NEW NET Issues List for 05 May 2009

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 05 May 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. Efficient storage of billions of photos http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=76191543919 “…users have uploaded over 15 billion photos which makes Facebook the biggest photo sharing website. For each uploaded photo, Facebook generates and stores four images of different sizes, which translates to a total of 60 billion images and 1.5PB of storage. The current growth rate is 220 million new photos per week, which translates to 25TB of additional storage consumed weekly. At the peak there are 550,000 images served per second. These numbers pose a significant challenge for the Facebook photo storage infrastructure…The amount of metadata far exceeds the caching abilities of the NFS storage tier, resulting in multiple I/O operations per photo upload or read request. The whole photo serving infrastructure is bottlenecked on the high metadata overhead of the NFS storage tier, which is one of the reasons why Facebook relies heavily on CDNs to serve photos…”

2. Comparing Three New Cyborg Q&A Services http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/the_robot_made_me_do_it_comparing_three_new_cyborg_q_and_a_services.php “…millions of people are comfortable posting information online. The web's next step is to leverage machine learning. These are three companies to watch who are doing just that - combining user input with technology that improves its performance by gathering and processing data…three services we look at are Aardvark, Hunch and Swingly. Unfortunately none of these services are wide open to the public yet. If you go to their sites and request an invite, you should get one soon…”

3. Duck Duck Go: Interesting Search Engine http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/duck_duck_go_silly_name_interesting_search_engine.php “…Duck Duck Go aims to get its users to their desired destinations in as few clicks as possible. Instead of long lists of results, Duck Duck Go simply tries to return the most relevant links about a given topic…Duck Duck Go features special category pages, and it can also recognize calculations, phone numbers, zip codes, ISBN numbers, and product codes, as well as street and IP addresses…it seems like Duck Duck Go actually gets a lot of its information from Wikipedia, though it also uses Yahoo's BOSS service to provide users with standard search results when the service can't find better information on Wikipedia. Duck Duck Go also does a great job at providing users with options for disambiguation, which also look like they are based on Wikipedia's disambiguation pages…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

4. Panda Cloud Antivirus runs smooth but slow http://download.cnet.com/8301-2007_4-10230637-12.html “…Cloud Antivirus beta, the first full-featured cloud-based antivirus program. It does two things that make it competitive and unique compared with its competitors that are tied to your desktop: it prioritizes threats based on type, and it attempts to lighten the load that security programs place on your system resources by moving definition files to a community-based cloud…When running a scan, the scan client ate around 40 MB, but the main client jumped to around 32 MB. The scan also took a long time, with only 45 percent of the computer scanned in more than 30 minutes…”

5. Walking the Cyberbeat http://www.newsweek.com/id/195621 “…At Facebook, Axten isn't some fringe employee doing unmentionable work. The 26-year-old Stanford grad is one of some 150 people the young company employs to keep the site clean—out of a total head count of 850. Facebook describes these staffers as an internal police force, charged with regulating users' decorum, hunting spammers and working with actual law-enforcement agencies to help solve crimes. Part hall monitors, part vice cops, these employees are key weapons in Facebook's efforts to maintain its image as a place that's safe for corporate advertisers…Behind all these actions is a team of employees who set guidelines and make judgment calls, each earning in the neighborhood of $50,000 a year—making "porn cop" one of the quirkier entry-level jobs to emerge in the Silicon Valley economy…”

6. McAfee: Enabling Malware Distribution and Fraud http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/mcafee_enabling_malware_distribution_and_fraud.php McAfee, widely recognized as one of the leading providers of online security software for both home and business, appears to be struggling to secure its own Web sites, which at the time of writing this post, allow anyone with enough tech savvy to covertly do whatever they want on, and with, the site. During tests this weekend, we discovered the company who claims to "keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud, spyware, spam, viruses and online scams," has several cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities and provides the bad guys with a brilliant - albeit ironic - launching pad from which to unleash their attacks…”

7. How to recover Windows XP passwords with PwDump and MdCrack http://winguard.blogspot.com/2009/05/how-to-recover-windows-xp-passwords.html “…This guide will show you how to securely recover Windows Passwords using two tools PwDump and MdCrack…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

