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NoSQL, Part 1: Coming of Age
January 07, 2014
Amadeus, which handles bookings for 95 percent of flights worldwide, uses a variety of NoSQL databases to deal with the massive amounts of data that it handles. Amadeus enables 3.7 million bookings on more than 700 airlines, 110,000 hotel properties, and 30 rental car agencies each day. "NoSQL databases are part of our technology stack to deal with Big Data," said VP Dietmar Fauser.
Outline Sings Dandy OneNote Duet
January 06, 2014
Note-taking applications are very popular with many users, and that's probably why developers have flooded Apple's Mac App Store with those kinds of programs. A notable exception, though, has been Microsoft. That's not to say it has ignored the thirst of note-takers -- it makes a robust outline-notepad hybrid called OneNote. The thing is, it doesn't make it for the Mac.
Retiring in Sanctuary Belize: Tarnished Dreams
January 06, 2014
I've been executing on a long-term dream of retiring in Belize. I've been putting some rigor into the effort to make sure the perception of the dream doesn't outpace reality. I've often been brought in on projects that should have been shut down early, largely because executive staff had lost track of reality. I don't want to make the same mistake with this important project.
All Things Appy: Top 5 Cloud Storage Apps for Windows 8
January 03, 2014
Cloud storage is a fast-moving arena, with advancements including the ability to store files and folders in the cloud along with metadata on your PC replicating the actual file. The file isn't there and isn't taking up space, but you can see relevant attributes. Other cloud techniques include the ability to sync files only as you need them.
Security Firm Spills the Beans on Snapchat Vulnerabilities
December 28, 2013
After its discovery of a security hole in Snapchat was ignored for months, Gibson Security earlier this week released the API for the Snapchat application along with two exploits. One exploit lets hackers match phone numbers with Snapchat users' names en masse; the other enables hackers to create huge numbers of fake Snapchat accounts.
NewsBar Raises the Bar for RSS Readers
December 27, 2013
"Out of sight, out of mind" is an old saw that's absolutely true about RSS readers. Relegating RSS feeds to a tab in a Web browser, website or standalone application keeps news out of sight and consequently out of mind. NewsBar addresses that problem by placing a vertical bar on a Mac's display where feed headlines can be constantly seen and read.
All Things Appy: 5 Best Apps to Make the Most of Apple Sensors
December 27, 2013
Your Apple device is full of sensors, including a proximity sensor, an ambient light sensor, an accelerometer, a magnetometer and a gyroscopic sensor. Also included in these devices are radios, which aren't strictly sensors but which include the GPS for location services. In this week's All Things Appy, we take a look at the five best free apps for playing with sensors and sensor-like radios.
Nintendo Toys With Mobile-App Possibilities
December 21, 2013
Nintendo's Wii U hasn't exactly been the smash hit that the company had surely hoped, and a year after the console's debut Nintendo is reportedly exploring a future that could include mobile apps. With Angry Birds, Temple Run and other casual games dominating tablets and mobile phones, Nintendo faces increased competition in the mobile gaming space.
All Things Appy: Top 5 Android Apps for Outdoor Adventures
December 20, 2013
Accelerometers, GPS receivers and other sensors in your smartphone let you track your outdoor activities in ways that go beyond just the common map. In this week's All Things Appy, we take a look at the top five free apps for exploring, including options for fine-tuning your GPS, measuring headings and bearings, logging your tracks and reckoning distance.
Kazam Screen-Recording: Do Try This at Home
December 19, 2013
Kazam is a screencasting and screenshot application that shows much potential, but it is not yet fully suitable for anything more than personal use. Screen-recording tools are a step or two beyond single-frame screen-capture applications. Kazam performs both functions and can record input from the computer's microphone as well as from the speakers.
When Freemium's Good, It's Very Good and When It's Bad, It's Horrid
December 19, 2013
When I read a new report on app store trends for 2013 recently, my most irritating fear was confirmed: The freemium app business model has not only won the app sales model, it has handily crushed the paid app model -- squeezed it down into a tiny sliver of relative revenue. The results are so tilted that even more new apps will apparently be written entirely with the freemium model in mind.
