2008/11/25

NEW NET Issues List for 25 Nov 2008

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 25 November 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.

As mentioned in the weekly email, in addition to other topics of interest brought by people to the meeting, tonight we'll discuss Fuser, Digsby, Zenbe, Xobni and other messaging aggregators. As some people have suggested in online posts and articles, email is no longer "the killer web app" for many young people and Web 2.0 enthusiasts. Email is, for some, unwieldy and not responsive enough, and they've moved on to IM and cell phone texting almost exclusively. Messaging aggregators such as Digsby make IM and email somewhat compatible, and several groups are working on incorporating the best of social networking into messaging aggregators. The iPhone and Android will further expand the possibility for social messaging apps by fully integrating the mobile web and location based services (LBS) with the messaging aggregators. The goal here, of course, will be to allow you to use one messaging service wherever you are, moving seamlessly from cell phone to netbook to notebook to desktop using cell service, wifi (other other wireless internet technologies) or hardwired 'net connections. In other words, total ubiquity for messaging and networking, with the user determining and controlling the hardware device, the signal transmission format and the privacy terms.

The ‘net

1. New Citysearch Launches in Beta, Goes Hyper-Social http://tinyurl.com/6kem3a (TechCrunch) Citysearch is finally coming around to replacing its creaking site design with something a little more contemporary. Today, it is launching in a major rethink of its entire site in beta that drills deeper into neighborhoods, uses Facebook Connect as an optional identity system, and lets users vote reviews up and down. The beta will quickly become the default Citysearch experience…”

2. Zenbe's social, collaborative e-mail works well http://tinyurl.com/5e22z2 (Ars technica) “…E-mail is no longer just e-mail, and it arguably hasn't been for some time. Webmail clients like Yahoo's have offered IM and calendar integration for a while, and now Gmail allows video chatting and embedded gadgets. Zenbe, a new startup, is bringing social features, collaboration, and a new perspective on our e-mail routine with things like a sharable wiki, discussions, and even a Twitter sidebar…”

3. Xobni brings more to Outlook Inbox http://webworkerdaily.com/2008/11/18/xobni-brings-even-more-to-your-outlook-inbox/ “…Although I prefer and primarily use Gmail for the majority of my email needs, I do connect it via IMAP to Microsoft Outlook as well…I’ve detailed my week with Xobni experience in the past and continue to find Xobni a nice addition to my Outlook experience. Recently they added LinkedIn integration and today they are announcing a whole slew of additional connections. In this latest release, Xobni brings integration with Yahoo! Mail, Facebook, Hoovers and greatly enhanced Skype functionality…”

4. Boston College Will Stop Offering New Students E-Mail Accounts http://tinyurl.com/67kbvx (Chronicle) “…Many students don’t even want a college e-mail address these days because they already have well-established digital identities before they arrive on campus…So the college recently decided to stop offering full e-mail accounts to incoming students starting next fall. Instead of a standard college e-mail account, next year’s freshmen will be offered an e-mail-forwarding service that will pass along messages to whatever personal e-mail account a student specifies…A student named John Smith might be given the address johnsmith@bc.edu, for instance, but the address will simply pass any incoming mail along to Mr. Smith’s Google mailbox, or to his Microsoft Hotmail, or to any other account the student might already have…“Students weren’t really using the Boston College accounts as much as we would like them to,” said Ms. Corcoran. “It just becomes one more thing for them to check because their life is somewhere else…”

5. Fuser: combo-inbox for email, IM, Facebook, Twitter https://fuser.com/Default.aspx Fuser vs Digsby vs Zenbe, Xobni and other messaging aggregators to be discussed at this week’s NEW NET meeting.

