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The Shift To The Cloud Is Accelerating And That’s A ‘Gigantic Opportunity’ For Oracle, Says Larry Ellison




Oracle president Larry Ellison say he is expecting “tremendous growth” in the company’s cloud application business, as large enterprises move more of their systems to the cloud.

Speaking at the company’s OpenWorld conference in San Francisco last week, Ellison said Oracle has 31,000 cloud application customers up from 7,000 in FY14, and the push to embrace more modern applications is a “gigantic opportunity” for the Redwood-based software business.

“We have lots and lots of large conservative organisations that are in the process of moving to the cloud. This is no longer early days. This is the period we are seeing of sudden acceleration as we see customers wanting to modernise their systems, wanting to modernise their business practices, and moving from older systems to modern cloud systems.”

Acquiring cloud-based ERP provider Netsuite in 2016 significantly boosted the number of Oracle’s cloud application customers, as illustrated in the slide below.
During his keynote Ellison highlighted Oracle’s progress in moving its applications to the cloud.

“We spent the last 12, 13 years rewriting all of our applications for the cloud. As we had an opportunity to re-engineer all of our applications we ensured, not only that they work with each other, but they also fully integrated into our second generation cloud, taking advantage of all of the capabilities in that underlying platform.”

A key differentiator for Oracle’s application suite, according to Ellison is, the underlying Oracle cloud infrastructure.

“We are the only suite of cloud applications built upon true cloud infrastructure. We are the only cloud applications company that is also in the cloud infrastructure business. The other application companies are not.”

Ellison said when Oracle’s acquisitions are also re-engineered to integrate with all of the underlying technologies of Oracle’s infrastructure business.

“When we acquire an application we then invest the necessary engineering to make it run on top of OCI [Oracle Cloud Infrastructure], to make it run on top of the autonomous database, to give it a voice user interface with our digital assistant, to take advantage of machine learning and the analytics cloud.”

“We are adding lots of lots of customers because we are investing heavily in building new applications and building new technologies to enhance those applications both at the application layer and at the infrastructure layer.”

As well as the addition of machine learning and digital assistants announced during Openworld, the other big change on the way for Oracle’s applications is a new user interface called Redwood.

“Just like all the applications are moving to the autonomous database, all the applications are going to take advantage of our new UI called Redwood,” Ellison said.

The Redwood user interface will have the same look and feel of Oracle’s new branding, unveiled last week, which has replaced the Oracle’s bright saturated red for something “warmer and richer” that, in the words of the company’s design team, is “more approachable, more human, more aspirational.”


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Disney Plus streaming package debuts Tuesday with Marvel, Star Wars and more





The new service is $7 a month, commercial free

NEW YORK — Disney will sprinkle its pixie dust on the streaming arena Tuesday, as its Disney Plus service debuts with an arsenal of marquee franchises including Marvel and Star Wars, original series with a built-in fan base and a cheap price to boot.

The $7-a-month commercial-free service is poised to set the standard for other services like WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock to follow, as major media companies behind hit TV shows and movies seek to siphon the subscription revenue now going to Netflix and other streaming giants.

Disney’s properties speak to its strengths. Besides classic characters such as Snow White and Pinocchio, Disney has Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic — big names that most people would recognize. Disney Plus will also have all 30 past seasons of “The Simpsons.” Original shows include “The Mandalorian,” set in the Star Wars universe, and one on the Marvel character Loki.

“I really love both the Star Wars and Marvel franchises and I grew up watching classic Disney shows and movies so I do think there will be enough content for me,” she said.

Marlina Yates, who works in marketing in Kansas City, said she signed up because of her husband’s enthusiasm about the Star Wars series “The Mandalorian” and her daughter’s “love affair with princesses and everything Disney.”

Disney Plus’s $7 a month price is about half of the $13 Netflix charges for its most popular plan, and there are discounts for paying for a full year up front. Disney is also offering a $13 package bundling Disney Plus with two other services it owns, Hulu and ESPN Plus. That’s $5 cheaper than signing up for each one individually.

Everything won’t be available to stream right away, though, as Disney needs to wait for existing deals with rival services to expire. Recent movies missing at launch include the animated Pixar movie “Coco” and the live-action “Beauty and the Beast.” Others like “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” haven’t been released for streaming yet. Disney expects 620 movies and 10,000 TV episodes by 2024, up from 500 movies and 7,500 episodes on Tuesday.

Disney has said that it is losing about $150 million in licensing revenue in the most recent fiscal year from terminating deals with Netflix and other services. But Disney is betting that what it makes through subscriptions will more than make up for that — at least eventually.

Disney is boosting its subscription base initially with heavy promos, much as Apple TV Plus has done and HBO Max and Peacock plan to do. Members of Disney’s free D23 fan club were eligible to buy three years of Disney Plus service up front for the price of two years. Customers of some Verizon wireless and home-internet plans can get a year free.

