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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.
Feds Seem to Favor 'Light Touch' IoT Regulation
July 24, 2018
The Internet of Things may be in its infancy, but the U.S. government has been gearing up to determine what the proper federal role should be, both for encouraging and for regulating the use of IoT technology. Two recent developments have underscored the government's interest in IoT. On the regulatory front, the CPSC has launched an initiative to determine a framework for regulation.
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.
Who's Your Buddy? The Evolution of OTT Video Partnerships
July 21, 2018
Buddy movies have been an entertainment staple for years. Like Felix and Oscar in The Odd Couple or Murtaugh and Riggs in Lethal Weapon, the buddy film genre shows how two people can overcome obstacles, and each other, to produce a happy ending. Today, we are seeing over-the-top video services buddy up with others in the market to find their own happy endings.
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.
How E-Commerce SMBs Can Weather Political, Social Firestorms
July 17, 2018
A national debate over civility erupted after Stephanie Wilkinson, a co-owner of a Red Hen restaurant in Virginia, asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave. That wasn't the only consequence of the incident, though. Restaurant owners in various parts of America whose businesses had the words "red hen" in their name were deluged with a storm of angry reactions.
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.
US Lawmakers Eye Apple, Alphabet Data Privacy Practices
July 11, 2018
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has written Alphabet CEO Larry Page and Apple CEO Tim Cook demanding information on their companies' practices with regard to third-party access, audio and location data collection. "This is a huge issue," said Consumer Watchdog's John Simpson. "People are becoming aware of how much data about them is being sucked up by their smartphones."
How to Flip Micro E-Commerce Companies
July 9, 2018
Flipping assets is nothing new -- just turn on HGTV to find countless house-flipping shows. The concept is simple: You buy an underperforming property, make some upgrades, and sell it for more than what you put in. Flipping real estate is no easy venture, though, and investors regularly lose money. The good news is that you can apply the flipping concept to much simpler fields.
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.
Intel's 'CEO Problem' Is Its Board
July 2, 2018
Tech companies have been going through a lot of CEOs of late. HP had a revolving door for CEOs with mistake after mistake. Yahoo's board kept making choices that made things worse, Uber's CEO almost took the company under, and CEOs fired for ethical lapses jumped a whopping 36 percent. When an employee misbehaves and has to be fired, it generally is at least partially the fault of management.
To Drive Change, Let Your Customers Be the Messengers
June 30, 2018
Before I was a parent, I was a youth leader. As individuals, teens had unique personalities, skills and stories, but one thing that was universal was the effect that parental communication had on them. Whether it was a criticism, a suggestion, or merely a bit of helpful information, the teens tended to look down on it, or even become hostile toward the messenger.
Oracle's Nice Numbers
June 30, 2018
Significant Q4 wins and earnings numbers reflect the strength of Oracle's resurgence as a cloud company. At its earnings call earlier this week, CEO Mark Hurd mentioned some big names -- including Johnson & Johnson, the Cleveland Clinic, Baylor University and AT&T -- that made significant commitments to Oracle in the quarter. For FY2018, total revenues were up 6 percent compared with fiscal 2017.
Breaking the Fraud Chain
June 29, 2018
Retailers' biggest worry is increasing e-commerce fraud -- including data breaches, targeted attacks and card-not-present fraud -- according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Online fraud is one of the biggest challenges facing retailers, with CNP fraud being one of their top worries. CNP fraud will hit $71 billion over the next five years, Juniper Research has forecast.
EU Watchdog Accuses Facebook, Google of Privacy Shenanigans
June 29, 2018
Facebook and Google have manipulated users into sharing data using so-called "dark patterns," according to a report from the Norwegian Consumer Council. The practices nudged users toward accepting privacy options that favored the tech companies rather than themselves, the NCC found. Facebook and Google have no intention of providing users with an actual choice, the NCC has claimed.
Trump Promotes Technology Business Management for Federal IT Acquisitions
June 28, 2018
Vendors seeking to crack the largest single global customer for information technology -- the U.S. government -- should keep a sharp eye on the ever-changing contract landscape. One of the recent changes initiated by the Trump administration for managing federal IT contracting focuses on the use of technology business management to improve the IT acquisition process.
What Net Neutrality's Repeal Means to E-Commerce SMBs
June 27, 2018
E-commerce SMBs are likely to be hit hard by the United States Federal Communications Commission's repeal of Net neutrality earlier this month. The move will let Internet service providers block and manipulate Internet usage and discriminate against users at will, according to critics. Various public interest groups have challenged the FCC's repeal of Net neutrality in the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Oracle's Creative Destruction
June 26, 2018
Although Oracle was one of the last major enterprise software vendors to move to the cloud, it has embraced the idea of creative destruction in breathtaking ways. With BYOL -- Bring Your Own License -- the company has inspired a movement of its traditional software customers to its infrastructure cloud. It continued the translation exercise with Oracle LaunchPad, a new online learning platform.
The Best Defense Against Fake News in Social Media
June 25, 2018
IBM just showcased Project Debater, and it just won against a top human debater using actual facts. We need the production version of this tool yesterday. The problem with fake news is that it is getting worse over time. We have always had issues with politicians and con artists trying to convince us down is up and to get us to do things that, were we informed, we'd never do.
EU Edges Closer to Adopting Controversial Copyright Rules
June 22, 2018
The European Union's Legal Affairs Committee has voted in favor of a directive on copyright in the digital single market, a proposal it has been wrestling with since its introduction in 2015. News of the vote kicked off a storm, as Article 13 of the directive effectively requires online content-sharing service providers evaluate all submissions to ensure they don't breach copyright.
Facebook Shores Up Its Position on Fake News Front
June 22, 2018
Facebook has announced new tactics to reduce the spread of fake news. Its efforts will include combining technology with human reviewers to identify and remove fake accounts; partnering with fact-checkers; and promoting news literacy. Facebook will expand its fact-checking programs to new countries, scrutinize photos and videos more closely, and increase the impact of fact-checking.
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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.