2009/07/21

NEW NET Issues List for 21 Jul 2009

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 21 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.

The ‘net

1. Firefox 3.5.1 http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-10289205-83.html Mozilla updated Firefox to version 3.5.1 for Windows, Mac, and Linux on Thursday, fixing a security problem, improving stability, and speeding launch time on some Windows systems…”

2. Google Chrome 2.0.172.37 http://download.cnet.com/8301-2007_4-10289789-12.html New versions of Google Chrome are out, fixing bugs and patching security holes…”

3. ooVoo takes on Skype, Cisco in video conferencing http://tech.yahoo.com/news/nm/20090717/wr_nm/us_oovoo_videoconferencing “…While Skype has the higher profile, New York-based ooVoo has quietly built up 7.5 million registered users in the last few years with a service that supports video chats between up to six people and up to six phone participants. Now, the fledgling company is adding a desktop sharing option that will let business colleagues view each other's computer screens and enable remote collaboration…”

4. Significant redesign of Yahoo homepage http://www.pcworld.com/article/168792/yahoo_reveals_its_most_significant_redesign_ever.html “…Yahoo unveiled a redesigned Yahoo.com front page on Tuesday, billing it as the Web portal's most significant redesign ever. Taking a cue from Google's iGoogle, the new page is gives users a way to personalize Yahoo.com so they can check in with other sites, such as Facebook or Gmail…”

5. Facial Recognition for Auto-Tagging Facebook Photos http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/photo_tagger_facial_recognition_for_auto-tagging_facebook_photos.php Earlier this year, a company called Face.com brought facial recognition technology to Facebook by way of an application called Photo Finder which scanned through untagged photos and identified the people within them. Now, using the same facial recognition algorithms that made Photo Finder possible, the company is introducing Photo Tagger, an app which scans through select online albums to automate the tagging process. The two Face.com Facebook applications are very similar in nature. They both use the company's facial recognition technology to match people with their pictures by way of a special algorithm called the "hybrid descriptor-based funneled" model…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

6. Laptop Security while Crossing Borders http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2009/07/laptop_security.html “…I wrote about the increasing propensity for governments, including the U.S. and Great Britain, to search the contents of people's laptops at customs…Companies and individuals have dealt with this problem in several ways, from keeping sensitive data off laptops traveling internationally, to storing the data -- encrypted, of course -- on websites and then downloading it at the destination. I have never liked either solution. I do a lot of work on the road, and need to carry all sorts of data with me all the time. It's a lot of data, and downloading it can take a long time. Also, I like to work on long international flights. There's another solution, one that works with whole-disk encryption products like PGP Disk (I'm on PGP's advisory board), TrueCrypt, and BitLocker: Encrypt the data to a key you don't know. It sounds crazy, but stay with me…”

7. Why Amazon went Big Brother on some Kindle e-books http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/07/amazon-sold-pirated-books-raided-some-kindles.ars “…Amazon.com shocked customers yesterday when it reached out to hundreds, if not thousands of Kindles and simply deleted texts that users had not only purchased, but had started to read…Sometime on Thursday, users had an eerie feeling that they were being watched, receiving emails stating that their purchases were being refunded. When they connected to the Kindle's WhisperNet, the purchases in question were automatically deleted. Some could only wonder: how often could this happen? Perhaps the Thought Police Amazon Customer Service team could cut off your books whenever they wanted to. With Amazon's tramping on the works of Orwell, customers felt their utopian world of tree-saving e-book consumption trampled upon…Accusations that Amazon had caved to the powerful meanderings of a "major publisher" were far off the mark, although the cause is still unsettling. As it turns out, the books in question were being sold by Amazon despite being unauthorized copies…” [“…why doesn’t Amazon just come into our houses and burn the print copies as well while they’re at it?…” http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/07/17/amazon-why-dont-you-come-in-our-houses-and-burn-our-books-too/ ]

