ownCloud Contributor Conference to be held on Aug 26 in TU Berlin

The ownCloud Contributor Conference will take place at the TU Berlin, August 26-31 with an aim to give existing and prospective ownCloud contributors a platform to get together to get work done. Lightning talks, workshops and keynotes will give everyone the opportunity to share what is going on in ownCloud.

“It’s that time again, time to get together to bring ownCloud to the next level! Last year was so much fun – and productive – and this year we plan twice the fun. Even those who are not yet active contributors are super welcome to join us, learn what is going on, learn how to work with the code and become an active member of the contributor community,” wrote Jos Poortvliet of ownCloud.

With recent revelations about the NSA tracking data, ownCloud has become a fast growing alternative to things like Dropbox and Google Docs. ownCloud gives you universal access to your files through a web interface or WebDAV and boasts around 2 million users.

Crucial for ownCloud’s ability to appeal to so many users, is the open source community of contributors that works hard to add ownCloud features.

The hackathon is going to be held from August 26 to 31st, with an added conference day on the 30th which will feature lightning talks and workshops for beginners and new contributors as well as more advanced subjects.
The lightning talks will help you learn about work progress like “what’s new in the News app,” to introduce new API’s and to share knowledge like ‘write fast code’ or ‘common security mistakes.’

If you are keen to contribute to and improve ownCloud, be it through coding, testing, documentation or translating, register now.

The ownCloud Contributor Conference is free and open. You can find more info at http://ownCloud.org/conf.

Dell launches Android-based Venue tablets at Computex 2014

Dell has added two new Android-based models to its Venue lineup of tablets. Both the Venue 7 and the Venue 8 tablets now run Android 4.4 KitKat and come with budget specifications.

Dell’s Venue 7 sports a 7-inch 1280 x 800 pixel display and an Intel Atom Z3460 dual-core processor, which is clocked at 1.6 GHz coupled with 1GB of RAM. It also includes 16GB of internal memory, which is expandable up to 64GB thanks to a microSD card slot. Priced at $160, the tablet is said to offer excellent battery performance with a 4550 mAh battery.

The Venue 8 packs a full HD 1080p screen, compared to last year’s 1,280×800-pixel feature. It has on board a slightly faster Intel Atom Z3480 processor; however, you will have to shell out $40 more for the 8-incher than the Venue 7. The tablet comes with a 2MP front-facing camera rather than the 1MP unit on the Venue 7. (Both have a 5MP primary camera on the back.)

Both the Android-powered Venue tablets will be available in the US starting July 1st at Dell.com. The company did not disclose Australian pricing for the new Android tablets, nor a release date; Dell is yet to announce UK details for the tablets too.

Dell plans to add voice-calling capabilities to both models, but alas only for select countries.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux launched for SAP HANA

Red Hat has expanded the company’s strategic alliance with SAP AG to make it easier for customers to adopt and run the SAP Data Management portfolio, including the SAP HANA platform, SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise (SAP ASE), SAP IQ software, and the SAP SQL Anywhere suite on Red Hat’s open source solutions.

The expanded collaboration is expected to enable real-time, in-memory innovation by providing an open, scalable, integrated and highly-available platform for solutions from SAP along with those that are custom-built in an effort to expand customer choice when it comes to fueling business performance and helping enterprises realize increased value from cloud computing and big data.

Steve Lucas, president, Platform Solutions, SAP AG added: “By joining forces with Red Hat to enable SAP HANA on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, we plan to give our customers an additional choice upon which to base deployments of SAP solutions; an open, flexible and scalable platform that is intended to support customers’ data management needs across on-premise and cloud environments.”

As the foundation of the enhanced partnership, Red Hat Enterprise Linux is now available and qualified for production use of SAP HANA and supported by partners’ SAP-certified hardware solutions. SAP HANA enables customers to capture business transactions to help make smarter, faster decisions through real-time analysis and reporting combined with dramatically accelerated business processes. Customers can now also enjoy expanded choice when it comes to their deployments of SAP HANA to experience the reliability, quality and stability offered by Red Hat Enterprise Linux. They can also standardize deployments of SAP solutions on Red Hat’s high-performing, secure and open platform, helping to ensure consistency of operations across the business.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP HANA is designed for easy deployment and simplified integration, and will be available via SAP-certified hardware appliances from partners. Delivered through the power of the partner ecosystems of Red Hat and SAP, it is planned for customers to now have access to a portfolio of cross-industry experience and expertise that harnesses the flexible, scalable and open nature of SAP software and Red Hat solutions that are designed to meet a variety of enterprise information requirements.

Is Flounder the codename for upcoming Nexus device?

With Google I/O 2014 right round the corner, we have started hearing whispers about a new Nexus device. What could be called a real ‘proof’, the folks over at tech site MYCE spotted a potential hardware codename for an unreleased Google device that recently made an appearance through the Chromium issue tracker. Evidence of new hardware surfaced buried within Chrome Issue #371206.

