News Archieves

Adobe turns Flex dev framework over to Apache

Adobe is furthering its commitment to HTML5 as the "best technology for enterprise application development" in the long term by turning over Flex SDK 4.6 to the Apache Foundation on Nov 29. Adobe recently updated its "Your Questions About Flex" page to include information on what will happen to the program.

Earlier this month, the company announced it would cease development on Flash for mobile devices, instead throwing its hat into the HTML5 ring for those deployments. And in August, the company rolled out a public preview of Adobe Edge, a motion interaction design tool for creating animated Web content based on Web standards. Adobe said in its blog that it is preparing two proposals for incubating Flex SDK and BlazeDS to Apache.

It will contribute the core of Flex along with yet-to-be-released components, including ViewStack, Accordion, DateField, DateChooser and an enhanced DataGrid. Additionally, Adobe will be contributing portions of Falcon, a next-generation MXML and ActionScript compiler. Although Flex has been open source since version 3, Adobe used to own the road map and decide what and when new features would be implemented. Now, members of Apache will provide the leadership and direction for the project.

Adobe reported that it will continue to support applications built with Flex as well as future versions of the SDK running within the Adobe Flash Player. AIR applications will also be supported indefinitely.

The Visual Studio ecosystem: It’s all about the tools

Microsoft’s Visual Studio ecosystem numbers 180 partners and counting. On the heels of the Microsoft BUILD conference in September, here’s what you should know about the current tool set, from the forthcoming Visual Studio 11 (now in developer preview) to LightSwitch, Team Foundation Server and Project Server. Plus, there was a look at how third-party plug-ins play nice with Redmond.

In the aftermath of BUILD, there’s been a blizzard of words around Redmond’s evolutionary changes to its operating system, development environment and life-cycle tools. On the negative side: criticism of the Metro-style design, confusion around the positioning of LightSwitch and the status of Silverlight, angst towards the changes to the Windows 8 start menu, and mea culpas over key aspects of C++11 that won’t soon be implemented in Visual Studio. On the positive: a renewed interest in native code, excitement over its touch-screen-centric style, enthusiasm for massive parallelization with C++ Accelerated Massive Parallelism (C++ AMP), and the touching embrace of Project Server and Team Foundation Server to comprise a full ALM offering, to name just a few. With a customer base as massive as Microsoft’s, positive and negative chatter is inevitable.

Beyond just opinions, there are statistics: The company’s heavily instrumented preview versions of Windows 8, Visual Studio 11, Team Foundation Server and more offer a closely guarded “census,” according to Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky, into actual usage patterns via the opt-in Customer Experience Improvement Program. Sinofsky is just one member of an army of bloggers engaging the often-outraged developers who use Microsoft's tools, taking feedback, debating decisions, and explaining the scientific rationale behind any given change.

In the shadow of Apple founder Steve Jobs’ death, legions of Microsoft developers find themselves wondering if Redmond’s choices will be as world-changing in the next decade as Apple’s were in the last. In addition, a massive ecosystem of ISVs is analyzing the developer preview to pinpoint plug-in offerings of their own. The symbiosis is in full flower; this is your field guide.

Potential for Mobile HTML5 Blown Wide Open as appMobi Open Sources Key HTML5 Development Technologies

HTML5 development powerhouse, appMobi ( today announced that on Black Friday (November 25) it will open source key elements of its mobile technology to further accelerate the industry's migration to HTML5. The newly open sourced technology will include the appMobi cross-platform device APIs, which support HTML5 development for both Android and iOS platforms.

"appMobi" will also release the source code for its much heralded "mobiUs" browser, which allows HTML5 Web apps to perform identically to native apps. The bounty of technology made available to HTML5 developers is rounded out with appMobi’s "DirectCanvas" technology, which accelerates HTML5 canvas rendering, physics calculations and sound by as much as 1500 percent, providing native performance to HTML5-based games. "We believe in the open Web and the importance of an open environment for mobile apps and services," said appMobi’s CTO, Sam Abadir.

"To help advance the industry’s move from native apps to Web-based apps, we are sharing our mobile HTML5 knowledge with the global software development community. Among other benefits, the innovations in this open source release will improve the mobile Web experience through faster downloads, better offline usage and dramatic HTML5 game performance increases. An improved HTML5 user experience is the ‘rising tide that lifts all ships’ for open Web mobile developers, and we are happy to pour our technology into that harbor."

