Saturday, August 4, 2012
In the modern world of web development, there are a set of new and emerging specifications sometimes grouped under the moniker HTML5. One of those specifications is the WebSocket API, which enables two-way communications.
WebSockets offer the promise of faster communications than traditional TCP -- but according to a pair of security researchers, there is a hidden risk. Speaking at the Black Hat conference last week, Qualys engineers Sergey Shekyan and Vaagn Toukharian detailed how WebSockets could be exploited for malicious gain.
Support for WebSockets is currently available in the latest Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and IE 10 web browsers. According to the two researchers, WebSockets are already in use by websites and embedded applications around the world today, and often without proper security.
"We think that user capacity may be an issue with WebSockets if it's not implemented in the right way," Toukharian told eSecurity Planet. "WebSockets can be used for lots of things, but they shouldn't be used for all items on a web page."
He stressed that WebSockets don't make sense to use in applications that don't need bi-directional communications or a fast response time.
Different browsers also support WebSockets in unique ways. In particular, Shekyan noted that there are some important things that are not implemented in WebKit, which is the underlying engine that powers Chrome and Safari.
Shekyan explained that the current WebSockets specification states that there should only be one WebSocket in a connecting state at a time. According to Shekyan, WebKit does not implement that specification.
"So if a server is not accepting connections fast enough, then you shouldn't try and open a new connection before the previous one was accepted," Shekyan said. "That would prevent DoS (Denial of Service) attacks."
According to Shekyan, an attacker could theoretically open an unlimited number of WebSocket connections from a single machine with WebKit to a third party server. Firefox also doesn't quite follow the WebSocket specification and it can allow up to 200 connections.
Toukharian added that from a security perspective, WebSockets don't make applications more secure -- but they do provide a new attack vector for hackers. Traditional web attacks like Cross Site Scripting (XSS) and Man in the Middle (MitM) attacks can find a new home in WebSocket traffic.
"Basically, if an attacker has access to content that initiates a WebSockets connection, then that connection could be compromised," Shekyan said.
The other key issue is that since WebSocket technology is still relatively new, Shekyan argued that most firewall and IPS network security devices are not aware of them. As such, WebSocket traffic is not inspected or secured by the same mechanisms as other web traffic.
"If someone can deliver malicious content over WebSockets, the rest of the protection is useless," Shekyan said. "Vendors should really start at looking at handling the WebSockets protocol."
The challenge is one of usage. Toukharian added that if there was more use of WebSockets, than it's likely vendors would take more notice. Shekyan noted that he talked with one of the firewall vendors about the risk of not supporting WebSockets. The surprising response that he got back is that WebSockets are not currently a major attack vector and as such it doesn't matter.
"Malware delivery via WebSockets becomes easier since IDS and Firewall technology can't see what is being delivered," Toukharian said. "It's just a matter of unmasking the data and looking at the traffic, it's not very hard.
"Our hope is that Firewall and IPS vendors pick it up as soon as possible," Toukharian added.
Sean Michael Kerner, esecurityplanet.com
India's IT companies, which hired approximately 1.5 lakh students from campuses last year, will be hiring much less during this placement season starting August-September.
Country's third-largest software exporter Wipro, which had planned to keep the ratio of on-campus and off-campus hiring at 90:10 in the beginning of the year, has now changed it to 70:30, a senior executive from the Bangalore-based company said. "We will hire in a measured way till we get more (demand) visibility and increase off-campus numbers," the executive added.
In campus hires, companies have to make offers and wait for at least six months till the student finishes his degree. But it can hire off-campus as and when there is demand for more hands. Off-campus recruitments include freshers who had opted out of placements and some with very little work-experience and are picked by companies through hiring drives and job fairs.
"Off-campus hiring is gaining traction, especially among large IT firms that are cautious and are not able to take long-term business decisions," says Nasscom President Som Mittal said. "It helps them to take hiring decisions based on their needs."
Nasscom has cut IT-BPO industry's growth forecast to 11-14% this year, down from 16% last year. Some companies like Infosys have given a revised projection of 5%. IT companies are looking to calibrate hiring to the slowdown.
