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The Evolutionary Perspective
Daily Archives: December 25, 2019
Posted: December 25, 2019 at 11:49 pm
With the 2020 election fast approaching, people's optimism that Trump's endless scandals and lies will keep him out of office for a second term is fast waning.
The result of the British election earlier this month, which saw a populist prime minister with a penchant for bending parliamentary norm to breaking point win an election by a landslide, has done nothing to assuage concerns that something similar could happen in the US.
The one saving grace was always the idea that Trump would at the very least be ousted in 2024 and the political pendulum would finally swing back to the left, as the US constitution prevents any one president from serving more than two terms.
But now people are beginning to panic that his reign will live on - via his daughter Ivanka.
Political commentator Ruth Ben-Ghiattweeted last night to reiterate her position that this is a very real possibility "as dispiriting as that may be".
And dispiriting it was for many, who responded with terrifying nihilism and almost apocalyptic resignation to the outrageousness of this possibility.
People feared for the future of the planet, given Trump's horrifying record on environmental issues.
Others pondered the short-sightedness of the Republican party if this actually happens.
People also pointed out it might not even end there...
...and wondered whether public opinion on political dynasties may have changed since 2016, when "outsider" was preferable to "most experienced person for the job whose husband just happened to get there first".
Perhaps most relatable were those who just refused to believe it.
Originally posted here:
Joker Production Designer Mark Friedberg On His Initial Reluctance To Work On Warner Bros. Pic & Embracing The Strange Beauty Of A Crumbling World…
Posted: at 11:49 pm
The production designer behind Joker, Mark Friedberg knows New York City like the back of his hand.
Growing up there at around the same time as Joker director Todd Phillips, and presenting distinct portraits of New York in such films as Wonderstruck and If Beale Street Could Talk, Friedberg most recently transformed the city into a gritty Gotham City of the 1980s, for a standalone origin story of an iconic DC villain.
To Friedberg, transforming New York repeatedly for different films has been a manageable task, due to his relationship with the city, but also the essential nature of the place. New York is in my blood; Im made of it, and Ive spent an extraordinary amount of my life driving around it, knowing every corner, the production designer says. But New York is also a city you could make any version of a world out ofupscale, downscale, ethnic, architectural, suburban.
For Joker, Friedberg was looking not only at the NYC of his youth, but also at the cinema coming out of the city at that time. This included the early films of Martin Scorsese, as well as dramas like Network, The French Connection and Midnight Cowboy, movies that are strangely beautiful, even though theyre stripped down, unadorned, and depicting a crumbling world, the designer explains.
Theres something about the decay or dysfunction that is poetic. Rather than shooting pristine architecture, which just reflects back at you, theres something about a world where the buildings are falling down, and people are writing all over them, thats human, and I think that was one of the things we were successful in, that theres a nihilism to the world of Joker, but theres also a humanity to it, Friedberg adds. Its really a story of opposing extremescomedy, tragedy, life and death, decay or beauty, rich or poor, imagined and real. So, I think we were curious about exploring those themes. Ultimately, its a story about Arthur, so the version of the world we made for him was both something that reflected him and maybe, in a weird way, came out of him.
Transforming a corner of the Bronx that was urine-covered and garbage-coveredincluding the instantly iconic set of steps Joker dances downinto a place now regularly visited by buses full of tourists, Friedberg has mixed feelings.
The people who live there were happy to have us come, as a distraction to some of the hardships. Like, they have to walk up those steps every day. Now, theres bus tours going to these steps, theyre sanitized, and I got a note from [screenwriter] Scott Silver saying, Mark, you broke the Bronx. Im a little anxious about all that, Friedberg laughs. You know, the South Bronx used to be the butt of jokes. In the 70s, it was the punch line for decaying urban life, although when it was built, it was a very special place. Those stairs are a few blocks from Yankee Stadium; that block is an architectural masterpiece thats just fallen apart.
Below, the production designer further describes his take on the rough and tumble city, his initial reluctance to be a part of Joker, and what it was that ultimately sold him on the project.
DEADLINE: What excited you about the prospect of designing Joker?
MARK FRIEDBERG: I wasnt excited about it. I didnt want to do it, because without paying much attentionwithout knowing much more than who was directing itI just figured it was the next in line of whatever the next DC franchise would be.
Thats just not my world, or the kind of film that I like to seeand nothing against those films. Im not in any way looking down on them; in fact, they are the reason we still have a film industry. Its just not my taste. I had done a Spider-Man, and on that particular movie, there were so many rules of engagement, because it was part of something that had already been established, and it was really a financial cornerstone for the studio. It just didnt feel like cinema, in the way that Im used to it.
But ultimately, I was persuaded to read the script. I was friends with Emma Tillinger [Koskoff, producer], I was friends with Randy Poster, the music supervisor, and the minute I read the first five pages, I was hooked. Id proved myself wrong on every front. It was a film, it was a really strong script, and I was surprised. I kind of couldnt figure out how that could happen.
I think it took someone like Todd Phillips to make it, not just because of his talent, but because of his clout, at a place where hes been one of the most successful directors, and it was clear in our meeting that he was going for it. He wasnt hedging; he wasnt trying to make a popular film. He was trying to make a good film, and in fact, willing to risk it not being popular, to make it true to an idea.
That hooked me, and the irony is, for being a rather big studio film, it was, in a way, more independent than some of my favorite independent films that Ive gotten to work on. Zero interference from the studio, zero concern for anything beyond adherence to the credo that we established. So, I was in.
