Day 2 at CES was just as exciting and exhausting, filled with too many products, innovations and ideas to mention. Here are a few highlights.
Sharp IGZO smartphone display
Sharp demonstrated IGZO, underlying display technology present in Sharp smartphones and to-be-commercial monitor offerings. Bringing improved performance, lower power consumption, and 10 point touch interface technology, what I found most impressive was its responsiveness to the touch interface. For example, scrubbing forward/backward through a video on an IGZO smartphone was smooth and lacked the jumps and starts present on the iPhone (even with Retina). I find the scrubbing scroll bar in iTunes and watching videos difficult to use on the iPhone because of its poor detection of touch and stickiness when sliding the glide bar, whereas it was accurate and effortless on the IGZO smartphone display. Watch this IGZO smartphone demo on Phandroid.
Stick a small Bluetooth sensor on anything and it’s now easier to find with StickNFind. Utilizing small a small transmitter (quarter sized) emitting a low power Bluetooth signal, tagged items can be located with a range finder type smartphone app. You can also set the app to alert you when the item comes within range. Attach a sticker to just about anything; TV remote, computer, pet, luggage, keys, etc. Stickers operate on watch-sized batteries and can last up to one year. The smartphone app is free but stickers aren’t cheap (2 @ $49.95, 4 @ $89.95 retail) — you can get a price break on them at indiegogo for the next few days.
An incremental improvement rather than a revolutionary announcement, Corning brings us the third iteration of Gorilla Glass. Scratching your smartphone screen has more implications that just the scratch itself — small micro fractures are created all along the scratch, making it much more likely the display will fail in a future stress event. With Gorilla Glass 3, edges along any scratch bond more tightly together and suffer fewer micro fractures. Anything that helps prevent our smartphone screens from failing during a drop is a good thing.
Samsung’s had an interesting approach to marketing the Galaxy Note (I & II) and now the Galaxy camera at CES, promoting its “artistic” capabilities and image effect features. The entire back of the Galaxy camera is a touch screen where the images are viewed, manipulated and setting changes are made. The Galaxy camera is Wi-Fi connected and will immediately upload photos to Dropbox or other online services. (I would love to have one of these for blogging while at events like CES.) Samsung had attendees lined up again at this years CES, printing attendees’ enhanced photos on tshirts, mugs and small picture blocks.
In the “just for fun” category, how about Angry Birds spread across three contiguous screens. A bit excessive? Not necessarily, if you love Angry Birds enough. Seeing this made me smile, so I had to include it to this post.
I’m on my second annual visit to CES in Las Vegas. While it’s nearly impossible to see everything, there are products, technologies and companies I wanted to seek out, and along with others I came across while cruising the show floor. Here are a few of the highlights from my first day.
On my list to seek out, Canonical Ltd was a high priority visit. The Ubuntu phone demo didn’t disappoint. Ubuntu takes a decidedly different approach in its UI – no physical phone buttons and the OS and apps maximize screen real estate use by putting options and controls on slide outs from the left, right, top and bottom of the screen.
No word on a release date, developer information is on the website, there will be an online store similar to that on Ubuntu desktop. And yes, users will have access to the Ubuntu command line. If Canonical plays their cards right, Ubuntu phone could be a big hit in what’s generally considered to be a phone OS market already owned by Apple and Google. HTML 5, QML, Qt Framwork and an open source model could make Ubuntu phone a favorite with techies, jail breakers and open source advocates.
While I’ve heard about 3D printers, it was even cooler to actually see two of them in action; one that prints with heated mesh and another that lays down a polymer as thin as 6 nanometers. Sample items at the show were chains (motorcycle), gears, computer mice, and many others. Used primarily to create prototypes of to-be-manufactured objects, seems we’re at the beginning of what this technology might bring to us.
