Tuesday, October 6, 2015



Link to TechEye

Apple goes open source to save cash

Posted: 06 Oct 2015 04:39 AM PDT

Apple sauce Fruity Cargo Cult Apple has decided that it needs to save money and to do that the best way is to knife its proprietary server virtualization software provider VMware.

Apple was using VMware ESXi to run its internal server infrastructure.  It was planning to renew its four-year-old licensing deal with VMware at a cost of around $20 million for the next two years.

However Apple suddenly realised that the proprietary model, which it uses on its own users, was costing it a bomb, when there were free versions of the same software out there.

Apple will be ditching the VMware ESXi software in favour of KVM, a free alternative that does largely the same thing. The kind of software is called a “hypervisor,” a way to essentially trick one server into thinking it’s multiple servers, allowing for a higher level of efficiency.

This is not the first time Apple has used free software. It uses the Apache Mesos tool to run Siri, the digital personal assistant that runs on the iPhone and iPad.

What is ironic about the whole thing is that Apple's business model is one of the most closed source and depends on users not seeing the advantage of free software.

In the spirit of its new found love of Open Source, Apple is refusing to comment on the move.




Key Linux geekette walks over community abuse

Posted: 06 Oct 2015 01:09 AM PDT

Sarah SharpTop Linux project geek Sarah Sharp has walked away because she is feed up with working with open sourcers with their poor communication skills screaming abuse at each other.

Sharp was an important kernel developer but said she could longer contribute to a community where she was technically respected, but would not give personal respect.

"I could not work with people who helpfully encouraged newcomers to send patches, and then argued that maintainers should be allowed to spew whatever vile words they needed to in order to maintain radical emotional honesty."

Sharp said that she did not want to work professionally with people who were allowed to get away with subtle sexist or homophobic jokes.

"I feel powerless in a community that had a "Code of Conflict" without a specific list of behaviours to avoid and a community with no teeth to enforce it," she said.

While the technical efforts of the Linux kernel community, which had "scaled and grown a project that is focused on maintaining some of the highest coding standards" were great,  a bad combination of overloaded maintainers, and people with different cultural and social norms, meant that Linux kernel maintainers were blunt, rude, or brutal to get their job done, Sharp said.

"Top Linux kernel developers often yell at each other in order to correct each other's behaviour. That's not a communication style that works for me. I need communication that is technically brutal but personally respectful," she said.

The behavioural changes Sharp wants in the Linux kernel community are unlikely to happen any time soon. "Many senior Linux kernel developers stand by the right of maintainers to be technically and personally brutal. Even if they are very nice people in person, they do not want to see the Linux kernel communication style change," she said.

"There's an awful power dynamic there that favours the established maintainer over basic human decency," she added.


Heat sinks and fans could go the way of the Dodo

Posted: 06 Oct 2015 01:02 AM PDT

dodo The current method of cooling computers is about to get a rethink.

The Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is supporting new research to provide on-chip liquid cooling in field-programmable gate array (FPGA) devices and it looks like the technology could be easily adapted for CPUs and GPUs.

This has the potential to reduce the size of devices, allow for chip stacking, dispense with heat sinks and fans and significantly extend the life-span of chips.

Speaking at the IEEE Custom Integrated Circuits Conference, Thomas Sarvey, from Georgia Institute of Technology (GIT) presented the paper with the catchy title "Embedded Cooling Technologies for Densely Integrated Electronic Systems."

What they managed to do was get rid of the heat sink atop the silicon die by moving liquid cooling just a few hundred microns away from the transistors.

The technique involves cutting microfluidic channels into the die of FPGA devices, which were chosen for the research and trials because of their flexible configuration and extensive use in the military.

This locates the cooling just microns from the problem, and even allows for the possibility of chip-stacking, which very few devices currently have the room or efficiency to achieve, given the necessity to dissipate heat from a central locus of adjacent chips.

The group successfully developed a standard demonstration test, including one for DARPA officials, in which a converted FPGA with bespoke Altera-supplied architecture operated, with no other cooling, at less than 24 degrees Celsius, and was compared to an analogous air-cooled device operating at 60 degrees Celsius.

On-chip liquid cooling also opens up the possibility for a new level of compactness in device design, which frequently has to use available surface space for dissipation purposes.


Samsung invents a Google Glass which is useful

Posted: 06 Oct 2015 12:58 AM PDT

 Joe90Samsung has applied to patent a Google Glass-style device which enables users to interact with 3D images in mid-air to dial phone numbers and send SMS text messages.

Various patents relating to components in Samsung’s smart glasses project have been approved by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Samsung’s patent application describes a Google Glass-like device with two cameras that project 3D images only the user can see. This means that users have a visual way to interact with apps and smartphone functions, similar to the way they would interact with their phones.

