SiliconANGLE http://siliconangle.com Extracting the signal from the noise. Thu, 23 Oct 2014 21:22:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 eBay joins open-source community with ultra-fast OLAP engine for Hadoop http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/10/23/ebay-joins-open-source-community-with-ultra-fast-olap-engine-for-hadoop/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/10/23/ebay-joins-open-source-community-with-ultra-fast-olap-engine-for-hadoop/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 21:22:20 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=202834 Continue reading ]]> ebay-app-review-150x150Like arch-rival Amazon.com, the soon-to-split eBay Inc. is something of an oddity in that it hasn’t historically been a big contributor to the open-source community. But the e-commerce pioneer hopes to change that with the release of the source-code for a homegrown online analytics processing (OLAP) engine that promises to speed up Hadoop while also making it more accessible to everyday enterprise users.

Dubbed Kylin, the platform was developed after eBay failed to find a solution to help it effectively address the rapid growth in the volume and diversity of data generated by its customers, a story that is familiar to other contributors to the Hadoop community. Kylin optimizes the storage of information by leveraging existing technologies whenever possible from the upstream component ecosystem.

By default, data is stored in Apache Hive, which layers a familiar SQL interface on top of Hadoop that allows business workers to harness the distributed analytics capabilities of the system without having to learn the nuances of the native MapReduce execution paradigm. When Kylin comes across certain repetitions in the rows and columns inside the sub-project – such as a particular product appearing multiple times with different prices – it maps that data into key-value pairs which are then whisked off to Apache Hive, which is another component designed with that specific type of workload in mind.

Specifically, Hive provides random access to information that Kylin exploits to avoid having to sequentially scan tens or hundreds of billions of rows in Hive whenever an eBay employee looks up a certain business detail. That has helped to significantly improve response times at the company, with eBay claiming that the technology handles certain queries in less than a second, allowing truly interactive analytics.

Topping off that performance advantage are a number of complementary features such as integration with popular business intelligence tools like Tableau Inc.’s wildly popular data visualization platform, storage compression and monitoring. Future versions of Kylin will also add better support for more processing paradigm, eBay promises, including multidimensional and hybrid OLAP.

Kylin is not as groundbreaking as some of the other emerging Hadoop add-ons that have been making headlines recently, but it does address an important pain point currently holding back traditional enterprises from taking advantage of the batch processing framework. It’s these kinds of relatively mundane but vital knots that the upstream community must smooth out as more and more corporate deployments of the project move from pilot to production, a mission that eBay’s first major contribution brings an important step forward.

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Use Hadoop to create value, not push reduction on investment | #BigDataNYC http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/10/23/use-hadoop-to-create-value-not-push-reduction-on-investment-bigdatanyc/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/10/23/use-hadoop-to-create-value-not-push-reduction-on-investment-bigdatanyc/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 20:45:40 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=202837 Continue reading ]]> LawrenceSchwartzMoving from proof-of-concept to deployment, Hadoop is ready for business according to Lawrence Schwartz, VP of marketing at Attunity Ltd. His company works with customers from a range of verticals, including energy, healthcare, and finance, to lower barriers to cloud and Hadoop adoption.

One of the biggest challenges in adopting new technologies is figuring out the return on investment. Measuring actual return on investment is tricky when it comes to Big Data, commented Schwartz, because “it’s hard to quantify the value.” This is especially true when one does not take specific verticals into account, pointed out Schwartz. Some of these verticals include the energy, retail and healthcare sectors where the value of Big Data may be very different to each. That’s why so many companies look at reduction on investment, like infrastructure savings, the executive explained. But that decision means many companies miss out on the “really big return” Big Data offers, which is to find new value, Schwartz went on.

While the potential to create value with Big Data is exciting, Schwartz said there’s no way to tell whether that will make Hadoop companies profitable when they go public, as some are bound to do. As an executive of a publicly-traded company, Schwartz commended that going public “keeps you honest…and focused on what’s important.”

Attunity spent time investing in Hadoop and Cloud, and now is focused on helping customers figure out how to orchestrate data and business processes. Schwartz commented that’ he’s excited to see the new ideas that arise from increased Hadoop and cloud adoption.

