Saturday, August 28, 2010

Audi Feeling and Audi Click

Press release from Audi:

Ingolstadt, 2010-08-11

  • The Haptics Team focuses on sensory experiences
  • Goal: Uniform haptics and operating acoustics from the A1 to the A8
  • Haptic impressions decisively influence the purchasing decision

Pressing, tapping, pulling, sliding, turning, feeling and touching. These are the focus of an entire team at Audi. After all, quality is in the details. Jörg Müller and Manfred Mittermeier coordinate the “Team for Actuation Haptics,” which for the sake of simplicity is just called the Haptics Team. Haptics is the science of touch. But in fact it involves a lot more than merely ensuring that occupants like the way an Audi feels. It’s about operating feel and actuation sound, ease of movement and impressions.

How do you get a job like that? This is the answer of the two haptics experts: “It’s important that you take haptics seriously. Another requirement is a high degree of sensitivity. Not so much a sensitivity based on physical characteristics such as the fingertips, but more to do with a process of awareness that happens in the mind.” Johann Schneider, Head of Controls Development at Audi, has been responsible for haptics since January 2010. Jörg Müller and Manfred Mittermeier coordinate the Haptics Team, which was established in its current form back in 1995. It is therefore clear that Audi takes haptics and acoustics very seriously.

“A car’s haptics are of immense importance,” says Schneider. “The haptic impressions decisively influence the customer’s purchasing decision. The customer must immediately feel comfortable when getting into an Audi and must experience the precision and great attention to detail. To ensure this for all of our models, a new haptics process was established and overall responsibility pooled in Technical Development.”

The ultimate objective: to implement a comprehensive haptics and operating acoustics concept across all model lines, from the A1 to the A8. To this end, the haptics experts are involved at an early stage in the development of a new Audi model and evaluate all of the electric controls within the vehicle during the development process. The spectrum ranges from simple switches, the ignition, the gearshift and the steering column stalk to the complex Multi Media Interface, buttons and the central rotary pushbutton. “We measure, compare, analyze and discuss both the technical and design feasibility of new concepts with development engineers and suppliers,” says Mittermeier.

The team members meet every two weeks to discuss new projects. “Sometimes we start with pictures and sketches and make the initial haptic evaluations. A development engineer usually presents a control, and we discuss it before evaluating according to defined criteria,” he adds.

The “hard core” of the Haptics Team currently consists of 15 members from a broad mix of specialized backgrounds, such as component development, controlling, quality assurance, design and marketing. The aim is for the main occupations of the haptics specialists to be as varied as possible so that they simulate a representative cross-section of customers.

Further findings are drawn from comparative tests using external test persons, which are carried out by neutral organizations. The results of these tests are likewise used in vehicle development. The haptics experts also work with universities with the aim of gaining new scientific findings in the field of haptics. “We’ve gained new and helpful insights from this, especially in the area of sensory perception in the development of operating haptics and acoustics,” says Müller.

“You won’t be able to please every customer,” says the engineer. “The goal is to maximize customer satisfaction. If we achieve 80 percent, that means we have a very good haptics concept.” It is far from easy to achieve figures as high as that. “Haptics are difficult to express in numbers and units. Haptic evaluation is very subjective, but our task is to make it objective and more generally applicable,” explains Müller.

The haptics experts at Audi developed technical specifications several years ago. Both the Company’s own developers as well as suppliers are required to comply with these specifications. The content of these documents is amended with new scientific findings at regular intervals. Audi controls are assessed according to the following criteria: ease of motion, moderate operating paths, defined end stops, precise guides, uniform actuation sound and clear feedback at the shifting point – primarily tactile, but acoustic as well. “The customer wants to have clear feedback when initiating a function. When the driver presses a button, for instance, the way in which the effort required increases is important. Haptic response also includes acoustic feedback, such as a clearly audible click. The proper combination of haptic and acoustic feedback gives the customer the confidence that the function was indeed initiated,” explains Müller.

