Google Inc announced on Thursday a half-dozen apps specially designed to work on its Glass devices. News network CNN, fashion magazine Elle, as well as online apps Tumblr and Evernote were among the half-dozen new apps for Glass unveiled during Google’s annual developer conference in San Francisco.
Google Glass is a stamp-sized electronic screen mounted on the left side of a pair of eyeglass frames which can record video, access email and messages and retrieve information from the Web.
Google began distributing the devices last month to a limited number of developers, but it has yet to specify when a version will be available for consumers or at what price.
The futuristic-looking devices have been a common sight at the Google conference this week, with many of the attendees and staffers wearing Glass. But Google executives gave Glass short shrift during the more than three-hour keynote talks on Wednesday, barely mentioning Glass among the litany of new products and services discussed on stage.
Oracle is building a third data-center in the UK, to service the British administration’s G-Cloud plans right next to the sweet smelling Mars Chocolate factory.
According to the company, the new data-center, opening in July, is located in Slough. It will offer cloud services and infrastructure as a service, to government bodies as well as to independent software vendors working on state contracts. Oracle president Mark Hurd said in a press release that the new Equinix Slough data center, will supplements the existing facilities at Linlithgow near Edinburgh and in Slough.
“As this whole cloud evolves and develops, you’ve got a lot of issues that come up. You’ve got security concerns, you’ve got data-sovereignty issues, you’ve got regulatory issues, you’ve got various issues that come up about the location of data — some of those are the physical location of data,” Hurd said.
The new data-center is specifically for government projects. It will meet the specific requirements of G-Cloud, including the IL3 security protocols as well. Hurd claims that it will be ring-fenced data-center, specifically to serve UK government, which is one of Oracle’s biggest clients in the UK.
Hurd said the company now has more than $1bn in cloud subscription revenue and claimed the company was now the second biggest player in the cloud.
“We’re globalising our capability. We have a very broad distribution capability so we sell close to the customer and we move our capabilities close to the customer as well,” Hurd said.
There are multiple theories for the decline in pay, but a common one cited by analysts is simply that the new people being hired are paid less than those already on the job.
The average annual wage of all workers in the software services sector was $99,000 in 2012, about $2,000 less than the prior year, reported TechAmerica Foundation in its annual Cyberstates report.
The foundation is an affiliate of the industry trade group TechAmerca. It uses Labor Dept. data to assemble its report.
Matthew Kazmierczak, a senior vice president at TechAmerica, said if there is lots of hiring in an industry and the pay for new hires is below average, the average wage could go down.
The hiring could be below the overall salary average “if many of the new jobs are more ‘entry’ level or people without the same specialized skills or years of experience (managerial or otherwise) as a more seasoned employee,” said Kazmierczak.
“It is also possible that with the recession, wages [for new hires] dropped as more people were competing for jobs. So wages for new jobs are below average,” said Kazmierczak.
The Cyberstates report puts the tech labor force at 5.95 million in 2012, an increase of 1.1% from the prior year. Of that, 1.87 million workers are in software services jobs.
Software services, which includes government defined labor categories software publishers, custom programmers, computer facilities management and other computer related services, are the best paid and the largest segment of the tech work force.
Dell’s profit for the quarter, ended May 3, was $130 million, down 79 percent from $635 million in the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue declined 2 percent to $14.07 billion.
Dell’s PC division was particularly hard hit. Sales for the quarter were down 9 percent to $8.9 billion, Dell said, and the group’s operating profit skidded 65 percent lower to $224 million. Laptop sales were hit especially hard.
Its enterprise business showed mixed performance. Sales of servers and network gear were up 14 percent but storage was down 10 percent. Dell’s services division reported a 2 percent increase in revenue.
Dell is trying hard to build an enterprise software business, which it hopes will eventually generate higher profits than its PC division. The software group reported an operating loss for the quarter, however, as Dell invested in new sales and R&D staff.
Dell’s earnings for the quarter on a pro forma basis, which excludes one-time items, were $0.21 a share, well off the analyst forecast of $0.35 a share, according to Thomson Reuters.
In a statement, CFO Brian Gladden said Dell’s profits were affected by steps it took to improve its competitiveness. “We’ll also continue to make important investments to support our strategy and drive long-term profitability,” he said.
Michael Dell announced in February that he planned to take the company private in a deal with Silver Lake Partners valued at $24.4 billion. The company founder has said he wants some breathing room to focus on long term investments without the constant scrutiny from Wall Street.
Users wearing Epson’s Moverio BT-100 smart glasses will be able to play, pause, rewind, fast forward or select a video by tilting or turning their head in a specific direction. The capability is made possible through an application developed to enhance the end-user experience of YouTube.
