Verizon Wireless "They're Watching You" as You're Now Their "Person of Interest"

As the hit CBS series "Person of Interest" winds down its run, the line "they're watching you" never rang more true that it does today, especially if you're a Verizon Wireless customer who has installed their mobile app so you can manage your account better.

Unfortunately, the app does more than that, and with the acquisition of AOL, all kinds of "marketing" led initiatives are starting to be unfurled by the telco giant. One of those is the "tracking" of customers physical movements. As one telecom attorney I spoke with about this said, "one would think after the super cookie issue they would know better." But nothing was as damning as the comment to me by a long time Verizon Wireless enterprise facing sales executive. "We know when Google folks visit Salesforce and who they are seeing. That gives us a good indication of what's about to happen." He then went on, "It's (i.e. the tracking) one of the most asked questions we're hearing from enterprise customers..how do I turn it off?"

I learned about this wandering by the Union Station Verizon store in Washington, D.C. two week ago. I was asked by the app what I thought about my experience today in the store. Only problem was I didn't go in the store. The same thing happened as I was having coffee in a cafe next to a Verizon Wireless store in Del Mar, and again after I had walked into the store to ask what they heck was up with the tracking of my movements.

The store rep said, "oh if you don't like to be followed, you can always delete the app." To me that was a stupid, untrained, and ignorant response, but also, pretty straightforward. I then called support and was told to turn off a few things in the app, but they already were. After the rep said she would turn off the marketing functions I checked my phone and found that one of the toggles that had been off, was now on. I immediately turned it off. Then I dug deeper into the Verizon app location setting on the iPhone app management inside the settings app, and there I turned off the actual link between the phone and the app

Candidly, a great app to manage usage and your plan, which was a nice service to have, has been ruined by wanting to know more about the customer than should be known. By forcing an opt-out vs. encouraging an OPT IN, this is a less than desired move by Verizon's leadership to allow this. If it was the first time I've encountered this type of thing from them, I would not be so concerned, but it's not. Back in the early days of data cards, they had Smith Micro create some type of tracking software that wormed its way into your Windows PC. Again, without telling anyone about it. 

Where is all this going? Beacons, sensors and apps on mobile devices can be a good thing. There's some  technology that's coming from companies likeQualcomm that work at the chip set level which could allow marketers to really be smarter in how they deliver messages to customers and prospects, and how employees of companies can be made to be smarter using AI, machine learning, big data and the cloud, but it needs to include some greater degrees of control by the user.  While using mapping software is great, I don't want my every visit to the gym known, or to the ice cream shop later because the next thing you'll see is ice cream being offered at the gym.....The same is do we really want Macy's knowing we were shopping at Bloomingdales, or that I was at the car dealer twice this  past week (with two different Audi's for annual servicing) as that could be misinterpreted as my having car trouble. Next comes the level of encryption of our "data" that's been collected. Of course if Verizon was using the data to install microcells where coverage isn't so great, that would be a useful outcome, but instead of "cells" for coverage they're more interested in what they can "sell" in the way of ads...

To be fair with Verizon, I did call their PR team. All three calls went unreturned..I guess they don't want to talk about it.


Uber Picks UberConference and Dialpad to Modernize Business Communications

Ride sharing service Uber is following Lyft for a change. While Lyft has been using Los Angeles based Telzio as their communications provider, Uber has turned to Dialpad in addition to using UberConference, The choosing of cloud based communications solutions providers is making it far easier for both companies to communicate better internally and get things going faster, as the game changing ride services both expand into new cities and countries around the world.

Dialpad founder Craig Walker told VoipWatch exclusively yesterday, "we started working with Uber as they were heavy users of UberConference for a while before we even launched Dialpad. Both products fit their culture of innovation and disruption, so Dialpad was a natural fit once they started looking for a modern business communications service."

The move to adopt what Walker has labeled "modern business communications" falls well in line with a long belief that disruptive startups, especially those from Silicon Valley, want more and want different in what their telco can provide them and are bypassing the long established companies like AT&T and Verizon.  Instead the newly minted, high growth companies are choosing to embrace the more nimble, service providers that have come on stream post the birth of the cloud era.

These newer companies are the earlier adopters of where businesses are going, and they want services that are easy to deploy and cloud based, just like the way their own businesses are based, using similar service from the likes of Amazon Web Services. So while they still need and require the core features that the traditional telcos provide, these new companies also need modern era features that were birthed by companies like Skype and GrandCentral (Walker sold that to Google and led the transition to GoogleVoice. Google are  now investors in Dialpad) with the online management that Vonage and 8x8 pioneered in telecom.

