NEW NET Issues List for 09 Mar 2010

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 09 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. Telecoms continue move to metered Internet, AT&T CEO says http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2010/03/att-metered-internet.html “…AT&T…Chief Executive Randall Stephenson…addressed a more long-term idea that's unpopular with many tech enthusiasts. Yep, metered Internet access…we'll progressively move towards more of what I call variable pricing, so the heavy[-use] consumers will pay more than the lower consumers," Stephenson said…the iPad's $14.99-per-month data plan, which grants users 250 megabytes, is an example of metered Web access…subscribers can upgrade to unlimited access for $29.99. Those who oppose metered Internet argue that the ability to operate on the Web unfettered -- to upload as many videos as they want and play high-bandwidth games for as long as they're bored -- is what sparked the Internet renaissance. Moving to a model like gas or water utilities could mean more conservative usage and less innovation…”

2. Low airfares that vanish in a click http://www.cnn.com/2010/TRAVEL/03/05/disappearing.airfares/ When you're airfare shopping, attractive prices can vanish in a split second…When you find a fare online, it isn't actually there -- it's cached on the site…A small number of fares -- usually less than 5 percent -- may no longer be available when you try to book them…"It is a dirty secret that the industry would rather no one know about."…some customers…believe that travel companies intentionally display a low fare but raise it as you move through the booking process, an electronic version of the time-tested bait-and-switch scheme…I booked a flight from Orlando to Las Vegas. I found a $114 one-way fare on the Southwest Airlines site, scrolled away to make sure Kayak.com couldn't do better (it couldn't) and then tried to buy the ticket. "New Price," the site announced in annoying red letters. The same ticket now cost $234…The easiest way to avoid a fare surprise is to make a faster booking decision…Read the initial fare quote carefully…a ticket from Denver to London might be advertised at $734, but the actual price is $1,121…The initial rate is the actual ticket price, but once you add taxes, fees and other surcharges, you end up with a ticket that costs $387 more than you thought it would…The grand total is often disclosed in small type and then revealed in a more overt way just as you're getting ready to pay. They have their reasons for making the prices seem artificially low -- high fares are a turn-off for their customers and even a few extra dollars can make a traveler run to a competitor. I think that's dishonest. And Sen. Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) agrees…”

3. An Ad-less Internet: ad blockers http://blog.digitalbackcountry.com/2010/03/an-ad-less-internet/ A fascinating experiment and follow-up by Ars Techinca on ad blockers. “If you read a site and care about its well being, then you should not block ads (or you subscribe to sites like Ars that offer ads-free versions of the site). If a site has advertising you don’t agree with, don’t go there. I think it is far better to vote with page views than to show up and consume resources without giving anything in return. I think in some ways the Internet and its vast anonymity feeds into a culture where many people do not think about the people, the families, the careers that go into producing a website.”…I talked to a lot of the creatives at big agencies who are working with sites to place these ads for their brands and the adblocker concern was a big topic. If their brands aren’t getting the views on the ad, they’re not going to want to pony up, and sites lose money…one of the best conversations I had was with someone who used to be the creative “gate” for agencies on a major network of sites. Agencies came to her with their ad ideas and she was the person who gave thumbs up or thumbs down on the ad depending on whether or not it was too obnoxious or wouldn’t jive with what the network’s users expect…they should follow some basic guidelines (auto-playing sound being a terrible, terrible scourge) and leave the user in control. Close buttons should be obvious, mouse out events should minimize the ad, and it should be difficult to accidentally trigger it. And making sure ads are optimized so they aren’t causing Flash to spin up the CPUs is key to a good user experience…”

4. Newegg drops supplier over counterfeit Intel processors http://www.techspot.com/news/38161-Newegg-drops-supplier-over-counterfeit-Intel-processors.html Newegg has issued an official update on the Intel Core i7 processor fiasco that came to light over the weekend. Turns out that IPEX, not D&H Distributing as initially believed, was responsible for supplying the bogus chips and as a result its contract with the online retailer has been revoked…”

5. Customize Chrome for Better Browsing http://www.linux-mag.com/cache/7716/1.html “…Google Chrome literally has thousands of extensions to choose from, but deciding isn’t easy. If you’re getting started with Chrome extensions, we have a few suggestions…TooManyTabs lets you see all of the tabs open in a Chrome window at a glance, and even allows you to make a tab inactive but store it for later use…The reason I particularly like TabJump is that it adds the ability to “undo” closing a tab. So when I accidentally close the wrong tab, I can quickly recover it…BuiltWith Technology Profiler examines a page and gives you the skinny on how a site is built, the technologies it uses, the analytics, what the site is hosted on, advertising network(s), and more…It works on most sites, but doesn’t work with pages loaded over SSL, and might return a 403 error depending on the remote site’s configuration…Fans of the Speed Dial feature in Opera can replicate the experience in Chrome with the Speed Dial extension. After whipping the extension onto Chrome, just click the Speed Dial bar in the Omnibar and select “Add Current Page” to add a new site to the dial, or click Open to get to the speed dial. The Speed Dial page also displays a row at the top for your bookmarks, the recently closed bar you see in new tabs in Chrome, and a search box…”

6. New MSN Homepage Begins Full Roll-Out http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10465541-56.html Microsoft…has been testing new designs for the venerable portal, including one that features a cleaner, more video-heavy look for the site. Over the coming days, Microsoft is rolling out the new look…Microsoft is giving MSN a big makeover as it tries to reach some younger and more Web-savvy viewers…Microsoft sells a lot of display ads to companies that want to reach that large audience and also gets a lot of its search traffic via MSN. "A very large percent of our traffic for search actually comes from people who use MSN as their home page…about half of Microsoft's searches come via the MSN home page. "That's a really critical property in terms of establishing and exposing people to Bing…”

7. Bing Maps Rolls Out Its Largest Image Update http://searchengineland.com/bing-maps-rolls-out-largest-image-update-37421 Bing Maps has rolled out what Microsoft is calling its “largest amount of new imagery ever in terms of square kilometers.” Apparently that represents 6.7 million square kilometers. There’s new aerial and Bird’s Eye imagery across many countries on several continents…”

