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Want to create or compare governments? Google's Constitute is for you

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Sep 24, 2013 2:03 am

Google has just announced the launch of a new project it calls Constitute, a website that organizes all of the world's constitutions in one easily searchable and user-friendly interface. The website allows users to filter charters by the date that they were created and indexes both basic details and policies.




This new service offered by Google is a very important service just for the fact that it makes every constitution in the world easily readable, something that many countries make very hard to find. I am sure that there are more than a few political science majors out there who are viewing this new website as a true godsend and thanking Google for making their research much easier.

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T-Mobile's Motorola Moto X phones get update that improves camera

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Sep 24, 2013 1:17 am

Google released an update today for its flagship smartphone, the Moto X. The update greatly improves the performance of the phone's rear-facing camera. The update comes after several major sites criticized the camera's performance in their reviews, but thankfully Google took note and adjusted things accordingly.




The software update improves on the camera's exposure, color accuracy, and focus speed, all of which took major hits in the press. Unfortunately at the moment, the update is only being pushed out to phones on T-Mobile's network, but it is widely expected to roll out to other carriers quite soon. In addition, the update increases the touchless control accuracy and fixes choppy audio that some users have been experiencing while in voice calls.

Google says it will begin banning most Chrome plug-ins in Jan. 2014

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Internet Browsers | Posted: Sep 24, 2013 12:37 am

Browser plug-ins are one of the largest security vulnerabilities facing today's computers, and Google aims to remove this issue from their Chrome browser once and for all. Starting in January 2014, Google will begin banning all of the most widely used browser plug-ins and will insist that developers begin using programming methods that use standards built directly into the web.




Most of the plug-ins featured on Chrome use the Netscape Plug-In Application programming interface, a technology that was state-of-the-art more than 10 years ago. Plug-ins should not be confused with much safer Add-Ons, which Google distributes through its Chrome Web Store. Fortunately, plug-ins such as Microsoft's Silverlight, Unity, Java, Flash, and Facebook Video will be white listed in the ban, so most of your services should continue functioning normally.

HighPoint ships RocketU 1144C, world's fastest USB 3.0 controller

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Storage | Posted: Sep 24, 2013 12:02 am

Earlier today, HighPoint announced that it has began shipping the RocketU 1144C, which it says is the world's fastest USB 3.0 controller. The USB 3.0 controller card is powered by HighPoint's per-port performance architecture and a fast PCI-E 2.0 x4 host interface that is combined with UAS technology, which is responsible for this controllers abnormally fast speeds.




The RocketU 1144C delivers unprecedented levels of performance when paired with UAS capable storage devices, such as the RocketStor 5422 USB 3.0 Storage Dock. UAS (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) enables USB 3.0 devices to store and process multiple commands in parallel; significantly reducing wait time and streamlining data transfers. The speed and efficiency advantages provided by UAS technology are ideal for multi-tasking and performance-hungry applications.

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Mellanox announces release of MetroX Solutions technology

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Storage | Posted: Sep 23, 2013 11:32 pm

Today, Mellanox announced the immediate release of its MetroX TX6100 solution that enables InfiniBand and Ethernet RDMA connectivity between data centers. Mellanox says that "MetroX allows for rapid disaster recovery and improve utilization of remote storage and compute infrastructures across long distances and multiple geographic sites."




"A common problem facing data-driven researchers is the time cost of moving their data between systems, from machines in one facility to the next, which can slow their computations and delay their results," said Mike Shuey, HPC systems manager at Purdue University. "Mellanox's MetroX solution lets us unify systems across campus, and maintain the high-speed access our researchers need for intricate simulations -- regardless of the physical location of their work."


Purdue University recently deployed MetroX TX6100 over six kilometers to connect their computational clusters to storage facilities thus providing access to its remote-based supercomputers and allowing Purdue University to organize limited access to data center space more efficiently resulting in higher facilities utilization.

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Weekend iPhone sales top more than 5 million according to Apple

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Sep 23, 2013 10:52 pm

Over the weekend, Apple managed to sell more than 9 million units of its new iPhone 5S and 5C. The sales announcement came earlier this morning in an official statement from the Cupertino-based company and boasts that this weekend's achievement tops the 5 million unit sales last year of Apple's iPhone 5.




Unfortunately, is not clear if the iPhone 5S sold more units than the iPhone 5C as Apple is keeping that information to itself. Industry analysts widely expect that the 5C sold more units due to its cheaper price tag. Additionally, Apple said that over 200 million devices have been updated to iOS 7 since it was released to the public on September 18.

