Archive for the ‘ Google ’ Category


First free gigabit Internet service will be offered to West Bluff housing community in Kansas City

Google Fiber on Wednesday announced free gigabit Internet service to residents of selected public housing projects connected to its fiber optic service in U.S. cities.

The program was launched at West Bluff, an affordable housing community in Kansas City, Mo., where 100 homes have been connected to Google Fiber. Across the Kansas City area, Google is now working with affordable housing providers to connect as many as nine properties that could reach more than 1,300 local families.

Google described the program as an extension of its work with ConnectHome, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Obama administration.

HUD Secretary Julian Castro said in a conference call that under the ConnectHome program, up to 200,000 children in affordable housing in 28 different U.S. cities are expected to be connected to fast Internet. Google Fiber is expected to be a part of those connections in Atlanta, Durham, N.C., Nashville and San Antonio, he said.

There will be no cost to local housing authorities, their residents or HUD. Google will absorb the costs of the free service and there will be no fees or contract.

The Kansas City area was the first Google Fiber location in the nation, starting in 2012. Today, the service is available in two other cities — Austin, Texas and Provo, Utah — with work under way in six others. Normally, residents in Kansas City pay $70 a month for Google Fiber fast Internet service.

In addition to free Internet, eligible residents will work with ConnectHome partners like Connecting for Good and Surplus Exchange to be able to purchase discounted computers and learn new computer skills, Google said.

In Austin, Google plans to complement free Internet service for some families with investments in computers labs and digital literacy classes. Plans for other cities were not announced.

“We plan to bring gigabit Internet to select affordable housing in all of our Fiber cities,” Dennis Kish, vice president of Google Fiber, wrote in a blog. “The U.S. has some of the most expensive broadband in the world, while lagging far behind other countries in Internet speeds,” he added. “And for families in affordable housing, cost can be one of the biggest barriers to getting online.”

Early in its rollout of Google Fiber in Kansas City, there was concern that not enough low-income residents were buying into the service. Meanwhile, government officials in both Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kans., hailed Google Fiber’s arrival as a boost to business interest in the area, even as they have worked to reduce the digital divide.

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Why Google hasn’t taken off in the cloud yet

Written by admin
January 14th, 2016

And what the new head of Google’s cloud is going to do about it

Startup Gennion uses sensors to provide retailers with useful information on customer store traffic. The Spain-based Internet-of-Things company processes about 16,000 events per minute from its sensors and is hoping to scale up to thousands per second soon.

Like many young companies, Gennion launched in Amazon Web Services’ cloud. But Chief Architect Mariano Navas, a 15-year coding veteran who is on his third startup and runs a blog called Coding in Flip Flops, wasn’t impressed. He didn’t want to provision AWS virtual machines, storage and load balancers. He preferred to write code, so he tried Google’s cloud platform and hasn’t gone back.

Google would love to have more “frustrated AWS customer moves to Google” success stories like Gennion. But while Google’s cloud has been attracting developers in flip flops and startups in droves, it’s now time for the company to start looking for bigger wins.

Google Cloud Platform is in the unique position of being one of the Big Three Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offerings. But at the same time, it is generally considered by cloud watchers as the third-best option behind AWS and Microsoft.

To help it break out of third place, Google acquired VMware Co-founder Diane Greene’s stealthy startup, dubbed Bebop, for $380 million and put her in charge of its Google’s cloud efforts. But even though she took VMware from niche technology provider to enterprise staple, making Google cloud a must-have for big organizations won’t be easy.
If AWS could do it …

The biggest criticism against AWS used to be its lack of adoption by enterprises. It took the business years to develop the sales and engineering staff, build relationships with systems integrators and convince wary enterprise customers that the cloud is safe.

Just last year AWS seemed to turn the corner by trotting out Capital One, General Electric and Accenture as case studies at its re:Invent conference.

Google now must follow similar process, and there’s reason to think the company can succeed given that it’s got the technology and talent.
“We’re investing to be a major player in the cloud.”

Brian Stevens, vice president of cloud platforms at Google

Google believes it has time, too. Brian Stevens, vice president of cloud platforms at Google (and former CTO of Red Hat), estimates that less than 5% of the apps that will live in the cloud have been moved or developed there yet. “We’re investing to be a major player in the cloud,” he says, adding that Google executives will always consider the company’s cloud unit “small” until it is the largest division within Google.

For context, in 2014 Google registered $59 billion in advertising revenue. Amazon will likely surpass $8 billion in IaaS sales this year.

Google has not failed in the cloud. Gartner Vice President and distinguished analyst Lydia Leong, who sizes up the market each year in her Magic Quadrant report, says Google has had “qualified success” in IaaS. It’s been much more successful than a whole host of others (VMware, Verizon, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, to name a few). But, Google is “not coming anywhere close to Azure. And Azure is nowhere close to touching Amazon,” Leong says. In her estimation, Google is orders of magnitude away from AWS. But, she says it’s pointed in the right direction.

Google lists businesses like Sony Music and Coca-Cola as customers.

Synergy Research Group – which tracks cloud provider market share and revenue – estimates that in the third quarter of 2015, AWS had 39% market share in the IaaS industry, with Microsoft at 11% and Google at 6%.

Google obstacles

So, why hasn’t Google taken off in the cloud? Let’s start with one of the company’s main marketing messages, that it gives customers access to the same internal services Google uses to power its own massive applications. In other words, you too can “run like Google.”

Gartner’s Leong says there have been a couple of issues with that campaign. First, there aren’t many other companies that really do have the enormous data and infrastructure needs that Google does. Those that do – like Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo – build their own clouds. So, Google could do more to convince organizations about the value of “running like Google.”

Second, Leong says Google’s internal platform was not designed to be a set of composeable web services; it was built for Google. AWS, on the other hand, built its cloud from scratch to sell it as a service.

“Externalizing it in a way customers can consume has been difficult,” Leong says of Google’s undoubtedly impressive infrastructure.

Google has also suffered from targeting bleeding-edge customers, yet having less in terms of breadth of IaaS services to offer, she says. “I’ve never felt that Google did not understand the enterprise,” Leong says. “But they’ve never seemed to have the institutional will to go after it in depth.”

Google officials acknowledge that AWS had a first-mover advantage in selling IaaS cloud services, but Google for Work Vice President Carl Schachter says his company has caught up. While Google does not release revenue figures, Cloud Platform is the fastest growing enterprise product in the company’s history, he claims.
The Google cloud plan

How will new cloud chief Greene accelerate that even further? For one, Google is increasing its sales force to sell to enterprises, Schachter says.

Merely bringing on Greene is powerful, too, even if she hasn’t made any moves yet. John Treadway, senior vice president at Cloud Technology Partners, asserts: “She has enterprise DNA.”

What’s more, Google is committed to price-competitiveness with AWS and Azure.
Realistically though, it will come down to products and service offerings targeted at enterprises. Schachter says enterprise customers have found success using Google’s cloud to manage data at scale, for example, by using the company’s Big Query analytics-as-a-service offering. “We have an appreciation for big data,” he says. Customers also frequently use Google in no-ops (no operations) environments where developers employ the company’s advanced application development and container platforms App Engine and Kubernetes to quickly create and run massively scalable apps without provisioning infrastructure components.

No one questions the technical boldness of Google’s cloud, but some believe the company still needs to build up core infrastructure services to make them “enterprise-ready.” Independent cloud analyst Kurt Marko says Google could focus on features like data warehousing, application migration and integration services, single sign-on, authentication, virtual private networks and case studies of large organizations running “enterprise apps” on GCP. “[The company] needs to make Google Cloud look like a seamless extension of the enterprise in the way Microsoft does with Azure and Windows Server,” Marko says.

Google could mimic a successful Microsoft cloud strategy to appeal to enterprises. Microsoft has packaged IaaS Azure with its even more popular Office 365 cloud email and collaboration SaaS tools. It uses SaaS to sell IaaS. When Greene was hired to head Google’s cloud, she was given purview over not just Google Cloud Platform IaaS, but Google for Work and Google Apps too – which includes popular SaaS tools Gmail, Docs and Drive. Schachter, the Google for Work vice president, says the company will increase its cross-selling of these offerings.

“It’s incumbent upon us to bring that right blend of products and services, to expand the ecosystem and help organizations make that migration,” Schachter says.

Some users think Google has an opportunity. Brian McCallion, an independent consultant who helps large enterprises work with AWS’s cloud, says there is no shortage of customers clamoring to sign on with AWS. But, he does think there is room in the market for more than one provider.

Microsoft, he says, has rubbed some customers the wrong way with a culture over the past two decades of proprietary lock-in via Windows. Some people are just against using Azure for that reason.

That presents an opening for Google, McCallion says. Amazon has such huge demand across so many industries, that Google could find a way to offer some niche services to specific vertical markets – say finance or health care. “It would be hard for Google to offer everything Amazon offers,” he says. “But it could make some strategic investments in certain areas.”

When evaluating providers, Google is included in the conversation, McCallion says. If all Google really needs is more attention brought to its Google Cloud Platform, then the hiring of Greene could do just that.

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The payment to lawyers and initiators of the case has been reduced

A court in California has approved a $415 million settlement between tech workers and Intel, Google, Apple and Adobe Systems, who were accused of conspiring to prevent the poaching of each other’s employees.

