Google's Project Loon close to launching thosands of balloons

Google says it’s Project Loon is close to being able to produce and launch thousands of balloons to provide Internet access from the sky.Such a number would be required to provide reliable Internet access to users in remote areas that are currently unserved by terrestrial networks, said Mike Cassidy, the Google engineer in charge of the project, in a video posted Friday.The ambitious project has been underway for a couple of years and involves beaming down LTE cellular signals to handsets on the ground from balloons thousands of feet in the air, well above the altitude that passenger jets fly.“At first it would take us 3 or 4 days to tape together a balloon,” Cassidy says in the video. “Today, through our own manufacturing facility, the automated systems can get a balloon produced in just a few hours. We’re getting close to the point where we can roll out thousands of balloons.”To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 17 April 2015 | 5:40 pm

RSA to feature talk by hacker whose ‘funny’ tweet got him yanked from a plane

Chris Roberts will have a lot to say next week at RSA Conference 2015 where he is scheduled to present a talk “Security Hopscotch” after his experience this week being hauled in by the FBI, apparently for tweeting about “playing with” the onboard communications systems of the plane he was traveling on.Roberts, founder, CISO and CTO of One World Labs, a Colorado-based enterprise security assessment and consulting firm, was detained by the FBI after his flight landed in Syracuse, N.Y., and questioned for four hours.The FBI confiscated his iPad Air, MacBook Pro, three hard drives, seven thumb drives, a Bluetooth USB adapter and a USB cable. All the devices were encrypted, according to a story posted by Forbes.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 17 April 2015 | 4:53 pm

FCC faces seventh net neutrality lawsuit

Broadband provider CenturyLink has joined the long list of ISPs and trade groups suing the U.S. Federal Communications Commission over its net neutrality rules.CenturyLink filed its lawsuit Friday, becoming the seventh organization to challenge the rules approved by the FCC in late February. The FCC officially published the rules in the Federal Register, the official publication for U.S. agency rules, earlier this week, prompting a round of lawsuits.The company objected to the FCC’s reclassification of broadband from a lightly regulated information service to a more heavily regulated common-carrier service. CenturyLink spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year to “build, maintain and update an open Internet network and does not block or degrade lawful content,” it said in a statement.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 17 April 2015 | 3:55 pm

US intelligence outfit wants the ultimate quantum qubit

Researchers behind the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) want to gather computer scientists engineers and physicists to define the challenge of “encoding imperfect physical qubits into a logical qubit that protects against gate errors and damaging environmental influences.”A quantum bit or qubit or quantum bit in the quantum computing realm usesqubitsinstead of the usual bits representing 1s or 0s. Ultimately quantum computing efforts should result in super-fast, super secure computers the experts say. [For a good article on why quantum computing can be so damn confusing and why its development is critical, go here.]To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 17 April 2015 | 2:47 pm

AMD pulls back: Less ARM in the cloud, more NOC power consumption

I have a certain sadness as I write this. Data center computational densities have incurred a setback.There was a time when it looked as though ARM might give power-hungry Intel designs a run for their money in the world of high-density computing. It's the sort of density that cloud providers need: rack after rack, crammed to the gills, chilled, high-speed buses. But power costs a lot of money, alternate energy initiatives aside.AMD had bought SeaMicro, whose high-density chassis full of power-sipping ARM CPUs form large arrays of calculative strength, without the hefty bill from the power company for oceans of coulombs. HP had initially announced Project Moonshot, the cartridge-based high-density server with ARM, or FPGA cartridges to slowly sip power, but ultimately delivered its chassis with Intel Atom. ARM blades are still available, and FPGAs are said to be shipping.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 17 April 2015 | 1:59 pm

Facebook tries to keep it real by killing more 'fake' likes

Facebook has tripled its detection and elimination of “fake” likes, which can artificially inflate a brand’s prominence on the site and deceive users, the company said on Friday.Facebook began improving its processes for eliminating fake likes this past October. They’re a real problem for the site, because they can trick a page owner or business into thinking they’re more popular on Facebook than they really are, fooling regular users along the way.Fraudulent likes originate from click farms, fake accounts and malware, and are sold to page owners who want to boost their exposure on Facebook. But in reality they don’t do much to win them actual customers, fans or increased sales.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 17 April 2015 | 1:45 pm

