First iPhone Review Available

The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg and Katherine Boehret have posted their review of the Apple iPhone.
Mossberg and Bohret tested the iPhone for two weeks in multiple usage scenarios and in various cities:
Our verdict is that, despite some flaws and feature omissions, the iPhone is, on balance, a beautiful and breakthrough handheld computer. Its software, especially, sets a new bar for the smart-phone industry, and its clever finger-touch interface, which dispenses with a stylus and most buttons, works well, though it sometimes adds steps to common functions.
Video: >> Click here <<
View: iPhone Review

Big HDD on Windows before XP SP1

Applies to all Windows operating systems older than XP Service Pack 1.
My explanation to it is that when you have an operating system that can’t access the sectors beyond 137 GB correctly, the ‘access pointer’ flips to zero and starts writing from the start of the drive when it should write to beyond 137 GB area.
Everything was fine until during defragmentation it moved data to the last sectors of the disk, but in reality it overwrote data in the beginning, the data being $mft$, master file table.
So, pretty much everything became unreadable, because there was no reliable information about where the files were stored on the partition.
Here’s how to fix it (at least that’s what others say):

  1. Start a registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe). In Windows, click on Start->Run, enter „regedit“.
  2. Navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ CurrentControlSet \ Services \ atapi \ Parameters registry subkey.
  3. From the Edit menu, select New, DWORD Value.
  4. Enter the name EnableBigLba, then press Enter.
  5. Double-click the new value, set it to 1, then click OK.
  6. Restart the machine for the change to take effect.

Sun eyes supercomputing glory

Sun Microsystems on Monday revealed the Constellation System, a high-performance computing platform that company executives claim will vault the company back into the top ranks of supercomputer manufacturers.
The linchpin in the system is the switch, the piece of hardware that conducts traffic between the servers, memory and data storage. Code-named Magnum, the switch comes with 3,456 ports, a larger-than-normal number that frees up data pathways inside these powerful computers.
„We are looking at a factor-of-three improvement over the current best system at an equal number of nodes,“ said Andy Bechtolsheim, chief architect and senior vice president of the systems group at Sun. „We have been somewhat absent in the supercomputer market in the last few years.“
The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at the University of Texas is currently preparing a Constellation system. If TACC can get enough Barcelona chips from Advanced Microsystems by October 15, its system will land near the top of the next Top 500 Supercomputer list, Sun says.
The TACC system will provide a peak performance of around 500 teraflops, or 500 trillion operations a second. A fully built-out Constellation system, with contemporary components, could hit a peak of 2 petaflops, or 2 quadrillion operations per second. In the last Top 500 Supercomputer list, published in November, IBM’s BlueGene topped the list with 280 teraflops. (The new list comes out later this week.)
More details, along with other supercomputing papers from competitors, will be presented at the International Supercomputing Conference in Dresden, Germany, this week.
Sun’s Magnum switch, based around the InfiniBand high-speed networking technology, is a honker. The largest InfiniBand switches on the market contain 288 ports, according to Bechtolsheim, and require leaf, or helper switches. (TACC’s system will have two of the Sun switches.)
The density of ports, and the large number of them, creates a cascading effect in performance and pricing, he asserted. By deploying Magnum, which sports a „fat tree“ style architecture where servers branch out from the trunk of switches, customers will need to install far fewer switches when building large computers, he said. Fewer networking boxes mean about one-sixth the number of cables.
„The cables cost more than the silicon“ when it comes to the networking systems inside supercomputer clusters, he said.
Overall, Sun claims a fully built-out Constellation system will take up 20 percent less floor space.
The architecture of the system also cuts down latency, a big factor in performance. Because more boxes can connect directly to the switch, processors at distant nodes don’t have to leap through as many connections to communicate, according to Sun. Specialized connectors further boost performance.
Sun has also improved the density of the blade servers that are part of Constellation. A 42U-high rack of the blades will hold 768 processor cores, assuming four core processors are used.
The storage system that comes with Constellation can hold one petabyte in two racks. While Constellation supercomputers are constructed out of these separate blades, storage systems and switches, the parts will be sold together rather than separately.
Constellation vs. Blue Gene/L
Bechtolsheim extrapolated on how a hypothetical Constellation system would do against a similarly configured hypothetical IBM Blue Gene/L system.
A Constellation with 131,000 processor cores could churn 1,080 teraflops, or calculations, per second. (A teraflop is a billion operations a second). The system would also have 3 terabits per second of I/O bandwidth from the storage system.
A Blue Gene/L with 131,000 cores would operate at 360 teraflops and have only one terabit per second of I/O bandwidth with disk storage, according to Sun.
Both Constellation and Blue Gene/L are clusters–large computers created by lashing together large numbers of smaller servers.
„The main difference with BlueGene is the topology of the fabric,“ Bechtolsheim said. „The advantage (with Fat Tree architectures) is that you have constant latency between nodes.“
IBM, Cray and others, of course, aren’t exactly standing still. Each company is readying its own products and will make announcements at the International Supercomputing Conference. One source said IBM plans to debut its next-generation Blue Gene design, called Blue Gene/P, in which P stands for petaflop–a quadrillion calculations per second.
Sun also has to wait for Advanced Micro Devices.
Constellation blades can accommodate Sun’s UltraSparc chips, AMD processors and Intel chips. AMD, however, currently provides better performance on floating point calculations than Intel’s chips, according to Bechtolsheim. The TACC system is based around Barcelona. Whether or not the TACC system can make the next Top 500 list revolves around availability of Barcelona, which is due in the third quarter.
„It depends on AMD,“ he said.
Bechtolsheim also pointed out that supercomputers generally are less profitable than selling high-end servers to corporations, but companies use supercomputers to conduct research for their other product lines. Sun hence says it will play a more prominent role than it has in the past few years.
„We’re getting better and more successful at bidding on these deals,“ he said. „We’re back to where we wanted to be all along.“
News Source: C|net