Last month, country's second-largest IT exporter Infosys said it could delay the joining dates of over 25,000 freshers it had hired from campuses in the 2011 placement season. Its mid-tier rival iGate, too, has delayed joining dates of close to 1,000 fresh engineers by a month or two.
TCS, India's largest IT firm which will hire 50,000 people this year, plans to maintain its campus hiring.
Companies say that quality is not an issue in off-campus hiring - despite many of the applicants being rejects from previous placement processes - if one is prepared to search harder for the right hires. "If 3 out of 10 people are suitable on-campus, that ratio will be much lower off-campus. You have to drudge a lot more to get the right people," says Naveen Narayanan, Global Head -Talent Acquisition, HCL Technologies.
HCL is willing to take the extra effort and will maintain its 70:30 ratio of on-campus to off-campus this year. It makes economic sense to spread hiring across all months, instead doing the bulk during placement season.
Mid-tier firms are following suit, but to break the monopoly enjoyed by the IT mammoths during placements. "Off-campus increases our chance of finding the right talent," Parthasarathy NS, COO of MindTree, said. "Large companies often visit campuses and recruit 95% of the best students on day one. Smaller firms, which typically visit on day 3 and 4, are left with a very small number," he added.
MindTree has therefore decided to increase its off-campus quota from 10% of total hires to 30% this year. This strategy is expected to give the Bangalore-based firm wider reach in tier-III and -IV colleges.
"Given the uncertain economic scenario, I would assume that on-campus placement numbers are going to come down this year," says Bhaskar Chavli, Chief Delivery Officer at NIIT Technologies. "Companies may want to see how business turns out and then decide on hiring targets."
Gurgoan-based start-up CoCubes.com - it connects companies and colleges through an online recruitment platform - has seen on-campus hiring over the past one year drop by 30-40%. The start-up, which works with companies like Capgemini and UST Global, had experienced a rush for off-campus demand in 2010. Back then Accenture placed urgent orders for 1,500 freshers off-campus in eight weeks and feels sudden demand will come their way again.
"A similar trend seems to be coming back this year as more companies wait for the economic environment to stabilise and then finalise their hiring plans," says Harpreet Singh Grover, co-founder and CEO of CoCubes.com.
The Latitude E6230 is the smallest model in Dell's updated E Series of corporate laptops, and offers mobile professionals an impressive system that combines excellent build quality with decent performance in a compact form factor.
Announced at the end of May and available to purchase now, the Latitude E6230 is effectively an ultraportable system (not to be confused with ultrabooks), sporting a 12.5in display and a starting weight of just 1.38kg. This model supersedes the earlier E6220 model.
Despite its relatively compact dimensions, the laptop feels reassuringly solid thanks to its tri-metal chassis and extensive use of brushed aluminium, and offers a range of battery options for traveling users.
A built-in HSPA+ mobile broadband adapter will also appeal to mobile users, who can stay connected when Wi-Fi and Ethernet are not available.
It also packs a decent punch, with a choice of Intel Core i5 vPro processors, up to 8GB of memory, and hard disk choices including Sata drives up to 320GB or solid state disks (SSDs) up to 256GB.
Our review unit was fitted with the 2.6GHz Core i5-3320M, a dual-core processor supporting hyperthreading, 4GB of memory and a 128GB SSD. It also came with a 65Whr extended battery rather than the standard 32Whr unit, which sticks out from the rear of the case and bumps up the weight to 1.65kg.
The main rivals for the Latitude E6230 are Lenovo's ThinkPad X Series models, such as the X220 reviewed by V3 last year, which was similar in size and weight and had a similar focus on business features in a compact chassis.
Like the Lenovo model, Dell's new ultraportable sports a 12.5in display with a native resolution of 1366x768 pixels, with an optional webcam located above the screen.
The E6230 also has key enterprise management and security features, including support for Intel's vPro technology, smartcard and fingerprint sensor authentication, and Dell's ControlVault, which stores security keys and credentials just like a Trusted Platform Module (TPM).
We found the display on the E6230 gave a clear and sharp image in a range of ambient light conditions, and the use of an SSD for storage makes the device almost totally silent in operation.
Dell's keyboard is also good, with nice large sculpted key tops that make for easy typing, although the key travel is a little short compared with a desktop keyboard.