These new, modern services and the companies delivering them are largely being fueled by API's both public and private. The API's are spawning a new economy, new ways of doing business, and entire ecosystems. That's something that will be well talked about and explored at All About The API, the upcoming conference being held in Las Vegas in July.  An example of how API's work is best seen in the Dialpad app today on the iPhone and iPad. By connecting to an SMS interconnection provider like recent Vonage acquisition Nexmo, Twilio or Syniverse, modern UC companies able to enable SMS to the desktop and from within their apps, much like iMessage or Google Hangouts. The API's allow for the interconnection and interfacing to between customers and the carriers in the middle making them the modern day middleware. 

And, Apple, long resistant to opening up the iOS dialer to Unified Communications providers gave them a big shot in the arm on Monday. At the World Wide Developer Conference Apple announced the opening up of the dialer on the iPhone. This is a significant move as it will allow unified communications providers like Dialpad, Telzio, 8x8 and others to no longer need to use plain vanilla softphones that have been the only way users could interface with UC providers.  Once released the UC players will be able to make use the iPhone's native dialer as the front end for dialing, while allowing their own apps to be where the more customized features are placed.

"Since launching GrandCentral and Google Voice nearly 10 year, we always were frustrated by the inability to make our services work smoothly with the iPhone. The announcement today opens the market up to the type of competition Judge Green envisioned back then. Now businesses again can choose. Of course, I hope they choose Dialpad," said Walker.

The opening up of the iOS dialer by Apple parallels that 1984 decision in opening up the Bell System to alternative long distance carriers. Previously, the only long distance carrier that a caller could use was the one that was aligned with the local Bell operating company, and that was usually AT&T. With the Telecommunications Act of 1984 consumers and businesses were free to choose any long distance carrier. In essence, with Apple opening up the dialer, they are doing the same thing, turning the mobile operator into a pipe. With LTE and LTE-A coming online, those in the more built out mobile high speed data areas will be able to avoid using their mobile operator for voice, and text, and move everything over to the data side where a more feature rich experience will be had.

"This is the missing link that we have been waiting for on iOS ever since the first iPhone came out. Android has had this for years, and Apple did add VoIP specific features a while back such as  battery saving via the background notification feature, but we have been missing the ability to have a VoIP services coexist on an iPhone," said Peter Rank Schrøder, CEO of Telzio. "This will make life much easier for anyone using a secondary number such as a business number, on an iPhone."

Apple's move further makes the mobile operator, the modern day "dumb pipe" something smart entrepreneurs like Walker have been exploiting for years dating back to his days at the original Dialpad, and which new kids on the block like Schrøder are also breaking new ground.

 

 

 


Yahoo Messenger-Going, Going, Almost Gone

For those of you who remember Yahoo Messenger, which was at one point wanting to be able to be like Skype oh so many years ago, it's going to go away. But, don't think it's really gone as last year Yahoo introduced a combined platform that marries WebMessenger with app based Messenger. 

Both Yahoo and Microsoft at times had visions of telephony being part of their respective messenger platforms as noted in the various posts linked to below. Given the interest in messaging bots and platforms one has to wonder if both companies giving up the ghost of messaging came too early, opening up the door to platforms like WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat, LINE, QQ Chat, Kik, Telegram and so many others. 

One of the features of Yahoo Messenger that garnered attention back in the VoIP hey day was it's interoperability with Microsoft Messenger. That functionality was killed off in 2012 after launching in 2006. One can only imagine what may have happened to Messenger had Microsoft not bought Skype.

This makes one wonder how many people are still on AOL's AIM and ICQ, the two biggest forerunners of messaging apps that many of us grew up using.

 


Dialpad--Life For Old iPads

 

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Like many of us, I have an iPad Air2 and an iPad Mini in storage. My current iPad is the 9.7 inch iPad Pro, with the keyboard and I find that in many situations I can do most of what I do on my MacBook with it, especially while traveling or sipping an espresso at a cafe. But, really, one iPad was enough, and the older ones became hand me downs or simply sat in the storage drawer. Well, not anymore.

Over the past few weeks, thanks to pal Craig Walker, founder of Dialpad and creator of GoogleVoice (GrandCentral), I was able to put the new DialPad app through its paces on the iPad while the new version of the app was going through TestFlight beta trials.  While I've used Counterpath's Bria and Skype on the iPad before as a way to make and take calls, I never really felt I was having a real "phone" experience. There was always something clunky about the way the call was being handled. Instead I would find myself reaching for the nearest smartphone, as they always seemed to ring first, even with SIM ring functions turned on, with GoogleVoice ringing every inbound number. Finally, I can stop that behavior.

