NEW NET Issues List for 31 Mar 2009

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 31 March 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. Number of Facebook users over 35 doubled in last 60 days http://tinyurl.com/c7emn8 (ReadWriteWeb) “…Over the last 60 days, according to data from Inside Facebook, the number of users over 35 doubled, and the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is women over 55. The majority of Facebook users is now over 25…in the U.S., the majority of new users is not only over 25, but there is also a far larger number of new female users than male (13.5 million vs. 9.5 million in the last 180 days)…”

2. Flickr Co-founder Unveils Her New Startup: Hunch http://tinyurl.com/dnlp5n (ReadWriteWeb) “…Flickr co-founder and Hunch head honcho Caterina Fake divulged some more details about the new project on her blog. The new project aims to become a site that can help anyone make a decision about anything. The way it will do this is through the application of decision trees that are created by contributing users. Using decision trees in expert systems is nothing new, but applying that idea to a crowdsourcing model might possibly be a stroke of genius. Think Aardvark meets Wikipedia and you start to get the idea. Hunch is still in closed beta, but is accepting requests for invites…”

3. Government 2.0 Camp: online citizen engagement http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10206276-38.html “…Hundreds of Web 2.0 evangelists flocked to a school auditorium in Washington Friday morning to kick off Government 2.0 Camp, the inaugural event of Government 2.0 Club, a national organization created to allow government, academia, and industry to collaborate on Web 2.0 solutions for government…in a well-attended discussion at the event, the new-media directors admitted that if they were to use more online tools to engage citizens, they wouldn't quite know how to tell whether it accomplished anything…”

4. Yahoo Shuttering Travel Bargains Site FareChase Today http://tinyurl.com/cjp8h5 (TechCrunch) Yahoo is cutting more fat today by closing its travel bargains website FareChase, which it originally acquired back in July 2004 and re-launched two years later. The company will be announcing the shut-down later today, and will start redirecting visitors of the service to its main travel site soon…”

5. Mozilla, graphics group seek to build 3D Web http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10203458-2.html “…Two influential organizations are banding together to try to bring accelerated 3D graphics to the Web, a move that eventually could improve online games and other Web applications. The Web is gradually becoming a better foundation for applications with splashy, sophisticated interfaces, but 3D graphics on the Web remain primitive…Mozilla, the group behind the Firefox browser, and Khronos, the consortium that oversees the widely used OpenGL graphics interface technology, are trying to jointly create a standard for accelerated 3D graphics on the Web…”

6. Status.net: Future of Business Intelligence? http://tinyurl.com/c689z9 (ReadWriteWeb) “…Laconica, the Canadian company offering the most popular Open Source alternative to Twitter, announced plans today to begin selling subscriptions to hosted microblogging installations for businesses. The default address of these new sites will be yourname.status.net…Is this creepy? It doesn't have to be. There's a whole lot of exciting potential here and if an increasingly open technology world can help the business world understand the value of open over control (as it is) then this kind of analysis could be democratized and used for good…Knowledge sharing paths get worn in the virtual grass of the public field of microblogging. Smart companies want their people creating those paths…It won't happen on Twitter alone, though. It's too public, the company is too bound by its own limitations…We expect that hosted or free company-specific microblogging installations will become huge sources of Business Intelligence data…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

7. China Becoming the World's Malware Factory http://www.pcworld.com/article/161920/ “…Speaking at the CanSecWest security conference last week, Wei Zhao, CEO of Knownsec, a Beijing security company, said that while many Chinese workers may be feeling hard times, business is still booming in the country's cybercrime industry. "As the stock market dropped like a stone, a lot of IT professionals lost lots of money on the stock market," he said. "So sometimes they sell 0days," he said, referring to previously unknown software bugs. "China is not only the world's factory, but also the world's malware factory," Zhao said…Chinese hackers tend to focus on hacking software that runs on the desktop, rather than the server, because the underground market pays big money for client-side bugs, which are then often used to install malicious software on millions of desktops…”

