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Rivals Rev Up as Uber Hits the Skids
June 23, 2017
As Uber reels from the fallout of a sexual harassment scandal that led to this week's ouster of Travis Kalanick and several of his top executives, the company faces twin dilemmas: how to clean up its corporate work environment and restock its executive ranks; and how to maintain credibility with its customer base and core team of street level drivers.
Google Launches Go-To Job Aggregation Site
June 21, 2017
Google has announced the launch of new job search aggregation technology. The new initiative will allow Google users to search for jobs either on mobile devices or personal computers, and to use a set of filters to obtain highly targeted results pulled from many different sites across the Web. Google aims to use its machine learning capabilities to make an immediate impact on people's lives.
Apple Centers Health Data Strategy on iPhone
June 19, 2017
Apple quietly has been strategizing to expand its growing healthcare business to include the management of digital health records, with the iPhone operating as a central data hub. Apple reportedly has been in talks with numerous health industry groups that are involved in setting standards for the storage and sharing of electronic medical records, in a way that would give consumers more control.
The Art of Manipulation and Misdirection
June 19, 2017
Last week, I listened to an economist talk about Apple's complaints that Qualcomm had charged Apple too much for access to patents. What was fascinating was that Apple had folks focused on the 5 percent Qualcomm had charged it instead of on the massive profit that Apple made on each phone. The price of the iPhone 8 likely will be well over $1,000 -- but it could cost well under $500 to build.
Nintendo's New Lineup Electrifies E3
June 16, 2017
Nintendo previewed an impressive lineup of gaming content at E3 2017 this week, by many accounts. Its collection of new titles and targeted versions of some of the industry's hottest third-party content seemed to validate surprisingly strong sales of the Nintendo Switch console. Moving easily from a living room big screen to a mobile gaming device, the Switch already has gained a significant following.
Cook Gives Up a Few Crumbs of Apple Auto Info
June 16, 2017
News about Apple's plans for the automotive market have been dripping slowly from the company for months, and CEO Tim Cook this week released a few more drops from the faucet. Apple's auto efforts are zeroing in on autonomous systems, he said. Self-driving is a core technology that Apple considers very important to its auto plans, but it's very challenging from an AI perspective, Cook noted.
Art, History and 3D Printing
June 15, 2017
The Tech Museum of Innovation last month debuted an exhibit that includes numerous installations with an interactive component. Visitors can don Occulus VR headsets to appreciate classical works of art in virtual reality -- a completely new museum experience. There long has been a debate on what constitutes "art" -- and opinions have differed as to how music, film, radio and TV fit in.
Xbox One X: More Speed, More Muscle
June 14, 2017
Microsoft earlier this week announced the next version of its Xbox line of gaming consoles, ahead of E3 2017, now ongoing in Los Angeles. The new Xbox One X, which goes on sale Nov. 7 for $499, is slimmer than previous models and packed with power. With a 6-teraflop Scorpio engine, the One X has 40 percent faster graphics performance than its chief rival, Sony's PS4 Pro.
Chastened Uber CEO Takes Leave of Absence to Work on Self-Improvement
June 14, 2017
Uber Technologies CEO Travis Kalanick said he will take a leave of absence, as a company review led by Eric Holder was made public. The review sketches out a plan to make radical changes to diversify Uber in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination. Kalanick accepted responsibility for widespread company problems that led to the investigation.
Firms Eager to Try New Sales Technologies, Survey Suggests
June 13, 2017
More than 80 percent of high-growth sales organizations use five or more sales technologies, suggests a recent online survey of 400 companies. Velocify and the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals partnered on the research and released their findings on Tuesday. The average number of sales technologies in use was 10, based on the participants' reports.
Uber Ousts Top Deputy as Fate of CEO Kalanick Hangs in Balance
June 13, 2017
Uber Technologies on Monday lost its second-most-important executive in a shakeup stemming from an internal investigation into sexual harassment charges. The changes at the top reportedly could include the temporary loss of Uber's founder and chief executive, Travis Kalanick. Emil Michael -- who served as the company's senior vice president of business and a key lieutenant to Kalanick -- is out.
New Stem Cell Treatment Offers Dramatic Burn-Healing Potential
June 13, 2017
A med-tech startup has developed a novel way to treat burn wounds. RenovaCare harvests a variety of cells, including stem cells, from a healthy area of skin on a patient. Those cells are then suspended in a water-based solution and sprayed onto the wound using the company's SkinGun. "The sprayer allows us to have a generous distribution of cells," explained RenovaCare's Roger Esteban-Vives.
