Overheard: Word of the Day

A Whatis.com blog


December 28, 2007  2:11 AM

Overheard: Quantum computing



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
quantum computing, Technology
cat.gif “The fundamental unit of information in quantum computing (called a quantum bit or qubit), is not binary but rather more quaternary in nature, which differs radically from the laws of classical physics.”

Casey Kazan, The Quantum Future of Computing

A qubit can exist not only in a state corresponding to the logical state 0 or 1 as in a classical bit, but also in states corresponding to a blend or superposition of these classical states. In other words, a qubit can exist as a zero, a one, or simultaneously as both 0 and 1, with a numerical coefficient representing the probability for each state. This may seem counterintuitive because everyday phenomenon are governed by classical Newtonian physics, not quantum mechanics — which takes over at the atomic level.

Good explanation of quantum computing here from Cosmos Magazine.

December 27, 2007  12:56 AM

Overheard: Chaos theory, Google and the weather



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
complex systems, Technology
gregrae.jpg “Many scientists believe that twentieth century science will be known for only three theories: relativity, quantum mechanics, and chaos.”

Greg Rae, Chaos Theory: A Brief Introduction

I moved to Mountain View, after finding employment at Google. I analyze the logs. That might not sound like much, until you realize that we got tens of gigabytes of logs. Every day. Not many people get to deal with the intricacies of dealing with terabytes of data. (Greg Rae)


December 26, 2007  8:14 PM

Quiz: Who’s sorry now? Apologies from 2007



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
quiz
“Right actions in the future are the best apologies for bad actions in the past.”
Tryon Edwards

1. In 2007, Comcast apologized for:
a. unsatisfactory customer service
b. favoring conservative news shows in their programming lineup
Answer

2. Sony apologized for:
a. a humanoid robot that made obscene gestures to museum visitors
b. a freshly-slain goat centerpiece at a Greek orgy
Answer

3. The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce apologized for:
a. repeatedly sending faxes with sensitive customer data to a U.S. junkyard
b. issuing Canadian Tire Money (cash coupons) instead of legal tender
Answer

4. Apple apologized for:
a. making a third-grader run to her room and slam the door
b. making iPhone customers have to use AT&T
Answer

5. Intel apologized for a print ad featuring six sprinters because:
a. the ad was considered to be racist
b. the ad infringed upon Sprint Nextel’s brand
Answer

6. Verizon apologized for:
a. inappropriately blocking free speech in text messaging
b. failing to hire anyone over the age of 40 for their TV commercials
Answer

7. Mark Zuckerberg apologized for:
a. mistakes in the design and deployment of a Facebook application
b. failing to protect Facebook member’s privacy
Answer

8. David Maynor apologized for:
a. hacking into the Mac OS X 10.4.6 operating system to demonstrate security holes
b. not telling Apple that he knew there were security holes
Answer

9. The CEO of TJX (TJ Maxx and Marshalls) apologized for:
a. using faulty third-party software for gift cards
b. the biggest data breach in history
Answer

10. Skype apologized for:
a. a major outage that left 220 million users unable to make VoIP phone calls
b. a software glitch that caused 220 million users to hear echos when they talked on the phone
Answer


December 26, 2007  2:08 PM

Overheard: Computing at the speed of light



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
nanotech, optical computer
lightening_006.jpg “Computers that operate at the speed of light have come a step closer. Researchers have devised a light-based transistor made of semiconducting nanowires that could be a key building block of machines that are hundreds of times faster than today’s supercomputers.”

Saswato Das, Speed-of-light computing comes a step closer


December 24, 2007  11:13 AM

Overheard: Why NORAD started tracking Santa back in 1955



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
military tech
santa.jpg “It was more than half a century ago, on Christmas Eve in 1955, that a Sears Roebuck & Co. store in Colorado Springs advertised a special hotline number for kids to call Santa.What the company didn’t know at the time was that they had inadvertently misprinted the telephone number.

Instead of Santa’s workshop, the phone number put kids through to NORAD…Worse, it wasn’t just any number at NORAD: it was the commander-in-chief’s operations hotline.”

Carrie Farrell, Tracking Santa, then and now

This is a great story — Carrie’s grandfather was the commander-in-chief who got the calls. To get directions for how to follow Santa this year using Google Earth, follow Carrie’s link above.


December 23, 2007  1:40 AM

Overheard: When the big box from HP arrived, it was like Christmas



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
Blade servers, Data Center
kyle_rankin.jpg “Whenever I get to open up brand-new cutting-edge gear, it feels a little like Christmas for me. The crinkle of plastic, that crisp electronics smell, the unscratched metal–it’s a data center manager holiday. So, last December, when I started the installation of thirty-two blade servers in our new facility it was Christmas morning all over again.”

Kyle Rankin, No assembly required: How I lost two days in the data center

I’m hoping for a little box from HP this year.


December 21, 2007  4:27 PM

Overheard: December buzzword quiz



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
quiz

1. What is SimpleDB?
Answer

2. What is extrusion prevention?
Answer

3. What is hardware virtualization?
Answer

4. What is a Knol?
Answer

5. What is Brook’s Law?
Answer

6. What is the main purpose of HTML5?
Answer

7. What is frequency hopping used for?
Answer

8. What is a fuzz test?
Answer
9. What is IT?
Answer

10. What is IT?
Answer


December 21, 2007  2:11 AM

Overheard: Let’s all declare email bankruptcy and start over January 1



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
Email, Outlook, Technology
anne-zelenka.jpg Did you ever wish you could delete all your email without responding? Maybe you can. It’s called email bankruptcy. You realize you are never going to dig yourself out from under the pile of email in your inbox so you just declare that you won’t. You start afresh.

Anne Zelenka, Before You Declare Email Bankruptcy…

I got another notification this morning that my mailbox is over its limit. Geesh. One of the best Facebook wall posts I read this year was from a developer at Microsoft who said that his mailbox is so out of control that he just periodically wipes everything out and just starts again — and if I wanted directions for how to do that, to email him. :-)


December 20, 2007  11:00 PM

Overheard: Extrusion prevention? Worst tech term of the year



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
Security, Technology
eileen_kennedy.jpg Everyone is familiar with intrusion prevention — the security technology. But now we have extrusion prevention. Data leak prevention or outbound content filtering would better describe it.

Eileen Kennedy, 2007: These buzzwords made our eyes and ears burn

At first I thought Eileen was kidding. There couldn’t possibly be an IT word called “extrusion prevention” could there? But then I Googled it and sure enough, there’s not only tons of vendors out there pushing products for extrusion prevention — there’s also tons of stuff for extrusion detection.

How did I miss this word? And what guy made it up?  It had to be a guy. Yuck.


December 20, 2007  10:37 PM

Who’s sorry now? Yahoo



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
apology, Technology
yahoo_india.gif Yahoo apologized after recipes from Surya Gayathri’s blog were used without permission on Yahoo India’s new Malayalam-language Web portal. The Indian blogging community quickly created a buzzstorm about the rights of individuals to protect their intellectual property.

A Yahoo spokesman said “Yahoo respects the blogging community and the etiquette followed by bloggers. We regret any inconvenience caused by the inadvertent posting of the recipe without attribution.”


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