NEW NET Issues List for 10 Feb 2009

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 10 February 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. Multi-messenger: imo.im http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/02/06/imoim-is-the-best-im-web-service-youve-never-heard-of/ “…IMO.IM is simple, web-based service that doesn’t require you to register, comes with a desktop version for Windows and supports multiple languages. It can handle text, voice and video conversations on the most important instant messaging services including Windows Live Messenger / MSN, AIM / ICQ, MySpace, Yahoo Messenger, Jabber, Gtalk as well as - and correct me if I’m wrong but I think this is a first - Skype. I tried using the service on my iPhone (no app, just browse to the website) and it worked seamlessly. Update: Nimbuzz also supports Skype chat…”

2. Domain Pigeon http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/domain_pigeon_five_letter_domains.php “…all you need is a decent domain name. Preferably a .com. Why? Because the iPhone doesn't have a .net button, for one thing. But finding something short and memorable can be difficult at best. Enter Domain Pigeon, a domain search service that eschews one-at-a-time searches by allowing you to thumb through a laundry list of available domains - including the five-letter .com domains that are still available. We've used a number of domain name searches, and Domain Pigeon's approach is among the best we've seen. It's simple and straightforward. Best of all, you get to see extensive lists of available domains all at once…” [an interesting feature on the site is the list of recently registered domains – fun to read]

3. First Vector Graphics Editor For The Web http://tinyurl.com/c3ypte “…Raven is a vector-based image editor that mimics (and therefore competes with) Adobe Illustrator, a popular desktop application among digital artists whose work often makes it onto real paper. Like Phoenix, Raven doesn’t match its Adobe counterpart feature-by-feature but it does recreate Illustrator’s most essential functionality. And the results are pretty impressive; the pen tool and gradients in particular work just as they should, and the tool overall reaffirms Flex’s reputation as a suitable platform for desktop-like applications…”

4. The Problem With Email Clients http://al3x.net/2009/02/08/the-problem-with-email-clients.html “…Farhad Manjoo, wrote an effusive piece declaring Gmail the victor in a battle between desktop email clients and webmail that’s been raging since the mid-1990s…the core problem with email clients, desktop or web-based: they’re all utter failures at something…Gmail presents email threads as one long conversation, starting with the oldest message and ending with the most recent. When coming back to a conversation, older messages are collapsed until you need them…Anyone who’s given Gmail a fair shake will quickly find conversations indispensable. Going back to any other email client is agonizing and disorienting, like being knocked around and dumped out of the back of a pickup on the outskirts of a strange town…Desktop email clients have to deal with synchronization, and there’s no good way to hide from the user the impedance mismatch of syncing a local and a remote data store…The solution, I think, is to make desktop mail clients more like webmail, and absolutely not the other way around. The more webmail tries to behave “native”, the worse it works. The more desktop mail clients strive to provide an intelligent information architecture and reliable synchronization, the more users win…”

5. Startup Websites That Work http://onstartups.com/home/tabid/3339/bid/193/Startup-Websites-That-Work.aspx “…The following are my tips for creating a website that will actually work for you. Think of your website as a relatively important employee (like a sales person). You need to spend some money, get them trained and keep them engaged. Your website is no different – and will likely be cheaper and more productive…”

6. The Trouble with Search Engine Optimization http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2340694,00.asp “…Search engine optimization (SEO) has turned into a big business, and from what I can tell it's the modern version of snake oil. The unproven nonsense spewed by so-called "SEO experts" simply doesn't work…Let's start with my biggest beef. This is one I implemented on my own blog and now regret: the long URL…My blog had typical, efficient WordPress default URLs, such as http://www.dvorak.org/blog/?p=3100 or some such thing. Now on my current blog, that particular URL…has been supposedly SEO-optimized behind this URL: http://www.dvorak.org/blog/2005/10/20/hollywood-unions-want-cut-of-itunes-pie/. With the new long URL you get the date and the headline of the post…the second URL is cumbersome, long-winded, and impossible to type by hand. It is supposed to be…more likely to get the attention of Google…90 percent of the blogs and major Web sites all use this supposed trick to get attention…my total page views actually declined when I implemented this stupid practice. At first I thought it was a seasonal anomaly until I had a chat with a developer…she was just recently at Google and involved in the search-engine strategy team…I mentioned this trick, the long URL, and I swear she almost laughed in my face. She told me the idea was bogus, period. So why is everyone doing it…I have enough traffic to see a difference when there is one. I had a run rate closing in on 1.2 million page views per month when I turned on this supposed SEO trick. Boom! I dropped to 900,000 instantly. It's taken my site months to recover. I think it's because these long URLs are just crap and stupid. They are impossible to post anywhere or send in an e-mail because they get concatenated. You have to know to snip them with tinyURL or snurl. This stinks. I am going to turn them off and mock anyone using them…I can almost imagine some goofball at Google telling people at a party that this is a good idea just to see how many people would do it…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

