2009/01/20

NEW NET Issues List for 20 Jan 2009

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 20 Jan 2009, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering. This week we're upstairs at Tom's Drive In, 501 N Westhill Blvd, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.

The ‘net

1. Web Hosting’s Dirty Laundry http://blog.dreamhost.com/2006/05/04/web-hostings-dirty-laundry/ “…Your first thought would probably be to search around for reviews of some of the more popular web hosts, and then you’d probably wind up signing up with a highly-rated host…What do all of these so-called “review” sites actually do? They make money. A lot of money…The hosts that pay out the biggest commissions are usually the ones that you’ll find listed near the top of all these lists…We had always suspected these sites were crooked, so last month we decided to prove it…”

2. Lawyer Had No Idea About Section 230 Safe Harbors http://techdirt.com/articles/20090113/2207453397.shtml “…yet another defamation lawsuit has been filed by yet another person -- this time a dentist -- over a negative review…Yelp is clearly protected by section 230 safe harbors that make third party service providers immune from liability for actions of their users. This is pretty widely known among anyone involved in anything having to do with internet law... but was not known by the lawyer who filed the suit…Then, there's the bizarre response from the dentist, replying to the point that Yelp lets the service providers directly contact those who write negative reviews to try to clear up the problem. The dentist says: "I would be very upset and would not know what to say to them."…She doesn't know what to say to them, but has no problem dumping a lawsuit on them…”

3. Dumping Facebook friends for burgers http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=19&entry_id=34682 “…Burger King dropped its "Whopper Sacrifice" ad campaign this week--the one where Facebook members were urged to dump 10 of their friends in exchange for a coupon for a free Whopper. According to the companies, Facebook didn't like the way Burger King's software worked, and Burger King refused to change it. Normally, when a Facebook member "de-friends" someone, no notice is sent. But Whopper Sacrifice broadcast the names of people being rejected for hamburgers in a way that violated the spirit of the site, a Facebook spokesman said…Already, there is a petition on Facebook to resurrect Whopper Sacrifice…”

4. Lycos Europe To Shutter Mail, Tripod http://www.appscout.com/2009/01/lycos_mail_tripod_deathnot_so_1.php “…At 1:31 PM EST [18 Jan] Lycos posted this to their Lycos Buzz blog. "Lycos is not shutting down it's Tripod and Mail Services. In an article appearing this morning, TechCrunch erroneously reported that Lycos will be closing its Tripod and Lycos Mail services on Feb. 15. The information contained in the blog posting pertains to Lycos Europe products and services and affects Lycos Europe users only. The closing of these two products by Lycos Europe does not impact Lycos users in the U.S…”

5. Betting on telepresence http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/15/polycom-telepresence-cisco-tech-enter-cz_qh_0116polycom.html Disasters drove the video conference business…Then, it becomes mainstream. Those disasters were 9/11 and the SARS scare, both of which discouraged people from getting on a plane. Now it is the worldwide economic slowdown, with slashed travel budgets… the 2,600-employee firm has 1,200 video systems running for its own use, with about 300 calls a day with an average of four people on a call. With development offices in India, Denmark, Israel and across the U.S., "about 70% of the staff now works with someone who isn't located with them," Hagerty says "People meet and can't recall if they have met in person……”

6. Is Comcast Discriminating Against VoIP Providers? http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2339204,00.asp “…Comcast…is now under fire for allegedly giving priority to its own IP-based digital phone service over that of competing VoIP providers. The Federal Communications Commission on Sunday penned a letter to Comcast asking why its updated network management policy says that heavy bandwidth users might experience "choppy" VoIP communications on competitors like Vonage or Skype, but not necessarily on Comcast's own IP-based Digital Voice offering…The Comcast Web site says that Comcast Digital Voice is a separate, facilities-based IP phone service that is not affected by Comcast's new network management techniques. It would appear, then, that Comcast considers its Digital Voice offering a telephone service, not an Internet service, according to the FCC. If so, Comcast should be paying the same fees incurred by traditional phone providers…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