And it was hard. Its tough material; its not the worlds most uplifting story. Obviously, we got criticized early on. I feel like maybe whoever that was misunderstood our intentions, but it was like throwing a live grenade around the room. Its intense stuff, and I think thats partly why its been successful. Its not so often that cinema on this level, with these kinds of stakes, does take these kinds of risks, and does challenge the audience in this wayand the audience has proved that they not only are up to the challenge, but that they are interested or identify with these themes.
And, you know, its not a didactic story. Were not saying what the outcome is; were not even saying what happened, really. You could interpret this story a lot of different ways. But its a tough story about a tough world, and by the way, open the window, look outside. Its a tough world out there.
DEADLINE: What was the location scouting process like? What informed your choices, as far as environments that would define this films version of Gotham?
FRIEDBERG: We looked a long time, to map out our Gotham. Obviously, where Arthur lived was a key element in all of that, the location we returned to the most. It says a lot about him, because its where he gets to be. But we looked long and hard. We looked at public housing, city projects, many of the tougher neighborhoods, of which there are less and less, as the city gentrifies, and everybodys pushed somewhere else. Where all those people are going is somewhat of a curiosity, but it aint happened in the South Bronx just yet.
Ultimately, we chose that area partly because it was very New York, but not something you think about, when you think about New York. I think that was the Gotham we were trying to make. Clearly, Gothams always related to New York, but we were trying to make some version of a mythologized city. We were also interested in the fact that even though thats where he lived, Arthur is kind of homeless. He doesnt have a room there; hes sleeping on the couch. He may be in and out of institutions.
In a weird way, his home is the streets. He spends a lot of time out there, whether its working on the street, riding subways around, or buses. Also, his journey home is just arduous. Everything bears down on Arthur. The citys falling down, people are punching him. Theres always trains over his head, garbage he has to navigate, and the stairs added the obvious stage for Joker to become Joker. Ultimately, theres many of those sets of stairs in the Bronx. We chose the Shakespeare Avenue stairs because it was right next to the place that we chose to be the exterior of his residence.
The movie was shot all over the city. We shot in Chinatown, in Harlem, in Midtown, in Brooklyn, and in Newark, New Jersey. As much as you want to talk about how this is New York, its New York area, East Coast urban. But Gotham Square, in the beginning, and the big riot at the end, that was all shot on Market Street in Newark.
Todd is a very hands-on as a director, and was adamant that the process of prep started way early. I had a lot of prep, when I was the only guy on the movie with a couple of scouts, and we drove and drove. We looked at New York for months and months before prep even started.
I used to have a class that I taught called My Best Design Tool Is My Carand it is, in a lot of ways. Because as much as we can sit at a drawing board and invent a world, that assumes that I know everything that I want to make. But the process of scouting is a process of discovery, and its not just discovering places. Its discovering the world of the story. That time in the car is really when things congealed.
DEADLINE: How did you approach designing the set of The Murray Franklin Show?
FRIEDBERG: Well, it wasnt just the set that we built. The stage we shot in was brand new, and we wanted it to be not just the thing that you saw on TV, but the thing that you saw when you were in the audience, or when you were backstage. So, we built an old stage inside the new stage, and dressing rooms and corridors. There was actually a lot more that we made than what was ultimately in the cut; you could have walked from Arthurs dressing room all the way out to the stage. There was a dressing room for Murray himself, where actually De Niro hung out when he was off camera, and then there was the design of that set, which was as important as any in the movie.
That went through some fits and starts. It started as a more regional talk show, more like a Joe Franklin Show, and it evolved into more of a national, classic talk show look. The curtains were the only other burst of color beside the clown-ness of him, [evoking] a kind of vibrance for him, when hes in that Joker state. But also, for me, the set offered a chance to have a backdrop of Gotham City, which was a big part of that set, the mural that you see through the window. And boy, did we labor over that. It was really science that got us there, as well as arta lot of variations in the design, a lot of models, a lot of testing of colors.
DEADLINE: On Joker, you also shot on real subway cars from the 70s and 80s. Hauled out of the New York City Transit Museum, these were placed on New York transit lines, and operated by MTA personnel.
FRIEDBERG: Heres to the MTA for being extraordinarily cooperative with us. They gave us a lot more help than they had to, and broke some of their own regulations to let us get shots we wanted, although they do have a lot of regulationsone of which is No graffiti, another of which is No traveling between cars. So, those were tricky things that we had to figure out how to do.
The ride at the end was shot practically, but the scene with the Wall Street guys was shot on stage. That car was not from the museum, but it was from a collectora guy I knew, a car I used once before that we completely changed. We had to make it look more like the one or two old cars we could get from the MTA that we used in other moments, just to make the connection. The car on stage, we were able to graffiti, and then we put these giant video walls on either side of it, so what you see out the window was live plates that we shot.
It was a big, complicated set. One of the things I think we did well, though, was to knit the stage world and the real world, where its hard to tell what we did where. I really wanted the film to feel docu stylelike we were out on the streets, alwaysand its hard to tell that that scene was all shot on a stage.
Posted: at 11:49 pm
"Adams Run" is a video opera composed by Ruby Fulton and produced by Rhymes with Opera. Baynard Woods, a former Charleston City Paper columnist, wrote the libretto, which is set in the Colleton County town of Adams Run. The story, set in the near future where the climate crisis is the only topic, centers around Billy Noble, an environmentally minded televangelist with a reality show about building an ecological ark for his flock, and Julie Shore, an existentialist weather woman who mocks our inability to act in the face of planetary change with gallows humor. They have the two most popular shows on TV and when Shore goes to Adams Run to cover Noble's ark, they fall in love. The following scenes open the film (which is available on Amazon Prime) by cross-cutting scenes from both of the shows.
