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VMware Announces New Database as a Service Offering

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Wednesday 31 August 2011 10:49 pm

At the VMworld conference, VMware took the wraps off vFabric Data Director, a new database-as-a-service offering. The new tool is designed to help enterprises manage the growing number of databases necessary to run their applications. “Enterprises are increasingly challenged to manage the significant growth of data needed for modern applications while supporting critical application development initiatives,” said VMware’s Tod Nielsen. “Today, VMware is advancing its ongoing cloud application platform strategy by delivering innovative data access and management services that more efficiently serve today’s applications and establish a foundation for next generation, cloud era applications.”

PostgreSQL will be the first database supported, but VMware plans to support other databases in the future. Pricing for vFabric Data Director will start at $600 per virtual machine.

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Salesforce.com Embraces HTML5, Solicits Apps for Chatter

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Wednesday 31 August 2011 10:49 pm

At its annual Dreamforce event, CRM heavyweight Salesforce.com made two announcements related to mobile development. First, the company is jumping on the HTML5 bandwagon and plans to offer touchscreen-based versions of its core applications at touch.salesforce.com. The new site will also support custom apps built with the Force.com platform, said Salesforce.com’s Al Falcione. “Our customers have built over 240,000 custom apps with Force.com, and with touch.salesforce.com they’ll become instantly mobile so you can access them through mobile devices.”

Salesforce.com also announced that it is opening up its Chatter enterprise social networking service for third-party development. The company said that 100,000 customers are currently using the Chatter service.

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Browser Vendors Respond to Google SSL Certificate Risk

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Wednesday 31 August 2011 10:48 pm

SSL is supposed to protect web users by encrypting data. When it comes to trusting an SSL certificate, Web browsers rely on authoritative certificate authorities (CA) that validate the authenticity of a given SSL certificate.

But what happens when a CA issues a fraudulent SSL certificate?

This week, certificate authority DigiNotar was found to have issued a fraudulent SSL certificate for *.Google.com. The wildcard certificate could have enabled an attacker to spoof any HTTPS secured Google domain. Though advisories from browser vendors came out this week, DigiNotar admitted today that it has been aware of the issue for more than a month.

Read the full story at eSecurityPlanet:
Fraudulent SSL Cert for Google Revoked

VMware Views the Post-PC Era Horizon

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Wednesday 31 August 2011 10:48 pm

In the PC era, users were tied to their physical machines running specific operating systems. The new era of mobile and cloud computing changes all that and puts IT into what Apple co-founder Steve Jobs called, the post PC era. Virtualization giant VMware is now firmly positioning itself for the post-PC era with new virtual desktop infrastructure(VDI) software with VMware View 5 and expanded capabilities for hybrid cloud with VMware Horizon.

The VMware Horizon product is a gateway that enables enterprises to access cloud-based application through a self-service portal. The Horizon App Manager first debuted in May of this year and is now being expanded for mobile app delivery.

Raj Mallempati, Director Product Marketing, Enterprise Desktop Solutions at VMware (NYSE: VMW), told InternetNews.com that Horizon is also being extended to be able to manage any virtualized Windows application

“What we’re doing is letting our customers move from a very Windows-specific environment to the post-PC era,” Mallempati said. “We’re enabling our customers to simplify and modernize their Windows-based infrastructure.”

Read the full story at ServerWatch:
VMware Expands Its View and Horizon

E-Books Get More Interactive With Amazon’s New Author Q&A Feature

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Wednesday 31 August 2011 10:48 pm

Amazon nudged the experience of reading books ever-so-slightly further into the future today. The company announced a new feature for its Kindle reading platform that lets readers ask authors questions about their books as they’re reading.

The new program, called @author, lets Kindle users highlight a passage and then ask the author a question about it via their Amazon author page or Twitter. Only questions as long as 100 characters can be asked from within the e-book itself, but more in-depth curiosities can be posted to the author’s official page on Amazon.

T-Mobile’s 4G conundrum

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Wednesday 31 August 2011 9:50 pm

The Justice Department is looking to put the kibosh on ATT’s $39 billion deal for T-Mobile. So what does this mean for T-Mobile, the smallest and weakest of the four national wireless carriers?

ATT to buy T-Mobile

The future of T-Mobile is the big unanswered question after the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday seeking to block ATT’s merger.

It is clear that that the Justice Department wants T-Mobile to remain an independent competitor in the market. In its lawsuit to block the merger the Justice Department called T-Mobile a “disruptive” force. It cited the company’s many “firsts” in the industry, including the first Google
Android smartphone. It also highlighted the company’s aggressive pricing.

But what the agency failed to recognize in its analysis of the deal is that T-Mobile has two big problems that will make it almost impossible to remain an independent competitor: It lacks a 4G strategy and it has no spectrum to develop one.

