BBC News – iPhone alarms hit by New Year glitch

A glitch on Apple’s iPhone has stopped its built-in alarm clock going off, leaving many people oversleeping on the first two days of the New Year.

Angry bloggers and tweeters complained that they had been late for work, and were risking missing planes and trains.

Apple has acknowledged the problem and says it will be fixed by 3 January.

via BBC News – iPhone alarms hit by New Year glitch.

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BBC News – Supercomputers ‘will fit in a sugar cube’, IBM says

A pioneering research effort could shrink a supercomputer to the size of a sugar cube, IBM scientists say.

The approach will see many computer processors stacked on top of one another, cooling them with water flowing between each one.

The aim is to reduce computers’ energy use, rather than just to shrink them.

Some 2% of the world’s total energy is consumed by building and running computer equipment.

via BBC News – Supercomputers ‘will fit in a sugar cube’, IBM says.

BBC News – Change to ‘Bios’ will make for PCs that boot in seconds

New PCs could start in just seconds, thanks to an update to one of the oldest parts of desktop computers.

The upgrade will spell the end for the 25-year-old PC start-up software known as Bios that initialises a machine so its operating system can get going.

The code was not intended to live nearly this long, and adapting it to modern PCs is one reason they take as long as they do to warm up.

Bios’ replacement, known as UEFI, will predominate in new PCs by 2011.

via BBC News – Change to ‘Bios’ will make for PCs that boot in seconds.

Microsoft vs. Apple: Who’s winning? The numbers don’t lie | ZDNet

Microsoft has been at the top of the heap for almost as long as people have used PCs. They’ve managed to sustain an overwhelming competitive advantage, even after a decade’s worth of antitrust action and the astonishing transformation of Apple into a profit-making machine that has built one billion-dollar business after another while the entire rest of the tech industry is stuck in neutral. Indeed, the presence of Apple and Google as direct competitors suggests that maybe Microsoft is overdue to take a tumble.

There is never a shortage of Apple-versus-Microsoft yammering in the blogosphere, but I haven’t seen much in the way of actual data. Is Apple really making a dent in Microsoft’s long-standing Windows monopoly?

Read more Microsoft vs. Apple: Who’s winning? The numbers don’t lie | ZDNet.

Exclusive: BIOS will be dead in three years | THINQ.co.uk

It’s the one major part of the PC that’s still reminiscent of the PC’s primordial, text-based beginnings, but the familiarly-clunky BIOS could soon be on its deathbed, according to MSI. The motherboard maker says it’s now making a big shift towards point and click UEFI systems, and it’s all going to kick off at the end of this year.

Speaking to THINQ, a spokesperson for the company in Taiwan who wished to remain anonymous said that “MSI will start to phase in UEFI starting from the end of this year, and we expect it will be widely adopted after three years.”

According to the MSI mole, the first new UEFI products will be based on Intel’s Sandy Bridge chipset, spanning the whole field from entry-level boards to high-end kit. The company says that it expects the boards to be introduced towards the end of this year, and into early 2011. “We won’t consider UEFI as an expensive premium feature,” said the spokesperson, “but as a must-have for everyone!”

via Exclusive: BIOS will be dead in three years | THINQ.co.uk.

Google Dumps Microsoft Windows Company-Wide — Blames Windows For China Hacking Attack

Well, Google has taken the next step in its world domination plan, banning Microsoft Windows from internal use.

Employees will be given the choice between Apple’s Mac OS and Linux.

Adding insult to injury, Google is also publicly citing Windows security problems for the decision and blaming Windows vulnerabilities for the China hacking incident.

So that’s 20,000+ Windows licenses that won’t be sold and renewed at Google in future years.

Given that Google is in the process of introducing a competitive platform and operating system (Android/Chrome), this move isn’t surprising. The important question for Microsoft is whether other companies will follow suit.

via Google Dumps Microsoft Windows Company-Wide — Blames Windows For China Hacking Attack.

Japanese team discovers ‘super disc’ material

A Japanese research team has found a material that could be used to make a low-price super disc with data storage capacity thousands of times greater than a DVD, the lead scientist said Monday.

The material transforms from a black-colour metal state that conducts electricity into a brown semiconductor when hit by light, according to Shin-ichi Ohkoshi, chemistry professor at the University of Tokyo.

The material, a new crystal form of titanium oxide, can switch back and forth between the metal and semiconductor states at room temperature when exposed to light, creating an effective on-off function for data storage.

It is “promising as a material for a next-generation optical storage device,” Ohkoshi told AFP by telephone.

A material that changes colour with light can be used in storage devices as colours reflect light differently to contain different information.

His team has succeeded in creating the material in particles measuring five-to-20 nanometres a five-billionth to 20-billionth of a metre in diameter.

If the smallest particle is used, the new disc could hold more than 1,000 times as much information as a Blu-ray disc, provided that matching data-writing and reading equipment are developed.

via Japanese team discovers ‘super disc’ material.