2010/04/06

NEW NET Issues List for 06 Apr 2010

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 06 Apr 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. Facebook Acquires Photo Site Divvyshot http://gigaom.com/2010/04/02/facebook-acquires-photo-site-divvyshot/ Facebook has acquired the group photo-sharing startup Divvyshot, a three-person team that will shut down its product and work on Facebook Photos as engineers…Facebook is the world’s largest photo-sharing site with more than 2.5 billion photos uploaded per month. It doesn’t have much in the way of features…By contrast, Divvyshot had…a nice drag-and-drop interface and brought together repositories of images taken by different people at group events…”

2. Online resources for information on health-care reform http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/05/AR2010040504077.html The ink was hardly dry on the health-care overhaul law when foundations, industry groups and consumer advocates began putting together guides to the new rules. Here are some Web sites…Kff.org: The Kaiser Family Foundation Web site has a lot of thorough information. To get started, under "New & Noteworthy," click on "summary of the law" for a good synopsis, and on "timeline"…Familiesusa.org: Families USA is a nonprofit advocacy organization for health-care consumers…Healthinsuranceproviders.com: Click on "Health Care Reform" to see a timeline that's less descriptive than Kaiser's, but easier to grasp visually…Consumerreports.org/health: From Consumer Reports, a range of useful information…Marchofdimes.com: The March of Dimes summarizes key new provisions for women and children…Medicarerights.org: The Medicare Rights Center summarizes key new provisions for seniors…”

3. Yelp Makes Big Changes in Effort to End Extortion Claims http://mashable.com/2010/04/06/yelp-extortion-claims/ Local review powerhouse Yelp is rolling out a number of product changes on Tuesday in an effort to put to rest allegations that it hides negative reviews in exchange for money…all reviews that are filtered by Yelp’s algorithm will now be visible in one place to anyone that wants to see them…users can expect to see both overly positive reviews that Yelp suspects of being solicited by a business, and overly negative ones that Yelp suspects of being intentionally malicious — such as those written by a competitor…Yelp is eliminating the “favorite review” feature that allows businesses to pay to prominently feature a positive customer review on their page…While Yelp contends that its salespeople never told businesses that they could pay to have negative reviews removed, Stoppelman conceded that “some people got the wrong idea…This couldn’t have been an easy decision for Yelp – after all, its filtering algorithm is part of what helped separate the site from its competitors…”

4. Fancy Hands: Virtual Assistants http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/cheap_virtual_assistants.php It's not about the value of the task, it's about the value of me not having to do it, or even think about it anymore." That's how Ted Roden describes Fancy Hands, his new side project that provides virtual personal assistants in the cloud for a low monthly fee…Roden has hired more than 100 people based in the US and England who can perform almost any quick, legal task for you, within minutes, at any hour day or night. You can send them 15 emails with task requests per month for a $30 fee. An algorithm sorts the tasks and routes each one to the most appropriate person…the people he's hired include retired lawyers, actors waiting with time to spare before going on camera and former employees of competitor ChaCha…Roden himself has a day job in the R&D department of the New York Times…Previously, he was the 2nd full-time programmer at art-video portal Vimeo. Roden says he built Fancy Hands because he wanted to build something big…I asked the service to find where in town I could buy a "sweater bag" to run sweaters through the washing machine and got a great response, complete with multiple options online and a personal recommendation, within an hour. I asked for links to reviews of iPad RSS reading applications and the first response I got was terrible. I emailed back complaining and the person on the other end sent me back something even worse. Then Roden noticed and reassigned the request to someone who filled it beautifully…Roden says that for now he's doing the quality control himself and generally well after the tasks have been completed…He calls it "the eHarmony of Getting Things Done."…Fancy Hands is half human and half-machine, too…Roden has created a system that ranks tasks by complexity and rewards assistants with higher pay when they complete harder tasks…The people behind the scenes are often surprisingly enthusiastic. Roden says that compared to other, similar systems, Fancy Hands is more affordable, competitive on speed and often surprisingly superior in quality of results…People familiar with this kind of "human powered micro-outsourcing" will no doubt be familiar with Amazon's Mechanical Turk. All kinds of businesses bid for Turk users to perform rapid little tasks that require just a touch of human intelligence…Roden says his model of $30 for 15 tasks per month makes people stop and ponder whether a task is really one they want to expend part of their monthly subscription on. There's something intriguing about that…Ted Roden has a simple rule for using the system he built. "If I think about anything twice, I just put it into Fancy Hands…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

5. Facebook Sues Data Geek, but That Doesn't Solve Its Privacy Problem http://www.fastcompany.com/1603925/facebook-sues-data-geek-but-still-doesnt-solve-problem Remember those fascinating graphs by Peter Warden that used Facebook data to illustrate, for example, people's interests and common names across the U.S.? Facebook has totally squashed the project…Warden gathered that data from public profiles using "crawling" software similar to what's commonly available on the Web; he was planning to release the set to select researchers, who proposed cross-referencing that data in all sorts of cool ways…the data is exceedingly public: You can still access it through Google's caches…Facebook was none too pleased: They first requested a thorough scrubbing of the data, to eliminate any personal info that might be used by spammers. ..eventually, they simply threatened to sue Warden, unless he deleted all the data…Warden didn't have any money to fight the suit, so he deleted the data… Warden: "To the many researchers I've disappointed, there's a whole world of similar data available from other sources too. By downloading the Google Profile crawling code you can build your own data set, and it's easy enough to build something similar for Twitter…why can't Facebook actually encourage this type of research, while working on its privacy issues in parallel? They're sitting on top of data the likes of which no one has ever seen before--it naive to even guess at what sorts of fascinating research could result.”

