Tag: Boston

Google deploys Person Finder for Boston marathon explosions

In the aftermath of the Boston marathon bombings, Google has deployed its Person Finder tool which combs available records to track down friends or family in the wake of disaster. 

Person Finder was first deployed in response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and then again for Japan’s 2011 tsunami and the Christchurch, New Zealand earthquake.

All collated information is publicly available. Google says it can not and does not verify the accuracy of the information, but it provides room for status updates that say whether someone has been confirmed alive and well and a space for notes on each page.

It’s possible to search for a person’s name or parts of their name, and the tool will bring up search results including their status. For example, this search for ‘John’ would reveal a list of people with that name along with updates such as “someone has received information that this person is alive”.

Webmasters can embed the Person Finder into their sites while developers are encouraged to help improve the open source initiative.

Google promises that after a limited time the tools will not be publicly available, to assuage privacy concerns.

Person Finder is a part of Google’s Crisis Response department.

Patent trolling cost the US economy $29 billion

Rather than helping innovation, the US patent system is costing industry more than $29 billion a year in legal fees.

A Boston University study has been adding up the numbers and worked out that the legal action conducted by “patent trolls” cost US companies an estimated $29 billion during 2011.

During 2011, 2,150 companies mounted a total 5,842 defences in US cases against intellectual property companies that owned and licensed patents without producing any related goods of their own.

This means that the companies lost $29 billion in direct costs – legal and licensing fees.

The number was conservative and did not estimate indirect losses for defendants in things like delays in new products, loss of market share or the need to change products.

The figures have escalated since 2005, when the study found a total of 1,401 claims were $6.6 billion in direct costs.

Study authors James Bessen and Michael Meurer said increasing patent litigation in the US was a significant tax on investment in innovation.

To put the figure into perspective the total US spending on research and development is $249 billion in 2009 but it is still a big tax.

The report said that the costs of defending such legal action meant these organisations had less money to invest in their own research.

Bessen and Meurer said it was rubbish that asserting patents played a socially valuable role in enabling small inventors to realise greater profits from their ideas.

Their report said that patent lawsuits were a social loss and not a transfer of wealth as rights holders claim. 

Boston releases Liquid server

Server company Boston has told the world and its dog that it is selling its patented server with total liquid submersion technology in the UK.

The LSS 200 is a server which keeps itself cool by being totally submerged in liquid, a bit like a TechEye Christmas party. According to Boston, dunking your server in water reduces power consumption and costs, maximises floor space and decreases a data centre’s carbon footprint.

Of course, it’s not your normal liquid we are talking about here. Sticking a server in a tank of water is a bit like throwing a heater into the bath. The LSS 200 is submerged in a dielectric liquid, Core Coolant, that has 1350 times greater heat removal capacity than air.

This removes the need for expensive air conditioning and air moving equipment. Boston claims that LSS can reduce energy costs of cooling by 80 percent or more, resulting in an overall cost savings potential of 40 percent on your average datacentre, the company claims.

A fully tanked up server, it’s claimed, is a bit more reliable than one which abstains, which is similar to most technology hacks, really. Chad Attlesey, President, Chief Technology Officer, and Founder of Hardcore Computer which makes the beasts says that there is a direct correlation with server power and performance. Traditional cooling options have proven too expensive and have a limited efficiency.

Data centres are continually battling with escalating power consumption and associated costs. He claimed that “total liquid submersion cooling technology in the LSS 200 is the most effective solution on the market.”

The technology was recently evaluated by Citihub and TIBCO which provide gear to the City, which we have noted is always interested in liquid refreshment.

A test found that using a total liquid submersion-cooled Hardcore Computer system, in conjunction with TIBCO FTL, delivered a 34 percent improvement over previously published benchmarks for inter-process communications, with a latency of 237 nanoseconds at 4.2 million messages per second. Apparently.

Donovan Ransome, head of e-trading and market data of Citihub said his outfit had been improving and tuning milliseconds and microseconds from electronic trading applications for over a decade, so this is a big improvement. 

