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Why We All Need to Learn to Live on Camera
July 22, 2019
I was struck by a recent video of a soldier who apparently took some woman's parking spot and then went off the rails when she objected. He bad-mouthed the U.S. military and the U.S., abused his wife, and put his child at risk. A decade ago we probably wouldn't have seen this incident, but now there is a good chance that anyone who misbehaves, as this guy clearly did, will be caught on camera.
The Online Grocery Shopping Comeback
July 16, 2019
Do you enjoy grocery shopping? Some shoppers love walking up and down the aisles, seeing what's new, looking for what's on sale, and getting new ideas. They often pick up things that weren't on their list. However, while many shoppers love that experience, others don't. They would rather run in and out as quickly as possible. That's where online grocery shopping comes into play.
For the Love of Bricks
July 16, 2019
I've been spending time this summer barnstorming Barnes & Noble bookstores in New England signing copies of my book on repairing climate change, The Age of Sustainability. These were my first visits to bookstores as a seller, not a customer -- and I previously hadn't visited a store in a while. I wasn't prepared for what I found: The experience was palpable.
Isn't It Time to Buy Cyber Insurance?
July 15, 2019
Every day we read stories about data breaches and cyberattacks on business and government websites, and the resulting the loss of personally identifiable information. Cybercrime is on the rise, and given the ever-evolving methods of attack, meaningful relief and reliable measures to fend off cybercriminals are unlikely in the foreseeable future. Companies need to insure against cybertheft.
Making Amazon Prime Day Work for You
July 15, 2019
For Halloween, we buy all kinds of crap we shouldn't be eating and feed it to our kids. When Valentine's Day approaches, husbands and boyfriends live in fear of getting their significant other's gift wrong again. Fourth of July is when we buy expensive things we can burn and piss off our neighbors. Of course, there are the various gift-giving holidays that are linked to specific religious groups.
Anticipating the Merger of Apple and Oracle
July 8, 2019
After reading about the departure of Jony Ive, I'm trying to wrap my head around Apple without a design focus. Now this isn't as hard as you might think, given the last truly successful Apple product came out around a decade ago and was called the "iPad." It is also somewhat ironic that Apple just effectively relaunched the iPod, the product that Steve Jobs rode to Apple's massive success.
The Threat of a Deepfake Fiasco
July 5, 2019
An AI technology called "deepfake" may be the next big threat we face as a society. Consider a recent video clip of Facebook CEO Marc Zuckerberg saying some outlandish things. You might think it is real -- but it's a deepfake. It's his image, and it sure sounds like him, but he never actually made that speech. "Can't be," you might think. "That has to be Zuckerberg talking." Wrong.
The Democratic Debate That Wasn't: How Tech Could Help Elections
July 1, 2019
I watched the Democratic debates last week and was struck by three things: I'd likely rather watch paint dry; the application of technology to improve the experience was nonexistent; and I'd bet that if the Democrats don't up their game President Trump will have them to thank when he wins re-election. I'll suggest some ways technology could be used to improve events.
6 Things We Won't Be Able to Live Without in 2035
June 24, 2019
Things rarely happen as fast as we think or progress as slowly as we hope. We all thought we'd have flying cars by the end of last century, for instance, but we are due to be up to our armpits in them by the end of next decade if the impressive number of trials continue to go well. I touched on the drone drop issue a little last week, and I have been thinking about it ever since.
Plot Thickens With Dish's Interest in Sprint, T-Mobile Wireless
June 20, 2019
The merger between T-Mobile and Sprint has been dragging on for quite a long time, but it finally may be in the home stretch. To get the deal approved, Sprint and T-Mobile might have to sell off some of their wireless assets to competitors. Many were surprised to see Dish Network's interest. What would this mean for the merger and for the wireless industry as a whole?
Cisco's Take on Making the World a Better Place
June 17, 2019
I attended Cisco Live last week, and one of the things that impressed me was how many amazing things the company has been doing that have nothing to do with products, services or revenue. Most companies have a philanthropic budget and donate, but they don't really seem to care if the money makes a difference. For most, philanthropy is more about uplifting their image than making a difference.
Are You Gish-Galloping Your Business Toward Disruption?
June 13, 2019
Recent events have led to many people learning about a long-understood rhetorical tactic called "Gish galloping." Named after creationist Duane Gish, it means confronting an opponent with a rapid-fire series of arguments -- including half-truths, misrepresentations and outright lies. Confronted with such a BS barrage, the opponent may try to refute each assertion, which is a losing proposition.
China-US Trade Tension Is Causing Irreparable Damage to High-Tech
June 12, 2019
While trade disputes between countries are nothing new and seldom are remembered, the ongoing one between China and the United States may change the course of the electronics industry going forward. In the beginning of the dispute proposed tariffs excluded electronics for the most part. The U.S. even modified some initial proposals to avoid impacting Apple and other U.S. tech companies.
Salesforce and Tableau in Merger
June 10, 2019
Salesforce has announced an all-stock deal to acquire analytics powerhouse Tableau Software. Salesforce will pay 1.103 of its shares for one Tableau share. The deal is expected to finalize by the end of October, about a month before Dreamforce. A number of questions arise from this deal. For instance, why do it at all? Why keep the companies separate, and what will their relationship be like?
The 5 Most Pressing Problems With Drone Delivery
June 10, 2019
Amazon plans to begin drone deliveries within the next several months. The drones have become far more capable, safer, and less noisy, but there are five other problems that will need to be addressed before this delivery method reaches its full potential. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm looking forward to drone delivery. Still, there are several things that will need to be addressed.
