Adobe Browserlab Updated

I do a lot of my work on my MacBook Pro and as you know not all Browsers run on a Mac. Specifically MSIE (Microsoft Internet Explorer) has not had a new release of their browser for the Mac platform since around version 5. It makes it kind of difficult when doing design changes to a website to make sure that your changes are Cross Browser when you can't install the Latest IE Browser on your Machine. You could set up VirtualBox and download one of the available images from Microsoft setting them up as a virtual machine.

Adobe BrowserLab is a flash application that is able to rend a website exactly how the different browsers render it on different platforms, for example Firefox 3.5 on windows and OS X.

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Online Backup Service Zoogmo to close

Zoogmo, a peer-to-peer backup service has announced that they will be shutting down and going offline at the end of this year.

Online backup services have a lot of benefits for consumers but what happens when your backup service closes shop? For Zoogmo customers this question is suddenly very important.

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Monitoring Your Cluster

So you have set up your Railo cluster using Apache and Tomcat as described in the Clustering Railo with Tomcat and Apache article and as far as you know the cluster is performing exactly as expected, or is it? The problem is unless you actually check the tomcat instances you really don't have a clue if one of the Tomcat instances are down. Luckily there is a relatively simple way to set up a monitor to monitor your cluster.

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Wireless Electricity

Saw an interesting article today that several companies are developing methods to deliver electricity without the use of a cable.

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The Pirate Bay Offline!

Sometime on Monday 24th of Auguast, a Swedish court Black Internet the main Pirate Bay ISP to cap access to the Pirate bay websites. The site is currently offline.

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Sprint goes greener with Samsungs eco-Phone

In a press release on Sprints website the wireless provider will begin offering Samsungs' Reclaim beginning August 16th.

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LG BL40 Chocolate: 21:9 Touchscreen Smartphone

The BL40 has four inch HD touch sensitive 21:9 screen with a resolution of 800x435 and the ability to show movies in wide screen format. A Smartphone or a mobile media center?

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US Cyber Challenge: Do You Have The Right Stuff?

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) wants you! CSIS has created the "Cyber Security Challenge" in an attempt to lure up to 10,000 new candidates to become the next Top Guns in Cyber Security.

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Apollo 11 Flight-Control Code Released

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing part of the navigation systems source code has been released to the public via Google code.

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Would You Install Chrome OS?

Google Chief Erich Schmidt in an interview claimed that the upcoming Chrome OS will be on millions of computers, though doesn't have any hard figures.

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Geocities to be dismantled

Remember Yahoo Geocities? Boy I do! Long, long time ago when I played the "MMORPG" Meridian 59 I built up a simple website for our Guild. You couldn't do anything particularly fancy on Geocities then but we didn't need anything fancy we just needed some space to put up our guild info and have a forum.

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The Pirate Bay Sold!

This came as a quite a shock to me today to hear that The Pirate Bay has been sold to Global Gaming Factory will this spell the end to TPB much like that of napster?

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Wolfram: The Computational Knowledge Engine

On Saturday 16.05.2009, I stumbled upon an article about Wolfram Alpha the Computational Knowlege Engine. What exactly is a Computational Knowlege Engine?

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Apple Sued for Patent Infrigement by Picsel

In court documents filed in the Delaware District Court on Friday, Feburary 13th, 2009, Scottish companies Picsel Research and Picsel Technologies are suing Apple. Inc for patent infringement relating to technologies contained in Apple's iPhone and iPod touch.

One of the largest law firms in the USA Nixon Peabody LLP has been retained to represent Picsel against Apple. Inc. The full press release from Nixon Peabody claims that:

"..Apple has implemented a key component from Picsel's mobile rendering functionality, which enables users to scan through all kinds of on-screen content without experiencing prolonged screen update cycles. Without Picsel's technology, users can be subjected to prolonged delays while "zooming" and "panning" documents, Web pages, and images."

This will never the less be an interesting test to see how well Apple has done it's homework and how "solid" the patents of both companies are. That, and of course, how good the lawyers are.

Google G1: Hit or Miss?

The Google G1 will be going on-sale here in Germany at the start of February, so I thought I would take a closer look at Google's first mobile phone. I first thought that perhaps the G1 would be a competitor to the iPhone but by the looks of things I couldn't have been more wrong.

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Adobe Flash on the I-Phone?

There has been a lot of noise in the past week about Apple lifting a ban on 3rd party browsers. Apparently a few browsers (Edge Browser, Incognito) are now available on the i-tunes store backdated to sometime in October.

