2009/03/10

NEW NET Issues List for 10 Mar 2009

No NEW NET meeting (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) for the week of 10 March 2009 -- several of the regular NEW NET participants are out of town today, and the others decided to take a break.

The ‘net

1. Ex-Googlers Launch Likaholix http://gigaom.com/2009/03/04/ex-googlers-launch-likaholix-a-curated-web-startup/ “…startup, Likaholix…lets you curate things you like on the web. You sign up, create a profile and bookmark your likes — books, movies, things, places, hotels and anything you fancy…What I find interesting is that another startup that centers on personalized web has been started by former Googlers. FriendFeed is another that comes to mind. With digital content exploding on the web, sooner or later Google’s approach to content is going to have problems. This concept of “liking,” or effortless recommendation, is one way of dealing with data deluge…”

2. Zoho Writer 2.0: Looks More Like Word 2007 http://tinyurl.com/aj93ru (ReadWriteWeb) “…in this release, the most obvious change is a new user interface which looks a lot like the 'Ribbon' in Microsoft Office…improved auto-insert fields for dates and page numbers in the header and footer, a word and character count in the status bar, a LaTeX editor, and the ability to change your page layout to landscape mode. Collaborative editing is probably the most important new feature…as Rafe Needleman points out, it's too easy to overwrite another user's edits…”

3. 85+ Tools & Resources for Freelancers and Web Workers http://mashable.com/2009/03/03/freelance/ “…there are numerous resources out there that not only help you find more work, but also loads of tools to help you do your job more efficiently with a professional edge. We’ve gathered over 85 tools and job sites for a variety of freelancers and web workers…”

4. Collaborative / Swarm Computing Notes http://www.igvita.com/2009/03/07/collaborative-swarm-computing-notes/ If you were looking for a great example of a collaborative map-reduce, then you don't have look much further than the amount of feedback and commentary that the earlier 'Collaborative Map-Reduce in the Browser' post received in a short span of twenty four hours. After making appearances on Slashdot, dozens of blogs, podcasts, and numerous social networks, it generated over four hundred comments, suggestions and critiques. Seemingly out of thin air, an intelligent swarm self-assembled, where none existed before, went through a highly creative phase of idea generation and critique, and then disappeared as fast as it came together, leaving a wealth of ideas to research and follow up on. Observing this pattern made me wonder about the future of science, and how radically different it is from the current ivory tower approach of life-long research tracks, specialized conferences, and tight knit groups…”

5. Internet Explorer to come with 'off' switch in Win 7 http://tech.yahoo.com/news/ap/20090307/ap_on_hi_te/tec_microsoft_eu “…A single check box deep in the guts of the next version of Windows is giving Microsoft Corp. watchers a peek at how the software maker plans to keep European antitrust regulators from marring a crucial software launch…”

6. The coming of the megacomputer http://www.roughtype.com/archives/2009/03/the_coming_of_t.php “…about 20 percent of all the server computers being sold in the world "are now being bought by a small handful of internet companies," including Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and Amazon…every time there’s a transition to a new computer architecture, there’s a tendency simply to assume that existing applications will be carried over (ie, word processors in the cloud). But the new architecture actually makes possible many new applications that had never been thought of, and these are the ones that go on to define the next stage of computing…”

7. 100 Terrific Web Tools for Tightwads http://www.earnaccountingdegree.com/blog/2009/100-terrific-web-tools-for-tightwads/ “…You can use web tools to find the best deal, keep a careful eye on your money, calculate financial decisions, and more. Read on, and you’ll find 100 excellent tools that will help you keep a tighter grip on your hard earned cash…”

8. Life insurance for your passwords: Legacy Locker http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10192306-2.html “…Legacy Locker simply backs up the passwords and access codes to your online accounts. When you die, it gives that information to the people you designate. I got this concept in half a second: if I go, I cannot imagine the trouble my wife would have trying to untangle my financial and e-mail accounts and deal with my contacts on my social networks, not to mention controlling the disposition of some online assets I own, like domain names. The idea with Legacy Locker is to give your survivors easy access to your photo, blog, social network, e-mail, and other personal online sites so they can figure out what to do with the info and files stored there…”

9. Drop.io jumps into 'the stream,' goes real-time http://news.cnet.com/8301-13577_3-10192249-36.html “…file-sharing service Drop.io has opted to turn its "drops"--the pages where people can drag and drop any number of multimedia files and then password-protect them--into streams optimized for collaborative work. If you're working in one of them, it updates instantly for all users. There's also a new feature, much like in Google Docs, Zoho, and other collaboration tools, which lets all members looking at a given "drop" chat with one another…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

