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Microsoft gives away its Office 365 for free to school and college students on a global note!

Microsoft has finally decided to make the younger generation happy this year. The Software giant has announced that it is going to give away Office 365 packages for students at participating colleges and universities. At first, the Cupertino giant decided to offer its 365 for free to only good students in the US. But now, the company has decided to expand it to students around the globe in countries where the product is available.

The free subscription includes the access to features like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access, Publisher and 1TB of cloud storage space on Microsoft OneDrive. They’ll also have access to Microsoft Office Online Tools as well.

In order to take advantage of this fantastic offer, the students need to just sign-up through Microsoft website using their school or college email address. Enter your email address into the website and it will let you know whether you are available or not. For more details, go through the given link below.

However, the eligibility of students to use this offer depends on their educational institutions tie-up with internet juggernaut. Schools and other educational institutions will have to buy subscriptions for staff and faculty. But once they do, students and even teachers can self-install Office 365 for no charge by using a school issued email address at the Office in education website.

Google officially announces its Gtalk users about its shutdown!

Google has officially announced yesterday to all Gtalk users that its service for Windows platform is no longer support. The company sent an email to all those who tried to log-in to its Gtalk application. First, the app rejected the login saying wrong username or password. And then the user got a mail to his/her Gmail account about the support denial

Google’s email to all Gtalk users is as follows-

Hi XYZ,

We noticed you recently tried using the Google Talk app for Windows. We wanted to let you know that this was discontinued on February 23rd 2015. We recommend giving Hangouts a try so you can chat with all your Google contacts. Hangouts supports people’s favorite features from Google Talk, including text chat, presence, contact lists and status messages. In addition, Hangouts lets you have group video chats, make phone calls, express yourself with emojis and keep your conversations going across Android, iOS, and your computer.

If messaging right from your desktop is important to you, try the Hangouts Chrome app or Hangouts in Gmail. If you’re not ready to make the switch to Hangouts quite yet, you can continue using Google Talk on Windows with a range of compatible third-party chat apps. (Please keep in mind these aren’t Google products, so exercise caution when signing in with your Google account.) As a loyal Google Talk user, we thank you for your support and we hope you give us the opportunity to provide an even better communications experience with Google Hangouts. If this sign-in attempt was not made by you, please check details on your Devices and Activity page

Early this month, Google officially announced that it is going to shut down Gtalk service on Feb 16th, 2015 in order to promote its Google Hangouts. After a grace period of almost a week, the company has decided to completely shut down the service on Feb 25th, 2015.

So, now that is official, for all those who can still access the service well and good. To those, who are unable to login into their Google Talk accounts, please shift your chat preferences to Google Chrome hangouts, if you are interested in sticking to Google web services.

 

Seven fascinating facts about the future of facial recognition!

Facial Recognition (FR) is giving a new meaning to the security surveillance world nowadays. Though, its logical availability is since 2009, the advantages of its usage are coming into light now. But to our surprise its future dominance in different verticals was predicted way back in 2010, when a research was conducted on it.

In the said year, Alessandro Acquisti from Carnegie Mellon University Cylab focused his attention on facial recognition software. He and his team conducted a study, where about 2.5 billion photos were uploaded to Facebook in a single month, many of them tagged. For the study, Alessandro and his fellow researchers snapped photos of students on a college campus and found that more than 30% of them were identifiable by off-the shelf facial recognition software. From there, by using data mining algorithms, the researchers were also able to identify the first five digits of many of these students’ social security numbers.

To know more on where this technology is heading, please take a closer look at the following paragraphs, which gives the different usage instances of this technology.

Identifiable online daters- An important part of online dating is, obviously being anonymous. People can never know who the real person is until they come face to face. So, you can make up a screen name in order to keep the surprise element intact and to avoid creepers from showing up at your office uninvited. In the study made in 2010 by Alessandro with the name “Privacy in the age of augmented reality” he and his fellow researchers analyzed 6000 online profiles on a dating site in the same US city. By using four cloud computing cores and facial recognition, they were able to identify 1 in 10 of these anonymous daters. Remember this technology has improved three-fold since then.

