2008/10/08

NEW NET 08 Oct 2008

This week the NEW NET group is trying something new -- we're meeting on Wednesday instead of Tuesday because most of the regular participants are able to meet either evening, and this allows participation by a couple people unable to join in on the Tuesday meetings.

Below is the final list of issues for the WEDNESDAY, 08 October 2008, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering. This week we're upstairs at Tom's Drive In, 501 N Westhill Blvd, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.

The ‘net

  1. Bank robber hires decoys on Craigslist, fools cops http://news.cnet.com/8301-13577_3-10057472-36.html “…In an elaborate robbery scheme that's one part The Thomas Crowne Affair and one part Pineapple Express, a crook robbed an armored truck outside a Bank of America branch in Monroe, Wash., by hiring decoys through Craigslist to deter authorities…the robber, wearing a yellow vest, safety goggles, a blue shirt, and a respirator mask went over to a guard who was overseeing the unloading of cash to the bank from the truck. He sprayed the guard with pepper spray, grabbed his bag of money, and fled the scene…The robber had previously put out a Craigslist ad for road maintenance workers, promising wages of $28.50 per hour. Recruits were asked to wait near the Bank of America right around the time of the robbery--wearing yellow vests, safety goggles, a respirator mask, and preferably a blue shirt. At least a dozen of them showed up after responding to the Craigslist ad…As it turns out, they were simply placed there to confuse cops who were looking for a guy wearing a virtually identical outfit.…”
  2. Ten Years Later, Yahoo Finally Updates Its Calendar http://tinyurl.com/4femxe (TechCrunch) “…new Yahoo Calendar…is based on underlying technology from its Zimbra enterprise e-mail unit, and supports both iCal and CalDEV standards for the easy import and export of events. The new features compared to Yahoo’s Web 1.0 calendar are: 1. Drag & drop interface. 2. Layering (view multiple calendars in different colors or subscribe to someone else’s calendar) 3. Zoom in when adding an event or appointment 4. Integration with Flickr 5. Can set email, IM or SMS reminders. 6. To-Do list…this should help Yahoo grow its market share in online calendars. It is already the market leader…Yahoo Mail has 285 million users worldwide (88 million in the U.S.), and of those 8.1 million use the calendar (3.7 million in the U.S.). Google Calendar has 5 million users worldwide, and 2.4 million in the U.S.…”
  3. IBM rolls out beta mashup of web collaboration and social networking http://tinyurl.com/3zcjs9 (Ars technica) “…IBM is apparently tired of its customers complaining that employees are playing movie quizzes on Facebook and blogging at MySpace all day. The company opened up a beta of Bluehouse Monday…that combines web-based productivity and meeting tools with social networking…Bluehouse offers tools to host web conferences, share desktops, create social networks with activity streams, share files, create live charts from raw data, and chat…many of Bluehouse's features focus on providing extranet contact with clients and business partners via forms that can be easily published and web conferencing tools that use SSL and work through firewalls…”
  4. Mozilla Geode: does your browser know where you are? http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/mozilla_geode.php “…the old real estate adage 'location, location, location' could just as easily be applied to the Web, where it seems that "where you are" is becoming as important as the information you're seeking. Nowhere is that more apparent than with GPS-enabled mobile platforms that use location-specific information to simplify the way people access and share content on a daily basis. Later today Mozilla will release Geode…"a Firefox add-on that understands location, enabling enriched, personalized, and localized content…”
  5. Ask.com launches revised search engine http://blog.wired.com/business/2008/10/askcom-amps-up.html “…Ask.com launched an upgrade to the relevance and speed of its search engine today…Download speeds have also increased by 30 percent from last year. You can now search for things like local TV schedules, concert and event info, health inquiries, jobs, and generic reference-type questions and get your answer at the top of the result listings without ever having to click into a site…Since these are all based on real searches, it’s a good way to get a feel for what people are talking about…”
  6. StumbleUpon 2.0: Good-bye, software toolbar http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10055044-2.html “…On Tuesday night StumbleUpon is changing the way users interact with the service, ditching the need for a software-based browser toolbar in place of a small frame that loads on top of the Web site you're on. Users with the toolbar installed will still be getting the same experience, but the idea is that anyone can begin stumbling without having to install anything…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

