sábado, 15 de outubro de 2011

Special Relativity May Answer Faster-than-Light Neutrino Mystery

Special Relativity May Answer Faster-than-Light Neutrino Mystery:

The relativistic motion of clocks on board GPS satellites exactly accounts for the superluminal effect, says physicist. Credit: axirv

Oh, yeah. Moving faster than the speed of light has been the hot topic in the news and OPERA has been the key player. In case you didn’t know, the experiment unleashed some particles at CERN, close to Geneva. It wasn’t the production that caused the buzz, it was the revelation they arrived at the Gran Sasso Laboratory in Italy around 60 nanoseconds sooner than they should have. Sooner than the speed of light allows! (...)
Read the rest of Special Relativity May Answer Faster-than-Light Neutrino Mystery (516 words)

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sexta-feira, 14 de outubro de 2011

55 Cryptic Technology Acronyms & Their Funny Translations

55 Cryptic Technology Acronyms & Their Funny Translations:

computer acronymsThe dark, cold, and rainy season is rapidly approaching the Northern Hemisphere. Before you dip into a mild depression, make sure you stock up on lots of fruit, Vitamin D, and a steady source of humor. To help you with the latter, I have compiled a list of technology acronyms and their meanings, decoded through the lens of a humorist. Maybe they can bring some giggles into bleak days.


A Merely Insignificant Gamers Addiction (AMIGA)

Arrogance Produced Profit Losing Entity (Apple)

Advertising Overloads Losers (AOL)


Bill’s Attempt to Seize Industry Control (BASIC)

Believe I‘m Not Google (BING)

Basically I‘m Origin of System (BIOS)

Boots In One Second (BIOS)


Completely Obsolete Business Oriented Language (COBOL)

Consumer Device-Rendered Obsolete in Months (CD-ROM)

funny technology acronyms


Do Expect Cuts (DEC)

Defective Operating System (DOS)


Enemy of Book (eBook)

Electronic Bid Against Yourself (eBay)


Garbage In, Garbage Out (Gigo)

God’s Only Online Gateway Linking Electronically (Google)

funny translations


Hilarious Computer Logic (HCL)

Hackers Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP)


I Blame Microsoft (IBM)

I Buy Macs (IBM)

I Protest Adobe (iPad)

I Prefer Hipness Over Network Excellence (iPhone)

Idiots Price Our Devices (iPod)

Internet Exploder (IE)

It Still Does Nothing (ISDN)


Lots of Infuriating and Silly Parenthesis (LISP)


Most Absurd Computer (MAC)

Most Applications Crash, If Not, The Operating System Hangs (Macintosh)

Most Intelligent Customers Realize Our Software Only Fools Teenagers (Microsoft)

Meaningless Indication of Processor Speed (MIPS)

My Silly Network (MSN)

nerd jokes


Now EXchange for Trash (NEXT)

No Longer A Possible Solution To Escape Record-buying (NAPSTER)

Not a Trusted File System (NTFS)


Obsolete Soon 2 (OS/2)

Operation Suspended (OS)


Problem In Chair Not In Computer (PICNIC)

Pigs Do Fly (PDF)

Pretty Horrid Privacy (PHP)

Produced Erroneous Numbers Through Incorrect Understanding of Mathematics (Pentium)

People Can’t Memorize Computer Industry Acronyms (PCMCIA)

geek jokes


Raggedy A** Machine (RAM)


Security Silently Leaked (SSL)

Sessions Seriously Lagging (SSL)

Successfully Pestering Advertising Material (SPAM)

System Can’t See It (SCSI)


Technology Without Any Important Name (TWAIN)

Thoughts Which I Think They Enjoy Reading (Twitter)


Very Inconsistent Software – Try Another (Vista)


Windows Genuinely Angry (WGA)

What A Rot Program (WARP)

Will Install Needless Data On Whole System (Windows)

Wished I‘d Never Deployed On Work Station (Windows)

Windows Mistake Edition (Windows ME)

Windows eXPired (Windows XP)

World Wide Wait (WWW)

computer acronyms


You Always Have Other Options (Yahoo)

For more humor resources, I recommend the following articles:

What other acronyms do you know and which ones are your favorites?

