theodp writes "The NYT's Steve Lohr reports that his has been the crossover year for Big Data — as a concept, term and marketing tool. Big Data has sprung from the confines of technology circles into the mainstream, even becoming grist for Dilbert satire ('Big Data lives in The Cloud. It knows what we do.'). At first, Jim Davis, CMO at analytics software vendor SAS, viewed Big Data as part of another cycle of industry phrasemaking. 'I scoffed at it initially,' Davis recalls, noting that SAS's big corporate customers had been mining huge amounts of data for decades. But as the vague-but-catchy term for applying tools to vast troves of data beyond that captured in standard databases gained world-wide buzz and competitors like IBM pitched solutions for Taming The Big Data Tidal Wave, 'we had to hop on the bandwagon,' Davis said (SAS now has a VP of Big Data). Hey, never underestimate the power of a meme!"
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ananyo writes "The highest possible resolution images — about 100,000 dots per inch — have been achieved, and in full-colour, with a printing method that uses tiny pillars a few tens of nanometres tall. The method could be used to print tiny watermarks or secret messages for security purposes, and to make high-density data-storage discs. Each pixel in these ultra-resolution images is made up of four nanoscale posts capped with silver and gold nanodisks. By varying the diameters of the structures (which are tens of nanometres) and the spaces between them, it's possible to control what colour of light they reflect. As a proof of principle, researchers printed a 50×50-micrometre version of the 'Lena' test image, a richly coloured portrait of a woman that is commonly used as a printing standard (abstract). Even under the best microscope, optical images have an ultimate resolution limit, and this method hits it."
hessian writes "Microsoft isn't exactly known for its underground hacker culture, but a recent effort to give its employees more slack is generating some wild experiments. Last summer, Microsoft completed a redesign of one of its original buildings on campus — Building 4, where Bill Gates' office used to be — into a laid-back workshop where staff can tinker with things. It's open to anyone, anytime, and it's got everything from a hardware workshop to an actual working garage door. If it doesn't sound to you like something Microsoft would normally do , the Garage's motto will really shock you: 'Do epic s--t.'"
redletterdave writes "For about a year, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble were almost completely alone in the 7-inch tablet market. It was nice while it lasted. The past few months have seen Google and Microsoft unveil their 7-inch tablet offerings — the Nexus 7 and Microsoft Surface, respectively — and it looks like Apple is about ready to get into the mini tablet game, too. If Apple releases its first 'iPad Mini' next month, what can Amazon and Barnes & Noble do to keep the Cupertino colossus at bay, as well as the other new competitors in the 7-inch tablet game?"
SternisheFan snips this news from Tech Radar: "The Surface tablets that Microsoft will start selling on 26 October at Microsoft Stores (and in temporary 'holiday stores' in twelve US cities including New York) are only the first of a planned family of Windows devices and Surface 2.0 is already under development. Although Microsoft corporate communications chief Frank Shaw said recently that calling Surface 'our new family of PCs built to be the ultimate stage for Windows' was no more than 'literary licence' and that there was nothing more than the two tablets already announced, the Surface team is 'currently building the next generation' of 'devices that fully express the Windows vision' — according to more than a dozen job adverts posted on the Microsoft Careers site between June and August."
New submitter damitr asks: "What is the most ergonomic position if you are working with a laptop or a desktop (with or without wireless keyboard and mouse) for long hours at stretch? Is bean bag for sitting with a laptop a good option? What is the best way to use a desktop without causing tennis elbow and backache/neck problems?"
New submitter rabok writes "If a Microsoft job posting can be believed, we are set to get a new Xbox on store shelves by March 2014 at the latest. Regardless of when it does eventually arrive, it seems an image claiming to be the output of a Kinect 2 has hit the web by a user on twitter. Kinect 2 is expected to be much more accurate — even able to see individual fingers, read lips, and gauge moods. This image seems to back up that improvement in both depth perception and the ability to distinguish individual fingers."
crookedvulture writes "Most PCs have audio integrated right on the motherboard. There's much to be gained from upgrading to a discrete sound card, though. This look at a couple of sub-$50 sound cards from Asus explores what can be found at the budget end of the spectrum. In blind listening tests, both cards produced better sound than an integrated solution. They also offered superior signal quality, but neither had an impact on gaming performance. The days of hardware-accelerated game audio seem to be behind us, with developers handling positional audio processing in software."
