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Self-Service and the 'R' in CRM
March 25, 2015
Self-service is generally considered a good thing, especially in CRM, where there has been significant investment in empowering people to take on more responsibility for provisioning service or making purchases. But it's not all great, and there is some interesting blowback that is causing vendors to reconsider how their offerings work. In sales, self-service has resulted in truncated sales cycles.
Apple Execs Rave About Jobs' Bio They Helped Write
March 24, 2015
A new book about Steve Jobs hit store shelves Tuesday amid rave reviews -- from Apple executives. Apple execs not only praised the book, but also took the unusual step of providing interviews for it. The unauthorized biography -- Becoming Steve Jobs, by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli -- promises to reveal a more personal side of Apple's cofounder.
Glass Is Still a Twinkle in Google's Eye
March 23, 2015
Google hasn't killed Glass, its controversial Internet-connected eyewear, CEO Eric Schmidt said in an interview published Monday. In fact, Google plans to bring out a new version of Glass later this year, he said. Rumors of its demise seemed to be confirmed in January, when Google abruptly stopped selling the initial version of Glass and shuttered its Explorer program.
5 Crafty Customer-Retention Strategies
March 23, 2015
Remember all those hours you spent at the mall just hanging out, not buying a thing? Well, a lot of us just never grew up. We just moved our hangout from the local mall to the Internet. We meet our friends online, we order food online, and we window-shop online. It's a good life. That is, it's good unless you are at the receiving end of this online voyeurism.
The Big Implications of the Google, FTC Antitrust Scandal
March 23, 2015
A 160-page report that was far more complete than the FTC no doubt wanted last week was leaked to the media, clearly showcasing that the FTC staff recommended action against Google for anticompetitive practices. The FTC commissioners then decided to let Google off the hook, apparently because it made some minor changes. That move gave the impression that the FTC was effectively in Google's pocket.
Gadget Ogling: Cute Robots, Secure Tablets and a Conscientious Can
March 21, 2015
PLEN2 is simply adorable. A robot to seemingly fix all the world's problems, if its Kickstarter project is anything to believe, PLEN2 is possibly the most joyous humanoid machine I've seen in years. Maybe I'm swayed a little by the infectious theme song in the pitch video. The idea is to sell the basic robot and let customers get creative using open source tools and 3D-printed parts.
Amazon Expands Free 2-Hour Delivery to Baltimore, Miami
March 20, 2015
Amazon on Thursday expanded Prime Now, its one-hour fulfillment service, to select ZIP codes in Miami and Baltimore. The service -- which delivers thousands of products, including groceries -- eventually will blanket both cities. Strategically placed warehouses in Baltimore and Miami now can respond to orders placed using the Prime Now app. Prime Now made its debut in New York City in December.
Did VMware Flout Open Source License Terms?
March 20, 2015
The Software Freedom Conservancy earlier this month announced that it was funding a lawsuit filed by Linux kernel developer Christoph Hellwig against VMware in the district court of Hamburg in Germany. The conservancy entered a grant agreement with Hellwig for the legal action. Its funding of the legal action is part of the program activity of its GPL Compliance Project for Linux Developers.
Mars One Could Turn Out to Be Mars Zero
March 20, 2015
Mars One, a Dutch nonprofit organization aiming to land the first humans on Mars and establish a space colony by 2025, appears to have run into trouble. Astrophysicist Joseph Roche, one of the 100 shortlisted candidates, was excited about the project until recently. However, his disposition has soured. At best, things are not quite what they appear to be, according to Roche.
En Garde, Apple! The Luxe Android Smartwatch Is Coming!
March 19, 2015
Apple fans won't be the only ones who can flash a smartwatch worth thousands of dollars on their wrist; Android aficionados will be able to do the same. Google, Intel and Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer on Thursday jointly announced plans to make a luxury Swiss smartwatch. They were skimpy on the details, but various leaks and media reports suggest that the device may look like the Tag Heuer Carrera.
SXSW Runs on Wireless Carriers' Well-Oiled Machines
March 19, 2015
At this year's South by Southwest Conferences and Festivals in Austin, Texas, more than 150,000 new people have entered the major wireless carriers' network space. Nearly every one of them has a phone for making voice calls or using the Web. How do wireless carriers handle such a demand surge? That's one of the big challenges facing AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile.
Musk: Technology May Revoke Your Driver's License
March 19, 2015
There will come a time, in a future not so far away, when it will be illegal for the average person to drive a car, predicted Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Autonomous vehicles will be exponentially safer, he said Tuesday at Nvidia's 2015 GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, California. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang took the stage with Musk for an unrehearsed conversation about the future of cars.