The final approval has, however, reduced significantly the sums to be paid to lawyers and the class representatives who had initiated the court action.

The tech workers, who filed the suit, had alleged that Google, Apple, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar had engaged in an “overarching conspiracy” to fix and suppress employee compensation and to restrict employee mobility. Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar had previously settled with the workers for about $20 million.

Judge Lucy H. Koh of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose division on Wednesday described the settlement, for which she had given a preliminary approval in March, as “fair, adequate, and reasonable.” She added that the court was convinced that the settlement was arrived at after arm’s-length negotiations and was not the result “of fraud, overreaching, or collusion among the parties.”

The lawsuit was one of the more high-profile class action cases in Silicon Valley, involving as evidence emails sent between the late Apple chief Steve Jobs and other key Silicon Valley executives like Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and cofounder Sergey Brin.

Judge Koh last year rejected a proposed settlement of $324.5 million, which she found was too low.

Out of 64,466 class members, only 11 — or about 0.017% — of the class submitted objections to the current settlement. In addition, only 56 class members, or less than 0.09%, have opted out of the settlement, according to the judge. The opt-outs are also lower than the 4% of class members required for the companies to ask for a pro-rata reduction in the settlement amount.

In the payment to lawyers, Judge Koh, however used a formula mainly based on the time spent by the counsel on the litigation, and then using a multiplier, rather than calculating payment as percentage of the settlement amount as that would amount to a windfall profit for the lawyers. The counsel for plaintiffs sought a total of over $85 million — 20.6% of the $415 million settlement in attorney’s fees.

Adding the $5 million in attorney’s fees already awarded to class counsel in the earlier settlements with Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Intuit, counsel for plaintiffs in this case would be seeking a total of 20.8% or $90 million from both settlements, the judge wrote.

The court instead awarded the counsel a total of close to $41 million, which does not include the $5 million in fees awarded in the settlements with Pixar, Lucasfilm and Intuit. The reduction in fees will increase the recovery by class members by $700 to about $5,770 per person.

Judge Koh also reduced the “service awards” to class representatives. The second settlement aimed to award “reasonable service award payments of $80,000” to each of the five plaintiffs for their services. Michael Devine, a former Adobe engineer, who had opposed the earlier $324.5 million settlement, had asked that his payout from the new settlement be doubled to $160,000 for his efforts in getting the proposed settlement amount increased. Devine appeared through his own counsel.

At a hearing on preliminary approval, however, the class counsel sought the court’s permission to seek up to $160,000 per class representative, which was allowed. Judge Koh has, however, awarded $120,000 to Devine and $80,000 to each of the others. They have already received $20,000 each from the settlement with Pixar, Lucasfilm and Intuit.

Judge Koh said that, among other contributions, each of these persons had “risked significant workplace retaliation by serving as a named plaintiff in this high-profile lawsuit.” But the high media coverage for Devine made it likely that he would find it even more difficult to get a job again in the tech industry, hence the higher payout, the judge wrote.


 

 

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Say goodbye to the Google Earth API

Written by admin
January 12th, 2015

The developer API will be shut down next year. How long does the app have?

Google plans to discontinue the Google Earth API in one year, withdrawing access to the suite that allowed developers to construct 3D mapping applications that ran in browsers using

In announcing the news on the Google Developer’s Blog, Ken Hoetmer, product manager for Google Maps APIs, said the decision was due to both Chrome and Firefox removing a needed plugin framework. The framework is the Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI), which both Mozilla and Google have said they would stop using for security reasons.

Along with dwindling cross-platform support, Google decided to wind down support. Usage of the Earth API has drastically dropped from 9.1% in September 2013 to just 0.1% in October 2014, so Google is basically killing something that’s already dead.

Google Maps terms of services states that an API should be supported for one year after its retirement announcement, and since that announcement was posted on December 12, the Google Earth API will be supported until December 12, 2015.

During this time, the API will only support the following browsers:
This leaves the question of what will become of the Google Earth application. The app is on version 7.1.2.2041, with a build date of 10/7/2013. That’s basically ancient in software terms, letting it go 14 months without an update.

Hoetmer addressed this in the blog post, sort of:
“Regarding future plans, Google Earth has a proud legacy, which continues with the new Google Earth for Android, powered by a brand new renderer. 3D is in our blood, and while we can’t announce anything just now, we look forward to sharing more exciting product news in the future.”

Hopefully in under 14 months.


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Fast guide to Google Go programming

Written by admin
September 22nd, 2014

The Go programming language is an open source programming language from Google that makes it easy to build simple, reliable, and efficient software. It’s part of the programming language lineage that started with Tony Hoare’s Communicating Sequential Processes and includes Occam, Erlang, Newsqueak, and Limbo. In the following 14 slides, we’ll demonstrate some of the differentiating features of the language, including its extremely lightweight concurrency. The project currently has more than 500 contributors, led by Rob Pike, a distinguished engineer at Google, who worked at Bell Labs as a member of the Unix team and co-created Plan 9 and Inferno.

Slices
The Go language extends the idea of arrays with slices. A slice points to an array of values and includes a length. []T is a slice with elements of type T. In the pictured exercise, we use slices of slices of unsigned bytes to hold the pixels of an image we generate. With package main, programs start running. The import statement is an extended version of C and C++’s include statement; here we are getting the pic file from a Mercurial repository. The := syntax declares and initializes a variable, and the compiler infers a type whenever it can. Also, make is used to create slices and some other types. A for..range loop is the equivalent of C#’s for..in loop.

Maps
The Go map statement maps keys to values. As with slice, you create a map with make, not new. In the example above, we are mapping string keys to integer values. Here we demonstrate inserting, updating, deleting, and testing for map elements.

The pictured program prints:
The value: 42
The value: 48 The value: 0
The value: 0
Present? false

Structs and methods
The Go language lacks classes but has a struct, which is a sequence of named elements, called fields, each with a name and a type. A method is a function with a receiver. A method declaration binds an identifier (the method name) to a method and associates the method with the receiver’s base type. In this example, we declare a Vertex struct to contain two floating point fields, X and Y, and a method Abs. Fields that begin with uppercase letters are public; fields that begin with lowercase letters are private. Fields and methods are addressable through the dot notation; * and & signify pointers, as in C. This program prints 5.

Interfaces
An interface type is defined by a set of methods. A value of interface type can hold any value that implements those methods. In this example, we define an interface Abser and a variable a of type Abser. Note that the assignments in lines 17 and 18 work, but the assignment in line 22 does not even compile. The Abs method of Vertex, which we saw in the previous slide, has a pointer to Vertex type for its receiver, so a *Vertex implements Abser, but a Vertex does not.

Switch
The switch statement in Go is similar to the switch statement in other C-like languages, except that the case statements can be types or expressions in addition to simple values, and the cases automatically break unless they end with fallthrough statements. The cases are evaluated in the order they are defined.

Goroutines
Goroutines are, to a rough approximation, extremely lightweight threads, in the spirit of Tony Hoare’s Communicating Sequential Processes. Line 16 in the sample above calls the say function asynchronously, while line 17 calls the say function synchronously. Goroutines, channels, and select statements form the core of Go’s highly scalable concurrency, one of the strongest selling points of the language. The language also has conventional synchronization objects, but they are rarely needed. The program to the left outputs:

hello
world
hello
world
hello
world
hello
world
hello

Channels
Channels in Go provide a mechanism for concurrently executing functions to communicate by sending and receiving values of a specified element type. The value of an uninitialized channel is nil. In line 16, we create a bidirectional channel of integers. We could also make unidirectional sending <-c and receiving c<- channels. In lines 17 and 18, we call sum asynchronously with slices of the first and second half of a. In line 19, the integer variables x and y receive the two sums from the channel. In line 7, the underscore _, the blank identifier, means to ignore the first result value from the for..range loop, which is the index. The program output is 17 -5 12.

Range and close
A sender can close a channel to indicate that no more values will be sent. Receivers can test whether a channel has been closed by assigning a second parameter to the receive expression. A loop for i := range c receives values from the channel repeatedly until it is closed. The cap of the channel is the capacity, which is the size of the buffer in the channel, set as the optional second argument when you make a channel, as in line 17. Note the compact form of the assignment statements in the fibonacci function. The program output is the first 10 values of the Fibonacci series, 0 through 34.

Select
A select statement chooses which of a set of possible send or receive operations will proceed. It looks similar to a switch statement but with all the cases referring to communication operations. A select blocks until one of its cases can run, then it executes that case. It chooses one at random if multiple are ready.

Here the main function calls the fibonacci function with two unbuffered channels, one for results and one for a quit signal. The fibonacci function uses a select statement to wait on both channels. The anonymous, asynchronous go function that starts at line 21 waits to receive values at line 23, then prints them. After 10 values, it sets the quit channel, so the fibonacci function knows to stop.

Concurrency patterns, example 1
In this example we are using select to create a fan-in goroutine that combines two input channels of string, input1 and input2, into one unbuffered output channel, c. The select statement allows fanIn to listen to both input channels simultaneously and relay whichever is ready to the output channel. It doesn’t matter that both cases are using the same temporary variable name to hold the string from its respective input channel. The example is from Rob Pike’s 2012 talk on Concurrency Patterns in Go.

