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Electronix Express Newsletter
July 2007 Issue
Welcome to the July 2007 Issue of the Electronix Express Newsletter
1. Cell-phone AMBER Alerts Concerns
The wireless industry, in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the US Department of Justice reminds wireless consumers of the vital role they can play to aid in the recovery of abducted children by registering to receive free Wireless AMBER Alerts. Nearly 30 wireless carriers, which collectively serve over 93% of all US wireless subscribers, currently offer the Wireless AMBER Alerts program to their subscribers.
Although the idea of receiving AMBER Alerts seems a good one, many subscribers have major concerns. One main concern is that the system could be used for non-emergency purposes. Another concern is whether cell phones really offer any benefits not already available through other channels, including radio and TV as well as the highway signs. And might cell-phone users reading the alerts while driving cause more harm than good?
However, the CTIA press release urges wireless users to go to www.wirelessamberalerts.org and sign up at no cost to receive free text messages anytime an AMBER Alert has been issued in their area.
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2. Partners Embed Facial Recognition
Embedded designers face a number of authentication and security concerns when deploying systems in critical applications. For example, how do you verify authorized users without requiring an endless string of passwords? How can you verify that the original user has not walked away from the system? How can you authenticate multiple simultaneous users without a log-out, log-in process? To tackle these questions Digi International and Sensible Vision have teamed up to deliver facial recognition software. This software will cover a wide range of mission-critical applications such as kiosks, automated teller machines, ID badging, building security, point-of-sale applications, and mobile computing. The bundled product combines Sensible Vision's FastAccess facial recognition software with Digi's Watchport USB cameras to provide continuous information protection and accurate authentication. The Watchport/FastAccess bundle will eliminate the need for passwords. Included in the bundle will be one Watchport/V3 USB camera and one FastAccess facial recognition software license at a cost of $394.
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3. Dell Joins Microsoft and Novell Collaboration
Microsoft Corp. and Novell Inc. have announced that Dell Inc. is the first major systems provider to join the business collaboration that was formed by Microsoft and Novell in response to customer demand. As part of the agreement, Dell would purchase SUSE Linux Enterprise Server certificates from Microsoft and establish a services and marketing program to migrate existing Linux users who are not Dell Linux customers to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. "This move is a huge success for the industry and, more specifically, for customers who haven't purchased Linux through Dell and who want to migrate to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for the IP assurance and interoperability benefits." "Dell's embrace of the Novell-Microsoft agreement reflects a growing market reality: The two platforms of the future are Linux and Windows, and customers want them to work better together," said Susan Heystee, vice president and general manager of global strategic alliances at Novell, in a statement.
Microsoft officials said the agreement was a result of its' customers demanding more of the industry in interoperability and IP protection. Since that initial Nov. 2006 Novell-Microsoft announcement, officials said more than 40,000 new certificates for three-year priority support subscriptions to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server have been activated under the collaboration.
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4. Is the CAN-SPAM Act Working?
In December 2003, with a great deal of fanfare, Congress passed the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act, which is far better known by its acronym, the CAN-SPAM Act. According to a new survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, more e-mail users today report an increase in spam (37 percent) than did so in February 2004 (24 percent), which is just after the CAN-SPAM Act went into effect. On the other hand, over the same time period, there has been a significant drop in the number of people (52 percent, down from 71) who report receiving pornographic spam, which was obviously one of the main legislative targets of the CAN-SPAM Act.
The author of the Pew study, Deborah Fallows, said that the CAN-SPAM Act has had a positive effect on the spam problem. "The CAN-SPAM Act has gone a long way toward giving teeth to legal efforts," she said. "The law makes it riskier to be a spammer." However, the other point that Fallows made in her report is that spam will remain a problem as long as it is an economically viable advertising tool. Fallows noted, "As long as people continue ordering products or services from spam, or responding to queries in spam for personal information it will be worth someone's while to be a spammer."
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5. Server Future: More Memory, Less CPUs
With server sales down to a 4.9 per cent worldwide growth in the first quarter of 2007, and the previous 10 to 15 per cent growth patterns for these machines a thing of the past, vendors like Hewlett-Packard, Sun, IBM and Dell are still better equipped to find new revenue sources with virtual machines. What fuels this market is customer demand for increased memory, I/O sub systems and storage, as well as software and services. The demand for memory comes from the accumulation of data and the adoption of virtualization. Memory can help end users make better use of existing processors in their servers, now at an estimated utilization rate of only 10 to 12 per cent.
For the third consecutive year, HP and IBM jointly held the number one position in the worldwide server market in Q1 2007 with 29.2 per cent and 28.9 per cent, respectively.
For IBM, this growth was driven by the sales of its system x, system z, and system p servers, while HP's growth was driven by strength in its ProLiant, Integrity and BladeSystem businesses. Although Sun and Dell are tied at 10.9 per cent, Sun experienced more momentum with a 6.3 per cent growth due to the sale of its x86 Galaxy line of servers. Meanwhile, Dell's revenue grew by a mere 1.7 per cent.
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6. What Is a Femtometer?
Electronics engineers are used to dealing with nanometer distances while astronomers measure things in light years. Nikon has put these vastly different domains together on a Universcale website that allow you to scroll through and display sample objects from a proton all the way to the Milky Way galaxy. According to the introduction, "Today, using the electron microscope and astronomical telescope, we can see the objects which we have not been aware of its existence before. By setting them up against a scale, we are able to compare and understand things which cannot be physically compared." Be forewarned, you may spend way too much time at the Universcale website. In case you were wondering: A femtometer is one quadrillionth of a meter, a million times smaller than nanometer. In engineering terms a femtometer is 10-15 meters. At the other end of Nikon's infinite yardstick, 1026 meters equals 100 billion light years.
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