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U.S. Patent No. 7,069,308? wadda crap!!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sorry readers, I've got little time recently due to studies n problems setting up my LAMP server. Ok, this is what I found today, 7,069,308 & obviously it's crap. Friendster invented it? I doubt so.

What is claimed is:

1. In a computer system including a server computer and a database of registered users that stores for each registered user, a user ID of the registered user and a set of user IDs of registered users who are directly connected to the registered user, a method for connecting a first registered user to a second registered user through one or more other registered users, the method comprising the steps of: setting a maximum degree of separation (Nmax) of at least two that is allowed for connecting any two registered users, wherein two registered users who are directly connected are deemed to be separated by one degree of separation and two registered users who are connected through no less than one other registered user are deemed to be separated by two degrees of separation and two registered users who are connected through no less than N other registered users are deemed to be separated by N+1 degrees of separation; searching for the user ID of the second registered user in the sets of user IDs that are stored for registered users who are less than Nmax degrees of separation away from the first registered user, and not in the sets of user IDs that are stored for registered users who are greater than or equal to Nmax degrees of separation away from the first registered user, until the user ID of the second registered user is found in one of the searched sets; and connecting the first registered user to the second registered user if the user ID of the second registered user is found in one of the searched sets, wherein the method limits the searching of the second registered user in the sets of user IDs that are stored for registered users who are less than Nmax degrees of separation away from the first registered user, such that the first registered user and the second registered user who are separated by more than Nmax degrees of separation are not found and connected.

2. The method according to claim 1, wherein the step of searching is first carried out in the sets of user IDs that are stored for registered users who are directly connected to the first registered user.

3. The method according to claim 1, further comprising the step of transmitting a profile of the second registered user to the first registered user for display.

4. The method according to claim 3, further comprising the steps of: storing a connection path between the first registered user and the second registered user, the connection path indicating the one or more other registered users through whom the connection between the first registered user and the second registered user is made; and transmitting the connection path between the first registered user and the second registered user to the first registered user for display.

5. The method according to claim 4, wherein the connection path transmitted for display includes a hyperlink for each of the one or more other registered users through whom the connection between the first registered user and the second registered user is made.

6. The method according to claim 1, wherein the maximum degree of separation is set by an operator of the computer system.

7. The method according to claim 6, wherein the maximum degree of separation is set as four.

8. The method according to claim 1, wherein the database further stores for each registered user, e-mail addresses of individuals who are not registered users and identified by the registered user as friends.

9. The method according to claim 8, further comprising the steps of: sending out an invitation to become a registered user to friends of a registered user; receiving an acceptance from a friend to whom said invitation was sent; and adding said friend to the database and storing for said friend, a user ID and a set of user IDs of registered users who are directly connected to said friend, the set of user IDs stored for said friend including at least the user ID of said registered user.

10. The method according to claim 9, wherein said invitation is sent out by electronic mail.

11. The method according to claim 9, wherein said invitation is resent a number of times prior to the step of receiving.

12. The method according to claim 9, further comprising the step of notifying said registered user that said invitation to said friend has been accepted when said acceptance is received.

13. The method according to claim 9, further comprising the steps of receiving inputs from said friend and storing said inputs in the database, wherein said inputs include descriptive data about said friend.

14. The method according to claim 1, further comprising the steps of: prior to the step of connecting, transmitting brief profiles of registered users, including a brief profile of the second registered user, to the first registered user for display, each of the brief profiles including a hyperlink to a corresponding full profile; and receiving a hyperlink selection from the first registered user, wherein, upon receiving the hyperlink selection for the full profile of the second registered user, the full profile of the second registered user is transmitted to the first registered user for display.

15. The method according to claim 14, wherein brief profiles of those registered users who are more than Nmax degrees of separation away from the first registered user are not transmitted to the first registered user for display.

full details: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=7,069,308.PN.&OS=PN/7,069,308&RS=PN/7,069,308

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Author: Bo Tian » Comments:

All blogging tools you'll ever need

Monday, October 16, 2006

Adminimizer Toolbar
ashnews
AvantBlog
b2
b2.evolution
Blog
Blog Navigator
BlogAmp
Blogarithm
Blog (Web-Tagebuch)
BlogBack
Blogbox
blogBuddy
BlogChat
BlogCounter
blogdex
blogdexter
BlogFace
BlogFlix
BloggerBot
BlogHoster
Bloglet
BlogLinker
BlogMax
Blogrolling
BlogSnob
blogsnow
Blosxom
bookmarklet.ping
bplog
Bricks Site Builder
Chronicle Lite
CityDesk
CocoBlog
corzblog
csBlog
Project DAWG
diary2002.cgi
dotcomments
Drupal
Easy Blogs
EasyMoblog
ecto
enetation
EzWebBlog
Falou & Disse
Falasterio
Frequency
Geeklog
googlebox js
GoogleBrowser
Greymatter
handX webLog for Palm OS
iBlog
Instant Gratification
InTerra
Jabber
Jericho
jogger
Journaling Script
JustBlogIt
Link Feedback
Link Hype
LiveJournal Meme Tracker
Manila
MarsEdit
Master WebLog
monaural jerk
Movable Type
MozBlog
myMediaList.com
MySmartChannels
NanoBlogger
NewsBruiser
Nucleus
Open Journal Project
Particle Blogger
Personal Weblog
PhoneBlogger
PHPBloggerAPI
PHP-Blogger
phpWebLog
PikiePikie

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Author: Bo Tian » Comments:

Protect yourself from uneven volumes

Friday, October 13, 2006

After ripping your CD collection unto your computer or downloading MP3s from the net, have you encoutered uneven volumes? It's common that classical music are softer, while rock music are louder. When a track is very soft, you increase the volume of your MP3 player, but the next track is significantly louder, and you failed to revert back to the original volume. The consequences are severe, especially if one listens to music through earphone. There are several simple solutions to such problem:

Foobar2000
Run Foobar, click File-->Preferences-->Playback
Make sure the Source mode under Replaygain is album.
In the play list, select all tracks by clicking the first track, press Shift on the keyboard, and click the last track.
Right click, and select ReplayGain-->Scan selection as single album. Save the new tag, and you are done.




iTunes
Select View-->Preferences
Under the Playback tab, check Sound Check.



iPod
Update your firmware to the latest version. Connect it to the computer and run iTunes.
In the main iPod menu, click on Settings - Sound Check - On

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Author: Bo Tian » Comments:

45nm+WiMAX in your laptops in 2008

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Though Intel will only release 4th generation Centrino "Santa Rosa" in first-half of 2007, they have already planned the features of the 5th gen, code named "Montevina", estimated to release in 2008. The new generation will adopt 45nm processors, and features WiMAX wireless technology.

"Penryn", the new processor, will be made with 45nm manufacturing technology, using the same architecture as the current Core. It will be released before the end of 2007, few months before "Motevina", just like the current "Merom" and "Santa Rosa". The new processor will utilize less power, the TDP will drop from "Merom" 's 35W to 29W. It will also incorporate SSE4 which includes 50 new instructions.

At the end of 2008, Intel plans to release a new processor ,code named "Nehalem" which will be based on 45nm as well, but using a new architecture.

"Motevina" includes processor "Penryn", chipset "Cantiga", wireless module "Shiloh", and LAN controller "Boaz".

