Word of the Day: Tech Definitions from WhatIs.com


November 17, 2007  5:46 PM

Overheard: Bullet car chase has new meaning

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
projectile_courtesy_of_StarChase The Los Angeles Police Department and the Florida Highway Patrol will be the first two beta testers for the StarChase Fixed/Mobile Asset Tracking System.

More cop technology designed to make car chases obsolete. The StarChase system, which is fairly low tech compared to other schemes like HPEMS, lets police shoot a GPS tracking bullet from the front bumper of the police car and tag the back of the vehicle they’re pursuing. The goal? To allow police to follow the bad guys at a more leisurely pace.

On a similar note, General Motors plans to equip 1.7 million of its 2009-model vehicles with an OnStar system that will allow a police officer to remotely slow the engine of a stolen vehicle to idle speed.

November 17, 2007  2:27 PM

Overheard: Robots take over distribution centers at Walgreens and Staples

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
kiva_systems.jpg The scene is a constant swirl of activity, like a ballroom dance, with dozens of robots and pods in motion at any one time.

APICS The Association for Operations Management, Dance of the Bots

Robots move completed orders to a staging area. When the truck is ready, all the pods that have completed orders for that destination get up and move to the loading dock.

Check out this video from AT&T TV. You’re watching Kiva Systems robots. The little orange roomba-like robots follow adhesive bar codes in a high density grid pattern on the floor. They communicate with a centralized server in a big game of “Mother May I?”


November 17, 2007  2:02 PM

Overheard: It’s not your father’s joystick

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
guitar-hero.jpe “Though many popular games still employ a standard controller, the most popular games are using outlandish controlling devices that are so far-fetched, you’ll feel silly for trying, but won’t be able to put down.”

Triston McIntyre, Guitar Hero, Wii and DDR usher in new era of gaming

I predict that Guitar Hero a PlayStation 2 game whose controller is a two-foot-long plastic guitar, will be the big buzzword this holiday shopping season. Guitar Hero III was released in late October and sold 1.4 million copies in the first six days. It’s kind of cool hearing Guns ‘n Roses around the house once more. The fun part about this game, though, is looking at all the ways people have modified their controllers.

I don’t know whose mod is in the photo…I came across it on an MTV blog, uncredited. If you know who this is, please let me know so I can credit source.


November 17, 2007  1:43 PM

Overheard: Open source inspires strange bedfellows

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
matt-assay.jpg “If you want proof that open source is turning the world on its head, look no further than this announcement that Dell will be distributing Solaris on select Dell PowerEdge servers.”

Matt Asay, The gods must be crazy: Dell and Sun link up


November 17, 2007  1:23 PM

Overheard: What’s inside IBM’s Blue Cloud

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
erick-schonfeld.jpg “Blue Cloud is based on an open-source project called Hadoop that manages computing resources across large clusters of computers. Hadoop includes an open-source version of MapReduce, the same software Google uses to efficiently distribute its computing chores across its servers around the world.”

Erick Schonfeld, IBM’s Blue Cloud is Web Computing By Another Name


November 17, 2007  1:37 AM

Overheard: Moore’s law

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
gordon_moore.jpg “I’m through with making predictions. Get it right once and quit.”

Gordon Moore, BBC News interview 

I caught this interview last week on TV. The best part was hearing Dr. Moore complain about how slow his computer was.


November 17, 2007  1:36 AM

Overheard: Rackspace chiller must have given him nightmares

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
lanham_napier.gif Since the recent Dallas/Fort Worth data center downtime event, we have been doing a lot of communicating with our customers.

Lanham Napier, CEO The Cause, The Response and The Timeline

Without notifying us the utility providers cut power, and at that exact moment we were 15 minutes into cycling up the data center’s chillers. Our back up generators kicked in instantaneously, but the transfer to backup power triggered the chillers to stop cycling and then to begin cycling back up again—a process that would take on average 30 minutes. Those additional 30 minutes without chillers meant temperatures would rise to levels that could irreparably damage customers’ servers and devices. We made the decision to gradually pull servers offline before that would happen. And I know we made the right decision, even if it was a hard one to make.

A chiller is a cooling system that removes heat from one element and deposits into another element. For instance it could remove heat from water and disperse it into the air. A chiller is also a very scary story that can give you nightmares and keep you up at night.

 Rackspace delivers enterprise-class web infrastructure and managed hosting services. They have six data centers and manage more than 22,000 servers.


November 17, 2007  1:27 AM

Quiz: Overheard in the blogosphere (November 16, 2007)

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
DIRECTIONS: These are real statements from real people discussing real technology. We’ve removed one word from each quote. Can you still figure out what they’re talking about? Click on the link to see if you’re right!

1. Google’s announcement of the new __________ smartphone platform had less substance than a fashion show at a nudist colony.  What is Mitch Wagner talking about?

2. Well, this is one of the great blessings of the modern age, being always __________. Or maybe it’s not. I’m not sure. What is Rudy Guilani talking about?

3. If iRobot had made a 4-foot-tall __________ with a face and a hand to hold a vacuum hose, the company wouldn’t have sold more than ten units. What is Lance Ulanoff talking about?

4. __________ is currently defending itself in federal court from allegations that it installed, on behalf of the National Security Agency, secret internet spying rooms in its domestic internet switching facilities. What is Ryan Singel talking about?

5. This morning I received a message from TechTarget telling me that SearchWebServices.com is renaming itself to Search_________.com. What is Frank Cohen talking about?

6. Netscape abandoning the _______ news model could be looked at as 1) the first signs of the format’s demise, or more likely 2) a return to less risk-taking at AOL as it struggles to define itself under new management. What is Adario Strange talking about?

7. Among a fringe community of paranoids, __________ serve as the protective measure of choice against invasive radio signals. What is Ali Rahimi talking about?

8. According to the IBM Institute for Business Value, the next 5 years will hold more change for the __________ industry than the previous 50 did. What is the IBM report talking about?

9. Vilfredo Pareto was an economist who is widely credited for coming up with the Pareto Principle, more commonly known as the __________ rule. What are we talking about?

10. Police will be able to use a __________ system to disable a criminal’s vehicle, just like the tripods used in Spielberg’s War of the Worlds. What is Margaret Rouse talking about?


November 16, 2007  12:48 PM

Overheard: ERP software is a serious relationship

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
rebecca-gill.jpg “For almost twenty years we have had people ask for demonstration copies of our ERP software, so they may play with it at their leisure. For years we have said no and we’ve done so with good reason. An ERP package is an advanced system. It isn’t Microsoft Office and it isn’t an iPhone. You can’t simply turn it on and expect it to run without training.”

Rebecca Gill, Why Doesn’t This ERP System Work?


November 16, 2007  1:58 AM

Overheard: Steampunk gets some mainstream press

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
steampunk.jpg “And while I hesitated to tear open a $300 monitor that was still under warranty, art must be served.”

Jake von Slatt, Steampunk Monitor Mod

Both Newsweek and the New York Times covered steampunk this week. What is steampunk? It’s a genre of art where the artist takes something modern and alters it so it looks like it came from the Victorian Age.  Jake von Slatt is the master craftsman for steampunk. 


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