Unfortunately, the Latitude E6230 does not include a trackpoint controller embedded between the keys, as does the larger E6330 model from Dell, and so users are restricted to the standard touchpad below the keyboard. This is at least a decent sized unit which proved responsive in our tests.
The laptop's size (31x23x2.5cm) makes it comfortable to use while resting on your lap, and the system does not get noticeably warm during use, unlike some rival models.
Other notable features surrounding the keyboard are a handful of tiny buttons near the screen hinge to mute the sound and control volume, plus a fingerprint swipe sensor near the front edge of the case. To the left of the touchpad is a marker for the laptop's built-in contactless smartcard reader, to support secure authentication.
Dell has also equipped the E6230 with an array of connectivity options, including HSPA+ mobile broadband fitted as an internal PCI Express minicard adapter, with the SIM card slot in the battery compartment as normal. Several Wi-Fi options are available, with our review unit featuring an Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 802.11a/g/n card, while Bluetooth 4.0 is also supported.
In terms of wired ports, there is also a gigabit Ethernet port available at the rear of the E6230, while the right side of the case carries a HDMI output, ExpressCard slot, and two USB 3.0 ports, one of which can still supply power when the laptop is turned off.
The left hand side of the case features an old-fashioned VGA display connector, USB 2.0/eSata combo port, audio jack socket, a slot for SD Card flash storage media and an easily overlooked smartcard reader slot.
On the underside of the case is a docking connector for Dell desktop dock hardware, while a security cable slot at the rear and a sliding on/off switch for wireless functions on the right of the case round out the external features.
In use, we found the Latitude E6230 quite responsive and the system was noticeably swift at starting up, being ready to use within 25 seconds of pressing the power button.
The system scores highly under the Windows Experience Index (WEI) ratings built into Windows 7, with the processor achieving a subsystem score of 7.2 and the SSD delivering a score of 7.9 - the highest score possible. However, the overall base score is pegged back to 5.0 by the graphics functions built into the Core i5 processor, but even this is a very respectable score for such a compact laptop.
In terms of battery life, the Latitude E6230 should enable almost a full working day away from mains electricity, judging by our tests using the Battery Eater Pro benchmark.
However, this varies dramatically depending on what exactly you are using the system for. In Battery Eater's Classic mode, which simulates constant activity, the Latitude E6230 lasted for just two hours and 30 minutes. This is partly due to the Turbo Boost technology in the Core i5 processor, which effectively overclocks the chip whenever it is busy.
When tested using Battery Eater's Reader mode, which simulates less intensive activity, the Latitude then lasted for an impressive 11 hours and 28 minutes. In reality, users will see somewhere between the two extremes, with six or seven hours the most likely.
It should be noted that Dell supplied us with a 65Whr extended battery for our review, rather than the standard 32Whr unit, which would lead to lower battery life than our results.
Software supplied with the Latitude E6230 includes the usual set of utilities, including a Trend Micro security agent, Dell's Mobile Broadband Manager and tools for using the Dell ControlVault.
Our review unit shipped with Windows 7 Professional 64-bit, but the Ultimate and Home Premium editions are also available.
Facebook has admitted that it has around 83 million fake accounts, nearly 10 per cent of its user base, in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The 10-Q filingreveals that the firm is aware of a large number of accounts on the web site that shouldn't be there, with 4.8 per cent of users having "duplicate accounts" that are not allowed under the terms and conditions of the service.
Beyond that, there are around 2.4 per cent "user-misclassified accounts", where users have created "personal profiles for a business, organisation, or non-human entity such as a pet", which are meant to be hosted under its Pages section.
In addition, some 1.5 per cent of users or about 10 million accounts are "undesirable", which means user profiles that "are intended to be used for purposes that violate our terms of service, such as spamming", the firm explains in the filing.
Adding these percentages up and applying them to the last reported user base of 901 million means there are around 83 million fake accounts in total on the web site.
The revelations are yet more bad news for the Facebook as it tries to increase its advertising revenues and grow its share price after a disappointing initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq stock market in May, followed by recent suggestions that it is engaging in click-fraud.
The report comes a week after the firm posted its first public earnings, which revealed a loss of $157m for the quarter, sending its share price plummeting by almost 10 per cent to its lowest price since it hit the market in May.
