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10 Questions for Google on Its Wind Projects

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Eight years ago, who would have guessed that Google would eventually be in the power business?

Google on Monday said it’s invested $38.8 million into 169.5 MW worth of wind projects developed by NextEra Energy Resources in North Dakota. It was the search engine giant’s first direct investment in a wind power project and the money came out of Google Inc., in contrast to previous investments out of its philanthropy arm, Google.org. We got a chance to ask Rick Needham, Google’s green business operations manager, 10 questions about the company’s plans for the wind power project.

Earth2Tech: Why did Google make its first direct investment into utility-scale clean power into these particular projects?

Needham: We’re aiming to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy in a way that makes good business sense. These particular projects were attractive because they offered good returns for our capital, based on the risks of the projects, and allowed us to partner with experienced developers and investors. They also use turbines that take advantage of the excellent wind resources in the area and are able to use existing transmission capacity, resulting in low cost clean energy.

Earth2Tech: Why make this investment now, two and a half years after you first launched RE<C?

Needham: Our RE<C effort is focused on supporting policies and investing in and developing technologies that can help usher in an age of low cost renewable energy. This investment is different from previous RE<C investments, but is an example of the dedicated financing that is necessary for deploying renewable energy technologies at scale. We made this current investment to generate attractive returns on our capital while providing greater financing capacity to the market that accelerates the deployment of more renewable energy.

Earth2Tech: Does Google plan to make more investments into clean power projects?

Needham: Yes, we hope to find more opportunities to invest in renewable energy projects that provide attractive returns and use the latest technologies to push the envelope for delivering low cost clean energy.

Earth2Tech: Google has said this is a financial investment. What kind of return is Google expecting to get?

Needham: We won’t disclose projected returns, but do expect to earn an attractive return as well as free up capital to enable future wind projects.

Earth2Tech: Is this Google’s first clean power investment that hopes to make money?

Needham: No. We also hope to make money on our investments in early stage renewable energy technology companies as well. Earning returns means the companies have been successful in developing low cost renewable energy solutions.

Earth2Tech: Is there any connection to Google’s energy subsidiary here and the ability to buy and sell electricity on wholesale markets?

Needham: This investment is not related to Google Energy. Google is interested in procuring more renewable energy as part of our carbon neutrality commitment, and the ability to buy and sell energy on the wholesale market could give us more flexibility in doing so. We created Google Energy so we can have more flexibility in procuring power for Google’s own operations, including our data centers. This investment was not made with Google Energy and does not provide renewable energy for our portfolio.

Earth2Tech: Google has said it expects to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into clean power startups and projects. How much has Google invested into clean power and energy projects and startups to date?

Needham: Through our philanthropic arm, Google.org, we’ve invested more than $45 million in clean energy technologies, including advanced wind, solar thermal, and enhanced geothermal systems. Our investment in the North Dakota wind farms is for $38.8 million.

Earth2Tech: Is Google working on any of its own wind technology development, the way it has a side project to develop a solar thermal receiver?

Needham: In some places today wind power can already be competitive with other forms of energy, but more innovation will further reduce the cost of power. One challenge to deploying significantly more wind power is getting wind power from where the generation is (where the wind blows) to where the loads are (where energy is used), which something we’re also interested in exploring.

Earth2Tech: What does Google expect the cost of the clean power will be that comes out of the NextEra wind projects?

Needham: We don’t disclose the cost of the power, but it is competitive with other forms of energy and is being purchased by a few separate offtakers in the region.

Earth2Tech: Will Google use the NextEra wind farms for an R&D test facility for anything?

Needham: We do not have any current plants to use the NextEra wind farms for any R&D testing.

Image courtesy of Flickr user vaxomatic.

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Western Telematic, Inc. (WTI) designs and manufactures remote power control and remote port access products for the IT industry. Our Outlet Metered PDU products and Console Port Server products provide valuable tools for any IT manager who needs secure, remote access to power control and command functions on rack mounted IT equipment.

We Can’t Squeeze the Data Tsunami Through Tiny Pipes

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

As internet use grows, it’s inevitable that we’ll need to concentrate on building up internet infrastructure …

We managed to create 800,000 petabytes of digital information last year according to a study released today by IDC and EMC Corp.. The annual survey forecasts that the creation of digital data will increase 44 times to 1.2 million petabytes — or 1.2 zettabytes — by the end of this year. (A petabyte is the equivalent of a stack of DVDs stretching from here to the moon.) And by 2020, we’ll have created 35 trillion gigabytes of data — much of that in the “cloud.”

