Archive for August, 2010

A rescue effort is currently underway to drill through 2,300 feet of dirt and rock to extract 33 Chilean miners trapped below the surface of the earth. The miners have been stuck underground since August 5, and in a worst case scenario, it could take up to three or four months to get them out.

In the meantime, supplies are being snaked through a four-inch wide tube, things like shampoo, hot-weather clothes that help remove sweat, aluminum bed frames, food, lots of water, and Sony PSPs.

That’s right, Sony PSPs are being shuttled to the trapped miners, who are forced to cope with the mental hell that comes from being confined in a dark and dungy area below the earth with no restrooms. Other items being whisked down the rescue shaft include flashlights, playing cards, MP3 players, mini-TV projector, recorded soccer games, and possibly a cable to provide electrical power, which sure would make charging those PSPs a heckuva lot easier.

“We have to make sure the miners are physically and psychologically fit,” said Minister of Health Jaime Manalich. “If they lose their mental balance, it could create panic and violence down there, and that would be a huge catastrophe.”

Toshiba today announced it has begun mass producing NAND flash chips using a 24nm CMOS manufacturing process, representing the smallest geometry and highest density yet in NAND flash, the company said.

The announcement steals a bit of thunder from IM Flash — a joint venture between Intel and Micron — which said it would begin churning out 25nm-based NAND chips by the end of 2010.

“Toshiba leads the industry in fabricating high density, small die size NAND flash memory chips,” Toshiba said in a statement. “Application of the 24nm generation process technology will further shrink chip size, allowing Toshiba to boost productivity and bring further enhancements to the high density, small sized products. The 24nm process products are also equipped with Toggle DDR, which enhances data transfer speed.”

Toshiba says its latest technology has already been applied to 2 bit-per-cell 64Gb chips that are the world’s smallest on a single chip (8GB), and will also add 32Gb and 3 bit-per-cell products fabricated on a 24nm process soon.

Good news comes from Verizon for its DSL subscribers today. The ISP is introducing 10-15Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream service to more than 4 million homes and small businesses, more than doubling its previous top tier High Speed Internet service of 4-7Mpbs.

“Consumers and small businesses everywhere have a need for speed,” said Shawn Strickland, Verizon’s vice president of consumer strategy. “With our new 10-15Mbps speed tier, downloading files, photos, and other content will be faster, plus our High Speed Internet customers will have peace of mind because our service is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.”

In terms of downstream speed, that’s as fast as Verizon’s entry-level FiOS service, which offers 15Mbps down and 5Mbps up. It’s also priced the same at $50/month for residential customers, which also includes voice service (or $60 for those without voice service). Pricing for small businesses starts at $90/month with a two-year service contract, or $100/month sans contract.

Before you go dropping $600 on Intel’s Core i7 950 processor, take a step back and see if the latest Web chatter proves reliable. The alternative is to grossly overpay for a part that could soon be worth half as much. At least that’s what Digitimes’ “sources from mother makers are saying,” who claim Intel just recently slashed the price of its 950 chip to $294.

A quick glance on Newegg shows that existing inventory is still going for six Benjamins, but if those chatty sources aren’t misinformed, the new lower pricing could manifest online by the end of the week.

As the story goes, Intel’s move is in reaction to AMD’s recent price cuts for its quad-core Athlon II X4 640 chip, though that one only dropped from $122 to $99. Intel also recently launched a handful of new chips, including the Core i3 650 ($138), Pentium E6800 ($86), and Celeron E3500 ($53).

Dell really wants to acquire to data storage provider 3Par. So does Hewlett Packard. As a result, what started off as a $1.13 billion bid now sits at $2 billion, and the bidding war still doesn’t appear to be over.

It all started when Dell agreed to purchase 3Par for $1.13 billion in mid-August. While the deal appeared imminent, rival HP stepped in just a week later with a $1.5 billion bid of its own. What would follow is a high-dollar game of “outbid your opponent,” and for the time being, HP is winning with a $2 billion offer.

“Both companies would benefit from 3Par,” said IDC Vice President Benjamin Woo. “HP is due for a full refresh for its mid- to high-end storage portfolio” while “Dell wants to own a product for the top price bands in the $100,000+ range.”

How high are HP and Dell willing to go? That remains to be seen, but according to each one’s financial reports, HP is sitting on $14.8 billion in gross cash and Dell has $13.1 billion in cash and investments.

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