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Consumers Warned of Exploding Samsung Washers
October 8, 2016
That's the situation Samsung found itself in last week when the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning about certain top-load washing machines made by the company between March 2011 and April 2016. "CPSC is advising consumers to only use the delicate cycle when washing bedding, water-resistant and bulky items," reads a statement at the commission's website.
AI's Moment
October 7, 2016
There recently has been an increase in the talk -- pro and con -- about bots, AI and intelligent assistants. A lot of this talk has been percolating around the industry for decades. Silicon Collar, a book by Vinnie Mirchandani, a friend and truly gifted analyst, accepts that automation might be eliminating jobs, but it optimistically holds out for the silver lining.
Backpage CEO Arrested for Pimping, Child Prostitution
October 7, 2016
Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer is facing extradition to California on charges his company earned millions of dollars by promoting adult and child prostitution through escort advertisements run on the site. Ferrer's arrest took place in Houston upon his return from the Netherlands to the headquarters of his Dallas-based company, perhaps the largest advertiser of adult escort services in the U.S.
Nevada Issues Historic License to Paralyzed Race Car Driver
October 7, 2016
The state of Nevada last week issued paralyzed former Indy driver Sam Schmidt a license to drive a specially made autonomous vehicle, equipped with a series of high-tech sensors and other equipment that will allow him to operate it with head motions, voice commands and breathing techniques. The license allows Schmidt to operate the Arrow SAM car alongside regular passenger traffic.
Insulin Pump Susceptible to Hacking
October 7, 2016
Medical device manufacturer Animas on Tuesday warned that its OneTouch Ping insulin pump system was susceptible to hacking. "We have been notified of a cybersecurity issue with the OneTouch Ping, specifically that a person could potentially gain unauthorized access to the pump through its unencrypted radio frequency communication system," reads the company's letter to users of the device.
Google: There's No Hub Like Home
October 6, 2016
Google on Tuesday officially launched Google Home, its long-awaited wireless hub. Google Home is an interactive personal assistant and entertainment center that takes full advantage of the company's deep advantages in Web search, AI and machine learning. Google's vision is to place a customized version of its Google Assistant technology into the hands of every customer.
Dreamforce's Einstein: First Shot in New Sales Tech Arms Race?
October 6, 2016
A technology conference staple is the over-the-horizon announcement: a proclamation that something that isn't quite here yet is the next big thing, often accompanied by simulated screen shots, hypothetical use cases and fantastic demonstrations. This year's Dreamforce announcement of a machine learning-enabled technology called "Einstein" easily could be dismissed as futureware.
IoT Could Become Playground for Botnets Gone Wild
October 6, 2016
The source code for Mirai, the malware behind the botnet that launched a massive attack on the Krebs on Security website -- the largest DDoS attack on record -- has been released in the wild, according to Brian Krebs. A hacker who goes by the handle "Anna-senpai," apparently because of increased scrutiny from the cybersec industry, last week announced the release on Hackforums, Krebs said.
Amazon Cracks Down on Review Freebies
October 5, 2016
In a bid to help bolster trust in its customer ratings, Amazon on Monday said that it no longer would allow most incentivized reviews -- that is, reviews written in exchange for receiving products free or at a discount. Such reviews comprise only a small percentage of the tens of millions of reviews of products sold on the site, maintained Amazon Vice President of Customer Experience Chee Chew.
Google Plasters Its Name on a New Hardware Collection
October 5, 2016
Google on Tuesday unveiled a new smartphone and home hub that squarely aim at products from market leaders Apple and Amazon. The company's new branded smartphone, called "Pixel," marks a departure from past efforts. Up to now, Google's Nexus phones were made by a variety of manufacturers that sold them under their brands. "Google is trying to position itself as a complete supplier," said ABI Research analyst Jeff Orr.
