10 billion, that’s a pretty sizeable number. For the sake of this story, let’s see that number in its natural state: 10,000,000,000.
That’s the number of images that Facebook is now hosting, according to a post by engineer Doug Beaver on Facebook’s official blog. While this number might sound like it’s lost in the crowd of other photo-sharing sites, bear in mind that Flickr only hit 2 billion photos a little less than a year ago and Photobucket’s active ticker puts them at 6.2 billion at time of press.
Beaver’s post also listed some impressive stats on the amount of photos that Facebook is now handling. “To celebrate, we got a bunch of cupcakes and handed them out to our engineering and operations groups,” he said, “One of our engineers calculated that if we had gotten one cupcake for each of our photos, and lined them up side by side, the line could reach halfway to the moon.” They’re also receiving a staggering two to three terabytes of photos per day, and their photo traffic peaks at over 300,000 images served per second.
As monumental as this is, the hardware isn’t free. Facebook reportedly borrowed $100 million in May to help cover the colossal costs of hosting all those photos, and it’s not evident that revenues will be level with server demands anytime soon.
Thermoelectric materials are common, but they’re not used as often as one would expect. This is because these materials have either been inefficient, expensive, or both. Several groups of researchers have been looking to correct this, and solve the mysteries that have been surrounding these compounds with a goal of bringing them to the world.
Mildred S. Dresselhaus is one of those looking to change the face of thermoelectric compounds. Working with her team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology she’s looking to create more efficient materials by manufacturing tiny particles or wires into them to disrupt the flow of head. These particles and wires would make the materials that are already great conductors much more competent at dispersing heat.
Professor Peidong Yang’s team at the University of California at Berkely is searching for entirely new materials. While silicon isn’t a great thermoelectric material, once you look at it in nanoscale, things change. Silicon nanowires have been shown to be one hundred times more efficient at conserving energy than bulk silicon.
Where things really start to get interesting are at the University of Århus, Risø-DTU (say that three times fast) and the University of Copenhagen where they’ve unlocked a secret of certain thermoelectric compounds which might potentially help in developing more efficient materials.
There are several other teams working on pushing the technology of thermoelectric based compounds, and they’re looking to implement them in a multitude of places, including your PC.
There are always some companies that invest their faith in new technologies as soon as they appear, while others adopt a more circumspect approach and wait for results. HP has adopted a very watchful approach as far as the question of embracing WiMax is concerned. As you might have previously read, dearest MPC readers, the world’s leading PC manufacturer hasn’t introduced any notebooks that support WiMax.
The company has once again reiterated that it currently has no plans to integrate WiMax into its notebooks. It is unwilling to commit to WiMax due to the “limited scope of commercially available networks and uncertainties around interoperability, roaming, and quality of service.” It expressed full faith in 3G and WWAN services, which it believes are more mature than WiMax.
After it was revealed that some of the Asus Eee Box PCs sold in Japan came with a preloaded virus, the Taiwanese company ordered a recall of all such infected PCs. Now, Asus has placed the entire blame on a second-tier Chinese OEM that had been tasked with the responsibility of manufacturing Eee PCs for the Japanese market.
The unnamed OEM had been chosen in order to cut costs, but eventually became the source of embarrassment for Asus. The company now plans to transfer Japanese Eee Box PC orders to other second-tier OEMs.
So you just got a snazzy new printer, huh? Funny thing, so did GE! While they think your photo quality printer is nice, they’re much happier with theirs that prints OLED lights.
GE’s printer, which is about the size of a semi-trailer, coats an 8-inch plastic sheet with chemicals and seals it up with a layer of metal foil. Once an electric current is applied to this sheet, it lights up with a blue-white glow.
GE has been heralding the countless possibilities of these sheets. Given that they’re flexible, one could wrap them around a pillar, tack them to a wall or even make a translucent version and attach it to a window (though, nobody’s really sure why). And given that these panels provide diffused light, they’ll be much easier on the eye than current lighting technology.
