Disaster recovery: How is your business set up to survive an outage?

Asynchronous vs synchronous. Dark disaster recovery vs. active architecture. Active/active vs. active/passive. No setup is objectively better or worse than another. The best one for you primarily depends on your level of tolerance for what happens when the server goes down.

Security experts say how individual companies choose to save their data in anticipation of an outage depends on how long they can survive before the “lights” are turned back on. What level of availability does your company need? Is the face of your company an ecommerce site where even a few minutes offline can cost an astronomical sum? Will the cost of an active-active system outweigh the potential loss of business from an outage?

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Microsoft Office 2010
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Pivotal, Google team up for Kubernetes cloud management

Pivotal and Google have launched Project Kubo to apply Pivotal’s Bosh tool for deploying and managing cloud software to Google’s Kubernetes container orchestration platform.

Currently in an alpha release stage, Kubo instantiates, deploys, and manages Kubernetes clusters on any cloud. Pivotal has been working on the project with members of the Google Cloud platform team.

Kubo can be used with existing production applications written in specific languages, and it can access platform primitives. Bosh, featured as part of Cloud Foundry, provides an open source tool chain for managing large-scale distributed services. It offers a combination of a virtual machine build tool, configuration and health management, and logging. Bosh has been used to build consistent, self-healing environments with zero downtime, Seroter said.

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Microsoft Office 2010
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Apple's new iPhone 8 'could well be a bigger draw for consumers' than the Samsung Galaxy S8 (AAPL)

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Renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted that the upcoming iPhone 8 will triumph over the new Samsung Galaxy S8 and have a negative effect on the South Korean tech giant’s overall smartphone sales, 9to5Mac reported on Sunday.

Kuo reportedly said in an investor note that the Samsung Galaxy S8 lacks “sufficient attractive selling points,” while highlighting some of the key selling points of the new iPhone, which is expected to be called the iPhone 8.

Kuo also expects demand for the Galaxy S8 device (expected to be announced on March 29) to be less strong than for its predecessor, the Galaxy S7.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is expected to be announced on March 29 while the iPhone 8 announcement is forecast for September.

Meanwhile, the upcoming iPhone, rumoured to boast an OLED display, could be even more appealing to consumers than the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were in 2016, Kuo said.

In the investor note, Kuo reportedly wrote:

“We project Galaxy S8 shipments of 40-45mn units in 2017F, implying slower momentum compared to Galaxy S7 in 2016 (around 52mn units shipped), attributable to: (1) a one-month difference in comparable sales period;

(2) Galaxy S7 was Samsung’s main promotional flagship model in 4Q16 after termination of Galaxy Note 7 due to the battery explosion issue, hence the higher sales base;

(3) as Galaxy S8 lacks sufficiently attractive selling points (except full-screen design), the OLED iPhone could well be a bigger draw for consumers.”

The iPhone 8 is likely to have an OLED display and wireless charging, Kuo said in the note, as well as a new glass design and a faster processor.

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NOW WATCH: Here’s why Steve Jobs never let his kids use an iPad

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10 things in tech you need to know today (GOOG, AAPL)

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Good morning! Here is the tech news you need to know this Monday.

1. The National Grid confirmed it is in talks with DeepMind about using its technology to improve efficiencies across its network. DeepMind is a London-based AI company acquired by Google in 2014 for £400 million.

2. Uber is killing off its UberTAXI service in London. Uber launched UberTAXI, which let Uber customers hail black cabs through the app, back in 2014.

3. Alphabet’s crazy balloon experiment has a new CEO after the previous one only lasted 6 months. Alastair Westgarth, formerly the CEO of wireless antennae company Quintel, will be the new head of Project Loon.

4. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick played pingpong with Mark Zuckerberg at a party called “Babes and Balls”. This was during a week in which Uber had to drop its secret, regulation-dodging Greyball tool, launch a search for a new chief operating officer, and investigate its own workplace practices.

5. A giant billboard near Tesla’s Fremont factory is asking CEO Elon Musk to sever his ties with the Trump administration. The billboard reads “Elon: Please Dump Trump” and sits just three miles outside the Fremont factory.

6. Early Uber investor Chris Sacca was upset after sexism claims against company. However, he added “nothing about that story shocked me at all.”

7. Apple’s iPhone-destroying “Liam” robots are operating in California and Europe. One Liam system can disassemble 1.2 million iPhone 6 units in a year.

