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Secrets spilled across the computer screen. After months of negotiation, Johannes Caspar, a German data protection official, forced Google to show him exactly what its Street View cars had been collecting from potentially millions of his fellow citizens. Snippets of e-mails, photographs, passwords, chat messages, postings on websites and social networks – all sorts of private Internet communication – were casually scooped up as the specially-equipped cars photographed the world’s streets. “It was one of the biggest violations of data protection laws that we had ever seen,” Caspar recently recalled about that long-sought viewing in late 2010. “We were very angry.” Google might be one of the coolest and smartest companies of this or any era, but it also upsets a lot of people – competitors who argue it wields its tremendous weight unfairly, officials like Caspar who says it ignores local laws, privacy advocates who think it takes too much from its users. Just this week, European anti-trust regulators gave the company an ultimatum to change its search business or face legal consequences. American regulators may not be far behind. The high-stakes anti-trust assault, which will play out this summer behind closed doors in Brussels, might be the beginning of a tough time for Google.
But never count Google out. It is superb at getting out of trouble. Just ask Caspar or any of his counterparts around the world who tried to hold Google accountable for what one of them, the Australian communication minister Stephen Conroy, called “probably the single greatest breach in the history of privacy”. The secret Street View data collection led to inquiries in at least a dozen countries, including four in the US alone. But Google is yet to give an explanation of why the data was collected and who at the company knew about it. No regulator in the US has ever seen the information that Google’s cars gathered from the citizens. The tale of how Google escaped a full accounting for Street View illustrates not only how technology companies have outstripped the regulators, but also their complicated relationship with their adoring customers. Companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple supply new ways of communication, learning, entertainment and high-tech wizardry for the masses. They have custody of the raw material of hundreds of millions of lives – the intimate e-mails, the revealing photographs, searches for help or love or escape. People willingly, at times eagerly, surrender this information. But there is a price: the loss of control, or even knowledge, of where that personal information is going and how it is being reshaped into an online identity that may resemble the real you or may not. Privacy laws and wiretapping statutes are of little guidance, because they have not kept pace with the lightning speed of technological progress.
Source: The Economic Times
Cloud has myriad of definitions, but one thing is clear that the IT industry is largely accepting it as the next phase of service delivery. Here, we tell you what it means
Cloud, cloud computing, software-as-a-service (SaaS), platfrom-as-a-service (PaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), hosting, cloud storage, private cloud, managed cloud, public cloud or hybrid cloud – there was a time when you would have drawn a blank face at the utterance of these terms. Today, they are no more aliens, and it is rare to meet someone who is closely, or even not so closely, associated with the world of information technology (IT) and has not yet come across them at some point. Vikram Bhatia, Windows Azure Lead, Microsoft, says: “While talking to CXOs at a few medium to large enterprises about cloud, I was pleasantly surprised to see the change in the content of their concerns and queries over the last two years. Two years ago, the two most common questions I had to address were: (i) what is this “cloud” business? Isn’t that marketing jargon for hosting? And (ii) what about the security of my data?” True, cloud was a mere hype back then that not many CIOs were serious about and looked upon with caution. More so because the technology in itself was not clear, and moreover, the private/public/hybrid varieties only worsened the confusion. No, we are not getting into the private vs public vs hybrid cloud frontier. That is entirely a different game altogether, something we might take up later. For now, it is just cloud, without its prefixes and suffixes.
In an interview sometime back, Andy Jassy, senior VP, Amazon Web Services, had noted: “We find all those terms such as private cloud, public cloud, hybrid cloud, infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, as a kind of overloaded and confusing terms. It is often the old world IT players, who talk about it, because private cloud protects the business or margin structure that they built over the past 30 years.” The frenzy back then was such that every second company wanted to reach out to the market with its ‘cloud services’. Even today, not all the CIOs are open to the idea, however, at least most of them agree that it is indeed a new form of doing one’s business. “A year later, I saw a shift happening. It is no longer about what is the cloud, but more about what can I effectively do with the cloud. The two most common queries I get today are: (i) is the cloud worth it for me? What about my existing investments (read hardware, software licenses or in-house apps)? And (ii) How will I manage cloud-based apps? Won’t this make my environment more complex? This shift in concerns tells me that the market has matured considerably and enterprises have evolved from being skeptics to adopters,” Bhatia adds.
