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Data Storage

Why RAID 5 Stops Working In 2009 803

Posted by kdawson
from the back-'em-up-rawhide dept.
Lally Singh recommends a ZDNet piece predicting the imminent demise of RAID 5, noting that increasing storage and non-decreasing probability of disk failure will collide in a year or so. This reader adds, "Apparently, RAID 6 isn't far behind. I'll keep the ZFS plug short. Go ZFS. There, that was it." "Disk drive capacities double every 18-24 months. We have 1 TB drives now, and in 2009 we'll have 2 TB drives. With a 7-drive RAID 5 disk failure, you'll have 6 remaining 2 TB drives. As the RAID controller is busily reading through those 6 disks to reconstruct the data from the failed drive, it is almost certain it will see an [unrecoverable read error]. So the read fails ... The message 'we can't read this RAID volume' travels up the chain of command until an error message is presented on the screen. 12 TB of your carefully protected — you thought! — data is gone. Oh, you didn't back it up to tape? Bummer!"
Privacy

Give Up the Fight For Personal Privacy? 751

Posted by kdawson
from the they-know-anyway dept.
KlaymenDK writes "Over the last decade or so, I have strived to maintain my privacy. I have uninstalled Windows, told my friends 'sorry' when they wanted me to join Facebook, had a fight with my brother when he wanted to move the family email hosting to Gmail, and generally held back on my personal information online. But since, amongst all of my friends, I am the only one doing this, it may well be that my battle is lost already. Worse, I'm really putting myself out of the loop, and it is starting to look like self-flagellation. Indeed, it is a common occurrence that my wife or friends will strike up a conversation based on something from their Facebook 'wall' (whatever that is). Becoming ever more unconnected with my friends, live or online, is ultimately harming my social relations. I am seriously considering throwing in the towel and signing up for Gmail, Facebook, the lot. If 'they' have my soul already, I might as well reap the benefits of this newfangled, privacy-less, AJAX-2.0 world. It doesn't really matter if it was me or my friends selling me out. Or does it? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter. How many Windows-eschewing users are not also eschewing the social networking services and all the other 2.0 supersites with their dubious end-user license agreements?"
Communications

Cross-Platform Video Chat For Linux? 338

Posted by timothy
from the would-be-nice dept.
Ethan1701 writes "Some of my friends are using iChat to stay in touch and gap the distance of the Atlantic. I'm feeling left out on my Fedora Gnome based desktop. Is there a good program for Gnome that provides cross-platform instant messaging and video chat? This rules out Skype and aMSN, as well as any other app that's specific for the ICQ/AOL Network. Kopete is for KDE. Pidgin doesn't intend to develop video-chat, I haven't found a plugin for it that provides video, and Gaim-vv hasn't been developed in over two years and is so out of date that it's still going by Gaim and not Pidgin. Do Slashdot readers have an application that meets these needs? Maybe even one that surpasses iChat?"

Comment: 1 PB of shared memory !?! (Score 1) 174

by Mad Hughagi (#24867957) Attached to: $208 Million Petascale Computer Gets Green Light

I don't know where TFA got the "globally addressable PB". I think someone was misquoted.

I can't find any mention of it in the NCSA webpages, and no shared memory system exists on this level, ccNUMA or otherwise (NASA Ames has a 4TB altix system, which is evidently the largest in the world that is publicly acknowledged).

Software distributed shared memory hasn't really gone anywhere either, so I think someone was fantasizing when they wrote the article... globally accessible filesystems, sure, but shared memory is something else altogether...

The Almighty Buck

Speculation On a Second Internet Economy Collapse 307

Posted by kdawson
from the put-down-that-pin dept.
David Barrett writes "If you sell three billion ads a month and can't break even, what do you do? Drop prices by 40% and switch business models, apparently. Is this an isolated incident, or does it contribute to the growing pile of evidence that ad inventory is overpriced industry-wide, with Google being the worst offender due to its policy of requiring minimum bids on keywords that would otherwise go for cheap? Check out this analysis on my blog and make up your own mind."
Power

Warning Future Generations About Nuclear Waste 616

Posted by kdawson
from the opportunists-we-will-have-always-with-us dept.
Smivs writes "How do we warn people 10,000 years in the future about our nuclear waste dumps? There is a thought-provoking essay in the The Guardian newspaper (UK) by Ulrich Beck concerning this problem. Professor Beck also questions whether green issues are overly influencing politicians and clouding our judgement regarding the dangers of nuclear power."
Programming

Are C and C++ Losing Ground? 961

Posted by Soulskill
from the lots-of-ground-to-lose dept.
Pickens writes "Dr. Dobbs has an interesting interview with Paul Jansen, the managing director of TIOBE Software, about the Programming Community Index, which measures the popularity of programming languages by monitoring their web presence. Since the TIOBE index has been published now for more than 6 years, it gives an interesting picture about trends in the usage of programming languages. Jansen says not much has affected the top ten programming languages in the last five years, with only Python entering the top 10 (replacing COBOL), but C and C++ are definitely losing ground. 'Languages without automated garbage collection are getting out of fashion,' says Jansen. 'The chance of running into all kinds of memory problems is gradually outweighing the performance penalty you have to pay for garbage collection.'"
Power

