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Oracle Launches OpenStack Platform With Intel

March 27, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Oracle and Intel have teamed up for the first demonstration of carrier-grade network function virtualization (NFV), which will allow communication service providers to use a virtualized, software-defined model without degradation of service or reliability.

The Oracle-led project uses the Intel Open Network Platform (ONP) to create a robust service over NFV, using intelligent direction of software to create viable software-defined networking that replaces the clunky equipment still prevalent in even the most modern networks.

Barry Hill, Oracle’s global head of NFV, told The INQUIRER: “It gets us over one of those really big hurdles that the industry is desperately trying to overcome: ‘Why the heck have we been using this very tightly coupled hardware and software in the past if you can run the same thing on standard, generic, everyday hardware?’. The answer is, we’re not sure you can.

“What you’ve got to do is be smart about applying the right type and the right sort of capacity, which is different for each function in the chain that makes up a service.

“That’s about being intelligent with what you do, instead of making some broad statement about generic vanilla infrastructures plugged together. That’s just not going to work.”

Oracle’s answer is to use its Communications Network Service Orchestration Solution to control the OpenStack system and shrink and grow networks according to customer needs.

Use cases could be scaling out a carrier network for a rock festival, or transferring network priority to a disaster recovery site.

“Once you understand the extent of what we’ve actually done here, you start to realize just how big an announcement this is,” said Hill.

“On the fly, you’re suddenly able to make these custom network requirements instantly, just using off-the-shelf technology.”

The demonstration configuration optimizes the performance of an Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 processor designed specifically for networking, and shows for the first time a software-defined solution which is comparable to the hardware-defined systems currently in use.

In other words, it can orchestrate services from the management and orchestration level right down to a single core of a single processor, and then hyperscale it using resource pools to mimic the specialized characteristics of a network appliance, such as a large memory page.

“It’s kind of like the effect that mobile had on fixed line networks back in the mid-nineties where the whole industry was disrupted by who was providing the technology, and what they were providing,” said Hill.

“Suddenly you went from 15-year business plans to five-year business plans. The impact of virtualization will have the same level of seismic change on the industry.”

Today’s announcement is fundamentally a proof-of-concept, but the technology that powers this kind of next-generation network is already evolving its way into networks.

Hill explained that carrier demand had led to the innovation. “The telecoms industry had a massive infrastructure that works at a very slow pace, at least in the past,” he said.

“However, this whole virtualization push has really been about the carriers, not the vendors, getting together and saying: ‘We need a different model’. So it’s actually quite advanced already.”

NFV appears to be the next gold rush area for enterprises, and other consortium are expected to make announcements about their own solutions within days.

The Oracle/Intel system is based around OpenStack, and the company is confident that it will be highly compatible with other systems.

The ‘Oracle Communications Network Service Orchestration Solution with Enhanced Platform Awareness using the Intel Open Network Platform’ – or OCNSOSWEPAUTIONP as we like to think of it – is currently on display at Oracle’s Industry Connect event in Washington DC.

The INQUIRER wonders whether there is any way the marketing department can come up with something a bit more catchy than OCNSOSWEPAUTIONP before it goes on open sale.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

USB 3.1 To Arrive With New Desktops Later This Year

March 27, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

The emerging USB 3.1 standard is on track to reach desktops as hardware companies release motherboards with ports that can transfer data twice as fast as the previous USB technology.

MSI recently announced a 970A SLI Krait motherboard that will support the AMD processors and the USB 3.1 protocol. Motherboards with USB 3.1 ports have also been released by Gigabyte, ASRock and Asus, but those boards support Intel chips.

USB 3.1 can shuffle data between a host device and peripheral at 10Gbps, which is two times faster than USB 3.0. USB 3.1 is also generating excitement for the reversible Type-C cable, which is the same on both ends so users don’t have to worry about plug orientation.

The motherboards with USB 3.1 technology are targeted at high-end desktops. Some enthusiasts like gamers seek the latest and greatest technologies and build desktops with motherboards sold by MSI, Asus and Gigabyte. Many of the new desktop motherboards announced have the Type-C port interface, which is also in recently announced laptops from Apple and Google.

