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Oracle's Bad Boy Image
August 21, 2018
No one at Oracle will ever be nominated for sainthood, and that's probably OK with them. Over the years the company has developed a bad boy image that in some cases is richly deserved, while in others it has been embellished by events. Much derives from the brash doings of founder and longtime CEO (now CTO) Larry Ellison, who may be a charter member of the "never explain, never complain" club.
Don't Be So Sure AI Is Cybersecurity's Silver Bullet
August 20, 2018
There's a lot of hype around artificial intelligence as the greatest thing since sliced bread, but will AI really help with cybersecurity? Criminals who run cybercriminal businesses also are capable of using the AI to commit crimes. It's logical that if one person is smart enough to develop cyberprotection technologies that utilize AI, then thoughtful, creative criminals can use it too.
Nvidia's Convincing Unreality
August 20, 2018
When I read the book Ready Player One, I really got excited about the future of virtual reality, but the movie really didn't do the book justice. Some blockbusters have succeeded in interspersing computer graphics with real people and making it hard to tell the difference. Still, a totally rendered movie still looks like animation and you just don't get the film quality you get from, well, film.
Oracle Confronts Lawsuit on Its Path to the Cloud
August 18, 2018
The City of Sunrise Firefighters' Pension Fund has sued Oracle, alleging that its executives lied about the company's successes in the cloud and engaged in coercion and threats to sell its cloud products, "creating an unsustainable model that fell apart." The plaintiff apparently is seeking class-action status for the suit. Oracle has called the suit meritless and said it would defend against it.
Celebrating Cable TV and All the Wonders That Followed
August 17, 2018
One of my reporting beats is TV technology. In my lifetime I've seen some of the most significant advances in television, and unlike many who take it for granted, I have a very deep respect for TV. My actual birthday is in January, but Aug. 21 is a date that is much more momentous to me. Back in 1980, it was the date on which my family was first connected to cable TV.
Sugar's New Shot Clock
August 16, 2018
SugarCRM has agreed to acquisition by Accel-KKR, a leading technology-focused private equity firm. Although the announcement calls the deal "a significant investment," what typically happens when private equity moves in is that venture capital moves out. Private equity likes to own everything and thus have greater control. In basketball terms, Sugar just got a big rebound and a new shot clock.
The Two Sides of the Artificial Intelligence Coin
August 16, 2018
The growth of artificial intelligence in recent years has been astounding -- yet AI is still in the very early stages of growth. Where are we today with this new technology, and where are we heading? Which companies are struggling, and why? What's coming next? AI for years has been a staple of science fiction. Now AI has moved beyond sci-fi and become real, with all sorts of technologies.
JEDI Mind Games
August 15, 2018
During the same week it was sued by irate investors over progress moving its customer base to the cloud, Oracle protested a procurement process for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure. The lawsuit will take a long time to resolve, and it's difficult to see how the plaintiffs can prove their case -- but in comparison, the Department of Defense's procurement will run at light speed.
What Can Chrome 68 Teach Us About Election Security?
August 13, 2018
If you're a technologist, you've probably noticed a few new things associated with Chrome 68's release last month. One of the more notable changes is that it now uses a "not secure" indicator for any site not using HTTPS. So instead of providing a notification when a site is HTTPS, it now provides the user with a warning when it isn't. One of those groups is users of government websites.
The Weird Mistakes Killing Tesla
August 13, 2018
Tesla is trending to fail spectacularly. It has been burning cash at an unsustainable rate, and it keeps making avoidable mistakes that weaken it. Here's what is weird: You'd think the firm's biggest problem would be that every large car maker was working behind the scenes to kill it. However, the car companies for the most part appear to have worked harder to emulate Tesla than to destroy it.
Oracle Releases Second Half of Autonomous DB
August 10, 2018
A lot of people might have thought Oracle's announcement of the autonomous database at last year's OpenWorld and its subsequent release earlier this year were the whole story, but there's a lot more. This week's webcast featuring Larry Ellison was proof. Ellison must find his CTO role -- since he handed the CEO reins to Safra Catz and Mark Hurd -- to be stimulating and liberating at the same time.
Block to Be Salesforce Co-CEO With Benioff
August 8, 2018
There are many interpretations of Salesforce's elevation of Keith Block to serve as co-CEO with Marc Benioff. Block has been the company's vice chairman and president for several years, and the elevation could be a recognition of the obvious -- he's been doing the job without the title for a while. However, Salesforce and Benioff are well known for getting added mileage from any move they make.
The Social Utility 2
August 7, 2018
Social is nearing the end of its "hypecycle," the phase during which an innovation is seen as everything from a cancer cure to free lunch. Most of the claims prove baseless, but then something curious happens. Users take another look and discover some things that the innovation is good for. There's a really good case to be made for a technology that helps you keep in touch with your 200 besties.
Behind Apple's Trillion-Dollar Company Numbers
August 6, 2018
Apple is one of the most popular and powerful companies in the U.S., and last week it became the most valuable as well. That news brought back some personal memories of my time at IBM, when it was the most powerful and valuable technology company in the world. For a long time, it seemed virtually untouchable. However, IBM went off the rails, and by the early 1990s the stock had collapsed.
Wheat and Chaff
July 31, 2018
I fear CRM could be tainted by the failings of social media and the bad actors who exploited social platforms. Today it seems especially important for CRM to separate itself from the worst aspects of social to the extent that we can. There's certainly a lot to say -- from continuing to talk about the care we take of customer data to explicitly renouncing some of the tactics.
