Me and My Echo

Over the past week or so I've got a new friend. Her name is Alexa and she's awesome. Alexa is my digital assistant tucked away in my Amazon Echo, a combination smart look up device, music player and speakerphone. Honestly, it may be the best speech recognition device to come along since Webley.

Today I got around to exploring the Echo app on my iPhone adding connectivity to Pandora, Tune In and discovering/rediscovering all the CDs I had purchased from Amazon before the arrival of iTunes. It was like finding your old high school locker where you had shoved text books from prior years' classes. What a treasure trove of music, some which I never ripped to my iTunes library. It was like running into a bunch of old friends.

But Alexa is more than just access to my music library of yesteryear from Amazon. I'm also able to play lots of music I never purchased available in their Prime Music library, tune into radio stations from all over the globe, listen to my favorite Pandora stations. But Echo goes far beyond that. I can also find out what time it is, use it as an alarm clock (I don't use clocks anymore) and more importantly ask what the weather is going to be like. I can even get traffic information for a pre-programmed route (like getting to the airport.) With the built in BlueTooth connectivity I've paired my iPhone and Mac Book Air to it, so I'm playing music with far better fidelity than on either. 

And since the Echo is built on top of Amazon Web Services the future of what will come is really up to the developers who like to invent, adapt and design new services. 

The Echo may still be an invitation only product from Amazon, but it won't be for long. 

 


The Comunicano Daily for Tuesday December 16, 2014

 
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Apple Pay is rolling along.  And like iTunes and the iPhone, more and more people and more retailers are using it. What's funny is Google had Wallet long before Apple Pay, yet the attention being given to Wallet vs. Apple Pay is small while Apple gets the attention.

 

 
 
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Dozens More Companies Sign Up for Apple Pay

The list of companies working with Apple Pay continues to grow. On Tuesday, Apple announced that in recent weeks the company had signed up dozens more banks, retail stores and start-ups to adopt Apple Pay, the company's new e-commerce product, which allows customers to buy things with little more than a wave of their iPhone.
 
 

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Drones continue to be in the news.  Two stories today of note.

 

 
 
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Why our drone future is for real -- someday

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wants to ship goods using unmanned aircraft. Some are skeptical, others nervous, but drones already are improving the way we live. In 2002, a stroke-like event turned Henry Evans into a quadriplegic, depriving him of almost all ability to move.

 
 

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Drone-Hunting Blimp To Launch Over Washington, DC

On Friday, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, NORAD, will launch a giant drone-hunting blimp over Maryland's Aberdeen Proving Grounds just east of Washington D.C. The system includes a 242-foot balloon (technically called an aerostat because it's connected to the ground) that can stay up for a month at a time and a radar to detect - among other potential threats- drones.
 
 

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Ever wonder which companies protect your data, and which may not?  This story may make you think twice.

 

 
 
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We Asked 29 Tech Companies If Their Employees Can Access Your Personal Data

Traditionally, privacy worries for consumers and tech companies have been limited to keeping information secure from third parties or hackers. But a series of internal abuses show that tech company employees often have universal access to user information, as well as reason - be it pure voyeuristic curiosity or, in the worst cases, a vendetta - to look at our whereabouts, spending, and of the most private corners of our lives.
 
 

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Changes in tax laws in the EU may have a major impact on services, pricing and availability.

 

 
 
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EU tax change is about to hammer small digital service providers

From the beginning of January, new EU tax rules will force many businesses offering online services across the Union to take on a load of new administrative responsibilities. The changes have caused particular consternation among micro-businesses providing such services - for a classic example, think about an individual who's making a small amount selling knitting...
 
 

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In the UK BT is looking more like they are getting back into the mobile business in a big way, buying up EE/Orange/T-Mobile UK.

 

 
 
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British Telecom Company BT Is in Exclusive Talks to Buy EE

LONDON - The British telecommunications company BT said on Monday that it had entered into exclusive talks to acquire the British mobile phone business of Orange of France and Deutsche Telekom of Germany. Orange and Deutsche Telekom confirmed last month that they were in early stage discussions to sell their joint venture EE to BT, Britain's former telecommunications monopoly.
 
