Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category
Reinvigorated technology player Yahoo! Monday unveiled a dusted-off design of its flickr photo platform only hours after the company’s dramatic acquisition of blogging site Tumblr.
Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer, maintaining that her ambition was to make flickr “awesome again,” said the new site will showcase “bigger images” and create a user experience that is “more immersive, more expressive.”
Mayer’s announcement of the flickr makeover came only hours after the company announced it was buying Tumblr for $1.1 billion. Referring to Tumblr, Yahoo promised “not to screw it up.”
Mayer, a Google veteran who joined Yahoo as chief executive last summer, Monday referred to flickr as a once-shining acquisition “that didn’t fare so well” and vowed that Tumblr would not follow a similar path.
Yahoo Inc. said at an event in New York City on Monday that it is now offering Flickr users 1terabyte of online storage for free. One terabyte is 1,024 gigabytes _ enough to store more than 500,000 images at a resolution common to most smartphones.
The remade flickr aspires to transform a consumer experience that had become flat with excessive text and dull, uninspired photos.
Instead, under the new flickr, photos uploaded will be presented in full resolution and can adapt “wherever” users desire, meaning to different hand-held devices and social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, said Yahoo senior vice president Adam Cahan.
The showcase element is a free terabyte of space to store photos; enough capacity to store up to 537,731 images, Cahan said. That is more space that any user could possibly fill in a lifetime, Yahoo officials said.
“We wanted it to be unlimited,” Cahan said.
The revamped website, which went live Monday evening, also has a new look, cutting out words and user messages and instead featuring larger photos without text set against a sleek black background.
Mayer said flickr’s current subscription pool is in the “tens of millions.” She declined to release the company’s targets for growing subscriptions.
Mayer said Yahoo benefits from a “really healthy” revenue stream, largely from advertising.
The new flickr will employ new advertising formats that Yahoo is still developing. Users who want to opt out of advertising can pay $49.95 a year to access an ad-free version of flickr, said Yahoo’s Marcus Spiering.
If you are aspiring to be an IT professional, it will be worth knowing what is in demand these days. Only then can you develop the skillsets that are required to make you strike it rich in the job market. There are some IT streams that you would do well to ignore.
Here is a list of what’s hot and what’s not as per Bluewolf, a New York based provider of IT staffing, consulting and managed IT services.
What’s hot: HTML5, iPhone/iPad, Android
What’s cooling off: Blackberry, Windows Mobile
What’s hot: MySQL, HBase, Cognos, Informatica
What’s cooling: off DB2, Crystal Reports, Business Objects
What’s hot: Eloqua, Marketo, Salesforce, Google Apps
What’s emerging: AWS-EC2
What’s cooling off: Flash, Flex, ActionScript
Cloud computing is one of the most discussed subject in the enterprises today. Working in the cloud has proven to be beneficial to companies, but at the same time there are risks associated with it. Hybrid cloud is being considered as a reliable option by most of the companies today who look to achieve maximum benefit from this infrastructure. Hybrid clouds are strategically designed to minimize flaws and maximize the efficiency of the infrastructure.
CIOs these days are of the opinion that the smartest way to play the cloud is to rent the spike. Allan Leinwand, Zynga’s Infrastructure CTO says “We own the base, rent the spike. We want a hybrid operation. We love knowing that shock absorber is there.” as per an article by Gregg Ness on aonetwork.com
A study conducted at Gartner’s 2011 Data Center Conference in December showed that 78 percent of 2,500 attendees surveyed said they plan to build private cloud services by 2014. ”We believe that the vast majority of private clouds will migrate or evolve into a hybrid model,” says Gartner researcher Thomas Bittman. “We’re telling clients to design and build their private clouds with hybrid in mind.”
Ness says that “innovative companies have found ways to move virtual machines between clouds and that has given them considerable competitive advantages over peer companies trying to shim the network with elaborate schemes or create an eighth layer. They are also using commoditized hardware increasingly to deliver highly custom infrastructures, tightly aligned with their applications and services, that can be easily scalable.”
Due to commoditization of server hardware and the potential of commoditization of network hardware, enterprises are gaining more control over their applications, services and even data center. Companies are now utilizing IT to an even fuller extent to gain competitive advantage.
Consumerization is creeping into IT with as much speed as it has spread to users. That means more choice, more differentiation and more influence over future vendor releases and the design and construction of new data centers.
Considering the niggling worries of cloud security linked with private and public clouds, the Hybrid cloud is most certainly emerging as the future of computing. Offering the best features of both public and private clouds, the hybrid cloud infrastructure is no doubt a veritable boon for companies aiming to foray ahead in the market.