"I Want to Reduce GUI as Much as Possible"

tosh Tech-On! interviews Apple user interface researcher Toshiyuki Masui, creator of the „predictive entry“ technology used by millions of phones around the world today.
Toshiyuki Masui is a well-known software researcher in Japan, having worked both at Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc. as well as the Japanese Government’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST). His master’s thesis at the University of Tokyo was on „Automatic Compiler Generation.“
After joining Fujitsu Ltd. in 1984, he worked at Sharp Corp. and did a stint as a Visiting Researcher at Carnegie Mellon University in the US as well. His move to the Silicon Valley headquarters of Apple Inc. in October 2006 was a bit of a shock to the Japanese software field.
View Full Interview: Tech-On!

Google To Acquire GrandCentral

Google is in acquisition discussions with telephone management startup GrandCentral.

The basic idea around GrandCentral is “one phone number for all your phones, for life.” As we change jobs, homes and cell phones, there are a lot of phone numbers to keep track of, and keeping everyone up to date with your most recent phone numbers is a real cost. If you use GrandCentral you can give out a single phone number. What happens when that person calls that number depends on his/her relationship to you, and what you are doing at the time.

The company, which has raised less than $6 million in capital from Minor Ventures (the exact amount has never been disclosed), beta launched just last September. Earlier this year mainstream press and blogger attention heated up.

I’m speculating on where Google will use GrandCentral, but the synergies with Gmail and GTalk are fairly obvious and could be the next step in Google’s competition with Skype and other instant messaging platforms.

This is, in my opinion, a great move by Google. Grand Central is an awesome productivity and simplifies the lives of users with multiple phones by giving them a single phone number and letting them handle calls via rules. It’s a natural fit with GTalk and Gmail.

IIS 7 Go Live

IIS7logo After months of preparing IIS7 for the release of Windows Server Codename „Longhorn“ Beta 3, the IIS team is proud announce that IIS7 has reached a very high level of quality and is now ready for broad customer testing. To facilitate rigorous testing under real conditions, Microsoft is now offering Windows Server Codename „Longhorn“ Beta 3 under a special Go Live license, prepared exclusively for IIS7. The IIS7 Go Live License permits customers to deploy beta releases of IIS7 into live production environments well before the official release of Windows Server Codename „Longhorn“.

For Server Administrators
The broad availability of the IIS7 Go Live License means you can test powerful new Beta 3 server scenarios and plan IIS7 roll-outs months before Windows Server Codename „Longhorn“ ships.

For Web Developers & Designers
Hosting companies are already offering *FREE* IIS7 Beta Hosting, so you can test and optimize your Web applications for IIS7 now, without ever having to install or setup a server.

For Hosters
With the IIS7 Go Live License, you can start enjoying the benefits of hosting on IIS7 now and offer your customers the latest in Windows based hosting before the competition.

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Internet Explorer 8 Beta to begin later this year

ms_vista_logo According to Microsoft, the Internet Explorer 8 Beta is set to begin when Vista SP1 ships later this year. There is no information on when the exact date would be. However, since mainstream support for XP doesn’t end until April 2009 Microsoft will support IE 8 to Windows XP users.
But in the same way that IE 7 was released, there will be 2 versions: one that is built on the security settings of Vista, and the other one on the settings of XP SP2 or SP3.  More info will be posted when available
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Vista Language Interface Packs

Windows Vista offers two options to change the User Interface (UI) language:

  • MUI (Multi Language Interface) Packs
  • LIP (Language Interface Pack)

The MUI packs offer the possibility to introduce multiple languages in a single Vista installation and choose a language per user. Users can change UI language whenever they like to. MUIs are only available for Windows Vista Enterprise and Ultimate editions. The MUIs for Vista Ultimate are available for download from Windows Update. The MUIs for Vista Enterprise must be obtained from the Volume Licensing Program.

LIPs provide the possibility to change the UI for Home Premium and Business versions of Windows Vista. A LIP changes most parts of the UI and is probably less complete than the MUI. A LIP changes the UI for the complete OS and offers no possibility to change languages after installation of the LIP.

LIPs seem to be one of the hardest add-ons to find on the Microsoft site. The Microsoft Local Language Program website seems to offer LIP downloads, but does not get any further then Windows XP and Office 2003.

A full list of available LIPs is located here. The only problem with the list is that it is not complete and download locations are not provided.

Fortunately an MCT colleague (thanks Johan) located quite a number of available LIPS that I will be listing here:

You can see that there Bulgarian is still missing smile_sad.