Tag Archives: Net Neutrality

News You Can Use: 2/7/2018

  • Child development experts want Facebook to pull its Messenger Kids app

    The experts have written an open letter urging Facebook to pull the child-focused messenger app, saying that “younger children are simply not ready to have social media accounts,” reports the Guardian. The letter was spearheaded by the Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood and signed by over 100 child health experts, doctors, and educators. In it, the signatories argue: “At a time when there is mounting concern about how social media use affects adolescents’ well-being, it is particularly irresponsible to encourage children as young as pre-schoolers to start using a Facebook product.” The Messenger Kids app was launched in December and aimed at children under 13. It offers a host of parental controls, and Facebook says the data collected from the app will not be used for advertising purposes. Facebook has not yet responded to the open letter.

    https://www.fastcompany.com/40523795/child-development-experts-want-facebook-to-pull-its-messenger-kids-app

  • Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey’s DX dive into virtual medicine

    Blackwell and his team started rolling out the first phase of Horizon’s digital transformation strategy last year by launching pilot web and mobile services that improve the member experience and make it easier for participants to understand their benefits. These services detail which doctors are available, explain how much services will cost, and let a patient schedule a visit.

    The Phase 1 rollout lets individuals take a more active role in the administrative nuances of medical care, which really isn’t anything new. In fact, it is quickly becoming virtual business as usual for users who routinely use their smartphones or mobile devices to order pizzas, groceries, or a ride across town and prefer the same “tap and swipe” convenience for medical services.

    During the first phase, Horizon also adopted a full agile development and methodology, which included assigning a product owner for the digital platform —something the hospital IT department never did before. The insurance provider also revamped the physical space for the digital team, creating an open environment with no walls or barriers.

    https://www.cio.com/article/3251724/digital-transformation/horizon-blue-cross-blue-shield-of-new-jerseys-dx-dive-into-virtual-medicine.html

  • Whopper Neutrality

    This Burger King Net Neutrality video is an amazing way to help people understand Net Neutrality. Well done BK!
  • How To Learn To Love Mondays Again

    If you chronically dread Mondays, explore where those feelings come from, says Nicole Lewis-Keeber, a psychotherapist and coach based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. “I don’t know about you, but I’ve robbed half on my Sunday or more in the corporate world or as an entrepreneur already worrying about what’s going to happen for the week,” she says.

    Lewis-Keeber recommends looking at the reasons why you’re dreading Monday. Is there a project that’s troubling you? Are you struggling in your job or having issues with an individual? Once you name the source of your bad feelings about heading back to work at the end of the weekend, you can begin to reframe it or take action to resolve it.

    https://www.fastcompany.com/40521664/how-to-learn-to-love-mondays-again

  • This Is What It’s Like To Not Own A Smartphone In 2018

    But it’s more than just addiction and information overload. In the rush to adopt and upgrade devices, we’ve collectively given up a lot–our privacy and data chief among them. Consider this recent video highlighting an average smartphone user whose GPS coordinates were shared with third parties 3,545 times over the course of a single week, based on permissions she gave in those user agreements no one reads.

    https://www.fastcompany.com/40522828/this-is-what-its-like-to-not-own-a-smartphone-in-2018

Photo: KT

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News You Can Use: 1/24/2018

  • It’s time for Washington to start working on artificial intelligence

    Visitors to the Capitol today wouldn’t expect to see cutting edge experiments taking place inside the building and sadly, they probably don’t have much faith that Congress is even thinking about the future at all. This shows up in the rhetoric and it shows up in our budgets. Washington spends way too much time re-litigating the past — witness how much time has been devoted to debating old trade deals, the 2010 Affordable Care Act or the 1980s Reagan tax cuts — and has increasingly budgeted and legislated in a backwards looking way.

    Instead of embracing the trends of the future and empowering our citizens, too many policymakers would rather roll back the clock. According to data collected by the Brookings Institute, federal investment in research and development has declined significantly in recent decades, falling from 2.23% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the 1960s to just 0.77% in 2016 (GDP). Think about that, across the same decades when we saw a globally-connected high-tech economy emerge, we dramatically scaled back investment in R&D.

    https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/17/its-time-for-washington-to-start-working-on-artificial-intelligence/?ncid=rss

  • Gartner: AI and B2B marketplaces will dominate procurement

    Amazon’s Web Services are its main driver of revenue for the e-commerce giant, so as more procurement officers leave outdated software behind and switch over to more streamlined and efficient options, the result will be tighter competition for other software providers, cloud services, retailers and third-party sellers.

