2010/03/02

NEW NET Issues List for 02 Mar 2010

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 02 March 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. When customers yelp, everyone can hear it http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-reviews26-2010feb26,0,5795837.story Hollywood transplant Caroline White figured a spa outing would be the perfect way to welcome her visiting mother to Los Angeles…The facialist was late, the staff was rude and the business refused to offer an immediate refund…the aspiring actress did what she always does when a business disappoints: She wrote a scathing review on Yelp…In the past, the spa's owners might have ignored White's online rant or not even seen it. But these days, many owners are acutely concerned about their online reputations…White felt the effect of that concern firsthand. "I get a call from my mom saying, 'You need to take your review down or they're not giving me my money back,'…The literature on dealing with angry reviews is growing…a process it calls "reputation management."…Danny Leclair, co-owner of the Studio DNA hair salons…said…More than two-thirds of his new clients found the salon through the site. He offers disgruntled clients a free consultation with the salon's co-owner and stylist, who assesses the problem, then re-cuts. If they refuse, he offers refunds. The online reviews have become so important at the salon that Leclair highlights a few, both good and bad, at each staff meeting. Floyd Ross, owner of a Thai restaurant in Redondo Beach called Siam I Am, said he became active on Yelp almost immediately after opening his business in 2008. He's been particularly sensitive to negative reviews, especially in the months following the restaurant's launch…Ross often sends private messages to unhappy customers, offering them gift certificates or free meals…”

2. Dropcam puts home surveillance in the cloud http://news.cnet.com/8301-27076_3-20000103-248.html “…founded by former Xobni engineers Greg Duffy and Amir Virani, Dropcam turns a fairly standard Webcam into a home security tool with an elephant's memory. The hardware, which retails at $199, is actually made by another company…Instead of offering just a live feed, as people are able to get with most IP Webcams, Dropcam's video can be sent to the cloud (actually a concrete bunker in Texas) for safe keeping…unlike some DIY solutions that use FTP to send video or photo stills to the cloud, Dropcam handles all those settings, so that you essentially just plug the thing into a wall socket. Video can be viewed online, on any computer with Adobe's Flash player installed. The company also recently released an iPhone app that can pull up the live stream of your camera…Dropcam can store up to 30 days of nonstop video…Right now there's not much you can do with these images and video clips, but in the near future Dropcam plans to roll out a notification service that will send an e-mail or SMS text message to users, that includes a clip of what's been captured, every time one of these events occurs…it's definitely a must-have feature for people who want to use it for security purposes. Dropcam is mainly a consumer solution, but the service has a pro service plan too. The basic service is free, but users don't get any recording storage. The plus plan, which costs $8.95 a month saves a week of footage…”

3. EU moves to prevent 'shock' mobile internet bills http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8543341.stm A new Europe-wide rule to prevent mobile phone users from building up large bills for surfing the internet via their handset has come into force. Customers can now require their phone firm to cut them off when their bill reaches a certain level after accessing the internet in other European nations. If users do not put in place a limit by 1 July, it will automatically be set at 50 euros ($65; £45). The phone firms will have to warn users when their bill hits 80% of the limit…”

4. Opera's all-or-nothing bid to build the best browser http://www.betanews.com/article/The-new-champion-Operas-allornothing-bid-to-build-the-best-browser/1267553891 “…the European Commission gave Opera a solid opportunity to get back in the game, to be discussed once again in the same company as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Apple Safari. Version 10.2 wasn't going to do it…last January, Opera made a strategic gamble: Dump 10.2, and throw everything behind an effort to re-create the Opera desktop browser for speed and efficiency…there was indisputably a rush to the finish, and even then, developers spent an extra day past the March 1 deadline when Microsoft delivered its browser choice screen to European Internet Explorer users…did the company polish the front end and leave the chasses further down the line to be fixed later? Some issues do remain…In terms of computational speed, Opera is not yet the fastest, though it is disarmingly close…Where Opera zips past the rest of the field at warp speed is in graphics performance, with a jaw-dropping 68.51 that is still better than double any other browser's score in the field…”

5. Scientists Strive to Map the Shape-Shifting Net http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/02/science/02topo.html “…What is clear is that today a significant portion of Internet traffic does not flow through the backbone networks of giant Internet companies like AT&T and Level 3. Instead, it has begun to cascade in torrents of data on the edges of the network, as if a river in flood were carving new channels…By its very nature, Internet networking technology is intended to support anarchic growth. Unlike earlier communication networks, the Internet is not controlled from the top down…packet-switching technology…made delivery of a message through a network possible even if one or many of the nodes of the network failed…the shape of the network is changing rapidly, driven by a variety of factors, including content delivery networks that have pushed both data and applications to the edge of the network; the growing popularity of smartphones leading to the emergence of the wireless Internet; and the explosion of streaming video as the Internet’s predominant data type…a couple of years ago we had to start measuring them in zettabytes, and now we’re measuring them in what we call yottabytes.” One petabyte is equivalent to one million gigabytes. A zettabyte is a million petabytes. And a yottabyte is a thousand zettabytes. The company estimates that video will account for 90 percent of all Internet traffic by 2013…today the majority of Internet traffic by volume flows directly between large content providers like Google and consumer networks like Comcast. It also described what it referred to as the rise of so-called hyper giants — monstrous portals that have become the focal point for much of the network’s traffic…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

