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Nvidia's Convincing Unreality
August 20, 2018
When I read the book Ready Player One, I really got excited about the future of virtual reality, but the movie really didn't do the book justice. Some blockbusters have succeeded in interspersing computer graphics with real people and making it hard to tell the difference. Still, a totally rendered movie still looks like animation and you just don't get the film quality you get from, well, film.
Alexa and Cortana: Two AI Heads May Be Better Than One
August 16, 2018
Microsoft and Amazon have released a public preview of the integration of their Cortana and Alexa voice assistants. Cortana will be available on amazon Echo devices, while Alexa will be available on Windows 10 devices and on Harman Kardon Invoke speakers. "Our ongoing goal has been to make Cortana your intelligent assistant, wherever you need assistance," a Microsoft spokesperson said.
5 Strategies for Collecting, Creating and Circulating Customer Testimonials
August 14, 2018
Most of us understand how overwhelming it can be moving to a new city. Surrounded by a host of options for dining, shopping, daycare, leisure time, auto mechanics and everything else under the sun, making an educated decision on where to go involves some groundwork. So what is there to do? Many of us will turn to a new coworker or neighbor for recommendations.
Galaxy Note9 Is Front and Center in Samsung's Connected World
August 10, 2018
Samsung unveiled its much-anticipated Galaxy Note9 Thursday at its Unpacked event in New York City. The company made several other announcements as well, as it presented its vision for a seamlessly connected world. "We are creating a galaxy of experiences that span not just devices and locations but platforms and brands," said DJ Koh, CEO of Samsung Electronics, at the event.
CVS Offers Doc Visits via Smartphone Video
August 9, 2018
CVS Health'a retail MinuteClinic on Wednesday announced MinuteClinic Video Visits, a new virtual healthcare offering designed to assist people with minor illnesses and injuries, skin conditions, and other wellness needs. The telehealth offering will provide 24/7 access to healthcare services via mobile devices. It is available for both Android and iOS in nine states and Washington, D.C.
Lenovo Smart Display Shows Loads of Potential
July 27, 2018
Lenovo's Smart Display with Google Assistant has hit the market. There are two versions of the device, 8-inch and 10-inch, both with full HD screens, and priced at $200 and $250 respectively. "The cost is significantly below an iPad mini and it offers far more functionality than just a digital picture frame or a Bluetooth speaker," said Alan Lepofsky, principal analyst at Constellation Research.
Who's Your Buddy? The Evolution of OTT Video Partnerships
July 21, 2018
Buddy movies have been an entertainment staple for years. Like Felix and Oscar in The Odd Couple or Murtaugh and Riggs in Lethal Weapon, the buddy film genre shows how two people can overcome obstacles, and each other, to produce a happy ending. Today, we are seeing over-the-top video services buddy up with others in the market to find their own happy endings.
Microsoft's New Skype Could Be Risky Gamble
July 18, 2018
Microsoft has announced a new version of its Skype messaging app, along with a warning that previous versions of the software will be disabled after Sept. 1. "As we roll out improvements, there comes a time when we must shut down older services and application versions," wrote the Skype Team in an online post. "This is done to ensure that all customers have the best possible Skype experience."
New Roku Speakers Offer Sophisticated Audio for Smart TVs
July 17, 2018
Roku has earned a reputation for making streaming TV products that are easy to set up and use, and that deliver above-average quality at affordable prices -- and that's the approach it has taken with its new Roku TV Wireless Speakers. The company unveiled the speakers on Monday, and expects to start shipping them in October, when they will sell for $199.99.
3 Smart Ways to Use Video in E-Commerce
July 16, 2018
Video is often how stories get told in the 21st century, so it's a good idea for e-commerce business owners to consider ways they can use this trend to their advantage. "Today we are constantly bombarded by content, and video is one of the best ways to cut through that noise," said Chris Lueck, CEO of FastSpring. "It pays to take the extra time and effort to incorporate video into your strategy."
Apple May Go All-In With Audio
June 26, 2018
Apple plans to expand its audio product line next year with new AirPods, HomePods and possibly studio-quality over-the-ear headphones. The new generation of AirPods will feature noise cancellation, be water resistant, and have greater range, according to a report citing people familiar with the developments. Apple's plans reflect an expanded role for audio in the company's future.
The Best Defense Against Fake News in Social Media
June 25, 2018
IBM just showcased Project Debater, and it just won against a top human debater using actual facts. We need the production version of this tool yesterday. The problem with fake news is that it is getting worse over time. We have always had issues with politicians and con artists trying to convince us down is up and to get us to do things that, were we informed, we'd never do.
Fire Cubes, Home Theater Beams, and X-ray Cases
June 21, 2018
Amazon's latest gambit for taking over your living room is the Fire TV Cube. It works in much the same way as the Fire TV stick, but with the added impact this time around of stuffing in a smart speaker with the familiar tones of the Alexa voice assistant. You can use it to play whatever you want to see in up to 4K resolution from various streaming services.
Cisco, Dell, and the Race to Make a Better World
June 18, 2018
To say we live in troubled times would be an understatement. It often feels like the politicians and executives who surround us are interested only in who can tell the biggest whopper while lining their own pockets and leaving their constituents and customers to pay the bills. I recently read that the real reason Jon Stewart stepped down from The Daily Show was that he was incredibly angry all the time.
Nvidia May Be Lone Rider on Next Big Technology Wave: Robotics
June 11, 2018
Dell's most forward-looking people spoke about the future at Dell World a few weeks ago. One of the sessions I attended dovetailed with something that appears to be glaringly obvious -- to me, anyway -- which is that is that robots likely will be the next big technology wave. I then wandered around to find out what Dell was doing in robotics, and I couldn't find anything. Dell is not alone.