6. SpyEye vs. ZeuS Rivalry http://www.krebsonsecurity.com/2010/04/spyeye-vs-zeus-rivalry/ It’s common for malware writers to…seek to wrest infected machines from one another…The latest rivalry appears to be budding between the authors of the Zeus Trojan…and “SpyEye,” a relatively new kit on the block…If the malware created with SpyEye lands on a computer that is already infected with Zeus, it will hijack and/or remove the Zeus infection…SpyEye…includes the ability to inject content into Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers, just as Zeus does…It is precisely this injection ability that allows thieves using Zeus to defeat the security tokens that many banks require commercial customers to use for online banking…The old Zeus kit started at around $4,000, while the base price of the newer version is double that…Zeus plug-ins that offer additional functionality raise the price even more. For example: Windows7/Vista compatibility module – $2,000…it’s clear from his Flash banner ads reproduced here that he plans to keep up the public relations campaign against Zeus, with a focus on the relatively low price: SpyEye costs just $500 (although the new Firefox injection tool runs an extra $1,000)…the latest versions of Zeus include anti-piracy technology that uses a hardware-based licensing system that can only be run on one computer…This is the first time we have seen this level of control for malware…”

7. Millions in China Have No Antivirus Software http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/192994/millions_in_china_have_no_antivirus_software_survey_shows.html “…The percentage of Internet users in China with no security software was 4.4 percent last year…CNNIC estimates that 384 million people in China used the Internet…the number of people in the country surfing the Internet with no antivirus software was nearly 17 million, representing a huge pool of PCs that attackers could easily infect…nearly half of Chinese Internet users own virtual property, such as items in an online game or virtual coins for use on a social-networking site…14.6 percent said they had experienced some loss of that property due to theft of login credentials. Online games are among the most popular targets in China for attackers, who strip items such as armor from a stolen game account and then sell them to other players for real-world cash…China's Internet users spent 15.3 billion yuan (US$2.2 billion) on "service fees" in 2009 to clean up after cyberattacks …”

8. Exploits not needed to attack via PDF files http://news.cnet.com/8301-27080_3-20001792-245.html Portable Document Format (PDF) files could be used to spread malware to clean PDF files stored on a target computer running Adobe Acrobat Reader or Foxit Reader PDF software…Jeremy Conway…created a proof of concept for an attack in which malicious code is injected into a file on a computer as part of an incremental update, but which could be used to inject malicious code into any or all PDF files on a computer…the attacker could at least partially control the content of the dialog box that appears to prompt the user to launch the executable and thus use social engineering to entice the computer user to agree to execute the malware, said Conway. Turning off JavaScript would not prevent the attack. It also does not require that the attacker exploit a vulnerability in the PDF reader itself. The PDF reader incremental update capability "can be used as an infection vector," said Conway. The attack "does not exploit a vulnerability…”

9. Imagine The US Postal Service Opened All Your Letters http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2010/04/imagine-the-us-postal-service-opened-all-your-letters/ “…US Postal Service employees actually opening and scanning all your letters, and then sending you emails with their content with the option to receive the physical letter if you choose to. Scarily unreal?...If you live in Finland, that’s exactly what the government wants to do to “reduce carbon emissions” produced by delivering letters. So far, they’re running a nationwide pilot program. Here’s how it works: • The person signs up for the service. • From that moment, every letter for that person will be opened by employees – since apparently there is no way to fully automate this process. • The employees will scan the letters, and a computer system will send the results to the person’s email account. • Then, the person can choose what letters should be physically delivered, twice a week…proponents of this system say that it will be better for the environment…They also said that the employees would never read the mail – sure – and they would automatically filter out junk mail…there’s a company in the US – Earth Class Mail – that already does this privately…” [April Fools??]

10. Another domain name registrar exits China http://voices.washingtonpost.com/posttech/2010/04/another_incident_another_compa.html An Australian domain name registrar said last week it would stop taking new accounts in China…that reaffirms Go Daddy's decision to stop business in China, said executive vice president Christine Jones. Go Daddy and Network Solutions are domain name registrars that have stopped new business in China following that government’s push for tighter controls over online content. Last week, Net Registry, an Australian domain name hosting company said it would also stop taking new accounts but would continue hosting existing .CN Web sites…”

11. Uncle Sam Wants You (To Fight Hackers) http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/apr2010/tc2010041_502327.htm “…Osborn isn't a cybercriminal; he's a student participating in a cyberdefense competition at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, Calif…Boeing…sponsored the regional competition, held Mar. 26 to 28. Cisco Sytems and Intel donated computer equipment….Last year Boeing hired seven students who competed in this event…It's about [developing] the next generation of cyberwarriors to protect the nation," says Alan Greenberg, technical director of cyber and information solutions at Boeing. Boeing employs about 2,000 cybersecurity workers, up from roughly 100 in 2004…Government and industry executives say they need more cybersecurity employees but struggle to find qualified applicants…While the government's scholarship program can fill about 120 entry-level cybersecurity jobs, the feds need about 1,000 recent grads to fill those spots…U.S. public and private sectors will need about 60,000 cybersecurity workers in the next three years, says Greenberg. "There will be a shortage…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

