Updates on technologies, trends, and tools

SQL Server Comes to RHEL; OpenShift Comes to Azure

Red Hat and Microsoft have expanded their partnership this week by bringing some of their core technologies to each other's platforms. The two companies have worked together to support Windows Server containers natively on Red Hat OpenShift, a Kubernetes-based container application platform.

According to Red Hat, OpenShift will be the first container application platform built from the open source Kubernetes project to support both Linux and Windows container workloads in a single platform across the multiple environments of the hybrid cloud. Red Hat will offer a technology preview in 2018. Red Hat is also bringing its OpenShift and OpenShift Dedicated to Azure, Microsoft's cloud platform.

The companies also plan to collaborate on delivering enterprise performance standards and integrated support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux workloads running in Microsoft Azure Stack, an extension of Azure that brings cloud computing to on-premises environments.

The two companies are bringing .NET Core 2.0 as a container in OpenShift and Microsoft's SQL Server for Linux to Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat OpenShift.

Red Hat said in a press release that the two companies will extend the integrated, co-located Microsoft and Red Hat support to enable these new offerings across platforms.

Google Releases Machine Learning Library

The Google PAIR (People + AI Research) initiative has released an open source, WebGL-accelerated JavaScript library for machine learning. The deeplearn.js library requires no installation or back end and runs entirely in the browser.

According to the blog post by Google engineers Nikhil Thorat and Daniel Smilkov, "While web machine learning libraries have existed for years, … they have been limited to the speed of JavaScript, or have been restricted to inference rather than training (e.g. TensorFire). By contrast, deeplearn.js offers a significant speedup by exploiting WebGL to perform computations on the GPU, along with the ability to do full backpropogation." The library lets you train a convolution neural network to recognize photos and handwritten digits "all in the browser without writing a single line of code."

The deeplearn.js home page includes links to demos showing deeplearn.js at work on real-world machine learning tasks, such as classifying photos.

FDA Recalls Nearly Half a Million Pacemakers Over Security Concerns

The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning calling for a voluntary recall of over 465,000 pacemakers implanted in patients' bodies.

In a review, FDA found potential vulnerabilities in Abbott's (formerly St. Jude Medical) RF-enabled implantable cardiac pacemakers. Affected devices include Accent, Anthem, Accent MRI, Accent ST, Assurity, and Allure.

If the vulnerabilities are exploited, an attacker can gain access to a patient's device and then hurt the patient by either depleting the battery or triggering fatal pacing.

What's the fix? There is a firmware update that will patch these vulnerabilities. However, considering the nature of the device, you can't update it at home. The FDA said that the update requires an in-person patient visit with a health care provider.

The good news is that they won't have to operate on the patient to take out the device. It will be done wirelessly, and the whole process takes about three minutes.

"During this time, the device will operate in backup mode (pacing at 67 beats per minute), and essential, life-sustaining features will remain available. At the completion of the update, the device will return to its pre-update settings," FDA said in its advisory.

The firmware update was made available on August 29, 2017. All pacemakers manufactured after this date will have this update pre-loaded in the device and will not need the update.

If you or your friends and family members have pacemaker implants, please check the advisory to stay safe.

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