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ThinkPad W700ds: The Dual Monitor Laptop

The first thought that popped into my head when I stumbled upon this little tidbit of news about the Lenovo ThinkPad W700ds was "oh my God why?" A laptop with 11/2 monitors. The Monitor is, I believe, the largest consumer of power for a laptop, so why throw in another monitor?

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Intel Profits drop 90 Percent

The financial crisis appears to have had a lot farther reaching consequences on all market sectors than first though. That the leader in the computer chip market would suffer a 90 percent drop in the fourth quarter of 2008 is not a good indicator of a recovery happening any time soon.

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British School to Implement Facial Recognition System

The UK government is, in my experience, a rather paranoid bunch. The network of CCTV cameras around the country, while there for "our safety", also kind of gave me the creeps with the "whole big brother is watching" feeling when ever I stepped out side. Now UK Schools, in a flash of "brilliance", are getting into it with St. Neots Community College leading the way with a facial recognition system developed by UK firm Aurora

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Sun Microsystems Posts 1.68 Billion Loss

It would seem that Sun Microsystems hasn't been spared from the financial crisis that started in the USA with the collapse of the housing market and spread across the globe.

An article appeared in Computer Bild today indicating that this time last year Sun posted an almost 90 million USD win, but has been particularly hurt this year by it's enterprise hardware division. It's largest customers being in the financial sector and being unable to continue paying for their systems. Additionally, because of the crisis, many large firms have put their investments in IT-infrastructure on hold.

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Adobe Munich Sponsors Girl Geek Dinner

Yes folks you read that right Germany too has chapters of "Girl Geek Dinner", and this time Adobe is sponsoring it in Munich.

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Brainstorming, Meetings and Mindjet

I first heard of mind maps about five years ago as a means to protocol a meeting. I also briefly tried it during requirements gathering sessions with clients but the idea didn't seem to catch on in my then company (plus I only had a demo version.

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Cuil Enters the Search Engine Fray

A new search engine Cuil (Cool) launched today. Developed by a few Google alumnni, along with 33 million in venture capital, is set to go head to head with Google and other the "other" search engines.

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Google Presentations

I recently decided to use Google docs to do a little writing. I find it's ok for simple documents without too much fancy stuff, simple for simple needs.

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Piclens Firefox Plugin

A little while ago I installed the Piclens firefox plugin to take for a test-drive. I first thought "not another flash gimick".

But I actually really like it for browsing my pictures on Flickr.

Its a heck of a lot better than the built in slide show viewer. The scrolling is smooth the image loading is fast and it's really quite fun to zoom through the images.

The only thing is that I find it has a very limited use. SearchMe on the other hand had made some pretty nice improvements to its flash visual search engine since it first released it's Beta back in March of this year. Its use as a visual search engine also probably has niche market, but I guess only time will tell whether it can carve out a little bit of the search engine traffic to stay make the business worthwhile.

Happy coding...

Animation on the Grid

I read an interesting article the other day about an open movie project by the blender foundation (creators of a free open source 3D content creation suite). They used Sun's Grid computing (similar to Amazons Cloud) to render the entire movie.

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Microsoft pay $240 million for 1.6%

Looks like Microsoft is finally anteing up and joining in on the social networking revolution by paying $240 million for a measly 1.6% of facebook, according to this wired news story.

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I-Pod Hack Published

Yesterday, in the German Financial times, I read a detailed article on how to unlock the Sim lock on the Apple I-Phone. I had heard that some people in the US had created both physical (hardware) and, additionally, Software that would unlock the I-Phone so that it can be used on any GSM enabled network.

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GotCFM reaches over 1500

Well I see that Rey Bango released the winner of his first to 1,000th CFML site on gotCFM.com. Sadly it wasn't me, so no free stuff.

The good news is that the count is well over 1500 now, and I am sure there are thousands more out there.

Rey just needs to have another contest, perhaps the first to 5,000. Adobe marketing could kick in some nice free software prizes and other marketing stuff.

So anybody with ears on the inside (hint: Ray, Ben) wanna see about getting Rey some better prizes for the next level? I am sure Rey thinks its a great idea...err don't you Rey?

Sony Ericsson K550i

I have decided to finally get a new cell phone. Previously I had a Razr which served me quite well over the two plus years I had it.

But then bad luck struck and it disappeared on tram on the way home from work. I managed to get a replacement SIM card and then was stuck using my wifes 7 year old Nokia that has quite possibly the worst reception ever when compared to the excellent reception and range of my Razr!

Quite frankly I also grew a bit tired of the flip part so am not overly saddened at the loss of my old cell phone.

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Clean Atomic Energy

Is a total oxymoron!

I am constantly reminded every time I see an article like this or this of how large an oxymoron it is!

