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In the Time of Virus
March 19, 2020
Life goes on, though I keep thinking about the coronavirus and its impact on business, which is substantial. I am wondering if it's time to count our blessings even as we remain vigilant. At this point the number of active cases in the U.S. is still small, relative to the population, though the bug has an annoying ability to do math in the form of exponential spread.
Facebook Pledges Funds for SMBs in Face of Shutdowns
March 19, 2020
Facebook has announced a $100M commitment of cash grants and ad credits to help as many as 30,000 eligible small businesses in 30 countries where the company operates. The program can help SMBs maintain their workforces, meet rent costs, connect with more customers, and cover operational costs. In addition, Facebook has earmarked $1 million in grants to local news organizations covering COVID-19.
COVID-19 and Computer Security, Part 2: Shoring Up Systems for Remote Workers
March 19, 2020
As companies send employees home in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, cybersecurity experts are warning that telecommuting could be putting company assets and data at risk. There are a number of precautions that employees working from home should consider to ensure that sensitive data isn't compromised by cybercriminals taking advantage of the health crisis.
Open Source Tech Rushes to Front Lines of COVID-19 War
March 18, 2020
Open Source software, once the scorn of Microsoft and profit-seeking software developers, is playing an active role in efforts to combat COVID-19's spread. Several open source projects are assisting health providers and helping people mitigate some of the hardships associated with the pandemic. Often, open source accomplishments in the public health and government services fields go unreported.
Crowdsourcing App Takes Aim at COVID-19
March 18, 2020
COVID-19 researchers have a new source of distributed computing power: crowdsourcing. Usually crowdsourcing involves information or opinion gathering, but in this case it involves computing power. By installing the Folding@home software program, anyone with a computer, gaming console, or even some phones and compute cycles to spare can contribute to the work of coronavirus researchers.
Amazon Buckles Under Stress of Staple-Hoarding
March 17, 2020
Shopping hysteria in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is crippling Amazon's ability to fill online orders and meet timely delivery promises. The company plans to increase pay in the U.S., UK and Europe for employees engaged in fulfillment operations, as well as open 100,000 new full and part-time positions to meet the surge in demand. Amazon has been was running out of household staples.
New Website Aims to Help People Access COVID-19 Testing
March 17, 2020
Project Baseline, a new website to facilitate screening and testing of people potentially infected with the COVID-19 virus, became available on Sunday. Verily, a company owned by Google parent Alphabet, launched the site. Assistance currently is limited to residents in two counties in the San Francisco Bay Area. Verily also is working with authorities to establish testing sites.
Food and E-Commerce: A Healthy Outlook
March 16, 2020
Consumers were becoming increasingly comfortable with the idea of ordering food online, either for pick up or home delivery, even before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Now many more shoppers are turning to online grocery shopping. "People have been comfortable ordering food such as pizza for delivery for years," noted Commercetools Vice President of Americas Marketing Margaret Rea.
3 Things the Tech Industry Could Do to Mitigate Pandemic Problems
March 16, 2020
We are up to our armpits in COVID-19, also known as "coronavirus," concerns. While the technology market could be devastated by it, there are several things tech players could do to mitigate the damage. Aside from having people work from home and stand six feet apart, the industry could take several innovative steps to mitigate the first manageable pandemic in the world's history.
COVID-19 and Computer Security, Part 1: Telecommuting Risks
March 12, 2020
The United States Office of Personnel Management last week urged agencies to prepare to allow federal employees to telework -- that is, work remotely.This came on the heels of the Department of Homeland Security closing its facilities in Washington state, after learning an employee had visited the Life Care facility in the city of Kirkland, which is ground zero for the state's COVID-19 outbreak.
Coronavirus Nerves: Whoa Horsey!