U of MI Produces Strongest Laser Ever 244

Posted by Zonk
from the now-we-just-need-a-really-big-shark-and-we're-set dept.
eldavojohn writes "Weighing in at a mere 20 billion trillion watts per square centimeter and containing a measly 300 terawatts of power, the University of Michigan has broken a record with a 1.3-micron speck wide laser. It's about two orders of magnitude higher than any other laser in the world and can perform for 30 femtoseconds once every ten seconds — some of the researchers speculate it is the most powerful laser in the universe. 'If you could hold a giant magnifying glass in space and focus all the sunlight shining toward Earth onto one grain of sand, that concentrated ray would approach the intensity of a new laser beam made in a University of Michigan laboratory ... To achieve this beam, the research team added another amplifier to the HERCULES laser system, which previously operated at 50 terawatts. HERCULES is a titanium-sapphire laser that takes up several rooms at U-M's Center for Ultrafast Optical Science. Light fed into it bounces like a pinball off a series of mirrors and other optical elements. It gets stretched, energized, squeezed and focused along the way.'" And ... cue the evil chortling.
Medicine

A Smart Pillbox To Improve Medication Compliance 145

Posted by kdawson
from the you-talkin-to-me dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "A major challenge in public health is that people do not take their medications, a phenomenon known as 'medication non-adherence.' In the US alone, it is estimated that this accounts for 10% of all hospital visits and costs the healthcare system $100 billion per year and $60 billion to the pharmaceutical industry. Now, an MIT research team thinks it has a solution to this problem that will save lives worldwide. They've developed the uBox, a convenient, palm-sized, intelligent pill dispenser, 'which reminds a patient when it is time to take his medication, records when a patient has taken a dose, and prevents a patient from double-dosing.' The first large-scale trial with 100 uBoxes is scheduled to begin in May in Bihar, India, in a 6-month long tuberculosis treatment program."
Portables (Games)

Is the Game Boy the Toughest Product Ever Made? 547

Posted by kdawson
from the electronic-cockroaches dept.
An anonymous reader writes "CNET is running an article about tough technology, which aptly includes the Nintendo Game Boy, a device so tough that mine still works after many years. 'There's no two ways about it: the original Game Boy is one of the hardest gadgets ever conceived. Rumor has it this beige behemoth isn't made of plastic, but from the skulls of fallen Gurkhas. If you ever saw one that was broken, it's because it lost a boxing match with a nuclear bomb — on points.' So do you agree that the Game Boy is the toughest consumer electronics device ever made?"
Science

The Tree of Life Consolidates 266

Posted by kdawson
from the pruning-it dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "The Tree of Life is an expression first used by Charles Darwin to describe the diversity of organisms on Earth and their evolutionary history. There are only two life forms, — eukaryotes, which gather their genetic material in a nucleus, and prokaryotes, such as bacteria, which have their genetic material floating freely in the cell. Until recently, eukaryotes, which include humans, were divided into five groups. But now, based on work by European researchers, the Tree of Life has lost a branch. After doing the largest ever genetic comparison of life forms they concluded that there are only four groups of eukaryotes."
Privacy

Privacy Commissioner Criticizes Canadian DMCA 72

Posted by kdawson
from the opting-out-is-not-circumventing dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Jennifer Stoddart, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, has criticized the proposed Canadian DMCA in a public letter to Jim Prentice, the Canadian Minister of Industry. Specifically, she's asking them not to protect any DRM from circumvention that gathers and transmits personal data, because that would give abusive DRM makers a legal cudgel to use against anyone who exposes them. The proposed bill, which was recently delayed due to heavy opposition, is thought to contain DMCA-style anti-circumvention provisions that would make it illegal to investigate or remove intrusive DRM, even if that DRM was violating Canadian privacy laws."
Databases

MapReduce — a Major Step Backwards? 157

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the angry-dbas-are-never-a-good-thing dept.
The Database Column has an interesting, if negative, look at MapReduce and what it means for the database community. MapReduce is a software framework developed by Google to handle parallel computations over large data sets on cheap or unreliable clusters of computers. "As both educators and researchers, we are amazed at the hype that the MapReduce proponents have spread about how it represents a paradigm shift in the development of scalable, data-intensive applications. MapReduce may be a good idea for writing certain types of general-purpose computations, but to the database community, it is: a giant step backward in the programming paradigm for large-scale data intensive applications; a sub-optimal implementation, in that it uses brute force instead of indexing; not novel at all -- it represents a specific implementation of well known techniques developed nearly 25 years ago; missing most of the features that are routinely included in current DBMS; incompatible with all of the tools DBMS users have come to depend on."
Upgrades

The Economics of Chips With Many Cores 343

Posted by kdawson
from the please-insert-25-cents dept.
meanonymous writes "HPCWire reports that a unique marketing model for 'manycore' processors is being proposed by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers. The current economic model has customers purchasing systems containing processors that meet the average or worst-case computation needs of their applications. The researchers contend that the increasing number of cores complicates the matching of performance needs and applications and makes the cost of buying idle computing power increasingly prohibitive. They speculate that the customer will typically require fewer cores than are physically on the chip, but may want to use more of them in certain instances. They suggest that chips be developed in a manner that allows users to pay only for the computing power they need rather than the peak computing power that is physically present. By incorporating small pieces of logic into the processor, the vendor can enable and disable individual cores, and they offer five models that allow dynamic adjustment of the chip's available processing power."
Space

Black Hole Blasts Neighbor Galaxy with Deadly Jet 222

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the no-star-system-will-dare-oppose-the-emperor-now dept.
butterwise writes to mention that astronomers have, for the first time, witnessed a super-massive black hole hitting a nearby galaxy with a "death-star-like" beam of energy. The story also has a video with simulations, pictures, and explanations. "The 'death star galaxy,' as NASA astronomers called it, could obliterate the atmospheres of planets but also trigger the birth of stars in the wake of its destructive beam. Fortunately, the cosmic violence is a safe distance from our own neck of the cosmos."

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