SiliconANGLE Extracting the signal from the noise. Mon, 01 Sep 2014 15:42:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Prominent figures set up Bitcoin ALS funding campaign Mon, 01 Sep 2014 15:42:35 +0000 Continue reading ]]> small__7459087708Most readers are probably well aware of the Ice Bucket Challenge by now. But if you’re still in the dark about why so many celebrities, everyday people, and even big technology company CEOs are dumping buckets of ice water over themselves, it’s because they are raising awareness and funds for a neurodegenerative disease known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (abbreviated as ALS, and also known as “motor neurone disease” and “Lou Gehrig’s disease”).

The disease makes sufferers lose the ability to control their muscles, which means they slowly waste away, and eventually, die. There’s no cure for ALS yet and until now, the disease has been given very little attention.

On Thursday, Hal Finney, one of the earliest users and developers of Bitcoin, passed away after five years of battling ALS. He had been paralyzed and was finally taken off life support at Paradise Valley Hospital. Fran Finney, his wife, said his body was quickly prepared for cryonic preservation at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Ariz. Finney was a futurist and believes that by freezing his body, he can one day be revived, maybe at a time when a cure for ALS has been found.

In an interview with Andy Greenberg of The Wired, Fran recounts Hal’s involvement in Bitcoin. It was in 2009 when he was diagnosed with ALS and despite the paralysis slowly claiming his life, he was still able to contribute to the Bitcoin community by writing codes using a software that translates eye movement into text. Sadly, the Finney’s didn’t get rich from their early investment in Bitcoin as most of their savings went on healthcare. All of the early Bitcoins they accumulated were traded for dollars long before the cryptocurrency reached its $1,000 value.

After Greenberg’s story about was Finney was published, the family received 25 Bitcoins, which in today’s exchange rate is at about $12,000. They were supposed to use the money to buy Hal a new computer interface that would use an electromyographic (EMG) switch to read electric signals from surface muscle, allowing him to better control his voice and writing software, but the interface was incompatible with the few muscles he still had control of. Now, the Bitcoins will be used to fund Hal’s cryonic procedure that may one day bring him back to life.

At present, there’s no evidence to support the theory of cryonic preservation and eventual revival. Alcor uses a concoction of chemicals called M-22 to replace vital fluids in the human body. These chemicals are designed to be minimally toxic and prevent the formation of ice crystals that cause the destruction of cells. Despite the possibility that this procedure will not yield the desired results in say, a decade or a century from now, Fran can’t help but hope.

“He never said to me, ‘I will come back.’ But he told me, ‘I hope to be back,’” Fran says. “Hal liked the present. But he looked towards the future. He wanted to be there. And this is his way to get there.”

The ALS Association doesn’t yet accept Bitcoin donations but because of Finney’s passing, prominent figures in the Bitcoin community have set up the Hal Finney Bitcoin Fund for ALS Research which will accept Bitcoin donations. BitPay, Inc., which has a zero transaction fee for non-profit organizations, will be handling the donations, and the community has the power to decide which ALS organization will be the recipient of the accumulated funds.

The funding campaign will run through until November 27, 2014 and the payment will be given on December 2, 2014.

The Bitcoin Foundation was the first to donate $100 for the campaign which was in collaboration with Erik Voorhees, co-founder of Coinapult, Jason King of Sean’s Outpost, and bitcoin evangelist Roger Ver.

photo credit: zcopley via photopin cc
]]> 0
Smart Living: Samsung’s vibrating necklace + connected devices Mon, 01 Sep 2014 15:29:26 +0000 Continue reading ]]> gear circleThis week’s Smart Living roundup features a vibrating notification headset, funding for a smart home startup, and a tracking device that has no monthly fee.

Samsung Gear Circle


Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. recently unveiled two new wearable devices, the Samsung Gear S which is a new addition to its smartwatch line, and the Gear Circle, a vibrating notifications headset.

When paired with a smartphone, the Gear Circle can receive calls, listen to music, and even make voice commands in style via a Bluetooth connection. It features a magnetic lock that allows the device to clasp around the wearer’s neck when not in use and still deliver notifications for incoming calls via vibrations.

