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July 2010

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Wolfram Alpha Gets Widgety

July 30, 2010

Remember when the most recent Google Killer Wolfram Alpha was released and the world went crazy and all we could talk about was this company and how incredible it was? Boy that buzz wore off fast. I actually forgot about the company since I wrote about their partnership with Bing last winter. Well, they just announced they have taken their service and widgetized it meaning they can provide you with pint-sized apps which are powered by the wizards curating and organizing the data which responds to use questions.

Domain Name Boom Reminds us of Dotcom Days

July 30, 2010

 


Recently I was in a meeting with my team at TMC researching domain names and I was blown away at just how many were taken for seemingly every combination of terms we could think of. Many of the names were available mind you but from cybersquatters who were charging many thousands of dollars for the selections we wanted. Ultimately we decided on a domain name which was available but it wasn't our first choice.

Flipboard Finally Goes Social

July 30, 2010

Flipboard the much heralded social magazine which allows users to flip virtual pages on the iPad as they search news and activities has a new addition to their app. As of today you can connect your Twitter and Facebook accounts and flip through them as easily as you might flip through tech news.

I did notice the second of three times I entered the program it didn't pull up my social networks and when I clicked through on a Facebook posted I had to login to the ubiquitous social network once again.

Overall, I am impressed with the application and it is free and worth trying if you are interested in looking at news and your social networks in a dramatically different way than traditional applications and websites.











AT&T Churn Rate Insanely Low

July 29, 2010

Gary Kim does a great job explaining in an article that Customers will put up with a a lot of imperfection in service quality as evidenced by the 1% churn rate of AT&T versus the industry average of 3%. One wonders however if this staggering low rate isn't just consumers not wanting to give up their iPhones.

Kim also mentions Verizon in his post and I agree that the real test comes when the iPhone gets offered on this network - if ever. My experience has shown that around 50% of AT&T users would switch to Verizon based on casual conversations.

Conducting Video Interviews in NYC Today

July 29, 2010

It's been a great day so far. Got up early, scanned hundreds of headlines, got caught up on email (for a while anyway, and that doesn't include emails prior to today), found parking at the train station and I even found a train with some empty seats.

I decided to purchase a an egg white flatbread sandwich at Dunkin Donuts in the train station and this caused me to miss my train. So I thought.

Xirrus Doubles Sales Again

July 28, 2010

Today we were honored to have wireless visionary, serial entrepreneur and CEO of both Xircom and Xirrus, Dirk Gates in the TMC Newsroom in our Norwalk, CT headquarters. Xirrus Arrays provide super high-capacity 802.11 access points by utilizing cell phone tower technology used by wireless carriers and are capable of sending signals in three directions, Having done a long-term review of one of the company's products, I can tell you the AP we have works and works well. Perhaps this explains why the company has doubled sales for a few years in a row.




Gates explained how he believes wireless can replace wired connections - assuming you design your system correctly of course.




Support for Net Neutrality Wanes in Tech Community

July 28, 2010

I just came across an article worthy of passing along from the Technology Liberation Front, a group which is focused on helping to reduce the amount of regulation imposed on the Internet and technology. Aside from a typo or two (I make them as swell  ) the excellent article titled Amazon.com Switches Sides on Net Neutrality focuses on how tech companies who once supported net neutrality are scared to death of being caught in the crosshairs of an administration gone wild with overregulation.

The article begins by discussing how Amazon's Pail Misener has for all practical purposes switched sides on the net neutrality issue as discussed in an editorial for CNET. Some of the points in the post have to do with net neutrality being a solution in need of a problem.

ITEXPO West 2010 Starts in 68 Days

July 27, 2010

4G Blackberry by December?

July 27, 2010

Reminder: TMC Open House August 12, 2010

July 27, 2010

Google Far More Feared than Microsoft

July 26, 2010

"What happens if Google chooses to come into your space with your own content?"

I grew up at a time when companies were afraid of Microsoft because whenever they came up with a good idea, Redmond would copy it and potentially put them out of business. They weren't always successful but having the world's largest software company in your market was generally a recipe for reducing investor interest.

And I would have to say that after a lack of marketing skill, no other force has slain more tech entrepreneurs than Microsoft.