8. Google’s CEO and Apple’s CEO were spotted together at a restaurant last week. Sundar Pichai and Tim Cook were spotted at Tamarine Restaurant in Palo Alto, California.

9. The Catholic Church is at US tech conference SXSW for the first time. It wants to bring more reflection to tech’s next big innovations.

10. Vodafone said it will create 2,100 new customer service jobs across Britain in the next two years. The mobile operator said the move is part of an investment drive to improve operations in its home market.

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Microsoft HoloLens Agency Readiness Partner Program expands to Europe

Creative agency partners are developing mixed reality applications for clients such as Paccar, Lowe’s, Red Bull Air Race, CDM Smith, UK Police Forces and Alstom.

Creative agency partners are developing mixed reality applications for clients such as Paccar, Lowe’s, Red Bull Air Race, CDM Smith, UK Police Forces and Alstom.

We know that HoloLens growth is driven in large part by the community of developers and commercial partners around the world who are using mixed reality to change their business.

Over the last several months, we began shipping HoloLens to more developers and commercial customers around the globe, including those in Australia, Ireland, France, Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Japan. Customers in these regions need partners they can trust to create the future of mixed reality experiences.

Today, I am excited to share that we are welcoming six new Europe-focused partners to the HoloLens Agency Readiness Partner program, expanding from the original 10 agency partners serving the U.S. and Canada that we announced at //build 2016.

As more companies understand the benefits and deploy HoloLens and mixed reality, they are looking for a broad set of choices to help build and deploy mixed reality applications.  The good news is there are several ways they can get started. They can build applications themselves (using tools like our SDK), they can work with Microsoft directly (by being part of our Enterprise Acceleration Program), they can use off-the-shelf solutions like SketchUp Viewer and Skype for HoloLens, or they can work with HoloLens Agency Readiness Partners.

The HoloLens Agency Readiness Partners have all gone through extensive, hands-on training with our team. As part of their commitment, they have delivered real customer solutions for companies around the globe, like Paccar, Lowe’s, Red Bull Air Race, CDM Smith, UK Police Forces, and Alstom.

Working with one of our hand-selected HoloLens Agency Readiness Partners is one of the quickest ways to get started with creating mixed reality applications that can transform working with 3D data, bringing new products and information to life, and creating new opportunities for business growth.

The HoloLens eco-system is thriving and enabling more customers than ever to create HoloLens solutions. I am excited to share the future of mixed reality innovation.


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The final season of 'Game of Thrones' will only be six episodes

Game of Thrones

AUSTIN — The final season of “Game of Thrones” will only be six episodes, the show’s creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff revealed onstage at SXSW. 

That said, there won’t be a shortage of material for the eighth and final season of the hit show. The outline alone for the season is 140 pages, the directors said. 

They’ve split it up so that the other show writers, Dave Hill and Bryan Cogman, will take episodes one and two respectively of the season. Weiss and Benioff are dividing the remainder of the season’s writing between them.

The final season will be one episode shorter than season 7, which will debut on July 16. In the trailer for the penultimate season, Jon Snow’s character issues a dire warning of what’s to come as the show inches toward its end. 

“There’s only one war that matters: The Great War,” Jon says in the season 7 teaser. “And it is here.”

SEE ALSO: The ‘Game of Thrones’ directors changed their mind about killing a character only once

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NOW WATCH: Watch the new teaser trailer for ‘Game of Thrones’ season 7

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The 'Game of Thrones' directors changed their mind about killing a character only once

Game of Thrones character

AUSTIN — “Game of Thrones” creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff typically don’t hesitate to kill off a character, no matter how beloved they are.

But they did change their mind about killing one character in season three, the showrunners Weiss and Benioff revealed onstage at SXSW. 

In season three, Weiss and Benioff had written a scene where Noah Taylor’s character, Locke, would have been killed. 

Locke was known as being Ramsay Bolton’s best hunter. He had tracked down Jamie Lannister, chopping off his sword hand. 

As Jamie left to go back to King’s Landing, he discovered that Locke had put Brienne in a bear pit with only a wooden sword to defend herself. 

“He had a death scene in season three,” Weiss said. “Nikolaj (Jamie Lannister) was going to throw Noah Taylor’s character into the bear pit.”

But because Noah Taylor was “too good” in the role, Weiss and Benioff changed their minds. In the scene instead, Jamie saves Brienne from the bear and Locke lives, unscathed.

“We decided after working with Noah, he should stay on,” Weiss said. 

