2009/04/07

NEW NET Issues List for 07 Apr 2009

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 07 Apr 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. Which URL Shortening Service Should You Use? http://tinyurl.com/c7dl9j irony! (SearchEngineLand) URL shortening services are experiencing a renaissance in the age of Twitter. When every character counts, these services reduce long URLs to tiny forms. But which is the best to use, when so many are offered and new ones seem to appear each day…I reviewed various services and how they stacked up in a variety of features. All this got dumped into a spreadsheet…There’s a summary of recommended tools at the end of this story…”

2. BakerTweet: the donuts are fresh http://www.slashgear.com/bakertweet-thehungry-the-donuts-are-fresh-0339978/ “…There’s little as pleasant in life as freshly-baked donuts. Or chocolate cake, or perhaps cup cakes or sourdough bread. That’s why more bakeries should consider investing in a BakerTweet: designed by Poke London, it’s an easy way for bakeries to send out messages - via Twitter - that more things are fresh out of the oven…”

3. Meeting24.tv Keeps Online Meetings Simple http://tinyurl.com/crjdyp (TechCrunch) “…Meeting24.tv is a new web conference system that lets up to 24 users simultaneously hold meetings online through an extra-simple UI…The service is based on the assumption that other online meeting solutions such as TokBox (which we covered three times), Cisco’s Webex, Polycom or Skype are just too complex…meeting24.tv tries to be useful through its lack of functions. There is no client installation needed, no registration, no document sharing, no video mail, no contact list and even no text chatting…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

4. Piracy law cuts internet traffic http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7978853.stm “…Sweden's new policy - the Local IPRED law - allows copyright holders to force internet service providers (ISP) to reveal details of users sharing files…The new law, which is based on the European Union's Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED), allows copyright holders to obtain a court order forcing ISPs to provide the IP addresses identifying which computers have been sharing copyrighted material. Figures from Netnod, a Swedish firm that measures internet traffic in and out of the country, suggest traffic fell from an average of 120Gbps to 80Gbps on the day the new law came into effect…Mr Engstrom said the new law was "a disaster", not just for file sharers, but for Sweden as a whole. "Dealing with illegal file-sharing is a job for the police. It is their job to enforce the law. "Now we have given private corporations the legal right to go after our civilians. That's not how Western democracies work…”

5. iPods, Obama, the Queen of England http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/04/first-sale-president-obama-and-queen-england “…President Obama reportedly gave an iPod, loaded with 40 show tunes, to England's Queen Elizabeth II as a gift. Did he violate the law when he did so?...Traditionally, it has been the job of the "first sale" doctrine to enable gift giving -- that's the provision of copyright law that entitles the owner of a CD, book, or other copyrighted work, to give it away (or resell it, for that matter), notwithstanding the copyright owner's exclusive right of distribution. In the digital era, however, first sale has been under siege, with copyright owners (and even the Copyright Office) arguing that it has no place in a world where "ownership" has been replaced by "licenses"…”

6. Conficker problem just got much worse http://i.gizmodo.com/5197148/how-the-conficker-problem-just-got-much-worse “…In its earlier forms, Conficker attempted to register 250 such DNS names per day. But with the third version of the software, the Conficker.c variant which has been floating around for the last month or so, the number of spam DNS takeovers was boosted to 50,000 per day—a number security pros can no longer keep up with. What the April 1 update did was simple: It provided instructions for linking up with the thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of new nodes registered by Conficker.c over the last few weeks, effectively growing the size of the p2p botnet to a point where it can not be stopped. "It's not about ownage, it's about continued ownage," says Kaminsky, citing a favorite quotation of one of his hacker buddies. "It's not about how you get into the network, it's about, 'How do you be [there] a year from now?'" And the answer is: "You do a lot of the things the Conficker developers are doing…They're frankly trying to build something that is a sustainable network for months or years to come…”

7. Police raid home of blogger whose writing is highly critical of them http://tinyurl.com/d73nb8 (CarlosMiller) “…Phoenix police raided the home of a blogger who has been highly critical of the department…The 41-year-old software engineer said they also confiscated numerous personal files and documents relating to a pending lawsuit he has against the department alleging harassment - which he says makes it obvious the raid was an act of retaliation…Pataky, who was out of town on a business trip during the raid, also believes police were retaliating against him for the content of his blog, much of it which comes from inside sources within the department…He has yet to see an actual affidavit that lists in detail the probable cause and is skeptical that one even exists. “They say everything has been sealed,” he said. The conflict between Pataky and the Phoenix Police Department began two years ago…He was eventually indicted for harassing his ex-wife. A month before the trial, he and a few friends launched the website as a rant against the police department. When he went to trial in May 2008, his charges were immediately dismissed because of lack of evidence, he said. “We were going to shut down the website after that but then all of a sudden all these good cops started hitting the site and sending us tips,” he said. He said they would also deliver all kinds of internal documents from within the department exposing everything from a cop with multiple DUIs to another cop whose son was a child molester and was trying to get on the force (and was eventually arrested). “We have about 50 to 100 retired and active cops who provide us information,” he said…”

