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Super Mario Odyssey Has Reviewers Jumping for Joy
October 28, 2017
Nintendo appears to have knocked it out of the park with Thursday's offical launch of its new Super Mario Odyssey title, which appears to have won over video game critics and promises to drive Nintendo Switch sales well into the holidays. The reception is another lift for Nintendo, which has been riding high following strong reviews of the title at the E3 conference earlier this year.
Noon Home Debuts New Way to Light Up Your Life
October 26, 2017
Noon Home officially launched on Thursday and simultaneously unveiled its Noon Smart Lighting System, after two years of raising funds and developing products in stealth mode. The Noon Smart Lighting System blends ambient, task and accent lights to layer lighting, improve the way a room looks. It consists of a Room Director switch and companion Extension Switches, which communicate via Bluetooth.
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.
Apple May Have Fudged iPhone X's Face ID
October 25, 2017
Apple reportedly has reduced the accuracy of the iPhone X Face ID feature to speed up production. It's not clear how much the new specs will reduce Face ID's efficacy, but if the reporting is accurate, there could be problems recognizing changes in facial hair, glasses and other ancillary features, suggested Gerrit Schneemann, senior analyst at IHS Markit. "That would be a real problem."
AI Integrations Help Sort Out Sales Signals
October 25, 2017
Clari, which develops software focusing on the opportunity-to-close, or OTC, process, on Wednesday announced integrations with DocuSign, Clearslide and Xactly. Clari's artificial-intelligence-powered OTC platform already integrates Google and Microsoft email and calendar activity, which gives sales teams immediate knowledge of sales reps' and prospects' behavior.
E-Commerce Firms: Get Ready for New Privacy Laws
October 24, 2017
The Federal Trade Commission regulates privacy in the United States, and under the FTC rules, a website need not have a privacy policy at all. However, a website must comply with and not violate its policy if it has one. ifeLock learned that lesson the hard way when " target="_blank">the FTC sued it for failing to abide by its privacy policy. How do other countries' privacy laws apply to U.S. businesses?
Linux Foundation Launches Open Data Licensing Agreements
October 23, 2017
The Linux Foundation has introduced the Community Data License Agreement, a new framework for sharing large sets of data required for research, collaborative learning and other purposes. CDLAs will allow both individuals and groups to share data sets in the same way they share open source software code. The agreement could help foster an increase in data sharing across a variety of industries.
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.
Harman Kardon's Cortana-Powered Smart Speaker Underwhelms
October 21, 2017
Early reviews of the Harman Kardon Invoke with Cortana -- the smart speaker that features Microsoft's personal assistant -- have been lukewarm at best. The speaker will be available in the U.S. starting Sunday. Like Amazon's Echo line and Google's Home speakers, Invoke lets users play music, manage calendars, set reminders, check traffic, get news reports, and control other smart home devices.
Counting Down to ASC 606
October 19, 2017
There will be little New Year's Eve celebrating but perhaps a lot of morning-after hangovers for U.S. businesses that haven't begun preparing for ASC 606, the Financial Accounting Standards Board's new rules about revenue recognition. They are set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. The news is much the same for Europe, though there the rule's name is "IFRS 15." The change is hard to do.
Google's Pixel 2 Earns High Marks in Spite of Dull Design
October 18, 2017
As Google's new Pixel 2 smartphones get ready to hit the shelves, reviews of the models have begun mushrooming online. While the new phones generally have received positive grades, many reviewers found the their design boring. "The Pixel 2 hardware is ho-hum," observed Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy. "Google didn't take many risks in its design."
Microsoft Unveils Power-Packed Surface Book 2
October 17, 2017
Microsoft on Tuesday launched the Surface Book 2, positioning it as the laptop of the future. The device is powerful enough for the next wave of computing, characterized by mixed reality, artificial intelligence, machine learning and immersive gaming, said Microsoft Devices Corporate Vice President Panos Panay. Integration between the Surface Book 2 and the Adobe Creative Cloud has been improved.
Could HP and Dell Get Together Again?
October 16, 2017
Technology companies tend to have very fickle relationships. For instance, Microsoft helped launch Apple, worked to kill the company, provided money to save it, and then got its butt kicked by it. Dell first partnered with EMC, then competed with it, then bought it -- and the CEOs remained friends throughout. Dell and HP have had a rather interesting relationship as well.
Salesforce Reshuffles SaaS, PaaS in Internet of Things and AI
October 13, 2017
It can be a full-time job trying to keep up with Salesforce's newest cloud offerings. However, it is always worth the effort, because the company's pronouncements are often early bellwethers of the future direction of the software industry. This has become particularly true with respect to the company's evolving efforts to penetrate and gain a prominent position in the AI and IoT markets.
AWS, Microsoft Offer New Open Source AI Framework
October 13, 2017
AWS and Microsoft have announced the availability of Gluon, an open source deep learning library for building AI neural networks. Gluon will make it easier for researchers to define machine learning models using a collection of prebuilt, optimized neural network components. It will enable software developers and enterprise users to manipulate machine learning models like any other data structures.
Google Assistant Shines in Pint-Sized Home Mini
October 12, 2017
The first wave of reviews touting Google's Home Mini smart speaker surfaced this week, following reports that the company had to quash a top touch function to prevent the device from accidentally activating and recording conversations without users' knowledge. Google has promised to update the device by Oct. 15. The Home Mini can provide reports on weather, traffic, news, sports and more.
