Posted by & filed under Amazon.

“They really didn’t listen to those of us who’ve been in the business for decades,” says Bobbie Moe. Customers would punch in their cleaning needs and the square footage of their house online, but the actual time and manpower required would vary wildly with the cleaning needs of the home.”

Source: CNN Technology News

Date: October 25th, 2018

Link (includes video): https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/24/tech/amazon-home-services/index.html

Discussion

1) The article says it took 2 years before Amazon made what seem like simple, obvious changes such as specifying the number of rooms to be cleaned in a house rather than square footage.  Why might this have taken so long to fix?

2) Why is Amazon getting in to this sort of business?

Posted by & filed under Civil Liberties, Data Analytics.

WhatsApp messages on a phone

Political campaigners in Brazil have used software that scrapes Facebook for citizens’ phone numbers, and then automatically sends them WhatsApp messages and adds them to WhatsApp groups.

Almost three weeks ago, 147 million voters in the country went to the polls for legislative elections and the first round of the presidential elections.

This Sunday, they will decide between far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro and the left-wing Workers’ Party candidate Fernando Haddad, in the second round of the presidential election.

A BBC investigation has discovered that efforts to support various parties and candidates – covering state, federal and senate votes – have used the bulk message technique.

Source: BBC News

Date: October 25th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-45956557

Discussion

1) “The scraping software allows its clients to choose a target audience by searching for keywords, pages or public groups on Facebook”.  How could you build a legitimate company around this?

2) Is this illegal in the U.S. or Canada?

Posted by & filed under Apple, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), Privacy.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has demanded a tough new US data protection law, in an unusual speech in Europe.

Referring to the misuse of “deeply personal” data, he said it was being “weaponised against us with military efficiency”.

“We shouldn’t sugar-coat the consequences,” he added. “This is surveillance.”

The strongly-worded speech presented a striking defence of user privacy rights from a tech firm’s chief executive.

Mr Cook also praised the EU’s new data protection regulation, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: October 25th, 2018

Link (includes video): https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-45963935

Discussion

1) “The Apple boss described in some detail what he called the “data industrial complex”, noting that billions of dollars were traded on the basis of people’s “likes and dislikes”, “wishes and fears” or “hopes and dreams” – the kind of data points tracked by tech firms and advertisers.” Why is it that most, if not almost all people using the internet don’t seem to care that such pervasive data collection of personal data is going on?

2) What steps could you take to avoid personal data collection?

Posted by & filed under Amazon, Entrepreneurship, Innovator's Dilemma, Netflix.

 

To keep his family of four entertained, Ben Emery pays about $180 a month for Spectrum TV and internet service, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. He gets Amazon mostly for free shipping and Hulu in part because his 5-year-old daughter likes “Teen Titans Go.”

“Netflix and Hulu got in early, so that’s where I’m willing to invest my money.

Source: Bloomberg

Date: October 18th, 2018

Link: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-18/netflix-amazon-leave-little-room-for-streaming-video-latecomers?srnd=technology-vp

Discussion

1) How might a new upstart be able to succeed in a world where Netflix and Amazon dominate?

2) Do you understand Clayton Christensen’s Innovators Dilemma paradigm?  It is useful to use this disruptive innovation approach to consider how you might compete here.

Posted by & filed under Facebook, IT Strategy.

A video wall

Facebook was aware of inaccuracies in the way it measured how many people viewed video on its site for a year longer than it has previously admitted, court documents have claimed.

Newly released papers that are part of a US legal action against the social network, claim that it knew about the problems in 2015.

Facebook described the case against it as “without merit”.

It said suggestions it had tried to hide the issue were “false”.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: October 18th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-45901287

Discussion

1) You have watched videos on Facebook, sometimes to the end, sometimes not.  What do you think is a fair metric to measure how much video is being watched?

2) Should this be a linear metric, that is you just count the number of minutes and seconds watched and divide by the total length of the video?  Does it make more sense to have a metric that is exponential – the more someone watches of a video the more valuable their time watching is counted?

Posted by & filed under Cloud Computing, Data center, Ethical issues.

A woman watching a tablet device

Watching your favourite show or listening to your playlist has never been easier.

A virtually endless supply of film, music and TV can be streamed and downloaded almost instantly.

But at what cost to the environment?

Vast amounts of energy are needed to keep data flowing on the internet and demand will only increase as our reliance on digital services grows.

Some of that energy is generated from clean energy sources, but much of it comes from burning carbon-based fossil fuels, which scientists believe is a contributing factor to rising global temperatures.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: October 18th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-45798523

Discussion

1) “More demand for the technology also means more energy is required to store and share vast amounts of information.  This is where data centres come in – often in vast buildings that house computer servers that store, process and distribute internet traffic. The servers themselves require a great deal of cooling.”  So, this is not just a Netflix issue.  What other issues are there?

2) How could you make a change?

Posted by & filed under Apple, Emerging Economies.

The battle for India’s online shoppers has triggered a smartphone gold rush.

Flipkart and Amazon are leading an online sales bonanza that will see Indians buy smartphones worth over $1 billion in just five days, according to tech consultancy Counterpoint Research.
Bangalore-based Flipkart said it sold 1 million devices during the first hour of an online phone sale on Thursday that was part of its “Big Billion Days” shopping festival. By the end of the day, it had sold more than 3 million phones.
Source: CNN Technology
Date: October 12th, 2018
Discussion
1) Why is it important, or maybe it is not, that 300 million Indians now have a smartphone?
2) Why is it important, or maybe it is not, that almost none of the smartphones Indians are buying are iPhones?

Posted by & filed under Cyber Security, Cyberattack, Ethical issues.

A picture showing the inside of the car

Four Russians, a car full of electronic equipment, and a foiled plot to hack the world’s foremost chemical weapons watchdog.

The Dutch security services say Russia planned a cyber-attack on the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague earlier this year.

At a press conference on Thursday, Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld said the plan was thwarted with the help of officials from the UK.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: October 8th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45747472

Discussion

1) There are some in the intelligence community who are describing this cyberattack on the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons by Russian agents as “amateur hour”.  I find it headshaking too, as what you see in the picture above, and the attack as described, is something that was being conducted 20 years ago and is called “drive-by hacking”.  The equipment in the photo, allegedly from Russian’s premier spy agency GRU, is about 20 years out of date too.  All of what is being described here can be done off a high-end gaming laptop fitted with an off-the-shelf hi-speed wifi card.  Given all that, what is going on here?

2) Cybersecurity attacks are clearly on the rise.  What are doing for yourself to better understand the risks, and how to control those risks, even if you don’t become a cybersecurity specialist?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, Google.

Google is replacing its top advertising executive, Sridhar Ramaswamy, the first major management shakeup at the company’s most important business in half a decade.

Prabhakar Raghavan, head of Google’s business-applications unit, will step into the role on Friday, the company said. A veteran of search technology and artificial intelligence research, Raghavan will now oversee product and engineering for the world’s largest digital-ads business, which is on course to generate more than $100 billion in sales this year.

Source: Bloomberg Technology News

Date: October 1st, 2018

Link (10 free articles per month): https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-01/google-ad-chief-ramaswamy-exits-search-ai-veteran-replaces-him?srnd=technology-vp

Discussion

1) This is a big deal, and is happening quickly.  Why is the move to have an Artificial Intelligence expert in charge of Google advertising?

2) What is your understanding of how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to impact advertising and marketing?  What are you doing to improve this?