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Submission + - What It's Like to Work for a Cloud Service Provider (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: As enterprises increasingly consider moving their computing infrastructure to the cloud, IT professionals wonder whether they should follow the migration. Jake Robinson said he remembers the day he really understood what it means to work on "the other side of the cloud." It was Thanksgiving, a couple of years ago. A customer posted an iPhone app designed to give users access to coupons and discounts the following day, Black Friday. The retailer had vastly underestimated demand for the app, and the ASP's database crashed. A solutions architect, Robinson was called in and spent most of the holiday tuning the client's database server to handle the traffic. Computerworld spoke to a half-dozen IT professionals who worked for cloud service providers to get their their experiences.

Submission + - Apple Said to Be Exploring Switch From Intel for Mac (bloomberg.com)

concealment writes: "Apple Inc. (AAPL) is exploring ways to replace Intel Corp. (INTC) processors in its Mac personal computers with a version of the chip technology it uses in the iPhone and iPad, according to people familiar with the company’s research.

Apple engineers have grown confident that the chip designs used for its mobile devices will one day be powerful enough to run its desktops and laptops, said three people with knowledge of the work, who asked to remain anonymous because the plans are confidential. Apple began using Intel chips for Macs in 2005."


Submission + - Hacking the Apple II at KansasFest (computerworld.com)

CWmike writes: The Apple II computer celebrated its 35th birthday this year at KansasFest, an annual convention dedicated to Apple Computer's first product. Held this year July 17-22 in Kansas City, Mo., KansasFest is host to HackFest, a contest in which retrocomputing enthusiasts are challenged to make the machine do things it was never designed to do. All programs must be written start-to-finish while at KansasFest and must run on a real Apple II. Judges value creativity, effort and "coolness" over function and utility. Computerworld's Ken Gagne highlights the best of what came out of the challenge.

Submission + - User Poll Shows Tablets, eReaders Top Tech Gift Gu (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: Every year, Computerworld polls its readers on what types of tech gear they want to give and/or receive for the holidays. While the top five categories they chose are pretty much the same as in 2010 — tablets, e-readers, smartphones, laptops and HDTVs — the products themselves have changed significantly. For example, Android powerhouses such as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone and the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablet are strong contenders this year while in years past Apple's iPhone 4S and iPad 2 topped the lists.

Submission + - iPad Used To Stop Congress From Slashing Research (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: A closed-door U.S. Capitol forum on the future of federal research used Apple's iPad as the primary example for why Congress should not slash the Nation's federal research budget. The panelists included William Phillips, a Nobel Laureate in physics, who works at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. In a Q&A with Computerworld, Phillips talked about how technologies like the iPad are actually made up of components that come from federally supported research.

Submission + - Jean Bartik, 86 (computerworld.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Jean Bartik, the last of the original six ENIAC programmers, died this morning. She was 86.

Submission + - Apple I Computer Sells For $213K (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: An Apple I computer that sold for $666.66 in the 1970s was auctioned off by Christy's for $213,600 today, proving the idiom that "one man's trash is another man's treasure". About two hundred Apple-1 computers were built by Steve Wozniak prior to the founding of Apple Computer Inc. in 1977. The computer — basically a motherboard — had 4KB of memory, but no case, power supply, keyboard or monitor. Only about 50 are still known to exist.

Submission + - CD Sales Continue to Plummet, Vinyl Records Soar (computerworld.com) 1

Lucas123 writes: Over the past four years, vinyl record sales have been soaring, jumping almost 300% from 858,000 in 2006 to 2.5 million in 2009, and sales this year are on track to reach new peaks, according to Nielsen Entertainment. Meanwhile, as digital music sales are also continuing a steady rise, CD sales have been on a fast downward slope over the same period of time. In the first half of this year alone, CD album sales were down about 18% over the same period last year. David Bakula, senior vice president of analytics at Nielsen Entertainment, said it's not just audiophiles expanding their collections that is driving vinyl record sales but a whole new generation of young music aficionados who are digging the album art, liner notes and other features that records bring to the table. 'The trend sure does seem sustainable. And the record industry is really doing a lot of cool things to not only make the format come alive but to make it more exciting for consumers,' Bakula said.

Submission + - There Must Be A Return to Skilled Programming (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: High performance computing, multicore chips and distributed architectures are being used to deal with a glut of data in financial services and other markets. But only about 2% of programmers have the skills required to code for these new architectures while the rest continue to rely on ineffective serial coding or turn to GPA and FPGA chips to make their job less arduous, according to Bank of America's chief technology architect Jeffrey Birnbaum. "Too many people are rewriting stuff with parallel algorithms for GPUs and FPGAs claiming performance advantages. CPUs are still much faster than most programmers know," he said. "Birnbaum, whose bank is building a noSQL database, also said developers should always choose the languages with which they're most proficient and not try to force more sophisticated ones, such as Python, to a task because they'll wind up with sloppy results. "Bad programmers create bad code. It doesn't matter what language they use," he said.