12. Verizon slashes Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus prices, Mobile Hotspot service now free http://mobile.venturebeat.com/2010/04/01/verizon-slashes-palm-pre-plus-and-pixi-plus-prices-mobile-hotspot-service-now-free-for-both/ Verizon may have finally found a way to make people pay attention to Palm’s Pre Plus and Pixi Plus phones. As of today, the carrier is offering the Pre Plus for $49.99, and the Pixi Plus for $29.99…if that deal isn’t sweet enough, Verizon is making its 3G Mobile Hotspot feature completely free for both devices…Hotspot allows you to connect up to five wireless devices to your phone’s 3G connection — something that costs $60 a month with a device like Sprint’s MiFi. It’s also much more useful than typical cellphone data tethering…since multiple devices with wireless connections can connect to the phone. The feature is also now completely free for existing Palm device owners…Verizon is also running a buy-one-get-one-free deal for both the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus…Amazon last week lowered its price for the Pre Plus to $29.99, and the Pixi Plus to $00.01. I’m not entirely sure if the buy-one-get-one-free offers work if you purchase the phones via Amazon, but it’s definitely worth a shot…”

13. Why I won't buy an iPad (and think you shouldn't, either) http://www.boingboing.net/2010/04/02/why-i-wont-buy-an-ipad-and-think-you-shouldnt-either.html I've spent ten years…finding cool things that people have done and made…Most of the really exciting stuff hasn't come from big corporations with enormous budgets, it's come from experimentalist amateurs. These people were able to make stuff…without having to submit to the whims of a single company that had declared itself gatekeeper for your phone and other personal technology…Relying on incumbents to produce your revolutions is not a good strategy. They're apt to take all the stuff that makes their products great and try to use technology to charge you extra for it, or prohibit it altogether…I believe -- really believe -- in the stirring words of the Maker Manifesto: if you can't open it, you don't own it. Screws not glue. The original Apple ][+ came with schematics for the circuit boards, and birthed a generation of hardware and software hackers who upended the world for the better…The model of interaction with the iPad is to be a "consumer," what William Gibson memorably described as "something the size of a baby hippo, the color of a week-old boiled potato, that lives by itself, in the dark, in a double-wide on the outskirts of Topeka. It…can only express its mute extremes of murderous rage and infantile desire by changing the channels on a universal remote." The way you improve your iPad isn't to figure out how it works and making it better. The way you improve the iPad is to buy iApps…”

14. iPad: An open letter to the people of the world http://www.fakesteve.net/2010/04/an-open-letter-to-the-people-of-the-world.html Dear human race, First of all, you’re welcome. In the last few days I’ve been overwhelmed by your letters and calls expressing your gratitude to Apple, and mostly to me personally, for inventing yet another life-changing, mind-altering product…When you devote your entire life to the endless, selfless quest to improve the lives of others; when you live a monk-like existence, and focus all of your power and genius on the singular goal of creating objects that nourish souls and transform people’s lives with magic and wonder; and when people tell you that this is, indeed, what you’ve done? Well, it’s gratifying. Namaste, entire population of Spaceship Earth. As your leader, I want you to know that I honor the place where your desire to consume becomes one with my desire to create…even those of you are lining up and standing outside stores may be wondering…Why am I lining up like a zombie for an expensive piece of consumer electronics, a product for which there is no shortage and which, let’s face it, nobody really needs?…”

15. Apple's iPad A4 SoC: Faster than the Nexus One's Snapdragon? http://www.anandtech.com/show/3633/apples-a4-soc-faster-than-snapdragon “…As the first device to use Apple's A4 SoC I wanted to see how it stacked up against the Cortex A8 and Qualcomm's QSD8250…At 600MHz the Cortex A8 in the iPhone 3GS is the slowest out of the bunch. The Snapdragon is much faster as we just established thanks in part to it's 1GHz clock speed. But what about Apple's 1GHz A4?...Jon Stokes recently stated that Apple's secrecy surrounding the chip is because it isn't anything special, just a Cortex A8. If that is true, I suspect that it would have to be manufactured at 45nm in order to reach such a high clock speed…these results are generated by running two different OSes (Android 2.1 and iPhone OS 3.2) and two different browsers…the A4 in the iPad has a 37.6% performance advantage over the Qualcomm QSD8250…The why is much more difficult to ascertain. It could be as simple as the the iPad OS being better optimized than Android…The advantage could also be hardware…The likely case is…a combination of hardware and software…The A4 in the iPad is paired with a much larger battery than the QSD8250 in the Nexus One, Apple may be able to run the SoC at more aggressive performance settings since it doesn't have to worry about battery life as much…while the performance improvement is significant, it's not earth shattering…This does bode well for the upcoming 4th generation iPhone…expected to also use the Apple A4 SoC. That upgrade alone should put the next iPhone ahead of Google's Nexus One in performance…A4 is particularly exciting because it combines Snapdragon-like CPU performance with a PowerVR SGX GPU. A much better option than the aging ATI core used in Qualcomm's QSD8x50 series…The first single-core 45nm Snapdragon SoC due out in 2010 will run at 1.3GHz. That could be enough to either equal or outperform Apple's A4…”

