By Rory J. Thompson, Web Editor
12/11/2014

TMC's Techfast newsletter for Thursday, December 11, 2014:

Who Ya Gonna Call? Mysterious Wi-Fi Outage Hits Harvard Campus

Students scramble when Internet goes down as finals loom.

Chips Ahoy: Intel Plans Huge China Investment

By Tara Seals, TechZone360 Contributor
12/10/2014

HBO’s planned launch of a standalone, over-the-top (OTT) streaming service is on track for 2015, but apparently there has been major kerfluffle inside the premium network’s C-suite over how best to support it—resulting in the exit of HBO CTO Otto Berkes.

HBO had been building its own streaming video technology platform, codenamed “Maui,” largely by the directive of Berkes. The company has now scrapped the project, citing cost overruns and other headaches, leading Berkes to resign in what reads like a fit of pique:

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TechZone360 Writer
12/10/2014

Yes, it's almost the end of 2014, and as Christmas approaches with a rapidity that can only be described as alarming—is your shopping done yet?—already eyes are beginning to turn to 2015, and many are beginning to wonder just what's going to go on next year. The technology sector, meanwhile, is now different; the future is perhaps felt more fully in a sector at least somewhat based on turning science fiction into science fact. As such, there are already predictions coming out about what we'll see in 2015 as far as tech goes, and IDC offered up a report offering several such predictions for the New Year.

By Doug Mohney, Contributing Editor
12/10/2014

Late yesterday, Orbital Sciences Corporation provided its latest update on how it will deliver cargo to the International Space Station in the wake of the October 28 Antares launch failure at Wallops Island, Virginia. The company plans to buy at least one United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket in 2015 to fulfill its obligations under a $1.9 billion NASA CRS contract and restart Antares launch operations from Wallops in 2016. It's an aggressive schedule, but Orbital says ISS will get the cargo by the end of 2016 with no cost increase to NASA or any material adverse financial impacts in 2015 or future years to Orbital.

By Rory J. Thompson, Web Editor
12/10/2014

TMC's Techfast newsletter for Wednesday, December 10, 2014:

Casual Friday, Every Day: Study Says Remote Workers Are Happier, More Motivated

Call center workers thrive when they can work at home.

No More Smarmy Salesmen: Co-Browsing Comes to Car Dealerships

The Web finally catches up with an annoying area of life.

We All Fall Down: Detroit Tech Infrastructure Failing

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TechZone360 Writer
12/09/2014

While shopping on Amazon can be a wonderful experience—there are plenty of people out there who will turn almost exclusively to the online retailer for Christmas shopping this year, not to mention Hanukkah and Kwanzaa shopping—there's one thing about it that's never so much fun. As the song said, the waiting is the hardest part, and while it's fast and easy to buy and pay on Amazon, there's about a week's lag between paying and actually getting the merchandise in question. But a new program being tested in New York City may well cut that lag down from a matter of days to a matter of minutes.

By Rory J. Thompson, Web Editor
12/09/2014

TMC's Techfast newsletter for Tuesday, December 9, 2014:

For This They Needed a Study?

Report says No.1 reason employees get disengaged at work is because of annoying co-workers.

‘Omnichannel’: More Than Just a Buzzword

By TMCnet Special Guest,
12/09/2014

The “new IP” is a term that has very recently taken hold of the telecom industry, describing the future of networking and telecommunications practices. A state-of-the-art virtualized IP network, the new IP is ushering in a new age of networking and connectivity, shaking things up with a major paradigm shift throughout the information and communications technology (ICT) community. As the Internet continues on its path toward becoming a highly user-centric environment, networks and providers are forced to face this progress head-on, embracing change with the proliferation of virtualized networks and a heavy focus on software and service. Failing to embody these new developments in their overall business model can spell certain death to networks and providers as they are left in the dust by progressive competition. Educating yourself and your staff is critical to making intelligent and informed decisions regarding the future of your software, networks, operations and services.

By Doug Mohney, Contributing Editor
12/08/2014

If you haven't noticed by now, Microsoft is going gangbusters promoting its cloud first/mobile first strategy, with subscription bundles galore for online services. Rumors abound that Windows 10 may go into a subscription-based model. However, Microsoft's shift to a cloud and services model means it is becoming more dependent upon broadband to be plentiful and available. It is only a matter of time before Microsoft starts making noise about the necessity of faster pipes available to the largest number of users.

By Rob Enderle, President and Principal Analyst, Enderle Group
12/08/2014

With even Windows tablets dropping below the $100 price point now, I’m beginning to wonder how long before we realize we can use these as dedicated devices and not as replacements for iPads. Tablets can be great interfaces for watching TV and movies, they can control alarm and home automation systems, they can be shared notepads (replacing the sticky notes on refrigerators) and that can be pretty decent screens for in car entertainment for folks riding in the back seat. Let’s talk about why you may eventually have a bunch of tablets around your home dedicated to doing one thing each this week.

