2008/12/02

NEW NET Issues List for 02 Dec 2008

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 02 December 2008, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering. This week we're at the Copper Rock North coffee shop, formerly known as Dunn Bros, 1835 E Edgewood Dr, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA, across the street to the west from Appleton North High School. They've got free wireless, so you can bring your laptops or other wifi devices to get online.

The requested main topic of discussion at tonight's meeting, in addition to the usual tech banter, is desktop virtualization, with specific interest talking about:
  1. How do you use desktop virtualization to create images for new desktop deployments (as an alternative to ghosting)?
  2. What are the true benefits (most cost effective) of desktop virtualization?
  3. How do different desktop virtualization applications compare? VMWare, Citrix, others?
  4. What is the future of desktop virtualization?


The ‘net

1. Cyber Monday tech primer http://tech.yahoo.com/news/pcworld/20081130/tc_pcworld/acybermondaytechshoppingprimer “…I suggest visiting three types of sites--Cyber Monday sites, tech retailer sites, and deal aggregation sites--on December 1 to find the best prices. Before Cyber Monday, check out GottaDeal.com, which posts "leaked" Black Friday and Cyber Monday ads from many online tech retailers. Even better, you can also lurk at the site's Forum to find out about newly announced Cyber Monday deals as they come in. "I expect the online retailers to be sending an avalanche of info over the next 2-3 days and I'll be adding everything to that forum for our members to discuss," GottaDeal founder Brad Olson writes in an e-mail to PC World. On the Big Day, stop by Shop.org's CyberMonday.com which posts a load of information on, and links to, the day's online deals…”

2. Dumbing Down the Cloud http://www.randsinrepose.com/archives/2008/11/25/dumbing_down_the_cloud.html “…My use case for the cloud hasn’t changed in years. I want a single folder sitting somewhere in the cloud that I can transparently access from any computer… anywhere…I trust Dropbox. Here’s why…The magic of Dropbox is that it doesn’t ask you to think about what you do. You care about one thing: do I have access to the most recent version of my files? And with Dropbox, yes, you do. Wherever you are, so are your files… Dropbox is very smart because it never asks you a thing about sync or any file operation. This is the brilliance: Dropbox knows that any question is a chance to make a wrong decision. And a chance to make a wrong decision is a chance to erode trust…The Dropbox flow is: “We’re not going to bother you with sync because we’re just keeping track of you changing stuff and your stuff is only changing when you change it and there is only one of you. If there’s a problem, you’ll figure it out when you’re good and ready”…Two weeks ago, I sat down to put the final touches on a presentation. I fired up the portable, looked in the usual Dropbox location and it was empty. Ok, well, I saved it to my desktop, right? Ok, no. Maybe another location inside Dropbox? Ok, no. I can taste it’s-deleted-forever adrenalin in the back my mouth now...I fire up their web interface, where I discover they keep track of each discrete file operation, and it looks like last night I deleted the presentation in a fit of psychotic folder cleanliness. But here in the Dropbox web interface is every single version of the file that I saved, as well as the ability to restore them. Click. Restore. And I’m saved…”

3. Is Email = Efail? http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001191.html “…The net number of requests for my attention exceeds my ability to provide that attention by at least an order of magnitude. And the disparity around my ability to thoughtfully respond to my pile may be ten or more times worse still. The scale is insanely out of whack. Email is certainly the backbone of the information economy, but it's also fundamentally and perhaps even fatally flawed. Tantek Çelik captured my thoughts perfectly with this post: “Last year when I posted The Three Hypotheses, they helped me explain why I found email so much less useful/usable than instant messaging (IM) and Twitter. Since then, I find that while I can keep up with more people contacting me over IM and following more people on Twitter, email has simply become less and less usable. But not for reasons of interface; I'm using the email application now as I was a year ago. I'm probably responding to less than 1 in 10 emails that are sent directly to me, and even fewer that were sent to a set of people or a list…”

