Weekend’s Top 8 roundup – 21st Nov

Thanksgiving week here in the USA, we see record sales, US Navy suffers data breach, Scotland’s unicorn sold to China, Oracle buys a DNS company, Twitter laying off over 300 people, a battery that lasts for weeks from a charge in seconds, and how swearing can show your intelligence.

Thanksgiving week here in the USA, we see record sales, US Navy suffers data breach, Scotland’s unicorn sold to China, Oracle buys a DNS company, Twitter laying off over 300 people, a battery that lasts for weeks from a charge in seconds, and how swearing can show your intelligence.

  1. US Navy suffers data breach with 130,000 names out in the open
    2016-11-26_08h58_48Another data breach story to tell, however this one is a little more unique considering it is the military data of current and in-active personnel that was hacked, from a consultant at HP when their laptop was stolen.

    One has to naturally ask why an external consultant was hosting this data on their laptop in the first place?  That exhibits very poor development processes.  Shame on you HP.

  2. Scotland’s unicorn, Skyscanner, is sold to a Chinese company for £1.4B
    2016-11-26_09h04_03.pngA company based in Edinburgh founded in 2003 offering cheap deals on air travel and hotels sold to a Chinese company this week.  What is interesting about this story is that illustrates that ignoring China may be a mistake; they only opened an office there in 2012 and then acquired a Chinese rival.  A risky move at the time I am sure, but it has paid off now.

    Incidentally, speaking of unicorns, did you know that the unicorn is the official animal of Scotland?  I just made your next dinner party more interesting – thank you.

  3. Dyn, the DNS company, sells to Oracle for $600M
    2016-11-26_09h10_36.pngAnother healthy purchase, is that of the start-up come good, Dyn, who provide DNS resolution services for many of the big properties of the Internet.   Oracle has snapped them up to further cement their move into the cloud industry.  Dyn are a great company, so let us hope Oracle, doesn’t get all Oracle on them and leave them to do their thing.

    If the name Dyn sounds familiar then you are right, they were taken down as part of a massive DoS attack on the Internet a few weeks ago.

  4. An overzealous salesman offers cloud services to Amazon’s CTO
    2016-11-26_09h21_39This one is just one of those legendary tales that illustrates just how bad cold emailing from a list can be.  One salesman emailed Werner Vogels, the considered father of cloud computing, asking if Amazon had made the transition to the cloud yet.  Oops.

    Vogels shamed them on Twitter – which is a shame; I would have strung the sales guy on a little more to see at what point some research kicked in humility struck the poor guy.

  5. Twitter is planning on laying off 350 employees
    2016-11-26_09h33_08The media’s best loved channel is struggling despite record numbers of eyeballs on its product.  The problem is of course, turning those eyeballs into paying customers.  This week in their earnings call they said this move was a way to make the company more efficient.

    Some companies are just not intended to make money; Twitter is a feature, not a product, and should just be bought by a large media company and integrated.

  6. Battery that charges in seconds, but lasts for weeks?
    2016-11-26_09h37_03.pngThe news that researchers at the University of Central Florida have developed a supercapacitor that can last 20 times longer than the current battery technology has people dreaming of real cord-cutting!  Not only that, but it only takes a few seconds to bring it back to full charge.

    This is truly science fiction stuff and if they can pull this off and commercialize it they may have solved one of man’s biggest problems – how do I make my phone last a full day!?

  7. Black Friday is set to break all records; $1B purchased on smartphones alone
    2016-11-26_09h56_42This is Thanksgiving week in the USA, and that means only one thing, bargains galore!  This year retailers are saying their tills are ringing louder than before even though a lot of have purposely closed on Black Friday as a mark of anti-consumerism.

    What is interesting, more people are using their phones for grabbing bargains, with over $1B in sales originating from handsets.  I will confess to doing this – I was in BestBuy and bought the same LG headset on Amazon as I was standing with the box in my hand; $20 cheaper and same day delivery!

  8. People who swear are more intelligent, so science says
    2016-11-26_10h04_10You know how it goes, you drop the off ‘fuck’ and people think it’s a lack of vocabulary (though Billy Connolly famously said, he knows lots of words, but still prefers fuck).  Apparently researchers have found, that those that swear often actually have a higher number of words overall.  There you go!

    And if you need some help to add some colour into your language then let me help you with the excellent online FOAAS Fuck Off As A Service.  You’ll be firing them out in no time.

 

… and this week’s soundtrack is brought to you from the gentleman of American country, Tim McGraw.

Weekly Top 8 Tech Stories – 24th October

A big week in the world of tech where Google, Apple, Tesla and Microsoft had big product announcements and Amazon had its quarterly earnings report.

A big week in the world of tech where Google, Apple, Tesla and Microsoft had big product announcements and Amazon had its quarterly earnings report.

  1. Google redefines the whiteboard at $6,000
    Googlechrome_2016-10-29_18-33-16.png announced the Jamboard, a very rich interactive whiteboard that integrates deeply with their recently rebranded Google Suite (formerly Google Apps).  This puts it in direction competition with Microsoft’s Surface Hub 55″/80″ line.

