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It's Time for Comcast to Get Off the Wireless Fence
September 8, 2016
Comcast tried to give wireless a go several years ago. It failed. It pulled out of wireless, sold its spectrum and was done. Now, wireless has expanded and changed, and competitors like AT&T's U-verse and DirecTV are using wireless to deliver television programming. I'll bet Comcast now wishes it never sold off its wireless spectrum. So, what can we expect from the company going forward?
American Bookworms Still Love Paper
September 7, 2016
The death of the printed book appears to have been greatly exaggerated. Nearly three quarters of participants in a recent Pew Research Center study said they had read a book in the last year, largely on paper. Of the more than 1,500 American adults who said they'd read a book in the last 12 months, nearly two thirds had read a print book. That's more than twice the number who had read an e-book.
Gadget Ogling: Smart Desks, New-Wave Gaming, and Roaming Routers
September 7, 2016
After a long, laborious process and a lot of scraping paint splotches from the floor, the office space in my new apartment is ready for me, and I will soon no longer need to write this column from my kitchen table. So, I'm in the market for a desk. With my nascent interest in standing desks, the Gaze Desk seems a decent option. It switches between standing and seated modes with a button press.
That Hissing Sound Is the Last Bit of Air Leaking From Apple's Balloon
September 6, 2016
Apple used to guard details about a new iPhone more closely than Fort Knox, but that doesn't seem to be the case any more. The shift has been glaring with the iPhone 7, slated for introduction on Wednesday. It's widely believed that the new iPhone has no headphone jack. Sound is piped to the user through a set of EarPods that connect to the phone through its Lightning port or a dongle.
Harlequin Romances Customers
September 6, 2016
I recently read a user story about how Harlequin -- a publisher of romance novels -- keeps its customers loyal. It has embraced several ideas that work really well, including emphasizing a consciousness of customer loyalty, keeping things simple, and focusing on personalizing relationships and engagement. Consciousness is relatively easy, but someone high on the org chart has to promote it.
Dell + EMC: History Is Made
September 5, 2016
I've been involved in mergers and acquisitions for decades, and I used to run an acquisition cleanup team while at IBM. I've seen so many bad acquisitions that it is generally far easier to point out the good ones. What is somewhat ironic, given my background, is that the best largely have been executed by Dell, using a process initially developed by IBM.
Sacking Jack May Anger iPhone Headphone Fans
September 3, 2016
Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak recently said removing the headphone jack in the next version of the iPhone is going to "tick off a lot of people." It's been rumored for months that Apple would be scrapping the 3.5 mm headphone jack in the iPhone 7 it's expected to unveil next week. Such a move, Wozniak said, could upset users who have invested in listening technology that uses the headphone jack.
Europe Duns Apple for $14.5B in Illegal Tax Breaks
August 31, 2016
The European Union on Tuesday nailed Apple with a $14.5 billion bill for back taxes. "The European Commission has today has adopted a decision that Apple's tax benefits in Ireland are illegal," said EC Competition Chief Margrethe Vestager. Tax breaks Ireland granted to Apple for more than two decades artificially reduced Apple's tax burden, in breach of European Union rules, she explained.
HPE, HP Sued for Elbowing Out Older Employees
August 30, 2016
HPE and HP are facing a potential class action lawsuit brought earlier this month by four former employees. The companies engaged in widespread age discrimination during a restructuring of the legacy computer and printer manufacturer, according to their complaint. HP from 2012 to 2015 made a series of discriminatory job cuts involving tens of thousands of workers, the suit alleges.
Nextdoor Tackles Racial Profiling at Street Level
August 30, 2016
Nextdoor last week rolled out to all 110,000 of its neighborhoods a new form-based process for making crime and safety reports. Implementation of the tool reduced incidents of racial profiling by 75 percent in areas where it was tested, according to CEO Nirav Tolia. Some Nextdoor members had begun using the site to post problematic messages targeting racial minorities.
