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In Brief

Make of it what you will, given that Huawei was founded by an ex-Chinese-military engineer and has had lots of mud thrown at it from the West, but the telecoms equipment firm maintains it’s never been leaned on by any government or agency anywhere, ever.

In the foreword to a security white paper released on Friday, Huawei deputy chairman Ken Hu said the firm had never been asked to change hardware or software, provide access to its technology, or offer up people’s data. That’s certainly a poke in the eye for companies operating in the U.S., which have to abide by the CALEA backdoor rules and cooperate with surveillance programs.

On The Web

Edward Snowden has given a rare interview to The New York Times, saying he never retained a copy of his leaked NSA material after passing it on to journalists in Hong Kong. This is crucial, as some have claimed the Chinese and/or Russians must have access to this material, as they have had access to Snowden.

Similarly, the UK government claimed journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda had been detained in transit with not only encrypted material but the password, written on a piece of paper. Greenwald has said this was a lie.

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In Brief

If you’ve ever wanted to use the Couchbase NoSQL database but didn’t feel like managing servers, a San Mateo, Calif.-based startup called KuroBase says it has you covered with its new service. Cloud databases are already pretty popular with web developers running MongoDB, Postgres and even CouchDB (kind of, technically), but I believe this is a first for Couchbase. It could be popular, though, especially if developers are keen on Couchbase’s new ability to sync data between mobile devices and a central database.

In Brief

We have been hearing about things like YARN and high availability for a few years — they’ve even been incorporated into some commercial Hadoop distributions — but now they’re finally part of the official Apache Hadoop code base. Technically version 2.2.0, “The project’s latest release marks a major milestone more than four years in the making, and has achieved the level of stability and enterprise-readiness to earn the General Availability designation,” according to an Apache Software Foundation press release.

On The Web

I think this is more about Hadoop and other emerging technologies than the analysts quoted here are willing to admit. Why do you think Teradata is pushing its Hadoop story so much lately? There is, for example, crazy excitement around big data and Hadoop in China. Customers with blank slates center their efforts around Hadoop, while big existing customers are trying to offload more to Hadoop. Teradata sales are fairly flat right now even in the U.S. because big existing customers are getting bigger but fewer are signing up.

On The Web

IBM has shared some details about a new project called WatsonPaths that lets doctors actually interact with the system to understand how it came to its conclusions, and to tell it whether its “thinking” was right. This type of interaction is critical in any type of machine learning system where speed isn’t the primary objective, because it lets humans see things they might not have and also train the machines to be more accurate in the future. WatsonPaths is a GUI-based tool and is being developed along with doctors at the Cleveland Clinic.

Misfit Shine

There are too many choices available for consumers when it comes to devices and apps that track your steps or daily activities. What needs to happen is consolidation across the industry and a focus on storytelling, not just activity. Read more »

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