6. Weather Underground forms a community http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/11/23/BUJG149J8K.DTL “…At www.wunderground.com, the site is the oldest on the Internet to provide weather data in the nation…"The way the Internet makes things meaningful is to create a community," said John Celenza, who used to program for Weather Underground and is now a graduate student at Stanford. "We're creating weather enthusiasts." The technology that made the San Francisco company possible was developed in 1991 by professors at the University of Michigan and is named, perhaps unfortunately, after a group of 1960s radicals…The Web site…is the No. 2 weather site on the Internet after Weather.com…It is also the default weather service on iGoogle. The company collects data from the National Weather Service through a satellite dish on the roof of its offices near AT&T Park in San Francisco…But the heart of its offering is data collected from roughly 13,000 enthusiasts who live all over the world (although Africa and India are still spottily represented) and keep personal weather stations loaded with Weather Underground's software at their homes or businesses…”

7. If You Liked This, Sure to Love That http://tinyurl.com/5oot72 (NYTimes) “…Netflix, the Web-based DVD-rental company, was holding a contest to try to improve Cinematch, its “recommendation engine.” The prize: $1 million…So Bertoni began looking for patterns that would predict customer behavior — specifically, an algorithm that would guess correctly the number of stars a given user would apply to a given movie. A year and a half later, Bertoni is still going, often spending 20 hours a week working on it in his home office…But his progress had slowed to a crawl. The more Bertoni improved upon Netflix, the harder it became to move his number forward…Bertoni says it’s partly because of “Napoleon Dynamite,” an indie comedy from 2004 that achieved cult status and went on to become extremely popular on Netflix. It is…maddeningly hard to determine how much people will like it…A small subset of other titles have caused almost as much bedevilment among the Netflix Prize competitors. When Bertoni showed me a list of his 25 most-difficult-to-predict movies, I noticed they were all similar in some way to “Napoleon Dynamite” — culturally or politically polarizing and hard to classify, including “I Heart Huckabees,” “Lost in Translation,” “Fahrenheit 9/11,” “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou,” “Kill Bill: Volume 1” and “Sideways.”…Cinematch has, in fact, become a video-store roboclerk: its suggestions now drive a surprising 60 percent of Netflix’s rentals. It also often steers a customer’s attention away from big-grossing hits toward smaller, independent movies…As the teams have grown better at predicting human preferences, the more incomprehensible their computer programs have become, even to their creators…The upshot is that while the teams are producing ever-more-accurate recommendations, they cannot precisely explain how they’re doing this. Chris Volinsky admits that his team’s program has become a black box, its internal logic unknowable. There’s a sort of unsettling, alien quality to their computers’ results…”

8. LinkedIn: Streamlined People Search http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/11/24/linkedin-launches-streamlined-people-search/ “…LinkedIn has a launched a revamped version of its search engine that aims to streamline the business social network’s most oft-used features. Most of the new features revolve around people-search…Many of the changes are subtle: as you begin typing names, LinkedIn will offer an autocompleted list of possible matches…One of the search engine’s most powerful new additions is persistent search, which allows users to effectively set up alerts notifying them when there is an addition to a company’s executive roster, or when an appealing job candidate is up for grabs…”

9. E-mail in zero G: NASA develops network for space http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10102081-2.html “…The EPOXI spacecraft, which carried the Deep Impact probe to Comet Talent 1 in 2005, had its software reconfigured after delivering the payload to work as a test bed for NASA's new Disruption-Tolerant Networking protocol. As the craft dropped back toward Earth for one of the gravity assists that will ultimately sling it back toward the comet in 2010, it transmitted simulated images of the Martian moon Phobos using the new protocol. The trial turned EPOXI into one of 10 nodes in a test network (the other nine were on Earth), to verify the reliability and robustness of the new networking architecture…”

10. Ulteo Delivers Online Productivity Apps and Virtual Desktops http://tinyurl.com/5j8naa (WebWorkerDaily) “…In case you haven’t tried it yet, the recently released OpenOffice 3.0 suite of free, open source productivity applications has a lot of improvements over previous versions, especially for Mac users. Recently, I’ve been working with the free, online-hosted versions of the applications available through Ulteo. Many users of Zoho’s and Google’s online hosted applications should look into these, as the features are different, and in some cases go beyond what Google and Zoho provide…”

11. Fashion Your Firefox http://webworkerdaily.com/2008/11/18/fashion-your-firefox-into-a-web-working-machine/ “…My Firefox is jam-packed with add-ons…Some people, however, are not using them to their full potential, or simply not using them at all. It makes sense if you just have a clean browser policy, but if you’re not aware of what’s available, then you could be missing out. Mozilla’s new Fashion Your Firefox web application is designed to make add-ons more accessible, and easier to find and install…”