Lawrence Gasman of Nanomarkets LLC, a research firm in Glen Allen, Virginia is suggesting that these OLEDs could become very common sources of lights, with sales reaching $5.9 billion by 2015.
Bob Sagebiel, the technical marketing manager for lighting at Arrow Electronics Inc. isn’t as confident in these figures though. He points out that these fixtures won’t fit into the 20 billion light-bulb sockets worldwide, and that since they’re so different from current lighting technology they may have issues being accepted. Not to mention commercial buildings would need to be rewired in order to take advantage if potentially bigger OLED panels that wouldn’t fit into existing fixtures for fluorescent tubes.
Only time will tell, but the future for this technology looks pretty bright (see what I did there?).
LaCie has always been good about their design, and that trend looks like it’s going to continue with designer Neil Poulton’s HAL 9000 inspired 5big Network Drive.
The 5big is aimed at small and medium sized workgroups with nerves of steel, and a need for a ton of storage. It will feature five hot-swappable Serial ATA drive bays that can hold up to 7.5 terabytes of storage total (more than HAL 9000 had, I bet). Should 7.5 terabytes not be enough, you can always add additional drives through the included USB ports.
The drives that you decide to put in the 5big can be put in several different raid arrays, including RAID 5, RAID 5+Spare, RAID 6, RAID 10 and RAID 0. And thanks to an included Gigabit Ethernet port, anyone connected to your local network can access it.
And don’t worry, should you decide to get a new network drive somewhere along the line you won’t be having the same issues that a certain Dave Bowman did.
The chips will not only prevent WiFi signals from loosing their strength while traversing walls but also reign in on any interference from other devices operating in the 2.4 or 5GHz bands. The chipsets are expected to cost between $20 and $40 each. These chips are expected to make their maiden commercial appearance sometime in 2009.
We love to have tons of cool electronics hooked up to the big living room TV -- who doesn’t? But, if you’re like us, your significant other is less keen on seeing all that awesome black plastic and shiny metal, and you probably did the same thing we did: Went out and bought an overpriced, crappy piece of mass-produced furniture that has doors. Doors! And what do those doors do? They create hot pockets of electronics-killing heat that will shorten the life of our precious gear. All to keep the wife happy.
Fear not, heat haters. We put the Maximum PC brain trust to work in assembling a quick, quiet, and easy cooling solution for, well, just about any cabinet you’re willing to cut a hole in. We tested our solution with two of the hottest pieces of hardware we could find: an Xbox 360 and an AppleTV. With both boxed turned on, and with the door closed, the internal temperature of the cabinet quickly hit 130F. But after we mounted our heat-triggered fan, we saw the internal temperatures hovering a scant degree or two above room temperature. Want to find out how we did it? Hit the jump!
When it comes to Moore’s law these days, it seems like everyone’s a cynic. However, now there’s one more reason to be optimistic about the future of miniaturization, as researchers have published a paper describing a lithography technique which may provide a new means of producing chip features smaller than 32nm.
The technique involves the use of quasiparticles called plasmons to focus light at an incredibly high resolution. Chris Lee at Ars Technica describes the technology: “A lens, based on plasmons, can be created by a set of concentric metal rings. The fields from the plasmons in each ring act in such a way as to create a tightly focused spot of light. In principle, these lenses could focus light tightly enough to create features about five to ten nanometers in size.”
The problem with plasmon lenses is that they must be positioned at just 20 nm away from the wafer. The scientists claim to have overcome this hurdle with their new technique, which uses air pressure to control the lens’s distance from the wafer.
Significantly, the new technique eliminates the need to create a new photomask for each revision to the chip, potentially lowering costs and speeding up development.
The R600 features an Intel Core 2 Duo Ultra Low Voltage processor and up to 5GB memory. Certain models feature a 128GB SSD. The lightest laptop in the world has a 12.1-inch screen and an impressive 9-hour battery life.
Tosh also unveiled the Tecra R10 notebook to woo business users. The R10 Tecra chassis cocoons a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB DDR2 memory, an Nvidia Quadro NVS graphics controller with 128MB video memory and a 200 GB hard drive. The R10 is priced $1999.