2/14/2008

Flash drives ready to jump in capacity

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

SanDisk and Toshiba will start making flash memory on a new 43-nanometer manufacturing process that will result in SSDs later this year with capacities that should approach those of today’s mainstream 2.5-inch hard drives, ranging between 120GB and 160GB.

The two companies recently achieved 32-gigabit (Gb) density, according to Khandker N. Quader, SanDisk’s senior vice president of flash memory design and product development. The 32Gb die combined with multilevel cell (MLC) technology–which uses multiple levels per cell to allow more bits to be stored–”doubles the SSD capacity points,” Quader said in a written response to questions.

99 Resources to Research & Mine the Invisible Web

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

College researchers often need more than Google and Wikipedia to get the job done. To find what you’re looking for, it may be necessary to tap into the invisible web, the sites that don’t get indexed by broad search engines. The following resources were designed to help you do just that, offering specialized search engines, directories, and more places to find the complex and obscure.

Google releases new Android SDK

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google released a new version of the software developer kit for its Android mobile open development platform on Wednesday.

The new SDK has a new user interface, a geocoder that lets developers search for businesses as well as translate an address into a coordinate and vice versa, support for new media codecs, and code that lets developers create layout animations.

Microsoft seeing Xbox shortages in U.S.

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp is seeing shortages of its Xbox 360 video game console in the United States, as the company failed to anticipate strong post-holiday demand, an executive said on Wednesday.

“We are really running short of product here in the United States,” Jeff Bell, head of global marketing for Microsoft’s games business, said in an interview. “You could say we misjudged demand.”

Clothes That Produce Power

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Someday, your shirt might be able to power your iPod - just by doing the normal stuff expected of a shirt.

Scientists have developed a way to generate electricity by jostling fabric with unbelievably tiny wires woven inside, raising the prospect of textiles that produce power simply by being stretched, rustled or ruffled by a breeze.

The research, described in Thursday’s edition of the journal Nature, combines the precision of ultra-small nanotechnology with the elegant principle known as the piezoelectric effect, in which electricity is generated when pressure is applied to certain materials.

While the piezoelectric effect has been understood at least as far back as the 19th century, it is getting creative new looks now, as concerns about energy supplies are inspiring quests for alternative power sources.

For example, a Japanese railway has experimented with mats, placed under turnstiles, that translate the pressure from thousands of commuters’ footfalls into usable power. French scientists have proposed capturing energy from raindrops hitting a structure with piezoelectric properties.

For the research described in Nature, Zhong Lin Wang and colleagues at the Georgia Institute of Technology covered individual fibers of fabric with nanowires made of zinc oxide. These wires are only 50 nanometers in diameter - 1,800 times thinner than a human hair.

Alternating fibers are coated with gold. As one strand of the fabric is stretched against another, the nanowires on one fiber rub against the gold-coated ones on the other, like the teeth of two bottle brushes. The resulting tension and pressure generates a piezoelectric charge that is captured by the gold and can be fed into a circuit.

The allure of the idea is that it doesn’t take unusual movement to generate usable electricity. Pretty much anything someone does while wearing a piezoelectric shirt would be productive.

“The beauty of this work is that if you have wind, or you have sonic waves, or you have vibrations, that works for you,” Wang said. “You do not need a very large force for that.”

Wang has coaxed the wires to grow around strands of yarn in a few square millimeters of fabric, but has not made sizable pieces yet. But he estimates that one square meter of nanowire-infused fabric would produce around 80 milliwatts of electricity, enough to recharge portable music players.

Use of rogue DNS servers on rise

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

They’re called “servers that lie.”

Mendacious machines controlled by hackers that reroute Internet traffic from infected computers to fraudulent Web sites are increasingly being used to launch attacks, according to a paper published this week by researchers with the Georgia Institute of Technology and Google Inc.

The paper estimates roughly 68,000 servers on the Internet are returning malicious Domain Name System results, which means people with compromised computers are sometimes being directed to the wrong Web sites - and often have no idea.

The peer-reviewed paper, which offers one of the broadest measurements yet of the number of rogue DNS servers, was presented at the Internet Society’s Network and Distributed System Security Symposium in San Diego.

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