7. Share your PC with CNN http://windowssecrets.com/2009/02/05/01-Watch-a-live-video-share-your-PC-with-CNN/ Many people who watched live streaming video of the inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama on Jan. 20 may not realize that their PC was used to send the video to other PCs, too. Clicking "yes" to a CNN.com dialog box installed a peer-to-peer (P2P) application that uses your Internet bandwidth rather than CNN's to send live video to other viewers…Why should you care?...Octoshape's dialog box warns that playing a live video "requires" installing new software. Despite this, however, if you click "no" to Octoshape, you can play the feed using the streaming video capability built into Windows Media Player or Adobe's Flash Player…CNN's use of Octoshape might make live feeds look somewhat smoother to end users, but the primary benefit is a reduction in cost to the cable news network…Users who installed Octoshape's app and served traffic upstream as well as down may get an unpleasant surprise in their next monthly bill. Octoshape anticipated this in the company's EULA by saying, "You are responsible for any telecommunication or other connectivity charges incurred through the use of the Software…ISP terms of service usually prohibit customers from using their Internet connection to host a server…No one has suggested that Octoshape is doing anything other than relaying live video streams to other PCs…Many companies, however, have policies against sending data outside their LAN…Use of Flash's install mechanism. Octoshape is the only outside company that's allowed to download software using the Adobe Flash Player's so-called Express Install feature…P2P is here to stay…if all TV programs are going to be streamed live by media giants, as I'm sure will eventually happen, the question is what impact this will have on Internet bandwidth — and who will pay for it.…”

8. MD General Assembly bans Facebook http://www.juddlegum.com/blog/2009/02/maryland-general-assembly-bans-facebook/ With the beginning of the 2009 Legislative Session, we have observed a significant increase in viruses and malware affecting the Maryland General Assembly computers. After several weeks of analysis, we have determined that many of the infecting programs are originating from pages hosted on www.facebook.com and www.myspace.com. In an attempt to reduce the number of viruses and malware entering the Maryland General Assembly facilities, we have blocked access to both of these sites…”

9. Global ATM Caper Nets Hackers $9 Million in One Day http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2009/02/atm.html A carefully coordinated global ATM heist last November resulted in a one-day haul of $9 million in cash, after a hacker penetrated a server at payment processor RBS WorldPay…the company said it identified fraudulent activity on only 100 cards, making it sound like small beans. But it turns out the hacker managed to lift the withdrawal limits on those 100 cards, before dispatching an global army of cashers to drain them with repeated rapid-fire withdrawals. More than 130 ATMs in 49 cities from Moscow to Atlanta were hit simultaneously…”

10. French planes grounded by Windows worm http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-10159186-71.html “…in the past two weeks, some French fighter planes were grounded because the military had failed to take sufficient action (even though Microsoft had sent advance warning) to prevent the spread of a Windows-transmitted virus that some call Conficker…This extremely serious resource for allegedly secret stuff declared that the virus "brought down certain arms systems" and grounded the Navy's Dassault Rafale aircraft…Intelligence Online insists that the incident "raises serious questions about the security of French military networks and their capacity to fight off computer attacks…”

11. Predator panic increases risk http://news.cnet.com/8301-19518_3-10159661-238.html I've been an Internet safety advocate since 1993 and right now I'm discouraged and angry about what's going on in this field. I'm angry because people who ought to know better are trying to mislead the public with false information about online risks which is diverting attention away from real risks…Many respected online safety organizations and leading youth-risk researchers are trying to shift the discussion away from mostly predator danger to youth behavior risk. Thanks to some politicians, it's an uphill battle. Online safety groups and public officials should be spending our time educating families on how to avoid real risks that affect most kids-- like bullying, harassment and unwanted exposure to inappropriate material…At issue is the constant drumbeat of predator panic coming from state attorneys general including Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Roy Cooper of North Carolina who are co-chairs of the Multi-State Working Group on Social Networking…”

