The Comunicano Daily for Wednesday December 31 2013-End of The Year Edition

 
 
 
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As the year ends, we can both look back and look forward. The New York Time's John Markoff who has made a career looking at the Internet and Silicon Valley has a well balanced look at where the Internet is going in today's New York Times. Om Malik presents a wonderful counterattack (as did John Gruber over at Daring Fireball) on the Quartz post of last week that said 2013 was a lost year in tech...its created quite a stir as has the YCombinator founder Paul Graham/The Information tizzie which ValleyWag fueled ....what a way to end the year.
With controversy in the media.....Now On To The News.

 
 

 
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Viewing Where the Internet Goes

Will 2014 be the year that the Internet is reined in? When Edward J. Snowden, the disaffected National Security Agency contract employee, purloined tens of thousands of classified documents from computers around the world, his actions - and their still-reverberating consequences - heightened international pressure to control the network that has increasingly become the world's stage.

 
 

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No question the Internet of things will be front and center. GigaOm has a few stories today pointing out why the topic will be so hot and heavy

 

 
 

 
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What’s ahead for the internet of things: Our CES preview podcast

Next week at this time my colleague and co-host Kevin Tofel will be fighting the hordes at the Consumer Electronics Show and reporting back on the cool widgets and gadgets that he finds.

 
 

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PTC cozies up to the industrial internet of things, picks up ThingWorx for $112 million

The companies that build out the internet of things won't just be making connected door knobs: they'll also be cranking out all kinds of hardware and software for industrial applications like factories and assembly plants. With that market in mind, PTC agreed Monday to buy ThingWorx, a maker for software development tools, for $112 million.

 
 

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Being the CEO of an all virtual agency tells me that creating a model of no office required over 20 years ago makes me a pioneer in the sector of remote working. When I read the story below out of Toronto I couldn't help by think just how far ahead of the curve my agency is when it comes to doing things that big business considers complex.

 
 

 
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In the search for savings, the workplace gets an overhaul

The fifth floor of Manulife Financial Corp.'s stately headquarters on Toronto's Bloor Street East sat empty during a recent tour, the workers having vacated about a week earlier. The traditional offices on the periphery of the floor, in many different sizes and configurations, are destined to become a relic of the past.

 
 

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A flat management approach for Zappos where people have no titles and no hierarchy sounds like open source hacker management to me. 

 
 

 
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Zappos is going holacratic: no job titles, no managers, no hierarchy

Zappos is known for its zany corporate culture. The company's Q4 "All Hands" meeting in November was aptly-themed "Gone Wild": one female employee voluntarily climbed into a case filled with tarantulas to win a $250 gift card. The event opened with a Lion King performance put on by employees at the Smith Center in downtown Las Vegas...

 
 

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Apple has had Chiat Day as their creative agency for many years. Could a new hire mean a change is in the wind after 30 years or more? 

 
 

 
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The man behind NYT Magazine's gorgeous covers is headed to Apple

You may not know the name Arem Duplessis, but you've no doubt seen his work on the cover of The New York Times Magazine in the past 10 years. As design director at NYT Mag, he crafted some of the most stunning work in the publication's history -- examples seen above -- and he's just been hired away from his decade-long post.

 
 

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Our own Ritch Blasi, who leads Comunicano's Mobile and Wireless efforts has been a busy boy of late. Beyond booking meetings like there's no tomorrow at CES, he's been engaging online in conversations with LightReading's Sarah Reedy about her views on WiFi being the new network. 

 
 

 
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Is WiFi the New It Network?

 

WiFi is no longer the pitch hitter for when cellular isn't doing its job. In fact, several startups are banking on it being the preferred network for enough people to build a business on. Republic Wireless and Scratch Wireless are two of those companies. Both are wholesaling Sprint Corp.

 

 
 

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Verizon acquired Terremark a few years back and has moved things to the cloud. AT&T and others are all doing the same thing to counter the threat of Amazon and Rackspace. Here's why Verizon is so bullish. 

 
 

 
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Verizon: Major Apps Move Cloud-ward in 2014

Expect to see leading brand-name enterprise apps become more cloud-based in 2014 as cloud services do a better job of securely supporting hybrid cloud environments that give enterprises more confidence to move more core apps into the cloud, a top Verizon Terremark executive is predicting.

 
 

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Being international the last two months tells me alot about our broadband infrastructure in the USA. But the USA is a massive land mass, and that means a lot compared to say Portugal and a population of 10 million in a country the size of one of the USA's states. Still, the wireless experience and the in ground experiences I'm seeing globally do make me think the USA is falling behind even with our LTE leadership. 

