Rick Zeman writes "The New York Times has extensively surveyed and analyzed data center power usage and patterns. At their behest, the consulting firm McKinsey & Company analyzed energy use by data centers and found that, on average they were using only 6 percent to 12 percent of the electricity powering their servers to perform computations. The rest was essentially used to keep servers idling and ready in case of a surge in activity that could slow or crash their operations. 'Worldwide, the digital warehouses use about 30 billion watts of electricity, roughly equivalent to the output of 30 nuclear power plants.' In other words, 'A single data center can take more power than a medium-size town.' This is the price being paid to ensure everyone has instant access to every email they've ever received, or for their instant Facebook status update. Data Center providers are finding that they can't rack servers fast enough to provide for users' needs: A few companies say they are using extensively re-engineered software and cooling systems to decrease wasted power. Among them are Facebook and Google, which also have redesigned their hardware. Still, according to recent disclosures, Google's data centers consume nearly 300 million watts and Facebook's about 60 million watts. Many of these solutions are readily available, but in a risk-averse industry, most companies have been reluctant to make wholesale change, according to industry experts."
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Hork_Monkey writes "I recently sustained a severe injury to one of my arms, and am lucky not to be an amputee. I'm an avid gamer (primarily PC, but also XBox) and looking for advice one how to adapt to the challenge now presented of enjoying one of my favorite pastimes. My google-fu has led me to some devices and tips, but I wanted to tap the collective while experimenting. I know there have to be some readers in similar positions who could provide some guidance. I'm figuring a few things out, and also hope to share what I find for others in a similar situation."
An anonymous reader writes with this news from Geek.com: "If you're planning to get a new Verizon iPhone 5, there might be a little bonus feature included that neither Apple nor Verizon are keen to admit. As units have started making it out of the stores, it appears that the Verizon version of the device is fully unlocked out of the box and able to connect to any GSM network. Verizon support is apparently confirming to customers that the device is unlocked. At the very least, this doesn't appear to be a mistake. It likely has to do with the way the iPhone's radios are designed along with the implementation of LTE on Verizon. This might make the device a little more palatable to those on the fence about upgrading, especially for anyone that travels."
shortyadamk writes "According to the Government Services Administration auction page: 'Attention GSA Auctions bidders and interested participants. NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Space Shuttle Program has retired and NASA has partnered with GSA Auctions to sell the many shuttle related items through a series of auctions in 2012.' The only catch is that you must be a U.S. Citizen and schedule a visit 48 hours ahead of time to pick up your item. I'm not really sure which piece of the shuttle I'd want the most... Those robotic arms are pretty sweet."
An anonymous reader writes "It's no secret that Mozilla has been working on a mobile OS. Previously codenamed Boot2Gecko, the project focused on a purely HTML5 based system that worked in many ways like current mobile devices. As the project grew into Mozilla OS, the company has laid out a partnership with ZTE that will have real world devices in certain markets early next year. Testing for this OS had previously consisted of a compiled ROM that would be flashed over a handful of Android devices. Now, Mozilla has moved into full fledged product evaluation mode with their own custom developer phone."
New submitter mybluevan writes "The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science is putting together an open hardware spectrometer kit on Kickstarter. The kits are built using an HD webcam, discarded DVD, and a couple other odd bits. They've also put together a kit for your smart phone and open-source software for desktop, Android, and iOS. Need to analyze the contents of your coffee, the output of your new grow lights, or a distant star on a budget? Just build your own spectrometer, or pick up the limited edition steampunk version." Besides making cool hardware, they'd like to "build a Wikipedia-style library of open source spectra, and to refine and improve sample collection and analysis techniques. We imagine a kind of 'SHAZAM for materials' which can help to investigate chemical spills, diagnose crop diseases, identify contaminants in household products, and even analyze olive oil, coffee, and homebrew beer."
