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“BAIK PUNYA BLOG”

CELEBRATING MOTHER’S DAY 2008 April 24, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Urahara Kisuke @ 10:42 pm
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Mother’s Day is a time of commemoration and celebration for Mom. It is a time of breakfast in bed, family gatherings, and crayon scribbled “I Love You’s.”
Mother’s Day will be celebrated on Sunday May 11, 2008 (in the U.S.). In the UK Mothering Sunday is celebrated on the 02nd of March, 2008. The earliest Mother’s Day celebrations can be traced back to the spring celebrations of ancient Greece in honor of Rhea, the Mother of the Gods. During the 1600′s, England celebrated a day called “Mothering Sunday”. Celebrated on the 4th Sunday of Lent “Mothering Sunday” honored the mothers of England. During this time many of the England’s poor worked as servants for the wealthy. As most jobs were located far from their homes, the servants would live at the houses of their employers. On Mothering Sunday the servants would have the day off and were encouraged to return home and spend the day with their mothers. A special cake, called the mothering cake, was often brought along to provide a festive touch.

M – O – T – H – E – R

“M” is for the million things she gave me,

“O” means only that she’s growing old,

“T” is for the tears she shed to save me,

“H” is for her heart of purest gold’

“E” is for her eyes, with love-light shining,

“R” means right, and right she’ll always be,

Put them all together, they spell
“MOTHER”
A word that means the world to me.

Howard Johnson (1915)

 

Celebrating Earth Day 22nd April April 23, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Urahara Kisuke @ 7:44 pm
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Earth Day is one of two different observances, both held annually during spring in the northern hemisphere, and autumn in the southern hemisphere. These are intended to inspire awareness of and appreciation for the Earth’s environment. The United Nations celebrates an Earth Day each year on the March equinox, a tradition which was founded by peace activist John McConnell in 1969. A second Earth Day, which was founded by U.S. politician Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in in the late 1960s, is celebrated in many countries each year on April 22.

 

Asus water cooled, triple GPU card

Filed under: Uncategorized — Urahara Kisuke @ 7:15 pm
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ASUS has unveiled what it claims to be the world’s first on-board triple GPU solution with the concept model ASUS EAH3850 TRINITY/3DHTI/1.5G graphics card. With three RV670PRO GPUs onboard, users can enjoy a 139% improvement in speeds when compared to single-GPU solutions. Additionally, the EAH3850 TRINITY is equipped with a MXM module for upgrade possibilities and two exclusive extra DVI outputs.

Image

It also features a specially designed water cooling solution – ensuring efficient heat dissipation for stable performance. On top of all this, the ASUS EAH3850 TRINITY is equipped with a world-exclusive large onboard memory size of 1.5GB – designed to provide feature-rich DirectX 10 gaming and the best multimedia playback at ultra-high resolutions and maximum quality settings.

Now if you’re slavering over this piece of water cooled, graphic goodness, just hold on a second. As we’ve written above, its still a concept model so until ASUS actually anounces an actual for sale model, we just have to hold on to our horses. Until then just read on for more info on this card and its specifications.

As the world’s first onboard triple GPU solution, the ASUS EAH3850 TRINITY/3DHTI/1.5G is able to elevate 3DMark06 scores from 4880 to 11662 – an astonishing 139% speed improvement when compared to the single-GPU solutions *. Gamers can now truly feel the exhilarating rush of extreme gaming performance only with the ASUS EAH3850 TRINITY.

The EAH3850 TRINITY comes with the MXM module design that allows users to obtain the flexibility to upgrade the MXM VGA module in regards to GPU and memory size with lower costs. The EAH3850 TRINITY also utilizes a specially designed water cooling solution that effectively dissipates heat away from the three GPUs through heatpipes that are specially connected to the main board of the graphics card instead of the GPUs. Due to the fact that the water cooling solution works exceptionally well even with upgraded GPU and memory, the hassles of displacing the thermal module when upgrading the MXM VGA module is avoided for minimized upgrading costs. On top of all this, the EAH3850 TRINITY is equipped with two extra DVI outputs for a maximum of four-display video outputs.

Memory size is paramount if one does not want to suffer from graphic bottlenecks. With most current and upcoming games requiring high video memory requirements; plus the fact that game developers still constantly increasing the estimated video memory size, the ASUS EAH3850 TRINITY/3DHTI/1.5G is able to truly deliver a world-class graphical performance – allowing users to fully enjoy games or movies without lag or stuttering even at very high resolutions and maximum quality settings.

