Friday Tech Roundup (08 November 2013): New Western Digital hard drive balloons in capacity with helium

Hard Drive Platters

By on November 8, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Welcome to the Friday Tech Roundup! Contained herein is your weekly dose of some of the best tech news from across the Internet, rounded up for your edification and entertainment. Read on for all the details of Western Digital’s new helium-filled hard drives, the NSA tapping Google and Yahoo data, and the spherical camera that will bring StreetView-like video capturing to consumers.

Western Digital announces monstrous 6TB helium-filled hard drives

The science involved in the design of modern hard drives is really quite interesting. In order to increase storage space, scientists needed to find ways to add more platters, increase their density, and make use of both sides. Hard drive platters spin at incredible speeds, and are read by minuscule read-heads which are so small, that even collision with a fleck of dust could cause catastrophic failure. Western Digital have developed a method for moving from the current five-platter standard to seven, adding a further two terabytes of capacity, while simultaneously reducing power consumption to less than that of current five-platter drives. The answer, it seems, is replacing air with helium.

By producing a hermetically sealed drive that is filled with helium instead of air, Western Digital have significantly reduced drag on the platters, allowing the drive motor to run much more efficiently. While these improvements will not have a significant effect on the consumer market at release, they are hugely important when used on a mass-scale. Datacentres are desperate to increase storage capacity and reduce power consumption and heat generation, concepts which are generally held to be mutually exclusive. Helium filled drives provide both benefits in a single package, and are currently being trialled by Netflix, CERN, and elsewhere. The fact that the drives are truly hermetically sealed also makes them suitable for use in immersion-cooling datacentres.

Bublcam aims to bring StreetView-like 360⁰ cameras to consumers

Google StreetView is an impressive tool, and one that makes scouting routes and locations a much simpler affair. The technology that enables the result is bespoke, and likely incredibly expensive. Tech startup Bubl Technology Inc. out of Toronto, Canada aims to miniaturise the technology for the consumer market, and is initially doing so via Kickstarter. The Bublcam is made up of four cameras in a tetrahedral arrangement, and is capable of streaming video directly to a computer, which can then be used for storage and editing, or to pass the feed through to the livestreaming service of the user’s choice.

When used in conjunction with proprietary software, users can pan around a live scene at will, adding an intriguing interactive element to streaming video. The Bublcam starts at $449CAD, plus $30 international shipping, and is estimated for delivery in May 2014.

NSA taps into optical cables between Google and Yahoo datacentres

A recent article from The Washington Post reported that the US National Security Agency (NSA) had intercepted data from Google and Yahoo systems by tapping into the fibre optic cables between two datacentres overseas. Not long after the story went live, during a Bloomberg Government cybersecurity event, a reporter asked NSA Director Keith B. Alexander about the allegations. Alexander responded to say “That’s never happened. […] This is not the NSA breaking into any databases. It would be illegal for us to do that. And so I don’t know what the report is, but I can tell you factually we do not have access to Google servers, Yahoo servers.”

Soon after, a press release was issued to defend against the allegations, claiming that the original article had “misstated facts, mischaracterized NSA’s activities, and drawn erroneous inferences about [NSA] operations.” In response, The Washington Post posted another article which issues more supporting evidence of the NSA-led intrusion, and notes that the article didn’t accuse the NSA of accessing databases, merely that the operation syphoned information from optical cables. In response to the WaPo findings, Google has opted to encrypt all traffic sent between its datacentres.

Motion controller with haptic grip aims to close the loop on immersion

Dr. William Provancher of the University of Utah has been working on a game controller that is designed to provide detailed haptic feedback to the user. The Reactive Grip motion controller uses a clever trick to imply to the user that what they are holding in-game has real physical properties. Four sliding bars embedded in the handle are capable of moving up or down independently of one another, giving the user a sensation of the item shifting in the hand. Firing a gun causes the front and back plates to violently move in opposite directions, simulating recoil. Heavy objects cause the bars to move downward, as though the object is pressing into the palm. The Reactive Grip controller is compatible with Nintendo Wii, Playstation Move, and Microsoft Kinect controllers, and is currently seeking funding via Kickstarter.

Microsoft appeals to Abbott government regarding fibre-to-the-node

In the wake of the news that the Abbott government intends to move forward with the cheaper fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) NBN rollout method, Microsoft Australia managing director Pip Marlow has publicly voiced the company’s appeal for the Liberal government to reconsider. Microsoft’s primary argument is quite simple: fibre-to-the-home will provide much faster network speeds to end users. “Ultimately, if you don’t get fibre to the home, the biggest impact really is the upload speeds,” said Marlow at an event staged by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia. “We’re encouraging the government to be looking at all the options and really understanding how businesses, how schools, how individuals will be using this technology.” Marlow is reportedly lobbying new communications minister Malcolm Turnbull.

45 comments (Leave your own)

Wow. When even Microsoft is saying that FTTN is a bad idea, you have to wonder what’s going on in the LNP’s head.

 

PalZer0:
Wow. When even Microsoft is saying that FTTN is a bad idea, you have to wonder what’s going on in the LNP’s head.

From what I’ve seen it’s an issue known as Airhead and most politicians suffer from it.

Turnbull’s an idiot and should be fired. While the liberal government won it was only the lesser of two evils, which in turn should make us question why we accept evil’s as government in the first place. Hell I think we should dissolve the current goverment parties and ban the current party members from entering the public area again. Reform the government based on the original constitution of Australia and examine and repeal the excessive legislative crap that has been thrown at the people for the last 6 decades.

