Author Archives: techpo

About techpo

The Techington Post - Tech++ {Tech, Social Media, Mobile, Marketing, and more}

R.I.P. Wallet, Here comes ApplePay

A new day enabled by mobile pay …

In these mobile times in which we now live, it is no surprise that in a recent study, more people stated that if running late after leaving home, they would turn back home to grab their cell phones as compared to their wallets. Now, with the recent introduction of ApplePay that enables making purchases DIRECTLY from your mobile phone without the hassle of whipping out cash or credit card, the wallet is on its way to being obsolete.

I kid, of course, kinda, sorta but this type of technology, if widely adopted, has disruptive potential to shake up old industries and revolutionize  business as usual across very many industries.

As with all technologies that disrupt business as usual and shake up how things used to be, there will be tremendous challenges on the road to the wide-scale adoption of mobile pay in general and ApplePay in particular. The adoption rate will likely be slow at first as there must be the right mix of industry leading and influential brands on board as well as a high enough number of their customers demanding the convenience and security of mobile payments to throw out the old and introduce a new way of doing things. As businesses and customers dip their toes into the mobile pay waters, if the water is not too hot and not too cold but “just right” and the process is virtually seamless for both customer and business, then expect that adoption rate to grow linearly at first then rapid exponential growth as time goes by. Very few like to be first in anything, to go against the grain and against convention. For both businesses and consumers, the vast majority are followers. Only the innovators and the top influencers are seated at the mobile pay table today, as all the kinks are being worked out in real time. Expect a flood of businesses and customers to rush to the table, like last call at an “all you can eat” buffet, once it becomes clear the tremendous benefits, convenience, and savings that are enabled minus the primary concerns, with security being at the top of that list.

Certainly we are a LOOOOOOOOOOONG way away from burning our wallets and more than likely that day will never come. Mobile Pay will be added to the list of cash, credit cards, debit cards, checks (assuming you can still find someone who still takes check) as valid forms of payment. The more convenient mechanisms that businesses make available for them to be paid by consumers, the more likely that consumers will make a purchase. Adding Apple Pay to the list of acceptable forms of payment, will ultimately be a win for businesses. You remember that famous American Express slogan, “Don’t leave home without it” ? Who would’ve known when that slogan first hit the airwaves decades ago, that “it” would instead be referring to these things called “mobile phones”, which had not yet existed in any form of widespread acceptance in those times ? Today, virtually  none of us ever leave home without our mobile phones. Thanks now to ApplePay among many other must-haves, the likelihood that we in fact will NEVER leave home without our mobiles, is pretty much ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND PERCENT !!

It’s TMZ’s World and We’re Just Living it !!

When Solange launched her Stiletto Attack on JayZ, TMZ broke the video. When Donald Sterling confided in his mistress (WHO DOES THAT ?) with his deepest most heartfelt racist sentiments, TMZ broke the audio. And now, after months of speculating what happened with Baltimore Ravens Running Back Ray Rice and his ‘then fiancee’ and ‘now wife’ causing him to drag her limp body off an elevator like roadkill, TMZ just broke the video of the terrible scene on that Atlantic City Casino elevator featuring a left hook to the chin that immediately floored Mrs. Rice.

Ray Rice dragging his fiancee’s lifeless limp body off an elevator

In the case of Donald Sterling, the backlash resulted in a lifetime ban from the NBA and the forced sale of his team, the LA Clippers. As the public viewed what they suspected happened on that elevator with the Rices, the backlash was so swift and wide, that the Ravens quickly voided Rice’s contract and the NFL, trying to save face after a weak 2 game suspension prior, suspended him indefinitely. As for the JayZ, Solange, Beyonce elevator incident, OF COURSE nothing happened. It was The Carter’s world long before it belonged to TMZ !!

So here is what there is to conclude. If there is a story to be gotten, TMZ WILL get it it. Whether you like it or not. Undoubtedly, they would’ve solved the murders of the Notorius B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur. if only the media organization had existed in the mid-late 1990s. To every celebrity, actor, athlete, or musician, the dreaded TMZ incident must strike a deep sense of fear as the go about their formerly private lives. To the average Joe Blow or Mary Snow who has yet to reap the price of fame, we are safe … for now.