Samsung Smart Life
Is the TV remote control a thing of the past? I think so, to be replaced by your smartphone and/or tablet. Not just to control the TV, but to manage everything; home devices, lighting, HVAC, energy consumption, multimedia, etc. Samsung had a nice “home life” demo.
If you’ve played multi-player console games, you’re experienced split-screen gaming. The screen is carved up in half or in quadrants for 2, 3 or 4 players — a big compromise each player makes, sacrificing major screen real estate.
Sony had an amazing demo of SimulView. All players utilize the full screen for their own view of the game, simultaneously. To separate their respective views, players wear passive glasses, making the screen appear to only show their view of the game. Now, play the game using SimulView on an 83″ 4KTV and you’ll be impressed too.
Whether it was a device simulating a Ferrari formula 1 race care steering wheel, or body monitors that help you lose weight and maintain your health, sensors are appearing in just about everything. Sensors are everywhere and we’re only at the beginning of their proliferation.
An interesting question: Will products, services and companies want data from the products we use, what can they do with it, where will that data live, and what privacy concerns arise? If your workout body monitor asks you if you’d like to participate in their product improvement program by sharing your data with them, should you?
Mobile, Smartphones and Tablets
If it’s not gone mobile yet, it will. Smartphones and tablets are taking the place of PC apps and specialized hardware control devices. Mobile and tablet apps where everywhere, reporting information from Wi-Fi home weather station sensors, controlling strange little roll’y balls that almost emoted a Star Trek tribble-like personality, and NVIDIA powered tablets embedded as the UI and control surfaces in Tesla and Audi cars. The primary use case for smartphones is rapidly being displaced by our universal ‘life’ remote, used to display content and information, and control so many objects throughout our daily lives.
Speculation around the MacBook Air refresh is at a fevered pitch. It seems the speculation around every move by Apple has become a constant. I’m waiting on the expected MacBook Airs as part of a company computer refresh.
I’m guessing the specs around the new MacBook Air will receive a respectable bump up with the move to Intel’s new Sandy Bridge CPU. Performance improvements are anticipated to be up to a 17% gain over Nehalem generation CPUs and embedded Intel graphic performance is said to double. Thunderbolt high speed I/O support is assumed but it’s rumored the Airs won’t ship until they can include the Mac OS X Lion release.
What I find most interesting is speculation by Chris Whitmore (via an AppleInsider article) that MacBook Airs could be as much as 50% of Apple’s laptop sales at 1.5 million MacBook Airs sold per quarter. I actually think this might not be that far off of a prediction. Here’s why.
In helping users determine what Mac would best suit their work, a surprising number lean towards a MacBook Air (especially the anticipated new models.) Not just travel-heavy users, but even the more technical population. I also hear some users choose the MacBook Air instead of an iPad, given the 11″ Air is fairly close in size and weight — why not opt for a full computer and keyboard for the modest size and weight increase.
It's that time again and we really have a "big show" for you with episode 57 of the SSAATY Podcast. Industry veteran and luminary Tom Noonan joins Alan and me. Unless you are new to security, you know that Tom was the co-founder of Internet Security Systems (ISS) which was sold and is now part of IBM. Through ISS, Tom helped make intrusion detection, vulnerability management, unified threat management, and security research (through the X-Force team) commonplace within the security industry.
Tom's now retired from IBM following ISS's integration into the company and is now on the advisory board of Rohati. Rohati provides Network-Based Entitlement Control (NBEC), offering the Rohati TNS 100, 500 and Central Management System products. Tom's excitement about Rohati and the Rohati team is clear and you can tell he's enjoying his advisory role with the company.
During the podcast, we reflect on Tom's early experiences with ISS and how that has shaped and relates to today's security industry. Tom's view is that it's still early in the life of the security industry and there's ample opportunity for new companies and technologies to emerge and make an impact.
Whether you are a security newbie or veteran, you'll find the interview with Tom informative and inspiring, so join Alan and me in welcoming Tom to episode 57 of the podcast.
