Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Microsoft Widens Skype World

Skype on Friday announced Skype for Web, a new version of its VoIP service that can be used in a browser rather than through the dedicated application.
"Perhaps you're sitting at a computer that doesn't already have Skype downloaded," explained Jonathan Watson, a senior product marketing manager with Skype. "Or maybe you're on the go and using an Internet cafe or hotel computer where you can't download Skype at all. Using Skype for Web makes it more convenient to get to your conversations."
To use Skype for Web, users simply sign in on Skype.com. From there, they can connect and start instant messaging directly from their browser. Voice or video calls will require a small plug-in.
Now in beta, the service works with Internet Explorer, Chrome on Windows, Firefox and Safari, but it initially will be available only to a small number of users. It will be rolled out worldwide in the coming months, Watson said.

A Boon for Employees

The new service promises to be "quite useful, because it opens up the number of computers that can use Skype significantly," Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics, told TechNewsWorld.
In particular, it will make Skype available for the first time to employees at companies "where the IT department locks down the computer and doesn't let you install software," Entner explained. "I've worked in quite a few companies like that."
In addition to its Voice over Internet Protocol functionality, Skype is also a useful messaging service, he added.
"That's one thing a lot of people don't realize," Entner said. "I have Skype chat channels with 40 or 50 people in them."
Thanks to the Web feature, that's now possible on "all the computers being held hostage by IT departments," he pointed out.

'A Long Time Coming'

Though a plug-in currently is required for voice and video calls, Skype is working with Microsoft's Internet Explorer team to implement the technology necessary for real-time communications on the Web, Watson pointed out.
"With WebRTC, there won't be any downloads or installs -- you can just get straight to your conversation," he said.
"Skype for Web has been a long time in coming," Andy Abramson, CEO ofComunicano, told TechNewsWorld.
"Microsoft is late to the party when it comes to WebRTC," he said. "The optics are not in their favor, so they are trying to do something to correct that."
Firefox and Google Chrome both support WebRTC, while Apple's Safari and Internet Explorer require a plug-in, Abramson pointed out.
In many ways, "this is nothing more than a catch-up play for Skype vs. Google Hangouts," he said.

The Benefit of WebRTC

It could take some time for WebRTC to become commonplace.
"While I think WebRTC services will become more pervasive over time as mobile carriers move all voice, text and data to IP-based LTE networks, mainstream use is years away," said Ritch Blasi, Comunicano's senior vice president for mobile and wireless.
"There will always be early adopters and Skype enthusiasts who will find the browser-based service easier to use -- that's the fundamental benefit of WebRTC," he told TechNewsWorld.
However, "it will take some time for it to reach the scale of use seen by mobile services," Blasi added.

Efforts Better Spent Elsewhere?

In any case, while Skype's availability through the browser "may be of interest to people not already using Skype or other messaging/communications apps," it doesn't really offer any advantage to mobile users or to anyone who has already downloaded Skype on their PC, Jim McGregor, founder and principal analyst with Tirias Research, told TechNewsWorld.
"The company would be better off work working on more distinct features, especially for mobile users," he added, "because the other mobile apps are often preferred over Skype."

Salesforce1 Lightning Connect Aims to End the Long CRM Integration Nightmare

Salesforce.com has unveiled Salesforce1 Lightning Connect, a new component for its Lightning Platform as a Service for mobile developers, which it introduced last month.
Lightning Connect, which is available immediately, is an integration tool that moves data in real time from back-end legacy systems to the Salesforce.com mobile offering.
In developing this tool, Salesforce.com collaborated with several integration vendors, including Informatica, Jitterbit, MuleSoft, Progress Software, SnapLogic and SoftwareAG, building a library of adaptors.

Making It Real

The purpose for the offering is to make it easy for the user to move data into the new mobile product being crafted with Salesforce1 Lightning, Scott Holden VP of Salesforce1 Platform, told CRM Buyer.
Most integration technology is cumbersome and complex, he said, usually involving manual file load, FTP, point-to-point or enterprise service bus.
"We set out to build this technology with two goals," Holden said. "We wanted the integration to occur in real time, and we wanted it to be very easy, in a point-and-click-manner."
In other words, it didn't want its users to have to hire a host of consultants to integrate back-end data to a mobile app that was easy to build.
Lightning Connect achieves that, he said.

8 Clicks

The system now allows a user to integrate data from, say, an SAP legacy system to a mobile app built on Salesforce1 Lightning with eight or fewer clicks, Holden said.
Click No. 1: Start in the set-up box and go to the search menu.
Click No. 2: Look for the external data sources necessary for the mobile app. The Edit mode allows access to all data types, such as inventory or customer accounts.
Click No. 3: Select the data to send to the mobile app.
Click No. 4: Move the data to the Salesforce.com mobile device.
Clicks No. 5-8 affect the presentation of the data and how it is arranged "so it is the most impactful," Holden said.
The integration is done in real time, he pointed out. That is, the system accesses the most recent data, and it isn't copied and saved in multiple places.
The integrated data will have the same look and feel as the original Salesforce.com mobile app.

Under the Hood

Besides partnering with integration technology vendors, Salesforce.com employed a number of tools to build this offering.
It is built on OData, an open data access protocol, which made it easy for the integration providers to support it.
The integration process is aided by Heroku External Objects for Salesforce, developed for Lightning Connect. Built using such technologies as Node, Ruby, PHP and Java on Heroku, Heroku External Objects for Salesforce makes app, operational and customer data available within Salesforce.