4. BitTorrent at War With VoIP? Hardly http://gigaom.com/2008/12/01/bittorrent-at-war-with-voip-hardly/ “…The Internet is close to a meltdown, according to The Register. The culprit, according to author Richard Bennett, is the popular BitTorrent client uTorrent, which introduced a new type of file transfer with its most recent alpha version. BitTorrent clients have long been using the TCP protocol to facilitate file transfers, but now uTorrent is moving to UDP, a protocol that is very popular for streaming media, VoIP and other real-time transfers. This will essentially lead to torrents eating up all of the bandwidth available for VoIP, according to Bennet, who calls uTorrent’s UDP transfers a “net-killing feature…BitTorrent has traditionally entrusted its users with figuring out how to balance their network load, meaning that users had to manually limit their client’s maximum upload and download rate in case they encountered choppy Skype connections or similar problems. uTorrent’s new implementation wants to automate this process by regulating its UDP traffic in relationship to ongoing TCP transfers. The company has tested its congestion control in recent months, and the first results seem encouraging, as a quote from a report (PDF) that the company recently shared with the IETF…”

5. Yelp’s European Counterpart Qype Continues Global Expansion http://tinyurl.com/68ylqt (TechCrunch) “…Qype is on fire, and is on its way to becoming the dominant local review site in a number of countries, including England, France, and Germany…Uhrenbacher says that Qype sees 6.3 million monthly unique visitors across The UK, France, Spain, and Germany (where the site was originally founded and receives around half its traffic). The site also recently launched a localized version for Brazil…”

6. Why I Love Twitter http://radar.oreilly.com/2008/11/why-i-like-twitter.html “…I tried out Twitter early on, but didn't stick to it. Most of the early twitter conversation was personal, and I didn't have time for it…Twitter has grown up to become a critical business tool, ideal for following the latest news, tracking the ideas and whereabouts of people who will shape the future of technology, and sharing my own thoughts and attention stream….specific things I find so compelling about Twitter…Twitter is simple…Twitter works like people do…Twitter cooperates well with others…Twitter transcends the web…”

7. Online networks a magnet for job-seekers http://tinyurl.com/5ref28 (Yahoo News) “…The economic crisis slamming firms across the globe has sparked a spike in usage of professional networks -- Xing and LinkedIn are key sites -- as people hedge against losing work and laid-off employees seek jobs. U.S. unemployment hit a new 14-year high in October…Traffic on the world's top professional Web networks has surged since the financial crisis started to make headlines…Membership on LinkedIn has jumped to more than 31 million from 18 million at the start of the year, growing fastest in the financial services, media, education and technology fields…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

8. Security On the Go With Yoggie's Gatekeeper http://www.enterprisenetworkingplanet.com/netsecur/article.php/3787686 “…Hotel business centers, airport WiFi hotspots, your local Starbucks: as far as the corporate laptop is concerned, these are the badlands where it is at its most vulnerable. Laptops are generally well protected against all kinds of malware and hacker threats by security appliances…when connected to the corporate network. But in the external environments mentioned above, laptops are on their own: the only protection they can expect is from any security software they are running. Yoggie, a privately owned Israeli company, believes that a better solution for laptops users is to place their computers behind some sort of hardware-based security device before connecting to the Internet from a public access point…Yoggie has designed the Gatekeeper Pico, a Linux based security appliance crammed on to what appears to be a USB memory stick…The “memory stick” actually contains an ARM-based CPU and an operating system built on the Linux 2.6 kernel stored in read-only memory…contains a suite of security software, including Kaspersky anti-virus and anti-spyware, Surf Control Web filtering, Mailshell anti-spam and anti-phishing, Snort intrusion detection and prevention, plus other security applications including a firewall that have been developed in house…all incoming TCP/IP traffic is diverted to the device to be screened and sanitized before being sent back to the laptop’s Windows or Mac OS X operating system…it is the Yoggie device that receives and deals with any attacks intended for the laptop…”

9. Webmaster tools now sniffing for malware http://tinyurl.com/6ku9h9 (MSDN) “…we're expanding our toolkit with two important updates to Webmaster Center: the ability to detect malware on your site and the sites you link to…Detect whether there is malware present on any of your webpages or on any of the webpages you link to…Download reports detailing which webpages on your website are affected and how to fix the problem…”

10. U.S. Army Goes Bot Hunting http://tinyurl.com/5vod6o (InformationWeek) “…new software, funded by a grant from the U.S. Army Research Office and developed by SRI International, promises to provide users with more insight into what their computers are doing. BotHunter, announced on Monday, is a free malware-detection application for Mac OS X, Linux/Unix, and Windows that monitors network activity. Unlike intrusion detection system (IDS) tools that scan only incoming data, BotHunter looks for patterns that indicate malware activity in both incoming and outgoing data…”

