The fastest RC cars in the world

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Video: Crysis

Friday, June 16, 2006

Hewlett-Packard is adapting fans from radio-controlled jets to relieve heat-stressed computer servers.

From Technology Review: "The computer servers that fill huge data centers are producing more heat with every new generation of processors. It's a problem that's sending engineers on a search for cooling fans that are both small enough to fit inside ever-smaller server chassis and powerful enough to dispel increasing amounts of heat. At Hewlett-Packard, they've found one answer in an unexpected place: model jet airplanes.

To cool its next generation of commercial servers, the company is using electric-ducted fans (EDFs), originally developed by model airplane hobbyists to power radio-controlled jets. Essentially propellers in a box, the fans run so fast and produce so much air pressure that they should be able to provide the cooling needs for the next several generations of HP servers, according to Wade Vinson, an engineer in the company's Industry Standard Server Group.

In an electric-ducted fan, which is the most popular form of radio-controlled jet motor, the fan's blades are placed inside a tube, or "duct." Because the blades are shorter than typical propeller blades, they spin faster, thereby creating more thrust. Furthermore, the duct reduces noise and prevents air vortices from forming around the tips of the blades -- which saps the thrust produced by traditional propellers."

Riya 2.0 On the Way; Major Strategy Shift

This is some technology that I have been waiting for. If I want to find a picture of an actress on the web, it will find it by the contents of the picture and not the filename which is useless or wrong 99% of the time. Im sure one of the big search companies will buy Riya. If they dont, they are missing out on some huge technology if they can get it to work well. This is the way image search should have been from the start. Now they need to do this for video search.

From Techcrunch:

Photo search and facial recognition site Riya (a TechCrunch sponsor) had a million photos uploaded in the first two days after launch and seven million photos uploaded in the first seven weeks. For details on the core service, see this post and listen this podcast interview with Riya founder and CEO Munjal Shah.

Next up - Riya 2.0.

It’s still a few months away from launching, but I spoke with Munjal this evening and he gave me an overview of what to expect from the service. It will be a “visual search engine” - give Riya an image and it will return image results that are similar from across the web. They’ve already begun crawling the web for images, a process that will take many months.

When it’s ready, users will be able to search on an image (the easiest way will be via a browser plugin to search right from the page containing the images). See a rug on ebay that has a pattern you like? See other rugs from across the web containing similar patterns. Riya will make money if the result you click on is from another ecommerce company - Riya pockets the referral fee.

Dating is another (if slightly creepy) use for the new Visual Search engine. See someone’s picture on MySpace that you like? Search on their photo to find single people who look similar and who have profiles up on or other dating sites. Again, Riya makes a referral fee by moving the traffic along.

The infrastructure needed to crawl the web is substantial, says Munjal, and they’ve been working to build out a new data center over the last few months.

Boeing rolls out CH-47F Chinook

"Boeing Rotorcraft Systems unveiled the first production CH-47F Chinook helicopter for the U.S. Army on June 15 in Ridley Park¸ PA. The aircraft is the first of 452 new CH-47F heavy-transport helicopters included in the U.S. Army Cargo Helicopter modernization program. The aircraft features a newly designed¸ modernized airframe and a Rockwell Collins Common Avionics Architecture System advanced digital cockpit to meet the needs of current and future warfighters."

From Boeing. Donna McGinley June 15, 2006

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Why Americans dont like soccer

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

MusicGremlin launches the Gremlin MG-1000 WiFi DAP

From Engadget:

