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Battlefield 1: Big, Bombastic and Very Loosely Based
October 25, 2016
If filmmaker Michael Bay -- known for the Transformers and other over-the-top films -- were to decide to make a World War I movie, and if he chose to rely on comic books for research, the result would be very much like Electronic Arts' newly released video game Battlefield 1. This latest entry in the popular series moves the action from recent modern settings to the Great War.
Why Large Companies Can't Innovate
October 24, 2016
One of the things that has made Dell World very different is that at the end, one or more controversial speakers take the stage and provide an incredible amount of insight for the folks who haven't left early. All three of the last three speeches were fascinating, but it wasn't until I wove them together that it became clear to me why innovation seems to evaporate the larger a company becomes.
T-Mobile Fined $48M for Pulling Wool Over Customers' Eyes
October 21, 2016
The United States Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday announced that T-Mobile has agreed to a penalty of $48 million for misleading customers about restrictions on its so-called unlimited data plans. The company failed to inform subscribers to unlimited plans on its wireless networks and those of MetroPCS, which it owns, that their data bandwidth would be throttled when they hit a preset ceiling.
Rez Infinite Rocks Worlds
October 21, 2016
Rez Infinite this week earned praise from early reviewers for its graphics and immersing qualities. Sony announced the game -- an update of a remake -- last year. Featuring support for 1080p resolution graphics, along with 3D audio sound, Rez Infinite is designed for the PSVR, but it's also compatible with the regular PlayStation 4.
Airbnb Offers to Give a Little in NY, SF Tussles
October 21, 2016
Airbnb recently proposed changes to its listing policies for short-term rental property owners in New York City and San Francisco, possibly in response to threats of aggressive action from state and local lawmakers. With respect to New York operations, Airbnb on Wednesday proposed a set of five changes in an article penned by Chris Lehane, the company's global head of public policy.
Tesla: Everyone Gets a Self-Driving Car
October 21, 2016
Tesla on Wednesday announced plans to install hardware that will allow all of its cars to become driverless. The equipment will enable self-driving at a safety level substantially greater than human-driven cars, according to the company. The hardware includes eight cameras to provide 360-degree visibility; 12 ultrasonic sensors to detect hard and soft objects; and forward-facing radar.
Nintendo Switches It Up
October 20, 2016
After months of speculation and buildup, Nintendo on Thursday officially unveiled its new gaming system, the Nintendo Switch. Previously known only by the codename "NX," rumors about this latest video game console began last year with a hint from Satoru Iwata, the company's late president. At the time Iwata suggested only that Nintendo was working on a new video game system.
Microsoft AI Beats Humans at Speech Recognition
October 20, 2016
Microsoft's Artificial Intelligence and Research Unit earlier this week reported that its speech recognition technology had surpassed the performance of human transcriptionists. The team last month published a paper describing its system's accuracy, said to be superior to that of IBM's famed Watson artificial intelligence.
Samsung Bows Under Note7 Fallout
October 20, 2016
Three owners of Galaxy Note7 smartphones this week filed a complaint in a federal court in Newark, New Jersey, that could become a class action lawsuit against Samsung. "Plaintiffs and the Class have suffered injury in fact, incurred millions of dollars in fees, and have otherwise been harmed by Samsung's conduct," the complaint states. Samsung has recalled the phones and stopped producing them.
AI and Customer Loyalty
October 19, 2016
AI and machine learning have taken the industry by storm. Some say they will usher in a new age of better business processes and customer orientation, while others fret that automation will kill jobs. There definitely will be jobs that no longer make sense for humans to do, thanks to automation. However, there are some neglected business processes where AI and ML could make real contributions.
Year-End Deals on Track for Federal IT Providers
October 19, 2016
Just when most of the country is on vacation -- including the U.S. Congress -- federal government agencies become active in awarding contracts. The federal fiscal year ends on Sept. 30, and many agencies wait until the last quarter of the year to make acquisitions. The last few months have brought billions of dollars in federal contracts for information technology providers.
Assange Lives to Leak Another Day
October 19, 2016
The status of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange grew a bit murky on Tuesday after the group accused the U.S. State Department of pressuring Ecuadorian officials to block him from posting additional emails linked to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The Ecuadorian foreign ministry on Tuesday acknowledged restricting Assange's access, saying it did not wish to interfere in a foreign election.
Apple Downshifts Driverless Vehicle Plans
October 18, 2016
Apple appears to be shifting its driverless car ambitions into a lower gear. Changes in the company's automotive strategy reportedly have resulted in hundreds of job cuts and the shelving of plans to build a car of its own. Project Titan's shift in direction follows months of disagreements, leadership uncertainty, and supply chain problems within the project.
Microsoft Adds Muscle to Dynamics 365
October 18, 2016
Microsoft last week shared new information about its upcoming Dynamics 365 cloud service: the addition of 100 new apps; the inclusion of Solution Integrator partners in Appsource; the division of apps and features into Enterprise and Business Editions, the latter for SMBs; and a new subscription model. Many of the new capabilities will be available in both editions on Nov. 1.
Battlefield 1 Delivers Great War Action, Say Early Reviewers
October 18, 2016
Electronic Arts' new epic first-person shooter Battlefield 1 could be the war game to end all war games, based on the first wave of reviews published Monday. This latest title in the popular franchise from Swedish developer DICE is an action-packed, rip-roaring take on World War I. There's a single-player campaign that features a story worthy of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.
Fake News Taints Facebook's Trending Topics
October 15, 2016
Facebook's Trending Topics section recently has carried a number of trending stories that were either "indisputably fake" or "profoundly inaccurate," according to a report this week. The news feed six weeks ago ran a false story claiming Fox News had fired anchor Megyn Kelly for being a closet liberal who supported Hillary Clinton. Facebook removed the story, apologized, and promised to do better.
