2010/02/09

NEW NET Issues List for 09 Feb 2010

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 09 February 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. Kwedit Launches: The First Completely Unreliable Payment Network http://www.techcrunch.com/2010/02/03/kwedit-launches-the-first-completely-unreliable-payment-network/ “…Kwedit, which launches today, is going to be a hit. It’s a new payment service that absolutely doesn’t guarantee payments. In fact, its unreliability is what makes it so attractive to social game publishers and other people selling virtual goods. It’s also a great way to let the unbanked masses out there pay for stuff without getting sucked in to scamville-type scams. The product is called Kwedit Promise. Here’s how Kwedit works: they let users take on fake debt instead of paying for virtual goods with real money (or via scammy or legitimate offers). A user promises to pay later. It’s not an enforceable promise, and there is really no consequence if a user doesn’t pay. But there are built in incentives to pay it off, and Kwedit expects some percentage of people to actually do so…”

2. Facebook’s Project Titan: A Full Featured Webmail Product http://www.techcrunch.com/2010/02/05/facebooks-project-titan-a-full-featured-webmail-product/ Facebook is completely rewriting their messaging product and is preparing to launch a fully featured webmail product in its place…Internally it’s known as Project Titan…unofficially and perhaps over-enthusiastically, the Gmail killer. Facebook messaging has been the bane of users’ existence for years. My first public gripe was in 2008, when I said that urgent changes were needed. The biggest problem is simply deleting old emails. It takes so long that I have thousands of unread and read but not deleted messages in my inbox…” [do you think a large % of Facebook users will make Fmail their primary email tool?]

3. University finds free online classes don't hurt enrollment http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2010/02/university-finds-free-online-classes-dont-sap-enrollment.ars Free online courses aren't sapping enrollment numbers—in fact, they're actually helping to spread the word. Those are the preliminary findings out of Brigham Young University, which experimented recently by granting free access to a selection of its distance learning courses. Though further study is needed in order to see whether there's a significant impact, educators are beginning to see that offering free materials isn't the end of the world after all. The university's Independent Study…Open CourseWare section offers the general public six classes—three university courses and three high school courses—that anyone on the Web can step through…you won't get any credit for taking the course for free, and that's why BYU hopes you'll pony up the cash and enroll…Johansen acknowledged that the Open CourseWare selection "ended up serving as an advertising tool," helping BYU to spread awareness of its distance learning opportunities. This is essentially the same lesson as the one learned by the plethora of universities offering courses through iTunes U. These lectures are offered in free podcast format for anyone who uses iTunes, and users can often gain access to full classes this way. When the program was first rolled out, however, some expressed fear that such a strategy would attract freeloaders and siphon money out of the participating universities, but that hasn't been the case. Instead, iTunes U has become wildly popular among educators and students alike…”

4. What Facebook profiles say about the US http://petewarden.typepad.com/searchbrowser/2010/02/how-to-split-up-the-us.html “…I've been digging deeper into the data I've gathered on 210 million public Facebook profiles…My latest visualization shows the information by location, with connections drawn between places that share friends…To make sense of the patterns I'm seeing, I've marked and labeled the clusters, and added some notes about the properties they have in common. Stayathomia -- Stretching from New York to Minnesota, this belt's defining feature is how near most people are to their friends, implying they don't move far. In most cases outside the largest cities, the most common connections are with immediately neighboring cities, and even New York only has one really long-range link in its top 10. Apart from Los Angeles, all of its strong ties are comparatively local. In contrast to further south, God tends to be low down the top 10 fan pages if she shows up at all, with a lot more sports and beer-related pages instead. Dixie…Greater Texas…Mormonia…Nomadic West…Socalistan…Pacifica…”

5. Verizon Blocks 4chan http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/verizon_blocks_4chan.php According to 4chan's Twitter account and status update blog, they have been "explicitly blocked" by the Verizon wireless network…Poole wrote this afternoon, "Over the past 72 hours, we've been receiving reports from Verizon Wireless customers having difficulty accessing the image boards. After investigating, we found that Verizon is dropping traffic... only on port 80 (HTTP). No other subdomain/IP/port is affected, which leads us to believe this block is intentional…a couple hours ago, Poole posted, "After an hour and a half on the phone, we've received confirmation from Verizon's Network Repair Bureau (NRB) that we are 'explicitly blocked…We are contacting Poole and Verizon to figure out specifically why the site is being blocked and will update this post as more information becomes available…”

6. Email statistics for 2009 http://www.rackspace.com/email_hosting/blog/2010/02/what-email-looked-like-in-2009-in-numbers/ “…interesting stats…on Email numbers in 2009…90 trillion – The number of emails sent on the Internet in 2009. ..247 billion – Average number of email messages per day…1.4 billion – The number of email users worldwide…100 million – New email users since the year before. ..81% – The percentage of emails that were spam…92% – Peak spam levels late in the year…24% – Increase in spam since last year…200 billion – The number of spam emails per day…”

7. 50 Best Websites 2009 http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,1918031,00.html Just what it says on the tin. Check out the ones you don’t already know…

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

8. Police want backdoor to Web users' private data http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10446503-38.html Anyone with an e-mail account likely knows that police can peek inside it if they have a paper search warrant…cybercrime investigators are frustrated by the speed of traditional methods of faxing, mailing, or e-mailing companies these documents. They're pushing for the creation of a national Web interface linking police computers with those of Internet and e-mail providers so requests can be sent and received electronically…law enforcement agencies are virtually unanimous in calling for such an interface to be created. Eighty-nine percent of police surveyed, it says, want to be able to "exchange legal process requests and responses to legal process" through an encrypted, police-only "nationwide computer network."…The survey…is part of a broader push from law enforcement agencies to alter the ground rules of online investigations…” [ http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10448060-38.html ]

