Friday, March 28, 2008

Adobe startet kostenlose Online-Version von Photoshop

Computer | 28.03.2008

Adobe startet kostenlose Online-Version von Photoshop

Für die Bildbearbeitung ist das Programm ein Klassiker. Und bisher war er teuer. Doch jetzt gibt es eine erste Gratis-Version des Photoshop von Adobe im Internet.

Der US-Software-Konzern Adobe hat eine kostenlose Internet-Version seines Bildbearbeitungsprogramms Photoshop gestartet. Jedem Nutzer stünden auch zwei Gigabyte Speicherplatz zu, berichtete der kalifornische Softwarehersteller Donnerstag (28.3.2008). Mit dem Schritt will Adobe den Nutzerkreis seines Programms erweitern. Man wolle den Markennamen in der jungen Generation, die ihre Bilder im Internet lagert, verwaltet und bearbeitet, bekannter machen, teilte Adobe mit.

Mit allen Betriebssystemen kompatibel

Das Programm werde im Internet zur Nutzung zur Verfügung stehen. Damit sei es mit jedem Betriebssystem und Browser kompatibel, erklärte das Unternehmen. Zunächst soll es sich um eine sogenannte Beta-Version handeln, also eine noch nicht ganz ausgereifte Version. Die Anregungen und Kritikpunkte der Nutzer sollen in die Weiterentwicklung einbezogen werden. Für die Express-Version des Programms seien nur sehr geringe Kenntnisse der Bildbearbeitung am Computer nötig, betonte Adobe. Die Vollversion von Photoshop richtet sich auch an professionelle Nutzer kostet um die tausend Euro. Viele private Nutzer brauchen aber nur wenige Funktionen.

Harter Wettbewerb um Foto-Amateur-Software

Der Software-Spezialist verschärft damit den Wettbewerb um Fotoamateure, die ein einfaches Programm zur schnellen Bearbeitung ihrer digitalen Fotos zum Beispiel fürs Platzieren auf Websites wollen. Auf dem Markt sind zwar bereits zahlreiche derartige Angebote, auch Google und Microsoft bieten inzwischen internetbasierte Programme an. Adobe hat jedoch einen besonders guten Ruf als Hersteller der professionellen Photoshop-Software, die bei vielen Fotografen und Designern als Standard gilt. Adobe versucht mit Photoshop Express auch populären Webseiten wie, bei denen Fotos kostenlos online verwaltet werden können, Konkurrenz zu machen.

Die stark abgespeckte Online-Version Photoshop Express ist das erste kostenlose Photoshop-Produkt. Für eine jährliche Gebühr soll es zusätzliche Funktionen wie mehr Speicherplatz oder einen Druck-Dienst geben. (tos)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bringing Light to Computers

IBM research could bring the speed of fiber-optic networks to the chips inside personal computers.

By Kate Greene

Researchers at IBM recently announced a nanoscale silicon switch that can direct trillions of bits of data per second within an optical network. The switch could make it possible to incorporate the speed and bandwidth of a telecommunications network into a personal computer, say the researchers. This is an increasingly important goal for engineers as they look for the best design for future multicore machines--computers with more than one processing center.

Directing traffic: IBM has developed silicon switches that can be used to control the flow of data in on-chip optical networks. Each of the eight switches above is made of five ring-shaped resonators. The image was taken with an optical microscope.
Credit: IBM

The advance gives researchers more control over where bits are directed in an optical network smaller than a fingernail. "We're talking about routing a terabit per second through a single switch," says William Green, an IBM researcher who worked on the project. Such performance is comparable to what's achieved by very large racks of mounted equipment for telecommunications fiber optics.

Today's top-of-the-line computers come with two or four general processing cores, but within the next decade, engineers expect to build computers with tens of cores. One of the main problems with making a many-core machine is that it's unclear how to let all the cores communicate efficiently with each other and with other components in the computer that lie off the chip, such as memory. Currently, all of this communication is conducted over metal wires that are etched into chips and circuit boards. But wires have an intrinsic resistance, which limits the speed of data. In addition, the flowing electrons can produce electrical interference and heat that can cause computation errors.

Optical devices and waveguides built into the same silicon used to make chips are promising alternatives to electronic components and metal wires. Within the past few years, there's been a flood of activity in this field, known as silicon photonics, from IBM, Intel, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett Packard, MIT, Columbia University, and the University of Southern California, to name a few. Researchers have steadily been creating ever more efficient silicon-based devices, such as lasers, modulators that encode data onto light, detectors, and filters that clean up signals as they travel through a network. In fact, Sun Microsystems was recently awarded a $44 million contract from the U.S. Pentagon to investigate approaches for replacing metal wires with beams of light.

