Category: Technology


Whether you host in-house or with a managed Windows hosting provider, if you self-administer a web server it is good to know that by default IIS7 sets application pools to “time-out” after 20 minutes of inactivity. So if you don’t have a visitor to your site within 20 minutes the application pool will shut down – freeing up those system resources. Then the next time a request comes into the site IIS7 will automatically restart the application pool and serve up the requested pages.

This is a great way to preserve resources since every running application pool does place a certain amount of overhead on the system. But, it also means that the first request – the one that causes the application pool to restart – is very slow. It is slow because the process literally needs to start, then load the required assemblies (like .NET) then load the requested pages. Depending on the size and complexity of your application, this might just be a couple of seconds or it might take 30+ seconds (during which time a user would likely give up and move on to a different site).

If you want to extend the length of the time-out setting, just change it from the default of 20 to however many minutes you want. You can also adjust the setting to 0 (zero) which effectively disables the timeout so that the application pool will never shut down due to being idle.

To make this change, open Server Manager; Expand the Roles node; Expand the Web Server (IIS) node. Then click on the Web Server (IIS) node; Expand the node with your local server name; and click on the Application Pools icon. You’ll then see a list of the application pools that are defined on your server. In the right-hand pane you’ll see an option for Advanced Settings – click that.

Once you see the Advanced Settings dialog box just look for the Idle Time-out (minutes) property; click where the default “20” is, and change it to whatever value you prefer.

This is just one of many settings that can impact the performance, uptime, and functioning of your web site. If you don’t have the time or interest in learning and maintaining the various settings for a secure high-performing web server, you might want to consider a fully managed windows hosting solution and let a trained and experienced administrator take care of the work for you.

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Online news websites are currently rife with talk of search engine giant Google apparently planning to launch a new social networking service imminently, dubbed Google Circles. But what is Google Circles exactly? And what can the service add to the already oversaturated genre of social networking?

The new service is rumoured to be one which allows its users to share status updates, links, videos and other media with friends and acquaintances. Nothing new in that regard then! However, the grape vine suggests that the biggest bonus of Circles is that is offers far more privacy than its competitors allowing the user to share media with people in certain “circles” only (for example, “co-workers”, “school friends” or “family”) instead of sharing with everyone at once. This is the case with social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

Google Circles might seem familiar for another reason too. The service was once used for a very short period of time by competing search engine Lycos back in 2004, before the rise of the global popularity of Facebook started.

At the time, David Kim (CEO of Lycos) promoted the service as “a one-stop shop for sharing things, discussing and staying in touch with favourite circles of people.” The CEO added that Circles helps one to be “more efficient at socializing.”

The situation just aids to prove that ideas can only be successful if people actually hear about them and it goes without saying that Google have a far larger audience than Lycos ever has.

The employees of Google are remaining very tight lipped regarding the supposedly hijacked service however, only stating that the company would not comment on “rumour or speculation.” Although the number of people with Google accounts is escalating, I would be concerned that Google’s current services – and therefore; probably Circles as well – will be restricted to account holders only, which could potentially affect uptake. Paradoxically, signing up to use Facebook or Twitter can be done with any email address.

Lack of universal usage is the only complaint I have regarding services like GTalk – I wish all my friends had Google accounts so that I could communicate with them all using this facility! It remains to be seen if Circles will be enough of a hit with web surfers to tempt more individuals over to the G side.

(Reuters) – Prices for key technology components extended gains on Tuesday, as damage at Japanese plants and infrastructure caused by Friday’s devastating earthquake and tsunami threatens to disrupt the global manufacturing chain longer than many had expected.

Dozens of Japanese firms from component makers to electronics firms and automakers are keeping their plants shuttered, while damage to infrastructure including power, roads, rails and ports will take months to repair.

The prospect of prolonged supply disruptions sent global companies scrambling for alternative sources of high-tech components in particular, a sector where Japan is still a dominant player.

Research firm IHS iSuppli said the quake and its aftermath could result in significant shortages of some electronic parts and lead to big price hikes.

