2008/10/15

NEW NET 15 Oct 2008

Continuing the experiment we tried last week -- 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. We'll return to Tuesday meetings next week (21 Oct 2008).

Below is the final list of issues for the WEDNESDAY, 15 October 2008, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering. This week's meeting is at Cambria Suites Hotel, 3940 N. Gateway Drive, Appleton Wisconsin, USA.

The ‘net

  1. 11 troubled Web companies http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10063020-2.html “…"We are going to lose some good companies." That's the warning cry from investors in tech these days…Remember Kozmo, the munchie messenger service from the last bubble? Not a person who used it didn't love it…It couldn't transition to a viable company, and it folded…Here, in no particular order, are 11 online services companies that could face a similar fate… Twitter…Meebo…TripIt…Zillow…Pandora…Second Life…Skype…Ask…DailyMotion…Netvibes…MySpace…”
  2. Yahoo Web Analytics to finally give Google some competition http://tinyurl.com/4afoqm (Ars technica) “…Marketed as "an enterprise site analytics tool," the private beta of Yahoo Web Analytics reveals a clear initial focus on business and commercial web sites, and some unique features could give competitors like Google a run for their money. Yahoo Web Analytics is the result of Yahoo's April acquisition of IndexTools, a web analytics software provider geared toward online marketing. With such a quick turnaround into a Yahoo product, albeit as a private beta for Yahoo's 150,000 small- to medium-size business web site customers…Yahoo Web Analytics boasts "near real-time" data aggregation and visualization, which—if true—will be a significant leg up on Google Analytics' typical 8- to 12-hour turnaround time…”
  3. Zoho Mail Goes Offline & Mobile http://webworkerdaily.com/2008/10/11/zoho-mail-offline-iphone/ “…this week, Zoho…was publicly unveiling its own support for offline and access, ironically using Google’s own Gears platform…Zoho decided that to bring users’ mailboxes offline, Gears was a better technological platform for offline access than the IMAP protocol; though we’re assured IMAP is coming…the offline features seem pretty comprehensive despite currently being restricted to Gears for Firefox and Internet Explorer and with most online features being available offline - messages, images & attachments are optionally available and a clever connectivity detection feature automatically determines whether a network is visible, flipping between offline and online modes as appropriate…”
  4. Microsoft Releases Silverlight 2.0 http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10064319-56.html “…Microsoft on Monday announced, as expected, that it is ready with a final version of its Silverlight 2 media player…Microsoft said the Olympics helped boost Silverlight's U.S. penetration by 30 percent, the software maker said. "We launched Silverlight just over a year ago, and already one in four consumers worldwide has access to a computer with Silverlight already installed," Microsoft developer unit VP Scott Guthrie said in a statement. Still, that means Silverlight continues to have a very long way to go to compete with Flash, which is installed on nearly all Windows PCs…”
  5. GoDaddy Unveils Mainstream Social Web Aggregator http://tinyurl.com/428sde (ReadWriteWeb) “…GoDaddy has just unveiled an amazing new service called SmartSpace which lets anyone register a domain name and then instantly turn it into a social web site which aggregates any of the following components onto one page: a blog, a photo album, a chat application, email, RSS feeds, and even components from social networking applications like MySpace, Facebook, or LinkedIn. All you have to do is register the domain name you want and all the technical work is done for you - the site builds itself automatically…”
  6. MyThings raises $5 M to help organize your stuff http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/mythings_raises_5_million_to_h.php “…If you ever wished for a central place to keep track of your online purchases and to store all those email receipts, MyThings might just be what you are looking for. The London-based company just announced a $5 million Series B round. Besides helping you to keep track of your purchases, MyThings also provides access to information about product recalls, manuals, and insurance, as well as an easy way to sell you things on eBay, donate them, or report them stolen…MyThings allows you to either forward emailed receipts from product purchases or add purchased items to your list manually…”
  7. Flash 10 Released http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/flash_10_released_finally_flash_works_in_firefox_again.php “…Today Abode announced the availability of Adobe Flash Player 10 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The new plugin offers a number of improvements such as native support for 3D, a new text rendering engine, and integration with Adobe's Pixel Bender technology. However, we know that many of you aren't interested in these upgrades, which are mainly aimed at Flash developers. What you want to know is this: Will Flash video finally work in Firefox? We're pleased to report the answer to that question is YES…”
  8. Mint.com vs. Quicken Online http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20081015-hands-on-mint-com-vs-quicken-online.html “…Online financial organization has just grown more robust as Mint.com and offline incumbent Quicken both introduced new features to their web-based products. Since Mint.com and Quicken Online have similar purposes and functionality in mind, we thought it was time to take a comparative look at how a company from the new social media realm stacks up against a desktop software giant when it comes to online money management…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

