Dealing with your data is a critical part of the Windows experience. "No, really," you ask? I know, I know. But the kinds of file operations you perform on any given day represent the bread and butter of your operating system. You drag your pictures around, copy and paste your documents to other places, maybe send a file or two over email. It's simple stuff. That's not a value judgment, just a comment about the basic functionality that everyone uses on a modern OS.
When you're ready to step out of this minor league of file management and head into the majors, you'll find a host of freeware applications waiting to hit a pitch or two. These applications take the common elements of your Windows file operations and inject them with a dose of raw energy. For example, you can customize and jack up the very process of copying files from one directory to another. You can also beat back Windows' default system for batch file renaming and instead transform a large number of files with very specific titles and extensions. You can even map out just how much space your files take up on your drive, giving you the perfect opportunity to catch up on some spring cleaning across your battered hard drive.
While these kinds of processes are a mainstay of this week's roundup, I'm also taking a look at two additional programs that pack additional functionality into your operating system as a whole. So what are you waiting for? Quit your file transfers, click the jump, and get ready for a brand new world.
Led by physicist Alex Zettl, a team of eggheads from the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory and the University of California Berkley have demonstrated a form of nanotube archival memory capable of storing memory bits for a billion years, the researchers say.
The team put together a prototype device based on a nanoscale iron particle moving along a carbon nanotube like a shuttle. It measures about 1/50,000th the width of a human hair and was created in a single step pyrolysis of ferrocene in argon at 1,000C. Technical details aside, the team says the steps it took are compatible with today's semiconductor manufacturing techniques.
The end result is a device that can be written to and read from using conventional voltages, however remains years away from practical application. Nevertheless, the promise of long-lasting data retention could be huge for large-scale archival applications in the future.
Much more info here, along with the abstract (in PDF form) here.
We often preach the importance of maintaining a good backup scheme, but when it comes to the internet, such a task would now be incredibly overwhelming. Just how much data are we talking about? According to the guardian.co.uk, enough to fill a stack of books stretching from Earth to Pluto 10 times over. Put into a different perspective, it would take one top-end iPod for every two people on the planet to back up the entire internet.
In more concrete terms, the amount of data online now sits at 487 billion gigabytes. And get this - that number is expected to double in size in the next 18 months, according to technology consultancy IDC. Compare that to in 2007, when the IDC estimated the world's digital content to be at 161 billion gigabytes.
The rapid rise in data can be largely be attributed to digital cameras, cell phones, and the social networking phenomenon.
"Devices such as camera phones, and the web 2.0 services like social networking sites have created a nation of digital hoarders," said Mike Altendorf, managing director of EMC consulting, the firm who sponsored the research.
How do we usually receive our data? In boring textual updates, be it the current time, the contents of an RSS feed, or a ton of 140-character Twitter updates. And when this information turns graphical, like an icon of a folder on our desktop to signify a grouping or combined storage location, there's no way to edit this representation with any kind of updated contextual information. How do you assign relevance or urgency to a desktop icon? You can rename it, or drag it to a different, "I remember that this corner of my Desktop is urgent" part of your screen, but that's it.
In short, there are limitations on the news feeds and data organization that we encounter on a daily basis. And that's why we turn to third-party developers to help us visualize this data and add context to our actions. More than that, data visualizations are just downright cool -- why scan an RSS feed for CNN, for example, when you can have the news drop down onto a map based on its source? Why use Google calendar when you can pretty up your desktop with a slick, visualized clock/scheduling utility?
While finding downloadable data visualizations can be tough, we've scrounged up a batch of five freeware tools to help you add more relevance, functionality, and beauty to your desktop environment. Click the link to get started!
It looks like Facebook is finally planning to capitalize on all that precious information that its 150 million users put on their profiles by creating one of the world’s largest market research databases.
“I had tons of people saying 'this could be so incredible for our business'. It takes a very long time to do a focus group, and businesses often don't have the luxury of time. I think they liked the instant responses,” stated Randi Zuckerberg, Mark’s sister and Facebook’s global markets director, regarding the possible monetization of the social networking site.
Some experts say that this move comes in the wake of a double whammy of economic troubles brought on by their failing advertising revenue and the ever-growing cost of electronic data storage.
Credit card payment processor Heartland Payment Systems, which is based in Princeton, fears that its card data might have fallen in the wrong hands. On Tuesday, it formally warned credit card holders about it and advised them to vet their card statements exhaustively and to report any abuse.
The company has revealed that its computer network was found to be infested with malware. They are nearly convinced that the cardholders’ names and numbers have been stolen. The company hasn’t divulged any technical details of the malware attack.
It seems inevitable that ISPs currently training their guns at p2p traffic will soon start fretting over video sharing websites, which are gaining in popularity and gradually conquering more internet bandwidth. November 2008 proved to be another prolific month for online video websites. According to data released by comScore Video Metrix service, there was a 34% year-over-year increase in online viewership in the US in November. A staggering 12.7 billion online videos kept online viewers riveted to their computer screens.
Google websites accounted for 40% of the total views in that month. Google obviously has its Youtube juggernaut to thank for being in the ascendancy. Youtube contributed 98% of Google’s market share. Google websites also triumphed as far as total number of viewers goes with 98 million viewers in November.
One website that has come up by leaps and bounds is Hulu, which retained the 6th spot in the high-stakes online video market in November 2008. Hulu scored a major victory over its competitors by emerging as the website with most riveting videos as the average duration of each video viewed at Hulu was 11.9 minutes – way higher than the industry average of 3.1 minutes.
AMD’s share of the processor market continues to plummet as the beleaguered chip maker is just not able to arrest the slide. AMD’s market share in the third quarter stood at 17.7 percent, down 1.1 percent from the previous quarter, according to a report by Mercury Research. AMD has ceded more than one-fourth of the market it held a year ago – its market share was 23 percent a year ago.
AMD has failed to guard its market share despite budget positioning – especially in the sub-$200 segment. AMD’s woes seem to stem from its “comparatively weaker mobile mix”. With notebooks now outselling desktops, AMD will have to quickly strengthen its notebook processor lineup, if it intends to cling onto its remaining market share.
Leading internet research firm Net Applications has revealed that many early Chrome adopters are now reverting back to Internet Explorer and Firefox. User comfort is finally overcoming the curiosity that the browser initially educed.
It was more a question of when than if: Wii sales leaping past Xbox 360’s in the U.S. The Wii has formally breached Xbox 360’s bastion by going past its US sales tally, according to the latest data from NPD. Wii is now the best-selling console in the U.S also. The month of June proved to be quite fecund for the Wii, as the headcount of US Wii owners rose by 666,000 in this month. Nintendo has sold 10.9 million units of its popular 7th generation console in the States. The month of June was great for the US videogame industry as a whole. The PS3 saw a massive increase of 94% in sales compared to the preceding month and also trounced the Xbox 360 to finish second.