Aviso CEO K.V. Rao: Humans, Machines and Magic
October 14, 2016
"CRM is a mature industry, but it's fundamentally not moving the needle for the user, for the subscriber -- the sales rep or manager. It's fundamentally recording your activities, but it doesn't really let you commit with confidence to drive the right outcomes," said Aviso CEO K.V. Rao. Predictive analytics "can help you find the right content faster. That's what the state-of-the art is for sales.
Amazon Music Unlimited Rolls Gently Down the Stream
October 13, 2016
Amazon on Wednesday rolled out its Music Unlimited cut-rate subscription streaming service, available on its Echo, Echo Dot and Amazon Tap devices for as little as $4 a month for a single device. Setting a low-entry price point "is a logical move, given that the company has invested heavily into the AI and voice recognition powering Alexa," said IHS Markit analyst Paul Erickson.
FCC Slaps Comcast With $2.3M Overbilling Fine
October 13, 2016
The FCC on Tuesday announced that Comcast would pay a record $2.3 million fine to settle its investigation into whether the cable operator improperly charged customers for services and equipment they never approved, a practice known as "zero billing option." Federal law bans cable operators from charging customers for unauthorized equipment or services.
Snap Lines Up Bankers for Spring IPO
October 13, 2016
Snap this week hired Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group to manage its IPO, according to multiple reports. JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, Allen & Co., Barclays and Credit Suisse Group reportedly also will play a role. The IPO, expected as early as this spring, could result in a valuation of $25 billion or more. That would make Snap one of the highest-profile IPOs in years.
Gadget Ogling: Google Embraces a Hardware Future
October 12, 2016
The first smartphones Google has made by itself, Pixel and Pixel XL, are the first to bear Android 7.1 and the first to have the impressive Google Assistant built in. The Pixel has a 5-inch HD screen, while the Pixel XL offers a 5.5-inch QHD display. The phones have a quad-core processor and 4 GB of RAM. I like that the fingerprint sensor is on the back.
Tech Heavyweights Join Forces to Lasso AI
October 12, 2016
Amazon, DeepMind/Google, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft last month announced the creation of the Partnership on AI, a nonprofit organization dedicated to formulating best practices in artificial intelligence and educating the public about the field. The group will invite academics, other nonprofits, and specialists in policy and ethics to join its board.
DoL Suit Highlights Asian Glass Ceiling in Tech
October 11, 2016
Longstanding concerns about hiring and diversity issues in Silicon Valley recently returned to the fore. The Labor Department last month filed suit against big data firm Palantir, alleging that it had engaged in a pattern of denying jobs to Asian applicants. Race is a greater impediment than gender when it comes to breaking through corporate glass ceilings, suggests research conducted by Ascend.
Consumers Warned of Exploding Samsung Washers
October 8, 2016
That's the situation Samsung found itself in last week when the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning about certain top-load washing machines made by the company between March 2011 and April 2016. "CPSC is advising consumers to only use the delicate cycle when washing bedding, water-resistant and bulky items," reads a statement at the commission's website.
AI's Moment
October 7, 2016
There recently has been an increase in the talk -- pro and con -- about bots, AI and intelligent assistants. A lot of this talk has been percolating around the industry for decades. Silicon Collar, a book by Vinnie Mirchandani, a friend and truly gifted analyst, accepts that automation might be eliminating jobs, but it optimistically holds out for the silver lining.
Backpage CEO Arrested for Pimping, Child Prostitution
October 7, 2016
Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer is facing extradition to California on charges his company earned millions of dollars by promoting adult and child prostitution through escort advertisements run on the site. Ferrer's arrest took place in Houston upon his return from the Netherlands to the headquarters of his Dallas-based company, perhaps the largest advertiser of adult escort services in the U.S.
Nevada Issues Historic License to Paralyzed Race Car Driver
October 7, 2016
The state of Nevada last week issued paralyzed former Indy driver Sam Schmidt a license to drive a specially made autonomous vehicle, equipped with a series of high-tech sensors and other equipment that will allow him to operate it with head motions, voice commands and breathing techniques. The license allows Schmidt to operate the Arrow SAM car alongside regular passenger traffic.
Insulin Pump Susceptible to Hacking
October 7, 2016
Medical device manufacturer Animas on Tuesday warned that its OneTouch Ping insulin pump system was susceptible to hacking. "We have been notified of a cybersecurity issue with the OneTouch Ping, specifically that a person could potentially gain unauthorized access to the pump through its unencrypted radio frequency communication system," reads the company's letter to users of the device.
Google: There's No Hub Like Home
October 6, 2016
Google on Tuesday officially launched Google Home, its long-awaited wireless hub. Google Home is an interactive personal assistant and entertainment center that takes full advantage of the company's deep advantages in Web search, AI and machine learning. Google's vision is to place a customized version of its Google Assistant technology into the hands of every customer.
Dreamforce's Einstein: First Shot in New Sales Tech Arms Race?
October 6, 2016
A technology conference staple is the over-the-horizon announcement: a proclamation that something that isn't quite here yet is the next big thing, often accompanied by simulated screen shots, hypothetical use cases and fantastic demonstrations. This year's Dreamforce announcement of a machine learning-enabled technology called "Einstein" easily could be dismissed as futureware.
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What's your alarm level over cyberattacks on the Internet's infrastructure?
Red: A deadly cyberwar will occur -- It's when, not if.
Orange: A big one could be costly and threaten public safety.
Yellow: We need to improve cybersecurity at a faster pace.
Blue: Regional outages will become more frequent and more annoying.
Green: There's no way anyone could take out the entire Internet.