All posts on September, 2017


Online Entertainment

Google Assistant Goes to Work for Nvidia’s Shield TV

Nvidia on Thursday announced that its Shield TV now includes Google Assistant as part of its Shield Experience Upgrade 6.0 update. The update also lets the Shield device work as a SmartThings Hub when paired with a SmartThinks Link. The SmartThings Link, which can be used to connect Shield TV as a SmartThings Hub, will be released in the coming months with a promotional launch price of $14.99.

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Vendors

Digital Hub Returns

Digital Hub is not a new idea. It’s been percolating for a few years, and its roots can be traced to Dublin, Ireland, where in a cluster of eight buildings, there exists what might be the original hub. In Dublin, it’s made up of 97 companies employing 725 people, and it was given a jumpstart by the government in 2003. Elsewhere, we might be more attuned to the idea of a tech incubator.

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Informatica brings AI to GDPR compliance, data governance

Companies that are scrambling to comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have a new tool to consider: Informatica’s Compliance Data Lake, unveiled this week at the Strata Data Conference in New York.

With the new software, Informatica is bringing machine learning to bear on compliance issues, aiming to give enterprises a comprehensive view of compliance-related data stored not only in geographically dispersed databases but also in email, social media, instant messages, financial transactions and non-traditional sources.

The idea is to provide more accurate compliance analytics and reporting to ensure and prove adherence to critical regulations like the GDPR.

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Informatica brings AI to GDPR compliance, data governance

Companies that are scrambling to comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have a new tool to consider: Informatica’s Compliance Data Lake, unveiled this week at the Strata Data Conference in New York.

With the new software, Informatica is bringing machine learning to bear on compliance issues, aiming to give enterprises a comprehensive view of compliance-related data stored not only in geographically dispersed databases but also in email, social media, instant messages, financial transactions and other non-traditional sources.

The idea is to provide more accurate compliance analytics and reporting to ensure and prove adherence to critical regulations like the GDPR.

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Social Networking

Twitter to Test Drive Double-Wide Tweets

Twitter has announced a limited test to double the maximum tweet size to 280 characters. Twitter has been struggling to boost user engagement, and its tweet character limitation has been the subject of a longstanding debate among customers and company insiders. One reason for the possible change is to correct for the information imbalance between Asian and western language characters.

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What’s new in MySQL 8.0

MySQL, the popular open-source database that’s a standard element in many web application stacks, has unveiled the first release candidate for version 8.0.

Features to be rolled out in MySQL 8.0 include:

  • First-class support for Unicode 9.0 out of the box.
  • Window functions and recursive SQL syntax, for queries that previously weren’t possible or would have been difficult to write.
  • Expanded support for native JSON data and document-store functionality.

With version 8.0, MySQL is jumping several versions in its numbering (from 5.5), due to 6.0 being nixed and 7.0 being reserved for the clustering version of MySQL.

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Giraffe brings F# functional programming to ASP.Net Core

Giraffe, a micro web framework based on the F# language, is bringing functional-style programming to the development of web services on ASP.Net Core. Although F# is already supported in ASP.Net Core, Giraffe puts greater emphasis on the functional programming style by leveraging features such as higher-order functions. 

Likened to the Suave web server but specifically designed to work with Microsoft’s ASP.Net Core web framework, Giraffe is described as a native functional framework for building rich web applications that draws on advanced F# features. F# is an open source functional-first language that Microsoft created to address complex computing problems while producing simple, maintainable code.

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Products

New Cloud Tools Aim to Streamline, Monetize Partner Relationships

AppDirect on Tuesday announced new products and functionality for its Cloud Commerce Platform.
The new tools, AppReseller and Cloud Management Suite, enable software vendors to launch reseller partner programs quickly. Software as a Service providers can use the new capabilities to help their small and mid-sized business users manage and leverage their software more effectively.

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Google App Engine adds support for Java 8

Google has made the Java 8 runtime generally available on App Engine, the Google Cloud Platform’s development platform service. Google said the upgrade removes performance limitations Java developers have had to deal with when using the Java 7 runtime. Java 7 remains a supported option. 

“Unfortunately, using Java 7 on App Engine standard environment also required compromises, including limited Java classes, unusual thread execution, and slower performance because of sandboxing overhead,” said Amir Rouzrokh, Google product manager.

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Computing

When Quantum Computers Come, They May Speak Microsoft

Microsoft has been working on a language for a computer that doesn’t exist. The company unveiled the language — as yet unnamed — at its Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida. Part of its Visual Studio product, it will run on a quantum simulator and quantum computer. “Quantum computing is the next phase in computing,” said Jack E. Gold, principal analyst at J.Gold Associates.

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Bossie Awards 2017: The best databases and analytics tools

The best open source databases and data analytics tools
bos17 database analytics lg

Image by IDG

We’ve watched a parade of NoSQL databases march through the Bossies the last few years. Well, SQL has had enough! Our 2017 winners include two examples of scale-out SQL databases, along with the usual gang of analytics-oriented projects from the Apache Software Foundation, a name that has become synonymous with big data.  

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Bossie Awards 2017: The best machine learning tools

The best open source software for machine learning
bos17 mac learning lg

Image by IDG

It’s just possible that you’ve heard something about “machine learning.” Safely ignored by most of us these past many years, machine learning has clearly come into its own in the cloud era, with so much data now available to chew on. So many tools and libraries for machine learning are popping up, we felt compelled to break them out into their own category.  

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Business

Innovation Requires Market Enablement

In this age of tech industry consolidation, one has to wonder what will happen with the pace of innovation as a few large companies begin to dominate. In personal computers, the WinTel marriage continues to control the technology, while Dell, HP and Lenovo control the devices. Similarly, in smartphones, Apple and Samsung, which both design their own chips and devices, dominate the market, especially in North America.