The firm's share price is hovering just above $20, little more than half its IPO price of $38.
The tablet market is not all about the iPad . Not really. But the latest numbers from IDC make it look that way on paper.
Despite the rise of competing Android tablets, Apple's iPad had a record-setting quarter ended June 2012. That drove up the entire tablet market, according to new IDC data.
Specifically, IDC estimates worldwide tablet shipments for the second quarter of 2012 at 25 million units. That is up from 18.7 million in the first quarter and represents a 33.6 percent quarter-over-quarter increase. Those figures point to a 66.2 percent year-over-year growth rate.
Breaking iPad Records
"Apple built upon its strong March iPad launch and ended the quarter with its best-ever shipment total for the iPad, outrunning even the impressive shipment record it set in the fourth quarter of last year," said Tom Mainelli, research director in IDC's Mobile Connected Devices group.
< "The vast majority of consumers continue to favor the iPad over competitors, and Apple is seeing increasingly strong interest in the device from vertical markets -- especially education. While iPad shipment totals are beginning to slow a bit in mature markets where the device saw early traction, growth in other regions is clearly more than making up the difference."
Altogether, Apple shipped 17 million iPads in the second quarter, up from 11.8 million units in the first quarter and well above its previous record of 15.4 million in fourth quarter of 2011. But, again, it's not all about Apple.
Apple's Secret Sauce
"Going forward we are going to see a slew of Windows 8 tablets coming from Microsoft itself with Surface and many of its licensees," said Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis. "So we may see additional diversity but there's no question that as of right now you have to characterize it as an iPad market, not a tablet market."
Greengart reminded us that Apple has a fantastic product that was first out of the gate with apps from the get-go. What's more, Apple was the first to realize that a smartphone operating system would make a better tablet than a full desktop OS. Microsoft has responded by turning its desktop operating system into a mobile operating system for the future.
"With the iPad, Apple was building on the success of the iPhone, which was building on the success of the iPod," Greengart said. "Apple has been very methodical about building up its capabilities and moving from market to market, with starting out in music, then phones, and now mobile computing."
Beyond the iPad
IDC reports that Apple wasn't the only tablet-maker to experience solid growth in the second quarter. Four of the top five worldwide vendors saw their shipments increase year-over-year. Samsung experienced exceptional growth, earning second place with 2.4 million units shipped, up from 1.1 million units a year ago. Amazon rebounded from a sluggish first quarter to post shipments of 1.2 million units.
Meanwhile, Asus shipped 855,454 units, more than doubling its total of 397,048 units a year ago. Only fifth-placed Acer saw its year-over-year numbers decline, as it shipped 385,458 units this quarter, down from 629,222 units a year ago. Of course, the Google/Asus co-branded Nexus 7 sales aren't reflected in these totals because the product officially began shipping into the channel in the third quarter of 2012.
If you're in IT and the bring-your-own-device (BYOD ) trend is the bane of your existence, Citrix believes it has the answer. This week, the company released version 2 of its CloudGateway with MDX mobile experience technology and integration with ShareFile.
The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said in a statement accompanying the release that these two additions mean that CloudGateway is "the first product in the industry to offer customers a single unified control point for all mobile, Web, SaaS and Windows apps and data, across any mix of corporate and personal devices."
In addition, MDX will be added to the Citrix Ready program, so that developers can validate their native mobile apps for CloudGateway.
Citrix describes CloudGateway as a "unified storefront" for the secure delivery of mobile, Web and Windows apps and data to any device. To do this, MDX utilizes four components -- an App Vault, Web Connect, Micro VPN, and Policy Orchestration.
App Vault is a native container for mobile apps that lives on the device and separates enterprise apps and data from personal apps and data. Web Connect uses secure browser technology for the delivery of internal corporate Web apps, HTML5 mobile Web apps and external SaaS apps to mobile devices, each of which has a dedicated browser instance.
Micro VPN is app-specific secure access technology, which Citrix describes as "the industry's first," so that IT can provide a secure VPN tunnel that gives apps direct access to a company's internal network . And Policy Orchestration offers granular control over apps, according to such parameters as device type, network type, user passcode, login frequency, and whether or not the device is jailbroken.
