-Mike Barton, via Wired.com/Cloudline
While coverage ahead of Oracle’s fiscal third quarter results yesterday focused on it losing ground to younger cloud rivals, my question of “But for how long?” did not take long to be answered, sort of.
“After a long period of testing … Oracle’s cloud applications will be generally available. We’ve named our cloud the Oracle Secure Cloud,” Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said during yesterday’s analyst call about its Q3 results.
Oracle President Mark Hurd also stated in the press release before the call, “…Fusion in the Cloud is winning with great success against niche HCM cloud vendors in the US and worldwide. Our modular, integrated platform of 100 apps available in the cloud or on-premise is a key differentiator.”
Over at Forbes, Victoria Barret highlights how Ellison could not resist going after big-fish rivals Salesforce.com and SAP after he planted the Oracle Secure Flag brand in the ground:
Here he couldn’t help but take aim at Salesforce.com, suggesting that the company run by his former protege, Marc Benioff, can’t offer the same level of security. Benioff has long ridiculed Ellison for selling legacy software systems not able to keep pace with the shift to cloud computing.”
Then Ellison swiftly moved on to SAP, explaining that the German rival hasn’t yet moved its heavy-duty business software suite to the cloud. “Six years ago we made the decision to write Fusion. It will take years for SAP to catch up,” he said. SAP’s Web offering, called Business ByDesign, seems so far limited to smaller customers. SAP in December announced 1,000 customers to the product. Then again, Ellison did not mention customer names for Fusion or Secure Cloud.
Oracle Secure Cloud, which will be available in the next few weeks, is a private cloud, rented by the month and managed by Oracle, but living behind a company’s own firewall in their data center. “Salesforce.com does not offer this kind of security in their cloud. This is a key advantage for us,” Ellison said during the call yesterday. “But by far our biggest application competitor is SAP, not Salesforce.com. And SAP does not even offer CRM, HCM and financial applications in the cloud to their large customers.”
“Six years ago we made the decision to rewrite our ERP and CRM suit for the cloud. We called it Fusion. SAP called it confusion,” Ellison said. “It will take years for SAP to catch up.”
Ellison, well known for his flamboyance and fierce competitiveness, even went so far as to question SAP’s sobriety with its focus on building Oracle competitor HANA. “When SAP, and, specifically Hasso Plattner, said they’re going to build this in-memory database and compete with Oracle, I said. God, get me the name of that pharmacist, they must be on drugs,” he told analysts yesterday. “That was interpreted by Hasso as Larry doesn’t believe in in-memory databases… We’ve been working on in-memory databases for 10 years. We have the world’s leading in-memory database. It’s called TimesTen.”
So that’s where Oracle has planted its flag with regard to the cloud, in contrast to Salesforce and Workday, and butting heads with SAP. Is that going to do the trick? Is Oracle keenly aware of what the marketplace wants, or is it putting its game face on given what it can offer in terms of cloud now? Do the RightNow and Taleo buys, in addition to Fusion (in the cloud) give it enough to go on? Have your say in the comments section, below.
Over 1,100 games are available to purchase, download, and play from any computer. Check out the new releases, indie hits, casual favorites and everything in between. Find someone to play with, meet up with friends, connect with groups of similar interests, and host and join chats, matches, and tournaments. See when your friends are online or playing games and easily join the same games together. Chat with your buddies, or use your microphone to communicate in any game. The Steam Community is comprised of people who play all sorts of PC and Mac games. Now it's easy to find your friends online, organize groups, and join chats. Steam offers their customers an online community where they release news and updates as well as allow them to collaborate with each other and contact their customers directly.
stev0dundun 270005274B Tags:  feedback profit team_red google consumer consumer_surveys 1,327 Visits
-Adario Strange, via PCMag.com
In recent years Google has taken its fair share of criticism from publishers as its Google News aggregation and AdWords micro-advertising have disrupted traditional publishing in major ways. But a new product quietly launched by Google this week might provide a powerful new business model for online publishing.