The days of privacy for celebrity and non-celebrity alike are long gone. Everywhere we go, we will likely be in area with roughly 90+% cellphone coverage, all equipped with cameras and video recorders. We are ALL 1 bad mistake from the dreaded TMZ frontpage “feature”, if only they cared about our puny little lives. With an army of TMZ fulltimers equipped with cameras and a milion more amateur photographers looking to reap a big TMZ payday, we are all subject to the whim of TMZ in a privacy-less world. Our cellphones track our every movement with detailed GPS coordinates. Surveillance cameras track our activity at gas stations, malls, street corners, and corner stores. Highway tollroads track the movement of our vehicles.  When we decided that we were going to live in an era of such rapid technological development and reap the many benefits, unfortunately one of the things that we also gave up was our privacy.

The TMZ World in which we now live is a world where privacy is a thing of the past. Whether in our proudest or darkest moments, we are but a few clicks and keystrokes away from our activities being broadcasted from south Carolina to the South Sudan. It is a reality of the times in which we live. For the vast majority of us who are cursed with lack of wealth but blessed enough to not have TMZ give 2 licks about what we do in our daily lives, this is less of a concern. For those that gloss the covers of major national publications who live under a perpetual microscope, and are blessed with the dollars but cursed with the scrutiny of fame, the TMZ World continues to be the bane of their existence. Oh well, it’s the price of fame in today’s world. Give me the money, you can keep the fame.

Would you trade your middle class status and privacy for wealth and 24/7/365 scrutiny ?

Galaxy issues Ice Bucket Challenge to iPhone

Well, as if every politician, celebrity, and Joe Schmoe alive throwing buckets of ice water over their heads in the viral charitable craze “The Ice Bucket Challenge” wasn’t enough, now we’ve got inanimate objects throwing their hat into the ring. In what I’d call a work of Marketing Genius to both capitalize on the hottest Internet trend today as well as emphasize one of your product’s core features, the Samsung Galaxy S5 completed then reissued the first of its kind Ice Bucket Challenge between cell phones. Yes, you heard correctly, in a recent YouTube video the Galaxy S5 first had a cup of ice water dumped all over it and issued a similar challenge to the iPhone.

image

Being waterproof is one of the big things Samsung likes to tout as a key differentiator between the S5 and the iPhone. How essential a feature this is to have on a phone is arguable, but certainly each of us has that one friend we know who’s dropped their phone in the toilet in a drunken stupor. With the Galaxy being a much wider phone, I’d assume they probably also have  a larger percentage of toilet phone droppers. In any case, check out the challenge below. Will Apple accept ? Doubtful since they rarely if ever engage competitors publicly, but here’s to another great episode in the Galaxy vs. iPhone Phone Wars.

Is the water proof feature essential for you as phone buyer ?

 

Twitter for THE REAL, Facebook for the FANTASY !

BREAKING NEWS !! There is a MAJOR difference between Facebook and Twitter !! All social networks aren’t created equal and there is certainly a distinct difference between the content shared on Twitter vs. content shared on Facebook. This has been of particular noteworthiness over the past week as Ferguson, Missouri has resembled a scene in Palestine, Baghdad, or elsewhere in the Middle East following the police shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. As the city of Ferguson has been ablaze with unrest as outraged individuals have taken to the streets to protest and rebel, Twitter has equally been ablaze with second by second REAL Breaking News updates from people in the streets, protesters, anarchists, detractors, mainstream media types, and millions of people globally who have been captivated by this tragic event and the subsequent response. Twitter saves its best work for times such as this, when the voice of the people must be heard directly from the people on the ground without first going through the mass mainstream media filter. The Arab Spring, the latest Israeli-Palestine conflict, and the Ferguson Awakening, are but a few examples of the power of Twitter for BREAKING NEWS events.

Twitter ABLAZE with the Ferguson Awakening !

Meanwhile, in that same time period, Facebook has been all ablaze with IceBucketChallenge posts. Not to detract from the worthy cause that is raising money to fight ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, but there is and always has been a clear difference in the content people are willing to share on Facebook versus what they openly share on Twitter. Over the past week on Facebook, Ferguson stories have been shared an average of 256 times versus 2,106 times for IceBucketChallenge stories, according to SimpleReach, a social media analytics company. Over that same time period, 3.6 million Ferguson related tweets were sent in comparison to 2.3 million IceBucketChallenge tweets. So as you can see, there is a clear distinction between content people share on Twitter versus what they share on Facebook, and there are clear reasons why.

