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What Does the Penguin Say?
November 23, 2020
Linux users love to chat, and few topics are so prevalent among users as distributions. A big one is a distro's suitability for beginners. Drawing in eager new users is the only way to grow the Linux community. Successful recruitment often hinges on making sure that newcomers start with a distro that will give them an ideal experience.
Apple's M1 ARM Pivot: A Step Into the Reality Distortion Field
November 16, 2020
Last week Apple announced a partial pivot away from x86 to ARM with one of those claims so outrageous it could have only come from Apple. The company claimed its new ARM-based PCs would outperform 98 percent of those already in the market. No proof points, no material examples, no listed benchmarks. Just "trust us," this processor optimized for smartphones is magically better than processors designed to run PCs.
It Came From the Live-Boot: A True Linux Horror Story
November 13, 2020
Once in a blue moon, one will experience sheer terror at the hands of a buggy Linux system. No amount of battle-hardiness can keep you completely safe, either. I know this because not too long ago, a fear-inducing Linux bug came for me. I wanted to share this true Linux story, so that you may be informed and entertained.
IBM, Microsoft, and the Future of Healthcare
November 9, 2020
Healthcare is a mess, not just here in the U.S., but in most countries. Some of the biggest problems in this data-rich era are the lack of interoperability and fact-based advice. Two companies that stand out as aggressively trying to fix this are IBM and Microsoft. Let's contrast IBM's and Microsoft's healthcare efforts this week -- and we'll close with my product of the week: the most advanced electric motorcycle on the market.
A Momentous Week for 4 Tech Vendors
November 2, 2020
Powerful events and product launches by Cisco, Lenovo, Microsoft, and Qualcomm promise to make our future brighter. From more effective courts and legislators, to flexible and intelligent robots, to tools we can use to improve remote productivity, to validation that our justice system works -- last week was remarkable.
AdGuard Home: Another Brick in the Ad-Blocking Wall
October 29, 2020
Canonical's AdGuard Home Ubuntu Appliance is a new addition to the ranks of its appliances. With this offering, users can quickly implement a ready-made solution for blocking bothersome content at the network level on a home network. Doing so involves no more than downloading, installing, and booting the newly released lean Ubuntu image with the AdGuard Home service pre-installed and pre-configured.
A Vision of the Future From Dell World
October 26, 2020
One of the most interesting parts of Dell World is the session on the future. This year, they spoke on a new branch of engineering that is solely AI-focused, the blended technology revolution surrounding food production, how AIs were intentionally corrupted, and how music, math, and the Internet create new entertainment types.
The 'Unix Way'
October 14, 2020
We neglect our OS at the risk of radically underutilizing the incredible tools that it enables our device to be. Most of us only come into contact with one, or possibly both, of two families of operating systems: "House Windows" and "House Practically Everything Else." The latter is more commonly known as Unix.
Microsoft Hones Edge in Time for Holiday Shopping
October 12, 2020
Microsoft has aggressively updated its new Chromium version of the Edge browser with several features that should help you find gifts and save money while remaining safer on the web. Let's talk about these improvements to Edge this week, and we'll close with a new notebook from Gateway, which appears to have the near-perfect blend of size, price, and performance for our new COVID-19 normal.
Microsoft Ignite and Dominating the Future of Tech the Right Way
September 28, 2020
At Microsoft Ignite last week, the breadth and focus that Microsoft demonstrated were arguably well beyond what any other company is capable of doing. This lesson is worth remembering because Microsoft, unlike its peers facing antitrust action, is showing how to become powerful without becoming a threat. The result is far more powerful and far less risky than the company's prior path.
Microsoft Surface Duo: Rethinking the Smartphone
September 14, 2020
For many of us a phone should predominantly be a way to communicate and aid productivity, as opposed to being a device of distractions. Though we communicate far differently these days, and the apps we use to communicate seem to prefer larger screens. This brings us to Microsoft's Surface Duo, which has twin screens and is very different from the foldable phones with which it will compete.
Linux: 29 Years and Counting as a Powerhouse OS
September 3, 2020
When Linux was born on Aug. 25, 1991, it was little more than a hobby for then 21-year old Linus Torvalds. Today the Linux community is estimated to be more than 86 million users strong. Awareness of Linux in the enterprise was nonexistent 29 years ago. Since then Linux has become the backbone of many large and small enterprises.
Digital Security Is as Easy as PGP
August 17, 2020
To be sure, there are specialized circles that make regular explicit use of PGP. My aim in treating PGP here is twofold. The first is to shed some light on it for the uninitiated. The second, and more importantly, is to teach the daring among you how to wield this powerful tool.
Anatomy of Failure: Why It's Problematic That Zuckerberg Is the Least Trusted Big Tech CEO
August 10, 2020
Last week we ran a survey asking people which of the CEOs that were questioned by Congress last month is the most trustworthy. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg took the dubious prize for last place. Tim Cook of Apple was voted the most trustworthy. There shouldn't be any competition; Facebook has the tools and information access to assure it is beloved. Yet Apple, which doesn't have anywhere near that level of reach nor engagement, has a far better image. Let's talk about ironic incompetence.
Congress vs. Big Tech: Breaking Up Is Hard (and Stupid) to Do
August 3, 2020
Like a lot of you, last week I watched the congressional testimony from the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google -- and there were a lot of apparent things that were problematic. One is that there are folks in Congress that likely shouldn't be in Congress, and another is that each company has some serious issues they haven't dealt with.
