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Power

Why Is a Laptop's Battery Dearer Than a Lawnmower's? 427

Barence writes "PC Pro's contributing editor Paul Ockendon has bought a new lawnmower powered by lithium-ion batteries — part of a recent flood of such lithium-ion-powered garden and workshop tools which are taking over from NiCd and NiMH thanks to lighter weight, longer life and lack of the pernicious 'memory effect.' This is pretty much the same battery technology used in laptops, mobile phones and MP3 players, so volume manufacture is already established. Yet laptop manufacturers charge more per Watt-hour than lawnmower makers. This blog investigates whether such a seemingly ludicrous situation can be justified."
Japan

"Universal Jigsaw Puzzle" Hits Stores In Japan 241

Riktov writes "I came across this at a Tokyo toy store last week, and it's one of the coolest things I've seen in a long time. Jigazo Puzzle is a jigsaw puzzle, but you can make anything with it. It has just 300 pieces which are all just varying shades of a single color, though a few have gradations across the piece; i.e., each piece is a generic pixel. Out of the box, you can make Mona Lisa, JFK, etc, arranging it according to symbols printed on the reverse side. But here's the amazing thing: take a photo (for example, of yourself) with a cell-phone, e-mail it to the company, and they will send you back a pattern that will recreate that photo. This article is in Japanese, but as they say, a few pictures are worth a million words. And 300 pixels are worth an infinite number of pictures."
Businesses

What Can I Expect As an IT Intern? 325

p3np8p3r writes "I'm in college and working towards my Bachelors in Computer Science. Last year I passed both my CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications and now have been offered (via a staffing company) a full-time Internship at a wireless lab of a major laptop manufacturer. The pay is going to be around $8 an hour full-time but that is not my primary motivator. I'm considering this significant decrease in pay from my previous (non-IT) job to be counterbalanced by what valuable knowledge I may gain both in the technical aspects and industry insight while I finish school. This field is all new to me and I don't personally know anyone who has worked in it before who will give me their honest opinions on it. Although I know circumstances differ greatly, in general, what can I expect as an IT Intern? What have been your experiences?"
Government

FCC May Pry Open the Cable Set-Top Box 222

awyeah writes "The NY Times reports that the FCC is finally looking into the practice of cable companies requiring use of their set-top boxes to access their digital cable and video on-demand services. The inquiry (PDF) states: 'Consumers can access the Internet using a variety of delivery methods (e.g., wireless, DSL, fiber optics, broadband over powerlines, satellite, and cable) on myriad devices made by hundreds of manufacturers; yet we know of no device available at retail that can access all of an MVPD's services across that MVPD's entire footprint.' Yes, there are a few devices out there — for example CableCARD-enabled TVs, and CableCARD/Tuning Adapter-enabled TiVos and Windows Media Center PCs, but only the cable companies' set-tops can access services other than broadcast TV, such as video-on-demand and pay-per-view. Is it finally time to open these devices and embrace actual standards and competition?" Lauren Weinstein has a cautionary blog post about the world we may be entering if this FCC initiative comes to fruition, which concludes: "I have difficulty seeing how this universe can be made to function effectively in the absence of some sort of regulatory regime to ensure transparency and fairness in situations where the Internet access providers themselves are providing their own content that directly competes with content from the external Internet."
XBox (Games)

Modded Xbox Bans Prompt EFF Warning About Terms of Service 254

Last month we discussed news that Microsoft had banned hundreds of thousands of Xbox users for using modified consoles. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has now pointed to this round of bans as a prime example of the power given to providers of online services through 'Terms of Service' and other usage agreements. "No matter how much we rely on them to get on with our everyday lives, access to online services — like email, social networking sites, and (wait for it) online gaming — can never be guaranteed. ... he who writes the TOS makes the rules, and when it comes to enforcing them, the service provider often behaves as though it is also the judge, jury and executioner. ... While the mass ban provides a useful illustration of their danger, these terms can be found in nearly all TOS agreements for all kinds of services. There have been virtually no legal challenges to these kinds of arbitrary termination clauses, but we imagine this will be a growth area for lawyers."
Hardware Hacking

DS Flash Carts Deemed Legal By French Court 267

Hatta writes with a snippet from MaxConsole: "Nintendo has today lost a major court case against the Divineo group in the main court of Paris. Nintendo originally took the group to court over DS flash carts, however the judge today has ruled against Nintendo and suggested that they are purposely locking out developers from their consoles and things should be more like Windows where ANYONE can develop any application if they wish to."
Education

Children Using Technology Have Better Literacy Skills 146

eldavojohn writes "A UK study of three thousand children aged nine to sixteen suggests something that may not come as a shock to geeks: using technology increases a child's core literary skills. As Researcher Obvious put it, 'The more forms of communications children use the stronger their core literary skills.' And for those of us worried about a world of 'tl;dr' and 'Y U H8n?' the research claims that 'text speech' does not damage literacy. The biggest shortcoming of this research is that it appears the children graded their own writing in that their methodology was an online survey designed to ask the children which technology they use and then follow up with asking them how well they write to determine which children have better literacy skills."
Open Source

