Facebook App Developer: Apple Doesn’t Trust Us

facebook_iphoneHave you been checking the App Store on your iPhone for that lovely little red badge that signals available updates? I have. I want the Facebook app update that might – finally – prompt me to want to use Facebook regularly. Y’know, like the kids these days do.

Not quite two weeks ago Joe Hewitt, the developer of Facebook’s iPhone application, submitted the latest version for review. The timeline here matters; in Apple’s published answers to the FCC’s questions, they assert that the average turnaround for an application – from initial submission to publication – is 14 days (assuming the app is not rejected due to technical problems or a violation of the Terms and Conditions of the App Store). Read More about Facebook App Developer: Apple Doesn’t Trust Us

Oracle’s Ellison Rethinks Clouds as Economy Tumbles

larry_ellison_bigOracle (s orcl) CEO Larry Ellison is rethinking his earlier disdain for software as a service and all things cloud, according to a report today in The Wall Street Journal. Maybe a dismal economy and a drop in Oracle sales are forcing him to change his position. The Journal quotes comments made on Oracle’s earnings call yesterday, when Ellison was asked by analysts if the software company would embrace cloud computing. First off, software as a service isn’t cloud computing, but perhaps I’m being too picky here. Anyhow, Ellison said Oracle would be getting “a little bit” into cloud computing, according to the Journal.

But is this really a far cry from Ellison’s early mocking of cloud computing as being driven by whims of fashion? Read More about Oracle’s Ellison Rethinks Clouds as Economy Tumbles

Oracle Buys Virtual Iron to Beef Up its Virtualization Software

logoOracle (s ORCL) today said it would buy Virtual Iron, a startup that has built a suite of virtualization software based on the Xen hypervisor. Terms of the deal were undisclosed, but Virtual Iron has raised more than $65 million in venture capital. The company’s products compete against VMWare (s vmw), Microsoft’s (s MSFT) Hyper-V and Citrix (s CTXS) XenServer. But it’s odd that Oracle, with its own Xen-based hypervisor, and as the soon-to-be owner of Sun’s xVM virtualization products (which also include a Xen-based hypervisor), felt the need for a third virtualization product. Is it cobbling all of these different hypervisors and software together for a full-on assualt on the virtualization market?

Terracotta Doesn’t Want to Kill Your Database, Just Maim It

I ran across Terracotta Inc. a few months ago while looking at database companies, and was impressed by the potential of its eponymously named open source software, which can make web applications scale faster and more cheaply than they do when information is stored in a database. Instead the software from Terracotta, which was formed in 2003 and has raised $29 million from Accel Partners, DAG Ventures, Benchmark Capital and Goldman Sachs, takes information and writes it to a shared cluster of memory.

That makes the data available for quick access without the need for the arduous and time-consuming processes of structuring it for a database, storing it there and retrieving it later. Read More about Terracotta Doesn’t Want to Kill Your Database, Just Maim It

Clouds Looming for Software Server Vendors

As cloud computing moves beyond startups and attracts enterprise users, major software vendors are being forced to reckon with a new challenge to their current pricing models. Much like the emergence of software as a service has caused many large software vendors to evaluate existing licensing models that charge a set price for each software package copy running on a machine, the emergence of cloud computing is pressuring top server software vendors Microsoft, Oracle and IBM to adopt a subscription-style type of pricing.

The issue is similar to the battle that raged years ago when corporate customers started buying servers with multiple processors. Prior to that, vendors sold software on a per-core basis, so a customer who paid $20,000 for a copy of Microsoft’s software for a single-core machine was hit with a $40,000 licensing cost when he upgraded to dual-core servers.  With virtualized servers, where several virtual machines can exist on one server, such math becomes more complex, and can lead to even higher prices. Read More about Clouds Looming for Software Server Vendors

Carbon Copy Cloner Makes Creating Bootable Backups Easy

One of the things I loved about the old Mac OS Classic was that to create a bootable disk, all you had to do was make a folder named System Folder, drag in System and Finder files and an Appearance Folder, then drag your bare-bones System Folder to a disk — hard drive, Zip, floppy, CD-R, etc — and voila! you were in business. Usually one would add a few more items like Control Panels and Extensions folders, Preferences and Fonts folders, but it was a simple, quick and not-too-dirty way to make bootable disks.
Alas, you can’t do that with OS X and its thousands of tiny, usually invisible files, but the next best thing is disk cloning, which is to make a copy of an existing bootable volume on another disk or drive. This is excellent for backups, but has the added advantage of allowing you to create bootable disks without going through the hassle of running an OS X installer program.
There are several software utilities available that can clone drives, but it’s hard to go wrong with Mike Bombich’s Carbon Copy Cloner, which is offered as uncrippled shareware, with donations suggested if you like the software and decide to continue using it once you’ve checked it out.
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Something Nice to Start The Day: BooRah

BooRah, a semantic vertical search engine founded by former MetroFi employees, has indexed 100,000 blogs and over 100 review sites to create a nice restaurant review and search service for a variety of U.S. cities. Today, the Mountain View, Calif., company launched a partnership with online reservation agent BookingAngel that will allow folks to make online reservations with any California restaurant through the BooRah site.

There’s a lot to like about this startup — namely that it already has revenue from signing ad partnerships with 20 local newspapers — but also because Co-founder and CTO Nagaraju Bandaru wants to give back to the community. Read More about Something Nice to Start The Day: BooRah

Rollbase Wants to Make Programmers Obsolete

Platform-as-a-service provider Rollbase launched today, marketing its offerings as web-based software geared toward small- and medium-sized businesses. While the PaaS terminology conjures up images of Rollbase competing with something like Force.com or Bungee Labs, Rollbase is gunning for the same users as Coghead.

Rollbase allows business users to upload their data to its servers (which are hosted by OpSource) and then “build” applications to make that data useful. The process of building basically consists of dragging and dropping forms and tools on the page, but tech-savvy users can also add their own code for more customization.

What’s amazing to me is the rapid evolution from hosted applications such as Salesforce.com and hosted computing services such as Amazon.com’s Cloud Computing and S3 to hosted development environments such as Bungee Labs. And now here comes services such as those of Rollbase and Coghead, which obviate the need for programmers altogether. At least in smaller offices and internal business units. I don’t see Oracle or SAP giving up the ghost anytime soon.

Much like easy blogging tools have allowed anyone to be a publisher, I’ll be curious to see how tools like Rollbase and Coghead change the business of building code. It may no longer be enough to deliver software as a service, it may have to be infinitely customizable as well.

Microsoft Searches for Fast Growth With $1.2B Deal

Microsoft is bolstering its enterprise search with an offer to buy Norway’s Fast Search & Transfer ASA in a cash deal valued at 6.6 billion Norwegian kroner ($1.2 billion). The deal is aimed at increasing functionality in Microsoft’s business software, as well as acting as a beachhead for Redmond in the enterprise search market, where IBM, Oracle and even consumer search giant Google already have products.
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