A New York-based startup, Neverware, hopes to breathe new life into old computers with its Juicebox a100 virtual desktop appliance, which can deliver Windows 7 virtual desktops to one hundred terminals as long as they all meet its lenient hardware requirements: a 500MHz processor, 128MB RAM and an Ethernet port. In case you are wondering, it requires absolutely no hard drive storage on the client side. Having put the technology through its paces in a couple of schools, Neverware's 25-year-old founder Jonathan Hefter is now working on a beta.
It is more than likely that you have heard of something similar in the past, but to Hefter's credit he managed to come up with this impressive technology from the garage of his parents' house sans any formal computer education. Described as “quite a mensch” by his mother in an interview with the New York Observer, Hefter has always been driven by a strong desire to bring about change. He wants schools, city governments and non-profits to free themselves from the need to upgrade every four or five years at a huge environmental and economic cost. However, there is no word on the price of the Juicebox a100.
The nest time you need to print from a mobile device, you don't need to curse the heavens for making it so hard. Google is rolling out their Cloud Print service to all mobile devices, according to a posting on the Gmail Blog. Cloud Print allows users to send a Google Doc or Gmail message to any prints the service has been set up on.
Connecting a printer to the Cloud Print service is a little tricky, and is only available on Windows right now. But Mac and Linux support is coming soon. When you're all set up locally, just go to Gmail or Docs on the device of your choice and in the menu drop down, Print should be an option. Some attachments like PDFs and DOCs can also be printed directly.
This feature is not yet available on all devices, but it should have reached everyone in the next few days. Are there times when you've needed to print from a mobile device only to be stopped in your tracks?
Dropbox has announced today that their desktop sync software has reached version 1.0. In addition to all the bug fixes, this new version brings new features to the table. First and foremost, users will notice that file syncs happen much faster now. The entire client-side sync engine has been redesigned to be faster and lighter weight. Memory usage should only be 50% of what it was with older versions. Dropbox has also redesigned the UI of their program on all platforms to be more intuitive.
When you checkout the sync settings, you may also notice a new option called Selective Sync. With this feature, you can control which Dropbox folders are synced to that specific device. There is also better resource fork syncing for Mac users.
Dropbox accounts are free, and come with 2GB of free storage. If you are a current user, and haven't updated your Dropbox software in a while, head over to the site and get the new version. We’re a little sorry to say ours was very out of date.
Google recently unveiled its pilot netbook for the Chrome OS, the Cr-48 (check out our hands-on preview here), which basically lives entirely on the cloud. In the future, Google hopes you will, too.
"I think it depends on the user and the user's behavior," Google product management director, Caesar Sengupta, said in an interview with SearchEngineLand. He was asked if he sees cloud-based machines taking the place of Windows- and Mac-based computers.
"In the long term and the fullness of time, absolutely. I think we will have failed if this doesn't become your default way of computing," Sengupta said.
That's a bold goal, one that's probably a bit unrealistic given how popular current non cloud-based OSes are. Nevertheless, Sengupta points out that "hundreds of millions of users" already live on the web, and "for many of these users, this will replace their machines immediately, especially as Web apps get better."
So what do you think, is cloud computing the end game for computing nirvana?
Cloud gaming service OnLive is giving us a little glimpse into their future offerings with an iPad version of the client. This app will only allow spectating in live games, as there are no games with touchscreen controls yet. What's perhaps more interesting, is that OnLive will let you run Windows 7 apps on the iPad through their service. That's potentially huge if executed well. The iPad is currently the only device supported, but an Android beta should be available in the near future according to VentureBeat.
So here's the big question: how will Apple take this? Apple would probably prefer that any enterprise Windows apps be adapted to iOS and submitted the old fashioned way, but if OnLive is successful, that could be unnecessary. If developers get in bed with OnLive, and users can just pay a flat fee to access a ton of games in the cloud, Apple might see a hit in the App Store.
OnLive recently released the Micros Console unit for customers to plug into their TV, and also announced a $10 flat fee gaming plan. OnLive may have seemed like a pie in the sky fantasy last year, but it's becoming more interesting as time goes on.
