Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Holy Shit Snacks!

Wow.  Wow.  WOWWOWZA!!  You all know my boyfriend, Alexander Skarsgård.  Well, he's in this month's Interview Magazine and, well, see for yourself.  Holy hot pot of coffee!!!!!!!!!!!!

[Images via Interview Magazine]

326 Million Dual-Mode 4G Devices to be Activated by 2016


MONTREAL, Canada, May 31, 2011 - 326 Million Dual-Mode (3G + LTE) Devices will be Activated by 2016 according to Maravedis' latest research titled "Global 4G Device Forecast 2011-2016". "All LTE devices activated during 2010, including USB data cards, modems and notebooks, were single-mode," said Cintia Garza, author of the report. "However, LTE+3G smartphones have emerged during 2011 as more LTE operators begin to add LTE to their device offering, in particular smart phones whose adoption will be key to LTE uptake." In the United States, Sprint's early success with WiMAX smart phones suggests a very promising uptake for LTE smart phones.

Many other carriers around the world are also looking at introducing smart phones in their LTE device portfolio by the end of 2011, such as NTT DoCoMo (Japan), and Yota (Russia). "By 2013, more than 50% of LTE devices activated worldwide will support both FDD and TDD duplex modes, once TD-LTE deployments consolidate in China, India, Malaysia, Korea and other APAC countries," continued Garza. "On the other hand, 75% of the LTE devices will support legacy systems (2G/3G) and 9% will support WiMAX technology; these devices will mainly include smart phones, tablets and USB dongles".

Tablets are also one of the most promising devices in the 4G device market. Maravedis' report predicts tablet shipments will grow from 46 million in 2011 to nearly 150 million by 2016. Apple iOS is expected to remain the most popular tablet for the coming years, reaching 46% market share by 2016.

Additional Research Findings:

260 million dual-mode (TD LTE + FDD LTE) devices will be activated by 2016Android will account for 48.5% of the smart phone market, Windows 21% and iPhone (iOS) 16.5% by 2016.

APAC and Europe will account for the largest number of smart phones and tablets activated by 2016.

By 2016, 95% of the tablet installed base will be 3G/4G enabled.

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Monday, May 30, 2011

The Strange Case of Kirkor Armenian

Kirkor was born in Athens, descended from Asia Minor of proud Armenian stock.

Kirkor’s parents escaped the Armenian genocide of 1922 and after boarding a French vessel at the port of Smyrna, found themselves in the Greek port of Piraeus.

Kirkor’s father Hagop was by trade a butcher, and his mother Satenik, a housewife.

Kirkor grew up in the refugee part of Athens known as Drougouti, and initially apprenticed as a butcher, hoping to follow his father’s footsteps.

The war then came with its bloody tribulations, and Greece was left devastated.

After WWII, Kirkor abandoned Greece and got on a ship he believed was heading for the US.
Unfortunately, Kirkor boarded the wrong ship and ended up in Venezuela. But being Kirkor, he found the beautiful Latin ambience and the endless landscape agreeable to his psyche.

First, there were beautiful women. Then, there was opportunity, and ample space. To Kirkor there was nothing like being able to stretch one’s arms without infringing on someone else’s space; Venezuela was endless, when contrasted with the devastated and crowded Europe, and of course the decimated Greece.

Kirkor made a point to survive, thrive and leave his mark on the world; so after a couple of years selling cigarettes on street corners, opening a chain of tobacco shops and landing his first fortune, he managed through personal contacts to become President Jimenez’ personal bodyguard.
Kirkor did well during the Jimenez years and reached such levels of influence that when a certain Greek ship had certain paper problems in Caracas (and was thus forbidden from hoisting away) Kirkor (upon the beseeching of the Greek captain) resolved the issue within 5 minutes.
Kirkor married a lovely Venezuelan lady and had 8 kids (6 boys and 2 girls).
One of his boys, Gregoire, became enchanted with a lovely (but married) lady named Imperio and impregnated her (abortion was illegal at that time in what was a very Catholic Venezuela).

After touring North America with Gregoire and the unborn child, Imperio returned to her husband.
Gregoire in a moment of uncontrolled rage and passion, had a standoff with Imperio’s husband and murdered him.

Kirkor tried to use his contacts to absolve Gregoire, but the Jimenez junta had long passed and Kirkor’s contacts weren’t what they use to be: Gregoire thus spent the rest of his days in jail and Imperio raised her children as a widow.

Kirkor’s other son Hagop loved motorcycles to the extent that he sped right into a brick wall. He lay paralyzed in coma for about 3 months and then passed away.

Kirkor is still alive, two sons less, and is generally doing ok.

He’s 85 years old.

How to Ensure Business Continuity in the Cloud

By Michael Crandell

After years of hype, the IT industry finally had a rude awakening this spring, reminding us that cloud computing infrastructures are vulnerable to the same genetic IT flaw that plagues traditional data center operations: Everything fails sooner or later.

In March, an 8.9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami caused widespread disruptions to power supplies and network connectivity to data centers across Japan, causing Japanese companies to rethink their traditional disaster recovery strategies. Several weeks later, the EBS system in one of Amazon’s EC2 data centers in the Eastern U.S. failed due to a faulty router upgrade and a cascade of resulting events, sent hundreds of customers—including many Web 2.0 companies such as Foursquare and Reddit—scrambling in an effort to resume services.

Ironically, these events also highlight how cloud infrastructures, when managed correctly, actually provide unprecedented capabilities to deliver high availability, resiliency and business continuity in IT operations.

Planning for Failure in the Cloud

Protecting your organization from unplanned downtime is widely dependent on building redundancy and diversity directly into your disaster recovery and business continuity systems. Business systems need to be able to run on a number of different infrastructures — whether they be public clouds such as Amazon or Rackspace, or private clouds using traditional on-premise hardware — and be able to fail over between them quickly and efficiently as necessary.

