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Zuckerberg Tries, Tries Again
April 6, 2019
Mark Zuckerberg's most recent effort to change the conversation about Facebook seems like just another attempt at self-justification. In a recent op-ed, he places the onus squarely on the shoulders of government to regulate how social media works. "I believe we need new regulation in four areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability," Zuckerberg wrote.
What Lies Beneath Facebook's Sudden Embrace of Government Regulation
April 5, 2019
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called for greater government oversight and even regulation of the Internet in an op-ed piece published last weekend. Zuckerberg, who famously built the social network by playing by his own rules, said it was time for government and regulators around the world to step up and help rein in the Internet. The main point was to regulate what he called "harmful content."
With More Than 8 Billion Things, Where Are the IoT Privacy Laws?
April 4, 2019
No one knows for sure how many "things" are connected to the Internet, but the Federal Trade Commission reported last year that it was more than 8 billion, and that it would exceed 20 billion by the end of 2020! Astonishing as it seems, it turns out that U.S. privacy laws do not apply to all of those devices and the data they collect. So, for the third time in three years, the Senate has proposed a new law.
Following Protests, Google Cuts Temps, Vendors, Contractors a Fairer Deal
April 4, 2019
Google has unveiled new minimum standards for temps, vendors and contractors in the United States, in response to demands from an employee coalition that included full-time Google staffers as well as temporary workers and contractors. "Yesterday, we shared an update on some new initiatives to support our extended U.S. workforce," Google spokesperson Jenn Kaiser said Wednesday.
Walmart Lets Customers Use Google Assistant to Voice-Order Groceries
April 3, 2019
Walmart has launched a limited beta of Walmart Voice Order, which lets consumers order groceries by voice using Google Assistant. The service can be used with a number of devices: tablets, watches and TV sets running Android 6.0+; smartphones running Android 5.0+; iOS 10.0+ devices; Google Home; and more. "This announcement is huge," said Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research.
Report: YouTube Too Fixated on Engagement to Curb Toxic Content
April 3, 2019
YouTube executives have been unable or unwilling to rein in toxic content because it could reduce engagement on their platform, according to a report that maintained the company has spent years chasing one goal: engagement. The problem YouTube now faces is how to create an effective mechanism to handle problematic content, observed Cayce Myers, an assistant professor at Virginia Tech.
Wayfair v. South Dakota: How Amazon Played Both Sides
April 1, 2019
In the late 90s, Amazon began expanding its offerings beyond books, quickly embracing the Internet and leveraging technology to boost sales and exploit dated tax laws. Thanks to the proliferation of the Web and a rise in the popularity of e-commerce, Amazon rapidly scaled its business to offer a range of products and services directly to customers anywhere in the nation.
WiFi, Managed Services and the Home Network: Solving In-Home Connectivity
March 30, 2019
Home networks are a key building block for today's connected home systems and products, and wireless is the dominant method of connectivity for a variety of smart home, computing and entertainment devices. As a result, loss of wireless connectivity can be disruptive to the user experience and seriously impair the value proposition of computing and entertainment devices.
Using the Contact Center to Help Build Brand Loyalty
March 29, 2019
In 2018, 8.8 percent of all retail sales globally, totaling more than $2 trillion, were made online. As the total number of online purchases grows, a compelling case can be made that e-commerce customers expect to receive support that is as good as or even better than those who purchase the very same products in a store. In person, it is very easy to verify the proper set-up and operation.
EU Parliament's OK of Online Copyright Rules Fuels Dissent
March 27, 2019
The European Parliament plenary has adopted the "Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market" by a vote of 348-274 with 36 abstentions. Member states will have two years to adopt the directive's rules under their national laws. The directive will require certain online platforms to establish licensing agreements with rights holders for the use of copyright-protected content.
Apple Presents Its Spin on Entertainment and News
March 26, 2019
Apple announced a raft of new services, including original TV programming and news and magazine offerings, at an event held at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California. The Apple TV+ service, which will launch in the fall, already has a number of high-profile shows in its lineup, including Amazing Stories, a science fiction anthology produced by Steven Spielberg.
The Future According to Nvidia
March 25, 2019
I spent last week at Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference, and I expect this will be the last year it will go by that name. The company has evolved significantly during the last decade with robotics, AI, and even complete workstations and servers taking it well beyond its GPU roots. However, Nvidia doesn't yet have an effective way to convey how all the things it is doing will change the world.
AI-Powered Inventory Management: A Make-or-Break Tool for Retailers
March 22, 2019
Retail is facing battles on all fronts. Up against Amazon's streamlined operations on one side, and a higher demand for flawless customer service and experience on the other, it's either think or sink for many. However, AI has thrown some early adopters a lifeline. As Amazon has proven with its stranglehold on the retail industry, online shopping is unquestionably the future.
New Oculus Rift S Pushes VR Experience Up a Notch
March 21, 2019
Facebook unveiled its Oculus Rift S virtual reality headset at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. It will be available this spring for $399. With the Rift 2, Oculus "is following some of the trends set by Vive -- inside-out tracking, incremental improvement, and focus on comfort," observed David MacQueen, executive director of Strategy Analytics' wireless media strategies service.
Google Stadia: Future of Gaming or Pie in the Cloud?
March 20, 2019
Google has pulled the wraps off Stadia, a new cloud-based gaming platform. Using the power of Google's global information infrastructure, Stadia can stream the highest-quality games to any screen, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in announcing the platform, which is expected to come online later this year. Stadia represents Google's vision for the future of gaming.
