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

Posts Tagged ‘yahoo

A Mobile Summary

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I’m going to have to start naming this “Mobile Monday.”

Because on Mondays, it seems like there’s always something of import to occur within the mobile space.

I guess one could say that for every other day of the week, and maybe it just seems more notable to me on Mondays.

In today’s case, it was Yahoo’s announced acquisition of Summly, a mobile app that has a unique algorithm which helps summarize news stories and which was started by a 15 year-old programmer, Nick D’Alosio.  The Summly took Apple’s “Best Apps of 2012” award for Intuitive Touch capability.

So of course the first thing that will happen post acquisition is that the app will be REMOVED from the App Store starting today.

Does that seem counterintuitive or is it just me?

Kid writes app, app receives a gazillion downloads, Yahoo buys app, makes kid rich, Yahoo removes app from App Store.

Only in the tech industry.

The idea, of course, being that someday soon the capabilities of Summly will find themselves embedded in other Yahoo apps.  Yeah, and I’ve got some great swamp land in south Florida that I’d like to show you.

Turbo recently shelled out a little over a hundred bucks for the daskeyboard Professional Model S. This keyboard features Mac-specific functions such as media controls, brightness controls, command and alt/option keys, eject and clear keys. The Professional Model S for Mac is “plug and play” with your Mac computer and updated to also include media controls.

Turbo recently shelled out a little over a hundred bucks for the daskeyboard Professional Model S. This keyboard features Mac-specific functions such as media controls, brightness controls, command and alt/option keys, eject and clear keys. The Professional Model S for Mac is “plug and play” with Mac computers and updated to also include media controls.

On the topic of mobile, nobody’s ever really created a good mobile Bluetooth keyboard that’s portable and, preferably, folds up…and I’ve tried just about all of them…Kickstarter, anyone?

But I am VERY happy with my new daskeyboard keyboard, which I’m going to tell you all about now.

When I’m working at home, it’s like hearing a machine gun emanating from my office (They don’t call me Turbo for nothin’, and it mostly had to do with my typing speed…How else would you expect me to be able to generate all these blog posts!?)

I saw daskeyboards for the first time last year at SXSW, but I was able to contain my credit card.  This year, I decided to jump in headfirst.

With a discount, I was able to get the daskeyboard Pro Model S for about $100, and though that might seem like a lot for a keyboard, when you spend as much time every day in front of a computer as I do, it seemed like a pretty good investment at the time — and that turned out to be the case.

Remember those original IBM AT and XT (and later, PS/2) computers where you could use those clickety-clack Model M keyboards? Well, daskeyboard has reinvented that PC keyboarding past, and you can now go clickety-clack at 90 words per minute with the lightest, softest, but clickiest touch you can imagine.

Only this time, you can do it on both Macs and PCs, and you can do it all in black.

Written by turbotodd

March 25, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Do You Yahoo?

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Here’s the question of the day: Do you Yahoo?

And my answer is…yeah, well, sure, but only when I’m in the office.

Because, you know, and we all know, that a cubicle farm is the perfect venue by which to instigate and channel creativity and innovation.

Just ask Dilbert. He’s been stuck in that cartoon cubicle for nearly 20 years, and he’s doing just fine.

I’m referring, of course, tongue in cheekly, to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s new edict that all Yahoo employees must come back to work in the mother ship and that there will no longer be telecommuters.

In her memo, Mayer wrote that “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home.”

To which I would ask, “Show me the money.”

I’ve spent the better part of the last two decades working at IBM, and I would say that my career has been about evenly split: Half in an office, half working from home.

Upon reflection, I’m not sure I could say there was more productivity or innovation that could be attributed to working from one location or another.

While I’m not discounting the serendipitous opportunities for mixing it up that can come through working in a physical office with colleagues, I can attest as well that it can have the opposite effect — too many interruptions, too many meetings, too much lost productivity.

For me, work is a state of mind and being, not a location. It’s something that I do, not a place that I go.