Zuli raises $1.65M in seed funding


Zuli Inc., creator of a smart plug that turns any home appliance into a smart one, has raised $1.65 million in seed funding from Menlo Ventures, Winklevoss Capital, Logitech, DeNA, XG Ventures, FreedomPop CEO Stephen Stokols, and Hossein Eslambolchi, former CTO of AT&T Corp.

The seed funding will be used by Zuli to bring the Zuli Smartplug, the company’s first produc,  to market. Aside from the seed funding, the company also announced that it has established a development partnership with Astro Studios, Inc., designers of the Nike FuelBand and Xbox 360.

“Zuli’s sole focus is to create a simpler, more enjoyable home experience, by enabling your home to adjust to where you are and what you like,” said Zuli CEO and co-founder Taylor Umphreys. “With Zuli Smartplugs, come home to have the lamps brighten to an ambient level, while your heater starts and music fades simply by walking in to the room. Save energy and set your Zuli Smartplugs to shut off appliances when you leave the room – all without ever taking your phone out of your pocket.”



Despite sounding like a social networking site from the early 2000s, Findster is actually a GPS tracking system that helps people keep tabs on their pets, kids, or even personal things, but without the hassles of monthly fees.

How is that possible, you ask? The Findster ecosystem has five components: the child/pet module, guardian module, portable charger, base station and the app. The child/pet module features a high-precision GPS system and a 3-axis accelerometer that enables the detection of whether the child fell or, in the pet’s case, what his activity index is throughout the day. But what makes Findster unique is its innovative RF communication system that allows the child/pet module to communicate with the guardian module.  It has a range of 0.62 miles (1 km) between both modules which eliminates the need to send the coordinates through a cellular connection, thus eliminating the monthly service fee.

You can help fund Findster on Indiegogo. Currently, it’s already raised $14, 852 of its $500 original funding goal.

Samsung Gear Circle image via Samsung
]]> 0
China turns up the heat in Microsoft antitrust probe Mon, 01 Sep 2014 11:00:41 +0000 Continue reading ]]> FlamethrowerChina’s anti-trust regulator has deepened its probe into Microsoft Corp., giving the company twenty days to reply to queries regarding the compatibility of its Windows and Office software products

Reuters is reporting that the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) interviewed Microsoft Vice President David Chen last week, and has now given the firm a deadline to answer its questions.

“[A] special investigation team conducted an anti-monopoly investigation inquiry with Microsoft Vice President Chen Shi (David Chen), and required that Microsoft make a written explanation within 20 days,” the SAIC said in a statement on its website.

SAIC’s investigation into Microsoft was opened last month, when the regulator announced that it was concerned about sales of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser and Windows Media Player. It said that sales records were “problematic” in an earlier statement.

Microsoft has been accused of breaking anti-monopoly laws in China regarding the compatibility, bundling and document authentication used within its Windows and Office products. Last month, Chinese authorities carried out a raid on Microsoft’s offices in China, and the firm reportedly refused to cooperate willingly.

The antitrust probe is similar to that which Microsoft faced in Europe more than a decade ago, but questions have been raised about why China is so concerned now, when Microsoft’s star appears to be on the wane given the popularity of operating systems from Apple and Google.

Other reports suggest that something more sinister is going on, and that China is determined to rid itself of its reliance on Windows. The world’s most populous nation has made a lot of noise about developing its own home-grown operating system in recent weeks, and was apparently extremely unhappy with the way Microsoft dropped support for Windows XP earlier this year.

China is also somewhat skeptical of US-made technology in general, thanks to the disclosures of ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden on government surveillance.

Microsoft isn’t the only company to come under the scrutiny of China’s anti-trust regulators. Reuters reports that similar probes have been launched into chip maker Qualcomm Inc., and automaker Mercedes-Benz. Qualcomm is suspected of anti-competitive business practices, while Mercedes-Benz is being investigated for fixing prices.

This development comes as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is expected to travel to China this month, his first visit to the country since taking over the top job. It’s unclear if his visit has anything to do with the current probe into the company.

photo credit: hunterseakerhk via photopin cc
]]> 0
Android breaks free: One step closer to world domination Mon, 01 Sep 2014 10:34:02 +0000 Continue reading ]]> small__7872215452Google’s pursuit of mobile world domination is coming along nicely, with the latest data from UK-based tech analyst Kantar Group showing that Android has made even more inroads into the US and other markets. Apple’s hold over its fanbois is slowly slipping, while Windows Phone’s growth seems to have stalled in 2014.

