11 Apr 2012


SQL Server 2012 is now generally available from Microsoft.  Previously we covered the forthcoming SQL Server 2012 and its requirements.  SQL Server 2012 delivers with new capabilities for mission-critical workloads, business intelligence and hybrid IT across datacenters and public and private clouds as well. 

Some of the features include:

The latest version of SQL Server 2012 can be downloaded here.  Microsoft also has a listing of all things related to SQL Server 2012 in their Virtual Launch Event.  Content from this event is going to be available until June 30th, 2012.

Also Microsoft is announcing their second Preview of the Hadoop based service for Azure.  They have expanded the capacity of this service by 4x to accommodate high demand.  The preview provides "an elastic Hadoop Service" with more reliability through disaster recovery of the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) NameNode and advanced analytics via Hadoop projects such as Mahout.  It also is providing insights through tools like Office and Sharepoint.

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11 Apr 2012

The Daily Show's Jon Stewart is pondering the sanity or lack their of in Google's Project Glass.  "In New York City, that mother* is going to get hit by a car."  This in reaction to anyone wearing Google's new augmented-reality glasses.

Stewart goes on to say that Google is after all, the "world's biggest database of people whizzing in public."  Using Google Glasses would be as if these people "are peeing right in your eye."

He didn't stop there, he went on to rant about the Instagram photo app and the recent acquisition by Facebook.  After the app was explained to him he reacted "Wow.  That's really lame."

He was told that the purchase price was $1 billion, then reacted with "A billion dollars of money? For a thing that kind of ruins your pictures?"

Stewart's senior youth correspondent Jessica Williams explained that it was cheaper than a time machine to make your pictures look like they were taken in the 60s.

"Old people never like new or fun things," explained Williams.

So it is true, an idea that cost $0 about 17 months ago, suddenly turns into $1 billion dollars today.  Who will be the next winner in the "turn something ridiculously simple into something worth billions" game?  Time will certainly tell that story.

Source:  thedailyshow.com (The Social Networth)

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01 Apr 2012

Tech-Stew Podcast Episode 12:  Science Spectacular, recorded on Sunday 04-01-12

Summary:  The Nokia Lumia 900 is coming, Google Drive becomes a reality, Best Buy to close 50 store-fronts, strange clouds on Mars, aliens land in Arizona, SpaceX can get us to Mars for cheap, billions of habitable planets in our galaxy, antibody kills cancer in mice and more  

Direct link(right click to save locally) here

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01 Apr 2012

Netflix revealed today that they are acquiring the cloud based OnLive gaming company for $1.1 billion.  OnLive currently offers a free membership.  Once you have the membership you can then purchase the rights to play individual games for a one time fee ranging in price or you can get play passes for multiple days or playpack subscriptions.

Netflix has stated that the Netflix branded online streaming of games will keep the OnLive interface intact, but will offer different pricing plans to be announced.

Netflix will be combining resources between OnLive and their own servers to provide even more quality to the streaming of the games.  This teaming will also prove beneficial in the battle to get the licensing figured out for the OnLive cloud based Windows-on-iPad service (OnLive Desktop), which was recently tagged by Microsoft as violating licensing terms.

Netflix has indicated that the existing mini-console offered by OnLive for playback of video games on TV's will also support the playback of all Netflix content, making it an all in one multimedia device.  There are some rumors that Netflix may try to offer playback of video games on existing game consoles (where movie streaming supported), but some manufacturers may try to block this feature.

This move by Neflix is possibly Foolish, given their past moves such as with Quickster.

The Tech-Stew Take Home **Update**

Well as you might have guessed from the last line of the main article...  APRIL FOOLS!.  This topic does make good fodder for discussion or in a future podcast.  There could be many negative side effects to such a merger if it were to happen.  The first would be less competition.  Less competition usually leads to less quality in a product.  With Netflix being the only major streaming company around right now, there is not much room for competition.  Sure there is Hulu and Amazon, but in the big market, Netflix leads the way as of now.  Verizon is to have streaming of their own soon, so is Comcast with Xfinity Streampix, but that's for Comcast customers.  I think most would say that OnLive remaining a solo act, is a good thing for the time being, especially as they begin to move into other areas outside of just gaming, such as their service called OnLive Desktop that runs Windows on iPad and even streaming movies. 