In early December, Google released the latest major upgrade to its Android mobile operating system, Android 4, codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich. For Web developers, this represented a prime litmus test of Android: could HTML5 be a viable cross-platform solution for building on both iOS and Android? Results of the latest versions of both Apple’s iOS (version 5) and Android (version 4) to understand what each platform offers the Web application developer and its specific advantages and merits.
WebKit: Android 4 shows big gains, but still has gaps
Nearly every mobile Web browser starts with the WebKit rendering engine. An open-source project originally forked by Apple from KDE/KHTML and now backed by the participation of Apple, Google, Qualcomm, RIM and many others, it’s now the de facto standard for rendering Web content on mobile. Both the Android 4 and iOS 5 browsers are based on WebKit, with each implementing a slightly different version. For the former, it implements WebKit 534.30, while the latter implements 534.46.
Also, in the rendering feature set, Android 4 has added support for many of the CSS3 features that had long been integral to iOS 5. Specifically, Android 4 now properly supports CSS3 2D and 3D transformations, animations, transitions and reflections. This is a major step forward for Android as Web developers can now start to leverage the skills they’ve been honing on iOS to make fluid and expressive Web applications. With these features now supported, we’re hoping that Google and the Android hardware vendors will polish off their implementations to make them flicker-free and deliver higher performance so developers can truly rely on these advanced rendering features.
iOS 5/Safari leads with more APIs
The last part of the browser stack is the APIs, where capabilities like network access, file system access, Canvas and other rich app-like functions are exposed. iOS has long been the standard-bearer in API support and, even with the improvements embodied in Android 4, this continues to be the case. iOS 5 added support for features like “overflow: scroll“; the WebKit-proprietary “-webkit-overflow-scrolling: touch” (which allows independent scrollable areas and touch bounces); Web Sockets (for more real-time communication); Web Workers (for background processing); and many different HTML5 input types (such as number and date). Android 4 still lacks support for these common HTML5 features, but does have one standout addition, which is support for the File API. The File API makes it possible for developers to manipulate local files on the device, allowing richer apps and access to features such as the phone’s camera roll. Nonetheless, iOS 5 offers a richer set of browser APIs and broader support for HTML5 features.
For now, iOS 5 has the overall lead
Have advanced tools and agile methods made us more accepting of mediocre performance?
I have recently been re-reading The Mythical Man-Month by Fred Brooks. Written in the mid-1970s, with an extended edition published in 1995, the book covers the experiences and insights of Fred Brooks who managed the development of the IBM System/360 mainframe computer and the OS/360 operating system.
Much of the background to the book, the development of large-scale mainframe systems with large teams of developers, is now rather dated. However, the book has been and remains influential because of its insights into the development process. It covers how the complexity of systems, and the need for communication, limits the speed of development irrespective of the number of people assigned to the work. This is summarised in Brooks’s law: Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.
The later edition of the book describes improvements in systems development over the intervening years. This includes the availability of PCs, packaged software, iterative development, and the use of object orientation. Since the later edition, the environment for developers has improved even more. Developers now have fast PCs, with advanced integrated development environments (IDEs). The Internet makes it easy to share code and ideas. The use of packaged software means that very few organisations now run large development departments, and most do not have the problems of scale. Many organisation have adopted agile methods, which are more focussed on the real dynamics of development. These improvements to technology and methods have overcome many of the problems that Fred Brooks wrote about.
However, there is one potential improvement described in The Mythical Man Month that has not been widely adopted.
The book covers how different developers have vastly different productivity. Much of this draws on research carried out in the late 60s, which is nicely summarised in this 10x Software Development piece. The Mythical Man-Month outlines a structure in which the development work is performed by a very small number of the most skilled developers. This is more effective because it is easier to achieve the required design consistency between a small number of developers, and it is much cheaper to use a small number of very good developers than a much larger number of developers of average ability.
Few if any organisations have adopted this approach. Developers are treated as interchangeable commodities, rather than the guardians of the system’s conceptual consistency. We treat development as a relatively junior (and low paid) task in comparison to, say, project management. Good developers either leave or are tempted into management roles for which they are often not suited. In a sense, the improvements in development technology and methods have not helped, because they give a misleading impression of competence. Even with advanced tools and techniques, some developers will be much more productive, produce many fewer bugs, and create solutions that drive the organisation forward much more effectively.
Over the past few years, many organisations have reduced the size of their development teams, by the purchase of packaged software, by outsourcing, and out of financial necessity. This provides a real opportunity to restructure development to properly recognise the contribution and importance of key developers. It is an opportunity most organisations continue to miss.