The open source release of appMobi’s iOS XCode and Android Eclipse projects will be of particular benefit to developers who want to extend existing native apps with HTML5 tabs or views. For example, a developer can easily add a photo sharing feature to a native app by mixing appMobi’s enhanced PhoneGap with Facebook JavaScript APIs. With millions of existing JavaScript components and Web services, the possibilities are limitless. appMobi will make the source code available this Friday, November 25, in the first ever Black Friday promotion specifically for HTML5 developers. These software projects will join appMobi’s previous open source releases at the GitHub repository. Developers who wish to download the source code can visit appMobi’s website at

BlackBerry Native SDK v2.0 beta 1 for the BlackBerry PlayBook Now Available

RIM has just pushed the BlackBerry PlayBook Native SDK v2.0 out for developers in Beta form. This new version gives developers early access to the Tablet OS 2.0 Beta release, as well as an updated v2.0 Tablet OS Simulator. The other changes in this update include:

  • Added Sensors API (magnetometer, gyroscope, and accelerometer support) (device only for now, not available for the simulator at this time)
  • Added Payment Service support for subscriptions and in-app purchasing
  • IDE improvements in usability, performance, and reliability
  • Scoreloop SDK 1.0 Beta 1 is included – try out some social game features for your apps, such as leaderboards

This update brings developers all the tools they need to begin making great Native apps for the BlackBerry PlayBook’s upcoming OS 2.0 rollout. If your a developer and want to grab this SDK, just hit the link below to get started. And a note to consumers, this is a Beta release of software that is meant for developers. If you install it and things stop working for you, don’t blame RIM. It’s a Developer Beta for a reason.

E-commerce Holiday SEO Keyword Optimization: 6 Keys to Success

Sep 13, 2013 10:15 am

For many retailers and brands, success pivots on holiday sales. A single day during November and December might bring in double or even triple the amount of average same day sales in other months, particularly on traditional retail discount days.

But consumers begin window shopping online well ahead of Thanksgiving, planning gift purchases and often waiting for the right sale on a major household purchase, yet many e-commerce sites don't publish holiday content until November, which is too late for the early birds and for search engines, which can take weeks to add new pages to their index.

The remedy to this problem? Start early and plan smart. For full news click here.

Twitter Officially Files for IPO

Sep 15, 2013 9:35 am

It has long been speculated, but Twitter has officially filed for their IPO, ending months of rumors. Ever since Facebook went public, many people believed Twitter would be the next major online technology company to file for an IPO. Today they announced their intention, unsurprisingly, via their online Twitter feed: "We've confidentially submitted an S-1 to the SEC for a planned IPO. This Tweet does not constitute an offer of any securities for sale."

The terms of the IPO are confidential, as new regulations from the JOBS Act allow small businesses, such as Twitter, keep their financial information from the public. The Verge reported that Twitter is the first well-known web company to file for a "secret" IPO. It also means that Twitter is confirming it has less than $1 billion in revenue by filing for a secret IPO.

They will still have to release their financial information, however the company won't have to do so until the road show part of their public offering. Bloomberg is reporting that the lead underwriter is Goldman Sachs Group and will be traded on the New York Stock Exchange. In keeping with the Twitter vibe, immediately after Twitter officially announced it on their @Twitter feed, they posted an image of their employees working in the office with a simple "Now, back to work."

Apple iPhone 5S fingerprint scanner gets plaudits in early reviews

Sep 18, 2013 9:45 am

The fingerprint reader on Apple Inc's(AAPL.O) top-end iPhone 5S received an early thumbs up for ease of use from two influential reviewers, helping dispel concerns about the scanning technology which has been notoriously unreliable in other cellphones.

Apple's scanner is seen as a first step toward realizing the full potential for biometrics in personal electronics, heightening security for applications like banking and shopping while doing away with multiple passwords.

"The best part is that it actually works - every single time, in my tests," wrote reviewer David Pogue of the New York Times. "It's nothing like the balky, infuriating fingerprint-reader efforts of earlier cellphones. It's genuinely awesome; the haters can go jump off a pier." The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg was also enthusiastic, calling it simple and reliable. But he noted that the gadget would inexplicably prompt him for a password when swiping a finger to make purchases, which he blamed on a bug.

"I have come to like it and consider it a step forward, despite a few issues," he said of the overall device. Re-tooled iOS7 mobile software, a better camera, a more useful voice-activated "Siri" personal digital assistant and a faster processor combined to make the iPhone 5S the best smartphone on the market, he added.

