2008/12/30

NEW NET Issues List for 30 Dec 2008

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 30 December 2008, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering -- the last for 2008! It was a quiet week in tech news, likely due in part to the year end and in part to the global economy woes. This week we're upstairs at Tom's Drive In, 501 N Westhill Blvd, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.

The ‘net

1. How To: Create Online Video That Works http://mashable.com/2008/12/23/how-to-create-online-video/ “…With the recent explosion and expansion of online video, the biggest question is how to best drive viewer action and monetize this new medium…It offers what was once limited to expensive TV advertising: reach and emotional engagement with potential customers. And, it’s relatively cheap and provides immediate, measurable feedback….It’s important to recognize that the Internet and television deliver two completely different video experiences. Television is “lean back” where people engage with the content in front of them when they want to. The Internet is “lean forward,” where people are actively controlling their experience. With users in control businesses must deliver information in a way that engages them when they finally say “OK, talk to me.” Here are six steps to creating online video that works…”

2. Six topnotch writing resources for bloggers http://www.webuildpages.com/blog/blogging/writing-resources-for-bloggers/ “…A lot of companies hear the word “blog” and switch it in their minds to “article writing”. A blog post is not an article; they’re two entirely different skill sets. I know this. I’ve had to write both…There are plenty of posts out there about how to blog and what makes a good blogger, so there’s no reason for me to rehash them. Instead, I wanted to share some of my favorite blogging resources…Here are my favorite posts/resources on good blogging…”

3. Will Work for Praise: The Web's Free-Labor Economy http://tinyurl.com/82tdvd (Business Week) “…You might think that with the economy crashing, the free-labor business model would be crashing, too. Will people continue to invest in their personal brands during hard times…masses of free laborers continue to toil without ever seeing a payday, or even angling for one. Many find compensation in currencies that predate the market economy. These include winning praise from peers, earning an exalted place within a community, scoring thrills from winning, and finding satisfaction in helping others. But how to monetize all that energy? From universities to the computer labs of Internet giants, researchers are working to decode motivations, and to perfect the art of enlisting volunteers. Prahbakar Raghavan, chief of Yahoo Research (YHOO), estimates that 4% to 6% of Yahoo's users are drawn to contribute their energies for free, whether it's writing movie reviews or handling questions at Yahoo Answers…Raghavan has hired microeconomists and sociologists from Harvard and Columbia universities to match different types of personalities with different rewards. To date, he says, most of the research on recruitment and incentives comes from far simpler domains such as frequent-flier programs and cell-phone subscription campaigns…But the volunteer economy has many more variables…he faced a chicken-or-egg dilemma: how to entice people to perform for a crowd that doesn't yet exist? His answer was to create one. He and his team went out and interviewed a few hundred people—fashion designers, athletes, and activists—and then seeded ThisNext with their thoughts and recommendations. "When the first visitors came, there was a there there," Gould says. The content on the site, he adds, had to be good…”

4. Knewton Takes Adaptive Learning To The Next Level http://tinyurl.com/8yma6h (TechCrunch) “…the bigger prize over time will be augmenting or replacing printed textbooks and increasingly penetrating the global education market. One small startup with the ambition to take that prize is Knewton…The company is built entirely on Amazon’s cloud computing services (EC2 for computation, S3 for storing video tutorials, and Mechanical Turk for fine-tuning its test questions)…The founder and CEO, Jose Ferreira, used to be an executive at Kaplan, the test prep giant. Knewton’s two chief test designers, Len Swanson and Robert McKinley, wrote the scoring algorithms for the adaptive learning tests used by, respectively, the Educational Testing Service (which administers the SAT, GRE, and AP tests) and ACT. Adaptive learning tests are taken on computers. The questions get progressively harder or easier depending on each student’s answers. Thus, they adapt to each student’s knowledge and abilities. Knewton is taking the adaptive learning concept and applying it first to online test preparation services…it offers a year-long subscription to prepare for the GMAT test that costs $1,390. The company guarantees a minimum 50-point jump in a student’s test score or their money back. The service combines live video chat with an instructor in a whiteboard environment, along with learn-at-your-own-pace sample questions and tutorials. Knewton finds the best teachers it can get and pays them $500 to $800 an hour… We tag content down to the atomic level. A student who accesses a digital textbook, for instance, any given day they come in, instead of the same syllabus every day, they get a new syllabus based on the concepts they know and the ones they don’t know. If they learn best via video, they get that. If they learn best with text they get that…The Teacher’s Union might have a fit if software like Knewton’s ever threatens their jobs, but education is so broken in this country that anything that make students smarter should be embraced with open arms…”

