Gigabyte i-RAM SATA Storage Device

The Tech Report has a great article on Gigabyte’s new i-RAM SATA Storage Device.  The PCI card uses regular DDR SDRAM paired with a battery to create up to a 4 GB hard drive that requires no special drivers.  Simply hook the card up to your SATA port and your BIOS recognizes the card as a hard drive.  The battery also will keep your data safe for around 10 hours if your power goes out, which is a good precaution.  Needless to say, if you were putting this in a place where the power could fail, you should back up frequently, or buy a large battery backup for your PC.  I’m looking forward to future revisions of this card that allow for more than 4 GB of RAM to be used, and perhaps an upgrade to the transfer rate to take full advantage of the RAM.

LinuxCOE / Instalinux

LinuxCOE is a “Common Operating Environment” developed as an open source project by Hewlett Packard over on SourceForge. The great thing about it is what I saw over at PCLinuxOnlinea new way to install Linux without having to click through the install screens. The article links over to Instalinux which gives you the option of creating an ISO for Fedora, Debian, SuSE, or Ubuntu with your customized options that can be in the 30 MB range. This could be very useful if you work in an environment where you duplicate machines all the time. Also, if you have a non-technical person on the other end of the phone, putting a CD into the computer and rebooting is a lot easier than trying to walk them through how to partition their hard drive and which packages to select.

Instalinux is a great step forward. Kudos to HP for supporting this project, and to the Instalinux folks for putting up the site.

Senate Commerce chief backs lawyer for FCC slot

By Jeremy Pelofsky

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens said on Tuesday he backed telecommunications lawyer Robert McDowell to fill the final Republican seat on the Federal Communications Commission.

“I’ve suggested him and others, but I would support him,” Stevens, an Alaska Republican, told reporters after a hearing. If nominated, McDowell would require confirmation by Stevens’ committee as well as the full Senate.

President George W. Bush is expected to nominate McDowell to the position, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday. An announcement may not come until February, one source had said.

The five-member FCC, which regulates and oversees the telecommunications and media industries, has been deadlocked with two Republicans and two Democrats for almost a year.

McDowell is senior vice president and assistant general counsel at Comptel, a lobbying group for companies that primarily compete against big telephone carriers like AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications.

In addition to unsuccessfully running for the Virginia state legislature, he worked on the 2000 Bush presidential campaign, as did FCC Chairman Kevin Martin.

Stevens had previously recommended former aide Earl Comstock, who now heads Comptel, but he withdrew from consideration. His other recommendation also withdrew, deputy staff director Christine Kurth.

One analyst said that if McDowell is nominated and confirmed, he could be sympathetic to concerns of companies that compete against the big telephone carriers on issues like intercarrier compensation and universal service, among others.

“That has to be a concern for the Bells, though we suspect Mr. McDowell would come under pressure to demonstrate some degree of even-handedness as a commissioner,” Stifel Nicolaus analyst Blair Levin, said in a research note.

This guy sounds like he might be interesting if confirmed. A Republican who isn’t pro-AT&T/Verizon/et. al. With issues pending like network neutrality and Internet taxes over the next two or so years, I’m hopeful that this guy will fight against the Bell and cable companies for open networks and competition. These recent mega mergers with AT&T/SBC and Verizon/MCI make me nervous when you team them up with Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Cox, Charter, etc. The power that these companies hold over the future of the Internet, and whether it will continue to prosper is staggering.