Hey, Apple! 1999 just called and it wants its voicemail avatar back

Siri will soon answer your phone calls, adding a functionality that Orange killed in 2005 when it shut down the still-lamented Wildfire service.

It’s rumoured that Apple employees are testing a system which can transcribe voicemails. Believed to be called iCloud Voicemail, the service seems to be a mix of Wildfire and that other roaring success of half a decade ago, SpinVox.

It is believed that much like Wildfire, Siri will recognise callers by CLI and greet them with individualised messages, allowing the phone owner to specify what information (such as “Simon is on the loo at the moment”) to give them.

Messages which are left will be transcribed, in much the same way as the services Vox Sciences, twillo, VoiceCloud, Jott, and PhoneTag do today.

If the idea of a voicemail personal assistant sounds familiar, it’s what was touted for Wildfire in 1999, which Orange bought for £95m, with the idea that she would read news to you too.

Despite angry user protests, particularly from the RNIB, Orange shut down Wildfire, promising that a new voice recognition service was coming soon. Co-founder and CTO of Wildfire, Rich Miner, later went on to co-found Android, before it was bought by Google.

Website Business Insider claims that the “new” Apple service will launch with iOS 10 in 2016. ®

Hyper-scale data management

Article source: http://go.theregister.com/feed/www.theregister.co.uk/2015/08/03/apple_reinvents_wildfire_with_siri/

Posted in Linux News | Tagged | Leave a comment

Be quick or be silent: Social media as a business tool

As many readers know I live in the Channel Islands. A while back someone started a very popular Facebook group called “Bad or Good Jersey Businesses”, and the locals are not backward in coming forward with both bouquets and brickbats for businesses they’ve recently dealt with.

Unsurprisingly, more and more business people I speak to are aware that social media is an important consideration for any business – particularly those that are consumer-facing. But precisely what you do is a hard decision.

At the basic level you can have someone keep an eye on the core social media (primarily Facebook and Twitter) and pass any concerning messages they spot up the tree. Or do you go the whole way and have a formal presence on social media, with a team dedicated to feeding and watering it?

Simplistically, the answer is: one of the above, but nothing in between. We’ll see later why that is.

Basic monitoring

Watching social media for references to your company is rather like overhearing people at a party dissing or praising your services. Do you interrupt? Do you march over and point out that (say) their delivery was unfortunately late because the van was involved in an accident? And do you do the latter quietly by taking the individual to one side, or noisily to those around to whom he’s just proclaimed your company’s failings?

The same applies to social media, and if you’re in simple monitoring mode the first thing to do is see if you can figure out who the customer is from what they’ve said online.

Often this won’t be possible, but I’ve seen examples where people have posted big lumps of their bill for some service or other, with their full name and/or account number plastered all over it (numpties!). Also when they rant that they’ve called three times today and spoken to John, then Jane, then James, and been given the same wrong answer you can track this through your CRM system if you have one.

If you can’t find who the customer is, decide whether you actually care enough to start a two-way discussion. Often it’s not worth the hassle for a single customer with a low-ranking problem, but in many cases it falls the other side of the “do I follow this up?” line.

Send them a polite private message, apologising that they’re having poor service and offering to help – and obviously don’t ask for personal information but instead give them a phone number or email address to call/write to which obviously or at least verifiably belongs to your company, promising that you’ll be watching like a hawk for them to get in touch.

Do everything else off-line – restrict the involvement of social media merely to the act of identifying a customer with a problem and getting them in touch with you. More than the most light-touch contact will start a snowball rolling and before you know it you’ll have a social shit-storm on your hands.

There’s one exception to the above, incidentally: if you’ve tried two or three times to private-message them and they’ve not responded, but instead have continued to whine about your company, don’t be frightened to flame them publicly along the lines of: “It’s a shame you’re so vocal publicly but can’t find the time to respond to the three private messages I’ve sent you asking you to get in touch on our CEO’s personal direct line”.