The smart glasses and hands-free YouTube capabilities will be demonstrated at the Google I/O conference, which will be held in San Francisco between May 15 and 17.
Moverio smart glasses run on Android software and have technology that projects a virtual 80-inch display at the center of the user’s view. The smart glasses being demonstrated have gyroscopes, accelerometers and magnetometers to track head movement, which ultimately enables hands-free playback of videos on YouTube.
The Moverio glasses are tinted like sunglasses but are see-through, much like Google Glasses. But users can also block out the see-through capability to watch videos from the Internet. Users can also run Android applications on the glasses.
The Moverio glasses are also connected to a remote that allows users to control or play back videos. They have Wi-Fi capabilities and also can display 3D images.
Epson is widely known as a printer and projector maker. The company has already said it wanted to improve gesture-based controls on its smart glasses, and bringing hands-free interaction to YouTube could set the stage for improvements in virtual reality applications.
The smart glasses are already available and are priced at US$699.99
ARM’s notable success in smartphones and tablets can obscure the fact that most of the chips using its designs are microcontrollers for using the input of sensors. The firm has announced collaboration with Logmein to push its Mbed project with developers that sign up to the Xively Cloud service.
ARM’s Mbed project aims to bring a standard workflow to hardware design in order to help more firms to make better use of the microcontroller technology that already exists. Simon Ford, director of Online Tools at ARM told The INQUIRER that the MBed project is intended to help hardware designers turn microcontrollers into final products.
Logmein and ARM worked on the Xively cloud based rapid prototyping service to offer hardware developers a way to speed up and lower the cost of the development lifecycle. Those developers who sign up for the service will also get a Xively Jumpstart Kit that includes an ARM Mbed prototype module to get started.
Ford said, “You’re trying to build a product, the intelligence you want embedded is critical but it isn’t the only problem you have. If you are trying to make a product, you have a whole raft a problems. [...] We are expanding the Mbed project to look at how do you have an industrial grade platform that is open, free to use and that removes barriers for someone that has this idea to proving a concept all the way to production.”
While ARM and Logmein promote the service as a way to build the much hyped internet of things, it can be used to develop any hardware that makes use of ARM’s extensive range of microcontrollers. With Logmein’s Xively cloud service, the firms are hoping to enable developers to cut the costs associated with hardware design, enabling smaller firms to get into the market.
Outlook.com, which replaced Hotmail and offers a similar feature for chatting with people on Facebook and Skype, will roll out this Gmail capability over the next few days to its 400 million users worldwide, according to Microsoft.
People will also be able to engage in IM chats with Gmail users from the interface of their SkyDrive cloud storage and file sharing application.
“With this feature, the next time you’re reading an email from someone who uses Gmail, you can reply with a quick chat right from your Outlook.com inbox. And if you’re working together on an Office document in SkyDrive, you can send an instant message to a Google contact with just a click,” wrote Microsoft official Douglas Pearce in a blog post on Tuesday.
Pearce also took a dig at Gmail in the blog post, saying that the new feature is “one more reason to make the switch” and that part of the motivation was to help Outlook.com users chat “with friends stuck on Gmail.”
Microsoft launched a preview of Outlook.com with much fanfare in July 2012,positioning it as a re-imagining of webmail from the data center to the user experience, and as a better option to Gmail and Yahoo Mail.
Microsoft has also been attacking Gmail for months via its Scroogledcampaign, in which Microsoft accuses Google of disrespecting the privacy of Gmail users by matching ads to the text of their messages.
Earlier this month, Microsoft announced it had completed migrating all users from Hotmail to Outlook.com, whose improvements include a redesigned user interface, broad syncing capabilities, improved message sorting and native integration with Facebook, Twitter and other sites.
nVidia’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang mentioned a concrete reason of Tegra 4 delays during the company’s latest earnings call.
The chip was announced back in January, but Jensen told the investors that Tegra 4 was delayed because of Nvidia’s decision to pull in Grey aka Tegra 4i in for six months. Pulling Tegra 4i in and having it scheduled for Q4 2013 was, claims Jensen, the reason for the three-month delay in Tegra 4 production. On the other hand, we heard that early versions of Tegra 4 were simply getting too hot and frankly we don’t see why Nvidia would delay its flagship SoC for tactical reasons.
Engaging the LTE market as soon as possible has been the main reason for pulling Tegra 4i, claims Jensen. It looks to us that Tegra 4 will be more than three months delayed but we have been promised to see Tegra 4 based devices in Q2 2013, or by the end of June 2013.
Nvidia claims Tegra 4i has many design wins and it should be a very popular chip. Nvidia expects to have partners announcing their devices based on this new LTE based chip in early 2014. Some of them might showcase some devices as early as January, but we would be surprised if we don’t see Tegra 4i devices at the Mobile World Congress next year, that kicks off on February 24th 2014.
