2009/12/01

NEW NET Issues List for 01 Dec 2009

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 01 December 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 -- if there's a chain across the steps, ignore it and come on upstairs.

The ‘net

1. FlightCaster Takes Off With $1.3 Million In Funding And A New API http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/11/23/flightcaster-flight-delay/ “…FlightCaster, the startup that helps predict flight delays long before the airlines themselves usually do, has just landed a $1.3 million funding round led by Tandem Entrepreneurs and Sherpalo Ventures. FlightCaster previously recieved [sic] money as part of the Y Combinator program…FlightCaster’s goal is simple: it wants to let you know when your flight is delayed as early as possible…”

2. Struggling Wikipedia Sheds Thousands of Editors http://www.pcworld.com/article/183322/struggling_wikipedia_sheds_thousands_of_editors.html “…almost 50,000 editors left online encyclopedia Wikipedia in the first quarter of this year: ten times the number who deserted the site in the same period of 2008…loss of editors from the user-generated site was reported by Felipe Ortega from the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid. Ortega built and used a computer program to analyze editing history on Wikipedia…he said: "If you don't have enough people to take care of the project it could vanish quickly. We're not in that situation yet. But eventually, if the negative trends follow, we could be in that situation…”

3. Gangs in New York talk Twitter http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2009/11/29/2009-11-29_tweet_gangs_of_new_york_thugs_use_twitter_to_trashtalk_plan_fights.html The city's street gangs are becoming tweet gangs. Manhattan's young thugs have turned to Twitter…Harlem pastor Vernon Williams, who runs Perfect Peace Ministry Youth Outreach, said his staff uses Twitter, MySpace and instant messaging to keep track of 4,000 at-risk teens…it's just like any other "form of communication," except that the world can listen in on the conversation. That feature can actually fuel disputes…A 15-year-old nicknamed Lil V, who belongs to The New Dons, says Twitter is useful for "settin' up the fights" and making plans. He seemed aware that the cops or anyone else could follow them - and said the gang takes precautions, using lingo gangsters from an earlier era wouldn't even understand. "We got our own page," Lil V said. "Our page is private.”

4. Comcast launches data usage meter http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=27906 “…Today, Comcast announced that the meter is being launched in its first market - Portland, OR - as a test before the service is launched into other markets. Over time, the meter will show three months worth of data usage, including the current month. The meter will display usage by gigabytes and will round down to the nearest gigabyte - giving the customers a bit of an advantage. The meter will update every three hours…Comcast’s data meter will track usage across the entire home network…almost 99 percent of our customers should not be concerned about their monthly data usage or ever crossing our 250 GB per month excessive usage threshold. The median customer consumes approximately 2 to 4 GB or data in a month. For the fraction of less than 1 percent of our customers who are concerned about exceeding our excessive usage threshold, this meter will help them monitor and calibrate their usage…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

5. S.Korea halves ceiling on text messages to fight spam http://tech.yahoo.com/news/afp/20091125/tc_afp/skoreaitspam South Korean authorities on Wednesday halved the daily limit on text messages sent out by mobile phones as part of a campaign against spam…The number of text messages that a mobile user can send out a day was restricted to 500, down from 1,000, beginning Wednesday…South Korea had 47.7 million mobiles registered for use as of October, accounting for 98 percent of the total population.”

6. Attacks Appear Imminent as IE Exploit Is Improved http://tech.yahoo.com/news/pcworld/20091125/tc_pcworld/attacksappearimminentasieexploitisimproved Hackers working on the open-source Metasploit project have spiffed up a zero-day attack on Microsoft's Internet Explorer, making it more reliable -- and more likely to be used by criminals…security experts say this type of code is for a very popular hacking technique called a drive-by attack. Victims are tricked into visiting Web sites that contain malicious code where they are then infected via the browser vulnerability…It affects IE version 6 and version 7. Microsoft's latest IE 8 browser is not affected by the bug…”

7. Digital tyranny in the U.K. -- is the U.S. next? http://www.infoworld.com/t/legislation/digital-tyranny-in-uk-us-next-865 It was with shock and awe that I read Cory Doctorow's piece on proposed legislation introduced in the United Kingdom last week. This particular set of amendments, wrapped in the so-called Digital Economy Bill, proves without a doubt that truth is stranger than fiction. I urge you to read Cory's take on this, but I'll summarize some of the more troubling aspects: 1. If illegal file sharing is suspected (not necessarily proven) within a home, all Internet access to that residence could be terminated and fines of up to £50,000 could be imposed on the household. 2. ISPs could be compelled to spy on their own users or face stiff fines and other penalties. 3. The UK Business Secretary would be granted the power to modify any aspect of the law without debate…The only way this legislation could be worse for U.K. citizens would be if it mandated random hourly beheadings at major shopping areas as a warning to copyright violators…”

