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The man behind the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol, Bram Cohen, is now working on technology that could allow a person with far fewer resources than a TV studio to stream live footage to an audience of millions.  The BitTorrent file-sharing protocol facilitates the distribution of large files by having users serve up fragments of a file to other users as they download it. This makes it possible to share very large files without a single central server.

Cohen’s new solution, known as BitTorrent Live, could make it possible for almost anyone to offer a live stream to millions. Like the original BitTorrent, the scheme relies on viewers all running software that links into a network that distributes data directly between users, in what is known as a peer-to-peer design, which is much more efficient than every user being served by a central server. A key benefit of the approach is that as more people try to download a file, the network’s capacity to serve that file also grows. Read more


Files on a home computer could soon be accessible from anywhere, even when the computer holding them is switched off, thanks to a prototype file-synching system developed at Microsoft’s research labs.

The system is designed to demonstrate an alternative to a growing array of cloud services. “One of our underlying principles is that you don’t always want to put all of your data in the cloud and give it to Google or some other corporation,” said Michelle Mazurek, of Carnegie Mellon University. Read more


The storage in your phone has a bigger effect on your apps than you might think. The latest smart phones and tablets at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month came with an emphasis on faster processors and compatibility with faster wireless networks. But new research shows that the biggest performance bottleneck with popular smart-phone apps such as Facebook and Google Maps is, in fact, how fast they can read and write a device’s data storage. The results suggest that without changing how mobile gadgets store data, the benefits of new networks and processors will be limited. Read more


LED lightbulbs promise a highly efficient, nontoxic, long-lasting alternative to today’s incandescent and halogen lightbulbs. Lighting entire rooms using LEDs has, however, proved both technically challenging and expensive.

Soraa, a startup based in Fremont, California, has developed a new type of LED that it says generates 10 times more light from the same quantity of active material used in other LEDs. The company’s first product is a 12-watt bulb that uses 75 percent less energy than a similarly illuminating 50-watt halogen bulb. Company officials would not disclose the cost of the bulb, but say it will pay for itself in less than one year through energy savings. Read more


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