This primarily involves the force, process, movement, direction or sound of the controls. One particularly important question is whether the shape of the control element makes clear how the element is operated. Mittermeier describes this as “operating logic” or “blind operation”. “We want to make life easier for drivers. The less distracted they are while operating the controls, the better,” says Mittermeier. The expectations of the customer also have to be considered in new operating concepts. These result from learned processes, which are memorized models for action. This is why psychological assistance is required for haptic evaluation. An operating process is a very complex matter that must be analyzed in detail.

“Actuation haptics and operating acoustics are usually perceived subconsciously,” explains Mittermeier. “If the customer finds that every switch and lever in an Audi is in the right spot and the switches respond the way the customer intuitively expects them to, then we can be happy,” adds Müller.

It is not yet possible to determine from existing analyses whether there are different preferences between individual groups of customers. Schneider, however, is convinced that “women make more marked haptic distinctions than men.” There are also cultural differences. “In some markets, customers are certainly more tolerant of faults than here in Germany, for instance.”

Ultimately, Schneider and his team are striving for homogeneous haptics for all operating elements in an Audi model, for an integrated total concept, and for that “Audi feeling.” For the driver it should be a feeling of comfort and of being completely at ease. In an Audi with high standards for craftsmanship, everything must coordinate perfectly: the shape of the buttons, the surface properties of the gearshift knob, the wheel that adjusts the backrest, the turn signal lever, the sound like the tumblers of a safe falling into place when a dial is turned and the solid overall impression when touching the controls.

At the same time, it is not easy to define the Audi feeling in general specifications because of the need to distinguish between the individual controls. The actuating effort of controls in the headliner therefore cannot be compared with that for controls on the center console. “This has to do in part with the technology and physics of the respective control element, but also with the different expectations of the driver or passenger,” explains Mittermeier.

The cars of the future pose a challenge to the haptics development team. New interior design coupled with innovative and cutting-edge technologies call for new ideas. The engineers are still expected to guarantee high-quality haptics and acoustics. “Precise feedback to the driver is an absolute must. Perfection that you can feel and hear will continue to be the creed for future Audi generations.”

Friday, August 27, 2010

Equinix CEO Steve Smith: Centered on Clouds

from The Street:

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Equinix CEO Steve Smith is focused on becoming the home for cloud infrastructure.

Carpathia Hosting


>>#CarpathiaHosting, now also present in Equinix Amsterdam! #cloud #dedicated servers #CDN infrastructures - you name it!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cancer-Zapping Precision Radiation Beams Could Soon Target Other Diseases


>>Targeted beams of high-intensity radiation can shrink early-stage tumors with limited collateral damage to surrounding healthy tissue. The addition of robotics and image guidance systems in recent years has made these stereotactic, or directed beam, radiosurgery systems an even more versatile weapon against cancer, attacking not only brain tumors (for which they were originally designed) but also other diseases virtually anywhere in the body.

Dr. Sean Collins answers commonly asked questions about CyberKnife radiosurgery for prostate cancer

Dr. Sean Collins answers commonly asked questions about CyberKnife radiosurgery for prostate cancer:

Hear answers to commonly asked questions about CyberKnife as a treatment option for Prostate Cancer. Sean P. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. Instructor Department of Radiation Medicine, Director of CyberKnife Prostate Georgetown University Hospital

The Ottawa Hospital's cancer program evolves to address patients' needs


>>One technological marvel Mr. Doiron credits as for this change is the centre's recently acquired CyberKnife. The CyberKnife is described as the world's first and only robotic radio surgery system. Its advanced image-guided software and the manoeuvrability of its three-metre robotic arm allows the CyberKnife to deliver hundreds of beams of high dose radiation directly to a tumour with "surgical precision" from all angles. It is a pain-free, non-invasive treatment for tumours anywhere in the body, proving especially effective in treating brain, lung, prostate, spinal, liver, pancreatic and kidney cancers. Traditional treatments provide high doses of radiation to an area much larger than the actual tumour, which can result in damage to healthy tissue and cause a broad range of side effects depending on the tumour location. The CyberKnife delivers ultra-high doses of radiation with pinpoint accuracy, and even adjusts to the patient's breathing. The end result spares healthy tissue and reduces side effects.

