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It’s been a rough couple of days for Apple’s services. Apple Music took a lengthy hit on Wednesday with subscribers being signed out, then a widespread outage hit multiple services including iCloud on Thursday for several hours. All this during a quarter when Apple is selling itself to investors as a services company, not just the iPhone company, but these outages are way too common.
And it’s not just services. Apple had to re-release iOS 9.3.2 for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, a minor bug fix update that bricked the company’s latest tablet for a lot of customers. Mistakes happen but it’s Apple’s response after everything is resolved that bothers me…
Obviously, the most important thing to do during an outage or botched software release is fix the immediate problem. If it’s an outage, work quickly to get services back up. If it’s a bad software release, pull the update as soon as possible to limit how many customers are affected.
Apple Music and iCloud service issues are far too common but they usually only last a few hours at most. But Apple kept iOS 9.3.2 up for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro for four days before deciding to pull it. When Apple re-released iOS 9.3.2 this week, the fix meant connecting the iPad Pro to iTunes on a Mac or PC to update to the repaired version. A botched update, two weeks for resolution, then end of story.
I’d like to see Apple detail what went wrong and offer affected customers something in return for the two weeks of down time. It wouldn’t be unprecedented for Apple either.
Greg Joswiak briefly described the server delivery method for iOS 8.0.1 that broke Touch ID and cellular functions on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus after iOS 8.0.2 resolved it. Then there was the free iPhone 4 Bumper to remedy complaints of dropped calls back in 2010. A brief explanation and some free iTunes credit would go along way in these recent cases.
Rocky software updates and buggy releases aren’t totally new either. I recall downloading an iOS update over iTunes on my new iPhone 5 in 2012 to fix an issue with OTA releases, and I never saw the Apple logo more than after iOS 7 was first released and springboard rebooted more than daily. But updates like iOS 8.0.1 for iPhone 6, iOS 9.3 for older devices, and iOS 9.3.2 for iPad Pro are problems that deserve addressing after they’re resolved.
And service outages that get picked up by CNBC, Reuters, and Facebook’s Trending section become negative stories that live far longer than the actual outages. Apple could control this story better, and customers deserve more when things stop working.
For its customers, Apple tends to be the gold standard for how to operate but the company still can’t seem to escape the meme that it’s bad at services. Apple being bad at services isn’t even totally true, it’s just plagued by these frequent outages and unfortunate software slip ups. But if Apple is going to enter the electric car business, customers need to trust that software updates won’t be damaging and backend functions won’t go down.
When they do, be transparent and candid about what happened while detailing how the process has changed to prevent the same mistake and build back confidence. Offer iCloud storage upgrades or a month of free Apple Music to win back customer satisfaction. No one should have to go to Spotify because Apple’s servers have a few bad days.
The real goal is fewer outages and no botched software roll outs, but mistakes happen so offering transparent explanations and incentives to disappointed customers is an easy and positive step that Apple can take today.
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The current age is of supercomputers in our pockets. However, despite using the best security tools, criminals keep on attacking online resources. This post is to introduce you to Incident Response (IR), explain the different stages of IR, and then lists three free open source software that helps with IR.What is Incident Response
What is an Incident? It could be a cybercriminal or any malware taking over your computer. You should not ignore IR because it can happen to anyone. If you think you won’t be affected, you may be right. But not for long because there is no guarantee of anything connected to the Internet as such. Any artifact there, may go rogue and install some malware or allow a cybercriminal to directly access your data.
You should have an Incident Response Template so that you can respond in case of an attack. In other words, IR is not about IF, but it is concerned with WHEN and HOW of the information science.
Incident Response also applies to natural disasters. You know that all governments and people are prepared when any disaster strikes. They can’t afford to imagine that they are always safe. In such a natural incident, government, army, and plenty of non-government organizations (NGOs). Likewise, you too cannot afford to overlook Incident Response (IR) in IT.
Basically, IR means being ready for a cyber attack and stop it before it does any harm.Incident Response – Six Stages
Most IT Gurus claim that there are six stages of Incident Response. Some others keep it at 5. But six are good as they are easier to explain. Here are the IR stages that should be kept in focus while planning an Incident Response Template.
1] Incident Response – Preparation
You need to be prepared to detect and deal with any cyberattack. That means you should have a plan. It should also include people with certain skills. It may include people from external organizations if you fall short of talent in your company. It is better to have an IR template that spells out what to do in case of a cyber attack attack. You can create one yourself or download one from the Internet. There are many Incident Response templates available on the Internet. But it is better to engage your IT team with the template as they know better about the conditions of your network.
