A new service called OpenVBX from cloud-communication provider Twilio hopes to change the way we think about and deploy phone services for businesses large and small.
Twilio provides a programmatic approach to phone calls much in the same way that we apply business logic through HTTP or XML for complex applications.
OpenVBX is a Web-based phone system that provides for virtual phone numbers as well as a wide range of other functions that are programmable through the OpenVBX plug-in API in PHP OpenVBX lets you take advantage of all of Twilio's integrated services, like text to speech, voice transcription, … Read more
In a recent conversation about predictive analytics, I learned how Wal-Mart Stores uses statistical modeling to better understand the habits and tendencies of its customers--and how businesses can use this data to drive competitive pricing to dominate a market.
Imagine that same type of customer intelligence, delivered almost instantaneously, into the hands of store managers on-site or corporate executives on their iPhone or iPad.
That's what Medallia, a provider of customer feedback and performance data software, aims to provide with a new offering this week on the heels of the new iPhone 4 announcement. Medallia gets its information from … Read more
The open-source Eclipse development environment has become one of the mainstay options for developers thanks to its extensibility and support from a broad range of organizations, both open-source and private.
Every year, the Eclipse Foundation publishes the results of its community survey and this year's report shows that open-source adoption is continuing to grow, with a number of projects emerging as clear leaders among Eclipse developers.
The primary takeaway from the results is the shift in how engineers are choosing to develop and deploy. Linux, especially Ubuntu, has taken market share from Windows on an ongoing basis, and is … Read more
At Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, CEO Steve Jobs had an embarrassing onstage moment when he lost his Wi-Fi connection during his keynote presentation as he tried to download files to demo the difference in screen quality between an iPhone 3GS and the new iPhone 4.
The download failed, and his demo crashed on the new iPhone 4 because he couldn't maintain a solid Wi-Fi connection.
Certainly not the optimal time for a demo to fail, but at least now Jobs knows how iPhone users feel every day, as we suffer with AT&T's poor cellular network performance. And it should be pointed out that device tethering between attendees' laptops and cell phones may well have reduced these issues, if only AT&T allowed users to tether.
After the initial crash, Jobs later came back and asked people to turn off their access points (as in their MiFi, which is a line of compact wireless routers produced by Novatel Wireless that act as mobile Wi-Fi hot spots).
Jobs claimed that there were 570 of them in that hall. As Sam Diaz at ZDNet pointed out, "The problem is that if 10 percent of the 5,000 people in an audience create their own Wi-Fi networks in that room, there are now 500+ 'networks' all competing for the same wireless spectrum to transmit those signals--including the original Wi-Fi networks that the presenter has established in the room."
After some time, as he pressured more people to turn off their cell phones and put their laptops to sleep, he managed to do the demo. CNET's own Rafe Needleman made the excellent point that your bad network is not my problem on his ProPR Tips blog.
It's understandable that Jobs would get upset about something not working in a demo, but it's shocking that the company didn't set up a special network for him, instead hoping for the best on a consistently flaky Moscone Center Wi-Fi network. And, of course, the demand for everyone to comply in their own best interest to see the demo is so typically egotistical of Apple that it's not even shocking anymore. … Read more
Virtualization is a major component of cloud computing, but the primary focus has been on virtualized server instances running on cloud providers such as Amazon EC2.
There is little argument that applications running in the cloud offer many attractive advantages, but ultimately users need to be able to access their data from any device and the data itself must maintain the highest levels of synchronization and integrity.
One of the big challenges is the fact that users are comfortable with fat applications (generally meaning, not browser-based) for a large number of tasks. And while Google Docs and the like are great supplements for large apps like Microsoft Office, they've yet to supplant them completely.
To avoid disrupting users too much, and avoiding the necessity of rewriting applications to be browser-based, many IT organizations turned to desktop virtualization tools to solve the problem.