Locke’s character continued into Season 4 but eventually met his death after he was killed by Bran who had warged into Hodor. His prolonged appearance on the show is remarkable given it was the only time that the showrunners delayed a character’s inevitable fate.

SEE ALSO: Jon Snow warns of the ‘Great War’ coming in the first ‘Game of Thrones’ season 7 teaser

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Former Vice President Joe Biden at SXSW 2017: 'Your government' is how curing cancer 'gets done'

biden sxsw cancer

AUSTIN, TX — Former Vice President Joe Biden may have left office in January, but that hasn’t stopped him from stumping.

Biden spoke on Sunday at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas to talk about The Cancer Initiative, a program that continues the work he began under the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force.

The Cancer Moonshot Taskforce was established last January to foster research and facilitate access to treatment and detection to “eliminate cancer as we know it.” The program will recieve nearly $2 billion in federal funding over the next several years.

Biden and his wife, who both received a standing ovation at the conference, are now working on the Biden Foundation, which advocates for many of the issues crucial during his political career from cancer research and military families to community college access and ending violence against women.

Biden is currently raising money to continue the Moonshot Taskforce’s work and, while private philanthropy is important, he said on Sunday that federal budgets for research are even more important.

“Billions and billions of dollars [for research] comes from tax payers. Your government, that many of you don’t like, is the vehicle of how this [curing cancer] gets done,” Biden told the crowd.

As such, Biden vowed to work with the Trump Administration to continue the fight against cancer. 

“I’m confident we can get through it. I’m confident we can get it done. And I’m confident that the new admin, once it gets organized, and I”m not being facetious, it will be as enthusiastic of ending cancer as know it. I promise to do everything in my power to work with new organization to end cancer,” Biden said.

During the SXSW speech, Biden relayed how he became the leader of the Moonshot Task Cancer (paraphrased):

Biden’s son, Beau, had recently died of cancer. As he wrestled with his grief, he was also in the middle of a decision of whether to run for president in the 2016 election. He had been putting off the decision, until he finally realized, “I didn’t have the stomach to do it.” 

In October 2015, Biden announced his decision not to run from a press conference in the Rose Garden. Obama attended the press conference and, on the way out, Biden made an off-hand comment to him.

“I have one regret in making this decision not to run,” Biden said he told Obama. “I would have liked to have been the President that presided over the end of cancer as we know it.”

In January 2016, Obama announced at his final State of the Union that Biden would lead the Moonshot project, much to Biden’s surprise. 

While the federal government has taken on cancer before — most notable in 1971, under President Nixon — Biden said that he felt that by “injecting an overwhelming sense of urgency,” he and others could change the how we fight cancer. 


To start the initiative, Biden gathered all government agencies working on cancer, and some that weren’t, and told them to find someone to run the initiative. The agencies told them it would take 9 months. He responded that they had a week or they were fired.

“Son of a gun, it worked,” Biden said.

biden sxsw cancer

The Moonshot project created collaborations between 20 government agencies or departments and over 70 private sector partners.

One of Biden’s biggest successes was convincing pharmaceutical companies to work together to figure out how their drugs could work in tandem and how much each could be expected to be paid when drugs are prescribed together. 

In addition, he helped pass on the biggest bipartisan bills in 2016 — the 21st Century Cures Act, a $6.3 billion bill that also provides $1.8 billion of funding over seven years for the Cancer Moonshot’s scientific priorities.

To Biden’s surprise, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell presided over the decision to rename the research project “The Beau Biden Initiative.”

After he set up agreements for researchers across the world to share their data, he received an unexpected call from Amazon, who told him that they would provide the cloud space for the cancer data for free.

Since then, that data has been accessed 80 million times by researchers over the world, according to Biden. “So, what does Amazon have to do with curing cancer? There’s hope,” Biden said.


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If you're shopping for a luxury SUV, here are 3 great choices

Audi Q7 41

The SUV market has been booming for the past few years, and that means the luxury SUV market has also been on the rise.

Business has gotten so good that brands that never did SUVs in the past — Jaguar, Lamborghini, Bentley, Maserati — are getting into the game.

Consumers have more luxury SUV choices than ever, so choosing the right vehicle can be difficult. Over the past year, we’ve sample three good choices: The Lexus RX 350, the Volvo XC90, and the Audi Q7. 

They’re all excellent. So how to chose among them?

Read on:

SEE ALSO: The Ford Focus RS is almost too much fun to drive

THE LEXUS RX 350: This midsize crossover SUV has been in the Lexus lineup since 1998 and is perhaps the luxury brand’s most important vehicle in the US market, where SUVs rule the road these days. Pricing starts at about $43,000.

