Hashtag Trending May 12- Elon Musk steps down as CEO of Twitter; YouTube gets aggressive with adblockers; employees would accept productivity monitoring if it would make them efficient

My guest this week on Hashtag Trending, the Weekend Edition is Mike Conover, a senior software engineer with DataBricks and we are talking about Dolly – a Large Language Model AI system that is not only open source and free, but one that can be trained with a tiny fraction of the cost and resources of ChatGPT. Sound too good to be true? Find out for yourself when the Weekend Edition is released on Saturday morning. 

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Elon Musk steps down as CEO of Twitter, YouTube gets aggressive with ad blockers and employees would actually accept productivity monitoring if it would save them from struggling to find the information they need to do their job.

These top tech news stories and more for Friday, May 12th, 2023, I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada, and Tech News Day in the US.

Elon Musk has picked a new CEO for Twitter. He hasn’t named who that is but in a tweet this afternoon he announced that SHE will be starting in 6 weeks.

Musk had promised to replace himself as CEO as soon as he could find someone to do the job. 

What prompted this? Was it the poll that he took on Twitter in December where the majority of Twitter users said he should step down? Was it the Tesla shareholders who were growing very impatient with Musk’s fascination with Twitter at the expense of Tesla?

Or was it that he just doesn’t want the CIO job because, as he’s said before the title is “made up” and “doesn’t mean anything.” 

I’ll bet he used that line in recruiting his successor, that smooth talking devil. I’d like you to be CEO – don’t worry, it doesn’t mean anything – it’s a made-up title.

And given that Musk is going to stay around as both Executive Chair and CTO – overseeing product, software and sysops – he may be right.

Sources include: Axios

As part of the launch at Google’s I/O conference was a video conferencing product called Starline. Starline is a 3D video conferencing facility that makes it seem like you are talking directly to the person in the same room – life sized detailed to the point that it feels like you are having a natural conversation – at least that’s what their demo shows. 

This has been a great idea, and if they pull it off it could absolutely revolutionize remote meetings – at least one on one meetings, but the technology required to make it work took up the space of an entire room and god knows what the cost of it would be.  Then came AI and now in place of a mountain of hardware, Google has managed to deliver this with standard cameras and – Artificial Intelligence. 

It’s still not ready for launch and even with this new AI driven version, Google is not saying what the cost will be but given that it’s really great for one-on-one meetings, but not group meetings, there is going to be a cost ceiling. 

We’ll post a link to their demo so you can see it for yourself – if they deliver anything like this video, it will be incredible – and we’ll let you know how to get that link at the end of the podcast.

Sources include: Axios and the YouTube video

Blackberry announced today that it has sold substantially all of its “non-core patents and patent applications” to a firm named Malikie InnovationsBlackberry is reported to have received $170 million in cash in the deal.

Blackberry notes that these do not include any patents necessary to support their current core business and operations. The company will retain in excess of 2,000 patents including patents related to mobile devices. 

BlackBerry is largely regarded as developer of the first smart phone, and it abandoned that business after being devastated by competition from Apple and Android.  

John Chen, the company’s current CEO executed what many saw as an incredible turnaround, cutting costs and refocusing the company on cybersecurity offerings and software used in the new “smart automobiles.” According to a report in the Globe and Mail, the companies software is used in 215 million cars and by all of the 10 largest automakers. 

But in the past months, the company has reported a slowdown in sales and saw a steep decline in its cybersecurity revenue, which the company blames on slow government contracts. 

The extra cash infusion and CEO John Chen’s leadership give the company two strong assets to rebound in the next few quarters.

Sources include:  The Globe and Mail and Cision Newswire

YouTube surprised some of its viewers with a popup that warned them that “ad blockers are not allowed” – according to a report in the Register. 

According to YouTube, this is an experiment and only a small number of viewers will see this when browsing on YouTube.

The box, which is shown in the Register article, tells the user that “it looks like you may be using an ad blocker,” and reminds them that ads are what allow YouTube to be offered free to billions of users and ensure that content providers receive compensation.

If users want to have no ads shown, they can subscribe to YouTube Premium for about 12 dollars US. 

The service made 29.2 billion from ads in 2022 up from 28.8 billion the year before. That’s over 11 per cent of Google’s total annual revenue. 

But in the last quarter, ad revenue has slipped, down almost 700 million dollars – eight per cent from the same quarter last year. 

That could be a result of the increased number and length of pre-roll ads which has upset some viewers. Are ad blockers the cause of that decline? Google is obviously worried enough to be testing out ways to fight back. 

Google suggests that users who are unhappy with the stop ad blocking message can simply subscribe to Premium, which an additional 30 million subscribers opted for in 2022 taking the total Premium subscriptions to 80 million. And at 12 dollars a month – that’s a lot of revenue. 

But you don’t have to jump right away. Users report that even with the message, you can close it and still use an ad blocker.  For now.

 Sources include: The Register

And a Gartner survey reveals that “47 per cent of digital workers struggle to find the information they need to effectively perform their jobs.”

The study covered 4,861 full time employees in the US, UK, India and China.

One of the things that employees blamed was “application sprawl.”  The study showed that the average number of applications that a knowledge worker uses is now up to 11, up from 6 applications in 2019.

Forty per cent of workers exceed that average and 5 per cent said they use 26 or more applications to do their job.  Eeeks!

So the idea that “there’s an app for that” may be more of a problem than a solution. 

In fact, the study warns that when IT attempts to solve every challenge with a new application, the workers struggle to find information, make wrong decisions due to a lack of awareness and generally get confused and lost in the noise. 

How serious is the problem? Gartner reports that employees, who almost universally dislike or distrust employee productivity monitoring would actually accept that monitoring IF it would solve the problem they were facing from application sprawl and struggling to find the information they need.

Now that’s a clear indication that there is a real problem.

Sources include: Gartner

That’s the top tech news for today.  We go to air with a daily newscast five days a week, as well as a special weekend interview with an expert on topics relevant to today’s tech news.

Follow Hashtag Trending on Google, Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. And you can even get us on your Alexa or Google smart speaker. You can even find us on YouTube only we are called TechNewsDay.  

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I’m your host, Jim Love.  Have a Fantastic Friday!

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Jim Love
Jim Lovehttp://www.itworldcanada.com
I've been in IT and business for over 30 years. I worked my way up, literally from the mail room and I've done every job from mail clerk to CEO. Today I'm CIO of a great company - IT World Canada - Canada's leading ICT publisher.

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