  1. Webcam hijack demo highlights clickjacking threat http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=2005 http://tinyurl.com/46glrr (ComputerWorld) “…A security researcher in Israel has released a demo of a “clickjacking” attack, using an JavaScript game to turn every browser into a surveillance zombie. The release of the demo follows last month’s partial disclosure of the cross-platform attack/threat, which affects all the major desktop platforms — Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera and Adobe Flash…Imagine this scenario, you play a short game on the web and by doing that you unknowingly grant someone full access to your webcam and microphone…Web surfers might want to follow Jeremiah Grossman’s advice and move to Firefox + NoScript to get some level of security…Adobe's advisory listed steps users can take immediately to block Webcam and microphone hijacking. Adobe recommended that users access Flash's Settings Manager using a browser to select the "Always deny" option.…”
  2. Free tool automates attacks on Gmail, Facebook http://news.zdnet.co.uk/security/0,1000000189,39499499,00.htm “…security researcher will on Tuesday demonstrate a free, open-source tool designed to carry out automated man-in-the-middle attacks on users accessing popular sites such as Gmail, Facebook, LiveJournal and LinkedIn. The tool, called The Middler, is designed to target users who access services via public networks in hotels, coffee shops and aeroplanes. Besides launching man-in-the-middle attacks, in which communications are intercepted so the attacker can pass his own data between the website and the client device, the tool can also compromise computers and even iPhones via their software-update mechanisms, according to researcher Jay Beale. "If we share a LAN, I can view and modify all your traffic," Beale said…”
  3. Ford's MyKey To Help Control Speed, Audio Volume Of Cars http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7656602.stm “…Developed by Ford, the MyKey system limits a car's top speed, how loud its stereo can be and sounds warnings if seatbelts are not being worn…The main element of the MyKey system is to limit the top speed of a car to 80mph…other options allow parents to limit the volume on the car stereo and make the car sound a continuous alert if drivers and passengers are not wearing a seatbelt…"It's making use of existing technology, and through the magic of software, we're able to build features on top of the features we already have…”
  4. British government will spy on every call and e-mail http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article4882600.ece “…Ministers are considering spending up to £12 billion on a database to monitor and store the internet browsing habits, e-mail and telephone records of everyone in Britain. GCHQ, the government’s eavesdropping centre, has already been given up to £1 billion to finance the first stage of the project. Hundreds of clandestine probes will be installed to monitor customers live on two of the country’s biggest internet and mobile phone providers …”
  5. Taxed from above – counties use aerial photography to spy on homeowners http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/39520/113/ “…Aerial and satellite photography regularly helps our troops fight on the battlefield, but the same technology is now being used by cash-strapped counties to assess taxes. In Cape May County, New Jersey, county tax assessors are using photos to look for illegal additions to properties and to fine farmers for not farming enough. The county says the photos are a fantastic tool, but some people say the government has no business peeking into our backyards…”
  6. Big Brother potentially exists right now in our PCs, compliments of vPro http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/39455/128/ “…If the user's OS is corrupted or crashed, then the remote connection will only be as stable as the corruption allows. Enter vPro…Intel's preferred solution today is to have a PC equipped with an Intel Core 2-based processor, Q45 chipset and an 82567LM network chip…This combination of hardware from Intel enables vPro access ports which operate independently of normal user operations…In short, it operates covertly and snoops and potentially manipulates data… this new third generation just released now allows a PC user to press a few keystrokes, even in the midst a total operating system crash when not even the mouse pointer is responding. This sends a dispatch to IT indicating the user needs help. Interestingly, this also shows that the motherboard is monitoring all keystrokes all the time…In short, because of the type of components utilized to make vPro work (motherboard resources, processor resources and communications resources), a remote user could theoretically gain access to the entire system, covertly through vPro. And then it's just a matter of snooping through memory and hard drive files until whatever they're looking for is found…History tells us that it will be exploited, if there is enough reason and motivation to do so…”
  7. Skype Messages Being Monitored in China http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-10056127-83.html “…TOM-Skype, eBay's joint venture in China, is recording customer text chats and censoring them if they contain certain keywords related to topics the government deems objectionable…”
  8. Court order yoinks DVD-copying software http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7656372.stm “…Software which claimed to be a legal way of copying DVDs has been withdrawn following legal action…Six major movie studios jointly sued the company on 30 September - the day the software was launched…RealDVD is touted by RealNetworks as a legal way to turn a PC into a media server. "It makes it easy to pause a programme and resume right where you left off, makes it easy to find the movie you want and no more lost or scratched discs,"…Mr Glaser claims that a second layer of encryption is built into the software but the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) said RealDVD circumvents its rules about copying…”
  9. Kevin Mitnick detained, released after Colombia trip http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-10054569-83.html?tag=rtcol;pop “…Agents from the Immigrations Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrived to question him. They asked why he was in Atlanta and he told them; he was there to moderate a panel at a security conference sponsored by the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS). Asked for proof, he fired up a laptop to show them the itinerary in his e-mail. But when he clicked "yes" to have Firefox clear his private data--an automatic response to a default setting--the agents snatched the laptop away from him, thinking he was deleting evidence. "Then I realized I was logged in and I don't want them to have my password," Mitnick said. So, he quickly reached over and hits the power button to "off." …”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