Even though EMC is putting out this data, and likes to explain how many “containers” it would take to hold that amount of data, what this enormous flood of data really requires will be robust broadband networks. The success of all this data will not be in storing it but in moving it around the world to people and companies who can use it to make new products, draw new conclusions or analyze it for profits.

Date stores will be essential for creating a home for the data (GigaOM Pro sub req’d), but data marketplaces, such as Microsoft’s Project Dallas, the World Bank’s data stores or startups like Infochimps will also have a place. Linked into those marketplaces will be cloud computing services or platforms as a service such as Amazon’s EC2 or Microsoft Azure that will be able to process the data on demand.

But for the maximum flexibility we’re going to need fat pipes linking data centers, data providers and even down to the end user, who will also be sending data from home networks, wireless phones and even their vehicle. The only way we’re going to handle this data tsunami is to create the infrastructure to route, process and connect it at gigabyte-per-second or even terabyte-per-second speeds. We’ll talk more about managing big data at our Structure 10 event in June.

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Support for Console Servers

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

One important factor to consider when deploying a Console Server solution is support and warranty period. Most Console Server manufactures offer a one or two year pre-paid warranty with the first being the industry standard. WTI sells cutting edge Console Servers with a 5 year pre-paid warranty and lifetime free support. This is extremely important for cost of ownership considerations for a Console Server.

Western Telematic, Inc. (WTI) designs and manufactures Remote Console Server products, Switched PDU products and A/B Fallback Units. WTI products are designed to solve common network problems and manufactured to endure.

I Bought This IP Address On The Black Market – Approaching the end of our 4.3 billion IPv4 address allotment

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

They’ve been telling us for years that this would eventually happen, so I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised …


We’ve of course seen endless prognostications over the last five years about how the pool of 4.3 billion IPv4 addresses are running out, and the migration to IPv6 should probably pick up the pace. Some current projections have the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) pool of IP addresses being fully depleted by the end of this year, given the accelerated demand for all manner of broadband-connected devices. Infoworld notes that this won’t be a bad thing for everybody — some individuals might be able to make a killing by selling IP addresses on the black market:

Well-known Internet engineer and notable Internet “pseudo-economist” R. Kevin Oberman points out that this black market already exists, albeit on a small scale. “The probability of black market growth depends on how run-out of IPv4 addresses is handled by the regional registries,” Oberman says. “A black market is uncontrolled by definition. If you have a commodity that has value and is required for commerce, the price will rise to whatever willing buyers will pay.” Currently, Oberman notes, IPv4 addresses are still relatively easy to get, because significant anti-fraud measures haven’t yet been put in place by registries such as ARIN.

The article proceeds to explore a number of protection measures and rules being crafted that encourage “legitimate” address transfers.

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Western Telematic, Inc. (WTI) designs and manufactures Serial Console Server products and Power Reboot Switch products that can simplify and streamline remote management of IT installations.

Viacom v YouTube is a microcosm of the entertainment industry

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

I wonder if the lawyers will ever sort this one out?

The ongoing court case has brought new revelations and more pressure on companies that host content

As Viacom’s lawsuit against YouTube inches through the US judicial system, YouTube’s chief counsel, Zahavah Levine, posted a bombshell to the company’s weblog: writing after the release of previously sealed documents, he said that even as Viacom was suing YouTube for allowing infringing copies of its content to be posted by YouTube users, Viacom was also using at least 18 marketing agencies to secretly upload its videos to YouTube. It even had the agencies “rough up” the clips before uploading, wrote Levine, so that they’d appear to be illegitimate, smuggled copies, imbued with forbidden sexiness. He claimed that in a moment of Pythonesque petard-hoisting, Viacom even sent copyright complaints to YouTube over some of these videos, which it subsequently followed up with sheepish retractions when it became clear that the infringer in question was another arm of Viacom.

Viacom has dismissed YouTube’s statements as “red herrings” and alleges that YouTube is negligent in its duty to proactively police user uploads for infringement (never mind that there is 100 years’ worth of content uploaded to YouTube every day, far more than all the copyright lawyers in America could carefully vet, even if they all worked for YouTube). Viacom says that YouTube, not Viacom, should be responsible for identifying infringing material and taking it offline (YouTube has a copyright filter that rightsholders can use to automatically search and destroy material, but it requires companies such as Viacom to upload copies of all the video they want checked for).