  1. Will Senate actually investigate NSA spying on Americans? http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10063138-38.html “…U.S. Senate is investigating allegations by two National Security Agency whistleblowers who have described widespread monitoring of innocuous telephone conversations by the Bush administration's clandestine program…The NSA whistleblowers tell a different story -- including that phone sex conversations were intercepted, recorded, and passed around the office for laughs. "These were just really everyday, average, ordinary Americans who happened to be in the Middle East, in our area of intercept and happened to be making these phone calls on satellite phones," Kinne told ABC News. Faulk said that he listened in on American troops "calling home to the United States, talking to their spouses, sometimes their girlfriends, sometimes one phone call following another…History echoes this point. In decades past, government agencies have subjected hundreds of thousands of law-abiding Americans to unlawful surveillance, illegal wiretaps and warrantless searches. Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr., feminists, gay rights leaders, and Catholic priests were spied upon. The FBI used secret files and hidden microphones to blackmail the Kennedy brothers, sway the Supreme Court, and influence presidential elections…”
  2. World Bank Under Cyber Siege in 'Unprecedented Crisis' http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,435681,00.html “…The World Bank Group's computer network — one of the largest repositories of sensitive data about the economies of every nation — has been raided repeatedly by outsiders for more than a year, FOX News has learned. It is still not known how much information was stolen. But sources inside the bank confirm that servers in the institution's highly-restricted treasury unit were deeply penetrated with spy software last April. Invaders also had full access to the rest of the bank's network for nearly a month in June and July…”
  3. Chip and pin scam 'has netted millions from British shoppers' http://tinyurl.com/4xuk69 “…A sophisticated "chip and pin" scam run by criminal gangs in China and Pakistan is netting millions of pounds from the bank accounts of British shoppers, America's top cyber security official has revealed…hundreds of chip and pin machines in stores and supermarkets across Europe have been tampered with to allow details of shoppers' credit card accounts to be relayed to overseas fraudsters. These details are then used to make cash withdrawals or siphon off money from card holders' accounts in what is one of the largest scams of its kind…America's counterintelligence chief said: "Previously only a nation state's intelligence service would have been capable of pulling off this type of operation. It's scary …”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

  1. 1.5 Million G1 Mobile Phones Pre-Sold http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/15_million_g1_mobile_phones_pre-sold.php “…Just days after going on pre-sale the G1 sold out fast, which sent T-Mobile scrambling to place more orders. T-Mobile tripled their original number of orders to HTC for G1 devices. Since then, all of those orders have been pre-sold. The amount of units pre-sold is reported to be around 1.5 million! That figure doesn't even include the number of pre-sale orders placed in T-mobile retail stores. It is being reported that about 1 million units have been pre-ordered from T-Mobile retail stores…”
  2. Android Market Should Get 5 Apps http://www.htlounge.net/article/6776/android-market-should-get-5-apps/ “…T-Mobile G1 with Google. The hardware itself isn’t particularly revolutionary, but the operating system found within could represent all sorts of possibilities. Google Android is open-source and it comes with the backing of the world’s largest search engine…Much like what the App Store is able to provide to the Apple iPhone, the Android Market can serve as an excellent place to expand upon the functionality of any Google Android phone…The development community is sure to gobble this up…stick my neck out and request a few possible projects for anyone looking to create something I’d want to download and/or purchase…NetShare for Android…NES Emulator…Proper Integration with Google Docs…Twitter Client…Video Recording and Playback…”
  3. iPhones go to front of the class http://www.networkworld.com/news/2008/101308-abilene.html “…When almost 1,000 freshman students showed up at Abilene Christian University on Aug. 16, they got something more than the usual medical release forms, parking permits and Welcome Week t-shirts. They got a choice of a brand-spanking-new Apple iPhone 3G or iPod Touch, plus a package of ACU-written Web applications to use on them…”
  4. Software can hold drivers' cell-phone calls http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/ptech/10/14/cellphones.driving.ap/ “…Aegis Mobility, a Canadian software company, announced Monday that it has developed software called DriveAssistT that will detect whether a cell phone is moving at car speeds. When that happens, the software will alert the cellular network, telling it to hold calls and text messages until the drive is over. The software doesn't completely block incoming calls. Callers will hear a message saying the person they're calling appears to be driving. They can hit a button to leave an emergency voice mail, which is put through immediately…”

