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Microsoft And Toyota Bringing The Cloud To Cars

Microsoft and Toyota jointly announced today their partnership to invest 1 billion yen (about $12 million) to bring telematics to your next-generation Toyota vehicle by harnessing the Windows Azure cloud platform. And in case you’re unfamiliar, telematics is the fusing of telecomunnications and information technologies in vehicles.

The joint telematics system will first appear in 2012 Toyota electric and plug-in hybrid cars and will provide energy management, GPS systems, and multimedia technologies. By 2024, when Microsoft’s global cloud platform is set to complete, these next-gen vehicles will be able to connect to servers from around the world.

This adds a whole new segment to mobile computing ecosystems. Thus far, a harmonious ecosystem has been focused on the fusing of smartphones, tablets, notebooks, and computers. But now, we can add vehicles to that environment. There could be an iPhone or Android app, or in this case a Windows Phone 7 app, to remotely start your Toyota or even help monitor the energy levels of your plug-in vehicle.

Press release:

Microsoft and Toyota Announce Strategic Partnership on Next-Generation Telematics

Microsoft and Toyota to participate in 1 billion yen investment in Toyota Media Service Co.

REDMOND, Wash., and TOYOTA CITY, Japan — April 6, 2011 — Microsoft Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. (TMC) today announced they have forged a strategic partnership and plan to build a global platform for TMC’s next-generation telematics services using the Windows Azure platform. Telematics is the fusing of telecommunications and information technologies in vehicles; it can encompass GPS systems, energy management and other multimedia technologies.

As part of its smart-grid activities, aimed at achieving a low-carbon society through efficient energy use, TMC is conducting trials in Japan of its Toyota Smart Center pilot program, which plans to link people, automobiles and homes for integrated control of energy consumption. TMC believes that, as electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles become more popular, such systems will rely more on telematics services for achieving efficient energy management.

Microsoft has a long history of delivering platforms and services to the automotive market, including in-car infotainment systems built on the Windows Embedded Automotive platform, in-car mapping services with Bing and the Microsoft Tellme voice application, and many other consumer solutions.

“Today’s announcement of our partnership with TMC is a great example of how we continue to invest in the automotive industry and of our commitment to power the services that are important to consumers,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. “It further validates the power of the cloud, as the Windows Azure platform will provide the enterprise-grade, scalable platform that TMC needs to deliver telematics in its automobiles worldwide.”

Virtual Press Conference Information

About Toyota

Founded in 1937, TMC (NYSE “TM”) is a global automotive company with production in 27 countries and sales in more than 170 countries. Founded in 2000 as a wholly owned subsidiary of TMC, Toyota Media Service is a consumer IT service provider for Toyota automotive customers that actualizes the connected, in-car experience.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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Microsoft 2010 Year In Review: Smartphones, The Cloud, Tablets

Over the past several years, Microsoft has conditioned its audience to expect the company to debut its latest big thing at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas the first week of January.

For instance, during his keynote at CES 2010, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer showed off a Windows 7-based slate computer from HP that shipped to enterprise customers in late October.

Now rumors are circulating again that Ballmer will show a “slew” of Windows 7 slatesat CES 2011 in two weeks — granted that much of the delay has to do with a new line of power-saving chips, codenamed Oak Trail, coming from Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) early next year.

Microsoft did somewhat better in the smartphone arena. At Mobile World Congress 2010 in Barcelona, Spain in February, Ballmer introduced Windows Phone 7, its challenger to the iPhone and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android.

Ballmer said then that Windows Phone 7 handsets would be available in time for the 2010 holiday sales season. The phones began shipping to U.S. customers on Nov. 8 and six weeks later on Dec. 21, Microsoft announced that 1.5 million handsetshad been “sold.” However, the company made clear that figure represents sales between phone manufacturers and wireless carriers, not actually sales to end users.

In fact, in June the company claimed to already have signed up 40 million paid users for its cloud-based subscription services. Many of those customers use Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), which provides Exchange, SharePoint, Office Communications, and Live Meeting hosted in Microsoft’s giant datacenters or via third-party hosting firms.

In a related move, Microsoft shipped Office 2010, the latest iteration of its cash cow business productivity suite, in May, which includes the Office Web Apps, a Web-based competitor to Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Docs.

