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This October’s issue of the science magazine Discover is headlined “The Cure for Everything” issue. One particular cure that is discussed leaves one asked whether the next boom in travel might be a sonic boom from Boeing.
Moore’s Law tells us that computational power has increased exponentially from the advent of Intel’s 4004 microprocessor in 1971 to Intel’s 10-core Xeon Westmere-EX microprocessor of today. There has roughly been a million-fold increase. This advance in computational power has enabled scientists and engineers to tackle problems once considered in the realm of science fiction.
One of the things aerospace engineers have long dreamt about is the ability to model airflows. This is now possible. Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner had “flown” tens of thousands of hours before it ever took to the skies. an article in the aforementioned issue of Discover magazine highlights another very intrigue research program that has been underway for some time: super-sonic flight.
Of course, we all know that there is one little problem with super-sonic flight: the sonic boom. But, with the advancement in computational power, scientists and engineers are able to model the sonic boom itself. by altering the design of the fuselage and wings of an aircraft, one can alter how the sonic boom is created and shaped. Discover magazine states that current designs produce a sonic boom that is only 1.6 percent the loudness of a sonic boom created by the Concord. Engineers believe that within just a few years, designs will produce a sonic boom that is less than 1 percent the loudness of a sonic boom created by the Concord. they believe this would be acceptable to both Congress and the public.
The next challenge will be fuel efficiency. an aircraft flying at a faster speed consumes more fuel per distance than the same aircraft flying at a slower speed. No doubt, designers will eventually find a way to achieve these faster speeds with the same or better fuel efficiency that today’s aircraft achieve at slower speeds.
The advent of everyday supersonic travel at today’s cost structures has tremendous implications for shipping, commerce, tourism, and the list goes on. a trip from New York to Paris might be under two hours. a trip from Los Angeles to London might be under three hours.
The next logical step would be trans-atmospheric vehicles. Inter-continental travel times would be in the one to two hour range. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic project seems more of a stepping stone than a novelty.
As Oracle continues to prepare for a final release of Solaris 11, the Solaris 10 Unix operating system is getting another update.
Oracle released Solaris 10 8/11 this week providing performance improvements and new hardware support. The Solaris 10 operating system first debuted in 2004 and has been updated on a regular basis ever since.
Since its inception, one of the big features in Solaris 10 has been ZFS (Zettabyte File System) which has also improved over the years. The new Solaris 10 8/11 enables enterprises to run ZFS as a root filesystem across their Solaris 10 deployments. ZFS is a 128-bit file system that provides advanced data scalability and recovery options, including “snapshotting” — creating a space-efficient record of a previous system.
It has been possible to use ZFS as the root file system since Solaris 10 10/08 release in 2008. however, some Solaris users missed the ability to be able to build and deploy “flash archive” images — which they could do with UFS and not ZFS What Oracle is saying now is that the last barrier to using ZFS instead of UFS as the root file system has gone away.
“Oracle Solaris 10 8/11 includes features designed to simplify the transition from UFS-based system disks to Oracle Solaris ZFS,” Oracle’s release notes state. “By making sure that all relevant installation capabilities available with UFS are also available with ZFS, Oracle Solaris 8/11 makes an excellent ZFS transition point to take advantage of the ease of management, data integrity, and built-in data services provided by Oracle Solaris ZFS.”
New Solaris 10 systems can now also be installed from a Solaris ZFS Flash Archive, which is intended to make it easier and faster for users to deploy the operating system.
ZFS has also benefitted from multiple performance improvements as well. According to Oracle, in internal testing of Oracle Solaris 10 8/11 versus the previous release, Oracle Solaris 10 9/10, ZFS enhancements led to a read performance improvement of between 9 percent and 23 percent, and write performance improved 11 percent to 17 percent.
With the new Solaris update, Oracle is also continuing to improve the way that Oracle applications run on the Unix operating system. According to Oracle, the Solaris 10 8/11 update includes improvement in startup and shutdown time for Oracle 11g database users. Startup time is now 26 percent of what it took prior to this update on the reference SPARC system Oracle tested internally, and about 36 percent of what it took on a reference x86 system.
“This update takes the best UNIX for SPARC and x86 and makes it even better,” said John Fowler, executive vice president, Systems, Oracle in a statement. “With Oracle Solaris 10 8/11 and the upcoming Oracle Solaris 11 release, we are continuing to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to Oracle Solaris, providing the easiest, most cost-effective path to leading-edge innovation for both new and current customers.”