Despite the Amazon outage, public clouds now provide organizations with an impressively wide array of options to implement business continuity at a level of affordability that simply did not exist a few years ago. Consider this: Right now, from my laptop, I can launch servers in a dozen disparate locations worldwide – including the U.S., Europe, and Asia – for pennies per hour. As a result, I can design a system for my business that can reasonably withstand localized outages at a lower cost than previously possible.
The key is to design your infrastructures for the possibility of failure. Amazon’s CTO Werner Vogels has been preaching this religion for many years, suggesting the only way to test the true robustness of a system is to ‘pull the plug.’ Netflix — itself a major cloud infrastructure user — has created a process it calls “the Chaos Monkey” that randomly kills running server instances and services just to make sure the overall system continues to operate well without them. Not surprisingly, Netflix’s overall operation saw little impact from the AWS U.S. East outage when it occurred.

Implementing failure-resilient systems isn’t easy. How can you quickly move your operations from one infrastructure to the next when the pressure is on and the alarm bells are ringing? How do you design a system that not only allows new compute resources to begin to operate as part of your service, but also folds in an up-to-date copy of the data your users and customers depend on?

Redundancy and Automation in the Cloud

There is, of course, no magic bullet. But there is a general approach that does work: combining redundancy in design with automation in the cloud management layer. The first step requires architecting a solution that uses components that can withstand failures of individual nodes, whether those are servers, storage volumes, or entire data centers. Each component (e.g. at the web layer, application layer, data layer) needs to be considered independently, and designed with the realities of data center infrastructure and Internet bandwidth, cost and performance in mind. Solutions for resilient design are almost as many and varied as are the software components they utilize. For example, databases alone comprise a wide range of approaches and resiliency characteristics, including SQL, NoSQL, replication, caching technologies, etc.

But the secret sauce really comes in how your architecture is operated. What parts of the system can respond automatically to failure, what parts can respond nearly automatically, and which not at all? To be more specific, if a given cloud resource goes down — be it a disk drive, a server, a network switch, a SAN, or an entire geographical region — how seamlessly can you launch or fail over to another and keep operations running? Ideally, of course, the more that;s automated (or nearly so), the better your operational excellence.
Achieving that level of automation requires your system design and configuration be easily replicable. Servers, for example, need to be quickly re-deployable in a predictable fashion across different cloud infrastructures. It’s this automation that gives organizations the life-saving flexibility they need when crisis strikes. Our own RightScale ServerTemplate methodology, as an example, provides this re-deployment capability that allows a server, if brought down from an outage, to be launched in another cloud in a matter of minutes.

Customizable Best Practices in the Cloud

The right cloud management solution should simplify the process of launching entire deployments through customizable best practices. It should also provide complete visibility into all infrastructures through a central management dashboard – a ‘single pane of glass’ – through which administrators can monitor performance and make capacity changes based on real-time needs. The same automation and control that gives organizations the ability to scale up or down using multiple servers when demand increases also allows them to migrate entire server deployments to a new infrastructure when disaster strikes.
The fallout from the Japanese earthquake and Amazon outage is being felt throughout the business community and is causing organizations to rethink how they ensure business continuity. Cloud architecture provides the distributed structures necessary to counteract regional disasters, but companies also need the cloud management capabilities necessary to fail over their operations to multiple infrastructures in a way that keeps things up and running.

Some may have thought the cloud was a magic bullet. It’s not, and that’s actually good news. By recognizing one of the original founding principles of cloud architectures — that everything fails at some point — businesses are now in a position to design and build services that are more resilient than in the past, at a fraction of the cost. With the right architecture and management layer, cloud-based services can provide unparalleled disaster protection and business continuity.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Alaska Airlines Pilots Go Lean and Green With iPads

First major American airline to use iPads to replace flight manuals

SEATTLE, May 27, 2011

As part of an ongoing effort to use technology to enhance flight safety, improve efficiency and protect the environment, Alaska Airlines is issuing iPad tablet computers to its pilots. The 1 1/2-pound iPads replace up to 25 pounds of paper flight manuals that pilots are required to carry when they fly.The iPads are being distributed to all Alaska Airlines pilots, a process that will be complete by mid-June.

This follows a successful trial by 100 line and instructor pilots and Air Line Pilots Association representatives, who evaluated the feasibility of using iPads as electronic flight bags this past winter and spring.Alaska Airlines is the first major domestic airline to use the iPad to replace paper manuals."We've been exploring the idea of an electronic flight bag for several years, but never found a device we really liked," said Gary Beck, Alaska Airlines' vice president of flight operations. "When the iPad hit the market, we took one look at it and said this is the perfect fit."The iPads contain an app called GoodReader that is loaded with PDF versions of 41 flight, systems and performance manuals, reference cards, and other materials. The electronic manuals include hyperlinks and color graphics, enabling pilots to find information faster and easier.

The iPad has already gotten the go-ahead from the FAA as a replacement for paper flight charts and maps, and now Alaska Airlines has become the first major US airline to hop on board the paperless bandwagon. While it's not quite ready to ditch paper navigation charts just yet (though that is under consideration), the airline has announced that it will be replacing its traditional flight manuals with iPads, which will be loaded up with the GoodReader app and PDFs of 41 different manuals and other materials. According to the airline, that change will result in savings of about 2.4 million pieces of paper, and it says the cost of the project will be offset by fuel savings from the reduced weight, and additional savings that are expected from "fewer back and muscle injuries caused by pilots carrying flight bags," which can weigh up to 50 pounds. Let's just hope those newly lightened flight bags still have room for a charging cable.

Updating these reference materials can now be accomplished with one tap on the iPad screen instead of the former, labor-intensive process of replacing individual pages with new ones. The iPad is considered a Class 1 electronic device, meaning it is stowed during takeoff and landing under Federal Aviation Administration regulations.In conjunction with replacing paper manuals, Alaska Airlines is exploring the replacement of paper aeronautical navigation charts with electronic versions on the iPad, eliminating the need for every pilot to carry their own copy. The two initiatives, dubbed "Bye, Bye, Flight Bag," will save about 2.4 million pieces of paper.The cost of the project is expected to be offset by lower paper, printing and distribution expenses and reduced fuel consumption as some weight is removed from the aircraft.