11. You’re Leaving a Digital Trail. What About Privacy? http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/30/business/30privacy.html “…Mr. Brown and about 100 other students living in Random Hall at M.I.T. have agreed to swap their privacy for smartphones that generate digital trails to be beamed to a central computer…students’ data is but a bubble in a vast sea of digital information being recorded by an ever thicker web of sensors, from phones to GPS units to the tags in office ID badges, that capture our movements and interactions. Coupled with information already gathered from sources like Web surfing and credit cards, the data is the basis for an emerging field called collective intelligence… Collective intelligence could make it possible for insurance companies, for example, to use behavioral data to covertly identify people suffering from a particular disease and deny them insurance coverage…This is one of the most significant technology trends I have seen in years; it may also be one of the most pernicious… some collective-intelligence researchers argue that strong concerns about privacy rights are a relatively recent phenomenon in human history…For most of human history, people have lived in small tribes where everything they did was known by everyone they knew,” Dr. Malone said. “In some sense we’re becoming a global village. Privacy may turn out to have become an anomaly…”

12. Facebook Connect: Scary but good http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10110382-2.html “…One of the companies adopting Facebook's new log-in system, Facebook Connect, is CBS, parent company of CNET and publisher of Webware…The value of a Web service lies in its users. More users means more opportunities to profit--by selling advertising based on what you know about your users, by selling the users services directly, by skimming a portion of the revenues users generate by traveling through your site, and by selling information about the users…You don't need to chain your customers to your store to get them to buy things from you. That is the realization creeping across the Web in the guise of new identify and registration systems, of which Facebook Connect is one. Facebook Connect is a centralized identity service. That's not the only model. OpenID is a federated identity play--no one owns the database of users, and anyone can set up or use the standard. Functionally these distinctions are important, but asking users to understand them is a losing game. Users just want easy access to sites they like, and they want to trust that the sites they use won't steal their identity or use it in ways that are damaging to them. That's why it's good to offer users more than one way to access a Web service…”

13. Google's New Open Stack Expanding - Sans Facebook, Microsoft http://tinyurl.com/56bml6 (ReadWriteWeb) “…A couple of weeks ago we celebrated the first birthday of Google's OpenSocial project…OpenSocial now reaches nearly 675 M registered users and there are 7,500 applications…the single largest number of registered users isn't coming from MySpace, hi5 or even Orkut. The largest user base appears to be from 51.com, which as we've reported before is one of China's largest social networks with 130M registered users…The list of organizations developing apps includes AOL, Bebo, hi5, Google, LinkedIn, MySpace, Ning, Orkut, Yahoo!. Of course still missing from OpenSocial are Facebook and Microsoft…”

14. The End Of Online Anonymity http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/the_end_of_online_anonymity.php “…A precedent-setting case, the Lori Drew MySpace trial, has just come to an end. If you're unfamiliar, this was a case where an overprotective mom established a fake online identity to bully her daughter's rival. The judge's ruling has now criminalized the act of creating a fake persona online…the aftershocks of the ruling could very well impact the online identity creation process for years to come if it's not overturned. "If this verdict stands, it means that every site on the internet gets to define the criminal law," stated senior legal policy analyst Andrew Grossman for the Heritage Foundation. "That's a radical change. What used to be small-stakes contracts become high-stakes criminal prohibitions… Facebook Connect, Google Friend Connect, and Yahoo's Open Strategy, have all been busy trying to grab land on the new frontier of identity management. All of them want to be your de facto online identity provider. No matter who wins, though, it's anonymity that loses. For the sites that move to these types of authentication methods, no longer will their users be able to create disposable usernames and passwords…Even the utopian plans of OpenID, which MySpace pledged to support, is being embraced by other big names like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and even President-Elect Obama. With this federated identity, one set of credentials can follow you around the net, providing access to hundreds of sites. Although everyday computer users may not understand the technicalities of OpenID, the psychological impact will become apparent. To the technically unsophisticated, the concept that you are one set of credentials…will start people thinking that their activities can be traced, that they are not as anonymous as before…”

15. How the "Strip-Mall Effect" Could Destroy the Web http://tinyurl.com/5bqehu (FastCompany) “…It's easy to forget that the almighty Internet is still in its incipience; the Web of 2008 is somewhat akin to the roadways of 1930. Right now, the Web is a way for us to get to our online destinations. Today's breakthrough tool, the social network, is poised to turn that relationship on its ear, just as the automobile did decades ago…because Facebook and MySpace together can serve up ads to hundreds of millions of users – many in that elusive 18-34 demographic – their ad services could come to play a dictatorial role in the world of online advertising. That could drive down the profitability of advertising for smaller sites who can't offer the same response to ads, or the same detailed data about their users. If those sites don't have the development resources to learn the Facebook API and become a part of environments like Facebook Connect, then they're screwed. Of course, this is the natural way of things: commercialization, industrialization, incorporation. But it means that the next generation of Internet users will grow up with a different understanding of the Web…That leaves them removed by several degrees from the go-anywhere Web of today. They'll have little reason to mosey up to the address bar and type in anything else…”