"Cantiga" supports 1066MHz FSB, with possible RAM support up to DDR3-800. The new integrated graphics will run at 475MHz, with 10 rendering units, an increase of 2 from the current GMA 3000.

"Shiloh" will support WiMAX, while "Santa Rosa" possibly supports 802.11n. The new chip is perhaps from the collaboration between Intel and Nokia.

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Author: Bo Tian » Comments:

Sony's new best-ever-sound-quality MP3 player

Sony Japan released their latest S range of Walkman MP3 player, NW-S700 and NW-S600.

NW-S700 provides a variety of storage space of 1GB, 2GB and 4GB, 3 lines OLED screen, FM radio support, plays MP3/ATRAC/AAC/WMA formats, and direct recording to either PCM/Atrac3Plus formats. NW-S600 has identical features except FM radio support and lack of 4GB version.

The new range of players is powered by Sony's high efficiency Li-ion battery, charging 3 minutes can provide 3 hours of play time, while a full charge takes 2 hours to give it 50 hours of play time.

Sony claims to have used their latest noise reduction technology on these players, coupled with 13.5mm in-ear earphones. These make the current line of players the best sounding player ever for their Walkman series.

4GB version of NW-S700 is estimated to cost $249, and 1GB NW-S600 will cost about $125.

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Author: Bo Tian » Comments:

13 must have Firefox extensions for web surfers

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I'm just a normal web surfer and blogger who use Firefox as my default browser like the majority of you (my readers). I use the following tools on a daily basis:

Performancing - a full featured blog editor that sits right in your Firefox browser and lets you post to your blog easily. You can drag and drop formatted text from the page you happen to be browsing, and take notes as well as post to your blog.

Gmail Space allows you to use your Gmail Space (2 GB) for file storage. It acts as a remote machine. You can transfer files between your hard drive and gmail. Your gmail account looks like a FTP host and you can upload and download your files.

VideoDownloader Download videos from Youtube, Google, Metacafe, iFilm, Dailymotion, Pornotube... and other 60+ video sites ! And all embedded objects on a webpage (movies, mp3s, flash, quicktime, etc) ! Directly !

Flashgot Download one link, selected links or all the links of a page together at the maximum speed with a single click, using the most popular and reliable external download managers for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and FreeBSD. Supported products are dozens such as my favorite FlashGet.

AdBlock Right-click on a banner and choose "Adblock" from the context menu - the banner won't be downloaded again. Or click Adblock Plus icon in the toolbar to see all elements of the page and block the banners. You can use filters with wildcards or even regular expressions to block complete banner factories.

IE Tab Embedding Internet Explorer in tabs of Mozilla/Firefox. This allows websites that are designed for IE to be viewed without problems on Firefox.

Tabbrowser Preferences Enables enhanced control for some aspects of tabbed browsing.

Flashblock Never be annoyed by a Flash animation again! Blocks Flash so it won't get in your way, but if you want to see it, just click on it.

PDF Download Allows to choose if you want to view a PDF file inside the browser (as PDF or HTML), if you want to view it outside Firefox with your default or custom PDF reader, or if you want to download it!

MediaPlayerConnectivity Allow you to launch embed video of website in an external application with a simple click

FoxyTunes Now you can control your favorite media player without ever leaving the browser and more... Supports WinAmp, iTunes, Yahoo Music Engine, Pandora, foobar2000, Windows Media Player, Xbox Media Center, Musicmatch, Quintessential, J. River, jetAudio, XMPlay, MediaMonkey, Media Player Classic, Sonique, wxMusik, Real Player, XMMS, Noatun, Juk, Amarok, Music Player Daemon, Rhythmbox and many other players.

Fasterfox Fasterfox allows you to tweak many network and rendering settings such as simultaneous connections, pipelining, cache, DNS cache, and initial paint delay. Dynamic speed increases can be obtained with the unique prefetching mechanism, which recycles idle bandwidth by silently loading and caching all of the links on the page you are browsing.

Google Safe Browsing for Firefox Google Safe Browsing is an extension to Firefox that alerts you if a web page that you visit appears to be asking for your personal or financial information under false pretences. This type of attack, known as phishing or spoofing, is becoming more sophisticated, widespread and dangerous. That's why it's important to browse safely with Google Safe Browsing. By combining advanced algorithms with reports about misleading pages from a number of sources, Safe Browsing is often able to automatically warn you when you encounter a page that's trying to trick you into disclosing personal information.

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Author: Bo Tian » Comments:

Capture your screen for free

There are plenty of software to capture your screen, but mostly for a huge fee or an ugly "UNREGISTERED VERSION" on the upper left corner. But why should we buy those when we can have better software for free? There are refined such screen capture software under the GPL license, meaning you can obtain them for free.

For still capturing:
[FastStone Screen Capture] The best screen capturing software I've used, it's simplistic yet functions well. There are choices of capturing full screen, window, rectangle, and even free hand tools. The official website provides a no-installation download for better portability. The captured image can be saved in traditional formats such as JPEG, PNG, BMP, TIFF, GIF, and new formats such as JPEG2000(*.JP2) and JPEG2000 Code Stream(*.J2K). There are simple (really simple) draw tools to modify the image, and you can use the program's integrated email function to email the image with the help of an external email client.

For movie capturing:
[CamStudio] A screen capture application for Microsoft Windows (open source). CamStudio is a simple, straightforward program to record screen activity to AVI or SWF format. You can also record audio from your speakers or microphone. CamStudio is also available on SourceForge. Camstudio is in fact a simple no joke software without much sophisticated features, but the basic job is well achieved.

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Author: Bo Tian » Comments:

4 Google's new Reader tips

Google has recently made a major update to it's Reader service to become more powerful, especially in terms of ease of use. Here some tips that you can utilize for daily use:

1. Do not include Asian characters in sub-directory of OPML file that you want to import. When I tried to import OPML file exported by Bloglines which contains Chinese characters for sub-directory, Google Reader failed to import the file normally.

If such problem happens, one can use Notepad to open the OPML file, change all Asian characters in the sub-directory into English letters. This helps to solve the compatibility problem. If the Feeds contain Asian characters, Google Reader can function normally. NOTE: Do not edit other XML tags when editing the OPML file, in order to preserve structure integrity.

2. Add feeds to Google Reader. You are most probably reading this page through your web browser, but you can add this site to your Google Reader in a click. Many websites, like this blog, contain a Add to Google Reader button provided by Feedburner, which has similar link property to this http://fusion.google.com/add?feedurl=http://feeds.feedburner.com/novemberTech You can just click to button and select whether adding this Feed to personalized homepage or Google Reader. Webmasters without Feedburner account can also achieve this by adding the following link on their websites: http://fusion.google.com/add?feedurl=[YOUR FEED ADDRESS]

3. Use shortcuts. Here are some useful keyboard shortcuts:

* j/k: next/previous item
* space/ + space: next/previous item or page
* n/p: scan down/up (list only)
* o/enter: expand/collapse (list only)
* s: star item
* + s: share item
* v: view original
* t: tag item
* m: mark item as read
* r: refresh
* u: toggle full screen mode
* + a: mark all as read
* 1: switch to expanded view
* 2: switch to list view
* + n/p: next/previous subscription
* + x: expand folder
* + o: open subscription or folder
* g then h: go home
* g then a: go to all items
* g then s: go to starred items
* g then t: open tag selector
* g then u: open subscription selector

4. Star your favorite article. Google Reader, like Gmail, has a function to star your favorite article, thus it makes it easy to search for useful articles just by clicking the Starred Items link.

