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Businesses

A Year After Thailand Flooding, Hard Drive Prices Remain High 214

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-the-market-will-bear dept.
crookedvulture writes "Last October, Thailand was hit by massive flooding that put much of the world's hard drive industry under water. Production slowed to a crawl as drive makers and their suppliers mopped up the damage, and prices predictably skyrocketed. One year later, production has rebounded, with the industry expected to ship more drives in 2012 than it did in 2011. For the most part, though, hard drive prices haven't returned to pre-flood levels. Although 2.5" notebook drives are a little cheaper now than before the flood, the average price of 3.5" desktop drives is up 35% from a year ago. Prices have certainly fallen dramatically from their post-flood peaks, but the rate of decline has slowed substantially in recent months, suggesting that higher prices are the new norm for desktop drives."
Facebook

Facebook's Corona: When Hadoop MapReduce Wasn't Enough 42

Posted by Soulskill
from the named-after-a-desire-to-launch-hadoop-into-the-sun dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Facebook's engineers face a considerable challenge when it comes to managing the tidal wave of data flowing through the company's infrastructure. Its data warehouse, which handles over half a petabyte of information each day, has expanded some 2500x in the past four years — and that growth isn't going to end anytime soon. Until early 2011, those engineers relied on a MapReduce implementation from Apache Hadoop as the foundation of Facebook's data infrastructure. Still, despite Hadoop MapReduce's ability to handle large datasets, Facebook's scheduling framework (in which a large number of task trackers that handle duties assigned by a job tracker) began to reach its limits. So Facebook's engineers went to the whiteboard and designed a new scheduling framework named Corona." Facebook is continuing development on Corona, but they've also open-sourced the version they currently use.
Microsoft

Bungled Mobile Bet Will Be Ballmer's Swan Song 300

Posted by Soulskill
from the tablets-tablets-tablets dept.
snydeq writes "'If Windows 8 and the Surface tablet flop, you'll see a shareholder revolt that will send Steve Ballmer packing by this time next year,' writes InfoWorld's Bill Snyder. 'First it was the netbook, then it was the Ultrabook. Microsoft, Intel, and the PC makers keep looking for a way to convince buyers they don't need an iPad or Android tablet. Neither initiative gained much traction, so Microsoft bet big on Windows 8 and the Surface. ... Maybe we're wrong, and buyers will decide that the new OS and the Microsoft's first serious venture into hardware are what they want. It would be a huge boost for the industry if it happens, but I'm not optimistic. ... There's been a string of bad quarters, and the stock has been frozen for nine years. At some point — I think we're getting really close — investors are going to demand a shakeup. When they do, it's going to be good-bye, Ballmer."
Intel

Intel Details Eight-Core Poulson Itanium Processor 102

Posted by Soulskill
from the here's-a-thing-that-exists dept.
MojoKid writes "Intel has unveiled details of their new Itanium 9500 family, codenamed Poulson, and the new CPU appears to be the most significant refresh Intel has ever done to the Itanium architecture. Moving from 65nm to 32nm technology substantially reduces power consumption and increases clock speeds, but Intel has also overhauled virtually every aspect of the CPU. Poulson can issue 11 instructions per cycle compared to the previous generation Itanium's six. It adds execution units and re-balances those units to favor server workloads over HPC and workstation capabilities. Its multi-threading capabilities have been overhauled and it uses faster QPI links between CPU cores. The L3 cache design has also changed. Previous Itanium 9300 processors had a dedicated L3 cache for each core. Poulson, in contrast, has a unified L3 that's attached to all its cores by a common ring bus. All told, the new architecture is claimed to offer more than twice the performance of the previous generation Itanium."
Patents

