2010/02/16

NEW NET Issues List for 16 Feb 2010

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 16 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. Microsoft Adds "Augmented Reality" to Bing Maps http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/24800/?a=f “…Microsoft just added an interesting new feature to Bing Maps--augmented reality. Actually, it's a bit more like augmented reality in reverse. A new function, called Streetside Photos, takes real images and video clips and neatly stitches them onto the Bing Map's street-level view…This means you can, for example, zoom in on a street and see an image of a particular storefront that was just uploaded to Flickr or Twitpic instead of the standard one. Steetside Photos, which is available for Seattle and San Francisco maps, also includes some nice historical imagery. Blaise Agüera y Arcas, architect of Bing Maps…presented another image-stitching program called Photosynth at TED in 2007. He tells me that the new application's algorithms are similar to Photosynth's but effectively work in reverse…Perhaps most impressively, it can overlay moving video on top of a map, creating a "lens" type of effect, as illustrated in the video at Pike Place Market in Seattle below…” http://searchengineland.com/bing-demos-streetside-with-flickr-photos-live-video-bing-sky-35994 “…Microsoft’s Blaise Aguera y Arcas demonstrated a new crowdsourced-version Bing Maps that integrates photos and even live video that is shared by others. Microsoft will also soon launch what we’ve dubbed “Bing Sky,” the ability to use Bing to look up in the sky and see what’s in space above…also demonstrated live Webcam feeds perfectly which enables real-time video to be overlaid seamlessly on street-level imagery, adding another dimension to the mapping experience. Imagine – you can see how long the line is at Five Guys before you head over for a burger. In the coming year, we think you will be pleasantly surprised with how far Bing takes this new technology…You’re now able to see what that club looks like at night (is it really THAT scary?), see if you’re really going to get a good sunset at that B&B you’re looking to book, or check out the crowds on a Saturday morning at Pike Place Market in Seattle or get a view of the same market from decades prior…Microsoft also highlighted its many map applications available for Bing, for those using the Silverlight version…”

2. Aviary online image editor http://techcrunch.com/2010/02/11/aviary-free/ Aviary is easily one of the best online image editors out there — maybe the best. But to take full advantage of all it offers, you had to pay for its full suite, which cost you $24.99 a year. Well, that is until now. Starting today, the full service is now available for free to all users…our recent round of funding (by Spark Capital, Bezos Expeditions & others) enables us to finally achieve this goal as we shift revenues to other areas that don’t limit individuals in any way…He goes on to note that the focus is on building an app marketplace where people can buy and sell goods and services which Aviary would take a cut of…”

3. Full Screen Weather Is a Giant, No-Frills Weather Map http://lifehacker.com/5470766/full-screen-weather-is-a-giant-no+frills-weather-map We've always liked Weather Underground for its no-nonsense, real-time weather info. Today they've released a new service called Full Screen Weather that mashes up Google Maps with weather data for nothing but maps and up-to-the-minute weather info. Just point your browser to fullscreenweather.com, enter your ZIP code, and get browsing. By default the map displays temperatures as measured from stations across Weather Underground's extensive reporting areas, but you can also switch to Precipitation and Cloud views (you can even play back cloud or precipitation movement over time)…”

4. Opera Mini reaches 50 million active users http://www.opera.com/press/releases/2010/02/12/ Opera Mini, the world’s most popular mobile browser, has crossed the 50 million unique monthly users mark in January 2010. This milestone proves the popularity of Opera Mini compared to other mobile browsers, as users seek out the Opera Mini experience over other options by downloading it on their mobile devices…”

5. Life's important documents stored safely online http://www.suntimes.com/technology/guy/2045730,CST-NWS-ECOL13.article Liz Robinson, head of planning for a major ad agency, and her actor husband, John, find themselves on the road frequently, and their three grown children in constant need of information. So what happens if the youngest daughter needs to know when she was immunized against mumps, or John wants to check that the last mortgage payment cleared the bank? The information is an iPhone click away now that Liz Robinson has stored her important documents -- account log-ins, passport data, last will-and-testament and credit-card information -- into a secure Web site with the odd name Orggit -- short for organize it….Liz Robinson said anyone who wants to do the same must summon the discipline to scan documents and type in data for about half a day, but then it's finished. The Orggit program costs $49.99 a year. Orggit enables the Robinson parents to give their children access to information that they choose. So the children may see their doctors' records but not their parents' bank accounts…The system includes an "alerts" and "reminders" process that signals when a driver's license or passport is set to expire…Nancy Nally, a tech writer who reviewed Orggit for Web Worker Daily, fell in love with the application because it met her needs for a virtual and instantly retrievable medical alert bracelet…After an Orggit member fills out his or her medical history, he gets a card to put in his or her wallet with instructions for emergency medical providers on how to download the information…I like the idea of maintaining a constantly updated medical file online that's connected to a card in my wallet," she said. "Orggit even knows when I got my flu shot…”

6. Zoho Launches New Version Of Invoicing Application http://techcrunch.com/2010/02/11/zoho-launches-new-version-of-invoicing-application/ “…Zoho…is releasing a new version of its Invoice, dubbed Invoice 2.0…over the past two years, there have been a plethora of online invoicing startups that have popped up and Zoho is catching up to its competitors with version two of its offering…The version also has full organization, multi-user support so that several employees can access and collaborate on invoices for a particular account…and email history which tracks your email exchanges with your clients…Zoho’s invoicing application…ties into its other productivity applications seamlessly…its affordable, with a free version and the most expensive version coming in at $35 per month…Zoho has definitely reached over 2 million users…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