8. FBI Defends Disruptive Raids on Texas Data Centers http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2009/04/data-centers-ra.html “…We wouldn’t be looking at it if it was a civil matter," says Mark White, spokesman for the FBI's Dallas office. "And a judge wouldn’t sign a federal search warrant if there wasn’t probable cause to believe that a fraud took place and that the equipment we asked to seize had evidence pertaining to the criminal violation…companies affected by the raids say they've lost millions of dollars in equipment and business after the FBI hauled off gear belonging to phone and VoIP providers, a credit card processing company and other businesses that housed equipment at the centers. Nobody has been charged in the FBI's investigation…FBI agents seized about 220 servers belonging to him and his customers, as well as routers, switches, cabinets for storing servers and even power strips. Authorities also raided his home, where they seized eight iPods, some belonging to his three children, five XBoxes, a PlayStation3 system and a Wii gaming console, among other equipment. Agents also seized about $200,000 from the owner's business accounts, $1,000 from his teenage daughter's account and more than $10,000 in a personal bank account belonging to the elderly mother of his former comptroller…It's also put many of his customers out of business or at risk of closure…”

9. DDoS Attacks Continue http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2009/04/07/ddos-attacks-on-web-hosts-continue/ Over the past week, there have been a series of electronic attacks on major Internet web hosts and domain service providers. These distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks have disrupted service for tens of thousands of web sites. Here’s a recap of the recent activity…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

10. Yahoo's mobile makeover http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-12261_7-10207800-51.html “…Most intriguing is Yahoo's completely divergent similar experiences for the Web and iPhone versus the build for Java smartphones. The former invoke a classic Yahoo design, and the latter splinters off into widget land with a brand-new dashboard…Yahoo's completely redesigned mobile hub on the Web is a tall, scrollable mashup of search, news, e-mail, social networking, finance, weather, sports scores, and any other RSS feed you'd want to add. At the very top is Yahoo OneSearch, which keys in your location using GPS or cell tower triangulation to make your text searches start faster…”

11. Microsoft Releases All New Windows Live Client For Windows Mobile http://tinyurl.com/d74upz (TechCrunch) “…Microsoft has released a new application for Windows Mobile devices that encompasses a slew of Live services used by dozens of millions of people every day. The new version…of the Windows Live For Windows Mobile client, which is evidently free of charge, includes mobile versions of Windows Live Hotmail (works with both both pull and push sync), Windows Live Messenger (finally!), Windows Live Contacts, Windows Live Spaces, Microsoft Live Search and enhanced photo upload capabilities…”

12. The once and future app store http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-12261_7-10211188-51.html “…One of the big topics this week at CTIA 2009 has been mobile applications, as Research in Motion unveiled BlackBerry App World and Microsoft talked about its forthcoming Windows Marketplace for Mobile. The dam has truly broken with mobile applications; for years, most consumers seemed indifferent to third-party applications, but now they are viewed as an essential part of any smartphone…Most of the credit for that trend has been prompted by the success of Apple's App Store, as both Apple's friends and enemies in the mobile world will readily admit. But few competitors are attempting to pull off Apple's my-way-or-the-highway approach, preferring to integrate the wireless carriers in a nod to the entrenched power those companies have in the mobile world…”

13. RIM Earnings Solidify Smartphone Dominance http://www.crn.com/mobile/216402641 “…RIM reported revenue of $3.46 billion for the fourth fiscal quarter of 2009, a massive 24.5 percent jump from $2.78 billion in the previous quarter and a towering 84 percent increase over the same quarter in 2008. RIM's skyrocketing quarterly revenue can be chalked up to its consistent release of must-have devices that target not only its bread-and-butter business users, but also the tech-savvy consumer. Where other smartphone makers have seen sales dip or stay relatively flat, RIM and its BlackBerry line continues to boom…RIM experienced an extraordinary year in fiscal 2009, shipping our 50 millionth BlackBerry smartphone…” [one reason for RIM success -- http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=15740]

