As if the 5,000 laid off at Microsoft weren’t enough of a warning signal that times are tough, the Redmond based software giant is also being forced to close down its on campus bar just a few days before its official opening. The pub was set to debut alongside several other retail outlets offering everything from cell phones, to haircuts, but apparently it didn’t make the final cut.
You would think with all the layoffs that were recently announced, they would want somewhere employees could go and drown their sorrows, but according to Microsoft Spokesman Lou Gellows, "We had to take another look at this. We are sensitive to the business environment and that meant not having a pub."
This cut is but one of many in a larger initiative designed to deal with non essential expenses. Employees are encouraged to look for ways to save on everything from external vendors, to travel expenses. The pub which was scheduled to launch on Monday had already hired staff, and had installed beer taps. Not exactly the long weekend they were hoping for I would imagine.
Times are tough, but even if people aren’t buying Vista, they’re still buying beer aren’t they?
To an internet based company, server infrastructure is the secret sauce that can really help a company pull ahead of its competitors. It determines the quality of service its customers will receive, and their cost and efficiency will have a huge impact on the bottom line of the company. To Google this secret was a carefully guarded one, with few outside of the company having any real details. The only thing that we knew for sure is that they were built in house using parts that are generally available to every PC builder. This all changed last week when Google decided to lift the veil of secrecy to a group of IT professionals.
Each server measures about 3.5 inches thick, and is designed in a custom rack for easy stacking. Each unit sports two x86 processors either from Intel or AMD, contains two hard drives (presumably configured as a raid 1), and eight memory slots. These components are mounted on a Gigabyte motherboard, and protected by built in 12-volt battery that also serves as a UPS.
The built in battery was perhaps the biggest secret that was revealed and is a slap in the face to traditional thinking when it comes to large scale battery backup. Typically, server farms employ massive uninterruptable power supplies in the event of a power failure. The biggest problem with this approach according to Chris Malone from Google is the ability to scale it perfectly for the number of servers, and inefficiencies inherent with the technology. “Large UPSs can reach 92 to 95 percent efficiency, meaning that a large amount of power is squandered. The server-mounted batteries do better, Jai said: "We were able to measure our actual usage to greater than 99.9 percent efficiency."
Google’s approach to server infrastructure is defiantly unique, and it’s use of low cost customer grade hardware defiantly helped them survive the early years on razor sharp margins.
New legislation proposed on April 1st will give a whole new meaning to geeks who like to joke that the President has his finger on the button. If the proposed legislation comes to pass, the president will have the ability to shut down public and private networks, including internet traffic should the need arise. This power is part of a new cybersecurity emergency plan that is designed to help protect the US against attack, but also gives the government unprecedented control over our networks.
The critics of this bill however are lining up, and are voicing their concerns over how this power could be abused. According to Leslie Harris of the Center for Democracy and Technology, “This is pretty sweeping legislation. Seems the President could turn off the Internet completely or tell someone like Verizon to limit or block certain traffic. There is a lot to worry about in this bill.”
Since the bill is still in its early stages, it is unclear what amendments will be made, or if it will even be passed at all. West Virginia Democratic Senitor John Rockefeller made it clear to the media that this is the first draft of the proposal, and that they will be in close contact with internet-centric companies who obviously have a lot more at stake here than the average user.
Obama may soon have the power to nuke the real world, and World of Warcraft. Are you comfortable with this?
Ah, the French. Sure, they may be the butt of many a joke, but its situations like these that remind us that they’re (usually) well deserved.
While the “Creation and Internet” bill (a bill that would allow ISPs to take actions against customers accused of illegally downloading copyrighted material) won preliminary approval in French Parliament last week, it would appear that too few members supporting the bill showed up to the hearing that ultimately saw it denied.
According to reports, the bill was expected to pass, but a low turnout caused the bill’s opposition, the French Socialist party, to defeat it by a vote of 21 to 15. And while President Nicolas Sarkozy’s own UMP party was able to propel him to the highest office in France, they were unable to turn down that third crêpe, and missed out on the hearing.
This isn’t the last we’ll hear of it though – the UMP party does intend to reintroduce an amended version within the month. Maybe this time they’ll show up?
Rob Spence, a Canadian filmmaker, was the victim of an accident in his childhood that damaged his right eye, and he was later given a prosthetic replacement. While for a long time he was content with the replacement, he recently decided to fit a camera inside the empty cavity, turning himself into a self-proclaimed “Eyeborg.”