Dodging Facebook's 'Like' Trap for Small Businesses
June 7, 2019
Despite complaints about user privacy and the sharing of personal data, Facebook remains the de facto social media powerhouse. It may have started out as a place to connect with friends, but with 2.23 billion users worldwide it isn't hard to see why it matters to marketers. For the past decade Facebook has been a proven way for small businesses to connect with customers -- at least in theory.
When Retail Customers Take It on the Chin, Investors Win
June 6, 2019
I am a reluctant Costco shopper. My wife is one of the many who really love the chain. Me... not so much. Seriously -- someone should knock Costco's top officials on the head and wake them up to the need to focus on their customers. After all, it's the customers who make Costco successful. When my family owned lots of retail stores, I learned many important lessons that Costco needs to learn.
Trailhead, Salesforce's Not-So-Secret Weapon
June 4, 2019
Salesforce has used its Trailhead learning system to teach developers how to program on its Lightning platform for more than five years. The company last week completed its fourth highly successful TrailheaDX conference, which attracted 14,000 people to the Moscone Center in San Francisco. There are plenty of good reasons for Salesforce to be in the software-coding-education game.
AMD Slam-Dunks Intel at Computex and It's a Good Thing
June 3, 2019
Like a lot of folks, I'm a tad sick of Intel. Last month we learned of its second big security scandal in as many years. Once again, the company not only neglected to disclose the problems in a timely way but also lacked a plan to recall the failed parts. Once again, buyers likely will have to cripple their Intel processors if they want to use them safely.
Trailblazing a Path for Blockchain
May 30, 2019
Many of us think of blockchain as the technology that prevents counterfeiting digital currencies like bitcoin. However, the so-called cryptocurrencies have hit the rocks recently, losing value or at least fluctuating wildly, making them look more like the stocks of startups than stores of value. Still, as an independent technology the value of blockchain is only growing.
Qualcomm and Huawei: Now Things Are Just Getting Weird
May 27, 2019
Qualcomm just lost its seemingly no-lose case against the FTC, largely because it seems the judge was only physically in the room during the trial. The ruling makes it look like she and I observed very different trials. In addition, the U.S. apparently declared war against Huawei, which actually could benefit Huawei. The result of both efforts effectively could be to give the 5G market to China.
Where CEOs Go Wrong With Brand ID
May 24, 2019
Brand ID is key to every company's success and growth. Why then do so many senior executives at so many different companies screw it up? When you come up with a winning brand ID, it's OK to build on it and to change it for the better, but not for the worse. Customers buy from you based on your brand ID. If that changes, then customers may change their buying habits as well.
AppExchange Partners Get a Lift
May 23, 2019
For many years, one of the big concerns of the cloud software industry has been ensuring that the user experience was as good for enterprise software users as it was for consumers on big websites like Amazon. That has been a good motivator, because today's apps on both desktops and mobile devices have seen major improvements. That applies to today's partner ecosystem as well.
5 Effective Talent Retention Strategies for Security Teams
May 20, 2019
In IT, we've been hearing about the "cybersecurity skills shortage" for a few years. There is no shortage of statistics and data about it: More than 70 percent of participating organizations reported being impacted by the skills shortage, according to an ESG/ISSA research report. Likewise, more than half of the organizations surveyed for an ISACA report noted unfilled cybersecurity positions.
The Rebirth of the Personal Computer
May 20, 2019
I went to Lenovo Accelerate last week and feasted my eyes on one of the most innovative PCs I've ever seen. However, as I absorbed the rest of Lenovo's announcements, I realized I was looking at just the tip of what could be a significant coming change in personal computers -- one that could eclipse every change we have seen so far. Lenovo's "one more thing" is a coming foldable screen laptop.
US Mobile: Another Bait-and-Switch Disappointment
May 16, 2019
I just dumped US Mobile after less than four months, setting a new speed record for hitting my tolerance-for-b.s. ceiling. I'd had high hopes for this relatively new mobile virtual network operator, but it turns out I chose poorly. Switching wireless service providers is one of those things I don't relish doing, but every few years I find that I'm in a one-way relationship with my carrier.
Technology Is Filling a Need in Philanthropy
May 14, 2019
It's surprising that philanthropy as an industry has gotten by for so long without technology. That's changing, however. The cost of technology has dropped at the same time that philanthropic organizations have been discovering an acute need for it. Of the more than 1.5 million charitable organizations in the U.S., it's not a stretch to say that the vast majority of them are small and underfunded.
Google, Microsoft In Step in New Era
May 13, 2019
Apple, Google and Microsoft are three very powerful companies. Two of them had big events last week -- Google I/O and Microsoft Build. What I found interesting was that both Google and Microsoft largely were on the same page about focusing on the customer. Both Google and Microsoft have been making massive advancements with AI. Both have increased their efforts to make the world a better place.
What Happens to Sprint if T-Mobile Merger Fails?
May 9, 2019
Sprint's best shot at success is to merge with T-Mobile. Without the merger, I see the company continuing to struggle as a weak player in the competitive wireless battle. Then again, this is nothing new. Sprint has been limping along for decades, for many different reasons. If this merger fails, will Sprint carry on as before? The reality is that Sprint is in trouble.
Einstein Analytics for Financial Services
May 7, 2019
It's not that Salesforce has introduced more artificial intelligence apps for its Einstein analytics tool set -- this time for financial services -- that's important. It's that the clear trend now emerging is that you can't really have an industry market solution-set without analytics tuned to the vertical. There are at least two ways to do analytics.
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Which type of cybersecurity threat concerns you the most?
Theft of my personal assets
A serious privacy invasion affecting me or a close family member
Reputation damage affecting my business
Child pornography, drug and weapon sales, and other Dark Web crimes
Activities that might compromise free and fair elections
A life-threatening attack on the nation's infrastructure