In line with the Rock Solid promise of quality from ASUS, the EAH3850 TRINITY comes with several solutions to provide top quality graphic performance. The temperature of the newly adopted DIP Spring Chokes is 5~10°C lower in comparison to traditional Toroidal Coil Chokes; while the Japan-made polymer capacitors lowers power loss to provide more stability. Users will thus feel at ease while enjoying extreme performance with ASUS’ uncompromising quality only with the ASUS EAH3850 TRINITY.

Specifications

Specifications

Model

EAH3850 TRINITY/3DHTI/1.5G

Graphics Engine

Radeon HD 3850

Video Memory

1.5G DDR3

Engine Clock

660MHz

Memory Clock

850 MHz (1.7GHz DDR3)

Memory Interface

256-bit + 256-bit + 256-bit

DVI Max. Resolution

2560 * 1600

Bus Standard

PCI Express

DVI Output

DVI *4

HDCP compliant

Yes

HDMI Output

Yes, via DVI to HDMI adaptor

D-Sub Output

Yes, via DVI to D-Sub adaptor

HDTV Output

Yes, via HDTV Out cable

TV Output

Yes, via S-Video to Composite

Thermal Solution

Water Cooling System

Adaptor/Cable Bundled

DVI-to-D-Sub adaptor

DVI-to-HDMI adaptor

HDTV-out cable

Power Cable

Software Bundled

ASUS Utilities & Driver

 

Microsoft reduces price of Vista

Filed under: Uncategorized — Urahara Kisuke @ 7:14 pm
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 Microsoft has announced a price revision for its Windows Vista operating system. In Asia, Malaysia is the only market to enjoy the adjusted pricing offered thru local IT partners, and is one of the only two countries in the world to adopt this strategy. Depending on the editions of the Windows Vista, price adjustments range from 10 to almost 50 percent.

This is reflected in its OEM licensing offering, a move which presents the easiest and most attractively-priced option for purchasing Windows Vista preinstalled in a PC, as well as its stand-alone retail packs. According to Mr. KT Ng, Director, Client Business Group, Business Marketing Organization, the strategy will also increases the product’s relevance to the mainstream IT industry in view of the dropping prices of computer hardware and peripherals. As a result, the overall package is now more affordable to consumers, in addition to increasing user confidence in its genuine products.

Microsoft firmly believes that the increased affordability of Windows Vista Home Premium will enhance digital empowerment to a wider cross-section of Malaysian consumers and users and allow more to experience the rich features of a digital lifestyle. It will also ensure consumers and users’ computer are well protected from security attacks.

 

Abit’s new AMD motherboard

Filed under: Uncategorized — Urahara Kisuke @ 7:09 pm
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abit has announced their latest AMD platform motherboard, the A-S78H, supporting ATI Hybrid CrossFireX Technology. The A-S78H is based on the AMD 780G chipset with ATI Radeon HD3200 Graphics and the SB700. It supports AMD AM2+/AM2 processors running HT3.0 up to 5200MT/s. It has four 240-pin DIMM sockets offer a maximum of 8GB memory capacity for Dual Channel DDR2 1066 modules. 1 x PCI-E X16, 1 x PCI-E X1, and 2 x PCI slots hold enough potential for further expansion and system upgrades with different add-on cards.

The ATI Hybrid CrossFireX Technology offers multi-GPU performance capabilities by enabling the integrated graphics processor and a discrete graphics processor to operate simultaneously with combined output to a single display for blisteringly-fast frame rates. Enabled hybrid graphics cards models so far include ATI HD2400XT, HD2400Pro, HD3470 and HD3450 based VGA cards, providing the ultimate visual experience.

Stay tuned for pricing and availability. Read on for specifications.