The RX 350 is a core product for Lexus — the Lexus that Lexus can’t afford to screw up. The vehicle was redesigned for the 2016 model year, and our conclusion after we reviewed it was that Lexus did a fine job.

The RX 350 remains the default luxury family hauler in the segment. Basically, everything about it is good. Well, almost everything. But we’ll get to that in a second.

Our test car had a 3.5-liter V6 that served up 295 horsepower, with an all-wheel-drive system could handle nasty weather. This is a perfectly capable powerplant that won’t leave anyone wanting. 

The luxury level is sort of high-medium. The materials are excellent, the fit and finish is wonderful, and the overall comfort level of superb. Nothing on the RX 350 blows you away, but there’s also very little to complain about. There’s a reason this thing has been going strong since the late 1990s. 

The new styling is mildly controversial, but over a week, we got used to it.

Infotainment is a weak spot for the RX 350. Lexus is lagging the competition here, but not by all that much.

Here’s what we said in our review:

The infotainment system runs off a substantial center screen that’s controlled with a puck-like thingy that resides between the seats. The screen doesn’t retract, and while it satisfies all the necessary functions — audio, navigation, Bluetooth connections, and so on — it simply doesn’t feel as up-to-date as what you can get in a Cadillac, Audi, or BMW.

We’ve made this complaint about all the Lexus vehicles we’ve tested. This is in no way a dealbreaker because the system works fine, once you get the hang of it. But infotainment is the main place where owners interact with vehicle technology, and as Apple CarPlay and greater levels of connectivity come online in autos, some new standards are being established.

Overall, we try to put ourselves in the mind of an owner when we review a vehicle, and we think that RX 350 will ultimately be irritated by some of the SUV’s infotainment quirks.

VERDICT: You really can’t go wrong with the RX 350. This is the one that doesn’t require a lot of thought.

Lexus has been selling this car since the late 1990s, and it should keep selling it until humanity decides that luxury SUVs are going the way of the Conestoga wagon.

“The 2016 RX 350 was one of those cars that tested out exactly as expected,” we wrote. “OK, the design is going to be a bit much for the ‘burbs. But otherwise the crossover that started it all is holding up its responsibilities admirably.”

For the price, it’s an easy choice. But maybe you don’t want an easy choice. So read on.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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A top psychologist says will power is overrated — here's how you really build good habits

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You might ignore that bag of potato chips or your Facebook feed for awhile, but don’t be surprised if a lack of will power leads you back to your vices.

According to NYU psychologist Adam Alter, the real way to build good habits is to focus less on making good choices, and more on building an environment that limits decision-making altogether.

“There are very few examples of humans doing a good job exerting self-control for very long periods of time,” Alter tells Business Insider. “If we’re talking about days, weeks, months, a lifetime, there’s just no way you can resist temptation for that long.”

Alter is the author of the new book, “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked.” It reveals the myriad ways smartphone apps and games hijack our brains, leaving us craving more even when we know we’ve had our fill.

Alter ends the book by discussing how we come to develop habits in all aspects of our lives. He devotes the final two chapters (no spoilers, don’t worry) to the importance of so-called “behavioral architecture.” Think of it as the countless ways we can organize our kitchens, offices, and bedtime routines to nudge us toward the healthiest behaviors.

Smart behavioral architecture emphasizes using smaller dinner plates over larger ones to limit how much we portion out for meals. It recommends checking email only once per hour, and wiping messages out in batches, rather than keeping the tab open in your browser all day. And it advocates for putting undesirables — phones at bedtime, say — far, far away.

In those cases, and many others, having a system takes away your need to make a conscious choice not to indulge in destructive behavior — in this case, overeating, checking email, and staying up late into the night.

“You need to do something like change the environment, make sure the temptation is out of reach so that it’s no longer possible to be tempted,” Alter says.

There are some who say will power works like a muscle, and so exercising decision making every now and then could be a good thing, Alter adds. However, he says the research on such theories are “flimsy” and don’t have any broad applicability to be useful.

“If you’re looking at long-range will power, it’s reasonably fixed,” he says. “So if you’re trying to prevent yourself from using the device that’s in your pocket all day, there will come a time when you aren’t able to do that anymore.”

The smarter bet is to follow a bit of ancient, behavioral psych wisdom: Out of sight really is out of mind.

SEE ALSO: A Harvard psychologist reveals the biggest reason people don’t achieve their goals

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