    On this 55″ whiteboard, you can have ‘jams’ with your fellow colleagues, with a huge amount of interactivity bringing in content from all over.   Gone are the days of whiteboard inked hands and taking photos of creations.

  2. Microsoft announces its first ever desktop PC
    chrome_2016-10-29_18-39-39For a company that shaped the PC industry it is a little baffling they are only getting into creating their own desktop PC nearly 30 years since the desktop revolution began.  But the wait was worth it.

    In addition to their Surface laptops getting major updates, they introduced the Surface Studio, a $4,000 desktop that is not like anything we’ve ever seen, including a very cool input device, called the Surface Dial.  Move over Apple, there is a new cool kid in town now.

  3. Apple announces the new MacBook with the touch bar
    chrome_2016-10-29_18-45-37While Microsoft was putting its vision of the non-tablet world forward, Apple is trying to redefine the laptop with its latest MacBook, with the new interactive touch bar.

    Instead of the usual row of function keys, they have replaced it with a OLED touch bar, that will change context depending on the application you are in.  Function keys have become ingrained in our brains for various things.  First it was the 3.5mm audio jack, now the function keys – is nothing sacred?  Qwerty layout next?

  4. Tesla announces near on invisible solar roofs and a large power pack
    chrome_2016-10-29_18-52-55Ahead of the shareholder vote later in November about the Solar City deal, Elon Musk took to the stage to announce a new revolutionary solar panel for residential homes that is near on invisible to the naked eye – no more unsightly big silver boxes on the roof.

    In addition, he announced that Tesla have doubled the capacity of its Powerwall product while keeping the price at $5,000 and throwing in an inverter at the same time.  Running your house off-the-grid just got way more affordable and real.

  5. Twitter kills off the 6.5 second video service Vine; 300 people lose jobs
    chrome_2016-10-16_10-37-48Twitter is desperately trying to make money, but while it figures that out, it is killing off the Vine service it launched under 3 years ago.  As part of this cost restructuring 300 people will be losing their jobs.  With all the free media publicity Twitter gets, especially with this years US elections, they still can’t make money or find a buyer (though rumor has it that Disney maybe sniffing around again).

    Though not all may be lost, never wanting to miss an opportunity, the popular adult site, PornHub, has said they are willing to buy it from Twitter, because as they said it, “6 seconds is more than enough” – and they have the data to prove it!

  6. Slack may be in for some serious competition, with Microsoft Teams
    chrome_2016-10-22_10-56-16Microsoft is expected to release next week it’s version of Slack, called Microsoft Teams.  There was a desire internally to buy Slack for $8B but Bill and Satya weren’t for having it.

    Microsoft have been here before, when they bought Yammer in 2012 – the Facebook for business as it was billed.  The leaked photos of Team looks suspiciously close to an updated Yammer. Slack has found a lot of love with its users, so it will be interesting to see if teams are willing to move away.  Pricing could be the key.

  7. Amazon releases weaker profits, stock takes a dive
    chrome_2016-09-24_05-16-50As part of its quarterly report, Amazon announced its profits weren’t as strong as they had hoped, but still profitable, 6 quarters in a row.  However that isn’t enough to appease the stock market who punished the stock by taking nearly $70 off its share price.

    Amazon for so long operated at a loss and now it is profitable it doesn’t seem to be enough for some, who had pegged the stock to break the infamous $1,000 stock price.  AWS was up 55% year-on-year, showing that their grip on the cloud market is showing no signs of letting it up.

  8. Need some sleep on the move?  The OstrichPillow may be what you need
    chrome_2016-10-29_19-17-23.pngWe’ve all been there, schedules get pushed around and before you know it, you are grasping for some sleep whenever you can.   Except you can’t just get comfortable.  Anyone of my fellow air warriors will know the pain of trying to sleep on a cramped plane.

    One company, Studio Banana Creations, may have the solution for us, with their new flexible pillow that transforms from a discrete scarf into something that is well, not discrete.

 

… and this week’s soundtrack was brought courtesy of Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats.  I particularly love his ‘I need never get old’ track.  Excellent album check it out.

Weekly Top 8 Tech Stories – 10th October

This weeks top tech stories for the week of the 10th Oct. Amazon, SalesForce, Netflix, Twitter, Samsung, AOL

Another week in the world of tech and here are the stories that caught my attention on this week starting 10th October 2016.

  1. Samsung pull the plug on its flagship Note 7
    chrome_2016-10-08_07-28-02After all of its woes, and for the first time a manufacturer has done such a step, Samsung have finally stopped making and shipping the Note 7.  Too many flames in that smoke.  This whole incident will cost the company $5B in real money and likely a more in customer goodwill and brand damage.   It is a complete nightmare.

    After recalls and units still bursting into flames, the Department of Transport officially ban people from flying with the phone, there is no recovery from this, so Samsung are looking to S8 due out in the 1st quarter of 2017.   You can be rest assured the likes of Apple, Google, HTC and LG are looking into the quality of their supply chain.

  2. Twitter is the house on the block no one wants to buy
    chrome_2016-10-16_10-37-48The last few weeks had a lot of buzz around the potential buy-out of Twitter by the likes of SalesForce, Google or even Disney.  However, all parties have had a deep look at the in’s and out’s and opted to walk away, citing they aren’t the right fit.