6. Latvian 'Robin Hood' hacker leaks bank details to TV http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8533641.stm An alleged hacker has been hailed as a latter-day Robin Hood for leaking data about the finances of banks and state-owned firms…Using the alias "Neo"…the hacker claims he wants to expose those cashing in on the recession…Data leaked so far includes pay details of managers from a Latvian bank that received a bail-out. It reveals that many did not take the salary cuts they promised. Other data shows that state-owned companies secretly awarded bonuses while publicly asking the government for help. The anonymous hacker claims to be part of a group - called the Fourth Awakening People's Army - that downloaded more than seven million confidential tax documents from the State Revenue Service…he has stolen confidential data... and he actually has committed a crime. But at the same time there is value for the public in the sense that now a lot of information gets disclosed and the whole system maybe becomes a little more transparent…”

7. Open Societies need open systems http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8493006.stm “…On 29 January, Amazon, the dominant online retailer for books and many other products, expressed its unhappiness with objections that publisher Macmillan had made to a proposed change in e-book pricing by de-listing all Macmillan stock and removing it from its indexes…At the same time, Apple and Adobe are engaged in the online equivalent of all-out war over the lack of support for Adobe Flash in the iPhone operating system…Apple claims that Flash is responsible for more crash reports from Mac OS X, which does support it, than any other application. Adobe says Apple is foolishly failing to support a de facto standard for rich media content…Neither adversary in the current disputes clearly has right on its side…Are closed systems the opium of the people? Apple and Amazon, like the priests of Marx's day, no doubt sincerely believe that the world they would build if given free rein would be better than the chaos that always seems to come with democracy, openness and freedom of choice, but they are wrong and will always be wrong. I buy from Amazon, and use Apple kit, because both companies do some things extremely well and in some areas they are clearly superior to the competition, but I will not go gladly into a locked-down world…”

8. Microsoft Legal Action and Top Notch Guns Take Down Waledac Botnet http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/190234/microsoft_recruited_top_notch_guns_for_waledac_takedown.html Four days ago, top-notch computer security researchers launched an assault on Waledac, a highly sophisticated botnet responsible for spreading spam and malicious software. As of Thursday, more than 60,000 PCs worldwide that have been infected with malicious code are now under the control of researchers…Microsoft revealed on Wednesday that it gained a court order that compelled VeriSign, the .com registry, to remove 277 ".com" names from its rolls, effectively cutting off communication between the Waledac's controllers and their infected machines…Microsoft's legal action was just one component of a synchronized campaign to bring down Waledac. Last year, researchers with the University of Mannheim in Germany and Technical University Vienna in Austria published a research paper showing how it was possible to infiltrate and control the Waledec botnet…Microsoft -- which was annoyed by Waledec due to its spamming of Hotmail accounts -- contacted those researchers about two weeks ago to see if they could perform their attack for real, according one of the University of Mannheim researchers…”

9. A Big Case of ...OOPS... http://www.communities.hp.com/securitysoftware/blogs/rafal/archive/2010/02/25/a-big-case-of-oops.aspx “…I was standing in front of a group of people…talking about security vulnerabilities and why they can lead to serious financial consequences…A fellow in the back of the room just yelled "Well, if these issues are so prevalent, let's see if they exist on one of our sites". I left auto-pilot and went into cautious attack mode…They volunteered a URL and I started by opening up the page in my browser…I immediately noticed that something was wrong…the folks at the back of the room took notice of the error, and started asking each other if anyone had heard that the site was having issues…there was an obvious error in the database, to me it meant I wasn't the first to hack at it and someone previous to me had messed with it and broken it…I pulled their entire database contents out to my laptop... only to find many fields in the database obviously tampered with…So... in 45 minutes the room had gone from non-believers to realizing they not only had a massive SQL Injection problem - but had also been rooted and were now distributing the Zeus bot from one of their main websites.”