Jensen described Tegra 4i as an incredibly well positioned product, saying that “it brings a level of capabilities and features of performance that that segment has just never seen”. The latter half of 2013 will definitely be interesting for Nvidia’s Tegra division and we are looking forward to see the first designs based on this new chip.
The company said over the weekend it welcomed Loki, Astrid, GoPollGo and MileWise to its growing mobile team. “We recently added 22 entrepreneurs to our growing mobile team,” the company said in a Twitter message in a possible reference to some of the people from the four companies who have moved to Yahoo.
Loki’s flagship application is its location-aware game, Geomon. “We are thrilled to be joining the exceptional folks at Yahoo!. We believe fully in their commitment to creating outstanding mobile products,” the Loki team said on their website.
Earlier in the week, Yahoo also acquired GoPollGo, a social polling tool. The company’s founder and team said they were moving to Yahoo, and would no longer be supporting their offerings.
It is not clear whether Yahoo has bought all these companies for their products and technology or just to get their experienced staff in the area of mobile as it tries to build up its own mobile capabilities. The way the services are being shut down suggests that their user base did not particularly interest Yahoo. The company could not be immediately reached for comment.
Google said it is expanding the amount of free storage for users of its cloud storage service Google Drive. Google Drive on Monday announced it’s increasing the amount of free storage it offers subscribers from 10GB for Gmail and another 5GB for Drive and Google+ Photos.
Combined, Google subscribers will get a net total of 15GB of free unified storage and will be able to share all the additional data among the Drive cloud storage service, Gmail and Google+ Photos.
Clay Bavor, director of product management at Google Drive, wrote in a blog that with the new combined storage space, “you won’t have to worry about how much you’re storing and where.
“For example, maybe you’re a heavy Gmail user but light on photos, or perhaps you were bumping up against your Drive storage limit but were only using 2 GB in Gmail. Now it doesn’t matter, because you can use your storage the way you want,” he wrote.
Google has been increasing its competitive pressure on other cloud storage providers since launching its Drive service last year.
Among Google Drive’s competitors is Microsoft’s SkyDrive and Apple’s iCloud, but the companies most threatened by Google’s move into online storage are smaller specialized service providers, such as DropBox, Box, SugarSync and YouSendIt, according to analysts.
Dropbox offers 2GB for free, and its first paid upgrade option is to 50GB for $9.99 a month or $99 per year.
“[Average consumers] don’t have much of a relationship with these smaller [cloud] companies,” Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg said at the time of Google Drive’s launch. “The challenge for these smaller companies is reaching out to consumers or shifting to somewhat of a different market; the problem is that Google also wants the business market, the small business market and ultimately the enterprise IT market.”
The improvements include a new “all photos” view that displays thumbnails of all the pictures, organized in a monthly timeline grid.
Microsoft also tweaked both the SkyDrive desktop app and its server counterpart to increase upload speeds, achieving a 2X to 3X improvement, according to the company.
In addition, Microsoft said it has improved “the readability” of files and folders stored in the service, remaking the thumbnail format for PowerPoint and Word files to make it easier to identify and find them.
Photos are the most common files stored in SkyDrive “both in sheer number and in total storage consumed,” Omar Shahine, group program manager of SkyDrive.com, wrote in a blog post on Monday.
It will take about 48 hours for the changes to be applied to all SkyDrive accounts.
SkyDrive rival Dropbox has also been testing new photo storage, sharing and management features, including the ability to organize photos in albums and to share more than one photo or a folder at a time.
Google Drive, another SkyDrive competitor, also has specific features for managing photo files.
As we draw closer to the launch of Intel’s 4th generation Core CPUs, or Haswell, it is no wonder that we are starting to see more leaks and one showing Intel’s Core i7 4770K overclocked to 5GHz at 0.9V certainly drew a lot of attention.
An impressive overclocking achievement was spotted by Ocaholic.ch and shows a CPU-Z validation of Core i7 4770K overclocked to exactly 5005.83MHz at just 0.904V. As far as we can tell, Hyper-threading was disabled and it is not clear if the CPU is actually stable enough to run anything, but in any case, it is still an impressive result, especially at such low voltage.
The rest of the specs include 4GB of DDR3 memory and ASRock’s upcoming Z87 Extreme4 motherboard.
The new tools represent yet another expansion of the Microsoft search site to make it more interactive and useful as the company seeks to distinguish itself from Google search.
In March Bing expanded its center column to incorporate more social information from Facebook, Twitter and Klout into how it displays search results involving people. In January its right-hand Social Sidebar was scaled out to include more content from users’ Facebook friends such as status updates, shared links and comments.
Previously, users could see that content, but could not interact with it without leaving the Bing site. But with the latest expansion, they can.
