Latest Computer and IT Support Industry News
When you're running the world's largest particle accelerator, smashing particles at nearly the speed of light to understand the Universe at its most basic levels, you'd better have a great IT strategy.
That's why CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, opened a new data center and is building a cloud network for scientists conducting experiments using data from the Large Hadron Collider at the Franco-Swiss border.
CERN's pre-existing data center in Geneva, Switzerland, is limited to about 3.5 megawatts of power. "We can't get any more electricity onto the site because the CERN accelerator itself needs about 120 megawatts," Tim Bell, CERN's infrastructure manager, told Ars.
“The metro is a living, breathing thing with a heartbeat—a soul and a brain,” the helpful character Khan says while walking through one of Metro: Last Light's many underground passages. This stretch of sewer packs enough revelations to earn the haughty quote, but Metro's designers are also attempting a cheeky declaration with the line.
It's one thing for Metro: Last Light to come out swinging as a nearly-next-gen first-person shooter. If you crank it up on a high-end quad-core PC, a DirectX 11 wonderland of light-and-shadows tricks, high-poly landscapes, and gruesome beasts will stretch before you. Watch a gameplay trailer or two and you'll assume that the game is just a silly man-versus-beast romp. At its best, maybe it's a video-card pack-in.
But that would ignore the word Metro—as in, the sequel to Metro 2033, a 2010 game that prioritized plot and atmosphere over raw gameplay to earn a cult following in the process. Luckily for the team at Ukrainian studio 4A Games, bankruptcy limbo didn't prevent this follow-up from reaching store shelves—and neither, apparently, did 4A's continued adherence to plot and atmosphere over gameplay. Yet where the prior Metro could be written off as a wonky curio, Metro: Last Light delivers a Hollywood-caliber story, a convincing world, and some must-play moments. It all comes within a game that, while painfully uneven, is certainly playable and absolutely the right step for the first-person shooter genre.
Welcome to dystopian Moscow, where the last game's protagonist Artyom (who also stars in the Russian book series of the same name) still dwells in the metro system's tunnels among the other survivors of a nuclear holocaust. This time, his fallout is a little more personal. Namely, Artyom wiped out a seemingly evil race of “dark ones” who—oops—actually wanted peace. A single dark one remains, sending Artyom on a city-spanning chase while contending with Nazis and communists underground—plus frightening beasts above it.
I have quite a few laptops that have been languishing in a non-fully-reviewed state for a while. The New Year was been a bit crazy, and in the midst of trying to update the benchmark suite and some other items, the time for a full review is long since passed. We’re finally done with our 2013 Mobile Benchmark Suite, however, and as we’ll have a variety of laptops to review in the coming weeks, I thought the UX51VZ was a good start for our new test suite.
Our enterprise NAS reviews have focused on Atom-based desktop form factor systems till now. These units have enough performance for a moderately sized workgroup and lack some of the essential features in the enterprise space such as acceptable performance with encrypted volumes.
A number of readers have mailed in asking for more coverage of the NAS market straddling the high-end NAS and the NAS - SAN (storage area network) hybrid space. Models catering to this space come in the rackmount form factor and are based on more powerful processors such as the Core series or the Xeon series. QNAP came forward with their 12-bay flagship unit, the TS-EC1279U-RP towards the end of last year. Read on for the detailed review of the ECC-equipped Xeon-based 12-bay 2U rackmount unit.
Mosquito bites kill an estimated 1-2 million people every year. It is not the mosquitoes’ fault, though—it's the pathogens they transmit that are lethal, not the bites themselves. Nets and insecticides can help, but they can also be costly, logistically difficult to distribute, and not particularly green. So alternative strategies to prevent disease transmission are needed.
Wolbachia are bacteria that reside in insect cells and have a very complicated relationship with their hosts. They can render mosquitoes resistant to certain pathogens, and they can reduce mosquitoes' lifespans, which is significant because it is often the older mosquitoes that transmit the pathogens that make us sick. Wolbachia infect up to 76 percent of the 2-5 million insect species on Earth—but not, of course, the mosquito species that carry dengue fever or malaria. That would be far too convenient.
So researchers have been trying to infect disease-carrying mosquitoes with Wolbachia in the lab and then let these infected mosquitoes out into the wild to mate with and infect disease-carrying strains in order to reduce disease transmission. This has in fact already happened in northeastern Australia, where researchers spent four years maintaining Wolbachia in mosquito cells in the lab before letting infected mosquitoes loose in January 2011 to infect wild Aedes aegypti, the mosquitoes that transmit dengue fever. The trial is going so well that it is being repeated in Vietnam.
The patent-holding company Lodsys became notorious in 2011. It started sending patent threat letters to small developers asking for a bit more than a half-percent (.575) of their revenue. The company claimed it had a patent on in-app purchases.
Apple intervened in the case shortly thereafter. The company told the court that it had already licensed the Lodsys patents, so they shouldn't be used against developers working on its platform.
It hasn't helped. Lodsys has sued dozens of targets this year, showing it has no compunction about taking on any app maker whether it's a tiny game studio or a global corporation. Late last week, Lodsys fired off its newest round of lawsuits.
In our part 1 review of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 (SGS4) I noted that the device included a BCM2079x NFC controller. This is the same controller as we’ve seen in a number of other phones, including the Nexus 4, and is emerging as a popular second to the relatively ubiquitous NXP PN544 controller.