 
 

 
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U.S. Struggles to Keep Pace in Delivering Broadband Service

 

San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States, a progressive and economically vibrant metropolis of 1.4 million people sprawled across south-central Texas. But the speed of its Internet service is no match for the Latvian capital, Riga, a city of 700,000 on the Baltic Sea.

 

 
 

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BlackBerry is starting to mount their comeback campaign. Time will tell. One thing's for sure, they are pushing their QNX group and that's a smart move.

 

 
 

 
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BlackBerry: The way forward

Jin Lee | Bloomberg | Getty Images I'm surrounded by a talented team of industry leaders, including our new leaders for enterprise, corporate development and strategic planning, and marketing. In the coming weeks, I'll continue to build out my leadership team with those who have the skills and passion to get BlackBerry back on the path to profitability.

 
 

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Why Successful People Never Bring Smartphones Into Meetings

Do you check your phone for text messages or emails during business meetings? According to new research from the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business, you are probably annoying your boss and colleagues. Furthermore, the research indicates that older professionals and those with higher incomes are far more likely [...]

 
 

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Last story is Om Malik's rebuutal to Quartz. It's a great dose of reality.

 
 

 
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Dear Quartz, maybe it's you that needs new glasses and a map. 2013 was not a lost year for tech

The Atlantic's sister publication, Quartz (QZ) yesterday published a provocative piece under the headline - 2013 was a lost year for tech. It was a good way to boost attention, but it also highlights a trend of looking at technology from a narrow lens of consumer-tech.

 
 

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As the year ends, I have to say thanks. Thanks to great clients who take our guidance and let us do what we do best. Thanks to the influencers whom without your willingness to listen to what we have to say we wouldn't have an audience for our clients, and most of all thank you to the entire Comunicano team, past and present. Without all of you none of this would be possible. 

Personally I also have to thank the pilots, train conductors, taxi drivers, limo drivers, chefs, cooks, hotel chambermaids, hotel managers and staff and all the online service providers we use like TripIt.

This past year I accomplished what I set out to do, cutting my travel down by almost 1/3rd. Instead of 266 days on the road it was only 189. But I covered more distance 140,189 miles vs. 122,000 in 2012. I visited only 9 countries vs. 13 and only 57 cities vs. 82.  That meant I was spending more time in fewer places, and establishing better and deeper ties and friendships. And at the end of the day, that's what really matters.

Happy New Year!!!

 

 

 


 

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The Comunicano Daily for Monday December 30 2013

 
 
 
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Over the weekend I was joined by a group of ex-pats and fellow global nomads whom pal Craig Walker of UberConference introduced me to. It started with an email, led to a Skype call, then we used email, Twitter and iMessaging to coordinate meeting up, all finalized by a web service restaurant reservation and a Google Calendar item to lock in the details. What was so interesting to see was the complete devotion to Apple and iOS by everyone, a fact that became evident when all of our phones were running low on battery power by dinner time on Saturday night.


But it was at the wine and cheese party here at my rented villa last night that clearly revealed more to me than all the research money could buy.

For starters the kids all under 12 were already iPhone and app centric.  They also were after a while asking for their iPhones and iPad that were in the car. The adults, who hail from Toluca Lake just north of Los Angeles, were accutely aware of the need for unlocked phones, swapping SIM's as you cross borders and even the recent lowering of roaming rates. They are also very much web/app services centric, further giving evidence to the declining need for a laptop when on the go.

Most importantly, we are all connected now more than we were when Craig first made the introduction, and distance won't keep us from staying in touch, even after they all go back to the Med port of Puerto de Santo Maria just near the combined USA-Spain Naval facility, ROTA. Between WhatsApp, iMessage, Twitter, Facebook and Email the photos, directions and notes over the past few weeks were all simply communicated, without skipping a beat.

Oh, and for my friend who was using both a locked iPhone and a loaner Android Nexus 3 from me, we used WhatsApp and iMessage--to stay in touch and all the time, were very connected...and rarely even inside our email accounts to keep in touch. 

On that subject,  I've been using Mailstrom from David Troy out of Baltimore for some time, and am getting greater control of my INBOXes. The goal to always be at Inbox zero is nice and now some tips may help you get there too...after that...ON TO THE NEWS.

 
 

 
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Mission: Inbox zero (and 5 ways to accomplish it)

Before the year winds down and New Year's resolutions begin to pile up, many of us look at our email inboxes. Depending on the number of messages there, you either feel a sense of accomplishment or a deep sense of dread.

 
 

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As a frequent visitor to the City of Light, Paris, I'm a regular user of both Uber and SnapCar, just like I use Hailo in London and a few other places. Well I'm not pleased by the decision to make customers of Uber and other on demand car services now have to wait 15 minutes for a pick up. Or at least I wasn't until I thought this through. In Paris if I have the restaurant or hotel call me a cab I get charged from the time the cab responds to the call--from wherever they may be...With UBER or SnapCar the patron is charged from the time they get into the limo or cab. What's more, this may finally move Uber into the scheduled ride market where you simply say "I need a cab in 15 minutes" and then they assign that to a driver. They'll also be able to plot and pair up drivers more efficiently. And that's all because they'll have the data.