9. Air Force building military-grade cloud network, with IBM's help http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2010/02/04/urnidgns852573C400693880002576C0007C28F2.DTL The U.S. Air Force has contracted with IBM to design a cloud computing system secure enough to support defense and intelligence networks. The 10-month project will utilize IBM's "stream computing," a technique for real-time analysis of thousands of data streams that would be used to detect and prevent malicious attacks and system failures…Military networks have always been resilient and robust with extensive failover capabilities, important attributes for tasks such as monitoring aircraft flight or planning a mission…The challenge is…to "evolve the technology of cloud infrastructure so it could be used in a military mission…”

10. House Passes Cyber-Security Act http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Government-IT/House-Passes-Cybersecurity-Act-682741/ The U.S. House of Representatives approved the Cyber-Security Enhancement Act Feb. 4 by a 422-5 vote. The bill reauthorizes several National Science Foundation cyber-security programs, providing $396 million in research grants over the next four years and calls for $94 million in cyber-security scholarships. The legislation (H.R. 4061) also aims to improve the transfer of cyber-security technologies to the marketplace and to promote cyber-security education and awareness for the general public…” [ http://wiredworkplace.nextgov.com/2010/02/house_passes_cyber_workforce_reforms.php ]

11. Cyberthieves are hiring, using online ads http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100203/tc_nm/us_cybersecurity_badguys The people who brought the world malicious software that steals credit card numbers from your personal computer and empties bank ATMs of their cash are hiring, and they're advertising online…What they are seeking is people who are willing to take malicious code they provide and link it to something that people will click on -- like a picture of Britney Spears getting out of her car…One site, for example, pays $180 for each 1,000 times that malware is downloaded onto a U.S. computer but less for computers elsewhere. It refuses to pay for any downloads to Russian computers, causing Stevens and others to strongly suspect that it, like other similar sites, are based in Russia. "We pay your wages via the following systems: Fethard, WebMoney, Wire, e-gold, Western Union (WU), MoneyGram, Anelik and ePassporte, and PayPal," the site said…”

12. Zeus Attack Spoofs NSA, Targets .gov and .mil http://www.krebsonsecurity.com/2010/02/zeus-attack-spoofs-nsa-targets-gov-and-mil/ Criminals are spamming the Zeus banking Trojan in a convincing e-mail that spoofs the National Security Agency. Initial reports indicate that a large number of government systems may have been compromised by the attack…The messages are spoofed so that they appear to have been sent by the National Intelligence Council (address used was nic@nsa.gov), which serves as the center for midterm and long-range strategic thinking for the U.S. intelligence community and reports to the office of the Director of National Intelligence…a relatively large number of recipients were taken in by the ruse and infected their PCs. For example, the state government agency that my source works at has already confirmed “a couple hundred” infections at their site…Only 16 of the 39 anti-virus scanners used by Virustotal.com detect the file as malicious…The Zeus Trojan is the primary tool that organized criminals have been using to steal banking information from countless small businesses…Earlier this week, the New York town of Poughkeepsie reported that thieves had broken into the town’s bank account and stolen $378,000 in municipality funds…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

13. Amazon Buys Flexible Touchscreen Maker http://www.pcworld.com/article/188507/report_amazon_buys_flexible_touchscreen_maker.html “…Amazon.com has purchased flexible touchscreen maker Touchco in an apparent attempt to beef up technology aboard its Kindle e-readers to better compete against Apple's iPad…Touchco was formed by a team of computer scientists from New York University's Media Research Lab to develop low-cost, low-power multitouch screens with a technology called interpolating force-sensitive resistance (IFSR). The screens can be used in e-readers and a host of other devices and cost as little as US$10 per square foot…”

14. Siri launches an iPhone personal assistant that actually works http://mobile.venturebeat.com/2010/02/04/siri-iphone-personal-assistant/ The “personal assistant” label gets attached to a lot of websites and applications, but it’s always an exaggeration. Usually the service in question can only tackle a small slice of what a human assistant would do, such as organizing your emails…A new iPhone application called Siri has limitations too, but it’s already further along than the competitors I’ve seen, and it has the potential to become a true personal assistant. Basically, you tell Siri what you want to do, and it connects you to the right online service to make it happen. For example, you could say, “I want to make reservations for two at a cheap Italian restaurant tomorrow night,” and Siri will find appropriate restaurants. You can also ask more general questions, like, “What’s going on tonight?” which will get you a list of nearby event listings. In both cases, the app doesn’t just supply information, but also allows you to take action — you can make a reservation at the restaurant of your choice, or you can buy a ticket for a concert…Siri uses technology from Nuance to translate your speech into text. Like any voice-to-text technology, it’s far from 100 percent accurate, but I’ve found that when I speak right into the microphone, Siri’s transcription is correct more often than no…”

15. Motorola unleashes Devour Android handset http://blogs.zdnet.com/gadgetreviews/?p=12039 Call it Motorola Droid Lite. Motorola on Wednesday announced the Devour, a Google Android-based handset with its Motoblur services suite for Verizon…It also offers aGPS tracking and remote data wipe through the service. Unlike the rounded Cliq, the Devour takes inspiration from the hard lines of the company’s landmark, non-Motoblur Droid on Verizon…”

