Tag Archives: Amazon

Nov. 6, 2017 Machine Learning

On Nov. 6, 2017 The New York Times reporter Cade Metz wrote “The Rise Of The Machine: To Speed A.I. Advance, Technology Industry Aims To Edge Aside Humans.” Google’s Jeff Dean, Sundar Pichai and Barret Zopf talked about their machine learning algorithm software called AutoML that builds other algorithms. Self driving cars and facial recognition for security need this software.  Unfortunately, only about 10,000 people worldwide have the experience to create such algorithms. Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft are paying top dollar for big data experts and data scientists. “The shortage is not going away anytime soon, just because mastering these skills takes years of work.” Microsoft’s Joseph Sirosh said about developing neural networks “We are eliminating a lot of the heavy lifting.” Jean Gagne of Element AI says it is a new kind of computer programming. Berkeley’s Pieter Abbeel thinks that computer invented algorithms can solve many problems very quickly. Carnegie Mellon’s Renato Neghrino say it is only a matter of when.

Copyright 2017 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Feb. 5, 2017 Blumbers

Citizen Status Symbol

On Jan. 29, 2017, Bloomberg’s Peter Elstrom and Saritha Rai wrote “Trump’s Next Immigration Move to Hit Closer to Home for Tech” about the new administration’s immigration restrictions on high tech workers. It affected Infosys, TCS, Tech Mahindra and Wipro’s ability to supply cheap H1B labor to Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Salesforce, Microsoft and Twitter. “Ron Hira, an associate professor at Howard University, who has done extensive research on the subject, points out workers at outsourcers are typically not treated as well as others. The median wage at outsourcing firms for H-1B workers was less than $70,000, while Apple, Google and Microsoft paid their employees in the program more than $100,000, according to data he collected. That suggests the American companies are going after true, highly skilled employees, while the outsourcers are recruiting less expensive talent, he said.”

On Jan. 31, 2017, The New Republic’s Clio Chang wrote “Silicon Valley’s Uneasy Muslim Ban Dance” about Silicon Valley’s reaction to the new restrictions. “Within the structure of American capitalism, the average tech CEO has more in common with a billionaire like Donald Trump than with the average immigrant worker or refugee. That many of them continue to find ways to work with Trump and to undercut protests to protect their profits should come as no surprise. Trump is ushering in a plutocratic era that requires us to demand the most from those in powerful positions; to do so, we must first shed the assumption that Silicon Valley is on the side of the people.”

Quietly many tech executives are furious. They helped get the president elected hoping they would not have to pay taxes. The money they thought they would make may have to go toward hiring US citizens at market rates. Citizens also have an advantage because they have no travel restrictions as there might be with visas or green cards. Foreign workers who are captive in a way that even Frederick Douglass would be concerned but U.S. citizens can just walk across the street. You know, all that free market stuff conservatives talk about, until they need help.

Copyright 2017 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Feb. 22, 2015 Blumbers

Apple iCar

There are rumors that Apple, Amazon and Tesla are developing robocars. Frankly, this cannot happen soon enough. Traffic in Silicon Valley is so bad that drivers cannot text or talk on the phone. They should not even listen to the radio. Just keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.

Here is a top ten list if Apple starts selling cars:

1. The stores are going to have to be bigger.

2. The car will require a special set of wrenches to open it.

3. There will be only one USB port to charge it.

4. You will have to buy a black vinyl cover for it to keep clean like Porsche’s from the 1990s.

5. If you are in an accident, you will have to exchange IP Addresses and call Apple Care.

6. The most expensive model will be gold plated. The cheapest model will be available in a range of colors.

7. It will be so thin most people will not be able to fit inside.

8. If the car is stolen Siri will lock the doors and drive to the nearest police station.

9. If you fall behind in your car payments, Siri will lock the doors and drive to the nearest police station.

10. Critics will still say Steve Jobs would have made a better one.

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

2013 Top Ten Predictions

1. North Korea stages a Gangnam style demonstration with one million people that can be seen from space.

2. The Fiscal Cliff will be followed by a Cliff Huxtable, where politicians will have to wear ugly sweaters and rhapsodize about pudding.

