Does the Cloud Need a Specialized Chip?

Tilera, one of many companies trying to build specialty chips or systems for cloud and web-scale computing, received a strategic investment today from Broadcom. But even as the investment validates Tilera, does the cloud need its own specialty chips and gear?

Viva La Wi-Fi!

Wi-Fi was hot last year and it’s only getting hotter in 2010 as the availability of personal hotspots such as the Mi-Fi and the rise of the Direct Wi-Fi standard mean that putting a Wi-Fi chip in anything makes the device more useful.

Hector Ruiz Resigns After Sinking With Galleon Probe

hector-ruiz-226Hector Ruiz, the former chairman and CEO of AMD (s amd) who was alleged to have leaked information in the insider trading scandal surrounding the Galleon hedge fund probe, will resign his chairman position at Globalfoundaries, a semiconductor manufacturing company jointly owned by AMD and the government of Abu Dhabi, the company announced today. Ruiz has taken a leave of absence and will formally resign on Jan. 4. Alan “Lanny” Ross the former CEO of Broadcom (s brcm), who took over after another executive scandal, will act as interim chairman. After taking down Ruiz and the heir apparent to IBM (s ibm) CEO Sam Palmisano, who else will the Galleon probe take out?

Ubuntu 9.10 Arrives With Cloud Storage, Better 3G Connectivity

ubuntu_oneHas it been a full release cycle for Ubuntu already? It seems like only yesterday that we saw a jackalope¬†jaunting by, but that was back in April. Now it’s time for Karmic Koala, which is the endearing name for the just released, final version of 9.10. I’m still re-running a Windows 7 netbook battery testwithout Aero, this time — so I’m not ready to run Ubuntu 9.10 yet. I’ve got a download going for the Live CD, so while I wait for the software and my hardware, I’m perusing the press release and¬†release notes for Karmic Koala. A few key updates look pretty handy:

  • Ubuntu One integration — Much like Dropbox and other online storage or sync solutions, Ubuntu One offers a place to stash your data. Every Ubuntu user gets a free 2GB account and the service is natively integrated within the Ubuntu file system, making it pretty seamless.
  • Improved 3G connectivity — I’ll have to try this to better understand what exactly has been improved, but this is key for mobile folks.
  • New Software Center — One-stop shopping for software is always nice, especially when there’s a button for Free Software as well. This takes the place of Add/Remove in the Applications menu.
  • New Kernel Mode Setting — By default on Intel hardware, this “reduces boot-time flickering and dramatically speeds up suspend/resume.”

Has anyone installed this — or the new Netbook Remix Edition — and been wowed by any other new features?

The Daily Show’s Stepchildren Now Include Escapist News Network and Newsish

[show=unskippable]Every icon has his or her imitators, and while The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart didn’t invent the concept of snarking at the news in a quasi-reporting format, his influence has had a profound impact not just on the television world, but on web video. And shows that draw inspiration from the format continue to find fresh approaches to the idea.

Of course, the easiest way to put a new spin on an old idea is to tailor it for a specific audience — which the the guys and gals from sketch comedy team Loading Ready Run nail with the Escapist News Network by focusing exclusively on video game news and culture. Hosted by Graham Stark and Kathleen DeVere, ENN‘s one-liners and punchlines can be a little dense for those outside the video game world, but even a casual gamer can appreciate a story on the gaming site Popcap that references the “enslavement of the human race via the highly addictive drug Bejeweled [Popcap’s insanely popular puzzle game].” Read More about The Daily Show’s Stepchildren Now Include Escapist News Network and Newsish

Stay Tuned for Bluetooth on Your TV

LG 42SL8500

LG's Bluetooth-enabled TV


Broadcom (s brcm) today said its Bluetooth radios are inside a new line of televisions from LG Electronics. Earlier this year, its Bluetooth radios made it into televisions from Sharp, while Samsung also has a Bluetooth-enabled TV. The movement to put Bluetooth — a radio technology popular in cell phones, cars and PCs — into television is gaining momentum, and for Bluetooth radio makers like Broadcom and CSR (s csr), it opens up a potentially valuable, new market. DisplaySearch, an analyst firm, expects 205.3 million TVs will sell worldwide in 2009.
Bluetooth on the TV gives consumers the ability to use their cell phones as a remote control, connect wireless headsets to the TV, and stream music from an iPod or other MP3 player to their television or speakers attached to their TV, all without a wire. A representative for the Bluetooth Special Interest Group expects to see more Bluetooth TVs coming to market later this year or early next year. Read More about Stay Tuned for Bluetooth on Your TV

Home Wireless Networks Aren’t Yet Ready for Video

broadcom_logoWireless networks in their current form can’t support efforts by service providers trying to deliver video inside the home. That’s according to Joe Del Rio, a senior marketing manager at Broadcom (s bcom) with whom I chatted yesterday; he said service providers are still inclined to trust wired networking standards such as Home PNA or MoCA to deliver video and entertainment content around the home. Carriers are asking for between 30 Mbps and 36 Mbps, he said — enough to deliver three uncompressed HD video streams to televisions. Read More about Home Wireless Networks Aren’t Yet Ready for Video

Live-Streaming Grief: Saying Goodbye to Michael Jackson

[show=michaeljackson size=large]I’ve always been of the belief that a memorial service is not for the person who passed away, but for those left behind. Which is why I don’t think there’s anything wrong with today’s epic celebration of Michael Jackson’s life and work; it’s been almost two weeks since his passing, and even if you think you’re over it, millions of people aren’t.

Like any memorial service, this one was full of complicated but heartfelt emotion. There were moments that genuinely felt like the best sort of memorial, such as Berry Gordy’s speech, full of recollections about family baseball games and 10-year-old Michael out-Smokey-ing Smokey Robinson. “It was magic,” he said of seeing the Moonwalk for the first time. And Brooke Shields, who was actually a friend, made me tear up when she talked about Jackson laughing.

If you were wondering why this memorial was two hours long, that’s because everyone got a voice — Al Sharpton busted some rhymes before telling Jackson’s children that “there was nothing strange about your daddy; it was strange what your daddy had to deal with.” Queen Latifah acknowledged the 16,000 fans gathered in Staples Center, speaking to them as their representative and reflecting on her first Jackson 5 album purchase before reading an original poem for the occasion written by Maya Angelou. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee reminded us that just because Jackson dealt with many allegations of child abuse during his lifetime, he was innocent until proven guilty — then revealed House Resolution No. 166 to honor Jackson as an American hero. The feed cut to the Jackson brothers, who seemed genuinely moved. That was a nice moment. Read More about Live-Streaming Grief: Saying Goodbye to Michael Jackson

After CDMA, Qualcomm Looks for New Money Machines

Qualcomm's mirasol MEMS

Qualcomm's mirasol MEMS

Qualcomm (s qcom) today announced the opening of a factory to make its mirasol displays, and a Wi-Fi chip designed for home networking — both efforts to keep the company a top chipmaker even as carriers migrate from the CDMA technology that provides so much of its profits. CDMA royalties aren’t going to disappear anytime soon, but Qualcomm needs to find new markets for its chips that don’t ride the 3G wireless gravy train. Hence, its push into mobile television with MediaFLO, the creation of its Gobi platform, displays and now, home networking. Read More about After CDMA, Qualcomm Looks for New Money Machines