News : IT Support and Technology News
Text will come here. Text will come here. Text will come here. Text will come here. Text will come here. Fresh News will come here. Fresh News will come here. News will come here.
Hugely popular video sharing website Youtube and UK broadcaster Channel 4, have done a deal that is sure to make all their respective competitors itch with jealousy. A 3-year deal has been struck that will allow YouTube to show C4 content for up to 30 days after its original broadcast, in a similar way as C4 itself does via its own website.
It’s great for both parties; C4 gets to expand its audience massively, and YouTube gets some serious credibility by showing fully branded content from a well recognised broadcaster. Better yet for both parties, the deal is non-exclusive, meaning that YouTube can still attract other big name content providers and equally, C4 is able to seek out yet more delivery platforms for its programming.
We believe that this is the start of something big, and the buzzword we seem to be using with increasing frequency these days is “convergence”. We are getting to the stage, in the next few years, where people will be able to sit in their lounge, turn on the TV, and watch content (in HD no less) without even knowing or caring about the source it came from. As they say in the industry – watch this space!
Flash 10.1 – Flash By Name, Flash By Nature?
Flash H.264 video decoding, the process by which high-definition content is streamed and played from the internet to your screen, has always been a bit of a processor hog. On low-powered machines running 720p resolution, for example, it is not unusual to see processor occupancy in the 80-90% range and, on machines like these, you can forget about 1080p “Full HD” altogether.
Enter the pre-release version of Flash 10.1, trumpeting the inclusion of GPU-accelerated H.264 decoding. What this means to us is that our low-powered machines, as long as they are equipped with a suitable graphics card (nVidia G80 series or higher, Radeon HD4000 or higher – full details to be confirmed) can now run H.264 content with a processor occupancy typically half that of the CPU only decoding. Effectively, Flash 10.1 makes better use of your hardware and gives your graphics card something else to do when it is not playing games for you.
Even more interestingly, this will broaden the 1080p space since with Flash 10.1 there will be significantly more machines able to run Full HD resolution. We believe that the more genuinely useful applications that are built to exploit multiple cores, graphics cards etc., the greater the demand for this hardware and therefore, the larger the target market for even MORE cool applications leveraging this next-generation technology. Sometimes the conclusion is really simple; more is better!
As an IT Support Company we welcome advancements in graphics capability so that during our lunchbreak we can play "network shoot em up''s
More public data lost from Council Laptop
What is the saying? “Trick me once, more fool you.Trick me twice, more fool me.”Something like that, anyway, and it sums up the latest Government-level debacle surrounding their foolhardy, gung-ho approach to safeguarding public information.On this occasion, it was a laptop computer containing personal information (names, addresses, birthdates and worse still, signatures) on 14,673 voters – gone missing from the St. Albans City and District Council Office. The official word is that there are “2 layers” of security inbetween a would-be identity thief and the precious data, but the Council does accept that a security breach would be possible.
When I read this news I almost checked the calendar to ensure it wasn’t April 1st again.I mean, come on. Apparently unencryped public information stored on a laptop It beggars belief. Do these people not realise that this is totally unnecessary? What about using a thin client setup whereby the laptop logs on to the Terminal Server, via an encrypted VPN (ideally using L2TP for maximum security) to access the information? This way, if the laptop was stolen all that would be lost would be the hardware itself!
If I was the IT Manager in this case I would expect to be sacked.To be caught out in such a basic way as this, when there are technical solutions out there that would avoid them altogether, has to be the IT equivalent of “Murder Most Foul” and the responsible should be punished accordingly.In severe cases like this, they should be made to run Windows Vista for all eternity on a machine with 512MB RAM!Actually, that may be too inhumane a punishment!
At Nemark, we care about Data Security and offer IT Security Checks on your servers, laptops, webspace and the like. Our staff carry laptops, but we are not like the government, we keep all our data locked away, we don’t even allow client’s into our IT Support Centre’s so they cannot read other client screens!
Maybe the councils should use something like this?
Google Chrome OS – Pomp or Panacea?
In recent years, Google has been a veritable software foundry, moving into mainstream applications (they have email, spreadsheet, word processor, SEO development tools, and something called “Google Earth” to name but a tiny percentage) and niche products alike.A few months ago, though, the firm shocked the IT World again by announcing that they were working on an Operating System (OS).
After a short while, shock gave way to curiosity; this is an OS that is built from the same chassis as that used by the leanest and fastest internet browser in the world – Google Chrome.In times when Vista has the IT World in a grip of apathy, and Windows 7’s promises of better performance are only partly being realised, the prospect of an entire platform blessed with this kind of speed has set the IT world alight.
If we can just douse a flame or two, though, it would be by observing that Google Chrome’s speed comes through a very narrow application focus, and a minimalist approach.This would mean, therefore, that Google Chrome OS would very likely have a similarly narrow application focus in order to remain true to its origins.Given this, our prediction is that the OS will start out life as a laser-fast application launcher for Netbooks and similar, web-centric appliances.
We do not suspect that it would be possible to create a “Panacea Platform” using this focussed, minimalist approach, so whilst Google Chrome OS may make the transition to our PC’s, it will necessarily become larger (dare we say “bloated”?) in the process.Of course, it would take a great deal of digital pie-eating before any such endeavour matched the scale of Microsoft’s Operating Systems!