Further savings are expected from fewer back and muscle injuries caused by pilots carrying flight bags that can tip the scales at 50 pounds or more fully loaded.Note to media: A high-resolution photograph of an Alaska pilot with the iPad on the flight deck of a Boeing 737 is available in the airline's online newsroom image gallery at www.alaskaair.com/newsroom.Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK), together serve 90 cities throughout Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico.

For reservations, visit www.alaskaair.com. For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Newsroom at www.alaskaair.com/newsroom.SOURCE Alaska Airlines

XING Athens Networking Business Event

Starts: Thursday June 09, 2011, 07:00PM EEST
Ends: Friday June 10, 2011, 12:00AM EEST
Event Type: Networking/Meetup
Location: Roof-Top Lounge Bar (Galaxy Hotel),

39, Posidonos Ave. & corner Kalamakiou Ave

Kalamaki Athens, Αττική 17455 GR

Almost all Android phones vulnerable to authentication attack

Researchers at the University of Ulm in Germany have identified a vulnerability in Android that allows an attacker to steal and use authentication credentials on 99% of the phones that are based on Google's operating system

Google issued a patch to address the issue earlier this month as part of Android 2.3.4 (code name: Gingerbread), but getting that patch widely deployed is challenging because Android phones are made by so many different manufacturers.

From a blog post by the researchers:

We wanted to know if it is really possible to launch an impersonation attack against Google services and started our own analysis. The short answer is: Yes, it is possible, and it is quite easy to do so. Further, the attack is not limited to Google Calendar and Contacts, but is theoretically feasible with all Google services using the ClientLogin authentication protocol for access to its data APIs.

ClientLogin is meant to be used for authentication by installed applications and Android apps. Basically, to use ClientLogin, an application needs to request an authentication token (authToken) from the Google service by passing an account name and password via a https connection. The returned authToken can be used for any subsequent request to the service API and is valid for a maximum duration of 2 weeks. However, if this authToken is used in requests sent over unencrypted http, an adversary can easily sniff the authToken (e.g. with Wireshark). Because the authToken is not bound to any session or device specific information the adversary can subsequently use the captured authToken to access any personal data which is made available through the service API.

News of the vulnerability is rippling through security circles. Sophos senior technology consultant Graham Cluley explains the challenge facing Andoid users looking to avoid this risk:
Unfortunately it's not always possible to easily upgrade the version of Android running on your phone as you are very dependent on your mobile phone manufacturer and carrier providing the update to you over the air.
There is a huge range of Android smartphones out there, and whereas Apple can issue a single iOS update to patch iPhones and iPads, things aren't so simple for Google's users. This fragmentation inevitably leaves Android devices open to security problems.

Google has promised to work with its partners to address this issue.

Forbes writer Kashmir Hill notes that the real answer may come closer to home.

Between this and Firesheep, the moral of the story seems to be to avoid using public Wi-Fi networks. These days, I only link my phone up to my password-protected wireless network at home. Other than that, I rely on my carrier's 3G network, even if I'm in a coffee shop that offers up free Wi-Fi. Using a public Wi-Fi network at Starbucks seems as casual an invitation for information theft as leaving your smartphone on a table unguarded while going to the bathroom is an invitation for the more visceral kind.

It's amazing how many times free can be costly.

(Update, May 19: Google announces fix.)

Stoupa Mani : The Gem of Messinia Greece

Stoupa is a little village located in the southern tip of the Peloponnese about 45 km from Kalamata or 250 km from the city of Patras.

Once a natural supply port for the town of Neohorion (located in the Southern tip of the Taygetos mountain range; a mountainous extension of the Alps), Stoupa partly to British Spy Patrick Leigh Fermor’s book “Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese” has become a popular European tourist family destination because of its beautiful natural scenery, tranquility, lovely beaches, good services and reasonable prices. Stoupa is also a popular destination for Greek mainland inhabitants.

Stoupa belongs to the municipality of Leftktro, the prefecture of Messinia and is part of a region known as Mani. The Mani was a leisure haven in ancient times for the Spartans and other Dorian Greeks while in Medieval times because of its natural isolation (shielded by the Taygetos mountain range and the sea) a “safehouse” for out of favor Templars, Frankish and Teutonic knights. It is one of the few regions of Greece that, due to the ferocious fighting skills of the local inhabitants known as The Maniates, timelessly evaded Ottoman and other foreign occupation.

The Maniates were the amongst the few Greeks during Ottoman occupation that bore arms. The Mani acted as the springboard of the Hellenic revolution against the Ottoman occupation when on March 23 1821, 3000 armed Maniates under Petros Mavromihalis invaded and liberated Kalamata after issuing a declaration of war. In commemoration of this event Kalamata has erected a statue of Mavromihalis, General Kolokotronis and Papaflessas (the Devil Priest or Satan Papas as he was known amongst the Ottomans) along with the issued war declaration in the central square (plateia) of the city.
The Mani also played a key role in the Greek resistence against the Nazis. Saidona, a village about 13 km from Stoupa buried deep in the Taygetos mountain was the origin of one of the very first resistance movements against the Nazi occupying forces, and the home town of the legendary Elas resistence fighter, Captain Xideas.

There has been much debate as to the origin of The Maniates. Recent research documented the 2001 edition of Ioannis Kiskiras book “Atouri” traces the elusive Maniati origins to five medieval families : The Alexiani who were supporters of the Byzantine Emperor Alexios, The Bouzanariani who were descendents of Byzantine Admiral Bouzanaras, The Nikliani who were descendents of the Knight Niklus, The Megalogenites who were mercenary knights, The Mihaliani, descendents of the Knight Niklus Michael, The Agamnomeri who were workers, and The Famegioi who were slaves, pages and vassals supporting the Lord Knights Nikliani and Megalogenites.