8. Latest Microsoft Patches Cause Black Screen of Death http://www.pcworld.com/article/183335/ Microsoft's latest round of security patches appears to be causing some PCs to seize up and display a black screen, rending the computer useless. The problem affects Microsoft products including Windows 7, Vista and XP operating systems…Microsoft apparently made changes to the Access Control List (ACL), a list of permissions for a logged-on user. The ACL interacts with registry keys, creating visible desktop features such as a sidebar…the latest patches appear to make some changes to those registry keys. The effect is that some installed applications aren't aware of the changes and don't run properly, causing a black screen…” [http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSN0151408620091201 ]

9. 25% of Office Workers Would Steal Company Data http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/183326/25_of_office_workers_would_steal_company_data.html A quarter of office workers would steal sensitive company data if they thought it would help a friend or family member secure a job…Research by the data security firm also revealed that four out of ten office workers claimed they had already taken sensitive company data while USB flash memory drives were the media of choice for transporting data from the office…”

10. Facebook Invasion: Beware of New 'Smart' Worm http://www.pcworld.com/article/181973/facebook_invasion_beware_of_new_smart_worm.html “…a new variation on an old worm is crawling its way into the social network's walls…The worm typically works by taking over your PC, then sending messages or wall postings to your friends. The messages include links to what appear to be funny videos or risqué photos of people you and your friends know. Anyone who follows the links, however, will ultimately end up infected with the malware themselves--usually by way of a bogus software update that pops up on-screen. The updated Koobface variation…takes things a step further by automating the entire process. Instead of depending solely upon real accounts to spread the malicious links, the attackers have found a way to have bots do their bidding…”

11. Northrop Grumman Launches Cybersecurity Research Group http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/183446/northrop_grumman_launches_cybersecurity_research_group.html Government security contractor Northrop Grumman has joined with three leading cybersecurity research universities to launch a research consortium focused on fixing the most vexing problems in information security. Northrop Grumman will distribute "millions" of dollars over more than five years to Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania, Purdue University in Indiana and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology…Northrop Grumman, which has worked on cybersecurity for 20 years, chose the three universities for their long-term, cutting-edge cybersecurity research…”

12. 8 Million Reasons for Real Surveillance Oversight http://paranoia.dubfire.net/2009/12/8-million-reasons-for-real-surveillance.html “…This data, and the analysis I draw from it will be a major component of my PhD dissertation…Sprint Nextel provided law enforcement agencies with its customers' (GPS) location information over 8 million times between September 2008 and October 2009. This massive disclosure of sensitive customer information was made possible due to the roll-out by Sprint of a new, special web portal for law enforcement officers. The evidence documenting this surveillance program comes in the form of an audio recording of Sprint's Manager of Electronic Surveillance, who described it during a panel discussion at a wiretapping and interception industry conference, held in Washington DC in October of 2009…The vast majority of the government's access to individuals' private data is not reported, either due to a failure on DOJ's part to supply the legally required statistics, or due to the fact that information regarding law enforcement requests for third party stored records (such as email, photos and other data located in the cloud) is not currently required to be collected or reported. As for the millions of government requests for geo-location data, it is simply disgraceful that these are not currently being reported…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

13. Navigation App Waze Makes Crowdsourced Map-Building a Game http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/navigation_app_waze_makes_crowdsourced_map-building_a_game.php The latest edition of mobile navigation app Waze has just launched in the iTunes App Store and on the Android Market Place with the Symbian and Windows Mobile versions available on the Waze website. In this updated version, the company has added even more features to their already popular "munching" game which sends a Pac-Man like character loose on the roads to help build the company's mapping database and validate the roads already in place. Unlike other mobile navigation apps, Waze "crowdsources" its map-making process, reliant on its users to switch the app on when driving around town. Then, using the phone's built-in GPS capabilities, Waze uses the information sent back to create base maps and determine traffic patterns in order to warn other users of traffic jams ahead. Although Waze is an application dependent on critical mass to become successful, they've already had good results since their original launch in Israel. In less than a year's time, Waze was able to map 91% of the country thanks to user involvement…”

14. iPhone, BlackBerry, Droid Report Card and Review http://www.shellypalmermedia.com/2009/11/29/my-new-verizon-droid-plus-the-iphone-blackberry-droid-report-card-and-review/ “…I’ve had my Verizon Droid for a couple of weeks now and, no, it’s not an iPhone killer or a BlackBerry killer, but it is a wonderful phone and a device that everyone looking for a new smartphone should consider. I like the Droid. I don’t love it. That being said, if you only want to carry one device, the Droid is a good choice…It’s got a good camera, good video camera, good voice recorder, flawless integration with Google and Gmail and it’s a Motorola phone on the best wireless network, which means it’s a great phone. Would I buy one? I did. This Droid is replacing my BlackBerry Curve, which does a much better job with email, but simply can’t compete in the other areas. To help you understand the benefits of the three most-talked-about smartphones, I’ve made a little chart…”

