Is Hadoop the new tape?

I attended GigaOM's Structure:Data 2012 conference in New York City last week. This is the second one I've attended and I'm now a confirmed advocate of this event. Om Malik brings together people who, in one way or another, represent much the creative thinking around so-called big data. I got the feeling that I could strike up a conversation with anyone there and learn something new.

I noticed at least two major differences between the Structure:Data event I attended last year and this year's version. Last year, most if not all of the exhibiting … Read more

U.K.-market Audi BiTDI engine adds extra turbo, oddly placed speaker

Pop quiz, tough guy: How do you make VW/Audi's direct-injected, turbodiesel engines better? If you answered "add another turbo," then congratulations. You're now ready to work for Audi's R&D department!

Okay, so I'm sure that Audi's engineers are a bit more qualified than that, but "adding another turbo" is exactly what they did with the advent of the new BiTDI 3.0 V-6 engine. The new engine, which will find its way under the hood of diesel-powered A6 and A7 Sportback models in the U.K. market, features … Read more

Aiaiai Capital headphones propel Danish design momentum

It's already been a great year for the Danish headphone designers over at Aiaiai, and it's about to get even better.

The company's TMA-1 DJ headphones recently earned a spot in an exhibit at SFMOMA documenting contemporary industrial designs influenced by Dieter Rams, and its latest headphones, the Capital, are already garnering shrieks of schoolgirl glee from audiophiles who appreciate equal parts form and function.

Aiaiai supplied the audio technology for the Capital headphones, but once again leaned on Scandinavian design group Kibisi to design their form. The two made a great first impression last year with the release of the Tracks supra-aural headphones, and Kibisi's simple design ethos is made clear again in the Capital.… Read more

Business Intelligence heads to the iPad

September appears to be the month for mobile business intelligence (BI). Just last week, IBM, SAP, RoamBI, and PivotLink announced updates or new products around mobile BI capabilities. RoamBI released its version of BI for the iPad, focusing on creating an editorial environment to present data. SAP released version 4.0 of its Business Objects Edge BI software, which boasts mobile updates and geolocation enhancements.

Although there was diversity in these releases, there still seems to be one common denominator: iPad support. And today, open-source BI software provider Jaspersoft is jumping into the fray with a new SDK to bring more BI options to the mobile landscape.

Apple comprises 69 percent of the tablet market, as reported by Fortune, so iPad business users stand to benefit from the growing competition among BI vendors as well as other technical areas that are heading toward a consumerization of IT.

Combine this high market share with Deloitte's predictions that estimate more mobile devices will be purchased than PCs in 2012 and that the iOS market becomes a key strategic play for any BI company.

I discussed this trend with Jaspersoft CMO Jim Bell with regards to the mobile BI market and how Jaspersoft planned to throw its hat in ring with today's release of Jaspersoft 4.2 Business Intelligence Suite. … Read more

Police tapping iPhone for facial recognition

Some law-enforcement agencies are preparing to deploy a mobile facial-recognition tool, The Wall Street Journal reported today.

According to the Journal, about 40 law-enforcement agencies across the U.S. will be making the handheld product available to their officers in the field as early as September. The device, which has been developed by Massachusetts-based BI2 Technologies, allows officers to take a photo of a person from a distance of five feet or less. That photo is then compared with a database of images of people with criminal records to see if there is a match. The device is also capable … Read more

Midsize firms easing through economic downturn

A recently released report from IBM (PDF) shows that midsize businesses (100-1,000 employees) are taking advantage of technology better than both their larger and smaller peers to grow during lean economic times.

According to the report, as economies around the world continue their recovery, midsize companies have been the engines driving economic growth--reacting to a "new normal" in terms of spending and growth.

In previous periods of global economic difficulty midsize companies have struggled, often because they have had less capital available to invest in new products and also because big businesses have tended to exploit their … Read more

EMC builds new data computing division around Greenplum

EMC has announced it will acquire Greenplum, a data warehousing and business analytics software firm for an undisclosed sum. EMC will use this acquisition to form the basis of a new Data Computing Products Division led by Bill Cook, CEO of Greenplum, who will report to Pat Gelsinger, COO of EMC's Information Infrastructure Products. To put that statement into perspective, Backup and Recovery Solutions (where Data Domain and other related acquisitions now live) is also a separate EMC division reporting to Gelsinger. BRS is a big division with a lot of products. Therefore, I think one can safely bet … Read more

Google adds biking directions to Android's Google Maps

Any urbanite knows that directions aren't created equally. Pedestrians can usually go wherever their feet can take them, but road traffic has to contend with hated one-way streets. Don't even get us started on cyclists. Luckily for bike riders toting Android phones in their messenger bags, a few days after Google added directions specifically for cyclists, the Maps team rolled biking guidance into the Android app.

Now cyclists who download the updated Google Maps 4.2 application from the Android Market can find optimal routes for their two-wheelers--both in the directions module and as a map layer that … Read more

Microsoft releases preview for next SQL Server

Microsoft has delivered the next iteration of its flagship database product, SQL Server 2008 R2, to developers for review.

The company released a preview of the software to MSDN and TechNet subscribers on Monday. A community technology preview (CTP) will be available on Wednesday for general download, Microsoft said in a blog post.

SQL Server 2008 R2, previously code-named "Kilimanjaro," is the next generation of the Microsoft SQL Server database platform. The product is planned for release in the first half of next year.

The updated database software lets businesses build their own business intelligence capabilities. It includes … Read more

Data never looked so good

RoamBi is no ordinary data reader. Instead of shrinking charts and graphs into tiny versions of themselves that you have to pinch and scroll to read, it re-envisions mobile viewing, meaningfully distributing a breadth of information into its gorgeous charts and graphs. On the iPhone or iPod Touch, report-seekers can search and sort reports. There are features that let you drill down deep into each report's components on successive screens, and visual trills to customize color, hide columns, and drag and drop elements to rearrange them. There's bookmarking information to keep a data point handy, graphs you can … Read more