Hope my tips are useful for your usage of this great service. Please add a comment if you have any suggestions or criticism.

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Author: Bo Tian » Comments:

Interview with Java's inventor James Gosling

Today there are thousands and thousands of Java programmers, but there was a time when there was only one, James Gosling. He did the original design of the Java programming language and implemented its original compiler and virtual machine. Today Gosling is vice president and Sun Fellow at Sun Microsystems Inc. where he continues to take an active role in software development, especially regarding NetBeans. In the first of this two-part interview, SearchWebServices talked to Gosling about what he's working on now and his views on the Java process, open source, the Internet, Web services and the issues of complexity versus simplicity.

Let's start from where you are now, what are you currently working on at Sun?
James Gosling:

We've been trying really hard to get things so that people are working together more. We've tended to be groups that are kind of isolated. We've been working on getting the Java SE folks and the NetBeans folks to be working together a lot better. Over the last couple years that's gotten a lot better.

There are some Java programmers who are fans of Ruby on Rails and some of them were arguing Ruby's strength is that it was developed by one person rather than a community. Do you see advantages of a community over a single developer or visa versa?
Gosling: Well, a single developer doesn't scale very well. Java was actually developed by a single developer, originally. It was just me working alone, like the first four years of Java's life. And then popularity happened and the demands got that crazy. It also didn't help that at about that time I developed really severe carpal tunnel syndrome and I spent three or four years being almost completely unable to type. But there's been this real spread of use of it and an in-pouring of talent. The number of really smart people who have put a lot of energy into Java is just enormous. It's just amazing the spread of things that you can do with it.

So, do you feel more comfortable with the Java community process than when you were sort of the sole Java programmer in the world?
Gosling: It's sort of a bit of this and that. There's no way that I could have done all of this alone. There's just too much really cool stuff in the Java world. It's certainly the case that when one person works on it alone you can make sweeping changes and deeply impactful decisions in 10 minutes. But when you've got a lot of users, you don't get to do a lot of that anyway. You have to be extremely careful. I mean, you can screw them all over making huge changes, but once you have a user base you have to be really respectful of them and that makes life difficult. Plus, I'm certainly not the smartest person in the world and there are a lot of domains where I am not a world expert. There are one or two areas where I actually kind of know what I'm doing, but I think there is tremendous value in being able to tap other people and to get other people involved. For me, that's a lot about what's really cool about the open source movement. It's not the licenses or the source code, it's the social experience.

Do you sense any danger with so many inputs and so many decision makers, that you design a horse, but the committee comes up with a camel?
Gosling: Well, the fear isn't so much that they come up with a camel instead of a horse, but that they come up with something like Frankenstein's monster that's stitched together out of a wide variety things that have nothing to do with each other. And that is a constant fear. One of the interesting things about technology these days is that it really needs to expand a huge spread of domains. So we put a lot of energy into organizing the domains to keep them from sort of polluting each other, so that things are reasonably well packaged. This is one of the areas where the object-oriented technology really shines. The fact that there are packages and classes and such that allow us to organize things so that the bits that have to do with Web services are independent from the bits that have to do with say, driving cash registers. These things end up needing to talk with each other because everything everybody is building is so integrated. It's quite a balancing act.

Speaking of open source, how do you feel about the way Sun's going about open-sourcing all of Java?
Gosling: Well, I'm really happy with it. I'm happy we're finally getting around to it. It's been a long argument and there are still a big pile of big issues to get around. But we're committed to making this happen as soon as we can.

Did you start working on Java in what we would call a pre-Web world, when it would still mostly be networks inside of a building?
Gosling: Yes and no. Certainly, Java got started before the Web existed. But everything that we did was around Internet technology. Everything in Java is deeply, deeply affected by networking technologies and the Internet. You made the comment about networks being inside buildings. At the time we were building Java that had been solved for decades. The Internet spanned the planet 30 years ago. Of course, 30 years ago it was called the ARPANET. But the transition was mostly one of protocol. All of the stuff that went into Java was about networking. What people tend to refer to as the Web has sort of emerged when Tim Berners-Lee came up with the HTTP protocol and the HTML file format and the first Web-browsers happened. That got started shortly after Java got started and so the Web technologies were happening as Java was getting finalized, as we got towards the first releases of Java. So, all the Web stuff was already there.

Did you originally envision what Web services has now become in the application development world?
Gosling: I wouldn't say that I envisioned it in the sense that I woke up one day and had this vision of Web services everywhere. It's more that I assumed it. Because the structure of the network as a collection of services that all work together was this big architectural concept 20-30 years ago. And that's really all the Internet ever really was, is a collection of services that talk to each other. Which protocol they use, whether they use XML over HTTP or CORBA or God knows what doesn't matter. That's kind of how you spell the words, the context has been a piece of bedrock philosophy for a very, very long time.

There's all this complexity in the languages used for SOA and Web services applications, will it ever be possible to simplify it or will it continue to grow in complexity?
Gosling: Complexity is a really hard topic. Because… there's this game if you go to the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk called Whack-a-Mole. Whack a mole, like the animal. And the way Whack-a-Mole works is there's a board and there's this three-by-three grid and a little mole sticks its head up and you're standing there and you've got a baseball bat and you're supposed to whack the mole before he goes back down into his hole. Then he'll pop up somewhere else and you've got to whack him down. A lot of engineering and in particular the engineering around complexity is like Whack-a-Mole. You can make things like programming languages incredibly simple but then what tends to happen is complexity emerges somewhere else because people are trying to get around the stuff that's missing in the language or in APIs or whatever.

A lot of the complexity that we have is sort of driven by a sort of inevitable consequence of the activities that people are trying to support. If you think about just a cell phone or a Web page, what does it take to pick up a phone, place a call from standing on top of the Great Wall of China where the other person you're talking to is on a bus going from Monterey to Salinas? And managing that while the bus is in flight. Oh, and by the way, the piece of the Great Wall you're on is a long way from Beijing. I actually did that. I was talking to my daughter going to a track meet and I was on a business trip and if you think about all of the stuff that has to go on to do that, a lot of that complexity is pretty much inescapable.

Lots of folks come up with solutions to make life simpler but really all that they've done is move the complexity somewhere else. What's really, really hard is not making any particular technology simpler or making a particular API simpler, but standing back from complete systems and making the whole system simpler. And you don't get away with making one piece simpler and then realizing that this caused emerging complexity in other places. Yeah, we can live a whole lot simpler by going back and being an agrarian society. I don't think anybody wants that.

Do you think it's the job of architects to look at the entire system and see what if any simplifications can be done?
Gosling: That is certainly what architects ought to be doing. It's a really difficult thing because you find people who are in companies and their title says they're an architect. But they are often so divorced from the actual detail that they make architectural decisions that make absolutely no sense. Because when you dig down a few layers to see how that decision would have to be realized it's just totally out of step with technology. It's a really hard challenge in architecture to have both deep knowledge to make credible architectural decisions and broad knowledge to be able to span all the different technological areas. And trying to do large system architecture is unbelievably difficult.

Do you think architects need to be knowledgeable at the bits and bytes level and the overall business processes level?
Gosling: Yeah, and you try really hard to construct systems so that you don't have to know the low level details. But the saying goes, that's where the devil is.

