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Russian Head of $4B Bitcoin Exchange Charged in Massive Money Laundering Scheme
July 28, 2017
A grand jury in the Northern District of California indicted a Russian man for running a massive money laundering operation through the BTC-e bitcoin exchange, a group of federal officials announced Wednesday. The exchange allegedly received up to $4 billion in proceeds from various criminal activities, including the 2014 hack of the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange.
How Amazon Is Transforming Retail
July 27, 2017
Amazon's plan to buy Whole Foods Market has raised many new questions. If the company is successful in making the acquisition, and then successful in operating the business, it could transform the entire grocery industry. If we pull the camera back, we can see how success on the grocery side could foreshadow Amazon's success in many other parts of the retail environment.
Who's Right About AI? Musk's Dire Warnings Meet Zuckerberg's Cheerful Optimism
July 26, 2017
Two of Silicon Valley's most influential visionaries, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, this week engaged in a public spat over the future of artificial intelligence and whether the government should take the wheel to counter the threat this emerging technology might pose to mankind. Musk, a longtime advocate of AI, has expressed fears that intelligent machines could pose a risk to civilization.
Sage Buys Intacct
July 26, 2017
Sage's Tuesday announcement of its agreement to buy Intacct prompts a multilayered look at the evolution of the cloud ERP space. Both companies are partners with Salesforce and have products based on the Salesforce platform. Each is a member of the AppExchange, and both are situated in the broad cloud ERP space, which has been receiving a lot of attention lately as the market seems to be moving en masse, albeit glacially, to the cloud.
Facebook to Launch Paywall in Response to Publisher Pushback
July 26, 2017
Facebook last week confirmed its plan to launch a paywall for content providers, a move that could ease longstanding tensions with traditional publishers who objected to giving away their print stories for free. Campbell Brown, former CNN and NBC News journalist and current head of Facebook's news partnerships unit, announced the plan at a New York digital media forum.
Elon Musk: Luddite?
July 24, 2017
It's hard to believe that the founder of Tesla Motors and SpaceX could have such reactionary views about AI. Elon Musk last weekend had some very un-Musk-like things to say about AI when he addressed the U.S. National Governors Association meeting in Providence, Rhode Island. "AI is a fundamental existential risk for human civilization, and I don't think people fully appreciate that," Musk said.
The 5 Technologies We Need to Change the World
July 24, 2017
I just finished reading an interesting hard science fiction book called The Punch Escrow. The story takes place several decades in the future, and it revolves around the idea of quantum foam and teleportation. It points out why teleportation never may be practical, but it brings up the idea of human 3D printing, which could be used more effectively for space exploration.
V2V's Place in an Increasingly Connected World
July 21, 2017
You're probably tired of reading that the Internet of Things is the hottest thing going, and that IoT is a boon to technology and, simultaneously, a potential disaster for security and privacy. However, over the past few years, another IoT-related technology has been growing: vehicle to vehicle. V2V is a way for automobiles to communicate directly with other vehicles on the road.
Has Photobucket Painted Itself Into a Corner?
July 20, 2017
Various celebrities over the years have "broken the Internet" when risqué photos or shocking revelations surfaced, with or without their knowledge or approval. Photo hosting service Photobucket may have surpassed Kim Kardashian's most notorious stunts, though. The company recently changed its user agreement for the hosting of images on third-party sites, and truly may have broken the Internet.
A New Service Model
July 19, 2017
People concerned about automation killing jobs might look at Helpshift's strategy and similar automation approaches. By enabling businesses to build help or support into mobile apps, these new models are re-inventing support to get the job done. Sure, they provide automated support in lieu of conventional agents, but they do so at a level where it often can be uneconomic to position live agents.
Major Tech Firms Pressure FCC to Stay the Net Neutrality Course
July 18, 2017
The Internet Association, which represents 40 leading technology companies -- including Facebook, Google, Amazon and others -- on Monday filed comments with the FCC, urging it to maintain Net neutrality regulations enacted during the Obama administration. The rules have created a level playing field that has helped fuel innovation in the broadband Internet space, according to IA.