 

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Friends. Enemies. It's hard to figure out what Bose and Apple are these days, but one things for certain, Bose is going from hardware into the services arena and wants to play in the Internet of Things. They have the devices, now they want to dance to the music.

 

 
 
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Bose May Be Working on Streaming Music Service

Apple's Beats Electronics and Bose already compete in the headphone and speaker markets, but it appears that Bose may be gearing up to compete with Beats in another area -- streaming music. A Bose job listing first noticed by (via VentureBeat ) seeks a Senior User Experience Designer to work on prototyping Bose's "next generation streaming music platform and ecosystem of products."
 
 

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For small business social media has lots of value, but that means paying attention to it. Yelp is now moving into the Attention Management business.

 

 
 
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Yelp Introduces New App For Business Owners With Push Notifications

Yelp is releasing a new app for business owners. Unsurprisingly called "Yelp for Business Owners," it's available for iOS and Android users in all countries and languages in which Yelp currently operates. Until today, business owners had to tolerate a less than optimal experience accessing their account information on a smartphone.
 
 

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Ever wonder why you see ads for web sites you've visited? Retargeting is the answer. And it seems to work very well.

 

 
 
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90% of marketers say retargeting now as good as search ads, email marketing

Over 90 percent of marketers say that retargeted ads are as good as or better than the gold standard in digital marketing, search ads, according to a recent survey by leading retargeter AdRoll. Why? Intent, says AdRoll president and CMO Adam Berke.
 
 

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Here's a great read on focus and getting things done.  Ask yourself if you're applying what's suggested or not.

 

 
 
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How to be the most productive person in your office - and still get home by 5:30 p.m.

Some days the to-do list seems bottomless. Just looking at it is exhausting. We all want to know how to stop being lazy and get more done. I certainly want the answer. So I decided to call a friend who manages to do this - and more.
 
 

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The Comunicano Daily for Monday November 17, 2014

 
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You can always tell when the news cycle is starting to slow down. It's when dirt, rumors and soft news starts to take hold. That's what this morning feels like as I scanned looking for stories. The holiday period is here and the next few weeks will be more about Cyber Monday, Black Friday and all the offers, deals become very visible.  

The first story is really revealing about Facebook, and how they basically build their own technology after looking at everything else when they can. It helps them maintain a market lead, and they don't provide a vendor the ability to then sell things to the competition.

 

 
 
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Facebook's New Data Center Is Bad News for Cisco 

As it announced that the Altoona data center is now serving traffic to some of its 1.35 billion users, the company also revealed how its engineers pieced together the computer network that moves all that digital information through the facility.

 
 

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Facebook recognizes that it is in a battle with other social networks including LinkedIn and Twitter. As Facebook begins to be part of everyday life and as people cross lines between work and play, Facebook is launching At Work to address the market.

 

 
 
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Facebook is making 'Facebook at Work' so you can Facebook at work

You already Facebook at work, so here's "Facebook at Work." Facebook is working on extending its network beyond the social realm and into the professional world, according to the Financial Times . The company's new, enterprise-focused product will be similar to the functionality of its current site, with a newsfeed, groups and messaging capability.
 
 

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Acquisitions usually lead to changes within the company acquired. The much heralded NEST purchase of Dropcam is now showing the signs of how things really can be as the founders of the aquired company are not always as happy once they become employees.

 

 
 
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Unrest at Nest Labs

Sitting on stage last week at a San Francisco conference, Greg Duffy, the 28-year-old co-founder and CEO of Dropcam, which makes Internet-connected video cameras, fielded questions from an audience of startup founders. It should have been a time to celebrate. After all, last June, Duffy sold Dropcam to Nest Labs for $555 million.
 
 

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Country music icon Garth Brooks has always listened to the beat of his own drummer when it comes to his brand. His attempt to use the Internet has been frought with challenges and of late things are not really going his way.

 

 
 
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How Garth Brooks took on the internet - and lost

"This is where I make my stand." So Garth Brooks proclaims in the opening lines of the new album, Man Against Machine, his first collection of new original material since 2001. He isn't just flexing his muscles.
 