However, he argued that owners of the previous-generation iPhone 5 may not have a compelling reason to buy the latest device unless they specifically wanted the fingerprint reader. Many industry analysts view the iPhone 5S and the cheaper 5C as being modest improvements on the previous generation, reviving fears that Apple's most innovative days may be behind it. They said the mere fact of a fingerprint scanner was unlikely by itself to make the gadget a sure win in a crowded market.

Apple has embedded the scanner into the iPhone's home button, while other mobile devices usually have it on the back, making it awkward for the user and increasing the number of failed attempts. Archrival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) and fellow South Korean electronics manufacturer LG Electronics Inc (066570.KS) have had problems incorporating the technology into finished products.

Hacker group in China linked to big cyber attacks - Symantec

Sep 18, 2013 10:05 am

Researchers have discovered a group of highly sophisticated hackers operating for hire out of China, a U.S computer security company said on Tuesday, and it linked them to some of the best-known espionage attacks in recent years.

Symantec Corp (SYMC.O) said the group, which it dubbed "Hidden Lynx," was among the most technically advanced of several dozen believed to be running cyber espionage operations out of China. Unlike a previous report by another company, Symantec did not accuse the Chinese government of involvement in the cyber attacks.

Symantec's 28-page report described Hidden Lynx as a "professional organization" staffed by between 50 and 100 people with a variety of skills needed to breach networks and steal information, including valuable corporate secrets. The company said its researchers believed Hidden Lynx might have been involved with the 2009 Operation Aurora attacks, the most well-known cyber espionage campaign uncovered to date against U.S. companies.

The Symantec report attributed several recent attacks to Hidden Lynx, including a breach at cybersecurity firm Bit9 and follow-on attacks at three Bit9 clients. It also connects Hidden Lynx to a major campaign dubbed Voho, which was discovered last year by EMC's Corp's RSA security company. Voho targeted hundreds of organizations, including financial service, technology and healthcare companies, defense contractors and government agencies. Symantec, which sells software and services to protect corporate and consumer computer systems from cyber attacks like the ones mentioned in the report, said Naid was also used by hackers in Operation Aurora. The Hidden Lynx hackers "were either responsible for the Aurora attack or were working in conjunction with the Aurora attackers," O'Murchu said.

Google to form new health company Calico led by Genentech chairman

Sep 19, 2013 10:35 am

Google said it plans to set up a new company called Calico, headed by Apple and Genentech chairman Art Levinson, to develop technologies to tackle health issues related to aging. The new company will be run separately from Google, the world's largest internet search company, with a focus on issues including life-threatening diseases and problems affecting mental and physical agility due to aging.

"While this is clearly a longer-term bet, we believe we can make good progress within reasonable timescales with the right goals and the right people," Google chief executive Larry Page said in an online post. Google did not provide any other details about the new company, including where it will be based, how many employees it will have or whether Page would have a direct role in its operations. Page acknowledged in his post that the new company appeared to diverge from "what Google does today."

"Don't be surprised if we invest in projects that seem strange or speculative compared with our existing internet businesses," he wrote on his Google+ profile. "And please remember that new investments like this are very small by comparison to our core business." Google generated $50 billion in revenue last year. Wall Street has generally been tolerant of Google's side projects, which do not appear to have distracted the company from succeeding otherwise or caused an alarming increase in spending. Shares of Google, which has $54 billion in cash and securities, were roughly unchanged at $887.84 on in midday trading on Wednesday.

Health issues are an area of personal interest for Google co-founders Page and Sergey Brin. In May, Page announced that he had a rare nerve disease that limited the movement of his vocal cords and briefly sidelined him from public speaking. He also said he had been diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis, a thyroid inflammatory condition he said gives him no trouble.

HP unveils cybersecurity solutions for enterprises in India

Sep 20, 2013 10:20 am

Hewlett-Packard announced new cybersecurity solutions for enterprises in India to enable firms upgrade their security infrastructure against a growing and sophisticated threat landscape. The company said cyber intrusions have become more advanced due to adversaries forming sophisticated and collaborative marketplace through which they share information and advanced data theft tools.

Quoting studies, HP said 92 per cent of Forbes Global 2,000 companies reported data breaches in the last 12 months. Also, studies estimate that global cybercrime black market has a value of USD 104 billion per year. Besides, with concepts like bring your own device (BYOD), IT no longer controls the endpoint, thus offering adversary many more control points to attack. "Enterprises today aren't facing a single attacker. They are fighting a well-organised, well-funded adversary marketplace," HP India Country Manager (Enterprise Security Products) Ranndeep Singh Chonker said.