  1. Microsoft casting about for viable mobile browser strategy http://tinyurl.com/4kg5vd (Ars technica) “…Internet Explorer Mobile…based on the old IE4 code, with its own unique set of bugs and its own particular take on what a web page should look like. Given that it's based on IE4, IE Mobile's support for current web standards is not good, making web browsing in IE Mobile a miserable experience. Pages don't display properly, and, since scripting support is also poor, they don't work properly either. IE Mobile isn't just a bad browser. It's also a bad mobile application. Part of this is due to Windows Mobile's diverse hardware (significantly, not all Windows Mobile devices have touch-screens), but even on fully-featured hardware, navigation is a chore…Microsoft announced that a new browser would be coming to Windows Mobile, arriving some time before the end of the year…the rendering engine going into the next IE Mobile isn't Microsoft's latest and greatest, the one the company has been working on for IE8. Instead, it's reported to be the engine from IE6. From 2001…True, the current state of IE Mobile is such that the IE6 codebase will offer a significant upgrade." But it's an upgrade to a seven-year-old browser…”
  2. Apple Drops NDA for IPhone Developers http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-techblog2-2008oct02,0,543794.story “…IPhone developers and publishers of iPhone-related books cheered Wednesday after Apple Inc. said it would lift the software nondisclosure agreement that had prevented them from discussing the process of creating programs for the device…The NDA made life difficult for iPhone conference planners, who had to limit topics of discussion, and publishers, who had to delay their iPhone books. Some developers paid each other a dollar so they could say they were subcontractors and therefore permitted to discuss iPhone software…”
  3. Suddenly, the iPhone looks really old http://www.tgdaily.com/html_tmp/content-view-39584-128.html “…We had almost given up hope that any of the five largest cellphone makers would be able to come up with a true iPhone rival that could match its appeal and functionality. But Nokia’s 5800 came virtually out of nowhere and seems to have all the right ingredients to challenge Apple. From what we have seen so far, this is one fantastic, cool device with very few compromises. It looks great and beats the iPhone effortlessly in audio and video features…”
  4. Android presales stronger than expected: play with the T-Mobile G1 online http://www.crn.com/retail/210700103 “…T-Mobile has launched an online emulator that lets potential G1 users get down the feel of the device…Users can get a virtual feel for the full QWERTY keyboard, the touch screen and a host of other features and functions. The emulator lets users simulate calls, e-mails, Web browsing, messaging and navigate music libraries all in a virtual online environment…the T-Mobile G1, formerly known as the HTC Dream, has taken the market by storm…HTC, which makes the hardware for the T-Mobile G1, said it expects to sell between 400,000 and 500,000 of the handsets in the fourth quarter…”
  5. Data suggests Apple has cruised past 10 million iPhone goal http://tinyurl.com/4ut3vo (ApplerInsider) “…Steve Jobs and Apple set a bold goal of selling 10 million iPhones in 2008. Despite Apple’s consistent reassurances of meeting its goal…Scott Craig of Bank of America also maintained bearish iPhone estimates in February with an 8 million iPhone sales target. Several other analysts followed suit and are now likely to be proven wrong…This data together with the IMEI Number Tracking by the AFB highly suggests that Apple more than likely sold at least 7 million iPhones in Q4 and that Apple has surpassed its 10 million iPhone target…”
  6. AT&T to discontinue prepaid unlimited GoPhone data access http://tinyurl.com/4u9rvk (PhoneNews) “…the current $19.99 unlimited GoPhone data option on Pay As You Go service would be discontinued on November 12th…we were the first news organization to break the news on an unlimited prepaid data offering thanks to our savvy readership in May…as the $19.99 rate made AT&T the least expensive provider of 3G data in the world…savvy users will once again be left with other more mainstream and expensive options for no contract data access such as Verizon, unless one chooses to take advantage of a longstanding loophole in AT&T’s GoPhone Pick Your Plan Rollover program…”

