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IBM to pump $3 billion into new IoT business unit

Hungry for a bigger piece of the Internet of things market, IBM will invest US$3 billion over four years to establish a new business unit dedicated to providing IoT systems and services to enterprises.“We’re only at the very beginning of an amazing revolution. If we thought we were dealing with big data now, we haven’t seen anything yet,” said Erick Brethenoux, IBM director of analytics.IBM General Manager Chris O’Connor will oversee the new unit, which will initially court enterprises in travel, logistics, insurance, public utilities, transportation and retail, Brethenoux said.IBM will also tailor a new cloud service, the IBM IoT Cloud Open Platform, providing a way for enterprises to build their own data-driven systems, Brethenoux said. Over time, it will also develop specialized packages for specific fields like the insurance industry.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Bit by bit, Intel looks to quadruple SSD storage

With all the photos, videos, apps and tunes you have, the storage on your smartphone may not be enough. With that in mind, Intel is researching new ways to up the storage capacity in mobile devices and PCs without hurting the size or price of devices.One effort underway at is to stuff more bits in a single cell, which could increase data storage capacity in mobile devices and PCs by as much as fourfold. Intel is trying to cram four bits in a storage cell, an improvement over the three bits that can be put in a single storage cell currently."This could enable denser devices in a broad range of mobile and compute applications," said Bill Leszinske, vice president of strategic planning and marketing for non-volatile memory solutions at Intel, in an email.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

SDN management battle: TAPs vs. network packet brokers

Network management is a sticky issue when it comes to implementing software-defined networks and network virtualization.Lack of visibility into the underlying infrastructure has been cited by vendors and consultants as an inhibitor of SDN adoption. Traditional tools were designed for legacy networks, not the software overlay abstraction that SDN critics say shields operators from network behavior and anomalies.But with the release of more SDN controllers and applications comes the emergence of tools to manage the virtualized network. Two of the more popular SDN management tools are TAP monitoring applications and network packet brokers (NPB), which negotiate network traffic from multiple SPAN ports and manipulate it to allow more efficient use of monitoring devices like TAPs.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Monday, March 30

Pebble Time breaks Kickstarter record with over $20 million raisedPebble won record support from the Kickstarter crowdfunding community in its second trip to the well, for its next-generation Pebble Time smartwatch, CNN Money reports. It raised $20.3 million from 78,463 people in a campaign ended Friday, making it the most-funded Kickstarter campaign ever by a $7 million margin. When it ships in May, the device will go up against the Apple Watch but offer a week between battery charges (rather than a day) and a lower price of $199.Tim Cook speaks out against “religious freedom” lawsTo read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

New products of the week 03.30.2015

New products of the weekOur roundup of intriguing new products. Read how to submit an entry to Network World's products of the week slideshow.Flexiant ConcertoPricing: Until March 31, 2015, pay $15 a month to deploy and manage 10 concurrent virtual machines (VMs) in any supported cloud. For $65 a month, deploy and manage 50 concurrent VMs. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Intel could strengthen its server product stack with Altera

Intel’s chips dominate servers in data centers, but the possible acquisition of Altera could help the company provide a wider variety of custom chips designed to speed up specific applications, analysts said on Friday.Intel is in talks to acquire Altera, which has a market capitalization of $10.4 billion [B], according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Intel and Altera declined to comment on negotiations or any deal.Altera makes FPGAs, which are specialized chips that can reprogrammed to run specific tasks at much higher speeds than CPUs. Intel makes Altera’s FPGAs in its factories and has also mentioned plans to use FPGAs with its server chips.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Kleiner Perkins cleared of sex discrimination against Ellen Pao

A jury has found mostly in favor of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in a historic lawsuit accusing one of Silicon Valley’s best-known venture capital firms of sex discrimination.The jury found against Ellen Pao on three out of four claims, including whether her gender was a factor in Kleiner Perkins’s decision not to promote her, according to reporters tweeting from the courtroom Friday.There was some confusion after the verdict was read, however, because the jury of six men and six women did not reach a sufficient majority on one question: whether Kleiner Perkins retaliated against Pao by terminating her employment after she complained that she was discriminated against.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

