The Comunicano Communique for Friday March 4th 2016

 
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It's no surprise that this week the Amazon Echo is the darling of the news this week or that my pals at Telzio announced their start of integration with the Echo. Now we're seeing more and more reasons coming out about how voice is the next UI, of new line extensions to Echo. As someone who has been using the Echo since its beta stage, I've seen first hand how it makes my life easier. I'm turning lights on and off with the sound of my voice, ordering items from Amazon, scheduling an Uber. Over the summer while in Portugal, "Alexa" was keeping me abreast of the weather, the time and I was even able to stream Pandora due to the way Amazon has structured their network. The new additions to the line up are interesting, but what is really neat about the Echo platform is the voice control. If Amazon really opens up the Echo API, developers to include it in their apps, all of a sudden we may finally be free of the keys....Speaking of which, don't miss the API event of the summer in Las Vegas. "All About The API"......

 
 
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Voice: The Next UI Layer

Lately, I've been obsessed with the power of voice. Not voice as in self-expression (though important!), and not voice as in voice calls or - worse! - voicemail, but rather voice as the next major UI layer for software in the living room and beyond.
 
 

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Amazon's Echo Dot, Tap, Alexa equate to Amazon Everywhere strategy

Amazon is putting Alexa, the brains of Amazon Echo, in more places via the Tap and Echo Dot and now has formed a comprehensive smart home strategy that links up with e-commerce. The Echo was Amazon's surprise hit last year. Simply put, Echo has become the platform Amazon will use to jump further into the Internet of things.

 
 

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Amazon's Ingenious Plot to Take Over Your Living Room

When Amazon released the Echo in late 2014, people didn't quite know what to make of it. It looks like a speaker, but it listens to your voice, talks back, and can play songs, radio broadcasts, or podcasts on demand. It can also do some other, seemingly unrelated tasks, like telling jokes, checking your calendar, and buying stuff on Amazon.com.
 
 

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Meet tech's new odd couple: the CIO and CMO

When Akamai was laying the foundation for its digital business back in 2010, CMO Brad Rinklin had a relationship with IT, but it wasn't exclusive. Because the content delivery network provider had no CIO, Rinklin might call on IT for help tweaking a website or deploying a sales-enablement tool, but the marketing group often turned to cloud tools or outside service providers for the heavy lifting.
 
 

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Instagram starts blocking 'add me' deeplinking for Snapchat, Telegram

Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform Instagram is flexing its platform muscle by shutting down 'add me' deeplinking for some other social media services within its apps. Previously Instagram users were able to include 'add me'/'follow me' links in a website section on their profile page, directly linking out to any other profiles they had on third party social services' apps.
 
 

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Facebook Plans To Open Messenger To Publishers At F8 In April

Mobile messaging apps are usurping social networks as the shiny new platform through which publishers can distribute their content. Now Facebook is looking to join the fray with its own uber-popular messaging app. Facebook Messenger will soon let publishers distribute their content automatically through the social network's messaging service, according to three people familiar with the company's plans.
 
 

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Spotify becomes first music platform to integrate with Facebook Messenger

Music has arrived on Messenger. Facebook announced today that its mobile messaging platform now integrates with Spotify. The new feature, which is rolling out to iOS and Android users, is the first music integration for Facebook Messenger and allows people to share their Spotify songs or playlists directly within a chat box.

 
 

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Yahoo exploring sale of $1 billion-$3 billion in 'non-core assets': CFO

Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O) is exploring the sale of $1 billion to $3 billion in patents, property and other "non-core assets," its chief financial officer said on Thursday. Yahoo CFO Ken Goldman told the crowd at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference that a committee created to explore alternatives to the company's plan to spin off its core business is looking at quick sales of assets.

 
 

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B&N is Shutting Down One of Its Top Three Digital Blunders on 15 March

Barnes & Noble announced a slew of of closures on Thursday, including Nook Video, the UK Nook Store, and what had to have been one of B&N's greatest digital mistakes. B&N sent out an email on Thursday which informed users that the Nook's own branded app store was going away: Effective March 15, 2016, NOOK will no longer offer third party applications (Apps) for sale from the NOOK Store™.

 
 

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Life and death in the App Store

As last year began, the app developer Pixite held its company retreat at a converted Old West movie set outside of Palm Springs. They spent a few days dreaming about the future while eating barbecue and sipping whisky in the sun. But 2015 was not a good year, and by last month the company's dreams had narrowed to survival.
 
 

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The Comunicano Communique for Thursday March 3rd 2016

 
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Another Slice of Life Time....Yesterday local L.A. startup, Telzio announced details of their efforts that integrate their telephone service with the red the red-hot Amazon Echo. Seems their timing was spot-on as today Amazon has two new devices that are Echo focused. Check out pal Rich Tehrani's account on just how exciting what Telzio is doing is....On other fronts, Los Angeles folks will appreciate the flat rate Uber Eats delivery for $5.00 that starts today. As someone who has used Uber Eats the last few months, no service delivers better, faster or cheaper...Also, news about Virtual Reality, some business tips, and more...so read away..

 
 
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Telzio Customers Can Now Talk To Their Amazon Echo From Anywhere and Alexa, the Voice of The Echo, Talks Back

Telzio has announced the successful integration between its cloud­based, business grade Voice­Over­IP telephone service and the Amazon Echo. The Echo is Amazon's Internet of Things (IoT) speaker device that reacts to voice commands like answering questions, playing music and controlling other smart devices, and Telzio customers can now talk to their Echo from anywhere.

 
 

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Amazon's Echo Dot lets you put Alexa inside any speaker

Alexa, meet my friends Bang and Olufsen Amazon's newest hardware product might look like a compressed version of the tall Echo speaker, but its place in your home will likely be very different. Today the company unveiled Echo Dot, which is basically an Echo without the big speaker housing.
 
 

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Slack begins rolling out voice calls on Chrome and desktop

Voice calls are coming to Slack, and they begin rolling out in beta today. Testing will start in Slack's desktop apps and in Chrome. Someone with administrative privileges has to enable them, but once they're turned on, a phone icon should appear throughout the app, allowing anyone to start a call with a specific person or with a group.
 
 

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Now even your streaming TV and music will come in bundles like cable TV

"There's only two ways I know of to make money: Bundling and unbundling." That quote was uttered by Jim Barksdale, then CEO of Netscape just before the company launched one of the most successful IPOs of all time and ushered in the first dot com boom.
 