Boston announces ultra low power Calxeda ARM server platform

High performance server company Boston has announced an ultra low power computing platform, running on the Calxeda ARM EnergyCore SoCs, that it believes will transform the server market.

Boston claims its Viridis Project, which operates outside of the traditional x86 processors, will provide a new approach to highly parallel low power computing. It has introduced a self contained multi node cluster, with high speed interconnects and storage, all inside a 2U rack mount appliance.

There are 48 nodes up for grabs in a 2U enclosure, which means, claims Boston, up to 900 servers per industry standard 42U rack. Boston believes its tech offers roughly 10 times the performance per watt compared to other processors on the market today.

With the Viridis Project, Boston hopes to really shake up the server market by operating at the ultra low power end.The company says the server appliance can provide data centre performance all while running on power comparable to a mobile device. That saves on space and operational costs but still brings in the muscle. 

Partly to thank is Calxeda’s ultra efficient EnergyCard. There are four quad core EnergyCore SocS woven into local fabric, forming a multi server cluster, meaning Boston’s platform can be expanded with extra cards. Each board exposes up to eight 10GbE fabric links and SATA to a passive system board.

EnergyCore server chassis have a base system board with one, or more, slots available for Calxeda EnergyCards – so boosting computing might means adding in another card as needed. 

MD of Boston, Manoj Nayee, says the market is certainly there for non-x86, ultra low power options: “Boston has been inundated with requests for highly efficient, scalable hardware that provide increased power savings over the current technologies,” Nayee said. Calxeda’s approach means a server on chip that runs at just 5W on the heaviest load.

Boston plans to make the platform available to interested partners soon, and will give them access to the technology for testing, benchmarking and code optimisation at its labs.

Boston 3DBOXX 8550 Xtreme workstation reviewed

Boston is a company which has a reputation in IT as the supplier of high-end workstations, render boxes and servers to system integrators, as well as directly out to specialist companies in the 3D Industry.

Boston has been about since 1992. It has strived to climb to the top of the ladder in high performance power optimised technologies in the ISP, HPC, Enterprise and Broadcast marketplace.

Specialised workstations, servers and render boxes are extremely expensive and down time is not a great idea.

Over the years Boston has produced exceptional systems based around Supermicro, but for Boston to reach further into the more sophisticated marketplaces, a major manufacturing deal was struck direct with BOXX, a US Integrator of some of the most sophisticated overclocked 3D workstations in the world. The kind that give the Tier 1 builders a run for their money. When we were asked if we’d like to review a system, our answer was a swift yes. The systems from BOXX are something else.

An important point to note: BOXX is a recognised hardware vendor under the Autodesk Media & Entertainment certification program. BOXX machines have been tested and certified by Autodesk to run at optimal performance on Autodesk products, including Maya, 3ds Max, MotionBuilder, Mudbox and Softimage.

The system that was delivered was very high spec, consisting of the following:


BOXX 3DBOXX 8550 Xtreme Test System


2 X 3.33GHz Intel® Xeons™ (X5680 processors) overclocked to 4.2GHz


EVGA Classified SR-2 eATX


6 X 2GB (12GB Total) DDR3 1333MHz (PC3-10600) Memory Modules

Hard Drive(s)

2 X 300GB Western Digital VelociRaptors in Raid 1 (Via ICH 10 onboard Controller)


2 X 500GB (1TB) Seagate Constellation 2 drives in Raid 0 (Via ICH 10 onboard Controller) for data storage

Graphic Card(s)

1 X NVIDIA Quadro® 4000


1 X NVIDIA Quadro® 6000


Seasonic 850Watt Modular


20X Dual Layer DVD±RW Writer

Operating System

Windows 7 Professional  64-Bit with complete updates

Our system came expected, supplied with a Logitech Keyboard and Mouse, 3 x Nvidia® SLI bridges, ATI® Crossfire Bridge, an additional array of extra cables for the mainboard and PSU, with a good selection of software to get you up and running straight away. And that all important Windows recovery disc.

Something clever that struck us about the BOXX build was the actual hard drive deployment within the system. Opening up the read panel we found the 4 x 2 ½” system drives neatly mounted in place, with plenty of room for expansion.

