AMD’s New Frontier Will Be World’s Fastest Supercomputer

This week, AMD announced a partnership with Cray to build a supercomputer called Frontier, which the two companies predict will become the world’s fastest supercomputer, capable of “exascale” performance when it is released in 2021. All told, they expect Frontier to be capable of 1.5 exaflops, performing somewhere around 50 times faster than the top supercomputers out today, and faster than the currently available top 160 supercomputers combined. Frontier will be built at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

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Hola: New App Skirts Copyright Law to Stream TV Shows, Music

A new Web application named Hola is bypassing copyright laws to deliver content to users who otherwise don’t have access to it. The app essentially unlocks international versions of Netflix so U.S. users can watch shows like “True Grit” or “Community” — only available overseas — whenever they want. By changing users’ IP addresses and making their devices act as routers, content is never copied illegally. Since beta testing began, the app has become incredibly popular, and it could alter the way the Internet operates. Continue reading Hola: New App Skirts Copyright Law to Stream TV Shows, Music

Google Uses Location Tracking to Target Customers On-the-Go

Google is beta-testing a program that tracks consumers wherever they go using location data on their smartphones. It is the company’s answer to advertisers’ question: “How do we reach consumers who are on-the-go?” The program uses Android and iOS technology to track consumers’ locations and looks at their recent Google searches. Participating advertisers whose brick-and-mortar stores are nearby can pay to appear first in those listings. Continue reading Google Uses Location Tracking to Target Customers On-the-Go

DRM Integration Into HTML5 Concerns Open Web Advocates

While many are in favor of DRM being integrated into HTML5, some open Web advocates are concerned that the integration will eventually lead to third parties controlling too much of our online browsing. Tim Berners-Lee suggests that allowing content protection may be needed for standards to combat the rise of proprietary platforms. Meanwhile, mobile operating systems such as Firefox OS will be DRM-free. Also, some TV networks and performers are selling their content without digital restrictions. Continue reading DRM Integration Into HTML5 Concerns Open Web Advocates

Game Developer Hopes to Reform Computer Education with $25 USB Stick PC

Game Developer David Braben, founder of UK-based Frontier Developments, has been working on a project to facilitate computer programming curriculum in schools. Braben argues that computer education has shifted from programming toward basic computer use skills. Usage training is important, but its prevalence has resulted in a lack of knowledge regarding basic programming skills and an understanding of computer architecture and hardware.

To address this issue, Braben has developed a small $25 USB stick PC with a HDMI port on one end and USB port on the other. By plugging the HDMI socket into a TV or monitor and connecting a keyboard via USB, the stick provides a fully functional machine running Linux. The stick can handle web browsing, run applications, and much more. Braben hopes that such a device can be distributed to students for free so that computer courses can be developed around its use.

According to Geek.com: “The hardware being offered is no slouch either. It uses a 700MHz ARM11 processor coupled with 128MB of RAM and runs OpenGL ES 2.0 allowing for decent graphics performance with 1080p output confirmed. Storage is catered for by an SD card slot.” The photo above shows the Raspberry Pi device with an attached 12 megapixel camera module. (The Geek.com report also includes an interesting video interview with Braben.)

Braben’s USB stick PC plans to be distributed through a charitable foundation called the Raspberry Pi Foundation. He hopes to distribute the device within the next 12 months.

Based on its cost and portability, we could see a range of applications outside the classroom.