Image credits: Sofimanning, Netfalls, Marco Rullkoetter, NinaMalyna, Julien Tromeur, PKruger

55 Cryptic Technology Acronyms & Their Funny Translations is a post from: MakeUseOf

Your mobile phone...

Your mobile phone...:

Submitted by: brenobeltrao

Posted at: 2011-10-13 08:56:28

See full post and comment: http://9gag.com/gag/353244

quinta-feira, 13 de outubro de 2011

The Ultimate Nerd Guide To New York City

The Ultimate Nerd Guide To New York City:


BuzzFeed has crated The Ultimate Nerd Guide To New York City, just in time for New York Comic Con this week.

Qualcomm demos 28nm Krait, expects to dominate Android devices in 2012

Qualcomm demos 28nm Krait, expects to dominate Android devices in 2012: Qualcomm MSM8960

Pop quiz. Would you rather have a dual-core or quad-core processor inside your next Android device? Common sense might lead you to believe that more cores are better, but it’s actually a lot more complex than that.

Last week Qualcomm invited me to their headquarters for a briefing on their upcoming Krait architecture and I got a hands-on preview with an actual Snapdragon S4 device. What I witnessed was the world’s first mobile system-on-a-chip (SoC) built on 28nm process technology with a fully integrated LTE multimode modem.

The demos I saw were not exactly mind-blowing (hence no video), but there are plenty of reasons to get excited about Qualcomm’s first Krait SoC.

Highlights of the Snapdragon S4 include:

  • First on 28nm process technology: Snapdragon S4 processors are the first mobile processors to be manufactured using the latest 28nm process technology that provides inherent advantages in frequency scaling, power consumption and reduced size.

  • First Fully Integrated 3G/4G: the S4 class includes the industry’s first fully integrated LTE world mode/multimode modem.

  • First Mobile CPU to use the latest extensions to the ARM ISA: Snapdragon S4 processors are the first processors in the industry to be designed specifically for advanced process technology and using the latest extensions to the ARM instruction set architecture (ISA).

  • Superior CPU Performance: Multicore CPUs with a frequency range of 1.5Ghz to 2.5Ghz per core and supporting asynchronous symmetric multiprocessing (aSMP) for the optimal balance of performance and power efficiency.

  • Superior Modem Performance: The industry’s first fully integrated LTE world/multimode modem with support for the widest range of frequencies and bands – including full multimode support for existing standards such as EV-DO and HSPA. The modem also includes a full connectivity solution with integrated GPS Bluetooth, WiFi, and FM.

  • Superior Graphics Performance: High performance programmable Adreno GPUs for the highest quality video and console quality gaming.

  • Superior Power Efficiency: tight integration of best in class components and use of highly efficient, low power engines such as Qualcomm’s fully programmable Hexagon DSPs result in a highly power efficient system.

Mobile awesomeness built from scratch

Qualcomm’s key advantage over their competitors is that they design almost every part of the Snapdragon platform in-house and integrate everything on a single chip. The Snapdragon S4 MSM9860 features Qualcomm’s custom Krait CPU core, Adreno 225 GPU, LTE world modem, and Hexagon DSPs.

For those of you familiar with the Android handset manufactures, think of Qualcomm as the Samsung of the group. They are big enough to have the resources to customize everything and we expect greatness from them.

New Krait CPU Architecture

Krait is the codename for Qualcomm’s second-generation CPU and it offers 60% performance increase compared to the existing Scorpion micro-architecture found in the Snapdragon S1, S2, and S3.

This CPU core is different than the reference ARM Cortex-A15 core that will appear in competing SoCs around 2H 2012, but it still supports the latest ARM instruction set architecture and should offer comparable performance.