Report: Apple Shares Unencrypted iMessage Metadata With Cops
October 5, 2016
Apple last week faced renewed scrutiny for its data-sharing practices, following news that it retains iMessage metadata and shares it with law enforcement when presented with a court order. The company has insisted that it would not share data that would jeopardize the privacy and trust of its millions of customers. Metadata includes contacts, IP addresses, and dates and times of conversations.
Salesforce Ponies Up $340M Cash for Krux Data Management
October 4, 2016
Salesforce has agreed to acquire its Marketing Cloud partner Krux, which offers a data management platform. Salesforce will pay $340 million in cash and issue between 3.4 million and six million shares of common stock to consummate the deal, according to documentation filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday. That's worth an estimated $700 million in all.
Toyota Positions Kirobo Mini as Tiny Traveling Companion
October 3, 2016
Gearing up for this week's CEATEC trade show in Tokyo, Toyota on Monday announced that its compact-sized Kirobo Mini, pitched as a "communication partner," will go on sale early next year in Japan. The Mini is a smaller version of the astronaut robot Kirobo, which visited the International Space Station in 2013. The Kirobo Mini is meant to take part in more down-to-earth affairs.
The Lack of Strategic Thinking in Election 2016
October 3, 2016
One of the problems facing the technology industry right now is the critical lack of strategic thinking. Hedge fund managers and activist investors increasingly are forcing tactical decisions that raise stock prices over the short term, largely by destroying the firm's long-term viability. Most top executives don't seem to understand they are destroying their companies until it's too late.
Gadget Ogling: Streaming Merrily, Snapping Happily, and Listening My Way
October 1, 2016
Roku has refreshed its lineup of media players with lower prices, so bringing streaming video to every screen in your home just got a little more accessible. At the lower end, the Roku Express costs $30. The lineup includes $40, $50, $80 and $100 models with a variety of feature combinations. At $130, the Roku Ultra, pictured here, is the feature-loaded top-of-the-line option.
What to Expect at Dreamforce 16
September 30, 2016
Something tells me that if Salesforce already leaked news about its new AI product, Einstein, that it might not be the biggest news that will emerge from Dreamforce next week. However, I also think Einstein will be involved in whatever is the big takeaway. Salesforce has become rather large, with $8 billion-plus in revenue. A member of the Fortune 500, it still tries to be nimble.
Early Reviews Fuel High Hopes for Civilization VI
September 29, 2016
Early hands-on previews of Civilization VI came out Thursday, and those who had a chance to partake in the turn-based PC game found that it successfully built on the foundation of the past versions, while bringing some fresh changes to the experience. It has been 25 years since the classic debuted to great acclaim, and it seemed that Firaxis would have to pull out all the stops.
Apple Steers Its Car Project All Over the Map
September 29, 2016
McLaren Technology Group, which manufactures Formula One and luxury supercars, has denied rumors that it was engaging in discussions with Apple regarding a possible purchase or strategic investment. Apple has been pursing a highly secretive project to develop its own venture in the electric and autonomous vehicle space, and it reportedly has entered negotiations with McLaren on a potential deal.
Surviving the Internet's Troll Apocalypse
September 29, 2016
Social media has sharpened humans' age-old appetite for public shaming, providing a stage and unlimited seating for an endless stream of immorality plays. Those who share even the simplest identifying details about themselves are vulnerable to being pushed into the glare of the spotlight. Anonymity frees many individuals of the consequences they might face offline for being abusive to others.
Oracle OpenWorld
September 29, 2016
Larry Ellison was having too much fun. In his second keynote of this year's Oracle OpenWorld user conference, he was talking about his company's database, Oracle 12c, and comparing it highly favorably to Amazon's competing databases. It seems Ellison always has fun, which is one likely reason that the 72 year-old CTO and executive chairman of the board, looks 52, sounds 42, and probably feels 32.
Google AI Gives More Context to Chinese-to-English Translations
September 28, 2016
Research at Google on Tuesday launched Google Neural Machine Translation system, now in production with Chinese to English -- "a notoriously difficult language pair," according to Quoc V. Le and Mike Schuster, research scientists on the Google Brain Team. GNMT already is powering the Google Translate mobile and Web apps for 18 million or so Chinese to English translations daily.
