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No Easy Decision: Choosing Between Pay-TV Services
May 3, 2019
Many consumers in recent years have opted to cut the cord -- that is, to ditch cable or satellite TV and instead rely on OTT streaming services for their viewing pleasure. Price has been one factor, but changing viewing habits has been another. As a reporter who covers pay-TV services of all varieties, I actually went the opposite direction and for some time have had both cable and satellite.
AI Raises the Bar for Home Network Security
May 2, 2019
Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the hacking of their devices and data as they hear about more data breaches and have their own experiences with issues such as ransomware, identity theft and botnet attacks. Concerns about data security also have been shown to increase with ownership of more connected devices. Currently, U.S. broadband households own an average of 10.4 connected devices.
Cybersecurity Pros Join 'Right to Repair' Battle
May 2, 2019
An advocacy organization formed by cybersecurity professionals has joined the fight for "right to repair" legislation, which would allow consumers and third parties to repair electronic equipment without voiding manufacturers' warranties. Legislators in about 20 states have been working on some form of this legislation, but they have been stymied by a number of tech companies and industry groups.
Is Nvidia Tesla's Kryptonite?
April 29, 2019
Tesla sure didn't have a good week last week, given the kind of press coverage it got. I'm not that worried about Tesla going away, though, as its products are far too popular for it to disappear. On the other hand, management clearly needs to be fixed. What got me started looking at Tesla last week was that it pretty much announced that Nvidia was its Kryptonite.
Consumers Balk at Premium Smartphone Prices
April 26, 2019
Only a fraction of consumers are willing to pay $1,500 or more for a flagship Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy smartphone, suggests an informal ECT News Network survey conducted from April 15 to 22. Fewer than 2 percent of those who took part said they'd be willing to paying such a premium for a handset. New smartphones arrive with almost disturbing regularity.
What Social Can Learn From CRM
April 25, 2019
There's been a chorus of calls from all corners for social media regulation -- from pundits like me to the halls of Congress and even from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself. The social media community seems tied up in knots over what to do about the abuse happening within their communities, but if you look elsewhere you might see signs of solutions that could solve some fundamental problems.
FAA Greenlights Wing Aviation Drone Deliveries
April 25, 2019
The Federal Aviation Administration has given its first air drone delivery certification in the United States to Alphabet's Wing Aviation, paving the way for the service to begin commercial package delivery in Blacksburg, Virginia. "This is an important step forward for the safe testing and integration of drones into our economy," said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
EU Gives Nod to 'Big Brother' Biometrics Database
April 24, 2019
The European Parliament overwhelmingly approved two measures that would integrate the region's fragmented law enforcement and home affairs databases into a centralized one that would include biometric information on some 350 million EU and non-EU citizens. It approved creation of the new system on two votes -- one to merge border control systems, and one to merge law enforcement systems.
Samsung Applies Brakes to Galaxy Fold Launch
April 23, 2019
Foldable phones have been dealt a setback by Samsung's announcement that it has postponed indefinitely the release of its Galaxy Fold. Samsung pumped the brakes on the $1,980 phone's release after several reviewers reported problems. Samsung acknowledged that their experiences indicated the device needed further improvements to ensure the best possible user experience.
How to Get Smarter About Influencer Marketing
April 22, 2019
Marrying technical rigidity with unrestrained creativity? Due to its ability to transform brand engagement with creators on social media, programmatic influencer marketing is here to stay. Millennials have been abandoning traditional media channels and instead becoming increasingly invested in social media. However, marketers may find that PPC ads may not reach the desired performance levels.
Apple's Looming Nightmare
April 22, 2019
The big news last week was that Apple finally agreed to settle its fight with Qualcomm. Kudos to Tim Cook, because I've known a lot of CEOs rather who would have fought to the death than admitted they were wrong -- and not only wrong but acting disingenuously the entire time. Fighting this to the death would have been far worse. What spurred the settlement likely was he defense Qualcomm mounted.
NICE InContact Packs CXone With Tons of AI Features
April 19, 2019
NICE inContact has released the Spring 2019 version of its CXone cloud-based contact center software, with multiple AI-powered updates for smarter customer and agent engagement, plus enhanced CRM integrations. NICE inContact CXone "is the most complete, unified, and intelligent cloud contact center platform available in the market," said company spokesperson Cheryl Andrus.
Everyone's a Winner in Apple-Qualcomm Settlement
April 18, 2019
Apple and Qualcomm unexpectedly announced a settlement as their case entered the second day of a hearing in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Diego. In related news, Intel announced it was getting out of the 5G smartphone chip business. The Apple-Qualcomm settlement provides an unspecified one-time payment from Apple to Qualcomm, among other terms.
Disruption Plus
April 17, 2019
There's a chicken-and-egg issue with digital disruption. Making decisions based on numbers instead of gut instinct is recognized to be a superior approach in many situations, but before you can get to decision making, people have to be able to use things like AI and ML. Humans are not naturals when it comes to numbers; thinking back to high school algebra is all it takes to convince most of us.
Managing Sales Tax Complexities in Merchandise Returns
April 17, 2019
As the world has become increasingly digital, the retail industry has gone through tremendous transformation. To survive in the competitive landscape and keep up with evolving customer preferences, merchants have had to adapt and learn how to deliver the seamless omnichannel experience that shoppers expect. Delivering that efficiency and convenience comes with challenging operational intricacies.
EU's New Copyright Directive Could Break the Internet
April 16, 2019
A copyright directive that some fear could break the Internet has cleared the final hurdle in the European Union. The directive makes platforms for user-uploaded content -- like Google and Facebook -- legally liable for violations of the rights of copyright holders. It requires them to obtain the permission of the holders before posting content to their sites.
