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Comments

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Samsung Delays Tizen Phone Launch

BBCWatcher Re:smaller screens (112 comments)

I found your smartphone(s). Apple's iPhone 5s is more than decently spec'ed, and it has a 4.0 inch display. Apple's iPhone 5c is very decently spec'ed -- specifications are a bit better than the iPhone 5 -- and also has a 4.0 inch display. The Blackberry Q10 also meets or exceeds your criteria. If you insist on an Android-based device then it depends on what you mean by "decently spec'ed." Possible candidates include Asus's new Zenfone 4, Sony's Xperia M, Samsung's Galaxy Ace 3 (the Ace 4 may be a downgrade), and Huawei's Ascend Y300. I think I'd pick the Xperia M within that Android group, but your mileage may vary.

about 2 months ago
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New IE 8 Zero Day Discovered

BBCWatcher IE8 Last for Windows XP (134 comments)

Internet Explorer 8 was the last Internet Explorer available for Windows XP. Was Microsoft tempted to ignore the security exposure until XP fell out of support? Are there other security vulnerabilities in Windows XP reported before April, 2014, that Microsoft has ignored? Will Microsoft ignore (or at least slow walk) reported security vulnerabilities in their other products as they get nearer (but not actually reach) their end of support dates?

These continuing security defects are really beyond ridiculous. Maybe regulators -- the European Commission? -- ought to be mandating that vendors fix security vulnerabilities in their products within, say, 120 days. That would extend to all products sold (refurbished, new, whatever) within the past, say, 7 years. Otherwise, the vendor will be automatically barred from selling anything unless and until their security messes are cleaned up.

about 4 months ago
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Tim Cook: If You Don't Like Our Energy Policies, Don't Buy Apple Stock

BBCWatcher Tim Cook Also Owns Apple (348 comments)

Tim Cook is a major Apple shareholder, at least among individuals who own shares. He owns a fraction of the company.

about 7 months ago
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Tim Cook: If You Don't Like Our Energy Policies, Don't Buy Apple Stock

BBCWatcher You Don't Understand the Law (348 comments)

What law would that be? Hint: There isn't one.

about 7 months ago
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Snowden Nominated For Freedom of Thought Prize

BBCWatcher Don't Forget Jimmy Carter (212 comments)

Considering the last 50 years, I rate Jimmy Carter and his Carter Center very highly, though a big percentage of his good work has been done after his political career ended in 1981.

1 year,11 days
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Drone Hunters Lining Up and Paying Out In Colorado

BBCWatcher What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (206 comments)

I don't think anybody likes drones except perhaps the people who build them. However, I'm really upset with the idiots who even think about pointing a weapon up in the sky -- or aiming a laser, for that matter -- in a misguided attempt to fight the spread of drones. There are *people* flying overhead all the time in aircraft both small and large, and there's no way to tell which aircraft is manned and which isn't even if you want to do something stupid. There's a federal death penalty for anyone interfering with an aircraft (or "related facilities") that results in death, so this is serious stuff. I don't like it when people go duck hunting without being careful not to point their weapons anywhere near a family cruising along in their Cessna. If you want to fight the spread of drones then do it in ways that won't get people hurt or killed -- resulting in more drones, probably. Defund them, prevent them from being based in or launched from your community or state, boycott their manufacturers and affiliates, tax them heavily, make their owners/operators/manufacturers personally liable for the worst torts imaginable, and/or whatever. But for the sake of the people up in the skies, please, please don't even think about shooting at them.

1 year,17 days
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Lowell Observatory Pushes To Name an Asteroid "Trayvon"

BBCWatcher Other Space Object to be Named (588 comments)

In related news, and in a fitting analogy, the Observatory is recommending that a newly identified black hole be named "Zimmerman."

1 year,17 days
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Ask Slashdot: Printing Options For Low-Resource Environments?

