Posted by & filed under Apple, Samsung.

The South Korean company said Tuesday that its fourth-quarter operating profit is set to plunge nearly 30% from a year earlier, well below analysts’ forecasts. It blamed the sharp drop on “lackluster demand” for its memory chips and “intensifying competition” in the smartphone industry.
Samsung’s guidance comes after Apple (AAPL) set off alarm bells last week by warning that it will sell fewer iPhones than previously expected, mainly because of disappointing demand in China amid an ongoing trade war with the United States.
Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker, didn’t mention China specifically in its earnings guidance on Tuesday, but it said “mounting” macroeconomic uncertainties are affecting its business.
Source: CNN Technology News
Date: January 10th, 2019
Discussion
1) Why is it important (or not) to pay attention to how companies like Samsung and Apple are doing?
2) Samsung says they have “intensifying competition” yet Apple is not that competition.  Who is?

Posted by & filed under Competitive Advantage, Cyber Security.

Huawei's stand at CES

In a corner of the Las Vegas Convention Center, a row of Huawei Mate P20 smartphones are lined up, sparkling, for CES delegates to try out.

It’s a typical scene at the trade show but one made slightly surreal by the fact that few Americans will likely ever own these phones. Right now, US networks don’t offer any Huawei smartphones, because US security services are worried they could be used for Chinese surveillance.

And yet, Huawei has still decided to promote itself at CES in some force – at a time when the company’s chief financial officer faces possible extradition to the US over accusations of bank fraud.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: January 10th, 2019

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-46819325

Discussion

1) Any phone can be “used for surveillance”, so why the particular issues with Huawei phones?

2) Should consumers be just worried Chinese phones, or other devices and manufacturers too?

Posted by & filed under Cloud Computing.

Keys, CES, Security

A digital solution for lost house keys has been revealed at the CES tech show.

KeyHero will scan and upload a precise image of a key to the cloud for free, but it can only be accessed in one of the firm’s partner stores.

This image is encrypted and linked to a phone number or email, rather than a home address.

If a key is lost, its image can be then recalled via a mobile phone app and recreated in a shop, instead of calling out a locksmith.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: January 8, 2019

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-46795616

Discussion

1) What are reasons for wanting to, or not wanting to upload your house key to the cloud?

2) Is the cloud more or less secure than your phone?

Posted by & filed under Facebook.

For years, Facebook gave some of the world’s largest technology companies more intrusive access to users’ personal data than it has disclosed, effectively exempting those business partners from its usual privacy rules, according to internal records and interviews.

The special arrangements are detailed in hundreds of pages of Facebook documents obtained by The New York Times. The records, generated in 2017 by the company’s internal system for tracking partnerships, provide the most complete picture yet of the social network’s data-sharing practices. They also underscore how personal data has become the most prized commodity of the digital age, traded on a vast scale by some of the most powerful companies in Silicon Valley and beyond.

Source: New York Times

Date: December 19th, 2018

Link (open with an incognito browser to avoid limitations on article access): https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/18/technology/facebook-privacy.html

Discussion

1) Facebook is a company, and there is no requirement to use Facebook in order to live your life.  Given that, should it matter at all what Facebook does with the information you provide to them, freely, on the platform they provide, freely, to you?

2) Would it matter to most people if Facebook was very explicit about what they were doing with your information?  That is, would user behaviour change if Facebook was more open?

Posted by & filed under 5G, Emerging Technologies.

Ushering in the mobile 5G era, AT&T announced Tuesday that it will start selling a 5G wireless hotspot. It can offer speeds up to 400 megabits per second, which is way faster than most home broadband connections and between 10 and 100 times faster than 4G, depending on network conditions. 4G is the fastest wireless technology available to most people right now.

The hotspot will convert the network’s airwaves into Wi-Fi, allowing PCs, phones, and other internet-connected gadgets to access AT&T’s ultra-fast 5G speeds.

Source: CNN Business news

Date: December 18th, 2018

Link (includes video): https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/18/tech/5g-mobile-att/index.html

Discussion
1) The article suggests that 5G “will enable some really cool, futuristic technology.”  What might this mean?
2) How do things change if you don’t need to have a broadband service provider as a company, and can instead operate completely off a wireless network?