10th Anniversary iPhone Buzz: Late, Expensive, Possibly Awesome
July 18, 2017
With September fast approaching, speculation has begun to roil about the next generation of iPhones, particularly the iPhone 8, or whatever Apple decides to name its special 10th anniversary edition of its smartphone. However, fans aching to get their hands on the iPhone 8 may have to ache longer than those upgrading to the expected new iPhone 7s and 7s Plus models.
HP Is Back: Should It Rename Itself Compaq?
July 17, 2017
HP just took over the PC market lead worldwide. You probably don't get how incredible this is, so here's an analogy: It's as if a crooked referee put a bunch of lead on a racer who already was overweight and shuffled him to the back of the pack, but in the end, the guy finished first. You'd seriously want to look under his T-Shirt to see if you'd find Superman's costume.
Consumers Are Ready to Embrace 'Futuristic' Payment Tech
July 14, 2017
As many as 80 percent of U.S. residents support frictionless payment methods and technologies, suggests a survey of 1,000 consumers Viewpost published this week. Among its other findings: Nearly 51 percent of survey participants were paid electronically through direct deposit, and 83 percent of respondents believed paper checks would be eliminated completely within the next 20 years.
Hyperloop One Test: Beginning of a New Transportation Era?
July 13, 2017
Hyperloop One has conducted a successful first test of a specially designed vehicle to travel in a vacuum environment. The company achieved controlled propulsion and levitation of a Hyperloop One vehicle at 70 mph on a 315-foot test track in the Nevada desert. The test vehicle reached nearly 2Gs of acceleration during its brief 5.3 second test run on the specially built track.
Amazon's Echo Show: The Future Is Here
July 13, 2017
Amazon recently launched its Echo Show, which brings a visual screen to its smart speaker device. I wonder whether we're ready to start living in what seems like a futuristic Star Trek world. The Echo Show experience is sort of like having a laptop sitting on your table -- one that uses AI, allows you to speak to it, speaks back to you, and shows you relevant things on its screen.
The 3 Crucial Stages of an Effective Content Marketing Strategy
July 12, 2017
There are three key stages of implementing a content-based lead generation strategy -- content development, targeting and prospect nurturing -- that marketers should take into account. However, they often focus on one stage more than the others, missing out on opportunities for optimization. That is one of the findings of a new study from NetLine, a B2B content syndication lead generation network.
Gadget Ogling: Show and Tell, Fidget Folly, and Connected Nightlights
July 12, 2017
The Echo Show is the first in Amazon's line of smart speakers to incorporate a screen, and it seems very much more "speaker with a display" than "tablet with better audio and microphones." It has all the functionality of Echo, including access to Alexa, Amazon's voice-operated assistant. The screen can, for example, provide a more detailed weather outlook than what Alexa spouts out.
Trailhead Matrix
July 11, 2017
Salesforce had a strong showing at its TrailheaDX developer conference, roughly quadrupling last year's attendance and flooding its developers with new technology. Over the last few years, the company has built out a multidimensional matrix of product offerings that include CRM components like SFA and customer service, but it has been careful to introduce back-end technology products as well.
Growth for Customer Loyalty Programs Slowing: Census
July 10, 2017
Membership in loyalty programs grew at 15 percent this year to total 3.8 billion, according to the recently published 2017 Colloquy Loyalty Census Report. The growth rate recorded in the 2015 loyalty census, when membership stood at 3.3 billion, was 26 percent. Growth has slowed because the United States is a maturing market, said Melissa Fruend, author of the report.
Could Tech Nerf North Korea?
July 10, 2017
When a hostile country regularly lobs missiles into the ocean with the stated objective of transforming a U.S. state into a radioactive cloud, we have a problem. One "oops" and we could suddenly become a 49-state nation again. Approaches to North Korea tend to be in-the-box thinking, but there are new technologies that effectively could neutralize the threat it poses.