It's July 29th, 2020 and I'm Julie Shore, the Existentialist Weather Woman
It is snowing in Los Angeles
At twentynine degrees
Connecticut is burning,
And it is the wrath of the Lord
that brings these end times upon
us. We have not shepherded his
Earth and his Oceans and his seas
Today marks the eighth straight
year of severe drought in the Mid
and South West
And the Dust is blowing
JULIE SHORE AND BILLY NOBLE
So long it's been good to know you/
so long it's been good to know you/
so long it's been good to know you/
this dusty old dust is driving me
home/ and I've got to be drifting
And it is the wrath of a righteous
God Just as it was in the days of
In the City of Baltimore today, the
mayor and City Council finally agreed
on the forceful and permanent
evacuation of the historic Fells
And that is why we are here today And
henceforth on the Rev. Billy Noble
Baltimore is now the fifth city to
take such drastic action against
at the Ark, our environmental retreat
In the town of Adams Run, SC
The story the people down the road
On Edisto island used to say
Is that Edisto was Eden and Adams Run
was where Adam stopped
the first night after the expulsion from the Garden
Eight other cities, including New
York City, are contemplating similar
It is an especially fraught issue
in New York, where 232 people died
last week when a subway line flooded:
Still no word whether they
drowned or were electrocuted.
And so we, sinners expelled from our cities-
You heard about the flooded subway
in New York last week, no doubt,
We have come back to this spot, the
first dark night after the
realization of our sin to rebegin
again; to build an ark for the righteous
to claim our birthright
not only as the children of Adam
But also of Noah, for the Lord hath
so ordered to live in harmony with
the Earth and on this ark create a
new covenant with the Lord and the
Meanwhile, in South Carolina where
two super tornados coming from
different directions collided into
the state capital in what one
spectator described as two
Godzillas having rough sex
Citizens, led by the famous Rev.
Billy Noble are claiming the end
times and declaring the weather
acts of God
And surely some of you, even those
amongst us here as soon as you turn
off our show flip through the DVR
to the Existentialist Weather Woman
The top show on the TV. And I
understand, I too have watched the
fetching young woman as she makes
light of the only topic that now
matters Infecting our country with
European nihilism and gallows'
Even if God is not dead it is now
Posted: at 11:48 pm
2019 has been one of the biggest years in heavy music in recent memory, with heavyweights such as Tool, Slipknot and Rammstein dropping long-awaited new albums, while trailblazing up-and-comers pushed boundaries in their own right. For their part, industrialized hardcore outfitHarm's Wayreleased the remix EPPSTHMN, which reimagined cuts off their excellent2018 album, Posthuman, and toured relentlessly in support of both. When we we asked vocalist James Pligge to share some his favorite music from the year, he came back with a group effort."Because we are always in a van together we usually all consume music as a band, I decided to get a collaborative list of all Harm's Way's favorite albums of 2019," the vocalist responded."This list is in no particular order and is just some records we really enjoyed at home and on the road in 2019."
Probably one of the biggest records to come from the hardcore and metal world this year was A Different Shade of Blue. This record is very catchy and heavy and offers a combination of Nineties hardcore and modern metalcore. I think it has created a movement in which many people from different musical backgrounds can get behind. Its impact on heavy music and well-constructed metallic hardcore makes it one of the best heavy records of 2019.
I have always been a fan of Division of Mind from Richmond and this LP is no different. This record is just a perfect combination of truly angry music with d-beat and mosh parts. It reminds me of a heavier Left for Dead or the Swarm. One thing that always resonates with me is vocalists that are able to convey their hatred or anger through the vocals of a record, and I think this record is able to do that very well.
This record reminds me of some of the early 2000s Western Massachusetts bands like Think I Care. As a person who got really into hardcore in the early 2000s, this record is almost nostalgic-like to me. I just really enjoy the combination of well-done fast parts and heavily distorted breakdowns, and it was a pleasure to hear these songs live night in and night out on our tour together in August.
I came across this from a fellow Hate Force member. Finding death metal that is new and interesting can sometimes be a challenge, but Vomit Forth was able to keep my attention. In my opinion, this album sounds like a combination of old Dying Fetus, Suffocation and Devourment, but less technical. At times it also remind me of Internal Bleeding, especially with the heavier breakdowns mixed with the traditional death-metal parts. Lucky for them, that style of deathmetal is one of my favorites, and this record really stands apart from a lot of the monotony that is out there.
If you offered me a million dollars to pronounce this band's name correctly, I would most definitely fail. I really enjoy slow, Neanderthal-like deathmetal, and this band does this extremely well. Although this record is only four songs, I think it's truly one of the best death-metal records I have heard in a long time. If you like slower death metal with d-beat parts and sludgy breakdowns like Disma, you should most certainly check this record out on Bandcamp.
See the original post:
Posted: at 11:46 pm
By Stephen Mack, Associate Editor, Money Morning December 24, 2019
Cloud computing is one of the most profitable niches in the tech industry.
It's the primary driver of earnings growth for both Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Microsoft Inc. (NASDAQ: MSFT). Those stocks are up 53% and 81% in the past two years, respectively.
Some pure-play cloud computing stocks have performed even better
First Trust Cloud Computing ETF (NASDAQ: SKYY), which includes a broad range of companies in the cloud computing segment, has grown 106% over the last five years. That's double the gain of the S&P 500 in that time.