Google’s ebook store has finally stepped out of the realm of rumors and entered the real world. Matter-of-factly called the Google eBookstore, it is well stocked and supports a wide variety of devices, including PCs, smartphones, tablets and e-readers. According to Google, the store boasts the largest ebooks collection in the world with more than three million titles.
Since its Google’s ebook store, books are stored in the cloud and can be bought and read in it as well. Offline reading on Android and iOS devices is supported through native apps. As for e-readers, support is restricted to only those devices that are compatible with the Adobe eBook platform. While Amazon’s Kindle is not supported, Barnes & Noble Nook and Sony Reader are probably the most notable names on the list of supported devices.
Google acquired a small company named DocVerse back in March. Its flagship product was a MS Office plugin that let users sync their offline documents to the cloud. The service has since been moved to Google’s infrastructure and renamed Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office. Yesterday, Google took a big step towards the return of the service by opening it to early testers. The prospect of syncing Office documents to the Google cloud created such a buzz that the internet giant was inundated with thousands of applications for the early testing program within a few hours, eventually forcing it to put a lid on the program.
“Users of Office 2003, 2007 and 2010 can sync their Office documents to the Google cloud, without ever leaving Office. Once synced, documents are backed-up, given a unique URL, and can be accessed from anywhere (including mobile devices) at any time through Google Docs. And because the files are stored in the cloud, people always have access to the current version,” wrote Shan Sinha, a group product manager at Google, in a blog post.
“Once in the Google cloud, documents can be easily shared and even simultaneously edited by multiple people, from right within Office. A full revision history is kept as the files are edited, and users can revert to earlier versions in one click. These are all features that Google Docs users already enjoy today, and now we’re bringing them to Microsoft Office.”
With more than a little help from Nvidia, Amazon hopes to bring supercomputing to the masses through a new Elastic Computer Cloud (EC2) offering called "Cluster GPU Instances."
By "masses," we're referring to enterprises and start-ups, not everyday Joes looking to run Crysis or improve their Folding@Home score (go Team 11108). Amazon's new Cluster GPU Instance is a server with two quad-core Intel Xeon X5570 processors, two Nvidia Tesla M2050 GPUs (Fermi), 22GB of memory, 1.7TB of storage, and a 10Gb/s Ethernet connection, Amazon's Jeff Barr said.
"With Amazon Cluster GPU Instances, our customers now have the power of high performance computing, the efficiency and speed of GPUs, and the highly scalable and affordable cloud environment our customers have come to expect fro Amazon Web Services (AWS)," said Peter De Santis, GM of Amazon EC2. "We're excited to help our customers access the raw power of GPU technology and look forward to the innovation this will enable."
Using all that GPU power can be tricky, but Nvidia says hundreds of applications have already been ported to the Nvidia CUDA architecture, making it easy for programmers to dive right in.
The mega-billion entity known as Facebook has scooped up most of Drop.io's technology and assets, the file sharing firm announced in a blog post. Sam Lessin, the head of Drop.io and also a former Harvard student (just like Mark Zuckerberg), is making the move to Facebook as well.
"In the coming weeks, we'll be winding down the Drop.io service," the company said. "As of this week, people will no longer be able to create new free drops, but you'll be able to download content from existing drops until December 15. Paid user accounts will still be available through December 15 and paid users will be able to continue using the service normally. After December 15, paid accounts will be discontinued as well."
Drop.io is Facebook's eight acquisition this year and follows the social networking service's trend of snatching up companies primarily for the people involved.
"We have never once bought a company for the company. We buy companies for excellent people," Mark Zuckerberg said at this year's Startup School event at Stanford.
Microsoft is taking another step into the cloud with the new hosted version of Office, Office 365 is going to be aimed at businesses and may be had for as little as $6 per user per month for small businesses. However, that low rate only includes the hosted version of Word. Microsoft beta tested this service with several thousand users, and will be making it available to all early next year.
The cost might be an issue with Google offering their Google Docs service to businesses for $50 per user per year. Large businesses are looking at as much as $27 per month for access to the whole office suite. Microsoft will have to compete on features to keep users. Though, the profits on hosting software for subscription are likely to be higher anyway.