Oracle acquired Solaris as part of its acquisition of Sun in 2010. At the end of 2010, Oracle released Solaris 11 Express as a preview for the next generation of Solaris features. Testing and development on Solaris 11 has been ongoing this year.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.
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The long and sleek Klipsch G-42 sound-bar speaker
Lets face it: sound bars are popular mostly because they reduce home theater clutter. The other big plus is that they eliminate the need to buy an AV receiver, and the cost savings can be considerable. That’s all good, but I’m still waiting to hear a sound bar an audiophile could love.
I had hopes for Klipsch’s new Gallery G-42 sound bar ($699), but it doesn’t have internal amplifiers, so it must be used with a receiver. That’s potentially a very positive sign, because the amps built into sound bars aren’t as good or as powerful as the ones in Denon, NAD, Onkyo, Pioneer, or Yamaha receivers. Like all Klipsch speakers, the G-42 sports horn-loaded tweeters (more on that later). The sound bar is part of a new Klipsch series of Gallery speakers and 5.1 channel speaker packages.
Decked out with a gorgeous glossy black finish, the G-42 has a high-end sheen, and its 6-inch-high, 42-inch-wide, and 2.4-inch-deep cabinet feels sturdy. The 12-pound speaker can be wall-mounted or set on a cabinet with the included table top stand. The rear panel houses all-metal connectors for the speaker’s left, center, and right channels.
Klipsch speakers are famous for their “horn”-loaded driver technology. The G-42 has three 1-inch titanium tweeters, and each one is mated to a Tractrix Horn. that design feature allows the tweeters to produce more volume per watt than conventional, flush-mounted dome tweeters. The flared horn in front of each tweeter also directs its dispersion to minimize floor and ceiling reflections, so the imaging is sharper and clearer. There are four 3.5-inch woofers (one each for left and right channels, and two for the center channel).
The Klipsch SW-110 subwoofer
The G-42 doesn’t make much bass; it should be partnered with a subwoofer. That’s why Klipsch also sent a 10-inch, 200-watt SW-110 powered sub ($500) for this review. The Klipsches were used with my Onkyo TX-SR805 receiver and Oppo BDP-95 Blu-ray player for all of my listening tests.
The Rolling Stones’ “Shine a Light” Blu-ray sounded better and better the louder I played it; and having a potent Onkyo receiver driving the G-42 gave the speaker an advantage over self-powered sound bars when it comes to full-throttle dynamic oomph. Hey, it’s rock music and volume capability is nice to have. The G-42 wins on that score, and the mighty Klipsch duo will outrun any self-powered sound bar/subwoofer system I’ve tested. The SW-110 sub is powerful, but bass definition was only fair. All in all, the G-42 and SW-110 sub provide a far more exciting ride than the potent Zvox Z-Base 580 ($599) sound bar; it’s not even close. But neither is the price; the Klipsch/Onkyo system is a lot more expensive.
The original “Saw” DVD is still pretty creepy after all these years, and the G-42 fully communicated the atmospherics of the film’s claustrophobic torture room. The sounds of rattling chains and panicked breaths of the two main characters were scarily realistic. Since the G-42 has a dedicated center channel, dialogue was articulate, and I could hear the actors’ voices bouncing off the room’s tiled walls, but the voices sounded tonally thin. I experimented with the Onkyo receiver’s bass management, but the blend between the sub and the G-42 was only fair.
The big sub provided the muscle required to deliver the sonic impact for the plane crash scene from the “Flight of the Phoenix” DVD. this is one of my favorite demo DVDs because it so quickly highlights weaknesses in home theater speaker systems. most distort or compress dynamics, but the G-42/SW-110 system delivered the crash scene’s visceral impact with more gusto than any self-powered sound bar, or any integrated sound-bar/subwoofer system I’ve heard to date. Nice, but the G-42 doesn’t even attempt to produce the faux surround spaciousness you get with some sound bars. if you want genuine surround, add a pair of smaller Klipsch G-12 satellite speakers ($199 each) to your system.
Add up the cost of the G-42, SW-110 sub, and a receiver, and you’ve got a fairly expensive system, but one that delivers dynamics and power beyond the reach of most sound bars. Of course, you can get even better sound with a pair of Klipsch box speakers for a lower price than the G-42. It’s your call, sound or style.
