2010/03/30

NEW NET Issues List for 30 Mar 2010

Below is the final list of issues for the Wednesday, 30 March 2010, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering. This week's meeting is at Cambria Suites Hotel, 3940 N. Gateway Drive, Appleton Wisconsin, USA near Ballard Road and Highway 41. Cambria Suites has free wifi and has an assortment of food and beverages.

The ‘net

1. Are You Ready for the New, Easier Wikipedia? http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/are_you_ready_for_the_new_easier_wikipedia.php Wikipedia, the online user-created encyclopedia and the number six website on the Internet today, is about to get a makeover…the upcoming Wikipedia redesign, due to launch April 5, aims to make the site easier to navigate, easier to search and, perhaps most importantly, easier to edit. The upcoming design called "Vector" has been in use over the past six months by a group of 500,000 beta testers. Included in the update are changes like simplified navigation, a relocated search box, clutter reduction and even an updated Wikipedia logo. Also, all English Wikipedia users will soon be able to create PDFs and printed books from Wikipedia articles, a service previously available only to logged-in users…the most interesting change is how Wikipedia is making the page edit functions easier. A new toolbar will be provided which lets editors more easily insert links and tables, and an included cheatsheet will help users access the most commonly used functions…”

2. Verizon winds down expensive FiOS expansion http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100326/ap_on_hi_te/us_tec_verizon_fios If Verizon Communications Inc. hasn't already started wiring your city or town with its FiOS fiber-optic TV and broadband service, chances are you won't get it…its entry into an area leads to lower cable prices, though FiOS itself has not been undercutting cable TV prices substantially…Verizon is nearing the end of its program to replace copper phone lines with optical fibers that provide much higher Internet speeds and TV service. Its focus is now on completing the network in the communities where it's already secured "franchises," the rights to sell TV service that rivals cable…Verizon never committed to bringing FiOS to its entire local-phone service area. It has introduced FiOS in 16 states, but the deployment is concentrated on the East Coast…Its stated goal was to make FiOS available to 18 million households by the end of 2010, and it's on track to reach or exceed that…”

3. Bing, Revisited: better, but still not a horse to bet on http://www.businessinsider.com/henry-blodget-bing-revisited-still-toast-but-slightly-less-burnt-2010-3 “…Bing's progress over the past year…has been significantly more impressive than we thought it would be when Bing launched last year…having walked through the numbers again, we remain convinced that Bing will never become a good business for Microsoft…To turn profitable on the existing cost structure, therefore, Bing has to capture 40%-50% of the U.S. search market, up from the 12% it has now. The Yahoo deal will help, but not nearly as much as most people think…Even if Bing were to capture 100% of the non-Google U.S. search market right now, in other words, Bing would have less than 35% of the market. Just as important, Bing's "owned-and-operated" share of the market would only be a measly 12%...To gain enough market share to turn profitable on its current cost structure, therefore, Bing must do the following: Capture all the share of the market that Google doesn't currently have…Convert at least 10 points of market share from "partner" site queries to "owned and operated" Bing queries. Remember, on partner sites, Microsoft only gets 1/10th of the revenue…Steal at least 10 points of market share directly from Google…The last challenge in this list, in our opinion--stealing 10 points of share directly from Google--will be the most difficult…Google will copy any interesting innovations that Bing rolls out -- and therefore neutralize Bing's attempts to gain significant market share…Can't Bing just cut its cost structure? What's wrong with making a nice living on, say, 25% of the search market? That's a nice idea, but the problem with the search market is that there are major economies of scale…We believe the reason Microsoft has built the infrastructure necessary to process 40%-50% of the U.S. search market is that Microsoft believes it needs this much share to become truly competitive with Google on relevance and revenue-per-search…We believe that the dynamics of the search market are such that it favors a natural monopoly like Google, and we just don't think Bing will be able to gain enough competitive advantage for Bing.com to grow to encompass 30% market share…” [http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Search-Engines/Microsoft-Bing-Director-Search-Not-a-Zero-Sum-Game-Vs-Google-524808/ ]

4. Is MS Bing Trying To Kill Open Office or Is It Just Bad? http://www.katonda.com/blog/922/microsoft-bing-trying-kill-open-office “…If you try to search for OpenOffice on Bing, it will not show you the actual OpenOffice.org website but will show pages from random websites like OpenOffice.com or other non-OpenOffice.org websites. On the other hand, Google search shows OpenOffice.org as the first search result. Bing has gone to such an extent that in fact, you will not find the OpenOffice website even on the 5th page. So a Bing surfer will never land on the OpenOffice.org website…”

