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Civil Liberties Board Takes Heat for NSA Spying Report
July 03, 2014
The U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has come under fire for its latest report on NSA surveillance. The report essentially says collection of information under Section 702 of FISA "has been valuable and effective in protecting the nation's security and producing useful foreign intelligence." However, because certain aspects of its implementation have raised privacy concerns.
Dell's Latitude 12 E7240 - in and Beyond the Office
July 03, 2014
A confluence of recent events has gotten me thinking about laptops. First, IDC and Gartner released PC market surveys that suggest a significant slowing in the declines plaguing PC sales for the past few years. Then last week, due to "stronger than expected demand for business PCs," Intel said it was raising Q2 and full-year revenue and gross margin expectations.
T-Mobile's Legere Sputters Over FTC's Cramming Accusations
July 02, 2014
T-Mobile's efforts to market itself as the un-carrier that puts customers first may be impacted by the FTC's allegations that it has engaged in "cramming" -- charging consumers for services offered by third-party companies without their knowledge or consent. T-Mobile's fiery CEO, John Legere, dismissed the FTC complaint as "unfounded and without merit."
Salesforce.com, Philips Launch Health Cloud Revolution
July 01, 2014
Salesforce and Philips last week announced they had teamed up on a cloud computing initiative designed to transform existing healthcare platforms. The companies plan to create an open cloud-based healthcare platform that will allow everyone from software developers to health insurance companies to connect and exchange information via Salesforce's health cloud.
Google's GAL Makes Glowing I/O Debut
June 27, 2014
One of the many notable things to come out of Google's I/O conference this week was the announcement that 40 new auto industry companies representing 25 brands had joined the Open Automotive Alliance, which Google formed earlier this year. Google also unveiled Google Automotive Link, or GAL, which works like Apple's Carplay, along with an Android Auto software development kit.
Red Hat's Acquisition-Fueled Climb to the Cloud
June 26, 2014
Red Hat is famous for focusing squarely on a market and technology and building success from there, as it did with Linux. However, the company increasingly has diverged from its roots and historical laser focus on the enterprise x86 server market. The overarching theme and identity of Red Hat is still open source software, but the main driver for the company clearly is now cloud computing.
Show Season Observations
June 25, 2014
Not that the shows ever end, but as I regain my spot on the ground, I have a few observations from the many shows that I have been to or read about over the last eight weeks. First, if you think that cloud platforms are simply a nice alternative to software licenses, you should think again. It's human nature to apply new technologies to old problems, and that's what such an approach really does.
No Unanimity in Reactions to SC's Unanimous Software Patent Decision
June 25, 2014
When the U.S. Supreme Court issues a unanimous decision, it's easy to conclude that it must be right on the facts, right on the law, and right in applying the law to the facts. So what's not to like about its recent 9-0 ruling in a software patent case? The decision was spot-on -- or at least nearly spot-on, according to Victoria Espinel, president and CEO of the Business Software Alliance.
Five9 Adds Social, Mobile to Its Cloud Call Center Repertoire
June 23, 2014
Five9 has introduced Summer Release 2014, the latest version of its cloud contact center software. The company's first major release since its 8.1 launch last year, it follows Five9's acquisition of SoCoCare, a social engagement and mobile customer care provider. SoCoCare's feature set is part of the basis for the new release. As a result, Summer Release 2014 is now a multichannel desktop app.
Tide Turns in Favor of Crime-Fighting Smartphone Kill Switches
June 23, 2014
In the wake of overwhelming evidence that the kill switch Apple introduced in iOS 7 last year has reduced iPhone thefts, Google and Microsoft have agreed to follow suit. SF D.A. George Gascon and NY A.G. Eric Schneiderman, who have spearheaded the battle to implement smartphone kill switches, last week announced that the next versions of Android and Windows Phone will include a kill switch.
White House Tilts Toward Public-Private Cybersecurity Cooperation
June 23, 2014
The Obama administration and the private sector -- often at odds over the regulation of everything from telecom issues to software protection to the environment -- apparently agree that a major issue dealing with cybersecurity should be addressed on a cooperative basis, largely free of federal regulation. The White House recently signaled its tilt toward a cooperative and voluntary approach.
The Amazon Fire Phone's Mayday Effect
June 20, 2014
Amazon unveiled its Fire Phone this week, sparking wide interest, if not acclaim. The Fire Phone comes with some innovative features: a dynamic perspective display made possible by six cameras that track the user's head and eye movements; and Firefly, an intelligent assistant that can give Apple's Siri a serious run for its money. Then there is Mayday, a support service feature.
The Maker Faire Gets the Obama Bump
June 19, 2014
Hopeful tinkerers and entrepreneurs gathered Wednesday on the White House lawn to showcase their innovative ideas at the Maker Faire. The Maker Faire brings together students, educators, artists, engineers and innovators who have an invention or an idea about how to make something. Billed as "The Greatest Show (and Tell) On Earth," the Maker Faire got its start in the Bay Area.
Dems Push Net Neutrality Against the Odds
June 19, 2014
Congressional Democrats are taking another go at Net neutrality. Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Doris Matsui, a member of the House Energy Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, have introduced an act that would require the FCC to ban "paid prioritization" agreements between a broadband provider and a content provider.
How Will Regulators Chaperone the Big Merger Dance?
June 19, 2014
SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son may have new hope for a Sprint, T-Mobile merger. After SoftBank merged with Sprint last summer, Son set his sights on T-Mobile. There was early resistance from regulators, but that may be softening, with Comcast-Time Warner Cable and AT&T-DirecTV having joined the merger dance. Trying to understand and predict what regulators will do is always a challenge.
HP Follows IBM's Lead With Enterprise Applications for Workday
June 18, 2014
HP on Tuesday announced HP Enterprise Applications Services for Workday -- essentially consulting services for customers of Workday's SaaS. Workday is an HCM package that unifies human resources, talent management, payroll and financial management. It is cloud-based and fully enabled for mobile use. All customers work with just one version of the application, so everyone gets the same update.
Cutting Through the Data Clouds to Build Strong Customer Relationships
June 17, 2014
Successful companies today run largely on data and analytics. The more precisely you can measure the various aspects of your business, the better you can fine-tune its performance. With e-commerce companies especially, everything can be measured, which has provided some amazing opportunities to improve performance -- but sometimes it can lead to issues.
IBM's Empowerment of SAP HANA
June 17, 2014
SAP's recent Sapphire NOW user and partner conference in Orlando was a love fest for the company's HANA in-memory database technology. SAP has made it quite clear that HANA is far more than an innovative solution for Big Data, analytics and business intelligence workloads. In fact, HANA and complementary SAP solutions represent the future for the company and its customers and partners.
How Can a 'Tech President' Be So Tech-Backward?
June 16, 2014
Like a lot of people in tech, I was really excited to see President Obama get elected. It seemed like he got technology, and he used it brilliantly in two campaigns. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to use it well in actually running the government. From the Affordable Health Care Act to the Veterans Administration, the Obama presidency has been a tale of dumb and dumber when it comes to tech.
AT&T, DirecTV Merger Could Hamper Cord-Cutting
June 13, 2014
AT&T's planned merger with DirecTV is far from a done deal. Among the objections that have been raised is one stemming from a filing this week with the FCC. There is now concern that the merger would make it more difficult for consumers to cut their cable-TV cords. The companies told the FCC in a public interest statement that the merger is the only way they would be able to compete.

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