15. iPod Touch 8GB Media Player http://tech.yahoo.com/news/pcworld/20091127/tc_pcworld/ipodtouch8gbmediaplayer The Apple iPod Touch is on sale in several places--for instance, Best Buy is selling the 8GB version plus a $30 gift card for $199--but Wal-Mart has managed to come up with the best deal we've seen, offering the 8GB iPod Touch plus a $50 iTunes gift card for $195…”

16. Droid Doesn’t: It’s Not Ready For Prime Time http://alsop-louie.com/gadgets/droid-doesnt-its-not-ready-for-prime-time/ “…The Motorola Droid is truly terrible, in part because it has such promise (and has been amazingly well reviewed — I worry I’m missing something)…The software (Google’s Android plus apps both from Google and from other developers) doesn’t work and is unacceptable on a mobile device…If you want to search your contacts, you type the first letter and the phone will stop responding for 20-30 seconds. Don’t know why. If you keep typing ahead, you get no feedback about what you’re typing until the phone responds…I have missed calls, lost calls, misdialed calls, pocket dialed people, and had many other experiences in the last month that have lead me to conclude that the Droid is not suited to its intended purpose as a smart phone…I can say definitively that the iPhone and Blackberry devices have never gotten in the way of making or receiving phone calls, but the Droid actually makes it harder to make phone calls than the other devices. The phone app crashes or suspends. The bluetooth fails to connect in my car. The camera often overtaxes the device and cannot process the images fast enough to actually capture what you have snapped in about a third of the photos. If you get the picture you want and then went to send it by email, the process of creating the email, finding the address of the person you want to send to, and actually sending the photo can take as much as 5 minutes, including the wait times the phone forces on you…I can go on and on, but after a month of using the phone (or trying really hard to use it) as my primary device, I have concluded that it’s a bad product and I have to get rid of it. It is plenty clear that Motorola was so desperate to get it on the market that it didn’t take time to test it properly and pushed or pulled Google into releasing…it…”

17. 15 best free Windows Mobile apps http://www.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/15-best-free-windows-mobile-apps-653071 “…there are literally thousands of other Windows Mobile apps out there…The problem is that there's no one place to look for apps: as well as the new Windows Marketplace for Mobile and the Handango store, there are hundreds of mobile software developers, large and small, with their own sites. This is our pick of the best Windows Mobile apps - and where to find them. 1. Skyfire…2. MyPhone…3. Skype…4. Facebook…5. Google Maps…6. Bing…7. Evernote…9. Viigo…10. DiVX Mobile…12. Photoshop.com Mobile…13. Gsync…15. Kevtris…”

18. LG eXpo: 1st smartphone with optional pico projector http://wmpoweruser.com/?p=10895 “…LG eXpo will be available online beginning December 7. Featuring the first 1 GHz processor in the United States…Available exclusively for AT&T customers, the handset will be compatible with AT&T’s High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 Mbps technology…The LG eXpo is the first device in North America to support an optional integrated pico projector. The LG Mobile Projector snaps onto the back of the device and allows users to share presentations, slideshows and even online videos straight from their mobile phone. Weighing only 1.8 ounces and small enough to fit into the palm of your hand, the LG mobile projector provides users with powerful new technology in a compact design, featuring a projection distance as far as eight feet…”

19. GPS tool helps illegal immigrants cross US border http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_13887692 “…A professor at the University of California, San Diego says he has developed a cell phone tool that aims to help Illegal immigrants cross the U.S.-Mexico border…Authorities say hundreds die trying to cross the border each year, many lost or abandoned by guides. Dominguez says the tool's aim is to help save those lives. Border Patrol spokesman Mark Endicott says smugglers have used GPS devices before, and the tools won't affect the agency's enforcement…”

20. Not-so-mobile battery life: Time to force the issue http://www.betanews.com/article/Notsomobile-battery-life-Time-to-force-the-issue/1259603250 “…Her device lasts for about three hours of consistent use before she needs to plug in. Granted, she admits she's a heavy user, often hammering away at her device as incessantly as most of us use a regular desktop or laptop computer during a typical work session. Even so, she hardly expected to have to charge up by lunch each and every work day…The sad reality is all smartphones suffer from this same affliction to varying degrees…Apple's iPhone gets an extra slap with a wet noodle because of its non-removable battery. At least the Pre gives you the option of swapping in a fully charged battery when your first one dies…while processors, memory, and screens have all advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years, batteries have not…being hosed on the battery life front. We've moved beyond basic e-mail and voice on our mobile handsets…Until an industry standard for battery life along the same lines as the EPA's fuel economy estimates emerges for mobile devices, consumers will continue to shop blindly, only to get home and gradually realize that they aren't as mobile as they thought they were…”

