Computer Hardware

Revival of the IBM Power Systems

IBM Power Systems

IBM Power SystemsAccording to Wikipedia, “before the Power Systems line was announced on April 2, 2008, IBM had two distinct Power-based lines: the System i running IBM i (formerly i5/OS and OS/400) – and the System p series running AIX or Linux.

The two distinct Power Architecture based hardware lines merged to use essentially the same hardware platform in 2001/2002 with the introduction of the POWER4 processor. After that, there was little difference between both the “p” and the “i” hardware; the only differences were in the software and services offerings.

With the introduction of the POWER5 processor in 2004, even the product numbering was synchronized. The System i5 570 was virtually identical to the System p5 570.

IBM Power Systems Revival

I found an interesting article on the IT Jungle website about the evolution of the Power Systems and I have re-published it below for your convenience

The Supercomputer At The Heart Of The Power Systems Revival

Published: November 28, 2016

by Timothy Prickett Morgan

With both the Supercomputing 2016 conference and Thanksgiving Day behind me, I find myself being thankful that the engineers that helped IBM make the transition from proprietary 48-bit CISC processors to 64-bit PowerPC processors in 1995–yes, that was more than two decades ago–were forward thinking. But as it turns out, there were other technologies, including massive floating point performance and database acceleration, that may in the long run help the entire Power Systems line not only survive, but thrive.

We all know that the PowerPC-AS version of the Power line of chips was the only one of several early attempts at 64-bit processing among Apple, IBM, and Motorola that actually worked out and had reasonably high performance and decent enough volumes to make it a business. The folks in Rochester, Minnesota, right down the road from some of the smartest supercomputer designers in the world, created an elegant and smart 64-bit design that also had a neat feature: a double-pumped floating point math coprocessor, built right into the core. That double-pumped math unit lived on in the Power4 chip that put IBM back in the RISC/Unix and supercomputer games back in 2001, in the wake of the dot-com bust and a global recession, and that math unit lives on, heavily modified mind you, in the current Power8 and future Power9 chips from Big Blue.

Back in September, when IBM updated its Power Systems LC line of Linux-only machines, with a server code-named “Minsky” aimed specifically at high performance computing workloads such as modeling and simulation done at large enterprises and academic and government supercomputing centers, we talked about how IBM need to think outside of the box and bring this very high performance system to bear on IBM i workloads. I explained at the time that IBM needed to make use of this new hybrid supercomputer–that is what it really is, after all–as a means of doing remote visualization for desktops (kind of a modern analog of the 5250 green screen terminal) and in bringing machine learning and database acceleration also under the skins of the “integrated system” that the System/38, AS/400, iSeries, and System i have always been.

How is it that IBM i is getting machine learning and database function acceleration by GPUs last instead of first? What happened to IBM Rochester? IBM Austin? Is anybody out there listening? Is this thing on? (Tap, tap, tap. . . .) Once again, I will remind the people that run the IBM Systems group at Big Blue that there are at least 125,000 midrange shops that expect the company to provide an integrated machine learning and VDI system that also runs business and infrastructure applications, all in one fell swoop.

Last week at the SC16 conference, IBM outlined its new PowerAI machine learning platform, which I went into in detail at my other job at The Next Platform. (You can read all about it here.) This Minsky machine, which has a pair of Power8 chips that are coupled to four Nvidia Tesla P100 graphics coprocessors with a total of 21 teraflops of double precision floating point performance for simulation and modeling has 170 teraflops of half-precision floating point power that makes it a very attractive machine on which to train the neural networks that drive machine learning applications these days, which do everything from image recognition to speech translation to recommendation engines. Next year, as I learned at the SC16 conference, IBM will work with Nvidia to fire up a two-socket Power9 system (probably with 48 cores running at near 3 GHz), codenamed “Witherspoon,” with a total of six future “Volta” Tesla V100 coprocessors that will deliver at least 40 teraflops of number-crunching performance at double precision and four times that, or 160 teraflops, at the half precision used for machine learning (and we think 320 teraflops at one-quarter precision that is starting to evolve among the machine learning set).

This is a tremendous amount of performance to cram into a 2U rack server, and as I said before, I want this to be brought to bear. I want the new PowerAI machine learning stack, based on open source software, that IBM has woven together and certified to be a commercially supported product. There is no reason whatsoever that this Minsky server with the PowerAI software cannot have partitions carved out of it to run the IBM i software stack and deliver unprecedented performance to accelerate a slew of workloads. Rather than bringing AI to the Power Systems that can run IBM i we can bring IBM to the machines that are aimed at supercomputing and machine learning workloads. The same machine that keeps the books at discrete manufacturers (who build physical products) could therefore be used to design products and help customers decide on what products to buy from that manufacturer. For process manufacturers, who tend to make chemicals or food, the same machines could be used to do genetic modeling or simulate recipes for products as well as keep the books and provide visualization for the simulations. For retailers, it could be a vast recommendation engine and accelerated database for web applications and online stores as well as the backoffice system. For regional banks, the system could do advanced fraud detection, accelerated by those GPUs, plus run the banking systems and online front ends for the applications. The list could go on and on.

Here is the point: IBM has to stop bifurcating its Power Systems business and get back to creating a single, integrated system. This is how to beat Intel. This is how to beat ARM. And the future of the IBM i platform depends on IBM getting this right. It has the hardware down to a science. It has a compelling Linux story, but Linux is only 30 percent of the market, and IBM does not have 125,000 Linux customers. It has 125,000 IBM i customers, and just like it took the Application System/400 to make relational database processing not only relevant to small and midrange businesses, but also affordable, it will take an integrated Power Systems/400 to bring transaction processing, simulation and modeling, machine learning, database acceleration, Java acceleration, and virtual desktop infrastructure all under the same server skins.

I have said it before, and I will say it again: It won’t be long before Microsoft makes the Office suite available on Linux, and that will add the front office. Rather than just being a datacenter in a box, as the Power Systems-IBM i combo is for most of the companies that use it, this hybrid IBM i machine would be an entire business in a box. A true International Business Machine that does it all, and in an integrated fashion that makes it valuable to customers. IBM needs to bring IBM i shops the future that awaits them. How could it forget this?