FTC Tightens Screws on Social Media Influencers
October 12, 2017
Social media influencer advertising has become a major factor in e-commerce. Marketers of both big and small brands long have committed large chunks of their advertising budgets to endorsements by well-known personalities. Social media influencer campaigns are based on that tried-and-true formula, but the implication is that the endorsements are voluntary.
OpenWorld 2017
October 10, 2017
I spent last week at Oracle's OpenWorld 2017 in San Francisco. When I wasn't drinking from an information fire hose, it was alternately fascinating and exhausting. There were major announcements in database, blockchain, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and other stuff I'm associated with only tangentially. For instance, my eyes glaze over when they start talking about bare metal servers.
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.
AI-Powered Mobile Chatbots Promise More Efficient Customer Service
October 9, 2017
Helpshift's new Web Chat application uses AI to help companies release scalable chatbots that can automate customer service through real-time interactions. The new AI-based tool, released last week, will boost Helpshift customers' ability to provide enterprise-grade support to their customers, according to Helpshift, which specializes in customer support for the gaming industry.
Google Pixel 2: 8/10ths of an Apple-Killer Strategy
October 9, 2017
What would it take to cause Apple to fail? While Steve Jobs was alive, the prevalent belief was that it would take his removal from the company. That has happened, but Apple's valuation and reserves are higher. Although the foundational element was removed, no one really went after Apple hard until last week, when Google launched a comprehensive strategy that clearly targeted the company.
Gadget Ogling: Same Old Apple
October 6, 2017
Watching Apple's product announcement showcase is a bit like celebrating New Year's. People from all over the world are drawn to this annual event with the promise of something new and exciting, a vision of tomorrow and untold promise. Yet the more it comes around, the more disappointed we are. That promised kiss from a stranger at midnight is a dud. Our best intentions fall by the wayside.
AI Ripples Through Google's New Product Lineup
October 5, 2017
Google on Wednesday launched a bevy of new products into its growing hardware and software ecosystem at its Made by Google event. Many of the new devices are infused with artificial intelligence capabilities. "Since last year and since Google I/O, we've been working hard, continuing our shift from a mobile-first to an AI-first world," Google CEO Sundar Pichai told the gathering.
Anticipating the Smart World of 2027: A Billion Cameras and AI, Oh My...
October 2, 2017
Nvidia went to China last week and made a series of interesting announcements having to do with smart cities and autonomous cars. IBM made an announcement on advancements in tying the Weather Channel to its Watson artificial intelligence engine, and improvements in targeted marketing. We also found out about Oculus' Fall in Love VR project which is kind of like the The Bachelor.
Amazon Deploys Army of Echoes Against Oncoming Threats
September 29, 2017
Amazon has unveiled five new Echo products that raise the bar in the automated home market. Among other things, Amazon has improved the sound quality in its second-generation Echo speaker to compete with several new competitors in the high-end audio segment. The new Echo, which is more compact and comes in a variety of shell colors and finishes, offers more immersive sound.
Google Assistant Goes to Work for Nvidia's Shield TV
September 29, 2017
Nvidia on Thursday announced that its Shield TV now includes Google Assistant as part of its Shield Experience Upgrade 6.0 update. The update also lets the Shield device work as a SmartThings Hub when paired with a SmartThinks Link. The SmartThings Link, which can be used to connect Shield TV as a SmartThings Hub, will be released in the coming months with a promotional launch price of $14.99.
When Quantum Computers Come, They May Speak Microsoft
September 27, 2017
Microsoft has been working on a language for a computer that doesn't exist. The company unveiled the language -- as yet unnamed -- at its Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida. Part of its Visual Studio product, it will run on a quantum simulator and quantum computer. "Quantum computing is the next phase in computing," said Jack E. Gold, principal analyst at J.Gold Associates.
Innovation Requires Market Enablement
September 26, 2017
In this age of tech industry consolidation, one has to wonder what will happen with the pace of innovation as a few large companies begin to dominate. In personal computers, the WinTel marriage continues to control the technology, while Dell, HP and Lenovo control the devices. Similarly, in smartphones, Apple and Samsung, which both design their own chips and devices, dominate the market, especially in North America.
Einstein Tries Sales Forecasting
September 25, 2017
When Salesforce unveiled sales forecasting with its artificial intelligence tool, Einstein, my immediate reaction was that it should have tried something easier -- like solving global warming. Really, a sales forecast that bears some resemblance to reality has been a grail quest for all of us for many years, and Salesforce is not the first software company to throw its hat in the ring.
Sony's Foolish Failure to Learn From Microsoft's Mistake
September 25, 2017
Microsoft has learned a lot of very hard lessons over the last couple of decades, and it continues to surprise and annoy me that other firms seem to have the suicidal tendency to learn the same lessons the hard way. It is far better and cheaper to avoid the mistakes of others, but firms like Apple, Google and, most recently, Sony seem to want to experience past Microsoft disasters first hand.
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What effect is social media having on the current discussion of sexual misconduct?
It's enabling many more people to engage in serious discussions.
It's functioning mostly as an echo chamber.
It's giving everyone a voice.
It's creating much more divisiveness.
It's enabling a cultural re-education.
It's making my news feed so unpleasant I'm staying away.