What does the Father of Java think of the emerging interest in rival languages such as Ruby? A lover of diversity, James Gosling says he's played around with Ruby enough to understand the attraction, but his heart belongs to Java and what Sun Microsystems Inc. is pulling together under the NetBeans tent. He understands why Ajax coders are frustrated with JavaScript, but he says the answer will be found in NetBeans. In Part One of the SearchWebServices interview with Gosling, he discussed the history and philosophy of Java. In the second part he fields questions on Ruby, JRuby, Ajax and SOA, and tells why he believes the answer for most developers is Java and the NetBeans IDE.

How do you view Ruby and other emerging languages in relation to Java, is this a natural evolution, or is there a danger people will be all over the board with boutique programming languages?


James Gosling: I've always been a big fan of diversity and diversity certainly has its dark sides and it's like it's really confusing. The thing that Java tries to do and is actually remarkably successful at is spanning a lot of different domains, so you can do app server work, you can do cell phone work, you can do scientific programming, you can write software, do interplanetary navigation, all kinds of stuff in Java, whereas a lot of these other languages get a lot of their strength from being fairly domain specific. And at some level I don't really care about the programming language. What I really care about is the underlying semantics and the ability for things to interconnect.

The Java Virtual Machine is reasonably general purpose. Over the years there have been literally hundreds of languages built on top of it, most of which nobody has really cared enough about. So, when you take a language and you host it on the Java Virtual Machine, you get really interesting portability, if you do it right you can get very interesting performance and most of all what you get is the ability to interoperate and interact across languages – having stuff written in JRuby directly calling stuff written in Python or Jython or Groovy. There's even a compiler for Visual Basic to target the Java Virtual Machine. The traditional way of implementing programming languages is one where they're all individual islands that don't really interoperate at any level that's more fine grained than network protocols. You can't call similar APIs without breaking it into a server and calling across address faces, something that's fairly expensive. The Virtual Machine is what lets them be one big reasonably happy family.

Have you had any chance yourself to look at Ruby?
Gosling: I guess I'd call myself moderately familiar. I haven't used it a lot. I have somewhat. As a language it's fine. The interesting bit is the Rails framework. The Rails framework, if what you want to do fits with what the Rails framework wants to do, it's actually pretty slick. But people use all the methodology of the Rails framework in Java all the time. In fact there are various ways you can use Rails on the Java platform. There's Groovy, which is kind of this hybrid between Java and Ruby, that's hosted on the Java VM and they have Grails – Groovy on Rails, which is basically all the concepts from the Rails framework wrapped around Groovy. And then there's the JRuby guys who have something that lets you run Ruby programs on top of the Java VM and that's starting to get pretty interesting. All the "on Rails" stuff works perfectly well in that environment and it gives you the ability to access all of the Java APIs.

When developers are asked why they chose Java over other languages like Ruby, they often say scalability. Do you still see that as Java's major strength?
Gosling: I certainly think of scalability as a major strength and as long as you say a major strength, yeah. One of the problems here is that the space of developers is so large that what they care about varies tremendously. Many people don't care about scalability, let's say, as much as they care about reliability and there's a whole lot of stuff in the Java world that's about building reliable systems.

So would you rank Java reliability as equal to scalability?
Gosling: Yeah, and a very close second or maybe a factor zero, is security. All of the Java APIs have security woven through them, pretty much everywhere. That turns out to be a really, really big deal for a lot of people. Some people don't care at all and for some people it's absolutely life and death.

When you were originally creating Java, did you in any way envision what's happened with it or have you had a lot of surprises?
Gosling: In a strange way, a bunch of this kind of stuff, the scale and security issues, were actually thought about back then. But that was more living in a fantasy world kind of thing, kind of a science fiction kind of exercise. I never actually believed that any of it would ever actually happen.

Moving from the past to the present, you're still focused on Java tools at Sun, what's happening there?
Gosling: We've been having just a tremendously good time with NetBeans over the last couple of years. One of the things that we've been really pushing on with NetBeans is to have a lot of specialized knowledge in multiple domains. So, we put a lot of energy into things like tools for enterprise programming and being able to support SOA to be able to support all of the Web services, so it's really easy to build a Web service, so it's really easy to tie Web services together in SOA architecture, to be able to debug and deploy app servers very transparently.

And at the other end of the scale to be able to do advance development on things like cell phones and to tie them together and to be able to set a break point in a cell phone and set a break point in the app service that it's talking to. And do this sort of interesting end-to-end development. That's something we've focused on pretty heavily. Then you tie in some of the higher level stuff that's around things like graphical user interfaces through app servers. We've got all of these facilities that integrate lots of different frameworks from the Ajax support to embedded applets to all the JSF struts framework, so we work hard on making all these components actually play together, so that people can use very advanced, sophisticated Ajax components without really being aware that that's what they're doing.

There's been a lot of interest in Ajax, as you probably know, but one criticism involved the difficulty in using JavaScript as part of it. Do you see that getting simpler?
Gosling: Ajax is a really funny thing. You can actually do, using Java applets, pretty much everything you can do in Ajax and you get much better portability. Ajax is a technology that at its heart has been around for quite a few years and mostly took off when they came up with a clever name, but it really suffers from the fact that there are so many flavors of JavaScript. And it's kind of been… it's the example that keeps convincing us that we have to be really, really careful about interoperability in the Java platform. Because when you start to get out of line, the way JavaScript did, it just causes an interoperability nightmare for developers. So, one of the things we try to do is make it so that people who are using JavaScript components don't actually have to worry about JavaScript at all. They just see the components as kind of a black box that they can drag and drop onto their applications and they don't have to worry about the can of worms that's inside.

That's what you're accomplishing with NetBeans now?
Gosling: Yeah.

What's the latest status on NetBeans? Are most of these things available to developers who want to do Ajax now?
Gosling: Go to Netbeans.org, pretty much all of this is in NetBeans 5.5, and there'll be a whole new revolution of this in NetBeans 6. The early access bits are out there already. And all the stuff that's in [Sun Java Studio] Creator although the bits and pieces of Creator are really being reorganized and integrated into the core of NetBeans.

How are Java Studio Creator and NetBeans fitting into this picture?
Gosling: We're on the track of taking what were really independent products, we had these three products, there was NetBeans and there was Java Studio Enterprise, which was all the really high-end developer tools and then there was Creator which was also an enterprise development tool but focused on the sort of rapid development of Web applications. Enterprise and Creator were built on top of NetBeans, but now we're getting rid of the fantasy that they're independent products. Well, we're still doing a certain amount of packaging them that way, but we're putting a lot more emphasis into integrating all of the different styles of development so that developers can work on projects in a lot of different styles depending on the different aspects.

Is there a special focus on SOA and Web services in NetBeans development?
Gosling: There are certainly a lot of tools in the new NetBeans that are particularly about SOA and Web services. It's everything from support for all the protocols to being able to do UML modeling for large architectures.

It sounds like NetBeans is at the heart of everything, is it?
Gosling: What we're doing is we're orienting everything around NetBeans. So, all of our tools for doing software development in C and C++, and Fortran are all essentially parts of NetBeans. Netbeans itself really is a sort of core framework into which you can plug in different kinds of modules to do everything from manage deployment for different kinds of app servers to managing semantic grabs for different kinds of languages. So, we're able to support multiple languages. NetBeans is not a pure Java environment. It's a way that you can develop in lots of different languages.