8. Motorola Bets On Android As Mobile Slide Continues http://www.informationweek.com/news/mobility/business/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=217200949&subSection=All+Stories “…Motorola's mobile devices unit…plans to have "differentiated Android-based devices in stores in time for the fourth-quarter holiday season…Motorola had shopped the unit around to other handset manufacturers, which all turned their noses up at the acquisition prospect -- a humiliating development for the company that had virtually invented the mobile phone…the company's commitment to Google's Android is late, as carriers already have been offering Android handsets for months led in the United States by T-Mobile's G1 handset…”

9. Want A Palm Pre? Get One Free http://www.crn.com/mobile/217200929 “…Palm is looking to round up a crew of opinionated and active social networkers to become "Real Reviewers," and in return the struggling smartphone maker will give them free devices, including the yet-to-be-released Palm Pre…Palm is looking for "a few 'Real Reviewers' to share their opinions about Palm phones across the blogosphere, social networks and beyond." Zilber wrote that selected reviewers will receive a current Palm device, which includes the long-awaited touch-screen Palm Pre, and data-plan service for six months…”

10. Quicken Online strikes back at upstarts with iPhone app http://venturebeat.com/2009/04/30/quicken-online-strikes-back-at-mint-with-iphone-app/ “…Intuit…launched its Quicken Online service back in January 2008, and made it free in October. Now it’s rolling out an iPhone application, which may turn out to be just right for the “paycheck-to-paycheck” users that Intuit is targeting…iPhone adoption is reportedly highest among consumers making between $25,000 and $50,000 per year…You can also see how much money you have left to spend — not just how much is still in your account, but how much is left after you subtract all your upcoming bills and other financial obligations for the next 30 days — and it’s nice to be able to check that right before you get in line to buy that new electronic toy…you can manually enter your cash purchases and have them uploaded into your Quicken Online account…And when you run out of cash, the app uses the iPhone’s GPS to find nearby ATMs…”

11. Boost customers suffer text message delays http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-10231816-94.html “…Boost Mobile's new $50 unlimited calling plan has become a victim of its own success…A Boost representative acknowledged that since March, some customers have experienced text delays that have lasted anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. "We've already diagnosed and isolated the problem…they've told us that the work will be completed by May 7." Boost began offering its unlimited monthly service January 22. The $50 service, which doesn't require a contract, and costs only $50 for unlimited voice, SMS, and MMS messaging, and Web browsing, has proven to be very successful…analysts are expecting the subsidiary to report that it's gained about 500,000 new subscribers in the first quarter. As of the end of the fourth quarter of 2008, Boost had 3.6 million subscribers. "To be honest, we were overwhelmed by the number of people signing up for the unlimited service…”

Open Source

12. 8 Big Things to Do with a Mini Server http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=hackers-weigh-in-mini-server “…Marvell Technology…managed to cram an entire home server into the SheevaPlug, a two-inch by four-inch (five- by 10-centimeter) box that plugs into any wall outlet and is almost indistinguishable from an oversize power supply…Sheevaplug's diminutive size, low price ($100) and minimal power consumption (less than five watts) make it an intriguing option…Marvell designed the Sheevaplug to run on the Linux operating system, whose source code is freely available for anyone to use. Marvell also documented the device's hardware on its Web site so the curious could see how it works. "What we want is for developers to get this kit and come up with nifty applications for it…ScientificAmerican.com found some adventurous alpha geeks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (M.I.T.) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), Carnegie Mellon University, Intel and elsewhere and asked them what kind of uses they could come up with for the SheevaPlug. We came away with eight different ideas…”

13. Presto Linux: internet desktop in ten seconds http://blogs.zdnet.com/perlow/?p=9990 “…Have you ever had the need to boot your laptop in a Starbucks, an airport lounge, or a buddy’s house, but don’t want to go through the agonizing multi-minute procedure of starting up your operating system…Presto is actually an ultra-stripped down Linux that has been optimized to boot on even the oldest PC laptop hardware in a matter of seconds. Unlike other Linux environments that require re-partitioning of your system, Presto actually is stored in the C:\Program Files\Presto directory on your native Windows NTFS file system and installs just like a regular Windows Program. When you reboot your PC, your BOOT.INI menu now gives you a choice of Windows or Presto. If you pick Presto, it boots your computer within seconds into a Linux OS that is optimized for Internet Browsing, Instant Messaging, and Skype VOIP…”