7. Interview with an Adware Author http://philosecurity.org/2009/01/12/interview-with-an-adware-author “…Matt Knox, a talented Ruby instructor and coder, talks about his early days designing and writing adware for Direct Revenue…I was utterly and grindingly broke for a little while. I started working on SPAM filtering software. That work got noticed by [Direct Revenue], who hired me to analyze their distribution chain…Maybe 4 or 5 months into my tenure there, a virus came out that was disabling some of the machines that we had adware on. I said, “I know enough C that I could kick the virus off the machines,” and I did. They said “Wow, that was really cool. Why don’t you do that again?” Then I started kicking off other viruses, and they said, “That’s pretty cool that you kicked all the viruses off. Why don’t you kick the competitors off, too?...It was funny. It really showed me the power of gradualism. It’s hard to get people to do something bad all in one big jump, but if you can cut it up into small enough pieces, you can get people to do almost anything…I should probably first speak about how adware works. Most adware targets Internet Explorer (IE) users because obviously they’re the biggest share of the market. In addition, they tend to be the less-savvy chunk of the market. If you’re using IE, then either you don’t care or you don’t know about all the vulnerabilities that IE has…If you also have an installer, a little executable, you can make a Registry entry and every time this thing reboots, the installer will check to make sure the BHO is there. If it is, great. If it isn’t, then it will install it…So we’ve progressed now from having just a Registry key entry, to having an executable, to having a randomly-named executable, to having an executable which is shuffled around a little bit on each machine, to one that’s encrypted– really more just obfuscated– to an executable that doesn’t even run as an executable. It runs merely as a series of threads. Now, those threads can communicate with one another, they would check to make sure that the BHO was there and up, and that the whatever other software we had was also up. There was one further step that we were going to take but didn’t end up doing, and that is we were going to get rid of threads entirely, and just use interrupt handlers…Eventually, instead of writing individual executables every time a worm came out, I would just write some Scheme code, put that up on the server, and then immediately all sorts of things would go dark. It amounted to a distributed code war on a 4-10 million-node network…S: In your professional opinion, how can people avoid adware? M: Um, run UNIX…”

8. Worm infects 1.1M Windows PCs in 24 hours http://tinyurl.com/7pzvbc (ComputerWorld) The computer worm that exploits a months-old Windows bug has infected more than a million PCs in the past 24 hours, a security company said today. Early Wednesday, Helsinki, Finland-based security firm F-Secure Corp. estimated that 3.5 million PCs have been compromised by the "Downadup" worm, an increase of more than 1.1 million since Tuesday…” [additional article http://voices.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2009/01/tricky_windows_worm_wallops_mi.html]

Mobile Computing & Communicating

9. Your laptop data is not safe. So fix it. http://tech.yahoo.com/news/infoworld/20090119/tc_infoworld/122688 The largest single type of security breach is the stolen or lost laptop, according to the Open Security Foundation, yet these computers are among the least protected of all IT assets…There is a way for IT to protect those laptops and the confidential information they contain: encryption…Perhaps the most important advantage of full disk encryption, though -- beyond the peace of mind it gives your business's lawyers -- is the "safe harbor" immunity that accrues under many data privacy regulations…Ideally, you'll deploy the full-metal-jacket approach to laptop data protection: full disk encryption using the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) technology…the best plan B to TPM-enabled full disk encryption…is software-only full disk encryption, in which either the operating system or a third-party program performs the same encryption as with TPM but uses another method to store the encryption keys, such as a thumb drive or a smart card…software full disk encryption can still give you considerable peace of mind, as well as provide the "safe harbor" benefits afforded encrypted systems in data-privacy regulations…”