French self-driving car goes for a spin around Paris monument

For this self-driving car, the roadside hazards included traffic jams, undisciplined bystanders—and centuries-old cannons.That’s what you get when you demonstrate your latest technology at the National Army Museum in central Paris, as French companies Safran and Valeo did on Friday.Safran, a defense contractor, and Valeo, an automotive parts manufacturer, kitted out a Volkswagen CC with radar, lidar and all-round cameras for their demonstration, and let it loose on a winding track around the museum grounds. They wanted to show how close the European automotive industry is to its goal of having self-driving cars for sale in 2020.There were no wheel-spins or clouds of dust: This was a simulated urban environment with traffic lights, slow-moving or stopped vehicles ahead, and speed limits of 20 km/h or less. The car glided to a halt a few meters behind a stopped vehicle, moving on as soon as the way was clear; respected stop signals; and slowed gently at a variable sign indicating the speed limit had dropped to 10 km/h. When the curious crowd spilled into the road at the circuit’s finish line, the car pulled up cautiously a few meters short of the line.To read this article in Continue reading

USB Type-C peripherals are on the way, and storage devices are first up

With Apple’s latest MacBook and Google’s newest Chromebook just out and featuring the new USB Type-C connector, we’re on the lookout for peripherals that use the interface, and storage devices appear to be first out of the gate.Because the Type-C connector can be used to recharge laptops, it may ultimately do away with the need to carry bulky power adapters. Like older USB technology, Type-C will also connect monitors, external storage drives, printers, cameras and other peripherals. One beauty of the system is that cables have the same connector on both ends, and can be inserted into ports without worries about which side is up or down.Storage devices will eventually benefit from Type-C’s USB 3.1 protocol, which can transfer data at 10Gbps (bits per second), double that of USB 3.0. But the first peripherals we’re seeing support only USB 3.0 speeds.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

BlackBerry shocks with Q4 profit but CEO Chen can’t stop sales slide

BlackBerry surprised Wall Street by getting its bottom line back into the black in the fourth quarter, but sales shrunk significantly again, putting in question CEO John Chen’s assertion that the company’s turnaround is on track.BlackBerry is trying to become less dependent on hardware, counting instead on software such as the BES12 enterprise mobile management platform, which can be used to manage not only the company’s devices but also iOS, Android and Windows Phone smartphones.During the quarter, which ended Feb. 28, software revenue grew 24 percent on a sequential basis and 20 percent year-on-year to US$67 million, the company said Friday morning before the U.S. financial markets opened.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Microsoft wants to make Powerpoint more Web-friendly, buys LiveLoop

Microsoft has acquired LiveLoop and its technology for sharing PowerPoint presentations online more easily.The software giant didn’t reveal any financial details, but confirmed the deal via email saying the team from LiveLoop will help build great collaboration across Office applications, as part of the company’s strategy to reinvent productivity.Beyond that, MIcrosoft isn’t revealing what it plans to do with LiveLoop. The acquisition, however, fits well with its plan to make its applications and services available on as many devices as possible irrespective of the OS.LiveLoop’s technology converts PowerPoint files into URLs that can be viewed from computers and smartphones without installing any software, according to the company’s website.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Court throws out lawsuit over storage on iPhones, iPads

A federal court has dismissed a lawsuit against Apple over the amount of storage available in mobile devices that come with iOS 8.The district court in San Jose, California, threw out the proposed class-action suit on Wednesday after Apple filed a motion saying the plaintiffs failed to back up their arguments. The case was dismissed with prejudice, meaning the plaintiffs can’t sue Apple again for the same thing.In the suit, filed last December, Paul Orshan and Christopher Endara charged that Apple misled consumers about how much of the storage on iPhones and iPads was taken up by the OS. For example, they said a 16GB iPhone 6 really had just 13GB of capacity available.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Apple asks court to throw out lawsuit over storage on iPhones, iPads

Apple has asked a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit accusing it of misleading  customers about the amount of storage available in mobile devices that come  with iOS 8.Apple filed a motion for dismissal Wednesday at the district court in San Jose,  California, saying the plaintiffs failed to back up their arguments. It wants  the case dismissed with prejudice, which would prevent the plaintiffs from  suing Apple again for the same thing. Judge Edward Davila will now have to rule  on the motion.In the suit, filed last December, Paul Orshan and Christopher Endara charged that Apple misled consumers about how much of the storage on iPhones and iPads was taken up by the OS. For example, they said a 16GB iPhone 6 really had just 13GB of capacity available.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