16. Secret Geek A-Team Hacks Back, Defends Worldwide Web http://tinyurl.com/6ovjpz (Wired) “…recalled a trick he'd figured out for getting free Wi-Fi at Starbucks…He remembered that he had gotten into Starbucks' locked network using the domain name system, or DNS…At Starbucks, the port for the low-bandwidth DNS connection—port 53—was left open to route customers to the Pay for Starbucks Wi-Fi Web page. So, rather than pay, Kaminsky used port 53 to access the open DNS connection and get online…as Kaminsky began to think more deeply about DNS he became convinced that something wasn't right. He couldn't quite figure it out, but the feeling stuck with him…He got hired to test the security of Windows Vista before it was released, repeatedly punching holes in it for Microsoft. Still, in the back of his mind, he was sure that the entire DNS system was vulnerable to attack. Then last January, on a drizzly Sunday afternoon, he…started playing games with DNS…and decided to ask for the location of a series of nonexistent Web pages at a Fortune 500 company. Then he tried to trick his DNS server in San Diego into thinking that he knew the location of the bogus pages…The server accepted one of the fake pages as real…Then he realized that the server was willing to accept more information from him. Since he had supplied data about one of the company's Web pages, it believed that he was an authoritative source for general information about the company's domain. The server didn't know that the Web page didn't exist—it was listening to Kaminsky now, as if it had been hypnotized… It was the ultimate hack. He was looking at an error coded into the heart of the Internet's infrastructure. This was not a security hole in Windows or a software bug in a Cisco router. This would allow him to reassign any Web address, reroute anyone's email, take over banking sites, or simply scramble the entire global system…The vulnerability gave him the power to transfer millions out of bank accounts worldwide…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

17. Hanging out with T-Mobile G1, iPhone 3G, Blackberry Storm http://www.jkontherun.com/2008/11/hanging-out-wit.html “…I have voice and data plans on Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile which I pay far too much for but I need them to be able to play with all the phones I get in my hands…the iPhone 3G, the T-Mobile G1 and the Blackberry Storm…are the hottest smartphones in the US…at the basest level they are totally different phones that should appeal to different users. What I find the most interesting about this comparison is that all three phones are smartphones that are aimed at the consumer. This is a big change from the not so distant past when smartphones were almost exclusively the domain of the enterprise worker…”

18. Toshiba to Launch 16GB microSDHC http://tinyurl.com/5bscgj (PRNewswire) “…launch of a 16GB[1] microSDHC[2] card offering the largest capacity available in the market…the company extended its range of industry-leading memory card solutions by adding ultra fast read/write 8GB and 16GB SDHC[2] cards to its line-up…the new SDHC memory cards comply with the SD memory standard Ver. 2.00, and the two new SDHC cards announced today support class 6 ultra fast read/write speed -- a maximum write speed of 20MB per second…for continuous shooting of still images and recording video images. The new cards meet strong market demands for cards combining high capacities with high speed data read and write….Micro SDHC cards provide a solution for mobile phones, while SDHC memory cards support other digital consumer products….Toshiba offers the latest high-capacity, high-performance memory cards, including SD, SD High-Capacity (SDHC), microSD(TM) and microSDHC…currently offers SD Memory Cards with storage capacities of 1GB and 2GB in its standard (blue) Class 2 product family, a higher performance (black) family of Class 4 cards, and the new ultra fast (white) Class 6 Cards. The Toshiba SDHC Memory card line-up now includes microSDHC cards in capacities from 2GB to 16GB, and a selection of SDHC Cards in various speed classes with capacities of up to 32GB…”

