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Serious Efforts to Use Tech for Good Shine Through
October 15, 2018
For much of this year, technology companies have been showcased in a very poor light. Several firms have been moving aggressively to buck this trend, however. HP's latest effort, in conjunction with the Clooney Foundation for Justice, is an impressive initiative to supply and fund schools in places like war-torn Syria. HP also has provided substantial support to the Girl Rising movement.
PC Innovation Is Back
October 8, 2018
There were two interesting product launches last week. HP delivered what is pretty much a clean slate rethinking of the 2-in-1 PC with the HP Folio, and Microsoft unveiled a refresh of its Surface Line. Both firms made a big deal of the fact that their products were much better than their Apple counterparts -- but Apple has been treating PCs like a drunk uncle for some time now.
How AI Could Fix What Seems Unfixable
October 1, 2018
I watched last week's Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, and I was struck by the fact that they seemed to be more about the Democrats fighting with Republicans to see which party could corrupt the Supreme Court more effectively than they were about senators doing their jobs. What bothers me most about that is if you corrupt the highest court in the land you effectively destroy the country.
Women as CEOs: The Problems and the Promise
September 24, 2018
I've followed several female CEOs over the years. Most failed, largely because they were both unqualified for the job and their boards didn't back them up. In several cases, the board and the CEO seemed to be in conflict, or the board failed to act. That has created the impression that female CEOs are a bad bet. However, I believe the real problem is that boards haven't been doing their jobs.
Amazon Has Big Plans for Alexa in Homes, Cars
September 19, 2018
Amazon will unveil eight new Alexa-powered devices for the car and home before the end of the year, according to a report. They include a microwave oven, an amplifier, a receiver, a subwoofer and an in-car gadget. Amazon is expected to reveal some of the devices at an event later this month. All the devices will connect easily to Alexa, and some will have the voice assistant built in.
Death Watch Begins for Google
September 17, 2018
The EU has been stretching its wings. In the shadow of Brexit, it apparently has decided it has the real enemy of the people in its sights: social media companies and Google. France is even more aggressive, suggesting that the EU's "right to be forgotten" law should apply worldwide. Given that it actually does fall within the legitimate purview of government, it is hard not to agree.
To Resist Manipulation, Ask One Question
September 10, 2018
The level of effort devoted to manipulating our opinions is unprecedented. Granted, a lot of this has to do with the fact that most of the "free" online services we use aren't free at all. They are trading our ability to make measured opinions for advertisers' money, and some of these "advertisers" are foreign governments. There is one question we should be asking of any inflammatory story: Why?
Of Course Google Is Biased
September 3, 2018
I once took a market research class that focused on the identification and elimination of bias. My final paper was on an intentionally biased piece of research. It was far easier to introduce bias and then talk about the bias than it would have been to attempt to do unbiased work and defend it as unbiased. For that reason alone, it's almost certainly true that Google's search engine is biased.
Trio of New iPhones Expected in September
August 28, 2018
Apple will release three new iPhones in September, according to a Monday report citing unnamed knowledgeable sources about the company's plans. Although all the phones will have edge-to-edge displays, like the iPhone X, only two reportedly will have OLED screens. Some Apple insiders have been referring to 2018 as an "S" year. Most of the phone's significant changes will be on the inside.
What If Electric Cars Fail Again?
August 27, 2018
If Tesla should go under, it would set back the electric car industry a decade or more. Early in the last century, electric, steam and gas all competed for the automotive industry, resulting in far more advancements in gas cars than electric over the decades. Thankfully, no one has brought back steam. Some recent breakthroughs actually could make gas cars more efficient than many electrics.
Amazon's DVR Scheme May Be Taking Shape
August 24, 2018
There's a rumor in circulation that Amazon has been working on a DVR that would allow users to record live TV, and then stream that content to a smartphone and other mobile devices. Amazon aims to mount a direct challenge to DVR pioneer TiVo -- a company that was at the forefront of digital video recording 20 years ago -- according to reports. The Amazon DVR is codenamed "Frank."
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.
The Weird Mistakes Killing Tesla
August 13, 2018
Tesla is trending to fail spectacularly. It has been burning cash at an unsustainable rate, and it keeps making avoidable mistakes that weaken it. Here's what is weird: You'd think the firm's biggest problem would be that every large car maker was working behind the scenes to kill it. However, the car companies for the most part appear to have worked harder to emulate Tesla than to destroy it.
Block to Be Salesforce Co-CEO With Benioff
August 8, 2018
There are many interpretations of Salesforce's elevation of Keith Block to serve as co-CEO with Marc Benioff. Block has been the company's vice chairman and president for several years, and the elevation could be a recognition of the obvious -- he's been doing the job without the title for a while. However, Salesforce and Benioff are well known for getting added mileage from any move they make.