To call it “Pomp” then, is a little harsh, but equally, this ain’t no panacea either!Just another interesting product from a company that specialises in interesting products.Watch this space though, because Google likes to move in mysterious ways!
Mozilla is 5 Years Old this week!
On Monday of this week, Firefox was officially five years old. How did this browser, in such a short space of time, steal 25% of the Internet market share , primarily at the expense of Internet Explorer? The short answer is that, when it launched in 2004, it delivered the things that users were actually asking for; speed and compatibility. While Internet Explorer was bloated with arguably unnecessary features, Firefox was a focussed, lightweight sprinter-application by comparison.
Applications development is cyclical in nature, though, and this has been readily apparent with Firefox. Whilst it gained market share through its operational speed, the developers encouraged take-up by adding further features and functionality. Effectively, it gained the size and weight that users found so off-putting with Internet Explorer. In short, its success against its competitor actually caused it to become that which it had originally sought to replace.
This brings us neatly to the present day, where the main participants are now Internet Explorer (still present due to its ubiquity through its ties to the Windows Operating System), Firefox and the fresh, fast, lightweight upstart that is Google Chrome. Our prediction is that if Firefox does not remember its roots then it could lose valuable ground to Google’s high speed minimalist browsing weapon. Time, as always, will tell.
At Nemark we use Firefox, but then again we are a bit geeky!
A Catchphrase with a difference...
Microsoft like their slogans. We all know that. But this one might just have some real meaning behind it. First of all, its origin is based on the current economic climate; the trend of people saving more, spending less and borrowing less is being referred to as “The New Normal” and Microsoft’s counter-slogan is designed to recognise both this, and their response to it. Effectively, they are saying that we need “The New Efficiency” to counterbalance “The New Normal”.
But enough hyperbole – what is it? Microsoft call it, in basic terms, a concerted effort to reduce the time it takes to do things – operations take less mouse clicks than before, performance is increased, and network administration is greatly simplified, bringing down the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). As you might expect, the company says that to get the full benefit of what it is calling their “Optimized Desktop Solution” the network should use Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7.
But, we hear you say, you’ve heard all this before, right? It’s all BS, right? Not so fast. One very tangible improvement in Windows Server 2008 R2 is Hyper-V, which allows modern hardware to run several operating systems at the same time. This means that not only are hardware costs reduced (with companies buying fewer but more powerful servers) but also energy consumption is reduced, too. Further, with less physical servers in any one IT Estate, there is less cost associated with security, infrastructure and management.
The cynic may say that Microsoft have trumpeted these claims many times before, but the real, tangible performance improvement brought by Windows 7, and the Hyper-V technology in Windows Server 2008 R2, make a compelling argument on their own, even without the other (spurious) claims that may be made. Windows 7 makes more efficient use of hardware, and it seems this encapsulates Microsoft’s fresh approach this time around. Maybe we should call Microsoft “The New Microsoft”?
We all know how time, money and resources are short even at Nemark and we are embracing these new technoligies head on. If you want to know more give us a call and we can see what we can do for your business.
Microsoft Exchange 2010 - it''s all coming together...
We have written before about the convergence of data and voice systems, but Microsoft have today accelerated this whole process with the launch of Exchange 2010. The reason behind this statement is simply that this new version of Exchange features something called a “Universal Inbox” that collects email, voicemail, instant messaging and SMS messaging across a wide range of devices.
Of course, Microsoft are suggesting that Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 is the best Client / Server combination for Exchange 2007, and a related article will explore this. However, the short conclusion is that Microsoft have a history of making new application features only operable on new platforms, thereby necessitating a migration for those users / companies that wish to take advantage.
We will have to wait and see how this develops, but we cannot help but feel that the convergence between voice and data is absolutely inevitable, and the main beneficiary of this will be the end user. We do not expect a smooth route to Voice / Data nirvana, but the end will justify the means as we approach a truly seamless environment which incorporates ALL the communication we need, on a daily basis. Bring on Exchange 2010!
Nemark have just downloaded the trail version so watch this space for what we think of it in a few weeks!
Scary Stuff - software that repairs itself...
It sounds like something Arthur C. Clarke could have dreamt up, but in fact this system (“ClearView”) is the product of Martin Rinard and Michael Ernst of MIT. It is capable of analysing running software to determine errors and security breaches. Then, before damage to the host system can be wrought, the compromised application is shut down. Even more impressively, the ClearView performs sophisticated analysis on the issue to come up with patches and fixes to improve future security for that application.
ClearView studies the running program and assigns a set of rules based on its knowledgebase for that type of application. It does not need to study source code (like a programmer trying to fix a bug would have to) as it studies the live, running program. This makes it suitable even for obsolete software that has been abandoned by the original vendor, or for applications whose source code is no longer available.
In a recent test, Firefox was installed onto 10 different machines and a hostile team of “hackers” tried to compromise each one. On each occasion, Clearview closed down Firefox and for 7 out of 10 of the attacks, it created a patch that closed the loophole. In all cases, patches with negative side effects were discarded.
Our take? It’s definitely a step in the right direction. With over 50 million lines of code in Windows Vista, for example, it is expected that there are problems to overcome. If ever-increasing software complexity is not to bring with it an ever-increasing “bug hunting” problem, then tools like this are going to be an essential commodity in the stablisation and securement of all our future computing platforms and applications.
So in the not too distant future Nemark may be using tools like this on your servers & networks!