2009/07/07

NEW NET Issues List for 07 Jul 2009

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 07 July 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.

To celebrate the start of the second half of 2009, this week's NEW NET issues list has an extra helping of tech news. Well, that's not the real reason for so many items. Just a lot of topics that struck me as being interesting to tech enthusiasts of one variety or another...

Next week's list should be shorter!

The ‘net

1. China Web controversy highlights public role http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jN7i1zmNz7kMS4UkcNwXEGgGj2rAD995LOO80 “…China gave in late Tuesday to complaints by Web users, manufacturers and foreign governments and postponed a plan to require producers to supply a government-endorsed filtering software known as "Green Dam" with every personal computer sold in China…The retreat marks another significant shift for a Communist Party that is used to being the final voice in official decisions but is learning to accommodate a public that is growing more assertive as living standards rise…The Internet's role in publicizing complaints and focusing government attention has been gaining momentum…”

2. New dashboard shows where federal IT tax dollars go http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10275902-38.html “…The IT Dashboard, a new tool from the USASpending.gov site, promises a behind-the-scenes look at how our tax dollars are spent on government IT. The site was unveiled Tuesday at the Personal Democracy Forum conference in New York by federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra…Filled with news, statistics, and charts, the dashboard reveals IT spending across all the major federal agencies. Select any agency, and you can see its budget and spending pattern. For example, according to the site, the Department of Defense chews up the most tax dollars, with a 2009 IT budget of $33 billion…” [http://radar.oreilly.com/2009/06/radical-transparency-federal-it-dashboard.html ]

3. Get your photo on Bing.com http://www.bing.com/community/blogs/search/archive/2009/07/01/get-your-photo-on-bing-com.aspx “…We continue to hear that one the favorite features of Bing is the rich and interactive daily image that appears on the Bing homepage. In fact, one of the questions we get asked the most is whether people can submit their own pictures. And now we can say yes! We've launched our first ever photo submission contest on Facebook…”

4. Announcing The Social Way To Get Things Done: Zoho Projects 2.0 http://blogs.zoho.com/general/projects20 Remember the days when teams had their documents in a share, their discussions through mail in some ancient mailing-list software, the project plan in Microsoft Project, any relevant content on the company's intranet, and chatted with people on the team using a variety of IM clients? What happened when you needed to find something? What about when someone new just joined the team and needed to 'ramp up'? And sure, 'big' announcements always found their way, but what about the stuff that happens on a daily basis - the gears that move the team - how do you keep track of those?...Zoho Projects brings all of that together into a single package of teamwork nirvana…”

5. CompuServe Requiem http://www.basexblog.com/2009/07/03/compuserve-requiem/ The original CompuServe service, first offered in 1979, was shut down this past week by its current owner, AOL. The service, which provided its users with addresses such as 73402,3633 and was the first major online service, had seen the number of users dwindle in recent years. At its height, the service boasted about having over half a million users simultaneously on line. Many innovations we now take for granted, from online travel (Eaasy Sabre), online shopping, online stock quotations, and global weather forecasts, just to name a few, were standard fare on CompuServe in the 1980s…”

6. So is Facebook for old people now or what? http://news.cnet.com/8301-13577_3-10281339-36.html “…According to iStrategyLabs, from January to July of 2009, even though the population of Facebook members over the age of 55 grew 513.7 percent, the site now sees 16.5 percent fewer high-school users, and 21.7 percent fewer college users. Which, naturally, is cause for panic because when the cool kids leave it's all totally over... this is a set of numbers to take with enough grains of salt to put around the rim of a margarita--but just think twice before you put the photo of you drinking that margarita on Facebook. Those sneaky adults could be watching…”

7. Ultimate Firefox Productivity Tips: For the Geeks http://priyankbolia.blogspot.com/2009/07/ultimate-firefox-tips-for-geeks.html “…in this article we will look at some of the Firefox productivity tips…”