2] IR – Identification
This refers to identifying your business network traffic for any irregularities. If you find any anomalies, start acting per your IR plan. You might have already placed security equipment and software in place to keep attacks away.
3] IR – Containment
The main aim of the third process is to contain the attack impact. Here, containing means reducing the impact and prevent the cyberattack before it can damage anything.
Containment of Incident Response indicates both short- and long-term plans (assuming that you have a template or plan to counter incidents).
4] IR – Eradication
Eradication, in Incident Response’s six stages, means restoring the network that was affected by the attack. It can be as simple as the network’s image stored on a separate server that is not connected to any network or Internet. It can be used to restore the network.
5] IR – Recovery
The fifth stage in Incident Response is to clean the network to remove anything that might have left behind after eradication. It also refers to bringing back the network to life. At this point, you’d still be monitoring any abnormal activity on the network.
6] Incident Response – Lessons Learned
The last stage of Incident Response’s six stages is about looking into the incident and noting down the things that were at fault. People often give a miss this stage, but it is necessary to learn what went wrong and how you can avoid it in the future.Open Source Software for managing Incident Response
1] CimSweep is an agentless suite of tools that helps you with Incident Response. You can do it remotely too if you can’t be present at the place where it happened. This suite contains tools for threat identification and remote response. It also offers forensic tools that help you check out event logs, services, and active processes, etc. More details here.
2] GRR Rapid Response Tool is available on the GitHub and helps you perform different checks on your network (Home or Office) to see if there are any vulnerabilities. It has tools for real-time memory analysis, registry search, etc. It is built in Python so is compatible with all Windows OS – XP and later versions, including Windows 10. Check it out on Github.
3] TheHive is yet another open source free Incident Response tool. It allows working with a team. Teamwork makes it easier to counter cyber attacks as work (duties) are mitigated to different, talented people. Thus, it helps in real-time monitoring of IR. The tool offers an API that the IT team can use. When used with other software, TheHive can monitor up to a hundred variables at a time – so that any attack is immediately detected, and Incident Response begins quick. More information here.
Ubuntu After Install is a simple application that does just one thing: Automates the installation of useful extra software on your Ubuntu desktop. Here is how you can automate software installation after a fresh installation of Ubuntu.Installation
To install Ubuntu after install, simply add the following PPA (only available from Ubuntu 12.04 to 14.04):
Update your repository and install the application.
In case you are not able to add the PPA, you can install from the deb file found here (scroll down to the bottom of the page to download the deb file).
Note: It should work in other Ubuntu-based distros as well.Usage
When you run Ubuntu After Install (UAI), you will see a list of software on the screen. All of them are checked by default unless it has already been installed.
Here is the software included in UAI:
Ubuntu Restricted Extra
Unity Tweak Tool
Variety wallpaper changer
For applications that are not in your package manager, Ubuntu After Install will fetch the PPAs, add them to your repository, update your system and install the applications. It certainly saves you the effort of doing it on your own.Conclusion
You probably won’t be doing a fresh install of Ubuntu every day or month, but when you do, Ubuntu After Install is a useful tool for you to set up your desktop quickly and get back to working mode.
Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.
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But now it finally looks like Chinese smartwatches are on the rise. Out of a sudden, Chinese companies start creating well-built watches that do not only look nice but also offer better specs and look like decent alternatives to those expensive Android Wear watches and Pebbles out there. Currently there are two very important devices competing with each other. Those are the No.1 Sun S2 (currently on the way to us) and the Zeaplus Watch DM360. The latter one has been with us for a full month of testing, and now we are ready to tell you about our experience.Zeaplus Watch DM360 Review: The Specs
The Zeaplus Watch DM360 might look like a device running Android Wear, yet it isn’t. The wearable is actually running the Mediatek Nucleus OS, which most Chinese wearables use. The chipset it is based on is a Mediatek MT2502A, which most of you probably know better as the Mediatek Aster chipset. Yes, this is the SoC they unveiled earlier this year as the world’s smallest wearable chipset, and as far as we know this title still is valid. The chipset is supported by 32MB of RAM, 128MB of memory and drives a round LCD display with 240 x 240 resolution and 1.44-inches in size. The whole thing is driven by a 320mAh battery and packed into a quality stainless steel body along various sensors including an optical heart rate sensor and one speaker.Zeaplus Watch DM360 Review: The Unboxing
Positive surprise number one was the unboxing process. We expected some cheap paper packaging, yet have been greeted by a nice box designed in the style of a book, very similar to Meizu phone boxes. The watch is placed inside, well protected, along a magnetic charging cable and a replacement screen protector.Zeaplus Watch DM360 Review: The Design
The stainless steel body of the watch is very tough and survived lots of collisions till now without showing any marks. Despite the bulgy plastic rear the watch actually looks very thin as soon as you wear it and isn’t really distinguishable from any real watch, also due to the crown-like hardware button on one side. The openings for the speaker and microphone are drilled in the body, yet so thin you almost can’t see them when looking at the watch from a normal distance.