The Dialpad iPad app is very different and may be the best softphone ever created bar none. First off, it rings at the same time as the SIM ring to my mobile phones. Second the audio quality is second to none. On a thirty five minute call with the CEO of a client yesterday not one pop, or drop or anything that one wouldn't have experienced on a cell phone call. Third is the ease of use and very clean, easy to use interface. It's natural and effortless, much like Skype was in its pre-Microsoft days. The consistency between the desktop, smartphone and iPad in look and feel makes it that way. If you are using the desktop app or plug-in, you'll have no learning curve as the UI (user interface) is identical. About the only drawback is the non-ringing when you have the app in the foreground, which is likely an Apple iOS notification issue. In many ways Dialpad's app on the iPad reminded me of the first experience I had with Gizmo, the company acquired by Google that was perhaps along with Truphone, the only real rivals to Skype. The Gizmo app always had this very natural, phone like feel to it, and also had the sound quality that was natural too. 

The fact that I was calling from a tablet reminded me why the old Samsung Galaxy Tab 1.0 with both calling and data was such a great device, just not a great form factor. On the call, I used my wired headset that I use on my iPhone. The call sound was full, rich, robust. There wasn't any hiss or popping. On the other end, not once did my client, ever ask me to repeat what I had said, and he was on a mobile phone in a noisy environment. The large buttons made it easy to hit the mute button, and because of the adjacent "Recent Calls" tab, I was also able to text people who were calling me to let them know I was on a call. 

Candidly, not having mobile phone service in the iPad prior to LTE was always one of the drawbacks, and I always felt Apple should have made the iPad a phone also, with the codecs and chips that would let it really be one. Well, Dialpad has made it just that good. 

About the only thing lacking is video. Dialpad is experimenting with that on their Mac and PC desktop service so my guess is that, and Apple TV integration are not far behind.

If you're using Dialpad on your iPhone, you'll love it on your iPad, and if you're like me, you'll finally be finding use for those older iPad's that are sitting in the drawer somewhere.....


WebRTC - Like Wine, Is Coming of Age

Over the weekend Tsahi Levent-Levi, penned a contributed article over on Venture Beat about WebRTC which I enjoyed reading.

Tsahi, has been deep diving into WebRTC as long as anyone, and perhaps along with Dean Bubley, is one of the better informed blogalysts on the subject, only likely surpassed by long time pal, Counterpath and Hookflash founder, Erik Lagerway when it comes to being as well informed on the technical and aware of the possible. That's why it's always fun to read Tsahi's collection of facts to stay more up to date on things that one may have missed. The article is a very good read so take a few moments and check it out.

In the roundup recap of why it's time to pay attention to WebRTC Tsahi draws out the fact that most of the modern browsers, with the absence of Apple's Safari, have WebRTC included now. This includes Microsoft new browser candidate, Edge. That's all nice, but for me, it's always been having WebRTC embedded in apps and inside new services that mattered most, as the browser is really just the commodity for transport, but it's what WebRTC connects and connects to that's so important.

That's a point that Tsahi makes when he discusses the data channel, something client Temasys' team has been saying for a few years as well and why pal Andy Voss' Sansay has been so busy the past few years making sure their SBC's are WebRTC capable

Take for example two new  offerings Tsahi didn't mention that are now breaking ground that Tsahi didn't mention. Ottspott and Yodel. These apps and services are living where things are going. Inside the Bot and Messaging platforms like Slack and Hipchat that are the future. They both start away from the browsers which is where things are really happening, and where more daily workers are living. Workforces are getting out of being trapped in email and voice mail hell, and to give credit to Skype of old, the workforce of today is yearning for more personal interactivity without the annoyance of being bothered when they can't talk.

With the decline of Skype, post acquisition by Microsoft, as the place everyone has hung out to stay in touch, teams, especially distributed teams and organizations that work across timezone are already turning to platforms like Slack and HipChat. (I would contend that Basecamp, a platform I love is missing the boat with the lack of Real Time Comms beyond their Campfire platform that is in need of an overhaul.)

Slack already has built in calling, and with their API's are enabling cagey development teams to build in even more sophisticated voice tools, like Ottspott and Yodel. Both use Slack to set up or "receive" a call, then spawn a web browser page and use WebRTC to power the conversation. This blend of old and new thinking makes these two companies Voice 3.0 companies.  

And, Slack's voice beta has only gone from good to better as you try it and use it. Now that its been rolled out to their iOS and Android apps, it really is becoming a way to stay in touch and quickly shift from text to voice. For those in well built out LTE areas, or those who live on Wi-Fi, you really don't need a voice plan if you mostly live in the app world with Slack and the voice, conferencing and video services that integrate with it.

But the world is changing right before our eyes and ears...and thanks to watchers like Tsahi, Dean and others, we're all able to stay better aware, informed and involved.