10. Verizon launching femtocell http://tinyurl.com/9y4fqh (Engadget) “…Verizon's…bringing femotcells to the masses with its…Wireless Network Extender later this month…The little black box will puke out a cloud of CDMA covering up to 5,000 square feet of domicile with support for up to three simultaneous calls…available in Verizon stores and online starting January 25 for $249.99 -- not a bad deal for Verizon, considering you're saving them the expense of erecting a tower…”

11. Developer's eye view of smartphone platforms http://www.infoworld.com/article/09/01/20/03TC-phone-platforms_1.html “…To understand the world of smartphone programming, I waded up to my ankles into six major platforms: the iPhone, Google Android, RIM BlackBerry, the Palm OS, Windows Mobile, and Nokia Symbian. I downloaded the development kits, wrote a few lines, and spoke with some programmers who have waded in a bit deeper…The ankle-deep survey left me in awe of the wide-open competition and opportunity for everyone. Unlike the desktop world, there are more than a few players, and the niches are evolving…Using HTML, JavaScript, and CSS, you can often come surprisingly close to native look and feel while covering all of the top phones…But only native apps make full use of the accelerometer, GPS, and other prize features. And if you want to build native apps, you'll have to make a choice -- regarding audience, devices, languages, tools…After peeking and poking all of these platforms, I came away assuming that we're only a few years away from the end of the desktop for many casual users…”

Open Source

12. Windows 7 is enough to kill Linux on the desktop http://tinyurl.com/7dyue7 (TheInquirer) FOR THE PAST three years I have been a Linux fan-boy using Ubuntu most of the time and Windows XP when I needed to play games or run CS desktop lay out stuff. In a bid to focus my bile on something other than Apple for a bit I decided to play with the new Windows 7 beta. I was disappointed. It was pretty good and, if I am right, could result in the move away from Voleware to Linux and OSX being stopped in in its tracks…I installed Open Office which worked fine and means that I can't see the point of any new version of Office, even if I made the switch to Windows 7 permanently. I also installed and ran a few of my favourite XP games which seemed perfectly happy under the new regime…Given the advantages of using Windows, particularly if you use open source software to do your office functions, it becomes harder to say that more user-friendly versions of Linux, such as Ubuntu are worthwhile…If Microsoft had released Windows 7 instead of Vista there would have been no rise of Ubuntu or OSX…The only thing that will keep people away will be the price…With a product like Windows 7 at a price of less than $100 it would clean up spectacularly. It will not do this of course which might just save other operating systems out there. Me, I will probably get Windows 7…”

13. Linux vs. Windows: Which is a better Web host? http://news.cnet.com/8301-13505_3-10144206-16.html “…Previously the difference between Linux and Windows hosting made a huge difference. Picking which operating system to host your website made a huge difference in what you could do with the server and what you could accomplish with the website. However, in today’s context of cross-system web hosting, there is little that practically separates these two operating systems: Linux and Windows…The first unique difference is how you access the server. Generally, both offer FTP access to your files, however, Linux is the only one that offers telnet or ssh access…The second difference between linux and windows hosting is that windows and linux support different languages. Linux tends to be associated with PHP, Perl and CGI while Windows is usually associated with ColdFusion and ASP…”

SkyNet

14. Google Circles the Wagons http://blog.wired.com/business/2009/01/google-circles.html “…The company has announced it will close three engineering centers, let go of some contractors and, most significantly for users, shut the doors on several Google services…Google has announced it is shutting down or ceasing development on Google Video, Mashup Editor, Notebook, Jaiku and Dodgeball…more likely than another round of mass closures are service limits, with premium upgrades as a way around them. We expect to see Google curtail more of its unlimited services…other services — like perhaps GrandCentral — may end up as fee-based premium services…”

