COURTESY OF CRAY, INC.
■ The 1980’s Cray X-MP, with its cooling
system exposed, and the 2008 Cray CX1.
million plus the cost of disks. At that
rate, the dream of running your own
Cray supercomputer was pretty much
As of last November, it became
thinkable. That's when the company
introduced the Cray CX1 line of
personal supercomputers, aimed at
office settings in markets including
financial services, oil and gas, life
sciences, government, and academic
institutions. The machine is based
on the NVIDIA ( www.nvidia.com)
Tesla C1060 GPU processor, which
actually owes its development to the
demands of the gaming industry. Each
Tesla processor has hundreds of cores
that deliver nearly 1 TFLOP of peak
performance, and the CX1 can be
configured with up to four of them,
thus providing roughly 4,000 times
the performance of its great-great
Reportedly, you can pick one up
for about $25,000, which sounds like
pretty much of a bargain, all things
considered. Details are available at
www.cray.com. And if you don't
find something you like there, keep
browsing. Tesla-based personal supercomputers are available or are soon
to come from some other vendors,
including AMAX, Colfax, Microway,
Western Scientific, and, yes, Dell.
Mac/PC/Linux compatible, and it has
a built-in 2W speaker, a mic, and a
jack for external speakers.
WHAT'S A NABAZTAG?
COURTESY OF VIOLET.
The bottom line is that the little
bunny will run you about $200.
According to Violet, "Soon, every
Thing will be connected to the
Internet. It might be a good idea
to start with a Rabbit." Yeah, maybe,
as long as it doesn't cut into your
Second Life time too much. Details
■ Nabaztag the rabbit with other
terminally cute things.
Good question. First of all, the
name is Armenian for "rabbit,"
which explains its appearance. Or
vice versa. Secondly, it is described
by its manufacturer, Violet (
violet.net), as a "smart object," which
doesn't narrow things down much. It
is essentially a Wi-Fi multipurpose
device that does things like provide
weather, news, and stock market
reports (either audibly or via flashing
lights); plays music; wakes you up;
alerts you to email arrivals; etc. But
it also brings a potentially irritating
cuteness into your life, as it apparently
can sing to you, make impromptu
comments, read poetry, and even do
Tai Chi in its spare time.
Built by Lorlin Electronics and available through Saelig Co. is a new
series of IP65-sealed components
manufactured from UL/VO-compliant
fire-retardant materials, making them
perfect if your designs are intended
for hot, outdoor, or otherwise harsh
environments (or are just lousy and tend
to smoke when you switch them on).
The CKS rotary switches are 27. 5
mm diameter single-wafer components, available with either solder or
PC board terminals. Up to four poles
are available, with a maximum of
12 positions plus shorting, and an
adjustable stop restricts the number
■ The CKS series switches can handle
temperatures from - 30 to +185°C.
Nabaztag blinks, moves its ears,
obeys spoken commands, reads
RFIDs, and speaks 16 languages. And
it's programmable, so you can add
services using an API or download
existing services from other users. In
fact, there are communities of owners
with whom you can keep in touch
and your Nabaztag can even marry
someone else's. But enough of that.
There's always the technical side,
so be advised that it employs a
PIC18F6525 microcontroller, an
802.11b Wi-Fi adapter, an ML2870
audio-PCM sound generator, a
TLC5922 LED controller, and two
motors that drive the ears. It's
COURTESY OF SAELIG.
February 2009 13