21. Fring: Video Calling Comes to the iPhone http://gigaom.com/2009/12/01/video-calls-iphone/ If you’re a Skype and an iPhone user then there is one feature you sorely miss: getting video calls on your iPhone…fring, a…messaging startup based in Israel, has released an upgrade that allows you to receive video calls on your iPhone…if someone is placing a video call from a desktop or a laptop using Skype…users with iPhone/iPod touch OS 3.0, those users can watch it on their home screens. Folks using the iPhone can’t make video phone calls because of the location of the camera. The service only works over Wi-Fi, and not on 3G…I tried out the service by chatting with my friend Ouriel Ohayon…Ouriel placed a video call and it worked as advertised. It helped that I have a rock-solid 50 Mbps connection to ensure quality performance…”

22. 2010: Ten Predictions For E-Readers/E-Books http://paidcontent.org/article/419-ten-predictions-for-the-e-book-market-in-2010/ “…for e-readers and e-books—device sales will have more than tripled by the end of this year, and content sales are up 176% for the year…Here are Forrester’s predictions for 2010: 1. E Ink will lose its claim to near-100% market share for e-reader displays…2. Dual-screen mobile phones and netbooks will eat into e-reader demand…3. Apps will make non-reading devices more e-book-friendly…4. eReaders will get apps, too…5. Amazon will launch a suite of new touchscreen e-readers…6. B&N will steal market share from Amazon and Sony…7. E-book content sales will top $500 million in the U.S…8. E-textbooks will become more accessible, but sales will be modest…9. Magazine and newspaper publishers will launch their own apps and devices…10. China, India, Brazil, and the EU will propel global growth, but the U.S. will still be the biggest market…”

Open Source

23. Command line tricks for geeks http://www.tuxradar.com/content/command-line-tricks-smart-geeks “…we squeezed our brain cells, dug through dusty piles of old issues of Linux Format, and sat reflecting quietly over many a pint of ale, all with the goal of bringing you this: 42 awesome new command line tricks we think you ought to commit to memory. We've tried to include a few that are easier for our, er, less-experienced readers to enjoy, but we think even the most hardened Linux veteran will learn something new over the next 12,000 words. So, strap yourself in and get ready for command-line heaven…”

24. Ubuntu is giving up the GIMP http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2009/11/giving-up-the-gimp-is-a-sign-of-ubuntus-mainstream-maturity.ars “…part of the 10.04 roadmap that emerged during UDS is a tentative plan to remove the GIMP, the GNU Image Manipulation Tool, from the default Ubuntu installation…The decision to remove the GIMP was made during a morning session last Wednesday called "Application selection in the default install." The session itself was videotaped, so you can actually watch the discussion for yourself…It is also saddled with a lengthy startup time due to its large collection of plugins. As one would expect of a high-end graphic editing tool, it also uses a lot of disk space. Its size footprint is especially problematic for Ubuntu, because the distribution ships as a CD image and has a very limited amount of space. Providing professional-grade editing capabilities is a goal that is mutually exclusive with Ubuntu's requirement of a lightweight and intuitive tool for simple editing tasks…Sven Neumann, a respected GIMP developer and the author of the GIMP Pocket Reference, voiced approval on the GIMP developer mailing list. "That is pretty much in-line with our product vision…It is not the tool that you would advise every user to use for their casual photo editing," he wrote…The important question, however, is what to offer as a replacement for the most frequently used features of the GIMP…F-Spot photo manager has been identified as the most likely path to a viable solution. F-Spot, which is already included in Ubuntu, has basic editing features such as cropping and color adjustment. It also has popular photo fix-up capabilities like support for red-eye reduction…”

25. The Un-Scary Screwdriver http://www.gnomejournal.org/article/88/the-un-scary-screwdriver Cathy Malmrose gives a glimpse into a project where seven year old girls build desktops with Ubuntu for their grandparents…we passed by a neighbor and struck up a conversation. He complained about his desktop being constantly attacked by viruses. We suggested Ubuntu. A professional man in his 50s, he said he wanted to try installing a Linux distribution on his desktop but that, “it looks too complicated. I probably couldn’t install Ubuntu. I don’t want the hassle.”…I asked Anna if she wanted to have a building party with a friend. One Saturday, her friend Tora came to our little shop and the dads worked alongside their daughters with each father-daughter team assembling their own desktop. The girls had an interesting way of building. It went like this: Anna finds two screwdrivers, hands one to Tora…The girls run around for a few minutes talking about how, “I opened it up and we can see its guts!” After they calmed down again, they came back to the table and asked, “What’s next?”…The girls put in the memory sticks, then did somersaults. They did the goo on their CPUs, seated them, then spun around on the office chairs until they were sickeningly dizzy. They put their fans in place, then ran around for a bit…”