BBCWatcher How about Mobile Phones? (108 comments)

Mobile phones are low power, rugged, cheap, and well accepted in Zambia. I think I'd be looking at how much of the electronic medical record keeping I could push onto very basic mobile phone-based services such as SMS, MMS, voice/voice recording, and/or (for example) very lightweight Java ME applications (using MQTT probably which is free, bidirectional, low power, secure, and extremely bandwidth efficient/tolerant). Voice input, for example, is very fast -- faster than writing/typing at the point of service -- and labor is cheap to take dictation locally or remotely. A cheap camera phone can take decent pictures of body parts and what they look like. Patients with mobile phones -- many of them -- can input their own histories for registration (via a Java ME or WAP app probably), or somebody remote can call them who can then key in the history via Q&A -- even before they get to the clinic. Get an IBM "Watson" (or connect to one in the "cloud") for diagnoses. And so on. Think of how to deliver as many and as much of the business processes via mobile feature phones and (for the clinics) slightly more advanced tablets with very lightweight protocols and near-ubiquitous services. I agree with the commenters upthread: stay away from the paper if at all possible. If there is any paper, let them use the manual typewriters they already might have and then have a "scanning station" with a camera phone on a tripod sort of thing to get the paper "into the system" immediately.

As for freezer labeling, how about not labeling at all in the field? Get tubes/containers pre-marked "at the factory" with unique sequential barcodes and serial numbers, and then associate that tube with the patient electronically when the sample is collected. The technician would also jot down the patient's assigned code using a simple freezer-compatible pen/marker. Again, a simple mobile phone with a camera would be able to scan the barcode on the tube and look up the patient code (or register the patient to that tube). The code could be something as simple as the patient's mobile phone number concatenated with a couple alphanumerics: initials, date of birth, or something else. (This would depend on the cultural context of course. It should be short, unique, avoid characters that can be mixed up like 0 and O, and have a check character embedded to avoid false match errors.)

about a year ago
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Door-To-Door Mail Delivery To End Under New Plan

BBCWatcher Let the Post Office Be a Boring Bank (867 comments)

Postal banking is very common in many countries. To save the Post Office let the Post Office provide a reasonable range of basic, low fee, CFPB-approved consumer banking services at every post office: international remittances, international money orders (they have some, but bring back near-global coverage), and simple interest-bearing deposit accounts with debit/ATM cards and bill paying. Your debit card would be compatible with government benefits (e.g. SNAP), and cardholders would be strongly encouraged to include their photo on the front. Card-not-present transactions would be allowed but only with a generated one-time use virtual card number. Cards would have chips, and magstripe transactions would be limited to $200 per day unless the account holder overrides the default. Limit cash deposits and withdrawals to the postal ATM to reduce the safety risk at post offices. No loans, no overdrafts. No foreign transaction fees. Simple Roth IRAs would be available but you only get one investment choice: your age-appropriate Vanguard "target" retirement index fund (assuming Vanguard bids the lowest cost to the consumer). No business accounts, no joint accounts, but you could designate a payable on death (POD) beneficiary. Accounts would be federally insured. To avoid "too big to fail" problems there would be regional postal banks, but there would be no cross-region postal ATM fees. Regional banks would be organized something like: Atlantic Postal Bank (PA, DE, MD, WV, DC), Cactus Postal Bank (TX, NM, AZ), Dixie Postal Bank (VA, NC, SC, GA), Gulf Postal Bank (FL, AL, MS, LA), Harvest Postal Bank (MN, NE, ND, SD, IA), Lakes Postal Bank (OH, IN, IL, MI, WI), Middle Postal Bank (KY, TN, AR, MO, KS, OK), Oceanic Postal Bank (AK, HI, GU, VI, PR, AA/AE/AP, MP, AS, FM, MH, PW), Pacific Postal Bank (CA, WA, OR), Rockies Postal Bank (WY, CO, MT, UT, ID, NV), and Yankee Postal Bank (NY, NJ, and New England).

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Won't Companies Upgrade Old Software?

