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Square's Cash App Supports Bitcoin in All US States
August 15, 2018
Square on Monday announced that Cash App users could buy and sell bitcoin in all 50 U.S. states. Square began testing Cash App's bitcoin purchasing option last fall and officially launched the option early this year. However, it was not available in four states -- New York, Georgia, Hawaii and Wyoming -- because of their more restrictive regulation of bitcoin transactions.
JEDI Mind Games
August 15, 2018
During the same week it was sued by irate investors over progress moving its customer base to the cloud, Oracle protested a procurement process for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure. The lawsuit will take a long time to resolve, and it's difficult to see how the plaintiffs can prove their case -- but in comparison, the Department of Defense's procurement will run at light speed.
Def Con Voting Machine Hacks Ruffle Feathers
August 14, 2018
Hackers cracked into a wide array of voting equipment Def Con's Voting Village, an event held Friday at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. Last year, conference goers hacked five machines and an e-poll book of registered voters. This year, in addition to voting machines, tabulators and smart card readers were available for hacking. Websites weren't off limits, either.
What Can Chrome 68 Teach Us About Election Security?
August 13, 2018
If you're a technologist, you've probably noticed a few new things associated with Chrome 68's release last month. One of the more notable changes is that it now uses a "not secure" indicator for any site not using HTTPS. So instead of providing a notification when a site is HTTPS, it now provides the user with a warning when it isn't. One of those groups is users of government websites.
Oracle Releases Second Half of Autonomous DB
August 10, 2018
A lot of people might have thought Oracle's announcement of the autonomous database at last year's OpenWorld and its subsequent release earlier this year were the whole story, but there's a lot more. This week's webcast featuring Larry Ellison was proof. Ellison must find his CTO role -- since he handed the CEO reins to Safra Catz and Mark Hurd -- to be stimulating and liberating at the same time.
New LibreOffice Version Offers Fresh Take
August 9, 2018
The Document Foundation has announced the availability of its second major release this year, LibreOffice Fresh 6.1, with enhanced editing on Desktop, Cloud and Mobile platforms. One of its most significant new features is Notebookbar, an experimental UI option that resembles the ribbon interface popular with Microsoft Office users. The Fresh release targets both early adopters and power users.
Slide Over, Salesforce? Freshworks Scores $100M in Funding Round
August 1, 2018
Freshworks has secured $100 million in funding from Accel and Sequoia Capital India with the participation of CapitalG. That brings the total amount of capital raised since the firm's 2010 launch to $250 million. "The new funding will be used to invest in our platform and to continue scaling internationally," said Arvind Parthiban, Freshworks' director of marketing.
Homeland Security Unveils Center to Combat Cyberthreats
August 1, 2018
DHS has announced the National Risk Management Center, part of a new effort to combat cyberthreats to the U.S. The new agency's mission will be to defend the critical infrastructure through greater cooperation between the public and private sectors. The center will bring together government experts and industry partners to work out ways that the government can support the partners.
DoD Launches JEDI Program Amid Cloud Provider Criticism
August 1, 2018
The U.S. Department of Defense has decided to bet on the cloud for much of its future information technology operations -- presenting significant opportunities for cloud service providers and related IT suppliers. However, DoD's latest foray into cloud technology has stimulated significant criticism. DoD released its final RFP for the JEDI program last week.
IBM, CLS Launch Blockchain Platform for Banks
July 31, 2018
IBM and currency trading utility CLS have announced a new platform that enables financial institutions to deploy, share and consume services on a hosted blockchain network. Nine financial institutions have agreed to participate in the initial launch of the platform, which is sort of an app store for solutions that use distributed ledger technology, also known as "blockchain."
Russian Hackers Have Invaded Hundreds of US Utilities: Report
July 25, 2018
Hundreds of U.S. utilities were penetrated by Russian hackers who could have disrupted the nation's power grid. The attacks were launched last year by threat actors sponsored by the Russian government, according to a report. The hackers used Black Hat tools such as phishing and waterhole traps to obtain credentials from legitimate users and leverage them to gain access to the utilities.