8. Why chips in passports and ID cards are a stupid idea http://www.economist.com/sciencetechnology/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14066895 “…tramping around Europe has given your correspondent a chance to see how effective the new e-passports are at border crossings…his family holds American, Japanese and British passports, each recently renewed…the e-passports contain biometric data embedded in a radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip, along with the usual mugshot and optical bar-code…The new American passport sets the gold standard. It has additional features built into it that make it especially hard to counterfeit. The Japanese passport runs a close second, while the British version comes a poor third…The two main justifications for adding chips to passports are that they improve security at border crossings and speed up immigration procedures. Your correspondent thinks this is poppycock…The immigration officer still has to open the e-passport, read its contents and then swipe its bar-code through an optical reader to get the bearer’s file up on a screen ready to ask a few questions. There, normally, the procedure would end. Next, however, the e-passport has to be placed over an inductive reader that provides the radio-frequency energy to power up the passive RFID so it can spit out its data. Moments later, the chip’s contents appear on the screen, ready to be compared with those printed in the booklet. If the two sets of information agree, the passport is accepted as authentic. In other words, all the chip does is confirm what is printed in the passport. What it does not do is prove the holder is the person he or she claims to be—no more so than a traditional passport did…if the passport is a fake and the chip cloned, it could just as easily pass muster…”

9. NSA wiretapping story nobody wanted http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9135645/The_NSA_wiretapping_story_nobody_wanted “…It's an account of his experiences as the whistleblower who exposed a secret room at a Folsom Street facility in San Francisco that was apparently used to monitor the Internet communications of ordinary Americans…Secretly authorized in 2002, the program lets the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) monitor telephone conversations and e-mail messages of people inside the U.S. to identify suspected terrorists. Klein knew right away that he had proof -- documents from his time at AT&T -- that could provide a snapshot of how the program was siphoning data off of the AT&T network in San Francisco. Amazingly, however, nobody wanted to hear his story. In his book he talks about meetings with reporters and privacy groups that went nowhere until a fateful January 20, 2006, meeting with Kevin Bankston of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Bankston was preparing a lawsuit that he hoped would put a stop to the wiretap program, and Klein was just the kind of witness the EFF was looking for…The LA Times was particularly egregious because they were planning a front-page spread. They were the first entity I'd given all the documents to. Then they talked to the government about it, and it turned out they were talking to not only the NSA director, but the director of national intelligence, who was John Negroponte at the time. So that meant the government knew it. And then a few weeks later the LA Times killed the story…Why do you think you had trouble getting Congress interested? Klein: With the Republicans, it's obvious why they didn't want to deal with it. Their administration was responsible for the whole illegal spying operation. The first layer of the Democratic party leadership, it turns out, had been knowledgeable and briefed on this program and was complicit, in my view…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

10. Would Apple and AT&T Cripple a Google Voice iPhone App? http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/07/would-apple-and-att-cripple-a-google-voice-iphone-app/ “…Google Voice offers free SMS services that appear to come from one’s Google number rather than one’s mobile phone number. That means users could text all they like, without paying AT&T $20 a month. That money is virtually all profit for the telecom giant, since the messages use almost no bandwidth and even travel on a special channel separate from voice or data…”

11. Nokia Dumps Symbian Services Unit http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/techbeat/archives/2009/07/nokia_dumps_sym.html “…Is this the beginning of the end for Symbian? On July 17, Nokia announced it will sell its Symbian professional services unit to Accenture. The division provides engineering consulting and product development services to mobile phone manufacturers, chip makers and wireless service providers that develop products based on Symbian software for mobile phones. This software is the most widely used in smartphones today, but it’s been fast losing ground to rivals such as Android. The sale is yet another indication that “Nokia keeps distancing itself from Symbian, divesting of nearly anything that is directly related…This reinforces our earlier position that Symbian is no longer strategic to Nokia’s success.” Considering that Nokia is the world’s No. 1 cell phone maker, that’s bad news for Symbian…”