A Video on the IBM Power Systems

References

Private Big Iron Power8 Clouds To Puff Up With IBM i

A Hypothetical Future IBM i System

What Will IBM i Do With A Power10 Processor?

IBM i Services

Using Web Services with Cobol or RPG on IBM i (AS/400) Systems

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Posted by Mario1 - 12/12/2016 at 1:46 pm

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Pinebook Linux Laptop

Pinebook Linux Laptop

I recently read some interesting news on the It’s F.O.S.S website about a the Pinebook laptop with Linux that will be sold at about $ 89.00 ed I have re-published the article below for your convenience, plus some related information.

Behold! Here Is A $89 Open Source Laptop Running Linux

Brief: If you are tight on budget and can manage with a bare minimum, low-end hardware configuration device for general computing, you should keep an eye on Pinebook.

Back in 2012, Raspberry Pi started a revolution by bringing a $25 single board computer. It was followed by a number of manufacturers offering single board computer similar to Raspberry Pi. Even Microsoft tried its own Raspberry Pi alternative for Windows and failed miserably.

Raspberry Pi continued the innovation with Raspberry Pi Zero, an even tinier device focused on Internet of Things. This too was followed by similar devices such as Omega 2.

Raspberry Pi powered PiTop laptop
Raspberry Pi powered laptop: PiTop

This is why when I read about a Raspberry Pi powered laptop, I had a feeling that more such devices will be coming to the market sooner or later.

Guess what? I was right in my prediction. Pine64, a company that had earlier launched a single board computer Pine A64, has followed the suit.

Its latest product, Pinebook is an ARM based laptop that runs Linux or other Android based OS such as Remix OS. Basically, any OS that is supported on Pine A64.

At the heart of this notebook lies the single board computer Pine A64. Considering that Pine A64 is an ARM based device, it is safe to assume that Windows won’t be running on it. This, kind of, makes it a Linux exclusive Laptop (Android and other related OSes too have Linux at its core).

Pinebook specifications

 

So, what does Pinebook offers in such tiny cost? Here is a quick look at its specification:

  • IPS LCD (1280 x 720)
  • 64-Bit Quad-Core ARM Cortex A53
  • 2 GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • 16 GB eMMC 5.0
  • WiFi 802.11bgn
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 10000mAH Lithium Polymer Battery
  • 1.2 MP webcam
  • 5 inches large multi-touch touchpad
  • 2 USB, 1 Mini HDMI, 1 MicroSD card slot
  • 1 headphone jack which is not available in many luxurious devices these days
Pinebook Linux Notebook
Pinebook: Size

 

Pinebook is available in two sizes with two prices:

  • 11? LCD: $89
  • 14? LCD: $99
Suggested Read
5 Best Free Video Editing Software for Linux In 2016

The specification remains the same for both sizes.

I know the specifications are modest but you cannot expect much in this price range. I also think the outer case build will be compromised with cheap plastic but hey! we shouldn’t be expecting metal finish in a sub $100 device anyway.

It is not a MacBook killer or even tries to compete with regular laptops that have far better configuration than it. But with this price tag and hardware configuration, it is definitely trying to carve a niche for itself. It could even compete with low-end Chromebooks, in my opinion.

Available…….not yet

If you got all pumped up and ready to shell out around 100 bucks, hold your horses for now. Pinebook is not available to be shipped just yet.

For now, you can register it with your email id and you’ll be notified when it is open for order. If you think that is something you can do, visit their web page and register with them:

Pinebook Order

It’s not every day that we come across a Linux exclusive laptop. Even if low-end, with this price tag, I think it’s an untapped niche which should be tried. Developing countries could be a bigger market for such device.

What do you think of it? Do you think this is something you would like to buy for yourself or for your children perhaps as an education device? Do share your views.

 

A Video about the Pinebook Linux Laptop


 

References

Meet PineBook, a $89 ARM Based Open Source Notebook

Meet the Pinebook, a $89 ARM Laptop That Runs Ubuntu

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Posted by Mario1 - 01/12/2016 at 1:27 pm

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Xtra-PC – A Device to Speed Up Your Old Computer

Speed Up Your Old Computer with Xtra-PC.

 

Xtra-PCMany people have old computers that are not powerful enough to support the new versions of the Operating Systems and are often too slow to be used profitably.

Recently a new device, called Xtra-PC.  has been promoted on the market and brings the good news that a simple USB stick can help you to keep using your old computer with a pretty small investment of only $ 25.

It is produced by a new company in Colorado called PrairieIT that was started based on a simple idea:  turn old, outdated computers into useful like-new computers.

Xtra-PC is a flash drive stick that you insert into an available USB port on your PC.

It contains a proven custom Linux system, that bypasses the old, slow, bloated Windows operating system to make your PC into a blazing fast, high performance PC with a new, simple to use, operating system that has the familiar look and feel of your Windows PC.

Xtra-PC comes preloaded with usefuk software such as:

  • Firefox Web Browser
  • OpenOffice for opening and editing Microsoft Office files (Word docs, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and image files)
  • Thunderbird Mail for email (if you don’t already use web-based email like gmail, yahoo, or hotmail)
  • Photo Viewer
  • Media Player for watching movies
  • Audacious for playing music

It even works with missing or faulty hard drives. Since it runs on a USB stick, your existing computer is not altered, and you?ll have access to all your old files. You simply plug it in, restart your PC to boot into USB, and start using Xtra-PC!

It works with laptops, desktops, and netbooks made in 2004 or later with Xtra-PC.  Xtra-PC runs from the USB slot so you don’t even need any operating system on your computer.  Since Xtra-PC runs from USB, it even works on computers with missing or faulty hard drives.

Computers that originally had Windows 8 or Windows 10 should also work, but they may require that the computer is set to legacy mode.

It works also on most Apple computers made after 2011. Apple computers must be able to boot to USB by pressing the option key at start up.

You will need a wireless or LAN internet connection to enjoy all the amazing features of Xtra-PC.

 

 

A Video on Xtra-PC

References

FAQs on Xtra-PC

How To Make Your Old, Slow Computer Like-New Again (it’s easier than you think!)

