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The Best Wireless Service and Smartphone
June 8, 2017
During a recent grocery checkout conversation, the cashier asked me which was the best wireless service and best smartphone. This is a question I get frequently, and though it seems straightforward, it's difficult to answer. As I told the cashier, it depends. "On what?" she asked. That's when I realized that the industry's marketing doesn't answer the big question: "Which carrier is best for me?"
Open Source Survey Exposes Community Troubles
June 8, 2017
GitHub has released the results of its survey on open source software development, practices and worldwide communities. Responses from more than 6,000 participants reveal some of the problems missing or poorly done documentation can have on users and project adoption. The survey also reveals an ongoing concern about nasty interactions among community members and negative attitudes toward women.
Metis CDS Debbie Berebichez to Women in STEM: Chase Your Dreams
June 7, 2017
"I've helped shape the conversation," said Debbie Berebichez, chief data scientist at Metis. "It's empowered me to mentor young women and also to shape policy. At Metis, we offer a scholarship to women and minorities, so we do things actively to bring women in. I also try to recruit and hire women. Even though it's a tech company, over 60 percent of the employees at Metis are women."
The [xxx] Economy
June 6, 2017
While sitting in the audience at Zuora's recent Subscribed event, I couldn't help contemplate the meaning and progress of what was once a set of words that didn't roll off the tongue. I am talking about the "subscription economy" -- and it's really something. The data coming in from a variety of sources shows how rapidly subscriptions have become a big part of our lives, and why not?
Seeding the Next Generation of Consultancies
June 6, 2017
There's been a lot written recently about how artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation are going to displace millions of workers. However, these powerful new technologies already have spawned a surge in demand for a new wave of highly skilled consultants to help organizations capitalize on the added business opportunities resulting from the latest innovations.
Managing Commissions to Boost Sales Productivity
June 5, 2017
Ask salespeople and they'll tell you: They don't have enough time in the day to sell. That's not because the laws of physics cause salespeople to move through time faster than the rest of us -- it's because salespeople are pulled in many directions over the course of a day, cutting into their selling time. Actual selling takes up just 36 percent of the average salesperson's time.
The Max-Q: The Coolest Thing Out of Computex
June 5, 2017
I didn't attend Computex this year, and that was sad for everything but my budget, because there was a ton of cool stuff announced at the show. Dell, HP and Lenovo showed off new designs that were both attractive and compelling. Mixed-reality headsets hit; based on Intel and Microsoft technology, they were far more affordable than the strong virtual reality stuff already in market.
Tech Titans Pledge Continued Paris Accord Support
June 3, 2017
Reacting to the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, several high-tech industry leaders have pledged renewed environmental efforts. "Disappointed with today's decision. Google will keep working hard for a cleaner, more prosperous future for all," tweeted CEO Sundar Pichai. "We will double our efforts to fight climate change," tweeted Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.
Rumored Apple Plans Hint at Smart Speaker Battle Ahead
June 2, 2017
Apple reportedly has begun production of a high-end speaker with Siri-based digital assistant technology to compete directly with Amazon's Alexa-based Echo speakers and the Google Assistant-powered Home speaker. Production is in the early stages, but the device could be unveiled as early as next week at WWDC. That would position the company to begin shipping in time for the winter holiday season.
Plex Advances Cord-Cutting Case With Live OTA TV
June 2, 2017
Video streaming service Plex on Thursday announced the availability of a beta version of its Plex Live TV. The live-TV streaming launch follows last year's introduction of the Plex DVR, which provides users with free over-the-air access to 86 of Nielsen's 100 most watched shows in the United States. Plex Live TV currently is available only on Android TV and iOS devices.
PCs Shine Again, but for How Long?
June 1, 2017
Just when PCs looked to be dying a slow, painful death, they became interesting again. As expected, this week's news coming from Computex is flush with new PCs and PC technologies, but is it enough to reinvigorate a market that has faced declining sales since 2011? The market peaked at just over 365 million units annually, and fell to 269 million units last year. So, why all the excitement?
Hacking and Linux Go Together Like 2 Keys in a Key Pair
May 31, 2017
Ever since taking an interest Linux, with the specific aim of better understanding and enhancing my personal digital security, I have been fascinated by hacker conferences. As soon as I learned of their existence, I made a point of keeping tabs on the major conferences so I could browse through the latest videos in their archive once each one wraps up. I thought that was the closest I would get.
Android Creator Launches a Phone of His Own
May 31, 2017
Essential, a company founded by Andy Rubin, the "father of Android," on Tuesday pulled off the wraps on a new high-end smartphone. The Essential Phone, priced at $699, includes radios for connecting to all major U.S. carriers. The unit has an almost edge-to-edge display -- there's a bit of bezel at the bottom of its screen -- that wraps around the 8-MP selfie camera at the front.
Building a Sales Team by the Numbers
May 30, 2017
I don't know why more subscription vendors don't do this. Subscription companies collect mountains of data from their customers, and analyzing the aggregations can deliver profound insights virtually for free. Yet too often subscribers are reluctant to let their data be stripped of identifying characteristics and used for research. Too bad, because there's gold in that big data.
Amazon Shares Hit Milestone as E-Commerce Battle Heats Up
May 30, 2017
Amazon stock surged to more than $1,000 for the first time in early trading on Tuesday, marking a milestone for the dominant e-commerce retailer and leaving its closest competitors still trying to figure out a path to closing the gap. Amazon's shares hovered near $997 in late mid-afternoon trading after reaching $1001.20 earlier in the day, an all-time-high for the stock.
SC Ruling Signals New Era for Software Patent Enforcement
May 30, 2017
The U.S. Supreme Court once again has changed the landscape for software infringement litigation. In a decision released last week, the court severely undercut the ability of plaintiffs to seek out courts that have a track record of being "friendly" to the plaintiff's position -- a practice called "forum shopping." Legal analysts disagree on the impact of the decision, however.
