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Enterprise Software's Future
August 19, 2016
What's the direction of the software industry? I'm not indulging in idle curiosity -- things are changing, and today's events are signaling a significant shift. The rollout of Software as a Service and the emergence of relatively good platforms -- which will only get better -- suggest to me that the software industry of 2000, in which cloud and SaaS began to emerge, is now well in the past.
Facebook Nurtures Open Source Projects in Incubator
August 3, 2016
Facebook last week launched its Incubator on GitHub in order to distribute its own open source software projects. Facebook has open sourced almost 400 projects to date. New projects will be posted on Incubator pages to gauge community reaction and rate of adoption. Facebook plans to use in-house and actively develop all projects posted on the Incubator page.
Old Tech Can Create New Security Woes
August 3, 2016
"Patch your systems in a timely manner" is a mantra of security experts, but what happens when the patch well runs dry because a product's maker no longer supports it? That is a situation facing many large enterprises, and it's one that poses security risks. Between 30 percent and 50 percent of the hardware and software assets in the average large enterprise have reached their end-of-life date.
Salesforce Gets a Grip on Quip
August 2, 2016
Salesforce has agreed to acquire Quip, Quip CEO Bret Taylor and Head of Product Kevin Gibbs announced Monday. Quip lets users manage live documents throughout the collaboration process. The deal is worth about $582 million, according to a Salesforce filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Quip provides a chat feature that's built into every document and spreadsheet.
New Office 365 Features Help Build a Better Research Paper
July 27, 2016
Microsoft on Tuesday announced a slew of cloud-powered intelligent services in Office 365 apps that aim to assist research and writing efforts. Researcher lets users access the Bing Knowledge Graph to find and incorporate sources and content for research papers without leaving Word. Editor uses machine learning and national language processing, combined with input from Microsoft's linguists.
Volkswagen Aims to Clear the Air With $15B US Settlement
June 28, 2016
Volkswagen on Tuesday announced that it has reached an agreement to settle claims arising from the emissions scandal that has plagued the company since its discovery two years ago. The company has agreed to set up a $10 billion funding pool to buy back or terminate leases of diesel vehicles sold in the United States. Volkswagen had used software to cheat on emissions tests.
Docker Tunes Up Engine Orchestration
June 22, 2016
Docker on Monday announced Docker Engine 1.12 with built-in orchestration, which allows automated deployment and management of Dockerized distributed applications and microservices at scale in production. Users can select Docker Swarm mode to turn on built-in orchestration, or they can use their own custom tooling or third-party orchestrators that run on Docker Engine.
Microsoft Sees Fertile Ground in Cannabis Compliance
June 21, 2016
Microsoft has entered a partnership with Kind Financial to create an entity that will obtain government contracts to track seed-to-sale compliance in the legalized marijuana business. The new entity, Kind Government Solutions, will provide state, county and local municipalities with tracking information on marijuana sales to keep them in compliance with government regulations.
Linux Snap Package Format Goes Multi-Distro
June 20, 2016
Snapcraft -- the Linux package format Canonical developed for Ubuntu -- now works on multiple Linux distros, including Arch, Debian, Fedora and various flavors of Ubuntu. They're being validated on CentOS, Elementary, Gentoo, Mint, OpenSUSE, OpenWrt and RHEL. "Distributing applications on Linux is not always easy," said Canonical's Manik Taneja, product manager for Snappy Ubuntu Core.
Microsoft Adds Planning Prowess to Office Space
June 7, 2016
Microsoft on Monday announced the general availability of its Planner collaboration tool, which will roll out in the next few weeks to all eligible customers -- those who have Enterprise E1-E5, Business Essentials, Premium or Education subscriptions to Office 365. Planner lets users create new plans, as well as organize, assign and collaborate on tasks. Users also can update statuses and share files.