Open Source

  1. Linux Netbook Returns: Not Surprising, but Likely Avoidable http://tinyurl.com/42txbb (Ostatic) “…Tung discussed future netbook sales and releases -- and presented the statistic that Linux-based netbooks are four times more likely to be returned [than ones that run Windows XP]…Considering the low price of Linux netbooks, and their rarity at larger retailers that might allow new users to "kick the tires," it seems that many new users leap, then look…He also stated that many big box retailers are hesitant to stock netbooks in stores, because they might cut into sales of higher priced notebooks…More netbooks -- Linux, or otherwise -- in "standard" retail outlets could reduce the return rate, if only because buyers could see, feel, and try out, even just briefly, the hardware and the software…I have an EeePC 701, and with the default Easy Mode Xandros loaded, it is difficult to imagine that ASUS dreamed of selling it to any other market than school aged children…Tung doesn't indicate that MSI is abandoning Linux on their netbooks, just that they're thinking further about what would reduce the return rate. …”
  2. Mono 2.0 is out http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2008/Oct-06.html http://blogs.zdnet.com/carroll/?p=1881 “…Mono version 2.0 was released today. Built as an open source implementation of the .NET framework, this release goes further in its goal to encompass more of the full range of .NET APIs in a package that can run on both the Mac and Linux…I think what the folks at Mono have managed to accomplish is rather impressive. They’ve managed to port most of the .NET Framework to non-Windows platforms. What I sometimes wonder, however, is why Microsoft has no interest in doing such a thing themselves…Big thanks go to the fantastic Mono team at Novell that has kept the excitement and the pace over all these years (we started in 2001)…Server-side use of Mono was a natural evolution and we soon were powering ASP.NET sites on Linux…As the project matured, developers started taking advantage of Mono's open source nature: essentially .NET on their own terms…Today Mono is embedded in portable mp3 players and powers Unity3D's game engine on the Apple iPhone, the Nintendo Wii, MacOS X and Windows…It has also been deployed to run code on large clusters of servers for SecondLife…If you are a Windows developer, you can continue using Visual Studio or your IDE of choice to write the code and compile it. Your binaries will run just fine on Linux. …”
  3. Open source issues related to Chrome http://tinyurl.com/3fqufw (GoogleWatch) “…It seems Android isn't the only open-source product from Google that comes with some limits to the search engine's largesse…The case I'm referring to is that of ChromePlugins.org, an unofficial site for fostering the development of Chrome plug-ins, addons, extensions and other features to improve the browser…the site proprietor blogged that he had received an e-mail from Google…telling him he couldn't use the snapshot of the Google Chrome comic, the Google Chrome icon and the Google Chrome logo…the Creative Commons license does in fact afford Google and others protections. If you look at the comments section that follows this post, some folks find fault with the author's use, noting that he modified the Chrome comic snapshot, violating the CC license… the comic book is licensed under a Creative Commons "no derivative works, no commercial use" license, which would permit using parts of the comic book without changes. Clearly, the author made changes…Chromeplugins was using language and our mark in a confusing way, which suggested that the site belonged to Google, and we asked the owner to make certain changes to clarify that this was not a Google site…If you look at the snapshot and the original iteration of the Chromeplugins site, the author's use of the icon and logo could be confusing. That's a no-no…It seems Google itself isn't sure what it wants to allow and prevent…Google is currently formulating guidelines for using the Google Chrome and Chromium logos to clarify when and how users, developers and enthusiasts can use the logos. We expect the guidelines to be made public within the next couple of weeks…”