Desktop virtualization was supposed to solve one the biggest headaches in IT: managing and securing corporate desktops in a more effective way. From IT's perspective, it's much quicker and easier to manage all the company's virtual desktops than physical distributed desktops. When it comes time to roll out a software update, they can automatically deploy it to all virtual desktops at once, rather than going machine-to-machine and uploading the software manually.
There are many options when it comes to desktop virtualization, but generally the "solution" most people think of is virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).
VDI has a number of strengths such as cost reduction and management efficiency as well as a number of drawbacks, such as a lack of offline capabilities. But the core problem is that VDI puts an entire desktop that's not built for the cloud into the cloud. It just doesn't make sense to take your fat desktop and OS and stick it right onto the cloud. … Read more
Japanese software development shop FreeBit recently announced "ServersMan HD," an application that makes your iPad act like a Web server--allowing documents and files to be uploaded, downloaded, and viewed on the device.
Currently, the primary way to get files on and off of the iPad is through iTunes syncing or e-mail, or by using an online service such as Google Docs that stores your files in the cloud.
And while odds are you won't be building an iPad-based data center anytime soon, this application, like others, helps to prove the use case of cloud-based storage for tablets … Read more
I recently had the chance to discuss the open source 'R' programming language with Revolution Analytics CEO and founder Norman Nie.
Revolution is the commercial organization supporting the open-source project and contains a number of technology bigwigs, including Nie himself, who was the co-founder of analytics firm SPSS and led the company as CEO/chairman of the board for more than 40 years before selling it to IBM in 2009 for $1.2 billion. The company has enjoyed some outstanding press mentions, despite the fact that the product appeals to a very specific user base.
R is similar to other programming languages like Java and C, but holds particular appeal for statisticians because it contains a number of built-in mechanisms for organizing data, running calculations, and creating graphical representations of data sets.
Considering predictive analytics is not on the tip of most people's tongues, I set up a Q&A with Nie to get a basic overview of why R matters and how Revolution plans to commercialize the software. The edited transcript follows:
Q: What exactly is 'R' and why does it matter? Nie: Simply put, R is the most powerful statistical computing language on the planet; there is no statistical equation that cannot be calculated in R. This gives it unparalleled ability to sort through data sets and do predictive modeling. This is particularly relevant in today's business intelligence environment, given the explosion of big data and the increased emphasis organizations are putting on advanced analytic techniques.
R is also open source, so there is a community that is over 2 million users strong behind it. It is particularly well entrenched in academia, where today's university students (and tomorrow's future statisticians) are being trained almost exclusively on R. … Read more
If there is one aspect of mobility that has yet to live up to user expectations, it's the ability for data to be accessible in near real-time across multiple devices.
Despite all the advances in technology, including a wealth of Wi-Fi and 3G networks, many devices become impotent without an Internet connection.
This issue becomes even more apparent when you are dealing with browser-based applications and smartphones that don't have multithreading functionality to maintain state across applications and data stores.
I recently had the chance to chat with Damien Katz, the creator of CouchDB and CEO of Couchio, … Read more
You might not recognize the name Geeknet, but you probably know its popular tech sites such as Sourceforge, Slashdot, Ohloh, Think Geek, Freshmeat, and the recently acquired Geek.com.
When Geeknet opened a new data center in Chicago two years ago, the network operations team wanted to centralize management of hundreds of systems serving the Geeknet Web network.
Geeknet's servers run 100 percent open-source software, including CentOS Linux, and a number of open-source Web servers, mail servers, databases (MySQL, Postgres, Memchache), along with a large number of source code repositories running Subversion.
The company needed a monitoring and management … Read more
Virtual goods remain a promising alternative to advertising, and even to subscription revenue for many games and social networks. As mobile games continue to play an important role in gaming revenue, I would expect to see the sales of virtual goods continue to skew toward mobile devices as users seek instant gratification and bite-sized chunks of high-quality gameplay.