Tag Archives: cloud computing links

Technically Speaking: Stories of the Week – May 28

Each week we scour the internet to find the best stories on technology, digital living and news of note. This week features a shirt that cleans itself, a bigger Kindle Fire, and a keyboard for people prone to spilling drinks. All that and more in this edition of Mozy’s Technically Speaking.

How to Build a Movie Theater in Your Backyard Without Going Broke

Open Air Cinema

With the warmer weather rolling around, wouldn’t it be nice to have an open-air movie theater in the backyard? The idea seems a little far-fetched for those without deep pockets, but with the right hardware it’s probably less expensive than many people would think. Rick Broida of CNET explains how an outdoor cinema can be created for about $1000. Components needed for the setups include a projector (approximately $700), a blue-ray player ($40-$50), a screen (around $170), and a sound system (around $200). Many of the items can be found for less (especially if purchased used or refurbished ones) and some can even be built.

New Kindle Fire will Have 10-Inch Screen

Amazon is preparing a new Kindle Fire that will be 10 inches, increasing more than an inch in size from last year’s 8.9 inch model, says Brandon Russell of TechnoBuffalo. Other features will include a 2,560 x 1,600 resolution screen, and an affordable price tag. The device is expected to help Amazon continue to compete in the tablet market with big guns like Apple and Nexus. Amazon also plans to release newer versions of its 7-inch and 8.9-inch models.

Logitech Creates iPad Keyboard Folio that Protects Against Spills

Attention spillers: Logitech has created a new keyboard folio that may protect your iPad from your clumsiness. Engadget reports that the company’s new FabricSkin model has a liquid-repellent coating.The Bluetooth keyboard also doesn’t have any openings, meaning no liquid can get inside. The product, which costs $149, is set to be released this month and can be pre-ordered on the Logitech website.

The World’s First Curved OLED Television is Here

LG1

LG has created the world’s first 55-inch OLED television which is designed to bring ”IMAX-like” experience, with the entire screen surface being equally distant from the viewer’s eyes. The television is currently available for pre-order in South Korea and should be available in other markets in “the months ahead”, according to Mashable’s Stan Schroeder The TV is 4.3 0.17 inches thin, and weights just over 37 pounds. It features LG’s WRGB and Color Refiner technologies, and its clear stand doubles as speakers due to its baked-in transparent film speakers. The current price in South Korea is 15 million KRW, roughly $13,500, but prices have yet to be announced for other markets.

Never Do Laundry Again; The Shirt that Cleans Itself

An entrepreneur has come up with a button-down shirt that never wrinkles and stays odor free–so it can be worn over and over without being washed. The “better button-down” is made of wool that’s three times thinned than a human hair, CNET reports. The founder claims that the thin wool makes the shirts extra resistant to moisture. So far on Kickstarter the shirt has been a huge success, as $290,000 has been raised in just over a week.

 

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Cloud Link Roundup – October 22

Samsung Launching Galaxy S III Mini

Samsung Vs. AppleWhen it comes to challenging Apple’s iPhone, Samsung is thinking small. The South Korean conglomerate is currently working on a smaller version of its popular Galaxy S III smartphone.

The new phone, which Samsung did not reveal when it will launch in the United States or at what price it will be, is likely targeting Apple’s newest iPhone, according to the Washington Post.

The smartphone, expected to be called, appropriately, the Galaxy S III mini, has a 4-inch screen — smaller than the 4.8-inch screen on the current iteration of the Galaxy S III smartphone but the same size as the display on the iPhone 5.

That’s not the only difference between this phone and its larger, 4.8-inch sibling. According to a specifications sheet from Samsung, the mini smartphone has a 5 megapixel camera instead of the 8 megapixel sensor on the larger phone, and it will also not operate on high-speed 4G LTE networks. That decision makes the device more of a mid-range phone, as many customers expect premium smartphones to connect to the fastest networks, according to the Washington Post.

The S III mini’s crisp Super AMOLED screen and general design borrows from the company’s top-selling smartphone. It has a 1GHZ dual-core processor and will run the latest version of Google’s Android system, Jelly Bean.

Browser Tools Can Help Block Tracking by Social Networks

The “like” button on Facebook and other social widgets on websites that track your online activity now face a growing number of startups that offer tools to keep them in check.

According to The New York Times, those little buttons on websites that let you share what you’ve read have an equally important function: They let the social networks track your travels on the Web, whether or not you click on them.

Now, a growing number of start-ups offer tools that help consumers keep that kind of tracking at bay.

Social widgets that track your moves are growing across the Web. They act as eyes on the Web. They watch you as you skim the day’s news or shop online.

According to The Times, Facebook is especially ubiquitous. Academic researchers in France and Australia recently found that more than 20 percent of the 10,000 most popular Web sites have a Facebook widget. That widget allows the social networking giant to keep track of which Web sites they visit, whether or not the Internet user is logged on to Facebook at the time.

But users do have options when it comes to keeping widgets in check.

One such tool is a widget-scrubbing program recently released by PrivacyChoice. It is a browser extension that monitors the strength of your privacy settings on Facebook and Google, including the option of disabling Facebook and Google Plus share buttons. In the first 24 hours after its release, 50,000 people used the tool, which the company calls PrivacyFix and offers for free.

