Hashtag Trending May 15- Elon Musk names his new CEO; AWS moves to deliver “predictable pricing” for customers; Google vs. Canada

Elon Musk names his new CEO.  AWS moves to give more price certainty to companies.  Linux and other Open-Source Skills remain in demand. And what exactly does Google have against Canada?

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These top tech news stories and more for Monday, May 15th, 2023, I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada, and Tech News Day in the US.

Let’s get it over with early in the newscast. Elon Musk has named the new CEO of Twitter. What Musk has described previously as a “made up” and “meaningless” title goes to Linda Yaccarino, former chief of advertising at Comcast Corp’s NBC Universal. 

Yaccarino certainly has the experience, reportedly having spent the past few years modernizing NBC Universal’s ad business. Earlier she spent twenty years at Turner as CEO and EVP across its advertising, sales, marketing and acquisitions divisions. Turner owns and operates CNN and is owned by Warner Bros Discovery. 

She is also chair of the World Economic Forum’s Taskforce on the Future of Work and has been on a number of other prestigious boards and commissions. 

Musk has said he admired her work effort, saying “Buddy, I met my match,” referring to his own obsessive work schedule. 

She’ll need it. Yacarrino will have her work cut out for her. Twitter’s ad sales and revenue have plummeted under Musk’s leadership which has been mercurial to say the least. Some analysts attribute the losses to the fear that some brands have of what content would be next to their brands, with huge, reported increases in to put it kindly “inappropriate” messages and with losses of up to 80 per cent of Twitter staff, a real shortage of resources to clean up the mess.  

Reportedly, when the two first met, she had pressed Musk on the losses in ad revenue.

Apparently unaware of Musk’s prior comments about the irrelevance of the CEO position, Yaccarino enthusiastically tweeted that she has “long been inspired by [Musk’s] vision to create a brighter future. I’m excited to help bring this vision to Twitter and transform this business together!”

Hey, it’s better than the poop emoji that he usually send to the press.

Sources include: Reuters – 

Despite the doom and gloom of the layoffs and reductions in the big tech players, the Open-Source arena has a much more positive outlook. 

Hilary Carter, Senior Vice President of research and communications at the Linux Foundation, said this in her keynote speech at Open Source Summit North America in Vancouver, Canada: “In spite of what the headlines are saying, the facts are 57 per cent of organizations are adding workers this year.”

Those comments are supported by the data in the Linux Foundation’s “State of Tech Talent Report” for 2023.

The report has a number of positive findings. Where tech companies, even Red Hat that deals with open source, are reducing staff, many other companies are actively hiring and struggling to find top talent. Employers are focusing on newer technologies such as cloud, containers and, surprise, surprise cybersecurity and AI. 

But these companies are also making real investments in their existing staff, realizing something that the larger tech companies may find coming back to haunt them – when you need to bounce back, hiring is difficult. 

The report notes that almost one in three new hires departs within the first six months – an expensive turnover.  

It also notes real emphasis on training and upskilling existing staff with 58 per cent of employers upskilling existing employees rather than hiring consultants to fill their gaps.  And despite cost and profit pressures, 70 per cent of organizations surveyed provide training opportunities for their staff. 

Sources include:  Open-Source Jobs Report 2023  

Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced new pricing on its Aurora database aimed at delivering “predictable pricing” for customers. Public cloud providers like AWS have touted their ability to deliver on demand computing where companies pay only for the computing power and storage that they actually use. 

While that has shown some real benefits, it’s a model that’s been confusing and difficult to predict. In fact, one of the biggest complaints of companies continues to be the difficulty in predicting cloud costs.

In a recent study from Flexera, called the “State of the Cloud 2023” the number one metric for assessing progress in achieving the cloud goals was “Cost Efficiency and Savings” at 60 per cent, outstripping “Delivery and Speed of New Products/Services” by a full 15 per cent. 