5. Journalism students turn to Wikipedia to publish stories http://www.ecampusnews.com/?p=30120&preview=true “…Denver journalism students are writing Wikipedia entries as part of a curriculum that stresses online writing and content creation as readers move to the web en masse…Students are leery about mentioning Wikipedia, because they might be subjected to criticism…But I tell them it’s an online source of knowledge that just has some information that might be questionable, but that doesn’t mean you have to dismiss all of [its content].” Students in the university’s Media, Film, and Journalism Studies Department have composed 24 Wikipedia articles this year, covering everything from the gold standard to San Juan Mountains to bimettalism, an antiquated monetary standard. Demont-Heinrich said the Wikipedia entries…taught students how to thoroughly research a topic before publishing to a site viewed by more than 68 million people a month…”

6. ICQ 7 Now Supports Facebook Chat http://www.allfacebook.com/2010/03/icq-7-now-supports-facebook-chat/ ICQ, who recently announced stream updates through Facebook Connect, has now gone the extra mile and integrated Facebook Chat into its client. This means that you can login to Facebook from within ICQ, and then see all your friends that are online, and then instant message chat with them…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

7. Innovation trumps digital piracy http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-12261_7-20001201-10356022.html “…director James Cameron says the key to combating digital piracy in the movie industry is to use technology to create an experience that is unmatched anywhere other than the theater…While "Avatar," Cameron's blockbuster 3D-film, has made…$2.6 billion at the box office worldwide, it is also the most pirated movie. This is despite the fact that the movie…is more than three hours long, which should make it harder to distribute via the Net. Cameron joked his next movie would be five hours long…He said the music industry made a critical mistake by trying to stop piracy instead of innovating to give consumers new experiences that the industry could use to generate more money…Cameron said he has tried to innovate to give movie goers a reason to go to theater…he discovered that people are willing to pay money to experience the same content in different ways. Not only are they willing to pay $10 or more to see Avatar on the big screen in 3D, but they also will pay to own the DVD…They want to own it, have it on a iPhone when they want it, and they want the social experience of going to the cinema. These are really different experiences. And I think they can all co-exist in the same eco-system."…people are still going to the theater to see Avatar now nearly four months after it was released…since people are still going to see the movie in the theater, they decided to release the DVD next month with the movie still playing in some cinemas. The movie will also be available soon on iTunes…”

8. Warner Bros. Hiring Students to Fight Online Movie Piracy http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/03/hey-students-snitch-on-pirate-classmates-earn-26k-a-year.ars Movie studios spying on P2P networks is a phenomenon most users suspect occurs, but have never really seen proof of. Until now, that is—Warner Bros. in the UK has published a job listing for an intern to dig through known piracy mediums in order to "gather information" and report back to the studio. For £17,500 (or US$26,000) per year, this internship sounds like the perfect opportunity for a student to learn about the ins and outs of copyright…the year-long internship would involve combing IRC networks, forums, and other P2P mediums for Warner Bros. and NBCU content…Warner also wants the intern to be able to develop bots to scan the Internet for links, send infringement notices, perform "trap purchases of pirated product," and collect "intelligence" on pirate activities…who really knows what Warner expects when it says to "gather information on pirate sites, pirate groups and other pirate activities."…TorrentFreak is already encouraging its readers to apply for the internship so they can provide updates on Warner's efforts…”

9. In response to new rules, GoDaddy to stop registering domain names in China http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/24/AR2010032401543.html GoDaddy.com, the world's largest domain name registration company…will cease registering Web sites in China in response to intrusive new government rules that require applicants to provide extensive personal data…The rules, the company said, are an effort by China to increase monitoring and surveillance of Web site content and could put individuals who register their sites with the firm at risk…In December, China began to enforce a new policy that required any registrant of a new .cn domain name to provide a color, head-and-shoulders photograph and other business identification, including a Chinese business registration number and physical, signed registration forms…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

10. Mobile Milestone: Data Surpasses Voice Traffic http://gigaom.com/2010/03/24/mobile-milestone-data-surpasses-voice-traffic/ Mobile data bits traveling around the world outnumbered voice traffic for the first time during December of 2009…that data traffic was generated by an estimated 400 million smartphones set against 4.6 billion mobile subscribers making voice calls. What happens when everyone has a smartphone?...Data traffic grew 280 percent during each of the last two years, and Ericsson expects it to double annually over the next five…”

11. Instapaper For The iPad May Be The First Killer App http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/24/instapaper-ipad/ “…Instapaper…is one of my favorite applications, period. Between the web, the iPhone, and the Kindle, it’s easily one of my most-used apps…Arment posted a preview of Instapaper for the iPad…he went through quite a bit of trouble to tailor it for the new device…So why not just let users scale up the current iPhone version of the app? Because it looks awful, according to Arment…To be iPad-ready, Arment reworked the latest version of Instapaper (2.2) and…has made a “universal” version of the app…developers will be able to bundle iPhone/iPod touch versions with iPad versions in one package…it allows developers to charge one fee for the two different versions…”

