2009/05/12

NEW NET Issues List for 12 May 2009

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 12 May 2009, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering. A change of pace this week for NEW NET -- the May 12 meeting will be held from 7 - 9 PM at Bazil's Pub, 109 W. College Avenue, downtown Appleton, http://www.109westcollege.com/bazils%20home.htm. This week's NEW NET meeting has a social event focus because Andy M has a connection to the beer taste-testing event happening at Bazil's on May 12. If it's quiet enough in Bazil's, we'll still discuss the weekly NEW NET issues list or other tech topics of interest, but there's no need (or room) for laptops this week. On the other hand, they have good buffalo burgers!

The ‘net

1. Free version of data synching service SugarSync http://venturebeat.com/2009/05/07/sharpcast-offers-free-version-of-data-synching-service-sugarsync/ “…Sharpcast said today it’s offering a free version of its SugarSync service, which we found to be the easiest for synchronizing data across any of our digital devices…users can now sign up for a free account to back up, access, and share files, documents and music across laptops, desktops and mobile devices. The company has also revised its user interface to simplify set up. Free backup apps are available for the BlackBerry, iPhone, iPod Touch and Windows Mobile devices. You can also stream your home music collection on any web browser or iPhone and directly upload and sync photos from your mobile phone. This kind of service fits right in with the digital lifestyle of consumers who are collecting more and more precious digital stuff, like family photos…Competitors include Dropbox, Apple’s Mobile Me and Syncplicity. SugarSync says it’s more flexible than Dropbox, since users can share any folders across multiple computers without putting the shared items in a special folder…”

2. Why Sync Is So Difficult http://gigaom.com/2009/05/10/why-sync-is-so-difficult/ “…As we increasingly struggle to manage our data spread, both on our devices and in the cloud, even Google is going offline, for remote access and online storage aren’t enough. There is a need for sync with local duplicates, one the likes of SugarSync, Dropbox, Apple’s MobileMe and Microsoft’s LiveMesh are aiming to fulfill…When you sell a sync product, you sell magic. (We free the data from their physical devices; just forget where you last edited the file, it’s gonna be everywhere.) But once it’s implemented, there’s no magic anymore, and the engineer is left to deal with asynchrony, slow bandwidth, third-party applications, and file systems that have different semantics…when a file is edited on one device, it needs to be updated on the others. In the meantime, you can’t guarantee that the old version of the file remains untouched on the other devices…You can’t actually sync identical duplicates of your data because they live on different devices. So you have to translate the data to the local models…”

3. Mozilla's Prism http://tech.yahoo.com/news/pcworld/20090511/tc_pcworld/mozillasprismafirstlookatanewfirefoxaddon “…Mozilla Labs has unveiled the beta of a new application called Prism 1.0 that takes the Internet off your browser and plants it onto your desktop. Prism is both a useful Firefox extension and a desktop app -- the latter for those who needlessly cling to Internet Explorer. Prism 1.0 works in a similar fashion to the "create applications shortcuts" option in the Google Chrome browser. It culls data from the Web site of your choice and converts it into a desktop application…”

4. 100 Open Courses on Computer Information Systems and Security http://www.computer-colleges.com/blog/2009/diy-ciss-degree-100-open-courses-on-computer-information-systems-and-security/ “…Whether you’ve been accepted to a degree program and want to work ahead, already have a degree and want to learn more or just want to delve into the world of computer and information systems, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy through a variety of open courseware offerings…”

5. Issuu Adds New Features In the Race to Catch Up To Scribd http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/12/issuu-adds-new-features-in-the-race-to-catch-up-to-scribd/ “…Issuu, a company that lets you upload a PDF or other document and then flip through it easily on a dedicated Webpage or in a small embedded widget, is adding features to its service and site with the aim of becoming a more engaging destination for users…Other popular document sharing services include Docstoc and Scribd…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

