Google Cloud Storage Nearline Now Available to All, Offers 100PB Free Storage

Google’s Cloud Storage Nearline is now available to the general public. The company has announced that the service, which offers low-cost premium archiving and backing up of data, has moved out of beta. In order to entice users, Google is offering storage of 100PB of space for free.Released as a beta in March, Cloud Storage Nearline is aimed at data-heavy businesses that need fast retrieval of data. The service competes with Dropbox, Amazon’s Glacier, Box, and OneDrive among others. Unlike its competitors that take hours for handling such voluminous data, Google says that Nearline could do it in seconds and minutes.Discussing Nearline’s other features, Google promises 99 percent uptime, on demand I/O operations, and lifecycle management – consisting of features such as automated archival and scheduled deletions. And, of course, there is the 100PB free of storage for up to six months. Afterwards, users will have to pay $0.01 per GB every month.”You now will be able to configure one-time data migrations, as well as schedule recurring data transfers,” explained Avtandil Garakanidze, Google product manager, on a company blog post.The company is also offering its on-demand I/O feature, which allows users to increase I/O rate from typical read of 4MB per second, for free for the first three months.To help users jump the boat, Nearline’s Cloud Storage Transfer feature allows one to import large amount of data from HTTP/HTTPS services such as Amazon S3. Speaking of Amazon, Google is also offering a total cost of ownership calculator to let users know how much they will be saving by switching from Amazon Web Services.

Apple Says App Store, Other Services Resume After Three Hours

Apple Inc said App Store, Apple Music, iTunes Store and some other services are back online, after a more than three hour outage.The company did not provide details but said only some users were affected on Tuesday.

The last time that Apple services were affected this long was in March, when iTunes and the App Store came back online after a mammoth 12-hour outage.

In checks by Reuters on several Apple sites in Asia, Europe and North and South America all issues with the services appeared resolved.

The problems seemed to have started just before 10 a.m. ET (1400 GMT), and the services resumed around 1:15 p.m. ET according to a timeline on Apple’s U.S. support page.

The problems started just before Apple’s radio station Beats 1 was supposed to reveal the nominations for MTV’s 2015 Video Music Awards.

MTV announced on Monday that the nominations would be aired exclusively on the station.

Apple Insider, a tech news blog, said the disruption was caused likely by excess traffic associated with the announcement.

“We are investigating and will update the status as more information becomes available,” Apple had said earlier on the support site.

Apple, which is scheduled to report its third-quarter results later on Tuesday, was not immediately available for comment.

Online mobile recharge- everything you should know

No matter how low or high your phone expenses are, everyone makes efforts to pay the minimum and get the maximum. However if you go to the recharge shops, you would see that you always get deducted amount of balance defined as the service tax or the vat charged. However this won’t be the case when you choose the option of online recharge or online Vodafone bill payment. When you choose this mode, you would be loaded with a lot of attractive offers that will make you get something much more in comparison to what you invest. A lot of telecom companies as well plan to attract the customers towards online mobile recharge and bill payments by bringing offers valid only over the internet.

There are a lot of benefits that you will get used to with when you start recharging your phone online or make online Vodafone bill payments. First thing in this list would be that it would save a lot of your time as well as efforts. Once you make an account online on a reliable website, you will not have to repeat the same procedure every time. Things are even easier when you make your Vodafone bill payment. Since the system would automatically grab all the details related to the payment as well as the ones related to your mode of payment, the risk of session getting timed out and all will get vanished.

When you make online Vodafone bill payment you will also contribute a lot in saving and preserving the environment. Since you won’t have to carry any type of paper along, you will not have to worry about keeping it safe or filing it up every month. As soon as you make a transaction online, you would immediately get a sms and also a confirmation mail from all the involved parties. So consider how much paper will be saved in this process.