7. Every Expat’s Favorite Software, Hotspot Shield http://gigaom.com/2010/02/12/the-man-behind-every-expats-favorite-software-hotspot-shield/ “…ad-supported VPN, Hotspot Shield, has been on a tear in the last year. The tool, which people use to protect their browsing privacy and also to access blocked web content, now has more than 7 million monthly users and 1.3 billion pages encrypted per month. Hotspot Shield’s userbase, which tripled in the last 12 months, is filled with expats — such as U.S. Army soldiers and businesspeople in China — according to CEO David Gorodyansky, who stopped by GigaOM today for an interview (see video below). More than 80 percent of Hotspot Shield users are browsing in English, while more than half of users are international…” [use for privacy/security or just to get around blocks? better than Tor? watch the video in post]

8. Feds push for tracking cell phones http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10451518-38.html “…Two years ago, when the FBI was stymied by a band of armed robbers…that had robbed more than 20 Texas banks, it came up with a novel method of locating the thieves. FBI agents obtained logs from mobile phone companies…recorded at the time of a dozen different bank robberies in the Dallas area…records showed that two phones had made calls around the time of all 12 heists…those phones belonged to men named Tony Hewitt and Corey Duffey. A jury eventually convicted the duo of multiple bank robbery and weapons charges…the Obama administration has argued that warrantless tracking is permitted because Americans enjoy no "reasonable expectation of privacy" in their--or at least their cell phones'--whereabouts. U.S. Department of Justice lawyers say that "a customer's Fourth Amendment rights are not violated when the phone company reveals to the government its own records" that show where a mobile device placed and received calls…Not long ago, the concept of tracking cell phones would have been the stuff of spy movies. In 1998's "Enemy of the State," Gene Hackman warned that the National Security Agency has "been in bed with the entire telecommunications industry since the '40s--they've infected everything."…Whether state and federal police have been paying attention to Hollywood, or whether it was the other way around, cell phone tracking has become a regular feature in criminal investigations. It comes in two forms…retrospective data kept by mobile providers for their own billing purposes that may not be very detailed, or prospective data that reveals the minute-by-minute location of a…mobile device…In the case that's before the Third Circuit on Friday…U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa Lenihan in Pennsylvania denied the Justice Department's attempt to obtain stored location data without a search warrant…Lenihan's opinion (PDF)--which, in an unusual show of solidarity, was signed by four other magistrate judges--noted that location information can reveal sensitive information such as health treatments, financial difficulties, marital counseling, and extra-marital affairs…the Justice Department claims that Lenihan's opinion…should be overruled…Verizon Wireless keeps "phone records including cell site location for 12 months… wireless carriers have recently extended how long they store this information. "Prior to a year or two ago when location-based services became more common, if it were 30 days it would be surprising…”

9. U.S. To Be Hit By Massive Cyber Attack On Feb. 16. Asterisk. http://politics.theatlantic.com/2010/02/_recreating_a_s_ituation.php On February 16, at about 10:00 am ET, the U.S. will be hit by a massive, crippling cyber attack from an unknown entity…The reason I felt compelled to write a pseudo-serious lead to this post is because, for the first time, a cyber attack is going to be war-gamed, in public, for all the country to see. It will be quite realistic, featuring senior intelligence and national security officials, including former directors of intelligence agencies and combatant commands and homeland security advisers. A production company has been hired to re-create a White House Sit Room in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, and professional scriptwriters have been working with experts…sponsors of the event include companies with financial stakes in the future of cyber defense -- General Dynamics is one -- but also companies whose transactions are the lifeblood to the American economy, and who want to foster a greater sense of urgency among the public and policymakers. (PayPal has joined as a sponsor.)…It will be, I can say, dynamic -- runners with cards will enter the "Sit Room" with new information…At the end, participants will step out of their roles for a hotwash -- open to the press and the experts…” [Apparently this was a micro “War of the Worlds”, with lots of people (see previous NEW NET item about people only reading new article headlines) getting upset and worried.]

10. 4chan's moot takes pro-anonymity to TED 2010 http://arstechnica.com/staff/palatine/2010/02/4chans-moot-takes-pro-anonymity-to-ted-2010.ars “…moot is the founder of 4chan…the 21 year-old took the stage after an awkward introduction. He revealed that the site produces 700,000 posts in a day, from 7 million unique users…4chan is "raw" and "unfiltered." One of its community-generated rules is, "If it exists, there is porn of it. No Exceptions."…The story of Dusty the Cat changed the tone of the talk quickly. moot described how, in only 48 hours, the community tracked down a man who had posted videos of cat abuse. The man was arrested, and moot used the story to illustrate how digital communities can do more than make funny pictures of cats….he insisted that anonymity is a good thing, yet we're all giving it up voluntarily. He wasn't talking about the NSA or tech policy or anything like that. Rather, he said sites like 4chan may go the way of the dinosaur because people are choosing to join social networking sites and persistent identity services…He seemed puzzled as to why everyone wants their identity tied to so much of what they say and do online…moot said that money wasn't the goal of creating 4chan. "The commercial picture is that there really isn't one," he said. More laughs, mostly uneasy, and I was left with a sense that many people in the room did not understand. I did, because like 4chan, Ars was started not to make money, but to service a community. Whether or not 4chan has a real commercial future isn't clear, moot said, but he was going back to school and hoped to apply all he has learned from 4chan to some future venture…”

