Monday tech roundupLast week we read about the mega block delivered by EU regulators on the ‘Safe Harbour’ agreement and swooned over the revelations at the Microsoft Windows 10 devices event. Also last week we learnt of the possible takeover of EMC by Dell and also heard how Firefox will be ditching plugins from their browser by 2016. Read more in our Monday Tech Roundup.

Can Dell be the new storage king?

The days of the mega-mergers aren’t necessarily over as Dell is reportedly in line to snap up EMC. The deal for the storage giant could total around (USD) $67 billion and it would give Dell a powerful server and storage one-two punch.

HP had much the same idea when it bought Compaq, which itself had consumed Digital Equipment Corp. Here HP gained server products in all the major OS categories, along with more laptops and PCs to sell but that deal didn’t work out so well, and to my mind it was because most of what HP bought was largely redundant – it bought what it already had.

I really don’t see much of an upside here. Two massive companies coming together only makes a bigger monster. Such an entity doesn’t necessarily inspire innovation. On the other hand, if you care about great support, having one company handle server, PC and storage issues isn’t so bad, meaning there are a few upsides for the end user. Another advantage to Dell is that EMC also owns VMware, meaning Dell would get more control over the leading server virtualization player.

New iPhone better at resisting water, but still not well enough

Smart phones, for some reason, are notorious for being destroyed by the least little bit of water. I had a Samsung that died just because of a spot of rain – I’m not joking – and iPhones seem to be just as vulnerable.

This doesn’t make a lot of sense. We carry our phones everywhere and water is part of our environment – whether it falls from the sky or sits in a lake, ocean or glass.

The iPhone 6 is a little better than its predecessor by virtue of one additional gasket that blocks water and a bit a silicon sealant. That is all well and good but most of the entry points are still wide open.

I wonder if the cell makers want their phones die after a little H2O. That way they get to sell us the replacements!

Firefox to drop plug-ins by next year

Browser plugs-ins are great for easily adding functionality, but terrible for causing instability and insecurity. I should know. I just disabled Flash and my constant crashing instantly stopped.

Mozilla knows all about these woes and is planning to block plugs-ins by the end of next year.

In a strange twist, the one plug-in that will continue to support is the one that causes the most trouble – Flash.

Mozilla said that because Adobe Flash is still fairly common on the web they will continue supporting it and it will be the only exception from their no plugin policy. The company said it will work with Adobe to bring in more improvements to Flash on Firefox and these will include stability, performance, features and security architecture.

Mozilla explained why they took the no plug-in decision on their blog and said:

“Mozilla has been steadily improving the Web platform to support features that were once only available via NPAPI plugins. Streaming video, advanced graphics, and gaming features have all become native Web APIs in the past few years. Mozilla continues to prioritize features that will make it possible for sites to switch away from plugins. Features such as clipboard access which used to require plugins are now available via native Web APIs. As browsers and the Web have grown, NPAPI has shown its age. Plugins are a source of performance problems, crashes, and security incidents for Web users.”

They continued by explaining how they intend to remove support for most NPAPI plugins in Firefox by the end of 2016 and said that this process was started several years ago with manual plugin activation, which let the users only activae plugins when they needed them.

“This decision mirrors actions by other modern browsers, such as Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, which have already removed support for legacy plugins. Moreover, since new Firefox platforms do not have to support an existing ecosystem of users and plugins, new platforms such as 64-bit Firefox for Windows will launch without plugin support,” Mozilla concluded.


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