Judge To Review Whether Foreman In Apple v. Samsung Hid Info 98

Posted by Soulskill
from the billion-dollar-voir-dire dept.
thomst writes "CNet's Greg Sandoval is reporting that Lucy Koh, the Federal judge in the Apple v. Samsung patent infringement case, is reviewing whether jury foreman Velvin Hogan failed to disclose his own patent suit v. Seagate during the jury selection process. Samsung, which lost the suit filed by Apple, has complained that Hogan's failure to disclose his own status as a former patent case plaintiff constituted misconduct serious enough to invalidate the jury's verdict in the case."
Power

Germany Exports More Electricity Than Ever Despite Phasing Out Nuclear Energy 473

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-not-easy-being-green dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Der Spiegel reports that Germany has exported more electricity this year than ever before, despite beginning to phase out nuclear power. In the first three quarters of 2012, Germany sent 12.3 terawatt hours of electricity across its borders. The country's rapid expansion into renewable energy is credited with the growth. However, the boost doesn't come without a price. The German government's investments into its new energy policy will end up costing hundreds of billions of dollars over the next two decades, and it still relies on imports for its natural gas needs. It also remains to be seen whether winter will bring power shortages. Is Germany a good example of forward-looking energy policy?"
Google

Google Patents Guilt-By-Association 199

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-it's-in-the-cloouuuudddd dept.
theodp writes "Guilt by association is defined as the attribution of guilt (without proof) to individuals because the people they associate with are guilty. It's also at the heart of U.S. Patent No. 8,306,922, which was awarded to Google on Tuesday for Detecting Content on a Social Network Using Links, the invention of three Googlers. In its patent application, Google argues that if an individual posts content to social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. 'that is illegal (e.g., content violating copyright law, content violating penal statutes, etc.), inappropriate for minors (e.g., pornography, "R" or "NC-17" rated videos, adult content, etc.), in contravention of an end user licensing agreement (EULA), etc.', then their friends 'may be likely to post content to their profile pages related to similar topics.' Google further explains: 'For instance, a first user and a second user that are designated as friends on a social network may be friends based upon a set of common interests (e.g., the first user and the second user are both interested in tennis). If the first user adds content to its profile page that is related to sports, then the friendship (link) between the first user and the second user can indicate that the profile page of the second user is likely to contain content related to sports as well.' By extension, the same holds true for porn, pirated videos and music, etc., right? So, would you feel comfortable being judged by the online company you keep?"
The Internet

The Information Age: North Korean Style 156

Posted by Soulskill
from the disinformation-superhighway dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It seems cell phones and the internet have come to the reclusive nation of North Korea — albeit in a manner that you might not expect. North Korea now sports over a million cell phones, although calls are not allowed outside of the country and text messages come daily from North Korean authorities sporting government propaganda. The internet is not the global internet of Twitter and Facebook, but a government-crafted intranet that is restricted to just a tiny percentage of the population. The intranet is restricted to elites in North Korea with good standing. The intranet uses message boards, chat functions, and state sponsored messages; its use has also been encouraged among universities, technical professionals and scientists, and others to exchange info. An even smaller fraction can access the outside internet. All of this seems to be an effort to control the information revolution without losing authority."
Communications

Staff Emails Are Not Owned By Firms, UK Judge Rules 111

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-about-their-thoughts dept.
Qedward writes "A high court judge has ruled that companies do not have a general claim of ownership of the content contained in staff emails. The decision creates a potential legal minefield for the terms of staff contracts and an administrative nightmare for IT teams running email servers, back up and storage. The judge ruled businesses do not have an 'enforceable proprietary claim' to staff email content unless that content can be considered to be confidential information belonging to a business, unless business copyright applies to the content, or unless the business has a contractual right of ownership over the content. Justice Edwards-Stuart added it was 'quite impractical and unrealistic' to determine that ownership of the content of emails either belongs exclusively to the creator or the recipient of an email."
The Military

