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Gadget Ogling: Comfy Earbuds, Barking Bots, and USB Killers
November 14, 2015
If you're a human being who listens to music using earbuds, chances are you've run into some issues along the way in keeping the infernal things nestled into your ear canal. Manufacturers have tried to find solutions, such as offering different-sized rubber molds, but we're still hewing to a few-sizes-fit-all model. Enter Revols, a company that might have the answer.
Apple Faces Twitter Storm Over Mac App Security Glitch
November 14, 2015
Apple faced the wrath of legions of Mac users after it reportedly allowed a security certificate to expire on Wednesday, leaving customers unable to use some apps. The expiration appeared to impact a number of apps, including Acorn, Byword, Daisy Disk, Tweetbot and 1Password. It's likely that the incident occurred due to problems with the security certificate management system.
CFOs Calculate Benefits of Cloud ERP
November 13, 2015
One of the clear indications that the cloud movement is becoming mainstream is the growing number of CFOs and finance departments that are adopting Software as a Service solutions to support their corporate responsibilities. Even more interesting is how cloud-based alternatives can redefine the accounting and financial management function in forward-minded organizations.
The Wireless Industry Is Changing Again
November 13, 2015
Wireless is one of the strongest industries today. However, it continues to change. Every few years, the focus changes and the industry goes in new directions. It happened a few years ago with the iPhone and Android. Now change is happening once again. The wireless industry growth wave is changing. It is cresting. That's a problem for companies that don't recognize what is happening.
Microsoft Hands Cloud Data Control to German Trustee
November 12, 2015
Microsoft announced it will offer its Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM cloud services to business clients using two Germany-based data centers hosted by a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. The arrangement will protect the integrity and privacy of customer data, the company said. The data centers will be under the control of T-Systems, a unit of Deutsche Telekom, which will act as data trustee.
Digital Transformation and Moments of Truth
November 11, 2015
I hadn't been aware of one of the more important CRM stories of the year until I was doing research for a new book. It's a great story and it deserves retelling, especially if you think that focusing on customers' moments of truth is important. Back in April, Starbucks announced revenues for the just-completed quarter that exceeded year-over-year attainment by a whopping 17.8 percent.
NSA Keeps Some Security Bugs Under Its Hat
November 10, 2015
The U.S. National Security Agency is getting a collective side-eye after posting what it characterized as proactive information: the fact that it discloses 91 percent of security vulnerabilities that pass through its internal review process. While the agency appears pleased with its newfound transparency, it's being called out en masse for the things it's not reporting.
Why Tablets Are Tanking
November 9, 2015
Boy, we really have gone full circle on tablets -- and not just once. Back when the Windows tablets first came to market, a whole bunch of us predicted it wouldn't be long before they replaced all of the notebooks. I don't think they even made it to 10 percent before the tablet market collapsed, and the pre-existing forms reclaimed their shares. Then the iPad launched.
Gadget Ogling: An Emotional Keyboard, a Puzzling Phone, and Exquisite Headphones
November 7, 2015
To communicate online in 2015 is to have at least a passing awareness of emoji -- the colorful symbols that are endemic in social media and text messages. Inputting emoji into a post or message from a computer is often awkward, though this item might help. EmojiWorks has a physical keyboard which, at the touch of a modifier -- think ctrl, alt or command -- you can use to type emoji.
Toyota's $1B AI, Robotics Play Jolts Driverless World
November 6, 2015
Toyota Motor on Friday announced plans to launch a new company, Toyota Research Institute, as part of a five-year $1 billion investment in artificial intelligence and robotics technology for automobiles. The new company will begin operations in January 2016 under the leadership of Toyota's executive technical advisor Gill Pratt. Its headquarters will be in Silicon Valley near Stanford University.
For Tech-Savvy Teens and Tweens, TV and Music Still Rule
November 6, 2015
Although teens and tweens have more choices than ever when it comes to media activities, watching television and listening to music are their top preferences, according to a report Common Sense Media released this week. Among tweens, ages 8 to 12, watching TV was the top media activity, with nearly 62 percent saying they did it every day. For teens, ages 13 to 18, listening to music was the top media activity.
Lawsuit Threatens Amazon's Prime Now Delivery Model
November 6, 2015
Four former delivery drivers for Amazon Prime Now, or APN, last week filed a lawsuit against Amazon, arguing they should have been classified as employees rather than independent contractors. The suit also names Scoobeez, the courier service through which they worked for Amazon; ABT Holdings, Scoobeez's parent company; and 10 John Does as co-defendants.
Film Industry Claims Victory in Shutdown of Major Piracy Sites
November 4, 2015
The Motion Picture Association of America ran a victory lap after announcing the shutdown of movie and television torrent sites Popcorn Time and YTS. The shutdowns resulted from major legal wins in Canada and New Zealand. The MPAA last month obtained injunctions against the sites in those countries, effectively blocking them from further operation.
OpenWorld's Substance Feast
November 4, 2015
For once, Oracle OpenWorld went long on substance. That's hard to do when you have so many products to discuss and Larry Ellison pontificating, but he was both under control and substantive -- though he couldn't resist taking a few shots at competitors. Oracle's team hardly ever sees SAP and IBM in deals these days, he announced, and he gave due praise to cloud pioneers NetSuite and Salesforce.
Fire, Aim, Ready: Is Your Marketing Approach on Target?
November 3, 2015
Business-to-business marketers know what customers want, in general terms, from initial contacts with the people they buy from. It's taken awhile, but through trial, error, some more error and eventually some actual thought, the mystery has been solved. Before I give it away, just ask yourself what you want in any communication from anyone when it comes to a business issue.