“While there are few reports of actual damage at electronic production facilities, impacts on the transportation and power infrastructure will result in disruptions of supply, resulting in the short supply and rising prices,” iSuppli said.

“Components impacted will include NAND flash memory, dynamic random access memory (DRAM), microcontrollers, standard logic, liquid-crystal display (LCD) panels, and LCD parts and materials.”

Spot prices of NAND flash chips extended their gains on Tuesday, rising nearly 3 percent after a 20 percent jump on Monday, while DRAM memory chip prices gained 0.2 percent on top of a 7 percent on Monday, according to price tracker DRAMeXchange.

Japan accounts for one-fifth of the world’s semiconductor production, including about 40 percent of flash memory chips used in everything from smartphones, tablets to computers.

Even if shipments of semiconductor parts affected by the quake were disrupted for only two weeks, shortages and their price impact were likely to linger until the third quarter, iSuppli said.

TOSHIBA, SONY, CANON PLANTS DOWN

Demand for NAND flash memory chips has been surging, led by mobile devices and tablets such as Apple Inc’s iPad 2, which is estimated to have sold almost 1 million units during its weekend debut.

Toshiba Corp, which supplies about one-third of the world’s NAND flash memory chips, said it was still inspecting its System LSI factory in Iwate, the only one halted by the quake and tsunami and could not say when it might re-open.

The factory produces microprocessors and image sensors.

Fellow chipmaker Texas Instruments on Monday warned its two suspended plants would take until July to return to full production, though it had managed to re-direct 60 percent of their output to other sites.

Canon Inc said it may not be able to resume production at three factories making office equipment and lenses used in audio-visual players this week.

Sony Corp also said its eight factories making equipment ranging from optical devices, IC cards, blu ray discs, chip equipment and lithium batteries remained closed, with no guarantees on resuming date.

Taiwan’s Wintek, which makes the touch module for the iPad 2, said it had more than two weeks of inventory left and the short-term impact was limited. However, a source at the company said it was using Japanese components and was looking for secondary suppliers.

“There are alternative sources for Japanese raw materials and Taiwan is also capable of producing many of the components that we are currently importing from Japan,” said Luo Huai-jia, vice president of Taiwan’s electrical and electronic manufacturer’s association.

“We also have other sources such as France that we can tap if inventories tighten.”

Raj Kumar, general manager of Singapore GLOBALFOUNDRIES, said most of the company’s Japanese suppliers had alternative sources outside the country.

“We are not pushing them for updates, we have enough inventories,” he said. “Japanese people have the best record in bouncing back and we expect them to bounce back.”

Hynix Semiconductor Inc, the world’s No.2 memory chipmaker, said it had around two months of wafer inventory but a prolonged disruption in supplies of wafers by major producers such as Shin-Etsu may interrupt its production schedule.

Shin-Etsu said on Tuesday it had restarted one factory near Tokyo, but two plants near the worst-hit areas remained closed and the company was unable to say when production will resume at the sites. It is trying to boost production elsewhere to make up the shortfall caused by the shutdown.

Analysts estimate Shin-Etsu is the biggest supplier for Hynix, offering more than 50 percent of the South Korean firm’s wafer requirement.

“Since we have enough inventory, there’ll be no short-term impact but as the situation gets worse and prolonged, it could have a wide-ranging impact to the overall industry because Japan is a major wafer supplier. We are diversifying supply sources to non-Japanese firms including Korean firms,” said a Hynix spokesman.

Unlisted LG Siltron is a major silicon wafer supplier based in South Korea.

Chinese chipmaker SMIC said it saw minimal short-term impact from the disaster in Japan but was monitoring the supply situation.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announces the company's new "seamless messaging" product this morning at a San Francisco hotel.

SAN FRANCISCO–“We don’t think that a modern messaging system is going to be e-mail,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a press conference this morning as it unveiled a hotly anticipated revamp of its messaging system that many pundits had characterized as a “Gmail killer.”

But unveiling an e-mail product wouldn’t take into account all the other means of digital communication that have sprung up and are now used by hundreds of millions of people around the world, the young executive insisted. He says he was inspired by conversations with high schoolers who insisted to him that they use text messaging and Facebook messages in lieu of e-mail because “it’s too slow” and “too formal.”