Altering Language to Achieve Government Objectives

July 26, 2010

Language is obviously crucial to describing and understanding the world around us but did you know the particular language you speak can influence how you see the world as compared to speakers of other languages? This weekend I had a chance to read a fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal on the topic authored by Lera Boroditsky who is a professor of psychology at Stanford University and editor in chief of Frontiers in Cultural Psychology.

What makes the article so interesting is the analysis of speakers of different languages and the differences in how they interpret the world. For example, 1/3 of the world uses language with absolute directions for space as opposed to relative ones and as a result the speakers of such languages are able to perform navigational feats scientists once thought humans were incapable of.

TMC Picnic 2010 Just Started

July 23, 2010

Annual TMC Picnic 2010 Today

July 23, 2010

Comunicano: Your Influencer Relations Company

July 23, 2010

Many of you in the communications and technology spaces already know Andy Abramson as he is a well-known and influential blogger. But what you may not realize about Andy's company Comunicano is it is a major player in the world of influencer relations. By capitalizing on a strategy which Andy describes as the boulevard of communications, his company works with his clients to ensure their news turns into stories which are told and retold throughout the web and other media outlets.
 


As you can see from the inverted pyramid above, Comunicano segments the disparate audiences necessary to push a product along the influencer road to ultimately convince followers to purchase.


Magazine Ads Significantly Influence the Wealthy to Purchase

July 23, 2010

A TMCnet team member sent me an article from Forbes which is titled Ultra Rich Spending Less And Chasing Quality and gives fascinating insight on what makes these people tick and moreover how they spend and how to influence them. The piece is based upon The Survey of Affluence and Wealth in America 2010 - a creation of American Express Publishing and the Harrison Group who polled about 2,400 people from the richest 10% of U.S. households. The article starts with some interesting notes - 91% of the mega wealthy feel we are still in the middle of a recession but they are happier than the rest of the population when it comes to their personal relationships.

ShopVisible on Mobile Commerce

July 22, 2010

There has been and will continue to be a massive increase in mobile commerce as consumers are becoming more accustomed to shopping online and mobile devices are proliferating and providing bigger screens and better interfaces. Personally I have been amazed at how easy it is to use a number of sites such as Amazon to purchase as I am walking while walking by doing a quick search and check-out without the need to enter in a great deal of data.

There are many hundreds of thousands of retailers globally or more who must grapple with developing online interfaces which allow customers to make rapid purchases regardless of device. ShopVisible LLC is one company devoted to helping retailers migrate seamlessly to the mobile web and I did get a chance to test one of the implementations they performed for a customer and thought the results were good in that they gave consumers a chance to find what they wanted in a non-cluttered manner.

Skype Upgrade Supercharges iPhone 4

July 21, 2010

For all the benefits Skype has given users of PCs and MACs, on an iPhone the app was inferior on so many levels. Bluetooth connectivity was nonexistent and multitasking was not allowed on the app - the OS didn't support it either. Basically you could use Skype for outbound calls on your iPhone but a lack of multitasking meant you dropped calls when you left the app and forget about IM because again, if you left the app to check email or stream music you wouldn't get your inbound messages.

Today, the company just announced an upgrade which should make Skype one of the most-used apps on the iPhone.

Truphone, GlowPoint, XConnect, In Store Solutions News and More

July 21, 2010

Today, TMC hosted a number of companies in the communications and technology spaces and it was a learning experience for all. Much news was broken and you can expect a torrent of related articles from my editors this week. TMC's Juliana Kenny does a great job giving you an overview of the companies we met with below.

 

The following companies were present and clicking on the links will take you to video explaining exactly what they do and what they plan to provide customers in the future.

Sorry to my Readers

July 20, 2010

I have been preoccupied with a host of initiatives which have kept me from writing today. Not only that but I owe my editors columns for Customer Interaction Solutions Magazine and I believe Unified Communications as well. We also have a number of companies visiting TMC tomorrow so I expect to be spending time with them digesting new products and absorbing the latest happenings.

If that werent enough I am also deeply involved with my team in helping to produce the best ITEXPO ever with collocated conferences which are all related to tech and telcom and should be a perfect attration to the thousands of show attendees who want to keep up with the markets in this ever-changing tech world.