I have recently seen a flurry of advertising from Atomic energy plants in Europe and abroad touting how energy that they produce is so clean and safe. What a joke!

Zero Co2 they proclaim, and clean energy for years and years!

It is true, they haven't lied, atomic energy produces no Co2 emissions, but what they are forgetting to tell you is how much Co2 is emitted in the process to get the fuel rods from raw materials to the power plant. How much earth must be mined and crushed all using dirty old fossil fuels. How that earth containing the fuel must be refined to produce the fuel rods.

They also fail to mention how the really deadly waste that the energy plants do create, you know all that radio active stuff, will be around for minimum 10,000 years, or what will happen if there is a meltdown.

So yes, atomic energy is clean if you only look at the surface, but atomic energy is not a solution to global warming, and it is not a viable solution to replace fossil fuels. We need a real long term solution that won't leave our planet a radio active wasteland for all time.

I don't have the answers but perhaps the Iter project will be able to provide us with some hope for a cleaner radio active waste free energy solution.

Sun Germany Chef Marcel Schneider Turns Coat

Microsoft Germany announced on July 2nd that Marcel Schneider will defect from Sun Microsystems and go to work for Microsoft.

Schneider is currently executive director and vice president at Sun Microsystems GmbH and will join the executive board.

I read the press release and honestly find what he says about Microsoft while still being an employee of Sun very interesting.

From the press release

Microsoft ist das spannendste Unternehmen in unserer Branche. Niemand ist nach meiner Beobachtung besser aufgestellt als Microsoft, um Unternehmen leistungsfähige, zuverlässige und sichere IT-Lösungen anzubieten

Translated:

Microsoft is the most exciting enterprise in our industry. Nobody is better set up after my observation than Microsoft, in order to offer to enterprises efficient, reliable and safe IT solutions.

God that about makes me want to throw up! That kind of comment is better said after you have started working for your new company, not while still working for the old. I think it's totally bad form.

And what does Sun Microsystems GmbH think of Mr. Schneiders departure?

....

Yep, no press release, nothing, not a word from Sun, I couldn't find anything anywhere even somewhat official that anything occured. Is it possible that Mr. Schneider caught Sun with proverbial pants down?

Aptana iPhone Plugin

The team over at Aptana have been very busy of late. Not only did they release support for Adobe Air development in July they also announced a Plugin for developing on Apple Iphone!

They have come up with a couple really great features to help you develop the next 'hot' App like preview support in both horizontal and vertical mode, starter files, importing of ajax libraries, and full support for javascript and css embedded within html. So for all of you that want to get a head start on developing cool apps for the iPhone here is your chance.

Apple I-Phone Launch Today

The Apple i-phone has it's launch today Friday June 29th, at least in the USA. I have looked at the phone and I can honestly say that I can't see the appeal of it.

There isn't anything too revolutionary about it. It has some cool features like motion sensors to adjust the screen display, gps, a touch screen. Yes OK the screen has good graphics, and the ability to change the screen from vertical to horizontal is cool. It also has the ability for better HTML support. Additionally touting the dual platform support of Windows and OSX.

In the end nothing truly groundbreaking, just a mashup with a bit of added eye candy.

The biggest thing I've noticed is the standby battery life of 250hrs! Thats quite a bit, but is anyone actually going to achieve that kind of performance? If you are going to own one of these toys it's more than likely not going to spend much time on standby. You are going to be using it like a BlackBerry to "organize" your life, or listen to music or play games, use it to IM folks. With only 8 gigs max of storage you won't be able to have too much music or too many movies/videos/TV-shows stored on your phone device.

I am sure before to long it's going to get a nickname like "i-crack" in keeping with the nickname given to the BlackBerry or CrackBerry.

Well when they are finally released in Europe I am sure it's going to be as big a deal as in the US. I can tell you I won't be camping outside of any stores to be the first on my block to have one!

Coldfusion 8 Performance Benchmark

I have been diligently working with as many of the new CF8 tags and functionality, creating examples, trying out new things pushing the boundaries of what some of the new tags can and cant do. But I haven't really spent much time thinking about the performance. I figured they would get some gains from moving to the new JRE version but other than that I didn't give it much thought. That is until this morning when I checked my Google Reader and saw that both Ben Forta and Ray Camden have posted some Coldfusion 8 Performance numbers.

I have to say if the performance numbers are accurate it's a heck of an increase over 6 and 7, upwards of 40%!