Krait includes a performance enhanced floating-point and SIMD functional unit called VeNom which maintains the industry leading 128-bit data-path, dual-channel memory subsystem, and still uses asynchronous Symmetrical Multi-Processor system or aSMP.

Qualcomm’s aSMP allows independent clock speed and voltage for each CPU core, which they claim results in a 25-40% power improvement over synchronous SMP architectures. Each core can be completely collapsed when not being used, so standby power should be improved.

This approach is quite different from NVIDIA that designed their own Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing (vSMP) technology, so it will be interesting to see which approach delivers the best battery life.

Qualcomm says they evaluated using a similar “companion” core like NVIDIA, but decided that aSMP offered the best power and performance. In fact, Qualcomm even took a shot at NVIDIA in their latest whitepaper by saying “aSMP also eliminates the need for ‘companion’ or ‘little’ cores since each core in an aSMP system can be operated in low power mode due to the independent voltage and frequency control per core thus reducing the need for hypervisors or more complex software management of disparate cores.”

Adreno 225 GPU

The first Snapdragon S4 will be accompanied by the Adreno 225 GPU, which offers a 50% performance boost over the Adreno 220 found in the Snapdragon S3. Most of the performance gains come from the higher GPU clock speed, which is now at 400MHz compared to 266MHz of the Adreno 220.

Qualcomm showed us some preliminary benchmarks which told us the Adreno 225 GPU should out-perform the industry-leading PowerVR SGX543MP2 found in Apple’s A5 SoC.

The Adreno GPU has normally lagged behind other mobile GPUs in raw performance, so it’s nice to see them match the latest from PowerVR. Later this  year Qualcomm will migrate to the Adreno 3xx GPU when they release a quad-core Snapdragon, which promises graphics comparable to the PS3.

LTE world modem

The most notable feature of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 is the industry’s first fully integrated 3G/4G world/multimode LTE Modem. This thing supports all of the world’s leading 2G, 3G, and 4G LTE standards and it integrates GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi, FM, and NFC.

What this means to the average consumer is 4G LTE smartphones that are thinner than a pencil. Most of Verizon’s 4G LTE handsets are quite bulky, but the next generation of LTE devices should be some of the thinnest around.

Longer battery life is also in store thanks to a power saving methods that lower power consumption by 20-30%. The new 8960 modem also supports simultaneous voice and LTE data, so you can browse the web at blazing fast speeds while maintaining a voice connection.

Hexagon DSP

In addition to designing custom CPUs, GPUs, and modems, Qualcomm also designs its own custom digital signal processors (DSPs). The Hexagon DSP has always played an important role in the Snapdragon processors, but Qualcomm is now sharing more details as they take it to the next level.

DSPs play an important role in multimedia and improve performance and battery life by freeing up CPU cycles and taking on additional tasks such as multimedia, imaging enhancement, augmented reality, and other functions.

The Hexagon DSP combines the best features of both CPU and DSP architectures. Unique to the Hexagon DSPs is the addition of a memory management unit, symmetric multiprocessing support, and a hypervisor for increased capability.

Qualcomm also recently opened up their DSP access program that allows OEMs to develop custom DSP applications to further enhance the Snapdragon processor operation.

Availability and Competition

Looking at the first half of 2012, it appears to be battle of NVIDIA and Qualcomm. NVIDIA will have the first mobile quad-core processor (at 40nm) and Qualcomm will have the first 28nm dual-core processor.

Qualcomm said we should expect to see devices with the Snapdragon S4 in the first half of 2012. This could happen as soon as early Q1 2012, but it could also slip to Q3.

NVIDIA is expected to regain the performance and power consumption crown with their first quad-core Kal-El (Tegra 3) devices in November, so I expect that Qualcomm is working with their customers to get Snapdragon S4 devices out as soon as possible.