Sun just hired the developers of JRuby, will JRuby eventually fit into the overall Netbeans?
Gosling: It will eventually. Exactly when, I don't know.

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How should Microsoft tweak their Zune to be more competitive

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

After writing the recent entry on why Zune is not exactly a competitive competitor for the all popular iPod, I've received responses regarding the article, and they also pointed out major flaws in Zune. Today, I'll talk about steps I think that are helpful in making Zune more competitive in front of iPod:

1. Support for Mac. If Microsoft says that ZuneMarket won't support Mac, then I would probably understand their problems in writing a completely different code for Mac, but it will not be even compatible with Mac, meaning that you can't access the Zune on Mac - be it uploading music or using as a removable hard drive. This would definitely be seen as hostile to the growing Mac community. They would opt for an iPod when they want to buy a MP3 player simply because they can't use the Zune on their Mac. Even for a Windows user like myself, I wouldn't consider a Zune because many of my friends use Mac, and my school uses Mac. If Microsoft want Zune to be a hit in the market, support for Mac, at least player compatibility, is vitally important.

2. Open up restricted Wifi. According to all sources, we can't transfer data from the computer to Zune via Wifi, we can never share video with friends through Wifi, and we will get a crippled music sharing capability of only 3 days for free listening. I can understand the latter was under intense pressure from blood-sucking music industry, but the formals can definitely be improved on. If the sole purpose of Wifi is to listen to friend's music for 3 days, they should just strip the feature. They must unrestrict the Wifi to have an edge on iPod. With fully functional Wifi, one can host streaming music from our favorite playlist, and individuality is what we, the teenagers, want.

3. Enable third-party firmware support. Zune will definitely be much more desired than iPod if they can officially or unofficially support third-party firmware like RockBox, since that will be the opposite attitude of Apple. With third-party firmware, many features can be fully exploited; I would expect a web browser and several IM clients then.

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Zune is NOT a killer

Monday, October 09, 2006

And will never be. Since the start of this Microsoft Zune commotion, we've heard exciting features like Wifi, connectivity with Xbox 360, H264 and many others. Of course, availability of Wifi is the most anticipated. Before we analyze the Zune, let's take a look on why the iPod reigned:

The best aesthetic - everyone must agree that the iPods have the best aesthetics in the world of MP3 players, Video, Mini, Nano, Shuffle and previous generations, even if you're bored with it or whatever. Teens usually 'like' the looks before exploring the features, and this actually gave Apple an advantage over other talented manufactures like Creative and iRiver.

Good marketing strategies - Apple engaged in extensive markting strategies like advertisements, and endosement deals with U2. I must say that their advertisements are really creative in a cool way, and that inrease the prestige and awareness of their iPod series.

Cheap pricing - all Apple's iPods are made in China by Foxconn; their workers work 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, and earning $50 a month. I just couldn't think a way to farther cut down the cost without employing slavery.

Collaboration with software - their iTunes is a big success though it's buggy and resource hogging. Podcast actually helped iTunes to attract many more users though it wasn't invented by Apple. With the recent introduction of movie store, games store and TV shows store, the success is going to be greater.

Now, let's compare these with the Microsoft Zune. Exterior design of Zune is definitely ugly by any standard or definition, there's no need for me to farther elaborate on this point. Marketing strategies? Maybe, but more creative than Apple? I doubt so. Microsoft may be good marketers of their Windows or Office, but when it comes to entertainment products, I seriously doubt that they can do a better job than Apple, or even better than Creative's decision to let a porn star to endose their products.

Zune is 99 cents more expensive than a video with the same capacity. Made in Japan and by Toshiba are definitely advantages but it won't last for long. Most would believe that Microsoft makes a loss whenever a Zune is sold, just like their Xboxes. So while Apple is happily selling iPods for a huge profit, Microsoft is making a loss. They can lose for 3 years, but anything longer is just inpractical. So watch out for ways that Microsoft is going to squeeze some profits from consumers.

Ok, the software part is tricky. While Microsoft has proven to us that they can make less than safe software, Apple demonstrated an equal mastery in making bad software, their iTunes for example. While Apple owns Disney, literally, Microsoft seems to have strong support in their Marketplace as well. So it's probably equal in this field.
UPDATE: Both sell copyright-protected medias, so I would rather choose allofmp3.com for my music needs.

Other than those, the Zune has other useful features which I obviously doubt so. Yes, a customer will 'wow' when they first hear Wifi in a MP3, and to a lesser extent, H.264. But when we wake up, how useful is Wifi when we can't even connect to a computer, let alone a hotspot? How useful is HD on a 3" screen?

Zune is an iPod killer? I'm just at a loss of words for that.

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Free PC in France


Believe it or not, there are some people in major European countries that still lack internet access, or even computers. (Yes, we're still recovering from shock, too.) According to the French analyst firm Médiamétrie, half of the homes in France don't have a computer, and 60 percent don't have net access. In order to solve this problem, the French ISP firm Neuf Cegetel (they just bought AOL France) has launched its new internet access plan called Easy Neuf, in conjunction with its new cheap computer, the Easy Gate. This Linux box and internet service package can be yours for €40 ($50) per month, plus a €150 security deposit, and if you need a keyboard, mouse, monitor, and webcam, you'll have to fork over an additional one-time fee of €100 ($126). The Easy Gate packs an Intel 852GM chipset (no word on exactly what speed) and comes with six USB ports, 512MB of RAM and 512MB of flash memory, although we're not nearly enough to do anything but some light surfing and email (though we assume you can expand on that half gig with an external drive or two). Easy Neuf claims to serve up the internet at speeds of up to 8Mbps and includes unlimited VoIP calls to French landlines, so you can call your grandmother in Biarritz all you want. Beyond that, there's one more feature that we raise an eyebrow at -- Easy Gate's "proactive service monitoring" lets the company keep a remote eye on your PC and will fix it "without the customer having to call the help line."

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Ariel Atom - a supercar for $52000

Sunday, October 08, 2006


The Ariel Atom is a high performance sports car made by the Ariel Motor Company. It is unusual in the respect that the chassis is the body, and therefore lacks a roof, windows and other features commonly found on road cars. It is available with a range of engines; the top of the range being a supercharged Honda Civic Type-R K20 engine and can reach speeds rivaling those of much more expensive automobiles. Although the top speed of approximately 140 mph is relatively tame compared to more exotic sports cars, the high power-to-weight ratio (approximately 500 bhp/ton) affords it incredible acceleration and control through corners.

When Jeremy Clarkson tested the Atom 2 on BBC motoring television programme Top Gear, it lapped their test track faster than a Porsche Carrera GT.

Brammo Motorsports of Ashland, Oregon has signed a deal with Ariel Ltd to manufacture the Atom in the USA. In the USA it is available with a supercharged GM Ecotec engine from the Cobalt SS.

The Ariel Atom was also used by Wrightspeed to prototype the electric running gear for a entirely new production vehicle which Wrightspeed are raising funds to build. The Atom-based prototype, called the X1, also has incredible acceleration, reaching 60 mph in 3 seconds. Because the X1 is electric, it has the equivalent fuel consumption of 170 mpg.