19. How iPhone Cuts Business Travel Costs http://tinyurl.com/5dysae (Forbes) “…In an economy like this one, what company can afford to send its employees on the road with suitcases full of high-tech gadgets?...Smart-phone sales are up 80%, so the whole category is on fire," Brockway says. "But only a third of business travelers who have a smart phone realize that they can access the Internet. Of the business travelers who do realize, only 50% of them use their phones to actually access the Internet…It's not hard to see why TripIt's user base is 80% business and 20% leisure. "The road warriors are the ones who appreciate our application most…InstaMapper, an application that makes use of the iPhone 3G's GPS to turn phones into tracking devices. "This makes it easy to find your way back to your hotel," Richard says. On a recent trip, he learned the hard way the full extent of the InstaMapper app after he lost his phone in Philadelphia. "If you happen to lose your iPhone while out sightseeing, you can easily pinpoint its location via [the InstaMapper] Web site…”

Open Source

20. OpenStreetMap grows, spawns ecosystem http://uk.techcrunch.com/2008/11/27/openstreetmap-grows-spawns-ecosystem/ “…OpenStreetMap started four years ago in the UK as a project to create a free and editable world map. What began as a few geogeeks wandering the streets with their GPS’s has turned into a global movement with over 75,000 registered contributors. The database has improved rapidly in quality and comprehensiveness, as have the tools and services around it…”

21. Open source hardware 2008 http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2008/11/_draft_open_source_hardwa.html “…What is open source hardware? Briefly, these are projects that creators have decided to completely publish all the source, schematics, firmware, software, bill of materials, parts list, drawings and "board" files to recreate the hardware - they also allow any use, including commercial. Similar to open source hardware like Linux, but hardware centric. This is one of the new and emerging trends we've seen really take off over the last few years…”

22. openDesktop.org provides super-portal to free software sites http://www.linux.com/feature/153888 “…When users want the latest in free and open source software (FOSS), they are likely to think first of sites like freshmeat, or perhaps Softpedia or GnomeFiles. However, as the FOSS community has divided into specialized communities, sites for new releases have proliferated, to the point where it is difficult to keep track of them all. Since 2007, openDesktop.org has provided a portal for many of these specialized sites. Under the slogan "Let's build the desktop of the future," openDesktop.org provides a quick overview of new software that is independent of desktop or distribution…”

23. gOS Cloud - From zero to web browser in just a few seconds http://tinyurl.com/6kfsfj (DownloadSquad) “…gOS is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu that's designed to make it easy to interface with web-based applications like Gmail, YouTube, and Meebo…The latest version of gOS goes a few steps further, by emphasizing the web browser above all else. gOS Cloud is a stripped down Linux distro that can load in just a few seconds. And instead of loading a typical desktop, the first window it opens is a web browser (which looks suspiciously like Google Chrome in the press shots)…And the operating system is designed for dual boot systems that also run Windows XP…”

24. Picasa 3: Great Linux photo software http://blogs.computerworld.com/picasa_3_great_linux_photo_software “…There's no software on earth I can't make dance and sing... except for photography programs. Whether it's Adobe Photoshop CS4 on a Mac or GIMP 2.6.3 on Linux, I'm a klutz. So, when I need to make my holiday photos look halfway decent, I try my best with easy to use photo programs like Photoshop Elements 7 or Google Picasa. While I'd like to see more Adobe programs on Linux, with Google's new release of Picasa 3 for Linux now here, I'm in no hurry to see Photoshop Elements on Linux…”

25. Open source force for Obama campaign http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/open-source-force-behind-obama-campaign “…I am reminded of Isaac Asimov's distinction (in Second Foundation) between "the answer that satisfied" and "the answer that was true". Because much of the Obama campaign's success so far isn't about branding, demographics, or even politics as we've known it for too long. It's about using technology to make democracy work…I think what I saw was the equivalent for politics of the Tech Model Railroad Club or the Home Brew Computer Club. It was where a new and highly practical tech movement started. Britt Blaser calls it "the first campaign that functioned more like a Web service than a marketing blitz…The work that we do does put us at a huge advantage when shopping for talent. What we do is bigger for a lot of developers than making software for a bank. We want geeks to get up and be happy in the morning, and think 'I'm building something today that millions of people tomorrow are going to use to help change the world'…The Obama Campaign isn't much into "social computing" of the Facebook and MySpace sort. But it's outstanding at using computing to make the campaign social in the real world…”