Specifcations

abit A-S78H

CPU Support

AMD Socket AM2/AM2+ Processors

System Bus

AM2+ runs HT3.0 5200MT/s, AM2 runs HT1.0 2000MT/S

Chipset

AMD780G chipset with ATI Radeon HD3200 Graphics/SB700 chipset

Expansion Slots

1 x PCI-Ex16, 2 XPCI-Ex1, 3x PCI

LAN

Gigabit Ethernet

Memory

4X240-pin DIMM sockets support max. memory capacity 8GB

Dual channel DDR2 1066/800/667

SATA

6XSATA 3Gb/s connector

Audio

5.1-Channel HD

abit engineered™

abit SoftMenu, abit EQ

 

The Death Watch By Yeow Siew Hoon April 22, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Urahara Kisuke @ 1:46 am
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Personal Review

The Death Watch is written by Yeow Siew Hoon, the “ young “ generation of Malaysian

writer who was born and raised in Penang. She lives in Singapore in the present time.

Whenever she was free, she would travel and writes during her own time off. This short

story is about a man named Harry, married to the lusty Jane. Harry, in his old age right

now, wished that her wife would be dead in no time. This is because he was tried of


feeding her super-obese wife and worried that his savings after his wife’s death would soon be finished

before her death. Jane was once a slender, beautiful women but her lust for food had made her a super size

women. For a few years, both of them had a happy marriage but things started to go dull when Jane started

to eat excessively and ended up being an obese. Their 3 children quickly moved out to another house once

they have started to earn their own money. The endless feeding continued until one night when Harry wished

that Jane would die quickly, he bought three roasted chicken and ate it with his wife. During the meal, he got

choked. He was struggling to breath and tried to ask his wife to help him. But, sadly, her could not move to

help him and she ended up watching her husband died. The Death Watch itself means that

Harry waited for her wife to be dead but ironically, her wife ended up watching his death. Unconditional love

is the theme of the story. Harry let his love for Jane turned him into a coward and weak-hearted man, who

cannot stop Jane from consuming more food day by day. As a result, Harry could not stop Jane when she

became larger and his savings were drained to the last cent. His unconditional love also caused him to lose

love from his children. Yeow Siew Hoon’s story added another life that resembled the Malaysian culture. This

attention-grabbing story was good enough to relate readers to their everyday life. The irony that had been

showed at the end of the story is the most intriguing part. Jane’s unhealthy eating habit is an explicit and

clear picture of Malaysian and Singaporean lifestyle. Based on the research done by the Ministry of Health,

the country’s level of obesity is one of the highest in South East Asia region. The unhealthy way of eating

habits and social relationship are one of the major problem that most Malaysian and Singaporean is having

at the present time. Although that this story portrayed the negative side of the modern Malaysian and

Singaporean people, its purpose is to raise the awareness of the reader on the importance of taking care of

our health especially in food consumption and habit. In addition, it also showed the side effect of

incapability of controlling one’s lust, resulting in the lost of love and care in the family. Next , for the

elements of nativization in the story, the writer mentioned a lot of popular Malaysian food such as nasi

lemak, rending, roti prata, kuey tiow, laksa and the famous Western junk food such as Mc Donald and

Kentucky Fried Chicken. These names are not just popular in its own category but it is also the food that can

caused people to obese easily if taken excessively. They are undeniably delicious but it must be taken in a

controlled quantity.

 

Bekas pembantu rumah jadi Menteri di Brazil April 20, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Urahara Kisuke @ 11:39 pm

Marina Silva miskin, pernah buta huruf bukti kegigihan wanita

BUTA huruf, miskin, pernah bertugas sebagai pembantu rumah, mengambil upah menjahit, menoreh getah, menghidap hepatitis dan tinggal jauh di pelosok pedalaman yang serba serbi amat kekurangan.

Ini semua ciri-ciri yang pastinya dilihat segelintir masyarakat sebagai resipi seorang individu gagal yang tidak mungkin dapat menikmati kejayaan, jauh sekali bergelar Menteri.

Namun, itulah pengalaman pahit yang mendewasakan seorang wanita Brazil, Marina Silva yang bertatih daripada seorang buta huruf kepada celik, ke menara gading, sebagai aktivis dan seterusnya bergelar Menteri Alam Sekitar Brazil.

Lebih membanggakan, pemilik nama asal Marina Silva Vaz de Lima yang kini berusia 50 tahun, dapat pula berkongsi anugerah berprestij alam sekitar dunia yang dimenangi bersama bekas Naib Presiden Amerika Syarikat, Al Gore di atas usaha mereka menyelamatkan alam sekitar, baru-baru ini.

