2010/01/05

NEW NET Issues List for 05 Jan 2010

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 05 January 2010, 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. Chicken wire in your house walls eats wifi http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/2010/jan/02/wifi-walls-plaster-lath-wire-blocked Got an old house?...Discovered you can't get the Wi-Fi signal to travel anywhere in the house…The culprit? Plaster-and-lath walls - specifically when the lath…of the wall is chicken wire or similar corrugated wire, to which the plaster is added to create the wall…the wire acts as a Faraday cage, killing the signal…”

2. Will the Internet Run Out of IP Addresses in 2012? http://news.yahoo.com/s/nf/20100103/tc_nf/70830 “…Here's how it works in a nutshell: IP version 4, or IPv4, addresses are allocated by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) to regional registries. The registries then allocate IPv4 addresses to individual customers. As it stands, the last free pool at IANA is tracking for September 2011 -- and the last address would be offered to an individual customer about a year later, or about 700 days from now…sooner or later, the free pool will be gone. IPv4 addresses are fixed in number and most of them have already been handed out to organizations and ISPs… when the world runs out of IPv4 addresses, it will force network operators to use their address resources more carefully and promote two structural adjustments. First, it will promote the use of network address translators (NATs) that put an entire organizational network in a private address space. Second, it will, hopefully, eventually drive ISPs and others to adopt the new Internet protocol, IPv6, which has a very large address space…The Internet itself is unlikely to run out of IP addresses because IPv6 offers a virtually infinite pool. However, the challenge is to make the transition from IPv4 to IPv6. Eventually providers will adopt IPv6 addressing, and the IPv4 exhaust could prompt them to move faster on its adoption. "The migration to IPv6 will take years, and that will require both standards to be in place for a long time," Mueller said. "If we really develop shortages of IP addresses, it could crimp the growth of the Internet and undermine its performance in various ways…”

3. 10 Sites and Services That Will Matter in 2010 http://www.pcworld.com/article/185146/10_sites_and_services_that_will_matter_in_2010.html “…here are the sites and services that I think have a decent shot of leaping into the limelight during 2010…Fancast Xfinity TV…Bing…Android Market…Grooveshark…Google Voice…Justin.tv…Clicker…Yammer…Wikitravel.org…Postabon…”

4. Get the Most Out of Your Webcam http://www.sci-tech-today.com/story.xhtml?story_id=0100010W3TLO&page=1 “…Regarding lighting, your video transmission will always be better when there's plenty of light. Video cameras, like still cameras, will typically produce better images with sufficient light, with a sharper image and less ghosting during movements. Try to position lights in front of you, behind the camera, and to either side…The position of your webcam will also have an effect on the aesthetic quality of your video transmission. Generally you should position the camera so that you're looking slightly up at it…I'm preparing to conduct a video interview over Skype and do not want to wear unsightly headphones. What's the best way to get good sound without the headphones?...The most professional, and probably the most expensive, is to invest in a lavalier microphone kit that allows you to place a small headphone in your ear and a tiny microphone on your lapel or somewhere else on your clothing…”

5. Get Skype on your TV http://share.skype.com/sites/en/2010/01/skype_on_your_tv.html In just a few months’ time, you’ll be able to get Skype on your TV – and you can find out more in the video above. We’re bringing Skype into the living room, so that you can share family moments – celebrating a birthday, organising a holiday or just having a chat with friends on a Sunday evening – all on the big screen. Thanks to our TV manufacturing partners LG and Panasonic, we’ve been able to embed Skype in the latest generation of internet-connected widescreen HDTVs…”

6. Seesmic expands its social network dashboard by acquiring Ping.fm http://deals.venturebeat.com/2010/01/04/seesmic-pingfm/ Seesmic, which already helps users manage their Facebook and Twitter accounts from a single dashboard, is now plugging into many more networks with the purchase of social posting service Ping.fm. With Ping.fm, users can send updates to 50 social networks at once, including Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, WordPress, TypePad, Yammer, and others. You send messages from email, SMS text message, or online chat — for example, you could use an instant messaging service like AIM to compose and send an update to Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace…”

7. LivingSocial: review and share entertainment, group-buying http://digital.venturebeat.com/2010/01/04/livingsocial-grabs-5-million-more-from-grotech-steve-case/ “…Social discovery network LivingSocial, which lets people review and share books, movies, restaurants and other types of entertainment, just raised another $5 million in an extended first round. The Washington D.C.-based startup plans to use the money to expand its group-buying deals. Collective buying is emerging as a lucrative field, as competitor Chicago-based Groupon also recently raised $30 million…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

8. TSA Threatens Blogger Who Posted New Screening Directive http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/12/dhs-threatens-blogger/ “…Two bloggers received home visits from Transportation Security Administration agents Tuesday after they published a new TSA directive that revises screening procedures and puts new restrictions on passengers in the wake of a recent bombing attempt by the so-called underwear bomber…The document…was sent by TSA to airlines and airports around the world and described temporary new requirements for screening passengers through Dec. 30, including conducting “pat-downs” of legs and torsos. The document, which was not classified, was posted by numerous bloggers…They’re saying it’s a security document but it was sent to every airport and airline,” says Steven Frischling, one of the bloggers. “It was sent to Islamabad, to Riyadh and to Nigeria. So they’re looking for information about a security document sent to 10,000-plus people internationally. You can’t have a right to expect privacy after that…Frischling, a freelance travel writer and photographer in Connecticut who writes a blog for the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, said the two agents who visited him arrived around 7 p.m. Tuesday, were armed and threatened him with a criminal search warrant if he didn’t provide the name of his source. They also threatened to get him fired from his KLM job and indicated they could get him designated a security risk, which would make it difficult for him to travel and do his job…It’s not hard to intimidate someone when they’re holding a 3-year-old [child] in their hands. My wife works at night. I go to jail, and my kids are here with nobody…When they pulled a subpoena from their briefcase and told him he was legally required to provide the information they requested, he said he needed to contact a lawyer. The agents said they’d sit outside his house until he gave them the information they wanted…” [ http://www.techcrunch.com/2010/01/02/the-tyranny-of-government-and-our-duty-of-confidentiality-as-bloggers/ http://www.businessinsider.com/henry-blodget-the-tsas-intimidation-of-bloggers-over-leaked-security-rules-is-a-disgrace-2010-1]

