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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 25th Oct 2011

Thirty percent of UK internet traffic is now at speeds above 5Mbps, an increase of 70% compared to last year, according to the latest Akamai State of the Internet report,

But 9% of UK internet users are still running less than the minimum bandwidth of 2Mbps set as the government's target for UK broadband. Less than 1% (0.6%) of UK internet requests came from users running below 256Mbps, declining by 47% from last year's report.

Within Europe, the Netherlands had the highest average connection speed in the second quarter of the year - the period covered by the report - reaching 8.5Mbps. Sixteen of the listed countries had average connection speeds that exceeded 5Mbps, while the remaining six had average connection speeds that exceeded the 2Mbps threshold.

Source: ComputerWeekly

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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 25th Oct 2011

The use of compromised (e.g. stolen credentials or hacked) accounts to send spam and scams has increased throughout 2011 to become a growing percentage of the unwanted email that is being sent by spammers.

The increased use of compromised accounts raises several questions:

• What accounts are targeted?
• How are the accounts compromised?
• Are the accounts used for other purposes besides spam and scams?
• How do users figure out that their account is compromised?
• How do users regain control of their accounts?

Download the latest report on the "State of Hacked Accounts - October 2011" to answer the above questions and protect your email. 

Source: MXSweep

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Posted by Graham Keen on Wed 19th Oct 2011

IBM on Wednesday introduced mainframe and Power-based systems for analytics in an effort to compete with Oracle's Exadata.

IBM's Smart Analytics System servers are bundled with hardware and software for analytics, business intelligence and transaction processing workloads, IBM said. IBM also introduced an entry-level business analytics appliance that can analyze data on the fly as transactions are processed in the cloud.

IBM is moving in the direction of offering servers designed to work with specific workloads such as databases and business process management. The new Smart Analytics servers are based on existing IBM server designs and run on x86 chips and IBM's Power processors.

The new Smart Analytics System 9700 and IBM Smart Analytics System 9710 are based on zEnterprise designs and provide an operating environment for mainframe-based analytics at an "entry-level price," IBM said. The servers can run on SUSE or Red Hat Linux.

The company also announced IBM Smart Analytics System 7710, which is based on the Power processor, and the Smart Analytics System 5710, which is based on the x86 processor. The servers can be deployed in a matter of days, and include business intelligence reporting, data mining and text analytics capabilities, IBM said.

The 7710, which is based on the IBM P740 server, runs AIX OS and is designed for data warehouses under 10TB, IBM said. The 5710, which is based on a System x design, runs on Linux OS, and comes with InfoSphere Warehouse and Cognos 10 business intelligence software.

IBM did not immediately provide price or availability information for the new servers.

IBM competes in the unified server space with Oracle, which offers the Exadata Database Machine, a preconfigured system designed for data warehousing and transaction processing. Exadata combines Oracle software with Sun hardware and storage.

IBM also introduced the DB2 Analytics Accelerator technology, which will help customers make sense of massive amounts of data flowing in through the cloud much quicker. Instead of waiting to pull out reports for analytics, customers can get business insight and act as transactions are processed in the cloud, an IBM spokeswoman said.

The new analytics appliance plugs into IBM zEnterprise 196 enterprise server, and the accelerator connects to the DB2 database as transactions are processed in the cloud. The accelerator incorporates technology from Netezza, a data analytics provider acquired by IBM last year for US$1.7 billion.

This is the first time Netezza technology is being bought to the cloud, the spokeswoman said. The appliance for servers will become available in November, but the company did not provide a price.