5. Work Ethic 2.0: Attention Control http://www.internetnews.com/commentary/article.php/3793561 “…A person who works with total focus has an enormous advantage over a workaholic who's "multi-tasking" all day, answering every phone call, constantly checking Facebook and Twitter, and indulging every interruption. The industrial revolution didn't arise out of nowhere, and it didn't arise everywhere. It was made possible by the emergence of a set of personal values that came to be known as the "work ethic… When the "information age" started replacing the "industrial age," hard work seemed more important than ever. Until the 1980s, to use a computer was to program it. Silicon Valley corporate culture, from tiny startups to the massive Googleplex, emphasizes long hours and feverish work. But since the turn of the new millennium, the nature of work has evolved to the point where hard work is becoming less important to a successful work ethic than another, more useful value: attention… In one generation, we've gone from a total separation of "work" from "non-work" to one in which both work and play are always sitting right in front of us. Now, we find ourselves with absolutely nothing standing between us and a universe of distractions -- nothing except our own abilities to control attention…Making matters worse, indulging these distractions looks just like work. And it's easy to work and play at the same time -- and call it work. These new, increasingly compelling distractions get piled on to older ones -- office pop-ins, e-mail, IM, text messages, meetings and others…”

6. Internet Use Grows at Meetings, as Do Challenges http://tinyurl.com/a368pc (NYTimes) “…Until recently, travelers attending conferences or trade shows had simple Internet needs. They would check e-mail messages and maybe look up information on the Web or connect to the home office. Now, meetings are likely to include streaming video and online interaction. And back in their rooms, travelers are downloading movies and logging onto peer-to-peer networks. Event organizers and hotels and conference centers are struggling to keep up and prevent Internet gridlock…The advent of cheap, user-friendly — but bandwidth-heavy — streaming video technology changed the status quo drastically. Demand at hotels and convention centers has spiked, as businesses add videoconferencing to their meetings and guests download media…For Maura Sutherland, this bandwidth access was a major selling point. As a senior manager of corporate marketing for Akamai Technologies, she recently brought 300 customers from around the world to the Renaissance. She said the hotel was able to partition off bandwidth for her group’s exclusive use, which included high-definition video streaming…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

7. S.F. computer engineer to stand trial http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/12/27/BA1F14VJG3.DTL “…Judge Paul Alvarado ruled Wednesday that prosecutors had produced enough evidence of Terry Childs' probable guilt to hold him for trial on four felony charges of tampering with a computer network, denying other authorized users access to the network and causing more than $200,000 in losses. Childs, 44, of Pittsburg has been held in jail since July 13 on $5 million bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 13. Childs was a network administrator at San Francisco's Department of Telecommunication Information Services, where he worked for five years. The network he created and ran, FiberWAN, allows the city's computers to communicate with each other and handles 60 percent of the city's information…Prosecutors said city officials have estimated that San Francisco spent at least $1.45 million in attempts to regain control of the network and assess its vulnerability to intrusions. Childs' lawyers have denied any destructive intent and said he was trying to protect the network from incompetent officials whose meddling endangered the system he had built. "Mr. Childs had good reason to be protective of that network," defense lawyer Erin Crane said in an unsuccessful motion in July to reduce Childs' bail. "His co-workers and supervisors had in the past maliciously damaged the system themselves…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

8. The year of the mobile app http://blogs.zdnet.com/open-source/?p=3236 “…The most popular piece I wrote here during 2008 concerned the importance of the iPhone and Google Android…the iPhone, the Google Android, and all their competitors are not phones at all. They are Internet clients…An Internet client is a broadband device. We’re accustomed to desktop clients that haul data at 1.5 Mbps, often faster, even in a WiFi-equipped coffee bar. Contrast this with the 3 Kbps of the average digital cellular call. So-called 3G mobile networks are not equipped to deal with this demand…The average iPhone user grabs 500 times more data each month than the average phone user. With a single supplier keeping prices high this demand growth is barely manageable. As Android and LiMo devices hit the shelves this year, a firehose of demand will be unleashed. That will be the big story of 2009…”