BBCWatcher IE6 Will Run "Forever" (614 comments)

Organizations that want to run IE6 "forever" have a way to do that: a virtual machine. Their virtual machine image can be frozen and the destination IP addresses firmly locked down to access only known internal Web servers to avoid nasty malware surprises. They can set up the virtual machine to launch and run IE6 as if it were any other application running on the desktop. They can even set up shared server-based IE6 delivery farms if they wish. No problem, and life goes on.

about a year ago
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Court: Aereo TV Rebroadcast Is Still Legal

BBCWatcher Don't Like It? Stop Broadcasting (64 comments)

Broadcasters have a solution if they don't like this decision: don't broadcast over public airwaves, and surrender your valuable spectrum. In other words, be less like ABC and more like ESPN. (Disney understands both business models because they own both, so this isn't a secret.) Of course terminating one's broadcasts would probably mean losing viewers and advertising revenue, but that just reflects the fact that free-to-air ATSC broadcasting is still a financially rewarding way to distribute programming.

about a year and a half ago
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WikiLeaks Party Launching This Week

BBCWatcher Re:He has a chance (52 comments)

Not a problem. Assange would have several Commonwealth-only commercial airline routes from England to Australia. It's also possible to fly him privately from England to Australian territory nonstop, probably using a Gulfstream G650 and probably from Manston which offers a long runway. For example, Manston to the Cocos Islands would be 6,176 nautical miles (Great Circle distance) which is the sort of range a Gulfstream can manage quite safely. There are three other Commonwealth countries under that particular flight route, and Christmas Island might be a suitable alternate.

about a year and a half ago
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Ancient Teeth Bacteria Record Disease Evolution

BBCWatcher Kissability? (97 comments)

If you had a choice, would you kiss a cave woman (or man) with her/his supposedly lovely oral biodiversity, or a member of the Scope, Colgate, and Oral-B generation? I would bet a lot that, if someone had those oral inventions 7,500 years ago, he/she would have passed on a lot more DNA to future generations.

about a year and a half ago
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Ancient Teeth Bacteria Record Disease Evolution

BBCWatcher But We're Living a Lot Longer (97 comments)

We may have some researchers getting way ahead of their results. The same plentiful, storable food is probably a big reason so many more of today's humans even survive long enough to "suffer" having a less bacteriologically diverse oral ecosystem. (And we also have fluoridated water, which really works quite well.) I would be more careful making comparative value judgments about what is still an interesting finding.

about a year and a half ago
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Is It Time For the US To Ditch the Dollar Bill?

BBCWatcher Here's My Formula for U.S. Currency (943 comments)

1. Withdraw the penny, nickel, paper dollar bill, 2 dollar bill, and 5 dollar bill from circulation;
2. Introduce 2 and 5 dollar coins and a 500 dollar bill;
3. Substantially increase production of the dollar and half dollar coins;
4. If the Republicans in Congress fail to raise the debt ceiling without conditions, the U.S. Mint would issue one or more 1 trillion dollar coins which are deposited with the Federal Reserve. These coins would feature the likeness of former President Ronald Reagan on one side and a quotation from the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on the other: "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned."

Casualties in the withdrawals would be Lincoln (penny and 5 dollar bill), Jefferson (nickel and 2 dollar bill), and Washington (1 dollar bill). Consequently Jefferson would appear on the new 2 dollar coin, and Lincoln would appear on the new 5 dollar coin. Washington already appears on the quarter, and he'd stay there. The dime (FDR) and half dollar coin (JFK) would also remain the same. The presidential series of dollar coins would continue, but the existing Sacagawea dollar coin would be issued concurrently and thereafter as planned. The new 500 dollar bill would depict Martin Luther King on one side and the Apollo 11 Moon Landing on the other. It would also be physically larger than the other denominations, and it would be distinctly, tastefully, vibrantly multicolored. Hamilton would remain on the 10 dollar bill, Andrew Jackson on the 20 dollar bill, Grant on the 50 dollar bill, and Franklin on the 100 dollar bill.

about 2 years ago
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IBM Mainframe Running World's Fastest Commercial Processor

BBCWatcher Re:Thanks, I've already found some Benchmarks (158 comments)

Actually, it has that too now: IBM introduced hardware decimal floating point in 2008 to its mainframes (IEEE754-2008). Only IBM seems to have done that (on POWER7 as well). The zEC12 has that on every core; crypto too.

about 2 years ago
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IBM Mainframe Running World's Fastest Commercial Processor

BBCWatcher Re:bogus claims (158 comments)

What if Intel had continued boosting clock speed (within power and cooling constraints) and employed other improvements? IBM has done both, and I applaud that. It's important to them (and to many of their customers) that they keep working hard to improve the performance of each thread, and, golly, they keep pulling rabbits out of the hat.