16. Netgear partners with Ericsson for a 3G-receiving, WiFi-emanating router http://www.engadget.com/2010/02/09/netgear-partners-with-ericsson-for-a-3g-receiving-wifi-emanatin/ “…with Netgear's brand spanking new MBRN3300E you can just ride off into the 3G sunset and say goodbye to those pesky wires. Like the majority of wireless routers today, it comes with 802.11n WiFi and a built-in firewall, but what sets it apart is the integrated 3G modem provided by Ericsson…there will be optional car charger and battery pack accessories to maximize the mobility of the unit. Okay, it'll never be as small and portable as a MiFi router, but it's always good to have options…”

Open Source

17. 3-D printing coming in reach of consumers http://www.physorg.com/news184526761.html “…3-D printing is already widely used in industry, and it's been catching on with hobbyists and do-it-yourselfers…Thousands of people have joined an online community for sharing ideas and design tips on the Web site of Shapeways, a Dutch company that does custom 3-D printing for consumers…most 3-D printing equipment and design programs are aimed at the commercial market -- and cost thousands of dollars -- but hobbyists are discovering lower-cost, open-source versions like the MakerBot printer and Blender software. MakerBot aficionados include young techies, artists and amateur mechanics who have used their printers to make everything from customized gears and machine parts to Lego-style toys -- and even an engagement ring (made of plastic) that one cash-strapped fellow gave his fiancee. Many show their work at http://www.thingiverse.com...Tech giant Hewlett-Packard recently announced it is partnering with a smaller company, Minneapolis-based Stratasys, to sell commercial 3-D printers under the HP brand…Aircraft manufacturers, automakers and other big companies use industrial versions of 3-D printers to fabricate mechanical parts and detailed models of new product designs…Industrial printers can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, but Stratasys and others have introduced printers that sell for under $15,000. "When you have products in that price range, it becomes very attractive to a wider audience," said Pete Basiliere, a printing industry analyst for the Gartner research firm who believes the devices will find their way into college engineering labs and even high schools, along with a variety of small businesses. Architects and city planning departments, he added, could use them to quickly create models of proposed buildings…Santiago Morera, an executive with HP's commercial printing division…said HP sees a huge potential customer base of commercial and industrial designers who are already creating 3-D models on their computers…Basiliere doesn't foresee sophisticated devices for home use in the near future, but he said the idea is "not that far down the road." Others agreed that HP will bring new marketing and distribution strength to the 3-D printing industry. "They will drive this market forward and eventually machines will become better and cheaper," declared Joris Peels, the "community manager" at Shapeways. Shapeways uses advanced 3-D printing equipment made by Z Corp…that offer a full range of colors and a hard, smooth finish…businesses like Shapeways operate on the assumption that many customers won't have access to or expertise in the most sophisticated design software or equipment. So they take customers' designs, refine them, print the item, then clean and finish it before shipping it to the customer…”

18. Mozilla Weave 1.0: take your tabs and bookmarks everywhere http://arstechnica.com/open-source/reviews/2010/02/mozilla-weave-10-take-your-tabs-and-bookmarks-everywhere.ars Mozilla Labs recently announced the official release of Weave Sync 1.0, an add-on for Firefox that can automatically synchronize browser settings and metadata between multiple computers over the Internet…Weave consists of a Web-based service that is hosted by Mozilla and client-side add-on that integrates with the browser. The user's browser data, including bookmarks, passwords, preferences, page history, and active tabs, are encrypted by the add-on and transmitted to Mozilla's servers in the cloud. The data can then be relayed to other instances of Firefox that are authorized by the user. Weave makes it possible to maintain a consistent browsing experience between all of your devices…During our test of Weave 1.0, we were able to seamlessly synchronize browser settings between two desktop Linux computers and a Nokia N900 smartphone running Firefox Mobile…Your data is always fully encrypted when it is on Mozilla's Weave servers. Mozilla never has access to your pass phrase and consequently cannot read, access, or manipulate your data. It's a much higher standard of privacy than you will get from many other competing bookmark synchronization services…When you have the Weave add-on installed, a small computer icon will appear in your left-hand tab bar. You can click this icon to see the tabs from your other computers…I have long been an enthusiastic fan of a competing add-on called Xmarks, but now I'm leaning towards a switch to Weave because it integrates so spectacularly well with Firefox Mobile. Xmarks still has some advantages over Weave, including out-of-the-box support for several mainstream browsers, a sophisticated system for managing separate synchronization profiles, a Web-based interface that lets you access your bookmarks from anywhere, and easy support for sharing your bookmarks with other people. Weave's tighter security model might make it difficult for Mozilla to imbue it with some of those features…The thing that really makes Weave compelling is that it demonstrates how the Mozilla platform can create powerful synergy between desktop and mobile environments…”

19. Funambol Unveils New Version of Open Source Mobile Cloud Platform http://fixed-mobile-convergence.tmcnet.com/topics/mobile-communications/articles/74718-funambol-unveils-new-version-open-source-mobile-cloud.htm Open source push e-mail and mobile sync provider Funambol…unveiled…its open source mobile cloud platform Funambol 8.5 that syncs diverse mobile data, rich media and messaging on billions of phones and PCs…We are excited to help companies provide innovative mobile cloud sync and push messaging services…The company is going to demonstrate its software syncing mobile data and rich media on a wide variety of devices, social networks and content sites via the cloud. The devices include smartphones as well as e-picture frames, e-book readers and e-tablets (such as Apple's (News - Alert) iPad). Social network and content sites will include Facebook, Flickr and Picasa…”