SkyNet

  1. Google Spreadsheets Redesign http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2008/10/google-spreadsheets-redesign.html “…Google Spreadsheets has been redesigned and it now includes the same old-fashioned menu like the word processor and the presentation app…The toolbar includes some of the most frequently used features, but I don't think Google did a job at ordering them: for example, the cell formatting options are too prominent, while pasting and sorting have been neglected…A very cool new feature is the full-screen mode: press Ctrl+Shift+F repeatedly to alternate between two full-screen views and the standard view…”
  2. Google's clean plan for 2030 http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=19&entry_id=30982 “…Google Inc. fleshed out a plan for more environmentally friendly America that would significantly curtail the use of oil and coal by 2030…Here's some of the ideas: Electricity: Google hopes to reduce the energy industry's reliance on coal (currently the source of 50 percent of electricity), natural gas (20 percent) and nuclear (20 percent). Instead, it wants renewables as to largely keep America's lights on. Wind power should grow from relatively insignificant today to 29 percent of U.S. electricity production. Geothermal should grow to 15 percent while solar should grow to 12 percent. Natural gas, hydro-electric power and nuclear would account for the rest…”
  3. Google SMS: free SMS to your groups http://84productions.blogspot.com/2008/10/google-sms-channels-send-free-sms-to.html “…Google recently introduced a new feature known as Google SMS Channels that enables channels/groups on SMS. This service is free with which you can get free alerts, news to your mobile phone via SMS. You can also create your own group and start communicating with your friends, family, and co-workers.…”
  4. Google Blogsearch Relaunches http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_blogsearch_relaunches_a.php “…In its first major upgrade ever, Google Blogsearch just relaunched and looks radically different. Instead of the blank page look of Google.com, Blogsearch now looks like Google News (but uglier) - with the hottest topics from the blogosphere aggregated on the front page. Readers can drill down in 11 different categories, from technology, business, sports and entertainment.…”
  5. Google Technology Roundtable series http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/10/new-technology-roundtable-series.html “…first three videos in the Google Technology Roundtable Series. Each one is a discussion with senior Google researchers and technologists about one of our most significant achievements…While the videos are intended for a reasonably technical audience, I think they may be interesting to many as an overview of the key challenges and ideas underlying Google's systems…”
  6. To Prevent Drunken E-Mails, Google Launches Mail Goggles http://krisabel.ctv.ca/blog/_archives/2008/10/7/3919277.html “…"Mail Goggles", a new tool designed to help prevent users from sending e-mails while under the influence that they might regret later. Designed only to become active at night during the weekends (you can customize the time yourself) Mail Goggles will let you write an e-mail, but not send it until you first complete a set of simple math questions…”

General Technology

  1. Power-efficient notebooks: Get the LED display, drop the SSD http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/39486/145/ “…I still believe that it isn’t realistic to expect this [HP] notebook will hit 24 hours in a real-world scenario. Jeremy Brody, HP’s global business notebook marketing manager, disagrees and stated that 24 hours is possible with the right adjustments…However, if you think about, the 24-hour claim isn’t really the big deal here…The much more interesting question is: What would I have to buy to get a notebook that takes me through an entire workday on one charge – for 8 to 10 hours? Brody had some interesting recommendations, which I believe are important to pass on…”
  2. 2008 Ig Nobels honor best, weirdest scientific research http://tinyurl.com/3sxgtd (Ars technica) “…the 18th First Annual Ig Nobel Awards were handed out in Harvard's Sanders Theater. Not quite as well-known as their more prestigious namesake, the awards recognize "research that first makes people laugh and then think." The ceremony saw the ever-popular 24/7 lecture series, where leading researchers from around the world discuss the technical details and ramifications of their work in 24 seconds, then explain it in layman's terms in 7 words…Other ongoing traditions include the Ig Nobels being handed out by Nobel laureates, and an eight-year-old girl being kept up past her bedtime whose role is to ensure that acceptance speeches are capped at 60 seconds…”