Ben and Jerry's spoofs Apple's '1984' ad in new BRRR-ito commercial

Largely considered one of the best TV commercials to ever hit the air, Apple's award-winning "1984" ad is ripe for parody, even in 2015.Putting that thought into practice, Ben & Jerry's today rolled out a new commercial for its upcoming BRRR-ito product. As the name implies, think ice cream delightfully wrapped up in a waffle cone shell, a'la a standard burrito.To help get the word out, Ben and Jerry's new commercial liberally borrows quite a few directorial cues from Apple's "1984" ad, resulting in an all around great and super creative advert.Check it out below. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 17 April 2015 | 1:45 pm

Gurucul identifies cloud threats based on identity, behaviors

Gurucul is extending its identity-based threat detection to cloud-based applications with a new platform that monitors who has access to what and what they are doing with it.Cloud Analytics Platform (CAP) lets customers analyze identities – the correlation of individuals and the machines they use – as they consume resources in the cloud to set a baseline for acceptable behavior and to find anomalies that may indicate threats.+ ALSO ON NETWORKWORLD: 8 Cloud Companies to Watch Following MONSTER Funding Week +To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 17 April 2015 | 1:44 pm

How developers can profit from the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things promises to be a job bonanza for developers, and coders can expect plenty of work at very good pay, according to Michael Rasalan, a director at California-based developer research company Evans Data Corp.But there's a catch: To get the best jobs, you'll need the right skills and plenty of experience.INSIDER: 5 ways to prepare for Internet of Things security threats Most developers are already on the right path to acquiring that mix of skills and experience. An Evans Data survey in July found that 17 percent of the developers contacted were already working on applications for connected devices, while an additional 23 percent expected to begin working on them in the next six months.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 17 April 2015 | 12:52 pm

Introducing Data Graphica: The art and science of information

In the world of technology, few things are as important as data and information. In a world fraught with opportunity and risk, data has become a central part of business. From Big Data to Data Breach, information is the essential commodity fueling the modern world. Yet with all the talk of the importance of data, the majority of it sits unused and, worst yet, not understood. Globally, the amount of data being generated is increasing faster than can be imagined, more than doubling every two years. Today, close to 5 billion people have access to or own some kind of a mobile device, with close to 2 billion using a smartphone. According to EMC/IDC, 1.7 megabytes of data is created every minute for every person on Earth. Adding to this deluge is an ever-increasing pool of Internet-connected things.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 17 April 2015 | 12:50 pm

Should computers determine how our kids learn to talk? Maybe not

Increasingly, computers are deciding what news stories we read, and may even end up teaching our children to speak. But whether we should allow them to is becoming the subject of a heated debate related to the use of algorithms.Algorithms are pieces of code that, much like a recipe, provide a set of instructions to complete a task. They are used by companies like Google and Facebook to determine what search results are relevant and what posts are shown in someone’s timeline. They are used to mediate social, political, personal and commercial interactions for billions of people and can act as powerful gatekeepers that are increasingly used to make decisions for us or about us.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 17 April 2015 | 12:45 pm

Microsoft showed us the future of Office, and here are the 5 things it must improve

We saw the future of Office on Thursday night. App by app, Microsoft is busy building its vision of “Office Everywhere”—universal apps that can scale to fill the available display space of a device.It's a major transition for Microsoft, and one that you wouldn't expect to negotiate without a few bumps. “We’ve literally transformed Office from a world of desktop apps—which everybody knew well—to a set of apps across different form factors that people can use regardless of what they’re doing and where they are," explained Jared Spataro, who's overseeing the individual Office app experiences.MORE ON NETWORK WORLD: 10 (FREE!) Microsoft tools to make admins happier It started a year ago, when Microsoft launched Office for iPad, free apps artfully constructed for the demands of the tablet. Fast-forward a year: We have Office for the iPhone and Android tablets—and at the end of April, Windows 10 phones.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 17 April 2015 | 12:44 pm

