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Biotech

Submission + - DNA-swap technology almost ready for fertility clinic (nature.com)

ananyo writes: "Researchers say that technology to shuffle genetic material between unfertilized eggs is ready to make healthy babies. The technique could allow parents to minimize the risk of a range of diseases related to defects in the energy-producing cell organelles known as mitochondria.
Mitochondrial defects affect an estimated 1 in 4,000 children, and can cause rare and often fatal diseases such as carnitine deficiency, which prevents the body from using fats for energy.
Mitochondria have their own DNA and are inherited only from the mother, so replacing defective mitochondria in eggs from mothers who have a high risk of passing on such diseases could spare the children.
A team of researchers has now emoved the nucleus from an unfertilized human egg, leaving behind all of that cell’s mitochondria, and injected it into another unfertilized egg that had had its nucleus removed. They then fertilized the egg in vitro and allowed the embryos to develop to the blastocyst stage — a ball of about 100 cells. The cells looked like those from normal embryos, but with mitochondria exclusively from the donor (abstract)."

Submission + - Minecraft 1.4.2 released (mojang.com)

Smartcowboy writes: Minecraft Pretty Scary Update! Jens Bergensten from Mojang need to inform us that Minecraft 1.4.2 is now available. The changelog for the Minecraft Pretty Scary Update is actually quite lengthy adding many new blocks, items, and mobs. The update also remove Herobrine.
Censorship

Submission + - Will Windows RT Be the Future? (pcper.com) 1

Phopojijo writes: "Microsoft might be on their way to removing legacy support from future versions of Windows. With the recent announcement from Bill Gates that Microsoft intends to evolve Windows Phone and Windows 8 into a single platform, there could be a time where the Windows Store becomes our only way to install applications on our PCs. Would this mean a government could request for Microsoft to block and remove encryption applications or games which discuss same-sex relationships from your PC? At some point will we be reliant on open-source operating systems to preserve personal computing?"
Apple

Submission + - Apple Patent Invalidated (forbes.com)

cstacy writes: Apple's "rubber band" scrolling patent has been provisionally invalidated by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This patent was part of Apple's recent billion-dollar win against Samsung. The patent includes a number of touch screen gesture features (such as rotation); all 20 claims have been invalidated. Many of the claims have been ruled "obvious" and "anticipated". Is the PTO getting a clue?
AMD

Submission + - AMD FX-8350 and FX-6300 Vishera CPUs Reviewed (pcper.com)

Vigile writes: AMD is today releasing its latest flagship processors on the AM3+ platform. Vishera is the codename of the Piledriver enabled desktop chips that contain upwards of 4 Piledriver modules and 8MB of L3 cache. While AMD has struggled mightily as of late, perhaps the new FX-8350 will at least be a competent and competitive part against Intel's sub $230 lineup. AMD has increased IPC for these parts, as well as lowering power consumption. This combination has allowed AMD to release a 4GHz four module part with performance that should keep up very well in highly threaded applications.
AMD

Submission + - AMD Releases Vishera: The FX-8350 and FX-6300 Reviewed (pcper.com)

JoshMST writes: "AMD is today releasing their latest flagship processors on the AM3+ platform. Vishera is the codename of the Piledriver enabled desktop chips that contain upwards of 4 Piledriver modules and 8MB of L3 cache. While AMD has struggled mightily as of late, perhaps the new FX-8350 will at least be a competent and competitive part against Intel's sub $230 lineup. AMD has increased IPC for these parts, as well as lowering power consumption. This combination has allowed AMD to release a 4GHz four module part with performance that should keep up very well in highly threaded applications."
DRM

Submission + - Video Games Do Not Want to Be Art? (pcper.com)

Phopojijo writes: "Art of the past only persists today because they were based on timeless platforms such as canvas and inks. Fans want their medium to be art and will fight any critic who refutes the artistic merits of video games. These gamers also ignore community-supported platforms in exchange for proprietary and often intentionally disposable ones such as consoles and DRM in the name of simplicity and fear over piracy or used sales. If video games are intrinsically valuable art – shouldn’t we be fighting for it to be accessible forever like all other art mediums by using platforms like Linux or BSD?"

