Box Launches HTML 5 Tool

April 17, 2014 by admin  
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Box has updated developer usage plans and opened access to a document viewing tool as it looks to build momentum ahead of its IPO.

Box has made its HTML5 document viewing tool called Box View available for developers to incorporate into their companies’ products and services.

It was unveiled in beta mode last September at the firm’s annual Boxworks conference and is designed to help firms ensure that documents in any format can be viewed online. The tool is based on technology Box acquired in its acquisition of Crocodoc.

Box product manager Sean Rose explained in a blog post, “Box View is an API that converts Office and PDF documents to easily embeddable HTML5, enabling developers to create beautiful experiences around content. Gone are the days of forcing users to deal with broken and inconsistent experiences across platforms.

“With just a few simple API calls, developers can create an elegant and consistent content experience across all platforms.”

Box cited some customers that are already using this service, such as UberConference, Xero and Shake to ensure that they can send information to partners, customers and contractors quickly and easily.

Furthermore, the firm has based the pricing model for the tool on a per-use basis, rather than a traditional per-user basis.

For users of the service as a Box-branded platform – so it displays the Box logo, rather than the customer’s own logo – it’s free for 1,000 document uploads per month. After that it’s priced at 2.5 cents per document.

Custom use of the tool so the customer’s own logo is displayed costs $250 per month for 2,500 uploads. Each document after that costs five cents per upload, but enterprise users can thrash out a deal with Box for any service they expect to handle over 10,000 document uploads a month.

“Most developers will never have to pay anything for Box View, and, for those that do, Box View pricing is built to scale alongside your app’s user base,” added Rose.

As part of this encouragement to developers to incorporate Box into its tools the firm has also unveiled new pricing models around its APIs, to again focus on usage levels rather than user numbers.

Integrating with Box in general is free for developers, and up to 25,000 interactions with the Box Content API is free too. For 25,000 or more API interactions the cost is $500 per month. Any more than this and custom deals are available.

Box VP of Platform Chris Yeh explained that this move was designed “specifically for businesses that want to leverage the APIs at scale” to help keep pace with the growth the firm is seeing.

“More than 35,000 developers are building on Box. Every month, our platform sees one billion third-party API calls, and the Box OneCloud ecosystem just reached 1,000 app integration partners,” Yeh said.

The updates come at a busy time for Box after it filed to go public earlier this week in a listing worth $250m, as it looks to build on its early success in the enterprise market.

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AMD Buys Mobile Patents

April 2, 2014 by admin  
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China’s Lenovo is acquiring patents related to 3G and 4G technologies from U.S.-based Unwired Planet for $100 million, as the company sets about expanding with its proposed Motorola Mobility acquisition.

The 21 patent families that Lenovo is purchasing from Unwired Planet will help the Chinese company grow its smartphone and mobile business in new markets, it said Thursday.

In addition, Unwired Planet is licensing its patent portfolio to Lenovo for an unspecified number of years. The Nevada-based company develops mobile technologies in use by carriers including AT&T and Sprint. After its deal with Lenovo closes, Unwired Planet said it will have about 2,500 issued and pending international patents in its portfolio.

Although Lenovo is best known as a PC maker, the company is aiming to becoming a major vendor of mobile phones. Already, in its home market of China, Lenovo ranks as one of the biggest smartphone vendors, and has dozens of different models on the local market.

Lenovo’s mobile phone business is set to grow even larger. In January, the company announced it planned to buy Motorola Mobility from Google for $2.9 billion.

With the proposed acquisition, Lenovo’s handset business will get a foothold in the North American market. The company plans to keep the Motorola business intact, and even use the business to sell phones in its home market of China.

The Motorola deal will also help Lenovo shield itself from patent-related lawsuits that have been used to try to stymie the businesses of other handset makers. By buying Motorola, Lenovo will take ownership of more than 2,000 patent assets and also gain access to Google’s own patent portfolio.

Lenovo’s deal with Unwired Planet is expected to close in 30 days.

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Is Ethernet For Autos?

March 11, 2014 by admin  
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The most ubiquitous local area networking technology used by large companies may be packing its bags for a road trip.