FCC moves toward 'historic' spectrum sharing plan

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has approved what some commissioners called a "historic" plan to allow private mobile broadband services to share spectrum with incumbent military users.The FCC voted Friday to approve its so-called Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) plan to open up wireless frequencies from 3550MHz to 3700MHz to new users, including new devices that could use the spectrum like current devices use Wi-Fi.MORE ON NETWORK WORLD: The 700MHZ spectrum: Who owns what? Commercial access to the spectrum may still be years away, and the FCC has several sticky issues it needs to resolve, including questions about the best ways to limit inference between users in the band. But with little new spectrum available to satisfy skyrocketing demand for mobile data services, some commissioners hailed the spectrum-sharing plan as a new model for dealing with a spectrum shortage.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 17 April 2015 | 12:41 pm

Keep Windows 10 preview up to date -- or face a dead PC

Testers running Windows 10's preview must keep the OS relatively up to date or face a bricked PC that won't boot.The first three builds of Windows 10 Technical Preview -- 9841, 9860 and 9879, all released in 2014 -- will refuse to boot at the end of April, according to a message posted by a Microsoft support engineer on the company's discussion forum.Personal computers running the three 2014 builds have been displaying warnings of the impending expiration for the last two weeks. Starting Wednesday, the PCs have been rebooting every three hours, another hint from Microsoft to update.MORE ON NETWORK WORLD: 10 (FREE!) Microsoft tools to make admins happier "Approximately 2 weeks after the license expires, the build will no longer boot at all," said a support engineer identified only as "RajithR" in a message dated April 10. That step is to start April 30.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 17 April 2015 | 12:39 pm

Cisco router feature open to exploit

A default feature in Cisco routers can be exploited to surrender data, according to this post in The Register. The vulnerability was discovered by Brazilian security researchers and Cisco is aware of it.The feature is embedded packet capture, a troubleshooting tool that allows administrators to capture packets to determine, for example, the cause of an anomaly. The researchers used the EPC feature to collect massive amounts of data that could be exploited, though they and Cisco admit access to EPC would require privileged user access.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 17 April 2015 | 12:17 pm

Spec showdown: Samsung Galaxy S6 vs. Huawei P8

The Samsung Galaxy S6 is now the benchmark for high-end smartphones running Android, but there are lots of challengers, including the new P8 from Huawei Technologies.The two smartphone vendors have had many of the same goals when building their respective smartphones, including improving the looks and the cameras. But there are still differences that will likely sway you one way or the other. Here’s a spec comparison between the phones:DesignA more premium design has been a common theme for this year’s launches of high-end smartphones. In this regard, both Huawei and Samsung have succeeded. The P8 has a metal unibody design and the Galaxy S6 combines a metal frame with a glass back. They are both good-looking devices, but neither design is very original. The P8 looks a little bland because Huawei doesn’t put its logo on the front.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 17 April 2015 | 12:15 pm

4 lessons the iPhone should learn from the Apple Watch

For the past eight years, the iPhone has been the innovator. Whether we’re talking about hardware breakthroughs, software solutions, or just plain good looks, the iPhone has always taken the lead, ushering in the latest technologies and design shifts before any other device: the Retina screen, Siri, Lightning, Touch ID, Apple Pay—even the new MacBook’s shiny gold case owes a debt to the iPhone 5s.MORE: 10 mobile startups to watch For the first time since its debut, the iPhone isn’t the most cutting-edge piece of technology in Apple’s lineup. While Apple Watch borrowed some of the iPhone 6’s style and smarts, it also brings a host of new features and technologies made possible by the uniqueness of the device. So while I wouldn’t expect the next iPhone to sport a Digital Crown or a dedicated Friends button, there are still plenty of tricks it can learn from the new kid on the block.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 17 April 2015 | 12:15 pm

8 cloud companies to watch following MONSTER funding week

Investors this week poured at least $350 million into cloud computing companies focused on everything from security to Hadoop clusters to industry-specific apps.Funding of cloud computing companies is showing no sign of abating this year. A few weeks back we rounded up 5 other cloud companies that scored a combined $175 million from investors. And last week, Silicon Slopes, Utah’s Domo, whose 5-years-under-wraps cloud-based business intelligence technology was finally formally announced, said it had closed Series D funding of $200 million, bringing its total valuation to around $2 billion. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 17 April 2015 | 12:01 pm

