Cray Supercomputers Play Key Role in Designing Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Cray reported yesterday that 800,000 processor hours of computing time on Cray supercomputers went into the design of the highly successful Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

With help from the Crays, Boeing was able to get through the prototyping phases with only having to test 11 physical wings versus the 77 wing designs for the Boeing 767. The resulting airliner is also much lighter, with fewer emissions and more cost savings per seat per mile.

Supercomputingonline has the details and quotes, read more.

And In Autonomous Aircraft News From ‘Space War’…

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From Space WarPredators Reach Quarter-Million Flight Hours
The Predator is a medium-altitude, long-endurance, remotely piloted aircraft. Its primary mission is interdiction and conducting armed reconnaissance against critical, perishable targets.

Airmen from the 11th Reconnaissance Squadron recently flew an MQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle past the 250,000 flying hour milestone marking the historic milestone with a ceremony June 22 at Creech Air Force Base. “There are Predators airborne in support of operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Because of what it can bring to the fight, the Predator is the most requested asset in theater,” said Col. Christopher Chambliss, the 432nd Wing commander.

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From Space WarPuma Achieves Record Flight Time Using Fuel Cell Battery Hybrid System
With a wingspan of 8.5 feet and weight of 12.5 pounds, Puma is a lightweight, hand-launched Unmanned Aircraft that provides aerial observation at line-of-sight ranges up to 10 kilometers. Watch videos or view its datasheets.

AeroVironment has successfully flown its Puma small unmanned aircraft for nearly five hours while it was powered by an onboard fuel cell battery hybrid energy storage system. This successful demonstration marked the completion of the first task under AV’s contract with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) for the development of advanced propulsion technologies for unmanned aircraft.

What Is That??

Props to Benji-kun for getting the last WIT right, a image of a clear bathroom air freshener!  w00t!

So now that summer is in full swing, and the temperature is slowly baking us like a potato, it’s time to partake of the popular outdoor fun stuff we all save for the hot months.  I’m running around like a headless chicken taking my son to soccer games, camp activities and trying to catch all the good movies that have been released lately.  (Can you say “Transformers”??)  But in all that activity, I am always scoping my surroundings for some good WIT material!  You can too!  Feel free to send us any images you think would make a good WIT, and if we use it, we’ll make sure to give you a proper hat tip 😉

But, let’s get this road on the show, shall we?  I’m determined to stump you guys one of these days…so check this out –

WIT38

Fear the bright yellow thing!  *snicker*  Guess away!

Got WiFi Coding or Engineering Skills? Palm Is Hiring

palm logo

Palm has been struggling for a while to integrate WiFi capability into the new Treo line of smartphones and it appears they’re starting to get desperate.

How desperate?

Several industry sources have informed Unstrung.com that the mobile manufacturer has let go some, or possibly all, of its WiFi integration team and are looking for replacements!

Meanwhile rivals continue to make inroads in this area and offer it on their devices including the iPhone, Nokia’s newer phones as well as some Windows Mobile smartphones (not my Cingular 2125 though).

I’ve heard a lot of complaints from peers though that the feature can be a serious power hog (at least on the HTC phones), though you could just leave it off by default until needed.

Link to the Unstrung article with full details.

Submit your resumes to Palm here, it appears they’ve got some interesting positions open all in the Sunnyvale area for Test, Dev and PM.

The Hero Machine

The Hero Machine is a Flash-based application that allows you to create characters or fantasy sports logos you’ve always imagined, but couldn’t draw for yourself. The app appears to be hosted by a Marvel Comics Virtual club.

Below is ‘The Grape Destroyer’ (clicky), that I created in about 5 minutes using an intuitive interface with a wealth of control over shapes, accessories, logos, weapons and more. When you’re done, the only way for you to save an image of your hero is via a screen capture.

Though my hero may look a little weak, be sure to check out some of the sample pre-generated heroes and villains to get a good idea of the power at your fingertips.

Grape Destroyer

Star Trek – Inspirational Posters

ST BADGE

Gary Woolsey has created dozens of inspirational (mostly humorous) posters from high quality JPEG scenes of the original Star Trek series. Here’s the home page or jump into Gallery #1 right away.

Some of my favorites from his galleries are the matte paintings that were used in a handful of episodes like this Kaylar Fortress on Rigel 7 or this Lithium Station on Delta Vega.

Tip o’ the hat to Gary, nicely done.

brain-freeze

[Found via Neatorama]

Showing A Little Geek Love

Geek Love

I should start showing some love to the folks that comment and link to Geeknews periodically, I guess it’s the whole karma thing ‘just in case’. If you comment and would like a link to advertise your site, please holler. I’ll grep through the comments this week and find the links you may have already provided.

Here’s a batch of 3, by far the more interesting of the batch is Gabrielle’s.

TechChickBlog:
As Gabrielle puts it, it’s a “non serious blog about Tech”. She loves attention, so swing by and show her some. Start by visiting her photo gallery and her own LOLCATS at http://techchickblog.com/photos/ and leave her a comment.

