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November 2011

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Slacker on Sonos Review

November 30, 2011

After waiting for over a year for Slacker to come to Sonos - I am now one very happy camper. First off Slacker provided me with a Premium Radio subscription a while back - prior to that I had a paid subscription called Slacker Radio Plus which was helpful as it allowed me to cache 25 radio stations for offline use.

What is great about Slacker Premium is the combination of algorithm/human selected radio which allows you to discover music similar to songs you like combined with on-demand radio - basically songs you search for and select. Basically the best of Pandora and Spotify but with the added bonus of immediately listening to any song which you see on any playlist.

When I got home I opened the Sonos app on an iPad and upgraded all the components in my system. the software asked me not to shut it down or close the app and it took about 15 minutes or so for six components connected to the system to be upgraded.

The Sonos remote control now called the Sonos Control (it was the CR200) had me press a button to upgrade - a painless process which took a few minutes.

I then logged into Slacker and all my favorite stations and other information was immediately available.

An added bonus - in some ways the Sonos interface is better than the PC or iPhone version.









Sonos Now Works with Slacker

November 30, 2011

Salesforce Cloudforce NY 2011 Live Blog

November 30, 2011

I am headed to NY as I post. Check back for updates throughout the day.

Heading to the keynote there was a DJ in the atrium of the Jacob Javits Center playing techno music wearing a shirt that said I Cloud NY. Nice addition.

We are waiting for the keynote to start - so far there was a video touting the importance of social - including Twitter. then an interview with Comcast and Facebook execs.

Keynote starts with Metallica Enter Sandman - with an accompanying video of catchy buzzwords - cloud - post PC, etc.

Marc Benioff takes the stage: We were born cloud at Salesforce.com and we were reborn social.

Facebook is easting the web - 23% of the time on web is social.

Mobile minutes per day is higher than on PCs.

A persistent part of how we do work each day.



Next year we will exceed $3B annual run rate.

















TMC Headed to Boston for Video Interviews Next Week

November 29, 2011

Headed to Cloudforce New York. Can't Wait to Hear from Marc Benioff

November 29, 2011

Wait, Toggl is why HTML5 is so Important?

November 29, 2011

Some months back Crossfire Media head Joe Mazzeo came to TMC to tell us HTML5 was the future. He showed us some demos and we decided to extend our event and online partnership which encompassed 4G, M2M and other areas into providing a forum for the community of HTML5 designers and developers named DevCon5.

This all came back to me when I read an article from Tim Beyers aptly titled HTML is Bigger Than You Think on Motley Fool about toggl, a simple HTML5 app which uses the cloud as a timer for projects - allowing you to start and stop it from any device.

As Joe mentioned in our initial meeting - it is HTML5 that brings the true power of the cloud to the user and although toggle is a simple app, it proves Joe was right.

The next DevCon5 HTML5 developer conference takes place in Santa Clara, December 7-8, 2011 and you can register now.

My team put out this cool promo today worth checking out as it details some of the companies you can come meet, learn from and network with at the conference.







Apps Swallow Car Tech as Slacker Integrates With Ford

November 29, 2011

Slacker announced it will integrate with Ford vehicles via SYNC AppLink. It further says it will launch new Lifestyle stations with ABC News. For Slacker Premium subscribers, you will be able to listen to music on demand as well as a customizable radio station. The company says it offers the best of both worlds - the benefits of Spotify and Pandora in one.

The company provided me with a premium subscription months back and I am now an addict. In addition to the above benefits, it provides the ability to cache radio stations for times when you either don't have great Internet access or are low and battery.

Although I am not allowed to share the company name, Slacker will have big news soon regarding integration with a well-known WiFi stereo solutions provider as well.

The big picture here is the fusion of consumer electronics, streaming radio and telematics/automotive tech.

The latest model Mercedes for example has an iPhone app which allows you to check things like distance to empty as well as the location of your car.

Its all coming together nicely and to me it seems the biggest challenge ahead is for terrestrial and satellite radio providers who have to deal with the additional overhead of running a satellite network and/or radio towers throughout a geographic region.

One issue remains - how will consumers deal with bandwidth caps? In other words in an all-you-can-eat world, streaming wins - right?











iPhone to Get 4 Inch Display?

November 29, 2011

Two weeks ago I discussed my smartphone envy after using the Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone which sports a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor, 4G and a bright Super AMOLED Plus Display. I suggested that Apple needs a 4.5 inch display as well - and interestingly the latest iPhone rumor says the next iPhone will have a 4 inch display. Sure, this is a nice step up from 3.5 inches but I prefer the larger screen in part because it is easier to type on.

