5 Technology Observations: 18 March 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology updates, insights, chatter, blatant errors (actually, even our rumors are accurate...) and more to start your day for Wednesday, March 18, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves 11 items.

11. Biometrics Will Replace Passwords: The latest indication involves Windows 10, which will allow you to log into your device via touch, facial recognition or an iris scan. Microsoft says Windows 10 will ship this summer.

10. Big Switch?: Microsoft is developing software that converts Android phones to Windows 10. The big question: Can customers continue using their existing cellular contracts if they shift their device from Android to the Microsoft operating system...

9. GigaOm Refund? Sounds Unlikely: If you paid a registration fee to attend GigaOm's Structure Data conference (March 18-19, New York), getting a refund for the canceled conference sounds tricky at best. GigaOm shut down earlier this month. So, how about a conference refund? Not so fast. EventBrite has emailed registrants, stating "GigaOm used their own payment processor to collect payments (and not Eventbrite's payment processor), and we are not able to issue a refund. WE've spoken with the organizer and given that it's unlikely they will issue refunds, we recommend that you contact your bank or credit card company who can work on your behalf to help reach a resolution."

8. The Show Must Go On: A side note about that canceled GigaOm Structure Data conference. Some registrants are getting together anyway -- at a so-called Unstructured: Data Science event on March 19.

7. Riddle Me This: Is Microsoft really killing Internet Explorer? Or did Web surfers essentially pull the plug for Microsoft -- voting so clearly for alternatives like Chrome.

6. They're Hiring: Several trusted industry sources are looking to make hires. Jason Bystrak is seeking a manager, solutions design, for a cloud opportunity in Toronto. Michael Della Penna is seeking a VP of sales at Invisible Media -- a startup involved in beacon technologies and the Internet of Things. I assume the location is New York but check with Mike. And Brendan Cosgrove is seeking a customer service coordinator in Laguna Hills, Calif.

5. Shark Tank Online: Quite a few readers have asked me how to launch an online version of Shark Tank. Great idea. So great, in fact, that many Shark Tank-like services already exist online. Two examples are LetsVenture and OneVest.

4. Facebook for Small Business: Yes, Facebook upset plenty of small businesses last year when the company started to pinch organic promotions -- essentially pushing entrepreneurs toward paid campaigns. So how has that strategy played out for Facebook and small businesses? Facebook Small Business Director Dan Levy shares his latest thoughts with StreetFight Mag. It's worth a read.

3. Oracle Cloud Revenues: During Oracle's most recent quarter, the company sold $200 million in new SaaS and PaaS business -- on an annualized basis -- according to CEO Mark Hurd. In other words, divide the figure by four and Oracle sold $50 million or less in new cloud revenues during the quarter. Still, assuming Oracle retains those customers, it looks like the company's cloud business is scaling fast. Hurd says the current quarter will generate $300 million in new SaaS and PaaS business -- again, on an annualized basis.

2. Data Scientists Are Hot for How Long?: Data scientists and marketing technologists are the hottest tech jobs of 2015. But did you ever wonder exactly why? Travis Wright offers this explanation. In some circles, data scientists seem to be considered wizards who can transform raw data into revenue-generating products and services. But I wonder: Will these jobs cool off once a few chief data officers and marketing wizards fail to deliver ROI? Surely, some will stumble.

1. Finally Seeing the Light: mindSHIFT is now managing customer servers in Amazon's cloud. This service should have arrived, oh, three years ago. But at least it has arrived. Key takeaway: Don't build or manage your own cloud. Instead, be the expert who manages workloads in existing clouds like Amazon, Microsoft Azure, IBM SoftLayer and more.

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