8. 3D-based Captchas become reality http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10204300-1.html “…the folks at YUNiTi.com, a social Web site…announced Wednesday that it has created a 3D Captcha method that is unbreakable by current computer technology, yet much easier for humans to identify. Captchas is short for Completely Automated Public Turing tests to tell Computers and Humans Apart. This is a way to make sure the input is not generated by a computer. Similar to Hayward's idea, this new technology relies on our ability to identify objects in 3D instead of using alphanumeric characters…”

9. GhostNet: global cyber espionage http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/29/technology/29spy.html A vast electronic spying operation has infiltrated computers and has stolen documents from hundreds of government and private offices around the world, including those of the Dalai Lama…the researchers said that the system was being controlled from computers based almost exclusively in China, but that they could not say conclusively that the Chinese government was involved….It can, for example, turn on the camera and audio-recording functions of an infected computer, enabling monitors to see and hear what goes on in a room. The investigators say they do not know if this facet has been employed…The electronic spy game has had at least some real-world impact, they said. For example, they said, after an e-mail invitation was sent by the Dalai Lama’s office to a foreign diplomat, the Chinese government made a call to the diplomat discouraging a visit. And a woman working for a group making Internet contacts between Tibetan exiles and Chinese citizens was stopped by Chinese intelligence officers on her way back to Tibet, shown transcripts of her online conversations and warned to stop her political activities…” [China refutes claims -- http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2009/03/31/china-ghostnet.html]

10. Politician wants to censor online maps http://tech.yahoo.com/news/afp/20090328/tc_afp/usbritainitinternetespionagegoogle “…I have proposed a bill, AB 255, that would require all Internet mapping sites to take the same precautions with California government buildings, places of worship, schools and hospitals." The bill, which Anderson introduced in February, would make it state law for online mapping services to blur images of designated "sensitive" locations, whether the pictures were taken at street level, from the air, or by satellites…The official maintains that he is not opposed to online maps, but believes only those up to evil deeds are interested in details such as positioning of entrances, windows and air ducts…”

11. Spam Back to 94% of All E-Mail http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/31/spam-back-to-94-of-all-e-mail/ “…The average seven-day spam volume during the latter half of March is now at roughly the same levels as October of last year—around 94 percent of all e-mail—according to anti-spam company Postini, a division of Google. At first, the McColo takedown cut global spam traffic by about 70 percent, according to Postini, which provides e-mail security for more than 50,000 businesses and 15 million business users…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

12. reQall: Don't look now, but you're a cyborg http://tinyurl.com/cabkz7 (ComputerWorld) “…the term cyborg…originally envisioned either the human mind enhanced by machines, or the use of human minds to control or direct machines. Aren't Internet-connected cell phones technically machines that are enhancing our minds?...I wrote a blog item Wednesday about the announcement by a company called reQall Inc. of its new self-described "memory aid" service…The new version has yet another "killer feature," which truly brings reQall into the realm of science fiction. It's called Memory Jogger, and it's baked into reQall, always working quietly behind the scenes. The Memory Jogger technology looks at a wide range of criteria, such as the time of day, what's on your calendar or your physical location (it uses your phone's GPS) to figure out what to remind you of, and when. The reQall Memory Jogger is so eerily intelligent that it feels almost like a human assistant is looking out for you. As you're about to drive by the cleaners, your phone beeps and shows the message, "Pick up your suit!" As you're about to leave your office for a business lunch, your phone tells you, "You met Jonathan Smith at CTIA 2006, he's a vegetarian, went to UCLA, obsessed with golf, has twin daughters and likes to be called 'Jonathan,' not 'Jon…”

13. Apple: 1 – iPhone developers: 0 http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-10204817-37.html A clause in the Apple/developer agreement for the App Store if enforced could potentially bankrupt developers…a clause regarding refunds has the potential to bankrupt developers because they are required to pay a steep out-of-pocket fee to Apple if an App is returned…if Joe iPhone plays with this developer's $10 App for a while, decides he's bored with it and manages to convince Apple to give him a full refund, the developer will have to return not only the $7 he got from the sale, but also an additional $3 he never saw…”

Open Source

14. Recession Causing Enterprises to Rethink Open-Source http://tinyurl.com/cwc7z5 (eWeek) “…Open-source companies are seeing sales go up as the Dow [Jones index] goes down. And it's starting to accelerate." The reason is, Asay said, is that "people woke up on Jan. 1—those that still had jobs—and said, 'You know what? I've got to do something. At 50 percent or 70 percent or some percent less budget, I still have to do my job. How am I going to do that?'" Suddenly, open source makes a lot of sense…”

