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Microsoft Display Ads Business Going To AOL

July 1, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Microsoft Corp that it will hand over its display advertising business to AOL Inc and sell some map-generating technology to ride-hailing app company Uber, as it scales back on unprofitable operations.

The moves mean Microsoft will focus on its growing search advertising business based on its Bing search engine, and displaying maps on its Windows devices rather than generating the maps themselves.

Microsoft, which employs hundreds of people in its display ad business around the world, said those employees would be offered the chance to transfer to AOL and that it was not making any layoffs.

The world’s largest software company no longer breaks out results for its online operations, chiefly its MSN web portal and Bing, but they have lost more than $10 billion over the past five years. Chief Executive Satya Nadella has said Bing will turn a profit next fiscal year.

“Today’s news is evidence of Microsoft’s increased focus on our strengths: in this case, search and search advertising and building great content and consumer services,” saidMicrosoft in a statement.

Under a 10-year deal struck with AOL, now a unit of Verizon Communications Inc ,AOL will sell display ads on MSN, Outlook.com, Xbox, Skype and in some apps in major countries. As part of the deal, Bing will become the search engine behind web searches onAOL starting next year.

Microsoft also struck a multi-year extension to its existing deal with AppNexus, which provides the tech platform for buyers to purchase online ads.

Microsoft and Uber did not disclose financial terms of their deal, under which Uber will take over the part of Microsoft’s mapping unit that works on imagery acquisition and map data processing. Uber will offer jobs to the 100 or so Microsoft employees working in that area, according to a source familiar with the deal.

 

 

 

Yahoo Still Plagued By Sluggish Growth

June 30, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Yahoo’s share gains since November from a partnership with Mozilla may be a clue about whether the search company can gain new users through the just-announced contract to change Internet Explorer’s and Chrome’s default search through installations of Oracle’s Java.

Although the news of the Yahoo-Oracle partnership got the lion’s share of attention, CEO Marissa Mayer also used last week’s shareholder meeting to mention the Mozilla pact.

The five-year contract with Mozilla, the maker of Firefox, has boosted Yahoo’s share of the U.S. search market, but growth has stalled for the last three months, according to measurement company comScore.

On Wednesday, Mayer asserted that the Mozilla deal — negotiated last fall — was “profitable,” but didn’t provide any numbers to back that up. Neither Yahoo nor Mozilla has disclosed how much the former paid to become Firefox’s default search engine in the U.S.

By comScore’s measurement, Yahoo accounted for 12.7% of all U.S. searches in May, the same share it controlled in both March and April. Although that was 2.5 percentage points higher than in November 2014 — before Firefox began urging users to accept Yahoo as the default — and represented a six-month increase of 25%, May’s share was down from the January peak of 13%.

From all indications, Yahoo has gotten as much out of the Firefox deal as it will likely get. The flip-side is that Yahoo has hung onto most of what it grabbed from Google — Firefox’s previous default — even as Google has tried to get users to return.

For May, comScore pegged Google’s share at 64.1%, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the month prior. Microsoft’s share rose that one-tenth of a point to end May at 20.3%. Because Bing powers Yahoo’s search results, Microsoft’s technology accounted for 31.4% of all U.S. searches, still less than half Google’s 65.2%.

 

 

Cisco Warns Of Bug In Virtual App

June 30, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Cisco has warned of a default Secure Shell vulnerability in three of its virtual applications.

The flaw could allow attackers to decrypt traffic exchanged in the services, and has been detailed in a Cisco security advisory.

It affects Cisco’s Web Security Virtual Appliance (SMAv), Email Security Virtual Appliance and Security Management Virtual Appliance, which are already commercially available.

Cisco said that it “is not aware of any public announcements or malicious use of the vulnerabilities”, but warned that attackers who got hold of the private keys could decrypt communications with a man-in-the-middle attack.

The default private encryption keys were preinstalled on all three of the products, a move which is considered bad security practice.

“Successfully exploiting this vulnerability on Cisco SMAv allows an attacker to decrypt communication toward SMAv, impersonate SMAv, and send altered data to a configured content appliance,” the advisory said.

“An attacker can exploit this vulnerability on a communication link toward any content security appliance that was ever managed by any SMAv.”

Cisco has released a patch which deletes the preinstalled SSH keys and explains how customers can correct the problem.

The Cisco-sa-20150625-ironport SSH Keys Vulnerability Fix comes as part of several product upgrades, and must be manually installed from a command line interface.

Cisco’s advisory said that the patch is not required for physical hardware appliances, or for virtual appliance downloads or upgrades after 25 June.