While there are many pieces that are necessary for intracomputer optical networks, IBM's switch announcement is an important step toward making such a system practical. "There have been a lot of advances in silicon photonics," says Keren Bergman, a professor of electrical engineering at Columbia University, but IBM's switch "is very important for being able to make optical networks on chips." Because the device routes a number of different wavelengths of light to various parts of a chip or the system, engineers don't need to build point-to-point waveguides to each destination in a system. "This enables you to generate and route photons to multiple destinations in a more efficient way," Bergman says.

IBM's switch, which is described in a recent paper in Nature Photonics, is made of connected, resonating rings etched into silicon. The rings are only 200 nanometers tall--much smaller than the dimensions of optical fibers that normally carry light. When the switch is turned on, electrons are sent to a specific ring. These electrons change the way that the ring resonates, which effectively blocks light from passing through. The light bounces off the resonator and is reflected in another direction.

The design is unique for a number of reasons, explains Green. First, the switch does not filter the light based on its wavelength, unlike switches used in telecommunications networks that need to route specific types of light to specific destinations. And the more wavelengths of light that are let through an on-chip network, the more bandwidth is available.

A second distinguishing characteristic, Green notes, is that IBM's switch is able to withstand a variation of about 30 °C, which is crucial to ensuring that the network is reliable. Within any given microprocessor, says Green, hot spots move around on the surface of the chip as a function of number crunching. If these optical interconnects are distributed all over the surface, he says, engineers need to make sure that the hot spots don't change the properties of the devices, so that data can make it to each end of the chip unaltered. The temperature resilience of the switch, Green says, is due, in part, to allowing multiple wavelengths of light through. As the switch changes temperature, it also changes properties, which causes some wavelengths of light to be blocked. But since the switch was designed to route a broad spectrum, it can still function in an environment with a variable temperature.

Green says that it could be five to ten years before this switch finds its way into a commercial machine. IBM has already made ultrasmall optical silicon modulators, but, he says, it will take years to integrate the modulator, the switch, and other components with chip electronics.

Indeed, the promise of silicon photonics produces a new challenge: how to redesign a computer to communicate with light instead of with electrons. "How do you design an interconnected network that really exploits the optics?" asks Bergman. "You can't follow the network design rules of electronics," she says. "There are many things that are going to evolve dramatically as we go forward."

American house prices

American house prices

Grim realty

Mar 26th 2008

AFTER the gain for some, the pain continues for many American property owners. According to the newly published S&P/Case-Shiller index, house prices in ten metropolitan areas fell by 11.7% in January compared with the year before, the biggest fall since the index was created in 1987. The larger 20-city index tumbled by 10.7%. Sunbelt cities which earlier saw the most dramatic price rises are now enduring the hardest falls. Only Charlotte has yet to succumb to declining prices. The OFHEO's index of homes guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac fell by 3% from 2007, also showing an accelerating slide.


Monday, March 24, 2008

orderpicking warehouse design helpindex


ABC storage strategy (short)
ABC storage strategy (long)
Additional time to change aisles
Administration time
Aisle length
Aisle number
References on AS/RS


Batching examples
References on Batching


Change aisles
Clarke and Wright
Combined heuristic (short)
Combined heuristic (long)
Cross aisle


Depot location (short)
Depot location (long)
Distance between aisles
References on Due Dates


Examples of orders


First come, first served


(Material) Handling equipment
Heuristic (routing)


Instructions (on how to use this site)


Largest Gap (short)
Largest Gap (long)
Layout of the warehouse
Layout of the storage zones (short)
Layout of the storage zones (long)
Lines per order
Location of depot (short)
Location of depot (long)
References on Layout


Material handling equipment


Narrow aisle pallet warehouse (short)
Narrow aisle pallet warehouse (long)
Number of aisles


Optimal routing algorithm (short)
Optimal routing algorithm (long)
Order examples
Orderpicking process


Percentage of picks


Random storage strategy (short)
Random storage strategy (long)
Rear end
Routing examples
Routing strategy
References on Routing


Savings algorithm
Seed algorithm
Shelf area warehouse (short)
Shelf area warehouse (long)
References on Sorting
Speed in- or outside the aisles (short)
Speed in -or outside the aisles (long)
S-Shape (short)
S-Shape (long)
Storage strategy
References on Storage


Time to change aisles
(Administration) Time
Time to pick a line


Warehouses (types)
Warehouse layout
Wide aisle pallet warehouse (short)
Wide aisle pallet warehouse (long)
Width of aisle



How Apple and Google Dominate

How Apple and Google Dominate

Last week, I promised to discuss another source of advantage in decay. We're going to zoom out instead, in response to a flurry of announcements from Apple, Google, and would-be competitors – to have a richer discussion in the weeks going forward.

