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Dell: Using Technology to Change the World
November 10, 2014
I was at Dell World last week, and it is kind of amazing how far the company has come since it went private. Interestingly, much of the big tent content was less about Dell's technology and more about how technology was being used to change the world. This was kind of a scary event in some cases, because we are far from ready for some of the changes.
Gadget Ogling: Garish Walkie-Talkies, Slick Cameras and Mini 3D Printing
November 08, 2014
Welcome to another installment of every tech-loving optimist's and misanthrope's favorite look at the week's most wondrous and pitiful new gadgets. Ahead, for your delight and dismay, are studies of a wearable walkie-talkie-type communication device, a 360-degree action camera, a tiny 3D printer, a smart camera attachment, and a clever mobile roaming solution.
Webrooming Takes the Sting Out of Showrooming
November 07, 2014
Showrooming, the bane of retailers, is the consumer practice of visiting a brick-and-mortar store to test out merchandise and then buying the same model online at a cheaper price. Now there's "webrooming" -- a new buzzword for a trend that's been gaining momentum. Webrooming is the consumer practice of using the Internet to research a purchase and then going to a physical store to buy it.
The Apple Effect: The Leaders Shall Become Followers
November 07, 2014
Google Wallet reportedly has experienced a sudden surge: Weekly transactions are up 50 percent, and the number of new users has nearly doubled in a month. Obviously, the primary explanation for this sudden leap is Apple's entry into the mobile payments world. It introduced Apple Pay in September and rolled it out officially October 20. Google Wallet has been available since 2011.
iPad Pro Rumor Comes Up for Air
November 04, 2014
Rumors of a larger-screen iPad 'Pro' have been floating around since early this year. Most have suggested variations on a supposed 12.9-inch screen size. As soon as they rise, though, they're buried by another news wave. The latest to surface is a report in a Japanese tech blog. The upcoming iPad Pro reportedly will have a 12.2-inch screen and not the more widely rumored 12.9-inch screen.
Are There Too Many Forks at the FOSS Table?
November 03, 2014
Halloween has come and gone here in the Northern reaches of the Linux blogosphere, but for those of us paying attention, few things could be more frightful than the bloodshed now occurring in Debian's civil war. The streets of the blogosphere are filled with smoke; conversations are getting drowned out by the din of gunfire; and glasses are perpetually rattling down at the Punchy Penguin Saloon.
Defining a Hero: Why It Matters That Apple's CEO Is Gay
November 03, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced he is gay. Typically, when a CEO's personal life becomes a major issue, it is a bad thing. I do think this will have an adverse impact on Apple's sales, but I also think it will have a beneficial impact on the world. I'll share my thoughts about why a CEO doing something both controversial and potentially heroic is a good thing.
A Customer Experience Secret Weapon
October 31, 2014
There aren't many areas in business where processes used to save money and maximize deal sizes also result in a better customer experience. The exact opposite is usually the case -- the drive to save money by making an internal process more productive or to increase the amount being sold to the customer usually impacts the customer experience for the worse. A notable exception is CPQ software.
Gadget Ogling: Logged Jogs, Manual Music, Smart Weapons and Skinny Phones
October 31, 2014
Welcome to another installment of Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, a weekly look at the treats and horrors revealed as manufacturers pull back their curtains. Behind door number one is a selection of updated activity trackers from one of the oldest dogs in the yard, with the other shiny prizes including a music controller, a smart accessory for police firearms, and the planet's thinnest smartphone.
Apple Pay May Leave CurrentC in the Dust
October 30, 2014
Apple's debut of Apple Pay has been more than a little bumpy, and the company may be in for some additional negative press about its competitive position before the dust settles. However, there is one major factor in Apple's favor that could help it win the mobile payments tug-of-war in the end: time. It's chief competition, CurrentC, won't launch for another few months.
Apple Pay vs. CurrentC: Prelude to the Beacon Wars
October 30, 2014
The current dustup between Apple Pay and CurrentC is a stark, bleak mess. That's not because Apple promises an easier, more secure way of making a smartphone-based retail transaction. Nor is it because CurrentC wants to harvest data on you and provide behavior-bending coupons, incentives and special deals, while cutting out the middleman credit card processing industry. It gets worse.
Debian's Civil War: Has It Really Come to This?
October 27, 2014
Well it seems no matter how loudly we here in the Linux blogosphere try to hum a happy tune or discuss cheerful FOSS matters, we just can't seem to drown out the shouts and screams coming from those standing too close to the Systemd Inferno. Stand back, people! It's dangerous! The embers, of course, had been hot for some time already before the blaze flared sky-high a few months ago.
Detroit's Stupid Plan to Kill Tesla
October 27, 2014
In watching the illicit attempts of dealers and U.S. auto companies to try to kill Tesla, I have to think they are all wrongheaded. I don't drive a Tesla, but this kind of thing makes me really mad because it is so incredibly stupid. Tesla is as much an idea as it is a company -- and an idea that should be flowing through the car industry anyway, because the world is changing.
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."

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