10. Cybersecurity official quits, blasts NSA power grab http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10191170-38.html “…A top federal cybersecurity official resigned this week in a letter sharply critical of what he described as a power grab by the National Security Agency…His letter also took aim at DHS, saying the center "received only five weeks of funding" in the last year because of "roadblocks engineered within the department" and by the White House…”

11. IBM looks to secure Internet banking with USB stick http://tinyurl.com/crsy2s (InfoWorld) “…IBM's Zurich research laboratory has developed a USB stick that the company says can ensure safe banking transactions even if a PC is riddled with malware…When plugged into a computer, ZTIC is configured to open a secure SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) connection with a bank's servers…The ZTIC, however, bypasses the browser and goes directly to the bank…IBM expended a lot of effort to figure how to initiate an SSL session within a USB stick…ZTIC uses a chip from microprocessor designer ARM, and the software has been designed so it can quickly establish a SSL session, Baentsch said. Although it is a memory stick, no data can be stored on it, which also prevents malicious software from infecting it…”

12. Secure digital medical records possible? http://www.pcworld.com/article/160886/secure_digital_medical_records.html Healthcare organizations…have gotten behind a new security framework to address potential headaches brought on by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Members of the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) gathered in San Francisco Monday to unveil the Common Security Framework (CSF), the first IT security framework designed specifically for healthcare data loss prevention…”

13. Only incompetence will save us from Orwell's surveillance state http://tinyurl.com/ca7n68 (Telegraph) “…It's 25 years since 1984, and more than 60 since Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell's wonderfully gloomy novel, was published…There is one reassuring aspect of contemporary surveillance which Orwell left out: it is limited by human fallibility. Surveillance in Nineteen Eighty-Four is relentlessly efficient…But surveillance in 2009 is incompetent: officials forget to put film in the cameras; they lose the secret data their have gathered, leaving it on trains or in bars; and they frequently never get around to consulting what they do manage to keep hold of: there is simply too much of it. The vast amount of data now being generated, and the impossibility of looking at it all, is, together with bureaucratic incompetence, the best guarantee we have that we're not going to wake up one morning and find we are living in a version of Nineteen Eighty-Four…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

14. Ballmer on Windows Mobile 6.5 / 7.0 http://tinyurl.com/8mz7sf (ars technica) “…Microsoft is completely aware that Windows Mobile is lacking, and simply cannot compare to the competition that is quickly moving forward…Windows Mobile may have done well in total numbers, but if trends continue, those totals won't be very significant compared to iPhones and maybe even Google phones, even if they increase slightly…Even if the rumor of Windows Mobile 7.0 hitting the RTM milestone in April 2010 turns out to be right on target, that means that it will be about more than a year from now before the first devices with the operating system can get into customers' hands…Think of it like the Wave 4 of Windows Live being ready in time for Windows 7…By then it may be too late: 7.0 may just end up again being eclipsed by the competition…”

15. Yahoo’s Inquisitor Makes Search Shine On The iPhone http://searchengineland.com/inquisitor-debuts-on-iphone-16804 “…Yahoo Search Blog announced that my favorite search browser plugin, Inquisitor has made its way to the iPhone…I cannot change my default search provider from Yahoo…When I asked Yahoo about changing the provider, they told me “consumers can only use Yahoo…We made that decision because we wanted to ensure the best experience for our mobile consumers– speed on mobile is a critical issue and we can go to the yahoo web results faster via BOSS as we don’t need to parse results. Using other providers reduces the speed on the mobile app…this is a very nifty search tool for the iPhone. However, I do wish there were more settings to control the search preferences…”

16. Good News: Wireless Industry 'Collapsing' http://tinyurl.com/d68p2c (DSLreports) “…Driven by the huge profit margins from MMS/SMS services that cost virtually nothing to provide, wireless service may be one of the most explosive and profitable markets in the country, despite a recession…Yet according to a Moffett research note to investors today…The whole wireless business is grinding to a halt." "There is much more at stake than simply subscriber forecasts," he writes. "If some or all of the wireless companies fall short of their 2009 growth projections — as we expect - then there is a much higher risk that one or more will resort to aggressive price action." Moffett's concern is that the wireless industry is saturated, which could result in carriers possibly having to actually compete on price…”