American Breaks People
August 30, 2016
It's easy to lose sight of people in a CRM discussion, focusing instead on the great technology and what it does under optimum circumstances. We should keep the customer in mind at all times, however, for without them what are we? Forgetting the customer is dangerous both for customers and vendors in this social age. Far from being a universal good, automation can obstruct human interactions.
Dark Days Ahead for Companies That Fail Customers
August 29, 2016
It's 2016, and there are more ways to connect than ever before. You would think customer service and customer care would be at an all-time high. Why, then, do so many customers feel they are at an all-time low? Customers are frustrated. Companies are using social networks to provide customer service, but they are failing. Companies don't seem able to put the pieces together.
#StandWithLeslie and Obliterate Internet Trolls
August 29, 2016
I think there's a legitimate argument for removing one category of folks from the gene pool, because they spend the little time they are given on Earth making other folks' lives miserable. Back when I was playing MMOs, some twisted folks -- known as "griefers," would lie in wait to mug lower level characters and find creative ways to destroy the fun in a game, often eventually killing it.
Innocents Exposed as WikiLeaks Gushes Information
August 27, 2016
WikiLeaks reportedly has leaked sensitive personal information belonging to hundreds of innocent individuals worldwide, including some residing in several highly repressive countries. The organization has revealed private credit card data, medical information, personal addresses and other data of various individuals, including the identification as gay of a Saudi Arabian who had been arrested.
Apple Speeds iOS Patch to Bring Down Pegasus
August 26, 2016
Apple on Thursday issued a patch that addresses three recently discovered critical iOS zero-day vulnerabilities, and advised users to update their systems immediately. State-sponsored actors exploited the flaws to target United Arab Emirates human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor, and a Mexican journalist who reported on government corruption. Researchers have dubbed the flaws "Trident."
US Government's Social Media Vetting Idea Draws Fire
August 26, 2016
A coalition headed by the Center for Democracy & Technology, the Internet Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union this week filed objections to a Department of Homeland Security proposal to collect social media information from visitors entering the United States. The proposal, published in June, calls for the addition of a request to the I-94W form required for aliens seeking entry.
Defense Department Drifts Toward Commercial Cloud
August 26, 2016
The U.S. Department of Defense plans to spend nearly half a billion dollars on a project that is designed to further the incorporation of commercial cloud capabilities into DoD's information technology operations. Vendors have been asked to submit bids for the project, known as "Mil-Cloud 2.0." The procurement is one element of a comprehensive DoD strategy for expanding cloud operations.
Gadget Ogling: Musical Pizza Boxes, Backup Backpacks, and Tattooing Robots
August 25, 2016
Call it a gimmick, but I'm very much into the idea of having a pizza box that doubles as a turntable. Pizza Hut partnered with Novalia to make the box, which includes pitch and volume controls, a mixer, and touch-sensitive decks. Using printed electronics, DJs can crossfade, rewind and even scratch. The box pairs with smartphones and computers using Bluetooth and works with DJ software.
In a Political Season
August 24, 2016
Many, if not most, people I know don't want to talk about it -- the election, that is. Lots of them have views but they don't want to share them, based on a dislike of contentiousness. Who likes conflict? There is an article floating around the Internet that I lost track of that says nobody's mind ever changes in a heated debate about something so vital, so why engage?
Kobe Bryant Pours Energy - and Money - Into Tech
August 24, 2016
Kobe Bryant, the retired Los Angeles Lakers basketball champion, has expanded his burgeoning suite of business interests with Monday's launch of Bryant Stibel, a $100 million venture capital fund for technology, data and media companies. Jeff Stibel, the vice chairman of Dun & Bradstreet, is Bryant's long-time business partner. Bryant and Stibel plan to self-fund the new firm for several years.
