For a while, the Google Earth plug-in was only available for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari. Now, it looks like Google has allowed their very own browser to get in on the fun, making it available as of this week.
“As of ~4 p.m. PST today, Google Chrome 1.0+ on Windows is an officially supported browser,” wrote a Google Employee in an Email sent out to a mailing list yesterday. “That means Chrome users will no longer get the unsupported browser message, and the plugin and API should work just as they would in other supported browsers.”
Most of us take for granted the inner workings of a Google search and all we're concerned about is receiving near instantaneous results to our query. And just as well, because Google hasn't been one to pony up much specifics on the hardware it uses to sift through oodles of web pages. That is, until Google Fellow Jeff Dean gave a keynote talk at ESDM 2009.
According to Dean, a typical Google search might consume the processing power of 1000 machines. Talking about Google's growth in the past decade, Dean said search queries have gone up by x1000, and so too has the company's processing power (# machines * speed of the machines). In addition, Dean claims query latency has dropped from under 1000ms to normally under 200ms, as well as dropping the update latency by a staggering x10000, so that crawler updates have been reduced from several months down to just a few minutes.
Dean says the improved performance is a result of switching the holding indexes to now being completely in memory. The result is that it takes thousands of machines to process a search query, but it has made near instantaneous searches possible.
Cuba has debuted a new national Linux-based operating system dubbed "Nova." As one might expect, Cuba claims that the move will help the country replace proprietary Microsoft software running on the nation's computers. It almost sounds a little silly, but Cuba makes two noteworthy points as to why it's trying to purge this United States-based software from its networks. Nor is this the first international body that's sought to replace Microsoft software with an open-source alternative.
According to Cuban officials, the switch is more intended to turn away from United States-backed software as opposed to specifically Microsoft. They claim that governmental agencies would be able to infiltrate Cuban systems because they would could to pressure Microsoft to give up its "codes." It's unclear whether Cuba expects U.S. officials to actually hack into Cuban databases, break through encryption measures, or any combination of nefarious activities. Cuban officials also suggest that importing Microsoft software violates the U.S. trade embargo, an explanation for why Microsoft operating systems are allegedly more difficult to acquire for the island nation.
Grab your cigar and click the link to find out just how much Linux adoption Cuba expects to have within five years!
"OMG, u have chlamydia, sry!!!" We assume the National Health Service in London Borough of Hounslow would use proper grammar, but the gist of the message might still be the same. That is, if you take advantage of the London primary care trust's new online service.
Hounslow residents between the age of 16 and 24 who fear they might have chlamydia can request a free self-test kit, and then request that the results be sent back via text message.
"We are not expecting that volume of people to respond and the texting service is not being automated," said a spokesperson for the trust. "Someone will be responsible for answering and receiving the texts."
So far the text message service is only available for chlamydia testing. But if it proves to be popular option for text-addicted teens and young adults, we could see this expanding, not only to other types of testing, but also to other hospitals.
Hit the jump and tell us if you could see yourself opting for text-message test results.
Ruh-roh, Shaggy, it looks as though SSDs might not be all that and a bag of chips after all. Or more specifically, Intel's mighty X25-M SSD may prove a better sprinter than a marathon runner.
One of the major concerns with SSD technology is that the cells are good only for a finite number of writes, at which point they become read-only. Intel address this potential problem using sector remapping and wear-leveling algorithms, but a new report shows it might carry a nasty performance-reducing side effect.
Most wear-leveling algorithms dynamically move frequently-rewritten logical sectors to different physical sectors of the drive, ensuring that no cells are written to more frequently than others. Intel takes it a step further by extending its remap table into individual sectors, which reduces the number of small block writes needed for small files. The problem, according to PCPerspective, is that Intel's method seriously degrades long-term performance. After two of the site's writers noticed that their X25-M SSDs were performing signicantly slower after a length of time, the review site reran the drives through its gamut of benchmarks and found the drives had indeed degraded in performance, and in some cases, reads were reduced to a paltry 22MB/s. Zoinks!
If you own an X25-M and find that your drive has also slowed down considerably, there are fixes in place. According to Intel, one way to restore performance is to use IOMeter to sequentially write content to the entire drive. PCPerspective said it met with limited success using this method, but had much better results using Intel's second suggestion, which is to use a tool to perform a SECURE ERASE command on the drive. Using an older version of HDDErase (v3.3), the site says it was able to restore its X25-M back to its original performance levels.
Check out the article here, then hit the jump and sound off.