Cloud Transition State
July 24, 2018
A confusing dynamic has been emerging in the software industry, caused by the inexorable shift to the cloud. Even before you can get into the analysis, though, you need to identify which cloud or clouds you're thinking about -- e.g., infrastructure, apps, platform. Also, once you've done that, you need to decide if you're partial to technology or financial analysis.
Feds Seem to Favor 'Light Touch' IoT Regulation
July 24, 2018
The Internet of Things may be in its infancy, but the U.S. government has been gearing up to determine what the proper federal role should be, both for encouraging and for regulating the use of IoT technology. Two recent developments have underscored the government's interest in IoT. On the regulatory front, the CPSC has launched an initiative to determine a framework for regulation.
Google Adds Kubernetes to Rebranded Cloud Marketplace
July 19, 2018
Google has announced the rebranding and expansion of its Cloud Launcher platform. Going forward, it will be known as the "Google Cloud Platform Marketplace," or "GCP Marketplace." It will offer production-ready commercial Kubernetes apps, promising simplified deployment, billing and third-party licensing. Google's goal is to make containers accessible to everyone, especially the enterprise.
Microsoft's New Skype Could Be Risky Gamble
July 18, 2018
Microsoft has announced a new version of its Skype messaging app, along with a warning that previous versions of the software will be disabled after Sept. 1. "As we roll out improvements, there comes a time when we must shut down older services and application versions," wrote the Skype Team in an online post. "This is done to ensure that all customers have the best possible Skype experience."
Did Salesforce Need to Buy Datorama?
July 17, 2018
Salesforce has inked a deal to acquire marketing analytics company Datorama. The acquisition will give Marketing Cloud a power boost by expanding data integration and intelligence, according to Salesforce. The newly acquired tech will give marketers the ability to unlock insights across channels and data sources, providing a unified view that can help companies make smarter decisions, it added.
Could a Tech Collaboration Tool Fix Dysfunctional Governments?
July 16, 2018
Microsoft Inspire is taking place this week, and a huge number of my personal friends and I were prebriefed on what the big announcements would be. Strangely, the embargo on the news lifted last week, so I'm not going to get in trouble for sharing some of the revelations. There are a number of interesting elements, including Microsoft's suddenly aggressive move to use Azure as an IoT host.
A Trade War in the Cloud?
July 14, 2018
So far, the looming trade war is limited to actions and reactions related to durable things that trade throughout the global economy. Will that remain the battleground? Or should we expect greater contentiousness around services -- specifically, SaaS, and CRM in particular? Retaliation for U.S. trade initiatives so far has been aimed at things produced by Trump-leaning industries and states.
TrueCommerce Integration With Shopify Promises Boatloads of Benefits
July 13, 2018
TrueCommerce has announced the integration of its unified commerce solutions with Shopify, a cloud-based, multichannel commerce platform. Shopify powered more than 600,000 merchants across 175 countries as of last August. The new offering will give Shopify merchants a unified scheme for greater integration across all commerce channels within a business' systems and supply chain network.
Will MVNO Worries Complicate T-Mobile, Sprint Merger?
July 12, 2018
T-Mobile and Sprint have embarked on the road to a merger, creating some consternation among competitors. One concern that the combined company would have too much power as a mobile virtual network operator -- possibly controlling as much as 40 percent of the MVNO marketplace. The question is, should regulators require the new company to do something about this prior to approving the deal?
US Lawmakers Eye Apple, Alphabet Data Privacy Practices
July 11, 2018
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has written Alphabet CEO Larry Page and Apple CEO Tim Cook demanding information on their companies' practices with regard to third-party access, audio and location data collection. "This is a huge issue," said Consumer Watchdog's John Simpson. "People are becoming aware of how much data about them is being sucked up by their smartphones."
