All posts on August, 2017


Jenkins Blue Ocean UI to provide code quality insights

Blue Ocean, the new user interface for the popular Jenkins continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform, will begin incorporating insights into code quality trends and static analyses, under an improvement plan detailed this week by the project’s creator.

The goal is to improve the developer’s visibility into the health of software projects, Blue Ocean creator James Dumay, director of project management at Jenkins technology vendor CloudBees, said. Plans also call for expanding the capabilities of Blue Ocean’s visual pipeline editor to better match what is available in Jenkins’ declarative pipelines for software delivery. The development team intends to outfit Blue Ocean with these capabilities in the next six to 12 months.

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Trends

Consumers’ Embrace of Mobile Apps Is Limited to a Choice Few

Mobile app use has become a powerful habit among U.S. consumers, based on new research findings. An increasing number of users have been spending their time consuming video, music and social media on smartphones and other mobile devices, but many are reluctant to try new apps. A large percentage of mobile app users’ time is spent on apps like Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter or Instagram.

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Audio/Video

Alexa Can Make Music Echo All Through the House

Alexa has a new musical talent, Amazon announced Tuesday. “Today, we’re making Alexa even smarter with an all-new feature that lets you play music synchronized on multiple Echo devices to provide room-filling music throughout your home,” said Amazon Alexa Vice President Toni Reid. Setting up the syncing is easy. Using the Alexa app, you give a group of devices a name, such as “first floor.”

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What’s new in TypeScript 2.5

TypeScript 2.5, the upcoming upgrade to Microsoft’s popular typed superset of JavaScript, is now available as a release candidate. It includes an enhancement for try/catch statements for errors as well as compiler improvements.

The catch binding parameters capability in TypeScript 2.5 uses a late-stage ECMAScript feature to make catch binding optional in try/catch statements. Making catch binding optional “means we can just omit unusedError altogether,” said Daniel Rosenwasser, Microsoft’s program manager for TypeScript. The reason for that is there are times when developers expect something might fail by throwing an error, but the developer does not care what the error is.

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Users review the top cloud data integration tools

As the world of cloud computing becomes more globalized, IT professionals need multiple levels of security and transparency to manage cloud relationships. Using a cloud data integration solution, an enterprise can configure a number of disparate application programs sharing data in a diverse network, including cloud-based data repositories. This allows enterprise tech professionals to manage, monitor and cleanse data from various web-based and mobile applications more effectively.

IT Central Station users have identified agile data transformation, a clear, customizable dashboard and efficient data replication as valuable features when looking for a cloud data integration solution. According to their reviews, the IT Central Station community has ranked Informatica Cloud Data Integration, Dell Boomi AtomSphere,  IBM App Connect and SnapLogic as leading cloud data integration solutions in the market.

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Deals

Apple, Accenture Team on iOS Enterprise Apps

Apple and Accenture on Tuesday announced a new partnership to develop iOS tools and services to help enterprises connect with their customers through iPads and iPhones. Accenture will create a dedicated iOS practice within Accenture Digital Studios, staffed by a range of visual and experience designers, programmers, data scientists and architects, as well as hardware and software designers.

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Customer Service

Rise in Mobile Commerce Fuels Demand for Omnichannel Service

Omnichannel support and communications are becoming essential for brands, as consumers’ increasing use of mobile devices to make purchases and access content fuels their demand to be able to connect with companies when and how they want. However, brands lack the necessary expertise and infrastructure, and are turning to mobile network operators, or MNOs, to acquire omnichannel capabilities.

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Microsoft linker tool shrinks .Net applications

A long-requested and long-unfulfilled feature for .Net has finally been delivered by Microsoft and the Mono team: A linker that allows .Net applications to be stripped down to include only the parts of libraries that are actually used by the program at runtime.

The IL Linker project works by analyzing a .Net application and determining which libraries are never called by the application in question. “It is effectively an application-specific dead code analysis,” says Microsoft in its GitHub announcement for the project.