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Bitcoin pegged sidechains whitepaper reveals new horizons for cryptocurrency http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/10/23/bitcoin-pegged-sidechains-whitepaper-reveals-new-horizons-for-cryptocurrency/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/10/23/bitcoin-pegged-sidechains-whitepaper-reveals-new-horizons-for-cryptocurrency/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 19:09:41 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=202836 Continue reading ]]> how-sidechains-workThis last summer Adam Back, developer of the Bitcoin algorithm HashCash, and Austin Hill, founder anonymous networking and privacy technology company Zero-Knowledge Systems, teased the idea of Bitcoin sidechains: a mechanism for transferring Bitcoins to a separate-but-connected blockchain that can be used like an alt-currency but has its Proof of Work and value entangled with Bitcoin. This is done via a mechanism called “pegging” which means that the sidechain’s security and scarcity is tied directly to (backed by) Bitcoin’s blockchain.

Yesterday, the sidechain whitepaper was released [PDF] for the Bitcoin community to review. The list of authors includes a staggering number of coding luminaries: Adam Back, Matt Corallo, Luke Dashjr, Mark Friedenbach, Gregory Maxwell, Andrew Miller, Andrew Poelstra, Jorge Timón, and Pieter Wuille.

Black we already know. Maxwell and Wuille are Bitcoin core developers. Luke Dashjr is a regular contributor to bitcoind and Bitcoin-Qt and maintains mining software. Corallo wrote the BitcoinJ Open Source Library.

For more information on sidechains, see today’s Reddit AMA with Black, Maxwell, et al.

From the abstract of “Enabling Blockchain Innovations with Pegged Sidechains”:

We propose a new technology, pegged sidechains, which enables bitcoins and other ledger assets to be transferred between multiple blockchains. This gives users access to new and innovative cryptocurrency systems using the assets they already own. By reusing Bitcoin’s currency, these systems can more easily interoperate with each other and with Bitcoin, avoiding the liquidity shortages and market fluctuations associated with new currencies. Since sidechains are separate systems, technical and economic innovation is not hindered. Despite bidirectional transferability between Bitcoin and pegged sidechains, they are isolated: in the case of a cryptographic break (or malicious design) in a sidechain, the damage is entirely confined to the sidechain itself.

Since sidechains permit the construction of alternate blockchains that are backed by Bitcoin, it will open up the possibility for clients to allow for numerous different functionalities without the fragility of developing a brand new altcoin.

How would sidechains benefit the Bitcoin ecology?

Alternate currencies (aka altcoins) are often produced to provide proof-of-concept or diverge an idea from Bitcoin. Some do this to try to produce a better Bitcoin, others to add functionality, or to develop totally different functionality (Namecoin), and yet others because of sheer whimsy (Dogecoin).

During today’s Reddit AMA, Peter Wuille gave his thoughts on what he thinks sidechains will do for Bitcoin.

He believes that sidechains could provide “[a] place to try out new ideas, and show their virtue to the community, before arguing they should be incorporated into Bitcoin proper (which would upgrade the security).”

But he also feels that sidechains will provide a way to balance Bitcoin scalability/security tradeoffs. As the Bitcoin blockchain only provides one form of maximal security for all transactions and this could be seen as a centralization concern. Sidechains would allow using the security and stability of the Bitcoin blockchain to support divergent blockchains and thus strengthen potential variety of transaction capabilities.

He also added that there is currently no current alpha sidechain for developers (and enthusiasts) to tinker with but there will be one appearing soon at https://github.com/blockstream.

What is Blockstream?

Several of the whitepaper authors belong to a startup company called Blockstream, which seems inextricably tied to the development of sidechains.

Blockstream is a for-profit company co-founded by Pieter Wuille, Jonathan Wilkins, Jorge Timón, Erik Svenson, Gregory Maxwell, Austin Hill, Francesca Hall, Mark Friedenbach, Alex Fowler, Matt Corallo, and Adam Back. It will become the primarily repository and financial base for building and transforming sidechain technology for the Bitcoin blockchain.