about 2 years ago
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IBM Mainframe Running World's Fastest Commercial Processor

BBCWatcher Re:cat TFA | sed -e 's/Flash Express/Cache Express (158 comments)

No, no typo. There's indeed Flash Express -- and yes, IBM's engineers have figured out a way to add yet another memory tier using (very high quality) flash memory. The processor can directly address it -- it's all mapped within the 64-bit virtual address space from what I've read. Yes, it's slower than DRAM but it's faster than storage-attached SSD (which at least has a longer distance to travel). Flash Express is great for things like paging, memory dumps, gigantic in-memory databases, and certain things that Java wants, so that's how operating systems and databases will use it. IBM even encrypts everything that lands on this memory-addressable flash, just in case someone tries to physically rip it out of the server. (Yes, they thought of that.)

about 2 years ago

Submissions

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IBM's Surprise: New World's Fastest CPU

BBCWatcher BBCWatcher writes  |  about 4 years ago

BBCWatcher (900486) writes "This month a new world's fastest microprocessor was revealed at the Hot Chips conference in the final presentation slot, and it's a shocker. IBM starts shipping their z196 servers, and (surprise!) the fastest microprocessor is exclusively inside their latest mainframe. As chip designers slam hard into the physical limits of Moore's Law, get used to a new world of mainframe performance dominance. For decades mainframes have excelled in delivering high throughput for multiple concurrent applications (i.e. cloud computing), but you would have had to look elsewhere (to a supercomputer, to Intel or to IBM's POWER) to find the world's fastest computational performance. Not this time: Mainframe and Supercomputer have combined their DNA. The quad-core z196 CPU design is clocked at a world record 5.2 GHz (with no "burst" cheats), but the clock speed only partly explains why the z196 screams. The z196 has out-of-order execution, a first for IBM mainframes, and insane amounts of cache, including on-chip DRAM, spread across a record number of levels. There are also hardware instructions that accelerate advanced cryptography, precision decimal floating point operations, compression, and other complex tasks. (This is CISC design in all its glory.) Unfortunately the "press" gets a lot of details wrong (ahem, Fox News), but that's sometimes what happens with unexpected technical news."
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New IBM Mainframe: World's Fastest Microprocessor

BBCWatcher BBCWatcher writes  |  more than 4 years ago

BBCWatcher (900486) writes "So what's the world's fastest microprocessor? Intel's latest X86? No, maybe later. AMD? No. Itanium? Heck no, never. SPARC? Goodness no, are they still around? IBM's POWER7? Closest... but not at the moment. Today it's IBM's zEnterprise 196, i.e. the newest mainframe model. A mainframe holding the honor of world's fastest microprocessor? Yes, and it's time to get used to it. IBM's engineers have just rocked the server world by taking the world's fastest microprocessor, clocked at a constant and unsurpassed 5.2 GHz (!) with new out-of-order instruction execution (while keeping mainframe instruction result verification and on-the-fly fault recovery and core fail-over), putting 96 cores of them into a single machine, surrounding them with 4 (!) levels of cache memory (each far larger than anything else), providing 3 TB (usable) of the world's first and only RAIM-protected fast memory (that's RAID for RAM), giving them scores of dedicated assist processors, accelerating the already famous mainframe I/O... and, to top it all off, adding in mainframe-managed closely attached blade servers to mop up the data center floor. IBM says more than 100,000 virtual servers can run on a single zEnterprise System with zEnterprise BladeCenter Expansion feature. And of course it's built to keep your important applications running continuously, no excuses, with no interruptions for either hardware or software changes.
....I want one."

Link to Original Source
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Report: Mainframe is a Perfect Functional Superset

BBCWatcher BBCWatcher writes  |  more than 4 years ago

BBCWatcher (900486) writes "Germany's Wilhelm Schickard Institut fur Informatik has just published a paper on "System z and z/OS Unique Characteristics," and here's its thought-provoking opener: "Many people still associate mainframes with obsolete technology. Surprisingly, the opposite is true. Mainframes feature many hardware, software, and system integration technologies that are either not at all, or only in an elementary form, available on other server platforms. On the other hand, we know of no advanced server features which are not available on mainframes." The report provides comparisons (to the extent possible) between 40+ mainframe capabilities and other servers' capabilities, with lots of references. Although quite technical, the paper is approachable. (Sun's mainframe-critical ad reprinted in the report is especially amusing given recent history.) There's also this closing prediction: "We assume that present [mainframe] technologies...will become available on other server platforms within the next 10 years. We also assume mainframes will have introduced new not yet identified technologies [during] this time, and that the size of the technology gap will remain roughly the same. During the last 30-40 years this has been the case, and the driving forces have not changed." IBM says there's a new mainframe model coming this year, so we'll see more of the leading edge soon."
Link to Original Source
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Korean Bank Dumps Unix Boxen for Mainframes