'A Fool's Errand'
Charles King, an analyst with industry research firm Pund-IT, said that, by providing MDX for CloudGateway, Citrix is "taking a step back and saying that 'offering comprehensive support for all platforms is a fool's errand.' "
Instead, he noted, Citrix is focusing only on apps and data by leveraging the "agnostic" MDX.
We asked Natalie Lambert, Citrix director of product marketing, if Citrix thought the new version of CloudGateway essentially solved the key problems surrounding the BYOD movement.
She replied that "this is the silver bullet for BYOD," although she acknowledged that enhancements will still need to be made over time.
The expansion in mobility, Lambert said, has made this kind of IT management "the top priority on IT's radar," so Citrix's goal was to create a solution that addressed the security and management challenges while still providing employees with access to apps and data on mobile devices.
Lambert also noted that CloudGateway's integration with ShareFile "solves the Dropbox problem in the enterprise," in that data can now be securely shared and synchronized among devices. IT departments are able to automatically provision or de-provision employees' ShareFile accounts to match their status in Active Directory.
Microsoft has released Attack Surface Analyzer 1.0, a free tool that can help system administrators, IT security professionals or software developers understand how newly installed applications can affect the security of a Windows OS.
The tool scans for classes of known security weaknesses that can be introduced by the files, registry keys, services, Microsoft ActiveX controls and other parameters created or changed by new applications.
It can identify executable files, directories, registry keys, or processes with weak access control lists (ACLs). It can also flag processes that don't mark memory regions as non-executable (NX), which could result in the bypassing of the Data Execution Prevention (DEP) Windows security feature. The tool also identifies services with fast restart times that could be attacked to bypass address space layout randomization (ASLR), as well as changes to the Windows Firewall rules or Internet Explorer security policies.
These and many other weaknesses that the tool identifies can facilitate various types of attacks, including some that could allow attackers to gain control of the system, execute malicious code or gain access to sensitive data.
The tool is already being used by internal product groups at Microsoft and a public beta version has been available to download since January 2011. The 1.0 stable version released on Thursday contains significant performance enhancements and bug fixes.
"Through improvements in the code, we were able to reduce the number of false positives and improve Graphic User Interface performance," the Microsoft Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) team said in a blog post. "This release also includes in-depth documentation and guidance to improve ease of use."
The tool has 32-bit and 62-bit versions and supports Windows Vista and newer versions of Microsoft's OS, including Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 that hit the RTM (release to manufacturing) milestone on Tuesday.
Attack Surface Analyzer 1.0 is not compatible with the beta version of the tool, so existing users need to perform new "clean" system and post-application-installation scans -- known as the baseline and product scans respectively.
Attack Surface Analyzer requires .NET Framework 4 or higher present on the system in order to compare and analyze scan results. However, performing the actual scans can be done from the command line interface without .NET Framework.
Microsoft will walk away from the "Metro" tag it's been using for over a year to describe the new environment and apps in both Windows 8 and Windows RT, the company confirmed Friday.
"We have used Metro style as a code name during the product development cycle across many of our product lines," a spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. "As we get closer to launch and transition from industry dialog to a broad consumer dialog we will use our commercial names."
Late Thursday, The Verge reported it had seen an Microsoft internal memo that explained to employees the change was a result of "discussions with an important European partner" that forced Microsoft to "discontinue the use" of the Metro brand.
A replacement for Metro will be introduced this week, the memo continued, which hints at a renaming by today or Saturday. Until then, Microsoft employees are to use the phrase "Windows 8 style UI."
Also yesterday, reports on the Web said Microsoft had sent a similar missive to third-party developers.
"This isn't a huge deal for Microsoft, more of an embarrassment, but it is an unneeded distraction to what they need to be getting done," argued Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, in an email today. "One of the first rules I learned as a junior product manager was to only apply non-trademarked names to my products."
Microsoft has been using the word "Metro" to define a wide range of components in Windows 8 and Windows RT, including the underlying design philosophy that relies heavily on topography; the new minimalist, tile-based apps; the environment they run in -- one of two in Windows 8, for example -- and the flattened, color-subdued user interface (UI) for traditional Windows programs and services, including the upcoming Office 2013 and the just-launched-in-preview Outlook.com free email service.