14. Has Ubuntu Reached the End Of the Line? http://tech.yahoo.com/news/pcworld/20090427/tc_pcworld/hasubuntureachedtheendoftheline “…the biggest changes to Ubuntu in the mid-term are perhaps already being planned, and will come with Gnome 3.0, due sometime next year…Gnome Shell will form the chief user-interface component. This is a kind of desktop-on-a-desktop system…Gnome Shell marks a significant departure from the way desktop Linux has operated up until now…With Gnome 3.0, the open source desktop may well be stepping out on its own for the first time -- heading down a path it's beating itself, and not one created by proprietary software…It's astonishingly risky. When it comes to user-interface design, many of us mistake ease-of-use for familiarity. But this only underlines how important familiarity is…So, why not move the main Ubuntu release to KDE4?…”


15. Never leave Gmail again: Gmail Labs gets web search http://venturebeat.com/2009/04/30/never-leave-gmail-again-gmail-labs-gets-web-search/ “…Google just announced that you can add a web search bar in Gmail Labs…you can perform web searches in Gmail without opening a separate tab…Google is making Gmail (at least potentially) the central hub of all users’ activity. That certainly appeals to me, since my Gmail account is the one tab I always keep open in my browser. Of course, that also creates some problems, as Gmail becomes more and more crowded…as Google piles cool features into Gmail, its designers need to start thinking about how all of those tools fit together.” [http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/gmail_now_with_added_magic_embedded_google_web_sea.php]

16. Extra Emoji in Gmail labs adds 1,000 emoticons http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10231010-2.html “…new Gmail labs add on for emoticon fanatics…adds an additional 1,200 or so to Gmail's emotion selector tool…There are 13 categories in all, up from the two that come with the standard Gmail, which means it can take longer to find what you're looking for…”

17. The Secret Of Google's Book Scanning Machine http://www.npr.org/blogs/library/2009/04/the_granting_of_patent_7508978.html “…Before Google came on the scene, book scanning was a tedious process that sometimes resulted in the death of a book. The software used to scan books, called Optical Character Recognition software or OCR for short, required each page of the book to be flat…It was a problem that vexed book scanners for years until Google came up with this solution Turns out, Google created some seriously nifty infrared camera technology that detects the three-dimensional shape and angle of book pages when the book is placed in the scanner. This information is transmitted to the OCR software, which adjusts for the distortions and allows the OCR software to read text more accurately…”

18. Google launches stand-alone contacts manager http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10233244-2.html Google has launched a contacts manager that users of services like Google Docs, Picasa, and Calendar can use, without having to be a Gmail users. Aimed at letting users share contacts more easily between different services, Google Contacts works like any other contacts function. You can import and export your contacts from other sources such as Outlook, Outlook Express, Yahoo, or Hotmail. For Apple you must use a utility called "A to G."…”

General Technology

19. Peewee PC Launches Today- Convertible Netbook for Kids http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10230335-1.html “…PeeWee PC is rolling out the Atom-powered PeeWee Pivot Tablet Laptop. The 3-pound PeeWee Pivot Tablet Laptop--which is more of a tablet Netbook than a laptop--sports a rotating screen that converts between a normal notebook orientation and a touch tablet…The unit features a rugged, spill-resistant case that's designed to endure the bumps and knocks the younger generation has to offer…PeeWee Pivot Tablet Laptop runs Windows XP on a 10-inch screen, 1.6GHz Atom processor, 1GB of RAM (upgradeable to 2GB) and a 60GB hard drive. In addition, the tablet has two USB 2.0 ports, an SD/MMC media card reader, a VGA port, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and a 1.3-megapixel Webcam…PeeWee Tablet Laptop ships with game titles for pre-K, early elementary, or upper elementary students, plus a free Walt Disney Windows XP theme, and a proprietary security suite so parents have complete control of how and when kids use the notebook--parents can also view browsing histories, block sites, take screenshots, and control the system remotely…the $600 price tag on the Pivot Tablet seems a bit much…the system is a bit more durable, the programs/software are geared toward kids…it's a tablet. I guess the price could be justified…”

