Microsoft Buys an Open Source Company!

How weird is it that Microsoft is easing into Open Source?

Microsoft Continues Its March Toward Open Source With Latest Acquisition

Wired – By: Klint Finley – “Microsoft has agreed to acquire open-source software company Revolution Analytics, heavily embracing the R programming language, a data analysis tool widely used by both academics and corporate data scientists.

The software giant announced the deal on Friday, but did not disclose the terms.

Revolution Analytics is best known for offering developer tools for use with the R language, and though Microsoft already works with R, this represents a new bet on the language, reflecting the company’s wider interest in data science.

Just as IBM’s Netezza appliance, SAP’s HANA database, Oracle’s Big Data appliance are designed for use with R, so too is Microsoft’s Azure ML cloud service, a service for building machine learning applications. And Microsoft uses R for its own projects. ‘We have a data science community inside Microsoft that uses R to analyze business data across a variety of things, and even build models for quite a few applications,’ says Microsoft vice president for machine learning Joseph Sirosh.

In this sense, the company is not unusual. Inside the corporate world, R has become a de facto means of analyzing data, and it’s often used in the data science competitions run by startup Kaggle, competitions that have become a popular way for companies to tap independent data scientists for help with particularly thorny problems.

Revolution was founded in 2007 by Yale University computer scientists to create a suite of tools for working with R, and it hired CEO Norman H. Nie, the co-creator of SPSS – one of R’s main competitors – in 2009. In addition to contributing to the continued development of the R programming language, the company develops both a free, open source community version of its Revolution R suite of developer tools, as well as paid commercial versions of the software.

Most importantly, Revolution Analytics has created tools that help extend the abilities of the open source version of the R language, Sirosh says. ‘There are seriously limitations to how it can be used with big data, because all of the data has to be loaded in memory.’

By bringing Revolution into the fold, Sirosh says, Microsoft will gain access to all of that technology and be able to make it available to all of its own customers on all of its development platforms. He emphasizes that Microsoft will continue to support Revolution’s existing products and customers.

The move deepens Microsoft’s investments in open source as well. Last fall Microsoft open sourced its .NET development platform, and the company has helped support a range of open source development, big data and analytics tools in recent years, including Node.js, Hadoop, and MongoDB. Traditionally, the company did not play so nicely with open source. But times have changed, with open source coming to dominate the software world.”

More Info on the Vudu Stick Release!

Wal-Mart VuduThis is the Wal-Mart media stick to combat the Google Chromecast… interesting how cheap it is!

Walmart starts selling its Vudu Spark streaming stick for $25

GigaOm – By: Janko Roettgers – “Remember Walmart’s very own HDMI streaming stick, which I spotted in the FCC’s online database two months ago? Turns out Walmart already started selling it for just $24.95, and is now getting ready to make it more widely available.

Walmart’s Vudu video streaming service just added a dedicated section for the Vudu Spark, as the streaming stick is called, to its website that includes lots of details about the device. Vudu’s website states that the is “available only at and select Walmart locations. I wasn’t able to find it on Walmart’s website just yet, but I would expect it to make an appearance shortly. A Walmart spokesperson told me that the company actually started selling it “in about 2400 Walmart stores” last month already.

Here are a few more details about the Spark, straight from It’s a HDMI streaming stick that is controlled with a dedicated remote control and powered via USB. It looks like Walmart is only putting a USB cable but no power adapter in the box, so Spark owners will either have to use their TV’s USB port to power the device, or supply their own adapter. Connectivity is provided via 802.11 b/g/n 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, and it supports video resolutions of up to 1080p, and 7.1 surround sound.

As I predicted back in November, Vudu Spark is very much a one-trick pony. The user manual reveals that it only comes with Vudu’s app preloaded, and there is no mention of any way to load any additional apps. In fact, Vudu’s app launches automatically as soon as the device successfully connects to a Wifi network.

I’m honestly not sure how big of a market there is for a single-purpose streaming stick, but Walmart is pricing it pretty aggressively. Not only does it cost $10 less than Chromecast, the company is also offering new and existing customers up to $25 in Vudu credits for activating the stick.”