* 0-60 mph : 3.5 sec. (2.9 Supercharged)
* Top Speed: 140 mph (155 mph Supercharged)
* Power: 220 bhp (300 bhp Supercharged)
* Weight: 556 kg (1,226 lb)
* Transmission: 6-Speed Close Ratio Manual w/ Reverse
* Price: $52,000

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The largest prime number

Prime numbers are usually thought of as numbers that no other number can be exactly divided into. This isn’t quite true as prime numbers always have 2 factors, the number 1 and itself (a factor is a number that can be exactly divided into another number). Because of this rule, the number 1 is not a prime number as it has only one factor (i.e. 1).

The first ten prime numbers are:

2 3 5 7 11 13 17 19 23 29

Prime numbers have fascinated mathematicians for centuries and they also have some unique properties.
1. 2 is the only even prime number (all the rest are odd).
2. No prime number other than 5 can end in a 5
3. After the single digit primes (2,3,5,7) all other prime numbers always end in either a 1, 3, 7 or 9.
4. If a prime number (other than 2 or 3) is increased or decreased by 1, one of these resulting numbers is always divisible by 6. (e.g. 19-1=18, 59+1=60 etc)

It is also believed that every even number except for 2 can be made by adding two prime numbers together e.g. 6=3+3, 8=5+3, 28=13+15, 64=61+3 etc).

As you go into bigger and bigger numbers….1000, 2000, 3000…..the number of prime numbers in each thousand gets smaller and smaller.

But what is the largest prime number so far discovered? The answer is 44th known Mersenne prime, (2^32,582,657)− 1 (Two to the power of thirty two million five hundred and eighty two thousand, six hundred and fifty seven, minus one), which has over 9 million digits! It was calculated in 2004 using computers and will probably be replaced as even more powerful computers take up the challenge of finding an even bigger prime number!

Farther reading: Wikipedia

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Official production of F1 Japan grand prix official car

Honda Motor Co., Ltd., today announced that the prototype 4-door Civic Type R, the sports version of the Honda Civic, has been selected as the official car for the 2006 F1 Japan Grand Prix, to be held at the Suzuka Circuit in Mie Prefecture, Japan, October 6-8, 2006. A production model, currently under development, is scheduled for release in Japan in spring 2007.

The 4-door Civic Type R prototype, fitted with a 2.0l DOHC i-VTEC engine with an output in excess of 220PS and a specially tuned sport suspension, delivers exhilarating driving performance in keeping with its bold, dynamic styling.

In addition to serving as the official car (red flag car) for the F1 Japan Grand Prix, the Civic R prototype will also be on display at Honda’s exhibit at Suzuka Circuit.




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China made the First Synthetic Sun

Saturday, October 07, 2006

China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST, internal designation HT-7U) has conducted its first successful test on September 28, 2006. The test reportedly used deuterium and tritium atoms and reached a temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius for nearly three seconds, obtaining 200 kA of electric current. The EAST is an experimental superconducting tokamak magnetic fusion energy reactor in Hefei, having similar means of releasing energy as the Sun. It will test several technologies proposed in the ITER, including:
* Superconducting NbTi poloidal field magnets, making it the first tokamak with superconducting toroidal and poloidal magnets
* Non-inductive current drive
* Pulses of up to 1000 seconds with 0.5 MA plasma current
* Schemes for controlling plasma instabilities through real-time diagnostics
* Materials for divertors and Plasma Facing Components
* Operation with βN = 2 and H89 > 2

According to Dr. Gary Jackson from General Atomic, EAST is the first such facility to be built and tested in the World, and China is going to lead in the next 10 years in such technologies.


Farther reading: ITER

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Maxim on Google Earth

In celebration of its 100th issue, Maxim went into the desert and laid out a huge copy (110 foot tall) of one of its more popular covers (picture of Housewife Eva Longoria on the cover). They then took aerial photos of the project and created image overlays so you can view it in Google Earth [Google Earth File. You must have GE installed.] . I guess they couldn't wait 2 or 3 years for Google to buy a satellite or aerial photo and include it in their database. According to Defamer, it took them 15 hours to lay it out with 9 people, 25 hours to print out, and 125 stakes to hold it on the ground.

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My Google Story

Google Earth 10/7/06 - Maxim on Google Earth

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Top 10 Passwords in UK

A UK agency has made an anonymous survey on the passwords most people use. According to the survey, 1.8% of the people use one of the passwords in Top 10. Here's the Top 10:
Rank Frequency
10. thomas 0.99%
9. arsenal 1.11%
8. monkey 1.33%
7. charlie 1.39%
6. qwerty 1.41%
5. 123456 1.63%
4. letmein 1.76%
3. liverpool 1.82%
2. password 3.78%
1. 123 4.00%

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Fill Your Disel Car with Free Oil

Friday, October 06, 2006

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0.99mm! Thinnest TFT-LCD

Toshiba Matsuchita has announced today that they would release the world's thinnest TFT-LCD panal, with a thickness of only 0.99mm. This panal can provide QVGA resolution of 320*240. The panel is 2.0" diagonally, and weighs only 3.5g.

Toshiba claims that future palm devices will be slicker with the new LCD panel. The first product to utilize this technology is estimated to be released at April 2007.

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Stanford: ATI's GPU can Calculate Much Faster

Beyond3D recently sat down with Stanford's Mike Houston, GPGPU guru and B3D regular, to discuss Stanford's new Folding@Home client for ATI GPUs.

Beyond3D: Is the X1K series's dynamic branching performance the enabler that lets you really explore and exploit R580's (and R520's) abilities for GPGPU, and specifically GROMACS in BrookGPU in this case --in a way that is impossible on any other hardware right now? After that, which of the other abilities the chip has are key for GROMACS performance? The ability to sustain close to peak performance in the fragment hardware? Memory bandwidth? Basically what does the GROMACS core hit hard on the chip and how are you exploiting that in the application?

Mike Houston: All GPUs are SIMD, so branching has a performance consequence. We have carefully designed the code to have high branch coherence. The code heavily relies on a tremendous amount of looping in the shader. On ATI, the overhead of looping and branching can be covered with math, and we have lots of math. We run the fragment shaders pretty close to peak for the instruction sequence used, i.e. we can't fully use all the pre-adders on the ALUs. But, I wouldn't say branching is the enabler. I'd say the incredible memory system and threading design is what currently make the X1K often the best architecture for GPGPU. Those allow us to run the fragment engines at close to peak.

What ATI can do that NVIDIA can't that is currently important to the folding code being run is that we need to dynamically execute lots of instructions per fragment. On NVIDIA, the shader terminates after 64K instructions and exits with R0->3 in Color[0]->Color[3]. So, on NVIDIA, we have to multi-pass the shader, which crushes the cache coherence and increases our off-chip bandwidth requirements, which then exacerbates the below.

The other big thing for us is the way texture latency can be hidden on ATI hardware. With math, we can hide the cost of all texture fetches. We are heavily compute bound by a large margin, and we could actually drive many more ALUs with the same memory system. NVIDIA can't hide the texture latency as well, and perhaps more importantly, even issuing a float4 fetch (which we use almost exclusively to feed the 4-wide vector units) costs 4 cycles. So NVIDIA's cost=ALU+texture+branch, whereas ATI is MAX(ALU, texture, branch).

While it would be possible to run the code on the current NVIDIA hardware, we would have to make pretty large changes to the code they want to run, and even past that, the performance is not great. We will have to look at their next architecture and re-evaluate. The next chips from both vendors should be interesting.