20. Windows 7 RC for a year, free http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/2009/may/01/windows7-rc-free Microsoft has announced that the Release Candidate version of Windows 7 will be available to the public as a free download on May 5…the RC version seems to be pretty much finished…it won't expire until 1 June next year. RC includes a couple of new features, mainly Remote Media Streaming (so you can stream stuff from your home PC to your work PC, for example), and in pro versions, Windows XP Mode…”

21. What If Scientists Didn’t Compete? http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/30/what-if-scientists-didnt-compete/ What if scientists, instead of rushing to publish or perish, chose to cooperate?...Dr. Cutler, an assistant professor of plant cell biology at the University of California, Riverside, knew that the rush to be first in this area had previously led to some dubious publications (including papers that were subsequently retracted). So he took the unusual approach of identifying his rivals (by determining which researchers had ordered the same genetic strains from a public source) and then contacting them. He told me…I invited them to contribute data to my paper so that no one got scooped…Now that I have done this, I am thinking: Why the hell isn’t everyone doing this?...One counter-argument would be that competition makes everyone work harder and more quickly, thereby benefiting society. But Dr. Cutler argues that this competition can amount to an expensive arms race that doesn’t leave anyone better off. His experiment in cooperation with four other laboratories, he said, yielded “a very compelling body of data validated by many labs,” and has inspired the researchers to go on freely sharing with one another…”

22. Brain Wave of The Future http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2009/04/22/ST2009042204139.html “…Competing mind-over-matter toys from Mattel and Uncle Milton Industries are coming this fall to a store near you. They are the first "brain-computer interfaces" to enter the consumer mainstream…The question everyone has about these gizmos is whether they are parlor tricks like Magic 8 Balls or Ouija boards. Even Geoff Walker, a senior vice president at Mattel, acknowledges that users "spend the first 20 minutes stunned that it actually works…Lawyers and other multitaskers, for example, tend to have a terrible time focusing their brain waves…But there are those to whom controlling the device comes effortlessly and instantly, as if single-mindedness is the person's natural default position…What happens when millions of youngsters in a notoriously ADHD generation start getting programmed by these new toys? What happens when they start being rewarded for very long periods of intense concentration? Nobody in the toy industry seems to know…”

23. Ford Fusion Hybrid: 1,445 miles on single tank, 81.5 mgp http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7-10230024-48.html “…the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid traveled 1,445.7 miles on a single tank of gas on Tuesday, April 28, 2009. Traveling between 20 and 45 mph depending on traffic…a team of seven eco-drivers set out from Mount Vernon, Va. on Saturday at 8:15 a.m. ET with a goal of reaching 1,000 miles on their 17-gallon tank…The 1,000 mile target was easily reached at 9:07 a.m. EDT on April 27. Edwards reportedly took them past this milestone with an average fuel economy of 76.3 mpg…Not too shabby for a midsize car rated at 41 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway by the EPA. The Fusion Hybrid is equipped with Ford's SmartGauge with EcoGuide, an instrument display that visually demonstrates how fuel efficient you are driving. However, the team employed other fuel economy maximizing techniques…”

24. REVOLT: The Segway-maker’s next move http://features.csmonitor.com/innovation/2009/04/29/revolt-the-segway-maker%E2%80%99s-next-move/ “…what Dean Kamen hopes his prototype REVOLT hybrid-electric car will do: Bring electricity to the 1.6 billion people who still live without it. Mr. Kamen, an inventor and entrepreneur perhaps best known for the two-wheel Segway Human Transporter, doesn’t want to get into the car business himself. He just wants to see the Stirling engine that helps power the REVOLT be mass produced for vehicles. That would drive down the price, he says, and allow it to be cost-effective in another role: as a miniature electric plant for villages in the developing world. A Stirling can run on just about anything that creates heat, from gasoline, kerosene, and ethanol, to natural gas, propane, hydrogen, and, yes, the methane given off by animal manure. In a recent test, two villages in Bangladesh ran Stirling engines to create electricity for 24 weeks – using only cow dung for fuel…”