 

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Uber's GrubHub killer is finally in the US: The inside story on Uber's big bet on food

Ordering food from UberEATS used to be a limited experience. You had seven choices during the lunch hour, not the full restaurant menus you'd see on competitors like Seamless or Postmates. Uber offered just one salad, one sandwich, a juice, a pasta dish, or other entrees depending on the day.
 
 

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Uber now lets you avoid expense reports on business trips

Uber is making it easier for you to use its service for business. The company has launched an auto-expense feature that's part of your business profile. With this feature, you don't need to worry about paperwork - Uber will automate the process and send a ride receipt to your expense provider.
 
 

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Intel Eyes Augmented Reality Headset

Intel is reportedly developing an augmented reality headset based on the company's RealSense 3D technology. Citing anonymous sources, the Wall Street Journal suggested the California tech titan will compete with products like Google Glass and Microsoft HoloLens. Unlike virtual reality, which places the user into a computer-generated scene, augmented reality (or mixed reality) superimposes data onto the real world via a headset display.

 
 

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How to Stay Sane on a Business Trip

A specific condition afflicts business travelers: Call it hotel gloom, an amorphous melancholy that seems to thrive in the perfectly serviceable hotel rooms of the $200-a-night-and-under variety. Al Jackson has experienced it many times. Mr. Jackson, 38, a stand-up comedian who has been touring for more than a decade, has stayed in Red Roof Inns and Wyndham hotels across this land.
 
 

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2016 phishing trends report reveals new tricks, targets

Business Email Compromise (BEC) is the type of spear phishing attack that saw the biggest increase in 2015. Here are 3 ways that the report says companies make it easy for scammers to pose as executives: Posting full names, titles and email addresses for executive team members on company websites Posting personal names, email addresses, and direct numbers in accounting/billing contact information Using consistent schemes for email addressing How many of these does your company do?
 
 

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What Startup Accelerators Really Do

The well-advertised boom in startups and venture capital in recent years has coincided with the emergence of new players in startup ecosystems. One of these, startup accelerators, has received a great deal of attention but also little scrutiny. Moreover, they are commonly misunderstood or mistakenly lumped in with other institutions supporting early-stage startups, such as incubators, angel investors, and early-stage venture capitalists.
 
 

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Make Your Inbox Suck Less With These Tools

Make Your Inbox Suck Less With These Tools When was the last time you heard someone say, "I love cleaning out my inbox"? Exactly. But, since we can't live without email, we might as well make the process as optimized and painless as possible.
 
 

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The Comunicano Communique for Tuesday March 1st 2016

 
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Slice of Life Time....I penned a piece over on Medium.com all about home delivery services. It's a six minute read. As for news, we have some Google news. Some travel news. Some other news. Oh, and it turns out I'm on Business Rockstars today-prerecorded-so give a listen or watch it...as for the rest, well just read on..!!

 
 
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Home Delivery, Take 2

Living in Los Angeles means home delivery is a staple for me. I use or have used a combination of Amazon Fresh, Amazon Prime Now, Google Express, FedEx, UPS, the USPS, UberEats, DoorDash, Caviar, GrubHub, Postmates, and of course, direct from the pizzeria, pasta shop, and other restaurants.
 
 

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Google adds Virtual Reality section to Google Store; starts selling Cardboard compatible viewers in the US - Ausdroid

Google has been moving into the Virtual Reality space for a few years now, ever since Cardboard was announced as a throwaway at the end of Google I/O back in 2014. They've previously left the sales of devices, including the DIY Cardboard headsets to other manufacturers but now it seems you can buy them from Google themselves, at least in[Read More...]
 
 

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Google Self-Driving Car Hits A Bus In Los Angeles And It's At Fault: Here's What Happened

For Google, Feb. 14 is more than just Valentine's Day, as it also marks the first accident that one of the autonomous vehicles (AV) of the company caused. The accident involves a public transit bus and a self-driving Lexus RX450h SUV, and it occurred on El Camino Real near Google's hometown of Mountain View, California.
 
 

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Cord-Cutting Continues: Don't Believe the Early Q4 Hype

Early in this quarter's earnings season, some industry watchers questioned the cord-cutting narrative. But despite signs of a turnaround due to better-than-expected numbers from Comcast and Time Warner Cable, it's clear that the trend continues unabated now that the last of the big pay-TV providers reported their subscriber numbers this week.
 
 

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MLB star Mike Trout is using a smart bat at spring training

Major League Baseball players are once again shaking off the winter and hitting the field in warmer climates for spring training. But this year Los Angeles Angels centerfielder Mike Trout is using a high-tech bat to learn more about his swing.
 
 

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Wynn Las Vegas launches new mobile sports betting app

Wynn Las Vegas will officially launch a new mobile sports betting app today. The app was designed in partnership with technology company Miomni, and will be active for March Madness, the NCAA men's basketball tournament. The app will feature various types of wagers including straight bets, parlays and future books.
 
 

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Think leisure players aren't touching business travel, think again

The business travel community swings between denying any impact from Airbnb, Uber and the like, to worrying what to do about them. Yet there they were, at last week's Business Travel Show in London with Uber exhibiting for the first time alongside other newcomers to corporate travel such as Booking.com For Business.

 
 

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Facebook and Instagram Among Top Choices for Travel Marketing

Winter is almost over and with gas prices at their lowest levels in nearly a decade, retailers should be expecting to see a lot of travellers this spring and summer. This is great news for local retailers and travel brands, and now is the time to use internet marketing to get the most of the upcoming travel seasons.
 
 

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The complete guide to faking your own business-class upgrade

Flying business class on long flights has never been nicer, often featuring lie-flat seat-beds, large TVs, champagne, fancy meals, Japanese bidet toilets, and walk-up snack bars. Meanwhile, passengers in economy class are getting squeezed-literally, often 10 per row, in narrow seats with knee-crunching legroom and lousy food.
 
 

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The Messaging Landscape in 2016

The Messaging Landscape in 2016 There's a surge of excitement around messaging as a new platform and the idea of 'Conversational Commerce'. There are a number of great pieces and podcasts that have been published documenting and forecasting the new ways we will see messaging used in 2016.
 
