Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘donald trump’ Category

Special Social Media Counsel

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Friday afternoon is usually the place news goes to die, but apparently not today.

First, indictments are coming out of the Special Counsel’s office (Robert Mueller) in the Russian election interference investigation. 

As reported in The New York Times, 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations were charged with illegally using social media platforms “to sow political discord, including actions that supported the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump and disparaged his opponent, Hillary Clinton.”

More choice details:

The indictment charges that the foreigners falsely posed as American citizens, stole identities and otherwise engaged in fraud and deceit in an effort to influence the U.S. political process, including the 2016 presidential race….

….The Internet Research Agency, operating out of St. Petersburg, was described in the indictment as a hub for a sophisticated operation designed to reach millions of Americans to disrupt the political process in the United States. Its annual budget was millions of dollars; its stated goal was to “spread distrust toward the candidates and the political system in general.”

The U.S president, Donald J. Trump, has already responded via Twitter:


On a tangentially related front, the White House Council of Economic Advisers issued a report Friday that indicated malicious cyber activity cost the U.S. economy between $57 billion and $109 billion in 2016. According to a report from Reuters:

The report quoted the U.S. intelligence community as saying the main foreign culprits responsible for much cyber activity against U.S. targets are Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

But the report also suggested malicious cyber activity is not limited to foreign actors, and that corporate competitors, activists seeking to advance a political agenda, and organized crime are also responsible.

Written by turbotodd

February 16, 2018 at 2:36 pm

Fire, Fury, and Big Book Sales! Sad!

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If you’re looking for a copy of Michael Wolff’s new book about the early days of the Trump administration, you won’t have to wait until next Tuesday after all.

“Due to unprecedented demand, we are moving the on-sale date for all formats of ‘Fire and Fury,’ by Michael Wolff, to Friday, January 5, at 9 a.m. ET, from the current on-sale date of Tuesday, January 9,” a Henry Holt spokeswoman told CNN Thursday afternoon.
– via CNNMoney

The CNN report goes on to explain that “the book is already #1 on Amazon, which means that there have been thousands of pre-orders.”

I ordered my copy for the Kindle, easy peasy.

Now back to tech.

Another China story appeared as we enter the final weeks of the year of the Rooster.

Google has invested an undisclosed sum in the Chinese game streaming service, Chushou, which has raised some $120M+, writes Reuters.

Some background:

Founded in 2015, Chushou is an online e-sports platform where users can live stream their mobile phone games. The service has roughly 8 million streamers and 250,000 live streams a day, said the companies in a statement on Friday. Google will help the Chinese firm expand its services to target more overseas viewers, it said.
– via U.S.

Once again, for the 25th year in a row, I won’t be attending the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. I have enough gadgets in my life to last a very long time, but that doesn’t prevent me, as always, from being curious as to what will be the next big thing this year.

So I turned to Engadget for a not-so-quick overview: Personal computing, mobile, wearables, TV and home entertainment, cars, gaming, smart home, and everything else constituted the major headers of their story. After a quick skim, I can confirm that there was nothing on the tech horizon that I absolutely couldn’t live without.

Instead, I’m going to see if I can better whip my Amazon Tap and Siri into better shape so they can do more of my work in 2018.

Written by turbotodd

January 5, 2018 at 11:07 am

Back in a Flash

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Head ups. Adobe has announced it will stop updating and distributing Flash at the end of 2020.

You’ve been given ample warning.

TechCrunch is reporting that until then, Adobe will still partner with the likes of Apple, Mozilla, Microsoft and Google to offer security updates for Flash in their browsers and support new versions of them, but beyond that, it’s no frills Flash, all the time.

HTML5 has won the day.


U.S. President Donald Trump said yesterday in an interview that Apple CEO Tim Cook has committed to build three big manufacturing plants in the U.S., but didn’t elaborate on where those plants would be located or when they would be built.

Do these new Apple plants get build before the Wall on the U.S./Mexico border, or after?

Sorry, I NAFTA hafta ask!


AI neuroscience startup Vicarious announced that it has raised $50M in a round led by Khosla Ventures, according to VentureBeat.

The company is said to be using computational neuroscience to build better machine learning models that help robots address a wide variety of tasks. They focus on the neocortex, a part of the brain concerned with sight and hearing.

Does that mean Alexa will soon be able to fetch me a beer from the fridge??!

Written by turbotodd

July 26, 2017 at 8:36 am

The Disrupter-in-Chief

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For mid-December, there sure does seem to be a whole lot going on around these here tech parts.

First, on the investing front, Apple is reported to be considering a $1B investment in Japanese Internet and telecommunications giant, SoftBank Group Corp’s SoftBank Vision fund. The fund is slated to start next year and intends to raise some $100B to invest in emerging technologies ranging from artificial intelligence to the Internet of Things.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple and SoftBank have “business ties stretching back nearly a decade,” and it was SoftBank that was the exclusive seller of iPhones when it first went on sale in Japan in 2008.

And tomorrow, President-elect Donald Trump is bringing several technology executives together to solicit recommendations on how tech companies can help the government run more efficiently.

But Recode’s Kara Swisher warns against expecting a “fairy tale ending” from the meeting. “Welcome to the brave new world, which is neither brave nor new. But it’s now the world we live in, in which it’s Trump who is the disrupter and tech the disrupted.”

