2010/01/19

NEW NET Issues List for 19 Jan 2010

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 19 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. Using the Web and Social Media to Create More Effective Events http://webworkerdaily.com/2010/01/14/using-the-web-and-social-media-to-create-more-effective-events/?utm_source=gigaom&utm_medium=recent-posts “…two hundred journalists got together recently for an “un-conference” on the future of journalism…the results were documented, minute by minute, through notes, wikis, photos, audio, video, blogs and an amazing number of tweets. The organizers approached me to develop a web site to aggregate these posts in real-time before, during and after the event. In the process, I learned how such a site can reinforce the development of community…you’ve been to events where good ideas are hatched and projects are planned, but often, despite the best of intentions, activity loses steam after the event is over, and nothing much gets done. It’s too early yet to judge the long-term effectiveness of this particular event, but I’m optimistic that it will make more of a difference than many such gatherings…”

2. China's population of Web users hits 384 million http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100115/ap_on_hi_te/as_china_internet_boom China's population of Internet users, already the world's largest, soared nearly 30 percent last year to 384 million as the number of people surfing the Web by mobile phone more than doubled…The number of people going online by mobile phone rose 106 percent to 233 million, spurred by the launch of third-generation services that support video…It said 8 percent of Web surfers use only mobile phones to go online…”

3. Skype’s New Dawn? http://www.loosewireblog.com/2010/01/skypes-new-dawn.html “…Skype has soared in popularity since it started in 2003 and has about 548 million users worldwide—more than Facebook, MySpace and Twitter combined…Pretty much everyone I know is on Skype—more so than Facebook—and their investment in it is greater: They had to figure out how to install software, set up a microphone, a webcam, create an account, and maybe even buy credit. More importantly, they can actually estimate its value to them, by counting the money it’s saved them…I foresee huge opportunities ahead…there’s a much bigger opportunity out there…leveraging the free connectivity to allow an eco system of services to develop atop of it. Consulting, translation, education, all that kind of thing…If Skype dovetailed with Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn it could position itself at the heart of social media…it’s probably the only application that most Internet users have installed, loaded and active on their computer…It’s the ultimate presence app…If I want to contact someone the first place I check is Skype—if they’re online, what’s the point of contacting them any other way? Skype offers a granularity that other social networking tools don't: Not only is it comfortable with one to all (the status update message), it’s also comfortable with the one to several (add people to a chat or call), it’s also great at instantly connecting one on one. You can even reach people offline via it, if they have call forwarding enable, or you have their SMS details stored. No other social network offers that…It needs to lower some of its walls to allow interoperability with other chat clients, like Google Talk, and with services like Facebook and LinkedIn. Indeed it should throw open all its doors, so I can look up my friends on the Skype app and communicate with them using any or all of those services. Skype is the app is the network…” [Skype Now Accounts For 12% Of All International Calling Minutes]

4. New York Times to charge online readers http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10436455-93.html The New York Times is reportedly getting ready to charge readers for access…The newspaper is expected to announce in coming weeks that it will institute a metered pay plan in which readers would have access to a limited number of free articles before being invited to subscribe…Among the country's largest newspapers, only The Wall Street Journal has managed to continue charging online subscription fees. The New York Times abandoned a two-year experiment with the Web-subscription model in 2007…A Harris poll released earlier this month found that 77 percent said they wouldn't pay anything to read a newspaper's stories on the Web…”

5. A Rebel in Cyberspace, Fighting Collectivism http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/15/books/15book.html “…artist and computer scientist Jaron Lanier published an incisive, groundbreaking and highly controversial essay about “digital Maoism” — about the downside of online collectivism…design (or ratification) by committee often does not result in the best product, and that the new collectivist ethos…diminishes the importance and uniqueness of the individual voice, and that the “hive mind” can easily lead to mob rule…in his impassioned new book “You Are Not a Gadget,” Mr. Lanier expands this thesis further, looking at the implications that digital Maoism or “cybernetic totalism” have for our society at large…Decisions made in the formative years of computer networking, for instance, promoted online anonymity, and over the years…anonymity has helped enable the dark side of human nature…and what Mr. Lanier calls a “culture of sadism” has gone mainstream…Wikipedia…ratifies the notion that the individual voice — even the voice of an expert — is eminently dispensable, and “the idea that the collective is closer to the truth.” He complains that Wikipedia suppresses the sound of individual voices, and similarly contends that the rigid format of Facebook turns individuals into “multiple-choice identities.”…”

6. Experts Divided Over Internet Changes to Language http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/education/Experts-Divided-Over-Internet-Changes-to-Language-81898572.html “…the Internet has radically changed global communication. With instant access to messaging and email, the ability to circulate commentary and opinion has revolutionized the way people communicate. This has had an affect on language and writing, but people still debate the scope of these changes, and whether or not they're for the better. Eleanor Johnson is a professor in the English and Comparative literature department at Columbia University who attributes a growing misuse of language to the explosion of electronic communication…University-level research papers, she says, are now being peppered with casual phrases like "you know" and words like "guy" informal usages that were absent almost a decade ago…She's also seen an increase in incorrect word use, with students reaching for a word that sounds correct, whose proper meaning is just a bit off from what they intend to say. "For instance, using the word 'preclude' to mean 'precede.' Yeah, it sounds like 'precede,' but it means 'prevent.' And yet 'preclude' is not a particularly erudite term. It just sounds a tiny bit fancier than precede and actually means something totally different…Erin Jansen, founder of Netlingo, an online dictionary of Internet and text messaging terms, also says the new technology has not fundamentally changed existing language but added immensely to the vocabulary…Jansen says that while she has heard from frustrated educators about the new kinds of mistakes in spelling and grammar in student work, the expanding means of expression brings benefits to the classroom as well. "I always advocate, don't get angry or upset about that, get creative. If it's helping the kids write more or communicate more in their first draft, that's great, that's what teachers and educators want, to get students communicating…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