10. Epic Fail in Congress: USA PATRIOT Act Renewed Without Any New Civil Liberties Protections http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/02/epic-fail-congress-usa-patriot-act-renewed-without “…the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to renew three expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, after the Senate abandoned the PATRIOT reform effort and approved the extension by a voice vote on Wednesday…the government's dangerously broad authority to conduct roving wiretaps of unspecified or "John Doe" targets, to secretly wiretap of persons without any connection to terrorists or spies under the so-called "lone wolf" provision, and to secretly access a wide range of private business records without warrants under PATRIOT Section 215 were all renewed without any new checks and balances to prevent abuse…The renewed PATRIOT provisions were originally set to expire on December 31, 2009, but Congress ran out of time last year and temporarily extended them until February 28th, this coming Sunday…The one silver lining? Despite a push by Republican leaders for a four-year extension, the renewed provisions are now set to expire in one year…”

11. E-book piracy costs U.S. publishers $2.8 billion, says study http://venturebeat.com/2010/03/02/book-piracy-costs-u-s-publishers-3b-says-study/ “…a recent report…claimed that unauthorized copies of digitized books have already cost American publishers $2.8 billion dollars in lost sales…Attributor’s anti-piracy service, FairShare Guardian, tracked illegal downloads of 913 different books for a 90 day period. The company estimated there were more than 9 million downloads of pirated copies of these books…On average, nearly 10,000 copies of every book published are downloaded for free,” the report concludes. Business and investing books are stolen the most, at an average 13,000 copies per title. Technical and science books are also widely bootlegged. Attributor estimates these types of books can lose as much as $1 million each in sales. The table below shows the sites on which the most downloads were spotted…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

12. Pull the plug. Your battery will thank you. http://thisweekinbatteries.blogspot.com/2010/02/pull-plug-your-battery-will-thank-you.html One question that I have been asked frequently is “do laptop batteries fade faster if they are continuously plugged in?”…if you keep your laptop plugged in, you force your battery to remain at 4.2V continuously and these side reactions continue to happen and slowly kill the battery…if you charge the battery and then pull the plug (so to speak), the battery discharges some, the voltage drops, and these reactions become less of a problem and your battery life goes up. So the best things you can do is to charge the laptop (or cell phone, camera etc.) and once its charged, pull the plug…”

13. All U.S. Android phones to receive Android 2.1, but some will require a wipe http://androidandme.com/2010/02/news/all-u-s-android-phones-to-receive-android-2-1-but-some-will-require-a-wipe/ “…over 80% of our readers with Android phones are running an outdated version of the operating system…There has been some confusion over which phones would receive an Android 2.1 update…every Android phone currently released in the United States will be receiving an upgrade to Android 2.1…Select Android phones will require a wipe when they are upgraded to Android 2.1…Select Android phones will also require a PC-based install for upgrading to Android 2.1…”

14. Google's Nexus One coming to Verizon on March 23 http://www.neowin.net/news/google039s-nexus-one-coming-to-verizon-on-march-23 Verizon will release Google's Nexus One Android device on March 23 according to sources…The Nexus One, originally released on T-Mobile in January, has passed FCC inspection for use on Verizon's CDMA network…”

15. Windows Mobile 6.5 devices not upgradeable to Windows Phone 7 http://mobile.venturebeat.com/2010/03/01/existing-windows-mobile-6-5-devices-not-upgradeable-to-windows-phone-7-says-microsoft/ Anyone who has bought a high-powered Windows Mobile 6.5 device recently, like HTC’s HD2, is probably regretting their purchase now. Microsoft employees have confirmed that current Windows Mobile 6.5 devices do not meet the minimum hardware requirements for the new Windows Phone 7 Series operating system…We don’t know the full hardware requirement checklist for Windows Phone 7 Series yet — that will be revealed later this month — but I’d bet that the new platform will require heavy-duty 3D graphics hardware that doesn’t exist in any WinMo 6.5 device yet. Given that the HD2 runs a powerful 1Ghz processor and still didn’t make the cut, it seems that Microsoft has set the bar high for 7 Series devices…”

16. Virgin Mobile USA To Kill Their Postpaid Service http://www.mobilecrunch.com/2010/03/01/virgin-mobile-usa-to-kill-their-postpaid-service-on-may-25th/ “…Virgin Mobile USA is planning to shut down the post-paid chunk of their wireless services on May 25th, 2010…less than two years after they purchased it in the form of Helio. It’s currently unclear what will happen to active Virgin Mobile postpaid accounts, though they will presumably be transitioned over to Sprint’s postpaid services…”

Open Source

17. KDE SC 4.4 Available on Windows http://ostatic.com/blog/kde-sc-4-4-available-on-windows The KDE Project has announced the availability of packages for Microsoft Windows, bringing the KDE 4.4 applications to Windows…Why offer free software like the KDE applications on Windows? Users who become familiar with the KDE applications and grow to like them on Windows will presumably find it easier to move to an all-free desktop at some point…Applications are a much lower hurdle for new users. Introducing KDE apps like digiKam and Konversation to users on Windows lets them keep a majority of their familiar environment, while still getting an introduction to the free software alternatives…”