And Gartner Group estimated that $111 billion in IT spending shifted to the cloud in 2016. And that figure is expected to be $216 billion by 2020. That's a 95% jump in four years.
In other words, even an average pick in this space is likely to give you strong returns.
But we can do a lot better than average.
The cloud computing stock we're bringing you today doesn't just benefit from tech. It also taps into the $1.2 trillion pharmaceutical industry.
This is an industry that can be enormously profitable. EvaluatePharma expects 10 drugs launched this year will reach billion-dollar annual sales.
But it's also hit-or-miss. Only about one in 10 drugs in development make it to market, according to Biotechnology Innovation Organization.
Getting a drug to market typically takes about 12 years and $1 billion.
When you factor in all the failures, though, the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development found that the cost balloons to $2.5 billion.
No wonder prescription drug costs are through the roof.
That's where our cloud computing stock comes in.
This company specializes in providing Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions to the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries.
The result is increased efficiency and faster development times. In some cases, drug makers have more than doubled their productivity through cloud-based products.
In other words, more drugs are making it to market quicker at a lower cost.
But you don't need to be a patient to benefit from this productivity. If you pick up this cloud computing stock today, Money Morning Defense and Tech Specialist Michael Robinson says you could double your money in three years or less.
And that's a conservative estimate, he stresses.
Join the conversation. Click here to jump to comments
About the Author
Stephen Mack has been writing about economics and finance since 2011. He contributed material for the best-selling books Aftershock and The Aftershock Investor. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.
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Posted: at 11:46 pm
RALEIGH, N.C., Dec. 19, 2019 Red Hat, Inc., the worlds leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Computer and Network Systems hasawarded a grantto a research team from Boston University, Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) to help fund the development of a national cloud testbed for research and development of new cloud computing platforms.
By providing capabilities that currently are only available to researchers within a few large commercial cloud providers, the new testbed will allow diverse communities to exploit these technologies, thus democratizing cloud-computing research and allowing increased collaboration between the research and open-source communities, said Michael Zink, Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst.
The testbed, known as the Open Cloud Testbed, will integrate capabilities previously developed for the CloudLab testbed into the Massachusetts Open Cloud (MOC), a production cloud developed collaboratively by academia, government, and industry through a partnership anchored at Boston Universitys Hariri Institute for Computing. As a founding industry partner andlong-time collaboratoron the MOC project, Red Hat will work with Northeastern University and UMass, as well as other government and industry collaborators, to build the national testbed on Red Hats open hybrid cloud technologies.
Testbeds such as the one being constructed by the research team, are critical for enabling new cloud technologies and making the services they provide more efficient and accessible to a wider range of scientists focusing on research in computer systems and other sciences.
By combining open source technologies and a production cloud enhanced with programmable hardware through field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), the project aims to close a gap in computing capabilities currently available to researchers. As a result, the testbed is expected to help accelerate innovation by enabling greater scale and increased collaboration between research teams and open source communities. Red Hat researchers plan to contribute to active research in the testbed, including a wide range of projects on FPGA hardware tools, middleware, operating systems and security.
Beyond this, the project also aims to identify, attract, educate and retain the next generation of researchers in this field and accelerate technology transfer from academic research to practical use via collaboration with industry partners such as Red Hat.
Since its launch in 2014, Red Hat has served as a core partner of the MOC, which brings together talent and technologies from various academic, government, non-profit, and industry organizations to collaboratively create an open, production-grade public cloud suitable for cutting-edge research and development. The MOCs open cloud stack is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Red Hat OpenShift.
Beyond creating the national testbed, the grant will alsoextend Red Hats collaboration with Boston University researchersto develop self-service capabilities for the MOCs cloud resources. For example, via contributions to the OpenStack bare metal provisioning program (Ironic), the collaboration aims to produce production quality Elastic Secure Infrastructure (ESI) software, a key piece to enabling more flexible and secure resource sharing between different datacenter clusters. And by sharing new developments that enable moving resources between bare metal machines and Red Hat OpenStack or Kubernetes clusters in open source communities such as Ironic or Ansible, Red Hat and the MOCs researchers are helping to advance technology well beyond the Open Cloud Testbed.
This testbed will help accelerate innovation in cloud technologies, technologies affecting almost all of computing today, said Michael Zink, associate professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), University of Massachusetts Amherst. By providing capabilities that currently are only available to researchers within a few large commercial cloud providers, the new testbed will allow diverse communities to exploit these technologies, thus democratizing cloud-computing research and allowing increased collaboration between the research and open-source communities. We look forward to continuing the collaboration in MOC to see what we can accomplish with the testbed.
About Red Hat
Red Hatis the worlds leading provider of enterprise open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to deliver reliable and high-performing Linux, hybrid cloud, container, and Kubernetes technologies. Red Hat helps customers integrate new and existing IT applications, develop cloud-native applications, standardize on our industry-leading operating system, and automate, secure, and manage complex environments.Award-winningsupport, training, and consulting services make Red Hat atrusted adviser to the Fortune 500. As a strategic partner to cloud providers, system integrators, application vendors, customers, and open source communities, Red Hat can help organizations prepare for the digital future.
Source: Red Hat
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Posted: at 11:46 pm
The hybrid cloud concept is based on the notion of making public and private clouds co-exist, thereby allowing companies to maximize the benefits of both public and private cloud environments. In hybrid cloud computing, IT resources are deployed and managed through a combination of on-premise and third-party cloud computing services.
