Lost Packets: Networking news and trivia

Supercomputer defeats chess grandmaster

In a epic six game match-up during a week in June at London’s Wembley Stadium, the UK’s top chess player Micheal Adams faced off against Hydra, a supercomputer for a prize of US$150,000. While Adams was in Wembley Stadium, his opponent was at its Abu Dhabi base. The supercomputer is made up of 64 PCs but only used 32 to defeat Adams and was powered by a 3.06Hz Intel Xeon processor. Hydra can calculate 200 million moves per second and look up to 40 moves ahead while Adams is said to be able to calculate 1.4 moves per second and look up to eight moves in advance. This match-up came almost a decade after Gary Kasparov’s battle with IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer.

M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E the phone company

Walt Disney Co. announced last month that it has partnered up with Sprint Corp. to offer a US-wide wireless phone service. Dubbed Disney Mobile, the new service will target families and use Sprint’s PCS network. In addition to the wireless voice service, Disney also plans on exclusive handsets and entertainment content targeted at families. Steve Wadsworth, president of Walt Disney Internet Group said in a statement this new service would establish Disney as a leader in the family mobile market. This partnership follows a similar one between the two companies where both partnered on a phone service for sports fans using content from Disney-owned sports channel ESPN. Disney Mobile is expected to begin operations next year.

Live 8 draws record number of text mesages

During last month’s Live 8 concerts that were held around the world in such countries as Canada, Russia and the United States, 26.4 million people around the globe sent text messages, setting a world record. The concerts were held to raise awareness and demand relief of African poverty. Ralph Simon, coordinator of the text messaging campaign, called the record “the biggest political call to action.” He added the text messages were to be presented to G8 leaders during their recent meetings in Scotland. Simon said most of the messages came from Western Europe. As well, AOL.com said five millon people around the world logged on to watch streaming video of the concerts, the biggest streaming event ever.

New Internet domain for mobile devices

Web sites designed for mobile phones will now have the new ‘.mobi” suffix and will be ready for use by next year along with other top-level domain names like ‘.jobs’ and ‘.travel’. The new suffix was approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in Luxmeburg last month in response to a request by a group of powerful mobile phone operators and handset makers. Members of this group include companies like Nokia, Ericsson, Microsoft and T-Mobile. In a statement, the group hopes .mobi will encourage the use of advanced functionalities in mobile devices. The group also hopes telecom operators will buy new infrastructure gear to serve the .mobi pages. The first Web sites for mobile devices will be ready in 2006. The sites will fit a small screen and have limited memory and bandwidth.

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