Tag Archives: Slack

SourceCast: Episode 89: The Chat App Wars

I have mentioned my disdain for Google’s chat client strategy on several episodes of SourceCast. This week I go deep on the topic, providing my thoughts on the current state of Google’s Allo and Duo products and use my transition to Slack to disprove that Google is a technological monopoly.

Photo: Justin Main

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News You Can Use: 6/21/2017

  • Why Remote Work Can’t Be Stopped

    Despite these moves by big companies, data indicates that the remote-work trend in the U.S. labor force is inexorable, aided by ever-better tools for getting work done anywhere. Surveys done by Gallup indicate that in 2016, the proportion of Americans who did some or all of their work from home was 43%, up from 39% in 2012. Over the same period, the proportion who only work remotely went to 20% from 15%. Amazon.com , American Express , UnitedHealth Group , and Salesforce.com allow employees to work remotely at least some of the time.

    Regarding tools used:

    For remote workers, the communications tools they use daily are the equivalent of these common spaces. The canonical example, owing to its explosive growth and creeping ubiquity, is the group-chat service Slack. It’s designed to make it easy for employees to communicate in ways that aren’t so different from the way they would around a water cooler or a conference table. Slack’s playful features, like on-demand animated GIFs, make it good for collegial interaction, while its library of chatbots and integrations with other enterprise software make it useful as a hub for communicating about and controlling many aspects of a business.


  • After London Attack, Tech Firms Urged to Do More to Fight Extremists

    Mrs. May said Britain must work with other democracies to “reach international agreements” to regulate cyberspace to prevent terrorism planning. Her statement ratcheted up already critical remarks her cabinet members made in the wake of a March attack, also in London, that killed five people near Parliament. Saturday’s London attack came 12 days after a suicide bomber killed 22 people outside a concert in Manchester, England.


    Many tech companies say they already work hard to police their platforms for terrorist content, and cooperate with judicial and police investigations. When it comes to propaganda, Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft Corp. all agreed last year to create a common database of identifiers of terrorist images to speed up flagging and removal of propaganda videos.

    Twitter said it suspended 376,890 accounts in the second half of 2017 for promoting terrorism. Twitter said it identified almost two-thirds of those itself, with less than 2% of accounts shut down because of government requests.


  • Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People
  • Why “I’m Just Not Technical” is No Longer an Excuse in the C-Suite

    Acknowledge that investing in a partnership with experts, needs to be discussed. When it comes to securing your organization, it’s not about whether your internal team has the aptitude, it’s about the time. It’s not uncommon to hear that IT departments have roles that “wear many hats.” So you need to consider whether they have the time and resources to dedicate to maturing the cybersecurity posture of your organization? Be warned though: you get what you pay for from a partnership with a cybersecurity firm. This should not be the same team that is selling you hardware and/or assisting in the configuration and implementation process.


  • Is Your Boss Getting Ready To Quit? How To Tell And What To Do

    Next, look at the landscape and think about what your options are, says leadership expert Susan Fowler, author of Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work . . . and What Does: The New Science of Leading, Energizing, and Engaging. There is the potential for great change ahead. Think about what you want to happen next, she says. Are you ready to move up? Are you still motivated to be with the company? Is there an opportunity for you ahead? These are some of the questions you should be asking yourself, she says. Once you have a vision for your next goal, you can begin to formulate a plan.


Photo: Johannes Plenio

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SourceCast: Episode 76: Amazon is buying Whole Foods?

Amazon is buying Whole Foods for $13.7B. AWS is also rumored to have an interest in messaging company Slack.  What does these purchases mean for Amazon’s long term strategy in IT and retail?

Photo: Mali Maeder

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SourceCast: Episode 49: Are we open?


The advent of the cloud is making hosting IT services cheaper. As IT professionals worry about transitioning to clouds platforms, open source standards are emerging. But is open cloud a distraction? Should the open focus be on the applications that run in the cloud?

Photo: Micah H.

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Supplier Report: 11/5/2016


Cloud providers are growing fast, but nobody is growing faster than Amazon.  Such growth requires power, and Amazon is following in Google’s footsteps in trying to convert to all renewable energy.

Google combined their renewable energy goals with their AI systems to gain efficiencies, and the whole situation is reminding me of the not-so-great Johnny Depp movie Transcendence (the AI creates an awesome solar farm so it can’t be cut off).