Open Source

17. The Real Reason for Microsoft's TomTom Lawsuit http://tinyurl.com/dhrkrq (ComputerWorldUK) “…[MS] claim that this lawsuit has no relation whatsoever to Linux, and they're only targeting TomTom's specific implementation of Linux. I have actually reviewed the TomTom kernel sources a number of times during the last couple of years as part of gpl-compliance reviews. I can tell you, there is nothing "TomTom specific" in their FAT FS code. It is the plain fat/msdos/vfat file system like in every kernel.org kernel…It isn't a case of cross-license and everything is ok. If Tom Tom or any other company cross licenses patents then by section 7 of GPLv2 (for the Linux kernel) they lose the rights to redistribute the kernel *at all*…Tom Tom are the first company to publicly refuse to engage in this ugly little protection racket, and so they got sued. Had Tom Tom silently agreed to violate the GPL, as so many others have, then we'd only hear about a vague "patent cross licensing deal" just like the ones Microsoft announces with other companies. Make no mistake, this is intended to force Tom Tom to violate the GPL, or change to Microsoft embedded software. So it turns out that the TomTom lawsuit goes to the heart of Microsoft's attacks on Linux…”

18. Linux high-performance cluster monitoring with Ganglia http://tinyurl.com/bpyyyb (IBM) “…With so many open source solutions for monitoring a data center, I'm often surprised to see how many scale-out computing centers develop their own solutions and ignore the work that has already been done by others…Ganglia is an open source monitoring project, designed to scale to thousands of nodes, that started at UC Berkeley. Each machine runs a daemon called gmond which collects and sends the metrics (like processor speed, memory usage, etc.) it gleans from the operating system to a specified host. The host which receives all the metrics can display them and can pass on a condensed form of them up a hierarchy. This hierarchical schema is what allows Ganglia to scale so well. gmond has very little overhead which makes it a great piece of code to run on every machine in the cluster without impacting user performance…”

SkyNet

19. Make Google Real-Time With Twitter Search Add-on http://tinyurl.com/bzql8e (ReadWriteWeb) “…Do we need a new search paradigm that prioritizes publishing freshness higher than page rank?...Carey has written a simple browser add-on that displays the 5 most recent Twitter search results for any search terms at the top of any Google search results page…Called "Realtime Twitter Search Results on Google," the service is actually a Greasemonkey script. Don't be intimidated: Carey explains on his blog how anyone running Firefox can add the script to their browser with less than 5 clicks of the mouse…we've been using Twitter search for discovery lately anyway and Google for retrieval of known info at URLs we can't remember…”

20. Google Privacy Blunder Shares Your Docs Without Permission http://tinyurl.com/cfnryk (TechCrunch) “…we’re hearing that Google has sent a notice to a number of users of its Document and Spreadsheets products stating that it may have inadvertently shared some of their documents with contacts who were never granted access to them…the relatively few Tweets around the letter seems to indicate that the error is not particularly widespread, but it’s still a major and unsettling lapse in security…this error highlights why cloud-based services scare many people. Regardless of what a site’s posted rules and policies are, a technical glitch is all it takes to expose your sensitive data…”

21. Marissa Mayer On Charlie Rose: The Future Of Google http://tinyurl.com/b35f9n (TechCrunch) “…Charlie Rose, who’s been focusing lately on Silicon Valley personalities, interviewed Google Vice President Marissa Mayer last night. In a long and broad ranging discussion, Marissa talks about the product development cycle at Google as well as the future of search and other key areas of technology…”

22. Why I sued Google (and won) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/aaron-greenspan/why-i-sued-google-and-won_b_172403.html “…my company signed up for the flip side of Google's advertising juggernaut: AdSense. In anticipation of a new product, Think had acquired a brand new domain name that was unexpectedly receiving a high volume of internet traffic. Instead of paying Google for Think's ads, I thought it might make more sense for Think to get paid for displaying Google's. Everything went according to plan until 11:00 A.M. on December 9, 2008. With a single click, a faceless Google employee decided that Think Computer Corporation's membership in the AdSense program "posed a significant risk to our AdWords advertisers," and the account was disabled with no warning. Trying to sign into the AdSense management site brought not the familiar user interface, with its limited account payment records and reports (including what Google currently owed Think, which amounted to approximately $721.00), but the following unhelpful statement, and nothing more: Your AdSense account for this login is currently disabled. We recommend checking your email inboxes for any messages we may have sent you regarding your account status. Sometimes our messages can be caught by email filters, so please be sure to check the Bulk/Spam folders of your email accounts as well. If your account was disabled for invalid click activity, please visit our Disabled Account FAQ for more information. Return to AdSense home…While I was capable of authorizing any action on behalf of my company, Google's overachieving receptionists were not even permitted to transfer my phone call to AdSense customer service. There was no AdSense customer service. Even if there had been, it would not have mattered much. I also couldn't be transferred to any of the engineers who worked on AdSense. Or product managers. Or executives…Trying a more aggressive approach, I tried instead to be transferred to the legal department. That, too, was not an option. Despite the clear existence of the legal department, I was told again and again that I was not allowed to speak with anyone in it…I left voicemails about my disabled account diligently, to no avail. I even called AdWords customer support, intentionally asking for the wrong department to see if a real human being could help. These efforts netted a relatively quick e-mail rejection of my appeal form, and fairly unbelievable recordings of telephone calls with Google employee Adam C. When questioned, "Can I just ask in general why you guys have a support team for AdWords, but not AdSense?", the knowledgeable Mr C. replied, "I do not know." When asked, "Is there a project manager," he replied, "There's no one I'd be able to transfer you to." I was able to get an e-mail address for the legal department, so I e-mailed legal@google.com--and never received a reply…Ms. Milani reiterated her previous arguments, but the judge didn't buy them. "I don't think I have the power here in Palo Alto small claims court to make you reinstate his account, but I think you owe this young man $721," he said finally. "I think there might be money in Google's treasury for that…But it's not fair!" Google's paralegal protested. "What if everyone whose account was cancelled sued Google?"…until Google changes its policies to become more transparent…Maybe everyone whose account was cancelled, should…”

