2010/04/13

NEW NET Issues List for 13 Apr 2010

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 13 Apr 2010, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering. This week we'reupstairs 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. Apple decides for everyone else with WebKit2 for multicore chips http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20002103-264.html Google's Chrome browser draws heavily on the WebKit browser engine project led chiefly by Apple, but now WebKit is adopting one Chrome idea: separation between some computing processes…WebKit2 is designed from the ground up to support a split process model…similar to what Google Chrome offers…Taking advantage of multiple cores is a major challenge facing the computing industry today now that simply increasing chip clock frequencies was halted by overheating problems…Apple's WebKit2 move caused some indigestion for those it took by surprise. "Can someone please point to the bug report and the forum where this development was discussed by the greater WebKit community?" asked Adam Treat in a follow-up message. Other browser "ports" also are based on the open-source WebKit software, including the KDE project's Konqueror browser…so others' projects could be affected by Apple's move. "The time for that discussion is now. The forum is here," responded Apple's Darin Adler…”

2. Nokia Acquires Location Services Vendor MetaCarta http://www.pcworld.com/article/193888/nokia_acquires_location_services_vendor_metacarta.html Nokia on Friday said it will acquire MetaCarta…MetaCarta's technology bridges the gap between content and maps, according to the company. Its Geosearch technology can find content, data and information about a place and present it in a single view and its Geotag technology can be used to find geographic references in various types of content, which then can be used in other applications. For example, the NewsMap application processes the text within news stories to extract the geographic places mentioned in them. The result can the be overlayed on a digital map…”

3. More signal, less noise: cleaning up our comments http://arstechnica.com/staff/palatine/2010/04/more-signal-less-noise-cleaning-up-our-comments.ars “…recent decline in both quality and civility in our front page news discussions/comments…things have taken a turn for the worse in recent months…you guys are tech and science experts, to varying degrees. You're smart as hell, and you have a passion for tech that I think is unmatched. But discussions really suffer when people start calling each other names, when they start making unfounded accusations of impropriety…We rely on readers to report bad behavior to us, although it is true that moderators do catch bad behavior directly in the course of their daily reading…At a minimum, we are preparing to appoint specific moderators for news discussions. Beyond that, we might consider further restrictions/actions; we are not interested in having a few bad apples ruin the basket. Before any of that happens, we'd like to hear from you…”

4. Site speed now affects your Google search ranking http://digital.venturebeat.com/2010/04/09/google-site-speed/ Bad news for internet slowpokes. Google said it will now factor in how fast a web site loads into its search rankings…fewer than 1 percent of search queries will be affected by the change, and it only applies for visitors searching in English. The search engine considers more than 200 different variables in its rankings and changes its algorithms constantly; it said it launched this change a few weeks ago after “rigorous testing.”…Speeding up websites is important — not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there…”

5. Twitter Unveils Plans to Draw Money From Ads http://digital.venturebeat.com/2010/04/13/economics-real-time-search/ Now that Twitter has revealed that its advertising strategy largely hinges on search, will its approach prove to be as much of a blockbuster as Google’s AdWords? The company, which long evaded questions about monetization, is pitching marketers with a variation on search ads. One prong of its strategy will be to sell sponsored tweets that stay atop results about different keywords. If the tweets don’t take off with Twitter users and aren’t replied to, retweeted or clicked on, they’ll disappear from view. Search advertising clearly made Google the powerhouse it is today, with $23.7 billion in annual revenues last year. But a big question is how well it will work for real-time search…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

6. Sun Java flaw exposes Windows users to dangerous Web attacks http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=6082 “…a serious Java vulnerability that leaves users…open to simple Web-based attacks that could lead to a complete compromise of the affected system. The flaw was disclosed publicly this week by two separate researchers…when Sun declined to issue a prompt fix…they informed me they do not consider this vulnerability to be of high enough priority to break their quarterly patch cycle…The flaw…occurs because the Java-Plugin Browser is running “javaws.exe” without validating command-line parameters…the toolkit provides only minimal validation of the URL parameter, allowing a malicious hacker to to pass arbitrary parameters to the javaws utility, which provides enough functionality via command line arguments to allow this error to be exploited…The issue affects all versions since Java SE 6 update 10 for Microsoft Windows. Disabling the java plugin is not sufficient to prevent exploitation…” [http://www.infoq.com/news/2010/04/gosling_leaves_oracle ]