15. Why Google Employees Quit http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/01/18/why-google-employees-quit/ “…Google HR set up a private Google Group to ask former employees why they left the company. We’ve been forwarded what appears to be authentic posts to the thread by a number of ex-Googlers, which we reprint below…The thread shows a brutal honesty about what it’s like to work at Google, at least from the point of view of employees who were unhappy enough to resign. Top amongst the complaints is low pay relative to what they could earn elsewhere, and disappearing fringe benefits seemed to elevate the concern. Other popular gripes - too much bureaucracy, poor management, poor mentoring, and a hiring process that took months. A few of the posts are more positive, and frankly there isn’t a whole lot here that you don’t see in other big companies…”

16. GDrive: It’s Alive! — Or So It Appears http://searchengineland.com/gdrive-its-alive-or-so-it-appears-16221 “…buzz and speculation about the status of Google’s unconfirmed online file storage service, informally dubbed “GDrive..over at Google Blogoscoped, there’s a screenshot of a menu featuring “Google Web Drive” and lots of domain related arguments for GDrive’s existence. If you’re tired of waiting for Google to formally launch online storage, Microsoft offers Skydrive with 25GB of storage…”

17. The Plot to Kill Google http://www.wired.com/techbiz/it/magazine/17-02/ff_killgoogle?currentPage=all “…When Google's lawyers entered the smooth marble hallways of the Department of Justice on the morning of October 17, they had reason to feel confident. Sure, they were about to face the antitrust division—an experience most companies dread—to defend a proposed deal with Yahoo. But they had to like their chances…Now Barnett was signaling not just that the Google-Yahoo deal was dead but that the government saw Google as a potential monopolist. In fact, Barnett insisted, if the deal wasn't substantially changed or scuttled, he would sue within five days. It was a stunning blow. Google had expected a speedy approval. Now the company, whose brand is defined by its "Don't be evil" slogan, faced the prospect of being hauled into court on an antitrust charge. Google and Yahoo tried to salvage the negotiations, but on the morning of November 5, three hours before the DOJ was going to file its antitrust case, they abandoned the deal…a 94-page document titled "Google Data Collection and Retention,"…circulating around Washington…listed all the ways that Google hoards user information…The document, written by a consulting firm, was commissioned by AT&T, which says it was intended only for internal use. Protection from snooping, says AT&T public policy chief James Cicconi, is one of his firm's top priorities…Privacy is a newfound concern for the company, which in 2005 was one of the telecoms that allowed the National Security Agency to listen in on millions of phone calls…”

General Technology

18. Spore Sculptor 3D Printing Service http://replicatorinc.com/blog/2009/01/review-spore-sculptor-3d-printing-service/ “…I recently tested the Spore Creature Creator/Sculptor Service which takes your game character and prints it using ZCorp 3D Printers…The final product is better than most beta launches. The manufacturing complexity makes it even more impressive, but there is a lot of room for improvement…The major problem with 3D printing is the resolution. These Spore models are printed using the latest, top of the line technology that offers the highest resolution and the texture is still pronounced…If you are passionate about 3D printing technology it is easy to overlook, but it disappoints a lot of people…” [two other good links: http://replicatorinc.com/blog/2009/01/3d-printing-step-by-step/ http://replicatorinc.com/blog/2008/11/open-source-hardware/ ]

19. Seagate hard drive reliability problems? http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/01/16/barracuda_failure_plague/ “…Barracuda 7200.11 drives made in Thailand (ref: ST31000340AS with firmware level SD15) are failing at boot time with a firmware error that is said to lock the drive up and render it inoperable. Seagate's warranty procedure for failed drives has been used by owners, with an RMA (Return Merchandise Authorisation) number issued for the failed drive to be returned to Seagate and replaced. However, replacements are said to be of the same type, and so prone to the same error…A 17-page thread about this firmware failure problem is going strong on a Seagate forum. Frustrated users have complained that postings and threads have been removed by moderators…Seagate recently reduced its bare drive warranty period [from 5 years to 3 years]…”