The most obvious reason why is that there is a clear distinction between who we call our “friends” on Facebook and our “followers” on Twitter. We are much more likely to know IN-PERSON our Facebook friends versus our Twitter followers. We tend to be more cautious with what we share and discuss with people who we ACTUALLY know versus complete strangers who began following each other on Twitter once they both responded to the latest trending topic of the day. With hot-button, political, controversial, divisive issues, we tend to not want to invite Grandma, Grandpa, Mom, Dad, Uncle, Aunt, Niece, Nephews, and Coworkers into how our mind works and our views on these issues, so many tend to not discuss this on Facebook. Conversely, we tend to not give 2 damns what @datnerduluv_ , @skaterboi361, and @drizzlemae210 think about your takes on Ferguson, Trayvon Martin, ObamaCare, Palestine-Israel, and other issues which can get pretty divisive pretty darn fast. Twitter is for speaking your mind UNFILTERED whereas Facebook tends to be a Fantasyland of vacation photos from Greece, weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, graduations, cute puppy pics, and other happy times. Facebook tends to be the safe zone, therefore you tend to not get the REAL DEAL Holyfield on how people think.

Not only is Facebook often self-censored but by Facebook’s own secret sauce algorithm that determines what you can see when, that adds to the fantasy. If you think that your Facebook newsfeed is merely a chronological list of posts made by all your friends in a nice meaningful sequence, just know that you are DRASTICALLY wrong. By some top secret, KFC-original-recipe, FortKnox-sealed algorithm, Facebook determines what you see, when, by whom. Nobody but Zuckerberg himself knows that secret but it limits the content that we see on Facebook. Add to that the troubling report a few months ago, that Facebook “experimented” with a select group of thousands of users to see if they could manipulate their mood by only presenting them with happy, sad, or inspirational stories. So yes, it appears that if Facebook makes up their mind to say, “We are going to piss a whole buncha people off about the police by littering their feeds with stories on police brutality”, they allegedly have the capability to do that. NO, THAT’S NOT SCARY AT ALL !!

Facebook and Twitter have their place in our lives and of course so do other networks such as LinkedIn. While LinkedIn is primarily the place we interact with colleagues and professional contacts, Facebook tends to be more social, and Twitter is … well Twitter is REAL, RAW, UNCUT, AND UNCENSORED !! In the event of Breaking News, fast moving stories such as what is taking place in Ferguson, Missouri, THE REAL DEAL is what we crave and this is where Twitter SHINES !!

Is there a difference between what you share on Facebook vs. Twitter ? Explain …

NSA Intercepts Evidence of Obama, Beyonce, Shakira Love Triangle

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been tricked by a RIDICULOUS headline such as the one above while browsing through shared stories on your social media news feeds ! Well since I refuse to believe that I’m the only sucker alive, I can see a few of you out there with your hands raised high in the air. Perhaps the headline wasn’t as ridiculous as this one, but with the growing trend of fake news satirical sites that surface every day, it certainly isn’t out of the ordinary for fake news to be mistaken for real news when browsing through the plethora of news stories shared by contributors on your various social networks. Recognizing this to be a potential problem, here comes Facebook to the rescue.

Facebook [SATIRE] tag will help separate real from fake news

By popular demand, Facebook is now testing out a feature that will mark stories from popular fake news sites such as The Onion and The Daily Currant with a [SATIRE] tag to clearly distinguish real news from fake news. In the information overload times in which we live where we are inundated with a slew of news around the clock, it can become challenging to know what is real news and what is satire/fake. The rush to be FIRST versus CORRECT also complicates this matter. In fact, a Washington Post journalist picked up a fake news story about Sarah Palin joining Al Jazeera as a commentator (yeah, try that one on for size) and reported it as fact, forcing the newspaper to have to post a correction and an apology. Though Facebook has become pretty famous for sneaking in new features that everybody hates but are forced to live with, this is one move that I applaud in our quest to distinguish the real deal news from the impostor silicone implants !!

Oh, and if you haven’t figured it out by now, the headline of this article is without a doubt categorically 1,000,000% FALSE so if you decide to share this story, do your followers a solid favor and tag it “[SATIRE]” before they flip their wigs prior to even reading the article !!

Have you ever been fooled by a fake news story ? What was it ? Let’s discuss …

Apple Takeover of Healthcare ? YIKES ?

If your healthcare in the hands of your government scares the crap outta you, how does healthcare in the hands of APPLE connect with you ? Well, as misleading as the statement “healthcare in the hands of your government” was, so too is the statement about Apple being in control of your healthcare. As we anxiously await the launch of the iPhone 6, due out within the next month or so, one of the much talked about and eagerly anticipated features of the iPhone 6 and iOS 8 is the all new Apple HealthKit, a platform and app that enables users to keep better track of their personal health and fitness related data.