18. OpenStreetMap updates its maps of Chile http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/OpenStreetMap-updates-its-maps-of-Chile-942736.html Following Saturday morning's major earthquake in Chile, aid efforts worldwide are already springing into action. The open source Open Street Map (OSM) project plans to lend its support by calling for volunteers to update its maps of Chile on the basis of the latest satellite images. This will assist orientation and coordination of aid teams in Chile. OSM also mapped large volumes of data during the recent Haitian earthquake…In Chile, thanks to an active local OSM community, the OSM maps are already pretty comprehensive, but, in the rural areas, with the exception of major roads, much remains to be mapped…”

19. RepRap Open Source 3D Printer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUB1WgiAFHg Video of RepRap “Dr Adrian Bowyer of the reprap project reprap.org shows us around his lab at Bath University

20. City of Munich Shows Migration to OpenOffice http://www.linux-magazine.com/Online/News/CeBIT-2010-City-of-Munich-Shows-Migration-to-Linux-and-OpenOffice The migration to the free office package was finalized for Munich. All 15,000 office PCs of the city council will work on OpenOffice, under Linux or Windows…the Munich IT group will demonstrate their recipe for office migration…Friday, March 5 at 9:15 AM and will be streamed live for free by Linux Magazine Online…”

21. 5 of the Best Free Linux Data Recovery Tools http://www.linuxlinks.com/article/20100226122928107/DataRecovery.html/ Data recovery is the process of retrieving data from corrupted or damaged storage media when it cannot be accessed. The storage media in question will often be a hard disk, but it can also be removable media such as CDs, DVDs…At boot up, mainstream Linux distributions perform routine scans to identify and fix any inconsistencies in the file system…As data is a priceless asset for many organisations, you might think it will be necessary to use a professional recovery service…A better strategy is to have a good set of open source software with a plan ready to be implemented if you need to recover the system…The software featured in this article are high quality standalone tools which help you to recover data in a range of circumstances…there are also dedicated Linux distributions which provide lots of useful system administration software…SystemRescue CD and Trinity Rescue Kit are two respected examples…we have compiled a list of 5 high quality Linux data recovery tools…”

22. The ultimate PC repair kit: SystemRescueCD 1.40 http://blogs.computerworld.com/15669/the_ultimate_pc_repair_kit_systemrescuecd_1_40 “…SystemRescueCD, like the name suggests, is a system rescue disk. You can use it as a bootable CD-ROM, USB stick, or even over a network connection…with its disk and file system repair tools, it's great for bring dead hard drives back to life…I have yet to find a hard drive that could still spin that I couldn't at least pull data from with SystemRescueCD…In particular, I've found FSArchiver (Filesystem Archiver for Linux) to be very handy for moving data from a nearly dead disk to a new drive. With FSArchiver, I'm able to clone file systems from one device to another, even if the partition I'm moving it to is smaller than the original or if it uses an entirely different file system. It works by saving file-system to a compressed archive file and then safely restoring it to a new device. It's a really handy trick and I've often used it to save files to USB drives…”

23. Five Tools for Measuring and Improving Linux System Performance http://www.linux.com/learn/tutorials/290179:five-tools-for-measuring-and-improving-linux-system-performance- “…if you find yourself needing to ferret out performance problems or tune the kernel for better performance, Linux has more than enough tools to measure and tweak system performance…I left out some of the more basic tools such as ps and top because most Linux users are exposed to them fairly early on…but this should be a good starter kit for newer Linux admins…The KDE System Monitor and GNOME System Monitor are both good for getting a quick visual representation of the state of your system…dstat is a sort of general-purpose system profiling tool, but it's CLI-based…Sysstat is actually a collection of several utilities, including sar, iostat, mpstat, and pidstat…The ifstat utility is to network interface activity what iostat is to device I/O and CPU activity…”

SkyNet

24. FB status updates appear in Google http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_takes_first_shot_at_facebook_search_results.php As of today, Facebook Fan Page status updates will begin appearing in Google search results, according to a tweet by Google…we will begin seeing results from the nearly 3 million fan pages, but not from the more than 400 million users. Google currently controls around 90% of the search engine market, according to StatCounter, with Yahoo and Bing it's closest competitors…Google first announced the expansion of its real-time Web search last December, noting that it would include data from Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed, Jaiku, Indenti.ca and Twitter. And, of course, Buzz is now included in that list…”

