Thursday, September 24, 2009

Aussie Data Centres Brace For Dust Storm Barrage

Posted by samzenpus on Thursday September 24, @12:48AM
from the sand-gets-in-your-tubes dept.
An anonymous reader writes"Data centers and telcos in the Australian cities of Sydney and Brisbane have shut off external ventilation systems, restricted loading dock access and attended false alarms after a major dust storm choked the cities today. The storm is said to be the worst of its type ever recorded in Australia. Macquarie Telecom disengaged automatic deployment of fire-prevention gas from the fire alarm to prevent gas being released on a false alarm. Other major data center operators reported clogged air filters and heat exchangers and said they would be performing cleaning and maintenance operations this week."

Best Tablet PC For Classroom Instruction?

Posted by samzenpus on Wednesday September 23, @10:11PM
from the bang-for-your-buck dept.
dostert writes"With all of the recent hype of multitouch notebooks, the Apple Tablet, the Microsoft Courier, and the CrunchPad, I've been a bit curious about what happened to the good old pen and slate tablet PCs. I'm a mathematics professor at a small college and have been searching for a good cheap tablet (under $1000) which I can use to lecture, record the lecture notes along with my voice, and post up video lectures for the class. I have seen some suggestions, but many are large scale implementations at state universities, something my small private college clearly cannot afford. All I have been able to find is either tiny netbooks (like the new Asus T91), expensive full featured tablets (like the Dell XT), or multitouch tablets, that really wouldn't allow for the type of precision mathematics needs. I know a Sympodium device would work great, but we really can't afford to put one of those in each room, so something portable would be ideal. All I've been left with is considering an HP tx series. It seems nobody has created a new tablet like this in quite sometime, and HP, Fujitsu, and Dell are just doing incremental updates to their old designs. Does anyone have experience with this?"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Drug raid turns into 9 hour Wii bowl-a-thon

by Thomas Ricker posted Sep 23rd 2009 at 9:03AM

Know what's more alluring to the five-O than glazed confectionary goods? Nintendo's Wii, apparently. Or at least the lure of bowling without all the heavy lifting. See, a team of undercover cops raiding the home of a convicted Florida drug dealer was smitten enough by the console to quit their search and fire up Wii Sports for a bit of taxpayer fun over a period of, oh... about nine hours -- unaware that the home security system was recording the whole thing. Your dose of self-righteous indignation can be found after the break.

[Thanks, Maurice]

Promised Platform-Independent GPU Tech Is Getting Real

Posted by kdawson on Wednesday September 23, @12:51AM
from the near-linear dept.
Vigile writes"Last year a small company called Lucid promised us GPU scaling across multiple GPU generations with near-linear performance gains without restrictions of SLI or CrossFire. The company has been silent for some time, but now it is not only ready to demonstrate the 2nd generation hardware, but also to show the first retail product that will be available with HYDRA technology. In this article there is a quick look at the MSI 'Big Bang' motherboard that sports the P55 chipset and HYDRA chip and also shows some demos of AMD HD 4890 and NVIDIA GTX 260 graphics cards working together for game rendering. Truly platform-independent GPU scaling is nearly here and the flexibility it will offer gamers could be impressive."

R2D2 turned into retro gaming shrine, includes head-mounted projector

by Vladislav Savov posted Sep 23rd 2009 at 5:30AM

We don't know exactly how to say this without overloading your nerd subsystem, but this R2D2 unit packs eight consoles, an integrated sound system and a projector for throwing your Jet Grind Radio sessions onto a wall. The only extras you'll need are the masses of controllers you see above and the steady constitution to not erupt into geek euphoria. Popular Science reader Brian De Vitis is the man you have to thank for this splicing of console goodness, and he's been kind enough to also provide a picture of the R2's mobo-laden innards. It awaits just past the break.

[Via Hack N Mod]

Alabama Wages War Against the Perfect Weed

Posted by kdawson on Wednesday September 23, @05:43AM
from the keep-watching-the-skies-dexter dept.
pickens writes"Dan Berry writes in the NY Times that the State of Alabama is spending millions of dollars in federal stimulus money to combat Cogongrass, a.k.a. the perfect weed, the killer weed, and the weed from another continent. A weed that 'evokes those old science-fiction movies in whichclueless citizens ignore reports of an alien invasion.' Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) is considered one of the 10 worst weeds in the world. 'It can take over fields and forests, ruining crops, destroying native plants, upsetting the ecosystem,' writes Berry. 'It is very difficult to kill. It burns extremely hot. And its serrated leaves and grainy composition mean that animals with even the most indiscriminate palates — goats, for example — say no thanks.' Alabama's overall strategy is to draw a line across the state at Highway 80 and eradicate everything north of it; then, in phases, to try to control it to the south. But the weed is so resilient that you can't kill it with one application of herbicide, you have to return several months later and do it again. 'People think this is just a grass,' says forester Stephen Pecot. 'They don't understand that cogongrass can replace an entire ecosystem.' Left unchecked, Pecot says 'it could spread all the way to Michigan.'"

Monday, September 21, 2009

"Going Google" Exposes Students' Email

Posted by kdawson on Monday September 21, @04:34AM
from the visibility-in-the-clouds dept.
A ReadWriteWeb piece up on the NY Times site explores the recent glitch during the move of a number of colleges onto Google's email service that allowed a number of students to see each others' inboxes for a period of more than three days. Google would not give exact numbers, but the article concludes that about 10 schools were affected."While the glitch itself was minor and was fixed in a few days, the real concern — at least at Brown — was with how Google handled the situation. Without communicating to the internal IT department, Google shut down the affected accounts, a decision which led to a heated conversation between school officials and the Google account representative. In the end, only 22 out of the 200 students were affected, but the fix was not put into place until Tuesday. ... The students had access to each other's email accounts for three solid days... before the accounts were suspended by Google. Oddly enough, this situation seems to be acceptable [to Brown's IT manager, who] 'praised Google for its prompt response.' (We don't know about you, but if someone else could read our email for three days, we wouldn't exactly call that 'prompt.')"