The Comunicano Communique for Wednesday April 13th, 2016

 
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This week is best viewed as Facebook's Week. With their F8 conference they are setting things up for their next few years of growth. This basically means now that they have attracted enough of us to be regular "users" and we're "hooked" it's really time to make money. The two big themes coming out of the event are API's to work with Facebook and Live Video.  Thus Facebook is really going after the ability to be present in your life all the time. The series of stories below are a nice primer, so I encourage you to look at what they are up to and draw your own conclusions so needless to say, "the Times, they are a changing.

So read today's Comunicano Communique and get into the news.

Yesterday on Business Rockstars with Ken Rutkowski, we talked about the cool apps, sites and tools to make you a better entrepreneur. The three you can watch from yesterday were:

FastLane - gets you an Uber from your Mac.

Teleport - Uber for Groups. You book. They ride. You pay.

WeLive - WeWork For Living spaces. In NYC and D.C. now...

By the way, don't miss the API event of the summer in Las Vegas. "All About The API"......

 
 
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Technology to Connect the World: F8 Day One Roundup

F8 2016 kicked off today, with a packed house of more than 2,600 people and hundreds of thousands of people watching via Facebook Live. Mark Zuckerberg kicked the conference off with a keynote detailing Facebook's 10-year technology roadmap, and the ways those technologies will help bring people together and give everyone a voice.
 
 

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Facebook Bets on a Bot Resurgence, Chattier Than Ever

To browse for a pair of brown loafers on Facebook Messenger, you can now text a message to the service to begin a conversation with the mobile shopping start-up Spring. Spring will ask you for a preferred price range for the shoes and show a smattering of what it thinks you might like.

 
 

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Live, local, late breaking: On Facebook Live, news outlets take a cue from TV (but don't call it TV)

Around 5 p.m. on April 1, everyone in our little office crowded around my desk, watching a live video of baby goats roaming inside BuzzFeed Motion Pictures president Ze Frank's office - a prank by staffers for his birthday. Would Frank be angry? Would the goats escape?? Would chaos ensue?!
 
 

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Facebook Opens Up Live Streaming API to Allow Streaming from Any Device

Facebook just took video streaming on its Live platform beyond the mobile phone: CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced during his keynote at the company's f8 developer conference in San Francisco Wednesday that it is making its Live API publicly available. This will allow developers to integrate live streaming into third-party apps and devices.
 
 

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This is the first official camera for Facebook's Live Video: the Mevo

Facebook has made a huge push into live broadcasting recently, including putting a new video discovery hub right in the center of its app. And now Facebook has its first official hardware partner for live video, and it's a nifty camera from industry pioneer Livestream.
 
 

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Facebook launches "Agents On Messenger" platform with chatbots

Facebook will now allow businesses to deliver automated customer support, ecommerce guidance, content, and interactive experience through "Agents on Messenger", Facebook's term for chatbots.
 
 

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Inside Microsoft's build-a-bot strategy | ZDNet

Tomorrow, Facebook is expected to roll out new bot-related programming interfaces and possibly new chatbots of its own at its F8 developer conference. Microsoft recently used its own Build developer event to talk up our bot-centric future. In the couple of weeks since then, I've been watching recorded Build bot sessions and following various links to understand more about Microsoft's approach.
 
 

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Find time for your goals with Google Calendar

Whether it's reading more books, learning a new language or working out regularly, achieving your goals can be really hard. One day it's "I got called into a last-minute meeting." The next day it's "I have a friend in town." And before you know it, your goals are delayed or forgotten.
 
 

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Nearly 40,000 Verizon workers just went on strike

NEW YORK - About 39,000 Verizon landline and cable workers on the East Coast walked off the job Wednesday morning after little progress in negotiations since their contract expired nearly eight months ago.
 
 

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How to Find the Customers Who Need Your Product

Aspiring founders who think they've developed an amazing offering often believe that their product will sell themselves. While there are occasional instances of unique apps, software, hardware, and services that were so valuable that they instantly made their founders famous, this is rarely the case.
 
 

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Building more accessible technology

Nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population will have a disability during their lifetime, which can make it hard for them to access and interact with technology, and limits the opportunity that technology can bring.
 
 

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The Comunicano Communique for Friday April 8th 2016

 
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Good Morning. It's Friday and it's been a busy week. Our big client news was YipTV joining T-Mobile's BingeOn. For the New Jersey based company this is a major milestone and likely a harbinger of things to come......The news cycle this week has also been fast and furious as next week tax day looms on April 15th, so it "usually" slows down. We'll see.

What company is hot? Facebook. Why? Start with pal Stephan Rust's blog post from last Thursday and then read the following few stories about the social network giant and I think you'll agree that we all can begin to drop "social" from the description of Facebook. They are really cresting into an all everything company.