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Enterprise

Too Few Candidates to Fill Growing Number of Open Source Jobs

Open source hiring has been hampered by a lack of trained job-takers, according to The Linux Foundation, which released its sixth annual summary of career opportunities in open source last week. The report provides an overview of open source career trends, along with factors that motivate industry professionals, and methods employers use to attract and retain qualified talent.

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Exclusives

Congressional App Challenge Director Rachel Décoste: Get on Board the Tech Train

“Coding is one of the most in-demand skills. There’s a myth out there that you need to have this skill only if you work with computers, but as society develops, you’re going to see coding in every field. This is a skill that’s needed in all job sectors,” said Rachel Décoste, director of the Congressional App Challenge. “The jobs of tomorrow will require, if not coding, at least an understanding of how it works.”

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3 projects lighting a fire under machine learning

Mention machine learning, and many common frameworks pop into mind, from “old” stalwarts like Scikit-learn to juggernauts like Google’s TensorFlow. But the field is large and diverse, and useful innovations are bubbling up across the landscape.

Recent releases from three open source projects continue the march toward making machine learning faster, more scalable, and easier to use. PyTorch and Apache MXNet bring GPU support to machine learning and deep learning in Python. 

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Vendors

Ten Billion

Salesforce announced the partial attainment of one of its long-range goals in its Q2 earnings announcement last week: It eclipsed its goal of a $10 billion run rate. This will be followed by similar announcements over the next year — first $10 billion year, etc. — and why not? The company should celebrate. Second quarter revenue hit $2.56 billion, a 26 percent increase year over year.

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Cybercrime

Cyberthieves Train Their Sights on US Mobile Phone Customers

A relatively new form of cybercrime recently has been plaguing American consumers. Thieves have been hijacking mobile phone account numbers and then transferring services to a different device. Further, hackers have begun using mobile numbers to raid digital wallets and similar accounts. This type of theft has been successful even against the most sophisticated of consumers.

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Tech Buzz

Apple to Sate iPhone Curiosity Sept. 12

Apple plans to refresh its iPhone, TV and watch lines at an event scheduled Sept. 12. In addition to upgrading its iPhone 7 models, the company is expected to debut the “iPhone 8” to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the brand. It reportedly will have an OLED display with barely any bezel, a fingerprint scanner at the rear of the phone, and support for facial recognition and wireless charging.

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Pivotal, VMware team up to deploy Kubernetes on vSphere

Pivotal and VMware have teamed up to deliver commercial-grade Kubernetes distributions on both VMware vSphere and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Pivotal Container Service (PKS), launching in Q4 2017, runs Kubernetes atop VMware’s infrastructure management tools—vSphere, vSAN, and NSX. It also taps a project from Cloud Foundry, Kubo, originally created by Pivotal and Google, to deploy and manage Kubernetes on VMware’s stack.

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What’s new in .Net’s Microsoft C# 8

Version 8 of Microsoft’s C# language will have nullable reference types, to improve code quality, according to the latest roadmap for the programming language from the .Net Foundation, which oversees the open source .Net that C# is part of. The feature will add safe reference types in addition to the existing ones that will be called non-nullable. Compilers will warn you when nullable types are dereferenced or when null is values are assigned to non-nullable variable types.

The nullable reference type is intended to help developers prevent null reference exceptions. A core of the capability is expressing an intent to be null. The compiler will recognize when something is not null and warn you when you’ve assigned null to a reference that was not declared as null. With the capability, developers get an assist in finding bugs and making them go away.

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Reviews

Window Maker Live: Cool Retro Look, Even Cooler Performance

Window Maker Live takes an unusual approach to desktop interface management. It has an old-fashioned look with a productive new feel. The latest version of Window Maker Live, released this month, is a Debian-based Linux distribution that uses the Window Maker window manager as the default GUI. It integrates well-known open source components in a surprisingly satisfying interface.

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E-Commerce

Amazon Takes 1st Steps Toward Whole Foods Pricing Makeover

Amazon kicked off the completion of its acquisition of Whole Foods Market with steep price cuts on some products. Among those now available at lower prices are Whole Trade bananas, organic avocados, organic large brown eggs, responsibly-farmed salmon and tilapia, organic baby kale and baby lettuce, animal-welfare-rated 85 percent lean ground beef, and organic Gala and Fuji apples.

