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Archive for May 14th, 2012

Kodak’s HQ secretly housed a nuclear reactor for over 30 years

carpetbomberz:

I know people who work and have worked at Kodak. And I live in Rochester and I never heard about this little nuclear pile sitting over at Kodak HQ.

Originally posted on VentureBeat:

Kodak may have specialized in cameras, but according some recent revelations, the beleaguered and recently-bankrupt company also tried its hand at nuclear research.

For thirty years, Kodak housed under its Rochester headquarters a research reactor equipped with over three pounds of enriched uranium. Kept secret, the uranium was removed in 2007, Democrat and Chronicle reports.

Though the reactor and its surrounding lab’s existence are perplexing and still a bit disconcerting, the idea behind the operation was fairly solid: Kodak used the uranium and reactor to test chemicals for impurities, as well as run neutron radiography tests. How that research was applied to its actual core operations isn’t clear, however.

It gets better. As it turns out, very few people knew of the lab’s existence, as Kodak had, with a few exceptions, not made it publicly known that the lab was in operation. Then again, that was sort of the idea, as the 3.5lbs of enriched uranium is just the sort of thing…

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Written by Eric Likness

May 14, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Posted in technology

Open-source media player VLC tops a billion downloads

carpetbomberz:

Given the recent demise of Perian, I thought it was great of VLC to show-off and let everyone know open source is still plugging away on the Mac. No matter how tied down Mountain Lion becomes, VLC still installs and runs as does HandBrake. And until Apple comes up with something better I will continue to use open source software on my desktop Macs.

Originally posted on VentureBeat:

VLC

Open-source staple VLC has reached over a billion downloads, the VideoLAN Organization announced Sunday.

For those who aren’t familiar with it, VLC is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player that plays most multimedia files as well as DVD, Audio CD, VCD, and various streaming protocols. VLC works on Mac OS X, Windows, and most popular Linux distros, and has support for iOS. It’s kind of like a Swiss Army knife for video and audio in the sense that you can play virtually anything with it by downloading the proper codecs.

The official number of downloads was 1,005,143,569 from late February 2005 through the current day. The stats show a large uptick in downloads across all platforms with the launch of Version 2.0.1.

I’d imaging VLC will probably become the media player of choice for Windows 8 users after Microsoft finally launches the forthcoming operating system. The…

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Written by Eric Likness

May 14, 2012 at 10:45 pm

Posted in technology

Open source QuickTime component Perian closing its doors soon

carpetbomberz:

This is a little sad given it was a free utility and valuable to a large number of Mac users. I hope folks like VLC/Vlan and HandBrake don’t go the way of Perian in the future. We need open source projects to keep our favorite desktop OSes working properly and meeting our daily expectations. Walled Gardens like iOS just won’t cut it, long term. #perian #walledgarden

Originally posted on 9to5Mac:

Dubbed the “Swiss-army knife for QuickTime,” open source QuickTime component Perian is finally closing down shop. The team of the six-year-old project announced the news today on their website and said the project will retire 90 days after Perian’s final release. The team also said the final release is coming soon and “may or may not work” in the upcoming Mountain Lion, and it will feature a ton of fixes. Luckily, it does not look like Perian’s technology will be hung out to dry, because the Perian team plans to put the source code on Google Code or Github when the time comes. This will allow developers to modify code and add new features for users to enjoy in an open source format.

Perian has been the go-to tool for those looking to add a slew of regular and not-so regular file and video types to QuickTime’s compatibility list, such…

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Written by Eric Likness

May 14, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Posted in technology

ARM creators Sophie Wilson and Steve Furber • reghardware

BBC Micro

BBC Micro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unsung Heroes of Tech Back in the late 1970s you wouldnt have guessed that this shy young Cambridge maths student named Wilson would be the seed for what has now become the hottest-selling microprocessor in the world.

via Chris Bidmead: ARM creators Sophie Wilson and Steve Furber • reghardware.

This is an amazing story of how a small computer company in Britain was able to jump into the chip design business and accidentally create a new paradigm in low power chips. Astounding what seemingly small groups can come with as complete product categories unto themselves. The BBC Micro was the single most important project that kept the company going and was produced as a learning aid for the BBC television show: The_Computer_Programme, a part of the BBC Computer Literacy Project. From that humble beginning of making the BBC Micro, Furber and Wilson’s ability to engineer a complete computer was well demonstrated.

But whereas the BBC Micro used an off the shelf MOS 6502 cpu, a later computer used a custom (bespoke) designed chip created in house by Wilson and Furber. This is the vaunted Acorn Risc Machine (ARM) used in the Archimedes desktop computer. And that one chip helped launch a revolution unto itself in that the very first time the powered up a sample chip, the multimeter hooked up to registered no power draw. At first one would think this was a flaw, and ask “What the heck is happening here?” But in fact when further inspection showed that the multimeter was correct, the engineers discovered that the whole cpu was running of power that was leaking from the logic circuits within the chip itself. Yes, the low power requirement of this first sample chip of the ARM cpu in 1985 ran on 1/10 of a watt of electricity. And that ‘bug’ then went on to become a feature in later generations of the ARM architecture.

Today we know of the ARM cpu cores as a bit of licensed Intellectual Property that any chip make can acquire and implement in their mobile processor designs. It has come to dominate many different architectures by different manufacturers as diverse as Qualcomm and Apple Inc. But none of it ever would have happened were it not for that somewhat surprising discovery of how power efficient that first sample chip really was when it was plugged into a development board. So thankyou Sophie Wilson and Steve Furber, as the designers and engineers today are able to stand upon your shoulders the way you once stood on the shoulders of people who designed the MOS 6502.

MOS 6502 microprocessor in a dual in-line pack...

MOS 6502 microprocessor in a dual in-line package, an extremely popular 8-bit design (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Written by Eric Likness

May 14, 2012 at 3:00 pm

carpetbomberz:

Mark Cuban weighs in on the College Loan Debt problem in the U.S. Hopefully this can sort itself out soon without an major disruptions in the Industry. (fingers-crossed)

Originally posted on blog maverick:

This is what I see when i think about higher education in this country today:

Remember the housing meltdown ? Tough to forget isn’t it. The formula for the housing boom and bust was simple. A lot of easy money being lent to buyers who couldn’t afford the money they were borrowing. That money was then spent on homes with the expectation that the price of the home would go up and it could easily be flipped or refinanced at a profit.  Who cares if you couldn’t afford the loan. As long as prices kept on going up, everyone was happy. And prices kept on going up. And as long as pricing kept on going up real estate agents kept on selling homes and finding money for buyers.

Until the easy money stopped.  When easy money stopped, buyers couldn’t sell. They couldn’t refinance.  First sales slowed, then prices started falling…

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Written by Eric Likness

May 14, 2012 at 11:51 am

Posted in technology

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