9. Cybercrooks stalk small businesses that bank online http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/computersecurity/2009-12-30-cybercrime-small-business-online-banking_N.htm “…The American Bankers Association and the FBI are advising small and midsize businesses that conduct financial transactions over the Internet to dedicate a separate PC used exclusively for online banking…Cybergangs have inundated the Internet with "banking Trojans" — malicious programs that enable them to surreptitiously access and manipulate online accounts. A dedicated PC that's never used for e-mail or Web browsing is much less likely to encounter a banking Trojan…Internet-enabled ACH and wire transfer fraud have become so acute that the FBI, which is usually reticent to discuss bank losses or even acknowledge ongoing cases, has gone public about the scale of the attacks to bring attention to the problem. The FBI, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Reserve have all issued warnings in the past two months…The victims are mostly small to midsize organizations using online bank accounts supplied by local community banks and credit unions…”

10. Real-time tracking of those who wander http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10422694-1.html “…Medical Mobile Monitoring has recently developed a medical-alert tracking system that resembles a baby monitor…tracks users no matter how far they wander, as long as they are within range of an AT&T cellular network. It costs about $35 a month. The system also uses GPS satellite tracking, so you can literally watch the person you are monitoring online in real time…Medical Mobile Monitoring also allows family members to see an online map and location of their loved ones over the Internet and be notified via mobile phone and email when an emergency arises. Aside from such a service being both inherently creepy and inherently useful, it is also a sign of the times…”

11. Facebook fights back, disallows the Suicide Machine http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2010/01/facebook-fights-back-disallows-the-suicide-machine.html “…The Suicide Machine is a clever Web site out of the Netherlands that was designed to free users from their social network lives on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn. You just pick one of the networks, start up the machine, and it graphically shows you unfriending your contacts, one by one, and eliminating all your other contacts with your profile. Forever…You don't want to fool around with it unless you're serious. Like taking that first step off the Golden Gate Bridge, once you click to start the process on the Suicide Machine, you can't stop it…Except that Facebook is now fighting back. The Suicide Machine is reporting that Facebook has banned its IP address, thus foiling suicides…”

12. New Illinois laws limit texting http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091231/ap_on_bi_ge/us_new_laws_illinois “…Most drivers have their own name for those texters in traffic who seem more interested in their cell phones than their cars…Come Friday the state of Illinois will have one, too: outlaw…Texting takes your hands off of the wheel, your mind off of driving, and your eyes off of the road," said Beth Mosher, spokeswoman for AAA Chicago. "And that's a really dangerous combination…”

13. Full-body scanners to be put in British airports http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100103/ap_on_bi_ge/eu_britain_airport_security “…full-body scanners will be introduced in Britain's airports in the wake of the failed Christmas Day bombing attempt of a U.S. airliner. Brown told the British Broadcasting Corp. on Sunday that all airport security would be increased in Britain, and all passengers even those only transiting through the country will have their hand luggage screened for traces of explosives…”

14. The Decade’s 10 Most Dastardly Cybercrimes http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/12/ye_cybercrimes/ “…it’s time to reflect on the most ingenious, destructive or groundbreaking cybercrimes of the first 10 years of the new millennium...MafiaBoy…California Payroll Database Breach…Slammer…Foonet…Los Angeles Traffic Signal Attack…Max Vision…RBS Worldpay Heist…Albert Gonzalez…Conficker…Money Mules…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

15. Litl webbook http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704152804574628433438909764.html “…the original netbooks…were designed around this concept of relying mostly on the Web. They used low-end processors, shunned Windows, and had very little internal storage. But a combination of consumer sentiment and industry maneuvering pushed them back into the fold, so that today, most are simply cheap, small conventional Windows laptops…a small Boston company, called Litl, is taking another shot at this idea, with a different twist. It is selling online a highly unusual laptop it classifies as a "webbook," which attempts to meld cloud computing with a TV-like viewing experience—for the home. This shiny, colorful computer, named the Litl, is larger and more expensive than a typical netbook. It's about the size of a small standard laptop, with a 12-inch screen and a weight of 3.4 pounds. It costs $699…Litl doesn't use Windows, or directly run word processors, email, or photo or music programs. It can only perform those tasks via Web sites and services like Gmail or Flckr, Google Docs or Pandora Radio. About the only local program it has that can run without an Internet connection is a virtual egg timer. It has no hard disk or any other way for a user to store anything locally…There is no task bar or dock, no folders, no icons for files and programs…Litl's screen is filled with small cards that contain various kinds of Web content, from photos to news headlines, Facebook status and favorite Web sites. Click on a card, and its contents fill the screen…Litl has another big difference from…netbooks: something called "easel mode." You can flip it around…with the screen facing outward. In that position, the machine can be used like a small Internet-based TV to display headlines, the weather, photo slideshows or videos from the Web. The company sells a $19 remote for controlling the computer in easel mode…”

16. HP, Toshiba 'Core i3' laptops not pricey http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-10423417-64.html “…Due in the next few weeks from Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba, Gateway and a host of other PC makers, some of the first laptops using Intel's new Core i3 processor will be priced as low as $700…A system from HP…is priced at $865…HP Core i3-based Pavilion laptop…Display: 15.6" LED…The $694 Gateway system has the same screen size (listed with a 1600 x 900 native resolution)…The Arrandale-based Core i3 is the first mainstream Intel laptop processor to combine two processor cores and a graphics function together in one chip package…the new built-in graphics technology will offer better graphics performance than current technology, according to Intel…not all PC makers are convinced that Intel's new graphics technology is the way to go, as evidenced by Gateway's decision to use a discrete ATI graphics processor from Advanced Micro Devices…the Core i3 won't have Turbo Boost technology, which speeds up and slows down individual cores to meet processing and power-efficiency needs, respectively. This will only be offered in higher-end Core i5 and i7 processors--including Arrandale i5 models. However, the Core i3 will have Hyper-Threading, which can double the number of tasks--or threads--a processor can execute. This is not offered in current Core 2 chips…”