And Viacom says that YouTube’s failure to proactively police its content cost the company billions, which YouTube should now pay to Viacom.

How to explain such behaviour? Could it be that Viacom is suing YouTube for depriving it of revenue by allowing short clips from its properties to be viewed online, even as its production people are desperately trying to get as much of their video as possible on to YouTube?

I don’t think it would be that hard to understand.

What if Viacom’s frontline production people and even its mid-level execs have a theory about how to maximize shareholder value: they will produce things, make them well known, and stick ads on them to gain profits? They will seek out every conceivable opportunity to make their productions well-known, because though it may be hard to make money from popularity, it’s impossible to make money from obscurity.

What if Viacom’s senior execs have a different theory about how to maximize shareholder value: they will move against YouTube and other tech companies, using legal threats to extract maximum cash, even if this comes at the expense of popularity and income to the things that the company produces?

So if Levine is right, Viacom has two factions: one that wants to create and profit from television; and another that wants to create and profit from lawsuits.

Like the Ford execs who decided that selling cars was nowhere near as interesting as making car-loans, securitising them and selling their derivatives in the financial markets, Viacom’s executive suite is in danger of taking the company out of the making stuff business and into the making hot air business.

In this, Viacom would be a microcosm for the entertainment industry. Even as thousands of artists and labels are embracing the internet and next-generation services such as BitTorrent, Last.fm, Pandora and the like, the top management at the big labels are behind laws such as the Digital Economy Act that could give their companies the power to shut down any tech firm that attempts to out-innovate their own sluggish online also-rans.

From the Digital Economy Act to the anti-counterfeiting trade agreement, Big Content’s top brass are looking for ways to increase the liability borne by “intermediaries” – the companies that host and transmit user-uploaded material – in order to give them the footing from which to put pressure on tech firms to pay them off and go into bankruptcy.

The lawmakers who say that they favour these draconian copyright powers are not on the side of creators. The creators are the ones busily shovelling their creative works on to YouTube. These laws are designed to provide full employment for the litigation industry, and to encourage the moral hazard that has TV and record companies turning into lawsuit factories.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


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Western Telematic, Inc. (WTI) designs and manufactures Serial Console Server products and Rack Mount PDU products to simplify remote management of rack mount network equipment.

Goodbye petabytes, hello zettabytes

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Sooner or later, we’re going to run out of clever things to call these ever larger blocks of data …

• Massive figure equal to a million million gigabytes
• Planet’s digital content grew by 62% last year

Every man, woman and child on the planet using micro-blogging site Twitter for a century. For many people that may sound like a vision of hell, but for watchers of the tremendous growth of digital communications it is a neat way of presenting the sheer scale of the so-called digital universe. The explosion of social networking, online video services and digital photography, plus the continued popularity of mobile phones, email and web browsing, coupled with the growing desire of corporations and governments to know and store ever more data about everyone has created an unprecedented amount of digital information and introduced a new word to the nerd lexicon: a zettabyte.

Research published today estimates that the so-called digital universe grew by 62% last year to 800,000 petabytes – a petabyte is a million gigabytes – or 0.8 zettabytes. That is the equivalent of all the information that could be stored on 75bn Apple iPads, which would equal the digital output from a century’s worth of constant tweeting by all of Earth’s inhabitants.

By way of stark contrast between the output of present day humanity and its pre-digital predecessor, experts estimate that all human language used since the dawn of time would take up about 5,000 petabytes if stored in digital form, which is less than 1% of the digital content created since someone first switched on a computer.This year, the planet’s digital content will blast through the zettabyte barrier to reach 1.2 ZB, according to the fourth annual survey of the world’s bits and bytes conducted by technology consultancy IDC and sponsored by IT firm EMC. A zettabyte, incidentally, is roughly half a million times the entire collections of all the academic libraries in the United States.

As an increasing number of “old media” stalwarts, such as book publishing, migrate to new online platforms the digital universe is set to expand further. The upgrading of existing digital content – such as the production of high definition television, Blu-Ray DVD and 3D films – will also expand the world’s store of electronic information. Consumers, meanwhile, are expected to continue their love affair with social networking, video sharing and their host of devices that can create, store and share content, such as digital cameras and mobile phones.