Comment See for yourself (Score 1) 81

The full session schedule is available online.

Some of the presentation's titles: "Magic with Macrosoft: Machine Language Speed for Applesoft Programmers"; "Apple's Growing Divide Between Users and Programmers"; "How to Use Your Apple II as a Dumb Terminal for Mac OS X"; "73H 0r3g0n 7r41L Game Mod"; "Apple III: A Closer Look".

The HackFest programming competition is especially cool.


Submission + - Face-Off: 1979 Apple Graphics Tablet vs. 2010 iPad (computerworld.com)

CWmike writes: When Apple launched the iPad earlier this year, it was the culmination of fans' long wait for the company to enter the tablet market. There's no doubt the iPad is a revolutionary device. But in 1979, an earlier generation of Apple users used a different kind of Apple tablet, back when the word meant something else entirely, writes Ken Gagne. The Apple Graphics Tablet was designed by Summagraphics and sold by Apple Computer for the Apple II personal microcomputer. (Summagraphics also marketed the device for other platforms as the BitPad.) To be clear, this tablet was not a stand-alone computing device like the iPad. Instead, it was an input device for creating images on the Apple II's screen, and it predated the Apple II's mouse by six years. Apple II fan Tony Diaz had an Apple Graphics Tablet on hand at last month's KansasFest, an annual convention for diehard Apple II users. He and Gagne, the event's marketing director, compared and contrasted Apple's original tablet with the iPad, snapping photos as they went.

Submission + - Stupid data center tricks (computerworld.com)

jcatcw writes: A university network is brought down when two network cables are plugged into the wrong hub. An employee is injured after an ill-timed entry into a data center. Overheated systems are shut down by a thermostat setting changed from Fahrenheit to Celsius. And, of course, Big Red Buttons. These are just a few of the data center disasters caused by human folly.

Submission + - Security goes to the movies: Iron Man 2 (computerworld.com)

CWmike writes: Whether you like the summer blockbuster Iron Man 2 or not, at least one thing about it rings true — the plot and the characters provide a striking reflection of today's tech security industry. From an IT security perspective, it's easy see the Russian Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) as a symbol of today's cybercriminals, many of whom are former Soviet computer code writers who now write malware for criminal organizations for fast cash. Vanko's motives are different from those of the typical cyber bad guy, but the comparison is hard to resist. Vanko's partner in crime is Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), who, in contrast, shows no aptitude for even basic technology. A rival defense contractor whose products are notoriously unreliable, Hammer will do anything to run Stark Industries into bankruptcy. Hammer's overconfidence is symbolic of the security vendor community. To be fair, many vendors do develop technologies that have made a huge difference in the security fight. But many more have been slammed by security practitioners for claiming that their technologies solve all of a company's defensive challenges. It's fun to watch Hammer show off his cigar-sized Ex-Wife Missile, which turns out to be a dud later in the film, and think of antivirus vendors whose signature updates can't keep up with fast-evolving malware.

Submission + - 9/11 made us safer, says Bruce Schneier (computerworld.com)

richi writes: "Security guru and BT CTO Bruce Schneier discusses terrorist attacks. In fact, Bruce seems to be saying that 9/11 actually made us safer from terrorists, which seems like a curious argument. While Bruce's blog post is interesting and no-doubt insightful, I'm not sure I really buy it. And what's the deal with the new rules for searching the TSA No Fly List? Why is it, in 2010, we're still mucking about with publishing database extracts and waiting hours for them to be searched? How about checking within seconds of an update? Couldn't, someone volunteer to show them how to implement a reliable, scalable, NoSQL setup? Instead, the TSA plan to fix this is a classic 'big government' solution..."

Submission + - Salary Survey 2010: IT Pros About To Explode (computerworld.com)

CWmike writes: Trapped between flat salaries and ever-increasing workloads, IT professionals are about to explode. That's the top takeaway from Computerworld's 2010 survey of nearly 5,000 IT workers. Another finding of note is the shrinking female IT workforce. Have a look-see at how IT fared in your neck of the woods with this smart lookup tool. Looking ugly? Mark Pratt tells how to spend time wisely during the recovery, building skills, scouting out hot job segments and priming for what's next. But like most in IT, you might be more in need of advice on how to talk your way into a raise.

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