Information Technology Blog:
Published on: 2013-04-29
If you've been to the RoboGames, you've seen everything from flame-throwing battlebots to androids that play soccer. But robo-athletes are more than just performers. They're a path to the future. Researchers at the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo and the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology have built a small humanoid robot that plays baseball -- or something like it. The bot can hold a fan-like bat and take swings at flying plastic balls, and though it may miss at first, it can learn with each new pitch and adjust its swing accordingly. Eventually, it will make contact. The robot, you see, is also equipped with an artificial brain. Based on an Nvida graphics processor, or GPU, kinda like the one that renders images on your desktop or laptop, this brain mimics the function of about 100,000 neurons, and using a software platform developed by Nvidia, the scientists have programmed these neurons for the task at hand, as they discussed in a recent paper published in the journal Neural Networks. Working code helps other scientists to learn how to implement an artificial brain in computers Tadashi Yamazaki Yes, it's fun. But through this baseball-playing robot, the scientists also hope to better understand how brains can be recreated with software and hardware ? and bring us closer to a world where robots can handle more important tasks on our behalf. When a ball is pitched to the robot, an accelerometer at the back of a batting cage records information about the flight of the ball, including its speed, and this data is relayed back to a machine that holds the GPU-powered brain. The brain then crunches this data so that it can determine exactly when the robot should swing. If the scientists change the pitch speed, the robot will relearn the task all over again. This is not the first time researchers have modeled a cerebellum to control robots. A team of scientists in Europe, for instance, have used an artificial cerebellum to control a robotic limb. But according to Tadashi Yamazaki, one of the scientists who worked on the project, the baseball-playing robot is the second largest model of its kind and it runs in real time, meaning its much faster than other systems. That means the GPU brain is better suited to controlling external hardware, he says.
Published on: 2013-02-19
What do Burger King, Jeep, and MTV have in common? They have all been hacked by someone through their twitter accounts Jeep is today's victim, and was struck by having its background image swapped out this afternoon to show a sedan painted with the McDonald's logo and colors. A couple of tweets from the hackers read "#BOOTYGANG #ITHUG" and "We got sold to @Cadillac because we caught our employees doing these in the bathroom =[", with an attached picture of a man holding a bottle of pills. As of 2:02 p.m. ET, the background color had been restored to black, though the hackers' tweets were still in the tweet stream. And as of 2:17 p.m., the handle's main picture -- which had been changed to the Cadillac logo -- had been changed back to a default image. Meanwhile, the Cadillac Twitter account has tweeted that it's not responsible for the hack. McDonald's was also the subject of the hack of the Burger King account yesterday, when the handle's photo was swapped out to an image of the famous Golden Arches. The hackers' tweets were thematically similar to today's on the Jeep page, including one that read, "We caught one of our employees in the bathroom doing this... #soldtomcdonalds #failurewhopper @McDonalds" and included a link to a picture of a man sticking a needle in his arm. Twitter declined to comment further on the Burger King incident, citing privacy and security concerns for individual accounts. I personally dont understand how twitter is allowed to get off here with a no comment. Youre site is being hacked left and right and there is no legitimate end in site. I think that this group already has everyone's information and is slowly deciding who and when to strike.
Published on: 2012-07-09
Hundreds of thousands of Internet users whose computers are infected with a particularly nasty virus are now unable to access the Web.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation shut down Internet servers that it temporarily set up to support those affected by malicious software, called DNSChanger. Turning off those servers knocked all those still infected offline.
Over the past five years, a group of six Estonian cybercriminals infected about 4 million computers around the world with DNSChanger. The malware redirected infected users' Web searches to spoofed sites with malicious advertisements.
In November 2011, the FBI and some overseas partners arrested those responsible, commandeered their servers, and attempted to warn those affected to get rid of the virus.
The FBI did not immediately take down the rogue servers, as infected computers would have lost Internet access, an FBI spokesman said.
To remedy the problem, the FBI had the nonprofit Internet Systems Consortium set up temporary servers. That way, computer owners would have time to get rid of their malware.
The servers were supposed to be shut down in March, but hundreds of thousands remained infected. Nearly 211,000 computers worldwide (about 42,000 in the United States) still have the virus, according to the FBI's latest count on Monday. That's a large number, but it's a very small subset of the 1.6 billion PCs worldwide, of which an estimated 339 million are in the United States.
Still, the FBI decided to give people even more time to check for the malware, extending the deadline until July. The agency now says the time has come to cut the cord, and the emergency servers were shut down Monday morning.
Though the FBI tried to send notifications to those infected, it could not identify all of them, a spokesman said.
Published on: 2012-03-09
ARCELONA, Spain (CNNMoney) -- The company behind the lightning-fast processor in the new iPad thinks it can soon become the predominant microchip business in the world.
Chips designed by ARM (ARMH), the British microprocessor company you've probably never heard of, are in a stunning 95% of the world's mobile phones and tablets, including the new iPad Apple announced this week. ARM's chips represent 30% of the entire semiconductor market sales, which is nearly double Intel's 16%, according to IHS iSuppli.
But ARM's ambitions are even grander.
"We want to see that doubled to 60%," said Warren East, ARM's CEO, in an interview conducted at last week's Mobile World Congress. "We think we've got the right sort of technology for everything from very, very tiny intelligent sensors, through the consumer electronic swathe, right through to servers."
ARM is in a unique position in the chip industry because it doesn't actually make microprocessors. Instead, ARM designs chips and licenses those different architectures to more than 300 companies around the world, including giant players such as Samsung, Nvidia (NVDA), Texas Instruments (TI) and Qualcomm (QCOM, Fortune 500).