New technologies like USB 3.1 usually first appear in high-end laptops and desktops, then make their way down to low-priced PCs, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst of Mercury Research.

PC makers are expected to start putting USB 3.1 ports in more laptops and desktops starting later this year.

 

 

 

Microsoft Confirms Windows 10 Will Support 8K Resolution

March 27, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Software King of the World Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system will support screen resolutions that will not be available on commercial displays for years.

At the WinHEC conference Microsoft revealed that Windows 10 will support 8K (7680*4320) resolution for monitors, which is unlikely show up on the market this year or next.

It also showed off minimum and maximum resolutions supported by its upcoming Windows 10. It looks like the new operating system will support 6″+ phone and tablet screens with up to 4K (3840*2160) resolution, 8″+ PC displays with up to 4K resolution and 27″+ monitors with 8K (7680*4320) resolution.

To put this in some perspective, the boffins at the NHK (Nippon H?s? Ky?kai, Japan Broadcasting Corp.) think that 8K ultra-high-definition television format will be the last 2D format as the 7680*4320 resolution (and similar resolution) is the highest 2D resolution that the human eye can process.

This means that 8K and similar resolutions will stay around for a long time and it makes sense to add their support to hardware and software.

NHK is already testing broadcasting in 8K ultra-high-definition resolutions, VESA has ratified DisplayPort and embedded DisplayPort standards to connect monitors with up to 8K resolution to graphics adapters and a number of upcoming games will be equipped for textures for 8K UHD displays.

However monitors that support 8K will not be around for some time because display makers will have to produce new types of panels for them.

Redmond will be ready for the advanced UHD monitors well before they hit the market. Many have criticized Microsoft for poor support of 4K UHD resolutions in Windows 8.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Facebook Opening Parse For IoT Development

March 27, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook is opening up Parse, its suite of back-end software development tools, to create Internet of Things apps for items like smart home appliances and activity trackers.

By making Parse available for IoT, Facebook hopes to strengthen its ties to a wider group of developers in a growing industry via three new software development kits aimed specifically at IoT, unveiled Wednesday at the company’s F8 developer conference in San Francisco.

The tools are aimed at making it easier for outside developers to build apps that interface with Internet-connected devices. Garage door manufacturer Chamberlain, for example, uses Parse for its app to let people open and lock their garage door from their smartphones.

Or, hypothetically, the maker of a smart gardening device could use Parse to incorporate notifications into their app to remind the user to water their plants, said Ilya Sukhar, CEO of Parse, during a keynote talk at F8.

Facebook bought Parse in 2013, putting itself in the business of selling application development tools. Parse provides a hosted back-end infrastructure to help third party developers build their apps. Over 400,000 developers have built apps with Parse, Sukhar said on Wednesday.

Parse’s new SDKs are available on GitHub as well as on Parse’s site.

 

Google Said To Be Devolping Bill Payment Service For Gmail

March 26, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Google reportedly is working on a service to allow that will allow users to pay their bills from their Gmail accounts.

The service, dubbed Pony Express, would ask users to provide personal information, including credit card and Social Security numbers, to a third-party company that would verify their identity, according to a Re/code report on Tuesday.

Google also would work with vendors that distribute bills on behalf of service providers like insurance companies, telecom carriers and utilities, according to the article, which was based on a document seen by Re/code that describes the service.

It’s not clear whether Pony Express is the actual name of the service or if Google will change the name once it launches. It’s planned to launch by the end of the year, according to the report.

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.

A handful of vendors such as Intuit, Invoicera and BillGrid already offer e-billing payment and invoicing software. Still, a Google service, especially one within Gmail, could be useful and convenient to consumers if the company is able to simplify the online payment process.

A benefit for Google could be access to valuable data about people’s e-commerce activities, although there would be privacy issues to sort out. Google already indexes people’s Gmail messages for advertising purposes.