7. PCs Which Appear Infected Won't Be Allowed on Facebook http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2358015,00.asp “…if Facebook uncovers any sort of threat, the social networking site said it would take steps to secure a user's computer, a process that includes a sweep of the affected computer by McAfee technology…if your computer is infected, you will be asked to run a scan and clean it before accessing Facebook," Facebook wrote in a blog post…”

8. APTs: Operation “Aurora” Hit Google, Others http://siblog.mcafee.com/cto/operation-%E2%80%9Caurora%E2%80%9D-hit-google-others/ “…we discovered that one of the malware samples involved in this broad attack exploits a new, not publicly known vulnerability in Microsoft Internet Explorer. We informed Microsoft about this vulnerability and Microsoft published an advisory and a blog post on the matter…the intruders gained access to an organization by sending a tailored attack to one or a few targeted individuals…These attacks will look like they come from a trusted source, leading the target to fall for the trap and clicking a link or file…Once the malware is downloaded and installed, it opens a back door that allows the attacker to perform reconnaissance and gain complete control over the compromised system…Internet Explorer is vulnerable on all of Microsoft’s most recent operating system releases, including Windows 7…The current bumper crop of malware is very sophisticated, highly targeted, and designed to infect, conceal access, siphon data or, even worse, modify data without detection. These highly customized attacks known as “advanced persistent threats” (APT) were primarily seen by governments and the mere mention of them strikes fear in any cyberwarrior. They are in fact the equivalent of the modern drone on the battle field…” From MIT Technology Review, “…Kurtz doesn't specify which of the affected companies were infiltrated through the bug in Internet Explorer, but I'm hoping Google wasn't one of them. Wouldn't Google's employees have been using its own Chrome browser?…”

9. China's war on the U.S. economy http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/01/15/ED0L1BIABP.DTL China's recent cyberattacks against Google and as many as 33 other U.S. corporations open up a dangerous new industrial espionage front in Beijing's war on American business…an American manufacturer such as GM or Intel that produces in China must surrender some of its technology. Such forced technology transfer is clearly illegal under World Trade Organization rules, but U.S. executives meekly kowtow for a piece of the action…a shadow network of Chinese visitors to American soil regularly troll for new designs, processes, products and software that can be copied or reverse-engineered. The standard joke: What do they call an American patent in China? A blueprint…Predictably, Chinese government officials deny any culpability. This is supremely disingenuous, given the tight control of China's Internet by its vast army of cybercops and the sophistication of the attacks…”

10. Adobe patches PDF zero-day http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9144238/Adobe_patches_PDF_zero_day_other_critical_bugs Adobe late Tuesday patched eight security vulnerabilities, six of them critical, in its popular PDF viewing and editing programs. Security experts urged consumers and corporate IT administrators to use the time provided by a light month of Microsoft patching to update Adobe Reader and Acrobat, calling the Adobe fixes more important for one of the first times ever…” [consider trying FoxIt Reader instead of Adobe Acrobat Reader, http://majorgeeks.com/Foxit_Reader_d4763.html ]

11. Bulgarians rally over planned snooping on Internet http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100114/wr_nm/us_bulgaria_protest_surveillance Hundreds of Bulgarians protested Thursday against planned legal amendments allowing mass monitoring of emails, electronic messages and phone calls to fight crime and corruption. Under the changes to the electronic messages law, approved by parliament at first reading, Internet providers and mobile phone operators would be obliged to provide to police non-stop direct access to the electronic communication of all Bulgarians…”

12. Twitter joke led to Terror Act arrest and airport life ban http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/twitter-joke-led-to-terror-act-arrest-and-airport-life-ban-1870913.html When heavy snowfall threatened to scupper Paul Chambers's travel plans, he decided to vent his frustrations on Twitter by tapping out a comment to amuse his friends. "Robin Hood airport is closed," he wrote. "You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!!"…he was suspended from work pending an internal investigation, and has, he says, been banned from the Doncaster airport for life. "I would never have thought, in a thousand years, that any of this would have happened because of a Twitter post," said Mr Chambers, 26…While it has happened in the United States, Mr Chambers is thought to be the first person in the United Kingdom to be arrested for comments posted on Twitter…On 13 January, after apparently receiving a tip-off from a member of the public, police arrived at Mr Chambers' office…they said I was being arrested under the Terrorism Act and produced a piece of paper. It was a print-out of my Twitter page…Mr Chambers said the police seemed unable to comprehend the intended humour in his online comment. "I had to explain Twitter to them in its entirety because they'd never heard of it," he said…He has been bailed until 11 February…detectives have confiscated his iPhone, laptop and home computer. The civil libertarian Tessa Mayes, an expert on privacy law and free speech issues, said: "Making jokes about terrorism is considered a thought crime, mistakenly seen as a real act of harm or intention to commit harm. The police's actions…suggest desperation in their efforts to combat terrorism, yet they have serious repercussions for all of us. In a democracy, our right to say what we please to each other should be non-negotiable…”