Time will tell if this proves to be a somber moment or cause for celebration, but AMD on Wednesday announced that it had secured stockholder approval for the creation of 'The Foundry Company.' That means AMD can now officially focus its efforts on the design of new chips and technologies, leaving the burden of manufacturing and associated costs to its Abu Dhabi-based spinoff.
While the split into separate design and manufacturing firms represents a major shift for the No. 2 CPU maker, the original vote had to be postponed after a low turnout by shareholders last week. At the time, 97 percent of the shares voted were cast in favor of the spinoff, but the shares voted represented only 42 percent of its total stock. This time around, AMD managed to scrounge up the majority vote it needed.
Under terms of the deal, AMD stockholders approved a proposal to issue 58 million shares of the company's common stock with warrants to purchase 35 million shares of its common stock and 35 million shares of the common stock upon exercise of those warrants to an affiliate of the Mubadala Development Company PJSC.
The transaction is expected to close by March 2, 2009.
Little known Psion Teklogix, who used to sell a pair of laptops called the netBook and netBook Pro, emerged from the shadows last December to demand that websites stop using the term 'netbook.' According to the company's trademark attorney, now is the time to cash in on what has become an exploding new market sector all this netbook talk could damage Psion's trademark registrations.
Ready for the irony? Dell has filed a petition with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office asking that it cancel Psion's netbook trademark. This coming from the same company who tried (unsuccessfully) to trademark the term Cloud computing. Nevertheless, the situation isn't the same, and Dell's first basis for cancellation is that "Psion has abandoned the 'netbook' mark" by no longer offering laptops under the trademark.
The three-basis petition also included an argument for fraud, saying Psion had not been using the netbook trademark as of November 17, 2006, despite signing a sworn declaration that it was, and genericness, pointing out that the widespread use of the term netbook has made it generic.
Read the full petition here (PDF), then hit the jump and tell us what you think.
So you thought the facial recognition technology built into your laptop would keep your business and personal information safe? Bwa-ha-ha! Today, the Black Hat DC 2009 security conference found out that, as Vietnam-based security researcher Nguyen Minh Duc puts it, Your Face is NOT Your Password.
Nguyen's paper reveals (PDF link) that it's relatively simple to hack facial recognition systems included in webcam-equipped laptops from Lenovo (Veriface III), ASUS (SmartLogon v1.0.0.0005), and Toshiba (Face Recognition 220.127.116.11). Methods used included using photographs in place of live faces (Facebook, anyone?) and performing brute-force attacks by changing lighting and photo angles in a digitized face until the system permits access.
Are you counting on facial-recogntion technology to keep your stuff safe? Is your company? Join us after the jump for your chance to sound off on this latest "unbreakable," but now broken, access-control technology.
Stanford Professor Byron Reeves is a Planeteer, and you can be one too -- if you’re an MMORPG player. Reeves’ plan hedges its bets on the idea that you’re willing to install a Smart Meter, a device that monitors electricity usage in your house and sends a report of your wasteful excesses to power companies.
However, instead of giving power companies the skinny on your war against the Energizer Bunny, Reeves hopes to send pertinent information to games like World of Warcraft. He outlined his energy-saving plan during radio show Living on Earth’s Green Gaming segment:
"So imagine that you're in your home, you're signed into [the] game… and you make a decision in the game to turn off the lights in an unused bedroom [in real life]. As soon as you do that, the Smart Meter recognizes that, sends the information through the network to your computer and your house [in the game] turns a shade of green that it wasn't before,” he explained.
“And if I'm using less electricity, my team might do well. I get gold pieces and points… whatever the game designers think is fun. You get feedback in an entertainment game about what you're doing in the real world."
Sounds good to us, though implementing it – especially in a game as colossal as World of Warcraft – might be a bit rough. Then again, Blizzard did invent a race of hippie cow-people, so you never know.
BenQ has finally made good on their promises to release an all-in-one computer, and it has come in the form of the nScreen i91.
The screen-based computer has a sizeable 18.5-inch 16:9 LCD screen, with an AMD Semperon 210U processor, 1GB of memory and a 160GB HDD under the hood. To help sweeten the deal they’ve included a 4-in-1 card reader, an integrated webcam, and an average power consumption of just 30 watts.
It’s designed to be as easy to use as possible, with a main selling point that you can simply plug it in, press the volume/power knob, and be on the Internet.
There haven’t been any announcements yet as to when this will be available here in the U.S., but it is currently available in Taiwan for roughly $517.