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Rumblings in the Cloud
February 10, 2020
One of the old sayings is that there are "lies, damned lies and statistics," with the implication being you really can't trust most reported numbers. Still, we've often thought, at least with major vendors, that you could trust rankings. One current set of rankings involves cloud providers. The general impression was that Amazon was first, Microsoft second, and Google third.
Coronavirus Pandemic: 6 Things We Should Be Doing
February 3, 2020
As I write this, the first studies of the Coronavirus outbreak are coming in. The count now exceeds 17,500 cases in 24 countries. There have been more than 360 deaths, almost all in China. Most at risk are older males with pre-existing chronic diseases that weaken their immune symptoms. Women appear to have a higher natural resistance to viruses. WHO has declared it a global health emergency.
Is Icahn Attempting a Hostile Takeover of HP? Figuring Out the Backstory
January 27, 2020
When it comes to any merger, you often can't trust the reason the firms are merging, particularly if financial rather than operational managers are driving the process. When it comes to hostile takeovers, you can bet you are being misled, because the rhetoric will address synergy, but the folks driving the effort know the more likely goal is to destroy the acquired company.
The CEO of the Decade
January 20, 2020
Who is most deserving of the title "CEO of the Decade"? Historically the focus in choosing CEO of the decade has been on their financial accomplishments, but that approach has left us in a world lacking diversity and empathy in positions of power -- particularly noticeable in the tech industry -- and one where global climate change may end the human race.
Business/Customer Sweet Spots: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 2
January 16, 2020
If you're a small business owner or a key member of an enterprise executive team, you want your firm to succeed. If you're a customer, you want to be treated well. Those goals are not diametrically opposed, but very often it seems that companies and customers are at cross-purposes. ECT News Network recently gathered together five technology experts who did some hard thinking on the subject.
The Most Important Autonomous Car Announcement at CES
January 13, 2020
Getting around Las Vegas during CES is a nightmare. One evening I wanted to go to the In-N-Out Burger place, and even though it was only a mile or two from my hotel, the traffic was so bad that I doubted I'd make there and back before midnight -- and it was only 6 p.m. I used to try to walk CES, but the miles of fast walking on concrete ripped the soles off both my feet one year.
Tech Strides, Tech Worries and Tech Visions: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 1
January 8, 2020
If you're turned off by the mere thought of talking heads vying to speak the loudest or the longest in a TV "discussion" of some pressing issue of the day, read on for a refreshing dose of sanity. ECT News Network recruited five smart people with plenty to say about the state of technology, and we gave them plenty of time to say it. The result is a far-ranging intercourse.
CES 2020: Prepare to Be Amazed
January 6, 2020
Every year I look forward to CES being over. That's not because it isn't interesting -- it is. It's because the place is a nightmare to get around, thanks to some incredibly stupid decisions that turn Las Vegas into a gridlocked mess. Coming right after the holidays, it destroys more family vacations than any other event short of a long driving trip with very young children.
2010 - 2019: Product of the Decade
December 30, 2019
As we get to the end of December, I typically pick my product of the year, but this is also the end of the decade, so I'll go back and look at the prior products of the year, name my pick for this year, and then pick my product of the decade. 2010 was an easy choice as the iPad came out and scared the hell out of the entire PC market. Its release made the whole "PC is Dead" thing real.
Using Technology to Fix the Flawed Impeachment Process
December 23, 2019
When the U.S. president was impeached last week, it surfaced the fact that impeachment, and particularly the removal of a U.S. president, is a process that doesn't work. Throughout U.S. history, there have been 45 presidents, and given that no one trains for that job, you'd figure several would have been removed for cause. However, impeachment has been attempted three times without a removal.
The Human Problems Underlying Intel's Diversity Report
December 16, 2019
When Intel released its diversity report last week, it got pounded for the lack of diversity in its executive staff. Intel is one of the few companies being transparent about diversity. Given that lack of diversity is the problem we want to solve, the bashing is stupid. It is only going to make it harder to address the problem. In effect, Intel did the right thing and was punished for it.