An anonymous reader writes "I know most people use backup services in the cloud now, off-site, but does anyone have good ideas on how to best protect data without it leaving the site? I'm a photographer and, I shoot 32GB to 64GB in a couple of hours. I've accumulated about 8TB of images over the past decade and just can't imagine paying to host them somewhere off-site. I don't make enough money as it is. Currently I just redundantly back them up to hard drives in different rooms of my house, but that's a total crapshoot — if there's a fire, I'd be out of luck. Does anyone keep a hard disk or NAS inside a fireproof safe? In a bunker in the cellar? In the detached garage? It's so much data that even doing routine backups bogs the system down for days. I'd love suggestions, especially from gamers or videographers who have TBs of data they need to back up, on what options there are with a limited budget to maximize protection."
An anonymous reader writes "Hi there ! I'm looking for a simple solution to backup a big data set consisting of files between 3MB and 20GB, for a total of 24TB, onto multiple hard drives (usb, firewire, whatever) I am aware of many backup tools which split the backup onto multiple DVDs with the infamous 'insert disc N and press continue', but I haven't come across one that can do it with external hard drives (insert next USB device...). OS not relevant, but Linux (console) or MacOS (GUI) preferred... Did I miss something or is there no such thing already done, and am I doomed to code it myself ?"
KindMind writes "The U.S. Government said it will stop issuing all permits for new plants and license extensions for existing plants are being frozen due to concerns over waste storage. From the article: 'The government's main watchdog, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, believes that current storage plans are safe and achievable. But a federal court said that the NRC didn't detail what the environmental consequences would be if the agency is wrong. The NRC says that "We are now considering all available options for resolving the waste issue, But, in recognition of our duties under the law, we will not issue [reactor] licenses until the court's remand is appropriately addressed." Affected are 14 reactors awaiting license renewals, and an additional 16 reactors awaiting permits for new construction.'"
First time accepted submitter Augury writes "I'm about to undertake a lengthy trip involving travel through dusty, damp and drop-inducing environments. When it comes to packing for such a trip, reading is a fundamental need, to help while away the inevitable hours spent in transit lounges, at bus stops and on beaches. The weight and bulk of the dead tree approach makes it impractical, so an e-book reader seems ideal — does anyone have any experience with ruggedising an e-book reader for such conditions?"
david.emery writes "In a document from the ongoing Samsung/Apple trial, provided in both English translation and Korean original, Samsung engineers provided a detailed comparison of user interface features in their phone against the iPhone. In almost all cases, the recommendation was to adopt the iPhone's approach. Among other observations, this shows how much work goes into defining the Apple iPhone user experience." Ars has an article on the evidence offered by Apple so far.
MrSeb writes "When solid-state drives first broke into the consumer market, there were those who predicted the new storage format would supplant hard drives in a matter of years thanks to radically improved performance. In reality, the shift from hard drives (HDDs) to SSDs has thus far been confined to the upper end of the PC market. For cost-conscious buyers and OEMs, the higher performance they offer is still too expensive and the total capacity is insufficient. SSD cache drives have emerged as a means of addressing this situation. They are small, typically containing between 20-60GB of NAND flash and are paired with a standard hard drive. Once installed, drivers monitor which applications and files are accessed most often, then cache those files on the SSD. It can take the software 1-2 runs to start caching data, but once this process is complete, future access and boot times are significantly enhanced. This article compares the effect of SSD cache solutions — Intel Smart Response Technology, and Nvelo Dataplex — on the performance of a VelociRaptor, and a slow WD Caviar drive. The results are surprisingly positive."
pigrabbitbear writes "Given the the endless mind-whirling acronyms, derivatives and structures of the financial markets, we're rarely served with a visualization that so elegantly illustrates the arrival of Wall Street's latest innovation. This is what High Frequency Trading — the official monicker of Wall Street's robot army — looks like, when specially programmed computers make massive bets at lightning speed. Created by Nanex, the GIF charts the rise of HFT trading volumes across all U.S. stock exchanges between 2007 and 2012. The initial murmur, the brewing storm, the final detonation: Not just unsettling, it's terrifying."