12. Tracfone tests cheap unlimited plan on Verizon http://tech.yahoo.com/news/ap/20090715/ap_on_hi_te/us_tec_techbit_prepaid_wireless “…Since June, Tracfone has been selling unlimited calling and texting for $45 per month under the "Straight Talk" brand, and 1,000 minutes and 1,000 text messages per month for $30. The service uses Verizon Wireless' network. Tracfone's chief executive, F.J. Pollak, said Straight Talk is a test for the company, whose main customer base uses a phone for fewer than 100 minutes per month, paying an average of $10 per month…”

13. Why Japan’s Cellphones Haven’t Gone Global http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/20/technology/20cell.html “…it is hard to find anyone in Chicago or London using a Japanese phone like a Panasonic, a Sharp or an NEC. Despite years of dabbling in overseas markets, Japan’s handset makers have little presence beyond the country’s shores. “Japan is years ahead in any innovation. But it hasn’t been able to get business out of it,”…The Japanese have a name for their problem: Galápagos syndrome…“The most amazing thing about Japan is that even the average person out there will have a superadvanced phone,” said Mr. Natsuno. “So we’re asking, can’t Japan build on that advantage?”…Japan’s lack of global clout is all the more surprising because its cellphones set the pace in almost every industry innovation: e-mail capabilities in 1999, camera phones in 2000, third-generation networks in 2001, full music downloads in 2002, electronic payments in 2004 and digital TV in 2005. Japan has 100 million users of advanced third-generation smartphones, twice the number used in the United States, a much larger market…”

Open Source

14. Complete Guide to Playing Movies and Music on Linux http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/complete_guide_playing_movies_and_music_linux “…While media playback on Linux is presently much better than it has ever been before, it still requires a little bit of know-how and tweaking to get everything working properly. This guide will go over each step of optimizing your media capabilities…”

15. 10 Free Resources for Splashy Graphics and Slick Photos http://ostatic.com/blog/10-free-resources-for-splashy-graphics-and-slick-photos “…The good news is that in the open source world as well as the freeware world, there are many excellent graphics and photo management tools, plus free desktop publishers and web design templates. Whether you want to produce splashy graphical documents, enhance graphics on a blog or web site, create eye-catching logos, or more, check out our updated collection of ten free applications and resources here…”

16. Gargoyle: Web Interface for Router Configuration http://www.linuxpromagazine.com/Online/News/Gargoyle-Web-Interface-for-Router-Configuration Gargoyle is a router interface for devices of the Linksys WRT54G series and other small routers such as the La Fonera. The software is based on the recently released OpenWrt firmware Kamikaze and targets not only power users but speaks especially to the average user as well. It provides functions not usually found in router firmware, such as smart DynDNS support, QoS and used bandwidth monitoring…”

SkyNet

17. Google Announces “Favorite Places” at SMB Event http://searchengineland.com/google-announces-favorite-places-amid-smb-sales-event-22542 “…All this was presented in the context of what was essentially a sales meeting sponsored by Google with the participation of the SF Mayor’s office. In addition to Google there were also a couple of Google “partners” at the event, Yelp and Citysearch. I was told there were about 200 small businesses in the room…Maslan took people through the Local Business Center and related analytics dashboard… it was difficult for me to determine whether the fairly rudimentary discussion of local search was too basic, over their heads or just right for the audience…one SMB owner who spoke, Timothy Childs of TCHO Chocolate, was clearly an outlier, extolling the virtues of marketing via Google Earth and YouTube as well as the value of Google Analytics…it would appear that there’s some consideration being given to doing other events for SMBs in other US cities…”

18. Google’s Chiller-less Data Center http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2009/07/15/googles-chiller-less-data-center/ “…Rather than using chillers part-time, the company has eliminated them entirely in its data center near Saint-Ghislain, Belgium, which began operating in late 2008 and also features an on-site water purification facility that allows it to use water from a nearby industrial canal rather than a municipal water utility. The climate in Belgium will support free cooling almost year-round, according to Google engineers, with temperatures rising above the acceptable range for free cooling about seven days per year on average. The average temperature in Brussels during summer reaches 66 to 71 degrees, while Google maintains its data centers at temperatures above 80 degrees. So what happens if the weather gets hot?...Google says it will turn off equipment as needed in Belgium and shift computing load to other data centers…”