13. Laptop Search Documents Revealed http://www.informationweek.com/news/storage/security/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=222301179 “…Last summer, the Department of Homeland Security released new rules governing searches of laptops and other electronic devices at airports and other border crossings. The rules, regarded as an improvement in terms of clarity, nonetheless continued Bush administration policies giving government agents the right to search electronic devices as if they were suitcases or backpacks, without cause. In February, 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand an appeals court ruling that laptops are like suitcases and can be searched at borders without reasonable suspicion. Business travel groups and rights groups have objected to treating electronic devices like baggage, arguing that electronic information deserves a higher degree of privacy protection…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

14. Verizon Wireless, AT&T Lower ‘Unlimited” Voice Plan Prices http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=9574548 The fight for cell phone users heated up Friday…Verizon Wireless, the largest cell phone carrier in the U.S., said…it would start charging $70 a month for an unlimited monthly calling plan. The same plan previously cost $100…An unlimited data and voice plan will now cost $100, rather than $130…Rival AT&T…responded late Friday by announcing some of the same price cuts. Starting Monday, it, too will charge $70 for an unlimited calling plan that had also been $100, and offer a $100 plan with unlimited voice and data for smart phones like Apple Inc.'s popular iPhone (also down from $130)…both companies are requiring more customers to buy the data plans…Verizon customers who buy any 3G, or third-generation multimedia phones will now have to sign up for a $10 per month data package, which gives them 25 megabytes a month…about 3 million to 3.5 million Verizon customers who will now be forced into spending at least $10 a month on data. AT&T, meanwhile, will require its customers that use the multimedia phones it offers to have at least a $20-per-month texting or Web browsing plan…Verizon Wireless also introduced new prepaid calling plans, at a monthly rate $5 above what it charges for post-paid customers who sign a contract…”

15. FCC Tells Wireless Mics to Get off 700MHz Spectrum Band http://www.pcworld.com/article/187024/fcc_tells_wireless_mics_to_get_off_700mhz_spectrum_band.html The U.S. Federal Communications Commission will prohibit hundreds of existing wireless microphone models from being used in the U.S. in five months because they operate in the 700MHz spectrum band, which was auctioned off to mobile voice and broadband carriers in 2008… Any existing devices broadcasting in the 700MHz band will have to stop operating by June 12...The main products affected by the ban will be wireless microphones, which have operated without FCC licenses in television spectrum for years…many wireless microphones operate in lower spectrum bands, and will be able to continue there…The FCC order requires wireless microphone makers to tell customers that the devices operate in television spectrum without FCC approval…”

16. Aliph launches latest Jawbone wireless headset http://venturebeat.com/2010/01/17/aliph-launches-latest-bluetooth-wireless-headset-for-broader-market/ Aliph…is launching a new model of Bluetooth headset, dubbed Jawbone Icon…This fourth-generation model…has more intelligence built into it, such as whispering into your ear when you have four hours of battery life or just 10 minutes left. It will sell for $99…Aliph is also launching a beta test of its first software platform, MyTALK, which lets users personalize the Jawbone Icon to their own tastes…for instance change the voice of the automated attendant that tells you who is calling…this just isn’t a cheap Bluetooth headset. It’s supposed to be evolving toward “wearable computing,”…Aliph was founded in 1999 by Alexander Asseily and Hosain Rahman to work on advanced noise cancellation technology…The better sound comes from having three microphones built into the device. It also has a sensor that feels the movement of your jawbone and correlates that with your speech…The models all relied on a noise-cancellation technology dubbed Noise Assassin, which lets you hear in noisy areas…the Jawbone models became the best-selling Bluetooth headsets at retailers such as Verizon Wireless and Best Buy…The company’s competitors include chip maker Audience, whose high-quality noise cancellation chips are used in phones such as the Google Nexus One.”

17. Lockheed Martin IronClad PC-on-a-Stick http://www.gizmag.com/lockheed-martin-ironclad-pc-on-a-stick-secures-desktop-and-data-for-telecommuters/13909/ For most people the name Lockheed Martin relates to missiles, rockets, simulators, robotics, satellites, aircraft and advanced military systems but…the company’s new IronClad “PC on a stick” USB drive offers military-strength security for their out-of-office computing. The IronClad shrinks a laptop’s hard drive, including the entire operating system, software applications, and files, onto a fully encrypted flash drive - a “PC on a stick” that delivers hardware-level protection against today’s most insidious malware threats…The IronClad™ is a totally secure “PC on a stick” which users on-the-go can plug into just about any computer or laptop in the world, and have instant, secure access to their own personal desktop and files…”

Open Source

18. Willow Garage Gives Away 10 Free Robots to Jumpstart Open Source Revolution http://singularityhub.com/2010/01/18/willow-garage-gives-away-10-free-world-class-robots-to-jumpstart-open-source-revolution/ “…Willow Garage, one of the driving forces behind the Robot Operating System, announced that it would be giving away ten of its new and extraordinary PR2 Beta Robots. The PR2 line achieved wide-spread notoriety in 2009 with its ability to plug itself into a wall outlet and recharge itself…Willow Garage has an open call for proposals, so that any research group on the planet can apply to receive one of the PR2 Betas completely free of charge…Applicants will have to release their research with the PR2 freely and under standard open source agreements…”