8. AIM Embraces The Lifestream http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/07/06/aim-embraces-the-lifestream/ “…AOL took another step towards fully embracing the lifestream today with the release of a slew of new AIM clients in beta and a new AIM Lifestream site, which brings together status updates from your AIM buddies with your activity streams from Facebook and Twitter. Earlier today, AOL quietly launched beta versions of AIM 7 for Windows, AIM for Mac 2.0, and a new AIM Windows Mobile client…”

9. “Help Engine” Aardvark Makes Twitter An Onramp For Q&A http://searchengineland.com/help-engine-aardvark-makes-twitter-an-onramp-for-qa-22039 “…Danny has described Aardvark as a “help engine” and I’ve called it an “answer community…it’s very interesting and has enormous potential as a kind of search engine alternative or complement for recommendations, opinions or complex questions…For those not already familiar with Aardvark (or Vark), it matches people who can respond to questions asked by other people. One can ask about “best pinot noirs under $15″ or “recommendations for things to do with kids in Monterey, California” or “places to stay in NYC for under $200″ (all real questions I’ve asked). It uses a sophisticated algorithm to send those questions to appropriate members of the community who’ve tagged themselves as interested or capable of answering — and who are already part of your network or friends of friends. That’s a key component of the service; answers aren’t going to the anonymous throng but members of your extended community…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

10. Symantec: it’s dangerous to rely on free antivirus http://tech.blorge.com/Structure:%20/2009/07/04/symantec-its-dangerous-to-rely-on-free-antivirus/ “…Symantec’s Product Manager Asia-Pacific Consumer Products and Solutions said that free antivirus software isn’t able to keep up with full-price suites like those offered by Symantec. “If you are only relying on free antivirus to offer you protection in this modern age, you are not getting the protection you need to be able to stay clean and have a reasonable chance of avoiding identity theft,” he said…“Microsoft’s free product is basically a stripped down version of the OneCare product Microsoft pulled from retail shelves,” he said. “Consumers don’t need less protection, they need more.” According to Hall, there is a widening gap between people’s understanding of what protection they need and the threats they’re actually facing. “People tell me, oh well look I use free antivirus because it is free and it protects me from everything in those areas, but when you compare that with what’s really going on in the threat landscape, there is a very, very big gap between what antivirus does and the threats that are being delivered today…”

11. China Will Still Require Green Dam http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/167755/china_will_still_require_green_dam_web_filter_program.html China has not lifted its requirement that an Internet filtering program be shipped with all computers sold in the country, even though the plan was postponed this week…It is just "a matter of time" before the mandate for PC makers to ship the program takes effect, the website of the official newspaper China Daily cited an unnamed official as saying Thursday. China indefinitely delayed enforcement of the mandate late Tuesday, just hours before the deadline originally set for foreign and domestic PC makers to ship the program…”

12. PC Invader Costs Ky. County $415,000 http://voices.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2009/07/an_odyssey_of_fraud_part_ii.html “…Cyber criminals based in Ukraine stole $415,000 from the coffers of Bullitt County, Kentucky this week. The crooks were aided by more than two dozen co-conspirators in the United States, as well as a strain of malicious software capable of defeating online security measures put in place by many banks…the trouble began on June 22, when someone started making unauthorized wire transfers of $10,000 or less from the county's payroll to accounts belonging to at least 25 individuals around the country (some individuals received multiple payments). On June 29, the county's bank realized something was wrong…”

13. Cybersecurity Plan to Involve NSA, Telecoms http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/02/AR2009070202771.html “…NSA data and hardware would be used to protect the networks of some civilian government agencies. Part of an initiative known as Einstein 3, the plan called for telecommunications companies to route the Internet traffic of civilian agencies through a monitoring box that would search for and block computer codes designed to penetrate or otherwise compromise networks…Einstein's promise, they said, is that it can more effectively detect malicious activity and disable intrusions before harm is done to civilian government networks. "Intrusion detection is like a cop with a radar gun on a highway who catches you speeding or drunk and phones ahead to somebody at the other end," Michael Chertoff, former homeland security secretary, said in a recent interview. "Einstein 3 is a cop who actually arrests you and pulls you off the road when he sees you driving drunk." The pilot program has two goals. The first is to prove that the telecommunications firm can route only traffic destined for federal civilian agencies through the monitoring system. The second is to test whether the technology can work effectively on civilian government networks. The sensor box would scan e-mail messages and other content just before they enter the civilian agency networks. The classified NSA system, known as Tutelage, has the ability to decide how to handle malicious intrusions -- to block them or watch them closely to better assess the threat, sources said. It is currently used to defend military networks…”