26. Mozilla Launches Thunderbird 3.0 Release Candidate http://tech.yahoo.com/news/zd/20091125/tc_zd/246387 “…Mozilla on Wednesday issued the release candidate of its next-generation mail, feed, and newsgroup reader, Thunderbird 3.0…Release Candidate 1 is feature complete…The new version has also been greatly simplified for average users, too. Adding an e-mail account is in most cases now a simple matter of entering your name, e-mail address, and password. And the main interface shows but four icons up top — Get Mail, Write, Address Book, and Tag, making e-mail communication dead simple…”

27. Three Simple Tweaks for Better SSD Performance http://www.linux-magazine.com/Online/Blogs/Productivity-Sauce-Dmitri-s-open-source-blend-of-productive-computing/Three-Simple-Tweaks-for-Better-SSD-Performance “…The first one is to disable the sreadahead service. The sreadahead tool helps to speed up the boot process with conventional hard disks, but it actually slows the boot with SSDs…Next trick is to add the elevator=noop kernel boot parameter to disable the elevator scheduler…This scheduler is used to read and write data from the hard disk sequentially. Since an SSD is not a conventional hard disk, disabling the elevator scheduler significantly improves the read and write performance of your SSD…Finally, you might want to set the file system mount option to noatime…Adding the noatime option eliminates the need for the system to make writes to the file system for files which are simply being read -- or in other words, this means faster file access and less disk wear…”

28. VirtualBox 3.1.0 Final Released http://news.softpedia.com/news/VirtualBox-3-1-0-Final-Released-128427.shtml “…Sun Microsystems announced a new beta release of its open source virtualization program, VirtualBox. Bringing Teleportation, a feature that allows for the live migration of a VM session from one machine to another, VirtualBox 3.1.0 can also restore VM states from arbitrary snapshots instead of just the last one…”

SkyNet

29. Mobile Movie Search Gets the Google Treatment http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/mobile_movie_search_gets_the_google_treatment.php “…when searching for movies on their iPhones or Palm WebOS- or Android-powered devices, users can get not only theatres, showtimes, and films; they can also get trailers, ratings, and proximity-based information. This way, you can get in the car and peal out of the driveway before conducting a desktop search for movies…Users of the abovementioned devices can now go to google.com in their web browsers. After searching for the term "movies," users can then tap on the "More movies" link for a panoply of new features and aggregated data. Users can then browse through film titles or nearby theatres…”

30. A look at Google Chrome OS http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/nov/25/google-chrome-cloud-computing “…Google's Chrome OS is an attempt to take over the fast-growing netbook part of the PC market, which is currently dominated by Microsoft. It's aimed at people who live their lives online, and who can do everything they need in a Google Chrome browser…Chrome OS netbooks wouldn't be allowed to use hard drives (Flash memory boots faster) and that Google would specify which Wi-Fi cards it would support…It's not trying to replace traditional PCs running Windows or Mac OS X. "There are some applications that are not available on the web. There are some things that this machine will not be able to do," said Pichai. "It's a companion device. Most users we expect to have another machine at home…Google can prevent users (and malware writers) from messing around with the operating system: if a single byte is changed, it can replace the whole thing. Further simplification comes from not supporting local devices such as MP3 players and digital cameras, except as USB storage devices. Many of Windows' complications come from its support for tens of thousands of different hardware components and add-on devices. Chrome OS does not try to do either. While this is limiting, it's also liberating. Users no longer have to worry about maintaining their computer: Google does that…It also means Chrome OS computers can be shared around the house, or in cafes, schools and libraries. "Your" netbook is, in effect, stored online, in the cloud. Any device becomes "yours" when you log on. Google still has some problems to solve – support for local printing is one example – and has yet to reach deals with potential manufacturing partners…while it represents an obvious next step for web-based computing, the inability to install applications may limit its adoption, at least for the next few years…Chrome OS is a smart way for Google to push forward the concept and the technology of cloud computing, but I wouldn't expect it to take the world by storm upon its release," adds Carr…Google is trying to redefine the notion of a netbook, which in the past has been a watered-down laptop: something that's cheaper but not as satisfying. Google is trying to change that value proposition so that a netbook is a faster, richer, more secure experience…” [http://venturebeat.com/2009/11/27/what-are-googles-real-motivations-behind-chrome-os/ ]

31. Dell Releases Customized Version of Google Chrome OS http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/dell_releases_customized_version_of_chrome_os.php “…Dell has just released a customized version of Chromium OS, the open source code behind Google's new operating system called Chrome, in a build designed specifically for Dell Mini computers. According to a blog post on the Dell Community site, several company employees were inspired create this custom version after seeing Engadget's video showing Chrome OS running on a Vostro A860 netbook…Since the launch of the Chromium OS source code, there have been a number of articles explaining how to run the operating system in a virtual machine on your own computer as well as how to boot the operating system from a USB flash drive…while the Dell Chromium build isn't exactly an "official" company product, it's noteworthy for the fact that it was designed by company employees, posted publicly on a Dell website, and is customized to run specifically on Dell Mini computers…”