 

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3 Red Flags to Avoid When Pitching Investors | Startups.co

Active investors sift through dozens of deals a week, and some hundreds a month. In order to find the gold, they need to quickly weed out the junk. The junk usually involves startups with any one of three red flags that deems the deal a "pass."
 
 

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Confessions Of A VC: Crap - Why I Passed On Uber's Seed Round

A version of this article previously appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Did I passed on Uber's seed round? No. It's worse than that. I never even bothered to listen to Travis' pitch, even though I was repeatedly offered the opportunity. I then passed on Uber's A Round as well, which I thought was valued too high, in light of the company's progress.
 
 

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The Comunicano Communique for Monday February 22nd 2016

 
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Mobile World Congress started today in Barcelona. Usually I attend that event but the past two years I've skipped in as it's not a "startup" event really. Those take part around the fringes of it. The big stories coming out of it and from around it are really focused on two key forward looking areas. 5G which is as much a land grab as the mobile world has ever seen with patent holding giants like Qualcomm, Ericsson, Nokia and InterDigital all engaged in massive chess games while companies like FaceBook, Apple and Google look at things very differently. And the other story is the Apple vs. The FBI encryptionwar that has to have every despot led country leader just chomping at the bit for the skeleton key to emerge. Hardware and devices, which normally get the noise are less visible but wait a day, for news at Mobile World Congress is like San Francisco weather. Ask me in a minute. All that and more in today's Communique...read on..!!

 
 
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5G Is a New Frontier for Mobile Carriers and Tech Companies

On the outskirts of this sleepy commuter town just south of London, plans are underway to build the fastest cellphone network in the world. The work is being done at the University of Surrey, where a leafy campus is dotted with rundown brutalist-style buildings.

 
 

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Facebook wants to do to 5G what it has already done to the datacenter

Facebook wants telecoms operators and manufacturers to work with it on open designs for the next generation of wireless networks. Facebook's users are increasingly sharing their cat photos, videos, and other updates over wireless rather than wired networks.

 
 

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Ericsson, Nokia offer contrasting timelines for 5G network upgrades

BARCELONA Ericsson (ERICb.ST), the world's top supplier of wireless equipment, said on Monday it expects 150 million users to be on next-generation 5G networks five years from now, steering clear of an industry debate over whether network upgrades could start far earlier.
 
 

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Dean Bubley's Disruptive Wireless: Google + GSMA announcement on RCS is no gamechanger

As widely hinted in recent months, GSMA has tried to re-animate the RCS corpse once more, this time with Google playing the role of Dr Frankenstein. My initial take: Its announcement this morning ( link) is a bit of a damp squib.
 
 

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Wireless's Future Belongs to VR and Cloud, Some Say

The "Extreme Submarine" is a colorful installation at the booth of South Korean telecom operator SK Telecom here at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
 
 

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How the U.S. Fights Encryption-and Also Helps Develop It

Agencies are developing encryption tools for secure communications, even as the FBI battles for access to an encrypted iPhone Researchers in London last year discovered an online jihadi handbook with instructions on sending encrypted instant messages that would be indecipherable to law enforcement.

 
 

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Amazon Echo As A Medical Device?

My initial impression of the Amazon Echo was that this is simply a Bluetooth speaker that looks like a portable humidifier with a little bit of artificial intelligence. The next thing I discovered is that the Echo always needs to be plugged in for it to work.
 
 

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96% of Australian hotels offering 'free' Wi-Fi

An industry wide survey of 3, 4 and 5 star hotels and serviced apartments by Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) has revealed that 96% of Australian hotels surveyed* offer some level of free Wi-Fi to guests.Tourism Accommodation Australia represents the interests of hotels, motels and serviced apartment
 
 

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Rogers customers reporting WiFi calling is now enabled on the iPhone

With the release of iOS 9 on September 16th, Rogers promised to launch WiFi calling, which was a long-awaited feature for iPhone users. However, upon updating the new OS customers were faced with errors when attempting to connect.
 
 

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Cable could be losing its grip on your set-top box

The Federal Communications Commission wants to liberate you from your cable company's set-top box. You probably didn't even realize you needed to be freed from this tyranny. But that's the message from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who is on a mission to make sure that consumers have choices when it comes to their set-top box.

 
 

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The Top 10 Equity Crowdfunding Campaigns of 2015 - Crowdfund Insider

Regulation A+ crowdfunding rules were released by the SEC in June of 2015, three years after these rules were initially introduced in the 2012 JOBS Act. The debut of the long-awaited regulations led to a flood of companies rushing to capitalize on this new method of funding.
 
 

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The Untold Casualties of the Drone War

Early one evening in November, Brandon Bryant, a former Air Force officer and perhaps the world's most famous drone program whistleblower, sits on the sofa in a Manhattan hotel suite, writing a letter to President Obama. A grey hoodie is pulled over his baseball cap, the sleeves half-covering a red dragon and Nordic tribal tattoos on his arms and hands.
 
 

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Journalists under threat, from within

Journalism is under threat from all sides. The last few years have been some of the most dangerous in history for journalists around the world; they have been killed, injured and detained in record numbers. But journalists are under threat from within as well, as some media companies seem content to eat their own.
 
 

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Blogging Ain't Sexy But It's A Marketing Workhorse

Blogging ain't sexy but it a rock-solid marketing workhorse. I recently got a pretty good lead from a company that I highlighted in a late-2014 blog post. In many ways, it was a much-needed shot in the arm about my commitment to blogging.
 
 

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Homer Simpson: Disruptive Innovator

On the May 15th broadcast of The Simpsons, Homer Simpson will be broadcast live for three minutes. It's not clear exactly what he'll say or do, but it will take place in real-time. More precisely, the actor who plays Homer, Dan Castellaneta, will be connected to motion-capture technology.
 
 

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8 Startups Changing How Payments Work

Join us in a city near you at Entrepreneur's Accelerate Your Business event series kicking off Feb 23. View cities and dates " Back in the day, making a payment as a business or a consumer was pretty straight-forward. You could pay by cash or check. Then came credit cards followed by debit cards.
 
 

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The Full Dataset on What VCs are Thinking About Funding in 2016 | Bothsides of the Table

Every year at Upfront we try to analyze the venture markets. We try to look at the sources of capital, the valuations, exits and trends. We use this try to draw some context that informs our funding decisions. Of course we fund companies in good markets and bad.
 
