It’s taken some time, but Microsoft’s $26 billion purchase of LinkedIn is finally starting to show some interesting results, with LinkedIn data starting to show up in tools like Outlook. It’s the first sign of Microsoft using the social network’s relationship graph, the complex data set that was the reason for one of Microsoft’s biggest Silicon Valley acquisitions.Under the hood, a social network like LinkedIn is nothing more than a huge NoSQL graph database, using a schema-less approach to managing semistructured data. Each node in the graph is an individual, with all his or her profile data. Each node is linked to others, tens or hundreds for people with a few connections, thousands for highly connected individuals. Queries traverse those connections, letting you find all the people you know working on AI, or who are based in Ontario, or who used to work at LinkedIn.[ Working with data in the cloud requires new thinking. InfoWorld shows you the … [Read more...] about Making sense of Microsoft’s graph database strategy
The Apple car rumor gained some legs this week with a Wall Street Journal report that brings some interesting new insight. Though a bit shy on verifiable details -- it cites unnamed people familiar with Apple's plans and vaguely refers to people inside Apple -- the report suggests the company will triple its current 600-person team to 1,800 people as it ramps up its car development effort, code-named "Titan." Previous Apple car reports have linked Apple's hiring of automobile experts to Titan, with some assuming that Apple even poached some employees from Tesla. Earlier rumors also made the assumption that Apple was developing a self-driving car, but the Journal's latest story indicates the first Apple car won't be fully autonomous. It also establishes a timeline, sort of. The target ship date is 2019 -- though there is some doubt about whether that's accurate. All along, it's been expected that the rumored Apple car will be electric. So, Is Apple Building a Car or Not? Apple has … [Read more...] about Apple Car Talk Starts Making Sense
For some businesses, Apple's App Store rules just don't make business sense. It all comes down to Apple's 30 percent cut of App Store-based sales and a business' existing customer base. To reach consumers through the iOS App Store, Apple's basic terms are pretty simple: If an iOS-running Apple customer buys an app, Apple gets 30 percent of the sale price. If the customer buys an add-on product through the app, called an "in-app purchase," Apple also gets a 30 percent cut. In exchange for this 30 percent cut, Apple not only delivers a kick-ass hardware, software, and store experience but also serves up all the data from its data centers and handles all of the e-commerce payment processing. You would think that running e-commerce from the Web or mobile devices would be easy these days, but it's not. It can be surprisingly painful, especially for new developers and growing businesses. For a guy in a garage with a great idea, these terms -- and opportunity -- are pretty amazing. But Not … [Read more...] about What Happens When Apple’s Rules Stop Making Sense
By Jack M. Germain Mar 7, 2008 8:30 AM PT Information technology managers are facing a massive rollout of new demands and computing models that could potentially make inroads in enterprise computing in 2008. As the technology continues to evolve and the landscape continues to change, IT managers have to pick and choose carefully in deciding which new, talked-about technologies to implement in their enterprises. For instance, IT departments are showing more interest in Software as a Service (Saas). In fact, a recent Forrester study notes that decision-makers at North American enterprises will continue to spend an average of 29 percent of their total IT budgets on software-related costs this year. Furthermore, the adoption of SaaS will rise to the level of a top priority for IT departments by year's end. Another corporate need that could further burden an already overtaxed IT departments is the chore of overseeing the good name of its marketing organization. IT managers are being asked … [Read more...] about Making Sense of IT’s Swirling Trends
IBM listed technologies based on the five human senses in its 2012 "5 in 5" -- five innovations that will change lives within five years. The predictions include advances in cognitive systems to unlock the door to touch, sight, hearing, taste and smell. The list that IBM makes each year doesn't reflect what its engineers, scientists and developers want under the tree, but where they see technology making some of its biggest advances in the near term. They reflect "a lot of things going on in the laboratory for the year, or in some cases several years," IBM CTO of Telecom Research Paul Bloom told TechNewsWorld. There are teams "doing a lot of work around video and multimedia analytics," he said, that helped shape the list this year. Cognitive Systems Technologies for computing the five senses have their basis in cognitive systems that allow computers to learn, adapt, sense and form conclusions with less human input. "This year we're focusing on the next era of computing -- … [Read more...] about IBM: Computers Are Going to Start Making a Lot More Sense
