Tag Archives: physical

Project Silica proof of concept stores Warner Bros. ‘Superman’ movie on quartz glass

Turning digital data into physical artifacts

With a nearly 100-year history in film and television, Warner Bros. owns one of the world’s deepest and most significant entertainment libraries. Re-releasing older films in new formats or for new audiences is an important part of the business. It’s also a tremendous cultural responsibility to preserve some of the world’s most beloved stories in perpetuity, Colf said.

“Imagine if a title like the ‘Wizard of Oz’ or a show like ‘Friends’ wasn’t available for generation after generation to enjoy and see and understand,” she said. “We think that’s unimaginable, and that’s why we take the job of preserving and archiving our content extremely seriously.”

The company has redundancy plans in place to handle multiple worst-case scenarios: an earthquake or hurricane that strikes one of the coasts, a fire where the suppression systems don’t kick in or a climate control failure that allows moisture to build up and ruin film stock.

The goal is to have three archival copies of each asset stored in different locations around the world: two separate digitized copies, along with the original physical copy on whatever medium a film or television episode or animated cartoon was created.

Fortunately, original film negatives will last for centuries if stored in the right conditions. But for some older television shows — think episodes of “Alice” shot in the 1970s — the original physical copy has a limited shelf life that requires migration to newer formats. And for today’s films and television shows that are shot digitally, the archival-quality third copy has a very short migration cycle of three to five years, which is challenging to manage.

“Let’s say a TV show is pushing directly into our digital archives; there’s nothing physical,” said Steven Anastasi, Warner Bros. vice president for global media archives and preservation services. “The digital file is going in but I don’t have something I can put in a vault or in a salt mine or anything physical coming into the building.”

Researcher Youssef Assaf drops a square of silica glass in a kettle of boiling water to demonstrate its durability
Microsoft Project Silica researcher Youssef Assaf drops a square of silica glass in a kettle of boiling water to demonstrate its durability. The team has baked, boiled, microwaved, demagnetized and scoured similar pieces of glass with steel wool — with no loss to the data stored inside. Photo by Jonathan Banks for Microsoft.

Warner Bros. is potentially looking at Project Silica to create a permanent physical asset to store important digital content and provide durable backup copies. Right now, for theatrical releases that are shot digitally, the company creates an archival third copy by converting it back to analog film. It splits the final footage into three color components —cyan, magenta and yellow — and transfers each onto black-and-white film negatives that won’t fade like color film.

Those negatives are put into a cold storage archive. In these highly managed vaults, temperature and humidity are tightly controlled, and air sniffers look for signs of chemical decomposition that could signal problems. If they need the film back, they must reverse those complicated steps.

That process is expensive, and there are only a handful of film labs left in the world that can do it. And the process is not optimal from a qualitative point of view, said Brad Collar, Warner Bros. senior vice president of global archives and media engineering.

“When we shoot something digitally — with zeros and ones representing the pixels on the screen ­— and print that to an analog medium called film, you destroy the original pixel values. And, sure, it looks pretty good, but it’s not reversible,” Collar said.

“If we can take the digital representation of those pixels and put it on a medium like silica and read it back off exactly as it was when it came out of the camera, we’ve done our preservation job to the very best of our ability. That’s what I love about this,” he said.

It’s not economical to create archival film negatives for every digitally shot television episode in the Warner Bros. library. The company hopes Project Silica might prove to be a cheaper, higher quality alternative to create physical archives of digital content.

There’s much more work ahead to reach that scale — Microsoft researchers would need to significantly increase the speed at which data can be written and read, as well as its density. Warner Bros. envisions its own infrastructure to read data from the glass archives. But both partners see promise in how far they’ve come.

“If Project Silica’s storage solution proves to be as cost-effective and as scalable as it could be — and we all recognize it’s still early days — this is something we’d love to see adopted by other studios and our peers and other industries,” Colf said.

“If it works for us, we firmly believe that this will be a benefit to anyone who wants to preserve and archive content,” she said.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

AI and preventative healthcare: Diagnosis in the blink of an eye – Asia News Center

In his office in suburban Beijing, Zhang proudly demonstrated the physical part of Airdoc’s system – a small desktop device that looks similar to a scanner a neighborhood optometrist might use for a routine eye exam.

You sit on a stool, lean forward, place your chin on a padded brace, and stare into the darkness of an eyepiece. The algorithm then takes over, precisely adjusting the angle of your head until a green cross comes into focus in the gaze of your right eye. A moment later there’s a bright, but not uncomfortable, flash of white light. The process is repeated for your left eye.

