Monday, March 26, 2007

IBM develops 160 Gigabits per second chip

IBM has developed a new optical networking chip, using light signals instead of the traditional electrical signals. With this change in technology, the chip can speed data transmission to 160 GB/sec. This is fast enough to download one high definition movie in one second, and is part of the overall push to move out the frontiers of technology in the computing arena.
The optical receiver chip is a CMOS chip made with materials like indium phosphide and gallium arsenide. As per IBM, the production model will be small, just 3.25 mm by 5.25 mm in size.
At current technology, such a chip would be limited by current broadband technology, that runs at a max projected speed of 100 Mbps in research conditions, and even Ethernet tops out at 1 Gb/sec.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Using PS3 computing power for good

For a long time, PC users have been to able to contribute the power of their machines during idle time through projects such as SETI, and now the Sony Play Station 3 can do the same.
One area of research that requires a large amount of computing power is the study of how 2 dimensional protein strands in the human body folds into the three-dimensional molecules that determine their biological functions. So Sony has launched the PS3/Folding@home initiative such that PS3 participants will be able to lend the massive computing power of their consoles. This project is expected to start on March 23, and be able to access Folding@home
via the PS3's XrossMediaBar. Read more about this.

Robert Scoble strikes back at Microsoft

At one time Robert Scoble was employed with Microsoft as a technology evangelist, and his blogging had made the company seem less cold, and more willing to communicate. He would write about Microsoft and its policies when he was employed there, and this somehow softened the overall impression of the company.
But he seems to have been provoked by some comments made by Steve Ballmer at a global meeting. The Microsoft head honcho made comments about how eventually Microsoft would win the search battle, and at another meeting, he had talked about how essentially Google was a single horse company with search, and nothing else was significant in any way.
But typically such words need to be backed up by actions, and not only words; and Microsoft Live has not been seen to be making the impact that it should, and Google with its released Google Apps packaging has started sniping at the MS office money making machine. This is a time for Microsoft to become more nimble, and its recent launches have not exactly set the market on fire. Xbox 360 was awaited, but the Sony Play Station and Nintendo Wii seem to be in the game for the long haul. Zune has not set anything on fire, and with Vista having been released, there is no other buzz word that could set the market buzzing.
Read more about what Scoble said.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Google taking steps to increase privacy

Google is going to do much more to alleviate concerns of privacy that have been expressed by privacy experts. Google generates an incredible amount of data on users web search habits; in the past, in an experiment, researches were able to conclusively identify people based on searches carried out by them (using their search terms, internet addresses and cookie information). This data is stored in the data centers maintained by Google spread around the world.

What will Google actually do ? For data that is stored for more than 18 to 24 months, Google will obscure the search logs that it carries on its servers such that user information is removed. In addition to this step, Google is also implementing this privacy policy in other applications, such as a feature in Google Talk that allows users to temporarily stop archiving messages, and a pause feature in Google Desktop that will stop the software from indexing the contents of a computer for desktop search.

Read the full story here.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Turkey blocks YouTube over an offending video

The world of online content aggregators such as YouTube, Blogspot, eBay, etc remains in a constant spot of vigilance over court cases in different countries.

It started with eBay being ordered by German courts to remove Nazi stuff from being auctioned, with India threatening YouTube over a video posted on the popular video sharing site that lampooned Mahatma Gandhi, and now a Turkish court has ordered the country's ISP's to block YouTube till a video that mocks modern Turkey's founder is removed from the YouTube website.

When will these countries learn ? You cannot stop or censor such items so easily. YouTube may buckle down and remove the video, but since YouTube is based on user contribution, tomorrow another video may come up on the same issue, or may land up on another sharing site. Modern technology allows bypassing all such restrictions (although like China, you can be fairly successful if you throw a large number of resources and are able to arm-twist big companies to do your bidding).

Friday, March 2, 2007

Paying your way to a high Digg ranking

Digg is a very popular service for breaking news, and has become incredibly popular in the recent past. What is Digg ? It is a service where anybody can submit articles, new stories, anything at all. If other people like this story, they will Digg the story and if a story gathers enought Diggs, the story will move to the front page so that more people can view the story.
Now such a service would seem to be very prone to misuse, but Digg claims that it can tell when people are trying to manipulate the service and prevent such fraud from happening. Such a claim is ripe for people to try and expose that this is not a fool proof method. So here is a story from Wired about a paid service that claims to promote stories on Digg for money, and how the writer of the article actually got a pretty useless blog to the front page. It stayed for some time, and actually took on a life on its own before it got moved off.