My office today: the "relax & chill" room at our Riad in Marrakesh


This is one of my favorite places in the world to work. This little nook on the second floor of the Bliss Riad has great WiFi, comfortable seats, a great view, good light, bottomless coffee and it’s right near our room. We come here every time we’re in Marrakesh mainly because our wonderful friend Sheila runs and co-owns the place. (We were one of her first guests when the Riad was still unfinished. Now, the rooftop is packed with a swimming pool, dining chairs, lounge chairs and an outdoor kitchen.)

The ultimate Morocco Experience


You know that Morocco is on your bucket list. You really should join us for our Morocco Experience April 29 through May 12, 2019.

This isn’t tourism. We’ll take you deep inside the food culture of Morocco, where you’ll dine with our friends, learn how to make Moroccan food, feast with Berbers in the Sahara, experience Morocco’s breathtaking “blue village” and amazing surprises every day.

Oh, and we’ll eat olives!

Employees are working from home. Do you know where your remote work policy is?


(Read my column)

The remote work trend is here to stay — and it’s a growing phenomenon.

Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of companies have employees who work remotely, yet more than half of those companies (57 percent) do not have a remote work policy, according to a 2018 report from the freelancing website Upwork. What’s more, many of the companies that do have a remote work policy said it hasn’t been updated in the past five years or has become more lenient over that time.

Remote work security is a lot like mobile security, and the work-at-home trend is a lot like the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend. You likely have a policy that covers mobile security. You need one that covers remote work.

Suddenly, podcasting becomes a sound business


(Read my column)

Podcasting is a weird industry. Apple’s iTunes first started supporting podcasts nearly 14 years ago, but somehow the medium feels new and emerging. Nobody knows what a mature podcasting industry will even look like, how advertising will work or how big the audience will be.

Years ago, music downloads and streaming were seen as money-making businesses, whereas podcasting was something companies such as Apple facilitated as a kind of freebie. But now it’s possible that Spotify sees podcasting as more monetizable.

And I agree. The podcasting space can expand from a tiny number to a large number of advertising. It can add memberships, subscriptions and donations to the advertising. And contextual advertising could transform the business model.

I’m not sure if Spotify has the vision to carry this out, but somebody will.

Read my column about all this here.

My office today: our little house in Fez


We checked into this new house in Fez last night. I got up in the morning, made coffee and got to work.

The WiFi is good enough, and (unlike almost every house we’ve had in Morocco) it’s got tables high enough to work at without slouching over. (Usually all the tables are lower than knee level.)

It’s a great location: When I step outside the door, I’m in a narrow alley that’s ten steps or so from a fairly major path in the Medina. 

This house is very typical for Fez houses. It’s got no exterior or windows (the walls on all sides connect to the neighbors’ houses. You can see the sky only by going up to the roof. 

I’ve been using the new Pixel 3 phone, which is the greatest phone for nomads and travelers ever. This shot on top, which shows the whole room, was made possible by the Pixel 3’s selfie camera, which has a dedicated wide angle lens. The picture on the bottom, which is a closer look at the ceiling, was taken with the phone’s Night Sight feature, which takes amazing pictures in very low light. And, of course, Google Fi gives me a fast internet connection just about anywhere. 

Couscous in Morocco with new friends!


We were invited by our wonderful new friend, Thierry, (left, front) to join him and his friends for a delicious dinner of lamb couscous (made by the woman in glasses). He personally made us some tarte tatin, which was really good.

The Moroccan way to eat couscous is either with hands out of a communal bowl, or with a spoon out a communal bowl. We did the latter. What you see on top there is caramelized onions, with the lamb buried beneath that.

Anyway, we had a wonderful time, and we’re grateful to Thierry and happy to have spent the evening with these nice people. We live for gatherings like this.

Wait, is that a turkey?


We're traveling across Northern Morocco today, and stopped at a gas station and rest stop, where we enjoyed some fresh-squeezed O.J., a cappuccino, an apple and a chocolate croissant. (Cheap, too -- about $3.)

In the parking lot, I noticed a van with all kinds of luggage strapped to the roof, including a live turkey! That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you transport fresh poultry. 

Soon AI will crack fingerprints, face ID and more

It’s time to face a stark reality: Threat actors will soon gain access to artificial intelligence (AI) tools that will enable them to defeat multiple forms of authentication — from passwords to biometric security systems and even facial recognition software — identify targets on networks and evade detection. And they’ll be able to do all of this on a massive scale.

Crisis averted. Elf pig found.


My baby grandaughter, Princess Squishyface (objectively the most adorable creature to ever exist in the universe or all possible universes), came into the kitchen where I was doing dishes to ask where Elf Pig was.

“Elf Pig” is her name for a Christmas toy, officially known as the “Hog Wild Holiday Elf Popper,“ which shoots a plastic ball out of its mouth when you squeeze it.

As she is with all her dolls and fuzzy animals, assorted animal-themed lawn ornaments and even pictures of animals, P.S. is very nurturing with Elf Pig. She carries it around like an infant, tucks it in at night and includes it in her various recreational activities (like swim class).

Anyway, as I was walking back to her house (my son Kevin’s house in Silicon Valley) after working at Peet’s all day, I encountered Squishyface, Elf Pig and my wife, Amira, on the sidewalk coming in the other direction.

After playing around a bit, we sat on the curb and watched some older kids play basketball. P.S. propped Elf Pig on the curb so it could watch, too.

After a while, we ran home, with my granddaughter and I racing and she winning every time. We hung out for the rest of the evening, had dinner and then it was bath time. That’s when Princess S. asked me about the whereabouts of Elf Pig. We all searched the house without success. Then it occured: Maybe we left it on the sidewalk….

Kevin gave me a flashlight. I went back to the curb where we watched the basketball. And behold: There was Elf Pig still facing the driveway basketball court, holding silent vigil.

I was inspired to take a picture with my Pixel 3’s “Night Sight” mode (this is why I got a Pixel 3). Elf Pig and I returned. Mr. Pig joined the bath. And all was well again. Crisis averted.