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Google dropping old Office formats, AWS beefs up super-fast data processing and more

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awsHere are the top tech news and stories of the day.

  • A startup emerges to use wireless mesh and the cloud to fight energy theft - A Canadian startup called “Awesense” is looking to cut down on energy theft. This theft can occur from people tapping directly into high-voltage wires and using the power for illicit means. The intent is for power workers to be able to see how much energy is supposed to be distributed, and what is actually distributed. This solution is a mobile one, with clampable sensors and more. Via GigaOM, more here.
  • Support for old Office formats ending soon for Google Docs users – Google Drive (Docs) is dropping .doc, .xls and .ppt formats (used in Office 97-2003). This was announced in September 2012, and will go into effect at the end of January 2013. Google will maintain support for OpenDocument formats, PDFs, plain text and JPG images. Via FierceCIO, more here.
  • Online gaming power Steam disses Windows 8, pushes Linux - Steam, rumored to be creating their own “Steam Box” for living room gaming, is now pushing against Windows 8. Steam is actually pushing users to grab Ubuntu directly from their website. As someone who has often considered making the full scale move to Linux (I’m using Android for mobile and ChromeOS for laptop), I am looking forward to the SteamBox. It will be interesting to see how many consumers (and gamers) will make the full scale move to Linux in response. Via GigaOM, more here.
  • The Microsoft Surface Pro Will Hit The U.S. And Canada On Feb. 9, Starting Price Is $899 – Microsoft’s Surface RT was released months ago, a somewhat unfinished capability. They are now releasing details on the release of Surface Pro, Februrary 9th, for $899. With Ultrabook internals, the Surface Pro is far more capable and powerful than the Surface RT, and will allow you to install standard Windows applications. The real question is how is this better than machines such as Lenovo’s Yoga laptop (or other 3rd party options?). Via TechCrunch, more here.
  • AWS beefs up cloud for super-fast data processing – Amazon is rolling out a new virtual server, their tenth option. The High-Memory Cluster Instance has 88 EC2 Compute Units of compute capacity (running on two Intel Xeon E5-2670 processors, two 120 GB solid-state drives of instance storage and 244 GB of RAM. The AWS is designed to support in-memory data processing and analytics (such as Terracotta’s BigMemory application). Via GigaOM, more here.
  • Cornell opens NYC tech campus to first class of eight students – Cornell’s new NYC tech campus is opening its first program of one-year Master of Engineering in computer science. It will be held in Google’s offices, with Monday through Thursday in classes and Friday on “Entrepreneurial Life.” This program is aimed at startup focused students a practical exercise. Via The verge, more here.

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More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.