6. A reason to back-up data; ZeusTracker and the Nuclear Option http://voices.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2009/05/zeustracker_and_the_nuclear_op.html “…Most security experts will tell you that while this so-called "nuclear option" is an available feature in some malware, it is hardly ever used. Disabling infected systems is counterproductive for attackers, who generally focus on hoovering as much personal and financial data as they can from the PCs they control. But try telling that to Roman Hüssy, a 21-year-old Swiss information technology expert, who last month witnessed a collection of more than 100,000 hacked Microsoft Windows systems tearing themselves apart at the command of their cyber criminal overlords…One of Zeus's distinguishing features is a tool that helps each installation on a victim PC look radically different from the next as a means to evade detection by anti-virus tools…among Zeus's many features is the "kos" option, which stands for "kill operating system."…”

7. Hackers want $10 million for data on 8 million patients’ prescriptions http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/07/AR2009050702515.html The FBI and Virginia State Police are searching for hackers who demanded that the state pay them a $10 million ransom by Thursday for the return of millions of personal pharmaceutical records they say they stole from the state's prescription drug database. The hackers claim to have accessed 8 million patient records and 35 million prescriptions collected by the Prescription Monitoring Program…"For $10 million, I will gladly send along the password," the ransom note read. "You have 7 days to decide. If by the end of 7 days, you decide not to pony up, I'll go ahead and put this baby out on the market and accept the highest bid."…The state-run database helps doctors and pharmacies track powerful narcotics and painkillers to reduce the abuse, theft and illegal sale of the controlled substances sold under labels including OxyContin and Vicodin…”

8. Prediction: Apple will recommend security software http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-10234535-83.html “…Within the next 18 months, Apple will begin recommending that Macintosh users install Internet security software on all systems…all sophisticated software contains vulnerabilities and Mac-based malicious code is nothing new…My hunch is that Mac attacks will increase precipitously over the next year, driving Apple to drop its Windows security insults and partner with the likes of Sophos, Symantec, and Trend Micro. Here are a few reasons why: 1. Macs users are a lucrative target…2. Organized cybercrime is diversifying. Cybercriminals tend to work as a loose confederation with each group specializing in a certain task. There are malware writers, botnet owners, mules, etc. Some entrepreneurial bad guy is bound to see a green field market in Mac cybercrime…3. Macs are growing in the enterprise…4. Macs are fairly easy to hack…”

9. Cadets Trade the Trenches for Firewalls http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/11/technology/11cybergames.html “…the young man in battle fatigues barked at his comrades: “They are flooding the e-mail server. Block it. I’ll take the heat for it.” These are the war games at West Point, at least last month, when a team of cadets spent four days struggling around the clock to establish a computer network and keep it operating while hackers from the National Security Agency in Maryland tried to infiltrate it with methods that an enemy might use. The N.S.A. made the cadets’ task more difficult by planting viruses on some of the equipment, just as real-world hackers have done on millions of computers around the world. The competition was a final exam of sorts for a senior elective class…”

10. Tracking Cyberspies Through the Web Wilderness http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/12/science/12cyber.html “…Rafal Rohozinski, a University of Cambridge-trained social scientist involved in computer security issues.,,co-founded two groups, Information Warfare Monitor and Citizen Lab, which both have headquarters at the University of Toronto…The groups…strive to put investigative tools normally reserved for law enforcement agencies and computer security investigators at the service of groups that do not have such resources…Last year Nart Villeneuve, 34, an international relations researcher who works for the two groups, found that a Chinese version of Skype software was being used for eavesdropping by one of China’s major wireless carriers, probably on behalf of Chinese government law enforcement agencies. This year, he helped uncover a spy system, which he and his fellow researchers dubbed Ghostnet, which looked like a Chinese-government-run spying operation on mostly South Asian government-owned computers around the world…”

11. TrueCrypt 6.2 disk encryption software released http://www.h-online.com/open/TrueCrypt-6-2-disk-encryption-software-released--/news/113259 Version 6.2 of TrueCrypt has been released and includes several improvements, security enhancements and bug fixes on all platforms…The release now includes boot loader support for motherboards with BIOSes that reserve large amounts of base memory (normally for onboard RAID controllers). The Auto-Mount Devices feature has been improved on Windows, making it run significantly faster…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