Woman Gets 11,100 Trillion Euro Phone Bill

Trillion Euro Cell Phone BillA woman in France might want to look into free nights and weekends.

Solenne San Jose received an 11,100 trillion euro phone bill, which was eventually fixed after her phone company admitted that it made a mistake (and people say there’s just no talking to some phone-service providers).

According to the Epoch Times, San Jose said that when she opened up her mail, her phone bill had some extra zeroes. About 12 extra zeroes. Her bill totaled 11,721,000,000,000,000 euros ($15,100 trillion).

“There were so many zeroes I couldn’t even work out how much it was,” Solenne San Jose of the Bordeaux region told the AFP news agency.

Bouygues Telecom, her phone company, told her that they could not revoke the computer-generated bill or stop the balance from being subtracted from her bank account.

Finally, San Jose was able to convince the company to admit the problem, according to the news agency. The bill was actually only 117.21 euros ($151).

Image Credit: Apple iPhone 4s vs Samsung Galaxy note / sidduz / CC BY 2.0

 

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Cloud Roundup and Links of Interest – April 23

How Small Businesses and Local Authorities Benefit from Cloud Computing

A bright idea has emerged from a small Italian local public authority, the Asolo Ulss, near Venice. This public health company produced a charter, the Castelfranco, which provides a set of recommendations to help public authorities adopt cloud computing. The idea, launched in an international conference tour, is simple yet useful to promote cloud computing adoption, and could also apply to private companies willing to take up the technology.

The most relevant economic benefit of cloud computing is associated with a reduction of the fixed costs of entry and production by shifting fixed capital expenditure from IT into operational costs depending on the size of demand and production. This contributes to reducing the barriers to entry, especially for small businesses.

Some of the charter’s recommendations include:

• Operate on a redundant broadband network, for the connection between the company, the customers and the service providers.

• Ensure “private cloud” usability as a preliminary step before agreeing to switch to a “public cloud.”

• Establish a road map to move systems into cloud computing under sustainable economic, management and security conditions.

The iPad vs. Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime

Apple’s new iPad may be the top attention-getter since its arrival last month, but the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is earning a respectable amount of tablet buzz. As the tablet wars continue, Apple hopes to stay ahead of the competition while Android-based rivals such as the Transformer Prime are doing their best to grab techies’ hearts and minds. Many are eagerly debating which reigns supreme.Computerworld recently put the latest iPad up against the Transformer Prime, and the results may surprise you. Computerworld commenter John Faur noted: “I have the Prime and I love it, aside from the random reboots which they are working on. I waited till the release of the iPad 3 and decided to go with the Asus. I too am a Mac guy and love my 27″ iMac but i think the Android devices are more versatile.”

Mobile Technology May Help Stub Out Nicotine Addiction

Smoking is a tough addiction to conquer, but mobile technology may help, according to researchers at Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh, who recently published a nicotine-addiction study.

Their findings, which used mobile technology and software to track smokers as they tried to quit, offered insights into why some tobacco smokers quit the habit on the first try while others have to quit repeatedly, or never succeed. The study, published this month in Prevention Science, “demonstrates the potential for technology to help us figure out the processes involved in withdrawal,” said Stephanie Lanza, scientific director of The Methodology Center at Penn State and a lead author on the study.

 

 

Cloud Computing Link Round Up – April 2

OMGPOP, the gaming startup, whose Draw Something iPhone app used cloud computing and a NoSQL database to scale from zero (relatively speaking) to more than 35 million downloads in three weeks, never missed a beat.

Gigaom’s Derrick Harris discusses the impressive feat in Gigaom’s Structure blog.

“I had a brief call with Couchbase CEO Bob Wiederhold, whose company worked with OMGPOP to scale its implementation of the Couchbase database as demand started growing,” writes Harris.

Although the companies aren’t ready to give exact details yet, here’s what Wiederhold revealed:

  • OMGPOP is hosted in the cloud, but “they’re not on Amazon.”
  • Draw Something has been downloaded more than 35 million times. Players have created more than 1 billion pictures and are creating around 3,000 pictures per second.
  • To handle the incredible traffic spike, OMGPOP had to reconfigure its Couchbase cluster, scale it into the many tens of nodes, and many terabytes of data and increased throughout into the tens of thousands of operations per second.
  • Throughout all this, Draw Something didn’t experience any downtime.

This type of load really stresses a system, Wiederhold said, and if it wasn’t for its decision to use cloud computing and NoSQL technologies, “their game would have fallen over.”

Scalability is one of the primary calling cards for both cloud computing and NoSQL providers. Way to go, cloud.

Cloud Computing Is Here to Stay

Todd Nielsen, of Wired’s Cloudline blog, serves up some strong reasons on why cloud computing is here to stay.

Nielsen writes, “In psychoanalysis, ‘being in denial’ is a defense mechanism used by a person faced with an unpleasant situation too uncomfortable to accept or too ghastly to contemplate. The person rejects reality and insists it is not true, despite overwhelming evidence. I am constantly confronted with people in denial about the cloud.”