One hypothesis I have about why the Android tablet market hasn't taken off (Amazon Kindle Fire aside) is that the latest crop of Android smartphones are similar enough to tablets to keep users from needing both devices. If you use the Kindle Fire as an example, it has a 7 inch screen - just 2.5 inches larger than the aforementioned Samsung - not such a huge difference.

In fact Apple is probably afraid if it makes the iPhone too large - it will not only make it less portable but eat into iPad 2 sales.

One other point I need to clarify is the iPhone 4S does indeed render web pages a bit faster than the Samsung Galaxy S II based on my testing but then again, every page I tested had Flash and iOS doesn't have to deal with it while the Samsung does.





Mood Detection Software Coming

November 29, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Readers

November 21, 2011

Will Rockit Redefine Social CRM?

November 18, 2011

What happens when you merge social CRM, location based marketing, mobile marketing, loyalty rewards and targeted social marketing? The answer is Rockit – a new company whose goal is to prove to the world that managing customers in the new multichannel, multimedia world is far from “rocket science” (get it?).

The company provides a loyalty-enabled platform allowing customers to sign up for offers in categories of interest or by company and these companies can use the platform to track customer loyalty, communicate and push out special offers and incentives.

Drop the Phone in a Toilet and Still Use it!

November 18, 2011

Many of us have been there – you walk into the bathroom, the phone rings, you see who is calling and the phone slips – whoops, there she goes, right into the toilet. Then the agonizing second when you contemplate whether you are going to stick your hand in the toilet to retrieve it. Then you do and now the interesting part begins.

Microsoft Surface Update Available. It's an iPoffee Table

November 18, 2011

The new Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface is now available for $8,400 or approximately the same price as 42 Kindle Fires or almost 17 entry level iPad 2s. A giant tablet-in-a-table, the super-sized 87 pound gadget runs Windows 7 and Surface 2.0 and leading edge processors from AMD. Obviously the market for this device is quite different than your traditional tablet customer – but it isn’t clear exactly who needs these things in any appreciable volume.

Heading onto an Asset Tracking Webinar

November 17, 2011

Big Week for Tor and The Privacy Minded

November 16, 2011

Two big pieces of news are out this week for the privacy minded users of Tor who would like to surf anonymously to keep from the prying eyes of government – first off is a new iPad browser called Covert Browser which sells for $2.99. It is no frills, no Google search bar or bookmarks but you can switch from Tor servers in various locations with a simple drop down list. The list further includes flags so you know which country they are in and server bandwidth speeds are included as well.

Browsing Disney.IN and seeing a list of TOR servers on the right hand side of the screen (click to enlarge image)

Do Apple and Google Need to be Carriers?

November 15, 2011

Some might argue Apple is so dominant in-part because they are control freaks. Supply chain, software, hardware, OS, CPU, you name it. Ditto for Google - with proprietary cloud-based systems which are hyper-efficient and scalable, their operating system is the one you want to emulate. In fact, you could argue much of the move to the cloud is an effort to emulate the way Google does business.

And this brings us to control of the wireless experience.

Apple Screwed Again?

November 15, 2011

As a disclosure – I am an Apple shareholder and without a doubt understand the magic the brand and its devices have created. Furthermore, I know many Android users who are unhappy and looking to get rid of their smartphones for the latest iPhone.

Yesterday though I had a chance to use the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket and was blown away by the fact it had a dual core 1.5 GHz processor, 4G and a 4.5 inch Super AMOLED Plus display. It was gorgeous, light and the specs say it is fast.

Facebook Serious about HTML5

November 14, 2011

Those of you paying attention know Facebook is serious about HTML5 and the company is not a fan of having to get its app approved by another company such as Apple. But in a sign they are putting their money where their mouth is, the world's leading social networking company just purchased HTML5 innovator Strobe.

You may recall Strobe founder and CEO Charles Jolley was a keynote speaker at the last HTML5 event TMC hosted called DevCon5. The video below may jog your memory.



We are also thrilled that he will be keynoting the next DevCon5 in Santa Clara, Wednesday, Dev 7th, 2011 representing Faceboook. It will be worth the visit to see him.





I Use Google and You Siri are no Google Killer

November 14, 2011

I worry more it will kill the public’s interest in speech rec

I have been reading with great interest all of the back and forth chatter on the web regarding Apple’s Siri and its merit as a Google killer and as I read these articles I wonder if many of the people writing these stories have followed the speech technology space these past decades. In 2000, I ran a show called Communications Solutions and on stage I did a live demo of General Magic’s Portico calling it a killer app – the next big thing. It was incredible to me and it worked pretty similarly to Siri. Sure, Apple’s speech rec “wizard” Siri has enhanced functionality allowing you to do information searches but in a decade you would expect such advancements, right?