12. Which Web Browser is King? http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,2335242,00.asp “…There's really only one sanity test for a browser: whether it runs fast for you…for the sites you frequently visit…For example, latency on the Internet can dramatically affect browser speed. One day, Google Chrome can load IGN.com faster than butter on a banana, the next day…latency can slow the site to a crawl, and Chrome seems like a dud…for those of us who spend vast amounts of time on the Internet, for work and play, browser performance is a big issue…Let's dive into the testing methodology…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

13. Microsoft to replace OneCare with free anti-malware program http://www.download.com/8301-2007_4-10101582-12.html “…Microsoft on Tuesday said it is changing its strategy for offering PC antivirus software, with plans to discontinue its subscription-based consumer security suite and instead offer individuals free software to protect their PCs. Code-named Morro, the new offering will be available in the second half of 2009 and will protect against viruses, spyware, rootkits, and Trojans, the company said in a statement…Microsoft decided to switch to a free product because there are still so many PCs out there that lack any antivirus software. "Because they're not concerned about malware, the number of people who don't have antivirus software or don't keep it up to date exceeds 50 percent in developed markets, and it's worse in emerging markets…”

14. US court orders keylogger CyberSpy to halt software sales http://tinyurl.com/5jmc89 (Ars technica) “…The government's antimalware efforts don't receive as much attention as those of private businesses…Yesterday, the FTC secured a temporary injunction against the keylogger software vendor CyberSpy, ordering that company to cease and desist from selling its product online. In its original complaint, filed November 5, 2008, the FTC alleged (PDF) that CyberSpy (under the ownership of one Tracer R. Spence) has committed unfair/deceptive acts, either in or affecting commerce. Since August 2005, CyberSpy's main product has been a charming keylogger named RemoteSpy…”

15. Under Worm Assault, Military Bans Disks, USB Drives http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/11/army-bans-usb-d.html “…The Defense Department's geeks are spooked by a rapidly spreading worm crawling across their networks. So they've suspended the use of so-called thumb drives, CDs, flash media cards, and all other removable data storage devices from their nets, to try to keep the worm from multiplying any further… The problem…was…a "virus called Agent.btz." That's a variation of the "SillyFDC" worm, which spreads by copying itself to thumb drives and the like. When that drive or disk is plugged into a second computer, the worm replicates itself again — this time on the PC…”

16. Symantec says Internet underground economy is organized and rich http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-10105963-83.html “…Did you know that you can buy a keystroke logger for $23 or pay $10 to have someone host your phishing scam? Having a botnet at your fingertips will cost you $225, and a tool that exploits a vulnerability on a banking site averages $740 and runs as high as $3,000. That's according to the Symantec Report on the Internet Underground Economy due to be released Monday. Symantec researchers spent a year observing the chat among cybercriminals on IRC channels and forums on the Internet between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008…”

17. Facebook awarded $873 million in spam case http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-10106932-83.html “…Facebook has been awarded $873 million in damages against a Canadian man accused of sending spam messages to its members…Facebook doesn't expect to necessarily collect the money because "it's unlikely that Geurbez and Atlantis Blue Capital could ever honor the judgment rendered against them…”

18. Foil laptop thieves with a text message http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10106838-1.html “…There are a considerable number of security measures available to companies to protect their valuable data on employee hard drives. Self-encrypting hard drives and security software are touted as the latest solutions, but the PC has to be turned off for the data to be secured by encryption. If a notebook is stolen while in hibernation mode, or even while the operating system is fully loaded, there's a higher risk of data being exposed. That's where Lenovo says its new text-message-based remote disable software comes in…any Montevina-based Lenovo machine that's equipped with WWAN (wireless wide area network) can be paired with a cell phone. If a laptop is stolen, the phone that's paired with it can send a text message instantly…like "Shut down computer"…The computer will shut down, and from there the self-encrypting hard drive will take over to lock down the computer's data…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

19. Google application baffled by British accents http://tech.yahoo.com/news/afp/britainusitinternetcompanyapplegoogleoffbeat “…A new voice-recognition search tool for the iPhone has problems understanding British accents, leading to some bizarre answers to spoken queries, a newspaper report and users said Wednesday. The free application, which allows iPhone owners to use the Google search engine with their voice, mistook the word "iPhone" variously for "sex," "Einstein" and "kitchen sink…It actually works pretty well, but I have to disguise my (North London) accent with a terrible folksy Texan tourist voice to get results. I can see this is going to be the source of much amusement and confusion…”