HP's Threat Central, which the firm claims is industry's first community-sourced security intelligence platform, facilitates automated, real-time collaboration among firms in the battle against active cyberthreats, he added. "HP TippingPoint Next-Generation Firewall addresses risks introduced by cloud, mobile and BYOD by delivering easy to use, reliable, high-performance security effectiveness with granular application visibility and control," HP India Director Infrastructure Technology Outsourcing Portfolio, Enterprise Services Susanta Bhattacharya said. Similarly, HP ArcSight and HP Fortify offer data-driven security technologies that empower security operations teams to run more effectively with accelerated and real-time application-level threat detection, he added.

HP Managed Security Services (MSS) help internal security teams accelerate threat identification, response and remediation by providing expertise and advanced security intelligence, HP ESP (South Asia) Chief Solutions Architect Damanjit Uberoi said. With HP MSS, intrusions are detected within 11.8 minutes, and 92 per cent of major incidents are resolved within two hours of identification, he added.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's biggest regret

Sep 21, 2013 10:15 am

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has made an impassioned plea to investors to support his vision of the world's largest software company as a unified devices and services powerhouse in his swan song before Wall Street. Ballmer, who in August said he planned to step down within 12 months, told investors and analysts in an annual meeting that Microsoft had a bright future, despite missteps under his 13-year tenure.

"We have the tools. There's economic upside here. In the long run, we are almost uniquely poised to seize the opportunity," he said, in a typically high-volume presentation. "Today I'm speaking as an investor. You all own Microsoft stock, cheer for it, for God's sake." Ballmer, who took over from co-founder Bill Gates as CEO in 2000, did acknowledge that under his leadership the company was too focused on Windows to realize that Apple's iPhone was revolutionizing computing. "If there's one thing I regret, there was a period in the early 2000s when we were so focused on what we had to do around Windows that we weren't able to redeploy talent to the new device form factor called the phone," said Ballmer.

After losing ground to Apple and Google in mobile and internet arenas for the last 10 years, Ballmer in July launched an ambitious reorganization focused on "devices and services." He announced his retirement only six weeks later amid pressure from some discontented shareholders. Ballmer said the top layers of that reorganization had taken effect, but the new functionally organized groups were at different stages in working out exactly how they will be structured. The company had no comments on the progress of the board's search for a new CEO.

"It really was a fundamental shift from running a set of separate business units where we tried to make connection points to running a company that is essentially one integrated entity," said Ballmer, attempting to explain his vision. During four hours of presentations, which were interrupted for about half an hour due to a power cut, Microsoft executives expanded on Ballmer's idea, explaining how the company would continue its push into making its own hardware - following the deal to buy phone maker Nokia - and would stress services rather than products, while keeping individual consumers in mind rather than chiefly concentrating on businesses.

German group claims to have hacked Apple iPhone fingerprint scanner

Sep 23, 2013 9:55 am

A group of German hackers claimed to have cracked the iPhone fingerprint scanner on Sunday, just two days after Apple Inc launched the technology that it promises will better protect devices from criminals and snoopers seeking access. If the claim is verified, it will be embarrassing for Apple which is betting on the scanner to set its smartphone apart from new models of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and others running the Android operating system of Google Inc. Two prominent iPhone security experts said that they believed the German group, known as the Chaos Computing Club, or CCC, had succeeded in defeating Apple's Touch ID, though they had not personally replicated the work.

One of them, Charlie Miller, co-author of the iOS Hacker's Handbook, described the work as "a complete break" of Touch ID security. "It certainly opens up a new possibility for attackers." CCC, one the world's largest and most respected hacking groups, posted a video on its website that appeared to show somebody accessing an iPhone 5S with a fabricated print. The site described how members of its biometrics team had cracked the new fingerprint reader, one of the few major high-tech features added to the latest version of the iPhone. The group said they targeted Touch ID to knock down reports about its "marvels," which suggested it would be difficult to crack.

"Fingerprints should not be used to secure anything. You leave them everywhere, and it is far too easy to make fake fingers out of lifted prints," a hacker named Starbug was quoted as saying on the CCC's site. The group said it defeated Touch ID by photographing the fingerprint of an iPhone's user, then printing it on to a transparent sheet, which it used to create a mold for a "fake finger." CCC said similar processes have been used to crack "the vast majority" of fingerprint sensors on the market. "I think it's legit," said Dino Dai Zovi," another co-author of the iOS Hacker's Handbook. "The CCC doesn't fool around or over-hype, especially when they are trying to make a political point."

