GigaOM Podcasts

As someone who takes her cues on net neutrality from Gigaom's resident expert Stacey Higginbotham or, failing that, John Oliver, this is hard to admit: Mark Cuban may have a point on why the proposed net neutrality regulations may be a cure that's worse than the disease.

If adopted, he maintained, these regs will open the door to more confusion, more litigation and more overall turmoil, none of which will serve consumers well. Before you throw your device at the wall, just give him a listen. Cuban, the serial entrepreneur who started out as a VAR before founding which sold to [company]Yahoo[/company] in a $5.7 billion stock deal in 1999. He is now owner of the Dallas Mavericks, co-star of Shark Tank and CEO of of AXS TV  and interestingly a star of new AT&T commercials. The hyphens just keep coming.

Here's his gist on net neutrality. He doesn't think the big bad ISPs have behaved all that badly, or all that differently, than they ever have, so why all the hubbub now?

"It's not like [company]AT&T[/company] and [company]Comcast[/company] have recently become super big companies and changed their actions... One of the tenets of net neutrality is that no legal website should be discriminated against. Well, name me one that has been." He also pretty much dismisses [company]Netflix[/company] claims that it in fact faced such discrimination.

He sees competition ramping up in both in wired and wireless access -- if these markets are so foreclosed why is Google doing broadband? Why is "AT&T going out of its traditional TV markets where they have U-verse to compete with Comcast and Google? That's one layer. On the other layer you have mobile, with [company]Cablevision[/company] going into Manhattan where [company]Verizon[/company] and AT&T have broadband wireless and putting together an unwired wifi network for $30 a month'

His point is that there is competition, although it may not be the competition we would all like to see.

Cuban is clearly worried about one, well two mega players and neither one is a big ISP. "I would rather see national competition for [company]Google[/company] than no competition for Google. If you put a lid on Time Warner and Comcast and Google just keeps adding more and more markets, who's going to compete with them?"

Google and [company]Apple[/company] constitute a huge countervailing force for all the ISPs because of their mobile might. "The fastest growing access for Internet is mobile. Who controls access to mobile? Google and Apple. The far greater risk is if Apple decides that the Comcast app is not right, Comcast won't be able to reach most of its market to give access to its own broadband. Kind of crazy but it's a possibility." For the record, he isn't recommending regulation to stop that either.

His point isn't that Comcast or Time Warmer or insert-your-least-favorite cable provider here) are so great -- he admits they are not -- it's just that the FCC its regulations are ill equipped to deal with fast-changing technologies. The public would be better served to let the cable companies duke it out with each other and, perhaps more to the point, with far scarier competitors including Google and Apple.

He starts about 10 minutes in. But here is the kill shot: Do you really want the same organization (the FCC) that took 8 years to deal with Janet Jackson's Wardrobe Malfunction at Super Bowl XXXVIII to be the gating factor in the internet? Ummmm, maybe not.

Listen to the whole thing to find out how you, too, can get in touch with Cuban, such a shy and reserved guy, to ask your own questions on net neutrality; whether the NBA is seeing diminishing returns on data analytics; and why the heck the Celtics let the Mavs steal Rajon Rondo. Whatever.

Businessman and TV personality Mark Cuban speaks onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt at Pier 48 on September 8, 2014 in San Francisco, California.
Businessman and TV personality Mark Cuban speaks onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt at Pier 48 on September 8, 2014 in San Francisco, California.

In our intro section, Jonathan Vanian and I discuss all (or a bunch anyway) of this week's Kubernetes news -- where Mirantis was latest into the pool, working with Google to bring the cluster management framework to OpenStack clouds, joining HP and a raft of other tech vendors endorsing the open-source framework. Interestingly, Spotify blazed its own trail,  Helios as opposed to Kubernetes for its own workloads.

Oh and we wonder what is up, exactly, with HP's cloud now that Marten Mickos has stepped back from his leadership job -- after just six months.


Hosts: Barb Darrow, Derrick Harris and Jonathan Vanian

Direct download: 022515a_01-AudioMp3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:34 AM

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Direct download: 022515_01-AudioMp3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:20 PM

We often talk about designing security into a product from the get go, but we don't often discuss what that means. In today's podcast John Kestner, a principle with Supermechanical, the company behind the Twine sensor and the Range thermometer, shares his thoughts on how he designed Twine and range to be more secure but also how we might design our devices to indicate that what was once a humble lock is now a connected computer with all the pros and cons that entails.