The Truth About “The $25 Computer”

 

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Posted by Mario1 - 12/10/2016 at 2:04 pm

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IBM i 7.3 – The latest IBM i version

IBM i  7.3

I found an interesting article on the IT Jungle website about the latest version of the IBM i system and I have re-published it below for your convenience.

 

Next Revealed As IBM i 7.3

Published: February 22, 2016

by Dan Burger

As psychological thrillers go, the IBM i strategy and roadmap falls short of entertaining movies like “Gravity” and “Chinatown” or good reads like “The Andromeda Strain” and “In Cold Blood.” But there’s

always an element of suspense when a new release of the IBM i operating system is lurking in the shadows. Chief Architect Steve Will provided a heads up last week that what’s coming is more than the typical cloak and dagger Technology Refresh.

To the casual observer, a new release of IBM‘s best camouflaged operating system isn’t due to arrive for another two years. It was 2014 when i 7.2 emerged four years after i 7.1 came to light. There were 11 Technology Refreshes between 7.1 and 7.2. There have been only three TRs since 7.2 became available. Also worth noting, however, is that the time span between i 6.1 and i 7.1 was only two years.

For those who are good at connecting the dots on IBM i roadmap graphics, however, you probably saw this coming: iNext is i 7.3.

 

This IBM i roadmap, from a May 2014 white paper, shows the progression from 6.1 to iNext.

 

Here’s what Chief Architect Will had to say on this topic in his “You and i” blog last week:

“Ever since the introduction of the Technology Refresh capability, we’ve had a mechanism for putting new function into any part of the OS (well, almost) and we’ve used that capability in our strategy of making it easier for customers to adopt new technology faster. We settled into a twice-a-year pattern for both TR-capable releases. But that was never intended to last forever on every release for as long as it’s in service. Eventually, we need to let our oldest release get closer to ‘fixes only’ mode. On October 1, 2015, 7.1 became our oldest release, when 6.1 end of service arrived. So, there won’t be

more TRs for 7.1. We might put a few enhancements back into the release, but it’s pretty well stabilized at this point.”

There’s no mention of i 7.3 here, but Will is pointing to a dark room and saying “something’s coming.” Hints, like a session he is presenting at the COMMON Annual Meeting and Exposition in May called “IBM i Next Overview,” are unmistakably transparent when combined with a developerWorks wiki page updated by DB2 for i Business Architect Scott Forstie that’s titled IBM i 7.3 – Base Enhancements. Will mentioned that as one of his hints, too.

It seems as though Forstie has the keys in the ignition of a car that isn’t allowed out of the garage. His eagerness is understandable given that new releases of the operating system and the Technology Refreshes are always packed with database enhancements. At the last TR announcement, TR11 for 7.1 and TR3 for 7.2, IBM’s DB2 for i team delivered a variety of services related to operating system details, which Forstie explained was part of an ongoing program that would continue into the future. It’s as close to a certainty as you can get that more SQL services will be added with the i 7.3 release. My email to Forstie soliciting comment went unanswered. (Probably an indication that he doesn’t have enough arms to do his database job and respond to emails from reporters with questions that he’s not allowed to answer. I suspect the DB2 for i development team works their butts off, although I’ve seen no visual evidence that is true.)

Based on a conversation I had with Kevin Langston, the principle enterprise system architect at the Power Systems Academic Initiative data center, the increased demand for analytics capabilities at PSAI data center puts DB2 for i in the middle of their big data plans.

“From an operational management aspect, we love it,” Langston said about IBM i in the multi-tiered environment. “I’d say that for 80 percent of what we do, my preference would be to put them in an i partition doing database stuff. It is a very efficient way to manage users and the resources. We have a lot of tiered environments where the database might be on IBM i, the portal on a Linux system, and a data warehouse and applications on AIX. We put it together so that all systems talk with one another.”

It seems reasonable that the IBM i roadmap takes this multi-tiered, big data approach into account as it continues its DB2 for i enhancements.

One other quick peek into what will be packaged into the i 7.3 announcement is not operating system related. It comes from the iAccess Client Solutions (ACS) area, which commonly slides product enhancements into IBM i announcements. ACS is continually pumping out enhancements that, in some cases, predates the TR announcements. There are upgrades to the iAccess for Web mobile software and the Integrated Web Services support that will be generally available prior to the OS announcement, but included in the 7.3 announcement.

And as long as we are talking about i 7.3, it’s worth noting where the IBM i community stands on current IBM i operating systems. The IBM i Marketplace Survey, based on information collected last fall from 834 IBM i shops predominantly in North America and Europe, indicates the following pattern:

IBM i 7.3  Video presentation from COMMON

Another interesting news bout the IBM i 7.3 was mentioned by Simon Hutchinson on the RPGPGM.COM website as follows:

On Tuesday (April 19 2016) the COMMON user group hosted a presentation given by Steve Will, chief architect of the IBM i, and COMMON board member Peter Massiello on the new release 7.3. Fortunately COMMON has uploaded it to their website, and made it available to the general public

==> See Video here.

The presentation is a little over an hour, and covers all of the major features in the new release. It is definitely recommended viewing for everyone who is interested in the IBM i and its future.

References

 

An executive guide to IBM’s strategy and roadmap for its integrated operating environment for Power Systems (PDF Document)

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Posted by Mario1 - 25/04/2016 at 5:39 pm

Categories: AS/400 Software, Computer Hardware, Operating Systems   Tags:

IBM Low Cost Maiframes

IBM Low Cost Maiframes

English: IBM's Watson computer, Yorktown Heigh...

English: IBM’s Watson computer, Yorktown Heights, NY (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently read an interesting article on the SearchDataCenter website about the latest IBM Low Cost Maiframes with lower price point and a redoubled focus on Linux workloads. I have re-published it below for your convenience.

IBM mainframes reinvigorated at lower price for cloud apps, data analytics

Whatever fortunes lie ahead for the mainframe, you have to admire IBM’s dogged determination to keep those systems relevant to corporate computing in the modern era.