I’ve seen entire audiences turn instantly against a moaner when they’ve discovered that they’re actively thwarting the business from fixing their problems. Don’t make a habit of it, of course, but actually you won’t need to: there aren’t really that many professional moaners out there, and those that exist will move on and harangue other businesses when you show them up.

A full-blown presence

At the other extreme is to have a formal presence on social media, with a team of people responsible for it. If you’re proactive on social media then you’re generally on the front foot – forward instead of responsive, promoting good stuff and announcing improvements instead of just apologising for poor products and services.

So select the subset of the social media options available to you and don’t bleed into the others (you simply don’t have the resources to keep up with every social media site). Promote it in your email signatures, on your Web site, on your bills and receipts.

In short, then, if you’re going for a full social media presence you need to treat social media not as an exceptional service but as one of your mainstream mechanisms for communicating with people.

Just as you have an advertising plan and budget for the year, and a plan for the campaigns you’re going to run on your catalogues/bills/receipts, you should have beside it a plan and budget for your social media activities.

For every message you want to put out, analyse the channels you want to use to broadcast it and co-ordinate the broadcast of each one. Be prepared for the response, and have the right number and type of staff on hand to deal with them.

A full-blown social media presence also means using it as a customer support channel. A proper, official, full-blown one, where all levels of the support chain have access to it and it’s properly integrated into the CRM system so that you can easily pull up customer and problem histories just as you would with a troubled customer on the phone or at the other end of an email interaction.

And this is the bit that people forget: empower your staff to communicate on social media. You can always tell a company that’s merely dabbling in social media: they’re the ones that take a week to respond to anything on Facebook or Twitter because it’s classed as “speaking publicly on the company’s behalf” and has to get sign-off from several layers of management.

I’ve never understood this – companies have tribes of people in a call centre telling customers stuff on the phone all day, yet they need to get the Pope’s signature in triplicate just to scratch their arse, social media-wise. Social media is instant: either use it as such or have a policy not to use it at all, because otherwise you’re going to be labelled a muppetosaurus.

How to do it, then

There’s only one attitude you can take to social media: a former colleague of mine used to have a phrase: “s**t, or get off the pot”.

At the very least, keep a watching brief on social media and react as silently as possible to follow up on the cases that are worth the risk of sticking your head above the parapet. And do the latter sparingly, except when you need to elicit information from the customer (which you should do privately) or to put a professional moaner back in his or her box (which you should do sparingly but not shy away from).

And if you want to do more than this, do it all. Make it an integral part of your customer service and communications/CRM strategy and systems, and staff it properly.

The one thing you absolutely must not do is a half-arsed attempt at using social media for business. It’ll simply make it seem – not just to your customers but to thousands of potential customers who see what you’re posting that you’re stuck in the Dark Ages.

And that’s very probably because you are. ®

RAID: End of an era?

Article source: http://go.theregister.com/feed/www.theregister.co.uk/2015/08/03/social/

Posted in Linux News | Tagged | Leave a comment

Mike Bracken suddenly decides to quit GOV.UK outfit GDS

The head of the Government Digital Service, Mike Bracken, has stepped down after five years in the role.

No reason was given for the seemingly sudden departure, with Bracken set to stay until the end of September until his replacement is announced.

The Register understands that Bracken and the new chief executive of the Civil Service, John Manzoni had not been seeing eye-to-eye over what role the GDS should take and what the body has achieved.

There is also speculation that the GDS could see a major reduction in its headcount of its nearly 700 full-time staff and contractors.

In a farewell letter to digital gov staff, seen by El Reg, Bracken thanked his team.

“The Whitehall game of big departments doesn’t work for users – it works to sustain an image of relative size in a closed system, while users of our services don’t care about our internal IT budgets,” he said.

“You’ve got the chance to demonstrate that large-scale technology transformation is possible and that cross-government working can be effective – in fact it’s the only way to get it done.