    Furthermore, as procurement departments let go of old software systems and embrace AI-run systems, virtual assistants and chatbots, procurement departments will begin to streamline and automate purchases, there will be a shift in labor and talent demand for those roles.

    https://www.supplychaindive.com/news/gartner-trends-2018-AI-b2b-marketplaces-chatbot/514389/

  • How to Win with Game Theory & Defeat Smart Opponents
  • 5 Habits For Staying Productive In The Dreariest Months Of The Year

    2. FEEL GRATEFUL FOR SOMETHING EVERY DAY
    The holiday season can feel like a giant, blinking neon sign telling you to practice gratitude and cherish those around you. But without the sugary-sweet commercials and Netflix holiday rom-coms as reminders, it’s easy to fall back into your day-to-day routines, forgetting to notice the everyday magic around you.

    A daily gratitude habit is strongly correlated with increased happiness and overall well-being, not to mention with strengthening your relationships. For the next month or two, give it a shot. You can go as a big as writing in a physical gratitude journal once a day, or as small as remembering to reflect on a good moment before you go to bed tonight.

    https://www.fastcompany.com/40515213/5-habits-for-staying-productive-in-the-dreariest-months-of-the-year

  • With all 49 Democrats on board, Senate leaders sound off on plan to restore net neutrality

    Forcing a vote means everyone in the Senate has to officially weigh in on this issue, and that makes it a very simple matter, come election season, to say whether they support net neutrality or not. Sure, they can blow smoke and attempt to obfuscate the issue, but ultimately people understand that the new rule vastly reduces the protections they have, and to support it is to support that reduction. It’s not going to be a popular decision.

    If it gets into the House, the same thing happens there — so that’s a good reason to root for its success in the Senate, even if it doesn’t really get it any closer to becoming law.

    https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/16/with-all-49-democrats-on-board-senate-leaders-sound-off-on-plan-to-restore-net-neutrality/?ncid=rss

Photo: Thought Catalog

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News You Can Use: 12/27/2017

  • Former Facebook exec says social media is ripping apart society

    Palihapitiya’s criticisms were aimed not only at Facebook, but the wider online ecosystem. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” he said, referring to online interactions driven by “hearts, likes, thumbs-up.” “No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem — this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.”

    He went on to describe an incident in India where hoax messages about kidnappings shared on WhatsApp led to the lynching of seven innocent people. “That’s what we’re dealing with,” said Palihapitiya. “And imagine taking that to the extreme, where bad actors can now manipulate large swathes of people to do anything you want. It’s just a really, really bad state of affairs.” He says he tries to use Facebook as little as possible, and that his children “aren’t allowed to use that shit.” He later adds, though, that he believes the company “overwhelmingly does good in the world.”

    https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/11/16761016/former-facebook-exec-ripping-apart-society

  • The Services Procurement Machine is Broken — Here’s Why You Should Trade it in for a New Approach

    Engagements measured on cost and milestones alone fail to secure the best value for the business, as quality and innovation are often the first casualties to such an approach. What’s more, the structure of the machine has forced procurement to accept increased supplier rationalization and a narrow preference for larger services providers. Stuck working with big, “safe” firms, businesses have lost access to the high-performing talent and innovative solutions smaller firms can offer.

    But let’s not get all touchy-feely here: no gently swung process automation hammer is going to shatter an old system. What’s needed to creating lasting improvement is a root cause analysis of why the machine broke in the first place.

    Also:

    Second, the machine’s focus on cost and risk avoidance has led to increased supplier rationalization. This can be great for MRO, but the same strategy for safety supplies or lightbulbs is not necessarily the right one to tap specialized creative or strategic talent. The result is small and medium-sized suppliers that have the expertise and connections to drive greater success on a localized basis in a global world end up getting locked out of the process.

    http://spendmatters.com/2017/12/04/services-procurement-machine-broken-heres-trade-new-approach/

  • How Will the Web Look Without Net Neutrality? We Travel Into the Future to Find Out

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-will-the-web-look-like-without-net-neutrality-we-travel-into-the-future-to-find-out-1513369387
  • How A Flexible Work Culture Works For Everyone

    Reduce the barriers to attracting top talent: Work-life balance ranks as the number one career goal for all three major generations — baby boomers, Generation X and millennials — according to our research with Intel. Offering flexible work arrangements can help remove geographical barriers, ensuring that you can hire and retain the best candidates, regardless of location or other barriers. (I recently wrote more on generational workplace values.)