12. Vlingo Introduces Text-reading Function for Drivers http://gigaom.com/2010/03/24/vlingo-introduces-text-reading-function-for-drivers/ Vlingo fired the latest salvo in the speech recognition wars this morning with the addition of a text-reading function for its BlackBerry application…SafeReader, a feature that reads messages aloud for drivers, eliminating the need to take their hands off the wheel…The text-to-speech feature is included in the new Vlingo 4.5 for BlackBerry, which is available free from Research In Motion’s BlackBerry App World or directly from the developer. Vlingo is vying for space in a field that includes powerful players such as Google, Nuance and Microsoft…”

13. MapQuest Brings Free Voice Navigation to the iPhone http://mashable.com/2010/03/30/mapquest-iphone/ It’s quite inevitable, really: After Google announced free turn-by-turn GPS navigation for Android devices — followed by Nokia’s decision to offer the same on its smartphones — the price of full-featured GPS navigation apps on other platforms is hurtling toward zero. Case in point: MapQuest 4 Mobile, a free GPS navigation app for the iPhone, now offers “basic voice guidance…”

14. Few Drive Well While Yakking on Phone, Yet 1 in 40 'Supertaskers' Who Can Do Both http://www.physorg.com/news189059365.html A new study from University of Utah psychologists found a small group of people with an extraordinary ability to multitask: Unlike 97.5 percent of those studied, they can safely drive while chatting on a cell phone…"supertaskers"…are so named for their ability to successfully do two things at once: in this case, talk on a cell phone while operating a driving simulator without noticeable impairment…This finding is important not because it shows people can drive well while on the phone…the vast majority cannot - but because it challenges current theories of multitasking. Further research may lead eventually to new understanding of regions of the brain…According to cognitive theory, these individuals ought not to exist…”

15. US Army meets with Apple, discusses tech for soldiers http://www.tuaw.com/2010/03/23/us-army-meets-with-apple-discusses-tech-for-soldiers/ “…Major General Nick Justice and several members of his staff traveled to Apple's Cupertino campus to discuss soldiers using Apple's products and technology in the field…He's reportedly interested in moving the Army away from the custom-built "big green box" electronics that the Army has used over the past decades…Justice wants the Army to investigate existing solutions from the commercial sector, including Apple's portable lines…One of the Army's lead computer scientists working for the Communications-Electronics Research and Development Center said, "Apple technologies offer unique and proven solutions with intuitive designs that allow users to learn quickly without a training manual…”

16. New Motion Control Patent Could Shake Up Smartphone Industry http://digitaldaily.allthingsd.com/20100324/motion-control-a-powder-keg-in-the-mobile-patent-war/ “...Last week, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued a very broad patent on motion-based smartphone control…that could have significant implications…The patent is #7,679,604, “Method and apparatus for controlling a computer system,” and it describes motion control as a means of interacting with smartphones…Sounds quite a bit like the motion control you find today in Apple’s iPhone…Palm’s Pre…Google’s Nexus One…Motorola’s Droid…none of those companies owns patent #7,679,604. It belongs to Durham Logistics…When I contacted the Nevada Secretary of State’s office about Durham Logistics, it referred me to CSC Services of Nevada, the company that did the paperwork on Durham’s LLC status. CSC Services Of Nevada refused to provide any information. Ygomi, the company that now owns ArrayComm, the software outfit to which the patent was first assigned, doesn’t know much about it either…the lead inventor to which the patent is credited declined to comment on the record…it’s worrisome to me that a patent as broad as this exists at all, let alone that it’s in the hands of some mysterious Vegas LLC we know nothing about…Though issued just last week, the patent was filed in July 2006. And it was preceded by a nearly identical patent granted in 2004 after a 2001 application…at least two major motion-related Apple patent applications–“Movement-based interfaces for personal media device” and “Varying User Interface Element Based on Movement”–weren’t filed until October 2007. Which means that Durham Logistics could be sitting on a powder keg of a patent, one that, if allowed to stand, extends to a technology that has been widely built into today’s smartphones…”

17. The iPad in Education http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/the_ipad_in_education_colleges_give_ipads_to_all_incoming_students.php Seton Hill University plans to give every first year undergraduate student a 13" MacBook and an iPad. Just last month, George Fox University in Oregon also announced that it plans to give its new students a choice between a MacBook or an iPad…So far, Amazon's Kindle and other e-book readers haven't made a major dent in the textbook market and the early experiments with e-textbooks on the Kindle have been met with little success…”