Voyager Offers a Mostly Smooth-Sailing Linux Adventure
June 2, 2016
Voyager Live 16.04 is a Linux distro that could be an ideal choice for everyday computing tasks -- but first it has to step away from its branding with Xubuntu. The once-per-year release of Voyager Live, which hit servers last month, is an Xubuntu-based distribution showcasing the Xfce 4.12.2 desktop environment. It will receive three years of security updates.
What Will HPE Sell Next?
May 30, 2016
I joined a bunch of analysts in discussing Hewlett Packard Enterprise's next move at a secret conclave last week. The company had just announced the sale of its IT services, which basically undid much of Mark Hurd's work as CEO. It already had sold off PCs and printers, more than undoing Carly Fiorina's earlier efforts. Granted, HPE spun it like it was an acquisition.
BitTorrent Live Aims to Iron Out Live-Streaming Kinks
May 19, 2016
BitTorrent on Tuesday announced at the Internet & Television Expo an application called "BitTorrent Live" that applies its distributed file-sharing technology to video streaming. BitTorrent is able to speed up file downloads by storing pieces of a file on computers throughout the Net and reassembling them when a request is made for the file. BitTorrent Live does the same for streaming live video.
Microsoft, SAP Deepen Partnership to Blend Cloud Offerings
May 18, 2016
Microsoft and SAP have announced plans to integrate their respective cloud-based systems, allowing the SAP HANA database to work with Microsoft Azure, which will enable Office 365 to communicate directly with SAP enterprise apps. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and SAP CEO Bill McDermott sat down before a packed audience at Sapphire Now and outlined how the enhanced partnership will benefit customers.
Google's Chirp May Try to Drown Out Amazon's Echo
May 13, 2016
The device, which might resemble the OnHub router, would incorporate its Google Now voice assistant technology. Google likely will launch the product later this year, although it's expected to preview it at I/O. The Echo, one of Amazon's biggest product launches in years, combines a speaker with the Alexa personal digital assistant -- voice recognition software that performs numerous functions.
Sugar 7.7 Aims for a Sweeter User Experience
May 12, 2016
SugarCRM on Tuesday unveiled Sugar 7.7, the latest version of its CRM package, with several enhancements. A custom tag feature lets any record in the application be tagged for better classification and sharing. A new search UI automatically expands upon selection. The Sugar 7.7 Knowledge Base has been enhanced with an intelligence panel that displays context-sensitive information.
Simplicity Linux Digs Deeper Than Its Puppy Linux Pals
May 12, 2016
Simplicity Linux delivers a simpler way to run a fully powered Linux desktop on any computer you touch. It is derived from Puppy Linux. Two beta versions released in March offer experimental approaches that stray from the distro's standard releases. If you're familiar with Puppy Linux but have not yet taken Simplicity for a walk, you're missing out some interesting Linux computing experiences.
Defense IT Contract Rekindles Pricing Complaints
May 12, 2016
What's not to like about the U.S. government offering IT vendors $17.5 billion for products and services? The opportunity is attractive, and many vendors have expressed interest in a Department of Defense contract that covers the acquisition of a broad range of IT capabilities. A request for proposals for the Encore III contract was issued in March. Bids were accepted through late April.
Bill Gates' Open Letter
May 10, 2016
It has been 40 years since Bill Gates wrote his open letter to the software industry complaining that computer hobbyists were stealing his BASIC program. That was so long ago that Wikipedia has a picture of the source code for "Micro-Soft" BASIC on paper tape. A lot of things have changed since then. In the 1970s when Microsoft was getting started, it was common for people to copy, swap or donate software simply because they could.
Vivaldi Browser Is a Breath of Fresh Air
May 9, 2016
The Vivaldi browser provides a refreshing approach to traveling along the Internet. It offers something beyond the same old thing in a different skin. Vivaldi is the brainchild of former Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner. The developers built the Vivaldi browser on top of Chromium, which is open source, but added their own proprietary skins. Therefore, Vivaldi's code is not available for review.