A novel design then, though we did have reservations to heat. On closer inspection, the Asetek liquid cooling array fans for the CPUs also blasts air under the rear to keep those drives cool too. The rear panel to the chassis has a vent that the hot air quietly flows from. The company says it has tested the system with a range of drives and that airflow is not an issue.


This has to have been the most exciting Parts Built System we have tested in a long time.

Generally speaking, review systems are very well built, but this is an extraordinary unit with the strength to push things to the next level. The BOXX brushed aluminium chassis looks the part and will sit under most desks without looking out of place with the furnishings. It’s an important point in today’s studios key customers and new clients believe that image is everything.

The actual system performance from the I/O was what we had anticipated – extremely fast. The Sandra 2011 System Cryptography result is the fastest we have ever achieved. To deviate slightly, this unit can be upgraded in many ways beyond the original build, so those looking for the high speed boot should consider putting an enterprise SSD in place.

When you are spending cash of this nature, costs will be high – but those who require the absolute best in performance will find this is an exceptional option. Although we have seen extremely fast results, there is room to make things faster at the client’s request.

The render speed results from the recent release of POV-Ray and Cinebench 11.5 are speedy, and the BOXX system did almost half some of our other results – extremely quick indeed. This standalone unit has the power to meet the most demanding client’s high expectations for fast output.

To emphasise just how fast is fast, take a look at the staggering Cinebench 11.5 score.

The results obtained from the SPECapc’ s and SPECviewperf are without doubt the fastest we have produced.

Nvidia’s Quadro releases excelled on this platform. While the Quadro 4000 returned some pretty impressive results, the Quadro 6000 romped away in terms of raw power. It’s almost as if the mainboard was built for it.

Both cards performed above expectations, returning some very impressive results from the SPEC tests. SPECapc for SolidWorks 2007 again showed us our fastest results to date by the Quadro 6000, in both the “Day in the Life” result and the actual SPEC Graphic score.

As for SPECviewperf 11, astonishing to say the least. Maya-03 was running away at 115.97 and swiftly following was the SW-02 score of 65.79, fully backing up the SPECapc for SolidWorks results.

The Quadro 6000 just cannot be caught up to with its unprecedented performance – as the complete full FSAA run demonstrated, with the desired scaled composite results all the way down to 64X FSAA. Will we see faster any time soon? Time will tell. 

At going to print, the cost of the BOXX 3DBOXX 8550 Xtreme with the Nvidia Quadro 4000 is £6,279.00 plus Vat and Delivery and can be purchased direct through Boston’s reseller Escape Studios. The full range of BOXX systems from Escape Studios can be found at this URL. The 3DBOXX 8550 Xtreme comes with a 3 year warranty.

*EyeSee One of our readers can win one of these powerful, 3DBOXX 4860 systems from Escape Studios. Entry details are here, terms and conditions apply

Riskiest online city in US is Microsoft's Seattle

A report from Symantec has identified the top 10 riskiest cities in the USA for cybercrime.

And Seattle, home to Microsoft, is top of the list.

The company came to its results by using its own data and independent research firm Sperl Bestplaces to come to its conclusions.

Here are the top 10:

  1. Seattle
  2. Boston
  3. Washington DC
  4. San Francisco
  5. Raleigh
  6. Atlanta
  7. Minneapolis
  8. Denver
  9. Austin
  10. Portland

Seattle is top, according to the report, for cyberattacks and potential infections and online behaviour that can lead to cybercrime, like online shops, online banks and wi-fi.

As Symantec rather disingenuously points out, many of the cities are considered the most tech-savvy cities in the USA.

Marian Merritt (pictured), a Symantec employee in charge of internet safety, said Detroit was the least risky online city. El Paso and Memphis also aren’t very risky. But these cities also don’t have fantastic access to the internet, and don’t spend much on computer kit, she said.

Needless to say, Symantec has an agenda here. It wants you to buy Norton 360 so you’re safe, and it’s making money out of insecurity, even if you live in Seattle or Boston.