Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Jobs, Gates to share stage at digital conference

Jobs, Gates to share stage at digital conference

Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates have shared the spotlight for much of the past three decades. Later this year, the two tech heavyweights will share the stage during a joint appearance at an industry conference.

Both Jobs and Gates are slated to jointly discuss the digital revolution’s history and future at The Wall Street Journal’s D: All Things Digital conference. The annual gathering, which will be held May 29-31 in Carlsbad, Calif., brings together executives from the technology and media industries to discuss the trends of the day.

This isn’t the first time either Jobs or Gates have spoken at the D conference—during an appearance two years ago, Jobs revealed to attendees that iTunes would add podcasting support in a forthcoming update to the music player. But event organizers were quick to point out that the “unrehearsed, unscripted, onstage conversation” involving Jobs and Gates would mark their first joint session at this event.

Both men will have plenty to discuss. The concept of a digital hub has long been the centerpiece of Apple’s strategy, and the company has enjoyed tremendous success with its iPod music player and iTunes online store; later this month, Apple will ship Apple TV, a set-top box that delivers multimedia content from a computer to a big-screen TV. Microsoft has been busy on the digital front as well, launching its Zune music player last fall and talking up multimedia and computing during last month’s release of the Vista operating system.

In addition to his joint appearance with Gates, Jobs is scheduled to have a session of his own at the D: All Things Digital conference to talk about the latest developments at Apple. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has a session of his own at the conference.

Other speakers include Google CEO Eric Schmidt, CBS President Les Moonves, Cisco CEO John Chambers, Time CEO Ann Moore, Palm founder Jeff Hawkins, News Corp. President Peter Chernin, director George Lucas, one-time AOL CEO Steve Case, and YouTube founders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley.

The most memorable joint appearance by Jobs and Gates happened nearly a decade ago at the 1997 Macworld Expo in Boston. Gates appeared via satellite during Jobs’ keynote to announce a partnership between Microsoft and Apple.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Government agency tells schools to shun Vista

Government agency tells schools to shun Vista

In a surprise criticism of Microsoft, the government's schools computer agency has warned that deploying Vista carries too much risk and that its benefits are unclear.

Becta, the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency, said on Wednesday that it "strongly recommends" schools do not deploy Microsoft's latest operating system within the next 12 months.

And in a further dig at Microsoft, Becta argues there are no "must-have" features in Vista and that "technical, financial and organisational challenges associated with early deployment currently make this [Vista] a high-risk strategy."

Tom McMullan, a technical consultant at Becta, told ZDNet UK: "There is not a case for schools to deploy it unless it is mission-critical stable." Speaking at the BETT education trade show, McMullan added; "There are lots of incremental improvements, but there are no must-haves that justify early deployment."

Becta was similarly dismissive of Office 2007, which is being launched alongside Vista. Although it acknowledged that there are many new features in Office 2007, the agency said most of these were only useful in the private sector. Unsurprisingly, Microsoft tried to wave aside such caution.

Steve Beswick, its director of education for the UK, told ZDNet UK: "Customers should evaluate Vista and test it and decide 'Is this good for learning?' Rollout shouldn't be stopped if it aids learning."

Becta this month renewed its Memorandum of Understanding with Microsoft for another year. It gives schools discounts of between 20 percent and 37 percent on the vendor's software products. The agency has recently been attacked by MPs for its policy on open source.

view the article here

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Intel Develops Terascale Processor

Teraflops Research Chip

“Our researchers have achieved a wonderful and key milestone in terms of being able to drive multi-core and parallel computing performance forward.”
– Justin Rattner, Intel Chief Technology Officer

Advancing Multi-Core Technology into the Tera-scale Era back to top

The Teraflops Research Chip is the latest development from the Intel® Tera-scale Computing Research Program. This chip is Intel’s first silicon tera-scale research prototype. It is the first programmable chip to deliver more than one trillion floating point operations per second (1 Teraflops) of performance while consuming very little power. This research project focuses on exploring new, energy–efficient designs for future multi–core chips, as well as approaches to interconnect and core–to–core communications. The research chip implements 80 simple cores, each containing two programmable floating point engines—the most ever to be integrated on a single chip. Floating point engines are used for accurate calculations, such as for graphics as well as financial and scientific modeling. In terms of circuit design, they are more complex than integer engines, which just process instructions.

