7/21/2008

Oldest New Testament Bible heads into cyberspace

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

More than 1,600 years after it was written in Greek, one of the oldest copies of the Bible will become globally accessible online for the first time this week.

From Thursday, sections of the Codex Sinaiticus, which contains the oldest complete New Testament, will be available on the Internet, said the University of Leipzig, one of the four curators of the ancient text worldwide.

High resolution images of the Gospel of Mark, several Old Testament books, and notes on the work made over centuries will appear on www.codex-sinaiticus.net as a first step towards publishing the entire manuscript online by next July.

Ulrich Johannes Schneider, director of Leipzig University Library, which holds part of the manuscript, said the publication of the Codex online would allow anyone to study a work of “fundamental” importance to Christians.

Microsoft, Facebook, Google box clever on really big systems

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Facebook’s decision to release under open source a large-scale data management project similar to - and inspired by - Google’s BigTable has received backing from an unusual quarter: Microsoft.

Data center futures architect and distinguished database developer James Hamilton, has complemented the pimply faced social network for releasing what he said “looks like a well-engineered system.”

Hamilton spent ten years at IBM working on DB2 before joining Microsoft in 1997 to work on SQL Server, and recently collaborated with fellow database guru Michael Stonebraker on an examination of future database architectures.

Stonebraker put the cat among the pigeons by slagging off Google’s MapReduce database tool earlier this year - he called it a step backwards. Stonebraker also noted there are limitations in BigTable and its open-source equivalent Hbase.

Conspiracy theorists might find it interesting that Stonebraker’s co-author David de Witt joined Microsoft in April to head up a new research effort into large databases. They should also remember Microsoft is an investor in Facebook.

Adding insult to injury, Facebook has put its project - called Cassandra - up on Google Code. Cassandra is not alone on Google code. Another BigTable clone called Hypertable was set up on Google Code earlier this year.

Like BigTable, Cassandra is designed to get round the limitations of traditional relational databases in large-scale, online applications.

Facebook gets a facelift to help users share

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The popular online hangout Facebook is sporting a new look to reflect changes in how its members communicate with each other and how they share photos and updates about their lives.

Central to the redesign, to be unveiled Monday, is an expanded Wall, the section of a member’s personal profile page where friends can leave comments and photos. People will now be able to add items more easily, and the Wall will incorporate reports on a user’s activities previously found on a user’s “Mini-Feed.”

The development comes as Facebook and rival MySpace from News Corp. vie to become the central hub of online communications. Both sites are reorganizing their layouts this summer to reduce clutter and make information easier to find.

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