Google's Gmail service experiencing outages, said to be fixed soon

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Sep 23, 2013 10:27 pm

Throughout the day, Gmail users have been experiencing spotty performance issues as well as downtime when trying to access their email. Sluggish load times and delayed receipt of emails are the major nuisances, while some users, including myself, were unable to access the service altogether several times throughout the day.




Google has confirmed that as many as 50 percent of users may have been affected by the performance issues and service disruptions, which appeared to start around 2:05PM Eastern Time. Google says that they are working diligently to return things to normal and as of this posting, all of my issues seem to have been resolved.

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Oppo releases new N1 Android-based smartphone with hinged 13mp camera

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Sep 23, 2013 10:02 pm

Early this morning, Oppo launched its long awaited N1 smartphone. While the phone may never make it to the US, it does host several unique features that are cool enough that I have to write about it. The N1 is a 5.9-inch Android-based phablet that features a quad-core 1.7GHz processor and a 3,610mAh battery.




These specs are fairly common for mid- to high-end phones at the moment, but what sets it apart from all the rest is its 13-megapixel f/2.0 camera that is able to rotate over 206 degrees. This camera eliminates the need for a front facing low-quality camera and enables users to take high-quality self-portraits from almost any angle. Oppo says that the N1's camera has been tested and passed over 100,000 rotations, which equals seven years of life expectancy if used 40 times per day.


Additionally, the N1 is the first smartphone to feature CyanogenMod installed from the factory, making Oppo the first manufacturer to collaborate with the company since Cyanogen, Inc., was formed. The new N1 is expected to retail for $570 in China and will be available in either 16GB or 32GB configurations.

BlackBerry goes private in sale to Fairfax Financial for $4.7 billion

By: Charles Gantt | More News: BREAKING STORY | Posted: Sep 23, 2013 8:59 pm

BlackBerry's long and tumultuous journey appears to finally be over after the company announced that it will be taken private by Fairfax Financial Holdings. The announcement was just made and the deal is said to be valued at $4.7 billion.




BlackBerry will agree to pay shareholders nine dollars per share in cash, which is actually more than it is currently trading at. The consortium being led by Fairfax Financial will complete due diligence on BlackBerry's books until November 4, during which time BlackBerry can entertain and accept other offers if it chooses to.


Fairfax Financial is said to be seeking financial backing to complete the buyout from Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and BMO Capital Markets. BlackBerry's decision to go this route was the direct result of a recommendation made by a special committee appointed by its board to seek alternate sales options. Unfortunately, this announcement comes too late to save the jobs of over 4500 employees that the company plans to lay off before the end of the year.

LSI Delivers Maximum VDI Density with WarpDrive Products

By: Paul Alcorn | More News: Storage | Posted: Sep 23, 2013 8:32 pm

LSI Corporation announced they are working closely with VMware to deliver breakthrough desktop density for VMware Horizon View deployments. VDI can be a challenging environment for the storage infrastructure with its 'bursty' random write workloads. For HDD-based solutions, be they SAN, NAS or direct attached storage, these workloads closely mirror the absolute worst-case scenario for an HDD. Throwing more spindles at the problem isn't the best of solutions, as this leads to drastically over provisioned storage resources to tackle a problem that can be addressed with a simple slip-in solution that provides lower power consumption and exponentially better latency performance.


Many administrators mistakenly think that throughput and IOPS can address every performance challenge, but the secret to maximum performance actually falls to the latency of the storage solution.




Enter the LSI WarpDrive, which brings a healthy helping of flash and places it as close to the processor as possible, delivering massive performance improvements with a minimum of configuration. Above we can observe the VSImax rating of 280 obtained before the system maxed out the CPU.In collaborative testing with VMware Horizon View using a single LSI Nytro WarpDrive application acceleration card, the WarpDrive comfortably delivers concurrent support for 200 active virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) workloads on a two-node cluster with no storage latency.




VDI environments can present performance challenges from a multitude of angles. Many companies simply test the bootstorm environment, which is an important aspect of VDI performance, but there are many more use-cases in the day-to-day management and use of VMware that can benefit from flash acceleration.


Here we see that the time to deploy linked clone pools can be drastically reduced.




VDI environments benefit more from low latency than sheer IOPS, and here the WarpDrive delivers with 150 desktops per ESXI node.


What is most amazing about these results is that the CPU became the bottleneck before the WarpDrives ran out of steam, meaning that with optimized infrastructures there is the possibility of even more performance than demonstrated in this test. Of course, it always boils down to TCO. The benefits of a flash solution are numerous, from the lowered power consumption, the small form factor and the removal of a whole layer of devices associated with the deployment of a SAN or NAS. The LSI Nytro WarpDrive delivers enough endurance to provide long-term acceleration, and the addition of compression technology provides maximum performance in VDI environments.

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