14. Researchers Expose Security Flaw in Social Security Numbers http://www.pcworld.com/article/167975/researchers_expose_security_flaw_in_social_security_numbers.html Have you posted your date of birth and birthplace on any of your social networks? If so, you may have provided enough information for hackers to figure out your Social Security number. Well, in theory, anyway. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have successfully devised a way to guess a person's Social Security number using statistical analysis…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

15. Bling Nation raises $8M for cell phone payment system http://digital.venturebeat.com/2009/07/02/bling-nation-raises-8m-for-cell-phone-payment-system/ “…There’s something cool about buying stuff in stores with your cell phone. They do it in Europe and Asia, so why not here? Bling Nation has come up with a way to introduce pay-by-cellphone transactions in the U.S. for the purchase of physical goods at stores. That, in turn, has enabled the company to raise $8 million in funding…The hope is to disrupt the inefficient $60 billion credit card purchasing industry…”

16. Media player meets Netbook in the Archos 9PCtablet http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10277836-1.html The line between portable media devices and traditional Netbooks just got a little more blurred, thanks to this morning's announcement of the Archos 9PCtablet. According to the company, this is a 9-inch touchscreen Atom-powered PC, in a form factor much closer to Archos' line of portable media players (or older UMPCs) than, say, an Eee PC. Using a touchscreen interface and an optical trackball, the Archos 9PCtablet looks at first glance like a Netbook that's had its screen and keyboard halves forcibly separated…The Archos 9 won't be out until fall, so the company is wisely sticking with Windows 7 as its operating system…”

17. Municipal repair comments on iPhone http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/07/06/boston_to_debut_8216killer_app8217_for_municipal_complaints/ “…a few young, tech-savvy aides are trying to drag municipal government into the age of mobile gadgetry. And they think they’ve hit on something big: a “killer app’’ that marries 21st-century technology with Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s old-school devotion to pothole politics. City officials will soon debut Boston’s first official iPhone application, which will allow residents to snap photos of neighborhood nuisances - nasty potholes, graffiti-stained walls, blown street lights - and e-mail them to City Hall to be fixed. City officials say the application, dubbed Citizen Connect, is the first of its kind in the nation. It was designed as an extension of the city’s 24-hour complaint hotline for the younger set, making the filing of complaints quicker and easier for iPhone users. “If I’m just walking along the sidewalk and I have a complaint - maybe a storm knocked downed a tree - I could take a photo and send it immediately…”

18. Sprint sells Netbook for 99 cents http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-10280886-94.html “…Sprint has teamed up with mega-retailer Best Buy to sell the Compaq Mini 110c-1040DX Netbook for 99 cents with a two-year service contract. The offer is good at participating Best Buy stores…Sprint's 3G wireless service is $60 a month for 5GB of data monthly, making the true cost of the Netbook with two years of service $1,440…”

19. Mobile Phone Keyboards http://daringfireball.net/2009/07/mobile_phone_keyboards “…Tim Bray wrote a thoughtful piece regarding whether hardware keyboards are an important feature. Bray owns and very much likes an HTC Android…I think the question boils down to whether Apple is making a mistake by not making an iPhone with a hardware keyboard. I’m convinced the answer is no — that (a) there will never be an iPhone with a built-in hardware keyboard; and (b) Apple will not suffer for it. But that’s not to say that I think hardware keyboards will go away industry-wide…Bray, arguing that Apple is making a mistake by not offering a hardware keyboard, writes: I could draw parallels with Apple’s lengthy and deeply misguided conviction that one button on a mouse is enough. And maybe I am a niche. But you know, it’s a great big honking niche that includes a ton of Android and Blackberry and now Palm Pre users…”

