Welcome to the mid-week news. Today: How Microsoft's building a bridge between on-premises hardware and cloud services, why Satya Nadella's topping a list of influential tech execs, and how Google's just served notice to Bing on app-centric search results.
TODAY ON OUR SITES
HERE'S WHAT'S NEW IN AZURE TODAY
It's tough to be an on-premises operation in the increasingly cloud-centric world. But the new announcements around Azure show how Microsoft's hoping to split the difference by making your local SQL Server installation a bridge into Azure. The preview for SQL Server 2016 features the Stretch Database, which lets admins move little-used data out to the cloud while keeping commonly-accessed data nice and close and local, is one proof of this hybrid approach.
The other example: the StorSimple 8000 Series Update 1.0. Microsoft's added support for Azure Government, as well as other cloud providers. This means the storage appliance can serve as local storage and a bridge out of other clouds and into Azure.
MICROSOFT: TURNING YOUR ANDROID PHONE INTO THE OFFICE SCANNER
With the release of the Office Lens app for Android, folks who inexplicably do not have a Windows phone yet can use their mobile devices to snap photos of whiteboards and documents, then convert those snaps into Word documents, PowerPoint presentations or searchable PDF files. All photos of documents are automatically saved to OneDrive.
WE'RE NUMBER ONE! WE'RE ALSO NUMBER THREE!
Juniper Research, a firm that provides market intelligence and forecasting on mobile and digital markets, has named Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella "the most influential executive in the technology industry." How did Nadella rank ahead of Jony Ive, Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk? Because he's dragged Microsoft's business model toward a cloud and services-driven focus.
Meanwhile, global communications company WPP and Millward Brown released their list of Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands, where Microsoft ranked #3, behind #1 Apple and #2 Google.
YOUR MOVE, BING
We reported last week on Microsoft's attempt to provide more robust search results about apps in its Bing search engine. Now, rival Google has announced the ability to index apps in its search results and provide users with direct links into those apps, and into apps users have installed on their phones. One caveat: This is only for users who search using either the official Google app or the iOS version of Chrome.
NEWS OF THE WEIRD (TECH)
If you happen to have a vintage IBM 1401 mainframe that's not earning its keep, why not use it to mine Bitcoin? Ken Shirriff's excellent tutorial on the computational effort required to mine a block of transactions and how he managed to make it work on a computer from the 1960s is both a fascinating history lesson and an excellent primer in applying computing fundamentals across disparate generations of computing hardware and software.