8. High fiber diet needed for U.S. broadband plan http://www.eetimes.com/news/latest/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=223101309 When it comes to broadband speed, penetration, and adoption, the United States continues to lag behind many countries in Asia and Europe…In its National Broadband Plan, the Federal Communications Commission should seize the opportunity to ensure that our nation's digital infrastructure will be capable of meeting the opportunities…Here are just a few ideas: First, the FCC should require that fiber conduit be installed as part of every federally-funded infrastructure project. By some estimates nearly 90 percent of the cost of deploying fiber is associated with construction costs like tearing up and repairing roads…Second, the FCC should set a goal to connect broadband fiber to every school, library, community health care center, and public housing facility in the United States…Third, the FCC should create incentives for providers to install multiple lines of fiber as new networks are rolled out…Fourth, the FCC should encourage greater wireless broadband and reduce barriers to deployment…”

9. Facebook To Sell Tickets With Eventbrite http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/facebook_and_eventbrite_just_makes_sense.php Facebook looks to be partnering with event marketplace Eventbrite…Facebook's recent redesign has showed a much more public events page, a feature that would go along with selling tickets to events quite perfectly…Eventbrite is partnering with Facebook to enable you to collect money for your event. Your attendees pay with credit card and Eventbrite collects the money on your behalf and sends you a check when your event is over…Until recently, the Facebook events page was primarily focused on one thing - the events you had specifically been invited to. That's no longer the case. Now, clicking on the "Events" link in the left column brings you to a page that lists not only all the events you're invited to, but any public events that any of your friends are attending…”

10. Go Tribal Wants To Help Women Coordinate Social Plans http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/09/go-tribal-wants-to-help-women-coordinate-social-plans/ “…Startup Go Tribal is rolling out a different take on the social planning application, launching a site for a more targeted audience: women…The site basically aims to help women answer the question, “who’s down to go out?” Users can sign set up an account and broadcast message to their friends to see who is down for going out. Of course, you can tap into your social graph via Facebook Connect, Gmail and Twitter, but all of the planning needs to take place on Go Tribal’s site and each participant needs to sign up for an account to start “planning.” Once you see which friends are available, you can vote on, discuss, and finalize your plans…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

11. Mariposa, botnet with 13 million pcs, shut down http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2010/03/02/financial/f110130S24.DTL Authorities have smashed one of the world's biggest networks of virus-infected computers, a data vacuum that stole credit cards and online banking credentials from as many as 12.7 million poisoned PCs. The "botnet" of infected computers included PCs inside more than half of the Fortune 1,000 companies and more than 40 major banks…Investigators were examining bank records and seized computers to determine how much money the criminals made. "They're not like these people from the Russian mafia or Eastern European mafia…the most frightening thing is they are normal people…Botnets are networks of infected PCs that have been hijacked from their owners, often without their knowledge, and put into the control of criminals…The Mariposa botnet…spread to more than 190 countries…It also appears to be far more sophisticated than the botnet that was used to hack into Google…The researchers that helped take down Mariposa first started looking at it in the spring of 2009…The investigators caught a few lucky breaks…one suspect also made direct connections from his own computer to try and reclaim control of his botnet after authorities took it down around Christmas. Investigators were able to identify him based on that traffic…The program used to create the botnet was known as Mariposa, from the Spanish word for "butterfly." "I don't think there's anything about this guy that makes him smarter than any of the other botnet guys, but the (Mariposa) software, it's very professional, it's very effective," said Pedro Bustamante, senior research adviser with Panda Security…While arrests of people accused of running smaller botnets are fairly common, the biggest botnet leaders are rarely nabbed. That's partly because it's easy for criminals to hide their identities by disguising the source of their Internet traffic…For instance, there have been no busts yet in the spread of the Conficker worm, which infected 3 million to 12 million PCs running Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system and caused widespread fear that it could be used as a kind of Internet super weapon. The Conficker botnet is still active, but is closely watched by security researchers…”

12. Energizer Bunny's software infects PCs http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9166978/Energizer_Bunny_s_software_infects_PCs The Energizer Bunny infects PCs with backdoor malware, the Department of Homeland Security's US-CERT said Friday…software that accompanies the Energizer DUO USB battery charger contains a Trojan horse that gives hackers total access to a Windows PC…The Windows software included with the charger is designed to show battery-charging status. When the software is installed, it creates the file "Arucer.dll," which is actually a Trojan that listens for commands on TCP port 7777. Upon instructions, the Trojan can download and execute files, transmit files stolen from the PC, or tweak the Windows registry. The Trojan automatically executes each time the PC is turned on, and remains active, even if the Energizer charger is not connected to the machine…”

13. Typical Windows pc user needs security update every 5 days http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9165738/Typical_Windows_user_patches_every_5_days “…According to Secunia, of the users who ran the company's Personal Software Inspector (PSI) the last week of January, half had 66 or more programs from 22 or more different vendors on their machines. PSI is a free tool that scans PCs to produce a list of vulnerable software, but does not itself initiate updates. Instead, users are directed to the approprite vendor patch site. Nearly 2 million copies of the tool have been downloaded since Secunia debuted it in 2007…on each machine…tracked during 2009, Secunia determined that the typical user faced nearly 300 vulnerabilities during the year, and with the number of vendors represented on the PC, had to deal with approximately 75 patch incidents annually…the typical user had to master 22 different patch mechanisms, one from each of the 22 software makers whose programs were on her PC…Secunia has stepped up to produce a patching tool that will eventually handle 70% to 80% of the software on consumers' Windows machines…PSI 2.0, which will include automatic updating functionality similar to what Microsoft provides for Windows and other software. Before the end of the year, Secunia should have PSI 2.0 wrapped up…”

14. FDIC: Hackers took more than $120M in three months http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9167598/FDIC_Hackers_took_more_than_120M_in_three_months “…Ongoing computer scams targeting small businesses cost U.S. companies $25 million in the third quarter of 2009, according to the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Online banking fraud…rose to over $120 million in the third quarter of 2009…Almost all of the incidents reported to the FDIC "related to malware on online banking customers' PCs," he said. Typically a victim is tricked into visiting a malicious Web site or downloading a Trojan horse program that gives hackers access to their banking passwords…In the third quarter of 2009, small businesses suffered $25 million in losses due to online ACH and wire transfer fraud…attacks that install a password-stealing botnet program, known as Zeus, have increased so far in 2010, so those losses may be even higher this year…”

