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Vendors Sow Seeds for Next Big Federal IT Thing: Convergence
November 19, 2014
Information technology vendors have spotted the next big thing for serving the U.S. government market. The only questions are 1) whether federal agencies themselves have seen the same thing; and 2) if so, whether they are prepared to jump into yet another new procurement process. What the vendors have in mind is akin to the turnkey process used in the construction industry.
When Microsoft Went A-Courting
November 17, 2014
FOSS fans perhaps may be excused if they've felt a bit confused over the past few days. Dizziness, headaches and vertigo also have been common. What strange new ailment is this, you might ask? Well, it's no ailment -- but that doesn't mean it's any simpler to remedy. The cause is none other than the news that Microsoft is open sourcing .Net and also expanding it to run on Linux and Mac OS.
Nvidia Launches a New Mobile Device Age
November 17, 2014
There was an announcement last week that I think is far bigger than folks realize: Nvidia announced a free Netflix-like streaming gaming service for its Shield products. I think this is a precursor to an event that is similar to what cable did to TVs years ago, and that it will change not only how we use these devices, but also what we use them for.
Gadget Ogling: A Creepy Echo, Clever Home Connections, Bizarre Smartphones and Flexible 3D Printing
November 15, 2014
Echo, Amazon's newest attempt at a smart personal assistant, is set to take pride of place in your home. The black tower is voice-activated and can play music, as well as provide information and news updates. It's from Amazon, so it also can update your shopping list. It's always on, so it's continually listening to you, wherever you are in a room. That's just more than a little unsettling.
Charting the Course for the Channel in the Cloud
November 14, 2014
While most people view Salesforce.com's annual Dreamforce event as the largest user conference in the cloud industry, it is also the biggest gathering of cloud companies and their growing assortment of business partners. In many ways, Dreamforce is the best demonstration that the channel isn't dead and actually is prospering in the cloud. This year's Dreamforce was preceded by a Partner Summit.
Nvidia Flips Grid's Game-Streaming Switch
November 13, 2014
Nvidia on Thursday officially launched its Grid on-demand game-streaming service. Due to become available on Nov. 18 in North America, Grid will be free through June 30, 2015, for users of Nvidia Shield tablets and portable devices. "We intend to build Grid into a premium cloud gaming service, and the best global service," said Nvidia spokesperson Brian Burke.
Amazon's Echo Plays Hard to Get
November 07, 2014
Amazon on Thursday announced Echo, a speaker with a built-in voice-activated personal digital assistant. Think of a cylindrical Bose SoundLink Mini married to Siri, Cortana or Google Voice -- or heck, living in sin with all three. Echo can conduct Web searches, add items to your to-do list, let you play streaming music, and give you news and weather reports, among other things.
Feds Flummoxed Over Cloud Contract Management
November 07, 2014
Federal agencies may spend as much as $10 billion annually on cloud technology by 2018, as the government seeks to take advantage of the operational improvements and efficiencies it offers. However, deficiencies in contracting for cloud services could compromise the effectiveness of such investments. Furthermore, reactions to proposed remedies have revealed some tensions over contract management.
Amazon Adds Unlimited Photo Storage to Prime Goodie Bag
November 05, 2014
Amazon on Tuesday announced the addition of free unlimited cloud photo storage for members of its Prime premium shopping service. The new storage feature, Prime Photos, works with Amazon Cloud Drive, the company's free storage offering comparable to iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive. Prime Photos initially will be available for U.S. members only.
Inspectors Find Big Gaps in Federal Cloud Contract Compliance
October 31, 2014
U.S. government agencies may be warming to the cloud, with ambitions to significantly boost investment in the technology. However, many millions of dollars in federal cloud projects could be at risk both currently and in the future, as a result of flawed contract procedures. Many agencies have had difficulty in meeting federal requirements and guidance covering cloud contracts with IT vendors.
Microsoft May Have Launched a Band of Gold
October 30, 2014
Microsoft has made another foray into the mobile health market with the introduction of the Microsoft Band, powered by its new Microsoft Health platform. The band, which is available at Microsoft Stores for $200 as of Thursday, is designed to be worn 24 hours a day. In addition to the usual monitoring capabilities, the band will notify wearers of incoming calls, emails, texts and social updates.
Battered Aereo Takes a Couple More Blows
October 28, 2014
U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan last week granted broadcasters' request for a temporary restraining order against Aereo. This is the latest setback for the would-be cable-killer service, which was suspended following a Supreme Court ruling this summer. Aereo had utilized small dime-sized antennas to capture over-the-air TV signals and stream the content to subscribers over the Internet.
