SiliconANGLE Extracting the signal from the noise. Sat, 25 Oct 2014 02:54:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What you missed in Big Data: Oracle, eBay join Hadoop open-source party Fri, 24 Oct 2014 21:26:17 +0000 Continue reading ]]> HadoopThe past week has seen not one but two technology giants take on a bigger role in the open-source community’s efforts to bring modern analytics within the grasp of the traditional enterprise. Online retail giant eBay Inc. led the charge with the contribution of a homegrown OLAP engine that it said makes querying Hadoop both easier and significantly faster.

Dubbed Kylin, the technology has a back story that’s familiar to the Hadoop community: A web company needed to address a new problem at a scale no existing product could handle, so it built its own. The particular challenge eBay faced was sustaining the response times its business users had come to expect for queries as the amount of information outgrew the capacity of its environment to handle it effectively.

Kylin solves that issue by automatically mapping certain repeating fields in HBase, which the e-commerce powerhouse runs on top of Hadoop as a data warehouse, to the complementary Hive component in the form of key-value pairs. That eliminates the need to sequentially scan upwards of billions of rows in HBase every time a business worker needs a more complicated question answered about about customers or products.

Et tu, Oracle?


Continuing its love-affair with open-source software, Oracle Corp. followed suit with the introduction of a new platform for tracking the flow of information inside Hadoop and other popular solutions that aims to bring the same kind of nimbleness to the data integration phase, which is another historic bottleneck. The Enterprise Metadata Management 12c toolkit provides an environment for analysts to extract insights about how data travels through their organizations that can help with spotting everything from innocent input errors to malicious corruption of sensitive business information.

Yet while it marks another milestone in the database market’s cautious warm-up to open software, the launch also serves the almost contradicting goal of strengthening Oracle’s grasp over its technology ecosystem, which is the same objective Teradata Corp. is aiming for with Connective Analytics. Introduced shortly after the Metadata Management suite, the offering extends the company’s value proposition beyond data warehousing with capabilities for mapping relationships across various online entities such as social media accounts and customers. According to the firm, the software makes it easier to identify complicated patterns that might otherwise slip through the cracks.

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HP launches commercial OpenStack distro along with developer and customer goodies Fri, 24 Oct 2014 21:17:09 +0000 Continue reading ]]> HP_cloudHewlett-Packard Co. has moved another step closer to realizing its lofty vision for a homegrown hybrid cloud with the introduction of the long-awaited commercial version of its OpenStack distribution and two complementary products aimed at helping customers make more of the software. The launch comes hot on the heels of the soon-to-split enterprise giant upgrading a key hosted component of its hybrid value proposition with expanded support for on-premise infrastructure.

HP Helion OpenStack packs a fairly standard set of features that won’t raise too many eyebrows in industry. The distro offers a graphical designer meant to simplify the creation of deployment topologies, automated patching and certain high-availability functionality for the core management services. More notable is its extensive integration with popular third party products: The platform provides support for VMware Inc.’s market-leading hypervisor and the Linux-integrated KVM – but not Microsoft Corp,’s fast-growing Hyper-V – as well as on-premise user directories and the Parallels Automation service delivery engine for cloud providers.

Helion OpenStack is also compatible with many of HP’s own products, including core hardware products and its recently integrated software-defined storage platform. What it doesn’t work with is the technology that the vendor obtained through the September acqusition of Eucalyptus Inc., which makes it possible to seamlessly move applications from on-premise environments to Inc.’s dominant public cloud – the biggest target in Helion’s sights.

Until their on-premise deployments become truly interoperable with the public cloud, users of HP’s OpenStack flavor can settle for a new development environment running on top of the distro. The Helion Development Platform is essentially a certified version of the open-source Cloud Foundry project that offer access to the company’s online community of engineers and operations professionals.

And to help customers deploy its OpenStack flavor, HP is also rolling out a pre-designed architecture for supporting large-scale installations of the distribution. The Helion Content Depot combines servers from the company’s ProLiant series of servers with homegrown networking equipment to provide what the firm describes as a scale-out object storage solution for handling large, modern workloads. Additionally, the bundle includes integration with OpenStack’s Keystone identity management service and optional security capabilities based on HP’s new Atalla family of encryption products. The kit is geared toward service providers and IT organizations big enough to qualify as such.