Leisure & Entertainment

  1. Michael Moore: Slacker Uprising’s piracy http://torrentfreak.com/michael-moore-on-slacker-uprisings-piracy-problem-081006/ “…Like many other filmmakers, Moore wants his film to be seen by as many people as possible. However, the ‘rights holders’ have other interests…Moore’s latest documentary, Slacker Uprising, is only available for free in Northern America. People who attempt to download the torrent elsewhere get this annoying “Sorry” message. Since there are no geographical restrictions on the official torrent file, however, it was easy to share the film with the rest of the world. It would only take one person to upload the torrent to another site, and the rest of the world would have access to it…we asked the question: “Is this deliberate, or accidental?…”
  2. Hand over the controller, girl gamers say http://tech.yahoo.com/news/nm/20081003/tc_nm/us_videogames_girls “…Gina Sutton…traveled from her home in Virginia to spend her 16th birthday at the Nintendo World Store in New York, and she can't understand why anyone would think video games are just for boys…With her nimble fingers and bubbling enthusiasm, she is one of a fast-growing posse of female gamers in the United States and elsewhere…38 percent of U.S. gamers are female, up from 33 percent in just five years…One game that appeals to more girls than boys is Horseland, developed by Christina Johnson and her father, Phil Gerskovich. When Johnson was 12, she stood at the kitchen table nearly every evening and lobbied her parents for a horse. While most parents might try to satisfy these demands with a stuffed animal or a day trip to the stables, Gerskovich created a horse avatar for his daughter. The result was Horseland, an online pet game and social network, which they launched together in 1994. Today, Horseland lassos more than 5 million users, and has a line of merchandise and a partnership with DIC Entertainment for a CBS cartoon show. Another factor that is making girls and women a greater force in gaming is the crossover of casual games from the online world to consoles like Nintendo's Wii…Meanwhile, some gamers lament that many female-focused games reinforce stereotypes and lack substantive content…Only 11.5 percent of the people designing games are female, according to the International Game Developers Association…”
  3. Holographic television to become reality http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/science/10/06/holographic.television/ “…don't be surprised if within our lifetime you find yourself discarding your plasma and LCD sets in exchange for a holographic 3-D television that can put Cristiano Ronaldo in your living room or bring you face-to-face with life-sized versions of your gaming heroes. The reason for renewed optimism in three-dimensional technology is a breakthrough in rewritable and erasable holographic systems made earlier this year by researchers at the University of Arizona…”
  4. MMO Players Adept At Lying On Surveys http://kotaku.com/5056938/mmo-players-surprisingly-adept-at-lying-on-surveys “…MSNBC is running an interesting story on a recent survey conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California that indicates that MMORPG players rank among the most physically fit people in America. The data was pulled from more than 7,000 Everquest 2 players, enticed to answer the 25-minute survey with a limited-edition in-game item…They reported exercising vigorously once or twice a week, as opposed to 62 percent of American adults who don't exercise for more than 10 minutes at any time. They also found that MMO players are on average 10 percent leaner than the average American. Okay, so I ran the story as it was presented, now let's take a look at how we run it in reality land…They also found that MMO players are on average 10 percent leaner than the average American, due to the fact that they are so disconnected from their physical bodies that they have no idea what lean was and guessed low…This is the internet, after all, where only the very prettiest people post pictures of themselves that aren't at least five years old or severely photoshopped…Kudos to the University of Southern California for getting their hands on all that data, but I know players who would sell their children for a free in-game item and not think twice about it. Your data is severely compromised…”
  5. Game on! Google AdSense for Online Gaming http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_adsense_online_gaming.php “…Today, Google announced the launch of Google AdSense for Games, a flavor of AdSense built on Google's AdScape Media acquisition that allows advertisers and content producers to place ads within the content of online games. Google AdSense for Games enters the market behind Yahoo! games and Microsoft games, both of whom have a respectable lead in this potentially lucrative ad model…What's more, there are already a number of well-known companies participating, like Konami, mochimedia, and Zynga, which took on an additional $29 million in funding in July. Titles highlighted include Dance Dance Revolution, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Karaoke Revolution to name a few.…”
  6. Family-friendly Wii out to win battle-loving gamers http://tinyurl.com/3f7lnw (Yahoo) “…US-based High Voltage Software is painstakingly crafting a "Conduit" first-person shooter game for the Wii that challenges players to repel alien invaders in a make-believe Washington, D.C. High Voltage was part of a cadre of studios that joined Nintendo in San Francisco on Friday to demonstrate that the Wii's motion-sensing controllers can simulate guns and swords as well as golf clubs and orchestra batons. "One of our missions from the start was definitely to make a game for the hardcore," Nofsinger told AFP as he provided a glimpse at a version of "Conduit"…”