11. Microsoft halts Windows Update distribution of security fix after blue-screen reports http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=5250 Microsoft has removed one group of patches it released as part of this week’s Patch Tuesday — MS10-015 (KB977165) – from its Windows Update service until it can investigate reports by some users that it is causing havoc with their PCs. Microsoft provided an update on the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) blog on February 11 about its actions, after a day of reports by users with problems, including some XP users claiming blue-screen-of-death (BSOD) issues seemingly resulting from application of the KB977165 patch…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

12. MeeGo: Intel joins Nokia in Android attack http://www.pcworld.com/article/189335/nokia_and_intel_launch_new_mobile_operating_system.html Nokia and Intel will merge two of their mobile operating systems into Meego, a Linux-based, open operating system for everything from advanced smartphones to netbooks, connected TVs and tablet computers…The new operating system will combine the best features from each operating system, including the Moblin core and the UI (user interface) toolkit from Maemo. Intel developed Moblin, and Nokia developed Maemo…The first devices based on the operating system are expected to arrive during the second half of 2010…The operating system will support both Intel's Atom and ARM architectures…”

13. Wi-Fi Turns Rowdy Bus Into Rolling Study Hall http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/12/education/12bus.html Students endure hundreds of hours on yellow buses each year getting to and from school in this desert exurb of Tucson, and stir-crazy teenagers break the monotony by teasing, texting, flirting, shouting, climbing (over seats) and sometimes punching (seats or seatmates). But on this chilly morning, as bus No. 92 rolls down a mountain highway just before dawn, high school students are quiet, typing on laptops. Morning routines have been like this since the fall, when school officials mounted a mobile Internet router to bus No. 92’s sheet-metal frame, enabling students to surf the Web. The students call it the Internet Bus, and what began as a high-tech experiment has had an old-fashioned — and unexpected — result. Wi-Fi access has transformed what was often a boisterous bus ride into a rolling study hall, and behavioral problems have virtually disappeared…” [is the loss of ‘social interaction’ on the bus necessarily a ‘good’ thing?]

14. Skype Over Verizon 3G http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-02-16/verizon-wireless-puts-skype-on-phones-to-fight-at-t-update3-.html Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. mobile-phone carrier, will include Skype…calling service on handsets such as the BlackBerry…The service will work on Verizon’s third-generation network, on phones including Motorola Inc.’s Droid and Research in Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry Storm…Customers need a data plan to use the service. Verizon Wireless, based in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, is relying on 3G data plans for growth as demand slows for voice calls…Over 15 percent of all iPhones now have Skype downloaded on it, so there’s huge demand…AT&T’s iPhone subscribers can use the Skype service only when they are in Wi-Fi hotspots. Skype said this month that a version of Skype for the iPhone that works over AT&T’s 3G phone network is coming “soon.”…AT&T said in October that it would allow Internet-calling services such as Skype to work on its phone network…

15. Sagem Orga outs SIMFi, a SIM card/WiFi router hybrid http://www.mobilecrunch.com/2010/02/12/sagem-orga-outs-simfi-a-sim-cardwifi-router-hybrid/ “…SIMFi is…a SIM card with an embedded WiFi radio, so provided you have a suitable data plan, the card itself puts out a WiFi signal instead of relying on the phone. For anyone who’s ever needed internet access on a laptop, with no other tools besides the phone in their pocket, this is a potential godsend…”

16. Samsung unveils Bluetooth 3.0, 802.11n smartphone http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/02/15/samsung_unveils_bada_wave/ Samsung has taken the wraps off the first phone to be fitted out with its Bada operating system. It also has 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0. Called the Wave, the handset sports a 3.5in, 800 x 480 OLED touchscreen. While Bada runs behind the scenes, users interact with the third incarnation of Samsung's established TouchWiz UI…”

17. Motorola's Quench Marks Company's Eighth Android Phone http://www.pcworld.com/article/189333/motorolas_quench_marks_companys_eighth_android_phone.html Motorola released its eighth Android smartphone on Monday called the Quench or Cliq XT, which comes with a touchscreen and a virtual keyboard. The phone is based on version 1.5 of Android and features Motorola's own Motoblur, which, for example, syncs e-mails, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter messages…The Quench will be available in the first quarter of 2010…In the U.S. the phone will be called Cliq XT and be available next month exclusively through T-Mobile USA…”

18. Android now shipping on 60,000 handsets per day http://www.mobilecrunch.com/2010/02/16/google-now-shipping-60000-android-handsets-per-day/ “…Google and their hardware partners are now shipping 60,000 Android handsets each day…If that’s a true average rate and it holds true for the next year, that works out to about 5.4 million handsets per quarter, or 21.9 million per year. Not only that, but the rate seems to be growing fairly rapidly; according to Schmidt, the rate has nearly doubled over the last quarter…”