Then, in October, the same week that Ozzie announced his departure, Microsoft announced that next year it will combine the Office Web Apps and Office 2010 with the latest 2010-branded versions of the servers in BPOS to create a new subscription package it has named Office 365.

But no matter where Microsoft turns these days, it seems to run into Google.

In October, Google sued the U.S. Department of the Interiorfor not considering its Google Apps online e-mail, calendaring, and collaboration tools offering before awarding a contract to provide those services to as many as 88,000 government users via Microsoft’s BPOS.

The two have been increasingly colliding in those markets.

For example, Microsoft has won several important customers recently, but so has Google.

There is another area where Google has so far completely trounced Microsoft.

It’s the Google Android smartphone operating system, which has already been in the market for two years. Microsoft, in September, sued Motorola for patent violations in its Android-based phones. But the software giant’ emerging Windows Phone 7 devices have a tough haul to catch up in the burgeoning smartphone market.

Finally, in mid-December, Microsoft joined chúng tôi an organization opposed to letting Google purchase travel technology developer ITA Software— many travel sites, including Microsoft’s Bing Travel, use the acquisition target’s technologies.

One piece of good news: In October, after a year on sale, Microsoft announced it had sold 240 million Windows 7 licenses.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at chúng tôi the news service of chúng tôi the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

Why Microsoft Azure Cloud Skills Are All The Rage?

Azure is a platform for cloud computing and an online portal that we may use to access and administer Microsoft’s cloud resources and services. Depending on the needs, these services and resources may store and alter the data. The need is an active internet connection and the ability to log on to the Azure portal to access these resources and services.

It’s interesting to note that Azure services are used by 80% of Fortune 500 organizations for their cloud computing requirements. Java, Node JS, and C# are just a few of the programming languages supported by Azure. The largest data centers for any cloud platform, 42 Azure data centers, are dispersed worldwide.

Essential Microsoft Azure Cloud Skills for Developers Scaling applications

Users can quickly switch to a more capable server (scale up), increase the number of application instances (scale out), and vice versa, thanks to the cloud’s simplicity of scaling applications up, down, out, and in (scale down and in). Azure can be useful for problems like scaling internationally. Users can be sent to the most effective application instance based on where they are using a service provided by Azure called Azure Traffic Manager.

Scaling & sharding data

Azure assists with its Azure Cosmos DB service. Users may determine the required level of transactional consistency and easily replicate data to different regions thanks to this. If the data can’t be saved wherever the user wants it to be, then this might not be the best option for them. If so, the user might consider sharding the data such that some of it is located in one location and some in another. With Azure SQL Elastic Database Pools and the related Elastic Database Tools, assistance is available.

Resilient development

Resiliency is embedded into the cloud. This implies that it ensures the apps continue executing even during a server failure. Users must be aware of and consider certain methods the cloud uses to provide this resilience in the apps.

Managing a pipeline

Users will frequently find that they are operating various services that make up the system on the cloud. Users must set up a pipeline to keep an eye on the services and, if necessary, diagnose them. Fortunately, Azure will take care of the plumbing for the user. The Azure Monitor service will provide a user with a thorough picture of how things are doing on Azure. A richer logging system, such as Application Insights for applications and Log Analytics for infrastructure, may be instrumented for each service and piece of infrastructure. Additionally, the user may use the Snapshot Debugger to debug the apps in production.

Why are Microsoft Azure cloud skills so popular? Azure Aids in Improving IT Operations

Azure has established a reputation as a user-friendly cloud service. Developing and managing Azure is very simple out of the box for those with Windows admin knowledge. It is straightforward to combine cloud instances with on-premises Windows servers to build a hybrid environment. One independent evaluation found Azure integrates effectively with tools like SQL databases and Active Directory.

It’s Simple to Develop the Right Skillset

The most challenging positions for businesses to fill in their daily operations are those involving cloud and distributed computing. There is fortunately easy access to skills training online for teams who wish to learn cloud frameworks like Azure. Various certifications and training courses are easily accessible to study Azure cloud programming. Exams AZ-203 for Azure Developer Certified Associate, AZ-100 for MS Azure Infrastructure & Deployment, and AZ-101 for MS Azure Integration and Security For learning and skill development, the AZ-300: Azure Architect Technologies and AZ301: Azure Architect Design is crucial.