The Snapdragon S4 mobile development platforms that we played with were dated July and we also overhead that some OEMs already had prototype consumer devices they were testing. My suspicion tells me that Qualcomm will wait for Google to release the source code for Ice Cream Sandwich and then release devices once all the optimizations and tweaking is finished.

Samsung and Texas Instruments will also have new processors out in the first half of 2012, but it appears they are offering more of the same tech we have already seen at faster speeds. Samsung will have a dual-core 1.5 GHz Exynos 4212 at 32nm and TI will have a dual-core 1.8 GHz OMAP4470 at 45nm. Both chips should offer improved performance and batter life, but they are not pushing the limits like NVIDIA or Qualcomm.

Overall, I think the Snapdragon S4 will be Qualcomm’s most successful Snapdragon to date. The move to 28nm process technology and new Krait core should offer industry leading performance and battery life.

The biggest question for me at this point remains the exact availability of consumer devices. Anyone looking for a high-end Android tablet this Christmas will obviously go with a Kal-El device, but the decision will not be so clear once the new Snapdragon devices come to market. Qualcomm should regain the performance crown if their claims hold true, but we will have to wait and see.

Which mobile processor are you looking forward to the most? Would you rather pick up a quad-core Kal-El tablet this Christmas or hold out for next year when the Snapdragon S4 arrives?

5 Siri alternatives for Android

5 Siri alternatives for Android:

Almost every aspect of the iPhone 4S is unsurprising: it is, in short, an example of iterative design at its best. It might have a fast processor, an excellent camera, and a slew of much-needed tweaks thanks to iOS 5, but the stand-out, big-label feature is Siri the voice-controlled virtual assistant. Siri, in the absence of an iPhone 5, was the One More Thing at Apple’s recent press event, and it will be the cornerstone of Apple’s marketing drive until the iPad 3 and iPhone 5 roll around next year.

What if you don’t have an iPhone 4S, though? Better yet, what if you don’t want an iPhone? What if you’re a member of the hipster counterculture who proudly wields an open source Android phone? Why should Siri be limited to the freshly-pressed, high-falutin’ pockets of iPhone owners? Pah! Well, we have good news and bad news: No, there isn’t an exact Siri analog for Android, but yes, there are plenty of alternatives that either leverage Google’s excellent voice API to provide piecemeal functionality that’s almost as good as Siri, or apps that use their own cloud-based infrastructure to deliver a very similar service to Siri.

Vlingo Virtual Assistant (Free, $2 to remove ads)

With over one million downloads, a price tag that you can’t argue with, and a feature set that looks remarkably similar to Siri, Vlingo is probably the best voice-control app for Android. Vlingo lets you send texts and emails, voice dial, find local restaurants and businesses, buy movie tickets, open apps, update Twitter or Facebook, and more, all with your voice.

The best way to see how Vlingo works is to watch the video below, but basically it’s an app that runs and stays in the foreground — and then you tap the “Speak it” button to give a command. There’s also a hands-free “InCar” module that wakes up whenever you say “Hi Vlingo!” It isn’t quite as smooth as Siri, but considering it’s an app and isn’t baked into the OS, it’s impressive.

Incidentally, there are versions of Vlingo for BlackBerry, Nokia, iOS, and feature phones — and Windows!

Sonalight for AndroidSonalight Text by Voice (Freemium)

Next up is a brand-new app for Android 2.2 and later that does exactly what it says on the tin: you can draft and send SMS texts just by using your voice. Sonalight advertises itself as an excellent companion for driving, if you want to tell your loved one that you’ll be home late, without taking your hands off the wheel or entering into an (ugh!) conversation.

Sonalight also reads back SMSes that arrive — but that’s it, as far as functionality goes. It’s a free download, but the app appends a Market link to the end of each of your messages unless you upgrade, which costs $20 per year. Speaking to TechCrunch, its developers say that the monetization approach may change, too.