23. Gmail outage could last 36 hours for some http://tinyurl.com/d7skb3 (ComputerWorld) “…Gmail e-mail service is down for an undetermined number of users, and while the outage has been partially fixed, some people could be locked out of their accounts for many more hours…Google said that it could take between 24 hours to 36 hours to restore all affected accounts…”

General Technology

24. Hacking Education (continued) http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2009/03/hacking-education-continued.html “…Last fall I wrote a post on this blog titled Hacking Education. In it, I outlined my thoughts on why the education system (broadly speaking) is failing our society and why hacking it seems like both an important and profitable endeavor. Our firm, Union Square Ventures, has been digging deeply into the intersection of the web and the education business in search of disruptive bets we can make on this hacking education theme. My partner Albert led an effort over the past few months to assemble a group of leading thinkers, educators, and entrepreneurs and today we got them all together and talked about hacking education for six hours…”

25. Thumbs up for 3D bone printer http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126984.700-thumbs-up-for-3d-bone-printer.html EXACT replicas of a man's thumb bones have been made for the first time using a 3D printer. The breakthrough paves the way for surgeons to replace damaged or diseased bones with identical copies built from the patients' own cells…There are several steps in the new process. Firstly, you need a 3D image of the bone you want to copy. If the bone has been lost or destroyed, you can make a mirror image of its surviving twin. This image is then fed into a 3D inkjet printer, which deposits thin layers of a pre-selected material on top of one another until a 3D object materialises…”

26. Trolls square off against tech in patent reform fight http://tinyurl.com/dl5yl5 (ars technica) “…"Non-Practicing Entities" (affectionately known as patent trolls)…in recent years, have come to account for more than 10 percent of all patent litigation. Congressional efforts to reform the system stalled in the Senate last year but, on Tuesday, a bipartisan group of legislators resurrected the Patent Reform Act…But they face stiff opposition from biotech and pharmaceutical firms—not to mention patent trolls fearful of seeing their cash cow vanish…Language in the proposed statute would direct judges to more scrupulously attend to the marginal contribution a patented invention provides to a product when assessing infringement damages…it was the apportionment language that played a central role in killing patent reform the last time around—largely due to the opposition of Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA)…”

27. Myths, gods, and titanic disasters: How servers really get their names http://tinyurl.com/dfud9z (IT World) “…we looked into the practice of naming servers, half expecting to discover it was a quirky, geeky thing to do -- and nothing more. To our surprise, readers flooded the story with comments, chiming in about their own naming schemes -- what worked, what didn't, and flashes of brilliance. Let's just say that server naming is a surprisingly complex undertaking. Here's what we learned…”

Leisure & Entertainment

28. 9 Luxurious Massage Chairs For Stress Relief http://tinyurl.com/dcwswd (AltMedicineZone) “…Stressed out after a long tiring day at the office? If you’re not keen to fork out money for a massage session each time you need it, why not go the whole hog and purchase a massage chair for your home. Here are a few luxurious massage chairs that offer good relief from stress…”

Economy and Technology

29. Top 10 Social Sites for Finding a Job http://mashable.com/2009/02/24/top-10-social-sites-for-finding-a-job/ “…we’ll look at ten incredible social sites to help you in your job search…Three of the listed sites can be combined with other sites to be more impactful. In addition to joining, creating profiles and searching for jobs, I encourage you to support these sites with either a traditional website or blog…”