12. Kindle has a big job: saving the newspaper industry http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-kindle7-2009may07,0,978335.story “…Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle DX, unveiled Wednesday, has already been assigned a huge job: reversing the fortunes of the struggling newspaper industry…the Seattle company also revealed a partnership with Washington Post Co. and New York Times Co. that would allow consumers living outside the newspapers' delivery areas to get discounted Kindles if they agreed to subscribe to the Times, the Post or the Boston Globe on their device. The partnership could be considered a bid by the newspapers to get readers to begin paying for content again, after seeing many of their readers migrate online and cancel their subscriptions…The new Kindle features a 9.7-inch screen, compared with 6 inches in the previous model, and can store about 3,500 books. Amazon pays for the wireless connectivity, so buyers don't have to purchase separate phone or broadband service. But at $489, it's $130 more than the previous model…newspapers hope also to run ads on e-book readers, potentially charging print advertising rates…E-readers will also have to compete with the iPhone and other smartphones that allow consumers to read books without buying an expensive new device…Amazon is also working on another segment of the consumer market: college students. On Wednesday it announced partnerships with textbook publishers Cengage Learning, Pearson and Wiley to put some of their titles on the Kindle Store. Those companies represent 60% of the U.S. higher-education textbook market. Some universities, including Case Western Reserve University and Princeton University, are launching trial programs to make the Kindle DX available to students this fall…”

13. Rampant Piracy Will Be The Kindle DX’s Savior http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/09/rampant-piracy-will-be-the-kindle-dxs-savior/ “…Kindle DX, Amazon’s upcoming E-book reader that has taken the original Kindle’s nearly prohibitive $359 price tag and bumped it up to an even more exorbitant $489 for good measure. Granted, the DX has one major improvement: a bigger screen that makes it suitable for textbooks, professional journal articles, and even newspapers. I’ve spent the last few days mulling over the future prospects of the new device, and up until a few hours ago my forecast was looking pretty grim. But then a lightbulb went off over my head: pirates are going to save the Kindle DX…this is an issue we’ve brought up before when the original Kindle came out, and it hasn’t really been a problem. But most of the books people have been buying up until now are available for a mere $9.99 from Amazon. For most people, the motivation simply isn’t there to figure out how to pirate a book. But when you’re faced with a price tag of around $70 per textbook there’s a far greater incentive to find a workaround. It’s easier to find pirated files on campus too - students will be surrounded by classmates using the exact same textbooks so there’s a better chance someone will have a pirated digital version…”

14. Print Books Are Target of Pirates on the Web http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/12/technology/internet/12digital.html “…For a while now, determined readers have been able to sniff out errant digital copies of titles as varied as the “Harry Potter” series and best sellers by Stephen King and John Grisham. But some publishers say the problem has ballooned in recent months as an expanding appetite for e-books has spawned a bumper crop of pirated editions on Web sites like Scribd and Wattpad, and on file-sharing services like RapidShare and MediaFire…John Wiley & Sons, a textbook publisher that also issues the “Dummies” series, employs three full-time staff members to trawl for unauthorized copies. Gary M. Rinck, general counsel, said that in the last month, the company had sent notices on more than 5,000 titles — five times more than a year ago — asking various sites to take down digital versions of Wiley’s books. “It’s a game of Whac-a-Mole,” said Russell Davis, an author and president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America…” [ http://bookseller-association.blogspot.com/2009/05/book-piracy-case-of-whack-mole.html ]

