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Microsoft: Windows 7 to boost solid-state drives

Will solid-state drives thrive on Windows 7? Microsoft is set to address that question at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference this week.

Microsoft will speak to both overall support for solid-state drives and Windows 7 support for Netbooks in Los Angeles at WinHEC 2008, which kicks off Wednesday.

In a conference abstract titled “Windows 7 Enhancements for Solid-State Drives,” Microsoft states that “PC systems that have solid-state drives are shipping in increasing volumes” and that it is planning “Windows enhancements that take advantage of the latest updates to standardized command sets, such as ATA.”

Microsoft is referring to Serial ATA, or SATA, technology, which is the most popular data transfer standard for PC storage devices. Most new hard drives use the SATA-2 standard, and the newest solid-state drives are based on this standard also.

Until recently, solid-state drives used an older–and theoretically slower–PATA (Parallel ATA) standard. But the newest drives shipping with, for example, the Dell Latitude E4200 and HP EliteBook 2530p ultraportable laptops, use SATA-2.

Topics covered will include “file system optimizations” and “thoughts on the future of SSDs and their role in Windows,” according to a prepared statement by Frank Shu, a senior program manager on the Windows Storage Platform team.

Another session, titled “Designing Flash-Based Netbooks for Windows 7,” will cover how to design flash-based Netbooks using Windows 7, according to a statement by Leon Braginski, a senior lead program manager in Microsoft’s PC3 team. “We will explain how to calculate the lifetime of a flash-based netbook based on specific workload numbers,” a summary states.

The session will also “introduce a revised version of the Flash-Based PC Design Guide, which has been updated for Windows 7.”

Other solid-state drive related talks include one by Seagate, titled “Is Your Disk Drive Going Away?” Seagate will talk about solid-state drive platforms and hybrid hard-disk drives (HDDs), among other topics.

Retail flash memory drive giant SanDisk will talk about Multi-level Cell (MLC) NAND in PCs. MLC technology allows solid-state drive suppliers to build higher-capacity drives at lower cost. The latest high-capacity 128GB solid-state drives are based on MLC.

“Analysts uniformly agree that the key challenge to solid-state drive adoption is reducing cost, and the key to reducing cost is advancing to multi-level cell technology,” SanDisk said in a statement.

“The PC pushes MLC flash like no other application with its high random write rate, small block size and long life expectations. SanDisk has…introduced the first metric for SSD endurance–Long-term Data Endurance (LDE). LDE allows customers to evaluate the lifespan of an SSD in their application,” SanDisk said.


November 4, 2008 Posted by | Computer | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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November 4, 2008 Posted by | Computer | , | Leave a comment

Boycott corrupt people, war criminals in nat’l polls

Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) President Manjurul Ahsan Khan yesterday said a section is hatching conspiracy to foil the upcoming general election.

“Although the polls schedule has been announced, people are still confused whether it will be held or not,” Manjurul said, adding that the country would face a great crisis if the election is not held on the scheduled date. He was speaking at a rally organised by CPB at Muktangan in the city.

Manjurul urged all to be united to resist the conspiracy and boycott corrupt people, terrorists and war criminals in the election to establish democracy.

He also demanded that corrupt people and religion-based and anti-liberation war political parties be declared ineligible to contest the election.

Manjurul said the anti-corruption drive of the government has completely failed.

“When the drive started people arrested on charges of corruption didn’t get bail, but the convicted are getting bails now,” he said adding that people’s expectations after the 1/11 changeover have not been fulfilled.

He stressed the need for nominating candidates who believe in the spirit of the liberation war and speak against anti-liberation forces and fundamentalists, World Bank and IMF for establishing the rights of the people.

Abdul Kader, president of CPB city unit, presided over the rally that was also addressed by central party leaders Lakkhi Chakrabarti, Sajjad Jahir Chandan, Ruhin Hossain Prince and Abdul Malek.

November 4, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Army withdrawn, asked to return to barracks

President Iajuddin Ahmed Monday evening ordered withdrawal of armed forces from emergency duties across the country a day after election schedules were announced. The president and supreme commander of the armed forces ‘approved government proposal for withdrawal of the members of armed forces deployed across the country in aid to civil administration,’ a report of news agency UNB said, quoting Sirajul Islam, secretary of the President’s Office at Bangabhaban.