20. Did Symbian go open source too late? http://blogs.zdnet.com/open-source/?p=5771 “…Symbian has gone completely open source. Is it too late?...Symbian dominated the mobile world for years. Its real time operating systems powered nearly every phone out there. The Symbian Foundation includes five of the finest old-line mobile makers — Nokia, Samsung, Sharp, Fujitsu, Sony Ericsson — along with China’s Huawei…the world has moved on. Symbian is no longer the leader. Apple is. Symbian is no longer even the momentum play. Google is…Symbian is the product of a carrier-focused world where voice minutes mattered and data came only from walled gardens…It’s not that way anymore. We are evolving toward a world where the devices are strong but the networks weak. A lot of iPhone data traffic runs over WiFi…”

SkyNet

21. Google Ocean Showcase, a Multimedia, Underwater Street View http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_rolls_out_ocean_showcase_its_a_multimedia_u.php “…the sea…From sharks to shipwrecks, from the perfectly formed pipes of Hawaii's waves to the dark and chilly depths of the deepest sea trenches, it's one of Earth's most fascinating habitats - one that people love watching and exploring. Google is bringing Internet-bound ocean lovers a new portal to the amazing biological and topographical diversity that lies beneath the waves. If you're into underwater environments and you're down with Google Earth, we highly recommend checking out Ocean Showcase, Google's latest product release…National Geographic ocean explorer Sylvia Earle narrates the highlights tour. The smattering of categories in the plugin-enabled tours include research discoveries, shipwrecks, dive spots, surf spots, underwater terrain and the Great Lakes…”

22. Google to enlist NSA to help it ward off cyberattacks http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/03/AR2010020304057.html The world's largest Internet search company and the world's most powerful electronic surveillance organization are teaming up in the name of cybersecurity…the National Security Agency would help Google analyze a major corporate espionage attack that the firm said originated in China and targeted its computer networks…Google and the NSA declined to comment on the partnership…sources…said the alliance is being designed to allow the two organizations to share critical information without violating Google's policies or laws that protect the privacy of Americans' online communication…”

23. US Dept of Justice files objections to most recent Google proposal for digitizing the world’s books http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/02/04/MN7O1BSSRM.DTL The Department of Justice said in a filing late Thursday that revisions to the proposed legal settlement allowing Google Inc. to publish millions of books online didn't do enough to allay antitrust, copyright and other legal concerns…The government acknowledged "substantial progress" on several issues, but said…"The amended settlement agreement still confers significant and possibly anti-competitive advantages on Google as a single entity, thereby enabling the company to be the only competitor in the digital marketplace with the rights to distribute and otherwise exploit a vast array of works in multiple formats," the filing said. The Justice Department holds no power over Judge Denny Chin's decision in the case, but he will almost certainly ask the parties to respond to the issues the department raised…”

24. How to Enter 'Safe Mode' in Google Chrome http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/extensions_broke_your_browser_how_to_enter_safe_mo.php “…Chrome has entered the world of fully-extensible browsers, with its recent addition of extensions and Greasemonkey scripts…With that, however, comes the inevitable - browser crashes. While Google Chrome doesn't have a safe mode in the same way the Firefox or Windows does, it does offer another option that provides the same functionality and can save you a whole bunch of trouble…If you've found yourself in the terrible position of having a broken version of Chrome and you don't want to uninstall and start over from scratch, you can instead launch Chrome using "incognito mode", which disables extensions…Setting up a shortcut to launch Chrome in incognito mode is a simple four-step process…”

25. Google's Buzz Brings Social Sharing, Aggregation to Gmail http://blog.louisgray.com/2010/02/googles-buzz-brings-social-sharing.html “…Google…has struggled a bit in connecting its wide array of properties and making them feel personal and social. Today, with the launch of Google Buzz, the company aims to change that, making Gmail, and its sister sites, including Google.com and Google Maps, new places to share information of all types, with your friends. Google Buzz is more than just another status updater…What Buzz aims to do is help Gmail users share content with connected friends, extending the popular messaging platform further from its roots, to a high quality multi-media social experience…At launch, Buzz supports a few major services, including Google Reader, Flickr, Picasa and Twitter…Google wants to avoid the problems that have befallen other networks, which can be overrun with irrelevant, nonsensical updates, often from people you don't know. Buzz looks to surface content from those best connected to you, and will lower the visibility of inactive items…”

26. Google's Display-Ad Sales Should Top $1 Billion http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/feb2010/tc2010027_356976.htm “…Display ads are likely to contribute a little more than $1 billion, or about 4% of Google's (GOOG) total sales this year—an increase of as much 40% over last year—say analysts, including Doug Anmuth at Barclays Capital. That marks an important threshold for Mountain View (Calif.)-based Google, which makes most of its sales from ads placed alongside search results and which has been criticized for not getting more revenue from other businesses…Google has tried to catch up in part through acquisitions…The company paid $1.65 billion for YouTube in 2005 and $3.1 billion for DoubleClick in 2007. Sales of video and banner ads on YouTube…are expected…to contribute the bulk of Google's display revenue this year, about $700 million…Companies tend to use online display advertising to raise awareness of a brand or product while they deploy search ads to encourage customers to take a specific action—for instance, click on a Web site or make a purchase…”