But one has to wonder why is Siri the Google killer and why now?

Will Call Center Gamification Increase Productivity?

November 11, 2011



Recently I had a chance to speak with Oscar Giraldo and Ariel Cordiviola Palaia the CPO of Arcaris regarding his company’s new contact center performance management software named PLAYCALL which “gamifies” performance allowing agents to see how their performance ranks among others at the company. By utilizing KPIs set by the company, a worker can see their progress or lack thereof and can react accordingly. The company says its system will reduce turnover and it even has a widget which agents can look at to see progress.

Agents can also communicate with their supervisor and receive awards based on achievement.



No Scoop For You

November 9, 2011

Is it Web 3.0 Time in the Valley?

November 9, 2011

While spending some time here in the Santa Clara Convention Center after Cloud Expo, I just can't but get the feeling the tech world is onto the next big thing. The Cloud Expo was full of activity, a ton of new startups, funding, deployments, revenue growth and all the other positives you would expect from a fast-growing market.

We even had a mini bubble burst that hasn't been discussed much and that is many of the cloud storage vendors have been wiped out - as a result of the fact that competing with Amazon head-to-head is not an easy task. Perhaps that is why there are a bunch of new cloud security startups who are tacking very complex tasks - something that is not commoditized and an area where significant value can be added and charged for.

But what put the icing on the cake as I sit here is a person who handed me a business card for his company RMS. This risk management company is hiring. In fact they have a food truck which they are sponsoring across the street from the convention center.



Arrived at RightScale User Conference 2011

November 9, 2011

Photos of Cloud Expo in Santa Clara

November 7, 2011

Why a Cloud Computing Magazine? Why Now?

November 4, 2011

I am very excited to be going to the Cloud Expo next week in Silicon Valley - it is always a great show and I have lots of video interviews set up. I have been to the last three east coast shows in New York - this is the first time I am going to the west coast for the event. Fuat Kircaali and his team have done a tremendous job over the years.

The following article is the first draft of my column in a new TMC publication which is timely and should be of interest to virtually everyone in tech.

Ineptocracy Definition

November 3, 2011

Some US Offices Being Closed by Mitel

November 3, 2011


I just got word that a number of US offices have been closed by Mitel. A source tells me 60 people were let go, 40 technicians and engineers and there are now only 16 branches in the US. I reached out to Mitel PR who wouldn't comment due to the quiet period so I did some digging and found a Mitel employee in a supervisory capacity who confirmed US offices were being closed but wouldn't specify how many.

Mitel has had challenges for a number of years and I won't go into what they are in this piece. If you are curious see my past pieces in order or pertinence, ShoreTel Filling the Nortel Void?, Mitel to Come Out Swinging, Will They Connect? and Mitel Business Partner Conference 2011 Live Blog.

What is worth mentioning is the new CEO Rich McBee has outlined a plan and part of it consists of aligning its channels.




Plantronics Headset Line Exudes UC Dominance

November 3, 2011

Recently I received a care package from Plantronics with a number of their headsets and other products and when I opened the box it served as a not so subtle reminder of just how dominant the company is. Back in 1982 when my company TMC (I am CEO) launched the first magazine in the call center space, Plantronics was one of the few companies in the market and almost 30 years later they have evolved into an organization delivering unified communications endpoints for virtually every segment of the market.

Blackwire C435

Cablevision Advertising Optimum WiFi in Browsers

November 3, 2011

Check out this powered by Optimum WiFi ad I just noticed for the first time today. I am posting from an iPad and there is a chance this photo will be rotated incorrectly as I am posting via email. Part of the reason for this BTW is that the BlogPress software which I typically use hasn't been approved for use on iOS5 as of yet. The company tells me they did submit to Apple some time back.

China App Market to Surpass US by 2013

November 2, 2011

Zooming iPhone Lens Impresses

November 1, 2011

Device convergence is nothing new but to really decrease the need to lug a digital and video camera beyond your phone you need an optical zooming lens to attach to your smartphone. Cue Photojojo, the company selling an 8x optical zoom lens which takes your iPhone to the next level. You slide a slim case onto the iPhone – either a 3, 4 or 4S and then you screw on the lens and you are done.

Apple to Become Mobile Payment Leader this Week?

November 1, 2011

According to MacRumors, we can expect Apple to soon evolve retail beyond what it’s already done with its leading edge and clean store designs. The next step for Cupertino is allowing customers to make purchases in-store via the company’s free iOS app. An email you receive will be proof of the transaction and can be shown to store employees so they know the purchase has been made. Another source says the functionality is on its way November 3rd and will only be available to iPhone 4 and 4S users.

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