June Technology News Round-up

June Technology News Round-up

Did you have trouble finding the time to catch up on the latest tech news during the past couple of months? Never fear -- we've collected the top four tech headlines from the last two months and summarized them here. In this roundup of tech headlines, we've got the details of the first teraflop processor ever for desktop computers. We've also found a report of a new solid-state drive that's going to set a new standard for durability in handling data center loads -- and that's not all.

Read on to learn more!

Western Digital Announces Ultra-Durable Solid-State Drive for Data Centers

The Story: With thousands of users saving and retrieving data simultaneously, the demands placed upon data center storage devices are enormous. Traditional magnetic hard drives stopped delivering adequate performance for online storage in data centers years ago, and even current solid-state drives sometimes struggle to keep up.

The new Ultrastar SS300 from Western Digital aims to satisfy the performance demands of growing data centers while keeping long-term ownership costs down with its incredible reliability. According to Western Digital, the Ultrastar SS300 can tolerate having its full contents written over up to 10 times per day with a mean time between failure of 2.5 million hours.

Small Business Takeaway: Sadly, Western Digital doesn't plan to sell the Ultrastar SS300 directly to the public. Instead, the drive will be available only through partners selling pre-configured storage solutions. The drive is certainly likely to make any data center faster and more reliable.

Intel Introduces the New Core i9 Processor

The Story: At Computex 2017, Intel announced what may be the fastest processor ever for desktop computers: the Core i9-7980XE. The i9-7980XE features 18 cores running at a base clock speed of 3.3 GHz and a maximum Turbo Boost clock speed of 4.5 GHz. The chip requires liquid cooling and will cost $1,999 when Intel releases it later this year.

Small Business Takeaway: Intel is marketing the i9-7980XE as the ultimate processor for home enthusiasts. With more than a teraflop of performance, though, it's likely that the i9-7980XE will find homes in the computers of more than a few professionals who use their local machines for demanding tasks.

Bitcoin Startup Aims to Raise $100 Million in Funding

The Story: Numerous media outlets have reported that Coinbase -- a platform for exchanging digital currencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum -- is attempting to raise $100 million in funding based on a company valuation of $1 billion.

If successful, the funding round would be the largest ever for a startup dealing primarily in Bitcoin. Coinbase has already received more than $116 million in previous funding rounds dating back to 2012.

Small Business Takeaway: This year, the value of Bitcoin has skyrocketed from a low of $819 in January to nearly $2,500 at the time of writing. The value of Bitcoin is extremely volatile, and any business using Bitcoin as a long-term store of value takes an enormous risk.

That being said, you have little to lose by adding Bitcoin as a payment option for your customers if you don't accept it already. You may even save money -- the transaction fee for accepting a Bitcoin payment is often lower than the fee for accepting a credit card payment.

Microsoft's Cortana to Receive New Productivity Abilities

The Story: Microsoft demonstrated its vision of the future for Cortana -- the virtual assistant for Windows computers and phones -- at the Build 2017 conference in May. Microsoft plans to allow Cortana to interface with its Bot Framework, allowing consumers and businesses to create new abilities for the virtual assistant.

More impressively, Microsoft plans to give Cortana the ability to remember what you were doing on one device and continue your work -- exactly where you left off -- on virtually any other device or operating system. If you move to a device that doesn't have the application necessary to edit a particular type of document, Cortana will install the application for you.

If you're using a Windows PC, you can even use a visual timeline to see what you were doing on your devices at various points in the past. Cortana will allow you to continue your work seamlessly on Windows PCs and Windows phones along with devices running iOS and Android.

Small Business Takeaway: Microsoft has struggled to make the Windows Phone platform relevant among businesses and consumers. However, the company is well regarded for its expertise in machine learning and cloud computing.

Putting those technologies to work could help to give Cortana a leg up over Amazon's Alexa -- and allowing iOS and Android users to take advantage of Cortana's features is a wise decision.