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Oracle Goes After Amazon Amazon Web Services

October 1, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Database management firm Oracle has said that its new cloud service will match the price being offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). Oracle confirmed the new competitive pricing strategy for its cloud offering at its OpenWorld conference.

Chairman Larry Ellison said Oracle’s cloud platform will “have the same pricing as Amazon or any other infrastructure provider.” He said the company’s new platform would include analytics, mobile, identity and social features.

Oracle’s switch to cloud services could also see the business improve efficiencies by running everything itself. Oracle’s cloud move has damaged the outfit’s bottom line, but Ellison’s successor as CEO, Safra Catz, believes the company is now in a good position to benefit from the migration.

“As the movement to the cloud grows, we expect this transition will affect our revenue to the positive,” she said. “These customers will essentially replace their software-support payments with a cloud subscription, which will mean substantially more revenue to Oracle.”

Oracle also introduced flash storage and data recovery products and its M7 microprocessor to speed up database software.

Courtesy-Fud

 

HP Will Offer ARM 64-bit Processors In Moonshot

October 1, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

ARM-based processor cartridges for its Moonshot servers, including 64-bit modules for high-performance web caching and integrated digital signal processing (DSP) for specialised tasks such as transcoding and telephony applications.

Available immediately, the new server cartridges represent the fourth “leap”, or release of HP’s Moonshot hardware, which is designed to target very specific applications calling for high-density server deployments rather than the general purpose applications met by HP’s existing Proliant line.

The new modules include the m400, which is a 64-bit cartridge based on the Applied Micro X-Gene server on a chip with eight cores running at up to 2.4GHz, and the m800, based on the 32-bit Keystone 66AK2Hx system on a chip (SoC) from Texas Instruments.

Of the two, the m800 was announced at the end of last year along with the cartridges based on Intel’s Avoton Atom and AMD’s Opteron X2150, but is only now shipping.

As with the existing cartridges, the new hardware is designed for the Moonshot 1500 rack-mount enclosure, which can house up to 45 hot-pluggable cartridge modules.

Reflecting their targeting at specific applications, both of the new cartridge options will come with a suitable software package, according to Iain Stephen, Vice President and General Manager for HP Servers in EMEA.

The m400 will thus ship with Ubuntu Linux, which includes the Juju service orchestration tool and Canonical’s Metal-as-a-Service (MaaS) tool for automatically provisioning bare metal servers.

“If you move to a software defined server world, there isn’t a lot of variation in the deployment, so the fastest way to get customers up and running is to have pre-loaded software,” he told The INQUIRER.

The m800 also comes with Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux operating system. This cartridge is a little more exotic, comprising four separate servers, each based on a TI chip with four Cortex-A15 ARM cores and up to eight TMS320C66x high-performance DSPs apiece.

However, it also ships with software for transcoding and voice recognition processing that makes used of the DSP hardware, according to Stephen.

“So it’s a very packaged piece of technology to run a very specific task for the customer,” he said.

HP’s Moonshot platform is aimed at emerging workloads, many of which are identified by customers and partners working with HP in its Discovery Labs, the firm said.

The most popular niche so far has proven to be running hosted desktops, according to Stephen, typically using the m700 cartridge which integrates four separate servers, each based on a quad-core AMD Opteron X2150 SoC.

“This is a completely new way of doing computing, with a chassis with a number of processors in it for specific tasks, and as a customer you’ve got to have a very good understanding of your software stack to take full advantage,” he said.

The technology is still at the “discovery” phase, he added, but HP expects to see growth in 2015 because there is now a broader range of cartridges targeting different applications.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Humana Integrates Health App With Apple’s HealthKit

October 1, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Humana Inc, which manages private Medicare and individual Obamacare insurance plans, has announced that it has integrated its consumer health application with Apple Inc’s HealthKit.

The move, the first announced by a major insurer, allows Humana customers to more easily manage fitness data and other personal health goals, the company said in a statement.

Humana’s wellness program, called HumanaVitality, rewards members for hitting these goals, which include being more active, eating better or losing weight, with items such as movie tickets and fitness equipment.