15. Cell phone users dropping landlines http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2009/05/06/a_fifth_of_us_homes_have_cell_phones_no_landlines/ “…Twenty percent of households had only cells during the last half of 2008…The 20 percent of homes with only cell phones compared with 17 percent with landlines but no cells. That ratio has changed starkly in recent years: In the first six months of 2003, just 3 percent of households were wireless only, while 43 percent stuck with only landlines…Verizon Communications Inc. had 39 million landline telephone customers in March 2008 but 35 million a year later. Over the same period, its wireless customers grew from 67 million to 87 million…15 percent of households have both landlines and cells but take few or no calls on their landlines…that means that 35 percent of households -- more than one in three -- are basically reachable only on cells. The changes are important for pollsters, who for years relied on reaching people on their landline telephones. Growing numbers of surveys now include calls to people on their cells, which is more expensive partly because federal laws prohibit pollsters from using computers to place calls to wireless phones. About a third of people age 18 to 24 live in households with only cell phones, the federal figures showed, making them far likelier than older people to rely exclusively on cells. The same is true of four in 10 people age 25 to 29…”

16. Carry your Wi-Fi with the Verizon Mifi http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10235202-1.html “…MiFi…will deliver the carrier's 3G wireless network to up to five gadgets including laptops, Netbooks, gaming devices, and cameras…MiFi has integrated CDMA (EV-DO Rev. A) and Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) radios. It sports a simple rectangular design in basic black. And since it's designed to be portable, it's also compact (3.5 inches by 2.3 inches by 0.4 inch)…A $40 monthly subscription gets you 250MB of data; if you go over you'll pay 10 cents per megabyte. For $60 you can use 5GB and pay 5 cents per megabyte for any additional use…”

17. The Future of the Phone: The End of the Cell http://www.portfolio.com/views/columns/dual-perspectives/2009/04/20/The-End-of-the-Cell “…Danny Kessler of Tempe, Arizona…recently gave up his cell-phone contract too…He just does all his telephoning via the internet. Today Kessler is an anomaly, but internet telephony (a.k.a. voice-over-internet-protocol, or VoIP) is in a position to dominate the phone business of the future just as mobile usurped the throne of the hard-wired handset. Kessler pays $18 per month for his phone service, a figure that, in his words, "is a lot less expensive than a traditional phone."…5.2 percent of Americans already use VoIP as their primary home phone. What allowed mobiles to decimate the traditional phone market was comprehensive, reliable portability—the assurance that you could make and receive calls basically anywhere you went…to use VoIP from a mobile device like the iPod Touch (or, for that matter, an iPhone) there must be a wireless hotspot handy…”

18. You Have No New Messages—Ever http://slate.com/id/2217998 “…I've been using Google Voice, the search company's fantastic Web app that gives you a single number to connect all your phones and lets you make rules about who can call which phone when. Voice is packed with many other amazing tricks, but there's one feature that I've come to value above all: The software transcribes voice mail messages into text. Now every time someone leaves me a message, I get it as an e-mail. It's not perfect, of course—Farhad often turns into Bob or Todd. But I'll take it. Voice mail is one of the most inefficient, socially awkward, and least user-friendly means of communication out there…Google Voice is not the only thing killing phone messages. Every new way we develop of talking to one another—e-mail, text messaging, instant messaging, Twitter, etc.—is faster and more useful than leaving an audio message on someone's phone. That's why, according to cell phone companies, lots of people only rarely dial in to their messages, and some of us have stopped checking entirely. It won't be long till we're all in that camp; the end of voice mail is nigh, and it won't be missed…”

19. AT&T's GoPhone now has unlimited calling for $3 a day http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10236604-1.html “…AT&T…new prepaid calling option that offers unlimited nationwide calls for $3 a day…It's called GoPhone Unlimited, and customers will still have to use text messaging and data service at the same old pay-per-use rates--so this new unlimited plan is strictly for voice calls…”

20. Could Android explode? http://www.reuters.com/article/bigMoney/idUS354831883320090511 “…a new report on the 2009 smartphone market…Shipments of phones using Google's rival Android operating system, the report concludes, will grow by a whopping 900 percent. "A relatively low-cost licensing model, its semi-open-source structure and Google's support for cloud services have encouraged companies such as HTC, Motorola, Samsung, T Mobile, Vodafone and others…Android is now in a good position to become a top-tier player in smartphones over the next two to three years…”