15. Open-source Flash game engine in open beta http://gigaom.com/2009/03/28/pushbutton-open-source-flash-game-engine/ “…I was excited to hear about PushButton, a Flash game engine from a team of seasoned game developers that’s free, open source, and associated with an innovative revenue model that should help spur its adoption. Quietly released in open beta to friends and family last week, it already seems to be gaining an enthusiastic following; Ada Chen of Mochi told me she’s also heard a lot about it from developers at Sunday’s Flash Gaming Summit, and “the feedback has all been overwhelmingly positive…”

16. TomTom settlement: key Linux/open source questions unanswered http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10207291-56.html “…While reaction to Microsoft's settlement with TomTom was varied on Monday, there seemed to be a consensus that it will do little to settle the many questions related to whether Linux infringes on Microsoft's intellectual property…I don't think this answers any questions in terms of whether Microsoft's patents in any way cover Linux," Gatto said. Microsoft has long asserted that various implementations of Linux do infringe on its intellectual property and has struck a number of patent deals with companies that either distribute Linux or use it in their products…Open-source pioneer Bruce Perens criticized the settlement, saying that it may instill fear in other companies that are using embedded Linux and thus have something of a chilling effect…A second issue raised by the settlement is whether, in fact, Microsoft and TomTom were indeed able to comply with the terms of the General Public License in crafting their deal…Microsoft probably didn't want to test the FAT patents in court, and may have been worried about facing an expensive battle over the (Open Innovation Network) patent portfolio," Lindberg said in an e-mail interview. "TomTom was probably worried about a long and expensive patent battle about technology that was not central to their product...the most interesting element of the TomTom agreement was the company's decision to remove the FAT (File Allocation Table) file system from their product within two years. "That seems like a win for Microsoft, but in the long run it may end up reducing Microsoft's patent leverage…”


17. The genius behind Google’s web browser http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/03775904-177c-11de-8c9d-0000779fd2ac.html “…the farmhouse still seems steeped in the past; yet this is the place where a key part of the future of the internet first took shape…Lars Bak, its owner and a programming genius to his peers, made his home here for a reason – he doesn’t particularly want to be found…Lars Bak isn’t a household name…The Dane had first appeared on California’s Silicon Valley radars in 1991, when he joined Sun Microsystems and began building a reputation as one of the industry’s best programmers. He left to help start Animorphic Systems in 1994, which was then acquired by Sun. Once back at the company, Bak developed what would become Java HotSpot, an industry-standard computing system…Bak started work, setting up an office in what is now the home cinema. The farmhouse is built around a courtyard, with the family home opposite the office. Every day, he walked across the cobbled stones to his office and started writing code. And at the end of each day, he walked back across the courtyard and left it all behind for the night. In between those strolls, he threw himself into building a browser that would increase the possibilities for others to do what he was engaged in: working from home, attached to the head office and all its tools only by the power of the internet. Bak may be a computing genius, but he didn’t touch a computer until he was at university.…”

18. More Security Loopholes Found In Google Docs http://tinyurl.com/dj3hhh (TechCrunch) “…Security consultant Ade Barkah checked in with us to alert us to a couple of serious security issues associated to Google Docs, the web-based office software from the world’s most famous search engine company, giving a whole new meaning to its mission to make the world’s information universally accessible. On his blog on software, infrastructure and security, Barkah outlines no less than three issues that he discovered while investigating some potential security lapses…” [Google’s response : http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2009/03/just-to-clarify.html ]

19. Google Docs Inserts Drawings http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_docs_inserts_drawings.php “…Google Docs just got an amazing new feature called insert drawing. With it you can now create and insert drawings directly into your Google documents, spreadsheets and presentations. The drawing creation tool is easy to use, and supports snapping to grid points and full free-form or constrained rotation and sizing of individual lines, shapes, or groups of composite items. The best part is that the entire insert drawing module is rendered in-browser. It only takes a few minutes of playing with the new module to discover that it has a number of great things going for it…”

