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Nanorep CTO Amit Ben: Chatbots Should Be Useful, Not Human
July 12, 2017
"When you provide service, it can be either completely general, or contextual -- which means it's different for different demographics," said Nanorep CTO Amit Ben. "Personalized service means that you get to the most fine-grained resolution possible. It's self-service that can be catered and adjusted dynamically to each person experiencing that service."
Gadget Ogling: Show and Tell, Fidget Folly, and Connected Nightlights
July 12, 2017
The Echo Show is the first in Amazon's line of smart speakers to incorporate a screen, and it seems very much more "speaker with a display" than "tablet with better audio and microphones." It has all the functionality of Echo, including access to Alexa, Amazon's voice-operated assistant. The screen can, for example, provide a more detailed weather outlook than what Alexa spouts out.
Trailhead Matrix
July 11, 2017
Salesforce had a strong showing at its TrailheaDX developer conference, roughly quadrupling last year's attendance and flooding its developers with new technology. Over the last few years, the company has built out a multidimensional matrix of product offerings that include CRM components like SFA and customer service, but it has been careful to introduce back-end technology products as well.
Amazon Pushes Alexa, Highlights Small Sellers in Prime Day Deals
July 10, 2017
Amazon is ready to disrupt the retail landscape for the third consecutive year, as it launches its July 11 Prime Day sale. The company will offer thousands of discounted items and special promotions to reward its Prime customers and increase their numbers, while rivals scramble to compete. Starting at 6 p.m. on Monday, Amazon will offer special curated deals on some of its biggest-selling items.
Could Tech Nerf North Korea?
July 10, 2017
When a hostile country regularly lobs missiles into the ocean with the stated objective of transforming a U.S. state into a radioactive cloud, we have a problem. One "oops" and we could suddenly become a 49-state nation again. Approaches to North Korea tend to be in-the-box thinking, but there are new technologies that effectively could neutralize the threat it poses.
IoT Fuels Growth of Linux Malware
July 5, 2017
Malware targeting Linux systems is growing, largely due to a proliferation of devices created to connect to the Internet of Things. That is one of the findings in a report WatchGuard Technologies released last week. The report, which analyzes data gathered from more than 26,000 appliances worldwide, found three Linux malware programs in the top 10 for the first quarter of the year.
The Stupidly Dangerous Politics of Blame
July 3, 2017
I hope that, like me, you are off this long holiday weekend and have a chance to think about the drama that now surrounds the U.S. administration. What I find fascinating isn't that the government is a bit of a mess but that the accidental transparency of this administration is focusing us more on the visibility of the problems rather than on the problems themselves.
Naming the Ephemeral
June 30, 2017
So much is happening as we approach the end of Q2 -- our industry's busiest quarter, at least by some measures. I'm flying around seeing things but not always able to comment from a middle seat on a red-eye. So this piece is an attempt to catch up and set some markers for the traditionally slower summer. I've been searching for a word to describe a new category I see: Service as a Service.
Google Gives Up Scanning Personal Gmail
June 30, 2017
Google recently announced the end of its policy of scanning user emails for targeted advertising purposes -- a controversial practice that riled privacy advocates and spurred legal challenges. Gmail is the world's most widely used email provider, with more than 1.2 billion users. Google attributed its decision to gains it has made in the enterprise.
VA Gives Thumbs Up to Commercial IT Software
June 30, 2017
A Veterans Affairs decision to pursue a new direction in processing health records has created a highly visible endorsement of the use of COTS information technology by federal agencies. President Trump cited the VA's action as an example of the administration's commitment to vastly improve federal IT management. The sheer size of the VA makes the decision to use an outside contractor noteworthy.
Will Record Fine Cramp Google's Style in Europe?
June 29, 2017
The European Commission has walloped Google unit with a record $2.7 billion for giving its own shopping comparison site preference above smaller competitors, and thus abusing its dominant position as a search engine. Google must end the conduct within 90 days or face penalties of 5 percent of its average daily global revenue, the EC said. Google expressed disagreement with the EC's findings.