 

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The net neutrality issue is becoming an everyday news item in light of the recent comments from President Obama. More and more the argument is about the have's and the have nots, but the reality is what the Internet was designed to be and what broadband is about are two different things now and we need a whole relook at the opportunities just what the Internet is and what broadband will be.

 

 
 
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Wolff: Obama punts on net neutrality

President Obama's decision to advocate the reclassification of Internet broadband services as a utility under Title II of the Telecommunications Act - that is, making broadband subject to all the laws that regulate telephone service - seems particularly Obama-like: squirrelly and lofty at the same time. It's squirrelly because it will never happen.
 
 

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Apple and Google are shaking up payments. Now that they are in the whole mobile payments world is expected to grow. This will create new opportunities on a variety of levels for suppliers of new technology.

 

 
 
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U.S. Mobile Payments Market to Boom by 2019, Research Firm Says

Just a few years ago, the idea of paying for things at the checkout counter with your smartphone seemed like a technology company pipe dream. That dream, according to payments industry experts, is beginning to become a reality.
 
 

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A new fund to help fuel growth of companies started by people who are not as well entrenched in the "Silicon Valley" scene is launching. This is one more step on the path to greater democratization of opportunity and certainly a welcome addition.

 

 
 
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Unshackled, a New Angel Fund, Forms to Back Immigrant Entrepreneurs

Some of the U.S.'s most successful tech companies, including Intel Corp. and Google Inc., have been built by immigrants, and many people who come to the U.S. aspire to work in or start tech companies. Without work visas, though, they don't get far.
 
 

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Down under in Australia, there's lots of geography that's not populated enough for wired or even wireless broadband. But Google and Telstra have a potential solution, using hot air balloons. Guess you don't need to be a Balloonatic after all to see that there's more than hot up there.

 

 
 
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VIDEO: Google's Bal-LOON-y trial gets QLD Telstra spectrum

Google is extending trials of its broadband-by-balloon project entitled Project Loon, and while it has already previously conducted some tests off the coast of Queensland, it is partnering to trial 20 more balloons in Western Queensland in late December.
 
 

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Robotics, drones, and IoT (Internet of Things) are nowdays a part of everyday conversation and in some cases, a safer work environment may come from it all.

 

 
 
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Knightscope's Autonomous Robots Will Take on Security Jobs Normally Held by Humans

As the sun set on a warm November afternoon, a quartet of five-foot-tall, 300-pound shiny white robots patrolled in front of Building 1 on Microsoft's Silicon Valley campus. Looking like a crew of slick Daleks imbued with the grace of Fred Astaire, they whirred quietly across the concrete in different directions, stopping and turning in place so as to avoid running into trash cans, walls, and other obstacles.

 
 

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My good friend Manrique Brenes, longtime Skype hardware guru is out on his own with a very interesting startup, Blossom. Yesterday he launched his rewards campaign on Kickstarter . It's all about water, your lawn or garden, the environment and saving people money. Given the drought conditions in California that we're all living through, his idea is timely. Even if you don't have a lawn, helping his campaign, either by telling someone about it, or puchasing a Blossom, would be a move in the right direction.

 

 
 
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Blossom™: The Smart Watering Controller

Blossom is raising funds for Blossom™: The Smart Watering Controller on Kickstarter! Automate your sprinklers with real-time weather data and complete control from your phone to lower your water bill up to 30%.
 
 

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The Comunicano Daily for Thursday September 11, 2014

 
 
 
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Lots of interesting news on the front of innovation or maybe best described as "its time has come" today and reflects upon how much we at Comunicano have been in the thick of this over the past ten years.  Wi-Fi calling and in flight texting from T-Mobile.. Comunicano represented pioneer Bridgeport Networks, founded by Tom Carter, now at F5 where he's leading their wireless efforts worldwide, over ten years ago, and they were the pioneers in Fixed Mobile Convergence. Google Hangouts adding full blown GoogleVoice integration. Comunicano represented GrandCentral during their rise to acquisition by Google in 2007. Blackberry acquires a virtual SIM company that will allow more capabilities by carriers, enterprises and users. Comunicano helped launch current client Truphone's multi-IMSI technology back in 2009 at Mobile World Congress and continues to support policy and billing technology leader ItsOn which just raised more cash from Cisco. So as I look at the news, so much of it isn't "new" or revolutionary, it's more about the times catching up to the inventions...NOW ON TO THE NEWS.