Economy and Technology

  1. Free Vs Paid http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2008/10/free-vs-paid.html “…My friend Howard was visiting me a few weeks ago and he said to me "free is over, I am only investing in services that customers pay for"…There's a movement afoot by investors to back web services with a real business model instead of the pervasive "give it away for free and hope for the best" approach that's been in favor for the past four years…It's much better, in my opinion, to go with the freemium model, give a version of the service away for free to all comers, get a lot of users, get good market feedback, then develop a premium version of the product/service for sale to enterprise customers…”
  2. AMD finds oil money to finance its split into two companies http://tinyurl.com/4to6yp (PCWorld) “…Advanced Micro Devices plans to split into two companies, one to design chips and one to make them, while two investment funds owned by the government of Abu Dhabi will contribute new capital…Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), created by the government of Abu Dhabi, will buy a substantial stake in the chip-making operation, tentatively called The Foundry Co…ATIC will invest US$1.4 billion directly in The Foundry Co. and pay another $700 million to AMD, giving it 55.6 percent of the new company and half the seats on the board…At the same time, Mubadala Development Co. will pay $314 million to increase its stake in AMD to 19.3 percent…”
  3. Price of unleashed freedom: SEC investigates Steve Jobs heart attack news http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/39619/118/ “…U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating fake story of Steve Jobs heart attack that emerged last week on CNN's iReport site where would-be journalists around the world can post their own stories, videos and images. The SEC believes that a larger plot could be behind a seemingly tasteless rumor plotted to drive the stock down and profit from Wall Street's reaction on the news and the subsequent denial by Apple officials…The stock reacted almost immediately and sent the stock down about 10%, from $106.50 to a 17-month low of $94.65. It largely recovered when the company spokesman Steve Dowling denied the rumor later that day…”
  4. Tom Wolfe is an Idiot http://paul.kedrosky.com/archives/2008/10/07/tom_wolfe_is_an.html “…I'm not sure which part of an absurd interview with writer Tom Wolfe to point to -- there are many idiocies to choose among -- but I'll just point to this one and go with it: “The whole thing, starting with the subprime, is the fault of the computer…Things used to arrive on paper. Today things arrive on a screen, and a screen is back lit, and one of the biggest pains in the neck is trying to read something dully written and complicated on a computer screen. It will drive you nuts…” Right, that's it. It's the computers' fault, not to mention backlit screens. Fool…”
  5. Congress says DARPA can’t “responsibly manage” requested FY09 increase http://tinyurl.com/4tmqpf (InsideHPC) “…In recent years, DARPA has repeatedly underexecuted its funded program level, executing a fiscal year 2005 program that was nine percent below the appropriated program and a fiscal year 2006 program that was twelve percent below the appropriated program…While DARPA’s continued underexecution can partially be explained by its fiscally responsible management approach of withholding funds from projects that fail to demonstrate progress, doubts exist about DARPA’s ability to responsibly manage such a large increase. Therefore, the bill provides $3,142,229,000, a reduction of $143,340,000 from the request…DARPA has committed the fundamental sin in the federal government: don’t never ever spend less than your budget…”
  6. EBay Cuts 10% of Work Force, Acquires Bill Me Later http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-10058660-92.html “…eBay will lay off about 10 percent of its workforce…also announced plans to acquire online payments business Bill Me Later for $820 million in cash and approximately $125 million in outstanding options…”
  7. Facebook co-founder Moskovitz leaves to start group collaboration company http://tinyurl.com/3zzw4e (VentureBeat) “…Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz (left) and colleague Justin Rosenstein (right) said this weekend they are leaving Facebook to start their own company. The moves are just the latest in a steady exodus from Facebook…The new company will build tools to facilitate collaboration within the enterprise…”