IoT could help give your local area its own power grid

The Internet of Things is mostly about achieving greater scale, but in the case of an upcoming demonstration project, it will show how electrical grids can work at a smaller scale.The testbed announced Thursday by the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) will bring together software and other components for microgrids, which link together local, alternative sources of power and energy storage. Those sources, including rooftop solar panels and wind turbines, can keep providing power even if the main grid goes down.Most power grids were built for producing energy in one place and distributing it to users over a wide area. They’re not all equipped to manage or take advantage of small power sources out at the edge of the grid. The IIC, which is trying to get big industries and tech vendors on the same page about the Internet of Things, formed the testbed to promote work on IoT components for microgrids.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

About 25 US states oppose sale of RadioShack’s customer data

Several state consumer protection agencies in the U.S. have joined the state of Texas in objecting in bankruptcy court to the proposed sale by RadioShack of personal information of its customers.In a filing Wednesday, the state of Texas said it had received support from 21 governmental consumer protection entities to its objection last week to the planned sale of personally identifiable information (PII) of 117 million RadioShack customers.The state of Texas had earlier objected to the sale citing both the in-store and online privacy policies of the consumer electronics retailer. “All versions of the privacy policy contain an unequivocal provision that consumer PII will not be sold,” state officials said in a filing to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Foxconn to enter information security realm with joint venture

Foxconn Technology Group isn’t satisfied with just making iPhones, and plans to break into the information security market through an upcoming joint venture.On Thursday, the Taiwanese manufacturing giant announced it would set up in May a joint venture with Korea’s SK C&C, an IT services provider, to develop information security systems for the Chinese market.The venture will be based at one of Foxconn’s factories in China, where it has hired over a million workers to assemble electronics for vendors that include Apple, Microsoft and Sony.Electronics manufacturing has long been the core business of the company. Business from Apple is estimated to contribute 40 to 50 percent of Foxconn’s revenue.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

USB 3.1 set to reach desktops

The emerging USB 3.1 standard is set to reach desktops as hardware companies release motherboards with ports that can transfer data two times faster than the previous USB technology.MSI on Wednesday announced a 970A SLI Krait motherboard that will support the AMD processors and the USB 3.1 protocol. Motherboards with USB 3.1 ports have also been released by Gigabyte, ASRock and Asus, but those boards support Intel chips.USB 3.1 can shuffle data between a host device and peripheral at 10Gbps (bits per second), which is two times faster than USB 3.0. USB 3.1 is also generating excitement for the reversible Type-C cable, which is the same on both ends so users don’t have to worry about plug orientation.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Apple database acquisition could help improve performance of its services

Apple has reportedly acquired database company FoundationDB, a move that would allow the company to improve the underpinnings of its existing services and also lay the groundwork for an Internet of Things (IoT) expansion.Asked to confirm the deal, first reported by TechCrunch, Apple responded by saying that it from time to time buys smaller companies but doesn’t discuss its plans. On its part, FoundationDB said that it will no longer offer downloads of its database, and that “we have made the decision to evolve our company mission.”Apple could use FoundationDB’s technology to improve the performance of its own infrastructure. The reported acquisition comes just a couple of months after FoundationDB announced a major upgrade of its flagship NoSQL database. The database was redesigned to handle millions of random writes per second and make it a better fit for IoT systems.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Wednesday, March 25

Google wants to let you pay bills inside GmailGoogle has a project in the works to let Gmail users not only receive bills but pay them from within the mail service, re/code reports. The news site viewed details of the project, called Pony Express, and said it is scheduled to start in the fourth quarter.Microsoft packages Azure for Web and mobile developersMicrosoft brought out an integrated set of Azure-based services on Tuesday that are meant to ease the process of developing applications that run in the cloud. The new Azure App Service could help organizations build Web applications or mobile applications that connect to a variety of data sources that reside in the cloud or in internal IT systems.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

9 compelling reasons to keep your old PC instead of upgrading

The grass isn't always greenerFew can withstand the siren song of the latest and greatest gear, the deep allure of a new and shiny gadget—but that doesn’t mean that tossing your old computer in the trash and picking up a fresh PC is necessarily a smart idea.While gamers and hardcore video editors always stand to gain extra performance out of fresh firepower, more casual users might be better off saving their cash and sticking with the PC you already own. Here’s why.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here