19. Google upgrading to Ext4 http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2010/01/google-upgrading-to-ext4-hires-former-linux-foundation-cto.ars “…Google…is in the process of upgrading its storage infrastructure from Ext2 to Ext4…Ext4 faced some criticism during its development following the discovery of possible data loss issues…Ts'o created patches that have addressed those issues…Google's decision to deploy Ext4 is a strong endorsement of the filesystem's reliability…Ext4…offered significant performance advantages over Ext2 and nearly rivaled the high-performance XFS filesystem…Ext4 was ultimately chosen over XFS because it would allow Google to do a live in-place upgrade of its existing Ext2 filesystems…”

20. Zimbra Customers Applaud VMware Acquisition http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20100115/tc_pcworld/zimbracustomersapplaudvmwareacquisition Zimbra customers, on an emotional roller-coaster ride since it was acquired by Yahoo, welcome VMware's plans to buy the open-source e-mail, calendar and collaboration software vendor…Yahoo snapped up Zimbra for US$350 million in September 2007…This week, customers who felt uncomfortable about Yahoo owning Zimbra let out a sigh of relief when VMware, a major player in the virtualization software market, announced its agreement to buy Zimbra. Their investment in the Zimbra suite will be more secure with a parent company that is an enterprise software vendor…”

21. The rising importance of cross-platform applications http://news.cnet.com/8301-13505_3-10436518-16.html “…It's getting harder to live on Windows Island. And, as cool as you might think you are to have an "exclusive" berth on the Mac's Love Boat, it's hard to live exclusively within the confines of OS X, too…Last night I fired up my Ubuntu-based Netbook. It would have been an uncomfortable experience, given that I'm used to working on my Mac, except that several of my favorite applications were already there: Firefox, Zimbra, and Thunderbird. Between those three, I had access to all the other applications (Facebook, Twitter, RSS feeds, etc…it's very likely that you're going to have to get out of your Windows/Mac comfort zone. Perhaps it's that new Android-based phone you've been eying. Or maybe that Netbook AT&T and Verizon want to give you. Somewhere, at some point, you're going to have to confront a new operating system. When you do, you're going to appreciate the comfort of cross-platform applications…Firefox is likely to be the Big Kahuna among them, as it's the application that launches you into the Web, that wonderful world that (mostly) doesn't care whether you're a Mac/Windows/Linux person…”

SkyNet

22. Google’s new approach to China http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/jan2010/gb20100113_124533.htm “…On Jan. 12, Google announced it will stop censoring search results on its Chinese site, Google.cn, in response to what the company calls "highly sophisticated" hacking of its Web site from China and the infiltration of Gmail accounts of human-rights activists in China and other countries (Google.cn is hosted inside China; English-speaking Chinese can read Google.com, but Chinese authorities censor it as well.) Soon after the Google announcement, Internet users in China could suddenly access searches for information on the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown and other banned topics. "Over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all," David Drummond, Google's chief legal officer, wrote on the company's official blog…” [ http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/01/new-approach-to-china.html http://www.xconomy.com/seattle/2010/01/14/google-in-china-ex-microsoft-vp-kai-fu-lees-past-report-might-point-to-what-went-wrong/2/ http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/sources_claim_chinese_government_involvement_in_attacks.php ]

23. Google & China: the ‘founder factor’ http://www.businessinsider.com/the-founder-factor-2010-1 “…I was reading Jessica Vascellaro's account of Google's decision making on the China situation. According to Jessica, Eric Schmidt prefers to see Google stay in China. And Sergey Brin prefers to see Google leave. Google's statement on China is pretty extraordinary. That they are even considering leaving the largest growth market in the world is a stunning revelation. And it is unlikely that hired and professional management would make such a decision. Management's primary job is to build value for shareholders and it would seem that leaving the largest growth market in the world is not in the shareholder's interest. However, when the largest shareholders happen to be the founders, such decisions take on a different light. And it may well be that leaving China is the best thing for Google, its employees, its customers and users, and its shareholders. Only time will tell what Google will do and what impact it will have on the company. I am very impressed with Google and have been for a long time. I think that many of the reasons it is such an amazing company result from having its founders engaged and involved in the key strategic decisions…”

24. Default https access for Gmail http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2010/01/default-https-access-for-gmail.html “…We initially left the choice of using it up to you because there's a downside: https can make your mail slower since encrypted data doesn't travel across the web as quickly as unencrypted data. Over the last few months, we've been researching the security/latency tradeoff and decided that turning https on for everyone was the right thing to do. We are currently rolling out default https for everyone…Google Apps users whose admins have not already defaulted their entire domains to https will have the same option…”

25. Google Adds Real-Time Updates from Business Owners to Place Pages http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_adds_real-time_updates_from_business_owners.php Google just launched an interesting update to its Google Local Business Center that makes Place Pages more interesting and interactive. After claiming their business through the Google Local Business Center, business owners can now easily post short updates about their companies on their respective Place Page. In addition, businesses that have been claimed by their owners will now feature a badge that highlights the fact that the actual owner of this business has claimed and improved the page. With Place Pages, Google aims to offer "a webpage for every place in the world." Most users access these pages through searches on Google Maps…” [ http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2010/01/make-google-place-pages-your-business.html ]

26. Google buying real estate sites? http://gesterling.wordpress.com/2010/01/16/google-to-scoop-up-real-estate-sites/ “…Google’s Sam Sebastian reportedly said the following: “We’re actively looking to acquire one to two small real estate companies a month.” Here are the top US real estate sites according to Hitwise…”

