Intel Shows Off Its Enviro-lovin’ Side

Amidst the smaller semiconductors and new personal area networking technology breakthroughs showcased by Intel at its Research Day earlier this week were some silicon tools that could help track greenhouse gases and reduce power consumption inside devices. The chipmaker also showed off some of its low-wattage chips that will consumer less power and therefore lead to longer battery lives in portable electronics.

We’ve covered the low-power chips before, but two notable breakthroughs might be of interest to environmentally minded readers. One is a way to make a cheaper, more portable laser using silicon rather than specialty materials. Using silicon makes it cheaper to manufacture the laser; it also reduces the amount of heat it generates. That means the laser doesn’t need a bulky cooling technology attached to it, hence the added portability. Such a laser could have uses in the medical and telecommunications fields, as well as be used to detect greenhouse gases. Get it small enough and cheap enough, and precisely measuring your carbon footprint becomes possible.

The other breakthrough involves managing power across an entire device by recognizing when certain aspects of a machine such as a CPU, radio or USB port are active or not, and then shutting inactive portions of the machine down. It’s similar to turning off the lights in a room when you leave. Intel calls it Platform Power Management. Already chips are now designed to cycle their speeds up and down depending on the workloads demanded of them, so this isn’t as far-fetched as it might seem. It’s a move already being made in corporate data centers using software from startups such as Cassatt and Verdiem. I suppose if they’re managing power consumption in hundreds of machines, Intel can seek to micromanage inside each one.

Bubbles: A new Site-Specific Browser

ScreenshotWe looked at site-specific browsers last year – desktop applications that capture a single web site so that you can interact with it outside the bounds of your browser. A new entrant in this field, Bubbles, is out with some intriguing features that advance the state of the art.

The new features revolve around an API that lets you customize Bubbles for particular sites. WIth these customizations, you can do things like show notifications when a new email arrives at GMail, or upload to Flickr via drag-and-drop. Bubbles is currently Windows-only and in beta, with a developer community starting to coalesce around it.

Will Going Green Put Data Centers in the Red?

As we approach Earth Day, the news and studies related to power consumption and energy waste in the data center are on the rise. We read a study released this week by the BPM Forum and sponsored by BlueArc, a company that makes energy-efficient storage products, that focused on how much more data centers could do to save energy. And next week, energy-efficiency software firm Cassatt is releasing a survey also tied to data centers going green.

Yes, those mammoth rooms of cooled computers that require a lot of air conditioning and power for servers are very inefficient. And as computing becomes ever more ingrained in our society, we’re relying on them to do more stuff. Aside from the big guys such as Sun Microsystems, Dell, HP and Google, most companies don’t even have plans to reduce their power consumption in the data center because they’re too busy worrying about security and reliability. Of those that do have plans, 74 percent of them intend to reduce their consumption by a quarter or less, according to the BPM Forum survey.

What many of these surveys fail to acknowledge is that energy costs are increasing and huge reductions in consumption might be hard to achieve because the overall demand for data is surging. It’s like trying to diet when you’re pregnant. It’s just not going to work.
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Are bloggers journalists?

BloggerA topic has been discussed recently by a bunch of A-list bloggers that crops up from time to time as apparently these A-list bloggers are a bit obsessed by it.  The conversation deals with whether bloggers are journalists and how bloggers should act if so.  I know this is a bit off-topic for jkOnTheRun but it keeps coming up and I want to share my thoughts on it.  Now I know that these A-list bloggers will not even see this as they only read each other but here goes anyway.  First of all I understand why these bloggers are concerned about it as there comes a certain level of responsibility when a blogger gets outspoken enough to get a big audience.  With a public forum comes a level of awareness with what the blogger says that means the blogger should act with an appropriate deportment whether he/she likes it or not.

I don’t particularly worry about whether I should be considered a journalist or not.  I have been referred to as a journalist by main-stream media (MSM) for what that’s worth but I don’t really care.  You see the way I view it it doesn’t matter if the blogger thinks he/she is a journalist or not.  It also doesn’t matter if MSM thinks the blogger is a journalist or not either.  The only group that matters at all is the readers.  Yes, these bloggers should only worry what their readers think of them, not each other.  With a public forum comes a big responsibility in what bloggers say and do.  A few simple rules that I follow would go a long way to alleviating the concern in the minds of the A-listers.

  1. Always tell the truth.  It doesn’t matter how trivial the topic or how serious.  The truth will set you free and keep you that way.
  2. Opinions matter but only if they are clearly identified as such.  Don’t pass opinions off as fact and your readers will keep trusting what you say.
  3. Never quote a statistic without revealing the source.  Bloggers are starting to fall into the same pit that MSM journalists often fall into by quoting some arcane statistic that is meaningless.  Let the reader decide if the source means it’s a reliable statistic or not.

These rules may seem to be simple common sense as they are but they are violated so much every single day by bloggers and even MSM journalists.  Trust is earned and must be kept and these rules will help see that it lives.  Trust is the key ingredient in the relationship between bloggers and their readers and is not guaranteed nor should it be.  Earn it with the truth and you’ll keep it a long, long time.  Until you violate one of these rules and your intentions start getting questioned.  That’s my take on it, anyway.

Voo2do: Online Tasks Plus

ScreenshotI’ve known about online task and project management service Voo2do for a while, but I just recently got around to checking it out seriously. What I saw impressed me: the site design is clean and easy to use, and they’ve got a good mix of features. If your current task list application is chafing, this one should be on your short list to evaluate.

After signing up (easy, with an email confirmation), you end up at the Tasks tab, ready to create new tasks. This is a matter of clicking “New Task” and then just typing; the user interface is very responsive. You can assign tasks a priority and due date, and track elapsed time: there’s even a timer built into the application so you can use it for time-tracking. You can also assign any number of time-stamped notes to a task.
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Everything’s wrong at Intel?

Intel CEO Craig Barrett is hopping mad about things going wrong at Intel all the time. “Barrett says he has spoken “bluntly and directly” to his senior managers about these problems, but we don’t believe this will help. It is the plan that is at fault and not the execution,” writes analyst Ashok Kumar in his report today. I think Kumar is being very polite.

Barrett wants executive to shape-up or ship out. Well how about he himself leaving the building? He was supposed to be the guy who was a manufacturing maven, a stickler for execution. How about taking some of the blame himself. After all it is on his watch that Intel’s telecom adventures have cost about $10 billion in write-offs! Canceling an entire processor roadmap? Almost all of the major new products within the Intel Architecture business unit during 2004 have been late or flawed in some respect. Here is a recap of what has gone wrong, and what it means for the most dominant chip company on the planet!

  • Tejas cancellation
  • delays and a recall of the desktop Grantsdale chipset
  • the delayed launch of Dothan
  • substantial delay for the Alviso mobile chipset
  • ongoing overproduction of slower Prescott processors
  • a flaw in the Lindenhurst server chipset
  • the delay of the 4GHz Prescott until 1Q05

(I will do update this later in the week!)