Sony’s VAIO U-Series PC offers a slim,
portable package with lots of accessories.
Photo courtesy of Sony Corp.
LAN capability. You
can enter text using
a stylus and virtual
keyboard on the
unit’s tough panel
screen or you can
plug in the fold-out
if you have room.
Other features include a 5” display, Memory Stick® and
Compact Flash media slots, and thumb controls for changing
display orientation. It is powered by a Pentium® M processor
and Windows® XP Professional OS and you even get a mobile
AC adaptor, headphones, and a VGA/Ethernet adapter. The
port replicator allows the batteries to be charged and permits
the connection of peripherals, such as a mouse, hard drive, or
external display. The bad news is that it will set you back
about $2,000.00. For more details, visit www.sonystyle.com
New Browser in Town
Late last year, the Mozilla Foundation released its web
and Email applications suite, based on the original open
source Netscape Communicator product (which was originally
named Mozilla). The suite consists of the Firefox 1.0 web
browser and the Thunderbird 0.9 Email client. (As of this
writing, Thunderbird 1.0 was available, but not officially in
final release.) It appears that Firefox is an unprecedented
success, with nearly 5 million copies downloaded in the first
couple of weeks after its release. According to W3Schools
( www.w3schools.com), Firefox had already gobbled up
nearly 20 percent of the market by December 2004, second
only to Internet Explorer 6, which had 68 percent.
The suite, which has scored highly positive reviews, is
available in 26 languages for Windows, Mac OS X, and
Linux and can be downloaded from www.mozilla.org/
products/firefox/ all.html Other products are available or
under development, including Bugzilla (a bug tracking system),
Camino (a web browser optimized for Mac OS X with a
Cocoa user interface and the Gecko layout engine), and
Calendar Project (a cross-platform calendar application).
“World Community Grid” Launched
Would you like to help conduct research to unlock the
genetic codes that underlie diseases like AIDS and HIV,
Alzheimer’s, and cancer? Improve forecasting of natural disasters? Support studies that can protect the world’s food and
water supplies? Resolve other dreadful human afflictions?
What if it didn’t require any effort, re-education, or significant
expense on your part? Well, step right up. You can start now.
IBM ( www.ibm.com) — along with representatives of
many scientific, educational, and philanthropic organizations
— recently launched World Community Grid (WCG), a global
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humanitarian effort created to apply the unused computing
power of individual and business computers to help address
the world’s most difficult health and societal problems.
To participate, all you have to do is download a small
program — about the equivalent of a screen saver — that
links it to the WCG. When idle, your computer will
download data on a specific project from WCG’s server,
perform computations on the data, send the results back
to the server, and ask the server for a new piece of work.
Each computation that your computer performs will
provide scientists with information that accelerates the pace of
research. You can even track your participation and monitor
how many computational contributions you have made.
The software runs only while your PC is operating, so
there is no need to keep the machine powered up for extended
periods. As of this writing, the WCG had 26,644 members
providing time on 35,057 computers and the numbers are
growing constantly. If your machine runs Windows XP, 2000,
ME, or 98, you can volunteer by downloading the free software and registering at www.worldcommunitygrid.org
Circuits and Devices
Active Ethernet Simplifies Installation
The power-over-ethernet (PoE) concept, a.k.a. “active
Ethernet,” eliminates the need to run 110/220 VAC
power to wireless access points and other devices on a
hardwired local area network. This increases installation
flexibility and can reduce installation costs. All you need to