7. Spam a Judge, Go to Jail? http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/04/virtualpresence/ “…The brouhaha began in February, when TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau urged his radio and web followers to deluge U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman with e-mail so he would side with him in a civil lawsuit pending before the Chicago judge. The judge’s inbox was flooded with hundreds of messages, and his Blackberry froze up. He promptly found Trudeau in contempt of court and sentenced him to jail. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the sentence, pending a decision on appeal. A three-judge panel of the circuit court heard oral arguments in the case Wednesday, focusing on whether contempt of court can occur in a court’s “virtual presence” — meaning outside of the courthouse…”

8. Hacking the Smart Grid http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/24977/?a=f Components of the next-generation smart-energy grid could be hacked in order to change household power settings or to spoof communications with a utility's network, according to a study of three pilot implementations…it highlights security problems with many devices. "These are fairly common mistakes," says Marcus Sachs, director of the Internet Storm Center, part of the SANS Institute, where Wright presented his research. "Most of the wireless meters are subject to the same vulnerabilities that we saw [in Wi-Fi devices] 10 years ago." The power industry is in the midst of a massive rollout of smart-grid technologies fueled by $3.4 billion in stimulus funds. By delivering detailed usage information, smart meters promise to allow consumers to control their power usage and to enable power companies to better manage their distribution networks. Nearly 60 million smart meters--covering half of the U.S. households and businesses--are expected to be deployed this year…It's how your meter--the gateway--will talk to your dryer, your thermostat, and your water heater…Researchers have previously warned that allowing network access to the home opens up a host of security issues. Last year, security firm IOActive found flaws in a smart-meter device that allowed its researchers to insert code into one device…essentially, injecting a computer worm into a local power network…”

9. Please do not change your password http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/04/11/please_do_not_change_your_password/?page=full To continue reading this story, enter your password now. If you do not have a password, please create one. It must contain a minimum of eight characters, including upper- and lower-case letters and one number…Nonsense, of course, but it helps illustrate a point: You will need a computer password today, maybe a half dozen or more — those secret sign-ins that serve as sentries for everything from Amazon shopping carts to work files to online bank accounts. Just when you have them all sorted out, along comes another “urgent” directive from the bank or IT department — time to reset those codes, for safety’s sake…Some might temporarily stay in your head, others are jotted on scraps of paper and stuffed in a wallet. A few might be taped to your computer monitor in plain view…a study has concluded what lots of us have long suspected: Many of these irritating security measures are a waste of time. The study, by a top researcher at Microsoft, found that instructions intended to spare us from costly computer attacks often exact a much steeper price in the form of user effort and time expended…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

10. iPhone OS 4: Apple's 7 Forms of iPhone Multitasking http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2362459,00.asp In its iPhone OS 4 announcement Thursday, Apple said the iPhone 3GS, iPad, and iPod Touch will support a limited form of multitasking. Rather than letting full third-party programs run in the background, Apple said they will expose seven background services to iPhone developers, who can combine them to create a sleight-of-hand that would make their programs appear to be running behind the scenes…Here's a rundown of Apple's seven background services, and the apps that Apple said might use them…” [http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/articles/comments/new-in-iphone-os-4-the-full-app-by-app-breakdown/ ]