Cisco revealed details of a new point of sale attack earlier this year that could part firms from money and customers from personal data.

The threat, called PoSeidon by the Cisco team, came at a time when eyes were on security breaches at firms like Target.

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

Courtesy-TheInq

RedHat Goes PaaS With Linux

June 30, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Red Hat has announced the release of OpenShift Enterprise (OSE) 3, a new version of its Platform-as-a-Service offering.

Based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)7, Openshift is built on Docker Linux containers with Kubernetes orchestration using technology developed in collaboration with Google.

The news comes in a busy week for Red Hat, which has also announced a new productivity tie-up with Samsung and taken a leading role in the formation of a new alliance known as the Open Container Project to standardise containers.

Users will have access to a wide range of apps via the Red Hat Container Certification Programme. Middleware solutions including Red Hat JBoss Enterprise, Web Server (Tomcat) and JBoss A-MQ messaging are also included.

Included are a number of tools to help developers create and collaborate, with web, command line, and integrated development environment interfaces. Options include direct code-push from GIT and source to image building. There is also flexibility for deployment, rollback and integration.

In addition, a preview of Openshift Dedicated has been released. The public cloud service based on OpenShift 3 will succeed Openshift Online, which already hosts 2.5 million applications online, allowing businesses to quickly build, launch and deploy bespoke apps.

Ashesh Badani, vice president and general manager, OpenShift, Red Hat, said, “This release of OpenShift Enterprise 3 employs open source containers and orchestration practices to change the developer experience and move the platform in the direction of what customers are asking for – a flexible platform for a microservices architecture.

“Our continued upstream work in the Docker and Kubernetes communities enable us to deliver the most updated technology platform for developers and operators, enabling them to remain competitive through quicker innovation.”

To assist users, Red Hat is offering a range of enterprise administrator courses to teach users how to deploy, configure and manage the system, which can result in a Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Platform as a Service – a worthy certificate for any office wall.

OpenShift 3 is available now with bespoke pricing models based of socket and core pairings.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

AMD’s Quantum Has Intel Inside

June 26, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

AMD’s Project Quantum PC system, with graphics powered by two of the new Fiji GPUs may have got the pundits moist but it has been discovered that the beast has Intel inside

KitGuru confirmed that the powerful tiny system, as shown at AMD’s own event, was based upon an Asrock Z97E-ITX/ac motherboard with an Intel Core i7-4790K ‘Devil’s Canyon’ processor.

Now AMD has made a statement to explain why it chose to employ a CPU from one of its competitor in what is a flagship pioneering gaming PC.

It told Tom’s Hardware that users wanted the Devil’s Canyon chip in the Project Quantum machine.

Customers “want to pick and choose the balance of components that they want,” and the machine shown off at the E3  was considered to be the height of tech sexiness right now.

AMD said Quantum PCs will feature both AMD and Intel CPUs to address the entire market, but did you see that nice Radeon Fury… think about that right now.

IT is going to be ages before we see the first Project Quantum PCs will be released and the CPU options might change. We would have thought that AMD might want to put its FinFET process ZEN CPUs in Project Quantum with up to 16 cores and 32 threads. We will not see that until next year.

Courtesy-Fud

Microsoft Officially Releases Office Apps For Android

June 26, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Microsoft officially released its Office apps for Android, publishing the final versions of Excel, PowerPoint and Word to Google Play.

The three apps are free for consumers, who may use them only for non-commercial purposes; in other words, not for work- or business-related tasks.

Microsoft kicked off previews last month, wrapping up the release of the suite’s apps for the OSes maintained by rivals Google (Android) and Apple (iOS). The gradual rollout began in March 2014 with the surprise debut of Office on the iPad less than two months after Satya Nadella replaced Steve Ballmer as CEO.

Previously, Microsoft released betas of Office for Windows 10 Mobile — the operating system that will launch before the end of this year for smartphones and smaller tablets — and for Windows 10 on desktops, 2-in-1s and larger tablets. Neither of those collections have been completed.

Microsoft’s change in tenor and pivot in strategy have been clearest over the last 17 months as it crafted and then released touch-based Office apps for every major operating system except Windows, turning a decades-long practice of protecting its own OS on its head.

As with the Office apps on other devices, Excel, PowerPoint and Word on Android can be used by consumers free of charge for basic tasks, including viewing, creating and editing documents. A Microsoft Account — the credentials used to access Microsoft’s services, such as Outlook.com and Skype — is required for all but viewing documents, and on larger Android devices, for everything but viewing and printing.