As in-vehicle electronics become more sophisticated to support autonomous driving, cameras, and infotainment systems, Ethernet has become a top contender for connecting them.

For example, the BMW X5 automobile, released last year, used single-pair twisted wire, 100Mbps Ethernet to connect its driver-assistance cameras.

Paris-based Parrot, which supplies mobile accessories to automakers BMW, Hyundai and others, has developed in-car Ethernet. Its first Ethernet-connected systems could hit the market as soon as 2015, says Eric Riyahi, executive vice president of global operations.

Parrot’s new Ethernet-based Audio Video Bridging (AVB) technology uses Broadcom’s BroadR-Reach automotive Ethernet controller chips.

The AVB technology’s network management capabilities allows automakers to control the timing of data streams between specific network nodes in a vehicle and controls the bandwidth in order to manage competing data traffic.

Ethernet’s greater bandwidth could provide drivers with turn-by-turn navigation while a front-seat passenger streams music from the Internet, and each back-seat passenger watches streaming videos on separate displays.

“In-car Ethernet is seen as a very promising way to provide the needed bandwidth for coming new applications within the fields of connectivity, infotainment and safety,” said Hans Alminger, senior manager for Diagnostics & ECU Platform at Volvo, in a statement.

Ethernet was initially used by automakers only for on-board diagnostics. But as automotive electronics advanced, the technology has found a place in advanced driver assistance systems and infotainment platforms.

Many manufacturers also use Ethernet to connect rear vision cameras to a car’s infotainment or safety system, said Patrick Popp, chief technology officer of Automotive at TE Connectivity, a maker of car antennas and other automobile communications parts.

Currently, however, there are as many as nine proprietary auto networking specifications, including LIN, CAN/CAN-FD, MOST and FlexRay. FlexRay, for example, has a 10Mbps transmission rate. Ethernet could increase that 10 fold or more.

The effort to create a single vehicle Ethernet standard is being lead by Open Alliance and the IEEE 802.3 working group. The groups are working to establish 100Mbps and 1Gbps Ethernet as de facto standards.

The first automotive Ethernet standard draft is expected this year.

The Open Alliance claims more than 200 members, including General Motors, Ford, Daimler, Honda, Hyundai, BMW, Toyota, Volkswagen. Jaguar Land Rover, Renault, Volvo, Bosch, Freescale and Harman.

Broadcom, which makes electronic control unit chips for automobiles, is a member of the Open Alliance and is working on the effort to standardize automotive Ethernet.

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Google Moves into Conerencing

February 18, 2014 by admin  
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Google Inc introduced a videoconferencing system for businesses on Thursday, the Internet search company’s latest attempt to generate revenue from corporate customers.

Google said it was partnering with Asus, Hewlett-Packard Co and Dell to offer a specialized version of its Chromebox PC that comes with videoconferencing gear, including a video camera and speakers.

The first Chromebox for meetings to be available is made by Asus and goes on sale in the U.S. on Thursday for $999, Google said. Customers can also pay a $250 annual service and management fee, though the first year is included in the product’s sales price.

The product uses Google’s free Hangouts video chat technology to connect up to 15 separate video streams from users in different locations.

The product will put Google in competition against Cisco Systems Inc and Polycom Inc, which make the video conferencing systems used by many corporations.

The world’s largest Internet search engine, Google makes the vast majority of its revenue from advertising. But Google also sells services to corporate customers, including special versions of its online apps such as email and word processing, as well as Chromebook laptops aimed at business users.

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Is The US & UK Lacking In Broadband?

December 11, 2013 by admin  
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The US and UK are stragglers when it comes to consumer broadband download speeds and appear far down in table rankings.

This puts the countries, swaggering authoritarian surveillance monsters that they are, rather low down on the satisfaction scale.

The ranking produced by Ookla is based on results from Speedtest servers, and is called the Net Index.

“Based on millions of recent test results from Speedtest.net, this index compares and ranks consumer download speeds around the globe,” is the explanation.

“The value is the rolling mean throughput in Mbps over the past 30 days where the mean distance between the client and the server is less than 300 miles.”

Hong Kong takes pole position and it is credited as having download speeds in the area of 71.03 Mbps. There is a big drop of around 20 Mbps down to Singapore in second place with 52.85 Mbps and third is Romania, where speeds are 50.82 Mbps.