27. Google includes Avast antivirus in Google pack http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2010/01/avast-added-to-google-pack.html Google added a new antivirus software to Google Pack and this time the program doesn't try to convince you to buy a paid version. Google Pack added the free version of the Avast antivirus, but only for the following languages: French, German, Italian, Czech, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, and Polish. I installed the software using the Italian interface, but both Google Pack and Avast were installed in English…the English version of Google Pack lets you install a different security software: Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus, which replaced Norton Security Scan…"The Avast Free Antivirus included in the Google Pack is the same as our regular Avast Free Antivirus. Following the philosophy of Google and Avast, the product is fully featured and does not constantly try to up-sell users to a premium product…The most recent tests from AV-Comparatives.org show that Avast, Avira and Microsoft Security Essentials are the best free antivirus software. "This year, avast! showed big improvements in its detection rates (esp. in the second half of 2009) and reduced its number of false alarms. Its on-demand scanning speed is one of the fastest. The recently released avast! v5 includes further enhancements (like a new graphical user interface) and new protection features…”

28. Sergey Brin: Don’t Be Evil http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/sergey-brin-engine-driver-1869546.html “…At the annual meeting of Google shareholders on 8 May 2008, a motion was proposed from the floor which called for an end to the company's activities in China…One of the site's founders, Larry Page, voted the motion down, as did the CEO, Eric Schmidt. But Page's co-founder, Sergey Brin, abstained. Last month, Google discovered that it had been the subject of a sophisticated attack on its computer systems…Google announced on Tuesday that it would stop censoring results on Google.cn…or, should Beijing oppose the move, cease operating in China altogether. Google-watchers all agree that Brin was behind the decision. "He's always had an emotional tug within him, saying 'we shouldn't be making compromises'," says Ken Auletta, the author of Googled: The End of the World As We Know It. Brin fled the restrictions of the Soviet Union with his Jewish-Russian parents when he was six years old…it is Brin whose conscience has always kept the company cognisant of its famous motto "Don't Be Evil"…Brin was born in Moscow in August 1973…His father, Michael, was an aspiring astronomer – but the communist party barred Jews from studying physics or astronomy. He became a mathematician, and even then was forced to take more challenging exams than his non-Jewish peers to gain entry to university. He passed, as did Eugenia – later his wife, and Sergey's mother…after meeting Western delegates at a Warsaw maths conference in 1977, Michael decided his future lay beyond the borders of the USSR. After applying for an exit visa, Sergey's father was fired from his job, so in the long months before the Brins were at last given permission to leave the country, he taught his young son computer programming…just before Sergey enrolled on a computer science degree at the University of Maryland, the pair returned to the Soviet Union on an exchange programme for gifted young maths students. Mark Malseed, co-author of The Google Story, writes that one day, during a tour of a sanatorium near Moscow, Sergey "took his father aside, looked him in the eye and said, 'Thank you for taking us all out of Russia.'"…Brin told ABC News after he and Page were named the network's "Persons of the Week" in 2004, "but I want to be looked back on as being very innovative, very trusted and ethical and ultimately making a big difference in the world."…It was Schmidt who put the business case for Google to expand into China…Brin and Page spent a year weighing the pros and cons of the decision on what they called their "evil scale" before approving the launch of Google.cn…For Google and Brin…standing up to the regime may cost them some income (and Google China's 700 employees their jobs)…”

General Technology

29. Darpa: U.S. Geek Shortage Is National Security Risk http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/01/darpa-us-geek-shortage-is-a-national-security-risk/ “…fewer American kids are growing up to be bona fide computer geeks. And that poses a serious security risk for the country, according to the Defense Department…Darpa is soliciting proposals for initiatives that would attract teens to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), with an emphasis on computing…computer science enrollment dropped 43 percent between 2003 and 2006…America’s “ability to compete in the increasingly internationalized stage will be hindered without college graduates with the ability to understand and innovate cutting edge technologies in the decades to come…The agency doesn’t offer specifics on what kinds of activities might boost computing’s appeal to teens, but they want programs to include career days, mentoring, lab tours and counseling…Darpa insists that programs be “targeted to middle and high school students…Rather than incorporate computer-based activities into academics, Darpa wants the programs to be extracurricular, “perhaps as an after school activity, weekend, or summer event.”…”

30. MD80 video camera - unbelievably cheap spy/helmet cam http://www.gizmag.com/md80-micro-video-camera-helmet-cam-cheap/13877/ “…the MD80 mini spy camera - it's pretty tiny, it records reasonable 640x480 video in AVI format at 25 frames per second, and it can be set to standby for up to 250 hours until it's activated by a sound, making it a good little spy cam unit. It's pretty similar to any number of helmet cam/mini video cam units but for one fact - it costs less than US$25 on eBay, delivered to your door. For the price it's an outstanding product and the sort of thing you could habitually carry around in your car, recording driving conditions for an instant evidence stockpile in case of an accident or incident. And more broadly it's an example of how Chinese design and manufacturing can get a competitive, quality product to market at a price point that absolutely annihilates the competition…”

