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FCC Votes 3-2 to Upend Net Neutrality
December 14, 2017
The FCC on Thursday voted 3-2 to repeal Obama-era Net neutrality rules that prevented ISPs from blocking, throttling or otherwise giving preferential treatment to customers. Backers of the repeal characterized it as promoting greater technological innovation and freedom to conduct business. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai spearheaded the reversal of the Title II Net neutrality regulations.
Internet Pioneers Urge Cancellation of Net Neutrality Repeal Vote
December 13, 2017
A group of 21 leading technology pioneers, including Apple Computer cofounder Steve Wozniak and World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, signed an open letter to key congressional leaders asking them to pressure FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to cancel Thursday's planned vote to repeal Net neutrality. The process is severely flawed, they argued, and a rules repeal poses an imminent threat to the Internet.
The Tech Wars of 2018
December 11, 2017
We are coming up to the end of the year, and it's a good time to look forward. Stepping outside of politics and the obvious war between the Democrats, Republicans and common sense, there is the war between Amazon and Google, which likely will redefine the growth of digital assistants. There's also the war between Intel and Qualcomm in the personal computing arena.
Bitcoin Surges Past $16K: Will the Bubble Burst?
December 7, 2017
Cryptocurrency bitcoin soared to $16,777 on Thursday, reaching a market capitalization of $274 billion, according to Bloomberg's composite of exchanges. That was up from just $10,000 last week, and up some 1,500 percent from the beginning of 2017. The latest price increases have come as bitcoin increasingly has been recognized as a legitimate form of currency.
Google and Amazon Square Off, Ignoring Customers in the Middle
December 7, 2017
A long-simmering dispute between Google and Amazon has escalated into a front-burner feud, following Google's decision to block its YouTube video service from Amazon's Echo Show, effective immediately, and from its Fire TV, effective Jan. 1. Google apparently decided to cut off YouTube as retaliation for Amazon's refusal to carry its products, including Chromecast and Google Home, on its website.
Net Neutrality Battle Lines Drawn as FCC Vote Looms
December 5, 2017
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's long-brewing plan to repeal Net neutrality has the broadband, telecom and entertainment worlds at loggerheads. The commission's expected Dec. 14 vote could result in a complete rewrite of the script for the Internet's competitive landscape and consumer protection models. The repeal of Net neutrality would end restrictions imposed by the Obama administration in 2015.
The Return of Industrial Espionage and the Building New Wave of Scandals
December 4, 2017
As powerful men drop like flies due to their inability to resist abusing their authority, it's clear that the problem is widespread. Similarly, it's likely that we'll find the problem of alleged industrial espionage is not limited to Uber. You see, when people misuse authority -- and the sexual harassment problem is a massive misuse of authority -- folks typically don't just misuse it in one area.
Snapchat Draws Bright Line Between 'Social' and 'Media'
November 30, 2017
Snap aims to combat fake news on Snapchat by separating content from professional creators from postings by friends and family. Stories and Chats from friends will appear on the left side of the camera, while Stories from content creators, publishers and other members of the community will appear on the right side. Snapchat aims to disentangle "social" from "media," noted Snap CEO Evan Spiegel.
BlackBerry: The Most Important Mobile Company of the Future?
November 20, 2017
If you are like many, when you saw this headline you likely were surprised BlackBerry was still around. As BlackBerry phones left the market, the company fell out of sight. However, behind the scenes it has been moving into industries like automotive. Also, it remains the leading vendor providing mobile security to our politicians, military personnel and major corporations.
The Rise of AI: Give Me That New Time Religion?
November 16, 2017
Anthony Levandowski, known for his work developing self-driving auto technology, reportedly has started the world's first artificial intelligence-based religion. Levandowski, who has been at the center of a legal dispute between Google's Waymo self-driving unit and Uber, has cast himself as the frontman for the Way of the Future church. The mission of this "technotheistic" movement is spelled out in documents filed with the IRS.
