2009/05/19

NEW NET Issues List for 19 May 2009

Below is the final list of issues for the WEDNESDAY, 19 May 2009, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering. This week's meeting is at Cambria Suites Hotel, 3940 N. Gateway Drive, Appleton Wisconsin, USA.

The ‘net

1. Jump Into The Stream http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/17/jump-into-the-stream/ “…the Internet is shifting before our eyes. Information is increasingly being distributed and presented in real-time streams instead of dedicated Web pages… This rising stream has the potential to fundamentally change the contours of media distribution on the Web. Large destination sites like Yahoo and AOL, already weakened as distribution hubs by search and social networks, now face the prospect of becoming completely bypassed…The stream does not replace Web pages or search, for that matter, but it has the potential to completely transform them. Already, we are seeing Web pages adopt the stream as a new user-interface…Traffic occurs in bursts, depending on what people are paying attention to at that second across a variety of services. Someone might notice an obscure blog post on Twitter, where it starts spreading, then it moves to FriendFeed and Facebook and desktop stream readers such as Tweetdeck or Seesmic desktop and before you know it, a hundred thousand people are reading that article…This isn’t an inbox we have to empty, or a page we have to get to the bottom of — its a flow of data that we can dip into at will but we can’t attempt to gain an all encompassing view of it…”

2. Who Has the Most Web Servers? http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2009/05/14/whos-got-the-most-web-servers/ “…Here’s a look at some of the providers with high server counts, gleaned from public reports and partial data from a recent Netcraft server count report: * 1&1 Internet: 55,000 servers (company)…* Verizon: 25,788 servers (Netcraft)…* AT&T: 20,268 servers (Netcraft)…Here’s a list of companies we believe are running at least 50,000 servers: * Google: The search giant’s server count has long been the focus of speculation. There’s a widely circulated estimate of 450,000 servers, but that number is at least three years old…* Microsoft: There’s actually some numbers on Microsoft’s server count, but it’s also dated. Screen shots from the company’s data center management software suggest that Microsoft was running about 218,000 servers in mid-2008. The company’s new Chicago container farm will hold up to 300,000 servers…”

3. Scribd launches online book market http://radar.oreilly.com/2009/05/scribd-store-a-welcome-additio.html The document-sharing site Scribd has launched a new "Scribd Store" selling view and download access to documents and books. As part of the launch, there are now more than 650 O'Reilly ebooks now available for preview and sale in the Scribd store, and all include DRM-free PDF downloads with purchase… publishers set the sale price directly, and keep 80% of the revenue…the pieces of the Scribd store I'm most excited about is the real-time reporting (compared with a lag of a month or more with most ebook resellers, including Amazon), the option to easily provide free updates to existing content, and the variety of adjustable display options…” [ http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/43d3b10a-42f1-11de-b793-00144feabdc0.html ]

4. BillMyParents: kids shop, parents ok payment http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10242761-2.html “…new payment service just launching: BillMyParents. It's a way that kids ("tweens," according to the founder) can shop in online stores and easily spend their parents' money--if their parents later agree to buy them the stuff they want. The system puts little BillMyParents buttons next to items in online retail. To check out, kids write optional notes to their parents about the items they want. Parents get e-mail notifications and can approve and pay for individual items directly…It doesn't reduce or remove communication in a family, in fact it could increase it. And it makes it easier to mark, track, and purchase online items…”

5. Memeo means business with new backup software http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10243591-2.html “…Memeo--an online digital company that offers a variety of online services such as photo sharing (download)--has released a backup solution for business users that will help keep track of backing up data. Memeo Backup Professional 4.5 (download) is tied to an online console, from which an admin user can remotely view the status of backups of other users. This means that once it's installed on network computers, a single admin can oversee the backup status for the whole business…If you just want good backup software, I would strongly recommend GFI Backup Home Edition, which, apart from the online console and the tie to Memeo online storage, offers the same options and more, including the ability to back up to an FTP site. Best of all, it is yours for free…”

6. Webware 100 Winners http://www.cnet.com/html/ww/100/2009/winners.html Welcome to the 2009 Webware 100! Below you'll find 100 Web apps in 10 categories voted to be the best of the best by Webware readers and users of the apps themselves…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