 

 
 
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T-Mobile Expands Wi-Fi Calling to New Smartphones, Partners with Gogo for In-Flight Texting

Adding to an already busy week of mobile news, T-Mobile announced several moves today designed to help customers use their phones even when there's no cellular connection, including when flying the friendly skies. Dubbed the "Wi-Fi Unleashed" campaign, T-Mobile said going forward all of its new smartphones will be enabled for Wi-Fi calling and texting.
 
 

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Google Hangouts Gets Google Voice Integration And Free VoIP Calls

For the last few years, it has always felt like Google Voice, the company's VoIP calling solution, was on its way out. Instead, the video-centric Hangouts was getting all of the attention.

 
 

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Google Voice Is Dying and It's Beautiful

I am a huge fan of what Google Voice can do. That's why I've been calling for a mercy kill, so that its best features can thrive in something other than a limp husk of a service. And now that Google is finally beginning to merge Voice into Hangouts, the process has started in earnest.
 
 

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BlackBerry Acquires Virtual SIM Startup Movirtu

 
 

BlackBerry today announced it has acquired Movirtu, a UK startup that allows multiple numbers to be active on a single device. The Canadian company's hope is to boost its device management offerings in bring-your-own device (BYOD) and corporate owned personally enabled (COPE) environments. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

 
 

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A virtual assistant to help manage your on demand services sounds like a great idea. But honestly, those services are really best in high density, heavily populated areas. You won't see the demand for them as much in rural America initially, or small villages in Europe, but where you have a massive population, virtual work forces, transportation congestion and urban renewal, many of these services can aggregate people, products and services and deliver them more efficiently than many businesses doing the same thing for less. 

 

 
 
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Personal assistant service Alfred wins TechCrunch's Startup Battlefield contest

A group of venture capital and tech company execs chose Alfred as the winner of TechCrunch's "Startup Battlefield"contest here at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference. Alfred is a subscription-based service that provides people to do basic tasks for you, like picking up dry cleaning, doing laundry, getting groceries, going to the pharmacy, cleaning the house, and a lot of other tedious and/or time consuming tasks.

 
 

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On demand services being delivered by UBER can be here sooner than you know it. Already they have experimented with burger delivery and what they are are doing in Sweden is becoming another proof point on their road to hacking how consumers get better service and eliminate the old way of doing things.

 

 
 
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Uber pilots on-demand product delivery in Sweden -- powered by its new API

Today Uber announced a product delivery pilot test in Stockholm in partnership with Swedish ecommerce platform Tictail. Stockholm marks Uber's fourth city with large-scale on-demand deliveries, following Washington D.C., New York, and Santa Monica. The partnership coincides with the launch of Tictail's first iOS app.

 
 

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This is a dream come true for all shoppers of IKEA and other furniture stores where "assembly is required."  Assemble itself furniture is coming.

 

 
 
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In The Future, You'll Never Have To Assemble Furniture Again

If you've ever struggled to put together some tricky furniture, just wait a few decades and you won't have to deal with the frustrating process. In 15-20 years, your furniture will put ITSELF together.

 
 

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Here in California, Governor Gerry Brown basically upheld the First Amendment signing into law an agreement that comments in social media can't be restrained contractually directed at consumers and businesses. To me, the attempts to keep people from making comments about a bad experience always smacked of "prior restraint" so it's good to see this law get signed.

 

 
 
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Gov. Jerry Brown signs bill protecting consumers' online reviews

Californians offering online opinions or reviews of businesses will have new legal protection under a bill signed Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown .
 
 

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Sometimes success can mean failure. That was the case in a Kickstarter campaign that did too well for a Delaware Valley company outside of Philadelphia.