 

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The Sunday Paper Edition- The Comunicano Communique for January 31st 2016

 
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Happy Sunday.....Facebook is going to disrupt sports and entertainment as we know it.  Forget TMZ. Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood. ESPNs SportsCenter.

Facebook with live, streaming video is now a live new outlet for real time news, sports and entertainment. How are they a news outlet? First, with their move to Stadium, they have set themselves up as a news outlet in sports. By becoming a news outlet that affords them protection in the USA by the First Amendment.

Next with photos and now live video, and their ability to aggregate and share content, they are going to be able to use their massive audience delivery platform to be a NETWORK, just like FOX, ABC, the BBC, etc.

Third, their source material, at least in the USA can't be blocked, jammed or otherwise intercepted, thanks to the Communications Act of 1934 and 1996 with regard to unlawful intercept and blocking. That means all the money which stadium and arena operators have put into networking their venues so the "fan experience" is able to be one that's both "connected" and "socialized" also means they can't stop the content from leaving the building.

As someone who grew up in pro sports and entertainment, Facebook is going to really toss a monkey-wrench/spanner into the whole rights issues game as today, anyone with an iPhone with those sharp and clear add on lenses, a good seat at a game and a steady hand, a cool voice, and knowledge of the sport will be a net caster......

Next is Instagram, another Facebook property. It's become the engine of endorsement. Think commercials, but with the power in the hands of those with followers. Given the whole "never corders" as YipTV founder Mike Tribolet calls them, and their growing up digital without cable tv or landlines, Instagram + Facebook video will be how the sub 20 year old generation of today and tomorrow gets their news, shapes trends and defines "cool."

So if today's Communique has a "times are changing" or is all about "Changes", it's only fitting to bring some videos to the forefront about David Bowie, who was so much a driving force of change, not only in music, but as an icon for change in society.

David Bowie's passing touched many. As someone who grew up in the many phases and faces of David Bowie era from the 60's to today, to see and hear the comments and performances by so many stars is touching and endearing. I've been collecting these the past few weeks, and have been moved by the performances of Madonna, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Rick Wakeman and the comments of Jimmy Fallon. Having also seen all of the musical stars perform in their own right, it's always fun to watch and hear artists do cover versions of other artists material. Madonna's may not be safe for the children, or for some workplaces, but between hers and Elton's  and the Boss' comments about going down to Philly on "Greyhound bus" the historical impact of Bowie can't be better expressed....so kick back, and enjoy some good old fashioned "rock and roll" this Sunday morning.

Have a view on the news today? Please let me know what you think....Andy Abramson

 
 
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Expanding Live Video to More People-News From Facebook

In December, we started testing the ability for people to share live video on Facebook, and it has been inspiring to see all the ways that people have used Live to connect with their friends and family. Today, we're excited to expand the ability to share live video to everyone in the U.S.

 
 

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How Instagram Changed the Celeb Crush

My back is turned, and I'm probably 12 years old, so the only thing I can imagine them doing is some sort of tight-lipped smooching. Maybe his hands are resting heavily on her shoulders. I'm resigned to my empty little corner of what must be a bed or a couch when I feel Joey's hand reach over and pinch my butt.
 
 

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Techiest Super Bowl ever: Silicon Valley's stadium girds for the big game

Levi's Stadium is one of the most high-powered venues in sports. On Super Bowl Sunday, we'll see if its network can handle the data-storm caused by throngs of smartphone-wielding fanatics.
 
 

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Media Trends in 2016: Why I'll Be Watching the Underdog

Forecasting the future is usually a fool's errand - especially in a fast-changing industry like media. But I recently recruited two brave colleagues to make their 2016 predictions for a new internal GE podcast, Marketing Decoded, and I loved our conversation so much, I wanted to share it.
 
 

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The Best TV is Korean TV: A Guide to Awesome K-dramas

Game of Thrones isn't on, you've finished Orange Is The New Black, and fall TV hasn't kicked in yet. You need something to get obsessed with. Allow me to suggest a Korean drama, or K-drama, as they're called.
 
 

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Jimmy Fallon Pays Tribute to David Bowie

Jimmy takes a moment to remember legendary entertainer David Bowie.
 
 

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Madonna's Tribute To David Bowie

Houston, Texas, January 12, 2016.
 
 

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Elton John Tribute to David Bowie

Private concert at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles Jan 13, 2016 to promote his new LP Wonderful Crazy Night. Elton describing hearing Bowie's 'Space Oddity' for the first time and his desire to have the same producers work with him in the early days.
 
 

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Bruce Springsteen: David Bowie Tribute (Pittsburgh)

Opening night of The River Tour 2016. Bruce performs Rebel Rebel as a tribute to David Bowie. Instagram: dustinjohns Twitter: dustinjohns
 
 

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Rick Wakeman's Tribute To David Bowie - Life On Mars

Rick Wakeman, pianist on the original Life On Mars, performs the song at Radio 2's piano in memory of David Bowie.
 
 

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Obama Pledges $4 Billion to Computer Science in US Schools

President Obama today pledged $4 billion in funding for computer science education in the nation's schools.
 
 

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The worst thing about driving is about to change

If you drive out to visit Disney's Epcot center in Orlando, Florida, you will arrive at one of the biggest parking lots in America. With room for 12,000 cars, it sprawls out over 7 million square feet-about the size of 122 football fields.
 
 

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Amazon's rent-a-Buddhist-monk service causes controversy in Japan

YACHIYO, Japan - In Japan, where communal ties to local Buddhist temples are fading, families have in recent years been able to go online to find a Buddhist monk to perform funerals and other rituals.
 
 

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Five Leadership Tips During Executive Turnover

This week hasn't been short on major corporate changes. On Sunday night, Twitter announced that four senior executives are leaving the company. It's the biggest leadership shakeup since CEO Jack Dorsey took over in order to breathe life back into the social media company.
 
 

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The Comunicano Communique for Thursday January 28th, 2016

 
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Check out today's stories.......lots of good reading that's thought provoking. And not ONE about the Trump-Fox feud. You can read that everywhere else.  Lots of really well written pieces on a variety of subjects that are relevant to many of you in different ways. Start Up? Got a few. Growing a business.. Yup there's some. Tools? Sure got 'em. What's coming up from the big players? They're there...and much, much more...so have a read, over coffee--yes, that's included.