Posted by & filed under Facebook, IT and Marketing, IT and Politics.

The Facebook logo displayed on a smartphone screen.

As many as 126 million Americans may have seen content uploaded to Facebook by Russia-based operatives since 2015.

That’s nearly half of the 270 million Americans who are old enough to be allowed a Facebook profile.

The figure comes from the social network itself, which along with Google and Twitter, is preparing for a Senate hearing where it will explain Russia’s impact on the popular sites.

But how many people have actually seen those posts?

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: December 17th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41819819

Discussion

1) “126 million, is the “reach” of some 80,000 posts published between June 2015 and August 2017.  Facebook defines a post’s “reach” as those people who may have come across the content (text story/video/image/ad) in their News Feed.  A post counts as reaching someone when it’s shown in their News Feed.  So this figure takes no account of the number of people who may or may not have stopped to actually read the post.”  So, 126 million is not really the number of people “influenced” by possible Russian ads.  How might you come up with a realistic number of people who were influenced by possible Russian ads?

2) “Facebook goes on to explain that the number of Americans who saw those posts directly is 29 million – a much smaller number.”  What might it mean when Facebook says “saw directly”?

3) By a survey in class of your friends, from your last 24 hours of using Facebook, Instagram or other social media, what do you think the percentage of ads that have been shown to you that you actually were impacted by?

Posted by & filed under Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google.

Google, Facebook and Amazon illustration

France has said it will introduce its own tax on big technology firms from 1 January after EU-wide efforts stalled.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said he expected it to bring in €500m (£450m) in 2019.

France, along with Germany, had been pushing for the European Commission to agree measures by the end of this year.

But it is opposed by countries including Ireland, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Finland.

Earlier this year, the European Commission published proposals for a 3% tax on the revenues of large internet companies with global revenues above €750m (£675m) a year and taxable EU revenue above €50m.

The move would affect companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

But critics fear an EU tax could breach international rules on equal treatment for companies across the world.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: December 17th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-46591576

Discussion

1) Why does it make sense to tax big technology firms more than other firms?

2) Do you think it is fair to tax Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon more than other firms?  What would make a firm eligible to be taxed more than someone else?

Posted by & filed under IT and Politics.

California regulators want to tax text messages to increase funds for programs that bring connectivity to underserved residents.
A new surcharge proposed by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) wouldn’t be a per-text tax, but a monthly fee based on a cellular bill that includes any fees for text-message services. Most carriers offer a flat fee option for texting, and already charge a similar fee for other services included in the bill — such as phone calls. The exact structure of the charge would vary from carrier to carrier.
Source: CNN Technology News
Date: December 13th, 2018
Discussion
1) Is it fair to “tax text messages to increase funds for programs that bring connectivity to underserved residents”?
2) Why do think California is targeting text messages for this tax?

Posted by & filed under Apple, Career.

Tim Cook

Apple has announced plans to build a new campus in Austin, Texas, saying the project will involve a $1bn (£790m) investment.

The company already has an existing base in the city.

The iPhone-maker said it expected the latest move would eventually make it the state capital’s biggest private employer.

One expert said the area had a big pool of talent to draw on but was no longer cheaper to hire in than Silicon Valley.

Intel’s Atom computer processors were developed at its facility in the city. Dell, Amazon, Samsung, Facebook, Google and IBM are among other large local employers.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: December 13th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-46552904

Discussion

1) What things would Apple likely have considered when they were making their choice of where to put their new technology campus?

2) Why might Amazon have picked Washington D.C. and New York City for it’s HQ2 whereas Apple picks Austin, TX?

Posted by & filed under Cloud Computing.

Aerial view of the United States military headquarters, the Pentagon

A technology company bidding for a Pentagon contract to store sensitive data has close partnerships with a firm linked to a sanctioned Russian oligarch, the BBC has learned.

The Jedi project, a huge cyber-cloud which could ultimately store nuclear codes, has already sparked security fears.

Viktor Vekselberg, who is close to the Kremlin, has links to C5, a group of cyber-investment companies which has worked closely with the leading bidder, Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: December 13th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-46489689

Discussion

1) Just because a cloud stores something incredibly secret, does it also mean that the secret thing being stored is not safe?

2) Why is the U.S. Pentagon moving to a secure cloud?