20. T-Mobile G1: Android Opera Mini, visual voicemail http://blogs.zdnet.com/cell-phones/?p=312 “…two applications I just found this morning when I turned on my G1 were Opera Mini 4.2 beta and Fusion Voicemail Plus and think these are both worthy applications you should try out on your G1…”

Open Source

21. The Microsoft-Novell Linux deal: Two years later http://www.infoworld.com/article/08/11/18/47NF-microsoft-novell_1.html “…Two years ago this month, Microsoft forged its controversial partnership with Novell that, among other things, had the two companies agreeing not to sue each other over intellectual property issues, in part to protect Suse Linux users over any patent litigation from Microsoft. Just how well has that deal worked out?..."[Customers] like the idea that Microsoft and Novell are in the same room," says Susan Hauser, Microsoft's general manager for strategic partnerships….a fervent opponent of the deal, responsible for the Boycott Novell Web site, sees things differently: "Novell compromised interests of the free software community for hundreds of millions of dollars that it received from Microsoft. Novell and Microsoft put their interests ahead of the free software community that makes the software everyone else uses…”

22. World's smallest humanoid robot can run Linux http://www.linuxdevices.com/news/NS7591575275.html “…The 6.5-inch-tall i-Sobot has been dubbed "the smallest humanoid robot in production"…Targeting computer vision and robotics applications, the Marvell PCA-270-based MBS270-520 SBC is aimed primarily at small form factor, low weight UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), mobile robots, and "humanoids,"… the board is small and low-powered enough to be used to hack Linux onto Tomy's i-Sobot. A project is underway called i-Sobot Hacking that is hacking the robot's servo protocols, with the goal of using the SBC to help extend computer vision to the i-Sobot…Now selling on the web for less than $100, after debuting a year ago for $300, the i-Sobot won the Grand Prize at the 64th Tokyo International Gift Show last year…The 12-ounce robot is equipped with 17 custom developed servo-motors, 19 integrated circuit chips, a built in gyro-sensor, 2 LEDs, and voice recognition, says the company. The package includes an infrared remote control and three AAA NiMH rechargeable batteries…Mobisense also manufactures a variety of camera and power modules that work with the MBS270-520…”

23. Reliable Linux netbooks for Black Friday http://blogs.computerworld.com/reliable_Linux_netbooks “…According to Mike Elgan, starting on Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving, you'll see new, solid brand-name netbooks going for as little as $199. We're already seeing Best Buy offering the Asus Eee PC 900a for $299. Will we see the Asus Eee PC 1000, which I like, for $399…if your ring size is '11,' than a 7" display netbook isn't going to be for you at any price. You'll never be comfortable with the keyboard. Personally, I like my netbooks to have at least a 9" display. It's a perfectly usable size, and it should have a resolution of 1,024x600. For the CPU, look for Intel Atom processors under the hood. There's nothing wrong with Via chips, but, for the moment, you tend to get more GHz for the buck from the Atom series…”

24. SimplyMEPIS: The best desktop Linux you haven't tried http://www.linux.com/feature/153431 “…Nowadays, everyone uses Ubuntu, most people have used Fedora, and many folks have tried openSUSE. SimplyMEPIS ... not so many. That's a shame, because this relatively obscure Debian-based desktop distribution from Morgantown, WV, is an outstanding desktop operating system…The distribution itself is built on top of Debian 5 (Lenny), which hasn't yet been released…While working with the applications, I found one odd error. While the distribution came with the new Adobe Flash Player 10 browser plugin installed, it would not display Flash video in Firefox. I finally solved the problem by reinstalling Flash Player from the repository…SimplyMEPIS offers something extra in its collection of four system tuning tools: MEPIS Network Assistant, MEPIS System Assistant, MEPIS User Assistant, and MEPIS X-Windows Assistant…Network Assistant gives you control over all your network interfaces, both Ethernet and Wi-Fi, as well as DHCP and DNS settings, and lets you stop and restart network interfaces. Sure, you can do that with other Linux distributions, but SimplyMEPIS puts all the network controls you need in one place so you don't need to search for them…The System Assistant…lets you clone your existing desktop to a bootable USB drive. Lots of distributions, including Fedora 9, let you set up a Linux desktop on a USB drive, but, to the best of my knowledge, SimplyMEPIS is the only one to make it duplicate the one you're already using to take with you on the road. The MEPIS User Assistant enables you to copy or sync between desktops. Your choices include copying or syncing your entire home directory or just your mail, Mozilla, documents…handy tool both for backups and for moving from one PC to another…”

