The “Ubiquitously Accelerated Edition” of Dr. Bill Netcast #166!

Dr. Bill Netcast – 166 – (11/27/10)

Novell has been assimulated! Ubiquitous Wi-Fi, what it is, and why it is cool! Netflix offers streaming only accounts! WOFR Internet Radio! Geek Software of the Week: ActiveSMART! Is the tablet PC going to take over from the desktop? (WARNING: The audio on this Netcast is accelerated! No, it is not your imagination!)

Links that pertain to this Netcast: – Internet Radio


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Are We Entering the “Age of the Tablet Computer?”

Tablet computers are becoming more popular. Is this a new trend? Will it hurt “desktop” PC sales? Time will tell!

Will Tablets Kill the PC Star?

“THE AGE OF THE TABLET COMPUTER is upon us, and Wall Street stepped up its efforts this week to gauge just how destructive the trend will be to the traditional personal-computer market.

Computer-industry observers have been warning for months now that tablets are primed to ‘crowd out,’ or cannibalize, personal-computer sales because they can perform a lot of the same tasks but are cheaper and fit better with an on-the-go lifestyle.

The industry has only a few of the slate-style computers on offer at the moment, most prominently Apple’s (ticker: AAPL) iPad and Samsung Electronics’ (A005930.Korea) Galaxy Tab.

But dozens of companies have announced or are expected to release tablet computers of one sort or another in the coming months, ranging from Archos (JXR.France), a maker of chunky, brick-like portable video players, to ViewSonic, a maker of computer monitors.

The CEO of Acer (2353.Taiwan), currently No. 2 in PC sales, was quoted on Friday boasting the company will dominate tablet sales a couple of years from now.

And so the Street has been busy assembling models: On Monday, Citigroup’s team of analysts covering computers, software and semiconductors put out a report saying there will be 35 million tablet computers sold in 2011, with Apple’s iPad accounting for three quarters of the total, compared with almost 400 million PCs sold.”

Geek Software of the Week: ActiveSMART!

This is a really neat utility to keep your hard drive healthy! And, if you are like me, and have a ton of valuable data on your system, you NEED to be sure that your drive is in good shape! Check this out! Highly recommended!

From their site:
“Protect your hard drive from a sudden failure. Use ActiveSMART! Install ActiveSMART® to protect your PC from a possible data loss in case of an unexpected hard drive failure. Normally, the hard disk errors happen unexpectedly. How much would the hard disk information loss cost you? Does your hard drive – the heart of your PC, and storage of all your data – feel healthy? Save your system from a hard drive failure with ActiveSMART.”

ActiveSMART Hard Drive Utility

– “Feel safe with ActiveSMART protecting your hard drive
– Notebook power saving mode support. Use the same version of ActiveSMART on desktop PC and laptops!
– Detailed hard drive status reports
– Health, Performance, Free Space information for all your drives
– Hard drive Temperature monitor
– Scan for bad and unstable sectors on our hard drive
– Alerts if something wrong is about to happen with your hard drive!
– User friendly interface”

Netflix Agrees With The Doctor!

OK, not quite what the headline says… it is just that in a recent post I said that we were heading toward ubiquitous Wi-Fi and that would lead to handheld devices that we would get streamed video on. And Netflix is coming out with streamed only account content.

Netflix foretells the future of content distribution with new streaming-only plan

“Netflix today announced a revision to its subscription tiers that simultaneously increased the price of its DVD-by-mail plans, and introduced a new bottom-tier plan solely for streaming TV and movies.

Similar to the streaming-only plan Netflix launched in Canada in September, Netflix subscribers will pay $7.99 a month for unlimited access to the Netflix Instant Streaming library. Previously, the cheapest plan cost $8.99 per month and included one-at-a-time DVD rentals as well.

That plan has now been bumped up to $9.99, and the two-DVDs-at a time plan has gone from $13.99 to $14.99. As the number of DVDs included in the plan rises, so too does the price increase. Netflix has tiers going all the way up to eight DVDs at a time, and that has risen from $47.99 to $55.99.

The introduction of the new streaming-only plan highlights a major shift in user behavior. In short, there are no DVD-only plans, but there is now a plan that involves no DVDs at all. Streaming has graduated from a companion service to one that can stand on its own.

‘The fact is that Netflix members are already watching more TV episodes and movies streamed instantly over the Internet than on DVDs, and we expect that trend to continue,’ Jessie Becker, Vice President of Marketing at Netflix said today.

The next big question is whether Netflix will graduate from being a complement to pay TV subscriptions to a real ‘cable cutting’ solution.”

Is This The Beginning of Wi-Fi Everywhere?

My interest in this article is… is this the beginning of what we all want; which is really ubiquitous Wi-Fi. That is, I want to be able to do is use a Wi-Fi type device no matter where I am… it is just a matter of time! Whether on your own home network, or not! I realize this will require new security protocols and even greater awareness of what you’re doing with your handheld device, or notepad, or netbook computer. However, I think this is where we are heading, and once we get reliable ubiquitous Wi-Fi everywhere, we can then imagine the kinds of devices we will soon have access to: handheld streamed video delivered to us anytime, anywhere; it will truly be a brave new world! By the way, DARPA helped invent the Internet, so don’t count them out!