Beyond3D: Are you using ATI's Close To the Metal (CTM) API in BrookGPU now, and are you using it for this first Folding@Home implementation? How is it helping BrookGPU get better on R580 and R520 in a theoretical sense?

Mike Houston: There is a BrookGPU CTM backend currently being worked on and we hope to have it public when CTM is public. It is not being used for the current algorithms running in the Folding client though. However, it will enable other algorithms we weren't able to do in the past because of access to larger register files (128 registers!), scatter, and explicit control of the memory formats and memory system. You can do really neat things with CTM that we couldn't before through Direct3D/OpenGL. Being able to render and texture directly from host memory makes debugging much easier, and also allows an easy mechanism for asynchronous transfer to and from the hardware.

The main thing for BrookGPU is that the overheads of GL and D3D go away and we have full control of setting up the board. No extra commands are sent to the board. Also, we can compile directly to the ISA, so we don't have to worry about game optimizations breaking our GPGPU code. This also means that since we talk directly to the board, we are immune to driver changes which makes verification and shipping of actual applications much easier.

CTM is really going to change the way that GPGPU is done and honestly to really do GPGPU for real, you must have low level access to the hardware. Having this access helps you to better bend the architecture to your will, and when that fails, better understanding of how to change your algorithm. Using CTM, we were able to get matrix multiplication on R580 up from ~15Gflops to ~120Gflops by having control over the memory system and formats.

Folding@Home is currently written in BrookGPU, and uses the D3D9 backend.

Beyond3D: Can you talk about how you structure GROMACS on a GPU given the GPU's architecture and how it performs?

Mike Houston: The general key is to try to restructure your code to be compute, not bandwidth, bound. This is often difficult, but you can work to restructure your data access patterns to get the best use out of the memory system. GPGPU.org is a fantastic resource on tips and tricks for GPGPU.

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Sony's new Speaker for PSP

Sony has just released a portable speaker optimized for PSP, SRS-U10.

The speaker only has a power rating of 3.6W, includes PSP supporting stand, and a general input port that can be used for PSP, iPod, handphones and other devices.

SRS-U10 has a dimension of 270x105x110mm, weighing a hefty 700g.






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Games to Occupy Less Space by 70%

Thursday, October 05, 2006

During the Game Developers Conference held in London this week, an unknown company Allegorithmic demonstrated their technology to reduce the size of texture files by up to 70%.

The two programs, known as ProFX and MaP Zone 2, should potentially lessen the file sizes of textures even while the files keep the same quality as current texture files today. A show of their programs' capabilities came in the form of a demo for RoboBlitz, which is coming out for Xbox Live Arcade. With a 50 MB cap on the file size for these game, file sizes did have to be lessened, and according to the report, the game ran well on its Unreal 3 engine with only a 280kb size for the overall texture files.

However, there are several difficulties to implement this as the industry's standard as game artists are suited to work in Adobe Photoshop to create textures, much training is needed for the implementation of this. In addition, the spectrum of implementation is limited. But Allegorithmic is confident that their technology will become an industry standard.

What could this mean to us? Web based games anticipated by many companies will become a reality soon. Games will also have more complexed and sophisticated textures. All these will create a revolution in the gaming industry.

For more information: http://www.allegorithmic.com

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Zune Operational Video

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

CBS News released an operational video on Microsoft's latest media player Zune. Zune will be released on 14 November, 30GB version will be priced at $249.99. Microsoft is rumoured to release 60GB and 120GB versions in 2007.


Click Here For Video

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Archos AV 700 TV personal media player

World’s first handheld video recorder with digital TV receiver!

FEATURES

* Seven-inch screen
* Digital tuner
* 40GB hard drive
* Plays MPEG-4 SP, AVI, WMV, MP3 and WMA (protected)
* Battery Life: 30hrs audio, 3.5hrs video
* 107x209x19mm
* 610g

Archos’s new portable video recorder fits a huge screen and a Freeview receiver into a box little bigger than a PSP.

The seven-inch screen is impressively proportioned, but image quality is not as good as on some smaller media players. Colours look more subdued and video seems less sharp and detailed than on Archos’s AV 500 video jukebox.

To watch Freeview channels, you connect the large, two-part external aerial. Ideally both parts should be stuck to a window with the suction cups. Good if you’re going to use it in a caravan in Torquay, less so if you want to watch a footy match on the train to Manchester.
Advertisement

There are actually two tuners inside – designed for improving reception rather than recording two things at once – but they only make a difference if they can actually get a signal. We managed to pick up only half the Freeview channels available in central London. However, when reception’s good, the recording quality is amazing, as the broadcast is written directly to the hard drive with no conversion process.

It also does a great job of playing back XviD files. An episode of Lost looks silky-smooth, for instance. Music performance is also top notch. All Sparks by the Editors sounds punchy and you get support for subscription tracks from music services like Napster To Go. Battery life isn’t bad, with about 3.5 hours of video playback.

This isn’t the most portable media player around. However, the large screen, great video recording and excellent playback make it a good bet for those who want to watch Corrie in the car, yacht or, indeed, caravan in Torquay.

From T3 September 2006 http://www.archos.com/

Official distributor in Singapore:

Sim Lim Square Office Location:
Memory World (S) Pte Ltd
1 , Rochor Canal Road , #04-12
Sim Lim Square , Singapore 188504
Tel no: 65 6333 4500 Fax no: 65 6333 4588

Funan Office Location:
Memory World (S) Pte Ltd
109 , North Bridge Road , #05-17
Funan Digitalife Mall , Singapore 179097
Tel no: 65 6333 3777 Fax no: 65 6333 3444

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New Apple Tablet

The Apple rumour mill’s going crazy over speculation the Mac makers are prepping an ultra-portable computer for release next year, but what new technologies are likely to appear in such a secretive device?

For a start we’d expect a touchscreen, something Apple’s been patenting like crazy for the best part of a year.

That screen could even be a multi-touch version, or offer feedback in the form of a physical clicking sensation – Apple’s patented this recently too.

Then there’re those reports that the ‘Podfathers at Cupertino were working on a crazy camera screen, with lenses hidden behind a computer’s display. That means the portable’s LCD could double as an iSight for use in a mobile version of iChat.

Of course, you’ll need a way to control an Apple tablet, and it’s far too boring to rely on a stylus. How about a sensor that knows when your hand’s approaching? Yeah, that’d be cool. Or how about clever on-screen keyboards, so smart they can cope with super-fast touch typing?

What we’d really like to see is an A5-sized pad, easily pocketable but with enough grunt, and speedy memory, to handle programmes like Photoshop even while we’re out and about, as well as toting iLife apps with all the grace of a desktop machine.

There’s rumour that Apple’s working on a flash-based portable for release early next year, lets just hope it’s not another UMPC let down, and comes clad in Apple’s super stylish skin.

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SkyOS - A New Experience

Finally, it's an OS which is neither Windows or Unix based. It's SkyOS. The new SkyOS 5.0 supports transparent picture, 32 bit PNG file format, and the system is simply amazing, both aesthetically and usability.

SkyOS features SMP support, an integrated media subsystem and a 64-bit filesystem. Its filesystem was originally based on a modified version of OpenBFS but now has evolved into its own distinctive filesystem, SkyFS. Popular file systems such as FAT 16/32, BFS, Ext 2/3 and ISO 9660 are supported.