Open Source

18. Ubuntu dumps the brown, introduces new theme and branding http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2010/03/ubuntu-dumps-the-brown-introduces-new-theme.ars Canonical has revealed the style of the new default theme that will be used in Ubuntu 10.04, the next major version of the popular Linux distribution…Ubuntu is shedding its signature brown color scheme and is adopting a new look with a palette that includes orange and an aubergine shade of purple. Ubuntu's distinctive brown look dates back to the very first version of the distribution, which was released in 2004. Although…new colors like orange gradually gained a foothold in the desktop palette, brown has been the dominant color of Ubuntu's default themes for the past five years…The theme change is part of a broader effort to redefine Ubuntu's visual identity, a move that could help make the open source desktop platform seem more professional and attractive to a mainstream audience..Although Ubuntu has made great strides in the area of usability, it has still lagged behind other distros like openSUSE in the quality of its theming and visual style…”

19. USB 3.0 - Everything you need to know http://www.thinkdigit.com/Parts-Peripherals/USB-30--Thriving-the-Vibes-of_4191.html “…we are here to give you an overview of this technology, the market availability of supported products and a look at some of the USB 3.0 devices. Let's start with a quick overview of the features of USB 3.0…Linux is now the first OS kernel to provide native support for USB 3.0, following the release of version 2.6.31 on Sept. 10, 2009! While Fedora 12, OpenSUSE 11.2, Mandriva 2010 & Ubuntu 9.10 are already backing the tech up, other distros are not far behind…”

20. Gnome Gmail Tightly Integrates Gmail Into Linux Desktops http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2010/03/gnome-gmail-tightly-integrates-gmail-into-linux-desktops/ “…There are workarounds to set Gmail as a default mail app in Linux, but they don’t cover right-click file sending and complex mail links. Gnome Gmail does a much better job of integrating Gmail. Download a DEB or RPM package from the site, install it, and then head to your Preferred Applications preferences…Set Gmail as your “Mail Reader”, and now it should really respond like a desktop client — on email links in every browser, when you right-click a file and select “Send to”, and with full functionality…Google Apps users, you’re not left out in the cold — hit the Configure link when you’re asked to sign into Gmail on a right-click Send To action…”

21. Why Community Projects Need CRM Too http://ostatic.com/blog/why-community-projects-need-crm-too “…customer relationship management (CRM) software…can play an important role in the health of a community project…Think of it not as "customer" relationship management, but community management software…CRMs are good for keeping contacts and conversations straight, and providing a written history of interactions…A few examples of where CRM would do a world of good: 1) Project contributors work with sponsors to put on an event…2) Tracking volunteers who can help with events…3) Wrangling press contacts…The list goes on and on…”

22. Desktop Linux: An Average User Success Story http://blog.eracc.com/2010/03/26/desktop-linux-an-average-user-success-story/ “…I often see the sentiment expressed that desktop Linux is “too hard” for the average PC user. Yet the qualification for “too hard” is usually that it is too hard to install Linux or too hard to fix problems on Linux for the average user…an average PC user will never install his own operating system…the average PC user will never diagnose and fix her own system. An average PC user is taking a “sick” PC to a local computer repair shop, or to Geek Squad at Best Buy or calling a geek friend to come fix it…Those average PC users would have zero problems using desktop Linux…Chuck is my average user desktop Linux success story. He has been so for about six years now. Chuck does not want to go back to Microsoft operating systems as he sees no benefit to that. He does see some negatives to going back though. He would have to go back to buying and installing anti-malware software and keeping that up to date. He would have to go back to worrying about malware infections through e-mail or cracked web sites…I am not there to watch over Chuck every time he opens an e-mail or browses web sites. With desktop Linux Chuck and I both know that he does not have to worry about those problems…Chuck agreed that he would never attempt to install his own operating system nor would he attempt to solve problems on his PC himself. He would call an expert for those every time…Just like he calls on an expert when his SUV needs an oil change, new tires or some repair done. Chuck is very much an average PC user. Yet, Chuck uses desktop Linux on his home PC every day to do the things he needs to do…”

SkyNet

23. Gmail now warns users of suspicious account activity http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9174044/Gmail_now_warns_users_of_suspicious_account_activity Google today added an alert to Gmail that warns users of the Web mail service when their account may have been hijacked. Using several criteria -- including plotting the Internet protocol (IP) address of each successful log-on -- Google determines whether to sound the alarm, which pops up at the top of a user's account and reads "Warning: We believe your account was last accessed from..." along with the location associated with the log-on. If an account is accessed from one country, then again a few hours later from a different country, Google would likely sound the alarm…"It's actually much more sophisticated than that," said Will Cathcart, a Gmail product manager. "If we determine that an IP down the block [from you] has logged into your account, and has recently logged into lots and lots of accounts, we'll display the warning." Cathcart declined to reveal details of the other factors that Google takes into account when deciding whether to trigger an access alert…”

24. Coming Soon to Gmail Chat: File Transfer http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/coming_soon_to_gmail_chat_file_transfer.php Google just announced a small…update to the chat feature in iGoogle and Orkut…You can now use the chat feature to send photos, documents and other files directly to your contacts…Google also announced that it plans to finally bring this file transfer functionality to Gmail's built-in chat feature. Right now, if you want to transfer a file to your Google contacts, you either have to email them the file or use the Google Talk desktop app…”