As a reminder, ITEXPO is going to be held October 4-6 in Los Angeles, CA and you may register here.

Stay tuned, I will be back soon.





They Should call it Cursed Phone 4

July 19, 2010

I have written repeatedly about how Apple is in an amazing position and how competing with the company is becoming very difficult. The company's desktops and laptops are getting a massive lift from the buzz surrounding the iPod, iPhone and iPad and as more people buy these aforementioned devices, the community of customers purchasing music and apps soars.

Many companies have cycles they go through - no organization has a share price or business which goes straight up.

TMC Editorial Open House August 12th

July 19, 2010

Last week I was fortunate enough to head out to San Jose and shoot video interviews with over 100 companies who are the heart and soul of Silicon Valley. For me, it was energizing and refreshing - like consuming vials of energy boosting supplements in rapid succession. In addition, some of my editorial editorial team came with me to meet and greet as well as network with the many companies who make up the various tech markets the TMCnet audience cares about.

A few videos shot last week

AT&T Churn Rate Insanely Low

July 17, 2010

Gary Kim does a great job explaining in an articlethat Customers will put up with a a lot of imperfection in service quality as evidenced by the 1% churn rate of AT&T versus the industry average of 3%. One wonders however if this staggering low rate isn't just consumers not wanting to give up their iPhones. Kim also mentions Verizon in his post and I agree that the real test comes when the iPhone gets offered on this network - if ever. My experience has shown that around 50% of AT&T users would switch to Verizon based on casual conversations. The impact of so many millions of customers switching carriers would obviously mean the burden of supporting all this wireless data will switch from one carrier to another quite quickly. This brings us back to AT&T who has a limited amount of time to improve it's network before it has to deal with real competition from the Verizon iPhone, Droid X or new Blackberry device said to be yet another iPhone killer.

AT&T Churn Rate Insanely Low

July 17, 2010

Gary Kim does a great job explaining in an articlethat Customers will put up with a a lot of imperfection in service quality as evidenced by the 1% churn rate of AT&T versus the industry average of 3%. One wonders however if this staggering low rate isn't just consumers not wanting to give up their iPhones. Kim also mentions Verizon in his post and I agree that the real test comes when the iPhone gets offered on this network - if ever. My experience has shown that around 50% of AT&T users would switch to Verizon based on casual conversations. The impact of so many millions of customers switching carriers would obviously mean the burden of supporting all this wireless data will switch from one carrier to another quite quickly. This brings us back to AT&T who has a limited amount of time to improve it's network before it has to deal with real competition from the Verizon iPhone, Droid X or new Blackberry device said to be yet another iPhone killer.

How the iPhone 4 Got it's Design

July 16, 2010

San Jose Videos Beginning to Post

July 14, 2010

iPhone Video Test

July 13, 2010

Getting Ready for San Jose Meetings

July 13, 2010

Consumer Reports Says Steer Clear of iPhone 4

July 12, 2010

Consumer Reports has tested the iPhone 4 in its lab and has duplicated the antenna problem so many are having. The problem has to do with signal quality degrading to the point of calls being dropped by the iPhone. The fix they found is to use duct tape or other nonconductive material to cover the spot on the lower left of the phone which causes problems.

Apple, for its part is going to roll out a software update which alters its calculation of antenna bars and they believe this will solve the problem.

BP Bankruptcy Potential, New Google AppGen and other news

July 12, 2010

I am off to San Jose and in case you are looking for some content to catch up on while I am offline I posted some links for you below:

Robert Hashemian opines on BP's financial future. I disagree about the company's potential to go bankrupt - I think it still is a distinct possibility. After all, the oil is still gushing.

Apple, iPhone, AT&T and Cloud Computing in Latest TMC Videos

July 11, 2010

TMC Videos Now Even More Apple Friendly

July 10, 2010

Yesterday was a pretty big day for the TMC Newsroom as we made some upgrades to how our videos are displayed on iPads, iPods and iPhones. If you are an iPad user you may have noticed that videos play on our video page without the need to open a standalone player. This is similar to how they play on a PC or Mac but there is a slight difference as these machines run Flash. Since iPads do not, we now check for the browsers ability to embed a QuickTime player and if it exists we play the video via the embedded QuickTime player with an H.264 stream.

