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Samsung's Galaxy Note7 Assembly Lines Grind to Halt
October 10, 2016
Samsung has stopped production of its problematic Galaxy Note7 smartphones, according to multiple press reports Monday. The company had been offering replacements of the phone after issuing a recall due to defective batteries, but all four major carriers have stopped doing so, presumably because several of the replacements exhibited similar problems, including smoking and catching fire.
Google Resurrects Embrace, Extend, Extinguish
October 10, 2016
This almost sounds like a plot for a novel. Microsoft creates a successful strategy called "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish" and then promptly forgets it, resulting in a string of failures. Google, which up to now seemed happy to repeat Microsoft's mistakes, accidentally picks up a successful Microsoft practice and uses it against Apple -- likely taking out a number of its Android partners.
Consumers Warned of Exploding Samsung Washers
October 8, 2016
That's the situation Samsung found itself in last week when the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning about certain top-load washing machines made by the company between March 2011 and April 2016. "CPSC is advising consumers to only use the delicate cycle when washing bedding, water-resistant and bulky items," reads a statement at the commission's website.
AI's Moment
October 7, 2016
There recently has been an increase in the talk -- pro and con -- about bots, AI and intelligent assistants. A lot of this talk has been percolating around the industry for decades. Silicon Collar, a book by Vinnie Mirchandani, a friend and truly gifted analyst, accepts that automation might be eliminating jobs, but it optimistically holds out for the silver lining.
Torvalds Blows Stack Over Buggy New Kernel
October 7, 2016
Linux creator Linus Torvalds this week apologized for including in the just-released Linux 4.8 kernel a bug fix that crashed it. The bug the dev was trying to fix has existed since Linux 3.15, "but the fix is clearly worse than the bug ... since that original bug has never killed my machine," Torvalds wrote. Kernel work, like brain surgery, is not foolproof, noted tech analyst Al Hilwa.
Newsweek Joins Growing Club of Possible Russian Cyberattack Targets
October 7, 2016
Newsweek is the latest media institution to get caught up in a series of cyberattacks that have targeted major government, political and media organizations, raising suspicions of links to Russia. The news magazine sustained a massive DDoS attack the day after it published a cover story about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's business activities in the late 1990s.
Who's Riding the New TV Wave?
October 7, 2016
There is a generational shift occurring in the television industry. Traditional cable TV, which dominated the last several decades, is going away. Companies like Comcast, Charter and Cox are facing something new: new technological innovation and competition. Which companies will survive, and which will not? Traditional cable TV is on the verge of an extinction event.
Galaxy Note7 Snaps, Crackles and Pops, Spurring Evacuation of Plane
October 6, 2016
Southwest Airlines on Wednesday evacuated a plane after a Samsung Galaxy Note7 began popping and issuing thick smoke. Samsung last month began replacing Galaxy Note7s globally, following reports of several of the devices catching fire or exploding. It blamed the problem on an "isolated" faulty battery cell issue. The latest incident reportedly involved a replacement phone.
Dreamforce's Einstein: First Shot in New Sales Tech Arms Race?
October 6, 2016
A technology conference staple is the over-the-horizon announcement: a proclamation that something that isn't quite here yet is the next big thing, often accompanied by simulated screen shots, hypothetical use cases and fantastic demonstrations. This year's Dreamforce announcement of a machine learning-enabled technology called "Einstein" easily could be dismissed as futureware.
Amazon Cracks Down on Review Freebies
October 5, 2016
In a bid to help bolster trust in its customer ratings, Amazon on Monday said that it no longer would allow most incentivized reviews -- that is, reviews written in exchange for receiving products free or at a discount. Such reviews comprise only a small percentage of the tens of millions of reviews of products sold on the site, maintained Amazon Vice President of Customer Experience Chee Chew.
Feds Probe Alleged Phone Hacks as Election Fears Surge
October 4, 2016
Federal authorities have been investigating reports that hackers targeted the mobile phones of a handful of Democratic Party staffers. The news follows a series of breaches in recent months that revealed emails and other personal information of party staffers and other Democratic officials. The FBI has launched an investigation into the attacks, which may be linked to Russia.
The Lack of Strategic Thinking in Election 2016
October 3, 2016
One of the problems facing the technology industry right now is the critical lack of strategic thinking. Hedge fund managers and activist investors increasingly are forcing tactical decisions that raise stock prices over the short term, largely by destroying the firm's long-term viability. Most top executives don't seem to understand they are destroying their companies until it's too late.
Gadget Ogling: Streaming Merrily, Snapping Happily, and Listening My Way
October 1, 2016
Roku has refreshed its lineup of media players with lower prices, so bringing streaming video to every screen in your home just got a little more accessible. At the lower end, the Roku Express costs $30. The lineup includes $40, $50, $80 and $100 models with a variety of feature combinations. At $130, the Roku Ultra, pictured here, is the feature-loaded top-of-the-line option.
Trump Hauls Out Google Conspiracy Theory for Another Airing
September 30, 2016
Perhaps still reeling from what's widely viewed as the bruising he took in a debate watched by more than 80 million people on TV earlier this week -- countless more online -- Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Wednesday opened a campaign rally with a previously discredited attack. Google's search engine was biased in favor of his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, he claimed.
What to Expect at Dreamforce 16
September 30, 2016
Something tells me that if Salesforce already leaked news about its new AI product, Einstein, that it might not be the biggest news that will emerge from Dreamforce next week. However, I also think Einstein will be involved in whatever is the big takeaway. Salesforce has become rather large, with $8 billion-plus in revenue. A member of the Fortune 500, it still tries to be nimble.