General Technology

27. Intel Paper to Reveal Reconfigurable Logic http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2358763,00.asp “…Intel's own research has been focused on improving the performance of future multi-core chips…The most interesting paper, however, might be one titled "A 320mV-to-1.2V On-Die Fine-Grained Reconfigurable Fabric for DSP/Media Accelerators in 32nm CMOS". The paper will discuss a fabric of basic elements that could be reconfigured for different purposes. The concept of reconfigurable computing has been bandied about in research circles for years, normally associated with a field-programmable gate array (FPGAs) which can be quickly reprogrammed to perform a number of different tasks. Generally, however, the latency involved in reconfiguring chips for an optimized task has been greater than simply running a general purpose chip less efficiently. "If some are critical enough, however, we can build general-purpose hardware for just that task," Mooney said. "For those broad class of applications that we care about, we can build adaptive hardware...circuit functions that can be remapped." The paper proposes taking basic logic or arithmetic functions and reconfiguring them to the purpose of a specific application, such as signal processing, and examining the power and performance that such a reconfiguration can achieve…”

28. Solar Shingles See the Light of Day http://www.technologyreview.com/business/24383/page1/ “…Dow Chemical is moving full speed ahead to develop roof shingles embedded with photovoltaic cells. To facilitate the move, the U.S. Department of Energy has backed Dow's efforts with a $17.8 million tax credit that will help the company launch an initial market test of the product…the chemical giant unveiled its product, which can be nailed to a roof like ordinary shingles by roofers without the help of specially trained solar installers or electricians…Dow isn't the first company to incorporate solar cells into building materials. In recent years, a number of leading solar manufacturers have launched small lines of solar shingles, tiles, and window glazes. But as Dow looks to bring its shingles mainstream, other solar manufacturers are backing away from the products…According to analyst Johanna Schmidtke of Boston-based Lux Research, building integrated solar installations are, despite manufacturers' claims, still significantly more expensive than conventional rack-mounted solar arrays due to increased costs associated with manufacturing and installation…”

29. "Melting" Drywall Keeps Rooms Cool http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/24476/ Building materials that absorb heat during the day and release it at night, eliminating the need for air-conditioning in some climates, will soon be on the market in the United States. The North Carolina company National Gypsum is testing drywall sheets--the plaster panels that make up the walls in most new buildings--containing capsules that absorb heat to passively cool a building. The capsules, made by chemical giant BASF, can be incorporated into a range of construction materials and are already found in some products in Europe. The "phase-change" materials inside the BASF capsules keep a room cool in much the same way that ice cubes chill a drink: by absorbing heat as they melt. Each polymer capsule contains paraffin waxes that melt at around room temperature…The waxes work best in climates that cool down at night, allowing the materials inside the capsules to solidify and release the heat they've stored during the day. In some southern European climates, for example, the materials absorb enough heat during the day to save 20 percent of the electricity needed for air-conditioning. In northern Europe, where nighttime temperatures are cooler, a building incorporating the materials may not need an air conditioner at all…”

30. Nvidia Optimus unveiled: Switchable laptop graphics on the fly http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10449383-1.html “…Common sense dictates that laptops with both a discrete GPU and standard integrated graphics should be able to switch between the two at will…Unfortunately, until now, this required one to manually flip a switch to turn the discrete GPU off or on…First, one has to remember to activate the GPU before launching a game or other graphics-intensive task, and then turn it off after (or risk killing your battery). Second, many mainstream users may not even know they have switchable graphics, and will simply leave the GPU permanently off or on, defeating the purpose altogether. Some laptops label the two modes with unclear names such as "high performance" or "better battery life," which doesn't really spell out exactly what you're doing when you activate the mode. Even worse, some laptops require you to close all your apps and log out to switch modes…Nvidia Optimus automatically, instantaneously, and seamlessly optimizes the notebook to offer the best performance or best battery life depending on the application…the system uses its integrated graphics, and when an app launches that requires the discrete GPU, it seamlessly switches over to that, then turns it off when no longer required…”

31. AMD reveals Fusion CPU+GPU http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2010/02/amd-reveals-fusion-cpugpu-to-challege-intel-in-laptops.ars The "Llano" processor that AMD described today in an ISSCC session is not a CPU, and it's not a GPU—instead, it's a hybrid design that the chipmaker is calling an "application processor unit," or APU. Whatever you call it, it could well give Intel a run for its money in the laptop market, by combining a full DX11-compatible GPU with four out-of-order CPU cores on a single, 32nm processor die…AMD is targeting sub-3GHz operation, and a power consumption range of 2.5 to 25 watts…perhaps the most interesting and novel part of the Llano core is its unique approach to dynamic power optimization…”

32. Windows 7 stability fix breaks stability, puzzles Microsoft http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2010/02/windows-7-stability-update-breaks-stability-for-some-users.ars “…Microsoft posted a slew of non-security updates for Windows 7, one of which was titled as follows: "An update is available to improve the stability and the reliability of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2." Unfortunately, according to a thread on Microsoft TechNet, the update (KB977074) is actually breaking the stability and reliability of the operating system…Microsoft regularly releases Windows…stability and reliability updates, and this one builds on those that preceded it. The sad part is that the issues described by the users affected sound a lot worse than the issues this update is supposed to address…Ironically, users in another Microsoft TechNet thread are complaining that they cannot install this fix; for them the update process gets to 67 percent after the mandatory restart, fails, and then rolls back the changes…Users in the thread have reported that uninstalling the update manually, or using System Restore to restore to a time before they installed the update, fixes the problem for them…”