Microsoft has developed a Cloud-first Strategy

The firm consistently shows how essential Azure and cloud development are to the company and how they see them as the foundation of their business. Azure is a critical focus and priority for the organization. Microsoft has created a sizable worldwide cloud network of its own and incentivizes clients to follow a cloud-first strategy. Microsoft has already entered developing markets and is currently utilizing its enormous experience and resources to deliver a cloud platform that provides genuine value to clients over the long term.

There Will Be a Rise in Demand for Azure Cloud Skills

There is a sharp rise in demand for Azure cloud expertise. This is because most businesses and people want to shift their data and apps to the cloud. The cloud enables organizations to deploy new apps and services without worrying about infrastructure. The pay-as-you-go cloud computing approach can help businesses reduce their IT spending. Moving to the cloud does not come without difficulties, though. Security is among the major issues that companies must deal with. Controlling who gets access to data and apps is challenging due to the nature of the cloud. In the cloud, data is frequently dispersed over several real places.


Demand for Azure cloud skills will increase in future employment postings. Specialists with relevant industry expertise and Azure Cloud abilities are in demand from employers. Azure is the top supplier of cloud computing services for the same reason. Additionally, it outperforms its competitors in terms of market share.

Bringing The Science Of Learning Into Classrooms

Years of research prompt a group of scientists to ask whether we should rethink the way we do school.

New research sheds light on the effects that childhood experiences—both good and bad—have on the developing brain. But are schools keeping up?

“The 20th-century education system was never designed with the knowledge of the developing brain,” says Pamela Cantor, MD, who is part of a cross-disciplinary team of experts studying the science of learning and development. “So when we think about the fact that learning is a brain function and we have an education system that didn’t have access to this critical knowledge, the question becomes: Do we have the will to create an education system that’s informed by it?”

Contrary to the long-held belief that brain maturation is largely complete by the age of 6, we now know that our brains are malleable and continue to change dramatically well into our 20s. This has profound implications for learning throughout the school-age years.

The good news is that while toxic stress and abusive relationships can inhibit learning, positive and supportive learning environments can stem the tide. A trusting relationship with an adult—a teacher or school counselor, for example—can be a protective buffer against the negative effects of stress.

Another key takeaway for teachers is that the science confirms that variability in a developing brain is actually the norm, not the exception. A room full of 5-year-olds spans the gamut of skills, developmentally speaking, and that continues to hold true for 10- and 16-year-olds. But while we are all highly variable, we are all on similar paths—eventually acquiring the same sets of skills in roughly the same order.


What Schools Can Do

“The science says to us that, in fact, the way the brain functions and grows, it needs safety, it needs warmth, it actually even needs hugs,” explains Stanford professor Linda Darling-Hammond. “We actually learn in a state of positive emotion much more effectively than we can learn in a state of negative emotion. That has huge implications for what we do in schools.”

Integrate practices that explicitly address belonging and safety: We now know that when schools are safe, supportive places that affirm individual identity, create paths for belonging for every student, and intentionally build strong, long-lasting relationships, they open the opportunity for greater intellectual learning because our brains are more responsive and open to learning in safe environments.

Both pedagogical and social strategies can be integrated into classrooms and school systems in ways that are consistent with the emerging science. According to a 2023 study, starting the day off with a simple relationship-building activity—welcoming students at the door—can increase academic engagement by 20 percentage points while decreasing disruptive behavior by 9 percentage points. And at King Middle School in Maine, for example, eighth-grade English language arts teacher Catherine Paul teaches talk moves—short sentence starters such as “I disagree because…”—to build a culture of tolerance and respect while maintaining rigorous academic standards. “I do talk moves because, in order to have a great discussion, everyone has to feel like they’re a part of it, and valued,” Paul explains. “And when they walk away, they really have bridged a gap with someone that maybe they wouldn’t necessarily have talked to, or talked to on that level.”

Other strategies from diverse schools representing a broad range of grade levels can be found in our video series on the science of learning and development, How Learning Happens.

What we now understand about human development and learning has come a long way since we began designing schools, and a shift can better align the way we teach with the way students learn. It should be noted, however, that for years great teachers have been doing things in classrooms that embody what the science now confirms. In a nutshell: Relationships matter deeply, learning happens when the brain feels safe and supported, and no child is a lost cause.