SkyOS is mostly POSIX compliant, and comes with the majority of the GNU tools, including GCC. Due to its POSIX compliance and port of the GTK+ widget toolkit, many Linux or other UNIX applications have been ported, including AbiWord and Gaim, as well as a number of games, such as Quake.

SkyOS has limited hardware support due to a lack of device drivers. Many devices are unsupported, although the latest beta release features a USB stack and a port of CUPS. Although SkyOS has support for graphics cards in VESA modes, it lacks the ability to take advantage of the 3D hardware found on modern graphics cards like nVidia's GeForce and ATI's Radeon range.

SkyOS has applications for many common desktop computing tasks; the GTK, Mozilla, and Mono platforms have been ported, to name a few of the more prominent applications available. Additionally, a handful of 3rd-party developers have created a number of native applications and games for SkyOS.

Let's explore the system farther:

The start up picture. It supports themes and skins. In addition, transparent windows, round window edges, shadows are supported as well.

Able to create and edit 3D models.

SkyOS can play DVD, CD and MP3.

Web surfing can be done through SkyKruzer (Firefox is included). Users can use Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0 to manage Emails, newsgroups, and RSS Feeds. Instant messaging is done through GAIM. Users can use the included Nvu to create their own website, while their computers can be remotely controlled through SkyOS VNC Server and Client.

Word processing through AbiWord.

Log on screen.

Different users of a computer are classified as ACCESS_GROUPS in SkyOS. There are 4 main groups:
GROUP: SYSTEM RIGHT: Reboot

GROUP: SYSTEM RIGHT: Execute processes

GROUP: SYSTEM RIGHT: Create threads

GROUP: FILESYSTEM RIGHT: Create files


User Control Panel.

Popular software included:
- AbiWord (word processing software)

- GIMP (nicknamed Photoshop for Linux)

- GTK (gimp tool kit)

- SkyKruzer (Web browser based on KHTML)

- GNU Compiler collection

- Bochs(Virtual emulation software, much like VMware)

- Perl

- SDL with OpenGL support

- Quake I/II/III

- VideoLan

- SkyDeveloperStudio

- Python

- Mars, Land of No Mercy

Get SkyOS 5.0 beta Build 6179 ($30)

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Renault: You don't bring a knife to a gunfight Michael...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


From Renault's pit in Shanghai during the F1 Grand Prix on 1st October.

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Google's Top Services

Monday, October 02, 2006

Here are Google's top ten services based on del.icio.us bookmark database.
Service Frequency
1.Gmail——above 16000
2.Writely——15143
3.Search——7675
4.Maps ——6197
5.News ——5130
6.Reader —4745
7.Video—— 4307
8.Scholar— 3215
9.Labs—— 2720
10.Earth— 2583

Note that there's no need to bookmark Google homepage as it's everywhere eg. Firefox Search Box, Google Toolbar etc.
Other services not in top ten: Blog Search, Sketchup, Book Search, Page Creator, Google Moon and Spreadsheets

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Author: Bo Tian » Comments:

Google's Mashup Rush

On 13 September and last Thursday, Google has registered the following domains on mashup:
mash-search.com/net/org
mash-serch.com/net/org
mashsearch.com/net/org
mashserch.com/net/org
mashup-search.com/net/org
mashups-search.com/net/org
mashupsearch.com/net/org
mashupssearch.com/net/org
search-mash.com/net/org
search-mashes.com/net/org
search-mashup.com/net/org
search-mashups.com/net/org
searchmash.com/net/org
searchmashes.com/net/org
searchmashup.com/net/org
searchmashups.com/net/org
serch-mashup.com/net/org
serch-mash.com/net/org
serchmash.com/net/org
serchmashup.com/net/org
wwwsearchmash.com/net/org
wwwsearchmashup.com/net/org

Mashup (web application hybrid):

A mashup is a website or web application that seamlessly combines content from more than one source into an integrated experience.

Content used in mashups is typically sourced from a third party via a public interface or API. Other methods of sourcing content for mashups include Web feeds (e.g. RSS or Atom) and JavaScript includes.

The etymology of this term almost certainly derives from its similar use in pop music.

Many people are experimenting with mashups using eBay, Amazon, Google, and Yahoos APIs.

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Author: Bo Tian » Comments:

Intel's New 45nm Factories

Sunday, October 01, 2006

When AMD is introducing its 65nm quad-core Barcelona K8L, Intel has started building 3 45nm manufacturing facilities, namely D-1D in Oregon, Fab 32 in Arizona and Fab 28 in Israel.

These 3 factories will cost Intel 9 billion dollars in investment, and this is one of the reasons for Intel's retrenchment blogally: to compress operation cost, improve R&D and manufacturing capacity.

Besides, Intel plans to convert at least 1 flash factory into 45nm factory, one of the possible targets is D2 Fab in Sata Clara

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CORSAIR's new 1111MHz DDR2 RAM

Recently, Corsair and OCZ launched 1111MHz and 1120MHz DDR2 RAM respectively. At this time, making DDR2-800 is a great challenge in technology to the manufactures, and making RAMs above 1GHz is a farther test of technical expertise.

Corsair said that their new Dominator series of RAMs can work at 1.11GHz and CAS4, but making such RAMs is extremely difficult. These RAMs are results of testing received chips from Micron. The default manufacturing standard of these chips is 800MHz, CAS3. Only less than 5% of total chips received can reach 1111MHz, and only 0.5% is used for manufacturing of the Dominator series due to the concerns that all chips making up the RAM must work on identical frequency and latency.

According to news reports, Corsair's DDR-1111 has only released less than 200 pieces globally. So even if you can bear to pay $600 for this monster, you may not get the product.


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Author: Bo Tian » Comments:

GIF Patents Has Gone into History

The software patents for GIF picture format has gone into history on 1 October 2006. The patent was first applied in 1999 by Unisys, and was then taken over by IBM in 2004.

From GNU.org:
We were able to search the patent databases of the USA, Canada, Japan, and the European Union. The Unisys patent expired on 20 June 2003 in the USA, in Europe it expired on 18 June 2004, in Japan the patent expired on 20 June 2004 and in Canada it expired on 7 July 2004. The U.S. IBM patent expired 11 August 2006, The Software Freedom Law Center says that after 1 October 2006, there will be no significant patent claims interfering with employment of the GIF format.

Farther reading:
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/gif.html

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Energy Benchmark EEcoMark Announced

Windows Benchmarking organization BAPCo and Ecma International joint announced a new benchmark co-developed, based on power saving features of personal computers. The new software is named EECoMark.

EECoMark will test a computer's ability based on real-life software, but will put computer's power usage on top priority. (Which means that power saving computer will score better even though performance may not be as good.)

Many companies are now focusing on problems regarding power consumption, Sun and AMD joined to developed a new power benchmarking software, SPEC is also doing research on this topic, while Intel joined the setting of standard of EECoMark.

BAPCo and Ecma planned to release EECoMark and first version of power benchmarking standard by first half of 2008.

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Author: Bo Tian » Comments:

Sony's new 4GB MP3 Player

Sony's new unrevealed MP3 has recently appeared on the internet. This player integrates the design of NW-E series and the navigation of NW-S series. Below is the know features:
1. 4GB of storage space
2. Fast charging enabled
3. Good sound quality, with new technology to reduce noise
4. 50 hours of continuous playing time
5. Integrated FM Radio
6. There will be 3 colors at launch

Price and launch informations are still unknown.

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