Then there's the "let's buy Yahoo" news. I bet shareholders are wishing they took Steve Ballmer's offer a few years ago now.....What is it about Pigs and Hogs? Of courseencrypted communications remains in the news. What'sApp did it this week (read what the EFF has to say). Signal is available to more now via the desktop (as announced on their blog). The Amazon Echo remains the hottest product on the market ,and as I have all three, I can say that first hand, having been a user and raving fan since the Beta over a year ago. Talk about a daily experience changer, the Echo is just that, all of which rolls nicely into the talk about Bots...yes Bots. Not Bats..

There's all that and more in today's Comunicano Communique, so grab your coffee mug, tea or chai and get on with the news.

By the way, don't miss the API event of the summer in Las Vegas. "All About The API"......

 
 
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Facebook leading the way in Mobile disruption

After digesting some of the insights from Barcelona during Mobile World Congress, it's becoming more and more apparent that Facebook, not Apple or Google, nor Ericsson or Cisco, and especially not Vodafone or China Mobile, is leading change in mobile.
 
 

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Facebook Messenger now lets you start a chat by scanning profile codes

Becoming friends with someone on Facebook Messenger just became a lot easier. In a new update that started to roll out Thursday, Facebook's chat app now has Messenger Codes - circular patterns around a user's profile photo, which can be scanned to start a chat with that person.
 
 

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Facebook Messenger may soon have more bots

Facebook Messenger will soon have more bots. According to a leaked slide deck, the company will announce a bot platform for its chat service at next week's F8 conference. According to TechCrunch, Facebook is seeding APIs to developers that allow them to build bots for Messenger and Web plugins for Live Chat.
 
 

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When do bots beat apps? When context and convenience matter most

 
  There's a question I've been asking founders when they pitch me their bots: "Why is this a bot and not an app or a website?" I've been fascinated by the explosion of developer interest and startup activity around chatbots and am pretty bullish on their potential as both a user and an investor, but it's important to take a step back and think about why we're all so focused on conversational interfaces.  
 

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Video game Olympics announced for Rio

A new eGames international gaming tournament will make its debut in Rio during this summer's Olympic Games. The event, launched as part of this week's London Games Festival, offers medals and national pride rather than cash prizes for the winners. The competition, backed by the UK government, will be run by the new International eGames Committee (IEGC).

 
 

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Verizon to Proceed With Yahoo Bid, Google Weighs Offer

Verizon Communications Inc. plans to make a first-round bid for Yahoo Inc.'s Web business next week, and is willing to acquire the company's Yahoo Japan Corp. stake to help sweeten the offer, according to people familiar with the matter. Google, the main division of Alphabet Inc., is also considering bidding for Yahoo's core business, a separate person said.
 
 

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Is That Email Really From Your CEO?

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) this week warned about a "dramatic" increase in so-called "CEO fraud," e-mail scams in which the attacker spoofs a message from the boss and tricks someone at the organization into wiring funds to the fraudsters.

 
 

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Taking Alexa for a ride

Alexa, the ever-present voice control assistant living inside Amazon's Echo, Echo Dot and Tap products, has been a useful addition to the CNET Smart Home -- our spot in the Kentucky countryside for testing out all sorts of connected gadgets and gizmos (the Echo, Echo Dot and Tap included).
 
 

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Amazon expands free same-day delivery to 11 mid-sized cities, increases coverage in existing metro markets - GeekWire

Amazon continues to increase the value of its Prime membership, this time expanding its network of free same-day delivery options for members. The retail giant announced today that same-day delivery options are available to Prime members in 11 new cities, bringing the service's footprint up to nearly 30 metro areas across the U.S.
 
 

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Reddit launches official iOS and Android apps

Remember when, in October 2014, Reddit bought the unofficial Reddit mobile app Alien Blue? Even though the app was quickly relaunched, that was the first step towards Reddit launching its own official apps. That moment has finally arrived. On Thursday, the official Reddit apps landed on Android and iOS (iPhone only).
 
 

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Now's your chance to try Signal's desktop Chrome app

The desktop version of Edward Snowden's favored end-to-end messaging system, Signal, is now available to anyone who wants to check it out. Open Whisper Systems announced the desktop version back in December, but until today it was invite-only.
 
 

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Tesla Proclaims Early Model 3 Demand A Victory For EVs

A week after the Model 3 unveiling, and Tesla is in the endzone doing a touchdown dance. A blog entry on the official Tesla blog boldly states that this past week was "The Week that Electric Vehicles Went Mainstream." Elon also couldn't contain himself and let the good news from the summary of reservations for the week overflow onto Twitter.
 
 

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Most Airbnb hosts flout SF laws, city report says

More than a quarter of San Francisco homes listed as vacation getaways on Airbnb violate the city's 90-day annual limit on such rentals, while the vast majority of Airbnb hosts have yet to register their properties, flouting a law enacted last year, according to a report released late Thursday by the San Francisco Budget and Legislative Analyst's Office.
 