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Software

SQL Server 2017 Embraces Linux, Docker

Microsoft on Monday announced the general availability of SQL Server 2017, now with support for Linux, at its Ignite conference in Orlando. The company first announced its plans for the newest iteration of its database software a year and a half ago. This is the first version of SQL Server to run on Windows Server, Linux and Docker, noted Scott Guthrie, EVP, cloud and enterprise, at Microsoft.

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What’s new in React 16 JavaScript UI library

React 16, the latest version of the popular JavaScript library for building UIs, goes live today, with a rewritten core for better performance.

Dubbed “React Fiber” during its development, React 16 is a rewrite of the React core, improving perceived responsiveness for complex applications via a new reconciliation algorithm.

Key features of the React 16 include:

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Sales

Einstein Tries Sales Forecasting

When Salesforce unveiled sales forecasting with its artificial intelligence tool, Einstein, my immediate reaction was that it should have tried something easier — like solving global warming. Really, a sales forecast that bears some resemblance to reality has been a grail quest for all of us for many years, and Salesforce is not the first software company to throw its hat in the ring.

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SAP wants to embrace all your data stores with Data Hub

If data warehouses are for tidiness freaks (information packaged into neat inferences, sorted and stacked, the rest discarded) and data lakes are for hoarders (tip everything in, you never know what might be useful) then SAP’s new Data Hub may be for the rest of us.

It’s a new data management tool intended to process only the data you need — and to go looking for it where it’s created or stored, without requiring you to pull it all into one place. 

Data scientists will be able to use it to analyze data from multiple sources and systems.

“Data Hub is a strong data management umbrella layer that allows for data integration, data processing and data governance,” said Irfan Khan, global head of SAP database and data management sales.

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Tech Buzz

Sony’s Foolish Failure to Learn From Microsoft’s Mistake

Microsoft has learned a lot of very hard lessons over the last couple of decades, and it continues to surprise and annoy me that other firms seem to have the suicidal tendency to learn the same lessons the hard way. It is far better and cheaper to avoid the mistakes of others, but firms like Apple, Google and, most recently, Sony seem to want to experience past Microsoft disasters first hand.

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Cython 0.27 speeds Python by moving away from oddball syntax

Cython, the toolkit that allows Python code to be converted to high-speed C code, has a new 0.27 release that can now use Python’s own native typing syntax to speed up the Python-to-C conversion process.

Previously, Cython users could accelerate Python only by decorating the code with type annotations in a dialect peculiar to Cython. Python has its own optional syntax for variable type annotation, but Cython didn’t use it.

With Cython 0.27, Cython can now recognize PEP 526-style type declarations for native Python types, such as str or list. The same syntax can also be used to explicitly define native C types, using declarations like var: cython.int = 32.

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Facebook buckles under pressure over hated React license

Under pressure from organizations such as the Apache Software Foundation, Facebook is changing the licensing of its open source React JavaScript UI library to one considered less risky for developers.

Beginning with next week’s React 16 release, React will be licensed under the MIT open source license. A point release of React 15 also will be offered next week based on the MIT license.

That change in license removes a controversial term in the BSD + Patents license that Facebook had been using for React. The BSD + Patent license stipulates that anyone using software released under it loses the license if they sue Facebook for patent infringement.

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Internet

Companies Cheer Completion of Open-Design Transatlantic Internet Cable

Microsoft on Friday announced completion of the Marea undersea cable, which stretches 4,400 miles between Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Bilbao, Spain. A joint project of Microsoft, Facebook and global telecommunication infrastructure company Telxius, the cable lies more than 17,000 feet below the ocean’s surface. It is the first cable to link Virginia and Spain.

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What’s new in Apple’s Swift 4.0 language

Swift 4.0 is now available. It’s a major upgrade to Apple’s Swift, the three-year old successor to the Objective-C language used for MacOS and iOS application development.

The Swift 4 upgrade enhances the Swift Package Manager and provides new compatibility modes for developers. Apple said Swift 4 also makes Swift more stable and improves its standard library. Swift 4 is largely source-compatible with Swift 3 and ships as part of Apple’s Xcode 9 IDE.

What’s new in Swift 4’s package manager

Swift Package Manager, which debuted in Swift 3, is tool for distributing code. It is integrated with the Swift build system to automate processes including downloading, compiling, and linking of dependencies. Improvements in Swift 4’s package manager include:

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Social CRM

Nimble’s Social CRM Finds Its Way Into Office 365

Social sales and marketing software provider Nimble and cloud services consultant NeoCloud have partnered to deliver a simple, affordable contact management and CRM package for Microsoft Office 365. NeoCloud has agreed to bundle Nimble CRM into all of its Office 365 deployments, beginning this month. Nimble CRM adds employees’ individual connections to a shared team relationship manager.

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Mobile

Amazon’s Alexa May Get Into Your Head

Developers at Amazon’s secret Lab 126 reportedly have been working on audio-only smart glass technology that would allow users to communicate with its virtual assistant Alexa. The smart glasses would connect wirelessly to users’ smartphones and transfer communications through a bone-conduction audio system that would negate the need for headphones. Amazon plans to release the device this year.

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Transportation

Ford Motor Puts Design Strategy Under the HoloLens

Ford Motor Company on Thursday unveiled details about its use of Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality technology in the automotive design process. Ford’s design teams have swapped out their clay-sculpting tools — a staple of the automotive world since the 1930s, when Harley Earl introduced them at General Motors — for mixed reality headsets and visualization software.

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