3. It will be revealed that Apple’s gorilla glass is made by real gorillas.

4. To continue expansion, Facebook will reach an agreement with Ancestry.com to begin creating accounts for dead relatives. Instagram will add an oil painting filter.

5. Amazon will offer a rare collection of Philip K. Dick’s laundry and grocery lists on Kindle Fire only. The lists will be turned into movies. “Rye Bread And Cheese” will win an Oscar for special effects.

6. California will allow drivers to text, but only to really attractive people.

7. Texas will allow drivers to text but only if they use their handgun as a stylus.

8. Washington state will legalize marijuana. Wait, didn’t they already do that? Oh man…

9. J.K. Rowling will release a surprise book “Harry Potter Magically Pays Off His Student Loans.”

10. An asteroid will collide with earth but not before explaining it got the Mayan calendar wrong.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jul. 24, 2012 SVForum PWC Mobile

On July 24, 2012, in Palo Alto at Pillsbury Winthrop, SVForum with PWC presented a Quarterly Venture Breakfast on Mobile. Stanley Pierson of Pillsbury Winthrop moderated panelists Steve Bengston of PwC, Bob Borchers of Opus Capital, Kim Morgan of Motorola Mobility and Venu Pemmaraju of Intel Capital. By definition the mobile market is in constant motion. Five years ago Europe’s infrastructure and Nokia led the way. Today, Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android dominate the discussions. Five years ago most Facebook users were on PCs, now most are mobile as trend accelerates.

There are still challenges. Batteries face physical restraints that are addressed with software managing power. There is a debate about how much personal information should be on the device versus in the cloud. Content providers have to deal with smaller screens to accommodate advertising. Company brand managers now understand that an app can be the ad to target customers. Of course, making a purchase may not be easy. The promise of Near Field Communication (NFC) has bogged down in dealing with banks, carriers, device manufactures and merchants. The solution may already exist. Apple started iTunes selling music and then expanded to movies, television, movies, books and magazines. Amazon started selling books, but now you can buy appliances through them. How far away are we from buying a cup of coffee through iTunes or Amazon? Monetizing mobility is a moving target.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jun. 25, 2012 The New Yorker

On Jun. 25, 2012 The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta wrote “Paper Trail” about the battle of Amazon, Apple and publishers over control of the electronic publishing market. It signals the shift from the wholesale model publishers of selling books at a discount to bookstores to the agency model where the channel like Apple gets a thirty percent commission. In the battle over becoming the online gatekeeper controlling consumers, books seem irrelevant.

Jill Lepore wrote “Obama, The Prequel” about Obama’s family history. He said “I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.” In the worst of all possible worlds the impossible man wins.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Feb. 23, 2012 STC Randall Bolten Painting With Numbers

On February 23, 2012, the February STC Silicon Valley Chapter Meeting was held at the Hola! Mexican Restaurant & Cantina in Belmont. Experienced financial executive Randall Bolten of Lucidity presented “Learning How to Communicate Better with Numbers.”

Bolten thinks rules of presenting numbers (quantation) are similar to other forms of effective verbal communication. He knows how to show the numbers and what they mean. A report should fit on one page. Learn how to set up spreadsheets, templates, shortcuts and use them as a database. Right justify numbers. Name and organize your files in a sensible intelligent pattern. Document what you do.  Provide relevant, appropriate context. If anything does not clarify your information, remove it. Rehearse your presentation onsite. Know the numbers by heart. Build credibility and you will build your brand.

Bolten’s new book “Painting with Numbers: Presenting Financials and Other Numbers So People Can Understand You” will soon be available from Wiley & Sons on Amazon. As someone who is constantly bombarded with numbers, I think this will be useful book in making sense of financial presentations.

Please join us on March 22, 2012 for the March SVC Meeting; to be held at the Santa Clara IHOP, located at 4200 Great America Parkway in Santa Clara. The meeting starts at 6 PM. The topic will be “A Technical Writer’s Trip to Hollywood” with Elisa R Sawyer.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Nov. 2, 2011 ASAP Gang Of Four War

On November 2, 2011 in San Jose at Cisco, the ASAP Silicon Valley held “Changing the Game: The Age of the Platform and the 24-Hour Customer.” ASAP leaders Nimma Bakshi of PWC and John Soper of New Paradigms moderated Sherrick Murdoff of Salesforce, Adrian Ott of Exponential Edge Consulting and Phil Simon of Phil Simon Systems.