Why Are Tech Companies Trying to Kill Us?
November 13, 2017
This is the question that keeps me up at night after seeing the news of Russian influence through social media, and the rapid rise of road deaths due to smartphone use. I wonder if the executives in these firms understand not only that dead customers don't generate revenue, but also that some of the victims could end up being their own kids, spouses or parents.
Amazon Sneaks In Third-Party Seller Discounts
November 7, 2017
Amazon recently began reducing prices on merchandise sold by third-party sellers, ratcheting up its market share competition with discount stores, including Walmart. The company has started to display a new tag, "Discount Provided by Amazon." Price cuts so far have been a little less than 10 percent on goods sold by independent retailers. Amazon has been absorbing the losses itself.
Dilbert vs. Trump: Why False Facts Have Power
November 6, 2017
We've been having a lot of interesting weeks since the presidential election, making more than a few of us wish for simpler times. One of the most interesting things I've read of late is by Dilbert creator Scott Adams, who predicted the election outcome and tied it to Trump's brilliant use of intentional false facts, which he used to dominate the news up to the election.
Oil Patch CRM
October 31, 2017
A recent story chilled me to the bone. The headline supplies all the reasons: "Saudi Arabia's Grand Plan to Move Beyond Oil: Big Goals, Bigger Hurdles." At first glance, this doesn't ring any CRM bells, but maybe it should. Why would any business or business-state contemplate moving out of its sweet spot if it weren't required to? What happens to the customers that have become dependent?
Amazon May Disrupt Prescription Drug Space Next
October 31, 2017
The rumor that Amazon has set its sights on disrupting the pharmaceutical industry has gained greater currency recently, just months after the company set the grocery business on fire with its acquisition of Whole Foods, and in the midst of its widely publicized search for a second U.S. headquarters location. Amazon reportedly has taken major steps toward becoming a drug distributor and seller.
Amazon to Let Delivery Drivers Open Your Front Door
October 26, 2017
Amazon has announced a new service that will allow Prime members to receive in-home delivery of packages with the help of high-tech smart locks that allow drivers to open their front doors. Amazon Key will launch officially on Nov. 8 in 37 U.S. cities and surrounding communities, with additional locations to be added over time. The service will be available at no extra cost to Prime members.
Taking the News Out of Facebook's News Feed Could Hurt Publishers
October 25, 2017
A new feature that Facebook recently has been testing in a handful of countries could hurt publishers everywhere if it should roll out globally. The feature removes users' Liked pages from their main News Feed and aggregates them in a separate space called "Explore." In the six countries where Facebook has been testing the idea, traffic to news outlets reportedly has dropped 60-80 percent.
Screen Burn-In, Piercing Sounds Beset Google's Pixel 2s
October 24, 2017
Complaints have been mounting over display and audio issues with Google's Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Consumers have reported a screen burn-in problem with the Pixel 2 XL, which refers to embedded functions leaving a ghost-like image on the display. In addition, there have been numerous reports of high-pitched noises and strange clicking sounds occurring during calls on the Pixel 2.
Fighting Off the Harvey Weinsteins of the World Through Technology
October 23, 2017
Harvey Weinstein just went from most powerful man in Hollywood to punching bag -- and while he deserved this, perhaps greater attention should go toward taking aggressive measures to prevent future Weinsteins -- and there will be future Weinsteins. We need to stop acting surprised when this stuff comes out and instead take stronger steps to prevent this kind of thing in the future.
Report Probes Social Media's Threat to Democracy
October 13, 2017
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube may pose a threat to American democracy, suggests a new report from The Omidyar Group. The report follows recent disclosures about targeted dark post advertising, fake news and other abuses propagated by Russian troll farms during the 2016 election. Among the questions the report raises is whether the U.S. government may need to step in.