17. Slim, Large Screen E-Reader Skiff to Debut on Sprint http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/01/e-reader-skiff-to-debut-on-sprint/ “…the Skiff e-reader, a lightweight device with a 11.5-inch full flexible touchscreen that makes it the largest e-reader on the market, beating the 9.7-inch display Kindle DX…Skiff is optimized for newspaper and magazine content and will use Sprint’s 3G network to offer wireless connectivity. The device will debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas later this week…Though the Kindle DX is the only e-reader with a screen size larger than the standard 6-inch available in the U.S. currently, more plus sized e-readers are set to hit the market. For instance, Plastic Logic’s Que will have a 8.5-inch by 11-inch screen. At over a quarter-inch in overall height, Skiff’s display will have a resolution of 1200 x 1600 pixels. It weighs just over one pound and offers a week of average use between charges, says the company. The device will have both 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity…Skiff uses the black-and-white display technology developed by E Ink…”

18. Lenovo announces Skylight smartbook http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10424810-1.html …smartbooks…Smaller than Netbooks, running custom OSes and miniature smartphone processors, these newly-coined devices are supposed to offer the best of smartphone convenience with the form factor of a Netbook…Lenovo has one of the first with their Skylight. With a 10.1-inch screen, it's not exactly a supersmall device compared to an iPhone--but it is much thinner than nearly any Netbook. With built-in 3G and Wi-Fi, Lenovo promises a seamless browsing experience. The OS, however, is not Windows, or even Ubuntu: it's a Linux-based custom OS with "web gadgets" for accessing functions such as Gmail and Facebook…The Skylight comes with 18 built in, including Amazon MP3 and Roxio CinemaNow to add music and movie purchasing…10 hours-plus of battery life sounds tempting…And how well does it play videos? That also remains to be seen…2 USB (1 in a strange flip-jack form), SD and micro-SDHC card slots, a SIM card slot, and even mini-HDMI. 20 GB of flash memory are included, plus 2GB of Lenovo cloud storage. Carriers have not been announced, but the estimated price--$499--sounds daunting and begging to be subsidized…”

19. T-Mobile Upgrades to HSPA 7.2Mbps http://www.phonescoop.com/news/item.php?n=5310 “…T-Mobile…upgraded its entire 3G network to HSPA 7.2Mbps (peak speeds). That's an improvement from 3.6Mbps, and should allow for faster wireless downloads. T-Mobile also pointed out that its 3G footprint now covers some 200 million Americans. T-Mobile…plans to be the first U.S. carrier to deploy HSPA+ across its network by mid 2010. T-Mobile currently has an HSPA+ trial under way in Philadelphia…will offer up to 21Mbps downloads…”

Open Source

20. Canonical CEO Steps Aside http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20091217/tc_pcworld/canonicalceostepsaside Mark Shuttleworth, the South African-born entrepreneur who founded Linux distribution provider Canonical, will be stepping down from his post as company CEO…Jane Silber, currently the chief operating officer and director of online services for the company, will take the role of CEO by March 1. Shuttleworth said…We're growing into markets which demand a level of rigor and operational discipline that Jane has brought to the various pieces [of the company] she has led in the past," Shuttleworth said. "Between her and I, we've always brought two different styles to the leadership. But I think it's appropriate for Canonical to have more commercial focus at the top over the next five years…”

21. Songbird Lands Deal With Philips http://www.techcrunch.com/2010/01/05/songbird-philips/ “…Songbird…The open source media player that’s increasingly positioning itself as an alternative to Apple’s iTunes has forged a deal with global electronics maker Philips…Songbird’s software will come bundled with the Philips line of GoGear portable music players, available worldwide…While Songbird offers support for some portable music devices…the experience for users isn’t always as seamless as they typically get from the ubiquitous iPod/iTunes combo. The Philips-branded version of Songbird will be custom tailored for the GoGear devices, which means it will recognize exactly which device you plug in and which features that device supports (the same way iTunes knows if you plug in a Nano vs an iPhone). The application can be used for song purchases and playlist management, as well as firmware updates…The Philips-branded software is only available on Windows for now, but Macintosh support is in the works…”

22. Bangarang The new KDE media player http://linuxcrunch.com/content/bangarang-new-kde-media-player “…the default KDE media player Dragon player. It is simple and easy. In this post I will introduce you a new media player for KDE4 which intends to be simple in stylish way, more integration with KDE4 technologies like phonon and Nepomuk, and has more features than Dragon player…The word Bangarang comes from Jamaican Patois language and it means noise, chaos, or disorder…Bangarang is currently in a beta stage…”

23. Ubuntu Beginners Manual http://www.webupd8.org/2010/01/official-ubuntu-beginners-manual-coming.html “…a new complete beginners manual for Ubuntu is on it's way. The manual will include information on anything you need to know after installing Ubuntu and very useful how-to's for beginners, all written in a user-friendly way in a PDF file…the new Ubuntu Beginners Manual, which initially begun as a project by Benjamin Humphreyand, then extended with the help of volunteers and it now wants to be an official guide, with a new revision every six months, to coincide with each new Ubuntu release…Final Release - version 1.0 to be released April 29th, 2010…”