In reaction to a Fast Company magazine article, Adrian Ott, author of “The 24-Hour Customer” and Phil Simon author of “The Age of the Platform” talked with Sherrick Murdoff about the coming “Gang Of Four” war for consumer attention from social media giants like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

 

 

Oct. 2, 2011 Blumbers

Changing Strategies Not Goals

In all the technological chaos, it is hard for large companies to change strategies and tactics and keep an eye on their goals.

Amazon started selling printed books (content). To sell the books they mailed them. To keep track of everything, they built their own cloud network. Now they sell digital books over their cloud network on their own Kindle devices. This is an excellent example of how a large company can survive by changing the way they do things but not their goal, to sell content.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Sep. 27, 2011 WCA Mobile Cloud Thin Vs. Smart

On Tuesday September 27, 2011 in Mountain View at Fenwick & West, LLP, the WCA Mobile SIG presented “Mobile Cloud – Thin vs. Smart Device & Services Differentiation.” Dr. Avril Salter of Next Direction Technologies moderated panelists Karun Bakshi of Microsoft BizSpark One, Priya Abani of Intel, Hugh Fletcher of Verizon Wireless, Samir Kumar of Samsung Telecommunications America, Laura Merling of Alcatel-Lucent and Jamie Perlman of Box.net.

Amazon, Apple and Google are developing their own clouds for mobile users. Obviously they think a thin browser on a fast network could deliver a wide range of services and apps. The problem is that even 5G networks may not be able to handle demand. One solution is to make smart phones even smarter about using existing spectrum and the cloud. Rather than divergence there may be a compromise to accommodate both thin and smart device strategies.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Apr. 20, 2010 SDF PWC

On April 20, 2010 at Pillsbury Winthrop in Palo Alto, SDForum held the Quarterly Venture Breakfast Series in collaboration with PWC. Allison Leopold-Tilley of Pillsbury Winthrop moderated panelists Stephane Berthier of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Asheem Chandna of Greylock, Peter Sonsini of NEA and Andy Vitus of Scale Ventures. They discussed the growth of cloud players from Amazon, Google and Microsoft down to startups looking for their first round of funding.

While aware of trends and fads, venture capitalists look for the black swan. They want the entrepreneur with the track record and passion who understands how their product fits in an existing or entirely new market. While Amazon dominates the cloud infrastructure space with its ability to supply servers, there are many opportunities in applications, security and databases. MySql does not seem to be able to scale well in the cloud and that is an opportunity for some entrepreneur.

Copyright 2010 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Oct. 12, 2009 The New Yorker

On Oct. 12 2009 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “Inconspicuous Consumption” about consumers going into debt before the Great Recession and their reduced spending afterward. Prudence and reason prevail until the next recovery.

Ken Auletta wrote “Searching For Trouble” about Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin dealing with growth and change.

Copyright 2009 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Apr. 22, 2009 SDF Facebook Cassandra

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On April 22, 2009 in Palo Alto, SDForum’s SAM SIG hosted engineers Avinash Lakshman and Prashant Malik. Lakshman came from Amazon and Malik from Microsoft. Together they are working on something they call the Cassandra Project at Facebook.

Cassandra is a distributed storage system for managing structured data designed to scale to a very large size across many commodity servers, with no single point of failure. Reliability at massive scale is a very big challenge. Outages in service can have significant negative impact. Cassandra runs on top of an infrastructure of hundreds of nodes (possibly spread across different data centers). At this scale, small and large components can fail continuously. Cassandra manages the persistent state in the face of these failures driving the reliability and scalability of the software systems relying on this service. Cassandra achieves the goals of scalability, high performance, high availability and applicability. It shares many design and implementation strategies with databases. Cassandra does not support a full relational data model but provides clients with a simple data model that supports dynamic control over data layout and format.

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Copyright 2009 DJ Cline All rights reserved.