    Benefit the planet: Flexible work practices also help businesses to conserve natural resources and energy. With fewer people in the office and on the road, you’re helping reduce transportation-related pollution and can maximize office space usage. An internal Dell study in 2015 revealed that its Connected Workplace program in the United States alone helped reduce an estimate 25 million kWh of energy. Gallup data suggests that the U.S. workforce avoids 2.7 billion round-trips per year by telecommuting — a reduction of 30 million metric tons CO2e per year.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeshumanresourcescouncil/2017/12/08/how-a-flexible-work-culture-works-for-everyone/#201ae4373b7f

  • Estonia, the Digital Republic

    Today, citizens can vote from their laptops and challenge parking tickets from home. They do so through the “once only” policy, which dictates that no single piece of information should be entered twice. Instead of having to “prepare” a loan application, applicants have their data—income, debt, savings—pulled from elsewhere in the system. There’s nothing to fill out in doctors’ waiting rooms, because physicians can access their patients’ medical histories. Estonia’s system is keyed to a chip-I.D. card that reduces typically onerous, integrative processes—such as doing taxes—to quick work. “If a couple in love would like to marry, they still have to visit the government location and express their will,” Andrus Kaarelson, a director at the Estonian Information Systems Authority, says. But, apart from transfers of physical property, such as buying a house, all bureaucratic processes can be done online.

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/12/18/estonia-the-digital-republic

Photo: Jaanus Jagomägi

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Supplier Report: 12/15/2017

It was a bad week. 

Net Neutrality was repealed, GE is cutting 12,000 jobs, Microsoft is reportedly underpaying women and hurting their careers, IBM is looking to eliminate more jobs, and the Amazon boon in Seattle is finally slowing down.

At least Google is slashing their machine learning prices…

Acquisitions

  • Apple is acquiring music recognition app Shazam

    One source describes the deal as in the nine figures; another puts it at around £300 million ($401 million). We are still asking around. Notably, though, the numbers we’ve heard are lower than the $1.02 billion (according to PitchBook) post-money valuation the company had in its last funding round, in 2015.

    In all, Shazam has raised $143.5 million from investors that include Kleiner Perkins, London’s DN Capital, IVP and strategic investors Sony Music, Universal Music and Access Industries (which owns Warner Music). Kleiner Perkins also invested in competitor SoundHound.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/08/sources-apple-is-acquiring-music-recognition-app-shazam/?ncid=rss

  • Coupa Acquires Simeno to Augment Catalog Search and Management Capabilities

    Coupa has acquired procure-to-pay (P2P) provider Simeno, extending the platform’s marketplace strategy to provide deeper and pre-integrated supplier connections and opening key markets to support continued expansion.

    Financial terms of the transaction were not immediately disclosed, though Spend Matters estimates that buying Simeno will be accretive to Coupa, based on the various metrics by which investors measure the firm today.

    http://spendmatters.com/2017/12/11/coupa-acquires-simeno-augment-catalog-search-management-capability/

  • Google, Microsoft concerned that a Broadcom acquisition of Qualcomm will benefit Apple

    Google and Microsoft are concerned about the long shadow that Apple is casting across the deal. Apple and Qualcomm are enmeshed in a number of lawsuits and the relationship between the two is so bad that Apple is said to be looking elsewhere for a new supplier of modem chips for 2018 CDMA iPhone models. Currently, Intel modem chips are used inside GSM variants of the iPhone, and that will probably remain the case next year.

    Microsoft has started to compete with the Apple iPad by producing a series of hybrid tablet/laptops that are the first Windows 10 PCs to be powered by Qualcomm chips. Google has plenty of skin in this game with the majority of Android phone manufacturers using Qualcomm chips as well. The pair are afraid that if Broadcom buys Qualcomm, the newly merged company would favor Apple over their interests. For example, Broadcom Chief Executive Hock Tan has reportedly said that he is optimistic about settling the multiple lawsuits with Apple if his company buys Qualcomm. And with Broadcom’s reputation as a cost cutter, Microsoft and Google fear that a merger will sharply curtail innovation in the industry.

    https://www.phonearena.com/news/Google-Microsoft-concerned-that-a-Broadcom-acquisition-of-Qualcomm-will-benefit-Apple_id100598

Artificial Intelligence

  • Microsoft starts own ‘AI University’ to address skills shortage

    “We try to work with them [universities] to fuel that talent pipeline,” said Bishop. “So for example we’re a major sponsor of a masters programme at Cambridge University.”