 
 

 
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Uber, LeCab And Others Now Have To Wait 15 Minutes Before Picking You Up In France

At first, it was just an idea, but this bill is now very real - urban transportation services like Uber and LeCab will now have to wait 15 minutes in France before letting a customer in the car. Back in October, the French government mentioned this piece of legislation as these new services would hurt traditional cab drivers.

 
 

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We see CMO, CTO, CIO now the new title will be CDO-Chief Data Officer. 

 
 

 
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The Chief Data Officer: An executive whose time has come

 

I often ask people whether they know what Netflix, Harrah's, Amazon and Wal-Mart have in common? The answer is pretty simple. They use data analytics to leave their competitors in the dust. Many other businesses are trying to do the same, spending millions of dollars on data software.

 

 
 

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Differening views on Facebook came out over the weekend. One report leaked to TechCrunch shows their growth, while another shows defection by teens. Which is right? I think it doesn't matter. Facebook evolves like brands of the past. They know they don't want to be another AOL so they have to change what they deliver. As for teens finding other ways to communicate, it's the same old situation. The don't want to be driving their parents car any more than using their parents services. Watch Facebook develop a product simply better aimed at that generation and then provide them the ability to grow up.

 
 

 
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Facebook's Cutesy Annual Report To Partners Reveals First Country-By-Country Mobile Stats

TechCrunch has obtained never before published metrics showing Facebook's international growth. Facebook sent some partners a playfully illustrated eMagazine called The Annual, but I've acquired a copy from a source and the stats inside are serious business. The report divulges user counts for some key international markets like Germany, which now has 25 million users, and 18 million mobile users.

 
 

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Facebook 'dead and buried to teens', research finds

Facebook is 'dead and buried' to older teenagers, an extensive European study has found, as the key age group moves on to Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and Snapchat.

 
 

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The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reports on the Connected Car and what Google's Android team is doing with Audi. This likely will be a hot topic at CES next week in Las Vegas....If you're going to be there let us know. Our team's SVP of Mobile and Wireless Ritch Blasi and I will be there.... 

 
 

 
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The ultimate mobile device? Why yes, that would be your car.

Technology giants Google Inc. and Apple Inc. are about to expand their battle for digital supremacy to a new front: the automobile. Next week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Google and German auto maker Audi AG plan to announce that they are working together to develop in-car entertainment and information systems that are based on Google's Android software, people familiar with the matter said.

 
 

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I've been using a Google ChromeBook back home as my "other" computer, especially when I'm living in Google Apps land or simply working without the need for Microsoft Office. For starters it lowers the total cost of ownership because for under $400 I can put someone on the team and give them a Google Apps account for $50.00 a year. Compared to a Mac and Office that's an $800 savings from the start. Well, it seems others are thinking the same way as both ComputerWorld and DaringFireball's John Grube weigh in.

 
 

 
 

Daring Fireball: Chromebook Sales vs. Web Traffic Share

 
 

 

Daring Fireball's stats are clearly not representative of the general public, and surely vastly under-represent Chrome OS, but for what it's worth, Google Analytics puts Chrome OS at 0.08 percent of visits in the last 30 days. Also worth noting: iOS nipped past Mac OS X for the first time that I've noticed, 41.62 to 41.10 percent.)

 

 
 

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With the year coming to an end eyes look forward. In this case we have to look towards what may be coming from ISPs with broadband and mobile network services. LTE is changing mobile, and faster fixed mobile services will come into play. Living here the last ten days or so in Cascais my broadband is fed to the hotel/villa property via fixed wireless from TMN-Portugal Telecom's mobile arm. Previously it came from Vodafone. Same speeds and great service and only a few hops to the main backbone and across the water. Things will be changing in the USA too...take a peek.

 
 

 
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How US Internet service might get better-and worse-in 2014

2013, like just about every year before it, was the year nearly all of us complained about our Internet service. "It's too slow!" we said. "Too expensive!" And we were generally right, as a study by the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute found that US consumers pay more for slower service than counterparts in other countries.

 
 

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What to expect from mobile networks in 2014: The 4G car, LTE Broadcast and small cells

 

2013 was largely a year of entrenchment in the U.S. mobile industry. Carriers expanded their 4G footprints geographically and added new capacity to meet the demands of an increasing number of LTE devices. But in 2014, we're going to see carriers get a bit more experimental with their networks and their services.

 

 
 

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With more crowdfunding coming as a result of the Jobs Act, you can expect to see more startups. Here are ten reasons why.