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Riding container craze, Bracket Computing exits stealth backed by $85 million Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:48:57 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Bracket Computing CellThe notion of encapsulating applications into standardized containers that can be seamlessly moved across different types of infrastructure has turned originator Docker Inc. from an unknown service provider into the center of the hybrid cloud frenzy in the span of just a few months. Now, a new player called Bracket Computing Inc. is looking to steal some of the startup’s limelight with its own spin on the concept that takes interoperability to a new level.

The brainchild of industry veteran Tom Gillis, who already has one high-eight-digit exit under his belt, Bracket Computing spent three years developing a first-of-its-kind technology that extends the scope of containers beyond applications and data to the supporting services beneath. The software bundles the user’s workload together with resource management and security capabilities into an independent capsule, or “Cell”, that can be moved among clouds and even distributed across multiple platforms at the same time.

By hiding the details of the underlying infrastructure under a consistent interface, Bracket Computing claims that its offering not only facilitates seamless migration between clouds but also eliminates the need for enterprise developers to worry about ensuring that their applications run reliably. The platform takes care of that automatically, according to the firm, spreading Cells across multiple services and availability zones to achieve a level of reliability that’s on par with what organizations expect from their private data centers. The same architecture also enables a high degree of scalability, allowing users to grow or shrink their environments as needed.

Rounding out the package is built-in authentication, data integrity and network segmentation capabilities along with encryption functionality that plugs into on-premise security controls so that organizations can keep the decryption keys behind the firewall. Bracket Computing can’t boast that its software is fully interoperable with private infrastructure like Docker is (in theory, at least), but Cells provide enough utility that  the firm shouldn’t have much trouble  finding an audience.

Bracket has scored a massive $85 million in financing from some the biggest names in the Silicon Valley venture capital community, including Andreessen Horowitz, Norwest Venture Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures, ARTIS Ventures and Allegis Capital. The investment also saw contributions from Generic Electric Co. and Qualcomm Inc., which also participated in an earth-shattering $543 million funding round for a mysterious virtual reality startup called Magic Leap Inc. earlier this week.

Bracket Computing plans to use its new funds to go after the $100 billion cloud computing market, according to CEO Gillis. The firm already boasts a handful of early customers, including Blackstone Group L.P., the world’s largest alternative asset manager.

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How Twitter can power the Internet of Things with Fabric Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:13:08 +0000 Continue reading ]]> This week’s SmartDevOps roundup features how Twitter can become the Internet of Things’ best ally, a new Internet of Things (IoT) platform to speed development for connected things and apps, and news of what could be the largest IoT hackathon happening in 2015.

robot food internet of things automation


Twitter’s Fabric to power the Internet of Things


Earlier this week Twitter Inc. announced Fabric, an app development platform to help app creators build mobile services. Fabric comprises three kits: Crashlytics, Twitter, and Digits, to make it easy for developers to analyze and improve apps, integrate Twitter with their own apps, or allow users to sign into the app using their phone number.

Andy Piper, developer advocate at Twitter, believes that Fabric also delivers a huge opportunity for those who want to develop for the Internet of Things. According to Piper, Twitter’s open API allows anyone to write an app that records data from sensors and translate the collected data into tweets to be posted on the social network. With Fabric, development of such apps would become easier. He cited that there are now many inanimate objects which have Twitter accounts to deliver information to people.

“The internet of things for me is about making it really easy to integrate all of those things and objects that are relevant to my environment and my life, and I think Twitter is a core part of that,” Piper said.” It has been for a long time, it just hasn’t always been thought of in that sense.”

Kii provides early access to new IoT platform


Kii Corp., the end-to-end mobile platform provider, announced the early access to its Internet of Things platform. Kii’s IoT platform offers cloud-enablement of devices, device management, Big Data analytics, optimization and a complete mobile backend, delivering manufacturers and app developers the capabilities to offer full-fledged, scalable IoT solutions while keeping costs for users low.