The technologies that IBM and others have built have eliminated the perceived need for constant physical proximity.  Using IBM Notes, Sametime, and Connections our world is one big virtual office, with more than enough software capability to bind us together in a seamless fabric, one that increasingly transcends both space and time.

And perhaps that’s another key difference.

In a global company like IBM, we typically work daily with people from around the world.  But I can’t wake up Monday morning and decide I need to drop by the office in Bangalore. That’s typically a 20+ hour journey from Texas, and as far as commutes go, that would probably be on the outer boundaries of long commutes!

But I can virtually stop by Bangalore daily, chatting with colleagues via instant messaging, or at minimum exchanging emails or posts in our internal IBM Connections platform.

The Wall Street Journal’s AllThingsD columnist Kara Swisher writes on this topic this morning, with the headline “Despite Yahoo Ban, Most Tech Companies Support Work-From-Home for Employees.”

She calls out IBM in particular, citing that “IBM was one of the first global companies to pioneer programs to reduce employee commuting. It has sustained these programs for nearly two decades. Two key aspects are its (a) work-at-home program and (b) mobile employees program. Today, more than 128,000 (29 percent) of employees globally participate in one of these programs. In 2011, in just the U.S. alone, IBM’s work-at-home program conserved approximately 6.4 million gallons of fuel and avoided more than 50,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions.”

To that point, I figure in the 10+ years I’ve been working remotely, I’ve probably saved close to $20,000 in gasoline and auto maintenance costs.

I’ve also been spared the agony and utter un-productivity of wasted time spent in traffic. That’s at least another 500 hours saved over ten years, time that I can either give back to myself or, as is often the case, back to IBM.

Of course, I recognize Yahoo is also an exceptional case at the moment.

Marissa Mayer is trying to turn a culture around that has been stagnating, and through this announcement she will no doubt drive people away from the company that the company may well be better off without.

On the other hand, I’m not sure wrangling the herd of Yahoo cats back to the home ranch is going to serve as the needed combustible recipe that puts the innovative spark back in the Yahoo innovation engine.

In a year or two down the road…and I mean that quite literally…I can’t help but think the answer to that wonderful, brand-promised question: “Do you Yahoo?”

The answer’s going to increasingly be, “I used to, but I just got sick and tired of the commute.”

Written by turbotodd

February 26, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Just A Random Thursday

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Boy, there’s lots of stuff going on this first week of January 2012.

News stuff.  Business stuff.  Economics stuff.  Even politic stuff, which I’ve already addressed in the form of the Iowa Caucuses twice this week.

So here’s some of the business news that seemed worthy of highlighting:

U.S.car sales ended with a strong year, and a particularly strong December.  Chrysler’s sales rose 26% for the year, Ford’s 11%, and GM’s 13%.

“You Push The Button, We Do The Rest.” Eastman Kodak is on the verge of filing for bankruptcy protection. Reports suggest they’re trying to stay afloat by selling off parts of their patent portfolio, but Chapter 11 looms in the distant. I feel a new song brewing: “Di-gi-tal smoked the silver-halide…”

Yahoo’s got a new boss.  But is the new boss the same as the old boss? EBay exec Scott Thompson, which currently runs eBay’s PayPal group, has been hired to bring Yahoo out of its financial blues.  My recommendation: The way out is through the data, Sensei.

Netflix is makin’ content with the owner of the Bada Bada Bing!  Steven Van Zandt comes back to Gangster life in “Lily Hammer,” this time as a NYC mobster relocated to Lillehammer, Norway. Get it? Lily…Hammer?  I’m guilty as charged, I watched the Web preview and laughed my tush off. Tune in Feb 6.

Beautiful music is being made, bought and sold online, more than ever.  Nielsen SoundScan reports sales of complete albums reached 330.6 million last year, with a majority of music now being sold and distributed online (vs. Physical distribution via CDs, etc.). British R&B artist Adele led the way, with her “21” selling some 5.82 million copies. So, please, don’t stop the music!