Notably, hybrid cloud has been one of the most-talked about concept within the cloud computing space. According to an insight from GlobalData, during the third quarter of 2019, hybrid cloud garnered the highest percentage of Twitter mentions in discussions among cloud computing experts. Notably, this was closely followed by multi cloud.
According to IDC, the key features of hybrid cloud are protection, security and compliance, integration and orchestration, and data location optimization.
Speaking of security, hybrid cloud allows organization to choose dedicated servers or network devices that can facilitate isolation of data and ensure better control over critical operations. Although the hybrid cloud isnt faster than a multi-cloud or a public cloud environment, it does however enable network optimization to minimize latency.
Scalability is another advantage as hybrid computing makes use of the public cloud platform. Notably, public cloud resources facilitate development of new applications and can run powerful analytics programs that are beyond the capacity of small organizations.
Hybrid Cloud to Gain Momentum in 2020
Per a TechTarget report, although hybrid cloud has been a popular trend in the cloud computing in the past few years, 2019 witnessed key changes as to how the platform was marketed and sold.
Moreover, hybrid computing is likely to be widely adopted during 2020 as interoperability between cloud systems and private networks take center stage. Further, widespread adoption of AI, ML, IoT and need of high capacity storage is driving the demand of hybrid cloud.
In fact, according to IDC, more than 90% of enterprise IT organizations will commit to multi-cloud architectures. Moreover, 70% of enterprises will integrate their public and private clouds by adhering to hybrid and multi-cloud management technologies, tools, and processes by 2022.
Focus on Top Hybrid Cloud Players
Microsoft MSFT is a dominant hybrid cloud solutions provider. The company is a pioneer in delivering a consistent private cloud experience using Azure Stack, enabling enterprises to build innovative hybrid cloud solutions. You can see the complete list of todays Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
In November, Microsoft introduced Azure Arc, which extends Azure management tools to on-premises and cloud platforms beyond Azure.
Microsoft currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and a long-term earnings growth rate of 11.9%.
Intel INTC is investing heavily in hybrid cloud development to ease workloads for client companies. The company is working closely with other industry leaders to accelerate cloud computing solutions and innovations such as Xeon Scalable processor platform, Optane technology, and Omni-Path Architecture.
The company is also extending virtualization from individual servers to the data centers via SDI, enabling a critical on-ramp for scalable hybrid clouds.
Intel currently has a Zacks Rank # 2 and a long-term earnings growth rate of 7.5%.
Intel and Alphabets GOOGL Google Cloud deal in April 2019, in a bid to accelerate deployment of applications on hybrid cloud and on-premise infrastructure, is worth noting. The deal has enabled the development of Anthos reference design by utilizing Intels 2nd-Generation XeonScalable processors.
Markedly, Alphabets acquisition of CloudSimple in November 2019, is another significant step toward bolstering Google Clouds presence in the hybrid space. The company currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and a long-term earnings growth rate of 16.7%.
Amazon AMZN has been a crucial hybrid cloud solutions provider in some way or the other, since the inception of AWS. Markedly, AWS recently made Outposts, a managed service that puts AWS-built server racks integrated with AWS software inside customer data centers, generally available.
Amazon currently has a Zacks Rank #3 and a long-term earnings growth rate of 16.7%.
International Business Machines Corporation IBM has also been taking steps to adhere to the hybrid-shift. Through its Cloud Pak for Security feature, IBM is facilitating locking of data speed and applications across multiple private and public clouds and on-premises locations.
Markedly, the companys acquisition of Red Hat in 2018 is considered by some industry experts to be an important move considering its strategy to shift to hybrid cloud. In fact, IBMs Cloud Paks are bundles of Red Hats Kubernetes-based OpenShift container platform along with Red Hat Linux and a variety of connecting technologies.
IBM currently has a Zacks Rank #3 and a long-term earnings growth rate of 5%.
Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2020
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Amazon’s second act, Microsoft’s revival and red-hot IPOs highlighted the decade of the cloud – CNBC
Posted: at 11:46 pm
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff in 2014.
There were a lot of tech trends in the 2010s, from mobile computing and web-delivered content to the technology-powered gig economy. But no story was more powerful and pervasive than the emergence of the cloud.
Dropbox and Slack became household names during the past decade, Salesforce gained enterprise ubiquity, and Microsoft and Adobe revitalized their businesses by shifting from packaged software to cloud-based subscriptions, lifting their stock prices to record highs.
Formerly a side project, Amazon Web Services now generates $35 billion in annual revenue by allowing clients to offload their storage and computing needs to a third party, while ServiceNow, whose technology helps IT managers improve productivity, joined the S&P 500 last month after its market cap topped $50 billion.
In the past, companies, schools and government agencies operated their own data centers and bought expensive licenses to use software on their equipment, adding in hefty maintenance and update fees. The cloud changed all that, switching the applications that employees use every day as well as all the underlying databases, servers and communications equipment into services that can be delivered remotely to a host of devices over powerful networks. Customer service was upgraded, with a focus on user feedback, to keep clients from quitting their subscriptions and moving to rivals.
For investors, the paradigm shift presented an opportunity to put money into older companies positioned to make the transition, as well as a whole new crop of start-ups poised to take market share from the legacy providers. Slack, Twilio, Zoom and Okta were all founded in 2008 or later and are each now valued at over $10 billion on the public market. A bunch more are in the $5 billion range, and more still are filling up the IPO pipeline for 2020 and beyond.