20. Google Ventures launched in New England http://tinyurl.com/cweuoe (Xconomy) “…Google has launched a venture investing wing called Google Ventures, and Rich Miner, who is based at the company’s Cambridge, MA, office and is the former leader of its Android mobile operating system project, is one of the managing partners…I am staying in Boston as an East Coast partner,” Miner replied. “We think New England is a great place to be. It’s a fertile ecosystem with the right combination of top universities, seasoned entrepreneurs and experienced management…”

21. Top Google execs: $1 salary, no bonus, no options http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10204209-93.html Wall Street executives feeling harassed by taxpayers outraged at their pay might take note of how Google's ruling triumvirate fared in 2008: $1 in salary each, no bonus, no stock grants, and no stock options. Google has offered co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and Chief Executive Eric Schmidt "market-competitive" salaries every year since 2005, but once again in 2008, the three turned it down…”

22. Google Bans Tethering Apps in the Android Market http://tinyurl.com/dbntf3 (jkOnTheRun) Phone carriers do not like tethering, that is very clear. Many smartphones have integrated 3G and carriers rely on the charges for that bandwidth to keep them profitable. Tethering, the ability to use the phone as a modem for laptops, has long been shunned or outright banned by carriers that do not want to see that ability cut into the bottom line. Many U.S. carriers charge an extra monthly fee for the privilege of tethering the laptop to the 3G phone, while some forbid it outright. Google has reportedly notified a developer that their tethering app is a violation of the TOS of the Android Market…”

23. Don't use Google Checkout for your business http://tinyurl.com/cy4h8c (slash7) “…to sum up our experience with Google Checkout: * they did not try to contact us to resolve any issue, * there's no way to find out why they closed our account, due to "security reasons", * there was no notice (we found out by accident, when we tried to pay for something with Google Checkout), * they kept over $200 of our money, * there is no appeal, * there is no one we can contact, * we cannot open a new account, * our money is gone, even though people have received their products…”

General Technology

24. DIY Freaks Flock to 'Hacker Spaces' Worldwide http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2009/03/hackerspaces.html “…The two are working on a recent Monday evening at Noisebridge, a collectively operated hacker space in San Francisco. Across the table, Noisebridge member Molly Boynoff is typing on a sticker-covered MacBook, learning to program in Python. Next to her, Noisebridge co-founder Mitch Altman is showing two newcomers how to solder resistors and LEDs onto a circuit board. "There are zillions of people around the world doing this," says Altman, referring to the swell of interest in do-it-yourself projects and hacking. "It's a worldwide community." At the center of this community are hacker spaces like Noisebridge, where like-minded geeks gather to work on personal projects, learn from each other and hang out in a nerd-friendly atmosphere. Like artist collectives in the '60s and '70s, hacker spaces are springing up all over…”

25. Email startup Xobni leaves beta http://venturebeat.com/2009/03/24/email-startup-xobni-leaves-beta-raises-32m/ Xobni is finally launching the “official” version of its plug-in that improves organization in Microsoft’s email program Outlook…The San Francisco company adds an inbox sidebar to Outlook that shows profiles of people you’re corresponding with. By making related content (phone numbers, past messages, files exchanged, and more) immediately accessible, the plug-in helps you avoid fruitless or time-consuming searches through giant piles of email…”

26. Flyak: Successful Surface Modeling http://www.pddnet.com/scripts/ShowPR.asp?RID=22072&CommonCount=0 “…The four-time Norwegian kayaking champion and physics expert and his partner, kayakbuilder Peter Ribe, have created what they hope will become the fastest human-powered craft in history—the Flyak. There’s nothing supernatural about the Flyak’s acceleration, as the name implies, the Flyak “flies.” Its wings are underneath the water, in the form of front and rear hydrofoils. The more the surface area of a hull touches the water, the greater the vehicle’s resistance…Once it reaches a certain speed, the Flyak’s hull does not touch the water at all…”

27. Tesla Shows Off Family-Friendly Electric Car http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-10205759-54.html “…Tesla on Thursday took the covers off the Model S…Because they have fewer moving parts and don't require oil changes, electric vehicles should also have lower maintenance costs. "Model S costs roughly $5 to drive 230 miles--a bargain, even if gasoline were $1 per gallon…Musk said the Model S will have three battery options providing a range of either 160, 230, or 300 miles per charge…”