19. Do E-Readers Cause Eye Strain http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/12/do-e-readers-cause-eye-strain/ “…The act of reading is going through a..fundamental…shift from reading on paper to reading on screens. As consumers decide whether to make this jump and which technology to use, one key question is how reading on a screen affects the eyes…Most of what our mothers told us about our eyes was wrong,” said Dr. Travis Meredith…Sitting close to a television, or computer screen, isn’t bad for our eyes. It’s a variety of other factors that can cause physical fatigue…there is a lively debate among fans of e-readers and paper books about which type of reading experience is most friendly to the eyes…It depends on the viewing circumstances, including the software and typography on the screen,” said Mr. Bove. “Right now E Ink is great in sunlight, but in certain situations, a piece of paper can be a better display than E Ink, and in dim light, an LCD display can be better than all of these technologies.” E Ink has a very low contrast ratio. Although it can offer an excellent reading experience in bright sunlight, the screens can become uncomfortable to use in dark settings because of the lack of contrast and backlighting on the screen. LCD screens, meanwhile, have long struggled to offer good viewing angles for reading. Apple’s latest IPS LCD screens include extremely wide viewing angles, but the reflective glass on the screen could be a hindrance in brightly lit situations…When we read…a series of ocular muscles jump around and can cause strain, regardless of whether we are looking at pixels or paper. “While you’re reading, your eyes make about 10,000 movements an hour. It’s important to take a step back every 20 minutes and let your eyes rest…Today’s screens are definitely less tiring to look at than older displays…The new LCDs don’t affect your eyes,” Mr. Taussig said. “Today’s screens update every eight milliseconds, whereas the human eye is moving at a speed between 10 and 30 milliseconds…”

Open Source

20. TeleKast Is a Snazzy Open Source Teleprompter App http://lifehacker.com/5471419/telekast-is-a-snazzy-open-source-teleprompter-app “…free, open-source application TeleKast is a solid desktop teleprompter…TeleKast if a free download for Windows and Linux only. It's currently an alpha release, so you might expect a little bugginess—but it worked like a charm in my tests. If you'd prefer a little teleprompter action without installing an application, check out previously mentioned CuePrompter.”

21. Ten tools trusted by Linux veterans http://resources.zdnet.co.uk/articles/comment/0,1000002985,40037145,00.htm “…I thought it would be fun to list 10 of these old-school Linux utilities and see what other tools people refuse to abandon, regardless of platform. Not only will it be a trip down memory lane for some, it might bring to light a tool that could solve a perplexing problem…Enlightenment is my desktop of choice and has been for some years. Recently, I have been using the Elive distribution, which pairs E17 with Compiz. But it is still Enlightenment in all its speedy beauty. If you have never experienced Enlightenment, you should do yourself a favour and give it a go…”

22. OpenOffice.org Releases Version 3.2 http://news.yahoo.com/s/zd/20100211/tc_zd/248317 OpenOffice 3.2 is now available for download, the organization announced Thursday…the productivity suite – which is intended to be an open-source alternative to Microsoft Office – boasts faster start-up times, ODF support, proprietary file support, support for postscript-based OpenType fonts, and more. The release comes after OpenOffice.org hit a milestone of 300 million downloads over the course of its 10-year history…”

SkyNet

23. The buzz on Google Buzz http://gigaom.com/2010/02/11/google-listens-to-critics-and-tweaks-buzz/ “…many people wound up exposing their email and GTalk contacts to the outside world without realizing this would happen. Some users said they had turned Buzz off as a result, while others said they had avoided following friends because they didn’t want to expose their profiles or emails in this way. Others complained that they couldn’t block users who didn’t already have a public profile, and that it wasn’t clear who would be shown on their public following list and who wouldn’t. So what did Google do? It listened, and even though the feature has only been available for two days, it has made changes to respond to these criticisms…it has made the “public or non-public” setting in Buzz more obvious so that users make that decision explicitly, and it has also made it possible for users to block those they don’t want following them…” http://techcrunch.com/2010/02/11/reply-google-buzz-exposing-email/ “…another privacy flaw in Google Buzz that can expose private email addresses to everyone who follows you. Google Buzz borrows the @reply convention from Twitter so that if you want to reply to someone or direct a comment to them you simply put the @ sign in front of their name. Google autosuggests names from your contact list as you start typing. Normally, this doesn’t cause any problems if you select the Gmail account or chat name associated with that person’s public profile. It ends up posting their name, and not their email address. But if you select a name or account that is not public, Buzz will fill in with their private email. For example, I wanted to direct a comment at TechCrunch writer MG Siegler, so I typed in “@mg” and up came three of his different emails. I picked his TechCrunch email, not realizing that his public profile is linked to a different Gmail account. What this means is that the 231 people following me on Buzz can all see MG’s private email address in my comment even if they had no direct connection to him before…” Disabling Google Buzz -- http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10451703-2.html Hacking numeric Google profile url back to an email address -- http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/hacking_google_profile_gmail_email_addresses.php

24. How Google Buzz for mobile can change your life http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2010/02/12/urnidgns852573C400693880002576C8007B7D43.DTL “…Almost all the talk is about using Buzz from a PC. Now it's time to meet the other Google Buzz…two new features rolled into the mobile version of Google Maps, called "Near me now" and "Explore right here," partially realized the long-held vision of "virtual graffiti." The idea is to post "invisible messages" in the air…That's what the mobile version of Google Buzz does. "Near me now" and "Explore right here" functionality is baked right into the mobile version of Buzz. That, combined with cell phone GPS capability and Twitter-like posting, is mobile magic…When you launch the mobile Buzz app and touch the "Nearby" button, you'll see all recent posts near your location, listed in order of proximity…You can choose not to reveal your location at all or you can reveal your general location or specify exactly which building you're in, all with a click or two…location features on Twitter, or location apps in Facebook…are vastly inferior, and far less immediately usable…Google Buzz will trigger a culture-changing "network effect." That's where a snowballing of usage occurs: The more people use a network, the more valuable it becomes…Google Buzz on a PC is a closed experience…Google Buzz on a phone is the opposite: You don't need Gmail. And you can see the tweets of people whether you're following them or not. In the "Nearby" mode, you're automatically "following" whoever happens to be or has been near wherever it is you are. And they're following you. When you leave the area, you stop "following" them and start "following" the people near your new location. The power of Google Buzz on a GPS-enabled cell phone is abstract, and it must be experienced to fully understand it…let me tell you eight things you can do with Google Buzz on a compatible iPhone or Android device that can change your life: 1. Promote your business…2. Share your 'business card' at industry events…at the next major IT industry event…early adopters will start an invisible, back-channel, ad-hoc social network during the show based only on GPS location…people won't need to know the URL for the official message board or chat room. They'll just use Buzz's "Nearby" mode, and everybody nearby will be a conference attendee. People will introduce themselves to fellow attendees by broadcasting their Google Profiles page -- a kind of "business card exchange." A few speakers will draw crowds by promoting their presentations on Buzz. Attendees will arrange meet-ups. The people on Buzz will get more out of the conference…From there, it will spread to non-tech conferences. Within a year, I think Buzz will become the de facto source of information and networking at all industry events…”

