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Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Device May Revolutionize Computer Memory

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new device that represents a significant advance for computer memory, making large-scale "server farms" more energy efficient and allowing computers to start more quickly.
Traditionally, there are two types of computer memory devices. Slow memory devices are used in persistent data storage technologies such as flash drives. They allow us to save information for extended periods of time, and are therefore called nonvolatile devices. Fast memory devices allow our computers to operate quickly, but aren't able to save data when the computers are turned off. The necessity for a constant source of power makes them volatile devices.
But now a research team from NC State has developed a single "unified" device that can perform both volatile and nonvolatile memory operation and may be used in the main memory.
"We've invented a new device that may revolutionize computer memory," says Dr. Paul Franzon, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the research. "Our device is called a double floating-gate field effect transistor (FET). Existing nonvolatile memory used in data storage devices utilizes a single floating gate, which stores charge in the floating gate to signify a 1 or 0 in the device -- or one 'bit' of information. By using two floating gates, the device can store a bit in a nonvolatile mode, and/or it can store a bit in a fast, volatile mode -- like the normal main memory on your computer."
The double floating-gate FET could have a significant impact on a number of computer problems. For example, it would allow computers to start immediately, because the computer wouldn't have to retrieve start-up data from its hard drive -- the data could be stored in its main memory.
The new device would also allow "power proportional computing." For example, Web server farms, such as those used by Google, consume an enormous amount of power -- even when there are low levels of user activity -- in part because the server farms can't turn off the power without affecting their main memory.
"The double floating-gate FET would help solve this problem," Franzon says, "because data could be stored quickly in nonvolatile memory -- and retrieved just as quickly. This would allow portions of the server memory to be turned off during periods of low use without affecting performance."
Franzon also notes that the research team has investigated questions about this technology's reliability, and that they think the device "can have a very long lifetime, when it comes to storing data in the volatile mode."
The paper, "Computing with Novel Floating-Gate Devices," will be published Feb. 10 in IEEE's Computer. The paper was authored by Franzon; former NC State Ph.D. student Daniel Schinke; former NC State master's student Mihir Shiveshwarkar; and Dr. Neil Di Spigna, a research assistant professor at NC State. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Larry Page replaces Eric Schmidt as Google CEO in surprise move

Internet search giant Google has revealed that its chief executive, Eric Schmidt, is to be replaced by co-founder Larry Page. Page, 37, is reclaiming the CEO job he relinquished to Schmidt nearly 10 years ago when investors asked for a more experienced business leader at the helm.

The news was announced along with Google's quarterly results which recorded net profits of $2.54bn in the last three months, ahead of analyst expectations.

Eric Schmidt is to continue as executive chairman focusing on "deals, partnerships, customers and broader business relationship", according to Google. In a blog post, Schmidt stated: "In my clear opinion, Larry is ready to lead and I'm excited about working with both him and Sergey [Brin] for a long time to come". Sergey Brin, 37, is Google's other founder.

The management changes are set to take effect on April 4. Industry followers are interpreting the shake-up as a move to help Google re-gain lost momentum, particularly in competition with Facebook which is threatening to redefine the very notion of internet search. Meanwhile, Schmidt is set to focus on a role also dealing with the attention from regulatory authorities the search giant has been increasingly attracting due to its dominant market position, analysts are speculating.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Artist's impression of a dark gamma-ray burst

This artist’s impression shows a dark gamma-ray burst in a star forming region. Gamma-ray bursts are among the most energetic events in the Universe, but some appear curiously faint in visible light. The biggest study of these dark gamma-ray bursts to date, using the GROND instrument on the 2.2-meter MPG/ESO telescope at La Silla in Chile, has found that these gigantic explosions, while puzzling, don't require exotic explanations. Their faintness is now fully explained by a combination of causes with the most important being the presence of dust between the Earth and the explosion.

Did Apple Surpass Microsoft In Profit Last Quarter? Or Will It Be Next Quarter?

