Before the release of consumer-grade virtual reality hardware, HTC wasn’t anywhere near the household name that Oculus was, but since then it’s become the most recognizable brand for high-end, PC-based virtual reality. Its Vive headset is still the one we recommend for a cutting-edge VR experience and it has a lot of content to go along with it.Now a year on from its original release, the headset is a little lighter and a new audio strap is in the works, and HTC has expanded its software base with Viveport. It also offers a monthly subscription service for game delivery and even partnered up with a number of non-gaming firms to develop uses for virtual reality outside of the home-PC.To find out how this first year of commercial virtual reality has gone and what it has planned for the future, we organized a digital sit down with Daniel O’Brien, the general manager of HTC’s Vive division, who told us how the last 12 months have been. Digital … [Read more...] about Remembering a victorious year for the Vive, and the turning point ahead
Does proactive really work
Now that 46 percent of Americans own smartphones, it should come as little surprise that thieves have developed their own taste for the indispensable devices. According to data released by the FCC earlier this year, between 30 to 40 percent of all robberies in major urban areas now involve stolen cell phones, with areas like New York City and Washington D.C. coming in at the high end of that range. In some instances, cell phone owners have been injured or even killed by thugs after their phones.While wrestling with the issue of crime remains an age-old struggle, cell phones do present a unique technological twist: They can be “blacklisted” from service when reported stolen, preventing the new owners from using them. Although individual carriers have been deactivating stolen phones for years, unlike several other countries, the United States lacks a centralized system of reporting phones lost or stolen, which can make it complicated for a victim to … [Read more...] about How stolen phone blacklists will tamp down on crime, and what to do in the mean time
Welcome to a sponsored podcast discussion on how new models for IT support services are required to provide a single point of accountability when multiple and increasingly complex software implementations are involved.Nowadays, the focal point for IT operational success lies not so much in just choosing the software and services mixture, but also in the management and support of these systems and implementations and the SLAs as an ecosystem -- and that ecosystem must be managed comprehensively with flexibility and for the long-term.Long before cloud and hybrid computing models become a concern, the challenge before IT is how to straddle complexity and how to corral and manage -- as a lifecycle -- the vast software implementations already on-premises.Of course, more of these workloads are supported these days by virtualized containers and often by a service-level commitment. IT needs to get a handle on supporting multiparty software and virtualized instances, along with the complex … [Read more...] about PODCAST Juggling a Slippery Slew of SLAs
Barnes & Noble has announced its financial results for the second fiscal quarter of 2012 — which, by the vagaries of corporate finance, actually ended in late October 2011. Going into the holiday season, the company reported an overall decline in sales of 0.6 percent, while retail sales were down a full 1 percent year over year to $918 million for the quarter. However, there’s one very bright spot in Barnes & Noble’s numbers: the Nook. Sales of Nook devices, accessories, and (of course) digital content increased 85 percent during the quarter to $220 million, or nearly 12 percent of Barnes & Noble’s overall sales of $1.89 billion. Surprisingly, those figures were all tallied up before the in-time-for-the-holiday-season launch of the Nook Tablet, which the company is characterizing as “the fastest selling Nook product in the company’s history.”At the same time, Barnes & Noble appears to be amping up its legal defense against … [Read more...] about Book smarts: Why Barnes & Noble is wheeling out big legal guns to back the Nook
Behavioral targeting has been around since the first dot-com days, but it got really hot again in late 2007, thanks to a few big promoters like Facebook. So, What exactly is it, and does it really work the way it sounds?BT tracks a Web visitor's browser clickstreams -- typically in the last six visits -- to predict what the visitor may want in the future, and to target ads, content or products based on those "personalized" past behaviors.The hope is that BT will show the right ad or product to the user who will be most receptive to it. This sounds ideal to advertisers; however, put yourself in the shoes of a user and two huge problems leap out: privacy and quality.With such a glut of products and information online, the motivation behind behavioral targeting makes sense -- it seems to be a good thing for Yahoo to get me a more relevant ad because they happen to know I checked out a Prius in my local dealership. For consumers, however, there is an obvious psychological aversion to … [Read more...] about EXPERT ADVICE The Pitfalls of Behavioral Targeting
Economic forces at work today seem to be favoring the consolidation of currencies. With the creation of the Euro, 11 disparate currencies were merged into one monetary unit. With such forces driving monetary consolidation, will there be one world currency some day? Some of the factors that are influencing currency combination include:Because trade among nations is so vibrant and pervasive, it's extremely important for countries to have confidence not only in their own currencies, but also in the currencies of the countries with which they trade. An erosion of confidence in a country's currency can spread fear among other nations that have trade relationships with that country. It's pretty obvious that a currency crisis in a particular area could possibly become some sort of currency pandemic.Most of us probably remember the debacles that befell the currencies of Thailand, Mexico, Argentina, and Russia. At the time of the Mexican currency crisis, then President Clinton said: "Solving … [Read more...] about OPINION Are We Headed Toward One World Currency?