Most Everything's Coming Up Roses for Microsoft
October 27, 2014
Microsoft last week announced better-than-expected Q1 2015 earnings, giving pause to its critics. Granted, net income registered a year-over-year drop. However, revenue totaled $23.2 billion, compared to the previous year's $18.53 billion. Bear in mind the results include $1.14 billion in costs related to Microsoft's restructuring plan and the ongoing integration of Nokia's mobile business.
Chinese Officials Kick In Apple, MS Cloud Doors
October 21, 2014
Chinese authorities have launched man-in-the-middle attacks on Apple's iCloud.com and Microsoft's Login.live.co that are ongoing, according to Greatfire.org. Qihoo 360 browser users' local connections to iCloud.com are being rerouted to a dummy site that's identical to Apple's login page. Users of Firefox or Chrome land on a warning page instead. The attack on iCloud reportedly is nationwide.
Feds Loosening Purse Strings for Cloud Deployments
October 21, 2014
Federal investment in cloud technology is picking up steam and should increase sharply in the next several years -- but that doesn't mean that government agencies suddenly have found that cloud migration will be either quick or simple. Federal cloud spending will jump from slightly more than $3 billion in fiscal 2014 to $9.9 billion in fiscal 2018, according to IDC Government Insights.
IBM's Earnings Miss Gives Wall Street the Willies
October 20, 2014
IBM's earnings slipped in Q3, sending its share prices sliding 7.11 percent to close Monday at $169.10. The company announced it is unloading its Microelectronics OEM semiconductor business and manufacturing operations to GlobalFoundries. IBM will pay GlobalFoundries $1.5 billion to take over the business. IBM's bleak news is being blamed for sending the overall Dow Jones Industrial Average south.
Salesforce's Wave Is Only Half the Analytics Answer
October 17, 2014
Salesforce.com's major Dreamforce news was, as the company itself admitted, the worst-kept secret at the show. Marc Benioff, no less, spilled the beans about it during the summer; the crowd for his keynote was there largely to see it in action. It's a beautiful-looking analytics program. The graphic representations of data are simple, clean and automatically animated.
Jottings on Dreamforce 2014
October 16, 2014
Dreamforce has always been about many things happening at once -- a three-ring circus, in a good way. There are announcements about applications, platforms, philanthropy, entertainment and, importantly, parties. This year there was all of that and then some -- I was a guest with a ringside seat. Perhaps the worst-kept secret of the event was the company's announcement of Wave, its analytics cloud.
Federal Agencies Push Cloud Migration Boulder Uphill
October 15, 2014
Migration to cloud technologies is a challenging task for federal agencies -- even though they have increasingly high hopes for greater adoption of cloud platforms. Information technology managers at federal agencies are seeking to double the utilization of cloud technology for IT infrastructure, software and applications, and platform or middleware purposes.
Salesforce.com Unleashes Cloud Analytics Tidal Wave
October 14, 2014
Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff last month tweeted about the tentative agenda for this week's Dreamforce, and caused a tizzy revealing a keynote session entitled "Analytics Cloud." Although the company immediately denied that it was planning to unveil such a thing or that Benioff intentionally spilled the beans, Salesforce.com did indeed launch its analytics cloud, called "Wave."
What's Driving Open Source 2.0?
October 08, 2014
We're hearing more from vendors about how new features, functionality, rewrites and releases are being driven by customers -- by their direct experience using the software and competing in their various industries. We're also hearing from customers and users, including the enterprise market, that increasingly they are involved and thus empowered in open source software communities.
OOW2014
October 08, 2014
If Oracle didn't build another product for a while, it would be OK. In fact, no one might notice. If the recent OpenWorld 2014 is any indication, there are enough to go around. From an overflowing hardware stash to its Java middleware, apps, and various cloud, SaaS, hosting and infrastructure options, the company looks like a python that just devoured a pig -- I say this with love.
Highfive Offers Easy, Breezy Videoconferencing Handoffs
October 08, 2014
Highfive on Tuesday released a product priced to put high-quality videoconferencing in any room in any company. The product, also named "Highfive," is a $799 device that connects to a TV and the Internet and can create video conferences in HD with high-fidelity sound. What separates Highfive from other videoconferencing products is the seamless way it integrates mobile devices with conferences.
Salesforce.com Debuts Faster, Smarter Social and Mobile Tools
October 07, 2014
Salesforce.com on Tuesday unveiled two new products: Sales Cloud1 and Service Cloud1. The company has a long history of product offerings in these areas, but these new iterations have been designed to address the radical changes in the sales and service space -- namely, the emergence of social and mobile. They also are primed for action when the Internet of Things goes mainstream.

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