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Feds Embrace Salesforce Platform Offerings
January 28, 2016
The U.S. government has authorized an information technology contract with a potential value of $503 million that is designed to meet newly adopted goals for greatly improving IT acquisition. The General Services Administration, which issued the contract for software and cloud-related services, described the acquisition approach as a first-of-its-kind initiative.
China Levels Antitrust Allegations Against Microsoft
January 6, 2016
China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce on Tuesday launched the latest in a series of investigations against Microsoft for possible violations of the country's antimonopoly law. Back in July 2014, about 100 SAIC officials burst into four Microsoft offices in various parts of China and copied contracts and records, downloaded data from company servers, and questioned executives.
Slack Energizes App Development With $80M Fund
December 19, 2015
Slack this week announced its participation in an $80 million investment campaign to fund startups that build software that integrates with its own apps. The company also announced the availability of an app directory and a new development framework. The goal is to position Slack as a hub for connecting users to other cloud business software. Slack is partnership with six other investors.
Linux Mint Upgrade Sparkles
December 17, 2015
Linux Mint upgrade to version 17.3 Rosa is one upgrade regular users do not want to skip. This latest release in downloadable ISO format, available in the MATE and Cinnamon desktop editions, hit servers earlier this month. Several days later, the upgrade was available from within the package management repository for existing Linux Mint users. That eliminates the need for a clean installation.
MacKeeper Loses Control of User Data
December 17, 2015
Kromtech this week revealed a vulnerability in the data storage system of its MacKeeper software. Security researcher Chris Vickery, who alerted the company to the problem with its server, pegged the number of MacKeeper users affected at about 13 million. Kromtech posted a security alert about the breach on MacKeeper's website. The company fixed the error within hours of its discovery, it said.
Top 10 Open Source Developments of 2015
December 2, 2015
Open source is driving an ever-expanding market. The notion of community-driven development is a growing disruption to proprietary software controlled by commercial vendors, and the free open source software concept has become a major disruption in industry and technology. Open source is so pervasive that people overlook how it's the glue of modern communication and enterprise business models.
Apple Faces Twitter Storm Over Mac App Security Glitch
November 14, 2015
Apple faced the wrath of legions of Mac users after it reportedly allowed a security certificate to expire on Wednesday, leaving customers unable to use some apps. The expiration appeared to impact a number of apps, including Acorn, Byword, Daisy Disk, Tweetbot and 1Password. It's likely that the incident occurred due to problems with the security certificate management system.
CFOs Calculate Benefits of Cloud ERP
November 13, 2015
One of the clear indications that the cloud movement is becoming mainstream is the growing number of CFOs and finance departments that are adopting Software as a Service solutions to support their corporate responsibilities. Even more interesting is how cloud-based alternatives can redefine the accounting and financial management function in forward-minded organizations.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Ventures Into Machine Learning
November 10, 2015
Microsoft last week revealed some new details about Dynamics CRM 2016, emphasizing functionality designed to empower customer service agents. It will be released in both cloud and on-premises versions in Q4. It will be available as a standalone application or as an add-on to Office 365. "This is a big release for Microsoft," said Nucleus Research's Rebecca Wettemann.
Microsoft Hits the Brakes on OneDrive
November 5, 2015
Microsoft on Tuesday said it would stop offering unlimited OneDrive storage for Office 365 customers and would cut the amount of free storage it offers. Some users abused the unlimited feature, exceeding 75 TB per user, or 14,000 times the average, the company said. Office 365 Home, Personal and University subscribers no longer will get unlimited storage. They'll get 1 TB of storage for free.
iMac Refresh Advances Retina Revolution
October 14, 2015
Apple on Tuesday announced upgrades to its iMac line, including Retina displays and Intel sixth-gen Skylake processors. The company also reached deeper into its hat to pull out "magical" new peripherals. The entire 27-inch series of iMacs now come with the 5K Retina displays, while the 21.5 inch iMac comes with a 4K Retina display. There are about 5.3 million more pixels to be had in a 5K display.
Southwest Heaves Sigh of Relief as Customer Service Returns to Normal
October 13, 2015
Southwest Airlines on Monday announced it was operating on a normal schedule after technical problems delayed hundreds of flights on Sunday. A computer glitch related to the technical systems that powered its customer service operations -- specifically in its reservation system -- apparently was to blame. Southwest teams worked throughout the night to solve the problem, the airline said.
Dell, EMC Merger Creates Storage Behemoth
October 12, 2015
Dell on Monday announced it would acquire EMC in a deal valued at $67 billion, maintaining VMware as a publicly traded company. EMC shareholders will get $24.05 per share in cash, as well as 0.111 shares of new tracking stock per share of EMC linked to the company's economic interest in the VMware business. EMC owns 80 percent of VMware. VMware share prices fell following the announcement.
At the Heart of OpenStack Evolution
October 8, 2015
There is little question regarding the prevalence and significance of open source software in enterprise IT, but one of the best places to more deeply examine how open source software fits into today's enterprise IT landscape is the OpenStack cloud software and project. It has come to represent the primary open source cloud in the market, considered alongside rivals such as Amazon and VMware.
LibreOffice 5.0 Is the Office Suite Champ
September 25, 2015
LibreOffice 5.0, The Document Foundation's latest open source office suite, deserves to top the list of contenders for best performance in this category. The foundation last month released LibreOffice 5.0 for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. It is the 10th major release since the launch of the project, and the first in the third development cycle. The release coincides with the rollout of Windows 10.