15. How to fight net-censorship http://www.boingboing.net/2010/03/08/beyond-breaking-fire.html Ethan Zuckerman's new piece on Worldchanging, "Internet Freedom: Beyond Circumvention,"…points to some very meaty research problems that people who care about technology and freedom need to attend to…We need to shift our thinking from helping users in closed societies access blocked content to helping publishers reach all audiences. In doing so, we may gain those publishers as a valuable new set of allies as well as opening a new class of technical solutions…Secretary Clinton suggests that we make free speech part of the American brand identity - let's find ways to challenge companies to build blocking resistance into their platforms…The US government should treat internet filtering - and more aggressive hacking and DDoS attacks - as a barrier to trade…”

16. Google and PayPal to Support New Government Login System http://mashable.com/2010/03/03/google-paypal-oix/ Open Identity Exchange (OIX) is a newly founded non-profit organization, launched today at the RSA Conference 2010 by Google, PayPal, Equifax, VeriSign, Verizon, CA and Booz Allen Hamilton. The aim of this new organization is exchange of online identity credentials across public and private sectors; in other words, it can certify online identity providers to U.S. federal standards. OIX is not to be confused with OpenID, which is a standard that lets sites such as Google, Twitter or Facebook share the same login credentials. U.S. Government sites require a trust framework, a certification system that enables a party who accepts a digital identity credential to trust the identity, security and privacy policies of the party who issues the credential. OIX is the first Open Identity Trust Framework provider, enabling certified sites to share their login credentials with U.S. Government sites…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

17. iPhone lessons from Google's Nexus One http://www.macworld.com/article/146788/2010/03/nexus_one_iphone.html “…Unlike the iPhone announcement, which was revolutionary, the Nexus One announcement marked the evolution of Android…I'm here to look at the Nexus One and consider where it’s better than the iPhone, where there are notable differences, and how Apple’s platform might progress when we see the next generation of iPhone hardware and software…The Nexus One’s screen is slightly larger than the iPhone’s (3.7 inches diagonal versus 3.5). But while the iPhone’s screen is 320 pixels wide by 480 pixels high, the Nexus One’s is 480 wide by 800 high. That’s 2.5 times more pixels than the iPhone offers…The Android home screen is more flexible than the iPhone's, and you can install small Widgets on it…The iPhone doesn’t do notifications very well…Multitasking…A combined view of all your e-mail account Inboxes.Combined e-mail inbox…Free access to the music library…Removable battery…”

18. Nexus Ones “don't go in pockets” http://crave.cnet.co.uk/mobiles/0,39029453,49305156,00.htm “…we shared the sad story of how our brand-new Google Nexus One went from Crave fave to purple nurple, with a cracked screen that scarred its beautiful AMOLED screen forever…HTC support told us that a common cause of cracked screens is "putting it in handbags and getting knocked around by keys, because it's not in the pouch." The Nexus One comes with a neoprene case included in the box…HTC support says it will ask you whether you've carried the phone in a pocket or kept it out of its case…we got the message that this phone is too high-strung to survive in common phone environments. "People sometimes forget that they don't go in pockets," said HTC…”

19. Skype & Verizon http://venturebeat.com/2010/03/05/skype-nokia-verizon/ “…Skype users in the U.S can still download Symbian by going directly to Skype.com…Skype’s deal with Verizon, announced three weeks ago, is still at the “coming soon” stage, but Verizon has said it’s due later in March. Verizon and Skype collaborated on the video below, which explains Skype Mobile’s advantages for globetrotting young adults…”

20. Amazon's First Response to iPad Hype: A Better Browser http://www.fastcompany.com/1576428/amazon-kindle-browser-web-linux-jobs-ipad-e-reader-net-e-ink “…Amazon…job opening in the company's Kindle division Lab126 seeking an engineer to develop an "innovative embedded Web browser." The engineer in question must have…experience working with Browser Engines, and…"familiarity with current Web standards."…Amazon is aware its current "experimental" Kindle browser…barely functions even for static Web pages…that old browser on older Kindles will remain, indicating Amazon may not be…crafting a new browser for a newer Kindle--perhaps with features…that can't be supported on older hardware. Finally…you have to wonder if a "tight schedule" means Kindle 3 is on its way pretty soon…congratulations to Amazon for making the first move to turning Kindle into a seriously useful cross-purpose device: This is absolutely vital for the future success of the Kindle…before naysayers chime in with a "dedicated devices will always have a place. I love my Kindle!" I know... I know…”

21. Backflip and Devour show promise as entry-level smart phones http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/techchron/detail?&entry_id=58620 “…For some consumers just looking to get into the game, a smart phone can skimp on some power or features if it brings basic functionality and some good design…The Devour on Verizon Wireless and the Backflip on AT&T are the latest wave of phones from Motorola, which has pinned its future on the Android operating system and previously rallied around its robust flagship the Droid. The Devour and Backflip take a step back from the Droid and fill in some of the lower tiers for users who may not want all the bells and whistles and the costs that come with it but do appreciate some style…”

22. Bump Technologies closes in on 10 million downloads http://mobile.venturebeat.com/2010/03/08/bump-10-million/ Sequoia-backed Bump Technologies Inc. is closing in on 10 million downloads for its nifty contact and data-sharing app…The app let you literally bump two phones together and pass contact information like phone numbers, names and e-mail addresses between them…The hope is that Bump can find a business model by providing its core technology to other companies to power all kinds of physical data sharing, whether it’s trading virtual coins in a game, contact information on a business card or even payments…It’s also eyeing possibilities, particularly in gaming, on the iPad. (Yes, you can bump an iPhone to iPad or an iPad to an iPad.)…Intuitively, it might seem that Bump is best used as an alternative to swapping business cards. But it turns out that the company’s traffic hits a peak on weekends, suggesting that it’s more of a casual or social app…”

23. Bluetooth 4.0 to reach devices in fourth quarter http://www.goodgearguide.com.au/article/338365/bluetooth_4_0_reach_devices_fourth_quarter/ “…Bluetooth 4.0 wireless specification could start to appear in devices such as headsets, smartphones and PCs by the fourth quarter…The new specification will be able to be used in lower-power devices than previous versions of the technology, including watches, pedometers, smart meters and other gadgets that run on coin-cell batteries…More wireless capabilities are being added to gadgets like cameras, portable game players and tablet PCs to help them communicate with other devices…users will notice only nominal battery-life improvements for long-range or continuous data communication…Bluetooth 4.0 radios will consume roughly the same amount of power as Bluetooth 3.0 radios when used to sync smartphones with laptops or listen to music with wireless headphones…The new specification will carry the high-speed Wi-Fi feature introduced with Bluetooth 3.0. That allows devices to jump onto Wi-Fi 802.11 networks, where it can transfer data at up to 25Mbits per second. Bluetooth competes with wireless technologies such as WiBro, UWB (Ultra Wideband) and Wi-Fi. But Bluetooth 4.0 is better-suited for short-range communications, as competing technologies expend a lot of energy to transmit data over similar distances…The Zigbee wireless specification is another alternative to Bluetooth 4.0, but Bluetooth has the advantage of being widely deployed across devices…”

Open Source & DIY

24. Swiftfox: a fast Firefox alternative for Linux users only http://linuxcritic.wordpress.com/2010/03/05/swiftfox-a-fast-firefox-alternative-for-linux-users-only/ “…Swiftfox, according to the project’s homepage, is “an optimized build of Mozilla Firefox” that is compiled for Linux only…Most of you out there using Firefox on Linux aren’t actually using anything that’s “installed” or “compiled” for your particular platform…What the Swiftfox folks have done, by contrast, is an optimized compile of Firefox on a number of different hardware platforms…In theory, this means that whichever build of Swiftfox you use appropriate to your CPU is potentially going to be significantly faster than the default, out-of-the-box Firefox…Compared to Opera, Konqueror, Google Chrome, even Epiphany and Galeon and Seamonkey, Firefox has always been a memory hog, slow to respond, and slow at rendering webpages for me, especially on older hardware…I’ve been running Swiftfox over the last three weeks, and I haven’t gone back to Opera yet. It’s actually been faster than Opera. It starts up faster, it loads webpages faster, opens new tabs faster, and uses less memory than Opera under the usual levels of activity on my desktop…”

25. Pixel Qi to Offer DIY Screen Kit for Netbooks http://www.pcworld.com/article/190982/pixel_qi_to_offer_diy_screen_kit_for_netbooks.html “…Low-power display startup Pixel Qi is readying a do-it-yourself kit that will allow you to swap out your netbook's existing LCD screen for one of theirs…Pixel Qi claims its LCD (liquid crystal display) screens consume between one-quarter and one-half as much power as traditional LCD screens. Since displays are the biggest power draw on a laptop, that could mean significantly longer battery life for users…"It's only slightly more difficult than changing a lightbulb: it's basically 6 screws, pulling off a bezel, unconnecting the old screen and plugging this one in," Jepsen wrote…She said the idea of offering a DIY screen kit was inspired by her work with the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project in Nigeria, where young girls took the initiative to repair damaged OLPC laptops on their own…”

26. Android, fragmentation and truly open http://www.h-online.com/open/features/Of-Android-and-the-Fear-of-Fragmentation-945390.html “…Google’s operating system debuted here two years ago. Last year we expected a slew of handsets, and saw just a trickle. This year, Android is everywhere, on handsets from HTC, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, and even Garmin-Asus. If this were the world of computers, Android would be in a similar position to Windows: Pretty much every manufacturer puts it on its machines…of course people have already started looking for flies in the ointment. In particular, many think that Android's success is of the wrong kind:…the Android platform is turning out not to be a platform at all, but merely a starting point for a universe of incompatible devices…Here's Google's view:…part of the impetus for the Android foray in the first place was to get mobile OS development moving more rapidly. So here we are, with rapid iterations (multiple OS upgrades in under a year!)…This is also a reflection of the open source way – releasing early, and releasing often. It means that jumps between versions are smaller, and therefore easier to accommodate…every Android phone currently released in the United States will be receiving an upgrade to Android 2.1. Some phones could be missing features of Android 2.1 (live wallpapers), but they will all have an Android 2.1 firmware…A far bigger problem is that many of these Android skins are proprietary, as are practically all Android applications…we risk being so dazzled by the shiny toys that Android manufacturers are unveiling that we fail to notice the fact that…practically everything that matters to the user is closed source. Here's how Bradley Kuhn, Technology Director at the Software Freedom Law Center, puts it in an extremely interesting essay entitled “The State of Free Software in Mobile Devices”: Whether the software is from a hardware maker trying something new to sell their hardware [Nokia], or an advertising salesman who wants some influence over an operating system choice to improve ad delivery [Google], the software freedom community cannot assume that the stewards of these codebases have the interests of the user community at heart…Community-oriented forks, as has begun in the Maemo community with Mer, must also begin in the Android/Linux space too. We are slowly trying with the Replicant project…”

27. Google’s reMail is now Open Source http://www.remail.com/blog/posts/170028 “…we announced reMail's acquisition by Google…Our announcement caused a lot of interest in reMail's product, and we looked at a number of options to make it available in some form. We decided that the best option was to open source the code, which is now available on Google Code as remail-iphone under the Apache 2.0 License. As someone who is passionate about mobile email, my hope is that developers interested in making email-related apps can use reMail code as a starting point. Part of the reason email apps are hard is because you have to pay the tax of figuring out how to download email via IMAP, parse MIME messages, handle attachments, and store data. reMail has already solved these problems…”

28. Power & Memory Usage Of GNOME, KDE, LXDE & Xfce http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=linux_desktop_vitals&num=1 Xfce, LXDE, and other desktop environments are often referenced as being lighter-eight Linux desktop environments than KDE and GNOME, but what are the measurable performance differences between them? Curious how much of a quantitative impact the GNOME, KDE, Xfce, and LXDE desktops have on netbook systems, we carried out a small set of tests to look at the differences in memory usage, battery power consumption, and thermal performance…”


29. Google Buys DocVerse, Maker Of Microsoft Office Plugin http://www.informationweek.com/news/software/web_services/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=223200010 Google…acquired DocVerse, a start-up founded in 2007 by two ex-Microsoft engineers…DocVerse makes plugin software that enables cloud-based collaboration in Microsoft Office applications Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. It gives Office users something similar to the collaborative functionality of Google Apps in what for many remains a more familiar, more comfortable environment…Google isn't buying into Microsoft; rather it's buying a bridge from Microsoft Office to the world of cloud computing. There are, after all, some 600 million Office users out there, according to DocVerse, and getting them to migrate to Google Apps won't happen overnight. "We definitely see this as an investment in the cloud, not an investment in the desktop," said Rochelle in a phone interview. "For us, because we're allowing people to collaborate using formats they're familiar with -- spreadsheets and documents and presentations -- we've definitely found a new pain point: People are saying, 'Help us get to the cloud.'…Google has been building escape routes for a while. Last summer, for example, the company introduced Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook, which allows Outlook users to connect to Google Apps for e-mail, contacts, and calendar data. It turns Outlook into what amounts to a skin, or user-interface, for Google's cloud. Microsoft is not the only company targeted thus. Google's iPhone app for Google Voice commandeered the iPhone's dialing keypad, which prompted Apple to refuse to approve the app. Google then released a Web-based Google Voice client as an alternate road to its cloud-based voice service…”

30. Rapportive Makes Gmail More Useful http://webworkerdaily.com/2010/03/05/rapportive-gmail-crm/ “…Rapportive is a free browser plugin (available as both a Firefox add-on and as a Chrome extension) for that replaces the adverts in Gmail’s sidebar with useful information about your contacts: a photo, bio and links to social media accounts (Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, etc). It provides similar functionality to Xobni, the popular plugin for Outlook that we’ve covered previously…Installation is simple and takes less than a couple of minutes, and as it’s just a browser plugin it provides a neater solution than MailBrowser, because it doesn’t require you running a separate application for it to work. Once it’s set up, clicking on an email will pull up the sender’s biographical information in Gmail’s right-hand sidebar (where adverts are normally served) and links to their social media accounts; you can also use it to store private notes on each contact. The service pulls contact information from the Rapleaf database, so the amount of biographical information and links to social media accounts that are returned will depend on how well Rapleaf has managed to tie that contact’s email address to the various social media services. For some of my contacts it works very well, for others it returns little or no info (presumably because some people don’t use their work email address for social media accounts), but I still love the way it adds an extra useful layer of CRM-like functionality to Gmail with no effort on my part…”

31. Google launches tool for searching public data http://news.cnet.com/8301-30684_3-10465450-265.html “…Google Public Data Explorer…takes public data regarding schools, population, crime, and even names to construct charts and graphs that help illustrate trends…School comparisons and unemployment topped the list of the most frequent queries, followed by population, sales tax, and salaries. The list gives searches an idea of the data available to them that can also be manipulated into moving charts and graphs over a time period. In addition to…the World Bank, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and U.S. Census Bureau, Google has added the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, the California Department of Education, Eurostat, the U.S. Center for Disease Control, and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis to its list of data providers.”

32. Betting On The Oscars? Google Has A Super Simple Docs Template To Use. http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/07/google-oscar-ballot/ “…Tonight is the 82nd annual Academy Awards. Some people watch the show for the movies. Some watch it for the glamor. And some, watch it to gamble…one way to get into it is to have an Oscar pool, where everyone picks who they think will win in each category. Google has set up a special Google Docs template that allows you to easily create this pool and send it to all your friends…you can even set it up to be filled out right within an email…they’ll be asked to enter their name, and then simply select who they think will be the winner in each category. Google has already populated all of this data in the template…When they send this information back, it will be imported into a Google Spreadsheet, so you can compare the data from all your friends…”

General Technology

33. Skinput Transforms Your Body Into a Touch-Sensitive Input Device http://www.pcworld.com/article/190744/skinput_transforms_your_body_into_a_touchsensitive_input_device.html A research partnership between Carnegie Mellon University and Microsoft has produced a novel method of physical interaction targeted at mobile devices that uses skin as an input interface. This input method, known as "Skinput," measures the [ultra-low frequency sound] generated by tapping on your body…In other words, your arm can become an iPod remote…researchers seemed to have focused on improving Skinput's accuracy and discarding erroneous or extraneous touch input that would otherwise cause problems…While Skinput itself is an interesting input method, combining it with a display opens the door to many more possibilities. In one demo, the researchers mounted a pico projector on the touch-sensing armband to project a graphical interface (e.g. buttons) on the user's arm. Another demo turns the fingers into a controller for a game of Tertris…”

34. Lip reading mobile promises end to noisy phone calls http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8549454.stm Technology that could see an end to the bane of many commuters - people talking loudly on their mobile phones…The prototype device could allow people to conduct silent phone conversations…The device…relies on a technique called electromyography…The prototype that is on display in Germany uses nine electrodes that are stuck to a user's face. "These capture the electrical potentials that result from you moving your articulatory muscles," explained Professor Shultz. "Those are the muscles that you need in order to produce speech." The electrical pulses are then passed to a device which records and amplifies them before transmitting the signal via Bluetooth to a laptop. There, software translates the signals into text, which can then be spoken by a synthesiser…”

35. USB 3.0 vs. eSATA: Is faster better? http://www.itworld.com/hardware/98987/usb-30-vs-esata-is-faster-better?page=0,0 “…eSATA can handle 300 MBps…and USB 3.0 can wheel and deal up to 625 MBps…while USB 3.0 is good, it's not as simple as "Whoever's the fastest wins." Let's take a closer look…ESATA (External Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) is the external version of the technology, SATA, that your computer is likely already using for its hard drive…external hard drives…are still using SATA even if you're connecting to these devices with USB or FireWire on the outside. Thus, the argument goes, these devices must use a bridge chip to translate from the ATA protocol to USB…There are two ways to do this. The first is to encapsulate the SATA protocol-borne data into USB or FireWire. The other is to actually convert the data into one of the external data transmission protocols. In either case, this requires extra steps and processing, which slows down the effective throughput…eSATA has clearly been shown to be faster than USB 2.0… USB 3.0's SuperSpeed 5 Gbps (Gigabits per second) is more than ten times faster than USB 2.0's top theoretical speed of 480 Mbps (Megabits per second). In addition, USB 3.0 supports asynchronous data transfers, which means that, unlike USB 2.0, it doesn't need to wait to poll a USB device every time it wants to start shipping data…While I make no claims for these to be definitive benchmarks…I do think the results indicate what you can expect to see from today's eSATA and USB 3.0 drives…my USB drive averaged 90 MBps, while the eSATA drive came in at 75 MBps. When it came to writing to the disk eSATA still processed data at 75 MBps while the USB drive dropped to 62 MBps… I strongly suspect that as USB 3.0 devices and drivers mature, it's speed will significantly improve…USB 3.0, which can handle up to 50% more power than USB 2.0, should be thriftier with energy than 2.0. Alas, it's not…current USB 3.0 implementations will drain your laptop's battery faster than their equivalent USB 2.0 devices. Again, the next generation of devices and drivers should handle this better. Another noteworthy point is that while USB 3.0 is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 cables and devices, you can't use a USB 3.0 cable with a USB 2.0 or earlier device. In addition, you can't use any USB 3.0 device with a USB 2.0 cable…”

