Battery Failure

My company procided me with a ThinkPad T-Series laptop. I have had this laptop for a few years now. Not sure whether the thing was new when I got it. Until last week, the thing has been working fine. The only occasional slowness was my only concern.

This past week I noticed a strange error message as I moused over the battery in the Windows system tray. It stated that the battery had failed and needed to be replaced. I kept that thought in the back of my mind. Later I tried to move my laptop to another room. As soon as I unplugged the laptop, the thing went blank. Doh.

Later I tried booting up the system, and it would not start Windows. I kept getting a blue screen of death stating the mount volume was unmountable. Ouch. My desktop support guy said the battery was not under warrenty. Now I need to get a new battery purchased. Sounds like a good time to back my stuff up again.

Phase Change Memory

IBM has announced a breakthrough in their phase change memory (PCM). This is non volatile memory like flash. It keeps the data when the power is turned off. The big news is that this memory is 100 times faster than flash.

The worst case latency for the memory is 10 micro seconds. This statistic is 100 times the performance of flash memory. The PCM has had a capacity breakthrough as well. Previously only 1 bit per cell was reliable. IBM is now working with a configuraiton that works with 4 bits per cell. PCM memory size is going up soon.

IBM envisions this memory to be used all over the place. It can be in PCs for ultra fast startup. It can be used in the cloud. It can even be used in mobile phone applications.

Project Orion

IBM is making progress on their Project Orion. The goal is to product an IDE like Eclipse that runs on the web. They just put out a Beta release for around 5k developers.

I think of Eclipse as being an IDE for Java. However Orion intends to work for any programming language. For example, they want Orion to be able to handle JavaScript development.

The beauty of being a web app is that it can download code in real time from the web. IBM plans to integrate other free tools into Orion. This could be things such as Git, Bugzilla, and/or Jira.

Watson Plays Jeopardy

IBM has developed a computer named Watson to compete on the game show Jeopardy. It is going to be pitted against two of the best human Jeopardy players ever.

Watson has a lot of computer memory. It has a fixed store of data is has "learned". It then needs to use the clues from the Jeopardy game to use this memory to answer the questions.

Watson is composed of a bunch of IBM Power 750 servers. The thing actually understands the nuances of the English language.

There is talk about commercial applications of this technology. But first IBM will need to figure out how to run the Watson program on something less than a massive computer.