It's a little weird that it's 2006 and we're only now seeing a major launch of a WiFi-enabled, service-driven digital audio player, but we've got to start somewhere. Say hello to MusicGremlin's Gremlin MG-1000 -- the wireless player we first wrote about just shy of two years ago. The 8GB device makes use of MusicGremlin Direct, their namesake PlaysForSure music service which is just your standard subscription-based unlimited DRMd downloads per month deal. The exciting thing, of course, is the ability to load and play back content on your Gremlin completely and entirely without a host PC; find a WiFi hotspot, connect, and browse MusicGremlin Direct's entire collection (supposedly 2 million songs strong). Alternately, you can contact friends directly through your MP3 player on their own Gremlins and send them the files you've downloaded, even set up an ad hoc WiFi network and forego hotspots entirely. The player itself, while kind of hideous, features a 2-inch QQVGA display, 802.11b, USB 2.0 with recharging, line-in, and FM receiver; unfortunately it only supports WMA and MP3, but don't doubt the functionality. If you can get past the looks, this thing works pretty seamelessly (we have a couple here we've been playing with) as far as on-the-go music downloading, and would be a fine choice for the $300 asking price (and $15 monthly subscription). Funny how in 2004 we thought by 2006 Apple would have long since been the first to launch an end-to-end DAP-based wireless music download system; and yet here we are in in 2006, and it's MusicGremlin.

Google's supercomputer

By John Markoff and Saul Hansell The New York Times:

THE DALLES, Oregon On the banks of the windswept Columbia River, Google is working on a secret weapon in its quest to dominate the next generation of Internet computing. But it is hard to keep a secret when it is as big as two football fields, with twin cooling towers protruding four stories into the sky.

The towers, looming like an information-age nuclear plant, mark the site of what may soon be one of the world's most powerful supercomputers, helping to supply the ever-greater horsepower needed to process billions of search queries a day and a growing repertory of other Internet services.

The rate at which the Google computing system has grown is as astounding as its size. In March of 2001, when the company was serving about 70 million Web page views daily, it had 8,000 computers, according to a Microsoft researcher who was given a detailed tour of one of the company's Silicon Valley computing centers. By 2003 the number had grown to 100,000.

Today even the closest Google watchers have lost precise count of how big the system is. The best guess is that Google now has more than 450,000 servers spread in at least 25 locations around the world. The company has major operations in Ireland, and is building significant facilities in China and Russia. Connecting these centers is a high- capacity data network that the company has assembled over the past few years.

Google has found that for search engines, every millisecond longer it takes to give users their results leads to lower satisfaction. So the speed of light ends up being a constraint, and the company wants to put significant processing power close to all of its users.

Scientists respond to Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth": Its B.S.

"The Inconvenient Truth" is indeed inconvenient to alarmists
By Tom Harris
Monday, June 12, 2006

"Scientists have an independent obligation to respect and present the truth as they see it," Al Gore sensibly asserts in his film "An Inconvenient Truth", showing at Cumberland 4 Cinemas in Toronto since Jun 2. With that outlook in mind, what do world climate experts actually think about the science of his movie?

Here is a small sample of the side of the debate we almost never hear:

Appearing before the Commons Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development last year, Carleton University paleoclimatologist Professor Tim Patterson testified, "There is no meaningful correlation between CO2 levels and Earth's temperature over this [geologic] time frame. In fact, when CO2 levels were over ten times higher than they are now, about 450 million years ago, the planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half billion years." Patterson asked the committee, "On the basis of this evidence, how could anyone still believe that the recent relatively small increase in CO2 levels would be the major cause of the past century's modest warming?"

Patterson concluded his testimony by explaining what his research and "hundreds of other studies" reveal: on all time scales, there is very good correlation between Earth's temperature and natural celestial phenomena such changes in the brightness of the Sun.

Dr. Boris Winterhalter, former marine researcher at the Geological Survey of Finland and professor in marine geology, University of Helsinki, takes apart Gore's dramatic display of Antarctic glaciers collapsing into the sea. "The breaking glacier wall is a normally occurring phenomenon which is due to the normal advance of a glacier," says Winterhalter. "In Antarctica the temperature is low enough to prohibit melting of the ice front, so if the ice is grounded, it has to break off in beautiful ice cascades. If the water is deep enough icebergs will form."

Dr. Wibjörn Karlén, emeritus professor, Dept. of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, Sweden, admits, "Some small areas in the Antarctic Peninsula have broken up recently, just like it has done back in time. The temperature in this part of Antarctica has increased recently, probably because of a small change in the position of the low pressure systems."