Concurrency patterns, example 2
This sample implements a parallel search of the Internet, sort of like what Google actually does. To begin with, replicas …Search is a variadic parameter to the function; both Search and Result are types defined elsewhere.

The caller passes N search server functions to the First function, which creates a channel c for results and defines a function to query the ith server and saves it in searchReplica. Then First calls searchReplica asynchronously for all N servers, always returning the answer on channel c, and returns the first result to come back from the N servers. The example is from Rob Pike’s 2012 talk on Concurrency Patterns in Go.

Package http
The Go net/http package provides HTTP client and server implementations. This example implements a simple Web server that returns the contents of the directory /usr/share/doc to a Web client. The example does not work properly in the Go Playground online environment, but run on a Mac command line, it returns the following to a Web browser asking for http://localhost:8080/:
bash/
ccid/
cups/
groff/
ntp/
postfix/

Package template
The Go html/template package implements data-driven templates for generating HTML output that is safe against code injection. Without all of the escaping added by the html/template package, the example could have produced a runnable JavaScript string, Hello, <script>alert(‘you have been pwned’)</script>!.

 

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The downloadable extension works on both desktop and laptop computers

Laptop and desktop users can now do a Google search without typing just by speaking aloud, with a Chrome extension that Google made available on Tuesday.

The browser extension, Google Voice Search Hotword, can be downloaded from the Chrome Web Store and is available both for the desktop and laptops. Google designates it as being in beta.

The tool lets users perform a voice search by going to Google.com and saying, “OK Google,” then speaking the search term. With the Thanksgiving holiday coming in the U.S., Google gave some cooking-related examples in an explanatory video: Users can say, “OK Google, compare olive oil and butter,” or, “OK Google, what is five tablespoons in ounces?” (Answer: 2.5.)

Reminders can also be set with the service, so people can say, “OK Google, set a timer for 10 minutes,” or, “Remind me to buy more olive oil on Sunday afternoon.”

The active tab in the Chrome browser needs to be Google.com for it to work. But people can also conduct a new search directly from the search results page. Users will know they are good to go if the microphone icon in the search bar appears bold. To save on battery life, users can set the feature to stop listening after five minutes of inactivity.

There’s more going on behind the scenes than just talk. Google is working to improve the ranking algorithms behind its search products to provide better answers when users ask more complex questions. When Google Search turned 15 years old earlier this year, the company rolled out some enhanced features such as comparisons and filters.

Google also previewed some of the new voice search functionalities at its I/O conference for developers this past May. The release of the voice search product is part of Google’s larger efforts to build more natural language processing into search, to make the process seem as natural as possible.

During the I/O conference, Google Senior Vice President Amit Singhal likened the company’s evolving search functionality to asking a friend for information.


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Meanwhile, Google releases images of updated version of Glass

A woman said in a post on her Google+ page that she was was ticketed by police in southern California for wearing Google Glass.

Cecilia Abadie, whose Google+ profile describes her as a blogger, speaker and Google Glass pioneer, sought information on laws about driving while wearing the computerized eyeglasses.

She couldn’t be reached for comment to provide details of the incident.

“Is #GoogleGlass ilegal while driving or is this cop wrong???,” wrote Abadie on her Google+ page. “Any legal advice is appreciated!! This happened in California. Do you know any other #GlassExplorers that got a similar ticket anywhere in the US?”

Abadie, though, did note in the comments section of her post that she was initially pulled over for, and was ticketed, for speeding.

“The speeding [ticket] was justified as I was in a 65 mph zone and thought I was on a 75mph zone, I always feel like I need some software to alert me when zones change … is that only me??,” she wrote. “Glass was not on and I honestly don’t use it much while driving but I do wear.”

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, said the courts will soon have to settle this issue.

“If people start using glass while driving to look up points of interest or watch a video, then sure, it’s dangerous,” he said. “If someone was indeed using it for navigation, what’s the difference between looking at Glass, a phone or a navigation system?”

As Abadie was dealing with the law around Glass, Google was busy releasing images of its design upgrade.

Google announced earlier this week that the so-called Explorers who are testing the devices won’t have to buy new models of Glass when they become generally available. The prototypes can be exchanged for a new, updated version within 60 days.

That deal, however, won’t apply to the latest Glass Explorers.

Google explained that only Explorers who purchased Glass devices before Oct. 28 are eligible for the program.

Google posted two new photos of the upcoming version on its Google Glass page.

The photos show a new version that’s much like the old. The new one doesn have a single earbud that can be inserted into the user’s right ear and is attached to the back of the device’s bow.

The new units also are designed to work with shades and prescription lenses.


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12 tips and tools for Chromebook power users

Written by admin
October 19th, 2013

The Chromebook can be a powerful workhorse — here’s how to replace your standard laptop for work.

12 tips and tools for Chromebook users
I’ve been using my Chromebook for several months now, and I’ve still not found the need to return to my MacBook Pro for more than a few short hours in all that time. More than that, our small office is now equipped with Chromebooks and Chromeboxes, so all our staff have enterprise-quality IT without an enterprise IT department. No one has the “hobby” of managing antivirus installs, software updates, crashed hard drives, and the rest of the IT circus. How has that been possible? Here are some of the tips I’ve picked up to make Chrome OS work for work.

Evernote
The Evernote logo is an elephant because it’s the note-keeping app that never forgets.

Evernote has played a vital role in keeping my research, notes, and plans organized. It conveniently indexes notes and even images, making them searchable in a clear, well ordered fashion. A paid account, which I use, will give you effectively unlimited storage plus indexing of the text in images and PDFs.

Sadly there’s no offline mode on the Chromebook but it’s immensely useful all the same.

SSH
Secure shell (SSH) is the terminal of choice for server administrators everywhere. Handily, it’s built into the Chromebook in the form of crosh (just press ctrl-alt-t).

Alternatively a more flexible incarnation is available as the Secure Shell extension (pictured), which stores details of commonly used servers.

Chrome Remote Desktop
Chrome Remote Desktop is an essential tool for those looking to make Chromebook their primary laptop but can’t quite cut the cord completely on their other machines. With it, you can screenshare any of your computers wherever they are, even behind firewalls or on home broadband.

It’s the perfect way to help family, retrieve files, and make use of apps otherwise unavailable on the Chromebook.

There is also a full version of VNCViewer available for the Chromebook, allowing sharing of any VNC server (including Macs) visible to your network. I also use the 2X RDP viewer to access Windows sessions.

Feedly
With the demise of Google Reader, Feedly is my RSS feed reader of choice. It’s essential for anyone looking to keep up to date with their favorite websites.

The Chrome app is just a wrapper for cloud.feedly.com, but having it installed means there’s an icon to click on the dock, which can be set to start full-screen rather than in a tab.

I use it to track the news I post to Twitter, research for my InfoWorld column, and so on. It’s able to clip text to Evernote as well as keep track of what I have read across all the places I log in to Feedly.

Unfortunately, it does not offer an offline mode for reading while traveling; otherwise it’s near perfect.

Spotify
Music fans are well taken care of, thanks to the Spotify client tailored specifically for the Chromebook.

The Spotify client works flawlessly with my Spotify account — online-only, of course.

Another way to get your music fix is to purchase an “unlimited access” subscription to Google Play, allowing you to listen to any of the extensive music catalog available on Google Play.

Google+ Photo
For those moving off laptops, you may well find you’re lacking a photo app to replace software like iPhoto.

Fortunately, with the Chromebook Pixel Google released an app that will scan your cameras, SD cards and other storage plugged into the computer, upload photos to Google+ and provide many of the simple editing and cataloging functions of apps like iPhoto and ThumbsPlus.

Although not advertised as such, Google+ Photos works fine on all our Chromebooks and Chromeboxes.

Google Apps
It will come as no surprise that the Chromebook is perfectly tailored for working on documents.

All of Google’s productivity apps accessed from Google Drive — word processor, spreadsheet, presentations and more — work well on the Chromebook, and they also work offline, allowing documents to be created and used without an Internet connection. They clearly expect heavy use of this feature, given the extra capacity perks that come with devices.

Google’s cloud file storage also caches recently used and user-specified files offline. The only problem I’ve encountered has been the surprisingly poor support for ODF (Open Document format) in Google services. My workaround: Use Chrome Remote Desktop to access LibreOffice back at base.

ÜberConference
Conference calls are a fact of business life. We use ÜberConference to arrange and manage telephone conference calls. It has a great Web app for setting up calls, and you can even dial in to them using nothing more than a Chromebook and a headset.

In addition to the bookmark app that’s been available all along, ÜberConference just introduced a new Chrome app that makes booking and using a conference call really easy.

TweetDeck
Twitter needs no introduction, but TweetDeck provides a valuable HTML5 Web app that allows you to monitor multiple accounts, searches, messages and more. It also offers timed posting so you can schedule tweet updates from your various accounts in advance.

TweetDeck provides an especially good Twitter experience when your Chromebook is plugged into a large external screen and the font size is set to “small” — columns as far as the eye can see.

Kindle
For users of the Amazon Kindle, there’s a Kindle Cloud Reader app for the Chromebook that offers all the same functionality as a physical Kindle or the Kindle app for other devices. It includes the ability to store and read books offline so you don’t need an Internet connection to enjoy a few chapters while traveling.