The presidential order followed home adviser MA Matin’s announcement earlier on the day that armed forces would be withdrawn with immediate effect to facilitate electioneering. The military-controlled interim government on Monday repealed two rules of the Emergency Powers Rules 2007 and conditionally relaxed another one.

Two gazette notifications were issued accordingly with immediate effect. The government conditionally relaxed Rule 3 of the emergency rules that curbed meeting, gathering, procession, rally and demonstration since January 11, 2007.

According to the relaxed provision, any rally, meeting or procession can be held for the election campaign in constituencies for the parliamentary elections and upazila polls, subject to the provisions stipulated in the Representation of the People Order 1972 and the Local Government (Upazila Parishad) Ordinance 2008. By another gazette notification, the government repealed Rules 5 and 6 of the emergency rules, respectively curbing the media and anti-government activities and criticism.

Rule 5(1) had empowered the government to ban or control, imposing restrictions, broadcasting or publication of any news or information about meeting, rally, procession, seize, demonstration, speech, statement, and provocative activities, and any news, editorial, post-editorial, article, feature, cartoon, talk-show and discussion tent amounts to provocation against the government.

Rule 5(2) had banned any graffiti across the country during the enforcement of the state of emergency.

Rule 6 had banned making any provocative statement against any activities of the government, obstructing any government activities, drawing, printing, publication and exhibiting any cartoon on the government or any of its activities or men, and making or burning any effigy.

The home adviser Monday morning told reporters that he did not see any reason to believe that the relaxation in the emergency rules would cause law and order downslide.

‘Lifting of the restrictions on political activities will not cause any deterioration in law and order.’ Asked whether the government would completely withdraw the state of emergency as demanded by major political parties, Matin said the matter would be made clear in proper time through gazette notification.

The steps followed the military-backed interim government’s series of efforts to persuade political parties into polls. The Election Commission Sunday announced schedules for national elections and upazila polls scheduled for December 18 and 28 respectively.

Though Awami League and its left allies readily welcomed the schedules, complete lifting of emergency and deferment of upazila elections remained their key demands.

BNP and its allies were still weighing the schedules amid grievances that most of their demands, including complete withdrawal of emergency, went unheeded.

The emergency was imposed on January 11, 2007, postponing elections scheduled for January 22, 2007 amid political turmoil. Under the state of emergency, army-led joint forces conducted a massive anti-corruption drive that landed many political leaders, bureaucrats and businessmen in jail on graft charges. The two former prime ministers along with a number of their former cabinet colleagues were detained. BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia is now free on bail, while Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina is now abroad after being released by an executive order for medical treatment.

November 4, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A happy shock at the pump: gas prices take another overnight drop

Gasoline prices in Canada are at their lowest level in nearly three years, falling well below $1 per litre in many parts of the country, but observers say the latest price drop should not be an excuse for drivers to abandon their fuel-saving behaviour.

The national average for gasoline was at about 98.3 cents per litre on Tuesday, according to price-tracking website Gasbuddy.com. Prices in some some competitive markets, including the Toronto area in southern Ontario, fell up to six cents to around 85 cents a litre Tuesday.

The last time gas was that cheap nationally in February 2006, said Gasbuddy co-founder Jason Toews.

He said the biggest factor is the steep drop in crude oil, the main ingredient in gasoline, finally working its way into the pump price.

Light, sweet crude for December delivery rose $6.82 to US$70.73 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Tuesday – a big rebound from the US$60 level it hit in recent days, but still less than half of its record high of US$147 reached in July.

Toews said it takes a few months for the impact of lower crude prices to be reflected in gas prices. Crude costs usually make up just under half the cost of refining gasoline, with government taxes making up most of the rest.

“We’re going to see prices continue to decrease,” he said.

Another major factor is the decrease in demand that has come from a slowing global economy.

“Any time people have less money to spend they tend to travel less and if you’re out of a job, you probably don’t commute every day.”