When asked in the same survey as to what IT’s priorities for the cloud were, the number one priority was “Managing/Optimizing Costs of Cloud Services” at 64 per cent.  The number two priority at 61 per cent was “Decide/Advise on Apps Appropriate for Cloud” which is keenly tied to the cost issues.

AWS’s new model aims to address these concerns, at least in part. In an announcement on May 11th, AWS will offer an option where customers are not charged for individual read and write operations on their Aurora database. AWS points out that many companies have unexpected or variable peaks in activity that are seasonal or related to factors the company has not expected. 

We’ve all heard stories of companies that have launched or modified a product or offering, only to find that there was so much demand it crashed their website. While a cloud-based system can easily be adjusted to deal with some viral moments in demand, one of the reasons they are popular, this can come at a horrendous and surprising cost. 

AWS’s pricing removes one big and often unpredictable variable. 

The move comes at a time when AWS is feeling the heat as Microsoft Azure and even Google Cloud are eroding AWS’s lead.  

AWS has held a market share which until recently was greater than Azure and Google cloud combined and while they are still in the lead position having 32 per cent versus Azure’s 23 per cent, Azure has moved up by 2 per cent in the recent quarter and Google Cloud, now profitable for the first time has inched up by 1 per cent.  

Sources include: Statista, Flexera – State of the Cloud 2022 (registration required) and AWS 

Introducing StarCoder – billed as the “biggest Open-Source Large Language Model for code.”

It was developed by “BigCode” – a partnership between Hugging Face and Service Now which the partners say focuses on “creating huge programming language models ethically.”

StarCoder was developed with the help of GitHub’s openly licensed data which includes over 80 programming languages, Git commits, GitHub issues and Jupyter notebooks.

StarCoder was reportedly tested over a wide range of benchmarks including HumanEval – a widely used benchmark for Python. Again, reportedly, StarCoder was shown to be more effective than larger models like PaLM, LaMDA and LlaMA.

There are reportedly some limitations of what the model can and cannot do based on the training data used. These primarily relate to how instructions can be issued. But they can be, in words of the study, overcome. 

StarCoder is also restricted by its licensing under the OpenRAIL-M license which places restrictions on how it can be used and modified. Perhaps inspired by the earlier leak of Meta’s LlaMA code, there are tools available to look for plagiarized copies of the models.

Despite restrictions, researchers hope that this new Open Source model will be developed further, but “continue to be used for good.” 

Sources include: MarkTechPost

And finally, a couple of quick stories to finish up with. HP is taking some criticism for a new upgrade that refuses to operate the printer when third party ink cartridges are used. HP’s taken criticism for this in the past, but it appears be happening again. Not all models are affected, but read the product data carefully if you plan to use what some view as cheaper third party alternatives. 

Source: The Telegraph

The new Super Mario Brothers movie has some bootleg copies floating around the internet, but watch out. These pirate copies are being used as part of phishing campaigns and the have malware embedded in them. 

Source: Axios 

And a Canadian, a Swede and a Swiss walk into a bar. I said, bar not Bard as in Google’s Bard – it’s AI that it has stated it was released in 180 countries – but not Canada, I’m sure of that and from reports I’ve heard but not verified, not Sweden or Switzerland either.

I’m just wondering is this a coincidence – Google got raked over the coals recently in a Canadian parliamentary committee, so are we persona-non-Google? Or is it just the most amazing omission?

Is Google going to the Canadian thing and say, “sorry?”

I don’t know. But if you need me, I’ll be at my computer, downloading VPN software.   

That’s the top tech news for today.  We go to air with a daily newscast five days a week, as well as a special weekend interview with an expert on topics relevant to today’s tech news.

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I’m your host, Jim Love.  Have a marvelous Monday!

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Jim Love
Jim Love
I've been in IT and business for over 30 years. I worked my way up, literally from the mail room and I've done every job from mail clerk to CEO. Today I'm CIO and Chief Digital Officer of IT World Canada - Canada's leader in ICT publishing and digital marketing.

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