Google Fiber Coming to Good Ol’ NC!

Google FiberOf course, I already have one gig fiber to my house… hee hee! Thanks, North State!

North Carolina to get Google Fiber Internet soon

The Next Digit – By: Sara Rose – “The fastest and best search result provider Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is now trying to help people with better internet access all over the world. The company’s in-house project Google Fiber is trying to bring high-speed broadband to many cities in the US. Next in line after Texas, Utah and Kansas is North Carolina. The project is expanding and reaching into those parts of the country where internet speeds are not that high. The goal is to connect everyone to the internet and provide high speed access to the web.

Google Fiber has speed up to 1,000 Mbps, which is incredibly fast. Google is deploying fiber cables and slowly and steadily becoming an Internet service provider also. The company follows a policy of Do no Evil and is therefore taking steps at its own pace. It has applied to the FCC for expansion in more cities and will be limited in reach at the very outset of this broadband journey.

The residents of the Triangle will be happy soon as Google Fiber is reaching North Carolina next. This hundred times faster broadband could help the IT businesses greatly. There will be smooth and affordable internet for all and no waiting time for downloads. Media and large videos can be easily streamed, downloaded without any hassle with Google Fiber broadband. A 100 MB file will be downloaded in nanoseconds and you can get many things done within a short duration. This thing is not possible with any other ISPs and Google is trying to set the bar a lot higher for them to come even closer.

With internet services Google is surely tapping into the right industry, which has a lot more to offer to its consumers. If all steps and approvals are taken correctly, the day is not far when all the US states and cities will be running a super speed broadband internet from Google.”

Microsoft HoloLens May Be Cool!

Microsoft’s big Windows 10 show this past week also had a big announcement that wasn’t expected. Check this out!

Microsoft’s HoloLens explained: How it works and why it’s different

c|net – By: Nick Statt – “Microsoft has a vision for the future, and it involves terms and technology straight out of science fiction.

But are we actually glimpsing the future? Yes and no.

Microsoft HoloLensMicrosoft’s HoloLens, which the company unveiled at its Redmond, Wash., headquarters on Wednesday, is a sleek, futuristic headset with transparent lenses. You can see the world around you, but suddenly that world is transformed — with 3D objects floating in midair, virtual screens on the wall and your living room covered in virtual characters running amok.

Technology companies have long promised to bring us the future now, reaching ahead 5 or 10 years to try to amaze consumers with the next big breakthrough. Hollywood, on the other hand, has shown that tech in action (or at least simulations of it).

In ‘Minority Report,’ for instance, Tom Cruise’s character used sweeping, midair hand gestures and transparent screens to do police work. Five years later, Apple unveiled the iPhone, and with it, a touchscreen operated by hand and finger gestures. Microsoft in turn served up its Kinect gesture-control device, which tracks people’s movements through space and feeds the data into an interface.

Going further, ‘The Matrix’ showed hackers plugging computers into people’s brains to transport them to imaginary cities. And in ‘Star Trek,’ computers used energy fields and visual tricks to create worlds people could touch and feel.

We’re not even close to those scenarios yet, but we’re taking tiny steps in that direction. Companies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft are now attempting to move that fiction toward reality, and the public is beginning to see those visions of tomorrow take form.

So how does the HoloLens measure up against other reality-altering gadgets?

What’s a HoloLens, and how does it work?

Microsoft’s HoloLens is not actually producing 3D images that everyone can see; this isn’t ‘Star Trek.’

Instead of everyone walking into a room made to reproduce 3D images, Microsoft’s goggles show images only the wearer can see. Everyone else will just think you’re wearing goofy-looking glasses.

Another key thing about HoloLens is what Microsoft is trying to accomplish.

The company is not trying to transport you to a different world, but rather bring the wonders of a computer directly to the one you’re living in. Microsoft is overlaying images and objects onto our living rooms.

As a HoloLens wearer, you’ll still see the real world in front of you. You can walk around and talk to others without worrying about bumping into walls.

The goggles will track your movements, watch your gaze and transform what you see by blasting light at your eyes (it doesn’t hurt). Because the device tracks where you are, you can use hand gestures — right now it’s only a midair click by raising and lowering your finger — to interact with the 3D images.