20. Apple Mac Mini Based on Nvidia Ion http://www.tomshardware.com/news/apple-mac-nvidia-ion,6849.html “…the next generation of Mac Mini computers will be based on Nvidia's Ion platform…Because of the size of the Ion platform, we can expect the new Mac Mini to be even smaller than the current generation unit. Our source also informed us that Apple will be launching the new Mac Mini sometime in March of this year…”

21. Liquid Wood Is Plastic of Tomorrow http://tinyurl.com/8d5fs3 (DW-World) “…Norbert Eisenreich, a senior researcher and deputy of directors at the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology (ICT) in Pfinztal, Germany, said his team of scientists have come up with a substance that could replace plastic: Arboform -- basically, liquid wood. It is derived from wood pulp-based lignin and can be mixed with a number of other materials to create a strong, non-toxic alternative to petroleum-based plastics…The cellulose industry separates wood into its three main components -- lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose…The lignin is not needed in papermaking, however. Our colleagues mix that lignin with fine natural fibers made of wood, hemp or flax and natural additives such as wax. From this, they produce plastic granulate that can be melted and injection-moulded…”

22. Dual Boot Windows 7 with XP/Vista http://www.techspot.com/guides/143-dual-boot-windows7/ “…because this is only a beta release most people simply aren't willing to part with their established installations of Windows Vista or XP. With that mind, we're going to look at one easy way of dual booting Windows 7 Beta with either Vista or XP in three painless steps…”

23. Trash into energy in your parking lot http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-10140500-54.html “…A small company called IST Energy has another vision: it's developed a shipping container-size contraption that turns your building's trash into electricity and heat. The company is expected to unveil the unit, called the Green Energy Machine (GEM), on Monday. The idea behind the GEM is to offset a building's energy use while dramatically cutting trash disposal fees…GEM is clean technology because it doesn't burn the trash. Instead, the machine uses gasification, a process that overall pollutes less than combustion…Feeding the maximum of three tons of trash will yield about 120 kilowatts of electricity and about double that in heat, which will fulfill about 15 percent of a building's energy needs…The bigger financial benefit is in cutting disposal fees…With an up-front cost of $850,000, a GEM unit will have a payback in three to four years, the company calculates. More likely, those interested will go with a leasing option that would eliminate the hefty up-front investment…”

Leisure & Entertainment

24. 'Zork' returns to the gaming world http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9595_22-262398.html When it comes to old school adventure games, it doesn't get much older than Zork, the Infocom franchise that started as a series of text-based adventures on the Tandy Color Computer, Apple II, Commodore 64…Jolt Online Gaming is dusting off the franchise--dormant since 1997's Zork Grand Inquisitor--and reviving it as a Web browser-based massively multiplayer casual online game (casual MMO)….No release date has been announced, but Jolt has said it will be accepting applications for beta testing on the game's official Web site…”

25. `Crayon Physics' game gets sequel http://tech.yahoo.com/news/ap/20090114/ap_on_hi_te/tec_techbit_crayon_physics “…The simplicity of the new "Crayon Physics Deluxe" is reminiscent of "Tetris" and other abstract mass-appeal games. Using a virtual crayon, the player must guide a ball to a target, typically on the other side of some obstacle. The shapes the player draws behave like real-life objects, tumbling to the bottom of the screen and hopefully pushing the ball toward its goal…The original "Crayon Physics" was a minor sensation when it was released on the Internet by its creator, Finnish computer science student Petri Purho, who developed it in just five days during a school break. A free demo version of the game is available for download for Windows users from crayonphysics.com…”

26. Dublin radio airs new U2 single http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090120/ap_en_mu/eu_ireland_people_u2 “…The first song from the band's first album in five years is ready for you to hear. U2 began broadcasting the up-tempo single "Get On Your Boots" Monday — first on RTE, Ireland's state broadcasters, then for free on the group's Web site…widely forecast to become the biggest-selling album of 2009. It is the band's 12th studio album…will be sold in an unprecedented five formats: a standard CD case with 24-page booklet; a "digipak" edition with a fold-out poster and rights to download a U2 film; a 64-page magazine version; a box edition that includes a DVD and hardback book; and a limited-issue vinyl LP…”