Open Source

  1. OpenOffice 3 Released - Demand Crashes Site http://www.download.com/8301-2007_4-10064886-12.html “…Demand for OpenOffice.org 3 has been so high on its first day of out of beta that the official Web site crashed…After using OpenOffice's MS Word analog, Writer, all day, I can confirm that this update is worth it for the improvement in response and load times, if nothing else. The installation is still enormous, with an installer about 130MB for Windows users and 160MB for Mac, but the installation process is smoother…Many of the new features are only noticeable depending on how much of the OpenOffice suite you use. If you're a rebel and you use it in your work environment when everybody else is still on Microsoft Office, the compatibility with Office 2007/2008 file formats is hard to ignore. Finally getting native support for DOCX and XLSX, for example, is long overdue…However, OpenOffice can not yet save files in the new MS Office format…Other improvements to the two most-used programs in OpenOffice include multiple page viewing, improved notes and commenting, and improved PDF creation and importation in Writer, and a Solver feature and spreadsheet sharing in Calc …”
  2. Wikipedia adopts Ubuntu for its server infrastructure http://tinyurl.com/4jqkdj (Ars technica) “…Wikimedia Foundation, the organization behind the user-driven Wikipedia project, is in the process of migrating its servers to the Ubuntu Linux distribution. Wikimedia's move to Ubuntu is part of an effort to simplify administration of the organization's 400 servers, which previously ran a mix of various versions of Red Hat and Fedora…Wikimedia's adoption of Ubuntu could help increase the distribution's visibility in the Linux server market and demonstrate its viability in large-scale deployments…Wikimedia's entire collection of web sites…can sometimes reach 50,000 HTTP requests per second…”
  3. Mobile Firefox ready for download http://www.linuxdevices.com/news/NS2883566630.html?kc=rss “…Mozilla Labs is offering a "Milestone 8" Linux release of the long-awaited mobile version of its Firefox web browser. The "Fennec" browser will be released in final form in a few weeks, sporting iPhone-like "kinetic" scrolling, a Mac-like "expose" feature for tabs, and optional geolocation. Fennec, which will run via x86 and ARM processors on both Linux and Windows Mobile devices, has been under development since last year. Aimed at "bringing a true web experience to mobile phones and other non-PC devices," the browser will include a "bridge" that lets users migrate cookies, bookmarks, history, form-fill data, and other information from their desktop browsers to their mobiles…”

SkyNet

  1. Google rewires Washington: challenge to Microsoft http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=aV9jZlt3Y.G0 “…Vivek Kundra, recruited to Washington to overhaul city computer networks plagued by cost overruns and viruses…signed a contract worth almost $500,000 a year in June for all 38,000 municipal employees to use Google's e-mail, spreadsheet and word- processing programs, giving them an Internet-based alternative to Microsoft Corp.'s Office software, installed on computers. Accountants, teachers and firefighters use Google to set budgets, track truancy rates and map emergency routes…``If Google keeps getting big customers like the District of Columbia, that's a lot of licenses Microsoft is going to lose…”
  2. Google better than books for old brains http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2008/10/14/brain-aging-web.html “…Deciding what to click on next when searching the internet may help stimulate the brain of middle-aged and older adults beyond the benefits of reading alone, researchers have found…"Internet searching engages complicated brain activity, which may help exercise and improve brain function," said the study's principal investigator…All participants showed significant brain activity while reading a book, which showed they were using areas in the temporal, parietal, occipital lobes and other areas that control language, reading, memory and visual ability. But experienced internet users also showed a two-fold increase in brain activity, including areas in the frontal and temporal lobes and cingulate cortex that control decision-making and complex reasoning. "A simple, everyday task like searching the web appears to enhance brain circuitry in older adults…”