There was a time when every executive one spoke to would have a definition or two of the cloud, which seemed more suitable to the service that they were trying to sell than something that a user wanted to hear. However, with time this has also changed. The IT industry has come to terms with technology and has started to accept it as the next phase of IT service delivery. We would try and bring to you what it means and why not all that shines out there is a cloud. To begin with here is a simple definition of what cloud is. Pradeep Agarwal, country head – India Enterprise, Google, said: “’Cloud computing’ refers to Internet-based computing, where software and information in data centres is sent over the Internet to computers, cellphones, and other devices. This technology enables people to quickly turn on applications and innovation like a utility, instead of having to install and run their own applications. Data can be accessed from any Internet-connected device.” And to put it in a simpler form, “The cloud is a service you use, not a system you build,” says Peter Coffee, VP and head, Platform Research, salesforce.com.
And if that is also not sufficient, here is a bit from its history. “What started as “co-location” a few decades ago, i.e. shared hosting of one’s servers in a third party data centre, soon evolved into ‘hosting’, which means servers owned and managed by a third party rented out to multiple organizations for running their business applications. The next stage in the evolution was outsourcing, or better yet, total outsourcing, which moved not only the machines and software, but also human resources and services to third parties. Cloud happened in the last few years, driven primarily by the need to drive down costs further through both scale and scope, but made possible because of technologies like virtualization and remote application management,” adds Bhatia.
Source: CIOL World
This blog has been transferred to our new blog site:
This blog has been transferred to our new blog site:
SAP AG (SAP) announced that SAP Afaria mobile device management solution is now available on Amazon Web Services (AWS) Marketplace, at Sapphire Now, being held in Orlando, Florida, May 14-16, 2012. The AWS Marketplace will feature fully configured SAP Afaria 7.0 server, which brings a new user interface, consumer-like app portal with SAP Store integration and mobile analytics dashboards for business intelligence (BI) reporting. “As the cloud rapidly becomes the IT deployment model of choice for business of all sizes, Amazon Web Services is excited to be working closely with SAP in bringing enterprise solutions to the cloud,” said Andy Jassy, senior vice president, Amazon Web Services. “Adding SAP Afaria to AWS Marketplace provides customers a fast, simple and trusted way to shop for and implement an enterprise-ready mobile solution.” SAP Afaria can be found by visiting http://aws.amazon.com/marketplace “By offering SAP Afaria on the secure, scalable AWS cloud infrastructure, we are extending our existing close relationship with AWS and making it as easy as possible for customers and partners to test and deploy the industry’s leading mobile device management solution in an economical and reliable fashion,” said Sanjay Poonen, president, Product Go-to-Market, and head of Mobile Division, SAP. “This announcement is just a sneak preview of what’s coming from SAP as we lay the ground work for long-term innovation around our comprehensive, unmatched B2B and B2C mobile platform – both on premise and in the cloud.”
Source: CIOL Bureau
In an attempt to counter the burgeoning number of Android Tab market, tech giant Apple is releasing an ”iPad Mini” at a loss-making price of around 150 pounds. The low priced tablet will even feature the same ”Retina” display featured on its big brother, iPad 3, bringing the same 3.1million pixels to a smaller 7-8″ display. With the screen as a premium feature, it is likely Apple would have to compromise on other parts of the tablet, such as reduced storage space of, for instance, 8GB for apps, videos and music. According to the Daily Mail, tech analysts claimed that if such a stance in adopted by Apple, the firm might have to take a serious cut to its margins, if not sell the Mini at a loss. “Considering the kind of cash Apple has on hand, though, it might be willing to take the hit just to help kill-off competition from Android tablets,” IMore was reported, as saying. However, it expected to appeal people who want an iPad for casual browsing and occasional use of apps and movies, but are not willing to shell out 400 pounds for the bigger brother.