12. FAA reports breach that puts employee data at risk http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-10160469-83.html “…A server at the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration was illegally accessed online and personal identity information of employees was stolen, the agency said…The server that was breached was not connected to the air traffic control system or other operational systems, according to the statement…”

13. Kaspersky Web Site Hacked With SQL Injection http://www.crn.com/security/213401972 “…A security vulnerability in Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab's U.S. Web site was made public after a hacker launched a SQL attack and posted listings of tables contained on the security company's site…after hacking into the security company's Web site via a simple SQL injection attack that allowed information to be exposed by entering secret username and password information…the U.S. Web site -- usa.kaspersky.com -- was partly developed in-house and partly developed by a third-party contractor. The Web site vulnerability was overlooked due to a processing error that led to lack of proper scrutiny, researchers said…However, Kaspersky security researchers maintained that while the hacker, who was found to be from Romania, did infiltrate the company's Web site, he or she was only able to lift the names of the tables…after careful inspection, they found that no other data was lifted, such as e-mail addresses or activation codes. Schouwenberg said that customer credit card information is handled by a separate third party and not contained on the site…if the hacker had been more advanced, he could have gotten access to some of the data he claimed he could…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

14. Kindle 2 http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/feb2009/tc20090210_262587.htm “…Feb. 9 introduction of the Kindle 2 had all the makings of a product launch by consumer electronics wunderkind Apple…As much as some might try to draw parallels..analysts are clear that the latest generation of Amazon's sleek, white little electronic book reader is no iPod for the book world…the company is showing itself reluctant to push too aggressively into the category—most noticeably, by pricing the Kindle 2 at $359, the same price as its predecessor…It's just not going to have explosive growth…But Amazon is in something of a catch-22…They don't want to antagonize the book publishers and they don't want to cannibalize their own book sales," Lindsay says. He estimates that the company makes around 5% to 10% higher margins on print books than it does on digital downloads to the Kindle, which run around $9.99…e-books now make up 10% of the retailer's unit sales…”

15. Apple asked Android not to use multi-touch http://tinyurl.com/cuk877 (VentureBeat) “…Apple, which of course makes the signature multi-touch mobile device, the iPhone, apparently asked Google not to implement it, and Google agreed, an Android team member tells us…Google, it seems, wants no part in ruining its relationship with Apple…Eric Schmidt, is on Apple’s board of directors. And don’t underestimate the fact that both share a chief rival: Microsoft…The larger question going forward is, will multi-touch become important enough that Google has to include it in Android…China is a hotbed for Android-based activity right now…”

16. Doodle Kids written for iPhone by 9yr old http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/41357/140/ “…Lim Ding Wen, nine-year-old Malaysian from Singapore, is probably the youngest registered iPhone developer thus far. The fourth grader is fluent in six programming languages and has just finished working on his first iPhone application. It's a drawing program called Doodle Kids, and it's been approved by Apple for App Store distribution. The application has already seen over 4,000 downloads in its first two weeks, a figure most adults iPhone programmers find desirable…Ding Wen initially wrote Doodle Kids for the Apple IIGS computer…The young wizard wrote the main program logic in Pascal and used QuickDraw APIs to draw shapes on the screen…the Apple IIGS Doodle Kids lets them draw shapes in full screen and animate using an old-school "trick" called color rotation… Ding Wen also understands Applesoft BASIC, GSoft BASIC, Complete Pascal, Orca/Pascal…”

17. Microsoft readying My Phone cloud service http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-10159157-94.html “…Microsoft appears poised to officially unveil a Web-based service that will let users store, share, and back up data from their mobile phones…that…run Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6 phone operating system…also referred to the service as SkyBox…the service will let users back up and restore the phone's data, access contact and scheduling information, and share photos. Users will get 200MB of free storage…”

18. Archos Tablet-Phone to Use Android OS http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10159721-1.html “…Archos is working on a new product line of ultrathin Internet Media Tablets (IMTs) with voice functionality provided by the Google Android operating system…the new series will use TI's OMAP3 processor and goes on to detail the features of the product, stating that Android will contribute the smartphone and applications environment while Archos will bring the multimedia and Web capabilities…High-resolution 5-inch screen with full-width page viewing, Adobe Flash and Flash video support…”

