Archive for March 2007

Dell to Release Pre-installed Linux Machines

Dell to Release Pre-installed Linux Desktops, Laptops

Dell contacted on March 28 to let us know that the company will be releasing select desktop and notebook systems with pre-installed Linux as an option in the coming weeks.

Dell, however, is still playing its Linux cards close to its vest. For example, we do not know at this time which Linux distribution—or distributions—it will be supporting, or what Dell desktop and laptop machines will have pre-installed Linux as an option.

David Lord, a Dell spokesperson, did say, however, that Dell has been listening to its users and that the users want home and office desktops and laptops.

The new systems, Lord added, will be true pre-installed Linux systems—and not just a PC with a blank hard drive and a bootable CD or DVD. Software support is likely to come from the community, however, rather than from Dell. [article]

Orbital Outposts better than Moonbase? — Orbital Outposts: A Better Bet than a Moonbase?

Because we are planetary creatures, most people assume the first and most numerous space settlements must be on the Moon or Mars. In fact, we may live in orbit long before settling the Moon or Mars, and there may always be far more space settlers in orbit than on any planet or moon. Orbital settlements are huge spacecraft, big enough for many thousands to live in comfortably, that provide radiation protection, a breathable atmosphere, nearly self-sufficient life support, and that rotate to provide something that feels much like Earth-normal gravity at the rim.

Why do I think orbital settlements will precede and vastly outperform those on planets and moons? Three reasons:

  • It’s easier.
  • There’s more.
  • The kids will be able to visit Earth

[more here]

Intel Outlines Processor Road Map

Intel Outlines Processor Road Map

By the second half of this year, Intel plans on producing the first of its Penryn family of 45-nanometer processors and the company also plans to move ahead with its next-generation architecture in 2008.

On March 28, Intel executives delved into some additional details of its Penryn line of processors and also offered a glimpse at its Nehalem architecture, which the company said could offer up to eight cores per chip, as well as integrated graphics and memory controllers.

The Santa Clara, Calif., chip maker has 15 different 45-nanometer processors—which use the company’s Hi-k processor technology—in various stages of design and will have two fabs dedicated to manufacturing these chips by year’s end. By the second half of 2008, Intel plans to have four fabs dedicated to 45-nanometer chip manufacturing.

Steve Kleynhans, an analyst at Gartner, said that in the past few years, Intel has been able to deliver on its promises of processor innovations, including reducing chips from 90-nanometer to 65-nanometer. This latest announcement will put additional pressure on its main rival, Advanced Micro Devices—as long as Intel can continue to deliver new processors on time.

“It’s good for Intel as a company and it puts more pressure on AMD,” Kleynhans said. “For several years, Intel was at a disadvantage in the market and that allowed AMD to capture market share. Now, with Penryn, Intel looks like they are coming back strong and they seem intent to stay on top.” [read on]

Our Galactic Blackhole a Gamma Source?

[astro-ph/0701709] A Possible Link Between the Galactic Center HESS Source and Sgr A*

Recently, HESS and other air Cerenkov telescopes have detected a source of TeV gamma-rays coincident with the Galactic center. It is not yet clear whether the gamma-rays are produced via leptonic or hadronic processes, so it is important to consider possible acceleration sites for the charged particles which produce the gamma-rays. One exciting possibility for the origin of these particles is the central black hole, Sgr A*, where the turbulent magnetic fields close to the event horizon can accelerate protons to TeV energies. Using a realistic model of the density distribution in a 6 pc x 6 pc x 6pc cube at the Galactic center, we here calculate the trajectories followed by these TeV protons as they gyrate through the turbulent medium surrounding Sgr A*. Diffusing out from the black hole, the protons produce TeV gamma-rays via pi^0 decay following a collision with a proton in the surrounding medium. After following over 222,000 such trajectories, we find that the circumnuclear ring around Sgr A* can reproduce the observed 0.1-100 TeV HESS spectrum and flux if the protons are injected into this medium with an effective power-law index of 0.75, significantly harder than the observed photon index of 2.25. The total energy in the steady-state 1-40 TeV proton population surrounding Sgr A* is inferred to be approx 5×10^{45} ergs. Only 31% of the emitted 1-100 TeV protons encounter the circumnuclear torus, leaving a large flux of protons that diffuse outward to contribute to the Galactic ridge emission observed by HESS on scales of >~ 1 degree. [source]

See Also: ; “The Milky Way’s Pinball Wizard”