Source: The Financial Express
India may be embracing latest technologies like mobility and cloud, but factors like privacy concerns and cultural fabric could restrain social media growth in the country as compared to other nations, a report by research firm Gartner today said. The report suggests that four significant forces that will shape businesses during the next five years are IT, mobile, cloud and social media. These pivotal technologies include the explosive use of media tablets, mobile applications, context-aware computing, Internet, analytics and in-memory computing (IMC), it added. “India is poised to become one of the world’s biggest consumer economies in the coming five years. By 2014, it is expected to have more than one billion mobile subscribers and will also see significant roll-out of new IT infrastructure in both public and private sectors,” Gartner Research VP Rakesh Kumar said. The youthful, increasingly well-educated and technically sophisticated population will drive the adoption of new technologies in the country, he said. However, the use of social media during the next five years may be at lower levels in India compared with other countries.
“Although it’s easy to see how social media could grow rapidly during the next few years, privacy concerns and the cultural fabric of the country may suggest otherwise,” Kumar said. India with over 25 million users is one of the major markets for social networking site Facebook. Apart from Google’s Orkut and professional networking site LinkedIn, there are smaller networking sites operating too. Companies, especially in sectors like FMCG, consumer durables, auto and telecom are leveraging social media to connect with consumers to get feedback. “This will lead to a further engagement of brands with customers and helps the economy as well,” he said. Besides, India has gained a substantial position for application development, maintenance, support and innovation globally and the same now needs to be used domestically. “A sense of entrepreneurship is embedded into the Indian psyche which is beginning to lead to startups exploring areas such as pattern mapping. What will now be important is that the same is deployed in the domestic market as well,” he added.
Source: The Economic Times
Apple will drop Google Maps from its upcoming mobile platform iOS 6 in favour of its own mapping system, it was reported Friday. The application design is said to be fairly similar to the current Google Maps programme on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, but it is described as a much cleaner, faster and more reliable experience, said technology news website 9to5mac, citing its sources. Over the last few years, Apple has been acquiring mapping companies like Placebase, C3 Technologies and Poly9. The acquisitions enable Apple to create a complete mapping database of its own instead of relying on Google’s solutions, reported Xinhua. The most important aspect of the new Apple Maps application, according to the report, is a powerful 3D mode, which is technology straight from C3 Technologies, a Swedish company Apple bought last year. Apple has been gradually pushing Google Maps away. Last week, Apple acknowledged that its iOS iPhoto app, a photo-sorting tool for the iPad and iPhone, had switched from Google Maps data to OpenStreetMap data since March. The app uses mapping data to display the shoot location of geotagged photos. Apple is scheduled to hold its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco from June 11 to 15. The key announcement at this year’s conference is expected to be iOS 6, the sixth generation of its mobile operating system.
Source: The Economic Times
In the battle of the desktop operating systems (OS), there are only three dominant players left – Windows, Mac and Linux. At some point, Windows was cast as the platform for the common man, Mac as the one for the artist, and Linux as the geek’s playground. Linux found favour in powering servers, supercomputers, large businesses and even stock exchanges. And Google even used it as the platform to build its popular Android mobile operating system. But in the desktop and notebook space, it still failed to gain traction. There’s an image associated with Linux that can be frightening for a normal user, invoking pictures of command lines and terminal windows. But over the past 20 years, some massive steps have been taken to make the OS more accessible.
THE LINUX DESKTOP
Linux comes in more flavours today than what you would find in an ice cream shop. Each flavour, called a ‘distribution’ or ‘distro’ , is designed for a different set of users. Some of the most popular ones are Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint, OpenSUSE, Debian and CentOS. Each distro has its own unique, intuitive and easy to use interface, designed following rigourous user testing. Developers have carefully studied what steps people take for common day-to-day tasks and have made significant improvements to simplify as well as speed up the user experience. Still, behind all the eyecandy lies the same stability and flexibility that makes Linux the OS of choice for companies like Google, Amazon and eBay. Distros use different interfaces, giving a broad variety in look and feel. Popular ones are Unity, Gnome or KDE, which work best if your system has 512MB RAM or higher. If you are running an older PC or desire faster speeds, interfaces like LXDE or Xfce are the way to go.