And regarding the strap we don’t like that it can’t be replaced in an easy way. You have to take the watch apart to replace the wristband and so far we haven’t seen Zeaplus offering replacement bands. The band itself is supposed to be made from calfskin. While we cannot confirm that, we also do not want to deny it and just leave that question open. As a matter of fact: quality appears to be good and the band survived pretty much everything to date – even longer contact with water. We only spotted a few rubbing-traces from the table.Zeaplus Watch DM360 Review: The Display
As mentioned before, the Zeaplus Watch DM360 doesn’t come with an OLED panel but a LCD screen instead. The quality of the screen is ok but not outstanding. The colors are quite OK and the brightness is extremely high, but the contrast obviously could be a little better and so could be the pixel density. Still, those flaws never make the display unusable and it actually is quite easy to read even under bright sunlight, which is important when it comes to a smartwatch. The glass apparently is some tempered one since we didn’t managed to get any huge scratches into it yet despite removing the protector from day one. There only are a few tiny scratches that are almost invisible. The touch panel works well but could be more sensitive / precise from time to time. Also it can be sensitive to water, which doesn’t make sense considering the water proofing of the watch. A few drops are OK, but larger or a huge amount of drops will cause the screen to go nuts.Zeaplus Watch DM360: The Software
As mentioned previously, the Zeaplus Watch DM360 doesn’t run Android Wear but Nucleus OS. Still, the way you control the watch is very similar to Android Wear, so in case you already used an Android-based smartwatch you will find your way through the system immediately. The home screen consists of a watch face which you can change with several pre-installed options by holding your finger on the screen for about one second. There are both analog and digital watch faces available. If you swipe down from the top to the bottom, the quick settings menu will appear. Here you can change the speaker volume, screen brightness, enable / disable Bluetooth, quick-access your SMS inbox and see the charging level of the battery. Swiping from right to left on the watch face opens up the “app drawer” through which you can scroll using either your finger or by tilting the watch upwards or downwards.Gizchina News of the week
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To pair the watch with your phone you first need to install the app. For this you need to head towards the app drawer and look for the QR code icon. Once you open it up, the watch will display a QR code. Scan this with your phone and you can download the APK file. After you installed it, make sure to enable Bluetooth on both the watch and your phone. You then will be able to pair the watch directly from within the app. Your phone needs to support Bluetooth 4.0 to do so. Support for Bluetooth LE is even better since this cuts down on energy consumption.
Once the watch is paired you can easily set applications that are allowed to push notifications to the watch from within the app. You also can keep track of the pedometer, your sleeping cycles and your heart frequency. There also is an option to enable an alert in case the connection to the watch is lost, preventing you from losing either the watch or phone.
Three more main features are the pedometer, heart rate sensor and sleep tracker. The pedometer works very well and is extremely precise. It displays the taken steps, the moved distance and your burned calories. To enhance precision you can enter your size and weight inside the watch settings. There also is an option to set a daily target for the taken steps. The heart rate sensor is a nice gimmick but not working so well. It often has a hard time deciding about the actual heart rate. If it works, it is fairly precise, but since it isn’t very reliable we never really used it. Maybe this can be improved with a future firmware update. The sleep tracker is a better working feature again. Enable it before you go to sleep and the watch will display you for how long you slept and even tracks your deep-sleep time, indicating your sleep quality. This works very well and again very precise, though we have no idea how that stuff is actually being tracked.