 

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YipTV Joins 'Binge On' Mix

YipTV said it has joined Binge On, T-Mobile's controversial optional service that delivers mobile video in 480p resolution and zero-rates the streams of its growing list of OTT partners. YipTV is a no-contract OTT-TV offering launched last May that's focused on Spanish-language video and features plans from more than 100 international and domestic live TV channels.

 
 

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YipTV, Dailymotion, others bulk up T-Mobile's Binge On streaming ...

International-focused streaming service YipTV and OTT provider Dailymotion are among a block of over-the-top providers and TV networks that have signed on to T-Mobile's ( NYSE:TMUS) streaming service, Binge On, setting a challenge to its primary mobile-first video streaming challenger, Verizon's ( NYSE: VZ) Go90 service.
 
 

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StubHub Will Use Virtual Reality to Let You Preview Your Seat

Like many companies, eBay is convinced virtual reality is the next big thing. But also like a lot of companies, eBay is trying to figure out just what that means for its business. On Thursday, the company is announcing its first small foray into the VR arena, as subsidiary StubHub offers Final Four ticket buyers the option to get an immersive, 3-D view of available seats.
 
 

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Regis McKenna's 1976 Notebook And The Invention Of Apple Computer, Inc.

At first blush, it appears to be an utterly unexceptional spiral-bound notebook. Manufactured in the U.S. by the National Blank Book Company of Holyoke, Massachusetts, it's got a light green cover and 80 sheets of narrow-ruled 8-by-10-inch paper. The first sign that its contents might matter is a request haphazardly rubber-stamped on the front: "RETURN TO REGIS McKENNA HIMSELF."
 
 

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The Hidden Economics of Porn

A gender-studies professor explains how the industry works.
 
 

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Andy's App of the Week - SENDERS

Back in the day, Rapportive was a great go to app to discover more about the person you were engaged in an email conversation. Then it was acquired by LinkedIn and its usefulness waned. Fortunately a new service has come out and it's awesome. I'm referring to Senders, which I talked about on Thursday's BusinessRockstars. Senders does for social and contact information what USA Today's bite size round-up stories did to the news. Makes it easy to know all you need to about someone in one place with their LinkedIn, Twitter, About, Angels List data and a quick search on Google all baked in.

Senders is still in beta, so expect a bug here or there, but after a day of using it, I can't live without it.

 


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Today on Business Rockstars

Today, along with Ken Rutkowski, the host of Business Rockstars, we spoke about:

Amazon Echo and all its siblings and what you can do with it.

Pipedrive, a very slick and easy to use CRM service.

Cloutex, a super easy to use plugin for Chrome that makes adding LinkedIn info to Pipedrive

Senders, a new in your email service that tells you all you need to know about the person sending you email

Here's the link.


The Comunicano Communique for Thursday March 31st 2016

 
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Good Morning. It's Thursday and as I wrote earlier in the week, the NEWS is happening. Today there is more than double the usual number of news stories you'll receive, with 18, and also far less feature content.....so grab the coffee and get ready to read.

In technology we'll go well beyond the FBI iPhone Hack and all the news surrounding that, much of which is more speculation than fact.

The tech news is from the usual and some unusual suspects. Microsoft with their Build 2016 Conference is dominating the tech press with stories surrounding their Hololens, API's, Bots, Cortana, their new Edge browser and how it deals with Ad blocking, Skype and more. To parry Microsoft's news a bit, Google is coming out with news about their efforts in Virtual Reality, with an update on their cardboard viewer with 360 degree viewing. Then there's news on Tesla's new car debut and how the tax credits for buying one may not last...

Of course Apple has well timed news around their Major League Baseball sponsorship all based upon the iPad going in the dugout and getting mentioned on air.  There's more news about their "New" iPhone, the SE with a strong review leading the way for that and the better way to charge iPad Pro 12 inchers...

Oh, and Uber announces how they are improving customer service by moving it into the app which makes things easier and also lets the world know how they have expanded what they are doing with Hilton. In the world of "what's old is new again", we have AOL's Tim Armstrong, who is now working for Verizon, with access to their war chest, going on record on wanting to buy Yahoo which some may remember used to power the telcos DSL, now he wants to power their ad network with their platform. 

There's all that and more in today's Comunicano Communique.

By the way, don't miss the API event of the summer in Las Vegas. "All About The API"......

 
 
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BUILD 2016: Microsoft talks Cortana, Skype, bots, and intelligence APIs

On March 30th, during the BUILD 2016 keynote presentation, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talked about "Conversations as a platform." That means conversations between two or more people, between people and digital assistants, and between people and bots, which are intelligent applications that humans can converse with.
 
