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Installing Linux: The Good, Bad and Ugly
January 29, 2014
Good or bad, useful or not, implementation of the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface and Microsoft's Secure Boot extension might well foul the fuel driving consumer migration to the Linux desktop. It was not until I attempted to do a Linux installation on a new Gateway Series DX desktop with Windows 8 installed that I stared that UEFI monster down.
Gear and Gadgets for Hitting the Slopes
January 29, 2014
Skiing technologies have undergone a revolution in recent years, with skis, gear and gadgets changing how a new generation experiences the sport. These new technologies are making skiing safer, greener and more connected. Rocker design is one trend that has been finding its way into the skiing world over the last several years -- with lift and curvature on both tips and tails.
Can Android Challenge Embedded Linux?
January 21, 2014
Is the Android OS morphing into a new form of embedded Linux? Android is a Linux OS derivative perched to make inroads beyond its growing user base in smartphones and tablets. Some auto makers are considering the potential for Android-connected communications systems in their vehicles. The Android OS is already available as an all-in-one desktop computer powered by System on a Chip circuitry.
What's Up With Tizen?
January 15, 2014
Consumers might soon have access to cheaper, more talented smartphones that could challenge the market dominance of Android and iOS. At least that is the promise from the Tizen Association. The growing group of phone makers and application developers recently launched a partner program with 36 companies from all segments of the mobile and connected device ecosystems.
Tech and the Art of Text
January 15, 2014
In 1999, Chris Baty was looking for inspiration to write a novel. He got together with some friends in coffee shops and started writing, with rewards of coffee for those who reached their word counts. It was the birth of National Novel Writing Month, which the following year would become NaNoWriMo, a Web-based community of writers who commit to writing a 50,000-word novel in 30 days.
NoSQL, Part 2: Grappling With Big Data
January 14, 2014
Back in 2009, SQL databases began emerging, mainly to handle modern Web-scale databases. They could handle massive amounts of data; tackle the exponential growth of newly created digital content from social media sites and websites; and help build value around data by connecting the dots -- no small task when a plethora of data is continuously being created.
Got Cloud? What Companies Want
January 07, 2014
Cloud service users are becoming more vocal about what they want from cloud providers and how they want to pay for it -- and cloud providers may be listening. They are beginning to offer more flexible options and are gradually shifting to utility-style pricing models. There is no single factor driving these changes, but some of the things potential users want are showing up in their offers.
NoSQL, Part 1: Coming of Age
January 07, 2014
Amadeus, which handles bookings for 95 percent of flights worldwide, uses a variety of NoSQL databases to deal with the massive amounts of data that it handles. Amadeus enables 3.7 million bookings on more than 700 airlines, 110,000 hotel properties, and 30 rental car agencies each day. "NoSQL databases are part of our technology stack to deal with Big Data," said VP Dietmar Fauser.
Twill on Apache: A New Weave
January 07, 2014
Using Hadoop running YARN to manage large clusters for Big Data analysis may soon become easier. The Apache Foundation accepted the open source project Twill, named "Weave" while hosted on Github, after foundation members began voting for its inclusion on Nov. 8. Bringing Twill to Apache will ensure that it is more accessible to application developers.
Surveillance Rights and Wrongs, Part 2: No Clear Answers
January 04, 2014
Civil liberties groups and privacy advocates rejoiced when U.S. Federal District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled last month that the NSA's collection of bulk telephony metadata is likely a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. However, their joy was short-lived. Later in the month, U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley ruled that it is legal.
Surveillance Rights and Wrongs, Part 1: Begging the Questions
January 03, 2014
The National Security Agency's surveillance of Americans' emails, Web searches and phone calls has angered the nation, but lawmakers remain divided on the issue. Bipartisan groups have spoken out against the surveillance and a few have introduced legislation to curb it, but some contend it is essential to protect America from its enemies.