The mission statement of Blockstream includes a vision of accelerating innovation of cryptocurrencies, open assets, and smart contracts—all of which are functions of blockchain technologies currently under development.

During the Reddit AMA twobitidiot asked how Blockstream being a for-profit venture will affect sidechain development especially when several of the founders happen to be Bitcoin core developers.

Greg Maxwell started by explaining that it isn’t uncommon for members of the Free Open Source Software (FOSS) community to work in for-profit companies while also being left off leash to work in their own personal capacity.

However, that said, he added, “Pieter and I (the blockstream co-founders with commit access on the Bitcoin Core repository) had written into our employment agreements a clause that if we ever feel Blockstream is acting unethically we can depart and Blockstream will continue to pay most of our salary for a year for us to continue working on Bitcoin core.”

The debate is on

While sidechains had been introduced this summer, the whitepaper and proposal only hit recently. The usefulness of sidechains will be leveraged entirely by adoption by the community as a whole and Blockstream’s founders have laid their hopes on being capable of producing clients and functionality that will draw that attention.

The whitepaper is still being digested by the community and experts, but if the Reddit AMA is any indication, there’s still a fair amount of skepticism as to the practicality of sidechains, but also an equal amount of anticipation.

Sidechains currently have no practical proof-of-concept, so judgement may be reserved until Blockstream provides workable code in its GitHub repository.

Image credit: Blockstream
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GIFs are about to change social media like you never imagined http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/10/23/gifs-are-about-to-change-social-media-like-you-never-imagined/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/10/23/gifs-are-about-to-change-social-media-like-you-never-imagined/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 18:12:49 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=201709 Continue reading ]]> red-frog-jungle-photopinIntroduced in 1987 by CompuServe, the GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is still alive, because it allows users to create animated images. GIF became part of the Internet culture and is now widely available, some might say ubiquitous, even on photo forums.

Later in 1989, the company introduced the world a updated version of the standard, 89a, that lets users play a series of still frames in the sequence and the famous animated GIF-images were born.

Nevertheless, GIF and animated images have a major problem. They consume lots of disk space and bandwidth where shared via social networks. As the years passed, many developers from other companies have tried to create an alternative to this format, but all attempts failed and did not get much popularity.

Imgur is about to change that

Imgur, one of the biggest image sharing sites on the Internet promises to make micro revolution and allowing you to transform long and heavy animation in small and lightweight files that can be easily viewed on a smartphone. The sharing site last week announced a new initiative called Project GIFV that it says is reimagining the looping GIF video with all the richness it deserves as a key piece of Internet culture.

What makes these new GIF files so special? The company demonstrates a 50 MB GIF file and converted that to 3.4 MB file in the new format, which enables it to still look good and load quickly. The new format (.GIFV Extension) allows you to reduce the size of animated file 14 times.

“The cornerstone of Project GIFV is a platform-wide upgrade to automatically convert uploaded GIF files on the fly into the MP4 video format,” Imgur writes. “The converted MP4s are significantly smaller than their equivalent GIFs, which allows them to load at lightning-fast speeds with better quality. By lowering bandwidth consumption, the change also optimizes Imgur for users on mobile. [...] Beyond performance increases, the core experience will not change: Project GIFV implements MP4 video in a way that looks and behaves exactly like a GIF.”

Imgur will now denote converted MP4s with a “.gifv” extension. The intention is to signal to users that these links will feature a GIF experience that incorporates all the current and future enhancements made through Project GIFV. The company is planning to submit relevant specifications to standards organizations before the end of the year.

New way to look at social networks

The .GIF format is outdated and is not really that great for the modern web anymore. On that note, the company’s new project is reimagining the looping GIF video with all the richness it deserves as a key piece of Internet culture.

As stated in the company’s blog, the new format GIFV should work well in social networks such as Twitter and Facebook and after adding them, it will be recorded as a video. In the near future, Imgur promises to provide a format specification for large organizations and companies to rapidly deploy sites and extensive use of the world wide web.

By the way, if a user tries to save the new format in the browser, the browser prompts to save it as .mp4. This tells us that while some sites will not allow this format to insert a simple image that will cause a little trouble for web-designers and end users.