36. FCC to Propose National Digital Literacy Corps http://www.pcworld.com/article/191117/fcc_to_propose_national_digital_literacy_corps.html “…Federal Communications Commission will propose a National Digital Literacy Corps to help U.S. residents get online as part of a national broadband plan due out next week. The National Digital Literacy Corps, modeled after other volunteer programs like AmeriCorps, will target communities with low numbers of broadband subscribers, including low-income housing developments, rural areas and tribal lands, said Mignon Clyburn, a member of the FCC…The Digital Literacy Corps will mobilize hundreds of digital ambassadors in local communities across the country," she said. "This is about neighbors helping neighbors get online." The FCC will also propose new spending to improve the digital training efforts at libraries and community centers…”

Leisure & Entertainment

37. Microsoft demos game across PC, mobile, and console platforms http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2361030,00.asp “…For anyone who's been so obsessed with a particular game that they had to have it wherever they went (darn you, Plants vs Zombies), this couldn't be better news. Here's how it works in the demo. Rudder starts the game on his desktop PC--keyboard controls and all. He then switches over to his Windows Phone 7 device to continue where he left off using a similar, but separate framework to perform the moves and functions as before. Since his phone doesn't have a built-in keyboard, he's using its accelerometer and tapping the screen to mimic the same actions as before. To end the demo, Rudder switches over to his Xbox 360 and pulls up the exact same game--again, from where he last left it…”

38. Microsoft’s Project Natal Is Hot http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/03/microsofts-project-natal-is-hot-like-pong-hot/ “…when I was a very young lad, I somehow convinced my parents to spring for a home version of the most cutting edge consumer video game available at the time – Pong…My parents actually thought it was fun…so did the neighbors…I’ve never quite had that Pong moment again. Until yesterday, that is, when I visited Microsoft and had a chance to try out Project Natal…I assumed Natal would be a lot like the Wii…But the experience is totally different. Natal allows for extremely nuanced movements…The game I and others were playing was called Ricochet…Ricochet is a lot like Pong actually. Not much to it. But it was so…fun. After I played a game and others took their turn I looked around. Everyone was smiling, and laughing, just like the neighbors back in 1976 while watch Pong. And the Microsoft employees were carefully watching us smiling. They looked like they’d seen that reaction before…”

39. Comedy Central yanks Stewart and Colbert from Hulu http://news.cnet.com/8301-27076_3-20000119-248.html Hulu on Tuesday announced on its blog that partner Viacom would be pulling its content from the service, and noted that shows like "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" would only be available through the beginning of next week…most of the content that's being pulled will still be available back on ComedyCentral.com…it may not be such an easy transition for users and bloggers who have become accustomed to using Hulu as a way to source clips for context. The main reason for this revolves around Hulu's video-embedding technology, which allows users to pick specific parts of shows for sharing on the Web. By comparison, Comedy Central only makes available a few choice clips alongside full episodes…”

40. Power Gig, a music game with real guitars http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10465715-1.html “…Power Gig: Rise of the SixString is a novel approach to the well-trod music game genre. Instead of using plastic simulations of guitars that are essentially just dressed-up plastic game controllers, the game uses fully functional six-string guitars that control the game, but can also be played in real life…the game is being developed by a company connected with the guitar business. Developer/publisher Seven45 Studios is a sister company of First Act, a leading musical-instrument maker responsible for making the entry-level guitars, basses, and other instruments found at Wal-Mart, Target, and other big retailers. We got a sneak peek at an early version of the game and its hardware, and came away impressed with the general concept…”

Economy and Technology

41. Simple blogging startup Posterous raises $4.4M http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/05/redpoint-invests-4-4-million-in-fast-growing-posterous/ “…Posterous, a fast growing publishing platform, has taken a $4.4 million investment from Redpoint Ventures…Posterous, founded in 2008 by Sachin Agarwal, Garry Tan and Brett Gibson, is a Y Combinator company that began as a way for users to very easily post pictures online. Its appeal lies in its simplicity – users can just email a photo to post@posterous.com and an account is immediately created for them. But today people are using Posterous for videos and text blogs as well. Users can change the CSS and even use their own domain names – see Guy Kawasaki’s HolKaw blog, for example, which is run by Posterous…There are no restrictions on usage, storage, CSS customization or using your own domain…they grew 30% per month in 2009, all with just 4 employees…CEO Sachin Agarwal says that they want to continue to add new products that make it dead simple to post and share content online…”

42. What Would You Do For $5? http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/05/what-would-you-do-for-5/ Fiverr is a marketplace for gigs that are priced at $5…you can sell and buy tasks for $5…anyone can create a gig for small service on the site, and visitors can accept gigs as well. Gig prices are fixed at $5. Buyers can order gigs and are required to pay for the gig in advance…Tasks are divided into categories…The idea is kind of brilliant and also entertaining. While you don’t necessarily have assurance that your task will be completed to your standards, you are only shelling out $5 for the task…”

43. Microsoft 'takes on Goliath' with Bing TV ads mocking Google http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/mar/08/microsoft-bing-tv-ads-google Microsoft is to launch a multimillion-pound TV ad campaign for its search engine Bing, as part of a major marketing push designed to challenge Google's dominance of the UK search market…ads aim to show that Bing simplifies the "information overload" that accompanies the results of many searches…Microsoft will certainly have its work cut out winning over consumers – it currently holds about a 3% share of the search market while Google controls about 90%...a key aim of the campaign was to contrast the "visually rich" Bing with the relatively austere-looking Google…”