11. RIM scoops up Ottawa tech firm QNX http://ottawa.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20100409/OTT_qnx_sold_100409/20100409?hub=Ottawa One of Ottawa's most innovative companies has been sold to Canadian tech giant Research in Motion. QNX Software developed a program for use in vehicles that would allow all the modern-day devices, such as phones, MP3 players and Internet access, to operate in a car. Their highest profile sale was to Ford the Synch program…In recent months, sales for QNX had slumped. Sources tell CTV News there were fears that layoffs were looming…Mike Lazaridis Co-CEO at RIM, said, "In addition to our interests in expanding the opportunities for QNX in the automotive sector and other markets, we believe the planned acquisition of QNX will support certain unannounced product plans for intelligent peripherals…”

12. Apple's iAd platform called a 'billion dollar opportunity' http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/10/04/09/apples_iad_platform_called_a_billion_dollar_opportunity.html “…Apple's just-announced iAd mobile advertising platform…could employ a "hybrid" ad pricing model that would include cost per click, cost per action, and cost per 1,000 viewers…While we believe multitasking was the single most incremental functionality added (of the 100+ new features), it is our view that AAPL's new mobile advertising platform ("iAd") stole the show and will be significant to the financial model…we believe the iAd platform could generate an incremental $2.5bil in revenue and $1.00+ to AAPL's financial model when the business hits its stride…”

13. Apple's Tightening Grip: This Could Be Android's Big Chance http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/apples_tightening_grip_this_could_be_androids_big.php The long-closed nature of Apple's iPhone OS ecosystem is coming to a head with the addition of major new restrictions on developers. If there ever was a time when the Android world had a chance to out-innovate Apple, this could be it. Each day this week, developers have pointed out another indignity Apple's legal framework subjects them to. Could this be the pressure that gets resolved by the rise of a compelling Android offering?...Apple has baked in its own advertising platform and the essential requirement of winning Apple's permission to deploy apps on its platform is feeling more onerous every day. ..no one else has come close to building a User Experience that can rival the iPhone and iPad. If someone could, a grand battle could emerge. Instead, right now it's looking ugly. On the positive side, the number of Android applications is growing faster and faster…iPhone developer Dan Grigsby articulated today what could become an increasingly common sentiment in a goodbye post announcing the closure of his popular iPhone development blog Mobile Orchard…”

14. Microsoft phones: Kin One and Kin Two http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/04/microsoft-gets-social-with-new-kin-phones/ “…Microsoft…launched the two phones Monday that are based on a new flavor of Microsoft’s upcoming mobile operating system, Windows Phone 7. The phones, called the Kin One and Kin Two, come with an entirely new interface that puts social services such as Facebook, Twitter and newsfeeds at its core…The phones have been manufactured by Sharp and will be available on Verizon’s Wireless network in May and on Vodafone in Europe later this year. Kin One is a petite, rounded device with a 2.1-inch screen. Kin Two is a larger, palm-sized device with a 3.5-inch display. Kin One has a 5-megapixel camera, while Kin Two sports an 8-megapixel camera. Both phones have multitouch displays, an accelerometer and video-recording capability, as well as hardware keyboards that slide out from underneath the screen…Almost every major phone maker, including Motorola and HTC, has phones that integrate Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, MySpace and newsfeeds into a single stream on the phone’s display…”

Open Source

15. 6 Tools to Easily Create Your Own Custom Linux Distro http://maketecheasier.com/6-tools-to-easily-create-your-own-custom-linux-distro/2010/04/08 While it’s hard to make the claim that there aren’t enough Linux distros out there, it’s also hard to escape the fact that no distribution is all things to all people. There are all kinds of reasons to consider rolling your own, but many people never make the attempt because it seems like such a huge undertaking. Fortunately, with modern software we can create new distros, remixes, and custom configurations in a matter of minutes instead of months. Here, we’ll showcase some of the current software tools that make this so easy…”

16. How Compiz Fusion and Chaos Built a Linux Hardware Company http://www.linuxplanet.com/linuxplanet/reports/7035/1/ One of the most beautiful aspects of LinuxLand is that, in its chaos, a wild creativity can spawn sweet and enduring projects. One of those projects, Compiz Fusion, was sparky enough to help me enter LinuxLand which in turn helped me build a hardware company…Compiz Fusion…in its own inadvertent way, convinced a 30-something hyper-busy soccer mom with four kids, two jobs and not a nano-second to spare to take the time to sit down and learn about Linux and its wonders…”