'Anchorman' Scotchy Toss App Might Be Better After a Shot or 2
December 16, 2013
One of the best side effects of Apple's app ecosystem is spinoffs -- in addition to great games and apps for most everything imaginable, successful franchises can create apps to keep stoking the adoration of fans. If you haven't noticed the invasion of Duck Dynasty-branded merchandise in department stores everywhere, you might have stumbled upon the surprisingly delightful Battle of the Beards app.
Manjaro Smooths Out Arch's Rough Edges
December 12, 2013
If you want a Linux distro that is different and almost always up to date, look no further than Manjaro. If you can get it to load on your computer, Manjaro has a few features that could interest a Linux user who likes tinkering with the OS. The latest release failed to impress me with its cantankerous loading, but once I got it running I was pleased.
The Maddeningly Painful, Pathetic Apple TV Experience
December 12, 2013
It's damn near 2014, and what's the most baffling computing experience we have? The Apple TV television experience. It's so disappointing. We get new so-called TV channels -- or little Applets -- that give us a kaleidoscopic glimpse into the content available from a particular broadcast network, but it's also locked down so we have to be a cable television subscriber to view it.
Terminator Ends the Terminal Window Blahs
December 05, 2013
Terminator is not for casual Linux users who rarely stray from the menu-driven applications. If you ever venture into what some regard as the dark side of the Linux OS, however, Terminator can end your discomfort by using a single-session terminal window. Terminator is a powerful and useful terminal emulator built with many features not included in standard terminal applications.
Build Your Own Simple Linux Banking Tool
December 03, 2013
The Linux OS lacks an effective yet simple checking and banking tool. There are money-management tools for Linux users, of course, but most full-fledged offerings are overkill for monitoring spending patterns and balancing financial accounts. In general, Linux financial applications are either too complex to use without an accounting degree or too simple to be truly useful.
Task Coach Keeps You on Target and in Control
November 21, 2013
Attention to detail is often the missing feature that separates really useful to-do managers from the mundane list-tracking options. Task Coach goes out of its way to help you keep track of the details. The latest version of Task Coach -- version 1.3.33-1 -- does a good job of servicing two categories, in fact. It is both a personal task tracker and a to-do manager.
Cloud Efficiency: Different Paths, Same Destination
November 18, 2013
Aggressive use of cloud-computing strategies can significantly improve delivery of applications to end users. Healthcare patient-experience improvement provider Press Ganey and project and portfolio management provider Planview are both exploiting cloud efficiencies and agility. Their paths have been different, but the outcomes speak volumes for how cloud transforms businesses.
Devs Will Get to Put IBM's Watson Through Its Paces
November 14, 2013
IBM plans to open up its Watson cognitive platform, allowing developers to access it in the cloud starting next year. The technology is based on its Watson supercomputer. Participants will build apps incorporating Watson's cognitive computing intelligence. A cognitive computing system is "capable of continually learning and refining itself through human/computer interaction," said IBM's Rob High.
All Things Appy: Top 5 iOS Apps for Musicians
November 08, 2013
Apple was one of the forerunners in bringing the power of music production to the masses. Recording and music-making gear that used to cost tens of thousands of dollars and occupy dedicated studios first shrank to home-studio-capable sizes when powered by Apple computers in the 80s, and now it can be found on a smartphone or an iPad. While much smartphone music-making isn't free, there are some free apps out there.
All Things Appy: 5 More Great Android Utilities
November 01, 2013
A few weeks back All Things Appy covered some of the best, must-have free utilities for the Android mobile environment. This time, we look at requisite keyboard, antivirus, backup and download management apps to supplement the battery management, task killer, storage analyzer and monitoring tools that we've looked at previously.
Apple's New iWork: 3 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back
October 31, 2013
Real updates to Apple's iWork suite of apps -- Pages, Numbers and Keynote -- have been a long time coming, so when Apple updated the suite with a free upgrade that plays well with iOS 7 and with Web browsers, plenty of users jumped into the new version without looking. Unfortunately, a good many found they had leapt into a shallow pool full of sharp rocks.

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