Google Delivers Tools for Converting Blog Platforms

Do you have a blog for which you’re unhappy with the underlying blogging service? If so, it’s not all that uncommon for the issue to arise. Blogging services play a game of leapfrog with each other, and even major blogs are moved to new platforms from time to time.

With this in mind, Google has just released Google Blog Converters.  It’s an open source project that can take blogs from most popular platforms and convert them to other popular ones.

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Apple Officially Admits to Faulty NVIDIA GPUs

Following NVIDIA’s July 2008 announcement that a number of their GPUs were experiencing higher failure rates than should be normally expected, Apple today finally released an official support article acknowledging the problem. The article claims that NVIDIA told Apple graphics cards in Macintosh computers were not affected by the problem, which is supposedly related to improper packaging. The reason for the lag time between NVIDIA’s and Apple’s announcements concerning the faulty GPUs is an internal investigation by Cupertino itself which eventually found that MacBook Pro NVIDIA cards were indeed affected.

The GeForce 8600M GT, specifically, is named in the article as having problems, which were used in MBP’s manufactured between May of 2007 and September of 2008. Symptoms include distorted video or no display at all on either the built-in or connected external displays. Anyone affected is directed to take their machine to an Apple Store or authorized service provider to receive a repair free of charge. Those who’ve already paid out of pocket for a fix are also eligible for reimbursement. The offer is valid for two years from the original date of purchase.
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“Clean Coal” Lobbying Jumps to $4.65M

The lobbying arm of coal-reliant companies that are calling for “cleaner coal” jumped up to a sizable $4.65 million for this year, according to recent data from the Center for Responsive Politics. The figures for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) lobbying group previously showed that the group had spent $1.87 million for the year — the new figures indicate that it has more than doubled its lobbying efforts for the year.

The ACCCE’s most recent lobbying efforts make up a substantial portion of the total amount spent on lobbying to date for the entire sector classified as “alternative energy production and services” — a little less than a third of $14.94 million sector total. Joe Lucas, VP of Communications for the ACCCE, told us the firm was new to direct lobbying so the funding was to help get those efforts established, and that the efforts wouldn’t necessarily represent a pattern. He also said that a large portion of the funding was spent on opposing the Lieberman-Warner Bill, because it didn’t “preserve the integrity of the energy supply system.”

Though the group’s $4.65 million lobbying investment is its largest lobbying figure to date, and it appears to be a trend. The organization itself isn’t listed as spending on lobbying prior to 2008. But the group “Americans for Balanced Energy Choices” — which is one of two groups that is listed as one the predecessors of the ACCCE — has spent on lobbying in the past. ABEC, which is categorized under the “mining” sector spent $3.02 million in 2007, $2.56 million in 2006, and $1.99 million in 2005. So while the ABEC’s lobbying ended in 2008, the newly formed ACCCE has taken over the role — so, it’s not entirely new to the business. And also appears to be ramping up its lobbying efforts.

Seagate might HAMR out 600 GB drives for UMPCs

Sign me up for Seagate’s new drive technology because I want it! The company has just patented a new twist on storage devices that may increase capacity tenfold. Seagate calls the new technology Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) and it uses nanotube lubrication, allowing the drive head to be ultra-close to the platters. Seagate theorizes HAMR-disks with capacities like a "600GB 1.8-in. drive, a 1.46TB 2.5-in. drive, and 7.5TB Barracuda 3.5-in. drive."


In Storage, Apple is Shining

Given the stunning growth of iPod phenomenon and general good fiscal health of Apple, it is easy to overlook some of the progress the company is making in the enterprise markets, especially when it comes to storage. According to some reports, Apple’s storage products have been selling like hot croissants on a cold Parisian morning and at the end of “second quarter of 2005, the company had shipped 76 petabytes of storage.” The sad part is that Apple itself doesn’t keep people upto date on its progress in these markets.
Robert Cox, vice president of research, who tracks the storage business for Gartner says that in 2004, Apple did about $78 million in storage sales and were #12 ranked storage vendor in the world, but by end of 2005, Apple’s storage sales were around $185 million. The company had moved into the 10th spot overall. “They have done a good job of selling into the small and medium business market,” says Cox. (South Park uses Apple storage by the way.)
According to his estimates, nearly 40% o XServe RAIDs are connected to non-Mac OS servers. “They are in a good and a growing market, and have done a good job of building a reliable and easy to use device from commodity components,” says Cox. The network attached storage business is a $14.5 billion a year business, and the $185 million doesn’t exactly seem that very much. Their high quality products, are better priced compared to other name brand players such as EMC, Dell, HP, Sun and even Net App.

Do the math: the gigabyte-per-dollar ratio of Xserve RAID is the best in the world for Fibre Channel storage, and trumps most SCSI storage solutions as well. Xserve RAID offers up to 7TB of high-performance redundant storage at under $2 per gigabyte — a fraction of the cost of storage from Dell, HP, Sun or IBM.

Cox thinks that company will continue to do well in 2006 and should move up a notch or two in the world wide rankings. Apple, will have a tougher time, thereafter. It needs to transition from current generation technologies such as SATA and embrace SAScsi, a new architecture that can give Apple a big leg-up against fiber channel based storage devices. I wonder why Apple shies away from prompting well in the storage and server markets.