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April 2012

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Does the New York Times Have it in for Apple?

April 30, 2012

In my career I have never seen so many attacks on a single company coming from the same source. A while back the New York Times “broke” a story that Chinese workers assembling iDevices and working for Hon Hai/Foxconn in China aren’t treated as well as workers in the US. And this actually became “news.” Does anyone think anything manufactured in China is made with workplace conditions similar to the US or many parts of Europe?

Moreover, where were the high and mighty journalists when Foxconn was making products for pretty much every other consumer electronics company of size?

Are You Ready for the Identity Economy?

April 28, 2012

With Facebook’s value being pegged around 100 billion dollars; it is easy to see why many are calling identity the new oil of the internet. And one company, UnboundID is looking to become the leader in this bold new frontier which they call the identity economy. By allowing companies to buy, sell, trade and leverage customer information the company allows their customers to combine this information with others in order to add value to themselves as well as end users.

An example of this concept in action is logging into a site using Twitter or Facebook – end-users hate to answer questions online and indeed many will abandon a site which makes queries which take their time.

Optimum Live TV App now on PC

April 26, 2012

Update: the Optimum app for Android does not allow live TV viewing but allows you to manage your DVR and check TV listings. The company says this functionality "is coming." Moreover - the app will only work on laptops - not PCs with external monitors. Is it too late to ask for a do over on this post?

Having been on Android and iOS for quite some time (see my review from last April), Cablevision's Optimum TV viewers can now also watch TV on their PCs, Macs and laptops. This could be important to power users who have tricked out monitors of 24" or perhaps even greater.

Is Skype Microsoft's Only Chance for Mobile Success?

April 26, 2012

If you are looking for increased competition in the mobile space, Apple’s recent and seemingly constant record earnings are bad news. Worse yet for the competition, Apple has transcended its original position of a computer and electronics maker to become a major force in the publicly traded markets and even the US economy. Its phones are status symbols the world over and its tablet is so far ahead of the rest of the market the company can charge hundreds more and consumers will pay for these products with a smile.

So news of Microsoft losing share to in the mobile space should hardly be considered news.

HP: 50% of Organizations Use Non-IT Sanctioned Clouds

April 24, 2012

For traditional hardware vendors who have strong relationships with information technology departments, the idea that cloud computing, one of the hottest trends to ever hit the technology space is being purchased without the consent or guidance of IT is quite scary. If you’ve been selling servers to a company for decades and all of a sudden the employees within that organization start to buy their own resources, effectively sidestepping an established relationship, you can rapidly see yourself disintermediated.

In fact, 50% of organizations use non-IT sanctioned clouds according to research sanctioned by HP. Moreover the company found 18% of companies were unsure if their users were using cloud computing services without the knowledge of IT.

Microsoft Working on Skype Everywhere Initiative

April 20, 2012

The fact that Microsoft would want to integrate Skype everywhere shouldn't be too surprising, Office/Lync and Windows Phone are obvious areas and so is Xbox. That's why news of the company looking for engineers who can delve into the hybrid world of video games and IP communications shouldn't be too surprising.

When Microsoft integrates Skype into Xbox and bundles some free calling into the solution, what's to stop them from offering a DECT phone as well? With retail prices of DECT 6.0 phones starting at less than $20, the idea makes more and more sense.

Sure, you can use a cordless/wireless phone with Skype today but if Microsoft integrates it all seamlessly and video is added for free, what happens to the business models of Ooma, netTALK and magicJack?

And what about the cable companies, AT&T and Verizon? Sure, a Skype home phone calling solution will be inferior as it doesn't allow emergency calling due to a lack of E-911 support but still, if it is part of a bundle and has HD voice support, why pay for phone company or cable calling? Especially if it has video as well and other great Skype calling features, presence, etc.

Additionally, a benefit of the Skype purchase will be potentially becoming the phone provider for hundreds of millions of consumers.







Determining if There is a Spectrum Shortage

April 19, 2012

Those of us who have been in the wireless space for years take for granted that there is a spectrum shortage but the New York Times had a compelling story discussing how spectrum sharing and smart antennas will help alleviate the problem. They even have a quote from David P. Reed saying that radio frequencies are not finite.

TMC's Peter Bernstein disagrees with this last point and has some interesting thoughts on the matter worth reading.