7. China deploys secure computer operating system http://tech.yahoo.com/news/afp/20090512/tc_afp/uschinaitcomputersecurityinternet China has installed a secure operating system known as "Kylin" on government and military computers designed to be impenetrable to US military and intelligence agencies…Kylin has been under development since 2001 and the first Chinese computers to use it are government and military servers that were converted beginning in 2007. "This action also made our offensive cybercapabilities ineffective against them, given the cyberweapons were designed to be used against Linux, UNIX and Windows," he said, citing three popular computer operating systems…The Chinese have also developed a secure microprocessor that, unlike US-made chips, is known to be hardened against external access by a hacker or automated malicious software, Coleman said. "If you add a hardened microchip and a hardened operating system, that makes a really good solid platform for defending infrastructure," he said. "In the cyberarena, China is playing chess while we're playing checkers…”

8. Craigslist CEO asks SC AG to apologize for threat http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jddtyeqnXsSIALyeJ0IkD8sHU4LwD988S90O0 “…Craigslist's chief executive demanded an apology from South Carolina's attorney general Monday, saying the prosecutor's threat to file prostitution charges against the company was unreasonable and unfair. Attorney General Henry McMaster threatened last week to prosecute Craigslist executives for aiding and abetting prostitution…"Many prominent companies, including AT&T, Microsoft, and Village Voice Media, not to mention major newspapers and other upstanding South Carolina businesses feature more 'adult services' ads than does craigslist, some of a very graphic nature," Jim Buckmaster wrote in a company blog. He included Internet links to listings for escort services throughout South Carolina…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

9. GPS Accuracy Could Start Dropping in 2010 http://db.tidbits.com/article/10276 “…We've all become accustomed to using the Global Positioning System, or GPS, whether via our iPhones, car navigation devices, handheld GPS units, or even watch-based devices like the Garmin Forerunner series. The GPS system went into full operation in December of 1993…It relies on a constellation of between 24 and 32 medium Earth orbit satellites, some of which have been operating for nearly 19 years…Mike and his team at Natural Resources Canada use very high-end GPS receivers and special data processing techniques to measure the motions of the Earth with an accuracy of about 1 mm per year in their work defining and maintaining the coordinate systems used in North America and in contributing to the global coordinate system used by GPS…Delays in launching new satellites - the next one is scheduled for a November 2009 launch, almost 3 years late - could be problematic if the older hardware starts failing. The GAO has calculated - using reliability curves for each operational satellite - that the probability of keeping a 24-satellite constellation in orbit drops below 95 percent in 2010, and could drop as low as 80 percent in 2011…”

10. 2009 Ars USB flash drive roundup http://arstechnica.com/hardware/news/2009/05/usb-flash-drive-roundup.ars “…in 2005…A 2GB drive ran nearly $200, and speeds were quite a bit slower then…a good drive was still going to set you back $50 or $70—not exactly a cheap proposition. Since our first roundup, this picture has changed considerably, and it leads to a question: has the flash drive become an undifferentiated commodity, just like any other cheap plastic tsotschke that you might find at an office supply store checkout counter?…”

11. Acer's next-gen Aspire One Netbooks http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10242988-1.html “…the next generation of Aspire One Netbooks is finally here. Most notable is the inclusion of a new, bigger 11.6-inch model, the Aspire One AO751h; also new is a revamped 10.1-inch system, the Aspire One AOD250…the 11-inch AO751h has a full-size keyboard, along with a 16:9 LED display. "We predict that the larger display and keyboard will be a game-changer for mobile consumers looking to take it to the next level with the ultimate mobile device,"…Acer currently claims 30.5 percent of the global Netbook market, and has shipped 1.8 million Netbooks in the first quarter of 2009…”

12. My Phone Beta Open To All Users http://www.liveside.net/main/archive/2009/05/19/my-phone-beta-opened-to-all-users.aspx “…No more waiting list or promotional codes. Just visit http://myphone.microsoft.com and start using My Phone today. Microsoft My Phone will run on most mobile phones using the Windows Mobile 6.0 or later operating system…”

Open Source

13. Linux certifications: Hot or not? http://tech.yahoo.com/news/infoworld/20090513/tc_infoworld/75187 With Linux having gained traction in business, certifications of Linux expertise are becoming more popular, similar to how Novell or Microsoft systems certifications became important for those platforms. But some in the Linux community say the emergence of certifications is by no means a golden ticket for admins, and perhaps just a waste of time and money. Major Linux distributors, including Novell and Red Hat, have their own certification programs, notes Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation…the foundation offers the Linux Foundation Certified Developer certification…”

14. Recognizing and Avoiding Open Source Community Pitfalls http://michaeldehaan.net/2009/05/17/oss-pitfalls/ “…While I do believe OSS is very rewarding and a great way to make technology move quickly, and having that kind of relationship with users is invaluable, it’s worth taking some time to dispel some misconceptions.. or at least make folks aware of some of the stumbling blocks and how to get around them…”