Open Source

19. 10 Websites to Help You Master GIMP http://sixrevisions.com/graphics-design/10-websites-to-help-you-master-gimp/ “…GIMP - which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program - is a testament to how open source applications can successfully compete with their proprietary, commercial counterparts. Rich with an amazing set of useful tools and effects filters in a user-friendly GUI, GIMP is an excellent application for image editing and graphics creation. In this article, you’ll find 10 excellent sites that feature design tutorials and information about GIMP…”

20. Funambol v8 Open Source MobileWe http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Funambol-947567.html “…Funambol v8 features a new AJAX web portal that makes it easy to sync PIM data, email and multimedia content between billions of mobile phones, the Internet cloud and desktops. Funambol MobileWe enables device manufacturers, mobile operators, portals, service providers and ISVS to rapidly offer a next-gen push email and mobile sync solution…”

21. MySQL Co-founder Quits Sun http://tech.yahoo.com/news/pcworld/20090205/tc_pcworld/mysqlcofounderquitssun Michael "Monty" Widenius, the original developer of the open-source MySQL database, has left Sun Microsystems and is starting his own company, Monty Program Ab, he said in a blog post Thursday. Widenius and Sun had a slightly rocky relationship since the vendor bought MySQL last year for US$1 billion. In a much-discussed November blog post, he trashed Sun's decision to give MySQL 5.1 a "generally available" designation, saying it was riddled with serious bugs…in his latest blog post, Widenius revealed what was happening in the months prior to his departure, and what he plans to do now…”

22. OLPC to Release “Open Source Hardware Design” http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10159166-1.html “…Negroponte said that the OLPC would release and open-source its hardware design and invite others to copy it, according to Zuckerman. Within three years, Negroponte expects companies around the world to be cranking out some 5 million to 6 million such machines every month…”

23. Miro 2.0 http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/miro_20_review.php The Participatory Culture Foundation just released version 2.0 of Miro, the open source online TV application formerly known as Democracy Player. Miro is a combination of a video and audio podcast player with a built-in bittorrent client. In this new version, Miro also adds rudimentary support for streaming video, though in that respect, it is clearly outclassed by Boxee…”


24. Google Latitude keeps tabs on friends' locations http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-10155946-94.html “…What Google Latitude does is allow you to share that location with friends and family members, and likewise be able to see friends and family members' locations…To protect privacy, Google specifically requires people to sign up for the service. People can share their precise location, the city they're in, or nothing at all…Latitude is part of Google Maps for Mobile, the company's mapping software for mobile phones, but also can be used through a gadget loaded onto its iGoogle customized home page…Latitude uses Google's technology to judge a user's location not just by GPS satellite, but also by proximity to mobile phone towers and wireless networks…Other competitors exist, though. BrightKite and Loopt offer mechanisms for people to find each other by mobile phone, for example. Then there's MobiFriends, Tripit, and Dopplr. And Google's clearest competitor, Yahoo, offers some competition with Fire Eagle…”

25. Backup your Gmail in Zoho Mail http://blogs.zoho.com/general/backup-your-gmail-in-zoho-mail “…comment thread in a recent post by Zoli Erdos @ Cloud Ave has a discussion on how to sync Gmail with Zoho Mail. Let's see how to do this as this is a question in the minds of almost all Gmail to Zoho Mail converts. The first way is easy. Configuring your Gmail account to forward a copy of all emails you receive there to your Zoho Mail account. For this, login to your Gmail account, click on Settings -> Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab, choose Forward a copy of incoming mail to and give your Zoho Mail address. Click on the Save Changes button. You should start receiving a copy of all mails to your Gmail account in Zoho Mail now…”

26. Google Adds Calendar, Contact Sync to Almost Every Phone http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2009/02/google-adds-cal.html “…The search giant has now released a beta contact and calendar sync service for the iPhone, the Blackberry, the Windows Mobile, the S60 and various flavors of Nokia and Sony Ericsson non-smart phones…Google Mobile Sync will push and pull any changes to contacts or calendars over the air…”