25. Google buys Picnik online photo editor http://www.pcworld.com/article/190434/google_buys_picnik_online_photoediting_site.html “…The search giant today announced that it has bought Picnik, a photo utility that lets users edit digital photos in a Web browser. Picnik launched in 2005 and has 20 employees…We're not announcing any significant changes to Picnik today, though we'll be working hard on integration and new features. As well, we'd like to continue supporting all existing Picnik partners so that users will continue to be able to add their photos from other photo-sharing sites…Picnik offers both free and premium photo-editing services. The free plan has a basic toolkit--cropping, color-correction, auto-fix, and the like--as well as advertising…Picnik also works with a variety of web services, including Google's competitors. Yahoo Mail users, for instance, can use Picnik to edit photos right inside Yahoo Mail. Picnik provides similar integration with other popular social-networking and image-storing sites, including Facebook, Flickr, Picasa Web Albums, and Photobucket…” [http://www.xconomy.com/seattle/2010/03/01/picnik-ceo-on-getting-bought-by-google-and-how-it-will-affect-startups-and-consumers/]

26. Google gives translation help with Chrome 4.1 http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20000109-264.html I've been enjoying a Chrome feature that shows a pop-up bar suggesting translations of foreign Web pages into English…the new 4.1 beta of Google's new browser. Chrome 4.1.249.1021, for Windows only, adds the translation feature…It's particularly notable given Google's desire to lower the barriers to information access. Web pages already could be translated, but as with providing translated Web pages in search results, the automation makes other languages that much less an issue…”

27. Google wins patent for location-based advertising http://digital.venturebeat.com/2010/03/01/google-location-ads/ While the blogosphere was buzzing over the patent Facebook won for its news feed last week, Google earned a killer one too. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded the search giant a patent for using location in an advertising system last Tuesday, which is the emerging business model for most consumer-facing location startups today. Filed six years ago, the patent is fairly broad…the location-based ad patent may give Google a nice big stick as it goes head-to-head with Apple in the world of mobile advertising…Google actually bucked a patent Apple owns last month, when it added multi-touch functionality to its Android operating system…Location-enabled search and advertising has been a major priority for Google over the past year. Last week, it started letting users refine their search by location to see results published nearby. The company’s newly-launched Buzz service also has location feeds with content that often beats out what Twitter’s geotagged tweets have to offer…Google was also awarded six other patents last week including: Electronic message source reputation information system…Identifying inadequate search content…Deconstructing electronic media stream into human recognizable portions…It has also filed for these patents, published last week:…System and Method for Monitoring and Analyzing Internet Traffic…User Interface Gestures For Moving a Virtual Camera On A Mobile Device…Dynamic Exploration Of Electronic Maps…Navigation In a Three Dimensional Environment Using An Orientation Of A Mobile Device…”

General Technology

28. Microsoft Hohm to Connect with Devices this Summer http://earth2tech.com/2010/02/23/microsoft-hohm-to-connect-with-devices-this-summer-one-day-offer-its-own/ By this summer you can expect to find the first energy devices — smart meters, energy management dashboards, connected thermostats — that can link with Microsoft’s online energy management tool Hohm…about a year after Microsoft officially launched Hohm to the public, consumers will likely be able to get more granular and real-time data off of in-home devices. Google took about the same amount of time between when it first launched its online energy tool PowerMeter and it announced its first energy device partners…Phase 1 was launching the consumer-facing web portal and connecting the site with utility data — so far Hohm has officially announced partnerships with 4 utilities…Phase 2 is connecting Hohm to devices, including smart plugs, connected thermostats, smart meters and even electric vehicles…Phase 3 of Hohm is opening up the platform to utilities to enable them to have more ability to control devices and load shift…Hohm could act as sort of the distributed operating system for energy. Phase 4 for Hohm is a little more fuzzy…”

29. General Compression Pumps in $17M for Fuel-free Air Energy Storage http://earth2tech.com/2010/02/23/general-compression-pumps-in-17m-for-fuel-free-air-energy-storage/ “…for the time being the cheapest ways to store grid power is water and air — that is, pumped hydro and compressed air energy storage, or CAES. The latter involves using cheap power to pump air into underground caverns or tanks, then releasing it to augment a natural gas-fired turbine when power demands are at their peak…General Compression’s “GCAES” units use isothermal compression and expansion to generate power without burning any fuel, according to the company’s web site. The company claims its 2-megawatt modular units can store power at 70-75 percent round-trip efficiency. Because the units can respond in less than 30 seconds and cycle between compression and expansion quickly, they could be used to back up wind farm power output, which is the company’s main focus…Right now there are only two working CAES plants in the world, one in Huntorf, Germany and another in McIntosh, Ala., so new technologies have a lot to prove. It’s certainly the right time to be bringing new energy storage technologies to market. Any big push to make wind and solar power account for more than a tiny fraction of the world’s energy supply will have to deal with the intermittency problem — the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine, but the grid’s power demands follow predictable peaks that have to be met…”