 

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Microsoft launches HoloLens emulator so developers can test holographic apps, no headset required

As promised, Microsoft today started shipping its $3,000 HoloLens development kits. In addition to sharing that bots are coming to the new platform, the company also released a HoloLens emulator, which lets developers test holographic apps on their PC without the need for a physical HoloLens.
 
 

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HoloLens, A Year Later: A New Demo At Build 2016

A year ago at Build 2015, we got our first demo of Microsoft's HoloLens. At this year's event, we got a second crack at seeing the augmented reality device in action, and it was a completely different experience. Or, we should say, Microsoft took a completely different approach.
 
 

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Microsoft plans to build ad blocker into its Microsoft Edge browser | ZDNet

One of Microsoft's biggest gambles in Windows 10 is its decision to turn Internet Explorer into a legacy product, primarily for enterprise customers. Its replacement, Microsoft Edge, has been developing slowly since its version 1.0 release with the first release of Windows 10.
 
 

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Skype is getting Cortana and crazy bot messaging

You'll soon be able to use Skype to books trips, shop, and plan your schedule, just by chatting with Cortana. During its Build conference, Microsoft demoed how Skype users will soon be able to start a chat with Cortana and get things done just by having a conversation.
 
 

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Google makes it really easy to embed 360-degree VR experiences

You've tried out Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR, you've seen those nifty virtual reality experiences, and now you want to create your own and put it on your website. Well, Google just made that a pretty simple task.
 
 

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Google tackles simple 360 content embeds with VR View, introduces Cardboard SDK for iOS

Virtual reality is great for gaming and movies, but when it comes to real-world use cases there's still quite a bit of room for VR to prove itself. Google is hoping to kickstart this process by making 360 VR content a bit more simple to implement and, in the process, way more spontaneous for users to discover and view.
 
 

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AT&T moving away from Social Security numbers for customer security, will use pass codes instead

AT&T ( NYSE:T) is asking its customers to use pass codes rather than Social Security numbers when dealing with the carrier in an apparent effort to better protect users' sensitive information. "Previously, we required the last four digits of your Social Security Number as part of the process to access your account when calling Customer Service or visiting some Retailers," the carrier recently wrote in an e-mail to subscribers.

 
 

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Meet The iPhone Dream Team Hackers: FBI, Japanese Pinball Machine Maker, Israeli Cyber Firm

FBI Director James Comey leads a dream team which pulled off the iPhone hack.
 
 

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Apple strikes deal with MLB to provide every team with iPad Pros

Apple and Major League Baseball have signed a multi-year deal that will see every team receive iPad Pro tablets for use in the dugout, reports The Wall Street Journal .
 
 

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iPhone SE review: It's a pocket-size powerhouse

The SE is the little iPhone that could. With a 4-inch screen and the body of an iPhone 5s, it fits in my pockets better than my iPhone 6s, and it's easier to use one-handed. But it doesn't compromise much over its bigger, more expensive siblings.
 
 

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Testing Apple's 29W USB-C Power Adapter and iPad Pro Fast Charging

When Apple refreshed its online store with a new USB-C to Lightning cable with support for fast charging through a 29W power adapter on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro last week, the addition immediately caught my interest. You can also use the cable with an Apple 29W USB-C Power Adapter to take advantage of the fast [...]
 
 

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With Model 3, it's make or break for Tesla

On Thursday night, at an invitation-only, Hollywood-style premiere on his SpaceX campus in Hawthorne, Elon Musk and his Tesla team will unveil their latest creation: the Model 3, Musk's long-awaited electric car for the masses. Few details have been revealed so far, but the car is essentially a...
 
 

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Report: AOL's Tim Armstrong wants Verizon to acquire Yahoo to build an ad powerhouse

AOL, Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Armstrong has grand plans to turn parent company Verizon, Inc. into an ad powerhouse, and acquiring Yahoo, Inc. may be a part of that plan, according to a new report Wednesday.
 
 

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Drone Startup Airware Raises $30 Million, Adds Former Cisco CEO To Board

A drone powered by Airware technology inspects the roof of a home. (Photo courtesy of Airware) Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration projected in a report that 7 million drones will be sold annually in the U.S. within four years. Some 4.3 million, the FAA forecasted, will be bought and operated [...]
 
 

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Checking Your Uber Rating Or Getting Your Purse Back Just Got Much Easier

After years of forcing customers to use email to complain about anything, Uber is now committing to more updated technology. On Wednesday, the ride-hailing giant announced it plans to roll out globally its in-app customer service support features, which it has been quietly implementing in the U.S. since late 2015.
 