9. Smartphones drive mobile markets http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7797908.stm “…all is not rosy in the smartphone garden. The popularity of these devices has brought to light several problems that look set to become acute in 2009…One of the high spots, he said, was the knock-on effect the launch of innovative smartphones had on the mobile market…The success of 3G has been attributed to the use of a technology known as High Speed Packet Access (HSPA)...Mr Warren said data rates looked set to get a further boost in 2009 thanks to a follow-up technology known as HSPA+. He said: "HSPA+ will start to become prevalent in 2009. It takes you up to 42Mbps but the maximum at the moment is 7.2Mbps in the UK…more customers in some markets will be a mixed blessing. "As more and more people get a mobile you are going down the value pyramid," he said. "You get a lot of people but every single one is not going to be generating a lot of revenue…In the UK, it found, some folk will pay about £10 to download a two megabyte music track. By contrast in Germany, on some tariffs, customers will only pay 24 cents (22p) a megabyte. The confusion that results was holding back the growth of mobile data services, said Mr Bud. Few people were willing to risk downloading as they were worried about racking up huge charges…”

Open Source

10. OO.o: Sick or dying? http://www.gnome.org/~michael/blog/ooo-commit-stats-2008.html “…in a Free Software project the primary production is developing and improving the software - ie. hacking. So the question is: how is OpenOffice.org doing in this area ? Are we a success in attracting and retaining hackers ? Is the project sufficiently fun to be involved in that lots of people actually want to be involved ?... I don't often agree with Bill Gates but: “Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight”…OO.o peaked at around 70 active developers in late 2004 and is trending downwards, the Linux kernel is nearer 300 active developers and trending upwards…the statistics show a picture of slow disengagement by Sun, combined with a spectacular lack of growth in the developer community. In a healthy project we would expect to see a large number of volunteer developers involved, in addition - we would expect to see a large number of peer companies contributing to the common code pool; we do not see this in OpenOffice.org. Indeed, quite the opposite we appear to have the lowest number of active developers on OO.o since records began: 24…Even spun in the most positive way, OO.o is at best stagnating from a development perspective…without a focus on developers, and making OO.o truly fair and fun to contribute to - any amount of spin will not end up selling a dying horse…”

11. Nix fixes dependency hell on all Linux distributions http://www.linux.com/feature/155922 “…A next-generation package manager called Nix provides a simple distribution-independent method for deploying a binary or source package on different flavours of Linux, including Ubuntu, Debian, SUSE, Fedora, and Red Hat. Even better, Nix does not interfere with existing package managers. Unlike existing package managers, Nix allows different versions of software to live side by side, and permits sane rollbacks of software upgrades. Nix is a useful system administration tool for heterogeneous environments and developers who write software supported on different libraries, compilers, or interpreters…”

12. Why is OpenOffice "profoundly sick"? http://news.cnet.com/8301-13505_3-10129764-16.html?tag=mncol;title “…in the case of OpenOffice, Sun is both the gatekeeper to commitment and contribution, as Meeks intimates, and Sun's commitment to writing code seems to be dwindling…Sun and Novell have long been the dominant contributors to OpenOffice, but Sun is apparently cutting back on its contributions without opening up the project to outside contributors. This is the big problem in OpenOffice. Or, rather, one of them. The other? OpenOffice is such a complex, monolithic piece of code that outside, would-be contributors struggle to know how to quickly become productive and contribute…The answer is for Sun to turn OpenOffice into a foundation, similar to Eclipse, and get out of the way…”

13. Wikipedia asks for $6 million http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/2008/12/wikipedia_appea.html “…Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is asking for donations to the nonprofit site. But with more than 150,000 volunteers at his disposal, the question remains: Is it in trouble of folding? Wales' short request is found on the header of random pages. Short of asking for a bailout, the letter mentions the foundation has annual expenses of less than $6 million with a core staff of 25 people. With eight years behind it and more than 11 million articles in 265 languages, Wikipedia has a larger contribution base than some open source projects…”

SkyNet

14. Is Gmail Twice as Fast in Google Chrome as IE 8 http://www.labnol.org/internet/gmail-fast-in-google-chrome-than-ie/6208/ “…If you open the Gmail website in Internet Explorer, you’ll see a link at the top that says "Get Faster Gmail" - it’s placed next to your Gmail user name and highlighted in bold red so you won’t miss it for sure…Google has been advertising Chrome aggressively across all their web properties but what surprised me here was this bit - "In order to get the best experience possible and make Google Mail run an average of twice as fast, we suggest that you upgrade your browser to one of the fastest Google Mail supported browsers that work on Windows…”

