Data network connectivity developments, networking business news, and related computing items.
Sunday, February 15, 2004
US software labor market info: "After two years of slight declines, the number of professional software developers rose in the United States last year to 2.35 million, according to IDC, a research company. Today, America has more than four times as many software developers as India, and nearly seven times as many as China. "
From a review in NYT, "such jobs are not about to disappear from the United States. Statistics on the current job flight are estimates. Forrester Research in a frequently cited study, predicted in late 2002 that 3.3 million services jobs in America would move offshore by 2015, about 500,000 of them in computer software and services. For all the alarm that report generated, a shift of that size over the next 11 years would be small, given that the American labor force has more than 130 million workers and normally creates and destroys millions of jobs every few months. " 11:12:15 PM
Instant message spam package:
"Some users of the popular AOL Instant Messenger program were bombarded Wednesday with messages seemingly from friends that linked to a humorous Osama bin Laden game. Downloading the game, however, installed a piggybacking program that broadcast the advertisement from the infected computer to all correspondents on its AIM buddy lists.
The software, called Buddylinks, is not technically a virus because users must accept its terms of service before it's installed. The small-print legal disclaimer states what's being installed, though users tend to click through such legalese without reading it. And that's one of the keys to its success.
The program is also clever in its use of social engineering to spread, extending a personal invitation that appears to come from what is typically a trusted friend. ..
Anti-virus expert Ken Dunham at iDefense called Buddylinks a worm, for its self-propagating properties, and said it was "gaining ground in the wild and may prove to be a serious pest over the next few weeks."
On Wednesday, Buddylinks' Web site contained a message denying the program is a virus. The home page also makes no mention that the program would in the future send out additional advertisements using the same method. "Our games interact with instant messengers by promoting the game among the user's network of buddies," it reads. "Please understand, our flash games are in no way a virus. We simply combine peer-to-peer, social networking, and instant messaging into one spectacular technology." 10:55:24 PM
Solar wireless road devices: "There are "wireless applications that are also emerging that aren’t personal, but may eventually constitute as important a market—self-powered, embedded, networked, wireless devices. Like the ones that SPOT Devices Inc is bringing to market. ..Road Spot, their product, integrates high-efficiency solar cells with ultra-bright light emitting diodes (LEDs) to create a completely self-contained inroad light that flashes brightly upon activation. Unlike existing inroad lighting solutions, Road Spots install easily without trenching or saw-cutting road surfaces. Furthermore, since Road Spots do not need wiring or external power, they can be used in a multitude of locations. All of which makes them dramatically less costly than existing solutions. .. provide pedestrians about to enter a crosswalk with warning of [They can] approaching vehicles, and can give motorists advanced warning for road crossings, stop lights..
Road Spots communicate with a controller, and with each other, over 2.4GHz, which makes them easy to control, customize, and upgrade—without ever having to dig up the roadway. Even more importantly, wireless communication provides alerts about battery changes or replacement, as well as providing a copious database of operational statistics, such as how often each unit flashes, and how traffic varies by day and by time of time—data that’s otherwise extremely expensive to obtain."
Once on the net, why not these apps: "as part of automated farming solutions, for municipal airports who are currently limited to daylight hours of operation because they can’t afford to install runway lighting, concert venue traffic control, automated parking meter payment, and many more. Not to mention many potential military and homeland security and surveillance applications."" 10:49:59 PM
Grid computing project hones smallpox research: "the Smallpox Research Grid Project harnessed the idle cycles of 2.5 million PCs in 190 countries. The grid effort, after 39,000 years’ worth of donated CPU time studying 35 million molecules, resulted in the identification of the most-promising 44 drug candidates that could be studied further in traditional laboratory experiments. Each of the 35 million molecules had at least 750 different shapes, resulting in more than 26 billion combinations that had to be studied, said Scott D. Kahn, chief science officer of Accelrys Inc. of San Diego." On an average day "176 years worth of CPU processing was utilized. It took roughly 13 hours to generate the results for each of the 35 million molecules evaluated."
The project ran from Feb to Oct 2003. "When United Devices announced the smallpox project in February, the company already had 1.75 million computers using its screensaver to search for cancer and anthrax remedies. Another 100,000 computers downloaded the screensaver in the first 48 hours after the smallpox announcement" 9:38:40 PM
Grids in a computing hierarchy: "Researchers at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., have a hierarchy of distributed computing resources, with supercomputing at the top, six 48-node Intel/Linux clusters in the middle and a 2,300-PC grid running on United Devices software at the bottom. The goal, says David Moffett, associate vice president for research computing, is to move jobs down the hierarchy, where computing is cheaper.
"I have very high hopes that we can move the whole stream of jobs out of the cluster space down into the United Devices space," Moffett says. Although the PC grid requires a United Devices software license and two dedicated grid servers, "those are close to free cycles," he says. Moffett plans to expand the grid to include PCs in faculty and administrative offices. And he says he'll make the compute cycles on research computers that have been freed up by the existing PC grid available to business applications. "We've cleared off enough resources high in that stack that they will run up there". 11:17:33 AM
Europe Exceeds U.S. in Refining Grid Computing
: Concerns are cited about European research establishments being able to deploy large scale grid computing faster than the US, because it is more centralized. Also mentions, "Novartis used software by United Devices of Austin, Tex., to link 2,700 desktop personal computers to help create drugs. This summer the company said that it had discovered several promising new chemical molecules with its grid and it planned to expand the system to its entire corporate network of 70,000 personal computers." Elsewhere
, it is reported that "the Novartis drug research software is loaded onto the desktops by way of a server running Grid MetaProcessor software from United Devices Inc. in Austin. By investing $400,000 in grid technology, Novartis avoided spending $2 million on a new Linux cluster. .. [Novartis found] 5 trillion floating-point operations per second of unused capacity in 2,700 desktop PCs at its headquarters in Basel, Switzerland .. to run number-crunching supercomputer applications that model the interactions between proteins and other chemicals that might be used in drugs. " That works out to about $160 per PC. 11:15:04 AM