5 Tech Observations: 6 Jan 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news insights, observations, rumors and gossip to start your day for Tuesday, January 6, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves eight items.

8. Where There's Smoke: Some longtime Apple supporters are starting to scream fire, claiming that Apple's software quality is going up (or is it down?) in flames. Marco Arment says, "The problem seems to be quite simple. they're doing too much with unrealistic deadlines." The lesson here for I.T. entrepreneurs: Great marketing can only sustain a company for so long. At some point, product quality will make or break your industry reputation. And right now, Apple's software reputation is strained. That's especially concerning since Apple is introducing so many new ISV platforms like HealthKit, HomeKit and WatchKit. How can entrepreneurs and developers trust all of those "new" platforms when existing platforms like Mac OS X and iOS seem to be getting clunky?

7. Have You Heard?: Facebook acquired Wit.ai, a speech recognition technology company. While multi-touch and mouse-driven computer interfaces will be around for decades more, the rise of alternative interfaces -- voice, gesture-driven control, etc. -- continues to accelerate.  Wit.ai claims to offer "natural language for the Internet of Things" -- including mobile apps, home automation, wearable devices, robots and messenger agents.

6. X's And O'S: Amy Katz and I played a great game of Tick-Tack-Toe (or was it Tic-Tac-Dough?) on Monday. To the best of my memory, I got the center square and the corners. But she placed plenty of business assets on the game board... but we're still sorting out the longer-term game...

5. Inside Job: Morgan Stanley has fired a financial advisor, alleging that he stole account data involving 350,000 customers and posting some of the info online. As businesses scramble to safeguard systems from foreign hackers, this is a timely reminder that sometimes the biggest IT security threat comes from within.

4. Digital Heist: Bitstamp, one of the largest bitcoin exchanges, has halted trading after a hack. The Jan. 4 compromise may involve roughly 19,000 bitcoins -- worth about $5.1 million. No word on whether this was an inside -- or external -- job.

3. Deja Vu: This year's Consumer Electronics Show is "too big" for Las Vegas. Internet of Things, Smart Homes, Smart Cars, crazy gadgets (surprise), TVs (yawn) and networked speakers (wider yawn) are the big themes. All the noise reminds me of the old Comdex trade show, which ultimately evolved from a computer dealer event into a "too big" event that even attracted car companies. Comdex ultimately imploded -- the event attracted too many pretenders and commodity products, and became too unwieldy to navigate. (It has since been re-launched as an online conference.) I wonder if CES will suffer the same "too big for me to attend" fate...

2. Join Me, Part I: Don't forget to tune in Tech News Today (http://live.twit.tv) at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT. Mike Elgan and I will offer up the latest news from CES (I promise we'll have the hot stuff, not the pretender stuff) and more.

1. Join Me, Part II: Then stop by again at 9:01 p.m. ET, for our latest podcast -- Good Evening, I.T. Entrepreneurs. Nexercise CEO Benjamin Young will describe the health app craze, and his company's pivot based on user registrations and mobile trends. It's an especially timely conversation as app developers and I.T. entrepreneurs try to figure out whether to extend from smartphones out to smartwatches, health bands and more.

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