Kansas City Power & Light Co. officials were optimistic that 2011 would be the year the economy and electric meters started humming along again.
But after six months some troubling figures emerged. the utilitys residential customers were using 4 percent less electricity than a year ago, when the numbers were adjusted for the weathers ups and downs.
Commercial and industrial electricity use also was down, but just 1 percent.
Frugal homeowners conservation measures, such as replacing inefficient furnaces and air conditioners, had something to do with the decline.
But a starker symbol of the troubled economy also played a part: a growing number of vacant, foreclosed homes are using little or no electricity.
these are homes that were getting bills, and now they arent, said Chuck Caisley, a spokesman for Kansas City Power & Light, which has 725,000 residential customers in Missouri and Kansas.
Despite the decline in electricity usage, customers shouldnt expect rates to drop. Rates are only partly set by supply and demand. Regulators approve rates for utilities that also cover such costs as adding power plants to meet future demand, costs that must be paid whether usage falls or not.
The latest real estate reports arent encouraging to utilities looking for demand to pick up again. a RealtyTrak survey released recently said foreclosure actions were down in August in Missouri but up 18 percent in Jackson County, which had the most foreclosure notices of any county in the state. Foreclosures were up in Kansas, and Johnson and Wyandotte were No. 2 and 3 among its counties, RealtyTrak said.
Moodys Analytics, in a separate survey, tracks the number of properties that lenders have repossessed and now own. it found that the Kansas City area ranked 25th out of the 384 metropolitan areas it surveys. in the Kansas City area there are 16.3 such properties for every 1,000 households, a rate more than double the national average and nearly three times the Missouri figure, which is 5.8 per 1,000 households.
Utilities have already been crimped by the housing slowdown because of fewer new homes being built. the effect of foreclosures has been more difficult to quantify, and the number of properties standing empty often isnt tallied by utilities, or isnt broken out in reports. the effect, if any, is typically lumped under economic conditions.
Missouri Gas Energy, for example, hasnt singled out foreclosures but suspected they were becoming a factor last fall when the utility had fewer reconnections of gas service for homes that had been previously disconnected.
The Board of Public Utilities in Kansas City, Kan., said it hadnt noticed any additional impact from foreclosures lately but added that some parts of its service territory were economically depressed before the recession.
Across the country, however, there is general acknowledgement that foreclosures are playing a role.
unfortunately, there have been many home foreclosures in Nevada, and residential electric sales have remained relatively flat for the past couple of years, said Karl Walquist, a spokesman for NV Energy. it serves Las Vegas, one of the cities hit hardest by foreclosures.
Utilities have generally had a rocky time this year as the economy tries to gain traction. For example, KCP&L for the first half of 2011 earned $45 million, down from $84 million for the first half of 2010.
The decline would have been worse if not for higher rates the utilitys customers now pay in large part for an energy plan that included a coal-fired power plant near Weston.
The residential piece of the consumption puzzle became clearer when KCP&L calculated first-half electricity use adjusted for normal weather. Utilities say thats a good gauge of the strength of each category of their business, because it strips out the volatility of weather and its effects on heating and air conditioning.
The results were shared last month with a group of utility analysts, including the 4 percent drop in residential consumption. Commercial demand was down 0.9 percent, and industrial consumption was down 1.2 percent.
The analysts were told the decline came from people switching to natural gas heat, the use of more-efficient heat pumps and air conditioners, some other energy conservation and continued challenges in the local economy, which included the foreclosures.
Because KCP&Ls electricity prices are relatively low when compared with the national average even with the rate hikes, thermostat-tweaking hasnt been a big factor, even in tough times. a quarterly survey of KCP&Ls customers found only about 10 percent doing something to reduce electricity consumption.
Those surveyed said they were more likely to cut back on driving and entertainment to save money.
KCP&L says electricity sales eventually will rebound but when depends on the economy and the recovery of the housing market.
Thats the new normal, said Caisley of KCP&L. the economy is the biggest driver.
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Press Release Source: Deloitte on Monday September 26, 2011, 12:01 am EDT
NEW YORK, Sept. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Although the slow U.S. economic recovery and uncertainty overseas are sending shivers through consumers this fall, retailers should expect small gains in 2011 holiday sales, Deloitte forecast today.