To me the debate is fascinating and is similar to arguing if we have run out of space on the island of Manhattan. On the one hand it has been built up to capacity except perhaps a few parks and other areas. But on the other hand, we can continue to purchase, knock down and build taller buildings to add more capacity.

But if New York land was spectrum, whenever a taller building is constructed, some of the units would be forced to go to competing landlords.





NCSA Helps Business Harness HPC Investments

April 18, 2012

How to create a digital supply chain to drastically improve manufacturing productivity

At the recent Moabcon 2012 conference in Salt Lake City, UT I had a chance to meet with many of the people in government, universities and private industry who run the most powerful computers in the world. The high performance computing or HPC space is doing quite well for a number of reasons including the need to process big data applications as well the fact that many universities are flush with cash and continue to see value in purchasing these super-powerful computers. The reason the universities have such large budgets for HPC has to do with the government providing virtually limitless student loans which in-turn has caused tuitions to skyrocket as well as more direct government stimulus funding.

One organization looking to take this massive computing potential and harness it to help boost the US and global economy is NCSA or National Center for Supercomputing Applications.

Google Co-Founder Complains About Facebook, Apple and Splinternet

April 17, 2012

Google co-founder Sergey Brin recently explained that if the web was dominated by Apple and Facebook, his company wouldn’t have access to enough information to start its search engine. The idea is that the restrictive policies of Facebook make crawling its pages challenging if not impossible while Apple’s iPod, iPhone and iPad apps are generally not searchable.

He further explained the challenge to the internet from governments like Saudi Arabia, China, Iran and even the US where internet access is either limited or threatened to be limited very soon via regulation which is the case with proposed legislation like Sopa and Pipa.

In January of 2008 I discussed the rise of the splinternet – or a splintering of the homogenous internet we once were accustomed to using.

Is the Post-PC Era a Myth?

April 16, 2012

The way one should interpret the term "Post-PC" is "after PC" - implying that the world has changed from era to the next. Sarah Perez at TechCrunch does an admirable job of laying the case for what she calls the Post-PC era or alternatively - "PCs Everywhere" which I agree isn't quite as catchy.

In her article she discusses how Apple sold 37M iPhones in Q4, 15% of the official PC market is made up of tablets (mostly iPads) and Apple is now the leading "PC" vendor. Moreover smartphone shipments last year hit 487.7M while PC shipments hit 414.6M and the smartphone growth rate is 63% versus 15% for PCs.

So one would imagine once again that the phrase "Post-PC" means that there aren't going to be more PCs sold.

Gary Kim writes on IP Carrier that while global tablet sales are growing at 98% YoY for 2012, the PC market is expected to increase 4.4% and will increase to 10% in 2013.

The catch is - and there is always a catch, that most of these sales will be in emerging markets and will be for more portable computers - laptops, ultrabooks, etc. Kim makes the argument however that tablets may be 42% of total PC sales by 2016 - a staggering percentage.

The trend is clear however that portability and style trump virtually everything else when it comes to the tech space.









CEO Spaces and Channel Partners

April 10, 2012

I recently visited Las Vegas and spent time at the CEO Spaces event and Channel Partners. Both events were well attended - CEO Spaces is a great show for networking and education - it really can help execs take their company to the next level. Channel Partners had a lot of energy - lots of cloud talk and optimism.

I even got a chance to hike while there - Red Spring is an exhilarating experience and lets you see the healthy side of Vegas. I haven't been there in about ten years and it seems like they built another 20,000 houses near the mountain during that time.

Enjoy the video from the top - you can see my car about 8 seconds in - and slide show:













Moabcon 2012 Live Blog

April 10, 2012

Robert Clyde CEO of Adaptive Computing - the HPC and cloud computing company is about to take the stage and begin his keynote session. The conference is located at the Hyatt Escala Resort in Park City, Utah.



History of the company - lots of firsts:

1996: Predictive & backfill scheduling
2001: Integrated accounting
2006: Dynamic provisioning
2008: QoS Management
2008: Petaflop scale
2011: 1M+ jobs

The company is a leader in both HPC and cloud computing and both share a similar code base while the fact that they are involved in cloud does not mean they are deemphasizing HPC in any way.

The company is very technical - he is a past CTO and programmer - even the marketing team is filled with tech people. They have 16 patents and 30 pending - he believes this is greater than other companies their size. There is a huge focus on R&D.