32. Google wants to stream TV, for a fee http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10406793-93.html YouTube, which is already trying out the movie rental business, wants to get into TV, too…YouTube already lets users watch a smattering of TV shows for free, with advertising. Now it envisions something similar to what Apple and Amazon already offer: First-run shows, without commercials, for $1.99 an episode, available the day after they air on broadcast or cable…The biggest stumbling block may be consumers. That's because Google is talking about streaming the shows, instead of letting consumers download them to their computers, as both Apple and Amazon do. But the networks and studios, who control pricing, will want to sell the streamed shows at the same price as downloads--they fear that offering them at a different price will force them to go back and rework their existing deals…while Web users have an insatiable appetite for video, they've yet to demonstrate much interest in paying for it…”

33. Google waving goodbye to Gears, hello to HTML5 http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2009/11/google-gears.html “…To prove Web applications like Gmail and Google Docs could be as sophisticated as desktop apps, Google created its own desktop software a couple years ago -- a small utility called Gears. Once it's installed on a user's computer, features like offline caching of e-mails and drag-and-drop file uploading would be unlocked…much of the technology in Gears, including offline support and geolocation APIs, are being incorporated into the HTML5 spec as an open standard supported across browsers, and see that as the logical next step for developers looking to include these features in their websites…but HTML5 isn't ready yet, and commercially available browsers don't support it…The stand-alone Gears isn't compatible with Snow Leopard, the newest version of the Mac operating system…We're continuing to support Gears so that nothing breaks for sites that use it. But we expect developers to use HTML5 for these features moving forward as it's a standards-based approach…”

34. A new look for Gmail and Google mobile web apps http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2009/11/iterative-web-app-new-look-for-gmail.html “…Some of you noticed and asked us about recent changes we made to Gmail for mobile and a few of our other mobile web apps. If you use the web browser to access Gmail, Latitude, Calendar, or Tasks on your Android-powered device or iPhone, you'll see that we freshened up the look of the buttons and toolbars…”

General Technology

35. Ten emerging technologies to watch in 2010 http://www.eetimes.com/news/latest/showArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=VUFDEYRMZN2J5QE1GHRSKH4ATMY32JVN?articleID=221900117 EE Times has compiled a list of emerging technologies that we think will be worth watching out for in 2010…We have deliberately favored the hardware- and physically based side of the technology landscape, although software is also likely to increase its impact and importance in 2010. There are also some technology trends that are so self-evident and long-term that we have not listed them. We would include amongst these the need to reduce power consumption and the need to pursue low-carbon and reduced materials content solutions. We see these as drivers for some of the more detailed technologies we list below…The ten technologies listed below, in no particular order, might just be part of our changing times…”

36. Amazing Software Turns Cheap Webcam Into Instant 3D Scanner http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/11/amazing-software-turns-cheap-webcam-into-instant-3d-scanner/ “…The software, written by a team headed by Qui Pan, a student at the Department of Engineering at Cambridge University in England, turns a regular, cheap webcam into a 3D scanner. Normally, scanning in 3D requires purpose-made gear and time. ProFORMA lets you rotate any object in front of the camera and it scans it in real time, building a fully 3D texture mapped model as fast as you can turn an object. Even more impressive is what happens after the scan: The camera continues to track the objsct in space and matches it’s movement instantly with the on-screen model…”

37. Sony outs world's first TransferJet chips for short-range wireless transfer http://www.engadget.com/2009/11/30/sony-outs-worlds-first-transferjet-chips-for-short-range-wirele/ “…Induction chargers like Palm's Touchstone are great and all but they lack one significant feature long mastered by USB tethers: data transfer. That could soon change as Sony begins pushing out its first TransferJet LSI in hopes of obtaining broad industry adoption of this newest form of short-range wireless transmission technology. TransferJet, remember, allows for a theoretical 560Mbps (closer to 375Mbps in the real-world) wireless transfer at a distance of about 3 centimeters…Just imagine yourself waving a TransferJet-equipped Sony Ericsson phone in front of your new Bravia TV and having all your photos and videos appear on the big screen and you've just seen the future…”

Leisure & Entertainment

38. TVDeck creates a TV Guide for web video http://digital.venturebeat.com/2009/11/25/tvdeck-creates-a-tv-guide-for-web-video/ TVDeck, a new site that launched its public beta test yesterday, aims to help Internet users find some of the best and most interesting videos among the massive amounts posted on the web. TVDeck does this by aggregating the feeds, in a way somewhat similar to Alltop, of all the best shows online. There are a huge number of podcasts, video series, and the like out there, but the company says it’s only looking for the highest quality…TVDeck certainly isn’t the only player in this field: sites like Clicker, SideReel and OVGuide are all trying to make finding video online easier…”