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First row left to right: 80 core teraflops research chip magnified, 80 core teraflops research wafer, Packaged Teraflops Research Chip.
Second row left to right: Packaged teraflops research chip on board, Sriram Vangal checking teraflops research chip results, Intel researchers on the Tera-scale Research Project.

Intel’s Teraflops Research Chip implements several innovations for multi-core architectures:
Rapid design – The tiled–design approach allows designers to use smaller cores that can easily be repeated across the chip. A single–core chip of this size (100 million transistors) would take roughly twice as long and twice as many people to design.
Network on a chip – In addition to the compute element, each core contains a 5–port messaging passing router. These are connected in a 2D mesh network that implement message–passing. This mesh interconnect scheme could prove much more scalable than today’s multi–core chip interconnects, allowing for better communications between the cores and delivering more processor performance.
Fine–grain power management – The individual compute engines and data routers in each core can be activated or put to sleep based on the performance required by the application a person is running. In addition, new circuit techniques give the chip world–class power efficiency—1 teraflops requires only 62W, comparable to desktop processors sold today.
And other innovations – Such as sleep transistors, mesochronous clocking, and clock gating.
Below is a summary of results from the research chip. Note that while performance gains can still be made through frequency scaling, there is a significant cost in terms of energy efficiency. This underscores the motivation to scale by utilizing more and more cores, instead of just increasing the frequency.

Frequency Voltage Power Aggregate Bandwidth Performance
3.16 GHz 0.95 V 62W 1.62 Terabits/s 1.01 Teraflops
5.1 GHz 1.2 V 175W 2.61 Terabits/s 1.63 Teraflops
5.7 GHz 1.35 V 265W 2.92 Terabits/s 1.81 Teraflops

ASCI Red was the first computer to benchmark at a teraflops (1996). That system used nearly 10,000 Pentium® Pro processors running at 200MHz and consumed 500kW of power plus an additional 500kW just to cool the room that housed it. Although not a general purpose computing device, this Teraflops Research Chip delivers 1.0 teraflops of performance and 1.6 terabits aggregate core to core communication bandwidth, while dissipating only 62W.

Bringing tera–scale computing to PCs and servers requires a new way of building processors that can be thought of as a network of powerful computers on a chip. This Teraflops Research Chip is one important example of how the Intel® Tera–scale Computing Research Program aims to change the future through constant hardware and software innovation.


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Friday, February 9, 2007

Tips on how to upgrade to Windows Vista

I came across this blog today Vuckvista.com where they offer some really helpful hints on how to upgrade to Windows Vista - the new operating system from Microsoft. The good news is that Vista does in fact load well into a shredder! Enjoy.

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Steve Jobs, The Music Industry and iTunes DRM

This week was an interesting week for Apple and Mr. Jobs. The Norweigens have criticized him and sued Apple for having a closed DRM that essentially excludes any non-ipod MP3 player from being able to play music sold via iTunes. Mr. Jobs released a statement this week saying that if the music industry were to let him, he would essentially do away with iTunes DRM (which I think is totally false because that is the very LAST thing he would want to do). The music industry responded by saying just open up FairPlay (the iTunes DRM) to the other OEM Mp3 player manufacturers instead.

My take on this was why even respond to the freaking Norwegiens at all? I mean how many people actually live there anyway? Hmmm let's take a look. According to the CIA factbook Norway has a population of 4,610,820 (July 2006 est.). That is less than half the population that lives in Los Angeles California. So why all the fuss? If I were Mr. Jobs, I would simply stop selling to Norway. Case closed.

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So then that begs the question why did Mr. Jobs even respond to this? If I were him I probably would have ignored it and said nothing. Let them have their little lawsuit and thump their chests in Norway. Big deal! But what does Mr. Jobs do but make a press statement saying that Apple would give up DRM if the music industry agrees to it. Now that was dumb. Anyone could have guessed that they would turn around and say "just open up your DRM to other manufacturers" - which of course is the very LAST thing Apple wants to do so they can protect the monopoly they have with the iPod.

The good news is that although EMI is considering dropping DRM, Warner Music made a public statement today saying that they were against it. So at least now Mr. Jobs has a legitimate excuse.

My Apple stock is still safe and sound for the time being :)

Saturday, February 3, 2007

A New Nokia Wearable Phone? Is the iPhone already facing competition?

I saw this on YouTube Today, and I wondered if this was an actual product or some cool kind of effects commercial project for some budding 3D artist. Anyway it's pretty cool!


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