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25/02/2021 12:16:29  

Toshiba this week announced the industry's first hard drive featuring flux-control microwave-assisted magnetic recording (FC-MAMR) technology. The new MG09-series HDDs are designed primarily for nearline and enterprise applications, they offer an 18 TB capacity along with an ultra-low idle power consumption. From a report: The Toshiba MG09-series 3.5-inch 18 TB HDD are based on the company's 3rd generation nine-platter helium sealed platform that features 18 heads with a microwave-emitting component which changes magnetic coercivity of the platters before writing data. The HD disks are made by Showa Denko K.K. (SDK), a long-time partner of Toshiba. Each aluminum platter is about 0.635 mm thick, it features an areal density of around 1.5 Tb/inch2 and can store up to 2 TB of data. The MG09 family also includes a 16 TB model which presumably features a lower number of platters (based on the same performance rating). For modern enterprise and nearline 3.5-inch HDDs, Toshiba's MG09-series drives uses a motor with a 7200-RPM spindle speed. The HDDs are also equipped with a 512 MB buffer and are rated for a 281 MB/s maximum sustained data transfer rate. Unfortunately, Toshiba has not updated the random access performance of the new products, though it is likely that their per-TB IOPS performance is lower when compared to predecessors. The manufacturer will offer its new drives both with SATA 3.3 (6 Gbps) and SAS 3.0 (12 Gbps) interfaces as well as a selection of logical data block length. One of the noteworthy things about Toshiba's MG09-series FC-MAMR HDDs is their power consumption. In active idle mode, they typically consume 4.16/4.54 Watts (SATA/SAS models), which is considerably lower when compared with Seagate's Exos X18 as well as Western Digital's Ultrastar DC HC550. As far as power consumption efficiency at idle (large hard drives could spend plenty of time idling) is concerned, the 18 TB MG09 is an undeniable champion consuming just 0.23 Watts per TB (in case of the SATA version). Meanwhile, the new drives are rated for 8.35/8.74 Watts (SATA/SAS SKUs) during read/write operations, which is higher when compared to the DC HC550 as well as predecessors from the MG07 and the MG08-series.

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07/02/2021 18:12:35  

A Slashdot reader shared an anonymous tip about "new consumer-grade artificial intelligence employed to restore 85 year-old Popeye cartoons, using only the available digital copies as sources for the remastering." It's eerie to see vintage cartoons like Popeye the Sailor meets Sindbad the Sailor upgraded to high resolution. It's apparently the work of Cartoon Renewal Studios, a group "Dedicated to the loving and careful preservation of classic off-copyright animation" (according to its web site). There's not much information, but Jim Ames of Cartoon Renewal Studios turned up in an online forum promising "we're restoring ALL the classic cartoons to brilliant 1080 HD so they can be enjoyed forever." I've been dreaming of this project for some time... We will be posting THOUSANDS of off-copyright cartoons digitally remastered and upscaled to 1080 HD. We can process about 50 cartoons a month, at this time... Hoping to scale up to 100 cartoons a month processing capability next month. We could finish 1000 cartoons in 2021... stay tuned...

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25/01/2021 06:09:35  

"It was weird to own a Zune in 2005," remembers a new article in the Verge. "It is even weirder to own a Zune in 2021 — let alone 16 of them. And yet, 27-year-old Conner Woods proudly shows off his lineup on a kitchen table." They come in all different colors, shapes, and sizes, and each can be identified by that telltale black plastic D-pad just below the screen. He owns the entire scope of the brief Zune lineup — from the svelte Zune 4 to the chunky Zune HD — and among the microscopic community of people who still adore Microsoft's much-derided MP3 player, no collection of dead tech could possibly be more enviable. Woods picked up his Zune foraging habit during the pandemic, while he was furloughed from his job working security at Best Buy. "I taught myself to solder, began buying up dead Zunes, and repairing and flipping them for a profit," he says. "At some point I ran across some rare ones and couldn't bring myself to part with them." He counts a particularly rare model bearing the Halo 3 logo and another with the Gears of War seal, but to fully understand the depths of Woods' obsession, you need to look past the gadgets and into the great beyond. Click through his post on the r/Zune subreddit, and wander into his veritable shrine of forgotten Zune detritus. Woods owns multiple Zune-stamped traveling cases and boombox docks. He has a Zune-branded stress ball as well as a Zune tinderbox, complete with matches that are dyed in the brand's customary burnt orange and fiery purple. My personal favorite: a Rubik's cube that, when solved, reveals the Zune's polyhedral insignia on all of the white squares, as if to say the answer to one of history's most vexing logic puzzles is, eternally, Zune. The article also suggests the Zune exemplified Microsoft's inherent "squareness" at the start of the 2000s. "The product was entirely functional, sure, but for reasons that remain difficult to articulate — the video game insignias, the oversized trackpad, their baffling bulkiness — it was also about a million times less chic than the iPod. (That same inscrutable problem flags Bing, Cortana, the ill-fated Windows Phone, etc.) "But today, almost a decade after Microsoft terminated the brand, there is a small bastion of diehards who are still loving and listening to their Zunes." And one of them has even added a 128GB SSD to their Zune's motherboard.

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