39. Call of Duty series sales top 3 billion http://features.csmonitor.com/innovation/2009/11/27/call-of-duty-series-sales-top-3-billion-activision-says/ “…Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2…grossed $550 million worldwide since last week’s launch – another entertainment industry record…the Call of Duty series – which includes Modern Warfare 2, along with Call of Duty: World at War and others – has surpassed $3 billion mark in global retail sales…”

40. Ostendo's 43-Inch Curved Monitor: The Ultimate Gaming Display? http://www.pcworld.com/article/183208/ostendos_43inch_curved_monitor_the_ultimate_gaming_display.html “…Ostendo's 43-inch curved monitor…is now available to buy for just under $6,500. The Ostendo CRVD is an LED-backlit display featuring a 32:10 aspect ratio…quad-DLP display…2880-by-900 pixel resolution monitor…”

Economy and Technology

41. YC-Funded WakeMate Helps You Kiss Groggy Mornings Goodbye http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/11/24/wakemate-sleep-aid/ “…You may have followed all the rules: no caffeine before bed, an early bedtime, and all the rest. But your best efforts are oftentimes for naught, foiled by the mysterious ways of sleep cycles. There may be an answer: WakeMate, a Y Combinator-funded startup that’s launching today, is looking to help you catch that ever-elusive good night’s sleep…WakeMate is one of the few startups we’ve see that actually involves its own physical product (another that comes to mind is FitBit). To use the service, you first order the WakeMate wristband from the website, which costs $50. Then, you download an application for your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone…Once you’ve installed the app and paired your wristband with your phone, you set your alarm (more on that later) and hit they hay. The wristband tracks the movement of your wrist through the night, which it can use to analyze your sleep patterns…”

42. Bing and Google Checkout: Deals In Holiday Savings http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/11/30/google-checkout-holiday-savings/ “…while Microsoft has been making many online shoppers happy the past few days with the Bing Cashback system, Google has now set up a special ‘Checkout Deals’ page where you can get discounts on products purchased using Mountain View’s Internet payment system. Savings range from $5 to $20…”

43. The robots are coming to take your job away http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6931585.ece “…the downturn, says a Tsukuba University engineer, has honed Japanese robotics research and forced it to be more practical. Companies and universities once given unlimited budgets to push the boundaries of robotics are being told to come up quickly with something usable and commercial…Perhaps disturbingly for workforces around the world, say representatives of several of the largest robot makers, there is now a fast-growing list of human jobs that robots can do quicker and better…These, it says, will soon be “replacing people without taking up too much space or requiring any change in the layouts of production lines”. Its fiercest competitor, Fanuc, in the next booth, says: “What’s amazing is their \ speed. They can achieve the speed of the most experienced workers…The effort now is to push the machines into more areas, with the service and nursing industries the primary targets…”

44. Square: New Mobile Payment System http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/twitter_co-founder_launches_new_mobile_payment_system.php “…Square, a new mobile phone payment system founded by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, just launched its private beta today. Square will give anybody the ability to accept payment cards without having to go through a costly credit card processing service. Instead, Square will give its users the ability to use their mobile phones, laptops or desktop computers to accept payment cards and swipe them with the help of a small dongle that will plug into the computer's or phone's audio jack…users won't have to sign any contracts and there won't be any monthly fees or hidden costs…In its current iteration, Square works on the iPhone and iPod touch…Square want to be a cheaper, more modern alternative to these systems. Square will email receipts to a payer's phone, for example, and allow merchants to track frequent customers and offer them discounts. In addition, Square will also donate one penny for every transaction to a cause of the user's choice. Thanks to Square, every stand at a local farmers' market and every small coffee cart or hot dog vendor on the street will soon be able to accept credit cards without having to go through one of the major credit card processing services…”

Civilian Aerospace

45. Virgin Galactic’s Space-Grazing Aircraft Is Ready for Liftoff http://www.wired.com/magazine/2009/11/ff_whiteknight/ “…In 1994, Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen asked Scaled Composites founder Burt Rutan a question: Would it be possible to beam down broadband Internet signals from high above Los Angeles using a plane that the legendary aeronautical engineer was designing?...The plane, called Proteus, is a bizarre-looking aircraft capable of loitering at 60,000 feet for up to 14 hours, and it’s been used for high-altitude research by everyone from NASA to universities…Rutan remembers wondering, “What else could you use it for?” He has been captivated by space ever since he saw Wernher von Braun on Walt Disney’s TV show in the 1950s. It occurred to Rutan that Proteus might be able to carry a smaller craft under its fuselage and “do a little point-and-shoot” toward the stars. That would eliminate one of the trickiest parts of rocket launching: the massive engines and fuel needed to lift a spacecraft through the lowest, thickest part of the atmosphere and onward into space…Over the next few years, Rutan used that knowledge to chase the $10 million X Prize, which had been announced in 1996. As he designed the aircraft, Rutan made a series of decisions that proved nothing short of genius and on which Virgin’s plans ride today…”

