In my lifetime the rate of technological change has been very apparent. There's no doubt it's accelerating. More smartphones and tablets than PCs are being sold and 550,000 Android devices are activated every day. Those figures bear testament to an incredible feat of design, manufacture, logistics and support.
Throughout my professional life I have attended, organised and run conferences on a changing range of topics. A few weeks ago I attended a US conference that I have supported for over 17 years, where the audience represent all the big IT, defence, banking and government organisations.
Everyone in the room has power and LAN access, and it is the norm for them to be 100 per cent online. Historically, Windows laptops have monopolised this setting, but recently there has been a migration to netbooks, tablets and smartphones. This year it was all very different again.
For the first time, Apple products predominated, with the iPad the most common device. Of the rest, there was only one netbook and a large contingent of Android-powered laptops and tablets. For the first time, Windows laptops were in the minority. Read more...
Jonathan Ellis, vice president of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) Cassandra project, is reported to have announced that the NoSQL database is now ready for "mere mortals".
"You don't have to know as much as you did about the nuts and bolts" to operate the database, Ellis said here.
Developed by Facebook, Cassandra has mostly been picked up by web hyper-scale giants – including Digg, Rackspace and Twitter – to process huge amounts of data in real-time. Read more...
Ultrabooks -- Intel's label for thin laptops with an edgy design à la the MacBook Air -- with Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 OS are due to reach market next year, and the OS could help propel demand for the devices, an Intel executive said this week.
More than 60 Ultrabook designs could become available next year and "11 or so designs" will be available by the end of this year, said Tom Kilroy, senior vice president and general manager of worldwide sales at Intel, in an interview following the company's third-quarter earnings call on Tuesday.
Windows 8 could help drive up Ultrabook demand in the second half of next year during the back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons, Kilroy said.
In addition to Windows 8, Ultrabooks will have next-generation Core processors based on the Ivy Bridge microarchitecture, which will include performance and graphics improvements, Kilroy said. Some 4 of 10 laptops sold by the end of next year will be Ultrabooks, he said. "Judging by the excitement, that's a realistic goal," Kilroy said. Read more...
The technology that makes up many of the systems in the IT world today is at a critical juncture and in the next five years everything from mobile devices and applications to servers and social networking will impact IT in ways companies need to prepare for now, Gartner vice president David Cearley says.
For example, enterprises will need to invest capital to improve network capacity and reliability. They will also need to improve wireless governance to improve wireless manageability and service levels, Cearley told attendees of the Gartner Symposium IT/Expo this week. At the annual presentation of Gartner's popular Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends presentation, Cearley offered the following as examples of the way the tech world is changing:
• 30 billion pieces of content were added to Facebook this past month
• Worldwide IP traffic will quadruple by 2015
• More than 2 billion videos were watched on YouTube ... yesterday
• The average teenager sends 4,762 text messages per month
• 32 billion searches were performed last month ... on Twitter Read more...
Apple's iOS 5 and the new iPhone 4S, which went on sale Friday, are packed with new features, many of which should boost the productivity and on-the-road capabilities of professional users. But, as with many consumer-oriented mobile platforms making their way into the workplace, iOS 5 and Apple's new iCloud service present some serious challenges in business environments.
Security issues involving iCloud and several other features will likely be the first things IT professionals weigh when it comes to iOS 5, which Apple rolled out last week. That's good, because even though Apple quietly provided some new enterprise features in iOS 5 that should make iPhones and iPads better corporate citizens, new concerns have emerged.
What to worry about
Out of the 200-plus new features in iOS 5, there are really just three that pose new security challenges: iCloud syncing and backup, location-based services like the new Find My Friends app, and the Siri virtual assistant in the iPhone 4S. Read more...
Jim Thomas, director of IT operations at Pella Corp., expected to be wrapping up his Windows 7 deployment by now. The window and door maker, an early adopter of Microsoft's latest Windows PC operating system, began deployment in February 2009, just four months after the product shipped. Plans called for half of Pella's 5,000 desktop and laptop users to transition by the end of 2010, with the rest following by this December.
"We are not going to get there," Thomas concedes. Today, Pella has 1,800 machines running Windows 7. The rest remain on Windows XP, which celebrated its 10th birthday in August.
Pella has plenty of company. Nearly two years after Windows 7 was released in October 2009, users in most enterprises remain on Windows XP, this despite Microsoft's ending mainstream support for XP over two years ago. (Most skipped Vista, XP's unpopular successor.)
In a September survey of Computerworld readers, 88% of respondents said they have begun or are planning a move to Windows 7. Of those who said they have already moved to Windows 7, or will, some 82% say their organizations are still running XP -- down from 93% in our January 2010 survey -- and 73% say they're running Windows 7.
But 55% of those still running XP expect to fully transition to Windows 7 by the end of 2012, and 34% said they would transition some time before Microsoft ends extended support for XP in April, 2014. And 11% said they would continue to run XP after that date. (During extended support, no-charge incident support ends, warranty claims won't be honored and design changes and feature requests aren't available.) Read more...
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said that discussions with Amazon have allayed some, though not all, of its worries about Silk.
"We're happy with a lot of things that we were initially nervous about," said Dan Auerbach, a staff technologist with EFF, in an interview today. "But there are still some pretty serious remaining privacy concerns."
Amazon introduced Silk -- the browser that will be built into the Kindle Fire tablet -- late last month. The Fire, which is being pre-sold by Amazon for $199, will start shipping in mid-November. Read more...
China's biggest producer of rare earths is suspending production for one month in hopes of boosting slumping prices of the exotic minerals used in mobile phones and other high-tech products.
This week's move by Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth (Group) Hi-Tech might fuel tensions with the United States and Europe. They have questioned Beijing's decision announced earlier to limit exports while it tries to develop its own manufacturers of magnets and other products made of rare earths.
In a statement through the Shanghai Stock Exchange, Baotou Steel said it wants to "balance supply and demand" after prices for rare earths fell amid uncertainty about the U.S. and European economic outlooks.
Rare earths are a group of 17 minerals used in manufacturing flat-screen TVs, mobile phones, batteries for electric cars, wind turbines and weaponry. Read more...
In a move that should surprise no one, McDonald’s has announced that it is launching it own digital content channel for play inside of its fast food restaurants. It will be HD, and provided by two displays up to 46-inches in size per venue.
The content on the McDonald’s Channel will range from local news based on the location of the store, as well as local sports scores, and specialized shows called “pods” that will focus on different people in the McDonald’s sphere of influence. As a customer eats they will be treated to vignettes about mom’s who work at McDonald’s, athletes who are sponsored by McDonald’s, along with advertising for the different foods the chain produces.
Really, this make sense since customers that are eating inside the store are a captive audience looking for something to do as they chew or wait in line. McDonald’s has undergone a major overhaul in many stores to make the chain look like a “cafe” setting, which ties directly into this new TV channel launch. Read more...