Besides of those main features there are tons of more options embedded. The watch gives you detailed settings to configure its behavior and look of the UI to your likings. You even are able to select from a large amount of languages, including English, German and Italian. There also are some apps available like alarm, a calendar, a calculator, a stopwatch and an audio recorder. The recordings you created with the latter one can be transferred to your PC through the USB charging cable.Zeaplus Watch DM360 Review: The Bugs
Overall, the watch works just like it should and we didn’t find a lot of bugs within the firmware itself. The only significant bugs are some translation mistakes, the buggy heart rate sensor and the calendar app, which needs to be improved since the month-view isn’t working properly and you don’t see an indicator showing your upcoming appointments yet. The application running on the phone however has to be improved. Right now it isn’t compatible with some Android custom ROMs like ColorOS, and we also had some issues with the notifications using Android 5.0 Lollipop where most notifications didn’t arrive at the watch. Right now the Zeaplus Watch DM360 works best with Android KitKat vanilla ROMs. Something we’d wish to see as well is support for Google Fit. It really is a pity that you can not sync the data of the pedometer with your Google Fit account.Zeaplus Watch DM360 Review: The Audio Quality
We’ve been very impressed with the audio quality of the smartwatch. In such a small device you wouldn’t expect to find a good speaker, yet this is exactly what Zeaplus built inside of it. It is very loud, doesn’t distort up until about 90% of the maximum volume and offers an insane amount of bass. Believe it or not, but you can actually use the watch as a decent Bluetooth speaker for sport activities or under the shower.Zeaplus Watch DM360 Review: The Battery Life Zeaplus Watch DM360 Review: The Verdict
After the letdown with the WeLoop Tommy we have been pleasantly surprised while using the Zeaplus Watch DM360 which is the proof that finally Chinese smartwatches grow up. The build quality is perfect for the price tag, and the large amount of features makes the watch a really useful gadget we didn’t want to miss anymore after a few days. Despite regular contact with water and a few drops, the watch still works perfectly after a month of usage and doesn’t show any significant traces of usage on the body and strap. Yes, there are some bugs left, but those are not an issue for everyone and are likely to be fixed, since both the watch app and the firmware can be updated. Putting all that together we recommend you to have a very close look at the Zeaplus Watch DM360 in case you look for an affordable smartwatch from China. The next watch we will review is the No.1 Sun S2, stay tuned!
Thanks to Zeaplus for providing us with the review sample.
A lot of today’s top copywriters got their start in direct mail, broadcasting and catalog pieces. Back then, the medium was strictly rooted in the “Push” era – we shovel out the content, you take it all in and buy this widget.
When the web started coming of age, people realized that they didn’t have to “take it all in” – they could comparison shop, read reviews and judge ratings. Even in the last few years we’ve gained the ability to ask friends, groups and followers for their thoughts and recommendations over social networks and get the answers we need almost instantly wherever we are.
The “Push” Era is over. But the Share Era is just getting started.
The question is – is your content keeping up with the times?
So many sales letters on the web are still crafted the “old fashioned way” – they assault your eyes with huge red fonts and bright yellow highlighters (all probably stemming from what some direct mail copywriter swore worked like magic back in the 1960’s). They do nothing but push, push, push – and hope that they’ll sound like an authority long enough for you to grab your credit card and order.
Don’t Write “At” Your Readers – Write “To” Them
The best way to get in on this gigantic wave of share marketing is to explain your product or service to your reader as if they were sitting in the room with you now. Grab a tape recorder and record yourself – since you’ll talk very differently than you write. Don’t be afraid to “be yourself” either – be enthusiastic and excited about your offer.
Don’t worry about what they’ll think – because your visitors, subscribers and customers are people just like you. If you’re afraid of turning people away by “being yourself” – that’s good. Those people would’ve likely gone elsewhere anyway. Let them go. Focus on the ones that stay – those are your real fans.
“You’re Just Like Me!”
Take a good, strong look at your copy. Clear out anything that smacks of temptation, manipulation or arm-twisting persuasion. You don’t need it. What you do need – as I’ve seen happen time and time again for truly great products, is enough strength to say “I’ve tried this, and it really helped me. Here’s how I did it and here’s why I think you’ll like it too…”
Make that person reading your copy exclaim, “Hey! You’re just like me!” And being able to reach people on that kind of “real life” level is something that no bright red font or yellow highlighter can ever match!
Sherice Jacob helps site owners improve website performance and increase conversions through her blog and custom design service at iElectrify. You can also follow @sherice on Twitter for more big bangs of inspiration and design coolness.
Apache Hadoop is an open source software framework that enables high throughput processing of big data sets across distributed clusters. Apache modules include Hadoop Common, a set of common utilities that run through the modules. These include Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS), Hadoop YARN for scheduling jobs and managing cluster resources, and Hadoop MapReduce, a system based on YARN that enables parallel processing of large data sets.