30. Nvidia gains dozens of customers for second-generation Ion netbook graphics chip http://venturebeat.com/2010/03/01/nvidia-gains-dozens-of-customers-for-second-generation-ion-chip/ Graphics chip designer Nvidia is announcing today it has more than 30 customers signed up to use its second-generation Ion chip to provide eye-popping graphics to netbooks. The new Ion will deliver graphics that are 10 times better than typical netbook graphics and as much as 10 hours of battery life…Gartner estimates 40 million netbooks will be sold in 2010. That’s huge growth, considering there were virtually none just two years ago. While they’re popular, many consumers and tech critics have described netbooks as brain dead. That’s because Intel bundles its Atom chips with its own chip sets with built-in graphics. Those graphics are incapable of running high-definition videos or 3-D games…Nvidia says its graphics performance in Ion is 10 times more powerful than Intel’s competing graphics in its Pinetrail platform for netbooks…”

Leisure & Entertainment

31. Nintendo DSi XL March Release http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10459251-1.html “…Nintendo officially unveiled the remaining details about the next DS to hit North America. The DSi XL features even larger screens (93 percent bigger compared with the DS Lite) and has a much wider viewing angle. Set to go for $190, we'll see the DSi XL in stores on March 28…It's noticeably heavier than both the DSi Lite and DSi, but we actually enjoyed the sturdiness…we were blown away by the two enormous screen…video quality didn't seem to suffer as a result of enlarging games beyond the size of their native aspect…We also really liked the new stylus the XL will ship with that closely resembles a pen or permanent marker. It's by far the most comfortable first-party stylus yet, though it won't snap into the device for storage…”

32. Tens of millions of PlayStation 3s disabled by bug http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2010/03/tens-of-millions-of-playstation-3s-disabled-by-bug.html “…tens of millions of Sony PlayStation 3s were hit by a bug in the console's clock that prevented owners from playing certain games or connecting to the Internet. The problem is apparently caused by the device's internal clock, which for unknown reasons on Feb. 28 changed to Dec. 31, 1999…In addition, PS3 owners can't connect to the Internet to compete against other players online or to download movies and television shows…The Sony blog advised owners of any PS3 except the new "slim" version not to use the device and said the company hopes to have a fix within 24 hours…”

33. Engage! Conference and Expo http://www.engagedigitalmedia.com/press/02-10-2010.html “…Engage!, the definitive technology event for youth entertainment professionals, brings together leaders from the technology, toy, video game and entertainment industries…Keynote speakers include: Will Wright, the creator of the best selling computer game of all time, The Sims, and now the founder and chief executive of Stupid Fun Club; Natalie Hornsby, VP of Marketing at Cepia LLC, the creators of Zhu Zhu Pets; Lane Merrifield, executive vice president of Disney Online Studios and the co-founder and general manager of Club Penguin…”

Economy and Technology

34. At Singularity University, blowing minds and taking meetings http://news.cnet.com/8301-13772_3-10461995-52.html “…in building 20 at the NASA Ames Research Center here, Nail found himself discussing 3D printing and housing with X Prize CEO Peter Diamandis…Nail had been considering buying some farming land in Northern California and had been interested in the nascent concept of 3D printed buildings. He told Diamandis that he wanted to try that on the land. "He says," Nail recalled, "I want to make this introduction," and grabbed Nail, pulling him a few tables over to the side where the two put their heads together with one of the founders of a start-up that recently began working on building 3D printed housing for developing nations…the quick meeting may have been the start of something long-term. "I will probably have a relationship" with the start-up's co-founder, he said. "It's an opportunity for me to get involved as a seed investor, and to advise and help out. He's just starting out...and we have a common connection with this passionate interest for housing, robotics and 3D printing…Singularity University…seeks to put some of the brightest minds on the planet together to explore what is known as exponentially growing technologies…If one thing is clear about SU, which Diamandis co-founded with "The Singularity is Near" author Ray Kurzweil, it's that the product the two men are selling is membership in that family, a network of top-tier thinkers, investors, researchers, and entrepreneurs that could hold its own against any other, anywhere on Earth…”

35. Angels vs. Venture Capitalists http://blog.pmarca.com/2010/03/angels-vs-venture-capitalists-1.html “…we’ve been spending time looking into new ways that will make the lives of entrepreneurs seeking funding easier…we've linked up with Ted Wang who has been working on an open source legal project called the Series Seed documents…and are going to use these standard funding documents as part of our seed stage investments wherever appropriate…Start ups today don’t need to build a manufacturing plant…to start a business. They need less money to build a product and prove that it works…Yet, the paperwork involved in funding entrepreneurs hasn’t changed to meet these needs. Series Seed is the first to establish this new way of supporting funding suited for today’s entrepreneurs…Why do angel investors exist? Before answering these questions, it’s useful to ask and answer a related question: why are there angels and why have they become more prominent in the last 10 years?…”

