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IBM Aims to Harness Internet of Things
March 31, 2015
IBM on Tuesday announced it will spend $3 billion over a four-year period on a new Internet of Things unit involving thousands of consultants, developers and research staff. The company intends to establish an IoT Cloud Open Platform for Industries, which will extract data for business intelligence, and set up a Bluemix IoT Zone, which will help leverage that data for app design.
Facebook Invites App Devs to Join in Messenger Family Planning
March 27, 2015
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg this week told an audience at the F8 conference for Facebook developers that the company's future lies in its family of apps and in giving the network's members the ability to share what they want, where they want. "We're building this family so we can offer unique, world-class experiences for all of the ways that people want to share," Zuckerberg said.
The Internet's Split Personality
March 27, 2015
The Internet has been good for education but bad for morality, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. Researchers conducted face-to-face surveys with 36,619 people in 32 developing countries. A median of 64 percent of respondents said the Internet has had a good influence on education. On the other hand, a median of 42 percent said the Internet has had a bad influence on morality.
Twitter's Periscope Allows Live Stream Replays
March 26, 2015
Live streaming from mobile devices has been having a rebirth of sorts with the proliferation of 4G, the continued rise of smart devices and the quickening pace of the demise of feature phones. Twitter has been seeking its own rebirth, and it's wagering that its renaissance will be influenced largely by Periscope, a new live-streaming app that just surfaced.
Over-the-Air Tinkering Keeps Tesla's Model S New
March 25, 2015
Tesla CEO Elon Musk last week said that the company's line of high-end electric cars will get some autonomous driving capabilities via an over-the-air software update this summer. The new features will let drivers give their vehicles control of certain tasks on major roads, possibly even highways. Other software updates for the Tesla S already are rolling out.
Facebook Aims to Turn Social Media Into 'the' Media
March 24, 2015
Facebook reportedly has been talking with multiple news organizations about hosting their content on its network, rather than linking to their websites. No deal has been finalized, but The New York Times, BuzzFeed and National Geographic are among its first likely partners. They may be interested in negotiating with Facebook now because they understand change is inevitable.
Obama Lauds STEM Progress at White House Science Fair
March 24, 2015
President Obama on Monday announced $240 million in new pledges from private businesses, schools and foundations across the country for STEM -- science, technology, engineering and math -- education. The president also announced that a national goal set four years ago to provide 98 percent of Americans with high-speed wireless Internet has been reached ahead of schedule.
PlayStation Vue Could Put Cable TV in Rear-View Mirror
March 19, 2015
Sony on Wednesday launched its PlayStation Vue streaming service in New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia. A combination of live and on-demand TV with a cloud-based DVR, Vue is available on the PS4 and PS3 in those cities. Users' favorite shows and channels will be right on the home screen whenever they fire up the service. The DVR lets users save favorite shows and store them for up to 28 days.
Apple's TV Plans Come Into Focus
March 18, 2015
Apple is expected to launch a Web-TV service this fall, offering 25 channels of content from various providers. Its pending move "is yet another sign that the traditional pay-TV provider lock on programming distribution continues to erode," said IDC analyst Greg Ireland. "The availability of more options ... will attract attention from cord-cutters and current pay-TV subscribers alike."
New Facebook Marketing Tool Chews Up Data, Spits It Out
March 17, 2015
Facebook has launched Topic Data, a new service that reveals to advertisers the subjects users discuss, the products they use, and the activities they follow. Marketers will be able to sift through data compilations of what users say about events, brands, subjects and activities. Data on all of Facebook's 1.3 billion users will be used -- anonymized and aggregated to protect their identities.
Facebook Talks Tough About Online Harassment
March 17, 2015
Facebook on Monday issued a new set of community standards, including provisions designed to clamp down on revenge porn, bullying, threats and other forms of online harassment. Facebook will remove content that appears to purposefully target private individuals with the intent of degrading or shaming them, or that threatens or promotes sexual violence or exploitation.
Cortana Could Edge Out Siri, Google Now
March 13, 2015
Microsoft later this year will offer its Cortana personal assistant as a standalone app for iOS and Android devices. The engine behind Cortana is "arguably better than [Siri or Google Now] simply because it's far more mature and comprehensive," said tech analyst Rob Enderle. The Cortana personal assistant evolved from the AI character Cortana in the Halo video game series.
Twitter Tries, Tries Again to Reduce Abuse
March 13, 2015
Twitter this week updated its rules to combat online abuse and revenge porn, in the wake of continuing outrage among netizens. The most significant change is a new statement that users may not post intimate photos or videos that were taken or distributed without the subject's consent. Sounds good, but like last month's update, it's more bark than bite.