33. Microsoft: your battery is the problem, not Windows 7 http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2010/02/microsoft-your-battery-is-the-problem-not-windows-7-1.ars “…Several press articles this past week have drawn attention to blog and forum postings by users claiming Windows 7 is warning them to "consider replacing your battery" in systems which appeared to be operating satisfactorily before upgrading to Windows 7. These articles described posts in the support forums indicating that Windows 7 is not just warning users of failing batteries - as we designed Windows 7 to do this - but also implying Windows 7 is falsely reporting this situation or even worse, causing these batteries to fail…Windows 7 is correctly warning batteries that are in fact failing and Windows 7 is neither incorrectly reporting on battery status nor in any way whatsoever causing batteries to reach this state…Windows 7 taps into a feature of modern laptop batteries which have circuitry and firmware that can report the overall health of the battery in Watt-hours power capacity…the threshold is set at 60 percent degradation, so if the battery is performing at 40 percent of its designed capacity then users will see Windows 7 report that it might be time to change the battery…”

34. Designing a highly reliable small & medium business network http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2010/02/designing-a-highly-reliable-small-medium-business-network.ars “…small and medium business (SMB) networks are generally something of a mess. Typically, they're organically grown and built off of consumer-class hardware. Network management tools are usually non-existent, documentation is erratic, and redundancy is totally absent. The end result is that the typical SMB network is a virtual fireball, with the network admin running around carrying a pail and trying to extinguish the fires…you can build a highly reliable network without breaking the bank…In this article, I’ll explain how to create a highly available SMB network. In order to be as vendor-neutral as possible, I will try to avoid specific technologies, and will instead lay out some goals, along with common methods for meeting those goals. For similar reasons, I will not detail exact costs, but where possible, I’ll give you relative costs. Finally, I won't include virtualization options in this article, and will instead focus on standard client-server infrastructures. While virtualization can allow for very highly available infrastructures, a fully virtualized infrastructure is beyond the grasp of most small to medium sized businesses…”

Leisure & Entertainment

35. Nikon Coolpix P100 Superzoom unveiled http://www.i4u.com/article30522.html Nikon has offered up a new digital camera that flash into the superzoom category called the P100. The point-and-shoot camera offers a massive 26x zoom lens…The P100 uses a CMOS image sensor and can record full 1080p HD video. The rear LCD is a 3-inch variable angle unit with 460k dot resolution. The sensor has 10.3MP and…5-way vibration reduction image stabilization, which will be needed at the massive zoom level that cam is capable of. Nikon also integrated a continuous shot mode good for 10fps at full resolution and 120 fps at 1.1MP resolution. The camera has tons more features and is…$399.95…”

36. Sling: We didn't 'work' with AT&T for 3G streaming to iPhone http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2010/02/sling-we-didnt-work-with-att-for-3g-streaming-to-iphone.ars “…AT&T's CEO claimed in the announcement that Sling Media modified the app to be more efficient on its network, but Sling has responded, saying it didn't have to change much of anything. "Sling Media was willing to work with us to revise the app to make it more bandwidth sensitive," AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega said…Sling Media's John Santoro told Ars that no fundamental changes were required. "AT&T never discussed any specific requirements with us." Santoro explained that SlingPlayer Mobile has always contained code to adapt the stream quality to the given network conditions…the code has been continually improved, and Sling was able to successfully demonstrate that SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone would not have a negative impact on other wireless customers…”

37. TV ‘Anywhere’: AT&T Relents on iPhone 3G Slingbox http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/02/att-will-allow-optimized-sling-app-for-iphone/ “…AT&T announced Thursday that it will allow Sling Media’s iPhone app to run on its 3G network. That means owners of various Sling Box devices can watch live, streaming TV, as well as DVR-recorded content and movies downloaded at home, using an iPhone without a Wi-Fi connection. Last May, AT&T claimed Sling’s iPhone app would “create congestion” on its 3G network. It ran tests in December, and now concludes that “the optimized app can run on its 3G network”…What changed? In part, the Sling app itself…while the Sling iPhone app had always been optimized for 3G, AT&T “worked with” Sling to make it even more efficient (i.e., degraded video and/or audio quality until the Sling app consumed an acceptable amount of bandwidth)…”

38. Watching the birth of Flickr co-founder's gaming start-up http://news.cnet.com/8301-13772_3-10448459-52.html “…on Tuesday, CNET is reporting exclusively, Tiny Speck plans to officially unveil their new game, Glitch, and for the first time, people will be able to see what this start-up has been working on since last March. The game will be in private alpha for now, and is expected to launch publicly in the second half of the year…By 2008, Butterfield and the other original pre-acquisition Flickr team members who had joined Yahoo celebrated "Vestfest," a shindig honoring the full vesting of their windfall from the sale, and he decided to move on. His resignation letter was true to form for the 36-year-old geek with a Cambridge degree in philosophy who grew up in a Canadian hamlet once popular with well-educated Vietnam draft dodgers…True Flickr devotees will remember that before that service blossomed, the team behind it had first been operating as a start-up known as Ludicorp, which was working on an online social game called Game Neverending…[It] was lighthearted and humorous; indeed there was no way to win, nor even any definition of success." Despite developing a passionate audience, they abandoned the game after it became obvious that Flickr was more viable commercially. Now, years later, Butterfield had reassembled a cadre of the earliest members to do what they didn't last time: build a game and a real business around it…”

39. Third major publisher rejects Amazon $9.99 E-book pricing http://www.pcworld.com/article/188627/third_major_publisher_dumps_amazon_999_ebooks_model.html “…The future of the $9.99 e-book is in danger. A third major publisher, Hachette, is going for Apple's agency model in order to sell e-books for up to $14.99 apiece…Following Amazon's public dispute over e-book prices with Macmillan early this week, Hachette is also seeking a shift to the agency model, which allows the publisher to set the price for the e-book, while the retailer keeps 30 percent of the sales. Hachette follows a similar move by HarperCollins, whose owner Rupert Murdoch was quoted saying during an earnings call that "We don't like the Amazon model of $9.99 . . . We think it really devalues books and hurts all the retailers of hardcover books . . .And now Amazon is willing to sit down with us again and renegotiate…”

