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Current Topic: Computers

New App Lets You Aim a World-Class Telescope From Your iPad
Topic: Computers 10:50 pm EDT, Sep 10, 2012

a free iPad app could bring the heavens to your fingertips. Developed by the Slooh Space Camera collaboration, the MYSky app will let anyone tap on an object in the night sky and order a powerful telescope to take a high-quality image. The aim is to let anyone shoot their own world-class images of celestial events – such as a solar flare, asteroid flyby, or distant supernova explosion – with ease.

“Astronomy is inherently complex and it can be hard for newbies to understand how the night sky works,” said Slooh president Patrick Paolucci. “We are trying to break all those barriers down to make it simple.”

The MYSky app is more like a carshare operation — instead of owning a telescope, viewers control one of Slooh’s. In the app controls, you can browse a catalog of night sky objects, select one you like, and then order the telescope to swing over in real time and take a picture. Depending on the time of day and user load, Slooh hopes to provide images as little as 20 minutes after a request.

New App Lets You Aim a World-Class Telescope From Your iPad

Apple to have one OS for Macs and iPads by 2016
Topic: Computers 8:09 pm EDT, Aug  3, 2011

"We believe Apple is looking to merge iOS (iPhones/iPads) with OS X (Macs) into a single platform for apps and cloud services starting in 2012-13," Jefferies writes. "Our preliminary view is that Apple can use a 32-bit ARM architecture to address the vast majority of the OS X ecosystem's needs in 2012-13 except for high-end professional devices. When 64-bit ARM is available in 2016, we believe Apple will have a single OS and hardware architecture."

While the iPad 2 uses the Apple A5 chip with a dual-core ARM processor, Jefferies speculates that "Apple is ready to start sampling the A6 quad-core app processor and will be the first such multi-device platform capable of PC-like strength."

Jefferies predicts the iPad 3 will launch with the A6 chip in Q1 2012, while an A6-powered iPhone will launch next summer. The MacBook Air will get the A6 in the second half of 2012 or in 2013, but the higher-powered MacBook Pro laptops and Mac desktops will stick with 64-bit Intel chips until 2016, the analyst firm says. 64-bit chips allow greater use of memory and are useful for "computationally-intensive programs like Adobe's Creative Suite."

Apple to have one OS for Macs and iPads by 2016

Microsoft Previews Windows 8 with Cues from iPad and App Store
Topic: Computers 8:28 pm EDT, Jun  1, 2011

At AllThingsD, Microsoft previewed Windows 8 for the first time. The early look at the upcoming operating system shows some drastic changes. At the heart of the new interface is a new start screen that draws heavily on the tile-based interface that Microsoft has used with Windows Phone 7. All of a users programs can be viewed as tiles and clicked on with a touch of a finger.

The shown Windows 8 screenshot carries over the tile-based appearance of the Windows Mobile phone, but the new operating system is said to support two types of applications. One is the classic Windows application which will run in the familiar desktop interface, while the second type are HTML5/Javascript applications that look more like a full screen mobile application.

Microsoft details many of the changes they demoed:
• Fast launching of apps from a tile-based Start screen, which replaces the Windows Start menu with a customizable, scalable full-screen view of apps.
• Live tiles with notifications, showing always up-to-date information from your apps.
• Fluid, natural switching between running apps.
• Convenient ability to snap and resize an app to the side of the screen, so you can really multitask using the capabilities of Windows.
• Web-connected and Web-powered apps built using HTML5 and JavaScript that have access to the full power of the PC.
• Fully touch-optimized browsing, with all the power of hardware-accelerated Internet Explorer 10.

Microsoft Previews Windows 8 with Cues from iPad and App Store

Chrome Cr-48, black MacBook: Separated at birth?
Topic: Computers 11:11 pm EST, Dec 11, 2010

The all-black Cr-48 that Google is shipping to the first members of its Chrome OS notebook pilot project looked awfully familiar to us when it showed up at our office.

Software aside, after putting it side by side with a black MacBook that Apple shipped in 2007 we had in house, it dawned on us why: the two are practically twins. Not identical, but at least fraternal. The overall look is shockingly similar to Apple's now-extinct machine: from the color to the chiclet keyboard to the hinge, size, trackpad, even to the indentation in the place where you lift the lid. Well, see for yourself. We took some photos of the two machines next to each other for you to peruse

Chrome Cr-48, black MacBook: Separated at birth?

Apple may drop NVIDIA for Sandy Bridge's IGP next year
Topic: Computers 7:22 pm EST, Dec 11, 2010

Apple plans to drop NVIDIA in favor of Intel's integrated graphics in its upcoming Sandy Bridge processors for use in Apple's 13" laptops, according to a report from CNET. Apple has so far resisted using Intel's current-generation processors in its smallest notebooks due to inferior graphics performance, lack of OpenCL support, and engineering constraints. CNET's sources claim, however, that Apple is impressed with the performance of Sandy Bridge's IGP, and that Intel plans to support OpenCL in some form, which would allow Apple to maintain OpenCL support across its entire computer line.