SkyNet

24. Google debuts Nexus One Gphone http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/01/google-debuts-android-powered-nexus-one-superphone/ “…Google unveiled its Nexus One touchscreen handset during a private press-only event at its headquarters here Tuesday. Developed in partnership with hardware manufacturer HTC…The phone also uses dual-microphone noise cancellation for improved voice quality and speech recognition…“The Nexus One is where web meets phone,” says Google…The phone will retail for $180 with a 2-year contract with T-Mobile, but will also be available for $530 unlocked (spot on with the latest speculation). It ships today and is available for purchase immediately at Google’s new online store. The Nexus One will be available on Verizon and Vodaphone networks this spring…It’s housed in a thin exterior case less than half an inch (11.5 mm) thick, and it weighs only 4.5 ounces (130 grams). The Nexus One also boasts some impressive hardware. It features a zippy 1-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, which Google says enables the phone to seamlessly run multiple applications at once. A trackball allows users to navigate the interface, and also uses different colored lights to send various alerts — such as a new call or e-mail message. It also sports a 3.7-inch touchscreen AMOLED display with a native resolution of 480 x 800 pixels, a 5-megapixel camera, 512 MB of RAM and ROM, and a microSD slot that’s expandable up to 32 GB of storage (it ships with a 4-GB card). It has a compass and an accelerometer, and light and proximity sensors allow the device to save power by dimming or shutting off the screen. A metal plate on back is designed for personal engraving. There is no hardware keyboard…Google’s new online store is, in some ways, bigger news than the phone itself. It allows the company to interact directly with consumers, just as Apple does. It lets users buy phones with or without service, which also lets Google do an end-run around carriers…The phone seems pointedly designed to move the United States towards a more European-style model, where consumers buy unlocked phones at a higher, unsubsidized price. The company made point to note this repeatedly…” [http://news.cnet.com/8301-19882_3-10425524-250.html “…With the Nexus One, Google is pulling an Apple. It's pushing the carrier relationships down the marketing stack by running its own Nexus One store, on which you choose your phone first, and the carrier second, and where you pay for the new product with your Google account. I'd like to see Google take over the monthly billing, and let its users switch carriers at will, or manage the reselling and switching of bandwidth effectively so users don't know or care which carrier they're on (or none at all -- think Wi-Fi and VoIP…”] [http://www.techcrunch.com/2010/01/05/google-nexus-one-the-techcrunch-review/ “…It’s also the fastest and most elegant smartphone on the market today, solidly beating the iPhone in most ways…there is sure to be something better just around the corner. But if you are looking to buy a high end smartphone right now, this is the phone for you… most of your interaction with the phone will be through the gorgeous 3.7 inch 480 x 800 OLED capacitive touchscreen. This is the best mobile phone display on the market today, blowing away the iPhone’s 480 x 320 display…all this hardware bling is an energy hog. The screen will self adjust brightness and Google is smart about turning down the processor when it’s not being used. But I’ve found battery life to be woefully brief, even by iPhone standards. Officially the phone has up to 7 hours talk time, 250 hours standby, 5 hours of 3G Internet use, 7 hours of video playback and 20 hours of audio playback. Unofficially, I was able to kill the fully charged battery with 1.5 hours of continuous gameplay (Robo Defense) on the full-brightness screen. Be prepared to keep this phone near a charger at all times. You can easily view what’s using the battery, though (the screen is 71% of my current usage), and then adjust the hardware or software usage to maximize battery life…”]

25. Google Chrome is now world’s 3rd most popular browser http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9142958/Google_s_Chrome_grabs_No._3_browser_spot_from_Safari Google's Chrome overtook Apple's Safari to become the world's third-most popular browser just 16 months after its debut…Chrome ended December with a share of 4.63%...Mozilla's Firefox…with 24.6%...Microsoft's IE again made the biggest move of any browser: It dropped 0.92 of a percentage point to 62.7%, a new low for the application that once held a share well north of 90%…”

26. A New Behemoth Emerges In Google Maps: Wikipedia http://searchengineland.com/a-new-behemoth-emerges-in-google-maps-wikipedia-32593 “…When Place Pages were introduced into Google Maps, Google was attempting to expand content to provide locations and information about all sorts of things beyond just businesses. The Maps team sought to provide information about points-of-interest such as parks, monuments, forests, major buildings, historical markers, natural features and more…It’s not surprising that Google would look towards Wikipedia for info about landmark places. The content is rich, deep and available for free under Creative Commons licensing…All this goes to illustrate how the advent of PlaceRank as a stronger influence within Google Maps has dramatically shuffled business rankings. Some businesses which are perhaps the most-popular and most-cost-effective for an area, have now been pushed out of the first set of results for local searches, while some businesses which may not merit the higher placement have suddenly rocketed into top slots…the concept of PlaceRank is moderately good, so long as it’s tempered a little by additional other ranking factors. Google Maps is justified in conveying some amount of ranking weight, based upon the popularity of a business’s location, since convenient and popular locations are more preferred by consumers. I just think that the implementation here was somewhat faulty…Wikipedia will continue to be an influencing factor within Maps from here forward…”

27. Google Has Big Plans for Google Voice, Cloud Computing in 2010 http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Cloud-Computing/Google-Has-Big-Plans-for-Google-Voice-Cloud-Computing-in-2010-552678/ “…Google executive said the company has only scratched the surface of what it plans to do with Google Voice, the phone management application…Google Voice, which includes such tools as automatic voicemail transcription, SMS support, conference calling, and low-cost international calling, is free and has more than 1.4 million users. That pales in comparison to the nearly 500 million users Skype enjoys worldwide, but unlike that popular VOIP app, Google Voice users must have a phone carrier to use the service. However, that will change in 2010…Bradley Horowitz, vice president of product management, declined to outline specifics for how Google is implementing Gizmo5 with Google Voice. However, Horowitz…was very enthusiastic about the move and Google Voice…What we're trying to do with telephony is give people a seamless experience…Voicemail transcription, inbox integration and threaded SMS are fantastic features, but we're really just scratching the surface. Gizmo5 gives us talent and talent technology. They have specific tech and skills in further integrating telephony with devices and desktop and Web-based computing. We want to make sure you're communication is available to you irrespective of where you are at, what device you have in your pocket, etc…”

28. ChaCha overtakes Google as most-popular SMS search service http://www.strategyeye.com/articles/digitalmedia/id/24324798 “…ChaCha has overtaken Google to become the most popular SMS search service in the US…The company shot from a market share of just 7% in early 2009 to 28% less than three months later, a growth rate of more than 800%. Nielsen says it now has more text traffic than Google…ChaCha, which launched in 2007, offers a free service that lets mobile users ask any question in English and receive an answer by SMS in a few minutes. It also has a website where it publishes the queries it has so far answered, more than 300m to date. The company says it now receives around 1m questions a day and has more than 14m users a month…”