Plus, the service could give Google an entry point into other areas of payment services. The company has already launched a car insurance shopping servicefor California residents, which it plans to expand to other states.

It’s unclear who Google’s partners would be for the service, but screen shots published by Re/Code show Cascadia Financial, a financial planning company, and food delivery service GreatFoods.

 

 

HP Takes Helion OpenStack Private

March 26, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

HP has announced its first off-the-shelf configured private cloud based on OpenStack and Cloud Foundry.

HP Helion Rack continues the Helion naming convention for HP’s cloud offerings, and will, it is hoped, help enterprise IT departments speed up cloud deployment by offering a solid template system and removing the months of design and build.

Helion Rack is a “complete” private cloud with integrated infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service capabilities that mean it should be a breeze to get it working with cloud-dwelling apps.

“Enterprise customers are asking for private clouds that meet their security, reliability and performance requirements, while also providing the openness, flexibility and fast time-to-value they require,” said Bill Hilf, senior vice president of product management for HP Helion.

“HP Helion Rack offers an enterprise-class private cloud solution with integrated application lifecycle management, giving organisations the simplified cloud experience they want, with the control and performance they need.”

HP cites the key features of its product as rapid deployment, simplified management, easy scaling, workload flexibility, faster native-app development and, of course, the open architecture of OpenStack and Cloud Foundry, providing a vast support network for implementation, use cases and customisation.

The product is built on HP ProLiant DL servers, and is assembled by HP and configured with the HP Helion OpenStack and Development Platform. HP and its partners can then work alongside customers to find the best way to exploit the product knowing that it is up and running from day one.

HP Helion Rack will be available in April with prices varying by configuration. Finance is available for larger configurations.

Suse launched its own OpenStack Cloud 5 with Sahara data processing earlier this month, just one of many other implementations of OpenStack designed to help roll out the cloud revolution quickly to enterprises, but offering a complete 360 package is something that HP is pioneering.

 

Courtesy-TheInq

Facebook To Open Messenger App To Third-Party Developers

March 25, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook’s Messenger app mostly been used for keeping in touch with friends. Now people can also use it to send each other money. In the future, it could become a platform which other apps could use, if recent rumors prove true.

This Wednesday and Thursday at its F8 conference in San Francisco, Facebook will show off new tools to help third-party developers build apps, deploy them on Facebook and monetize them through Facebook advertising.

Among those tools might be a new service for developers to publish content or features of their own inside Messenger, according to a TechCrunch article. Facebook did not respond to requests for comment.

Such a service could make Messenger more useful, if the right developers sign on. Search features, photo tools or travel functions could be incorporated into Messenger and improve users’ chats around events or activities.

However, Messenger already lets users exchange money, and it also handles voice calls. Layer on more services and Messenger could become bloated and inconvenient to use.

In other words, making Messenger a platform would be a gamble.

A more versatile Messenger could generate new user data Facebook could leverage for advertising, helping it counter a user growth slowdown in recent quarters. It could also boost Facebook’s perennial efforts to increase participants in its developer platform and the number of users of its third-party apps.

Even if Facebook doesn’t turn Messenger into a platform at F8, it will likely do so in the future, said John Jackson, an IDC analyst focused on mobile business strategies. For the same reasons Facebook might turn Messenger into a platform, it could do the same for other apps like WhatsApp or Instagram, he said.

“The objective is to enrich and multiply the nature of interactions on the platform,” providing valuable data along the way, he said.

 

Broadband Providers File Suit Against FCC

March 25, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Several U.S. broadband providers have filed lawsuits against the Federal Communications Commission’s recently approved net neutrality rules, launching what is a expected to be a series of legal entanglements.

Broadband industry trade group USTelecom filed a lawsuit against the FCC in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which has in the past twice rejected the FCC’s net neutrality regulations.

The group argues the new rules are “arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion” and violate various laws, regulations and rulemaking procedures.

Texas-based Internet provider Alamo Broadband Inc challenged the FCC’s new rules in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, making a similar argument.