The Maniates were amongst the last Europeans to be christened since the first Christian mercenaries, at around 1400 AD were executed as sacrilegious heretics. Frankish influence can be seen in the local architectures, notably in the churches. The churches in Mani bear more resemblance to the European Cathedrals than the Byzantine churches especially in the bell tower which has a pyramid top rather than a dome.

Stoupa (and nearby Kalogria) is also the place where Nikos Kazantzakis wrote his famous book “The Life and Times of Alexis Zorbas”. Although Kazantzakis’ setting is a village in the island of Crete, certain scenes and characters come directly from Stoupa. For example, the mine that Kazantzakis refers to is visible from the village and the daughter of the murdered widow was a schoolteacher who lived, taught, retired, and passed away in Stoupa a couple of years ago.

Kalamata Messinia Greece

Kalamata is a beautiful city, rich in heritage and culture, possessing a vibrant business environment which includes agricultural production such as olive oil, world famous food goods such as pasteli, and a host of industrial goods.

Kalamata combines the beauty of the Taigetos mountain range with the salty breezy freshness of the Messinian gulf. It is a perfect colorful postcard melage of mountainous green and deep blue.

As a historical note, Kalamata was the first Greek city that was freed from the Ottoman yoke in the Hellenic War of Independence (Kolokotronis : Memoirs of the Greek War of Independence).
On March 23 1821, 3000 armed Maniates under Petros Mavromihalis invaded and liberated Kalamata after issuing a declaration of war.

In commemoration of this event Kalamata has erected a statue of Mavromihalis, General Kolokotronis and Papaflessas (the Devil Priest or Satan Papas as he was known amongst the Ottomans) along with the issued war declaration in the central square (plateia) of the city.

The city is well equipped with fine restaurants that cater to exquisite tastes, fast food places mainly targeted at students, and a set of very fine hotels either by the beach or within the city.

Notable is the daily availability of fresh seafood which is usually fished within the Messinian gulf and finds its way to the local restaurants each morning.
The nightlife due to the extensive student population and the hosted technological institute is impressive and includes of a variety of bars and cafes all offering an assortment of refreshments at student rates.

The modern superhighway that connects Corinth to Tripoli and the eventual extension that will connect Tripoli Arcadia to Kalamata Messinia means that it will only take about three hours for a traveler to reach Kalamata by car from central Athens, assuming no bottlenecks.

Bottlenecks can be avoided by using the Attiki superhighway and omitting the central city roads.
Kalamata is usually used as a spring board for treks inward towards the Mani as well as the remaining Peloponnese. Kalamata is a necessary hub for famous destinations such as Stoupa, Githion, Areopolis, and Monemvasia.

Travellers from abroad usually either fly directly to Kalamata, or fly initially to the Athens International Airport and then transit either by plane, bus or railway to Kalamata and then onward into the Taigetos mountain range.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Vampire Ziku

The Balkans have always provided fertile ground for the supernatural and especially for legends pertaining to vampires and vampirism.

Epic novels such as Stoker’s Dracula and Le Fanu’s Carmilla have as their source tales from the Balkans, a region that's rich in folklore.It is a well known fact that Stoker’s Dracula (son of the devil in Romanian) used Vlad the Impaler as an inspiration and source, while Carmila, Le Fanu’s lascivious lesbian vampire has close associations with the blood thirsty lesbian Hungarian aristocrat, Elizabeth Bathory.

One of the less known bloodthirsty stalkers that terrorized the Balkan area, between the borders of Greece and all the way up to Hungary, was a vampire by the name of Ziku Silivaos.The main reason that Ziku is pretty much a stranger to world fiction in particular and to vampire chronicle writers in general, has to do with the general population’s disdain towards mentioning his name, or anything having to do with this particular night stalker.

Information about the vampire Ziku can only be extracted, with much effort, from Greek, Bulgarian, Romanian or former Yugoslavian peasants. Evidently, he operated effectively, if not efficiently, in all these parts of the European “gunpowder” region.Not only is information rare and available only orally, but any information pertaining to this vampire is strangely communicated with dismay, rather than fear. Indeed, it seems that most individuals that remember, through tradition or personal experience, anything about this vindictive bloodsucker prefer not to discuss details.

Ziku’s name or anything pertaining to his life and times, or untimely death is miscommunicated or not communicated because of general disgust with the individual, rather than fear.From the bits and pieces of information and confidential correspondence that exist in private unpublished material, Ziku the vampire had a reputation of being a conniving, craven, devious and untrustworthy individual when he walked the planet.His mischief and general ill treatment of individuals’ in need, and ill will towards humanity provoked anger and disgust in the towns and cities that he dwelled in, and outcries that reached the very gates of Heaven.

Ziku Silivaos provoked such anger, mistrust, disgust and contempt amongst his fellow creatures to the point that when he was finally stricken by gangrene, humanity spurned him, simply abandoned him and left him to rot away in his dark shadowy forgotten lair Silivaos called a home. His death went unnoticed and he was buried in an unmarked grave on hallowed ground.

As legend has it, his soul was turned away from St. Peter’s Gate, and barred from entering the pits of hell. He was effectively cursed to walk the earth in endless night, feeding on the living plasma of humans, rodents and reptiles.Some believe that Ziku the vampire was eventually trapped by Bulgarian peasants, disemboweled decapitated and incinerated, while others swear they have witnessed sightings of him in the Mountains of Voras and Gramos.

Most connoisseurs of the Ziku chronicles, however, believe that he is hiding in some shadowy corner, like some dark scavenger or rodent, quietly hissing away and patiently awaiting and anticipating more favorable times, the tide to change, or “the sea to give up the dead.”

Meeting of Greek Political Party Chiefs : No Cohesion

Greek Political Parties: No Cohesion

The meeting held by Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and the other Greek political parties under the auspices of the Greek President Karolos Papoulias proved fruitless so far since the parties agreed that they disagreed.