The machine has just taken high-resolution medical-grade images of both your retinas. It instantly sends them to the cloud where it takes 20 to 30 milliseconds (about the same time as an eye blink) of computation to analyze both.

Above: Taking a test at Airdoc’s Beijing office.

Moments later an impressively detailed diagnostic dashboard is sent to your smartphone. It rates from low to medium to high your susceptibility to a long list of diseases. If there is a problem, it urges you to seek professional medical help.

Right now, it can search for 30 diseases. More machine learning will soon boost that number to 50, and eventually, it could go beyond 200.

Zhang regards his system as a gamechanger because of its potential to deliver at scale and relieve stretched medical resources. To date, it has scanned more than 1.12 million people, mostly in China, but also in the United States, India, Britain, and parts of Africa. “Airdoc users are all over the world.  We hope our deep learning technology can prevent all kinds of disease.”

China, with a population of 1.3 billion, only has about 1,100 eye doctors who are qualified to analyze retinal images. So, the challenge of providing adequate diagnostic services is truly massive – and perhaps no more so than for the epidemic of diabetes.

Authorities estimate as many as 114 million Chinese have diabetes – but only 30 percent of them know that. The other 70 percent are unaware and, without early detection, will eventually be struck down with serious maladies, like blindness, strokes and other potentially fatal conditions.

“Diabetic retinopathy, or DR, is one of the most common and serious complications of diabetes. Once patients feel symptoms, they are already in a severe stage of DR and will go blind without proper treatment,” says Dr. Rui Li Wei (pictured in top image) of Shanghai’s Changzheng Hospital, one of several major medical institutions that now routinely uses Airdoc’s technology as a quick, accurate, and simple diagnostic tool.

OCZ Revo 3, 240GB PCIE SSD Read 1000MB/s, Write 900MB/s, 130K IOPS

Need more physical room on my motherboard so sadly having to sell this rather awesome bit of storage. Has been rock solid without any issues, really reduces those loading times for Star Citizen!

“RVD3-FHPX4-240G” 240GB OCZ RevoDrive 3, MLC-Flash, x4 full height PCIe SSD, Read 1000MB/s, Write 900MB/s, 130K IOPS….

OCZ Revo 3, 240GB PCIE SSD Read 1000MB/s, Write 900MB/s, 130K IOPS

Liquidware user experience monitoring fills gap in DaaS migration

When IT leaders at a global events and publishing company chose to move their physical and virtual desktops to the cloud, they quickly discovered they couldn’t do it alone.

By early 2016, Informa had more than 1,000 employees using Citrix virtual desktops. As that number had grown, the desktops and their support infrastructure became increasingly difficult to manage.

“Complexity is the biggest enemy in IT,” said Martin van Nijnatten, head of end-user computing at the London-based company. “That was the key argument for moving from doing your own VDI to desktop as a service.”

At the same time, the VDI user experience was getting worse.

“There was a big gap between the physical desktops and the VDI estate,” said Peter MacNamara, senior VDI engineer at Informa. “Your user experience would not be the same wherever you went.”

The end-user computing team decided to migrate from physical and virtual desktops to Amazon Web Services’ desktop as a service (DaaS) offering, WorkSpaces. The move was made possible by Liquidware, whose products — particularly its user experience monitoring software — identified potential problems and provided much-needed management capabilities for the new cloud desktops and applications.

“[With WorkSpaces], you don’t have the tools that Citrix and VMware have natively,” MacNamara said. “So we had to fill that gap. Liquidware, especially with their monitoring tool, let us do that.”

User experience monitoring gets proactive

It’s moving from being reactive to proactive.
Martin van Nijnattenhead of end-user computing, Informa

After selecting AWS, Informa evaluated several virtual desktop management and user experience monitoring vendors to assist with the migration. The company considered RES Software (which Ivanti has since acquired), Unidesk (which Citrix has since acquired) and FSLogix in addition to Liquidware.

After a proof-of-concept deployment that ran through late 2016, Liquidware won out. Its Liquidware Essentials Bundle — which includes Stratusphere for user experience monitoring, ProfileUnity for user environment management and FlexApp for application layering — provided the capabilities Informa needed, and it wasn’t overly complicated to use, MacNamara said. It took less than a day to set up Stratusphere, which is available as an appliance in the Amazon Marketplace, and get it monitoring the Citrix virtual desktops, he said.

