Saturday, November 14, 2009

US Servers Need Equivalent Power of 4 Million Homes

The findings of the study, commissioned by AMD, were presented in a keynote address at the LinuxWorld OpenSolutions Summit in New York, by Randy Allen, corporate vice president, Server and Workstation Division of the chipmaker.

The study, authored by Professor Jonathan Koomey, staff scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories and consulting professor, Stanford University, found that in 2005, in the US alone, data centers and their associated infrastructure consumed five million kW of energy, the equivalent of five 1,000 MW power plants.

The cost of US data centers is a large 37.5% chunk of the US$7.2 billion annual spend on global data centers.

"Though we have long known that data centers worldwide consume a significant amount of energy, AMD believes Dr. Koomey's findings are a wake-up call not just for the IT industry, but also for global business, government and policy leaders," said AMD's Allen in his address.

"This study demonstrates that unchecked demand for data center energy use can constrain growth and present real business challenges. New generations of energy-efficient servers are now able to help provide IT departments with a path to reduce their energy consumption while still achieving the performance they require."

Friday, November 13, 2009

How To Buy Popularity

Popularity was never easily measured, until the advent of social-networking sites. Now, prospective employers and others can gain some insights into an applicant's lifestyle and character by looking at a person's social-networking page, including the roster of friends.

So what if a job applicant's networking page lacks friends?

Enter, a business founded by Brant Walker, which offered users of and similar sites a way to enhance their page with photographs and comments from hired "friends" — mainly attractive models — for 99 cents a month each.

FakeYourSpace was doing very well, attracting 50,000 hits a day, until a service that provided the photographs of the models,, noticed that use and objected to it.

Kelly Thompson, iStockPhoto's vice president for marketing, said its licensing agreement did not allow Web sites to post photos that might lead the average person to "think that the model endorses" the product, Web site or person in question.

IStockPhoto's network of 30,000 photographers police the Internet for such contractual infractions. When they noticed how FakeYourSpace was using the photos, they reported it to iStockPhoto, which asked Mr. Walker to stop using the photographs.

He complied, and FakeYourSpace, while still viewable online, will not be fully operational again until Thursday. Mr. Walker is searching for models through agency and online auditions to replace those that had been provided by iStockPhoto, which was recently purchased by Getty Images.

But is FakeYourSpace's business legal? The site certainly misrepresents people, but Mr. Walker, 26, said he thought that its intent was more altruistic than fraudulent.

A graduate of Platt College, a graphics and multimedia specialty school in San Diego, Mr. Walker runs the site from his San Diego home with two employees. He said the idea came to him when he noticed, while browsing MySpace pages, that "some people would have a lot of good-looking friends, and others didn't."

His idea, he said, was "to turn cyberlosers into social-networking magnets" by providing fictitious postings from attractive people. The postings are written by the client or by Mr. Walker and his employees, who base the messages on the client's requests. FakeYourSpace says it does not post any messages that are threatening, pornographic or illegal.

MySpace and other social-networking sites appear to have no rules prohibiting Mr. Walker's idea. The leading sites, MySpace, Friendster and facebook, did not respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Walker's business is a variation on a growing phenomenon that Bruce Schneier, a blogger at, a Web site for the business technology magazine InfoWorld, refers to as "the social network reputation hack." and offer similar services, using fake cellphone calls scheduled in advance to provide an excuse to escape a tedious situation, like a bad date, or to make the subscriber appear in demand.

While they may be less than honest, FakeYourSpace and similar sites are currently legal, as long as the content they post is legitimately licensed. Mr. Walker said his second business, a Web site called that removes unwanted friends from a user's profile by third-party messenger, had yet to have any legal trouble.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tooth implant 'to release drugs'

Forgetting to take medicine may be a thing of the past as researchers close in on creating an artificial tooth which automatically releases medicine.

The Intellidrug device is small enough to fit inside two artificial molars in the jaw, the Engineer journal said.

European Commission researchers also believe it will benefit patients, such as those with diabetes and high blood pressure, who need doses in the night.

If human trials prove successful, the device could be available in 2010.

Dr Thomas Velten, from the Frauhofer Institute for Biomedical Technology in Germany, one of the 15 research bodies involved in the project, said: "It is important for some conditions that there is a constant level of drug in the blood.

"With this system, we can time the dosage to take place - even when the patient is sleeping.

"We can easily adjust the dosage in line with the patient's needs, dependent on sex or weight."

Intellidrug works by holding the drug in tablet form in a reservoir. The implant is held in place through a combination of clips and dental fixative.


Once in place, saliva in the mouth enters the reservoir via a membrane and dissolves the solid drug, forming a solution.

When the system is triggered by the electrical timing mechanism, a valve opens and allows a controlled amount of the solution to flow into the mouth where it is absorbed into the body.

The device is fitted with two sensors. The first is a fill-level sensor that measures the concentration of the drug in the reservoir.

It alerts the patient when the concentration of the drug falls below a certain level. At the moment enough medication can be contained for up to two weeks.

The second sensor monitors how much drug solution has been administered and a remote control allows the doctor to increase the dose of medication if necessary.

Matt Griffiths, prescribing and medicines manager adviser at the Royal College of Nursing, said: "Cost is an issue as to whether this would become widely available, but there is a cost benefit to improving medicines concordance.

"About 50% of people with chronic conditions do not take their medicines correctly and that in turn costs the health service money."

BBC News

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Winner of the Console War?

Do you know what the first condition of a perfect console launch is? Releasing enough units so that everyone can get one! Well, if not everyone, at least as many as possible.

Of the three competitors on the console market, Nintendo seems to be the only one to have understood this necessity. Sony would have certainly liked to have millions of consoles available for sale, but problems determined by the incorporation of the BluRay unit didn't allow the Japanese company such a luxurious release of its product.

