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Court Sticks It to Apple in $533M Patent Case
February 25, 2015
Apple must pay patent licensing firm Smartflash US$532.9 million for infringing three patents. U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap, who presided over the case in Tyler, Texas, ordered Apple to pay the penalty after a federal jury in Texas found that the company's iTunes software infringed on the patent holder. That jury took eight hours to decide Apple willfully used Smartflash's patents without consent.
In Search of the Perfect Windows 10 Hardware
February 09, 2015
I'm well into the user testing of the next generation of Microsoft's operating system and things are really looking up. Windows 10 is becoming a blend of the many things we liked about Windows 7, and the things that most folks don't know about that are great about Windows 8. Windows 10 should be like a breath of fresh air for those truly annoyed with Windows 8.
HandBrake Video Transcoder Gets a Grip on Linux
February 05, 2015
Converting video files from a variety of media sources can be a huge chore. That task can be much more manageable with HandBrake, a GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder. It is available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows, which makes working on more than one platform a bit more convenient. The latest version for Linux, version 0.10 released Nov. 23, has many upgrades.
Docker Security Questioned
January 15, 2015
Security questions recently have been raised about Docker, a promising technology for running applications in the cloud. Docker is an open source initiative that allows applications to be run in containers for flexibility and mobility only dreamt of in the past. "Since the 70s, programmers have been talking about reusable code and the ability to migrate applications," noted IDC analyst Al Gillen.
SCOTUS Seeks DoJ Input on Google-Oracle Java Dispute
January 13, 2015
The Supreme Court of the United States on Monday invited the Obama administration to weigh in on whether it should hear arguments in the ongoing dispute between Google and Oracle over Java copyrights. U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr. "is invited to file a brief in this case expressing the views of the United States," reads the SCOTUS memo.
Samsung Smart TVs Hint at Tizen-Run IoT
January 12, 2015
Samsung announced at last week's International CES a new line of smart TVs powered by the open source Tizen operating system. Beginning with this year's models, all of Samsung's smart TVs will run on Tizen. Samsung has taken the lead in developing Tizen, which is a derivative of Linux, and this is its first deployment as a smart TV platform. Tizen supports the Web standard for TV app development.
The Long Slog to Level the Document Playing Field
January 06, 2015
Free open source office suites to read, write, convert or replace the industry-standard Microsoft Office document formats are in ample supply. Yet their use in business and government, especially in the U.S., lags far behind proprietary products. The Document Foundation, creator of the LibreOffice variant of the free OpenOffice suite, recently joined the Open Source Business Alliance.
The Curious Case of the Disappearing Distros
December 22, 2014
Well the holidays are pretty much upon us at last here in the Linux blogosphere, and there's nowhere left to hide. The next two weeks or so promise little more than a blur of forced social occasions and too-large meals, punctuated only by occasional respite down at the Broken Windows Lounge. Perhaps that's why Linux bloggers seized with such glee upon a good old-fashioned mystery.
Skype Begins Dismantling the Language Barrier
December 16, 2014
Microsoft on Monday announced the first phase of its Skype Translator preview program, which initially will facilitate conversations between English and Spanish speakers. It will convert spoken words both ways. It also will translate instant messages in 40 languages. Translations occur in near-real time. Participants must run Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 Technical Preview on a desktop or tablet.
Have Intel and Microsoft Discovered the Fountain of Corporate Youth?
December 15, 2014
This has been an interesting quarter. After Andy Grove left, Intel often seemed to struggle with its place in the world and seemed at odds with the computing OEMs. Now, though, it seems more and more like it did when it was 20 years younger. It's not alone, either. Microsoft, which seemed to have forgotten why there were OEMs, suddenly is acting much more like the firm we knew in the early 90s.
The Intangibles: 5 Things That Aren't on the CRM Data Sheets
November 21, 2014
CRM has been around for a long time now -- more than 25 years. Amazingly, many businesses, including large businesses with revenue in excess of US$100 million, still operate without it. That's amazing, because to many business leaders, CRM has become table stakes when it comes to creating a software infrastructure. Within CRM, many of the features have become table stakes, too.
IBM Begins New Email Chapter With Intelligent Verse
November 19, 2014
IBM on Tuesday introduced Verse, its entry into the reinventing email derby. Verse, which will be available in both an enterprise and freemium edition, integrates the many ways people communicate with each other every day -- email, meetings, calendars, file sharing, instant messaging, social media, video chats and more -- into a single collaboration environment.
