Tracker, and Feeling Your Path
October 18, 2014
There was plenty of focus on the cameras at Apple's presentation, as it tries to promote the tablet as an ideal viewfinder for taking high-quality images, while adding iPhone features like time-lapse and burst mode. However, the new push of iPad photography is just encouraging even more people to look foolish by taking photos with their tablet in public. This is a plague.
Salesforce's Wave Is Only Half the Analytics Answer
October 17, 2014
Salesforce.com's major Dreamforce news was, as the company itself admitted, the worst-kept secret at the show. Marc Benioff, no less, spilled the beans about it during the summer; the crowd for his keynote was there largely to see it in action. It's a beautiful-looking analytics program. The graphic representations of data are simple, clean and automatically animated.
The iPad Air 2 Reveals Chink in Apple's Armor
October 17, 2014
The launch of the faster, thinner, goldier iPad Air 2, revealed a gap in Apple's shiny armor. This gap is the place where competitors have a chance to attack. However, the gap remains protected by a suit of chain mail. Let me explain. The iPad Air 2 sure looks like an amazing feat of engineering -- at just 6.1 millimeters thick, it's 18 percent thinner than its super-thin predecessor.
Jottings on Dreamforce 2014
October 16, 2014
Dreamforce has always been about many things happening at once -- a three-ring circus, in a good way. There are announcements about applications, platforms, philanthropy, entertainment and, importantly, parties. This year there was all of that and then some -- I was a guest with a ringside seat. Perhaps the worst-kept secret of the event was the company's announcement of Wave, its analytics cloud.
Salesforce.com Unleashes Cloud Analytics Tidal Wave
October 14, 2014
Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff last month tweeted about the tentative agenda for this week's Dreamforce, and caused a tizzy revealing a keynote session entitled "Analytics Cloud." Although the company immediately denied that it was planning to unveil such a thing or that Benioff intentionally spilled the beans, Salesforce.com did indeed launch its analytics cloud, called "Wave."
And Now for Something Completely Different
October 13, 2014
Well it's a good thing we here in the Linux community had a refreshing and refocusing break recently, because last week it was back onto the hot coals once again. The Systemd inferno -- which Linux Girl is starting to think of as "The Blaze That Must Not Be Named" -- has spread even further, your trusty reporter is dismayed to report, extending now to encompass the entire FOSS community.
When Computers Get a Right Brain
October 13, 2014
IBM is massively increasing its commitment to Watson, which was evident at last week's IBM Think Forum. IBM recognizes that if it can get a product that thinks first, then it can again take absolute control over the technology market, and every other company will be chasing it again. It is making some impressive headway, and the firm that succeeds at this will change the world.
Shooting for Sales? Give Marketing the Right Weapons
October 10, 2014
The old saw is that sales is a numbers game. That's kind of true -- but less so every passing year. In reality, it's becoming a productivity game: How can we make the sales people in our businesses as productive as possible? The key is to make marketing people as productive as possible, too -- which they're becoming, thanks to the advent of better software and smarter ways of using it.
Gadget Ogling: Strange Cameras, Fast Charges, Racing Robots
October 10, 2014
HTC is stepping so far out of the box with the RE Camera, it's almost as if there was never a box to begin with. Instead of making us stare through a viewfinder, this minimalist device almost demands a return to older forms of photography, while still taking advantage of modern technology. It looks like a cross between a periscope and an asthma inhaler, neither of which scream style.
One Way Around the Mobile Net Neutrality Conundrum
October 09, 2014
Verizon Wireless may be bitterly regretting the challenge Verizon made to the FCC's Net neutrality rules. There's little doubt competing wireless providers are. Verizon in 2010 sued the FCC over its mandate that ISPs treat all Internet data the same. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals this year agreed with Verizon and struck down the rules. Now the FCC is putting it all back on the table.
Apple's 'Way Too Long' Invite Lands With a Thud
October 09, 2014
Apple's pretty much annual October new product media event usually is preceded by a cute invitation sent to journalists. The invitation typically includes a phrase or graphic element that provides a vague clue to the secret agenda of the event. Presumably, this is to drum up excitement and speculation, in addition to creating an ah-ha moment.
What's Driving Open Source 2.0?
October 08, 2014
We're hearing more from vendors about how new features, functionality, rewrites and releases are being driven by customers -- by their direct experience using the software and competing in their various industries. We're also hearing from customers and users, including the enterprise market, that increasingly they are involved and thus empowered in open source software communities.
OOW2014
October 08, 2014
If Oracle didn't build another product for a while, it would be OK. In fact, no one might notice. If the recent OpenWorld 2014 is any indication, there are enough to go around. From an overflowing hardware stash to its Java middleware, apps, and various cloud, SaaS, hosting and infrastructure options, the company looks like a python that just devoured a pig -- I say this with love.
5 Ways Data Denial Hurts Marketing and Sales
October 06, 2014
Other parts of business have reoriented around data, but sales and marketing have been allowed to function as though they're black arts, with their practitioners going about their trades mysteriously, doing things for reasons only they know. Sometimes the result is a great quarter. Other times, not so much. Sales and marketing generate metrics, but many managers rely on instinct and experience.
The Importance of Being FOSS
October 06, 2014
It's a fact of life in virtually every community that there will be countless daily distractions -- news announcements, controversies, squabbles -- that take up the majority of our time and energy, leaving little for the big picture. The Linux community is no exception. That's why it was such a relief to see a post recently that struck directly to the core of all that is FOSS.
Dell OEM: The Magic Is in the Mystery
October 06, 2014
I had a chance last week to talk with the most secretive group inside Dell. They are kind of like the Q Division in the James Bond movies. These folks are pretty much unique in the industry, in that they build PCs and servers that are highly customized for firms that then place them into unusual solutions. This is the kind of machine that might go into a unique military vehicle.
The One Apple Watch Thing That Really Matters
October 03, 2014
While the cellphone nearly killed the wristwatch, the Apple Watch gizmo actually will revive it. In fact, I think the attention that the Apple Watch will bring to our wrists will spark sales of traditional watches. Why? I believe there is a latent desire to have a wristwatch -- to have the convenience of the time on your wrist without the need to pull out your smartphone.
How Gamification Will Rise From the Trough of Disillusionment
October 02, 2014
Gartner's Hype Cycle Report, which looks at new technologies as they make their way through the inevitable gauntlet of media hype, is now in its 20th year. The various stages are aptly named, and many tech observers are painfully familiar with the early ones. The hype cycle starts with innovation, rapidly moves into the peak of inflated expectation, and then sinks in the trough of disillusionment.

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