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The Fallout From the NSA's Backdoors Mandate
January 13, 2015
The United States National Security Agency (NSA) is widely believed to have mandated high-tech vendors build backdoors into their hardware and software. Reactions from foreign governments to the news are harming American businesses and, some contend, may result in the breakup of the Internet. For example, Russia is moving to paper and typewriters in some cases to move certain types of information.
Volkswagen, Ford Win Vehicle of the Year Laurels
January 12, 2015
Volkswagen's Golf has been declared the 2015 North American Car of the Year, and Ford Motor's F-150 is the 2015 North American Truck/Utility of the Year. For the 22nd year running, a panel of jurors from newspapers, television and radio stations, magazines and websites voted to determine which vehicles were truly best of the year, and the honors were bestowed Monday at the auto show in Detroit.
The Top 20 CRM Blogs of 2014, Part 1
January 12, 2015
The field of CRM bloggers is like the start of a marathon: There may be thousands of entrants, but there are only a few elite runners. Spotting them in the rest of the pack is not always easy -- especially as their enthusiasm for blogging waxes and wanes, or as they move into other formats, like becoming regular columnists in publications. However, there are a few things that identify the elite.
The Secret Stories of CES
January 12, 2015
By this time, you likely are getting a bit sick out of folks talking about wild new products that won't be on the market for weeks or months while you are paying your Christmas bills. So rather than tell you about a slew of new products, I'll focus on the back stories that didn't seem to get much coverage at CES -- what now is the largest technology show in the U.S.
Gadget Ogling: A Swank Walkman, a Brainy Grill, and Oh, So Much More From CES
January 10, 2015
Welcome to the year's first edition of Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, the column that offers infallible opinions on the latest gadget announcements. The mammoth CES trade show took place this week, and though it offered far too many new items to conceivably cram into a single column, we'll look at some of the most notable and notorious, including Sony's latest Walkman, a smart grill and more.
Google Joins Charlie Hebdo Solidarity Movement
January 09, 2015
Google has donated nearly $300,000 to help French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo make its largest print run ever, following Wednesday's massacre at the magazine's Paris office. Its normal production run numbers about 60,000 copies, but the surviving staff plan to print a million issues next week. A number of media outlets also have pledged to help keep the publication alive.
IT's 10 Steps to IoT Success
January 09, 2015
This past week's International CES brought even greater attention to the seemingly infinite opportunities being created by the rapidly evolving Internet of Things. However, it also created plenty of hype that can become pitfalls for companies that are not properly prepared to achieve the promise of the IoT. There are 10 steps IT organizations must take to help pave the way to success.
The Way to a Customer's Heart Is Through Your Employees
January 08, 2015
Companies need to understand that their employees are key to keeping customers satisfied, said Bruce Temkin, managing partner of the Temkin Group. Temkin identified eight customer experience trends for 2015 and advised companies to train their staff in those areas. However, "all the training in the world ... will fall short if the leadership team is not on board," he said.
Linuxy Hopes and Dreams for an Inferno-Free 2015
January 08, 2015
It's the dawn of a new year here in the Linux blogosphere, and that means the power is in our hands to make 2015 better than the last one. At least in theory, the Systemd Inferno possibly, could be extinguished over these next 12 months; Devuan could thrive -- or not; and Linux in general could see its best year yet. What actually will happen? That is the subject of more than a few musings.
Self-Driving Concept Cars Impress at CES
January 08, 2015
CEO Mark Fields on Wednesday took the stage at the International CES 2015 in Las Vegas and said that Ford Motor is focusing on bringing autonomous automobiles to the masses. Although Ford may not be the first company to produce a self-driving car, it could be the first to deliver one outside of the luxury category, Fields said in his keynote address.
Net Neutrality Hostilities Resume
January 08, 2015
The battle over Net neutrality has been reignited, dashing the hopes of those who thought it might be settled in February, at least in part, when the United States Federal Communication Commission is expected to make its ruling on the issue. Democratic members of congress led by Sen. Patrick Leahy on Wednesday introduced the Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act of 2015.
Will Apple's 12-inch MacBook Air Use One Port to Rule Them All?
January 08, 2015
There is a hot new MacBook Air rumor that's got the tech press all in a flutter, and get this: It's not about a long-awaited Retina display for the MacBook Air. Instead, the rumor claims that Apple's redesigned MacBook Air will be remarkably smaller, with a 12-inch screen -- and just one port. The new MacBook Air design reportedly will drop the current MacBook Air's USB 3 ports.