 

 
 
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Big Kickstarter Campaign Overwhelms Radiate Athletics

Many entrepreneurs are using crowdfunding campaigns to raise the profile of their nascent businesses and products, while also raising funds. But the tactic sometimes backfires when a startup isn't prepared for the demand that follows. Consider the plight of Radiate Athletics and its co-founder Kenneth Crockett Jr.
 
 

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As much as I love U2 it seems some Apple iTunes users didn't like the idea of being given free music but one of music's all time great bands. Part of this is really about the User Experience and how some people set their phones to auto-download or make excessive use of the iCloud music storage. To me the nay sayers are in the minority and the "bugs" or "warts" of the experience are really Apple's way of finding problems in user experience and fixing them.

 

 
 
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Why is U2's latest album on your iPhone? How to remove Apple's publicity stunt

Apple may have succeeded at breaking two records at once with the free release of U2's latest album via iTunes yesterday: The album, titled Songs of Innocence, instantly became "the largest album release of all time," as Apple CEO Tim Cook announced on stage during the company's iPhone 6 event.

 
 

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Apple has created Reservation Pass. Gee this sounds like Craig Walker's Firespotter Labs service called NoshList that is deployed by restaurants. Oh, and about being on the forefront of technology that's ahead of its time, Comunicano supported Firespotter on its launch of Nosh, the food photo and what's on the menu app.

 

 
 
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A new digital reservation system could save you time in the iPhone 6 line

Hoping to buy a new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus in the Apple Store next Friday but don't have hours to stand in line? You may not have to. 9to5 Mac reports that Apple Store employees received training documentation for a program called Reservation Pass.
 
 

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Twitter is getting back into the developer relations arena with their upcoming developer conference, FLIGHT.

 

 
 
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Twitter Announces Flight, An Annual Mobile Developer Conference

Twitter has announced Flight, a new developer conference focused on mobile. The conference will take place at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco on October 22, with a keynote from CEO Dick Costolo, followed by technical sessions aimed at helping mobile devs build. It's not the first developer conference Twitter has held.
 
 

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Comunicano is happy to be supporting and partnering with long time collaboration analyst and consultant David Coleman on the 2015 edition of the Distributed Collaboration Summit, otherwise known as DCS. This is the world's first virtual and real world conference ever staged for the collaboration industry. Contact me for details.

 

 
 
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Distributed Collaboration Summit Coming In January

A new kind of conference for a new kind of workplace DCS Dates January 15 - January 16, 2015 Time 8AM - 4PM Pacific Time Locations San Francisco, Santa Monica, Houston, Chicago, Washington DC, Boston, New York, Silicon Valley, Atlanta, Seattle DCS is a unique conference based on the growing trend of distributed teams and distributed work.

 
 

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The Comunicano Daily for Wednesday September 10, 2014

 
 
 
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You would have to not be switched on to any form of media to not be deluged by the news from Apple yesterday. The new iPhone 6 and 6+ were the appetizer. The big news was Apple Pay and the dessert was the Apple Watch. And was the news around payments really interesting? Yes it was as it totally will compliment the existing retail and banking worlds both online and in the physical realms, but also it gives the whole NFC world a major boost....NOW ON WITH THE NEWS..

 

 
 
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Here's Apple Pay In Action

Apple has revealed its mobile payments play, and it features NFC and Touch ID, as many expected. The system works as fast as they joked it did on stage - which is why in our demo we ran through a number of different payment scenarios.

 
 

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Apple Said to Reap Fees From Banks in New Payment System

Apple Inc. will collect fees from banks when consumers use an iPhone in place of credit and debit cards for purchases, a deal that gives the handset maker a cut of the growing market for mobile payments, according to three people with knowledge of the arrangement.

 
 

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I referred above to the Apple Watch being the dessert. Not only was it good for Apple fans it was bad for the watch industry so much that even Wall Street is sensing it. Apple is about changing the markets and watch manufacturing brands need to realize that the Apple Watch will be sold in stores that do not carry Apple products usually. I say this due to the number of retail department stores that will take Apple Pay and already sell watches.  The two announcements together are very, very timely.

 

 
 
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Shares Of Luxury Watchmakers Fall After Apple Watch Unveiling

Shares of some luxury watch makers fell Wednesday morningafter Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) announced its smartwatch Tuesday afternoon. Shares of Swatch Group, whose 19 watch brands include Swatch, Breguet, Omega and Calvin Klein, had fallen 1.3 percent by mid-morning.

