In early 2011, former U.S. Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra and team helped institute a “Cloud First” policy , which aimed to speed up the government’s internal adoption of cloud computing and services. Since then, many government agencies have begun moving their collaboration and productivity applications to the cloud. Today, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) became the latest to transition, awarding Computer Sciences Corp a contract worth as much as $91 million to implement its cloud productivity solution based on Microsoft Office 360, which includes messaging, calendaring, IMs and webconferencing. According to Microsoft’s statement , 60,000 FAA employees and 20,000 employees at the Department of Transportation will be migrating to Office 360. The contract, which is for one year service with an option for an additional six years, is somewhat of a big, symbolic win for Microsoft in its ongoing efforts to win control of the government cloud market. But Microsoft has to ward off plenty of competition in enterprise cloud services, namely Google, which won a big government contract with the Department of The Interior last month to implement its cloud services. Microsoft and Google have been locked in an ongoing struggle that goes back several years. Google filed a lawsuit in 2010 as part of a solicitation of the Department of the Interior’s business, which required that vendors be compliant with Microsoft’s online suite. Google claimed that the requirement was an unfair competitive advantage, and a back-and-forth began between the two companies over whether or not Google was authorized to sell to the government or not. The war over FISMA compliance came to a close last month, when Google was finally awarded the contract. As Sharon Fisher of CMS Wire pointed out last year, it’s no wonder that Google and Microsoft are ready to do battle over this market. The U.S. government is a potential goldmine for IT vendors, “with a total IT budget of some $78.5 billion” — and that was just for 2011. The adoption of Google Apps at the enterprise level has been increasing fast, and with Apple and others eating into the revenues it sees for software licensing, it clearly wants to make a big push to make up the difference in cloud services. The FAA’s decision to opt for Office 360 (though implemented by CSC) is a big win, but clearly this back-and-forth is just getting started, and they’re not the only two players eying the market. Not to over-dramatize or anything. The FAA follows the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Broadcasting Board of Governors, and the governments of California, Nebraska and Minnesota in moving to the cloud. For more, see Microsoft’s announcement here.
Archive for June 8th, 2012
If you don’t want to cough up for a dedicated tethering plan, there are some illicit ways to share your phone’s data connection with other devices. Of course, most of them require you to root your handset, which might not be something you’re interested in doing. Another option is to buy a wireless router from Zoom (specifically the 4501 or 4506), install ZoomTether and plug your phone into the back. Rather than turn your smartphone into a hotspot itself, Zoom’s standalone routers do the heavy WiFi lifting, which means you get the full 330 yards you’ve come expect from an 802.11n radio and, perhaps, a little longer battery life from your mobile. The ZoomTether-compatible routers even have batteries so that you can use them as truly portable hotspots. This little gem isn’t available in Google Play just yet. You’ll have to side load it by first updating your router’s firmware, then transferring the app from the router to your phone. The fun and convoluted directions are available at the source. Just remember, if your carrier catches on and hits you with a hefty bill, don’t blame us. ZoomTether shares your phone’s connection, tethering plan optional originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 08 Jun 2012 02:51:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink | Zoom Telephonics 1 , 2 | Email this | Comments
DillyTonto writes “Want to know how strong your password is? Count the number of characters and the type and calculate it yourself. Steve Gibson’s Interactive Brute Force Password Search Space Calculator shows how dramatically the time-to-crack lengthens with every additional character in your password, especially if one of them is a symbol rather than a letter or number. Worst-case scenario with almost unlimited computing power for brute-forcing the decrypt: 6 alphanumeric characters takes 0.0000224 seconds to crack, 10 alpha/nums with a symbol takes 2.83 weeks.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.
If you’re a mobile / tablet gaming enthusiast, you may get tired of swiping your fingers across the Retina display or using the on-screen controls. Snakebyte is looking to lend a hand with its upcoming game controller for Android slates and the iPad, so we went hands-on here at E3 . The accessory plays nice with tablet PCs running Gingerbread or Ice Cream Sandwich and Apple’s portable device outfitted with any iCade-compatible apps . Dressed in a soft-touch coating, the peripheral feels great in the hand and the base is much like a PS3 controller. The unit connects via Bluetooth and pairing it with your mobile gaming device of choice is a breeze. When performing said set-up, you can select from five different modes to suit your needs including gamepad / controller, keyboard and mouse, solo keyboard, solo mouse and iCade mode (iOS-only). You’ll always know which setting you’ve chosen thanks to an LED indicator on the front side of the kit. Touting eight hours of battery life, the gaming accessory charges via USB and will include a simple stand for your slate. Interested? You’ll be able to snag one for $40 at the end of July. For now, though, take a peek at the gallery below for a closer look. Gallery: Snakebyte tablet gaming controller hands-on Snakebyte tablet gaming controller for Android and iOS hands-on originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 07 Jun 2012 13:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink | | Email this | Comments
lightbox32 writes with the news as carried by MSNBC that “Best Buy’s chairman and founder Richard Schulze has announced his resignation from the board of directors Thursday a year ahead of the planned transition at the helm of the struggling retailer. The resignation of Dunn and Schulze come after Best Buy reported a quarterly loss of $1.7 billion after same-store sales dropped 5 percent.” This sounds like a bad omen for people who get their electronic fix there. For all its imperfections and limited range, when I’m looking for computer stuff new, at retail, and in person — meaning it’s not at the Goodwill and I need it right now — I’m usually glad to be near a Fry’s location. What brick-and-mortar stores make sense where you live? Read more of this story at Slashdot.