Imgur isn’t the only one embracing MP4s over the traditional GIF format. A few months back Twitter announced that it would start accepting GIF uploads straight up on its platform, rather than via a link from Giphy.

photo credit: Drriss & Marrionn via photopin cc
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Sumo Logic unveils Transaction Analysis component for its analytics platform http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/10/23/sumo-logic-unveils-transaction-analysis-component-for-its-analytics-platform/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/10/23/sumo-logic-unveils-transaction-analysis-component-for-its-analytics-platform/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 17:14:48 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=202754 Continue reading ]]> handshake mergers acquisitions MA keyboard computerSumo Logic, a machine data intelligence company based in California, today announced the general availability of Transaction Analytics as part of its analytics platform. This technology applies the concept of mining connections between transactions to take complex systems and provide patterns with context.

As a data intelligence company, Sumo Logic hopes to provide customers a path to visualize the complex connections between events and transactions to deliver real-time insights. Transaction Analytics does this by mining transactions for connections and bringing those connections to the attention of engineers and management.

The new system also includes pre-built dashboards to help organize complex relationships within and between transactions. This should give ops and management teams a head start in seeing how the system operates.

Sumo Logic lists these as the key features and benefits of implementing Transaction Analytics:

  • Reduce MTTI (mean time to identification) and expedite root cause analysis by surfacing components of transactions across distributed environments;
  • Automate processes for collection and analysis of transactional context to decrease time associated with compiling and applying intelligence;
  • Real-time transaction analysis helps identify and remediate issues before they impact critical systems;
  • Drive strategic and informed business decisions by identifying core-user behaviors;
  • Clear visualization to outline complex transactional relationships in real-time.

“Intelligent analytics has been central to our vision of tapping the great corporate asset known as machine data, from our real-time dashboards to our patent-pending pattern-recognition and anomaly detection capabilities,” said Vance Loiselle, CEO at Sumo Logic.

The rise and rise of machine data for business

Every time something happens in a networked system it produces data. That data is often captured by logs or spit out by information services or output by instrumentation—but machine data is everywhere, in every environment, from hosted servers, mobile devices, to the cloud.

Sumo Logic’s Transaction Analytics appears to be primarily directed towards business users—building insights into dashboards and visualizations that could show how the environment affected business use cases, as well as security and compliance.

This year Splunk helped drive home the proliferation of machine data and the complex ways that interconnections between events, logs, and transactions can be used to arrive at powerful insights. Splunk also showed a strong gravity towards providing insights and capabilities to non-technical users, which is where most business users lay on the gamut.

Sumo Logic appears to be following this same trend by leveraging the power of analytics and dashboards to assist in visualization for business users.

photo credit: Truthout.org via photopin cc
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The 9 best female-friendly tech companies http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/10/23/the-9-best-female-friendly-tech-companies/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/10/23/the-9-best-female-friendly-tech-companies/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 16:00:31 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=202142 Continue reading ]]> geek chic girl nerd with glasses strongIn an effort to help women achieve a work-life balance in favor of the enterprise, Facebook Inc. has started offering the option to cover the costs of freezing their female employees’ eggs. Following suit, Apple Inc. will begin offering the same perk in January 2015.

Facebook and Apple will cover the cost of harvesting and storing the eggs for their women employees, which amounts to $8,000 – $10,000 per harvest and an annual storage fee of $300 – $500. Specialists advise women who want to freeze their eggs that they need 20 eggs to increase future chances of getting pregnant. Such is the price of gender equality in the workforce, costing Facebook and Apple more than $20,000 per candidate.

Facebook’s egg-freezing offer is hotly debated, as it could be interpreted as a policy designed to encourage women employees to prioritize their work over family. Yet it’s unlikely Facebook wanted to come across as being unsupportive of their workers’ family-rearing efforts.

The social giant offers $4,000 cash to new parents – whether biological or through adoption and four months of paid parental leave for mothers and fathers. Facebook’s campus is equipped with nursing rooms, and subsidizes daycare costs.

If you’re still not convince that Facebook is one of the best tech companies for women to work for, check out what other tech companies have to offer for their female employees.