So Nielsen offers some cloud statistics:

  • 70 percent of businesses are either using or investigating cloud computing solutions.
  • Worldwide IT spending on cloud computing has increased more than 25 percent from 2008 to 2012.
  • Cloud providers have increased personnel from nil in 2007 to over 550,000 in 2010.

Hard to argue against these figures.

IT Needs to Take Control of the Cloud Before Storm Ensues

IT departments need to step up now and change its approach to cloud services, according to a study, “Delivering on High Cloud Expectations,” commissioned by BMC Software and conducted by Forrester Research.

This includes building trust with the lines of business, beginning to manage public cloud services, and pursuing increased automation for service provisioning and operations, according to ZDNet.

“Cloud and software as a service (SaaS) are in enterprises in a big way,” says Brian Singer, lead solutions marketing manager for BMC. “And we wanted to see how IT was dealing with them.”

For the study, researchers polled 327 enterprise infrastructure executives and architects. Among the key findings:

Today, 58 percent run mission critical workloads in unmanaged public clouds, regardless of policy. The researchers use “unmanaged” to describe clouds that are managed by the cloud operators, but not by the company buying the service.

In the next two years, 79 percent plan to run mission-critical workloads on unmanaged cloud services.

Nearly three out of four responders, 71 percent, thought that IT should be responsible for public cloud services.

Seventy two percent of CIOs believe that the business sees cloud computing as a way to circumvent IT.

Cloud Computing Attempts to Police Its Own

Wanting to provide a measure of security, cloud services organizations and companies whose daily bread is earned through trusted relationships with their clients have decided to band together and create a set of guidelines for the rest, according to Technorati.

The New Zealand Computer Society has put together a basic code of conduct for companies providing Web-based computing services, calling it CloudCode.

According to Joy Cottle, CloudCode facilitator, “The CloudCode is proactive, not prescriptive, based on what the industry is asking for both from a consumer and supplier perspective and more importantly a code of practice that is easily adopted by the providers and easily understood by the consumer.”

“A lack of understanding of the accepted definitions of cloud computing and what it entails results in a situation where services are being offered that don’t meet what are generally considered acceptable standards of practice,” said the Society.

 

 

Cloud Computing and Links – March 26

‘Personal Cloud’ to Replace PC by 2014, Says Gartner

The cloud has certainly grabbed the attention of both big business and the typical consumer, but the technology’s impact may signal the end of the PC as we know it. Research firm Gartner believes the personal cloud will replace the PC as the center of our digital lives sooner than you might think: 2014.

“Major trends in client computing have shifted the market away from a focus on personal computers to a broader device perspective that includes smartphones, tablets and other consumer devices,” Steve Kleynhans, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement. “Emerging cloud services will become the glue that connects the Web of devices that users choose to access during the different aspects of their daily life.”

Mike Barton, of Wired’s Cloudline blog, delves into the subject here. Barton draws former Microsoft chief software architect Ray Ozzie into the discussion.

“People argue about, ‘Are we in a post-PC world?’ Why are we arguing? Of course we are in a post-PC world,” Ozzie said at a recent GeekWire-sponsored conference. “That doesn’t mean the PC dies; that just means that the scenarios that we use them in, we stop referring to them as PCs, we refer to them as other things.”

And You Thought Your Utility Bills Were High

How many servers does it take to power Amazon’s huge cloud computing operation? Like most large Internet
companies, Amazon doesn’t disclose such details. But a researcher estimates that Amazon Web Services is using at least 454,400 servers in seven data center hubs around the globe, according to a post at Data Center Knowledge.

Huan Liu, a research manager at Accenture Technology Labs, analyzed Amazon’s EC2 compute service using internal and external IP addresses, which he extrapolated to come up with estimates for the number of racks in each data center location. Liu then applied an assumption of 64 blade servers per rack – four 10U chassis, each holding eight blades – to arrive at the estimate.

Liu’s estimate is bound to generate some debate. But it provides an additional point of reference for Amazon’s scale, along with earlier analyses. It clearly places the size of Amazon’s structure well above the hosting providers that have publicly disclosed their server counts, but still well below the estimated 900,000 servers in Google’s data center network.

Cloud Hunts for the Origins of the Universe

When your day job is figuring out the workings of the universe you need some heavy duty computing power at your disposal.

That’s why researchers at CERN, the Swiss research lab that is home to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator, are dialing up additional muscle from the cloud, according to ZDNet.

CERN is taking part in the Helix Nebula initiative, a pilot project designed to kick start the European cloud computing industry by carrying out scientific research in the cloud.

“On the CERN site we can’t increase the size of our data center much more. Two or three years down the line we’re going to be limited by space and by electrical consumption. We have to think of what other options are open to us and the on-demand, elastic cloud computing provided by a number of these companies seems like a very good option for us to explore,” said Bob Jones, CERN’s head of openlab, the public-private partnership that helps CERN identify new IT that could benefit the lab.

CERN’s mission is to answer fundamental questions such as “What is the origin of mass?” Heavy stuff.