Open Source

21. Microsoft search to be powered by open source?? http://news.cnet.com/8301-13505_3-10235400-16.html “…Microsoft's new Kumo search technology is filled with open source and, in fact, the Kumo search team, formerly Powerset, "tr(ies) to use open-source software, if it is available."...reading through the Powerset-turned-Microsoft-Kumo team's description of its approach reads like it was written by an open source-friendly IBM…Is this the future of Microsoft?…”

22. California open source digital textbook plan faces barriers http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2009/05/california-launches-open-source-digital-textbook-initiative.ars Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has an ambitious plan to reduce the cost of education in California. He intends for the state to develop digital open source textbooks for high school math and science classes. The books will be available for free and will be used at public schools across the state. Schwarzenegger has tasked California Secretary of Education Glen Thomas with making sure that the new textbooks are ready for deployment in fall 2009…”

23. AVG 8.5 for Linux hands back to open source community http://www.technologyandbusiness.com.au/security/News/AVG-protects-and-donates-to-open-source-community.aspx “…AVG 8.5 for Linux, released today, combines e-mail and file server protection and includes free workstation protection. Available in both server and free workstation editions, the package offers streamlined scanning capabilities, new anti-virus filtering and improved performance and ease-of-use for Linux-based users…”

24. OpenOffice 3.1: The new features http://www.h-online.com/open/OpenOffice-3-1-The-new-features--/features/113234 “…OpenOffice 3.1 offers a whole range of new features. Instant eye catchers are the improved anti-aliasing for graphics, better chart functionality, and the new text highlighting in Writer…”

25. 10 must-have Linux web-based tools http://www.builderau.com.au/program/linux/soa/10-must-have-Linux-web-based-tools/0,339028299,339296024,00.htm “…Listed below you will find my top 10 must-haves for Linux server/web/cloud-based tools. 1: Drupal…Drupal is simple to install, easy to manage, reliable, scalable and theme-able. Some of the biggest sites powered by Drupal are Warner Brothers Recording, MTV UK, Harvard Science and Engineering, FedEX, NASA, and Ubuntu…2: Webmin…3: Nolapro…4: eGroupWare If you're looking for a solid groupware suite to replace Exchange, this might be exactly what you want…once it's installed you will find yourself asking "How is this amazing system free?"…5: Joomla! Yet another content management system that is as flexible as any other and widely used around the globe…Why would you choose Joomla! over Drupal? There are a number of possible reasons: if you need a shopping cart, if you want to include an event calendar, if you want a large selection of templates, if you want to include document management, or if you need commercial support. 6: MediaWiki…7: PhpMyAdmin…8: VMware Server…9: Packetfence…10: Domain Technologie Control…”

26. Ubuntu One's Online Storage http://lifehacker.com/5250612/ubuntu-ones-online-storage-looks-an-awful-lot-like-dropbox “…let's hope Ubuntu One is more than just a tightly integrated and single-platform synchronization tool with 2GB of space for free users and more for paid subscribers—those, it seems, aren't exactly rare these days. Early tester David Thomas writes that the basic offerings will get "more collaboration-focused features that will be released over the coming months…”

SkyNet

27. Fights In The Google Monopoly Debate Miss Key Points http://searchengineland.com/fights-over-the-google-monopoly-miss-key-points-18916 “…The noise about whether Google is a monopoly that needs to be controlled continues to ramp up…the bigger issue that Google is more vulnerable on is getting lost. Google potentially controls too many points along the internet advertising ecosystem…”

28. Google to advertise Chrome on TV http://www.themoneytimes.com/featured/20090509/google-advertise-chrome-tv-id-1067109.html “…The company is taking the initiative towards TV ads now for its internet browser Chrome, airing a 30 second clip on TV this weekend. Professionally created videos to promote Chrome have been showing up all over the Web…"We were looking for ways to increase awareness about browsers and Chrome,"…Google launched Chrome last year in September amid much fanfare, claiming it to be faster, easier and safer way to browse the Internet. However, the hype did not pay off. According to Net Applications’ data, its market share has not yet reached 2 percent of Internet users…”