The rules, approved in February and posted online on March 12, treat both wireless and wireline Internet service providers as more heavily regulated “telecommunications services,” more like traditional telephone companies.

Broadband providers are banned under the rules from blocking or slowing any traffic and from striking deals with content companies for smoother delivery of traffic to consumers.

USTelecom President Walter McCormick said in a statement that the group’s members supported enactment of “open Internet” principles into law but not using the new regulatory regime that the FCC chose.

“We do not believe the Federal Communications Commission’s move to utility-style regulation … is legally sustainable,” he said.

Industry sources have previously told Reuters that USTelecom and two other trade groups, CTIA-The Wireless Association and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, were expected to lead the expected legal challenges.

Verizon Communications Inc, which won the 2010 lawsuit against the FCC, is likely to hold back from filing an individual lawsuit this time around, an industry source familiar with Verizon’s plan has told Reuters.

FCC officials have said they were prepared for lawsuits and the new rules were on much firmer legal ground than previous iterations. The FCC said Monday’s petitions were “premature and subject to dismissal.”

 

 

Cisco Uncovers Malware Targeting POS Systems

March 25, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Cisco has revealed details of a new point of sale (PoS) attack that could part firms from money and users from personal data.

The threat has been called PoSeidon by the Cisco team and comes at a time when eyes are on security breaches at firms like Target.

Cisco said in a blog post that PoSeidon is a new threat that has the ability to breach machines and scrape them for credit card information.

Credit card numbers and keylogger data is sent to an exfiltration server, while the mechanism is able to update itself and presumably evade some detection.

Cisco’s advice is for the industry to keep itself in order and network admins to keep systems up to date.

“PoSeidon is another malware targeting PoS systems that demonstrates the sophisticated techniques and approaches of malware authors. Attackers will continue to target PoS systems and employ various obfuscation techniques in an attempt to avoid detection,” said the firm.

“As long as PoS attacks continue to provide returns, attackers will continue to invest in innovation and development of new malware families. Network administrators will need to remain vigilant and adhere to industry best practices to ensure coverage and protection against advancing malware threats.”

The security industry agrees that PoS malware is a cash cow for cyber thieves, highlighting the importance of vigilance and keeping systems up to date.

“PoS malware has been extremely productive for criminals in the last few years, and there’s little reason to expect that will change anytime soon,” said Tim Erlin, director of product management at Tripwire.

“It’s no surprise that, as the information security industry updates tools to detect this malicious software, the authors will continue to adjust and innovate to avoid detection.

“Standards like the PCI Data Security Standard can only lay the groundwork for protecting retailers and consumers from these threats. A standard like PCI can specify a requirement for malware protection, but any specific techniques included may become obsolete as malware evolves.

“Monitoring for new files and changes to files can detect when malware installs itself on a system, as PoSeidon does.”

Courtesy-TheInq

Vessel Launches Early Access, Paid Subcription Video Service

March 25, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Online video platform Vessel officially debuted its paid subscription service on Tuesday, offering programming at least three days before other websites in a bid to reshape an industry dominated by free content on Google Inc’s YouTube.

Vessel, which costs viewers $3 a month, was founded by former Hulu Chief Executive Jason Kilar and Chief Technology Officer Richard Tom. They aim to create an early window for a selection of web video, similar to the way movies are released in theaters before they arrive on cable TV or the Internet.

“Early access is very valuable,” Kilar said in an interview. “There are a lot of consumers who would love to see something early.”

More than 130 creators will provide early access to content on Vessel. After the exclusive period ends, videos can go to YouTube, Vimeo, Vevo or other free, ad-supported sites, and are free on Vessel.

YouTube stars such as Ingrid Nilsen, Rhett & Link and Shane Dawson are among creators whose videos will make their debut on Vessel. Other programming comes from online networks such as food-oriented Tastemade and celebrities such as Alec Baldwin.

Video creators on Vessel keep 70 percent of ad revenue, compared with 55 percent that is typical on YouTube, plus 60 percent of Vessel subscription revenue.