25. Google Maps Labs http://blogoscoped.com/archive/2010-02-12-n86.html “…following many other services, Google Maps received a Lab icon. Click the green flask at the top of Google Maps and you get a chance to enable features like the following: Drag ’n’ Zoom: Click the Drag-and-Zoom button, then draw a box on the map to immediately zoom into that place. Aerial Imagery: Available for certain areas, aerial imagery “gives you rotatable, high-resolution overhead imagery presented in a new perspective.”…Where in the World Game…Rotatable Maps…What’s Around Here?...LatLng Tooltip…”

26. YouTube Video Speed Dashboard http://youtube-global.blogspot.com/2010/02/speed-matters-introducing-youtube-video.html Your YouTube video speed can mean the difference between a fast and fun video viewing experience, or a slow and frustrating one. That's why, today, we're launching a YouTube video speed dashboard to make the speed information available to you. YouTube video speed depends on many different factors some of which are the speed of your Internet connection, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) you are using and the distance to the video servers. The goal with this dashboard is to give you insight into what your YouTube speed looks like compared to the YouTube speed of users in other regions and different ISPs. We may also list the YouTube speeds for users in you neighborhood but with different ISPs…”

27. Announcing Google Chart Tools http://googlecode.blogspot.com/2010/02/announcing-google-chart-tools.html “…A good chart can take an elusive concept and clarify it in a visually appealing manner. This ingenious XKCD strip, http://xkcd.com/688/, uses a pie chart, a bar chart and a recursive scatter plot, to demonstrate the concept of self description. Whether you need a simple line chart, an interactive Geo Map or a complex Motion Chart , Google can help you add live charts to your web page using our Chart and Visualization APIs. Both of these APIs are free and simple to use, however they each have distinct advantage…”

28. Google Buys Aardvark Social Search Engine Run by Former Googlers http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/02/google-poaches-social-search-service-aardvark/ The coolest search engine you’ve never used got snapped up by Google Thursday for a reported $50 million. Aardvark, a company that lets you use IM, Twitter and e-mail to ask full-text questions and then get answers from people in or close to your social network, confirmed it signed a deal with Google…Given the focus on local and mobile, Google has made a smart buy here. Pair Vark’s technology with its new social network Buzz and its mobile applications, and Google has leading-edge technology in search that uses humans as much as algorithms to find answers to questions…Aardvark was founded in late 2007 by several ex-Googlers, including Max Ventilla and Nathan Stoll (formerly Google News engineer), along with programmer Damon Horowitz…Users who sign up give Vark access to one of their social networks — Facebook, LinkedIn or the e-mails in their contact list. Users then say what things they are confident answering questions about (e.g. chess, cooking, country music). Vark then routes future questions — such as what’s the best country band out of the south from the 1970s or where’s a good sushi restaurant near Santa Monica — to the right person. A series of algorithms keeps tuning the targeting by watching if a user’s answers are quick and useful, deciding whether their friends are also experts, and checking if a user is online or has been asked to answer too many questions recently…Vark has a relatively small user base — 90,000 or so as of last October — but its reputation in the tech community was stellar and user growth seemed to be skyrocketing…Vark users aren’t usually asking factual questions as one might with the mobile ChaChaCha answer service. Instead, users are most often asking local questions with subjective answers — e.g., what’s the best dry cleaner in Seattle for my wedding dress? Some 87 percent got answers and more than half got answers within 10 minutes. Mobile users were far more active than desktop users, while more than half of users answered questioned — more than double the ratio that Yahoo Answers has…” web quotes: “Yesterday at Vark, I asked “Why did Google acquire Aardvark?” These are two of the three answers which came in” ; Aardvark uses artificial intelligence to find the right people to answer a user's query. It then trusts those people to provide the desired information and refine the query as needed. I've used Aardvark a great deal in the months since, and I've found it invaluable for answering questions that benefit from human guidance or opinion. It's a great place, for example, to ask "How do I get started making electronic music?" or "What's a mind-blowing novel of first contact?