31. China Details Homemade Supercomputer Plans http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/24374/?a=f “…China's next supercomputer, the petascale Dawning 6000, will be constructed exclusively with home-grown microprocessor…the supercomputer will run Linux. This is a sharp departure from China's last supercomputer, the Dawning 5000a, which debuted at number 11 on the list of the world's fastest supercomputers in 2008, and was built with AMD chips and ran Windows HPC Server…The Dawning 6000 will be completed by mid-2010 at the latest, says Hu, and could be up and running as early as the end of 2010…Loongson 3 began in 2001 as a product of China's 10th five-year program. All of the chips in the Loongson family are based on the MIPS instruction set…”

32. Digital Gastronomy - could 3D printing be the next revolution in cooking? http://www.gizmag.com/cornucopia-digital-gastronomy-3d-food-printer/13873/ “…Cornucopia: Digital Gastronomy is a concept design that uses the well-established principles of 3D printing - plus precisely timed and temperature-controlled mixing and cooking…Cornucopia builds up edible creations using a layering process similar to some of the 3D printing machines we've been writing about recently, except that it uses a variety of different foodstuffs instead of plastics to build up its final product. The printing head moves on a 3D axis, and extrudes precisely mixed and measured quantities of different ingredients from the canisters on top of the machine…”

Leisure & Entertainment

33. Amazon Rolls Out Kindle Self-publishing Platform Worldwide http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10435753-93.html Authors worldwide can now self-publish Kindle versions of their books, Amazon.com said Friday…its Digital Text Platform will now support books written in German and French. The self-publishing platform, which allows writers to upload electronic versions of their books to Amazon's e-book reader store, was previously limited to English and to authors based in the United States…The Digital Text Platform enables writers to publish without the middleman (i.e. a book publisher)…Authors can set their own prices and in return grab 35 percent of sales.”

34. EVIL digital cameras: 5 reasons to ditch your DSLR http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/01/five-reasons-you-should-ditch-your-dslr/ “…EVIL stands for Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens, and is our favorite acronym for cameras like the Olympus Pen, the Lumix GF1 and the Samsung NX10. These small, mirrorless, finderless cameras can fit in a pocket and outperform bulky DSLRs. Here’s why your next camera will probably be EVIL. They’re Small…you can carry it with you everywhere, fit it in a jacket pocket and be ready for *that* picture, wherever you are. They Take Great Pictures The trick with the new EVIL cams is that they have large sensors…You Can Change Lenses…you probably bought your fancy DSLR, fixed on the kit zoom lens, and that was it…They’re Fast Compacts have lost out to DSLRs by being…Slow to power up, slow to zoom and slow to actually respond to your trigger finger. EVIL cameras have fixed this, and are as responsive as any entry-level DSLR…They Don’t Scream “Look at Me” With a smaller camera, you can blend in. With an EVIL camera, you can blend in and still get great shots…”

35. Hammacher Schlemmer introduces picture scanning digital photo frame http://www.gizmag.com/hammacher-schlemmer-introduces-picture-scanning-digital-photo-frame/13890/ “…most people will have boxes and albums full of 'old style' printed photos for many years to come. One way of preserving and storing these pre-digital memories is to scan them and convert them into digital images. Hammacher Schlemmer…has introduced a digital photo frame with built-in scanner that lets you preserve and view photos 'as easily as feeding bills into a vending machine'. The photo frame/scanner converts your old photos (1 1/2" x 2" to 4" x 6") into 300-dpi jpg images with the press of a button, and stores them on the unit's 1 GB internal memory…”

36. Oxford University bans students from Spotify http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/7019157/Oxford-University-bans-students-from-Spotify.html Oxford University students have been barred from using Spotify, the popular music streaming service. University authorities imposed the ban because the sheer number of undergraduates listening to free tracks in their bedrooms was crippling the network, slowing down those using the web for academic research. Oxford students are entitled to free internet access as part of their accommodation fees, but the university retains the right to block sites with no educational value…”

37. 3D in the living room http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/24373/?a=f “…Demos featuring glasses-free 3-D television technology have yet to pan out into real products. Two years ago, Mitsubishi attracted attention by showing off glasses-free 3-D research technology, but the company has no products based on the work…a key trouble with glasses-free 3-D is that it would significantly raise production costs. Most glasses-free TV displays use a lenticular lens, which gives off light at different angles--so that a different image reaches each eye. Such a display requires images of the same object to be captured from many different angles, forcing content producers to film and process the same scene from a dozen or more angles at a once…Instead, 3-D technologies in use today employ glasses to control the images. The most common technology, used in movie theaters, is made by RealD, a company based in Beverly Hills, CA. This technology uses a special screen to reflect polarized light to the audience when images are projected onto it. The glasses then filter the light so that images are directed correctly to each eye…”

Economy and Technology

38. Aol Quietly Launches An Expert Site Called Owl http://www.techcrunch.com/2010/01/17/aol-owl-seed/ Aol’s answer to Wikipedia is Owl…a living, breathing library where useful knowledge, opinions and images are posted from experts the world over.” Owl seems more of a testbed for Seed than anything else. Seed…is Aol’s new low-cost content management system for soliciting articles and photographs for its network of existing Websites. Owl will crowdsource freelance work from “experts” who submit articles…An “expert” is anyone who gets approved through Seed. Contributers get paid a little bit and the articles tend to be more how-to advice…Owl is less like Wikipedia than it is like Helium, which also pays for expert articles…Most of the articles still seem to be written by Owl/Aol staff instead of contributors. That should change once more people find out about it. Owl fits neatly into Aol’s plan to create as much content as possible on current topics or evergreen interests so that it can throw more ads against those Web pages. Even if Owl is way late to the game (see About.com, Helium, eHow, wikiHow, HowStuffWorks, Instructables, Expert Village, and so on), AOL operates a big enough network that it can just cross-promote Owl from its own sites…question is whether or not Seed can feed Owl with enough articles to keep it healthy…”