Touch ID, which was only introduced on the top-of-the-line iPhone 5S, lets users unlock their devices or make purchases on iTunes by simply pressing their finger on the home button. It uses a sapphire crystal sensor embedded in the button. Data used for verification is encrypted and stored in a secure enclave of the phone's A7 processor chip. Two security experts who sponsored an impromptu competition offering cash and other prizes to the first hackers who cracked the iPhone said they had reviewed the information posted on the CCC website, but wanted more documentation. "We are simply awaiting a full video documentation and walk through of the process that they have claimed," said mobile security researcher Nick DePetrillo, who started the contest with another security expert, Robert Graham. "When they deliver that video we will review it."

Fairfax bids $4.7 billion to take BlackBerry private

Sep 24, 2013 10:10 am

Smartphone maker BlackBerry has agreed to go private in a $4.7 billion deal led by its biggest shareholder, allowing the on-the-go email pioneer to regroup away from public scrutiny after years of falling fortunes and slumping market share. The $9 a share tentative offer, from a consortium led by property and casualty insurer Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd, will set a floor for any counteroffers that might emerge for Blackberry, which has been on the block since August.

As an investor, Fairfax Chief Executive Prem Watsa is often described as the Canadian Warren Buffett because he also takes the long view. Blackberry shares peaked above $148 in June 2008 when the company's devices were still the top choice for bankers, politicians and lawyers. The stock, halted pending the announcement on Monday, closed below the offer price on Nasdaq, at $8.82, indicating the market's lack of faith that other bids would emerge.

"I would think a competing buyout offer is quite unlikely," said Elvis Picardo, strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver. "The miniscule premium, and the muted market reaction, is another indication that the market views the odds of a competing bid as slim." BlackBerry, based in Waterloo, Ontario, once dominated the market for secure on-your-hip email. But it introduced consumer-friendly touchscreen smartphones only after it lost the lead to Apple Inc's iPhone and devices using Google Inc's Android operating system. BlackBerry has until November 4 to seek superior offers, which the Fairfax group has the right to match. The group is seeking financing from Bank of America Merrill Lynch and BMO Capital Markets to complete the deal and has until that November 4 deadline to conduct its due diligence.

"We need to be careful given disclosure constraints, but we can say that we are focused on a strong Canadian solution," said Fairfax spokesman Paul Rivett. The pension funds, with assets around the world, traditionally take a long-term view in their investment decisions. Officials at the biggest funds either did not reply to requests for comment, said they had no information or declined to comment. "We never discuss whether or not we plan to enter into any investment," said Deborah Allan, spokeswoman for Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan.

Facebook, other banned sites to be open in China free trade zone

Sep 25, 2013 10:12 am

Facebook, Twitter and other websites deemed sensitive and blocked by the Chinese government will be accessible in a planned free-trade zone (FTZ) in Shanghai, the South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday. Citing unidentified government sources, the Hong Kong newspaper also said authorities would welcome bids from foreign telecoms firms for licences to provide Internet services in the zone.

China's ruling Communist Party aggressively censors the Internet, routinely deleting online postings and blocking access to websites it deems inappropriate or politically sensitive. Facebook and Twitter were blocked by Beijing in mid-2009 following deadly riots in the western province of Xinjiang that authorities say were abetted by the social networking sites. The New York Times has been blocked since reporting last year that the family of then-Premier Wen Jiabao had amassed a huge fortune.

For Facebook, the world's largest online social network, with 1.15 billion users, China represents an important new market for growth. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has studied Mandarin and visited China to meet with local Web entrepreneurs, has said that making Facebook available in China is in keeping with his company's goal of connecting the world. Earlier this month, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg met with the head of China's State Council Information Office during a visit to Beijing. The pair discussed Facebook's importance as Chinese enterprises continue to expand abroad "and various cooperation matters around that," according to a post on the Council's website.

Shares of Facebook were up more than 4 percent at $49.19 in trading on Tuesday, though some analysts attributed the gains to Citigroup upgrading its rating of Facebook's stock from neutral to buy. Twitter, which is preparing for an initial public offering, could also benefit by being available in China, the world's largest Internet market by users. Still, many Chinese Web users already use similar services, such as Sina Corp's Weibo. China's three biggest telecoms companies - China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom - have been informed of the decision to allow foreign competition in the FTZ, the sources told the newspaper.

The three state-owned companies had not raised complaints because they knew the decision had been endorsed by Chinese leadership including Premier Li Keqiang, who has backed the Shanghai FTZ, the sources added.

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