44. Brazil: The New Home of Financial Innovation? http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/07/brazil-the-new-home-of-financial-innovation/ “…Brazil is as old as the US and has had a decently built out infrastructure of things like roads and phone lines for some time…there’s a good deal of innovation in the finance space. Banks in Brazil had to become advanced…because of the runaway inflation that plagued the country for so many years…in Brazil you had to have your money in the bank, because the value of cash changed so rapidly…My favorite finance company that I met during my February trip to Brazil is called Crivo…Crivo has developed a way to do lightning-fast, three-second credit checks. Its servers pull information from a variety of sources, including all the places you’d expect but but also sources like utility records to verify an applicant’s address or ensuring that their phone number doesn’t just go to a payphone…There’s nothing like a FICO score in Brazil…you are “good” or “bad” in the bank’s eyes. There’s little record for positive data in Brazil…So if there’s no information about you, it’s assumed you’re a good credit risk. But miss one payment and you have a “dirty name,”…The founders kept thinking they were on the right track because potential customers would freak out when they saw how quickly the software worked, but they’d never quite pull the trigger on a purchase. Always hoping things would finally click the next year, the founders kept bootstrapping the company. Finally, it did. Toyota’s Brazilian financial arm bought their software and used it to rapidly approve people for loans, beating other car makers who were flooding into the growing market…”

Civilian Aerospace

45. Using Fish to Research Space Sickness http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/toadfish-space-motion-sickness-100305.html Astronauts love doing zero-G stunts on the International Space Station, but only after the urge to vomit from space sickness has faded…fish, snails and other animals could help understand whether living in space can create long-term or even permanent damage in the inner ear…the inner ears of toadfish have high sensitivity to even the slightest movements, and that the toadfish brain can both boost and reduce signals from the sensitive inner ear. Because humans have very similar ear structures to these and other animals, toadfish could provide clues about how astronauts' inner ears adapt to spaceflight…Humans do eventually adjust to living in a weightless environment. But their inner ears have to go through a second round of readjustment to full Earth gravity once they return — and scientists still don't know how easily the inner ear can make that switch after longer space missions…”

46. World Premiere of Richard Garriott: Man on a Mission http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/permalink/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20100305005178&newsLang=en An historic 12-day journey to space by legendary game developer and space explorer Richard Garriott will have its world premiere at this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival in Austin. Richard Garriott: Man on a Mission is set to blast off with two screenings at the 2010 conference…People will look back at this film and realize that this is when space travel was opened up to everyone and Richard Garriott led the way…Garriott’s trip to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket in October of 2008 was the first trip to space for a second generation astronaut. His father, Owen, flew on Skylab in the 1970s and the space shuttle in 1983…there are other firsts in this film: never-before-seen training footage in Star City, Russia’s secretive cosmonaut training facility, Garriott’s launch from Kazakhstan and his personal movies shot onboard the ISS…the film is a behind-the-scenes look at this captivating journey which includes groundbreaking experiments that are now pioneering a wave of more affordable private space travel and other fascinating segments that give an insider’s glimpse of what life is really like onboard the ISS…”

47. Anousheh Ansari: My Dream of Stars http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1382 “…I have read an unknown number of books that chronicle the life stories of those who have come to be involved with the exploration of space. Every book is different yet every book is the same since the paths that people took were similar and overlapping. Some came from Nazi Germany, others from small towns in America or Russia. But until now I had not read a story of someone who aspired to touch the stars from the midst of revolution-racked Iran. Such is the story of Anousheh Raissyan - better known by her married name, Ansari…done with the deft guidance of Homer Hickam. Homer first gained notoriety as the author of "Rocket Boys"…The story Anousheh tells begins in an Iran that was still ruled by the Shah. All too soon the fires of revolution swept up the entire nation…through out this tumultuous and very dangerous time, Anousheh managed to find solace albeit fleeting by looking up at the stars at night and visiting them in her mind…Anousheh and parts of her family made their way to America…she did not isolate herself from the cacaphony of opportunity that is America…she dived right in. Meeting her husband, she…accomplished the quintessential American dream when their start-up made them millionaires. Throughout it all, that dream of stars would not go away…Eventually she acted on her dream and found herself…mere weeks away for a trip into space…During her flight she sent updates from space that were posted in a blog…over the days as her mission proceeded I saw some startling things in the comments that appeared on her site…For this instant in time she was pulling her fellow Iranians out of their own daily troubles and bringing them up into space with her…”

48. Warp Speed Will Kill You http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/warp-speed-kills-100308.html Captain Kirk might want to avoid taking the starship Enterprise to warp speed, unless he's ready to shrug off interstellar hydrogen atoms that would deliver a lethal radiation blast to both ship and crew…The original crew of "Star Trek" featured as unfortunate examples at a presentation by William Edelstein, a physicist at Johns Hopkins University…Edelstein's personal interest in this thought experiment began 20 years ago, when his son Arthur asked him if there was friction in space. The father responded that yes, there would be hydrogen bumping off a spaceship. But he soon realized that the stray atoms of hydrogen gas would actually go right through the ship traveling close to light speed, and irradiate both crew and electronics…the physicist and his now-grown son calculated the scenario of a spaceship trying to travel halfway across our Milky Way galaxy in just 10 years…Edelstein's work showed that a starship traveling at just 99 percent of the speed of light would get a radiation dose from hydrogen of 61 sieverts per second, when just one tenth of that number of sieverts would deliver a fatal dose for humans. And that's not even the 99.999998 percent of light-speed necessary to make the journey to the center of the Milky Way in 10 years. At the higher speed, the human crew of a starship would experience something like getting struck by the high-energy proton beam from the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. On top of killing the crew, such powerful levels of energy would also likely destroy the starship electronics. "I'm not claiming this is a brilliant new discovery or anything," Edelstein told SPACE.com. "I'm just saying that it's interesting…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

49. Multicore Watershed http://www.hpcwire.com/blogs/Multicore-Watershed-86426622.html “…the next few months will see the introduction of a raft of new x86 server chips that offer between 6 and 12 cores…in this post-quad-core era it's worth remembering the 2009 Sandia study…simulations show a significant increase in speed going from two to four multicores, but an insignificant increase from four to eight multicores. Exceeding eight multicores causes a decrease in speed. Sixteen multicores perform barely as well as two, and after that, a steep decline is registered as more cores are added. That suggests that the most likely consequence of core proliferation will be greater emphasis on memory capacity and bandwidth per node…IBM just unveiled its eX5 servers, which allows users to expand RAM to 1.5 TB per two-socket machine…since more than half of HPC apps use 32 cores or fewer…low-end HPC work will migrate from clusters to single nodes…multi-socketed workstations could end up replacing traditional clusters…the latest GPUs from AMD and NVIDIA (especially the upcoming Fermi processors) can take the place of multiple high-end CPUs for a range of HPC workloads…may not need dozens of x86 cores to push a lot of low-end supercomputing onto the desktop. In fact, the presence of general-purpose GPUs makes the use of double-digit core counts somewhat superfluous in these cases, unless someone can figure out a way match up graphics processors with CPU cores…”