Earlier today, Apple announced their earnings for Q1 2011. The record-breaking numbers saw revenue surge to $26.7 billion — over $6 billion ahead of their previous best quarter (which was Q4 2010). But even more impressive may have been how much profit grew. Apple's net income was also a new record for them at $6 billion for the quarter. That's a full $1.7 billion above their previous record (again, Q4 2010). And it begs the question: could Apple have passed Microsoft in the one remaining financial stronghold this quarter as well? For years, we've all heard how Apple was so pitifully small compared to the behemoth that is Microsoft. Then something funny started happening: Apple started growing. Fast. But instead of focusing on market share growth, Apple focused on bottom-line growth. And soon Microsoft wasn't laughing anymore.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Now, an iPhone app that can read minds!

Experts have come up with a new application for the iPhone that has the ability to read minds.
The XWave enables users to control on-screen objects with their minds as well as train their brains to control attention spans and relaxation levels.
It works via a headset strapped around the user's forehead, plugging into the iPhone jack.
A state-of-the-art sensor within the device can then read the user's brainwaves through the skull, converting them into digital signals before displaying them in various colours on the iPhone screen.
And as the mind focuses on a particular task the graphics change, indicating the user's level of concentration or relaxation.
The device is the latest in the field of emerging mind-controlled games and devices.
Innovations giant PLX Devices developed the high-tech sensor using technology that has for years been used by doctors to treat epilepsy and seizures in patients.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Zong new offers: M9 Whats Your Plan

M9, an industry first service that no one has yet thought of!  Keeping the tradition alive and touching new heights of customer satisfaction and service innovation, Zong is bringing to subscribers a new Package plan that will appeal to the internet users of Pakistan in general and the educated, smart mobile user in particular.
Specifically designed for our young at heart entertainment lovers, M9 is not just a package but altogether a new experience. The core values of the M9 plan being Flexibility & Lifestyles, combined with the product offering endow a new personality to the Package.
With M9 you can not only choose you own M9 calling plan as well as free benefits as it suits you.  On top of this, you will further receive daily free minutes based on yesterday’s usage. Means with M9 you don’t have to wait for special scheme to put your SIM back and enjoy free benefits rather keep using M9 and enjoy daily! So what’s your plan?

Experience M9

M9 can be activated by either of the following choices
  • Dial *247# from you cell phone and follow the plan
  • Browse through your mobile and go to
  • Visit
Call Rate: Rs. 2.20 plus tax per min
SMS: Rs. 1 plus tax per SMS
GPRS: 11 Paisas per 8 KB
Daily Benefit: One free min on using 1 min (Daily benefit is for on net use only and has a validity of 1 calendar day)
This plan comes with following free monthly SMS and minutes, you can choose any one out of following options:
  • 31 Free Minutes
  • 23 Free Minutes + 23 Free SMS
  • 16 Free Minutes + 45 Free SMS
  • 8 Free Minutes + 68 Free SMS
  • 90 Free SMS
Monthly free resources will be refreshed automatically. Monthly free min are applicable for on net use only whereas SMS can be used on any local network

Zong M9 Services:

Besides the basic package plans, you can avail following services as well:
  • Hourly Internet
  • Daily Internet
  • 4 GB Internet
  • Unlimited Internet
  • Content Club
  • Call Block Service
  • Music Channel
  • Activate Dial Tunes
  • Edit/View your Dial Tunes
  • SMS Bundles

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Gomez’s Twitter & Facebook Hacked

Selena Gomez has warned fans to ignore a series of hateful messages posted on her Twitter and pages, after her online accounts were targeted by hoaxers.
The Wizards of Waverly Place star’s pages on the social networking sites were taken over by hackers earlier this week.
Imposters confused fans with a series of profanity-riddled messages, including, “THE KID ON 4CHAN.ORG IS A LIEN F**KER HE DIDNT HACK S**T!!!!,” and, “This message is for puha, YOU SUCK B**CH!!!”
The unauthorised posts have since been deleted.
And Gomez has taken to her Facebook page to warn fans to ignore the mean messages, assuring them the problem is being fixed.
She wrote, “Sorry everyone. My Facebook Page and Twitter account has been hacked and we are cleaning it up.”