In late July, the company introduced the latest inheritor of its almost 50-year-old line: a lower-end machine called the zEnterprise BC12. The new system has a starting price of just $75,000, is targeted at red-hot application markets — such as cloud computing and data analytics – and is equipped with improved engines to run Linux workloads faster, the open source operating system that has fueled much of the mainframe’s recent growth spurt.

Surprisingly, in its call to financial analysts last week, IBM reported that second quarter revenues from its System Z mainframes grew by 10% compared to the same quarter last year. Revenues from its other server platforms, including its Power Systems and Intel-based System X lines, fell 25% and 11% respectively.

Some analysts aren’t completely surprised by the System Z’s mini-resurgence, given IBM’s attempts to make the line more relevant to younger administrators through tighter connections to Linux and the open source community.

“IBM has done a good job making sure Linux [on its mainframes] supports Web workloads and cloud computing,” said Jean Bozman, research vice president with IDC’s Enterprise Platforms practice. “But from a more human standpoint, IBM has kept mainframes up to date among younger people who want to deploy an enterprise Linux server.”

The system’s lower price point, coupled with the redoubled focus on Linux, could also bring new appeal to smaller IT shops that had been priced out of the mainframe market. It will also help IBM compete in emerging markets such as Africa where local programming and management talent are more Linux-oriented, Bozman said.

Despite the arrival of lower-cost models and the company’s marketing efforts to dress up the venerable system to blend in with the modern computing era, many remain skeptical about its price-performance viability, given the competitive alternatives.

“Cost is a huge impediment to mainframes,” said Robert Crawford, an operations architect who oversees the mainframe strategy for a large insurance company in south Texas. “IBM will talk about the better reliability and security they have built in, and that is true, but everyone is so budget-conscious since the economic downturn [that] they are willing to go with cheaper alternatives even when they know they aren’t as good.”

Gary Crook, president and CEO of Heirloom Computing Inc., specializes in converting mainframe applications so they work on more contemporary systems. He agreed that the economic downturn has bumped the mainframe out of some IT purchasing conversations. This doesn’t diminish the value mainframes could still play in heterogeneous IT environments, he added.

“IBM mainframes aren’t in the forefront of most people’s minds. But if you took it out of mainstream, then pretty much everything else stops working,” Crook said. “All financial and insurance institutions depend on these large, complex [mainframe] systems. There’s a huge amount of value in them because of the applications they run.”

Generally, there has been some migration off mainframes, which, in some cases, is a good thing, according to Crook. But with many large enterprises housing mainframes for decades, migrating workloads onto modern, distributed platforms can be technically challenging and chocked with risk. It is hardly an all-or-nothing proposition that is better considered on an application-by-application basis.

There’s an analysis that must be done for any migration. Some companies have a payroll-processing app they can move over to a contemporary system without too much risk. But they need a proof of concept in order to get comfortable with the notion that they could actually turn the mainframe off at some point,” Crook said.

An increasing number of IT shops are looking to break from their mainframe bonds, said Ron Langer, a sales director with Tallahassee, Fla.-based Asysco, a company that has been in the mainframe migration business for over 30 years. He cited the overall costs associated with buying and supporting the systems, along with the increasing difficulty of finding administrators and managers with the proper skill set.

Only 3.1% of respondents to TechTarget’s 2013 data center survey said they have deployed IBM’s z/OS mainframe operating system to run mission-critical applications in the datacenter. However, 7.7% said they used mainframes to operate Linux-based workloads in their environments. Only 4.1% of respondents said they have a z/OS operating system installed in their data centers.

As a whole generation of mainframe IT veterans retire, or are close to it, finding properly trained younger replacements is difficult because many universities have dropped courses in a number of mainframe-related technologies. Langer put it bluntly: “No one is looking for Cobol programmers these days.

“I have a programmer friend with a lot of experience with both C# and Cobol. When he put Cobol on his resume, no one looked at. When he added C#, all of a sudden he started getting tons of hits,” Langer said.

IDC’s Bozman countered this view, saying IBM has spent generously on helping establish university programs through partnerships with business organizations to stimulate interest in mainframe technologies. “Using Linux as a hook will help a great deal in getting younger people to engage,” she said.

IBM several years ago launched an academic initiative designed to address the mainframe needs of companies by getting universities to start programs that would produce students with the skills needed to develop and administer mainframes. IBM now has an affiliation with 1,070 universities in 90 countries, helping them create curriculums for building mainframe skills, according to Doug Balog, general manager of System z.

 

 

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Posted by Mario1 - 09/08/2013 at 2:23 pm

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How to Learn PHP

Learn PHP

Php programming

Php programming (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PHP is a popular scripting language that can be embedded into HTML and used to develop web applications.

Currently PHP and Java are probably the most on demand computer languages. Generally PHP is the preferred choice if one wants to work on the web whereas Java is preferred for desktop applications, enterprise applications and mobile apps.

I made some investigations on good options about how to learn PHP and you will find below some results of my investigations.

 

Learn PHP with PHP Online Tutorials

 

I found some good online tutorials such as the following:

 

Learn PHP on Good PHP Books

 

There are many good books on PHP and you will find below an initial choice from Amazon UK:

 

 

PHP Magazines

Another way to learn PHP or improve your PHP expertise is to read some magazine dedicated to PHP such as the following:

 

 

Open Source ERP Systems written in PHP

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Posted by Mario1 - 26/05/2013 at 4:02 pm

Categories: Application Servers, AS/400 Software, Computer Books, Computer Hardware, Computer Languages, Computer Software, Database, Ebooks, ERP, ERP applications, IDE, Information Technology, Linux Sofware, Operating Systems, PHP, Programming, Training, Uncategorized, Utilities, websites   Tags:

Nearly 75% Of All Smartphones Sold In Q1 Were Android

Android Smartphones

I noticed an interesting article on TechCrunch about Android Smartphones and I have re-published it below for your convenience.