29. Google Moves to Keep Its Lead as Web Goes Mobile http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/05/technology/internet/05google.html Google’s expected unveiling on Tuesday of a rival to the iPhone is part of its careful plan to try to do what few other technology companies have done before: retain its leadership as computing shifts from one generation to the next. The rapid emergence of the smartphone as a versatile computing device may be as much a challenge as an opportunity for Google, which built its multibillion-dollar empire largely on the sale of small text ads linked to search queries typed on PCs. As people increasingly rely on powerful mobile phones instead of PCs to access the Web, their surfing habits are bound to change. What’s more, online advertising could lose its role as the Web’s primary economic engine, putting Google’s leadership role into question. “The new paradigm is mobile computing and mobility,” said David B. Yoffie, a professor at the Harvard Business School. “That has the potential to change the economics of the Internet business and to redistribute profits yet again…industry giants like I.B.M. and Microsoft, which once seemed unassailable, waned as computing shifted from big mainframes to PCs, and from PCs to the Internet. Many analysts say it is now Google that is faced with a less certain future in the face of another shift…Google saw this coming years ago and has been preparing for it. Google executives now say they are confident that the company will thrive as the mobile Internet grows…all of Google’s mobile moves were driven by one objective: pushing the industry to open up in an attempt to replicate on mobile phones the environment that has allowed the PC-driven Web to grow at explosive rates…”

30. Google’s proposal to build and operate a white spaces database http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/74251-google-wants-to-be-white-spaces-database-administrator “…Google filed an application today with the Federal Communications Commission to become one of the administrators of a "white spaces" database, which the FCC is requiring before manufacturers can start selling white space devices. A more detailed description of the database can be found in my earlier post [A year ago, the FCC established rules to allow new, unlicensed wireless devices to operate in fallow broadcast TV airwaves, known as "white spaces." The rules were intended to enable those devices to provide a new source of broadband services for consumers and businesses. For the devices to work, they need access to a database that shows which airwaves are used by TV stations in every market…] Google says it wants to build and maintain a geolocation database that wireless devices would have to connect to before sending or receiving data services over unlicensed airwaves between broadcasters stations. The database would tell those devices which frequencies are available in a particular location, and which ones to avoid because they are already in use. The idea is to minimize interference for broadcasters and wireless microphones …” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_spaces_(radio) ]

General Technology

31. A National Scan Center: A Public Works Project http://radar.oreilly.com/2009/12/a-national-scan-center-public.html “…our first National Archivist, Robert D.W. Connor, met some seemingly insurmountable challenges when he took office in the mid-1930s…Instead of simply moaning the impossibility of swallowing all the records Connor would need to establish the National Archives, he thought nonlinear. The result was the invention of several key technologies: the airbrush to clean paper, the laminator to protect it, and of course, the microphotograph (now known as microfilm or microfiche), a technology so successful it reduced incoming paper needs by 95%...France had just announced a stimulus package of $50 billion. President Sarkozy pledged 2% of that stimulus package, a full $1.1 billion, towards scanning and digitizing a national archive…Little money has gone from Congress for digitization, and bureaucracies have resorted to a series of questionable private-public partnerships as Legislative Histories (the record of each law from the initial bill through the hearings and conference reports) off to Thomson West, but didn't even get digital copies back…What the government and the people usually get is a lien on the public domain, preventing the public from accessing these vital materials…We can learn much from the French leadership on this issue…One of the big challenges Archivist Connor faced was getting the agencies to cooperate with him in giving the National Archives their records. His solution was leadership: President Roosevelt agreed to host a meeting of a newly-formed National Archives Council in the Cabinet Room…”

32. Does voice-to-text technology actually work? http://venturebeat.com/2009/12/30/does-voice-to-text-technology-actually-work/ “…Voice-to-text technology is entering more and more industries, and has the potential to make recording, dictating and communicating a whole lot faster…what’s potentially interesting about ShoutOUT is the same thing that’s on the minds of companies like Jott, Dial2Do, and even Google –- using your voice to make tasks that require typing, go a whole lot faster. Whether it’s reading news, taking notes, or even sending email, it can all be done faster with your voice…you get run into by a texter on the street, you start to wish for better voice-to-text technology…The knock on all these services, from Dragon Dictation to Jott to Google Voice, is that there’s a huge learning curve to get to know the app, train it to your voice, and use it properly– and often the apps just don’t work…the question is, do any of the applications actually work? To find out, I signed up for several of the biggest players in the voice-to-text field, and gave them all a simple test…”

33. AT&T asks FCC to set a “firm deadline” for phasing out landlines http://arstechnica.com/telecom/news/2009/12/att-landline-phone-service-must-die-only-question-is-when.ars “…In the heyday of the AT&T monopoly era, the telco's legendary CEO John deButts had an acronym for the company's main product. He christened it POTS, aka Plain Old Telephone Service, delivered over Ma Bell's copper wire public switched telephone network (PSTN). A half-century later, AT&T says it's time for POTS to die, and it wants the Federal Communications Commission to schedule its funeral…The company says it wants the agency to solicit public comments for "a firm deadline for the phaseout" of both, "and it should ask what that deadline should be…”

34. Intel moving from 45-nanometer manufacturing process to 32nm http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9143031/Intel_gets_ready_to_launch_32nm_Westmere_chips “…Intel…is set to unveil three chips from the Westmere family for desktop and mobile PCs. While Westmere has been the chips' internal name, they're officially being called Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7. The chips all are based on the Nehalem architecture but are being built on a 32nm platform. Rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. is scheduled to release its first 32nm chip in six months or so, but this is the first time Intel has dropped below 45nm…all three new chips will be dual cores and will use hyper-threading technology, an integrated memory controller and intelligent power gating…the 32nm chips will have an increased transistor count , and the chips will run faster without increasing power consumption…”

35. Understanding Windows 7's 'GodMode' http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10423985-56.html “…Windows enthusiasts are excited over the discovery of a hidden "GodMode" feature that lets users access all of the operating system's control panels from within a single folder…To enter "GodMode," one need only create a new folder and then rename the folder to the following: GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C} Once that is done, the folder's icon will change to resemble a control panel and will contain dozens of control options…” [from Sandi Hardmeier: this has actually been around since 2008 or so…you can name the folder anything you want – all you need to do is ensure that the folder name ends with the correct GUID]

36. Favorite New Projects, Products and Features of 2009 http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/12/31/daniel-raffel-favorite-products-2009/ “…a look back at my favorite tech launches this year…Playdar…Flavors.me…GDGT…Square…”

37. Tech Products I Love And Use Every Day http://www.techcrunch.com/2010/01/01/2010-my-fifth-annual-list-of-the-tech-products-i-love-and-use-every-day/ It’s time for my annual list of technology products that I love and use every day…What I like best about Android is the deep integration with Google Voice…Animoto…I never bothered installing Office on my new laptop, and find that Google Docs has all the functionality I need…I may never install Office again. I previously had Zoho on the list, a competitor, and removed it only because I find that centralizing as many services as possible at Google makes things easier for me as a user…I’ve ported my mobile number to Google Voice…It has changed my life, and I will never use a mobile phone that doesn’t have deep integration with the service…Kodak Zi8…digital video camera beats the pants off the current Flip models…”

38. Ten gadgets that defined the decade http://www.engadget.com/2009/12/30/ten-gadgets-that-defined-the-decade/ An article about the iPhone, netbook and other tech innovations of the first decade of the 21st century.

