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Our Sci-Fi Future: Silly vs. Terrifying
April 25, 2017
The future is now, or at least it is coming soon. Today's technological developments are looking very much like what once was the domain of science fiction. Maybe we don't have domed cities and flying cars, but we do have buildings that reach to the heavens, and drones that soon could deliver our packages. Who needs a flying car when the self-driving car is just down the road?
The iPhone Model's Impending Obsolescence
April 24, 2017
VCRs gave way to DVD players, which in turn have given way to streaming services. Brick cellphones evolved into flip phones, which were swapped out for two-way pager phones and then wiped out by the iPhone model. Tape players gave way to the Walkman CD player, which gave way to the iPod, which also ended up in the iPhone model. I think we soon will see another big industry shift.
Facebook's Latest Moon Shot: I Think, Therefore I Type
April 21, 2017
Facebook on Wednesday told its F8 conference audience about two new cutting-edge projects that could change the way humans engage with devices. Over the next two years, the company will work on a new technology that will allow anyone to type around 100 words per minute -- not with fingers, but using a process that would decode neural activity devoted to speech. What Facebook envisions is a technology that would resemble a neural network.
Report: Commercial Software Riddled With Open Source Code Flaws
April 19, 2017
Black Duck Software has released its 2017 Open Source Security and Risk Analysis, detailing significant cross-industry risks related to open source vulnerabilities and license compliance challenges. Black Duck conducted audits of more than 1,071 open source applications for the study. There are widespread weaknesses in addressing open source security vulnerability risks across key industries.
Facebook Builds a VR Space, but Will Anyone Come?
April 19, 2017
Facebook has announced the beta launch of Facebook Spaces, a new app that allows users to connect with friends and colleagues in an interactive virtual reality environment. It provides a way for social media users to hang out as they might otherwise in person -- even bridging great distances -- noted Rachel Franklin, head of social VR at Facebook. An avatar represents each user in the VR world.
Executive Order Triggers H-1B Jitters in Silicon Valley
April 19, 2017
President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed a long-anticipated executive order that addresses a campaign promise to begin shifting the country toward the "Buy American, Hire American" strategy that appealed to much of the industrial working class population in the Rust Belt states. The order calls on the U.S. government to shift purchasing toward domestically produced goods.
Take Marketing Off Autopilot and Get Creative
April 19, 2017
More than a quarter of marketers went into marketing because they wanted to be creative, researchers have found. So why do so many B2B marketing efforts seem exactly the same? The reason, in part, is that some things work well. In nature, convergent evolution leads different kinds of organisms to similar solutions when they work. The number of strategies that will lead to success is limited.
Cleveland Murder Intensifies Scrutiny of Facebook Live
April 18, 2017
Video footage of a senseless murder in Cleveland, posted after the fact on Facebook Live, has attracted national attention to the role of the platform in criminals' minds. Authorities Tuesday morning announced that Steve Stephens -- the 37-year-old suspect wanted for the cold-blooded shooting of Robert Godwin Sr. -- shot himself to death after a short pursuit by Pennsylvania State Police.
Microsoft's Timely Response to Shadow Brokers Threat Raises Questions
April 18, 2017
Just as the Shadow Brokers hacker group started crowing about a dump of never-seen-before flaws in Windows, Microsoft announced it already had fixed most of the exploits. "Today, Microsoft triaged a large release of exploits made publicly available by Shadow Brokers," said Microsoft Principal Security Group Manager Phillip Misner. "Most of the exploits are already patched."
CPQ: Boost Selling Performance and Accuracy
April 17, 2017
They say it can take a product idea 10 years to go from concept to mass-market appeal but that might be only an optimist's viewpoint. Some of the best ideas in CRM right now have been marinating for at least that long -- and some for much longer. Two great examples are analytics and CPQ, which companies like Oracle, Salesforce and others have embraced with passion.