10 Types of Social Proof and What Makes Them Effective
August 3, 2020
Social proof is an individual influencer or group clout that gives "proof" to a product. It is based on the principle that people tend to follow and conform to an influential person or a majority. They do this to be validated -- a result of a need for safety. Here are 10 kinds of social proof strategies -- and how and why they work.
The Case Against Full-Disk Encryption
July 27, 2020
The information security industry, with all its raging debates, has rallied around a small corpus of best practices. One of the highest on this list is full-disk encryption, which security experts regard as sacrosanct. This is the encryption that ensures that someone who snatches your device won't be able to know everything you've got saved on it. I'm here to make the case that most of you are better off not using it.
The Secrets of How IBM Maintains AI Leadership
July 13, 2020
IBM is chasing two of the three technology areas that I think will change the world as we know it over the next two decades. The three technology changes that I'm watching are robotics, AI computing, and quantum computing. IBM's focus has been on AI and quantum computing. I got an update on their AI efforts last week, and they have moved the ball a lot over the last few months.
Mercedes + Nvidia Could Catch Tesla and Create a Truly Smart Car
July 6, 2020
Last month Mercedes and Nvidia announced a relationship. The potential for Mercedes and Nvidia to change the very nature of personal transportation is carried within this partnership. This combination could be magical, both in terms of creating a better alternative to Tesla, and a deeper relationship between you and the company providing your car as a service.
The Trail to the Platform
July 1, 2020
Some years ago, Marc Benioff told me he was not interested in developing back office apps that would compete with SAP and Oracle in the ERP and finance market. Many people, myself included, looked askance at that idea and wondered out loud how the company would continue to grow because, hey, there's front office and back office and nothing else right? Nope.
Tech Products That Make It Easier to Stay Home
June 15, 2020
Being locked up at home can drive people a little nuts. Several technology products have been particularly helpful while sheltering in place, making this semi-forced timeout feel less like a punishment and more like something I could endure. The Atmoph Window 2, for example, looks like a picture on your wall, but inside the frame is a connected 27-inch 4K display that is tied to remote cameras.
Rethinking Remote Education
June 8, 2020
In these trying times, kids have to deal with a lot of stuff they weren't prepared for: a significant loss of weeks of education, damaged GPAs, and no assurance they'll be going back in the fall. However, some schools were able to pivot because they already had implemented remote programs that were mature, easily implemented, and designed by teachers for teachers.
Jack Dorsey and the End of Twitter
June 1, 2020
I'm a member of what is likely a reasonably sizable informal group of people who trained to be a CEO but declined the job -- in my case, several times. So I don't envy the position that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is in as he tries to figure out a way to do the right thing concerning the spread of false information and defend his company against an attack by the designated leader of the free world.
CRM's K-Wave
May 26, 2020
These are extraordinary times, in case you haven't noticed. One of my contentions these days is that CRM is penetrating society to a point that it is taking on an outsized role -- the "CRMification" of society. In economics we often see a disruptive innovation climb a ladder as it becomes something that society needs, as well as wants, until it becomes essential.
Necessity May Give Us a Virtual Court System
May 25, 2020
One of the exciting things that came out of Microsoft Build was that the company has been working to create virtual court solutions. If done right, a virtual system could fix a lot of court-related problems. It would allow judges to work around their schedules better and give attorneys improved access to online resources. It also might provide a way for jurors to improve their understanding.
Work.com and the CRMification of Society
May 20, 2020
CRMification is the process by which the culture absorbs CRM technology, processes and techniques to achieve some kind of new utility for getting things done better, faster and cheaper. Today we should add safer too. Another way to state it is that CRM is a disruptive innovation in the culture. The next normal will have something to do with CRM.
4 Amazing Things Nvidia Showcased at Its Virtual GTC
May 18, 2020
Nvidia just held its GTC event, and of the virtual keynotes I've seen so far, CEO Jensen Huang's was the best. That's because the company made the decision to cut it into segments, mostly under 16 minutes, so viewers didn't have to watch things they weren't interested in. Also, Jensen mixed up the content between the speaker, videos and static images, so it was interesting to watch.
How to Stay Safe on the Internet, Part 4: Fighting the Power
May 15, 2020
Category 2 adversaries are nothing to sneeze at, but their resources are finite. If you armor up enough, they will give up, and move onto an easier comparable target. In confronting the threat of category 3, everything you have learned ratchets up to a whole new level of paranoia. Category 3 adversaries have functionally unlimited resources for pursuing top targets.
What's Going On With Oracle?
May 14, 2020
Oracle appears to be undergoing a kind of resurgence during the coronavirus crisis. Financial analysts are saying nice things about its ability to pay dividends even in tough times. Its technology, which always has been good, is seeing an interesting uptick. All of this is buffing the company's image after years of, yes-but responses from the market.
IBM's Strategic Approach to Diversity
May 11, 2020
IBM's outgoing CEO Ginni Rometty gave a compelling talk at IBM Think last week on how the company is fighting strategically for diversity. I know of only one other company, Cisco, that is taking a genuinely holistic, strategic view of the problem, resulting in a broad positive impact. The reason I can name only two companies is that most are taking a tactical approach.
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