Peter MacNamara, senior VDI engineer at InformaPeter MacNamara

The user experience monitoring tool immediately paid dividends, identifying applications that could potentially cause problems when they moved to the cloud. The performance hit that McAfee’s antivirus software caused on the virtual desktops, for example, would have been too much to bear on WorkSpaces, MacNamara said. Armed with this information, the IT department was able to address the issue before it affected users.

“It’s moving from being reactive to proactive,” van Nijnatten said.

Informa used the information gleaned from Stratusphere to right-size its Amazon WorkSpaces deployment, making sure it allocated enough resources so as to not cause any performance problems, said Dave Johnson, who worked with Informa on this project as a Liquidware sales manager. And Liquidware’s ProfileDisks feature helped Informa capture user profiles on physical and Citrix virtual desktops and migrate them to Amazon WorkSpaces, Johnson said.

The performance data Stratusphere provided proved so valuable that Informa rolled the product out to its physical desktops as well. There are some improvements that van Nijnatten said he would like to see, however. Tops on that list is the incorporation of machine learning technology.

“Right now, you still have to do a lot of digging and conclusion-drawing yourself by looking at the data,” he said. “I think that there’s an opportunity to collate that data and create some more intelligence out of it.”

Liquidware ProfileUnity screenshot

VDI-to-DaaS migrations catching on

For most of DaaS’ existence, organizations considered it almost exclusively for greenfield deployments. Migrating from VDI to DaaS was too complex, and it was a waste to abandon investments in on-premises virtual desktops, the thinking went.

That’s slowly changing. At Informa, it was more important to embrace the future than to hold on to the past, MacNamara said.

Informa is one of many Liquidware customers that have moved or are considering moving from VDI to DaaS, Johnson said.

“A number of organizations have moved their core infrastructure to the cloud, and now they’re looking at moving their desktops,” he said. “To the user, it’s a very minimal impact, because the look and feel of the desktop is the same.”

Informa has run its IT infrastructure on AWS for more than a decade, dating back to a time when “everybody said you were out of your mind” if you moved core services to the cloud, van Nijnatten said. That familiarity led the company to choose Amazon WorkSpaces over DaaS offerings from Citrix and VMware, because those vendors still have a certain level of reliance on their on-premises VDI products, he said.

“Amazon was born in the cloud, and Citrix and VMware [weren’t],” van Nijnatten added.

An ongoing process

Informa’s work with Liquidware and Amazon WorkSpaces is not complete; the company still plans to move the remaining pockets of Citrix users to AWS and is also in the process of migrating from Windows 7 to Windows 10. The scale of that operating system upgrade would have been impossible for Informa’s Citrix infrastructure to handle, van Nijnatten said.

“We would’ve needed to redesign the whole setup,” he said.

The ultimate goal is to offer nonpersistent cloud desktops that rely on Profile Unity to provide a consistent user experience and an added level of security.

“Now what we’re working towards is, you can log on to an Amazon workspace and your settings follow you,” MacNamara said. “Your documents follow you. It’s all there.”

For Sale – HP Omen 17-w201na Gaming Notebook Laptop (i7 GTX 1060 256 GB SSD 16GB RAM IPS)

HP OMEN 17-w201na Gaming Notebook .
In excellent physical and perfect working condition. Comes with original box and factory accessories and still under 6 months HP warranty!

Delivery is possible to European destinations.
Feel free to ask questions! :)

Main features:
– Operating System: Windows 10 Home 64
– Processor: Intel® Core™ i7-7700HQ (2.8 GHz, up to 3.8 GHz with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology, 6 MB cache, 4 cores)
– Processor family: 7th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor
– Chipset: Intel® HM175
– Memory: 16 GB DDR4-2133 SDRAM (2 x 8 GB)
– Storage: 1 TB 7200 rpm SATA & 256 GB PCIe® NVMe™ M.2 SSD
– Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 (6 GB GDDR5 dedicated)
– Audio: Bang & Olufsen; HP Audio Boost; Quad speakers
– Display: 43.9 cm (17.3″) diagonal FHD IPS UWVA anti-glare WLED-backlit (1920 x 1080)
– Power: 230 W AC power adapter
– Battery Type: 6-cell, 95.8 Wh Li-ion
– Network interface: Integrated 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN
– Wireless connectivity: Intel® 802.11ac (2×2) Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth® 4.2 Combo (Miracast compatible)
– Ports: 1 HDMI; 1 headphone out, 1 microphone in, 3 USB 3.1 Gen 1, 1 Mini DP, 1 RJ-45, 1 multi-format SD media card reader
– Webcam: HP Wide Vision HD Camera with dual array digital microphone
– Keyboard: Full-size island-style backlit keyboard with numeric keypad / HP Imagepad with multi-touch gesture support
– Energy Efficiency Compliance: ENERGY STAR® certified; EPEAT® Silver registered
– Weight: 3.35 kg / Packed: 5.98 kg
– Dimensions: 41.6 x 27.9 x 3.29 cm / Packed: 51.5 x 34.5 x 11.9 cm

