MediaFile

Micron enlists IBM to speed up memory chips

Micron has enlisted IBM to help build smart memory chips that could drastically speed up the high-performance computers and networking systems that make up the Internet.

Engineers in recent years have run into a “memory wall” as the increasing efficiency of computer processors outpaces the speed that memory chips can deliver, limiting the overall performance  improvemement of high-end computers.

And one key bottleneck keeping memory chips from being more efficient has been the pathway they use to move data to computers’ processors and back again. 

Micron’s new Hybrid Memory Cube architecture connects controllers to stacks of up to eight memory chips, making the movement of data across that pathway more efficient and making the memory chips 15 times faster than current widely-used technology allows, according to Micron technology strategist Mike Black.

IBM, using its 32 nanometer logic technology, is making the controller chips, which are then intricately connected to a stack of Micron’s memory chips.

Tech wrap: Kindle sales surge on Black Friday

Amazon.com said on Monday it saw a surge in sales of its Kindle devices, helped by its new Kindle Fire tablet, on the crucial “Black Friday” shopping day after Thanksgiving. Consumers bought four times as many Kindles on Black Friday as they did on the same day last year, when the company sold only e-readers, the largest Internet retailer reported.

Twitter has acquired a start-up company that makes software to improve security and privacy for smartphones and other mobile devices. With its acquisition of Whisper Systems, Twitter gains technology to bolster security of its fast-growing microblogging service and gets a pair of highly-respected experts in the field of online security.

Australia’s five major ISPs have revealed their plans to crack down on online piracy by sending warning notices to suspected illegal downloaders while assisting rights holders to pursue serial offenders through the courts. The Communications Alliance – which represents Telstra Bigpond, iiNet, Optus, iPrimus and Internode – says its plan protects consumers while respecting the rights of copyright holders, writes ABC News.

Conde Nast digital incubator hatches Santa’s Hideout

Conde Nast  just launched the latest product from its digital incubator in time for the holidays called “Santa’s Hideout.” The site is a free gift giving service aimed at children that lets parents set up a list for each child to fill while  also allowing parents to don their Santa beard. The items on the lists can be divvied up for Santa only as well as for family and friends.

Santa’s Hideout is using Amazon’s public API which is handling the e-commerce duties of shipping items on the list.

The site  is the second digital product launched from Conde Nast’s small research and development group which is overseen by Joe Simon, chief technology officer at Conde Nast. The first was something called Idea Flight, an iPad productivity app, that was released in June.

Congress plans Facebook “hackathon” to boost engagement with public

Top legislators on both sides of the aisle in the U.S. House of Representatives said on Thursday they will work with Facebook engineers and independent developers to make it easier for the public to engage with lawmakers and follow the legislative process.

The first-ever Congressional Facebook Developer Hackathon will take place Dec. 7 at the Capitol, bringing together lawmakers, academics and developers to find ways to make Congress more transparent and accessible.

A hackathon, a term coined by computer programmers over a decade ago, generally refers to a meeting where new programs and applications are collaboratively developed.

HP’s answer to the MacBook Air

HP’s answer to Apple’s MacBook Air is in, and it’s called the Folio13. 

 The company is one of the latest PC firms to launch an “Ultrabook” — a name chipmaker Intel gave to the new super-thin laptops that use its processors — but this time, it’s targeting the business user.

The launch must come as a relief to the Silicon Valley company’s PC unit employees, suspended as they were in limbo for over a month as HP considered whether to jettison the division or not. HP decided only late last month to keep the leading seller of PCs within its fold.

Penguin wades into self-publishing

Penguin Group launched a set of tools for writers who want to self-publish their books in print and digital form, making it the first of the six largest publishing houses in the United States to roll out such an offering.

The Pearson-owned publisher introduced the self-publishing suite through its website Book Country, a site for genre fiction authors who specialize in romance, science fiction, mystery and thrillers and are looking for feedback from other writers.

Writers can choose among three different packages to publish their works: e-book form only, user formatted e-books and print books, or professionally formatted e-books and print books. Prices range from $149 $99 to $549.*

Tech wrap: Microsoft shareholders grumble

Microsoft Corp shareholders left the software giant’s annual meeting grumbling that they did not get to ask more questions in their once-a-year opportunity to quiz Chairman Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer. One thing the chief executive did tell shareholders was that there is no benefit in breaking the company up. In response to a question about how the company can jolt its stock price out of a 10-year rut, Gates played up the company’s strong balance sheet and said the market would respond to innovation.

Some of Facebook’s estimated 800 million global users received a shock over the past 24 hours when unsolicited graphic content such as pornography and violent images appeared in their news feeds. It is unclear how the material was distributed across the social network but many Facebook users vented their anger through other social media such as Twitter. “It seems every other day there is some new Facebook ‘threat,’ but this is just the new reality of Web 2.0 and social networking,” online security expert Paul Ferguson told Reuters. “It is ‘low-hanging fruit’ for criminals.”

The LinkedIn lockup is almost over and shareholders are winding up to sell more than 6.7 million shares. They are looking to realize gains in the stock, which has risen 74% since its initial public offering in May. Bain Capital is unloading its entire stake in the professional networking company now that the lockup period restricting insider sales is expiring, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Bain led a $53-million investing round in LinkedIn in 2008 which valued the company at more than $1 billion.

Chipmakers most creative, drugmakers least?

Chipmakers including Intel and Qualcomm make up the world’s most innovative industry, according to a new analysis of patents by Thomson Reuters that is equally notable for some of the companies it does not include.

Thomson Reuters has just released its “Top 100 Global Innovators” list, which it compiled by scrutinizing patent data around the world using a peer-review methodology it developed.

“We tried to take an objective look at technology innovation and apply a composite measure not just of volumes, but also of influence in terms of citations of later published patents, in terms of globalization of patenting,” says Bob Stembridge, the lead analyst behind the study.

Confused about media and ad technologies? There’s a Lab for that.

Between the bazillion ad technology companies all claiming to revolutionize online advertising and an explosion of devices and services that promise to deliver  movies straight from the Internet to the TV, it’s  a full time job keeping tabs on what can do what.

That’s why Interpublic Group’s Mediabrands launched Media Lab last Thursday, a 5,000 square foot space dedicated to learning and figuring out which end is up with various technologies available to marketers.

IPG vets technology before it can even make it to the front door of the Lab — meaning just because it’s out there doesn’t mean it makes the cut for testing. More than 500 companies are in its database and the Lab keeps in radio contact with venture capital firms and emerging media and tech related companies both large and small to stay on top of trends.

Microsoft’s Kinect eyes path beyond gaming, into other industries

As Microsoft Corp’s Xbox gaming console nears its 10th anniversay, the company said its future may lie beyond gaming.

“That’s still the core of what we do, but if you think of the next 10 years of our business, it’s all the new opportunities and possibilities that Kinect is opening us up to,” Craig Cincotta, director of communications for Xbox, told Reuters.

Microsoft’s Kinect, launched last year, is a sensing camera and microphone device that plugs into the Xbox 360 console, allowing users to play games purely with gestures and voice commands.