27. PC Game Retail Sales Drop 14% http://tinyurl.com/7opjpk (Yahoo) “…Retail PC game sales fell 14 percent in 2008, says research firm NPD Group, with revenue of $701 million down from $911 million in 2007 and $961 million in 2006. Where are all those absent hundreds of millions going...I haven't purchased a PC game from a retail store for years…I purchase all of them online…I despise sneaker shopping. I hate driving, peddling, or hoofing to malls and shopping centers thronged with people just as irritable as I am to be there, contributing to the systematized bedlam, wandering through rude, surly, elbowing crowds full of desultory consumers. I hate parking half a mile away in rain (or sleet, or snow) dodging other drivers haphazardly probing for rock-star stalls, stepping over pitted concrete rain puddles, tactically avoiding flocks of baby strollers and shoppers thrice-wide with shopping bags slung from arms like drooping wings. And the soundtrack: Hissing espresso machines, the whine of clean-sweepers, splashing dummy waterfalls, the grating whump-whump-whump of techno music, the toddlers on kid-leashes, howling like tea kettles…”

Economy and Technology

28. Obama’s Stimulus Plan Includes $6 Billion for Broadband http://tinyurl.com/a85om3 (Wall Street Journal) “…The $825 billion proposal from the Obama transition team and House Democrats includes $6 billion to improve the U.S. broadband infrastructure, which is lacking in many rural and mountainous areas… the incoming administration was looking at handing out the broadband grants through “existing structures,” so they can get the money out into communities quickly. There are just a few existing government programs that have given out broadband grants in the past, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s tiny Rural Development Broadband Loan and Loan Guarantee Program. The money could also flow through the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration or through a federal subsidy program run by the FCC…” [related articles: http://www.crn.com/it-channel/212901027 http://venturebeat.com/2009/01/15/stimulus-plan-32b-for-smart-grid-6b-for-broadband/ http://www.pcworld.com/article/157861/advocates_disagree_on_broadband_stimulus.html ]

29. Steve Jobs: Apple without its core? http://tinyurl.com/88p6st (BusinessWeek) “…Ultimately, there needs to be some gravitational force that pulls it all together," he said. "Otherwise, you can get great pieces of technology all floating around the universe, but it doesn't add up to much." The question now is whether Apple is losing its gravitational force. On Jan. 14, the 53-year-old Jobs said he will take a medical leave of absence through June. "My health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought," he said in a public statement. Within minutes of the news, Apple shares dropped 10%. The fear is that Jobs may never return…He's the perfectionist who pushes his team to create elegant, iconic products. He's the marketing guru who took technology advertising mainstream, with the Orwellian ad that introduced the Mac in 1984 and most recently with the "I'm a Mac" ads. And he's the master of the keynote address, capable of drawing unmatched publicity for Apple's latest products…His greatest value to Apple may be the influence he has with employees and outsiders. Only Jobs is capable of convincing the 32,000-person company that it can wade into new business—like music or cell phones—and rewrite the rules of competition. While mobile-phone rivals produce dozens of models designed to meet the needs of various consumers, he came out with a single iPhone—and took a big chunk of the business…”

30. Nortel files for bankruptcy protection http://tinyurl.com/9xum56 (TheGlobeAndMail) “…Nortel Networks Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday, a move that will likely see what was once Canada's great corporate success story broken up and sold to foreign rivals…Nortel easily qualified as the country's largest company at the peak of the tech boom in 2000, with a $366-billion (Canadian) market capitalization and 95,000 employees…Nortel stock that soared to $1,231 at the peak of the tech bubble – reflecting a recent consolidation in shares – closed yesterday at 38.5 cents on the Toronto Stock Exchange…”

