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Operating Systems

Inside VMware's 'Virtual Datacenter OS' 121

snydeq writes "Neil McAllister cuts through VMware's marketing hype to examine the potential impact of VMware's newly pronounced 'virtual datacenter OS' — which the company has touted as the death knell for the traditional OS. Literally an operating system for the virtual datacenter, VDC OS is an umbrella concept to build services and APIs that make it easier to provision and allocate resources for apps in an abstract way. Under the system, McAllister writes, apps are reduced to 'application workloads' tailored through vApp, a tool that will allow developers to 'encapsulate the entire app infrastructure in a single bundle — servers and all.' The concept could help solve the current bugbear of programming, parallel processing, McAllister concludes, assuming VMware succeeds."
The Military

US Army To Develop "Thought Helmets" 226

Hugh Pickens writes "Time Magazine reports on a $4 million US Army contract to begin developing 'thought helmets' to harness silent brain waves for secure communication among troops that the Army hopes will 'lead to direct mental control of military systems by thought alone.' The Army's initial goal is to capture brain waves with software that translates the waves into audible radio messages for other troops in the field. 'It'd be radio without a microphone,' says Dr. Elmar Schmeisser, the Army neuroscientist overseeing the program. 'Because soldiers are already trained to talk in clean, clear and formulaic ways, it would be a very small step to have them think that way.' The key challenge will be to develop software able to pinpoint speech-related brain waves and pick them up with a 128-sensor array that ultimately will be buried inside a helmet. Scientists deny charges that they're messing with soldiers' minds. 'A lot of people interpret wires coming out of the head as some sort of mind reading,' says Dr. Mike D'Zmura. 'But there's no way you can get there from here.' One potential civilian spin-off: a Bluetooth Helmet so people nearby can't hear you when you talk on your cell phone."

Inside the DARPA-esque Singapore Military Bot Contest 45

mattnyc99 writes "Earlier this summer we followed a war robot contest in England. But now, after the Russian onslaught in Georgia, this weekend's TechX Challenge in Singapore takes on a bigger meaning: can small countries keep up with military superpowers by upmodding existing robots for their own needs and then arming them? Researchers in the Far East seem to be struggling with their A.I. research right now, but this could just be the beginning of the 'little guys' fighting back. From the article: 'Chan says the agency wants to use more locally developed robots to help in homeland security and counterterrorist operations. The DSTA's goal is to improve robotic artificial intelligence so it can build machines to perform dangerous tasks — reconnaissance, surveillance and the handling of hazardous materials — that American robots already can. ... Back at Nanyang Technological University, Michael Lau acknowledges the urgency of the research but says the AI for urban warfare just isn't ready. "We don't really believe fully autonomous robots are possible yet," says the Evolution team supervisor. "How does a robot differentiate between friend and foe?"'" We've discussed similar projects from DARPA in the past. Reader coondoggie notes that enthusiasts will be able to participate in the lighter side of robot warfare next month in Texas.
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - SPAM: The Death of the Credit Card Economy

Anti-Globalism writes: ""We predicted there would be some degree of spillover from the mortgage meltdown," said Curtis Arnold, founder of "But the credit line reductions by big credit card companies in the last six months have been fairly unprecedented."

In the second quarter, credit giant MasterCard reported that the gross dollar volume, or GDV, of credit charges processed in the United States rose just 0.7 percent from 2007, while the GDV of debit charges rose 15.8 percent. The huge retailer Target in late August said that in the second quarter, for the first time in memory, the percentage of sales charged to credit cards fell, while the proportion of purchases made with debit cards rose. That's partially by design, since the company has undertaken an "aggressive reduction of credit lines and significant tightening of all aspects of our underwriting.""

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