It is worth mentioning here that Chrome Issue #371206 is of no particular consequence itself as it’s nothing more than a crash report. The interesting part, however, lies in the build fingerprint:

Build fingerprint: ‘google/volantis/flounder:L/AAV36B/1156106:userdebug/dev-keys’

What actually gets our attention is the mention of “flounder” in the build fingerprint. There’s a good reason why “Flounder” might be a new Nexus device. Condering Google’s history of naming its Nexus devices (from the Galaxy Nexus to the Nexus 5), we have seen the company use a codename associated with fish.

These include toro (Verizon Galaxy Nexus), maguro (GSM Galaxy Nexus), hammerhead (Nexus 5), mantaray (Nexus 10), flo (Nexus 7, fish in Finding Nemo), mako (Nexus 4), and grouper (Nexus 7).

“The device is running a AA branch build which is the development branch for the Android SDK tools. The build is very new, if we follow Google’s naming convention. The ‘V’ in the build string means it’s from Q2 2014. The 36 means the 36th day of Q2 2014 which makes it the 6h of May 2014 and the last letter ‘B’ is the second build of that day,” reports MYCE.

With a Nexus 10 refresh long overdue, we can’t stop ourselves from getting excited. Who knows if you get to see “Flounder” in the coming weeks!

You can buy ZTE’s Firefox phone for $99 on eBay

The ZTE Open C smartphone, which was first showed off at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) tradeshow in February, is being sold on eBay for a wallet-friendly $99.99. Running the latest version of Mozilla’s open source Firefox OS, the new phone is an upgraded version of the earlier ZTE Open which was sold for $80 in the US. The unlocked smartphone packs a 4-inch screen, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 512MB of memory, 3-megapixel camera, and 4GB of storage.

“The ZTE Open C offers users a sleek intuitive design richly equipped with features including a 4-inch screen and a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor based on the A7 architecture. It is the first smartphone to ship with the latest version of Firefox OS, bringing performance improvements, enhanced messaging and multimedia capabilities to first time smartphone users at an affordable price,” ZTE said in a statement.

The manufacturer further added, “The latest version of Firefox OS offers many new features including: better email functionality with POP3 support, enhanced MMS capabilities, direct music player access from the lock screen or notifications bar, improved sorting of Gallery media to make it easier to find photos and advanced Bluetooth sharing to allow multiple files to be transferred simultaneously. Users can also now get to where they want to go faster with enhanced scrolling performance and system app (e.g. calendar, address book, camera) startup times.”

The ZTE Open C is now available to eBay users in the US, UK, Germany, Russia and more than 20 other European countries.

Have a quick look at the specs below:

OS Firefox OS 1.3
CPU MSM8210 1.2GHz, A7, Dual Core
Network 850/900/1800/1900M,WCDMA 850/1900M
Screen TFT 4.0 inch Multi-touch screen
Camera 3.0MP FF Back camera
Battery 1400 mAh
Size 126 x 64.7 x 10.8 mm
Other Functions Support Bluetooth, accelerometer, GPS with AGPS, WIFI 802.11b/g/n

Samsung replaces mobile design boss following Galaxy S5 backlash

Amid criticism of the latest Galaxy S smartphone, South Korean firm Samsung Electronics has replaced Chang Dong-hoon, the head of its mobile design team, by vice president of mobile design Lee Min-Hyuk. According to Reuters, “Chang, a former professor who studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, will continue to lead Samsung’s design center which overseas its overall design strategy.”

The Galaxy S5, which is now available globally, has been criticised due to its lack of eye-popping hardware innovations. The Wall Street Journal, in a report, said the gold-colored back cover on the smartphone looked like a band-aid.

“The realignment will enable Chang to focus more on his role as head of the Design Strategy Team, the company’s corporate design center which is responsible for long-term design strategy across all of Samsung’s businesses, including Mobile Communications,” Samsung said in a statement.

Consumers desperately look forward to seeing a change in the basic design of Galaxy smartphones and tablets, which has more or less stagnated since the launch of the Galaxy S3 in 2012. Will the 42-year-old Lee Min-hyuk be able to deliver what consumers want? Could he take Samsung’s mobile design in a new direction? Well, we can only wait and watch…

Huawei launches ultra-slim Ascend P7 Android phone

Huawei’s new 4G LTE smartphone, the Ascend P7, is finally here. A significant upgrade from last year’s Ascend P6, the new smartphone offers an updated Emotion UI interface on top of Android 4.4.2 Kitkat mobile operating system. It also provides users with updated cameras, and a 5-inch 1920×1080 resolution 441ppi IPS display. At 6.5mm slim, Ascend P7 is being touted as one of the slimmest 4G LTE smartphones in the market. The phone packs dual 13MP and 8MP cameras.

“Huawei’s relentless commitment to developing premium quality smartphones over the past three years has paid off. We are now ranked number three globally in terms of smartphone shipments, and our brand recognition is growing steadily in key regions such as China and Western Europe,” said, Richard Yu, CEO, Huawei Consumer Business Group (BG). “Today, the launch of Huawei Ascend P7 once again challenges existing industry standards by redefining smartphone design, camera experience, and connectivity, to provide people with an unprecedented mobile experience.”