As of Friday, the supposed placeholder phrase of "Windows 8 style UI" could not be found by searching Microsoft's website, although use of "Metro" and "Metro style" was rampant.
If the plan all along was to use Metro as simply a code name, Microsoft did a poor job of communicating that to developers, users and the press.
When Stephen Sinofsky, the head of Microsoft's Windows and Windows Live Division, first posted about the new UI in the "Building Windows 8" on Aug. 31, he used "Metro" 14 times alone or as an adjective such as in "Metro style," "Metro experience," and "Metro world." Sinofsky never mentioned that Metro was a code name, or enclosed it in quotation marks to mark it as a possible placeholder.
And that was a major mistake, said Moorhead.
"I believe it will take years to leach 'Metro' out of the industry nomenclature," Moorhead said.
Several reports named Metro AG, a Dusseldorf, Germany-based conglomerate that's the world's fifth-largest retailer, as the origin of the complaints that led Microsoft to dump Metro.
A Metro AG spokesman declined to comment, saying, "we generally do not comment on market rumours."
Microsoft said that the change was not the result of litigation, but declined to answer a follow-up question whether Metro's departure was due to simply thethreat of litigation, perhaps related to trademark or copyright issues.
The Microsoft spokeswoman also declined to name the "important Microsoft partner" mentioned in the internal memo cited by The Verge.
Dropping Metro as a brand will let Microsoft play to its strength -- the Windows brand -- said Moorhead. "Any effort or dollars invested in the Metro brand is taken away from the Windows brand," he said. "Fortunately for Microsoft, they build awareness, familiarity, and in some cases even preference for a 'Windows UI.'"
But that brand value will be lost, Moorhead claimed, because of the likelihood that "Metro" will be hard to kill.
Microsoft has its work cut out for it: On Wednesday, it announced Windows 8 had reached the RTM (release to manufacturing) milestone, with copies reaching developers, IT professionals and corporations in less than two weeks.
Windows 8 goes on sale, as do Windows 8- and Windows RT-powered PCs and tablets, on Oct. 26.
Oracle's emphasis on cloud computing isn't going to wane anytime soon. To the contrary, on Thursday the vendor held the first in nearly 100 Cloud Builder Summit events scheduled for locations across the globe between now and December.
Attendees will learn how they can build an "enterprise cloud environment" in just two hours using Oracle's technology, according to the events' website.
The limited information available suggests that the focus will be on private clouds built with products like Oracle's Exadata and Exalogic "engineered systems," as well as its Enterprise Manager 12c software for management and orchestration.
Oracle recently launched a new version of the Elastic Cloud software that runs on top of Exalogic, a high-powered application server, giving it cloud-friendly features including virtualization and a load-balancer.
It's possible that the Cloud Builder events' content will be expanded or shift following announcements made at Oracle's OpenWorld conference, which starts on Sept. 30.
CEO Larry Ellison has compared Oracle's approach to cloud computing as superior, and done in the spirit of Amazon Web Services.
But products such as Exalogic don't necessarily meet that definition of cloud computing, said analyst Frank Scavo, managing partner of IT consulting firm Strativa.
While the machines can handle large, sudden spikes in workloads and also be chained together, they still represent a fixed set of computing power owned by a customer, according to Scavo.
Unlike Amazon, "It's not elastic," he said. "If you can't scale it down and pay less, and you can't scale it up and pay more, it's not a cloud."
In contrast, Oracle's recently launched public cloud, which is powered by Exadata and Exalogic machines and offers the vendor's next-generation Fusion applications, a database and Java PaaS (platform as a service), does behave like a true cloud, in Scavo's view.
Oracle hasn't released public pricing for its cloud services, but has said they will be subject to the subscription and pay-per-use pricing now typical in the cloud.
Word from Australia is that Nokia is shutting down the Brisbane office that has worked on the open-source graphical interface framework Qt in preparation to sell off the framework.
Qt was originally developed by Trolltech, a Norwegian company. Nokia bought the firm in 2008 and I'm not sure what either side got out of the deal. A Nokia senior software engineer told ZDNet Australiathat he and 50 other employees have received notices of termination and Nokia plans to close the office.