Free Stuff
One tip you shouldn’t overlook is to claim the free storage space and in-flight Wi-Fi passes Google offers all Chromebook and Chromebox buyers. There’s 100GB of free storage for two years offered with most devices — 1TB with the purchase of a Chromebook Pixel. To claim them you’ll need to be logged in to the owner account on your Chromebook and visit the Goodies page.

External monitors
Another tip for Chromebook users: Take advantage of external monitors. One member of our staff has two 27-inch monitors attached to a Chromebox, and I’m using my Apple Cinema display with my Chromebook.

We have a variety of keyboards, mouses and trackpads in use, some wired, some cordless. Chromebooks and Chromeboxes work very well with all of them.

Plus, as you replace your other machines with your Chromebook, you’ll still have use for all those old accessories.


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The last of our three-part how-to series helps you take your Google+ experience to the next level.

Getting started on Google+ may be simple, but mastering the service’s full potential is an art. Thanks to advanced options and third-party extensions, there’s always some new way to give Google+ an extra pinch of power.

Here are 25 tips and tricks to help make your G+ experience as good as it can be.
Work faster and better

1. Put your mouse down, homey: You can get around Google+ almost exclusively by using your keyboard. In typical Google fashion, G+ is loaded with keyboard shortcuts. Just press shift + the question mark key on your keyboard when you’re in the main stream view and you’ll get a list of available commands.

One common command is conspicuously missing from Google+’s keyboard shortcut collection: the ability to open up the notifications window. There is a workaround: From the stream view, press the forward-slash key, press Tab twice and then press Enter. It’s a bit involved, admittedly — sort of like a secret handshake — but if you’re a keyboard shortcut nut like me, it won’t take you long to get in the habit.

2. Need to get back to the top of your stream from the Google+ desktop site? You can always use your keyboard’s Home key, but if you prefer a mouse-oriented approach, clicking anywhere on the top navigation bar will also take you there.

3. When you mention another Google+ user in a post or comment, type a plus sign before you start typing her name. Google+ will then give you a dropdown list of users from which you can select. Doing so will notify the person that you mentioned her; it’ll also let other users hover over the person’s name to learn more about her and view her profile.

When you mention another Google+ user in a post or comment, type a plus sign before you start typing the name and Google+ will give you a list of users from which you can select.

4. Google+ makes it easy to make your posts look good: Surround any text with asterisks to turn the text bold, with underscores to make it italicized, or with hyphens to give it a strikethrough effect. Those formatting commands work in comments, too.

5. Next time you’re trying to find a particular type of photo from the images you’ve got stored on Google+, try the intelligent photo search feature. Just head over to the Photos page (you can find it in the left-hand menu) and type a term into the search box at the top of the page — “dog,” “ocean,” “picnic,” or any phrase that describes what’s in the image you want. The system’s accuracy will surprise you.

Google+’s intelligent photo search feature lets you find your photos by typing in a descriptive word or phrase.

6. You may know that Google+ automatically makes animated GIFs from related images you’ve uploaded, but did you know you can easily find all your animated GIFs in a single place? Just search for the keyword “motion” within the Google+ Photos section to see all the GIFs G+ has generated from your photos.

7. Google+’s automatic photo enhancements work on images uploaded to Picasa, too — even old images uploaded before G+ was around. To check out enhancements made to your Picasa photos, first be sure you’ve signed into Google+ from the same account you use (or used) with Picasa. Then try searching the Google+ Photos section for keywords like “motion,” “hdr” or “mix” to see the enhancements in action.

Streamline your stream

8. If there’s a post in your stream you don’t want to see, move your mouse to the upper-right corner of its card and click the small down arrow that appears. From there, select the option called “Mute post” to banish it from your life forever. You’ll also find options in that menu to report spam or abusive behavior — and, provided the post is from someone you’ve added yourself, an option to remove him from your circles right then and there.

9. Want to get a permanent standalone link to an individual post — either for sharing on another social network or for referencing somewhere outside of Google+? You’ll find a “Link to post” option in that same top-right arrow menu mentioned in the last tip; you can also just hover your mouse over a post’s timestamp and then right-click to copy the link.

10. Social media is all about engagement, but sometimes you may want to limit the ways in which people can interact with your posts. Google+ has you covered: Just click the small arrow on the right side of the “To” box while you’re writing a post. There, you’ll find commands to prevent people from leaving comments on the post and also to prevent users from resharing it.
25 Google+ tips and tricks

Get the word out

11. Track how widely any post is being shared with Google+’s Ripples feature. Click the small arrow at the top-right of a post to find the option; selecting it will show you a scalable chart with detailed info about who shared your post and how it spread.

You can also use Ripples to gauge how widely an external page — a news article or YouTube video, for instance — has been shared on G+; just add the URL to the end of this string:

http://plus.google.com/ripple/details?url=

Paste it into your browser’s address bar or add a bit of code into your browser’s bookmarks to create a one-click Ripples button.

(Note: If a post or page hasn’t been publicly shared on Google+ — in other words, if you’ve limited it to a specific set of people or circles — no Ripples data will be available. So if you do want to take advantage of the feature, it’s best to choose Public on the share dropdown.)

You can track how widely any post is being shared with Google+’s Ripples feature.

12. Think you’ve got some interesting people in your G+ stream? Share the love with a Google+ shared circle: From the Circles page (click on “People in the left-hand menu and then choose “Your circles” from the top menu), click on any circle you’ve created. The circle will turn black and offer three icons: a pencil (to edit), a right-facing arrow (to share) and a garbage can (to delete). Click on the arrow icon and you can then share the entire circle with your followers, who will be able to add everyone you’ve included into their own circles with a single click.

13. Take a minute to make sure you’ve filled in the “Tagline” and “Employment” sections of your Google+ profile. They’re particularly important, as the text you put in those sections appears in a small card every time someone hovers over your name while viewing content on G+.

You can edit both sections by opening your profile, selecting the “About” tab at the top, and then clicking “Edit” in the appropriate areas on the page.

14. If you have your own blog or website, you can put interactive Google+ follow buttons and badges there to encourage visitors to circle you. Google+ doesn’t currently offer a full-fledged widget for showing your latest posts, but you can create your own using a third-party service such as Widgetbox.

15. Google+ doesn’t provide any official tools for creating RSS feeds from your posts — no surprise, given the company’s broad moves away from RSS — but once again, third-party services can fill the void. A free service called pluss.aiiane.com is a solid option that works well.

Customize and control
16. Not thrilled with the way Google+ collapses long posts on the Web? No problem: Install a free Chrome extension called Replies and more for Google+. It’ll make the service automatically expand all posts by default. It offers a number of other interesting options, too, such as the ability to add a two-click command for sharing any post to email, Facebook or Twitter.

17. If you miss the way the Google+ stream used to refresh automatically, grab a Chrome extension called Auto Load New Posts for Google+. The extension does exactly what you’d think: It makes new posts show up in your stream as they’re sent instead of requiring you to click an icon every time they arrive.

A Chrome extension called Favorite Posts for Google+ adds a one-click “Favorites” section into the desktop G+ site for you to use.

18. For a robust post-saving setup, check out a Chrome extension called Favorite Posts for Google+. The extension adds a one-click “Favorites” section into the left-hand sidebar of the desktop G+ site for you to use; it also adds one-click commands within individual posts for you to save the post to Pocket or Instapaper.

19. You automatically see your Google+ notifications at the top of most Google services, but if you use Chrome, you can make it so they’re available anywhere on the Web: Just install the Google+ Notifications extension. It’ll put a Google+ notifications box in your browser’s toolbar area.

20. Ever wish you could schedule Google+ posts for the future? You can — sort of. While Google+ itself doesn’t yet provide such functionality, a Chrome extension called Do Share gets the job done. The catch is that your browser has to be running whenever the post is scheduled to go live in order for it to work.

Beyond Google+

21. You can interact with Google+ directly from Gmail. First, be sure you’ve set up your G+ email notifications the way you want (go into the Google+ settings and scroll down to the “Receive notifications” section). Then, when you get a G+ activity alert in your inbox, look for the commands to moderate comments, add comments or +1 a post. Performing those actions within Gmail will work exactly the same as if you had performed them from the main G+ site — and you’ll save a few precious seconds.

22. You can save content directly from Google+ to Evernote and other similar note-taking services. First, you’ll need to sign into the note-taking service and find the email address associated with your account (for example, here’s how you find your Evernote email address).

Then go to your G+ Circles page. Type that email address into the white box at the top right of the page. You’ll see a box appear with your name and the Evernote address. Click on the box; you’ll see a pop-up that lets you “Add and invite.” When you click on that, you’ll be able to create a new circle called “Evernote.” Now anytime you want to save a post to Evernote, just share it to your Evernote circle and — abracadabra! — the deed will be done.

(Note: By virtue of the nature of this process, you’ll likely receive an automated invitation to join Google+ in your Evernote account the first time you set it up.)

23. Google+ can serve as a note-taking tool itself: Just create a new circle called “Save.” Add only yourself into the circle. Anytime you want to save something for your own personal reference — whether a new note you’re making or content someone else posted — just share it into your Save circle and it’ll be there waiting for you when you need it.

