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Federal Initiative Aims to Spur Software Development
April 24, 2014
The allure of Big Data stems from the ability to use advanced technology to manage and manipulate huge amounts of information. Not only that, Big Data offers the opportunity for unlocking information not previously available, and even not previously knowable. However, the software required to underpin Big Data and related IT advances may not be up to the task.
Going Gold - IBM's Mainframe Turns 50
April 22, 2014
Longevity doesn't get much respect in the tech industry, partly due to new technologies regularly entering and dominating industries and commercial markets. However, cultural factors play a part, too. Much of IT's vibrancy results from the startup mindset and youthful employees who willingly embrace crushing 80-hour work weeks for a chance to become millionaires -- or billionaires.
Data Center Fire Fries Samsung's Un-Backed-Up Servers
April 21, 2014
A fire that erupted at the data center of Samsung SDS in Gwacheon, South Korea, reportedly took out services to Samsung smartphones, tablets and smart TVs for several hours. The company reportedly stopped all services offered through its website and smartphone apps, and said consumers could not use its online payment services or receive text message confirmations of payments made.
Adobe's Open Source Tightrope Walk
April 19, 2014
Open source software continues to gain momentum -- but what is not growing is an open desire among individual software developers to port their commercial Windows wares to Linux. Open source support is not a mere in or out decision. Some software makers shape their business models to take advantage of open source support for some products but not others.
IT Providers Stew Over Big Data Privacy Regulation
April 18, 2014
With the emergence of the Big Data era, technology developers see major benefits in the ability to manage huge volumes of information. However, with an onslaught of data breaches such as the recent hacking of the Target retail chain, consumers and their representatives in government are increasingly nervous about bigger threats to privacy. The White House is conducting a review of the issue.
Next iOS May Add Shazam Music Discovery
April 18, 2014
Have you ever heard a song you never heard before while you were out and about and wished you knew its title and artist? iOS soon may be able to tell you. Apple reportedly is working with Shazam Entertainment to incorporate into iOS 8 a feature that allows a song's title and artist to be identified from a sound grab through the microphone in an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
uGet Gives Great Downloads
April 17, 2014
The latest version of the uGet Download Manager rekindled my interest in grabbing files without relying on a Web browser. uGet version 1.10.4. was released last month. Written in C, it uses GTK+3 for its user interface, and it is packed full with improvements. It is very reliable and stable, with 11 years of growth behind it. The uGet website has received a makeover to better support users.
Amazon's Rumored 3D Smartphone May Radically Change E-Commerce
April 16, 2014
A picture may be worth a thousand words but the photo of what might be a smartphone in development by Amazon has produced many more words than that. The photo shows a black smartphone that looks like any number of mobiles on the market, save for the number of cameras on the front. In addition to the typical front-facing camera for selfies and video messaging, there are four others.
Windows Phone 8.1 Becomes Available to Devs and Risk Takers
April 15, 2014
After an 18-month lull, Windows Phone took a step closer to an upgrade on Monday as Microsoft released version 8.1 of the operating system to developers. Unlike most developer versions of software, however, consumers can download and run the latest edition of Windows Phone on their mobile device -- as long as they're willing to void its warranty until their carrier OKs the upgrade.
Fun and Angst With Google Glass
April 15, 2014
Google Glass, which has been the focus of considerable controversy, went on sale Tuesday -- for one day only -- at $1,500, with Android KitKat and new features that include improved battery life, photo bundles, photo replies and voice command sorting. However, one feature -- video calling -- has been eliminated because fewer than 10 percent of Explorer beta users employed it.
Linux and the Post-XP Cry for Help
April 14, 2014
Well the Linux landscape shifted dramatically last week, and not just because of the discovery of the Heartbleed bug. No indeed, there's another key reason this little planet of ours isn't the same as it was a week ago, and that's none other than Windows XP's long-anticipated end of life. "As of April 8, 2014, support and updates for Windows XP are no longer available," wrote Microsoft.
Desperately Seeking Linux Programmers
April 11, 2014
Help Wanted: computer programmers needed to code and maintain Linux systems. The Linux operating system and Linux servers are so widely used today that not enough Linux-trained coders and system techs exist. Software developers and enterprise IT departments have jobs but no takers. To fill this shortage, the Linux Foundation has partnered with edX to offer a free online course.
CAELinux Is the Ideal Distro for Designing Scientists
April 10, 2014
CAELinux is a perfect example of the power of open source to tailor the Linux OS to users' specialized needs. This computer-assisted engineering distro clearly is not for the vast majority of Linux users, but it certainly has all the features you would expect in any mature Linux OS -- and then some. The extra ingredients make CAELinux a unique Linux distro for engineers and scientists.
Micro Brings 3D Printing to the Mainstream
April 09, 2014
The Micro is the latest consumer-targeted 3D printer to generate buzz after flying past its $50,000 Kickstarter goal. It took only 11 minutes for the printer to reach its goal. As of mid-day Wednesday, the Micro had brought in more than $1.8 million from more than 6,400 backers. The Micro is the world's "first truly consumer 3D printer," its makers claim, in part because of its affordable price.
Agency: 'Cuban Twitter' Meant to Help, Not Incite
April 09, 2014
Rajiv Shah, the administrator of AID, defended a Twitter-esque social media site created by the agency, saying it was an attempt to nurture communication on the island -- not, as has been claimed, a way to collect data and incite a revolt. Appearing before the Senate and House appropriations subcommittees, Shah said the "programs are part of our mission to promote open communications."
FOSS Community Hustles to Fix Gaping Heartbleed Flaw
April 08, 2014
A flaw in OpenSSL that has been around since 2011, the Heartbleed Bug, lets hackers steal information protected by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet. Codenomics, which co-discovered the flaw at about the same time as Google's Neel Mehta, tested some of its own services and found it could steal "the secret keys used for our X.509 certificates, user names and passwords" and more.
Courtroom Drama: Hollywood Sues Megaupload
April 08, 2014
Six Hollywood studios have banded together in a copyright infringement lawsuit against Megaupload, the wildly popular though now shuttered site that, in its heyday, was ground zero for file-sharing. The suit doesn't specify an amount of damages, but does say that the studios should be entitled to $150,000 per copyright infringement, as well as profits earned by Megaupload.
XP Users Have a Bad Headache Coming On
April 07, 2014
Money will be the biggest problem users of Windows XP will face when Microsoft officially stops supporting it on Tuesday. As a last resort, Microsoft is offering custom support for Windows XP as a temporary stopgap. That could cost as much as $200 per PC per year, Gartner estimated. The UK government reportedly has paid Microsoft about $9 million to extend Windows XP support for one year.
The Earth Is Moving Under the Smartphone Market
April 07, 2014
One thing that Apple made clear when it took the smartphone market away from then-dominant players Palm, BlackBerry and Microsoft is that to win you need to make big bets and change the battle. The market is now dominated by Apple and Google technology -- much of which Google doesn't control -- and Microsoft just swapped CEOs because the old CEO couldn't pull the needed rabbit out of his hat.
Calligra 2.8 Is Too Sweet for Words Alone
April 03, 2014
If you spend any amount of time creating documents, graphics or organizing data into reports or visual presentations, drop whatever collection of tools you use and put the Calligra Suite to the test. The Calligra Suite is a forked set of office tools for the KDE desktop that branched off the stalled KOffice suite. However, you do not have to run the KDE environment to get it.

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