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Big Data (Actually) Bites: Trust, Cannibals, Serving Man #MWLMWC14

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Big data — and its curious link to cannibals — has been on my mind for a while now. It came up nearly two years ago after I read a Pew Internet/Elon University survey on the state of big data, which somehow got me thinking about a Twilight Zone episode called "To Serve Man."

In my arguably twisted, clearly fertile imagination, cannibalism became a metaphor for big data. How? Well, just think of big data as a synonym for the Kanamits, a race of nine-foot-tall aliens who randomly land on Earth and start promoting the fact that their only intention is to help humanity.

Their advanced technologies quickly eradicate many of the planet's oldest problems, from hunger to the high cost of energy. It makes life better, or so it seems -- resolving questions, increasing convenience and transforming barren deserts into big, blooming fields.

Remind you of anything, big data aficionados? It should, especially if you are attending the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona this week.

Why IBM's Cloudant Acquisition is a Big Deal and Who it Threatens

While the age of big data, mobile, cloud and analytics is one of great excitement and opportunity for startups like Cloudera, DataStax, MongoDB and others who have emerged during the past several years, it’s also one of danger for computing giants like EMC, IBM, HP, Oracle, Microsoft and the like.

Chances are, better than not, that at least one of these established giants won’t make it into computing’s third era. 

Phone Calls Add Value to Facebook's WhatsApp Deal

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Facebook's $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp looked a bit smarter today after the fast-growing messaging service announced at the World Mobile Congress that it will add phone calls within the next few months.

The WhatsApp announcement came as a surprise to those attending the mobile conference, where Nokia, Samsung, HTC and other key players also made news. WhatsApp already has 465 million monthly text and voicemail users, but wanted to add a live call service.

"We want to make sure people always have the ability to stay in touch with their friends and loved ones really affordably," WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum said at the conference, according to a CNN report from the scene. Koum said the company will roll out the service on Apple and Android phones during the first half of the year, then add the service for Blackberry and Windows phones. 

With Mobile Reigning Supreme, Will Advertisers Keep Pace?

The Super Bowl has come and gone, but the advertising lives on as brands seek to squeeze as much as possible out of their expensive creative masterpieces. But if advertisers want to truly validate their media buys beyond simply “entertaining the masses” they need to activate the 50 percent of smartphone owners that use their devices while watching TV on a daily basis. Our review of how well Super Bowl advertisers actively engaged with the audience shows there is a lot of work to be done.

5 Tech Trends You Need to Know Right Now

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Security, infrastructure intelligence and data analytics will be among the hottest business technology trends of 2014, according to a research paper commissioned by UK IT services firm Advanced 365.

The paper, written by technology analyst David Smith, chief executive, Global Futures and Foresight with Advanced 365, identifies the most "transformative technologies" and recommends steps businesses need to take to stay ahead of the curve — like embracing data analytics, gaining a better understanding of infrastructure intelligence and learning to manage cloud services growth.

5 Reasons Customer Relationship Management Is Still Hot

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Customer relationship management (CRM) technologies may not be making headlines — but they haven’t gone away. In fact, according to Gartner, demand for CRM is growing. To provide integrated customer experiences, businesses are focusing on technologies that enable targeted customer interactions in multichannel environments. 

Internet Fake Out: The Clickbait and Ad Fraud Explosion

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Do you ever log on the Internet and think: Wow, there's a lot of crap in here? You're not alone.

Millions of salesmen are competing for your time -- and there are many tricks to the clicks. In fact, the Great Fake Internet is growing as ad fraud and clickbait metastasize.

Think the PC is Dead? You May be Right

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Wall Street must be pretty muted today. It has been a bad week with a lot of big companies calling out some pretty miserable results. IT companies are no exception, but we’re not going to talk about Twitter here. Instead, we’ll simply say Sony’s figures were so bad, that it has decided to pull out of the personal computer market.

It has also decided to pull out of the television manufacturing space, but we don’t really care about that. But PC’s are different though and the announcement by Sony comes just a day before Gartner published figures to show that the European PC market is down another 4 percent.

There are no recent figures for the US market yet, but they should land soon. While analysts will be looking desperately to find a silver lining, it’s a good bet that those figures are going to be pretty poor, too.

All that stuff about the death of the PC ... Maybe it really isn't exaggerated.

Wozniak: Apple Could Build Droid Phones, Warns of 'Police State'

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Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak captivated a tech-savvy audience in San Francisco today by warning that society is moving towards "a police state," calling for public resistance to the unrestricted collection of marketing data, and speculating that Apple could produce iPhones that run on Google's "not-so-fenced-in" Android operating system.

Facebook Steps Into the Mobile Waters Again with Paper

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After several attempts to make up for its late arrival in mobile, Facebook may have a standout mobile hit on its hands. On Thursday, the social networking powerhouse introduced a new app for finding and sharing stories -- Paper.

The Salvation for Snack Attacks: Smart Vending Machines

The Salvation for Snack Attacks: Smart Vending MachinesI don’t know about you, but when I walk by a vending machine and see one of my favorite snacks, I immediately have a snack attack. Often times these attacks go unanswered because I typically don’t carry cash in my pocket, or for the times when I do, the machine is broken.

Well, enter smart vending -- and the answer to my vending machine woes!

Social Media Addiction and Other Mobile Marketing Trends [Infographic]

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With Lenovo buying Motorola and a new generation of devices on the way, there's rumblings of change in the mobile marketplace. But none of the hardware and network juggling will stem the tide of mobile marketing.

Marketing campaigns are focusing on apps and social media. But as the dollars continue to flow, are marketers who are following the money risky their creativity and niche opportunities? A new infographic highlights the trends.

Is Huddle Still a SharePoint Alternative?

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Huddle talks a lot about being the "alternative to SharePoint." The company used the phrase today to launch a new offering. And it used it in December when it released Huddle Note, an iOS application that enables users to create content in the cloud, share it inside or outside of a company firewall and collaborate with other workers on documents — all from mobile devices.

So is it a viable alternative to SharePoint? "Sure, Huddle is legitimate competition to SharePoint," says Rob Koplowitz, SharePoint analyst for Forrester Research. "It doesn't do everything SharePoint does, but in the areas where there is overlap, Huddle is very robust." 

E-Commerce, Content and Closing the Gaps: A Look at Sitecore

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Over the past two days, we have looked at different approaches to bridging the gap between content management and e-commerce. In the first part, we saw that e-Spirit has adopted a best-of-breed approach. Yesterday we saw how Elastic Path is using e-commerce APIs to integrate content.

In the final piece today, we look at Sitecore, which has put customers at the heart of the retail process by providing personalized content and user experiences.

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