28. David Pogue's secret weapon: Patience http://www.thestandard.com/news/2009/03/27/david-pogues-secret-weapon “…David Pogue…is probably the world's most widely read and watched tech product reviewer…How does he do it?...Pogue's shtick is clever: He plays the role of the buffoon who has belatedly wandered into the action long after he should havePogue takes the hit for his readers. They're not the early adopters on Geoffrey Moore's technology adoption curve. They're the pragmatists and conservatives. The mass market. The horde of buyers who actually make gadget manufacturers rich. Pogue lets them feel normal which, statistically, they are. He answers the questions they've only now come around to asking out loud…What he's really doing is echoing the thoughts of his huge, non-tech-industry audience. Trust me, your parents are nodding right along with David Pogue…”

29. Honda controls robot with human thought http://www.tgdaily.com/html_tmp/content-view-41898-181.html Honda Motor Company has announced a new development in robotic control -- a brain machine interface (BMI). A computerized sensor-net reads subtle electrical impulses directly from a person's scalp, as well as related changes in cerebral blood flow. Each time a person thinks about various movements, such as right hand or left hand, the computer identifies the thought, which is then sent to a thought-controlled version of Asimo the robot, which responds to those thought-commands…”

30. Your PC over the next 50 years http://tinyurl.com/dgjuwx (TechRadar) “…In a few decades from now, our current concepts of a PC and IT in general will seem so quaint and arcane that the only place to see them at all will be in old attics or museums, where they will sit next to an abacus and vacuum tube computers, and seem very alien to those being born now…In fact, most researchers believe the technology we will use in 2059 has not been invented yet. Imagine the scenario: those who were born in the last 10-15 years have grown up with the Internet and computers. They are what Gartner Group calls the "natives" (and the rest of us are immigrants)…even today there are some glimmers that showcase how technology might look in 50 years…”

Leisure & Entertainment

31. Perfect German Board Game Redefines Genre http://www.wired.com/gaming/gamingreviews/magazine/17-04/mf_settlers “…Germans, it turns out, are absolutely nuts about board games. More are sold per capita in Germany than anywhere else on earth…Because of this enthusiasm, board game design has become high art—and big business—in Germany…Teuber began tinkering with a new theme for a game: an uncharted island. In his original vision, players would slowly discover the island by flipping over tiles, then establish colonies using the indigenous natural resources. The game incorporated elements of other ideas Teuber was working on, but for some reason this one seemed special. "I felt like I was discovering something rather than inventing it," Teuber says…Eventually, Teuber whittled his invention down to a standard pair of dice, a handful of colored wooden houses that represented settlements and cities, stacks of cards that stood for resources (brick, wool, wheat, and others), and 19 hexagonal cardboard tiles that were arranged on a table to form the island. He had hit on something with this combination—the enthusiasm on family game night was palpable. During nearly every session, he, his wife, and their children would find themselves in heated competition. The game was done, Teuber decided. He called it Die Siedler von Catan, German for "The Settlers of Catan." Released at the annual Essen fair in 1995, Settlers sold out its initial 5,000 copies so fast that even Teuber doesn't have a first edition. That year, it won the Spiel des Jahres and every other major prize in German gaming. Critics called it a masterpiece. Fans couldn't get enough, snapping up 400,000 copies in its first year…”

32. April 7, $1.29 for hot iTunes songs http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-cotown-itunes26-2009mar26,0,5579880.story “…Apple's iTunes, plans to boost the price of many hit singles and selected classic tracks to $1.29 on April 7, breaking the psychological barrier of 99 cents in what could be the first big test of how much consumers are willing to pay to download individual songs…Apple Inc. set the 99-cent-per-song rate in 2003 when it launched the iTunes Store. The company long resisted pressure from the music industry to allow flexible pricing, arguing that it would inhibit sales. Apple changed its tune in January, however, announcing that it would begin selling music at three prices: 69 cents, 99 cents and $1.29, based on wholesale costs set by the labels…”