Concerning Gore's beliefs about worldwide warming, Morgan points out that, in addition to the cooling in the NW Atlantic, massive areas of cooling are found in the North and South Pacific Ocean; the whole of the Amazon Valley; the north coast of South America and the Caribbean; the eastern Mediterranean, Black Sea, Caucasus and Red Sea; New Zealand and even the Ganges Valley in India. Morgan explains, "Had the IPCC used the standard parameter for climate change (the 30 year average) and used an equal area projection, instead of the Mercator (which doubled the area of warming in Alaska, Siberia and the Antarctic Ocean) warming and cooling would have been almost in balance."

Gore's point that 200 cities and towns in the American West set all time high temperature records is also misleading according to Dr. Roy Spencer, Principal Research Scientist at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. "It is not unusual for some locations, out of the thousands of cities and towns in the U.S., to set all-time records," he says. "The actual data shows that overall, recent temperatures in the U.S. were not unusual."

Carter does not pull his punches about Gore's activism, "The man is an embarrassment to US science and its many fine practitioners, a lot of whom know (but feel unable to state publicly) that his propaganda crusade is mostly based on junk science."

A ring tone meant to fall on deaf ears

By Paul Vitello
The New York Times
Published: June 12, 2006, 7:33 AM PDT

In that old battle of the wills between young people and their keepers, the young have found a new weapon that could change the balance of power on the cell phone front: a ring tone that many adults cannot hear.

The technology, which relies on the fact that most adults gradually lose the ability to hear high-pitched sounds, was developed in Britain but has only recently spread to America--by Internet, of course.

Recently, in classes at Trinity and elsewhere, some students have begun testing the boundaries of their new technology. One place was Michelle Musorofiti's freshman honors math class at Roslyn High School on Long Island.

At Roslyn, as at most schools, cell phones must be turned off during class. But one morning last week, a high-pitched ring tone went off that set teeth on edge for anyone who could hear it. To the students' surprise, that group included their teacher.

"Whose cell phone is that?" Musorofiti demanded, demonstrating that at 28, her ears had not lost their sensitivity to strangely annoying, high-pitched though virtually inaudible tones.

"You can hear that?" one of them asked.

"Adults are not supposed to be able to hear that," said another, according to the teacher's account.

She had indeed heard that, Musorofiti said, adding, "Now turn it off."

The cell phone ring tone that she heard was the offshoot of an invention called the Mosquito, developed last year by a Welsh security company to annoy teenagers and gratify adults, not the other way around.

It was marketed as an ultrasonic teenager repellent, an ear-splitting 17-kilohertz buzzer designed to help shopkeepers disperse young people loitering in front of their stores while leaving adults unaffected.

The principle behind it is a biological reality that hearing experts refer to as presbycusis, or aging ear. While Miss Musorofiti is not likely to have it, most adults over 40 or 50 seem to have some symptoms, scientists say.

While most human communication takes place in a frequency range between 200 hertz and 8,000Hz (a hertz being the scientific unit of frequency equal to one cycle per second), most adults' ability to hear frequencies higher than that begins to deteriorate in early middle age.

F-22 scores direct hit in supersonic JDAM drop

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor, flying at Mach 1.5 at 50,000 feet during a May 5 demonstration, released a Global Positioning System-aided, 1,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munition from a range of 24 nautical miles, destroying a ground target. It was the aircraft´s fastest and highest JDAM delivery to date. A Boeing collaboration of Integrated Defense Systems and Phantom Works engineers, working with Lockheed Martin, developed the software update that enabled accurate delivery of the weapon. JDAMs are guided by a Boeing-produced kit.

Analyst: Dell Seen Using AMD Chip in Desktop PC

By Philipp Gollner, Reuters:

"Dell in March agreed to buy privately held Alienware Corp., a maker of high-end computers for video game enthusiasts. Dell may now be getting ready to offer AMD chips in lower-end desktops as AMD processors are available in some Alienware PCs and soon will be in Dell servers, Yeung said."

