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Spotify's 'Sorry' Fails to Cut Through Confusion
August 22, 2015
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek on Friday issued a public apology for poor communications regarding the company's new privacy policy. The new policy, which took effect Wednesday, immediately triggered alarm. Several tech publications railed against the terms, and Minecraft creator Markus Persson engaged Spotify CEO Daniel Ek in a Twitter debate that ended with Persson and others quitting the music service.
Mum Robot Goes Darwinian on Her Kids
August 21, 2015
A "mother" robot has demonstrated natural selection and the process of evolution in action, according to researchers from the University of Cambridge. Scientists typically have to go back in time to study evolution -- it's rarely observable over the course of a human lifetime. However, for robots and artificial intelligence, it's a different story.
Smartphone Sales Sag in China
August 21, 2015
China experienced the first-ever downturn in its smartphone market in the second quarter of 2015, and it was enough to drag global sales to a two-year low, Gartner Research said Thursday. The rest of the Asia Pacific smartphone market saw substantial growth in the quarter. iOS snatched a tad of market share -- about 2.4 percent -- from the other mobile operating systems.
Back to School
August 20, 2015
It felt like back to school this week at the CRM Evolution show in hot and muggy New York. The first week or two of the school year is always like that. Though it still feels like summer vacation, you know you have to get focused, because the first exam will be here before you know it. Cramming begins almost immediately, because there seem to be a lot of new ideas percolating.
Wireless Performance Studies and You
August 20, 2015
It appears both AT&T Mobility and Sprint deserve congratulations on their great performances, based on two just-released studies on the wireless wars. J.D. Power and RootMetrics revealed some interesting and surprising new information on this changing marketplace. For the fifth time, AT&T won first place with J.D. Power. For its part, Sprint showed significant performance improvement over the last year.
Ashley Madison Hackers: Catch Them if You Can
August 20, 2015
The Ashley Madison hacker gang will be tough to apprehend. The hackers this week dumped nearly 10 gigabytes of stolen personal data onto the Web -- details gleaned from accounts established on the site, which is dedicated to matching up people who want to engage in extramarital affairs. It's "nearly impossible" to track down attackers, noted Bit9 + Carbon Black's Ben Johnson.
Gear Up for a Flood of IoT Support Requests
August 20, 2015
Growth of the Internet of Things in broadband households extends the life, utility and functionality of all connected solutions in the home. It also puts new pressures on existing support solutions to meet consumers' expectations. Sixteen percent of U.S. broadband households owned a smart home device, and nearly 40 percent planned to buy one in the next 12 months, suggests recent research.
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad Ashley Madison World
August 19, 2015
Hackers have dumped personal data of about 37 million members of the Ashley Madison website onto the Dark Web. The data was stolen in an attack on the site, which aims to hook up people who want to cheat on their spouses. Parent company "Avid Life Media has failed to take down Ashley Madison and Established Men," the Impact Team wrote in a post online. ... Now everyone gets to see their data."
Truth May Be Wiggly in Wikipedia's Hot-Button Science Articles
August 18, 2015
Users should take extra care when exploring Wikipedia's science topics, because many articles on controversial issues such as global warming and acid rain have been targeted for editing by revisionists who reject scientific findings, new research has found. Due to its crowdsourced model, academics widely regard Wikipedia as a starting point for research -- a compass more than a map.
Dearth of a Salesman: Does Technology Erode Sales Talent?
August 18, 2015
For many years, provocateurs have been able to stir people up by proclaiming the death of the salesperson. Ten years ago, in fact, Marc Miller authored the book Selling is Dead. It must be a lingering death, because I still know lots of salespeople. I sure hope they have their affairs in order, what with their impending demise foreshadowed for so long.
AT&T Went Above and Beyond for NSA, Say Snowden Docs
August 18, 2015
The National Security Agency considered its relationship with AT&T unique and particularly productive, accordingto a report published Saturday. The information about the company's close ties with the agency came from the trove of documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. NSA lauded AT&T for its "extreme willingness to help," giving it access to billions of emails among other things.
Bezos Rebuffs Expose of Amazon's Cold-Blooded Culture
August 17, 2015
CEO Jeff Bezo on Sunday refuted contentions that Amazon has a draconian workplace culture. "The NYT article prominently features anecdotes describing shockingly callous management practices, including people being treated without empathy while enduring family tragedies and serious health problems," Bezos wrote in an email sent to Amazon employees following the article's publication.