Google Consumer Surveys allows publishers to make money from running various micro-surveys on their sites. When a user visits a participating site, they will be presented with a survey before being allowed access to the content (text, video, or apps). Think of it as a soft paywall in which the user still gets the content for free, and doesn't need to register, but can't simply click the well-known "skip this ad" link to access the desired content. Once the short survey is filled out, the users gets her content for free, the publisher earns a small payment, and the company behind the survey gets the valuable market data it was looking for from a real, sometimes demographically specific person.
Large or small companies can target survey questions toward the general U.S. population for $0.10 per response (or $150.00 for 1,500 responses), or opt for demographic targeting at $0.50 per response ($750.00 for 1,500). Insights are grouped by demographics including income, location (U.S. Northeast, South, Midwest, West Coast), age (18-24, 25-34, 35-65+) and gender.
After setting up a survey, companies have the ability to view extremely detailed breakdowns of the survey answer data. Alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and pharmaceutical products are currently excluded from the program. Publishers already set up to use the survey tool with their content offerings include The Texas Tribune, the Star Tribune, and Adweek.
"The idea behind Google Consumer Surveys is to create a model that benefits everyone," said Google product manager Paul McDonald. "You get to keep enjoying your favorite online content, publishers have an additional option for making money from that content, and businesses have a new way of finding out what their customers want."
Upon further inspection, it does appear that Google may have finally discovered the Holy Grail for monetizing digital content in a way that benefits everyone. Few consumers have a problem filling out short, anonymous surveys, most online publishers have already learned that surveys are a fun way to engage visitors, particularly when it comes to niche sites, and large companies absolutely live and die on the vital data that market research provides regarding emerging trends, and current consumers tastes.
stev0dundun 270005274B Tags:  cloud ibm privacy transparency team_red information personal_data 1,288 Visits
-Jon Udell, via Wired.com/Cloudline (sponsored by IBM)
As we migrate personal data to the cloud, it seems that we trade convenience for privacy. It’s convenient, for example, to access my address book from any connected device I happen to use. But when I park my address book in the cloud in order to gain this benefit, I expose my data to the provider of that cloud service.
When the service is offered for free, supported by ads that use my personal info to profile me, this exposure is the price I pay for convenient access to my own data. The provider may promise not to use the data in ways I don’t like, but I can’t be sure that promise will be kept.
Is this a reasonable trade-off?
For many people, in many cases, it appears to be. Of course we haven’t, so far, been given other choices. And other choices can exist. Storing your data in the cloud doesn’t necessarily mean, for example, that the cloud operator can read all the data you put there. There are ways to transform it so that it’s useful only to you, or to you and designated others, or to the service provider but only in restricted ways.
Early Unix systems kept users’ passwords in an unprotected system file, /etc/passwd, that anyone could read. This seemed crazy when I first learned about it many years ago. But there was a method to the madness. The file was readable, so anyone could see the usernames. But the passwords were transformed, using a cryptographic hash function, into gibberish. The system didn’t need to remember your cleartext password. It only needed to verify that when you typed your cleartext password at logon, the operation that originally encoded its /etc/passwd equivalent would, when repeated, yield a matching result.
Everything old is new again. When it was recently discovered that some iPhone apps were uploading users’ contacts to the cloud, one proposed remedy was to modify iOS to require explicit user approval. But in one typical scenario that’s not a choice a user should have to make. A social service that uses contacts to find which of a new user’s friends are already members doesn’t need cleartext email addresses. If I upload hashes of my contacts, and you upload hashes of yours, the service can match hashes without knowing the email addresses from which they’re derived.
In the post Hashing for privacy in social apps, Matt Gemmell shows how it can be done. Why wasn’t it? Not for nefarious reasons, Gemmell says, but rather because developers simply weren’t aware of the option to uses hashes as a proxy for email addresses.
The best general treatise I’ve read on this topic is Peter Wayner’s Translucent Databases. I reviewed the first edition a decade ago; the revised and expanded second edition came out in 2009. A translucent system, Peter says, “lets some light escape while still providing a layer of secrecy.”
