Have you noticed how much better things are for customers of the major wireless carriers these days? Not many years ago, consumers were locked into two-year contracts, monthly charges kept going up, and there weren’t a lot of new services on offer. That’s changed, and a good deal of the credit belongs to T-Mobile.
Its “uncarrier” campaign sounded the death knoll for lock-in contracts, its aggressive pricing touched off a spate of competition in a once-stagnant market, and its willingness to launch innovative services like “Binge On” forced its larger rivals to follow suit.
That all may change – and not for the better.
The Japanese conglomerate that owns Sprint wants to buy T-Mobile, and it has been buttering up the White House in hopes of stopping anti-trust action before it starts. I have my criticisms of T-Mobile and its over-the-top CEO, John Legere, but the very real chance that it will disappear under a wave of merger mania is terrible news for consumers.
While at DellEMC World this week [Disclosure: DellEMC is a client of the author] there was an interesting panel, led by The Institute of the Future, on how increasingly more intelligent machines will interact with humans by 2030. The panel included experts on millennials, human machine interfaces and two future facing analysts (otherwise known as futurists). Given this is a topic that will likely define us as a race and drive products and services more and more as we exit this decade and enter the next.
[ Related: The future of AI is humans + machines ]
Add Germany to the list of places where businesses can test their self-driving cars on the open road -- as long as they have a driver sitting at the wheel ready to take control at any time.
That's one of the restrictions imposed by a new law voted by the German Federal Council (Bundesrat) on Friday.
The move will be a welcome one for Germany's automotive industry, allowing manufacturers such as Audi to test self-driving vehicles in their home country, rather than taking them all the way to California.
Other requirements of the new law for anyone wanting to put a self-driving car on the German roads include the fitting of a "black box" recorder like those in planes -- with the same goal of helping investigators reconstruct what happened in the event of an accident.
PR and marketing communications people experience occasional gaffes and nightmare situations. It’s how we learn. I've certainly faced my fair share of face palm circumstances with clients. Thankfully, I’ve been fortunate for it to happen before an interview so I’ve been able to formulate a strategy ahead of time, or it’s been with a journalist friend willing to cut me some slack and give me more time to overcome the laughable incident.
The current White House? Not so much. Which is why many PR people watch political news and shake their heads incredulously at the answers given by Kellyanne Conway, Sean Spicer and the increasingly visible Sarah Huckabee Sanders, not to mention the hiding in bushes, interviewer eye rolls and follow-up zingers. But we feel for them and deep down inside, most of us (at last I do) think, “Thank God that is not me. I’ll take all my worst clients back to never be them.” Absolutely, 100% - I mean that. That is a tough job and I’m not sure what salary would be enough to live that life.
Amazon is winning the home assistant wars, and the tech company took another step forward on Tuesday by unveiling the Echo Show, a touchscreen version of the Amazon Echo. The Echo Show practically combines the Echo with a tablet, meaning that it can play videos, perform video calls, and even display the lyrics to the a song it is playing.
The Echo Show has prompted some privacy concerns as well as controversy about whether Amazon ripped off a partner’s product to build the Echo Show. But regardless of how successful the Echo Show may be, Amazon has secured a decisive advantage in the home assistant wars. Investor’s Business Daily notes that Amazon has an estimated 70 percent of the home assistant market and has sold over 10 million Echo devices altogether, compared to 24 percent for Google and the Google Assistant.
The reviews of President Donald Trump’s Executive Order (EO) on cybersecurity were coming in within hours of its signing yesterday afternoon, and they were most definitely mixed.
There was general agreement that the intent of the EO – delayed more than three months from late-January, when it was originally scheduled to be signed – was good.
Several experts called it “a good start,” and a few, including Jacob Olcott, vice president at BitSight and former legal advisor to the Senate Commerce Committee and counsel to the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, thought it was much better than a good start.
Olcott called it, “smart policy and a big win for this administration.”
Autodesk has partnered with a Michigan foundry in a 3D printing proof-of-concept project that resulted in a new magnesium commercial airline seat frame so light it could save an airline more than $200 million in fuel costs.
Autodesk used its Netfabb 3D design software to produce a complex geometric model for a new aircraft passenger seat frame just as strong as a traditional seat, but vastly lighter.
The CAD program created a file used to 3D print in plastic the seat frame, which was then coated in ceramic material and heated to a high temperature to evaporate the inner plastic.
New research finds that 25% of all physical servers -- and 30% of all virtual servers -- are comatose. These are systems that have no activity in the last six months.
The problem with comatose, or zombie, physical servers is well known. Past studies have routinely put the number of undead enterprise physical servers in the 20% to 30% range. But this latest research looked at virtual servers as well, and they may represent a significant cost to IT departments.[ Further reading: The march toward exascale computers ]
That's because users may be paying licensing fees on their virtual servers, as well as on the software they support, said the researchers.
The future of Windows
Image by Microsoft
The feature-packed Windows 10 Creators Update hasn’t even hit every PC yet but Microsoft’s already taken the wraps off of its successor.
A lawsuit by Waymo, alleging the use by rival Uber Technologies of stolen trade secrets relating to autonomous vehicle technology, has been referred by a federal judge to a U.S. attorney, raising the possibility of a criminal prosecution.
“This case is referred to the United States Attorney for investigation of possible theft of trade secrets based on the evidentiary record supplied thus far concerning plaintiff Waymo LLC’s claims for trade secret misappropriation,” wrote Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California late Thursday.
