MojoKid writes "NVIDIA has lifted the embargo on benchmarks and additional details of their GeForce GTX 690 card today. According to a few folks at NVIDIA, company CEO Jen Hsun Huang told the team to spare no expense and build the best graphics card they possibly could, using all of the tools at their disposal. As a result, in addition to a pair of NVIDIA GK104 GPUs and 4GB of GDDR5 RAM, the GeForce GTX 690 features laser-etched lighting, a magnesium fan housing, a plated aluminum frame, along with a dual vapor chamber cooler with ducted airflow channels and a tuned axial fan. The sum total of all of these design enhancements results in not only NVIDIA's fastest graphics card to date, but also one of its quietest. In the performance benchmarks, NVIDIA's new dual-GPU powerhouse is easily the fastest graphics card money can buy right now, but of course it's also the most expensive." The GeForce GTX 690 has been reviewed lots of different places today, Tom's Hardware and AnandTech to name a few.
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An anonymous reader writes "I have at least 10 assorted hard drives ranging from 100 GB to 3 TB, including external drives, IDE desktop drives, laptop drives, etc. What's the best way to setup a home NAS to utilize all this 'excess' space? And could it be set up with redundancy built-in so a single drive failure would cause no data loss? I don't need anything fancy. Visibility to networked Windows PCs is great; ability to streak to Roku / iPad / Toshiba etc would be great but not necessary. What's the best way to accomplish this goal?"
mikejuk writes "Oracle seem to be concerned that the Raspberry Pi manages to run Java properly and they are actively working on the problem. To prove that it more than just works, what better than to get a JavaFX app up and running — what could be more cutting edge? Unfortunately the trick was performed using a commercial version of the JDK with JIT support and some private code, but it is still early days yet. Java and JavaFX on Raspberry Pi takes us into a whole new ball game." Watch the video at the linked report to see it in action.
1sockchuck writes "Are you ready for wider servers? The Open Compute Project today shared details on Open Rack, a new standard for hyperscale data centers, which will feature 21-inch server slots, rather than the traditional 19 inches. "We are ditching the 19-inch rack standard," said Facebook's Frank Frankovsky, who said the wider design offered better heat removal and a unified approach to power, including a 12 volt busbar. The Open Compute Project, developed by Facebook to advance open source hardware design, believes an open approach can avoid the mistakes of blade server chassis design."
MrSeb writes "Back in the olden days, when WiFi and Bluetooth were just a glimmer in the eye of IEEE, another short-range wireless communications technology ruled supreme: Infrared Data Association, or IrDA for short. IrDA was awful; early versions were only capable of kilobit-per-second speeds, and only over a distance of a few feet. Trying to get my laptop and mobile phone to link up via IrDA was, to date, one of the worst tech experiences I've ever had. There's a lot to be said for light-based communications, though. For a start, visible (and invisible) light has a frequency of between 400 and 800THz (800 and 375nm), which is unlicensed spectrum worldwide. Second, in cases where you really don't want radio interference, such as hospitals, airplanes, and other sensitive environments, visible light communication (VLC), or free-space optical communication, is really rather desirable. Now researchers at the National Taipei University of Technology in Taiwan have transmitted data using lasers — not high-powered, laboratory-dwelling lasers; handheld, AAA-battery laser pointers. A red and green laser pointer were used, each transmitting a stream of data at 500Mbps, which is then multiplexed at the receiver for a grand total of 1Gbps."
New submitter schlesingerj writes in with news about a six legged robot "The Artisans Asylum hackerspace in Somerville, MA is building a monster rideable hexapod named 'Stompy', with fully articulated legs (18 hydraulics actuators in total), powered by a humongous propane forklift engine. This is being built as a class, lead by a team of expert roboticists with an impressive background, including DEKA, Boston Dynamics and Barret Technologies and is expected to be finished by the end of the summer. I for one welcome our new robot overlords."
Uwe Hermann today announced the availability of sigrok, one of the first Open Source logic analyzers. Tired of being tied to Windows and proprietary software with limited features, in late 2010 he began work on flosslogic, which, after discovering Bert Vermeulen was also working on similar software, became sigrok. From the article: "Thus, the goal was to write a portable, GPL'd, software that can talk to many different logic analyzers via modules/plugins, supports many input/output formats, and many different protocol decoders. ... Currently supported hardware includes: Saleae Logic, CWAV USBee SX, Openbench Logic Sniffer (OLS), ZEROPLUS Logic Cube LAP-C, ASIX Sigma/Sigma2, ChronoVu LA8, and others." Their wiki has a list of supported protocols as well. You can grab the source over at SourceForge.