39. The Subscription War: You're Bleeding to Death http://gizmodo.com/5448321/the-subscription-war-youre-bleeding-to-death You know what's great? My smartphone puts the world in my pocket. Broadband puts 2,454,399 channels on my HDTV. I can access the internet from a freaking airplane! You know what's unsustainable? Paying for it all. Here's why: a well-equipped geek will, in our research, have a subscription and service bill total of between 200 and 750 dollars a month…You've got your smartphone bill, your cable bill, your home broadband bill…think about the must-have gadgets on the horizon: a smartbook that requires a data plan. A tablet that'll require Wi-Fi HotSpot access or a 3G dongle. The same for a thin-and-light notebook. And those are just your 1:1 service fees for devices…You've got TiVo, which is better and cheaper than most cable-provided DVRs but still about $11 a month. Netflix, to rent or stream unlimited movies. Hulu's free for now, but we know they're going to start charging any week. If you've got an Xbox 360, you've got an Xbox Live Gold membership. I'm a city slicker with no car, but if I had one I'd need a navigation app that's good enough for everyday use. A free Flickr membership is fine today, but once HD camcorders gain prominence, you're going to want a Flickr Pro membership for high-def playback. And so on…if you want to stay even close to fully connected, you're expected to cough up nearly $1,000 a month. Not for hardware. For fees. And that doesn't even include niche services…one-off purchases like eBooks or iTunes downloads. Or, god forbid, food and shelter…Eventually the monthly bills will stack up so high that people will have to start cutting ties with companies, who will in turn have to either lower prices or fade away…”

40. SMS Games: Snackable Media Sold $170 Million Worth Of Them Last Year http://www.techcrunch.com/2010/01/18/snackable-media-170-million/ “…don’t underestimate the reach and earning power of apps based on the lowly text message. New York City-based Snackable Media sold $170 million worth of text-based games through carriers in 2009, according to CEO Eyal Yechezkell. That number is gross revenue, which it splits about 50/50 with the mobile carriers, and is up from $90 million in 2008 and $30 million in 2007. The company is profitable, says Yechezkell, and it never took a dime of venture funding. It employs 100 people in New York City and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Snackable Media develops and sells a family of SMS-based games…”

41. Hyperlocal Business Directory MerchantCircle Signs Up Millionth Merchant http://www.techcrunch.com/2010/01/18/hyperlocal-business-directory-merchantcircle-signs-up-millionth-merchants/ “…MerchantCircle has long targeted its site’s features towards merchants versus catering towards the consumer, as sites like Yelp and CitySearch do. Today, the network has hit a milestone by signing up its one millionth merchant. Not too shabby for the business directory, considering there are an estimated 15 million local merchants in the U.S. today. MerchantCircle provides small businesses with a web page listing, blogging and email newsletter application, and a local business social network that focuses on connecting local businesses with each other. Since launching in 2007, the startup has gained traction in small towns where the larger sites don’t have reach. For example, 50 percent of local businesses in Wasilla, Alaska are on MerchantCircle and actively engage with the site…”

42. Ringtones' requiem http://brainstormtech.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2010/01/18/ringtones-requiem/ Remember the ringtone? Just two years ago consumers were spending $1 billion a year on song snippets for their cellphones…Then came text messaging. And smartphones. And mobile apps. U.S. ringtone revenue this year will reach about $750 million, down from $881 million in 2007 — and the business will be nonexistent in 2016, says…a consumer analyst group. A big reason consumers are eschewing personalized ringtones? Cellphones simply don't ring as much as they used to. "People used to talk on their cellphones," says Frank Dickson, vice president of research at technology analyst group In-Stat. "We've become a text-centric society, which takes away from talking, which takes away from ringtones."In the past two years the average number of text messages sent by each U.S. cellphone user has more than doubled, to 584 texts per month from 218 per month. In that same period the average number of calls has decreased almost 15%…”

Civilian Aerospace

43. Florida Airport is Newest U.S. Spaceport http://www.space.com/news/florida-airport-new-spaceport-ft-100118.html “…The Federal Aviation Authority last week approved Cecil Field, a former naval air station about 25 miles southwest of the city's downtown, as a spaceport for commercial launches of spacecraft like Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo…Cecil Field's license makes it the nation's seventh commercial spaceport. It permits "horizontal" launches of vehicles that would take off and land like planes at the site's 12,500-foot runway…”

44. The spaceport glut http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1545/1 “…Last week the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation awarded to Florida’s Jacksonville Aviation Authority…a spaceport license…a former naval air station that features four runways, one of which is 3,800 meters long…There was just one problem…the facility doesn’t have any customers lined up…This is indicative of a larger situation in the emerging suborbital spaceflight market: there are today more potential spaceports than there are potential customers for them…”

45. Veteran astronauts find new roles in commercial sector http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1001/14commercialcrew/ “…Two former space shuttle and space station commanders are now competitors in the nascent world of commercial human spaceflight, a start-up industry still in its infancy…Ken Bowersox and Frank Culbertson are vice presidents at Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and Orbital Sciences Corp., two U.S. companies at the forefront of the private space industry. SpaceX's Dragon capsule and Orbital's Cygnus spacecraft have already been selected by NASA to ferry cargo to the International Space Station beginning next year. Both companies are now vying for a NASA contract to begin developing vehicles capable of carrying humans to the International Space Station…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

