Buzz Out Loud 859: Don't get your flops in a watt

Rafe and Molly square off over the re-use of air conditioning technology, the fail whale sinks a deal between Facebook and Twitter, Gmail is cracked, and an enterprising astronaut creates the ultimate in must-have space tech: a zero-G coffee cup.

Molly Wood Former Executive Editor
Molly Wood was an executive editor at CNET, author of the Molly Rants blog, and host of the tech show, Always On. When she's not enraging fanboys of all stripes, she can be found offering tech opinions on CBS and elsewhere, and offering opinions on everything else to anyone who will listen.
Molly Wood
5 min read

Rafe and Molly square off over the reuse of air conditioning technology, the fail whale sinks a deal between Facebook and Twitter, Gmail is cracked, and an enterprising astronaut creates the ultimate in must-have space tech: a zero-G coffee cup.

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Twitter rebuffs a Facebook poke?

Gmail exploit may allow attackers to forward e-mail

EU strikes down French “3 strikes” copyright infringement law

Has HavenCo’s data haven shut down?

Machine condenses drinking water out of thin air

Astronaut invents zero-G coffee cup

NFL demos live 3D broadcasts

Verizon workers fired over Obama records breach

Why Obama should ditch YouTube

Have it all: Lunascape, the browser with three engines

Stephan: Does Molly owe Tom $2?

Ed from Maryland: Success!

Since y’all didn’t cover the Supercomputing conference in Austin last week (a show where “consumer” and “low-end” mean “under $50K a piece”) here’s a quick floor report:

First, the race for the fastest computer in the world. In summary, we won! (We being the Los Alamos Roadrunner team). Oak Ridge’s new Jaguar was the second ever to get a Petaflop/s on the Top500 benchmark, but came up short a mere 46 Teraflops. That margin of victory is larger than the performance of any machine built before 2004. But, Roadrunner still gets more than 3x more Flops per watt than Jaguar.

To Oak Ridge’s credit, they did get the fastest scientific application ever. A 1.3PF, single-precision, run of a superconductivity simulation. More atoms and more detailed force calculations in these models than have ever been simulated. By next year’s SC conference, there should be lots more record breaking simulations coming from the Oak Ridge and Los Alamos monsters.

Also cool, the OpenCL standard is moving along nicely. It’s a library to allow easier use of GPU cores for computation. A useful release should come out sometime in 2009 which ought to make the GPU solutions every booth was hawking more appetizing.

The new Intel and AMD CPU lines were mostly ignored. No one seemed to care at all for Michael Dell’s keynote. Sun is going whole hog into high performance, despite layoffs elsewhere. And, sadly, not much new in networking and storage.

The good news is, despite These Troubled Economic Times, high performance computing seems to be doing ok. The budgets for most labs and research centers are flat or growing slowly, and the vendors are pushing lots of innovation into the space. Plus the t-shirt giveaways were more prolific than they’ve been since the dot-com days…:)

Also, Austin is a very cool town, and The Salt Lick is mighty fine BBQ…I’m still stuffed.

Love the show,
-Mark the supercomputer repairman

I’d just like to point out how amazingly intelligent Charter Communications is in regards to throttling high bandwidth users like myself. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been downloading a lot of, ahem, “Linux ISOs” over the torrents. So it seems that Charter saw fit to slow my download speeds, but rather than throttle my torrents, they throttled everything over HTTP. As a result, I’m still able to download my “Linux ISOs” at over 300KB/sec, but it seems that all HTTP traffic is capped around 30KB/sec. As a result, if I want to watch legitimate commercial or user generated content on sites like Hulu and YouTube, the video is far too jerky and requires too much buffering to be even remotely watchable. As a result, it’s now faster to download shows over torrents than it is to wait for them to load on Hulu. What a great way to discourage piracy, Charter!

Nashville, TN

Hi TMJ+,

I am writing to express my wonderment that I have a Google product that was updated from Beta to a full version in just a couple of months. We are all familiar with the Google habit of leaving most products in Beta for indefinite amounts of time for legal and other sundry reasons.
Well, Picasa 3 is now prime time folks (or ‘guys’ as we say here in OZ). And by the way, it is really cool. And I mean really cool. For example, the Retouch feature is exemplary (see attached collage I created in Picasa of my friend Anna). There is excellent video integration with easy Youtube uploading. There are too many features to list here in such a short space. However, I recommend it to all your listeners for the amateur to semi professional photographer. Google have excelled themselves. Congratulations!

Victoria, Australia

Hi buzz crew, I just wanted to write and let you know I found something
interesting when I was at lala.com. After I up loaded my music library to
lala.com, I noticed I was able to play my DRM itunes downloads on lala. I
can’t seem to do this on anything else but an authorized computer. Now I
can do it from my lala cloud. Tell me that isn’t cool! Lala needs a
streaming application for the iphone (and I need to convince my wife to get
an iphone, once iphone gets voice dialing, stereo bluetooth, and cut and

Well, love the show, and haven’t missed in over 2 years!


Hey BOL,

After listening to your HDCP rant, I have to vent. I hate HDCP. Just
in every day, in-spec use, it breaks the functionality between my
Toshiba HD-DVD player (it still upscales :*( ) and my Philips 42″ LCD
TV about 30% of the time that I start up a DVD. Essentially what
happens is the movie tries to play, HDCP says no, and/or I get an
epileptic seizure-inducing flashing green screen. I described HDCP to
my friend as a situation where you give both the TV and the player a
loaded gun, you make them both very nervous, and you put them in a
dark, locked room together, and about 30% of the time they start
shooting, killing each other (and preventing me from watching my movie
until I turn them both off and try again).

Love the show! Hate HDCP!

Mike the chip designer in FL

Here’s some good content for you (and another MP3, heh), iPhone nukes. This taken directly from iPhone EULA:

You also agree that you will not use these products for any purposes prohibited by United States law, including, without limitation, the development, design, manufacture or production of missiles, or nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.
I hope I’m not too late before you decide on what to use today.