15. OWASP LiveCD switching to Ubuntu http://www.h-online.com/open/OWASP-LiveCD-switching-to-Ubuntu--/news/113305 “…The OWASP LiveCD is a collection of open-source security software for web developers as well as external and internal testers/auditors, that does very much the same job as the BackTrack LiveCD does for network and system penetration tests…”

16. Open source vector graphics editor similar to CorelDRAW, Adobe Illustrator http://webupd8.blogspot.com/2009/05/sk1-open-source-vector-graphics-editor.html “…sK1 is an open source vector graphics editor similar to CorelDRAW, Adobe Illustrator, or Freehand which just had it's first public release a few days ago. First of all sK1 is oriented for "prepress ready" PostScript & PDF output…”

SkyNet

17. Google Search Researches Users' Health http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Health-Care-IT/Google-Search-Researches-Users-Health-423727/ “…Google is performing a short-term experiment involving its users’ health-related searches. The company, claiming it wants to better refine its health-search-related processes by "understanding how people search when they’re feeling sick," wants to start differentiating between users searching for health-related topics purely for research purposes and those searching for those topics in order to find out more about a personal health issue…searches for certain health topics will produce a small dialog box at the bottom of the screen, asking the user if they’re searching because they, or someone they know, are experiencing that particular health issue. For example, if you search for "headache," Google may ask, "Did you search because you or someone you know has a headache? Yes/No…”

18. Frustration, distress over Google outage http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/05/14/BUPE17KKIJ.DTL&type=tech “…Google said the problems started at 7:48 a.m., when a systems error caused a portion of its online traffic to be rerouted through Asia. The snafu prompted an online traffic jam, slowing or interrupting service for 14 percent of Google users globally…Panic set in with some users, who discovered they couldn't get access to their e-mails, fearful that urgent messages were being missed…Francisco Lopez, an administrative assistant for a public relations company in Redwood City, said he came into work in the morning and was unable to log in to his Google e-mail, after fruitlessly trying four or five times. The delay lasted about an hour, he said, leaving him scrambling to do his job…Lopez surrendered and gave a Google rival a try. "We were worried, and I said, 'Let's try Yahoo' - and it worked…”

19. Google Updates Its Blog Search Algorithm http://searchengineland.com/quietly-google-updates-its-blog-search-algorithm-19329 “…Google tells Search Engine Land that it’s made several improvements under the hood of Google Blog Search…One of the algorithmic changes is aimed at making sure the home page clusters reward the freshest and most authoritative blog content. Within any cluster, Google wants to find the posts that people are talking about the most…”

20. New Google search options http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/more-search-options-and-other-updates.html “…a new set of features that we call Search Options, which are a collection of tools that let you slice and dice your results and generate different views to find what you need faster and easier. Search Options helps solve a problem that can be vexing: what query should I ask?... Another challenging problem we have worked on is better understanding the information you get back from a search. When you see your results from a Google search, how do you decide which one has the best information for you?...We call the set of information we return with each result a "snippet,"…We can't provide these snippets on our own, so we hope that web publishers will help us by adopting microformats or RDFa standards to mark up their HTML and bring this structured data to the surface…If you are a webmaster and are interested in participating, visit the rich snippets help page to learn more…Unlike a normal search engine, Google Squared doesn't find webpages about your topic — instead, it automatically fetches and organizes facts from across the Internet…”

21. Free Google Earth Game: Ships http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2009/05/fantastic_free_google_earth_game_sh.html PlanetInAction.com has released the first version of a fantastic free simulation game which leverages the browser-based Google Earth plugin as the primary graphics engine. The game is called "Ships" and lets you take the helm on ships - barges, cargo ships, container ships, and even a cruise ship (the QM 2). Everything is in 3D, you can drive the ships anywhere in the world, there are sound effects, physical modeling, and realistic visual effects that makes this a wonder to behold…”

22. Google Chrome Forces Patches, Makes Directory User-Writable http://blogs.pcmag.com/securitywatch/2009/05/google_chrome_forces_patches_o.php Google's Chrome has gotten some just critical praise for innovative security design, but not everything they do is universally praised. Two examples: updates are applied without permission from the user and this cannot be turned off, and the program is stored in a user-writeable directory…Chrome downloads and installs security updates without asking or even notifying the user. You can't turn off this behavior…The second point about Chrome is that it installs itself in a directory to which the user has full write access... even to the executables in it. This is, in part, how they accomplish their update trick…”

23. Gmail Message Translation http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/19/google-adds-message-translation-to-gmail/ “…Gmail Labs just added another nifty tool to its suite of features—message translation. Using Google Translate, Gmail will help you translate any message that you receive in another language into a language you can understand. The feature can be used for 41 languages…”