29. Google gadget to help mobile phone users study night skies http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article6256509.ece “…Amateur astronomers will be able to tell the difference between Mercury and Mars by simply pointing their camera-phones at the night sky and clicking a button. The Google software, called Star Droid, uses GPS technology found in most new handsets to identify the position of the user and then compares this with existing maps of space. It automatically attaches name tags to the stars and planets that can be seen through the phone’s viewfinder…”

30. What Google knows about you http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=337791 “…It's easy to understand why privacy advocates and policymakers are sounding alarms about online privacy in general -- and singling out Google in particular. If you use Google's search engine, Google knows what you searched for as well as your activity on partner Web sites that use its ad services. If you use the Chrome browser, it may know every Web site you've typed into the address bar, or "Omnibox." It may have all of your e-mail (Gmail), your appointments (Google Calendar) and even your last known location (Google Latitude). It may know what you're watching (YouTube) and whom you are calling. It may have transcripts of your telephone messages (Google Voice). It may hold your photos in Picasa Web Albums, which includes face-recognition technology that can automatically identify you and your friends in new photos. And through Google Books, it may know what books you've read, what you annotated and how long you spent reading…”

General Technology

31. Bioelectricity Promises More 'Miles Per Acre' Than Ethanol http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090507141349.htm “…How can we maximize our "miles per acre" from biomass? Researchers writing in the online edition of the journal Science on May 7 say the best bet is to convert the biomass to electricity, rather than ethanol. They calculate that, compared to ethanol used for internal combustion engines, bioelectricity used for battery-powered vehicles would deliver an average of 80% more miles of transportation per acre of crops, while also providing double the greenhouse gas offsets to mitigate climate change…The researchers performed a life-cycle analysis of both bioelectricity and ethanol technologies, taking into account not only the energy produced by each technology, but also the energy consumed in producing the vehicles and fuels…Bioelectricity was the clear winner in the transportation-miles-per-acre comparison, regardless of whether the energy was produced from corn or from switchgrass, a cellulose-based energy crop. For example, a small SUV powered by bioelectricity could travel nearly 14,000 highway miles on the net energy produced from an acre of switchgrass, while a comparable internal combustion vehicle could only travel about 9,000 miles on the highway…”

32. Stretchable Displays http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/22632/ “…Takao Someya, an electrical-engineering professor, and his colleagues make a stretchable display by connecting organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) and organic transistors with a new rubbery conductor. The researchers can spread the display over a curved surface without affecting performance. The display can also be folded in half or crumpled up without incurring any damage…”

33. GE will build an advanced-battery plant http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/may2009/id20090512_722534.htm General Electric (GE) said on May 12 that it would invest $100 million in a battery manufacturing plant in upstate New York, which will produce sodium-based batteries for hybrid trains and other vehicles. The venture, a new business for the company's GE Transportation unit, should bring in $500 million by 2015 and $1 billion a few years later, says Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt…The factory will make batteries based on a proprietary sodium-and-nickel-chloride formula and tightly controlled manufacturing process that the company invented about five years ago. Little says GE has 30 patents on the technology, which stores energy produced when a vehicle brakes…”

34. Build a Wi-Fi antenna using household materials http://www.h-online.com/features/Build-a-Wi-Fi-radio-relay-using-household-materials--/110278 “…The range of a WiFi router can be considerably extended simply by connecting a directional antenna. Standard omni-directional stub antennas are at the lower end of the performance scale, and they quickly come up against their limits when you need to give your own home better coverage, provide your neighbour with DSL, or pick up as many radio networks as possible while war driving…Neighbourhood WiFi routers with omni-directional aerials are in any case the worst sources of interference in a city…The simply made tin-can antenna, with the dimensions given here, is suitable for base stations and for clients who transmit on 2.4 GHz in accordance with the IEEE 802.11b and 802.11g standards…”