During the summer, when gas prices soared above $1.40 per litre, it would have cost about C$85 to fill up a 60 litre tank of an SUV. At Tuesday’s average, it would cost less than $60. In Toronto, a fillup on an empty tank would cost about $51.

With fuel costs taking a smaller slice out of household incomes now, many consumers will have more purchasing power, which could have positive ripple effects into the wider economy.

Scott Wilson of the Alberta Motor Association is urging motorists to keep up the fuel-saving behaviours they learned over the summer.

“It’s a good idea to think about fuel efficiency all year round, not just when the price of gas is high, because you can save yourself money both times. It doesn’t matter where the price of fuel is, you can always save yourself some money,” he said.

Wilson said demand for gasoline tends to ramp down as the weather cools, which leads to lower prices.

But he said “you can set your watch by” an increase in gas prices next spring, when the summer driving season kicks in once again.

“The behaviours that they practice and hopefully used on a regular basis this past summer will be very valuable when the next summer rolls around and the price of fuel increases again,” he said.

The 98-cent national average is down from an average of $1.20 a litre a month ago and even below the average a year ago of about $1.01, according to GasBuddy.com.

A litre of regular gas cost as little as 84 cents in Canada’s most populous city, dropping in the Toronto area from above 90 cents Monday at some locations.

In other cities across Canada, a litre of gas was going for as low as 91 cents in Montreal, 95 cents in Nova Scotia and $1.05 in Newfoundland.

In Western Canada, GasBuddy.com said average prices per litre ranged from 95 cents in Calgary to $1 in Regina and Saskatoon, 99 cents in Winmipeg and $1.07 in Vancouver and Victoria.

November 4, 2008 Posted by | Finance | , , | Leave a comment

Wait times reach 4 to 6 hours in St. Louis area

Long lines at polling stations across the city are no surprise, said officials at the St. Louis County Board of Elections. Callers into the CNN Voting Hotline reported waits of 4 to 6 hours in the northern suburbs of Jennings and Velda City.

The county’s board of elections assistant director Dick Bauer said a lengthy ballot and what he expects to be a record turnout have slowed the process. Voters can make as many as 37 selections on the ballot today, and 10 of them are issue choices, said Bauer.

Voters in line at two polling locations in the suburb of Jennings have been experiencing waits of 4 hours or more, according to U.S. Representative William Lacy Clay. The congressman said both Jennings City Hall and Fairview Elementary were understaffed to handle the crowds.

“As we expected, the St. Louis County Board of Elections authority was ill-equipped and ill-prepared for the mass of humanity that showed up to exercise their constitutional right to vote today,” said Clay. He said two judges were in place at Fairview Elementary where upwards of 400 people were waiting in line to vote.

Judge Joseph Goeke, director of the Board of Elections, said Clay’s statement was incorrect, and that Fairview Elementary had 12 judges all day. He said the county was planning to add another two judges this afternoon. In response to Clay’s accusations that polls were ill-equipped and understaffed, Goeke said his plans for today’s elections exceeded requirements.

“We’re required to have one voting device for every 124 people, and I have one for every 108 or 109,” said Goeke. Goeke also said voters in St Louis County have 25% more equipment than he has ever deployed in an election.

St. Louis County has touchscreen and optical scan equipment. Goeke said that “outside influences” are trying to dissuade voters from using touchscreen machines and that some of them go idle at polling stations.

“It’s a shame certain advocates are slowing down the process by telling people to take paper ballots”, said Goeke, “we have more than enough equipment available.”

November 4, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , | Leave a comment

High turnout in historic US polls

Democrat Barack Obama is joining the nation’s earliest voters in filling in a ballot in his historic presidential contest with Republican John McCain.

Obama arrived at his precinct in Chicago shortly after 7:30 CST Tuesday. His wife, Michelle, and their young daughters accompanied him as he received a ballot and went to a polling station. The Obamas stood side by side and their daughters looked on as they read their ballots.

Obama planned a quick campaign stop in Indiana on Election Day before a massive outdoor rally in front of the skyline in his adopted hometown of Chicago. The day’s forecast was for an unseasonably warm 70 degrees.

McCain planned events in Colorado and New Mexico, then a party at the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix.