36. VoIP Enables Innovation http://www.von.com/news/cisco-execs-voip-enables-innovation.html “…Consumer adoption of technology combined with higher bandwidth and more reliable Internet connections from ISPs and mobile providers, are going to be major catalysts for the advancement of VoIP,” the execs said in an advance interview. “Video telephony is still slow to adopt in small business because they are not used to the technology, however, just like with instant messaging, as consumers look to communicate with friends and family via video capabilities in Skype or AIM, we will see higher adoption rates of this with small business customers too…”

37. The 2005 email that spawned Picnik, Google's latest buy http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2010/03/looking_back_the_email_that_spawned_picnik_googles_latest_buy.html Entrepreneurial ideas can strike anytime, anywhere. For Picnik founders Mike Harrington and Darrin Massena -- who announced the sale of their online photo editing startup to Google on Monday -- that moment hit on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2005 at 10:56 p.m. That's when Massena sent an email to Harrington with the subject line: "Internet Photo Editing."…in that email is a truly amazing exploration of the entrepreneurs' mindsets at the moment of conception, a rare glimpse at the birth of one of Seattle's most successful Internet startups. What's also fascinating about the email, which we've received permission to re-publish, is how closely Picnik actually followed the six-point plan laid out…"This could be really BIG ($-wise)," wrote Massena in one section of the email. "Our timing is right. We’re at the intersection of demand (mass use of online photos) and capability (Flash 8 supports the first level of functionality we need)…”

38. Student-run business wins EPA energy-optimization contract http://news.mst.edu/2010/03/student-run_business_wins_epa.html “…IDC (Interdisciplinary Design Collaborative LLC), received a $67,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the federal government's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program…IDC was founded in September 2008 by Michael A. Orlando, a St. Louis native and recent Missouri S&T graduate who is now pursuing his master's degree in engineering management at S&T…Through this grant, the student-run company will investigate ways to monitor and optimize home energy usage in hopes of eventually developing technology that homeowners could use to cut energy costs…A computer will automatically collect and analyze data to determine and locate energy losses and wasted energy in a building," says Orlando. "These optimization algorithms will learn users' habits and use historical data to instantaneously analyze building energy needs to reduce energy consumption…”

Civilian Aerospace

39. Average half-kilometer S-type asteroid worth $20 trillion http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/featured-article/space-the-final-frontier-of-profit “…Two fundamental realities now exist that will drive space exploration forward. First, private capital is seeing space as a good investment, willing to fund individuals who are passionate about exploring space, for adventure as well as profit…Second, companies and investors are realizing that everything we hold of value—metals, minerals, energy and real estate—are in near-infinite quantities in space. As space transportation and operations become more affordable, what was once seen as a wasteland will become the next gold rush. Alaska serves as an excellent analogy. Once thought of as "Seward's Folly" (Secretary of State William Seward was criticized for overpaying the sum of $7.2 million to the Russians for the territory in 1867), Alaska has since become a billion-dollar economy…there are millions of asteroids of different sizes and composition flying throughout space. One category, known as S-type, is composed of iron, magnesium silicates and a variety of other metals, including cobalt and platinum. An average half-kilometer S-type asteroid is worth more than $20 trillion. Technology is reaching a critical point. Moore's Law has given us exponential growth in computing technology, which has led to exponential growth in nearly every other technological industry. Breakthroughs in rocket propulsion will allow us to go farther, faster and more safely into space…”

40. Italian Space Plane Prototype to Attempt Daring Maneuvers http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/italian-space-plane-prototype-100301.html “…The Italian Center for Aerospace Research (CIRA) in Capua, Italy has prepped a new unmanned prototype space plane called Pollux for a possible flight in March. Pollux would perform several test maneuvers while reaching a top re-entry speed of Mach 1.2…Pollux is designed to reach its drop height of about 15 miles (24 km) courtesy of a stratospheric balloon. Upon release, the space vehicle is expected to carry out pre-programmed aeronautic maneuvers where it pulls its nose up, conducts an angle of attack maneuver, a two-bank turn maneuver, and then finish with another nose-up maneuver before opening its parachute…All those twists and turns would allow the 500 experimental sensors aboard Pollux to record the acceleration, aerodynamic pressures, and strain throughout. That information will go a long way toward helping researchers figure out what maneuvers a hypersonic vehicle could pull off as it comes in for landing from space…”