Nearly 75% Of All Smartphones Sold In Q1 Were Android, With Samsung At 30%; Mobile Sales Overall Nearly Flat: Gartner

Ingrid Lunden

samsung_logo_crown-300x268

Gartner has just released its Q1 figures for mobile handset sales, and the key takeaway is that Android continues to steal the show, led by handset maker Samsung. Google’s mobile platform now accounts for nearly 75% of all handset sales, a jump of almost 20 percentage points on a year ago, and equating to 156 million devices sold in the three-month period. Smartphones sales grew by 63 million units to 210 million for the quarter, making up nearly half of all mobile phone sales overall, at 425 million. With the number of mobile handset sales up by a mere 0.7% on a year ago, it’s clear that higher-end devices are very the much growth engine for the mobile industry at the moment.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the more interesting figures from Gartner.

Although Samsung does not release exact sales figures for its devices, Gartner estimates that the Korean giant is the biggest of them all: it accounted for almost 31% of all smartphones sold in the period, with Apple in number-two with 18%. It’s quite a change from last year, when the two were nearly level, with just 5 percentage points separating them. The widening gap, and Samsung’s growth, will continue into the quarter ahead, it seems, led by the popularity of the company’s newest flagship model.

“We expect the new Galaxy S4 to be very popular despite being more of an evolution than a truly revolutionary device compared to the S3,” writes Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner.

On the other hand, the fact remains that at least some appear to still be holding out for the next iPhone rather than going for the iPhone 5; and Apple meanwhile is still holding back from releasing new, low-cost models that might help it along more in emerging markets and compete more comprehensively against the huge range of Android devices out there.

The gap between the two biggest brands and number three continues to be a big one, with Samsung very much taking the lead here. “There are two clear leaders in the OS market and Android’s dominance in the OS market is unshakable,” Anshul writes.

Together, Apple and Samsung accounted for 49 million handset sales. This is down by 1.1 million from a year ago, and as the smartphone market continues to grow, the players who are vying to be the next big challengers continues to churn. LG swapped places with Huawei, and is currently at number-three at 4.8 million units (with a strong showing from some of its newer 4G handsets and its lower-cost smartphone range). Huawei’s 4.4 million, however, shows that it continues to press ahead, as does fellow Chinese handset maker ZTE, which rounds out the top-five:

gartner smartphone vendors q1 2013

Samsung, unsurprisingly, is also leading in the overall mobile category, which also counts sales of lower-end feature phones. Its share there is now 23.6%, topping 100 million units.

Just as Samsung is widening the gap against Apple in smartphones, it’s doing the same with Nokia in the overall rankings. The Finnish giant is still number-two but with a 14.8% share, a drop of 5 percentage points on last year.

mobile phones overall gartner q1 2013

Looking at mobile platform prominence in smartphones, Android’s current 74.4% market share is nothing short of astounding in terms of its increase, particularly considering that at this point there is no sign of it slowing down.

Gartner’s numbers, it should be noted, are some 10% higher than those from Kantar Worldpanel Comtech that were released at the end of April: a sign of the margin of error between different analysts’ estimates resulting from different counting methods. Here are yet more numbers from IDC, which claims that smartphones outshipped feature phones, and Canalys, which was also more bullish than Gartner on smartphone numbers at a 300 million estimate.

Back to Gartner: the 156 million units sold in the quarter is actually almost double what was sold in the same period a year ago. Android is without a doubt riding the very crest of the smartphone wave: Gartner points out that smartphones accounted for 49.3% of sales of mobile phones worldwide, up from 34.8% in Q1 of 2012, and 44% in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Apple continues to grow but at a slower pace, managing to increase its share by a “mere” 5 million. BlackBerry (still called RIM by Gartner: hello rebranding!) continues to drop, indicating that at least so far, its big BB10 attack has yet to bear significant fruit. Microsoft is showing a respectable doubling of growth to nearly 6 million units, but that is pretty tiny when you look back to Android and its 156 million. It shows that a significant amount of work remains to be done by Microsoft and partners like Nokia if it expects to get anywhere within spitting distance of Android, or even Apple.

Still, the cautionary tale of Symbian remains a sign of how fast a handset maker can fall from grace. It’s now at 0.3 percent of sales now that Nokia has discontinued its production of the once market-leading devices — although its share was falling fast even before that.

gartner q1 2013 smarthones

Gartner points out that Asia is currently the market driver for mobile phone sales worldwide, accounting for more than half of all sales, with China remaining the biggest single market.

“More than 226 million mobile phones were sold to end users in Asia/Pacific in the first quarter of 2013, which helped the region increase its share of global mobile phones to 53.1 per cent year-on-year,” writes Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. “In addition, China saw its mobile phone sales increase 7.5% in the first quarter of 2013, and its sales represented 25.7 per cent of global mobile phone sales, up nearly 2 percentage points year-on-year.”

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Posted by Mario1 - 14/05/2013 at 5:00 pm

Categories: Application Servers, AS/400 Software, Computer Books, Computer Hardware, Computer Languages, Computer Software, Database, Ebooks, ERP, ERP applications, IDE, Information Technology, Linux Sofware, Operating Systems, PHP, Programming, Training, Uncategorized, Utilities, websites   Tags:

New CrunchU Computer Courses

CrunchU  Computer Courses

CrunchU is the result of a partnership between TechCrunch and Udemy which initially offer 30 computer courses including some courses from DeitelBuzz ! You can view the full list of courses at:

==> http://techcrunch.com/crunchu/

I have re-published it below the official TechCrunch CrunchU announcement.

  • Main Event Page

Crunch, Crunch, CrunchU: Course Registration Is Now Open

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That crunching sound you hear is software eating the world, and TechCrunch is always looking for ways to pull a chair up to the feast. For example, we have CrunchBase for startup data and CrunchBoard for jobs, and once upon a time there was  CrunchPad, too. Not everything works out, but today with high hopes we are launching CrunchU, which is a collection of 30 online courses that we are offering to TechCrunch readers in partnership with Udemy, a San Francisco-based startup dedicated to “democratizing education by making top quality content from the world’s experts dramatically more affordable for anyone, anywhere.”

We like the sound of that, because we all have a lot more to learn, and keeping it real and affordable is what education should be all about. Our initial course line-up includes offerings from TechCrunch friends, like 500 Startups’ Dave McClure on “Raising Money for Startups” and Eric Ries on “The Lean Startup,” as well as experts Gagan Biyani on “Introduction to Growth Hacking” and Russ Fradin on “Startup Hiring.”