Have a view on the news today? Please let me know what you think....Andy Abramson

 
 
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F.C.C. Proposes Changes in Set-Top Box Market

WASHINGTON - The cable set-top box, long a scourge of consumers and a moneymaker for cable companies, appears set for a makeover. The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday announced a proposal that would make it much easier for subscribers of cable and satellite television to pick the boxes they use to watch programming.
 
 

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Aussie startup signs US deal worth up to $100 million

Chief executive and co-founder of Unlockd Matt Berriman in New York. Photo: Adam Lerner A Melbourne startup which offers a "freemium​" ad supported phone plan has signed a deal with Boost Mobile in the United States which it expects to be worth over $100 million in revenue.
 
 

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(Un)folding a virtual journey with Google Cardboard

A year and a half ago we introduced Google Cardboard, a simple cardboard viewer that anyone can use to experience mobile virtual reality (VR). With just Cardboard and the smartphone in your pocket, you can travel to faraway places and visit imagined worlds.
 
 

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Google reveals Cardboard virtual reality numbers, and VR films are the surprise winner

Just one day after we highlighted Google's apparent interest in creating virtual reality hardware, the company came out on Wednesday to refocus attention on Google Cardboard by revealing some numbers around its adoption rate.
 
 

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Mexico is having the grown-up conversation about marijuana that every country should have

Mexican lawmakers this week launched a national debate on a topic that officials around the world have been struggling to address: marijuana legalization. Over the next three weeks, the Mexican Congress is holding a series of public hearings (link in Spanish) on whether and how to regulate marijuana.
 
 

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Apple likely to debut iPad Air 3 at March event; new Apple Watch models revealed

Apple is planning to introduce new iPad hardware at an event in mid-March, according to sources, with the most likely device being a new iPad Air. This new iPad with a 9.7-inch screen, presumably to be called the "iPad Air 3," will be launched alongside the a new 4-inch iPhone known as the " iPhone 5se" and a series of new Apple Watch models.
 
 

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Siri, Alexa and Other Virtual Assistants Put to the Test

WHEN I asked Alexa earlier this week who was playing in the Super Bowl, she responded, somewhat monotonously, " Super Bowl 49's winner is New England Patriots." "Come on, that's last year's Super Bowl," I said. "Even I can do better than that." At the time, I was actually alone in my living room.
 
 

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New cloud storage options for Office mobile and Office Online - Office Blogs

Today, we're making Office even easier for customers to use with cloud storage providers by adding real-time co-authoring with Office Online for documents stored in partner cloud services, extending our Office for iOS integration to all partners in the CSPP, and enabling integration between Outlook.com and cloud storage providers Dropbox and Box.
 
 

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Box, Dropbox users can now edit Office documents together in real time

Business users who rely on cloud storage providers like Dropbox and Box now have some improved tools in their collaboration arsenal, thanks to a set of integrations that Microsoft announced Wednesday. Starting Wednesday, Office Online users can work in real time on documents, spreadsheets and presentations shared inside Box, Dropbox, Citrix ShareFile and Egnyte.
 
 

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Why are the elderly ignored by the tech industry?

The tech industry needs to stop being so dunderheaded about technology for the elderly. For the past decade, the industry has been laser-focused on transforming life and work for one rocketing market segment: 25-year-olds with money. It has routinely avoided, underestimated or remained ignorant about the world's other rocketing market segment: old people and the family members who take care of them.
 
 

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The end of app stores as we know them - Inside Intercom

Uber isn't just killing the taxi industry. Its relentless approach to distribution and scale is also putting a nail in the coffin of app stores. Smart companies like Uber are rewriting the app distribution rulebook. Instead of being a bland icon lost amongst millions of others,... Read more
 
 

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The Other Kind of Traction You Need to Get Funded

One of the earliest lessons a new VC learns is about building consensus within a firm. No matter what the voting structure is in your partnership, I think every VC can think of a deal that they got completely excited about, only to have the deal crash and burn when they showed it to the rest of their team.
 
 

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Coffee may not be as bad for your heart as you might think

Drinking coffee regularly does not cause the heart to beat more, a new study has found. The findings go against previous studies which suggested that drinking coffee raises the heart rate, and have prompted the research team to call for clinical recommendations against caffeine to be reconsidered.
 
 

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Food Testing Start-Up Looks to Stand Out With a New Wrinkle

Nothing unnerves consumers more and drives them away from a restaurant, food or beverage faster than a flurry of headlines about people being sickened by dreaded bacteria like E. coli or listeria. Just ask Chipotle Mexican Grill, which has been scrambling to recover from a multistate E.
 
 

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Every Imaginable Damn Startup Podcast Reviewed

As a long-distance commuter, I listen to a LOT of podcasts. And given the explosion in podcasts on tech startups, it's hard to keep track of them all. There really isn't a good discovery source, although Product Hunt and The Podcast Wire come closest. So here's the survey we've been missing.
 
 

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The Comunicano Communique for Monday January 25th 2016

 
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It's still a bit cold in Miami, and I'm off shortly to head to Fort Lauderdale for IT Expo and to catch up with the VoIP/WebRTC and Video crowd. On Wednesday I'm moderating a panel at 10, and then racing to catch my noon flight back to the west coast....Today though the news story thread is more about DISRUPTION. It's hitting all industries so take the time to read these gems....Oh, and don't forget to catch me onBusiness Rockstars later today at 145 PM PST/445 PM EST. I've found a few gems of apps and web sites tailored just for people like you...

Have a view on the news today? Please let me know what you think....Andy Abramson

 
 
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Facebook friends are fake friends, according to a study

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Why I've Shifted More Attention to Facebook | Bothsides of the Table

I've been spending a lot more time on Facebook as a blogger than I ever did. So I thought it was worth explaining why. And I'm going to cross post this entire post on Facebook as an experiment rather than just posting a link on FB and trying to drive people to my blog.
 
 

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Spotify's video streaming service set to launch this week

Spotify seems ready to move past streaming music and embrace video as well. Just as rumored before, the company wants to offer video content as well and the new product will reportedly roll out later this week with a heavy focus on mobile.
 