You have to look a long way down the list before arriving at the UK, which is in 25th place. Here, or there depending on where you live, consumers get a rather meagre sounding 23.55 Mbps.

The United States weighs in at 31st place and has download speeds of 20.77 Mbps. This puts it below the UK, Germany, Estonia, Hungary, Greece and 25 others.

Closer to home the European Commission has published its report on Broadband Coverage in Europe (2012) and reveals progress on broadband coverage targets. It found that while broadband has improved, it could be faster.

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Twitter Tightens Security

December 2, 2013 by admin  
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Twitter Inc said it has put in place a security technology that makes it harder to spy on its users and called on other Internet firms to do the same, as Web providers look to thwart spying by government intelligence agencies.

The online messaging service, which began scrambling communications in 2011 using traditional HTTPS encryption, said on Friday it has added an advanced layer of protection for HTTPS known as “forward secrecy.”

“A year and a half ago, Twitter was first served completely over HTTPS,” the company said in a blog posting. “Since then, it has become clearer and clearer how important that step was to protecting our users’ privacy.”

Twitter’s move is the latest response from U.S. Internet firms following disclosures by former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden about widespread, classified U.S. government surveillance programs.

Facebook Inc, Google Inc, Microsoft Corp and Yahoo Inc have publicly complained that the government does not let them disclose data collection efforts. Some have adopted new privacy technologies to better secure user data.

Forward secrecy prevents attackers from exploiting one potential weakness in HTTPS, which is that large quantities of data can be unscrambled if spies are able to steal a single private “key” that is then used to encrypt all the data, said Dan Kaminsky, a well-known Internet security expert.

The more advanced technique repeatedly creates individual keys as new communications sessions are opened, making it impossible to use a master key to decrypt them, Kaminsky said.

“It is a good thing to do,” he said. “I’m glad this is the direction the industry is taking.”

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Africa To Lead Global Bandwidth Demand

November 11, 2013 by admin  
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Africa’s demand for Internet access to the rest of the world will grow by an average of 51 percent every year until 2019, ahead of all other regions, according to a forecast by research company Telegeography.

Rapid economic growth and wider Internet use will drive the increase in demand, which will be met mostly by turning on unused capacity in existing cables, according to Telegeography analyst Erik Kreifeldt. Terrestrial links are in demand partly because much of Africa still relies on satellite, which is far more expensive per bit than wired broadband, he said.

Most Internet bandwidth between continents is provided by undersea cables built and financed by groups of service providers. From Africa, most of those links go to Europe. Other carriers pay to tap into those cables and link their customers to the Internet. In some parts of Africa, running cables from coastal areas to the interior is a challenge so satellite remains the major Internet source, Kreifeldt said.

The capacity of international cables landing on African shores is just a fraction of the bandwidth available between Europe, the U.S. and Asia. After seven years of the growth that Telegeography forecasts, from 2012 through 2019, Africa will have 17.2Tbps (bits per second) of links to the outside world. That’s up from just 957Gbps in 2012 but will still be only about one-quarter of the international capacity of Latin America and less than that of Canada, according to Telegeography.

The hunger for the Internet varies among African countries. Through 2019, bandwidth demand is expected to grow fastest in Angola, at 71 percent per year; Tanzania, at 68 percent; and Gabon, at 67 percent.

Many new cables have been built to Africa and around the continent in the past several years, giving service providers excess fiber capacity that can be turned on when needed, Kreifeldt said. As that fiber gets lit up and supply rises, prices should fall for enterprises and other users in African countries, he said. However, due to relative scarcity, a given amount of bandwidth between Africa and Europe costs about 10 times as much as the same size connection between Europe and North America, he said. Africa’s bandwidth gains aren’t expected to shrink that gap.

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Amazon Debuts Cloud-based Transcoding Service

October 28, 2013 by admin  
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Amazon Web Services has rolled out the option to use its Elastic Transcoder for audio-only conversions.

Amazon Elastic Transcoder was developed to offer an easy and low-cost way to convert media files from their source format into versions that will play on devices like smartphones, tablets and PCs.