Google Makes It Easier to Create Virtual Reality Videos
June 28, 2017
Google has introduced a new video format, VR180, developed with input from its Daydream team. The VR180 format, which displays what's in front of the user only, delivers good video quality both on desktop PCs and mobile devices. While VR180 videos appear in 2D on desktops and mobile devices, they appear in 3D VR when viewed with Cardboard, Google's Daydream headset or a PlayStation VR headset.
SugarCRM Launches Hint, 1st in Relationship Intelligence Line
June 28, 2017
SugarCRM has launched Hint, the first in its new line of relationship intelligence products. Hint users can enter a few contact details about a person with whom they want to connect, and Hint automatically will search social sources on the Web for information. That data, along with other details from a company's internal files, will be served up to the user in a side-panel view.
What's Next in the Volatile Pay-TV Services Market?
June 26, 2017
There recently has been an erosion in penetration of pay-TV subscriptions in the United States. They have fallen from a high of 86 percent in 2014 to 83 percent in early 2017, based on Parks Associates recent consumer research. Despite signs in late 2015 and early 2016 that the U.S. cable TV industry finally had reversed years of subscriber losses, the numbers declined again.
The United States of Amazon
June 26, 2017
Amazon's significant expansion into yet another market -- this time, grocery stores -- dominated many of my conversations last week. Clearly, Amazon warned us. I've been here before -- back in the 1990s, when Amazon was just books, I was running the company's e-commerce unit. I got into an argument with one of the analysts focused on Amazon, who believed the company wouldn't go beyond books.
Rivals Rev Up as Uber Hits the Skids
June 23, 2017
As Uber reels from the fallout of a sexual harassment scandal that led to this week's ouster of Travis Kalanick and several of his top executives, the company faces twin dilemmas: how to clean up its corporate work environment and restock its executive ranks; and how to maintain credibility with its customer base and core team of street level drivers.
Google Launches Go-To Job Aggregation Site
June 21, 2017
Google has announced the launch of new job search aggregation technology. The new initiative will allow Google users to search for jobs either on mobile devices or personal computers, and to use a set of filters to obtain highly targeted results pulled from many different sites across the Web. Google aims to use its machine learning capabilities to make an immediate impact on people's lives.
Apple Centers Health Data Strategy on iPhone
June 19, 2017
Apple quietly has been strategizing to expand its growing healthcare business to include the management of digital health records, with the iPhone operating as a central data hub. Apple reportedly has been in talks with numerous health industry groups that are involved in setting standards for the storage and sharing of electronic medical records, in a way that would give consumers more control.
The Art of Manipulation and Misdirection
June 19, 2017
Last week, I listened to an economist talk about Apple's complaints that Qualcomm had charged Apple too much for access to patents. What was fascinating was that Apple had folks focused on the 5 percent Qualcomm had charged it instead of on the massive profit that Apple made on each phone. The price of the iPhone 8 likely will be well over $1,000 -- but it could cost well under $500 to build.
Nintendo's New Lineup Electrifies E3
June 16, 2017
Nintendo previewed an impressive lineup of gaming content at E3 2017 this week, by many accounts. Its collection of new titles and targeted versions of some of the industry's hottest third-party content seemed to validate surprisingly strong sales of the Nintendo Switch console. Moving easily from a living room big screen to a mobile gaming device, the Switch already has gained a significant following.
Cook Gives Up a Few Crumbs of Apple Auto Info
June 16, 2017
News about Apple's plans for the automotive market have been dripping slowly from the company for months, and CEO Tim Cook this week released a few more drops from the faucet. Apple's auto efforts are zeroing in on autonomous systems, he said. Self-driving is a core technology that Apple considers very important to its auto plans, but it's very challenging from an AI perspective, Cook noted.