The findings aren’t all that surprising. High street stores across the world are awash with Android devices of all shapes and sizes, and Apple refuses to compete in the extremely massive lower-end market. There’s also the huge amount of pre-publicity surrounding the all-new iPhone 6, set to launch in a few weeks, that’s probably put off many a fanboi from buying just yet.

As far as Windows Phone is concerned, its biggest problem is there’s been hardly any new products released this year. Device makers have been patiently waiting for the launch of Windows Phone 8.1 before releasing their products, and the new Nokia Lumia 630 only began shipping in June, which means its’ sales data barely figures yet.

Android’s dominance is best illustrated in the US, where it has always faced strong competition from Apple. It’s market share increased by 11.4 percent year-on-year and is now running on 62.9 percent of all smartphones in the country. Interestingly, iOS’ share fell by almost the same amount – 11.8 percent, which could possibly indicate that a lot of people are swapping out their iPhones for something else. Windows Phone didn’t figure much better – its share has slipped from an all-time high of 5.3 percent in February 2014 to just 3.8 percent now.

Android US Market Share1

Image credit: Kantar


Of course the US isn’t the only market that matters. Europe is vitally important too, and Android happens to be even stronger there. It’s share rose by 4 percent to 75.1 percent, largely at the expense of phones in the “other” category, from which we might assume there’s a whole lot less BlackBerry users in Europe these days. Still, Windows Phone is doing a bit better in the EU, attaining a ‘whopping’ 16.1 percent market share in Italy, and 10.1 percent share in the UK.

For a closer look at how the world’s mobile arena is shaping up, head on over to Kantar’s slidey interactive map here.

photo credit: Iwan Gabovitch via photopin cc
]]> 0
Amazon’s enterprise cloud locker comes online Fri, 29 Aug 2014 19:43:31 +0000 Continue reading ]]> enterprise cloud infrastructure Inc. officially entered the enterprise file syncronization race on Wednesday with the launch of Zocalo, the homegrown cloud locker it unveiled in July as a response to fast-growing corporate adoption of existing solutions such rival Microsoft Corp.’s OneDrive.

Named after the Spanish word for town square, the platform is exiting its nearly two-month private beta period with a bang, bringing a host of management features and a characteristically scalable pricing model into the ring. The offering has been built from the ground up to the cater to the needs of the largely risk-averse organizations Amazon is targeting with its public cloud strategy.

Zocalo swaps out the self-service management of consumer-oriented file sharing services for a centralized dashboard that allows admins to create accounts, allocate storage space and enforce governance policies from the same place. A user can be assigned privileges based on the requirements determined by an administrator, whether it be the ability to share specific folders with peers or the freedom to send links to outsiders.

The service plugs into popular on-premise user directories to save admins the hassle of individually registering workers into their companies’ Zocalo deployments and also comes integrated with CloudTrail, a logging tool Amazon introduced last November with the goal of making its cloud more transparent. The free utility records every request sent to a customer’s environment and periodically delivers the records in the form of easily readable JSON documents. It’s useful both for monitoring resource usage, and more importantly, monitoring security events such as configuration changes, which can be crucial in an environment hosting sensitive corporate documents.

For end-users, Zocalo makes it possible to share files up to five gigabytes in size, sync data across their different devices and collaborate with colleagues in real-time. The platform also includes a feature similar to the experimental Project Harmony feature from Dropbox Inc. that extends the core sharing capabilities into Office so as to display external edits in local versions of a document without necessitating a refresh.

Amazon is offering a 30-day trial of Zocalo with fifty 200-gigabyte seats to get organizations started with the service and is providing 50 gigabytes at no charge for users of its WorkSpaces desktop virtualization service.  Normal subscriptions start at five dollars a month after the free period is over, with the option to buy more storage on an incremental basis wherein  the price per terabyte goes down as the total amount purchased increases.