Gadget Ogling: Apple at Home
June 12, 2017
The battle for your home just got a little more intense as Apple pulled back the curtain on HomePod, its smart speaker that seeks to hold dominion over your home empire and all the gadgets that reside within. HomePod holds a 4-inch woofer and seven tweeters, and it has six microphones to pick up your voice commands for Siri, wherever you happen to be in the room.
SoftBank to Take Fearsome Robots Off Alphabet's Hands
June 10, 2017
SoftBank on Thursday announced that it will acquire robotics company Boston Dynamics from Alphabet, parent company of Google. SoftBank Robotics is the company's subsidiary that focuses on the development, sales and maintenance of humanoid and service robots. "Smart robotics are going to be a key driver of the next stage of the information revolution," said SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son."
Microsoft Buys Hexadite to Toughen Windows Security
June 9, 2017
Microsoft on Thursday said it has agreed to buy a Hexadite, which incorporates artificial intelligence in its automated responses to cyberthreats. The acquisition will help bolster the company's efforts to help commercial Windows 10 customers deal with advanced attacks on their networks, Microsoft said. The acquisition will include Hexadite's endpoint security automated remediation.
'Arms' Could Help Nintendo Fight Its Way Back Into the Ring
June 9, 2017
Arms, the highly anticipated fighting game for Nintendo's Switch, will be available next Friday, and based on the early reviews, the company just may have found the magic bullet. Nintendo's Switch console, launched earlier this year, has been something of a surprise success. Prior to its launch, it seemed like a risky play for the company, which has been bobbing and weaving in recent years.
E3 2017: Enhancements, Expectations and Perhaps Excitement
June 8, 2017
All of the major video game developers, publishers and console hardware makers, as well as many retail buyers and the gaming press, will descend on Los Angeles for E3 2017 next week. The annual event -- a showcase for computer, video and mobile games and related products -- will kick off officially on Tuesday and run through Thursday at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
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."
Apple's Risky Gambit to Redefine the Smart Speaker
June 7, 2017
Before Apple launched its long-awaited HomePod smart speaker earlier this week, the expectation was that it would unveil a sophisticated Echo killer that would redefine the landscape that Amazon has dominated, with Google playing catch-up. "Just like iPod reinvented music in our pockets, HomePod is going to reinvent music in our homes," Apple SVP Phil Schiller told WWDC attendees.
Apple's iOS 11 Makes Siri a More Natural Woman... and Man
June 6, 2017
New voices for Siri and peer-to-peer payments are among the new features in the next version of Apple's mobile device operating system iOS 11, previewed at the company's annual Worldwide Development Conference on Monday. "With the new operating system, Apple has doubled down on many of the applications it has developed for iOS," said Ross Rubin, the principal analyst at Reticle Research.
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.
With Audio Focus, Apple Side-Steps Smart Speaker Competition
June 6, 2017
Apple raised the curtain on HomePod, its upcoming smart speaker, during Monday's WWDC keynote presentation. The company also announced some desktop OS features for the iPad, and revealed its plans to become an augmented reality powerhouse. "Just like iPod reinvented music in our pockets, HomePod is going to reinvent music in our homes," said Apple SVP Phil Schiller.
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.
Zuora VP Matt Darrow: The Intelligence of the Subscription Model
June 2, 2017
"We think of 'subscription' broadly," said Matt Darrow, VP and general manager of product at Zuora. "It's when companies do business with customers with whom they have a known relationship, and those relationships are sticky. The subscription model is great for engagement because companies know that in order to be successful they need to deliver ongoing services that keep providing value."
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.
Salesforce Offers Alternative to Old-School Partner Portals
June 1, 2017
Salesforce on Wednesday announced the Sales Cloud Lightning Partner Relationship Management app as a replacement for partner portals and electronic data interchanges that lack modern features such as built-in mobile, social analytics and AI capabilities. The PRM app has an interactive Guided Setup Wizard that lets channel managers configure, customize and deploy the app in days.
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?
Microsoft Partners Heed Mixed-Reality Call
June 1, 2017
Microsoft on Wednesday showcased a new series of mixed reality headsets from partner firms Acer, HP, Asus, Dell and Lenovo at Computex 2017. The preview marked the company's commitment to establish Windows 10 as a leading driver of mixed reality capabilities, as well as to open up the market to a wider variety of price points and consumer demographics.
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.
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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.