Kisah unik Marina yang tidak ubah seperti telenovela � kehilangan ibu pada usia 14 tahun, diuliti kemiskinan sehingga pernah berlapar sehari semalam kerana tiada makanan, bergelut sebagai pembantu rumah mungkin asing bagi kita, tetapi di Brazil, Marina dianggap wira.

Bagaimanakah wanita sepertinya mampu menjadi Menteri � jawatan yang lazimnya dikaitkan dengan faktor seperti berlatar belakang keluarga kaya dan berpengaruh, khususnya di negara Amerika Latin?

“Kehidupan saya amat susah. Saya dilahirkan di kawasan ceruk di pedalaman hutan Amazon. Bapa hanya bertugas sebagai penoreh getah,” kata Marina dalam satu temubual dengan media asing, baru-baru ini.

Kesengsaraan diuliti kemiskinan itu turut menyaksikannya kematian dua adik kesayangan. Enam bulan kemudian, ajal menjemput ibunya dan seterusnya, adik lelakinya.

Marina terbiar, terumbang ambing, sunyi dan tidak pernah mengenali maksud di sebalik abjad kerana keadaannya yang buta huruf.

Ini menyebabkannya tidak pernah menaruh harapan tinggi dalam hidup, jauh sekali menjadi ahli politik popular.

“Ketika saya membesar, mereka yang bekerja dengan kerajaan lazimnya berasal dari keluarga berada. Saya sebaliknya hanyalah anak seorang penoreh getah dan menjadi penjawat awam amat mustahil. Impian saya cuma satu, iaitu agar celik huruf.”

Atas alasan itu, Marina berasa kagum setiap kali melihat mulut ayahnya terkumat-kamit membaca buku.

“Saya amat kagum bagaimana orang mampu meluahkan apa yang mereka lihat di atas kertas. Saya mahu membaca supaya dapat berbakti sebagai guru untuk membantu yang lain.”

Marina sedar, hanya satu jalan untuknya keluar daripada kemelut sebagai buta huruf. Beliau perlu ke bandar Rio Branco dengan mengikuti kelas celik huruf khusus bagi golongan dewasa.

Berkat kesungguhannya, Marina yang berusia 17 tahun ketika itu, akhirnya boleh menulis dan membaca dalam masa 15 hari. Beliau melipat gandakan usahanya dengan menjadikan buku sebagai kawan yang membawanya ke Universiti Persekutuan di Acre dan memperoleh ijazah sarjana muda sejarah pada 1985.

Kerjaya sebagai pendidik sempat dirasainya sebelum bertemu aktivis buruh dan alam sekitar popular, Chico Mendes. Perkenalan dengan Mendes menjadikan Marina memutuskan untuk mengabdikan diri dalam misi menyelamatkan hutan Amazon.

Usaha murninya mendatangkan hasil apabila Marina menjadi wanita termuda pernah dilantik sebagai Senator. Tumpuan utamanya, meneruskan kempen pemuliharaan alam sekitar dan kawasan hutan.

Berkat kesungguhannya, pada 2002, Presiden Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, yang pernah menjadi budak pengilat kasut sebelum bergelar ahli politik, melantik Marina sebagai Menteri Alam Sekitar � tugas yang memberi tanggungjawab besar kepada Marina untuk melindungi Amazon yang juga kawasan hutan terbesar dunia.

Berbekalkan pengalaman luas sebagai aktivis alam sekitar, Marina segera menangani masalah seperti pembalakan, pertanian dan sikap syarikat korporat yang terbabit dalam usaha penerokaan hutan � tugas berat yang sebelum ini tidak berani digalas bekas Menteri portfolio berkenaan.

Baginya, tugas sebagai Menteri bukanlah alasan untuk berpeluk tubuh dan memerhatikan saja kemusnahan pada khazanah berharga Brazil dan dunia itu.

Semangat juangnya sebagai aktivis masih terus mengalir dalam dirinya yang dianggap Marina seharusnya disemarakkan lagi biarpun sudah bergelar Menteri. Atas kesungguhannya itu, Marina dipuji sebagai antara penyebab utama yang memperlahankan kemusnahan Amazon selain membawa dalangnya ke muka pengadilan.

Nama Marina turut harum di persada antarabangsa apabila dinamakan pemenang anugerah Champions of the Earth Prize – penghargaan tertinggi diberikan Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu.

Kejayaan demi kejayaan yang diraihnya juga berdepan suka duka, termasuk laporan mendakwa usaha jahat meneroka hutan Amazon secara haram masih berlaku.