19. Document and share your health wishes with Google Health http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/plan-ahead-document-and-share-your.html “…As a doctor and nurse on the Google Health team, we've both had a lot of experience working directly in the healthcare system, with all the bills, insurance forms and other paper documents that come with it…we would like to reduce the unnecessary use of paper in patient care. As a step in that direction, Google Health recently added a feature which allows patients to upload scanned paper documents to their Google Health profile for safe storage and easy sharing. One of the most important documents you may want to store and share in Google Health is an "advance directive." An advance directive allows you to determine your end-of-life wishes so that your family and doctor can honor them if you get sick and are unable to communicate…Google Health is now working with a leading advance directive provider, Caring Connections, that provides a free, downloadable form customized for all 50 states. To complete your form, download it, print it out, complete it, scan it, and upload it to Google Health…”

20. Could new Google Docs be interface for GDrive? http://blogs.zdnet.com/Google/?p=1483 Google recently announced a couple smaller changes to their new Google Docs product that will begin showing up right away…Those small changes are going to be shadowed by a much larger interface change coming in the next couple weeks…I am starting to think this new interface overhaul would be a great time to introduce GDrive…”

21. Google Voice: Trouble Calling for Skype? http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jul2009/tc20090717_582966.htm “…On July 15, Google released a downloadable Google Voice application for BlackBerrys (RIMM) and smartphones powered by Google's Android operating system, which could make the voice service more popular…Google hopes to make inroads in the market for so-called Voice-over-Internet-Protocol phone calls by taking a friendlier stance toward wireless service providers than other VoIP companies have done…Skype could be among the first to feel the pressure. A foray into mobile phones has been at the top of Skype's agenda this year as the Web-calling company seeks to step up its revenue growth and prepare for an initial public offering next year. "It's probably the biggest current threat to Skype…many consumers use Skype for free PC-to-PC calls without paying for any extra services. Those using mobile devices may be more apt to pay, say analysts. The trouble is that Skype has had difficulty expanding its number of mobile users as carriers have limited the ease with which cell subscribers can use the service…”

22. Submit your ideas to Google to change the face of broadband http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/submit-your-ideas-to-change-face-of.html “…The FCC has called for "maximum civic engagement" in developing a broadband strategy, and we're hoping to help them to achieve just that. We've teamed up with the New America Foundation to launch a Google Moderator page where you can submit and vote on ideas for what you think the Commission should include in its National Broadband Plan. Two weeks from now we'll take the most popular and most innovative ideas and submit them to the official record at the FCC on your behalf…”

General Technology

23. Getting Things Done guru goes digital http://money.cnn.com/2009/07/16/smallbusiness/getting_things_done_goes_digital.fsb/ “…in the past four years I have encountered just one great system for organizing my entire life. It's the same one that has swept Silicon Valley, rules the roost at Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) and recently inspired some of the most innovative personal-management software I've yet seen…The most important step in Allen's method: Write the longest list of to-dos you can imagine. "If you don't have at least 150 next actions," Allen says, "you haven't captured them all…There's even a retro fad for carrying stacks of three-by-five-inch index cards. Merlin Mann, who writes the organization blog 43folders.com, dubbed this system the "hipster PDA…I'm working with this CEO who loved his hipster PDA," Allen says. "He took one look at the stack of three-by-five cards he'd created in our session and had his assistant digitize them all…dozens of commercial software suites claim to be inspired by GTD. None inspired me until recently, when I tried the latest entries in this market: Omni Focus and Things. Alas, each requires an Apple…iPhone or a Mac and works best if you have both…I'd recommend trying the free versions to see which one works for you. Omni Focus -- developed by Seattle-based Omni in collaboration with Mr. Hipster PDA, Merlin Mann -- has more bells and whistles and will please hard-core project managers. Things is the brainchild of programmer Jrgen Schweizer and his small company, Cultured Code…”