Brad Gerstner, founder of Altimeter Capital, counts Salesforce as one of his top holdings and was a venture investor in Okta and Twilio. In a TV interview this month alongside Okta co-founder Frederic Kerrest, Gerstner told CNBC that the big bet has paid off.
"It really comes down to something that we talked about nearly a decade ago," said Gerstner, whose firm oversees more than $5 billion in assets, referring to his initial conversations with Okta. "We have a once in probably our lifetime rearchitecture of the entire enterprise stack into the cloud."
According to Synergy Research, 2019 revenue from enterprise software-as-a-service (SaaS) will exceed $100 billion, up from less than $4 billion in 2009. Adding up all layers of the stack, from the underlying infrastructure to the applications, IT service firm Gartner says cloud revenue will end the year at $214.3 billion, jumping to $331.2 billion by 2022.
In a $3.7 trillion global IT market with low single-digit expansion, annual cloud growth of greater than 15% is leading investors to bid up the cloud standouts in both the public and private markets.
If you're looking for the poster child of the cloud evolution, you may find it on the outskirts of Seattle.
In 2014, facing sluggish growth and disappointing investor returns, Microsoft turned to Satya Nadella to succeed Steve Ballmer as CEO, the first change at the top in 14 years. Nadella, who had previously run Microsoft's cloud and enterprise group, told employees on day one of his tenure, "Our job is to ensure that Microsoft thrives in a mobile and cloud-first world."
Weeks later Nadella announced that Office apps were coming to Apple iPads, giving customers more flexibility and showing that it was a new day at Microsoft. Office 365, the cloud version of Microsoft's flagship product, was launched in 2011, but the Apple integration was critical in bringing Word, Excel, PowerPoint and SharePoint to people who were choosing a competitor's hardware.
By 2017, commercial revenue for Office 365 had exceeded Office license revenue.
"I think the biggest event of the decade was Microsoft launching Office 365," said Todd McKinnon, CEO and co-founder of Okta who previously spent five years at Salesforce. "It was very clear that the largest software company in the world is saying, 'Cloud is good, Cloud will work, Cloud is sanctioned.' It changed the mindset of the IT industry."
Okta Conference hosts Facebook VP of Platform Partnerships Sean Ryan, Slack VP of Product April Underwood, Okta CEO Todd McKinnon, Box CEO Aaron Levie Zoom, and CEO Eric Yuan and moderator Brad Stone
Source: Harriet Taylor
McKinnon saw the movement firsthand. His company provides identity management software so businesses can securely control all of the cloud applications that employees are using.
"Companies of every size and every industry that we'd been having conversations with for years came back to us and said, 'This is real, this is happening, we need a real identity story,'" McKinnon said.
Meanwhile, Microsoft was also building Azure, its cloud infrastructure service that would eventually become the clear No. 2 to AWS, attracting as customers large retailers, health-care providers, banks and the U.S. Department of Defense along the way. Microsoft doesn't disclose Azure revenue, but it does report growth, which reached 59% in the third quarter.
Since the end of 2009, Microsoft's stock has jumped 417%, beating the S&P 500's 189% gain. This year it became the third company to reach a $1 trillion market capitalization.
Amazon isn't far behind at $889 billion, as of Monday's close. Much of Amazon's 1,233% stock surge over the last decade can be attributed to AWS, which in the latest quarter accounted for 71% of its parent company's operating income and 13% of revenue. Analysts at Jefferies said in a November report that AWS could be worth about 40% of the company's market cap, and the unit has gotten so big that it's now reportedly attracting antitrust scrutiny.
Salesforce, the company most synonymous with SaaS, has also taken advantage of investments made by the infrastructure players. In 2016, Salesforce said it would use AWS to expand its Sales Cloud and Service Cloud internationally and has since announced plans to use some services from Google and Microsoft's cloud.
While Salesforce is the biggest company that was born in the cloud, Adobe is the largest software maker to transition the majority of its business to the new model. Investors have rewarded the company, pushing the stock up ninefold since the beginning of the decade.
In 2009, subscriptions represented 3% of revenue. Two years later, Adobe introduced Creative Cloud, ushering in monthly and annual plans for access to apps like PhotoShop, along with cloud storage. Now, subscriptions account for about 90% of sales, and the company is growing at rates not seen since 1991.
"What we were able to do in terms of moving to this new way of delivering software was unshackle our product teams from the burdens of delivering products every 12 or 18 months and they could deliver at the pace at which they could innovate," CEO Shantanu Narayen said at Adobe's financial analyst meeting in November. "We were able to attract new customers to the platform, we were able to price these products globally differently."
Autodesk was founded in 1982, just like Adobe. It's undertaken a similar endeavor, moving its popular design and architecture software to the cloud. Carl Bass, Autodesk's CEO from 2006 to 2017, said in 2013 that the company "can get pretty close to subscriptions being the vast majority of our business."
He was proven right. In the most recent quarter, subscriptions accounted for 85% of sales, pushing total revenue up 28% from a year earlier. The stock has gained 620% since the end of 2009.
As Microsoft, Adobe and Autodesk were revamping their businesses, new venture-backed SaaS vendors were popping up by the month, unbundling the old software suites with targeted applications and solutions. The attrition rate has been high, but there are notable successes.
Videoconferencing company Zoom, which went public this year, reported revenue growth of 85% in the most recent quarter to $166.6 million. Twilio, a provider of communications infrastructure that went public in 2016, generated growth of 75% to $295.1 million in the third quarter. Newly public companies Elastic, Smartsheet and Coupa each reported growth in excess of 50%.
