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Salesforce's IoT Strategy
October 16, 2017
Salesforce is a large and well-disciplined development company. It's pretty good at marketing too. It continues to innovate in all product areas, from core platform to applications, and the one criticism I'd make is that it's information overload at times. Lately Salesforce has made a big deal of adding its AI product, Einstein, to every application area to provide insights and stack rank options.
Salesforce Reshuffles SaaS, PaaS in Internet of Things and AI
October 13, 2017
It can be a full-time job trying to keep up with Salesforce's newest cloud offerings. However, it is always worth the effort, because the company's pronouncements are often early bellwethers of the future direction of the software industry. This has become particularly true with respect to the company's evolving efforts to penetrate and gain a prominent position in the AI and IoT markets.
Report Probes Social Media's Threat to Democracy
October 13, 2017
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube may pose a threat to American democracy, suggests a new report from The Omidyar Group. The report follows recent disclosures about targeted dark post advertising, fake news and other abuses propagated by Russian troll farms during the 2016 election. Among the questions the report raises is whether the U.S. government may need to step in.
Google Assistant Shines in Pint-Sized Home Mini
October 12, 2017
The first wave of reviews touting Google's Home Mini smart speaker surfaced this week, following reports that the company had to quash a top touch function to prevent the device from accidentally activating and recording conversations without users' knowledge. Google has promised to update the device by Oct. 15. The Home Mini can provide reports on weather, traffic, news, sports and more.
New Kindle Oasis E-Reader Can Take a Dunking
October 12, 2017
Amazon on Wednesday pulled the wraps off a new premium e-reader that's waterproof and has a sharp 300 pixels-per-inch display. The Kindle Oasis has a 7-inch Paperwhite display and sports an aluminum back and ergonomic shape that makes it easier to read for prolonged periods. It has a battery life measured in weeks, and it can charge from zero to full power in two hours.
FTC Tightens Screws on Social Media Influencers
October 12, 2017
Social media influencer advertising has become a major factor in e-commerce. Marketers of both big and small brands long have committed large chunks of their advertising budgets to endorsements by well-known personalities. Social media influencer campaigns are based on that tried-and-true formula, but the implication is that the endorsements are voluntary.
Apple Releases Retro Version of iTunes
October 11, 2017
Apple has made a retro version of iTunes available, 12.6.3, reviving features removed by the mammoth 12.7 overhaul it released last month. News of the release surfaced Monday in a post on Reddit by user vista980622. Apple was low key about the release, saying in an online post dated Sept. 23 that the retro version was for business partners who needed iTunes to mass deploy apps on iOS devices.
Zuckerberg Pays Virtual Visit to Hurricane-Ravaged Puerto Rico
October 10, 2017
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday used virtual reality tech to "teleport" to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico and soon was dubbed a "heartless billionaire" by critics who felt he had exploited the dire situation in the U.S. territory. That likely isn't what Zuckerberg intended when he provided the Facebook Spaces video demonstration.
Gadget Ogling: Same Old Apple
October 6, 2017
Watching Apple's product announcement showcase is a bit like celebrating New Year's. People from all over the world are drawn to this annual event with the promise of something new and exciting, a vision of tomorrow and untold promise. Yet the more it comes around, the more disappointed we are. That promised kiss from a stranger at midnight is a dud. Our best intentions fall by the wayside.
Hologram Debuts Open Source Cellular Modem for IoT
October 5, 2017
Hologram on Thursday launched Nova, the first open source modem for cellular connectivity. Nova is a USB cellular modem purpose-built for Internet of Things development. Its Hologram software tools are compatible with most single board computers, such as Raspberry Pi. The Nova modem is open source and unlocked, so its use is not limited to Hologram's SIMs.
RoboCyberWall Aims to Block Linux Server Hacks
October 4, 2017
RoboCyberWall has launched its proprietary precision firewall solution bearing the same name. RoboCyberWall is designed to protect HTTP and HTTPS ports on Linux-based Apache2 and NGINX Web servers. The patent-pending firewall blocks all known exploits and zero-day attacks on Apache2 and NGINX Web servers, according to the developer. The Linux server firewall solution targets small and mid-sized business users.
Roku Sets Up New Streaming Player Buffet
October 4, 2017
Roku has introduced five new streaming media players designed to provide viewers with new and improved ways to connect to content. The five players range in price from $29.99 to $99.99, and offer a variety of features and functionality. The introductory-level Roku Express targets new cord cutters who want to stream TV content, or those who want to extend their Roku experience throughout the house.
Google Adds a Brick to Online Publishers' Paywalls
October 2, 2017
Google on Monday announced that it was dropping its decade-old policy of requiring media and news publishers to provide a limited amount of free content. The so-called "first click free" policy meant that publishers had to make a certain amount of content available to users who conducted a search on Google, even if their stories, videos or images otherwise were behind a paywall.
Amazon Deploys Army of Echoes Against Oncoming Threats
September 29, 2017
Amazon has unveiled five new Echo products that raise the bar in the automated home market. Among other things, Amazon has improved the sound quality in its second-generation Echo speaker to compete with several new competitors in the high-end audio segment. The new Echo, which is more compact and comes in a variety of shell colors and finishes, offers more immersive sound.
Google Assistant Goes to Work for Nvidia's Shield TV
September 29, 2017
Nvidia on Thursday announced that its Shield TV now includes Google Assistant as part of its Shield Experience Upgrade 6.0 update. The update also lets the Shield device work as a SmartThings Hub when paired with a SmartThinks Link. The SmartThings Link, which can be used to connect Shield TV as a SmartThings Hub, will be released in the coming months with a promotional launch price of $14.99.
