Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Revenge of the Nerds II

Depois das inovações relativas ao Teraflops Research Chip, a Intel continua a fazer das suas:

An Experimental Chip From Intel that Can Move 50Gbps

"Intel Corporation announced an important advance in the quest to use light beams to replace the use of electrons to carry data in and around computers. The company has developed a research prototype representing the world's first silicon-based optical data connection with integrated lasers. The link can move data over longer distances and many times faster than today's copper technology; up to 50 gigabits of data per second. This is the equivalent of an entire HD movie being transmitted each second."

Thought-controlled computers on the way: Intel

Computers controlled by the mind are going a step further with Intel's development of mind-controlled computers. Existing computers operated by brain power require the user to mentally move a cursor on the screen, but the new computers will be designed to directly read the words thought by the user.

Intel scientists are currently mapping out brain activity produced when people think of particular words, by measuring activity at about 20,000 locations in the brain. The devices being used to do the mapping at the moment are expensive and bulky MRI scanners, similar to those used in hospitals, but senior researcher at Intel, Dean Pomerlau, said smaller gadgets that could be worn on the head are being developed. Once the brain activity is mapped out the computer will be able to determine what words are being thought by identifying similar brain patterns and differences between them. (...)

If the plans are successful users will be able to surf the Internet, write emails and carry out a host of other activities on the computer simply by thinking about them. Director of Intel Laboratories, Justin Ratner, said it is clear humans are no longer restricted to using a keyboard and mouse, and mind reading is the "ultimate user interface." He said he is confident any concerns about privacy will be overcome.

While many able-bodied computer users may hesitate to adopt a technology that operates a computer by reading their minds, people who are unable to use a keyboard or a mouse through disability should find the new technology gives them much more freedom and opportunities for communicating.

Agora só falta esperar pelo ódio/inveja prémio que a União Europeia lhes vai dirigir dar na forma de "patrocínio do contribuinte europeu".

Monday, August 23, 2010

É polémico não querer ser roubado

Empresas alemãs desviaram 800 milhões para bancos na Suíça
Um CD com o nome de 250 empresas alemãs que terão depositado cerca de 800 milhões em bancos na Suíça para fugirem aos impostos está a provocar polémica na Alemanha.

O CD com o nome das 250 empresas que terão depositado dinheiro na Suíça para fugir aos impostos foi entregue por e-mail ao ministro das Finanças de uma região no sul da Alemanha.
Não é a primeira vez que o governo federal alemão (ou os regionais) se dispõe(m) a comprar informação roubada para combater a evasão fiscal, o que não deixa ser macabramente irónico - gastar dinheiro dos contribuintes para sacar mais dinheiro aos contribuintes. Na última hiperligação, gosto em particular da frase "A DSTG [Deutsche Steuer-Gewerkschaft] reclama que todos os anos se perdem 30 mil milhões de euros devido à evasão fiscal". Engraçado, eu também acho que perdi uns belos milhões de euros só no ano passado quando decidi não assaltar aquela sucursal do BCP que está ali ao fundo da rua.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Sugestões para a próxima versão do Magalhães II

Uma actualização desta notícia:

Second Student Sues School District Over Webcam Spying
A webcam scandal at a suburban Philadelphia school district expanded Tuesday to include a second student alleging his school-issued laptop secretly snapped images of him.

The brouhaha commenced in February, when a student of Lower Merion School District was called into an administrator’s office. Sophomore Blake Robbins was shown a picture of himself that officials suggested was him popping pills. The family claimed it was candy.

An invasion-of-privacy lawsuit followed, alleging the district had snapped thousands of pictures of its students using webcams affixed to the 2,300 Apple laptops the district issued. Some of the images included pictures of youths at home, in bed or even “partially dressed,” (.pdf) according to a filing in the case. Students’ online chats were also captured, as well as a record of the websites they visited. (...)

The tracking software on Hasan’s computer wasn’t turned off until February 18, when Robbins filed suit, the suit alleges, claiming that at least 469 photographs and 543 screenshots were taken by Hasan’s computer without his knowledge. Hasan’s suit said the images “were taken without Jalil’s knowledge, without his authorization and to his utter shock, dismay, panic, embarrassment and disgust.” (...)

The district said the cameras were activated only when a laptop was reported stolen or missing — assertions lawyers suing the district dispute.
Federal prosecutors will not file charges against a school district or its employees over the use of software to remotely monitor students.

U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger says investigators have found no evidence of criminal intent by Lower Merion School District employees who activated tracking software that took thousands of webcam and screenshot images on school-provided laptops.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

"But all was not lost, for from the ash rose a great bird"

Mozilla Firefox (Response from Microsoft)
Microsoft's head of Australian operations, Steve Vamos, stated in late 2004 that he did not see Firefox as a threat and that there was not significant demand for the feature set of Firefox among Microsoft's users. Former Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has used Firefox, but has commented that "it's just another browser, and IE [Microsoft's Internet Explorer] is better."
Firefox To Make History, About To Surpass IE in Europe
Firefox is nearly as popular as IE in Europe now, Chrome and Opera are vastly more popular than in the U.S, while Europeans could care less about Safari. IE is listed with 40.89%, Firefox with 39.47% (the trend indicates that Firefox may jump past IE next month), Chrome with 10.82%, Opera with 4.6% and Safari with 3.3%. By the way, Chrome is most popular in Africa, where it stands at 10.99%.

Firefox’ popularity in Europe is based on an obscenely high market share in Germany where the browser holds 60.88% of the market, according to StatCounter. IE has only 25.0% in Germany and Chrome only 5.48%, Opera 4.6% and Safari 2.9%. (...)

So why would we care about Europe? Because the browser developers have to care: North America has an estimated Internet population of 259 million users, while Europe is at about 426 million users. Conceivably, the European market is much more interesting and important to Microsoft, Mozilla and Google than North America.
Embora não afecte muito significativamente as conclusões, o StatCounter corrigiu ligeiramente as quotas de mercado para a Europa - o Firefox teve aproximadamente 38% em vez de 39%, e o IE 43% em vez de 41%. É relevante notar que o IE a que Steve Vamos e Bill Gates se referem na citação anterior é o famoso (pelas piores razões) Internet Explorer 6, que não tinha separadores, apoio para feeds, bloqueador de pop-ups, filtro de phishing ou barra de pesquisa, mas, para compensar, estava (e ainda está) recheado de buracos de segurança, era incrivelmente lento e tinha uma interpretação muito sui generis dos padrões da Web.