Linux Kernel 2.6.32 Released 195

diegocg writes "Linus Torvalds has officially released the version 2.6.32 of the Linux kernel. New features include virtualization memory de-duplication, a rewrite of the writeback code faster and more scalable, many important Btrfs improvements and speedups, ATI R600/R700 3D and KMS support and other graphic improvements, a CFQ low latency mode, tracing improvements including a 'perf timechart' tool that tries to be a better bootchart, soft limits in the memory controller, support for the S+Core architecture, support for Intel Moorestown and its new firmware interface, run-time power management support, and many other improvements and new drivers. See the full changelog for more details."
Image

Musical Tesla Coils Perform Zelda Screenshot-sm 82

heychris writes "You've gotta love the Chicago Tribune's story on Tesla Coil hobbyists from the first sentence. 'Under a starry Saturday sky behind a Lake Zurich warehouse, three men unload a small flamethrower, electric cabling, neon-tube "light sabers," about 80 pounds of chain mail and two 7-foot devices that look like monster-movie props.' So what does one do with 1.6 million volts and a Tesla coil or two? Play 110dB music, of course."
Hardware Hacking

Wearable Computer With Lightweight HUD 150

zeazzz writes to mention that the folks over at UMPC have a very cool little writeup and pictorial of a user's latest wearable PC. With the surge in smart phone adoption it seems that enthusiasm for wearable computers has dropped off a bit, which is too bad. I certainly look forward to my augmented reality HUD instead of depending on my iPhone for everything. "Essentially he took the MyVu headset, removed one of the eye pieces, and mounted the other to his glasses to that he could see his surroundings and the UX's screen at the same time. The MyVu is attached to the UX through the A/V output port on the UX's port replicator dongle. With some additional addons he provided his UX with extra battery life via an external battery, and several input methods to communicate with the UX while the rest of the kit resides within the backpack."
Hardware Hacking

A Wiki For Cable and Connector Pin-Outs 107

Nicola Asuni writes to let us know about a new resource for hardware hackers: a wiki about pinouts — hardware interfaces of modern and obsolete hardware. "Created with the same MediaWiki software that was developed for the Wikipedia project, AllPinouts.org is a wiki that allows users to get and share information about hardware interfaces, including pinouts of ports, expansion slots, and other connectors of computers and different electronic devices (i.e. cellular phones, GPS, PDA, game consoles, etc.). All text is available under the GNU Free Documentation License and may be distributed or linked accordingly. The 'pinout' (or 'pin-out') of a connector identifies each individual pin, which is critical when creating, repairing or hacking cable assemblies and adapters."

Comment Perhaps it will BE ZFS just not BE CALLED ZFS (Score 2, Insightful) 361

WIth the impending purchase of Sun by Oracle, I'm thinking it could be one of 2 things:

1) ZFS will be killed and/or de-emphasized and/or re-licensed in such a way that Apple is not comfortable/happy with putting it into Mac OS

2) It will still be ZFS just not called ZFS anymore (either re-branded or forked by Apple or re-named by Oracle/Sun)

Comment Patience! (Score 5, Insightful) 902

Unfortunately, IT is viewed a lot like the phones by most users. It's "invisible" when it does work, and is only a priority to them when it doesn't work (or they need something!)

I've found that the best way to make people happy is to effectively communicate with them -- especially when it comes to deadlines. Now I'm not saying to sandbag :-) but if you can over-deliver some things and/or get them done earlier than promised, then you set an expectation of success and partnership with your user base. As difficult as it is, sometimes, you MUST remain non-cranky or bitchy, or you will get stereotyped as the "grumpy IT guy" faster than you can think.

If it's really burning you out after only 1 1/2 years, then you should really look at (a) your workload (b) your choice of career and (c) your work/life balance.

Databases

Cisco Introduces Rackmount Servers 93

1sockchuck writes "After shaking up the market for blade servers, Cisco Systems is launching a line of rackmount servers. But the company says its ambitions are more targeted than a full-scale 'all your racks are belong to us' assault on the volume server market. Cisco says it sees its 1U and 2U C-Series rackmount servers as offering an entry point to its Unified Computing System vision for companies who've built their data centers using rackmount servers instead of blades. But it thinks many customers will like the expanded memory capacity Cisco has built into the Xeon 5500/Nehalem EP processor."
Programming

Splash, Splatter, Sploosh, and Bloop! 100

Acoustic Bubble writes "Researchers at Cornell University have developed the first algorithm for synthesizing familiar bubble-based fluid sounds automatically from 3D fluid simulations, e.g, for future virtual environments. The research (entitled 'Harmonic Fluids') will appear at ACM SIGGRAPH 2009 in New Orleans in August 2009. Check out some videos of falling, pouring, splashing and babbling water simulations (computed on a Linux cluster)."

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