“The GDS leadership is strong, our plans are clear and focused, our people – and digital teams across government – are rolling up their sleeves to continue the work of transformation.

In a blog post Bracken also made a point of thanking Tim O’Reilly and Jen Pahlka in the US and said he would provide an update on where he was going next on his personal blog. ®

RAID: End of an era?

Article source: http://go.theregister.com/feed/www.theregister.co.uk/2015/08/03/mike_bracken_quits_gds/

Posted in Linux News | Tagged | Leave a comment

It’s Suntory time: Japanese whisky to be distilled in SPAAAAACE

Japanese whisky maker Suntory is to distill its firewater on the International Space Station, as part of an experiment to discover how liquor develops a mellow taste.

Most alcoholic beverages tend to develop a mellow flavour when aged for a long time. But while the majority of folk are content with simply enjoying that taste, Suntory’s researchers have been busy forming a hypothesis.

So far, they reckon the formation of a “high-dimensional molecular structure consisting of water, ethanol and other ingredients in alcoholic beverages contributes to the development of mellowness.”

The drinks maker is to store samples of its whisky on the Japanese laboratory facility of the International Space Station for at least a year.

It is collaborating with Professor Shigenao Maruyama of the Institute of Fluid Science, Tohoku University, Professor Mitsuhiro Shibayama of the Institute for Solid State Physics at the University of Tokyo, and the Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute.

“On the basis of these results [so far], the space experiments will be conducted to verify the effect of the convection-free state created by a microgravity environment to the mellowing of alcoholic beverages,” the drinks conglomerate explained.

The Suntory Group aims to use these experiments to help find a scientific explanation for the “mechanism that makes alcohol mellow.” ®

RAID: End of an era?

Article source: http://go.theregister.com/feed/www.theregister.co.uk/2015/08/03/japanese_whisky_to_be_distilled_in_space/

Posted in Linux News | Tagged | Leave a comment

HDS storage is faring better than EMC’s trad arrays, reckons analyst

Comment HDS storage revenues are declining, but not as much as EMC’s core storage business. Joe Tucci’s business is doing better in its move to add business outside its trad arrays and HDS is mounting an Internet of Things catch-up, looking to store and analyse the hoped-for IoT data deluge.

According to Stifel MD Aaron Rakers, Hitachi had total Storage Solutions revenue of ¥117bn, up 12.5 per cent year-on-year in the second (June) 2015 quarter.

However, in dollar terms he calculated this means Hitachi Data Systems – the storage part of Hitachi outside Japan – saw total Storage Solutions revenue of about $960m, down six per cent year-on-year and 12 per cent sequentially. This was worse than the three per cent year-on-year revenue decline in the previous two quarters.

HDS has concentrated on the high-end storage market with its Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) G1000 arrays.

In comparison, EMC’s total Information Storage revenue of $4.03bn grew 1 per cent annually, 10 per cent sequentially, in the June quarter. Within that overall number, though, EMC saw an 11 per cent year-on-year decline in its traditional storage solutions revenue, with high-end VMAX revenue declining 14 per cent year-on-year, and Unified Backup / Recovery (which includes VNX and Data Domain) revenue declining 9 per cent year-on-year.

In storage array terms, HDS is doing better than EMC.


HDS and EMC Information Storage quarterly revenue comparison; pretty level pegging overall

HDS bought Pentaho in June, to get into analysing IoT data streams and it has its HSP (Hyper Scale-out Platform) to store the incoming IoT sensor data deluge.