A Secret Strategy That Could Be Apple's Fatal Self-Inflicted Blow
December 9, 2019
Both Intel and a bunch of professors connected to Apple and the FTC came out in support of the Judge Koh verdict against Qualcomm, even though it had been shown that the foundational evidence was manufactured contrary to the wishes of the DoJ, DoD and other major government agencies. That was well after Qualcomm was identified as a critical part of the U.S. defense against Huawei's 5G dominance.
Tapping AI for a Future of Better, Faster, Cheaper Gift Shopping
December 2, 2019
If you are like me, every Christmas you dread shopping because figuring out what everyone wants is a bit of a nightmare. You don't know what folks want in your price range. If you find out, there is no easy way to be sure they haven't bought it themselves, or that someone else didn't get it for them. Choosing sizes and colors adds to the nightmare. These problems aren't limited to Christmas.
Thanks, Analysts, for Doing a High Risk, Low Reward Job
November 25, 2019
I'd like to dedicate this column to the analysts out there who are fighting the good fight -- who are risking their careers, reputations, and sometimes even their lives to do the right thing, often without credit, and knowing that doing the right thing can exact incredible personal costs. Being an analyst, I'm often reminded that other jobs depend on my doing my job right.
Banishing Bias From the Leadership Selection Process
November 18, 2019
I'm spending a lot of time these days looking at the evolving market for artificial intelligence and the problem of bias. I think the problem in part is due to confirmation bias -- the need to look only at the information that agrees with a position already set. Another contributing factor is the lack of a set of metrics that we can apply consistently. AI systems will face similar problems.
Tech Company Standouts for Giving Veterans Their Due
November 11, 2019
Today is Veterans Day. I got a note last week from Joe Sestak, one of the shrinking field of United States presidential candidates, reminding me that we should observe a moment of silence in recognition of our veterans today. We've asked these people to put their lives on the line for us, and we get a day to offer our thanks. Giving our thanks is the least we can do.
The Truth vs. Censorship Trap
November 4, 2019
There recently has been a lot of rumbling about Twitter deciding not to take political ads, and Facebook deciding -- and this was stupid -- that it would run political ads even if they were untrue. I'm becoming convinced that Zuckerberg is trying to put Facebook out of business. There are some real differences between the firms. Facebook does far more political advertising than Twitter.
The Force May Be With Microsoft
November 2, 2019
The Pentagon has awarded its $10 billion contract for cloud computing to Microsoft. The program -- which goes by the acronym "JEDI" for "Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure" -- has been attracting vendors like a dog attracts fleas for several years. It has been marked by fierce litigation too, so the award may not be the end of it. Oracle sued over the process, claiming it was unfair.
Getting Sustainability Right
October 28, 2019
It seems strange to me that our governments haven't been more aggressive about protecting the environment, given that the cost of not doing so poses an existential risk to the human race. It seems insane to me as we watch parts of the country burn and other parts of the country drown that we're still arguing about climate change rather than coming together to do something about it.
3 Coming Tech Advances That Could Boost Our Safety and Smarts
October 21, 2019
I was moved by the recent news about a woman being shot in her home by a police officer who had come to check up on her. Once again, I found it frustrating that people immediately jumped to apply blame before all the facts were in. From my reading, three mistakes contributed to the incident. The first was by the neighbor, the second by the police, and the final mistake was by the woman herself.
Virtual Pets, Virtual People and Virtual Immortality
October 14, 2019
One of the interesting and somewhat underappreciated aspects of the recent Qualcomm wireless event is that 5G will make realistic AR avatars possible. This advance will be possible because with high bandwidth and very low latency, processing could shift from the device to the cloud. Coupled with the rollout of distributed data centers, this means you could have realistic virtual pets and friends.