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Tech Buzz

As New Turnaround King, Is HP Better Than Apple?

HP is the new turnaround king — but is it better than Apple? IBM was the king of tech in the 1980s, but in the 1990s it was the king of turnarounds, after almost going under but coming back from a negative brand equity, which occurs when folks will pay more for a no-name product than one with a negative brand. Apple, at the end of the 90s, was in much the same shape IBM was at the beginning.

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How much is a good deal worth?

If you knew that every single commercial or ad you ever had to see would only be for the exact products you wanted, what would you be willing to give up in trade? Would you be willing to post your home address for others to see? Your income bracket? Your birth date? Mind you, this information wouldn’t only go to your approved social media connections…would you be willing to tell the whole internet?

For most of us, the automatic answer is no, but the reality of social media isn’t too far off. Some platforms like Facebook rely on targeted advertising to keep the lights on, and to keep the service free for the public to use.

You might argue that it’s a small price to pay for the ability to connect to practically anyone in the world, and sure, advertising in and of itself is not inherently bad. But when advertising crosses the line into invasion of privacy, consumers have to ask hard questions about what personal data they’re giving away.

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Enterprise

Microsoft, Red Hat Offer Enterprise Support for Containers in Hybrid Cloud

Microsoft and Red Hat this week expanded their nearly 2-year-old alliance to bridge the gap between Windows and open source computing with the launch of several new initiatives to help enterprise customers more easily adopt container solutions. The announcement bolsters an alliance that began in 2015, when Microsoft began offering Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the preferred choice for enterprise Linux workloads on Microsoft Azure.

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Trends

Consumer Healthcare: Growing Importance of Patient Education and Communications Solutions

As the healthcare industry shifts to value-based care models, patient education and communication solutions increasingly have become an investment priority for care providers and payers. Consumers have many means, whether digital or analog, to acquire medical knowledge and personal health information, and they tend to reach out to their doctor when sick, or when they have complex health questions.

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OpenJDK may tackle Java security gaps with secretive group

To shore up Java’s security, a private group that operates outside the normal open source community process is under consideration.

The proposed OpenJDK (Java Development Kit) Vulnerability Group would provide a secure, private forum in which trusted members of the community receive reports on vulnerabilities in code bases and then review and fix them. Coordinating the release of fixes also would be part of the group’s mandate. (Java SE, the standard edition of Java, has been developed under the auspices of OpenJDK.)

The vulnerability group and Oracle’s internal security teams would work together, and it may occasionally need to work with external security organizations.

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Node.js forks again, this time over a political dispute

New dissension in the Node.js community, driven by objections to the conduct of a Node.js technical committee member, have led to another fork of the JavaScript runtime engine.

Ayo.js describes itself as  built on the Google Chrome V8 JavaScript engine. It features an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model to make it lightweight and efficient. That’s exactly how Node.js describes itself. A note on the Ayo,js GitHub repo even states a lot of the Ayo.js documentation still points at the Node.js repo.

Two years ago, the IO.js fork resulted from a dispute over technical directions in Node.js (IO.js was later merged back into Node.js), but the new Ayo.js fork seems to be the result of community infighting more than any arguments over technology. Node.js technical steering committee member Rod Vagg, chief Node officer at Node.js provider NodeSource, raised ire over his tweet supporting a code of conduct article that Node.js community members described as inflammatory. They also claimed he had interfered with the Node.js moderation process.

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What is data mining? How analytics uncovers insights

Organizations today are gathering ever-growing volumes of information from all kinds of sources, including websites, enterprise applications, social media, mobile devices, and increasingly the internet of things (IoT).

The big question is: How can you derive real business value from this information? That’s where data mining can contribute in a big way. Data mining is the automated process of sorting through huge data sets to identify trends and patterns and establish relationships, to solve business problems or generate new opportunities through the analysis of the data.

It’s not just a matter of looking at data to see what has happened in the past to be able to act intelligently in the present. Data mining tools and techniques let you predict what’s going to happen in the future and act accordingly to take advantage of coming trends.

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