Business customers and anyone who wants to utilize advanced features, however, require a current Office 365 subscription.

 

 

 

Seagate Goes OneDrive

June 26, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Seagate has announced a tie-up with Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud service, offering users of Seagate Backup Plus drives 200GB of cloud storage for two years after redemption.

The offer is redeemable via the bundled Seagate Dashboard app, which also includes an interface to back up to OneDrive as well as Dropbox and Google Drive.

Seagate has also announced a new version of its 4TB Backup Plus drive, superseding the previous two-platter behemoth with a 20.5mm single-platter version.

This will be easier to carry around, and should be a bit more stable than the cross-volume edition currently in circulation.

“Seagate Technology continues to innovate at a fast pace based on the ever changing needs of its customers,” said Jingwen Li, research analyst for storage systems at IDC.

“With features such as OneDrive cloud storage, and the new 4TB capacity, the Seagate Backup Plus family addresses the growing need for data storage and backup with flexible data access and simple data management in the personal storage market.”

The updated 4TB version will arrive next month at $239, while the existing 500GB to 2TB options are already available starting at $79.99. Desktop versions stretch up to an 8TB version at $359.99.

After a frantic morning of registering the Seagate drives in the office to no avail, we confirmed with Seagate that, in fact, the offer is back-dated only to drives manufactured after January 2015, so loyal customers don’t need to get all excited.

Microsoft opened up its API for OneDrive in February to make it easier for manufacturers to integrate.

More recently the firm opened up the API for Microsoft Office so that other cloud storage providers can integrate their own offerings directly, blowing the productivity market wide open.

Courtesy-TheInq

Facebook Allowing Users Without An Account To Use Messenger

June 26, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook Inc has begun allowing users without an account to sign up for its Messenger app with a phone number, the social media company said on Wednesday, in another move to broaden the app’s reach and make it a standalone platform.

Earlier this year, Facebook opened up Messenger to developers, and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said he wanted to connect users directly with retailers, restaurants and other businesses.

With the latest update, users will be prompted by an option that says “Not on Facebook?” when they open the app. They can then sign up with their name, phone number and a photo.

The mobile messaging service, which has 600 million users, has added a number of new features in recent months, including games and video calling.

Facebook’s flagship social network has 1.4 billion users.

 

 

 

Community Solar Farms Projected To Grow By 500% This Year

June 25, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Community solar farms, which chunks out clean energy to a group of shareholders, have emerged as the next largest solar market in the U.S.

Over the next two years, community solar in the U.S. is poised to see its market size increase seven-fold, and by 2020 it will be expanding by half a billion watts annually, according to a new report by GTM Research.

One of the benefits of a community solar farm is that it offers consumers who don’t even own a home (such as renters) the ability to go solar.

Community solar farms, like community gardens, share the photovoltaic energy among a group who purchase a share of the total energy produced by the site and receive the benefits of reduced costs on their electric bill.

According to the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), there are at least 52 community farms the U.S. states. And, at least 10 states are encouraging their growth through policy and programs.

Twenty-four states have at least one community solar project in operation, with 12 states operating at least two community farms or more, GTM said. The leading states based on operating capacity are Arizona, Colorado, California and Massachusetts.

At least 10 states are considering active community solar legislation to promote shared resources.

California, for example, is preparing to implement two community solar programs, one for utility-led development and another for third-party development. The program calls for 600 megawatts (MW) by 2019, with 110.5MW required by 2016.

Clean Energy Collective (CEC) and SunShare are the market leaders in building community solar farms, with a 32% combined market share, according to GTM.

As with other solar collectives, CEC and SunShare typically partner with utilities to develop high-volume, one-off community solar projects. Additionally, GTM Research reported today that 55 billion watts (55 gigawatts or GW) will be installed globally in 2015, a 36% increase over 2014.

Solar will account for roughly half of new electricity capacity out to 2020, the new report stated.

The United States will be the third-ranked PV market this year, behind only China and Japan. GTM Research forecasts the United States to install 8GW, which constitutes 14% of the global PV market.

 

 

 

Freescales Debuts Linux SoC

June 25, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Freescale has been showing off its two Linux-ready, 28nm i.MX7 SoCs.

Based around the Cortex-A7 cores and Cortex-M4 MCUs, the pair have lower power consumption than the predecessor the i.MX6.

The single-core, 800MHz i.MX7 Solo (i.MX7S) and dual-core, 1GHz i.MX7 Dual (i.MX7D) are the first use the Cortex-A7.