As a wrap up, Alan and I talk about some of the acquisition rumors, including Citrix being in play with Microsoft, Cisco and IBM, and Juniper is looking at Aruba and Meru Networks. Alan also applies some smackdown on Mirage Networks for making such a big deal about running their NAC product as a virtual software appliance. Alan also surprises us with his less than enthusiastic experience with his iPhone 3G, and surprisingly is ready to bring back his Microsoft Windows Mobile 6 phone in place of the iPhone. I'm glad Alan's finally seen the light and sees Apple for what it is, a closed hardware and closed software company that's more about cool fads and cultish followings than easy to use, functional, customer centered products. Since recording the podcast, Apple's now taken to banning competitive products from App Store too! Looks like Alan isn't the only one with iPhone buyer's remorse.
Ever order a new model of a computer or server only to find that Linux doesn’t yet have a driver to support the chipsets? This can even happen when there isn’t a new model or a substantial engineering change. A simple rev of a network chip or graphics processor can send your Google browser search bar a’ humming, looking for any news of a driver update. Sometimes it’s no problem. Or you may have to use a beta driver or just wait until one emerges.
Intel Chief Linux and Open Source Technologies, Dirk Hohndel, disclosed during a presentation that a major OEM customer (Dell, IBM, HP? We’ll just have to guess) is requiring an open source driver be available within 12 months of a new chip. That may sound like a long time but 12 months would be the longest they’ll wait. And, chips don’t make into boxes right away. Suppliers have to exhaust existing inventory or exchange with others who can use their inventory in order to take a new chip. Manufactures also have engineering, QA, testing processes and manufacturing specs and verification processes to go through in order to replace or introduce a new chip.
The good news for us is that either the chip makers will need to release an open source version of their drivers, or otherwise seed creation of open source drivers. Hopefully this means we’ll have both; choice of drivers to use, and drivers available to more quickly test and use. Either way, it’s a bell weather moment of one customer saying to their supplier, we require be open source software be available to help our products get into customers’ hands. That’s good news for all of us.
Note: Slides are available here if you are interested.
In episode 3 of the Cobia Community Podcast, Martin McKeay and I discuss the announcements StillSecure made at Interop Las Vegas. We made several announcements including a Cobia appliance (Cobia software pre-installed on a 1U appliance), paid-for commercial support options, and three new partner program for VARs, ISVs and hardware/OEM partners. All of the programs were a huge hit at Interop and we announced parters including Cymphonix, ArcMentor and Portwell.
Join us for the podcast to learn more. You can reach Martin and me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’ve had a new computer, you’ve experienced "crapware", the annoying software hardware manufactures are paid to ship on your new computer. AV software, online services, image software, trialware, etc., etc.
I recently purchased an HP dv9000. I was very pleased with my previous dv5000 and the new computer is even better. (It’s great to run a virus scan with the dual core CPU and not have the entire system lock up). Of course one of the things you have to deal with on any new computer is the crapware, sometimes also called craplets, that come with your computer. We used to complain about the time it takes to update Windows on a new system. Now removing the crapware takes even longer.
One of the craplets on this system was a popup to get you to buy the extended service plan. This is where things went bad. Suddenly, after having the computer for two months, the extended service plan pop up started coming up endlessly and wouldn’t go away. It didn’t matter which option you selected, including the "I already purchased the extended service plan" – the dumb thing wouldn’t go away. In effect, now my computer is spamming me with endless pop ups!
A modest amount of digging showed an entry in the Windows Task Scheduler and with a few clicks, it was gone (and I deleted the .exe to be sure.) Needless to say, I wasn’t inclined to buy the extended service plan and this experience didn’t exactly endear me to the idea.
The response to Cobia since we announced in April has been overwhelming. Thousands of people have downloaded Cobia and begun using Cobia in the business, school, home and lab networks. At the same time we’ve had tremendous interest from software and hardware vendors about our plans for Cobia and the potential for alliances, resellering programs, hardware for Cobia and OEM interests.
