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BT labs, Indian offshoring, new mobiles and clever datacentres

Photos of the month - February 2010
By Nick Heath, Contributor on
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1 of 16 Nick Heath/ZDNET

Photos of the month - February 2010

February saw silicon.com head off to India for a chance to look around one of the country's outsourcing campuses.

At this campus in the town of Pune, near Mumbai, Steria has more than 1,000 staff working for clients including the NHS and Barclaycard.

For a more extensive tour of Steria's Pune offices, click here.

Photo credit: Jo Best/silicon.com

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2 of 16 Nick Heath/ZDNET

Datacentre provider Telecity showed off its latest facility in Paris last month.

The Condorcet datacentre is designed to be as efficient as possible but also uses its waste heat to warm an arboretum used by scientists studying the effects of climate change on plants.

The facility makes clever use of colour coding to help resolve technical issues more quickly. Check out the full photo story for a behind-the-scenes look at the Condorcet datacentre.

Photo credit: Telecity

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Another datacentre on show in February was this modular offering from SGI known as the ICE Cube.

The datacentre, which fits inside a lorry trailer, can hold up to 2,800 servers, 33,600 processor cores and 14.2 petabytes of data.

You can see more of the ICE Cube datacentre in action in the full photo story here.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson/silicon.com

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4 of 16 Nick Heath/ZDNET

One of the biggest events of last month was the Mobile World Congress (MWC) trade show in Barcelona, where the great and the good of the mobile industry go to show off their very latest wares.

silicon.com rounded up some of the new devices released at the show, including the handset above - the Sony Ericsson Vivaz Pro.

The touchscreen smartphone comes with a 5.1-megapixel camera, GPS and Google Maps, and runs on the Symbian OS.

To see more of the new hardware on show at MWC, click here.

Photo credit: Sony Ericsson

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silicon.com's Natasha Lomas was at MWC in Barcelona, and got a chance to check out the latest software developments on show at the event, as well as getting hands-on with some of the new gadgets.

Shown here is the Diva Folder by Samsung, which promises "glamorous design" and "feminine fascination" - aka a variety of lady-friendly UI themes and "security features" such as SOS messages and 'fake call', presumably for easy escape during a bad blind date.

For more from the show, see the full photo story here.

Photo credit: Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

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6 of 16 Nick Heath/ZDNET

At MWC, Microsoft showed off its long-anticipated mobile phone operating system.

The Windows Phone 7 Series has various "live tiles" that can be used to point to an application, a hub, website, or even an individual contact.

For more on the new Microsoft phone OS, see the full photo story here.

Photo credit: Microsoft

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7 of 16 Nick Heath/ZDNET

But not all mobile companies waited until MWC to get their devices out - Sony Ericsson unveiled this device, the Aspen, earlier last month.

The Aspen has customisable panels which sit on top of the UI, offering users the ability to run applications such as Skype, Facebook and YouTube straight off the desktop with one click and will be available in the second quarter of this year.

Image credit: Sony Ericsson

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8 of 16 Nick Heath/ZDNET

Reminiscent of QR codes, Microsoft Tag technology uses a two-dimensional barcode to link a print publication to online content.

The Tags - printed in a magazine or on a poster say - can be scanned by a mobile with the right software installed. Users simply take a picture of the Tag with their mobile phone, which then automatically translates the information stored on the Tag.

Pictured above are some examples of Microsoft Tags in action, shown here on a magazine, software box and response card.

For more photos, see the full story here.

Photo credit: Ina Fried/CNET

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9 of 16 Nick Heath/ZDNET

Shown above is one of three technologies designed to stop mobile phone theft and fraud revealed in February.

The technologies were developed as part of the Mobile Phone Security Challenge, an initiative supported by the Home Office Design and Technology Alliance and the Design Council.

This is the Tie software that electronically pairs a mobile phone handset with a SIM card, so that if another SIM is placed inside the handset it will be password locked.

The idea is to prevent criminals from using a new SIM card to access the phone handset memory and recover saved passwords, websites and contacts, all of which could be useful in defrauding the phone's owner.

You can explore more of the mobile phone security tech that was developed here.

Photo credit: Design Council

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10 of 16 Nick Heath/ZDNET

BT opened the doors of one of its main research and development centres to silicon.com in February to show off the new tech in its labs.

The centre, based at Adastral Park in Ipswich, Suffolk, has been a research centre for the telecoms giant for decades.

The tech pictured above is aimed at letting BT staff based in its R&D centres across the world work together as effectively as if they were working in the same room.

The system is called the BT Collaboration Station and consists of an interactive whiteboard, flat-panel TV and videoconferencing equipment.

The whiteboard will display the same image in two different locations, for example if somebody in the Pune GDC draws a smiley face on the board the face will appear in real-time on the whiteboard in the Ipswich GDC, as seen below.

Visit the full story here to delve further into BT's R&D labs.

Photo credit: BT

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11 of 16 Nick Heath/ZDNET

February began with a showcase of new and prototype apps that could do everything from making the daily commute easier to charting nearby building developments.

The apps were shown off by developers at the launch of the data.gov.uk website, a Cabinet Office site whose aim is to link to all non-personal data collected by government in the UK.

Developers showcased apps that provided simple ways of mashing up complex information and present results in a clear and interesting way.

This app is called Mapumental, an app that paints a map to show commuters where they can live and be able to get into work within a reasonable time.

To find out more about Mapumental and other data apps click here.

Image credit: Mapumental

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12 of 16 Nick Heath/ZDNET

Here is a set of combat fatigues that are able to conduct electricity and power electronic gadgets that are being developed for UK troops.

The project is one of a series of projects that are being funded by the MoD research funding body, the Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) that was shown off in February.

See more pictures of next-gen MoD tech here.

Photo credit: Ministry of Defence

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13 of 16 Nick Heath/ZDNET

Last month, The British Library revealed a digital archive of UK websites dating back to 2004.

To date the UK Web Archive has captured 6,000 of an estimated eight million websites hosted in the UK.

This is a shot of the website for the environmental pressure group Friends of the Earth from 2005, where they used a Flash game to parody the behaviour of the then European commissioner for trade, Peter Mandelson.

Delve further into digital history by checking out the story here.

Photo credit: Friends of the Earth

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Last month silicon.com went along to the web consultancy Foviance's office in London to hear about the results of its web stress study.

Thirteen participants took part in the experiment at Glasgow Caledonian University, where they were asked to carry out two simple tasks on the sites - purchasing a travel insurance policy and buying a netbook computer - on both a fast and slow internet connection.

Results showed that participants experienced high levels of concentration and stress due to slowly performing websites.

See more photos from the experiment in the full story here.

Photo credit: Foviance

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Adobe's Photoshop software turned 20 years old last month.

Over the years, the software has grown in sophistication with the addition of brushes, layers and spotlights.

Take a look back over the design software's history - from its humble beginnings as Adobe Photoshop 1.0, which arrived in 1990, through to the current Photoshop CS4 - in the full photo story on Adobe Photoshop here.

Photo credit: Adobe

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A collaboration between Nasa and General Motors was also unveiled last month. Meet Robonaut 2, the new humanoid robot that fits neatly into both the car and aerospace industries.

The R2 machines are designed to use the same tools as humans (pictured above). Nasa and GM say this advanced dexterity means the robots will be able to work safely alongside flesh-and-blood astronauts and technicians.

See more photos of R2 in action here.

Photo credit: Nasa

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