Open Source

14. VLC 0.9.9: The best media player just got better http://news.cnet.com/8301-13505_3-10211388-16.html If you've ever struggled to play a file you downloaded from the hinterlands of the Web, you clearly didn't try opening it with VideoLan's VLC media player, a free, hugely popular, and open-source media player…The best media player just got better and is rapidly approaching 1.0 status. Version 0.9.9 adds the following improvements to the feature-packed VLC player: * Fullscreen behavior on Windows with multiple screens. * Workaround bug with libxml2 >=2.7.3. * Video performance on Intel-based Macs. * Various decoders updates on Windows…If you're an existing VLC user, you might opt to skip this release if you haven't noticed the problems above…”

15. Portable Ubuntu Runs Ubuntu Inside Windows http://lifehacker.com/5195999/portable-ubuntu-runs-ubuntu-inside-windows “…Portable Ubuntu for Windows runs an entire Linux operating system as a Windows application. As if that weren't cool enough, it's portable, so you can carry it on your thumb drive…The coolest parts about Portable Ubuntu are: * It actually works (in most cases, on most systems). * It fits on a (larger) thumb drive and can run entirely from it. * It can work on, and save to, your Windows folders and files. * It's persistent, so changes you make and apps you install are carried around with you. * It's easily manageable from Windows, and works great on dual monitors.…”

16. Tweaks To Make GIMP Replace Photoshop http://tinyurl.com/c4bdz7 (SmashingMagazine) “…GIMP was never designed to replace Photoshop, yet with every release, it comes a little closer to being able to do so. It can be used to author graphics, create logos and edit photos, as well as make short animations (using GAP). Despite these features, the open-source app is a foreign world for many users switching from Photoshop. Familiar tools are missing, menus are laid out differently and tasks must be accomplished in unknown ways. In this article, we list eight tweaks to make GIMP a more serious Photoshop replacement option…”

17. 25 open source releases for 2009 http://tinyurl.com/dhyegy (ComputerWorld) “…Quite a few projects are quietly (or not so quietly) working on major releases or significant upgrades that they aim to make available sometime during 2009. I've rounded up 25 of the most notable here. There are browsers and operating systems, mobile platforms, development tools, productivity applications, IT administration tools, collaboration software and a few hard-to-classify items…”

SkyNet

18. Google uncloaks once-secret server http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-10209580-92.html “…Google, which has hundreds of thousands of servers and considers running them part of its core expertise, designs and builds its own. Ben Jai, who designed many of Google's servers, unveiled a modern Google server before the hungry eyes of a technically sophisticated audience. Google's big surprise: each server has its own 12-volt battery to supply power if there's a problem with the main source of electricity. The company also revealed for the first time that since 2005, its data centers have been composed of standard shipping containers--each with 1,160 servers and a power consumption that can reach 250 kilowatts…”

19. Google May Buy Twitter. Or Not. http://gigaom.com/2009/04/03/google-may-buy-twitter-or-not-but-why-is-twitter-so-hot/ “…Twitter is the most visible manifestation of three major trends on the web that should be viewed together: 1. The web is transitioning from mere interactivity to a more dynamic, real-time web where read-write functions are heading towards balanced synchronicity. The real-time web, as I have argued in the past, is the next logical step in the Internet’s evolution. (read) 2. The complete disaggregation of the web in parallel with the slow decline of the destination web. (read) 3. More and more people are publishing more and more “social objects” and sharing them online. That data deluge is creating a new kind of search opportunity. (read)...Twitter…turned down Facebook, which wanted to buy them for $500 million. They can hold out for more — especially if Google does get desperate…”

20. Village mob thwarts Google Street View car http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/article6022902.ece “…when the Google Street View car trundled towards Broughton with a 360-degree camera on its roof, villagers sprang into action. Forming a human chain to stop it, they harangued the driver about the “invasion of privacy”, adding that the images that Google planned to put online could be used by burglars…I was upstairs when I spotted the camera car driving down the lane,” he said. “My immediate reaction was anger; how dare anyone take a photograph of my home without my consent? I ran outside to flag the car down and told the driver he was not only invading our privacy but also facilitating crime.” He then ran round the village knocking on doors to rouse fellow residents. While the police were called, the villagers stood in the road, not allowing the car to pass. The driver eventually did a U-turn and left... Privacy International…has begun legal action against the company in an effort to bring down the mapping service…”