“Now you can see what your friends might know about what you’re searching for and engage with them directly without leaving the search page,” Bing said last Friday in a blog post.
As an example, if a person is searching for tickets to a Beyonce concert, and a friend posted on Facebook that she has an extra ticket, the person could comment directly on the post on the Bing site to let the friend know that he would like to join her for the concert, Bing said.
The person has to be signed into Facebook for the feature to work. The tool honors the user’s account settings and won’t share any information without the person’s approval, Bing said.
There does not appear to be any restriction on how old the Facebook posts can be.
The feature’s focus is on surfacing the most relevant information for the searcher, but on average the technology looks at roughly two years’ worth of Facebook data for each person, a Microsoft spokesperson said.
For instance, searching for the just-released film “The Great Gatsby” displayed Facebook posts from as far back as 2011, some of which did not even refer to the recent Hollywood adaptation of the book.
The flow of information between Bing and Facebook goes both ways. In January Facebook announced the beta launch of Graph Search, a social search tool designed to let users discover a wider range of information across the social network. When there are holes in the Graph Search results, information from Bing will be weaved in, Facebook said.
Bing originally rolled out its right-hand Social Sidebar last year, and since then “we’ve been exploring ways to make it more useful,” the site said last Friday.
Western Digital, which has dabbled in solid state disks (SSDs) for the enterprise market, has stayed away from hybrid drives that use relatively small SSDs to act as cache for hard drives. Now the firm has teamed with Sandisk to create its WD Black Solid State Hybrid drives with 500GB capacity.
Western Digital is pitching its hybrid drives at laptop makers, offering units with 5mm, 7mm and 9.5mm heights. The firm said Sandisk’s iSSD uses 19nm NAND flash and claimed it is the world’s “smallest and most advanced semiconductor manufacturing process”, a claim that Intel might question.
Kevin Conley, SVP and GM of client storage solutions at Sandisk said, “By combining SanDisk’s unparalleled flash memory expertise and technology with the hard drive know-how of Western Digital, WD Black SSHDs [solid state hard drives] offer outstanding hard drive-like capacity, and the slim form factor and the level of performance that you will only get with flash memory solutions.”
Seagate was first to introduce hybrid drives with its Momentus XT range, which offers an impressive performance boost over mechanical hard drives for certain workloads. The problem for Western Digital and Seagate is that hybrid drives are merely a stop-gap rather than a long term strategy, with SSD prices falling rapidly due to competition in the SSD industry as opposed to the hard drive industry, where Seagate, Western Digital and Toshiba have a comfortable ride.
The Virginia Tech College of Engineering debuted the prototype robot, named Cyro. The life-like, autonomous robotic jellyfish weighs 170 pounds and is 5 feet 7 inches in height.
The research is backed by the U.S. Naval Undersea Warfare Center and the Office of Naval Research, which are looking for self-powering, autonomous robots to do underwater surveillance or to monitor the environment.
Cyro is the successor to the RoboJelly, a robotic jellyfish that the same research team unveiled last year. Unlike Cyro, RoboJelly is a small machine – about the size of a man’s hand, according to Virginia Tech.
“A larger vehicle will allow for more payload, longer duration and longer range of operation,” said Alex Villanueva, a doctoral student working on the project, in a statement. “Biological and engineering results show that larger vehicles have a lower cost of transport, which is a metric used to determine how much energy is spent for traveling.”
The researchers said they chose to base their underwater robots on jellyfish because of their low metabolic rate, which enables them to consume little energy.
Jellyfish also appear in many different sizes, shapes and colors, which gives scientists different designs to work with. Jellyfish also are found in every major oceanic area, which would help camouflage robots conducting surveillance around the world.
Scientists at Virginia Tech aren’t the only ones working on swimming robots.
In the summer of 2010, MIT researchers reported that they used nanotechnology to build a robot that can autonomously navigate across the surface of the ocean to clean up oil spills. Scientists hope that someday a fleet of these aquatic robots can clean up oil spills more quickly and cheaply than current methods.
In 2009, scientists at the University of Bath built a swimming robot powered by a fin instead of a more boat-like propeller.
Gymnobot, the robotic fish, has a fin that runs the length of the robot’s rigid “fish” body, undulating to make waves in the water, propelling the robot forward or backward. The robotic design is based on the Amazonian knifefish.
In this most recent work on swimming robots, Cyro is modeled and named after the jellyfish cyanea capillata, also known as the Lion’s Mane.
“We hope to improve on this robot and reduce power consumption and improve swimming performance as well as better mimic the morphology of the natural jellyfish,” Villanueva stated. “Our hopes for Cyro’s future is that it will help understand how the propulsion mechanism of such animal scales with size.”