One Plus Two Equals Trouble for the iPhone
August 17, 2015
If you thought the iPhone was the most desirable phone in the market you wouldn't be alone, but you likely would be wrong. While we all were snoozing, One Plus emerged. It's a little company out of China that came up with and executed one of the most brilliant low-cost guerilla marketing programs I've ever seen. The end result is that 3.6M people currently are lined up to buy its latest phone.
Gadget Ogling: Smart Rings, Breathalyzing Bike Locks, and Laptop-Sized Transports
August 15, 2015
Please, whatever you do, don't decide with your loved one it would be a good idea to get rings that vibrate only when you're trying to get in touch with one another. Omate and Emanuel Ungaro are offering schmucks the Ungaro ring, which does just that. It buzzes when one designated person, whoever that may be, sends a text message or calls you. It will retail for up to $2,000.
Full Circle's 80-20 Rule
August 14, 2015
I recently talked with Bonnie Crater about changing her company's name, and something really struck home. Crater is CEO of Full Circle Insights, and I've known her since her days as an executive at Salesforce. As I was listening to Crater, I recalled that old aphorism, often attributed to John Wanamaker, that half an advertising budget is wasted, but we just don't know which half.
GE Blazes Trail to Industrial Internet
August 14, 2015
The Internet of Things market has been struggling to get untangled, despite the hype regarding unprecedented business opportunities. GE's latest initiative to capitalize on those IoT opportunities might be the catalyst many corporate executives have been waiting for to advance their own goals. GE has been in the vanguard of efforts to build a new, more scalable and secure Industrial Internet.
Will Google Win the Alphabet Game?
August 13, 2015
Google suddenly announced something much bigger. It is splitting itself into several different companies under one master brand called "Alphabet." Splitting up is what Google has needed to do for several years. The idea of creating a master brand makes enormous sense for a company like Google, which is an octopus with many arms. However, it is only right if it is done correctly.
Customer Service Sucks? Blame Outdated Gear
August 12, 2015
It's a business truism that customer service can make or break customer relationships, so it stands to reason that contact centers should be considered a critical part of the enterprise and equipped accordingly. However, half of 225 global contact centers surveyed in April were using agent desktop technology that was more than five years old, Forrester noted in a report released this week.
Chinese Hackers May Have Burrowed Into Airlines
August 11, 2015
The China-based hacking team that has been infiltrating U.S. government and business computer systems appears to be behind two newly discovered attacks -- this time on travel reservation processor Sabre and American Airlines. Sabre confirmed that its systems -- which contain sensitive records on as many as a billion travelers -- recently were breached. American Airlines is investigating.
The Best Videos on Facebook Could Be Stolen Property
August 11, 2015
Facebook has stolen videos for display on its site, alleged Hank Green of VlogBrothers. A whopping 725 of the 1,000 most popular videos on Facebook in Q1 were freebooted -- that is, re-uploaded to the social media network without authorization -- he said, citing a report from Ogilvy and Tubular Labs. Those 725 videos accounted for about 17 billion views in the quarter, Green noted.
Android on BlackBerry Is Looking More Real
August 10, 2015
BlackBerry's upcoming slider handset, aka "Venice," will run on Android and will be available in the coming months for AT&T as well as T-Mobile, according to rumors that picked up steam over the weekend. This is not the first time rumors of a BlackBerry device running on Android have made the rounds. The company earlier this year hinted at the possibility at the Mobile World Congress.
Advertising Online? How's Your Viewability?
August 10, 2015
Viewability -- that is, a display or video ad's ability to be viewed effectively on a Web page -- is the most critical factor in any video or display ad campaign. However, a surprisingly large percentage of display and video ads lacked either visibility or longevity, the two most important pieces of viewability, in recent studies. How exactly can a marketer ensure short- or long-term viewability?
Why Jon Stewart Failed
August 10, 2015
Like a lot of folks, I'm starting to go through withdrawals because The Daily Show with Jon Stewart dropped off the air last week. It is kind of amazing that it was how a massive number of us actually kept up on the news, given it wasn't a real news program. However, while the show was a commercial success, it appeared that wasn't its only goal.
Broken Windows and 12 Hours of Missing Time
August 9, 2015
The fact that Microsoft has posted a Web page for users to "Get help with Windows 10 upgrade and installation errors" probably is just the latest sign that the release of its new -- and highly anticipated -- operating system has some problems that need to be resolved. It appears things haven't been going as smoothly as the company would have liked since Windows 10 became generally available.

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Should humans colonize Mars?
Yes. It's human nature to explore.
Yes. Earth is running out of resources.
No. It's too impractical and risky.
No. We should focus on saving Earth.
Maybe -- but not until a round-trip is possible.