40. Microsoft Discontinuing Xbox LIVE for Xbox Gamers http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20100205/tc_pcworld/microsoftdiscontinuingxboxliveforxboxgamers “…On April 15, 2010, Microsoft plans to pull the plug on Xbox LIVE services for its original Xbox as well as online services for Xbox games playable on the Xbox 360. Microsoft's Larry 'Major Nelson' Hryb broke the news on his blog and said the shutdown will commence with immediate discontinuation of auto-renewals for gamers still subscribed to the service through an original Xbox. "While I can’t comment on the specifics, this change will allow us to continue evolving the LIVE service with new features and experiences that fully harness the power of Xbox 360 and the Xbox LIVE community," wrote Hryb. "We did not make this decision lightly, but after careful consideration and review we realize that this decision will allow us unprecedented flexibility for future features…”

41. Flixster continues rapid growth with new $12.5M http://digital.venturebeat.com/2010/02/08/flixster-continues-rapid-growth-with-new-12-5m/ “…a month after it gobbled up primary competitor Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster, a social-networking site for movie enthusiasts, has landed $12.5 million in a new round of equity and common stock…this is just one of several recent deals that has boosted the Flixster brand. At the start of February, it announced a partnership with Skyhook Wireless to provide theater information and showtimes to Android application users. It also recently teamed up with The Hollywood Reporter to combine Flixter’s cinematic quizzes, games and polls with the publication’s editorial content…”

Economy and Technology

42. Yahoo sells HotJobs for $225 million http://www.techcrunch.com/2010/02/03/yahoo-hotjobs-monster-225-million/ Yahoo has ben trying to unload HotJobs..finally came to a deal with Monster…for $225 million in cash…Both Hotjobs and Monster have been lagging newer job search sites such as Indeed, which searches the entire Web for job listings…Indeed’s jog [sic] search reached 8.4 million individuals in the U.S. in December, 2009, compared to only 5.4 million for HotJobs and 6.1 million for Monster…Monster recently launched its 6Sense semantic search technology across different products including resume and candidate search. 6Sense is aimed at bringing up more relevant results even when there is no exact keyword match by using semantic analysis…”

43. 5min Rules The How-To Video Space http://www.techcrunch.com/2010/02/03/5min-rules-the-how-to-video-space/ We recently wrote about the traction that how-to video site and producer Howcast is seeing online. But there’s another information and how-to video startup that is dominating the space: 5min. The company is a syndication platform for instructional, knowledge and lifestyle videos, both professionally produced and user-generated. The service’s video library boasts 150,000 of videos across a variety of categories (e.g. food, health, home and garden ), submitted by media companies and independent producers from around the world…5min saw 30.5 million unique viewers, ranking just below Turner Networks (30.6 million unique viewers) and just above AOL…Google saw 136 million unique viewers and Hulu saw 44.2 million unique viewers…In terms of videos streamed, 5min saw 75.4 million streams which pales in comparison to Hulu’s 1 billion video streams and Google’s 13.2 billion video streams for the month of December...data indicates that 5min, which has raised $12.8 million since its launch in 2006, is growing into the Hulu for niche content…5min monetizes each video with pre-roll ads, overlays, and companion banners and has a rev share with the content providers…”

44. Why Is Apple Banning Location-based iPhone Ads? http://business.theatlantic.com/2010/02/why_is_apple_banning_location-based_iphone_ads.php “…Apple prohibited its app developers from using an iPhone's GPS to determine which ads to show users. From an advertiser standpoint, such a capability could be great: ads targeted by location can be a lot more effective -- and lucrative. From an iPhone owner standpoint, I'm not sure I see the harm. What's Apple's goal in preventing app developers from utilizing device locations?...it's easy to see why advertisers would find it so useful to know location. For example, if you sell skis, would you pay more if your ad was shown to a user in Miami or Aspen? Easy answer. It would also allow smaller, local companies to cash in on mobile apps more effectively. If a restaurant chain doesn't have any locations in Texas, why is it paying for its ads to be shown to people living there?...Is the company worried about users not wanting advertisers to know their location? Perhaps. But there's also speculation that Apple might just want all that location-based ad revenue for itself…”

45. PayPal Suspends Personal Payments to India http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/188775/paypal_suspends_personal_payments_to_india.html PayPal…has suspended personal payments to and from India and transfers to local banks in the country…The services have been suspended while the company works with its "business partners and other stakeholders to address questions they have about the service,”…The move by PayPal may be linked to new Indian government rules aimed at preventing money laundering…requiring financial institutions and other intermediaries to verify the identity of clients carrying out international money transfers. PayPal's user agreement says it does not guarantee any user's identity because user verification on the Internet is difficult. PayPal does reserve the right to validate customers' identities, including asking for documents. PayPal is used in India by many to receive payment for services such as software development and freelance writing.”