We have a certain bias for startups, no surprise, but there is lots of other brain candy in the course mix too, like starter courses on Android and iOS, Ruby and jQuery, as well as gamification, programming for non-programmers, SEO, and in case you just want to have fun, digital photography.

Our  plan is to introduce new courses each quarter, based on what we learn about TechCrunch readers’ likes and dislikes. We also have the option of creating courses on our own, with the help of Udemy’s awesome course-creation tools. If you have an idea for a course, or want to teach one yourself, learn more here.

So if you have a minute, check out the CrunchU course catalogue and find some educational itch you want to scratch. The tuition sting is teeny, but it will be automatically discounted 50% off from today until May 18.

 

Note:

For a limited time, DeitelBuzz offer big discounts on many of their LiveLessons computer courses. These discounts are for only the first 100 sold of each course. If you click the link and it’s not discounted, the discounts are gone for that course! For links, please visit:

==> Deitel LiveLessons Discounts

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Posted by Mario1 - 09/05/2013 at 5:12 pm

Categories: Application Servers, AS/400 Software, Computer Books, Computer Hardware, Computer Languages, Computer Software, Database, Ebooks, ERP, ERP applications, IDE, Information Technology, Linux Sofware, Operating Systems, PHP, Programming, Training, Uncategorized, Utilities, websites   Tags:

The Desktop Linux – Is it Winning?

The Desktop Linux

Gnome 3 Snapshot

Gnome 3 Snapshot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Linux has always been strong about choice and offers a great variety of Linux desktops such as Gnome, KDE, Ubuntu Unity and many more.

There have been many discussions about replacing Windows with Linux and about toppling  Microsoft’s desktop monopoly, but Desktop Linux has never reached a widespread user base.

However I recently read an interesting article on the Infoworld.com website about how a desktop revolution has already begun with mobile devices and applications. I have republished the article below for your convenience.

The Linux desktop is already the new normal

We’re so busy seeking release from Windows that we overlooked all the ways Linux had already freed us

By | InfoWorld

Follow @webmink

A debate is smoldering yet again in the Linux community as prominent figures debate whether it’s time to give up hope on the “year of the Linux desktop” ever coming or whether the advent of Android is actually its fulfillment. Problem is, it came and it’s been here a while, but we haven’t even noticed. We just didn’t know what it would look like.

I realize that statement flies in the face of conventional wisdom. Last year, Miguel de Icaza’s controversial post “What killed the Linux desktop” famously claimed that the opportunity for a Linux-based desktop to dominate the market has passed and is now an unachievable dream. He pointed to what he sees as a series of problems within the culture of Linux development.

At the heart of his argument is the idea that overly frequent updates led to a lack of compatibility, which in turn put off third-party developers. This is not to say he’s surrendered to Windows; he recently explained why he uses a Mac. Now that the world has seen the example of the Apple OS X App Store, products that struggle with compatibility issues feel like a big step backward, regardless of any great features.

Chromebook to the rescue
Meanwhile, Linus Torvalds has a different avenue for hope: Google’s Chromebook. This actually is a Linux desktop computer with only one application, the Chrome browser. The hardware itself is perfectly capable of running other Linux distributions — which is what Torvalds does — but out of the box, it’s running a stripped-down, single-function Linux system that’s easily maintained and secured centrally.

I’ve been using Chromebooks personally and for my business for the last six months, and I can state firmly it’s the Linux desktop I’ve been waiting for. I tried many other approaches, but found every other Linux desktop solution required too much effort to maintain. The Chromebooks (and one Chromebox) we have in the office deliver all the functions we need, without becoming the security nightmare you expect of Windows — and without the constant patronizing lock-in that’s manifesting itself on the Mac these days and without becoming the new hobby we’d expect from a raw Linux distro.

The reason it’s worked so well may surprise you. It works for me and my business because — wait for it — Linux has already won on the desktop.

The Linux desktop is called “the browser”

While we were all waiting for the open source community to topple Microsoft’s desktop monopoly by replacing the operating system, we missed the real revolution. There’s still plenty of money in both operating systems and in desktop apps, and Microsoft will be milking that legacy monopoly for a good while. It’s certainly been the target of competitive attention from open source software; indeed, the productivity suite now epitomized by LibreOffice has over its long history done an effective job in opening up that part of Microsoft’s monopoly.

But most enterprise expenditure doesn’t happen on the desktop. Maybe it’s software Stockholm Syndrome making us all love our captor, but the focus on desktop applications, coupled with the idealistic expectation that Windows will be displaced, has led many to overlook or even dismiss the category where Linux actually has taken over the desktop.

That’s in the browser. Think about it: When did a new process or service you wanted to use last come as a Windows application download? When it did, what actually was that application? An increasing number of desktop applications are just containers for HTML5 Web apps. The real powerhouse behind those apps is usually Linux, accessed over the Internet, along with other elements of the modern LAMP stack. In a very real sense, the applications many use daily for email, documents, presentations, and more are Linux desktop applications. A fanatical obsession with replacing Windows made for interesting discussion, but while that debate was happening, all the work on the desktop moved inside the browser window.

In turn, that desktop revolution has fueled — and been fueled by — Linux in portable devices. In that space, Linux is definitely winning globally, both by powering multiple device platforms such as Android and Kindle and by powering many of the applications found on those devices. Tools like PhoneGap allow the developer to take the same Linux-powered back end and use it for both desktop/browser apps and for device-specific apps. The result? Linux is everywhere, even on iOS.

It was natural to assume the wedge to displace Microsoft’s desktop monopoly would be something that did the same thing. Futurists have long made their predictions by describing the present wearing Spandex. When it comes along, the new reality often looks different from the future we expected. So we still have no flying cars, food still doesn’t come in pill form — and the Linux desktop is actually running in your browser.

The year of the Linux desktop came long ago and we missed it. We were expecting it to displace Windows; instead, it has displaced the Windows desktop application, powered the reinvention of the mobile market, and in the process done more for us all than the revolution we expected could ever have delivered.