They're among the top performers in the BVP Nasdaq Emerging Cloud Index, a group of public companies that get most of their revenue from cloud products and services. Venture capital firm Bessemer Venture Partners launched the index in 2013 to bring more attention to cloud companies and provide metrics so private cloud companies could better understand public markets.
The index has risen 458% since it was formed, topping the Nasdaq's 146% jump over that stretch. In September, asset manager WisdomTree launched the WisdomTree Cloud Computing Fund, making it possible for people to bet on the group.
"We'd get tweets every week of, 'How can I trade this? How can I trade this?'" said Byron Deeter, who invests in cloud at Bessemer and sits on Twilio's board.
Rob Bernshteyn, CEO of Coupa, has been tracking cloud software since its infancy. While working at Siebel Systems in the early 2000s, he met Salesforce co-founder Marc Benioff and was skeptical of whether the company could provide cloud-based technology for many different purposes without extensive customization, even though Salesforce was already winning deals against Siebel.
"It wasn't really definitively clear to me that it could really work," Bernshteyn said in an interview at Coupa's Silicon Valley headquarters, where the server closets are filled with beanbags that employees use as chairs.
Over time, Bernshteyn said Salesforce fixed its technical issues. He considered joining the company but went to a younger cloud software provider called SuccessFactors, which was later acquired by SAP.
Bernshteyn left in 2009, in the middle of the financial crisis, and joined a small start-up that was helping companies track their spending to make sure they weren't being fleeced by vendors. That company, Coupa, is now worth over $9 billion and generating revenue of over $100 million a quarter.
But not all cloud stocks have delivered for investors.
Dropbox is 15% below its IPO price from 2018. Growth at the one-time venture darling has slowed amid competition from Google and Microsoft in the cloud storage and collaboration market.
Business intelligence software company Domo is up just 10% from its IPO in mid-2018 and way below where it was valued in the private markets before the offering. Yext, whose service helps businesses keep information like their addresses and hours up to date on Google and Amazon Alexa, is up 32% since its debut in 2017, underperforming the major indexes.
At 22% and 30% sales growth, respectively, Domo and Yext are expanding at a slower pace than many of their cloud counterparts, while still racking up big losses. It's a tough recipe for investors.
Yext CEO Howard Lerman is bullish on the broader sector. "Obviously at some point over the next decade, spending on cloud software will surpass licensed software," he said.
For venture investors, there's also plenty of money still to be made, assuming the public markets are on board. Deeter of Bessmer Ventures said there are 66 private cloud companies worth more than $1 billion.
"That's your future IPO pipeline," he said. "You're going to see this cloud index explode."
WATCH: Coupa CEO says there is a $50 billion addressable market in cloud expense management
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2020 vision: Y-Soft print industry predictions – Gigabit Magazine – Technology News, Magazine and Website
Posted: at 11:46 pm
2019 has been a year of profound change as organisations across the globe have recognised the importance of digital transformation. As a result, more businesses have started experimenting and deploying new smart tools and workflow solutions which in return have enabled rapid information sharing, increased productivity and automation of some of the more mundane tasks. According to Y Soft Corporation, companies have recognised how Cloud has become a crucial part of their companys print IT strategy and this transformation is set to go even further with the advent of Edge computing disrupting the print sector.
In light of this transformation, Ross Penman, Head of Global Delivery Management at Y Soft, notes the following key predictions for the year ahead:
1. Cloud and Edge computing
While cloud adoption has been around for several years now, plenty of companies still struggle to move into the cloud completely because of old legacy technology and hardware. However, in a world of increased remote and flexible working, cloud adoption will not only help companies to improve their overall productivity, but it can also help companies to improve costs and risk management.
In the next 12 months more companies will see a cloud approach as a crucial part of their business strategy. By prioritising models such as Software-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service companies can begin to consume applications without having to invest in skills to build solutions themselves from the ground up. Following on from this, more companies will also begin exploring Edge computing as part of the print setup to solve issues that Cloud can introduce, such as latency and bandwidth costs, which can, in turn, impact productivity and efficiency.
2. Green credentials
Sustainable lifestyles have become increasingly important not only for individuals but for organisations no matter how large or small they might be. Green movements such as Extinction Rebellion have created a huge political movement that has made climate change more imperative. As a result, individuals hold organisations more accountable than ever before, not only for their consumption but also for their contribution to the environment. Organisations are expected to improve their green credentials and do more to achieve energy efficiency goals. For most companies, print IT will play a huge role in this and organisations are expected to report on elements such as how many trees are used to print as well as report on their water and energy consumption. As a result, more companies will adopt automated scan workflows, which transform paper-based work processes into digital workflows, helping companies to keep track of their consumption and be more productive, while focusing on their core everyday tasks.
3. Security and identity
While security has always played a crucial role for IT staff, the huge amount of high-profile data breaches in recent years have made businesses more security-conscious than ever before. As companies continue to adopt smarter and integrated workflow solutions, the security of the entire system must be considered as a whole. Unfortunately, too often the security of the print IT is overlooked. However, print hacks such as the PiewDiePie incident showed that organisations can never play it safe.
Therefore, better collaboration between an enterprise solution provider, the MFD service provider and an organisations IT department is crucial. In addition, companies that adopt a good identity management will not only improve their overall security but will also simplify the complexity of managing multiple sets of credentials. This is especially important as more people within organisations adopt flexible and remote working.
