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Retailers Harassed by Backoff Malware
August 05, 2014
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security last week sounded an alarm warning retailers of a family of malicious programs aimed at compromising point-of-sale systems. Attackers used such software last year in massive data breaches that nicked millions of consumer records at Target and Nieman Marcus. Variants of the Backoff family have turned up in at least three forensic investigations.
Accelerating Hadoop's Big Data Momentum
August 05, 2014
The concept of "collaboration" has become such a messaging mainstay that it often verges on cliché. So, does the recently announced Pivotal and Hortonworks plan to improve Hadoop operations by collaborating on Apache Ambari qualify as anything new or special? In fact, it does. Hadoop has struggled to develop the practical features enterprises demand for dependable management and performance.
Microsoft May Put an Attractive Price Tag on Win 9: Free
August 04, 2014
The "free Windows 9" rumor once again is making the rounds. The buzz over Microsoft's supposed plan to offer users of Windows XP, Win 7, Win Vista and Win 8 a free upgrade to Windows 9, which began in June, has been amplified -- once again, by unnamed sources. The second Windows 8.1 update will be delivered Aug. 12, which is Patch Tuesday, but it's expected to be a low-key offering.
Federal Judge Unswayed by Microsoft's Objections to Data Demands
August 04, 2014
Microsoft's objections to a court order requiring it to turn over a customer's emails held on a server in Ireland have been rejected. Judge Loretta Preska of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York last week issued an oral ruling in the case, reportedly saying the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1996 authorizes such extraterritorial collections of data.
Federal Cloud Adoption Blossoms
August 04, 2014
The U.S. government's foray into cloud computing could hardly be called "mature," but it appears to be moving from infancy to something akin to pre-teen status. Agencies increasingly are embracing the cloud, and the pace of acquisition reflects more comfort with the solution. Several recently launched initiatives affect federal agencies and technology vendors in the cloud acquisition process.
When It Comes to Technology, Humans Are Idiots
August 04, 2014
There are a lot of things going on at the moment. Israel is tactically defending itself against Hamas -- winning the battles but losing the war, because the Israeli government can't see the big picture. The U.S. is still blaming Snowden for leaks, even though Russia clearly is able to pull damaging information pretty much anytime it wants without Snowden's help.
Google Hangouts Get Down to Business
August 01, 2014
Google has unveiled a handful of new features for Google Apps for Business designed to attract more enterprise customers. Google Hangouts, its video chat service, will be further integrated into Google's enterprise suite, entitling Google Apps for Business customers to 24/7 phone support and 99.9 percent guaranteed uptime, the same support level they get with Google Drive and business Gmail.
Oracle's Pricey In-Memory Database Feature Triggers a Row
August 01, 2014
Oracle is taking flak over the in-memory database option in Oracle Database 12c, released publicly on Wednesday. The trouble began when Kevin Closson, formerly the performance architect in Oracle's Exadata development group, pointed out that the option is turned on by default. Oracle has denied his assertion. However, the option is easy to turn on by accident, Closson maintained.
Russia Cites Surveillance Concerns in Apple, SAP Source Code Demands
July 31, 2014
Russia wants Apple and SAP to turn over their source code in yet another instance of fallout resulting from leaks about NSA surveillance activities. The suggestion reportedly came last week, when Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov met with executives of the two companies: Peter Nielsen, Apple's general manager in Russia; and Vyacheslav Orekhov, SAP's managing director in Russia.
LittleBits Leaps to the Cloud
July 31, 2014
LittleBits, the maker of what might best be thought of as electronic Legos, last week launched cloudBit, a module that provides users with access to the Internet. LittleBits offers modules that are used, like Legos, to build gizmos with electronic capabilities. The modules are held together by magnets, and no soldering or wiring is needed. "This is serious cool," said tech analyst Jim McGregor.
Leahy Bill Aims to Rein In Government Snooping
July 30, 2014
Government snooping on Americans would be curtailed under a bill introduced Tuesday in the U.S. Senate. The measure, sponsored by Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., would ban bulk collection of domestic information, limit the scope of searches by government agencies, and add transparency and reporting requirements. Further, it would reform procedures of the FISA Court.