17. MakerCulture: Taking Things into Our Own Hands http://thetyee.ca/Series/2010/01/15/MakerCultureSeries/ “…a multi-part, multi-media investigation of Maker Culture – the do-it-yourself movement fast evolving in North America and beyond…was created by 45 journalism students at the University of Western Ontario and Ryerson University…”

SkyNet

18. Google Maps 4.0 for Blackberry http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2010/04/google-maps-40-for-blackberry-adds.html We’ve been rolling out new versions of Google Maps for mobile at a fast pace lately, and the first Google Maps for BlackBerry update of 2010 is a big one. For version 4.0, we’ve added new features to help you find places faster…For starters, we’ve added Search by voice to all BlackBerry devices to save your overworked thumbs. Simply press and hold the green “call” button, speak your search, and see your results quickly appear without typing a single letter…”

19. FTC Blocking of Google Mobile Ad Acquisition Would Be Misguided http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/04/ftc-blocking-of-google-mobile-ad-acquisition-would-be-misguided/ Federal regulators are looking very closely at and may be prepared to block Google’s proposed acquisition of the mobile advertising firm AdMob, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. The FTC is right to look closely at what Google does and to make sure it doesn’t abuse its market power. Google has remained almost unassailable in its online text ads — which brings in 99 percent of Google’s $24 billion annual revenue…Apple is set Thursday to launch its own mobile ad product — one that can be baked into its developers kit for mobile apps — making it very easy for Apple to dominate the ad market for mobile apps. That’s likely to be built on top of Quattro Wireless, an AdMobs rival Apple recently bought. Blocking Google from buying AdMob would then essentially block a rival from competing in what is currently the most vibrant mobile marketing space…”

20. Google Makes Gmail Easier http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2010/04/09/businessinsider-google-brings-two-cool-new-features-to-gmail-labs-2010-4.DTL Two handy new features were added to Gmail Labs yesterday: expanded email previews and nested labels…”

21. New Google Docs Features http://www.readwriteweb.com/enterprise/2010/04/google-docs-now-includes-co-ed.php Google Docs now includes co-editing features, similar to Google Wave. The feature is one of several new updates to Google Docs that includes faster online access to documents and better formatting…the stark difference between apps and traditionally crafted web pages is evident as Google seeks the best way to present Google Docs on mobile devices. The challenge is particularly vexing for the iPad. Google Docs does not run on the iPad due to the customized Safari browser that Apple created for the new device. Google Docs runs on a browser designed for the desktop, not the iPhone. Google focuses on using a single platform for its applications…Google Docs will continue to be available solely through the mobile web browser on Android, BlackBerry and the iPhone with the capability to view Google documents and presentations…The new features for Google Docs have a lot to do with speed and rendering, which allows for the co-editing capabilities. People may see what each other type as they work within documents, spread sheets or using the drawing feature. Up to 50 people may work simultaneously on a document with integrated instant messaging…” [http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2010/04/new-google-docs.html http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2010/04/laying-foundation-for-new-google-docs.html ]

22. 10 Simple Google Search Tricks http://webworkerdaily.com/2010/04/01/10-simple-google-search-tricks/ I’m always amazed that more people don’t know the little tricks you can use to get more out of a simple Google search. Here are 10 of my favorites…”

23. Google buys UK startup Plink http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/pda/2010/apr/12/google-buys-uk-startup-plink Google has made its first ever UK acquisition, buying mobile visual search startup Plink for an undisclosed sum…Plink's first product was PlinkArt, a visual recognition app for mobile that analyses pictures of well-known artworks and paintings and identifies them. Users can then share the photo with friends and also click through to buy a poster version…The two founders will work on Google Goggles, the search giant's visual search project. Cummins and Philbin founded Plink nearly two year ago while PhD students at the University of Oxford's mobile robotics and visual geometry groups in the department of engineering…”