24. If you use Google Docs, you can share documents, spreadsheets and presentations directly from there into Google+. Click the blue Share button at the top right of any open document and then select the G+ icon. You’ll be prompted to choose how public the document will be — either accessible to anyone on the Web or accessible only to those who have the direct link — and can also set whether other users will be able to edit, comment on or simply read the file.

Like with any G+ post, you can share a document with any circles or subsets of users you want. Once shared, it’ll show up in your followers’ streams as a readable thumbnail and will open in Docs when clicked.

25. You can make phone calls using Google Voice right from the Google+ desktop site: Open the service’s Hangouts feature, located at the right side of the main stream. Once you’ve signed in, click the small down-facing arrow in the Hangouts section and then select “Call a phone” to get started.

(While Google Voice is free to use within the United States, there is a per-minute rate for international calls. To find out what they are, click the downward arrow that appears after you’ve selected “Call a phone” and then click on “Rates.”)

You can also conduct video calls and group video chats from the same G+ Hangouts section, though those options work only with other Google+ users.


 

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Google to encrypt Cloud Storage data by default

Written by admin
August 19th, 2013

Users can choose if they want to hold the encryption keys themselves

Google said Thursday it will by default encrypt data warehoused in its Cloud Storage service.

The server-side encryption is now active for all new data written to Cloud Storage, and older data will be encrypted in the coming months, wrote Dave Barth, a Google product manager, in a blog post.

“If you require encryption for your data, this functionality frees you from the hassle and risk of managing your own encryption and decryption keys,” Barth wrote. “We manage the cryptographic keys on your behalf using the same hardened key management systems that Google uses for our own encrypted data, including strict key access controls and auditing.”

The data and metadata around an object stored in Cloud Storage is encrypted with a unique key using 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard algorithm, and the “per-object key itself is encrypted with a unique key associated with the object owner,” Barth wrote.

“These keys are additionally encrypted by one of a regularly rotated set of master keys,” he wrote. “Of course, if you prefer to manage your own keys then you can still encrypt data yourself prior to writing it to Cloud Storage.”

Data collection programs revealed by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden have raised questions about U.S. government data requests made to Internet companies such as Google for national security investigations.

A Google spokeswoman said via email the company does not provide encryption keys to any government and provides user data only in accordance with the law.

“Our legal team reviews each and every request, and we frequently push back when the requests appear to be fishing expeditions or don’t follow the correct process,” she wrote. “When we are required to comply with these requests, we deliver it to the authorities. No government has the ability to pull data directly from our servers or network.”

 


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Google’s Moto X mimics latest Droids

Written by admin
August 2nd, 2013

The Moto X, which has a 4.7-inch screen, will be available through U.S. carriers for $199.99 at the end of this month

Google’s Motorola Mobility unit unveiled the highly anticipated Moto X smartphone on Thursday at an event themed around innovation, but many of the handset’s highlighted features were similar to those on the recently announced Droid smartphones.

The Moto X smartphone has a 4.7-inch screen, and runs on Google’s Android 4.2.2 OS code-named Jellybean. The smartphone will be available at the end of August for $199.99 with a two-year contract through all major U.S. carriers, and an unlocked version will follow shortly after. The smartphone will also be available worldwide by the end of this month.

Moto X is the first result of investments by Google and Motorola Mobility in new technologies related to design and natural interaction technology, said Dennis Woodside, CEO of Motorola Mobility, during the media event.

“This was the first device that was built from scratch since Google acquired Motorola Mobility,” Woodside said. Google completed the $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility in March last year.

The Moto X, which weighs 132 grams, offers 24 hours of battery life, and 13 hours of talk time. Users can shoot 1080p high-definition video through its 10-megapixel rear camera or 2-megapixel front camera, although the screen can display images only at a 720p resolution. The phone has 16GB of storage, and a 32GB model will be priced at $249.99 with wireless carrier contracts.

But on closer examination the Moto X is very similar to the recently announced Droids, including the Ultra, Maxx and Mini models, which will soon become available through Verizon Wireless. The phones carry similar processor, camera, display and natural interaction features.

The Moto X differs from the Droids in its design, color choices, 50GB of Google Drive storage and wide availability through all carriers, said Rick Osterloh, senior vice president at Motorola Mobility, at the event.

The Moto X has a curvy design that could make it easier to hold than competitive handsets with rectangular designs. The handset will be highly customizable when ordered through Motorola’s website, and a feature called Moto Maker will allow users to choose colors for the back and front of the handset.

The smartphone has what Motorola called “touchless control,” in which the handset responds to voice commands, even when in idle mode. A key spoken phrase will prompt the smartphone to call people, navigate or even conduct a Google search. In a demonstration, the smartphone showed the score of a baseball game from the previous day after a voice question. The feature is also available on the Droid handsets.

Voice controls offer “a safe way to operate your phone, hands free and eyes free,” Osterloh said, adding that the Moto X has three microphones and noise cancellation technology.

The smartphone also has the X8 chip system, a set of processors including the CPU, graphics processors, sensors and cores that is also used in the Droid smartphones. In the Moto X that includes a dual-core Qualcomm S4 Pro chip code-named Krait, which is similar to the chip found in the new Droids, Google’s Nexus 4, LG’s Optimus G and Sony’s Xperia Z. Qualcomm in January announced the Snapdragon 600 and 800 chips, which will succeed the S4 Pro.

Another common feature with the Droids is the Active Display, in which bits of information, like time and notifications, are provided on the screen when the phone is in idle mode. Users will be able to see email, text messages, social network notifications and calendar information without putting the phone in active mode. Motorola has implemented a custom screen buffer for the information to be displayed on the black background. This is another feature shared with the new Droids.

“Not only can I see stuff as it arrives, it takes me into the message so I can respond,” Osterloh said.

The handset incorporates camera technology called QuickCapture, in which a user can quickly take a picture without pressing a specific on-screen button. The camera automatically autofocuses and users can touch any part of the screen to take a shot. The camera sensor is able to capture more light, which allows for good low-light shots and less blur, Osterloh said.

Verizon will sell a developer version of Moto X, which can be unlocked through Motorola’s website, though the price of that phone was not available. The developer edition will also be available through Motorola’s website at a later date. Developers unlocking the smartphone will break warranty, though.

The phones for the U.S. market will be made in Fort Worth, Texas, Osterloh said.

“People want a phone quickly,” Osterloh said. “We realized if it was going to take two to three weeks [to ship], it wasn’t going to be enough.”

Making the phones in the U.S. also keeps manufacturing close to the design and engineering teams, and the company can react quickly to market trends, Osterloh said.

Motorola is also testing a Moto X with a wooden frame on the back. That smartphone could be available in the fourth quarter, though Osterloh said “we’re not sure what we’ll end up with.”


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App allegedly strips advertisements, lets users download videosGoogle on Wednesday demanded that Microsoft yank its YouTube app for Windows Phone from the market and disable any downloaded copies of the app, according to Wired.com, which received a copy of Google’s cease and desist letter.

Microsoft has until May 22 to comply, according to the story by Wired’s Mat Honan.

The Microsoft-written YouTube app violates YouTube’s service terms in two ways: it strips out the ads in the videos and lets users download content from the video site. Users can download the Microsoft app from the Windows Phone App Store.

UPDATE 1: But there are at least three other Windows Phone apps, available on Microsoft’s online app store, that also appear to violate one or the other of these restrictions. All three let users download videos to their phones. A paid version of one of them lets the user block advertisements.

Here’s the list:

Tube Pro, free, by Fast Code; the WindowsPhone Store listing offers an email address for support and questions. “If you want to remove adverts, Please buy the paid version.”

YouTube Downloader, free, by AnKo Software, which seems to be a Russian developer; on Twitter @AnKo_software

YouTube Downloader, $2.49, by AutoExpert Net. No vendor contact information available, but it was the only vendor that posted a disclaimer about downloading content: “AutoExpert Net does NOT in any way endorse and is NOT responsible for downloading copyrighted material from YouTube. This application should only be used for non-copyrighted material and/or for educational purposes. All the rights of the videos/audios are the property of their respective owners. By using this application you agree to abide by local and national copyright laws.”

“Network World” emailed AutoExpert Net. and tweeted AnKo Software for comment.

[MORE MICROSOFT: Windows 8 isn’t New Coke, says top Microsoft exec; it’s Diet Coke]

“These features directly harm our content creators and clearly violate our Terms of Service,” according to Google’s letter. “We request that you immediately withdraw this application from the Windows Phone Store and disable existing downloads of the application by Wednesday, May 22, 2013.”

“Just today, during his presentation at the Google I/O keynote, Google CEO Larry Page decried Microsoft for “milking off” of Google’s innovations,” Honan writes.

The Wired story includes the full text of the letter, dated May 15. It was sent to Todd Brix, Microsoft general manager, Windows Phone apps and store. It was signed by Francisco Vareta, director, global platform partnership, for Youtube.

Wired contacted both Google and Microsoft for comment. As of this posting, Wired apparently has received none.


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Google will cut 1,200 more jobs at Motorola Mobility
Motorola described it as a continuation of staff cuts announced in August

Motorola Mobility is cutting 1,200 staff, in addition to a reduction of 4,000 staff it announced in August, to focus on high-end devices.

