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Monday, August 31, 2009

AMD Releases Six Core Chip

AMD released the extremely energy efficient version of its six core Opteron server processor as part of AMD's ongoing ramp of Istanbul class products, continuing its recent pattern of following on new mainstream server chips with low power specialty parts. At 40 watts, the new release draws the lowest power within AMD's next generation family of six core processors code named Istanbul.

The 2419 EE delivers 30 percent better performance per watt than AMD's quad-core Opteron 2384, a 2.7GHz, 75-watt processor released as part of the chip maker's previous generation of server chips code-named Shanghai.

Key specs for the six core 2419 EE include a combined 128 KB of L1 cache per core, 512 KB of L2 cache per core and a total of 6 MB of L3 cache. The new six core processor is designed for dual socket servers and workstations, slotting into AMD's socket F.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wikipedia to amend editing rules

Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that has increasingly drawn some juvenile pranks, is looking to impose more discipline with new restrictions on the editing of articles.

The latest changes come as Wikipedia continues to try to balance credibility and a desire for openness.

While anyone can still edit entries, the site is testing pages that require changes to be approved by an experienced Wikipedia editor before they show up.

The idea is to block the kind of high-profile vandalism that has marred some pages. In one of the most recent embarrassments, Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd was declared dead by rogue editors.

Still, Wikipedia risks discouraging legitimate editing if restrictions on changes or additions become too burdensome. That may be especially true on more obscure pages with fewer active volunteers to approve edits in a timely way.

Aware of the risks, Wikipedia has set the criteria for "experienced editor" status relatively low. Users who are registered for a few days can give changes the OK, said Jay Walsh, a spokesman for the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation, which runs the site.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Microsoft, Yahoo Join Google Books Opposition

Microsoft and Yahoo are joining a group of opponents to a class action settlement that gives Google Inc the right to digitize millions of books.

The companies are becoming part of the Open Book Alliance, made up of nonprofits and libraries that have raised a red flag against Google's plan to digitize books and put them on the Internet.

Critics say the deal gives Google the unimpeded ability to set prices for libraries, once they scan books and put them on the Internet. If the service becomes a necessity for libraries they would face monopoly pricing, Google's opponents say.

Google has agreed to pay $125 million to create a Book Rights Registry, where authors and publishers can register works and receive compensation from institutional subscriptions or book sales. A hearing on approval of the settlement is set for October 7 in U.S. District Court in New York.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Computer Chips Based on DNA

In order to meet the demand for ever smaller and faster computer chips, IBM and the California Institute of Technology have been researching the use of DNA molecules in microprocessors. It turns out that the building blocks of life may help keep alive Moore’s Law that computer performance doubles every two years.

IBM researchers and Caltech scientists have found that “the tiny components that run along a chip’s silicone surface will self-adhere to previously laid down DNA patterns,”. This means that microchip designers can use DNA as a complex framework to which microscopic materials can be added to form a computer chip.

Such incredibly small-scale chip construction would be one way for computer processing speed to continue its current pace in accordance with Moore’s Law. Intel co-founder Gordon Moore predicted back in 1965 that the number of transistors on a computer chip would double about every two years.

No mention was made as to the source of the DNA molecules or whether they would in any way be subject to mutation as can happen in a living organism. InformationWeek said IBM plans to publish its research in the September issue of Nature Nanotechnology.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Google Search Site Box

This is Google's corporate search engine SaaS offering. Companies can embed a Google search box on their Web sites and pay Google to do the searching and return the results. (Google also offers on-premises search appliances.)

The mini-search box is a feature that occurs during specific searches, when the Google algorithm detects "a high probability" that a user wants more refined search results within a specific site. According to Google: "Like the rest of our snippets, the sites that display the site search box are chosen algorithmically based on metrics that measure how useful the search box is to users."

Search Site is a feature that has always been available via the Google Toolbar. It is one of the reasons Google became so popular in the first place.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Google Caffeinates Its Search Engine

Over the past few months, Google has been working on optimizing its search engine architecture for better, faster results. The secret project is named Caffeine -- a wink at its speed increase -- and is designed to "push the envelope on size, indexing speed, accuracy, comprehensiveness, and other dimensions."

But don't expect a mind-blowing spectacle of change: Caffeine's tweaks are all under the hood."Most users won't notice a difference in search results. But web developers and power searchers might notice a few differences, so we're opening up a web developer preview to collect feedback," Google wrote in a blog post.

The test of Caffeine's success rests on whether or not people will care and understand, and if the changes prove more substantial than a few additional pages of faster results.

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Friday, August 07, 2009

Web attack aimed at one blogger

A "massively co-ordinated" attack on websites including Google, Facebook and Twitter was directed at one individual, it has been confirmed.

Facebook told BBC News that the strike was aimed at a pro-Georgian blogger known as Cyxymu.

The attack caused a blackout of Twitter for around two hours, while Facebook said its service had been degraded.

Google said it had defended its sites and was now working with the other companies to investigate the attack.

"The attack appears to be directed at an individual who has a presence on a number of sites, rather than the sites themselves," a Facebook spokesman told BBC News.

"Specifically, the person is an activist blogger and a botnet was directed to request his pages at such a rate that it impacted service for other users."

Botnets are networks of computers under the control of hackers.

It is still not known who perpetrated the attack or why they may have targeted Cyxymu and his accounts.

However, in an interview with the UK's Guardian newspaper, the blogger blamed Russia.

The blogger has previously criticised Russia over its conduct in the war over the disputed South Ossetia region, which began one year ago.

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Monday, August 03, 2009

Mozilla tops 1 Billion but still behind Internet Explorer

Five years after being introduced to the Internet, Mozilla's popular open source Web browser Firefox has reached 1 billion downloads. But even though Firefox has added another digit to its tally, the open source browser is still facing an uphill battle against Microsoft's stalwart Internet Explorer.

Stat Counter reports that from July 1, 2008, to Aug. 1, 2009, Internet Explorer remained on top of the Web browser market share heap with 63.5 percent. Mozilla's Firefox is the closest to challenging Redmond's crown with 28.29 percent of the market.

Rounding out the top five Web browsers are Opera at 2.93 percent, Safari at 2.75 percent and Chrome at 1.89 percent.

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