 

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Hilton Deepens Its Uber Relationship in New Loyalty Push

Hilton may not have been the first hospitality company to partner with Uber - that distinct honor goes to Starwood - but it is the first hotel company that's allowing its loyalty members to view their hotel stay information and be able to check-in from the Uber app, all while they travel to their hotel in the very Uber they were reminded to book from their Hilton HHonors app.
 
 

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Why Do the Feds Usually Try to Unlock Phones? It's Drugs, Not Terrorism

Until the FBI backed down from its battle with Apple over accessing the iPhone 5c of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook, it seemed the agency had chosen a near-perfect case on which to make its stand against encryption.
 
 

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The Comunicano Communique for Wednesday March 30th 2016

 
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Good Morning. It's Tuesday and it's the kind of NEWS day I love. That's when there is actually NEWS to read. What's happening? Lots of new features in apps and from services. It's the storm before the Tax Time lull so expect lots of "we have something new" to be coming out the next week or so. Take a look. See which companies are actually doing something NEW....All that and more in today's Comunicano Communique.

By the way, don't miss the API event of the summer in Las Vegas. "All About The API"......

 
 
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Digital Asset Holdings signs deal Depository Trust & Clearing Corp for Blockchain repos trial

Blockchain startup Digital Asset Holdings, LLC has signed a new deal with the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. to trial the company's Blockchain technology at the firm.
 
 

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AT&T to Add an Unlimited Data Option for Home Internet and Will Better Enforce Overages on Other Plans

On May 23, the company will introduce a new unlimited data option for its U-verse home Internet subscribers. AT&T customers who have only the U-verse home Internet service can add unlimited data for $30 more a month.
 
 

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Introducing Fiber Phone

Whether it's calling mom or ordering take-out, we rely on our phones to help reach the people and things that matter. And while mobile phones have pushed us toward the future, home phone service is still important to many families. Landlines can be familiar, reliable and provide high-quality service, but the technology hasn't always kept up.
 
 

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'Burner' phones might be made illegal

Burner phones might be about to be banned in the US. A Congresswoman has proposed that everyone buying a phone in the country would have to register with personal ID, to stop criminal activities being planned with handsets that can be bought anonymously and then thrown away. Forcing shops to require customers to give over identification when buying cheap phones or pre-paid SIMs could be one of the most important ways that terrorists are able to communicate, according to Ca...
 
 

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Facebook's Messenger lands first airline as chat app pushes into commerce

SAN FRANCISCO - KLM Royal Dutch Airlines passengers will soon be able to check in, get flight updates, make travel changes and talk to customer service reps straight from Facebook's Messenger chat app. KLM is the first airline and the first major European partner for Messenger, which is used by 800 million people around the globe.
 
 

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Snapchat Wants You to Video Call Your Friends and View all their Stories

Snapchat has taken to the official blog to announce new features that allow users to place audio and video calls. Over 200 stickers have been added to the mix, allowing you to send stickers of things such as aliens, Snapchat's ghost, and walruses to your added contacts.
 
 

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Instagram Increases Video Length From 15 Seconds To 60

Users will soon be able to record and post Instagram videos that are as long as 60 seconds. Instagram has increased the video limit on posts because users have been watching more videos on the service. "In the last six months, the time people spent watching video increased by more than 40 percent," the company said on its official blog.
 
 

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SoundCloud Starts Subscription Plan, Taking On Spotify and Apple

Two weeks after signing its final licensing deal with a major record company, the online music service SoundCloud has introduced its long-awaited subscription plan. The new program gives customers access to a much wider range of music than is available on competing services like Spotify and Apple, and it offers artists and their labels the promise of royalties.
 
 

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Spotify raises $1 billion in debt with devilish terms to fight Apple Music

On-demand streaming music is inevitable, so Spotify is taking whatever fuel it can get to win the race against Apple. Whoever can sign up customers faster to consume their data and network effect could earn money off them for a long, long time.
 
 

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Waze rolls out speed alerts to tell you when you're driving too fast

Google-owned GPS driving app Waze is making it easier to avoid speeding tickets today, with the launch of a new speed alerts feature. Now when you're driving on unfamiliar roads, or perhaps find yourself somewhere where the speed limit isn't clearly signposted, you can set up alerts for when you're moving too fast.
 
 

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Lyft wants to make 'casual carpooling' a thing again

Ride-hailing service Lyft is launching a new carpooling service in the Bay Area today that it insists is entirely different from all the other carpooling services out there, including its own Lyft Line.
 
 

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Plot twist: I'm working for Google

So that's a headline I never thought I'd be writing. But it's true. I recently flew out to Mountain View for orientation, meetings and my first visit ever to Google HQ. To clarify though, I haven't earned one of the Noogler hats that my son has coveted for so long.
 
 

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