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Adobe's Open Source Tightrope Walk
April 19, 2014
Open source software continues to gain momentum -- but what is not growing is an open desire among individual software developers to port their commercial Windows wares to Linux. Open source support is not a mere in or out decision. Some software makers shape their business models to take advantage of open source support for some products but not others.
IT Providers Stew Over Big Data Privacy Regulation
April 18, 2014
With the emergence of the Big Data era, technology developers see major benefits in the ability to manage huge volumes of information. However, with an onslaught of data breaches such as the recent hacking of the Target retail chain, consumers and their representatives in government are increasingly nervous about bigger threats to privacy. The White House is conducting a review of the issue.
Next iOS May Add Shazam Music Discovery
April 18, 2014
Have you ever heard a song you never heard before while you were out and about and wished you knew its title and artist? iOS soon may be able to tell you. Apple reportedly is working with Shazam Entertainment to incorporate into iOS 8 a feature that allows a song's title and artist to be identified from a sound grab through the microphone in an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
uGet Gives Great Downloads
April 17, 2014
The latest version of the uGet Download Manager rekindled my interest in grabbing files without relying on a Web browser. uGet version 1.10.4. was released last month. Written in C, it uses GTK+3 for its user interface, and it is packed full with improvements. It is very reliable and stable, with 11 years of growth behind it. The uGet website has received a makeover to better support users.
Windows Phone 8.1 Becomes Available to Devs and Risk Takers
April 15, 2014
After an 18-month lull, Windows Phone took a step closer to an upgrade on Monday as Microsoft released version 8.1 of the operating system to developers. Unlike most developer versions of software, however, consumers can download and run the latest edition of Windows Phone on their mobile device -- as long as they're willing to void its warranty until their carrier OKs the upgrade.
Fun and Angst With Google Glass
April 15, 2014
Google Glass, which has been the focus of considerable controversy, went on sale Tuesday -- for one day only -- at $1,500, with Android KitKat and new features that include improved battery life, photo bundles, photo replies and voice command sorting. However, one feature -- video calling -- has been eliminated because fewer than 10 percent of Explorer beta users employed it.
Linux and the Post-XP Cry for Help
April 14, 2014
Well the Linux landscape shifted dramatically last week, and not just because of the discovery of the Heartbleed bug. No indeed, there's another key reason this little planet of ours isn't the same as it was a week ago, and that's none other than Windows XP's long-anticipated end of life. "As of April 8, 2014, support and updates for Windows XP are no longer available," wrote Microsoft.
Desperately Seeking Linux Programmers
April 11, 2014
Help Wanted: computer programmers needed to code and maintain Linux systems. The Linux operating system and Linux servers are so widely used today that not enough Linux-trained coders and system techs exist. Software developers and enterprise IT departments have jobs but no takers. To fill this shortage, the Linux Foundation has partnered with edX to offer a free online course.
CAELinux Is the Ideal Distro for Designing Scientists
April 10, 2014
CAELinux is a perfect example of the power of open source to tailor the Linux OS to users' specialized needs. This computer-assisted engineering distro clearly is not for the vast majority of Linux users, but it certainly has all the features you would expect in any mature Linux OS -- and then some. The extra ingredients make CAELinux a unique Linux distro for engineers and scientists.
Micro Brings 3D Printing to the Mainstream
April 09, 2014
The Micro is the latest consumer-targeted 3D printer to generate buzz after flying past its $50,000 Kickstarter goal. It took only 11 minutes for the printer to reach its goal. As of mid-day Wednesday, the Micro had brought in more than $1.8 million from more than 6,400 backers. The Micro is the world's "first truly consumer 3D printer," its makers claim, in part because of its affordable price.
Agency: 'Cuban Twitter' Meant to Help, Not Incite
April 09, 2014
Rajiv Shah, the administrator of AID, defended a Twitter-esque social media site created by the agency, saying it was an attempt to nurture communication on the island -- not, as has been claimed, a way to collect data and incite a revolt. Appearing before the Senate and House appropriations subcommittees, Shah said the "programs are part of our mission to promote open communications."
FOSS Community Hustles to Fix Gaping Heartbleed Flaw
April 08, 2014
A flaw in OpenSSL that has been around since 2011, the Heartbleed Bug, lets hackers steal information protected by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet. Codenomics, which co-discovered the flaw at about the same time as Google's Neel Mehta, tested some of its own services and found it could steal "the secret keys used for our X.509 certificates, user names and passwords" and more.
Courtroom Drama: Hollywood Sues Megaupload
April 08, 2014
Six Hollywood studios have banded together in a copyright infringement lawsuit against Megaupload, the wildly popular though now shuttered site that, in its heyday, was ground zero for file-sharing. The suit doesn't specify an amount of damages, but does say that the studios should be entitled to $150,000 per copyright infringement, as well as profits earned by Megaupload.
XP Users Have a Bad Headache Coming On
April 07, 2014
Money will be the biggest problem users of Windows XP will face when Microsoft officially stops supporting it on Tuesday. As a last resort, Microsoft is offering custom support for Windows XP as a temporary stopgap. That could cost as much as $200 per PC per year, Gartner estimated. The UK government reportedly has paid Microsoft about $9 million to extend Windows XP support for one year.
The Earth Is Moving Under the Smartphone Market
April 07, 2014
One thing that Apple made clear when it took the smartphone market away from then-dominant players Palm, BlackBerry and Microsoft is that to win you need to make big bets and change the battle. The market is now dominated by Apple and Google technology -- much of which Google doesn't control -- and Microsoft just swapped CEOs because the old CEO couldn't pull the needed rabbit out of his hat.
Calligra 2.8 Is Too Sweet for Words Alone
April 03, 2014
If you spend any amount of time creating documents, graphics or organizing data into reports or visual presentations, drop whatever collection of tools you use and put the Calligra Suite to the test. The Calligra Suite is a forked set of office tools for the KDE desktop that branched off the stalled KOffice suite. However, you do not have to run the KDE environment to get it.
Cortana Reports for Windows Phone 8.1 Duty
April 03, 2014
Microsoft on Wednesday introduced Windows Phone 8.1, the latest refresh to its mobile operating system. The update includes a personal digital assistant named "Cortana," based on the popular AI character in the video game Halo. Cortana is the Windows Phone 8.1 counterpart to Apple's Siri or Google's much less personal Now. Users can access Cortana by voice or type, and she will respond in kind.
Amazon Sets TV on Fire
April 02, 2014
Amazon on Wednesday put paid to the buzz circulating around its plans for a set-top box, announcing Amazon Fire TV at a New York event. The size of a CD box and just over half an inch thick, Fire TV takes on set-top boxes, the iPod, Apple TV and game consoles. It plugs into users' HDTVs to provide instant access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, Showtime and Amazon videos.
Would You Like Your Open Source All the Way?
April 01, 2014
The enterprise software industry today can be compared to the menus offered at fast-food eateries. Some offer their star item only one way. Others let you have it your way. How much choice you have often determines where you do your eating. The same option -- or lack of it -- is the driving principal behind attracting and keeping enterprise customers paying for open source product support.
Clock Counting Down on Windows XP Support
April 01, 2014
As Microsoft prepares to cut off support for Windows XP, hackers are sharpening their knives in anticipation of carving up the operating system's carcass. Web predators will pounce on XP 10 minutes after Microsoft pulls the support plug on the software, predicted one former military computer specialist and network engineer. Indeed, it appears that information highwaymen are stockpiling ammunition.

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