    Microsoft currently funds around 200 PhD scholarships at Cambridge University, significantly more than other companies like Google.

    “One of the things we’re trying to avoid doing is simply going into a university, hoovering up all the top professors and then just leaving tumbleweed blowing down the corridors,” he said.

    “That might be a short term fix for some companies but I don’t think it serves even the industry itself very well, let alone academia or the nation, to take that rather short term view.”

    https://mspoweruser.com/microsoft-starts-ai-university-to-address-skills-shortage/

  • Accenture’s Advice on Using AI to Succeed in the “New Business Process Era”

    There are three things to consider here. First: transformation takes time. Companies need to collect the relevant data, develop the necessary systems, and build the underpinning analytics and AI. Second: digital procurement requires investment. Fortunately, digital procurement capabilities are increasingly available as a service, which could reduce upfront investments and accelerate transformation. Finally: transformation takes vision. This is big departure from how procurement has traditionally operated. Companies need to have an internal champion who can define what the future procurement organization will look like and how the company can make it a reality.

    http://www.scmr.com/article/accentures_advice_on_using_ai_to_succeed_in_the_new_business_process_era

  • Google slashes prices for its machine learning service as AWS steps up competition

    The company has introduced massive price reductions for its Cloud Machine Learning Engine managed services. For example, customers using basic-tier compute for training a machine learning system will pay 43 percent less than they did earlier this year. Google also offered customers more clarity on what they’ll be paying for those jobs.

    Information of the price reductions was first included in a blog post that appeared briefly yesterday on Google’s website, then vanished. A representative for the company declined to comment further on the news when reached for comment.

    https://venturebeat.com/2017/12/12/google-slashes-prices-for-its-machine-learning-service-as-aws-steps-up-competition/

Cloud

  • AWS just opened another cloud computing region in China

    AWS said its China (Ningxia) Region, operated by Ningxia Western Cloud Data Technology (NWCD), is now up and running and provides customers another option to run applications and store data on AWS in China.

    Whereas in most of the world AWS owns and operates its own cloud infrastructure, in China the situation is more complicated. Chinese law forbids non-Chinese companies from owning or operating cloud computing infrastructure.

    To comply with China’s legal and regulatory requirements, AWS has formed a strategic technology collaboration with NWCD to operate and provide services from the AWS China (Ningxia) Region.

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/aws-just-opened-another-cloud-computing-region-in-china/

  • Google, Looking to Tiptoe Back Into China, Announces A.I. Center

    On Wednesday, it unveiled a small but symbolically significant move toward that end: a China-based center devoted to artificial intelligence. The move nods to the country’s growing strength in A.I., thanks to substantial government funding prompted by Beijing’s ambition of having a say in the technologies of the future.

    Google said the center would have a team of experts in Beijing, where the company has hundreds of employees in research and development, as well as other roles. The center will be led by Fei-Fei Li, who runs Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Lab and leads the artificial intelligence arm of Google’s Cloud business, and Jia Li, the head of research and development for the A.I. division of Google Cloud.

    The Silicon Valley company, which announced the center’s opening at a software developer conference in Shanghai, cited China’s growing academic and technical contributions to the A.I. field, and said the new center would be “working closely with the vibrant Chinese A.I. research community.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/13/business/google-ai-china.html

Security

  • Kaspersky Lab is closing its Washington, DC office

    Kaspersky Lab Inc. has had a rough time with the US government this year and now Bloomberg reports that the company will be closing its Washington, DC office. However, while its government business seems to be dead in the water, Kaspersky still plans to sell to non-federal US customers and will be opening offices in Chicago and Los Angeles next year.

    In July, the Trump administration removed Kaspersky from its list of approved IT vendors and in August reports surfaced that the FBI was trying to convince companies to ditch Kaspersky’s products. These moves were a result of US government suspicions that Kaspersky funnels information from its customers to the Russian government. Best Buy pulled Kaspersky products from its shelves shortly thereafter and the US government ultimately banned federal agencies from using the company’s security software in September.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/12/08/kaspersky-lab-closing-washington-dc-office/