While Amazon figures out their power needs, Microsoft is trying to take down the communication hub site Slack with their new Teams offering.  Dell is also improving their document management applications… right before they sell them off to OpenText?


  • CenturyLink to Buy Level 3 Communications for $25 Billion

    Level 3 runs one of the largest internet backbones in the world but has turned its focus to small and midsize business customers to reverse slowing sales growth in its core operations. CenturyLink, traditionally a rural phone company, has sought to upgrade its network with fiber-optic lines in a bid to compete with AT&T Inc.,Verizon Communications Inc. and rivals in the cable industry.


  • IBM buys Expert Personal Shopper from Fluid to build out Watson’s conversation skills

    IBM has made another acquisition to beef up Watson, a week after it announced a raft of new features and milestones for its artificial intelligence effort: it has acquired a business called Expert Personal Shopper (XPS), a platform, and bot, that holds conversations with people online to help figure out what they need to buy, and to help them buy it. XPS had originally been built by Fluid, a strategic partner (and investment) of IBM’s, to run on Watson.


  • Jim Cramer — Tableau Not a Target for Salesforce

    Shares are now down more than 11% Wednesday. The M&A catalyst has been removed, and while Tableau beat on earnings-per-share estimates, its sales results missed expectations. Simply put, the company didn’t close enough deals during the quarter to make the results compelling. It was a letdown, Cramer concluded.

    Furthermore, Tableau is not a potential acquisition target for Salesforce at this time, Cramer added.


Artificial Intelligence

  • Detecting pre-symptom cancer at the nanoscale
  • IBM Introduces New Watson Solution for Supply Chain Professions

    Part of IBM’s new cognitive solutions for supply chain professionals, IBM Watson Supply Chain Insights, continuously learns about a company’s normal supply chain patterns by analyzing and spotting trends in the data from multiple systems including trade partners, which can account for up to 65 percent of the value of a company derives from its products and services. The solution then alerts practitioners to potential disruptions, provides insights into estimated time delays and financial costs of the issue and recommends specific experts who can gather in a virtual workroom to quickly solve the problem.


  • Why Peter Diamandis doesn’t fear AI

    1. There are currently 3 billion people online, but due to dropping bandwidth costs and private investors building satellite networks, low estimates project 6 billion people online by 2020.
    2. Peter talks about Moonshots: A moonshot, in a technology context, is an ambitious, exploratory and ground-breaking project undertaken without any expectation of near-term profitability or benefit and also, perhaps, without a full investigation of potential risks and benefits.
    3. Diamandis wants to increase the average human lifespan by 30 years. AI (Watson) is a huge part of that goal as it can analyse data from genome sequencing, advanced diagnostics, and providing medical care in remote areas without doctors.
    4. He wants to mine asteroids for resources (platinum) and fuel.  His company is building rockets (Arkyd Spacecraft) to prospect asteroids.  These ships will have AI (of course).
    5. Wants basic software to be able to teach children to read in the most remote areas with simple devices (there are current 1 billion illiterate people on the planet).


  • AWS Accounts for 45 Percent of Public IaaS Market Share: Synergy

    Amazon Web Services (AWS) has a 45 percent share of the worldwide public cloud market, more than twice the size of the next three public IaaS providers combined, according to new data from Synergy Research Group.


  • Amazon orders new wind farm in Ohio to help power cloud business

    Amazon Web Services, as the tech giant’s cloud computing division is known, has vowed to fulfill at least half of the energy needs of its big data centers with renewable energy by 2017. That’s up from 40 percent in 2016, a goal that Amazon says it is on track to meet or exceed.

    Trent Alert: Pay attention to power related issues for cloud providers. I have covered what Google is doing to manage their energy costs, but I see this becoming a much bigger DataCenter issue as these cloud blocks grow. 
    Amazon Adds their Fifth Renewable Energy Project in Ohio

    ‘In November 2014, AWS shared its long-term commitment to achieve 100 percent renewable energy usage for the global AWS infrastructure footprint. Ambitious sustainability initiatives over the last 18-24 months have put AWS on track to exceed its 2016 goal of 40 percent renewable energy use and enabled AWS to set a new goal to be powered by 50 percent renewable energy by the end of 2017.’