Salesforce1 Lightning Connect Aims to End the Long CRM Integration Nightmare
November 13, 2014
Salesforce.com has unveiled Salesforce1 Lightning Connect, a new component for its Lightning Platform as a Service for mobile developers, which it introduced last month. Lightning Connect, which is available immediately, is an integration tool that moves data in real time from back-end legacy systems to the Salesforce.com mobile offering. Its purpose is to make the data migration easy for users.
The US Government's Tenuous Relationship With Open Source
November 12, 2014
The amount of open source software used by the U.S. government might be one of the biggest secrets in Washington. Not even purveyors of FOSS, as in free and open source software, know the extent of federal agency adoption of nonproprietary software. Some in the Beltway Loop contend that open source is very prevalent. Others suggest that it's avoided because its code is exposed for anyone to see.
Kano: The Can-Do Coding Kit for Kids of All Ages
November 05, 2014
"So simple a child could do it" -- I have heard that expression abused often in advertising. Yet it aptly applies to the Kano computer kit. Kano is a computer and coding kit that is suitable for all ages. Well, to be truthful, Kano's step-by-step instructions in the included booklets and its simplified Linux-based operating system target kids aged 6 to 14.
Dropbox, Microsoft Gang Up on Google
November 04, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday announced a strategic partnership with Dropbox -- only eight days after announcing unlimited cloud storage for Office 365 subscribers in a move widely seen as a frontal attack on Dropbox and Google. The companies will integrate their services forphones, tablets and the Internet, so that users can access and collaborate on Office files either from Dropbox or Microsoft Office.
Mobile Database Management's Coming of Age
October 28, 2014
The push is on for mobile database management tools built from the ground up to run directly inside phones, tablets and wearables. These mobile database solutions are being designed to do what heavyweight open source solutions like SQLite, Cord Data, MySQL and PostgreSQL were not designed to do. Some 4.55 billion people worldwide are using mobile phones this year.
Evernote Aims to Bring All the Loose Bits Together
October 03, 2014
Evernote CEO Phil Libin on Thursday announced major expansions of the company's note-taking application. The new features are designed to build Evernote's business presence and keep users connected to its services. Some of the best business-oriented and social media features will roll out as premium buy-ins. Other product tweaks will give users more efficient note-taking and organizational tools.
Scribbleton Has a Ton of Potential
September 30, 2014
Scribbleton is a very infant -- as in alpha -- release of an innovative note-taking app for Linux that provides cross-platform access with Windows and Apple computers. It creates a personal wiki for storing everything from quick notes to detailed checklists to outlines. It creates links between pages in Scribbleton. Think of this as an easy-to-use database to link words, phrases and pages.
Dan Allen and Sarah White: Documentation Dearth Dooms Open Source Projects
September 24, 2014
One of the essential draws to open source software should be superior product documentation. Well-written user guidelines are a key strategy that software developers should use to increase an open source project's growth and user adoption. All too often, programmers finish their last line of code and shove the open source software out the door. Documentation is often an afterthought, if that.
Hacker Gives Google a Hand With Chrome-Android Compatibility
September 23, 2014
An unplanned convergence of Android apps and the Chrome OS may be setting the stage for a wide-open cross-platform architecture that combines Android and Chrome. Freelance programmer Vlad Filippov, aka "Vladikoff," discovered a way around Google's limitations on its ARC, or App Runtime for Chrome, which is essentially a Chrome extension application programming interface.
7 Crazy-Named, Crazy Good Open Source Enterprise IT Tools
September 12, 2014
Enterprise IT is a very serious matter, but you might not know it judging by the software tools that are often integral to its operations. The list of odd names in today's data centers and enterprise IT shops also highlights the ongoing trend of polyglot programming. Today's applications and services are based on a wider variety of application components and run on a wider array of infrastructure.
The Importance of Openness to the Internet of Things
September 10, 2014
Consumers today are in an awkward position. Personal privacy is being wiped out by the Internet. At the same time, new technologies that interconnect our devices, homes and offices are offering stupendous advantages. Welcome to the new Internet of Things' open world. "Openness" means something different depending on whether you're basking in the convenience or contributing to a vendor's cash flow.
HP's 'Chromebook Killer' Delivers a Jolt of Sticker Shock
September 09, 2014
HP on Monday unveiled the Windows-based Stream laptop some have referred to as a "Chromebook killer," but instead of sporting the $199 price that was expected, it will cost $299. Featuring a 1366 x 768 display, 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of local storage, the new 14-inch machine is powered by an AMD A4 Micro processor with a fanless design. It comes with 100 GB of space on Microsoft's OneDrive service.

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