HP partners with Government of Karnataka and IIIT-B to help enterprises adopt the new Internet address standard
With the reservoir of available IP addresses fast depleting, governments around the world are putting the finishing touches to their plans to migrate their country’s Internet infrastructure to the new Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) protocol, that offers billions of new addresses. The Government of India has set a deadline of March 31, 2012 for all service providers to transition to IPv6. The Government of Karnataka (GoK) has taken a major initiative to help enterprises make the transition, through a public-private project. It today signed a partnership agreement with the International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore (IIIT-B) and technology vendor HP to conduct a pilot project that will help organizations in Karnataka through a smooth transition to IPv6.
The current IPv4 protocol is a 32-bit addressing system and has a theoretical limit of four billion IP addresses — the last of which have just been distributed to the five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs). Migrating to the 128-bit IPv6 means billions of new IP addresses will become available. The new Internet Protocol is also more secure and offers the promise of speed; it is 10 times faster. This makes it ideal for high-bandwidth applications like multi-casting.
The demand for IP addresses is fast increasing as more consumer devices such as smartphones, tablets and now, Internet-enabled TVs, connect directly to the Internet. Users are also bringing their mobile devices into the enterprise and connecting these to corporate networks.
For enterprises in India, transitioning to IPv6 is essential to keep up with the current Internet growth, as well to develop new Internet applications, new markets and to serve citizens in new ways. But the transition to IPv6 has been slow, because the fundamental Internet infrastructure has not adapted to the new Internet protocol, even though it was introduced in 1999. The migration to IPv6 is also a mammoth task as it involves multiple stakeholders like service providers, system integrators, organizations, and numerous departments and authorities at the central and state level.
However, the IPv6 Task Force, which officially oversees the country’s transition from the old IPv4 protocol to the new one, said almost all major ISPs are now providing enterprise IPv6 services.
This three way partnership will set off a pilot project through an innovation lab set up by HP at IIIT-B. The lab is called HP Network University and the objectives of the pilot project are to:
Identify major the challenges for organizations in adopting IPv6
Develop solutions for these challenges through education, technology and process improvements
Provide advice and resource for enterprises and government bodies in Karnataka
Actively promote the adoption of IPv6 in other Indian states
HTML5 is turning to be the hottest sensation in the web space by allowing developers to create ‘applications without limitations’, for multiple platforms.
With the success of web-HTML5 based version of the popular iPhone/Android game, ‘cut the rope’ and a lot others waiting in the pipeline, the developers who work on HTML platform expect many improvements in HTML5 to make 2012 a fruitful year.
Leading HTML development studios including Sencha and appMobi had recently come up with a list of things they expect from HTML5.
Sencha expects HTML5 to bring more media implementations which will help in more device access without the use of native wrappers to applications. This will help to overcome the limitations of mobile browsers like inability to access camera.
The audio quality needs to get improved a lot since it is hard using current HTML to implement interactive audio and layered sounds in applications especially games.
A better in offline caching is the next thing which helps the mobile users with uninterrupted work. Currently Mozilla and Amazon are top in providing offline caching support.
Web Intents, a framework for supporting web based inter application communication platform communication is expected to be standardized and widely supported in HTML5
Indexed DataBase API, which is said to be the future of offline storage for cross platform browsers, is expected to be standardized with HTML5.
The incorporation of CSS4 image standard to HTML, which will help in getting right sized images for mobile devices.
HTML’s more focus to Contacts API, which will improve the data portability.
Better ability to HTML in managing multiple resources and handling background tasks like push notifications.
Better Mobile browser debugging which will help ensuring the quality of mobile web applications and assist in app development.
With the implementation of the features in the wish list, HTML5 is expected to be the new exclusive platform for the web based application development, which will help the individual developers in establishing their own space in industry.
“There are two gale storms coming our way that will change how technology investments are planned and executed. Cloud and consumerization of IT will transform how customers think of their IT and service providers rebuild their business models. We are betting the company that this will happen in the next three years. And we want to be the #1 cloud service provider on platform as a service.” The conviction and passion is palpable in the voice of Pradeep Rathinam, CEO at Aditi technologies. Six months of manic activity, triggered by the acquisition of Cumulux, a full marathon and a 23 city cloud technology roadshow with Microsoft and his customers are asking for more. He has good reasons to bet the fortunes of Aditi on the cloud.