During the meeting, protesters in central Athens waved pots and pans similar to the demonstrators of the Argentinian crisis.

Commissioner Olli Rehn expressed disappointment at the floundered meeting but expressed hope that things will shape up and the Greeks will finally unite in supporting the IMF/EU support mechanisms and measures.

European banks hold over 100 billion in Greek bonds; the expectations are that because of the current split in Greek politics, the euro will fall only to regain after the Greek political parties finally reach some sort of agreement.

At stake is the fifth IMF/EU monetary installment which is due in June; Greece has stated that without the installment the country has enough money to last ‘till mid July.


Dear friends : do we look like pigs to you?

Scientists hit record-breaking 26Tbps by laser

Researchers have used a single laser to transmit data at a 26 terabits per second over an optical fiber cable, a data-transmission breakthrough that promises to come in useful for cloud computing and 3D TV transmissions.

The transmission is the biggest volume of data ever carried by a laser beam, according to the group of scientists, led by Germany's Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. With the demonstration, which sent the equivalent of 200,000 high-resolution images across 50km in one second, the researchers said they had broken their own record of 10Tbps, set in 2010.

"To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest line rate ever encoded onto a single light source," the researchers said in an announcement on Monday.
The data-transmission breakthrough was achieved by using a single laser to create a swathe of pulses — dubbed 'frequency combs' — which were separated by a wavelength of 12.5GHz. These combs were then magnified into 325 colour channels via 'inverse fast Fourier transform', then sent down a 50km cable. Once it reached the other end, an optical fast Fourier transform encoded it back into data.

A Fourier transform is, in essence, a mathematical method for taking any complicated time signal and breaking it down into its basic frequencies. The reverse applies for an inverse Fourier transform.
To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest line rate ever encoded onto a single light source.

The technology, described in Nature Photonics on Sunday, could one day be worked into a single system-on-a-chip (SoC) for super-fast transmission of data at distances of 50 to 100km, or even at greater distances with amplification across the fiber length.

It also could eventually be used for bandwidth-hungry services such as cloud computing, 3D HD television and virtual-reality applications, the researchers suggested.
The news is part of an overall shift in data-transmission technology, as companies seek to break past the limits of encoding data in electrons by putting the data into light instead.

The Thunderbolt technology that sits at the heart of Apple's latest range of products is the result of Intel's own research in this area through its Light Peak silicon photonics technology. IBM has also been working on its own CMOS Integrated Silicon Nanophotonics technology. Unlike Intel, IBM has not yet managed to place a laser onto the same die as the processor.

The chief reason for the record-breaking speed is that the researchers "did not choose a receiver where we had to cope with 325 highly stabilised local lasers, but rather employed an optical fast Fourier transform to separate out the low-bitrate tributaries", said Wolfgang Freude, who took part in the research.
"What would be usually done numerically, we do on the optical side at the speed of light, so there is no electronic bottleneck," he added.

The data is encoded in real-time via two synchronised field-programmable gate array (FPGA) boards, then broken up and transmitted. It is then received, analysed by an optical Fourier processor, sent to a modulation analyser and sampled by a 20GHz oscilloscope.

The resulting low-bitrate tributaries — the 325 distinct frequencies of light — are then electronically processed using standard Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) algorithms.
The 26Tbps technique differs from the IBM and Intel projects in that it can transmit data across longer distances, according to Freude.

"What IBM and Intel are interested in is communication on-chip or between chips," he said. "What we are interested in is [transmission] over distances — without amplification — of between 50 and 100km. Then the amplifier comes in and we have the possibility of transatlantic connection."

PayPal slaps Google with mobile payment suit

Just this morning we reported on the rather jovial atmosphere at Google's big mobile payment announcement -- well, it looks like PayPal's prepared to bring an end to the celebration. According to Bloomberg, PayPal filed a suit against Google today in a California Superior Court, alleging that former PayPal executive, and one of this morning's MCs, Osama Bedier misappropriated the company's trade secrets.

The suit further fingered Stephanie Tilenius, also formerly with PayPal, of violating the terms of her contract in recruiting Bedier. Though we've yet to get our hands on any clear details about which trade secrets PayPal's pointing to, we'd say the timing speaks volumes.

Greece and Spain Protest : Who will follow ?

The grave mistakes of the leisure class have lead to a new underclass (Galbraith- Veblen), ie. Young and old (over forty as per most human resources departments) educated and out of work professional men and women.

Judging from the current demonstrations in Spain and Greece, and the probable domino effects in Ireland, Italy (which will eventually find their way to the more industrialized countries) the new underclass is composed of both labor and out of work professionals.

If the leisure class, ie. the industrialists, aren’t careful they may see an unprecedented backlash that will not only affect their profits, but their very existence.

Recall that May Day started in the US, and that the red flag was the result of a young woman dipping a dead worker’s shirt in a pool of blood.

“Κραυγή Λαού, Οργή Θεού”


Joey was successful in everything he did.

He graduated from an Ivy League university, landed a successful job.

Joey was a shooting star in his line of work.

Joey met Kathleen and it was love at first site.

They got married, had 2 children (John and Alice) and led a family life that most would envy.

On a particular business trip, Joey met Gwen, a ravishing redhead.

Gwen simply bewitched Joey; Joey was so enchanted with Gwen that he abandoned his family and settled in with Gwen, far away from his homeland. Kathleen eventually filed, and was awarded, the divorce due to being abandoned.

The years passed, and Joey and Gwen had four children. Joey loved Gwen for all the years of their marriage.
After 20 years since the day he left Kathleen , two young people walk into Joey’s shop.

Joey sees them, stands up and recognizes them as John (after-all John looked exactly like Joey) and Alice.

“Father, why did you abandon us?”

Joey stood up, crying, embraced his two children and died.

The official Coroner’s report states that Joey died from a massive coronary, but people in the area where he lived believe that the cause of death was a broken heart.

