World Tech Update, Feb. 12

Uploaded by macworld on 12.02.2010

Thanks for joining us here on World Tech Update, I’m Nick Barber. Coming up on this week’s
show space shuttle Endeavor blasts off, IBM introduces a new processor and accompanying
servers and the Google Snowmobile maps some unusual places.
We’ll start this week though with Iran where the government is shutting down Google’s
Gmail service within the country hoping to quell opposition. The Wall Street Journal
reported on Wednesday that Iranian authorities are trying to silence any anti government
protests before they can get started. Government opposition groups have called for protests
to be held on February 11th, when the country traditionally celebrates the anniversary of
the Islamic Republic.
Staying with Google, with the introduction of Buzz, the company has added social networking
integration to Gmail. The new service is built inside of the webmail application and lets
users share content similar to how it’s done on Facebook and Twitter. You can update
your status on either your desktop or a mobile device. Buzz allows you to connect to other
sites like Picasa, Flickr, Google Reader and Twitter so that content from there becomes
aggregated within Buzz. As of now, Buzz doesn’t have a link into Facebook and without the
two applications communicating that represents a major gap in Buzz’s coverage. You also
can’t update your Twitter status from Buzz, information only flows one way for now.
Space Shuttle Endeavour blasted into the pre-dawn sky above Florida early Monday morning on
a mission to deliver a new observation module to the International Space Station. On board
are two European modules Tranquility and Cupola, which together are the last pieces of the
non-Russian part of the ISS. Tranquility is a connecting module while Cupola is a control
room and observation area for robotic operations. Cupola will be mounted to face the earth and
will provide astronauts with a much improved view of the planet and robotic operations
being carried out in space.
On Monday IBM introduced its latest Power7 processor, which adds more cores and improved
multithreading capabilities to boost the performance of servers requiring high up time. The Power7
has up to eight cores, with each core able to run four threads. The Power7 chip will
come with four, six or eight cores and run between 3 gigahertz and 4.14 gigahertz. Even
though the Power7 chips will deliver twice the performance of older models, the newer
chips will be four times more energy efficient. The company also launched four Power7-based
servers that will be available between mid Feburary and mid March.
Electronics giants Samsung and Sharp put nearly three years of battling over LCD panel and
module patents behind them on Monday with a deal that ends all ongoing patent infringement
disputes. Two recent rulings appear to have provided in the incentive to settle. In December
a court in The Hague ruled that Samsung had infringed on Sharp patents and ordered a halt
to imports of infringing products while in January the U.S. International Trade Commission
also began blocking some Samsung products. A part of the settlement includes a patent
cross-licensing agreement that allows each company to use the patents of the other in
their products.
We have several items for you in our news in brief this week. Toyota plans to recall
around 400,000 of its Prius hybrid cars to replace software that controls the antilock
braking system. The global recall is in response to driver complaints about poor braking performance
under some conditions. The new software should improve braking while ABS is active at low
Google plans to build what it calls ultra high speed broadband networks in some parts
of the US. The fiber networks will deliver 1 gigabit per second connections to homes
at prices that it says will be competitive. The services would cover between 50,000 and
500,000 people.
Sharp's solar business will turn its first annual profits this year as the demand for
solar energy panels continues to grow. The business unit is expected is generate an operating
profit of 62 million after losing 179 million USD in the previous fiscal year.
Barnes and Noble's Nook e-reader is heading back to the shelves after being absent since
the holidays. Despite scathing reviews about the device's sluggish performance and mediocre
screen, Barnes and Noble was unable to keep up with demand around the holidays.
60 counties worldwide celebrated Safer Internet Day this past Tuesday. In Europe, the European
Commission encouraged social networking sites to tighten up their privacy settings to protect
children. Less than half of the 25 most popular social networking sites in Europe restrict
access to kids’ personal data to their own network of friends. European commissioner
for information society and media Vivane Reding said that she would like to see minors’
profiles set to private by default. The slogan for Safer Internet Day this year is “Think
Before you Post,” and this cartoon was released to show the perils of what could happen if
children don’t.
(music) (laughter)
Well that’s our show for this week. Thanks for joining us here on World Tech Update.
To find out what’s coming up don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and stay
tuned for news next week from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. As we head out we’ll
leave you with video of the Google Snowmobile…think Google Street view for ski slopes. I’m Nick
Barber and for all of us here at the IDG News Service thanks for watching and we hope to
see you next week!