Open Source

20. New Linux patch could circumvent Microsoft's FAT patents http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2009/07/vfat-linux-patch-could-circumvent-microsofts-patent-claims.ars Microsoft's recent lawsuit against TomTom, alleging infringement of filesystem patents, has left many questions unanswered about the legal implications of distributing open source implementations of Microsoft's FAT filesystem. A new Linux kernel patch that was published last week offers a workaround that might make it possible to continue including FAT in Linux without using methods that are covered by Microsoft's patents…”

21. VirtualBox 3.0: No More Booting Windows http://www.linuxpromagazine.com/Online/News/VirtualBox-3.0-No-More-Booting-Windows “…With its version 3.0 of VirtualBox, Innotek/Sun/Oracle made a significant step forward. End users will probably like the 3D graphics support the most: you can now run Ubuntu with Compiz. The new version brings enhancements and support for OpenGL 2.0. Almost more interesting is a Windows feature: the virtualization software now supports Direct3D 8/9. With OpenGL and Direct3D on board, it's theoretically possible to run Windows with all your favorite games on a virtual box. If the games normally run well and error-free on existing systems, Linux users can from now on spare themselves the obligatory Windows boot…”

22. Tiny Core Linux 2.1 http://desktoplinuxreviews.com/2009/07/01/tiny-core-linux-2-1/ “…They say that good things come in small packages and so it is with Tiny Core Linux, a diminutive but powerful distribution. TCL weighs in at an incredibly petite 11MB when you download it. Yes, it really is that tiny. Tiny Core Linux is based on Busybox, the Linux 2.6 kernel, JWM, Fltk and Tiny X…”

23. VideoLAN releases VLC 1.0.0 http://news.cnet.com/8301-13505_3-10280845-16.html “…VideoLAN's VLC media player, arguably the world's best media player, hit version 0.9.9 in early April. Three months and more than 78 million downloads later, VideoLAN has announced VLC 1.0.0, or "Goldeneye."…One of the amazing things about VLC is that it can play anything that you've ever even thought about playing. That random media format that one site in Ecuador requires--VLC likely plays it, while Windows Media, Apple QuickTime, etc. likely will not…”

24. Open Source and the Cloud: Where’s the LAMP? http://redmonk.com/sogrady/2009/07/02/lamp-of-the-clouds/ “…It’s sometimes difficult to remember in this Google-obsessed age, but during Windows 95’s heyday, it was natural to conclude that Microsoft was the once and future provider of all the technology that one might reasonably require. Of course we’d once thought the same about IBM, but this was different. Microsoft was different…anyone who’s watched the Microsoft business over the past decade or so will tell you that open source has been a disruptive influence on the firm…Not that Microsoft’s been alone in feeling the corrosive disruption of free software, of course; it could and has been argued, in fact, that the biggest single reason that Sun is about to be subsumed into Oracle is the LAMP stack…To explore the specifics of how open source might impact the cloud, let’s indulge in a bit of Q&A…”

SkyNet

25. Bing: Not Really Gaining on Google http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jul2009/tc2009072_666843.htm “…While Bing has, according to certain data, minimally increased Microsoft's search market share, Google's position has not significantly shifted…What's more, early metrics from other analytics companies have suggested Google may have actually seen gains as a result of Bing’s arrival…”

26. Why I'm Dropping Bing For Google http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/2009/07/why_im_dropping.html “…It's been about a month since I started a Bing experiment, and it's gone pretty well. Search results are about as good as Google, sometimes better. After a month, though, I've decided to go back to Google. The problem isn't with the search results quality; it's all the other things that Bing doesn't do -- and some things it does that I wish it wouldn't. I do at least a dozen searches a day. The Google page is no-nonsense and boring, with nothing there to distract you from your goal of entering the search terms and getting on with your work. Bing, on the other hand, opens with a breathtaking page of full-color distraction…When I do want to know what's going on in the world, Google's customized searches and news pages do a much better job of delivering the news I want than Bing's search…”