Meanwhile, long lines have formed as polls open in Eastern states as John McCain is counting on a narrow path to an upset victory today while Barack Obama pinned his hopes for becoming the nation’s first black president on a ground organization designed to swell precincts with voters across the country.

“I think these battleground states have now closed up, almost all of them, and I believe there’s a good scenario where we can win,” McCain told CBS’ “The Early Show” in an interview broadcast as the day’s first voters stood in early-morning lines.

“Look, I know I’m still the underdog, I understand that,” the Arizona senator said. “You can’t imagine, you can’t imagine the excitement of an individual to be this close to the most important position in the world, and I’ll enjoy it, enjoy it. I’ll never forget it as long as I live.”

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said he was confident that new voters and young voters would fuel an enormous turnout to benefit the Illinois senator.

“We just want to make sure people turn out,” Plouffe told “Today” on NBC. “We think we have enough votes around the country.”

Standing in line in one of the battleground states, Ahmed Bowling of Alexandria, Viginia, said the election “will mark a significant change in the lives of all Americans, and so we do have to come out as early as possible to cast our votes.”

In Brooklyn, New York, 49-year-old Venus Kevin said the line at her precinct was “already down the block and around the corner” when she arrived shortly before 6 am EST.

“Obama is the man,” said Kevin, who is black. “His message and his vision has reached a lot of people, not just African-Americans.”

The contest pitted the 47-year-old Obama, a first-term Illinois senator who rocketed to stardom on the power of his oratory and a call for change, against the 72-year-old McCain, a 26-year lawmaker whose mettle was tested during 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

“I’m feeling kind of fired up. I’m feeling like I’m ready to go,” Obama told nearly 100,000 people gathered for his final rally Monday night in Virginia.

“At this defining moment in history, Virginia, you can give this country the change it needs,” Obama said to voters in a state that hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential nominee in 44 years.

McCain completed a cross-country trek through seven battleground states before arriving at home in Phoenix early Tuesday morning.

“This momentum, this enthusiasm convinces me we’re going to win tomorrow,” McCain told a raucous evening rally in Henderson, Nev. It was the fifth campaign stop in an 18-hour odyssey that took him across three time zones.

Obama planned a quick campaign stop in Indiana on Election Day before a massive outdoor rally in front of the skyline in his adopted hometown of Chicago. The day’s forecast was for an unseasonably warm 70 degrees.

McCain planned events in Colorado and New Mexico, then a party at the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix.

Obama urged his supporters to resist overconfidence. “Even if it rains tomorrow, you can’t let that stop you. You’ve got to wait in line. You’ve got to vote,” he said.

Barack Obama came up a big winner in the presidential race in Dixville Notch and Hart’s Location, New Hampshire, where tradition of having the first Election Day ballots tallied lives on.

Democrat Obama defeated Republican John McCain by a count of 15 to 6 in Dixville Notch, where a loud whoop accompanied the announcement in Tuesday’s first minutes. The town of Hart’s Location reported 17 votes for Obama, 10 for McCain and two for write-in Ron Paul. Independent Ralph Nader was on both towns’ ballots but got no votes.

“I’m not going to say I wasn’t surprised,” said Obama supporter Tanner Nelson Tillotson, whose name was drawn from a bowl to make him Dixville Notch’s first voter.

With 115 residents between them, Dixville Notch and Hart’s Location get every eligible voter to the polls beginning at midnight on Election Day. Between them, the towns have been enjoying their first-vote status since 1948.

Being first means something to residents of the Granite State, home of the nation’s earliest presidential primary and the central focus “however briefly” of the vote-watching nation’s attention every four years.

Town Clerk Rick Erwin said Dixville Notch is proud of its tradition, but added, “The most important thing is that we exemplify a 100 percent vote.”

Dixville Notch resident Peter Johnson said the early bird electoral exercise “is fun.” A former naval aviator, Johnson said he was voting for McCain, but added, “I think both candidates are excellent people.”

The Illinois senator’s final day of campaigning was bittersweet: He was mourning the loss of his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who helped raise him. She died of cancer Sunday night, never to see the results of the historic election.