Early access to the platform is being offered in the U.S., Japan and behind China’s “great firewall.”

AT&T’s 2-day IoT hackathon in 2015


AT&T Corp. is seeking developers for its 2015 AT&T Developer Summit, happening at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 3-5 2015. The summit will feature a two-day hackathon on January 3-4, where interested parties have two days to create an app using AT&T APIs, as well as participate in the fast-pitch competition live on stage during the Developer’s Summit keynote address.

The Summit is said to focus on the Internet of Things and app development in this space. The hackathon will feature three tracks: Connected Car, Connected Home and Wearables. First place winners of each track will receive $10,000. The best overall app will receive $25,000 for first place, $10,000 for second place, and $5,000 for third place. Apps will be judged by originality, difficulty of technical implementation and use of AT&T APIs.

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After costly summer layoffs, Microsoft’s cloud has a silver lining Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:21:03 +0000 Continue reading ]]> cloud2The cost of Microsoft Corp.’s massive summer layoffs and a shift in focus to the mobile market has meant a dip in profits for the tech giant. Yesterday the company released its fiscal first quarter earnings, reporting a 13 percent slide in profits from 62 cents a share this time last year to 54 cents a share. But as Satya Nadella completes his second full quarter as Microsoft CEO, sales are up 25 percent from this time last year to $23.2 billion.

As the company pushes on with its transitions following the $7.17 billion acquisition of Nokia Oyj’s mobile phone division in April, hefty operating costs have been incurred, while company layoffs set Microsoft back a reported $1.14 billion in severance packages shared among 14 percent of 125,000 global employees. It’s not all bad news though; Lumia phone sales rose from 8.3 million handsets sold to 9.3 million over the year, resulting in $2.6 billion in sales revenue for Microsoft’s smartphone division.

Another positive is an 127 percent increase in sales of Microsoft’s Surface tablets, including the much improved laptop hybrid Surface Pro 3 released in June, bringing total revenue up to $908 million. It’s in the cloud division were Microsoft has seen its real silver lining to smartphone woes. Commercial cloud products sales, including sales from the Azure cloud platform and Office 365, were up 128 percent in the first quarter.

In spite of the dip in profits it seems investors have taken note of the positives and believe in Microsoft’s new vision, evident in a 4.3 percent rise in Microsoft stock during after-hours trading.

In a press release Nadella commented on the results and his plans in the pipeline, saying, “We are innovating faster, engaging more deeply across the industry, and putting our customers at the center of everything we do, all of which positions Microsoft for future growth.”

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No room for Android: Facebook Rooms alternatives for secret chats Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:42:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]> secret roomSatiating the rumor mill, Facebook has officially launched its own version of a secret chat app this week, called Rooms. The anonymous service is a standalone app that gives group creators full control over who can participate and how content is shared. Initially Facebook Rooms is being made available to users in the U.S. and the U.K., along with a handful of other English-speaking countries. But even these first regional users are limited to iPhone owners only, as Facebook Rooms has yet to launch an Android version of the anonymous sharing app.

So while Android users wait their turn for Facebook’s newest app, here are three alternatives to check out:

3 alternatives to Facebook Rooms



This service is available on the web, for iOS devices and Android. You can use your email address, phone number or Facebook account to create a Secret account. The secrets you share can be seen by your contacts or Facebook friends, but unless you give out any identifiers that can reveal you, they will not be able to know who you are. If a person has only a few contacts or Facebook friends, the secrets shared by the person will not be immediately available to his or her contacts to prevent them from being able to deduce who revealed a certain secret.


Yik Yak

This service requires a user to enter his or her phone number to get the latest news, gossip, and updates from the people around them. You can view confessions on the web or by using your iOS or Android phone.

Yik Yak is said to have strong age restriction policies, giving way to some very adult content. If you like a post you can upvote it through the ranks. If not, a down vote will bury it . A user gets Yakarma points for how popular his or her posts are, and also by down voting and upvoting posts. These points are redeemable for little more than Yik Yak bragging rights.



Available on iOS and Android, Whisper is quite an interesting platform to share your deepest, darkest secrets. The service does not ask for any identifiers such as your email account, and won’t ask you to connect to Facebook. Instead Whisper uses your device’s unique ID to identify a user, which means you can create multiple accounts in one device. By using the device’s unique ID, the service knows a lot less about the user, which means it is more anonymous compared to similar sharing apps.

You can change your username and password any time you please just by going to the settings section of the app, search by topics but not usernames, send a personal message by just tapping on a Whisper, reply to Whispers, “heart” them, share Whispers, and invite your friends to use the service.  You can make your Whispers standout with photos and quirky fonts.

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For mooching gamers, Sony launches Share Play Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:00:21 +0000 Continue reading ]]> ps4 controller
We can thank all the online social networks for making the concept of sharing a way of life. We’ve gone from sharing our thoughts, images, and videos online, to sharing our homes and vehicles in real life, with services like Airbnb Inc. and Uber Inc. Early next week, Sony Corp. will contribute to the culture of sharing with its exciting new Share Play feature for the PS4. Video game consoles have been capable of sharing content to social networks for some time. Both the Xbox 360 and the PS3 featured games that could upload gameplay screen shots and videos to Facebook and YouTube. Sony’s Share Play, which goes live on October 28th with the PS4 Masamune software update, goes well beyond simply sharing static content.

Share Play harkens back to a time when people played video games together in one room for hours at a time, passing the controller back and forth, taking turns to complete impossibly difficult games. It modernizes that experience by moving it online. An individual with a PS4 will be able to invite friends to join a game, even if the friend doesn’t have the game. All the friend needs is a PS4 and an internet connection. If you have all the latest and greatest games, and your friend has no games at all, you can invite your buddy to mooch off of you, and you’ll both be able to enjoy the gaming experience at no extra cost.

Co-op and versus games immediately come to mind, as Share Play will allow friends to go head to head, or work together, with a single copy of a video game. Single player games are also Share Play capable. Just like in the old days, when you could pass the controller to a friend who had a slightly faster trigger finger to help you finish off a difficult boss, you can use Share Play to ask for assistance from friends. You’ll essentially be handing over the control of the game to a friend, and you’ll watch them in action. Share Play has the potential to drastically increase the amount of time friends play video games together, as it will no longer be necessary to figure out which of your friends has the same games that you do.

Revived market opportunities


Based on everything Sony has published about Share Play, it seems to be a universal PS4 feature that will work on every game. It’s unclear if game publishers are concerned about the potential loss of revenue, now that friends won’t need to buy their own copies of games. Share Play will limit the amount of time a friend can play to one hour, but Sony hasn’t specified if that’s a daily limit, or simply a limit to continuous playing. This feature should help Sony maintain its advantage over Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox One console.

Interestingly enough, Microsoft originally planned to offer similar functionality. The Xbox One vision of game sharing allowed for individuals to share video game title’s with friends, who could then play it on their own, without the need to play together, and with no time limits. User backlash based on DRM concerns caused Microsoft to scrap their game share plans. They may need to revisit those ideas, if they want to be able to compete with the PS4.

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How to setup Facebook Rooms: The ultimate anonymous chat app? Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:25:34 +0000 Continue reading ]]> blue man sunglassesFacebook Inc. has officially introduced Rooms, an anonymous chat-sharing app that lets you create rooms for different topics in hopes of attracting others with similar interests. It is currently available for users in the U.S., U.K., and some English speaking countries.

“A room is a feed of photos, videos, and text – not too different from the one you have on Instagram or Facebook – with a topic determined by whoever created the room. Early users have already created rooms for everything from beat boxing videos to parkour to photos of home- cooked meals. There’s even a room called “Kicks From Above” that showcases photographs of cool shoes in cool places,” Rooms’ blog stated.

Room creators have control over their chat, able to change the text and emoji on the “Like” button, add a cover photo and theme colors, create custom “pinned” messages and custom member permissions. There’s even a setting to control whether or not people can link to a creator’s content on the web.

These are just the early features of Rooms, but its developer team from Facebook Creative Labs aims to add “more customizable features and ways to tweak your room.”

You can be as anonymous or as public as you want when using Rooms. You can have the same username for different rooms, or use a different name and persona for every room you create.