"We are the third centre in all of Canada to apply this technology," Mr. Doiron said. "Patients can now leave without a cut, scratch or even a bruise, and leave in no time at all, where in the past, treatment for a similar form of cancer would have resulted in the patient staying in the hospital for a week."

The MX Q&A: Euan Thomson, Accuray


>>On that note, are you pleased with your stock performance?

Overall, we’re not pleased with the stock performance. We’re an undervalued company. And I think many of the issues relate to the type of commercial threat I discussed. What we’re finding investors are looking for, and we’re happily able to deliver, is sales performance. We have an extra level of proof that we have to go to that we can sell against these larger companies. We have a robust technology that is well protected by IP, but you need commercial position. We have done that and we continue to do that.

In the last three quarters that I can talk about, we took orders for 41 systems, and we shipped 26 systems. In the context of an installed base of 200 units, to sell 41 in 3 quarters and to have a book-to-bill ratio in excess of 1.6 shows that the CyberKnife is truly a differentiated product in the market and that we as a company have the ability to sell it. When I spent time recently with investors I saw they are definitely starting to gain confidence in the ability of the product to continue to gain rapid acceptance.

It's Not Just About Command And Control

from Forbes:

The unexpected moment Stephen Smith had to prove he could run Equinix.

When they were recruiting me, then chief executive Peter Van Camp called out of the blue and said, "Do you have two or three hours you can spend with me?" I said, "Sure." He came over, picked me up and drove me down to look at one of these data centers. He wanted to observe me on how I asked questions, how I interacted with the people.

And at the time, I didn't realize it. He was watching me to see whether I cared about the people here. Did I care about what we did as a business? It was a big test.

He wasn't looking for a command and control. He was looking for somebody that was willing to listen, learn the business and then lead. He wanted to make sure I was going to fit in culturally.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Long waiting list for CK treatment in Czech Republic

from the IV MB, by yyy60:

>>** Translated from Czech **

Kybernůž on the line up

August 25, 2010
Source: Regional newspapers
Author: Mirka Chlebounova

Ostrava - Treatment is good, although in the context of the emitter stirred up all sorts of speculation.

"CyberKnife is open twelve hours a day, assuming that it can train two more employees to reach their peak, which is fourteen hours per day. The interest of patients is huge, we have a month waiting period," said Head of the Department of Oncology, University Hospital of the Ostrava David Feltl . Argues that after three weeks of operation, doctors, technicians and patients extremely happy, everything works as it should. On the Infoline and infomailech Feltl respond to requests and questions of patients in twenty-four hours.

Venezuela's 1st CK will be operating soon at Pérez Carreño Hospital

from the IV MB, by yyy60:

>>** translated from Spanish **

Pérez Carreño Hospital will begin operating with the Cyberknife in a month

Aporrea News Agency
By: Correo del Orinoco

In about a month, will complete the construction of a bunker at the Hospital Dr. Miguel Perez Carreño in which immediately put into operation a sophisticated imaging system, can effectively eradicate tumors and lesions of any organ.

The medical center director, Rosalinda Prieto, they said called Cyberknife (cyber knife, in English) is considered one of the ultimate weapons for the treatment of cancer.

Prieto said the CyberKnife cyber knife "or also, as they say, is able to perform radiosurgery, both lesions and cranial area of the spine and other body sites suffering from tumor diseases.

Samsung Galaxy Tab gets official teaser video

from Engadget:


Whoa, now we're talking. It's short, sweet, and dramatic, yet the official Samsung Galaxy Tab teaser video still manages to reveal a number of features previously only rumored. We've got Android 2.2 running on a 7-inch display, video calling, Swype, HD movie playback, "Flash support," GPS navigation, an e-reader, and plenty more. Now get ready to be teased mercilessly by the video embedded after the break -- it's as close as you'll get before the official reveal in Berlin (at IFA) on September 2nd. Yeah, we'll be there.