  • The Bitcoin Whales: 1,000 People Who Own 40 Percent of the Market

    About 40 percent of bitcoin is held by perhaps 1,000 users; at current prices, each may want to sell about half of his or her holdings, says Aaron Brown, former managing director and head of financial markets research at AQR Capital Management. (Brown is a contributor to the Bloomberg Prophets online column.) What’s more, the whales can coordinate their moves or preview them to a select few. Many of the large owners have known one another for years and stuck by bitcoin through the early days when it was derided, and they can potentially band together to tank or prop up the market.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-08/the-bitcoin-whales-1-000-people-who-own-40-percent-of-the-market

Other

  • The FCC officially votes to kill net neutrality

    Chairman Pai trotted out the same talking points he’s been pushing since 2015. That the law that dictates the internet remain “unfettered by federal and state regulation” (that part of the 1996 Telecommunications Act is advisory, and also about porn); that the 2015 rules were “designed in the ’30s to regulate Ma Bell” (they were rebuilt from the ground up in 1996, as he explained moments earlier); that the regulations had destroyed jobs (the jobs never existed); that small ISPs were harmed (I’ve asked the ones he’s cited repeatedly and they have never explained how) — and how edge providers are a bigger threat than ISP discrimination.

    Ironically, he asked that the internet be “driven by engineers” and not “lawyers and accountants” — ironic because hundreds of prominent engineers have pointed out the technical shortcomings of the order, which is largely based on economic analysis and legal hair-splitting.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/14/the-fcc-officially-votes-to-kill-net-neutrality/?ncid=rss
    What’s Next:

    There are two tacks they might take. First is the possibility of using the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to undo recently instituted regulations, to nix the FCC’s plan; Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA) just announced he will do this. This is the most straightforward solution, and one the Republican Congress recently deployed in order to kill several Obama-era regulations, including the Broadband Privacy Rule. That action was particularly unpopular, and Republicans aiming to look progressive may hop on board a Democratic bill. Bipartisan talks will have to take place — this can’t be done without work on both sides of the aisle.

    A CRA repeal of Restoring Internet Freedom would be devastating to the FCC’s plans, but likely would leave intact the legislative ambiguities that gave rise to today’s issues.

    A true solution would involve amending the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The critical part of all this is the classification of broadband under Title II of the act, and if that could be accomplished by legislation — it would only take a few words — it would put an end to these questions once and for all. However, to amend a major bill is not something a minority party is likely to attempt. And with the threat of a veto hanging over them, it’s very unlikely that this will come to pass until a Democratic president is elected.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/14/the-fcc-just-repealed-net-neutrality-what-happens-next/?ncid=rss

  • GE is cutting 12,000 jobs

    The jobs are in the electrical power division, which makes the giant turbines and generators that the company estimates provide about one-third of the electricity produced around the world.

    GE (GE) is by far the worst-performing stock in the Dow this year, down 44%, and CEO John Flannery, who took over in August, has been trying to slash costs.

    The company says the job cuts will mostly be outside the United States. The power division’s headcount will be reduced about 18%. About 295,000 people worked for GE overall at the end of last year, but the company has cut jobs and costs throughout this year. It hopes to reduce costs by $1 billion next year.

    http://money.cnn.com/2017/12/07/news/companies/ge-job-cuts/index.html?section=money_topstories

  • Cost-hurling IBM seeks more volunteers for employment bonfire

    As revealed by us in recent weeks, IBM told staff in TSS and ISD to form Employee Consultation Committees ahead of entering a 45-day consultation to discuss ways to improve margins – i.e. by cutting jobs.

    The length of the consultation, which started on December 6, indicates at least 100 people from each of the two departments will be kicked to the curb once the period ends. Before that happens, IBM is giving employees a chance to apply to leave. Applicants that are accepted will be out on December 31.

    The ISD memo, like TSS, stated: “We are now launching an Open Voluntary Separation Programme. The programme is open to all in-scope UK IBM regular employees working in the IS Delivery business area in the UK.

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/12/08/ibm_isd_voluntary_redundancies/

  • Amazon’s Seattle hiring frenzy slows sharply; what’s going on?

    Still, the pullback is a reminder that Amazon’s frantic expansion during the last few years — contributing to a boom that nudged the city’s unemployment rate near record lows, pushed housing costs to a record high, and sparked a debate about the company’s civic role in Seattle — won’t last forever.