The reduced power consumption has happened at the expense of a performance reduction. The up-to-1GHz Cortex-A7 cores are slower than the i.MX6′s up to 1.2GHz Cortex-A9 cores. In addition, there’s no mention of the earlier Vivante GPUs or 3D acceleration. Like the UltraLite, there’s only a simple 2D image processing engine.

Freescale said the i.MX7′s Cortex-A7 and Cortex-M4 cores have a core efficiency levels of 100 ?W/MHz and 70 ?W/MHz, respectively. The SoC’s overall power efficiency is 15.7 DMIPS/mW, and a new Low Power State Retention (LPSR) mode runs at 250 ?W. In LPSR sleep mode, the i.MX7 consumes only 250 ?W, while supporting DDR self-refresh mode, GPIO wakeup, and memory state retention.

The savings are down to the newer Cortex-A7 architecture and a 28nm “ultra low leakage process,” as compared to the i.MX6′s 40nm process. The i.MX7 also features a new discrete power domain architecture.

The i.MX7 ships with Linux, and supports Android, and is aimed at wearables, Point-of-Sale gear and smart home controls.

The i.MX7 SoCs are paired with a new Freescale PF3000 PMIC which has features up to four buck converters, six linear regulators, an RTC supply, and a coin-cell charger. The chip is supposed to optimize peripheral power delivery, system memory and processor cores. The PMIC also supports one-time programmable memory for controlling startup sequence and output voltages.

The i.MX7 has a Cortex-M4 microcontroller unit (MCU) core for offloading processing. The Cortex-M4 can run Freescale’s own MQX, at up to 266MHz, compared to 200MHz on the SoloX.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Oracle To Extends Cloud Offerings, Takes On Amazon

June 24, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Oracle Corp founder and Executive Chairman Larry Ellison announced that his database company is expanding its cloud-computing offerings, bringing Oracle into more direct competition with Amazon.com Inc.

“We’re prepared to compete with Amazon.com on price,” said Ellison in a webcast presentation, after announcing that Oracle would offer online storage and capability for customers to run their applications entirely in Oracle’s cloud.

The expansion is a major new step for Oracle, which is shifting its traditional database and customer relationship management businesses to the cloud.

“This is a really big deal,” said Ellison, who stepped aside in 2014 as chief executive of the company.

Amazon Web Services is the market leader in providing cloud computing capability to customers, followed by Microsoft Corp’s Azure service and International Business Machines Corp.

Oracle, which calls its cloud offering the Oracle Cloud Platform, will provide a cost-effective alternative to Amazon, said Ellison.

“Our new archive storage service goes head-to-head with Amazon Glacier and it’s one-tenth their price,” said Ellison. Amazon did not immediately return a request for comment.

Oracle’s cloud business is growing quickly, running at a rate of about $2.3 billion a year in revenue, based on last quarter’s figures.

By comparison, Amazon and Microsoft get about $6.3 billion each in cloud revenue per year.

 

 

Google Seeking Testers For Jump Virtual Reality Video Camera

June 24, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

If you’re an aspiring virtual reality content producer, Google is looking to give you a chance to test the Jump camera system it developed for recording video to be used in VR environments.

Individuals that are interested in trying their hand at capturing 360-degree video with Jump can fill out a form Google posted on Monday that asks basic biographical questions as well as details on how they would use the system.

Google didn’t say how many “select creators” it would chose, but those who are picked will be able to start using the 16-camera rig this summer.

Google seems especially interested in people with creative backgrounds. The jobs that people can select in the form’s occupation section include filmmaker, director, artist and production staff — but there is an “other” section that allows write-ins if none of the above apply.

There’s also a section where applicants can explain why they want to test Jump — and “awesome answers might put you at the top of the list,” Google said.

Google worked with GoPro to build Jump, which has 16 of the company’s Hero4 cameras attached to a circular frame. Jump’s price and availability weren’t provided when the rig was shown at Google’s I/O developer’s conference in May. However, given that a Hero4 camera retails for approximately US$500, initial Jump buyers will likely have deep pockets.

The first videos created with Jump will appear on YouTube this summer, Google said at I/O. People will be able to experience them via the Google Cardboard viewer.

 

 

The Linux Foundation Donates To Open Source Security

June 24, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The Linux Foundations Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) has announced a $500,000 investment in three projects designed to improve the open source technology’s security and services.

The project will fund the ReproducibleBuilds, Fuzzing Project and False­Positive­Free Testing initiatives.