Civilian Aerospace

  1. Japan to turn sci-fi into reality with elevator to the stars http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article4799369.ece “…Now the finest scientific minds of Japan are devoting themselves to cracking the greatest sci-fi vision of all: the space elevator…For chemists, physicists, material scientists, astronauts and dreamers across the globe, the space elevator represents the most tantalising of concepts: cables stronger and lighter than any fibre yet woven, tethered to the ground and disappearing beyond the atmosphere to a satellite docking station in geosynchronous orbit above Earth. Up and down the 22,000 mile-long (36,000km) cables — or flat ribbons — will run the elevator carriages, themselves requiring huge breakthroughs in engineering to which the biggest Japanese companies and universities have turned their collective attention…”
  2. Space exploration at a crossroad http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1225/1 “…We will also soon see a new president at the helm of the United States…some of the biggest challenges ever encountered by any of its predecessors: how to end the war in Iraq, how to balance the US budget against the needs of America, how to take care of the climate change crisis and energy needs, and how to meet aging Baby Boomer needs given the prodigious US national debt. Of course, in this context, the space program will not be a great issue for him…ISS is a colossal success considering that it’s an assembly of complex components built separately in the US, Russia, Europe, Japan, and Canada. The fact that this assortment has functioned nearly perfectly for a decade is, by itself, a great achievement. But ISS is also an achievement in that it requires a level of day-to-day collaboration between America and Russia unthinkable twenty years ago…”
  3. Esther Dyson bets $3M on the moon http://www.vator.tv/news/show/2008-10-05-esther-dyson-bets-3-million-on-the-moon “…On October 20, Airship Ventures' zeppelin will arrive in Moffett Field. It's exciting news for everyone in the Bay Area, including Esther Dyson, an investor in Airship Ventures…"I'm going to be training to be a backup for a commercial space astronaut," said Esther…For the several-million-dollar lottery ticket, Esther goes to space-training camp in Moscow next year, and has an option to launch into the solar system with two Russian astronauts…If your father designed a rocket ship when you were seven, you would have probably spent a good deal of your life thinking about new frontiers, just like Esther, whose father helped develop a nuclear-powered rocket in her youth…”
  4. Elite Club Lets Space Tourist Cut to Front of Line http://www.space.com/news/081006-spacetourist-simonyi.html “…American billionaire Charles Simonyi snagged his history-making second space tourist trip to the International Space Station next year thanks to an elite club that gives its members first dibs on private spaceflight seats. Simonyi, 60, is paying about $35 million to launch to the space station in spring 2009 aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft on a spaceflight that will come two years after his first $25 million flight…The elite six-person club requires a $5 million deposit and gives its members first pick at new space tourist seats as they become available…”
  5. Space Tourism: You're Now Free to Float About the Cabin http://www.inc.com/articles/2008/09/space-tourism.html “…Space tourism represents what I believe to be the last available frontier. So when Virgin Galactic was looking for the best travel consultants in the country to represent them and sell their space flights, I was all over it…After I was appointed as an Accredited Space Agent by Virgin Galactic I had to meet the other 46 ASAs from across the country at Kennedy Space Center. The training encompassed extensive product knowledge, a thorough understanding of rocket science, g-forces, and the technology of the space craft…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

  1. SC08 to Offer 25 High Performance Computing Tutorials http://tinyurl.com/4zsqpx (HPCwire) “…The SC08 conference Tutorials Program will offer a wide range of supercomputing educational opportunities for all attendees…Tutorial topics include parallel, distributed and multi-core computing; parallel programming and debugging; high-performance programming languages and systems (e.g., Chapel, CUDA, MPI, OpenMP, Parallel Matlab, and PGAS languages)…”
  2. 3D Imaging Spreads to Fashion and Beyond http://tinyurl.com/3fsd8m (Business Week) “…3D technology is changing the way people do business everywhere. Consider Lori Coulter, a women's swimsuit designer…Lori Coulter clients needn't try on piles of swimsuits amid unflattering fluorescent lights in a cramped dressing room. Instead, they discreetly step into a room where the shop uses a scanner to take 140 measurements in less than a minute, then uploads them to a computer, which builds a 3D image and suggests an array of figure-flattering styles. The client chooses a style and pattern, and within as few as three days a custom-made swimsuit is ready to wear…Another catalyst in making 3D computing more mainstream is the video game industry, which has helped push high-end hardware out to consumers, Maher says…While the automotive and aeronautics industries have worked with 3D computer-aided design for at least two decades, it's now spreading to other industries and smaller companies as it becomes more affordable…”
  3. How to Integrate CUDA with Visual C++ http://sarathc.wordpress.com/2008/09/26/how-to-integrate-cuda-with-visual-c/ “…If you want to program CUDA, first you will have to install latest nVidia CUDA Driver for your Graphics Hardware which supports desired CUDA version. Then you will have to install the CUDA Toolkit which includes the CUDA Compiler, Include file, lib file and binary files to develop your CUDA application…But in Windows world, most of the developers are much satisfied with the IDE Visual Studio…If we can integrate the CUDA development to Visual Studio IDE, that’s pretty nice no?…”

*****

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