 
 

 
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A New Era For Entrepreneurs And Startups Has Begun

Since the recent recession, and at least partially sparked by it, I'm seeing a real resurgence of entrepreneurial spirit, and more startup activity than ever before. I believe the days of the "job work" mentality are thankfully waning, with more people looking to get satisfaction by making the world a better place, rather than just tolerating brain-numbing work to fund enjoyment elsewhere.

 
 

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For Some Santa Didn't Come

There's a lot of anger and animosity being directed to online e-tailers like Amazon and the delivery companies, UPS and FedEx for not getting the presents to their intended recipients on time. I'll take a contrarian's view point and applaud the logistical giants one and all for doing the right thing. Sure, many children and adults were dissapointed, but when the thoughts of what else may have happened race through my mind, the crisis counselor in me says that UPS and FedEx made the right decisions.

So what if presents arrive a few days late...Better a day late that than not at all in my book.

Let's start with UPS and Fed Ex, both companies which are often under appreciated, clearly made the right moves in not having drivers and warehouse staff, many who already were working overtime hours and extra days not deliver on Christmas Day. Not only did it make for good fiscal sense for the companies, as the overtime would have been directly impacting their bottom lines, but what has been overlooked by many is the health and welfare of the drivers-who also need the day off.

They want and often need to be with their families so by not forcing the drivers to work the companies didn't wreck the plans they made, or give their families a less than happy holiday. Now imagine if the overtimed and overtired drivers got into a fatal accident because the public wanted their packages on Xmas eve. Those are big trucks, and an already overworked person driving around in holiday traffic in any size vehicle is a danger on our roads. So, yes,  call the decisionmakers at FedEx and UPS over cautious. But don't call them callous because some presents didn't arrive. There's a certain point where not changing plans makes sense and this was one of those examples as so far we haven't heard of a UPS or FedEx driver overturning a vehicle racing to make sure the presents were delivered on time..

As for Amazon-beyond the apologies and the credits the reality is they are migrating to their own delivery companies to augment what UPS and FedEx do. In some cases its great, but in other cases it's just so so...

As for what can be done...well, part of the problem lands at the feet of the online retailers. Last minute sales, lead to unanticipated demand on the logistics companies. There's only so much room on airplanes and in trucks for so many packages. Add in offers of free shipping, gift wrapping (added weight, space) and you start to see how even the best run companies at figuring out how to get the box from point A to point B can underestimate.

People also have the whole year to shop and ship...but being procrastinators simply means waiting until the last minute likely leads to a problem for some. I can see all kinds of things coming from this.

1. More local pick up by Amazon as their predictive delivery knowledge increases

2. Tiered delivery service costs-if you really want it delivered, you'll pay a premium after a certain date. Call it the procrastinators tax.

3. A return to physical retail. Expect the big box stores to get better at competing, targeting offers and having products actually on hand, or close enough to be picked up.

4. The rise of the local suppliers. 

Like anyone, I get upset when something expected isn't delivered on time, but in this case, level headed thinking outweighs the emotional angst that the buying public feels. I for one would rather get the present later versus finding out that a case of wine was damaged in an overturned truck that killed two people because I had to have my wine before Xmas...sorry. The welfare of the drivers and the welfare of the public trumps personal need and as long as the wine isn't damaged, or can be replaced, why should I care...(In my case I asked wine shippers to hold off shipping until after Xmas....)


The Comunicano Daily for December 4 2013

 
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The past week has been a blur. Coming off the holiday weekend which because I'm in Australia and a day ahead meant a six day weekend and that really piled things up. Conference calls using a combination of Calliflower, Voxeet, UberConference, GoToMeeting, WebEx and Skype. Lots of social media. Calls at 4 AM on Google Hangouts to recap the TADS Summit for this week's VUC weekly session, plus reading, writing has meant one thing. I needed to stay connected. A MiFi with a GigSky SIM, a phone with Truphone, plus a back up local SIM from OPTUS. Google Voice ringing everything, honestly, other than the 19 hour time difference, I haven't felt that far away.

And that's the way we're able to work. As a global nomad staying connected has become a game for me. Will I have strong enough WiFi or a wired connection in my hotel. Is 4G going to cut it? Will they block my UC provider Simple Signal? Will Skype work? When it does...as it has from the moment I landed in Bangkok until now...so staying connected, no problem. Sleeping normal..well that's another story...Now..on to the news.

 

 
 

 
 

 

Long time pal Ian Rogers keeps turning out the hits. Ian, who knows music and technology better than anyone I know recently took the helm at Beats Music. Their new service will take on Pandora, Spotify and iTunes so watch them do more than the others, as Ian's inside the industry approach and past successes (we helped him launch MediaCode that was acquired quickly by Yahoo) will mean, he's surely got the beat bopping along.

