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Reports: Federal IT Managers Should Look Forward, Not Back
April 22, 2015
The dynamic world of information technology calls for a future-oriented approach to IT management. However, government agencies too often may be looking backward rather than forward with respect to how they operate IT systems, especially when it comes to investing huge sums of taxpayer money into those resources. Two recent assessments of government IT make the point.
Breach Outbreaks Fuel Encryption Adoption
April 22, 2015
As data breaches make headlines around the world, more companies are turning to encryption to protect their information jewels. That is one of the findings in a study released Monday, conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Thales E-Security. "Mega breaches and cyber attacks have increased companies' urgency to improve their security posture," says the report.
Digital Disruption and a Great Gap
April 21, 2015
You can tell when the economy is doing well, because instead of worrying about how you're going to make the next mortgage payment, you worry about the next disruption in business. The big worry on the horizon now is the digital disruption, a nice piece of alliteration designed to make you question your worth. The DD is the confluence of a lot of wonderful new technology.
Government Surveillance: What to Do, What to Do?
April 21, 2015
The CIA has been trying to hack into iOS for years. British and American agencies reportedly have collaborated to create a map of the Internet and Web users. The United States National Security Agency has, together with the UK's GCHQ, reportedly stolen SIM card encryption keys from Gemalto. The FBI is frothing at the mouth over Google's and Apple's encryption of their mobile OSes.
Sleek Ad Tailoring for Online Apparel Shoppers
April 21, 2015
Consumers are on board with the concept of buying apparel online. Especially in this era of free returns and nifty sizing tools, buying clothing and shoes off the Web has become mainstream. However, some advertisers have been slow to respond. While most of us have at some point been served ads displaying items we browsed the day before, dynamic creative has the power and potential to do much more.
Big Data Drives Change if You're Ready to Be Driven
April 20, 2015
In an earlier chapter in my career, I had the seemingly lofty title of "software and intelligence editor" at a telecom trade magazine. Even back in 1996, telecom was experiencing a "big data" problem. It wasn't a problem of collection -- no, telephone companies collect more data than almost any other industry, recording call times and durations, as well as the numbers their customers dialed.
We'll Soon Live in an Imaginary World
April 20, 2015
Virtual and augmented reality and holographic image technologies are coming at us with the speed of a freight train, and it won't be long until we'll no longer be able to distinguish between what is real and what isn't. There are some initiatives going on behind the scenes, as well as some breakthroughs, that shortly will make our experience of the world very different from what it is now.
China's Great Cannon Could Point Anywhere When Next Fuse Is Lit
April 16, 2015
China, which censors the Internet with its Great Firewall aka the "Golden Shield," has a new censorship tool that is causing alarm. It's known as the "Great Cannon." The University of Toronto's Citizen Lab identified the tool in a report released last week. The Great Cannon was first used in March, to launch a large-scale DDoS attack on GitHub and GreatFire.org, Citizen Lab said.
Survey: OSS Gives Enterprises More Bang for Less Bucks
April 16, 2015
Black Duck Software and North Bridge Venture Partners on Thursday published the results of The Ninth Annual Future of Open Source Survey. The number of companies using some open source products or developing software built with open source components is at an all-time high, it found. The results reflect the increasing enterprise adoption of open source and participation in the OSS community.
GE Catches the Industrial Internet Wave
April 16, 2015
General Electric made some important news last week, when it announced it was leaving the finance industry. It attributed its decision to recent changes that it characterized as less cyclical and more transformational. At the same time, GE is focused on newer ideas like its "Industrial Internet." If it executes this the right way, it could be a blueprint for growth going forward.
EC Officially Tosses Google Into Hot Soup
April 15, 2015
The European Commission on Wednesday began official antitrust proceedings against Google, alleging abuses of its dominance in Internet search. The EC further opened a probe into Google's Android mobile operating system. In a Statement of Objections sent to Google, the EC notes that its preliminary investigation indicates the company has infringed European antitrust rules by stifling competition and harming consumers.
Sage and Salesforce: An Odd Couple?
April 15, 2015
It came as a surprise when Keith Block, vice chairman of Salesforce, made an off-the-cuff remark about a Sage-Salesforce alliance at Salesforce World Tour last week. Sage and Salesforce in February had announced they would work together, with Sage moving some of its undisclosed ERP applications to the Salesforce Cloud. However, the word didn't seem to spread, and it remained off my radar.
Industry Groups Lead Net Neutrality Lawsuit Parade
April 15, 2015
Several wireless and cable industry groups on Tuesday filed lawsuits challenging the FCC's new open Internet rules. The lawsuits seek to nullify the new rules on the grounds that the FCC exceeded its authority in making them -- most notably by redefining broadband service so it can be regulated like a utility. The trade groups oppose the way the FCC seeks to enforce Net neutrality.