As we move into next generation consoles, we will see more of a shift towards downloading the games (possibly the only way to get new content), but that is downloading, not so much streaming as of now anyway.  OnLive graphically is already pretty good, not quite as close as top end PC graphics on a stand-alone-machine, but very playable.  OnLive is leading us into this new frontier of streaming games and with a bit more time, it will become an even more solid platform for the future.  At any rate, Happy April Fools 2012 to everyone. 

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27 Mar 2012

The wait may finally be over for the rumored Google Drive or GDrive, which should compete with services like Dropbox and Skydrive.  GigaOm's Om Malik says that it will be launched the first week of April. 

"According to the details from my sources, Google is going to offer 1 GB of storage space for free, but will charge for more storage. The market leader Dropbox currently offers 2 GB for free. Google's product will come with a local client and the web interface will look much like the Google Docs interface. Interestingly, it will launch for Google Apps customers and will be domain specific as well. Google has also built an API for third party apps with this service so folks can store content from other apps in the Google drive. My sources are impressed, so far with what they have seen."

The Google I/O registration, an annual conference held in June for developers in San Francisco, began today.  One would think Google might actually think of waiting until June to announce Google Drive, adding to their publicity.

The Tech-Stew Take Home

We at Tech-Stew have talked on our Podcast in the past about Google Drive and the opening of API's for third party app development, so this information seems consistent.  But the question remains as to how they will compete with loyal Dropbox customers who already get 2 GB for free.  It would seem possible they may offer 1 GB as a starting point then gradually increase this, or offer more space for a fee.

Google has stumbled in the past like with their initial release of Google Music without any record labels, which they later fixed.  Google Play could to have ties to GDrive for storing things like digital movie content.  So the potential exists for big results from Google Drive.

The real advantage could be for loyal Google customers who like having all their services coming from one company.  Google Drive could really "drive" things home for a lot of users, pun intended.

Source:  Gigaom.com

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20 Mar 2012

This October the wait is over for Windows 8 and to fully experience Microsoft's new Metro Start Screen in all its full glory, or torture, depending on what camp you fall in.  Microsoft has stated it will finish Windows 8 this summer and sales of Windows 8 will occur in October.

Initially they will roll out to devices with Intel (INTC) and ARM chips.  Microsoft is effectively using the same types of processors that Apple uses in the iPad, but there will be a limited number of ARM devices at debut, less than five, as opposed to Intel machines at 40.  Microsoft is still planning on shipping both ARM and Intel versions at the same time.

This October time frame will allow Microsoft to gear up for Holiday sales in 2012.  Filling everyone's Christmas wish lists, with Windows 8 touch-screen devices and laptops and desktops.  Microsoft hopes to revitalize the PC market with Windows 8 and gain some ground on the iPad.  

19 Mar 2012

                                                          Goodsir North Tower

Flight Simulator fans rejoice, the new FS Global Ultimate Series has been completed.  "The Americas" and "Europe/Africa" are shipping now and the last part of "Asia/Oceania" are shipping March 24th.  For those unfamiliar, FS Global is a height map mesh for the world.  Imagine the landscape as a grid and at every grid point, the ground gets pulled up or pushed down from sea level to the height of the ground at that location, forming a more accurate height model of the surface of the Earth, adding many levels of detail to the ground.  It literally adds an immense amount of depth and realism to Flight Simulator.  

15 Mar 2012

As far as servers go, you don't think much of them.  They generally just sit in the background and do what they are supposed to.  One usually doesn't think of flashy GUI interfaces when it comes to servers either.  They generally are fairly straight forward and basic and in the case of Windows, haven't change a whole lot in the past several years, until now with Windows Server 8 and its Metro interface, which most likely will be largely ignored however, at least initially.

The Metro Tile interface has replaced the Start Button and Menu, just like in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.  Microsoft is calling it the Metro-style interface.  There are tiles present that manage the functionality of the server.  You can even add more admin tiles by enabling them and subsequently you have the usual tools you are used to. 

There is not a definite release date for Server 8, but a likely time frame will be just around or after the release of Windows 8 later this year.  Windows Server 8 only comes in x64.  Its the first server to only to support x64 systems from release date.  

Windows Server 8 beta is available from this link and was released to the public on March 1st, 2012 (one day after Windows 8 Consumer Preview).  Its available as a VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) or ISO.  The VHD is meant for at least Server 2003 and Virtual Server 2005 (Hyper-V).  See our YouTube video below for a quick run down on the setup and features.

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