Leisure & Entertainment

35. Microsoft buys game developer BigPark to beef up Xbox 360 offering http://venturebeat.com/2009/05/07/investing-in-xbox-360-microsoft-buys-game-developer/ “…It’s not hard to see why Microsoft decided to buy BigPark. Don Mattrick, head of the [Microsoft] games division, owns a piece of BigPark and helped it get off the ground. Many of BigPark’s leaders go back to Distinctive Software, a company that Mattrick co-founded in the 1980s and sold to Electronic Arts in 1991. Microsoft said that Mattrick’s investment in BigPark was fully disclosed and the decision to buy BigPark was consistent with Microsoft’s code of conduct…Microsoft’s investment in games goes up and down. It invested in a bunch of game studios to get the Xbox off the ground, but not all of those were hit makers. So the company pared back on its internal studios…many game PC game studios have been cut, such as the Ensemble Studios team that made Age of Empires, the Flight Simulator studio, and the FASA studio that made Mech Warrior games…”

36. iPhone Is Accelerating Music Sales For Pandora http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/07/the-iphone-is-accelerating-music-sales-for-pandora/ “…Users are buying about a million songs a month now from these affiliate links on Pandora, CTO Tom Conrad tells me. Of those, a solid 20% are coming directly from Pandora’s iPhone app, which includes an easy link to open the iPhone’s iTunes app, and buy a track. That’s really impressive considering that it’s just one phone that a relatively small percentage of their users use…Pandora was actually the top downloaded app on the iPhone for all of 2008. But last month, when Apple completed removing DRM from all its iTunes tracks, it created an even a greater incentive to buy music that way. Now, I can buy music on the go, sync it back with my computer when I get home, and listen to it anywhere…”

Economy and Technology

37. Craigslist Competitor OLX Scores $5 Million For Online Classifieds http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/07/craigslist-competitor-olx-scores-5-million-for-online-classifieds/ OLX, the Craigslist for the rest of the world, has raised $5 million in funding from from Nexus Capital India. The company raised $13.5 million in Series B funding in April 2008 from General Catalyst Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, Founders Fund and DN Capital, bringing the total funding raised to $28.5 million…While the free classifieds site has trouble competing with Craigslist in the U.S., OLX has a strong user base internationally. With a presence in more than 87 countries in 39 languages…the new investment will be used to make new acquisitions, implement site improvements, expand globally, and pursue aggressive marketing initiatives. In 2007 OLX has made an investment in Edeng.cn, a Chinese free classifieds site and acquired Mundoanuncio.com, a Craigslist-like classifieds site targeting the Hispanic market, in 2006…Its offices are also spread over the globe with 125 employees (OLX has added almost 35 employees since last year) working in New York, Buenos Aires, Beijing, and Moscow. While OLX may play second fiddle to Craigslist in the U.S., the site prides itself on being a second-generation free classifieds site, complete with Web 2.0 features such as social network widgets, better search capabilities, interactive maps, and mobile functionality…”

38. Oracle Will Stay in the Hardware Business http://tech.yahoo.com/news/pcworld/20090508/tc_pcworld/oraclewillstayinthehardwarebusinessellisonsays Oracle plans to stay in the hardware business following its planned US$7.4 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems, CEO Larry Ellison has said, adding more detail to earlier statements made by the company. "We are definitely not going to exit the hardware business," Ellison said…"While most hardware businesses are low-margin, companies like Apple and Cisco enjoy very high-margins because they do a good job of designing their hardware and software to work together," Ellison said. "If a company designs both hardware and software, it can build much better systems than if they only design the software…”

39. San Francisco coworking spaces http://sam.bluwiki.com/blog/2009/05/my-impression-of-san-francisco.php “…I recently spent a day visiting every coworking space in San Francisco. I thought I'd post my impressions (since I have at least one friend that's also looking at spaces)…”