 

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iPass partners with Panasonic Avionics to offer inflight wifi on 23 airlines

Jan. 22 2015: iPass Inc. (NASDAQ: IPAS), the world's largest Wi-Fi network, today announced an agreement with Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) to bring inflight Internet access to iPass customers on 23 international airlines. Under terms of the agreement, iPass, which provides convenient, secure, always-on Wi-Fi connectivity on any mobile device, will be available on over 747 Panasonic-equipped aircraft that fly over 32,000 routes monthly.

 
 

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Why Big Companies Keep Getting Disrupted

Clayton Christensen's book "The Innovator's Dilemma" was published nearly 20 years ago, and companies continue to fall prey to nimble competitors. Anshu​ Sharma, a venture capitalist, thinks he knows why so many businesses that should have all the resources required to build the next big thing so often fail to.
 
 

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CES 2016 and the Evolution of Conferences as Global Media Platforms

Over 170,000 people attended the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this month, including 50,000 international visitors. CES 2016 marked somewhat of a transition year for the overall positioning of the conference. The discussion on the trade show floor transcended the individual technology products and services to themes about how technology will impact every facet of our daily lives.
 
 

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Daimler CEO says Apple, Google making progress on car: Welt am Sonntag

FRANKFURT Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche told German weekly Welt am Sonntag that a recent trip to Silicon Valley revealed that Apple and Google have made more progress on automotive projects than he had assumed Several carmakers and silicon valley companies are working on developing a self-driving car.
 
 

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Bleisure is going mainstream: Airbnb business travel study

Airbnb has unveiled some of the top trends that show how "bleisure" is going mainstream for business travelers in 2016, and highlighting top destinations and travel habits.
 
 

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Corporate digital transformation, Telefonica style

 
  Few sectors weathered the economic crisis like the telecoms industry. Reminding those fortunate enough to escape unscathed of the potential pitfalls that come with being unprepared. Some commentators put the unwavering resilience down to a reduction in prices, which, driven by regulation and competition was already being done before the downturn.  
 

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2016 will be the year of conversational commerce

Nearly a year ago today, I wrote a post inventorying the forebears to what I believe has become the dominant trend of consumer computing apps in 2016, a trend that I dubbed Conversational Commerce and have tracked with the hashtag #ConvComm.
 
 

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The Sunday Edition of the Comunicano Communique for January 24th 2016

 
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Hello from COLD and CHILLY MiamiYou read right. Cold and Chilly. It's only 46 degrees, and I'm staying INSIDE. The Marathon is running outdoors, but before the race began you could feel the chill in the air. Today's top story has to be the winter storm that is wrecking havoc all along the east coast, messing up transportation this weekend and potentially impacting travelers to this week's IT Expo in Fort Lauderdale....You've heard of rain outs in baseball and games getting called because of rain. Well here's one in hockey. The Islanders and Flyers game in Brooklyn was cancelled, DUE TO SNOW. 

Ooops . I did it again. I proved YOU CAN make phone calls on Wi-Fi equipped airliners.

Have a view on the news today? Please let me know what you think....Andy Abramson

 
 
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Calling from 35,000 Feet Using Switch and Fly-Fi on Jet Blue

JetBlue just became my favorite airline.....I'm flying my way to Fort Lauderdale and next week's IT Expo when I decided to try something that back in 2008, along with now Wall Street Journal Tech Reporter, Joanna Stern, caused quite a stir with AirCell and the GoGo team.
 
 

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Battered by East Coast Snowstorm, Cities Face Digging Out

The day after a blizzard covered New York City with more than 30 inches of snow in some parts, grappling with its sheer volume was the next order of business. At 7 a.m. on Sunday a travel ban imposed by New York State and city officials on Saturday afternoon was lifted.
 
 

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Flyers-Islanders game postponed due to storm

Posted: Saturday, January 23, 2016, 10:55 AM NEW YORK -- The Flyers' scheduled game against the New York Islanders Saturday night at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn has been postponed. No makeup date was immeditely announced, but the team planned to go through with its morning skate at 11:30 a.m.
 
 

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Shaquille O'Neal surprises Florida teens, officer with game of basketball | Fox News

A former NBA superstar surprised a Florida police officer and a group of teenagers days after the officer was captured on video responding to a call of children playing basketball too loudly in the street and instead of breaking up the game, the officer joined them.
 
 

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Amazon brings personalized sports updates, movie theater details to Echo - GeekWire

Updates to Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant are coming in thick and fast, with Jeopardy! showing up on the Echo smart speaker last week and the ability to start your car coming in the future. This week, Amazon announced a couple entertainment-related abilities coming to the Echo.
 
 

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LinkNYC's free Wi-Fi could threaten cellular carriers with Passpoint roaming, speedy connections

As Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and others work to bolster their cellular networks in the heart of the Big Apple, they are now facing another competitor: New York City, which this week began offering public access to its small but growing network of LinkNYC-branded public Wi-Fi hotspots.
 
 

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Google's free Wi-Fi launched at Mumbai Central Station

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu Friday launched a free high-speed public Wi-Fi service in collaboration with technology giant Google at Mumbai Central, the first station in the country to get such facility. Terming the facility as "world class", Prabhu said around 100 busiest stations across the country will be brought under the free public Wi-Fi service by this year-end, making it the world's largest such project.
 
 

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How Facebook's Plan To Give The World Free Mobile Internet Went So Wrong

On a Tuesday afternoon in May 2010, a Facebook program manager named Sid Murlidhar published a blog post announcing "another way for people to access Facebook anytime, anywhere." It was called 0.Facebook, literally a URL you could type into your mobile phone's browser that called up a stripped-down, quick-loading, text-only version of Facebook - accessible only as long as you were using a participating mobile operator.
 
 

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FreeBee Data - Verizon's Sponsored Data Service is Out

Verizon, the largest mobile operator in the US has unveiled its own version of Sponsored Data service, dubbed FreeBee Data, joining the likes of T-Mobile and AT&T. FreeBee Data will help businesses drive better engagement with mobile content, said Verizon. The service will be offered in two models, FreeBee Data 360 and FreeBee Data.
 
 

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Live messaging is the future of online sales, says Grabble app boss

Daniel Murray, co-founder of Grabble, an online shopping app dubbed the 'tinder for fashion', predicts 2016 will be the year for personalised services such as instant messaging for the 'busy or bored'. Grabble, an iPhone app that lets people browse the latest collections from fashion retailers such as ASOS and Zara, launched in 2014.
 