BBCWatcher BBCWatcher writes  |  more than 4 years ago

BBCWatcher (900486) writes "The Register's headline is a little misleading (mainframes are also UNIX machines), but the basic facts are these: BC Card, Korea's largest credit card company, is ejecting its many HP and Sun UNIX servers, and Oracle databases, and replacing them with (undoubtedly fewer) IBM System z10 servers (a.k.a. "mainframes") running z/OS, CICS Transaction Server, DB2 for z/OS, WebSphere Application Server for z/OS, Java, C/C++, Tivoli and InfoSphere software, etc., for its next generation credit card processing applications. IBM dropped the bombshell before Christmas, but the (stunned? vacationing?) Western IT press is only now waking up to recognize its significance. Sayeth BC Card's CIO, JeongKyu Lee: "We chose System z for its continuous operation, service quality made available through IBM's mainframe software solutions, and economic returns for the years ahead." Likely translation: "People expect their cards to work, we deal with serious Won every minute, this z stuff is the best damn tech for the mission, and IBM wanted our business." BC Card, founded in 1982, has never had a mainframe before."
Link to Original Source
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EU Formally Objects to Oracle's Sun Buy-out

BBCWatcher BBCWatcher writes  |  more than 4 years ago

BBCWatcher (900486) writes "More bad news in the Oracle-Sun nuptuals. Numerous press outlets (here, here, here, etc.) report that the European Commission has lodged formal objections to Oracle's planned $7.4B acquisition of Sun Microsystems. Previously the Commission planned their final ruling for January 19, 2010, but the formal objections now cast doubt on that deadline or whether Oracle can satisfy anti-trust regulators anytime soon (or ever). Says Oracle in a statement: "The commission's statement of objections reveals a profound misunderstanding of both database competition and open-source dynamics. It is well understood by those knowledgeable about open-source software that because MySQL is open source, it cannot be controlled by anyone. That is the whole point of open source." Oracle and Sun are worried about the delay, as Sun is hemorrhaging customers and employees amid the increasing uncertainty. Sun just reported fiscal 1Q2010 earnings, with total sales falling 25% and server sales plunging 31.4%. Oracle could walk away from Sun for $260M, but reports suggest no such exit at this time. Traders are still getting nervous: Sun stock has fallen away from Oracle's bid price recently."
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Microsoft Posts Dreadful Quarterly Earnings

BBCWatcher BBCWatcher writes  |  more than 5 years ago

BBCWatcher (900486) writes "After the U.S. markets closed on Thursday, Microsoft posted grim news: revenues down 17% for the just finished quarter (year to year) and profits down 29% despite $1B in cost cutting. The results shocked Wall Street analysts and unsettled the whole market. The quarter capped the first full year revenue decline since MSFT stock started trading publicly in 1986. Nothing worked for the company, with the possible exception of ~$10 XP sales to netbook OEMs. Everything fell, including Windows, Office, servers, Xbox, and Web advertising. Moreover, the advertising, Xbox, Zune, and mobile phone businesses were all deep in the red. Microsoft blamed the economy. However, while Nokia and Dell reported bad results, other tech stalwarts like Apple, Intel (to some extent), Google, and IBM have prospered. Of course, Microsoft remains profitable, though (amazingly) less profitable in the quarter than IBM."
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CPU News: POWER7 to Ship 1H2010