All the websites that allow you to do the online mobile recharge have reliable and secure payment gateways and APIs which keep all your details safe and secure. This is one of the most comforting features when you make online Vodafone bill payment. Since there are millions of people all over the world getting benefitted from these features, there is no case in which you will face the problem related to safety and security. With all the precautions taken by the websites and the huge support that they get from the regulating boards and authorities, the chances already get reduced. But being an educated and modern person it is the customer’s responsibility as well to stay aware. By no means should you be negligent in this process of trust a website of application which is relatively new in the market and is offering you deals that look unbelievable.

Keep in mind  that the balances and talk times, etc is totally regulated by the telecom companies only and the deals that they will give you will be external. So be aware and use this facility to make bill payments and do recharges.



Dashlane now supports fingerprint unlocking on select Samsung devices

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Dashlane’s password manager now taps into the fingerprint scanner on Samsung devices for quick data entry to apps and websites.

The new feature works with the Galaxy S5, S6, S6 Edge, Note 4, and Note Edge.

I activated the feature on my Galaxy Note 4 with relative ease by following the on-screen prompts (be sure you have the latest version of the Dashlane app from the Play Store).

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In just a few steps you can unlock Dashlane by using the fingerprint scanner on select Samsung devices.

You may have a better experience if you have a Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge because those devices allow you to just place your finger on the scanner, much like Apple’s Touch ID. Whereas with the Note 4, like previous generation Samsung devices, I had to slide my finger over the scanner. It took a couple of triesto get the fingerprint to register, but it eventually did so.

Either way, it’s faster method to use the fingerprint scanner to authorize a password when you go to sign in to a new app or website with Chrome. The new feature is a good update that could make its way to future devices that come with a fingerprint scanner.

Why this matters: Recently, Dashlane integrated with SwiftKey keyboard, which creates a pretty slick method for instantly entering your password on an Android device. Online security is a critical business, and with Google’s continuing efforts to eliminate the password altogether, Dashlane and rivals like LastPass will need to keep one-upping one another to stay relevant. Dashlane promises integration with other brands of devices in the near future (we suspect as more and more phones ship with fingerprint readers).

Android Wear Update to Bring Watch-to-Watch Sharing, Interactive Faces

While Google announced new features for its Android Wear OS at the Google I/O 2015 in May, rumours and leaks for the next OS version have already started surfacing on the Internet. A report has suggested couple of major features that will come with the next Android Wear OS version.

The first feature said to arrive in the next Android Wear version is the single tap gesture. The gesture would let users make visual changes, launch activities, in-line expansion and more using one tap on the watch face, saving users the inconvenience of making several swipes, reports Phandroid.

It is worth mentioning that some watch faces available from Google Play already have the single tap gesture. However, those watch face developers are able to bring this feature using a hacked method – access of service window or use of invisible buttons. These might result in system conflicts. The introduction of the feature in the next update would make the function native to Android Wear.

android_wear_interactive_watchface_phandroid.jpgThe report also claims that with the next update, the function to launch voice commands using a single tap on the watch face display would be replaced completely by the new swift left gesture that was introduced with Android 5.1 update for Android Wear.

As per the document provided to the website, Google has given four examples of the functionality of the single tap gesture – changes to watch faces, state changes (such as weather), revealing more information (such as fitness graph), and launching an activity (will slide from right side of the watch face). It has been understood that Google, upon the launch of next Android Wear, would promote the interactive watch faces under a separate collection in Google Play.

android_wear_interactive_watchface_launch_activity_phandroid.jpgThe second important feature said to be included in the next Android Wear OS version is the watch-to-watch communication called Together. The feature is said to have taken clues from Apple Watch’s functionality using which users can send heart beats and doodles to other Apple Watch users. In Android Wear, users would be able to send messages, stickers, emojis, and doodles.

The clues suggesting the existence of the feature come from some code strings. It has been also found out that the feature is limited to a single watch face, but the report notes that the code strings obtained were quite old, and it is possible Google would make changes to it ahead of launch. Also mentioned is that LG G Watch R, after the next Android Wear update, would be receiving the Wi-Fi upgrade. The feature was missing from the Android 5.1.1 update for Android Wear.