General Technology

21. Light, Cheap Netbooks Poised to Reshape PC Industry http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/02/technology/02netbooks.html “…Personal computers — and the companies that make their crucial components — are about to go through their biggest upheaval since the rise of the laptop. By the end of the year, consumers are likely to see laptops the size of thin paperback books that can run all day on a single charge and are equipped with touch screens or slide-out keyboards…The era of a perfect Internet computer for $99 is coming this year,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, the chief executive of Nvidia, a maker of PC graphics chips that is trying to adapt to the new technological order. “The primary computer that we know of today is the basic PC, and it’s dying to be reinvented.”…As in any revolution, the current rulers of the kingdom — Intel and Microsoft, which make the chips and software that run most PCs — face an unprecedented challenge to their dominance. Microsoft is particularly vulnerable, since many of the new netbooks use Linux software instead of Windows…So far, netbooks have appealed to a relatively small audience. Some of the devices feel more like toys or overgrown phones than full-featured computers. Still, they are the big success story in the PC industry, with sales predicted to double this year…”

22. Robo-scientist's first findings http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7979113.stm “…The robot, called Adam, is the first machine to have independently "discovered new scientific knowledge". It has already identified the role of several genes in yeast cells, and is able to plan further experiments to test its own hypotheses…Ross King from the department of computer science at Aberystwyth University, and who led the team, told BBC News that he envisaged a future when human scientists' time would be "freed up to do more advanced experiments…”

23. Texas proposes MS Vista ban http://www.tomshardware.com/news/texas-senate-ban-windows-vista,7464.html “…the Texas state Senate gave preliminary approval to a budget that would include a policy to ban the use of Windows Vista on government computers…"We are not in any way, shape or form trying to pick on Microsoft, but the problems with this particular [operating] system are known nationwide," Hinojosa said. "And the XP operating system is working very well." While the bill also outlines that agencies who have a use for Windows Vista would have to first get the written approval of the Legislative Budget Board…”

24. Data Robotics Rolls Out Drobo For Small Business http://www.crn.com/storage/216403192 “…The DroboPro small business array combines up to 16 Tbytes of total capacity in a flexible package that allows multiple data volumes and plug-and-play expansion…DroboPro allows drives to be added or replaced on-the-fly…While the Drobo was aimed at SOHO and prosumer users, the DroboPro is aimed at small businesses with up to 100 users…”

25. GM, Segway partner on two-wheel city vehicle http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-10213863-54.html “…The prototype vehicle, called Project PUMA (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility), is designed to ease congestion and pollution problems in cities. It is based on the Segway Personal Transporter but holds two people, instead of one, and lets them sit, instead of stand. A PUMA runs on lithium ion batteries, can reach 35 miles per hour, and can travel up to 35 miles between charges…”

Leisure & Entertainment

26. John Carmack: Wolfenstein 3D for the iPhone http://tinyurl.com/czzs2j (VentureBeat) “…When you have a legendary programmer working for you, surprises come with the territory. Todd Hollenshead, chief executive of ID Software, wasn’t even aware that his technical director, John Carmack, was working on an iPhone version of the company’s classic first-person shooting game, Wolfenstein 3D Classic. But Carmack sprung the surprise, and the game quickly shot to the top ranks of iPhone games…”

27. Nintendo DSi on sale in United States http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/41946/98/ “…Today in the United States, Nintendo begins selling its much anticipated DSi portable game player. While the device has been on sale in Japan since the Fall, U.S. buyers will be able to shell out around $170 for a model in either blue (cyan) or black. The DSi includes front-facing 3.0 Megapixel and rear-facing 0.3 Megapixel cameras, two slightly larger screens, more memory, an SD card slot, and is backward compatible with DS line which, to date, has sold more than 100 million units…”

Economy and Technology

28. G.E., Intel Working on Remote Monitors for Home Health Care http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/03/health/03health.html “…General Electric and Intel, are joining forces to try to cash in on the trend of delivering more health care outside hospitals and doctors’ offices. The companies, in a partnership announced on Thursday, plan to spend $250 million jointly in the next five years on research and development of health technologies to let doctors remotely monitor, diagnose and consult with patients in their homes or assisted-living residences. Both companies have fledgling offerings in the field of telehealth, as it is known, and home health monitoring…”

29. IBM-Sun Deal Talks Unraveling http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2009/04/05/ibm-sun-deal-talks-unraveling/ “…IBM’s bid to acquire Sun Microsystems appeared on the brink of collapse Sunday, as the boards of the two companies jousted over price and terms. It’s not clear whether the deal is genuinely on its deadbed or the two companies are negotiating through media leaks. The New York Times reported that IBM has withdrawn its $7 billion offer…”