The new feature lets anyone use Amazon Elastic Transcoder to convert audio-only content like music or podcasts from one format to another. Users can also strip out the audio tracks from video files and create audio-only streams. An option that, for example, can be used to create podcasts from video originals that are compatible with iOS applications that require an audio-only HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) file set, Amazon said.

The output from Elastic Transcoder is two-channel AAC, MP3 or Vorbis. Metadata like track name, artist, genre and album art is included in the output file and users can also specify replacement or additional album art.

Users of the service pay for the length of their converted content. For audio-only transcoding, prices start at $0.0045 per minute. That compares to the video version, which costs from $0.015 per minute for standard definition content and $0.03 per minute for high-definition clips, according to Amazon’s website.

For users who want to try out the service, the AWS Free Tier offers up to 20 minutes of free audio output per month. The service was announced for video in January and is still tagged as a beta.

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Samsung’s Eight-core Chip Goes Hacking

August 13, 2013 by admin  
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A Samsung eight-core chip used in some Galaxy S4 mobile devices is now available for hackers to play with on a developer board from South Korea-based Hardkernel.

Hardkernel’s Odroid XU board has incorporated Samsung’s eight-core Exynos 5 Octa 5410 chip, which is based on ARM’s latest processor designs. Samsung recently announced a new eight-core chip, the Exynos 5 Octa 5420, which packs faster graphics and application processing than the 5410. The 5420 has not yet been shipped yet, however.

The Odroid board is priced at $149 through Aug. 31, after which it will be offered for $169. Samsung for many months has said that a board with an eight-core chip would be released, and has shown prototype developer boards at conferences.

Odroid-XU will provide developers an opportunity to write programs tuned for Samsung’s octa-core chip, which has been a source of controversy. Analysts have said the eight-core design is overkill for small devices like smartphones and tablets, which need long battery life.

The eight-core chip design also takes up a lot of space, which prevented Samsung from putting LTE radios inside some Galaxy S4 models. Qualcomm, which hesitantly moved from the dual core to the quad-core design on its Snapdragon chips, on Friday criticized eight-core chips, calling the idea “dumb.”

Despite the criticism, the board will give developers a first true glimpse of, and an opportunity to write and test applications for, ARM’s Big.Little design. The design combines high-power cores for demanding applications with low-power cores for mundane tasks like texting and calling.

Samsung’s iteration of Big.Little in the Exynos 5 Octa 5410 chip combines four processors based on ARM’s latest Cortex-A15 processor design, which incorporates four low-power Cortex-A7 CPUs. The Cortex-A15 is ARM’s latest processor design and succeeds the previous Cortex-A9 core, which was used in popular smartphones like Apple’s iPhone and the Galaxy S3. Samsung said the eight-core chip provides a balance of power and performance, with the high-power cores kicking in only when necessary.

The board has an Imagination Technologies PowerVR SGX544MP3 graphics processor, 2GB of low-power DDR3 DRAM, two USB 3.0 ports and four USB 2.0 ports. Other features include Wi-Fi, Ethernet and optional Bluetooth. Google’s Android 4.2 operating system is preloaded, and support for other Linux distributions like Ubuntu is expected soon. The board has already been benchmarked on Ubuntu 13.04.

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Intel Launches 530 Series SSD

August 9, 2013 by admin  
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Intel’s new SSD 530 series was detailed a while ago, but now it is finally official. Intel has formally announced the new drives in three form factors: mSATA, M.2 and 2.5-inch.

The drives will be available in a wide range of capacities, starting at 80GB, through 120GB, 180GB, 240GB, 360GB and 480GB for 2.5-inch drives. As for M.2 and mSATA drives, they will be available in 80GB, 120GB, 180GB and 360GB capacities.

Intel’s new 530 drives are based on 20nm MLC flash and the brains behind the brawn come from LSI, in the form of the SandForce SF-2281 controller. Although transfer speeds will vary depending on capacity, the fastest 530-series drives will deliver read speeds of up to 540MB/s and write at 490MB/s. As for random performance, they boast 41k IOPS in random read and 80k IOPS in random write.

Intel also says the 530-series is its most power efficient storage product to date, which is hardly surprising, but it is good news for notebook vendors who will use mSATA units.

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