Mobile YouTube Site Shows Cloud's Potential

July 9, 2010

iJustine's videos on the mobile version of YouTube running on an iPhone 4


Without a doubt one of the best results of the feud between Microsoft and Google is the migration towards web-based apps by the search giant. Two things Google will continue to do to take the wind out of Apple's sails are to provide applications and services which give Android an advantage over the iPhone and migrate applications to the cloud. The reason for the cloud migration has to do with proving you can do everything you need to in a hosted data center and that local apps are a legacy nuisance.

Spotted Dog Technology Brings Firefighting into the Cloud

July 8, 2010

Technology when applied to many processes can help them become more efficient. The spreadsheet is a simple example of an application which not only boosted efficiency; it allowed businesses to play our numerous business scenarios in real-time. Being in the media business back when we used to call it publishing, I have never ceased to be amazed at how computers changed the face of mailing lists, invoicing, printing through desktop publishing and eventually even article and blog distribution through sophisticated content management.

In some applications technology not only saves money and increases productivity but it can save lives as well.

Is Apple Repeating its Mistake from the Eighties?

July 8, 2010

5 Minutes With Motorola Droid X show the wonders of the Android ecosystem


I spent five minutes with a Motorola Droid X because the editor who has it here at TMC HQ literally will not let it out of her sight. What this told me right away about the device is that it is special.

TMC editors in San Jose Next Week

July 8, 2010

Next Week, my team and I will be hosting meetings in San Jose where the technology and communications markets will have unprecedented access to TMC editors and the ability to tell their story in TMC's video newsroom. Since I blogged about the opportunity a while back we have already scheduled over 60 meetings. We are subsequently flying more of our team out to the west coast to handle the meetings. The good news is there is still some more space left for meetings now that we have decided to send more resources cross-country from our headquarters in Connecticut.

Moreoever, this event now has networking potential meaning you will not only meet editors but others in the industry.

New Twitter Coupons

July 7, 2010

 


The online coupon business is booming and the reason for its recent boost in success is 100% related to the economy. On the one hand customers have less money and need to shop for the best deals they can find. On the other hand retailers want to spend money on marketing while being able to generate a direct pay back.

CNBC Plus gets Much Needed Upgrade

July 6, 2010

 


I have been a CNBC fan for many years but their paid online service CNBC Plus is pretty lousy because it seems to be an afterthought. Some things it does do well are allow you to stream live CNBC coverage and arrange archived video in any order of your choosing. Years back, the streaming product lost functionality for months and customer service didn't respond with any useful information on the matter after repeated attempts. I covered this problem two years ago and to say the company was very slow to react is an understatement.

iTunes and User Accounts Hacked

July 6, 2010

This past weekend I covered the hacking of the iTunes App Store and it seems user accounts now have been compromised as well. Some users have seen unauthorized spending in their accounts hit $1,400 and Apple is being slow to respond to the problems but they have acknowledged it exists. Here are some details about the matter from The Next Web:

  • Apple's only response so far has been to ask users to change their password.

Lebron James now on Twitter

July 6, 2010

 


Over the weekend I tweeted the fact that Lady Gaga has surpassed President Obama in Twitter followers and separately the matter was reported on by TMC's Juliana Kenny. But look out Presidents and Ladies alike, there is a new King in town and his name is Lebron - Lebron James - King Lebron James and he has just joined Twitter at @kingjames. At the current 30,000 followers the world-famous basketball player is a far cry from the 4.8 million followers of Lady Gaga or the 4.5 million of President Obama - still, James is a major sports celeb and we can expect his web cred to increase rapidly.

Vuvuzelas Equal Profit Online

July 6, 2010

How the World Cup and Entrepreneurial risk-taking turned an idea into profit




The power of the Internet coupled with a good idea allows companies to make money more quickly than ever. Consider the case of the simple vuvuzela - the super-annoying horn constantly blasting at World Cup games. One company, 365 Inc. bet that the focus on the World Cup would make these plastic horns a top seller and was right. The Birmingham Alabama company has sold nearly 30,000 of these horns for $8 a piece and brought in $240,000 in the process.