Google seeks $19.8M tax break in Iowa

Google needs a tax break like Bill Gates needs food stamps, yet that isn’t stopping the search giant from asking for $19.8 million in “economic development incentives” from Iowa to build a $1-billion expansion of its growing data center facility in Council Bluffs.And, well, why not ask? The company has already been given $16.8 million in tax breaks to build out the various stages of the existing Council Bluffs facility, which opened in 2007.According to this Omaha World-Herald report, the latest tax break is expected to be approved by the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Council Bluffs City Council with little or no opposition.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 17 April 2015 | 11:45 am

French Senate wants Google to promote its search competitors

French senators have amended a stodgy economics bill with a rider that would require Google to advertise three competitors on its homepage, but stops short of explicitly requiring the search engine to disclose its algorithms.The amendment, added Thursday to an economic growth, activity and equality bill, calls for any search engine likely to have a structural effect on the online economy to provide users with a way to consult at least three competing search engines from its homepage, and to ensure that it does not favor its own services over those of competitorsThe wording clearly targets Google, without naming it, and comes on the heels of the European Commission’s charge that Google favors its comparison shopping service over those of competing search engines.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 17 April 2015 | 11:40 am

Traction Watch: 4 Reasons Domo Will Double Its Revenue This Year

Editor’s note: Traction Watch is a new column focused obsessively on growth, and is a companion to the DEMO Traction conference series, which brings together high-growth startups with high-potential customers. You can register here to attend. Demo Traction If you haven’t heard of the business intelligence company Domo, you can be forgiven because it's been in self-imposed stealth mode since 2010, while it's been growing spectacularly. Well, the cat is now out of the bag, as the company just closed a huge funding round that catapults its valuation to $2 billion.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 17 April 2015 | 10:57 am

Amazon and Microsoft take aim at new workloads with souped up cloud offerings

Hoping to move new applications to the cloud, Amazon has launched a new virtual server with four high-end GPUs, while Microsoft has made its SSD-based storage offering generally available.Amazon and Microsoft have methodically been launching new services and adding features to EC2 and Azure, respectively, to make the platforms more competitive and a better fit for different applications.The latest addition from Amazon is a new virtual server, or “instance,” that has been customized for graphic intensive workloads such as large scale rendering, machine learning, video encoding, and other server-side workloads that require lots parallel processing power.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 17 April 2015 | 10:35 am

Cloud news this week: HP doesn’t actually quit public cloud; VCs love containers; Watson gets healthy

It’s been a busy week in the cloud computing market. Here are some news stories you may have missed:-HP says it isn’t actually quitting the public cloudCloud circles were abuzz last week when the New York Times’ Bits Blog published a story titled “HP comes to terms with its cloud” in HP cloud executive Bill Hilf is quotes saying HP would no longer compete “head-to-head” with public cloud juggernauts Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google. Within hours bloggers came out with stories announcing that HP was quitting the public cloud market.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 17 April 2015 | 9:53 am

RSA Conference Should Push For Technology Integration

Just a few days until the start of the RSA Conference and I expect an even bigger event than last year – more presentations, vendors, cocktail parties, etc.  The conference will likely focus on security technologies like endpoint security, cloud, security, threat intelligence, IAM, and others which I described in a recent blog. While these individual technologies will own the spotlight, there is another pervasive security technology trend (and enterprise security requirement) that will be far less visible – technology integration. To be clear, large organizations are certainly in the market for more effective security technology solutions in a number of areas.  For example, ESG research reveals that 51% of organizations plan to add new endpoint security controls as a countermeasure for advanced threats (note: I am an ESG employee).  Nevertheless, these individual tools will have to exchange data, plug into messaging buses, and accept commands from a variety of other security analytics, policy management, and command-and-control systems. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 17 April 2015 | 9:50 am

What has changed now that Microsoft's Lync is Skype for Business?

Just one month after releasing a technical preview, Microsoft has announced the availability of the new Skype for Business client and Skype for Business Online, its planned replacement for the Lync communication software.Skype for Business is part of the April monthly upgrade for Office 2013, while Skype for Business Online is going to be introduced into Office 365. It will eventually replace Lync Online, however, customers who need a little more time to migrate over to Skype for Business Online will have the option to switch from Lync for at least a little while.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 17 April 2015 | 9:19 am