At the current rates,  a terabyte on Zocalo will set customers back $29 a month, which is almost three times  than what Google Inc., Microsoft and, as of this week, Dropbox are charging for the same capacity. But considering Amazon’s long history of undercutting the competition in the public cloud, it’s safe to assume that the ratio will even out over time – and sooner rather than later – once the retail giant settles into the market.

photo credit: billfrog2 via photopin cc
]]> 0
Teaching established industries new cloud tricks | #vmworld Fri, 29 Aug 2014 18:00:15 +0000 Continue reading ]]> cloud eyes perception thought bubble opinion customer careCapgemini S.A. is focused on helping customers transition into a new age of technology tools. In combination with VMware, Inc., Capgemini is seeking to help customers enhance their businesses through social, mobile, analytics, or the cloud. These services, and implementing them with customers, is Capgemini’s “sweet spot.”

Sheryl Chamberlain, Capgemini VP and Global Partner Executive, sat down with Dave Vellante and John Furrier on theCUBE at VMworld 2014 to discuss Capgemini methodology and upcoming trends in the tech world.


Open source drives collaboration and new ventures


Capgemini takes a customer-centric approach, Chamberlain said. First, they listen to what the business is trying to achieve from data and analytics. Then, then go to their tech partners and figure out what solutions will best serve their customers.

New open source technologies, in addition to an atmosphere of openness, have opened up what Chamberlain called a “new world of collaboration.” Momentum, she mentioned, has been building around open source the Internet of Things. A few questions that Chamberlain has been collaboratively investigating include: “How can we use the information that we’re getting as we’re using our devices?” And “how can we integrate the next generation of success?”

Read more after the video.


Big industries using new tech to solve old problems


Capgemini is transforming along with their customers. While it’s maintained focus on the stack, Chamberlain said that Capgemini noticed that “customers are consuming smaller amounts of technology.” Many customers have already made transformative changes to their infrastructure, and are now tying to solve specific business problems. Capgemini is concentrating on helping businesses figure out how to best the data they’re collecting from customers.

Some of the concrete ways Capgemini facilitating customer change are through Cloudification and SaaSification. Capgemini becomes part of business teams that make the decision-making process when changes occur.

Use case: Agriculture


Chamberlain used an agriculture company as an example. “They need to understand what’s going on in the field.” Capgemini can help that customer understand trends, like “when water will be more important or not important.” By facilitating data analysis, Chamberlain said that Capgemini can help the company figure out how to get more crops out of the land in the most effective way.

Use case: Retail


She also cited the retail business as an industry hungry for transformative technology because brick-and-mortar retailers now have to compete with online stores. A shoe company, Chamberlain posited, might be able to use an app to eliminate the waiting process and gain a better, faster understanding of their inventory. That way, in-store customers get faster answers to their questions and access to more knowledgeable customer service.


Next stop: Brazil


Shifting gears, Vellante asked Chamberlain to comment on Capgemini’s investment in Brazil. Capgemini considers Brazil to be a center of excellence because it is blossoming with new industries and new markets. Top Brazilian companies are looking for innovative technology, which is exactly what Capgemini finds most exciting.

photo credit: Tau Zero via photopin cc
]]> 0
Smart World Weekly: Safer roads, smarter robots and tiny modems Fri, 29 Aug 2014 16:30:18 +0000 Continue reading ]]> This week’s Smart World Series features smarter roads and homes, fresh funding for wearable health devices, smarter office robots, and new tools for developers.

internet of things talking robots m2m communication connected devices

For those who missed this week’s Smart World Series, here’s a chance to catch up on the exciting developments in the connected world.  Each week, SiliconANGLE rounds up the top news trends regarding smart homes and cars, smart data centers and IT, smart infrastructure and all things related to the Internet of Things.


Homes, roads get smarter with new plans and partners

Cars may only need one smart component to make roads safer, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A vehicle-to-vehicle communication system made up of sensors and cameras could help drivers make better decisions, as it would allow vehicles to tell other vehicles when something’s wrong, such as when one car does an unexpected hard break or beat a red light.

Find out more about the NHTSA’s plan for the future of cars as well as other innovations for today’s homes in this week’s Smart Living roundup.


