November 18th, 2014 | Edited by Zoran Stosic | software
Happy day, Android users! And if you’re currently sporting the second-generation Moto X, you’re in for a treat. Motorola said it would deploy Android Lollipop quickly, and boy, did it deliver.
Motorola has apparently not only has begun its soak test for Lollipop for the new Moto X, but it’s already put up arelease notes page for the update with a complete change log of what’s in the software package. We’ve yet to receive an indication of a Lollipop update on our Moto X unit, however.
Why this matters: It’s not the biggest news to happen on a late Friday afternoon, but if the software update is pushed live over the weekend it means that Motorola technically beat Google to the Android 5.0 update punch. While the Nexus 9 tablet ships with Lollipop, no other devices with prior Android versions have been updated yet—not even the Nexus 5 and 7!
November 15th, 2014 | Edited by Zoran Stosic | software
The cries for help from frazzled Mac owners whose Wi-Fi connections went haywire after upgrading to OS X Yosemite are being met by Apple with stone-faced silence.
Affected users have been filing a steady stream of complaints about the problem in discussion forums, blogs, and social media sites since Apple released the latest version of the operating system a week ago.
Attempts by users to isolate the cause of the issue have been fruitless so far. The problem affects a variety of Macs with dissimilar configurations and linked to many different routers. What’s clear is that the problem hit these users after installing Yosemite. In most cases, Wi-Fi becomes unstable, with connections dropping every few minutes, irritatingly slow or simply unusable.
The lucky few people who have managed to get their Wi-Fi working properly again have done so with one of at least 20 unique and unofficial “fixes” scattered among thousands of discussion forum postings. None of them seems to be a universal fix for the problem.
On Friday morning, a user identified as “Hevelius” in a Mac Rumors forum vented his frustration with the situation. “There must be about two dozen so-called fixes now on this forum. I’ve tried every single one of them and none of them work,” this person wrote, adding that until there is a fix that works for everyone, the best option is to revert to Mavericks, the previous version of the OS.
Some of the most active forum threads about this topic are in the official Apple Support site, including the ones titled “OSX Yosemite Wifi issues” with almost 400 comments and close to 34,000 views; “Yosemite (OS X 10.10) killed my WiFi :(“ with almost 150 comments and 18,000 views; and “wifi keeps dropping since Yosemite upgrade”, which is approaching 100 comments and 6,000 views.
Even technologists are among the affected, including Eugene Wei, Flipboard’s head of product, who tweeted on Friday: “After upgrade to Yosemite, my MBP [MacBook Pro] drops my wifi network at home seemingly every 20 seconds.”
Sophos’ security expert Paul Ducklin took to the company’s Naked Security blog on Wednesday to request help from its readers in troubleshooting the problem and figuring out workarounds.
In his post, which has generated 84 comments, Ducklin refrains from convicting Apple, saying that while the cause could be a Yosemite bug, it could also be due to latent flaws in third-party hardware and software exposed by the upgrade. However, he does acknowledge that, whatever the cause, the common trigger is a Yosemite installation.
“No one seems to know what’s wrong, and without a scientific explanation it’s hard to know where to lay the blame,” wrote Ducklin, whose Wi-Fi connection works fine for no longer than 10 minutes at a time, and then starts to melt down. He wrote a script that automates the manual process of turning his Wi-Fi off and then on after a connection disruption is detected.
Apple hasn’t responded to multiple requests for comment from the IDG News Service.
November 13th, 2014 | Edited by Zoran Stosic | software
If you recently forked over $70 or more to edit Office documents on an iPad, you can now switch to the free version and get a partial refund.
The iPad version of Office previously required an Office 365 subscription for document editing, priced at $70 per year for the “Personal” edition and $100 per year for the “Home” edition. That changed on Thursday, when Microsoft made basic editing free on all mobile devices, including iPads.
While some advanced features are still hidden behind the Office 365 paywall, users who can get by with the free version can now request a pro-rated refund for unused subscription time. Refunds are available until January 31 of next year to anyone who purchased a subscription on or after March 27, 2014. But the process depends on where you bought the subscription from.