This article, “The Linux desktop is already the new normal,” was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of the Open Sources blog and follow the latest developments in open source at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on

 

 

 

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Posted by Mario1 - 07/05/2013 at 1:51 pm

Categories: Application Servers, AS/400 Software, Computer Books, Computer Hardware, Computer Languages, Computer Software, Database, Ebooks, ERP, ERP applications, IDE, Information Technology, Linux Sofware, Operating Systems, PHP, Programming, Training, Uncategorized, Utilities, websites   Tags:

Tech Trends for IBM i (System i, AS/400)

Tech Trends for IBM i

Deutsch: IBM iSeries Modell 270

Deutsch: IBM iSeries Modell 270 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently read an interesting article on the ITJungle.com website about the Tech Trends for IBM i and I have re-published it below for your convenience,

Top 10 IBM i Tech Trends for 2013

Published: January 8, 2013

by Alex Woodie

This is a great time to be an IBM i shop. Whether your shop is hands-on with the latest technology or prefers to “set it and forget it,” there’s an abundance of new products and services available that will help your organization run smarter and with more efficiency. Check out Four Hundred Stuff‘s take on the top 10 IBM i technology trends for the new year.

1. Cloud Computing

The number one IBM i trend for 2013 is cloud computing. IBM may have been late to the cloud party with its midrange platform, but Big Blue is now coming on strong, with new cloud-enabling technology, like Live Partition Mobility (LPM), as well as new marketing plans aimed at attracting managed service providers (MSPs) to the platform, and giving them the tools to be successful.

A couple of years ago, just a handful of companies had positioned themselves as MSPs to sell access to IBM i resources using the public cloud, or infrastructure as a service (IaaS), model, a la Amazon Web Services (AWS). This doesn’t count the many datacenter firms offering hosting services, a rudimentary form of cloud computing, or software as a service (SaaS) firms, of which there are just a few in the IBM i world.

Today, there are nearly two dozen MSPs offering public IBM i cloud services, and new MSPs are opening shop every week offering public cloud IaaS, which, on the whole, was a $12 billion industry in 2012 and was growing at an annual clip of 45 percent, according to Gartner. Many of the MSPs in the IBM i world started out as AS/400 and iSeries server resellers, and while selling boxes and services accounts for the bulk of their businesses, they foresee a day when the MSP side of their business becomes predominant.

This new cloud model is a radical departure from basic server babysitting, and is a critical element in the shift to utility computing. Thanks to high-speed Internet that’s nearly ubiquitous across the country, and advanced IBM i virtualization offerings like PowerVM, LPM, and Virtual I/O Server, organizations can get access to the same IBM i platform they know and love–indeed, they can access their own IBM i environments, and move it wherever they like–without incorporating the financial burden of physically possessing the hardware.

IT Jungle predicts that 2013 will mark the first year when it will be common for small and midsize IBM i shops to consider an IBM i public cloud as a legitimate option as part of their upgrade considerations. The advantages in cost and processing flexibility with renting a slice of IBM i in the cloud versus taking physical ownership of the hardware are becoming too great to ignore, and are beginning to outweigh the risks of cloud computing, which mostly has to do with security of data.

2. Mobility

Who knew that the launch of the iPhone five years ago would have spawned such a monumental upheaval in how we use computers? Just about every RFP being made for Web interfaces today also contains a mobile element, interface modernization vendors tell IT Jungle. Luckily, thanks to cross-platform technologies like HTML5 and JavaScript, it’s a relatively easy step to adapt a new Web interface to display in the Web browsers of smartphones, too.

Analysts predict that, in 2013, mobile devices (including smartphones and tablets) will surpass PCs to become the most common way to access the Web. In some businesses, mobile devices have already overtaken PCs. Tablets, in particular, appear to be favored in white collar and factory environments, while smartphones are the mobile device of choice for road warriors.

The big challenge facing developers this year will be figuring out how to best utilize mobile devices to accomplish particular tasks at hand. It’s kind of dumb to try to squeeze a full 5250 screen onto an iPhone. It can be done, but with all the precise finger movements required to navigate the app on a 3.5-inch screen, it might be easier to teach a pig to use chopsticks.

Instead of repurposing existing IBM i interfaces to fit on mobile devices, a better approach will be to develop new IBM i interfaces that are tailor-made for tablets and smartphones. This allows the developer to rethink application workflow, and to highlight essential data and actions while hiding or eliminating superfluous screen elements. The old adage “keep it simple stupid,” or KISS, retains its significance here.

3. Power7+ and PureSystems

IBM gave us new toys to play with in 2012, and 2013 will prove to be the year that many of us get to put them into action. The new Power7+ servers give us more of a good thing, and will be the go-to boxes for many small and midsize IBM i shops with modest computing needs. But the new PureSystems platform is something different altogether, and demands some extra thought and consideration.

IBM sold more than 1,000 of the PureSystems servers in 2012, a number that will be dwarfed in 2013. In particular, the PureSystems platform will be adopted by a good number of MSP cloud providers, who will value its capability to run Windows and provide Windows environments alongside the three Power Systems amigos–IBM i, AIX, and Linux.

The software side of PureSystems has a ways to go. IBM has a vision whereby enterprise applications are treated much the same as apps on an iPhone–where apps can be selected from a menu, downloaded, installed, and configured in a very short amount of time. Currently, the PureSystems Centre (sic) serves more as a marketing tool for vendors who have certified their wares to run on the PureSystems platforms, rather than the actual embodiment of the “point, click, go” future that IBM visionaries have envisioned for us. Enterprise software is still complicated. Getting it to work efficiently in customer sites still requires a good bit of customization. It’s not cookie-cutter, and attempts to make us believe that it is are disingenuous.

4. Analytics

Business analytics continues to grow faster than the IT industry as a whole is growing. According to IDC, business analytics will grow at a 9.8 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2016, when it will be a $50.7 billion business. The IBM i component of this is extremely small, largely due to the fact that the IBM i ecosystem is extremely small compared to the IT world as a whole. But among IBM i shops, there seems to be a preference for using Windows or Unix servers to run data warehouses instead of keeping it on the IBM i server. There’s no reason this trend will change in 2013, to the chagrin of vendors providing data warehousing and BI tools on the IBM i platform.