 

 

 

 
 

 
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Beats Music Streaming Service Launches January 2014, Fires Up Username Reservations

The new Beats Music streaming music service will launch January 2014, according to CEO Ian Rogers. The service also launched a ' name claiming' site today that lets you snag a primo username early. The project has been in private alpha for a while under the code-name Project Daisy, and has been garnering some heated attention.

 
 

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There is no question texting and messaging are big. How big? Well the stats don't lie.

 

 
 

 
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87% of American Teenagers Send Text Messages Each Month

We all know teens are glued to their cellphones. New data from the Family Online Safety Institute shows which mobile activities are keeping them hooked. Text messaging is the most popular activity, which 87% of teens have done in the past 30 days.

 
 

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Being at the TADS Summit and ITU Telecom World two weeks ago showed me how much telecom and mobile is expanding in the Far East, Middle East and Africa. And the Dark Continent is seeing explosive growth.

 

 
 

 
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African mobile penetration hits 80% (and is growing faster than anywhere else)

We tend to have certain paradigms about the "developed world" and the "developing world." Including, of course, media-fed images of Africa as a place of almost irredeemable poverty, deprivation, and pain. Many of our paradigms are, of course, illusions.

 
 

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Former Skype partner in the UK, THREE has struck back on International Roaming, creating a program where going away is the same as staying home. And they added the USA. Now when my friends in the UK visit they can take their THREE phone and use it here just as if they were there. Sounds alot like the Truphone Zone to me.

 

 
 

 
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Great Roaming Rip-off takes another hit as U.K.'s Three axes premiums for U.S. trips

In a thoroughly consumer-friendly move that challenges its rivals, the British mobile operator Three has effectively eliminated all its roaming premiums for customers traveling to the United States. Three has form in this arena.

 
 

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Speaking of Truphone. The company's first foray into sports marketing brought their brand of innovation to the Caterham FI team. Truphone delivered a Converged Operator Service solution that brought together Truphone's brand of global mobile service with Caterham's own VoIP provider so their team could always stay connected.

 

 

 

 
 

 
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Caterham F1 cuts its phone bill as 2014 season beckons

F1 team Caterham is looking to squeeze every penny of value out of its IT services as it refocuses its effort on major rule changes coming into force next season. As one of Formula One's newest teams, Caterham was able to start with a clean slate when it was first accepted onto the grid in 2010, with no legacy IT to deal with.

 
 

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GigaOm's Kevin Tofel, who can claim to be the second to last person I ever had a Philly Cheese Steak wid (Philly folks will get the local foodie humor) picked up on client Gigsky and their global roaming data SIM that lets you buy just what you need, where you need it just in time for the holiday travel season.

 

 
 

 
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Roaming the world on holiday? GigSky, a global SIM card, wants to travel with you

It's amazing that we can use a private company to put satellites into space, yet international roaming with a smartphone, tablet or laptop is still such a hassle. I thought about this recently as some friends are planning to travel abroad this holiday season and they asked me what their options are.

 
 

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UK based Lyca Mobile is adding more countries. As an internationally focused MVNO, Lyca's main focus is on the pre-paid traveler and immigrant markets.

 

 

 

 
 

 
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Lycamobile Group targets eight new markets by Feb-14; Italian unit replaces H3G with Vodafone

UK-based mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Lycamobile has reportedly identified eight further markets in which it hopes to launch by February 2014, including Canada and unspecified countries across Latin America and Asia. Lycamobile, which generated sales of more than EUR1 billion (USD1.35 billion) in FY2012/13, currently claims a global MVNO base of more than 30 million users.

 
 

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Just like in the USA, where stolen phones are a problem,  in the UK OFCOM and the operators are working together to create a database that stops stolen phones from being usable while also attacking roaming fees........

 

 
 

 
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UK mobile networks agree to £50 charges cap on stolen phones, work towards eliminating roaming fees

Four of the UK's largest mobile phone networks have agreed to change some of the rules around pricing and contracts in a bid to reduce the charges that arise when roaming abroad or if a device is lost or stolen.

 
 

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Long time friends and clients, Alon Cohen and Ari Rabban should be smiling. The duo behind rapidly growing Phone.com just scored their first patent, where they have brought some of their technology wizardy to SMS.

 

 

 

 
 

 
 

Phone.com earns first patent with innovative SMS capability - CIOL

 
 

Phone.com earns first patent with innovative SMS capability - CIOL

 
 

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IMS. All I'll say is it's about time someone pronounced it dead.

 

 
 

 
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The Death of IMS and the Rise of the Internet

RIP IMS If you haven't read Chad's break up, then you should. It is touching. And true. And the comments on it are great. We've had a ball at the Expo event, but that last day got me pissed off - it was the service providers track, with many of its vendors suggesting their IMS systems should be hooked up to WebRTC in order to save it.