    This is seriously bad news for Twitter, because if those big players are out of the picture, who else is left that thinks they can monetize this medium that fits between the cracks of social media.  Stock price depressed upon this news.

  3. Yahoo fighting for survival on a number of fronts
    chrome_2016-10-08_07-32-32Yahoo is trying to close the sale to Verizon, however Verizon are now looking to walk away from the deal due to the huge data security breach of its user base. If that isn’t enough, those people still using @yahoo.com email accounts, discovered this week that Yahoo pulled the feature to auto-forward emails.   This effectively is locking people into Yahoo and not making it easy for them to migrate off.  As you can appreciate this is infuriating its user base.  Yahoo put it back in again at the end of the week, but its excuse was awfully flimsy to why it pulled the feature in the first place.

    Marissa Mayer looks to be blundering here at the very time Yahoo needs a strong and determined CEO.   She can still save this so the next couple of weeks is going to be crucial.

  4. Germany votes to ride the combustion engine by 2030
    chrome_2016-10-16_10-51-37The home of the automobile (BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Porsche) have voted to stop manufacturing and selling traditional gas powered engines by 2030.  A bold step but their hopes is to speed up the innovation around alternative fuels.  Tesla has already set the bar very high as to what electric cars can do, and Mercedes has declared they will over take Tesla’s innovation in 10 years time.

    The reality here is that they looking to have zero-emission engines.  Be interesting to see if other countries will follow suit here, but one upside is that we are going into a phase of extremely clean air in our cities.

  5. Amazon calls bullshit on Oracle’s cloud claims
    chrome_2016-09-24_05-16-50Oracle has never been shy about its boasts on its own technology.  Do you remember the whole ‘Unbreakable Linux’ claim 15 years ago, until it was proven it was indeed breakable?   Well Larry Ellison is at it again, claiming that Amazon is 20 years behind Oracle’s cloud and up to 24 times slower.   Oh dear.

    Well Amazon, who usually do not dignify such claims by getting involved, fired back at Larry.   Oracle is desperately trying to be relevant in the cloud space and the reality is that they are the ones that are years too late with too little services too late.  Gartner noted that Amazon is 10x bigger than its next 14 competitors combined.  There is a reason for this – it works and works very well.

  6. Morgan Stanley updates its yearly 30 top stocks to look for
    Morgan Stanley released the top stocks that they believe will do best when should the economy slow down a little.  We have Amazon, Google, Netflix, Facebook in there from the world of big tech.
  7. Netflix will offer offline viewing by year end
    chrome_2016-10-16_11-16-04Speaking of Netflix, it looks like that they can’t dodge the disconnected offline world we live in and are going to finally allow its content to be downloaded to be viewed later.  Applaud Netflix for listening to its paying customers.

    This could actually lessen the bandwidth load as people can download quicker in short bursts and then enjoy the content at their leisure in the air for the example.

  8. The history of the AOL CD
    This week, we seen the head of sales leave AOL, reminding us all that AOL still exists (part of Verizon if you recall).  You have to wonder just how hard a job that is, when you have a brand that people associate most with is dial-up internet access and their infamous CD ROM.

    Mental Floss published a fascinating look back at the history of the CD ROM this week.

 

and finally, this week’s audible distraction was provided by Nate Ruess and his, Grand Romantic album released last summer.

 

Buffer – Customer Service Award

Buffer.com go over and above to deliver an excellent customer service even for a free user.

I just wanted to call out the good people at Buffer for excellent customer service and not necessarily chasing the dollar.  Buffer is an great add-on for Twitter (though other social media platforms are available too) for optimizing your posting on Twitter.  It figures out when the optimal time for tweeting is for you and your readers and then posts your tweets on that schedule.

The service comes in free and professional.  When signing up you get professional, then after 14 days it reverts to free.  No problems.  The professional version is $100 a year, which to be honest, I am not that big a tweeter that I can really justify that extra cost.  I don’t get any more features that I would use.  So the free platform is fine for me.

However, they will nag you to keep signing up for the professional version.  It was fine for the first few times, but it really started to get obnoxious and started to leave a bad taste in my mouth for Buffer.  After a week of this, I lost it, and emailed their support to say, great service, but the nagging, please stop!   The reply I got back made my day.

Hey there, Alan,

I’m so sorry for the headache we created there with our popup. I can totally see how inconvenient that would be an I apologize for the hassle we created there. I’ve removed the pesky pop-up for you so it shouldn’t bother you when you log into Buffer.

Apologies again for giving you such a poor experience. We’d love to give you a better one going forward, so please let us know if we can help with anything else that comes up as you go!

Warmly,
Kelly

Kudos to Buffer.  They didn’t have to do that, I am after all a free loader on their service.  I may upgrade at a later date if I find myself needing more.  Who knows.

At least though I am still in the game with them and got a good taste in my mouth.

ps if you are not using Buffer and tweet a lot, then I highly recommend their mobile app; makes retweeting and sharing links a breeze and all queued up to go off at the optimal time.