30. $10m Automotive X-Prize http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/04/07/efficient-vehicle-startups-vie-for-10m-automotive-x-prize/ “…The foundation now supports a few other endeavors, including rapid genome sequencing, Lunar exploration, and creating super-efficient vehicles…The rules, roughly, are:…Only production-capable, consumer-friendly cars [may] compete. Those that qualify will race their vehicles in rigorous cross-country stage races in 2009 and 2010 that combine speed, distance, urban driving and overall performance. The winners will be the vehicles that exceed 100 MPGe, meet strict emissions standards and finish in the fastest time…”

Civilian Aerospace

31. Simonyi return delayed a day http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/090403-space-tourist-landing-delayed.html “…Because of the soggy conditions at the original landing site, we switched to a more southerly landing site in Kazakhstan," NASA spokesperson Katherine Trinidad told SPACE.com from the agency's Washington, D.C., headquarters. The landing delay gives Simonyi, 60, a free extra day in space and extends his mission to 13 days, one day shy of the world record for longest space tourist flight. Simonyi set that record in 2007, when his first flight to the space station was extended by two days. Simonyi, a Hungary-born software developer, is paying about $35 million for his second flight to the space station…”

32. Russia to unveil spaceship plans http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7980824.stm “…Although Roscosmos has remained tight-lipped about the upcoming presentation, the agency has quietly released its requirements for a future manned transport system to the Russian space industry…The Earth-orbiting version of the ship would have a mass of 12 tonnes, carry a crew of six, along with no less than 500kg of cargo; while its "lunar cousin" would weigh 16.5 tonnes, have four seats and be capable of delivering and bringing back 100kg of cargo. The unmanned cargo version of the vehicle would be required to carry no less than 2,000kg to Earth orbit, and return at least 500kg back to the planet's surface…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

33. GeForce GTX 275, Radeon HD 4890 http://www.tomshardware.com/news/GeForce-GTX-275-Radeon-4890,7454.html “…AMD and Nvidia announced that their highly anticipated GPUs are now officially on the market. Just to get those palms sweaty and the mouth watering, AMD's ATI Radeon HD 4890 (ATI RV790) packs a whopping 1.36 TeraFLOPS, GDDR5 memory using a 256-bit interface, 800 stream processors, and GPU clock speeds almost breaking the 1 GHz mark…Based on the GT200 architecture, the GeForce GTX 275 features 240 processor cores operating at 1404 MHz, 80 texture processing units, a 448-bit memory interface, and an 896 MB framebuffer…”

34. Harvard Named CUDA Center of Excellence http://tinyurl.com/dnd9gn (HPCwire) “…Harvard is already using GPUs to carry out research across fundamentally important areas such as decoding the intricate structure of the human brain (Connectome project), discovering the origins of the universe (MWA telescope project) and studying the quantum chemistry of molecules (Qchem project). "Naming Harvard as a CUDA Center of Excellence is a formal recognition of the strong academic collaboration between the University and NVIDIA," said Bill Dally, chief scientist at NVIDIA. "Harvard will include the CUDA architecture in its curricular offerings. Researchers will use CUDA in projects at Harvard and in collaborative ventures with faculty at Boston University, to bring GPU computing to scientists and engineers throughout the Boston academic epicenter…”

35. Multicore and Parallelism: Catching Up http://www.ddj.com/hpc-high-performance-computing/216401662 “…Overnight the computing world has changed, and we are starting a new day when parallelism is essential not just for solving grand challenge applications in science and engineering, but for speeding up everything: our 3G cellphone apps, our desktop spreadsheets and office productivity tools to our web browsers, media players, and Web services…”

36. Multi-core Clip Show http://www.linux-mag.com/id/7278 “…I believe there needs to be a mammoth effort to address this problem. And for reasons of economics, I am convinced it needs to be an open solution…In the age of multicore, we are doomed if we don’t do something different, an open approach is the only economical way to solve this problem, and functional languages are the most promising…”

37. STFC Daresbury Laboratory to Use Streamline Computing Cluster http://tinyurl.com/d7bdxt (HPCwire) “…UK Science and Technology Facilities Council's Daresbury Laboratory will incorporate the latest Intel QuickPath Nehalem nodes from Supermicro and NVIDIA Tesla graphics processing units (GPUs) as a fully integrated solution provided by Streamline Computing…One significant part of this is expected to be delivered using GPU computing and this latest cluster represents a collaborative programme between Daresbury, Streamline and NVIDIA to explore the possibilities of this technology…The cluster has been designed to show how effective GPU computing can be for many classes of application but linked with Nehalem they also allow Daresbury to ensure the minimum of bottlenecks when connecting GPUs through Infiniband in each node to high performance storage systems…”


*****

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