“Usaha memperjuangkan kepentingan alam sekitar amat kompleks. Lebih mudah memperjuangkan kepentingan mereka yang masih hidup sekarang berbanding generasi yang bakal lahir 10 atau 1,000 tahun lagi,” katanya yang amat mengagumi bapa kemerdekaan India, Mahatma Gandhi.

Kata-katanya itu banyak kebenarannya dan tiada siapa sangka ia diucapkan wanita yang pernah melalui episod duka dalam hidup sebagai wanita miskin yang buta huruf dan kini mahu dikenali sebagai pejuang alam sekitar.

Namun, yang pasti, ketika Marina terus bimbangkan masa depan hutan Amazon sebagai khazanah untuk tatapan generasi akan datang, namanya sudah pun tercatat sebagai wira alam sekitar dan bukti wanita gigih Brazil.

PROFIL:

  • Nama asal Marina Silva Vaz de Lima
  • Dilahirkan pada 8 Februari 1958
  • Mampu menulis dan membaca ketika berusia 17 tahun
  • Belajar di Universiti Persekutuan di Acre dan memperoleh ijazah sarjana muda sejarah pada 1985.
  • Dilantik Senator pada 1994
  • Menjadi Setiausaha Alam Sekitar dan Pembangunan parti Pekerja pada 1995-1997
  • Dilantik Menteri Alam Sekitar pada 2002 hingga sekarang
 

Rencana: Bos lelaki atau wanita lebih hebat?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Urahara Kisuke @ 11:28 pm
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JIKA diberi pilihan, anda mahu bekerja dengan majikan wanita atau lelaki? Ada yang berpendapat majikan lelaki lebih bagus dan cool berbanding wanita yang selalu mengikut emosi serta cerewet! Benarkah?

Mungkin sebagai wanita, mereka lebih selesa bekerja dengan majikan wanita kerana lebih memahami tetapi ada juga pekerja wanita berasa majikan wanita ada kala lebih memihak kepada pekerja lelaki dan bersikap pilih kasih. Atau mungkin, bos lelaki banyak pula kerenahnya lebih-lebih lagi jika pekerjanya wanita. Ada yang mengatakan majikan lelaki lebih tegas dan tidak ‘beri muka’ malah lebih teruk lagi, ada pula kes salah laku seperti gangguan seksual. Isu menarik bertajuk Bos Lelaki vs Bos Wanita, dibincangkan dalam rancangan Keluarga Di 9 (KD9) bersama Farah Adeeba Mohd Ashraf.

Dua ahli panel, Mohamed Syairoz Mohd Odman, 31, dan Norizad Mohamad Zain, 40, berdebat menegakkan pendirian masing-masing, menjadikan set KD9 panas seketika.

Mohamed yang pernah bekerja dengan dua majikan wanita dan tiga majikan lelaki, berpendirian lelaki adalah majikan terbaik. Menerusi pengalaman, dia berpendapat majikan lelaki lebih fleksibel dan terbuka menerima cadangan orang bawahan berbanding wanita. Majikan lelaki juga lebih memberi sokongan kepada pekerja untuk lebih maju.

Pendapat Mohamed disangkal Norizad. Menurut perunding pemasaran ini, dia lebih selesa bekerja dengan majikan wanita kerana mereka lebih memahami dan teliti. Sebagai wanita siapa lagi yang lebih memahami selain wanita sendiri. Justeru, dia pernah bekerja untuk suatu tempoh agak lama bersama majikan wanita. Pendapat Norizad yang majikan wanita lebih bersikap mendengar dan tempat mengadu, ada benarnya.

Hakikatnya, wanita mempunyai dua tanggungjawab – di pejabat dan di rumah. Sebagai majikan di pejabat, memerlukan mereka membuat keputusan tepat dan cekap manakala di rumah menjadi isteri serta ibu. Malah, setiap kali anak sakit, ibu yang mengambil cuti, setiap kali kad laporan pelajar keluar, ibu juga yang ke sekolah. Di rumah, wanita juga yang terpaksa memasak, mengemas dan mengurus hal rumah tangga lain. Ada juga suami yang kurang memahami, mendesak isteri pulang awal atau suami menggunakan alasan kesibukan isteri untuk melakukan aktiviti tambahan kerana kesepian. Dengan kata lain, majikan wanita beremosi dan tertekan disebabkan lelaki atau suami!