Twitter Steps Up Counterterrorism Efforts
August 24, 2016
Twitter last week announced it had suspended 235,000 accounts since February for promoting terrorism, bringing to 360,000 the total number of suspensions since mid-2015. Daily suspensions have increased more than 80 percent since last year, spiking immediately after terrorist attacks. Twitter's response time for suspending reported accounts has decreased dramatically.
From the Olympic Non-Robbery to Ford Getting Out of Cars, to Evil NSA: A Strange Week
August 22, 2016
There were three stories that caught my eye last week that I think deserve some additional discussion. One is the alleged robbery of U.S. Olympians followed by questions of whether it really happened because their phones weren't stolen. There may be a legitimate reason for that, and it's one that suggests a lot of folks will be getting huge cellphone bills next month.
Lights Out for Gawker.com
August 19, 2016
Gawker Media owner Nick Denton has revealed that Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Kotaku, Jalopnik, Jezebel and Deadspin will continue with their current writers and other staff members following the company's sale to Univision, but that neither he nor Gawker.com will be included in the transition. The Gawker sites will be joining The Onion, ClickHole and other Web properties in Fusion Media Group.
Enterprise Software's Future
August 19, 2016
What's the direction of the software industry? I'm not indulging in idle curiosity -- things are changing, and today's events are signaling a significant shift. The rollout of Software as a Service and the emergence of relatively good platforms -- which will only get better -- suggest to me that the software industry of 2000, in which cloud and SaaS began to emerge, is now well in the past.
Cisco Delivers Good News, Bad News: Solid Earnings, Job Cuts
August 18, 2016
Cisco Systems will cut up to 5,500 employees from its 73,000-strong global workforce, the company announced Wednesday as part of its Q4 earnings report. The restructuring will allow further investment in key priority areas such as security, the Internet of Things, collaboration, next-generation data center and cloud, the company said, along with optimization of costs in lower-growth areas.
Uber Revs Engine in Self-Driving Race
August 18, 2016
Uber on Thursday announced plans to begin testing semi-autonomous vehicles in Pittsburgh later this month. Its first partially self-driving Volvo XC90 vehicles reportedly will be assigned at random to customers who use the company's app. Each of the prototype cars will have an actual human on board to act as copilot and monitor the vehicle's performance from the driver's seat.
Edward Snowden Sheds Light on Shadow Brokers
August 18, 2016
Edward Snowden has injected himself into an escalating cyberstruggle that could affect the U.S. presidential election. The reported hack of The Equation Group might have been a warning shot from Russia, Snowden claimed. The group, which is widely believed to be a front operation for the NSA, apparently was hacked over the weekend by a previously unknown outfit called the "Shadow Brokers."
Tim Cook Devotes a Lot of Words to Saying Very Little
August 16, 2016
Tim Cook talked about his five years at the helm of Apple in a wide-ranging interview published Saturday. Apple fans looking for juicy morsels about new products won't find them in the Q & A, however. Among other things, Cook discounted the bleak claims of those analysts who maintain the smartphone market is in decline -- and Apple's fortunes with it.
Feds Make Big Strides in Big Data Management
August 15, 2016
U.S. government agencies gradually have been getting a handle on utilizing the potential of big data and data analytics. At the same time, the Obama administration has recognized that significantly more investment will be required for federal big data research in order to guide agencies toward maximizing the value of processing huge chunks of data and improving their data analysis capabilities.
The Big Tech Election Stories No One Else Is Covering
August 15, 2016
Most analysts earn their daily bread by focusing on a particular subject area and following that direction. However, I rebelled against that established pattern. I tend to look between the lines more than many of my peers do. That means when major news media outlets focus on a story, I'm more likely to see what they missed. What interests me isn't what's been covered but what hasn't been covered.
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What do you think of politically inspired Internet memes?
They tend to be brutally honest about their targets.
They're usually cheap shots based on lies.
They're often stupid but amusing.
They can have a dangerous influence on uninformed people.
They don't impress me one way or the other.