Twitter to Test Drive Double-Wide Tweets
September 28, 2017
Twitter has announced a limited test to double the maximum tweet size to 280 characters. Twitter has been struggling to boost user engagement, and its tweet character limitation has been the subject of a longstanding debate among customers and company insiders. One reason for the possible change is to correct for the information imbalance between Asian and western language characters.
Behind-the-Scenes Cryptocurrency Mining Discovered on Showtime Sites
September 27, 2017
Showtime Networks apparently has mined the websites of online viewers using the same Coinhive technology that The Pirate Bay recently used in a test run on its site. A subsidiary of CBS, Showtime is a premium television network that offers professional boxing, feature films, original scripted television shows like Ray Donovan and other programming.
Companies Cheer Completion of Open-Design Transatlantic Internet Cable
September 23, 2017
Microsoft on Friday announced completion of the Marea undersea cable, which stretches 4,400 miles between Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Bilbao, Spain. A joint project of Microsoft, Facebook and global telecommunication infrastructure company Telxius, the cable lies more than 17,000 feet below the ocean's surface. It is the first cable to link Virginia and Spain.
Nimble's Social CRM Finds Its Way Into Office 365
September 21, 2017
Social sales and marketing software provider Nimble and cloud services consultant NeoCloud have partnered to deliver a simple, affordable contact management and CRM package for Microsoft Office 365. NeoCloud has agreed to bundle Nimble CRM into all of its Office 365 deployments, beginning this month. Nimble CRM adds employees' individual connections to a shared team relationship manager.
Is Packaged Entertainment Media Really on the Way Out?
September 19, 2017
As home video viewing patterns continue to evolve, one common prediction is that packaged media is on its last legs. Streaming services have been gaining market share. In fact, streaming media sales eclipsed sales of DVDs and Blu-ray discs for the first time in Q4 2016 -- with discs accounting for $5.4 billion in annual U.S. sales compared to the $6.2 billion haul for SVOD providers.
The Internet of Things Is a Boon for B2B: Report
September 13, 2017
Businesses have been focusing on the Internet of Things as an enabler of growth and increased operational efficiency, as well as the means to provide a better experience to customers and partners, according to the State of the Market: Internet of Things 2017 report Verizon released this week. Seventy-three percent of executives surveyed said they either were researching or currently deploying IoT.
Apple Unveils Highly Secure, High-Priced iPhones
September 12, 2017
Apple has made its long-awaited iPhone splash, accompanied by announcements of major upgrades to Apple Watch and Apple TV. The company launched two new generations of mobile phones -- iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, and iPhone X -- with enhancements in photography and device security in all models. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are built for durability with a new glass back design.
Russia, Fake News and Facebook: 24/7 Manipulation
September 11, 2017
Back when the Internet first came to be, there was the belief that the result would be more facts, less censorship, more intelligent discourse and less successful manipulation. Being able to converse with each other would lead people to be more honest, and our world increasingly would resemble a utopian ideal of peace and prosperity. Now, decades later, "fake news" has proliferated.
Taking Business Communication in Stride
September 7, 2017
Atlassian has announced the development of Stride, a new Slack-like workplace tool designed to streamline the communication process for business users. Stride enables teams to take action via both a smart text-based messaging service and a fully featured video and audio service. The latter functionality is made available thanks to Atlassian's recent acquisition of Jitsi.
Document Foundation Freshens Up LibreOffice
September 5, 2017
The Document Foundation last week announced that it was rolling out LibreOffice 5.4.1 Fresh, the first minor upgrade to its LibreOffice 5.4 open source suite of productivity apps introduced earlier this summer. It also announced LibreOffice 5.3.6 Still, representing the sixth release of its LibreOffice 5.3 family originally introduced in January. LibreOffice 5.4.1 targets early adopters.
Alexa Can Make Music Echo All Through the House
August 31, 2017
Alexa has a new musical talent, Amazon announced Tuesday. "Today, we're making Alexa even smarter with an all-new feature that lets you play music synchronized on multiple Echo devices to provide room-filling music throughout your home," said Amazon Alexa Vice President Toni Reid. Setting up the syncing is easy. Using the Alexa app, you give a group of devices a name, such as "first floor."
Apple to Sate iPhone Curiosity Sept. 12
August 29, 2017
Apple plans to refresh its iPhone, TV and watch lines at an event scheduled Sept. 12. In addition to upgrading its iPhone 7 models, the company is expected to debut the "iPhone 8" to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the brand. It reportedly will have an OLED display with barely any bezel, a fingerprint scanner at the rear of the phone, and support for facial recognition and wireless charging.
Google Connects Mobile Searchers to Depression Assessment Tool
August 25, 2017
The National Alliance on Mental Illness on Wednesday announced that Google on mobile now provides people who search for the term "clinical depression" with a direct link to the PHQ-9 questionnaire used by medical professionals in the United States to evaluate patients for the disorder. People can conduct a self-assessment by filling in the questionnaire online.
The Smart Home Appliance and You
August 22, 2017
The recent rumor that iRobot had engaged in talks with Apple, Amazon and Google parent Alphabet to sell the data its Roomba vacuum cleaner gathers caused widespread privacy concerns. Roomba maps homes -- the spatial dimensions of rooms and distances between furniture and other objects -- and the data it collects would be valuable to any of the major players battling to control the smart home.
What Tech Companies Are Doing Wrong With Extremists
August 21, 2017
It is starting to worry me how little the responses by tech firms will do to fix the problem of extreme views instead of just driving them underground. This is largely due to the excessive focus firms now have on how they are run. Companies tend to be run tactically, with officials more likely to make decisions that will seem to make a problem go away but do not deal with the cause of the problem.
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Amazon
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Facebook
Google
IBM
Microsoft
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