There are already signs that T-Mobile may not be able to survive on its own. While Verizon Wireless and ATT, the two largest competitors in the market, rack up new subscribers every quarter, Sprint and T-Mobile, No. 3 and No. 4 in the market, have been losing customers.

The 4G question
As the wireless market quickly moves to one that is centered on data, most of the wireless carriers say they will need more spectrum in the coming years to deal with the onslaught of usage from consumers. And the FCC has said it has made freeing up more spectrum a priority.

This shortage of wireless spectrum is what prompted ATT to bid for T-Mobile in the first place. ATT has been struggling to keep up with network demand in densely populated areas. And T-Mobile’s spectrum and cell phone towers offered ATT a perfect opportunity to add more capacity to its network without waiting for the government to free up more spectrum for auction.

In contrast to ATT, T-Mobile is nowhere near exhausting its current spectrum with its existing services. Its network has plenty of capacity to serve its shrinking subscribership. Instead, the problem T-Mobile faces is that it needs additional bands of spectrum to migrate its customer base to the next generation of technology, 4G LTE. The Advanced Wireless Spectrum or AWS spectrum that T-Mobile bought in 2006 was used to build its 3G wireless network. If T-Mobile wants to build a 4G network, it will need additional spectrum to do it. And even though the government is talking about re-auctioning spectrum from TV broadcasters, it could be years before those auctions take place.

Executives at T-Mobile have tried to downplay the company’s spectrum issues and lack of 4G strategy. In fact, a year ago, it ignited a marketing war by branding its advanced HSPA+ 3G network as 4G.

But HSPA+ will not be enough to satisfy demand in the future. It may offer similar speeds to certain 4G deployments today, but it is still an advanced 3G technology that doesn’t offer the spectral efficiencies of next generation technologies, such as LTE or WiMax.

In short, without a strategy to move to the next generation of 4G, T-Mobile will not be able to compete in the future as consumers adopt new data-centric devices that will require increasingly more capacity on the network.

This dilemma leaves Deutsche Telekom with two choices: sell T-Mobile’s spectrum and cell towers or partner with someone who needs those resources.

Who’s buying?
Deutsche Telekom couldn’t have asked for a better exit strategy for its T-Mobile investment than ATT. At $39 billion, it was an incredible deal for investors. And if the Justice Department is successful in blocking the merger, it’s unlikely that the carrier will find a similarly sweet deal to replace it. For one, it’s unclear who would be willing to buy T-Mobile. What’s more even with the generous break-up terms, which are valued between $3 billion and $6 billion and includes both cash and spectrum, the fact that ATT plans to fight the Justice Department’s decision in court means that T-Mobile likely won’t get its money or spectrum for some time.

Sprint Nextel, which had been in talks to merge with T-Mobile before ATT’s bid, could be a good fit for T-Mobile from a competitive standpoint, since they are the two smallest companies. And even though their networks use different technologies, the two are likely to choose the same 4G technology for future deployments. Still, Sprint may no longer be considered contender. In the Justice Department’s rejection of the deal between ATT and T-Mobile, it argued vociferously that T-Mobile needs to remain an independent company, which pretty much rules out a bid by No. 3 Sprint.

“[T-Mobile USA is important as an] independent, low priced rival…in particular…places important competitive pressure on its three larger rivals, particularly in terms of pricing…Unless this acquisition is enjoined, customers of mobile wireless telecommunications services likely will face higher prices, less product variety and innovation and poorer quality services due to reduced incentives to invest than would exist absent the merger.”

Another potential suitor for T-Mobile that may pass muster with regulators is Dish Network. The satellite TV provider has already spent $3 billion acquiring wireless broadband spectrum. The company has been vague about its plans for the spectrum. But the company has recently asked the FCC to give it permission to combine its spectrum satellite spectrum with terrestrial wireless spectrum, which is an indication that it’s planning to built a 4G LTE network.

With T-Mobile, Dish could have a nationwide wireless network at its finger tips. And it could combine its spectrum with T-Mobile’s to create a 4G strategy.

Partnerships
If a sale is not in the cards of T-Mobile, its other option is to strike partnerships with other wireless providers. Clearwire, which is majority owned by Sprint, may be a good candidate. The companies had been in talks before the ATT deal was announced. Adding T-Mobile to its list of partners could help Clearwire solve its funding problem. Clearwire, which has been building a nationwide 4G network using WiMax, has already announced that it plans to overlay LTE on top of its existing network. This could be appealing to T-Mobile, which could use the Clearwire network and spectrum to fill out its 4G strategy.

LightSquared, which has plans to build a nationwide 4G network using LTE, is another potential partner for T-Mobile. The company, which is still awaiting final approval to build its network from the FCC, plans to wholesale its LTE capacity to other wireless operators, retailers and anyone else interested in offering LTE service. LightSqared already has a network sharing deal with Sprint. And it has signed up MetroPCS as a partner.