Google Voice Search/Voice ActionsGoogle Voice Search/Actions (Free)

You might know this already, but Google actually provides an app that functions a lot like Siri: Voice Search (Android 2.2+). Once it’s installed you can access Voice Search by clicking the microphone button on the home screen Google gadget, and then simply call out your command. You can ask Voice Search/Actions to send an SMS, email, give you directions, and more.

The only problem with Voice Search is that there isn’t much to configure, it isn’t capable of reading responses out to you, and it requires a fair bit of on-screen button pushing to make it work.

Edwin, Speech-to-Speech (Free)

Very similar to Vlingo, Edwin (Android 2.1+) gives you voice control — and spoken responses — of various features. Like Siri, Edwin is hooked up to Wolfram Alpha, so you can ask it all sorts of odd questions, but you can also use Edwin to make calls, give you map directions, tweet, and so on.

To use Edwin, you will also need to install SpeechSynthesis (free), and TTS Extended (free).

Speaktoit Assistant (custom avatar...)

Speaktoit Assistant (Free)

Finally, if the feature you most like about Siri is the idea of telling a woman to do things for you, check out Speaktoit Assistant (Android 2.1+). Speaktoit is basically the same deal as Siri or Vlingo, but instead of a boring text-only interface, you get to interact with an animated avatar!

By default your assistant is a perky brunette, but you can change it to a busty blonde librarian, and there are two male avatars included too. You can even customize the avatar’s skin color, hair style, clothing…

You can see my rather awesome handiwork on the right.

If you use another Siri-type app for Android, let us know in the comments!

Ship it faster and cheaper – GitLab is GitHub for your own servers

Ship it faster and cheaper – GitLab is GitHub for your own servers: gitlabheader 520x245 Ship it faster and cheaper   GitLab is GitHub for your own servers

If you’re a developer these days, you’ve probably used and enjoyed the GitHub code repository and community, especially if you work on open source projects. GitHub is used by over a million people and stores over two million code repositories. The company says it’s the largest code host in the world.

GitLab has launched to let developers create their own GitHub shared code repositories on their own servers, rather than host with GitHub. For free.

GitLab is free and is distributed under the MIT License, and GitLab states:

The availability of the source code and the right to modify it is very important. It enables the unlimited tuning and improvement of a software product.

It also makes it possible to port the code to new hardware, to adapt it to changing conditions, and to reach a detailed understanding of how the system works.

More and more, startups are creating multiple projects and have side ventures going at the same time of their main development focus. For example, Twitter was created as a side product during the Odeo days. Something like a hosted version of GitLab could really expand the creativity of a company, and expand the learning of the entire development team.

project preview 520x275 Ship it faster and cheaper   GitLab is GitHub for your own servers

is free for open source code, but has a pricing structure for private usage and storage from $7 for single developers all the way up to $200 for businesses, with higher pricing if more storage is needed.

GitLab won’t replace the need for GitHub of course, simply because there is so much code stored on their servers, which helps developers get products and projects off of the ground faster. No longer do small teams have to build anything from the ground up thanks to the developer community who don’t mind sharing insights and code that they’ve worked hard on.

You can view a live demo of GitLab here.

Remembering Dennis Ritchie, Creator of the C Programming Language and UNIX Co-Creator

Remembering Dennis Ritchie, Creator of the C Programming Language and UNIX Co-Creator:

dennis-ritchie.jpgDennis M. Ritchie, co-creator of UNIX and father of the C programming language, died this past weekend after a long illness. It's no exaggeration to say that without Ritchie, modern computing would not be what it is today.

Often known as "dmr," Ritchie was born in Bronxville, NY in 1941. He studied at Harvard University, initially focusing on physics. Ritchie said that he entered computing because "my undergraduate experience convinced me that I was not smart enough to be a physicist, and that computers were quite neat."


