Report: Bringing Hadoop to the mainframe

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Bringing Hadoop to the mainframe by Paul Miller:
According to market leader IBM, there is still plenty of work for mainframe computers to do. Indeed, the company frequently cites figures indicating that 60 percent or more of global enterprise transactions are currently undertaken on mainframes built by IBM and remaining competitors such as Bull, Fujitsu, Hitachi, and Unisys. The figures suggest that a wealth of data is stored and processed on these machines, but as businesses around the world increasingly turn to clusters of commodity servers running Hadoop to analyze the bulk of their data, the cost and time typically involved in extracting data from mainframe-based applications becomes a cause for concern.
By finding more-effective ways to bring mainframe-hosted data and Hadoop-powered analysis closer together, the mainframe-using enterprise stands to benefit from both its existing investment in mainframe infrastructure and the speed and cost-effectiveness of modern data analytics, without necessarily resorting to relatively slow and resource-expensive extract transform load (ETL) processes to endlessly move data back and forth between discrete systems.
To read the full report, click here.

Connected apartments may be smarter than connected homes

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If you’re looking for clean data then connected apartments offer a much better set of information than connected homes argues Sce Pike, the founder and CEO of Iotas, on this week’s podcast. Pike, whose startup kits out apartments with sensors and analyzes the data they provide, explains why her startup chose to work with MDUs as opposed to a home where every floor plan is different and the effort to connect a few outlets and lightbulbs is arbitrary.

Sce Pike, CEO of Iotas

Sce Pike, CEO of Iotas

Instead Iotas has signed a partnership with the nation’s largest property management company and is part of a pilot project in Portland, Oregon that has outfitted 100 units with $900 worth of sensors to learn how residents can save money, automate their homes and live more productive lives. Before we discuss Iotas, my colleague Kevin Tofel and I spend time talking about the new, faster Raspberry Pi, a smart home security product called the Canary and a contest we’re hosting to give away a Chamberlain MyQ connected garage door opener to any listener who submits a question between now and the end of the month.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: Sce Pike, CEO of Iotas

  • Much excitement over the new Pi and Microsoft’s plans for it
  • Nest drama and thoughts on the new Canary home security device
  • We are holding a contest so email us your questions about the internet of things and the smart home to [email protected]
  • Data privacy when you’re collecting data on 100 apartment residents
  • Why apartments make ideal labs for smart home data collection

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Hanging with my husband: His thoughts on our smart home

Exploring Amazon’s Echo and the retailer’s home automation channel plans

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Mother may I? Building hardware that can change with the flip of an app.

We’re already driving smart cars, so when will they be autonomous?

Everyone should be a maker. So how do we get there?

Learning lightbulbs, Logitech’s new hub and the ideal smart home owner

Raspberry Pi gets 6x the power, 2x the memory and still costs $35

Makers, academics and generally anyone who likes to play with computers: get ready for some awesomesauce. Raspberry Pis, the tiny Linux computers that currently sell for $35 are getting a makeover that will give a tremendous boost to their compute power and double their memory while still keeping their price the same.

The Pi 2 boards will be available today, and Pi creator and CEO of Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd. Eben Upton says the organization has already built 100,000 units, so buyers shouldn’t have to wait like they did at the original Pi launch. The Pi 2 will have the following specs:

  • SoC : Broadcom BCM2836 (CPU, GPU, DSP, SDRAM, and single USB port)
  • CPU: 900 MHz quad-core ARM Cortex A7 (ARMv7 instruction set)
  • GPU: Broadcom VideoCore IV @ 250 MHz, OpenGL ES 2.0 (24 GFLOPS), 1080p30 MPEG-2 and VC-1 decoder (with license), 1080p30 h.264/MPEG-4 AVC high-profile decoder and encoder
  • Memory: 1 GB (shared with GPU)
  • Total backwards compatibility (in terms of multimedia, form-factor and interfacing) with Pi 1

This is a significant expansion of the Pi’s capabilities, although I’ve stopped being surprised at how far hobbyists have taken the original platform. In a blog post for Broadcom, Upton wrote:

[blockquote person=”” attribution=””]Raspberry Pi 2 has enough raw computing power to do anything that a PC can — surf the Web, word processing, spreadsheet algorithms and more; we expect to see a lot of you using it as a general-purpose productivity machine. We’re really pleased with it — and we think that our community of fans, developers, educators and industrial customers will agree.
[/blockquote]

When I emailed Upton to ask how he managed to keep the price so low while adding so much to the performance he said that shaving off a few cents on other components paid off. “We were able to hold the? price by paying a lot of attention to the little things (the price of an HDMI connector, the exact finish on the PCB),” he wrote. “We ended up finding a few tens of things each of which saved $0.10, and then spending all those savings in one go on more RAM and CPU performance.”

The Pi 2 uses a Broadcom chip, much like the original Pi did. The new Broadcom SoC is called the BCM2836 and it has the same VideoCore multimedia with a lot more CPU power.

And for those in the U.S. hoping to see more Pi action in their kids’ schools, Upton also told me that the Foundation has hired its first U.S. employee and is hoping to do a lot more with the U.S. education system in 2015. That’s great news, because Upton actually created the Pi with kids in mind. His goal was to get them excited about hardware, coding and computers the way he was inspired back in the day by the Commadore 64 platform. You can check out his commentary on this and more form his appearance at one of our conferences in 2013. It’s an excellent talk.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emQuoPF3Rsc&w=560&h=315]

Chromecast doesn’t have a remote, so this guy built one himself

Google’s Chromecast streaming stick comes without a remote control, opting instead to rely on a user’s mobile device to launch and control media streams. But Jeff Bower felt like something was missing.

“Chromecast works great on a single device, but for a multi-device household it’s a bit more…interesting,” Bower argued on Google+ Tuesday, adding that things get complicated when his wife wants to pause a stream that he started with his phone.

That’s why Bower recently began to build his own Chromecast remote control. His project, aptly called Razcast, is based on a Rhaspberry Pi, a python script to control a Chromecast on the same network, and a single button to pause and resume media playback. Here’s what the finished device looks like:

800px-Razcast_Remote_Front

And it works great, at least for Google Play Movies and Plex, according to Bower. Netflix, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to work at all, which is why Bower finally gave in and ordered a Nexus Player. But still, the fact that he got it to work at all is pretty neat.