Tech Review • June 12-13 2012

More photos at bottom

A Better Hadoop • Microsoft Cool? • MacBook Pro “Least Repairable Ever” • Apple Kills the GPS • Stiktu: Good or Graffiti?  • Troll Repellent  • Microsoft Tightens Certificate Security • DOJ Looks at Cable Antitrust  • AWS Stores 1 Trillion Objects • Google Blockly • Just One More: Gorgeous Star Trails

Big Data gets Easier: Hortonworks Builds a Better Hadoop

Hortenworks, whose founders include several early key Hadoop contributors, is releasing version 1 of its Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP). The platform will ease the management and use of Hadoop. If I were looking to field my first instance of Hadoop, I’d strongly consider using HDP.


“Microsoft Feels Cool Again”

Microsoft interns are enthusiastic to be working there instead of Facebook.


iFixit: New MacBook Pro the Least Repairable Laptop Ever

Many of us have been drooling over the newly announced Retina MacBook Pro, but iFixit has sadly pronounced it the least repairable laptop ever, with a repair score of 1 out of 10. Don’t buy this one without AppleCare, kiddies! You can’t add RAM or even swap out the solid state drive, a common upgrade possible on many other laptops. I used to run a university IT department. We actually made money off warranty laptop repairs. Dell paid us to do the work onsite rather than sending in authorized techs or having us send in the laptops. The techs who worked for me could easily disassemble Dell laptops and replace any removable parts.


Did Apple just kill the GPS?

Apple’s inclusion of turn by turn navigation in iOS 6 will shrink the demand for in-car and standalone GPS units.


Virtual Travel Guide or Graffiti?

The Stiktu augmented reality app lets you create and share tags for real world objects with other users. This could be kind of cool but judging by the company’s own promotional video will probably be lame as often as not. Every trolling cyber-idiot out there will be quick to tag objects with profanity, “first post,” etc. Imagine a curated version of this though. The travel applications would be great. For example points of interest could be augmented with educational or historical information.

The Next Web

Troll and Lamer Repellent

Twitter, Facebook and other companies are taking steps to reduce idiocy on the internet for those of us who would prefer online life on a higher plane. Now if the developers of the Windows Phone 7 Facebook app would let me filter out all the Farmville updates that pollute that app’s news feed, life would be good.


Post-Flame, Microsoft Tightens up Windows Update and Certificate Security

The Flame malware I reported on yesterday used sophisticated techniques to subvert digital certificates, a basic trust mechanism of the internet. In response, Microsoft has hardened Windows Update and its certificate management infrastructure. Outdated misconceptions to the contrary, today’s Microsoft does a pretty good job with respect to security.

Ars Technica

Go DOJ! Justice Conducting Cable Co. Antitrust Investigation

The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. Department of Justice is conducting an antitrust investigation into whether cable companies are attempting to quash competition from online video. As someone who cut the cable cord long ago, I’m on the front row cheerleading. I shouldn’t have to pay for laMeTV just because I want the SyFy channel. I ought to be able to pay to watch the occasional football game that interests me without having to subscribe to cable at all. I’d like to watch better content on Netflix and Amazon streaming video, but I can’t because content providers refuse to distribute the best entertainment through them.

Wall Street Journal

Amazon Web Services stores 1 Trillion Objects

As Amazon’s Jeff Barr writes: “That’s 142 objects for every person on Planet Earth or 3.3 objects for every star in our Galaxy. If you could count one object per second it would take you 31,710 years to count them all.”

Amazon Web Services Blog

Google Blockly: Coding for Right Brainers

This is cool. Google’s Blockly lets you create code with a visual drag and drop programming tool. You can then export your creation to actual programming languages.


Just One More: Gorgeous! A Space Station Astronaut’s Star Trail Photos

Astronaut Don Pettit has captured some amazing time exposures from the International Space Station, showing trails along two axes. Star trails are centered around the earth’s axis of rotation and earth surface trails are created by low earth orbit objects’ high speed relative to lighter features on the ground. Pettit actually had to use software to “stack” several 30 second digital camera exposures to create the equivalent of 10 to 15 minute time exposure. This is necessary because prolonged digital camera exposures pick up so much noise that images become unusable. You can see several more images on flickr.

Photo Credits: Don Pettit, NASA Johnson Space Center

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