27. Google Updates Blog Search http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_updates_blogsearch_-_wheres_the_innovation.php “…Google just announced a number of changes to its blog search engine, Google Blog Search, but none of them will knock your socks off. RSS feeds for search queries were added, something that no self-respecting search engine of dynamic content would be without. Hot search queries and recent posts from popular blogs round out the slight redesign of the Blog Search home page. While many different Google projects push the envelope with features and interface innovation - users are excited just to see Blog Search make catch-up moves, since it's a sign that the product is still breathing at all…Google Blog Search remains the best option if you're looking for fast results, but other options are better if you have any needs other than speed. Six months ago we published an article titled The State of Blog Search, 2009. Here's what we wrote then about Google Blog Search…”

28. Google Expands Real Estate Listings http://searchengineland.com/google-expands-real-estate-listings-21999 MLS, Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, Craigslist, fellow real estate listings sites, newspapers and other classified ad providers … please meet your new neighbor: Google.com. Google has expanded its real estate listings and added extra search functionality for users to find property listings in Google Maps…There’s a basic search functionality that, while not as comprehensive as what’s available on most real estate sites, probably offers more than enough options for most home buyers: search by price range, bedrooms and baths, square footage, and a sign of the times — a checkbox to search foreclosures…”

29. Gmail, Google Docs, More Finally Lose 'beta' Tag http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/167990/gmail_google_docs_more_finally_lose_beta_tag.html “…Google has finally decided to ditch that pesky beta tag on several of its major projects. After five years of use, Gmail is apparently finally ready for prime time, along with Google Calendar, Google Talk, and Google Docs…”

30. Google Voice Now Lets You Change Your Number http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/07/02/google-voice-now-lets-you-change-your-number-itll-cost-you-10/ “…The “Change your number” functionality…will cost you to change it. There’s a one-time $10 fee…Google Voice will activate your new number right away and still keep your old one active and forwarding to the new one for three months. What’s also nice is that in picking your new number, you can search by area code and by a word that you want your number to contain…”

General Technology

31. AMD releases a processor you can’t buy http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/43053/135/ AMD said it is providing the TWKR CPU to “extreme overclockers”, which can use the chip to “reach the utmost performance barriers under extreme cooling”…The CPUs, described as engineering samples, are based on the 45 nm Deneb core (8 MB cache, AM3 package) and ships in a fancy wood box with a standard clock speed of 2.0 GHz…AMD did not say which clock speeds these processors are capable of, but we know that the company has taken similar selected processors already to a speed of 6.89 GHz - with the help of overclockers and lots of liquid nitrogen…there will be less than 100 CPUs given to overclockers and even a stuffed bank account won’t give you access to one of these chips, at least not initially. To apply for such a processor, you will have to go through AMD’s Twitter page…”

32. Most complete Earth map published http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8126197.stm “…Global Digital Elevation Map covers 99% of the Earth's surface, and will be free to download and use…Previously, the most complete such topographic map was Nasa's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, covering 80% of the Earth's surface. However, the mission's results were less accurate in steep terrain and in some deserts…”

33. Best Buy shifts into electric vehicles sales http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-10279809-54.html “…Best Buy has started selling electric vehicles, including the Enertia electric motorcycle from Brammo…The company in May started offering electric bicycles, scooters, and Segway transporters at 21 of its West Coast stores, according to the Los Angeles Times. This month, the home products retailer will add the Enertia motorcycle to create an electric vehicle line with a range of speeds and range…”

Leisure & Entertainment

34. `Thriller' viewed 8.5 million times since Thursday http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090630/ap_on_en_mu/us_michael_jackson_online_video “…Jackson's most famous music video has been watched more than 8.5 million times online since his death Thursday. Visible Measures, which counts Internet-wide video traffic, also factored in other versions of "Thriller," including the dance video produced by Filipino prisoners…”

35. Gaming Technology in the Real World http://news.gotgame.com/gaming-technology-in-the-real-world/33990/ “…real-world applications of gaming technology aren’t so far-fetched. In fact, next-gen consoles have already exerted their power on other parts of our culture…the next time you visit Disney World, a Nintendo handheld could become your best friend. Called the “Disney Magic Connection,” this idea allows attendees to rent modified Nintendo DS Lites while visiting Disney World. The little handhelds sport an interactive map, the ability to reserve FastPass tickets and the quickest routes to every ride, as well as how long the lines are…Using the powerful Graphic Processing Units (GPU’s) behind video games, we can now see 3D models of the immune system battling tuberculosis, which is almost as exciting as seeing Kratos tear apart mythological beasts. Researchers at Michigan Technological University are aiming to illustrate various models like this one using game technology…”