29. Would you like 1 Gbps internet access from Google? http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/think-big-with-gig-our-experimental.html “…We're planning to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States. We'll deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We plan to offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people. Our goal is to experiment with new ways to help make Internet access better and faster for everyone…”

30. Top 10 Google Settings You Should Know About http://lifehacker.com/5470671/top-10-google-settings-you-should-know-about As the outcry over Google Buzz's privacy has shown us, it's smart to explore settings in Gmail, along with other places you're sharing data with the search giant. Let's take a look at 10 privacy, convenience, and annoyance fixers you should know. 10. Turn off auto-displayed pictures from Gmail contacts…9. Fine-tune Google Apps for your domain…7. Turn off Buzz, Chat, and Labs in Gmail…3. Turn off Search History, logged in or not…2. Back up Google apps' data…1. Control what Buzz says about you on the web…”

31. Email as Identity: Google Turns on WebFinger http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_enables_webfinger_for_google_profiles_email_as_identity.php “…you may remember the old UNIX finger command…Today, Google enabled the next generation of the finger command - WebFinger - for all Gmail accounts. WebFinger provides users with a standardized and decentralized way of sharing their profile and identity information online…Google's Brad Fitzpatrick announced that the company has now enabled WebFinger fall all Google accounts with public profiles…You can think of WebFinger as an email-centric cousin of OpenID…”

32. Google shuts down music blogs without warning http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2010/feb/11/google-deletes-music-blogs In what critics are calling "musicblogocide 2010", Google has deleted at least six popular music blogs that it claims violated copyright law. These sites, hosted by Google's Blogger and Blogspot services, received notices only after their sites – and years of archives – were wiped from the internet…Although such sites once operated on the internet's fringes…many blogs are now wined, dined and even paid (via advertising) by record labels…not all of the record companies' legal teams have received the message…Bill Lipold, the owner of I Rock Cleveland, cited four cases in the past year when he had received copyright violation notices for songs…by Jay Reatard, Nadja, BLK JKS and Spindrift…even when the respective MP3s were official promo tracks…Apparently DMCA…even requested that the BLK JKS' official blog remove the song…”

General Technology

33. Must-Have Windows Software http://www.catonmat.net/blog/must-have-windows-programs/ “…Windows is my primary desktop from which I connect to all the other boxes and do my work on. During the years of Windows usage, I have accumulated a list of must-have Windows programs that I wouldn’t be able to work without. Some of them are commercial, some are freeware…” [good list of programs, some I hadn’t heard of before]

34. How we learned to love Photoshop http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/feb/11/photoshop-20-years-old-verb “…Photoshop…turns 20 next Friday…Photoshop has, like Google, transcended its origins in the world of ­computing, and become a verb. But whereas "to Google" is almost always used positively to express usefulness, Photoshopping is almost always a term of abuse: "That picture was Photo shopped" has become a shorthand way of saying it is untrustworthy and misleading…Examples of its use, or misuse, are legion: a faked image of John Kerry and Jane Fonda apparently sharing a platform at an anti-Vietnam war rally which dragged at Kerry's 2004 US presidential bid…Kate Winslet's legs magically elongating when she appeared on the front cover of the February 2003 edition of GQ…her picture had been manipulated "no more than any other cover star", and that "practically every photo you see in a magazine will have been digitally altered in this way…In other words, that's not actually what she looks like. And, Jones is saying, we should be used to it by now…The technique of "retouching" photos and fiddling with negatives has a long and inglorious history dating back to the 1860s…But it was Photoshop that made altering images routine. It began ­circumspectly as a program written by Thomas Knoll, who, in the autumn of 1987, was doing in a PhD in computer vision but for fun wrote a program to display images with grey in them on a black-and-white monitor. Knoll called the program Display, writing it on his Mac Plus computer. Then his brother John, who worked at George Lucas's Industrial Light and Magic company, which did the visual effects for the Star Wars films, noticed its potential. They collaborated, bought a Macintosh II – capable of displaying colours! – and set to work; the program's name mutated until they hit on Photoshop…”

35. DIY Group Sends $25 Balloon to 70,000 Feet http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/02/spacebridge-diy-balloon/all/1 DIY projects are all about sweat, tears and learning from mistakes. Just ask a group of electronics hobbyists that recently launched a $25 balloon bought off eBay with a payload carrying an Android G1 phone, two cameras and other assorted electronics up to nearly 70,000 feet in the air. “Fundamentally, we are all space enthusiasts,” says Mikolaj Habryn, one of the participants…The team successfully launched the balloon and gathered some great photographs but also made some fatal mistakes in their planning. The entire project conceived and launched in just about a week comes from members of Noisebridge, a collectively operated hacker space in San Francisco…”

36. You, Too, Can Soon Be Like Tom Cruise in ‘Minority Report’ http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/15/you-too-can-soon-be-like-tom-cruise-in-minority-report/ “…John Underkoffler, who led the team that came up with the interface that Tom Cruise’s character used in the 2002 movie “Minority Report,” co-founded a company, Oblong Industries, to make the gesture-activated interface a reality. Using special gloves, Mr. Underkoffler demonstrated the interface — called the g-speak Spatial Operating Environment — on Friday at the annual TED conference in Long Beach, Calif., a series of lectures by experts across a variety of technologies. He pushed, pulled and twisted vast troves of photos and forms that were on a screen in front of him, compressing and stretching as he went. He zoomed in, zoomed out and rotated the images using six degrees of control. In one part of the demonstration, he reached into a series of movies, plucked out a single character from each and placed them onto a “table” together where they continued to move…Oblong officially came out of stealth mode in November 2008, but Mr. Underkoffler said the TED demonstration was the public “coming out” of the company’s technology. Oblong, which is based in Los Angeles, now has around 25 employees. The old model of “one human, one machine, one mouse, one screen” is passe, said Mr. Underkoffler, who spent 15 years at the MIT Media Lab before co-founding Oblong…”