41. Silicon Valley's Rocket Man http://www.cnbc.com/id/35604813 “…NASA is…taking a lot of heat for farming out a lot of post-Shuttle work to smaller commercial contractors, so that NASA can focus on Mars…SpaceX…while drawing the ire of some traditional players, also brings back an enterprising spirit to the birthplace of aerospace manufacturing…SpaceX…has been profitable for the last three years. It's landed 30 contracts for launches, "half of those are NASA and the other half are non-NASA." One of those NASA contracts is worth $1.6 billion to develop a rocket and capsule to ferry cargo to the International Space Station over 12 trips. The contract could nearly double if SpaceX is eventually able to take astronauts…Here are parts of my interview with Musk, who is almost as surprised as anyone that the Obama administration is giving him a shot…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

42. Designing Parallel Algorithms: Part 1 http://www.drdobbs.com/hpc-high-performance-computing/223100878 Parallel algorithm design is not easily reduced to simple recipes. Rather, it requires the sort of integrative thought that is commonly referred to as "creativity.'' However, it can benefit from a methodical approach that maximizes the range of options considered, that provides mechanisms for evaluating alternatives, and that reduces the cost of backtracking from bad choices…After studying this article, you should be able to design simple parallel algorithms in a methodical fashion and recognize design flaws that compromise efficiency or scalability…Most programming problems have several parallel solutions. The best solution may differ from that suggested by existing sequential algorithms. The design methodology that we describe is intended to foster an exploratory approach to design in which machine-independent issues such as concurrency are considered early and machine-specific aspects of design are delayed until late in the design process…”

43. Saudi EXPEC Computer Center Deploys Supercomputer http://www.hpcwire.com/topic/systems/Saudi-EXPEC-Computer-Center-Deploys-Supercomputer-85210512.html?viewAll=y The EXPEC Computer Center (ECC) installed a new supercomputing system in late 2009 with a huge disk storage capacity to support Saudi Aramco's exploration in the frontier areas and the Red Sea. The installed storage of 1,050 terabytes is the largest storage installation in Saudi Aramco's history -- exceeding one petabyte…to maintain a capacity of 12 million barrels of oil per day and to meet the demands for nonassociated gas..The new cluster introduces an emerging trend in high-performance computing: the graphics processing unit, or GPU. GPUs are commonly used for high-end visualization, but this cluster positions ECC for GPU-based supercomputing…The new cluster includes 72 GPUs, each with 240 cores for processing and delivering one teraflop of single-precision, floating-point performance each -- that is 1,000 times the capability of the old Cray X-MP supercomputer…”

44. NVIDIA GPUs Power All 2010 Best Visual Effects Academy Award Nominees http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/NVIDIA-GPUs-Power-All-2010-Best-Visual-Effects-Academy-Award-Nominees-85825112.html “…the films nominated for an Academy Award for Visual Effects in this year's competition depended on NVIDIA Quadro…"Avatar", "District 9" and "Star Trek" -- all delivered unprecedented levels of sophistication and realism to the screen in the form of computer-generated fantasy and science-fiction worlds…Weta Digital Ltd., of Wellington, New Zealand, served as the primary visual effects vendor on "Avatar" and is a longtime NVIDIA customer. It deploys both Quadro professional graphics solutions and NVIDIA Tesla high performance computing solutions in its visual effects (VFX) production pipeline…We needed to think about rendering in a completely different way, given the complexity of 'Avatar'," said Sebastian Sylwan, Weta's head of research and development. "By working together with NVIDIA, we found a way to render incredibly sophisticated scenes in far less time, giving artists the critical ability to freely experiment with different lighting and iterate faster…Image Engine Design Inc. of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, led the visual effects work on "District 9," which seamlessly integrates an alien race into gritty documentary-style footage of Johannesburg, South Africa. The firm deployed nearly 100 NVIDIA Quadro professional graphics cards in Linux workstations in producing every alien shot in the film. "The decision to standardize on NVIDIA Quadro graphics for 'District 9' and other film projects was very simple-they just work really well…”

45. Why Geospatial Users and Developers Should Know Their GPU from their CPU http://www.directionsmag.com/article.php?article_id=3418 “…In 2000, Nvidia began to develop chips that were aimed at more than just gaming; they were general purpose chips with software for easy programmability. One of the first groups of heavy users was involved in medical imaging…What special properties are in these chips? The GPU is a massively parallel processor. That is, it can do many operations at the same time, like a supercomputer…So, what does that mean in practice? Gupta pointed me to a great example: a slope calculation based on a digital elevation model (DEM). Basically, the GIS software is asked to find the slope at each point and make a new surface with those values. If you do this without taking advantage of a GPU installed in your machine, using Manifold 8, it takes just about a minute. When you take advantage of the GPU? Two seconds…”

http://www.zianet.com/wpickens/jokes/mit.html

*****

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