How to get started with Facebook Rooms


First, you need to download the Rooms app. It is currently only available for iPhone users, and its free. No news yet as to when the Android version of the app will be available.

Facebook Rooms iPhone app

Facebook Rooms iPhone app

When the app launches, you’ll be presented with a few quick tips on what you can do with a Room, and then you’ll be asked to create an account. This is where things gets interesting. Instead of linking your Rooms account to Facebook, it asks you whether you have invites to certain rooms. If you select “no, I would like one” you will be presented with an invite to a Room which you need to take a screenshot of to complete your account creation. After that, you can now explore the recommended Rooms or create your own room.

To create a Room, you first need to name it. Name it anything you want, like your favorite band, color, cartoon character, food or place. Be as creative as you want. Then you need to enter a description of the Room, and maybe a few rules like the topics you are interested in discussing in the said room, or rules if you want.

After entering the description and hitting the ‘done’ button, you can change the background color and wallpaper of your Room. To change the background color, just tap on the color palate for the desired hue. To change the wallpaper, you need to give Rooms access to your photos if you haven’t permitted so in the initial setup process.

You can now go to the next step, where you set the controls of the Rooms. You can assign permissions and require approval for posts, set an age restriction, and establish the Room’s discoverability. You’ll then be asked to nickname the Room. Again, be as creative as you please.

Your room is now ready to use.


Just visiting?

If you’re not into creating Rooms, you can explore the recommended chats from the Rooms team. To join a Room, you just need to take a screenshot of the invite then go back to the Rooms’ homepage, where you will see your desired Room.

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The Queen tweets her first and last? Fri, 24 Oct 2014 13:49:58 +0000 Continue reading ]]> twitter crown bird monarchy tweetToday, Queen Elizabeth II set the Twitter world afire when she became the first British monarch to send a tweet out to the masses.The queen sent the historic tweet this morning when she visited London’s science museum, and within the first hour, it had already been retweeted over 6,500 times. The @BritishMonarchy account is rapidly approaching the one-million subscriber mark.

It is a pleasure to open the Information Age exhibition today at the @ScienceMuseum and I hope people will enjoy visiting. Elizabeth R.

Queen Elizabeth joins the ranks of other world leaders who have used Twitter to reach out to the public, including former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, U.K. Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and U.S. President Barack Obama.

Although there was no indication that Queen Elizabeth would continue to send tweets in the future, she wouldn’t be the first British monarch to use a new technology to address her subjects. Her father, King George VI, famously used radio broadcasts to send words of encouragement to the people of the United Kingdom during World War II.

The tweet has already had its fair share of trolls jumping in on the excitement, with some people using the occasion to voice their opinions on the monarchy and British politics in general. They probably don’t need to be worry about being sent to the Tower for criticizing the queen, but they could still end up in prison if their tweets become threatening.

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Airbnb considers employee stock sale, evaluation set to rise to $13 Billion Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:45:50 +0000 Continue reading ]]> airbnbAs Airbnb Inc. prepares for an employee stock sale, their valuation is set to rise to $13 billion, up from its $10 million valuation in April. Airbnb is already one of the world’s most valuable private technology companies, beating publically traded hotel chains Wyndham Worldwide ($9.8 billion) and Hyatt Hotels ($9.2 billion).

The company is unlikely to start preparing for an IPO, until it fills the chief financial officer position, which has been vacant since last month when Andrew Swain left the company.

In the meantime, Airbnb is talking to investors about allowing their employees to cash in some of their stock. Sources familiar with the situation said the round could amount to $50 million, however that figure and the valuation could change as it hasn’t closed yet. The transactions, referred to as secondary share sales, will see the funds going to staff rather than becoming new capital for the company.

E-commerce company, Square, raised $150 million early this month from investors. It came at a valuation of $6 billion. Earlier this year, Uber Technologies Inc. set valuation records, when it raised $1.2 billion at a $17 billion valuation.

Regulatory challenges continue to face Airbnb around the world, including New York. However, on October 22, they scored an important victory when San Francisco legalized short-term rentals of less than 30 days by homeowners.

photo credit: Kevin Krejci via photopin cc
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