Will Future Autonomous Cars Fly Like Birds or Tunnel Like Moles?
May 29, 2017
It is kind of amazing how much advancement is going on in the autonomous car space. A year ago, we were mostly talking about cars that seemed comparatively boring, because they just drove on the surface. How quaint -- how 2016. Now when we mention "boring," we may be talking about Elon Musk's new underground tunneling idea. However, a little company called "Airbus" disagrees.
Kaspersky to US: Check Our Source Code
May 27, 2017
Cybersecurity expert Eugene Kaspersky reportedly has volunteered to turn over his company's software source code to allay fears about possible ties with the Russian government. Kaspersky made the offer public at CeBIT Australia last week. Some U.S. officials have expressed concerns that Kaspersky Lab might have a close working relationship with the Russian government.
Comcast Rolls the Dice With Xfinity Instant TV
May 24, 2017
Comcast has led the way in cable television ever since it acquired AT&T Broadband a decade ago. However, in recent years, new technologies from new competitors have been eating away at Comcast's growth. That's why Comcast not only has introduced Xfinity Mobile, which is its new wireless service, but also is getting ready to launch its own IPTV service, Xfinity Instant TV.
Getting Serious About Teen Smartphone Addiction
May 24, 2017
Parents don't need a poll to tell them their teenagers are addicted to smartphones. After all, smartphones are a permanent fixture rather than accessories on the visages of kids of all ages these days. Even so, polls move these everyday observances from anecdotal to official problem when the numbers tilt in that direction -- and a Common Sense Media poll hit full tilt.
Leaked Docs Spotlight Complexity of Moderating Facebook Content
May 23, 2017
The public got a rare view into how Facebook tries to keep offensive and dangerous content offline in a report published Sunday. Leaked confidential documents exposed the secret rules by which Facebook polices postings on issues such as violence, hate speech, terrorism, pornography, racism and self-harm, as well as such subjects as sports fixing and cannibalism.
How Deep Learning Could Fix Trump and Healthcare
May 22, 2017
Nvidia earlier this month launched a massive new push for intelligent machines, including what is likely the most expensive volume workstation in the world designed for this purpose. IBM, which has a tight relationship with Nvidia, launched a quantum computing processor that has a good chance of massively increasing the speed and intelligence of thinking systems.
Report: Cybersecurity Dangerously Lax at Mar-a-Lago
May 19, 2017
Internet security at Mar-a-Lago -- the private club President Trump owns and has dubbed the "Southern White House" -- is weak, based on a recent investigation. Trump has used the resort to meet with staffers and foreign heads of state on official business. In February, he took a call about a North Korean ballistic missile launch in Mar-a-Lago's dining room, with members and waiters present.
Intertwining Artificial Intelligence With Blockchain
May 18, 2017
Except for those folks living under rocks, everyone knows about or at least has heard of bitcoin. However, not everyone understands the technology of bitcoin, which extends well beyond Internet-based currency. For the rock people, bitcoin is an Internet-based currency that allows for transparency with respect to each transfer of the currency through the use of a distributed database.
E-Commerce Gets the Einstein Treatment
May 17, 2017
E-commerce brings together several themes that relate to our current fascination with artificial intelligence, machine learning, bots, mobile technology and the like. It's actually more than that, because it represents an underserved part of CRM. Until fairly recently, there were few tools that retailers could use to reach online customers for marketing and sales.
3 Ways Your Sales Organization Should Prepare for AI
May 16, 2017
AI is a trend, and it's always nice to be trendy, but as great as CPQ is, it's still only one source of data. Without sufficient data, AI is extremely limited. It's like allowing your toddler to learn only about colors: The kid might be a whiz with colors, all right, but without context -- in other words, more data -- that information won't make any sense.
Charter's Wireless Play
May 15, 2017
Charter Spectrum has announced it will resell Comcast's Xfinity Mobile wireless service to customers inside its region. The good news is that this deal lets Charter get quick access to wireless without competing with Comcast. Comcast and Charter Communications last week said they had reached an "operational agreement" about working together.
Dell's 'Alice' Will Guide Women Through VC Wonderland
May 15, 2017
One of the interesting things at Dell EMC World came from Karen Quintos, the most powerful woman at Dell. Karen is responsible for its Entrepreneur in Residence program, which focuses on equipping and helping woman entrepreneurs. Dell Technologies apparently has created "Alice," a female-focused artificial intelligence focused on helping support and drive innovative firms backed by women.
Consumer WiFi Use: No Letup in Sight
May 11, 2017
Consumers use lots of data on their mobile devices. While half of consumers use less than 7 GB per month, data consumption is heavily skewed toward the upper end, recent Parks Associates research indicates. Among U.S. broadband households, mean data consumption is roughly 20 GB per month, with 14 GB used on WiFi and 6 GB through 3G/4G/LTE networks. Consumers' monthly WiFi data consumption increased by 40 percent from 2015 to 2016.
Big Accounting Deal
May 10, 2017
CFOs have a new 800-pound gorilla sitting in the corner, as if they needed another one. Actually, the really lucky ones who oversee operations in Europe and the U.S. will have two. ASC 606 and IFRS 15 are new accounting rules that describe in great detail how subscription vendors should recognize revenue beginning in December 2018, and we should all care about them.
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What do you think of today's voice recognition technology?
It's great -- the tech has improved vastly in recent years.
It's the wave of the future, but quality is still hit or miss.
I like it for texting, especially when I'm driving.
I only use it when I have to, like with IVR systems.
I avoid using it, because most voice systems are still terrible.
It's an unnecessary frill that I can easily live without.