Behind Apple's Trillion-Dollar Company Numbers
August 6, 2018
Apple is one of the most popular and powerful companies in the U.S., and last week it became the most valuable as well. That news brought back some personal memories of my time at IBM, when it was the most powerful and valuable technology company in the world. For a long time, it seemed virtually untouchable. However, IBM went off the rails, and by the early 1990s the stock had collapsed.
AI and the Future of Your Job
July 30, 2018
I just finished The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity, and it was one hell of a read. A lot of us are concerned about the coming of robots that arguably will be substantially smarter and more capable than we are. This book likely will make some feel a tad more comfortable about the future, but others will have to brace for change.
Earrings With Earphones and a Smartphone Bonanza
July 26, 2018
Swings Bluetooth Earrings with built-in earphones showcase a practical, clever idea for people with pierced ears. Swings certainly could fix the problem of losing Apple's expensive AirPods to the ether or having to root around in one's pockets or purse to find one's tangled-up headset. You can expect five hours of listening time out of the Swings on a single charge.
CEO Ousters: Is Elon Musk Next?
July 23, 2018
For pretty much my entire career, CEOs have been almost invulnerable. Even when Apple founder Steve Jobs tried to get then-CEO John Scully fired from Apple, he lost and got fired himself. I've watched CEOs at companies with zero-tolerance employee dating policies have affairs with subordinates and get a pass. Things have changed. Almost every week, another CEO bites the dust for misbehavior.
Samsung's Foldable Smartphone Slated for Next Year: Report
July 19, 2018
Samsung plans to launch a foldable-screen smartphone early next year, according to reports, possibly priced around $1,500. It will resemble a book, with the main display inside the covers, said Ken Hyers, director of the emerging device strategies service at Strategy Analytics. The exterior will have a smaller notification display on the front, and a camera, or cameras, on the back.
Could a Tech Collaboration Tool Fix Dysfunctional Governments?
July 16, 2018
Microsoft Inspire is taking place this week, and a huge number of my personal friends and I were prebriefed on what the big announcements would be. Strangely, the embargo on the news lifted last week, so I'm not going to get in trouble for sharing some of the revelations. There are a number of interesting elements, including Microsoft's suddenly aggressive move to use Azure as an IoT host.
Next Up, Game Consoles: Is There Anything Google Can't Do Badly?
July 9, 2018
It's interesting to compare Google and Amazon -- two of the most incredibly powerful companies in the world. Amazon brings out product after product, with more successes than failures. Google largely buys companies and then loses interest in what they do. Profit is built into Amazon's retail efforts, while Google largely lives off selling users' information and providing access to content.
Intel's 'CEO Problem' Is Its Board
July 2, 2018
Tech companies have been going through a lot of CEOs of late. HP had a revolving door for CEOs with mistake after mistake. Yahoo's board kept making choices that made things worse, Uber's CEO almost took the company under, and CEOs fired for ethical lapses jumped a whopping 36 percent. When an employee misbehaves and has to be fired, it generally is at least partially the fault of management.
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.
Avoiding Career Death by Twitter
June 4, 2018
The most popular show on ABC was canceled last week because the star of the show, Roseanne Barr -- known for saying and writing stuff that would get most of us fired -- did exactly what she was known for doing and got fired. ABC now looks like it is run by idiots because, really, who didn't see this coming? This outcome is one that could have been prevented relatively easily.
HP: Reimagining the Future
May 28, 2018
I got a view of the future at HP's Innovation Center in Barcelona. The company has made some aggressive moves to blend its printing and imaging technologies to create products that will redefine our near-term future. HP also showcased capabilities that are something just short of magic. When you can transform what you can imagine into physical products, what else would you call it?
Next-Generation 7nm Chips Headed for Fall iPhones: Report
May 24, 2018
Apple has ramped up production of its new 7-nanometer processor for its upcoming crop of iPhones. The new processor will be smaller, faster and more efficient than the 10nm processor in Apple's current iPhone line, according to a report. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, one of Apple's partners, has begun mass production of the chip, which is expected to be called the "A12."
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What best describes your attitude toward social networks and politics?
The value of engaging in serious political discourse outweighs the negatives.
Most of the political conversations seem overheated and ignorant.
Social networks provide a lot of very good political information from reliable sources.
Almost every political post I see is skewed or totally fake.
Political interactions on social networks simply mirror those in the real world.
Social networks remove inhibitions, bringing out the worst in people and politics.