So Facebook has debuted a sweeping messaging system–in the works for 15 months, according to Zuckerberg–that pulls in multiple channels of communication from across Facebook as well as other platforms, allowing for faster, shorter, and more real-time forms of messaging as well as Facebook’s existing messaging service and chat client. Facebook messaging and chat are used by 350 million of Facebook’s 500 million-plus active users around the world, and with 4 billion messages sent per day.

Andrew Bosworth, the engineer who spearheaded Facebook's new messaging system, speaks at today's product unveiling.

“It’s not e-mail. It handles e-mail in addition to Facebook messages, and Facebook IM, and other IM and SMS and all the other different ways that you want to communicate,” Zuckerberg said. “It’s true, people are going to be able to have Facebook.com e-mail addresses, but it’s not e-mail.”

The product offers “seamless messaging” across different forms of communication–Facebook messages, e-mails, instant messages from a variety of clients, and text messages–aggregated conversation histories between any two given Facebook users, and a “social in-box” to prioritize messages that matter. This last feature is much like the Gmail “priority in-box” that Google has been testing out over the past few months.

“People should share however they want to share,” said Andrew Bosworth, the Facebook engineer who spearheaded the project. “If you want to send me an e-mail and I want to get it on Facebook, that’ll work. If you want to chat with me and I want to get it on Facebook Messages, that’ll work too.” There is, at this point, no voice chat, but Zuckerberg said that option may come into play depending on demand for it.

The “social in-box” will weigh priority of messages based on conversation histories and which contacts are likely to get ongoing responses, filtering out spam as well. Facebook members will also have the option of only receiving messages at their Facebook.com addresses, which are based on the Facebook user names that were first introduced earlier this year.

The Facebook messaging overhaul caps off a season of perpetual product releases and revamps from Facebook, from Facebook Places in August to the Groups overhaul this fall. But this one will be slower to percolate into the Facebook user base: invitation-only for now, it will be rolling out over the next few months.

While Facebook claims this isn’t meant to kill e-mail clients, it’s clear that e-mail providers are noticing. AOL, for one, pushed out a preview of its e-mail overhaul this weekend. Google, meanwhile, has been making one attempt after another to use Gmail and Gchat users’ networks of contacts as the basis for next-generation messaging products, but it hasn’t had much luck: Google Buzz was poorly received, and the more experimental Google Wave was shut down altogether after a few months.

In its most concrete comments yet about the next version of Windows, Microsoft said in a blog post on its Dutch Web site that Windows 8 is about two years from hitting the market.

Microsoft is working on the next version of Windows, the blog says in Dutch, but it will be about two years before Windows 8 is on the market.

The comments, noted earlier Sunday by Winrumors.com, came at the end of a post celebrating Windows 7’s first birthday. Microsoft also posted about that milestone on its U.S. Web site this week but made no mention of the timing of Windows 8.

A Microsoft representative, reached on Sunday morning, declined to comment or elaborate on the blog posting.

Indeed, Microsoft executives from Windows unit President Steven Sinofsky on down have been hesitant to say anything about the company’s future Windows plans. While the desktop team has been quiet, Microsoft’s server team did say last year that a major release of Windows Server was due in 2012 and server versions typically slightly lag a desktop release.

A presentation leaked in June suggests that the next version of Windows will include, among other things, an app store similar to ones offered by Apple and other mobile device makers. Apple announced this week that it will bring an app store to the Mac within 90 days.

The presentation also said that Microsoft wanted to improve startup times and the time it takes to resume from sleep, improve power efficiency, as well as work more closely with computer makers to better differentiate their respective computers. While these are all needed things, it’s going to be a very long two years for Microsoft if it can’t better address Apple’s moves in the tablet and notebook models before Windows 8.

Windows 7 was released in October 2009, two and a half years after the Windows Vista went on sale for most customers. Microsoft officials, including CEO Steve Ballmer, had promised that after Vista’s many delays that the company would never again go so long between Windows releases.