27. Letting Google Take Your Pulse http://tinyurl.com/bhv5qa (Forbes) “…Google and IBM will unveil a new initiative that will allow Google Health, a site where users can store and track information about their medical history, to connect to and stream data from medical devices. In demonstrations, IBM and Google fitted Wi-Fi radios to gadgets like heart rate monitors, blood pressure cuffs, scales and blood-sugar measurement meters, allowing the devices to communicate with a PC and feed real-time medical information directly into Google's online records… This is like OnStar for a patient…The computing giant has been coaxing the health care industry for years to create a digitized and centrally stored database of patients' records. That idea may finally be coming to fruition…with $20 billion of the $819 billion fiscal injection aimed at building a new digitized health record system. In its partnership with Google, as in previous "smart" health care projects with the Mayo Clinic and the national health care systems of Denmark and Canada, IBM wants to prove it has the software and hardware necessary to organize and store millions of private records securely…”

28. Smart Grid: Google wants to tap into your electric meter http://www.mercurynews.com/google/ci_11666399 “…Google today will unveil free software to provide consumers with real-time data on electricity use…Michael Terrell, an energy program manager with Google.org, hopes real-time information about household energy consumption will lead to the so-called Prius Effect. A dashboard monitor on that hybrid vehicle reveals how driving styles affect fuel economy, and that information prompts people to drive in ways that improve mileage. Terrell said studies show that home-energy-use information changes behavior and saves 5 to 15 percent of electricity. For a U.S. household with a typical $1,200-a-year electricity bill, that would mean saving $60 to $180…savings could be huge, given that households consume an estimated 21 percent of the energy used in the United States…The Google PowerMeter will work on an iGoogle home page when it becomes available to the public sometime later this year…”

General Technology

29. Guide to optimising PC memory http://www.techradar.com/news/software/complete-guide-to-optimising-pc-memory-515251 “…Windows Vista needs 2GB to run properly, and large apps can swallow up a gigabyte more with ease. You can very quickly find that your 2GB system is grinding to a halt. Installing another 2GB may not make much difference. Very few 32-bit systems are able to access the full 4GB of memory – some can use less than 3GB. And upgrading to 64-bit Windows doesn't always help. Fortunately, there is one way to deliver guaranteed results. Learn just a little about how Windows and your applications use memory and you can begin to fine-tune your PC, reducing RAM wastage, making more efficient use of system resources and hopefully delivering a real and lasting improvement to your system's performance…”

30. Tune your TV into a GPS http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2009/02/tune-your-tv-into-gps.ars “…Rosum's focus in the world of GPS is not to replace GPS—a system partly architected by one of the company's founders—but to supplement GPS in places where satellite signals can't be received, generally indoors, as well as urban canyons. Rosum is not a new firm, but the time may have arrived for its technology, which allows the company to provide either a GPS-like fix on a location by itself or to assist an inexpensive GPS module that is receiving extremely weak satellite data…Young and others see a larger future for femtocells than just relying cell calls or 3G data. Rather, the femtocell could become part of a home hub for wireless communication. A ZigBee (802.15.4) home monitoring system could rely on the femtocell for both relaying data to a locally network device, and providing remote access or monitoring over a cell network without loading down a cell provider's system. (ZigBee is starting to appear in home sensors and alarm systems…Once the enabling hardware is on the phone, the marginal cost is zero, the footprint is zero, it's just software…TV signals can penetrate into many environments where WiFi networks won't be operating or won't provide a close enough location fix…in a recent test with a femtocell manufacturer, Rosum was able to get an accurate GPS fix in 8 out of 8 cases in which two assisted GPS systems managed just 1 of 8 results…”

Leisure & Entertainment

31. US digital tv switch delayed to June 12 http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10158016-93.html “…major broadcast networks, including ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC/Telemundo, have all agreed that their owned and operated stations would continue to broadcast in analog until the new DTV transition date of June 12. Earlier this week, the House of Representatives passed a bill that moves the deadline for transitioning TV broadcast from analog to digital from February 17 to June 12…President Obama is expected to sign it into law shortly…Congress passed the new legislation to delay the deadline, because legislators and consumer advocates were concerned that 20 million people, most of whom are poor, elderly, and living in rural parts of the country, were not prepared for the transition after the government ran out of the $40 coupons it was issuing to help defray the cost of the converter boxes necessary to allow older TVs to get digital signals. There have also been reports that many consumers, who have already gotten converter boxes, are not able to connect them properly to their TVs…”