25. Is it time to cut the Ethernet access cable? http://www.networkworld.com/news/2009/043009-wireless-ethernet-cable.html A range of companies with wireless LANs are discovering that 50% to 90% or more of Ethernet ports now go unused, because Wi-Fi has become so prevalent. They look at racks of unused switches, ports, Ethernet wall jacks, the cabling that connects them all, the yearly maintenance charges for unused switches, electrical charges and cooling costs. So why not formally drop what many end users have already discarded -- the Ethernet cable?...By 2011, 70% of all net new ports will be wireless. People are saying, 'we don't need to be spending so much on a wired infrastructure if no one is using it…Like many other schools, this one has a wired port for every student bed. Now, 80% to 90% of these ports are idle. "Many students are clueless about what to do with a patch cord to begin with. They grew up with wireless…”

26. 13 Super Cool Computer Keyboards http://aleptu.com/cool-computer-keyboards-2219350.html?fp “…keyboards are no longer confined to having only alphabetical keys and numbers. They now come with Media Controlling Keys, Special Keys for Playing games, Shortcut Keys to launch applications and some have even taken a step ahead and come with touch screen instead of the traditional buttons. We don’t usually get to see these types of keyboard in homes and offices. Let us take a look at some of these unusual but cool Computer Keyboards…”

Leisure & Entertainment

27. Social Gaming Scores in the Recession http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/apr2009/tc20090429_963394.htm “…Social gaming is less about killer graphics and quicksilver hand-eye coordination and more about connecting with friends. The best games aren't impressive in terms of technology, though they're quite adept at harnessing media that let players interact. For games on social networking sites, that means letting far-flung friends and families share an activity, rather than just photos and wall posts…During recessions, people tend to look for low-cost entertainment, often staying at home. Many social games are free; often even power users pay less than $50 a month…Zynga's most popular game is Texas Hold 'Em on Facebook. It gets 2 and a half million players a day. Across all networks, 45 million people per month play Zynga games…here's the shocker: Zynga is actually generating a lot of revenue, and it's profitable. The site has annual sales of about $100 million…We've found once you get into these digital-only goods and services there's massive opportunity for fraud," Pincus says. "We couldn't find a single company that could manage or solve that problem for us. We had to build the whole infrastructure in-house. We had to go out and get relationships with credit-card processing companies…”

28. 70 percent of Kindle owners over 40? http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10230969-1.html “…We can't call this the most scientific poll ever taken, but it's probably a good indicator of the Kindle's age demographic…over half the owners are over 50 and 70 percent are over 40…a lot of senior folks bought the Kindle--and now the Kindle 2--partially because the digital reader is easier to handle than regular books for arthritis sufferers. It also helps that you can increase the font size, if you have trouble viewing small print in books…seniors saying they're able to read more now that they own Kindles…”

29. Spore's crazy creature population: 100 million http://news.cnet.com/8301-10797_3-10232596-235.html “…video game Spore…announced Monday that 100 million creatures have been created, far outrunning the number of species on Earth…There's more Spore on the way. Electronic Arts' Maxis studio is releasing the Spore Galactic Adventures expansion pack for PC and Mac players, Spore Hero for the Wii, and Spore Hero Arena for the Nintendo DS…”

Economy and Technology

30. Finally, someone makes hyperlocal pay http://newsosaur.blogspot.com/2009/05/finally-someone-makes-hyperlocal-pay.html “…We've stepped back and re-focused on hyperlocal population centers of 20,000 to 50,000 people in four communities in Maine…Our community network model consists of two products – branded web sites we call VillageSoup and separately branded weekly newspapers. We have four newspapers in Rockland, Belfast, Bar Harbor and Augusta. And each one has its own VillageSoup website…Our products enhance each other. Professional journalists report news as it happens on the website. Weekly, this news is contextualized, analyzed and printed in the newspaper. Citizens and businesses post timely news and information online and many of their posts also appear in the paper. And two-thirds of our web sites’ front pages are filled with citizen and business posts. We call them, “Neighbors growing together.” Our community networks are the trusted source of news and views…”