DARPA funds 100% wireless distributed computing experiment

“The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding a proof-of-concept study at Virginia Tech to create a distributed computing solution that operates in a totally wireless environment and includes multiple computers and handheld devices.

DARPA’s interest in distributed computing stretches back more than 40 years, to the beginnings of what we now know as the Internet, when computer resources were scarce.

‘Traditional wired distributed computing has been around for many years, allowing computationally intensive tasks to be performed efficiently via many, physically connected computers,’ said Jeffrey Reed, principal investigator for the project and Electrical Engineering professor at Virginia Tech. ‘Our effort will focus on developing distributed computer systems that work in a cable-free environment, which will bring a new level of flexibility to users who need to work in rapidly changing, often challenging, mobile environments.’

Presently, computational power isn’t scarce, but wireless integrity is, so the first part of this project will focus on demonstrating the feasibility of wireless distributed computing on DARPA’s Wireless Network after Next (WNaN.) WNaN is a communications system that senses what parts of the wireless spectrum are free (Dynamic Spectrum Access), and automatically optimizes the network topology based upon the available resources. The goal is to create robust mesh networks using mostly affordable, commercially available hardware so soldiers can be more connected but at no great monetary expense.”

“Novell is no more!”

Wow. Attachmate is buying up Novell. Check it out!

Attachmate agrees to purchase Novell

“November 22, 2010 — Novell is no more. Pending the approval of stockholders and government regulators, the computer networking giant will be sold to Attachmate—best known for systems security and application integration—for US$2.2 billion, or $6.10 per share.

In a statement announcing the purchase, Attachmate said it will operate Novell as two divisions: SUSE Linux, and the rest of Novell, which includes the ZENworks virtualization software and other networking solutions. Further, Novell entered into an agreement to sell some of its intellectual property assets to a Microsoft-organized consortium: CPTN Holdings, which will pay $450 million in cash.

Attachmate has not yet provided a vision for which Novell products would be integrated into Attachmate’s portfolio. The company is owned by private investors Francisco Partners, Golden Gate Capital and Thoma Bravo.”

Wow! This is pretty amazing! I’ve worked with Novell directly, or indirectly, for years and yet and I even knew that the day was coming when it would be gone… replaced by Microsoft and the Evil Empire. But that day is now here! Amazingly enough, you notice that Microsoft and the consortium they mention in this article is going to get to pick and choose elements of Novell’s technology for their use… so, this is amazing stuff!

The “Social Network Me” Edition of Dr. Bill Netcast #165!

Dr. Bill Netcast – 165 – (11/20/10)

China Officially Overtakes U.S. in Supercomputer Performance, Steve Wozniak: Android will be the dominant smartphone platform, scientists have trapped anti-matter, Geek Software of Week: mp3DirectCut, social network me!

Links that pertain to this Netcast:


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Geek Software of the Week: mp3DirectCut!

A VERY handy little piece of software, for FREE!


“mp3DirectCut is a fast and extensive audio editor and recorder for compressed mp3. You can directly cut, copy, paste or change the volume with no need to decompress your files for audio editing. This saves encoding time and preserves the original quality, because nothing will be re-encoded. The built in recorder creates mp3 on the fly from your audio input. Using Cue sheets, pause detection or Auto cue you can easily divide long files.”

Anti-Matter Trapped For the First Time!

Zowie. Now we can start working toward warp drive! The future is coming, and it is Star Trek!

Antimatter Trapped For the First Time

“Get ready for that warp drive spaceship, because we are now one step closer to it. After creating antihydrogen in their antiproton decelerator, scientists at CERN have been able to trap antimatter for the first time in history.

This a big step. First, it gets humanity closer to understanding one of the biggest mysteries of the Universe: What happened to all the antimatter that was created during the Big Bang? In theory, matter and antimatter were created in equal parts during the Big Bang. However, the latter disappeared shortly thereafter. Or at least, we can’t seem to find it. The spokesman for CERN’s ALPHA experiment—Jeffrey Hangst of Aarhus University, Denmark—says that trapping these atoms was a bit of an overwhelming experience:

What’s new about Alpha is that now we’ve managed to hold on to those atoms. We have a magnetic bowl, kind of a bottle, that holds the antihydrogen […] For reasons that no one yet understands, nature ruled out antimatter. It is thus very rewarding, and a bit overwhelming, to look at the ALPHA device and know that it contains stable, neutral atoms of antimatter.

CERN created the first nine atoms of antihydrogen in 1995, and then started to produce atoms in large quantities in 2002, as part of the ATHENA and ATRAP experiments. This is the first time that scientists have been able to trap antihydrogen atoms for a long enough time to study them, keeping them at 9 degrees kelvin (-443.47 degrees Fahrenheit, -264.15 degrees Celsius), suspended in a magnetic field inside this Ghostbusters-style machine.”

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