March 12, 2020
Someday a future Monty Python comedy troupe will reprise the plague scene from the Holy Grail in which a character pushes a cart through a street shouting "Bring out your dead!" only to discover one who isn't dead yet. What will be funny about our era? Perhaps it will have something to do with overreacting to the situation by reordering society, as some have suggested.
VPN, Ad Blocker Provider Caught With Hand in the Data Jar
March 11, 2020
A number of VPN and ad-blocking apps owned by Sensor Tower, a popular analytics platform, have been collecting data from millions of people using the programs on their Android and iOS devices, according to a report. The software involved includes Free and Unlimited VPN, Luna VPN, Mobile Data, Adblock Focus for Android devices, and Adblock Focus and Luna VPN for iOS hardware.
Podcasting Around the Virus - and Beyond
March 10, 2020
Several conferences I was scheduled to attend have been canceled in the past week. All of the sponsors cited an abundance of caution in the face of the unknown consequences of coronavirus transmission and outright COVID-19 pneumonia. That's all to the good, but we need to get business done even in the face of the virus, because business has to propel itself forward or individual companies wither.
Twitter Tiptoes Into Battle to Curb Social Media Misinformation
March 10, 2020
Twitter applied its "manipulative media" label to a deceptively edited video showing presidential hopeful Joe Biden saying, "re-elect Donald Trump" -- the first time the service enforced rules adopted to control synthetic and manipulated media. The flagged video was posted to Twitter by Dan Scavino, White House director of social media, and retweeted by the president.
Robinhood Outages Anger Customers
March 9, 2020
Heavy trading on Wall Street once again was too much for the Robinhood app to handle. The company reported issues with equities, options and crypto trading just before 10 a.m. Eastern Time on Monday. The incident is a case of bad deja vu. Robinhood customers potentially lost millions of dollars when the company's app went down amid heavy trading last Monday, March 2.
COVID-19 and the End of Daily Life as We Know It
March 9, 2020
We apparently have no immunity to COVID-19, and a vaccine likely is around 18 months away. It takes a while to change human behavior, but if we go a full 18 months or more with people working from home and avoiding places like malls, big box stores, and other areas where people congregate -- like offices and events -- it will force a fundamental, permanent change in the way we work and interact.
The Virus and Podcasting
March 7, 2020
The coronavirus scare is working its way through the economy -- even affecting CRM. At this point some vendors are canceling events rather than taking the risk of having thousands of customers, press and analysts descend on a city, swap microbes through the air for a few days, then go home and likely further spread the microbes, some of which could be the virus.
COVID-19 and the Bleak Outlook for the Tech Supply Chain
March 6, 2020
Foxconn, a key parts supplier for Apple, Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony, said its plants on mainland China will resume normal production by the end of March. Numerous factories across China were forced to shut down in late January due to the coronavirus. The impact of the outbreak could hit global supply chains for all products in mid-March, The Harvard Business Review predicted.
Amid Disaster, COVID-19 Presents Opportunities
March 5, 2020
The coronavirus presents the biggest threat to the global economy since the Great Recession of 2008 -- not to mention the threat to human life. The outbreak already is decimating the travel and leisure industry, and forcing trade shows to scale down or cancel. It threatens many sectors, and it will have a negative impact on consumer sentiment and purchasing patterns.
Apple to Pay Up to $500M for Throttling iPhones
March 4, 2020
Apple has agreed to pay up to $500 million to settle a class action lawsuit alleging it slowed down older iPhones in order to push consumers into buying its later, more expensive models. The devices covered in the agreement are iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, and iPhone SE models that ran iOS 10.2.1 or later, and iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models that ran iOS 11.2 or later before Dec. 21, 2017.
Study: YouTube Achieves Some Success at Hobbling Conspiracy Theories
March 3, 2020
YouTube's efforts to reduce the spread of conspiracy theories on the platform appear to be bearing fruit. YouTube "significantly reduced the overall volume of recommended conspiratorial content," three researchers wrote in a study from the University of California, Berkeley. The team spent 15 months studying 8 million recommendations from the platform's next-watch algorithm.
