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A Lot to Like in the Midwest
October 01, 2014
There was a lot to like at Salesforce ExactTarget's Connections 2014 user conference in Indianapolis last week. Now all that's needed is a shorter name. The words "marketing cloud" need to be fitted in there too, but I forget how. Perhaps it's ExactTarget's Midwest roots, but I can see a genuine concern for the customer emanating from the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud and it plays well.
Darkcoin Steps Out of the Shadows
October 01, 2014
Darkcoin has exited beta and is now ready for mainstream use. Also, the software's code is now open source. Darkcoin is the first fully open source cryptocurrency with financial privacy built directly into the software, its developers claimed. Open-sourcing financial software is vitally important, they said, because it instills confidence that users' financial privacy is protected.
Tech Advances Will Give Aging Baby Boomers More Independence
October 01, 2014
The U.S. is facing a retirement wave; 76 million Baby Boomers are beginning to hit the 65-year-old mark. By 2025, the number of people between 65 and 85 will account for 16.6 percent of the population. In the U.S., the elderly prefer aging in their own home, but it can be risky. Connectivity and technology advances are enabling more sophisticated devices and tools to help consumers and caretakers.
Give the Gift of Social Customer Service
September 30, 2014
Snow flurries and the smell of pine needles. Eggnog and hot apple cider. Gingerbread men and latkes. Stockings and dreidels. Ornaments and menorahs. Trips to see family, and... visits to the customer service department? The holiday season is upon us, and it isn't complete without a customer service interaction or two. Remember when there was an actual customer service counter in department stores?
Apple and Oracle - Are We Suckers or What?
September 29, 2014
"There's a sucker born every minute." What's kind of funny about that famous quote is that there is no record of P.T. Barnum ever saying it, and there's a lot of evidence he was too smart to have done so. Whether Barnum made the observation or whether those words were uttered by any number of con men instead, the fact remains we are often excessively gullible.
Leveling the Monetization Playing Field on the Internet of Things
September 29, 2014
The Internet of Things is expected to be a $7 trillion market in six years. However, many small to medium-sized IT firms that do not have the capital to acquire the Nests of the world are left to wonder how they can benefit from this lucrative trend. SMBs with little or no IT in-house support can monetize this new market without reinventing the wheel.
Debunking the Lead Numbers Myth
September 29, 2014
Sales people love leads. They want lots of them, and they want them now. The more leads, the more money -- because sales is a numbers game, right? Well, yes and no. Some believe in an equation that says X number of leads will produce Y number of closed deals. If you make X greater, Y will be greater, too, right? That's a quaint thought, but it's not the way it works.
FBI Director Comey Gives Apple and Google a Tongue-Lashing
September 26, 2014
FBI Director James Comey on Thursday strongly criticized Apple and Google for hardening information stored in smartphones by encrypting data, making it inaccessible to law enforcement even with a court order. The FBI has had conversations with both Apple and Google over the encryption features, Comey said, although he personally was not involved in those talks.
Amazon Takes a Leap of Faith With 'Transparent'
September 26, 2014
With the launch on Friday of its latest original series, Transparent, Amazon may be signaling its intention to challenge Netflix in the streaming video market. Amazon already has earned praise for its original programming, but it hasn't reached the critical or audience success of Netflix offerings such as House of Cards or Orange Is the New Black.
Apple Dismisses Bendgate
September 26, 2014
Apple has been plagued by two iPhone 6 issues in recent days: 1) an update to its iOS 8 operating system wound up disrupting cellular connectivity and disabling the Touch ID fingerprint reader to unlock it; and 2) numerous reports surfaced in mainstream and social media that it bends. About the iOS 8 issue, Apple has been most apologetic. On the reports of the iPhone 6 bending? Not so much.
Desktop PCs May Be Poised for a Comeback
September 26, 2014
Desktop computer users are more satisfied with their devices than laptop and tablet owners, according to a recent American Customer Satisfaction Index survey. However, the category of personal computer satisfaction in general appears to be somewhat in the dumps. The annual measure of satisfaction fell 1.3 points to a score of 78 out of a possible 100.
Where Apple Watch Leads, CRM Will Follow?
September 25, 2014
CRM system users are a versatile bunch. Some 29 percent of participants in a recent survey accessed CRM through four devices: laptops, desktops, tablets and smartphones. Twenty percent said they used a combination of three of the aforementioned form factors, and about 81 percent said they used multiple devices to access CRM, according to Software Advice's report.
