GeekSpeak for 2011-09-17

Exoplanets in Hexadecimal

Exoplanets revolving around binary stars; exoplanets revolving around each other; Exoplanets! Ben and Miles answer your questions and comments about technology and hexadecimal as well.

Weird Exoplanet Discovered Orbiting Two Stars

If you could stand on the surface of Kepler-16b, you’d have two shadows. At sunset, you would see an orange star about the size of the sun and next to it a much fainter red star. As the stars slipped toward the horizon, they would change places in the sky, like partners in a square dance.

You would not need to be Luke Skywalker visiting his home planet of Tatooine in the movie “Star Wars” to watch the twin sunset. The only science fiction in this story is how to make the 200 light-year journey to Kepler-16, a binary star system jointly sharing the Saturn-sized planet, Kepler-16b.

Phantom Menace Bullies Alien World

Some 650 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra, an exoplanet orbits a sun-like star called Kepler-19. The world, Kepler-19b, has a very strange orbit in that sometimes it speeds up, completing its 9 day orbit 5 minutes fast, and at other times, it will complete an orbit 5 minutes slow. Why?

A New $300m Underwater Internet Cable

Seabed survey work for the Hibernian Express, as the 6,021km (3,741 mile) fibre-optic link will be known, is already under way off the east coast of America.
The last cables laid under the Atlantic were funded by the dotcom boom in the 1990s when telecoms infrastructure firms rushed to criss-cross the ocean.

It Was Programmer Day!

Programmer Day has been celebrated on the 256th day of the year since … well, that isn’t quite clear, but this appears to be at least the third.

From Wikipedia:

The number 256 was chosen because it is the number of distinct values that can be represented with an eight-bit byte-a number that is typically very well known to programmers.3 Starting from zero, the 256th value represented by a sequential permutation of 8 bits is unsigned integer 255 or hexadecimal 0xff or binary 0b11111111. 256 is the highest power of two that is less than 365, the number of days in a common year.

Google+ API Is Here!

Developers have been waiting since late June for Google to release their API to the public.  Well, today is that Day.  Just a few minute ago Chris Chabot, from Google+ Developer Relations, announced that the Google+ API is now available to the public. The potential for this is huge, and will likely set Google+ on a more direct path towards social networking greatness. We should see an explosion of new applications and websites emerge in the Google+ community as developers innovate, and make useful tools from the available API. The Google+ API at present provides read-only access to public data posted on Google+ and most of the Google+ API follows a RESTful API design, which means that you must use standard HTTP techniques to get and manipulate resources.

Mandatory PS3 Update Prevents Lawsuits

“Sony has been hit with a number of class-action lawsuits since the launch of the PlayStation 3, mostly due to the decision to retroactively remove Linux support from the console and losing the data of users due to questionable security practices. Sony has another solution to this problem beyond beefing up security (and it’s not retaining the features you paid for): if you accept the next mandatory system update, you sign away your ability to take part in a class-action lawsuit. The only option left for consumers if they agree is binding individual arbitration.”

Chrome 14 Arrives with Improved Lion Support and NaCl

“Google has announced the release of Chrome 14, a new version of its Web browser. The update brings some nice technical improvements under the hood and enables Native Client for end users.”

Metro-style Internet Explorer 10 Ditches Flash, Plugins

“Windows 8 will have two versions of Internet Explorer 10: a conventional browser that lives on the legacy desktop, and a new Metro-style, touch-friendly browser that lives in the Metro world. The second of these, the Metro browser, will not support any plugins. Whether Flash, Silverlight, or some custom business app, sites that need plugins will only be accessible in the non-touch, desktop-based browser.”