Apple, Salesforce Partnership has Marriott Putting HomePod in Hotel Rooms

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HomePod on a shelf too close to the wall

Apple’s partnership with Salesforce could turn in to a big boost for HomePod sales. Marriott plans to use software that comes from the team up with HomePods in hotel rooms so customers can use their voice to change the room temperature, order food, and more. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said,

At Salesforce’s annual customer conference this week, Marriott International will demonstrate a new system that uses Salesforce and Apple tools so that hotel guests can turn up the heat, order a sandwich or hail a ride using Siri with an Apple HomePod in their hotel room. And at the next Marriot the guest stays at, Siri will remember the guest’s preferences—even their favorite sandwich.

That sounds like an opportunity for a lot of HomePod exposure and a nice way to boost user familiarity. I wonder if Marriott customers will feel comfortable with a HomePod in their room, or if they’ll worry about privacy.

Qualcomm Says Apple Stole Trade Secrets, Gave them to Intel

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Apple suing Qualcomm over patent royalty payments

Apple and Qualcomm’s ongoing legal battle just took an interesting turn. Qualcomm is now accusing Apple of stealing its LTE modem-related trade secrets and giving the information to Intel. Axios quotes from the legal filing:

Although discovery is ongoing, it is clear that Apple’s conduct went far beyond simply breaching the contract originally sued on. Indeed, it is now apparent Apple engaged in a years-long campaign of false promises, stealth and subterfuge designed to steal Qualcomm’s confidential information and trade secrets for the purpose of improving the performance of lower-quality modem chipsets, with the ultimate goal of eliminating Qualcomm’s Apple-based business.

That’s a pretty serious allegation, and one that could be a major headache for Apple if it proves to be true. It’s no secret Apple was tired of relying exclusively on Qualcomm for iPhone modem chips and felt it was paying too much in patent royalties. Their case is scheduled for trial next spring, and it’s looking like it’ll be filled with drama.

A Migration Guide for macOS Server Users

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macOS Mojave on MacBook Pro

Apple has modified macOS Server, and with Mojave upon us, it’s good to know about the changes Apple has implemented. Here’s a link to the Apple Migration Guide. From the intro: “macOS Server is changing to focus more on management of computers, devices, and storage on your network. As a result, some changes are coming in how Server works. Beginning in the spring of 2018, several services will be hidden on new installations of an update to macOS Server. Then in the fall of 2018, new installations and upgrades of macOS Server will require you to migrate most services to other software.”

John Lennon and George Harrison Recording 'How Do You Sleep?' in 1971 [Video]

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Check out this video of John Lennon, George Harrison, and The Plastic Ono Band in the studio recording “How Do You Sleep?” This recording is labeled Takes 5 and 6. It’s an outtake without the strings and other production work of Phil Spector on the version included on 1971’s Imagine album. I’ve always loved this song, and somehow didn’t realize George Harrison played on it. Seeing these guys and gal in the studio laying down the tracks, crammed together in a small room in Ascot Sound Studios, is just awesome to me. For those unfamiliar with the lore, the song was written about Paul McCartney in a recorded tit-for-tat spat between the two. John Lennon said he was responding to digs at him on Paul McCartney’s Ram album (also 1971). Speaking of which, Paul McCartney recently downplayed friction between him and his late writing partner. John Lennon also downplayed while he was alive, saying, “If I can’t have a fight with my best friend I don’t know who I can have a fight with.” NPR has more on this recording. It’s a good read.

Don't Worry, Anki's Vector Is 'The Good Robot' that Won't Destroy Humanity

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Anki has a promotion video out for Vector, the company’s new personal robot. And the good news is that Vector won’t destroy humanity. Though, to be fair, what else would a robot say, unless, of course, it had been programmed not to lie…OK, I’m off track. This is a funny and well made spot. I supported Vector on Kickstarter and am waiting for delivery now (by October 9th!). This pet robot looks fun, and Anki is doing some really cool stuff. Now that the Kickstarter is over, Vector is available for preorder for $212.49. That’s a little more than Kickstarter, but still less than the planned retail price of $249.99. Check it out, and enjoy the promo video.

TMO Background Mode Interview with Technology Journalist Ryan Faas

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Ryan Faas on Background Mode

Ryan Faas is a technology journalist and author who has been writing about Apple, business, enterprise IT topics, and the mobile industry for over a decade. He also spent a large portion of the past 15 years in the systems/network engineering and IT management fields as an IT director and systems administrator. He’s worked for MTV Networks as well as being a former Apple Genius. Today, he is also a Contributing Writer for Computerworld. We chatted about how he became such an expert in enterprise matters as well as knowledgeable in multiple OSes. He told me why the wireless carriers decline to push Android updates as often as Apple, and he filled me in on what really going on with macOS Server. Finally, Ryan also predicted when Apple will go to ARM processors in the Mac.

NOVA True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds: $49

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NOVA True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds

We have a deal on a pair of NOVA True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds. They support Bluetooth 4.1 and come with a charging case. And, you can use that charging case to charge your other devices in a pinch. You can get them for $49 through our deal.

What the Heck is an Artificial Neural Network?

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What is an artificial neural network? They power many technologies such as Apple’s A12 Bionic chip, but what are they? Forbes breaks it down.

Artificial neural networks use different layers of mathematical processing to make sense of the information it’s fed. Typically, an artificial neural network has anywhere from dozens to millions of artificial neurons—called units—arranged in a series of layers. The input layer receives various forms of information from the outside world. This is the data that the network aims to process or learn about.

What I find especially fascinating is how much of a black box an ANN is. This means that while it can figure out a mathematical function, studying its structure won’t tell you what function it’s trying to figure out.

Eric Schmidt Warns the Internet Will Split Apart in 2028

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Former Google chief Eric Scmidt predicts that by 2028 the internet will split into two separate webs: A Chinese version and an American version.

If you think of China as like ‘Oh yeah, they’re good with the Internet,’ you’re missing the point. Globalization means that they get to play too. I think you’re going to see fantastic leadership in products and services from China. There’s a real danger that along with those products and services comes a different leadership regime from government, with censorship, controls, etc.

There’s basically already a separate Chinese internet behind the Great Firewall of China. But the prediction here is that through the country’s Belt and Road Initiative, other countries might follow China’s example. And Google is helping.

Apple Rejects Violence, Sex, Politics in Video Platform

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News over the weekend report that Apple rejects violence, sex, and politics in the company’s video platform.

The result is an approach out of step with the triumphs of the video-streaming era. Other platforms, such as HBO and Amazon.com Inc., have made their mark in original content with edgier programming that often wins critical acclaim.

And other platforms are free to do so. I personally don’t see a problem with this, and it should come as no surprise since Apple has always positioned itself as family-friendly. It may not explicitly call itself such, but it is. And that’s fine. If I want sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, I can find it on Netflix.