Here are a few of the benchmark numbers from Ben's blog:

  • Structure manipulation: CF6.1=99, CF7=101, CF8=200. In other words, CF8 manipulated structures twice as fast as CF6 and 7.
  • List manipulation: CF6.1=33.6, CF7=34.4, CF8=103.4. CF8 list manipulation is over three times faster than that of CF6 and 7.
  • CFSWITCH/CFCASE: CF6.1=66.2, CF7=88.9, CF8=244.4. CF8 is three times faster than CF7.
  • CFPARAM: CF6.1=8.9, CF7=9.6, CF8=341.4. Yep, thirty five times as fast!
  • Date functions: CF6.1=230, CF7=251, CF8=1423. About six times faster in CF8.
  • RegEx functions: CF6.1=390, CF7=392, CF8=987. Over double the speed in CF8.
  • IsDefined(): CF6.1=136, CF7=611, CF8=1243. Double as fast as CF7, and nearly ten times the speed of CF6.
  • CFC creation: CF6.1=9.7, CF7=3, CF8=69.4. Yep, performance here took a hit in CF7, but it's more than made up for in CF8.

This is very exciting news. I think it will be quite easy to sell to Managers that Adobe is committed to continuing to improve Coldfusion. These numbers for Coldfusion 8 speak to the truth of that. And as well quite easy to convince them to upgrade as soon as it's released!

I can tell you that after showing some of the folks at my office that they were astounded at how large of a performance increase there is. They, and quite honestly myself, expected to see more of a modest improvement.

I'm really looking forward to the release for these reasons alone.

Sun Project BlackBox

I'm sure you have already heard about Sun Micro's "Project Blackbox" where they vow that "we will never look at a shipping container the same way again"

I was curious, I knew what is was (a big black shipping container that's also a data center) but I didn't know the details.

The Blackbox arrived in Europe in mid May after completing its tour throught the USA. It's now currently in Germany, though the website hasn't been updated to say so, and was 'officially' introduced to German journalists on Thursday June 21st in Munich Germany after travelling through Austria. So since it's in my new neighborhood I wanted to see what the fuss was about.

It was also launched the same day as the Eco-Tour and continues the theme of Sun's "global social-responsibility campaign".

What I found interesting is that it's cooling system is 20% more efficient than traditional data centers. Sun doesn't say how it achieves those efficiencies but maybe it is because of it being designed to fit into a shipping container? Also as part of Suns Eco Responsibility campaign they have promised to take back any container they sell and recycle it in an "enviornmentally friendly way"

I downloaded the official brochure from sun and I found the following excerpt quite interesting.

Project Blackbox can be populated with 250 Sun Fire servers configured for grid computing across seven racks inside the container. An eighth rack contains network switches, a dehumidifier, thermal management systems, and alarm and EPO controls. However, organizations have considerable flexibility in determining how their Project Blackbox containers are configured-- and the level of performance they can deliver. For example, one container can:
  • Hold 120 Sun Fire" T2000 systems--or 250 Sun Fire" T1000 systems with 2,000 cores and 8,000 simultaneous threads. 250 CoolThreads" technology- based servers support four times the number of Web users and provide five times the efficiency of the same number of similarly configured Dell Xeon servers
    • Customers will also save approximately $1,000 per CoolThreads technology- based system per year in energy costs over traditional datacenters, as well as savings from the container's cooling advantages
    • Customers in Northern California qualify for energy rebates of up to $240,000 if they upgrade from Xeon-based systems to Sun Fire CoolThreads technology-based servers in Project Blackbox
  • Hold up to 1,000 x64 cores
  • Support seven terabytes of memory
  • Provide more than two petabytes of storage
  • Provides easy management of and support for up to 10,000 simultaneous desktop users--without administrators
  • Host a configuration that would place it among the 200 fastest supercomputers in the world

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Sun Microsystems Goes Green

Sun Microsystems Germany announced today their "Sun Eco Tour 2007".

The tour, using a hybrid bicycle called the Eco-Rider and piloted by journalist Martin Müller, "will showcase companies, organizations, cities and communities that promote eco-responsibility". The tour, under Suns "global social-responsibility campaign" will stop in 10 locations throughout Germany and ends at the Urban Sustainability Conference in Berlin on September 9.


The Eco-Rider © Sun 2007

The tours official start is at the Dreseden International Super Computing Conference on June 25. Subsequently the tour will also be used to highlight the Sun Ultra SPARC T1 processor

"32 Threads in 2 Square Inches

The UltraSPARC T1 processor with CoolThreads technology is the highest-throughput and most eco-responsible processor ever created. It's a breakthrough discovery for reducing data center energy consumption, while dramatically increasing throughput. Its 32 simultaneous processing threads, drawing about as much power as a light bulb, give you the best performance per watt of any processor available."

A blog highlighting the tour can be found at http://www.im-strom-der-zeit.de/. It is , however, in German.


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