The first is the explanation that Oracle was putting about on Monday. This holds that vertical integration of all aspects of hardware and software is the next step being demanded by the customers of enterprise technology companies, who want one throat to choke when something goes wrong.
But it hardly feels as though customer expectations have changed enough to force Oracle to buy a deeply troubled server company to take on entrenched rivals like IBM, HP and now Cisco. Not does this explanation take account of the fundamental nature of the enterprise technology industry, which relies on deep technology and business partnerships.
The other explanation is that Oracle had to move quickly to outmaneuver the slow-footed IBM, so it was willing to take on the unappealing hardware business just to get its hands on Sun’s software assets. It then follows, according to this view, that Oracle will now turn around and unload the hardware side as soon as it can, perhaps in pieces.
To judge from the people we’ve spoken to, neither of these explanations quite gets to the bottom of what is going on.
One good pragmatic reason for assuming Sun’s struggling hardware business is that, for the arch cost-cutters at Oracle, this is where many of the biggest opportunities for expense savings lie. Oracle has promised $1.5bn in operating profits from the Sun deal in the first year. Slashing hardware costs is likely to be a quick way to get there - and if the economy turns, Sun’s highly cyclical hardware arm could even provide a pleasant surprise.
One person familiar with Oracle’s thinking suggests that the company will act quickly to narrow the focus of Sun’s hardware on a smaller number of high-end system designs. And a person close to the Sun camp admits that Sun itself simply failed to act aggressively enough to cut costs - though this person adds that a big acquirer like a Oracle also has many more opportunities to save money than Sun could have done on its own, for instance by combining salesforces.
Another pragmatic reason to take on the hardware business is that it offers Oracle a strategic hedge. In a world dominated by a handful of giant systems companies, life as a pure software company could become uncomfortable: what if big partner/rivals like IBM and HP become less enthusiastic about selling and supporting Oracle’s software?
Being able to offer its own hardware gives Oracle a fall-back, according to one person close to the transaction. The very existence of an Oracle hardware division changes the equation and removes a potential weapon in the hands of its enemies.
Of course, none of this changes Oracle’s main motivation for the Sun acquisition: getting its hands on Java, Solaris and MySQL. But it does help to explain why a software company with operating profit margins of 35 per cent is willing to take on a business that recently has had trouble making any money at all.
Source : http://blogs.ft.com
First up is the TG02 and TG03, which build upon the already announced TG01 that includes a 4.1-inch touchscreen, HSDPA, microSD card slot, accelerometer and 9.9mm thick form factor. The difference between the two yet to be officially announced handsets are an IPX4 water resistant rating with a 3.2MP camera for the TG02, and a 5MP camera with 5.1 Dolby Digital output for the TG03, but sans IPX4 rating.
The MIDs, the K01 and K02 feature a 4.1-inch and 3.5-inch touchscreen respectively, while both include a slide out QWERTY keyboard and a 3.2MP camera.
Last of the leaked handsets is the L01, which boasts the largest of the screens at 7-inches and some funky stand alone keyboard that is very reminiscent of the Touch Book.
You can expect most of these handsets to launch between Q4 2009 and Q1 2010.
Source : http://www.gadgetreview.com
The camera has a sensitivity of ISO 200 to 3200 which can be extended from ISO 100 to ISO 6400 equivalent. With the 2.7 inch LCD being capable of rotating around and with it having Live View, it makes taking pictures that little bit easier in some situations. The D5000 has a HDMI output compatible with HD TV’s allowing you to playback direct from the camera on to your TV when needed. Other capture features are also included which are wide area, normal area, face detection and new subject tracking. The subject tracking feature is capable of locking on to an individual and if they move out of the cameras view and then back in they will still be kept in focus on the camera. 19 scene modes are included to help you capture the right type of photos for the type of scene you are shooting in.
Available from Amazon.
The Nikon D5000 costs $849 with a 18-55 VR kit lens.