“Consumer spending was on the rise for several months despite dampened confidence in the economy among U.S. households,” said Carl Steidtmann, Deloitte’s chief economist. ”Those earlier gains have begun to flatten and may be tempered by persistent weakness in the housing and employment sectors and pressures from the European debt crisis. Despite some relief in energy prices, consumers may feel the strain from food, apparel and other categories where prices are markedly higher compared to the previous holiday season. Additionally, retailers will face tougher comparisons this year after last year’s substantial increase in holiday sales.”
Deloitte’s retail & distribution practice expects total holiday sales to reach between $873 and $877 billion(i), representing a 2.5 to 3 percent increase in November through January holiday sales, excluding motor vehicles and gasoline, over last season. This growth rate is smaller than last year’s 5.9 percent gain.
Additionally, Deloitte forecasts a 14 percent increase in non-store sales. Nearly three-quarters of non-store sales result from the online channel with additional sales coming from catalogs and interactive TV.
“Double-digit growth in the non-store channel has given the industry a major boost, and retailers that put online channels to work for their physical storefronts have the advantage,” said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and U.S. retail & distribution sector leader. “The brick-and-mortar store is still central to the shopper experience. Retailers that integrate the power of the sensory experience in-store with relevant, timely information via their websites and mobile applications are well-positioned to lead the way this holiday season.”
Paul noted that while economic events have the potential to soften consumer spending this season, businesses are already operating at lean and efficient levels and positioning themselves to weather a period of slow growth. However, Paul advises retailers to be prepared with contingency plans. ”Retailers need to be nimble enough to quickly adapt and adjust their inventory, assortment, pricing and promotional strategies when consumer demand fluctuates.”
Paul adds, “As many holiday shoppers will be researching online and on their smartphones both before and during their trips to the store, retailers need to be sure their digital strategy is both flexible and focuses on a personalized experience this season. Store associates can be a critical element to any digital strategy to complete and upsell once the customer comes into the store. It’s important that they are well-versed on the latest products, promotions, pricing and competitor offerings that consumers receive through online and mobile channels.”
For more information about Deloitte’s retail sector, please visit deloitte.com/us/retail-distribution
As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. please see deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.
(i) Deloitte is forecasting a 2.5 to 3 percent increase in 2011 holiday sales compared with 2010. Retail sales between November 2010 and January 2011 (annualized, not seasonally adjusted and excluding automotive and gasoline) totaled $852 billion according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
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MyReviewsNow Online Shopping showcases bidz.com, a leader in the online auction world. Shoppers have the opportunity to get their favorite fashions, electronics and accessories at low prices by bidding on bidz.com. This online auction website features name brand items that individuals can usually find at high end department stores. Bidz.coms success is generated by its fast pace and endless supply of merchandise. The online auction platform has become an exciting place to interact with other shoppers, and bidz.com makes online bidding exciting. MyReviewsNow Online Shopping is dedicated to bringing bidz.com to new audiences. Bidz.com is a 24-7 online auction community that allows online shoppers to bid anytime. Shoppers can monitor each bid and arrange to autobid on items. Bidz.com sends an email to a shopper when another shopper is bidding on the same item in the online auction.
Online shoppers can look to bidz.com for great deals on every item. Shoppers have the opportunity to bid low on items, creating an exciting atmosphere where two bidders compete for one item. Successful bidders are often the individuals who bid at the very last minute and use the element of surprise to beat their competition. Bidz.coms winning bids on diamond jewelry are as low as ten dollars, and winning bids on electronics are as low as twenty dollars. Shoppers can get items for lower prices during particular times of the day.
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Whether you live in the United States, Canada, Mexico, or on another continent, traveling overseas can pose problems when taking along electrical appliances because of voltage differences in various countries around the world.
When taking an extended vacation, there are some electrical items you just can’t live without. Needed items may include battery chargers (for cell phones, digital cameras, and other portable items), hairdryer, electric shaver, radio, curlers, iron, VCR, and DVD player. Without a proper voltage match, you could permanently damage your electrical product when plugging it into a power source.
Understand Voltage Differences before You Go
It’s a good idea to research voltage differences before traveling. some countries have an across-the-board standard of 110 volts while others have a standard voltage of 220. For example, North American countries as well as parts of South and Central America, the Pacific and Caribbean operate on 110 volts. other countries around the world operate on 220 volts, while some countries have both 110 and 220 voltage.
