We need firecrackers and flags and streamers. Although I've always wondered why this holiday occurs in the middle of summer as it's just too hot for a lot of this stuff, including keeping the grill going. I was much more into 4th celebrations when I lived in New Jersey than I am now down in Florida. I am, however, slowly getting into the mood as there's just something special about the whole day. Happy, happy 4th to you all, whatever you'll be doing.
Summer is always a good time to catch up on technology. It seems a little slower than the start of the year, and fall is always a season of starting anew. Check out CSTA on July 12th and 13th, and UITJ on the 13th. We're ready for you!
Here's the schedule for the remainder of the summer or you can view the complete schedule on our Website:
CSTA Web sessions:
July 12, 13
August 25, 26
UITJ (Understanding IT Jobs) Web sessions:
TR Web sessions:
Keep in touch - I love hearing from you - and keep up with technology!
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Just about every communications company is involved is providing what is called 4G (4th Generation) wireless communications and the release of iPhone 4 and HTC EVO 4G has got a lot of people wondering if they should upgrade to 4G. Obviously it'll be faster and have more options. The vendors are touting face-to-face communication, video and audio streaming, live newscasts, uploading photos, downloading photos, gaming… Is all this really available?
Well, mostly. Right now through an open standard, IEEEs (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) specification 802.16. It's called WiMax (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) and is referred to as 4G (4th Generation) wireless. Those are the basic names, but keep reading.
The first confusion is Clear, Clearwire and Clearw*re. Clearwire is a communications company which has been around since the late 1990s. This company has evolved into Clearw*re, the dominant player in 4G technology in the U.S. They call their wireless service Clear. Now it gets really interesting. Clearw*re has a lot of owners. Sprint owns 51% of the company, the original Clearwire owners hold 27%, and a consortium which includes Comcast, Time Warner, Intel, Google, and Bright House holds the rest. And, these vendors have their own names for the technology:
Clearw*re uses Clear
Sprint has Sprint 4G
Comcast calls it HighSpeed 2go
TWC (Time Warner) provides Road Runner Mobile
Get these names down, because LTE (Long-Term Evolution) is coming and for sure it will have its own names. This is 4G technology from other vendors, and means that 4G and WiMax are not synonyns; WiMax is one of the options. It is the first out of the gate, but Verizon plans to launch LTE networks by the end of 2010 and launch a 4G smartphone by mid-2011. AT&T will follow in 2011. With these two major players, LTE is actually considered by most of the gurus to be even more successful than WiMax. The expectation is, however, that both will be extremely successful and many of us will have a choice of what service to use. We'll make that decision based on what's important to us – uploading and downloading photos, streaming videos, or some of the other options mentioned above.
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1. The U.S. leads the world in building supercomputers, but who's number 2?
2. Which of the following does not belong:
3. What's the biggest problem with the brand new HTC EVO?
4. Does data governance refer to complying with government regulations?
5. What's IBMs latest entry into the computer chip arena?
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The Cloud, Networking and Embedded Systems
This week really brought these current technologies to the front of the stage as we ran all three seminars on special request. You can probably figure out why people requested them. The Cloud is obvious, I'm sure most of you (if not all) are hearing more and more about the cloud on a daily basis. Embedded Systems? Did you know that 98% of all computer chips are used in embedded systems – not in PCs. And the trend is up. As far as Networking goes, I'm sure most of you (if not all) are wondering if you should trade in your phone for a 4G phone (probably not yet). Networking couldn't be more current.
We don't go into much detail on these topics in CSTA because only some people need to understand them. The Cloud is becoming more broadly used, so this coverage is slowly being moved to CSTA but presently the details are still in the special session. Networking goes into the type of detail only people who work with networking specialists need to know, e.g., how packet switching works. Embedded Systems is definitely a specific area of technology only some of you get exposed to, and we have no plans of including any of this in CSTA. If you fit any of the above descriptions, you should check out the special sessions. The Cloud is described on our Website. Call us if you're interested in Networking and/or Embedded Systems.
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Embedded Systems (mentioned in The Cloud, etc. article) are worth looking at. Even if you don't work directly with the techies who develop these systems presently, you might in a while. This truly is a growing area of technology.
ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) A microprocessor chip designed for a specific application. These chips are built by connecting existing circuit building block collected from a library. Used in PDAs (personal digital assistants) and handheld computers in addition to specific purpose devices. Once the chips are designed and manufactured, they cannot be changed. Pronounced ay-sik.
