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Cloud Providers Profit by Serving Nonprofits
June 06, 2014
One of the sure signs of a maturing company, or even an entire industry, is the ability to offer free services to nonprofit organizations in order to demonstrate benevolence. However, such charitable acts aren't just about being altruistic. As a growing number of cloud providers are discovering, there are plenty of new revenue and profit opportunities in the nonprofit sector.
What's the Future of Selling?
June 04, 2014
I think about the future -- perhaps too much. I recently read Jeremy Rifkin's new book, The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism, and it made me think about the future of work. Rifkin's thesis is that automation is taking on more and more jobs that once were thought to be the province of skilled labor.
Spammers Quick to Exploit eBay Breach
June 03, 2014
If you're a spammer, big news like the recent breach of eBay's computers is like striking oil in your back yard. Spammers live for headline-grabbing events that they can use to separate gullible Web wanderers from their money, so the eBay breach is a perfect vehicle for a scam. In this case, they try to convince recipients their eBay credentials could be used to give them a criminal record.
TrueCrypt's Mysterious Vanishing Act
June 02, 2014
Anyone would be distressed to discover the disappearance of a favorite piece of software, but when the software in question was open source and endorsed by Edward Snowden -- and when the developer's site begins offering instructions for migrating to a Microsoft product instead -- alarm bells are sure to begin ringing throughout the FOSS world. That, sure enough, is just what's been going on.
Can Apple Do for Smart Homes What It Did for Smartphones?
June 02, 2014
Apple is rumored to be launching a smart home platform at its developer conference this week. The smart home market is actually in a place that's rather similar to where MP3 players were when Apple launched the iPod, and the iPhone is basically an iPod with phone capability. The smart home effort is in part about music and video distribution, and iPhones are commonly used as remote controls.
IBM Flexes X6 and Xeon Muscle
June 02, 2014
IBM's new Flex System compute node solutions -- the x280 X6, x480 X6 and x880 X6 -- don't qualify as anything new, some might say. After all, they utilize solutions announced months ago -- IBM's X6 in mid-January and Intel's Xeon E7v2 a month later -- which means they simply have been upgraded with the respective vendors' latest and greatest technologies.
Salesforce, MS Deal Could Put Mobile CRM on Steroids
May 30, 2014
Now "anyone can run their business from their phone," Salesforce.com recently promised when it announced its Salesforce1 Mobile App. Many company announcements tend to overpromise, and Salesforce has a tendency to be particularly exuberant, so I took it with the customary grain of salt. My skepticism vanished on Thursday, when Salesforce and Microsoft announced a global strategic partnership.
The Real Reason Apple Bought Beats: Addiction
May 30, 2014
I get the sense that a good many Apple enthusiasts are confused by its acquisition of Beats Electronics. Sure, many are nodding their heads, saying that Beats is good for Apple and makes total sense. The headphones are selling well. With 250,000 paying subscribers, the Beats Music service is taking off fast, and it can only be elevated by Apple's global brand and infrastructure.
Poor Mistake Management: 3 Model Lessons
May 29, 2014
I am a nerd with a goofy hobby -- I build plastic model airplanes. However, that hobby affords me a view of customer relationship issues in an interesting and intimate way. Most of the time, the vendors in this space get things right, realizing theirs is a niche industry and their customers really are in charge, especially since all spending in this sector is discretionary.
Kudos to Xactly
May 28, 2014
Xactly, the SaaS-based incentive compensation solutions provider, has kicked it up a notch. The user meeting I attended last week in San Francisco was very successful -- but more importantly, it made some real news in the compensation space. Conferences like this often are news generators -- or, more precisely, they're PR engines. Everybody with a show announces something.
Chinese Media: Cisco Is Playing on US Cyberspy Team
May 28, 2014
Cisco has been accused of being in bed with U.S. cyberspying efforts, according to a Chinese state media outlet. Cisco "carries on intimately" with U.S. spying apparatuses, the outlet claims, and plays "a disgraceful role" in efforts to prop up U.S. power over the Web. Cisco denied the accusations. Beijing definitely seems to have taken umbrage with last week's U.S. indictments for cyberespionage.
Apple May Connect the Smart Home of Your Dreams
May 27, 2014
The hottest tech rumor of the week already happened, and it's only Tuesday: Apple is finally breaking into home automation -- connected lights, thermostats, security systems and home appliances. And the key? the iPhones that already are carried by millions of consumers. The rumor hit Monday, and it's exploded with a flurry of newsy posts and opinions. So where did it come from? And why now?
Tales of Distros Tried and True
May 27, 2014
It was another tempestuous week here in the Linux blogosphere, thanks not just to the controversy over Systemd, but also the apparent arrival of DRM on none other than our favorite free and open source browser. "Mozilla holds its nose and supports DRM video in Firefox" is Linux Girl's favorite headline of the lot; "Can This Web Be Saved? Mozilla Accepts DRM, and We All Lose" is a close second.
Sony, China Strike PlayStation Deal
May 27, 2014
Japanese electronics giant Sony has inked a deal in China to manufacture and sell PlayStation consoles in the Middle Kingdom. The partnership creates two joint ventures with Shanghai Oriental Pearl, which will enable Sony to operate out of Shanghai's free trade zone. China's early-2014 approval of videogame consoles from foreign companies reversed a years-long ban.
Microsoft Opens .Net, Hops on Devops Bandwagon
May 23, 2014
Microsoft recently established a .Net foundation and open sourced substantial parts of the popular programming language, continuing to spread its newfound love for open source software. However, devops may be more of a driving factor. In establishing the independent .Net Foundation and making more key pieces of .Net open source, Microsoft was promoting collaboration and community, it said.
China Calls for Increased Testing of IT Products
May 23, 2014
The ever-testy cyberstandoff between the U.S. and China got a new twist when Beijing announced that it would start "cybersecurity vetting of major IT products and services" used for national security and public interests. The vetting is designed to prevent suppliers from using their products to control, disrupt or shut down clients' systems, or from using the systems to scoop up information.
Iran Releases Fans Detained Over Music Video
May 22, 2014
Iran has released at least some of the people who appeared in a music video for a song by American pop artist Pharrell Williams. The video, set to the Williams tune "Happy," showed people dancing on rooftops of the capital of Tehran. It is not clear if all of the people arrested for making the Tehran-based video have been released or if they later will be put on trial.
Look Who's Pushing Retailers to Go Omnichannel
May 21, 2014
Only the truly dedicated shopper realizes this -- and of course, anyone who follows the retail industry (I happen to fall in both categories) -- but most shopping centers in the United States are owned by just a handful of companies, called "real estate investment trusts," or REITs, if they are publicly held. On the surface, this is irrelevant to average shoppers.
Google's EU Migraine Rears Up
May 21, 2014
Yeah, about that breakthrough between Google and European antitrust regulators... The European Union's antitrust chief might pursue a tougher stance on Google than the one outlined in a February agreement, which was believed to have end -- finally -- the legal circus between the two sides. Google had agreed to display rivals' links more prominently in its search results, a chief concern.
Anonymous Philippines Harasses China
May 20, 2014
Anonymous Philippines, the Philippines branch of the hacktivist collective Anonymous, defaced more than 200 Chinese websites over a territorial dispute between the two countries. The group announced the move on its Facebook page, offering a detailed list of all websites it had infiltrated. The hacking spree stems from the dustup over Scarborough Shoal, also known as "Huangyan Island."

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