εστιν κεκαλυμμενον ο ουκ αποκαλυφθησεται
"There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed" (Matthew 10,26)

North Carolina

I lived in Carsboro North Carolina from ’69 to ’70 and attended an elementary school at Chapel Hill. As a matter of fact, that time also marked my very first crush on a young redhaired girl name Julia (we were both 5).

I recall overhearing a discussion between my father (who at that time was 2nd viola for the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra) and an old man named Athas.
Athas (original name Athanasopoulos from Tripoli,Peloponese Greece…not to be confused with Tripoli Lybia…) had imigrated from Greece to the US and had settled in Durham. After doing odd jobs he managed to talk his way into Duke into a Pol. Sci. program which at that time was usually attended by students of exceptional wealth.

Anyway, during one of the lectures the professor queried the students regarding their backgrounds since most of them were from known Carolina and American families. So you had so and so say he was the son of Vanderbuilt (for example), and so and so say she was the daughter of Spencer…or in more proper language, she was a Spencer.
So coming up to Athas, (who had never met his father, his old man having died in the Balkan wars..and who had left his mother …a tired village woman,back in Greece ) the prof goes to him in a wee bit of a sarcastic tone (after all the class was indeed filled with the at that time creme dela creme of american society)) :
“So Master Athas, and who may your father be?”

And Athas answered:


Afternote: Athas did graduate with a degree in Pol. Sci. and did attain exceptional social status amongst the North Carolina Elite. He ended marrying his classmate, young miss Spencer who was indeed a ravishing Carolina Beauty (and Athas being a 6 feet perfect shape blue eyed curley haired dude did strike it well generally with the fair sex) and since his mastery of ancient Greek was near perfect (including the very difficult Ionic dialect) many classics maitres sought him out just to engage in classical discussions with the mother of all languages. Athas had two daughters, Daphne and Rachel.

Government Investigations Have Frozen Google's Manual Search Results

by "the LAUNCH team"

Google’s search results have been "frozen" from anything but algorithmic changes due to multiple government investigations -- and possible investigations -- numerous sources have told LAUNCH.
Google search results have always been primarily algorithmic. However, it has long been known inside the industry that some human "massaging" or "grooming" has occurred after the algorithm generated results. Sites that were good actors from Google’s perspective (read: Wikipedia, respected blogs, news sources) were moved up, and sites that were considered spam (or low quality) were moved down.

The human touch is not new, nor does Google deny it.

At Google's founding, the human power came from Larry and Sergey, who created a ranking system that rewarded links coming from important sources and penalized those that did not. Those results fueled the PageRank algorithm, which Google still uses today to help determine search results (although to a much lower extent now that PageRank has been wildly gamed, and other signals of quality have emerged such as social sharing and time spent on a page).

Indeed, the term "Google Dance" historically referred to not only Google changing its search results, but the vibrant debate between content companies and Google staffers after those changes. Essentially, content creators have been negotiating with Google since the beginning of Google time.
Three of the top 400 content sites in the United States told LAUNCH that Google had manually tweaked results either up or down.

Google’s search teams have long battled internally over manual vs. algo changes. However, since shortly before the Panda algorithm update in February, the Brass have forbidden search teams to talk about, let alone manually change, search results.
Instead of debating confounding search results with partners (especially since the Panda update), Google has defaulted to sending content owners cookie-cutter legal messages that say no manual intervention is ever done to search results. This is, of course, disingenuous to many who have been in the industry and Danced with Google in the past.

Traditionally, content companies feared criticizing Google publicly -- and they didn't have to because Google was willing to do the Google Dance. Post-Panda, Google has been plagued by embarrassing search results, and some companies in the industry have broken rank.
On March 5, Suite101 CEO Peter Berger wrote an open letter to Google's Matt Cutts [ http://twitter.com/#!/mattcutts ] defending the quality of Suite101’s content and asking Google to stay "committed" to treating content impartially (i.e., not favoring Google’s content over that of competing companies).

On May 5, HubPages CEO Paul Edmondson essentially accused Google of using its dominance in search to destroy competitors and build up its own content sites.
Those kind of aggressive call-outs were usually left to the SEOs of the world--not professional CEOs. Edmondson’s piece was especially damaging to Google because it hit them right where they are being investigated -- and frankly are weakest -- their own content sites (Google Local, YouTube and Blogger).
Our handicapping of the situation is that HubPages and Suite101 felt they had nothing left to lose, after the Panda smack down, by openly confronting and criticizing Google.

Additionally, content providers that once depended on Google search traffic have, in some cases, simply given up trying to work with the firm. Instead, they are focusing their energy exploring other traffic sources such as apps on the iPhone, iPad and Android platforms, as well as social traffic from Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.
As to whether Google has gone pure algorithm in its search results, a Google spokesperson told us, "Computer algorithms are the most scalable way to deliver relevant results. However, manual controls are necessary to improve the user experience in very limited cases, such as security concerns, legal issues and spam."
LAUNCH translation: "99% of what we do is algorithmic, but we need to be able to correct the obvious mistakes that the algorithm is going to make. This is just common sense, and it’s kind of frustrating that the Obama administration is harassing us over this when Facebook is behaving 1,000x worse than we ever have."
Google believes its process for creating search results is a trade secret and should not be transparent, although Matt Cutts has previously argued -- correctly -- that Google has revealed many "secrets" over the years [ http://googlepolicyeurope.blogspot.com/2010/03/google-transparency-and-our-not-so.html ].

HubPages CEO Edmondson's claim about Google is exactly what the European Commission officially began investigating late last year. The Texas Attorney General’s office started its antitrust review of Google last July and is demanding detailed documents about its search practices [ see http://allthingsd.com/20110216/heres-the-texas-ags-letter-demanding-googles-search-policies-and-ad-rate-formulas/ ].
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which investigated (and settled with) Google for privacy violations around its Buzz social network in late March, is considering a broad antitrust case against Google according to a Bloomberg report last month.