39. How to create a bootable Windows 7 USB flash drive http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2009/12/-the-usb-flash-drive.ars “…This guide will show you two different ways to create a USB flash drive that works just like a Windows 7 DVD. In order to follow this guide, you'll need a USB flash drive with at least 4GB of free space and a copy of the Windows 7 installation disc…”

Leisure & Entertainment

40. e-Books: Averting a Digital Horror Story http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_02/b4162050103172.htm “…Amazon.com…it's scaring the hell out of traditional publishers. Even though they make the same amount on sales of both kinds of books, they see Amazon's digital dominance as a looming threat to their business, and with good reason. Their big worry: Amazon will end up with the same kind of pricing power in books that Apple (AAPL) has in music, and that the book industry will suffer the same kind of bruising decline…By partnering with multiple outlets, publishers hope to regain control over pricing and gather purchasing data that could fuel future sales. They're unhappy Amazon has dropped the price of some new digital best-sellers to as little as $7.99, compared with $35 for hardcovers. Hachette and Simon & Schuster plan to delay the release of certain digital books for several months to avoid undercutting the sale of best-sellers…”

41. 'Avatar' No. 1 again, surpasses $1 billion http://www.cnn.com/2010/SHOWBIZ/Movies/01/03/boxoffice.avatar.ew/ “…James Cameron's sci-fi opus grossed $68.3 million over New Years weekend, a tiny 10 percent drop from Christmas weekend for a $352.1 million domestic total -- easily the biggest third weekend in the U.S. ever (2002's "Spider-Man" had held the record with $45 million)…in just 17 days, "Avatar" has surpassed $1 billion in the global box office. To put that in perspective, it took "The Dark Knight" pretty much its entire theatrical run just to make it to that milestone. (Another landmark: $66.4 million of "Avatar's" worldwide total is from IMAX theaters, a record for the mega-screen format.)…”

42. Inventing the plants of 'Avatar' http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-sci-avatar-q-and-a2-2010jan02,0,5033714.story James Cameron's science-fiction blockbuster "Avatar" takes place in 2154 on the lush moon Pandora. To help make the set believable, Jodie Holt, chairwoman of the department of botany and plant sciences at UC Riverside, was approached to consult on the film's plant life…Holt, a plant physiologist, talked about her involvement in the film and the "Pandorapedia," a detailed catalog of the moon's features, including its many plants…I met with Sigourney Weaver [who plays botanist Grace Augustine] and set designers to talk about how a field botanist would study and sample plants to learn about their physiology and biochemistry. We also talked about the idea of communication among plants, and between plants and the Na'vi, and how that might be explained…”

Economy and Technology

43. Nuance Buys Spinvox to Expand Voice-to-text Service http://www.pcworld.com/article/185648/nuance_buys_spinvox_to_expand_voicetotext_services.html Voice recognition software company Nuance Communications on Wednesday acquired voice-to-text services company Spinvox for $102.5 million. Spinvox, which is based in Marlow, U.K., provides technology that converts voice messages to text, which can then be sent as e-mail messages or posted on blogs or social networking sites. Nuance will implement Spinvox's technology into its speech recognition platform…Nuance is best known for the popular Dragon NaturallySpeaking software, which allows users to create documents or e-mail messages through dictation. But the company also provides technology to convert voice messages to text, which can then be sent to users as SMS or e-mail messages. Nuance's voice-to-text customers include AT&T, and the company earlier this year expanded its mobile product portfolio by acquiring companies including Jott and Zi…”

44. Green-tech venture investing cools off in 2009 http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-10423018-54.html “…The amount of venture capital that went toward green-technology companies fell to $4.85 billion in 2009, compared to $7.6 billion in 2008…Venture capitalists cut off funding for at least two companies in 2009--algae fuel company Greenfuel Technologies and battery company Imara, which both failed to generate significant revenues…solar continues to garner the most attention, having brought in $1.4 billion with 84 deals in 2009. Biofuels, another capital-intensive area, received $975 million in 44 deals…the next three segments to attract money were energy efficiency and the smart grid; automotive; and batteries, fuel cells, and storage…”

45. No more writing checks in lifestyle change http://www.physorg.com/news181401394.html It's been nine months since I've written a check. That's not to say I'm on some 12-step program to resist shopping. My credit card bills would suggest otherwise. Rather, when I opened a new bank account in March, I challenged myself to see to how much I could use my bank's online bill-payment service to stretch the 10 starter checks I got for free…I haven't needed to use any of the 10 free checks all year. I knew I wouldn't have trouble paying electricity, cable TV, phone or credit card bills. And for merchants, friends and others without prior electronic arrangements with my bank, Citibank, its bill-payment service simply prints out a check and mails it directly… I've gotten so used to a check-free lifestyle over these past nine months that I couldn't bear the thought of writing one and mailing it in - and getting closer to having to pay for a box of checks. I do miss getting canceled checks back, but banks have generally moved away from that anyhow, with or without electronic payments. Instead, many banks now let you view electronic images of canceled checks online…”

46. Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Square http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/04/1-on-1-jack-dorsey-of-twitter-and-square/ “…I recently sat down for coffee with Jack Dorsey to discuss Twitter, the location-based service Foursquare and his latest venture Square, an on-the-go credit card payment platform. Mr. Dorsey is the co-founder and chairman of Twitter, an angel investor in Foursquare and chief executive of Square…he showed me how Square worked…The process was extremely impressive, simple and fast. Swiping my credit card on Mr. Dorsey’s iPhone, signing the screen and receiving an e-mail message in my inbox all took about 10 seconds. Here is an edited version of our chat…”

