5 Technology Observations: 9 April 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news insights, updates, conspiracy theories, and plenty more to start your day for Thursday, April 9, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves nine items.

9. Incubating Businesses Behind Bars: California's San Quentin State Prison recently hosted The Last Mile, a six-month accelerator/tech entrepreneurship program. Look a little more closely, and the organizers also run Code 7370, a computer programming course for San Quentin inmates. I've always said that free time to focus is one of the most important entrepreneurial requirements. And who has more free time... than inmates?

8. Grabbing Joe Tucci's Ear?: How should EMC evolve amid the big data, cloud, mobile and social waves? More and more shareholder activist groups seem to have an opinion. The latest move potentially involves Starboard Value pushing EMC to be more shareholder friendly through share buybacks. But hey... aren't shareholder buybacks the very item that derailed IBM in recent years? All the debate temps me to show up at EMC World (May 4-7) for the straight scoop from EMC...

7. Cloud Squeezes IT Spending: It looks like overall global IT spending will FALL about 1.3 percent this year, according to a revised forecast from Gartner. Earlier Gartner had predicted that spending would RISE 2.4 percent this year. So what's behind the big, downward revision? Sure, the stronger dollar and weaker PC sales are factors. But don't overlook pay-as-you-go cloud services, which eliminate many big pay-right-now IT deployments...

6. One Week Using Apple Watch: What's it like to wear and use an Apple Watch for a complete week -- and how does your user experience evolve day to day? Farhad Manjoo offers an intriguing look at his seven-day Apple Watch experience, breaking down his learnings, successes and failures on a day-by-day basis. Also of note: Re/Code describes how Apple Watch compares to rival smartwatches. Apple starts selling the smartwatch on April 10 but actual availability is April 24. Meanwhile, BMO Capital has slashed its Apple Watch sales forecast based on a customer adoption survey.

5. Socially Educated: LinkedIn has acquired Lynda.com, the online education company, for $1.5 billion. What's the fit? Certainly, the term "career development" comes to mind.

4. Chief Hillary Officer: Hillary Clinton has hired a Google executive to serve as her chief technology officer -- the latest sign that she's gearing up for a presidential run. The hire is Stephanie Hannon, Google's director for civic innovation and social impact, Re/code reported. Hmmm... As part of the employment agreement, Hannon surely can't comment on Clinton's email management practices.

3. Amazon Goes Enterprise: You already knew at least a portion of the story.  But here's how Amazon Web Services is impacting just about every major enterprise IT player -- including Hewlett-Packard Co., in particular. It looks pretty clear that HP's public cloud efforts failed... I know all about the "hybrid cloud" statements from multiple enterprise IT players. But in many cases, that's double-talk for "we're trying to buy some time as we figure things out..."

2. NOCs Meet Amazon: Speaking of Amazon, it looks like NOC (network operations center) oriented services are heading toward AWS. The latest example involves Cloudnexa's vNOC Cloud Management Platform, which has multiple modules for managing Amazon's cloud.

1. Data Project: Amy Katz is 99 percent done with her portion of the project. I'm about 70 percent done. But what exactly is the project? Let's just say we're investing our time and focus on about 1,000 primary data points that IT entrepreneurs will find valuable. If months were innings, we're now in the top of the fourth -- and the game is shaping up pretty well. Final score expected by... well, you do the math.

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