General Technology

24. HP recalls 70,000 notebook batteries because of fire hazard http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=18131 “…lithium-ion batteries in about 70,000 HP and Compaq notebook computers are being recalled because they pose a fire hazard…there are two reported incidents where the batteries overheated and ruptured, resulting flames and a fire that caused minor property damage but no injuries. The notebook computers with the batteries in question cover a wide range of models and were sold in computer and electronic stores throughout the U.S. - as well as on hp.com and hpshopping.com - between August 2007 and March 2008…”

25. Robot warriors will get a guide to ethics http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30810070/ “…what happens when humans are taken out of the loop, and robots are left to make decisions, like who to kill or what to bomb, on their own? Ronald Arkin, a professor of computer science at Georgia Tech, is in the first stages of developing an "ethical governor," a package of software and hardware that tells robots when and what to fire…He argues not only can robots be programmed to behave more ethically on the battlefield, they may actually be able to respond better than human soldiers…”

Leisure & Entertainment

26. Microsoft Swings at Wii With Videocam http://venturebeat.com/2009/05/12/microsofts-gesture-based-game-control-to-debut-in-2010/ The Wall Street Journal wrote a story today saying Microsoft is working on a video camera control system. It’s actually not a video camera in the traditional sense. It’s a depth camera that can precisely determine the position and movement of an object based on how close it is to the camera…But we know what it’s working on because that’s what 3DV Systems of Israel said it was working on in the fall of 2007, and Microsoft secretly bought 3DV earlier this year (for a relatively low price of about $35 million). There is a problem with the technology. The cameras were very expensive in the past, and 3DV’s goal was to bring the cost under $100. My guess is that Microsoft is waiting until 2010 to introduce the control system to bring the costs down. On top of that, game developers need time to create games that make use of the new controller…”

27. Fox To Crowdsource Cartoons Through Aniboom http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/18/fox-television-tries-to-crowdsource-cartoons-through-aniboom/ “…Fox Television, the proud home of The Simpsons and Family Guy, is looking for another cartoon franchise to add to its roster. But rather than searching in Hollywood, it is crowdsourcing cartoon ideas on the Web. In a contest hosted on animation site Aniboom, professional and amateur animators alike will be able to submit a two- to four-minute animated video online for a chance at cash prizes and a shot at producing a full-length pilot for TV…”

Economy and Technology

28. Intel fined $1.45 billion by EU http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_12381468 In slapping Intel with a $1.45 billion fine, European regulators this week said the Santa Clara company had harmed millions of consumers by limiting the use of its chief competitor's chips in computers and other gadgets…As part of its 4-year-old lawsuit accusing Intel of monopolizing the microprocessor market, Sunnyvale-based Advanced Micro Devices has accumulated more than 150 million pages of documents related to Intel's global sales…the few details disclosed indicate the fine was based on Intel's total European sales and the presumption that the company kept chip prices artificially high by hindering AMD's ability to compete…”

29. Cisco Plans Big Push into Smart Grids http://seekingalpha.com/article/138286-cisco-plans-big-push-into-smart-grids “…We see the smart grid communications infrastructure market to be in the realm of about $20 billion per year over the next five years," said Marie Hattar, vice president of network systems and security. "We at Cisco are hoping to participate in that market and play a leadership role there." It's a bold pronouncement from a company that first stepped publicly into the smart grid space late last year, when it joined with giants like General Electric (GE), Microsoft (MSFT), IBM, Intel (INTC) and Oracle (ORCL) in the Pecan Street Project, a smart grid effort being formed by municipal utility Austin Energy…” [http://www.crn.com/government/217500646;jsessionid=GE4WMHYCEEBECQSNDLRSKH0CJUNN2JVN]

Civilian Aerospace

30. Wisconsin Student 'Rocketeers' Win National Rocketry Challenge http://sev.prnewswire.com/aerospace-defense/20090516/DC1829516052009-1.html “…A team from Madison, Wi., took first place at the Seventh Annual Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) Saturday, taking on the title of national champion. The four-member team won the rocket competition after spending months perfecting their rocket design. The Team America Rocketry Challenge kicked off last September with hundreds of teams from 45 states and the District of Columbia…Hard work, perseverance, teamwork, and custom electronics are the reasons our rocket performed well today," said Ben Winokur, team member. He added a key component of their rocket's success was, "a very intricate active parachute ejection on ascent…”