“What is so true in the science of human development is that it is an optimistic story,” Cantor says. “It tells a story that no matter what a child’s starting point is, that development is possible if it is intentionally encouraged in the experiences and relationships that children have.”

The Best Web And Cloud Hosting Services Of 2023

Types of Web Hosting Offered

Bluehost provides shared hosting, VPS, dedicated servers and WordPress hosting. It offers several plans for each, and its pricing is on par with competitors. Shared hosting is the least expensive, with dedicated servers and VPS sporting costs up to $200 per month. These hosting types differ from shared and WordPress hosting in that the company allocates separate servers for these customers.

Dedicated servers and VPS are best suited for large corporations that need higher storage and bandwidth than shared or WordPress hosting can provide. Also, because VPS and dedicated servers are private, there’s even higher uptime. These types of hosting are typically not necessary for standard small business websites. Shared and WordPress hosting are cost-effective options that cover the needs of most small businesses.

Bluehost Pricing and Plans

Bluehost provides shared hosting plans at slightly lower rates than many of its competitors. It has four shared hosting plans: Basic, Plus, Choice Plus and Pro. The Basic plan is $2.95 per month, the Plus plan and Choice Plus plan are each $5.45 per month, and the Pro plan is $13.95 per month.

Keep in mind that this is all promotional pricing that was listed at the time of this review. The web hosting industry is a competitive space, and companies often display promotional pricing to attract new buyers. Bluehost does this, claiming the plans are reduced from $7.99, $10.99, $14.99 and $23.99 respectively. Often, web hosting promotional pricing is only valid for the first year or billing term, and then you’ll be charged the original rates upon renewal.

As with just about every business service, the longer you commit to Bluehost, the lower the monthly price. If you’re worried about getting hit with a higher rate when you need to renew your contract, make sure you address this with a member of the Bluehost sales team before you sign up.

You can read more about Bluehost’s additional fees in the terms of service. Some important fees to note involve registering or transferring a domain name. Bluehost offers a free domain name for the first year, but you may have to pay a yearly fee thereafter. This is a standard practice hosting companies use to attract new customers.

There are also some conditions for your 30-day money-back guarantee. If you cancel your subscription within the first three days of activation, you have the option to keep your domain name for a $15.99 fee. If you cancel after three days, you will be required to pay the $15.99 domain fee.

If you decide to cancel after the first 30 days, you are not entitled to a refund of any kind. Bluehost only refunds credit card payments.

Bluehost Web Hosting Features

Bluehost’s shared hosting plans have solid features. Its pricing stands out, but the relatively low cost doesn’t undermine the services you get. The company’s transparency with listing the features in each plan is another benefit. Instead of digging for information, business owners can get a quick view of what the company has to offer and decide whether the services meet their needs. Many companies we reviewed provide this breakdown.

Storage and Bandwidth: Bluehost provides unlimited storage on its Plus, Choice Plus and Pro plans. Basic plan holders only have access to 50GB of SSD storage. The bandwidth is unmetered for all plans. Most hosting companies provide unlimited storage or unmetered bandwidth; however, these terms do not mean they’re infinite. Bluehost uses statistical analysis to define the average parameters each consumer must stay within each month. It monitors your usage and contacts you if you’re using more than the allocated amount. Some web hosting companies even suspend service until the usage declines. If you’re concerned about the level of bandwidth and storage you need, it’s be a good idea to talk to someone from the Bluehost sales team about it.

Security: Compared to other web hosting companies we reviewed, Bluehost provides limited security measures. It does offer site backups, restoration, resource protection and an SSL certificate on each of its plans, but some plans require you to pay extra for security features like SiteLock and CodeGuard. Bluehost doesn’t provide a lot of information on DDoS prevention, firewalls or other security measures. This is another good topic to discuss with the Bluehost sales team before you sign up.

Domain Transfer: Bluehost includes a free domain name with the activation of a shared hosting plan. This means when you sign up for the service, you won’t get hit with an additional fee to set up your domain name. If you sign up for other plans, you may not have access to a free domain name.

