September 11, 2014

Apple's Next Chapter: 10 Key Issues
There's still a lot to appreciate in Apple Watch, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and Apple Pay. The new iPhones address gaps in Apple's lineup and should be particularly compelling with iOS 8, which includes a number of sharing features that will make life easier for households with a lot of different Apple devices. Here's a glimpse of what to expect as Apple turns to fashion to dress up its technology.

Future Data Center Trends
“No business on its own has the economies of scale,” he said. “When you do the economic analysis, the return on the investment is not there. Operating at a small size you don’t get the economies of scale that the colocation provider or a large enterprise with 250,000 square feet or more of data center space can get. “Server huggers are usually in the IT camp. But they don’t have access to the data of what it is costing the company to run the data center, including all the costs.” He pointed out that a comprehensive look at cost must include not only hardware, utilities, personnel, but also the depreciation cost of the data center asset.

IBM's 'Ninja Particles' could stop the rise of superbugs
IBM Research's Jim Hedrick has a great job. His work on polymers -- those repeating chains of macromolecules that make up most things in our world, like the computer or phone you're reading this on -- has led to the creation of substances with Marvel Comics-worthy descriptors. There's the self-healing, Wolverine-like substance that arose from a recycled water bottle and something called "ninja particles" that'll advance the reality of nanomedicine. Both discoveries will inevitably make their way into consumer products in the near future, but it's his team's progress on nanomedicine that Hedrick discussed during my visit to IBM Research's sprawling Almaden lab in San Jose, California.

Mozilla moves to cross-browser testing to ease developers' workloads
The experimental add-on, developed from the same tools that Firefox natively uses to debug Firefox for Android and Firefox OS, will allow tools in Firefox to work on Android's Chrome and iOS's Safari when the developer connects one of those devices to his or her desktop. ... "Debugging across devices can be a real pain," Christian Heilmann, Mozilla's principal developer evangelist, said to CNET. "People have been dreaming of this kind of functionality for a long time." ... "The add-on depends on some very bleeding edge stuff, so you must use the Nightly," said Camp, who noted that the add-on has rough edges. Developers shouldn't expect it to work perfectly just yet.

Seriously, churnalists? No, your Gmail login was not cracked
"Our automated anti-hijacking systems would have blocked many of those login attempts. We’ve protected the affected accounts. ... The leaked usernames and passwords were not the result of a breach of Google systems. ... Make sure you’re using a strong password unique to Google. Update your recovery options so we can reach you...if you get locked out of your account. And consider 2-step verification. "

Can a Robot Be Your Boss?
According to Hill, although the technological ability to make automated decisions has grown, consideration of the implications of such practices is not keeping pace. “The Starbucks example is a perfect one,” says Hill. “I imagine the objective was the optimal scheduling system, but they didn’t pay attention to constraints important for their employees, and it became newsworthy. What’s critical is that there is still a human in the loop to make sure proper constraints are being considered that do not discriminate in ways that are not in line with the law or do not make employees miserable.”

PowerShell Web Access eliminates location restrictions
Windows PowerShell Web Access (PWA) is a secure, lightweight website running on a Web server located in your network. It acts as a Windows PowerShell gateway connected to a remote computer in your environment, providing a PowerShell console-like screen in your browser so you can run cmdlets or scripts to manage your virtualization environment. No additional management software or browser plug-ins are needed on the client, giving you the flexibility to use everything from a laptop to your phone to perform management tasks.

Armed With 10TB Drives and 3.2TB Flash, HGST Aims to Own Data Center Storage
Going on the attack after those still using tapes in the category of active archives, HGST says it will offer hard drive solutions to provide a 10x increase in storage density and power efficiency compared to traditional enterprise data center solutions and a 5x increase in storage density and power efficiency compared to commonly used scale out cloud data center solutions. Although the archive platforms can be configured for a complete range of storage architectures the company says the greatest cost and efficiency gains are made in extremely large capacity environments.

The changing markets for software: the freemium cloud model may be your best choice
The benefits of this model compared to the packaged model are obvious: there's no packaging cost. There is a piracy problem, but that's common to almost all software product business models. Additionally, one serious problem that developers have with app stores is that it's very difficult to reach out to customers for additional sales, cross-selling, or upgrade sales. The app store owns the customer contact information, not necessarily the developer. This limitation, while not universal across all app stores, makes it difficult to build ongoing relationships with happy customers, nurture them, and sell them new offerings.

On the Death of Big Data
Microsoft's strategy is to instill a "data culture" within an organization where everybody has access to vast new stores of analytical information of varying types and can use it to improve business processes and products. For what-used-to-be-called-Big-Data, Microsoft is providing several products and services for leveraging the traditional Apache Hadoop ecosystem while also taking advantage of the democratization of the data and increased access to it from technologies such as SQL. The company is actually baking a lot of the "BD-word" functionality into the company's flagship RDBMS, SQL Server 2014.

Quote for the day:

"Keep focused on the substantive issues. To make a decision means having to go through one door and closing all others." -- Abraham.