Cloud computing is one of the most important technologies in the world right now, but it can be extremely confusing at times.
What, for example, are SaaS, PaaS and IaaS? Read on as we take the jargon out of the cloud and explain things in a much more brain-friendly way.
For anyone looking to stay anonymous online, Tor seems like an obvious option. At the same time, it could lull users into a false sense of security -- after all, this is a network that was, at least in the past, funded by the military and US government -- and conspiracy theories abound that Tor is nothing more than a honey trap to catch the kind of people who have a need for anonymity because of their nefarious activities. The network has evolved over the years and now agencies such as the NSA in the US and GCHQ in the UK are actively seeking out vulnerabilities so they can crack the network. But the relationships are actually far more complex than that.
According to Andrew Lewman, chief of operations at Tor, the same agencies that are trying to break Tor are also posting tips anonymously about the vulnerabilities that have been found -- giving a chance for them to be patched. Talking to the BBC Lewman said:
There are many parts of the internet that are blocked to children under the age of 13. Facebook, for instance, implements an age restriction and Google is another online firm that prevents younger web users from setting up accounts. But all this could be set to change. First reported by The Information, Google has plans to open up its service to a younger audience. This does not mean that youngsters will be free to sign up for an account and browse through the contents of YouTube without restrictions. Parents will be able to sign their children up for an account and retain control over what they are able to do online.
One of the primary concerns many people have about Google -- regardless of their age -- is privacy. Google has a proven track record in delivering tailored content and advertisements to its users, and this is something that is at odds with laws around the world when it comes to children. The news coincides with UK plans to experiment with age ratings for online videos, and privacy and child protection groups are already voicing their concerns. Of course, there is nothing to stop someone of any age from signing up for a Google account; it's easy to stretch the truth with dates of birth online. But Google specifically targeting children with its services is unchartered water.
In the wake of the death of Robin Williams, Twitter announces that it will now accept image removal requests from relatives of deceased individuals. Williams' daughter Zelda was forced to leave Twitter having been inundated with a barrage of mocked up images of her deceased father.
In the aftermath of the actor's suicide, Twitter explained that it would improve its policies. The result is an update to the way in which death is handled on Twitter. The families of deceased people have been able to request the deactivation of an account, but now new rights have been introduced.
The move towards BYOD in business is bringing a number of new challenges. Not least of these is how to safely and easily share data across a number of devices.
Public clouds provide a tempting option but there are risks in terms of security and control. Now storage company PROMISE Technology is addressing these concerns with a new product called FileCruiser which allows enterprises to build an on-premise cloud. This means admins can manage the entire system, including hardware and software configuration, eliminating the security concerns of storing confidential data on public services.
Having left his post as CEO of Microsoft six months ago, Steve Ballmer today further cut his ties with the company. In a letter to Satya Nadella, he explains that it would be "impractical" to continue to serve on the board of directors. The decision comes after the purchase of the LA Clippers, and Ballmer's letter makes reference to "the start of the NBA season" meaning that his "departure from the board is effective immediately". But Steve is not cutting the umbilical cord entirely; he remains a shareholder and wants to keep his hand in to some extent.
The heart-warmingly friendly letter praises Nadella's drive and vision at the top of Microsoft, and it's clear that Ballmer is still deeply passionate about the company he leaves behind:
We all know it's important to keep our PCs safe from online threats, but the range of options available to do that -- even from just one developer -- can be bewildering.
Symantec has recognized this problem and has announced that from this fall it will streamline its nine existing security offerings into just one flagship Norton Security product.
You never know when the next Twitter is going to crop up. When a new service like Pinterest, Vine, or Skype appears, if you're not quick off the mark there's a high chance you'll miss out on your preferred username. You want MarkWilsonWords? Sorry, that went ages ago… you'll have to settle for MarkWilsonWord09868. Getting stuck with a crappy username sucks, but it's very hard to monitor all of the new services that pop up so you can bag your ideal name as early as possible. This is something that EarlyClaim can help with.
It's a free service that seeks out new startups and reserves a username on your behalf -- you just say what handle you'd like, and EarlyClaim does the hard work for you. For businesses, it is important to have a brand identity that is the same across different social networks (who is going to take notice of Coca Cola 1897 on Facebook?) but it's also something that is valuable to individuals. How many times have you signed up for a site only to find that you're unable to secure the username of your choice and had to opt for something far inferior? Every time you use that service there is a constant reminder that you weren't fast enough at signing up.
Using managed services used to mean outsourcing complex IT projects to expensive consultants. Now though thanks to technologies like the cloud they're enabling businesses to focus on their core business while increasing their efficiency, reducing costs and taking advantage of new technologies.
Infrastructure as a service specialist GoGrid has compiled some industry findings that demonstrate the market opportunities and benefits companies can gain by using managed services.
Today's IT managers are under pressure to deliver the sort of agility that's offered by the public cloud but with the security and cost benefits of using existing infrastructure.
California-based startup Platform9 has today unveiled an answer to this problem with its SaaS platform that transforms an organization's existing servers into an AWS-like agile, self-service private cloud within minutes. It significantly reduces the operational complexity for IT and offers a single point of management for Docker, KVM and VMware vSphere.
IBM has developed a technique that should help enterprise firms manage where their cloud data is stored.
The technology could help businesses to comply with regional legislation regarding cloud content.
With Gartner predicting that half of all enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by 2017, it's obvious that cloud technology is permeating all levels of organizations. What this also means is that nothing is black and white with cloud computing. Enterprises are deploying different forms of cloud solutions in ways that best support their business needs and organizational infrastructure.
There is no silver bullet that will give companies the best possible outcomes with cloud computing – each organization needs to determine what data and departments will best benefit from cloud solutions, and positively impact the bottom line. The trend I see growing the fastest in the cloud computing space is that of customization, as enterprises build out cloud infrastructures and solutions that work best for them.
Gmail is undergoing another change, but this time it's a fairly minor tweak -- and one that is likely to be broadly welcomed. Unsubscribing from mailing lists is about to become simpler. Rather than having to hunt through the small print at the end of an email, or scouring the text for a hidden link, you'll soon find the unsubscribe option right at the top of emails. Announced via the official Gmail Google+ page, Google describes the change as "a win for everyone".
The new feature is not something that mailing list creators need to opt into, or indeed do anything about at all. Providing an email features an unsubscribe link somewhere in its text, Gmail will automatically add it to the top of a message next to the From field. Google explains that "when a sender includes an 'Unsubscribe' link in a Promotions, Social or Forums message, Gmail will surface it to the top", so it's not clear if the feature will work with every single mailing list.
Consumer cloud storage specialist MediaFire has announced a major update to its native iOS app, bringing a number of new features to the popular storage platform and heralding a new pricing model.
Available on the iTunes store from today the new free app includes automatic photo and video syncing, enhanced video and music streaming performance, new mobile sharing options, and a brand new high resolution user interface.
Although it's increasingly popular to move data and systems to the cloud, the risk of suffering a system outage of some kind is still very real and it can make monitoring the IT infrastructure more difficult.