BBCWatcher BBCWatcher writes  |  more than 5 years ago

BBCWatcher (900486) writes "In CPU news, IBM says that its POWER7 servers will start shipping in the first half of 2010, on schedule or perhaps even a few months early if you believe Wikipedia. Moreover, upgrades from a wide variety of POWER6 models will be mere CPU swaps, with the upgraded servers keeping their same serial numbers. (Bean counters like that.) POWER7 sports up to 8 cores per die, 4 threads per core, a clock speed a Hertz or two above 4 GHz, 45 nm process manufacturing, on-chip DDR3, and up to 1,000 micropartitions per machine. IBM claims that POWER7 will offer about 256 Gflops per die and two to three times the performance per watt as POWER6. IBM wants to keep taking orders now for its POWER6 gear (duh), so its sales reps are allegedly ready and eager to deal on 6-cum-7 packages. And it looks like that cunning plan could work rather well given Sun's Rock CPU cancellation and HP's delay of Tukwila Itanium to 2010. (Is anybody still in the server CPU race except IBM, Intel, and maybe AMD?) In 2006, POWER7 won the contest for a DARPA supercomputing R&D grant of $244 million, so you could say that each U.S. citizen is in for about a dollar already."
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London Stock Exchange to Abandon Windows

BBCWatcher BBCWatcher writes  |  more than 5 years ago

BBCWatcher (900486) writes "Computerworld's Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols reports that the London Stock Exchange is abandoning its Microsoft Windows-based trading platform: "Anyone who was ever fool enough to believe that Microsoft software was good enough to be used for a mission-critical operation had their face slapped this September when the LSE's Windows-based TradElect system brought the market to a standstill for almost an entire day.... Sources at the LSE tell me to this day that the problem was with TradElect.... Sources...tell me that TradElect's failure was the final straw for [the ex-CEO's] tenure. The new CEO, Xavier Rolet, is reported to have immediately decided to put an end to TradElect. TradElect runs on HP ProLiant servers running, in turn, Windows Server 2003. The TradElect software itself is a custom blend of C# and .NET programs, which was created by Microsoft and Accenture, the global consulting firm. On the back-end, it relied on Microsoft SQL Server 2000. Its goal was to maintain sub-ten millisecond response times, real-time system speeds, for stock trades. It never, ever came close to achieving these performance goals.""
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WSJ: Microsoft Says IBM is Anticompetitive

BBCWatcher BBCWatcher writes  |  more than 5 years ago

BBCWatcher (900486) writes "Microsoft has long claimed that the mainframe is dead, slain by the company's Windows monopoly. Yet, apparently without any mirror nearby, Microsoft is now complaining through the Microsoft-funded Computer & Communications Industry Association that not only are mainframes not dead, but IBM is so anticompetitive that governments should intervene in the hyper-competitive server market. The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft is worried that the trend toward cloud computing is introducing competition to the Windows franchise, favoring better positioned companies including IBM and Cisco. HP now talks about almost nothing but the IBM mainframe, with no Tukwila CPUs to sell until 2010. The global recession is encouraging more mainframe adoption as businesses slash IT costs, dominated by labor costs, and improve business execution. In 2008, IBM mainframe revenues rose 12.5% even whilst mainframe prices fell. (IBM shipped 25% more mainframe capacity than in 2007. Other server sales reports are not so good.) IBM mainframes can run multiple operating systems concurrently including Linux and, more recently, OpenSolaris."
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Breakthru Allows Calculations on Encrypted Data

BBCWatcher BBCWatcher writes  |  more than 5 years ago

BBCWatcher (900486) writes "Can data be encrypted in a way that allows any calculation to be performed on the scrambled information without unscrambling it? It's a simple concept that sounds impossible, but if it were possible businesses and individuals could then protect their secrets yet still perform Web searches, medical studies, financial risk assessments, and many other tasks. Computer scientists call this idea "fully homomorphic encryption," and it was first envisioned 30 years ago by Ronald Rivest, one of RSA's coinventors. Rivest and two coauthors thought it was probably impossible. However, Craig Gentry at IBM Research recently discovered a solution, although at present the solution requires too much computing horsepower for common adoption. Nonetheless, Rivest now predicts the remaining engineering problems will be solved, yielding fully homomorphic encryption products and services. Crypto experts believe this breakthrough will make encryption much more convenient and more widespread."
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NY Times: Sun Kills Rock CPU