26. Open Source: The Model Is Broken http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/nov2008/tc20081130_276152.htm “…Two years ago, Microsoft stunned the world by forming a partnership with Novell, a company specializing in the open-source Linux operating system that competes with Windows…I was one of the few open-source CEOs to support that deal while at Open Source Development Labs, and I even joined Ballmer and Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian on stage that day… Consider Sun MicroSystems' (JAVA) $1 billion acquisition of open-source database software vendor MySQL…unless it adds significant value on top of the open-source project, I don't see how Sun will ever generate enough revenue to make this a profitable transaction…Companies today are coming together to form "communities" of subject matter professionals—executives, business managers, doctors, or researchers—to define software that can be produced at much lower cost…open source is the means. These "communities" of subject matter experts are using it to build their applications because it's open and low-cost…”

SkyNet

27. Google’s Gatekeepers http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/30/magazine/30google-t.html “…Wong and her colleagues set out to determine which ones were, in fact, illegal in Turkey; which violated YouTube’s terms of service prohibiting hate speech but allowing political speech; and which constituted expression that Google and YouTube would try to protect. There was a vigorous internal debate among Wong and her colleagues at the top of Google’s legal pyramid. Andrew McLaughlin, Google’s director of global public policy, took an aggressive civil-libertarian position, arguing that the company should protect as much speech as possible. Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel, took a more pragmatic approach, expressing concern for the safety of the dozen or so employees at Google’s Turkish office. The responsibility for balancing these and other competing concerns about the controversial content fell to Wong, whose colleagues jokingly call her “the Decider,”… throughout history, the development of new media technologies has always altered the way we think about threats to free speech…As more and more speech migrates online, to blogs and social-networking sites and the like, the ultimate power to decide who has an opportunity to be heard, and what we may say, lies increasingly with Internet service providers, search engines and other Internet companies like Google, Yahoo, AOL, Facebook and even eBay…”

28. Google Earth For Apple 3G iPhone and iPod Touch http://www.newsoxy.com/google/article11391.html “…Google Inc released its Google Earth application to run on Apple Inc's iPhone and iPod Touch. The geographical software streams to the devices while users can use the touch screen technology to move across the 3D map…The Google map software is similar to its desktop version of the application. Users can fly around the globe by swiping their finger on the touch screen. Google Earth also has a built-in accelerometer which enables users to tilt their mobile device to see 3D locations from different angles…”

29. Google Calendar and Apple iCal finally agree to date http://tinyurl.com/674oty (VentureBeat) “…If you own an Apple computer, chances are you’re torn between using iCal, Apple’s built-in calendar program, or one of the online calendar services. Today, the Google Mac team has released a tool that makes using Google Calendar with iCal a breeze…The tool, called Calaboration…is a simple program that walks you step by step on how to set up your Google Calendars to sync with iCal. It’s a two-step process — you sign into your Google account and then select what calendars you wish to move over…One annoying thing this doesn’t resolve is iPhone support. I would love to be able to add events from my iPhone and have them sync over the Internet with Google Calendar. For right now, you still have to sync your iPhone with your computer first to transfer over new entries…”

General Technology

30. A Design for Cheaper Wind Power http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/21737/?a=f “…FloDesign Wind Turbine, a spin-off from the aerospace company FloDesign based in Wilbraham, MA, has developed a wind turbine that could generate electricity at half the cost of conventional turbines. The company recently raised $6 million in its first round of venture financing and has announced partnerships with wind-farm developers. The company's design, which draws on technology developed for jet engines, circumvents a fundamental limit to conventional wind turbines. Typically, as wind approaches a turbine, almost half of the air is forced around the blades rather than through them, and the energy in that deflected wind is lost. At best, traditional wind turbines capture only 59.3 percent of the energy in wind, a value called the Betz limit…”

31. The desktop 3D printer http://radar.oreilly.com/2008/10/the-desktop-3d-printer.html “…Yesterday, Andrew Sheppard pointed me at a desktop 3D printer for under $5000…$5000 is still pricey for a desktop product, but it's plausible for a shared office printer. If Desktop Factory can get a few more thousand off the price, they'll have a viable personal product…3D CAD software strikes me as being roughly where text editing and page layout was in the 80s. Is Desktop Factory the company that will drive a renaissance in 3D design tools?...If you're interested in following the 3D print space, please read our blog at http://fabbaloo.com...visit our website: http://www.shopbottools.com for more info on affordable subtractive 3D printing… With 2D printing you are dealing with bits and pixels or DPI which are fairly simple and, importantly, constant. With 3D printing, atoms are a much trickier thing to manipulate. The "1-7" coding on most plastic items is a massive oversimplification of the varieties of plastics currently used in manufacture. Specialized formulas enable stronger structures, more aesthetically pleasing finishes and myriad other variations… 3 companies making some head way in this…www.figureprints.com, www.jujups.com, www.shapeways.com…”