We decided to take a look at some of the technical aspects of Sandy Bridge and how it would fit in Apple's notebook strategy, and we identified a few aspects that might make Sandy Bridge a good fit for Apple's 13" notebooks. Low voltage variants likely won't ship until the second or third quarter next year, so don't expect a MacBook Air refresh before then—however, the same considerations apply for those models, as well.

Apple may drop NVIDIA for Sandy Bridge's IGP next year

Intel Launches Atom CPU With Integrated FPGA
Topic: Computers 8:44 am EST, Nov 23, 2010

Intel is quite clearly serious about offering competition to ARM in the embedded market, and has just announced a new Atom processor series that offers a unique selling point: an integral FPGA processor. Billed as 'the first configurable Intel Atom-based processor,' the Atom E600C series combines an Intel Atom 'Tunnel Creek' chip with an Altera Field Programmable Gate Array — offering, the company claims, significantly more flexibility for ODMs and OEMs.

By adding in the FPGA, customers are able to make fundamental changes at a hardware level without having to go through a hardware revision cycle - which means lowered development costs and faster time to market.

Intel Launches Atom CPU With Integrated FPGA

Qualcomm Reveals Next-Gen Snapdragon MSM8960: 28nm, dual-core, 5x Performance Improvement
Topic: Computers 11:51 pm EST, Nov 19, 2010

In the coming months we’ll see the first dual-core Cortex A9 based NVIDIA Tegra 2 SoCs ship in devices. Sometime next year we’ll see A9 based OMAP4 SoCs in smartphones as well. So what does Qualcomm have in store for us over the next few years?

First we have the MSM8260 and 8660 SoCs. These are based on Qualcomm’s current generation technologies: integrating two Scorpion cores and an Adreno 205 GPU on a single 45nm die. The 8260 features HSPA+ support, while the 8660 supports HSPA+, CDMA2000 and 1xEV-DO Rev. B. These two dual-core SoCs will run at 1.2GHz. We should see a GPU upgrade here as well.

The 8x60 SoCs started sampling over the summer and we should expect to see them in high end smartphones sometime in 2011 at the earliest.

Qualcomm Reveals Next-Gen Snapdragon MSM8960: 28nm, dual-core, 5x Performance Improvement

Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac (free)
Topic: Computers 11:29 pm EST, Nov 19, 2010

Anti-virus software maker Sophos -- who recently introduced a free Mac Home Edition of their anti-malware program -- have gathered the statistics generated by their 150,000-strong Mac user base to compile a snapshot report on threats facing the platform. While the results tacitly admit the lack of actual Mac viruses and the low incidence of other Mac-specific malware, the company says the risk of Mac-specific or platform-independent non-virus malware -- and the need for detection software -- is growing.

The company has analyzed just under 50,000 malware reports since it first released its free Mac Home Edition on November 2nd. The majority of the flagged malware (98 percent) turned out to be Windows-specific, but two percent of reports (just under 1,000 instances) turned out to be OS-X specific DNS-changing Trojans. These are typically disguised as pirated copies of Mac software, often seen on BitTorrent sites, or planted on other web sites as free downloads or special plug-ins required to view videos. While not the same as actual computer viruses, they do trick users and create annoying or embarrassing problems.

Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac (free)

Barack Obama has refused to be a president
Topic: Computers 2:52 pm EST, Jan 19, 2009

Sites claiming President-Elect Barack Obama will refuse to take the oath of office Tuesday are serving up attack code believed to be programmed by the same hackers responsible for the notorious Storm bot Trojan, researchers said this weekend.

According to researchers at several security companies, including F-Secure Corp., MX Logic Inc. and Trend Micro Inc., spam campaigns are in gear that try to trick users into visiting malicious Web sites hosting variations of "Waledec," the Trojan horse thought to be the successor to Storm.

Barack Obama has refused to be a president

PlayStation 3 to Crack Passwords
Topic: Computers 2:19 pm EST, Nov 29, 2007

Using a PS3, a senior security consultant has come up with a way to drastically increase the processing capability of cracking passwords.

Nick Breese, a senior security consultant at Auckland-based, has come up with a way to drastically increase the processing capability of cracking passwords, using a PS3.

By implementing common ciphers and hash functions using vector computing, Breese has pushed the current upper limit of 10--15 million cycles per second -- in Intel-based architecture -- up to 1.4 billion cycles per second.

Breese, who has been working on the project, called "Crackstation", for the past six months, used the Sony PlayStation 3 gaming console for his break-through research.

PlayStation 3 to Crack Passwords

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