With those incentives, the new service will be an easier sell to creators than offering viewers who are used to watching videos for free, said Brett Sappington, director of research at Parks Associates.

“Vessel must rely on content creators’ popularity and self-marketing to entice their loyal viewers into paying a monthly fee,” he said.

The service is free for one year for viewers who sign up within the first three days.

It is unlikely YouTube will lose significant revenue from a migration to Vessel, Sappington said. YouTube made its debut a decade ago and has more than 1 billion users.

 

 

SAP Mobile App May Have Allowed Hackers To Upload Fake Medical Data

March 24, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

SAP has fixed two security flaws in a mobile medical app, one of which could have allowed an attacker to upload fake patient data.

The issues were found in SAP’s Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Unwired, which stores clinical data about patients including lab results and images, said Alexander Polyakov, CTO of ERPScan, a company based in Palo Alto, Calif., that specializes in enterprise application security.

Researchers with ERPScan found a local SQL injection flaw that could allow other applications on a mobile device to get access to an EMR Unwired database. That’s not supposed to happen, as mobile applications are usually sandboxed to prevent other applications from accessing their data.

“For example, you can upload malware to the phone, and this malware will be able to get access to this embedded database of this health care application,” Polyakov said in a phone interview.

The company also found another issue in EMR Unwired, where an attacker could tamper with a configuration file and then change medical records stored on the server, according to an ERPScan advisory.

“You can send fake information about the medical records, so you can imagine what can be done after that,” Polyakov said. “You can say, ‘This patient is not ill’.”

SAP fixed both of the issues about a month ago, Polyakov said.

The German software giant also fixed another flaw about a week ago found by ERPScan researchers, which affected its mobile device management software, a mobile client that allows access to the company’s other business applications.

 

 

Google Updates Android Smart Lock With On-body Detection

March 24, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Google is adding a feature to Android’s smart lock that could significantly reduce the number of times users need to key in a passcode to unlock their phones.

On-body detection uses the accelerometer in the phone to detect when it’s being held or carried. If enabled, the feature requires a passcode the first time the phone is accessed but then keeps the device unlocked until it is placed down.

That means, for example, that users walking down the street won’t have to unlock the phone every time they take their phones out of their pockets.

The feature wasn’t widely announced by Google, but it began operating in some phones on Friday.

Like the other elements of smart lock, it should be used with caution as it can’t detect who is carrying the phone.

“If you unlock your device and hand it to someone else, your device also stays unlocked as long as the other person continues to hold or carry it,” reads a message displayed on phones with the new feature.

The smart lock feature was introduced with Android 5.0 KitKat and allows users to set zones around trusted places, such as a home or office, and Wi-Fi or Bluetooth devices, such as a computer or car radio. When the phone is in those zones it will remain unlocked once it’s been unlocked the first time.

It can also recognize faces and remain unlocked when it sees a trusted face.

 

 

 

 

NASA Testing Virtual Reality Smart Glasses

March 23, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

NASA is testing virtual reality smart glasses that may one day assist astronauts as they travel to an asteroid or even Mars.

The space agency is using glasses from Osterhout Design Group (ODG), a San Francisco-based company that develops wearables for enterprises and government use. NASA engineers and astronauts are set to test the company’s smart glasses, which are equipped with augmented reality and virtual reality technologies. The glasses are being tested using NASA applications and software.

“The intended purpose and usefulness of glasses like this are unlimited,” said Jay Bolden, a NASA spokesman, in an email to Computerworld. “Advanced glasses could aid in navigation, where cockpit displays are broadcast on the goggles in much the same way fighter pilot heads up displays operate today.”

Bolden also noted that astronauts on a journey to an asteroid or Mars could use the smart glasses to access chart, map and technical information, instead of having to carry many pounds of technical journals and papers with them.