MOREbot Introduces Kids to Robotics Using 3D Printed Parts
March 19, 2019
MORE Technologies last week launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $20,000 for development of its open source robot ecosystem. The company will fund the project if it reaches its goal by April 21. It teaches real tech skills to the next generation of innovators and problem solvers using MOREbot -- a series of open source, customizable robotics kits.
From Virtual to Value: Building Meaningful Experiences With Gamification
March 15, 2019
Amid shifting consumer habits and the digitization of everything, the retail landscape has undergone significant transformations over the past decade, and it continues to evolve as quickly as ever. These transformations bring about a slew of challenges and opportunities for retailers to improve the overall shopping experience. One technique for increasing engagement is gamification.
AR in Harry Potter Game Is Next Best Thing to Real Magic
March 15, 2019
Niantic last week offered a few members of the gaming press a chance to take in the magic of its upcoming Harry Potter: Wizards Unite augmented reality game. The game, which is being developed as part of a joint effort with WB Games San Francisco under the Portkey Games label, promises to build on Niantic's hugely popular Pokémon Go mobile phone game.
Amazon Drops Lowest-Pricing Rule for Third-Party Sellers
March 13, 2019
Amazon reportedly has removed the price parity contract clause that barred third-party vendors on its platform from selling their products at a lower price elsewhere. The company long has been accused of anticompetitive behavior and has come under considerable political pressure because of its use of the price parity, also known as "most favored nation," restriction.
Millennial CRM
March 13, 2019
Trying to do business without also having a modern CRM system is like walking around naked. You can do it, at least for a little while, but people will begin to think you're weird -- and the trouble is, those people are all potential customers. CRM is essential today because, despite our reverence for the free market, it's really more like free markets -- plural.
US Government Forging Ahead With Airport Facial Recognition Plans
March 12, 2019
Plans to bring facial recognition to major U.S. airports by 2021 are on a fast flight path, despite concerns about the new technology's readiness. President Trump in 2017 issued an executive order expediting the deployment of biometric verification of the identities of all travelers crossing U.S. borders. It stipulates that facial recognition identification be used in the top 20 U.S. airports.
Warren Dons Tech-Buster Mantle
March 12, 2019
Tech giants like Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple would be broken up under a proposal from U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. "Today's big tech companies have too much power -- too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy," the Democratic presidential hopeful wrote in an online post. Warren has called for legislative remedies to address the problems.
The Strange Tech Wars of 2019
March 11, 2019
The tech market is defined by its battles: Microsoft vs. IBM; Apple vs. Microsoft; Netscape vs. Microsoft; Google vs. Microsoft. If Microsoft were a person, it likely would have PTSD. Then there was Apple vs. Google, and now the big one is Apple vs. Qualcomm. The screwy thing for me is that Huawei represents a far greater threat to both companies than they represent to each other.
Structural Shifts in Semiconductor Industry Spawn New Trends
March 8, 2019
Long-term trends in the technology segment are often the result of structural change. One such change in the semiconductor space was the shift to outsourcing specialized functions, including technology development in the form of intellectual property, chip design, fabrication, and packaging and test. That change has sparked a trend toward customization.
Augmented Reality and E-Commerce: Bridging the Physical-Digital Gap
March 8, 2019
I grew up thinking the Mall of America was an unbelievable epicenter of retail commerce. Touted as the biggest mall in the world -- even equipped with an amusement park -- the Minnesota complex boasted stores of all kinds: toys, clothing, furniture, home furnishings. Then this thing called "e-commerce" came along and basically made the Mall of America seem like Main Street in small-town America.
August Adds Wireless HD Video Doorbell to Smart Home Line
March 6, 2019
The August View is a wireless doorbell that can stream sharp 1440p HD video. It supports two-way audio, so you can talk to guests via an Internet connection. The View can be paired with August and Connected by August smart locks. That means you not only can speak to visitors remotely, but also can let them into your house. That functionality can be handy for accepting package deliveries.
Michael Cohen and the Creation of a Deep Learning AI Lie Detector
March 4, 2019
Like many of you I was fascinated by the Michael Cohen testimony last week in what was more performance art than fact-finding. It tends to be fascinating to watch disgruntled ex-employees testify, but they often aren't the most reliable witnesses. The personal nature of their termination tends to push them toward exaggeration, and many were fired for legitimate reasons.
Why Children Should Learn to Code
March 1, 2019
Learning to code, regardless of the path a child chooses to take, is crucial today. Research shows us that this knowledge will be important in any career. As both a female leader in technology and a mother of a 10-year old boy, I am acutely aware of its critical importance in both my professional and personal life. Coding is a necessary literacy in this technological age.
Amazon Brings Big Guns to Battle Against Counterfeit Products
March 1, 2019
Amazon has announced Project Zero, a program that empowers vendors to help drive counterfeits down. The anti-counterfeit campaign will employ Amazon's advanced technology, machine learning and innovation. Amazon will partner with Project Zero's participating vendors to protect their intellectual property by detecting and removing counterfeits of their products.
FTC's Fake Reviews Settlement May Spur E-Commerce Fairness Era
February 28, 2019
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has announced a settlement of its suit against a company accused of using fake paid reviews to boost sales of its health supplement product on Amazon. The settlement puts vendors and marketing firms on notice that the FTC is committed to rigorous enforcement of rules against fraudulent reviews on e-commerce platforms.
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Is "too much screen time" really a problem?
Yes -- smartphone addiction is ruining relationships.
Yes -- but primarily due to parents' failure to regulate kids' use.
Possibly -- long-term effects on health are not yet known.
Not really -- lack of self-discipline and good judgement are the problems.
No -- angst over "screen time" is just the latest overreaction to technology.
No -- what matters is the quality of content, not the time spent viewing it.
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