Microsoft Challenges Oracle With SQL Server 2016
May 5, 2016
Microsoft this week announced that SQL Server 2016 will be generally available June 1. It will deliver an end-to-end data management and business analytics solution with mission-critical intelligence, according to the company. Built into the software are in-database advanced analytics, in-memory capabilities optimized for all workloads, and a consistent experience from on-premises to the cloud.
Linux Foundation Badges Aim to Separate Wheat From Chaff
May 4, 2016
The Linux Foundation's Core Infrastructure Initiative project on Tuesday announced a free badge program to help foster security, quality and stability in open source software projects. Through an online app, the CII lets devs determine whether they're following best practices, generally within an hour or so. If they are, they'll receive the badge, which they can display on GitHub and other online properties.
Fedora-Based Sugar on a Stick Is One Sweet Desktop
May 2, 2016
The Fedora 23 Sugar on a Stick desktop offering is an unusually flexible computing desktop for children of all ages, school admins and organizations looking for the best bang for absolutely no bucks on existing computer hardware. The Sugar environment is both a desktop and a collection of activities or apps that involve user engagement. Activities automatically save results to a journal.
Salesforce Brings Lightning to Government Cloud
April 29, 2016
Salesforce on Thursday launched Government Cloud Lightning for government agencies, contractors and federally funded R&D centers. It provides a modern, component-based platform and an intuitive user experience, as well as access to Salesforce's partner ecosystem. It lets users build apps for desktops and mobile devices with Lightning App Builder's drag-and-drop visual interface.
E2E Encryption Could Make WhatsApp a Spam Magnet
April 15, 2016
Facebook's WhatsApp last week announced it would roll out end-to-end encryption for its users, but the move could make the service more attractive to spammers. While encryption can safeguard information from data thieves, it also can block data protectors. The policy "will not stop the growth of spam on the platform and could make the problem worse," AdaptiveMobile's Simeon Coney said.
Robust New FreeOffice Suite Proves Free Can Be Just as Good
April 12, 2016
SoftMaker's FreeOffice Linux office suite is a LibreOffice look-alike that provides strong performance compatibility with Microsoft Office documents. SoftMaker offers a line of open source offerings that compete with its commercial suite. It's a Windows/Linux cross-platform office suite with integrated applications for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and email management.
Disrupting Software Development in an On-Demand World
April 8, 2016
The idea that software is eating the world has become a generally accepted dictum. Everywhere you look, industries and institutions are being disrupted by the unprecedented power of software. Now, the world is demanding a new way to develop software to keep pace with the pace of disruption. The greatest poster child for the brave new world of software-driven business is General Electric.
Commoditizing Software
March 24, 2016
For more than 50 years, the IT industry has followed a well-known script associated with emerging and evolving paradigms: First a product or category is introduced, then it gains wide acceptance (or dies on the vine), followed by a long period when vendors and customers seek out more efficient ways to produce the thing. Ultimately, the category becomes so important that all must have it.
HPE Floats Machine Learning in the Cloud
March 15, 2016
Hewlett Packard Enterprise last week announced the public availability of its HPE Haven OnDemand Machine Learning as a Service. The Microsoft Azure cloud-based platform provides more than 60 APIs and services that deliver deep learning analytics on a variety of data, including text, audio, images and video. Launched in beta in 2014, HPE Haven OnDemand has more than 12,750 registered developers.
The Technological Evolution of US Healthcare
March 7, 2016
The disease management industry, which focuses on reducing or delaying the use of expensive treatments or costly procedures, has passed its prime as a unique approach to controlling escalating costs attributed to chronic conditions. It worked on the sickest of the sick, but as patient conditions progressed and engagement levels decreased, it gradually lost its effectiveness.
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How do you feel about technology and security?
Very insecure -- I would gladly pay extra for better security.
Very insecure -- I'm using technology less as a result.
Very insecure -- but I'm willing to make the trade-off.
Secure enough -- I take reasonable precautions.
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Very secure -- I trust tech companies to protect me.