John Brandon

About the Author John Brandon


Google Glass is back. There’s only one problem now, but it’s not what you think

Google Glass Enterprise Edition isn’t a terrible product. That’s one surprise, given the track record of the consumer version of this head-mounted display. Another surprise is that it is not available to any business. Google has decided to partner with other companies to make the device that’s suited specifically to a vertical industry—say, medical or manufacturing. There’s no way to simply purchase the device online, even if you intend to use it for business.

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Why Elon Musk says 50% of all cars will be electric by 2027

It’s time to hit the reset button on the gas engine. As you may already know, the electric car is now much more viable than it was ten years ago — there are charging stations in every major city scattered everywhere, particularly at hotels and along major highways. One glance at just the Tesla supercharger network of 900 stations proves that point.

Yet, to reach the point where more than half of all new cars are fully electric by 2027 — as Elon Musk predicted recently — there needs to be a massive undertaking that only the enterprise can understand. It is not a consumer endeavor but one that must be backed by IT, similar to an ERP roll-out or a massive Windows deployment.

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AI and mobile apps: What really matters

The best AI stays out of the way.

You don’t notice it is even working. The car swerves slightly to avoid moving out of a lane, and you keep listening to Nirvana classics. Your email app blocks annoying messages that are not technically spam but sent by people who have no right invading your inbox. At home, your garage doors close silently at 10pm on the dime. You keep watching a baseball game and eating a burger.

Now, you can add this to the list: a mobile app is blocking offensive content.

Instagram announced today they are using AI to stop, block and remove offensive posts before you ever see them. You keep scanning through wedding photos from last weekend. It’s a technology Facebook (which owns Instagram) has started using, as well.

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What really matters when it comes to AI and mobile apps

The best AI stays out of the way.

You don’t notice it is even working. The car swerves slightly to avoid moving out of a lane and you keep listening to Nirvana classics. Your email app blocks annoying messages that are not technically spam but sent by people who have no right invading your inbox. At home, your garage doors close silently at 10PM on the dime. You keep watching a baseball game and eating a burger.

Now, you can add — a mobile app is blocking offensive content.

Instagram announced today they are using AI to stop, block, and remove offensive posts before you ever see them. You keep scanning through wedding photos from last weekend. It’s a technology Facebook (which owns Instagram) has started using as well.

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Here’s what really matters when it comes to AI and mobile apps

The best AI stays out of the way.

You don’t notice it is even working. The car swerves slightly to avoid moving out of a lane and you keep listening to Nirvana classics. Your email app blocks annoying messages that are not technically spam but sent by people who have no right invading your inbox. At home, your garage doors close silently at 10PM on the dime. You keep watching a baseball game and eating a burger.

Now, you can add — a mobile app is blocking offensive content.

Instagram announced today they are using AI to stop, block, and remove offensive posts before you ever see them. You keep scanning through wedding photos from last weekend. It’s a technology Facebook (which owns Instagram) has started using as well.

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A full 10 years later, the iPhone still dominates … for now

Steve Jobs would be proud of this one.

Ten years after the iPhone debuted, on June 28 of 2007, the smartphone that started it all is still going strong. From the latest sales figures I’ve seen, the phone has sold well over 1 billion units worldwide. Statista claims there are 2.2 million apps in the app store.

My own fascination with the “Jesus phone” (as it was called) started on launch day. I was one of those people who happened to obtain one from Apple on the day of release, then wrote about it that same week. I remember what things were like back then. The Palm Pre was still around; Nokia still dominated. Most models by companies like Samsung and BlackBerry were still big and bulky, running a proprietary interface. (The T-Mobile G1 running Android didn’t come out until 2009.)

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A full 10 years later, the iPhone still dominates…for now

Steve Jobs would be proud of this one.

10 years after the iPhone debuted, on June 28 of 2007, the smartphone that started it all is still going strong. From the latest sales figures I’ve seen, the phone has sold well over 1 billion units worldwide. Statista claims there are 2.2 million apps in the app store.

My own fascination with the “Jesus phone” (as it was called) started on launch day. I was one of those people who happened to obtain one from Apple on the day of release, then wrote about it that same week. I remember what things were like back then. The Palm Pre was still around; Nokia still dominated. Most models by companies like Samsung and BlackBerry were still big and bulky, running a proprietary interface. (The T-Mobile G1 running Android didn’t come out until 2009.)

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Why the Amazon Dash Wand could bring down big box retailers

Consumers are cutting out the middleman, and it’s looking more like the middleman is Walmart.

Online sales rose about 15% last year, according to the U.S. Commerce department. The total haul was around $400 billion, or 8% of all retail sales for the year.

Back when I worked in IT at a large consumer electronics retailer, we used to say that online sales were infinitesimal — the equivalent of one or two stores in an entire chain. That’s not true anymore. Amazon sales were around 27% of all retail sales, thanks in part to the free two-day and a bot called Alexa, which makes the entire process ultra smooth.