16. 15 Tablets That Could Rival Apple's iPad http://www.pcworld.com/article/192496/slate_wars_15_tablets_that_could_rival_apples_ipad.html The iPad has captured many hearts and minds, but a fleet of rival tablets led by a separatist Android army is about to attack, armed with HD Flash video, multitouch screens, front-facing cameras, multitasking...even Windows 7. Let's take a look…”

17. Microsoft phone announcement http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-20001772-56.html “…Microsoft's long-awaited new phones…code-named Pure and Turtle, are both slider phones, each with a touch screen and keyboard…the devices will run on Verizon Wireless' network and go on sale within the month following the event…these new phones are part of a broader effort by Microsoft to get back in the phone game. The other part--the larger part--of that strategy is the overhaul of Windows Phone with Windows Phone 7. Those devices, which will be made by a variety of handset makers, aren't due out until the holidays…”

18. Sharp Thinks Small for 3D Screens http://www.pcworld.com/article/193252/sharp_thinks_small_for_3d_screens.html “…Sharp already wants to bring 3D to your pocket with displays for…cellphones and other small devices, with no special glasses required…the way this technology works makes me skeptical that it will go mainstream. Users must hold the display at a specific distance and angle…cell phone users and handheld gamers don't rigidly hold their handsets at a fixed distance and viewing angle…No products have been announced, but Nintendo is working on a 3D handheld gaming console, tentatively named the Nintendo 3DS…Sharp already provides 2D screens to the console maker for its existing Nintendo DS…”

19. Hyundai to include an iPad in new luxury car http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hyundai-ipad3-2010apr03,0,2727269.story It just might be the world's first paperless car: Hyundai Motor America will include an iPad -- loaded with a digital version of the thick owner's manual -- with the luxury sedan it plans to launch this fall…Known for budget cars such as the $9,970 Accent and the $14,145 Elantra, Hyundai is trying to break into the high-end market with the Equus, which the manufacturer compares to the Lexus LS 460 and Mercedes-Benz S550 sedan…”

Open Source

20. 7 Things That Are Easier To Do In Ubuntu Than In Windows http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/7-easier-ubuntu-windows/ “…When the average computer user hears about Ubuntu or Linux, the word “difficult” comes to mind…using Ubuntu is actually easier and better than using Windows…if you’ve used Windows for a long time: at a certain your habits begin to feel like conventional wisdom, and any system that doesn’t match your current habits will seem difficult…If you’re a Windows user who primarily uses free software, Ubuntu’s going to feel more comfortable to you than Windows once you get used to it…in some ways Ubuntu is simply better than Windows in terms of ease of use…Finding & Installing Software…Initial Setup…Installing Drivers…Using The Menu…Changing Your Theme…Getting Updates…Sharing Your Wireless Connection Via Ethernet…”

21. Ubuntu 10.10: The Maverick Meerkat Announced http://blog.internetnews.com/skerner/2010/04/ubuntu-1010-the-maverick-meerk.html “…Ubuntu founder and self-appointed-dictator-for-life Mark Shuttleworth announced today that the Ubuntu 10.10 release would be codenamed the Maverick Meerkat…after Gutsy Gibbon, Hoary Hedgehog, Jaunty Jackalope and Intrepid Ibex what Ubuntu codename isn't a bit 'weird'…"Meerkats are, of course, light, fast and social - everything we want in a Perfect 10," Shuttleworth blogged…Meerkats are family-oriented, and we aspire to having Ubuntu being the safe and efficient solution for all the family netbooks…They are also clever - meerkats teach one another new skills…”

22. Unleash your inner Old Master with MyPaint http://blog.worldlabel.com/2010/unleash-your-inner-old-master-with-mypaint-open-source.html “…Unlike some of the more mature open source raster-graphics applications (such as Krita or Gimp), MyPaint doesn’t try to do everything: it’s not a photo editor, it doesn’t bother with paths, geometric shapes, text manipulation, or fancy masking options. Instead, it focuses on one and only one use: painting…MyPaint is built around use with pressure-sensitive graphics tablets, and puts natural-media-simulation first…You can use MyPaint with a mouse or other pointing device, but to really take advantage of it, you should use a graphics tablet from Wacom or another popular manufacturer…”

23. Lexmark printers like Linux http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=lexmark_linux&num=1 “…we focus on…performance of the software drivers and hardware, since traditionally that has been one of the most troubling areas of Linux hardware support…Another area of hardware support that has caused much grief for users has been with printer support. Printers…vendors have not been quick to offer up any Linux support -- and binary-only drivers frequently back the ones that do. There is one printer manufacturer though that as of last year has begun supporting Linux from top to bottom with their entire line-up of printers. Not only are they providing CUPS drivers, but also they are even printing Tux in the corner of every box they ship right besides the Windows and Apple logos…Lexmark has stepped up to become a Linux and open-source friendly company…”

24. 7 of the Best Free Linux Bible Software http://www.linuxlinks.com/article/20100328144637234/BibleSoftware.html “…Bible software helps to make religious studies more effective, more organised, and more rewarding. For example, this type of software makes it possible to navigate around the religious texts more quickly, to perform complex searches to find passages, to serve up daily devotionals (where insightful and revealing passages of the Bible and key Bible characters are presented to the user), and much more… Xiphos…BibleTime…The SWORD Project…Alkitab Bible Study…Bible Analyzer…Bible Desktop…BPBible…”

