Technology News

Red Hat Profitable; Solar-powered laptop for Tanzania; Happy Birthday Perl; NetBSD 4.0 released

Red Hat 3Q Profit Up 12 Percent from PhysOrg.com
(AP) — Open-source software provider Red Hat Inc. said Thursday that its third quarter profit rose 12 percent as a surge in subscriptions helped offset increased spending on marketing and research.

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Penn State student team develops solar-powered laptop for Tanzanian students

University Park, Pa. — For a team of Penn State engineering students, the challenge wasn’t getting laptops to Tanzanian students, but how to power those machines.

Tasked with developing a solar-based laptop system for the Nianjema Secondary School in Bagamoyo, Tanzania, the engineering team unveiled their prototype solution at last week’s Learning Factory Showcase at the HUB. The event displayed student solutions to industry-sponsored projects.

The project, sponsored by the University’s Center for Acoustics and Vibration (CAV), aims to develop the system for the school’s new computer laboratory.

“Originally what they wanted was one (solar) panel per computer,” explained Christopher Lute, an electrical engineering senior. “As we started looking into that, we didn’t see that as most efficient.”

The idea to create a solar-powered computer lab originated after a trip Gary Koopmann, professor of mechanical engineering and CAV director, and his wife, Barbara Bogue, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics and women in engineering, took to Tanzania.

Koopmann said the school lacked many of the educational basics students take for granted in industrialized nations, such as having textbooks available for each student. Laptops seemed to be an obvious solution to this problem.

“We want to leapfrog to a technology that is now common in U.S. high schools,” he explained. Koopmann reasoned that supplying the school with laptops would not only make up for the shortage of books, but also help compensate for the lack of adequate chemistry, biology and physics labs.

He said the laptops also could access digital editions of books, along with teaching modules developed by the publisher. The computers also could serve as proxies for missing science labs.

“Under these circumstances, having simulated experiments (on the laptops) is the best we can do,” Koopmann said.

But because much of Tanzania doesn’t have access to a steady flow of electricity, the school’s new computer lab would have to be powered from another source — solar.

Charles Sloan, president of the Tanzanian Education Fund, which supports the school, said, “They have all this power from the sun, but they don’t have the knowledge or technology to exploit it.”

I should mention, that is a little bit of an overstatement… there are solar collectors in use in the region…


Happy Birthday Perl

“Perl 1 was released to the public by Larry Wall 20 years ago yesterday. To celebrate, Perl5Porters have released Perl5.10, the latest stable version of Perl 5. Happy Birthday Perl! Perl 5.10 isn’t just a bug fix version: it’s full of new features that I’m eager to use: named captures in regular expressions, state variables for subroutines, the defined-or operator, a switch statement (called given-when, though), a faster regex engine, and more. You can read more about the changes in perldelta.”


Announcing NetBSD 4.0

The NetBSD Project is pleased to announce that release 4.0 of the NetBSD operating system is now available. NetBSD is a free, secure, and highly portable Unix-like Open Source operating system available for many platforms, from 64-bit Opteron machines and desktop systems to handheld and embedded devices. Its clean design and advanced features make it excellent in both production and research environments, and it is user-supported with complete source. Many applications are easily available through pkgsrc, the NetBSD Packages Collection.

Comments

  1. #1 chat
    January 12, 2009

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