Cobia is so much more than a product, it represents even more new products, new customers and revenues for businesses in the industry, and partnerships between many players in our industry. And of course amongst those downloading and using the software, Cobia brings huge value over fixed appliances and has the advantages that open source software brings.
I’m pleased to tell you that this week we are making several announcements at Interop in Las Vegas. First is our new StillSecure Cobia Partner Programs (see the press release here). We are announcing partner programs for VARs, ISVs and Platform (hardware manufactures and OEMs) and partners who have joined each respective program for our launch at Interop.
Next, is our Cobia appliance, with Cobia pre-installed and with all the advantages in tact of Cobia’s open, modular software platform. This ain’t "your father’s Oldsmobile" fixed appliance. The Cobia appliance is all about convenience. If you want total plug-n-play installation, upgrades to new modulars and feature enhancements, then this option is for you. We’ll be offering the Cobia appliance through our VAR partners and also on the Cobia site. More details on the appliance options will follow soon.
Third is our paid-for commercial Cobia support; email, phone and 24×7. Sometimes it is important to have email and/or phone support in addition to the free Cobia user forums and this gives businesses the piece of mind they can contact StillSecure directly and receive the exceptional support provided by our Customer Support Engineers.
Those are our announcements this week. I’ll be talking more about them on the Cobia blog and I’m sure Alan and Martin will be chiming in on their thoughts as well over the next few days.
If you are coming to Interop, please stop by our booth. We are in the middle section, just to the left. If you aren’t able to make the show I hope I get to see you soon and please feel free to drop email to me.
That is, vendors who embrace it and are public about it. The rest run scared and won’t admit when then do use it. And far too many use it and won’t admit it for fear that customers learn and see through the expensive prices paid for appliances driven by open source with a "nice gui".
Dana Blankenhorn and Howard Anderson recently shared their views on open source, that it is a great equalizer in the market (my summation.) There are many things in their posts I agree with, and some I definitely don’t (open source is not a religion, btw.) Open source changes the playing field. If users have a free, open source alternative, commercial products have to work harder to justify their prices and be competitive.
Open source gives users an immediate solution to their problems, whether that be an IPS, router, VPN, firewall, web server or any number of network services. Developers can take things further by extending, fixing, enhancing or just plain understanding what the source code does.
Of course my examples of open source changing the game come back to Cobia. If you just bought a firewall or a router, you likely wasted your money. Could have had a V8, eh? Yes, could have downloaded Cobia instead of paying more dollars to proprietary appliance vendors (who may have just sold you a good bit of open source packaged on a hardware appliance.)
If any topic is one to dethrone NAC from the top of every conference and media list of hot topics, it’s DLP – data leakage prevention. This week our guests on the podcast are here to talk about DLP; Faizel Lakhani, Reconnex VP of products and marketing, and Tom Bowers, security expert and contributor to security magazines such as Information Security. We talk about Tom’s efforts in implementing DLP at a prior company, and also how DLP differs from other similar technologies like content inspection. Faizel gives a brief peak into Reconnex products. I think you will enjoy our conversation with them.
In The Converging Minute I discuss the performance delimea so many UTM and multi-function appliances face when users turn on more than a couple of features on the box. I discussed this also in a recent post.
This Week In Security we have rousing discussion about the Windows BIT (Background Intelligent Transfer Service) vulnerability, the OpenSEA consortium which just formed, Snort 3.0 licensing and the controversy around efforts to redefine "derivative works", and lastly, corporate blogging policies.
Alan wraps up the podcast with some kind words about my post Life with Cancer and my wife’s battle to beat breast cancer. Thanks, Alan.
If you are new to the podcast, welcome. If you are a regular listener, thanks for listening again! Feel free to send us any comments or questions at email@example.com.
Note: There are no Soprano’s spoilers in the podcast 🙂