Hubble Zooms in on a Space Oddity

One of the strangest space objects ever seen is being scrutinized by the penetrating vision of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. A mysterious, glowing green blob of gas is floating in space near a spiral galaxy. Hubble uncovered delicate filaments of gas and a pocket of young star clusters in the giant object, which is the size of our Milky Way galaxy.
The Hubble revelations are the latest finds in an ongoing probe of Hanny's Voorwerp (Hanny's Object in Dutch), named for Hanny van Arkel, the Dutch teacher who discovered the ghostly structure in 2007 while participating in the online Galaxy Zoo project. Galaxy Zoo enlists the public to help classify more than a million galaxies catalogued in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The project has expanded to include the Hubble Zoo, in which the public is asked to assess tens of thousands of galaxies in deep imagery from the Hubble Space Telescope.
In the sharpest view yet of Hanny's Voorwerp, Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys have uncovered star birth in a region of the green object that faces the spiral galaxy IC 2497, located about 650 million light-years from Earth. Radio observations have shown an outflow of gas arising from the galaxy's core. The new Hubble images reveal that the galaxy's gas is interacting with a small region of Hanny's Voorwerp, which is collapsing and forming stars. The youngest stars are a couple of million years old.
"The star clusters are localized, confined to an area that is over a few thousand light-years wide," explains astronomer William Keel of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, leader of the Hubble study. "The region may have been churning out stars for several million years. They are so dim that they have previously been lost in the brilliant light of the surrounding gas."
Recent X-ray observations have revealed why Hanny's Voorwerp caught the eye of astronomers. The galaxy's rambunctious core produced a quasar, a powerful light beacon powered by a black hole. The quasar shot a broad beam of light in Hanny's Voorwerp's direction, illuminating the gas cloud and making it a space oddity. Its bright green color is from glowing oxygen.
"We just missed catching the quasar, because it turned off no more than 200,000 years ago, so what we're seeing is the afterglow from the quasar," Keel says. "This implies that it might flicker on and off, which is typical of quasars, but we've never seen such a dramatic change happen so rapidly."
The quasar's outburst also may have cast a shadow on the blob. This feature gives the illusion of a gaping hole about 20,000 light-years wide in Hanny's Voorwerp. Hubble reveals sharp edges around the apparent opening, suggesting that an object close to the quasar may have blocked some of the light and projected a shadow on Hanny's Voorwerp. This phenomenon is similar to a fly on a movie projector lens casting a shadow on a movie screen.
Radio studies have revealed that Hanny's Voorwerp is not just an island gas cloud floating in space. The glowing blob is part of a long, twisting rope of gas, or tidal tail, about 300,000 light-years long that wraps around the galaxy. The only optically visible part of the rope is Hanny's Voorwerp. The illuminated object is so huge that it stretches from 44,000 light-years to 136,000 light-years from the galaxy's core.
The quasar, the outflow of gas that instigated the star birth, and the long, gaseous tidal tail point to a rough life for IC 2497.
"The evidence suggests that IC 2497 may have merged with another galaxy about a billion years ago," Keel explains. "The Hubble images show in exquisite detail that the spiral arms are twisted, so the galaxy hasn't completely settled down."
In Keel's scenario, the merger expelled the long streamer of gas from the galaxy and funneled gas and stars into the center, which fed the black hole. The engorged black hole then powered the quasar, which launched two cones of light. One light beam illuminated part of the tidal tail, now called Hanny's Voorwerp.
About a million years ago, shock waves produced glowing gas near the galaxy's core and blasted it outward. The glowing gas is seen only in Hubble images and spectra, Keel says. The outburst may have triggered star formation in Hanny's Voorwerp. Less than 200,000 years ago, the quasar dropped in brightness by 100 times or more, leaving an ordinary-looking core.
New images of the galaxy's dusty core from Hubble's Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph show an expanding bubble of gas blown out of one side of the core, perhaps evidence of the sputtering quasar's final gasps. The expanding ring of gas is still too small for ground-based telescopes to detect.
"This quasar may have been active for a few million years, which perhaps indicates that quasars blink on and off on timescales of millions of years, not the 100 million years that theory had suggested," Keel says. He added that the quasar could light up again if more material is dumped around the black hole.
Keel is presenting his results on Jan. 10, 2011, at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle, Wash.
Source: Daily Science