Users could interact with 3D images of apps projected onto surfaces like a desk.

To make a phone call or send a text message, the user can project the phone’s key pad on to his or her hand, held 10cm away from the glasses, and then use the fingers of another hand to press on the projected numbers on the hand to trigger the smartphone to make a call.

A user could also use this technique to type a quick SMS text message to a contact and flick through the phone’s dictionary for the correct word or character. You could even write a virtual note on a real note pad using a stylus that is recorded by the smart glasses, according the Samsung’s patent application.

The technology being used is known as SixthSense. It was developed by Pranav Mistry while he was studying for a PhD at MIT in 2009 and he showcased it in a TEDIndia talk in the same year. Mistry works for Samsung and he presented the very first version of the Samsung Gear VR headset in 2013.


Ireland not bothered about Apple probe

Posted: 05 Oct 2015 08:37 AM PDT

Old Apple logo - Wikimedia CommonsThe finance minister of the Republic of Ireland has shrugged his shoulders at the idea that an inquiry into Apple's taxation arrangements will harm the country.

Michael Noonan said today that he thinks the EU will make a decision by the end of the year whether Ireland's special arrangements with Apple break EU rules.

But, he told Bloomberg, even if it goes against Ireland, the country will take the matter to the European Court of Justice and appeal it.

Apple has only paid two percent tax in Ireland over the last 10 years. The European Union has rules about giving companies special treatment.

Other EU investigations in Europe included deals with Starbucks in the Netherlands and Amazon in Luxembourg.

Apple has had a presence in Ireland for decades now – its inward investment body is the envy of similar outfits in Scotland, England and Wales.

Mobile spending to be worth in the trillions

Posted: 05 Oct 2015 06:40 AM PDT

HTC smartphoneA report from the International Data Corporation (IDC) said that spending on mobile technologies will hit $1.2 trillion by 2019.

According to IDC, mobile use started with the idea to move employees from being bound to desktops to being mobile.

But that pattern has changed and now many enterprises use the technology to improve their efficiency.

IDC figures indicate that $901 billion was spent worldwide on mobile technologies last year, with wireless data and smartphones representing the bulk of the spend.

But by 2019 the sector will be worth as much as $1.2 trillion, with particular verticals using the technologies in different ways.

Jessica Goepert, a programme director at IDC, said: "It goes beyond providing a smartphone to the desktop worker. Instead, it's about utilising mobile technology to increase sales, improve profitability and raise customer and employee satisfaction."

Online content causes online discontent

Posted: 05 Oct 2015 06:34 AM PDT

Adobe HQ - Wikimedia CommonsThe use of multiple screens and the accuracy of online content are considered sceptically by many people who view it daily.

Adobe said it had surveyed over 2,000 people and concluded that they use n average of six devices and look at an average of 12 sources of content.

Smartphones are now the most frequently used device by young people with 88 percent of people say they use an average of nearly three devices simultaneously.

Quite how they do that, Adobe did not say, but 40 percent think the deluge of information is distracting.

Over a third of young people value entertainment over accuracy, the Adobe survey said, but 60 percent wonder whether news articles or biased, whether photos have been altered, or whether people are paid to write positive reviews.

Over 70 percent will trust content from family members.

Seven out of 10 people will choose a beautifully designed over a plain page, 68 percent don't like content to be too long, and 83 percent dislike pages where images take too long to load.

Large LCD monitors have their day

Posted: 05 Oct 2015 06:24 AM PDT

Samsung LCDMonitors 23 inches or more in size are showing strong signs of growth in this quarter.

According to a report from Trendforce, sales rose globally by around 40 percent in the third quarter, due to demand.

And while this segment accounted for just under seven percent of worldwide shipments this time last year, the figures are steadily moving upward.

Display panel manufacturers are making more large size monitors and this means there's plenty of supply of panels at prices buyers like.

And it's not just large size monitors that are showing growth. Trendforce said over a million curved screen monitors will ship this year – largely in the 23.6 inch segment and above.

Samsung is the leader in the market and it's estimated that its sales will account for as much as 85 percent in the third quarter. It has the lead in manufacturing know how, the analysts said.

EU probes big data

Posted: 05 Oct 2015 06:17 AM PDT

European flagA report said that banks and insurers in Europe are facing regulation over their use of big data.

According to Reuters, three EU financial regulators issued a statement today saying they would look at the challenges big data poses by potential misuse.

The European Banking Authority, the European Securities and Markets Authority and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority said they would investigate big data to see if use of big data needed regulation.

The speed of computing allied with big data analytics could mean that peoples' personal security could be compromised by profiling data based on an individual's profile.

Analysing big data has become important to banks and to other financial bodies because they believe they can make money out of spotting patterns and such patterns could be misused.

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