All the while reforming the budgetary and monetary constraints applied by the current banking and financial system. It’s gonna be hell for a few years as the changes take effect but it’s the only way to remove the rot.

 

Microsoft are hardly championing FTTH for faster uploads for our good, it’s so they can further push their cloud based solutions, that they believe people will spend big on once they’re able to.

It’s a business case for them to push it.

(Before someone gets emo at me, no I don’t agree that FTTN is a better solution, but that doesn’t mean I’m blind to what else is going on)

 

They should of filled hard drives up with hydrogen. It would do the same job maybe even be slightly better. And its cheaper.

Who cares about the possibility of them exploding.

 

makena,

True, however such a public company saying the LNP is wrong can only help to sway them so what they are doing is in the end good for us.

 

“hermetically sealed”

With what and for how long?

As the smallest molecule*, Helium tends to pass right through barriers. They’d either need to seal them with a heavy metal film or refresh the Helium every so often.

 

Wonder if the helium would make all my mp3′s sound strange? Might be interesting hearing Barry White sounding like a chipmonk. :P

 

vcatkiller:
Wonder if the helium would make all my mp3′s sound strange?Might be interesting hearing Barry White sounding like a chipmonk. :P

Lol.

If there was helium in your speakers maybe.

 

lemonater47,

Well it would make trouble shooting hard drive failure A LOT simpler.

Me: Is there a smoking black hole in the side of the tower?
User: Yes
Me: Bingo!

As for the NSA Intrusion, There have been reports for some time that the NSA have the ability to break encryption quite quickly.
Paranoid shithead yanks.

 

makena:
Microsoft are hardly championing FTTH for faster uploads for our good, it’s so they can further push their cloud based solutions, that they believe people will spend big on once they’re able to.

It’s a business case for them to push it.

(Before someone gets emo at me, no I don’t agree that FTTN is a better solution, but that doesn’t mean I’m blind to what else is going on)

So? You’re not forced to use microsoft’s cloud computing. At least people who want to use it will have the option.

 

mrd:
lemonater47,
As for the NSA Intrusion, There have been reports for some time that the NSA have the ability to break encryption quite quickly.
Paranoid shithead yanks.

Link?

 

koven,

That…has nothing to do with my point?

 

mrd:
lemonater47,

Well it would make trouble shooting hard drive failure A LOT simpler.

Me: Is there a smoking black hole in the side of the tower?
User: Yes
Me: Bingo!

As for the NSA Intrusion, There have been reports for some time that the NSA have the ability to break encryption quite quickly.
Paranoid shithead yanks.

The NSAs bullshit spying and violation of basic rights (which the US in particular were going to War for the past century to protect) are not a small matter especially when their actions can somewhat shape the world.

 

Wasn’t there something about the world potentially running out of helium? Regardless of how little they may be using, still seems sort of irresponsible to start putting it in HDDs.

 

makena,

The fact that MS actually has a business case for FTTP pretty much shits all over Turnbull and co’s argument that we don’t need it.

They may not be pushing FTTP for our benefit but a major company like MS pushing FTTP should really speak volumes for the LNP’s ineptitude regarding broadband.

You’re also forgetting that MS has a number of consumer facing businesses too that would see a huge benefit from FTTP (gaming and movie/TV show streaming in particular).

 

Lol double post.

 

PalZer0,

You also missed my point if you think I forgot anything. The extras you mention agree with me. MS is pro FTTH for MS.

Edited out my needless jerkyness.

 

lemonater47:
They should of filled hard drives up with hydrogen. It would do the same job maybe even be slightly better. And its cheaper.

Who cares about the possibility of them exploding.

Hydrogen can’t be contained long term.
It literally slips between the bonds of the materials being used.
I’m still dubious that they can contain helium long term either.

On top of that this tech might kill hard drive repair.
Often in recovering data a platter transplant is used and with this I think things will be more difficult.

 

makena,

Microsoft do alot of things for our good … as a student I have access to a whole range of services (including a free 250GB skydrive) from microsoft for $0 claiming it’s purely self interest from ms is ignoring the large body of things they do for people the world over.

Forgetting this it’s pretty irrelivent it’s the right thing for the country their reasoning for backing it is moot imo.

 

But Spooler it’s a very clever method of indoctrination. They offer their programs to students for free so they learn them and choose to pay for them later in business instead of their competitors. It’s an extremely insidious practice that most people miss the import of.

But hey they are pro population reduction too, so they must be in it for helping people ;)
(ok ok, it’s Gates that’s pro population reduction via vaccination but no matter)

 
Leave a comment

You can use the following bbCode
[i], [b], [img], [quote], [url href="http://www.google.com/"]Google[/url]

Leave a Reply

PC Gaming Calendar 2014

Follow Games.on.net

YouTube

Steam Group

Upcoming Games

Community Soapbox

Recent Features
Coming Soon: September

Coming Soon (September 2014): Things are starting to heat up

With big names like Destiny and The Sims, and a couple great RPGs, September is looking good.

Shadow Realms

Can BioWare pull off digital D&D? We go hands on with Shadow Realms

BioWare's Jeff Hickman tells us what rules can be bent and what can be broken.

Dragon Age Inquistion

I Hope There Aren’t Any Straight Characters in Dragon Age: Inquisition

I'm no bigot, but I have to get this off my chest.

Streaming Radio
Radio Streams are restricted to iiNet group customers.

GreenManGaming MREC

Facebook Like Box