Top 9 tech companies for Women

 

Accenture

Accenture plc is a multinational management consulting, technology services, and outsourcing company that offers eight fully-paid leaves for women who gave birth, four fully-paid weeks plus $5,000 in aid for women who adopted a child. The consultancy also offers a Maternity Support Program to provide female executives with managing- Director-level coaches, educational info and discussion groups to help prepare them for the arrival of their children and the eventual return to work. The company also offers backup child care and sick child care.

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AOL

AOL Inc. offers several opportunities for women – with child, expecting, or single. The company offers four leadership development programs, a nationwide women’s network with mentoring circles and workshops, and unlimited tuition aid.

Perks are offered to those who engage in healthy activities and can receive up to $1,100 annually, and the company pays for on-site nutrition counseling, fitness classes, and smoking-cessation and weight-management sessions.

For those who are expecting, they can schedule consultations with nurses and lactation experts, take free childbirth classes and parenting courses, and join new-mom, breastfeeding and parenting groups. AOL’s Dulles, VA headquarters offer a full-time on-site child care center. The company offers six weeks of fully paid maternity leave, two weeks of fully paid leave for adoptive parents, backup child care, and sick child care.

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CA Technologies

Independent software corporation, CA Technologies Inc., takes part in job shadowing, mentoring and leadership programs, and activities for its women employees. It has a state-of-the-art fitness center and offers exercise classes to encourage on site work-outs. Onsite health coaching and programs for disease and lifestyle management are also available for employees to promote well-being.

Moms-to-be are enrolled in a healthy pregnancy program to gain round-the-clock access to trained nurses, and even earn up to $150 for participating. CA Technologies offer a fully paid maternity leave for 9 to 11 weeks, and has an on-site child care center which caters to kids ages 6 months to 6 years, and summer and holiday care for kids under the age of 13. Adoptive parents get four weeks of sully paid leave, but the company doesn’t offer backup child care and sick child care.

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Cisco

Networking equipment giant Cisco Systems Inc. views working flexibly as a right, not a privilege, so it offers alternative work options such as working at home an average of two days per week. For moms who are looking for reduced work hours, they can search for internal jobs marked as “part-time” or “job-share.” Cisco offers an average of six weeks fully paid maternity leave, four weeks of fully paid leave for adoptive parents, and backup child care.

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GE

General Electric Co. provides development resources and runs dozens of mentoring groups for its women employees. Specialists in its Work/Life Connections program help workers locate information on parenting, career and more. GE offer an average of eight weeks fully paid maternity leave, two weeks of fully paid leave for adoptive parents, and backup and sick child care.

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Genentech

Biotechnology company Genentech Inc.’s workforce is comprised of 52 percent female employees who enjoy workspace arrangements that permit employees to change locations throughout the day. This setup was led by three departments to permit travelling at will between private sections, group areas, videoconferening booths and “quiet rooms.” This setup relies heavily on seamlessly integrated technology to make everything work smoothly.

The company offers an average of six fully paid maternity leave and the same perk applies to adoptive parents, as well as backup and sick child care.

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Intel

Intel Corp. offers Awake@Intel, a mindfulness program that teaches employees how to master breathing and meditation techniques to be able to better focus their energy. Women can also take yoga and core fitness classes at on-site gyms while health coaching and mobile workout kits are also available for them.

Intel offers a coordinated pregnancy care programs, $10,000 in annual fertility treatment coverage, an average of eight weeks fully paid maternity leave, and backup child care.

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HP

Hewlett-Packard Co. offers a sponsorship program where women can get involved in mentoring initiatives and get $5,000 in annual tuition aid. Women can also get help with personal matters such as finding child or elderly care services by contacting their employer’s concierge, resource and referral service or employee assistance program. Women get an average of 14 weeks fully paid maternity leave and an average of two weeks fully paid leave for adoptive parents. HP also offers backup and sick child care.