Reputation and Customer Service

Bluehost is not an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau. This is concerning, as most companies have at least some kind of BBB score. Its parent company, EIG, has an A- rating but a lot of negative reviews. The company has also logged nearly 400 complaints. Compared to its competitors, these are negative marks. Bluehost has mixed positive and negative ratings elsewhere online, so it’s not clear how supportive its customer service is.

Bluehost offers support via phone and a live chat window. It also has a unique company blog that provides additional online resources for customers to learn more about web hosting services. Since Bluehost offers some desirable web hosting plans, it is worth testing out its customer support on your own to see how helpful it is.


The company does not have a good online reputation, lacking BBB accreditation and having racked up a flurry of negative reviews and customer complaints. Also, most web hosting companies provide a service-level agreement, which details the company’s uptime policy and any credits it provides for downtime or measures it will take to ensure its service. There is no SLA available from Bluehost.

Bluehost no longer offers cloud hosting plans to its consumers, instead focusing on its WordPress and shared hosting options for small businesses. Although cloud hosting may not always be the best web hosting type for small businesses, Bluehost removes the option altogether. If you are seeking cloud hosting, you’ll have to find another web hosting provider.

The 9 Best Cars From The 2013 Detroit Auto Show

A refined version of the NSX concept Acura showed last year in Detroit looks sharper, meaner, and somehow realer. We’re concerned that Acura will find all sorts of ways to remove the coolness before putting it into production, but we hope we’ll be proven wrong. Seth Fletcher

No one has ever accused the auto industry of rushing madly into the future. For every superclean electro-diesel-charged concept at an event like Detroit’s North American International Auto Show, there are approximately 15 Hemis. Still, the show floor always contains plenty of clues about how technology is changing the way we drive. And based on what we saw this week in Detroit, we can be sure that plug-in cars are still very much alive, self-driving vehicles are inevitable, and a German luxury sedan will soon break the sound barrier. Here are nine highlights. And for more coverage of the Detroit auto show, go here.

2014 Cadillac ELR

The long, long-awaited Cadillac follow-on to the Chevrolet Volt finally sees daylight. So far, the specs sound nearly identical to the Volt’s–it’s a plug-in hybrid (or as GM insists, an extended-range electric vehicle) with a 16.5 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery, a 1.4-liter gas engine, 35 miles of electric-only driving range, and 300 miles on a full battery and fuel tank combined. It’s schedule to go into production late this year and start shipping in 2014, although unfortunately, some GM-watchers doubt the company’s commitment to the car.

2014 Corvette Stingray

No one can resist the seventh-generation Vette—not even dedicated electric car fans. The base version of the surprisingly Euro-looking Chevy comes with a naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8.

2024 Acura NSX Concept

A refined version of the NSX concept Acura showed last year in Detroit looks sharper, meaner, and somehow realer. We’re concerned that Acura will find all sorts of ways to remove the coolness before putting it into production, but we hope we’ll be proven wrong.

Audi RS7

Audi’s four-door fastback, the A7, could be Germany’s sportiest, most comfortable, and most all-around dialed-in luxury sedan. Now the A7 is getting the RS treatment, with a 553-hp twin-turbo V8 and all manner of sport-tuned gadgetry. It’ll run from 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds. Choose the Dynamic Plus package, and top speed is 190 mph.

Honda Urban SUV Concept

Honda gave a shiny glimpse of a future Fit-based crossover SUV with its prosaically named “Urban SUV Concept.”

2014 Infiniti Q50

Under the skin of this attractive but unassuming new Infiniti is a big step toward autonomous driving—steer-by-wire.

2014 Mercedes E63 AMG S-Model

Presenting one terrifyingly powerful mid-size sedan, the Mercedes E63 AMG S-Model. 577 hp. 186 mph top speed. All-wheel drive. 0-60 in about 3.5 seconds. You know, just sensible luxury transportation for lawyers and accountants.

Nissan Resonance Concept

Another Japanese automaker, another strong hint at the design of a new generation of crossover SUVs.

Volkswagen Crossblue Concept

This six-seat plug-in strikes us as a great idea—ideal for families who want or need SUV room but like the idea of making short trips using no petroleum whatsoever. Alas. After talking to a VW rep on the show floor, we’re a) pretty sure we’ll see a production VW SUV much like this in the future, but b) pretty sure it will have a much more conventional powertrain than the diesel plug-in-hybrid putatively contained in this concept vehicle.

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