Archive for the '2.0' Category

Robot News

In robot news Panasonic has developed an assistant to wash your hair. Designed for the elderly the robot will wash one’s hair in the comfort of their own home. The robot will help relieve the duties of home care workers as the population continues to age. The 16 fingered robotic fingers massage the scalp, washes, rinses, all with similar dexterity of that of human hands. Don’t expect it to come cheap. Maintenance will probably be expensive too. I bet if you fall behind in your payments an “update” will convert the machine into a collections robot will possible kill features. I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.

Robots in the home not enough for you? How robots that entertain us through sport? We already have robot wars thanks to engineers with too much time on their hands, how about robot soccer? In Australia they’ve been working on making robots to play football. Programmed to be autonomous the professor there boasts that by the year 2050 the robots will be better than human players. I’m all for it. So long as this eliminates hand balls, fake injuries, and ultimately leads to more goals. Soccer needs more goals. Way too boring to watch a 1-0 game. Get to it robots!

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Dell throws more money at 3PAR and wins

Update: What’s going on here? It’s a deal, it’s not a deal? HP has countered with a $2.4 billion offer. Oh snap! Techcrunch

Dell 1 HP 0
Looks like this bidding war went in favor of Dell. You win this time Dell (shakes fist). Dell was forced to up it’s original offer of $18 to $24.30 ($0.30/share more than HP’s). 3PAR gave Dell 3 days to come to the table with a better offer and they did not disappoint. Both Dell and HP are battling for the computer industry and expanding the range of their offerings.

So what’s so great about 3PAR? They are a data storage solutions provider. Big customers include Ask.com, MySpace.com, Priceline.com, and some government agencies. Scale-able cloud storage flexible enough for many corporations. Clearly Dell thinks it can make a cash cow out of this data storage company (who lost $3.2 million last year). In any event it looks like Dell just added 670 people to it’s workforce.

SSD Hybrid to bridge the gap

Although they tried this before with little success there’s something to be said for giving it another go. Hybrid technology can be hit and miss, who knows that this new drive will bring. Seagate is offering up a hybrid drive with SSD technology. Boasting SSD performance while attempting to keep prices reasonable.

The SATA drive (dubbed “Momentus XT”) spins at 7200 RPM, has 32MB of DDR3 cache, and 4GB of SSD capacity. This combination can result in faster applications and access to data compared to traditional hard drive technology. Actual platters should only spin 10% of the time reducing energy costs. Frequently accessed data would be stored on the SSD portion of the drive. 250 GB version is estimated to cost $113.

Updated:
A speed test compares this drive to others and the XT doesn’t come out looking so good. Performance is disappointing. Given the price drops in hard drives you should just probably stick with a pure SSD drive if you’re looking for the best performance.

Not enough storage

If you are a data whore you probably already own a NAS where you store all of your home made porn. Well this begs the question what do you do if you have a lot of porn? 2 TB NAS not good enough. 8 TB still not good enough. Heck why not build your own 16 TB NAS from scratch? All you need is some handy welding tools, 8 x 2 TB WD hard drives, ATOM N270 processor and board, and some free time to watch the video. Performance times should look something like 88MB/sec (write) and 266MB/sec (read) rivaling that of most current top end SSD’s. Enjoy!

Perhaps the DIY is not for you. Well meet the new lineup of Seagate’s GoFlex external hard drives. Basically the idea behind this is they are flexible (hence the name). Got a drive with a USB 2.0 connection and have a computer with USB 3.0? No need to buy a new drive with these drives. Simply buy the USB 3.0 adapter/cable and voila, that Seagate GoFlex magically works with whatever connection you require. eSata, Firewire, tv connection, wifi, whatever you need. Expect the other hard drive manufacturers to follow suit.

Seagate 3 TB hard drives will require new motherboards. Should be coming out later this year so hold off on buying those 1.5 TB and 2 TB drives if you can.

Keeping Servers Cool

Data centers are popping all over the country. Hundreds of servers, thousands of drives, and plenty of problems. One has to wonder how do they manage to maintain 99% uptime? For one thing, keeping the server room cool is at least part of the solution.

A simple measure that can be taken is to ensure efficient air flow. Make sure all your servers line up and that the fans are all pointed in the right direction. Intake on one side, hot air output on the other. You don’t want one server to be sucking in hot air outputted from another. If necessary add a bit of separation by hanging a barrier sheet in the center of the aisle. It allows for easy access when required but also adds a bit of airflow separation zones between hardware.

Another misconception is that server rooms are ice cold, wrong. Actually temperatures in servers rooms are set above normal room temperature. The greater the difference in temperature between the air and the server can create condensation, which you don’t want around electrical components. Ok, so that’s an exaggeration but the principle is the same. Keeping the temperature a bit warmer will save you a bit on energy costs. Don’t worry, the hardware can handle it.

Massive data storage centers can be quite costly with regular expenses on hardware and maintenance alone without worrying about energy costs so every bit counts. The more green technology we can put to use now will only benefit us in the future.

Internet > TV

I’m sure there’s a general consensus that the Internet is better than television. At least now in Canada there’s numbers to back it up. According to the report Canadians on average spend 18 hours online and a mere 17 hours watching tv. OK, so it’s not a landslide victory but it’s a bit of a reality check. Shifting trends and changing social behavior it seems has changed rapidly. We’re seeing a convergence of media forms and social and entertainment activities. But if you’re like me, you split your time between screens and multitask. Watch tv AND play on the Internet at the SAME time.

Maybe they’re on to something

I don’t know when it started but it but it’s a regular occurrence at my household. Sitting in front of the television with my netbook on my lap splitting my attention between the 2 screens and occasionally checking my phone. Apparently I’m not the only one. 60% of you are also doing the exact same thing. It can be quite handy to have the Internet at the ready when something interesting pops up on tv and you have the urge to check it out before you lose interest.

Is this the future of the consumer? Short term attention span, I mean really short term. So many things screaming for our attention and dollars that we will have our pick of entertainment by the second. Turner Sports might be on to something here. They will be offering multi platform coverage of sporting events integration of twitter, live streaming video, chat, and even mobile. Basically whenever and wherever you are, Turner Sports wants you to check out their content on the platform available to you.

I think I’m going to need more bandwidth.


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