47. Apple to buy Quattro Wireless for $275 million http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-10424858-37.html “…Apple is set to announce that it has acquired Quattro Wireless for $275 million…upping the ante in the mobile advertising business significantly. Google recently forked over an astonishing $750 million for AdMob, a Quattro competitor, which Apple had also made a bid to acquire. Both start-ups are aimed squarely at the fast-growing market to advertise on smartphones…”

48. Fallon’s Getting a Dell! http://www.cringely.com/2009/12/fallons-getting-a-dell/ “…There were already two computers in our kitchen but that wasn’t enough for Fallon, age three, who needs his daily fix of YouTube Scooby-Doo…for Christmas Fallon…got a Dell Vostro A90 netbook running Ubuntu Linux…because I was able to buy a new one from Dell for $199 with free shipping…Alas the little Dell…wouldn’t charge correctly. The AC adapter would charge the battery to 100 percent then the Dell would forget the AC adapter was attached and discharge completely unless rebooted, starting the charging and discharging cycle all over again…Dell sent a box by FedEx and we returned the netbook for repair. According to the arrival and departure log, which Dell kindly sent me by e-mail, Fallon’s Vostro was received, the motherboard replaced and the system reshipped in approximately 10 minutes. Wow! Too bad they didn’t actually repair it. When we got the netbook back it was worse. Now it wouldn’t charge at all…More time with Dell Tech Support determined we needed to send the Vostro back for another motherboard replacement, so they sent a second empty box to ship it back. That box arrived this afternoon along with a an unexpected second box from Dell containing yet another AC adapter and battery (giving me three of each) and a motherboard. Was I now supposed to replace my own motherboard?...We’re up to three hours on the phone with Dell Tech Support four chat sessions, and nine FedEx shipments so far. If everything goes perfectly from here on out the total will be 10 FedEx shipments, but there could be more. The Dell people have been uniformly helpful, friendly, courteous, and kind. I just wonder what the profit picture is for Dell on these $199 systems?…”

49. Best Buy Optimization Is A Big Stupid Annoying Waste Of Money http://consumerist.com/2010/01/consumerist-investigation-best-buy-optimization-is-a-big-stupid-annoying-waste-of-money.html “…All Betty…wanted was to go to Best Buy, pick up a laptop she saw advertised in a newspaper circular, pay for it, and leave. It wasn’t that simple. She was quickly informed that if she wanted the laptop she saw in the ad, she’d need to pay $39.99 for optimization. "I replied that I really didn't care about computer optimization, and that I came into the store to purchase the laptop for $649.99, the advertised price," Betty told us in an email. "[The Best Buy employee] said that there was nothing he could do about the $39.99 optimization charge, since those were the only models left in the store." Betty is the stubborn type. She refused to pay for a service she didn’t want, so she was told to go pick up the laptop at another branch. Once Best Buy employees began calling around, they discovered that the pre-optimization issue persisted at other nearby stores. After another 45 minutes passed, the second manager Betty spoke to agreed to waive the fee. Reader Nelson, however, wasn’t as lucky. He wasn’t able to walk out of the store with the advertised deal. Despite protesting, he was charged a fee for a service he didn’t want. "It wasn’t optional," Nelson told Consumerist, "They said that they sold out of the unoptimized $250 Acer laptops and the only ones left were the optimized versions…Getting to the bottom of what exactly the consumer gets for their $39.99 was more difficult a proposition than we initially assumed…Our Geek Squad Agents enable up to 100 system tweaks that improve PC performance and functionality, including optimized startup and shutdown, improved menu navigation, quick launch and taskbar cleanup and program shortcut creation…On our first visit to Best Buy we intended to ask about the optimization services, but the sales staff never seemed to come our way, so we grabbed a Geek Squad folder full of sales information…the folder contained a sheet that touted a six-month anti-virus protection deal, provided for free with all PC purchases. Geek Squad offers something called "Standard Security and Performance" ($69.99), which includes optimization and then the installation and configuration of anti-virus software (plus the cost of the software itself). If, however, you choose computer optimization alone ($39.99), you could still get anti-virus programs offered with "Standard Security & Performance," because they’re part of that six-month deal. We drank coffee and tried our hardest to see why anyone would choose to pay $69.99 for a service that was nearly identical to one that cost $39.99 and were unable to think of anything that sounded reasonable…”

Civilian Aerospace

50. N-Prize Team 'Anahera Tere' Talk to the Space Fellowship http://spacefellowship.com/news/art17534/n-prize-team-anahera-tere-talk-to-the-space-fellowship.html “…N-Prize…23rd registered…team…is Team Anahera Tere…team 23 will use “a gun launch first stage with a liquid second stage. The satellite is likely to be a tiny little transmitter of some sort, although two alternate designs are in place…The team members have a lot of experience with extremely innovative and radical engineering across a wide range of industries and technologies. No one here has worked professionally on orbital rockets because the space industry is very nascent in New Zealand…The price barrier set by the N-Prize can’t be beaten with a single innovation or engineering trick, the whole system has to be made up on synergistic innovations. For example, because the rocket is launched ballistically, initial guidance is very simple compared to traditional rocketry. After you have launched one, you know where every other rocket you launch will be for the first ten seconds or so of its flight…”

51. Person Of The Year: The Space Entrepreneur http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_generic.jsp?channel=awst&id=news/awst/2010/01/04/AW_01_04_2010_p46-192432.xml “…they are in the vanguard of a new industry, poised to transform how humans venture into space in ways that most observers can scarcely imagine today. Space entrepreneurs had a big influence on aerospace in 2009, although it does not begin to compare with the impact they are likely to have in years to come. That is why Aviation Week chose this intrepid group of engineers and visionaries as the 2009 Person of the Year…”

52. SpaceX Aims to Launch New Space Station Cargo Ship in 2010 http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/sn-091212-spacex-dragon-station-target.html The commercial spaceflight company Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) said this month that it expects to launch its cargo-carrying Dragon spacecraft on a maiden flight to the International Space Station (ISS) sometime between May and November 2010…it conducted the first Dragon operations training session with NASA astronauts in October to bring them up to speed on how the station crew will interface with the capsule while it is approaching and berthed to the station. "Three of the participating astronauts — Tracy Caldwell Dyson, Shannon Walker and Douglas Wheelock — will be on board the ISS when Dragon makes its first visit under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program…”