iFixit has posted a detailed teardown of the new iPhone 5. While the casing still uses Apple's proprietary pentalobe fasteners, the good news is that Apple has made the screen much easier to remove. Once the fasteners have been removed, the screen will lift out easily through the use of a suction cup. The screens are by far the most common parts of iPhones to break, and this change turns a complicated 38-step procedure that takes about 45 minutes at minimum into a quick, 5-10 minute job. The teardown also shows the iPhone 5 battery to be very similar to the iPhone 4S's, suggesting that the improvements to battery life come from other hardware and software changes. We get a look at the new A6 processor running the phone, which is a custom design based on ARMv7. iFixit also looks at the Lightning connector assembly; unfortunately, it includes the loudspeaker, bottom microphone, Wi-Fi antenna, and headphone jack as well, so fixing any one of those parts individually will be difficult. Whatever you think of Apple's decision to move to Lightning instead of micro-USB, it seems their switch away from the 30-pin connecter was necessitated by size constraints.
mikejuk writes "The Raspberry Pi might be a cheap and reasonably powerful but it has a tough learning curve due to the Linux OS it uses. Adafruit, better known for their hardware, are working on a WebIDE which you can use to program the Pi without having to set things up. You write the code in a browser and run it on the Pi using a web server hosted by the Pi. It sounds crazy but if it can make the Pi more approachable then perhaps it could turn out to be an educational powerhouse."
An anonymous reader writes "'If you are one of the six million Virgin subscribers, you are at the whim of anyone who doesn't like you.' The Hacker News describes how the username and password system used by Virgin Mobile to let users access their account information is inherently weak and open to abuse." Computerworld also describes the problem: essentially, hard-coded, brute-force guessable passwords, coupled with an inadequate mechanism for reacting to failed attempts to log on.
angry tapir writes "Researchers at the University of New South Wales in Australia have created the world's first working quantum bit based on a single atom in silicon. The research team was able to both read and write information using the spin, or magnetic orientation, of an electron bound to a single phosphorous atom embedded in a silicon chip. In February, UNSW researchers revealed they had successfully created a single-atom transistor using a single phosphorous atom in a silicon crystal."
Nerval's Lobster writes "The Open Compute Project has published the final specification of the Open Rack Specification, which widens the traditional server rack to more than 23 inches. Specifically, the rack is 600 mm wide (versus the 482.6 mm of a 19-inch rack), with the chassis guidelines calling for a width of 537 mm. All told, that's slightly wider than the 580 mm used by the Western Electric or ETSI rack. The Open Compute Project said that changes in the new 1.0 specification include a new focus on a single-column rack design. The new dimensions now accommodate hotter inlet temperatures of between 18 to 35 degrees Celsius and up to 90 percent humidity, which reflects other Open Compute designs and real-world data center temperatures, according to project documents. Facebook has led the implementation of the Open Compute Project, which publicly shares the designs it uses in data centers, including its Prineville, Ore. facility. As the spec clearly shows, however, the new designs deviate from the traditional configurations and specifications, which means data center operators will need to find and then source racks from third-party vendors (or, in the case of Facebook, design their own)."
hypnosec writes "The Raspberry Pi, which was recently used to build a cluster, has officially been given a 'Turbo Mode' by The Raspberry Pi Foundation, thus enabling overclocking. It will bump the frequency of the on-board processor as high as 1GHz as long as the temperature stays below 85C. The patch would dynamically increase the voltage and frequency of the core until the thermals hold. According to the Foundation, users have the option of choosing one of five peak frequencies, the highest being 1GHz."
An anonymous reader writes "I've been working on reverse engineering the D-Link DPH-128MS VOIP phone. It's an end of life product for D-Link but a neat little desktop phone that runs Linux. I've figured out a way to exploit the tftp server running on it to get root access. I'm at the point now of trying to figure out how to update the phone with more files. Check out the writeups I have and the scripts on the link above."