SkyNet

25. How Google's Ear Hears http://www.technologyreview.com/communications/21696/?a=f “…If you own an iPhone, you can now be part of one of the most ambitious speech-recognition experiments ever launched. On Monday, Google announced that it had added voice search to its iPhone mobile application, allowing people to speak search terms into their phones and view the results on the screen… Google also had a useful set of data correlating speech samples with written words, culled from its free directory service, Goog411…According to Mike Cohen, a Google research scientist, voice samples from this service were the main source of acoustic data for training the system. But the data that Google used to build the system pales in comparison to the data that it now has the chance to collect. "The nice thing about this application is that Google will collect all this speech data," says Jim Glass, a principal research scientist at MIT. "And by getting all this data, they will improve their recognizer even more…While Google isn't announcing plans to use its voice-recognition technology for other services, the potential is easy to see…Currently, there's no way to use your voice to access Google's calendar or e-mail applications or to write an e-mail or a text message. But that could change in the future. "I think this opens up a whole new dimension …”

26. Google’s New Search-Based Keyword Tool http://searchengineland.com/googles-new-search-based-keyword-tool-15525.php “…Google released a new keyword tool tonight, named the Search-Based Keyword Tool. This tool…tells you what keywords you are currently missing out on based on search query data from your site’s content…you can use this as a nice competitive analysis tool. You can see data about which keywords are relevant to any site on the Internet…”

27. Google Seduces With Utility http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/24/business/media/24carr.html “…My increasingly exclusive relationship with Google started with search, of course, when I switched from Yahoo years ago. Eventually I accepted an invitation to Gmail, with its oodles of storage and very granular search function, and it has oddly become my default database — deep, rich and personal. I added the company’s calendar because I needed one I could share both inside and outside of work. And then the calendar and e-mail started talking to each other — and to me, I guess — by asking whether I wanted to schedule an event that was mentioned in an incoming message. Although it sort of creeped me out, the answer was yes, which it almost always is when it comes to Google. Google has begun to crowd out other brands. I was a loyal MapQuest guy, but as Google Maps added features, it seemed cumbersome to go elsewhere…I looked around and saw a colored button at the top of my e-mail page that was a link to Google voice and video chat. I clicked it, hit the download button, and within 20 seconds, I was ready to go. It’s not the first video chatting that I have done, only the first that actually worked well. Within minutes of downloading, I was talking live on my PC to my 11-year-old daughter on a Mac, a process that in the past would have involved everything short of splitting the atom. Then I told my twins away at college and yes, my mother-in-law about it, and before long we were all chatting away…Most data privacy experts would call me a fool to index my life into any one company so deeply, and diversification in all matters is just common sense. Mr. Huber countered that I am free to come and go as I wish. “The nice thing is that we don’t force you to use only our stuff,” he said. “It is not tied tightly together, and the content is all easily exportable…”

28. Google Lively Is Dead-ly http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_lively_is_deadly.php “…a little over four months after Lively's launch, Google has decided to turn the lights out on the alternate reality, announcing that they are discontinuing Lively at the end of this year…There will be all varieties of speculation as to why Lively failed to remain a viable application for Google…I think we can take Ockham's Razor to this one. Because I think the answer is quite simple: It seemed like a good idea at the time. But, in actuality, Lively didn't offer Google any relevant data. And that, ultimately, is what killed Lively…”