Microsoft Rolls Its Own Linux Distro
September 19, 2015
Microsoft on Thursday announced that it is building its own Linux distribution to manage cloud networks. Through the Azure Cloud Switch, or ACS, Microsoft aims to help network operators rapidly add the network features they need, while avoiding changes that would increase risk and complexity, said Kamala Subramaniam, principal architect for Azure Networking.
Linux Foundation Wants to Pin a Badge on Secure Open Source Software
August 25, 2015
The Core Infrastructure Initiative last week announced a program that will offer badges to open software developers who follow best practice software development and security procedures. The CII project enables technology companies, industry stakeholders and software developers to collaborate on the identification and funding of critical open source projects in need of assistance.
MyNotex Is an Almost Perfect Note Taker and Task Manager
August 7, 2015
MyNotex is one application I keep revisiting for my note-taking and project management tasks. Italian Developer Massimo Nardello releases one major update per year. MyNotex keeps getting better and better. Version 1.3.1, was released in June. Nardello took what was a near-perfect locally stored note-taking program and made it better than using cloud-based services such as Evernote, Box or Dropbox.
US House Opens Up to Open Source
July 31, 2015
Providers of open source software recently found another market: the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. That market easily will grow to many thousands of potential open source users when the staffs of representatives and House committees are added to the total. Certain procurement restrictions that had constrained the use of open source technology in the House have been clarified.
Tech Giants Boost Open Source Container Collaboration
July 25, 2015
The Linux Foundation this week announced the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, a consortium dedicated to the development and adoption of common container technologies. CNCF aims to make it easier for businesses to deploy containerized cloud applications oriented to microservices. Open source container-packaged applications are easier to create, manage and deploy, said tech analyst Rob Enderle.
Linbit Launches New Synchronous Server Storage Software
June 16, 2015
Linbit on Tuesday announced the release of DRBD9, its new distributed replicated block device product. DRBD9 provides enterprise Linux users with synchronous server storage replication including support for native remote direct memory access and OpenStack integration. "It was six years of work and an 80 percent code rewrite to make it happen," said Linbit Business Development Manager Greg Eckert.
Microsoft Starts Taking Windows 10 Reservations
June 1, 2015
Windows 10 will be available for free to users running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 on their PCs or tablets. However, it's likely that once they've been exposed to the full range of possibilities, many of those users will opt to buy a new device that can take full advantage of the operating system. Using the biometric authentication in Windows Hello, for example, likely will require a new PC.
Microsoft Fires Up Its Business Engines
May 5, 2015
Microsoft on Monday announced a slew of products and services for IT professionals at its first Ignite conference, being held in Chicago through Friday. Among them were the Microsoft Azure Stack, its next-generation hybrid cloud, and Windows Update for Business, a new management option for Windows 10 that will keep devices up to date with the latest security updates and Windows features.
Apple's Storm Clouds
April 13, 2015
An Apple shop recently dumped Apple for Dell following a surprising revelation. Over most of the last two decades, the only time I've seen a move like this was when some change in IT forced it, and a lot of staffers subsequently would quit. This move was largely user-driven. Then, last week, one of Apple's biggest fans actually panned an Apple product, effectively calling it pretty but stupid.
Chrome Web Store Gives Bad Extensions the Boot
April 10, 2015
Google recently purged some 200 extensions from its Chrome Store inventory. Extensions and add-ons let users add functions and features to the Chrome Web browser, but bad extensions can expose users to a greater risk of spyware and malware. A major problem with many browser add-ons is ad injectors. The clean-up resulted from increasing user complaints.
Devs Rev Up for a Weekend of Galactic Problem-Solving
April 9, 2015
More than 10,000 software and hardware developers, scientists and space fans will spend this weekend huddling in rooms in 136 cities around the world to participate in NASA's International Space Apps Challenge -- a hackathon for space wonks. Using IBM's Bluemix, they will develop apps, software, hardware, data visualization and platform solutions to help explore space and to improve life on Earth.
Court Sticks It to Apple in $533M Patent Case
February 25, 2015
Apple must pay patent licensing firm Smartflash US$532.9 million for infringing three patents. U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap, who presided over the case in Tyler, Texas, ordered Apple to pay the penalty after a federal jury in Texas found that the company's iTunes software infringed on the patent holder. That jury took eight hours to decide Apple willfully used Smartflash's patents without consent.
In Search of the Perfect Windows 10 Hardware
February 9, 2015
I'm well into the user testing of the next generation of Microsoft's operating system and things are really looking up. Windows 10 is becoming a blend of the many things we liked about Windows 7, and the things that most folks don't know about that are great about Windows 8. Windows 10 should be like a breath of fresh air for those truly annoyed with Windows 8.
HandBrake Video Transcoder Gets a Grip on Linux
February 5, 2015
Converting video files from a variety of media sources can be a huge chore. That task can be much more manageable with HandBrake, a GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder. It is available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows, which makes working on more than one platform a bit more convenient. The latest version for Linux, version 0.10 released Nov. 23, has many upgrades.
Docker Security Questioned
January 15, 2015
Security questions recently have been raised about Docker, a promising technology for running applications in the cloud. Docker is an open source initiative that allows applications to be run in containers for flexibility and mobility only dreamt of in the past. "Since the 70s, programmers have been talking about reusable code and the ability to migrate applications," noted IDC analyst Al Gillen.
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Google just announced Home, a voice-activated speaker similar to Amazon's Echo. What do you think of these devices?
I have an Echo and I love it.
I have an Echo but rarely use it.
I plan to buy an Echo or Home.
Google's Home will be much better than Echo.
They're expensive novelties.
They're intrusive and creepy.