The Roundup: Week of March 12

This week’s High Tech Highway Roundup takes us on a tour of a new eBay data center, looks at what employees are really up to at work and questions the “humanity” of robots. Now that’s one crazy trip!

eBay tackles data center consolidation – to boost analytics, among other things
Data Center Dynamics has an interesting report on eBay’s “Project Mercury,” the company’s new data center in Phoenix. The project was a part of the company’s larger data center consolidation project, but has another intended benefit – to provide the depth of resources needed to handle the volume of information the company has to process. The article notes that Project Mercury is using two 24-petabyte Hadoop data analytics clusters; between those and the data-warehouse expansion, eBay’s data capacity increased by 500 percent in just six months.

So THAT’S what they’re doing all day…
According to a recent article in InformationWeek, social networking applications, specifically Facebook, are the Web 2.0 applications most accessed by enterprise employees. The article cites a study by Zscaler ThreatLabZ (available for download HERE), which found that Facebook transactions were responsible for 43.8 percent of Web 2.0 application use. Gmail (15 percent), Twitter (6.63 percent) and YouTube (8.36 percent) followed closely behind Facebook.

Facebook’s numbers may seem dominant, but they did decline during the course of 2011. The site began the year at 60 percent and steadily declined to 43.8 percent in the fourth quarter. The report cites security issues at Facebook, but we blame the rollout of the terrible timeline profile layout.

Kara raises questions about the meaning of “life”
The video game studio Quantic Dream showed an intriguing video demo at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco recently, reported. The demo was intended to showcase the company’s prototype graphics engine, but “it also raises some thought-provoking and disturbing questions about what it means to create artificial life.” The video generates plenty of thoughts about what could be the next step in robotics – personal robots able to interact with people in human environments.

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