“There has been mammoth growth in the types of media that make up the digital universe,” according to Adrian McDonald, vice president and general manager for UK & Ireland EMC. “A huge increase in video and digital photography – in the old days people would take one photograph, now they can knock off 20 photos and rather than store just one, people store all 20 and then they store all 20 many times across the web. Then there is the fact that the number of devices where information can be generated and stored has also increased.”

As a result, over the next decade, the information contained within the digital universe is forecast to expand by a factor of 44, according to the survey.

Mobile phones have dramatically widened the range of people who can create, store and share digital information.

“China now has more visible devices out on the streets being used by individuals than the US does,” said McDonald. “We are seeing the democratisation and commoditisation of the use and creation of information.”

But the expanding digital universe will present companies with a headache as the generation of content far outstrips the capacity of corporate storage and the world’s IT professionals run to keep up with demand for their services. About 70% of the digital universe is generated by individuals, but its storage is then predominantly the job of corporations. From emails and blogs to mobile phone calls, it is corporations that are storing information on behalf of consumers.

Then there are the actions in the offline world that individuals carry out which result in digital content being created by organisations – from cashpoint transactions which a bank must record to walking along the pavement, which is likely to result in CCTV footage.

The vast majority of this information, meanwhile, is “unstructured”, which means it has not been specifically created so it can easily be indexed, sorted, catalogued and retrieved.

Corporations are spending increasing amounts of money on technology from companies such as Cambridge-based Autonomy, which allows them to search through such mounds of information. Individuals, however, are likely to rely ever more heavily on the large internet search engines, especially Google, as much of their own personal content will increasingly be stored and searched online.

EMC and IDC first examined the digital universe back in 2007 and estimated that it was equivalent to 161 exabytes, 161,000 petabytes or 161bn gigabytes. At the time they forecast the digital universe would grow to 988 exabytes, just under 1 zettabyte, by this year. The fact that growth has been faster than expected even in that short period of time comes as little surprise to a veteran of the rapidly changing IT industry such as McDonald.

“I’m not that old, but we used to sell memory boards in 16 kilobytes – not even megabytes. And that was a big board which you sold into a serious company. I used to sell systems that were 50 megabytes. Even USB flash memory sticks are larger than that now,” he said.

“You talk to a kid these days and they have no idea what a kilobyte is. The speed things progress, we are going to need many words beyond zettabyte.”

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


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Western Telematic, Inc. (WTI) designs and manufactures remote management equipment for data centers, laboratories and IT centers. Our comprehensive line of products includes Secure Console Server products, Switched PDU products and A/B Fallback systems.

Chrome Browser Growth Outpaces Rivals

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

More competition for IE …

Google’s Chrome continued to outpace the growth of its browser rivals in April by growing its market share by 0.6 percent, according to the latest data from Net Applications. Chrome has been the fastest growing alternative to Internet Explorer over the past twelve months, during which it has increased its market share nearly 5 points to 6.7 percent.

By contrast, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer saw its market share slide to a new twelve-month low of 59.95 percent in April, according to the web metrics firm. Moreover, market growth for Firefox during the same period is only up slightly from the browser’s 23.84 percent market share in April 2009.

“After a year-and-a-half on the market, Google finally took Chrome to the people, delivering a marketing onslaught in Europe to coincide with the new browser menu,” said Forrester Research Analyst Sheri McLeish in a blog. “It seems to be paying off.”


Making Noise

Google Chrome’s growth is showing some of the consistency previously seen in Firefox until Chrome’s arrival, noted Vince Vizzaccaro, an executive vice president at Net Applications.

“As far as the reasons for the growth, I don’t know if people are using Chrome because of a noticeable difference in technology from IE, Firefox or Safari,” Vizzaccaro said. “But, I do notice that Google has been advertising Chrome heavily for the last few months online, on TV, and in print.”

Microsoft, Apple and Google all have the means to run widespread ad campaigns for their respective browsers, but Google is the up and coming challenger, and they are the only browser Vizzaccaro sees investing in advertising at this time.

“It appears the campaign is working for now,” Vizzaccaro said. “I’m intrigued to see if Chrome can start grabbing share from Firefox or make a dent on Mac OS, and what that will drive as…

For over 30 years, Western Telematic, Inc. (WTI) has been an innovator in the field of remote management for IT facilities. Our comprehensive product line includes a wide range of Serial Console Server products, Switched PDU products and Remote Reboot Switch products to provide secure, remote management of servers, routers and other devices.