Apple’s HealthKit gathers data such as blood pressure and weight from various applications, enabling it to be viewed by consumers and doctors in one place. Its ease of use is expected to increase the data sharing between doctors and patients.

Apple delayed the launch of HealthKit earlier this month when it pulled back its iOS 8 operating system for iPhones and iPads. HealthKit and the new Humana application, which has about 3.8 million eligible members, launched lastFriday.

 

 

 

Kuddle, Microsoft To Launch Child Safe Tablet

September 30, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Kuddle, a Norwegian photo-sharing app created for children, plans to roll out a child safe tablet with Microsoft on Dec 1, and expects to sign funding deals with several venture capital firms within weeks, its chief executive said on Monday.

The Oslo-based company said it was on track to reach its goal of one million users by year-end and plans to soon raise another $5 million of fresh funds on top of the nearly $6 million it has already raised.

“We are working with Microsoft on several child safe devices which will be sold on our online store,” Chief Executive Ole Vidar Hestaas said. “The first device will be an Ipad Mini sized tablet prized under $100 that will be ready ahead of the Kuddle Store launch.”

“This is a child friendly device and it is not possible to download games like GTA (Grand Theft Auto) or apps like Snapchat,” Hestaas said.

Kuddle, which bills itself as a rival to Instagram, lets parents monitor what their children publish and keeps access to content restricted, preventing strangers from seeing and sharing pictures. There are no hashtags or comments to prevent online bullying and “likes” are anonymous.

Hestaas said the company also is in talks with Samsung and Microsoft’s Nokia phones unit on similar cooperation, and that it was also working on deals with European telecoms operators Telenor and Vodafone for child safe Kuddle SIM cards to be sold separately or linked up to one of its devices.

The app, which has a target of 1 million users by the end of 2014, is now available in 7 languages. The most significant growth has recently come from Brazil and the US.

Hestaas said he expects to conclude funding deals with several major international venture capital funds within weeks.

The firm’s present investors include Norwegian golf ace Suzann Pettersen.

 

 

BMW Begins Automated Driving Trials

September 30, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

German luxury carmaker BMW is partnering with Chinese internet giant Baidu to kick off highly automated driving trials in Beijing and Shanghai.

BMW research vehicles capable of highly automated driving have already undergone thousands of kilometers of trials on German autobahns. The project will now be expanded to include other large cities in China, BMW said on Monday.

“BMW is embarking on a further research project which will pave the way for highly automated driving in China as well,” the Munich-based automaker said in a statement.

“China’s fast-expanding urban centers present the engineers with challenges such as multi-level highways.”

Prototype cars developed in this project will initially be operated on urban highways in Beijing and Shanghai.

BMW needs a partner because cars with semi-autonomous driving functions need high-resolution maps to help measure precisely when they are in danger of hitting a curb, or missing a turn.

Cars currently have insufficient memory to store detailed maps of an entire country, so automakers need to team up with telecoms and internet providers to help autonomous vehicles download detailed maps on the go.

Baidu operates China’s largest search engine and is also a provider of map services and cloud services.

 

 

 

Mobile Devices OK’d For In-flight Use In Europe

September 29, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Airline passengers traveling on European airline flights will be able to leave their cell phones and other mobile gadgets on throughout the entire flight, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said on Friday.

European airlines can allow any kind of electronic devices such as tablets, laptops and smartphones to remain switched on for the entire trip without having to use the airplane mode. Switching to airplane mode was mandatory until now.

“This is the latest regulatory step towards enabling the ability to offer ‘gate-to-gate’ telecommunication or WiFi services,” EASA said in a news release.

It is up to the airline to decide whether to allow the use of electronic devices. In order to do so, they will have to go through an assessment to ensure the aircraft systems are not affected by device transmission signals in any way.

However, to ensure safety on board, passengers will likely be asked by the cabin crew to stow their devices during taxi on the runway and take-off, an EASA spokesman said, adding that airlines can still set rules on when devices can be used.