By TMCnet Special Guest,
12/08/2014

To shepherd in the New Year I’ve created a list of 15 corporate IT trends for 2015. They’re in no particular order, and most are not new – they’re just more relevant in 2015 given the long lead time for mass corporate adoption of new technologies, practices, and thinking…

By Clayton Hamshar, Contributing Writer
12/05/2014

Google has finally overtaken Apple in sales to U.S. schools, with the Chromebook inching ahead of the iPad after a long-standing lead. Google sold 715,500 of its low-end laptops in the third quarter of 2014, with Apple only selling 702,000 iPad tablets, according to a recent report from the market research firm IDC.

Chromebooks are really gaining traction, said Rajani Singh, an analyst with IDC. The growth of Chromebook is a major concern for Apple’s iPad.

By Oliver VanDervoort, Contributing Writer
12/05/2014

When it comes to streaming set-top boxes, Apple TV might be the one that gets the most mention, but it’s Roku that is leading the market by a rather large margin. All-in-all, the streaming set-top boxes are becoming all the more popular all the time and that’s good news for any company already in the market.

By Doug Mohney, Contributing Editor
12/05/2014

Over the past decade, I've been able to watch how two different communications providers conduct operations in the Northern Virginia area. Cox Communication and Verizon both deliver dial tone services to my house, while Cox has been my selection for broadband. Two traits set them apart: Customer service and proactive maintenance.

Over the past decade, I've had to deal with Verizon twice on simple dial tone issues. The first time, I had to move phone numbers almost literally across the street, in the same zip code, same central office, to a known working copper dial tone in transfer. Verizon needed a technician to come over and install the new phone line, so I sat around for eight hours waiting. Nobody came, nobody called.

By Oliver VanDervoort, Contributing Writer
12/05/2014

There are a lot of untapped markets in today’s tech world, but one market that Google is apparently going after might spark quite a bit of controversy. Google says it’s a safe bet that when you consider the company sees more than 40,000 queries a second that a number of those searches are being done by kids. Google says its planned move towards making its products more attractive to kids is just a logical leap based on that fact.

The company announced this week it will be aiming its products, such as compatible apps on Android, to children that are 12 and younger. YouTube and Chrome will likely also be following suit and will start to be aimed at a much younger sect than people are used to seeing Google shoot for in its high tech world.

By Drew Hendricks,
12/04/2014

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner. Historically, these have been known as the biggest shopping days of the year - this year it gets even better, especially for businesses engaged in e-commerce. While holiday season retail sales are expected to grow at a steady 4-4.5 percent, as with previous years, online sales are expected to increase by a whopping 13.5-14 percent (Deloitte). Translation: get your products online now!

By Rory J. Thompson, Web Editor
12/04/2014

TMC's Techfast newsletter for Thursday, December 4, 2014:

‘Video Analytics’ Coming into Its Own

In a modern-day version of the Pavlov’s Dogs experiment and reflex, you need only mention the phrase “video analytics” to get marketers and advertisers salivating profusely.

Wearable Technology is Making Inroads into the Call Center

As wearable tech gains popularity, contact centers see it as a new, valuable worker tool.

By Bob Wallace, Founder, Fast Forward Thinking LLC
12/04/2014

In a modern-day version of the Pavlov’s Dogs experiment and reflex, you need only mention the phrase “video analytics” to get marketers and advertisers salivating profusely.

Why? Because although many video service providers have been in the rich content distribution business for many years, often delivering the same fare in roughly the same way to the same customers, they find they don’t really know enough about their viewers to begin a climb up the revenue ladder to higher average revenue per user (ARPU).

By Doug Mohney, Contributing Editor
12/04/2014

Microsoft's shift into a cloud first/mobile first company has been rapidly evolving over the last 90 days. The company has open sourced server software, added support for Linux on its Azure cloud, and has been offering free software and subscription bundles to get customers hooked on Office 365 Home. Is it time to think about a true post-Windows world?

I write this from the perspective that every three to five years, without fail, most people need to get a new computer. Initially, it was necessary to upgrade to get access to the greatest hardware bells and whistles, but there was always the underlying fact that a new operating system couldn't run on older software. You needed more memory, you needed more storage, and you needed a faster processor.

By Tara Seals, TechZone360 Contributor
12/03/2014

The big communications trends that shaped opportunities in 2014 will continue to be driving forces in the new year: mobile computing, cloud services, big data and analytics, and social networking. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), these things make up what the firm calls the “third platform” for innovation and growth—and the industry is making an accelerating transition in its direction.

In computing-speak, the first platform was based on the mainframe. From there, decentralization began to happen, leading to the client/server architecture that still underpins the Internet today. The third platform is virtual, peer-to-peer and full distributed, unbounded by geography.

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