 
 

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Streaming media has been around since the 90's but yesterday's webcast by Apple had lots of problems. Veteran streaming media analyst Dan Rayburn has the details on why and how Apple made a rare mistake.

 

 
 
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Inside Apple's Live Event Stream Failure, And Why It Happened: It Wasn't A Capacity Issue

Apple's live stream of the unveiling of the iPhone 6 and Watch was a disaster today right from the start, with many users like myself having problems trying to watch the event.

 
 

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Apple may have Beats Music but the second largest music streaming service called Deezer hasn't been big in the USA ever. Now they are launching, and they're going after the high end audiophile via a partnership with SONOS and the new Deezer Elite.

 

 
 
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Deezer to Finally Launch in America as High-Quality Streaming Service

The world's second-biggest music subscription service is finally coming to the world's biggest music market. Deezer, which claims to have 5 million subscribers and 16 million monthly users over 180 countries, announced Wednesday it will launch in the United States on Monday the 15th via a partnership with home audio company Sonos.

 
 

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Over at CTIA in Las Vegas AT&T announced that mobile operators and carriers are working on VoLTE interoperability. This is really important to everyone, with SIP Trunking providers who will be in the middle of all this having a lot to gain from it. 

 

 
 
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AT&T's Rinne: Carriers Working on VoLTE Interoperability

AT&T's Kris Rinne says that the carrier is working with several other operators on enabling direct voice-over-LTE calls between their networks. Rinne, senior vice president of network and product planning at AT&T Inc.

 
 

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Just as the wireless world is seeing pricing wars, you can expect the same type of thing to come to the fiber based Gigabit speed Internet markets where AT&T is facing off against Google Fiber.

 

 
 
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Google Takes Fiber Fight to AT&T 

Take one moribund broadband market, add a disruptive new entrant as rich as Croesus, watch the explosion in competition that occurs when the old players bang into the upstart and, hey presto, you have the US fixed broadband market today.

 
 

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Wireless and broadband by cable/DSL and fiber aren't the only ways people can connect to the Internet. Satellite broadband is growing up faster and getting more users all the time.

 

 
 
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Hughes passes 1m satellite broadband customer mark in North America

 
 

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The FCC is thinking about putting mobile broadband under the same rules as wired connectivity. This would be much easier for everyone to understand, including the regulatory lawyers, broadband providers and the service providers who have to work with both.

 

 
 
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FCC may put mobile under same net-neutrality rules as wired broadband

Print|The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is reexamining how it treats wireless net neutrality, in response to public comments on the agency's proposed Open Internet rules. Under the net neutrality rules the FCC set in 2010, wireless was set apart from wired access and mobile operators were given more leeway to treat some streams of traffic differently from others.
 
 

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First T-Mobile offered "contract free" in the USA and many more bells and whistles. Now Sprint which is battling to keep from losing customers is going with a new "iPhone" for life plan. On paper it sounds good but to me it's good for those who want the entry level iPhone with only 16GB of memory. That said, given how Sprint has updated their network, and how little traffic is on it, they may be the network of choice for speed demons.

 

 
 
 

Sprint's 'IPhone for Life' Plan Lets Users Upgrade Every 2 Years

 
  Sprint Corp. (S) introduced an "iPhone for Life" plan that lets customers get a new version of Apple Inc.'s smartphone every two years for $70 a month. The service also includes unlimited data, Sprint said today on its website.  
 

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If you're an Apple developer you can see iOS8 now and use it today. The final release candidate is alive and available....

 

 
 
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Apple releases iOS 8 GM ahead of Sep. 17 public release

Following today's announcements, Apple has released the golden master version of iOS 8. iOS 8 launches as an over the air update to iOS 7 on September 17th.
 
 

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Twillio has released TWIMLETS which works with Zapier and between the two some Twilio services just got easier to use.