Art, History and 3D Printing
June 15, 2017
The Tech Museum of Innovation last month debuted an exhibit that includes numerous installations with an interactive component. Visitors can don Occulus VR headsets to appreciate classical works of art in virtual reality -- a completely new museum experience. There long has been a debate on what constitutes "art" -- and opinions have differed as to how music, film, radio and TV fit in.
Xbox One X: More Speed, More Muscle
June 14, 2017
Microsoft earlier this week announced the next version of its Xbox line of gaming consoles, ahead of E3 2017, now ongoing in Los Angeles. The new Xbox One X, which goes on sale Nov. 7 for $499, is slimmer than previous models and packed with power. With a 6-teraflop Scorpio engine, the One X has 40 percent faster graphics performance than its chief rival, Sony's PS4 Pro.
Chastened Uber CEO Takes Leave of Absence to Work on Self-Improvement
June 14, 2017
Uber Technologies CEO Travis Kalanick said he will take a leave of absence, as a company review led by Eric Holder was made public. The review sketches out a plan to make radical changes to diversify Uber in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination. Kalanick accepted responsibility for widespread company problems that led to the investigation.
Firms Eager to Try New Sales Technologies, Survey Suggests
June 13, 2017
More than 80 percent of high-growth sales organizations use five or more sales technologies, suggests a recent online survey of 400 companies. Velocify and the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals partnered on the research and released their findings on Tuesday. The average number of sales technologies in use was 10, based on the participants' reports.
Uber Ousts Top Deputy as Fate of CEO Kalanick Hangs in Balance
June 13, 2017
Uber Technologies on Monday lost its second-most-important executive in a shakeup stemming from an internal investigation into sexual harassment charges. The changes at the top reportedly could include the temporary loss of Uber's founder and chief executive, Travis Kalanick. Emil Michael -- who served as the company's senior vice president of business and a key lieutenant to Kalanick -- is out.
New Stem Cell Treatment Offers Dramatic Burn-Healing Potential
June 13, 2017
A med-tech startup has developed a novel way to treat burn wounds. RenovaCare harvests a variety of cells, including stem cells, from a healthy area of skin on a patient. Those cells are then suspended in a water-based solution and sprayed onto the wound using the company's SkinGun. "The sprayer allows us to have a generous distribution of cells," explained RenovaCare's Roger Esteban-Vives.
Gadget Ogling: Apple at Home
June 12, 2017
The battle for your home just got a little more intense as Apple pulled back the curtain on HomePod, its smart speaker that seeks to hold dominion over your home empire and all the gadgets that reside within. HomePod holds a 4-inch woofer and seven tweeters, and it has six microphones to pick up your voice commands for Siri, wherever you happen to be in the room.
SoftBank to Take Fearsome Robots Off Alphabet's Hands
June 10, 2017
SoftBank on Thursday announced that it will acquire robotics company Boston Dynamics from Alphabet, parent company of Google. SoftBank Robotics is the company's subsidiary that focuses on the development, sales and maintenance of humanoid and service robots. "Smart robotics are going to be a key driver of the next stage of the information revolution," said SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son."
Microsoft Buys Hexadite to Toughen Windows Security
June 9, 2017
Microsoft on Thursday said it has agreed to buy a Hexadite, which incorporates artificial intelligence in its automated responses to cyberthreats. The acquisition will help bolster the company's efforts to help commercial Windows 10 customers deal with advanced attacks on their networks, Microsoft said. The acquisition will include Hexadite's endpoint security automated remediation.
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How do you feel about shopping for your next new phone?
I can't wait for the new iPhone.
I'm eagerly awaiting the Galaxy Note 8.
I enjoy shopping for a great bargain, not necessarily a new model.
I dislike the phone shopping experience -- it's too confusing.
Phones have become boring -- I wish I could get excited.
Switching phones is monumentally inconvenient and annoying.