Civilian Aerospace

40. Aerospace Authority to launch business plan http://www.sheboyganpress.com/article/20090510/SHE03/905100401/1096/SHE03/Aerospace+Authority+to+launch+business+plan “…On Friday, May 15, the Wisconsin Aerospace Authority plans to make its official public liftoff at an event that will coincide with the annual Rockets for Schools program at Spaceport Sheboygan. The event will include the introduction of board members as well as the unveiling of the WAA's Strategic Business Plan and dreams…The WAA launch will take place at approximately 10:30 a.m. at the Rockets for Schools Mission Control Center in the Blue Harbor Resort and Conference Center in Sheboygan at 725 Blue Harbor Drive…”

41. Nanosatellite Carries Drugs into Space http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/23493/ “…The new nanosatellite contains a sensor-studded laboratory that will detect the growth, density, and health of yeast cells receiving three different doses of the antifungal drug over the course of 96 hours. Scientists on the ground will initiate the experiment one hour after liftoff, and data will be sent back to Earth in near real time for up to six months…”

42. U.S. Air Force eyes way to help space industry http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSTRE5455PU20090506 The U.S. Air Force is exploring ways to shore up a declining U.S. space industrial base…the Air Force is in discussions with the few companies left that still produce solid rocket motors…no one agency has enough funding to drive the market by ordering thousands of rocket motors for launching satellites into space…if we look at a way to mix and match rocket motor parts, maybe we can do a better job in sustaining an industrial base that we need very significantly…Alliant Techsystems; Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, a unit of United Technologies Corp; and Aerojet, a unit of GenCorp Inc, are the primary U.S. rocket motor makers…Lockheed Martin Corp, Boeing Co and Northrop Grumman Corp are the biggest satellite makers, but many of the programs on which they are working have run into serious cost and technology problems…the U.S. government would always need some high-end, larger satellites, but could possibly move to using more smaller satellites built by a broader array of manufacturers…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

43. Incremental twiddling of GPU clusters http://www.linux-mag.com/id/7323 “…Building big things through small manageable changes is a worthwhile method. With regard to programming I call it incremental twiddling. Take something that works, make a small (reversible) change, make sure it still works the way you expect it to, change some more, repeat…CUDA allows one to incrementally twiddle with existing C codes on NVidia hardware. Quite often users state that they can easily try a few things, then based on their results, see how well GP-GPU processing works for them. Many find that as they continue to twiddle they see more benefit. The key here is low-cost incremental twiddling. ATI/AMD has been supporting the BrookGPU programming language as well, but there does not seem to be as much inertia behind BrookGPU as there is behind CUDA. The low barrier for incremental twiddling also allows for rapid deployment. CUDA was introduced only two years ago and is now taught at over 125 Universities worldwide…”

44. NVIDIA CUDA Toolkit 2.2 Released http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/NVIDIA-CUDA-Toolkit-22-Released-44598107.html “…version 2.2 of the CUDA Toolkit and SDK for GPU Computing. This latest release supports several significant new features that deliver a major leap forward in getting the most performance out of NVIDIA's massively parallel CUDA-enabled GPUs…Additional new features in CUDA Toolkit 2.2 include: * Visual Profiler for the GPU…* Improved OpenGL Interop…* Zero-copy…* Pinned Shared Sysmem…* Hardware Debugger for the GPU…”

45. Intel creates European visual-computing center http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-10238641-64.html “…Intel said Tuesday that it is investing $12 million in a visual-computing research center in Europe. This comes as Intel prepares to bring out its first graphics chip in more than a decade by early next year…the Intel Visual Computing Institute is located at Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany. The company says the center "will explore advanced graphics and visual computing technologies…A key mission of the latest member of Intel Labs Europe is to contribute to the company's tera-scale research program, which explores how multiple computing cores will be used to produce higher-performance computing and more life-like graphics," Intel said…By year's end the institute will employ about a dozen researchers from such sources as Intel, Saarland University, the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence. The Visual Computing Institute will develop new software designs and architectures, visual-computing algorithms and parallel-computing solutions…”


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