24. 100 million Electric Bikes in China http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1904334,00.html “…Last year, Chinese bought 21 million e-bikes, compared with 9.4 million autos. While China now has about 25 million cars on the road, it has four times as many e-bikes. Thanks to government encouragement and a population well versed in riding two wheels to work, the country has become the world's leading market for the cheap, green vehicles…Government regulations limit the top speed of e-bikes to about 12 mph. But manufacturers are building bigger and bigger machines with speed regulators that are easily removed. E-bikes that are basically pedal-powered machines with an electric boost are common in cities like Beijing and Shanghai, but e-scooters with heavier motors and top speeds of around 30 mph, fast enough to rival mopeds, are growing in popularity. The e-bike boom owes much to Chinese policy. The government made developing e-bikes an official technology goal in 1991. Major Chinese cities have extensive bicycle lanes, which means riders can avoid the worst of rush-hour congestion…In the U.S., where bikes are still overwhelmingly used for recreation rather than transportation, e-bike sales are expected to break 200,000 this year, or about 1% of China's sales…”

25. Clever PNG Optimization Techniques http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/07/15/clever-png-optimization-techniques “…the PNG image format which offers…a lossless, robust, very good replacement of the elder GIF image format. As a Photoshop (or any other image editor) user you might think that there is not that many options for PNG optimization…This post describes some techniques that may help you optimize your PNG-images…”

Leisure & Entertainment

26. Ubisoft gets into the social game at Facebook http://tech.yahoo.com/news/afp/20090718/tc_afp/usfranceitinternetvideogamesfacebookubisoft French videogame star Ubisoft made its debut in the online social scene by unveiling a gaming portal at world-leading social-networking website Facebook…Ubisoft's social debut came as the popularity of games at Facebook soars and videogame industry titans grow increasingly interested in creating titles for the social-networking platform…”

27. IMAX: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince http://news.prnewswire.com/DisplayReleaseContent.aspx?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/07-14-2009/0005060014&EDATE “…Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: The IMAX 3D Experience is the widest IMAX international release ever, opening in conjunction with the film's general release commencing on July 15th in 62 IMAX theatres internationally. Domestically, the picture will launch Wednesday, July 15th in select IMAX theatres in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago and expand shortly thereafter. In IMAX(R) 3D theatres, the film will feature approximately 12 minutes of the movie's explosive opening sequence exclusively in live-action IMAX 3D…”

28. Old-Fashioned Film Storage Still Trumps Digital http://www.thewrap.com/article/even-digital-age-studios-find-old-fashioned-film-best_4353 “…Surprisingly, entertainment technology industry leaders agree that film remains the only format on which one can guarantee safe long-term archive and access to motion-picture materials. In fact, film remains the standard in archiving -- and that’s not expected to change anytime in the foreseeable future. Not even for films projected digitally in theaters -- these are actually converted from digital to film for old-fashioned storage. In a dark room in a cold temperature in secure spots scattered around the country…”

Economy and Technology

29. Bits Of Destruction Hit the Book Publishing Business: Part 1 http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/bits_of_destruction_hit_book_publishing_part1.php “…A more interesting and nuanced wave is now hitting the book publishing business. Actually, it is three waves: the digitization of back catalogs, e-books, and print on demand. However this plays out, a lot of people will be affected, but the way in which it will play out is not at all obvious. This is too big a subject for one post, so read this as an introduction to a multi-post investigation…An author writes a book, and you read it. A lot of money is exchanged between those two actions. Consider the steps an author has had to go through in the past to make a living from writing books…”

30. Is a Clean-Energy Economy Our 'Next Internet'? http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_30/b4140046484475.htm “…the ecosystem of companies and technologies that bring us our daily digits is alive and well, even during tough times. It has become the backbone of commerce and media, woven deeply into daily life. It is hard to imagine life without it. It has created countless millions of well-paying jobs and made many people wealthy. The new clean-energy economy will do no less. Comparisons to the Internet may even be inadequate. What's taking place today is arguably bigger—a mash-up of energy technology, information technology, building technology, and vehicle technology—plus related products, services, and businesses that stand to transform our lives over the next generation, at least as much as the Internet has…”