Astroturfing's Legality Is in the Weeds
March 13, 2015
We see it all the time: a glowing 5-star comment on Yelp about our favorite neighborhood restaurant. At first glance, it looks authentic. However, what if the review actually were purchased by the restaurant? Would that change your perspective on the review or the restaurant? Of course, paying for advertising is hardly new. Celebrities for years have endorsed products and restaurants.
FCC Drops Net Neutrality Rules on Dissection Table
March 12, 2015
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has released the final version of its controversial open Internet rules. In the introduction to the some 400 pages of new rules, which cover both wired and wireless broadband, the commission stated its "carefully tailored rules" would prevent specific practices that are harmful to Internet openness, such as blocking, throttling and paid prioritization.
Samsung Offers Free Milk to All
March 12, 2015
Samsung has opened its Milk Music streaming music service to anyone via a Web browser, one year after introducing it on its mobile devices. "In a word, why?" questioned Mike Goodman, director of digital media at Strategy Analytics. "There's Pandora, there's Spotify, there's Google Music Play ... . They're offering a lot of the same things everybody else is offering."
Google Roars Onto Auto Insurance Turf
March 11, 2015
Google last week launched an auto insurance rate comparison site in California. Mercury Insurance, MetLife and 21st Century Insurance are among the 14 firms already signed up as partners, and Google promises more will follow. Bolt Solutions last week announced that it too has joined up. "We have a Google Compare agreement with Google," said Bolt spokesperson Chrissy Snyder.
What Mobile World Congress Delivered Besides Same-Old Smartphones
March 10, 2015
The latest handsets and tablets received their share of headlines at this year's MWC, but their mindshare shrank considerably. Sony unveiled its Xperia Z4 tablet, possibly its last hurrah in the mobile space. Meanwhile, Samsung's Galaxy S6 smartphone stole the spotlight. However, with more than 2,000 tech organizations promoting their wares and services, MWC 2015 offered a fresh set of promises.
Ellen Pao Airs Kleiner Perkins' Dirty Laundry
March 10, 2015
Ellen Pao on Monday testified in a San Franciso courtroom that she was passed up for promotions and sexually harassed by a partner during her employment at prestigious venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers. Pao said that after she broke off a relationship with former Kleiner Perkins partner Ajit Nazre, he made it difficult for her to do her job.
Apple Springs Bevy of New Products at Watch Event
March 9, 2015
The Apple Watch wasn't the only new product to take the stage at Apple's Monday media event -- Apple also introduced an all-new sleek MacBook. In addition, Apple nabbed the chance to be the exclusive launch partner for HBO's new streaming subscription service. Among the event highlights: Apple Watch will be available for preorder April 10, sale April 24; and Apple Watch Edition starts at $10,000.
Private, Public Teamwork Needed to Fight ISIS on Twitter: Report
March 9, 2015
Social media firms should team up with the U.S. government to work out appropriate responses to extremism on their sites, recommends a Brookings Institution report. J.M. Berger and Jonathon Morgan last year launched a study to define and describe the population of ISIS supporters on Twitter. They found that ISIS ramped up efforts on Twitter following the suspension of many supporters' accounts.
Capitalizing on the Cloud
March 6, 2015
I've been traversing North America keynoting a series of cloud events hosted by Oracle. At every stop of the roadshow my comments regarding the opportunity to transform traditional product businesses into powerful information services via cloud-based alternatives has generated the greatest interest among enterprise decision-makers and software developers alike.
Nextdoor Snags $110M for Community-Building Efforts
March 5, 2015
Nextdoor on Wednesday announced it has received $110 million in venture capital to grow its neighborhood-based network of residents and vendors. Nextdoor plans to use the money to develop additional ways for members to benefit from the recommendations shared on the social network. "People don't know their neighbors -- but we are changing that," said spokesperson Jennifer Burke.
The Great War's Untapped Video Game Opportunities
March 5, 2015
It's fair to say that game developers have missed an opportunity with World War I. It was the first conflict to see aircraft used in combat, the first to see tanks and other armored vehicles make an appearance on the battlefield, and the first war in more than a century to completely draw in the major powers of the world. WWI should be a setting ripe for action and strategy games.

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Are tablets over?
No - Mine is a prized possession.
No - Heavy laptops are over.
No - I don't have one yet, but I want one.
Maybe - They're good for kids, though.
Yes - Large smartphones make them redundant.
Yes - I won't replace mine.
Yes - Don't have one, don't want one.
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