Archive for September 2006

Intel Previews Phase Change Memory

eWeek – Intel Previews Potential Replacement for Flash

Intel literally has, in hand, the first prototype of a new type of nonvolatile memory chip that its executives think could someday supplant flash memory and thus change the face of the industries such as cellular phones, music players and possibly even PCs.

Intel, as part of a lengthy joint venture with ST Microelectronics, has produced the first Phase Change Memory or PCM chips—nonvolatile memory chips that work well for both executing code and storing large amounts of data, giving it a superset of the capabilities of both flash memory and dynamic random access memory.

This means it can both execute code with performance, store larger amounts of memory and also sustain millions of read/write cycles. [Read on]

Mars Exploration Rover Mission

NASA: Mars Exploration Rover Mission

NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity has arrived at the rim of a crater approximately five times wider than a previous stadium-sized one it studied for half a year.

Initial images from the rover’s first overlook after a 21-month journey to “Victoria Crater” show rugged walls with layers of exposed rock and a floor blanketed with dunes. The far wall is approximately 800 meters (one-half mile) from the rover. [Go here for more plus pics]

Intel Touts Quad-Core Advantages

eWeek – Intel Touts Quad-Core Advantages

Intel executives laid out their strategy for migrating from dual-core chips containing two processor cores to quad-core chips containing four at the Intel Developer Forum here Sept. 26.

The chip maker promises that the chips, which will start to arrive in November, will deliver performance increases of up to 50 percent for servers and 70 percent for desktops while using about the same amount of power as the chips they will replace in high-end desktops and servers. Despite the gains, some, namely Intel’s main rival Advanced Micro Devices, have criticized the company’s approach to building its first quad chips. Intel will manufacture them by combining a pair of dual-core chips in a special package.

The approach “is focused on delivering a result in a timely way—timely is giving you a computer that you can use,” said Steve Smith, director of desktop operations at Intel, in an interview here with eWEEK. “For me as a user, what I care about is, wow, I just got a 70-percent increase in performance.” [Read on]

Intel pledges 80 cores in five years

Intel pledges 80 cores in five years | CNET News.com eyepop

“Performance matters again,” Otellini said, disclosing that the quad-core desktop processor will deliver 70 percent faster integer performance than the Core 2 Duo, and the quad-core server processor will be 50 percent faster than the Xeon 5100 introduced in June.

But the ultimate goal, as envisioned by Intel’s terascale research prototype, is to enable a trillion floating-point operations per second–a teraflop–on a single chip. Ten years ago, the ASCI Red supercomputer at Sandia National Laboratories became the first supercomputer to deliver 1 teraflop using 4,510 computing nodes.

Intel’s prototype uses 80 floating-point cores, each running at 3.16GHz, Justin Rattner, Intel’s chief technology officer, said in a speech following Otellini’s address. In order to move data in between individual cores and into memory, the company plans to use an on-chip interconnect fabric and stacked SRAM (static RAM) chips attached directly to the bottom of the chip, he said.

Intel’s work on silicon photonics, including its recent announcement of a silicon laser, could help contribute toward the core-to-core connection challenge.

Connecting chips directly to each other through tiny wires is called Through Silicon Vias, which Intel discussed in 2005. TSV will give the chip an aggregate memory bandwidth of 1 terabyte per second.

Intel, meanwhile, began to discuss replacing wires with optical technology in computers and chips in 2001 and has come out with several experimental parts for enabling lasers and optical technology to replace wires. [Entire article]

Do the Math: Will Sony Go Broke?

.:: ESH Reviews: Do the Math: Will Sony Go Broke?

From ESH; For video game players, the competition among the three game console manufacturers must seem like a Dead or Alive tournament. There’s always a winner and a loser, but someone else is always lined up for another bout with the winner.

Few tears were spilled when the No. 4 console maker, Sega, dropped out of the market a few years ago. But can you imagine if, in a year from now, there were only TWO console game makers?

Not only COULD it happen, but we’re going to tell you why it WILL happen. [Read on]

A POV on Sony and how and why they will continue to sink. Will Sony over-come and rise, or fall to its demise? corpse

Ten Most Used BitTorrent Sites Compared

comparebt.blogspot.com – Ten Most Used BitTorrent Sites Compared

Renald Ebert: “When I first began to use BitTorrent in 2004 there was little question as to which indexing site to use. Today, Suprnova is long gone and we are left with an array of diverse options. This is a comparison of today’s ten most used BitTorrent sites according to Alexa.com.”

A really good review of some great Torrent sites, check it out. crossbones

Our future Like Sci-Fi?

ars technica – Experts believe the future will be like Sci-Fi movies

In the latest study conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, over 700 technology experts were asked to evaluate an assortment of scenarios in an attempt to determine potential trends for the year 2020. With responses from representatives of the World Wide Web Consortium, ICANN, the Association of Internet Researchers, and major corporations like Google and IBM, the report reflects the perceptions of “Internet pioneers,” more than half of whom “were online before 1993.”