31. Apple Sold Twice As Many iPhones As Macs Last Quarter http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/07/21/apple-sold-twice-as-many-iphones-as-macs-last-quarter/ “…It was another non-holiday record quarter in terms of revenues and earnings. But the real number that jumps off the page is the iPhone sales. Let’s just say it: The iPhone looks well on its way to being Apple’s primary business. Last quarter, Apple sold 5.2 million iPhones. That’s a colossal 626 percent growth over the year ago period, when Apple sold 717,000 iPhones…And the 5.2 million number is perhaps even crazier when you consider that it’s exactly double the number of Macs Apple sold last quarter…”

32. Yahoo’s Financials for 2nd Quarter http://venturebeat.com/2009/07/21/yahoo-revenue-continues-to-plunge-for-third-straight-quarter/ Yahoo announced another steep drop in net revenue today, citing the limping online advertising market for search and display ads as the cause for losses spanning three consecutive quarters…second-quarter earnings per share…beat analysts’ expectations — but mostly due to severe cutbacks…Not only did revenue decline yet again (hitting $1.58 billion), it dropped further: 16 percent in the second quarter, compared to 14 percent in the first of last year. Year-over-year, it dipped 13 percent. This is fairly damning data considering that Yahoo’s arch rival, Google, posted a 3 percent uptick in year-over-year revenue last week…”

Civilian Aerospace

33. How to Start an Aerospace Company http://www.inc.com/magazine/20090701/how-to-start-an-aerospace-company.html Like countless entrepreneurial couples, Jane Poynter and Taber MacCallum started their business from home. It was 1993, and home was Biosphere 2, the 3.14-acre terrarium in which researchers spent two years testing self-sustaining ecosystems. Six months before leaving the dome, Poynter and MacCallum started worrying about their second act. "Astronauts and others who have had seminal experiences tend to implode afterward if they don't have a plan," says Poynter. "There has been alcoholism. Suicide. We started a business so we would have something to throw ourselves into after this extraordinary, life-changing experience." As to what the business would do, they weren't exactly sure…Sealed off from the world, Poynter and MacCallum had their attorney incorporate the business, which they named Paragon Space Development. They also acquired a business partner, an aerospace engineer named Grant Anderson, whom they encountered in a space-related group on Usenet, an early online forum. "We became partners with someone we'd never met in real life," says Poynter. They even attended their first trade show -- the Small Satellite Conference -- via videophone while still inside the dome. Outside the Biosphere at last, Poynter and MacCallum relied on student loans and credit cards to stay afloat. The University of Arizona let them use labs and green- houses for free. The Biospherians were popular on the lecture circuit, which helped pay living expenses. Their experience designing air, water, and agricultural systems inside the dome attracted consulting contracts, amounting to several hundred thousand dollars…”

34. Making moon dust http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124786241042159761.html “…As the Apollo 11 astronauts found out when they walked onto the moon 40 years ago Monday, lunar dust is downright treacherous. To the naked eye, it looks powdery, almost fluffy. But each particle is jagged. Dust scratched the astronauts' visors, ground into the joints of their spacesuits, clogged their equipment…researchers are clamoring for the stuff…Add all these research demands together, and NASA will need 500 tons of the heavenly dust, maybe more. And that is a problem. Over several missions, the Apollo astronauts brought back a grand total of 227 pounds of lunar dust and soil…NASA's solution? Fake it. Ms. McLemore helps run a $19 million project to fabricate what NASA calls "high-fidelity" lunar stimulant…Every year, Mr. Stoeser supervises a field trip to the Stillwater Mine to collect up to 12 tons of rocks and mine waste. He then has it trucked to Denver, where it is pulverized into smooth, rounded grains…The furnace wheezes like an aging jet engine and looks alarmingly Rube Goldbergesque -- all tubes and wires and banged-up sheets of metal. But with two blindingly white, criss-crossing plasma rays, it can concentrate one megawatt of energy on a surface the size of a dinner plate…Mix the right blend of minerals and crumbled rock, zap it in the furnace for 1.5 seconds and -- voila! A red-hot molten mess shot through with glassy globules known as agglutinate, common on the moon but rare on Earth. When it cools, Mr. Weinstein pummels it in a special mill that rips apart the particles with violent sonic booms, turning it into jagged-edged moon dust that he sells to NASA and independent researchers for about $35,000 a ton…”