The hope is that subscribers will stick around once they see what the service offers.

Long-term success is by no means guaranteed. With a slew of services launching, subscription fees can add up quickly. Consumers might be reluctant to drop an existing service such as Netflix or Amazon Prime to pay for something untested.

“I can’t keep up with so many services. It gets expensive,” said William Pearson, a Drexel University student who describes himself as a “massive” Marvel fan but already pays for Netflix, HBO and the DC Comics streaming service.

But compared with other newcomers, experts believe Disney will have no problem gaining — and keeping — the 60 million to 90 million worldwide subscribers it is targeting for 2024. It took Netflix twice as long to get to 90 million.

“Disney Plus has a gigantic array of content and a library that’s unmatched, so it feels like an easy addition for consumers to get a gigantic library at that low price,” said Tim Hanlon, CEO of Vertere Group.

Bernie McTernan, internet and media analyst at Rosenblatt Securities, said Apple’s venture into streaming, Apple TV Plus, has to build brand recognition for its new shows, while viewers may have difficulties seeing what HBO Max offers beyond the standard HBO subscription.

Source Denver Post

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Firefox is taking steps to stop browser notification spam from next year





Mozilla is changing how Firefox handles notification requests to try and cut down on annoying pop-ups, the organization has announced. Starting with Firefox version 72, due for release in January, requests to display desktop notifications will come in the form of a small icon in Firefox’s URL bar, and users will need to click this to actually see the notification request. Currently, just visiting many sites is enough to cause them to show a relatively large notification prompt.

In its blog post, Mozilla said that it took the decision after its research showed just how unpopular notifications are with users. Despite ostensibly being a convenient way for sites to share updates with users after they’ve closed the tab, around 99 percent of notification prompts aren’t accepted by users, and 48 percent are actively denied. It also found that repeatedly asking users to show notifications rarely gets them to change their mind.

Browser notifications aren’t just annoying, in many cases they can be used by malicious sites to trick users into downloading malware, or serve dodgy web ads, according to ZDNet. One malware analyst said that notification spam has “largely replaced” adware as a major source of user complaints.

Although Firefox’s biggest changes aren’t due to arrive until January, the browser has already made a small change to how it handles notification in version 70. Now, when you visit a new site that wants to show notifications, Firefox has replaced the “Not Now” option with a “Never Allow” option, so you won’t repeatedly be asked to display notifications by the same site.

Mozilla is the first browser to officially announce plans to block notification requests by default, but Google is experimenting with a similar feature for the Chrome browser, which makes notification prompts less invasive.


By Jon Porter

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Apple announces AirPods Pro with noise cancellation, coming October 30th




airpods pro

Apple has just launched the rumored noise-canceling AirPods Pro — not with an October product event, but via a press release. The premium earbuds are set for release on October 30th for $249. They’re up for preorder starting today. And yes, they still only come in white.

Apple has built microphones into the AirPods Pro that detect external sound, and the earbuds then cancel it out. The system used here sounds very similar to the noise cancellation in the new Beats Solo Pro headphones, just miniaturized to a much smaller form factor. Apple says noise cancellation is adjusted up to 200 times per second.

The AirPods Pro feature a transparency mode that will let you hear your surroundings while wearing them. The earbuds have a “force sensor” that you can use to control music playback and activate transparency mode.

The company is promising fantastic audio quality from the AirPods Pro for that $249 price. They have a feature called “Adaptive EQ” that “automatically tunes music to the shape of your ear.”

Unlike the current AirPods, these will come with flexible ear tips for a more secure, sealed in-ear fit. Three sizes of silicone tips are included in the box. Apple even says there’s a software audio test that can tell you if you’ve chosen the right-sized tip by “measuring the sound level in the ear and comparing it to what is coming from the speaker driver.” This should reduce any guesswork or confusion for customers.

Like the second-gen AirPods, the AirPods Pro support wireless charging and hands-free “Hey Siri” voice commands. Apple says they get around 4.5 hours of continuous listening battery life. (You can see that the active noise cancellation takes a bit of a toll there.) But as usual with AirPods, the case has enough extra battery for around 24 hours of total listening time, including those recharges.

The AirPods Pro are sweat and water resistant — get ready to start seeing these in gyms everywhere — and they include “an expanded mesh microphone port that improves call clarity in windy situations.”

They still charge via the Lightning connector, but they now come with a Lightning to USB-C cable in the box.

Apple’s new AirPods come just as noise cancellation — long a convenience offered by over-ear headphones from Bose, Sony, and others — has begun making its way to truly wireless earbuds. Sony’s noise-canceling 1000X M3 earbuds cost $229. And Amazon’s Echo Buds, with Bose noise reduction (not full-on cancellation) technology, are about to hit shelves for $129.99. AirPods have seen a meteoric rise in popularity since they were first released, so it’s safe to assume that Apple is about to have another smash hit on its hands.



By Chris Welch

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