Civilian Aerospace

46. Moon tourism by 2020, entrepreneurs predict http://www.space.com/news/commercial-spaceflight-ready-to-serve-100203.html “…The space industry executives hailed the Obama administration's proposal to devote $6 billion over the next five years toward commercial spaceflight. It opens the door for potential trips to the moon on commercial vehicles…That "historic decision" could create an estimated 5,000 jobs in the United States and help NASA avoid paying billions of dollars to Russia for rides to the space station…Some critics and members of Congress have expressed their own concerns about the safety of untried commercial spaceflight…Elon Musk, founder of the commercial spaceflight venture Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), likened the issue to how airline travelers fly today on Southwest Airlines or Virgin America without a second thought because safety has become a universal standard for airlines. He and other space entrepreneurs said that they too must hold to the highest safety standards lest they lose out to competitors…SpaceX and its competitors touted that, with appropriate funding, they could start flying U.S. astronauts into space around 2014…Bigelow noted that his space hotel company plans to pursue an "aggressive schedule" that would launch several private space stations within the next decade…"By 2020 you'll have seen private citizens circumnavigate the moon," said Eric Anderson of Space Adventures, the only company currently selling space tourist flights to orbit…”

47. New Mexico Senate OKs liability bill for spaceport http://www.krqe.com/dpp/news/politics/nm_legislature/senate-oks-liability-bill-for-spaceport Legislation aimed at protecting New Mexico's spaceport from liability while the commercial space industry tackles the hazards of space flight was approved Friday on a 37-0 vote in the state Senate…The legislation, which next goes to the House, outlines risks of space flight and requires companies taking anyone into space to obtain a signed waiver where the passenger acknowledges inherent dangers. It protects New Mexico from liability but operators could still be sued if a judge determined "gross negligence" resulted in death or bodily injury…”

48. Payton Slams Space Firms’ Quality http://www.dodbuzz.com/2010/02/05/payton-slams-space-firms-quality/ The makers of America’s rockets and satellites “are still stumbling on fundamentals too often,” said Gary Payton, former astronaut and the top Air Force man on space acquisition…The biggest problem lies with suppliers, who are selling equipment that is just not up to snuff, Payton said…We have been finding problems on satellites and launch vehicles; valves on launch vehicles, gyroscopes and reaction wheels on satellites…Payton is the second senior acquisition official to worry publicly about quality control this week…David Altwegg, a highly respected missileer and engineer, told reporters that he and his colleagues stood watching a recent THAAD test. A drogue parachute pulled the target out of a C-17. “We all stood there and watched it fall into the water,” said an obviously disgusted Altweg. A failure review board was convened and found the test failed due to “a quality control problem…the U.S. Air Force has an excellent record of putting dozens of satellites safely into space after a string of launch disasters in the late 1990s. This string of successes came after five major failures, including three heavy Titan IV rockets, losing Air Force and NRO payloads totaling over $3 billion…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

49. Accelerating 3D seismic data analysis on desktop workstations http://www.engineerlive.com/Hydrographic-Seismic/Data_Processing/Accelerating_3D_seismic_data_analysis_on_desktop_workstations/22339/ Geophysicists often say that they could work better and find more oil and gas if they had access to faster computers on their desktop. Until now, intensive processing tasks had to be sent off to a server cluster, returned and the results visualised on a desktop workstation. Now, for around $10 000, you can get the speed of a small cluster in a desktop machine, by using the untapped potential of the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). A machine with four high end GPUs from NVIDIA has up to four teraflops of processing power, equivalent to around 60 of the fastest CPUs…Stephen Purves, Technical Director at Foster Findlay Associates (ffA), a developer of 3D seismic image processing technology for the oil and gas industry, believes the power of the GPU will be a game changer for seismic analysis applications…"We've been wanting to do this for years but it has never been practical before, the interface was always too clunky," says Purves. "There was a lot of waiting around with progress bars on the screen. Now we perform calculations in the time it takes to stream data from disk…”

50. AMD Aims for GPUs in Mainstream Servers Starting 2012 http://www.pcworld.com/article/188683/amd_aims_for_gpus_in_mainstream_servers_starting_2012.html “…Advanced Micro Devices will put more focus on tightly integrating graphics processor cores into mainstream servers starting 2012…Mainstream servers in the future could have a combination of graphics processors and CPUs in servers as applications take advantage of thousands of GPU cores, said Gina Longoria, director of the product management and workstation division at AMD…Graphics cards are considered more advanced in tackling scientific and math applications than CPUs, which are designed to handle generic computing tasks. Some servers already combine the performance of GPUs with CPUs in high-performance computing environments…One Nvidia GPU-based supercomputer, called Tsubame, at the Tokyo Institute of Technology has more than 30,000 processing cores that provide a processing speed of 77.48 teraflops…Over the next two years, computing using a GPU will remain a relatively niche area, so AMD's focus will be on CPUs and adding cores to it, Longoria said. Over time there could be tighter integration, and AMD could de-emphasize CPU cores if heterogeneous computing using GPUs takes off, Longoria said…Graphics-intensive applications that involve face recognition, video and imaging will see improvement on servers with the help of GPUs…”

51. NVIDIA Quadro In Mobile Workstations http://www.tweaktown.com/pressrelease/2704/nvidia_quadro_makes_clean_sweep_in_powering_newest_breed_of_mobile_workstations/ “…NVIDIA Corp. announced…its entire new line of Quadro® professional graphics solutions for mobile workstations…these mobile graphics processing units…dramatically and effectively accelerate graphics performance in all of the new generation of Intel Core i7-based mobile workstations from Dell, Fujitsu Technology Solutions, HP, and Lenovo…starting with HP’s new, 14.1-inch small form factor, and going up to Dell’s new 17-inch powerhouse, NVIDIA is the only company to have its high-performance mobile graphics solutions included in all of these next-generation mobile workstations…”


*****

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