Loopt has taken mobile mapping to a new level. The startup's application not only allows users to see where their friends are on a map, but also lets them text each other within the app and share photos.Since Loopt's beginnings, the company has been proactive in setting high standards for user privacy. For instance, Loopt is a closed network and therefore only allows users to share their locations with specified friends. It also has reached out to multiple privacy groups for their guidance on navigating the privacy terrain.Brian Knapp, vice president of corporate affairs for Loopt, spoke with the E-Commerce Times about the company's users, security and privacy safeguards, data retention and wireless carrier relationships.E-Commerce Times: What are the demographics of Loopt users?Brian Knapp: [It is] students at big colleges and universities and young urban professionals who are sort of all about the happy hour, the fun thing to do on the weekend. Those are the kind of folks we're … [Read more...] about EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Loopt’s Brian Knapp: Mapping Out a Proactive Privacy Strategy
There are three things certain in life. We all know the two cited by Benjamin Franklin, but there's a third certainty that we all face regularly and have to cope with constantly.That's the certainty that we'll make mistakes. Everyone makes them; if it hasn't happened to your business, you haven't been in business long.Mistakes affecting customers can be embarrassing, painful, costly -- and, in the era of social media, broadcast to millions of people. How do you deal with them?The suggested steps for dealing with problems are well-known -- or at least easily available: Take problems seriously; be sincere in your response; apologize; ask questions; and take whatever reasonable steps you can take to rectify the situation.Beyond the obvious steps is the advice of Paul Gillin: Be empathetic."People want empathy more than they want an apology," he has said in speeches.The common wisdom is that you can't affect how the customer responds -- only how you respond. This is where I think the … [Read more...] about OPINION When Your Business Goofs, CRM Can Be Your Best Friend
In just a few years, Software as a Service (SaaS) has gone from a curiosity to a mission-critical application, accelerating into mainstream adoption. Faced with a dire financial situation, most businesses are taking advantage of the tremendous economies of scale that SaaS brings. Yet that's only the beginning. The reality is that businesses have just barely begun to leverage the real power of SaaS to transform the way they work, compete and survive. For it is not just in the applications they currently provide, but with thousands of companies using the same solution every day, SaaS companies are using their data and best practices to develop new applications and intelligence solutions that would be impossible to deliver in a software or managed service environment.Imagine having the ability to leverage these byproducts of SaaS solutions to drive business efficiencies, innovation and strategic advantage in ways that were impossible with a traditional software model. This is the true … [Read more...] about Catching the Next Wave of SaaS
Although worms can create media furor and disrupt business, to date they have adhered to a strange dichotomy: A given worm may spread rapidly or deliver a destructive payload -- but no worm has accomplished both tasks with equal aplomb.SQL Slammer and SoBig.F, for example, tunneled voraciously through the Internet. On the other hand, the Magistr worm had a highly destructive payload but operated in a much smaller sphere. Luckily for enterprises and consumers alike, the two capabilities were not melded in a killer worm that could speedily traverse the Internet, destroying data as it spread.Still, the threat appears to be reaching new heights. August 2003 was the worst-ever month for worm and virus attacks, thanks largely to the fast-replicating SoBig.F worm (though the Blaster worm also played a part). During the month, nearly 77 percent of all attacks were credited to SoBig.F, based on the number of infections confirmed through antivirus developer Central Command's Emergency Virus … [Read more...] about E-BUSINESS SPECIAL REPORT Does the Killer Worm Really Exist?