CSoC (Configurable System on a Chip) A microprocessor chip designed for special purpose and embedded systems that can be re-configured remotely. For example, in security systems, the data encryption functions could use CSoC chips. Encryption systems require the ability to change the key to the code, so this technology could let users change encryption keys and download them to the CSoC chips. CSoC chips are often programmed in C.
device programmer A device used with embedded programming. The program is created on a general system computer, and after testing, is stored in a memory buffer. The device programmer takes the contents of the memory buffer and embeds it into the target hardware through a socket connection. The target hardware can be non-volatile memories (EEPROM flash memory, and NVRAM) and other electrically-programmable devices.
DSP (Digital Signal Processor) Hardware. Type of circuitry used with embedded systems in consumer devices. Processor which works with digital signals created from analog signals such as sound or video. Often used in consumer products instead of, or in addition to, microprocessor or microcontroller chips. Includes features designed to support high-performance, repetitive, numerically intensive tasks.
embedded systems Software built into devices or other software systems. Software embedded into devices, i.e. the programs in chips in cars that tell the driver when lights are left on, are also called firmware. Embedded systems usually contain both operating and application system functions. In addition, Web browsers and database systems are often embedded. Software can also be embedded into other software systems. Database systems can have Web browsers embedded so database applications can directly access the Web. Embedded systems have a small footprint, meaning that they are small versions of the software and there are specific operating systems and DBMS (DataBase Management Systems) that can be embedded.
embedded databases Databases, or DBMSs that are built into applications or devices and run transparently. They can be customized to meet the unique needs of the user.
embedded device Computer chip that has been programmed, or embedded with software that cannot be changed. Used in many ways including cars (to signal that gas is low), microwaves (to set time when reheat is selected), gas pumps (to turn the pump off when the tank is full), for a few examples. Embedded devices are also used in Internet appliances and handheld computers. Also called embedded computers.
emulation The imitation of any part of a system by another. For example, terminal emulators are programs written to allow desktop computers to act as terminals on a large computer system. Emulators are commonly used for debugging, especially when developing embedded systems.
firmware Another name for embedded programs. Programs permanently stored in the computer; programs written in ROM (Read Only Memory). The term is more commonly used with DSP (Digital Signal Processor) chips than with microprocessors.
HDL (Hardware Descriptive Language) Application development language used to develop embedded devices (microprocessing chips programmed for a specific function or functions). The most common HDLs are Verilog and VHDL. HDLs are used by technical developers, or chip designers, and can be very complex. The chips are designed with an HDL, and then a model of the design is simulated on a general purpose computer. Actual chip production follows a complete cycle of design, simulation, and testing.
MPU (MicroProcessor Unit) Hardware. Computer chip used in desktop systems. Contains the processor which defines the instruction set of the computer. Microprocessors are defined as RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) or CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computer). Also called the CPU (Central Processing Unit).
ROM (Read-Only Memory) Type of computer memory. Information is burned into the memory with high voltage electricity so it is retained even after power is shut off. ROM is typically used in computers to hold start-up procedures and time and calendar functions. Variations of ROM include PROM, EPROM, EEPROM, and flash memory.
RTOS (Real Time Operating System) An operating system which works with real-time programs and handles the synchronization of events. For example, RTOSs are usually embedded in machinery and control manufacturing steps by not proceeding with the assembly of a product until a certain part has been connected. RTOSs are embedded in automobiles, microwaves, Internet devices, and other hardware that requires immediate response to input. General purpose operating systems such as MVS, Unix, and Windows have real-time functions but also provide control of batch operations (running programs according to a schedule rather than at the present time).
SoC (System on a Chip) A microprocessor chip designed for special purpose and embedded systems. Building a single chip with processing elements and embedded software, memory, and additional hardware. Provides chips with multiple functions that the user can choose among. Used in PDAs (personal digital assistants) and handheld computers in addition to specific purpose devices. Once the chips are designed and manufactured, they cannot be changed.
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1. No surprise, China. China has put the full force of their .government behind this effort and just released the Nebulae, a 1.27 petaflop system. A petaflop is a thousand trillion (quadrillion) floating point operations per second. This speed was first achieved by IBM in mid-2008.
2. Last one this time. G# is a guitar chord - the other three are all programming languages!
3. It's ahead of its time. This smartphone was designed to run on 4G networks – which aren't too common yet. It will run on the existing 3G networks, but you'll be buying functionality that's not yet available. 4G networks are being introduced locality by locality, so you might want to check on when your location will have 4G before you buy a smartphone for it.
4. That's PART of what data governance is. Data governance is the management of all the data within an organization, and compliance with government, internal, industry, and any other regulations that affect it. And it's not just compliance. Data governance manages the availability, usability, integrity, and security of the data.
5. IBM is up to the Power7. Power7 midsize computers with dual, four, and octo core processors were released in March. Power7 server blades followed in April.
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