50. Fixstars Launches Linux for CUDA http://www.hpcwire.com/features/Fixstars-Launches-Linux-for-CUDA-86044987.html “…Fixstars Corporation has released Yellow Dog Enterprise Linux (YDEL) for CUDA, the first commercial Linux distribution for GPU computing. The OS is aimed at HPC customers using NVIDIA GPU hardware to accelerate their vanilla Linux clusters…The company's core competency is in multicore software optimization, porting services and training, with special emphasis on the Cell BE, and now GPUs…Yellow Dog Linux was the first general-purpose OS for Sony's PlayStation3 and offered a standard environment for Cell developers using the relatively inexpensive game platform…Fixstars' customer set includes NASA, Boeing, Argonne National Lab, MIT, Lawrence Livermore Nation Lab, the US Air Force, and Lockheed Martin…Fixstars is looking anew at…financial services (options pricing, risk assessment, algorithmic trading), digital media (image video processing) health care (medical image processing) and the industrial sector (image/signal processing)…the majority of future HPC accelerated deployments is destined to be GPU-based, rather than Cell-based…IBM has signaled it will not continue development of the Cell architecture for HPC applications…GPU computing is now positioned to be the most widely used accelerator technology for high performance computing. The upcoming "Fermi" GPU-based boards (Q3 2010) substantially increase the GPU's double precision capability, add error corrected memory, and include hardware support for C++ features…”

51. AMD, Intel, And Nvidia In The Next Ten Years http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/future-3d-graphics,2560.html “…If you look at the history of dedicated upgrade products for consumer PC technology, they all eventually reach the point of diminishing returns and then integration. However, while it is inevitable that the dedicated GPU will eventually disappear, it’s not going to happen in the next decade…The sound card market died once: 1. the technology reached the point of diminishing returns for both the consumer and content creator…2. advances in semiconductor technology allowed that level of "inflection point" performance to reach a negligible commodity cost…Nvidia has been recycling the G92 core for several product cycles now…the AMD Radeon HD 5970 is so fast that even with a 30" monitor and everything set to ultra-high quality, you're still seeing greater than 100 FPS in many games…AMD's performance is so high that it has to come up with creative (and almost frivolous) ways to utilize that power by rendering two or three times that number of pixels. This scenario would not have been possible several years ago…software development has not been moving as fast as hardware growth…Developing games that only run at 30 FPS on a Radeon HD 5970 requires an enormous budget to develop the art assets, and offers a very limited potential audience…Software developers must continue to develop products…compelling enough in game play to get people to invest in more powerful computing hardware…In order to keep up with hardware, software developers need huge development budgets. Today’s "Quadruple A" games, such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Halo 3, and Gran Turismo 5 have stratospheric development budgets of $50 to $60 million. Grand Theft Auto 4 has even been reported as having a development budget of a $100 million. With marketing costs factored in, CoD: MW2's budget is a reported $200 million…Historically, software development budgets have increased by an order of magnitude with each console generation…The exponential growth of software development budgets over the last two decades has indeed been a reflection of increased hardware performance. But it was also reflective of the expanding market size and the resulting increase in potential profits. The financier of a game isn’t budgeting the game "so that it looks cool." Rather, they’re considering the risk/reward of the title…With Pixar-level budgets come the potential for Pixar-level graphics (and Pixar-level characters and stories). Given that Pixar films still require 5 to 6 hours to render a single frame on large supercomputer clusters, the answer is no, graphics have not reached the point of diminishing returns yet. This means that we haven’t reached the plateau in "subjective experience" either. Newer and more powerful GPUs will continue to be produced as software titles with more complex graphics are created. Only when this plateau is reached will sales of dedicated graphics chips begin to decline…”

52. 2010: GPU Market Outlook http://wccftech.com/2010/03/08/2010-gpu-market-outlook/ “…Unlike the CPU market, the Graphics market still only has two major players in almost all the segments…they are NVIDIA and AMD…Surprisingly, most market share statistics would show a third player that overshadows both of these…that third player – Intel, is only present because of its integrated GPU solutions in most of its chipsets…While the market for dedicated graphics doesn’t span a vast array of devices like we found in our CPU, we still do have a difference in target audience that can very well put today’s article at the same magnitude. So without further delay, here’s a glimpse of what we’ll be going through today: Desktop: Enthusiast…Desktop: Performance…Desktop: Mainstream…Desktop: Budget…Mobile: Enthusiast…Mobile: Performance…Mobile: Mainstream…Mobile: Budget…Handheld…”

53. Graphics Card Maker Turns to High-Performance Bioinformatics http://www.bio-itworld.com/2010/03/09/gollery-comment.html “…Brian Beck and I founded the Nevada Center for Bioinformatics in Reno…when it came time to buy computing systems, we were at the opposite end of the spectrum. I wanted to get an FPGA accelerated system…He wanted to get a standard Linux cluster to run his molecular modeling code…We wound up getting a slightly smaller cluster and a single accelerator node…Today, the choice might have been different. The Tesla Bio Workbench was recently announced by Nvidia…Bio Workbench is simply a website…that brings together all of the algorithms for the life sciences…On the sequence analysis side, BLASTP, HMMer, Smith-Waterman, MUMmerGPU, ClustalW, MEME, and Infernal are all available for download. For those interested in docking, algorithms such as autodock and piper have shown impressive speedups of 10 to 16 times in tests…VMD is available to animate and analyze large biomolecular systems at up to 100 times faster than on a standard CPU. TeraChem is a general-purpose quantum chemistry package that has been shown to demonstrate as much as a 50 times speedup…Perhaps the best part about accelerating with GPUs and CUDA is the remarkably low cost of entry. A $50 graphics card is all that you need to get into the game, and scalability is only limited by the size of your pocketbook. The Tesla card and servers hold the high end with what Nvidia claims is the world's first Teraflop processor…Does this mean that GPUs will take the bioinformatics speed crown from accelerators based on FPGAs? I don’t think so…for example…FPGAs gave 8 times better performance on CHARMM energy minimization calculations than those same calculations on an Nvidia Tesla…Still, the ease with which GPUs can be programmed gives them an important and growing place in the field of HPC and in the area of bioinformatics in particular…”



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