22/07/2011

TIM is 75 on Sunday 24th July

TIM is affectionate name for the BT speaking clock (or as it's now called Timeline), which was the first 3 letters of the T.I.M.E on the old telephone pad.

It's now accessed by dialling 123 and it still gets around 30m callers per year.

It was originally designed at the Post Office Engineering Research Station at Dollis Hill in North London (which is also where Collossus the code breaking 'computer' was conceived) and introduced on July 24th 1936. It was only available to London callers, only going national in 1942.

There have been 4 permanent voices the first being Jane Cain 1936 - 1963, followed by Pat Simmons 1963 – 1985 and Brian Cobby 1985 – 2007 (the only male voice) and finally Sara Mendes da Costa 2007 to present.

There have also been celebrity voices (Lenny Henry for Comic Relief in 2003 and Alicia Roland for ChildLine. Mae Whitman the voice of Tinker Bell in 2008 for the release of the movie and Gary Barlow, Cheryl Cole, Chris Moyles, Kimberley Walsh and Fearne Cotton for Comic Relief 2009).

The speaking clock used to be accurate to 1/10 of a sec on, but is now accurate to 5/1000's of a second (and Big Ben's time is checked against the speaking clock).

21/07/2011

Intel's Museum of Me

Though it's been around for a while, Intel have developed an application called the Museum of Me which takes your social graph (by logging in with Facebook Connect) and then uses data from your feed and places it on the "wall" of the virtual museum.

It's almost creepy as it's as though you're looking at your life in the past, but it's visually very impressive.

Here's an intro video



This also shows how much information is available to applications when utilising Facebook Connect, that's more scary.

20/07/2011

Ofcom reduces BT's wholesale broadband charges

Ofcom the super regulator today has published a statement which means that BT will have to drop its wholesale broadband prices by 12% below inflation where they are the only broadband provider. Ofcom believes this will lead to better competition as resellers can provide a better quality of service.

The price controls come into effect on 17th August 2011 and remain in effect until March 2012.

Ofcom also published a statement on charge controls for 08 and 09 number ranges as BT has significant market power for call origination and also number translation services.

19/07/2011

SeaMicro puts 768 cores into a 10U system

The new SeaMicro SM1000-64HD is an evolution of the SM1000-64 offering 1.5 times the speed but only consuming 1.25 times the power.

Each unit packs 384 dual-core Intel Atom processors and each processor can have 4GB RAM (i.e. 1.5TB in total) and can support 64 SATA hard drives for storage.

A base unit costs $237,000.00 which sounds a lot, but it's relatively cheap for that amount of compute power.

A standard 42U rack can hold 4 systems allowing 3072 cores per rack.

SeaMicro have said eHarmony and Mozilla are both using their systems.

They are open to using ARM CPUs when the right server processors are produced.

18/07/2011

BBC launches a crowd-sourced 3G mapping app

The BBC has launched an Android application that measures 3G signal strengths in the background (along with location data), so that real-time UK coverage maps can be produced.

The app is available from the Android Marketplace (a free download).

The app was developed by Epitoro for the BBC.

Though it's a nice idea, there are other solutions out there and OpenSignalMaps have been around for a while and are mapping 2G and 3G signals worldwide, their app is available from the Android Marketplace too.

It's a shame as the OpenSignalMaps app has been around for a while but not had the traction that the BBC can make happen, maybe they should combine forces to aggregate the data.

Neither the BBC or OpenSignalMaps has an iPhone app (it's much harder to do and may go against Apple's T&Cs), though OpenSignalMaps say they're working on one.