Apache also offers additional open source software that runs atop Hadoop, such as analysis engine Spark (which can also run independently) and programming language Pig (whose name is a play on Pig Latin).Cloud Storage and Backup Benefits
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Hadoop is popular because it provides a nearly limitless environment for big data processing using commodity hardware. Adding nodes is a simple process with no negative impact on the framework. Hadoop is highly scalable from a single server to thousands of servers with each cluster running its own compute and storage. Hadoop provides high availability at the application layer so cluster hardware can be off-the-shelf.
Real-life usage cases include online travel (Hadoop claims to be the go-to big data platform for 80% of online travel bookings), batch analytics, social media application serving and analysis, supply chain optimization, mobile data management, healthcare, and more.
The downside? Hadoop is complex and requires significant staff time and expertise, which has dampened its adoption rate in businesses lacking specialized IT staff. It can also be a challenge to derive business value in the face of expert administrator requirements and capital expenditures on widely distributed clusters.
Cluster management can also be tricky. Hadoop unifies distributed clusters but equipping and managing additional data centers – not to mention working with remote staff – add to complexity and cost. The upshot is that Hadoop clusters can be far more isolated than they should be.
Cloud to the Rescue?
Going to the cloud is not an either/or proposition for Hadoop owners. Some businesses with Hadoop expertise will choose Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) for better cluster management and will continue to manage Hadoop in-house. This article will discuss going all the way to a fully managed Hadoop deployment online. We refer to this as Hadoop-as-a-Service (HaaS), a sub-category of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).
Running Hadoop as a managed cloud-based service is not a cheap proposition but it does save money over buying large numbers of clusters. It also eases Hadoop expert management requirements and avoids long learning curves. Most Hadoop installations will maintain a self-service portal for analytics and other data operations while the provider manages all infrastructure, management and processing operations.
This is not an easy thing to do. Hadoop architecture requires a highly scalable and dynamic compute environment, and Hadoop experts are necessary for complex configuration and software integration. If the business decides to go with a managed service they will not have to hire staff experts but the managed service will. The more expertise, customized configuration and capacity the customer requires, the more expensive the service.
Of course, nothing is perfect including HaaS. To begin with, the business will be moving big data in and out of the cloud. This creates latency that IT must redress by buying fatter pipes and/or investing in data movement acceleration. IT must also carry out due diligence on the HaaS provider’s performance levels and Quality of Service. Here are a few top capabilities to look for:
· Non-stop operations. Another consideration is the ability to recover from processing failures without having the restart an entire process. The Hadoop provider should be capable of non-stop operations, which is a non-trivial matter. Clarify that the provider supports non-stop, which restarts an operation from the beginning of a failed sub-service and not the entire job.
Many large cloud vendors offer services to Hadoop service providers including HP Helion, Google, Amazon, Rackspace and MS Azure. However, the cloud vendors may or may not offer their own managed Hadoop services. This vendor section covers managed Hadoop service providers; not simply the infrastructure on which Hadoop runs.
Qubole’s core offering is Hadoop-as-a-service (HaaS). Qubole Data Service offers fully managed, on-demand clusters that scale up or down depending on data size. Qubole partners with Google Cloud using Google’s Computer Engine (GCE). Speaking of Google, the Google Cloud Storage connector for Hadoop lets users run MapReduce jobs directly on data stored in GCS, which eliminates having to write data on-premise and running in local Hadoop. Additional data connectors enable GCS users to run MapReduce on data stored in Google Datastore and Google BigQuery.
Amazon offers Amazon Elastic MapReduce (EMR) as a Hadoop web service. EMR distributes client data and processes across dynamic EC2 instances. Microsoft Azure HDinsight is also a cloud-based Hadoop distribution. HDinsight is Hadoop-only and does not contain additional MS software. The installation processes both unstructured and semi-structured data from multiple data locations.
IBM BigInsights on Cloud is based on Hadoop, integrating Hadoop core offerings and modules with IBM management consoles, analytics, and query engines. The cloud version runs BigInsights as a Hadoop service on IBM SoftLayer.
Frankly, Hadoop adoption hype has not lived up to its reputation. Enterprises with massive big data needs have widely adopted it because they have the computing budgets to match. But many more mid-market and even enterprise-level companies have not adopted Hadoop because of its complexity and ongoing optimization process.
We believe that managed Hadoop services will bring many more business users into the fold as long as Hadoop managed service providers optimize their data centers for performance, and users know to accelerate data transfer.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
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