Polar Flow Fitness App Exposes Soldiers, Spies
July 10, 2018
A popular fitness app provided a convenient map for anyone interested in shadowing government personnel who exercised in secret locations, including intelligence agencies, military bases and airfields, nuclear weapons storage sites, and embassies around the world. The fitness app, Polar Flow, publicized more data about its users in a more accessible way than comparable apps, investigators found.
What I Learned at the Conferences
July 7, 2018
The close of Q2 ends the first wave of vendor customer events. Still to come this fall are Salesforce Dreamforce and Oracle OpenWorld -- and others -- but mercifully, we have the summer to digest all the information absorbed this spring and re-sync with our native time zones.For starters, CRM doesn't appear to be slowing down. As an industry, it's rated at about $35 billion in revenues.
Oracle's Nice Numbers
June 30, 2018
Significant Q4 wins and earnings numbers reflect the strength of Oracle's resurgence as a cloud company. At its earnings call earlier this week, CEO Mark Hurd mentioned some big names -- including Johnson & Johnson, the Cleveland Clinic, Baylor University and AT&T -- that made significant commitments to Oracle in the quarter. For FY2018, total revenues were up 6 percent compared with fiscal 2017.
EU Watchdog Accuses Facebook, Google of Privacy Shenanigans
June 29, 2018
Facebook and Google have manipulated users into sharing data using so-called "dark patterns," according to a report from the Norwegian Consumer Council. The practices nudged users toward accepting privacy options that favored the tech companies rather than themselves, the NCC found. Facebook and Google have no intention of providing users with an actual choice, the NCC has claimed.
Trump Promotes Technology Business Management for Federal IT Acquisitions
June 28, 2018
Vendors seeking to crack the largest single global customer for information technology -- the U.S. government -- should keep a sharp eye on the ever-changing contract landscape. One of the recent changes initiated by the Trump administration for managing federal IT contracting focuses on the use of technology business management to improve the IT acquisition process.
IBM's Watson Enlisted for B2B Sentiment Analysis
June 27, 2018
B2B customer support firm TeamSupport has added sentiment analysis technology, powered by IBM's Watson, to its customer relationship platform. The new tech provides automatic text analysis of email or chat responses to assess how a customer feels, so customer support teams can prioritize and personalize their outreach efforts. It includes predefined categories such as "satisfied" and "frustrated."
WPA3 Arrives to Shore Up WiFi Security
June 27, 2018
Network devices with better security will be hitting the market this year, thanks to Wi-Fi Certified WPA3, which the Wi-Fi Alliance launched Tuesday. The announcement paves the way for the proliferation of devices that support the new, more secure protocol for WiFi communication, which is designed to replace the 14-year-old WPA2. The new protocol adds features to simplify WiFi security.
What Net Neutrality's Repeal Means to E-Commerce SMBs
June 27, 2018
E-commerce SMBs are likely to be hit hard by the United States Federal Communications Commission's repeal of Net neutrality earlier this month. The move will let Internet service providers block and manipulate Internet usage and discriminate against users at will, according to critics. Various public interest groups have challenged the FCC's repeal of Net neutrality in the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Oracle's Creative Destruction
June 26, 2018
Although Oracle was one of the last major enterprise software vendors to move to the cloud, it has embraced the idea of creative destruction in breathtaking ways. With BYOL -- Bring Your Own License -- the company has inspired a movement of its traditional software customers to its infrastructure cloud. It continued the translation exercise with Oracle LaunchPad, a new online learning platform.
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What role will technology play in the upcoming U.S. midterm elections?
Advanced security measures will protect the legitimacy of the elections.
Inadequate security will place the election process at grave risk.
Voter technology is so decentralized, attackers can't have much impact.
Companies that manufacture voting machines need to shore up their security.
The upcoming midterms will be no better or worse than others from a tech standpoint.