SkyNet

25. Google Buys Brightcove Video Rival Episodic http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Web-Services-Web-20-and-SOA/Google-Buys-Brightcove-Rival-Episodic-For-YouTube-649374/ Google confirms it has acquired Episodic, which makes a platform for broadcasting live and on-demand video over the Web. Website publishers, marketers and businesses use Episodic's platform to stream, analyze and serve video content to their audiences through computers, mobile devices and IPTV devices…The startup also offers content management and sells an ad server to let customers insert ads in videos and bill via credit cards…Google recently purchased On2 Technologies, a video compression codec maker, to shrink packets of video data. Episodic is a viable rival to the larger Brightcove…which could have cost Google $500 million…”

26. How Google Earth got a dumper arrested http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-10471928-71.html “…For some reason, a man in Santa Rosa County, Fla…dumped the boat in a subdivision that didn't yet enjoy its full complement of houses and people. Perhaps the dumper thought no one would notice…Perhaps, though, he wasn't aware of the power, scope and immediacy of Google Earth. Beneath the fingers of police deputy Gregory Barnes, Google's little Snoopy One became the digital means by which he solved such an analog mystery…Barnes wondered to himself whether the boat might have been housed somewhere in the vicinity, and that housing might have been captured by Google's fine and even-handed overhead surveillance…It didn't take too long for him to spot this rather large floating vessel at the home of 57-year-old Dwight Everett Foster. It didn't take too much longer for Everett to be charged with "littering more than 500 pounds of waste."…if you have anything stolen, borrowed or temporarily kidnapped for ransom…please be aware that some Google camera might be capturing it…”

27. Google Gives Suicide Hotline Number For Certain Searches: Diets For Fast Food Next? http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_gives_suicide_hotline_number_for_certain_se.php “…Google has, for only the second time in its history, decided to offer specific results, a sort of guidance, in response to select search terms. When users search for phrases such as "ways to commit suicide" or "suicidal thoughts", they now see the toll-free number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at the top of their results…A mother wrote in a suggestion to us -- her daughter had swallowed something that she thought was dangerous, and she had a hard time finding poison control…Now when you search for poison control or similar queries, we make it straightforward to find the number for poison control…Can anyone really take issue with a company offering the phone number of a suicide prevention hotline to those looking up phrases like "I want to die"?...this could be a new direction - rather than simply offering results directly related to a user's query…Google could offer up a Devil's Advocate set of results on every query. Looking for a brand new SUV? While you're at it, why not consider this beautiful, used bicycle that will help save the environment? Cheap cigarettes? Didn't you mean Nicorette gum? McDonalds? Why yes, we do have a few diet programs and some instructions on healthy eating…Let's use the web to challenge ideas, not simply echo them…Do we want Google to simply act as a firehose of data or can we expect it to tailor its results to do better for the world? And who's version of better will it go by if we do?…”

28. Google Chrome Cracks 6% Market Share, Could Hit 10% in 2010 http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Application-Development/Google-Chrome-Cracks-6-Market-Share-Could-Hit-10-in-2010-597889/ Google's Chrome Web browser commanded 6.1 percent market share through March 2010 and is on track to grow to double digits by the end of the year…Chrome's latest gains may have come at the expense of market leader Microsoft Internet Explorer, which sat at 60.7 percent through March…Firefox held 24.5 percent market share through March…Chrome held only 1.6 market share through March 2009…”

29. Google Shipping All I/O Attendees A Free Droid Or Nexus One http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/05/google-shipping-all-io-attendees-a-free-droid-or-nexus-one-before-the-conference/ This May, Google is holding its annual I/O conference, where it invites thousands of developers to learn about the latest Google and web technologies. Last year, Google…made the surprise announcement that everyone in attendance would be receiving a free Android phone. This year…it’s shipping all paid attendees either a Verizon Droid or Nexus One before the conference…I/O is going to be heavy on Android content, so Google wants to make sure everyone in attendance is set up with a working phone, without having to deal with the logistics of handing them out at the conference. Getting them shipped ahead of time will also give developers a chance to familiarize themselves with Android, if they haven’t used it already…”

30. Google CEO's compensation for 2009 falls 52 pct, salary remains $1 http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5grN-3_4hHdz4zBUI5lnraGDxOpjQD9EON0AG0 “…total compensation of Google Inc. CEO Eric Schmidt fell 52 percent last year…Schmidt's 2009 package totaled $245,322, down from $508,764 in 2008…decrease reflected lower bills for protecting Schmidt and flying his personal guests on jets chartered by Google. Schmidt's personal security cost Google $233,542 last year compared to $402,562 the previous year. Google spent $10,119 flying Schmidt's friends and family in 2009 after shelling out $106,201 on air fare for his entourage in 2008. By Schmidt's request, Google limited his salary to just $1 for the fifth consecutive year. Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin also have insisted on keeping their salaries at $1 apiece…”

General Technology

31. Microsoft's big gamble with free Office http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-20001553-56.html Microsoft has a new plan to make more money from Office: give it away. With Office 2010…In addition to the free, browser-based Office Web Apps, Microsoft is also offering PC makers the ability to install a basic version of Office on new computers. The new program, Office Starter, includes a stripped-down version of Word and Excel. PC makers, retailers and Microsoft can all make money if the PC buyer later upgrades to a paid version of Office…People will be exposed to the Office 2010 experience from the minute they turn on that PC…Microsoft is estimating that 80 percent of new PCs sold at retail after the launch of Office 2010 will have the starter edition of Office pre-installed…It's obviously a huge gamble for Microsoft, which still makes the bulk of its profits from Windows and Office. That said, most of the Office money comes from businesses and, on the consumer side, Microsoft is also trying to contend with free rivals like Google Apps…”