Product info:
HP OMEN 17-w201na NVIDIA GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5 17.3″ FHD, Intel i7-7700HQ Gaming Laptop

HP Omen 17 review: Great gaming performance at a great price

Price and currency: GBP 850
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: Paypal
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
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Veeam Availability Suite 9.5 targets complete management

Seeking to broaden its appeal to enterprises, Veeam Software improved management of virtual, physical and cloud data in the latest version of its flagship data protection product.

Veeam Availability Suite 9.5 Update 3 includes a central console to manage backup and recovery across virtual, physical and cloud workloads, said Peter McKay, CEO and president at Veeam, based in Baar, Switzerland.

“That’s a key piece to the enterprise puzzle,” McKay said of Veeam’s expanded support.

Veeam also added support for Microsoft Windows and Linux servers, VMware Cloud on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and snapshot integration for IBM and Lenovo storage, as well as improved analytics and monitoring. With this release, Veeam added its Universal Storage API, an interface to help support additional integrations.

Veeam Availability Suite 9.5 now includes built-in management for Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows 2.1 and Veeam Agent for Linux v2. Single management of multiple agents alongside virtual machines simplifies the backup of physical systems and cloud workloads.

‘Physical will be here’

Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows 2.1 includes protection for mission-critical Microsoft Windows Server failover clusters. Veeam Agent for Linux v2 adds backup to a Veeam Cloud Connect repository, support for scale-out backup repositories as backup targets and source-side encryption.

Improving management of physical protection may seem like it’s targeting a dying breed, especially for a vendor that launched in 2006 dedicated to protecting virtual machines. But McKay said physical devices are not going away completely anytime soon, particularly among Veeam’s enterprise customers.

“Physical will be here,” McKay said. “We need to treat physical as we treat virtual and the cloud.”

And with that strategy, Veeam can “go after pretty much every enterprise customer in the market,” he said.

Veeam in November made another physical push directed at enterprises. Through an OEM deal with Cristie Software, the Veeam Availability Platform added support for IBM AIX and Oracle Solaris, which provides protection of physical workloads in Unix environments.

Veeam continues to ask itself where it can innovate or expand for a fully comprehensive platform, said Jason Buffington, principal analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Mass. Support for agents running on high-availability systems is a mature perspective, he said.

Veeam's Availability Suite 9.5
Veeam Availability Suite 9.5 Update 3 offers centralized agent deployment and management to reduce complexity and improve usability.

Onward and upward with the cloud and more

The support for VMware Cloud on AWS allows enterprises to deploy Veeam across VMware-based public, private and hybrid cloud environments.

We need to be the best in the world in cloud backup and recovery.
Peter McKayCEO and president, Veeam

“We need to be the best in the world in cloud backup and recovery,” McKay said.

The vendor claims 16,700 Veeam Cloud and Service Providers.

The update includes IBM Spectrum Virtualize integration, which extends Veeam’s storage snapshot capabilities to IBM Storwize and SAN Volume Controller-based storage arrays. In addition, Veeam Availability Suite 9.5 now offers storage snapshot integration for the Lenovo Storage V Series.

Veeam also added agent monitoring and reporting and Data Sovereignty Compliance Reporting to its Veeam ONE management component. The new features are designed to help customers meet protection compliance requirements.

What to expect from Veeam

Veeam has made a change in its game plan for launching updates. Instead of a yearly basis, the company is shifting to a schedule of releasing a new batch of features every four to six months, McKay said.

“From the customer side, this is better because you get updates far faster,” he said.

To help support the frequent updates, Veeam plans to add more than 200 employees in research and development by the third quarter of 2018, McKay said.

Customers should expect at least one more update to Veeam Availability Suite 9.5. The concept of version 10 of the product, previewed at the VeeamON user conference in May, is not what it once was, McKay said. Some features previously destined for version 10 are already out, and the vendor is content with continuing to update Veeam Availability Suite 9.5.