The $200,000 ReproducibleBuilds funding aims to help Debian developers Holger Levsen and Jérémy Bobbio’s attempts to improve the Debian and Fedora operating systems’ security by letting developers independently verify the authenticity of binary distributions.

The feature will help people working on the systems to avoid introducing flaws during the build process and reduce unneeded variations in distribution code.

The $60,000 Fuzzing Project investment will aid security researcher Hanno Böck’s efforts to coordinate and improve the fuzzing software testing technique that identifies security problems in software or computer systems.

It has been used successfully to find flaws in high-profile technologies including GnuPG and OpenSSL.

The final $192,000 False­Positive­Free Testing funding will go to Pascal Cuoq, chief scientist and co-­founder of TrustInSoft, in his attempts to build an open source TIS Interpreter that will reduce false positive TIS Analyser threat detections.

The overall funding will be overseen by Linux security expert Emily Ratliff, who expects the initiative to centralise the open source community’s security efforts.

“I’m excited to join the Linux Foundation and work on the CII because improving the security of critical open source infrastructure is a bigger problem than any one company can tackle on its own,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to working with CII members to more aggressively support underfunded projects and work to change the way the industry protects and fortifies open source software.”

The funding follows the discovery of several critical bugs in widely used open source technologies, one of the biggest of which was Heartbleed.

Heartbleed is a flaw in the OpenSSL implementation of the TLS protocol used by open source web servers such as Apache and Nginx, which host around 66 percent of all sites.

The funding is one of many initiatives launched by the Linux Foundation designed to stop future Heartbleed-level flaws. The Linux Foundation announced an open audit of openSSL’s security in March.

Courtesy-TheInq

Apple Watch Expected To Dominate Smartwatch Market

June 23, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

The Apple Watch is expected to capture nearly two-thirds of the smartwatch market for all of 2015, according to a new forecast from market research firm IDC.

IDC had said two weeks ago that Apple will ship to retailers about 21 million Apple Watches in 2015. That’s in the mid-range of other analyst forecasts of 15 million to 30 million for the new device.

Then last week IDC said that all smartwatches and a small number of other smart wearables will total 33.1 million shipments in 2015, putting Apple Watch at 63% of that total. Smart wearables are defined by IDC as devices capable of running third party apps, such as Apple Watch and Android Wear watches like the Moto 360.

The IDC prediction comes amidst some other striking analyst forecasts for the Apple Watch, but also amid questions about the overall value of smartwatches.

Financial analyst Brian White of Cantor Fitzgerald recently declared the Apple Watch will “prove to be the best selling product in Apple’s history (within the first 12 months.)” Various estimates say it took one day of pre-orders to sell 1 million Apple Watches, while it took Apple 74 days to sell 1 million iPhones and 28 days to sell 1 million iPads.

Research firm Slice Intelligence told Reuters that about 2.8 million Apple Watches were sold through mid-June, nearly two months after the device first went on sale. Apple hasn’t reported how many Apple Watches it has sold and is not expected to separately report that number in the future. Slice gets its insights by mining e-mail receipts. The entry-level Apple Watch costs $349 and is the most popular in sales, Slice said.

About 20% of Apple Watch customers are also buying a spare watch band, with the entry-level sports band selling for $49, Slice noted.

 

 

 

Is AMD Splitting Up?

June 23, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

AMD has denied rumors that it will split up its business in a bid to rival chip giant Intel.

Sources close to AMD said that the company is planning to divide into two, or spin off certain parts of the business, in order to make it a stronger force in the chip industry.

Three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that AMD is at the initial stage of reviewing, and has asked a consulting firm about its options in trying to turn the company around. The sources said that the deliberations are preliminary and that no decision has been made.

Apparently, one of the options under consideration is separating AMD’s graphics and licensing business from its server business, which sells processors that power data centres.

However, AMD has since denied such speculation. “While we normally would not comment on such a matter, we can share that we have no such project in the works at this time,” a company spokesperson said.

“We remain committed to the long-term strategy we laid out for the company in May at our Financial Analyst Day.”

If the rumours happen to be true, though, and AMD does split its company into two, it would make it the second major technology firm to do so in the past year.

PC maker HP confirmed in October that it would tear itself in half, making two new publicly traded Fortune 50 companies. The decision was down to the firm wanting to focus on the faster growing side of the business.

HP’s split is expected to be completed by the end of this year. HP’s enterprise technology infrastructure, software and services businesses will do business as Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and the firm’s market-leading personal systems and printing businesses will operate as HP Inc and retain the current logo.

Courtesy-TheInq