All posts on August, 2017


Smartphones

Samsung’s Note8 Is Its Biggest Galaxy Phone Yet

Samsung has unveiled its Galaxy Note8 smartphone, positioning the oversized handset as the ideal choice for those who want to do bigger things. The new Android-powered device’s larger Infinity Display features nearly bezel-less full-frontal glass and an edge-to-edge screen. The Note8 comes with an improved S Pen that will allow users to communicate in what the company called more “personal ways.”

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Microsoft’s Project Brainwave accelerates deep learning in Azure

Earlier this year, Google unveiled its Tensor Processing Unit, custom hardware for speeding up prediction-making with machine learning models.

Now Microsoft is trying something similar, with its Project Brainwave hardware, which supports many major deep learning systems in wide use. Project Brainwave covers many of the same goals as Google’s TPU: Speed up how predictions are served from machine learning models (in Brainwave case, those hosted in Azure, using custom hardware deployed in Microsoft’s cloud at scale). 

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Exclusives

Zyme CCO Ted Dimbero: Connecting the Channel Data Dots

“Channel data management is about providing high-tech companies with all the data and information they need to effectively manage their distribution channels, sales and marketing,” said Zyme CCO Ted Dimbero. “Traditionally, companies have relied on managing the channel fairly blindly. They may get monthly data, but a lot of the data is incomplete or too late to make important decisions.”

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When identity data eclipses digital identity

When I first became involved in the identity space, which was about 10 years now, the definition of ‘digital identity’ was being hotly debated. This debate raged on over the years, but out of it, a stoic pragmatism has emerged. Digital identity is many things, but what it has in common across all definitions, is data. You are what your attributes say you are…well if you have had them verified to a decent degree of probability that is.

Identity data is a valuable commodity. In terms of attractive assets, it has cybercriminals chomping at the bit to get at it. According to a study by the Identity Theft Center, data breaches increased by 40% in 2016 over the 2015 figures. Identity data is also, of course, highly valuable to the individual behind the data, and service that individual wants to access. We need to make the identity data work for the individual, not the cybercriminal. But to do this, we need to start to break the silo barriers down.

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Mobile CRM

Survey: In-App Customer Support Is a Winner

Consumers want mobile apps with good in-app customer support, suggest results of a recent survey. Radius Global Market Research conducted the online poll of adults in the United States this spring. Among the survey’s findings: Eighty-nine percent of respondents said they would recommend an app if a customer support agent proactively contacted them while they were experiencing problems.

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Tech Law

Kari’s Law: A 911 Fix That Will Make the US Safer

The 911 emergency number was created back in the day when telephones were connected by wires, before cellphones or Voice over Internet Protocol in the home, and before Multi-Line Telephone Systems in the enterprise. In the early days, anyone could dial 911 for police, fire or medical emergencies. When consumers dropped land lines and started using Internet phone services, a 911 problem surfaced.

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Home Tech

The Smart Home Appliance and You

The recent rumor that iRobot had engaged in talks with Apple, Amazon and Google parent Alphabet to sell the data its Roomba vacuum cleaner gathers caused widespread privacy concerns.
Roomba maps homes — the spatial dimensions of rooms and distances between furniture and other objects — and the data it collects would be valuable to any of the major players battling to control the smart home.

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Software

Google Touts Android Oreo’s Tasty New Features

Google has pulled the wraps off the latest version of its Android mobile OS. Version 8.0 Oreo has a number of improvements over 7.1 Nougat, the previous release of the OS. Google has tweaked Android’s notification feature, for instance, so when an app has notifications pending, a dot appears in a corner of the program’s icon. Press the dot and a window will pop up showing the notifications.

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Marketing

Has Marketing Automation Started Making Sense?

B2B marketing automation has a long way to go, suggest the results of a recent survey of more than 350 marketing professionals in the United States and Europe. Act-On Software commissioned Econsultancy to conduct the research for its State of B2B Marketing report released last week.
Only 51 percent of respondents said the CMO or equivalent took a keen interest in marketing automation.

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Tech Buzz

What Tech Companies Are Doing Wrong With Extremists

It is starting to worry me how little the responses by tech firms will do to fix the problem of extreme views instead of just driving them underground. This is largely due to the excessive focus firms now have on how they are run. Companies tend to be run tactically, with officials more likely to make decisions that will seem to make a problem go away but do not deal with the cause of the problem.

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Oracle doesn’t want Java EE any more

Oracle wants to end its leadership in the development of enterprise Java and is looking for an open source foundation to take on the role.

The company said today that the upcoming Java EE (Enterprise Edition) 8 presents an opportunity to rethink how the platform is developed. Although development is done via open source with community participation, the current Oracle-led process is not seen agile, flexible, or open enough. ”We believe that moving Java EE technologies to an open source foundation may be the right next step, to adopt more agile processes, implement more flexible licensing and change the governance process,” Oracle said in a statement.

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What features to expect in Apple’s Swift 5

Version 5 of Apple’s Swift language used for iOS and MacOS application development will arrive in late 2018 with ABI (application binary interface) stability in the standard Swift library a primary focus—delaying a feature originally intended for the upcoming Swift 4 release.

Locking down the ABI iin Swift 5 will mean any future compiler versions can produce binaries that conform to the stable ABI. “Once an ABI is stable, it tends to persist for the rest of the platform’s lifetime due to ever-increasing mutual dependencies,” according to Apple documentation.

