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Debate Simmers Over Facebook, Apple Egg-Freezing Benefit
October 16, 2014
Facebook and Apple, companies already known for their generous employee benefits, are raising the bar even more by paying for egg-freezing services for their female employees. Facebook began covering up to $20,000 in these expenses at the start of the year, and Apple will beginning covering them at the start of next. At first blush, it seems to be a typical high-tech perk.
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.
No More Wireless Mergers? No Problem
October 16, 2014
Big news: The new wireless world in the United States, which has been led by AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile, will stay exactly the same. That's right -- Iliad no longer is interested in T-Mobile. There will be no changes -- for now, anyway. So can we finally forget about all the merger distractions and focus on competing again? Please!
Report: Open Source Needs to Get With the Security Program
October 15, 2014
Open source developers apparently don't adhere to best practices such as using static analysis and conducting regular security audits, found Coverity's Spotlight report, released Wednesday. The Coverity Scan service, which is available at no charge to open source projects, helped devs find and fix about 50,000 quality and security defects in code last year.
Federal Agencies Push Cloud Migration Boulder Uphill
October 15, 2014
Migration to cloud technologies is a challenging task for federal agencies -- even though they have increasingly high hopes for greater adoption of cloud platforms. Information technology managers at federal agencies are seeking to double the utilization of cloud technology for IT infrastructure, software and applications, and platform or middleware purposes.
Wireless Carriers Could Take a Shine to Ad-Blocking
October 14, 2014
Shine Technologies may well upend the Net neutrality issue with the launch of AdSight, an ad-tracking product in development. AdSight reportedly will allow carriers to monitor the ads being delivered over their pipes. The data provided will be very granular, including who the ads are from and the level of individual ad impressions. The technology also will be able to block ads selectively.
The Double Irish Jig Is Up
October 14, 2014
Apple and other multinational companies that have been exploiting the notorious Double Irish tax loophole for years will have to look elsewhere for a comparable tax dodge. The Irish government's budget, presented on Tuesday by Finance Minister Michael Noonan, closes the loophole. The country's residency rules have been amended to require that all companies registered in Ireland be tax residents.
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."
Snapchat Hackers Could Be Prosecuted for Child Porn Offenses
October 13, 2014
Private videos and pictures shared between tens of thousands of Snapchat users -- possibly as many as 200,000 -- were posted online by hackers over the weekend in an episode dubbed the "Snappening." Much of the content is sexual, including many nude photos -- some possibly of minors. The hackers appear to have gone for maximum embarrassment and humiliation with this particular breach.
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.
Ephemeral Apps May Have a Place in the Enterprise
October 13, 2014
One of the hardest-to-decipher trends of the Internet and app world today is what's known as "ephemeral software." Epitomized by popular apps like Snapchat, Frankly and Confide, ephemeral programs revolve around bite-sized, self-destructing user interactions. Since its inception, ephemeral software has baffled many industries, with marketers struggling to develop cohesive campaigns.
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.
Microsoft CEO Flip-Flops on Women Trusting Equal Pay to Karma
October 10, 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has come under fire for comments he made on Thursday suggesting that women should trust in karma rather than ask for pay raises. "It's not really about asking for the raise but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along," Nadella told a mostly female audience at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.
Tech Execs Issue Dire Warnings on Impact of NSA Surveillance
October 10, 2014
The NSA's wide-ranging surveillance of people's communications worldwide is hitting America's high-tech industry hard, said panelists on Wednesday at a roundtable held by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden in Palo Alto, California. Wyden set the tone from the start: "This is going to cost America jobs." Several foreign governments are planning to build domestic Internets.
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.
AT&T Will Fork Over $80M for Mobile Cramming
October 09, 2014
AT&T Mobility will pay $80 million for refunds to consumers who were unlawfully billed for unauthorized third-party charges in a practice known as "mobile cramming," the Federal Trade Commission announced on Wednesday. AT&T billed customers for hundreds of millions of dollars in subscription charges -- typically in increments of $9.99 per month -- levied by other companies.
BlackBerry Tries, Tries Again to Remake Its Brand
October 09, 2014
BlackBerry is trying to rebuild itself by remaking its brand. A successful brand is one of the most important parts of any success story. However once a brand has sprouted roots, it's very difficult to remake it. It's easier to start from scratch. So what is the plan at BlackBerry -- and will it be successful? The BlackBerry brand has grown and evolved over the last 10 to 15 years.
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.
Look, Ma! No Hands... Crunch!
October 08, 2014
Those wonderful hands-free communications capabilities now available in automobiles may carry the promise of making driving safer, but they're not fulfilling it, according to two studies conducted jointly by the University of Utah and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. And forget about using your iPhone's Siri in the car, even hands-free -- it might endanger your life.
Make Your List and Check It Twice: Preparing for the 2014 Holiday Season
October 08, 2014
With summer behind us, brands and retailers are busy finalizing their plans for the upcoming holiday rush. Like last year, this holiday season will be a short one, with just 26 days between Black Friday and Christmas. With this condensed shopping period and digital commerce on an aggressive upswing, the holiday season is no time for retailers to take chances.
DEA Lifts Woman's Identity, Creates Fake Facebook Page
October 08, 2014
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency reportedly co-opted a woman's identity to create a fake Facebook page as a ruse to investigate suspects. The agency posted racy pictures of the woman, then known as "Sondra Prince," as well as a photo of her young son and niece, to the sham page. The photos were taken from her cellphone, which DEA had seized when Prince was arrested in connection with a drug ring.
Systemd Dev Slams FOSS Culture
October 07, 2014
The open source community is "quite a sick place to be in," said Red Hat engineer and Systemd developer Lennart Poettering. "The open source community is full of [assh*les], and I probably more than most others am one of their most favorite targets," Poettering added. "I get hate mail for hacking on open source. People have started multiple 'petitions' .... asking me to stop working.
Feds Seek Advice on Privacy Tech Spending
October 07, 2014
Various U.S. government agencies have been conducting research on how best to meet the challenge of privacy in the digital age, with investigations of a wide range of technology issues including encryption, data tagging, sensors, healthcare records and clinical informatics. As useful as this research eventually may become, the fragmented nature of these efforts poses a problem.

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