32. The Mr. Fix-its of the computer age http://www.nashobapublishing.com/ci_14807430 PC LAN opened its doors almost eight years ago…Its owner, Bob Young, along with his son Rob and in-house technician Aaron Silvestri have over 15 years experience in computer and networking technologies…Young worked many years as an insurance broker…Rob Young is college educated and worked for MathSoft, a software company in Cambridge…Silvestri built his first computer when he was 10 years old. His dad gave him a bunch of parts and he put it all together and at the end had a working computer…Many people are looking for jobs and have to send out resumes over the computer. It's a necessity to have a computer even in a bad economy" said Bob Young. "Our busiest time ever was when gas prices were at the all time high, most people were working from home." PC LAN offers virus and spyware removal, computer repair and maintenance, computer upgrades, business and home network installations, wireless configurations, Play Station and Xbox cleanings and printer repairs. They also offer a ready-to-go PC System for $499… Even if you think you got rid of the virus you'll still need to restore your computer" said Silvestri. PC LAN charges $115 for a computer restore and $34 for a back-up…”

33. Cisco takes Flip approach to products http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/03/30/BU7S1CN1MT.DTL When Cisco Systems announced one year ago its plans to purchase Pure Digital Technologies, maker of the popular Flip camcorders, some observers questioned the logic of the purchase and its $590 million price tag…Cisco is answering that question with a new line of home wireless routers that represents just how strategic its acquisition of Pure Digital was. The Valet line of routers are the first new devices born out of Cisco's newly constituted Consumer Products group…While Pure Digital previously only focused on camcorders, its imprint is clear on Valet. The devices offer simple instructions and an easy three-step process to establish a network. Customers can set up computers on the network using a USB set-up key and can access 24/7 phone support. While Cisco will continue to offer its Linksys branded routers for more technically proficient users, Valet will serve as a mass-market device aimed at broadening adoption of wireless routers…”

34. Microsoft Follows Red Hat In Ending Itanium Development http://www.crn.com/hardware/224201371 Microsoft…is ending its development support for the Intel Itanium processor…The move follows a similar move by Red Hat in January to end development for the Itanium platform…Intel and AMD multi-core processor releases as a key reason for the change, and wrote that new x86-based servers now come with up to 96 processor cores, a core density that will increase over time…An Intel spokesperson told Channelweb.com that the news should not really impact the Itanium architecture momentum…of all sales of new Itanium-based servers, only 5 percent run Windows. The vast majority are Unix servers, primarily from HP…”

Leisure & Entertainment

35. 25 early iPad games http://www.macworld.com/article/150397/2010/04/plants_vs_zombies_hd.html [list of early iPad games, including Plants vs. Zombies HD]

36. Blu-ray up to 128 GB but needs new player http://www.informationweek.com/news/mobility/reviews/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=224201347 “…Called BDXL, the specification enables up to 128 GB of storage on write-once Blu-ray discs and 100 GB on rewritable discs. The latest format is aimed initially at creative professionals and the broadcasting and medical industries…BDXL achieves the higher capacities by enabling as many as four recordable layers on a disc. Current Blu-ray discs have a maximum of two layers…the higher number of layers require a more powerful laser, so the new format is not backward compatible with current hardware used to record data or play today's Blu-ray movies…”

Economy and Technology

37. 20 Hot Silicon Valley Startups You Need To Watch http://www.businessinsider.com/hot-silicon-valley-startups-2010-3 “…we've asked VCs, angel investors, entrepreneurs, and other tech journalists about their favorite up-and-coming Valley startups…Check out the 20 hot Silicon Valley startups you need to watch…Bump Technologies…Twilio…VigLink… Plancast…Heyzap…Recurly…DailyBooth…Threadsy…”

