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Alexa Gets More Talkative

The official title of the Amazon Science blog is "Alexa gets better at predicting customers’ goals," but you should read this as, "The Turing test is not for machines to pass, but for humans to fail." Continue Reading →

The Future of Mac

Apple's new MacBook Pro 13, MacBook Air, and Mac mini look awesome, as awesome as anything I've ever seen from Apple. One more thing: don't buy them... yet. Continue Reading →
Amazon
In a statement published Tuesday, the European Commission said it took issue with Amazon using independent sellers’ data to benefit its own retail business. It also announced a second formal investigation into Amazon’s e-commerce processes. Should Amazon be able to analyze data it gathers from its vast number of third-party sellers to help it create Continue Reading →

Check Your Ballot Status

Vote
If you voted by mail, you can Google "check ballot status." Google is doing a pretty good job of surfacing the correct local links to this query. There is no central voter database, so I put the links for every state I could find here. Continue Reading →

Who Are You on Zoom?

Bad Backlight
By now, you’ve Zoomed with ’em all: The guy who looks like an unmade bed and never looks at the camera. “Backlight guy” who thinks you can see his amazing back yard, but all you see is his dark silhouette against the blinding light coming through the window. The would-be influencer who stares straight into her webcam, pushes out her chin and slightly clocks her shoulders until she’s ready for her close-up. The bald guy (whose head you know like the back of your hand) who, unfortunately, never looks up at the camera. The “check out my awesome greenscreen background" person. And, of course, the motion sickness–inducing “selfie rover.” By now, you’ve Zoomed with ’em all, and they’ve all Zoomed with you. Continue Reading →
Blue Disco Ball
With outsourcing becoming a necessity, it is more important than ever to understand the role of a vendor versus the role of a solutions provider. When is it a good idea to reach out to a vendor, and when are you better off retaining a solutions provider to help you achieve your objectives? Wait. Every vendor says they're a solutions provider. OK. Let's say that's true. (Which it isn't, BTW.) Are you set up to leverage that resource? Continue Reading →
Blue Disco Ball
A vice president at a very large company just sent me a purchase order for a "blue disco ball." That's my metaphoric name for a specific kind of middle management error that most vendors, suppliers and even solutions providers love most. What is a "blue disco ball?" It's every senior executive's worst nightmare and every vendor's holiday bonus all rolled into a budget-busting good time. Continue Reading →
Uber Lyft
A California appeals court said Thursday that the companies must reclassify their drivers as employees rather than independent contractors, affirming an earlier court decision. The ruling marks a significant development in a months-long legal fight between the ride-hailing companies and the state of California. Continue Reading →

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