32. Memristors Make Chips Cheaper http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/21710/?a=f “…Researchers at HP Labs in Palo Alto, CA, are betting that a new fundamental electronic component--the memristor--will keep computer power increasing at this rate for years to come…Increasing performance has usually meant shrinking components so that more can be packed onto a circuit. But instead, Williams's team removes some transistors and replaces them with a smaller number of memristors…A memristor acts a lot like a resistor but with one big difference: it can change resistance depending on the amount and direction of the voltage applied and can remember its resistance even when the voltage is turned off…A single memristor can perform the same logic functions as multiple transistors, making them a promising way to increase computer power…”

33. Microsoft Windows: internet share below 90% for first time http://tinyurl.com/5ntbw3 (ComputerWorld) “…Windows OS last month took its biggest market share dive in the past two years…sending the operating system's share under 90% for the first time, an Internet measurement company reported today. In November, 89.6% of users who connected to the Web sites that Net Applications Inc. monitors did so from systems powered by Windows, a drop of 0.84 of a percentage point from October…Apple Inc.'s Mac OS X, meanwhile, posted its biggest gain in the same two-year period, growing by 0.66 percentage point to end the month at 8.9%. November was the third month running that Apple's operating system remained above 8%…”

Leisure & Entertainment

34. Blockbuster v Netflix in box bout http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/40357/98/ “…Better late than never was my first reaction to the Blockbuster box called “MediaPoint”. The good news here certainly is that… this product is finally available (in December). The bad news is that I doubt it will ever catch fire and attract the kind of interest Blockbuster will need to survive in its battle against Netflix…Initially, the MediaPoint…will be offered for free, if you agree to pre-purchase 25 movie rentals for $99. After that, movie rentals are available for $1.99 and up…”

35. Wii leads the way on healthy Black Friday http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10109931-93.html “…Taking the crown as the top product of the day was the Nintendo Wii, according to both PriceGrabber and online commerce giant eBay…The Wii game console was the most searched-for product on eBay, followed by the Wii Fit companion product. Consumers snatched up 3,171 Wiis over eBay, at an average selling price of $349, followed by the Wii Fit, with 1,059 sold at an average selling price of $140…”

36. The Internet Symphony: YouTube's Orchestra http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=qwTiF0HMrog “…Starting today, musicians around the world can submit audition videos to www.youtube.com/symphony for a chance to participate in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra and summit, the world's first collaborative online orchestra connecting aspiring musicians with leaders and stars in the classical world. The first YouTube program of its kind, the YouTube Symphony Orchestra will transform individual performances into a global symphony and change the way musicians connect over the Internet…All entries received by January 28 will be considered for a massive global video performance of "The Internet Symphony"…musical experts from the London Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and other leading orchestras around the world will narrow the field of entries from localized YouTube countries to a group of semifinalists…the YouTube community will be invited to vote for their favorite semifinalists, and those chosen will be invited to participate in the three-day classical music learning summit, culminating in the Carnegie Hall performance…”

Economy and Technology

37. Clearwire forms with Google, Intel investment http://tinyurl.com/55ko7a (MarketWatch) “…The asset merger between Sprint Nextel Corp. and Clearwire Corp. aimed at forming a cutting-edge new wireless Internet network was closed Friday, with help from a $3.2 billion investment by Google Inc., Intel Corp, Comcast Corp. and others. The merger, which has Sprint blending valuable spectrum rights and other assets with Clearwire, is expected to pave the way for a broader network based on so-called "WiMax" technology, a powerful wireless standard that could develop into an alternative to more traditional cellular phone networks…”

38. Tata to Commercialize Healthcare Portal http://tinyurl.com/6jrsqt (PCWorld) “…Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), plans to commercialize its WebHealthCentre, an online portal for medical consultations, healthcare information, and telemedicine. The WebHealthCentre site (http://www.webhealthcentre.com/) was set up by TCS in 2000, as part of fulfilling its corporate social responsibility. The site was started to offer patients in rural areas access to specialist doctors…Some of the technologies deployed by TCS on the site have been used in applications for some of the company's IT services customers, Ghosh said. Having a portal like WebHealthCentre also gives the company a strong brand in the healthcare market, and demonstrates its technical capability in this market segment…”