Games4mobile:
AKA KoOoOoL Games For Mobiles.Though there’s a smattering of tech news or other tidbits you geeks want, mobile is the focus, everything from mobile virus’ to mobile tv.

Andymatic:
Hey, who doesn’t love the name Andy? 🙂 Seriously, Andymatic is a personal blog with a well rounded topic list of links and bookmarks covering politics, tech news and pop culture. For instance, he found a really cool blog link to ‘The Ultimate WordPress htaccess file’

"Happy Birthday USA" or "Yeah Mars!"

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Following on the heels of the lovely neighbors to the north who just had a b’day

On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress approved a Declaration of Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, forming the United States of America.

Also on this day in 1997, the NASA Mars Pathfinder, which contained the Sojourner rover, lands on Mars. This famous photo of Sojourner probing the ‘Yogi’ rock should refresh your memory.

Recall that the scientists were naming the rocks after cartoon characters including Barnacle Bill, Yogi (as in Yogi Bear), Scooby Doo and Casper.

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Alarmist Global Warming Claims Melt Under Scientific Scrutiny

Global Warming

Finally, the mainstream press is calling out Al Gore and some his numerous claims that have been refuted by science. Link to the article in question.

In this case the Chicago Sun-Times is asking him to acknowledge that these were in fact mistakes made in his book and documentary and we should be having a reasoned discussion on the subject, not further driving the Lemmings of society off the cliff with his belief of doom and gloom.

Global Warming – yes I’m sure the global temps are rising faster than we’d like. But it’s more apparent that it’s likely nature that is shaking her lovely Gaia of the flee infestation called ‘man’? Or is it man sending his descendants into a hellish existence on earth hundreds of years from now? Or is it a combination of the two?

I’m inclined to believe it’s the natural order of things and we should learn to ride the storm.

Agree or Disagree? Let’s hear it.

RIP Fred Saberhagen

Berserker

Fred Saberhagen passed away today at age 77, he was born in 1930 and spent a great amount of his time on this world taking geeks to other worlds. He began publishing in 1961 with short stories in Galaxy and If magazines, and published his first book ‘Berserker’ in 1967, first in a series about interstellar killing machines programmed to destroy all life. The best stuff he’d written in my opinion was the Berserker series.

Here’s my favorite quote of his:

I am generally way out of touch with trends, except now and then I am surprised to find myself leading one, like sympathetic vampires.

Indian firms hire Americans to drive growth

Call it reverse outsourcing or local talent hunting, but high-tech Indian firms say they have been hiring Americans as part of their long-term growth strategy.

Officials at companies like Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India’s largest outsourcing firm, and Wipro Technologies, another major Indian technology provider, say this has nothing to do with periodic outcries that Indians are taking away jobs from Americans.

Upwards of 10% of the workforce for Tata is non-Indian and play a variety of roles at the companies such as sales, consulting, IT services, marketing and communications.

I’m inclined to agree with their sentiment that it’s unrelated to the recent wave of negativity such as the Senate inquiry into the H1-B issues of late. I’ve worked with a handful of offshore development sites and it truly behooves these IT providers to have ‘local talent’ in this country. As one executive from Wipro recently put it, they “are better culturally assimilated to the local environment with a stronger market knowledge and local domain competence?.”

[via: Indo-Asian News Service & BOP Watch India]

Happy Birthday Canada!

125px-Canada_flag_large

Today is Canada’s 150th 140th birthday, also known as Canada Day. On this day in 1867 the 1st of the British North America Acts were passed (they’re now called the ‘Constitution Act, 1867‘).

Q: Where did the name ‘Canada’ come from?

A: French explorer Jacques Cartier and his crew interacted with the Iroquoians (today they’re referred to the ‘St. Lawrence Iroquoians‘) in the late 16th century along the shores of what we now call the St. Lawrence River in Quebec and Ontario.

Cartier picked up on their word ‘canada’ which meant ‘settlement’, ‘village’ or ‘land’ and henceforth the territories had a name.

iPhone Hand’s On Report: Top 10 List Of Things That "Absolutely Suck"

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I’ve written before about how I obsess over my Windows Mobile Smartphone, so I won’t be switching over anytime soon, but Ben from Smash’s World switched yesterday and he’s already compiling the list of what’s wrong.

Here’s some topic highlights, read the article for the nitty gritty on each:

  1. The overall lack of a [visible] filesystem, and web-browser limitations.
  2. Why can’t I do [obvious task]?
  3. You can’t type fast without a lot of practice, and entering passwords isn’t so private.
  4. Messaging? What messaging? Sorry, distracted by all of the Junk E-mail.
  5. Menu navigation blunders.
  6. You need an adapter to use other headphones.
  7. You cannot use the phone as a modem, or browse/transfer files via Bluetooth. Don’t forget your iPod cable!
  8. Google Maps — Before I find where I’m going, let me find where I am. Hold on.

and more…

Of course, it may just be that there’s a slight learning curve and after a while its trained the user in how ‘the new world operates’ when it’s with an iPhone.

Time will tell, it’ll be fun watching to see if the goal of 10 Million units sold by end of 2008 comes to fruition and see the AAPL stock continue to soar.