In addition to the LTE carriers, cable operators may also be interested in partnering with T-Mobile. Several of these operators, including Comcast, Time Warner and Cox Communications own spectrum of their own, which they could use in combination with T-Mobile’s network.

Whether it decides to put T-Mobile up for sale or it decides to form partnerships with other network providers, Deutsche Telekom will have to find some way to combine T-Mobile’s resources with those of another carrier. As one telecom expert put it: “It’s not a matter of if, but when.”

Microsoft’s Touchscreen Revolution Now Not Quite So Revolutionary

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Wednesday 31 August 2011 3:48 pm

In June, Microsoft unveiled the latest version of its Windows operating system: Windows 8. This version of Windows will introduce touchscreen technology into the Windows user interface (UI), including desktop and laptop computers. Touchscreens have become popular in smartphones and tablets, primarily due to Apple’s iOS. But does it make sense to reach out and touch your desktop computer screen in order to navigate or browse? In June, Microsoft was giving a resounding YES to that question. Now, it’s more like a nervous MAYBE.

Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky attempted to explain today how the new touchscreen UI – which he dubbed the “Metro style” – will co-exist with the old style point-and-click Windows UI. The two interfaces are night and day. The touchscreen one is relatively simple and app-centric, the traditional one is complex and file-centric. He ended up hedging his bets, which is what Microsoft is now doing in its design goals for Windows 8.

Anonymous claims DNS attacks against Symantec, Apple, Microsoft

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Wednesday 31 August 2011 10:31 am

The Sri Lankan branch of Anonymous claims to have hacked into the DNS servers of Symantec, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and several other large organizations over the past few days.

Posting the news and records of its exploits on Pastebin, the group is taking credit for launching “DNS Cache Snoop Poisoning” attacks against its victims.

DNS cache snooping is the process whereby hackers can query a DNS server to find out which domain names are being resolved into IP addresses.

DNS cache poisoning is a method through which hackers are able to insert malicious and fake records into the cache of DNS servers. As a result, the hackers can then spoof a response to a DNS query, forcing users to go to a phony Web site instead of the real one.

Since DNS, or domain name system, servers maintain the records that assign domain names to IP addresses, attacks against them are especially alarming since they can compromise part of the very foundation of the Internet.

The information posted on Pastebin by Anonymous Sri Lanka shows that the group was able to scan and in some cases expose the DNS information of the companies it targeted, according to Cyber War News. But there’s no indication that the hackers were able to modify any of the DNS records that they touched.

In the record of its DNS attack against Symantec, Anonymous Sri Lanka boasts that it breached the “world’s 2nd largest software (anti-virus) leader/giant” and says that it captured almost the entire DNS pool, including the company’s corporate customers, production servers, and testbeds. The group touted the same DNS Cache Snoop Poisoning attacks against Facebook, Skype, Apple, Cisco, Microsoft, and Novell.

Beyond its attacks against several major tech companies, Anonymous Sri Lanka has also claimed DNS hacks against several groups and agencies in Sri Lanka, including the nation’s Parliament, military, and largest telecom provider.

The group tried to justify its actions in some of its comments.

Lashing out at Facebook, Anonymous Sri Lanka said that the way the social network controls and treats its members is not acceptable under any circumstances. Explaining its attack against Skype, the group claimed that the online video service is “eavesdropping the entire VoIP traffic at several nodes for sure.”

The attacks appear to have started on August 22 against the Sri Lankan telecom provider and continued on into yesterday with the attack against Skype.

Requests for comment to Symantec, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and Skype were not immediately returned.

Survey: 80% of Enterprises Use Open Source

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Wednesday 31 August 2011 4:15 am

Vendor FuseSource Corp., which sells solutions and services based on Apache projects, has released the results of a new survey. It found that 80 percent of enterprises surveyed had replaced some proprietary software with open source software, and 21 percent had replaced at least half of their proprietary software with open source. In addition, more than half of those surveyed said that at least half of their 2011 IT projects will use open source applications.

The top reasons why companies choose open source software are cost benefits (89 percent), flexibility (73%) and technical benefits (72%).

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Developers Experiment with Acceptance-Test-Driven Development

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Wednesday 31 August 2011 4:15 am

Usually, the testing phase of application development begins after the piece of software is “finished.” However, a new approach known as acceptance-test-driven development (ATDD) is flipping that model upside down. In ATDD, tests are devised before the actual code development begins and automated testing occurs throughout the development process.

Proponents say that ATDD speeds up development by making it easier to find and fix bugs earlier. The approach can be used along with agile methodologies, and several vendors offer tools that promote ATDD.

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