Navy Seals Disciplined For Revealing Secrets As Consultants On Video Game 204

Posted by samzenpus
from the box-of-rocks dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "CBS reports that seven active duty members of SEAL Team Six, best known for killing Osama bin Laden, have been disciplined for revealing secrets working as paid consultants on a video game, Medal of Honor: Warfighter. The game does not recreate the bin Laden raid, but it does portray realistic missions, such as an attack on a pirates' den in Somalia. Electronic Arts boasts that real commandos, both active duty and retired, help make its games as realistic as possible. EA says Medal of Honor Warfighter was 'written by actual U.S. Tier 1 Operators while deployed overseas,' and that it 'features a dotted line to real world events and provides players a view into globally recognized threats and situations letting them experience the action as it might have unfolded.' It is unclear what secrets members of SEAL Team Six gave away, but while serving as consultants for the game, they used classified material which had been given to them by the Navy and also violated the unwritten code that SEALs are silent warriors who shun the spotlight. 'We do not tolerate deviations from the policies that govern who we are and what we do as Sailors in the United States Navy,' says Deputy Commander of Naval Special Warfare, Rear Admiral Garry Bonelli. 'The non-judicial punishment decisions made today send a clear message throughout our Force that we are and will be held to a high standard of accountability.'"
The Almighty Buck

New Credit Card Includes Display and Keypad 118

Posted by samzenpus
from the looking-at-plastic dept.
First time accepted submitter pev writes "A new credit card released in Singapore includes a screen and keyboard in order to generate one-time passwords for your online banking. From the article: 'The card has touch-sensitive buttons and the ability to create a "one-time password" - doing away with the need for a separate device sometimes needed to log in to online banking. Future versions of the card could display added information such as the remaining balance.' Lets hope they've put more thought into the implementation than with chip and pin."
Businesses

The Island of Lost Apple Products 105

Posted by samzenpus
from the food-tastes-better-on-an-igrill dept.
concealment writes "most of Apple's products are so popular that it seems everything the company does is destined to succeed. But it doesn't take much digging to find a trail of failures and false starts. Even in recent years, there are examples of products that seemed great but never resonated with consumers, and some that seemed so destined for failure it's hard to imagine why any company would have brought them to market. Here are some examples of Apple veering a bit off course."
Biotech

Proteins Made To Order 51

Posted by samzenpus
from the molecules-to-go dept.
ananyo writes "Proteins are an enormous molecular achievement: chains of amino acids that fold spontaneously into a precise conformation, time after time, optimized by evolution for their particular function. Yet given the exponential number of contortions possible for any chain of amino acids, dictating a sequence that will fold into a predictable structure has been a daunting task. Now researchers report that they can do just that. By following a set of rules described in a paper published in Nature (abstract), a husband and wife team from David Baker's laboratory at the University of Washington in Seattle has designed five proteins from scratch that fold reliably into predicted conformations. The work could eventually allow scientists to custom design proteins with specific functions."
IT

What To Do After You Fire a Bad Sysadmin Or Developer 245

Posted by samzenpus
from the cleaning-up-the-mess dept.
Esther Schindler writes "The job of dealing with an under-performing employee doesn't end when the culprit is shown the door. Everyone focuses on security tasks, after you fire the idiot, such as changing passwords, but that's just one part of the To Do list. More important, in the long run, is the cleanup job that needs to be done after you fire the turkey, looking for the hidden messes and security flaws the ex-employee may have left behind. Otherwise, you'll still be cleaning up the problems six months later."
China

Foxconn Sees New Source of Cheap Labor: The United States 430

Posted by samzenpus
from the times-they-are-a-changing dept.
hackingbear writes "Foxconn is planning to build manufacturing plants in the U.S., probably in cites such as Detroit and Los Angeles. 'Since the manufacturing of Apple's products is rather complicated, the market watchers expect the rumored plants to focus on LCD TV production, which can be highly automated and easier.' Foxconn chairman Terry Guo, at a recent public event, noted that the company is planning a training program for US-based engineers, bringing them to Taiwan or China to learn the processes of product design and manufacturing."

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..." -- Isaac Asimov

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