BBCWatcher BBCWatcher writes  |  more than 5 years ago

BBCWatcher (900486) writes "Despite Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's recent statement that his company will continue Sun's hardware business, it won't be with Sun processors (and associated engineering jobs). The New York Times reports that Sun has canceled its long-delayed Rock processor, the next generation SPARC CPU. Instead, the Times says Sun/Oracle will have to rely on Fujitsu for SPARCs (and Intel otherwise). Unfortunately Fujitsu is decreasing its R&D budget and unprofitable at present. Sun's cancellation of Rock comes just after Intel announced yet another delay for Tukwila, the next generation Itanium, now pushed to 2010. HP is the sole major Itanium vendor. Primary beneficiaries of this CPU turmoil: IBM and Intel's Nehalem X86 CPU business."
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Intel Delays Tukwila (Itanium)...Again

BBCWatcher BBCWatcher writes  |  more than 5 years ago

BBCWatcher (900486) writes "Intel is putting on the bravest possible face as the company announces yet another delay shipping Tukwila, the long promised next iteration of Itanium. Tukwila-rebooted — improved (promise!) over the Tukwila that never shipped — will not ship until 2010, even as Intel's own Nehalem EX CPUs likely beat Tukwila to market. The delays hurt HP, the sole remaining major Itanium OEM, the most. IBM and Oracle/Sun will benefit the most. Analysts continued to savage Itanium. A sample: "That's not to say that those shops which are using the Itanium aren't in their right mind. Heck, that'd be like saying that people still using IBM's OS/2 weren't in their right mind, or people still running CP/M on Apricots. No, they're all in their right minds — they're just living in a parallel universe where these products somehow still matter.""
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After 53 Years at IBM, Engineer Dies

BBCWatcher BBCWatcher writes  |  more than 5 years ago

BBCWatcher (900486) writes "Mainframers are still catching up to the sad news that Vern Watts, the "Father of IMS," died suddenly. He was 77. Vern "retired" from IBM in 2004, but he still worked at IBM two days per week (and three days per week at ScaleDB) up until his death. Incredibly that's over 53 years of continuous IBM service. His famous child, IMS, is now entering its 11th major version. IMS's Chief Architect got it right: IMS gracefully evolved from a 1960s Saturn V rocket parts inventory system into a globally popular, extreme performance, zero downtime transaction manager and database with XML, SOAP, Java programming, and JDBC support, among other modern features, while retaining backward compatibility. IMS is reportedly IBM's highest revenue software product (and growing). What have you done with your life?"
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Alarming Your Obama Yard Sign

BBCWatcher BBCWatcher writes  |  more than 5 years ago

BBCWatcher (900486) writes "Last election, DailyKos poster craigf suffered four acts of vandalism against his political yard signs. This election he's taking no chances. He illustrates how to rig an Obama yard sign to emit a piercing screech should anybody pilfer or destroy it. This hack requires a wire hangar, fishing line or string, a $5 battery-powered personal alarm from Circuit City (or equivalent), and, of course, duct tape. As an extra-cost option you can add a motion-activated camera to record any sign attackers."
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Mainframe OpenSolaris Now Available

BBCWatcher BBCWatcher writes  |  more than 5 years ago

BBCWatcher (900486) writes "When Sun released Solaris to the open source community in the form of OpenSolaris, would anyone have guessed that it would soon wind up running on IBM System z mainframes? Amazingly, that milestone has now been achieved. Sine Nomine Associates is making its first release of OpenSolaris for System z available for free and public download. Source code is also available. OpenSolaris for System z requires a System z9 or z10 mainframe and z/VM, the hypervisor that's nearly universal to mainframe Linux installations. (The free, limited term z/VM Evaluation Edition is available for z10 machines.) Like Linux, OpenSolaris will run on reduced price IFL processors. For the record, Linux moved to the mainframe almost nine years before OpenSolaris."
Link to Original Source
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Judge: Pringles Are Not Potato Crisps

BBCWatcher BBCWatcher writes  |  more than 6 years ago

BBCWatcher (900486) writes "Rejoice, ye junk food fans of the United Kingdom. A British High Court judge has ruled: Pringles are not potato crisps (chips). Their packaging, "unnatural shape" and the fact that the potato content is less than 50% (a mere 42%) helped Mr. Justice Warren make his crunch decision. As a result, Pringles, in all flavors are free from the 17.5% Value Added Tax (VAT).

Now Fredric Baur can rest easy, and this ruling also slashed the already low price of macro lenses."
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Cockroaches and Cloud-y Mainframes

BBCWatcher BBCWatcher writes  |  more than 6 years ago

BBCWatcher (900486) writes "CNET interviews IBM's Steve Mills who points out that mainframes have been delivering "cloud computing" for decades, and he challenged his industry peers to deliver true multitenancy if they expect Software as a Service (SaaS) to achieve its full potential. He also urged the IT press to investigate the hype surrounding cloud computing and whether it's really delivering what's promised, especially in terms of qualities of service. Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite, admitted that they need "hundreds" of machines to support their customers, but he insisted that each is a mini-cloud supporting a few customers. Mills may have a point as IBM itself collapses 3,900 smaller servers to 33 mainframes and as The New York Times reports that data centers will pollute more than the airline industry by 2020 unless they get smart. Larry Dignan at ZDNet admires IBM's ability to reinvent the mainframe: "The mainframe is like the cockroach. If the world were to end via a nuclear holocaust there would only be two things left: Cockroaches and a mainframe.""
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IBM & Allies Offer Microsoft-Free PCs in E. Eu

BBCWatcher BBCWatcher writes  |  more than 6 years ago

BBCWatcher (900486) writes "Reuters reports that IBM has teamed up with partners VDEL of Austria and LX Polska to offer Microsoft-free personal computers in Eastern European markets, including Russia. IBM cites customer demand, particularly from Russian CIOs at organizations such as the Ministry of Defence, Aeroflot, and Alfa Bank. The PCs, provided by hardware partners of VDEL and LX Polska, will include a Red Hat Linux distribution and Open Document Format support via Lotus Symphony. The Linux-preloaded PCs will be known as the "Open Referent" (?) platform, and IBM says they'll cut desktop computing costs for customers by up to half."
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Young Mainframe Programmers are the Cat's Meow

BBCWatcher BBCWatcher writes  |  more than 6 years ago

BBCWatcher (900486) writes "Mainframes are "code accretion machines": they run code written in every decade since the 1950s alongside just-written PHP, Java, Perl, C/C++, or whatever. The design mantra is "don't break the code," and businesses can keep running whatever is valuable. It's horrifically expensive to write billions of lines of bulletproof code, after all. But the Wall Street Journal wonders who will maintain the older code. The Journal interviews Elizabeth Bell, age 23, a computer programming student from Ontario, Canada, who seems to understand labor markets, especially in these recessionary times. She learned the other stuff, but she also taught herself COBOL. Bank of Montreal came to her, and she landed a job without even applying. Elizabeth says she's not competing with many people her age for the managerial positions opening up. "I may be the youngest now," she tells the Journal, "but there are smart, practical kids who are in school because they want a career who realize that the mainframe is the way to go.""
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IBM Announces & Ships the System z10 Mainframe

BBCWatcher BBCWatcher writes  |  more than 6 years ago

BBCWatcher (900486) writes "Slashdot covered the leaks, but today IBM is announcing — and in a surprise, immediately shipping — their new System z10 Enterprise Class mainframe. There are several announcements, and I'm now digging through just the 391 page (!) tome IBM posted. This is a massively vertically scaled machine, with up to 1.5 TB of main memory and 4.4 GHz cores. Uniprocessor mixed z/OS performance is up a whopping 70% or so compared to the previous fastest, an unusually big jump. One machine has up to 64 main cores, not counting the 2 spares (minimum) and myriad assist processors. Every core has hardware decimal floating point and hardware crypto algorithms including AES256. No one else is building such a massive SMP system with these sorts of clock speeds as far as I know, so this might be the first "mainframe supercomputer." Of course there are the big I/O bandwidth improvements and massive multi-level shared caches, and you can active-active Parallel Sysplex cluster up to 32 of these beasties via InfiniBand up to 150 meters apart (and tens of kilometers with some more kit). The machine can run any combination of five different operating systems (including Linux and z/OS 1.10) across all the 64 processors in n-level virtualized LPARs and z/VM instances. IBM is claiming a single z10 can do the typical work of about 1,500 X86 servers but take 85% less power and space and run 24x365."

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