Combofix is Great Antivirus Software

July 5, 2010

A malicious - fake antivirus message


It's funny how ironic life can be as a few weeks back I posted an entry warning my readers about the various forms of malicious antivirus malware apps which try to install themselves on your PC. I included a few sample malicious screen shots my IT department sent around. The goal was more to help the families and friends of my readers as I imagine most of my readers are technically sophisticated.

Well, yesterday morning I took a look at the laptop which quite often lives on the kitchen table and there it was staring me in the eyes, one of the fake antivirus programs I warned you all about.

The Internet is Down, Happy 4th of July

July 4, 2010

Just moments ago I mentioned that it looks like the iTunes App Store was hacked. Now reports are surfacing that YouTube and Wikipedia have been hacked as well. Just a note that I haven't been able to duplicate any of the problems with the websites mentioned above (thankfully) but others have. Obviously the first thing that comes to mind is this is a well-thought out attack and these reports cannot be isolated incidents.

Then again, Wikipedia just had this to say about their outage, "Thanks for being patient, everyone.

Apple iTunes App Store Hacked

July 4, 2010

It appears according to a report from The Next Web that the iPhone App Store has been hacked and so have accounts. According to the article:

The rankings in the books category of the US iTunes store features 40 out of 50 apps by the same app developer, Thuat Nguyen.

It seems the developer in question which has apps which are being mass purchased by iTunes accounts holders.

Happy 4th of July 2010

July 3, 2010

MIT Research Satisfies Need for Broadband Speed

July 2, 2010

 If you happen to be downloading a movie this weekend and wait longer than you like you'll be happy to know MIT researcher Vincent Chan said that that replacing electrical signals inside the routers with faster optical signals would make the Internet 100, if not 1,000 times faster, while also reducing the amount of energy it consumes according to an interview on ComputerWorld.


According to the article:

Chan's architecture, which is called "flow switching," establishes a dedicated path across the network between locations that exchange large volumes of data -- from Silicon Valley to Boston, for instance. MIT explained that routers along that path would only accept signals coming from one direction and send them off in only one direction.

Anna Chapman: a Model Spy - Seriously

July 2, 2010

I already covered how this whole spy scandal seems unusual because they didn't seem to be taking as many precautions as they should to avoid detection. Now I happened upon a post from David Gewirtz explaining how gorgeous lead spy Anna Chapman is. He included in his post the video below where she talks about her training as an investment banker and desire to be an Internet entrepreneur.

So let me put this in perspective.

Software to fix iPhone 4 Antenna

July 2, 2010

Sadly the famous death grip will still cause calls to drop

The controversy regarding the iPhone 4 death grip - the so-called way of holding the iPhone 4 to get it to lose its signal and drop a call takes a new twist with Apple explaining that the problem is how you hold the phone but rather the incorrect algorithm used to display antenna bars. It seems according to the company that people are holding the phone in a manner which blocks the antenna and when they do their very weak signal becomes even weaker and poof - the call is gone. A surprise to many will certainly be the fact that the algorithm used to calculate antenna strength is the same as it was in the 3GS and 3G.

Free Market Capitalism Helps the Poor Most

July 1, 2010

I came across a post from Michael Robertson today which has an awesome headline " Gates and Buffet Have it Wrong" and it sums up succinctly how people with means can best-help the poor. I can't help but agree with virtually every word. In summary, it explains that opportunity is the best way to help those in need. This coupled with a free-market system and a free flow of capital.

Wired on iPad Gets an Update

July 1, 2010

How the App Store Helps Magazine Publishers

Hundreds of thousands of Wired fans downloaded the company's premiere app from the Apple App Store on the iPad. My contacts at Conde Nast, the parent company of Wired explain the company likes the model of individual issues being purchased as it generates much more revenue for the company. Being in the magazine business myself I can understand why this is the case. Moreover when a typical magazine subscription can cost around $15 per year and this requires printing and mailing magazines which could cost a company $20-$50 per year, you can see why advertising revenue is so critical to keeping publishing companies.

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