Before Kestner and I dig into security, Kevin Tofel and I talk about my experience playing with the Logitech Harmony Ultimate Remote and home hub and then we dig into CSRMesh and the Bluetooth SIG's creation of a working group to add mesh networking to the Bluetooth Smart standard. That could put Bluetooth in closer competition with thread, Zigbee and Z-wave. So kick back and listen up.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: John Kestner, principal with Supermechanical

  • Thoughts on the Logitech Harmony Hub and remote (it's pretty nifty, guys)
  • The Bluetooth SIG is forming a working group on mesh technologies. Why this is cool!
  • Should you rely on security by obscurity or hope your device doesn't do much that's scary as a way to be secure?
  • Thinking about how to convey connectedness in design
Direct download: 022315_01-AudioMp3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:21 AM

Not surprisingly, Joseph Sirosh, has big ambitions for his product portfolio at Microsoft which includes Azure ML, HDInsight and other tools. Chief among them is making it easy for mere mortals to consume these data services from the applications they're familiar with. Take Excel for example.

If a financial analyst can, with a few clicks, send data to a forecast service in the cloud, then get the numbers back, visualized on the same spreadsheet, that's a pretty powerful story, said Sirosh who is corporate VP of machine learning for Microsoft.

But as valuable as those applications and services are, more and more of the value to be derived from computation over time will be the data itself, not all those tech underpinnings.  "In the future a huge part of the value generated from computing will come from the data as opposed to storage and operating systems and basic infrastructure," he noted on this week's podcast. WHich is why one topic under discussion at next month's Structure Data show will be who owns all the data flowing betwixt and betweeen various systems, the internet of things etc.

When it comes to getting corporations running these new systems [company]Microsoft[/company] may have an ace in the hole because so many of them already use key Microsoft tools -- Active Directory, SQL Server, Excel. That gives them a pretty good on-ramp to Microsoft Azure and its resident services. Sirosh makes a compelling case and we'll talk to him more on stage at Structure Data next month in New York City.

In the first half of the show, Derrick Harris and I talk about the Hadoop world has returned to its feisty and oh so interesting roots. When Pivotal announced its plan to offload support of Hadoop to [company]Hortonworks[/company] and work with that company along with [company]IBM[/company], [company]GE[/company] on  the Open Data Platform the response from Cloudera CEO Mike Olsen in a blog post with his take. 

Also on the docket, @WalmartLabs massive OpenStack production private cloud implementation.

Joesph Sirosh
Direct download: 021815_01-audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00 PM

The wealth of data and convenience a connected home can offer is impressive. Saving energy or adding security are primary reasons consumers are buying connected products today, but businesses are interested as well. One of the earliest industries to investigate the promise of connected consumer homes is the insurance industry, which is looking at the benefits of getting consumers to put water sensors around leak-prone areas or even just add additional security products or better smoke detectors in a home to help improve safety.

In this week's podcast I spoke with Dan Reed, managing director at American Family Ventures, the venture capital arm of American Family Insurance. AmFam as it's known, has 10,000 policies and insures homes, cars and small businesses. Reed has invested in several internet of things companies and is looking to make more investment sin early-stage companies, so we talked about what he's looking for as well as what role the interest of things will play in the future of the insurance industry. Before Reed and I chat, Kevin I answer a few questions from the mailbag and discuss Gizmodo's terrible experience with the Wink hub, and why it's such a blow for the industry.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: Dan Reed, managing director, American Family Ventures

  • The smart is still really dumb and that hurts everyone.
  • Kevin and I answer your mailbag questions on presence, Insteon and more.
  • Insurance companies are testing connected devices in the home. Will they subsidize them?
  • What data should an insurer see from your home or your car?
Direct download: 021615_01-AudioMp3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:50 PM

There are a couple of seemingly contradictory memes rolling around the deep learning field. One is that you need a truly epic amount of data to do interesting work. The other is that in many subject areas there is a ton of data but it's not just laying around for data scientists to snarf up.

On this week's Structure Show podcast, Enlitic Founder and CEO Jeremy Howard and Senior Data Scientist Ahna Girshick address those topics and more.

Girshick, who is our first guest who's worked with Philip Glass and Björk on creating music visualizations, said while there may be scads of MRIs, CAT scans, x-rays created -- they're typically used for their primary purpose -- to diagnose your bum knee, and are then squirreled away in some PACS system never to see the light of day again.

All of that data is useful for machine learning algorithms, or would be, if it were accessible, she said.

Girshick and Howard agreed that while deep learning -- the process of a computer teaching itself how to solve a problem -- gets better with more data, there's no reason to hold off working with it for data become available.

"While more data can be better I think this is stopping people from trying to use big data inappropriately," Howard said. He cited a recent Kaggle competition on facial key point recognition that's using 7,000 images and "the top algorithms are nearly perfectly accurate."

The reason companies like Baidu and Google say you need mountains of data is because they have mountains of data available, he said. "I don't think people should be put off trying to use deep learing just because they don't have a lot of data."

Enlitic is using deep learning to provide medical diagnoses faster and help provide better medical and outcomes for millions of underserved people.

It's a fascinating discussion so please check it out -- Girshick will speak more on what Enlitic is doing at Structure Data next month.