46. NVIDIA Fermi GF100: Architected for Gaming http://anandtech.com/printarticle.aspx?i=3721 “…the Fermi-based GF100 GPU finally in full production…the GF100 is composed of 512 SPs, which NVIDIA now calls CUDA cores. Each CUDA core is organized in to a block of 32 cores which we call a Streaming Multiprocessor (SM)…While GF100 resembles GT200 in a number of ways as a compute GPU, as a gaming GPU it’s very close to being a complete departure from GT200…each SM has a PolyMorph Engine, giving the GF100 16 PolyMorph Engines…the PolyMoprh Engine may sound simple in its description, don’t let it fool you…OoO is something we usually reserve for CPUs, where high-end CPUs are built to execute instructions out of order in order to extract more performance…OoO is very hard to accomplish…we believe that the PolyMorph Engine is the single biggest reason that GF100 didn’t make it out last year. It’s…something that NVIDIA had to start virtually from scratch on…The DX11 specification doesn’t leave NVIDIA with a ton of room to add new features…DX11 rigidly says what features a compliant video card should offer, and leaves you very little room to deviate…To differentiate themselves from AMD, NVIDIA is taking the tessellator and driving it for all its worth. While AMD merely has a tessellator, NVIDIA is counting on the tessellator in their PolyMorph Engine to give them a noticeable graphical advantage over AMD…NVIDIA needs to convince developers to ship their art with detailed enough displacement maps to match GF100’s capabilities…the ability to do higher quality animations by only needing to animate the control points of a model, and letting tessellation take care of the rest. A lot of the success of the GF100 architecture is going to ride on how developers respond to this…NVIDIA believes…that potential customers have gotten the wrong idea about NVIDIA’s direction. Certainly they’re increasing their focus on the GPGPU market, but as they’re trying their hardest to point out, most of that compute hardware has a use in gaming too…the single biggest improvement for gaming that comes from NVIDIA’s changes to the compute hardware are the benefits afforded to compute-like tasks for gaming. PhysX plays a big part here, as along with DirectCompute it’s going to be one of the biggest uses of compute abilities when it comes to gaming…the demo program they are showing off is a hybrid program that showcases the use of both rasterization and ray tracing for rendering a car…This specific demo still runs at less than a frame per second…so it’s by no means true real-time ray tracing, but it’s getting faster all the time…3D Vision Surround is not inherently a GF100 technology…GF100 cards will have the traditional 2 monitor limit, meaning that gamers will need 2 GF100 cards in SLI to drive 3+ monitors…We expect that the next NVIDIA design will include the ability to drive 3+ monitors from a single GPU…we’ll end with a quick look at Supersonic Sled, NVIDIA’s big “kitchen sink” demo for GF100…a comically-themed simulation of a sled with a rocket attached…based on some real 1950’s US Air Force tests. It uses tessellation, DirectCompute, PhysX – every new thing NVIDIA could throw in to a demo and still have it run…at 3 billion transistors GF100 is going to be big, and from NVIDIA’s hints it’s probably going to be the single hottest single-GPU card we’ve seen yet…”

47. NVIDIA Takes Aim at GPU Acceleration for Bioscience Applications http://www.hpcwire.com/features/NVIDIA-Takes-Aim-at-GPU-Acceleration-for-Bioscience-Applications-81521012.html NVIDIA has announced the Tesla Bio Workbench, a new program designed to bring together the computational components needed to run GPU-accelerated bioscience applications…they've assembled a GPU-centric workbench specifically designed for life science researchers and scientists…the Tesla Bio Workbench includes of an array of GPU-capable bioscience codes, a community Web site for downloading the codes and providing a forum for exchanging information…Over the past couple of years, the application set for computational biology codes that are GPU friendly has grown tremendously, thanks mainly to CUDA ports of the CPU versions of the software…For example, a small simulation of the satellite tobacco mosaic virus (STMV) virus using NAMD, a molecular dynamics code for biomolecular simulations, can be performed on a modern 16-CPU cluster based on quad-core x86 technology. But according to NVIDIA's Gupta, a 4-GPU workstation with a CUDA-version of NAMD will outperform that cluster, and with just a fraction of the power consumption. From the individual researcher's point of view "anything that keeps the job on the workstation is good…”

48. Temple University Uses Power of GPUs to Develop Surfactants http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/Temple-University-Uses-Power-of-GPUs-to-Develop-Surfactants-81517622.html “…By harnessing the parallel processing power of NVIDIA Tesla GPUs, researchers at Temple University are developing a computer simulation model that provides companies like Procter and Gamble with a fast, cost effective and accurate tool for research and development of surfactant molecules. Surfactants have many uses; for example they provide the cleaning capacity and texture of shampoos, laundry detergents, and many other cleaning products…The process of finding new, better surfactants and testing their effectiveness in laboratories is time consuming and costly…To put this into context, we can run a single GPU-optimized molecular dynamics simulation on two Tesla GPUs as fast as we can on 128 CPU cores of a Cray XT3 supercomputer or on 1024 CPUs of an IBM BlueGene/L machine with conventional software," continues Dr.Kohlmeyer. "With the NVIDIA Tesla GPU-based solution, we now have a more powerful, cost-effective solution that will enable us to advance critical research at a much faster pace…”


*****

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