 
 

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If you have a need for speed you're not in the majority. At least that's what the major broadband providers are claiming. I bet Google has something else to say.

 

 
 

 
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Why Comcast and other cable ISPs aren't selling you gigabit Internet

Gigabit-class broadband is capturing the imagination of Internet users throughout the country. With Google and other companies bringing fiber-based services that deliver a gigabit of data each second to the home, communities are accelerating their push to get the highest speeds.

 
 

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On the Googlewatch front. Over in London they have created an open "campus" that is attracting all kinds of new business starting types, bringing them into the Google Ecosystem in what is known as the Hub.

 

 

 

 
 

 
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After 20 Months Google's Campus London Hub Has 22,000 Members, So Where Next?

Opened in April 2012, Campus London, Google's East London 'startup hub' was something of a new departure for Google. It was taking out a ten year lease of a building which would be populated by co-working spaces, hackers and startups that Google had nothing to do with and Google would not have a stake it in.

 
 

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Video is still in the news..and people are using it. Taking part in a global Hangout today that was offering amazing quality, even on my iPad Air, only tells me it's not that far away from being mainstream...

 

 

 

 
 

 
 

Ubiquitous business video calling: Are we ready for our close-up?

 
 

With video conferencing unshackled from the confines of the expensive, high-end telepresence room, enterprises are exploring a wider swath of video options -- like desktop video calling and managed or cloud-based video services that could improve their businesses. The arrival of more accessible video endpoints is removing one of the final barriers to every conferencing vendor's dream: ubiquitous business video calling.

 
 

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And that's where WebRTC comes in...

 

 

 

 
 

 
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Three Things to Take Away from WebRTC Conference & Expo Santa Clara

Last week was the third rendition of the WebRTC Conference & Expo, and it covered a range of topics from business implementations and applications to more technical aspects like signaling and the WebRTC data channel. There was also a lot of discussion about the current state of the IETF movement to decide on a video codec standard for WebRTC, mainly between H.264 and VP8.

 
 

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And now, two stories to get you thinking....

 

 

 

 
 

 
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When building a company, it's the destination, not the journey

Platitudes are a dangerous way to build a company. What passes today as start-up wisdom can be attractive, even seductive to new entrepreneurs. We have witnessed the creation of a sub-industry of how-to advice on creating the next tech blockbuster.

 
 

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Financing 100,000 Entrepreneurs

This kind of expansion means hundreds of thousands more cars must come onto the Uber system. So, in true Uber fashion, we're finding innovative ways to power billions of dollars in car purchases.

 
 

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The 2011 Comunicano Wine Company "Single A Cuvee"

I now know how my winemaker friends feel as they wait to see just how a wine they have made tastes after it has been bottled. The anticipation, wonderment, trepedation and that nagging feeling of...what if it's not...well, safe to say, the 2011 Comunicano Wine Company "Single A Cuvee" is not going to suffer from the Sophomore Jinx. Quite the opposite, it's drinking out of the bottle like a champ. Hoenstly, I think it's going to be better than the 2009 Double "AA" Cuvee.  Which giving it's winning record in tastings, and how well it keeps showing is no easy feat. But it's a different wine. A very different wine.

If the 2009 with it's massive Syrah structure is very much like a Northern Rhone--St. Joseph or Crozes Hermitage, the 2011 is nothing like it. Quite the opposite, it's a Languedoc red, with the aromas and taste of a wine from Pic St. Loup. Think L'Hortus or La Roque of old. Already it's showing amazing concentration, minerality, fruit and depth. While the 09 has aromatics of olives and roasted bell peppers, the 11 is black raspberry, blueberry, wild cherry and garrigue herbs. It's also more concentrated, where the 09 is round and ripe. 

2011singleacuvee

The bottom line...the new 2011 made by Doug Margerum, with some help from Penfold's Grange's Assistant Winemaker Jason Barrette is no slouch. Quite the opposite, it's a tour de force.


Let's Turn Five Dollars into $300 or More

This image shows a red wine glass.This image shows a red wine glass. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Census Bureau map of Little Egg Harbor Townshi...Census Bureau map of Little Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday I was doing some wine touring in the Woodinville Washington area with two very dear friends who like me, share a very deep passion for wine, and as wine professionals, we don't normally go touring on a weekend. But, one of them, is a very dear friend who moved up to Washington recently and for his birthday, my neighbor and I decided since he no longer can take part regularly in "our Secret Wine Society" events in San Diego, we would bring the "Secret Wine Society" event to Washington with three days of wine to make up for what he's missing. 