“For a two-hour flight on a 737 from Cleveland to Dallas, each pilot carries 15 pounds of manuals and that weight isn’t really a big deal in the grand scheme,” he noted. “However, for a multiple-week mission to an asteroid or the moon, or a multi-year mission to Mars, every pound saved means additional life-critical supplies — food, water, oxygen, or fuel — can be shipped in their place.”

The smart glasses also could give more information to NASA engineers and scientists working on Earth.

“Real time applications also include the ability for ground support teams to see first hand what astronauts discover and video,” Bolden said. “Instead of bringing a 50-pound boulder back for ground analysis, the astronaut can use glasses to scan, measure ‎and catalog where it was found and then chip off a 5-pound sample for ground analysis.”

 

 

Self-driving Audi Taking Road Trip From California To New York

March 20, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Automotive component-supplier Delphi is about to launch a self-driving Audi SUV on a 3,500-mile cross country road trip from San Francisco to New York.

The trip, which will begin March 22 near the Golden Gate Bridge, will end in New York City. It is the first cross-country trip by a fully autonomous vehicle, and arguably the longest anyone has made.

The autonomous Audi SQ5 is making the trip in order to test Delphi’s suite of advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure wireless communications and automated driving software.

Two months ago, Delphi demonstrated a self-driving Audi A7, named “Jack,” which made a 560-mile trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

Delphi’s automated driving vehicle leverages a full suite of technologies and features to make this trip possible. The navigation system, cameras and sensors are all controlled by intelligent software that enables the vehicle to make complex, “human-like decisions for real-world automated driving,” the company said in a statement.

Functions such as Delphi’s Traffic Jam Assist, Automated Highway Pilot with Lane Change (on-ramp to off-ramp highway pilot), Automated Urban Pilot, and Automated Parking and Valet features will all be put through their paces on the cross-country journey.

There will also be six Delphi engineers making the trip with the car.

The vehicle won’t just be using the interstate highway system. Delphi said during the cross-country trek, it will be challenged under a variety of driving conditions from changing weather and terrain to potential road hazards, “things that could never truly be tested in a lab.”

“Delphi had great success testing its car in California and on the streets of Las Vegas,” said Jeff Owens, Delphi’s chief technology officer. “Now, it’s time to put our vehicle to the ultimate test by broadening the range of driving conditions.

 

 

 

 

 

Angry Birds Maker Seeks New Profits In Movie Venture

March 20, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Finnish mobile games developer Rovio is pinning its hopes on a costly 3D movie project helping it return to growth after a 73 percent profit drop,the latest sign its mainstay Angry Birds brand is waning.

A decline in its business licensing the Angry Birds brand on toys, clothing and sweets is adding to the problems of Rovio, which has yet to repeat the success of its original slingshot-based game which became the No.1 paid mobile app of all time after its launch in 2009.

Rovio said total sales fell 9 percent last year to 158.3 million euros ($169 million), although revenue from mobile games grew 16 percent to 110.7 million, as new offerings such as Jolly Jam and Angry Birds Stella Pop! helped total annual downloads reach 600 million.

Operating profit slumped to 10 million euros from 36.5 million.

“It is clear that a growth company like us can’t be satisfied with a falling revenue,” Chief Executive Pekka Rantala told Reuters.

Rovio, whose long-term aim is to become an entertainment brand on a par with Walt Disney, has expanded the Angry Birds brand into a spin-off TV series and is backing an animated movie set to premiere in May 2016.

Rantala said the total production cost of the Angry Birds movie will be about $80 million, and marketing costs, which will be partly paid by Sony Entertainment’s Columbia Pictures, would total more than the production budget.

“The movie will help us get the licensing business back to growth. We are already seeing signs of pick-up in licensing business, and pretty soon we will be able to publish new major partnership deals,” he said.

Having cut the number of licensing partners to around 400, including toy maker Hasbro, the company is also striving to build new brands alongside Angry Birds to be expanded into new games, consumer products and animations, Rantala said.

Analysts have said Rovio has been slow to respond to a shift to freely available mobile games, where revenue comes from purchases inside the game, as well as advertising.