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13 frameworks for mastering machine learning

13 frameworks for mastering machine learning
13 frameworks for mastering machine learning

Image by W.Rebel via Wikimedia

Over the past year, machine learning has gone mainstream with a bang. The “sudden” arrival of machine learning isn’t fueled by cheap cloud environments and ever more powerful GPU hardware alone. It is also due to an explosion of open source frameworks designed to abstract away the hardest parts of machine learning and make its techniques available to a broad class of developers.

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The most popular IDEs? Visual Studio and Eclipse

Microsoft’s Visual Studio leads the way in desktop IDE (integrated development environment) popularity, with Eclipse close behind, according to PYPL’s August index of IDE popularity. Android Studio was a distant third.

Visual Studio takes a 22.4 percent share in this month’s index. Eclipse follows with a 20.38 percent share. Much further back was Android Studio, with a 9.87 percent share. “It’s surprising how a couple of IDEs have about half the popularity,” PYPL’s Pierre Carbonelle said.

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Docker Enterprise now runs Windows and Linux in one cluster

With the newest Docker Enterprise Edition, you can now have Docker clusters composed of nodes running different operating systems.

Three of the key OSes supported by Docker—Windows, Linux, and IBM System Z—can run applications side by side in the same cluster, all orchestrated by a common mechanism.

Clustering apps across multiple OSes in Docker requires that you build per-OS images for each app. But those apps, when running on both Windows and Linux, can be linked to run in concert via Docker’s overlay networking.

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Oracle’s Hurd, AT&T’s Donovan on their massive cloud migration deal

If worries about digital transformation projects keep you up at night, imagine how it would feel to be responsible for moving thousands of internal databases to the cloud for a company with more than $160 billion in annual sales and 260,000 employees. That’s the job that AT&T Communications CEO John Donovan is undertaking, and he’s working with Oracle CEO Mark Hurd to do it. 

When the companies announced in May that they were working together, Hurd called the agreement “historic.” While hyperbole is part of everyday life in tech, lessons learned from the massive project are bound to reverberate across enterprises in a variety of fields, as Hurd noted in the following discussion with Donovan and IDG News Service Editor in Chief Marc Ferranti.

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Google’s Deeplearn.js brings machine learning to the browser

Google is offering an open source, hardware-accelerated library for machine learning that runs in a browser. The library is currently supported only in the desktop version of Google Chrome, but the project is working to support more devices. 

The Deeplearn.js library enables training of neural networks within a browser, requiring no software installation or back end. “A client-side ML library can be a platform for interactive explanations, for rapid prototyping and visualization, and even for offline computation,” Google researchers said. “And if nothing else, the browser is one of the world’s most popular programming platforms.”

Using the WebGL JavaScript API for 2D and 3D graphics, Deeplearn.js  can conduct computations on the GPU. This offers significant performance, thus getting past the speed limits of JavaScript, the researchers said.

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AWS unveils AI monitoring for Amazon S3

AWS launched Amazon Macie today, a service that leverages machine learning to help customers prevent inadvertent exposure of sensitive data and unauthorized access to data in Amazon S3. The company said Amazon Macie will support additional AWS storage services later this year. 

Inside the company’s S3 (Simple Cloud Storage Service) platform, Amazon Macie will use natural language processing to discover and classify sensitive data, looking at factors such as personally identifiable information, private keys, and credit card information. The Macie service will also continuously monitor data access for unusual activity. Anomalies will trigger alerts to a customer’s security team, Matt Wood, general manager of artificial intelligence at AWS, said.

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Microsoft unveils simpler .Net Core, standard .Net APIs

Microsoft’s .Net Core 2.0, an upgrade to the company’s open source, cross-platform implementation of .Net, is becoming available today. The new release includes improvements intended to make .Net Core easier to use. It also conforms to the .Net Standard 2.0 specification designed to facilitate code sharing among .Net Framework, .Net Core, and Xamarin.

The .Net Core framework can be used to build web applications and services that run on Windows, MacOS, or Linux. Ease of use improvements in .Net Core 2.0 include making the dotnet restore command (used to install project dependencies and other tasks) implicit for commands like run, build, and publish that require it.

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GitHub’s Atom editor gets a speed boost

GitHub has just released an upgrade to its “hackable” Atom text editor, adding a native C++ buffer and rewriting the DOM interaction layer. The company also has offered a glimpse of the next version, which will improve Git integration and PHP support.

With this week’s Atom 1.19 release, a native C++ text buffer boosts responsiveness and memory usage. “Saving a file now happens asynchronously without blocking the UI, so that you can move smoothly from one task to the next,” GitHub’s Ian Olsen said. Also, large files now consume less memory.

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Amazon joins Kubernetes-focused CNCF industry group

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation, created to promote and develop technologies like Kubernetes and core components of the container ecosystem spawned by Docker, welcomed Amazon Web Services into its fold this week.

Amazon comes on board as a top-level (“platinum”) member. According to Amazon’s Adrian Cockcroft, now a member of the CNCF’s governing board, containers are the big reason Amazon’s getting involved—at least, initially.

Amazon already has a major investment in container tech. Its ECS service provides managed containers that run via machine images deployed on clusters of EC2 instances. Its older Elastic Beanstalk service can deploy and manage Docker containers, although they’re scaled and managed via Amazon’s own internal stack, not the CNCF’s Kubernetes. And users can always manually deploy Docker Enterprise Edition, a container-centric Linux such as CoreOS, or a Kubernetes cluster on EC2.

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