Ballmer's Vindication: Microsoft Launches 5 Apple-Killer Surface Products
October 7, 2019
One of the last major initiatives former CEO Steve Ballmer launched before he left Microsoft was its Surface effort. It was designed to address the concern that the iPod would take over the PC world. During the Surface launch last week, it wasn't hard to see that Ballmer was right conceptually. It just took Satya Nadella to execute, showcasing that Ballmer didn't have a strategic problem.
Leaked Audio Reveals Zuckerberg Spinning Hard
October 2, 2019
An attendee at a two-hour question-and-answer session during a Facebook company meeting held in July leaked a recording of founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg's comments that reveal deep insights into his thinking. Zuckerberg apparently decided the Q&A format would be an effective way to rally Facebook employees against rising criticism from competitors and the U.S. government.
A Peek at Our Wireless Future
September 30, 2019
Last week I attended a Qualcomm event that took me through the coming wave of both 5G and WiFi 6 products, touched on the millimeter wave, and at least spoke to 6G. From this I think I can begin to picture the world as it will exist by the middle of the next decade, and it is kind of fascinating. Qualcomm has spent nearly $50B -- yes billion -- advancing its wireless initiatives.
Tech Approaches to Offsetting the Ecological Disaster of Deforestation
September 23, 2019
Watching Brazil's rain forest burn is causing a lot of us to freak out a bit. Referring to it as "the world's lungs" may be an overstatement, but the rain forest is a critical global resource, and its destruction undoubtedly will worsen global warming. Given that the U.S. government has dismantled many environmental protection rules, companies are beginning to step up to work on offsets.
Pine64 Teases $25 Linux Smartwatch
September 17, 2019
While open source enthusiasts still await the year of the Linux desktop, hardware developer Pine64 is advancing the cause of a $25 Linux-powered smartwatch, dubbed "PineTime." The Pine64 community has invited developers with an interest in smartwatches to join in its efforts to bring the product to market. Pine64 makes inexpensive Linux-based single board ARM computers that cost $15 to $20.
What's Wrong With Apple?
September 16, 2019
Apple held its huge product announcement event last week, and what once had people besides themselves with excitement has become a near pointless program of copied features and missed expectations. It is a shame to watch -- much like it was when Apple fired Steve Jobs. It appears that the firm has forgotten what Steve did to turn Apple into a unique company.
Taking the AI Approach to US Problem-Solving
September 9, 2019
At an IBM briefing on its joint AI project with MIT, it struck me that some of the training concepts could improve the quality of political decisions to shift attention more to fixing problems rather than using them as weapons against opponents. I'm not talking about using artificial intelligence systems directly. I'm suggesting we apply methods similar to those used to train them.
Amazon Trying Out Hand-Scanning Payment System: Report
September 5, 2019
Amazon is testing scanners that can identify a human hand to use as a payment method for in-store purchases. The company plans to introduce "Orville" to some Whole Foods stores by the beginning of 2020, and later expand it to all locations in the United States. Employees at Amazon's New York offices are said to be using the technology to buy items from specially equipped vending machines.
Samsung May Have New Foldable Phone in Wings
September 4, 2019
Samsung's first-generation foldable phone isn't expected until later this month, but reports of a second-generation device to be released in early 2020 already have started appearing online. The next-generation model is rumored to be a luxury phone that folds into a square. Already dubbed the "Galaxy Fold 2" in some reports -- it will have a clamshell design.
See More Articles in Tech Buzz Section >>
Amazon Advertising: Strategies to Drive Success
How concerned are you about online disinformation during the U.S. presidential election cycle?
Very concerned -- Internet companies haven't done enough to address the issue.
Very concerned -- there's really no effective way to counter it.
Somewhat concerned -- companies have stepped up to lessen the impact.
Somewhat concerned -- voters are less naive this time around.
Not at all concerned -- the threat is overblown.
Not at all concerned -- voters have learned to fact-check for themselves.
NICE inContact February 12 webinar