Ather Energy to Begin Test Drives for Its Smart Scooter in India

India’s first premium electric smart scooter will soon be available for test drives by October or November this year, as the Bengaluru-based automotive startup Ather Energy gears up for the launch of its first scooter in 2016.

Ather Energy’s first scooter, the S340, has received thousands of enquiries on its website, and will offer a test drive to potential customers starting with Bengaluru, followed by Chennai and Delhi. Co-founder Tarun Mehta said that the scooter will be priced under Rs. 1,00,000, with a formal price announcement likely three months from now.

The co-founders believe that this space is ripe for disruption, as locally available electric-scooters lack either the speed or the smarts, with a majority of them running on lead-acid batteries.

“Typically we have electric scooters which have a top speed of 25-40kmph, they have poor acceleration, and a battery life of 5,000-6,000 kilometres, and a 6-8 hour charging time. Unlike these, our scooter doesn’t feel like a step down from a petrol scooter,” Tarun Mehta said, speaking with NDTV Gadgets.

Atherenergy_body.jpgAther’s smart scooter is specced to deliver a top speed of 75kmph, and will do 0-60kmph in 11 seconds, have an estimated driving range of 50-100 kilometres, and recharge to about 90 percent capacity in an hour. The lithium-ion battery will have a life-cycle of 50,000 kilometres, with a lifespan of five to six years. “We don’t let the battery charge up to 100 percent, otherwise you will just damage the battery for an extra 2-3 kilometres,” Mehta said.

Ather has used a digital battery system, which gives a lot more control and feedback, enabling features like remote firmware upgrades. The battery pack is built out of the 18650 cell format, which is also used by Tesla on its Model S electric car. Compared to an elastic battery pack, Mehta said it offers higher energy density and is safer. He estimates that the S340’s battery should be able to achieve two to three times the estimated life stated on the specifications.

“We’ve done a lot of interesting work with the battery management system, we’ve gone for a massive amount of integration, the BMS is integrated inside the battery pack, the battery pack itself is integrated into the vehicle chassis. That has allowed us to significantly cut down on costs, weight, and overall thermal performance.” Mehta said. “Taking the heat off an off-the-shelf battery pack becomes quite difficult, you’ll have to do a lot of retrofit around it. We’ve gone for a structural battery pack, which automatically allows us to improve cooling significantly. Had we taken off-the-shelf specs, we wouldn’t have come up with similar performance specs at this price.” he added.

Taiwanese company Gogoro launched its smart scooter last month at $4,100 (roughly Rs. 2,60,000). According to Mehta, the specs offered by Gogoro are about 20 percent more than the S340. While it will be priced higher than petrol-powered scooters, Mehta said that they’re creating a whole new vehicle category, and therefore is not trying to match its pricing to the existing scooter category. “What we are trying to do is make sure the vehicle is priced below Rs. 1,00,000, including the price of the battery.” he said.

The battery can be managed remotely using a smartphone, and will manage itself during long breaks in Vacation mode. The S340 also has an Android-based smart dashboard that helps with smart features like navigation and theft protection.

The company raised $1 million (roughly Rs. 6.3 crores) in a seed funding round led by Flipkart founders led by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal. Its most recent round was a $12 million (roughly Rs. 76 crores) funding round was a Series A from Tiger Global in May 2015.

Microsoft killing Photosynth and MSN apps, including Health & Fitness, Food & Drink

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Microsoft confirmed Friday that a number of little-used MSN apps will be discontinued, and won’t appear in Windows 10: Photosynth, MSN Food & Drink, MSN Travel, and MSN Health & Fitness. But killing the latter app seems like a real blow to Microsoft’s nascent health initiative.

All of the apps will be killed off on whatever platforms they ran on: iOS, Android, and the Windows operating systems. In virtually all of the cases, just the apps are being retired; Microsoft plans to maintain its MSN Health & Fitness Web site, for example.

