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Financial Sector's Gaze Fixed Firmly on the Cloud
July 13, 2013
A persistent myth in the tech world is that major enterprises in highly regulated industries are risk-averse and reluctant to adopt new technology innovations. In the case of the financial services sector, this has not been the case for years, and it is being disproved again as a growing number of financial institutions aggressively pursue a widening array of cloud computing alternatives.
New Databoard Lures Marketers Into Google's Web
July 10, 2013
Anyone who's ever made a presentation with data knows that making data presentable isn't always easy. That's part of the rationale behind Google Databoard, which was announced on Tuesday. "We created the Databoard tool to help marketers explore, interact with and share some of Google's recent research in a more immersive way," said Google's Adam Grunewald.
Dropbox Enlists Devs to Make It Ubiquitous
July 10, 2013
At Dropbox's DBX developer conference, the company on Tuesday announced a suite of new tools designed to make it easier for developers to bring its file-syncing technology to new devices and platforms. "We want to be sure that stuff is always available, no matter if you're on your laptop at work, a tablet on a plane or a smartphone on the bus," wrote founders Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi.
Data, Information and Knowledge
July 10, 2013
I still see far too many examples of content confusing the ideas of data and information. Sometimes it seems a writer is simply trying to avoid redundancy when using data and information in the same sentence to mean the same thing. Of course, they are different, and the result is unnecessary confusion. I just wrote a paper on the topic, and I learned more about it than is healthy for one person.
Apple to Build Solar Farm to Power Huge New Data Center
July 03, 2013
Apple, which has a mixed history on environmental issues, will build a solar farm to power its data center in Washoe County, Nev. "SunPower is working with Apple to design and build this project," said Ingrid Ekstrom, spokesperson for SunPower. "We will be building a SunPower C7 Tracker system at the site." The farm will reportedly generate 20 MW of electricity.
Concurrent's Chris Wensel: The Open Source Path Is a Rocky Road
July 02, 2013
Big Data and open source software may be the next great unholy alliance in computing's current promised land, but open source is a broken business model that needs a better vehicle for supporting projects such as programming suites that build database applications. So argues Chris Wensel, founder and CTO of Concurrent. Wensel started the company in 2008 to focus on the open-source Cascading Project.
Everybody Loves Data Protection
July 02, 2013
In early June, the EU agreed to a "business-friendly" privacy proposal, but that did nothing to stop the privacy debate in Europe. Since then, a federal court in Germany held Google liable for autocomplete suggestions; France threatened to fine Google unless it changed its ways; and an advisor to the European court of Justice allowed Google to keep sensitive information in its search index.
The Human Face of Big Data Is a Mind-Expanding Adventure
July 01, 2013
"Big Data" is one of the most apt -- and annoying -- new terms to describe a gazillion points of information all used to understand and predict things the human mind can't parse on its own. The term has been exploited by large technology corporations to sell software and hardware that promises business executives answers that are more accurate and useful than anything coming from a gut feeling.
Seizing the Big Data Opportunity
June 29, 2013
E-commerce companies rely on Big Data to glean valuable, real-time insights that drive smarter, more profitable business decisions. Problems can arise, however, when Big Data infrastructures become riddled with bottlenecks and don't perform optimally, causing critical intelligence to be delayed or unavailable. Some companies have attempted to "scale away" these inefficiencies by adding hardware.
Federal Trade Commissioner Tilts at Big Data Windmill
June 27, 2013
A U.S. Federal Trade Commissioner is urging consumers to take more control over their data. The call to action comes as revelations that the NSA is spying on Americans to an unprecedented degree continue to shake the country. Unease has been mounting over the amount of data companies are handing over to the agency. Commissioner Julie Brill has proposed a new program, dubbed "Reclaim Your Name."
How to Save Files to the Cloud
June 27, 2013
Personal file storage on a computer used to involve a PC-based hierarchical folder system that was maintained on local, PC-based hard drives. Today we are embracing the cloud, which allows for redundancy, remote access, remote backup and the use of convenient input/output mobile devices like phones with limited storage but outstanding portability.
Keeping Data Up to Date Is an All-Hands Evolution
June 27, 2013
Some things in life are fleeting -- the lifespan on the mayfly, the appearance of a rainbow, the pure white of the first snow of winter. Some things in your CRM system are fleeting too -- namely, the quality of your data. Did you know that every year, somewhere between 25 percent and 40 percent of your customer data ages out, goes out of date, or otherwise becomes obsolete?
Federal Data Center Reductions May Not Shrink Costs
June 26, 2013
In a drive to reduce government computing costs, federal agencies have been required to cut and consolidate data centers. So far, agencies have reduced hundreds of operational centers -- but they still have fallen short of a five-year target set when the consolidation program was launched in February 2010. In addition to the consolidation target, the OMB set a financial savings goal.
Oracle Lets MS, Salesforce Onto Its Cloud
June 25, 2013
"Keep your friends close and your enemies closer," as the old saying goes, and this week Oracle took steps to do just that. Specifically, it inked partnership deals with longtime competitors Microsoft and Salesforce.com in a bid to expand its reach in cloud computing. The partnership with Microsoft will allow companies to run Oracle software on Windows Server Hyper-V and in Windows Azure.
What's Yours Is Google's Mine?
June 22, 2013
Google reportedly is internally testing a new service, Google Mine, that will be integrated with Google+. It will let users list their belongings, post photos to a Mine album, and share and track their belongings with friends. Think of it as Craigslist on steroids with a homey touch. "It'll be like an eBay for sharing," said tech analyst Rob Enderle.
France Threatens to Fine Google a Pittance Over Privacy
June 20, 2013
France's data protection watchdog, the CNIL, says it will fine Google if the company doesn't rewrite its privacy policy within the next three months. The CNIL will fine Google up to 150,000 euros, or about $200,000, and double that if it fails to act. The CNIL wants Google to give users "defined and explicit purposes" for gathering data and "definite retention periods."
Old Possum's Book of Practical Big Data
June 19, 2013
OK, the title's a cheap riff on the T.S. Elliot book of poems that inspired Cats -- but stay with me, this goes places. A big group of cats is called a "clowder." What if we could access a clowder of big data? Big Data has been taking up a big part of my conscious life lately, what with all the analytics vendors out there and so many companies trying to figure it all out.
Hackers Find WordPress Easy Pickings
June 17, 2013
Adobe Reader and Oracle Java aren't alone in having a bull's eye painted on their code. WordPress also is becoming a popular target for Internet outlaws. It's quite a large target, too. About 18 percent of the sites on the Web -- about 60 million of them -- use WordPress. One reason WordPress is attracting hacker attention is that it's so easy to write plug-ins for it.
Ending the US' Cyberwar Against Its Citizens
June 17, 2013
I'm into fixing problems -- in fact, for much of my life I've been employed as someone who is brought in to fix a difficult problem. I don't see much point in just complaining -- either try to fix it, ignore it, or move someplace where it doesn't affect you. The current problem is that the U.S. appears to be conducting a cyberwar against its citizens.
Latest Wrinkle in Data Security: Time Cloaking
June 08, 2013
If a message isn't read, does it exist? Bishop Berkeley would say no, and a temporal cloak that creates a gap in time during the transmission of a message might prove him right. Researchers at Purdue University have created such a cloak: It can hide about 46 percent of the time required to transmit data over a fiber optic cable, making half the transmission invisible.

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