Better tools for law enforcement- After the Boston Marathon bombing, the police commissioner of Boston said that the facial recognition software had not helped them identify Dzhokar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, despite the fact that the two were in public record database and were pictured at the scene in disguise. Experts such as Acquisti said that the difficulties can be conquered by using increased resolution of photos taken from megapixel and if possible Gigapixel cameras. But to achieve the best results improved computational capabilities of computers and the ever-expanding mountain of data available from social networks has to be integrated. In a fascinating article in Yahoo, pal Schuepp of the company Animetrics shares more specific advance- software that turns 2D images into a simulated 3D model of a person’s face. In a single second, it can turn an unidentifiable partial snapshot into a very identifiable headshot. He claims that the software can boost identification rates from 35% to 85% if properly used. (Hope so)

Full Body recognition- Allyson Rice of the University of Texas at Dallas has an idea of how facial recognition software could become even more accurate for law enforcement purposes. In a study published last year in Psychological Science, Rice and her fellow researchers asked college students to discern whether two photos- which had stumped facial recognition software were indeed of the same person. They used eye-tracking equipment to discern how the participants were making the call. In the end, they found that students were far more accurate in their answers when the face and body of the subject was shown. And while the participants reported judging based on facial features, their eyes were spending more time examining body build, stance and other body features. Rice feels that psychologists and computer scientists have concentrated almost exclusively on the role of the face in person recognition. But he added that his research has also showed that the body can also provide important and useful information for identifying a person.

Face Scan for phone – You might be aware of “Face unlock” which is a feature that allows you to unlock Android smart phones using your face print i.e a map of the unique structure of your face. This is just the beginning of having a face recognition security measure. In June last year, there was a media buzz, that Google patented a technology that would turn goofy facial expressions such as a wink, a scrunched nose, a smile, a struck out tongue into a code to unlock devices. In early 2015, Facebook announced that it will offer the ability to its users to sign-in through their face in future with the help of it’s newly acquired Israeli firm face.com software.

Facial recognition as promotion- Pretty soon facial recognition can be used to influence what you buy? In 2012, an interactive ad for Choice for Girls was launched at bus tops in London. These billboards were able to scan passersby, judge their gender and show them appropriate content. Girls and women got a video, while boys and men got stats on a subject. Though this ad was for good cause, it couldn’t live up and so was taken down. But this technology will no doubt expand and could allow corporations and organizations to tap into the personal lives of their populace in unpredictable ways. Personalized ads as we walk down the street, like in the scene of Minority Report, can be repeated. Infact Gucci brand started to test this technology outside one of its showrooms of New York in early 2014. But due to privacy concerns and some objections from the passersby had to be pulled down within 8 hours of its release. But Acquisti has a viewpoint that this way of promotion has a potential to be used for more subtle applications- like the ads that can identify us and our favorite two friends on facebook. From there, it’s a snap to create a composite image of a person who’ll start in an ad targeted just to us. Another instance where FR may show its prominence is in the following case where establishments like Wallmart are using technology such as Facedeals to capture its consumers walking into an establishment, mining their facebook likes and text messages and creating a deal exclusively for them. Though, Wallmart offered this deal only for thanksgiving last year, it was a definite hit.

Shattered Glass of Google- as Acquisti notes in his talk, the fact that someone’s face can be used to find out private info is especially disconcerting given Google Glass emergence on the scene. In June 2014, US lawmakers questioned Google about the privacy implications of the device and in response, Google stressed out that they won’t be approving any facial recognition glassware at this time. But what if the user decides to use it? In July, Stephen Balaban announced to NPR and the world that he had hacked glass in order to give it facial recognition powers. He added that his new build is an alternative operating system that runs on glass but is not controlled by Google. In the same year, Michael DiGiovanni created a program called WINKY for glass that let’s the wearer take a photo with a wink, rather than using the voice command.

Your face as currency- In July, a Finnish company called Uniqul released a video of a project in the works, a pay-by-face authentication system. The idea was to pay by face than by cash or credit card. A Huffington post article described this new tech, and also gives a peak at the Millennial ATM, which uses facial recognition as its primary security method.

Subsequently, a point to be noted over here is that facial recognition is evolving rapidly. It is not only driving the surveillance world, but is also pegging its roots into other verticals.

Importance of safe Data Storage for Small Business!