Users who subscribed straight from the App Store will need to contact iTunes support. Users who subscribed from Microsoft or a reseller can contact Microsoft support. In all cases, you may need a proof of purchase, and Microsoft reserves the right to deny requests if it thinks they’re fraudulent. The entire process can take six to eight weeks.
The story behind the story: The refund offer is reminiscent of when Microsoft uncoupled entertainment apps such as Netflix from its Xbox Live Gold service, and credited former subscribers on a pro-rated basis. Both changes occurred under new CEO Satya Nadella, and show that the company is willing to tear down a few paywalls—and sacrifice short-term profits—if it means keeping users on board for the long haul.
November 8th, 2014 | Edited by Zoran Stosic | hardware
On Thursday Oct 30th, Samsung said its sales were stalled by iPhone anticipation. On Friday Oct 31th, the company announced its new A3 and A5 phones for the Asia market, with features seemingly designed to counteract the siren song of Apple’s fashionable phones.
The A5 and A3 match the all-metal build of the Galaxy Alpha, adding momentum to Samsung’s move away from plasticky phones. Their specs sit firmly mid-range otherwise: Both phones sport a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, Super AMOLED display, a 5MP front-facing camera, and 16GB of storage. You can expand that up to 64GB by tossing in an SD card. In another break from Samsung’s past, neither phone’s battery is removable.
Both models are super-slim. The A3 matches the iPhone 6 at 6.9mm. The A5 inhales even more deeply, measuring just 6.7mm thin.
The A5 wins out in other specs, with a 5-inch, 1280×720 screen, 2GB of RAM, and a 2,300mAh battery. The A3 has a 4.5-inch screen with a 960×540 resolution, 1GB of RAM, and a 1,900mAh battery.
Both phones ship with Android 4.4 KitKat. Samsung did not specify plans to upgrade to Android Lollipop, but we do know the company’s been tinkering with the new mobile OS.
Samsung is also being coy about whether these phones will come to the United States. For now, they’ll be sold in China and other “select markets.”
The story behind the story: The Galaxy A series is Samsung’s attempt to win over those tempted by the smooth looks of the iPhone. The Galaxy Alpha started the all-metal lineup, and the Galaxy Note 4 has a metal band and faux leather back that’s more refined than previous models’ designs. Given that Samsung’s smartphone sales were apparently hurt by iPhone anticipation, Samsung seems wise to focus on glamour this time around.
November 6th, 2014 | Edited by Zoran Stosic | software
When early cloud adopters bought into massive, on-demand scale, they also assumed the responsibility of managing failure-prone commodity hardware. They had to adapt their applications to run in the cloud in addition to monitoring a complex new system. While curing some IT headaches, the public cloud created new ones, like:
- Unreliability – Cheap, failure-prone commodity hardware creating a requirement to overprovision cloud resources to plan for server failure.
- Management – Attaining experienced cloud engineers to tweak and tune cloud resources, handle monitoring and alert response, and manage the applications and workloads running on top of cloud resources.
- Cloud sprawl: To get the additional services needed to run workloads, secure deployments and other cloud-related tasks, businesses needed multiple providers leading to shadow IT, platform lock-in, billing confusion, and service compatibility glitches.
The DIY nature of public cloud didn’t work for everybody. Some organizations wanted the speed-to-launch and flexibility of on-demand cloud resources, but they also needed round-the-clock support and architecture expertise. As Gartner describes in the Magic Quadrant for Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting North America report, “Cloud-enabled managed hosting brings cloudlike consumption and provisioning attributes to the traditional managed hosting market.” Those early cloud adopters quickly found that managing a cloud can cause as many problems as it solves, but the benefits were too enticing to pass up. To mitigate the risks of the new technology, businesses sought out providers who could not only provide raw infrastructure, but also provide:
- Support and expertise to manage and grow the environment in accordance with business strategy
- Full-stack management that runs the underlying cloud resources and complex workloads, such as databases, ecommerce software, email, and other critical applications
- Shorter lead times to deployment by integrating on-demand resources and the implementation of DevOps automation methods.
Find out how this category change could impact your business and why Rackspace Managed Cloud was positioned the furthest for completeness of vision and ability to execute in the Leaders Quadrant in the North American and European categories.
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