We might characterise this as a second phase of HDS’ enterprise data storage business. The first phase was storing classic enterprise primary and secondary data on big iron and dual-controller arrays. This is now moving to phase two: adding a storage tier for holding massive amounts of sensor-generated data for analysis to make the kit and processes that generate the sensor data more efficient. ®

Flash Array Deployment: Download the Dummies Guide

Article source: http://go.theregister.com/feed/www.theregister.co.uk/2015/08/03/hds_storage_doing_better_than_emcs_trad_arrays/

Posted in Linux News | Tagged | Leave a comment

AT&T bundling wireless service with DirecTV and U-verse packages

ATT_Logo_01_TANow that ATT officially owns DirecTV they’re quickly integrating wireless service and television bundles into packages for their consumers. These plans combine TV service through either U-Verse or DirecTV on a single bill with ATT wireless service and give the customer a $10 discount for keeping everything on one combined bill. A four line, 10 GB plan that normally runs $160 will be $200 when combined with a DirecTV Select package that’s typically $50 by itself, for example. $10 per month isn’t huge, but if you were planning on having DirecTV and ATT, might as well take advantage of the discount.

The wording isn’t completely clear if you’ll have to have a minimum number of lines on your account to be eligible for the combined billing discount, which might be a dealbreaker for some, but ATT will probably get all of this clarified once the new feeling wears off.

If you really want to go all-in with ATT, they’ll also throw in U-verse internet in their “All-Included” plans for a little extra per month.

A major selling point with this partnership is that ATT customers can view DirecTV programming on eligible devices wherever they are, even before the TV service installation has been completed. It uses the DirecTV app, and ATT is pushing this in more than 2,000 retail locations. They didn’t waste any time in getting the ball rolling with this one.

source: ATT

Born in southern Alabama, Jared spends his working time selling phones and his spare time writing about them. The Android enthusiasm started with the original Motorola Droid and an unhealthy obsession with fixing things that aren’t broken. This accidentally led to being the go-to guy for anything more complicated than a toaster, which he considers more of a curse than a blessing. Jared is enrolled in online classes at the University of Phoenix, and spends his spare time on video games and listening to music.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AndroidNewsGoogleAndroidForums/~3/oRAujCDkqCg/

Posted in Android News | Tagged , | Leave a comment

New OnePlus smartphone slated for a release around Christmas

oneplus_2_company_logo_closeup_partial_blurOnePlus is gearing up for the release of the OnePlus Two, but there’s still one more device on the horizon this year for the company. There have been plenty of rumors about a second device, so this isn’t a huge surprise, but we’re finally getting some details directly from OnePlus about it.

OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei didn’t divulge anything specific about what’s up their sleeve, but he did say that the next handset they release will probably be out in time for Christmas this year. We’re already in August, so that’s just a few months off. I think a higher-end version of the OnePlus Two is pretty unlikely (unless they fill in some of the blanks on its feature list) but a mini model could happen.

Pei also talked about the future of the company and about how the landscape of mobile phones will evolve over the next few years. He believes that within five years, there will only be room for three smartphone manufacturers, and he thinks that’ll be Apple, Samsung, and OnePlus. Other companies will die off or leave the market due to being unable to keep high enough margins to make any profit. He then followed that statement up by clarifying that OnePlus barely broke even with the OnePlus One. But for some reason, that won’t affect OnePlus’s ability to continue making smartphones.

I’ll let you think about that for a bit.

source: USA Today

via: Phone Arena

Born in southern Alabama, Jared spends his working time selling phones and his spare time writing about them. The Android enthusiasm started with the original Motorola Droid and an unhealthy obsession with fixing things that aren’t broken. This accidentally led to being the go-to guy for anything more complicated than a toaster, which he considers more of a curse than a blessing. Jared is enrolled in online classes at the University of Phoenix, and spends his spare time on video games and listening to music.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AndroidNewsGoogleAndroidForums/~3/8PRSu9oNtjw/

Posted in Android News | Tagged , | Leave a comment

New studies analyze growing use of sapphire glass in smartphones


Some new studies by RnR Market Research take a look at the global market for sapphire glass and how manufacturers are responding for demands for supply from smartphone manufacturers. According to one analyst, manufacturers are considering the use of sapphire glass for use in high-end smartphone displays and even Corning is considering adding sapphire glass properties to their Gorilla Glass line of screens.