Because of this, the impact to each app will vary. The app for MSN Food & Drink, for example, contained a feature to allow users to create and organize shopping lists. But the remainder of the app mimicked a Web page: Users could explore and pore through various recipes, for example, and read “news” on topics like “America’s Best Fast Food Shakes”. The MSN Travel app allowed you to search for flights and hotels, and track the status of your flight—all features that could be handled by a Web site. Finally, even the site will be maintained, although the iOS and Android apps will be discontinued.

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Microsoft Health & Fitness offers a surprising amount of information about your day.

But it’s MSN Health & Fitness that seems to be the most valuable to users and Microsoft alike, and it’s unclear what killing it will mean. Microsoft representatives didn’t have a response to that question at press time.

“We regularly evaluate our business to ensure we’re focused on the areas where our users find the most value,” Microsoft said in a statement. “We will continue to support those apps with broad consumer appeal including News, Weather, Sports and Money, which will be made available as apps on Windows 10 and will remain cross platform.”

Redundant apps that still differ

Microsoft offers two health-focused apps: MSN Health & Fitness, and Microsoft Health. Both work on Windows Phones, but Microsoft designed the newer Microsoft Health app to work almost exclusively with the Microsoft Band.

Unfortunately, MSN Health & Fitness is an excellent standalone app, tapping into the motion-sensing capabilities of most modern Lumia phones to provide a bare-bones fitness tracker for those who don’t want to spend an additional $100 or more on a dedicated device. It even tracks walking and running steps by default—something that the Band itself does not, unless you specify a “workout.” And while it has a slightly different mix of workouts than the Health app (mostly focused on yoga, Pilates and strength, while Microsoft Health broadens that out to involve running and biking), the Health & Fitness app arguably provides a comprehensive list of the most common exercises.

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The MSN Travel app just culls information from the Web site.

Unfortunately, the MSN Health & Fitness Web site offers just a general list of health-related news, without offering anything specific to users. And according to VentureBeat, the Health & Fitness app will dump any data you’ve stored in it by November 1.

Microsoft says, however, that Microsoft Health will suck in the motion data from your Windows Phone, too. “Microsoft Band works with Microsoft Health, a cloud-based destination, to store, share and convert information into insights you can use to achieve your fitness goals,” a Microsoft spokeswoman said in an email.

“Similarly, if you track steps and calorie burn on your WP it also works with the Microsoft Health app,” the spokeswoman added. “If you’re wearing the Band, that will kick in as your priority tracker.

Why this matters: Yes, Microsoft plans to get rid of the MSN apps well after Windows 10 Mobile is expected to launch. And maybe by then Windows 10 and Microsoft Health will have carved out a viable alternative. But it still seems like Microsoft is taking a perfectly good app and getting rid of it for no good reason.

Object Theory takes aim at HoloLens business apps

Microsoft HoloLens

While augmented and virtual reality are often associated with video games, Microsoft has highlighted enterprise plans for HoloLens, its augmented reality headset.

In one HoloLens video, Microsoft shows the self-contained computer being used to review building plans and design a motorcycle as well as to play Minecraft.

Before HoloLens appears in offices, though, there have to be applications that can overlay 3D images on the real world. While Microsoft will most likely develop software for the HoloLens, outside companies will also create applications for the device.

This week, Object Theory launched as one of the early companies to build enterprise software for the HoloLens. It was founded by Michael Hoffman, who mostly recently worked at Microsoft as one of the lead HoloLens engineers, and Raven Zachary, who started a company that built mobile apps for Whole Foods and Starbucks before selling the business to Wal-Mart in 2012.

Existing game studios will handle entertainment software, said Zachary. Object Theory, in Portland, Oregon, will build HoloLens applications for businesses.

Hoffman and Zachary won’t say if they have any clients booked yet, but they said business are interested in learning if HoloLens is right for them.

At Microsoft, Hoffman worked on HoloLens partnerships with outside companies, and the reaction to the device was positive, he said. Businesses believe “the hardware has the real ability to generate value,” he said.