  • A peek inside Microsoft Azure’s open-source server and rack designs

    “With this announcement you have one of the industry’s leading cloud providers sharing what they think the optimal cloud server design looks like,” says Ed Anderson, Research vice president, Cloud Services at Gartner. “Microsoft is deploying servers based on OCP in their cloud data centers, which provides a pretty good guide for hardware vendors to target that market.” Microsoft says about 90% of servers it buys for Azure data centers are based on OCP specifications.


  • Is HPE ditching OpenStack? Company laying off a number of developers

    The layoffs in the Stackato may indicate HPE is further retreating from the ultra-competitive cloud market amidst tough competition from AWS and Microsoft. Last year, HPE pulled the plug on its Helion hybrid cloud offering. In August, Bill Hilf, HPE’s current cloud leader, announced he was leaving the company to “pursue other opportunities.”



  • Microsoft Takes Apple by Surprise, Pours on the Heat

    One of the things that may have assisted in this assessment was the Surface Dial (US$99) which, on the surface, has the instinctive technical feel of something from a science fiction future in contrast to Apple’s touch sensitive Touch Bar which is merely cool. (But see page 2 here for more.) Time will tell if Microsoft’s instincts prove superior or are simply a trade-off in concepts. In the meantime, Jason Snell at Six Colors looks at the relative merits of touching your work or touching the Touch Bar in “Perpendicular philosophy.


  • NetApp Plans Yet Another Round of Layoffs

    The company said in regulatory filing on Thursday that it would lay off 6% of its workforce, or about 640 employees based on its total headcount of 10,700 workers.



  • Dell EMC Sweetens ECD Products Before OpenText Acquisition

    Today at Momentum — Dell EMC’s ECD user conference in Barcelona — the company unveiled long sought solutions around its three primary products: Documentum, InfoArchive and LEAP.

    About a week after closing on its purchase of EMC, Dell signed a definitive agreement to sell ECD to OpenText. That acquisition is expected to close in early next year.

    So all these new capabilities — many of which customers have been pleading to have for years — will benefit OpenText.


  • Can Microsoft Teams out-Slack Slack?

    Slack’s freemium model also puts these tools in the hands of small businesses, giving them a free taste with the option to pay for advanced features. The fact that Microsoft Teams is tied to Office 365 means it will struggle to win over some small operations, but its tight integration with the Office suite might tempt larger businesses to defect from services like Slack.

    Rapidly-growing startup goes after Microsoft in full-page New York Times ad


  • Software licencing gets easier in the cloud? Not if your name is Microsoft

    Features and functionality have been added to Plan 1 – including PowerApps that lets users create custom-made business apps – but if a customer doesn’t need them, then the price of their software has ramped massively, channel folk claimed. Depending on what employees were using, they may now pay more. Power users may actually pay less.

    “There isn’t a direct one-for-one ratio, so Microsoft can wheedle out of it and tell customers they are getting more features. This is the challenge of explaining this to customers who want to know, ‘How do I get what I’m getting today and pay the same?'” a Microsoft supplier said.



  • Amazon posts disappointing Q3 results, but AWS continues to grow

    Amazon Web Services earned $3.231 billion in revenue, up nearly 55 percent year-over-year. Its operating income came to $861 million — more than three times the operating income of Amazon’s North American e-commerce business, which came to $255 million. Meanwhile, its international business lost $541 million.


  • IBM: From Firing To Hiring Spree

    IBM has hired more than 100,000 new IBMers since January 2015, cloud advisors, digital representatives, data scientists, etc. This includes about 700 executives (not including acquisitions).

    IBM’s hiring spree follows a massive shift of resources from traditional computing business to the emerging cognitive business. This includes what the company invested in in terms of CAPEX, R&D (which is up this year) and acquisitions (26 since the beginning of 2015). It also includes significant investments to amass the skills most valued by the market as the company pioneers new fields such as Cognitive and Cloud.


  • Google reveals dangerous Windows 10 bug – and Microsoft is NOT happy about it

    Google has incurred the wrath of fellow tech megacorp Microsoft by publicly flagging up a flaw in Windows and claiming hackers are exploiting it.

    The search giant says it told Microsoft about the bug back on October 21, but as yet nothing has been done about it.The bug itself is found in the Windows kernal and can be used “as a security sandbox escape.”

    Microsoft, in turn, has issued a statement to tech site Venturebeat , saying that Google is putting customers at risk.


Photo: Karsten Würth

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