Economy and Technology

32. Is Noca The Next PayPal? http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/02/08/is-noca-the-next-paypal/ “…Noca, an online payments start-up we wrote about last year, is launching its official payment service today. Formed by ex-Visa employees…The advantage of Noca’s system is that it allows online merchants to bypass high transactional fees (usually 2-3 percent plus $0.30) imposed by credit card companies on consumer purchases. Whether using Google Checkout, PayPal or Amazon Flexible Payment Service, merchants have been unable to avoid these fees…Noca’s online payment service only charges 0.25 percent on transactions and eliminated the fixed $0.30 fee all together. Once Noca’s system is enabled, the consumer’s issuing bank underwrites the risk so that the merchant receives payment within 1 to 2 business days…”

33. Batteries or Biofuels? http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/batteries-or-biofuels-which-one-is-better-5675.html “…the world's transportation infrastructure needs to be upgraded. The question is how. Is it better to build electric cars, or does it make more sense to brew new fuels? Engineering or biology? Vegetable or mineral? At times, it sounds like a religious debate. Chances are, they will co-exist, according to Solazyme CEO Jonathan Wolfson…But still, which will be dominant? I change my mind about every 10 minutes, but lately rank it as: 1.) plug-ins; 2.) biofuels; and 3.) all-electrics. Here are some of the factors to consider…”

34. Yahoo Should Buy Microsoft http://www.cringely.com/2009/02/yahoo-should-buy-microsoft/ “…Setting out to rebuild Microsoft for the next 30 years it is tempting simply to throw away the parts of the company that don’t make money, which is to say almost everything except Windows, Office, and MAYBE the xBox. Most parts of Microsoft lose money. But those parts that are profitable are SO profitable that they more than make up for all the losers…The part of Microsoft that it would initially make sense to dump is easy — everything related to MSN…Just because MSN hasn’t made money doesn’t mean MSN COULDN’T have made money if that was an important goal…someday the Windows and Office franchises will start to fade so Microsoft needs to learn how to build new and successful lines of business…Microsoft needs several new lines of business that can each generate billions in profits. “Online” has the potential to do that…The only way to keep Microsoft from screwing-up Yahoo is by making Microsoft a minority partner in the operation…Let’s put a value of MSN at $10 billion giving the combined companies a worth of $29 billion and Microsoft a 34 percent ownership of Yahoo, perhaps with warrants to buy the rest at some later date under certain conditions. Yahoo, for all its problems, knows how to make money on the Internet. It could use Hotmail and other parts of MSN to increase economies of scale and become even more successful. Yahoo still wouldn’t defeat Google but it would be a much stronger number two and even number one in certain areas. Because Microsoft couldn’t control Yahoo it couldn’t impose Microsoft culture on it. Because Microsoft was a big enough minority owner, it COULD push Yahoo into being more logical, less emotional, and probably more profitable – something Microsoft could never force MSN to do itself…”

Civilian Aerospace

35. One more step for private Moon mission http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090210/full/457770b.html “…The Dutch team…announced it would send a scaled-up version, dubbed MoonShot, to the lunar surface by 2011 with Odyssey Moon, a company headquartered in the Isle of Man, UK…the private MoonOne lander and its successors could serve scientists much as a commercial trucking company serves wholesalers, providing a platform to ferry science instruments and other payloads to the lunar surface…”

36. Virgin looks beyond space tourism http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1304/1 “…the one company arguably most closely associated with suborbital spaceflight and space tourism is Virgin Galactic…Virgin Galactic’s original plan back in 2004 was effectively to develop a commercial version of SpaceShipOne that would have entered service as early as 2008…the company reconsidered those plans after talking with Virgin Galactic’s first customers. “The early customers came in and said, ‘If we’re going to pay $200,000 to fly to space, we are not getting into a cramped little environment with no more space than a MiG,’” Whitehorn recalled. “‘If we’re going to pay you $200,000, we want to do what they do in the movies… I want to experience weightlessness, I want to move around the cabin… Scaling up to a larger vehicle allows Virgin to address markets beyond space tourism, Whitehorn said, with four in particular of interest to the company. The first is suborbital scientific research, ranging from atmospheric and space sciences to microgravity experimentation…Two other markets the company is looking at with the WK2/SS2 combination are astronaut training and technology testing and demonstration…The last, and perhaps most intriguing, market Virgin is examining is low-cost launches of small satellites…”