31. Circuit City fails; 30,000+ employees lose jobs http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-10144441-17.html Circuit City, the world's second-largest electronics retailer announced on Friday that it has been forced into liquidation after attempts to sell itself to a third-party failed… Was it poor management that killed the company? That always plays a part. But more than anything, I think that Circuit City has met its demise today because, in my experience, it never offered the customer service that Best Buy did, nor the cheap prices one could find on Amazon…I am sad today to see that 30,000 of its employees, many of whom entrusted their job security to management, will be without jobs…As for Circuit City, there's not much left to say. It enjoyed a long life, and for a while, it led the way in electronics retail. But as its age started to show, and management failed to adapt, new and more nimble companies made their way to the front of the pack…”

32. Tech Layoffs Climb Above 100,000 http://tinyurl.com/6v72jn (ChannelInsider) “…Friday is becoming a dreaded day at most companies. What used to be seen as the start of the weekend is now the day most employees are advised they no longer have a job. Since the beginning of the year, IT vendors have slashed more than 19,000 jobs—mostly sales and marketing positions, but also technical and R&D positions have been affected. Since October, more than 100,000 jobs have been eliminated by IT vendors and solution providers…”

33. For Wind Turbine Manufacturers, Layoffs Begin http://tinyurl.com/8o6cwm (NYTimes) “…some of those jobs in the wind industry are becoming casualties of the economic slump…D.M.I. Industries, which manufactures turbine towers, is laying off 20 percent of its workers across three plants…The news comes barely six months after the company announced expansion plans that would make it the “largest wind tower manufacturer in North America.”…L.M. Glasfiber, a Danish turbine company, also announced 150 layoffs last week at a blade-making plant in Arkansas…Gamesa, a Spanish turbine maker, said it was initiating layoffs at an Eastern Pennsylvania factory — though it was expanding a factory in the western part of the state, which can make larger blades…The wind business, which requires an enormous amount of capital investment, has been hit especially hard by troubles in the banking sector…”

34. Cape Wind receives favorable environmental review http://tinyurl.com/9pcwsu (Boston Globe) “…the nation’s first proposed offshore wind farm -- proposed in Nantucket Sound -- received a favorable final environmental review from a key federal agency…The impacts appear to be nothing that cannot be mitigated," Luthi said of the project to erect 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound…The significance of the report coming out today is that it’s the capstone of an eight-year effort and permitting review…The central group leading the charge against Cape Wind, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, has promised lawsuits to prevent the construction of the wind farm and announced that it has started raising funds for a "legal defense fund."…”

Civilian Aerospace

35. Chicago Firm Protests Space Station Cargo Contract http://www.space.com/news/090116-space-station-cargo-protest.html Chicago-based PlanetSpace has filed a protest against NASA's decision to award space station resupply contracts valued at $3.5 billion to two other firms, one of which earned the lowest score for a bid that proposed the highest price…PlanetSpace, a start-up company whose subcontractors include Boeing Co. of Chicago, Denver-based Lockheed Martin Space Systems and Minneapolis-based Alliant Techsystems (ATK), earned a higher score and offered a lower price than Orbital Sciences…NASA, however, selected Orbital Sciences and Hawthorne, Calif.-based Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) to haul 20 tons of cargo to the space station through 2016…SpaceX earned the highest score from NASA's Source Evaluation Board and offered the lowest price…Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for space operations, believed PlanetSpace relied too heavily on its subcontractors. He also expressed concern that the firm proposed using an existing rocket to provide initial cargo delivery…”

36. SpaceX Puts New Rocket Through Paces http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/090113-spacex-falcon9-launchpad.html “…SpaceX raised its first Falcon 9 rocket into a vertical launch position on Saturday at Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to begin tests that the firm hopes will set the stage for an inaugural liftoff later this year. The Falcon 9 was hauled back down on Monday as SpaceX pushes through launch preparation paces…The new Falcon 9 rocket is the launch vehicle of choice for SpaceX's planned Dragon spacecraft, which the firm is building to haul NASA cargo to and from the International Space Station…I am highly confident that we will achieve our goal of being able to go from hangar to liftoff in under 60 minutes…The two-stage booster stands 180 feet (54.9 meters) tall and is 17 feet (5.2 meters) wide at its widest point…The first Falcon 9 rocket could make its launch debut by spring…SpaceX has five Falcon 9 launches slated for 2009…”