Apple Redoubles Efforts to Fix iOS 8 Glitches
September 25, 2014
Apple on Thursday announced it's preparing iOS 8.0.2 -- which will include a fix for problems triggered by iOS 8.0.1 -- and plans to release it in the next few days. In a rare move, Apple on Wednesday suspended downloads of iOS 8.0.1, which aimed to fix problems uncovered after the launch of iOS 8. What's more, it recommended a downgrade for owners of Apple's new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
Self-Driving Car Security: No Room for Error
September 25, 2014
Walk into any electronics store and you will find antivirus software from companies like Norton, ESET, McAfee and Kaspersky. In the last few years, the risk has spread from our computers to our smartphones and our tablets. The next thing we will have to protect may be our cars -- and our lives could depend on it. We used to think the computer was the only device that needed virus protection.
The Dark Side of Apple Design: From Antennagate to Bendgate
September 25, 2014
When Apple -- which is clearly one of the world's best companies at design -- makes a misstep, it's amplified by a wild combination of user dismay and hater glee. Because there are millions of users and many haters, a design flaw can turn into an instant public relations tornado. Enter Bendgate, featuring the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Apparently, carrying them in your pocket can make them bend.
Comcast Blasts TWC Merger Foes
September 25, 2014
Comcast on Tuesday lashed out at critics of its $45.2 billion bid for TWC, accusing Discovery Communications of making "extortionate demands." Netflix also drew Comcast's ire. The proposed merger is in the public interest, Comcast maintained. "It is not extortion to demand that Comcast provide its own customers the broadband speeds they've paid for," said Netflix spokesperson Cliff Edwards.
iPhone 6 Bendgate: The End of Tight Jeans?
September 24, 2014
Another new Apple product, another "-gate" debacle. This time, it's bendgate. On the heels of the release of the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus handsets earlier this month has come an uproar over an unexpected weakness: In short, when stashed in a pocket of a tight pair of pants, the iPhone 6 Plus bends -- and it doesn't return to its original shape when removed.
The Growing Allure of E-Commerce Systems Integration
September 24, 2014
The power of e-commerce lies in the simplicity and ease of use delivered to customers. Giving customers the ability to quickly find a product, buy it and have it delivered -- without visiting a store or even speak with a salesperson -- lets companies sell on a massive scale with little overhead. However, behind the simple purchasing process that the customer sees is a very complex set of systems.
Giving Your B2B Customers an Experience That Fits
September 23, 2014
Just as businesses used to fool themselves into believing they controlled the customer conversation, many businesses today think they define the customer experience. They think that by assembling the right combination of processes, environment and people, they can develop an experience that will delight the customer. The B2B customer, however, typically has a well-defined experience in mind.
Pants on Fire, Schmidt Tells Climate Change Denier ALEC
September 23, 2014
Google on Monday publicly denounced the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council for lying about climate change. "We funded them as part of a political campaign for something unrelated," Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt told a caller to NPR's Diane Rehm Show. "I think the consensus within the company is that was sort of a mistake. We're trying to not do that in the future."
Will the Beats Go On?
September 23, 2014
Apple appears to be planning changes for the Beats Music streaming service, following its $3 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics in May. Information from sources supposedly in the know indicated the company was planning to discontinue the service, according to one report, but Apple indicated the rumor was "not true." It's possible that Apple is planning to rebrand the service, however.
EMC Swings Its Partners in Rumored Deal Talks
September 22, 2014
Intrigue is thick surrounding EMC these days. The story line goes something like this: An activist shareholder is pressuring EMC to sell itself to companies that might be interested in acquiring the data storage giant. The list of possible suitors is short -- the two names that keep circulating are HP and Dell. EMC apparently has been discussing merger possibilities with HP for a year or more.
The Coming Virtual Lifestyle Revolution
September 22, 2014
Uplinq, Qualcomm's big -- and it was big -- developers' conference, took place last week. There were two parts that were particularly interesting. One was its new robotics effort, and the other was the announcement that it's pushing Vuforia, its augmented reality platform, into wearable head-mounted displays -- think Google Glass on steroids -- that we may end up wearing every waking moment.
Ellison Hands One Rein to Catz, the Other to Hurd
September 19, 2014
Larry Ellison, founder and CEO of Oracle since 1977, has passed the torch to not one but two successors: copresidents Mark Hurd and Safra Catz. Ellison will remain part of the executive cadre in the position of CTO. He also will serve as chairman of the board. The announcement, which came late Thursday, prompted equal parts reflection and speculation.

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