53. From complexity and danger http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1537/1 “…The theme throughout is that no government has any right or duty to act as a gatekeeper to the worlds beyond Earth—they are open for all of us to explore and private enterprise will develop safe technologies that enable us to do so…The space entrepreneurs have already proved their capabilities in producing complex machines—SpaceShipOne, Falcon, and the lunar lander challengers—are great examples. Falcon 9 plus Dragon will be a significant step up the development curve…When a major failure does occur it is often caused by a faulty component, itself a trivial part of the complex machine…Space is a hostile environment presenting many hazards…the history of mankind and its expansion is essentially a story of venturing into hostile environments…Going into space is as challenging as exploring, settling, and exploiting the islands of the Pacific…While Europeans were sailing close to the coastlines of continents before developing navigational instruments that would allow them to venture onto the open ocean, voyagers from Fiji, Tonga, and Samoa began to settle islands in an ocean area of over 25 million square kilometers. The settlement took a thousand years to complete and involved finding and fixing in mind the position of islands, some of which were no more than a kilometers in diameter on which the highest landmark was a coconut tree…The canoes were navigated without instruments by expert seafarers who depended on their observations of the ocean and sky and knowledge of the patterns of nature for clues to the direction and location of islands. Their vessels were seaworthy enough to make voyages of over 3,000 kilometers along the longest sea roads of Polynesia…Are we incapable of imagining such a heroic venture today? Have we become so constrained by risk assessments that, if we could take them back in time, we would prove Hawai‘i was unreachable and advise the Polynesians to stay put?…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

54. Argonne streaming visualization sends images across the world http://www.physorg.com/news181845616.html “…scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory…are developing software that enables researchers to interact with their results in real-time from across the country…Argonne’s Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF)…is home to Eureka, one of the world’s largest graphics supercomputers, which features 200 high-end graphics processing units…However, the scientists who need to analyze this data often live and work far from both supercomputing and rendering clusters…Images were streamed live at 10 gigabits per second from Eureka in ALCF over DOE's ESnet, a high-speed network with dedicated bandwidth for moving large datasets worldwide, to an OptiPortal tiled display in the San Diego Supercomputer Center's booth…we were able to link institutions across the country and leverage high performance computing, visualization resources, high speed networks and advanced displays in real-time…But what was really wonderful was seeing the scientists get excited about the possibilities that this will enable…”

55. The Tangled Future of CPUs and GPUs http://blogs.pcmag.com/miller/2009/12/is_larrabee_dead.php “…While some have taken this as the "death" of Larrabee, I see it mostly as a continuing indication of just how hard it is to bring the theory of parallel processing into the practice of the real world…Intel will continue to work on many of the concepts within Larrabee, because the overall directions of both the CPU and the GPU markets require it. As I see it, the two big trends in general processor designs are a push for much greater parallelism, particularly for high-end computing; and much more integration, particularly for mainstream and low-end computing. The Larrabee project had implications for both of those; and for how Intel, AMD, and Nvidia compete going forward…The top-end ATI Radeon HD 5870 claims 1,600 stream processing units and 80 texture units; Nvidia's current top-end single chip is the Geforce GTX 285, which the company describes as having 240 shader cores and 80 texture units. Note: Don't just assume that more cores makes for more performance--differences in how the processors actually work, speed, memory, and software are big parts of the equation…For the longest time, most computing-intensive tasks could count on CPUs doubling in clock speed every two years. That stopped mid-decade, due to heat concerns…GPU makers pointed out that they actually had a lot more processors (albeit simpler ones), and taken together, that could speed up a number of high-performance computing tasks…beyond the consumer applications are a number of scientific and high-performance computing applications for which GPUs are proving significant, notably in certain types of complex math, oil and gas simulations…It is in this market, high-performance computing, that Larrabee originally seemed most suited for…the goal was to…make a GPU-like chip out of multiple, stripped-down x86 processor cores…it's turned out to be harder than Intel has thought, judging by the repeated delays in the chip. That doesn't mean the Larrabee technology is dead…Intel had a very interesting demo…in which the company showed off pretty amazing performance in a high-performance benchmark, claiming 1 teraFLOP on an overclocked system…developing software that really makes use of such a product is hard to do. The high-performance computing market is relatively small, and it takes a long time to create applications…What makes the Nvidia and ATI products cost-effective to produce is that their GPUs are used in the more general discrete graphics market, focused on playing DirectX-based games…while the raw hardware is certainly important, the software (typically drivers) that makes these products work with DirectX and OpenGL is a critical piece of the equation. That's why you see these companies constantly putting out new drivers, trying to balance increased performance with stability…”

56. Avatar: Nvidia and Weta unveil PantaRay engine http://www.tgdaily.com/games-and-entertainment-features/45279-nvidia-unveils-pantaray-engine Nvidia and Weta Digital have developed an advanced ray-tracing system that is capable of quickly and accurately processing billions of polygons. The engine, dubbed PantaRay, was designed to accelerate pre-computation of scene occlusion data and dynamic image-based lighting in James Cameron's Avatar. "The complexity of Avatar motivated us to think about rendering differently. We do our final beauty-pass renders with RenderMan, but to optimize artistic iterations on Avatar's huge data sets, we moved the bulk of the calculation to a pre-computation step…”

57. Interview of Geoffrey Noer of SGI http://nextbigfuture.com/2010/01/interview-of-geffrey-noer-sgi.html “…SGI unveiled the Altix UV supercomputer, which scales to petaflop levels and is capable of running standard software without recompilation…Altix UV…is capable of scaling to petaflop speeds…more importantly, it runs standard X86 software, so it can take full advantage of standard operating systems and applications. This is a departure from most supercomputers, which run on proprietary processor architectures…The GPU will clearly play an increasingly important role in high performance computing deployments as time goes by. GPUs offer the opportunity to meet certain compute demands with a much smaller number of nodes. So for some specific types of applications GPU racks are becoming the ideal compute platform. But as useful as they are, we don’t expect to see a GPU in every server as many applications do not sufficiently benefit from GPU based acceleration…”


*****

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