Here’s my favorite example from Peter’s book. Consider a social app that enables parents to find available babysitters. A conventional implementation would store sensitive data — identities and addresses of parents, identities and schedules of babysitters — as cleartext. If evildoers break into the service, there will be another round of headlines and unsatisfying apologies.
A translucent solution encrypts the sensitive data so that it is hidden even from the operator of the service, while yet enabling the two parties (parents, babysitters) to rendezvous.
How many applications can benefit from translucency? We won’t know until we start looking. The translucent approach doesn’t lie along the path of least resistance, though. It takes creative thinking and hard work to craft applications that don’t unnecessarily require users to disclose, or services to store, personal data. But if you can solve a problem in a translucent way, you should. We can all live without more of those headlines and apologies.
With more than 100 million active users globally, eBay is the world's largest online marketplace, where practically anyone can buy and sell practically anything. eBay connects a diverse and passionate community of individual buyers and sellers, as well as small businesses. It’s a meeting-point for eBay buyers and sellers to chat ask questions and exchange advice and tips with each other. eBay gives their customers an online chat between buyers and sellers as well as customers to customer service. This allows eBay to deal with their customers directly and give them the correct guidance they need.
stev0dundun 270005274B Tags:  team_red greece thepiratebay low_orbit_server_stations torrent airspace loss 1,041 Visits
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.
Athens, Greece - Political power in Athens, Greece, today signed an agreement with representatives for The Pirate Bay (TPB) about exclusive usage of the greek airspace at 8000-9000ft.
- This might come as a shock for many but we believe that we need to both raise money to pay our debts as well as encourage creativity in new technology. Greece wants to become a leader in LOSS, says Lucas Papadams, the new and crisply elected Prime Minister of Greece.
LOSS that he is referring to is not the state of finances in the country but rather Low Orbit Server Stations, a new technology recently invented by TPB. Being a leader for a long time in other types of LOSS, TPB has been working hard on making LOSS a viable solution for achieving 100% uptime for their services.
- Greece is one of few countries that understands the value of LOSSes. We have been talking to them ever since we came up with the solution seeing that we have equal needs of being able to find financially sustainable solutions for our projects, says Win B. Stones, head of R&D at TPB.
The agreement gives TPB a 5 year license to use and re-distribute usage of the airspace at 8000-9000 ft as well as unlimited usage of the radio space between 2350 to 24150 MHz. Due to the financial situation of both parties TPB will pay the costs with digital goods, sorely needed by the citizens of Greece.
Commitment to diversity is just part of what is called the Nokia Way – the core values and shared philosophy that make their company tick. Creativity, empowerment, openness, collaboration, and consideration for people and the environment – these are all integral to the way they do business. But above all, it’s about being human in everything they do – respecting and caring, even in tough business situations. Nokia offers their customers the option to contact them via email, phone, Facebook, Twitter, and even live, online chat. This allows Nokia to give feedback to their customers instantly.
Scott.Mattern 2700051WJN 434 Visits
Blizzard Entertainment is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software. After establishing the Blizzard Entertainment label in 1994, the company quickly became one of the most popular and well-respected makers of computer games. By focusing on creating well-designed, highly enjoyable entertainment experiences, Blizzard Entertainment has maintained an unparalleled reputation for quality since its inception. Blizzard offers their customers to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. They also have a forum for each of their games and technical support. This allows Blizzard to contact their customers directly to give and receive information from them in order to better their products and services.
stev0dundun 270005274B Tags:  wired web_standards high_def mobile ipad browsers apple web_basics team_red 1,508 Visits
-Scott Gilbertson, via WebMonkey.com
The high-resolution retina display iPad has one downside — normal resolution images look worse than on lower resolution displays. On the web that means that text looks just fine, as does any CSS-based art, but photographs look worse, sometimes even when they’re actually high-resolution images.