Copyright Reuters 2006. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Warcraft III and Google Earth on a Table

Inside The Beltway Newspapers Lying About Net Neutrality? What A Surprise. Net Neutrality: Part XII

From Techdirt:

Two separate editorials from DC newspapers both oppose net neutrality efforts -- and yet, both seem to be filled with outright lies or misleading half-truths. As we've said repeatedly, the real issue with net neutrality is that there isn't enough competition in the broadband space. If there were real competition, network neutrality wouldn't even be on the table for discussion. The Washington Post tries to get by this point by claiming that there is real competition in the broadband space, stating that 60% of all zip codes have four or more choices. Of course, reading that language, you can tell immediately that it's coming from the FCC's discredited broadband penetration numbers. The FCC counts on a per zip code basis -- so if a broadband provider offers broadband to a single house in that zip code, the entire zip code is considered covered by that provider. The General Accounting Office's own study found much, much lower broadband penetration than the FCC numbers suggest. Laying wires should represent a natural monopoly. It simply doesn't make economic sense to lay too many identical sets of wires (it would be like building many competing, privately owned, highway systems: it's wasteful) -- which is why the government went around and granted many of these firms monopoly rights of way in the first place, with the promise of creating competition within the network, rather than between networks. When true wireless systems come along, then perhaps there will be the necessary competition, but don't buy the hype that cellular wireless, WiMax or satellite broadband are anywhere near being true competitors to fiber, let alone DSL or cable. We're still probably a decade away from seeing real competition from those quarters (though, reformed spectrum allocation policy could help there as well...).

Then, the Washington Times chimes in with its own anti-network neutrality screed, saying that we shouldn't worry about network neutrality because there's no problem yet. This, of course, has been the argument that the telcos have raised for many years, just more vocally these days. As we've noted, there is some truth to this -- but that doesn't mean network neutrality issues deserve to be ignored. As some have pointed out there are plenty of "speculative" dangers that the government decides are worth paying attention to, such as potential terrorist attacks or bird flu. And, in the case of network neutrality, the executives of AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth have all stated very publicly that they would like to break the basic concepts of network neutrality, and make Google pay again for the part of the internet you already pay for. The Washington Times piece also totally mischaracterizes the debate, claiming that network neutrality means the telcos can't charge sites like Google more for the bandwidth they use. This is flat out false. The high bandwidth users online, such as Google, Yahoo, Vonage and others are already paying for their bandwidth. What the telcos are trying to get them to do is pay double for your bandwidth as well. The current network neutrality proposals in Congress are really a side issue that completely ignores the real issue (the lack of competition). It's no secret that some of the proposals in Congress have problems as well, but that doesn't mean the issue of network neutrality should be brushed aside. Of course, instead of getting any serious debate, we're getting soundbites, lies, misleading arguments, propaganda and celebrity endorsements. The whole debate, on both sides, has become a joke.

Mon, 12 Jun 2006 23:48:43 PST

Monday, June 12, 2006

Samsung launches 32 GB Flash disk for mobile computers

Wolfgang Gruener
March 21, 2006 05:07

Taipei (Taiwan) - Samsung is first to announce a Flash storage device that aims to completely replace the traditional hard drive in some mass market mobile computers. The 32 GB solid state disk (SSD) drive comes in a 1.8" form factor and reads data at more than twice the speed of hard drives. Best of all: The SSD is promised to consume 95% less power than a hard drive.

Apple's decision to replace the 1.8" hard drive with a Flash memory device in the iPod Nano last October sparked a discussion whether Flash memory could soon replace hard drives in more applications than just MP3 players. We did not have to wait for an answer very long.

Samsung said it will be offering its 1.8" NAND Flash-based SSD in the not too distant future for mass market mobile computing applications. While the SSD's capacity of 32 GB cannot compete with traditional hard drives that currently offers up to 80 GB space, it offers superior performance and power consumption features that are likely to make the device the ultimate storage solution in some applications such as ultra-mobile computers, Tablet PCs and performance notebooks.