When LAUNCH asked FTC spokesperson Claudia Borne Farrell if she would comment on whether the agency is planning to investigate Google’s search practices, she said, "No."

That sounds like a "yes" to us.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

To Ireland with Hope

We just received a very sad letter from an Irish friend who jost lost her job.

We can't divulge further information, but we would just like to share with our Celtic friend our sincerest belief that these times will pass, and better ones will come.

From one ancient bankrupt race to another : Cha d'dhùin doras nach d'fhosgail doras

Getting Beach Ready

Ok, so I know I'm getting ahead of myself with this since the sun just came out for the first time in months in Boston yesterday, but I'm actually really looking forward to spending time on the beach this year.  I'm not the best beach person, mostly because I can't be in the sun for more than 20 minutes at a time, but I do love going and relaxing with a good book.  So, in ancticipation of the beach season, I've been checking out some of the must have beach accessories for 2011 and thought I'd share a few:

A super soft and sassy beach towel - thanks, Roxy, for this little gem:

Sperry's women's Jellyfish Thong in this cute nautical print:
I bought a great swimsuit cover-up last season at Nordstroms that basically looks like an oversized men's button up shirt and I LOVE it.  It's blue and white striped, long sleeve (however, I normally roll the sleeves up), it's lightweight, and it looks fantastic by itself or paired with shorts and flip flops.  Of course Nordstroms doesn't have it available anymore, but Jcrew has something similar:

A cute straw fedora to wear while floating in the water (my scalp always get burned when I'm swimming!):

Sunblock, sunblock, and sunblock!  I never ever go anywhere without putting at least some kind of SPF on my face, and at the beach, I am a Nazi about applying and reapplying.  But, I hate the sun block lotions, so I always buy sprays (what can I say, I'm lazy).  One of my go-to products is Banana Boat Ultra Mist Sport Sunblock Spray, which I use just on my body.  For my face, I normally need something more sensitive and more powerful and I absolutely love Neutrogena Sunblock Stick.  I keep one in my bag at all times because it comes in handy for those unplanned lunches on a patio or deck.  But, in the off chance that I do burn my face, this comes in mighty handy.  And don't forget chapstick!

A good beach read:

A practical and sturdy beach tote to lug all your essentials in:

 Plus a cooler to bring lots of water, fruit, a sandwich, and whatever else you like to snack on:

This is definitely a must have for the girl who can't be in the sun very long but still loves to hang out on the beach.  And for $10, you'd be silly not to buy one!

Are you wanting to hit the beach now?!

AT&T bringing LTE to five cities this summer

AT&T announced last fall that it would begin its LTE rollout in mid-2011, and it's now finally delivered a few more details. The carrier has just confirmed that five markets -- Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta and San Antonio -- will be getting LTE sometime "this summer," with ten more as-yet-unnamed cities set to join them in the second half of the year.

All told, AT&T says that should cover about 70 million Americans by year's end. Of course, an LTE network needs some devices, but AT&T unfortunately isn't providing much in the way of details about those just yet -- it's only saying that it plans to add 20 4G devices to its portfolio this year, and that "some of those" will be LTE capable.

Press Release

AT&T's 4G EvolutionDallas, Texas, May 25, 2011

By John Donovan, AT&T Chief Technology Officer

AT&T has delivered five mobile broadband speed upgrades in recent years, including our HSPA+ deployment last year. And average nationwide speeds on the AT&T network have increased – more than 40 percent over the past two years alone.The next network evolution will arrive this summer with the addition of LTE in five markets – Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta and San Antonio. We plan to add another 10 or more markets in the second half of the year, and cover 70 million Americans with LTE by year-end.

We also have plans to add 20 4G devices to our robust device portfolio this year, with some of those being LTE capable.We're positioning to deliver a great mobile broadband experience in the near term with HSPA+ and a growing LTE footprint.We've invested $75 billion in our wireless and wired networks over the last four years – more capital invested in the U.S. than any company in any industry.

And we plan to invest $19 billion in our wireless and wireline networks and other capital projects this year. The investments we've made to evolve our mobile broadband network in recent years, plus what we have planned for the future, put our customers in position to benefit fully from a host of coming mobile broadband innovations.

Hedge fund star calls for Microsoft's Ballmer to go

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Influential hedge fund manager David Einhorn has called for Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Steve Ballmer to step down, saying the world's largest software company's long-time leader is stuck in the past.

Microsoft, which was the largest U.S. company by market value in the late 1990s, has seen its stock stand still for the past 10 years as it failed to attack new Internet and mobile computing markets, surrendering leadership of the tech sector to Apple Inc.
Microsoft shares shot up 0.87 percent in after-hours trading, the most of any Dow Jones industrial average component.

Many have been privately critical of Ballmer, but Einhorn's remarks are the most pointed yet from a high-profile investor.
Einhorn's Greenlight Capital hedge fund has been a recent buyer of Microsoft stock, which at under 10 times expected earnings is regarded by many as undervalued.
Greenlight currently holds about 9 million shares in Microsoft, or 0.11 percent of the company's outstanding shares, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Speaking at the annual Ira Sohn Investment Research Conference in New York on Wednesday, Einhorn said it was time for Ballmer -- who succeeded co-founder Bill Gates in 2000 -- to step aside and "give someone else a chance."
"His continued presence is the biggest overhang on Microsoft's stock," he said.
On Tuesday, Microsoft was overtaken by IBM in market value for the first time in 15 years, chiefly because of its static shares. Apple roared past it last year to become the world's most valuable tech company.

An investor who put $100,000 into Microsoft stock 10 years ago would now have about $69,000 worth.
Einhorn, the president of Greenlight Capital, which had $7.8 billion of assets as of January 1, first rose to prominence for making a prescient call on Lehman Brothers' accounting troubles before the bank's subsequent collapse.