Comment Re:What we programmer needs ... (Score 2) 51

The ironic part is that an X86 instruction hasn't been mapped to dedicated hardware for decades. It just signals a series of micro-ops to perform the calculation.

That started back when we were still doing most of our applications in assembly... and people were begging Intel for the most arbitrary of operations in-silicon.

Then of course when we switched to compilers only about 10% of those operations were used 90% of the time... which is why ARM got so efficient and cheap... because they built their committee around that Turing-complete small set of instructions that compilers would most likely use... rather than Intel's obfuscation to make assembly programmers not want to light themselves up in a gas fire.

So I guess... sort of a bad example?

Comment Re:What we programmer needs ... (Score 1) 51

Actually it is a bit bigger of a problem than that.

There actually is a form of assembly language for GPUs. NVIDIA has PTX... I don't know what ATi/AMD's is called but I saw some of it in passing.

The actual problem from my perspective is that the assembly language is modified and optimized by the drivers before it reaches the chip. The assembly-style PTX code you send to the drivers does not relate to the machine code which the GPU executes. That kind-of defeats the purpose of the assembly language.

That seems to be one of the reasons why you see people like John Carmack who do unique things always complain about boxing GPU drivers... and why it is so difficult to virtualize a GPU. Maybe that will be solved starting with GK110? We will have to find out exactly what makes NVIDIA's latest part so easy to run through a VM to figure that out unfortunately. Hopefully it means the end of ridiculously complicated drivers.

Comment Re:Ti (Score 3, Informative) 51

Samsung is a big developer of processors and one of the world's few FABs actually. ((I actually forgot to mention Qualcomm as an absentee for some reason -- they're a big no-show too.)) Though Apple, I agree, is little love lost. They design chips... but barely; they would not really contribute much to this arrangement; and if they sink by excluding themselves then it will only be them to be hurt in that deal.
Hardware

Submission + - TSMC to spend $10B building 450mm wafer factory (geek.com)

An anonymous reader writes: With demand for processors growing and costs rising, using larger wafers for manufacturing is highly desirable, but a very expensive transition to make. TSMC just announced it has received approval from the Taiwan government to build a 450mm wafer factory, with the total cost of the project expected to be between $8-10 billion.

The move to larger wafers isn’t without its risks, though. Building new facilities to handle production is the easy part. The industry as a whole has to overcome some major technical hurdles before 450mm becomes a viable replacement for the tried and tested 300mm process. TSMC’s chairman Morris Chang has stated the next five years will be filled with technical challenges, suggesting 450mm wafers may not be viable until at least 2017.

AMD

Submission + - HSA Foundation founded by AMD, ARM, Ti, Imagination, and MediaTek (pcper.com)

Phopojijo writes: "To wrap up his “The Programmers Guide to a Universe of Possibility” keynote during the 2012 AMD Fusion Developer’s Summit, Phil Rogers of AMD announced the establishment of the HSA Foundation. The foundation has been instituted to create and maintain open standards to ease programming for a wide variety of processing resources including discrete and integrated GPUs. Founding members include ARM, Texas Instruments, Imagination, MediaTek, Texas Instruments, as well as AMD. Parallels can be drawn between this and AMD’s “virtual gorilla” initiative back from the late 1990’s."
Apple

Submission + - Mistreated Foxconn Brazil Workers Threaten Strike (appleinsider.com)

An anonymous reader writes: More bad news comes from Apple's iDevice manufacturing partner Foxconn that is sure to ruffle the feathers of Apple fans. From the story:

Factory workers at a Foxconn plant in Jundiaí, Brazil are complaining of overcrowded buses, poor food and a lack of water and have threatened to strike unless the issues are resolved by May 3. According to a report by Brazil's Tech Guru (Google Translation), over 2,500 Foxconn employees have complained about conditions at the factory. Workers reportedly met last Monday to raise the concerns and have given the company 10 days to address them.


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