24. Google's 'gPad' Plans Advance http://www.crn.com/mobile/224202623 Google's CEO told partygoers that its long-rumored Android-based "gPad" is on the way, making Google part of the next crop of challengers to Apple's iPad tablet device, according to a report from The New York Times…companies like Google and Microsoft are still staying quiet about their rumored plans to enter the market…For Google, such a device would give it another opportunity to compete with Apple. Google Android-based smartphones and Apple's iPhone are already intense rivals, and the development of a tablet device would give Google another outlet for developers of Android apps…”

General Technology

25. Solar Airplane Completes Maiden Voyage http://www.wired.com/autopia/2010/04/solar-airplane-completes-maiden-voyage/ Solar Impulse, a prototype of an airplane designed to fly around the world using only solar power, made its first real flight today. As the sun shone down on the Swiss countryside an aircraft powered by 12,000 solar cells flew for 87 minutes to an altitude of nearly 4,000 feet… “This first mission was the most risky phase of the entire project,” Piccard said. “Eighty-seven minutes of intense emotion after seven years of research, testing and perseverance. Never has an airplane as large and light ever flown before!”…The wingspan of HB-SIA is 208 feet, that’s about 10 feet more than Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. But the airplane only weighs 3,500 pounds loaded for flight, about 499,000 pounds less than the 787…”

26. AMD announces Turbo CORE for upcoming desktop CPUs http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2010/04/amd-announces-turbo-core-for-upcoming-desktop-cpus.ars One of the ways to boost single-threaded performance on multicore machines is to shut down the cores that aren't in use and divert power to whichever cores are running the single-threaded workload…This "brute force" approach is actually the opposite of making use of multicore—it's about deliberately cutting back on the processor's core count, in some cases all the way down to one active core, in exchange for a single-threaded boost. In short, it amounts to a temporary, strategic retreat from the multicore era. Now AMD has revealed new details of how it plans to endow its multicore processors with the same dynamic power optimization capabilities, but (at least initially) via a much cruder implementation. The new feature in AMD's Phenom line of desktop processors is called Turbo CORE, and it will make its debut with the upcoming six-core Phenom II X6 ("Thuban") line…”

27. ROBOTC2.0 gives students cross-platform robot programming http://arstechnica.com/software/news/2010/04/robotc20-gives-students-cross-platform-robot-programming.ars “…ROBOTC2.0, from Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Academy, brings a common language to many of these different robot platforms. With the new language, the same program can more or less run on LEGO Mindstorms RCX and NXT systems, as well as the Innovation First VEX and Cortex systems…Traditionally, student programmers must learn a new language for each robot platform they use, with the result that they spend their time learning new development environments rather than learning how to write programs. With ROBOTC, much more emphasis can be placed on development. ROBOTC skills are also transferable to professional languages like C, meaning that robot development serves as a good basis for a transition to professional development. The language comes with its own Visual Studio-inspired development environment, including real-time debugging over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi…”

28. Memristor Memory Readied for Production http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/25018/?a=f HP has begun testing samples of a new kind of nonvolatile memory based on memristors--circuit elements that are much smaller than the transistors used in flash memory. The company plans to introduce the first commercial memristor memory product in three years' time…HP expects its memristor memory technology to scale better than flash and hopes to offer a product with a storage density of about 20 gigabytes per square centimeter in 2013--double the storage that flash is expected to offer at that time…Memristors are nanoscale devices with a variable resistance and the ability to remember their resistance when power is off…Both flash and memristor memory are nonvolatile, meaning they hold on to data even when power is cut off. Flash has some limitations, though. It can only withstand about 100,000 data-writing cycles, and, like all devices based on silicon transistors, it will come up against physical limits as it's scaled to make more storage-dense memory devices. Williams says that memristor memory can withstand up to about a million read-write cycles in lab tests…”