While we wait for Apple’s iWatch, wearable tech progresses

Will Apple Inc. unveil the iWatch in September? This is one question we’ll soon have the answer to as the Cupertino giant prepares for its September 9 event. But while we wait for Apple’s big announcement, other device makers are getting ahead of the wearables race, some raising funds from venture capitals while others go the crowdfunding route.

Check out what companies have recently raised huge amounts of money to help get their device to more people in this week’s Smart Health roundup.


Smarter robots, armbands and new MDM solutions for connected offices

Researchers are Cornell University are looking to make robots smarter by creating a database that these robots can tap into to better understand their environment, people’s behaviors and events. Called Robo Brain, this  large-scale computational system is gathering public information from the Internet and translating it into a language easily understandable by robots.

Find out more about Robo Brain and other smart things for the city and the enterprise in this week’s Smart City roundup.


Tiny modems, new kits for IoT developers

Intel Corp. has released a new modem that’s smaller than a penny but packs a punch, giving it the potential to be a standard fixture in devices developed for the Internet of Things such as wearable technology. If you’re a software or hardware developer looking for the latest innovation in IoT to help you with your project, Mouser Electronics, Inc. has updated is IoT applications site to help you with your quest. Broadcom Corp. won’t be left behind in the world of IoT as it launched a new addition to its WICED family.

Find out more what these companies have to offer for developers in this week’s Smart DevOps roundup.

Tune in next week for more interesting stories, discoveries and innovations in the world of smart and connected things.

photo credit: pasukaru76 via photopin cc
]]> 0
Citrix CTO looks to destroy VDI’s dam of cost | #vmworld Fri, 29 Aug 2014 15:00:27 +0000 Continue reading ]]> broken dollar break down money costIf you ask them, Citrix Systems, Inc. dominates the virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) market because it understood the polar differences of server and desktop virtualization early on. The company reached a point where the virtualized desktop was equivalent to that of a standalone. However, there’s a dam in the VDI market, and that is cost. At 95 percent market share, the physical market completely trumps VDI’s meager five percent.

Even with Citrix’s 3D app workloads, at the end of the day, physical is just cheaper. In an interview for theCUBE at VMworld, Citrix CTO for Desktop and Apps Group Gunnar Berger, stated that the problem with the VDI market lies in having to make a play about Opex. Although VDI is going to be more expensive, the Opex will make more sense over time. Berger explained that early adopters of server virtualization did the same thing. He offered examples of how admins had to do stress testing and figure out if the exchange could be supported. As server virtualization progressed, the questions around cost-savings eventually halted. Now, the argument is reversed. You now have to state your case if you want physical.

Berger believes that desktop virtualization in the market is now sort of teetering on the Capex, but the damn of cost is still there. This issue of VDI being locked up in cost and complexity is something that Berger wants to destroy in his role at Citrix. “I really think that we have some more room that we can do to just knock that out of the park,” Berger added.

See the entire segment below:

photo credit: photosteve101 via photopin cc
]]> 0
The truth behind VMware’s acquisition of AirWatch, and other mobile efforts | #vmworld Fri, 29 Aug 2014 13:48:15 +0000 Continue reading ]]> cloud lock securityCustomers want mobile of all sorts, according to Sanjay Poonen, EVP and GM of End-User Computing at VMware, Inc. The virtualization service provider is constantly seeking out the tools to meet mobile demand. Whether it’s integrating with other technologies, building its own, or purchasing key assets, VMware has its eye trained on enterprise mobile.

Poonen talked with Dave Vellante and John Furrier on theCUBE about VMware’s decision-making process around acquiring mobile security offering AirWatch, trends related to the Internet of Things (IoT), and enterprise mobile. 

Though there was an internal push towards choosing AirWatch, Poonen said the selection also had a lot to do with conversations he had with customers. VMware would ask who it lost out to in mobile deals — “89 percent of the time, it was AirWatch.” Acquiring AirWatch, as well as the surge of interest in mobile throughout the industry has allowed VMware to increase its portfolio tenfold. “Now,” he said, “we…have vision and substance.”

SAP Integration


SAP is a “tremendous player,” Poonen observed. He thinks that integration between VMware and SAP’s application will be very valuable to customers. It’s why, he said, VMware and SAP are working together to “build integration between the mobile apps and mobile platform of SAP with the management and security of AirWatch.”