This discussion from Ben’s blog was moved to a MacRumors: Forums here and the gripes with the phone are coming in, here’s a choice comment I hadn’t thought of before on the iPhone:

– Deadspots on my iPhone. I can’t hit certain keys like the add contact/talk/backspace button in the keypad; the 7, 8, and 9 keys when trying to set my voicemail password

Vista Codec Package v4.4.6

music

Codecs have been a problem for most users at one time or another. This is because there has never been an ‘out of the box’ working solution that the average user could install and just have everything work properly from the start.

With Vista Codec Package, you won’t be wanting in the codec department with Windows Vista. See the bottom of this article for the list of 30 additional codecs added to your existing in-box codecs. Here’s the homepage for the product, scroll down a little to find the d/l locations for VCP.

Many user suggested default settings are implemented, the developer’s guidance is to “Install these packages, and forget them. By default you won’t need to make any adjustments to enjoy your media content immediately.”

It does not contain a media player and it does not associate filetypes. With this package installed you will be able to use any media player, limited only by the players’ capabilities, to play DVD’s, movies and video clips of almost any filetype. Streaming video is supported in several formats in all popular web browsers. Users of the package have the ability to choose what is installed and where to install it using the public redistributable.

This package supports these 16 localized installations and the default is English:  Chinese Simplified/Traditional, Japanese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Polish, Swedish and Turkish.

– AC3File
– AC3Filter
– AudioSwitcher
– AVI<->AC3/DTS
– CDDA Reader
– CDXA Reader
– CoreVorbis Audio Decoder
– CyberLink QuickTime Source Filter
– DC-Bass Source
– DirectVobSub (auto-loading version)
– DivX Audio
– DScaler Mpeg2 Video Decoder – installed as required
– DTS/AC3/DD+ Source
– ffdshow Audio/Video Decoder
– ffdshow video encoder
– File Source (MP3)
– Haali Media Splitter (AR)
– Haali Video Renderer
– Microsoft Windows Media Video 9 VCM
– Mpeg Splitter
– MPEG4 Video Splitter
– Nero Digital Parser
– Nero FLV Splitter
– Nero QuickTime audio/Video Decoder
– Ogg Vorbis Audio CODEC
– Real audio/Video Decoder/Splitter
– ShoutcastSource
– Sipro Lab Telecom Audio Codec
– VP7 Decompressor
– XviD MPEG-4 Video Decoder

Hack Your Laptop Batteries, Save Some Money

Is your laptop battery showing its age? If you’ve looked at a replacement like I had to last year then you’re already aware of how costly it can be, well over a hundred dollars U.S.

If you’re handy with a soldering iron and not afraid to take a crack at replacing the guts of the battery then you can save upwards of 75% of the cost of a new battery by simply replacing the Li-Ion batteries that comprise your laptop battery.

This video is a quick step by step tutorial to the process from Kipkay.

[metacafe 479447/laptop_battery_hack_dont_buy_a_new_one]

Additional references:

Counterintelligence Interrogation

cia

The other day I told you about the CIA docs released to the public and searchable from their site.

While browsing this treasure trove I stumbled across this one on ‘Counterintelligence Interrogation‘ techniques from 1965. It used to be a SECRET publication with the subtitle of ‘A collection of articles on the historical, operational, doctrinal and theoretical aspects of intelligence’.

Wow, this is the kind of stuff Sgt. Joe Friday would have written, I could hardly contain myself as I dug into it. 😉

I could summarize it as:

It’s a good quick read, I recommend it as bathroom material and something to consider in your RPG if you find yourself on the receiving or giving end of an interrogation.

Here’s a little more info:

It’s 18 short pages of Do’s and Don’ts for the prospective counterintelligence interrogator. Includes legal paperwork you should consider to dot your i’s and cross your t’s beforehand so information gleaned is admissible evidence, special considerations for interrogating females, how to harass and isolate your target, employ divide and conquer techniques, building your story, how to deal with the ‘smash and grab’ type of interrogators from competing gov’t orgs (i think hinting at the FBI), leveraging two-man teams and employing indigenous interrogators when operating overseas, etc…

It ends with this:

Never forget that some day the subject may have an opportunity to tell his side of the story to the press or other public medium, friendly or hostile. He will certainly talk to individuals. What he should honestly be able to say about us is that we are tough but fair. If he decides to paint us in other colors falsely, he probably won’t be convincing.

What Is That??

Give some applause for Viral, who figured out the last WIT image as a SIM card slot for a cell phone!  Wow, I’m not able to pull the wool over you guys, am I?  Well, I’ll keep trying 🙂

Back in my teens, I used to have a good time trying to figure out the images that the GAMES Magazine had on their monthly issue.  I try to draw inspiration from my memories of those times, not having any old mags around,or a local place to buy it, I have to rely on my old noggin.  But one thing remains constant, I try to bring only images that relate to technology in some degree.  If you have any suggestions in that area, feel free to drop us a line, and we’ll give you props in the next WIT post for your idea.

Without further adieu, behold:

wit20

Comments below!