But thankfully, data moves quickly in the enterprise and opportunities for analyzing data originating on the IBM i will continue to grow and expand in 2013. Big data and in-memory processing platforms will continue to eat up market and mindshare among the largest enterprises. Smaller shops will benefit from the continued commodiziation of BI and analytics capabilities, and hop on the raft of new BI and analytics as a service (BIaaaaS?) offerings that are making their way to the market.

5. Social media

Social media has become ubiquitous in our lives, but its place and use in the enterprise hasn’t been adequately defined yet. On the one hand, some ERP and BI vendors have started incorporating social media feeds into their sales and marketing apps. This is basically treating one’s Facebook or LinkedIn connections as another email list to be mined.

IBM is taking another approach with its Notes/Domino (formerly Lotus) platform: helping enterprises to set up their own social media communities, and to use social media tools like forums, easy file sharing, “like” buttons, following friends, and mobile support to bolster collaboration. This will be a winning play, to the extent that IBM makes this platform extensible and available for integration into other enterprise apps. IBM still has some work to do to support IBM i with this platform, but it’s off to a decent start with the recent decision to support Traveler. Here’s hoping it will also support IBM Connections and Sametime Mobile Manager on IBM i in 2013.

6. ERP Wars

There was a lot going on in the enterprise software market last year, and there’s no reason it will end in 2013. Traditional ERP vendors are coming under growing pressure from software as a service (SaaS) ERP vendors, like NetSuite, Salesforce.com, and Workday. While the SaaS vendors can’t yet offer the same combination of functionality and customizability that the traditional ERP vendors can, there’s no reason to think they can’t or won’t in the future, which means traditional ERP vendors are living on borrowed time. Expect to see the old ERP guard make some kind of movement–or at least pay lip service–to ERP’s cloud and subscription future.

The ERP market as a whole grew at about a 4.5 percent rate in 2012, according to Gartner. But if you’re Oracle and SAP, you’ve got to be worried about keeping your share of any increase in spending in 2013. In addition to attacks by the SaaS ERP vendors, they face pressure from smaller best-of-breed ERP vendors, like Infor, and those companies who question whether they even need ERP, according to Panorama Consulting. And of course, there are the third-party maintenance firms, like Rimini Street and Spinnaker Support, which grew tremendously in 2012 and will continue to poach disaffected customers away from SAP and Oracle in 2013.

7. DR and HA as a service

While 2013 will be the year that IBM i shops seriously start to consider running their production apps on public clouds, there will undoubtedly be even more growth in using clouds to provide disaster recovery (DR) protection, or DR as a service (DRaaS), and high availability (HA) as a service, or HAaaS.

At many of the public IBM i cloud providers, sales and marketing efforts lead with DRaaS or HAaaS, and occasionally turn into opportunities to sell the customer on moving production to the cloud as well. Major disasters like Superstorm Sandy highlighted the benefits of having a team of professionals at the ready for the worst day in the life of your business.

Costs are also coming down as more managed service providers (MSPs) offer DRaaS and HAaaS. And as the implementations increase, they become more “cookie cutter” and repeatable, which benefits customers even more.

7. Big Data

There was a lot of hype surrounding “big data” in 2012, and it will likely continue into 2013. The large system and ERP vendors are freely spending and making better tools for handling the continued explosion of data, which is commonly defined by the four Vs: volume, variety, velocity, and veracity.

IBM i shops, just like all businesses, are struggling to adapt to big data, and use it to expand their businesses. One hot area to watch in 2013 is the intersection of three trends, including big data, social media, and analytics. IT vendors that can help their customers use analytics to make sense of the big data generated by social media will make a lot of friends and money in 2013.

8. Data integration

As the volume and type of data continues to increase and change, so will customers’ needs for data integration. Year after year, IT architects bemoan the “silos of data” approach, yet these silos have become a fact of life, as businesses continue to chase hot technology trends that may or may not integrate well with what they already have.

As a result of this patchwork approach, there will still be high demand for integration tools that can move and transform data at the database level–particularly at speeds above plain Jane ODBC and ODBC. Tools that make DB2/400 … er, DB2 for i (prediction number 0: old habits will continue to die hard in 2013) … play nicely with other databases will see more interest.

And despite its perception as a “legacy” technology, EDI is not going away anytime soon, and is a critical element of the back office IT infrastructure that handles the day-to-day task of making, moving, and maintaining physical things that we buy (you know, the real economy, which doesn’t get a lot of attention in the cloud/social media/big data-obsessed press these days).

Managed file transfer (MFT) software will continue to be a hot product area in 2013. The combination of MFT’s capability to automate bulk transfers as well as provide a managed interface for ad hoc transfers is truly a sweet spot that can’t be matched by other approaches.

9. Open source and consumer software

Open source technologies and products are more widely used on the IBM i platform than ever before. Whether IBM i professionals know it or not, they’re using open source products on a daily basis, notably the Apache Web server. Open source is becoming a suitable choice in other areas of IBM i computing too, including CRM, database, ETL and business intelligence, programming languages, and Web publishing tools. (Open source ERP, alas, failed to materialize yet, at least on this platform.)

IT staffs in IBM i shops are also using more and more consumer-focused technologies, most notably JavaScript and HTML5, which have become major programming initiatives for IT shops looking to develop cutting-edge Web and mobile interfaces (which is practically every shop, if you believe surveys). The bring-your-own-device movement has redoubled focus on mobile device manufacturers in the enterprise as well.

10. IT Security

IT Security is a perennial concern of businesses, and accounted for $60 billion in spending in 2012, a number that will increase to $86 billion by 2016, according to Gartner. The threat of data breaches falling into the wrong hands continues to drive big spending on security compliance initiatives, including services and IT security tools such as anti-malware, breach detection, encryption, and powerful user account controls.

In the IBM i world, businesses hopefully will strive to bolster their security, which is woefully poor according to surveys. While the IBM i platform can be one of the most secure on the planet, improper IBM i configurations–including default passwords and users with too much authority–pose a very real weakness in many organizations.

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Posted by Mario1 - 12/01/2013 at 1:32 pm

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