Ransomware Perps Put the Squeeze on Police
April 14, 2015
Five police departments in Maine, whose networks are linked together so they can share files, recently deposited bitcoins worth 300 euros into a Swiss bank account as ransom for their records. The departments' management system was locked down by ransomware that scrambled their data and rendered it unusable. The police decided to pay up after their experts failed to crack the ransomware code.
EFF Lambasts ESA for Hindering Video Game Preservation Efforts
April 14, 2015
The EFF last week called out the ESA for opposing its video game preservation efforts. The EFF has petitioned the U.S. Copyright Office for an exemption to the DMCA's anticircumvention provisions. The point is to afford legal protection for game enthusiasts to be able to use the games they own, as well as for academics and museums to preserve them for educational or historic purposes.
There's a Science to Engaging With Empowered Consumers
April 13, 2015
We all know customers have changed. They can voice their dissatisfaction with you, complete most of the buyer's journey without you, and even seek out support and service without you. If you're a business, you have two questions to ask yourself: 1) Do you really want to become unnecessary to your customers? and 2) What are you going to do about it?
Analysts Puzzle Over Apple Watch Preorder Figures
April 13, 2015
A million Apple Watch preorders in one day sounds good, but few industry observers are willing to go out on a limb and predict it will be a smash success -- especially with looming supply constraints. Fulfillment times for online preorders reportedly range from four to six weeks after it officially goes on sale. That could be a tactic to keep demand high -- or a hedge against demand falling off.
Apple's Storm Clouds
April 13, 2015
An Apple shop recently dumped Apple for Dell following a surprising revelation. Over most of the last two decades, the only time I've seen a move like this was when some change in IT forced it, and a lot of staffers subsequently would quit. This move was largely user-driven. Then, last week, one of Apple's biggest fans actually panned an Apple product, effectively calling it pretty but stupid.
Gadget Ogling: Capacious Cases, Dumb Domestic Drones, Smarty-Pants Cups
April 11, 2015
When it comes to adding extending your smartphone or tablet battery life during the day, Mophie's been trying to make life easier a little longer than most, with time to iterate on its battery pack cases. The company's going a little further now, as it expands its Space line of cases that house not only batteries, but external storage for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPad mini.
DEA Sued for Unconstitutional Phone Surveillance
April 10, 2015
The Electronic Frontier Foundation this week filed a complaint against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for secretly collecting data on all telephone calls to as many as 116 countries, possibly going back to the 1990s. The suit was filed on behalf of Human Rights Watch. Many of the calls were made to countries known to be heavily involved in the drug trade.
Reality Check: Should We Buy an Apple Watch for Its Potential?
April 10, 2015
Because there are so many Apple-loving fanatics who are hopelessly addicted to their iPhones, the first wave of Apple Watch sales won't give us a reliable indicator as to whether it is a real success... or not so much. Because we're talking about Apple here, there will be a couple million customers who will love it and make it work -- even if, deep down, they're slightly disappointed.
Shopping for Algorithms and APIs in the Cloud
April 10, 2015
Now that cloud computing has made it economically feasible to capture and collate large volumes of data, many organizations are trying to find an equally economical method to analyze and move the data across various business applications. Enter Algorithmia and Bedrock Data, two cloud-based companies offering online marketplaces to remedy these age-old issues.
Comcast Joins Ultra-High-Speed Internet Race
April 9, 2015
Comcast has joined the ultra-fast Internet race, starting with the rollout of its Gigabit Pro service. It looks like ultra-high-speed Internet services are really starting to catch on. The trend started a few years ago with Google Fiber and AT&T Gigapower, and it is spreading among carriers and locations from coast to coast. Comcast's new 2-Gb service is starting in the Atlanta area next month.
Oracle Modern Customer Experience
April 8, 2015
Oracle did some smart things at last week's Oracle Modern CX Conference and user meeting in Las Vegas. The company has been making strides in organizing its messaging and products around customer experience in the wake of its RightNow Technologies acquisition a few years ago. It's been taking on the CX mantra whole hog. Today, Oracle CX is a full-featured tactic.

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Are tablets over?
No - Mine is a prized possession.
No - Heavy laptops are over.
No - I don't have one yet, but I want one.
Maybe - They're good for kids, though.
Yes - Large smartphones make them redundant.
Yes - I won't replace mine.
Yes - Don't have one, don't want one.
PENN STATE ONLINE Information Technology Degrees and Certificates