“These cuts are a continuation of the reductions we announced last summer,” said Motorola spokeswoman Katie Dove in an email. “It’s obviously very hard for the employees concerned, and we are committed to helping them through this difficult transition.”

[MORE LAYOFFS: Biggest tech layoffs of 2012]

Motorola’s mobile business has been overwhelmed in the smartphone market by larger players such as Samsung Electronics, Apple, Sony, Huawei Technologies and ZTE. Samsung, the largest smartphone maker in the fourth quarter, like Motorola makes phones using Google’s Android operating system.

The revenue of Motorola’s mobile business as a result of knocks in the market was US$1.51 billion, or 11 percent of parent Google’s consolidated revenue in the fourth quarter of 2012. It also had an operating loss of $353 million in the quarter. Apple in contrast posted revenue of $54.5 billion and net profit of $13 billion in the quarter ended Dec. 29.

Staff at Motorola were informed by email this week that while the company is optimistic about new products in the pipeline, it still faces challenges, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday. The company added that its costs are too high, and it is operating in markets where it is not competitive and is losing money. The layoffs will affect workers in the U.S., China and India, according to the newspaper.

Motorola was acquired by Google in May, and it was thought that the Internet giant was mainly acquiring the company for its patents, and may not be interested in its mobile hardware business in a cut-throat market.

Google said in December that it planned to sell Motorola’s TV set-top box business to Arris Group, a broadband device vendor, for $2.35 billion.

Motorola had 11,113 staff in its mobile business and 5,204 in its home business at the end of December. The new cuts will hence reduce the staff in its mobility business by over 10 percent.

 


 

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Internet Explorer only? IE doubt it

Written by admin
February 18th, 2013

Fewer businesses standardizing browser use on Internet Explorer, but the practice isn’t gone yet.

Just as Internet users in general have defected in huge numbers from Microsoft Internet Explorer over the past several years, the business world, as well, is becoming less dependent on the venerable browser.

Companies that used to mandate the use of IE for access to web resources are beginning to embrace a far more heterodox attitude toward web browsers. While it hasn’t gone away, the experience of having to use IE 6 to access some legacy in-house web app is becoming less common.

“Things have changed a lot in the last three years, and I think a lot of it has to do with the emergence of the modern web and the popularity of mobile. They have made it very different for companies to truly standardize on a browser,” says Gartner Research analyst David Mitchell Smith.

One example of the changing face of business browser use is SquareTwo Financial, a Denver-based financial services company that works primarily in distressed asset management. The firm’s 280 employees handle both consumer and commercial business, buying and selling debt, and a franchise program means that there are upwards of 1,500 more people working at SquareTwo affiliates. According to CTO Chris Reigrut, the company takes in roughly $280 million in annual revenue.

“In addition to buying and selling debt, we also provide a software-as-a-service platform that our franchises (and we) use to actually negotiate and litigate the debt,” he tells Network World.

Square Two hasn’t needed to standardize, he says, because keeping their offerings diverse is part of the idea – the company’s various online resources all have differing requirements.

“We do distribute Firefox on Windows systems – however, Safari and IE are both frequently used. Our internal wiki is only officially supported on Firefox and Safari. Our SaaS ‘client’ is a pre-packaged Firefox install so that it looks more like a traditional thick-client application. Most of our employees use their browser for a couple of internal systems, as well as several external services (i.e. HR, training, etc),” says Reigrut (who, like the other IT pros quoted in this story is a member of the CIO Executive Council Pathways program for leadership development).

The Microsoft faithful, however, are still out there. Many businesses have chosen to remain standardized on IE, for several reasons. SickKids, a children’s research hospital in Toronto, sticks with Microsoft’s browser mostly for the ease of applying updates.

“We have more than 7,000 end-point devices. Most of those devices are Windows workstations and Internet Explorer is included as part of the Microsoft Windows operating system. As such, this makes it easier and integrates well with our solution to manage and deploy upgrades, patches and hotfixes to the OS including IE,” says implementations director Peter Parsan.

“Internet Explorer is more than a browser, it is the foundation for Internet functionality in Windows,” he adds.

The complexity of managing an ecosystem with more than 100 types of software – running the gamut from productivity applications to clinical programs – requires a heavily controlled approach, according to Parsan.

Smith agrees that IE still has its advantages for business users that want just such a strictly regimented technology infrastructure.

“If you want a managed, traditional IT environment … really, your only option is Internet Explorer,” he says, adding that both Firefox and Chrome lag behind IE in terms of effective centralized management tools.

Some companies, however, have gone a different way – standardizing not on IE, but on a competing browser.

Elliot Tally, senior director of enterprise apps for electronics manufacturer Sanmina, says his company’s employees are highly dependent on browsers for business-critical activities. Everything from ERP to document control (which he notes is “big for a manufacturing company”) to the supply chain is run from a web app.

Tally says Sanmina made the move to standardize on Chrome in 2009, in part because of a simultaneous switch to Gmail and Google Apps from IE and Microsoft products.

“It made sense to go with the browser created and supported by the company that created the apps we rely on. Also, Chrome installs in user space so it doesn’t require admin privileges to auto-update,” he says. “It also silently auto-updates, as opposed to Firefox, which requires a fresh install to update versions, or IE, which is similar. Chrome, over the last year or so, has supported web standards better than any other browser, and (until recently) has offered significantly better performance.”

Plainly, broad diversity exists both in the actual browsers used by workers and the approaches businesses have taken in managing their use.

That diversity, says Smith, is the reason Gartner has been advising clients against standardization from the outset.

“Standardize on standards, not browsers,” he urges. “That was a controversial position for 10 years. People really didn’t agree with it, they didn’t listen to it, and they paid the price.”

Microsoft, as well, has had to pay a price.

“[Standardization] hurts Microsoft’s reputation as an innovator; as a forward-thinker,” he says. “When people’s impression of using Microsoft technology – whether it’s a browser, whether it’s an operating system – is something that is two or three versions old, because they’re dealing with it through what enterprises want.”


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Written by lilycollins24@gmail.com
October 2nd, 2012

MCTS Overview

Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certifications are designed to validate your skills on the features and functionality of Microsoft technologies. You can show your depth of knowledge in one specific technology, earn multiple MCTS certifications to show breadth across different products, or build on the MCTS to earn a Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) or Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD) certification.

 

 

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MCTS candidate profile

MCTS candidates are capable of implementing, building, troubleshooting, and debugging a particular Microsoft technology.

Why get certified?

Earning a Microsoft Certification validates your proven experience and knowledge in using Microsoft products and solutions. Designed to be relevant in today’s rapidly changing IT marketplace, Microsoft Certifications help you utilize evolving technologies, fine-tune your troubleshooting skills, and improve your job satisfaction.

Whether you are new to technology, changing jobs, or a seasoned professional, becoming certified demonstrates to customers, peers, and employers that you are committed to advancing your skills and taking on greater challenges. In addition, certification provides you with access to exclusive Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) resources and benefits, including opportunities to connect with a vast, global network of MCPs.

MCTS Network Infrastructure Certification

The Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) on Windows Server 2008 credential is intended for IT professionals who work in the complex computing environment of medium-sized to large companies.

The MCTS candidate should have at least one year of experience implementing and administering a network operating system in an environment that has the following characteristics:

250 to 5,000 or more users
Three or more physical locations
Three or more domain controllers
Network services and resources, such as messaging, a database, file and print, a proxy server, a firewall, the Internet, an intranet, remote access, and client computer management
Connectivity requirements, such as connecting branch offices and individual users in remote locations to the corporate network and connecting corporate networks to the Internet.

Job Roles for MCTS Network Infrastructure

This course is for those who work with or plan to work with IP addressing and services, names resolution, file and print services, network access and remote access, and monitoring network services. It is also for those looking to stand out for their specialised knowledge in a Windows Server 2008 environment.

Train for this Microsoft Certification and achieve MCTS status.
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Written by lilycollins24@gmail.com
September 28th, 2012

The Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) is a program of professional certifications awarded by Microsoft. Individual certifications are received upon passing one or more exams. The MCP program itself is designed for software developers and all kinds of IT Professionals. Microsoft also awards a variety of more targeted certifications (e.g., Microsoft Certified IT Professional).

 

Like Apple, Cisco, Oracle, Red Hat, Sun and Ubuntu programs, the certifications mainly focus on their respective product, as opposed to employment aptitude tests designed for programmer trainee jobs. These branches of technical series with the MC (Microsoft Certified) prefix include Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP), Microsoft Certified Master (MCM), Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA), Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD), Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS).

Each exam costs depending on the region and certification track.Exams usually take between two and three hours to complete and consist of between 40 and 90 multiple-choice, drag-and-drop, and solution-building questions; and simulated content with respect to which students must perform certain common administrative tasks.

 

 

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MCTS offers different fields of specialization to IT professionals. 


The Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist – MCTS certification provide the foundation for Microsoft Certification. These certifications are designed to validate your skills on the features and functionality of key technologies. You can show your depth of knowledge in one specific technology, earn multiple MCTS certifications to show breadth across different products, or build on the MCTS to earn a Professional Series credential.

 

MCTS candidates are capable of implementing, building, troubleshooting, and debugging a particular Microsoft technology.

