Content and services

Data says we are having too many meetings

David Strom reports on data that suggests that company meetings are taking up enormous amounts of business time that could otherwise be focused on getting things done.

Remote working seems to explain part of the phenomenon, and tools like Slack and Teams also seems to encourage more meetings and less work. How much more time are we talking about? Strom reports on a survey of Microsoft Teams users, who reported a 252% increase in weekly meeting time, and a 153% increase in the number of meetings.

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Will Chat GPT rule the world?

Over the weekend, I decided to try the new experimental AI (Artificial Intelligence) engine called Chat GPT. It is designed to respond to a wide variety of questions and inquiries, and can parse all sorts of conversational queries.

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Alexa, how do you spell Ten Billion Dollar Loss?

Amazon's Alexa is ten years old! How time flies! I might have guessed the old girl was seven or eight years old. But she's been around for ten years, and apparently is a big loser--as in "billions and billions."

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Online subscription math does not add up

Substack is becoming increasingly popular as a place for a wide range of commentary and information, often in what I would call "long form magazine style" writing, or basically longer articles with deeper dives into whatever the topic of the article happens to be.

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Is the metaverse a dud?

I have paid about as much attention to the metaverse as I have to the price of Xbox games, which is to say, none at all. This is an interesting story about what is described as "a sandbox environment that allows users to buy and sell virtual real estate." Whoa! Be still my beating heart! Why just yesterday I was thinking, "I don't have enough to do in real life, so I'd like to go into a virtual world and pretend to buy and sell fake real estate."

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Mediacom "network stress"

Mediacom essentially has confirmed what I and many others have been saying for more than a decade, which is the cable HFC (Hybrid Fiber Coax) network is twentieth century technology that is not able to support the growing demand for bandwidth.

Stop the Cap! recently cited a Mediacom customer who got a letter and a phone call from Mediacom to complain that the customer was using too much bandwidth.

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Have Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube made a mistake?

The "big three" of social media--Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube--have become the targets of increasing criticism around the way they choose to allow some users to post "acceptable" content while censoring other types of content. The companies' defense is to claim the protection of Section 230, a portion of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.

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Alex, I'll take "Things I never knew I wanted" for $500

I would like to meet the person that convinced Google that there would be big demand for a phone app that lets you hum a song and have the Google InnerTubes tell you what the name and artist of the song is.

This strikes me as yet another example of bored Google software engineers without enough to do rolling out stuff that no one really wants. Does this really make anyone's life better?

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Why videoconferencing is tiring

A lot of people who used videoconferencing only lightly or never at all have acquired a crash course in it over the past month. Because Design Nine and WideOpen Networks have had staff distributed around the country for years, it was not a challenge for us.

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Everything old is new again

Microsoft is developing a new glass-based storage technology that can hold many gigs of data on a small glass plate. We need something like this because all of the magnetic-based storage (e.g. hard drives) and DVD/CD disks eventually degrade and fail.

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AT&T: We are losing customers, so let's raise prices!

Are Technica reports that AT&T is hiking prices for its TV service--formerly DirecTV--as much as 50%, depending on what package a customer has. The company has lost about 10% of its customer base for TV services in the past year, which reflects the continued growth in "cord cutting" of cable and satellite TV service.

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Xerox says, "To heck with customers..who needs them?"

Some years back, Xerox had outsourced all of their customer support to overseas call centers full of people who a)barely spoke English, and b)could only read from a canned script. The result was truly awful interactions if you needed to get a copier repaired or tried to order printer supplies.

But they seemed to figure that out, and for some time, if you called Xerox customer service, you got native English speakers who were delightfully helpful.

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If you have ever wondered what happened to RSS

RSS, which stood for several different things, depending on who you asked (Real Simple Syndication was probably the most popular), has withered away. It was designed in the early days of the Web to make it easy to process and read news articles and blog posts from many different sites. Once you subscribed to a Web site using your RSS reader app, you could easily browse and read all the content from that site.

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Is your security camera spying on you?

Companies like Amazon and Facebook are selling camera-based products that are designed to be used inside the home and outside the home (e.g. the Ring doorbell).

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Death of TV: Part LXXX: Who cares anymore?

This recent article from USA Today says that cord cutting is accelerating.

Customers are looking at the incredible variety of content available from OTT (Over The Top) services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, and deciding that they can save money by just paying for Internet and a few OTT subscriptions.

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The tech giants are getting creepier than ever

Less than five minutes after I clicked on an Amazon link to look at a flashlight on sale, I got an email from Amazon saying, "...based on your recent activity, you may be interested in this other flashlight..."

Really? Is business so bad for Amazon they have to spam their customers? If they are doing this to me, they must be doing it to all their customers, so every day, they are sending out hundreds of millions of unsolicited emails.

These companies are abusing their customers, and it won't turn out well.

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Google will stop reading your email

In a win for personal privacy, Google has announced that the company will no longer read the email of their personal Gmail account users.

Google has been scanning Gmail email to identify what kind of ads to place in Web browsers for its users.

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Death of TV: Part LXXVIII: More churn in the TV space

YouTube (part of Google) has launched a streaming TV service, making the whole video on demand space an even more confusing array of services and options, which include Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Roku, offerings directly from some of the alphabet networks, and many others. But competition is a wonderful thing.

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Apple's Augmented Reality software very near

Apple announced the availability of its new augmented reality software for the iPhone and iPad at its recent Worldwide Developers Conference. The software kit enables third party app developers to place computer-generated information over real-time images. For example, map information could be superimposed over a live camera feed on an iPhone pointed out the front of a vehicle.

Is LinkedIn dying?

LinkedIn may not be entirely dead, but in the past several months, I've received nothing but "business friend" requests from sales people and consultants trolling for business. LinkedIn has enabled "lazy" sales work. Just browse LinkedIn for keyword matches for whatever you are selling, and then send a "link" request. I turn them all down.

I was a very early LinkedIn user, and have yet to find it particularly useful. I've never let it have access to my address book, and I rarely use it reach out to people I already know--email and the phone are far more efficient.

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