It's funny how flatfooted - how almost inept - everyone else in media, marketing, consumer electronics, mobile, a long and dangerously growing list of industries, seems compared to Apple and Google.

What gives? Why is that everyone that Google and Apple decide to take to the cleaners, well, gets taken to the cleaners?

After all, Apple and Google are radically different companies. Who, it appears, have already divided the next-gen media pie very neatly between them. Google, software. Apple, hardware. Google, search. Apple, conduit. Google, algorithm. Apple, human. Google, geeky, self-effacing ad-quants. Apple, a reality distortion field wearing jeans and a turtleneck.

That's a product market level view - the view from the core. When we invert our traditional vision, and look at them from the edge, Google and Apple are strikingly similar: less like a power couple for whom opposites attract, and more like long-lost siblings.

Much of their DNA is - at least superficially - different. Jobs runs a totalitarian state with equal amounts of fear and love. Sergey and Larry tune - not manage - an organization poised forever on the edge of chaos and anarchy, while Eric Schmidt (who does sit on Apple's board) keeps the gears of the business grinding away.

But many of the most vital components of their DNA are strikingly similar, and that's where the lines between them begin to blur.

The ends they're working towards are similar: Goople aspires to - with laserlike intensity - change the world for the better. And where most of their competitors will sell out everything they believe in for a few bucks and a latte, Goople is deeply, radically purposive: they won't compromise much, if anything, to achieve the goal of changing the world for the better. (One can argue that Google's policy of following local content-filtering policies in China is a notable exception.) You'll never see an ad on Google's homepage, or a Mac that's not a joy to use, even if Bill Gates, Gordon Gekko, and Lucifer held a fire sale, and mortgaged the world to Goople.

And that DNA opens new paths to strategy and advantage. Goople finds value chains and industries in deep strategy decay - where innovation and choice are stale, and consumers are besieged by lameness - like marketing, consumer electronics, TV, and perhaps the most troubled of all, mobile and music. Then Goople utterly eviscerates them: it reconstructs radical new ones - where friction has been vaporized, where complexity and variety explode - and so everyone really is better off. When Steve Jobs makes the iPhone carrier-neutral, kiss the traditional mobile value chain goodbye.

On the flipside, where would-be competitors release a handful of predictable, often crippled products and services a few times a year - hi Nokia, bye Yahoo - Goople floods market space with radical new value propositions, overloading the very circuitry of the industry - still driven by fear of cannibalization - and so short-circuiting the traditional dynamics of competition.

Think the Macbook Air's a crippled, compromised pile of junk? If the early numbers are anything to go by, Apple listened hard enough to understand exactly those features road warriors really need and use, ditched the rest - letting it craft a radical new value proposition, just like that. Funny - that's exactly the story of Google Search, AdWords, and increasingly, Google ads across media; a story competitors just can't seem to get right.

Media isn't just "content" and "pipes". Media is the stuff that stitches together the fabric of production and consumption: it's how producers and consumers interact. So it's likely, that as newspapers, radio stations, and TV networks did yesterday, whoever holds sway over media tomorrow will enjoy supernormal profits for decades, and be able to shape and influence the course of the rest of the economy.

What will that influence look like?

The key components of DNA Google and Apple share let them overthrow yesterday's stale approaches to strategy and advantage, and pursue entirely new ones with a vengeance. Goople does exactly the opposite of what orthodox strategy counsels: it makes peace where there was war, conquers through love instead of hate, listens to instead of shouts at consumers, perhaps most critically, takes huge risks to make the world better instead of avoiding risk to make it worse.

Goople is rewriting the rules of a very stale game: industrial-era strategy itself, which is really the prime mover behind the gathering economic storm on the horizon – but that’s another post.

That was a dense post – so let's kick-start some discussion.

Do you see some of the differences between core and edge more clearly? Can you see some of the similarities between Apple and Google’s DNA? The way the global economy is going, which do you think makes more sense -- core strategy, or edge strategy? How do you think the rest of the media industry can respond to Goople?