 

 

Oracle Releases Openstack Framework For The Cloud

September 29, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Oracle has released its version of Openstack for Oracle Linux, its distribution of the Openstack cloud framework integrated with Oracle Linux and Oracle VM Server virtualisation, providing customers with increased choice and interoperability for building cloud infrastructure.

Available as a free download from Oracle’s Public Yum Server and the Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN), Oracle’s Openstack build installs on top of Oracle Linux and allows users to run virtual machines using any guest operating system supported by Oracle VM Server, including Microsoft Windows, Oracle Solaris and other versions of Linux.

The platform was previewed as a beta release in May, but with the general availability of Oracle Openstack for Oracle Linux 1.0, the firm is now providing production Openstack support to Oracle Linux and Oracle VM customers, Oracle said.

While the beta was based on the Havana release of Openstack, the production release is based on the most up-to-date Icehouse release, along with many improvements such as a simplified install process and bug fixes.

Writing on Oracle’s Linux blog Ronen Kofman, director of Product Management for Oracle Virtualization and Openstack, said the firm’s goal is to help develop Openstack into an enterprise grade solution capable of operating an entire data centre running all types of enterprise workloads.

“We would like Openstack to become a first-class solution and the cloud operating system of choice for customers of any size,” he said.

To this end, Oracle’s Openstack build provides high-availability support for Openstack services through Oracle Clusterware, which is included with Oracle Linux Support subscriptions.

Oracle Openstack for Oracle Linux also includes the Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Cinder plugin, which provides customers with an enterprise-grade storage option and integration with MySQL Enterprise Edition.

This release allows customers to build a highly scalable, multi-tenant infrastructure environment and integrate with the rich ecosystem of plugins and extensions available for Openstack, Oracle said.

Support for Oracle Openstack for Oracle Linux is available as part of the Oracle Linux and Oracle VM Premier Support at no additional cost.

Courtesy-TheInq

RedHat Ups Game With Fedora 21

September 29, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

RedHat has announced the Fedora 21 Alpha release for Fedora developers and any brave users that want to help test it.

Fedora is the leading edge – some might say bleeding edge – distribution of Linux that is sponsored by Red Hat. That’s where Red Hat and other developers do new development work that eventually appears in Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and other Red Hat based Linux distributions, including Centos, Scientific Linux and Mageia, among others. Therefore, what Fedora does might also appear elsewhere eventually.

The Fedora project said the release of Fedora 21 Alpha is meant for testing in order to help it identify and resolve bugs, adding, “Fedora prides itself on bringing cutting-edge technologies to users of open source software around the world, and this release continues that tradition.”

Specifically, Fedora 21 will produce three software products, all built on the same Fedora 21 base, and these will each be a subset of the entire release.

Fedora 21 Cloud will include images for use in private cloud environments like Openstack, as well as AMIs for use on Amazon, and a new image streamlined for running Docker containers called Fedora Atomic Host.

Fedora 21 Server will offer data centre users “a common base platform that is meant to run featured application stacks” for use as a web server, file server, database server, or as a base for offering infrastructure as a service, including advanced server management features.

Fedora 21 Workstation will be “a reliable, user-friendly, and powerful operating system for laptops and PC hardware” for use by developers and other desktop users, and will feature the latest Gnome 3.14 desktop environment.

Those interested in testing the Fedora 21 Alpha release can visit the Fedora project website.

Courtesy-TheInq

FBI Is Concerned About Encryption On Smartphones

September 29, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation expressed some concerns about moves by Apple and Google to include encryption on smartphones, the agency’s director has stated.

Quick law enforcement access to the contents of smartphones could save lives in some kidnapping and terrorism cases, FBI Director James Comey said in a briefing with some reporters. Comey said he’s concerned that smartphone companies are marketing “something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law,” according to news reports.

An FBI spokesman confirmed the general direction of Comey’s remarks. The FBI has contacted Apple and Google about their encryption plans, Comey told a group of reporters who regularly cover his agency.

Just last week, Google announced it would be turning on data encryption by default in the next version of Android. Apple, with the release of iOS 8 earlier this month, allowed iPhone and iPad users to encrypt most personal data with a password.