31. Organizers unveil Spaceport Sheboygan strategic plan http://www.sheboyganpress.com/article/20090515/SHE0101/90515105/1062/SHE01/Organizers+unveil+Spaceport+Sheboygan+strategic+plan A vision of Spaceport Sheboygan as the Midwest’s hub for aerospace development, education and — eventually — travel was unveiled Friday by the taskforce organized to pilot the ideas to touch down…The opportunity lies in a no-fly zone, dubbed R-6903, that runs along the coast of Lake Michigan from Port Washington to Manitowoc. It was created decades ago when military exercises were done at the former Camp Haven…Ten or 20 years down the road when the technology is ready and when the industry is ready, we are going to be the Midwest’s spaceport…Spaceport Sheboygan is one of seven proposed spaceports nationwide seeking to join the six federal spaceports and six commercial spaceports already licensed…”

32. 28th Annual International Space Development Conference http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=28212 “…These bold entrepreneurs and private spaceflight advocates are shifting the paradigm previously thought to be the exclusive domain of governments, to open up a frontier previously unattainable to the general public, flying virtually anyone that wants to go into space. ISDC 2009 will take place from Wednesday May 27th to Sunday May 31st at the Omni Resort at ChampionsGate in Orlando, FL. The conference provides a unique opportunity for students, space enthusiasts, and the general public to engage aerospace entrepreneurs and executives, NASA officials, academics and key decision and policy makers in an open and positive discussion about space exploration, research, and development…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

33. CUDA, Supercomputing for the Masses: Part 12 http://www.ddj.com/hpc-high-performance-computing/217500110 “…In this installment, I discuss some paradigm changing features of the just released CUDA version 2.2 -- namely the introduction of "mapped" pinned system memory that allows compute kernels to share host system memory and provides zero-copy support for direct access to host system memory when running on many newer CUDA-enabled graphics processors…”

34. RapidMind Web Seminar Series for Healthcare Industry http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/RapidMind-Launches-Web-Seminar-Series-for-Healthcare-Industry-44988637.html “…A top priority in medical imaging is accelerating applications so they can cope with ever larger data sets. Advanced volume processing plays critical roles in diagnosis, screening, and treatment," said Dr. Michael McCool, RapidMind chief scientist…Dr. McCool provides technical insight into several examples of how RapidMind is accelerating medical imaging applications, including a recent study from the University of Waterloo. The study, conducted by Lin Xu and Dr. Justin W. L. Wan, demonstrated that the RapidMind platform provided over 100 times acceleration of a 2D/3D rigid registration application running on an off-the-shelf graphics card…”

35. CUDA-Enabled Apps: Measuring Mainstream GPU Performance http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/nvidia-cuda-gpgpu,2299.html “…Some applications are linear in nature and merely want to crank as quickly as possible on a single processing thread until the cows come home. Others are built to leverage parallelism. Everything from Unreal Engine 3 to Adobe Premiere has shown us the benefits of CPU-based multi-threading, but what if 4 or 8 or even 16 threads was just a beginning?...But in 2009, we finally see a change. CUDA has come to the masses. There's a huge install base of compatible desktop graphics cards, and the mainstream applications able to exploit that built-in CUDA support are hitting one after the other…”

36. Dell pitches modular parallel processors http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/05/14/euro_hpc_academic_snapshot/ “…there are two types of supercomputer: the single box containing lots and lots of cores and/or graphics processing cores, compared to the clustered multi-node setup, with each node having SMP (symmetric multi-processing) processors. Some HPC applications are best suited to one or the other architecture. Dell people see hybrid clusters developing with nodes equipped with multiple GPU cores as well as SMP cores. The programming task is characterised by the need to use many, many cores in parallel. This is getting beyond the resources of research scientists whose job is research, not writing code. An IBM supercomputer could have 1,000 cores with many applications only using a subset. The software people have to get better at writing code to use all these cores. One user said his lab replaced a 5-year old, €1m Cray with a 4-socket Dell machine costing €60,000 and didn't tell his users. They asked him what had happened to the computer, as their jobs were running faster…”

37. What’s the Big Deal with CUDA and GPGPU anyway? http://www.vizworld.com/2009/05/whats-the-big-deal-with-cuda-and-gpgpu-anyway/ “…GPGPU can refactor an 82-cabinet supercomputer to 8 or 9 cabinets, and we’ve shrunk it down to 10% of the current floor space requirements, and something similar in power and cooling requirements. GPGPU could re-use existing resources within your computer boost performance without taxing your system. Who wouldn’t want this? Less hardware to maintain, fewer points of failure, less power and cooling to pay for, it’s a win-win all around, right? Not exactly. As much as computer scientists have tried to make it so, GPGPU is not a magic fairy dust that can make anything and everything faster. GPU’s are designed for pushing pixels, not crunching numbers…”


*****

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