The firegrid Blog. Thoughts, humour, ranting and general randomness. Wowzers!


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Thu 28th February 2008

Boffin becomes Sony's best friend

Filed under: Internet and Technology

When my nephew got a Playstation 3 for christmas, I couldn't wait to get over there and endulge in an online rampage on Resistance: Fall of Man.  Since then, every weekend I mention that perhaps we should go and visit the in-laws, purely so I can get a go on Call of Duty 4.  I'll arrive at their house, grunt a few words of greeting to whoever crosses my path on the way to the games room, then sit down until it's time to leave, playstation controller firmly welded to my hands.

Now, I think this is probably the natural reaction to any rational non-playstation 3 owning person.  However, please welcome astrophysicist Guarav Khanna.

Guarav has no time or space for games, for he has managed to accumulate a massive 16 of Sony's Playstation 3, and linked them all together.  He calls it a 'gravity grid' and has it setup to simulate the activity of black holes for the Physics Department at the University of Massachusetts.

In order to run his simulations, Guarev installed Linux on all of the machines.  Because of the architecture of the Playstation 3's cell chip, each machine is several times more effective than even the most powerful desktop PC's available today.  It can even be compared to as many as 25 nodes on an IBM Blue Gene Supercomputer.

Anyway, read more over at Khanna's project site.
Wed 13th February 2008

Firefox 3 (Beta 3)

Filed under: Internet and Technology

The Mozilla Corporation have released a Beta version of their popular web browser, Firefox.

This new version is entitled Firefox 3 (Beta 3).

Mozilla have warned however that this release is not intended for casual users, and being a Beta version should be considered for testing purposes only.

I'm a Microsoft man myself but if you are interested in trying the new Firefox, click here for the download page.  If you would like more information on this release, click here for the official blog post.
Thu 7th February 2008

Sky's SMTP servers take early retirement

Filed under: Internet and Technology

I use Sky broadband so thought this story was rather fitting.

Sky have switched off their in-house SMTP servers this week, completing their email outsourcing deal for broadband mail services with Google.

However, despite numerous warnings, many customers have got themselves into a right kerfuffle.

Anyone with Sky broadband who are now experiencing email problems could do a lot worse than heading over to Skyuser.  Otherwise there's an official guide here.

Full story over at El Reg.

Tue 5th February 2008

eBay to ban negative feedback

Filed under: Internet and Technology

What on Earth?  Yes, that's right.  eBay are planning to completely overhaul their feedback system and ban sellers from leaving negative comments about buyers.

But, crazily, they are still going to allow buyers to leave negative comments about sellers.

In my opinion, this doesn't make a bit of sense.  It's madness.  So, essentially, you could go round buying anything off eBay, never paying and other sellers would not know that you are a complete waste of time.  Then, as well as wasting the sellers time you can also leave fraudulent negative feedback.  But don't worry, the seller can't do the same to you - you're untouchable!  Great!  Hours of fun to be had.

So, then, if eBay decide to go ahead with this plan, what is the point of a feedback system at all for sellers?  Also, as a buyer, if you have very few feedback comments, does that mean you cannot be trusted?  How can you build up a reputation if people think your feeble feedback score is a reflection of how you conduct business?  The fact that you are an occasional user seems as though it's going to count against you.

Reminds me of the old saying: "If you've got nothing good to say, don't say anything at all."

Come on eBay, think about what you are doing here.

More at the good 'ol beeb and El Reg.
Tue 5th February 2008

COMODO Firewall Pro released

Filed under: Internet and Technology

Comodo, the makers of arguably the greatest firewall software have just released version which now has the beginnings of an integrated Anti Virus scanner built in.

They have fixed a few bugs from the previous release as well as adding a few extra features, but most important is the Anti Virus scanning.

While the Anti Virus feature is very much in the early stages of integration, when it's complete Comodo Firewall will be one of the greatest security suites out there.

And best of all?  It's free!  Read more at the Comodo Forums.
Mon 4th February 2008

IPv6 rollout begins

Filed under: Internet and Technology

Today sees the start of the official IPv6 rollout which will end the current shortage of addresses that websites can be given.  IPv4, which the internet is currently based on, is due to be exhausted of it's address pool by 2011.

So, what is IPv6 and why is it so important?
IP addresses can be likened to phone numbers.  Every website and device connected to the internet has a number assigned to it, this is called an IP address.  IPv4 was dreamt up way before the internet boom, and with so many websites and devices requiring IP addresses it is running low on the possible number of numbers it can hand out.  IPv6 will alleviate this problem.

How many addresses can IPv6 support?
Approximately 340 trillion, trillion, trillion addresses.  Should keep us all happy for a while ;)

Can I use IPv6?
If you run your own website, ask your hosting provider - they may be able to offer you an IPv6 address.  If your PC is running Vista or Mac OS/X then they will be able to use IPv6 addresses if they are presented with them.

Wow!  I'm truly amazed and want to learn more - where can I go?
OK, OK, I admit it's pretty geeky, but it's extremely important for the future of the internet.  If you want to learn more, the BBC have an article here, and a Q&A here.  Alternatively, take a look at