Two startup companies launching products this month are aiming to prevent overflow accidents and other damp discomforts by bringing certain absorbable products onto the Internet of Things. The founders of Sensassure, coming out of the Highway 1 hardware accelerator, thinks its adult-diaper-sensor will make life cleaner and easier for seniors in nursing homes. And the founders of My.Flow, coming out of the HAX hardware accelerator, think its time women had better information about when to change their tampons. Let's start with the diaper. Sensassure has developed "Talli," a reusable strip that attaches to the outside of standard commercial diapers or adult briefs and communicates when the incontinence product becomes wet, using a non-contact method of moisture sensing that cofounder Tim Ahong says, for now, is top secret. That's huge, cofounder Sameer Dhar says, because adults with dementia can't necessarily report that they need a change, and therefore are either checked needlessly or … [Read more...] about A Smart Adult Diaper? Makes Sense. A Smart Tampon? Not So Much
Microsoft's reorganization makes sense for the world's largest software company, which was getting too big and unwieldy under its former structure to continue to be managed efficiently, industry analysts said Tuesday. Microsoft Tuesday consolidated six divisions into three, each one with its own president: the Microsoft Platform Products & Services Division, led by Kevin Johnson and Jim Allchin as co-presidents until Allchin retires at the end of 2006; the Microsoft Business Division, with Jeff Raikes as president; and the Microsoft Entertainment & Devices Division, with Robbie Bach as president. The new Platform Products & Services Group will comprise the current Windows Client, Server and Tools and the MSN online services division. The business group will consist of the current Microsoft Information Worker group, including Microsoft Office, and the Business Solutions group, which includes CRM (customer relationship management) and ERP (enterprise resource management) … [Read more...] about Microsoft reorganization makes sense for giant
Hewlett-Packard's deal to acquire Mercury Interactive is winning praise from HP software customers and analysts as a smart combination of system and application management tools. HP announced Wednesday that it had reached an agreement with Mercury in a deal worth about $4.5 billion. The buyout had been rumored for at least a year. After the announcement, HP CEO Mark Hurd said the move will double his company's software revenue to more than $2 billion annually, adding that the combination of the companies' product lines will make HP "an end-to-end leader in IT management." That sentiment was echoed today by several HP OpenView (OV) customers. [ Have a tech story to share? If we publish it, we’ll send you a $50 American Express gift card — and keep you anonymous. Send it to [email protected] | We've all been there: 7 hardware horror stories from the help desk. | Follow Off the Record on Twitter and subscribe to the newsletter. ]Mercury products will "enhance or … [Read more...] about Users: HP buy of Mercury Interactive makes sense
Last week, Microsoft announced its cloud-computing effort, called Azure. Fitting between Google's and Amazon.com's current offerings, it represents a very big step toward moving applications off the desktop and out of a corporation's own datacenters. Whether or not it will have any traction with corporate IT developers remains to be seen. Nonetheless, the Azure effort has brought more of a Wild West feel to the whole arena of cloud computing. If this were the late 1880s, Amazon.com would provide the land grants, as well as raw Linux and Windows acreage to build your applications upon. Google's general goods store would stock and give away all the APIs that a programmer could ever use, and some of the scrappy prospectors that came to build the new towns would be from Microsoft. Steve Ballmer as Billy the Kid, anyone? [ Seehow Amazon, Google, and other cloud offerings fare in the InfoWorld Test Center comparison "Cloud versus cloud." | See why InfoWorld's Neil McAllister is concerned … [Read more...] about Making sense of Microsoft’s Azure
In this week's Keep the Joint Running ("Hard choices," 11/10/2008), I raised the possibility of "bribing" a technically brilliant but socially obnoxious employee (PiN, for "Pain in Neck") to behave better. The context was layoffs, the idea was the need for maximum productivity, and the bribe was a $1,000 per month bonus, after taxes, paid each month there are no complaints about the employee. Unsurprisingly, the proposal raised something of a stir. For example: Dear Bob ... I enjoyed your column, but see two potential problems with your year-long deal with PiN. [ Have a tech story to share? If we publish it, we’ll send you a $50 American Express gift card — and keep you anonymous. Send it to [email protected] | We've all been there: 7 hardware horror stories from the help desk. | Follow Off the Record on Twitter and subscribe to the newsletter. ]First, you just rewarded PiN handsomely for all of his troublemaking. If I'm his peer, I'm starting to wonder how big … [Read more...] about Does bribing an employee to stop being obnoxious make sense?