33. Imeem Not Closing http://blog.wired.com/business/2009/03/imeem-crunched.html “…imeem…on-demand music service ranked well into our top ten due to its vast catalog, playlist embedding, and social features…A recent report on TechCrunch echoes chatter we heard a earlier this year about imeem's financial situation taking a turn for the worse. TechCrunch calculates that imeem is $30 million in arrears to the labels on licensing payments, which Imeem spokesman and vice-president of marketing Matt Graves says is way off. "[TechCrunch's] $30M number is not only wrong, it's preposterous," said Graves. "We don't now owe, nor have we ever owed, that amount of money to the labels. And the shutdown rumor is equally false – we are not shutting down."…Even in a good market, imeem's ad revenue was barely enough to cover its music licensing payments, assuming it sold all of its ad inventory…Imeem's central problem -- and that of any other licensed on-demand music site -- is that the revenue it can derive from music fluctuates with market pressures, while the record labels and other stakeholders tend to want the same amount per song regardless of what's happening in the rest of the world…”

Economy and Technology

34. Nokia invests $70m in mobile payments http://blogs.ft.com/techblog/2009/03/nokia-sends-70m-mobile-payment-to-obopay/ “…There are signs the mobile payments market is really taking off at last with Nokia announcing a substantial investment in service provider Obopay…Obopay operates in the US and India. It allows those signing up for its service to fund their account with cash or by linking up their credit card or current account. They can then send money to any text-message enabled cell phone. The receiver can either sign up for an Obopay account or have the money transferred directly to their bank account. Obopay charges 25 cents to send any amount up to $1,000 and nothing to receive it…”

35. Tying the Hyperlocal Knot http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2009/03/27/tying-the-hyperlocal-knot/ The Knot is launching 75 new localized sites in the hopes of reaching brides-to-be from Tampa to Tucson…Brides are best served by content available in their specific location, he said. Likewise, wedding vendors want to advertise in bridal outlets that target a region…The local sites bring the total number of niche Web sites under the Knot umbrella to 85. Mr. Liu says the company plans to have more than 200 such sites by the end of the year…When users sign up, they share the location and date of their wedding as well as an email address — a trio of details that is a goldmine for advertisers looking to target consumers. The Knot’s local sites feature a home page with region-specific content, including listings for reception sites, florists, bridal salons, wedding photographers and DJs…Costs for this kind of expansion are minimal, because the local sites use a heavy dose of already-created national content that is applicable to a wedding anywhere. For example, “8 Top Wedding Cake Q&As” gives guidelines as to when in the planning process to contact a baker or when to cut the cake at the reception. That article is then is paired with a listing of city-specific vendors divided by category.”

36. Citysearch/MySpace Local http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/03/31/myspace-citysearch-partner-to-create-myspace-local/ “…MySpace and Citysearch are jointly announcing a new MySpace property this morning called MySpace Local. The site combines Citysearch business listings (including address, photos, menus, videos, maps and hours of location) from a thousand cities with the MySpace community. The site is launching into private beta this week, with a general U.S. launch next month. The new site will eventually include listing information for all Citysearch businesses via small business listing pages. To start just restaurants, bars and “nightlife” listings are included. Users can rate and review businesses, which is shared via the MySpace activity feed…”

37. Western Digital buys its way into solid-state drive market http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-10207148-92.html “…The Lake Forest, Calif.-based Western Digital has a strong presence in the notebook industry with its 2.5-inch drives, but not the rapidly expanding Netbook segment. With the acquisition, Western Digital is now instantly a player in that market. "SiliconSystems' intellectual property and technical expertise will significantly accelerate WD's solid-state drive development programs for the Netbook, client and enterprise markets…”

Civilian Aerospace

38. WhiteKnightTwo takes third test flight http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/090327-whiteknighttwo-test.html “…That marked the third flight for WhiteKnightTwo, which had its maiden test flight at the end of last year. The twin-fuselage aircraft flew for more than two and a half hours, reaching a maximum speed of 161 mph and an altitude of over 18,000 feet (3.4 mi). WhiteKnightTwo is slated to carry SpaceShipTwo as part of a reusable spaceliner fleet designed by aerospace veteran Burt Rutan and his company Scaled Composites…Now the stratosphere is the limit as we will continually test Eve for the next few months up to her ceiling of above 50,000 feet," said Peter Siebold, test pilot for WhiteKnightTwo during its first three flights…”