For First Time in Six Years, Nintendo’s Profits Drop

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

How can this be? My kids have certainly been doing their best to help Nintendo out …

Has Nintendo’s ascendancy peaked? On Thursday, the video game maker will report earnings from the fiscal year that ended March 31, and it is expected to show the first drop in profits in six years.

The Wii’s price drop before the last shopping season, from $250 to $200 in the U.S., helped boost overall sales, and there are new technologies coming out, but these weren’t enough to boost the expected profit of $2.4 billion, or 229 billion yen — a decrease over previous years.


Glassless 3-D

Weak sales earlier in the fiscal year, and a strong yen in addition to the price cuts, helped to reduce profitability. The console maker is expected to show sales of about 20 million Wii machines and 30 million DS machines during the fiscal year.

The Wii game console, with a motion-sensing controller and an emphasis on games that appeal to the entire family, has been a popular product that took competitors Microsoft and Sony by surprise, but now other innovations are expected to catch up with Nintendo.

With Sony releasing a new motion controller for its game console, and Microsoft about to release a controller that operates simply by motions of the player’s hands and body, Nintendo is looking to find some competitive angle to prevent further slippage.

3-D gaming is one of the new innovations that Nintendo is trying out. A new portable model, currently called the 3-DS, is expected to be revealed at the big E3 show scheduled for Los Angeles in mid-June. Sales are expected to begin in the current Nintendo fiscal year.

Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 are releasing 3-D games for their consoles that require special glasses, but Nintendo has said its handheld unit with 3D doesn’t need glasses.


‘State-of-Art’ Becomes ‘So What?’

Nintendo has not revealed the technology behind the glassless 3-D. According to news…

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Western Telematic, Inc. (WTI) designs and manufactures remote device management products for IT applications. WTI’s Serial Console Server products, Remote Reboot products, Switched PDU products and A/B Fallback products are engineered to allow you to securely manage and troubleshoot rack equipment in remote locations.

Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit Seeks Global Teamwork

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

This seems long overdue. It’s hard to effectively fight cybercrime without taking a global approach …

As governments around the world amass armies of hackers to protect their countries’ computer networks and possibly attack others, the idea of getting officials together to discuss shared threats such as cybercrime is challenging.

“You just don’t pick up the phone and call your counterparts in these countries,” said retired Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege Jr., former head of the federal agency responsible for securing the military’s and the president’s communications technologies. “They’re always guarded in those areas, and they’re always wondering if there’s some other motive” behind the outreach.

So the idea behind an international security conference in Dallas this week is to get government officials, industry executives and others talking, informally, about where they might find common ground.

The Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit, organized by the EastWest Institute think tank, is different from some other big security conferences in that the focus isn’t on hackers showing off their latest research or security-technology vendors connecting with customers.

“It’s reaching across the table,” said Raduege, who is honorary chair of the conference. “It’s not official U.S. policy that’s going to be put out there, but it’s an opportunity to exchange ideas of the possible.”

Scheduled speakers include Howard Schmidt, the White House’s cybersecurity coordinator, as well as other influential cybersecurity officials from the European Union, Canada, Japan, India and China. Also on the agenda are the CEOs of AT&T Inc. and computer maker Dell Inc. and executives from Microsoft Corp. and Huawei Technologies Co., China’s biggest maker of telecommunications equipment.

Dialogue among them is important as concerns rise about computer warfare between nations and the potential damage that can be caused from computer attacks.

As more computers get connected to the Internet — Intel Corp. estimates there are 1 billion PCs worldwide on the Web — they’re used for more sensitive things, such as online banking and even remotely…

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Western Telematic, Inc. (WTI) designs and manufactures remote power control and remote port access products for the IT industry. Our Outlet Metered PDU products and Console Port Server products provide valuable tools for any IT manager who needs secure, remote access to power control and command functions on rack mounted IT equipment.

If You Could Have One Feature in a Console Server, What Would It Be?

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

The most important feature on a Console Server for a data center which can be located world wide would have to be the “Ethernet port” also known as your network connection. This Console Server feature allows for you to access your routers, switches, UPS, telephony, and firewalls remotely from any where in the world. Console Servers connect to virtually all network equipment in the data center and can provide secure remote access to manage your network.

Western Telematic, Inc. (WTI) designs and manufactures remote power control and remote port access products for the IT industry. Our Outlet Metered PDU products and Console Port Server products provide valuable tools for any IT manager who needs secure, remote access to power control and command functions on rack mounted IT equipment.