Interxion unaudited numbers for the three months ended 30 June 2010

Press Release, 25 August 2010

Interxion Reports Q2 2010 Results
AMSTERDAM 25 August 2010 – Interxion, a leading European provider of carrier-neutral
colocation data centre services, today released its unaudited numbers for the three months
ended 30 June 2010.
· Revenue increased by 19% to €50.4 million (Q2 2009: €42.5 million)
· Adjusted EBITDA increased by 25% to €19.6 million (Q2 2009: €15.7 million)
· Adjusted EBITDA margin improved to 38.8% (Q2 2009: 37.0%)
· Net profit of €4.0 million (Q2 2009: profit €8.2 million)
Interim Financial Statements
To view Interxion Holding NV’s Interim Report for the three months ended 30 June 2010,
please visit the investor section of Interxion’s website at Colocation Data Center | Data Centre | Interxion Colocation Services and click on
“2010 Q2 Interim Report”.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Miracles Are Not Always What We Expect


>>Treatments began at once and in an aggressive manner. Initially, it was standard radiation treatments followed by cyberknife and chemo. Surgery was out of the question because the tumor was too close to her heart, lungs, and was wrapped around her spine. There was a sense of urgency, but no palpable sense of hope. The wait began, and while it was never characterized as a death watch, there were times when it did take on that feeling.


It has been nearly three years since the journey started, and I am happy to say that Jennifer is still with us and stronger than she has been in a very long time. Though not in traditional remission, the cancer is not as active as it once was.

Chi-X Europe Electronic Stock Market Receives Unsought Takeover Approach

from Bloomberg:

>>Bats Global Markets, which operates the third-largest U.S. equity market, approached Chi-X Europe Ltd. about a possible takeover, according to people familiar with the situation.

London-based Chi-X Europe, the trading platform started in 2007 to compete with London Stock Exchange Group Plc and Deutsche Boerse AG, said today it received an “enquiry” from an unidentified suitor which might lead to an offer for the whole firm or a partial sale. It’s being reviewed by the board, the firm said in an e-mailed statement.

The approach was from Bats, which also operates the Bats Europe stock trading system, said two people, who declined to be identified as the talks are private. The enquiry didn’t include details of the level of any potential offer or a valuation of Chi-X Europe, the people said.

Equinix celebrated the 10th anniversary of its initial public offering (IPO) and listing on NASDAQ in New York, NY

On August 11, 2010, Equinix celebrated the 10th anniversary of its initial public offering (IPO) and listing on NASDAQ in New York, NY.

Mandel's Lone Pine Capital Raises Stake In Equinix (EQIX) to 5.8%


>>Stephen F. Mandel's Lone Pine Capital hedge fund disclosed in an 13G filing after the close that they raised their stake in Equinix, Inc. to 5.8% This is up from the 1.731 million shares, or 3.8% stake, held at June 30.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Samsung Galaxy Tab seen in the wild


>>Electronista today had the opportunity to spy a Samsung Galaxy Tab in live testing in Sydney, Australia. The device, spotted in the hands of an anonymous telco worker at a train station, matches up with the official description of a seven-inch, 3G-capable Android tablet.

Comparing the Cost of Cloud vs. Colocation

from DCK:

>>Is colocation cheaper than using a cloud computing services to run the same workload? It is if you run highly-utilized servers, according to Vijay Gill, who recently ran a comparison using Amazon Web Services pricing as a benchmark. Gill is the Senior Manager of Production Network Engineering and Architecture at Google, and knows a few things about data center cost analysis.

High-Speed Trading Driving Outsourcing Shift


>>The growing importance of financial trading is driving a long-term trend in which financial services firms will outsource critical data center operations from in-house facilities to third-party colocation facilities and wholesale data center space. That’s the prediction from Larry Tabb, founder and CEO of Tabb Group, which tracks technology trends on Wall Street.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Axon Logic Hackintosh Tablet May Just Out-iPad The iPad


>>Back in April we heard word of an affordable hackintosh tablet called the Axon Haptic. We were skeptical, since all we had was an anonymous tip and a render — something any 3D concept artist could have cooked up in an hour or two. But now we know that the Axon Haptic is real, you’ll be able to pre-order it this week, and yes, it runs OS X.