General Technology

  1. Apple will repair MacBooks that have faulty Nvidia GPUs http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-10063844-37.html “…Apple said it will repair at no charge MacBook Pros where the Nvidia GPU has failed, or fails within two years from the purchase date. Problem signs include distorted or scrambled video, or no video on the screen though the computer is turned on. Models that might be affected are 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pros with Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT graphics processors…”
  2. New machine prints sheets of light http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/10/10/sheets.of.light.oleds.ap/ “…On a bank of the Mohawk River, a windowless industrial building of corrugated steel hides something that could make floor lamps, bedside lamps, wall sconces and nearly every other household lamp obsolete. It's a machine that prints lights. The size of a semitrailer, it coats an 8-inch wide plastic film with chemicals, then seals them with a layer of metal foil. Apply electric current to the resulting sheet, and it lights up with a blue-white glow…Unlike practically every other source of lighting, you wouldn't need a lamp or conventional fixture for these sheets, though you would need to plug them into an outlet. The sheets owe their luminance to compounds known as organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs. While there are plenty of problems to be worked out with the technology, it's not the dream of a wild-eyed startup…”
  3. Samsung + X4: future of flash may hinge on SanDisk takeover http://tinyurl.com/3felyf (Ars technica) “…SanDisk may have just concluded a multibillion-dollar patent licensing lawsuit with Samsung which could determine the future of both SanDisk and the flash industry at large…Traditionally, digital information storage, including SRAM, DRAM, and early Flash, stored information by toggling each cell between two states; a neutral and a charged state; this is a single-level cell, or SLC, design. In what has heretofore been referred to as multi-level cell (MLC) flash, each cell has a neutral voltage and three levels of charged state, for a total of four states capable of storing two bits of information…SLC has been deemed superior in terms of performance and lifecycle, but MLC has been catching up and is currently dominating the rising SSD segment. The Samsung versus SanDisk story centers on technology patents from a small Israeli company called M-Systems. M-Systems released some of the first NAND flash drives for use in rugged industrial and military computers, the onboard systems for the Israeli Defense Force tanks and aircraft. A number of years ago, M-Systems invented techniques that allow even finer voltage level setting and measurement in NAND cells…Referred to as X3 and X4 technology, this technique holds the promise of reducing flash costs still further…X4 may well be the future path for the industry. …”
  4. Windows 7 gets a name: Windows 7 http://www.tgdaily.com/html_tmp/content-view-39717-140.html “…Mike Nash, corporate vice president for Windows product management at Microsoft, had the honor of announcing the official name of the new client Windows: Windows 7…The company decided against a date in the name (such as “Windows 2008”) since the company does not ship a new Windows every year and it decided against an “aspirational” name (such as “XP” or “Vista”) since it is not really an entirely new release, but just an enhancement over Vista. “Simply put, this is the seventh release of Windows, so therefore "Windows 7" just makes sense,” Nash said.…”

Leisure & Entertainment

  1. Otherland http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=249125&page=1 “…A German publisher of games and children's software, without a major hit to its name and with no experience in online gaming, committing tens of millions of Euros to the development of what it hopes will be a triple-A MMO. An American author of doorstop science-fiction and fantasy novels seeing his work adapted for the first time. A bunch of talented, dispossessed Australian developers, striking out in a new field and a new country, with a truly international team…Otherland - from the books by Tad Williams - is a mind-bending concept. For want of a better soundbite, let's call it the first cyberpunk MMO: a virtual world about virtual worlds, in which your avatar is an avatar, the NPCs play NPCs, and you explore a multiverse in which you might be in realistic historical surroundings one minute, and cartoon fantasy ones the next. Everything changes, even your own appearance, and nothing is even pretending to be real …”
  2. Dead Space Will Shock You, As Predicted http://blog.wired.com/games/2008/10/review-dead-spa.html “…I don't scare easily. It's not a machismo thing: I'm just not exactly unnerved by the monsters-in-the-closet scenarios that get recycled so often in horror-themed videogames. But Dead Space started to get to me. I played this PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC shooter wearing headphones, with the lights off and the blinds drawn. The clanking machinery and the sounds of monsters scurrying through vents set the eerie tone. But what set me off was the whispering -- barely audible, manic whispering -- that reverberated down empty hallways and corridors…And then, someone started singing nursery rhymes…”
  3. BlizzCon 2008: Staying true to Diablo http://www.gamespot.com/news/6199206.html “…Diablo III was the topic of one of the first sessions on the first day of BlizzCon 2008…Diablo III lead designer Jay Wilson and technical game director Wyatt Cheng returned to helm the panel, with Cheng acting as a silent partner in the presentation…Diablo, Wilson began, was a reinvigoration of the RPG market, offering simple, action-based gameplay with random dungeon and item drops. Diablo II's primary contribution was to refine the mechanics of the first, as well as dramatically expand the universe's scope. With these elements in mind, Wilson laid out what he and his team wanted to accomplish with Diablo III. Foremost, it was important to stay true to the Diablo experience. "We wanted a game that when people played it, they essentially said, 'Yeah, this feels right…”