For people seeking even faster and seamless connectivity, Huawei’s latest flagship smartphone is said to enable unlimited media viewing with 4G LTE speed and Huawei’s unique dual antenna design to improve signal reception.
Ascend P7 also uses smart network switching technology that stabilizes the connection even during weak signal reception to minimize battery drainage. The phone will be powered by a 2,500mAh battery.

Priced at €449 ($625), the phone will be launched around the globe in May.

Launch markets include China, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Serbia, Greece, Norway, Hungary, Denmark, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates.

Wind River accelerated virtual switch software delivers breakthrough performance

Wind River has announced that it has achieved industry-leading performance with its accelerated virtual switch (vSwitch) integrated within Wind River Carrier Grade Communications Server, which is designed for network functions virtualization (NFV). The accelerated vSwitch can deliver 12 million packets per second to guest virtual machines (VMs) using only two processor cores on an industry-standard server platform, in a real-world use case involving bidirectional traffic.

This performance represents 20 times that of the standard Open vSwitch (OVS) software used in typical enterprise data centers. Providing unlimited scalability when instantiated on multiple cores, this industry-leading performance is achieved using up to 33% fewer CPU resources than other commercial solutions, with no requirement for specific hardware acceleration.

As service providers adopt NFV architectures in order to reduce network operating expenses and accelerate the deployment of new value-added services, the vSwitch plays a key function within the infrastructure platform that runs virtualized network functions (VNFs). The performance of the vSwitch determines the bandwidth of network traffic processed by the VNFs and directly influences the overall cost performance of the platform. Since service providers will ultimately derive revenue from services based on virtualized applications, it is important to minimize the processor resources consumed by the vSwitch function and maximize the resources available for VNFs.

The Wind River accelerated vSwitch enables the rapid deployment of virtualized applications by supporting a wide range of guest operating systems running in the VMs. These guest OSes include enterprise-class Linux distributions, customer-specific “roll-your-own” Linux implementations, Windows and Wind River Linux.

“As a key element in our Carrier Grade Communications Server, our accelerated vSwitch was designed from the ground-up to incorporate the Carrier Grade features that are critically important for telecom networks that must deliver six 9s reliability,” said Mike Langlois, general manager of the communications business for Wind River. “For example, the accelerated vSwitch provides fast convergence during live migration of VMs, while minimizing the impact of dirty page updates. To allow for optimum resource allocation, it provides deterministic processing performance without the jitter of over 10% exhibited by the standard Open vSwitch. Finally, protocols such as LAG, VLAN tagging, and VXLAN provide the security features that are essential for telecom networks.”

Wind River Carrier Grade Communications Server, including the accelerated vSwitch, is available now as an early release for select customers.

‘NeRD’ e-reader developed for US Navy

The Navy prohibits use of iPads, Kindles and other e-readers on submarines. Every gadget the Navy uses aboard military ships are designed to meet the security needs of sailors. The latest is the NeRD, or Navy eReader Device. The Navy General Library Program has joined hands with digital products company Findaway World to announce the new E Ink tablet that resembles a Kindle.

It addresses the security issues as it has no ports, no card readers and no Wi-Fi connectivity.

“What would be considered limiting [for] the technology is actually perfecting the device for its designated audience,” says Findaway World, which built the e-reader.

The content comprises newer bestsellers and public-domain classics, as well as titles from the Navy reading list. Since publishing partners include Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette and Random House, the lineup ranges from “A Game of Thrones” and “The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo,” to “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” and bonafide nerd favorites including “The Lord of the Rings” series, Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game,” and Stephen King’s “The Stand.”

“Since we have the digital product available while sailors are on shore, we wanted to find a way to get digital accessibility while sailors are on ships,” says Nilya Carrato, program assistant for the library program. “They can keep 300 books that would have taken up their entire library locker in their pocket now.”

Project Loon: Google to team up with wireless carriers

Google’s Project Loon, as we know it, aims to make the Internet accessible to rural and remote areas around the world using a network of air ballons. What we did not know so far is how the search giant plans to turn its moonshot idea into a reality. Googler Astro Teller disclosed at the TechCrunch Disrupt NY conference Tuesday that the company is mulling over working with existing telcos and using their spectrum instead.

“We actually thought this was just going to be absolutely critical to the project,” Teller said. “And we wanted to get it done before we launched.” The Google X team had actually worked for six months to get this spectrum deal done; it said it worked with large companies to make it work.

The team, however, failed to impress CEO Larry Page with the plan who said: “You’re going to hit a double — that’s not really interesting. You are going to be really frustrated. You’ll be really angry for a week, but then you’ll get creative and you’ll come up with a home run.”

This is when the team came up with something much better than just buying a relatively thin piece of harmonized spectrum. Project Loon would instead make use of spectrum already owned by telcos across the globe.

“That actually makes you feel much more comfortable that I’m not invading your country or I’m about to take your users,” Teller said. “So now you and I can be great friends, and we don’t even need to buy the spectrum.”