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Verizon

Verizon Communications Inc. offers flexible work schedules as well as remote tech permits, which allow their employees to go on business trips while still attending to personal matters such as parent-teacher meetings. It offers an average of two weeks fully paid maternity leave, and for adoptive parents they get $10,000 in adoption assistance and six months of related leave. HP also offers backup and sick child care.

souce: 2014 Working Mother 100 Best Companies
photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc
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Uber worth fighting for: Here’s 3 reasons for the protest http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/10/23/uber-worth-fighting-for-heres-3-reasons-for-the-protest/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/10/23/uber-worth-fighting-for-heres-3-reasons-for-the-protest/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:09:12 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=202761 Continue reading ]]> Uber drivers protest in NYCUber Inc. may be pushing its way into new markets every day with its popular ride-sharing mobile app, but many of its drivers are not happy with the direction in which the San Francisco-based company is heading.

Uber drivers staged protests in several cities yesterday, including San Francisco, Santa Monica, New York City and London, echoing earlier protests staged in September.

Their complaints against Uber include lowered fares, a confusing tipping policy, and what some drivers called an “unfair” five-star rating system.

Lower Fares

 

What started in New York City as a temporary discount on fares for the summer later turned into a permanently lowered price this year. The company advertised its new fares as “cheaper than a New York taxi,” with fares averaging $2 lower than a standard taxi and as much as $6 lower than previous Uber prices.

In September, one Uber driver said he had been losing $200 a week since the fares were lowered. Another claimed that in addition to driving for Uber, he also had to work for competing driving companies, adding, “You can’t make a living working only for Uber.”

Confusing Tipping Policy

 

Uber claims that a 20 percent gratuity is included in the fare, but this only applies to its UberTAXI service, not its UberX, UberSUV, or UberBLACK programs. Drivers also complained that they only saw half of that 20 percent gratuity and were forbidden by the company from accepting any additional cash tips from customers, even if those customers insisted.

In December 2013, a federal judge ruled that Uber drivers had the right to sue the company for misleading customers with the tipping policy.

Unfair Rating System

 

Uber uses a five-star rating system for both drivers and customers, but drivers can be punished with lockout periods or other penalties for dropping below Uber’s 4.7 star standard. Joseph De Wolf Sandoval recalled a one-star review he received for being unwilling to speed or run a red light for a customer.

De Wolf Sandoval noted that while drivers are held to a high rating standard, passengers can still receive service even with only a one-star rating.

Discussing the recent protests, an Uber spokesperson said in a statement: “The group protesting today represents a fraction of all Uber partners; the reality is that thousands of partners are out driving on the platform right now.”

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Google boosts passwords with USB security key, no good for mobile http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/10/23/google-boosts-passwords-with-usb-security-key-no-good-for-mobile/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/10/23/google-boosts-passwords-with-usb-security-key-no-good-for-mobile/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:37:01 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=202797 Continue reading ]]> security lock code dataGoogle Inc. announced a new 2-step verification USB key yesterday that eliminates the need to memorize long, complicated passwords for Google services, while providing better security at the same time.

Google had already offered a 2-step verification process that required both a user password and a unique, time sensitive code that would be sent either by text, voice call, or a mobile app.

With the new USB key, however, users no longer need to enter an additional code. Instead, they simply insert the device into their computer and press a button to unlock a Google site.

In addition to making it easier to log in to tools like Google Docs, Gmail and Google Drive, the USB key also offers better protection against phishing by ensuring that the login site is an authentic Google website before attempting to access it. Google promises: “When you sign into your Google Account using Chrome and Security Key, you can be sure that the cryptographic signature cannot be phished.”

Two-step verification systems are becoming common as people’s online identities include more and more sensitive information. Even video games are starting to use authentication systems to protect user accounts. Blizzard, the game developer behind World of Warcraft and other popular online games, has the Battle.net Authenticator, which uses either a key fob or a mobile app to generate a code to access their gaming accounts.

Google notes that the USB key won’t replace the standard password and code combination for all situations. Google said on their blog:

Security Key requires a USB port to work, so it’s not recommended for mobile-only users. [. . .] Security Key does not work on browsers other than Chrome.