15. GoogleUpdate.exe http://www.ghacks.net/2008/12/28/googleupdateexe/ “…Observant computer users might discover the process googleupdate.exe running on their computer system after installing a software product by Google. This can be the new Google Chrome web browser, Google Picasa or many other Google products that are installed locally. The process googleupdate.exe will run automatically in the background and check Google servers frequently for software updates. Googleupdate.exe uses about 1.6 Megabytes of computer memory while running. This might not be much on computer systems that have Gigabytes of computer memory but can make a difference on low end systems. There is however another aspect that requires some attention. Googleupdate.exe will send data to the Google server whenever it checks for updates. This data includes a unique ID number, languages, operating systems, version numbers and other install or update related details…”

16. The Google is flat http://www.eetimes.com/news/latest/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=212400167 “…One of the things that surprised me about Google was it had no middle managers," said Randy Katz, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. Katz took a sabbatical at the Internet search giant in 2006…I was working for [Senior Vice President of Engineering] Bill Coughran, and I reported directly to him along with more than 160 people. That's a little insane, but they are able to do it because they make such extensive use of electronic messaging…The physical layout of the company was also interesting. It's an open cube environment. The vice presidents and engineers share these cubes. It was good because you could see a lot of collaboration taking place. No one has a private office except for Eric Schmidt, who has a very tiny one. Even Larry and Sergey share an office, though it is a very big office. "That has influenced the way we organized our own research [at Berkeley]. We remodeled some lab space so faculty and graduate students are in the same space with the same kind of low cubicle structure they have at Google. Now I see a lot of collaboration and acceleration of our research by having my office being just a cube like anyone else's, and being right in the middle of where students are working on research projects…The theory is if you want innovation, you need unplanned spontaneous meetings and if everyone stays home [telecommuting] that stops happening…”

17. Google amphetype http://code.google.com/p/amphetype/ “…Amphetype is a layout-agnostic typing program aimed at people who don't need an on-screen keyboard, but would still like to improve their speed and accuracy…You can generate text fragments to type from Project Gutenberg or any other plain text source to practice typing with your favorite novel. There's also an option that lets you type texts in order, fragment by fragment. Read a book with your fingers…”

General Technology

18. Rocket powered sled http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2008/12/rocket_powered_sled.html?CMP=OTC-0D6B48984890 “…Ky Michaelson, better known as The Rocketman, is one of the world's leading rocket powered vehicle builders. He was featured in MAKE, Volume 05, and says he got his start using a Gilbert chemistry set at the age of 12. This JATO rocket powered sled is meant to take the strain out of the uphill journey, but I have to wonder what it's like to fire it off during a downhill run…”

19. Revenge of the Nerds http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/28/nyregion/thecity/28tink.html?_r=1 “…Over the thump of electronic rock, two dozen men and women chat, type at laptops and pull on tangles of wire. “Firing the laser!” someone shouts…The 800-square-foot space belongs to a hacker collective called NYC Resistor, which opened in the summer of 2007…The collective has turned away those who are interested in fraudulent computer hacking, preferring a membership of tinkers and inventors — mostly self-professed nerds — each of whom pays $75 a month for access to the space and equipment…Some people go to the gym,” said Mr. Jones, a designer for an educational software firm in the West Village. “Some people go to nightclubs. We tried to build a creative community for nerds…”

20. Help Clueless Relatives with Their Computer Problems http://tinyurl.com/9ys989 (LifeHacker) “…Let's review some common computer complaints and the easiest solutions. "It takes forever to start up."…"I keep getting a pop-up saying I need to pay for my antivirus software."…"I can't find the digital photos I downloaded last month."…"The internet stopped working…”

21. 2008 top tech breakthroughs http://www.wired.com/gadgets/miscellaneous/news/2008/12/YE8_techbreaks?currentPage=all “…Here's our countdown of what rocked our world in 2008 — and what will change yours in 2009 and beyond…Flexible Displays…Edible Chips…send a signal to an external patch that monitors vital parameters such as heart rate, temperature, state of wakefulness…The Memristor…or memory transistor, now joins the three other widely known elements: the capacitor, the resistor and the inductor…”

22. Make the Most of Your New PC http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2337550,00.asp “…Did you receive a pristine, mint Windows Vista computer this holiday season? Great, but right out of the box it's far from perfect…There are things on the hard drive you should get rid of, and other things you should add immediately. If you haven't yet been introduced to Vista, or it's been a while since you've set up a new machine, we'll walk you through it all in these 12 simple steps. And if your new baby is a Mac, you've got a much shorter to-do list…”