A tearful Obama, who stands on the historic threshold of becoming the first black US president, told 25,000 supporters here that Madelyn Dunham had passed away in her sleep at her Hawaii home after a long battle with cancer.

She was 86.

The Democrat lauded Dunham, who raised him when his anthropologist mother was studying in Indonesia, as one of America’s “quiet heroes,” and delivered an impassioned vow to work for all such heroes if elected to the White House.

The news broke on the campaign’s final day as Obama blitzed through Florida and North Carolina before a concluding late-night rally in Virginia — all Republican states that he is bidding to flip into his column.

Obama had dashed to his grandmother’s side in Hawaii two weeks ago, fearing she would not live to see what polls suggest may be his triumph against Republican John McCain in Tuesday’s election.

November 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Voters ‘surprised,’ ‘excited’ on historic election day

Some polling places looked as if they were handing out free money as voters across the nation — including Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama — hit the polls in a historic election Tuesday.

When the ballots are counted, the United States will have elected either its first African-American president, or its oldest first-term president and first female vice president.

Voters were also making choices in a number of key House and Senate races that could determine whether the Democrats strengthen their hold on Congress.

“It feels great to be an American today. The best hour and a half of my life,” exclaimed Jude Elliot, an 8th-grade social studies teacher in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

Elliot, who has been voting in Orangeburg since 1998, said it usually takes him five minutes to vote, but on Tuesday it took about 90 — and he arrived at 6:45 a.m.

“Polling station was packed — young, old, black, white, disabled, not,” he said. “It was amazing.”

But high turnout was not necessarily a theme at every polling station around the country.

“I was there at 10 in the morning, and I jokingly said the [entire] line was my wife — and that’s only because I let her through the door first ,” Nathan Grebowiec, a 27-year-old resident of Plainville, Kansas, said.

iReporter Jason Dinant also said there were no lines at his polling place in Syracuse, New York.

Most iReporters, however, said there were long lines and waits as they prepared to cast their ballots. Footage from Shoesmith Elementary in Chicago, Illinois — where Obama voted — and from Albright United Methodist Church in Phoenix, Arizona — where McCain voted — showed plenty of voters in line besides the presidential candidates.

iReporter Lindsey Miller, 23, votes at the same polling place as Obama. She said Secret Service agents were checking names off a list and using metal-detecting wands on some would-be voters as they entered the polling place. The line was around the block at 6 a.m., she said.

“A lot of people were in pajamas. I know I was — not the time you want to be on national TV,” the University of Chicago graduate student said.

iReporter Juan Bedoya Castano, 24, of Northampton, Pennsylvania, emigrated from Colombia to the United States 15 years ago, but he just became a citizen last month. He said he waited in line about an hour, texting his friends to remind them to vote as well.

“I’ve never voted for something and this actually means something,” Castano said.

Ronnie Senique, a math teacher from Landover, Maryland, said he, too, is voting his first U.S. presidential race. Senique is originally from the Bahamas, but he became a U.S. citizen about three years ago.

He got up well before dawn and was the first one at the polls when he arrived at 4:10 a.m., almost three hours before the polls opened. By the time he left, he said, “The lines were around the corner. They snaked around the school. They went into the street.”

Those standing in line to vote gave him a round of applause after he cast his first ballot in an American presidential election.

While most of the attention has been focused on the presidential race, the outcome of congressional elections across the country will determine whether the Democrats increase their clout on Capitol Hill.

Few predict that the Democrats are in danger of losing their control of either the House or the Senate, but all eyes will be on nearly a dozen close Senate races that are key to whether the Democrats get 60 seats in the Senate.

With 60 votes, Democrats could end any Republican filibusters or other legislative moves to block legislation.

Many political observers also predict that the Democrats could expand their majority in the House.

Voters will also weigh in on a number of ballot initiatives across the country, many of them focused on social issues like abortion and affirmative action.

As McCain and Obama, meanwhile, hit the campaign trail after casting their ballots.

McCain is scheduled to make visits to Grand Junction, Colorado, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Colorado and New Mexico both voted for President Bush in 2004, but the latest polls have them leaning toward Obama.

November 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment