An anonymous reader writes "A look back at two articles from 1995, touting high end computers and 'must haves.' How times have changed... ...'Memory (RAM): We seem to have convinced most manufacturers to adopt eight megabytes as standard, compared with four megabytes in 1994. Don't buy less than eight. The difference in performance between an eight megabyte machine and a four-megabyte machine can be dramatic.'"
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
Damien1972 writes "Conservationists have converted a remote-controlled plane into a potent tool for conservation. The drone — an HK Bixler equipped with cameras, sensors and GPS — has been used to map deforestation, count orangutans and elephants, and get a bird's eye view of hard-to-access forest areas. During their 4 days of testing in Sumatra, the drone flew 30 missions without a single crash. A mission, which typically lasts about 25 minutes, can cover 50 hectares. The drone, full equipped, costs less than $2,000."
retroworks writes "Great piece in The Atlantic by Kyle Wiens of IFIXIT.org, who visited and photographed the Molycorp Mountain Pass rare earth facility in California's Mojave Desert. The mine is the only source of rare earths in North America, one of the only alternatives to the mineral cartels in China, and one of the only sources for the key metals such as tantalum needed in cell phones. There is of course actually one other source of rare earth metals in the USA — recycled cell phones. Is the best 'state of the art' mining as good as the worst state of the art recycling? If the U.S. Department of Energy subsidizes the mine, will China open the floodgates and put it out of business? Or will electronics be manufactured with alternative materials before the mine ever becomes fully scaleable?"
itwbennett writes "Don't believe recent claims made by a blogger that non-functioning batteries in the Tesla Roadster cause the electric cars to be bricked, says IDC analyst Sam Jaffe. 'Here's the primary fact that the blogger in question doesn't understand: the Tesla battery pack is not a battery,' says Jaffe. 'It's a collection of more than 8,000 individual batteries. Each of those cells is independently managed. So there's only two ways for the entire battery pack to fail. The first is if all 8,000 cells individually fail (highly unlikely except in the case of something catastrophic like a fire). The second failure mechanism is if the battery management system tells the pack to shut down because it has detected a dangerous situation, such as an extremely low depth of discharge. If that's the case, all that needs to be done is to tow the vehicle to a charger, recharge the batteries and then reboot the battery management system. This is the most likely explanation for the five 'bricks' that the blogger claims to have heard about.'"
YokimaSun writes "Sony has today released the PSVita in the U.S. and Europe. The console comes with features such as dual touch pads at the front and rear, dual cameras at the front and rear, dual analog sticks, a 5-inch OLED screen, GPS, six-axis motion sensors and a three-axis electronic compass. The PSVita is Sony's attempt at stealing the thunder away from the 3DS but also bringing back the gamers lost to the likes of Android and iOS Devices. The PSVita in Japan sold massively on its first release week but since has struggled and sold less than the PSP. With this in mind sites like Amazon have been offering many different deals to entice people to buy the console. Can Sony stop homebrewers from taking over this console?"
New submitter rescrv writes "Key-value stores (like Cassandra, Redis and DynamoDB) have been replacing traditional databases in many demanding web applications (e.g. Twitter, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others). But for the most part, the differences between existing NoSQL systems come down to the choice of well-studied implementation techniques; in particular, they all provide a similar API that achieves high performance and scalability by limiting applications to simple operations like GET and PUT. HyperDex, a new key-value store developed at Cornell, stands out in the NoSQL spectrum with its unique design. HyperDex employs a unique multi-dimensional hash function to enable efficient search operations — that is, objects may be retrieved without using the key (PDF) under which they are stored. Other systems employ indexing techniques to enable search, or enumerate all objects in the system. In contrast, HyperDex's design enables applications to retrieve search results directly from servers in the system. The results are impressive. Preliminary benchmark results on the project website show that HyperDex provides significant performance improvements over Cassandra and MongoDB. With its unique design, and impressive performance, it seems fittng to ask: Is HyperDex the start of NoSQL 2.0?"