According to Samsung, the SSD will read and write data at 57 MB/s and 32 MB/s, respectively. We will have to benchmark such a drive in our test lab to verify this claim but if correct, the Flash disk would be about twice as fast as the latest 1.8" hard drive generation, which was measured at a read speed of 24 MB/s by the engineers of Tom's Hardware. The acceleration is most likely not enough to enable instant-on computers, but we would expect Windows computers to cut the system boot time at least in half.

Pure performance is only half the story of a SSD; the drive's light weight (15g), noiseless operation and a reduced power consumption may be even more important in most mobile applications. Samsung says that the Flash disk consumes only 0.1W when not in use and just 0.5W under load. For comparison, a typical mobile hard drive consumes somewhere between 1W and 2W of power in seek, read and write processes and between 0.2W and 0.8W when idle. Samsung may be a bit optimistic that the SSD uses just 5% of the electricity needed to power a hard disk drive, but it is clear that SSD will provide a substantial additional amount of battery time in mobile devices. In a common model that assumes that a hard drive consumes about 10-20% of the battery power, the SSD could add about 20-40 minutes of operating time in a notebook that runs about 4 hours on one battery charge.

Samsung did not provide a specific introduction date of the drive, but mentioned that it would offer 32 GB SSDs "soon." There was no detailed information on how much the drive will cost.

In a statement to TG Daily, Don Barnetson, director of Flash marketing at Samsung said that "pricing of Samsung's SSDs will be market determined, based on the cost of the underlying flash components at time of shipment. The assembly cost of the SSD is very small in comparison to the flash component cost, thus we believe it to be an attractive medium for customers who choose to take their notebooks to the next level and go entirely solid state." He mentioned that Samsung "does not expect to replace 50 - 60 GB hard drives with SSDs soon, due to flash's price premium." Intstead, the company is aiming for the sub-notebook market that typically requires 8 - 16 GB capacities. In this segment, SSDs are believed to "be cost effective over the next 12 months," he said.

However, the fact that Samsung aggressively moves into the mass storage space (see: Hybrid hard drives: Can Samsung and Microsoft invent a new market for 2007?) and Flash prices are forecasted to experience sharp drops, leads us to believe that the 32 GB device announced today will be priced significantly below (commercial grade) SSDs and hit the market in a price range between $750 and $1000 when introduced.

Flash disks that are offered today are almost exclusively sold into enterprise, military and government markets and offer higher performance and often more extreme temperature ratings than Samsung's mass market SSD. One of the few 32 GB Flash disks on the market is currently sold by Silicon Systems: The device comes in a PCMCIA form-factor and is priced around $6400. Other commercial SSDs include Adtron's (2.5") Flashpak, which is available in a 4 GB version for $546 and in an 8 GB variant for $1900.

Why MTV's Urge sucks

David Berlind of Cnet has excellent opinions on Digital Rights Management (DRM) or what he likes to call Content Restriction Annulment and Protection (CRAP). He takes a look at the latest music downloading service from MTV called Urge:

"So, let's say your iRiver H320 and your Oakley Thumprs (both Microsoft DRM-compliant) are your current authorized devices but you're taking a road trip in a car that has a Microsoft DRM-compliant in-dash playback device and you want to transfer the content for the trip. So, first you have to de-authorize one of the two authorized devices (make sure you call Jasmine so she can call MTV for you). Then, you authorize your car's playback device. Then, you have to wait 30 days (well after your road trip is over) to move the content back into which ever of the other two devices you de-authorized?"

Sunday, June 11, 2006

PlayStation 2 outselling Xbox 360 in US

From Arstechnica:
"Since the release of the Xbox 360, Microsoft has averaged 246,000 console sales each month in the US, while the PS2 has seen an average of 473,000 units—a number bolstered by an estimated 1.5 million sales in December alone. Leaving out December, Sony's average drops to 302,000 per month, still outpacing the Xbox 360 by a healthy margin."