Now, while he is currently working towards the goal of putting a camera in the socket, he has decided to divert for the time being and outfit himself with the stylish red LED that you see in the picture above. Apart from looking totally badass, it does give Spence a good foundation – after all, this is the first time he’s been able to fit an electronic device and a power source inside.
Reportedly, the camera will record anything that enters his field of vision, and will relay that image back to a computer, providing a very unique perspective (as far as video surveillance is concerned). It also provides a great angle when he decides to scare people walking down the street with his Terminator eye! That footage, I want to see.
Most users who have tried Windows 7 like it - a lot, but if you (or your company) are worried about what happens if old hardware or software you rely on won't play nice with the latest Windows version, stop worrying. According to Cnet's Ina Fried and ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, Windows 7 users will have the option to downgrade from 7 to either Windows Vista or even "the operating system that will not die," Windows XP.
Volume-licensing (aka "Software Assurance") customers have been able to do this for some time, but Microsoft has confirmed that downgrades from 7 to either Vista or XP will be available for at least a while after Windows 7 ships.
If you're on the fence about Windows 7, does the availability of downgrade rights make a difference? Join us after the jump for your chance to sound off.
For some time now Intel has been working on a Linux-based operating system (now in its alpha stage of testing), named Moblin. The goal of Moblin is to provide the Atom CPU a light and fast OS that is far less demanding than a full version of Windows.
According to those in the alpha test, Moblin can offer two second boot times (with some optimization). If all this were true, then it would give us the fastest booting OS available. Intel’s Open Source Technology Center director Imhad Sousou is very much on board as well, stating, “We think that two second boot is possible.”
A two second boot would provide an ideal platform for mobile systems (such as netbooks and MIDs) to operate on. For many, having a system in sleep mode (which drains the battery) is preferable to booting the system each and every time they want to use it. The concept of a two second boot would eliminate the need for this.
So, given the concept of a two second boot, would you be willing to ditch Windows and give Moblin a try? Let us know in the comments!
If you spot a good deal on an LCD monitor, you may consider pouncing. Putting off that purchase could be rolling the dice at higher prices, according to data by iSuppli. The market research company notes that an increase in demand from China, driven by the impact of China's rural consumer stimulus program, has led to rising prices for LCD monitor panels. Also to blame are an increase of orders from brands and retailers, iSuppli says.
"These brand and retail orders mostly stem from demand for inventory replenishment because channels have kept their stockpiles at lower-than-normal levels since the end of 2008," iSupply noted. "With many panel prices for monitors having been drastically slashed to less than cash-cost levels, panel buyers in February started purchasing in droves in order to build a supply of cheap panels."
Increases thus far haven't been anything to warrant hitting the panic button. According to iSuppli, average pricing for most LCDs and small-sized TV panels increased anywhere from $2 to $3 in March compared to February. And while prices are expected to rise some more in the short-term, iSuppli warns that it's too early to say that a recovery is taking place in the LCD industry, as the influx of orders are not expected to be sustained.
The service hasn't even launched yet, but the unapologetically defiant torrent site The Pirate Bay has already received over 100,000 registrants for its new anonymity service, IPREDator. About 113,00 and counting are in queue for the IPREDator service, 80 percent of which are from Sweden, and comes as a slap in the face to Sweden's new IPRED anti-piracy law, for which the service was named after.
Expected to cost about $6 per month,the IPREDator service is a virtual private network (VPN) allowing users to connect to the internet anonymously by hiding their actual IP address and showing only a second IP addy provided by the VPN. Currently in beta stage and by invite only, The Pirate Bay says it will store no traffic data.
IP hiding sites and services have become increasingly popular in Sweden as of late, ever since country's new anti-file sharing measures went into effect.
Citing un-named "sources in the channel," DigiTimes reports that second-tier motherboard maker Abit has decided to quit the consumer electronics branding business. Among the products affected are digital photo frames and digital speakers, neither of which have been prominent sellers in the U.S. market, if at all.
Still, the news comes as another reminder of Abit's fall from grace as a premier motherboard maker who once catered to overclockers. At one time on the level of the likes of Asus, questionable management decisions proved fatal for the Abit of old, who hit hard times financially and sold its brand name to Universal Scientific Industrial (USI) in 2006. Since then, the company has shifted its focus to becoming a second-tier mobo maker, with its latest Abit-brand motherboard being the Intel X48-based IX48 GT3.