Leisure & Entertainment

37. Meet the guys behind Pocket God http://brainstormtech.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2010/02/11/meet-the-guys-behind-pocket-god/ Their pygmy-killing iPhone game is the unlikely winner of this year's "Best App Ever" award. It started as a week-long "sprint project" — a bit of bare-bones entertainment for Apple's (AAPL) iPhone, written as quickly as possible and published last January. Within hours, users were complaining on the Internet that the game — which involved bumping off tiny island dwellers by flicking them into the water or launching them toward the sun, with no way to score points or win anything — wasn't worth the 99-cents they paid for it. Surprised and little hurt, its creators — programmer Dave Castelnuovo, 40, and graphic artist Allan Dye, 39 — promised to put out a new version. Which they did the following week, incorporating some of their users' suggestions and sending it back to Apple for approval. They did it again the next week. And the week after that, for 14 weeks straight. Thirty updates later, Pocket God is not only a perfect example of something sort of new — user-directed software development — but one of the best-selling programs on the App Store…”

38. Toy makers' crystal ball: High-tech on the cheap http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hkdsPkTFXBMzMrAumMygHgPXH90gD9DRFU800 If the Zhu Zhu Pets taught a lesson, it's that a bit of technology and a low price tag can go a long way…Zhu Zhu Pets, the furry mechanical hamsters that zoom around, were the runaway hit of the holiday season. One key to their success: a price tag under $10…Some other technology-infused toys planned for 2010: Mattel is offering Sing-a-majigs, plush characters whose mouths move as they sing and who harmonize when activated together…Hasbro developed Scrabble Flash Cubes. The word game uses cubes that each display one letter digitally. When players fit cubes together, the game can recognize whether they form valid words…Hasbro also expands its Furreal Friends line with smaller Snuggimals that wag their tails and move when you pet them…Jakks Pacific is offering some high-tech spying gear for kids in its Spy Net line, including a video spy watch for $54.99 and a Pen Audio Bug for $24.99. Yes, they're just what they sound like — miniature video and audio recorders…”

39. Triangle Game Initiative Partners with C.H.A.T. Festival http://carolinanewswire.com/news/News.cgi?database=000001news.db&command=viewone&id=1108&op=t The Triangle Game Initiative (TGI), a non-profit trade association for the Raleigh-Durham, N.C. interactive entertainment industry, has announced a partnership with C.H.A.T. (Collaborations: Humanities, Arts & Technology), a digital arts and humanities festival scheduled for February 16-20, 2010 on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The festival will explore the ways digital technologies are transforming the practices of the arts and humanities…festival attendees will explore entrepreneurship, gaming, art, literary mashup, pedagogy and more as leaders in industry and academics discuss the challenges and opportunities of technology in arts and humanities…Games are a cornerstone of the digital arts, so when we were invited to support the C.H.A.T. festival we knew it would be a fruitful collaboration…”

Economy and Technology

40. Amazon Wants To Give A Free Kindle To All Amazon Prime Subscribers http://techcrunch.com/2010/02/12/amazon-wants-to-give-a-free-kindle-to-all-amazon-prime-subscribers/ “…A reliable source tells us Amazon wants to give a free Kindle to every Amazon Prime subscriber…These are Amazon’s very best customers – the ones who tend to make multiple purchases per month…likely to buy multiple books per month on their Kindle devices. If those users buy enough books, and Amazon gets the production costs of the Kindle down enough, Amazon can get Kindles into “millions” of people’s hands without losing their shirt…”

41. 60 Million on LinkedIn http://techcrunch.com/2010/02/11/linkedin-now-60-million-strong/ Professional social network LinkedIn has just added its 60 millionth member…its grown by 5 million in less than two months…half of LinkedIn’s membership is international…The company was valued at around $1 billion in its last round of financing in 2008, and has been profitable for the past years…” web quote: “…As industries struggle, [Hoffman] says more workers [will] shed the illusion that they’re safe and protected inside companies…Those workers will network outside their company, and they will increasingly turn to LinkedIn…Networking activity has stimulated a lot more people to join LinkedIn as they’ve lost their jobs — and an awful lot of people are still looking…people might sign up with LinkedIn when they lose their job, but they don’t quit when they find another. LinkedIn’s user base is permanent…”

42. Enhanced Small Business Listings http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/business/14ping.html “…one of his sure-fire ways to drive Web visitors and foot traffic — buying search ads on Google — got to be pretty expensive…Mr. Cowie is trying something new: for a flat fee of $25 a month…Whenever his shop comes up in a search page or on a Google map, it is adorned with a bright yellow tag…Yellow may be an appropriate color for the tag. Google’s new enhanced business listings, which it started to test quietly in Houston and San Jose, Calif., early this month, have an obvious competitor: the Yellow Pages. “I think Google is going to be the new Yellow Pages,” Mr. Cowie said. “More and more of these younger kids are used to Google. They are looking at their phones rather than opening up a phone book…advertising from mom-and-pop businesses like dry cleaners, hair salons and cafes is a $29 billion market…Individual local businesses are hard to reach at scale…The only people who have been successful at capturing local businesses have had massive sales forces…Google’s auction-driven search advertising system, AdWords, has confounded many small businesses. So Google tried a new course…Google has been laying the groundwork to get into the local ad market since at least 2005, when it opened its “local business center,” a directory of businesses whose listings show up in Web searches or maps. Google lets owners post their listings free, allowing them to add information like hours of operation, phone number, address and directions. Google says that more than one million businesses are listed in its local business center….Now, Google is ready to cash in on its investment, offering businesses enhanced listings at a small-business-friendly price…”