23. Microsoft outlines vision of pay-as-you-go computing http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/12/29/microsoft.metered.computing/ “…U.S. patent application number 20080319910, published on Christmas Day, details Microsoft's vision of a situation where a "standard model" of PC is given away or heavily subsidized by someone in the supply chain. The end user then pays to use the computer, with charges based on both the length of usage time and the performance levels utilized, along with a "one-time charge…The scalable performance level components may include a processor, memory, graphics controller, etc. Software and services may include word processing, email, browsing, database access, etc. To support a pay-per-use business model, each selectable item may have a cost associated with it, allowing a user to pay for the services actually selected and that presumably correspond to the task or tasks being performed…Integral to Microsoft's vision is a security module, embedded in the PC, that would effectively lock the PC to a certain supplier…”

24. 2008: Top 10 people in technology http://tinyurl.com/7wxrff (TGDaily) “…There are countless people in this industry who deserve to be recognized, but based on their exposure and leadership, here are those who we believe had the most impact on technology in 2008…The company is often perceived to be design-focused and if that is truly important to the company, then Apple’s next CEO needs to be passionate about design. And we do not know anyone more suited for that job than Jonathan Ive…HP remains one of more healthy companies in today’s IT world. Hurd quietly grew the company to an industry giant that recently announced revenue growth of 19% and stable quarterly net profit of more than $2 billion. For the first time in its history, HP’s 2008 revenue is expected to sail past IBM’s sales…Andy Rubin, Director of Mobile Platforms, Google, former Apple engineer and co-founder of Danger (sold to Microsoft), oversees the development of Google's Android operating system for smartphones. Prior to joining Google, Rubin founded Android…Though more Android-powered handsets beyond T-Mobile's G1 are yet to arrive, Rubin's Android is now the most serious challenger to Apple’s iPhone OS…”

25. Gyms Are Tapping into Pedaling for Power http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/12/more-gyms-go-for-pedal-power.php “…While human-generated energy has previously been mostly limited to one-off solutions rigged together by inventive tinkerers, at least four gyms globally have now gotten in on the act, using the power from their members pedaling to reduce their energy bills…each hour a member spends pedaling generates $1 in credits that can be spent at the gym and two cafés…Boesel's bank of four interconnected bikes can get about 200 watts per hour…”

Leisure & Entertainment

26. 3 New Music Services to Try in the New Year http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/new_year_new_music_services.php “…Your newest resolution can be to "try new things." And here are three new music services - one radio, one mixtape, and one single track - where you can start fulfilling that resolution, already. One Llama is a new take on the online radio station - but with a twist. Unlike purely user-driven selection, One Llama throws "collaborative filtering" and "audio similarity" into the mix…Audiolizer offers a library of musical selections for creating playlists - the mixtape concept we all know and love. It's rather limited at this point, but it shows promise…there doesn't yet appear to be a way to save and share your mixtapes with friends…Fizy is a track-by-track search service. No playlists. No downloads. Just searching for and playing individual tracks you're seeking. So why try it? There are two big benefits to Fizy. First, it's database of music is huge. They're claiming over 75 billion mp3s indexed…”

27. VHS finally dies http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-vhs_bddec28,0,492307.story “…After three decades of steady if unspectacular service, the spinning wheels of the home entertainment stalwart are slowing to a halt at retail outlets. On a crisp Friday morning in October, the final truckload of VHS tapes rolled out of a Palm Harbor, Fla., warehouse run by Ryan Kugler, the last major supplier of the tapes…I was the last one buying VHS and the last one selling it, and I'm done…”

Economy and Technology

28. My Software Is Being Pirated http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001201.html “…let me be absolutely crystal clear about one thing: as a programmer, if you write software and charge money for it, your software will be pirated. Guaranteed…Software piracy is a fact of life, and there's very little you can do about it. The more DRM and anti-piracy devices you pile on, the more likely you are to harm and alienate your paying customers…Nobody wants to leave the front door to their house open, of course, but you should err on the side of simple protection whenever possible. Bear in mind that a certain percentage of the audience simply can't be reached; they'll never pay for your software at any price. Don't penalize the honest people to punish the incorrigible…”