Economy and Technology

  1. Sequoia alarm bell: Silicon Valley trouble http://gigaom.com/2008/10/08/sequoia-rings-the-alarm-bell-silicon-valley-in-trouble/ “…Sequoia Capital, arguably the smartest venture capital investor in business, is sounding the alarm and asking its portfolio companies to buckle down for what could be the worst economic downturn of their relatively short lives. The fund organized a meeting yesterday where it invited entreprenuers/CEOs from its portfolio companies. The attendees were greeted by a cute image of a Grave Stone, with a message: R.I.P.: Good Times…The message delivered to those in attendance was that things could get a lot worse than people think, and it will be a more protracted downturn. To give a historical perspective, Sequoia had a similar meeting back before the last bubble unraveled burst. We know how that turned out…”
  2. Memory Makers Grapple with Falling Prices http://tinyurl.com/3f3t9a (InternetNews) “…A string of potential deals between memory chip makers underscores the desperate need to consolidate as the global financial crisis threatens to squeeze an industry already struggling with plummeting demand and falling prices. But with most chip makers strapped for cash, and with credit markets drying up, the question is: Who has the money to buy whom?...Japanese electronics conglomerate Toshiba Corp is in talks to buy U.S.-based memory chip maker Spansion…Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung announced a $5.85 billion, or $26 a share, offer for SanDisk, the largest U.S. retailer of flash memory cards…shares of memory chip maker Micron Technology Inc rose 10 percent as investors speculated it could buy chip-making factories from Qimonda…whose parent company is Infineon Technologies…”
  3. Bill Me Later’s Marino on surviving 8 years before billion-dollar exit http://tinyurl.com/4odz64 (VentureBeat) “…We did a very traditional, academic exercise. We looked at the gaps for making payments on the web. We didn’t have a business model. We didn’t have the name. We were talking to the AOL guys about what merchants would want. There was a conversation about magazine subscriptions where the cards had a checkbox item that said, “Yes, I agree. Bill me later.” It was an idle conversation but then our marketing guy’s eyes lit up. He got the trademark for it…VB: What was your best break along the way? GM: Our best break was getting the right investors: Crosspoint, Azure and GRP. If not for the faith that these guys had, we probably would have gone belly up three different times. They thought the business was worth much more and had the right business model. There was a time in 2001, another in 2004 when we were days away from insolvency…”
  4. Extraordinary times require focus http://www.teslamotors.com/blog2/?p=65 “…The global financial system has gone through the worst crisis since the Great Depression, and the effects are only beginning to wind their way through every facet of the economy…At Tesla, we have decided that the wise course of action is to focus on our two revenue producing business lines - the Roadster and powertrain sales to other car companies. In the Roadster, Tesla has a unique product with a large order book that continues to grow, despite softness in the automobile sector. Our powertrain business is profitable today and is also growing rapidly. Our goal as a company is to be cash-flow positive within six to nine months. To do so, we must continue to ramp up our production rate, improve Roadster contribution margin and reduce operating expenses…One of the steps I will be taking is raising the performance bar at Tesla to a very high level, which will result in a modest reduction in near term headcount…There will also be some headcount reduction due to consolidation of operations…Tesla is absolutely committed to development of our next generation vehicle, to be unveiled early next year. However, we are going to reduce activity on detailed production engineering, tooling and commitments to suppliers until our Department of Energy loan guarantee becomes effective. The DOE loan guarantee will cover most of the Model S program at a very low cost of capital compared with raising equity financing in what could quaintly be described as a “bear market.” The loan funding can only be drawn down after we receive environmental approval for our new 89-acre consolidated headquarters in the city of San Jose. If all goes reasonably well, we will receive that approval in Q2 next year. The net result will be a delay in start of production of the Model S of roughly six months to mid-2011…”
  5. Searching For Small Businesses http://searchengineland.com/searching-for-small-businesses-coming-up-frustrated-15112.php “…Having written about search for years, it’s often easy for me to mistakenly assume that everyone gets it. Search is where the customers are. Surely every business owner, large or small, understands by now the importance of appearing before these customers in search. Surely. But as I’ve looked for local businesses to help with my needs after a recent move, I’ve had a personal reminder of just how far behind some companies remain…”