Federal Agencies Turn to Software-Defined Data Storage
April 17, 2017
Federal agencies seeking to deal with huge amounts of information have begun embracing the software-defined data center, a technology tool that has come into vogue for managing and storing data. The SDDC is an offshoot of IT virtualization that uses a software-defined architecture. Agencies have been striving to save money and improve data storage and management in response to government mandates.
Why Is It OK to Abuse Customers?
April 17, 2017
I don't know about you but I can't seem to get out of my head the image of that poor Asian doctor who, seemingly unconscious, was dragged off that United flight. The fact that the airline did that to a 69-year-old doctor just so it could save money moving employees around is nearly as unbelievable as the initial tone-deaf response from United's CEO, who blamed the passenger.
Will Amazon Go Reinvent Retail?
April 14, 2017
Every time I walk into a retail store, I grumble about the same pet peeve. After walking the aisles and filling the basket, you then must go through the most inefficient checkout process. First you unload everything in your basket, then it's rung up, then you put the items in bags that go back into your basket before you can walk out of the store. There must be a better way.
Burger King Ad Creates Whopper of a Mess for Google Home
April 13, 2017
Burger King in essence hijacked the voice-activated Google Home speakers in some consumers' homes. In a 15-second television ad, the camera zooms in on a young man wearing the company uniform who says, "OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?" The trigger phrase for Google's AI Assistant activated Home speakers situated nearby, prompting them to read Wikipedia's description of the Whopper.
Spam Czar Nabbed in Spain May Have Link to Election Tampering
April 12, 2017
An alleged spam kingpin with possible ties to election meddling in the U.S. was arrested in Spain last week under a U.S. international warrant. Pyotr Levashov had been vacationing in Barcelona with his family. Levashov was arrested for interfering with the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, the Russian news outlet RT reported, but the DoJ said the arrest was not connected to national security.
United Airlines Gives Appalling New Meaning to Customer Service
April 11, 2017
United Airlines' self-made firestorm spread on Tuesday, as a video showing a passenger being forcibly dragged off a plane continued to make the rounds on social media. The passenger had refused to comply after being told he'd been bumped off the Sunday flight. The incident sparked international outrage, including calls for a boycott of the airline and for CEO Oscar Munoz to step down.
Labor Official Skewers Google Over Gender Pay Discrimination
April 11, 2017
The Department of Labor has found "systemic compensation disparities" between Google's female employees and their male counterparts, regional director Janette Wipper said at a hearing in San Francisco. The hearing was in connection with the department's lawsuit over Google's failure to hand over detailed compensation data about employees at its Mountain View, California, headquarters.
Hackers Blast Emergency Sirens in Dallas
April 11, 2017
Screaming sirens serenaded Dallas residents in the early morning hours Saturday after a cyberattack set off the city's emergency warning system. All of the city's 156 sirens reportedly were set off more than a dozen times. Officials have not yet identified the perpetrator of the attack, but it likely was someone outside the Dallas area, said Office of Emergency Management Director Rocky Vaz.
Oracle's Strategery
April 10, 2017
Watching Oracle's cloud strategy roll out has given me renewed respect for its approach to the market. As a company that has been public for a long stretch of time, Oracle has displayed all the warmth of an anaconda. I have friends there, and they are not anacondas, but I hope they know what I mean. Oracle knows its business and it's making money, and it does it unabashedly.
Why VR Is Failing
April 10, 2017
As a market, we seem to have trouble learning that three key elements are necessary for a new technology to take hold: It has to appear complete, it has to be compelling, and it has to seem like a value -- that is, be affordable. Compared to what we have today, the car that opened up the automotive market in the U.S. was none of those things -- yet it was incredibly successful.
Google's Fact Check Labeling System Goes Global
April 8, 2017
Google has extended the Fact Check feature it introduced last fall. Publishers now can display a Fact Check tag in news stories everywhere that Google News is available. The company also has introduced the Fact Check feature globally in Google Search, in all of the languages it supports. Not all stories will be fact checked, though, and only certain publishers will be able to participate.