 

 MCTS certifications can be achieved in following technologies:


* Windows technologies

* Microsoft Visual Studio and Microsoft .NET Framework technologies

* Microsoft SQL Server technologies

* Microsoft Office System technologies (including Office SharePoint Server and Office Project Server)

* Microsoft Exchange Server technology

* Other technologies

 

Certification and Exam number Windows technologies

 

Business Desktop Deployment Exam 70-624

Connected Home Integrator Exam 70-625

Windows Embedded CE 6.0: Application Development Exam 70-571

Windows Essential Business Server 2008, Configuration Exam 70-654

Windows Mobile 5.0, Applications Exam 70-540

Windows Mobile 5.0, Implementing and Managing Exam 70-500

Windows Server 2003 Hosted Environments – Configuration and Management Exam 70-501

Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Configuration Exam 70-640

Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure Configuration Exam 70-642

Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure Configuration Exam 70-643

Windows Server Virtualization, Configuration Exam 70-652

Windows Small Business Server 2008, Configuration Exam 70-653

Windows Vista – Configuration Exam 70-620

Microsoft Visual Studio and Microsoft .NET Framework technologies

Dot .NET Framework 2.0 Web Applications Exam 70-536 and Exam 70-528

Dot .NET Framework 2.0 Windows Applications Exam 70-536 and Exam 70-526

Dot .NET Framework 2.0 Distributed Applications Exam 70-536 and Exam 70-529

Dot .NET Framework 3.5 ADO .NET Applications Exam 70-536 and Exam 70-561

Dot .NET Framework 3.5 ASP .NET Applications Exam 70-536 and Exam 70-562

Dot .NET Framework 3.5 Windows Communication Foundation Applications Exam 70-536 and Exam 70-503

Dot .NET Framework 3.5 Windows Forms Applications Exam 70-536 and Exam 70-505

Dot .NET Framework 3.5 Windows Presentation Foundation Applications Exam 70-536 and Exam 70-502

Dot .NET Framework 3.5, Windows Workflow Foundation Applications Exam 70-536 and Exam 70-504

 

Microsoft SQL Server technologies


SQL Server 2005 Exam 70-431

SQL Server 2005 Business Intelligence Exam 70-445

SQL Server 2008, Business Intelligence Development and Maintenance Exam 70-448

SQL Server 2008, Database Development Exam 70-433

SQL Server 2008, Implementation and Maintenance Exam 70-432

 

Microsoft Office System technologies (including Office SharePoint Server and Office Project Server)

 

Enterprise Project Management with Microsoft Office Project Server 2007 Exam 70-633

Communications Server 2007, Configuration Exam 70-638

Groove 2007, Configuration Exam 70-555

Live Communications Server 2005 Exam 70-262

Performance Point Server 2007, Applications Exam 70-556

Projects 2007, Managing Projects Exam 70-632

Project Server 2007, Configuration Exam 70-639

SharePoint Server 2007 – Configuration Exam 70-630

SharePoint Server 2007 – Application Development Exam 70-542

Visio 2007, Application Development Exam 70-545

Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 – Application Development Exam 70-541

Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 – Configuration Exam 70-631

 

Microsoft Exchange Server technology

Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 – Configuration Exam 70-236

 

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Written by lilycollins24@gmail.com
September 25th, 2012

Microsoft 70-640 Exam Quick Pass Tips ( Windows Server 2008)
As the your know that getting good job you need pass Microsoft exams and get certified to eligible for the job. Some Microsoft exams are not as simple and easy to pass; you need get the core concept of the exam this article will help you to under stand Microsoft Server 2008 for the exams of 70-640, 70-642.

 

 

 

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WHAT IS WINDOWS SERVER 2008
Windows Server 2008 R2, or simply R2 for short, is the second release of Windows Server 2008 . It isn’t a completely new release, but rather adds additional features and refinements to the existing release . In this book, we focus on the new features and refinements in R2 . We assume you have at least a general knowledge of Windows Server, and that you have some familiarity with Windows Server 2008, although we don’t assume you’re actively running Windows Server 2008 . Where an R2 feature is a refinement of a feature that was new in Windows Server 2008, we provide background on the Windows Server 2008 feature to provide context .

 

 

THE ROLE OF SERVER ADMINISTRATOR
Windows server administrators who are responsible for hands-on deployment and day-to-day management of Windows-based servers for large organizations . Windows server administrators manage file and print servers, network infrastructure servers, Web servers, and IT application servers . They use graphical administration tools as their primary interface but also use Windows PowerShell commandlets and occasionally write Windows PowerShell scripts for routine tasks and bulk operations . They conduct most server management tasks remotely by using Terminal Server or administration tools installed on their local workstation .

9 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WINDOWS SERVER 2008
1. What’s New in Windows Server R2
2. Installation and Configuration: Adding R2 to Your World
3. Hyper-V: Scaling and Migrating Virtual Machines
4. Remote Desktop Services and VDI: Centralizing Desktop and Application Management
5. Active Directory: Improving and Automating Identity and Access
6. The File Services Role
7. IIS 7.5: Improving the Web Application Platform
8. DirectAccess and Network Policy Server
9. Other Features and Enhancements

Make use of the Testing Engines that are available, as well as the free Webcasts. Practice test material is just for that… PRACTICE. It may help you pass the test but believe me you will only last one day in a job if you don’t know what you are doing, so if you use practice material, read the question and if you don’t know the answer, research it and learn it, don’t just memorize the answer….I will tell you right now that their answers are not always right.

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My Specialties
I’ve worked with a lot of technologies, but these are where my focus has been in recent years:
* Microsoft SQL Server (particularly high availability and disaster recovery)
* VMWare Virtualization
* Oracle (yes, Oracle, I’ve worked on 7-11)
* Microsoft Clustering
* Red Hat Linux (I can still write shell scripts)

The Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certifications enable professionals to target specific technologies and to distinguish themselves by demonstrating in-depth knowledge and expertise in their specialized technologies. An MCTS is consistently capable of implementing, building, troubleshooting, and debugging a particular Microsoft technology.

 

Start by showing companies that you mean business by certifying on the technology that you already know. And let DreamSpark to lend you a hand by providing you with a free certification exam while supplies last from now until June 30th, 2009. You have the knowledge; now put it to the test and advance your career!

 

 

 

 

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Technology Series (MCTS)

 

The Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) credential enables professionals to target specific technologies, and are generally the first step toward the Professional-level certifications. There are currently 20 MCTS certifications which can be roughly grouped into the following specializations, each requiring certain examinations to be passed:

 

Office specializations

 

Managing Projects with Microsoft Office Project 2007

Exam 70-632: Microsoft Office Project 2007, Managing Projects

Enterprise Project Management with Microsoft Office Project Server 2007]

Exam 70-633: Microsoft Office Project Server 2007, Managing Projects

Forefront Client and Server, Configuration

Exam 70-557: Microsoft Forefront Client and Server, Configuration

Office SharePoint Server 2007, Configuration

Exam 70-630: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, Configuring

Office SharePoint Server 2007, Application Development

Exam 70-542: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 – Application Development

Sharepoint 2010, Application Development

Exam 70-573: TS: Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Application Development

.NET Framework specializations

 

.NET Framework 2.0 Web Applications

 

Exam 70-528: .NET Framework 2.0 – Web-Based Client Development

Exam 70-536: .NET Framework 2.0 – Application Development Foundation

 

.NET Framework 2.0 Windows Applications

Exam 70-526: .NET Framework 2.0 – Windows-Based Client Development

Exam 70-536: .NET Framework 2.0 – Application Development Foundation

 

.NET Framework 2.0 Distributed Applications

Exam 70-529: .NET Framework 2.0 – Distributed Application Development

Exam 70-536: .NET Framework 2.0 – Application Development Foundation

 

.NET Framework 3.5, ASP.NET Applications

Exam 70-536: .NET Framework – Application Development Foundation

Exam 70-562: .NET Framework 3.5, ASP.NET Application Development

 

.NET Framework 3.5, Windows Presentation Foundation Applications

Exam 70-536: TS: .NET Framework – Application Development Foundation

Exam 70-502: TS: .NET Framework 3.5, Windows Presentation Foundation

 

Application Development

 

.NET Framework 3.5, Windows Communication Foundation Applications

Exam 70-536: TS: .NET Framework – Application Development Foundation

Exam 70-503: TS: .NET Framework 3.5 – Windows Communication Foundation Application Development

 

.NET Framework 3.5, Windows Workflow Foundation Applications

Exam 70-536: TS: .NET Framework – Application Development Foundation

Exam 70-504: TS: .NET Framework 3.5 – Windows Workflow Foundation Application Development

 

.NET Framework 3.5, Windows Forms Applications

Exam 70-536: TS: .NET Framework – Application Development Foundation

Exam 70-505: TS: .NET Framework 3.5, Windows Forms Application Development

 

.NET Framework 3.5, ADO.NET Applications

Exam 70-536: TS: .NET Framework – Application Development Foundation

Exam 70-561: TS: .NET Framework 3.5, ADO.NET Application Development

 

.NET Framework 4, Windows Applications

Exam 70-511: TS: .NET Framework 4, Windows Applications

 

.NET Framework 4, Web Applications

Exam 70-515: TS: .NET Framework 4, Web Applications

 