And, if you want to hear what's going on with Pivotal's big data portfolio, Derrick Harris has the latest. Oh and Microsoft makes a bold play for startups by ponying up $500K in Azure cloud credits starting with the Y Combinator Winter 2015 class. That ups the ante pretty significantly compared to what Amazon Web Services, Google and IBM offer. Your move boys.

Direct download: 021215_01-AudioMp3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00 AM

Direct download: 021115_01-AudioMp3.mp3
Category:Technology -- posted at: 1:43 PM

This weekend brought us a panic about Samsung TVs listening to every word people say in their presence. A little reporting showed that to be overblown, so Kevin Tofel and I discussed how voice recognition worked right now across devices in the smart home such as the Amazon Echo, Ubi and Google's phones. We also did a deeper dive into what security and privacy should look like with connected devices and what you should be worried about.

Eric Jennings, CEO of Filament.
Eric Jennings, CEO of Filament.

Then we shifted gears to our guest, Eric Jennings, the CEO of Filament, a company building sensor modules for industrial customers. What's most interesting about Filament isn't the sensors, but it's plan to try to create a decentralized version of the internet of things for those sensor modules to run on. So while it offers a cloud, Jennings and I dove deep into how Filament is building a series of technologies that includes the blockchain, Telehash, BitTorrent and new effort called Block Name to create a decentralized network for IoT. It resembles, but is different from IBM's similar efforts. So tune in to learn more. It's pretty awesome.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: Eric Jennings, CEO of Filament

  • The truth about Samsung's connected TVs and your privacy
  • What you should really worry about in the smart home when it comes to security and privacy
  • More on building a decentralized internet of things with block chain and Telehash
  • What role could BitTorrent play in this decentralized stack?
  • Introducing Block Name, a way to build a decentralized version of DNS
Direct download: 021015_06-audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:21 PM

Even though VMware initially called its Amazon competitor vCloud Hybrid Services, make no mistake, it's the company's public cloud (now renamed vCloud Air.)

And, [company]VMware[/company] really wants workloads that might run ow on [company]Amazon[/company] Web Services to come on over, says Bill Fathers, EVP and GM of cloud services for VMware.  That's a tall order. Face it, AWS has been around as, an old boss would have said "Hector was a pup" The first services launched in 2006, and vCloud Air is, what?? a old toddler of two. Fathers acknowledged vCloud Air doesn't have thousands of customers  but said that wasn't the plan. Instead VMware wants a few hundred of key companies to act as bellwethers.

But Fathers point is that a small percentage of total computing is now running on any public cloud -- he thinks it's now 5 or 10 percent up from the two to three percent he thought it was last June at Structure. Which means that there's a ton of work up for grabs.

And while AWS looks to be the enemy for VMware's cloud, the same is not true for Google -- VMware last week announced plans to offer and support four Google services including BigQuery, on vCloud Air.  This week it brought out its promised Integrated OpenStack. 

Fathers positions both the Google relationship and this week's Partner Exchange announcements. And he's clearly not backing away from a fight with the biggest of big clouds.

Bill Fathers, VMware EVP and GM cloud services

Beyond the VMware universe there was a bit of big data moving and shaking with Cloudera buying and its self-service query modeling expertise and Datastax picking up Aurelius, the keeper of the Titan graph database. Could this be a sign of even more M&A to come? That's something we'll hear more about at Structure Data from March 18-19 in New York from the CEOs of Cloudera, Hortonworks and other data powerhouses, so book your tickets now.

Ok, the gratuitous plug is now done, it's time to listen.

Direct download: 020415_01-AudioMp3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:43 AM

If you're looking for clean data then connected apartments offer a much better set of information than connected homes argues Sce Pike, the founder and CEO of Iotas, on this week's podcast. Pike, whose startup kits out apartments with sensors and analyzes the data they provide, explains why her startup chose to work with MDUs as opposed to a home where every floor plan is different and the effort to connect a few outlets and lightbulbs is arbitrary.

Instead Iotas has signed a partnership with the nation's largest property management company and is part of a pilot project in Portland, Oregon that has outfitted 100 units with $900 worth of sensors to learn how residents can save money, automate their homes and live more productive lives. Before we discuss Iotas, my colleague Kevin Tofel and I spend time talking about the new, faster Raspberry Pi, a smart home security product called the Canary and a contest we're hosting to give away a Chamberlain MyQ connected garage door opener to any listener who submits a question between now and the end of the month.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: Sce Pike, CEO of Iotas

  • Much excitement over the new Pi and Microsoft's plans for it
  • Nest drama and thoughts on the new Canary home security device
  • We are holding a contest so email us your questions about the internet of things and the smart home to
  • Data privacy when you're collecting data on 100 apartment residents
  • Why apartments make ideal labs for smart home data collection
Direct download: 020215_01-AudioMp3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:37 PM