Aditi Technologies has always been a contrarian in a fairly homogenous Indian IT services sector. When the Indian IT services market was chasing Y2K deals, Aditi instead focused on building the first made in India product. Years later, when large scale commodity services like enterprise application maintenance was propelling unheard of growth, it chose to focus on niche high value skills like user experience, program management and product development for ISV. The focus on emerging technology and paradigms has played out very differently for Aditi. It has remained in the mid-size bracket but clients regularly turn to them when a new paradigm emerge which requires serious technology depth. Today, the world’s largest ISV, largest insurance company, largest gaming company, largest information services provider, largest mobile carrier and second largest social network count them as their R&D innovation partner. And the emergence of cloud provides the perfect platform for an innovation blitzkrieg.
Cloud services are still at a relative infancy. Most companies have been considering cloud services and the early movers have around 20 odd cloud implementations for customers. In contrast, Aditi has worked with over 67 clients and notched up an impressive 100 cloud engagements over the past three years. Rathinam’s goal to be the #1 PaaS solution provider is well under way. Fuelling this breakout are two key leverages: a close relationship with Microsoft and addition of Cumulux to the fold. Cumulux is one of the top 3 Microsoft cloud service company in the world and has won the Microsoft cloud partner of the year.
“Emerging technology is core part of our DNA. Our customers have their preferred set of vendors who help them ‘run the business’. We focus on helping our clients ‘change the business’. We see cloud technologies, specifically platform as a service, change the way businesses will run,” says Vineet Arora the Chief Architect turned Managing director of the company. For context, most cloud implementations today are limited to using cloud as an infrastructure (IaaS) or implementing SaaS products like salesforce.com. Aditi is betting on the nascent cloud technology concept of Platform as a service. Their platform of choice – Microsoft Azure.
PaaS combines an application platform with managed cloud infrastructure services. Platforms like Azure provides an application platform for multi tenet cloud environment and spans development, runtime and management tools and services. Along with Azure, Google app engine (GAE), Force.com., Tibco and Cordys, the PaaS space is evolving rapidly and only a few vendors have developed a services strategy to implement Microsoft PaaS. This is where Aditi has a considerable first mover advantage. And the SI players might have missed a trick.
“For our ISV clients, the cloud, especially Platform as a Service is emerging as the biggest time to market accelerator. It is no longer a question of trying out a proof of concept. It is more of why aren’t we launching it yet? ” explains Pradeep. One of its most recent customers, world’s largest personal finance ISV signed up Aditi to develop a PaaS driven solution to open up its platform to partners and extend market reach. ERP vendors are aggressively embracing PaaS to build light weight SaaS versions of their products to unlock markets at lower price points. And being at the forefront of 65 such clients have helped Aditi define vertical PaaS solutions, tailored for specific workloads that are moving to cloud. “Cumulux and Aditi have demonstrated credibility and excellence in building solutions on Windows Azure for Microsoft’s ISV and Enterprise customers,” said Jenni Flinders, Vice President for the U.S. Partner Group at Microsoft. “Cumulux is a valuable partner for Windows Azure in the ecosystem and having them combine with the scale and depth of Aditi will give our customers a tremendous opportunity.” Microsoft is throwing its weight behind partners like Aditi to win the platform battle in the field.
This year, as more companies are moving from recession to recovery, ISVs who have stalled new development and enterprises that had focused on cost cutting are finding the lure of cloud irresistible. A survey of over 100 CIOs revealed that by 2015, 40 percent of respondents plan to spend at least five percent of the their IT budget on cloud and 21 percent expect to spend close to 10 percent of their IT budget on this new technology trend. The cloud was the silver bullet to the CIO’s razor sharp focus on efficiency.
“We are seeing five core categories of applications and products moving to PaaS. It is still an evolving marketplace and our ability to understand it and build solutions before anyone else in the world will determine our long term success,” adds John Schindler VP of cloud services at Aditi.
Take the case of “Restaurant.com”, an online group buying and rating business for restaurants. The biggest challenge for the site: scalability and spiky traffic. During weekends, the number of consumer using the site used to increase exponentially. This would in turn trigger massive computation spikes in the back end to keep up with the processing requests. Customer wait times would increase, sometimes culminating in outages and subsequent revenue loss.
Here is where the solution frameworks of Aditi and the Windows Azure platform come in. Says Adnan Adamji, CIO of Restaurant.com, “Aditi has been invaluable in helping Restaurant.com implement our cloud-based solution. Their extensive technical depth on Microsoft Azure has been extremely crucial to our success.”
Such testimonials are rare to come by in the world of cloud services. Most companies are figuring out the place to start and an ideal solution profile. As the markets mature and service providers get more experience under their belts, the implementation concerns will reduce. As for now, Rathinam and his team are making sure that the company stays ahead of the curve.