36. 'I'm a gaming girl' http://www.southtownstar.com/news/1651693,070509gaminggirl.article “…Her mother teaches kids with dyslexia, and her dad - who is often confronted with the "blue screen of death" if he gets too close to a computer - works for AT&T. Her three older sisters pursued careers in medical-related fields…She just finished her first year at Elmhurst College - one of the few schools in the area that offer a major in computer game and entertainment technology…It's a new field, but it's growing right along with entertainment software, which experts say is one of the fastest growing industries in the states. More than 200 schools in the country - including New York University - offer programs and courses in video game design and development, according to the Entertainment Software Association… When she attends her weekly G.E.E.C. (Gaming Elite of Elmhurst College) meetings, she's usually one of only two girls there…”

37. Pandora (And Other Internet Radio) Has Officially Been Saved http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/07/07/pandora-and-other-internet-radio-has-officially-been-saved/ “…After two years of uncertainty, Pandora’s future has finally been secured. For those not familiar with what was going on, basically the streaming rates for Internet radio were in danger of being raised to levels that would have made it very hard for companies like Pandora to stay afloat. But a resolution has been reached between webcasters, artists, and record labels, Pandora CTO Tom Conrad tells us…”

38. Console gaming: The Future's Apple? http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/gaming/a163024/console-gaming-the-futures-apple.html Recently, there has been a feeling in the gaming industry that something is afoot at Apple HQ. The success of games on the iPhone and iPod Touch has led to growing speculation that a home console is next on the firm's agenda. Back in May, Ubisoft chief executive Yves Guillemot stated his belief that Apple is unlikely to limit its push into gaming to just handhelds…”

Economy and Technology

39. In Drought-Ending IPO, LogMeIn Logs $107 Million http://www.xconomy.com/boston/2009/07/01/in-drought-ending-ipo-logmein-logs-107-million/ “…remote access software maker LogMeIn has raised $80 million…the company sold 5 million shares at $16 per share—the high end of the price range it had hoped the offering would bring. Altogether, 6.67 million shares were sold in the offering, raising $107.2 million. Of that, $27.2 million will go to individual shareholders who sold parts of their stakes, including LogMeIn CEO Michael Simon and chief technology officer Martin Anka…”

40. YouTwitFace Goes From Late-Night Joke to New Site Idea http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2009/07/01/youtwitface-goes-from-late-night-joke-to-new-site-idea/ “…On June 3, Mr. O’Brien brought back a popular sketch on “The Tonight Show” called “In the Year 2000,” in which he muses on the future. In one premonition, he said, “YouTube, Twitter and Facebook will merge to form one super time-wasting Web site called YouTwitFace.” Sites riffing on the new buzzword appeared overnight, but domain-registration records show that at least one, YouTwitFace.com, had been bought months prior, by Brian Kay of Burlington, Wash. Mr. Kay, a 44-year-old accountant, said he got the idea during a March dinner party, when friends were talking about the absurdities of the Internet era. “We decided to come up with a new site that would just poke fun at our use of technology,” he said. “We threw around every possible combination of YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, sites like that, and just as we were leaving, the teenager in the family, who was sort of half-listening to our conversation, blurted out, ‘You guys, it has to be called YouTwitFace.” He secured the domain the next day but hadn’t seen its “Tonight Show” debut…”

41. Northcliffe’s Hyperlocal Play: A Local Network For Local People http://paidcontent.co.uk/article/419-northcliffes-hyperlocal-play-a-local-network-for-local-people Northcliffe Media has launched Local People, an ad-funded local community publishing platform that mixes area-specific business directories and social networking elements. Still in its pilot stage, 20 sites are live now and 30 more will be online by the end of the month—all are based in the south-west of England and focus on communities of between 10,000 and 50,000 people. This is not your standard, tired “hyperlocal” newspaper project - it’s a network for people, not grassroots reporters…”

