Chromebooks may be increasing in popularity, particularly in business, but they still have a long way to go before they catch up with Windows-based laptops. One of the factors holding back Chromebook is, both obviously and ironically, Chrome OS. It is a perfectly capable operating system for anyone locked into the Google ecosystem, but it has one failing -- for many people, at least -- it will not run Windows applications. But all this is set to change thanks to a new venture between Google and VMware.
VWmare is a name long-associated with bringing one platform's apps to another using virtualization, and now it is pushing its DaaS platform (or VMware Horizon Desktop as a Service Platform for Service Providers to give it its full, unabridged title) as a way to bring Windows applications to Chromebook users. As this is something that will be available on a subscription basis, it is likely to appeal to businesses rather than individuals, but it does break down another obstacle for anyone with two minds about Chromebook.
There's a lot to like about cloud backup and sync -- security, for one, and the convenience of being able to access your files remotely for another. But cloud storage can be an expensive option, which is where Tonido comes in.
It provides a trio of tools -- Tonido Desktop and Tonido Sync for desktop, Tonido Mobile for mobile -- that lets you turn your home storage into a personal cloud. So long as your backup needs are catered elsewhere, you can access, share, stream and -- to a limited degree -- sync data without paying a single cent.
While several companies have been busy posting new transparency reports, based on recent changes in US law, not everyone has been content with what has transpired. Last week, Twitter stood up and called the reform, essentially, too little and far too late. That sentiment likely echos the feelings of many US citizens.
However, the social service isn't the only one taking this stand. Today it is joined by cloud storage darling Dropbox. "We believe everyone has a right to know how much information the government is seeking from online services. This lets users fight back against improper requests, helps prevent abuses of power, and allows for a more informed public debate", states the company's Bart Volkmer.
We looked at the launch of the Point.io backend as a service (BaaS) platform last year and explained how it could help companies retain control of their data in the era of BYOD.
The company is now making it easier to enable fast, secure data links with the launch of APIdoc, a single point of access for all file sharing and storage technologies.
The biggest news of the week has to be the appointment of Satya Nadella as CEO at Microsoft, which brought to an end weeks of speculation and rumor. Bill Gates also stepped down as chairman. A leaked version of Windows 8.1 Update 1 appeared online giving us all a sneak peek of what we can expect to see in the upcoming release -- including context menus on the Start screen, a new enterprise mode in Internet Explorer, and different ways of working with modern apps. Ahead of this big release, it was Windows XP that was showing growth rather than Microsoft's latest operating system.
In other Microsoft news, Xbox One's first big update was revealed to be coming up on 11 February. Sony announced that it was selling its VAIO business to enable it to focus its attention on mobile devices. Business and individuals who rely on 37signals' products found that the company was not only changing its name, but also dropping all of its services apart from Basecamp. There was another blow for Bitcoin as the online currency was effectively banned in Russia.
Actual, real-life meetings are just so passé! In fact I have hardly met up with any of the people I work with in person -- we are living in the digital age, man! But the likes of Skype and FaceTime show that there is still an interest, even a need, for virtual face-to-face time, and this is particularly true for businesses. Conference calls are easy to set up on the phone, but there are times when it really does help to see what’s going on at the other end. Today Google takes the wraps off its solution: Chromebox for meetings.
As you would expect from Google, and probably guess from the name, this is a box running ChromeOS. Powered by a 4th generation Intel Core i7 processor, there are four USB 3.0 ports as well as HDMI and DisplayPort++ connections, and network connectivity is provided by an Ethernet port as well as an 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi adaptor. Also provided is an HD camera, a mic and speaker combo, and a remote control.
The name 37signals may not mean much to people outside of tech and business circles. This is a company that produces something that is better known than its own name: Basecamp. The very fact that 37signals is primarily, or even solely, associated with Basecamp seems as good a reason as any to consider a rebrand, and this is precisely what the company is doing. While some people content themselves with blowing out candles on a cake, 37signals celebrates its tenth birthday by renaming itself Basecamp.
But it does not end there. In addition to taking a new name from its popular online collaboration and project management tool, the company is switching its focus so that Basecamp is its only product. The announcement appears on the company's website, explaining that the decision will allow all energies to be channeled into the tool that gained greatest success:
There was once a time when the popularity of a webpage was measured by the hit counter that was featured prominently on it. Thankfully these days are long gone, but there is a new type of counter.
There are few sites that don’t try to take full advantage of social networks, and many online articles -- including here at BetaNews -- include links to share content on the likes of Facebook and Twitter. It's easy for all to see how many times something has been shared, but this reveals little about the number of actual views this has translated into. But there is one place where the hit counter lives on: YouTube.
With the rise in popularity of cloud services it's easy to forget about the impact on other models of IT delivery.
A new survey from network and business continuity specialist Talari Networks looks at the current state of WANs. Carried out in late 2013, the survey identifies the role of the WAN in supporting applications, achieving business goals, shifts in the use of WAN services and changes in WAN budgets.
Like the internet itself, Spotify is a fantastic resource, but it is one which remains somewhat unexplored. There are darker reaches that are yet to be visited by anyone, and who knows what sort of gems might be lurking there waiting to be discovered? You could spend endless hours trawling the length and breadth of what's available online in the hope of stumbling across something new and exciting. You could do that, or you could get someone else to do the hard work for you.
With Forgotify, the idea is simple. It's a streaming music site, but not quite like the others you may have tried. Any music you find through Forgotify is guaranteed not to have been listened to by anyone else on Spotify. Spend a little time playing random tracks and you could find something truly amazing -- of course, you will undoubtedly have to endure a load of absolute drivel, but there will be some utterly delightful tracks in every genre as well.
We've looked at the Huddle desktop collaboration tool, which offers a blend of productivity and social networking, in the past here at BetaNews. The company is now launching another phase of its Connected Desktop with a plug-in for Microsoft Office.
By linking the power of Office tools with Huddle's cloud collaboration service the company aims to make workers more productive. Files can be saved into Huddle's secure cloud directly from Office applications but more importantly each document has a comment stream alongside it, allowing users to provide feedback on changes and reply to co-workers in context, all without leaving Office.
Canada's leading cloud service provider, iWeb, is launching a Microsoft Private Cloud hosting service.
Aimed at giving businesses more control and flexibility over their IT infrastructure, it allows virtual servers to be deployed quickly without the expense and complexity of in-house data centers.
PC and server specialist Dell is launching a new mobile cloud access device that delivers a full HD user experience on any HDMI or MHL enabled display.
The company claims that Dell Wyse Cloud Connect is a completely new end-user device category, bridging thin clients and mobile devices to promote BYOD.
You shouldn't be using your phone in the car, and laws in many locations tell you so. But there are uses that don't interfere with your concentration on the road, such as mounting your handset on the dash or windshield and using it for navigation. There are also hands-free devices and even built-in solutions within new cars.
Now Clickdrive wants to take this to another level, bringing in-car integration to vehicles that don't currently contain such technology. The hardware-software solution has just launched an Indiegogo fund-raising drive, stating "founder Mark Sutheran and business partner Rishi Saraswat have developed Clickdrive from the ground up to create the world's first device to be entirely dedicated to driving in the information age".