On a Qt development mailing list, that same engineer wrote that teams working on a variety of Qt modules as well as the computer integration/quality assurance teams have all been shut down. "So…anyone hiring?" he asks.
Nokia has not made a public comment yet. But I will.
First, I think this is long overdue and have argued this for quite some time. I see no synergy between the two. Trolltech belonged in the hands of a cross-platform developer company, not a platform owner. To be honest, I thought Microsoft would make a good owner, but you could also argue Embarcadero Technologies. And Nokia needs the money. It won't get much from Trolltech, but it's something.
Secondly, what the hell is Nokia CEO Stephen Elop thinking? He’s firing all of the engineers and QA people, THEN trying to sell off the company? No one in their right mind is going to buy a DVD-ROM full of code without staff who actually know what's what and where. That's worthless.
Source code is only half the value, and perhaps even less than that. The team that built it, integrated it with other platforms, tested it, that knows it cold, is the real asset.
And you're scattering them to the wind? No wonder people are taking bets over who will make a bigger crater, Nokia or RIM.
Anyone want to buy a Lumia 900? It’s slightly used.
Friday, August 3, 2012
Do you insist on keeping yourself updated at every piece of official news surrounding Android platform? If your answer is yes, then we have some good news for you.
Since the beginning, Android was a blogless mobile operating system, and Google used to publish their news or several updates with the help of Google Mobile Blog, but no more! Today, Google officially launched their official blog for Android mobile operating system.
"A few months ago, we asked what content you wanted to see more of on the Google Mobile Blog, and the answer was quite clear: more Android! We launched +Android on Google+ and now we’ve launched the Official Android Blog, a new place for you to find all the latest news from the Android team. Going forward, the new Android Blog will be a must-read for anyone interested in the latest news like today’s Google Wallet announcement. Thanks for being such a great audience over the years," - Google Mobile Blog Team said in their blogpost.
To keep yourself updated about the latest Android news around the globe, you can also subscribe to its RSSfeed which allows you to get all those updates right in your inbox. Android also owns its own Google Plus (+Android) page and Twitter profile (@Android), from where you can enjoy live news
There is of course, one more avenue to get the latest about the world of Android, whether official or unofficial – ThinkDigit.com, which aims to deliver the best of the web and personal technology to your display. So, stay tuned!
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced Android is coming to its tiny device. More specifically, Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is being ported over to the credit-card sized Linux computer.
Ever since it launched, the Raspberry Pi has been snapped up by enthusiasts as quickly as children grab candy in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. As such, nobody should be surprised to learn that Android is getting official support:
This implementation uses a different kernel and VideoCore binary image from the one available on GitHub, which is why we’ve been keeping quiet about it so far. We’re investigating the feasibility of converging the two code lines to produce a single common platform as soon as we can, at which point we hope to release the sources for you to play with.
So far, the port is going well. Hardware-accelerated graphics and video are a go. AudioFlinger (Google's audio system for Android devices) support is the only major missing piece at the moment, according to the foundation.
Last month, Google open-sourced Android (Jelly Bean) 4.1 for third-party modification. It's currently unclear why the Raspberry Pi team isn't going with Jelly Bean, but I think it's safe to assume it's because they started work on the port before the latest version of Android had been made available to all.
For the uninitiated, the Raspberry Pi is sold uncased and comes with an Ethernet port, an HDMI port, two USB ports, and an SD card slot. While it's powered by a 700MHz ARM chip and comes with 256MB of RAM, the device requires that you supply your own keyboard and monitor. The currently-available Model B costs £22 ($35), although Model A for £16 ($25) is coming later this year.
Microsoft announced on Wednesday that it has completed the development and testing of Windows 8, a major upgrade of its OS for desktops, laptops and tablets and one of the most important product releases in the company's history.
Now Windows 8 is available to hardware makers that will release new PCs and tablets with the OS at the end of October, when the product officially starts shipping commercially.
"Together we are bringing to customers a new PC experience that readies Windows PCs for a new world of scenarios and experiences, while also preserving an industry-wide 25-year investment in Windows software," wrote Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division wrote in a blog post.