    The slowdown also comes as the company seeks space to expand outside Seattle. Amazon is evaluating 238 bids it received from municipalities interested in welcoming Amazon’s second, “equal,” headquarters dubbed HQ2, which the company has indicated it could begin staffing as early as 2019.

    https://www.seattletimes.com/business/amazon/amazons-seattle-hiring-frenzy-slows-sharply-whats-going-on/

  • Two New Reports Say Microsoft Overwhelmingly Underpays Women and Stifles Their Career Advancement

    The plaintiffs filed to make the lawsuit a class action at the end of October and recently released two reports that detail pervasive gender-based discrimination at the $649 billion tech company. One, by Henry Farber, an economics professor at Princeton, analyzed data on more than 16,000 employees’ compensation, age, tenure, geographic location, performance ratings, and other factors between 2010 and 2016. Faber found that women in technical roles in low- to mid-level positions at Microsoft “receive lower compensation on average, than otherwise-similar men, and this difference in pay is statically significant.” Moreover, the report finds that women in mid-level jobs at Microsoft have a statistically significant lower probability of getting promoted.

    The other study filed in the case, conducted by Ann Marie Ryan, a psychology professor at Michigan State University, found that Microsoft “does not provide clear, job-related guidance as to how to distinguish levels within a career stage for compensation decisions,” which opens doors for managers to make subjective, and potentially sexist, decisions about career advancement.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2017/12/09/two_new_reports_say_microsoft_overwhelmingly_underpays_women_and_stifles.html

Photo: Cooper Smith

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News You Can Use: 12/13/2017

  • The Internet Is Dying. Repealing Net Neutrality Hastens That Death.

    You didn’t need permission for any of this stuff; some of these innovations ruined traditional industries, some fundamentally altered society, and many were legally dubious. But the internet meant you could just put it up, and if it worked, the rest of the world would quickly adopt it.

    But if flexibility was the early internet’s promise, it was soon imperiled. In 2003, Tim Wu, a law professor now at Columbia Law School (he’s also a contributor to The New York Times), saw signs of impending corporate control over the growing internet. Broadband companies that were investing great sums to roll out faster and faster internet service to Americans were becoming wary of running an anything-goes network.

    Some of the new uses of the internet threatened their bottom line. People were using online services as an alternative to paying for cable TV or long-distance phone service. They were connecting devices like Wi-Fi routers, which allowed them to share their connections with multiple devices. At the time, there were persistent reports of broadband companies seeking to block or otherwise frustrate these new services; in a few years, some broadband providers would begin blocking new services outright.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/29/technology/internet-dying-repeal-net-neutrality.html

  • China’s Tech Giants Have a Second Job: Helping Beijing Spy on Its People

    Users of Tencent’s WeChat app who run large group chats say they have received automated warnings about politically sensitive content. Some political activists say their WeChat accounts have been suspended or closed for posts critical of the government.

    During important political events, staffers with China’s internet regulator set up shop at Chinese content providers to catch anything that might slip through the cracks, people familiar with the operations said. The regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

    Along with access to online data, China’s government wants something else from tech companies—the cloud computing prowess to sort and analyze information. China wants to crunch data from surveillance cameras, smartphones, government databases and other sources to create so-called smart cities and safe cities.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-tech-giants-have-a-second-job-helping-the-government-see-everything-1512056284

  • The real reason American health care is so expensive
  • Amazon is putting Alexa in the office

    The first focus for Alexa for Business is conference room. AWS is working with the likes of Polycom and other video and audio conferencing providers to enable this.

    In addition, AWS also worked with Microsoft to enable better support for its suite of productivity services, as well as other enterprise services likes of Concur and Splunk to bring their services to Alexa. Other partners include Capital One, WeWork and JPL.

    Just as developers can build skills for Amazon Echo users, businesses can now build out Alexa skills for use within their own company. You could imagine voice access to an employee directory, Salesforce data on various clients and accounts, or company calendar information.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/29/amazon-is-putting-alexa-in-the-office/?ncid=rss

  • Verizon to Sell Wireless Home Broadband, Challenging Cable

    Verizon said Wednesday it would sell high-speed internet access in three to five cities, starting in Sacramento, Calif. The cities are all expected to be outside Verizon’s existing landline footprint in the Northeast, where it sells high-speed fiber-optic internet called Fios. The company said more details, such as its price, would be unveiled later.

    The wireless giant will use fifth-generation, or 5G, technology, which is capable of delivering significantly faster internet speeds than existing 4G technology, also known as LTE. Customers will likely have to place a box in their windows that will convert Verizon’s wireless signals into Wi-Fi inside the house.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/verizon-to-sell-home-broadband-over-wireless-network-1512037801

Photo: Pana Vasquez

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