29. Audi to climb Pikes Peak without driver http://www.caller.com/news/2010/apr/10/audi-climb-pikes-peak-without-driver/ “…Shelley…The self-driving car will face its biggest test this fall at Colorado’s Pikes Peak, home of the world-famous International Hill Climb that has bedeviled professional drivers with its steep grades and treacherous switchbacks since 1916. Automotive researchers have designed experimental vehicles that can drive long distances or navigate city streets without a driver. With Shelley — named after Michelle Mouton, the first woman to win the Pikes Peak race — the Stanford team is developing a car that can drive at high speeds under extreme conditions. “What we’re trying to do is create an autonomous race car, an autonomous rally car…”

Leisure & Entertainment

30. eBook Piracy ‘Surges’ After iPad Launch http://torrentfreak.com/ebook-piracy-surges-after-ipad-launch-100409/ With 500.000 iPads sold in the first week, Apple’s new multi-gadget is already a force to be reckoned with. As book publishers see the iPad as a potential threat to their revenues, we take a look to find out what happened to eBook piracy in the last week. The results are surprising…” [http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/04/format-shifting-dead-trees-can-e-book-piracy-be-ethical.ars ]

31. Is 3D Bad for You? http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/24976/?a=f “…success of 3D movies has been accompanied by complaints from some viewers of headaches and eyestrain. And with 3D TVs, Blu-Ray players, and games coming to the home this year, some experts are calling for more research into the possibility of eyestrain associated with 3D viewing, particularly on smaller screens that are closer to the viewer…3D technology tricks the brain by showing the left eye one image and the right eye another. The brain layers these images together to produce a 3D image…To look at a three-dimensional object in real life, a set of eyes must do two things. Firstly they must "verge"--rotate slightly inward or outward so that the projection of an image is always in the center of both retinas. Secondly, the eyes must "accommodate"--change the shape of each lens to focus the image on the retinas. "Without appropriate vergence, you would see double, and without appropriate accommodation, you'd see blurry…Artificial 3D causes "vergence-accommodation conflict," according to Banks, because viewers must focus at one distance (where light is emitting from the screen) but verge at another distance (wherever the 3D object appears to be in space). This difference in distance in 3D viewing may be the source of headaches and other discomforts…”

Economy and Technology

32. Avvo raises $9.9M to help you choose a lawyer http://www.xconomy.com/seattle/2010/03/19/avvo-new-10m-in-hand-tears-a-page-from-expedia-amazon-playbooks/ “…The genesis of Avvo came in early 2006. “I saw a very big need for the legal industry to take a significant step into Web 2.0,” he says. “Public records were being digitized, and with that comes lots of transparency. There is an increasing appetite for people to see advertising [online] backed up by objective information. Lawyers are about full disclosure, it’s part of the culture.” Britton hadn’t really practiced law since 2003, yet he found himself still helping friends and family with their legal issues—in particular, evaluating lawyers. So he had the idea to create an attorney directory complete with consumer and expert ratings, including information from state public records, complaints of lawyer misconduct, and so forth. And here was the business opportunity: lawyers and law firms, even today, spend a whopping $1 billion a year on advertising in the Yellow Pages…”

33. Textaurant wants to change the way we wait in restaurants http://digital.venturebeat.com/2010/04/09/textaurant-change-wait-restaurants/ It’s always a drag when you have to wait for a table at your favorite restaurant when you’re hungry. To solve this problem, startup Textaurant has introduced a web-based waiting list management application. The tool lets restaurants automatically alert patrons via a text message when their table is ready…A restaurant pays an installation fee of about $1,000, though it can be free for long-term subscribers. The installation process downloads the web application to the restaurant’s hosting station computer. From there, the restaurant pays a monthly user subscription for the service. Patrons visiting the restaurant opt into the service when they arrive by giving the host or hostess their cell phone numbers. Textaurant reports that nearly 75 percent of patrons say that waiting times are the most stressful part of dining out and can ultimately lead to a bad dining experience…”