Companies in medical imaging, computer-aided design and other fields have contacted Object Theory, Hoffman said. With HoloLens, doctors could study parts of the human body like the skeletal system and 3D designers could view their projects in scale.

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Zachary, who worked for Wal-Mart after the company bought his business, sees HoloLens being used in retail environments. High-end jewelry and fashion stores and car dealerships could use HoloLens to show customers products that are customized to their specifications. Holograms can help retailers plan store layouts and shelf placement, among other in-store uses, he said.

Object Theory can use the Unity game engine to create programs that will be similar to what a business would experience using a HoloLens program, Zachary said.

Virtual and augmented reality always seem to be on the cusp of becoming mainstream, said Hoffman. What makes this time different is advances in the technology behind augmented reality, like gesture recognition, and in underlying components like batteries.

“We’re getting to the point where all of the off-the-shelf technology is there, but we needed other technologies to be invented,” said Hoffman.

The investments that major tech players are making in virtual reality also show the space is maturing, said Zachary. Other companies working on the technology include Facebook’s Oculus VR business, which is coming out with a virtual reality headset next year, and Google, with its Cardboard virtual reality platform. Meanwhile, Sony is developing a virtual-reality headset code-named Project Morpheus that can work with its PlayStation game console. Apple has the tech community guessing at its virtual reality plans since it posted job listings for engineers with a background in the technology.

For now, Object Theory will stick with building applications for HoloLens.

“As long as it makes sense from a business perspective, we would just stay focused on HoloLens and become really good at that,” Hoffman said. He’s confident Microsoft is dedicated to making the headset commercially viable.

“Being close to HoloLens, I have confidence this project is real and Microsoft is in it for the long haul,” he said.

Secure your fortress with the Internet of Things

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A man’s home is his castle. Unfortunately, moats and drawbridges are no longer strong options for most homeowners looking to protect themselves. Security means defending not against barbarians at the gates but against thieves staking out your home and trying to sneak in undetected, often when you’re away.

Fortunately, modern households have a new resource to deter thieves and detect trouble before it happens: the Internet of Things. Here’s how you can use simple appliances – or elements of your home itself – as focal points in a home security strategy.

DIY Alarm Systems

If your home isn’t already wired for security with door sensors, window sensors, and motion detectors, you can now easily add them without having to rip open the walls. Do-it-yourself alarm kits let you attach battery-powered, wireless sensors anywhere there’s a risk of unauthorized entry. These devices connect to your existing wireless network and can send real-time notifications to you when a sensor is tripped, via an email, text message, or mobile app. Check out Viper and SimpliSafe for a few examples of solid starter security systems.

Surveillance Cameras

Whether you want to keep tabs on who’s at the front door or just want to keep an eye on the pets while you’re away, a wide range of security and surveillance cameras can now fit the bill. Just configure the camera on your network, place it on a shelf or attach it to the wall, and aim it where you want it to watch. Most cameras can be set to record only when they detect motion, and numerous cameras, like the D-Link DCS-2136L, can store their video feed on a Network Attached Storage device that’s part of your home network. Using a tool like QNAP’s TS-451 NAS gives you access to the Surveillance Station feature, which can be paired with QNAP’s VMobile app to turn your mobile device into a full-fledged security monitoring station. The TS-451 can monitor up to 24 IP cameras simultaneously (camera licenses additional) – either real-time or recorded video. It is compatible with thousands of IP cameras from over 80 major manufacturers.

Smart Locks

YouTube is littered with videos of people who’ve figured out how to pick a standard door lock in a matter of seconds, making key-based security nearly worthless. Enter the smart lock, a technology which brings the medieval lock into the digital age at last. Smart locks from companies like Goji and August let you decide who gets in and who doesn’t – and even when they can come in – via a smartphone app. Instead of turning a key, authorized users tap a button on their phone to unlock the door – and some can even automatically unlock when an authorized visitor approaches the house.

