Overnight, AT&T U-verse went dark in the Wilcox household. We're cord cutters once more. A year ago, we let the service go for about two weeks but returned after Cox Internet failed to deliver constant connection. When going back to AT&T for just the Net, the company made an offer I couldn't refuse: Hundreds of channels, HD, DVR, and Internet for $99 a month. Cost would be $69 without the television service.
But with Game of Thrones and Walking Dead behind, and the 12-month contract expired (yesterday), streaming is once again high on the thrifty list. I made several phone calls looking for an AT&T deal that would keep us customers, but no offer matched Cox, which guarantees pricing for a year without locking me into any commitment. We set up service about 10 days ago, hoping the Internet would stop yo-yoing around.
Microsoft has released its earnings results for the fourth fiscal quarter of the year (that is Q2 CY2014), posting revenue of $23.38 billion, gross margin of 15.79 billion and operating income of $6.48 billion. As a result, earnings per share (EPS) came in at $0.55 (below analyst expectations of $0.60).
Revenue, gross margin and operating income are higher than a year before, when they reached 19.89 billion, 14.29 billion and 6.07 billion, respectively. However, EPS is lower, dropping from $0.59. "We are galvanized around our core as a productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world, and we are driving growth with disciplined decisions, bold innovation, and focused execution", says Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. "I'm proud that our aggressive move to the cloud is paying off -- our commercial cloud revenue doubled again this year to a $4.4 billion annual run rate".
As more and more data moves to the cloud and to distributed environments this stretches the ability of traditional endpoint security solutions to keep it safe.
Access management specialist Ping Identity has released an infographic showing how existing security technology falls short when it comes to protecting vital information housed by businesses and enterprises.
It was quite a coup for HOPE (Hackers On Planet Earth). At the 2014 hacker event, Hope X, in New York City this weekend, Edward Snowden delivered a speech to those in attendance, advocating the use of encryption online. The former NSA analyst was not at the event himself -- he's still holed up in Moscow -- but he called on those present to help to protect privacy online. Speaking via a video link Snowden said: "You in this room, right now have both the means and the capability to improve the future by encoding our rights into programs and protocols by which we rely every day".
It was a great piece of work keeping the presentation a secret. There were, of course, fears that Snowden's appearance would somehow be thwarted: "We had to keep this bombshell quiet til the last minute since some of the most powerful people in the world would prefer that it never take place." There were certainly risks involved, but it was a risk worth taking. "[Snowden's] revelations of the massive NSA surveillance programs confirmed the suspicions of many and shocked those who haven’t been paying attention".
In February, I foolishly spent 50-odd bucks for QPlay, the streaming TV player for iPad, which I used with the Air. The user experience was terrible from the start and never got better over the miserable months that followed. Slow. Stuttering. Stopped.
Today, the startup sent me email that the service bustup. Doors close July 25, so lend your QPlay to your worst enemy while you still can for some streaming mayhem and frustration.
In the second of our (hopefully) regular competitions, we have quite a treat for you. You've read the headline so you should know what's up for grabs, but if you missed it, the prize is a year's subscription to Office 365 Home worth $99.99.
Microsoft has very kindly donated a full subscription for us to give away, but this is more than just one copy of the world-famous office suite -- you can install Office 365 Home on up to five PCs or Macs, as well as five tablets. Enough for all the family!
In a lengthy interview with the Guardian, NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden spoke with editor Alan Rusbridger about his extraordinary rise to infamy. Currently in exile in Russia, he talked about how he disseminated documents about the activities of the NSA to numerous countries: "Once you start splitting them over jurisdictions and things like that it becomes much more difficult to subvert their intentions. Nobody could stop it". He remains defiant. He may be an outlaw but "it’s been vindicating to see the reaction from lawmakers, judges, public bodies around the world, civil liberties activists who have said it’s true that we have a right to at least know the broad outlines of what our government’s doing in our name and what it’s doing against us".