Microsoft released Xbox 360 a year ago, however, as it didn't respect this condition, the unit was sold out shortly after its launch. Lucky for the Redmond company that they had a whole year at their disposal in order to solve this problem – now they can be proud of having sold 7 million consoles. Microsoft hopes to celebrate having delivered 10 million units to consumers by March 2007.

Nintendo Wii, deemed a bona fide outsider at the beginning of the console war, has already sold 700,000 models if we are to believe what the site monitoring console sales is saying.

In less than a week, Nintendo will launch another 400,000 consoles in Japan and another number of consoles in Europe, undisclosed for now, in an attempt to reach its goal of selling 4 million units by the end of the year.

Sony is in the paradoxical situation of being defeated by a console greatly inferior to PS 3 technically. PlayStation 3 is undoubtedly a must have for any self-respecting gamer, but Nintendo Wii does hold one advantage: it will be available for purchase in stores. Sony has sold out its few hundred thousand PS3s at launch and it is unclear when the next units will hit the market.

As the holiday season is only days away, it's hard to imagine that Sony will miraculously come forward with another couple of hundred thousand consoles, conjured out of thin air.

Surprising as it may be, the war of the consoles is not being fought over technical specs, as we'd expect it to be, but over availability. Whoever produces more units faster will win, and from this perspective, Nintendo is carefree.

Compared to Wii, Xbox 360 is no happier case. The console has already turned 1 year old and Microsoft will have to initiate a publicity campaign or price reductions in order to stimulate sales growth.

In case you've missed the most recent episodes of "Attack of the Next-Generation Consoles: Sony and Nintendo Counter-Attack", don't be mistaken into thinking Nintendo Wii will sell just because there's so much more of it than of its rivals on the market.

While Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 were competing in categories such as "who can stuff more memory and processors per square centimeter", Nintendo bet on the human factor and instead of concentrating on graphics and processor power, it reinvented the magic wand, creating a wireless controller which allows gamers to make any kind of movements they desire while playing.

Is Nintendo the winner of the console war? It's still too soon to draw a conclusion, one way or another, especially since Sony will fight mightily to regain its footing. Wii certainly is this season's revelation.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Google to start filtering YouTube videos

Mercury News

Google is set to start filtering videos and other content on YouTube for copyrighted materials, taking a key step in helping the online video-sharing site comply with one of the biggest complaints it faces -- rampant piracy.

The Mercury News has learned that Google will use technology from Los Gatos-based Audible Magic. That company's software was mentioned in the U.S. Supreme Court's Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios vs. Grokster ruling as evidence that file-sharing services could keep pirated files off their networks.

Yet Google's move may simply drive YouTube's audience to other sites, where copyright violations are even more egregious. While YouTube imposes a 10-minute limit on uploaded clips, sites like in France or in Denmark screen full-length movies and pirated TV episodes.

YouTube is 'definitely going to lose popularity,' said Jesse Drew, acting director of the technocultural studies program at University of California-Davis. 'These things become popular because they are underground and free and accessible.'

YouTube had agreed in September to begin filtering videos, but implementation of a filtering system was delayed while Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt tried to hammer out licensing deals with major studios.

Some copyright holders complained that Google appeared to be using the filtering technology as leverage in negotiations. Earlier this month, Viacom demanded that YouTube remove more than 100,000 videos, including clips of shows like 'SpongeBob Squarepants,' posted on its site. NBC Universal and News Corp. also have requested that YouTube take down clips.

Last week, for instance, Richard Cotton, general counsel of NBC Universal, wrote Google a five-page letter demanding that Google use all available means to address copyright infringement on YouTube.

Users of Audible Magic's technology have included iMesh, a peer-to-peer music-sharing site, the PlayLouder MSP music service, and Grouper, a video-sharing site owned by Sony. MySpace recently announced a pilot program to use Audible Magic to prevent unauthorized videos from being posted by its users.

Neither YouTube nor Audible Magic would comment on the deal, which has not been publicly announced. The Mercury News spoke with two sources familiar with the deal who were not cleared to comment officially about it.

In an interview with Reuters on Wednesday, Google's Schmidt said filtering technology was one of the company's 'highest priorities.'

'It is going to roll out very soon,' Schmidt said.

In an interview with the Mercury News last week, Vance Ikezoye, chief executive of Audible Magic, said it takes 'a few days at most' for a site to begin filtering.

The system works by comparing the audio fingerprint of a video to a large database of copyrighted material. Founded in 1999, Audible Magic originally was focused on the problem of monitoring radio broadcasts. It purchased the technology for audio fingerprinting from Muscle Fish, a Berkeley software company that Audible Magic acquired in 2000.

One potential snag in implementing the company's technology at YouTube is that the database of audio for movies and television shows is incomplete. 'We have to have access to all the television and film content to be able to fingerprint,' Ikezoye said.

'It isn't that complicated of a process,' he added. 'It could be done in months.'

Meanwhile, Audible Magic is also working on a way to compare video images themselves. Ikezoye said that service should be ready later in the year.

Video fingerprinting has lagged audio fingerprinting because video files are far bigger and more complex than audio files, said Jim Hollingsworth, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Gracenote, a competitor to Audible Magic that is helping MySpace identify copyrighted music.

But being able to do so would fill some gaps in the audio-fingerprinting process. In the absence of video fingerprints, for instance, a TV show that is dubbed with a homemade soundtrack would not be flagged by a filter.

Still, representatives of entertainment companies said existing technology can go a long way to preventing copyright infringement and they want Google to implement it.

The news that Google was ready to start filtering, however, was greeted with skepticism. 'YouTube and Google have been promising filtering tools for many, many months, while the damage to copyright owners continues,' a spokesman for Viacom said.

Kann Red Hat Survive?