The Road Ahead for Self-Driving Cars
March 19, 2015
While several automakers are currently in the process of developing autonomous vehicles, the road ahead for self-driving cars could be long, with numerous obstacles to overcome. According to the recent Autonomous Vehicles 2015-2035 report, published by IDTechEx, the challenges and technology have much in common. So far, progress toward a completely driverless car is in the slow lane.
Apple's TV Plans Come Into Focus
March 18, 2015
Apple is expected to launch a Web-TV service this fall, offering 25 channels of content from various providers. Its pending move "is yet another sign that the traditional pay-TV provider lock on programming distribution continues to erode," said IDC analyst Greg Ireland. "The availability of more options ... will attract attention from cord-cutters and current pay-TV subscribers alike."
Talking Barbie Says Hello, Parents Say Goodbye
March 18, 2015
It's not so much Hello Barbie's talking -- it's her listening that has parents up in arms. Here's how Hello Barbie works: A kid presses on the doll's belt buckle and speaks into a microphone in the doll's necklace. An AI system processes and analyzes that speech in the cloud. Responses are then streamed back to the doll, who replies to the kid -- all over a secure WiFi connection to the Internet.
Facebook Talks Tough About Online Harassment
March 17, 2015
Facebook on Monday issued a new set of community standards, including provisions designed to clamp down on revenge porn, bullying, threats and other forms of online harassment. Facebook will remove content that appears to purposefully target private individuals with the intent of degrading or shaming them, or that threatens or promotes sexual violence or exploitation.
Survey: Surveillance Is Fine as Long as It's Not on Me
March 16, 2015
Growing concern over privacy in cyberspace has people changing their online behavior. Nearly 90 percent of 475 adults recently surveyed said they were aware of government surveillance programs targeting Internet users, the Pew Research Center found. Large numbers of adults supported monitoring programs aimed at others -- from terrorists to political leaders -- but opposed spying on U.S. citizens.
Apple Drifts Away From Jobs
March 16, 2015
Steve Jobs' Apple displayed a rather fascinating balance between design and utility. Granted, it often shifted more toward the design side, which resulted in problems like Antennagate, but that tended to happen when Jobs wasn't around. He made sure the products worked well and looked good -- he understood the need to do both. By any financial measure, Tim Cook has been doing a great job.
Gadget Ogling: Falling Apples and Magical Pancakes
March 14, 2015
Apple dropped a few new facts about its Watch at this week's presentation. The hardware is interesting in that Apple is limiting what people can do with their 8 GB of storage. No more than a quarter of that can be filed with music, and photos can take up just 75 MB, which seems somewhat rudimentary. I'm glad to see the battery apparently lasts enough to see out a full day.
Twitter Tries, Tries Again to Reduce Abuse
March 13, 2015
Twitter this week updated its rules to combat online abuse and revenge porn, in the wake of continuing outrage among netizens. The most significant change is a new statement that users may not post intimate photos or videos that were taken or distributed without the subject's consent. Sounds good, but like last month's update, it's more bark than bite.
Lawsuit Challenges NSA Internet Dragnets
March 13, 2015
The ACLU earlier this week filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the NSA from indiscriminately snooping on U.S. Internet traffic. Using a technique called "upstream" surveillance, the NSA does a spinal tap of the Internet's U.S. backbone, which carries the communications of millions of Americans, the ACLU explained in its complaint filed with a federal district court in Maryland.
Apple Sinks to Selling a $10K 'Douchebag Detector'
March 13, 2015
Movie star Anna Kendrick managed to say something in a single tweet that instantly nails anyone who would buy a gold Apple Watch Edition: "We should be thanking Apple for launching the $10,000 'apple watch' as the new gold standard in douchebag detection." Right on. Still, people who believe that a gold Apple Watch is an important status symbol aren't the real problem here.
Astroturfing's Legality Is in the Weeds
March 13, 2015
We see it all the time: a glowing 5-star comment on Yelp about our favorite neighborhood restaurant. At first glance, it looks authentic. However, what if the review actually were purchased by the restaurant? Would that change your perspective on the review or the restaurant? Of course, paying for advertising is hardly new. Celebrities for years have endorsed products and restaurants.
FCC Drops Net Neutrality Rules on Dissection Table
March 12, 2015
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has released the final version of its controversial open Internet rules. In the introduction to the some 400 pages of new rules, which cover both wired and wireless broadband, the commission stated its "carefully tailored rules" would prevent specific practices that are harmful to Internet openness, such as blocking, throttling and paid prioritization.

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Are you looking forward to self-driving cars?
You bet -- I'd love to have a built-in chauffeur.
Yes -- self-driving cars will save lives.
Kind of -- I'd like some self-driving features, like parking.
No -- self-driving cars are too dangerous.
No -- I don't want to give up another freedom.
Absolutely not -- I saw Terminator and I'm not letting some robot take me for a ride!
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