25. Google's Chrome Leaves Another Hackathon Unscathed http://blogs.forbes.com/firewall/2010/03/26/googles-chrome-leaves-another-hackathon-unscathed/ The Pwn2Own competition in Vancouver is a yearly demonstration of the software industry's utter inability to keep its products safe from determined hackers. This year, researchers cracked Firefox, Internet Explorer 8, and Safari in minutes, winning $10,000 each, bragging rights and the hardware those applications were running on. But more notable is the one survivor of the competition's browser category: Google's Chrome. For the second year in a row, Chrome has left the Pwn2Own competition unscathed even as all of its competitors have been compromised…” [http://news.cnet.com/8301-27080_3-20001126-245.html ]

26. Google Gigabit winners to be announced by end of year; 1,100 apply http://voices.washingtonpost.com/posttech/2010/03/google_fiber_winners_to_be_ann.html From Maui to Maine, 1,100 municipalities across the nation applied to be part of Google’s broadband fiber experiment…They sent their pitches by You Tube and organized fan pages…Some 600 applications came at the last few hours before business closing on Friday. Google said it would make the applications public…it’s unclear how the company will build it out and how much it would cost for service. But by building a network of 1 gigabit speeds, they are raising the bar for telecom and cable companies…it will choose the winning communities before the end of the year…it will review all the applications over the coming months, make site visits as they narrow down their list. But it didn’t say how many communities get their coveted 1-gigbit-to-the-home network…”

General Technology

27. Victorinox introduces unhackable Swiss Army knife with USB drive http://blogs.zdnet.com/gadgetreviews/?p=13542 “…Victorinox has debuted the Secure Pro USB model, which they are dubbing as “tamper-proof” and “un-hackable.” While there have been USB keys added to previous Swiss Army knife models, this is the first edition that promises ultimate security…At a contest held in London, Victorinox was offering a £100,000 cash prize ($149,000) to a team of professional hackers if they could break into the USB drive within two hours. They failed. Some of the security layers on the Secure Pro include a thermal sensor, biometric fingerprint recognition technology and a self-destruct mechanism…It’s available in the UK now in three capacities, ranging from 8GB (£50/$74) to 32GB (£180/$268)…”

28. GM unveils electric concept car for mega-cities http://www.wired.com/autopia/2010/03/general-motors-en-v/ General Motors sees a future where people navigate crowded cities in big Segways that look kinda like a Dyson vacuum cleaner…built with help from the über-geeks at Segway…They’re called Electric Networked Vehicles and they’re designed for cities bursting at the seams with traffic…Sixty percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2030 and there will be 2 billion cars on the road. Automakers are looking for ways to build cars that pollute less and take up less space… the two-seater concepts that GM rolled out today in Shanghai with its Chinese partner Shanghai Automotive Industry are about one-sixth the size of a conventional car. They’re made of lightweight materials like carbon fiber and weigh just 1,000 pounds apiece. GM says you can squeeze five of them into a single parking space…There’s a motor in each wheel and a lithium-ion battery. It’s got “dynamic stabilization technology” so it can balance on two wheels, and GM says it can “literally turn on a dime.” It also says the vehicles have a range of 25 miles and a top speed of 25 mph, which it says is more than adequate for daily city driving…the EN-Vs are super-connected. They’ll use GPS, distance-sensing technology and vehicle-to-vehicle communications to ease congestion and reduce the risk of accidents…”

29. AMD Comes Roaring Back With 12-Core Magny-Cours Chips http://www.crn.com/hardware/224200566 “…Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD) has something that archrival Intel (NSDQ:INTC) doesn't: a 12-core processor, part of…the company's first new server platform in years, dubbed Maranello…the five new 12-core Opterons in the initial 6100 series represent the smaller chip maker's first major advantage on core count since beating Intel to dual-core processors in 2006. Magny-Cours is a 45-nanometer processor that marks the end of the line for AMD's long-standing, DDR2-designed Socket F, which has supported successive generations of dual-core, quad-core and six-core Opteron chips since the CPU socket's introduction on Aug. 15, 2006. The eight-core and 12-core Opteron 6100 series chips use a new socket, Socket G34, that supports four DDR3 channels…The next major refresh of the Opteron lineup occurs in 2011, when AMD will transition to the 32nm fabrication process and its future Bulldozer core architecture…the new processors inlude an 88 percent increase in integer performance and a 119 percent increase in floating performance over its previous generation of six-core Istanbul chips…The move to DDR3 memory…gives AMD an edge over the current triple-channel boards from Intel on memory channels per processors…the new chips mark the transition to its long-awaited HyperTransport 3.0 technology via the chip maker's new 5600 series chipset…AMD hopes to make the most impact in…price. While prices for Intel's most powerful Xeon processors top $3,500, the priciest Opteron 6100 series chip is $1,386…”

30. NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 480 and GTX 470 http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3783 Fermi/GF100/GTX400 has been a long time coming…when AMD was delivering 5000 series cards NVIDIA could only talk about the High Performance Computing applications of their next GPU, Fermi…Much of this has been in NVIDIA’s hands – some of it has not. What’s indisputable is that TSMC, the chip foundry used by both AMD and NVIDIA, was not delivering the kind of yields on their 40nm process that AMD and NVIDIA were expecting…we’ll be getting a 480 core part for the GTX 480, and a 448 core part for the GTX 470. Ultimately we will not be seeing the full power of GF100 right away, but you can be sure that somewhere down the line we’ll see a GTX 485 or GTX 490 with all of GF100’s functional units enabled…As is usually the case for a harvested part, GTX 470 takes a clockspeed hit compared to GTX 480. The core clock falls 13% to 607MHz, and the shader clock falls the same distance to 1215MHz…NVIDIA’s memory clocks are lower than we had been initially expecting. GDDR5 is readily available up to 5GHz while NVIDIA doesn’t go any higher than 3.7GHz…When we asked NVIDIA about working with GDDR5, they told us that their biggest limitation wasn’t the bus like AMD but rather deficiencies in their own I/O controller, which in turn caused them to miss their targeted memory speeds…The GTX 480 is between 10 and 15% faster than the Radeon 5870…giving it a comfortable lead over AMD’s best single-GPU card…At $500 the GTX 480 is the world’s fastest single-GPU card, but it’s not a value proposition. The price gap between it and the Radeon 5870 is well above the current performance gap…with the GTX 480 and its much bigger GPU – it’s hotter, it’s noisier, and it’s more power hungry, all for 10-15% more performance…Fermi’s compute-heavy and tessellation-heavy design continues to interest us but home users won’t find an advantage to that design today. This is a card that bets on the future and we don’t have our crystal ball…was it worth the wait? No, probably not…”

Leisure & Entertainment

31. PlayStation Portable turns 5 years old http://content.usatoday.com/communities/gamehunters/post/2010/03/playstation-portable-turns-5-years-old/1 Five years ago today, Sony entered the handheld gaming business with the release of the PlayStation Portable…The PSP has gone on to sell 60 million systems worldwide, 17 million of those in the United States to date. By comparison, the DS has sold 125 million globally and close to 40 million in the U.S.…”

32. Easter Egg Hunts Go High-Tech With Geocaching http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory?id=10183611 It will take more than a basket to gather the eggs at the Easter hunt in Boulder Junction, Wis. Participants need GPS. Organizers will hide 12 large buckets of eggs in Boulder Junction Winter Park in a variation on geocaching, a popular outdoor activity where people use GPS coordinates to hide items and post their locations online. Egg hunters will get GPS coordinates of the stashes…It's one of dozens of high-tech Easter egg hunts taking place across the country. Groundspeak, which operates http://www.geocaching.com, a Web site where people post cache locations and discuss the activity, features hundreds of Easter-related caches and events…”

33. Nintendo DSi XL is easy on the eyes http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5g33Rtiz0PJhmHFPzn43u-9AGvT0gD9EOAE480 “…Not a demographic that's known for welcoming new technology, the senior-citizen crowd has nonetheless embraced the Wii console, with its intuitive controls and easy-to-understand interface. Nintendo's new portable system, the DSi XL, could find a place on the coffee table next to grandma's Wii remote. Think of it as the electronic equivalent of a large-print novel: You get the same content you would on a DSi, but everything's bigger and easier to read. The XL isn't just for seniors, though. As a game reviewer, I often spend hours gazing at the DSi…I also found Nintendo's new "WarioWare D.I.Y." more playable on the beefier XL. The new "WarioWare" includes a tool that lets you create "microgames," combining your own art and music into brief challenges…having more space helps when you're trying to draw, say, the perfect robot. The XL also comes with a thicker, more penlike stylus, a more comfortable alternative to the slender pointer of previous models…” [http://www.pcworld.com/article/192745/review_nintendo_dsi_xl_for_some_eyes_only.html ]

34. Sony Zaps PlayStation 3 'Install Other OS' Feature http://www.pcworld.com/article/192731/sony_zaps_playstation_3_install_other_os_feature.html “…When the company's newest PlayStation 3 firmware update drops on April 1, it'll remove a beloved feature once trumpeted as a system sale-maker. That's right Linux wonks, it's time to kiss the PS3's "Install Other OS" option goodbye. Unlike Microsoft's Xbox 360 or Nintendo's Wii, the PS3 shipped with an option to run "other" operating systems, including popular Linux distributions from Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE and Ubuntu…Until next Thursday, that is…”