31. What Will Fix the Venture Capital Crisis? http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/04/what-will-fix-the-venture-capital-crisis/ “…The N.V.C.A. plan calls first for the return of small investment banks and accounting firms. These helped small tech companies go public until the dot-com bubble burst and then they disappeared. In order for start-ups to start going public again, the big banks and accounting firms must partner will smaller ones to reinvigorate them, the N.V.C.A. said. The second feature of the plan deals with new forms of exits, such as SecondMarket and other exchanges where start-ups can sell shares on the private market. The third thing it seeks is tax benefits, such as a more competitive capital gains tax rate for I.P.O. investors and tax incentives for clean tech companies. Finally, it wants regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley and financial statement requirements to be eased for tiny companies trying to go public…Lee Fleming, who teaches entrepreneurship to students from the business school as well as other programs like engineering, has another suggestion. American universities should more openly and generously disseminate technological ideas developed on their campuses, he said. Only about one in a thousand technologies end up being blockbusters, yet universities in the United States negotiate as if they all are, he said. Entrepreneurs can sign a contract for intellectual property from some foreign universities in half an hour, while a similar agreement can take two years in the United States…When universities start seeing tech transfer offices as profit centers, it can very quickly turn into counterproductive policies…”

Civilian Aerospace

32. Spaceport Sheboygan: Space Education Week http://www.sheboyganpress.com/article/20090504/SHE0101/905040356/1062/SHE01/Local+students+get+hands-on+study+of+space More than 780 Sheboygan area students will participate in numerous hands-on space-oriented science lab activities during Space Education Week at the Sheboygan Armory. The four days of activities are sponsored by the Great Lakes Aerospace Science and Education Center at Spaceport Sheboygan, the Kansas Cosmosphere and the Sheboygan Area School District. "This is a tremendous partnership between Spaceport Sheboygan, the Kansas Cosmosphere — one of the nation's leaders in space education, and our local school system," said James Testwuide, chairman of the board of Spaceport Sheboygan, in a press release. "Not only will it help students understand the wonders and excitement of space science, but it will also spark an interest in learning more about the physics and reality of our universe…”

33. Students call Spaceport America launch a success http://www.lcsun-news.com/ci_12282552 A rocket carrying multi-sensor experiments of New Mexico high school and college students lifted off Saturday morning from Spaceport America, launching a new program to help promote aerospace education statewide. The SpaceLoft XL rocket failed to reach a targeted altitude of 70 miles, but the historic mission was still declared a giant step as the first-ever education launch at the commercial spaceport site in southern Sierra County…"Knowing that I created something that was launched into space is just an amazing feeling," said Edward Poole, 17, a junior at Mayfield High School. Instruments on the payload included temperature and pressure sensors, accelerometers and a Geiger counter. Poole worked to design and create the payload since October 2008 as part of a dual-credit project with Doña Ana Community College…”

34. Wired video of WK2 flight http://www.wired.com/autopia/2009/05/exclusive-video-of-virgin-galactics-test-flight/ “…exclusive video of Virgin Galactic’s recent test flight in the Mojave. Wired.com got its mitts on the first official cockpit video and other footage from the recent test of Virgin Mothership Eve at the Scaled Composites skunkworks operation in sunny SoCal…”

35. Planetspace request denied by GAO http://www.delmarvanow.com/article/20090502/ESN01/905020318/-1/ESN “…Planetspace Inc. filed an official protest with the GAO in January after NASA awarded the contract to Orbital and SpaceX. The company said it offered a superior proposal that received a higher score from NASA evaluators and was lower in cost than Orbital's bid. No explanation for the denial of Planetspace's bid protest was given on the GAO's Web site. Dulles-based Orbital Sciences was awarded a contract on Dec. 23 worth up to $1.9 billion for eight flights over four years…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

