Archive for August, 2011

August 25, 2011

Red Hat certifies Telstra’s Cloud along with Ixonos

Telstra has joined the likes of Amazon EC2, Fujitsu and IBM, receiving Red Hat certification for its public Cloud offering.
Telstra is one of seven Red Hat Cloud partners. Along with Ixonos and Savvis, it is recognised as a “certified provider” by Red Hat.
The certification represents Red Hat’s blessing for Red Hat Enterprise Linux deployment in Telstra’s cloud.
“Offering Red Hat Enterprise Linux in our Cloud computing environment offers our customers more choice, more flexibility and the opportunity for them to run more applications out of our Cloud,” Telstra executive director, Philip Jones, said in a statement.
Red Hat launched its Cloud partner program in mid-2009
At the time Mike Evans, Red Hat’s vice-president of corporate development, compared Cloud computing to the “wild West”. “We’re trying to bring some sanity and safety [to the market] and give customers more options,” Evans said.
August 25, 2011

MapChat: The location-based instant messaging app for strangers

 Back in June, we ran a feature called Silicon Roundabout from a New York State of Mind, part of which constituted an interview with Rich Martell, the founder of Floxx Media Group, a company specializing in location-based social networking tools.

Martell was the guy behind FitFinder, a social networking website that was launched last year, causing a fair bit of controversy in the process. The site was ultimately forced offline by University College London (UCL), where he was a student at the time. In a nutshell, FitFinder gave students a platform to publicly (and anonymously) post messages about people they thought were ‘hot’ in specific locations, such as in the UCL library.

Floxx Media Group is a spin-off of that endeavor, and it has secured investment from Doug Richard (formerly of Dragons’ Den) and Silicon Valley money man Kevin Wall. Now, there’s a series of apps on the way, and the first of these is out now.

MapChat is what the company calls “the first location based instant messaging client”. That isn’t strictly true, but as we’ll see it does look like a pretty interesting concept.

August 25, 2011

Steve Jobs: From college dropout to tech visionary

As Steve Jobs ends his career at Apple — perhaps the world’s most valuable and admired company — business and tech pundits are showering him with superlatives: Innovator. Visionary. Genius.

August 19, 2011

Tracking Crime in Real Time

Almost everything we do leaves a digital trace, whether we send an email to a friend or make a purchase online. That includes law-abiding citizens — and criminals. And with digital information multiplying by the second, there are seemingly endless amounts of information for criminal investigators to gather and process.

Sherlock Holmes goes digital
Like digital files, people are always on the move, Prof. Ben-Gal says. It’s not enough to process the information you have and assume the output will remain relevant. “If the object is moving, modelling and eventually catching it is mathematically complex,” he says. Prof. Ben-Gal and his fellow researchers work with leading companies in homeland security on how to establish patterns of terrorist or criminal activity using mostly communication files. New pieces of information are automatically plugged in to existing data, and the algorithm’s analysis of the criminal’s movement or pattern is reformatted.
The algorithm works like a computerized sleuth, taking pieces of information such as phone calls, emails, or credit card interactions and reducing them to a set of random variables for further analysis. All of these communications are actually pieces of one long message waiting to be decoded, explains Prof. Ben-Gal. In a single telephone call, for example, there are several variables to consider — the recipient of the call, its length, the location of the caller himself. Once all this is known, the algorithm not only assesses patterns of crime to predict future movements, but also creates a probability map displaying the possible locations of the person or group of interest.
Like a topographical map, the probability map is divided into zones where the subject (a criminal, a terrorist organization or a drug dealing ring) is likely operating. Each zone is assigned a statistical level of probability that the subject is there. Although refining the programming of the original algorithm could take some hours, each new piece of information afterwards can be processed in a matter of milliseconds, and the analysis can be used instantly.
Our algorithms can help officials to use the available information wisely, Prof. Ben-Gal says. If they have one shot at obtaining a suspect, the location of highest probability is a good bet. Zones of lower probability can be ruled out and attention can be focused in increasingly specific areas. With more time to spare, it’s an adaptive searching game — lower probability zones can sometimes yield more information.
A gathering cloud of big data
According to Prof. Ben-Gal, these algorithms are designed to deal with the phenomenon of “big data,” the ever-growing amount of information available to crime fighters in the technological environment. But beyond tracking the bad guys, they offer solutions for our more legitimate world — from marketing to computer file sharing.
Prof. Ben-Gal points to companies such as Amazon, IBM and Apple, which have effectively put similar algorithms to use. Amazon, for example, generates purchasing suggestions based on books, music or products you have already purchased or browsed. Apple’s forthcoming iCloud, a service that wirelessly stores digital content, will need algorithms to locate moving files when they are needed and deliver them to various devices.
Prof. Ben-Gal says that this research can also lead to near-future consumer enhancements such as location-based marketing, which targets consumers based on their location, notifying them on their mobile devices of deals in their local area

Courtesy ScienceDaily