34. Palm is up for sale says Bloomberg http://mobile.venturebeat.com/2010/04/12/palm-is-up-for-sale-taking-offers-this-week-says-bloomberg/ Smartphone maker Palm has put itself up for sale and will begin fielding offers from buyers this week, sources close to the matter tell Bloomberg. The news follows dire quarterly earning reports in March that dropped Palm’s stock down to $3.75 — its lowest point in the past year, after hitting a $17.75 peak in September. Palm’s stock jumped 32 percent last week with rumors that computer-maker Lenovo and cellphone manufacturer HTC were eying the company for purchase. Now we’ve learned that those rumors are true, and that Lenovo and HTC may make offers soon…”

35. Innovation, by Order of the Kremlin http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/11/business/global/11russia.html “…The Russian government, hoping to diversify its economy away from oil, is building the first new scientific city since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Even more improbably, it is modeled, officials say, on Silicon Valley. The site, still nameless and near a village outside Moscow, is…an attempt to duplicate the vibrancy and entrepreneurial spirit of America’s technology hotbed…The whole country needs some sort of breakthrough,” Viktor F. Vekselberg, the Russian business oligarch appointed co-director of the project, said in an interview. Mr. Vekselberg was chosen in part because of his investments in solar power, an unusual venture for one of the oligarchs who made fortunes in commodities. “The founding of the innovation city, in form and substance,” he says, “could be a launching pad for the country as a whole.”…Once developed, the site is intended to incubate scientific ideas using generous tax holidays and government grants until the start-ups can become profitable companies. Its backers in government and the private sector describe it as an effort to blend the Soviet tradition of forming scientific towns with Western models of encouraging technology ventures around universities…”

Civilian Aerospace

36. Bigelow Aerospace eyes Wallops for rocket launches http://www.dailypress.com/news/dp-local_bigelow-wallops_0410apr10,0,6055990.story “…Michael Gold, an attorney who represents Bigelow Aerospace, said the Nevada-based company will work at Wallops provided the nation commits to the commercial spaceflight agenda outlined by President Barack Obama…Bigelow was founded in 1999 by Robert T. Bigelow, who made millions operating the hotel chain, Budget Suites of America. The company made a name for itself in 2006 when it partnered with the U.S.' former Cold War nemesis to launch Genesis I. It used a Russian rocket that once held a nuclear warhead to send an inflatable space station into space. Bigelow self-financed the aerospace company with $180 million and has said he is willing to spend $320 million more to put a private space station into orbit…”

37. 10 Space Jobs From the Near Future http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2010/04/10-space-jobs-from-the-near-future/ “…In August 2009, the Augustine Commission (appointed by the Obama administration) recommended that NASA look to commercial space operators to take on the burden of ferrying mission commanders, scientists and specialists up to the International Space Station…If Congress goes through with the budget proposal (and that is a big if), NASA will stop work on the Constellation program, including the in-development Orion module and Ares rocket and focus instead on a new heavy-lift vehicle and new space-related technologies. The move will pave the way for companies like SpaceX to take up the helm for low-Earth orbit (LEO) human spaceflight…what will a job market for the aspiring space junkie look like in 20 to 30 years? For a long time, the single goal for kids that were obsessed with spaceflight was to become an astronaut. Now, it looks like that job title will have some competition. Here are 10 non-scientist jobs I believe youngsters should start to prepare for…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

