Weekend tech reading: IBM's silicon photonics, 3D printed molecules, remembering Terry Pratchett

By Matthew
Mar 15, 2015
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  1. IBM to demonstrate first on-package silicon photonics One of the most tantalizing next-generation technologies that could dramatically reduce system power consumption and improve bandwidth is silicon photonics. This method of chip-to-chip communication uses silicon as an optical medium, and transmits data incredibly quickly with far better power consumption and thermals than traditional copper wires. Now, IBM is claiming to have advanced the technology a significant step by integrating a silicon photonic chip on the same package as a CPU. ExtremeTech

    Hunting for hope at the Game Developers Conference One neatly dressed coder cracks a joke to another about the polygon count of his colleague's creased shirt. Bright young things with harsh neon hair mooch around on beanbags below us, as the escalator slowly shifts us to a level where men in oxford shirts queue for Xbox-sponsored lattes. The Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, the GDC, is a wonderful, eclectic mess. I've come to try and get a snapshot of the industry's current state in the hope of reassuring myself that my career isn't a total waste of time. Vice

    NASA is developing wearable tech glasses for astronauts Google Glass hasn't taken off here on earth, but a similar technology could become essential equipment in space. The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration is working on computerized glasses for astronauts that can guide them through how to repair a latch on their ship or conduct an experiment in space. NASA is teaming up with a San Francisco company called Osterhout Design Group, which makes augmented-reality glasses that project information onto the lenses. Bloomberg

    Valve is not psyched they got an 'F' in customer service Not too long ago, I stumbled across a curious fact: Valve, maker of the world's biggest PC gaming service, was given an F by the Better Business Bureau. Other major gaming companies largely have A's. The culprit? Poor customer service. According to the BBB's page on Valve, people have filed 717 complaints about Valve and Valve-related products (Steam, games, etc), 502 of which they've failed to respond to. Kotaku

    Two years on, DmC takes its rightful place in the series This seems like a straightforward proposition, but what is Devil May Cry? It's a third-person fighting game that more or less invented a genre, then with Devil May Cry 3 raised the bar once more and, with Devil May Cry 4, had its biggest-selling entry (2.9 million). In 2008 the series did not seem in bad shape - and then the next Devil May Cry was DmC, a reboot developed by the Cambridge studio Ninja Theory. This switch was much-maligned by series fans, persistently and often unfairly. Eurogamer

    3D printer for small molecules opens access to customized chemistry Howard Hughes Medical Institute scientists have simplified the chemical synthesis of small molecules, eliminating a major bottleneck that limits the exploration of a class of compounds offering tremendous potential for medicine and technology.  Scientists led by Martin Burke, an HHMI early career scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, used a single automated process to synthesize 14 distinct classes of small molecules from a common set of building blocks. HHMI

    The SSD Endurance Experiment: They're all dead I never thought this whole tech journalism gig would turn me into a mass murderer. Yet here I am, with the blood of six SSDs on my hands, and that's not even the half of it. You see, these were not crimes of passion or rage, nor were they products of accident. More than 18 months ago, I vowed to push all six drives to their bitter ends. I didn't do so in the name of god or country or even self-defense, either. I did it just to watch them die. The Tech Report

    YouTube turns 10: How competition crashed the party If there could be said to be a poster boy for YouTube, it may well be Freddie Wong. Known online as FreddieW, the 29-year-old is the creator of "Video Game High School," a comedic sci-fi series featured on billboards and in TV, print and online ads, as part of YouTube's fall 2014 promo campaign. Some parts of the "VGHS" three-season run were shot at YouTube's own massive production facility in Los Angeles, with Wong the first creator to utilize the space. Variety

    Recycling in the US: An off-again, on-again love affair During my childhood, recycling was an informal, ad-hoc process. We used to buy soda in flip-top bottles that went right back into the crate and got taken back to where we bought them. The bottles were refilled often enough that their painted labels started to wear down. Our newspapers (which were, in fact, paper) got put in the garage until the local Boy Scout troop had a paper drive, where the papers went into a dumpster and were carted off for reprocessing. Ars Technica

    I spent a week with the scammers, drug dealers, and endearing dorks inside the Dark Web Last month, a federal jury in New York convicted Ross Ulbricht on seven drug and conspiracy charges related to the operation of the now notorious online bazaar the Silk Road. The Silk, 17 months after its seizure by the FBI, still the only site to have entered the public consciousness from the enormous, complex, and confusing part of the internet known as the Dark Web. BuzzFeed

    Mars rover Curiosity hits the road again after short circuit NASA's Mars rover Curiosity is back in action for the first time after suffering a glitch late last month. The 1-ton Curiosity rover transferred powdered rock sample from its robotic arm to an analytical instrument on its body on Wednesday (March 11), and then drove about 33 feet (10 meters) toward the southwest on Thursday (March 12), NASA officials said. (also: Suddenly, it seems, water is everywhere in solar system)

    'A butt of my own jokes': Terry Pratchett on the disease that finally claimed him The much-loved author died aged 66 last week, seven years after revealing he had a rare form of dementia. Here we reprint the powerful account of the condition that he wrote to fight the stigma of the illness, first published by the Alzheimer’s Society in 2008. The Guardian

    Bidding farewell to Google Code When we started the Google Code project hosting service in 2006, the world of project hosting was limited. We were worried about reliability and stagnation, so we took action by giving the open source community another option to choose from. Since then, we’ve seen a wide variety of better project hosting services such as GitHub and Bitbucket bloom. Many projects moved away from Google Code to those other systems. Google

    4chan's overlord Christopher Poole reveals why he walked away At 11 a.m. on January 21st, Christopher Poole posted a note online saying he was retiring as the administrator of 4chan, the notorious website he had founded as a high school student in upstate New York 11 years earlier. The news was as shocking as some of the site's content: The Zuckerberg of the online underground was walking away. Rolling Stone

    Julian Assange case: Sweden U-turn on questioning Swedish prosecutors have offered to travel to London to question Wikileaks founder Julian Assange over sex assault allegations. Prosecutors had previously insisted on questioning Mr Assange in Sweden, after seeking his arrest in 2010. Mr Assange denies the assault claims and has been living at the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012. BBC

    Google Fiber ended 2014 with 29,867 TV subs Google Fiber is stirring fear among incumbent telcos and cable operators, but the provider has yet to make a big dent in the market, at least with respect to video, in the early going, according to new subscriber data uncovered by MoffetNathanson. Multichannel

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  2. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,550   +594

    That SSD death test was pretty interesting. I know when they first came out there was a whole lot of hand-wringing and worry about how they wouldn't last. Looks like they're even more durable than mechanical drives.
  3. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,202   +422

    Yeah - I've been keeping up with that story and it was kind of sad to see them die even though they lasted so very long.

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