46. SpaceX founder weighs in on Falcon 9 launch readiness http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0911/26musk/index.html “…Hardware for the Falcon 9 rocket is again streaming into the Cape, Musk said in an interview Wednesday…The Falcon 9 is being built to haul supplies to the International Space Station inside the Dragon spacecraft, which is also developed by SpaceX. The company has a contract with NASA to test the Dragon and conduct up to 12 operational cargo delivery flights in a contract worth $1.6 billion…Musk said the Falcon 9 launch won't happen before early February, but the high-tech tycoon cautioned not to read into target dates…"I'd give it perhaps 70 to 80 percent likelihood of success, of complete success where it goes to orbit…”

47. The Myth of the Starship http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/stross20091128/ “…New Horizons…is the fastest human-launched vehicle so far. It raced past Lunar orbit within nine hours of take-off…it will take around 10 years to reach Pluto (its proximate target — for a three-hour flyby)…We are 4.37 light years, or 140 million light-seconds, from Alpha Centauri…in very roughly 30 million days, or on the order of 300,000 years (if it was going in the right direction, which it isn’t), New Horizons could reach Alpha Centauri…what intrigues me is the possibility that the entire conceptual framework of the starship is a dangerously misleading dead-end, and that what we need is a new framework for thinking about interstellar travel…”

48. Making Rocket Science A Career Move http://www.space-travel.com/reports/Rocket_Stars_The_Guys_Making_Rocket_Science_A_Career_999.html “…bustling and urbane Caddo Mills Municipal Airport…is the home of Texas' most unusual rocket company, Armadillo Aerospace. All that outwardly heralds the presence of the company is a small sign over a few windows looking in on a sparse lobby decorated with a few trophies. Like a mad scientist's secret hideout, there is no obvious sign of the genius and frenetic activity going on inside the cavernous space. On a gloomy rainy day, I dropped by Armadillo to see firsthand the advances being made by an eclectic team of rocket visionaries…”

49. Telescope Buying Guide Part 1: What You Must Know First http://www.space.com/spacewatch/telescope-buying-guide-1.html “…Over the years I've spoken with many amateur astronomers about how their interest in the sky was fired-up upon receiving their first telescope. I can still remember when I was 9-years old peering at the moon through my own new telescope; the view was absolutely entrancing…Perhaps you are now seriously considering purchasing a telescope, either for yourself or for someone else. Here's a brief overview of what you must know first…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

50. of NVIDIA and hybrid computing http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/11/29/nvidia_tesla_fermi/ At SC09, it was hard to travel the floor without running into hybrid computing in some way, shape, or form…The chief beneficiary of all of this interest in hybrid computing looks to be NVIDIA who, with its Tesla line of GPU accelerators, is currently offering the most robust product line. In a lot of ways, NVIDIA pioneered the trend and, as a result, has captured mindshare with at least the supercomputing set…”

51. Ubiquitous Parallelism and the Classroom http://www.hpcwire.com/features/Ubiquitous-Parallelism-and-the-Classroom-70649007.html “…In the near future, most electronic devices will have multiple cores which would benefit greatly from parallel programming. The low hanging fruit is, of course, the student's laptop, and aiding the student to make full use of that laptop. So how do we get there?...As computer architectures evolve from single core to multicore to manycore, the computer science curriculum must experience a commensurate single-course to multi-course to many-course evolution in terms of where parallelism is studied…We need to help students get to a place where they think of a single processing unit as just a special case of multiple processing units, much like they now learn to view a single variable as a special case of an array…”

52. Imagination preps GPU/CPU compilers for parallel processing http://eetimes.eu/uk/221900867 “…Imagination Technologies Group plc (Kings Langley, England) is preparing compilers that will be able to assign tasks across both graphics and general-purpose processing units. Imagination has had its own 32-bit Meta processor core on its books for most of this decade but it best known as a licensor of application-specific digital audio broadcast, graphics and video cores…Imagination is part of a growing group of companies, including Advanced Micro Devices, Nvidia and Qualcomm, who are working on software techniques to allow GPUs to run applications other than graphics rendering…”

53. Will the GPU become the new CPU? http://blogs.zdnet.com/hardware/?p=6289&tag=nl.e539 “…Will the GPU ever become the metric that we use to measure PCs with, replacing the GHz-centric and core-centric CPU? Why might this happen? Well, because increasingly software developers are looking to the GPU to take the load off the CPU. And with good reason, as the GPU absolutely excels at certain tasks, leaving even the most cutting-edge CPUs in their smoke…Over the past couple of years we’ve seen the importance of high-end GPUs diminished greatly as games (which are increasingly developed for consoles) no longer suck at the GPU anywhere near as hard as they once did. When once you could spend $500 on a graphics card and still feel like getting another in order to hook them together in a Crossfire/SLI setup, now a $100 is really all that 95% of gamers need. Problem is, GPU makers don’t make much of a profit off of $100 graphics cards…”


*****

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