Automated Lights and Appliances

One standby of any home security strategy is to leave some lights on when you’re away from home for an extended period, but old-school light timers are cumbersome and difficult to program. These tools have received an upgrade in recent years, as well. Products like the Belkin WeMo let you turn lights and other appliances like your television on and off through a device that attaches to any wall socket. A mobile app lets you control the lights manually even if you’re on the other side of the world, or set up schedules to automate things.

The grim reaper approaches for Windows Server 2003

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Microsoft’s Windows Server 2003 has its Windows XP moment coming very soon, and that’s bad news for IT leaders who have been dragging their feet.

The company will end extended support for the 12-year-old operating system on July 14. That will leave users without security patches and other updates for any applications still running on the OS, which went out to manufacturers just weeks after the start of the second Iraq war. Microsoft says there were almost 24 million instances of Windows Server 2003 running in July 2014, though it hasn’t released more recent numbers as the end-of-support date has loomed.

According to Mike Schutz, Microsoft’s general manager of cloud platform marketing, the good news is that most of the customers Microsoft has spoken with have moved “the vast percentage” of their server workloads off Windows Server 2003. But that still means that there are holdouts who will be left to protect their own servers as Microsoft cuts off security improvements.

Sanofi, a pharmaceutical company that has its U.S. operations based in New Jersey, is one such company. Mike Stager, the company’s senior director of server, storage & recovery, said in an interview that the company is now working to secure the segment of its server fleet that’s still running Windows Server 2003. That’s the first step in Sanofi’s transition away from the old software, which will take the next “couple of years” to complete. Stager said the company started on this path “very late,” which is why they are so far behind in quitting the OS.

“We are a very large company with over 12,000 x86 servers, and I’m going to say that to my knowledge, we’re no different than any other large company where application lifecycling does not seem to be at the forefront,” he said. “It’s really more deploying new applications, and what has been lost in the mix has been our ability to stay on top of the operating system versions.” That has led to the company having a large percentage of its systems running on the expiring OS.

The silver lining to the transition is that users probably won’t feel nearly as much of an impact from the Windows Server migration as they did when Microsoft ended support for Windows XP. Consumers are not affected by the end of support for the server operating system, said Al Gillen, IDC’s program vice president of system software.

From an IT perspective, Stager said that the server changes at Sanofi will, at least in the short term, be less disruptive to the company’s end users than having to swap out their desktop workstations while ensuring that multiple applications continue to run on a new OS simultaneously.

Microsoft is trying to make that transition as easy as possible by providing resources on its website to help IT administrators evaluate their options for migration. In addition, he said Microsoft has a number of partner companies with migration expertise that companies could work with.

For right now, Stager said that companies without a transition plan need to figure out how they’re going to secure their environments, and then focus on moving applications. Only then can they move away from the old server operating system. In addition, IT departments need to get the company’s application developers on board with the shift right away.

“Get to the applications team as quickly as possible,” he said. “Make sure that they’re aware of what has to happen and why. I find that applications teams don’t always have the full picture because in a large company, communications aren’t always as efficient as they could be.”

One option for organizations that are stuck with Windows Server 2003 and have a Premier Support plan is to pay Microsoft for an extended support contract that will provide them with security fixes for a limited period of time. It’s a costly fix, though: those extended service contracts are “not for the faint of wallet,” Gillen said in a report on the transition.

That’s borne out by the experience of the U.S. Navy, which is paying Microsoft $9.1 million for a contract that provides extended support for Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, Office 2003 and Exchange 2003.

An added benefit of getting away from Windows Server 2003 is that IT administrators can potentially kill two birds with one stone and also move away from SQL Server 2005, which will lose extended support on April 12, 2016, Schutz said. Many of the current instances of SQL Server 2005 are running on Windows Server 2003, so it makes sense for companies to migrate them all in one fell swoop.

As for Sanofi, Stager said the company is also taking this opportunity to develop methods that will ensure it won’t fall into the same situation again.