 

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Dubai unveiling for Scots carbon fibre wheelchair

A SCOTTISH business is to demonstrate a revolutionary new wheelchair at a leading Arab health exhibition in Dubai this week that it hopes will drive its exports in a key international health market.
 
 

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Certify Releases its Third Annual SpendSmart™ Report on Current Business Travel Spending TrendsCertify Press Release

 
  Certify Releases its Third Annual SpendSmart™ Report on Current Business Travel Spending Trends PORTLAND, MAINE, January 21, 2015-Certify, a leading cloud-based travel and expense management software provider, today announced the results of its third annual SpendSmart™ report for the fourth quarter and full year 2015.  
 

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CEO Advice from a New CEO - The Biz Stone Collection

Usually advice for new CEOs comes from those who have made a career for themselves out of those three letters. I'm new to this particular C-Job having taken it on officially when Ben and I founded Jelly. I felt the time was right after working alongside CEOs over the last fifteen years or more.
 
 

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This is how we will say goodbye to the rock-and-roll generation

It was one of those waves. David Bowie died on a Sunday. Seven days later, it was Dale "Buffin" Griffin from Mott the Hoople and proto-rapper Clarence "Blowfly" Reid. Then Glenn Frey of the Eagles the day after that. And here's the thing about waves: Some are bigger than others, but they never stop coming.
 
 

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On Wine. A tragedy.

On wine. A Tragedy I'm a wine insider. I've met, or known, most of the big names in wine today; and from time to time, have had the honor to collaborate with them. I run a large-ish conference about wine communications.
 
 

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The Comunicano Communique-The Sunday Paper Edition for January 17th 2016

 
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Sunday is the day I look more for the non-news articles and stories that make you think. Learn. Discover. Sure I toss in the occasional "fact" based news story but Sunday's are lazy days. Lean back. Relax.

So today you're going to find what I call "The Sunday Paper."

Back when I was a kid on Sundays, I would race downstairs for the Philadelphia Inquirer, pull the sports section for Dad, kill off the classified sections (want ads, car ads, for sale ads) rummage through the inserted circulars then give those to mom, and take the rest of the paper upstairs to read. News. Entertainment. Society. After I got through the news sections (National, Local, Community) dad and I would trade sections. I got the sports, he got the news,  and by 930 am on a Sunday I was done and out the door. That's the idea of these stories, plus something new.  Interesting web sites for you to know about....

Have a view on the news today? Please let me know what you think....Andy Abramson

 
 

SITES YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT

I love MUSIC. For me, music is all about discovery. Back in the day of the "Sunday Paper" I would pull the circulars from Korvetts, Sam Goody and Peaches, figure out who had which new album the cheapest, and convince dad to drive to the store so I could score the latest LP. That was then. Today, we have iTunes, Pandora and Spotify and unless you want some vintage vinyl, or an out of print CD, you likely never go to the record store..

Likely, if you're a music junkie you know about SoundCloud. But do you know aboutBandCamp? Are you tuned in to the best DJ's from around the world on Mixcloud? These are just two sites that are where what's really happening in music is taking shape.

 
 
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My Phone Notifications Took Over My Life. So I Turned Them All Off.

This story is part of a 10-piece series for which HuffPost staffers agreed to experiment with improving their health and decreasing their stress on the job. It's also part of our monthlong "Work Well" initiative focusing on thriving in the workplace . Notifications: Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.
 
 

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Why Entrepreneurs Shouldn't Waste Time On Personal Branding

Back in 1997, marketing guru Tom Peters wrote in Fast Company, "We are CEOs of our own companies: Me, Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You." At the time, this struck me as liberating. In 2016, it doesn't.
 
 

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The 11 digital tools I use every week as Head of Product

User research and usability testing + UX TawiPay is a start-up on its way to the product-market fit, developing a comparison platform for international money transfer services. Our target users are expatriates, migrants, international students, etc. As Head of Product, one of my key role is to understand our users and to translate their needs into an easy-to-use and highly valuable product.
 
 

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Among U.S. airlines, WiFi offered on 78% of available seat miles: Travel Weekly

U.S. airlines continue to lead the world in in-flight WiFi coverage. Meanwhile, carriers throughout the globe are making connectivity in the sky more common. So says the Annual Global State of In-Flight WiFi report, authored by Routehappy, which ranks flight amenities worldwide.
 
 

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Accenture points to uneasy consumer IoT adoption - Rethink IoT

It looks like there will be a difficult few years ahead for consumer-focused IoT products. Accenture's Digital Consumer Survey polled 28,000 consumers in 28 countries about their use of consumer tech, and found that the declining demand for smartphones, tablets and laptops would not be offset by the rise in consumer IoT devices - as the next generation of devices will not initially grow quickly enough to replace the losses in today's consumer tech.
 
 

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The New York Library has just released a treasure trove of incredible archive images to the Internet

Searching for a 14th Century manuscript for a school report? How about an old baseball photo for your stash of sports memorabilia? You might try the New York Public Library's Digital Collections. Recently, the library made more than 187,000 digitized, public-domain items more easily accessible in the highest resolution available.
 
 

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How Snapchat is getting serious about advertising

Snapchat wants to get serious about advertising-and it's looking for some much needed help. The media company wants to build ad technology to automate its ad sales, and as part of the effort, Snapchat is looking at possible ad tech acquisitions to help bolster its in-house team, according to multiple sources.
 
 

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10 Fast-Growing B2B Startups That Might Just Transform Your Business This Year

As each new year begins, businesses search for ways to be more productive and successful than ever. Often this means rethinking processes and either adding resources or streamlining existing resources to save money. For many it can also mean finding new business partners to help them grow.
 
 

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Tenacity

One of the things I admire most in companies and their leaders is tenacity. I don't mean sticking with a failed idea for too long. That is a mistake I see a lot of entrepreneurs make in the Seed and Series A stages. That does nobody any good.
 
 

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6 Machine Learning, AI, Analytics Trends To Watch - InformationWeek

Big data and analytics are set for a big 2016, as more devices and types of software are connected and exchange information. Here are some considerations for businesses as they look to maximize the value of all this data.
 