38. The Collapse of Complex Business Models http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2010/04/the-collapse-of-complex-business-models/ “…a group of TV executives gathered for an annual conference…When, they asked, would online video generate enough money to cover their current costs?...most TV is made by for-profit companies, and there are two ways to generate a profit: raise revenues above expenses, or cut expenses below revenues…for many media business, that second option is unreachable…Joseph Tainter wrote a chilling book called The Collapse of Complex Societies…looked at several societies that gradually arrived at a level of remarkable sophistication then suddenly collapsed: the Romans, the Lowlands Maya, the inhabitants of Chaco canyon. Every one of those groups had rich traditions, complex social structures, advanced technology, but despite their sophistication, they collapsed…when society’s elite members add one layer of bureaucracy or demand one tribute too many, they end up extracting all the value from their environment it is possible to extract and then some…Complex societies collapse because, when some stress comes, those societies have become too inflexible to respond…Why didn’t these societies just re-tool in less complex ways?...it isn’t because they don’t want to, it’s because they can’t…About 15 years ago, the supply part of media’s supply-and-demand curve went parabolic, with a predictably inverse effect on price. Since then, a battalion of media elites have lined up to declare that exactly the opposite thing will start happening any day now…last year Barry Diller of IAC said, of content available on the web, “It is not free, and is not going to be,” Steve Brill of Journalism Online said that users “just need to get back into the habit of doing so [paying for content] online”, and Rupert Murdoch of News Corp said “Web users will have to pay for what they watch and use.” Diller, Brill, and Murdoch seem be stating a simple fact—we will have to pay them—but this fact is not in fact a fact…spelled out in full, it would read something like this: “Web users will have to pay for what they watch and use, or else we will have to stop making content in the costly and complex way we have grown accustomed to making it. And we don’t know how to do that.”…Bureaucracies temporarily reverse the Second Law of Thermodynamics. In a bureaucracy, it’s easier to make a process more complex than to make it simpler, and easier to create a new burden than kill an old one…the web video comedy In the Motherhood made the move to TV. In the Motherhood started online as a series of short videos, with viewers contributing funny stories from their own lives and voting on their favorites. This tactic generated good ideas at low cost as well as endearing the show to its viewers; the show’s tag line was “By Moms, For Moms, About Moms.”…Once the show moved to television, the Writers Guild of America got involved. They were OK with For and About Moms, but By Moms violated Guild rules. The producers tried to negotiate, to no avail, so the idea of audience engagement was canned (as was In the Motherhood itself some months later, after failing to engage viewers as the web version had)…The most watched minute of video made in the last five years shows baby Charlie biting his brother’s finger. (Twice!) That minute has been watched by more people than the viewership of American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, and the Superbowl combined. (174 million views and counting.)…Expensive bits of video made in complex ways now compete with cheap bits made in simple ways. “Charlie Bit My Finger” was made by amateurs, in one take, with a lousy camera. No professionals were involved in selecting or editing or distributing it. Not one dime changed hands anywhere between creator, host, and viewers…When ecosystems change and inflexible institutions collapse, their members disperse, abandoning old beliefs, trying new things, making their living in different ways than they used to. It’s easy to see the ways in which collapse to simplicity wrecks the glories of old. But there is one compensating advantage for the people who escape the old system: when the ecosystem stops rewarding complexity, it is the people who figure out how to work simply in the present, rather than the people who mastered the complexities of the past, who get to say what happens in the future.”

39. The Case, and the Plan, for the Virtual Company http://www.inc.com/magazine/20100401/the-case-and-the-plan-for-the-virtual-company.html “…the sundry crew that makes this magazine gathered in a conference room to discuss our next issue…But this meeting was different, because the issue we were planning -- the physical magazine you are holding in your hands -- would be produced by a company that was not itself entirely physical…We were temporarily turning Inc. into a virtual company…What follows is what we learned…Step 1: Crunch the Numbers…the most obvious reason to go virtual: It will probably save your company a substantial amount of money…Step 2: Get the Tech…Step 3: Settle In…Step 4: Master Your Emoticons (And Everything Else About Communicating Online)…Step 5: Explain Yourself…Outsiders are apt to view even the most successful virtual companies with a measure of skepticism, if not outright derision. Convincing them otherwise means carefully managing perceptions about yourself and your company…Step 6: Consider Your Culture…At its most basic level, going virtual means moving away from a culture of collaboration by a group of competent generalists and toward one based on specialists who are cheap, efficient, and good at meeting deadlines…oDesk sells software that allows you to manage the hiring, firing, and payment of employees the same way you might buy office supplies…oDesk is popular…but the company isn't virtual itself…most of its 32 full-time employees come to work four days a week…most virtual companies build their cultures from scratch, hiring the sort of people who want to work remotely, who don't want to be friends with their co-workers, and who like being a long distance away from their bosses…most Inc. employees said that, although an office in the abstract sounds like a rather depressing place to spend the majority of one's adult life…they had nonetheless found room in their hearts for this peculiar institution…I felt like my life became less dynamic…My job really became just about my job. I missed the distractions and surprises that my co-workers bring to the day. Part of working is the social aspect of doing something collaboratively. I missed that very much…”

Civilian Aerospace

40. SpaceX Dragon Hardware Activated Aboard ISS http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/asd/2010/03/30/13.xml&headline=SpaceX%20Dragon%20Hardware%20Activated%20Aboard%20ISS&channel=space The communications hardware that will allow International Space Station (ISS) crewmembers to monitor and command SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft has been activated aboard the orbital outpost…On March 11, SpaceX and Houston used the system to send communications between the ISS and NASA Dryden Flight Research Center ground station, including live video and telemetry links…Everything went smoothly, and we eagerly anticipate the upcoming Dragon visits to the ISS…The first visit by Dragon to the ISS is expected this year, boosted atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, which has yet to fly…”

41. Orbitec gets piece of five-year NASA contract http://host.madison.com/wsj/business/article_8d0768a2-3cf2-11df-b095-001cc4c002e0.html Madison-based Orbital Technologies Corp. (Orbitec) is one of five companies nationwide to be awarded a piece of a five-year contract worth a total of up to $50 million to develop space propulsion systems for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration…The work will be aimed at development of advanced space propulsion technologies to enable missions with higher performance, reduced cost and improved reliability and safety…Rice said he assembled a team of small and large businesses and universities throughout the nation to help conduct his piece of the propulsion work…”