There’s a whole bunch of other hardware that’s designed to help the HoloLens’ effects feel believable. The device has a plethora of sensors to sense your movements in a room and it uses this information along with layers of colored glass to create images you can interact with or investigate from different angles. Want to see the back of a virtual bike in the middle of your kitchen? Just walk to the other side of it.

The goggles also have a camera that looks at the room, so the HoloLens knows where tables, chairs and other objects are. It then uses that information to project 3D images on top of and even inside them — place virtual dynamite on your desk and you might blow a hole to see what’s inside.

While playing a demonstration based on the popular game Minecraft, I tapped my finger on a coffee table in the real world. But what I saw was my finger chipping away at its surface. When I was done, I saw a lava-filled cavern inside.

That’s just a gimmick, but Microsoft said it indicates potential. HoloLens, Microsoft said, can transform businesses and open up new possibilities for how we interact.

I used the HoloLens to video chat with a Microsoft employee who was using Skype on a tablet. Her task? To help me rewire a light switch. She accessed a camera on the HoloLens to see through my eyes, then she drew diagrams and arrows where I was looking to show me what tools to pick up and how to use them.

Imagine how these tricks could be used to train pilots or guide doctors through complex operations.

Different from the Rift

So how about the Oculus Rift? Created by Oculus VR, a startup Facebook purchased for more than $2 billion in March 2014, the headset is considered the poster child of the blossoming virtual reality market.

From a distance, Oculus’ headset looks a bit like Microsoft’s HoloLens in that it’s a device worn on your head. But that’s where the similarities end. Whereas Microsoft wants to help us interact with the real world in new ways, Oculus wants to immerse us in an entirely new world.

To put it simply, the Rift headset is a screen on your face. But when it’s turned on, the images it produces trick your brain into thinking you’ve been teleported to a different world, like a starship out in space, or the the edge of a skyscraper. Oculus could, one day, take a more practical route, transporting you courtside to a live basketball game or to a sun-soaked beach to relax.

The goal for Oculus is to trick the user into believing they’re actually there — wherever it’s bringing you. That feeling is called ‘presence,’ an ambition Microsoft’s HoloLens isn’t reaching for.

Enthusiasts say that moment, where your brain is tricked into believing you’re actually somewhere else, is magical.

‘I’ve seen a handful of technology demos in my life that made me feel like I was glimpsing into the future,’ wrote venture capitalist Chris Dixon, who helped lead investment firm Andreessen Horowitz’s funding in Oculus VR. ‘The best ones were: the Apple II, the Macintosh, Netscape, Google, the iPhone, and — most recently — the Oculus Rift.’

Oculus isn’t alone in its quest. Sony is attempting something similar with its Project Morpheus headset. Both have outspoken plans to use the technology to transform all manner of industries, starting with video games. But developers say it’s hard to get it right. The images need to be carefully connected to your physical movements without any delays. When they aren’t, consumers feel a form of motion sickness.

Same difference

Ultimately, these companies are on different roads to the same destination, which is trying to reimagine how we interact with computers. We’re all used to the mouse and the keyboard, and we’re learning to live with the glass screens of smartphones too. So far, each of these devices has been good enough to convey the information from a book or the scenes of a movie.

But Oculus, Microsoft, Google and others believe in a different, potentially more natural way to interact with our technology. These companies and the hardware they’re creating imagine a world where hand gestures, 3D images and images superimposed on reality are the next-generation tools for productivity, communication and everything else we use gadgets and the Internet for.

It sounds like science fiction, but if these devices work the way tech luminaries hope they can, such dreams may be reality sooner than we think.”

Windows 10 Features

Although Microsoft originally said it would release its new Windows 10 preview next week, the company has launched it today.

High-points of the Win 10 Event:

Windows 10 free for Windows 7 and up systems for the first year.

Cortana is built-in, can help you with email, schedules, etc.

Xbox Experience allows Game DVR, and sharing of screens on the LAN.

I the Spartan browser, you can “write” on the web screen and save your annotations.

Introduced HoloLens 3-D holographic display headset, gesture recognition and object display, joint effort with JPL.