Shares of Microsoft edged up 0.87 percent to $24.40 in afterhours trade from a regular-session close of $24.19.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hospitals aren't funny

...but I have to say this made me chuckle... I got a little lost wandering around the hospital trying to figure out where to go to get back to my car. A nice nurse asked if she could help me, and I asked her where I needed to go. Her directions were: "Go straight 'til you get to Jesus, then take a right, then go left."

(I think maybe we could all use a little "go straight til you get to Jesus!")


I can't believe I'm blogging about this, but People magazine just released the first pictures of Kim Kardashian's engagement ring.  20.5 carats.  20.5 CARATS!!!!!!!!!!  How in the FRICK can she afford something like this ($2 Million!), cause, let's be honest, she's definitely the bread winner in that relationship (I can't believe I just said that).

Thousands of Greeks Protest in Central Athens

Greek residents, following their Spanish counterparts, organized a protest via facebook and amassed in Central Athens today protesting the Greek government's austerity measures and the memorandum issued by the IMF (international Monetary Fund) and the European Union.

The Greek government announced on Monday the sell off of a number of public corporations including Helenic Telecom (OTE) as well as the Hellenic Post. These measures which were assembled in a haphazard manner reflected the government's reluctance to tackle the real issue beleaguering the country, that being the core public sector costs where employment is protected by the constitution.

About twenty thousand Greeks have so far assembled in central Athens outside the Hellenic Boule, or Greek parliament buildings. Similar protests are taking place in other Greek cities notably Thessaloniki Macedonia and Patra Achaia.

The protesters have maintained that the protest will be carried out in a peaceful manner, without any hidden intentions leading to violence or catering towards anarchy.

The Greek protest is an awakening to the calling of the peoples of Spain for the Greeks to wake up and take control of their destinies.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Monterrey Nuevo Leon : Mexico's Industrial Powerhouse

Monterrey Nuevo Leon, which translates to Royal Mountain or Mount Royal or Montreal in French, is one of the most impressive cities of the world, combining strong industrial prowess, culture and a vibrant and exciting nightlife. Monterrey is many times called “The Sultana of the North” and the city’s inhabitants are typically referred to as RegioMontanos or RegioMontanas.

Monterrey’s industrial might is notable especially in the areas of steel, cement, glass, financial services, as well as its ability to draw foreign investments in the areas of high technology and telecommunications. The Monterrey Steel Foudry, or Fundidora operated from 1900 until 1986 and is one of the industrial establishments credited with helping achieve the city’s growth and financial prowess. The Cervecería Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma produces world class beers such as Tecate and Sol (commonly refereed to as Rubias) and the excellent local Indio beer (referred to as : Morena). The Cerveceria was founded by the Garza Sada family, one of the pillars of the Monterrey business community and is currently owned by Heineken International.

Monterrey Nuevo Leon is also home to world class higher education institutions such as the Tec de Monterrey which was founded through the philanthropic activity of Don Eugenio Garza Sada, an MIT graduate noted philanthropist and established businessman who died at the hands of kidnappers. The Tec, or ITESM, is active in the areas of the applied sciences and engineering and its research activities and curricula are equivalent to the level of institutions such as Sanford, Berkeley and MIT.

The city’s exciting nightlife consists of an elaborate array of districts and municipalities hosting a variety of entertainment facilities including restaurants (Chinese, Greek, Italian and Tex Mex), bars, malls, parks supported by strong infrastructure and impressive hotels.

A midnight stroll under a full Mexican moon in the romantic El Barrio Antiguo (the old quarter) is highly recommended, while the youthful fervor of the posh municipality of San Pedro Garza Garcia which also boasts a very active nightlife is ideal for bar hopping, shopping, dining and general entertainment. Monterrey’s and San Pedro Garza Garcia’s nightlife are sure to leave someone with pleasant, romantic and unforgettable memories.
The nearby resorts of La Laguna (The Lagoon) and Cola de Caballo (Horse’s Tail) just outside of Monterrey provide an ideal place for summer camping, hiking and outing.
Access to the Monterrey Nuevo Leon can be achieved through a number of highways as well as the local Mariano Escobedo Airport which connects to most international airports such as Fort Worth and Houston.

The Girl from El Valle San Pedro, Monterrey

I dated a girl from El valle de san pedro (otherwise known as San Pedro Garza Garcia; one of the loveliest parts of Monterrey), Monterrey Nuevo Leon Mexico.

If you go to Monterrey, and take vasconcelos all the way to Gomez Morin boulevard (if I remember correctly) and then drive all the way up to the Mountain, you end up in a checkpoint that has a bar, and guards on both sides.

Well, if you manage to get past that checkpoint and continue heading, you’ll end up in a house that resembles a castle.

Lucia lived (and still does) in that mansion.
Anyway, on one of our dates (it was always a pleasure to date Lucia since as a RegioMontana she has milky white skin, brown long her and lovely green eyes) we had dinner at el tenedor restaurant in el valle, and then went to the organization Ramirez multicinemas to watch “vampires” (Lucia loves horror films).

Since Lucia comes from one of the industrial families of Monterrey, on each and every of our dates she was surrounded by about 8 to 9 bodyguards. Lucia was not allowed to go anywhere without her bodyguards since her family was afraid of abduction. Recall that the notable Senior Garza Sada, a fellow graduate of M.I.T., died in the hands of extremists, so one can understand the fear that a lot of families in El Valle have about abduction.

Since Lucia was always surrounded by these men, I began to refer to them as her jail cell.
A couple of years later, after I had left Mexico, in a nice warm September I visited a nearby beach close to Athens. I usually do this since in September since all the tourists (local and international) are gone so I have this whole beach to myself.

A warm Mediterranean breeze engulfed me as I approached the inviting sea and dove in for a swim.
I thought of poor Lucia.

Like king Midas, she had all the money in the world and was a prisoner of this wealth. While I had the whole beach to myself, the lovely Greek sea, and it cost me nothing….
Can you really put a price on freedom??

I wonder….