Agam Shah

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Posted by Graham Keen on Wed 19th Oct 2011

China has become Apple's second-largest market behind the U.S., with revenues increasing almost four times year-over-year for this past quarter, according to company CEO Tim Cook.
Cook made the statements during an earnings call on Tuesday. For this past quarter ending Sept. 24, Apple saw US$4.5 billion in revenue generated from "Greater China", which includes the mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The $4.5 billion accounted for 16 percent of Apple's total revenues for the quarter, up from just 2 percent in Apple's 2009 fiscal year.
The Chinese market has been Apple's fastest growing major region by far, Cook added. Along with six official Apple stores in Greater China, the company also has resellers with 200 stores selling Apple products.
Apple has previously said the company is just scratching the surface of the Chinese market. For the first three months of 2011, iPhone sales in China were up year-over-year by 250 percent.
Apple's business in China began to reach new heights after the company launched its iPhone 4 in the country in September of last year. The release of the product generated long lines outside of Apple stores in Beijing, creating shortages for the iconic phone. Demand for Apple's iPad 2 has also been high, with the device dominating China's tablet market.
Apple's brand is also one of the most popular in China, and often seen as a kind of status symbol among consumers, according to analysts. While Apple has not said when it will begin selling its iPhone 4S in China, the device is already available for sale in the country's gray market, with prices reaching as much as $2,000.
In Tuesday's earnings call, Cook said Apple will continue to build more stores in order to tap the market, noting that in China, "the sky is the limit."

Michael Kan

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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Thu 13th Oct 2011

Blackberry services are being restored after millions of customers were unable to access e-mail or send text messages following a power outage which began in Europe two days ago and spread across the globe to North America yesterday. 

The messaging and browsing delays experienced by Blackberry users were caused by a core switch failure within RIM's infrastructure.

In a statement, Research in Motion (RIM), which makes Blackberry devices, said: "In Europe, Middle East, India and Africa, we are seeing a significant increase in service levels. Service levels are also progressing well in the US, Canada and Latin America, and we are seeing increased traffic throughput on most services, although there are still some delays and service levels may still vary.
"Our global teams are continuing to work as quickly as possible to restore full and consistent service across all regions."

RIM's UK managing director, Stephen Bates, told delegates at the company's annual Blackberry Innovation Forum in London: "We have 70 million customers worldwide, with seven million of those in the UK. Around 20 petabytes of data passes over our global infrastructure every month. We face complexity in troubleshooting the problems."

But the blackout may have damaged Blackberry's reputation among some users and accelerated the number of business customers already intending to switch to Apple's iPhone.

Many users took to Twitter to complain about the outage yesterday, including Lord Sugar who told his Twitter followers: "In all my years in IT biz, I have never seen such an outage as experienced by Blackberry. I can't understand why it's taking so long to fix." 


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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Thu 13th Oct 2011

Internet Threats Trends Report - October 2011

Yes, you read it right! Email-borne malware is at the highest it has been in two years. During March 2011, we encountered large outbreaks of courier-themed emails with zipped malware attachments. In August 2011 this trend continued in several enormous waves with attacks continuing throughout September.

But that's not all that was happening....

Exe spelled backwards = malware - right-to-left override used to trick users
Gap Athleta - Phony orders include convincing shopping list
Facebook friend requests lead to malware - Exploiting the hype
PHPThumb exploit - Legitimate websites used as spam-sending machines
Zombie hot spots - Brazil continues to drop, US goes back up

Download our free Internet Threats Trends Report for October 2011 to stay on top of what could be threatening your business!

Source: MXSweep

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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 12th Oct 2011

Blackberry users are suffering with a 3rd day of outage.

Rim have released a statement;

BlackBerry subscribers in the Americas may be experiencing intermittent service delays this [Wednesday] morning. We are working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible and we apologize to our customers for any inconvenience. We will provide a further update as soon as more information is available," the statement said

Unfortinately there isn't much you can do except wait for RIM to fix the issues that have come about over the last few days.

This is not a good time for RIM as Apple launch their competing service iMessage - iPhone4S.