39. Simonyi and Soyuz dock with ISS http://tinyurl.com/d695r2 (DailyMail) Astronauts on board Russia's Soyuz spacecraft breathed a sigh of relief after they managed to manually dock with the International Space Station. They were forced to take action after an engine failure knocked out the automatic docking system when they were less than 100 metres from the ISS…The shuttle was carrying Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Michael Barratt who will form Expedition 19 with Mr Wakata. They were accompanied by U.S. billionaire and Microsoft developer Charles Simonyi…” [related story --http://www.networkworld.com/news/2009/033009-russian-capsule-docks-ex-microsoft-exec.html]

40. Volunteers flock to space experiment http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7966731.stm “…How about the following: locking yourself inside a small metal container for three months without any communication with the outside world, with electronic monitors attached to various parts of your body and with frozen baby food and cereal bars for breakfast, lunch and dinner? To add to the fun you'll have five companions who will do everything possible to stop you trying to escape before the three months are up…from a control room outside, a team of scientists will monitor your every move checking for any signs that you are starting to crack up…this well-paid, extreme version of Big Brother and The Weakest Link attracted 6,000 applicants from 40 countries…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

41. NVIDIA's Lock on GPU Computing Can Be Picked http://tinyurl.com/cq2vb4 (HPCwire) “…NVIDIA'…GPU computing product set -- CUDA, Tesla, et al. -- continue to be ahead of the curve. Being the industry leader in this area, NVIDIA certainly recognizes the importance of this technology…NVIDIA PR Director Derek Perez makes the case that GPU computing and its offspring, visual computing, are part of a "sea change" in the IT landscape and his company is in a great position to cash in on this. It's hard to disagree with that assessment. In the HPC space, GPU computing is the most compelling technology to come on the scene in recent memory, and NVIDIA has jumped out to an early lead. Because of CUDA and some hardware innovations, NVIDIA is probably at least a year ahead of AMD and two years ahead of Intel…”

42. Intel details future graphics chip at GDC http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-10204911-64.html “…Forsyth said that there is not yet a Larrabee chip to work with--it's expected late this year or early next year…Beyond games, Intel is also trying to catch a building wave of applications that run on the many-core architectures inherent to graphics chips. Nvidia and AMD graphics chips pack hundreds of processing cores that can be tapped for not only accelerating sophisticated games like Crysis but for doing scientific research and high-performance computing tasks…at its heart are processor cores, not GPU cores. So it's bringing that x86 programmable goodness to developers," Forsyth said. Larrabee will carry the DNA of Intel's x86 architecture…It's based on a lot of small, efficient in-order cores. And we put a whole bunch of them on one bit of silicon…In-order processing cores are used, for example, in the original Pentium design and in Intel's Atom processor. "It's the same programming model they know from multicore systems already but there's a lot more of them," he said…”

43. Lenovo / NVIDIA ThinkStations http://tinyurl.com/dmclax (HPCwire) “…Turbo-charged for performance, Lenovo's latest workstations can even be configured for personal supercomputing, helping enable professionals to innovate faster and reduce the time between an idea and a product. Adding the NVIDIA Tesla C1060 GPU platform to the workstations offers 240 additional cores of dedicated math processing power to help speed up calculations dramatically. In addition to this super performance boost and quieter computing experience over previous Lenovo workstations, the new workstations also feature the latest, high performance technologies…There has been a revolution in our industry for building information modeling, and we're finding that with large 3D model files it takes a long time to get them open and started…”

44. UPCRC Illinois Offers Summer School for Multicore Programming http://tinyurl.com/d2vktf (HPCwire) Programmers with little or no exposure to parallelism have an opportunity to learn about multicore programming at the UPCRC Illinois Summer School to be held June 22-26, 2009 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Coursework will provide a solid foundation in the fundamentals of multicore programming, offer hands-on experience with the use of multicore languages and libraries, and introduce emerging research topics…Applicants can choose to attend on campus…or online as a virtual student…”



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12:14 AM  

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