 

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26 great people spearheading change in tech investment

Weary of waiting for change in the tech industry, these impatient instigators are making changes to what receives investment. Research shows diversity is good for business - take your pick from Harvard Business Review , Scientific American , McKinsey & Company and many more. Yet fundamental change in any industry can take time.
 
 

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Jarich: Crowdsourced trends in telecom for 2016

Congratulations! It's just about mid-January, which means you made it safely through the holiday season, survived CES (if you went) and endured countless 2016 predictions pieces. This year, I held off on putting out my own predictions for a simple reason: I know a bunch of people who can do a better job than I can.
 
 

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The Quick & Dirty: The Anti-Trends for 2016 or "Enough is Enough"

I really wasn't going to do this piece: the standard trends piece for the new year. Last year I wrote about the distractions we can do without in 2015, and this year I decided to stay out of the game of predicting anything for 2016.
 
 

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USA's Best and Worst Tippers: American Tipping Habits

Last November, I spent the month in Europe traveling to some of the continent's most famous cities. Besides googling the normal amount of words like bathroom, check, wine, please and thank you in whichever foreign language needed at the time, I also searched for that country's tipping etiquette.

 
 

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The Comunicano Communique for Wednesday January 13th 2016

 
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OOOH is today a news junkies kind of day. Lots of facts, thoughts, insight on many parts of the Internet online, connected and engaged economy. We'll start off with two events you need to know about. First is Google I/O and the second is Mobile Sunday at Mobile World Congress. Both are always high volume, major networking and lots of learning events, even if the learning is simply who you need to deal with this year. Moving on, you have some news stories and features that go deeper into what's going on...so READ ON.

Have a view on the news today? Please let me know what you think....Andy Abramson

 
 
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Google's I/O 2016 conference announced for May 18th-20th

Google CEO Sundar Pichai just announced that the company's annual I/O developer's conference has been scheduled for May 18th through the 20th. The venue this year is a bit different than last time; it's Mountain View's own Shoreline Ampitheatre. In a tweet, Pichai said this will bring Google's major event back "to neighborhood where it all started 10 yrs ago."
 
 

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Get ready, Barcelona: Tech.eu is co-organising Mobile Sunday this year; mark 21 February on your calendar 

We're psyched to partner with Rudy De Waele, a veteran of the mobile industry if there ever was one, to co-organise the next edition of Mobile Sunday. Mobile Sunday is a high-level networking event that happens annually on the evening before the Mobile World Congress and 4YFN Conference madness starts in Barcelona.

 
 

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Dean Bubley's Disruptive Wireless: VoLTE & WiFi-Calling are just excuses for telcos to avoid real voice/video innovation

 
  Five years ago, I started talking about the Future of Voice, and then subsequently started running workshops with Martin Geddes on the topic. At the time, I found it quite hard to find the right people at telcos/service providers to talk to.  
 

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Why The Next Generation of Online Video Companies Will be Vertical | Bothsides of the Table

Mitu Network is the largest digital media company for Latinos in the US and also targeting Mexico and South America. Founded in Los Angeles by Latinos to address the growing demand for short-form online video for Millennials it is probably single-handedly improving the diversity of the tech industry as the employee base is overwhelmingly Latino and proud.
 
 

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VLC Now Available for Apple TV: Our First Impressions

VLC is now available for the Apple TV. Just like every other version of VLC, the Apple TV version aims to play video files and streams in "their native formats without conversions". Felix Kühne, lead iOS developer for VLC, writes on his blog: Today, we are proud to announce VLC on the Apple TV.
 
 

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How China's Huawei is taking on Samsung and Apple

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei posted an eye-popping 70% growth in 2015. It is now beating HTC and Sony when it comes to market share in Europe and is third only to Apple and Samsung when it comes to global smartphone sales.
 
 

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IoT Data Traffic Growth: As many machines as people roaming by 2020

Machina Research estimates that there are now 350 million cellular based connections worldwide, and this will grow to 1.3 billion over the next five years. However, the proportion of M2M connections accounted for by roaming is growing even faster. As a global provider of roaming services including billing and clearing to network operators, Starhome Mach is...
 
 

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Banks need to become Lords of Data
 
 

I have a range of technologies I use, but get frustrated with them all. My Apple Watch is redundant, as is my Microsoft Surface, and I upgrade laptop and desktop every 18 months or so, largely to keep up with the demand for speed and reliability.

 
 

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Verizon Accused of Routing Millions of IP Addresses for Cybercriminals

US network operator Verizon Communications is routing over 4 million IP addresses that are currently in the hands of cybercriminals, researchers at The Spamhaus Project reveal. Spammers have been acquiring large ranges of IP addresses over the past few years to serve their nefarious purposes, as they can defeat spam filters by spreading sending patterns across a wide range of IP addresses.

 
 

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Introducing Uber Trip Experiences

Today we're excited to announce the launch a new developer feature called Uber Trip Experiences which connects riders with their favorite apps while they're on an Uber trip. Now developers can offer users of their apps new ways to enjoy themselves -- or get stuff done -- while they're on the road.
 
 

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How to Fight Back Against Revenge Porn

"Screenshot everything." That's attorney Carrie Goldberg's first piece of advice to victims of nonconsensual pornography, also known as revenge porn. Goldberg serves on the board of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative ( CCRI) and as a volunteer attorney for the organization's End Revenge Porn ( ERP) initiative.
 
 

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The Deadline to Register Your Drone Is Approaching; Here's How to Do It

The days of flying your drone through the sky moments after ripping it from the box, completely carefree and beyond the reach of Big Brother are coming to an end. Drones have become one of the hottest new technologies, part toy, part tool-they were one of the hottest holiday gifts this year, and garnered plenty of coverage at CES.
 
 

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3 Helpful Online Advertising Tools

Like it or not, Paid Search strategies can quickly turn into a game of out maneuvering your opponent. Which is why the team at TopRank Marketing is always integrating online advertising into digital marketing programs with a focus on out messaging, out strategizing and out bidding our client's competitors.
 
 

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HookLogic's Most Popular Search Terms of 2015

HookLogic, headed by CEO Jonathan Opdyke (pictured left), has released an overview of the most searched terms on its network of ecommerce sites in 2015. This is in contrast to Google's most searched lists that don't mention the household consumer products-or even computers-that are on the HL list.
 
 

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