37. Cubesats - How Small Can Satellites Get? http://www.satmagazine.com/cgi-bin/display_article.cgi?number=1556330976 “…small, 1 kg satellites called Cubesats, so named due to their physical dimensions being that of a 10 cm cube. They are extremely popular as an educational tool at universities, but is it truly feasible to create a functioning satellite within so small a package? Additionally, do Cubesats have any practical use, or are they merely just a toy?...Minisatellites (200-500 kg) became the new point of focus. Even micro-satellites (below 200 kg) started to gain interest, one such example is the Danish 61 kg Ørsted satellite, which was launched in February of 1999 to perform measurements of the magnetic field of the Earth. Several universities have designed and built even smaller satellites called nanosatellites, which have a mass of less than 10 kg…As is the case for other universities, Stanford University and California Polytechnic State University (CalPoly) had been attempting to find a solution to these problems to allow students to launch and communicate with their own satellite as an integral component of their higher education…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

38. GPUs Used to Successfully Crack Wi-Fi Passwords http://tinyurl.com/98bzyp (HotHardware) “…The latest GPU-assisted app to come available is one designed for IT managers to make sure their wireless networks are secure--and inevitably for hackers to try to break into wireless networks. Russian-based ElcomSoft has just released ElcomSoft Wireless Security Auditor 1.0, which can take advantage of both Nvidia and ATI GPUs…At its heart, what ElcomSoft Wireless Security Auditor does is perform brute-force dictionary attacks of WPA and WPA2 passwords…”

39. Workshop on Exploiting Parallelism using GPUs http://www.gpgpu.org/cgi-bin/blosxom.cgi/2009/01/11 “…This workshop will focus on compilation techniques for exploiting parallelism in emerging massively multi-threaded and multi-core architectures, with a particular focus on the use of general-purpose GPU computing techniques to overcome traditional barriers to parallelization. Recently, GPUs have evolved to address programming of general-purpose computations, especially those exemplified by data-parallel models [Seattle, 22 – 25 Mar 2009]…”

40. AMD’s Fusion Cloud: Changing the Game http://www.hpcwire.com/blogs/Changing-the-Game-37682229.html “…a possible downside for AMD's GPU business. In a nutshell, if this new supercomputer is going to be doing all the heavy lifting rendering-wise in the server, why do you need GPUs in the client?...if AMD's petaflop rendering monster (containing 1,000 Radeon HD 4800 GPUs) is truly able to deliver a cutting-edge multimedia experience to low-end PCs, then why buy the expensive box at all?...if AMD is going to serve up graphics computation on demand, it's risking making the client-side GPU hardware redundant…”

41. "Fusion": can diversity save Moore's Law? http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20090120-amds-fusion-rebranding.html “…Multicore naysayers suggest that there is a definite upper bound on the number of general-purpose cores that you can usefully put onto a single die, and the more pessimistic of those put that bound at around 8 or 16 cores (due to memory bandwidth constraints)…AMD is suggesting that the way to get the most performance bang per transistor buck is not to create a die full of identical, general-purpose CPU cores, but to use a smaller number of such CPU cores to hand off workloads to more specialized on-die hardware blocks…One of the battles that NVIDIA has faced in getting the GPU into HPC applications for which it's a natural fit is that companies don't want to invest programmer time in software that only runs on one small vendor's hardware…OpenCL will solve this for NVIDIA, though, because it gives coders a generalized, multivendor way of talking to specialized, data-parallel, floating-point coprocessors (e.g., GPUs)…”


*****

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home