If you’re traveling from the United States (with a 110 volt standard) to Europe, and the area you plan to visit only uses 220 volts, you will need an 110v to 220v voltage converter, also called a step up voltage converter. on the other hand, if you are traveling from a country in Europe that has a 220 volt standard to the United States, you will need a 220v to 110v voltage converter, or a step down voltage converter.
What is a Voltage Converter or Voltage Transformer?
A voltage converter is a device used to convert the voltage of a power source to create a usable – and safe – power supply. Another word often used for voltage converter is voltage transformer although there are actually differences between the two. A voltage transformer is usually bigger in size and is designed for longer, continued use. A voltage converter will usually either double or cut in half the voltage, but some converters can do both.
Voltage converters usually come with plug end adapters that enable the conversion of the shape and size of the plug’s end. the plug adapter can be used without the converter if no voltage conversion is needed. It’s a good idea to carry with you a variety of plug end adapters because some countries have many different types of outlets. For example, some areas do not use the flat prong outlet that’s used in the United States.
Frequency Gaps – Cycle Mishaps
Some countries not only have voltage differences, but also frequency (cycles per second) differences. Many electrical appliances are not affected by this difference; however, some are such as clocks, espresso makers, and other timed products. A clock, for instance, may not keep time properly if there’s a frequency difference. also, it’s not recommended to use voltage transformers with heat-making products such as steamers, small electric heaters, or coffee heaters. some hotels forbid the use of certain electrical appliances, so check with the hotel to be sure you can bring the items along.
VCR and DVD Voltage Converters
If you plan to take along a VCR or DVD player, there are several options. You’ll need a voltage converter with most regular video or DVD players. there are, however, innovative code free (region free) DVD players that offer voltage capabilities for 110 volts and 220 volts. these won’t need a voltage converter because it’s built in. keep in mind that using a voltage converter usually won’t work if there are frequency differences or format differences with the provided television set. find out in advance if there will be problems so you can prepare.
When buying a voltage converter or transformer, first find out what type of conversion you will need – step up or step down. Most online electronics outlets offer many different types of 110220 volts converters, transformers, and plug adapters so you can easily find affordable solutions when you travel.
Previously, we looked we looked at server admin apps for the iOS and Android mobile operating systems. Now, we’ll look at some server and administration apps for the Windows Phone 7 platform. These apps are designed for monitoring, remote desktop management, database administration and a variety of other server-related tasks.
Pingdom Pulse (Free) provides access to your free or paid Pingdom account, a hosted third-party server monitoring service. You can view a summary of all your Pingdom checks, including current status and response time. You can also see a summary of the past 30 days performance for each check. Additionally, you can run manual checks on any http server.
Mobile Server Stats ($1.99 after trial) provides remote real-time monitoring stats of a Windows Server or PC when its free server component is installed on the computer. Get standard statistics (e.g., on system, CPU, drives, processors, services, running processes, users and groups) and add custom WMI queries. It also includes simple HTTP server monitoring. You can view real-time statistics or cached polls stored on the computer.
Network Tools (Free ad-based or $2.99) uses a remote server to run pings, TCP port connection tests and HTTP/HTTPS connection tests. It also provides a graphical display of their ping, port 80 and HTTP response statuses. Remember, a remote server is used, so it can’t reach local resources; they must be accessible via the Internet.
Wake My PC (Free) lets you remotely boot up computers via the Wake-On-LAN (WOL) protocol. This is especially useful if you must remotely access files or connect via remote desktop. You must configure your compatible computer (in the BIOS) and network to use WOL. Then, simply enter in the computer’s MAC address and Internet IP info.
Mobile DDNS ($0.99) is a DDNS client for your phone to update DDNS providers: DynDNS, NameCheap and ZoneEdit. This is great if you must connect to your phone via the Internet. You don’t have to find and track your public IP. just use the host name from a DDNS provider, and it will always point to your phone.
Cool Remote (Free) is used to remotely connect to and control a Windows (XP/2003/Vista/2008) machine running its free server application from your phone or any other computer via the web browser. It features full PC keyboard support (including ctrl, alt, shift, tab, esc, win, fn, home and end) and multi-monitor support. You can input connection details or scan the local network to find the PC.