Gadget Ogling: Samsung Swings, Plus Live 360 Cameras and Smart Tuners
April 7, 2017
Samsung is back with a new pair of flagship smartphones it desperately needs to be hits in the wake of previous handsets that were a touch too, erm, explodey. The Galaxy S8 and S8+ have dispensed with the physical home button and added an artificial intelligence assistant, screens that so very almost kill the bezel, and fingerprint sensors on the rear. It's a smart, striking design.
Next Downturn Could Have Silver Lining for IoT
April 7, 2017
Although nearly every research study and industry survey suggests the Internet of Things market is growing rapidly, plenty of companies are holding back from pursuing IoT opportunities, for a variety of reasons. Ironically, the possibility of a long-overdue financial downturn in the next few years could force executives to put aside their apprehensions and finally launch new IoT initiatives.
AI Confusion Widespread Among Consumers
April 4, 2017
Most people think they know what the term "artificial intelligence" means, based on the results of a survey Pegasystems released Tuesday. However, their responses suggested that they probably don't fully understand how it's being used today, including in the customer service realm. Researchers polled 6,000 adult consumers in the United States, the UK, the Netherlands, France and Germany.
Reversing Net Neutrality
April 3, 2017
When one side or the other in a political debate refused to accept a decision, it used to be simply annoying, but lately it has become dangerous to business and to the economy. The current administration's wants "to jettison the Obama administration's net neutrality rules, which were intended to safeguard free expression online," Steve Lohrmarch wrote last week.
Now World's Second-Wealthiest, Bezos Travels to Different Drumbeat
April 3, 2017
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has entered more rarefied air, having leapfrogged billionaires Amancio Ortega and Warren Buffett to become the second wealthiest person in the world. Bezos -- CEO of the e-commerce retailer and cloud services provider -- last week enjoyed a jump of $1.5 billion to $75.6 billion net worth, after his company announced a deal to acquire Souq.com.
Galaxy S8 vs. iPhone 8: Winning Has Little to Do With Phones
April 3, 2017
The new Samsung Galaxy S8 has launched, and its target of choice is the as yet unlaunched Apple iPhone 8 Anniversary Edition. These phones are critical for both companies. Apple survives largely off the iPhone today, and Samsung is trying to recover both from its burning phone problem and from its top executive being arrested on bribery charges. Neither firm can afford a big loss to the other.
Prank Responsibly: April Fools' Gags That Missed the Mark
April 1, 2017
The Internet is a minefield on April 1, with tech companies getting in on the April Fools' act in weird, wonderful and often woeful ways. The line between a successful prank and one that leaves users sighing, or worse, is micron-thin, and the boost to one's reputation -- or knock on it -- can hang around for some time. This year, we've rounded up some of the Internet's worst April Fools' pranks.
EquiSeq CEO Lexi Palmer: Act Like You're Not Scared and Go at It
March 31, 2017
Lexi Palmer is CEO of EquiSeq, a biotech firm that does genetic testing of horses. Palmer met the company's founder, genetic researcher Paul Szauter, in 2015. "I was just finishing up my degree in interpersonal communications ... and he told me about the company he'd started," Palmer recalled. "I told him I knew everything about horses and said I could learn everything he did and market it."
A Solution for the Uber CEO's Anger Problem
March 31, 2017
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has earned a reputation for having a short fuse. In addition to his apparent personal anger management issues, there are the stresses that come with running a giant company -- and Uber recently has been losing executives. When it rains, it pours. What's happening with Kalanick, and can Uber recover its mojo? Many people have issues with anger, but few are in the spotlight.
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What's most likely to cost a company your customer loyalty?
a major product fail
major unethical corporate behavior
public advocacy of social or political views I oppose
a really bad customer service experience
stagnation -- I'm attracted to innovation
none of the above -- I'll stick through thick and thin