The story: Intranets were the rage five years ago, but all too many gather moss as old data sits without an update. Social networking, once the province of the young and the hip, could fill the need to connect employees and leverage knowledge across the enterprise. Yes, you've heard that social-networking-in-business promise before, but it is now coming true. Deloitte has D Street, Microsoft sports TownSquare, IBM has used the BluePages for years, and Best Buy hosts the BlueShirt Nation. "Many of the corporate social networks are modeled after Facebook," says Ross Dawson, chairman of the consultancy Future Exploration Network. Facebook's breakthrough was the ability for users to stay in touch with friends and easily share updated information with a wide circle of acquaintances. And with younger employees already enthusiastic users of social networking tools, it makes sense to offer similar capabilities at work. [ Give yourself a technology career advantage with InfoWorld's Deep Dive … [Read more...] about Social networking is starting (really) to make sense for business
Dear Bob ... Once again, the time for my annual performance review has come and gone without my receiving a performance review. [ Also on InfoWorld: Bob reveals there might be an upside to having an absentee manager in "Can't get hold of your boss? Take advantage of the situation" | Get sage advice on IT careers and management from Bob Lewis in InfoWorld's Advice Line newsletter. ] [ Have a tech story to share? If we publish it, we’ll send you a $50 American Express gift card — and keep you anonymous. Send it to [email protected] | We've all been there: 7 hardware horror stories from the help desk. | Follow Off the Record on Twitter and subscribe to the newsletter. ]Oh, I got my raise and a written document that made a few very brief statements about how well I did. But there was no face-to-face conversation, no in-depth exploration of what I can do to advance my career, and most important (to me), no discussion of the training I think I need to continue to … [Read more...] about Making sense of a feedback-free performance review
Last week Jason Bloomberg of ZapThink wrote a funny, cutting piece that was meant to rip the notion of the private cloud to shreds. I actually found myself agreeing with some of it -- but not with the blanket conclusion that "private clouds suck." [ In the data center today, the action is in the private cloud. InfoWorld's experts take you through what you need to know to do it right in our "Private Cloud Deep Dive" PDF special report. | Also check out our "Cloud Security Deep Dive," our "Cloud Storage Deep Dive," and our "Cloud Services Deep Dive." ] [ Download InfoWorld's quick guide and get started with Azure Mobile Services for building apps today. | Stay up on the cloud with InfoWorld's Cloud Computing newsletter. ]Let's take Bloomberg's points one at a time. His first is that people associate "the cloud" with public cloud services, where customers pay as they go for the resources they use rather than investing in infrastructure. With a private cloud, the customer necessarily owns … [Read more...] about Does the ‘private cloud’ make sense?
These days, many enterprises have processes or data they want to share with the world -- and they want to do it with cloud computing. At least, that's what I find in my travels. [ Get the no-nonsense explanations and advice you need to take real advantage of cloud computing in InfoWorld editors' 21-page Cloud Computing Deep Dive PDF special report. | Stay up on the cloud with InfoWorld's Cloud Computing Report newsletter. ] The reasons vary, but some emerging patterns are pushing enterprises to become, in essence, small public cloud providers. The patterns include: [ Download InfoWorld's quick guide and get started with Azure Mobile Services for building apps today. | Stay up on the cloud with InfoWorld's Cloud Computing newsletter. ] The need to provide information to outside parties using well-defined and secure interfaces. For example, the company wants to allow its partners or customers to see the status of an inventory item, or perhaps the company wants to provide complex data … [Read more...] about When it makes sense to become a cloud provider
The notion that it's a good idea to move data and applications to public cloud providers, or even private clouds, is not always true. In the majority of cases, using public clouds adds a great deal of value. However, in certain instances, cloud computing doesn't make sense. No technology is a good fit for everything. Yet both people and companies like to treat new technologies as a universal silver bullet, using it where it does not make sense -- a mistake they're repeating now with cloud computing. [ Get the no-nonsense explanations and advice you need to take real advantage of cloud computing in InfoWorld editors' 21-page Cloud Computing Deep Dive PDF special report. | Stay up on the cloud with InfoWorld's Cloud Computing Report newsletter. ] [ Download InfoWorld's quick guide and get started with Azure Mobile Services for building apps today. | Stay up on the cloud with InfoWorld's Cloud Computing newsletter. ]There've been many cases in the last few years where systems were pushed … [Read more...] about Where it makes sense to avoid the cloud