38. RenderStream Announces Its VDAC 8-16 GPU Systems http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/RenderStream-Announces-Its-VDAC-8-16-GPU-Systems-90119707.html VDAC (Visual and Data Analysis Cluster)…uses the power of up to 16 GPUs to breeze through computational problems like those found in GPU-based rendering, oil and gas, medical research, augmented reality and mobile visualization enhancement…numerous markets that this acceleration could be of serious benefit. These markets are characterized by their need for high-performance computing appliances that are small, with sizes that are workstation or 1u to 20u in a rackmount system, powerful, four to fourteen teraflop (TFLOP) and relatively low cost for the system and relatively low cost to operate. The fastest dual multicore CPU (MPU) can deliver around 0.2 TFLOP necessitating forty to hundreds of them to meet a given application's needs and even more if the memory must be shared amongst individual computers in the cluster. The cost in space, resource and equipment restricts implementation of traditional computer clusters to all but the largest ventures which thus conservatively suppresses 60 percent to 70 percent of the potential total available market (TAM) from developing. Without HPC: It limits the ability of a small clinic or doctor's office to diagnose life threatening diseases without sending out to large hospitals for expensive procedures that with the right appliance could be done sooner, cheaper, with less anxiety and stress from the wait…It limits the ability of the small digital studios from effectively competing in the multi-billion dollar digital media industry…It stifles real-time analysis during oil and gas exploration…It impacts financial and economic analysis…wherever possible, programmers are creating applications to run on the highly parallelized graphical-processing-unit (GPU). Within the confines of the type of problem it can solve, the GPU boosts the compute power of a single workstation 50X to 400X …”

39. Microsoft Injects More Goodies into Windows HPC http://www.hpcwire.com/blogs/Microsoft-Injects-More-Goodies-into-Windows-HPC-90308127.html “…the additions to this latest beta version of the Microsoft's HPC platform include some compelling features that make the most of the company's vast Windows ecosystem and market reach…The Excel tool has received special attention since it has become a fairly widespread tool for HPC-types -- scientists, engineers, financial quants, and the like. Basically, Microsoft has layered HPC services on top of vanilla Excel so that users can distribute computations across a cluster. Mendillo says there are a lot of Excel applications that are suited to this type of parallelization. One example is a life insurance actuarial calculation. On a workstation, a typical such calculation could take 14 hours. Mendillo claims distributing that work across a small cluster -- say 16 to 32-nodes -- cuts that time down to two and a half minutes…Along these same lines comes Parallel Nsight, NVIDIA's software development toolset for GPU computing that is offered as a Visual Studio plugin. Microsoft has been working with NVIDIA on this for a while, but the software maker's big contribution is low-level GPU support on the server side so that everything works seamlessly end-to-end. The whole package allows programmers to develop, test, and run GPU-accelerated applications, all with the Windows universe. This has the makings of a nice synergy for both vendors as it allows NVIDIA to piggy-back on the ubiquity of Visual Studio and gives Microsoft a GPU development capability alongside its CPU toolset…”

40. Fixstars Releases 'The OpenCL Programming Book' http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/Fixstars-Releases-The-OpenCL-Programming-Book-90097092.html Fixstars Corporation announced the release of its OpenCL Programming Book…OpenCL is a parallel computing framework for programming multicore systems, such as multicore CPUs, GPUs, and Cell/BE. OpenCL multi-functionality is attracting attention as an efficient and highly portable open technology for software development…It starts with the basics of parallelization, covering the main concepts, techniques, and setting up a development environment for OpenCL. It concludes with a clear and useful example of the FFT and Mersenne Twister algorithms written in OpenCL, walking you through the programming process and providing you with the source-code. It is the perfect resource for those wishing to get started on programming in OpenCL…”

41. Tokyo Institute of Technology Selected as Japan's First CUDA Center of Excellence http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/marketwire/0605512.htm “…Tokyo Tech is the 10th CUDA Center of Excellence, joining other international research institutions, including Cambridge University, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Harvard University, University of Maryland, National Taiwan University, Tsinghua University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Tennessee and University of Utah. More than 300 universities worldwide teach the CUDA™ programming model within their curriculum…Tokyo Tech's Global COE CompView program seeks to establish new scientific methodologies focused on computation and to train scientists to succeed in the rapidly changing world of computing. Last November, Tokyo Tech GSIC was the first supercomputing center to achieve a Top 500 ranking with GPUs. Its TSUBAME 1.2 supercomputer uses 170 NVIDIA® Tesla™ S1070 GPU Computing systems…”


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