News Rundown

An Extra Virtual VMworld | Gestalt IT Rundown: April 15, 2020

VMware announced that VMworld US and WMworld Europe will be combined into a virtual event held in September, GitHub opens up private repositories to all users, IBM opens up resources to help with the dearth of COBOL programmers, and more. Tom Hollingsworth and Rich Stroffolino discuss these and more during the show today. Be sure to subscribe on YouTube to catch the live stream every Wednesday at 12:30pm ET.

This week on the Rundown:

Google Rebrands a Messaging Service…Again

Google’s Hangouts Meet is being rebranded Google Meet, the company confirmed to the Verge.. Google made it official in a Google Cloud blog post Wednesday, when listing a number of privacy measures Google Meet uses to keep remote meetings secure. Meet is an independent part of G Suite, and Google says usage is 25x what it was in January and gaining more than 2 million new users per day. Google also said its further extending free access to some advanced Google Meet features from July 1 to last until September 30th.

Linux File System Accessible Direction in Windows File Explorer

Microsoft released test build 19603 of Windows 10 to Insiders that integrate the Windows Subsystem for Linux into File Explorer. Users can select the Linux icon in the navigation pane, select from any installed distribution, and navigate from the root directory in File Explorer.

Verizon Applies Ad Tech to COVID-19

Verizon created CORD-19 a coronavirus academic research search engine. CORD-19 uses the open-source big data framework Vespa to combine text and structured search with semantic similarity using a machine learning model trained for searching scientific text. It pulls from the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset, and is updated weekly from peer reviewed publications and archival services.

Google Releases TensorFlow Lite

Google announced a new tool called TensorFlow Lite Model Maker. This allows organizations to use an API to train machine learning models with just a few lines of code, providing an easier path to deploy those AI models on-device. Currently model maker can work on image or text data sets, and exports human readable metadata with results to check how the model is performing. Google plans to add object detection and natural language processing in the future.

Zoom Lets User Opt-out of Specific Regions

Zoom announced that as of April 18th, paying customers will be able to choose which data centers route their Zoom calls. Users will be able to opt-in and out of regions, outside of the default region they are in. Free users won’t be able to set regions, but Zoom says non-China based calls will not be routed through China. This comes as Zoom disclosed earlier this month that some Zoom calls were routed through China. As a reminder, Zoom uses transmission encryption, not end-to-end encryption on calls.

VMworld Goes Digital

VMware announced that both VMworld US and VMworld Europe would be cancelled and transitioned into a digital VMworld 2020 event. The event will be held the week of September 28, 2020. Right now there’s not a lot of information available from VMware. Their FAQ has questions about how session and networking will work, with responses essentially saying “yes this stinks, and we’re still trying to figure this out.” Attendees will still have to register for the event, attending virtually will still give alumni credit to participants, and sessions will be available on-demand in the VMware video library. We’ve seen smaller events figuring out what the age of virtual events means.

IBM Helps the COBOL Shortage

IBM announced it will release a training course for the COBOL programming language this week, as well as setup a forum to match proficient programmers with organizations in need. The move comes several US states use COBOL-based systems for unemployment processing, and have struggled to find expertise to update the systems to meet demand caused by the COVID-19 lockdown.

GitHub Opens Private Repos to All Users

GitHub CEO Matt Friedman announed that the company was making private repositories with unlimited collaborators available to all accounts, including free users. Advance features like code owners, SAML, and personalized support still required a paid plan. But the entry level “Team” paid plan has been reduced from $9 to $4 per user per month. GitHub is such a giant in the code hosting space that any change like this has the potential to have big industry impacts.

Cisco Launches Payment Deferral Program

Cisco announced a $2.5 billion financing program, letting customers defer up to 95% of payments through 2021. With the offer, customers will not owe anything for the first three months, with 1% of the balance due for the remaining 5 months of 2020. Financing will cover hardware, software and services, as well as some partner fees. With everything rushing to use video conferencing and extending VPN access, Cisco is certainly seeing increased demand, and the financing program probably hopes to ease concerns about financial instability.

The Gestalt IT Rundown is a live weekly look at the IT news of the week. It broadcasts live on YouTube every Wednesday at 12:30pm ET. Be sure to subscribe to Gestalt IT on YouTube for the show each week.

About the author

Rich Stroffolino

Rich has been a tech enthusiast since he first used the speech simulator on a Magnavox Odyssey². Current areas of interest include ZFS, the false hopes of memristors, and the oral history of Transmeta.

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