4. Reseller and customer agility
Customers have recognised that having one integrated supplier across all their hardware and software solutions will not only reduce overall costs but also provide a smoother and much more integrated experience. It is important that resellers should look to make software that supports this demand and integrate with key manufacturers in the tech space. In addition, resellers should harness new technologies to refurbish old legacy technology rather than try to completely replace them.
5. Artificial intelligence
While many predicted at the beginning of 2019 that artificial intelligence and robotics would eliminate a huge number of jobs by 2020, there is now a consensus that the increased efficiencies delivered through these technologies could actually result in more jobs. In the next 12 months, more companies will experiment with AI and robotics to run security and quality assurance tests on software and hardware solutions. This in return will help companies to detect security attacks, programme mistakes, and viruses much more quickly in addition to providing higher quality products and services.
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Posted: at 11:46 pm
The benefits of operational efficiency and flexibility delivered by public cloud resources have encouraged todays organizations to migrate applications and data to external computing platforms located outside the perceived security of on-premises infrastructures. Many businesses are now adopting a cloud-first design approach that emphasizes elastic scalability and cost reduction above ownership and management, and, in some cases, security.
Analyzing global trends in public cloud services, Gartner has predicted that spending on these resources will increase from $182.4B in 2018 to $331.2B in 2022, with 30 percent of all new software investments being cloud native by the end of 2019.
Trusting Someone Else to Guard Your Secrets
The benefits of third-party infrastructure and applications, however, come with risks. Deploying sensitive applications and data on computing platforms that are outside of an organizations owned and managed infrastructure requires trust in the service providers hardware and software used to process, and ultimately protect, that data.
Trusting a cloud provider can be disastrous for an organization financially and reputation-wise if they are the subject of a successful cyber-attack. In its Ninth Annual Cost of Cybercrime Study, Accenture reported that in 2018 the average cost of cyber-attacks involving either a malicious insider or the execution of malicious code was $3M per year, according to participants.
One response to the problem of the trustworthiness of the cloud when it comes to data protection has been the emergence of the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE), which has led to the concept of confidential computing. Industry leaders joined together to form the Confidential Computing Consortium (CCC) in October.
The Confidential Computing Consortium looks to address the security issues around data in use, enabling encrypted data to be processed in memory without exposing it to the rest of the system. This is the first industry-wide initiative by industry leaders to address data in use, since todays encryption security approaches mostly focus on data at rest or data in transit. The work of the Confidential Computing Consortium is especially important as companies move more workloads to multiple environments, including on premises, public cloud, hybrid, and edge environments.
One of the most important technologies for addressing the problem of protecting data in use can be found in the form of secure enclaves, such as the protected memory regions established by Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX). Secure enclaves allow applications to execute securely and be enforced at the hardware level by the CPU itself. All data is encrypted in memory and decrypted only while being used inside the CPU: the data remains completely protected, even if the operating system, hypervisor or root user is compromised. With secure enclaves, data can be fully protected across its entire lifecycle at rest, in motion and in use for the first time.
Secure enclaves can offer further security benefits using a process called attestation to verify that the CPU is genuine, and that the deployed application is the correct one and hasnt been altered.
Operating in secure enclaves with attestation gives users complete confidence that code is running as intended and that data is completely protected during processing. This approach is gaining traction, for example it enables sensitive applications, including data analytics, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence, to run safely in the cloud with regulatory compliance.
Encryption is a proven approach for effective data security, particularly when protecting data at rest and data in motion. However, as discussed above, a key requirement for confidential computing, and the focus of the Confidential Computing Consortium, is protecting data in use. When an application starts to run, its data is vulnerable to a variety of attacks, including malicious insiders, root users, credential compromise, OS zero-day, and network intruders.
Runtime encryption provides deterministic security with hardware-aided memory encryption for applications to protect data in use. Through optimization of the Trusted Computing Base (TCB), it enables encrypted data to be processed in memory without exposing it to the rest of the system.
This reduces the risks to sensitive data and provides greater control and transparency for users. Runtime encryption provides complete cryptographic protection for applications by running them securely inside a TEE and defending them even from root users and physical access to the server.
Expanding the Circle of Trust
The number one concern cited by enterprises in their move to the cloud continues to be security. Confidential computing and protecting data in use gives sensitive applications a safe place that protects them from todays infrastructure attacks.
Confidential computing is critical for protecting cloud data, and it is fundamentally helping establish and expand the circle of trust in cloud computing. It creates isolated runtime environments that allow execution of sensitive applications in a protected state, keeping cloud apps and data completely secure when in use.
With secure enclaves and runtime encryption supporting confidential computing, customers know that, no matter what happens, their data remains cryptographically protected. No amount of zero-day attacks, infrastructure compromises, and even government subpoenas can compromise the data. Confidential computing expands the deterministic security needed for the most sensitive cloud applications, at the performance level demanded by modern Internet-scale applications.
A Secure Cloud Future
As Gartner has reported, businesses are migrating their sensitive data and applications to public cloud services, a practice that saves them from ownership and maintenance of infrastructure that will inevitably be obsolete in the future.
Leading technology providers have recognized that confidential computing provides a security model ready to address the problems of untrusted hardware and software that have hampered this transition to the cloud.
With a growing number of use cases, and interest and deployments surging, confidential computing environments will be relied on to protect data in growing areas such as industry 4.0, digital health, the Internet of Things (IoT), and federated machine learning systems.
As the Confidential Computing Consortium continues its work, individuals and businesses may at some point expect a confidential computing architecture as a prerequisite for the exchange and processing of our private data.
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