Hacking Elections Is Easy, Study Finds
September 30, 2016
It's no longer a question whether hackers will influence the 2016 U.S. elections -- only how much they'll be able to sway them. Leaked emails already have cost a Democratic Party chairperson her job, and the FBI last month issued a flash warning that foreign cyberadversaries had breached two state election databases. Those two states -- most likely Arizona and Illinois -- aren't alone.
Apple Steers Its Car Project All Over the Map
September 29, 2016
McLaren Technology Group, which manufactures Formula One and luxury supercars, has denied rumors that it was engaging in discussions with Apple regarding a possible purchase or strategic investment. Apple has been pursing a highly secretive project to develop its own venture in the electric and autonomous vehicle space, and it reportedly has entered negotiations with McLaren on a potential deal.
Surviving the Internet's Troll Apocalypse
September 29, 2016
Social media has sharpened humans' age-old appetite for public shaming, providing a stage and unlimited seating for an endless stream of immorality plays. Those who share even the simplest identifying details about themselves are vulnerable to being pushed into the glare of the spotlight. Anonymity frees many individuals of the consequences they might face offline for being abusive to others.
Oracle OpenWorld
September 29, 2016
Larry Ellison was having too much fun. In his second keynote of this year's Oracle OpenWorld user conference, he was talking about his company's database, Oracle 12c, and comparing it highly favorably to Amazon's competing databases. It seems Ellison always has fun, which is one likely reason that the 72 year-old CTO and executive chairman of the board, looks 52, sounds 42, and probably feels 32.
The Growing Customer Trust Gap
September 28, 2016
Like most of you, I'm a bank customer -- and I expect that like me, most of you are getting sick and tired of all the stories about how banks abuse customers. Recent news about bad behavior in the banking industry, as well as my own personal experiences, shows that banks don't care about their customers. It's just the opposite: Banks seem to be trying to squeeze every dime out of every customer.
Hackers Get Up Close and Personal With WH Staffer's Email
September 27, 2016
Federal authorities last week launched a probe of a suspected cyberattack that targeted the private Gmail account of a White House staffer. The employee's correspondence turned up on the DCleaks hacktivist site, which earlier this month posted the private emails of former Secretary of State Colin Powell. The latest dump involves the private account of White House staffer Ian Mellul.
Project Shield Has Krebs on Security's Back
September 27, 2016
The website of prominent security blogger Brian Krebs is back online this week after sustaining one of the largest distributed denial of service attacks in Internet history. DDoS attacks typically disrupt service at a website by flooding it with junk traffic. In this case, garbage traffic assaulted Krebs' site at 620 gigabits per second. By comparison, consumer bandwidth is in the 10-15 megabit per second range; businesses, 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps.
Abuse of Trust, Lack of Transparency: HP Shows How to Kill the IoT
September 26, 2016
There's been a lot of virtual ink spilled about the glorious future promised by the Internet of Things: just-in-time service, data-assisted performance optimization for devices, automatic software upgrades, and a host of other hands-off solutions that make life easier for customers and results better for businesses. Over the last 18 months, many have come to see the IoT as an inevitability.
Tech Big Shots Rumored Lining Up for Twitter
September 26, 2016
Twitter shares remained strong Monday after Friday's sharp rise on reports that it was considering a possible sale, with Google parent Alphabet and Salesforce emerging as two of the most likely buyers. Twitter has faced enormous pressure, both internally and from investors, to consider a major shakeup. It has struggled to find ways to monetize its core 140-character microblogging property.
HPE and Apple: The Speed of Image Transformation
September 26, 2016
HPE and Apple are very different companies this decade, having shifted their models from a strategic customer/innovation focus to one that's more tactical -- and tied far more closely to quarterly profit. They are hardly alone, and this unfortunate trend is not tied to any one industry or any one country. Firms increasingly are defined not by creative products but by complaining customers.
Gadget Ogling: Driving Partner, Hydration Station, and Flying Grabbers
September 24, 2016
After a bad experience when I was first behind the wheel as a teenager, I'm only just now learning to drive, more than a decade later. My partner and I are going through the school together, and when asked about our dream vehicles in class, she replied that she'd love a self-driving RV. Her wish eventually might turn true with a device that grants vehicles more autonomy.
Music Industry Rebounds on Streaming Subscription Surge
September 23, 2016
The music industry is showing its best surge in revenue in nearly two decades, led by a major shift toward streaming subscription services by Apple, Spotify and others firms, according to a new mid-year report the RIAA released this week. The report shows an 8.1 percent gain in retail revenue to $3.4 billion during the first half of 2016, the strongest growth since the late 1990s.
Social Networks Prep for Key Role in Presidential Debates
September 23, 2016
The Commission on Presidential Debates, which has run them since 1988, last week announced initiatives with social media, academics, and media organizations to engage the American public in substantive conversations before, during and after this year's debates. The first debate between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is scheduled for Monday at Hofstra University in New York.
Hack of Half a Billion Records Takes Shine Off Yahoo's Data Trove
September 23, 2016
Yahoo on Thursday disclosed that a data breach in late 2014 resulted in the theft of information from at least 500 million customer accounts. It appears that state-sponsored hackers carried out the attack, the company said. Account information compromised includes names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords, and security questions and answers.
Senate Leadership Rebuffs Cruz's Shutdown Threat Over Internet Control
September 23, 2016
It appears that the Senate is poised to quash a government shutdown threat from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in spite of presidential candidate Donald Trump lending his support to his former primary opponent's cause. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Thursday filed a continuing resolution to fund the government without any language geared toward blocking the administration's IANA transition.
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What's your alarm level over cyberattacks on the Internet's infrastructure?
Red: A deadly cyberwar will occur -- It's when, not if.
Orange: A big one could be costly and threaten public safety.
Yellow: We need to improve cybersecurity at a faster pace.
Blue: Regional outages will become more frequent and more annoying.
Green: There's no way anyone could take out the entire Internet.