The highly speculative scenarios presented to respondents are all vaguely reminiscent of various themes commonly found in contemporary science fiction. From artificial intelligences dominating humanity to disgruntled Luddites engaging in violence, the poll looks more like an abandoned script by Michael Piller than a serious exploration of the future. Let’s examine some of the more colorful quandaries, and see how many of the concepts have been prominently featured in Star Trek [Read on] Humorous article, I think. grin nod

DemoFall conf

Will DemoFall Debut the Next Tivo?
SAN DIEGO—Starting Sept. 25, venture capitalists, journalists and technologists will gather here for the DemoFall conference, where almost 70 new products and services will be launched over three days.

“For each Demo and DemoFall conference, I analyze hundreds of meetings and conversations to identify the current state of the industry,” said Chris Shipley, executive producer of the DemoFall conference, in a statement. “This helps me to pinpoint the areas in which investment dollars are flowing and the best innovation is happening. The technology industry is always a wellspring of innovation, and DemoFall attendees will get a first look at the next big ideas igniting the tech economy.”

This year’s DemoFall conference will focus on mobile and wireless, products that make enterprise software more accessible, security, search, and collaboration products that allow end users to generate and share content. Sixty-seven new products will debut at the conference, including VOIP (voice over IP)-enabled videoconferencing hardware, a voice-to-messaging system and social networking sites. [Read on]

Ceramic microreactors developed

Ceramic microreactors developed for on-site hydrogen production

Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have designed and built ceramic microreactors for the on-site reforming of hydrocarbon fuels, such as propane, into hydrogen for use in fuel cells and other portable power sources.

Applications include power supplies for small appliances and laptop computers, and on-site rechargers for battery packs used by the military.

“The catalytic reforming of hydrocarbon fuels offers a nice solution to supplying hydrogen to fuel cells while avoiding safety and storage issues related to gaseous hydrogen,” said Paul Kenis, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Illinois and corresponding author of a paper accepted for publication in the journal Lab on a Chip, and posted on its Web site. [Read on]

Linux Patches (9/21)

New patches from Mandriva:

xorg-x11 (multiple flaws)

mailman (multiple flaws)

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New fixes from Debian:

alsaplayer (multiple buffer overflows)

bomberclone (multiple flaws)

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New fixes for Ubuntu:

linux-restricted-modules-2.6.15 (updates to a previous fix)

GnuTLS (signature forge)

gzip (code execution)

Linux Incompatibility List

leenooks.com – Linux Incompatibility List

The Linux Incompatibility List is an attempt to catalog and document hardware/peripherals of all kinds that do not work with the Linux operating system.

Fortunately, at this point in time, there is far, far more hardware that works without any problems with Linux, so this site aims to make Linux users aware of hardware to avoid (or if you want to be famous, hardware to write free drivers for). [Visit Site]

Googling for ATM Master Passwords

eWeek-Security: Googling for ATM Master Passwords

Using clues obtained from a YouTube video and a simple four-word Google search engine query, a criminal can find step-by-step instructions for how to hack into and take control of thousands of ATMs scattered around the United States.

Following up on a CNN report out of Virginia Beach, Va., here as a YouTube video, that a man reprogrammed an ATM at a gas station to dispense $20 bills instead of $5 bills, a New York-based security researcher did some old-fashioned online sleuthing and discovered that the operator manual for that specific model of ATM could be legally obtained in about 15 minutes.

Dave Goldsmith, founder and president of penetration testing outfit Matasano Security, in New York, did not say how he obtained the operator manual—which contains master passwords and other sensitive security information about the cash-dispensing machines—but an eWEEK investigation shows that a simple Google query will return a 102-page PDF file that provides a road map to the hack.

Goldsmith, a respected researcher who co-founded @Stake and previously led Symantec’s Security Academy, said he traced clues from the video to identify the make and model of the ATM, a Tranax Mini-Bank 1500 Series, and started an experiment to see how easy it would be to legally obtain an operator manual. [Read on]

Einstein At Least 99.95 Percent Right

ScienceDaily: General Relativity Survives Gruelling Pulsar Test: Einstein At Least 99.95 Percent Right

double pulsarAn international research team led by Prof. Michael Kramer of the University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank Observatory, UK, has used three years of observations of the “double pulsar”, a unique pair of natural stellar clocks which they discovered in 2003, to prove that Einstein’s theory of general relativity – the theory of gravity that displaced Newton’s – is correct to within a staggering 0.05%. Their results are published on the14th September in the journal Science and are based on measurements of an effect called the Shapiro Delay. [Read on]