Adobe Leaps From AWS to Microsoft's Cloud
September 28, 2016
Microsoft has announced a series of major enhancements to its enterprise cloud platform, as well as a new strategic partnership with Adobe, advancing its drive to attract new business from core competitors like Salesforce and Amazon. Microsoft has entered a strategic partnership to make Azure the preferred cloud platform for the Adobe Marketing Cloud, Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Document Cloud.
Germany Dope Slaps Facebook Over WhatsApp Data
September 28, 2016
Germany's data protection regulator on Tuesday ordered Facebook to stop collecting and storing data from WhatsApp users in the country. Facebook also must delete any data it already may have harvested from German WhatsApp users, according to Johannes Caspar, Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, who issued the order. Facebook purchased WhatsApp two years ago.
Bullhorn CMO Gordon Burnes: We're Going to Flip the CRM Paradigm
September 27, 2016
"I dare you to find a sales person or account manager who enjoys spending the last 45 minutes of the day inputting data into the CRM system," said Bullhorn CMO Gordon Burnes. "A lot of companies are facing the CRM adoption challenge. Why is it that this account record doesn't have much data in it? When was it that the account manager last visited? That information just doesn't get into CRM.
Gadget Ogling: Driving Partner, Hydration Station, and Flying Grabbers
September 24, 2016
After a bad experience when I was first behind the wheel as a teenager, I'm only just now learning to drive, more than a decade later. My partner and I are going through the school together, and when asked about our dream vehicles in class, she replied that she'd love a self-driving RV. Her wish eventually might turn true with a device that grants vehicles more autonomy.
Work in a New Automation Era
September 22, 2016
Automation has a habit of killing jobs, which has been true since the Industrial Revolution. However, it seems that we're discovering this truth all over again. We easily forget when we focus only on the job-creation aspects of automation, and that usually gets us in trouble. Since the IR, there have been five distinct economic waves lasting between 50 and 60 years.
GoPro Karma Lets New Hero5s Fly High
September 22, 2016
Pro earlier this week refreshed its product line, announcing two new action cameras, a cloud service and a drone. Its new Hero5 Black camera can capture 4K video at 30 frames a second and still photos at 12 megapixels, with RAW and WDR support. It has a 2-inch touch display, and stereo sound recording with advanced wind noise reduction. It can be voice-controlled in seven languages. The shooter will be available Oct. 2.
Nikon Gets In On the Action
September 21, 2016
Nikon has announced its new KeyMission line of shooters, marking its entry into the 360-degree and action camera business. The KeyMission 360 can corral 360-degree video in 4K UHD at 24p, as well as in the more traditional HD 1080p. It also shoots 30-megapixel stills. The unit has two f/2.0 lenses, each with a 20-megapixel CMOS sensor. The dual units eliminate blind spots.
The Internet's Shameful Role in Propagating Body Shaming
September 21, 2016
A problem once associated mainly with school playgrounds often follows people into adulthood, and the anonymity of the Internet has aided its proliferation. People have been shamed for being overweight, underweight, too conservative, too revealing, too young, too old, too plastic or too real. Bullying and harassment are very real problems not only for children, but also for countless adults.
Incentives-Driven Disaster: Wells Fargo's Ethical Implosion
September 21, 2016
Anyone who works with sales people knows that their ultimate incentive is their commission check. Since the first time that "sales" was identified as a profession, we've been paying the people who sell based primarily on their results. This has worked well -- but things are starting to change. The drive for results at the expense of all other considerations is running smack dab into new realities.
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How worried are you about lithium-ion batteries?
Very. Someone is going to be killed.
Very. They should be better regulated.
Somewhat. I'm wary of new products that use them.
Not much. The risk level is statistically very low.
Not at all. I face much greater risks every day.