BlackBerry Jingles Its Keys to Recovery
January 08, 2015
BlackBerry has been hurting over the last several years, but recently it's starting to look like the stars may be lining up for recovery. If BlackBerry does make a comeback, it will be a very different company. This time, the focus will be on security -- plus one more important factor. BlackBerry succeeded years ago. It was the first successful smartphone maker.
Better and Better
January 07, 2015
James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds and business and finance columnist for The New Yorker, published an article in the magazine's Nov. 10, 2014, issue entitled, "Better All The Time." The piece connects the importance of culture-wide continuous incremental improvement using data and analytics -- what the Japanese call kaizen -- to business and employees.
Intel Takes Up Diversity Challenge to the Tune of $300M
January 07, 2015
Intel will invest $300 million over the next five years to promote gender and racial diversity, CEO Brian Krzanich announced Tuesday at CES 2015. The company plans to have full representation at all levels in its workforce by 2020. That's close to 100,000 people. "This is a highly relevant issue, and one that we all need to address," Krzanich said.
Thieves Take $5M Bite Out of Bitcoin Exchange
January 07, 2015
An estimated $5.2 million was stolen over the weekend from Bitstamp, a digital currency exchange. It has suspended services pending an investigation. The company assured its customers that bitcoins held with Bitstamp prior to suspension of services were completely safe and would be honored in full. Bitstamp on Sunday discovered that some of its operational wallets had been compromised.
We Are the World: Samsung's Vision for IoT
January 06, 2015
The world needs one open ecosystem to enable the Internet of Things, and Samsung is prepared to lead the way, said CEO BK Yoon at the 2015 International CES. Serving up the classic depiction of IoT -- always-on, always-connected devices working together -- Yoon said the technology for linking smart radios, smart TVs, smartphones and smart homes will be available later this year.
Dish Slings Tastier TV to Millennials
January 06, 2015
Dish Network on Monday unveiled Sling TV, its live OTT television service, at the 2015 International CES in Las Vegas. Sling TV will be offered to consumers without a contract, starting at $20 per month. It will be available early this year through a variety of devices. This new service is not meant to complement Dish Network's existing satellite pay-TV service. Instead, it targets cord-cutters.
Writers Worldwide Chilled by Government Surveillance
January 06, 2015
Concern over government surveillance has been so heightened by confidential information leaked by former intelligence hand Edward Snowden that writers in free countries are as worried as those in autocratic nations, according to a new report. Three-quarters of writers in countries classified as "free" told researchers they were "worried" or "somewhat worried" about surveillance.
Yikes! Ransomware Could Take Over Your Hard Drive
January 05, 2015
Malware is running rampant on the Internet, affecting smartphones, tablets and PCs. Relatively new malware allows bad guys to encrypt devices until a ransom is paid. Usually the ransom is required in bitcoin, rather than U.S. currency, as it cannot be traced. What are the legal and other risks associated with ransomware? Ransomware is largely directed at personal devices and small businesses.
CES: Oh, the Amazing Things You Will See
January 05, 2015
Writing a CES teaser is a bit difficult because I actually know a great deal about what will be announced, but I can't share the details because I'm bound by a variety of ironclad NDAs. However, I can comment in general about the product categories you are going to see opened up at the show, and I have to say you'd better lock up your wallet because much of this is cool and you'll likely want it.
Gmail Struggles for Air in China
December 30, 2014
China last week apparently began blocking Gmail, and the outage was still in effect on Tuesday, although to a lesser degree, according to reports. A sharp drop in traffic from China to Google services began last Friday, according to its Transparency Report, and the company could find no explanation in its own systems. China's "Great Firewall" censorship program is to blame, according to GreatFire.
Staying on the Right Side of That Wiggly Clickbait Line
December 29, 2014
It's well known that certain second-rate media outlets use provocatively misleading headlines to attract viewers and parlay those figures into increased ad revenue, but some better known outlets appear to be resorting to clickbait as well. For example, a host of online headlines recently implied that Americans were more fearful of hacking than pretty much anything else, including murder.
The Big Tech Stories of 2015
December 29, 2014
Last week, we looked back at the largely untold, or under told, stories of 2014. This week, let's look ahead to some of the stories that are coming in 2015. We'll have robots, self-driving cars, armed autonomous drones, the professional proliferation of head mounted cameras, some scandals, and some interesting political implications. I'll close with my product of the year, which even surprised me.

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