29. Google Layoffs - 10,000 Workers Affected http://www.webguild.org/2008/11/google-layoffs-10000-workers-affected.php “…Google has been quietly laying off staff and up to 10,000 jobs could be on the chopping block according to sources…Google reports to the SEC that it has 20,123 employees but in reality it has 30,000. Why the discrepancy? Google classifies 10,000 of the employees as temporary operational expenses or “workers”. Google co-founder Sergey Brin said, “There is no question that the number (of workers) is too high…”

General Technology

30. Unpaid time while Vista boots results in lawsuits http://www.electronista.com/articles/08/11/19/vista.boot.times.lawsuit/ “…employers are docking their employees' pay while they wait for their Vista PCs to boot up, to the tune of 30 to 60 minutes per day, resulting in class-action lawsuits being brought against the employers…The employers, which include big companies such as AT&T, United Health Group and Cigna, argue workers often go on coffee, smoke or social breaks while they await their machines to boot up, and therefore do not do any work. The lawsuits…are being handled by a lawyer experienced with cases involving long boot times…”

31. The perfect storm of data loss http://www.macworld.com/article/136980/2008/11/perfect_storm.html “…as I used to maintain multiple computers, I’d gotten into the habit of using my iDisk for file storage so I could access said files no matter where I was. As an added benefit, I figured that would give me multiple synchronized copies of files in different locations to help safeguard against data loss. I’d also assumed that Apple itself backed up the iDisk files, as most large server installations do. This wasn’t blind assumption either; back in 2005, Apple recovered files that had disappeared from my iDisk…Apple does not maintain any data that MobileMe members have manually deleted from the MobileMe servers. This includes files deleted, whether normally or due to corruption, from the iDisk and messages deleted from MobileMe Mail. Preserving data is the responsibility of each MobileMe member…despite feeling secure in the knowledge that I had multiple copies of these valuable files, the truth ended up being that I had multiple copies of one corrupt version of the same file…My goal is to never run into this problem ever again. Digital data has become an increasingly integral part of our lives, and losing it can be as frustrating as losing physical possessions…”

32. Call for Revolution Against Beta Culture http://gizmodo.com/5083371/a-call-for-revolution-against-beta-culture “…I'm tired of this. This sense of permanent discomfort with the technology around me. The bugs. The compromises. The firmware upgrades…The feeling now extends to hardware: Everything is built to end up in the trash a year later, still half-baked, to make room for the next hardware revision…Take the iPhone, for example, one of the most successful products in the history of consumer electronics. We like it, I love mine, but the fact is that the first generation was rushed out, lacking basic features that were added in later releases or are not here yet. Worse: The iPhone 3G was really broken. For real. Bad signal, dropped calls, frozen apps. This would have been unthinkable in cellphones just five years ago…my first plasma TV from Philips…broke after less than a year of use. Mine wasn't the only one. The technology was too young to be released; it was still in beta state…Meanwhile, my Sinclair ZX Spectrum and Apple IIe from the 1980s still work like they did from day one, perfectly…”

33. Bay Area mayors endorse $1 billion plan for electric cars http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_11032113 “…A Palo Alto start-up with powerful backing on Thursday unveiled an ambitious $1 billion plan to help make the Bay Area the nation's electric-car capital…the plan would provide the re-charging infrastructure that must be in place before most consumers would consider buying or leasing an electric car. Better Place…plans to install about 250,000 charging ports, 200 battery-exchange stations and a control center to service Bay Area electric car drivers. The goal is to have most of the system in place by 2012…"We buy batteries and clean electricity and we sell miles," he said. Better Place already has struck deals in Israel, Denmark and Australia to build battery-charging electrical outlets and stations where drained batteries can be quickly swapped for fully-charged ones…”

34. Video: A jet-pack flight over a Colorado gorge http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-10107675-76.html “…It's the stuff of science fiction and James Bond. Strap a jet pack to your back and fly like a bird--sort of. But jet packs are science fiction no more. It's 1,500 feet across from cliff to cliff, and more than 1,000 chilling feet down to the bottom of the Royal Gorge on the Arkansas River near Canon City, Colo. "You're going to see me on the other side. This isn't an 'Evel-Knievel, get-a-lot-of-media-out-and-just-screw-it-up' gig, you know," stuntman Eric Scott told CBS station KCNC-TV correspondent Rick Sallinger prior to the flight…The former Air Force para-rescuer uses hydrogen peroxide-filled tanks to create a propellant of steam. Scott claims to have made several hundred successful launches…”