Each distro is open source and the applications are developed by a community of enthusiasts. This usually translates into a plethora of unique features and add-ons that make computing much easier. For example, if you have thousands of MP3 files on your hard drive, an application called Nautilus – a file explorer – lets you hold your mouse over the file for a few seconds to automatically play the track. Similarly, those who love instant messengers and use multiple ones – Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, Windows Live or Google Talk – might sometimes be stormed by a flurry of messages popping up together. In Linux, if you receive five messages, they all sit in the message queue. The first one shows up in the notification area, fades out, and the next one fades in. The Empathy Instant Messaging client supports all the popular chat applications, including Facebook chat, so you need only one program to connect to all your favourite chat services.
APPS: WORK & PLAY
Initially, Linux users face a major problem in finding software for each distro, as well as installing it. But all that has changed recently. One of the things that mobile users enjoy most is the ability to discover and install applications from their phone’s app store. Similarly, Linux desktops also have app stores, such as the Ubuntu Software Center and Deepin Software Center, which offer thousands of free and paid software for gaming, education, productivity and development. But will Linux be fine for your usual computing needs? On the work front, it’s up to speed. For all office applications such as word processors, spreadsheets and presentations , most distros come with an office suite pre-loaded , such as LibreOffice, OpenOffice, or Calligra (or you can download them if not pre-installed ). These can easily open most MS-Office files, be it one made in the latest MS Office 2010 or older versions. They can also save files to the same formats, as well as others such as PDF – perfect if you want to send an invoice to someone without allowing them to edit it. The only thing missing is an email suite to take on the powerful Microsoft Outlook.
But Mozilla’s Thunderbird supports Linux and is more than capable of executing anything you would have done in Outlook. There’s no shortage of games available either. Popular titles such as Battle for Wesnoth or OpenArena will let you while away some time. And hey, what’s a computer without Solitaire? The world’s favourite digital card game and its twin FreeCell are both available on Linux, as well as Tux Math – a fun game to keep your mathematical skills sharp. You can play music in the wide variety of music players available, and also edit your tracks using Audacity. There’s also the ability to edit videos with Shotwell, and the famous VLC player can play most audio or video files. And of course, the Gimp image editor will make you never miss Photoshop again. In most cases, if you think you need a program for something, then chances are that it’s available for Linux – and now it’s easier then ever before to find it.
SECURE AND UPDATED
One of the major attractions to Linux and open source is that the software has no viruses, eliminating the headache of your PC going down every few months, or of buying expensive antivirus software. “There are about 60,000 viruses known for Windows, 40 or so for the Macintosh, about 5 for commercial Unix versions and perhaps 40 for Linux. Two-three of the Macintosh viruses were widespread enough to be of importance. None of the Unix or Linux viruses became widespread – most were confined to the laboratory,” write Dr. Nic Peeling and Dr Julian Satchell in their report titled Analysis of the Impact of Open Source Software. Linux also doesn’t slow down over time; it runs at the same speed as when it was first installed. And what’s perhaps more important is that its applications theoretically won’t hang your whole system. If some program misbehaves, only that application hangs without affecting other things. Linux also gets rid of those con stant pop-ups asking you to update a program or install drivers every time you run it. The system man ages all updates centrally, so you only have one application that prompts you for the upgrade. And it’s customizable enough that you can make it automatic, ask for a notification without a pop-up , and even turn it off entirely. It makes for a clutter-free and uninterrupted computer experience. A major concern for computer users is the support for hardware If you have used Linux in the past it might have had trouble detecting your printer or a third-party device Today, however, most of the devices work well without installing any drivers, as Linux now supports 3,000 printers, 1,000 digital cameras and 200 web cams. In fact, you can even sync your iPod/iPhone music with the Rhythmbox media player with out installing iTunes.
TAKE THE LEAP
If you are now ready to try Linux on your computer, you don’t need to uninstall your existing operating system. You can easily dual-boot Linux with Windows or Mac. What’ more, Linux also has the ability to run as a full OS directly off a CD or a pen drive, letting you try it out before installing it. Be warned though, the speeds would be a little slower than what you get if you were to install it on your hard disk. The best part, of course, is that Linux is free. And this cost is usu ally passed on to the consumer, as PCs running Linux from Dell and Wipro cost about Rs. 3,000 lesser than the same model bundled with Windows. Considering the benefits it might be worthwhile to give Linux a chance…
Source: The Economic Times