Monday tech roundupIt seems like in the tech world every week is an interesting week. Today, our main story revolves around the changing storage landscape. We then turn our attention to Facebook’s free internet service and talk about Cisco’s boss leaving after almost a quarter of a century at the company.

Also last week, GFI released the results of the yearly IT stress survey. This year’s results have taken a concerning turn with elevated stress levels leading IT admins to losing out on family time and social functions, and more worrying, looking at changing careers. Levels are bad in America, in the UK, the situation is even more dire.  If you would like more information, together with full results and infographics you can click here.

Storage as we know it is changing forever

Storage used to be a very dull game. Disks were small, expensive, fragile and we played many tricks to make it all work. Then, despite our best efforts, the organizations we worked for strained to keep up with the ever-growing demands. The good news is that all the while storage just got denser and cheaper and more reliable. The crazy thing is, and for many this barely matters, many consumers and even businesses, are storing more and more in the cloud.

For Windows, Office and Microsoft Web services users, the hot ticket is often OneDrive which used to be called SkyDrive, a name that was changed for no apparent reason. The Microsoft service is typical of cloud storage services where you get your first taste for free, then once hooked the cash kicks in. I’m experiencing this with DropBox which begs me to store everything there so I’ll eventually have to pay.

OneDrive has both consumer and business customers in mind, yet the technology today is fundamentally different and integrates poorly.

The OneDrive future will be far different, Microsoft said in a recently disclosed roadmap. The goal for this year is to have one sync engine drive both levels of service and thereby boost integration. Microsoft isn’t just hoping to snare Windows and Office users, but is boosting the ability to save PDFs from iOS and Android, a feature expected this quarter.

Many of the good stuff is coming out in relation to Windows 10, such as the client that supports both consumer and business use.

Facebook’s free internet – You get what you (don’t) pay for

Facebook has what seems like a sweet deal for the underdeveloped world – free Internet courtesy of Internet.org. Is this a case of today’s billionaires giving back? Apparently not as this deal comes with more rubs than a shoe shine stand.

So what does Facebook expect in return for all this kindness? Plenty. They want loads of personal information including phone numbers, the freedom to share this with other vendors, and ownership of developers’ intellectual property. The mobile-focused subsidized service only offers a handful of sites (of which Facebook is clearly one), and has limits on things such as use of encryption, though more encryption support is in the offing. The scary part of all this is lack of privacy, and what Facebook is allowed to do under its terms of service. Some troubling tidbits include the collection of;

  • phone numbers so that Facebook can send any special offers they might deem fit,
  • web activity including IP addresses, URLs acceded and the times when these were accessed.
  • SMS messages

Facebook can then share all this information with mobile operators. Internet.org developers have it even worse, where the terms of service “grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License).” Yikes!

Cisco long time boss hitting the road

Wow, seems like all the most interesting veteran company heads are heading for greener pastures. Bill Gates semi-retired long ago, Larry Ellison retired to enjoy his many expensive hobbies, Steve Ballmer retired to buy a professional basketball team, and last week came news that Cisco CEO John Chambers is giving up the helm this summer.

Chambers engineered a massive transformation of Cisco by buying up a large swath of the networking industry, and then integrating it all rather well (at least in my opinion) in comparison with how poorly others have handled acquisitions. Chamber will remain on board as executive chairman and will be replaced by,current head of worldwide operations, Chuck Robbins.

Since Chambers joined the networking giant in 1991, sales have gone through the roof, from $1.2 billion then to $48 billion today.

Steve Ballmer really knows how to retire (and party)

And continuing with the retirement talk, if John Chambers really wants to have some fun, he could do worse than look at Steve Ballmer’s example. As owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, Ballmer is as wild as ever. Check him out in this awesome Vine.

Patch Tuesday going, going, gone?

Microsoft for many years had more holes in its software than the surface of the moon. Slowly it tightened up its code, and in a pioneering move 12 years ago launched Patch Tuesday – that day, once a month, when customers could count on getting their fixes. It makes planning for installing patches that much easier. But Patch Tuesday may be losing its relevance and while perhaps not going away completely, will be overshadowed by patches that are released when they are ready and not on that arbitrary second Tuesday of every month. The writing is on the wall, at least as far as more frequent patches go. But recent Microsoft comments have led to confusion as to the exact future of Patch Tuesday, as ComputerWorld’s Gregg Keizer reported.

Keizer covered Microsoft’s recent announcement of Windows Update for Business (WUB) where Terry Myerson, operating systems chief for Microsoft said the company wouldn’t be sending out all of its patches one day a month.  Upon further inspection that doesn’t necessarily mean the company still would offer an option to get all the fixes one day a month, it just might not be the only way.

Myerson elaborated, saying that once Windows 10 arrives, users can choose how they get both security and feature update. Some folks like every new thing as soon as it is available, others can update more slowly. In fact this is the very way the Windows 10 beta program operates. Keizer, still keen to get to the bottom of all this, asked for answers and got this in an email back. “Windows Update for Business can take responsibility for the timely distribution of security updates for customers for free. Customers that choose to distribute updates themselves will continue to receive the updates on the 2nd Tuesday of the month.” I guess we still aren’t sure what the heck is really going on.

In the meantime, you can read our very own Deb Shinder’s take on this news story.