Now it's crunch time for Microsoft. "Obviously, this is not the end, it's just the beginning," said Gartner analyst Michael Silver. "Now Microsoft -- and all its partners -- need to execute all of it."
Windows 8 will run on devices with x86 chips from Intel and AMD, as well as on devices that use ARM chips. The ARM version of the OS is called Windows RT.
After hitting this RTM (release to manufacturing) milestone, Microsoft is reiterating the Oct. 26 date for the commercial availability of the OS in new devices as well as in stand-alone form as an OS upgrade on existing Windows PCs.
Microsoft has already announced two upgrade special offers for users with machines running Windows 7 and other versions of the OS.
Some Microsoft customers and partners, however, will get early access to Windows 8 this month, including developers, who will be able to download the OS through their MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) subscriptions starting on Aug. 15. On that same day, IT professionals testing the OS in their companies will gain access to it via their TechNet subscriptions.
On Aug. 16, the gates open for customers with Software Assurance contracts, who will get access to the Windows 8 Enterprise edition, as well as for Partner Network members who will be able to get Windows 8.
Four days later comes the turn for Microsoft Action Pack Providers, and on September 1st Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to buy Windows 8 from Volume License Resellers.
With Windows 8 and its new Metro interface optimized for devices whose screens support touch and stylus input, Microsoft will try to improve the operating system's weak position in the tablet market, widely dominated by Apple with its iPad.
Microsoft has seen in recent years as consumers have embraced tablets, particularly iPads, not only for personal use but also, to the surprise of many, for work, triggering the trend known as BYOD (bring your own device) to the office.
Microsoft's sense of urgency is such that it has even decided to release its own Microsoft-branded tablet, to improve the chances of success for Windows 8 in this market, although the move has rubbed some of its device manufacturing partners the wrong way.
A key question for Windows 8 is how much support it will get from application developers, a crucial element in the success or failure of a new OS. In its RTM announcement on Wednesday, Microsoft pointed out that come Aug. 15, developers will find in the Windows Development Center "all the tools and resources" needed to build Windows 8 applications, including the final build of Visual Studio 2012.
Gartner estimates that there will be around 150 million PCs sold to consumers pre-loaded with Windows 8 in this year's fourth quarter, which should be a big enough audience for Microsoft to attract a lot of app developers to the Windows Store, Silver said.
"But so far the store is not very user-friendly and doesn't have enough of the titles that have made iOS so successful. It better be much better by the Oct. 26 launch," he said via email.
It also remains to be seen how compelling the new Windows 8 devices will be in terms of functionality and pricing, an issue that will make or break the OS, he said.
There are questions around enterprise adoption, because most companies have either recently migrated from XP to Windows 7, or are in the process of doing so, and will likely stay on Windows 7 for several years at least before embarking on another major OS upgrade.
In a blog post about the RTM milestone, Erwin Visser, senior director of the Windows Commercial Business Group, said Microsoft recommends that enterprises deploying Windows 7 forge ahead, but that they also simultaneously evaluate Windows 8.
"There is great compatibility between Windows 7 and Windows 8, and this will make it easier for customers to start adopting Windows 8 side-by-side with Windows 7," he wrote.
However, for customers running Windows XP or Windows Vista, and still early in their Windows 7 deployment process, Microsoft recommends they start their Windows 8 deployment planning, according to Visser.
For Silver, this last recommendation is a "huge disservice" to Microsoft customers, in particular the ones running Windows XP. "To take the little progress some have made so far and stall it so they can start to wait the 12 to 18 months that will be needed to get good vendor support for Windows 8 is a huge mistake," Silver said.
Most security and management products will need new releases and upgrades to work under Windows 8, he said. Even if an application works on Windows 8, enterprises need to consider whether the application's vendor will support it and what the implications may be of pushing ahead without the vendor's support.
For example, Silver wonders how well will enterprises that use Microsoft's own System Center Configuration Manager 2007 be able to manage Windows 8 and Metro applications, and how long will it take them to upgrade to the product's 2012 version.
"There's little to no chance that organizations with Windows XP that haven't made any progress moving to a mature, stable Windows 7 over the last 3 years will be able to get Windows 8 done before Windows XP support ends in April 2014," Silver said.