“The Court takes no position on whether a prosecution is or is not warranted, a decision entirely up to the United States Attorney,” Judge Alsup added.
Google I/O is set to kick off in just a few days, so here are three things we hope to see.
Over two dozen HP laptop models have been secretly recording users’ keystrokes, possibly by mistake, according to a Swiss security firm.
The keylogger is found within the PCs' audio driver software and has existed since at least Dec. 2015, the security firm Modzero said in a Thursday blog post.
The audio driver was designed to identify when a special key on the PC was used. But in reality, the software will capture all the keystrokes and write them in an unencrypted file located on the laptop.
In other cases, the keystrokes will be passed to a Microsoft Windows debugging interface on the PC, and expose them to possible capture, Modzero said.
Apple and Amazon have settled (at least some of) their differences. Amazon Prime Video is officially making its way to the Apple TV.
Apple will announce the all-new Amazon Prime Video app for Apple TV at this year’s WWDC keynote on June 5, according to BuzzFeed. Then the app will reportedly hit the tvOS App Store this summer. In addition, Amazon.com will be start selling the Apple TV set-top box again after being banned two years ago.
This corroborates an earlier report that Apple and Amazon had reached an agreement to the benefit of both their streaming media strategies. Amazon Prime members who own an Apple TV have another reason to renew their membership, and the Apple gets to put the Apple TV back on Amazon’s massive retail platform.
President Donald Trump has finally signed a long-awaited executive order on cybersecurity, and he called for the U.S. government to move more into the cloud and modernize its IT infrastructure.
The order, signed on Thursday, is designed to "centralize risk" and move the government's agencies toward shared IT services, White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert said in a press briefing
Emma Lawton is finally able to write her name again. The 33-year-old graphic designer was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease back in 2013. It's a progressive movement disorder that took away her ability to draw and write -- until now.
It's all thanks to a wearable with her namesake designed by Microsoft researcher, Haiyan Zhang, who was inspired to help Lawton after the two met in London. The device pairs with a tablet that controls the wearable's vibrations. Something about the vibrations is enough to block the feedback loop between Lawton's hand and brain, easing her tremors and allowing her to write and draw once again.Microsoft
Haiyan Zhang and Emma Lawton show off the Emma Watch during Microsoft's Build event in Seattle, Washington, on May 10, 2017.
Hewlett Packard Enterprises' HP-UX OS has been around for more than 30 years, and users may be looking to move on from the Unix-based OS.
Now HPE is offering a way out of the ancient OS using containers, which are small buckets running instances of applications. The containers will be offered with the Linux OS.
HPE will provide containers to transition from conventional mainframe-style OSes to new hardware like x86-based Xeon servers. In this case, HPE is trying to get users to transition from Itanium chips.
Intel started shipping its last Itanium 9700 chips -- codenamed Kittson -- on Thursday. Correspondingly, HPE announced new Integrity i6 servers with the new chips. But the future of HP-UX servers is uncertain because Intel has no new Itanium chips beyond Kittson.
Microsoft just released a fresh Windows 10 Insider preview build to coincide with today’s Windows-focused Build 2017 keynote, and it adds one of the highlight features of the just-announced Windows 10 Fall Creators Update along with some other goodies.
Windows 10 Insider build 16193 includes Microsoft’s similarly just-announced Story Remix, a photo app that uses machine learning and mixed reality to intelligently create awesome movies out of your image collection. It works across devices, ties into Microsoft’s Remix 3D database for 3D digital objects and animations, and seems almost infinitely malleable—as well as easy to use. Windows Insiders will know for sure as soon as they download the latest update. Look for even more Story Remix features to hit the preview app ahead of the Fall Creators Update’s release, presumably—duh—this fall.
Microsoft's chief executive yesterday touted a new number for Windows 10, saying the operating system now powers 500 million devices -- half way toward a goal the company once gave itself but since discarded.
During a keynote address that opened Microsoft's Build developers conference in Seattle Wednesday, CEO Satya Nadella updated the Windows 10 installed base as he pitched the OS to programmers.[ Related: Windows 10 Redstone: A guide to the builds ]
"Think about the 500 million Windows 10 devices that you can now reach through the Windows Store," Nadella said. "That reach is what's going to drive our ecosystem going forward. It's going to give each one of you more of an audience, more users, more engagement in a secure way."
The Apple Watch has already saved lives with its heart rate-monitoring, but it’s often unintentional. A person might feel symptoms like dizziness or shortness of breath, then check their heart rate to confirm something weird is going on. A team of researchers just proved that the watch’s heart rate sensor can actually detect an early sign of heart disease without any symptoms at all, a development that could change how people use their Apple Watches.
The Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor can accurately pick up atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart rate that can lead to stroke or heart disease. Atrial fibrillation can be caused by a variety of factors, including high blood pressure, so the Apple Watch isn’t a diagnostic device. But its accurate heart rate sensor shows there is potential for the watch as a health and fitness tool beyond its basic fitness-tracking features.
Building the future
Image by Microsoft
Microsoft’s annual Build conference is ostensibly aimed at developers, but it’s always the stage for a slew of consumer-focused product announcements as well—and Build 2017 was no exception.
From the future of Windows to Cortana everywhere to an app that uses machine learning and mixed realities to make your movies awesome, these are the biggest reveals from Build 2017 that everyday users should care about.