Comey’s remarks, prompted by a reporter’s question, came just days after Ronald Hosko, president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund and former assistant director of the FBI Criminal Investigative Division, decried mobile phone encryption in a column in the Washington Post.

Smartphone companies shouldn’t give criminals “one more tool,” he wrote. “Apple’s and Android’s new protections will protect many thousands of criminals who seek to do us great harm, physically or financially. They will protect those who desperately need to be stopped from lawful, authorized, and entirely necessary safety and security efforts. And they will make it impossible for police to access crucial information, even with a warrant.”

Representatives of Apple and Google didn’t immediately respond to requests for comments on Comey’s concerns.

 

Jimmy Johns The Latest Chain To Fall Victim To Data Breach

September 26, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Sandwich restaurant chain Jimmy John’s said there was a potential data breach involving customers’ credit and debit card information at 216 of its stores and franchised locations on July 30.

An intruder stole log-in credentials from the company’s vendor and used the credentials to remotely access the point-of-sale systems at some corporate and franchised locations between June 16 and Sept. 5, the company said.

The chain is the latest victim in a series of security breaches among retailers such as Target Corp, Michaels Stores Inc and Neiman Marcus.

Home Depot Inc  said last week some 56 million payment cards were likely compromised in a cyberattack at its stores, suggesting the hacking attack at the home improvement chain was larger than the breach at Target Corp.

More than 12 of the affected Jimmy John’s stores are in Chicago area, according to a list disclosed by the company.

The breach has been contained and customers can use their cards at its stores, the privately held company said.

Jimmy John’s said it has hired forensic experts to assist with its investigation.

“Cards impacted by this event appear to be those swiped at the stores, and did not include those cards entered manually or online,” Jimmy John’s said.

The Champaign, Illinois-based company said stolen information may include the card number and in some cases the cardholder’s name, verification code, and/or the card’s expiration date.

 

 

MediaTek Jump Into “The Internet Of Things” Space

September 26, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

SoC designer MediaTek has launched a new push to develop technologies used in wearables and Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices.

Dubbed MediaTek Labs, the new organisation will offer tools for developers such as software and hardware development kits (SDKs and HDKs), but it will also offer other forms of support, i.e. tech support and marketing.

MediaTek LinkIt dev platform

The MediaTek LinkIt platform promises to offer a full-service approach for developers keen to enter the space. It allows developers familiar with MediaTek’s Arduino implementation to quickly migrate to the new platform

For the time being the platform is limited to the MediaTek Aster MT2502A processor. The company says it is the world’s smallest commercially available SoC. The chip can work with MediaTek’s WiFi and GPS companion chipsets.

The company is calling on developers to join the MediaTek Labs initiative and in case you are interested you can check out the details on the new MediaTek Labs website.

MediaTek Aster spec

Now for some juicy hardware. The Aster MT2502A is an ARM7 EJ-S part clocked at 260MHz. The dev board features 4MB of RAM and 16MB of flash. GPS and WiFi capability can be added using the MT3332 and MT5931 chips. The platform supports microSD, Bluetooth (including BLE), along with GSM and GPRS communications.

The Aster is clearly not an SoC for feature packed wearables with high resolution screens, but it could be used in more down to earth applications such as fitness trackers.

MediaTek says it will offer three platforms based on two wearable solutions. The One Application Use (OAU) platform is for fitness trackers and simple Bluetooth devices. The Simple Application Platform (SAU) is intended for smart watches, wristbands and more elaborate fitness trackers.

SAU is the focus segment for the Aster chipset and it should offer 5 to 7 days of battery life.

MediaTek Rich Application Platform

The Rich Application Platform (RAU) is for Android Wear and it will offer a lot more functionality out of the box, including camera support, 3D graphics, as well as Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS in the same package.

This platform sounds a bit more interesting, but details are sketchy. For some reason many media outlets erroneously described the first Aster chip as MediaTek’s only smartwatch chip, but it is clearly not intended for the Rich Application Platform.