36. Consumers seeing huge benefits from GPU-assisted compute http://www.geek.com/articles/games/consumers-seeing-huge-benefits-from-gpu-assisted-compute-20090429/ “…while GPUs have helped games for over a decade, the reality now is all aspects of computers are able to see benefits from GPU-acceleration. And the recent increase of video and audio encoding algorithms are only the beginning…Application developers are finding more and better ways to use the massively parallel compute abilities of the GPU for everyday computing. Today we have Nvidia-accelerated and ATI-accelerated applications beginning to emerge. Tomorrow, they will be pervasive, with extreme support provided via DirectX 11, OpenCL and a few other standards…The reason? Inside of graphics cards are several hundred parallel cores, or stream processors…The thing many people don’t realize about GPU-assisted algorithms is they are not often efficient…this might even require a few dozen passes over the same data in order to arrive at the results, something that no self-respecting CPU-based author would ever even consider unless it were absolutely necessary, on the GPU (because it can do each iteration so fast in massively parallel steps) the less-efficient solution actually becomes the desired one. It is extremely likely this baseline — of using inefficient algorithms in massively parallel ways for greater compute throughput — will change over time as algorithms and techniques become more thought out, and new applications of their compute abilities are realized or exposed by the card-makers themselves…”

37. Microway Delivers Tesla S1070-based Clusters http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/Microway-Delivers-Tesla-Preconfigured-Clusters-44301012.html “…Microway today announced its preconfigured NVIDIA Tesla S1070-based high density Number Smasher GPU-Cluster. This configuration, along with Microway's WhisperStation-PSC Tesla Personal Supercomputer, are state-of-the-art Tesla-based solutions that Microway provides to its HPC users…With Jacket, matrix-based applications using MatLab will seamlessly employ Tesla GPUs to accelerate their performance. Microway's Tesla PSCs and Clusters with the CUDA SDK are accelerating the "time-to-discovery" in many important HPC applications by 10x to 40x. GPU's massive performance and power efficiency are transforming scientists' approaches to applications in fields such as Molecular Dynamics, Quantum Chemistry, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), Medical Imaging, Digital Signal Processing, Electromagnetics/Electrodynamics, Weather, Atmospheric and Ocean modeling, and Computational Finance…”

38. GeoStar, NVIDIA to Transform Oil and Gas Industry in China http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/GeoStar-NVIDIA-to-Transform-Oil-and-Gas-Industry-in-China-43994387.html “…NVIDIA Corporation and GeoStar, a leading Chinese geophysical services provider, unveiled today the launch of a new hardware and software solution that will transform seismic computation for oil and gas companies in China…"We are dealing with large prestack time migration datasets, which typically take more than 30 hours to run on a cluster of 66 CPUs," said Liu Qin, general manager of GeoStar…In a computation of prestack time migration data covering 740 square kilometers, 24 Tesla GPUs completed the processing more than 600 times(i) faster than a traditional cluster with 66 CPUs…”

39. The Multicore Dilemma http://thefutureofthings.com/news/6937/the-multicore-dilemma.html “…Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories uncovered performance issues during simulations of multi processors; they found that when the number of processor cores on an individual chip is increased, it impairs the performance of complex applications. In a world where the achievement of the supercomputer is paramount, the team at Sandia simulated key algorithms for deriving information from large data sets only to find a significant decrease in speed when the system exceeded eight multicores…by sixteen multicores, the total speed was at par with the performance of only two multicores…”

40. Asia's fastest supercomputer props up Indian animation http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/features/2009/05/04/5125/ What can simulate crash tests for automobiles, aid designing of aircrafts, fasten the process of drug discovery, simulate oil fields for multi-nationals and help render high-end 3D graphics? It's 'Eka' (Sanskrit for 'the one'), a supercomputer in Pune, India…Eka is the largest and fastest computational cluster available for commercial use in the world…Eka can be used to reduce rendering times for animation frames, computer generated imagery (CGI), visual effects (vfx) and compositing in the domains of high end 3D modelling, 2D & 3D animation and game asset development…with Roadside Romeo's trailer, where every frame took 35-40 minutes to render on a renderfarm, the average rendering time came down to 5 minutes at CRL…”



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