Symantec, CA Squirm Under DoJ's Unfair Pricing Allegations
July 30, 2014
The TV game show The Price is Right may be an entertaining diversion, but for federal information technology vendors, getting the price right in government contracts is serious business. Two major software providers, Symantec and CA Technologies, recently found out how serious it can be as a result of separate U.S. Department of Justice investigations.
China Trumps Up Anti-Monopoly Charges Against Microsoft
July 29, 2014
China's State Administration for Industry & Commerce on Tuesday announced it has launched an investigation into Microsoft under the country's antimonopoly laws, according to press reports. The announcement comes days after SAIC officials reportedly raided Microsoft offices in four cities, seizing documents, emails and other data from servers and computers, among other things.
Chinese Turn the Screws on Microsoft
July 28, 2014
China is ramping up its campaign against Microsoft, following its ban in May on the installation of Windows 8 on government computers. Officials of China's State Administration for Industry & Commerce reportedly have made unannounced visits to Microsoft offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu. They apparently questioned staff in at least one office.
Do Facebook Searches to Show Disability Fraud Violate the Constitution?
July 28, 2014
Looking for evidence of disability fraud, the district attorney for Manhattan last year obtained 381 search warrants and served them on Facebook as part of a long-term investigation into a massive scheme. The search warrants were "sealed," which means they were not made public. Ultimately, 106 former New York police and firefighters were arrested.
IBM Is a 'Kindred Spirit': Whoa, Tim Cook, Whoa
July 25, 2014
The Apple deal with IBM has shown us a whole new side of Tim Cook -- the gushing, hype-laden, excited-but-still-vague Tim Cook who says things like "kindred spirit," "fit together like a puzzle," "huge opportunity," and "radical step for enterprise." Who peppers his speech with words like "profound," "complementary," "landmark" and "thrilled." Holy macaroni.
Patent Tips Apple's iWatch Hand
July 24, 2014
A patent awarded to Apple may be a tip-off of what it's planning for the smartwatch widely expected this fall. The patent for something Apple referenced in its application as "iTime" is for an electronic wristband that contains a recessed area for a device, such as a watch body. The iTime could feed and display information gathered from sensors in the band on a pop-in electronic device.
The Slow but Steady March to the Cloud
July 24, 2014
The cloud is an idea that actually has been with us for many years before we gave it the name "cloud." All of a sudden, it is growing into a large and important space. Most companies are dipping their toes in the cloud -- however, many corporate customers are going only so far. Why the delay? Fear of the unknown is one reason. No doubt the cloud is going to be the way we do things in the future.
Microsoft's New Direction: One OS to Rule Them All
July 23, 2014
Microsoft will unify and streamline all its operating systems into one, and emphasize mobility and the cloud, CEO Satya Nadella told analysts in a call Tuesday after the company announced its earnings. In a nod to the growing bring-your-own-device trend, the company's devices and applications also will merge life and work. Microsoft will "consolidate overlapping efforts," Nadella said.
Tim Cook Reveals Apple's Plan for World Domination
July 23, 2014
Strong iPhone and Mac sales droves Apple to achieve record revenue for the June quarter -- quarterly revenue of $37.4 billion and quarterly net profit of $7.7 billion, which is $1.28 per share and about a 12.3 percent rise in profits. Interestingly, Apple managed to bump up its profit margin, too: Gross margin was 39.4 percent compared to 36.9 percent in the year-ago quarter
Long, Hot Summer Angling for Military Health Records Contract
July 22, 2014
Vendors could be spending a busy summer preparing to respond to a major federal IT project. The Defense Department is planning to issue a request for bids on a multibillion dollar EHR system by the end of September. The objective of the program is to modernize DoD's EHR system and to make records accessible to the VA, as well as to private medical providers.
China's Internet: It's Not Personal, It's Business
July 21, 2014
The Internet adoption rate in China appears to be slowing, based on a report that shows the lowest six-month increase in the number of Internet users in eight years. The total number of Internet users in the country reached 632 million by the end of June. That includes the 14.4 million people who joined Internet user ranks in the first half of the year, according to the CNNIC's biannual report.

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