30. Where In The World Is Innovation http://gigaom.com/2009/03/02/where-in-the-world-is-innovation/ “…Innovation Heat Map crafted by McKinsey and the World Economic Forum maps innovation across the planet. Clearly Silicon Valley is in a class of its own and perhaps that is why others want to imitate its success…Nowhere else on the planet you will find a grown man who is crazy enough to fund a web site that essentially shows cat videos and expects his investment to pay off big time…Nowhere but in Silicon Valley is it OK to fail…”

31. 7 Steps To Build A Startup From Scratch With No Money http://tinyurl.com/7z2vr3 (YoungEntrepreneur) I recently did an interview about how to build a business up from scratch with little or no money and I used my own story as an example. Here are the steps that I took. This process helped me build my business with $0 in startup capital. Hopefully you can learn from my experience and make it even better…”

Civilian Aerospace

32. What is it like to live in isolation for months on end? http://tinyurl.com/alofvt (NewScientist) “…What challenges will face future travelers to Mars? To find out, planetary scientist Pascal Lee leads yearly NASA-funded expeditions to Haughton Crater in the Canadian Arctic, where the barren, rocky terrain bears an uncanny resemblance to Martian landscapes. There, Lee and a few dozen others carry out simulated Mars expeditions and conduct scientific investigations of the crater and its environment... I've had a flavour of this kind of living. I spent 402 days down in Antarctica as a young man…We were isolated…the thing is, you notice that small little details take on huge proportions…Because it's a stressful environment and if it's resource-constrained, then all of a sudden our survival instincts kick in…”

33. Moon base http://features.csmonitor.com/innovation/2009/03/05/moon-base-location-location-location/ “…If, as planned, the United States eventually establishes a lunar base in 2020, one of the most tempting patches of moonscape is Shackleton Crater at the south pole. There may be water ice for drinking or converting to rocket fuel, the nearly constant sunlight at the rim is ideal for solar power, and the temperature is relatively bearable. But perhaps the most compelling reason is something far more primal: surviving the lunar night, which lasts 14 Earth days and can hit temperatures so cold that oxygen turns to liquid…”

34. Embry-Riddle: space transportation R&D institute http://www.erau.edu/er/newsmedia/newsreleases/2009/strdi.html “…Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University today announced it is gaining support for a multi-university Space Transportation Research & Development Institute (STRDI) as space industry leaders gather in Tallahassee for Florida Space Day today. STRDI, an initiative begun last year by the University, would bring together industry, academic, and government stakeholders to gain federal and state support to build a national center for space transportation research and development, similar to the FAA-sponsored aviation R&D centers based at Embry-Riddle and other universities…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

35. Bank rolls out green GPU-based supercomputer platform http://www.finextra.com/fullstory.asp?id=19711 “…BNP Paribas Corporate and Investment Banking has implemented a new technology platform…it is transferring a large chunk of the calculations - about one thousand billion a second - performed for its Global Equities and Commodity Derivatives (GECD) unit to the new Graphical Processing Unit-based platform, which contains two Nvidia Tesla S1070 systems, consuming 2kW…The new platform replaces more than 500 traditional CPU cores consuming 25 kW, allowing a 100 fold increase in the amount of calculation achieved per Watt. The overall reduction of response times is a factor of 15…”

36. Acceleware: new CUDA offering http://tinyurl.com/bewdmm (HPCwire) “…The 10x-100x performance benefit from using NVIDIA's GPUs has companies in a broad selection of industries clamouring to port their applications to the massively parallel programming model of the GPU. These companies, in fields such as seismic exploration, financial simulation or medical imaging can now augment their staff with Acceleware's seasoned team of CUDA software developers…”

37. Finding the Door in the Memory Wall, Part 1 http://tinyurl.com/dkvr7x (HPCwire) “…Many HPC applications, sequential or parallel, often treat the shared resources of a multicore processor in a wasteful way and unnecessarily crash into the memory wall at high speeds. This may lead to superlinear slowdown, even for embarrassingly parallel applications…While going from one to two cores does indeed result in a throughput improvement of about 50 percent, there is actually performance degradation when going from two to three cores…”

38. Nvidia launches GPU Ventures Program to foster startups http://tinyurl.com/bxdpyx (VentureBeat) “…Nvidia is trying to stoke its own product ecosystem today as it launches the GPU Ventures Program to identify, support and in invest in early stage companies. The investments will focus on GPU (graphics processing unit) applications such as video programs that tap the computing power of the graphics chip…”


*****

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