Putting all that disruption aside for a moment, if you’re in the market for an IT gig, a recent report from Janco Associates suggests some good news is on the horizon: an expected uptick next year for IT-related hiring.

Citing likely Trump administration policies that include proposed tax cuts and indications of reduced regulations, Janco’s own chief executive, Victor Janulaitis, expects a total of 281 job titles in its latest guide to corporate IT jobs, up from 273 this past January.

Written by turbotodd

December 13, 2016 at 9:31 am

Zero Privacy, Big Data, Oxygen-Deprived Birthers

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Woo boy, there’s a whole bunch of news breaking on this pre-Royal Wedding hump day.

First, the birther movement took a shot through its bow after U.S. President Barack Obama released a copy of his long-form birth certificate.

You could almost feel Donald Trump’s personal jet decompress on approach to New Hampshire as wind of this release was announced.  After he was off the plane and in front of the microphones, he had this to say: “I am very proud of myself.”

Ooh boy, it’s going to be a long presidential campaign season, particularly as Trump tries to navigate his way through the mine fields of the global media.

But before he can claim to fire anyone, he first probably needs to get his bearings a bit, what with being on the move so much.

And what better way to do so than to buy an iPhone!

Unlike the Donald, Apple is working to get ahead of the end of the story and released this long Q&A about iPhone location data.

First question:

Q. Why is Apple tracking the location of my iPhone?

A: Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone. Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so.

The Q&A went on to explain just how Apple is not tracking the location of iPhones, and that UK data scientists Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden instead found a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and celltowers that can help the iPhone quickly calculate one’s location.

We say pry-vacy, the Brits say priv-acy, you say tomato, I say tomoto.

Apple insists they will shortly be offering up a fix to minimize how much of this data is stored, and also to encrypt that data moving forward.

See, I seem to have the opposite problem.

Whenever I need to use my iPhone, I can never seem to find the darn thing. So maybe they need to offer up a software fix that allows me to locate it when I’ve once again left it embedded somewhere deep in my couch.

Good thing Apple, then, seems to be doubling-down on the practical benefits of privacy invasion.

That is to say, also found in the Q&A: Apple is now collecting anonymous traffic data to build a crowd-sourced traffic database with the goal of providing iPhone users an improved traffic service in the next couple of years. 

Regardless of your own privacy paranoia (my privacy threshold is pretty moderate, and even this story didn’t get that much under my skin), Apple may have not done itself any favors waiting a week to respond, as the imbroglio has only blown all out of proportion during the interim.

But the Apple PR team seems to consistently operate on at least a one-week delay, so no new news there.

And I still love their products, Orwellian or no.

But yes, I do chuckle when I think back to their commercial targeting IBM as the consummate Big Brother in Apple’s 1984 Superbowl TV spot.  I hope Ogilvy Vice Chairman and Chief Creative Officer Steve Hayden gets a laugh from it as well.

Steve was at Chiat-Day working for Apple in those days and guided the development of that classic commercial of Apple woman freeing humanity from the IBM corporate drones (although we much prefer the work Steve and Ogilvy did for IBM on our e-business campaign.)

Speaking of loving products, according to the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo is considering spinning out the engineering group responsible for Hadoop and has apparently been in talks with Benchmark Capital about forming a company.

IBM and Cloudera are already major Hadoop supporters, and considering that Yahoo was the Hadoop dance that brung us all, would say welcome (back?) to the Big Data Analytics party.

What with all that iPhone data being gathered, and all the various short, long, medium, large and other formats of the President Obama’s birther certificates, and all the variant ways the Donald is congratulating himself for having made the President, err, blink  — well, there’s going to be ample big data to analyze for years to come.

I just wonder if it will help lead us anywhere…anywhere but deep back into the folds of my couch.

Written by turbotodd

April 27, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Where I’ll Be And When I’ll Be There

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I’ve just told the whole world I’ll be in Viva Las Vegas from October 25-29 for the Information on Demand conference.

Actually, I’ve told all of you before in this blog.  But now, I’ve gone and told everybody on TripIt as well.

I’m still getting the hang of TripIt, but so far it’s pretty cool.

Honestly, I traveled so much earlier in the year I didn’t have an opportunity to stop by long enough to understand what it is or what it does.

I think it’ll grow on me.

Kind of like having Libyan President and Mohammar Qadafi growing into Donald Trump’s backyard at one of his properties in Bedford, N.Y.

Dude, are things so bad in Trumpland the Donald is having to rent out his backyard to the terriers?

This is a serious recession.

I didn’t realize “The Apprentice” had been hit so hard in the ratings.  Or was it the casinos?

In any case, I hope to play golf at one of the Donald’s courses someday. Hey, maybe he has one in Vegas!

As for getting back to the Information on Demand conference, Scott Laningham and I spoke recently with Anant Jhingran,who is the Chief Technology Officer of IBM’s Information Management group.

Anant debriefed us on all the cool cloud computing discussions that would be going on at the event, including the Cloud Unconference.

Only at an IBM event could it actually get cloudy in Vegas!

Me, I’m hoping for plenty of sunshine myself.

And remember, if I see you there in the Nevada desert, remember, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…that is, unless I write about it in this blog, in which case all bets are off…so to speak.

Written by turbotodd

September 23, 2009 at 6:41 pm

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