Mohamed berpendapat majikan yang baik perlu bersikap profesional dan tidak membawa masalah di rumah ke pejabat. Jangan menjadikan pekerja sebagai mangsa atau ‘punching back’ meluahkan kemarahan. Jika majikan wanita yang masih bujang, ramai di antara mereka lebih sukar difahami dan ada kala memaksa pekerja mengikut rentak mereka. Kadangkala harapan mereka tinggi menggunung dan segala-galanya mesti sempurna menyebabkan anak buah berasa tertekan dan tidak dapat meningkatkan prestasi kerja mereka.

Sebaliknya ada juga yang berpandangan majikan lelaki lebih mengamalkan sikap asal siap manakala majikan wanita lebih teliti. Sebab itu, wanita dilabelkan cerewet, tegas dan kadangkala agak mengongkong. Malah, kita perlu mengakui dunia ini memang didominasi lelaki sebab itu untuk maju wanita terpaksa menjadi lelaki iaitu mereka perlu lebih agresif dan ada kalanya tidak berhati perut. Mungkin pekerja lebih menghormati majikan sebegini.

Ada juga yang berpendapat sekiranya majikan lelaki garang dan mendesak, ia sifat semula jadi lelaki tetapi sekiranya wanita bersikap sama, ia dianggap majikan kejam dan tidak seiring dengan sifat kewanitaan. Mungkin juga, lelaki berasa keegoaan mereka tercabar dan tidak selesa sekiranya menerima arahan daripada wanita.

Apa pun, tidak semua majikan wanita atau lelaki kurang disenangi. Majikan seharusnya bijak menangani sikap pekerja mereka. Setiap orang ada kerenah masing-masing dan sebagai majikan yang baik dan efisien, mereka perlu bersikap adil dan saksama selain menghormati di antara satu sama lain.

Majikan juga perlu ada garis sempadan dengan pekerja. Jangan terlalu tegas dan tidak juga terlalu mesra kerana mudah disalah erti terutama jika berbeza jantina, hatta boleh menjurus kepada perkara negatif dan pandangan serong orang keliling.


 

The real antivirus programs April 18, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Urahara Kisuke @ 4:51 pm
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Deadly diseases outbreaks always seem to be grabbing the headlines, and many readers may be wondering if there is anything they can do to help counter these terrible threats.

Sure, you could donate to health charities or research institutions, or maybe even lobby the government for more health spending, but there’s a more direct way you can help.

You could participate in various research projects which harness the unused processing power in millions of idle PCs located in homes and offices.

LOOKING FOR CURES: Drug Design and Optimization Lab (D2OL) is a distributed computing project with the goal of discovering drug candidates to fight SARS, avian flu, anthrax, and other diseases.

Pharmaceutical companies and research institutions are using an innovation called grid computing (also known as distributed computing), which runs life sciences research on millions of Internet-connected PCs owned by volunteers from around the world, thus creating a kind of “decentralised supercomputer.”

There are currently grid computing projects to combat AIDS, cancer, SARS, avian flu, Ebola, smallpox, anthrax and other afflictions.

Anyone with a relatively fast computer and Internet access can take part in these projects merely by downloading and installing a small program (see Getting Involved).

Established method

While the use of grid computing for finding new drugs is relatively new, the underlying research methods are already well established. Scientists have used computer simulations in the drug discovery process for many years.

First, possible drug targets are identified from disease-causing microbes. Then scientists employ a process called virtual screening (also called silico screening or computational screening) which simulates the binding of millions of different drug molecules against a specific microbe, and identifies promising combinations that can potentially kill the microbe.

The approach is analogous to testing many keys to identify the one that will work with a specific lock – only in this case there are millions upon millions of molecular keys.

Until recently, researchers could only rely on expensive supercomputers or Unix clusters to attain the processing power needed to run these complex and time-consuming simulations.

By taking advantage of grid technology, researchers hope to tap into the combined power of thousands or even millions of PCs, resulting in significant time savings.

Better yet, all this processing power can be had at almost no cost if researchers can recruit volunteers from around the world.

“It’s only fitting that a distributed computer platform allows global participation to potentially prevent a global pandemic,” says Wolfgang Hinz, head of computational chemistry at The Rothberg Institute in Connecticut, United States.