Geek Software of the Week: Linux Live USB Creator

Linux LiveHave you ever wanted to try one of the many, many Linux Distros? Now it is easy with LinuxLive USB Creator! Use it to install a distro and reboot using your USB drive as your boot drive (you will have to set your computer BIOS to boot off the USB stick first.) Very cool!

LinuxLive USB Creator

“LinuxLive USB Creator is a free and open-source software for Windows. It will help you in your journey of discovery with Linux.

For you, LiLi creates portable, bootable and virtualized USB stick running Linux.

Free and Open-source

LinuxLive USB Creator is a completely free and open-source software for Windows only. It has been built with simplicity in mind and it can be used by anyone. All you have to do is to pick up a Linux in the list and give it a try.

No reboot needed

Are you sick of having to reboot your PC to try Linux? No need with LinuxLive USB Creator. It has a built-in virtualization feature that lets you run your Linux within Windows just out of the box!

Supports many Linux distributions

Wow! Did you see that never-ending list? They are almost all there: Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, OpenSUSE, Mint, Slax, CentOS, ArchLinux, Gentoo, PCLinuxOS, Sabayon, BackTrack, Puppy Linux …


Having a Live USB key is better than just using a Live CD because you can even save your data and install software. This feature is called persistence (available only on selected Linux).
Read the FAQ for more information.

SmartClean & SmartDownload

SmartClean uninstalls properly any previous Live USB installations and SmartDownload lets you download any supported Linux in 2 clicks automatically selecting the best mirror to download from.SmartClean also lets you clean your USB key in 1 click.”

Elon Musk Sells Google a Piece of Space-X

Remember the last story on the ubiquitous WiFi Internet last week? Check THIS out!

Google, Fidelity invest $1 billion in SpaceX and satellite Internet plan [Updated]

Elon MuskArs Technica – By: Megan Geuss – “Update: SpaceX confirmed that it had received $1 billion in funding from Google and Fidelity Investments. The two companies will together own slightly less than 10 percent of the company. “This funding will be used to support continued innovation in the areas of space transport, reusability, and satellite manufacturing,’ SpaceX said in a short statement on its website.

Speaking to Ars, a Google spokesperson added, ‘Space-based applications, like imaging satellites, can help people more easily access important information, so we’re excited to support SpaceX’s growth as it develops new launch technologies.’

Ars has contacted Fidelity for a statement and will update if we receive a response.

Original story: The Information reported on Monday that, according to ‘several people familiar with the talks,’ Google is considering investing in SpaceX to support its plan to deliver hundreds or thousands of micro satellites into a low (750 mile) orbit around the globe to serve Internet to rural and developing areas of the world. The Information’s sources indicated that Google was in the ‘final stages’ of investing in SpaceX and valued the company at ‘north of $10 billion.’ SpaceX is apparently courting other investors as well.

Ars has contacted both SpaceX and Google for comment and will update when we receive a response.

Musk on Friday told a gathering in Seattle that SpaceX’s new office in that city would be dedicated to this satellite Internet service. Musk’s announcement came just days after another competing satellite Internet company, OneWeb, announced its own investments from Richard Branson’s Virgin Group as well as Qualcomm.

Both companies are in the early stages of developing their services, but they have key differences: Musk insists that his micro-satellite design is more sophisticated than that of Greg Wyler, the founder and CEO of OneWeb. But OneWeb grew out of O3b, a micro-satellite venture that Google invested more than $1 billion into. When Wyler left O3b, he brought with him the rights to the radio frequency the satellites would need to beam Internet back to Earth, courtesy of the International Telecommunications Union.

‘The Wyler-Google breakup left Google in the lurch, without the spectrum it needed for its project,’ The Information explained. When Wyler went rogue, Google started looking elsewhere to back a satellite Internet venture, since the industry is expected to yield dividends for early investors. ‘Google CEO Larry Page and Mr. Musk, who are close friends, began discussing an investment in SpaceX,’ the site reported.