angry tapir writes "Intel is exploring whether it can branch out as a foundry by opening its chip manufacturing facilities to more third-party customers. Intel has expanded its chip-to-order business by signing up additional customers to take advantage of its 22-nanometer process facilities." In particular, two FPGA design companies will be using Intel's fabrication plant, and "the unit has more than two customers but others are not disclosing their plans yet."
kodiaktau writes "Google is working to deliver a heads-up display allowing users access to email, maps and other tools through a wearable interface. According to the NY Times' sources, the device will be available later this year, and sell for prices comparable to smartphones. 'The people familiar with the Google glasses said they would be Android-based, and will include a small screen that will sit a few inches from someone’s eye. They will also have a 3G or 4G data connection and a number of sensors including motion and GPS. ... The glasses will have a low-resolution built-in camera that will be able to monitor the world in real time and overlay information about locations, surrounding buildings and friends who might be nearby, according to the Google employees. The glasses are not designed to be worn constantly — although Google expects some of the nerdiest users will wear them a lot — but will be more like smartphones, used when needed.'"
dcblogs writes "The European Commission last week said it is doubling its multi-year investment in the push for exascale computing from €630 million to €1.2 billion (or the equivalent of $1.58 billion). They are making this a priority even as austerity measures are imposed to prevent defaults. China, meanwhile, has a five-year plan to deliver exascale computing between 2016-20 (PDF). The Europeans announced the plan the same week the White House released its fiscal year 2013 budget, which envisions a third year of anemic funding to develop exascale technologies. Last year, the U.S. Department of Energy science budget asked for nearly $91 million in funding for the efforts in the current fiscal year; it received $73.4 million. DOE science is trying for about $90 million for exascale for 2013. There's more funding tucked in military and security budgets. The U.S. wants exascale around 2018, but it has yet to deliver a plan or the money for it."
snydeq writes "Deep End's Paul Venezia sees few business IT situations that could make good use of full cloud storage services, outside of startups. 'As IT continues in a zigzag path of figuring out what to do with this "cloud" stuff, it seems that some companies are getting ahead of themselves. In particular, the concept of outsourcing storage to a cloud provider puzzles me. I can see some benefits in other cloud services (though I still find the trust aspect difficult to reconcile), but full-on cloud storage offerings don't make sense outside of some rare circumstances.'"
jpwilliams writes "This tiny projector can use any surface you have on hand to project an image. Using a webcam, it adapts to the surface, not just by adjusting keystone, but also following that surface and displaying different amounts of information (in certain cases). The guy in the video also uses a coffee mug as an app changer."
Zothecula writes "If you thought WikiLeaks was a disruptive idea, the transparency grenade is going to blow you away. This tiny bit of hardware hidden under the shell shaped like a classic Soviet F1 hand grenade allows you to leak information from anywhere just by pulling a pin. The device is essentially a small computer with a powerful wireless antenna and a microphone. Following 'detonation,' the grenade intercepts local network traffic and captures audio data, then makes the information immediately available online."
Metrix Create:Space is full of people busily making electronic gadgets. And shot glasses. And everything in between. Some of them saw the street-level sign and stopped in out of curiosity, while others are long-time createspace scenesters. It doesn't matter which you are, says Metrix founder Matt Westervelt. Come in and make something. Need new skills? They have workshops. And lots of great tools.
CUPS is the popular open-source printing system that many projects have used successfully as a core, for desktop printing and as the basis of dedicated print servers. Reader donadony writes with word that Apple "has chosen to abandon certain Linux exclusive features, [while] continuing with popular Mac OS X features. The changeover is being attempted by Apple to set new printing standards that will not require 'drivers' in the future." However, as this message from Tim Waugh at Red Hat points out, all is not lost: "Where they are of use for the Linux environment, those orphaned features will continue to be maintained at OpenPrinting as a separate project."