Leisure & Entertainment

35. Monty Python Joins YouTube http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10102144-2.html “…Monty Python, the iconic comedy series, has launched a YouTube channel…"For three years you YouTubers have been ripping us off, taking tens of thousands of our videos and putting them on YouTube…We know who you are, we know where you live and we could come after you in ways too horrible to tell. But being the extraordinarily nice chaps we are, we've figured a better way to get our own back: We've launched our own Monty Python channel on YouTube…Monty Python has put an end to "those crap quality videos" that have been posted across YouTube and will start delivering "HQ videos" from the "vault." All videos posted on the Monty Python channel will be free to view, but the show doesn't want viewers to watch the free shows and do nothing. Instead, it asks for something in return. "None of your driveling, mindless comments…Instead, we want you to click on the links, buy our movies and TV shows, and soften our pain and disgust at being ripped off all these years…”

36. Army to invest $50M in combat training games http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=59009 “…The Army has created a video game unit and will invest $50 million over five years on games and gaming systems designed to prepare soldiers for combat…Each system will consist of 52 computers with ancillary equipment including steering wheels, headsets and mice," she said. Soldiers will be able to drive virtual vehicles, fire virtual weapons, pilot virtual unmanned aerial vehicles and do "most anything a soldier does" in a virtual battle space as large as 100 kilometers by 100 kilometers, she said. McManigal said the game will replicate what soldiers encounter on today’s battlefield — from fighting in urban terrain and convoy operations to reacting to contact and ambush operations…”

37. “The Guild” on MS http://www.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSTRE4AN15S20081124 “…Microsoft will be filled to the gills with "The Guild." The software giant has an exclusive lock on the long-awaited second season of the Internet cult hit, which will be the first to be distributed worldwide simultaneously across Microsoft's triple platform of Xbox 360's Live Marketplace, MSN and Zune…After reaching 9 million views with a 10-episode season financed from viewer contributions via PayPal, "Guild" emerged last year as one of the more buzzed-about webisodes. Its star, creator and writer-producer, Felicia Day, has become the face of the original Web production world…A key component of the deal allows for Day to retain the intellectual property rights to "Guild" while collecting an unspecified upfront license fee. A who's who of Web brands courted Day for rights to "Guild," from old-media companies to gamer-centric ad networks, though many insisted on retaining the traditional set of rights…”

38. Ocarina Surges To Top Paid iPhone App Position http://tinyurl.com/5ogw5p (TechCrunch) “…Ocarina, the second iPhone application from Silicon Valley based Smule, has surged to the top spot on the iPhone App store just a little over a week after launching…Ocarina, named after an ancient flute-like wind instrument, lets people play haunting, flute-like songs by blowing into the iPhone microphone and hitting the virtual buttons…the cool thing is you can hit a button and listen to what other Ocarina users are playing around the world. It’s social music, and strangely compelling…”

Economy and Technology

39. PC Magazine Goes Out Of Print http://www.alleyinsider.com/2008/11/pc-magazine-goes-out-of-print “…Founded in 1982 and at times so rich with ads its issues reached as many as 600 pages, Ziff Davis's PC Magazine will issue its last print edition this January, thereafter becoming an online-only publication…PC Magazine will become PCMag, part of a network of sites called the PCMag Digital Network. The Network will also include ExtremeTech, Gearlog, Appscout, Smart Device Central, GoodCleanTech, DL.TV, Cranky Geeks, and PCMagCast…”

40. Lessons of Survival, From the Dot-Com Attic http://tinyurl.com/6exyhl (NYTimes) “…Mr. Kirsch, a professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland…started the Digital Archive of the Birth of the Dot Com Era, usually called the Dot Com Archive (dotcomarchive.org). Shortly thereafter, a partner of a venture capital firm that was closing its doors donated every business plan that the firm had received from 1999 to 2002 — documents covering some 1,100 companies…48 percent of dot-com companies founded since 1996 were still around in late 2004, more than four years after the Nasdaq’s peak in March 2000. Mr. Kirsch says that most people are stunned by this figure; they tend to guess that about 90 percent of companies failed…Mr. Pape has shared his story and contributed several WrestlingGear.com documents to the archive. “If it were me starting over,” he explains, “I’d want to be learning from past mistakes of other people so I didn’t do the same thing myself…”