Pro photographer Duncan Davidson was experimenting with serving high-resolution images to the iPad 3 when he ran up against what seemed to be a limit to the resolution of JPG images in WebKit. Serving small high-resolution images — in the sub-2000px range — works great, but replacing 1000px wide photographs with 2000px wide photos actually looks worse due to downsampling.
The solution (turns out) is to go back to something you probably haven’t used in quite a while — progressive JPGs. It’s a clever solution to a little quirk in Mobile Safari’s resource limitations. Read Davidson’s follow-up post for more details, and be sure to look at the example image if you’ve got a new iPad because more than just a clever solution, this is what the future of images on web will look like.
As Davidson says:
For the first time, I’m looking at a photograph I’ve made on a screen that has the same sort of visceral appeal as a print. Or maybe a transparency laying on a lightbox. Ok, maybe not quite that good, but it’s pretty incredible. In fact, I really shouldn’t be comparing it to a print or a transparency at all. Really, it’s its own very unique experience.
But how could you go about serving the higher res image to just those screens with high enough resolution and fast enough connections to warrant it?
So what’s a web developer with high-res images to show off supposed to do? Well, right now you’re going to have to decide between all or nothing. Or you can use a hack like one of the less-than-ideal responsive image solutions we’ve covered before.
Right now visitors with the new iPad are probably a minority for most websites, so not that many people will be affected by low-res or poorly rendered high-res images. But Microsoft is already prepping Windows 8 for high-res retina-style screens and Apple is getting ready to bring the same concept to laptops.
The high-res future is coming fast and the web needs to evolve just as fast.
In the long run that means the web is going to need a real responsive image solution; something that’s part of HTML itself. An new HTML element like the proposed <picture> tag is one possible solution. The picture element would work much like the video tag, with code that looks something like this:
The browser uses this code to choose which image to load based on the current screen width.
The picture element would solve one part of the larger problem, namely serving the appropriate image to the appropriate screen resolution. But screen size isn’t the only consideration; we also need a way to measure the bandwidth available.
At home on my Wi-Fi connection I’d love to get Davidson’s high-res images on my iPad. When I’m out and about using a 3G connection it would be better to skip that extra overhead in favor of faster page load times.
Ideally browsers would send more information about the user’s environment along with each HTTP request. Think screen size, pixel density and network connection speed. Developers could then use that information to make a better-informed guess about which images it to serve. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely we’ll get such tools standardized and widely supported before the high-res world overtakes the web. With any server-side solution to the bandwidth problem still far off on the horizon, navigator.connection will become even more valuable in the mean time.
Further complicating the problem are two additional factors, data caps on mobile connections and technologies like Apple’s AirPlay. The former means that even if I have a fast LTE connection and a high-resolution screen I still might not want to use my limited data allotment to download high-res images.
AirPlay means I can browse to a site with my phone — which would likely trigger smaller images and videos since it’s a smaller screen — but then project the result on a huge HD TV screen. This is not even a hypothetical problem, you can experience it today with PBS’s iPhone app and AirPlay.
Want to help figure out how the web needs to evolve and what new tools we’re going to need? Keep an eye on the W3C’s Responsive Images community group, join the mailing list and don’t be shy about contributing. Post your experiments on the web and document your findings like Davidson and countless others are already doing.
It’s not going to happen overnight, but eventually the standards bodies and the browser makers are going to start implementing solutions and the more test cases that are out there, the more experimenting web developers have done, the better those solutions will be. It’s your web after all, so make it better.
Scott.Mattern 2700051WJN 854 Visits
Inspiring Innovation Persistent Perfection (IIPP) is the ASUS brand promise. It symbolizes our commitment to making life better through innovation, and our belief that life-changing shifts can only be achieved by keeping ahead of the curve and not resting on past successes. Through the years, ASUS’ visionary approach has seen it become a major proponent in consumer technology, bringing quality innovation and design into consumers’ lives. Asus offers their customers an ability to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. In addition customers can contact them and other customers through their online community forum allowing customers to interact with each other and Asus employees.