HealthKit.WWDC2014[1]

HealthKit provides a dashboard where users can monitor important health metrics on a daily basis. Various existing health related apps such as Nike+, FitBit, MapMyFitness, etc. will be able to integrate with HealthKit to provide a holistic view of a user’s health-related information such as nutrition, sleep patterns, heart rate, and other pertinent information. Another key aspect of this potentially groundbreaking and industry changing platform is the ability to integrate with Health Institutions such as the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, etc. and transmit and receive a user’s personal and private health information from recent checkups.

This is more than just another app and represents a major opportunity for Apple as they aim to carve out their piece of the estimated $9 Billion mobile healthcare market. Health related apps have proven to be very popular with consumers and when you consider the fact that the vast majority of consumers are equipped with mobile phones within their pockets and purses throughout all hours of everyday, it wouldn’t be hyperbole to say that HealthKit LITERALLY has life-saving potential. As much opportunity as HealthKit represents, it certainly won’t be without its detractors. To have such private, personal, and confidential health related information floating about the mobile stratosphere is sure to spook some people out. As secure and encrypted as the data obviously will have to be, the thought of all information from a recent doctor visit transmitted through cyberspace to your mobile phone is bound to not sit well with many people initially. When Apple enters a new industry, they never tip in quietly. (See personal computers, digital music, mobile phones, and mobile tablets as prime examples). Having now planted their foot firmly in the mobile healthcare market, they are bound to shake up this industry as well.

Does the thought of “health info on your mobile” freak you out a bit ?

Uber for Strippers ? Now THAT is D.I.S.R.U.P.T.I.O.N. !!

Ever been in DIRE need of a stripper but just couldn’t get in touch with that ONE friend who is a walking stripopedia of stripper information from coast to coast ? No ? Me neither but I’m willing to bet many are familiar with this plight. Out of town, bachelor party, you were on stripper duty, and YOU are clueless about the local stripper scene. Well here comes Clover to the rescue. Clover is looking to do to the stripper/escort industry what Uber has successfully done to the taxi cab industry; disrupt it and change business as usual with an innovative touch, a smartphone, and a mobile app. With the simple touch of a button on your smart phone, you too can browse through profiles of nearby strippers, rates, availability, and all the other information needed to hire Cinnamon, Lexus, Mercedes or whatever other made up stage name of an adult entertainer needed to entertain the bachelor party or a boy’s weekend in Vegas or Miami. As humorous as this may be to some, here is a company that identified a need and through their innovative spirit and creativity, answered that all important question that has been the genesis behind so many successful companies, “wouldn’t be nice IF ??”. By asking yourself that question, you too can be on the verge of the next groundbreaking, industry changing idea. Now get your $1 bills together boys and DISRUPT !!

Clover-App[1]

Superstorm Sandy

An Uber Disruption of Business as Usual …

The cab industry was sailing along doing business as usual … and BAM out of nowhere came Uber to disrupt the entire industry by doing an old thing in a new way. Uber, the “request a ride” service that enables anyone with a smartphone to launch an app and summons a ride from one of many nearby Uber drivers using their personal vehicles, is growing in popularity day by day and leaving a big trail of pissed off taxi cab drivers in its wake. Uber, Lyft, and other new companies that operate using a similar business model have totally and completely disrupted the taxi cab industry in ways that will result in permanent change.

I had the opportunity to speak with a taxi driver recently about the sweeping changes that are taking place and the Uber effect (pun intented) that this is happening on his business. As I listened to many of his very legitimate gripes, I could certainly understand his concern but the gripes were largely related to HIS personal loss and the taxicab industry as a whole. I can’t help but empathize with the plight of anyone working in any industry going through drastic change that results in decrease of income and the resultant disruption in quality of life that follows. I’m pretty sure there were some pretty pissed off horse carriage manufacturers and typewriter salesmen as those industries were replaced by newer innovations in technology. However, what ultimately matters most is what is good for CONSUMERS overall. As much as it sucks that many taxi cab drivers will be facing an obvious drop in revenue, “is it ultimately what is best for most consumers ?” is the  only question that truly matters and is what makes every industry thrive.

As a society advances and new technologies, innovations, business models, and entirely new categories of businesses are developed, that creates uncomfortable yet necessary change. As the old saying goes, the only CONSTANT in life is CHANGE. Uber and similar companies have created a change within the taxi cab industry. As city governments and business leaders now wrestle with important questions such as “how do we best offset the possible shrinking of the cab industry ?”, “who is liable in the event of an accident involving an Uber driver driving his/her personal vehicle ?”, “how do we guarantee that Uber drivers have been properly background checked and vetted ?”, and many other pertinent questions, the change taking place in this old established industry is in full speed. Change is never comfortable and as Amazon wrecked shop for brick-and-mortar booksellers and Napster (illegally) and iTunes (legally) decimated the corner CD shops, similar disruptive forces are taking place across numerous industries. It’s hard to argue that much of these changes haven’t resulted in more convenience, more choice, and better prices, which all ultimately speak to what is best for the consumer. Disruption and change aren’t comfortable but they are absolutely necessary for the continued evolution of mankind and of our society.