Not Yet Idiot Proof

The integration tools should be welcome to developers and users because integration technology, for all its advances over the years, is still not "idiot proof," Denis Prombriant, principal of Beagle Research, told CRM Buyer.
"SIs and contractors still do a lot of business bringing systems together," he said.
"Salesforce has a lot of advantages, especially when trying to integrate platform native applications," Pombriant said, "but I still think, going forward, there is still a place for integration technology, and a lot of companies are still chasing that Holy Grail." 

New Mobile App Developed To Better Identify Obesity And Depression

A mobile app has been innovated by researchers that is equipped with evidence-based guidelines to aid nurses identify people suffering from obesity and depression. The app leads to higher and better diagnosis rates...

Lead study author Suzanne Bakken from the Columbia University School of Nursing, said that the app helps nursing practitioners to identify health problems, counsel patients and coordinate care programs. In this manner, diagnosis rates get higher. The study evaluated diagnosis rates for tobacco use, adult and pediatric depression and obesity during 34,349 patient exams which have been conducted by 363 registered nurses at Columbia Nursing.

For each observed health issue, the mobile apps which are equipped with decision support features, resulted in higher diagnosis rates than those apps which have some simple tools for recording results from a patient exam. The app prompts nurses to follow evidence-based clinical guidelines to screen, diagnose and manage specific conditions and also encourage detailed conversations with patients about their health issues.

For example, in case of tobacco screening, the app tells the nurses not to ask patients only about cigarettes but also about chewing tobacco. To diagnose those patients who are overweight and obese, the app calculates body-mass-index. In case of depression, the app prompts nurses to ask a series of questions so that patients with depressive symptoms can be easily identified. The study has been published in the Journal for Nurse Practioners. 

Facebook Introduces Open Source Tool For Detecting Issues In Android Apps

Facebook has unveiled an open source tool called Stetho which is enabled to detect errors in its Android application code. Facebook has gradually improved its main app on Android and also other apps for the mobile operating system, including Messenger, Facebook Groups, Facebook Pages Manager and Facebook at Work.

Facebook has faced several issues with the tools for fixing problems that are hidden in the code for Android apps. Then the team built its own debugging tool, Stetho, that integrates with an existing web development system from Google called Chrome Developer Tools. In a blog post, Android software engineer Josh Guilfoyle wrote, “With it, developers can unlock much richer and more convenient access to data. And the best part: We use Chrome Developer Tools to serve the UI!”

Now the Stetho tool will be available for all developers to use as it will be released under an open-source BSD license. Well, it's not a very rare case for Facebook to build its own tools as it had done the same for handling big data with Hive and for monitoring own data centers. Guilfoyle also noted that this the first Android open source project of 2015 by Facebook. You can know more about Stetho tool and download it from the GitHub repository of the project. 

Flipkart vs Amazon! Now It's About A Dustbin!

An image posted by Reddit India has taken the social media world by storm and a war has started on Twitter between two leading e-commerce giants, Flipkart and Amazon. The image shows an Amazon package kept in Flipkart's office reception. Following this post, several Twitter users started playing pranks on the Indian e-commerce site.

The Reddit India post says, “Even @Flipkart Orders from @Amazon! http://redd.it/2wj47u”. Flipkart promptly replied to the tweet saying that the package was being used as a 'reception dustbin'. Then a massive war started on the micro-blogging platform and many users asked Amazon to reply to Flipkart's statement.

Amazon, however, played it diplomatically saying, “@redditindia There is a bit of Amazon in every eCommerce company. #justsaying.” This statement sounded humourous to Flipkart and they responded, “@amazonIN @redditindia We'll drink to that. o/\o.” This is not the first time Flipkart and Amazon are seeing each other in a battle-ground.

Earlier, in this highly competitive market, Amazon hijacked Flipkart's Big Billion Day Sale last year and bought the domain name bigbillionday.com. Hence, as soon as users log on to bigbillionday.com, they get redirected to Amazon India's website and not Flipkart. Prior to that, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had announced a $2 billion investment in the company's India unit just a day after Flipkart had raised $1 billion from its investors. 

Windows Is More Secure Than OS X, iOS And Even Linux!

It's a big surprise and a huge blow for Internet users worldwide. Windows is more secure than Apple iOS and OS X. If that's not enough for you, digest the fact that Windows is more secure than Linux too.

Windows is always known for its vulnerabilities but the reality says it's more secure than Fort Knox-like Linux and OS X. This fact has been revealed by National Vulnerability Database that details security issues detected in different operating systems and software titles. NVD has revealed some statistics for the number of vulnerabilities that were reported in each of the operating systems. It's surprising to see that Windows doesn't top the list.

In 2014, OS X has been impacted with the majority number of security problems – 147 in total, including 64 highly severe ones and 67 as medium threats. iOS also faced 127 vulnerabilities including 32 high-scale and 72 medium-scale. While Windows 8.1 had only 36 vulnerabilities and the same number is shared by Windows 8 and 7 too. For enterprise users, Windows Server 2007 and 2008 both have 38 vulnerabilities.

A huge increase in the database of security vulnerabilities has been observed in the year of 2014. While in 2013 the count was 4,794, it shot up to 7,038 in 2014. The main problem lies with third-party software as 83 per cent of the vulnerabilities have been found in the applications.