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Microsoft/IBM alliance targets Amazon’s cloud dominance http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/10/23/microsoftibm-alliance-targets-amazons-cloud-dominance/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/10/23/microsoftibm-alliance-targets-amazons-cloud-dominance/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:27:58 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=202749 Continue reading ]]> handshake deal partnership ma merger acquisition paint abstractMutual self-interest can drive even rivals to embrace each other, as IBM and Microsoft have done with a new alliance  that’s aimed at leveling the playing field against infrastructure-as-a-service kingpin Amazon.com Inc. and, to a lesser extent, each other.

The partnership has two primary components. Microsoft will make its core on-premise offerings available on IBM’s public cloud, which is built on the SoftLayer infrastructure IBM acquired for $2 billion last year and which it has been expanding aggressively ever since. Users will be able to purchase licenses for Windows Server and SQL Server running on SoftLayer directly through IBM. This adds an extra degree of convenience that is absolutely essential when the competition – Amazon – is already offering the same.

Even more significantly, IBM will bundle Microsoft’s .NET development framework – which powers practically all Windows applications in the enterprise – into Bluemix, a platform-as-a-service development stack it introduced in March. The integration opens up Bluemix to millions of .NET developers, giving Big Blue access to a massive new market. In exchange, IBM will add improved support for Microsoft’s Hyper-V hypervisor, which has gained considerable ground on VMware Inc.’s market-leading vSphere in recent years.

Microsoft will also add several IBM solutions to the Azure lineup. The list includes a sizable portion – but not all – of the solutions that Big Blue has already made available for Amazon Web Services, including WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere MQ and DB2 database software. The offerings will be available to customers of the infrastructure-as-a-service platform on a pay-per-use basis alongside IBM Pure Application Service for extending on-premise applications running on IBM gear into the public cloud.

Amazon is not giving up its edge so easily, however. The retail giant is countering the partnership with the launch of a hosted directory service that allows customers to import existing profiles from their on-premise repositories, the majority of which are powered by Microsoft software, for a fixed rate. The tool also enables admins to set up brand new directories in the cloud that Amazon says provide most of the functionality available in its rival’s offering, most notably group-based policy enforcement and single sign-on.

Photo credit: AK Rockefeller via photopin cc
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These Kinect apps now available for Windows 8 and 8.1 http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/10/23/these-kinect-apps-now-available-for-windows-8-and-8-1/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/10/23/these-kinect-apps-now-available-for-windows-8-and-8-1/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:56:36 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=202774 Continue reading ]]> Kinect-Adapter-KitMicrosoft Corp. has just come up with a new fixture for Windows 8 and 8.1, reiterating the software giant’s desire to unify its platforms. Xbox One owners with a Kinect will now be able to connect to their PC or tablet with a new adapter, for what we think is the pretty lean price of $49.99. What’s more, developers can now use the Widows Store to release Kinect apps using the Widows software development kit 2.0.

Scott Evans, the partner director of program management in Microsoft’s Operating System Group, explained that Microsoft’s Xbox One sensor goes for $149.99, while Kinect for Windows is $199.99. This means consumers can now have the Xbox One with the adapter for the same price as the Kinect for Windows sensor. Evans goes on to say that the new development is “super-accessible” from a consumer’s point of view, and that connecting the Xbox One to your PC using the new adapter, will be “seamless”.

The adapter won’t make it possible for Xbox One users to play games on their PCs. However, Microsoft is allowing developers to deploy Kinect-enabled Windows apps in the Windows Store. Alex Kipman of Microsoft wrote about the new development in a blog post yesterday:

“This was a frequent request from the community and we are delighted to enable you to bring more personal computing experiences that feature gesture control, body tracking, and object recognition to Windows customers around the world. Access to the Windows Store opens a whole new marketplace for business and consumer experiences.”

Already available in the Windows Store are the following Kinect for Windows apps:

• YAKiT: An app from Seattle startup Freak n’ Genius that allows people without design expertise to animate 2D or 3D characters in real time.
• Nayi Disha: Series of interactive apps for early childhood education that gets kids up on their feet and learning through movement.
• 3D Builder: An app that enables anyone to scan a person or object, turn it into a 3D model, and create a 3D print of that model.

Image via Microsoft
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