Nikon D5000 Features
• 23.6 x 15.8 mm CMOS sensor
• 12.9 million total pixels
• 12.3 million effective pixels
• Supports high ISO sensitivities
• Nikon DX-format sized CMOS sensor
• Airflow control system
• Image Sensor Cleaning
• Image Dust Off reference data (optional Capture NX 2 software required)
Image processor Nikon EXPEED
A/D conversion 12 bit
• 4,288 x 2,848 (L)
• 3,216 x 2,136 (M)
• 2,144 x 1,424 (S)
• NEF (compressed RAW)
• JPEG: Fine (approx. 1:4), normal (approx. 1:8), or basic (approx. 1:16) compression
• NEF (RAW) + JPEG (any size)
• AVI Motion-JPEG
• File format AVI (Motion-JPEG)
• Image size (pixels) 1280 x 720; 24fps, 640 x 424; 24 fps, 320 x 216; 24 fps
• Audio: Monaural on/off selection
• Exposure: Determined with matrix metering utilizing output from the image sensor
• Exposure lock available
• Exposure compensation available in P, S, A, M modes
• Maximum single clip length: 1280×720/ 5 minutes, others 20 minutes
• Nikon F mount with AF contacts
• Approx. 1.5x lens focal length (Nikon DX format)
• AF-S, AF-I
• Other Type G or D AF Nikkor
• Other AF Nikkor/AI-P Nikkor
• Type D PC Nikkor
• IX Nikkor/AF Nikkor for F3AF
- All functions supported
- All functions supported except autofocus
- All functions supported except autofocus and 3D Color Matrix Metering II
- All functions supported except some shooting modes
- Can be used in mode M, but exposure meter does not function; electronic range finder can be used if maximum aperture is f/5.6 or faster
- Cannot be used
• 11 focus points (1 cross-type sensors)
• Multi-CAM 1000
• AF working range: -1 to +19 EV (ISO 100, normal temperature)
• Contrast Detect in Live View mode
Lens Servo • Single Servo (AF-S)
• Continuous Servo (AF-C)
• Automated selection of AF-S or AF-C, (AF-A)
• Focus Tracking automatically activated by subject’s status in (AF-A)
• Manual focus [M], Electronic range finding supported
• Single point from 11 focus points
• Center point narrow or wide zone
• Liveview (Tripod mode): Contrast AF on a desired point anywhere within frame
• Single point AF
• Dynamic Area AF
• Automatic-area AF
• 3D Tracking AF (11 points)
Souce : http://www.gadgetvenue.com
By Ben Kuchera
While Xbox 360 systems may be known more for the dreaded "red ring of death" than any other hardware failure, one gaming blog has been tracking the rise of the "E74" error, an issue that causes the console to crash and show a multi-language kill screen. You'll also get a single red section on your system's power button. Microsoft is aware of the problem, and has since amended it's three-year warranty to cover the error.
The story began when Joystiq started to receive complaints concerning the error. The site decided to gather some data, and found that complaints of the error increased after the release of the New Xbox Experience, or NXE. "One oddity is that there is no correlation between the dates on which the systems in question were purchased and when they went belly up," Joystiq writer Justin McElroy reported. "The error usually occurred after anywhere from 12 to 36 months of use, with many of you claiming that trouble arose on consoles that have already been repaired for Red Ring of Death. Whatever modifications Microsoft has made to the console to improve its reliability in the past years seems to have no bearing on the likelihood of E74."
The problem was that this issue wasn't covered by Microsoft's warranty; the company simply called it a "general hardware failure" and that was that. More sites jumped onto the issue, however, and found the same data: the E74 error was a widespread issue, and seemed connected to the NXE, although that might not be the direct cause of the issue. "The time frame for the rise in issues makes NXE and its November debut a suspect," Engadget wrote. "But it's worth noting that the uptick started just before that launch, so perhaps it has more to do with hiccups caused by spurred interest in turning on the console after a long period of dormancy."
Tuesday, Microsoft announced that it would do the right thing and extend the red-ring warranty to include the E74 errors, detailing the inclusion on its Xbox support site. "After investigating the issue, we have determined that the E74 error message can indicate the general hardware failure that is associated with three flashing red lights error on the console. As a result, we have decided to cover repairs related to the E74 error message under our three-year warranty program for certain general hardware failures that was announced in July 2007." Microsoft also claims it has made the necessary changes to decrease the likelihood of the error, and will refund the cost of E74 repairs to customers who may have already paid to have their console fixed or replaced.
It's gratifying to see Microsoft do the right thing, but yet another known hardware issue with the 360 won't do much to help the system's battered reputation; the red ring fiasco ended up costing the company $1 billion plus to make right. The "E74" problem won't likely cost anything near that amount, but the damage to the 360's shoddy hardware reputation won't be easy to quantify.
Source : http://arstechnica.com
With the potential catastrophe payouts insurers face far exceeding their reserves, it's no surprise that major companies, including Allstate and State Farm, are raising catastrophe-policy premiums and deductibles.