Dark Screen Mode Among New macOS Mojave Highlights
June 6, 2018
Apple on Monday gave the world a peek at macOS Mojave, the next version of its operating system for Macintosh laptop and desktop computers. The preview took place at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference held at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. Mojave has a mix of new features that add to its good looks and utility as a productivity tool.
HomePod Gets Multi-Room Audio Chops With iOS 11.4
May 30, 2018
Apple has released iOS 11.4, the latest version of its mobile operating system, with some beefed-up features for its HomePod wireless smart speaker. The update allows users to create a stereo pair with two HomePods. It also supports multiroom streaming through AirPlay 2 connections. Music can be played in every room with a HomePod. It can be the same music in every room or tailored for each room.
Echo for Kids, Retro Voice Assistants, and a Second Snap
May 8, 2018
Amazon is trying to rope in younger members of the family to use its Alexa voice assistant with the release of a smart speaker for kids. The Echo Dot Kids Edition has a rubber case protecting a standard Echo Dot and a two-year, no-questions-asked replacement policy. It includes a one-year membership for Amazon's subscription service for kids' books, videos, games, education apps and Alexa skills.
New Video-Making Tool Targets B2B Sales Pros
May 4, 2018
Consensus, which offers a Software as a Service platform for intelligent video demo automation, this week released Consensus Snap, a Chrome plug-in for business-to-business sales teams. Snap enables sales reps to record, send and track personalized screenshot video demos on the fly. Users can activate the screen recording or webcam features of Consensus Snap to record anything on their screens.
Snap Doubles Down on Spectacles Wearable Cam
April 27, 2018
Snap, the company behind Snapchat, on Thursday released the second generation of its Spectacles, a wearable video camera that captures short clips that can be synced to a smartphone. The new version also takes still photos and is designed to be water-resistant. The new Spectacles sport the same basic Ray-Ban style design as the first iteration, but they have been slimmed down and are less bulky.
With Custom Skills, Alexa Inches Closer to Being One of the Family
April 20, 2018
Amazon has introduced Alexa Skill Blueprints, adding personalization capabilities to its smart speaker devices. The new tool provides pre-crafted templates for users to create customized experiences, such as skills for particular users. With Alexa Skill Blueprints, users can build into their devices experiences that are personalized for themselves, their friends and their families.
Swedish Sounds, Cool Phones, and Smart Switches
April 17, 2018
Not quite content with furnishing every other aspect of our homes, IKEA has continued its push into smart home territory with its first Bluetooth speaker. The Eneby comes in two sizes: 8 x 8 and 12 x 12 inches. You can use it as a portable speaker with up to 10 hours of battery life with the optional $20 battery, and there's a handle for added portability.
Turning Social Media From a Problem Into a Solution
April 9, 2018
The shooting incident that took place last week at YouTube had less to do with guns than with the failure of the police to act on information in a timely way and the inability of social media to be anything but part of the problem. Google has been giving this issue little more than lip service, but I expect it has become motivated to do more, given that YouTube was the latest target.
3 Injured in YouTube HQ Shooting, Female Suspect Dead
April 4, 2018
A female suspect is dead and at least three people were wounded in a mass shooting incident Tuesday at YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, California. Hundreds of company employees fled the chaotic scene. San Bruno police swarmed the YouTube offices at about 12:48 p.m. local time after receiving numerous emergency calls two minutes earlier reporting shots fired.
YouTube to Enforce Broad Ban on Gun-Related Videos
March 23, 2018
YouTube has announced that it will ban videos related to the sale or assembly of firearms, as well as certain gun accessories including bump stocks. Under the new rules, all videos that show how to construct or even repair a firearm are banned -- even those from long-established YouTube channels. The new policy also bans videos that show how to reload ammunition.
YouTube Aims to Put the Brakes on Online Conspiracies
March 16, 2018
YouTube intends to ramp up its efforts to combat conspiracy mongers, perhaps in response to the rash of conspiracy videos that trended following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last month. Among other things, YouTube will supply links to relevant Wikipedia pages and other credible websites to provide viewers with a counter narrative, according to CEO Susan Wojcicki.
Voice Shopping Set to Skyrocket
March 6, 2018
The U.S. voice shopping market will rise from its current $2 billion valuation to $40 billion by 2022, according to a survey by OC&C Strategy Consultants. The trend is being driven by a surge in the number of homes using smart speakers, from the current 13 percent to 55 percent by 2022. It's likely that Amazon will continue to dominate this channel, the survey results suggest.
Amazon Buys Ring to Make Homes, Deliveries More Secure
March 2, 2018
Amazon has agreed to buy Ring for $1 billion, the companies have disclosed. Ring users already could use the Echo Show to see and hear visitors at the front door. The deal means Ring can further its "mission to reduce crime in neighborhoods by providing effective yet affordable home security tools to our neighbors that make a positive impact on our homes, our communities and the world," Ring said.
5 Podcast Pluses for E-Commerce SMBs
February 28, 2018
Podcasting is one of the hottest media trends. Almost everyone, it seems, has a podcast these days. Should e-commerce business owners jump on this bandwagon? Can podcasting really boost the bottom line? If you do decide to make a podcast, do your best to make it exceptional. That means having good audio quality, excellent content, a unique voice, and a strong sense of audience and purpose.
Camera, Audio Star in New Galaxy Phones
February 26, 2018
Samsung has raised the curtain on the latest models of its flagship Galaxy smartphones, the S9 and S9+, featuring improved imaging and audio performance. Two standout features in the 12-megapixel rear-facing camera are improved low light performance and super slow-mo video. By adding dual aperture capabilities to the camera, Samsung has boosted the unit's performance in challenging lighting conditions.
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