29. Bits Of Destruction http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2008/12/bits-of-destruc.html “…The news is full of stories this year end about the impending bankruptcies of retailers, newspapers, auto manufacturers, banks, and a host of other businesses that have been the mainstay of corporate america for the past 100 years or more. Clearly the economic downturn is the direct cause of most of these failures but I believe it is the straw that broke the camel's back in most cases. The internet, now closing in on 15 years old in its mainstream incarnation as the world wide web, is in many cases the underlying cause of these business failures…The internet has also made the auto dealer model of distribution a questionable approach in this day and age. Consumers can research a car, use auto lead gen services to work one dealer against another, and totally commoditize the dealer channel…many of the business models built in the industrial era finally collapsed as a result of being undermined by the information age. Its creative destruction at work. It's painful and many jobs will be lost permanently. But let's also remember that its inevitable and we can't fight it…”

30. Nine predictions for Silicon Valley in 2009 http://www.mercurynews.com/vc/ci_11304174 “…here are nine things I predict will happen in 2009: 2 There will be no IPOs in Silicon Valley. The good news here is that there have been so few IPOs since 2001 that the valley's economy has become much less dependent on the flow of money from initial public offerings of stock…hopefully this will put the spotlight on innovation rather than the quest for a pot of gold. 3 Yahoo will sell its search business to Microsoft…5 The competition between Facebook and Google will emerge as the year's dominant Internet theme…”

Civilian Aerospace

31. NASA rocket contract: SpaceX in the big time http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-rocket25-2008dec25,0,5568136.story “…In a major boost to Southern California's aerospace industry, a Hawthorne start-up founded by an Internet entrepreneur has been awarded a NASA contract potentially worth $3.1 billion to lift supplies to the International Space Station. Space Exploration Technologies, also known as SpaceX, beat out aerospace behemoths Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co. for the contract to build rockets that would replace the space shuttle when it is slated for retirement in 2010…”

32. Spaceport may be jolt our economy needs http://www.lcsun-news.com/ci_11322639 “…In 2005, the New Mexico Legislature passed a bill sponsored by then-Rep. Ed Boykin, R-Las Cruces, to establish the Spaceport Authority, which is authorized to issue revenue bonds to fund the construction of the spaceport…What seems clear now, with an FAA license in hand, a construction firm selected and a lease with Virgin Galactic expected this week, is that the spaceport will be built…the real key will be how things look five years from now. Will there be a strong market for space travel? How many other companies will follow Virgin Galactic to southern New Mexico? Will the spaceport finally provide the jobs to keep our best and brightest young people from leaving the area?...I believe our local economy is in dire need of something new and something big. And, I can think of few other ventures that would potentially bring the same kind of high-paying, high-skill jobs as the spaceport…”

33. Brooks centrifuge slated for new use http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/36769704.html “…The 2005 base-closure commission ordered that Brooks City-Base's historic centrifuge be dismantled and moved to Ohio, but after going around and around on the matter, the Air Force decided to leave it here. Now, the agency running City-Base is mapping big plans to market the centrifuge, which has trained NASA astronauts going back to the 1960s-era Gemini program, as the hub for a young space-tourist industry fueled by the rich and famous…It is developing a plan that would make City-Base the nation's first civilian center for aerospace training and medical testing. Its centrifuge is one of just two in the Air Force inventory, the older and the only one capable of testing people and equipment…While BDA hopes to use the centrifuge and supporting offices as a space tourist magnet, there's a catch. The centrifuge is run by the Air Force, and it will be needed for pilot training long after 2011 — when the closure round ends. The Air Force said it decided last year to leave the centrifuge here and build a new one at Wright-Patterson AFB near Dayton…”

34. SpaceX Falcon 9 assembly http://www.spacex.com/updates.php “…The integration of Falcon 9 continued steadily through the long Christmas holiday, and the images below show just how close Falcon 9 is to being completely integrated. Whether measured by weight or by cost, the majority of the Falcon 9 being assembled is actual flight hardware…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

35. Parallel Computing for Graphics http://www.gpgpu.org/cgi-bin/blosxom.cgi/2008/12/23 “…The complete course notes from the "Parallel Computing for Graphics: Beyond Programmable Shading" SIGGRAPH Asia 2008 course , are available online. The course gives an introduction to parallel programming architectures and environments for interactive graphics and explores case studies of combining traditional rendering API usage with advanced parallel computation from game developers, researchers, and graphics hardware vendors. There are strong indications that the future of interactive graphics involves a programming model more flexible than today's OpenGL and Direct3D pipelines…”


*****

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