The research indicates production capacities for sapphire glass are growing around the globe with China and the U.S. leading the way. Interestingly, it appears smaller organizations are finding the most success thus far in spinning up new production capabilities, although bigger manufacturers are coming on as well.

One dynamic identified by the researchers is the impact of the high cost of production of sapphire glass, partly due to limited supplies. This results in the glass really only being appropriate for use in high-end devices. The problem that is looming is the downward price pressure in the high-end smartphone market which works against inclusion of higher-end components like sapphire glass.

On a related issue, RnR Market Research also studied the market for non-glass capacitive sensors. This market is projected to grow by 14.3% from 2014 to 2020. The study notes costs for these non-glass touch screens tend to be five to seven times higher than glass. Despite those high costs, these materials will be incorporated into more devices and applications in the coming years as device manufacturers move into new form factors and add capabilities to traditional smartphones and tablets.

source: RnR Market Research (PR)

Raised in North Carolina, Jeff Causey is a chief financial officer and licensed CPA in Durham, North Carolina. Jeff has owned an HTC EVO, a Samsung Note II, and a Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1. He currently uses an LG G3 and a Nexus 7 (2013). Recently Jeff added Google Glass to his stable of tech gadgets. Unfortunately, his wife and kids have all drunk the Apple Kool-Aid and have i-devices. Life at home often includes demonstrations of the superiority of his Android based devices. In his free time, Jeff is active in his church, a local MINI Cooper car club, and his daughter’s soccer club. Jeff is married, has three kids, and a golden retriever.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AndroidNewsGoogleAndroidForums/~3/UwA6gVTN0QY/

Posted in Android News | Tagged , | Leave a comment

[TA Deals] ZeroLemon SolarJuice 20,000mAh battery for $49


Everyone needs an external battery simply because of how demanding mobile devices have become. When your phone or tablet’s battery is dead while away from a wall outlet or car charger, an external battery can save the day. Right now on Talk Android Deals, you can purchase a massive and durable external battery from ZeroLemon with 50% savings.

The SolarJuice 20,000mAh is encased in a body that is both shockproof and water resistant, offering two-full size USB ports for charging multiple devices simultaneously. But the power and durability of this external battery may not even be the best part. It’s actually capable of drawing its own power from the sun. ZeroLemon included a solar panel on the SolarJuice 20,000mAh to ensure that it is ready to charge your devices at all times.

So how much does the ZeroLemon SolarJuice 20,000mAh battery cost? Only $49 with free shipping. That’s 50% off of the normal $100 price.

[Talk Android Deals]

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AndroidNewsGoogleAndroidForums/~3/yX5GCtNXPxw/

Posted in Android News | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Huawei Honor line of smartphones lead huge surge for company in 2015


Huawei has announced that their Honor line of smartphones have been selling at a phenomenal rate during the first half of 2015. Thus far, revenue has increased to $2.63 billion on 20 million devices produced during the first six months of the year. For the six months, Huawei Honor has already exceeded the totals for all of 2014 and Huawei expects to double the 2015 results before the end of the year.

Huawei managed to grow their market share by 39 percent despite the global smartphone market only growing by 7 percent compared to the first half of 2014. Out of that growth, the company’s flagship Honor smartphone accounted for 40 percent of the 48.2 million smartphones shipped by Huawei.

Huawei vice president in the Middle East, Chris Sun Baigong, said:

“As a bold and brave new brand, which was launched globally as recently as the end of 2013, we have already received highly positive feedback in comparison to other brands. We are excited to be entering the Middle East market and see huge potential to grow by offering something unique to our new dynamic customers.”

Huawei has already entered 74 markets around the globe and continues to expand.

source: Arab News

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AndroidNewsGoogleAndroidForums/~3/grXYt7ZhPiE/

Posted in Android News | Tagged , | Leave a comment