Plasma's Fade to Black
December 20, 2013
As the 2013 International CES approached a year ago, it was clear that a showdown between OLED and 4K -- or UltraHD -- was brewing in the TV display market. A year later, that showdown is fully under way, but with a notable twist. Specifically, Panasonic's announcement in late October that it would exit the plasma display panel market in the coming months took many by surprise.
Portrait of the Artist as a Social Media Fan
December 18, 2013
Artists are using social media to market their work, communicate their ideas and even create new forms. Kiran Umapathy's Headphones Project, for example, documents what randomly selected headphone-wearing strangers are listening to with a story, photo and link to the song. This project -- like many other art projects these days -- lends itself well to social media sharing.
Digital Santa, Part 3: Riding High on the Turbo Cyber Sleigh
December 11, 2013
Flashing strobe lights, streaming LEDs, whining jet engines, a Space Shuttle's roar ... this isn't your grandpa's Santa Claus sleigh. Just about everyone has some mental image of Santa's sleigh -- a hyperflux supervehicle drawn by high-flying reindeer genetically modified for delivering gifts and toys to girls and boys around the world, for instance.
Goodbye, Win XP - Hello, Linux?
December 11, 2013
Microsoft will stop security support for Windows XP this coming April, meaning that more than a few remaining users of the long-standing OS need to come up with an alternative plan. Almost a third of desktop computers still run Windows XP, according to Net Applications. More than 15 percent of midsize and large enterprises will still have Windows XP running on at least 10 percent of their PCs after support ends.
SMBs Hop on Virtualization Gravy Train
December 06, 2013
Mentioning virtualization technology to typical computer users in a work environment will get you a puzzled look. Despite the apparent obscurity of this IT trend, virtualization is making an increasingly large impact on SMBs. Some type of virtualization was reported in place by 77 percent of firms with 500 or fewer employees who responded to a recent survey.
Digital Santa, Part 2: Tech Tools of the Trade
December 04, 2013
Steady mall work might be the bread and sugar-plum butter for many working Santas, but there are good fees and tips to be earned at Santa gigs -- photo studios that invite Santa in for special portraits, kids' preschool events, private parties and more. Today, old-style Santas just won't do for techie tykes who want their Yuletide magic plugged in and amped up.
Build Your Own Simple Linux Banking Tool
December 03, 2013
The Linux OS lacks an effective yet simple checking and banking tool. There are money-management tools for Linux users, of course, but most full-fledged offerings are overkill for monitoring spending patterns and balancing financial accounts. In general, Linux financial applications are either too complex to use without an accounting degree or too simple to be truly useful.
A Tale of Two Browsers: Chrome v. Chromium
November 26, 2013
If you've ever used Google's free Chrome browser, you may be aware that it's closely related to another, similarly named Google project called "Chromium." Chrome and Chromium share a heavy portion of their core browser code, but Chrome is a proprietary Google product, while Chromium is open source. Both serve Linux, Windows and Mac OS X platforms, however.
Digital Santa, Part 1: It's a Mall World
November 25, 2013
Red costume, white beard, ruddy cheeks, cheery voice and smiling, twinkly-eyed charm -- all are indispensable tools for any self-respecting Santa Claus. Nowadays, however, there's a lot more than mere lovable magic going on in the business of being Mr. Claus. Modern Santa has gone high-tech, and today he's all about things like Web landing pages, smartphone apps and ever-more-impressive techno-spectacle.
Technology's Artsy Side
November 20, 2013
Google Earth sometimes makes mistakes: Freeways look like they are upside down or waterfalls flow sideways. For engineers or programmers, these might seem like things to fix. For artists like Clement Valla, however, they're artistic opportunities. Valla's project Postcards from Google Earth, for instance, looks at these mistakes and asks not how to get rid of them, but what they mean.
Want Customization With That?
November 19, 2013
Enterprise software vendors want you to believe that they can customize their software to fit your company's particular needs. That promise is also one of open source software's chief claims to fame. So is the make-it-your-way vendor promise a better option than what the open source community offers? No solution involving tailoring versus customizing business software is really free.

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