Civilian Aerospace

43. Commercial space takes center stage http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1566/1 “…the FAA’s annual Commercial Space Transportation Conference…took place this year just over a week after the White House released its fiscal year 2011 budget proposal, one that emphasized more than ever before the development of capabilities by the commercial sector to transport cargo, and now crews, to low Earth orbit…wrote conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer in his latest column…It’s too expensive. It’s too experimental.” Defending NASA’s new plans on both charges was deputy administrator Lori Garver…NASA is also playing a role in promoting commercial suborbital spaceflight. “I do anticipate that one day soon that these [suborbital] vehicles will be safe enough that NASA will pay for hundreds of astronauts and scientists and technology developers to fly into space each and every year,” she said. To ensure that these vehicles are safe enough for NASA, she said the Dryden Flight Research Center would lead the safety assessment of these vehicles…“Right now I think we’re on the very brink of commercial human spaceflight and regular suborbital space tourism,” said FAA administrator Randy Babbitt…SpaceX has been one of visible companies in the wave of entrepreneurial “NewSpace” companies…NASA’s new emphasis on commercial providers means more attention to SpaceX as it gears up for the inaugural launch of its Falcon 9 rocket, the vehicle the company plans to use for cargo and, hopefully, crew flights to the ISS…That launch is currently scheduled for as soon as March, but Williams acknowledged the launch would likely slip to April or even May as the company deals with issues common with the first launch of a new rocket…”

44. New Commercial Rocket Reaches Launch Site for Assembly http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/new-falcon9-rocket-assembled-100211.html “…Built by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., the new Falcon 9 rocket is a two-stage booster designed to launch the company's Dragon spacecraft to orbit. It is the lynchpin rocket behind SpaceX's plan to launch cargo ships to the space station under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA. The rocket is being assembled in Cape Canaveral, Fla…The final delivery of Falcon 9 parts included the rocket's second stage, which successfully completed a full-duration test firing at the company's proving grounds in Texas in January…Orbital Sciences, Corp., of Virginia, is building its own Cygnus vehicles and Taurus 2 rockets under a separate contract…Under the NASA's new space plan, which nixed the Constellation program building its next generation spaceships to send astronauts back to the moon, commercial spacecraft will receive more attention as the best option for future human spaceflight. The agency's 2011 budget request includes setting aside $6 billion over the next five years to spur commercial spacecraft development…”

45. Blue Origin gets NASA grant http://www.pnwlocalnews.com/south_king/ken/business/84249252.html “…Kent-based space business Blue Origin last week received a grant of $3.7 million from NASA for the private, commercial business' work to support transport of crew to and from low-Earth orbit. Blue Origin, founded in 2000 by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos…has successfully launched its "Goddard" capsule three times…Blue Origin is one of five companies that is splitting $50 million in the federal Space Act Agreements grant program, designed to foster entrepreneurial activity leading to high-tech job growth in engineering, analysis, design and research, and to promote economic growth, as capabilities for new markets are created…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

46. SGI unveils monster HPC cloud http://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/news/article/0,289142,sid201_gci1381359,00.html SGI, formerly Rackable Systems and Silicon Graphics, kicked off a unique offering in the world of on-demand infrastructure today with Cyclone, a high-performance computing (HPC) service…It also enters a rarified new market: graphics processing units (GPUs) on demand. GPUs have taken on new importance as scientists and researchers have found new HPC applications that are better suited to GPUs than CPUs. Cyclone will offer Software as a Service (SaaS) with third-party applications in five areas of "functional computing": computational biology, computational chemistry and material, computational fluid dynamics, finite element analysis and ontologies (data mining)…”

47. Siemens uses graphics chips to create better 3-D views of babies in wombs http://venturebeat.com/2010/02/04/siemens-uses-graphics-chips-to-create-better-3-d-views-of-babies-in-wombs/ Siemens is using Nvidia’s CUDA graphics technology to create three-dimensional ultrasounds of babies in utero and other medical applications…With CUDA, Siemens can take the images and view them in stereoscopic 3-D. It can take images of a heart beating so that doctors can figure out if there is an abnormality in how the heart beats…The Siemens technology will launch in May. The company will set it for about $5,000. To use it, doctors’ offices would need 3-D monitors (which are fairly cheap these days), 3-D emitter systems and glasses — all of which are fairly cheap compared to the $120,000 cost of 2-D ultrasound systems they already have. And the picture you can get, which is viewable via 3-D glasses, is far more detailed…”

48. GPU computing for hyperfast medical imaging systems http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9149841/Gaming_tech_spurs_development_of_hyperfast_medical_imaging_systems University and hospital researchers have taken a cue from the gaming industry by using 3D video graphics chips to develop a parallel software platform that can speed the processing times, in this case for medical digital imaging, by 10 to 1,000 times. Northeastern University in Boston and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) were jointly awarded a $1.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation in December to develop the technology and use it to enhance several biomedical imaging applications, including software designed for breast and brain imaging…”

49. NVIDIA nTeresting http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=750&Itemid=47 A summary of recent NVIDIA happenings and articles


*****

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very shorts, simple and easy to understand, bet some more comments from your side would be great

3:31 AM  
Blogger myDigitechnician said...

If interested in more comments, please provide more info about yourself. Merci beaucoup!

1:10 PM  

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