35. Spaceport America Installs Lunar Lander Launch Pads http://www.spaceportamerica.com/news/press-releases/251-spaceportamerica-installs-lunar-landing-launch-pads.html Spaceport America…has installed three launch pads for NASA’s 2009 Northrop Grumman Lunar Lande Centennial Challenge, which is administered by the X PRIZE Foundation to spur innovation and technology development…this year's competition…begins as early as July 20 and continues through October 31, 2009. The circular reinforced concrete pads are similar in size but different in design. Two are smooth and flat, and the other has built-in 'lunar craters' and rocks to more closely resemble the terrain of the moon…”

36. Google Lunar X PRIZE contender Odyssey Moon http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=28759 “…Google Lunar X PRIZE contender Odyssey Moon Limited announced today that top industry leaders Near Earth LLC, WPP Group, Aon and Milbank have joined its corporate team. Odyssey Moon intends to become the first private company to supply payload delivery services to the Moon in support of science, exploration and commerce….As the world celebrates the 40th anniversary of "Moon 1.0" - mankind's first but short lived activities on the lunar surface - Odyssey Moon is forging ahead with its plans to capitalize on commercial opportunities created by renewed interests in exploring the Moon - "Moon 2.0"…”

37. Private space pioneers http://edition.cnn.com/2009/TECH/space/07/16/private.space.ventures/ “…a few private firms are getting close to manned, commercial spaceflight. Some companies, such as Virgin Galactic, aim to sell suborbital flights -- high enough to reach the edges of space and weightlessness -- within the next few years. The flights have varied purposes, including tourism and science experiments. A Nevada company hopes to sell habitable space stations where paying clients would conduct scientific research. Two relatively new U.S. aerospace companies were hired last year by NASA to send unmanned cargo to the international space station. NASA plans to retire the space shuttle at the end of 2010 and wouldn't be able to send crews to the space station for at least several years after that…With the global economic downturn, one might think developing space products and finding customers would be difficult. But people in the industry -- especially those working for companies founded by businessmen with large fortunes -- say they'll be fine in the long term. "Our industry is still hiring engineers, whereas most industries are laying people off…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

38. Someone is finally using my idea, sort of, for the Fireseed Streaming Supercomputer (FS3 Obsidian). Only they shouldn’t be limiting the program to Brooklyn Tech – it should be open to kids anywhere around the world. Guess it’s time for me to finally get in touch with NVIDIA. If this Intel program doesn’t validate my idea, I don’t know what else will… Talented kids & multi-core: Adding fuel to the mix http://software.intel.com/en-us/blogs/2009/07/17/talented-kids-amp-multi-core-adding-fuel-to-the-mix/ “…I’ve been crafting the flow of topics & lab activities, developing some new ways to convey parallelism topics using role play, coordinating with luminaries & Intel engineers. I’ve been rounding up & testing content & systems for months now. Now all that work is about to pay off next week in the first ever (as far as I know) High School Parallelism boot-camp hosted at Brooklyn Technical High School and sponsored by Intel, Bank of America, Blade Network & IBM…We are about to embark on a journey. A journey to the future. A future defined by the many-core era. To take us on the journey – we need fuel. The fuel mix for this journey consists of four ingredients: multi-core hardware, parallelism training, great instructors and the fertile minds of bright high school students…”