 

 
 
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How to Build a Smarter International Phone with Twilio in Just 15 Minutes - Zapier

It sounds too simple to be true, so Twilio has you test it out. On the next screen, you can enter a message, then call your new number and hear it read back or have your new number call you and read the message aloud.
 
 

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The Comunicano Daily for Wednesday September 3, 2014

 
 
 
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Today's humpday so it's time to look at what's happening around the technology news world. We'll start off with a Huffington Post item about Customer Disservice something most of us have felt from some PC brand, utility, airline, hotel or car manufacturer over time.  Next we're seeing the IRS looking at those who feed their staff and how that can be considered income vs. an expense..The Celebrity Photo Hack is making the news cycle, this time with the tools that can make it possible..Microsoft is everyone's target it seems these days, not just Apple or Google...all this and more today, SO ON WITH THE NEWS...

 

 
 
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Why Is Customer Disservice Becoming the Norm and What Can We Do About It?

Posted: "The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity." - Peter Drucker If you haven't yet heard the 8-minute diatribe leveled by a Comcast customer service rep to a customer and his wife who were trying to cancel their cable service, tune in here.
 
 

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Silicon Valley Cafeterias Whet Appetite of IRS

There is a grumpy new face in line at Silicon Valley's lavish freebie cafeterias: the Internal Revenue Service. Staffers at technology companies such as Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. long have enjoyed free gourmet meals, courtesy of their employers.
 
 

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The Police Tool That Pervs Use to Steal Nude Pics From Apple's iCloud 

As nude celebrity photos spilled onto the web over the weekend, blame for the scandal has rotated from the scumbag hackers who stole the images to a researcher who released a tool used to crack victims' iCloud passwords to Apple, whose security flaws may have made that cracking exploit possible in the first place.
 
 

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We're just finally seeing 4G/LTE and LTE-A (for advanced) rolling out in more places in the USA and around the world and so it's no surprise the 5G is making noise, this time in Finland.

 

 
 
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Nokia to build 5G test network in Oulu

While a commitment-in-principle has already been made, a formal decision on construction of the high-speed 5G network won't come until autumn, said Nokia technical director Juha Määttä. When asked about the construction schedule for the network, Määttä said that it could begin early in 2015.
 
 

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WiFi speed displayed directly onto booking and travel websites

Hotel WiFi Test has launched a browser extension that displays information about a hotel's WiFi speed and quality onto the most popular booking and travel websites: Hotels.com, Expedia, Booking.com and TripAdvisor.
 
 

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Office by the Month. Not the kind you physically use, but from Microsoft has debuted for iPad as an in-app purchase. In my view this is two years or more too late. Google Apps is gaining momentum and already is far more integrated. 

 

 
 
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Microsoft adds monthly in-app subscription option to Office for iPad

Summary: Microsoft Office for iPad users now have the option to subscribe to Office 365 monthly and from inside Word, Excel or PowerPoint. Microsoft is now allowing Office for iPad users to pay monthly, rather than only annually, for their Office 365 Home or Personal subscriptions.

 
 

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If you don't use Evernote, your working too hard when it comes to storing and finding notes, pictures, videos and more. And, like Google and others, the company is taking aim at Microsoft Office at the right time. While Microsoft has OneNote, Evernote has users, lots of them who are raving loyalists.

 

 
 
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Evernote's Phil Libin Has Come to Bury Microsoft Office, Not Praise It

What about OneNote? It's a question that Evernote CEO Phil Libin gets asked all the time, especially after Microsoft made the note-taking app free earlier this year. But, Libin says, it's the wrong question. Libin makes no bones about having Microsoft in his sights, but it is Office he wants to dethrone, not OneNote.
 
 

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While Evernote takes aim at productivity Google is going right after the jugular of Office and Exchange by developing a strategy that looks to displace Microsoft Outlook.

 

 
 
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Google's New Strategy to Unseat Microsoft Outlook

Google executive Amit Singh must persuade companies to ditch Microsoft Outlook for business-focused versions of Gmail. But pioneering driverless cars may be easier than changing the way people send email at work.
 
 

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Who comes after the Millennials? It's Gen-Z, not Jay-Z. And, Gen-Z seems to be more like those who came before GenY....at least that's what one study says. We really won't know for a few more years though..