The American worker is getting back to work.  Less folks filed for unemployment benefits in the United States last week, even as the private sector added a smokin’ 325,000 jobs in December, according to ADP’s monthly hiring report. Still, unemployment was expected to tick up to 8.7% for the month of December, especially with continued weakness in manufacturing and construction.

Mark Cuban and Jason Calacanis in the same room? Well, maybe not in the same room, but they have helped social CRM startup Nimble raise $1M in funding. Nimble CEO views Nimble as a “combination Hootsuite, Yammer, and Salesforce,” allowing Nimble users to authenticate into Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google and ultimately connect contacts, calendars, and communications.  Sign me up — just so long as I don’t have to appear in a reality TV show with Cuban.

Okay, that’s enough for now.  I have to go make some money for the IBM company.

Do You Yahoo!?

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Remind me never to get fired by Yahoo!.

CEO Carol Bartz was fired by Yahoo!’s board chairman overnight.  They fired her via the phone.


Bartz also sent out an email, from her iPad, to the Yahoo! troops, telling them, and the world, that she was fired via the phone.

To all,

I am very sad to tell you that I’ve just been fired over the phone by Yahoo’s Chairman of the Board. It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward.


Hey, at least they didn’t break up with her via Yahoo! Messenger.

Oh, that’s right, nobody uses Yahoo! Messenger anymore — that would have been kinda difficult!

I dunno, aside from being downright rude, firing someone in this day and age via telephone seems kind of primitive, especially for a technology company like Yahoo!

Couldn’t they have used a Google Hangout or something to deliver the news pseudo face to face?  Kind of like that character in the George Clooney movie, who fires people via videocast.

“Good morning, Carol, have a seat.”

“I’m already seated, thank you.”

“You’re fired.”

“Oh, thank Heavens. I thought it was something horrible, like you wanted us to merge with MySpace.”

I’m thinking even carrier pigeon might have been more suitable. It’s a more personal touch — oh look, this nice pigeon just showed up on my front stoop!   You know, for when you care enough to send the very best — and you don’t want to hear any protestations about the firing.

Hey, I’ll cut the Yahoo! chairman a little slack — delivering bad news is never easy, no matter how you deliver it.

But judging from the reaction, there’s not been a lot of love lost in Yahooville.

The latest ratings for Bartz on Glassdoor by Yahooligans show about a 33% approval rating, a long, double black diamond downhill slide from 90% when she first joined the company in 2009.

Reminds me of the marketing campaign Bartz launched after she joined the company, the slogan of which was “It’s you!”

Apparently, it wasn’t.

Written by turbotodd

September 7, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Where Am I?

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Whoa there, Nelly!

Rumor mill has it Yahoo is considering a purchase of location-based marketing darling Foursquare for a mere $100M buckaroonis.

That’s certainly one way for Foursquare to lose its way in the digital wilderness.

Let’s be real: Yahoo doesn’t exactly have a glowing record of effective acquisition integration.

Of course, that raises Texas-based location service competitor Gowalla’s stock in trade.

Then again, both Gowalla and Foursquare should probably get theirs while the gettin’s good.

One major move by Facebook in the mobile location arena and you can watch that oxygen leave the bubble faster than Tiger Woods flees a post-Masters press conference this week in Augusta.

(Sterling performance yesterday, BTW, Tig..now, get out on the golf course and show us you can actually still play golf.)

Me, I’m still not telling anybody where I am in the world using these services.  While I’m sure they’re good for something, I have enough trouble keeping up with my location without advertising it to the world.

And quite honestly, I see too many opportunities for social etiquette snafus, never mind all the privacy issues I’ve raised previously.

“Oh, no, you mean, we were BOTH at the SAME bar at the same time and we COMPLETELY missed one another?? How could technology POSSIBLY have failed us so?!”

John Battelle writes it’s a “demo” thing (as in “demography”).

May be.

But I still maintain the only person in the world who needs to know where I am is me.  And I don’t need an Internet service to tell me that.

At least not yet.

Written by turbotodd

April 7, 2010 at 4:42 pm

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