MrSeb writes with news about a production ready electric-hybrid airplane. From the article: "... The four-passenger carbon fiber aircraft isn't really an electric plane but more of a plug-in hybrid plane, much like the Chevrolet Volt. Whatever it is, the Volta Volare aeronautics company of Portland, Oregon says the plane can travel 300 miles on battery power, then a 1.5-liter gasoline engine engages and extends the plane's range to 1,000 miles. The company sees the plane being attractive for its low cost of operation and its environmental friendliness. Aviation gasoline is typically leaded fuel, which has been gone from motor vehicle fuel since the 1980s. On a 200-mile trip in a comparable four-passenger gas-engine private plane, you'd burn $80 worth of avgas, while the electricity to carry the GT4 200 miles would cost only $20 — nice savings, but perhaps a little inconsequential when the plane itself is expected to cost around $500,000. Testing begins this spring on the Volta Volare GT4."
MrSeb writes "When Intel launched Ivy Bridge last week, it didn't just release a new CPU — it set a new record. By launching 22nm parts at a time when its competitors (TSMC and GlobalFoundries) are still ramping their own 32/28nm designs, Intel gave notice that it's now running a full process node ahead of the rest of the semiconductor industry. That's an unprecedented gap and a fairly recent development; the company only began pulling away from the rest of the industry in 2006, when it launched 65nm. With the help of Mark Bohr, Senior Intel Fellow and the Director of Process Architecture and Integration, this article explains how Intel has managed to pull so far ahead."
An anonymous reader writes "MIT's The Tech published an article with technical details behind the Tetris hack they did on the Green Building earlier this year. The article includes photographs of the LED modules, as well as a link to some of the source code used in the hack. The hackers have released some of the source code on GitHub, and are looking for people to contribute code that could run on the system."
1sockchuck writes "Apple's North Carolina data center will tap landfills for biogas, which will then be converted into electricity using fuel cells from Bloom Energy. The 24 'Bloom boxes' will have a capacity of 4.8 megawatts of power, and along with a large solar array, will provide Apple with a significant on-site generation of sustainable energy. Microsoft is also developing biogas-powered data plants where modular data centers will be housed near water treatment plants and landfills. GigaOm has a useful primer on biogas in data centers, as well as video of the new higher capacity Bloom boxes that will support Apple's server farm."
mikejuk writes, quoting I Programmer: "If you are looking for an exciting hardware project, KegDroid deserves a look. It is a sophisticated system that involves Android, Arduino, NFC, plumbing and — beer. Perhaps the final stroke of genius is to package the whole thing in a Droid body. Some how the little green fella looks at home on the bar. You have heard of desktop and laptop apps now we have bartop apps to add to the list" Details are fuzzy currently, but from all appearances this is a repackaged KegBot in a very fancy shell. (Video for those without Flash.)
MrSeb writes "Numerous research groups around the world are reporting that they have created silicene, a one-atom-thick hexagonal mesh of silicon atoms — the silicon equivalent of graphene. You will have heard a lot about graphene, especially with regard to its truly wondrous electrical properties, but it has one rather major problem: It doesn't have a bandgap, which makes it very hard to integrate into existing semiconductor processes. Silicene, on the other hand, is theorized to have excellent electrical properties, while still being compatible with silicon-based electronics (abstract). For now, silicene has only been observed (with a scanning tunneling electron microscope), but the next step is to grow a silicene film on an insulating substrate so that its properties can be properly investigated."
First time accepted submitter NGTechnoRobot writes "In a turn for the books the BBC reports that Microsoft has invested $300 million in Barnes and Noble's Nook e-reader. The new Nook reader will integrate with Microsoft's yet-to-be-released Windows 8 operating system. From the article: 'The deal could make Barnes and Noble's Nook e-book reader available to millions of new customers, integrating it with the Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system. The as-yet unnamed new company will be 82.4% owned by Barnes and Noble, with Microsoft getting a 17.6% stake.' Guess the lawsuit's over, folks."
MrSeb writes "Details of a new, ultra-compact computer form factor from Intel, called the Next Unit of Computing (NUC) are starting to emerge. First demonstrated at PAX East at the beginning of April, and Intel's Platinum Summit in London last week, NUC is a complete 10x10cm (4x4in) Sandy Bridge Core i3/i5 computer. On the back, there are Thunderbolt, HDMI, and USB 3.0 ports. On the motherboard itself, there are two SO-DIMM (laptop) memory slots and two mini PCIe headers. On the flip side of the motherboard is a CPU socket that takes most mobile Core i3 and i5 processors, and a heatsink and fan assembly. Price-wise, it's unlikely that the NUC will approach the $25 Raspberry Pi, but an Intel employee has said that the price will 'not be in the hundreds and thousands range.' A price point around $100 would be reasonable, and would make the NUC an ideal HTPC or learning/educational PC. The NUC is scheduled to be released in the second half of 2012."