42. Andreessen Readies a New Venture Capital Firm http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_28/b4139032324083.htm “…Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Internet pioneer Netscape Communications, and business partner Ben Horowitz…just raised $300 million to launch the firm, dubbed Andreessen Horowitz…The pair had originally planned to raise $250 million, but boosted the amount because of strong investor interest…Andreessen Horowitz is expected to concentrate on making investments in technology, with an emphasis on corporate services and Internet businesses that cater to consumers. Investors who have heard the firm's pitch say it is adopting a "super angel" strategy in which a modest-size venture firm invests morsels of money into many startups. "They want to sprinkle as many seeds in the ground as possible…While most super angels finance the first round of a startup and work closely with the company to launch a product, the investor says Andreessen and Horowitz told him they intend to take a more hands-off approach: They'll invest in 70 or 80 companies with minimal involvement in most, and then double or triple down on the dozen or so winners that emerge…”

43. Rackspace Expects Credits of $2.5 Million http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2009/07/02/rackspace-expects-credits-of-25-million/ Rackspace Hosting (RAX) expects to issue customer service credits from Monday’s data center outage of between $2.5 million and $3.5 million…An unusual series of equipment failures contributed to Monday’s power outage at a Rackspace data center near Dallas, in which several parts of the facility lost power. The most significant failure involved a bank of generators that malfunctioned, leaving several computing clusters without backup power…“We sincerely apologize for this disruption and know that it impacted our customers’ businesses as well as the experience of many who use the web…”

44. Web sites creep back after Seattle fire, but Bing Travel still down http://www.techflash.com/Sites_back_online_after_data_center_fire_but_Bing_Travel_still_down_49925887.html Many of the Web sites knocked offline Friday due to the Fisher Plaza data center fire were back up as of early this morning. However, Bing Travel -- the high-profile online travel site of Microsoft -- remained down as of 8:10 a.m. Bing Travel, formerly Farecast, says in a message on the Web site that they are "hard at work to restore service." In the meantime, it is passing consumers on to its travel partner, Orbitz…”

45. America’s Secret Innovation Weapon: Immigration http://gigaom.com/2009/07/04/americas-secret-innovation-weapon-immigration/ “…Immigrants come to the United States and take menial jobs so that their children have a chance at a better future, he told me. While the jobs they take are below their intrinsic capabilities, they’re focused on giving their children a better life, not personal job satisfaction. Second-generation children, seeing how hard their parents work to give them an opportunity, in turn work hard at school, where, he noted, they often focus on mathematics and science in pursuit of the economic returns promised by careers in engineering and medicine. Third-generation kids figure the economic return on effort expended is better for business and legal professionals and pursue those professions instead of technical ones. By the fourth generation, any immigration-related incentives to work hard are largely nonexistent…in the midst of the worst economic recession in at least a lifetime, there is a national debate taking place as to the direction of the country. And while I’m confident that we will preserve our democracy and capitalism, I’m concerned about the tone and tenure of the discussion around immigration. Smart immigration policies will do more for American innovation and productivity than better math and science education, more spending on basic research and additional venture capital combined…”

Civilian Aerospace

46. Coolest spacecraft ever in orbit around L2 http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM0Y5S7NWF_index_0.html Last night, the detectors of Planck's High Frequency Instrument reached their amazingly low operational temperature of -273.05°C, making them the coldest known objects in space. The spacecraft has also just entered its final orbit around the second Lagrange point of the Sun-Earth system, L2. Planck is equipped with a passive cooling system that brings its temperature down to about -230°C by radiating heat into space. Three active coolers take over from there, and bring the temperature down further to an amazing low of -273.05°C, only 0.1°C above absolute zero - the coldest temperature theoretically possible in our Universe…”

47. Drink Beer, Win a Trip to Space http://www.space.com/news/090702-guinessbeer-virgingalactic.html “…Guinness has reserved a seat aboard a suborbital Virgin Galactic spaceliner as one of three experience prizes in an online contest honoring the 250th birthday of the beer's brewery this year…Guinness officials said their space trip contest runs through Sept. 24 and promised a thrilling ride for the winner…The two other prizes include an undersea trip to a Guinness bar 229 feet (70 meters) below the ocean's surface near the Lofoten Islands in Norway, as well as a private live studio performance by the band The Black Eye Peas…”