"The insurance industry is saying to the homeowner, If you choose to live here, that's great, but you have to take on more of the risk," says Jayna Neagle, of the Washington, D.C.-based Insurance Information Institute. "It's all about sharing the risk."
If you live where tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes are a regular occurrence, catastrophe insurance is an important consideration. Ask these questions to avoid paying too much or choosing a company that a disaster could drive out of business:
Do you have proper coverage?
Amazingly, most people don't. For instance, only 20 percent of homeowners in floodplain areas carry flood insurance, even though their flood risk is 26 times their fire risk.
Similar figures hold in many earthquake- and storm-prone areas. Find out if you need catastrophe coverage by calling your agent or state insurance board.
Obtain information on flood, storm or quake risks in your region and compare it to risks posed by the "normal" hazards your homeowner's policy covers; if catastrophe risk exceeds normal risk, buy expanded coverage. This Old House: Beef up your insurance
Is the insurer financially stable?
A huge catastrophe can shake the stability of weaker insurance companies, putting them at risk of a default that could leave policyholders uncovered. A.M. Best and Standard & Poor's now rate insurance companies to reflect their ability to withstand such catastrophes.
Check an insurer's rating with A.M. Best, S&P, or Consumer Reports magazine. Look for an A rating or better (such as AAA or A++). Avoid lower-rated companies (those with a B or lower rating).
Are the premiums and deductibles reasonable?
Double-digit increases in catastrophe premiums are common in high-risk storm and earthquake areas. These increases vary widely by company and region, so if your premium jumps up, shop around for an insurer that's not as exposed to catastrophe-related payouts. This Old House: Insure yourself against storms
Also be aware of the change to "percentage deductibles" that require homeowners to cover a percentage of the damages rather than a set figure. For example, if the deductible is 5 percent and losses are $100,000, the policyholder covers the first $5,000.
According to J. Robert Hunter, insurance director for the Consumer Foundation of America, homeowners are not always clearly notified of the change. "A lot of people have been misled," Hunter says. "The disclosure is really vague, buried in a lot of fine print." This Old House: Do you have enough insurance?
When you're ready to buy, try these shopping tips:
1. Purchase all your insurance (homeowner's, auto, life) from an insurer that offers a multiple-policy discount. Also check if your insurer gives a "loyalty" discount for staying with them for three to five or more years.
2. Go with a high deductible; this can save up to 20 percent in premiums if you have savings to do it.
3. Install smoke detectors, a burglar alarm, storm shutters, dead bolts, and a fire-sprinkler system to reduce the premium on your homeowner's policy. The same goes for using storm- or earthquake-resistant construction methods or materials.
Source : http://www.cnn.com
"In general, the price is up five- to 10-fold from 18 months ago," when the surge in piracy off
Piracy insurance generally covers physical loss or damage to the ship or its cargo, along with kidnap and ransom coverage for the crew. Townsend said he helped develop coverage that also includes the daily loss that comes from having a detained ship sit unused while the owners negotiate ransom with pirates.
Piracy-insurance prices are usually set per shipment no more than a week before a planned passage through the area plied by Somalian pirates, which includes the Gulf of Aden and parts of the Indian Ocean. Though prices vary widely, it might cost a shipper
Townsend said prices tend to dip immediately after a spate of hijackings. " Underwriters feel that, if several vessels are being held, the likelihood is decreased" that there will be another pirate attack in the following days.
He said Sunday's rescue of the captain of the American-flagged cargo ship Maersk Alabama by U.S. Navy Seal sharpshooters probably won't decrease piracy, despite the death of three of the pirates during the rescue.
"The rewards [of piracy] outweigh the risks, in their view," Townsend said. " The loss of three pirates will harden their resolve. It is a risky business."
Townsend said he couldn't say if the Maersk Alabama was insured, but he said many shippers play the "percentages" and hope their ship will be one of the many that make it through unattacked. However, the surge in piracy in the past two years is increasing interest. Most piracy insurance is underwritten through the Lloyd's of London insurance market, where groups of insurers take on risks.
One insurer that offers the coverage,
Townsend said pirates off the Somali coast detained 111 vessels and 800 seafarers in 2008, which was about a 200% increase from the year before. So far in 2009, 40 vessels have been detained.
In 2008, Townsend estimated, around 30,000 vessels traveled through the area, which he called a "major artery" for shipping.
Source : http://money.cnn.com