He explains how during his time working as an NSA analyst, he learned about previous surveillance programs run under George W Bush. Programs that were deemed unconstitutional and, having been closed, forced the US government to assume new executive powers that were then used "against the citizenry of its own country". For Snowden the power of the state is worrying:
As businesses face new challenges from employees use of public cloud services along with demands to allow BYOD use, they're increasingly looking for ways to monitor and control the activity of staff on the web.
We spoke to Brian Azzopardi, founder and CEO of web filtering specialist Rawstream about how enterprises can meet these new demands and why existing products aren’t always up to the task.
When Microsoft discontinued support for XP it left a large number of businesses, around 25 percent, needing to make a transformation of their IT environment.
As well as switching to a new desktop OS many are also moving applications to the cloud, changing hardware and introducing BYOD. In order to help IT decision makers with these choices, Israel-based software analytics specialist SoftWatch has introduced a new SaaS product.
Cloud storage service Dropbox has detailed a new partnership with mobile operator Deutsche Telekom, that will result in its Android app being preloaded on the majority of devices sold in certain parts of Europe by the German company and its subsidiaries.
This partnership also impacts Deutsche Telekom's current customer base, who will be helped to "discover" Dropbox. The Android devices that will come preloaded with the app will be available, starting in October, in Central and Eastern European markets.
There are a number of reasons why businesses might move data to the cloud. To reduce storage costs, improve accessibility or simply reduce the need for on-site equipment. But how can you be sure that moving data to the cloud is the correct decision?
We looked at how businesses can approach this earlier today. Now archiving specialist DocuLynx is using the Microsoft Worldwide Partnership Conference in Washington to launch a new product aimed at making cloud storage decisions easier.
Last night, Germany won against Argentina in the World Cup 2014 final. It was a good game, with, dare I say, an expected outcome for those who watched both teams closely during the competition. But, for tech enthusiasts, there is a second winner, and that is Microsoft's Bing.
Through the Windows Phone 8.1 personal assistant, Cortana, Bing predicted the winners in 15 out of the 16 World Cup 2014 games in the knockout stage. It only failed to foresee that The Netherlands would win against Brazil in the fight for third place. This remarkable achievement shows to prove that, contrary to what some might believe, Bing really has what it takes to shine when the pressure is on.
Three quarters of UK businesses are now officially "in the cloud" in one form or another. The universal, horizontal benefits of agility and utility are undeniable and compelling, but businesses still need to be able to translate these into competitive advantage.
Getting the most from your cloud investment can be a challenge. The fact is that not all clouds are created equal, and depending on your drivers, required outcomes and preferences, some will be a far better fit than others.
When we talk about surveillance online, it is almost always with reference to the NSA and activities in the US. But US citizens are far from being the only web users affected by surveillance. The NSA has long arms, but there are also similar activities going on in plenty of other countries. This week in the UK, the government is pushing through legislation that requires phone and internet companies to store information about customers' communication, and to hand it over to authorities on request. What made this particularly unusual was the fact that this was classed as emergency surveillance legislation with little to no debate and, more importantly, no public consultation whatsoever. Edward Snowden has plenty say on the matter, likening the British government to the NSA.
The legislation covers not only UK-based companies, but also those based in other countries who have gathered data about UK customers. It is in direct opposition to a recent European court ruling that said retention of data was a violation of European law. This in itself would be reason for any surveillance-related laws to be debated, but the government chose instead to use emergency measures -- usually reserved for times of war or disaster -- to push through laws it knows will prove unpopular. As we are now used to hearing, the surveillance is not about recording phone calls, or storing individual emails and text messages, but about retaining the related metadata -- who contacted who, when, for how long, from where, and so on.
Cloud storage is an increasingly popular way of storing and sharing data, but when using public services there's always a concern about how safe your information is.
But now a new startup aims to provide controlled sharing of data via an intelligent private cloud network. Sher.ly integrates your existing hard drives into a private, tightly controlled cloud network. Rather than have to send out open links to files or share copies across a public cloud, organizations and individuals can have the security of invite-only, limited-access file-sharing that keeps data on the devices that produced it.