Have you ever or would you ever use Uber to request a ride from a stranger ?

39d56a30e8708bb708386bdbc88740aef0ba682f[1]

VIDEO: A Speaker that Floats in Mid-Air … YES, REALLY !!

Add this to the category of “WHY THE HELL NOT ?”. If Jesus walked on water, why can’t my speaker blast my favorite tunes while floating in mid-air ? Yeah, I know you never thought of it either nor would you put this up there with air and water on the needs and must-have list. However, you gotta admit, THAT IS PRETTY DAMN COOL !! A company called Om Audio  has developed what I believe to be the world’s first levitating speaker !! Yes, you heard me, a bluetooth speaker that FLOATS IN MID-AIR as you listen. Though I haven’t heard the sound quality for myself to see if it’s worth the $179 price tag, but SERIOUSLY, does it matter ? If you break out a speaker that levitates and floats in mid-air at your next house party, be assured that it won’t matter if you ran out of food and drinks, all EVERYONE will be talking about the next day will be that AWESOME party they went to where a guy/girl broke out a speaker that floated in mid-air. Yeah, YOU will be that guy/girl. Check out the awesome video below !! Drop a comment below and let us know what you think.

 

cloud-formation[1]

To Cloud or Not to Cloud ?

To cloud or not to cloud ? That is the question taking place across board rooms and corner offices all across the corporate world. As the benefits of a cloud computing architectural strategy become more and more clear to the people that write the checks and make the decisions, IT departments are being asked this question. To cloud or not to cloud … my email system ? my CRM system ? my proprietary database ? my HR system ? and all other systems that make an enterprise hum. The absolutely vividly clear without a doubt answer to this question is a RESOUNDING … it depends !! Ok, ok, ok, I took the easy way out but that’s the answer to give.

Although most suits, decision makers, and check writers like the idea of lowering total cost of ownership, not purchasing new equipment every few years, not maintaining a full time IT staff, not spending time chasing down the upgrade cycle, and all the other benefits that cloud computing enables for today’s enterprises, the decision to migrate certain systems to the cloud isn’t always so simple. I had the <begin quote> PLEASURE </end quote> of sitting in a meeting today with a client about migrating their enterprise search platform to the cloud. Not that I was counting the minutes and the seconds in the 45 minute cyclical back and forth conversation that took place but listening to the debate amongst their technical and business staff brought to light many of the issues that many companies face in making the cloud migration decision. This particular client is a multinational company with offices across the globe. For a variety of legal reasons, some of their data ABSOLUTELY CANNOT reside on US soil whatsoever. It’s not a technical restriction whatsoever but more so an issue of governance, policy, legalistic crapola and other very legitimate reasons that organizations wrestle with. Certainly there are cloud options that exist outside the boundaries of the United States but just be aware that this is an issue which many companies deal with.

Another issue is one of privacy and quite frankly “corporate paranoia”. Many companies with data that is highly confidential will quite simply absolutely NEVER feel safe and secure knowing that their most private R&D and sales data is residing somewhere out there on some computer in some network that they aren’t physically able to walk down the hall and touch. Although cloud service providers have gone through painstaking measures to guarantee that the massive amounts of data that they are entrusted with is as secure as Fort Knox, many companies will simply NEVER feel safe and secure letting some of their most confidential data out of the bounds of their own proprietary network that they control. This is likely one of the most convincing reasons to vote “thumbs down” on a decision to migrate certain data in certain systems into the cloud.

The decision to cloud or not to cloud will forever be a hybrid decision. For certain types of systems for certain companies lead by certain individuals who don’t suffer from corporate paranoia, migration to the cloud will be clear cut decision. For other more confidential systems however, that data will most likely always remain in-house. The cloud is here to stay and as time goes on, more and more companies will feel more and more comfortable migrating certain systems into the cloud. Just know, however, that this isn’t a one size fits all type of decision. What is good for the goose isn’t always necessary good for the gander, so we will be operating in a hybrid mode with some systems and data in the cloud and some data “at home”. How bout we coin a new phrase for such environments ? We’ll simply call it “Partly Cloudy” !!

So what are some factors you weigh in your “to cloud or not to cloud” decision ?