 

 
 
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Are You Prepared for Gen Z Tech Workers?

Millennials and their quirky work habits get all the attention these days, but the younger Gen Z is turning out to be even more of a mystery.
 
 

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AT&T-Sponsored Data-It's Nothing New, But It Could Become Very New

I find the brewing pot of noise around sponsored data that AT&T announced this week all to be a bit funny. Why? Sponsored "data" has been around for a very long time. Radio programs were sponsored as far back as the 1920s. Public television has been sponsored since the 1950.

Just as mobile data runs over licensed spectrum, so does radio and television. So the sponsoring delivery of content, whether it comes from Hollywood or Microsoft, there's really no difference. What is at stake is the past protestations of mobile operators that they need more spectrum, that they need to charge high prices to support it. Instead, there are many ways to make money and keep the cost down. Sponsored data is one of those.

For now, the sale of sponsored data is being looked at as an enterprise play. It's not. It's an advertising and marketing opportunity on so many levels. As a matter of fact, there are more marketing promotion opportunities around sponsored data than there were with television or radio.

For example, from the device in your hand, the network can now know exactly where you are when you're consuming the data. That means they can offer you more targeted "ads" or "commercials." This opens up a whole new world of broadcast promotion, the likes that are just about to be imagined.

The flip side--WiFi. It's not licensed but it is being sponsored. If you ever wondered why the cable guys are all so bullish on WiFi. It's for the same reasons. They want to sell the right to deliver the content over it.

 


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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MpMe-Music The Way It Should Be

WMMRWMMR (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I grew up as a radio junkie. Living in Philadelphia I was weaned on top 40 from WFIL, WIBG as well as WDAS and WHAT, the latter two for R&B and real soul music. They were the AM stations. When FM came around it was WMMR, WYSP and WIOQ, before discovering my inner music muse at WXPN and WRTI for the more creative new wave and experimental music found there as well as roots, jazz and blues.

As the Internet arrived music took on new shapes as Shoutcast and WiredPlanet, which is now part of Rhapsody, all caught my ears, followed of course by Pandora and Spotify. But while Pandora played songs that fit together style and musical tone wise, and Spotify gave me the mother of all music libraries, neither gave me what the voices of John Diliberto, Russ Musto, Michael Tearson, Ed Sciaky or Meg Griffen ever could. They told me about the music and the artists. That's one reason I love the Underground Garage or Sirius XM and DJs like Loog or Handsome Dick Manitoba and of course, Little Steven himself. It's the stories that make the music discovery fun.

And that's why I love MPme. Ever since they were introduced to me, and have since become a client, their music and what they call "curated radio" has been a staple on in the background when I'm working, writing or just chilling out, especially when I'm on the road. 

With MPme I search for stations, artists or even individual songs, and their discovery engine looks around the world and offers you the stations to connect you to so you can listen to the stream that is playing the song, or may have just played it. Once you land on the station you have real DJ's picking and spinning the tracks, giving you really professional picks, not just music your friends like (not that that's all bad either.)

Once the station's on the iPhone or iPad, you have amazing sound and the real  benefit. You can buy the tracks from iTunes. That's why for me, someone who loves to find new and old music, and to collect the tracks, are all reasons why MPme is my kind of radio app on the iOS devices.

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The App Store Onslaught

English: A black version of an emblem used by ... (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you noticed at which the number of apps being updated in the Apple App Store has increased lately? Between new apps being launched along with updates and bug fixes for iOS 6 as well as to work more and better with the iPad Mini, the volume of updates since Thanksgiving has accelerated.

This is because of one reason. It's called the holiday break before CES. Taken seperately, there's no issue with Apple's super staff who manage app submissions and approvals from taking a well deserved holiday break, espeically for new apps going into the store. But with CES starting on January 5 (well AT&T's Developer Summit is then at the Palms) and as apps are the new products for many, getting into the App Store is equivilant to landing a slot in every Wal*Mart or being found on the shelves at Costco to a brand.

That's why you are seeing so many apps being pushed out now.

Miss the window that reportedly closes the week of December 17 and it likely will be when CES starts before new apps appear.