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Linux Distros Gone Today, Here Tomorrow
February 21, 2014
It's long been the case that the world of Linux distributions offers at least one compelling choice for virtually every taste and purpose, but -- much like those dissatisfied with the weather in New England -- users who don't see a distro they like need only wait a few minutes. You win a few, you lose a few -- but the overall pool of choices remains rich and diverse.
Amazon and Apple's 'Tough Slog' on Madison Avenue
February 21, 2014
Amazon and Apple just can't seem to catch a break with the advertising elite on Madison Avenue. In fact, advertising sales are a "tough slog" for both companies, mourns a feature published this week. The problem? Apple and Amazon won't reveal enough information about their customers. This is the best news I've heard all year. In fact, it just reinforces my loyalty to both companies.
Old-School Event Management Approach Hampers ETM
February 20, 2014
Etm, an acronym for "Event and Task Manager," is a very useful calendar and planning tool. However, it is a bit cumbersome to learn and far less convenient to use than alternatives. It has an intuitive task-entry format, once you learn its plain text shorthand. Etm stores events, tasks and other user-generated notes and data in text files. You can create, modify and view entries using two primary methods.
Google Data Powers Real-Time Deforestation Alarm System
February 20, 2014
The World Resources Institute has launched Global Forest Watch, a dynamic online forest monitoring and alert system to help fight the massive deforestation of the planet. GFW will let governments monitor where forest clearing is occurring in near-real-time and track illegal forest logging almost immediately. Farmers can upload calls to action from mobile phones if their communities are endangered.
Raising Linux to Grow Open Source
February 19, 2014
The open source business model has an inherent ability to bring software rivals together. This approach to developing and distributing software keeps expanding the usefulness and success of the Linux operating system as well. Linux has not yet come close to replacing Windows on the desktop, but open source is much more than Linux. Its "co-opetive" nature is spreading through the enterprise.
Dear Adobe: Make Software for Linux Too
February 18, 2014
What if commercial software developers for popular Windows products sold Linux versions to a waiting market of open source users? Think in terms of paying a subscription fee to use a Linux version of Adobe's Photoshop image manipulation software, for starters. Is porting commercial products like Photoshop as a paid product for Linux a viable idea?
China Calls Kerry's Internet Comments 'Nave'
February 18, 2014
Maybe they aren't fighting words, but they sure aren't friendly. China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, said that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's remarks about Chinese Internet freedom were, shall we say, a bit base. Kerry had a half-hour-plus chat with bloggers Saturday in Beijing, during which time he expressed support for more online freedom in China.
Google's Dirty Little Android Secrets Leaked
February 14, 2014
The Android operating system, which Google touts as open, isn't. Google imposes strict restrictions on smartphone manufacturers and app developers in its Android mobile application distribution agreement, according to excerpts of documents revealed by Ben Edelman, an associate professor at the Harvard Business School. The information was obtained from two MADAs admitted in open court.
BlackBerry Sweetens BBM for Android and iOS
February 14, 2014
After releasing its BlackBerry Messenger chat app for Android and iOS devices to considerable fanfare last fall, BlackBerry on Thursday announced that it had expanded the app's functionality on those platforms with two key features. Previously available only to users of BlackBerry's own mobile platform, BBM Voice and BBM Channels are now part of the company's offerings for Android and iPhone.
Distro Astro Is a Stunning Star Voyager
February 13, 2014
The Linux desktop offers distributions for many diverse interests and specialties. Distro Astro is for astronomy enthusiasts. The latest version, Distro Astro 2.0, is dubbed "Pallas." It was released Nov. 20, 2013, at the South East Asian Young Astronomers Collaboration conference in Bandung, Indonesia. It is a major upgrade focusing on refinements for professional astronomers.
Two's Company in Global Smartphone OS Market
February 13, 2014
Google's Android and Apple's iOS led the global smartphone operating system market in 2013, a year in which worldwide shipments surpassed 1 billion units for the first time, according to IDC. The two OSes accounted for 93.8 percent of global smartphone shipments for the year. Together, they made up 95.7 percent of the smartphone shipments in the final quarter of the year.
Microsoft Accidentally Applies Chinese Censoring Outside of China
February 13, 2014
Microsoft cited an "error in our system" for quirky results given to users making searches in Chinese on the company's Bing search engine. Chinese-language searches outside of mainland China were yielding results that mirrored those inside mainland China, where Bing filters in accordance with the whims of Beijing. This resulted in wildly different results for English vs. Chinese language searches.
Has Linux Conquered the Cloud?
February 12, 2014
Linux on the desktop may have missed its adoption time line, but Linux in the cloud is a win-win proposition for the post-PC movement. Microsoft's Azure may be the only real threat to Linux cloud dominance -- all other major cloud software platforms are based on Linux and open source software. Some enterprise Linux distros are showing up as cloud-based offerings.
Hackers Perfectly Time Largest DDoS Attack Ever
February 12, 2014
"Very big NTP reflection attack hitting us right now. Appears to be bigger than the #Spamhaus attack from last year. Mitigating." That Monday evening tweet from Matthew Prince, CEO of CloudFlare, signaled what's being touted as the largest distributed denial of service attack ever launched on the Internet. The attackers leveraged a known vulnerability in the Internet's infrastructure.
Feds Struggle to Make Electronic Discovery Pay Off
February 12, 2014
Federal agencies spend considerable portions of their budgets on their legal offices. For example, the DoJ awarded a $1.1 billion multiyear contract in 2013 for a wide range of information technologies and legal support services. Yet legal staffs across the federal government are struggling to productively use many of these IT tools, especially e-discovery and electronically stored information.
Defense Contractors Shore Up Security Post-Snowden
February 10, 2014
Defense contractors have begun to bolster their cybersecurity practices in the wake of the massive leaking of government data by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Seventy-five percent of defense contractors said the Snowden Affair had changed security procedures for their employees in a recent survey. "I'm surprised that number isn't higher," said security researcher Dodi Glenn.
Will Data Localization Kill the Internet?
February 10, 2014
In the wake of revelations that the U.S. and UK governments regularly monitor private communications, a number of countries are considering a new type of law called "data localization." In the simplest of terms, data localization laws would require that businesses that operate on the Internet store that data within the country where the businesses are located.
Apple Could Put Quantum Dots Before Your Eyes
February 07, 2014
Not quite content with pushing the boundaries on the level of screen clarity with the vaunted Retina display, Apple apparently is investigating new ways of advancing screen technology. The USPTO on Thursday published three patent applications that detail Apple's interest in improving the Retina display through the use of quantum dots. The technology would enhance colors.
US Diplomat Caught Red-Tongued Dissing EU
February 07, 2014
The United States' top diplomat for Europe was caught saying, "F*ck the EU," in a now-viral recording. The diplomat, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, made the comment in a thought-to-be private telephone call that later was leaked online. She has apologized to EU officials, but her remarks figure to live in infamy online.
AT&T Gives Icy Appraisal of Russia's Anti-Gay Laws
February 05, 2014
Joining athletes and activists, AT&T has rebuked Russia's less-than-progressive stance on homosexuality ahead of this month's Sochi Winter Games. AT&T, the U.S.'s second-largest wireless character, penned a blog post -- titled, "A Time for Pride and Equality" -- in which it declared its "pride in America and everything for which it stands."

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