.NET Framework 4, Service Communications Applications

Exam 70-513: TS: .NET Framework 4, Service Communications Applications

 

.NET Framework 4, Data Access

Exam 70-516: TS: .NET Framework 4, Data Access

SQL Server specializations

SQL Server 2005

Exam 70-431: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 – Implementation and Maintenance

SQL Server 2005 Business Intelligence

Exam 70-445: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Business Intelligence – Implementation and Maintenance

SQL Server 2008, Installation and Maintenance

Exam 70-432: TS: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Installation and Maintenance

SQL Server 2008, Database Development

Exam 70-433: TS: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Database Development

SQL Server 2008, Business Intelligence Development and Maintenance

Exam 70-448: TS: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Business Intelligence Development and Maintenance

SQL Server 2008 Designing, Optimizing and Maintaining a Database

Exam 70-450: PRO: Designing, Optimizing and Maintaining a Database Server Infrastructure using Microsoft SQL Server 2008

SQL Server 2008 Design Database

Exam 70-451: PRO: Designing Database Solutions and Data Access Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008

SQL Server 2008 Business Intelligence

Exam 70-452: PRO: Designing a Business Intelligence Infrastructure Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008

Upgrade SQL Server 2005 Certification to SQL Server 2008

Exam 70-453: Upgrade: Transition Your MCITP SQL Server 2005 DBA to MCITP SQL Server 2008 DBA

Upgrade SQL Server 2005 Certification to SQL Server 2008, Database Development

Exam 70-454: Upgrade: Transition Your MCITP SQL Server 2005 Database Developer to MCITP SQL Server 2008 Database Developer

Upgrade SQL Server 2005 Certification to SQL Server 2008, Business Intelligence

Exam 70-455: Upgrade: Transition Your MCITP SQL Server 2005 Business Intelligence Developer to MCITP SQL Server 2008 Business Intelligence Developer

 

Business intelligence specializations

 

BizTalk Server 2006*Exam 70-235: Developing Business Process and Integration Solutions Using Microsoft BizTalk Server

Live Communications Server 2005*Exam 70-262: Office Live Communications Server 2005-Implementing, Managing, and Troubleshooting

Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Configuration*Exam 70-236: Exchange Server 2007, Configuring

Windows specializations

Windows Mobile 5.0 Applications

Exam 70-540: Windows Mobile 5.0 – Application Development

Windows Mobile 5.0, Implementing and Managing

Exam 70-500: Windows Mobile 5.0, Implementing and Managing

Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, Application Development

Exam 70-541: Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 – Application Development

Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, Configuration

Exam 70-631: Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, Configuring

Windows Vista Configuration

Exam 70-620: Windows Vista, Configuring

 

Windows Vista and 2007 Microsoft Office System Desktops, Deploying and Maintaining

 

Exam 70-624: Deploying and Maintaining Windows Vista Client and 2007 Microsoft Office System Desktops

Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Configuration

Exam 70-640: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring

Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure Configuration

Exam 70-642: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuring

Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure Configuration

Exam 70-643: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure, Configuring

Upgrading from Windows Server 2003 MCSA to Windows Server 2008, Technology

Specializations

 

Exam 70-648: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring and Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuring: upgrade of Windows Server 2003 to Server 2008 for the two above aforementioned MCTS credentials consisting parts of exams 70-640 and 70-642

Windows 7 Configuration

Exam 70-680: Windows 7, Configuring

Windows 7 and Office 2010, Deployment

Exam 70-681: Windows 7 and Office 2010, Deploying

Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Support Technician

Exam 70-685: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Support Technician

Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Administrator

Exam 70-686: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Administrator

On August 9, 2011, Apple’s market capitalization briefly rose to $341.5 billion, edging it just ahead of Exxon, until that morning the highest-valued company in the world. The company Steve Jobs had co-created putting together computers, the one that Michael Dell had suggested shutting down 14 years earlier because it had no future, was now worth more than any other. The stock fell back by the end of the day, but it had made its mark; the transformation of Apple from financial basket case to ruler was complete. At the end of the day it was worth $346.7 billion; Microsoft was worth $214.3 billion and Google $185.1 billion.

Compared to the end of 1998 (Apple $5.54 billion, Microsoft $344.6 billion, Google $10 million), the aggregate wealth of the companies had more than doubled. Microsoft, though, had shrunk by 40%, after being outdistanced first in search, then in digital music and then in smartphones — in the latter category by both companies.
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The companies had changed enormously. Google was soon to celebrate its 13th birthday, having roared from a three-person garage start-up to web giant; it was struggling too with having nearly 29,000 staff worldwide. Larry Page, once more the chief executive, was forcing the divisions to justify themselves, getting divisional heads to explain their projects in soundbite-length memos. His greatest concern was that Google was getting too big and slow to act: “Large companies are their own worst enemy,” he said in September. “There are basically no companies that have good slow decisions. There are only companies that have good fast decisions.”

Where Apple hadn’t heard of Google 13 years before, now it had gone from having a common cause against Microsoft to being just a business acquaintance, and sometimes opponent; Apple and Microsoft bid together against Google for patents covering the mobile business. Apple was seeking to disintermediate Google from search with the cloud-based voice search of its upcoming iPhone. And they were constantly niggling each other in smartphones and tablets. Even so, by September 2011 the majority of mobile search still came from iPhones, according to Google testimony at the US Senate.

Apple had changed. From just under 10,000 full- and part-time staff in September 1998, it had grown to being 50,000 strong, though around 30,000 were in its retail store chain; the core of the company in Cupertino remained small and relatively tight-knit. The old enmity with Microsoft still flickered occasionally, but strategically they almost ignored each other. Apple’s position in PCs was set at 5% of the market. It had won in music. It didn’t do search. Its position in phones and tablets had pushed Microsoft to playing catch-up; yet the Redmond company could rely on the sheer heft of 1.5 billion PC installations to ensure a stream of replacements and of new sales for Office. Apple’s value, revenues and profits had all passed those of its old rival. Its reputation had been transformed from put-upon also-ran PC maker to world-spanning design brand. Tim Cook’s influence was visible in its inventory, whose value was equivalent to three days’ hardware sales.

Microsoft, by contrast, had gone from world-beater to catch-up. The staff at Microsoft (90,000 worldwide, compared to 27,000 in summer 1998) were a little battle-weary too. As Steve Ballmer, still the chief executive, spoke at the September 2011 all-hands company meeting in front of 20,000 employees, some simply got up and left, unhappy at the ‘cloud computing’ strategy, the stock’s lack of movement, and the lack of excitement at their employer. The version of Windows that would truly work on tablets was still a year away. Microsoft seemed mired in its fabulously profitable past – not a leader or innovator in search or on mobiles or tablets or anything. People began whispering that Steven Sinofsky, who had conquered internal politics and got the Windows team to grapple successfully with the future of tablets and chip architectures, might be chief executive material.

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Mozilla commits to Metro version of Firefox on Windows 8

Written by IT Trainer
February 14th, 2012

Mozilla said yesterday that it will build a “proof-of-concept” version of Firefox for Windows 8’s Metro touch-first interface next quarter, then follow that with more functional editions later in the year.

 

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The company is the first of Microsoft’s browser rivals to publicly commit to a Metro edition. Microsoft has said it will ship both Metro and traditional desktop versions of Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) with Windows 8 and Windows on ARM (WOA), the new OS targeting tablets and other low-powered devices.

Metro is Microsoft’s label for the touch-enabled interface at the center of both Windows 8 and WOA. Windows 8 will run Metro and traditional 32- and 64-bit Windows applications, but WOA will run only those third-party apps designed for Metro.

In an update to its 2012 roadmap published Sunday, Mozilla said that it would craft a “technology proof of concept” of Firefox on Metro as a first step. “This is not [an] alpha or a beta, but should demonstrate the feasibility of Firefox in Windows 8 Metro,” Asa Dotzler, the product director of Firefox, wrote in a roadmap overview.

The proof of concept is currently slated to roll out in the second quarter of 2012. Alpha and beta versions of the browser will follow in July through December.

“The Alpha will prove the installation path and basic browsing features, [and] the beta will be feature complete for a 1.0-capability product,” Dotzler added.

In a more detailed planning document, Mozilla spelled out some specific goals of Firefox on Metro, saying that it will rely on existing Gecko libraries in 32-bit Windows to avoid having to port the bulk of the browser’s code to the WinRT API (application programming interface).

Gecko is the Firefox browser engine, while WinRT refers to “Windows Runtime,” the new programming model Microsoft is promoting for developing Metro apps in Windows 8.

“Firefox on Metro [will be] a full-screen App with an Appbar that contains common navigation controls (back, reload, etc.,) the Awesomebar, and some form of tabs,” the document stated.

If Mozilla’s assumptions are correct — that it will power Firefox Metro on Windows 8 via current Gecko libraries — its new browser would run only on Windows 8, not on WOA.

Mozilla has already put considerable resources into Firefox for Android, and has talked about creating a Web-based operating system of its own, dubbed “Boot to Gecko,” for tablets and smartphones.

Mozilla said it will have a better idea of the work necessary to create a Metro Firefox on Windows 8 after Microsoft ships the Consumer Preview of the new operating system on Feb. 29.

Metro apps will be distributed only through the Windows Store, Microsoft has said.

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