Qualcomm: Rethinking AI in a 5G Quantum World
April 15, 2019
It is expected that 5G will move aggressively into the market, with near-complete major metropolitan coverage by the end of the year. This technology is a game-changer, but it doesn't come without issues, one of which is the massive change in network loading. 5G will shift the bottlenecks from the wireless networks to the backhaul, where the expected massive increase in traffic will force some rather impressive network upgrades.
Google Presents a Cornucopia of Cloud Goodies
April 11, 2019
Google announced a host of new services, features and partners at Google Cloud Next '19 Day 2 in San Francisco. The new unveilings followed its announcement of Anthos, an open source platform powered by Kubernetes, on Day 1. Anthos is "a single platform for developers and operations; it is for on-premise and multicloud installations," said Google SVP Urs Hölzle.
Alphabet's Wing Delivery Service Takes Flight in Australia
April 10, 2019
Alphabet's Project Wing on Monday launched a commercial air delivery service in North Canberra, Australia, providing customers with fresh food, hot coffee and over-the-counter medications from seven local businesses. Shoppers can use Wing's mobile app to place orders and receive deliveries within 30 minutes. The launch follows an 18-month test period in the area.
Report: Apple Is Gearing Up to Debut Mini-LED Display Tech
April 10, 2019
Apple plans to introduce a number of new products in the next two years that will sport a new display technology, according to master Apple watcher Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities. Based on Kuo's predictions, which were reported widely on Tuesday, Apple will use new "mini LED" technology in three new products: a 31.6-inch monitor, a new iPad, and a new MacBook.
Snapchat Refreshes App to Revive Prospects
April 9, 2019
New augmented reality features, an SDK for Stories, and a games platform highlighted Snapchat's first developer's conference. AR features announced at Snap's first Partner Summit: solving math problems by pointing the app's camera at them; AR effects for monuments, pets and people; buying what the camera sees through Amazon; and identifying songs through Shazam.
Cisco's Broader Take on Diversity
April 8, 2019
There should be no argument that we live in a diverse world, and that the technology industry doesn't reflect that diversity. The lack of diversity in employees makes it very difficult for companies, both in and out of the tech market, to address their increasingly diverse customer base effectively, whether buyers or end users. This has resulted in books like Technically Wrong.
Zuckerberg Tries, Tries Again
April 6, 2019
Mark Zuckerberg's most recent effort to change the conversation about Facebook seems like just another attempt at self-justification. In a recent op-ed, he places the onus squarely on the shoulders of government to regulate how social media works. "I believe we need new regulation in four areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability," Zuckerberg wrote.
What Lies Beneath Facebook's Sudden Embrace of Government Regulation
April 5, 2019
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called for greater government oversight and even regulation of the Internet in an op-ed piece published last weekend. Zuckerberg, who famously built the social network by playing by his own rules, said it was time for government and regulators around the world to step up and help rein in the Internet. The main point was to regulate what he called "harmful content."
With More Than 8 Billion Things, Where Are the IoT Privacy Laws?
April 4, 2019
No one knows for sure how many "things" are connected to the Internet, but the Federal Trade Commission reported last year that it was more than 8 billion, and that it would exceed 20 billion by the end of 2020! Astonishing as it seems, it turns out that U.S. privacy laws do not apply to all of those devices and the data they collect. So, for the third time in three years, the Senate has proposed a new law.
Following Protests, Google Cuts Temps, Vendors, Contractors a Fairer Deal
April 4, 2019
Google has unveiled new minimum standards for temps, vendors and contractors in the United States, in response to demands from an employee coalition that included full-time Google staffers as well as temporary workers and contractors. "Yesterday, we shared an update on some new initiatives to support our extended U.S. workforce," Google spokesperson Jenn Kaiser said Wednesday.
Walmart Lets Customers Use Google Assistant to Voice-Order Groceries
April 3, 2019
Walmart has launched a limited beta of Walmart Voice Order, which lets consumers order groceries by voice using Google Assistant. The service can be used with a number of devices: tablets, watches and TV sets running Android 6.0+; smartphones running Android 5.0+; iOS 10.0+ devices; Google Home; and more. "This announcement is huge," said Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research.
Report: YouTube Too Fixated on Engagement to Curb Toxic Content
April 3, 2019
YouTube executives have been unable or unwilling to rein in toxic content because it could reduce engagement on their platform, according to a report that maintained the company has spent years chasing one goal: engagement. The problem YouTube now faces is how to create an effective mechanism to handle problematic content, observed Cayce Myers, an assistant professor at Virginia Tech.
Wayfair v. South Dakota: How Amazon Played Both Sides
April 1, 2019
In the late 90s, Amazon began expanding its offerings beyond books, quickly embracing the Internet and leveraging technology to boost sales and exploit dated tax laws. Thanks to the proliferation of the Web and a rise in the popularity of e-commerce, Amazon rapidly scaled its business to offer a range of products and services directly to customers anywhere in the nation.
WiFi, Managed Services and the Home Network: Solving In-Home Connectivity
March 30, 2019
Home networks are a key building block for today's connected home systems and products, and wireless is the dominant method of connectivity for a variety of smart home, computing and entertainment devices. As a result, loss of wireless connectivity can be disruptive to the user experience and seriously impair the value proposition of computing and entertainment devices.
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How important is a candidate's knowledge of technology in winning your vote?
Extremely -- technology is at the center of most of the world's big problems and solutions.
Very -- a candidate who doesn't understand technology can't relate to young people.
Somewhat -- a general understanding is sufficient.
Not very -- choosing good advisers is more important than direct knowledge.
Not at all -- technology is often a distraction from more important issues.