Stories by Evan Schuman

  • Target's under-stocked sale: Lessons not learned

    In retail -- and especially in e-commerce -- there's a nuanced distinction between having a very popular sale and arranging for far too little merchandise. It's like those hold recordings that say the lengthy hold time is because of high customer call volume, prompting most people to mumble, "That and the fact that you're too cheap to hire enough call center operators."

  • Sony reminds us all what a pathetically weak link email is

    Sony is reliving the nightmare that <a href="http://www.computerworld.com/article/2858358/fbi-calls-sony-hack-organized-but-declines-to-name-source-or-finger-north-korea.html">its hacked databases</a> gave rise to late last year, now that <a href="http://www.computerworld.com/article/2910891/wikileaks-publishes-searchable-database-of-hacked-sony-docs.html">Wikileaks has thoughtfully published all of the leaked documents in a searchable database</a>. Really, they are the most courteous hoodlums ever.

  • Let's rethink email

    I've been using email longer than most people (more than a quarter of a century), so I think I have the credibility to say it's overdue for an overhaul.

  • Where's the data?

    It's a time-honored tradition: U.S. businesses find ways to skirt inconvenient or expensive laws by moving operations to other countries. Thus we have had U.S. corporations operating overseas to exploit child labor, run sweatshops or avoid taxes and rigorous health and safety inspections. Now the U.S. government says something similar is happening in regards to email.

  • Some email truths for Hillary Clinton

    This week, shortly after former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton became the poster child for enterprise BYOD issues, she held a news conference to explain and justify her convenience-oriented defense. During that briefing, she said that her private email server "was set up for President Clinton's office. And it had numerous safeguards. It was on property guarded by the Secret Service. And there were no security breaches."

  • LLAP, Star Trek tech!

    Friday, February 27, brought the terribly sad news that Leonard Nimoy, the actor who will always be known in IT circles as <em>Star Trek</em>'s Mr. Spock, had passed away. For a lot of people in IT, <em>Star Trek</em> was incredibly important. It's not unusual to hear IT professionals say that <em>Star Trek</em> first got them interested in computers or technology. And over the past half century, much of technology was influenced by the franchise.

  • Can you trust Amazon's WorkMail?

    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. 

  • Let's not make patent trolls stronger

    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.

  • Same-day delivery's big chance

    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.

  • Hold the phone, McDonald's

    Mobile payments are supposed to be fast, easy and convenient. I knew when I pulled up at a McDonald's drive-through window the other day that the fast food giant's implementation of Apple Pay challenged. I just didn't know challenged it would be.

  • Getting in customers' faces

    Retailers love thinking about how they can use IT analytics of social media to get close to their customers. But when a retailer breaks through the invisible social media wall and reacts to an online post with a very personal in-store interaction, it may not reap the desired increased-sales outcome.

  • OK, BlackBerry, what else have you got besides security?

    BlackBerry's pitch to get back into the warm embrace of corporate IT shops seems logical enough at first glance: We're the most secure in mobile. Mobile is where all of your data and interactions are heading. Therefore you should give us all of your corporate business.

  • Are fingerprints PINs or physical artifacts?

    In security and privacy circles today, no good deed goes unpunished. Consider Apple's recent privacy initiative. Under its new encryption policy, Apple can't divulge confidential information about its customers' data, because only the consumer's credentials can unlock the data -- and those credentials are completely under the control of the customer. For added security, Apple layered biometric authentication (fingerprint) on top, so that people wouldn't have to type their passwords/PINs in public, exposing themselves to the dangers of shoulder-surfing.

  • Tracking and the law

    The ability to access and use mobile data is a new area of law that continues to be shaped and reshaped.