So, it's April 25, 2015 and the delivery man has just delivered your new Apple Watch. Your first instinct: Spend more hard-earned cash trying out Apple's mobile payment system, Apple Pay.
When Apple execs took the stage on Monday, virtually everyone expected them to focus on the soon-to-be-released Apple Watch. That, they did. The Watch, we now know, arrives in retail on April 24, and it did indeed get most of the attention. But it wasn't the only thing to catch my eye.
Lenovo pre-installing Superfish software was a security disaster. Whether Lenovo was evil, or, as they eventually claimed, merely incompetent, it's hard to trust them going forward. If nothing else, their initial denials that anything was wrong, leave a lasting impression. Of course, Superfish, along with the software that they bundled from Komodia, also deserve plenty of blame for breaking the security of HTTPS and SSL/TLS.
Organisations that were born digital are built around their IT platform, and all their business processes are IT-driven and data-powered. Every action, every decision, is based on the processing of data sets about users and customers, about usage patterns, external conditions, etc.
Several electronic and mobile payment options have become available, but most of us in the U.S. are still using plain-vanilla credit and debit cards with magnetic stripes. They use technology that dates to the first Nixon administration. That's not a problem in itself; I have no problem with time-tested security measures that work effectively. But just look around: Data breaches are everywhere, and those magnetic-stripe cards are often implicated.
Toys always reflect the larger culture -- its biases, fears and, most of all, its technology. New York's Toy Fair 2015 happened this week, and the latest round of new tech toys is bringing some of the most disturbing tech trends to children.
White Castle might not be the first company that comes to mind when high tech is mentioned, but the restaurant chain found itself in the middle of the patent troll controversy when it started sending menu updates from its headquarters to digital screens in restaurants around the country.
Two years ago, I asked Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin and curiousrat.com's Harry Marks -- both of them experts in all things Apple -- to share their ideas on what a successful mass-market wearable would be. In a world of smartphones, tablets, notebooks and miscellaneous gadgets, would there be a mass-market audience for yet another device to charge and keep track of? And would a smartwatch from Apple be disruptive enough to matter?
As the private sector continues to invest in data-driven innovation, the capacity for society to benefit from this data collection grows as well. Much has been said about how the private sector is using the data it collects to improve corporate bottom lines, but positive stories about how that data contributes to the greater public good are largely unknown.
When Amazon unveiled its cloud-based corporate <a href="http://www.computerworld.com/article/2877217/aws-launches-workmail-for-the-enterprise.html">WorkMail email offering</a> last week (Jan. 28), it stressed the high-level of encryption it would use and the fact that corporate users would control their own decryption keys. But Amazon neglected to mention that it will retain full access to those messages -- along with the ability to both analyze data for e-commerce marketing and to give data to law enforcement should subpoenas show up.
Poor, slow-footed old Microsoft. It just can't adapt to changing times or keep up with more innovative, agile and forward-looking companies like Apple and Google. That's been the way many of us have thought of Microsoft for a long time. But it may be our thinking that's old and outdated.
Oh my gosh! The world's first <a href="http://www.computerworld.com/article/2873379/uh-oh-google-here-comes-microsofts-hololens.html">holographic computing platform</a>! Is this or is this not the best thing ever?
Microsoft had an unusually kick-ass event this week. They trotted out the next version of Windows, which is called Windows 10.
In the last few weeks it's possible some of your Facebook chums posted messages on their walls in which they tried to revoke permission for the social network to use and distribute content they post.
Forget Windows 10. Here are the four most important words Microsoft said today: Windows as a Service
Microsoft's wide-ranging announcements about Windows 10 covered things as mundane as new customisations for the Windows 10 Start screen and as mind-blowing as a new computing holographic platform.
As you can tell by the name we've given them, patent trolls aren't popular critters. The game these operators play is shady and sleazy, bordering on extortion -- though it's completely legal. What they do is to purchase patents, with no intention of using or selling them, but rather to shake down as many people as possible by accusing them of violating the patent, even if the patent troll has no reason to believe that.
Last summer Microsoft talked its partners into trying to stop the growing popularity of Chromebooks in its tracks by making a big push during the holiday season. While full retail results won't be in for a while, we do know the laptop sales results from the most important retailer of them all, Amazon. Guess what. With that retailer at least, Microsoft and its buddies failed. Miserably.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have read numerous news stories about the widely publicized security breaches at <a href="http://www.computerworld.com/article/2860745/it-security-in-2015-were-now-at-war.html">Sony</a> and <a href="http://www.computerworld.com/article/2691246/jpmorgan-chase-says-breach-affected-83m-customers.html">JPMorgan Chase</a>. It seems as if everybody is a Monday-morning quarterback, with every other reporter voicing an opinion on how these breaches should have been prevented. In particular, I read two articles that specifically blamed the information security organizations at those companies for failing to properly stop the attackers. That's not fair.
Stats about online retailers' holiday performance poured into my inbox as the year ended, but one in particular really caught my eye. Amazon noted that its final Christmas Prime Now (same-day delivery) order was placed on Dec. 24 at 10:24 p.m. -- and was delivered 42 minutes later, at 11:06 p.m.