Civilian Aerospace

41. SpaceX Rattles Central Texas http://tinyurl.com/6qj37u (Waco Tribune) “…Around 10:30 p.m., SpaceX, a private space exploration technologies company, tested its Falcon 9 rocket at the company’s McGregor testing center…Dreyer said SpaceX had been working with the McGregor community during the week, however. She said SpaceX placed a notice in the McGregor Mirror and on the marquee in front of McGregor High School. Tribune-Herald readers began posting messages of alarm about the noise within minutes after a news item about the test appeared on wacotrib.com. Sandra, a reader from McGregor, wrote that her 11-year-old son said he thought “the sun was exploding.” “We were not all warned,” Sandra wrote. “We do not read the McGregor newspaper, we read the Waco Tribune-Herald. Next time, tell all newspapers, TV and radio stations and go door to door with fliers announcing your tests, SpaceX!…”

42. Chandler rocket maker expanding with Taurus http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/268448 “…An expansion project for Orbital Sciences Corp. in Chandler will give the company more room to develop and manufacture a new, more powerful rocket to supply the international space station and launch other payloads for commercial and government customers…Orbital already has about 100 engineers working on the Taurus II design in Chandler, and that number is expected to double in the next year, he said…At a time when most businesses are cutting back and laying off workers, Orbital continues to expand because of a heavy backlog of contracts for government and commercial space launches…”

43. Spacewalking Hopes Dashed, Businessman Sues Space Adventures http://tinyurl.com/5bhzgo (WashingtonPost) “…The Japanese businessman is suing Space Adventures of Vienna, saying the company used his health problems as a pretense for denying him a 10-day orbital vacation and intergalactic walk on the International Space Station after he refused to pay $10 million on top of what he had already shelled out. Enomoto, according to court documents, believed he was racing to be the first private citizen to conduct such a space walk but did not want to go through with the trip if he could not complete one. The company, in its argument to dismiss the case, said that because Enomoto has kidney stones, which are potentially dangerous in space, his money was not refundable…”

44. Spiders spin webs in space http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/081121-space-station-spider-webs.html “…Two plucky spiders on the International Space Station have bounced back from a tangled false start to weave amazing new webs in zero gravity, astronauts said Friday. The orb-weaving spiders were transported to the station aboard NASA's shuttle Endeavour earlier this week, but initially wove an aimless concoction in their lab enclosure during their first days in weightlessness. But now they've taken another stab at weightless web construction. "We noticed the spiders' made a symmetrical web," the space station's current skipper Michael Fincke radioed to Mission Control today. "It looks beautiful…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

45. NVIDIA, PS3 hardware in Top 500 Supercomputers list http://tinyurl.com/66yqv5 (Ars technica) “…An NVIDIA GPU has finally made its way onto the Top 500 list, in a 170 TFLOP machine based at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. The TSUBAME was upgraded recently with NVIDIA's Tesla S1070, a math coprocessor that's essentially a specialized version of the same GPU that the company sells to gamers. Like its gaming sibling, the Telsa is programmable with CUDA, and when paired with a general-purpose processor, it makes for a great, data-parallel, floating-point machine…”

46. Nvidia pitches “personal supercomputers” to scientists http://tinyurl.com/6o27qa (VentureBeat) “…Nvidia says that the era of personal supercomputing has arrived for scientists who need to conduct experiments on their own in a timely manner. By adding graphics processors to machines that have only had microprocessors in the past, scientists can speed up their calculations; 3-D ultrasounds can be done 20 times faster, while financial simulations can be done 149 times faster. In computational chemistry, one task that took 4.6 days can now be done in 27 minutes…A number of universities are already using personal supercomputers equipped with GPUs, including MIT, the Max Planck Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Cambridge University, and others. AMD has its own offerings in this space, including a board launched last week. Nvidia, for its part, uses the new Tesla C1070 GPU processor. There are 28 supercomputer/workstation makers using the Nvidia GPU, including Dell, Lenovo, and Asus, and Nvidia estimates there are 15 million scientists and students who could use the personal supercomputers…”


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