39. Researching Video Game Technology and Science http://www.redorbit.com/news/technology/1721778/researching_video_game_technology_and_science/ “…Using their rewritten "Direct Self-Consistent-Field" algorithm running on one GPU, Martínez and Ufimtsev calculated the structures of seven benchmark, or test, molecules ranging in size from the petite 24-atom caffeine molecule to the burlier 453-atom olestra molecule…The highly successful results obtained by running the redesigned quantum chemistry algorithm on one GPU "puts molecular design in reach as well as simulations of biologically and pharmaceutically important systems such as small proteins with unprecedented accuracy and speed…This new toolbox will speed up the exploration and prediction of new molecules with advanced properties and will reduce wasted effort spent on unproductive leads," notes Martínez. Thom H. Dunning, Jr., lead chemist of the research project and director of NSF's National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and Martínez are keenly aware that computers of tomorrow will not be built using the technologies of today and thus the need for the chemistry community to develop chemical computations that can be ran on future computers with astonishing processing speeds of one quadrillion, or 1015, operations per second…”

40. Korea and Georgia Tech to develop GPU multimedia system http://www.gatech.edu/newsroom/release.html?id=3157 “…Awarded a $9 million contract through the 2008 KORUS Tech Program, an initiative of the Korean Industrial Technology Foundation, Georgia Tech was chosen out of 109 universities to lead the development and design of the next generation of digital convergence devices that will let users establish and participate in digitally connected communities…Project investigators will develop immersive technologies on a hybrid graphics processing unit (GPU) - central processing unit (CPU) platform…An enabling technology for personalized, interactive media convergence, the platform will consist of a custom-designed massively parallel architecture with a hybrid GPU accelerated many-core and heterogeneous multicore fusion system for new machine learning and multimedia algorithms and techniques…”

41. Swiss conference for modern non-conventional processing units http://www.cecam.org/workshop-0-306.html “…A natural question is whether a non-conventional processing unit can gain a significant performance advantage over commodity processing units. Historically, conventional microprocessors outpaced the non-conventional solutions…if a processing unit is expected to run 1000 times faster than the state of the art microprocessor at the conceptualization time, it is evident that during the 5-7 years of development time a commodity solution will approximately show a tenfold improvement (the performance doubling approximately every 18 months). Therefore, the non-conventional solution will outperform of at roughly two orders of magnitudes the conventional microprocessors at bring-up time…In this 3-day workshop we will explore the use of GPUs, Cell BE processors, FPGAs and special-purpose hardware for large-scale scientific computing…The first objective of the workshop is to increase the dialogue between computational scientists and computer scientists to examine the performance of existing algorithms, identify critical/bottleneck sections, scalability, and discuss how and why these codes will perform differently on the new architectures: GPUs, multi-core and Cell processors…”

42. Cray adds $12K entry level personal supercomputer http://www.hpcwire.com/features/Cray-Adds-CX1-Variant-to-Entice-First-Time-HPC-Users-50950042.html “…The company has unveiled a low-end derivative of its CX1 personal deskside system for high performance computing…the CX1 product line is already enjoying success with customers at national labs, universities, oil and gas firms, and a variety of government agencies, including the US Department of Defense…Like other personal HPC machines that have been introduced over the past 12 months, Cray is aiming for that out-of-the-box experience that people who are used to buying standalone workstations are looking for. Most of the personal supercomputers on the market today rely on GPU acceleration via an NVIDIA Tesla device to provide the majority of the compute horsepower. Cray provides a Tesla accelerator option as well, but a pure CPU cluster is the foundation of the CX1 line…”

43. Darkstrand, EVL Join Forces http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/Darkstrand-Electronic-Visualization-Laboratory-Join-Forces-50969577.html “…Darkstrand, a pioneer in corporate high-speed connectivity bridging research and commercialization, today announced a collaborative agreement with the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). UIC's EVL is a leading laboratory developing next-generation, networked visualization and collaboration hardware and software technologies…The EVL is a joint effort of UIC's College of Engineering and School of Art & Design, and represents the oldest formal collaboration between engineering and art in the country. EVL's notable inventions include the CAVE virtual reality theater, the low-cost GeoWall passive-stereo display, and, most recently, its tiled LCD display environments managed using SAGE middleware, the Scalable Adaptive Graphics Environment…”


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