The Information added another interesting tidbit that was not widely reported in previous discussions of SpaceX’s plans for global Internet service: ‘Mr. Musk appears to be trying to get around his lack of spectrum rights by relying, in part, on optical lasers.’ Musk has justified his project, which is expected to cost about $10 billion and take five years at a minimum to build, as a way of eventually serving Internet to his planned colony on Mars.

Google has been aggressive about experimenting with ways of making the Internet better and available in more places. Its Google Fiber initiative has seen some success since its inception in 2012, and it has caused traditional telecommunications providers to rankle in Google’s gigabit-wake. Google has also experimented with delivering Internet to rural and underserved areas via giant balloons, which Ars decided in 2013 was not a totally crazy idea.”

VLC Security Issues

VLC PlayerMy favorite media player, VLC, has some issues… I hope they have a patch soon!

VLC vulnerabilities exposed

ZDNet – By: Charlie Osborne – “Vulnerabilities have been discovered in some versions of the popular VLC media player which may allow a cyberattacker to corrupt memory and potentially execute arbitrary code.

According to security researcher Veysel Hatas, who posted the discovery on Full Disclosure last week, one of the vulnerabilities is a DEP access violation vulnerability and the other is a write access flaw.

The VideoLAN project is a community of non-profit developers who create open-source multimedia tools. The VLC player is one of the most well-known results of this project, and acts as a cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols.

The first security vulnerability, discovered on 24 November last year, is a flaw which is triggered as user-supplied input is not properly sanitized when handling a specially crafted FLV file. The second vulnerability, much the same, is triggered as user-supplied input is not properly sanitized when handling a specially crafted M2V file — both of which may be malicious and lead to a ‘context-dependent attacker corrupting memory and potentially executing arbitrary code.’

Considered severe, the flaws are present on version 2.1.5 of VLC media player, and were tested through Windows XP SP3. While this legacy operating system is no longer supported by Microsoft, many users worldwide have not yet updated and may be vulnerable.

The vulnerabilities were reported to the VideoLAN project on 26 December 2014, but no patch has been issued to fix the problem.”

Dr. Bill.TV #369 – Video – “The Star Trek Continues Edition”

Stealthy XOR.DDoS trojan infects Linux systems, Star Trek Continues starts a new Kickstarter, Steam on Linux bug can delete user’s files, Elon Musk’s plan to build a Space Internet, GSotW: Ninite, Google driverless cars to the market within 2 to 5 years.

Links that pertain to this Netcast:

TechPodcasts Network

International Association of Internet Broadcasters

Blubrry Network

Dr. Bill Bailey.NET

The Ninite Web Site

Start the Video Netcast in the Blubrry Video Player above by
clicking on the “Play” Button in the center of the screen.

(Click on the buttons below to Stream the Netcast in your “format of choice”)
Streaming M4V Audio

Streaming MP3 Audio

Streaming Ogg Audio

Download M4V Download WebM Download MP3 Download Ogg
(Right-Click on any link above, and select “Save As…” to save the Netcast on your PC.)

You may also watch the Dr. Bill.TV Show on these services!


Dr. Bill.TV on YouTube Dr. Bill.TV on Vimeo


Dr. Bill.TV #369 – Audio – “The Star Trek Continues Edition”

Stealthy XOR.DDoS trojan infects Linux systems, Star Trek Continues starts a new Kickstarter, Steam on Linux bug can delete user’s files, Elon Musk’s plan to build a Space Internet, GSotW: Ninite, Google driverless cars to the market within 2 to 5 years.

Links that pertain to this Netcast:

TechPodcasts Network

International Association of Internet Broadcasters

Blubrry Network

Dr. Bill Bailey.NET

The Ninite Web Site

Start the Video Netcast in the Blubrry Video Player above by
clicking on the “Play” Button in the center of the screen.

(Click on the buttons below to Stream the Netcast in your “format of choice”)
Streaming M4V Audio

Streaming MP3 Audio

Streaming Ogg Audio

Download M4V Download WebM Download MP3 Download Ogg
(Right-Click on any link above, and select “Save As…” to save the Netcast on your PC.)

You may also watch the Dr. Bill.TV Show on these services!


Dr. Bill.TV on YouTube Dr. Bill.TV on Vimeo


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