48. Moon mission inspired Viroqua teen http://www.scenenewspaper.com/news-views/19-news-view/239-man-on-the-moon-space-awaits.html “…Mark Lee…grew up in Viroqua, Wis., and went to a one-room school when Alan Shepard launched back in 1961. That’s when I decided I wanted to be an astronaut, just like every kid on the planet,” said Lee. But unlike most kids on the planet, Lee kept his eyes on the prize. “Basically everything I did was to be selected,” he said…“Deke Slayton, one of the original seven, grew up in Sparta, a little less than 30 miles away from where I grew up,” he said. “There were a lot of things in the news there because of him. If Deke Slayton can do it from a farm in Wisconsin, why can’t I? Putting the reality to the job, anybody from anywhere can become an astronaut.”…Lee was accepted by the Academy, where he earned a degree in civil engineering. After gradation, he went to pilot school and flew F-4s in Japan before earning a master’s degree at MIT…In a 1994 mission, Lee became one of eight people in the world to “walk” in space untethered, freely maneuvering 150 miles above Earth with a newly designed jet pack…Lee retired from NASA in 2001. Today he serves as special projects director for a Madison engineering firm. He remains in demand as a speaker, a role he uses to spread the word of education and focusing on goals. He recalls going to a career fair in La Crosse and meeting a girl who wanted to be an astronaut. “I pulled her into a room and told her to go to the best schools she can. Get some flying in there, try to go to NASA. Seven years later she showed up at my door down at NASA. She’d gone to MIT got her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, got a job at the Johnson Space Center and was going to be an astronaut…”

49. Rocket launch helps prepare MSU faculty http://www.montana.edu/cpa/news/nwview.php?article=7303 “…During a weeklong RockOn/RockSat workshop in Virginia, Ross Snider, Randy Larimer and Angela Des Jardins joined nearly 100 university instructors and students from 21 states who prepared experiments for flight. A rocket carrying their experiments was launched at 5:30 a.m. June 26 from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, reached an altitude of 73 miles, then returned to Earth where the experiments were recovered…Back at MSU, Snider works with Brock LaMeres and Todd Kaiser in the electrical and computer engineering department to figure out how to design computers that can tolerate radiation in space…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

50. AMD Continues to Drive Industry Adoption of GPU Acceleration http://www.evliving.com/2009/07/01/7861/amd-adoption-of-gpu-acceleration/ “…AMD FireStreamTM 9250 compute accelerators are now qualified as part of the HP Accelerator Program to deliver the significant performance benefits of GPU acceleration to a wide array of enterprise and High Performance Computing (HPC) customers using HP ProLiant DL385 G5p and DL160 G6 servers. The massive parallel processing power and double-precision floating point support on the AMD FireStream™ 9250 compute accelerator make it well suited for the most demanding compute applications…”

51. Supercomputers go from biggest to cheapest http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9134867 “…To make the Top500 list, compiled by academic researchers in the U.S and Europe and released this week, now requires computing power of 17.1 TFLOPS, up from 12.64 TFLOPS six months ago, which represents increases in performance -- and price. Just two years ago, the entry point on the list was 4 TFLOPS…As the PC democratized computing, the increasing power of supercomputing's low-end, is where the big changes are happening. The ability of these machines to effectively run applications across hundreds and thousands of cores for little money has the potential of putting affordable, high-performance computing in many more offices and research centers that could benefit from their power. What's helping the low end is the increasing use of GPUs(graphics processing unit), which cost less than CPUs (central processing unit) and are a good fit for simulations, modeling other high-performance uses…What's most interesting is the increasing activity in low-end supercomputing, especially in language and architectures for supporting parallel environments that include GPU processors…But one limiter in the use of GPU/CPU-based systems isn't the hardware as much as it is "the progress people have made to date in porting various applications to GPUs…”


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