We have yet to see what sort of silicon MediaTek can conjure up for high-end wearables, but this is what it has in mind. The platform is designed for high-end smartwatches and glasses. It will feature multicore processors clocked at 1GHz or more. The platform also includes Bluetooth, GSM/GPRS, GPS, WiFi, sensors and a proper TFT screen. Battery life is described as short, two to three days, which sounds a bit better than what the current generation of smartwatches can deliver.

Courtesy-Fud

Hackers Prefer Your Medical Records Over Your Credit Cards

September 26, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Your medical records are worth 10 times more than your credit card number on the black market.

Last month, the FBI warned healthcare providers to guard against cyber attacks after one of the largest U.S. hospital operators, Community Health Systems Inc, said Chinese hackers had broken into its computer network and stolen the personal information of 4.5 million patients.

Security experts say cyber criminals are increasingly targeting the $3 trillion U.S. healthcare industry, which has many companies still reliant on aging computer systems that do not use the latest security features.

“As attackers discover new methods to make money, the healthcare industry is becoming a much riper target because of the ability to sell large batches of personal data for profit,” said Dave Kennedy, an expert on healthcare security and CEO of TrustedSEC LLC. “Hospitals have low security, so it’s relatively easy for these hackers to get a large amount of personal data for medical fraud.”

Interviews with nearly a dozen healthcare executives, cybersecurity investigators and fraud experts provide a detailed account of the underground market for stolen patient data.

The data for sale includes names, birth dates, policy numbers, diagnosis codes and billing information. Fraudsters use this data to create fake IDs to buy medical equipment or drugs that can be resold, or they combine a patient number with a false provider number and file made-up claims with insurers, according to experts who have investigated cyber attacks on healthcare organizations.

Medical identity theft is often not immediately identified by a patient or their provider, giving criminals years to milk such credentials. That makes medical data more valuable than credit cards, which tend to be quickly canceled by banks once fraud is detected.

Stolen health credentials can go for $10 each, about 10 or 20 times the value of a U.S. credit card number, according to Don Jackson, director of threat intelligence at PhishLabs, a cyber crime protection company. He obtained the data by monitoring underground exchanges where hackers sell the information.

 

ARM Shows Off The Interet Of Things Processor

September 25, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

ARM has unveiled a 32-bit Cortex-M processor for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, promising to double the compute and digital signal processing (DSP) capability of its present microcontroller units (MCUs).

ARM said that the Cortex-M7 single computer chip will power high-end embedded applications used in next generation vehicles, connected devices, and smart homes and factories.

“The addition of the Cortex-M7 processor to the Cortex-M series allows ARM and its partners to offer the most scalable and software-compatible solutions possible for the connected world,” said ARM CPU group GM Noel Hurley. “The versatility and new memory features of the Cortex-M7 enable more powerful, smarter and reliable microcontrollers that can be used across a multitude of embedded applications.”

The Cortex-M7 processor achieves a performance score of five Coremark/MHz, ARM claims, which the firm says allows the Cortex-M7 to deliver a combination of high performance and digital signal control functionality that will enable MCU silicon makers to use in it highly demanding embedded applications while keeping development costs low.

Launching with early licensees such as Atmel, Freescale and ST Microelectronics, The Corex-M7 is expected to be used in smart control systems employed in a range of applications such as motor control, industrial automation, advanced audio, image processing, a variety of connected vehicle applications and other IoT devices.

Features of the Cortex-M7 include: a six stage, superscalar pipeline delivering 2,000 Coremarks at 400MHz in a 40LP process; AXI interconnect supporting 64-bit transfer and integrated optional caches for instruction and data allowing efficient access to large external memories and powerful peripherals; and tightly coupled memory interfaces for rapid response.

ARM said that the updates in the new chip of faster processing of audio and image data and voice recognition will be immediately apparent to users.

“The core also provides the same C-friendly programmer’s model and is binary compatible with existing Cortex-M processors. Ecosystem and software compatibility enables simple migration from any existing Cortex-M core to the new Cortex-M7,” ARM claimed. “System designers can therefore take advantage of extensive code reuse which in turn offers lower development and maintenance costs.”