"As a result, C became in effect a universal assembler: close enough to the machine to be cost effective, but far enough away that a C program could be compiled for and run well on any machine." Brian Kerninghan

Ritchie joined Bell Labs in 1967 and worked with a group of developers, including Ken Thompson, to create UNIX, the first version of which was released in 1969. Initially called UNICS (following a system called MULTICS) was written in a low-level assembly language by Thompson. According to Thompson, Ritchie's contribution to UNIX was "mostly on the language and the I/O system."

The Creation of C

The language, of course, was C. So named because it followed the B (for Bell Labs) programming language, C is a higher-level language designed to allow cross-platform programming. To make it portable to different hardware, it was re-written in C, and released in 1971 as UNIX.


Brian Kerninghan said that with C "Dennis managed to find a perfect balance between expressiveness and efficiency. It was just right for creating systems programs like compilers, editors, and even operating systems. C made it possible for a programmer to get close to the machine for efficiency but remain far enough away to avoid being tied to a specific machine... As a result, C became in effect a universal assembler: close enough to the machine to be cost effective, but far enough away that a C program could be compiled for and run well on any machine."

The concept of a multi-platform language and operating system no doubt seem, well, unexceptional today. However, at the time, it was unheard of, as Herb Sutter notes.

"Before C, there was far more hardware diversity than we see in the industry today. Computers proudly sported not just deliciously different and offbeat instruction sets, but varied wildly in almost everything, right down to even things as fundamental as character bit widths... There was no such thing as a general-purpose program that was both portable across a variety of hardware and also efficient enough to compete with custom code written for just that hardware."

Tim Bray writes, "Unix combines more obvious-in-retrospect engineering design choices than anything else I've seen or am likely to see in my lifetime... It is impossible – absolutely impossible – to overstate the debt my profession owes to Dennis Ritchie. I've been living in a world he helped invent for over thirty years."

The combination of C and UNIX have been at the core of computing ever since, and are (in slightly altered form) still going strong today. UNIX, as a portable and multi-user operating system, became extremely popular. AT&T was prohibited from entering the computer market at the time UNIX was created, so it was freely spread far and wide to businesses, schools, and within the U.S. government.


UNIX ultimately spawned dozens of versions, including SunOS and Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, NeXTSTEP, BSD, A/UX, Mac OS X and many others. UNIX inspired the GNU Project and Linux, though they are not derived from the same codebase.

C is still widely used, as are its direct descendants; C++, Perl, Objective-C, Java, C#, PHP and many others.


The popularity of C has been helped by The C Programming Language, often referred to as K&R for its co-authors: Kerninghan and Ritchie.

The book was published in 1978, and is a comprehensive guide to C in less than 300 pages. Kerninghan said that he "twisted Dennis's arm into writing it" which was "probably the smartest thing I ever did." Kerninghan called Ritchie "an exceptionally clear and elegant writer."

"It is impossible – absolutely impossible – to overstate the debt my profession owes to Dennis Ritchie. I've been living in a world he helped invent for over thirty years." Tim Bray

K&R continues to be considered an important guide to C. It was revised in 1988 to accommodate the ANSI C standard, and has been translated into more than 20 languages. Kerninghan said that the book has been successful "in large part because of the success of C, though it probably helped that the book, like the language, is rather small and simple, and made it possible for people to do useful things quickly."

The book made popular the now-obligatory "Hello World!" example, which explains how to create a small program that prints "Hello World!" to the display.

Later Career

Later in his career, Ritchie continued in computer research and contributed to the creation of Plan 9 and Inferno distributed operating systems.

While neither Plan 9 or Inferno have achieved widespread popularity, Inferno has been released as open source and is under continued development.

Ritchie retired as the head of Lucent Technologies System Software Research Department in 2007. He received numerous awards for his achievements, including the U.S. National Medal of Technology in 1999 in conjunction with Thompson.

Rob Pike, who worked with Ritchie at Bell Labs and on the Plan 9 and Inferno projects, reported Ritchie's passing yesterday, saying, "He was a quiet and mostly private man, but he was also my friend, colleague, and collaborator, and the world has lost a truly great mind."


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