The company is particularly successful in the rapidly growing mobile market, partially because it is good at what it does, but also because of the dumb luck of being in the right place at the right time.
ARM got its start in 1991 designing modem chips for cell phones. They were fairly limited microchips that were built for one purpose: to communicate with cell towers without sucking up too much of the phone's battery. But around the turn of the century, handset manufacturers began to realize that there was excess computer power left over in those ARM-based chips that could be used to build a user interface.
Soon after that realization, the "feature phone" was born, which ultimately evolved into the modern day smartphone. Taking advantage of the situation, ARM now designs chips for two purposes: the same-old modem processor and an applications processor that controls the user interface for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry OS and the like.
Demand for ARM-based chips has risen sharply of late, as the cell phone architecture made its way into disk drives, printers, cars, Internet-connected TVs, microcontrollers, and tablets. This year, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ, Fortune 500) is introducing its first server running on ARM-based chips, and Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) will release a version of Windows 8 that will run on tablets powered with processors designed by ARM.
As a result, ARM's share of the overall semiconductor market has soared, doubling in just three short years. Smartphone and tablet sales will continue to help ARM's share rise, and the new markets ARM is entering could help the company arrive at its goal of doubling its share again three years from now. For instance, IHS iSuppli predicts ARM will grow its share of the PC processor market to 22% by 2015, up from practically nothing today.
Meanwhile, semiconductor behemoth Intel (INTC, Fortune 500) tried -- and failed -- for many years to get a foothold in the mobile marketplace, as ARM's 21-year old expertise in power management gave it a leg up.
But recently, Intel scored some big wins after finally convincing handset makers that its chips could play nicely in mobile. Global telecom giant Orange and Indian carrier Lava announced last week that they are planning on shipping a device based on an Intel reference design next quarter, and Lenovo launched a similar phone last month.
Motorola Mobility (MMI), which is being acquired by Google, said last month that all of its future devices will run on Intel chips. And Chinese smartphone giant ZTE said last week that it too would soon begin to ship phones with Intel inside.
Despite Intel's deep pockets and recent surge, ARM isn't fazed. The company believes its power-sipping, mobile-friendly architecture will ultimately become the world's most pervasive.
"Intel's offerings today are better than they were years ago, and undoubtedly there are going to be some Intel design wins," East said. "But I look at the capabilities of those products and see the same kind of capabilities that were in ARM products several years ago." To top of page
Published on: 2012-02-22
(CNN) -- Mobile World Congress is the world's largest mobile phone trade show, held every year in Barcelona. It is the venue for manufacturers like Nokia, HTC, LG, and Samsung to reveal the must-have mobile devices and services of the year.
This year is likely to be no different with big launches expected from all the major players except Apple.
So what can we expect? Some phone makers have already announced their MWC line up, some have hinted, others have been rumored. Talking to sources, joining the dots, and getting the word on the street, this is what is expected at the show:
Nokia is rumored to be launching a number of handsets at MWC this year. Some will focus on emerging markets (Brazil, Russia, India, and China), while the others, the developed ones. The phones you are most likely to be interested in will be a European version of the recently announced Nokia Lumia 900, and a low end Lumia; the Nokia Lumia 610. Both models will work with Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 operating system.
We are expecting three handsets from the Taiwanese company; The HTC One X, The HTC One S, and the HTC One V. The top-of-the-range One X will feature the new Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor and run Android, while Pocket-lint has confirmed with sources that the One V will be a music-focused device aimed at men and similar to the more female friendly (if that is possible) HTC Rhyme that is already on the market.
Although Samsung was expected to launch the Samsung Galaxy S III at MWC this year, the company has now confirmed that it won't. With a number of pre-MWC launches already detailed, Samsung is expected instead to focus on tablets at the show. If rumors are to be believed, it will launch a 10.1-inch version of the Samsung Galaxy Note announced in September 2011. The difference from all the other tablets it sells? It will have a built-in stylus.
Following Samsung's lead with the Galaxy Note, LG has announced its LG Optimus Vu prior to the show. A cross between a phone and a tablet, it will measure 139.6mm x 90.mm, meaning it's going to be one for those with big hands and big pockets. There are also rumors that the company will announce a follow up to the LG Optimus 2X called the 3X. Expect it to have a quad-core processor too.
Research In Motion
BlackBerry maker RIM has said that there will be no new hardware at the show this year, but that it will be showing off the new PlayBook 2.0 operating system and the software operating system, BB OS 10, that it hopes will power its new phones expected later in the year.
Having just announced a new waterproof and dustproof phone called the Eluga, Panasonic has also confirmed it has a second handset in the pipeline to launch at MWC. It will feature a dual-core processor, OLED screen and will run Android.
Japanese brand Fujitsu has confirmed that it will be launching phones in Europe following its success in Japan. The company has yet to announce which models it will be bringing the continent, however the smart money is on the waterproof quad-core Tegra 3 powered Android smartphone it announced at CES in Las Vegas in January.
Sony (aka Sony Ericsson)
Trying to pinpoint a Sony phone destined for Mobile World Congress is as hard as Sony Ericsson's transitions to Sony. We are expecting a European launch for the already announced (at CES) Sony Ericsson Xperia S though. Rumors and leaked internet photos suggest maybe a bigger screen version too, as well as an array of other Android devices.
Motorola's MWC plans are even quieter than Sony's with the company traditionally focusing on CES in Las Vegas to launch many of its first-half-of-the-year handsets. There is a suggestion that Motorola has teamed up with Intel to launch one of the first Intel-powered smartphones, but that is still to be confirmed. Motorola doesn't have a press conference at the show, but Intel does.
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