42. Air Force spaceplane is an odd bird with a twisted past http://www.spaceflightnow.com/atlas/av012/100402x37update/ “…A stubby-winged spaceship called the Orbital Test Vehicle will fly into orbit on an Atlas 5 rocket, taking a round-trip shakedown voyage for the U.S. Air Force…Liftoff should occur the evening of April 19…Several weeks or months later, the spacecraft will drop into the atmosphere and glide to an automated landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The 11,000-pound spaceplane is more popularly known as the X-37B, but its cost and ultimate objectives are top secret…”

43. Viability of Commercial Crew Plan May Hinge on Risk-sharing Scheme http://www.spacenews.com/civil/100402-commercial-crew-plan--hinge-risk-sharing.html “…the nation’s primary rocket builder is cautioning…not to count on industry for a substantial upfront investment in an endeavor rife with uncertainty…remember, it was about 10 years ago that we invested billions in EELV (Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle) systems for a [satellite launch] market that frankly looked much more solid than the [human spaceflight] market we are looking at today.” The Atlas 5 and Delta 4 rockets ULA operates primarily for the Pentagon and NASA were developed by Lockheed Martin and Boeing, respectively, under separate EELV cost-sharing deals with the U.S. Air Force. The companies invested heavily in their competing vehicles in anticipation of a robust market for launching commercial telecommunications satellites that failed to materialize, setting the stage for the 2005 formation of ULA — a Boeing-Lockheed joint venture that today depends on hundreds of millions of dollars in Air Force sustainment funding to keep its doors open…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

44. Tokyo Tech Weather Forecasting Model Gets 80X Perf Boost Through GPU Acceleration http://blogs.nvidia.com/ntersect/2010/03/tokyo-tech-weather-forecasting-model-gets-80x-perf-boost-through-gpu-acceleration.html “…GPU technology has already had a hand in improving the precision of weather forecasting. In Boulder, Colorado, the National Center for Atmospheric Research contributed to the development of the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF) which partially utilizes GPU technology for up to 20% speed improvement. ..A research group led by Professor Takayuki Aoki of theTokyo Institute of Technology has succeeded in 100% utilization of GPUs in the next-generation weather forecasting model, codenamed ASUCA, currently being developed by the Japan Meteorological Agency. ASUCA has a similar feature set to WRF, but because it is fully GPU-optimized, ASUCA runs 80 times faster than weather models running on CPUs alone or on CPU/GPU combinations…ASUCA simulates a 6 hour event (with 2km mesh size in a 3164x3028x48 grid) in 70 minutes on 120 GPUs, a calculation that would have taken 5600 minutes using CPUs…”

45. Inspired by bugs, start-up seeks night vision http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20001142-264.html “…A Swedish start-up called NocturnalVision wants to help cameras see in the dark better…it took inspiration from Megalopta genalis, the bee, and other insects active at night…people want to take photos and videos in dim conditions such as a party or in a restaurant. Cameras can amplify the information they record, transforming a dark image into one that shows what's going on in the scene, but doing so also amplifies the noise…NocturnalVisioin takes an approach it calls spatiotemporal summation. In a nutshell, it analyzes what's going on across each frame of an image--the spatial component--and what's going on from one frame to the next--the temporal component--to try to intelligently direct the noise reduction process…The start-up is interested in consumer cameras, camera phones, surveillance cameras, and perhaps military applications…the mathematics involved take some processing. Right now, the company can produce five frames of video per second at a resolution of 640x400 pixels, Malm said--much slower than the frame rate cameras today employ. However, the process can get a helping hand from a graphics chip…This algorithm is well-suited for parallel programming on a GPU or on other parallel architectures," Malm said. With newer hardware, it's likely the algorithm could work in real time…”

46. Installing and Running nVidia CUDA http://www.hpccommunity.org/content/accelerating-hpc-installing-running-nvidia-cuda-167/ “…In this article, we will be discussing how to install the nVidia CUDA software suite on standard desktop hardware…nVidia software is freely available as are some of the supported versions of Linux…Once you get everything working, you will be able to run programs like the mandelbrot example. Using this program allows you to compare the difference between the GPU and the CPU…While this level of experimentation does not utilize a cluster, it is a great (and inexpensive) way to learn about GP-GPU computing, which is becoming popular in many HPC circles…”

47. GPUs Gaining on Power http://pcquest.ciol.com/content/topstories/2010/110033002.asp “…With the paradigm shifting towards parallel computing, the focus is on getting difficult scientific & engineering problems solved by dividing them into smaller ones…The HPC market has recently seen a surge in interest with an emphasis on modern GPUs. Most enterprises are developing & working on new techniques that can offer tremendous potential for performance & efficiency…the performance of general purpose processor is changing at a rapid pace offering more of a flexible architecture. With the advent of advanced GPUs developers have started to explore more applications, beyond rendering in 3D apps. In this article we will be looking at how GPUs have evolved and how NVIDIA and ATi are taking the GPU computing to the next level…”

48. Allinea Announces DDT for the CUDA Architecture http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/Allinea-Announces-DDT-for-the-CUDA-Architecture-89435827.html Allinea Software today announced that that it was making a pre-release version of the Distributed Debugging Tool (DDT) for the CUDA architecture available to early-adopter customers…We are now able to provide application developers with a single tool that can debug hybrid MPI, OpenMP and CUDA applications on a single workstation or GPU cluster…designed to help our customers find their GPU porting bugs simply and efficiently." "Developing code for highly parallel GPU architectures is far from straightforward…”


*****



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