Breakfast Briefing: Google culls again, Japan's fading tech giants, power grid attack
Posted on 1 Oct 2012 at 08:53
Today's essential tech reads include news of another cull of Google services, an analysis of the fading impact of Japan's tech giants, news of a power grid hack and the first shoots of recovery for the unloved webOS.
Google sweeps away Ad Sense for Feeds
Google has announced another cull of services, part of a move to streamline the company and save costs, or as Google puts it, "help improve users' lives". In the latest bout of cuts, Google said it would close down Ad Sense for Feeds, overhaul Google storage features in Picasa and Drive, and call time on Spreadsheet Gadgets.
Japan's shrinking tech giants
Japan might still be a land of high-tech consumers, but its technology companies are on the wane and, in some cases, facing extinction. The Washington Post reports how once mighty companies such as Panasonic and Sharp are struggling to stay relevant amid competition from companies such as Samsung and Apple, while even Sony is no longer the power it was as the country continues to downsize and bid to become more competitive.
Chinese blamed over power company plans heist
A multinational energy company has been forced to pull the plug on parts of its network after it blamed Chinese hackers for stealing detailed plans on how the company's electricity supply technology worked.
According to a blog on Krebs on Security, Telvent Canada, which runs networks and smart metering operations in the US, Canada and Spain, had to cut data links between clients and parts of its internal network as a precaution after hackers breached its firewall and security systems.
After installing malicious software, the hackers made off with secret files detailing a systems control technology used by energy firms to integrate older back-end IT technologies with "smart grid" systems.
SSDs in 85% of ultrabooks
Ultrabooks might have taken a backseat to tablets in terms of publicity generated, but they are very much on the radar for makers of SSD storage devices. According to research from DRAMeXChange, covered by Tom's Hardware, 85% of ultrabooks sold at the end of 2012 will feature some sort of SSD, even if it's part of a hybrid system to keep costs down. The report says the main role of the devices will be as 24GB or 32GB boot drives, with mass storage remaining on conventional hard drives.
Open webOS moving forwards
The Open webOS project has taken the wraps off the 1.0 Edition of the operating system that was cut adrift by HP late last year. The open source team now looking after the OS has laid out a roadmap and says the latest version contains new features.
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