Civilian Aerospace

  1. Son of pioneer Skylab astronaut to rocket into orbit http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=civilian-astronaut-ready-to-rocket “…When Richard Garriott blasts off into space on October 12, he will become the world's first second-generation astronaut, following in the spacewalking footsteps of his father, NASA pioneer Owen Garriott…whose to-do list includes snapping nearly 500 pictures of Earth and participating in a series of experiments that will test spaceflight's impact on his eyes (his vision was corrected by laser surgery more than a decade ago), immune system and sleep patterns. "My father's first flight into space was aboard Skylab [in 1973], the first time NASA had built a sustained space environment for Earth observations…Over his 10-day mission, Richard Garriott expects to have two or three opportunities to photograph each of his target sites, which include several areas that have changed a lot since his father first saw them from space—Las Vegas, Mount Saint Helens (which erupted in 1980) and the Mississippi River delta (which has been hit by a series of devastating hurricanes in recent years)…”
  2. New Teams Join Private Race to Moon http://www.space.com/news/081009-xprize-new-teams.html “…Two new teams have joined the robotic race to reach the moon and send pictures back to Earth in a bid to win $30 million in cash prizes. A Malaysian aerospace firm and students from the University of Central Florida make up the latest of 14 registered teams in the hunt for the Google Lunar X Prize offered by the Santa Monica, Calif.-based X Prize Foundation…"We are thrilled to add our first team from Florida and our second team from Malaysia to the roster of competitors," said Will Pomerantz, senior director for space projects at the X Prize Foundation…”
  3. Jumping off point for the 'final frontier' http://tinyurl.com/43jbvh (Inverness-Courier) “…A few weeks ago, a spokesman for Sir Richard Branson's company Virgin Galactic confirmed that it has chosen Scotland as the venue for a spaceport. In the shortlist of sites, the front runner is Lossiemouth. Kinloss and Machrihanish are also under consideration…Why Lossiemouth? The RAF base already provides good infrastructure, there is a long runway essential for the gliding landing of the space craft, and the nearby expanse of sea provides open access and reduced risk of damage. Also the climate and the visibility are good and there is relatively little air traffic…”
  4. SpaceX Flight 4 Launch Update http://www.spacex.com/updates.php “…A week spent reviewing data has confirmed that the flight went really well, including the coast and restart. The mood here at SpaceX is just ecstatic! This is the culmination of six years of hard work by a very talented team. It is also a great relief for me, who led the overall design of the rocket (not a role I expected to have when starting the company). I felt a little sheepish receiving the AIAA award for the most outstanding contribution to the field of space transportation two weeks before this flight…While Falcon 1 was the world's first privately developed liquid fuel rocket to reach orbit, I would like to acknowledge and express appreciation for the role of DARPA, the Air Force and the ORS Office of the Department of Defense. They played an important role as early "beta" customers of Falcon 1…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

  1. WiFi is no longer a viable secure connection http://tinyurl.com/4sq5fn (SCMagazineUK) “…WiFi is no longer secure enough to protect wireless data. Global Secure Systems has said that a Russian's firm's use of the latest NVidia graphics cards to accelerate WiFi ‘password recovery' times by up to an astonishing 10,000 per cent proves that WiFi's WPA and WPA2 encryption systems are no longer enough to protect wireless data.…”
  2. Apple laptops to feature Nvidia chipsets and two GPUs http://tinyurl.com/3qe7x3 (CustomPC UK) “…Okay, so this isn’t going to make a big impact in the 3D gaming world, but Apple is also going to be introducing its C-based GPGPU API, OpenCL, in the forthcoming Snow Leopard version of Mac OS X. With an Nvidia in all of its MacBooks as standard, with the option of adding more cores, it looks as though Apple has some big plans for GPGPU processing in its next OS. If Apple is taking it seriously, then it looks as though GPGPU is going to start to make a big impact in the future…”
  3. Velocity Micro Makes an HPC Play http://www.hpcwire.com/features/Velocity_Micro_Makes_an_HPC_Play_30696854.html “…The GPGPU phenomenon is continuing to attract lots of attention in the high performance computing community and is starting to bring some new players into the market. The introduction of commodity GPU processors offering teraflop-level performance suggests supercomputing can now be had for near-PC prices…The latest attempt at this comes from Velocity Micro, which until this week was known for its bleeding-edge PCs and desktop systems for power users, especially gaming enthusiasts…The Velocity workstations, which range in price from $3,995 to $16,995, come preloaded with the CUDA SDK (NVIDIA's C programming framework for GPU computing), along with either Window XP or Fedora Core 8…Since HPC is new territory for Velocity, the company has partnered with James River Technical (JRT), a reseller that specializes in the HPC market…The Velocity-JRT partnership is an especially nice fit here since the lowest hanging fruit for these new workstations is likely to be researchers at universities and government labs…”

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