The Institute has set up a grid computing project as part of its evaluation of potential drug candidates against various infectious diseases.

Proponents of grid computing say the technology has revolutionised computational biology and other life sciences; while solution providers are making inroads into financial services, engineering, and chemical research.

ET phone home

The concept of grid computing with home PCs is not new either. It first emerged in the late 1990s through a project aimed at finding signs of alien intelligence.

The SETI@home project used Internet-connected computers to analyse radio telescope data in the search for extraterrestrial life (SETI).

The project is still ongoing and currently has more than 670,000 participants, making it one of the largest grid computing projects in the world.

Dr David Anderson, director of SETI@home, said the project grew out of a realisation that the average computer user only uses a fraction of the processing power in today’s machines.

The computing needs of users have not grown to match their increasingly powerful PCs, he said in an interview with Astrobiology magazine.

Consider, for example, that an “entry level” PC nowadays uses a minimum Intel Celeron D 331 2.66GHz processor or its equivalent AMD Sempron 3200+ AM2 processor.

“In the 1980s and early 1990s, there was a gradual transition from a situation where computers were busy most or all of the time – like shared mainframes, or early slow PCs that laboured to keep up with basic tasks – to a situation where they were almost never busy,” said Anderson.

Today, most people still use their PCs for wordprocessing, checking e-mail and web surfing – hardly taxing such powerful processors.

All that spare processing power is ideal for a grid computing project, be it the search for aliens or cures for diseases.

Some way to go

The potential power of grid computing was clearly demonstrated at the conclusion of the Anthrax Research Project in 2002, in which 3.57 billion molecules were screened for suitability as a treatment for advanced-stage anthrax.

Dr Graham Richards, chairman of the Chemistry Department at Oxford University, said the project was completed in only 24 days, and called the results “unprecedented.”

“Had we done this using traditional methods, it would have taken years instead of less than four weeks,” he said.

Still, participants in various life sciences projects should not expect quick cures to materialise from the current simulations. Virtual screening is only one of the early stages in a long progression of processes required to discover a new drug or therapy.

Once such drug candidates are identified using computational methods, they can be chemically synthesised in an actual laboratory, and are subjected to component analyses and tested in a battery of cell cultures.

This is then followed by years of testing for toxicology and side effects – a good biochemical reaction is not the sole requirement.

Very few molecules make it to the final stage of testing, which involves human trials conducted according to rigorous FDA (Food and Drug Administration) guidelines in the United States, for instance.

If successful, the compound is finally released as a prescription drug.

Due to the necessarily long validation process, it is not clear at this point whether drug candidates produced from grid computing will ultimately result in cures or vaccines.

Still, most researchers agree that grid computing can significantly increase the speed and scope of molecular research.

“Many pharmaceutical companies are starting to realise that grid computing can be an important source of competitive advantage in drug research and development,” said Piush Patel, United Devices’ director of global grid services, in an interview with GRIDtoday.

Better yet, it gives ordinary citizens a chance to contribute directly to disease-fighting efforts and scientific research, instead of merely living in fear of an invisible and unpredictable threat.

 

Renew road tax via the Net

Filed under: Uncategorized — Urahara Kisuke @ 4:39 pm

Celebrity trial: Actress Maya Karin trying out the online road tax renewal service at a kiosk at the Hilton Hotel in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

For RM2.75, you can now renew your road tax online and, for an additional RM6, have the road tax delivered to you the next day in the Klang Valley.

The delivery fee for those living outside the Klang Valley is RM8, and RM10 for those in Sabah and Sarawak.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak launched the online renewal service, provided by MY E.G. Services Bhd, here yesterday.

Also present at the launch were Transport Minister Datuk Ong Tee Keat, Road Transport Department director-general Datuk Ahmad Mustapha Abdul Rashid and MY E.G. Services Bhd executive chairman Datuk Dr Norraesah Mohamad and managing director T.S. Wong.

“I am optimistic this new service will set the benchmarks for the implementation of other e-Government applications,” Najib said in his speech.

Dr Norraesah said the online service
enabled the public to renew their road tax from anyplace with Internet access and at anytime, via www.myeg.com.my and www.jpj.gov.my.Members can also renew their road tax at E-service kiosks placed at selected locations, including bank branches, nationwide.
 

 
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