37. WhiteKnightTwo second flight with vortex generators added http://tinyurl.com/akedsv (Flightglobal) To counter a fishtail issue Virgin Galactic’s twin fuselage carrier aircraft WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) is suspected to have, vortex generators are pictured here added to its vertical stabilisers prior to its second flight. Taking off from Mojave air and spaceport’s runway 30 on 5 February the WK2 returned to testing with a 1.5h flight…”

38. Space hotel: bookings are open and coming in http://www.4hoteliers.com/4hots_nshw.php?mwi=5488 “…The Space Tourism Company Galactic Suite already has 38 reservations made by tourists who in 2012 will travel to the hotel to spend four days at 450 kilometres from the Earth. The trip, which will cost 3 million euros, also includes 18 weeks of preparation for the tourists to acquire experience in space. This preparation will take place on an island in the Caribbean, where the participants can travel with their families…The company is now working in the programme of activities that tourists will undertake during the four days. “Tourists come to the hotel with all the necessary items to stay, as if they were staying at the most extreme refuge on earth…This refuge will offer a mixed programme of reflection and exercise to seize the unique physical conditions encountered in space…”

39. Team Prometheus: More than rocket fuel http://www.news8austin.com/content/headlines/?ArID=231101&SecID=2 “…Monroe Lee King Jr. has always been a space junkie and he's not ashamed of it. "I'm a regular geek," Monroe said…Interest sparked at first with the Google Lunar X Prize, a $30-million competition for the team that can send a robot to the moon. But, Monroe set his sights on a prize a little lower in the alphabet…"The N-Prize, www.n-prize.com, which is a really small prize for sending a very small rocket into orbit," Monroe said. "I think we found a way to do it…What we wanna do is launch from a balloon, this is like a balloon launch platform," he said, drawing a diagram of how to accomplish the mission. Once that rocket gets 20 miles into what scientists call "near space," the rocket will blast off …”

Supercomputing & GPUs

40. Stanford U Software Speeds up Molecular Simulations http://tinyurl.com/acp5ck (HPCwire) “…a new open-source software package developed at Stanford is making it possible to do complex simulations of molecular motion on desktop computers at much faster speeds than has been previously possible. "Simulations that used to take three years can now be completed in a few days," said Vijay Pande, an associate professor of chemistry at Stanford and principal investigator of the Open Molecular Mechanics (OpenMM) project. "With this first release of OpenMM, we focused on small molecular systems simulated and saw speedups of 100 times faster than before…The key to the accelerated simulations OpenMM makes possible is the advantage it takes of current graphics processors (GPUs), which cost just a few hundred dollars. At its core, OpenMM makes use of GPU acceleration, a set of advanced hardware and software technologies that enable GPUs, working in concert with the system's central processor (CPU), to accelerate applications beyond just creating or manipulating graphics…”

41. New Tools to Energize Competitiveness of Manufacturing http://tinyurl.com/bkbkj3 (HPCwire) “…The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) has partnered with the Council on Competiveness and AMT - Association for Manufacturing Technology to present the 2009 Compute & Collaborate for Competitive Advantage (C3A) conference. C3A will explore how companies are using high performance computing (HPC)…While HPC has obvious benefits, its cost was prohibitive, making it affordable to only the largest companies and organizations. Recent advances in computing technology, coupled with the rise of cloud computing, have made this valuable resource available to all companies…”

42. AMD OpenCL demo http://fireuser.com/blog/amd_opencl_parallel_computing_demo_from_siggraph_asia_2008/ The first public demonstration of OpenCL functionality was given by AMD at Siggraph Asia 2008. OpenCL is the new vendor-independent standard designed to extract high performance parallel computing out of GPUs, DSPs and multicore CPUs. Basically the idea is that you can write your core computational code in OpenCL and voila! - your code scales to whatever processors are available. OpenCL will greatly improve speed and responsiveness for a wide spectrum of applications from entertainment to scientific and 3D visualization…”

43. Scalable Informatics and Partners Announce GPU-HMMER http://tinyurl.com/aghwho (HPCwire) Scalable Informatics…provider of high performance computing and storage solutions, in cooperation with researchers at the University at Buffalo, announced the introduction of GPU-HMMER, an NVIDIA CUDA implementation and extension of MPI-HMMER. GPU-HMMER and MPI-HMMER are open-source implementations of the HMMER protein sequence analysis suite that profoundly reduce computation times…”



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