Backed by top tier investors such as Intel Capital, Epic Ventures & Tudor Ventures and partners consists of HP, Penguin, Cray, NICE, Bright Computing, IBM, SGI.

We have 200+ customers and focus on large scale projects.

We power 40% of the top ten systems and 33% of the top 100 by cores.




















US Database of Stolen Cellphones to be Established

April 9, 2012

Today is a bad day for thieves, very bad. You see, electronics are the number one item stolen – even more so than cash and finally the US will be implementing a system to ensure stolen cell phones no longer work on US cellular networks. In December of 2009 I wrote about how eBay has become the world’s largest pawn shop of stolen goods and in fact gave an example to a person in the UK who tracked down $10,000 worth of stolen goods, taken from him on eBay – and was able to recover them.

As a result, in the post titled Tech Lubricates Theft, Can it do so For Law Enforcement? I proposed a central database where devices get unique identification numbers and are subsequently linked to consumers.

The Adaptive Computing Ace Band

April 9, 2012

At Utah Olympic Park

April 9, 2012

Facebook Buys Mobile Photo Sharing Site Instagram

April 9, 2012

Even before its IPO, Facebook has decided to make a major acquisition with millions of users for a billion dollars of cash and stock. Mark Zuckerberg mentioned on his Facebook timeline that this acquisition of Instagram is the largest they have ever done and may be the last of this size.
Moreover, that Facebook will leave Instagram as a standalone company insomuch that you will be able to use Instagram without sharing on Facebook if you so choose.
The move was a very smart one as Instagram could eventually be a threat to the company's core business. Furthermore it allows the social networking giant to gain even greater access to the mobile market - the fastest growing segment of just about every tech business. And even more importantly is the cover the company has in the form of Google+ allowing it to gobble up marketshare without regard for antitrust concerns.
Reminds me of Oracle putting together a major software company with major marketshare using the cover of Microsoft competition.
Will Pinterest be next?



At Moabcon 2012

April 8, 2012

Scientists Working on Device Which Travels Through Bloodstream

April 6, 2012

Scientists are working on a device of just 3mmx4mm with an antenna of 2mm in order to allow better diagnostics in the human bloodstream. Imagine how this sort of technology could revolutionize the science of heart disease, allowing the average person to get a good idea of how much plaque they have in their arteries, etc.

The device is too large to fit in veins for now but the scientists are hoping to shrink the device even more.

Instead of relying on an internal battery the device uses radio frequencies similar to the technology used to activate RFID circuits allowing people access to corporate offices without a physical key or giving them the opportunity to speed through tolls without having to reach into their pockets to get change.

The good news is this is the sort of technology could revolutionize medicine, extend lives, keep us healthy and generate many thousands of jobs if not more. Its conceivable the check-up of the future will rely on many such devices and this seems like a very promising field.



















A Contrarian View on The Apple/Foxconn Labor Situation

April 5, 2012

A few weeks back when the New York Times wrote a story regarding workers making iPhones and other devices in China who aren’t being treated very well, I wondered, this is a story? In other words, is there a person on the planet who doesn’t know that working conditions in China are far worse than they are in the US?

And I absolutely respect the right of the New York Times to run such a story – I just think it shows a broader agenda of being anti-capitalist, and anti-business. After all, we in the US have been buying Chinese products made by people in poor working conditions for decades.

The Need for More Fiber is Very Real

April 3, 2012

As the mobile revolution has grown, the one constant has been the need for faster connections and/or fiber to cell towers. For years TMC has interviewed Hunter Newby and Jason Cohen of Allied Fiber about the need for fiber throughout the US. Their company is building a network of ducted fiber through a wide swath of the US and is selling it unlit meaning that whoever decides to purchase the fiber has the rights to improve the equipment on the fiber allowing for faster interconnections as technology improves.

TMC’s Paula Bernier Interviews Jason Cohen of Allied Fiber

Goodbye Android, we hardly Knew You

April 2, 2012

New research is showing that Android has some real problems. Obviously Google knows this and it’s part of the reason they purchased Motorola and as Henry Blodget points out are opening an online tablet store. David Beckemeyer too weighs in with a chart showing just how dominant Apple is becoming.

But before we get into that I was at my accountant last week and while he was crunching numbers I decided to tell my wife it was time to get my oldest daughter a refurbished laptop because her netbook takes longer to boot than the time it takes for us to assemble all the documents for the IRS.

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