When I saw the presence of BCM2079x, I remembered that this reader doesn’t read MIFARE tags, which the NXP solution does, since it is an NXP tag format. Instead Broadcom only reads tags which adhere to the standard NFC Forum tag types. Ordinarily this isn’t much of a problem, as long as users are aware of the limitation and to stay away from MIFARE classic tags on an incompatible reader. What’s interesting here is that Samsung’s TecTiles were themselves originally MIFARE Classic 1k tags, which makes them not compatible with the new SGS4. I then confirmed that the SGS4 does in fact not read my existing TecTiles which I’ve setup around the house.
I reached out to Samsung, who issued a statement about TecTile compatibility on the SGS4 by announcing TecTile 2, which ostensibly carries a different tag inside compatible with the SGS4."Samsung is introducing TecTile 2, an update to the original TecTile NFC programmable tags, which will be available in the coming weeks. TecTile 2 will use the current NFC technology on the market, allowing Samsung customers to further incorporate NFC into their daily lives and to use with the latest Samsung Mobile products and services, including the Galaxy S 4. As industry standards continue to evolve, Samsung remains committed to meeting those standards and adapting its technologies if necessary. Samsung customers can also fully utilize TecTiles 2 with existing Samsung Mobile NFC-enabled Android smartphones currently in market."
Interestingly enough some newer generation TecTiles not marked as TecTile 2 seem to have already made their way out onto the market. Several users replied on twitter that they’ve seen TecTiles which identify as an NFC Forum Type 4 tag instead of the MIFARE 1k tag, with a visually different appearance as well. If you’ve already got TecTiles that aren’t MIFARE, it seems that you’re in luck, otherwise if you’re upgrading to an SGS4 from another Samsung device and made use of TecTiles, it’s likely you’ll have to replace your NFC tags.
Good morning, Arsians, and welcome to our special Tuesday-edition Dealmaster! Our partners at LogicBuy have gathered together some fun goodies to share with you all, so strap on your buyin' pants and let's get started!
For our top deal, we've got a Samsung UN40EH6000 LED TV for $649—but it also comes with a $350 gift card that you can turn around and use on some other stuff. If you're already planning on buying a TV of this size, this is a great way to pick up some extra stuff at the same time!
If you're itching to drop some more serious coin on a 4K TV, we've got one—an 84-inch LG 84LM9600. At "2160p," with a native resolution of 3840×2160 pixels, this thing has four times the pixels of a "regular" 1080p TV (hence the somewhat-misleading "4K" label). It's $11,999 on sale, so big spenders only!
In the District of Northern California, Prenda shell AF Holdings brought a lawsuit against a San Jose man named Joe Navasca. Once US District Judge Edward Chen ordered Prenda to put up $50,000 bond to proceed with the case, the anti-piracy law firm lost interest and tried to drop the whole thing.
The case is over—dismissed with prejudice. But the judge won't quite let it end until two things happen. First, Navasca's lawyer, Nick Ranallo, has a chance to ask for attorneys' fees from AF Holdings. And AF Holdings' lawyer must explain an unusual signature. Early in the case, AF Holdings signed an "ADR certification" document with the name "Salt Marsh," which was later explained to be a trust owned by Mark Lutz, the official owner of many Prenda shells. That's still somewhat fishy, since "Salt Marsh" claimed to have read certain documents and discussed them with his/her attorney. Chen asked to see the original.
BlackBerry continues to work at winning back mind- and market share with a handful of announcements on Tuesday at its own Jam conference. The company’s messaging service, BBM, will arrive on iOS and Android this coming summer, BlackBerry OS version 10.1 is now available for the Z10, and the company is releasing a pared-down smartphone named the Q5 for select markets.
BBM would have been a highly coveted service a few years ago on the two now-dominant smartphone platforms, when text messages were on the rise. Now iPhones have iMessage to speak to each other and Google is about to release Babel, to say nothing of all the popular third-party cross-platform messaging apps like WhatsApp, GroupMe, and Line.
Blackberry 10.1 will be a free software update to BlackBerry 10 as it rolls out over the coming weeks, and it includes customizable notifications (sounds, vibration, LEDs) as well as fine-tuned cursor control that allows users to bring up a blue circle and use taps to pinpoint exactly where they want the cursor to drop. The updated camera app now includes an HDR mode, and support has been added in Blackberry hub for communication between BlackBerrys using their PINs.
“Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” Evolutionarily speaking, it’s a yawn of a conundrum. We know it was the egg, which evolved (with shell to enable a terrestrial lifestyle) some 300 million years ago, long before a chicken first clucked across a patch of open ground.
In between the origin of the egg and the domestication of the chicken, however, there are plenty of other interesting features to consider. Take the feather. There were hints of a revolution 150 years ago when part-dinosaur, part-bird archaeopteryx was discovered. Recently, discoveries in China have pulled back the curtain to reveal a varied cast of feathered dinosaurs, and we've found it wasn't just the direct ancestors of birds that were sporting down coats.
These discoveries have made the question of evolutionary origins even more interesting. At one point, you could have wondered whether feathers—which are basically made of the same stuff as scales— arose directly to aid flight or had been co-opted for the purpose from some other function. The prevalence of feathers and feather-like structures in flightless organisms points to the latter. So when did they first appear, and what were these other functions?