Defending the lead
As in any rapidly growing and lucrative market, defending the lead can be the tougher challenge. The competition is getting intense but Aditi is confident that 70 percent of its new business would be cloud driven while at the same time 50 percent of its existing customers are expected to migrate in the next two years.
To retain the lead, the company is putting all its innovation and investment focus on scaling the cloud business. Some innovations include:
1. Implementing a strict cloud first policy for customer solutions. Every customer, new or old, is offered a cloud based architecture first and only after that, a traditional model is proposed.
2. Building out a cloud delivery framework, driven by frameworks and best practices abstracted from over 100 cloud engagements.
3. Ensuring every single developer in the company is trained to deliver on cloud opportunities. Cloud Ninjas
“We make an unusual effort to recruit and retain the best talent available in any market. Aditi’s pace in PaaS couldn’t have been sustained just on our IP alone, the true heroes of the story have been the Cloud Ninjas who have been constantly innovating and ensuring delivery of their project for each of our customers,” elaborates Arora. To make up the ranks of the Ninjas, Aditi follows a simple strategy – recruit one of the top three PaaS architects in each region they operate in (they are proud to have a recruitment ratio of 1 out of 114 applicants at all levels). Employees are encouraged to get into cloud coding duels and overnight hackathons with each others and winners are inducted into the cloud hall of fame.
LEAD (Learning Engagement and Development), the employee learning division of Aditi, methodically ensures that every single developer is hooked on to cloud through online treasure hunts, mock customer role plays and cloud trivia quizzes. For Aditi, Cloud needs to be in the DNA and nothing less would suffice.
Practicing the sermon
In a demonstration of its confidence on cloud based technologies, Aditi is moving their entire internal IT ecosystem and to cloud. “The reason is simple”, explains Rathinam, we tell our customers to believe in the cloud. Who could be better placed than us to show what they can do with the cloud.” Aditi chose to build its solution using Microsoft virtualization and cloud technologies on a Hyper-V platform. This move had ensured a 40 percent reduction in costs while consolidating physical servers by 60 percent. This sort of complete transition to a new technology is unprecedented. The transition was so successful that Microsoft published a case study on it as a reference for future customers.
Future: Sink or Swim for Indian IT services players
The advent of cloud computing is going to be an inflection point in Indian IT services. Traditional services like application and infrastructure management, which accounts for 30 – 60 percent of revenue for most players slowly, cease to exist. The coming years are going to decide who the game changers are and who the also-ran. Only a few breakthrough players are going to gain the benefits of this inflection point. As clouds gather in the horizon, we are intently watching the transformation that Indian IT services landscape will undergo. And, we will definitely keep an eye on this breakthrough cloud company.
Smartphones are new-age computers. Almost. With more features and technology crammed into them, they’re not used only to make calls and send text messages but to e-mail, for video-conferencing, for social networking, take pictures, shoot videos, play video games and watch high-definition videos on the move.
Smartphones are getting more complex and increasingly mimic computers, but what’s inside them matters more than design or looks. Here’s what to look out for when buying
Buy a smartphone with Super AMOLED Display to get the best quality resolution even in sunlight. Super AMOLED has light of 4% as compared to 13% in TFT Displays that improves viewing experience. Super AMOLED Displays also produce a high contrast ratio that reproduces natural colours as seen by the eye, and provides best brightness while consuming less power.
Purchase a smartphone with a Dual Core Processor to increase computing power, fast videos buffering, smooth HD movie playback, seamless shuffling through apps and faster web browsing. The Dual Core Processor also provides a smoother experience when gaming and multitasking . It also leads to faster processing, resulting in longer battery life.
Make sure that your Smartphone has Wi-Fi Direct that connects and allows you to send data files to multiple WiFi enabled devices such as other mobile phones, printers, cameras, etc. wirelessly. Having a Smartphone with Bluetooth 3.0 allows the user to transfer data with other BT 3.0 devices @ 24 Mbps,that is, 8 times faster than normal BT.
Make sure you have a dual camera in your smartphone in order to enjoy a full 3G experience with telephony.
Having a voice command function on your mobile makes your life easier. Buy a phone that has accurate and powerful voice functions allowing for Speech To Text and Text To Speech features to read out and reply to your messages and make calls using voice functions giving absolute freedom to your hands.
Keep in touch
Chatting with friends is always fun. Buy a phone with enhanced messenger services that allow you text, audio, video, group and animation chats within large groups of 40-50 members. The Chat service should let you connect with all your friends across all OS platforms irrespective of the phones they use.
Always buy a phone with expandable memory, so you can store your favourite music, photos, videos, games and apps that you can carry with you everywhere.