As Veeam keeps targeting the enterprise, Buffington said the vendor will need to show it is constantly innovating.

“They continue to work on scaling up and scaling out,” Buffington said. “Veeam has really been growing up in the last two years.”

To improve its high availability, Buffington said Veeam will have to add even more automation and orchestration, lessening the dependency on people pushing a button.

Veeam claims more than 267,000 customers. In October, the vendor reported 84% year-over-year growth in new enterprise bookings for the third quarter. Recently formed alliances with major vendors — including Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Cisco — are helping to increase Veeam enterprise revenue.

Use SCVMM to diagram VM network connectivity

host were commonly all connected to a single virtual switch, which was tied to a physical network interface card or network interface card team.

Over time, however, virtualized networks have become far more complex. No longer is it the norm for VMs to share a single, common virtual network. Instead, a virtualized infrastructure might contain any number of physical, virtual, logical or software-defined networks.

Of course, this increased complexity can sometimes make life difficult, especially when troubleshooting is required. Thankfully, System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) contains native tools to help administrators make sense of the often complex VM network web. Better still, these tools are really easy to use — if you know where to find them.

Create a VM network diagram

The easiest way to view VM network connectivity is to open the SCVMM console and then go to the VMs and Services workspace. From there, right click on the VM you wish to examine, and then choose the Connect or View > View Networking commands from the resulting shortcut menus. You can see what this looks like in Figure A.

Connect or View > View Networking commands”/><figcaption><i class=Figure A. Choose the Connect or View > View Networking commands from the shortcut menu.

At this point, you’ll be taken to a screen that is similar to the one in Figure B, below. As you can see, this screen shows the VM name and the name of the virtual switch to which the VM is connected. At first, this screen might seem minimally helpful. After all, you can easily get this information from the VM’s settings screen or PowerShell. However, there’s more going on here than meets the eye.

Network diagram
Figure B. This is a simple network diagram.

If you look at the figure above, you’ll notice that the toolbar contains several different icons, and that, currently, the VM Networks icon is selected. Clicking the Host Networks icon causes System Center to display a completely different view of the networking resources.

As you can see in Figure C, the Host Networks view displays the virtual switches that exist on a host and the physical network interface controllers (NICs) to which the virtual switches are attached. The diagram also shows the relationship between VM networks and logical networks.

Host Networks view
Figure C. The Host Networks view displays virtual switches and physical NIC connections.

The Network Topology view, which you can access by clicking on the Network Topology icon, displays a higher level view of the relationship between VM networks and logical networks. You can see an example of this in Figure D.

Network Topology view
Figure D. The Network Topology view shows a higher level view of this relationship.

Of course, my lab environment is really simple, but in the case of a more complex environment, these diagrams can become somewhat cluttered. If necessary, you can reduce some of the clutter — and customize the look of your diagram — by using the plus and minus signs to expand or collapse various parts of the diagram.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, even though I’ve created these diagrams using a VM as a starting point, you aren’t limited to creating diagrams in this way. You can use the SCVMM console to create network diagrams from other levels of the infrastructure. For example, when I create a diagram from a host server, the diagram displays all of the VMs that are connected to the host’s virtual switch, as shown in Figure E.

VM diagram
Figure E. This diagram was created at the VM host level.

Export the VM network diagram to Visio

As helpful as it might be to have a graphical diagram of your VM network, SCVMM has one more feature that’s worth mentioning.

If you look back at Figure B, you’ll notice that the upper left corner of the screen capture contains an icon that looks like a down arrow — the icon is located just above the Select Objects icon. Clicking on this icon reveals an option to export the diagram to Microsoft Visio. From there, you can print, edit or modify the diagram as needed.

Update to Sketchable app fully integrates Surface Dial, includes new stroke stabilization features – The Fire Hose

Sketchable seamlessly fuses the freedom and romance of your physical notebook with the power and flexibility of the digital world, and now its latest release introduces even more features.

The Creators Update incudes fully integrated Surface Dial features, with support for suppressing the system menu, press & turn, and custom haptics. New stabilization features overcome hand jitters and create smooth, tapered strokes.

Try your hand with the updated Sketchable, free in the Windows Store.

Also, keep up with what’s hot, new and trending in the Windows Store on Twitter and Facebook.

Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

Tags: Apps, Surface Dial, Windows Store