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Why the Amazon Dash Wand could bring down box box retailers

Consumers are cutting out the middleman, and it’s looking more like the middleman is Walmart.

Online sales rose about 15% last year, according to the U.S. Commerce department. The total haul was around $400 billion, or 8% of all retail sales for the year.

Back when I worked in IT at a large consumer electronics retailer, we used to say that online sales were infinitesimal — the equivalent of one or two stores in an entire chain. That’s not true anymore. Amazon sales were around 27% of all retail sales, thanks in part to the free two-day and a bot called Alexa, which makes the entire process ultra smooth.

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New dock on the iPad is the first sign of the Mac apocalypse

I started using a Mac for the first time at a corporate job in the 1990s.

I still remember starting up Photoshop for the first time and being amazed at how much editing I could do on a color photo, and then doing some basic page layout in a long-forgotten app called Aldus PageMaker.

These were the days when there was still a sense of wonder about being able to load multiple apps at once, and even the classic mouse was still fairly new, at least in terms of doing professional graphic design work with some accuracy.

Recently, Apple announced they would be adding a few features to the iPad that, when I first heard about them, instantly wondered if this was going to be the end of the Mac for good. I know, processing power on mobile devices is still not quite there yet. You can’t quite fit a high-end NVIDIA card into an iPad. Yet, from a workflow standpoint, several features in iOS 11 stand out as noteworthy, but they are also a sign that the Mac might be heading for extinction.

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IDG Contributor Network: Why Macs are still having trouble in the enterprise

If you don’t live and breathe IT everyday, you may not realize what a headache it is to support the Mac. Some larger companies have figured out how to make it all work, and tools like those from JAMF certainly help. (You can buy a Mac from Apple these days and have it all configured for your company before you ever remove the shrink-wrap from the box.)

What’s still not working out?

There are still a lot of gotchas for users.

Recently, I’ve heard about end-users who have tried to use a Mac for a few simple, straightforward activities. One was related to Microsoft Teams. Even though Microsoft makes a client app for the Mac (and mobile platforms), there was a configuration problem related to Office 365 in the Chrome browser on a Mac. PC users had no trouble, but when Mac users tried to join a team, they hit a roadblock. It was a simple configuration on the back-end, but it was still frustrating and time-consuming.

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IDG Contributor Network: Why I’m worried about Microsoft Teams deployment

I did a deep dive into the features in Microsoft Teams, which is essentially a collaborative chat application for Office users (a.k.a., a Slack competitor).

I wanted to find out what it’s like to use Teams with an actual team for actual work. Fortunately, I’ve started doing some work with a local college — I’m mostly there to help with mentoring and development. It’s a team of around 12 people, and I’ll have more findings to share in the coming weeks, but there’s one initial concern.

I’m starting to wonder if people will “get” how to use Teams.

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IDG Contributor Network: Does Twitter encourage a ‘no filter’ attitude?

I’m starting to hate Twitter these days.

Since 2008, it’s been an ever-flowing channel of communication — direct and unfiltered. Celebrities, basketball stars, and even Presidents can post with reckless abandon.

We’ve been living in the age of unfiltered status updates for almost ten years now, but it makes me wonder if there is a better way to share thoughts spontaneously…but with a little more civility.

As a recent example, President Trump posted an off-hand remark about possibly ending press briefings and would, instead, hand out prepared statements only. The implication here is that reporters would not be able to ask questions in an open format or engage in dialog with White House reps. It would be more structured and controlled…and less democratic. Regardless of your political view, this is a strange tweet.

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IDG Contributor Network: 3 innovations the Apple Siri speaker needs to have

The name “iPhone” is part of the public lexicon, as common as Kleenex and Google. Yet, there might come a day when that iconic brand name starts to seem outdated.

If rumors about an Apple Siri speaker are true, the day could come sooner than any of us expect.

As a speaker, this device will play music but also talk to you, similar to what you can do with the Amazon Echo or Google Home speakers. It means you don’t need to fish out your phone to check the score of an NBA Playoffs game or get a weather report. You just ask by voice.

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IDG Contributor Network: Microsoft announces a Surface laptop that won’t run Call of Duty

Locked-down laptops rule the classroom.

It’s already possible to control what apps can be accessed if you hand a middle schooler a Chromebook. What can you run on that thing? Not anything fun. Industrious hackers could run a first-person shooter through a browser window, but let’s be honest — it’s not going to run the latest Call of Duty game.

Now, Microsoft wants to essentially do the same thing.

The Microsoft Surface laptop — available in four trendy colors like cobalt blue — weighs 2.76 pounds, opens with a finger, and runs the new Windows 10 S operating system, which only supports approved apps you can download from the Windows Store.

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