Microsoft releases public beta of Data Protection Manager

According to Tech Insider, Microsoft has released a public beta of the Data Protection Manager (DPM) program which promises to automate disk backup protections.  DPM provides a disk to disk backup solution that is faster then current disk to tape backup systems and is designed to keep servers backed up with little user intervention.  I first saw this mentioned on Computer World last year and it appears the release process is progressing. 

"Our whole goal with DPM is to shrink the operational costs associated with IT professionals having to manually recover lost data and manage cumbersome backup and recovery processes," says Ben Matheson, group product manager for DPM at Microsoft. "From what our early-adopter customers are telling us, DPM is doing that very effectively."

IO Data Devices USB/ Firewire 400 GB HDD

Usb_400_gbTake a monster hard drive (400 GB), give it both USB and Firewire connectivity, and then add an extra USB port for attaching another peripheral and you would have one useful hard drive.  The IO Data Device UDH-UEH400 has been released in Japan and maybe just maybe it will make it to the US.

(Press release via Gizmodo)

Will wireless USB kill Bluetooth?

Bluetooth is one of those technologies that promised the moon and then took a long time to get its act together.  It took several versions and iterations before it began to seriously provide the benefits that supporters promised but it finally has reached the point where users can get some real use of the technology.  It can still be difficult to get all your peripheral configurations working together but once it is set up properly works rather well.  But it appears it may be too late.

A new technology is about to roll out which appears may be a real Bluetooth killer.  Wireless USB is an extension of the prominent USB protocol that is designed to be used at ranges closer than 10 meters and transfer information at 480 mbps.  Wireless USB has two big advantages over Bluetooth- easy to set up and easy to use and will probably be widely accepted as soon as products start to appear on the market.  The protocol should be finished by the end of this month and consumer products are anticipated within the next 12 months.

(Linux News via engadget)

KeyScan scanner in a keyboard

Ks811Have you ever wished that your keyboard could scan documents?  Me too.  Now our wishes have been granted by way of the KeyScan KS810.  Scanning in color at a resolution of 600 dpi, the KeyScan can handle one page at a time and also small documents like business cards.  There’s even a second model that incorporates a fingerprint and smart card authentication.

(via I4U)

Internet Explorer 7.0 beta this summer

Bill Gates announced the next version of the Internet Explorer will be in beta by this summer. 

Gates announced Internet Explorer 7.0, designed to add new levels of security to Windows XP SP2 while maintaining the level of extensibility and compatibility that customers have come to expect. Internet Explorer 7.0 will also provide even stronger defenses against phishing, malicious software and spyware. The beta release is scheduled to be available this summer.

I can’t say for sure but the press release makes it sound like the extra security levels will require Windows XP SP2.

(via Microsoft)

I saw a 400 G5 CPU cluster today

This isn’t mobile tech related but something I saw today was so cool and surprising to me that I want to share with everyone.  I saw my first Mac cluster today and the locale was a place I would never have expected to see one.  I should give you a little background so this makes sense to you so I’ll start by telling you a little bit about the work that I do.  I promise I won’t bore you too much.

I work in the seismic imaging industry and basically we take raw data recorded in the field and process it using special geophysical software until it comes out at the end as a 3D cubic image of the earth’s subsurface.  Oil companies use these images to determine the presence and exact location of oil traps miles below the earth’s surface so accurate decisions concerning oil well drilling can be made.  One seismic survey can consist of a billion raw data traces that must be processed as a volume and is Terrabytes of data that must be manipulated.

The compute power required to process this field data is staggering and until just a few years ago was done solely in the domain of the giant supercomputer.  These computers were the Crays and IBMs and literally cost millions of dollars to purchase and almost as much to run due to high power and air conditioning requirements.  This changed about six years ago with the introduction of the Intel cluster.  These rack-mounted computers are clustered together and with the right software what used to take huge supercomputers can now be done by hundreds or even thousands of CPUs clustered together with a fiber backplane.  Around that time I installed one of the first such clusters (2048 CPUs) in our industry at the last real company I worked for and the amount of compute power that can be leveraged from a cluster is mind-boggling.  Since that time I have seen dozens of such clusters as this has become the standard for computing centers in the oil industry.  These clusters are invariably Intel or Athlon CPU-based due to economics because as cheap as a single CPU can be picked up at Fry’s imagine buying 2000 of them at a whack.

So what does all this have to do with the Mac?  I visited a company today and it was obvious they couldn’t wait to show me their new computer room.  Much to my surprise they had just installed a cluster of 400 G5 Mac CPUs in a neat rack in a corner of the computer room and were already entering the second phase with 600 more on the way.  They ported their proprietary software to the Mac from the original Linux code and are totally switching their platform to the Mac.  All of their seismic imaging specialists on staff are now working on Mac G5 workstations with Apple Cinema Displays to do the interactive imaging.

I asked them how the Mac CPUs were economical compared to Intel or Athlon CPUs and the answer they gave really surprised me.  Their experience over the last few years with both x86 based CPUs and G4/5 CPUs has shown that the G5s use less power and run cooler when hundreds of them are clustered in a single rack. Anyone who has been in a room with hundreds of x86 rack-mounted CPUs can attest to the heat that is generated when they are all computing simultaneously.  It will literally wash over you if you stand behind one of these racks.  The statement that G5 CPUs run slightly cooler in a rack really surprised me but they assured me they had done their own testing to confirm the findings prior to installing hundreds of them in their shop.  It will be interesting to see if other companies follow this lead and if they will port their software to the Mac operating system.  All of those Mac pizza boxes just looked so cool in the neat rack.

Sunbird 0.2 released

Calendar_modern_weekFor all you open source fans Mozilla has released the first major release of the Sunbird program. Sunbird is the calendar/ task manager intended to complement Mozilla’s Thunderbird email program, with the hope the combo can replace Microsoft Outlook for those who prefer open source solutions.  Sunbird is a work in progress but looks pretty good.

Free Windows XP SP2 CD

Consumers who want to upgrade their Windows XP installation to SP2 but don’t have access to a high-speed internet connection (the download can be as big as 200 MB) can get the upgrade on CD direct from Microsoft.  This CD contains the same SP2 upgrade that is offered via Windows Update.  Microsoft encourages consumers to give the CD to a friend after upgrading their own machines.

(via Windows Tip of the Day)