Email and Forum Questions Profiles in IT: Presper Eckert and John Mauchly A Good Year for Google But Anti-Trust is Looming Deals of the Season Verizon awarded $33.15m against cyber squatter Computer Mouse is 40 Years Old Data center budgets stable in 2009 Printer of the Week: Polaroid PoGo Food Science: Lumpy Gravy
Email from Sheldon: Dear Tech Talk: I am drowning in statistics looking at Plasma HD TVs. I’m looking at a 42-50 inch Panasonic Plasma.
I’m assuming I need 1080, which this has.
Is 120 Hz good enough or is the 480 Hz that I’m looking at better?
Then there’s widescreen aspect ratio – the one I’m looking at has 16:9
20W full-range 2-speaker system – sounds good to me, but what do I know?
Progressive scanning. Maximizes the picture quality of progressive-scan DVD players, set-top boxes and digital video recorders". We just got a Sony DVD/Blueray player. Guess I need to see if it has progressive-scan…
Inputs – Includes 3 HDMI, 2 composite video, 2 S-video, 2 component video, 1 RF and 6 audio.
Outputs – Includes 1 composite video, 1 audio and 1 digital audio.
Tech Talk Answers: Consider size first. The normal viewing distance should be double the screen size. If your normal viewing distance is 84 inches, then a 42 inch screen is optimal. If your viewing distance is 100 inches, a 50 inch screen is best.
As for the Input/Output (I/O): you have everything you need. In the future only HDMI will be used and you have three of those (for tuner, DVD)
As for resolution: The best you can expect is 1080p. P stands for progressive which means it scan every line from top to bottom. Interlaced means it scans every other line and then fills in between with the next frame. If you have 1080p, you will also have 1080i, 720p, 720i, etc. BTW, the 1080 refers to the number of lines (or pixels) vertically. So you should be covered here.
Screen size: you do want 16X9 (which is wide screen), rather than 3X4 which is the conventional screen size. All HDTV will eventually be 16X9.
Other other electronic specs take care of themselves: comb filters refer to noise filters (combs are standard), color management, sub-pixel controller can only improve the image quality.
You key choices are: plasma versus liquid crystal, resolution, I/O.
Email from Mitch: Hi Dr. Shurtz, I just wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and thank you for your enjoyable and rewarding show. Best Wishes to you and yours, Mitch Axelrod, O.D.
Tech Talk Answers: Thanks for listening.
Profiles in IT: Presper Eckert and John Mauchly
Eckert and Mauchly designed ENIAC, the first general purpose electronic digital computer. ENIAC stands for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer
J. Presper Eckert was born April 9, 1919, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Eckert initially enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School to study business but in 1937 transferred to Penn’s Moore School of Electrical Engineering.
He completed his BSEE in 1941 and entered the masters program.
John William Mauchly was born August 30 1907 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
He enrolled in Johns Hopkins University in 1925.
He completed his PhD in Physics in 1932 and became a professor of physics at Ursinus College near Philadelphia in 1933.
In 1941 he took a course in wartime electronics at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering, where he me Eckert.
Mauchly accepted a teaching position at the Moore School the next year.
Mauchly wrote a proposal for building an electronic digital computer using vacuum tubes, many times faster and more accurate than the differential analyzer.
In April 1943, the Army contracted with the Moore School to build the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC).
Mauchly led the conceptual design while Eckert led the hardware engineering team.
ENIAC was completed in late 1945 and was unveiled to the public in February, 1946.
ENIAC was roughly a thousand times faster than the existing technology. It could add 5,000 numbers or do fourteen 10-digit multiplications in one second.
ENIAC could be programmed to perform sequences and loops of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, square-root, input/output functions, and conditional branches. Programming, with patch cords and switches, took days.
Eckert and Mauchly began plans on a second computer, to be called EDVAC. By January 1945 they had procured a contract to build this stored-program computer. Eckert had proposed a mercury delay line memory to store both program and data.
Later that year, mathematician John von Neumann learned of the project and joined in some of the engineering discussions. He wrote the First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC. The term von Neumann architecture arose from this document,.
Both Eckert and Mauchly left the Moore School in March 1946 over a dispute involving assignations of claims on intellectual property.
They formed the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation and secured a contract with NBS to build an "EDVAC II", later named UNIVAC. UNIVAC, the first computer designed for business, which used magnetic tape for mass storage.
The company was purchased by Remington Rand and became the UNIVAC division.
Their work influenced an explosion of computer development in the late 1940s.
The ENIAC patent was filed on June 26, 1947 and issued in 1964.
The patent was invalidated in 1973. Von Neumann’s paper of prior art as cited as, well as, the fact that Mauchly had access to the Atansoff-Berry Computer (ABC).
Mauchly consistently maintained that it was the use of high-speed electronic flip-flops in cosmic-ray counting devices at Swarthmore College that gave him the idea.
