Have some happy news for a change; aerogel made from recycled paper

Subject: General Tech | February 10, 2016 - 12:51 PM |
Tagged: aerogel, nifty

With the depressing news about security holes below the fold it seemed appropriate to post something positive before you get depressed about PDFs, fonts and other such things.  This morning Slashdot posted just such a story, researchers have managed to turn recycled paper into an aerogel.  Aerogels are a relatively new substance, usually created with silica, metals or polymers and are incredibly light, amazing insulators and often have other arcane usages.  Recycled paper might not seem a likely substance to form an insulator, however the polymer resin coated cellulose aerogel still retains that common property.  It is also capable of absorbing up to 90 times its dry weight in spilled oil while completely excluding water, and to allow for the recovery of 99% of that oil for use again. 

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"A team of scientists have successfully turned paper waste into aerogel. Aerogels are used in insulation, and they are usually made out of polymers and silica. But a research team at the National University of Singapore managed to make the highly sought-after product using recycled paper ..."

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Source: Slashdot

On-die watercooling

Subject: General Tech | October 7, 2015 - 01:06 PM |
Tagged: watercooling, nifty

These researchers are skipping the waterblock altogether and have made channels in surface of the die its self for de-ionized water to flow through and cool the chip.  The 28-nanometer Altera FPGA they tested this cooling method on had numerous channels cut into it which were then sealed up with a layer of silicon.  With a flow rate of 147 ml/minute they kept the chip to a comfortable 24C, a mere 4C higher than the temperature of the water and significantly lower than the 60C the chip would run at using air cooling.  Neither Hack a Day nor PCPer encourage you to try to cut micron sized channels in your brand new processor, however we all hope to see this cooling technique incorporated into heatspreaders in future generations of processors.

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"Researchers at Georgia Tech have been working on cutting fluid channels directly into the back of commercial silicon die (an Altera FPGA, to be exact). The tiny channels measure about 100 micron and are resealed with another layer of silicon. Water is pumped into the channels to cool the device efficiently."

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Source: Hack a Day

Kids these days and their Raspberry Pi's

Subject: General Tech | August 27, 2015 - 02:14 PM |
Tagged: nifty, Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi and its various flavours have been out for a while now and we have heard of a variety of projects developers and hobbyists have come up with but this story from The Register has them all beat.  With a little Googling and a lot of creativity and inspiration there are kids out there creating all sorts of new uses for the little device.  One 11 year old was a little worried about her Grampa and used a Pi along with PHP and HTML to pair a device with a webpage which can bring up a web browser for him, allow simple texting capabilities and to photos to make sure he is still OK.  Others have created a scanner to keep track of scores in netball or to make sure that the sushi they grab from a restaurant's conveyor belt isn't getting too old.   Give kids a chance to create and what they come up with will blow you away.

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"Completely at home with Raspberry Pis, these kids Google around for the things they don’t know how to do - because when you’re 11, you don’t know what you can’t do. They are inventing the future, and for them it’s just child’s play."

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Source: The Register

Windows Server 2012 R2, now featuring a clipboard shared across VMs

Subject: General Tech | September 6, 2013 - 01:26 PM |
Tagged: servers, windows server 2012 R2, microsoft, nifty, RDMA

If you play with VM's in a Windows environment you have probably gotten quite good at using FTP as that was the easiest way to copy files or even text between two or more of your virtual machines.  No more will you need to do that as the new version of Windows Server will have a shared clipboard allowing you to copy and paste not just text but also files between your VMs.  They will still limit you to 64 virtual CPUs but they did add Remote Direct Memory Access which offers a huge boost in speed to your machines and for doing live migrations.  Check out more at The Register.

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"If you want to see a TechEd audience break into spontaneous applause – and here I am one-hundred-percent serious – give them something that they really care about. Like a shared clipboard. The people running virtual servers really did interrupt Benjamin Armstrong, Microsoft Hyper-V program manager, to applaud the simple act of being able to cut and paste text or files between VMs."

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Source: The Register

Could you actually do 'work' on a Shield?

Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2013 - 03:54 PM |
Tagged: shield, nvidia, nifty, microsoft, grid vca, byod

Remember NVIDIA's Shield, that game streaming device Ryan was playing with at QuakeCon but which doesn't seem to fit the role of just a gaming device since it can harness the power of other nearby NVIDIA GPUs?  The Register is proposing a rather interesting usage scenario for the Shield by using the GRID VCA technology which is the basis of communications with NVIDA's servers and virtualized GPUs, which is also happens to function well with many of the virtualization programs currently in use.

When they saw Windows games being played on a Shield at VM World they realized that there would be nothing impossible about providing Office 365 as a service if you were running Server 2012 with RemoteFX installed.  With HDMI out you can have the monitor of your choice and the Bluetooth capability means you can support a keyboard and mouse and suddenly you have the coolest thinclient on the block.  In fact you might even be able to sit near a server with several Tesla cards installed and run CAD programs if someone could figure out how to stream a CAD program to the Shield.  

Or you could just game at work.

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"Some grumble that the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) concept deserves to be called Spend Your Own Money in recognition of the cost of providing a computer hitting workers' hip pockets instead of employers'.

Such grumbles may be less sustainable now that NVIDIA's $US299 SHIELD portable gaming console can run Windows applications."

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Source: The Register