At the end of the day of tasting and touring using a combination of lifts, limos and Uber Car, we ended up at Sparkman Cellars, a garage winery in the warehouse district of Woodinville. Of the six wineries we visited yesterday, it was the winery that turned me on the most. Much like Margerum Wine Company or Core Wines from friends Doug Margerum and David and Becky Corey, there was a vibe around the people, and the wines. As I was tasting wines I was offered the opportunity to make a donation to help victims of Hurricane Sandy back in Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey where a $5.00 donation let's you play a cork toss game. If you got one of the corks in the jar, you win a magnum of the unreleased 2010 Sparkman Cellars Wilderness Red.

The premise was simple. A glass jar had been set up about 10 feet from the ground. You were handed ten magnum wine corks. You stood ten feet back on the charity line, otherwise known as the "free throw" line.

On toss five, after "whiffing" and a rim shot, the cork floated right into the glass jar. Much to everyone's amazement, and yes, even mine. Tossing a cork, that weighs almost nothing, that distance, in a drafty winery, where the lightest breeze can shift where the cork will end up, of course made it no easy feat. But I did it.

And I did it, not for the magnum, but for the cause. I grew up in Philadelphia and drove through Little Egg Harbor and Egg Harbor on my ways to the Jersey Shore. My late uncle Meyer used to call out the township's name as we drove down in the car "E---gg Harbor" with his southern drawl.I used to laugh when I heard that or when my mom would tell us the story, so for sentimental reasons I gladly gave the five dollars because it wasn't for the toss, but for the cause. 

So now I have this magnum. My friend, and neighbor, RIta and I cooked up an idea on how to drink the wine, once it arrives.

We are going to toss a party for our friends. I'll cook up some "crack" from Cardiff Seaside Market, various flavors of it ranging from the original Burgundy Tri-Tip to the Chipotle marinade to even the Hanger steak, pork tenderloins and chickens. I'm all in, but I've decided to add a wrinkle.

Let's raise more money from the bottle.

We'll open the wine, and for a $10.00 per taste donation I figure we can raise another $300 dollars or so for the people of Little Egg Harbor.  I figure we can easily get 30 tastes or more out of the magnum.

Date and time of the party is TBD. 

Oh..and yes, I ended up buying some of the Sparkman 2009 Wilderness too. It was the best red blends of the day I tasted. It will go great with Cardiff "crack" or pizza, or chicken or even turkey. Best of all, it will go great all by itself. 


Four Red Wines To Know and Appreciate

English: Modified version of Commons image Ima...English: Modified version of Commons image Image:Rhone transit suspension.jpg to show the major cities, rivers and wine regions of the Northern Rhone Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night I drank a bunch of wonderful wines that just have to be noted. I was up in Seattle for a birthday dinner of a friend. The first was the Le Petit Cheval, 2003, a Bordeaux blend that was light, silky and smooth. It was very clearly ready and and delicious.

The second wine that just needs to be known about is from a winery I have become a fan of. Domain de Mourchon, is a Rhone Valley producer I have gotten to know this year. Nestled up in Seguret, not far from another winery I'm fond of, Chene Bleu, is the McKinley family's winery. The 2007 Domaine de Mourchon Family Reserve is made from 100 percent Grenache, and is so complex and rich, layered with forrest floor, raspberry, blackberry and cherry flavors. The wine is nowhere near showing any age, and will clearly go for another 8-10 years. It's complex, knitted and tasty. 

The last two wines are wines that are special to me. The first is the 2009 Comunicano Wine Company Syrah, that I blended in conjunction with friend and winemaker Doug Margerum. The second is the 2007Domaine d'Aupilhac Les Cocalieres. Both are moving along nicely, and are showing forward development and lots of years ahead. The Comunicano red is becoming the Northern Rhone style red that I envisioned when I first started with Doug on the project. The Aupilhac wine is numbingly complex and requires an hour or two to open, but when it does, it goes from being a very good wine, to something for the textbooks of what a wine from the Languedoc should be. Garrigue herbs, fruity middle and an amazingly long, lingering finish.


The Gourmet Food Truck Movement

It started up in SF, or maybe in Los Angeles. Then again, some would say that back in the day when I was a student at Temple University it may have started there. But the Gourmet Lunch Truck movement is alive and well, and really, something that is clearly part of the mobile enterprise in its own way.

The truck owners are not just serving up food and drink, but are making use of blogs, Twitter, Facebook and now, thanks to one of my teammembers, Jordynn, even getting the message out via Tout, a new social video network that we're working with. 

Here in San Diego the gourmet trucks have their own blog, complete with a listing page that makes it easy to find out where your favorites are, Facebook and Twitter pages which get updated almost daily with which trucks are where, plus many have found their way into a Roaming Hunger, an iPhone app that tells you where they are on a daily basis in many cities across the USA. Plus they even have their own regional vendor association and another new local organization looking out for their rights.