Zuckerberg Pays Virtual Visit to Hurricane-Ravaged Puerto Rico
October 10, 2017
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday used virtual reality tech to "teleport" to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico and soon was dubbed a "heartless billionaire" by critics who felt he had exploited the dire situation in the U.S. territory. That likely isn't what Zuckerberg intended when he provided the Facebook Spaces video demonstration.
HPE Gave Russia Deep Dive Into Security Software Used by Pentagon
October 6, 2017
Hewlett Packard Enterprise has allowed experts working with Russia to review the source code of cybersecurity software that is used by the U.S. Defense Department. The Pentagon uses HPE's ArcSight software to protect sensitive computer networks. The review of its code was conducted by Russian firm Echelon on behalf of a Russian defense agency that deals with cybersecurity issues.
Google Adds a Brick to Online Publishers' Paywalls
October 2, 2017
Google on Monday announced that it was dropping its decade-old policy of requiring media and news publishers to provide a limited amount of free content. The so-called "first click free" policy meant that publishers had to make a certain amount of content available to users who conducted a search on Google, even if their stories, videos or images otherwise were behind a paywall.
Twitter to Test Drive Double-Wide Tweets
September 28, 2017
Twitter has announced a limited test to double the maximum tweet size to 280 characters. Twitter has been struggling to boost user engagement, and its tweet character limitation has been the subject of a longstanding debate among customers and company insiders. One reason for the possible change is to correct for the information imbalance between Asian and western language characters.
Behind-the-Scenes Cryptocurrency Mining Discovered on Showtime Sites
September 27, 2017
Showtime Networks apparently has mined the websites of online viewers using the same Coinhive technology that The Pirate Bay recently used in a test run on its site. A subsidiary of CBS, Showtime is a premium television network that offers professional boxing, feature films, original scripted television shows like Ray Donovan and other programming.
Red Hat Enlarges Its Open Source Patent Promise Umbrella
September 22, 2017
Red Hat on Thursday announced major enhancements to the Patent Promise it first published 15 years ago, with the intention of providing new protections to innovation in the open source community. In its 2002 Patent Promise, Red Hat vowed not to pursue patent infringement actions against parties that used its covered Free and Open Source Software, or FOSS, subject to certain limitations.
Amazon's Alexa May Get Into Your Head
September 21, 2017
Developers at Amazon's secret Lab 126 reportedly have been working on audio-only smart glass technology that would allow users to communicate with its virtual assistant Alexa. The smart glasses would connect wirelessly to users' smartphones and transfer communications through a bone-conduction audio system that would negate the need for headphones. Amazon plans to release the device this year.
The Pirate Bay Takes Heat for Testing Monero Mining
September 19, 2017
The Pirate Bay has come under fire for testing a Monero javascript miner as a possible means for generating new revenue to replace its current model of making money through advertising on the site. It reportedly hijacked the processing power of its own users to help generate revenue. Monero is an open source digital currency, like bitcoin, with one important difference.
FTC Confirms Probe Into Equifax Data Breach
September 15, 2017
In a rare move, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Thursday confirmed that it has opened an investigation into the data breach at Equifax that compromised the sensitive personal information of 143 million U.S. consumers. The FTC announcement came less than a week after Equifax revealed that an unknown party had gained access to names, addresses, Social Security Numbers and other data belonging to nearly half the U.S. population.
Putin: Whoever Rules AI Rules the World
September 12, 2017
Russian President Vladimir Putin last week poked the nest of anxieties over the use of artificial intelligence to gain power in a video address to students at 16,000 selected schools. "Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia but for all humankind," he said. "Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world."
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What is the most consequential impact of social media on society today?
It has opened up valuable new channels for civil discourse.
It has destroyed the meaning of "truth" and "fact."
It has made people stronger by facilitating grass roots activism.
It has deepened divisions among groups with opposing views.
It has made it easier for people to support and help each other.
It has made it easier for people to humiliate and hurt each other.