MrSeb writes with news about our coming cybernetic overlords. From the article: "After more than four years of research, DARPA has created a system that successfully combines soldiers, EEG brainwave scanners, 120-megapixel cameras, and multiple computers running cognitive visual processing algorithms into a cybernetic hivemind. Called the Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System (CT2WS), it will be used in a combat setting to significantly improve the U.S. Army's threat detection capabilities. There are two discrete parts to the system: The 120-megapixel camera, which is tripod-mounted and looks over the battlefield; and the computer system, where a soldier sits in front of a computer monitor with an EEG strapped to his head, looking at images captured by the camera, wedding out false threats. In testing, the 120-megapixel camera, combined with the computer vision algorithms, generated 810 false alarms per hour; with a human operator strapped into the EEG, that drops down to just five false alarms per hour. The human brain is surprisingly fast, too: According to DARPA, CT2WS displays 10 images per second to the human operator — and yet that doesn't seem to affect accuracy."
An anonymous reader writes "Yesterday, XDA Developers forum users kinfaus and pokey9000 were discussing how the latest devices from Amazon (the second-generation 7 Kindle Fire and the 7 Kindle Fire HD) come with more sophisticated protection than their predecessors, including locked bootloaders and 'high security' features offered by their OMAP processors. Today, the devices have been rooted." Using a known bug in busybox dating to April even.
An anonymous reader writes "An achievement that would have extraordinary energy and defense implications might be near at Sandia National Laboratories. The lab is testing a concept called MagLIF (Magnetized Liner Inertial Fusion), which uses magnetic fields and laser pre-heating in the quest for energetic fusion. A paper by Sandia researchers that was accepted for publication states that the Z-pinch driven MagLIF fusion could reach 'high-gain' fusion conditions, where the fusion energy released greatly exceeds (by more than 1,000 times) the energy supplied to the fuel."
CowboyRobot writes "Dr. Dobb's reviews an alternative to Google Glass and goes through the steps of coding your own Android-based Heads-Up Display. 'By tucking their 428x240 pixel WQVGA heads-up display in the lower right corner of ski goggles, Recon has effectively created an unobtrusive HUD with a decent 600 MHz ARM Cortex A8 processor running Android 2.3.3 (Eclair). Network connections can be made via a Bluetooth-paired Android smartphone.'"
An anonymous reader writes "I am tasked with developing a service project to teach students in a Bangladeshi village how to type. The school has about 500 students, 12 computers donated to them in 2006, and a limited electricity supply. The students will be given job placement opportunities at a local firm in the city once they reach a certain proficiency. Therefore, we are trying to teach as many of them typing skills as possible. The problem: limited electricity, limited computers, many kids. I have some additional funding collected through donations. Instead of buying more computers, I am looking for a cost effective way that does not need a steady flow of electricity. I realize that to teach typing, I do not need a computer. I could achieve the same using a keyboard connected to a display. A solar powered calculator is a perfect example of a cheap device which has a numpad for input and an LCD for display. But so far I have not come across a device that has a qwerty keyboard and an LCD to display what's typed. I know there are some gaming keyboards that have LCDs built in but they are quite expensive. I am aiming to build a device that cost below USD 50. I considered using typewriters but they are in limited supply on the market. I also considered OLPC but it is double my anticipated budget. Do you have other suggestions?" Considering that (at least in China) sub-$50 Android tablets with capacitive screens are already here, I wish the Alphasmart line was cheaper, but apparently it currently starts at $169.
MrSeb writes "If, like me, you thought Microsoft would price Windows RT competitively, you were wrong: A leaked slide from Asus says that its Vivo Tab RT, due to be released alongside Windows RT at the end of October, will start at $600. Unbelievably, this is $100 more than the iPad 3, and a full $200 more than the iPad 2 or Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. For $600, you would expect some sensational hardware specs — but alas, that's sadly not the case. The Vivo Tab RT has a low-res 10.1-inch 1366×768 IPS display, quad-core Tegra 3 SoC, 2GB of RAM, NFC, 8-megapixel camera and that's about it. Like its Androidesque cousin, the Transformer, the Vivo Tab RT can be plugged into a keyboard/battery dock — but it'll cost you another $200 for the pleasure. (Curiously, the Transformer's docking station only costs $150 — go figure.)"