Economy and Technology

35. Case Studies in Freemium: Pandora, Dropbox, Evernote, Automattic and MailChimp http://gigaom.com/2010/03/26/case-studies-in-freemium-pandora-dropbox-evernote-automattic-and-mailchimp/ Don’t spend money on marketing, do offer flexibility and data exporting to eliminate buyers’ regret, make sure to capitalize on and value goodwill, and only charge for things that are hard to do…But the biggest reason…Pandora, Dropbox, Evernote, Automattic…are doing well is because they have great products that people want…offering a free service with the option to upgrade…Pandora first launched in August 2005 with something that sounds quite similar to freemium: users got 10 hours of free online radio at signup, after which they were asked to pay $36 per year. “In the first couple weeks we had 100,000 people come through and the vast majority listened to every last minute of their free ten hours…Then we asked them for their credit card and they would wander off into the wilderness.”…Pandora switched on an “ad-supported” option. It was ad-supported in name only, however, because they had no ad server, no ad staff — not even a place on their page to put ads. But growth quadrupled overnight, and within three days, Apple called and asked to buy out ad inventory through December. Conrad…said yes, arriving at the price of $10,000 for the month. “We literally hard-coded the ads on the page,” he said. “We didn’t want them to know, but every time they changed their creative we’d have to relaunch the entire site.” Pandora…took in $50 million in revenue last year…last year the company launched Pandora One…It now has 300,000 subscribers, accounts for 1.6 or 1.7 percent of monthly uniques, and is expected to bring in 15 percent of 2010 revenue…Dropbox…found that obvious keywords like “online storage” were bid up…that meant “our cost per effective acquisition per paid user was thousands of dollars for a hundred-dollar product…Dropbox was offering a product that people didn’t know they needed until they tried, and “search is great for harvesting demand, not creating it…Having dropped search marketing as a strategy…the company realized that user referrals were its biggest source of growth, so now it encourages referrals with an incentive program. That increased signups by 60 percent…Evernote…faces a challenge to spreading virally in that it’s not at all a social product…Evernote…has 2.7 million users…and 50,000 paying users…The thing is, over time inactive users drop off, and active users start paying…Our key insight is users are growing really fast, but revenue is growing faster.” Currently, users are growing 10 percent per month and revenue is growing 18 percent…”

36. Adknowledge launches Cambyo payment gateway to monetize free goods http://digital.venturebeat.com/2010/03/26/adknowledge-launches-cambyo-payment-gateway-to-monetize-free-goods/ Adknowledge, which runs a huge private advertising network, is announcing today a new way for online merchants to make money. Its new Cambyo offering is an ad-sponsored payment gateway that lets consumers pay for goods and services by participating in sponsored ad offers. Cambyo gives consumers the choice of paying in standard currency (with a credit card, mobile payments etc.) or participating in sponsored offers. They can get a product or service for free by completing a highly-focused ad offer, such as filling out a research survey…Special offers are currently popular with free-to-play social games on Facebook, where players use the offers as an alternative to real money when they pay for virtual goods such as fuel for a tractor in FarmVille. But with Cambyo, Kansas City, Mo.-based Adknowledge is attempting to broaden that practice beyond the gaming community…Advertisers get access to good sales leads via the special offers. And shoppers earn a free product or service by participating in an offer…”

37. Portable Real Estate Listings http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/26/greathomesanddestinations/26iht-rear.html “…point your phone at a building along the Champs-Élysées or some other street in Paris. Within seconds, you will see the property’s value per square meter, superimposed over a live image of the building streamed through the phone’s camera. Speed and convenience delivered with the aim of a smartphone. Could this be the new frontier of on-demand property search?...The application…uses “augmented reality” technology, or A.R., to harness a phone’s camera, global positioning system and compass. Elements like statistics and 3-D images are, essentially, layered over a live picture…According to the French agency, MeilleursAgents.com, the results have been positive…it took a developer only two days to customize the Layar browser with prices, based on city and agency records, and GPS coordinates. Since the agency’s version of the application was introduced in August 2008, he said, there have been several thousand downloads a week…”

Civilian Aerospace

38. SpaceX Falcon 9 flight set for April http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20100325/BUSINESS/3250309/1006/news01/SpaceX+Falcon+9+flight+set+for+April “…first flight of the SpaceX Falcon 9 likely will slip to at least late April so engineers can certify a system that would deliberate destroy the rocket if it veered off course…The Falcon 9 -- which could become a contender to fly U.S. astronauts to the space station -- holds an April 12 launch date on the Air Force Eastern Range, which provides…launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Kennedy Space Center…SpaceX Founder Elon Musk told Florida Today Wednesday that the supplier of the rocket's flight termination system still must finish testing and gain final flight approval from the Air Force…”

