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Customer Science
January 28, 2015
Part of my new year routine has been ordering new business cards. In this electronic age, they are the only things I actually print, and I'm a writer! In a few weeks I'll publish a book, Solve for the Customer, in paperback, and the two are related. I made a discovery while writing the book that fundamentally changes what I do for a living and the title I use, hence my need to reprint.
Tech-Savvy Cubans Build Their Own Private Internet
January 28, 2015
Because Cuba's government makes it difficult for all but a handful of Cubans to access the Internet, people in Havana and other parts of the country reportedly have linked thousands of PCs to create an informal network known as "StreetNet," or "SNet" for short. The network was built with commercially available equipment. The PCs are connected by WiFi and Ethernet cables strung over rooftops.
Oculus VR's Story Studio to Create Cinematic Virtual Reality Experiences
January 27, 2015
Oculus VR on Monday unveiled a new project at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Oculus Story Studio will produce movies in virtual reality. It presented its first example of the genre on Monday evening -- a 4-minute experience called Lost. Oculus, which was founded in 2012, was acquired last year by Facebook for a reported $2.2 billion.
Wikileaks Steamed Over Google's Lengthy Silence on FBI Snooping
January 27, 2015
Google may have contributed to violating the First Amendment rights of three journalists working for WikiLeaks two and a half years ago, when it turned over to the FBI all their email, subscriber information and metadata. Google informed the journalists about its actions last month, saying that it had been unable to do so earlier due to a gag order.
China Overtakes US in iPhone Sales
January 27, 2015
Apple is expected this week to report that last year's iPhone sales in China exceeded those in the U.S. Thirty-six percent of iPhone shipments in the most recent quarter reportedly went to China, while just 24 percent went to the U.S. This shift took place over the past year; in the year-ago quarter, the U.S. accounted for 29 percent of all units sold, while 22 percent went to China.
Coinbase Bitcoin Exchange Off to a Rocky Start
January 26, 2015
Coinbase on Monday launched Coinbase Exchange, the first regulated bitcoin exchange in the U.S. It got the jump on the upcoming Gemini exchange currently being established by Cameron and Tyler Winkelvoss. The firm debuted in 24 U.S. states, but the launch was bedeviled with problems. Some pages reportedly failed to load completely, and some users had problems with access.
Debian Forked: All for Devuan and Devuan for All?
January 26, 2015
A group of developers made good on their threats to fork Debian Linux late last year, after the community's leadership voted to replace sysvinit with systemd, making systemd the default init boot process. The Debian Technical Committee's decision spurred several key Debian developers and project maintainers to resign. Some of them formed a new community dedicated to forking Debian.
Winkelvoss Twins Plan to Tame Bitcoins
January 26, 2015
Cameron and Tyler Winkelvoss on Friday announced Gemini, a regulated bitcoin exchange to be based in the United States. The Winkelvoss twins, who shot to fame when they sued Facebook and won $65 million, have assembled a team of security experts, technologists and financial engineers to build a world-class exchange from the ground up, based on security.
Microsoft's Windows Reboot Could Be Legendary
January 26, 2015
I was one of the launch analysts for Windows 95, and the launch of that product is widely held -- including by Bill Gates -- as the company's pinnacle. No launch before or since ever came close to that launch, and I remain amazed that no one, including Apple or Microsoft, has ever really attempted to duplicate that effort. Windows 10 has the potential to be even greater than Windows 95.
The Brave New World of Windows 10
January 23, 2015
Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled a slew of new features and capabilities coming in Windows 10: the convergence of the desktop and mobile; the advent of the killer universal app; more power and features for personal digital assistant Cortana, which will be on mobile as well as desktops and laptops; improvements to maps; a new browser; a strong emphasis on gaming; and holographic computing.
Quinn's Crash Override Combats Cyberbullying
January 22, 2015
Crash Override made its official debut last week, promising a new way to support targets of online bullying and harassment. Cofounder Zoe Quinn, a video game developer, is one of the better-known people on the receiving end of such abuse. For her, it started when an ex-boyfriend alleged in a blog post that Quinn had traded sex for favorable reviews from a journalist for a video game news site.
Chen Calls on Congress to Mandate BlackBerry Apps
January 22, 2015
BlackBerry CEO John Chen set off a barrage of online chatter Wednesday when he proposed that any rules the U.S. adopts to preserve Net neutrality also should guarantee application neutrality. Chen made the proposal in a letter to two U.S. congressional panels and posted an adapted version on the company's blog. Both the FCC and Congress are considering Net neutrality proposals.