Technology is also reacing into the trucks too, with an app called FastPass, that makes ordering from a mobile phone easier, and brings a loyalty program to the rolling eateries.

Oh, and the food. Its a combination of healthy, fresh and tasty. These are not the "roach-coaches" of old and given the lack of good healthy fast food, we're finding trucks like these are better than other options...now, if they would only have hotspots.....

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Retailers-Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

Starbucks in WashingtonDCImage via Wikipedia

I'll admit, that I love to go to Starbucks as my "get away" from the home office office.  Meeting are easy to arrange at their locations, as most people in the technology world know where one is. So of late, after returning from my exhaustive 6 week European business trip and mini-vacation, I found my Starbucks card in my USA wallet, not my EU/UK version. And guess what, I've yet to switch back.

But after a week of using "cash" I remembered I had the Starbucks Mobile Card app on my iPhone (it also works on the iPad and iPod touch) so between that app, and my drivers license, a headset with mic and an Amex card, who needs more? I mean, you can do just about everything you need to do away from the office on the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad that's work related. I can check email, surf the web, make VoIP and Skype calls over the AT&T WiFI  and of course get caffinated to go back to the home office and do more work. 

With apps like GoToMeeting, Calliflower and WebEx, even virtual meetings are possible in what I've dubbed Conference Room S for many years.

So while you can only have the Starbucks Mobile Card active on one iOS device, it does mean my wallets a lot thinner. Digital...if you're not.. Wake up and smell the coffee.

This makes me wonder sometime why others like Wal-Mart, BestBuy, Target, Vons and other so called forward thinking retailers haven't gone to the digital bar code app, that ties together the frequent buyer club data, with a digital wallet. Forget the emerging idea of NFC (near field communications) the implementation of the digital bar code by Starbucks inside an iPhone app and it's ties to their loyalty program and balance recharge program is just plain dumb, simple. It works, and it works very well. As a matter of fact between that and the Mobil/Exxon SpeedPass the whole idea of going cashless without a "credit card" seems a lot more personalized.

 

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Is GetSatisfaction's SXSW Blues A Ripoff Of Winemaker Randall Graham's Marketing Idea

Bob Dylan at Massey Hall, Toronto, April 18, 1...Image via Wikipedia

Is GetSatisfaction.com's SXSW HomeSick Blues remake/remodel of the Bob Dylan "Homesick Blues" true creative parody or is it a royal ripoff of long time wine maker Randall Grahm's "Sub-terroir Rhonesick Blues" marketing video?

Grahm, who I have casually known via wine events and mutual friends since 1989 totally punked the wine reviewer world, taking pots shots at the likes of the iconic Wine Advocate's Robert Parker, the WineSpectator, the misplaced hype and fuss over Crushpad, whimsically needled the wine snobs, expressed disdain of wine trophy hunters who seek out high scoring wines over great wines that are under appreciated, and more in his 2009 YouTube viral video. 

The best way to determine if it's a copy cat idea or not is to Take a look atGetSatisfaction's new release, which is well done, but not the first to use the web and Homesick Blues as the basis of parody.

Then go watch Randall's version that was uploaded by BonnyDoonVineyard on Nov 25, 2009.

If one watches both it's easy to walk away with feelings of "that's funny" or "that's nice" or "great idea." But if your are a wine insider who knows some of the players that Randall is singing about, and if you're startup insider, or industry type, you'll also gets the "humor" of who is being poked fun at, and who is being "punked." That means you'll quickly see the similarity of the two,  and how it all goes back to the Bob Dylan original. In the "Sub-Terroir Rhone-Sick Blues" video the inside humor goes all the way down to pals Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat and Qupe's Bob Lindquist back in the day finding cuttings of Rhone and Burgundian grapes and reportedly doing the same thing Randall Graham reportedly also did--bringing them back inside a Samsonite suitcase. For long time Bonny Doon wine fans, the video is an extension of his irregular newsletter that has always been satirical and parody like. Longtime fans will recall the famed 2003 April Fool's Day edition that had people rolling on the floor as they read it. Dubbed the National Vinquirer, it was a total pun on the tattler/tabloid, National Enquirer, which to say the least, always had a flair for eye-catching headlines that would make many a popular blog a shrinking violet in today's era of headline oriented journalism. Then after going back and watching GetSatisfaction's version, listening and watching you'll see the execution of the same approach.

For those who go to baseball games you'll all recall that there's always a huckster outside the ballpark selling programs. He's using the time honored old line, "you won't know the players, unless you have a scorecard." Well in these two cases, if you happen to know the players, either wine or tech, you'll have a good laugh at both...

It's great marketing, but not original. Just give credit to where credit's doo....n 

 

 

 

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