New Parental Leave Policies, Bookstore Show Amazon's Softer Side
November 3, 2015
Amazon has informed employees of significant improvements to its parental leave policies. It also announced the opening of its first physical bookstore in a letter to customers. Both moves no doubt have been in the works for a while, but the timing of the announcements may not be coincidental. Amazon's image could use some buffing, having become tarnished by bad publicity.
Gadget Ogling: Titanic Tablets, Eminent Earphones, and Wee Win 10 PCs
November 3, 2015
Samsung certainly is testing the boundaries of what a tablet can be with its latest device, the Galaxy View. The Galaxy View houses an octa-core, 1.6-GHz processor, 2 GB of RAM, and either 32 GB or 64 GB of storage, which is expandable through a microSD slot. That all sounds well and good, but consider the following: This Android device is an absolute monster.
Airbnb Holds its Breath as San Franciscans Vote on Prop F
November 3, 2015
San Franciscans will vote Tuesday on Proposition F, also known as the "Airbnb Initiative," which seeks to restrict short-term rentals. Polls will open at 7:00 a.m. At first glance, it appears that the fight is about short-term rental aggregators such as Airbnb. However, the battle lines are muddy. On one side, landlords support Prop F. However, many tenants also support it.
Google Fine-Tunes Self-Driving Cars' Kid Perception
November 2, 2015
Google last week announced that it has developed technology for its self-driving vehicles that would be able to detect people in costumes -- presumably children dressed for Halloween. The company is teaching its cars to drive more cautiously around children and thus be ready to adapt to sudden and even erratic movement, as children's behavior can be unpredictable.
The New York Times May Get Technical With Ad Blockers
November 2, 2015
The New York Times Company last week indicated would take steps to circumvent ad-blocking tools. "As you know, the Times' digital subscription revenue stream means that we are less exposed than most publishers to the impact of ad-blockers," said NYT Company CEO Mark Thompson during an earnings call. "Nonetheless, let me make it clear that we oppose ad blocking."
Using Tech to Fix the Horrid US Political Debates
November 2, 2015
I watched with interest last week's Republican debate and realized very quickly that whatever that was on my TV, it sure as hell wasn't an actual debate. The idea is for us to be able to compare the qualifications and positions of a variety of candidates and then make a more informed choice -- but if every candidate is asked a different question, then how do we compare the answers?
Chrome OS Is Dead, Long Live Chrome OS?
October 31, 2015
Google reportedly is two years into a plan to consolidate the Chrome operating system and Android and plans to roll out a combined OS in 2017. Chromebooks running the Chrome OS have gained adoption as entry-level computers for students and as a low-cost option for a growing number of corporate customers. "Chrome OS isn't being killed," said a source familiar with the company's strategy.
Tablets Losing Ground to Big Smartphones, Light PCs
October 30, 2015
Global demand for tablets continued a year-long slide, as shipments fell for the fourth consecutive quarter amid signs of market saturation in North America, Asia and Western Europe, IDC noted in a report released Thursday. Worldwide shipments fell 12.6 percent year-over-year to 48.6 million during the third quarter, according to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker.
When Innovation Misfires
October 29, 2015
Innovation is not always good -- it can backfire. Good innovation helps to grow a brand in the marketplace and results in more customer love. Bad innovation does the opposite. Companies would be better off doing nothing than innovating badly. Many public companies innovate on a regular basis because they think they have to. After all, they must keep their investors happy.
SXSW May Put Online Harassment in the Spotlight
October 28, 2015
SXSW Interactive reportedly might include a daylong event on combating online harassment. The news followed SXSW's cancellation of two planned panels that were expected to focus on opposite ends of the Gamergate debate. Threats of on-site violence spurred the decision to cancel both panels, according to SXSW officials. However, that decision immediately drew fire.
CISA Passes Senate Despite Privacy Advocates' Fear and Loathing
October 28, 2015
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted 74-21 to pass the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA, in the face of strong opposition from legal and cybersecurity experts, the high-tech industry, privacy and civil liberties organizations, and members of the public. The Act calls for several federal agencies to share cyberthreat indicators between the public and private sectors.
Russian Sub Activity Near Internet Cables Worries US
October 27, 2015
Russian spy ships and subs reportedly are hovering close to the routes of undersea communications cables. Military and intelligence officials apparently have observed increased Russian sub activity near cables located from the North Sea to Northeast Asia, as well as in waters close to American shores. The movements suggest Russia might decide to attack those cables in times of tension or conflict.
PRM's Next Act
October 27, 2015
Partner relationship management has seen its ups and downs over the first part of this century. Running an indirect channel is vitally important to any vendor trying to extend its reach without incurring the high costs of building a sales team and all that supports it. Many vendors figure it's more economical to pay partners for performance than to endure the corporate buildout.
NY AG Could Be Broadband-Speed Mythbuster
October 26, 2015
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has launched an investigation into Verizon, Cablevision and Time Warner Cable. The purpose of the probe is to determine whether three of the state's top telecom companies are providing high-speed broadband Internet as advertised to consumers and businesses. The probe was launched in response to consumer complaints on the issue.
Why Dell-EMC Won't Follow in HP-Compaq's Footsteps
October 26, 2015
Why do some big mergers succeed while others fail? This seems to be a common question, and some of the research I've read about the Dell-EMC merger tries to connect it to the HP-Compaq merger, which apparently cost Carly Fiorina her job. I covered the HP-Compaq merger at length, and I was not a fan. I actually spoke to Compaq's CEO and argued he should pull out to save his firm.
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I plan to do my holiday shopping…
Online only -- I like the convenience and comfort.
Online only -- I'd shop in stores if their stock weren't so limited.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I like to see what I'm getting.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I enjoy the holiday shopping atmosphere.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I want to support local merchants.
Online and in stores -- I want the best of both worlds.
I'm not planning on doing any holiday shopping.