Could Microsoft's Foggy Windows 10 Plan Be Any Smarter?
January 22, 2015
The most important and daring move that Microsoft made Wednesday is far and away making the upgrade to Windows 10 free. Seems dirt-simple and intuitive on the surface, but it represents a startling and abrupt shift in both how users will relate to Microsoft and how Microsoft innovates with Windows going forward. I'm an unabashed Apple fan -- but I can appreciate a smart move when I see one.
AT&T's Iusacell Deal Could Change Mexico
January 22, 2015
AT&T recently completed its acquisition of Mexico wireless carrier Iusacell -- so what does that mean for the future of AT&T? The growth potential is enormous. The first step is over. AT&T has closed the acquisition. It was one of the quickest deals ever, taking roughly two months from start to finish. The second step is also complete, with AT&T's Thaddeus Arroyo being promoted to CEO of Iusacell.
Time to Drill Deeper
January 21, 2015
This is not an article about fracking -- drilling for gas and oil in shale. This is about "drilling down" into big data. We've been using the term for a long time and it provides a useful metaphor for data analysis. However, we've conditioned ourselves to think of drilling down only to a superficial degree, and that needs a rethink. When data wasn't big, we were only able to scratch the surface.
Report: Dumb Password Use on the Decline
January 21, 2015
Millions of Net surfers use obvious passwords to log on to websites, but their numbers appear to be declining. SplashData on Tuesday published its annual list of the top 25 most common -- thus worst -- passwords leaked online. In the top spot was "123456," followed by "password" and "12345." Both "123456" and "password" claimed the top spots in 2013, too.
Businesses Waste Big Bucks Fighting Phantom Cyberattacks
January 21, 2015
Businesses spend an average of $1.27 million a year chasing cyberthreats that turn out to be dead ends. That is one of the findings in a report released last week on the cost of containing malware. In a typical week, an organization can receive nearly 17,000 malware alerts, although only 19 percent of them are considered reliable, the researchers found.
Google Buys In on Musk's Space Internet Plans
January 21, 2015
SpaceX, the space transport services company founded by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, has raised $1 billion in funding from Google and Fidelity Investments. Together, they will together own almost 10 percent of SpaceX. Musk last November confirmed that SpaceX was developing advanced micro-satellites operating in large formations and would make an announcement in two to three months.
The Top 20 CRM Blogs of 2014, Part 2
January 20, 2015
The second half of the Top 20 Bloggers list is the half that holds the most surprises and fresh faces. This year, it also has the most variety -- from non-English speakers to blogs targeted at small businesses -- as well as plenty of marketing-oriented content. There also are some re-entries to the list who have rediscovered their blogs and come roaring back.
What SMB CRM Shoppers Want
January 19, 2015
CRM is expected to grow at a steady pace, and CRM customers are sending some specific signals about the functionality they need. Thirty-seven percent of small-and-medium-sized businesses that participated in its annual survey want an integrated suite of multiple CRM applications, Software Advice reported last month. That's up from 7 percent in 2013.
Warning Sony of Coming Storm Wasn't NSA's Department
January 19, 2015
The United States National Security Agency reportedly knew in advance that North Korea was about to hack into Sony's systems. The NSA apparently penetrated North Korea's network through several vectors, including Chinese networks used to connect with the rest of the world and hacker connections in Malaysia. The NSA was able to burrow in using the networks of South Korea and other allies.
What If IBM's Rommetty and Apple's Cook Were to Swing for the Fences?
January 19, 2015
I was at IBM's z13 mainframe launch last week, and it brought back a lot of memories, because I was at IBM when the era of the mainframe collapsed. I also happened to be covering Apple when the era of the Mac collapsed, following the launch of Windows 95, and I have watched both companies recover -- largely by rediscovering what made them great in the first place.
Gadget Ogling: A New Galaxy, Awesome Audio, and One Ring That Doesn't Rule
January 17, 2015
Welcome to Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, the column that takes freshly announced gadgets out for a hypothetical test run, rendering judgement long before they hit the shelves. In the offing this week: Samsung's latest mid-range smartphone, a gesture-based ring, shiny headphones and much more. Samsung has another mid-range smartphone in the Galaxy A7.
Texas May Be Ground Zero for Musk's Hyperloop Dreams
January 16, 2015
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has announced plans to build a test track, most likely in Texas, for his envisioned Hyperloop high-speed transportation system. The goal is to allow experimentation with Hyperloop pods, the equivalent of train carriages. The project will be "entirely funded by Musk's companies and other interested private companies," said Frost & Sullivan's said Vishwas Shankar.

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