Civilian Aerospace

39. Tapping final frontier’s potential http://www.investmentnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081130/REG/312019965 “…the key is to recognize that 71% of the $251 billion "space economy" is spent on commercial applications such as satellite broadcasting and global positioning systems, and not traditional Department of Defense and NASA spending…the industry, which some say offers entrepreneurial opportunities on a par with the biotechnology industry, also is becoming flush with lesser-known public companies and even upstarts that are still flying below the radar screens of all but the most sophisticated private-equity and venture capital investors…lot of what works on the surface of the earth is because of what's going on in space," said Elliot Pulham, president and chief executive of the Space Foundation, a Colorado Springs, Colo.-based trade association. "The space industry has evolved over the past 10 years or so from one that was driven by government to one that is now driven by the commercial sector," he added. That point will be emphasized in New York in June when the 25-year-old association will host its second annual Space Business Forum…”

40. Korean Lunar Lander Unveiled http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2008/11/133_35167.html “…Korean scientists unveiled a locally developed spacecraft that could potentially be used for robotic exploration of the Moon, hailing it as an important moment in the country's ambitious space program. A team led by Kwon Se-jin, a professor of aerospace engineering at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), and engineers at local company, Space Solutions, revealed the lunar-lander, which is capable of carrying objects weighing around 20 kilograms to the lunar surface…Every part of the rocket engine, including the catalyst reactor, was homemade, Kwon said, and the rocket's propulsion included a state-of-the-art propulsion valve developed by Space Solutions enabling thrust control. The engine's design allows it to be powered by environmentally friendly fuel…”

41. Santa Rosa rocket man way beyond hobby stage http://tinyurl.com/5cnlrf (PressDemocrat) “…I started seven or eight years ago with my son, who was 13 at the time. We started building cardboard rockets and we advanced past that,” said Alcocer, a Santa Rosa firefighter. “It got out of hand.”…The last flew to 63,000 feet at three times the speed of sound. It was launched at Black Rock in the Nevada desert, where the Federal Aviation Administration has established a 100,000-foot ceiling for amateur rocketeers…”

42. Orbitec seeking investors for expansion http://www.jsonline.com/business/35315959.html “…Business really is rocket science at Orbital Technologies Corp., a Madison aerospace group that announced Monday that it is seeking investors to embark on its next stage of expansion. "We have products and technologies that are ready to launch," said Thomas M. Crabb, co-founder, president and chief financial officer of the privately held aerospace group. Orbitec, as the 20-year-old company calls itself, started off mainly with propulsion, rockets and robotics technologies and strong ties to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. In more recent years, its investments in research and development have yielded so many diverse spin-offs that it reorganized itself in October into five separate operating groups…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

43. Computed Tomography Software Taps Into NVIDIA GPUs http://tinyurl.com/67a7er (HPCwire) “…I recently talked with Julien Noel, the CT (computed tomography) Product Manager at North Star Imaging in chilly Rogers, Minnesota. North Star Imaging (NSI) specializes in industrial X-ray for nondestructive testing and analysis. They have seen firsthand how the adoption of HPC -- in the form of expanded computational power from NVIDIA’s GPUs and their CUDA API -- can transform a business and create new value for them and for their customers… Through the use of our new CT software with GPU reconstruction technology, our data transformations are completed significantly faster than they had been. With our efX-CT software, speeds are between 5 and 40 times faster than our CPU version using processors, and up to 100 times faster than any other CT software, depending on the number of projections…Recently, a customer explained that their productivity has dramatically increased due to their reconstruction times diminishing by a factor of 50 over machines built just a couple of years ago. They further explained their data is now typically available in less than two minutes instead of hours…”

44. GPU vs CPU: wrong battle, wrong war http://tinyurl.com/6oo467 (ZDNet) “…Intel is out on the road, preaching a new way of looking at processors. Well, it's not so new - it's a repackaging, in shinier polygons, of what has most recently been called the CISC vs RISC argument that's been going since mainframe days. Briefly, the conflict is between making things general purpose and thus mildly inefficient at everything, or specialising in one task and doing it extremely well while having enough firepower to tackle other things in clever but awkward ways… three problems. FIrst, it is exceptionally difficult to make GPUs do anything well except what they were designed to do - enormously parallel operations on very large data sets…Second: CPUs are scooping up GPU hardware cleverness faster than GPUs are acquiring the CPU's facility with mainstream software…Third…For the GPU revolution to happen there has to be not only a sea change in programming methodology, but one which doesn't benefit CPUs like Nehalem to any great extent…”


*****

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