Data Storage is turning vital to every business, irrespective of the size and vertical it holds. But small businesses often underestimate the need to have good data storage in order to safely backup vital information and to distribute data quickly when required.

However, this practice seems to be slowly changing these days, as most of the organizations are learning the importance of having a reliable storage, out of their disastrous experiences of meddling with a shaky one.

Thankfully, there are some inexpensive storage options available for organizations, irrespective of their status of being a start-up or in the market to expand their current storage solutions.

If you’re concerned about the safety of your company information or simply need additional data storage for your growing business, then please pursue the following instructions and succeed.

First and foremost

Generally speaking, they are number of reasons why data storage happens to be a vital part of any business, and one of the biggest factors is keeping company information secure from hacking pirates. Malware can easily wipe off data and it’s imperative that backup solutions are in place in order to quickly retrieve wiped files. Catastrophic disasters like snowcalypse, floods or fires can also lead to data loss; which is why disaster recovery solutions can help a business to access their info as quickly as possible. To save from this negative juncture a sound backup strategy will be needed and the resource could be as simple of whether storing data on external hard drive or on cloud storage.

The need for scalable storage

As a business grows so does the need for more sophisticated storage facilities, especially if you have employees dealing with apps (like financial transactions) which require large amounts of information storage. For certain businesses there may also be legal compliance requirements that mean certain historic information must be stored as part of data retention policies. There’s also the simple scenario of upgrading software in your business making higher demands on your HDDs over the long term. All of these factors plus the safety of your info should be enough to make business owners aware of the importance of this tech requirement.

Storage needs assessment

Factually speaking, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to enterprise data storage. So some assessments should be taken before deciding on the right solution to meet your storage needs. An assessment should include old and duplicated information, as well as non-business related data and how long certain data has to be retained. Other factors such as how quickly the business would recover from a disaster and the ability to share info easily with off-site employees also need some spotlight. The other point will be the need to free up more space via off-site servers and cloud storage solutions. Though, the later needs a second thought when it comes to security and integrity factor. If carefully handled can prove handy.

Available storage options

The good news for small businesses is that there is a wide range of data storage options available to suit every size of business. This can include expensive smaller devices such as flash memory thumb drive for mobile use, external hard drives for those who need little additional storage or move it to cloud Storage. Third party storage such has backing up from your own network to a remote data center server is another safe and reliable option, which can be good for large companies.

To those, who are more worried to keep their data safe and secure and are not worried about the investment NAS and SAN appliances can also prove helpful. Obviously, if data is critical for a business to perpetuate, going for hybrid appliance which offers on-site storage needs and integrates with cloud storage can also be resourceful.

Storage upgrade

Upgrading your current data storage environment isn’t a move to be taken lightly. If your data storage environment is not up to the expected performance mark, then going for a forklift upgrade will surely make sense. If needed, approach a service provider like DNF Professional services, which will look into your current IT needs and will devise and architect your storage environment as per your organizations future needs. All the pains and gains in upgrading, migrating your company storage resources & data will be looked after by the said company.

Hope, this article succeeds in enlightening those who are not aware of the importance of data storage.

Meanwhile, please share your comments in the comments section below and do let us know your bitter and sweet experiences about your current enterprise storage environments, upgrades, future planning and so on….

Get an IBM Bladeserver with XEON processors for just $175!

Blade Servers allow more processing power in less rack space, simplifying cabling and reduction in power consumption. As per some research findings, enterprises moving to blade servers can experience as much as an 85% reduction in cabling for blade installations over conventional 1U or tower servers. Thus, with so much less cabling, IT admins can spend less time managing the infrastructure and more time ensuring high availability.

Each Blade Server can connect to storage pools such as NAS, FC SAN, iSCSI Storage (SAN). The advantage of using these servers comes not only from the consolidation benefits of housing several servers in a single chassis, but also from the consolidation of associated resources like network equipment and storage integration into a petite architecture that can be managed through a single interface.

A blade server which is also known as a high-density server is used for single dedicated tasks such as file sharing, web page serving and caching, SSL encryption of web communication, the transcoding of web page content for smaller displays and streaming of audio and video content. They can also be used for load balancing and failover capabilities.

With so much features packed into the chassis, obliviously, the price factor of these computing units will be too high.