39. SwRI researchers begin suborbital space flight training aboard F-104 http://www.swri.org/9what/releases/2010/StarFighters.htm “…Southwest Research Institute researchers…have begun a new element of spaceflight training with a series of jet fighter flights in F-104 aircraft…The F-104 Starfighters training program allows us to move from laboratory centrifuge training to actual high-G ascent profiles rocketing us nearly 25,000 feet at 5 to 6 Gs, topped by zero-G parabolas. We each flew several of these ascent profiles in our initial flights, as well as various high-G turns…The F-104 Starfighter is one of the few aircraft out there with a performance envelope that allows a realistic flight environment-like launch and glide-to-landing profiles of some of the next-generation suborbital vehicles we expect to be flying soon…”

40. NASA Funds New Research Into Novel Space Engines http://www.space.com/news/nasa-propulsion-contracts-100326.html NASA has awarded a set of contracts to commercial companies working on new propulsion technologies for future spacecraft. The space agency granted $50 million each to five companies for research into novel engine system designs such as electric propulsion, new propellants made from non-toxic chemicals…recipients of the funds include Aerojet of Sacramento, Calif.; ATK Mission Systems of Ronkonkoma, N.Y.; Northrop Grumman Aerospace Corporation of Redondo Beach, Calif.; Orbital Technologies Corporation of Madison, Wisc.; and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Inc. of Canoga Park, Calif…NASA announced the new initiative amid several other contract award announcements, including five contracts worth $125 million each to companies working on Earth-based aviation technologies. These grants will be used to research low-noise propulsion, alternative fuels, hybrid engines and other technologies for aircraft.…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

41. CUDA, Supercomputing for the Masses: Part 16 http://www.drdobbs.com/high-performance-computing/224200312 “…In this article and the next, I discuss the CUDA 3.0 release. Far from an update to just support the newest 20-series architecture (codename "Fermi"), CUDA 3.0 is a major revision number increment release that adds enhancements valuable to all CUDA developers to make day-to-day development tasks easier, less error prone, and more consistent…”

42. NVIDIA Announces GPU Technology Conference for 2010 http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/NVIDIA-Announces-GPU-Technology-Conference-for-2010-89176497.html NVIDIA today announced that the GPU Technology Conference 2010 (GTC 2010) will take place on Monday, Sept. 20 to Thursday, Sept. 23 at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, Calif…I consider the GPU Technology Conference to be the single best place to see firsthand the amazing work enabled by the GPU," said Professor Hanspeter Pfister, School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, Harvard University and GTC 2009 keynote speaker. "It's a great venue for meeting researchers, developers, scientists, and entrepreneurs from around the world and I'm looking forward to GTC 2010." The conference will once again encompass three concurrent GPU-focused summits in one location: Emerging Companies Summit -- a showcase for innovative startups…GPU Developers Summit -- a wide selection of content-rich sessions, tutorials, and presentations…NVIDIA Research Summit…”

43. Palix Launches ANDSolver Beta Program http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/Palix-Launches-ANDSolver-Beta-Program-88937522.html Palix Technologies has introduced a new computational fluid dynamics (CFD) product called ANDSolver that has been designed from the ground up to use graphics processing units (GPUs) for fast and efficient aerodynamic analysis. Although developing and running applications to use multiple CPUs is a well established practice for high performance science and engineering simulations, a newer trend towards using GPUs for computation promises faster results with lower hardware acquisition and operating costs…with up to a 10x speedup compared to a typical quad core CPU. This level of performance is unique in that it is achieved on unstructured meshes which have traditionally not been considered amenable to GPUs…”

44. AMD Hardware Added to IACAT Accelerator Cluster http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/AMD-Hardware-Added-to-IACAT-Accelerator-Cluster-89041637.html The heterogenous computing cluster (called AC) used by the Institute for Advanced Computing Applications and Technologies (IACAT) to explore the potential of novel architectures to accelerate scientific computing soon will be enhanced with new hardware…AMD is providing eight nodes, each with: Two six-core Istanbul CPUs. Three ATI 5870 GPUs, each with 1GB of memory. 32 GB DDR2 main memory. QDR InfiniBand (4GB/sec). "The addition of AMD/ATI GPUs to AC enhances our ability to develop and validate new applications and novel programming tools for heterogeneous computing," said Wen-mei Hwu…This hardware is in addition to the cluster's current 32 compute nodes, which feature: Two dual-core 2.4 GHz AMD Opterons. 8 GB of memory. One NVIDIA Tesla S1070 containing 4 GT200 GPUs, each with 4 GB of memory. One Nallatech H101-PCIX FPGA accelerator, 16 MB SRAM, 512 MB SDRAM…The cluster is used as a platform to support the development of GPU applications, tools, and environments to accelerate applications to the petascale and beyond…”


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