The company has not said much about Windows 8, but if it is indeed two years out, that would make three years between releases. Ballmer did say this week at a Gartner symposium that the next version of Windows represents the company’s “riskiest bet.”

At a media event on September 1, 2010, Apple announced the sixth generation iPod Nano, which among many new features, will be designed around a high resolution “square shaped” touch-screen.

Some notable changes are as follows: the device now features a smaller 1.54 inch lower resolution (higher pixel density) screen which supports multi-touch, as opposed to the 2.2 inch screen on the iPod nano 5g. The device supports over 24 hours of music playback on a single charge. The device retains the same 30-pin dock connector as previous generations. The new iPod Nano does not support video playback. Additionally, the device no longer has a camera or voice recorder, as Apple’s market research determined that many customers rarely used those features in the previous generation devices. The iPod Nano lost its built in speaker. The 6th generation iPod is at the same price point as the 5th generation device. It still includes Nike fitness option and the FM Radio Tuner. It has the black on white screen contrast option.


Technical Specifications

Size and weight

*Height: 1.48 inches (37.5 mm)

*Width: 1.61 inches (40.9 mm)

*Depth: 0.35 inch (8.78 mm)
including clip

*Weight: 0.74 ounce (21.1 grams)

*Volume: 0.614 cu inch (10,056 cu mm)
including clip

Display

* 1.54-inch (diagonal) color TFT display
* 240-by-240-pixel resolution
* 220 pixels per inch

Capacity

* 8GB or 16GB flash drive2

Sensor

* Accelerometer

Environmental requirements

* Operating temperature: 32° to 95° F (0° to 35° C)

* Nonoperating temperature: -4° to 113° F (-20° to 45° C)

* Relative humidity: 5% to 95% noncondensing

* Maximum operating altitude: 10,000 feet (3000 m)

Audio playback

* Frequency response: 20Hz to 20,000Hz

* Audio formats supported: AAC (8 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), HE-AAC, MP3 (8 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible
(formats 2, 3, 4, Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX, and AAX+), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV

* User-configurable maximum volume limit

FM radio

* Regional settings for Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe, and Japan
* Live Pause feature for pausing a radio broadcast and rewinding (within a 15-minute buffer)

Headphones

* Earphones
* Frequency response: 20Hz to 20,000Hz
* Impedance: 32 ohms

Battery and power

* Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery
* Up to 24 hours of music playback when fully charged
* Charging via USB to computer system or power adapter (sold separately)

    * Fast-charge time: about 1.5 hours (charges up to 80% of battery capacity)
    * Full-charge time: about 3 hours

Not everybody needs the world’s fastest mobile GPU, so NVIDIA is sagely trickling down its Fermi magic to more affordable price points today. The 400M family is being fleshed out with five new midrange parts — GT 445M, GT 435M, GT 425M, GT 420M and GT 415M, to give them their gorgeous names — and a pair of heavy hitters known as the GTX 470M and GTX 460M. Features shared across the new range include a 40nm fab process, DirectX 11, CUDA general-purpose computing skills, PhysX, and Optimus graphics switching. 3D Vision and 3DTV Play support will be available on all but the lowest two variants. NVIDIA claims that, on average, the 400M graphics cards are 40 percent faster than their 300M series counterparts, and since those were rebadges of the 200M series, we’re most definitely willing to believe that assertion. Skip past the break for all the vital statistics, and look out for almost all (HP is a notable absentee, while Apple is a predictable one) the big-time laptop vendors to have gear bearing the 4xxM insignia soon.

Ethical Hacking

White hat hackers are computer security experts, who specialize in penetration testing, and other testing methodologies, to ensure that a company’s information systems are secure. Such people are employed by companies where these professionals are sometimes called “sneakers.” Groups of these people are often called tiger teams or red teams. These security experts may utilize a variety of methods to carry out their tests, including social engineering tactics, use of hacking tools, and attempts to evade security to gain entry into secured areas.

The National Security Agency offers certifications such as the CNSS 4011. Such a certification covers orderly, ethical hacking techniques and team management. Aggressor teams are called “red” teams. Defender teams are called “blue” teams

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