Solar Powered Data Center, Biometric Hard Drive

Reporter’s Notebook: AISO.Net lays claim to being the world’s first and only solar-powered hosting company. All network and server hardware is fully redundant with 24×7-automated systems monitoring and solar panels power its data center and network. was selected (no surprise) by the producers of Live Earth to host the Web site. Live Earth is a 24-hour, 7-continent concert series set for July 7, which aims to combat climate change.

In keeping with its “green” focus, said it’s eschewed rack mount servers in favor of AMD Opteron-powered blade servers to reduce energy and server sprawl. “We can run the Live Earth Web site on IBM BladeCenter and get great performance without having the power draw we would have had with rack servers,” said Phil Nail, technology manager for AISO.Net.

The company said it’s pushing further into green territory, installing new carpeting made from recycled content, replacing all of its Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs with LED lighting, repainting the building using only LEED certified paint and installing an underground grey water tank that will provide for outdoor landscaping.

Damning the iPhone With Faint Praise

Joe Costello, computer industry veteran and CEO of Orb Networks, has joined the growing chorus of praise for Apple’s iPhone, but with a very different take.

“What Apple succeeding in doing was breaking the business paradigm of how handset makers and carriers work together,” said Costello in a commentary sent to “They had to use the dark-horse carrier to do it, but they succeeded in brokering a deal that would make mobile media a reality,” said Costello.

“The good news is that high demand will actually force carriers to embrace this new functionality, promote broadband services to compete against the iPhone, and ultimately upgrade their networks so that handset manufacturers can reach their full potential.”

It’s an interesting perspective even if Costello’s comments were tinged with promotion of his own sort of iPhone alternative. Orb’s free service lets you use any streaming media phone to access an unlimited number of Internet videos, such as on YouTube.

“The iPhone handcuffs you to AT&T and iTunes,” said Costello. “Using your own phone with Orb, you have the freedom to select any service provider and music source -– you are in control.”

Biometric Portable Hard Drive.

Road warriors by now are used to various technologies to protect their notebook computers from theft or the data being compromised. Now comes the Aegis Bio, a “biometric” hard drive that offers an extra layer of protection in a portable storage device.

Once you registered the device, you can connect it to any USB equipped computer and access your files at the simple swipe of a finger. You register your fingerprint using a UPEK TouchStrip (included). Data in the Aegis Bio is protected by an Oxford Semiconductor encryption engine. The storage controller IC provides real-time data encryption via 128-bit AES encryption, which Apricorn says renders data on the drive impenetrable even if it is removed from the enclosure.

Starting at $199 for an 80 GB unit, the Aegis Bio includes an integrated USB 2.0 cable (so you don’t need to carry one separately) and an auxiliary power Y-cable. The system also lets users login to Windows and password-protected online accounts with the same simple finger swipe using UPEK’s Protector Suite Token software.

Feeling Lucky? Have I Got a Site For You

As anyone who uses the world’s most popular search engine knows, the phrase “I’m Feeling Lucky” appears below the Google search entry box . It’s an option users can choose when they’re feeling pretty sure their search terms are specific enough that Google’s top result will be the right one and bring you to the Web page your looking for. For example, I recently typed in “corrugated boxes”, clicked on the “Lucky” button and was taken to a Web site featuring a list of suppliers with appropriate links.

A San Francisco-based company takes ‘Feeling Lucky’ idea a step further. is a Google-powered search site that offers random prizes for using its service. The company claims it has given away over 47,000 prizes (every thing from movie tickets to new cars), the past two years.

CEO Frank Anderson said business is good, especially since the company was bought by Publisher’s Clearinghouse last year. It works because “consumer’s want free stuff,” said Anderson.

There are innumerable other contest sites on the Web, but Blingo is one of the more straightforward ones because you don’t have to register to win most prizes. One big exception is, you can also try for Publisher Clearinghouse’s ten million dollar prize at the site, but you have to supply an address. Why? Anderson says the famous “prize patrol” needs to know show where to show up with the giant check.

David Needle is the San Francisco bureau chief for

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