Intel says 1000 core chips for supercomputers are possible
Posted by at 11:19 pm, December 27th 2010.

While Intel has no plans to build 1,000-core chips, the creation of such chips is possible for supercomputers, according to one of the company's principal engineers, a recent ZDNet interview revealed. Employed at Intel's Microprocessor Technology Laboratory, Timothy Mattson believed the company's 48-core Terascale chips used in the Single-chip Cloud Computer (SCC) can offer the architecture for such a chip and Intel's factories can build one within about a decade.

Mattson went on to say there is no theoretical limit to the number of cores that can be used. But creating one is complicated, and depends on how much of the program can be parallelized and how much overhead and load-imbalance the program incurs, both reflected by Amdahl's law.

Whether Intel will eventually develop such a chip also relies on whether applications are found that require it and whether a market to buy them is out there. Intel is trying to find such applications, Mattson said. One such application could involve a computer that inputs natural language and visual cues like gestures and outputs a visual form from 3D models.

The market demand is also a reason why Intel's 48-core processor isn't in the company's product roadmap.

A 1,000-core chip was predicted by an Intel engineer as far back as the summer of 2008.

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On Your Side: Complications With a Netbook Return
Posted by at 2:04 am, December 26th 2010.

I bought an Asus Eee PC Seashell series netbook from When it arrived, its battery would not hold a charge--and because an internal fan would not come on, the unit overheated. I had not dropped it or mistreated it in any way, so I promptly requested, and got, a Return Merchandise Authorization to have it replaced. I had the unit all packed up and ready to drop off the next day to ship back to Newegg. That night, however, my apartment was broken into and the netbook was stolen. Because the netbook had arrived nonfunctional, I asked Newegg to either refund my money or replace the unit, but they refused. Can you help?OYS responds: After we contacted Newegg about Hawkins's issue, a representative found that the company had a record of the RMA for her netbook. Once Hawkins sent Newegg a copy of the police report regarding the theft, the company issued her a $300 gift card.

A laptop's or netbook's convenient size and portability make it easy to steal. You can take a number of steps, however, to protect your PC and data. A veteran San Francisco police officer and the Newegg representative offered the following tips.

When you're on the go, be aware of your surroundings. Don't let your laptop out of your sight in public places such as caf├ęs, conferences, airports, and libraries. Cars are not safe places to keep valuables, even if you put them in the trunk.

At home, if you have a laptop that you were planning on giving away or recycling, keep it out in the open while hiding the good one. A thief will grab the obvious laptop. Some creative laptop hiding places include under a sofa and inside a manila envelope set vertically on a bookshelf. If you prefer to keep your PC easily accessible, use a laptop lock, which is essentially a padlock designed for notebooks.

Password-protect the operating system to make the laptop harder to access if it is lost or stolen. Also, to reduce the risk of a data breach or identity theft, encrypt files and folders containing sensitive information, or use an encrypted hard drive, which is more secure than a standard hard disk. A fully encrypted disk features built-in hardware encryption; to get in and use the files, the user must enable a drive-specific password. If thieves attempt to bypass that protection, all they'll see is unreadable, encrypted data.

Finally, consider installing computer-tracing software, such as Lojack for Laptops. The utility works by periodically connecting to the Internet; if a laptop is reported stolen, the computer sends its location to a recovery service, which then alerts local law enforcement.
Milestone TV Mount Recall

Milestone AV Technologies, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, has recalled about 131,000 flat-screen television wall mounts (the Sanus VisionMount model LF228-B1 and the Simplicity model SLF2). Since the elbow joint components on the wall mount's arm don't fit together properly, the attached TV can tilt and fall when someone adjusts the TV. Consumers should immediately inspect the wall mount and contact Milestone for a free replacement wall mount arm; see inspection instructions at Milestone's Website. For more information, call Milestone toll-free at 877/894-6280.

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iPad 2 Case Hints of Rear-Mounted Speaker
Posted by at 2:03 am, December 26th 2010.

More purported iPad 2 cases are showing up online suggesting that manufacturers are getting ready for a new device with a rear-facing camera and back-mounted speaker.The latest case recently popped up on retails goods wholesaler, and is made by a company called C & T Industry Company Ltd. based in Guangdong, China. The silicon iPad case shows a space for a rear-facing camera at the top, and a speaker grille on the bottom rear side. The case found on Alibaba was first reported by AppleInsider.

In early December, an iPad case surfaced showing a rear-facing hole for a camera, but the case lacked the speaker grille seen on the C & T Industry version.

More recently, Japanese-language blog Mac Otakara citing anonymous sources based in China said the new iPad will sport a wide-range speaker on the rear of the device. The blog also said the new iPad will have a flat back -- the current iPad's back is curved -- and is thinner by 0.12 inch. Apple is widely expected to announce a new version of its tablet computer in January, a year after the company debuted the current version of the iPad. Current rumors suggest the new iPad will be sporting a front-facing camera for FaceTime video chat, rear-facing camera, and a higher resolution display. Some are also suggesting the new iPad may have an SD card slot and a dual core processor.

Despite an expected refresh next month, the iPad was believed to be a big hit for Apple this holiday season. It's not clear how many iPads will end up under the tree this Saturday, but a recent report by comScore said computer hardware purchases for the holiday season rose by 25 percent compared to 2009. The metrics firm attributed most of that growth to handheld portable devices including the iPad as well as laptop computers.

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