But to those who are not willing to spend thousands of dollars on these blade servers, here’s an update. You can grab an IBM Blade Server just for $175 from OnSaleguru website.

OnSaleGuru is an online used product re-selling website which allows users to sell everything and anything through its platform. This online store is now offering IBM BladeServer HS21 in its product catalog for the above said price.

IBM BladeServer HS21 is the one which is being offered for just $175 and the product is in good and working condition. So, for all those web developers who would like to have a web server dedicated to their web blogs or websites, this can prove as a boon. It is inexpensive and will fulfill all your web server needs to the fullest. You can use this server for audio and video streaming, by connecting it to a NAS or a SAN appliance.

IBM BladeServer HS21 offered on OnSaleGuru is having 2 in number XEON processors which operate with 3GHZ speed. There is a dedicated DDR

SD RAM on this server and is loaded with 2x 80GB hard disks, out of which 73.4GB is the available usage capacity.

The market price of an IBM blade server is approximately 5k dollars and the pricing depends on the features and specs it holds. So, if you are getting a used blade server and that too from a prominent brand like IBM for just $175, do not waste your time and instead please go and grab it.

Note- a blade server is an electronic circuit board, which has two or more micro processors and memory that is intended for single dedicated applications.  They are like servers on cards containing processors, memory, integrated network controllers and such.

Apple to invest $2 billion on two new European data Center running on renewable energy!

Apple has officially announced that it will undertake its biggest European data center project to date, investing around $1.9 billion on two massive data centers located in Denmark and Ireland. The two new data centers will be entirely powered by renewable energy and are expected to operate from 2017.

Apple is insisting on switching to renewable energy from the past few years as a support to Green data center revolution. It has started to use renewable energy in some of its data centers on a partial note, since 2013.

The two new data centers will help in further powering Apple’s Online Services such as iTunes, and App Store, iMessage, Maps and Siri. Apple expects investment of almost $2 billion to be split evenly between the two new locations.

The first data center in Ireland is located in the West of Athenry, close to Galway. The Denmark data center will be in Viborg, western Denmark.

Apple in its official press release added that its two new European data centers will be the largest, at around 1.8 million square feet. In addition to using 100% renewable, both data centers have additional design considerations to make them even more environmentally friendly.

In Denmark, the date center will be located next to one of Denmark’s largest electrical substations, which Apple said will help it eliminate the need for additional generators. The facility is designs to capture excess heat from equipment inside and conduct it into the district heating system to help warm homes in the neighboring community.

Currently, Apple employees around 18,000 people across 19 of its data centers and is said to add 2k more when its two new European data centers start functioning.

Axis reacts to Canon proposal and clarifies further!

Axis Communications has finally reacted to Canon’s proposal in early this week and hinted that it is going to accept the proposal likely. The Swedish security camera maker clarified that the acceptance period of the offer is expected to begin in early March and expire in April. It further added that and it will be unavailable to comment on any potential impact of the offer during this time.

Axis in its email shoot-out to its partners has hinted that it has reciprocated to Canon’s acquisition proposal in a positive way and clarified that Axis’ strategies will remain in place and continue to be invested in, along with access to new technologies and a strong intellectual property portfolio after the deal. Taking its partners into confidence, the security camera maker elucidated that the success of Axis is built on three main factors: a global presence, a strong and wide partner network and innovative products and solutions. Axis added in its partners email some much awaited details about the deal. It stated that Canon has a reputation of being a long-term owner and has stated a clear ambition to, through Axis and under the Axis brand, create a strong position in the video surveillance market. Axis shall be run as a separate entity with reporting line directly to the CEO and chairman. This means that all Axis offices and functions including our partnership-based sales model will be kept unchanged.

Furthermore, Canon has gained respect and understanding for the imperative role our corporate culture plays in our success, and both companies share a mutual view of the importance of keeping it.   Axis access to Canon knowledge and technology will be a foundation for future joint cooperation and benefits. The areas include; image technology, manufacturing technology, procurement power and a broad and strong patent portfolio. Access to the technology and knowledge listed above is expected to further strengthen Axis’ competitive advantage in the market.

So, to all those who are still unaware of the acquisition deal between Canon and Axis, here’s an update.

And to all those, who think that the deal has been grabbed by Axis, hope the above give clarification by Axis communication is enough to clear the air.

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