Integration between the two tech companies means customers will get to use the “elegant, simple, cloud-centric mobile management security system” in addition to ensuring all apps function properly. It means that enterprises across all industries can secure their apps with AirWatch.

Asset leverage helps companies lower costs


Though virtual desktop infrastructure was an expensive tool, Vellante observed that mobile seems to have changed its cost-of-value discussion. To lower the cost of VDI, Poonen explained that VMware “reinvented a modern stack for Disco virtualization.” It runs on top of the software-defined datacenter and, among other things, integrates AirWatch security. Integration, Poonen said, lowers cost. And in conjunction with easier navigation, integration makes VDIs much more user-friendly.

“Desktop, mobile, and content collaboration,” are the three tenants of Poonen’s mobile efforts. Mobile isn’t limited to one any device, he says, “Mobile means on the move,” which presents a unique set of challenges. It’s the software defined data center, Poonen said, that allows “desktop, mobile, and content collaboration” to become reality.

Read more after the video.


Upcoming trends in enterprise software


Poonen sees software as a tool for making devices more relevant, quipping “Software’s like the wine, but hardware is like the bottle.” For him, it’s the glue that knits hardware together. Poonen thinks simplifying and securing enterprise software is the inflection point that will lead to enterprise software looking a lot more like consumer software.

  • IoT trends

As the IoT comes to light, tech companies can explore data in new ways in order to provide unique services to their customers. In the United Airlines case study, for example, manuals and flight landing instructions were digitized so pilots could access them from iPads. The app’s reach expanded to flight attendants, who use it to store passenger manifests.

This idea also extends to machines, Poonen said. “Every single potential machine that is on the internet can be tracked, managed, and secured.” The VMware’s goal, he added is to “manage and secure every possible machine and thing and then analyze the data coming out of that.” Poonen expects the analytics run on data collected from the IoT to be a “treasure trove.”

Particular industries that have expressed interest in the IoT, Poonen shared, include the consumer packaged goods, oil and gas, retail industries, and medical devices.

photo credit: FutUndBeidl via photopin cc
]]> 0
Server sales rising: HP leads the way Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:30:50 +0000 Continue reading ]]> small__5933313665It’s anything but doom and gloom for the server industry, despite claims to the contrary. As IDC’s latest Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker reveals, sales are actually on the rise, and it all points to a half-decent outlook in the mid-to-long term.

IDC says that “factory revenue in the worldwide server market increased 2.5% year over year to US$12.6 billion in the second quarter of 2014 (2Q14).”

Leading the way was the mid-range server market, which saw sales rise 11.6 percent year-on-year thanks to technology refresh cycles kicking in. IDC says organizationsgg have been spurred on to upgrade by the looming demise of Windows Server 2003, as well as a general desire to obtain the latest and greatest chips from Intel. It also says IT budgets are a little more generous these days as the worst of the recession fades away from view. Also popular was “volume servers”, aka low-end gear, which saw revenues rise by 4.9%.

Things aren’t quite so rosy in the higher-end enterprise segment though, with sales taking a 9.8 percent dive over the last year.

One interesting point of tension in the market has to do with where the servers are destined to be used. According to IDC, sales of gear destined for hyperscale data centers are going strong, whereas sales of gear purchased for more conventional use seem to be sliding.

As far as vendors go, Hewlett-Packard Company remains top server dog. Its revenues grew by four percent as it reaped some $3.194 billion in the last quarter. Currently, HP commands a 25.4 percent share of the market. The bigger news though seems to concern Cisco Inc.’s continued rise. For a vendor that’s not really associated with servers it’s sold an awful lot of them and now ranks in the top five with an admirable 35.4 percent growth over the last 12 months.

Server Sales IDC

Worldwide Server Systems Factory Revenue, Second Quarter of 2014 (Revenues are in Millions)

Image credit: IDC


We should note that IBM Corp., is all set to lose its grip on the #2 spot in the list. That’s because it’s finally set to offload its x86 server division to Chinese firm Lenovo Group Ltd. Once that sale goes through, IBM’s server revenues will be significantly lower than the $2.972 billion in raked in over the last quarter.

photo credit: wallace39 ” mud and glory “ via photopin cc
]]> 0