Bad Times Continue for PCs and Other News

Carl Weinschenk
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The PC market has been slowing down for years. Updated numbers are in from Gartner and IDC – and they are not good.

Gartner found that PC shipments totaled 64.8 million, which was a steep 9.6 percent decline from the first quarter of last year. IDC brought more of the same type of news: It found that PC shipments sunk 11.5 percent compared to the year-ago quarter.

The news is not a one-time thing. The InformationWeek story on the results said that the quarter represented the sixth straight in which things went south. Gartner's numbers also represented a milestone: It was the first time since 2007 that the firm estimated sales of less than 65 million units.


Mozilla Browsing for New Browser

Computerworld reports that Mozilla is working on its next-generation Firefox browser. The thinking now is that what comes next will be quite different from the current version.

The article cites something Mark Mayo, the head of the company’s cloud services engineer team, said in an article he wrote for Medium: that things change and the old processes may no longer work. The bottom line is that Tofino, the name the research is going under, may replace the technology Firefox now uses.

Next MoCA Standard Released

The Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) has released the next version of its standard, MoCA 2.5. MoCA is a standard for carriage of data over coaxial cable. The new version, according to TechHive, runs at a maximum of 2.5 Gigabits per second (Gbps). This more than doubles the previous version, MoCA 2.0, which runs at 1 Gbps.

MoCA 2.5 also adds push-button setup protocol, improved security, and features aimed at allowing MoCA to work efficiently with earlier MoCA versions.

AT&T Makes Better Labor News than Verizon

AT&T is faring better than Verizon, whose employees continue to be on strike. AT&T, according to WirelessWeek, has struck a deal with the Communications Workers of America (CAA) covering 9,400 employees who work on mobility technology in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Texas.

The deal was reached on Feb. 28 and will be retroactive to the previous day. The announcement of the voting results was made this week.  

IBM Watson, University of Illinois Launching Research Center

IBM Watson, the distributed natural speech processing platform, makes announcements on a regular basis. That likely will keep going, judging from the latest piece of news: Big Blue and the University of Illinois are launching a research center that is aimed at helping a machine do something extremely close to real thinking.

The Center for Cognitive Computing Systems Research (C3SR) will be in the school’s College of Engineering, according to ZDNet. The goal is to make the system truly cognitive:

Set to open this summer, C3SR will work to build integrated cognitive computing systems modeled on IBM's Watson technology. The systems will ingest reams of data pertaining to college curriculum, including videos, lecture notes, homework, and textbooks. After reasoning through the vast datasets, the systems will eventually attempt to pass a college level exam.

IBM’s OpenPower technology will be used. Any hardware designs and cognitive algorithms that are created will be released to the open source community.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.



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