Tech Industry Occupies Front Line on Coronavirus Battleground
March 3, 2020
The coronavirus known as "COVID-19" is posing global threats that are challenging businesses worldwide, forcing them to put new policies and practices into place to prepare for and communicate with their workforces. One of the most critically impacted sectors is the technology industry. The virus has disrupted global businesses, forcing many tech company workers to cease travel to infected areas.
Shifting Our Global Problem-Solving Focus From Symptoms to Cause
March 2, 2020
IBM's latest effort to solve global problems has evolved from a focus on catastrophic events, which increasingly are caused by climate change, to climate change itself. It is a huge jump to go from dealing with the symptoms of a problem, which generally is relatively easy, to dealing with the causes, particularly global scale. However, it is critical for a sustained impact.
The Dark Art of Turning Mountains of Stolen Data Into Cash
February 28, 2020
We're only two months into a new year and already hundreds of millions of personal records have been compromised, including 123 million records from sporting retailer Decathlon and another 10.6 million records from MGM Resorts hotels. These announcements followed fuel and convenience chain Wawa's revelation that it was the victim of a nine-month-long breach of its payment card systems.
Facebook Bans Coronavirus Ad Scams
February 27, 2020
Facebook is clamping down on ads and misinformation relating to coronavirus. Criticism of social media platforms for spreading fear and confusion about coronavirus is rife. Still, Facebook's decision-making has raised a few eyebrows, as the coronavirus ad restrictions could be interpreted as limiting free speech in a way that is inconsistent with Facebook's general practices.
Amazon Goes Big With Automated Grocery Store
February 26, 2020
Amazon has opened its first large-scale fully automated Amazon Go grocery store. The 7,700 square foot store, located in Seattle, offers baked goods sourced locally, fresh seasonal produce, meat, seafood and ready-made meals, as well as beer, wine and spirits. There are no cashiers. To make purchases, shoppers need an Amazon account and the free Amazon Go app.
AI in the Courts: The Jury Is Out
February 20, 2020
A session on the role of emerging technologies in the courtroom was part of last month's New York State Bar Association Annual Meeting in New York City. "Emerging Technologies in Litigation" included a panel of local and federal judges as well as an e-discovery researcher and emerging technology attorney. The group discussed the use of artificial intelligence in the courtroom.
Jeff Bezos Puts Up $10B From His Pocket to Fight Climate Change
February 19, 2020
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has announced a commitment of $10 billion of his personal money to the newly launched Bezos Earth Fund to fight climate change. "Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet," Bezos wrote. "This global initiative will fund scientists, activists, NGOs -- any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world."
Viewing the 2020 Presidential Race Through a Competitive Analysis Lens
February 17, 2020
Back in the 1980s, I was a competitive analyst for IBM, and it was one of the most interesting jobs I ever held. The practice largely has died out, but at the time we were like the corporate version of the CIA. Since I'd been an internal auditor as well -- which is somewhat like the corporate version of the FBI -- I was a rarity. Few people serve in both agencies.
ACLU Blasts Clearview's Facial Recognition Accuracy Claims
February 14, 2020
The American Civil Liberties Union has leveled criticisms against facial recognition tool developer Clearview for making misleading claims about the accuracy of its product. Clearview apparently has been telling law enforcement agencies that its technology underwent accuracy testing modeled on the ACLU's 2018 test of Amazon's Rekognition facial recognition tool.
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How will the pandemic influence your holiday shopping habits this year?
I will shop online exclusively, for my own safety and to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.
I will do some shopping online, and some in-person because I want to support merchants in my area.
I will shop online definitely, and I will consider local retailers -- but only if they provide curbside service.
I will only shop in-person because the risks associated with e-commerce outweigh my chance of catching COVID-19.
I will not do any holiday shopping this year due to circumstances related to the pandemic.
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