AI and the Future of Your Job
July 30, 2018
I just finished The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity, and it was one hell of a read. A lot of us are concerned about the coming of robots that arguably will be substantially smarter and more capable than we are. This book likely will make some feel a tad more comfortable about the future, but others will have to brace for change.
The Transportation Revolution: Much More Than Self-Driving Cars
July 28, 2018
The autonomous car has thrown the automotive industry -- an industry that is notoriously slow to change -- into the forefront of technology. The autonomous car has become a technology catalyst because it requires innovation in many areas, ranging from processor and sensor technology to AI. The industry's focus initially has been on consumers because they represent the billion-dollar pot of gold.
Earrings With Earphones and a Smartphone Bonanza
July 26, 2018
Swings Bluetooth Earrings with built-in earphones showcase a practical, clever idea for people with pierced ears. Swings certainly could fix the problem of losing Apple's expensive AirPods to the ether or having to root around in one's pockets or purse to find one's tangled-up headset. You can expect five hours of listening time out of the Swings on a single charge.
The Challenge of Growing Your Social Network Influence
July 26, 2018
So, you want to increase your social network followers on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and more? Great. Me too. But how? That is the key question everyone wants an answer to. I've been researching this and trying all sorts of methods -- some work and others don't. I have built a respectable following on LinkedIn with more than 100,000 connections, and I have 40,000 followers on Twitter.
Cloud Transition State
July 24, 2018
A confusing dynamic has been emerging in the software industry, caused by the inexorable shift to the cloud. Even before you can get into the analysis, though, you need to identify which cloud or clouds you're thinking about -- e.g., infrastructure, apps, platform. Also, once you've done that, you need to decide if you're partial to technology or financial analysis.
CEO Ousters: Is Elon Musk Next?
July 23, 2018
For pretty much my entire career, CEOs have been almost invulnerable. Even when Apple founder Steve Jobs tried to get then-CEO John Scully fired from Apple, he lost and got fired himself. I've watched CEOs at companies with zero-tolerance employee dating policies have affairs with subordinates and get a pass. Things have changed. Almost every week, another CEO bites the dust for misbehavior.
Is Philanthropy Becoming Sexy?
July 20, 2018
The Internet has a long and storied history of democratizing information and influencing social change. It has flattened hierarchies and made information accessible to many more people -- though, ironically, it also has sometimes assaulted democracy in the process. Just think about how philanthropy has been changing at the instigation of Salesforce, one of the Internet's poster kids.
Cover Up, Your Smart TV May Be Spying on You
July 18, 2018
Did you know that fancy smart TV sitting in your living room, kitchen, bedroom or bathroom actually may be watching you? Sorry to break it to you. It's another example of amazing modern technology designed to help marketers while striking a blow to privacy. Then again, we haven't had privacy in more years than I can remember. There are two ways to look at this. If you are a marketer, you love it.
Could a Tech Collaboration Tool Fix Dysfunctional Governments?
July 16, 2018
Microsoft Inspire is taking place this week, and a huge number of my personal friends and I were prebriefed on what the big announcements would be. Strangely, the embargo on the news lifted last week, so I'm not going to get in trouble for sharing some of the revelations. There are a number of interesting elements, including Microsoft's suddenly aggressive move to use Azure as an IoT host.
A Trade War in the Cloud?
July 14, 2018
So far, the looming trade war is limited to actions and reactions related to durable things that trade throughout the global economy. Will that remain the battleground? Or should we expect greater contentiousness around services -- specifically, SaaS, and CRM in particular? Retaliation for U.S. trade initiatives so far has been aimed at things produced by Trump-leaning industries and states.
Will MVNO Worries Complicate T-Mobile, Sprint Merger?
July 12, 2018
T-Mobile and Sprint have embarked on the road to a merger, creating some consternation among competitors. One concern that the combined company would have too much power as a mobile virtual network operator -- possibly controlling as much as 40 percent of the MVNO marketplace. The question is, should regulators require the new company to do something about this prior to approving the deal?
How Smart Should a Home Be?
July 12, 2018
One of the loudest buzzes in the Internet of Things is around smart homes. Vendors have rushed to connect everything imaginable within a house, including lights, appliances, entertainment systems, windows, shades, door locks, ceiling fans, faucets, smoke detectors, security systems, furniture -- basically anything with a battery or power cord now can be connected.
Next Up, Game Consoles: Is There Anything Google Can't Do Badly?
July 9, 2018
It's interesting to compare Google and Amazon -- two of the most incredibly powerful companies in the world. Amazon brings out product after product, with more successes than failures. Google largely buys companies and then loses interest in what they do. Profit is built into Amazon's retail efforts, while Google largely lives off selling users' information and providing access to content.
What I Learned at the Conferences
July 7, 2018
The close of Q2 ends the first wave of vendor customer events. Still to come this fall are Salesforce Dreamforce and Oracle OpenWorld -- and others -- but mercifully, we have the summer to digest all the information absorbed this spring and re-sync with our native time zones.For starters, CRM doesn't appear to be slowing down. As an industry, it's rated at about $35 billion in revenues.
Security Economics: The Key to Resilience
July 5, 2018
There are times when looking at something narrowly can be more effective than taking a wider and more comprehensive view. If you don't believe me, consider the experience of looking at organisms in a microscope or watching a bird through binoculars. Distractions are minimized, allowing optimal evaluation and analysis of what's under investigation.
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What best describes your attitude toward social networks and politics?
The value of engaging in serious political discourse outweighs the negatives.
Most of the political conversations seem overheated and ignorant.
Social networks provide a lot of very good political information from reliable sources.
Almost every political post I see is skewed or totally fake.
Political interactions on social networks simply mirror those in the real world.
Social networks remove inhibitions, bringing out the worst in people and politics.