ARM said the Cortex-M7 could be available in devices as early as next year.

Earlier this month, ARM announced that it signed 50 licensing agreements with silicon partners to fab chips based on its 64-bit ARMv8-A processor, claiming it has seen growing momentum for the architecture.

A total of 27 companies signed agreements for the company’s ARMv8-A technology in September, including all of the silicon vendors selling application processors for smartphones plus most of those targeting enterprise networking and servers.

Courtesy-TheInq

Google Envisions High Altitude Internet-connected Balloons Circling The Earth

September 25, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Google is hoping to launch a fleet of high-altitude balloons that will orbit the planet, providing Internet connectivity to remote areas — and it plans to do so within a year.

That’s the plan that Astro Teller, head of Google’s secretive “moonshot factory” GoogleX, told an audience at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech conference in Cambridge today. The effort - known as Project Loon — should prove to be a good way to get wireless Internet access to billions of people who don’t have it today, according to a report in MIT Technology Review.

The Review also noted that Teller said Google should soon have enough balloons to prove that the project, which is focused on connecting cell phone users, is feasible. “In the next year or so, we should have a semi-permanent ring of balloons somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere,” he said.

Google, working with local cellular providers, has been testing balloon-powered Internet access for more than a year now.

The company is tackling a huge problem. For two/thirds of the world’s population, a fast and affordable Internet connection is out of reach. Google is trying to solve this problem with a network of balloons that fly above the Earth twice as high as commercial airplanes.

In June 2013, Google launched 30 high-altitude balloons above the Canterbury area of New Zealand as part of a pilot test with 50 users trying to connect to the Internet using them.

Then in April, the company announced that one of its balloons circled the Earth in 22 days.

Google’s vision is to build a ring of balloons, flying around the globe on stratospheric winds about 12.4 miles high, providing Internet access to remote and underserved areas. The balloons communicate with specially designed antennas on the ground, which in turn connect to ground stations that connect to the local Internet service provider.

Though the concept seems far-fetched, Google X is the division of Google that came up with Glass, wearable computers that are in the prototype stage, and self-driving cars which have been logging miles on highways and city streets.

 

Every Three Minutes A Mobile Device Is Wiped, Says Fiberlink

September 25, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

One mobile device is wiped every three minutes as part of a corporate security compliance, according to a study of 130,000 devices managed by MaaS360, the Fiberlink mobile device management platform.

Fiberlink, an IBM company, manages millions of mobile devices for businesses worldwide through the MaaS360 platform. The company said today that a study of data from 2013 revealed that, on average, businesses wipe 10% to 20% of their entire device population every year.

Everyone wipes. Fiberlink’s data showed businesses from every vertical and size are clearing data from mobile devices to address security concerns.

Remote mobile data wipe capability has become a controversial, if not de facto, standard among corporate privacy policies and is a key feature offered by mobile device management (MDM) platforms. Even cloud storage service providers are offering the capability today.

Corporate attitudes toward bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies are often poorly formed and can, in general, fall into one of three categories: There’s no official BYOD policy, devices are banned or no one talks about it.

As more companies embrace BYOD and the lines continue to blur between personal and professional use, companies are finding new ways to balance security concerns with employee productivity. One method is to have employees agree to a remote wipe policy, which can sometimes mean personal data on the phone is lost as well.

One method of dealing with the sensitive personal data that employees don’t want deleted is “dual persona” mobile devices, or smartphones and tablets that run two separate mobile operating systems that allow disparate instances.

Dual-persona capability allows businesses to lock down corporate data on one OS, while allowing users to take advantage of whatever apps they want to run on the other “personal” OS.

According to Fiberlink’s study of its own clients, 63% of devices are partially wiped and 37% are fully wiped.

Additionally, 49% of wipes are done automatically and 51% are done by someone at the organization.

The most common reasons for automatic wipes are because devices have been jailbroken or because companies are enforcing enrollment and application compliance policies, Fiberlink’s data showed.