Apple Buys Topsy, and Other Tech Headlines for 12/2-12/6

by Modis on December 6, 2013

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Fiber Optics Now Have 10 Times More Throughput

Fiber optic cables carry data over thousands of miles at fast speeds using pulses of light. Though they are a glory of today’s modern technology, their capacity is limited because of the fact that the light pulses must be lined up a certain way to keep signals from interfering with each other. As a result, there’s a lot of unused space for data. EPFL’s Luc Thevanaz and Camille Bres have developed a method to put the pulses together within the fibers to avoid signal disruption while reducing the space required between light pulses, making it possible to use all the capacity in fiber optic cables, increasing throughput 10 times.

Netflix Attempts to Prevent a Repeat of Last Year’s Christmas Eve Disaster with New Technology

Christmas Eve 2012 caused frustration for Netflix customers because of issues with Amazon Web Services. The Amazon Web Services (AWS) issues caused the Netflix platform to go down, meaning thousands of customers had their movie nights interrupted and were upset. As a result, Netflix is poised to make sure all customers keep getting access to the platform. Now, customers get their content streamed from a location near them, but if something happens to one server, Netflix will route the traffic to the next available working Amazon Web Services region, to keep all customers up and running. Tests have been conducted to ensure this will work, and reveal they will be able to successfully run the entire U.S. service from a single region without service disruptions.

Google’s Compute Engine Now Available for General Use

Google Compute Engine, the cloud computing platform launched last summer, is now available for general use. As part of the launch, they’ve announced additional support for new operating systems, a 10% decrease in standard pricing rates, and the addition of 16-core instances, doubling the number of cores available up to this point, for those who need additional computation power to run their applications. The announcement also says Google will add support for Docker, the popular tool used to build and test applications before moving to a production server for deployment. Though it will still be a while before Google can compete with Amazon’s cloud computing, these improvements are making waves.

Apple Buys Topsy for More than $200 Million

Apple has completed the purchase of social analytics software Topsy, in a deal worth more than $200 million dollars according to the Wall Street Journal. Topsy works by parsing data from Twitter’s platform, allowing people to tap into more than 425 billion tweets since the network’s inception in 2006, to search for trends. Since Twitter is already partnered with Apple, it is possible the purchase was designed to increase app store relevance and bolster Siri. Tracking app trends would allow Apple to make adjustments to their categories and collections to surface apps that are quickly gaining steam. It’s possible they can use the data to further personalize your recommendations.

Healthcare.gov Now Working for 80% of Users after 400 Fixes

According to the administration, more than 400 fixes to the original website’s code have been implemented, so function is restored to more than 80% of users who were unable to access the site during the initial October launch. Just five weeks ago, only 30% of users were able to navigate through the entire site. Officials say the site can support its original goal of up to 50,000 users at once, even though it could not support even 300 simultaneous users during the testing phase before the launch. Work is not yet complete, but everyone still has until December 23 to sign up for coverage effective January 1.

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