The enterprise collaboration market is increasingly crowded with apps and services that target distinct needs for messaging and communication. With its growing suite of apps that target the market from many different angles, Microsoft represents the challenge of modern collaboration. Collaborative work-related activities increased significantly during the last five years, and apps such as Microsoft's Yammer, Skype for Business, and the recently launched Teams are quickly becoming a bigger part of the way people work, according to Bryan Goode, Microsoft's general manager of Office 365. As the average age of today's worker trends younger and more employees work remotely, businesses flock to cloud-based collaboration tools, Goode says. [ Office 365 is now ready to deploy across all your clients. InfoWorld shows you: How to make document sharing really work in Office 365. • What works and what doesn't in Office 365 collaboration • What works in Outlook on Windows, MacOS, … [Read more...] about Make sense of Microsoft’s messy collaboration strategy
Amazon just made news when its Prime Air delivery drone did its first public demo, landing on a lawn in California to drop off a few bottles of sunscreen for attendees of an Amazon conference on automation. But the cofounder and CTO of the drone delivery startup Zipline doesn’t think much of Amazon’s experiments in this area, or Google’s either. Have you been near one of those quadrocopters when it sets down, Zipline’s Keenan Wyrobek asks? “They’re huge things with the power and blade size of four lawnmowers,” he says. “They land on ground next to you, kicking up dust, and it’s not a very good experience.” And then there’s the importance of what they’re transporting. While Amazon dropped off sunscreen for Silicon Valley insiders, and Google has talked with Domino’s about pizza delivery, Zipline is delivering life-saving blood to hospitals in Rwanda. Previously, when a blood delivery was urgently needed, … [Read more...] about When Drone Delivery Makes Sense: When You’re Flying Life-Saving Blood to Hospitals
Lithium-ion batteries are just about everywhere—they power almost all smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Yet Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, says he intends to build a factory in the United States three years from now that will more than double the world’s total lithium-ion battery production. The plan is still in its early stages, but already four states are negotiating with Tesla in the hope of becoming the factory’s home. People have come to expect bold plans from Musk. In addition to founding Tesla, he started his own rocket company, SpaceX, which now delivers supplies to the International Space Station. But even for him, the “gigafactory,” as he calls it, seems audacious. First, Tesla sold 23,000 cars last year. The gigafactory, which would start production in 2017, would by 2020 make enough batteries for 500,000 electric cars. (It would produce enough batteries annually to store 35 gigawatt hours of electricity, hence the name). Second, battery … [Read more...] about Does Musk’s Gigafactory Make Sense?
They killed the Start button. That’s how serious Microsoft is about separating Windows 8 from its predecessors. For 17 years, ever since the company paid the Rolling Stones to use “Start Me Up” in its TV ads, the Start button has been the reliable go-to click for an entire generation of Windows users. But in Windows 8, which launches Friday, it doesn’t exist, not even as some sort of Classic Mode option. The message is clear: This isn’t Windows as you knew it. Why the big switch? The answer is that Microsoft is trying to leverage its Windows customer base to drive demand for the phones and tablets that are the company’s future. The market for desktop and laptop computers is shrinking rapidly—it’s down over 8 percent since last year, according to research firm IDC. A recent Consumer Electronics Association survey found that consumers today would prefer to buy a tablet rather than a desktop or laptop. A new PC is fifth on the list of … [Read more...] about Windows 8: Does Microsoft’s Split-Personality OS Make Sense?
GM is defending its design for the Volt plug-in hybrid vehicle after a study out of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) slammed the design, saying that it’s not economical. (Plug-ins are hybrids with batteries that can be recharged by plugging them in.) We’ve previously reported on the CMU study. It says that hybrids with large batteries designed to provide 40 miles of electric range before an onboard generator kicks on to recharge them–that is, vehicles like the Volt–cost too much for the gas savings to compensate. On the other hand, hybrids with smaller batteries with short electric-only ranges make economic sense, provided they’re recharged frequently. The finding could have policy implications. The recent stimulus bill includes tax credits for plug-in hybrids. The study could suggest what kind of hybrids the government would be wisest to support. Not surprisingly, GM disagrees with the study. In a blog this week, Jon Lauckner, GM’s vice president … [Read more...] about Does GM’s Volt Make Sense?