The hook of the Blackberry has always been BBM, now BlackBerry users have another reason to drop their legacy devices. At the press event today, Apple has launched a competing service with iMessage. It’s a new messaging service between iOS users. iMessages will be pushed to all your devices. They’re sent over 3G and Wi-Fi. iMessages can be text, photos, video, location, contacts and just like BlackBerry you can get read receipts. You’ll also be able to see when people are typing and start your conversation on one iOS device and finish it on another.


Maybe a bit of light humour...

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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Thu 6th Oct 2011
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Posted by Graham Keen on Wed 28th Sep 2011

Apple has announced it will be holding an iPhone-related event at its Cupertino headquarters in Califorinia next week.

The iPhone-maker emailed the invite, pictured below, to reporters in the US. The event is due to start at 10am PST on 4 October.

While the invite does not specifically refer to the iPhone 5 - saying only "Let's talk iPhone" - gadget punters everywhere will be hoping the event finally puts the many iPhone 5 rumours to bed.

Apple's invites typically include a clue to what will be unveiled. This invite appears to give little away - denoting only the date, time and place of its forthcoming iPhone event. At a stretch the missed call alert on the illustration - and the word "talk" in its text - could indicate voice calling is a focus. Or they could just mean Apple's going to talk about its new iPhone.

On the voice calling front the iPhone does have room for improvement. The current generation of Apple's iPhone - the iPhone 4 - suffered a setback shortly after launch when it emerged that holding the edges of the device could interfere with the signal reception and lead to calls being dropped. The problem - which became known as the 'iPhone deathgrip' and 'Antennagate' was down to the design of the antenna - running around the edges of the handset.

Apple responded by updating the iPhone's software and issuing iPhone 4 owners with free bumpers, saying that using the cases mitigated the reception issue.

Natasha Lomas

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Posted by Graham Keen on Wed 21st Sep 2011

Adobe has moved forward with its Flash-based strategy, announcing today Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 for creating "immersive" application experiences across devices and platforms. The announcement comes on the heels of ongoing setbacks at the hands of standards-based HTML5 technologies, which do not require proprietary plug-ins like Flash to enable the kinds of multimedia capabilities favored on today's mobile and desktop Web.

Slated to ship to desktop systems in early October, Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 will feature hardware-accelerated rendering that will render 2D and 3D graphics "1,000 times faster" than with Flash Player 10 and AIR 2, according to the company. But Adobe's real challenge may be to keep Flash relevant in a quickly transforming technology landscape.

[ For more on the future of Flash, see "HTML5 vs. Flash: The case for Flash." | For more on software development, see InfoWorld's Developer World newsletter. ]

Flash Player has already been banned from Apple's increasingly popular iOS devices, in favor of HTML5. It's also not available on Windows Phones and on BlackBerry smartphones, although Research in Motion has promised it for some time. And now that Microsoft has revealed that its tablet-oriented, Metro-style version of Internet Explorer 10 will not offer any plug-in support, HTML5 will be the platform of choice on Windows 8-based mobile devices as well. The desktop version of IE10 will continue to support plug-ins.

"Running Metro-style IE plug-in-free improves battery life as well as security, reliability, and privacy for consumers," said Dean Hachamovitch, Microsoft's corporate vice president for Internet Explorer, in a blog post. "Plug-ins were important early on in the Web's history. But the Web has come a long way since then with HTML5."

It's notable that Microsoft's own Silverlight plug-in, long a competitor to Flash, will also suffer at the hands of the change in IE policy.

Adobe, however, believes Flash will remain vital on Windows desktops. "We expect Windows desktop to be extremely popular for years to come (including Windows 8 desktop) and that it will support Flash just fine, including rich Web-based games and premium videos that require Flash. In addition, we expect Flash-based apps will come to Metro via Adobe AIR, much the way they are on Android, iOS, and BlackBerry Tablet OS today," wrote Danny Winokur, general manager for platforms at Adobe, in a blog post.

Winokur's blog post also stressed Adobe's own support of HTML5.

Paul Krill

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