Trustify President Jennifer Mellon: Diversity Is Good Business
July 8, 2017
"My team has always, from day one, been 70 percent female," said Trustify President Jennifer Mellon. "You know, we're not a flower delivery service -- we're doing private investigation. It's not a space women often lead in, so I'm really proud of that. ... Over 45 percent of my team identified with a protected minority population -- including LGBT, race, ethnic and religious minorities."
Is SaaS Slipping Into the Legacy App Abyss?
July 7, 2017
Everywhere you look, organizations are shifting their software acquisition preferences and policies away from traditional, on-premises legacy applications to a new generation of on-demand SaaS solutions. Although I was an early advocate, I'm becoming concerned that many leading SaaS vendors and their enterprise customers are taking actions that significantly compromise SaaS' fundamental value.
Consumers Will Pay to Be Pleased: Survey
July 6, 2017
Eighty percent of participants in a recent Capgemini survey said they would pay more for a better customer experience, and 9 percent were willing to pay up to 50 percent more. Researchers polled 3,300 customers of 125 companies in the utilities, consumer products, retail, retail banking, and Internet-based services sectors. Among the respondents were 450 senior executives from 150 companies.
IoT Fuels Growth of Linux Malware
July 5, 2017
Malware targeting Linux systems is growing, largely due to a proliferation of devices created to connect to the Internet of Things. That is one of the findings in a report WatchGuard Technologies released last week. The report, which analyzes data gathered from more than 26,000 appliances worldwide, found three Linux malware programs in the top 10 for the first quarter of the year.
The Stupidly Dangerous Politics of Blame
July 3, 2017
I hope that, like me, you are off this long holiday weekend and have a chance to think about the drama that now surrounds the U.S. administration. What I find fascinating isn't that the government is a bit of a mess but that the accidental transparency of this administration is focusing us more on the visibility of the problems rather than on the problems themselves.
Naming the Ephemeral
June 30, 2017
So much is happening as we approach the end of Q2 -- our industry's busiest quarter, at least by some measures. I'm flying around seeing things but not always able to comment from a middle seat on a red-eye. So this piece is an attempt to catch up and set some markers for the traditionally slower summer. I've been searching for a word to describe a new category I see: Service as a Service.
4 Marketing Strategies That Can Boost B2B Sales: Study
June 29, 2017
Four business marketing strategies can boost business-to-business sales conversion rates by up to 25 percentage points, based on results of a survey Altman Vilandrie released this week. However, only 15 percent of businesses fully take advantage of them. Even those that do use the strategies sometimes fail to maximize sales conversions because of a lack of coordination and integration.
At 10, the World-Changing iPhone Is Kind of the Same
June 29, 2017
Apple celebrated the 10th anniversary of its iconic iPhone on Thursday. Since former CEO Steve Jobs debuted the original device, the company has gone on to sell more than a billion handsets worldwide, and the iPhone has become one of the most successful product categories in the electronics industry. The iPhone proved to be a major disrupter in the mobile phone category after its unveiling.
Can Amazon Reinvent the Shopping Experience?
June 27, 2017
There is little doubt that the Internet has altered the way U.S. consumers think about shopping. E-commerce sales grew 15.6 percent in 2016 and now account for 11.7 percent of all retail sales, according to recent reports. Amazon accounts for a whopping 43 percent of those e-commerce sales. Amazon, in particular, has changed the way consumers think about e-commerce sales, or etail.
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How do you feel about flying on a pilotless plane?
No way -- if there's a screw-up, you can't just jump out.
I'd do it -- flights are pretty much entirely automated anyway.
I'm skeptical but open minded, especially if fares would be much less.
I would try it if there were *someone* on board to take over in a pinch.
It's the wave of the future -- I'm resigned to it.