A Good Year for Google But Anti-Trust is Looming
The company began the year overcoming opposition to its $3.1 billion acquisition of DoubleClick, a move that gave Google more clout in the market for "display" ads.
In April, Google launched Google App Engine. Basic applications are free, but more taxing ones cost money, a pay-as-you-go model.
Google got more serious with a service level agreement that commits to 99.9 percent availability for Google Apps’ paying customers.
In September, Google released the open-source Chrome browser. Google wants to make using the Web as fast as possible to spur greater activity.
In October, T-Mobile began selling the first Android-powered phone, the G1.
Google’s big profit engine is putting ads next to search results, and because advertisers only pay for them when people click them, it’s easier for advertisers to fund campaigns that actually are making money.
Yahoo struck an unusual partnership to show Google’s search ads as well as its own. Yahoo expected $800 million in new revenue in the deal’s first year.
But the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit threat killed the Yahoo-Google partnership.
Google was was given notice that the DOJ is willing to check Google’s power.
Deals of the Season
Flat Panel Displays
GPS Navigation Systems
Verizon awarded $33.15m against cyber squatter
Verizon has been awarded $33.15m in a cyber squatting lawsuit against a shady domain aggregator that registered hundreds of websites using the telco’s name and trademarks.
In a default judgment this week, a federal court in Northern California ruled this week that OnlineNIC should pay $50,000 for each of the 633 domains Verizon claims were created specifically to be confused with legitimate Verizon brands.
According to the lawsuit filed in June 2008, OnlineNIC used an automated process to claim sites such as verizononline.com, myverizonwireless.com, 123verizonphones.com, accountverizonwireless.com, and iphoneverizonplans.com.
The fake Verizon sites hosted ad links and pop-under advertisements that resulted in revenue for OnlineNIC.
No one appeared in court on OnlineNIC’s behalf, and Verizon itself can’t figure out exactly who’s behind the scheme, according to court documents.
Verizon claims that OnlineNIC conceals its owners’ true identities and involvement by using numerous shell entities, fictitious businesses, and personal names for ICANN registration.
The firm also allegedly deletes infringing domains within five days and then re-registers to avoid paying registration costs and to avoid detection by trademark owners.
OnlineNIC claims to be based in San Francisco, although its website offers an Oakland, California mailing address.
Computer Mouse is 40 Years Old
Forty years ago, Douglas Engelbart gave a 90-minute presentation on a "computer-based, interactive, multiconsole display system" under development at Stanford Research Institute (SRI).
The system was designed to investigate "principles by which interactive computer aids can augment intellectual capability."
This event?attended by about 1,000 computer professionals?would later be called by many the "mother of all demos" and would introduce the world to a number of computing capabilities largely taken for granted today: the computer mouse, hypertext, object addressing and dynamic file linking.
It would be another two years before the U.S. Patent Office officially recognized the mouse, at the time called a X-Y position indicator for a display system.
Bill English, the SRI engineer actually built the first mouse out of a wood block.
Data center budgets stable in 2009
AFCOM – an association of data center professionals (over 4,400 data centers)
AFCOM did a survey of its user base to see what might be in store for 2009.
18.8 per cent said they expected to decrease their 2009 IT
43 per cent said they expected an increase in 2009
38.2 per cent expected no change in 2009.
Among those making cuts to the 2009 budget
30 per cent said they were making cuts to travel
23.3 per cent said training and education would take a hit
14.3 per cent said they would be making cuts to their personnel.
16.5 per cent said facilities, cooling, power distribution, UPS, would be cut.
21.1 per cent said IT gear – servers, storage, and software – would be cut.
So what are CIOs expecting to spend money on?
86.2 per cent said that they would increase their use of virtualization to reduce the need for physical servers.
12.6 per cent said they would be using hosted applications
CIOs also expect to boost their use of video conferencing to cut their travel.
Only 22.7 said they would increase their spending on cloud IT.
Printer of the Week: Polaroid PoGo
$90 to $100 for the printer, $14 to $16 for 30 sheets of paper
Polaroid spinoff called Zink unveiled a miniature, instant photo printer that went on the market in 2008 as the Polaroid PoGo.
The printer has hundreds of precisely controllable heating elements, and it uses special two-by-three-inch paper that contains three layers of nanocrystals.
When the crystals are heated, they transform into an amorphous glass. Each layer of glass reflects a different color, and the blend of colors is controlled by the duration and temperature of the heating.
Zink stands for Zero Ink.
The printer can connect to a digital camera with a USB cable or to a camera phone over a Bluetooth wireless connection.
Food Science: Lumpy Gravy
Starch-thickened sauces take advantage of gelatinization
Wheat starch thickens 140 to 148 degrees F
Corn starch thickens at 144 to 158 degree F
To eliminate lumps mix flour and butter (roux) prior to putting into liquid.
1-1-1 Formula: 1 cup of liquid, 1 TB flour, 1 TB butter.