2010/04/20

NEW NET Issues List for 20 Apr 2010

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 20 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. Library of Congress Acquires Entire Twitter Archive http://www.loc.gov/tweet/how-tweet-it-is.html “…Every public tweet, ever, since Twitter’s inception in March 2006, will be archived digitally at the Library of Congress…Twitter processes more than 50 million tweets every day, with the total numbering in the billions…a few examples of important tweets in the past few years include the first-ever tweet from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey (http://twitter.com/jack/status/20), President Obama’s tweet about winning the 2008 election (http://twitter.com/barackobama/status/992176676), and a set of two tweets from a photojournalist who was arrested in Egypt and then freed because of a series of events set into motion by his use of Twitter (http://twitter.com/jamesbuck/status/786571964) and (http://twitter.com/jamesbuck/status/787167620)...The Library has been collecting materials from the web since it began harvesting congressional and presidential campaign websites in 2000. Today we hold more than 167 terabytes of web-based information, including legal blogs, websites of candidates for national office, and websites of Members of Congress. We also operate the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program www.digitalpreservation.gov, which is pursuing a national strategy to collect, preserve and make available significant digital content, especially information that is created in digital form only, for current and future generations…”

2. Report: 6.8% Of Business Internet Traffic Goes To Facebook http://www.allfacebook.com/2010/04/report-68-of-business-internet-traffic-goes-to-facebook/ A report from the Network Box shows that 6.8 percent of all the URLs accessed by businesses goes to Facebook and 10 percent of internet bandwidth goes to Youtube. The study analyzed 13 billion URLs accessed by businesses and studied business bandwidths to find results, and found Facebook and Youtube leading other companies like Google and Yahoo…In the traffic category, Facebook used 4.5 percent of all bandwidth, Windows Update used 3.3 percent, Yimg used 2.7 percent and Google used 2.5 percent…The figures show that IT managers are right to be concerned about the amount of social network use at work. There are two real concerns here: firstly that employees will be downloading applications from social networks and putting security at risk; and secondly the amount of corporate bandwidth that appears to be being used for non-corporate activity…”

3. 10 Things the Internet Has Killed http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20100415/tc_pcworld/10thingstheinternethaskilledorruinedandfivethingsithasnt “…the Internet is the killer app--literally. From newspapers and the yellow pages to personal privacy and personal contact, the Net has been accused of murdering, eviscerating, ruining, and obliterating more things than the Amazing Hulk…Here are ten things the Net is making virtually extinct, plus five that have flourished…Trust in Encyclopedias…Barroom Arguments…Your Old Flame…Civil Discourse…Listening to Albums…Expertise…Gud Spellng…Celebrity…Sex…Chuck Norris…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

4. Government uses NSA tool to detect thumb drives on network http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/04/government-uses-nsa-tool-to-detect-thumb-drives-on-network.ars USB thumb drives and other portable storage devices offer a lot of convenience, but they also pose some unique security challenges…The NSA built a tool, called USBDetect, that is designed to help government agencies track the usage of USB storage devices on their internal networks. The tool is not publicly available, but is briefly described in a section of the NSA's 2011 budget proposal…"A Computer Network Defense Tool developed by NSA, USBDetect 3.0, is available to U.S. Government (USG) users free of charge. USBDetect gathers data (locally or on a network) from personal computers running Microsoft Windows 2000 or later operating systems, and reports unauthorized usage of Universal Serial Bus (USB) thumb (a.k.a. flash) drives, external hard drives, compact disk drives, and other storage devices…The NSA characterizes the development of USBDetect 3.0 as one of its major accomplishments for the fiscal year 2009…”

5. Congress outlaws all Caller ID spoofing (VoIP too) http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/04/congress-outlaws-all-caller-id-spoofing-voip-too.ars “…the "Truth in Caller ID Act of 2010" (PDF)…does exactly what its name would lead you to believe. Under the bill, it becomes illegal "to cause any caller ID service to transmit misleading or inaccurate caller ID information, with the intent to defraud or deceive." The bill maintains an exemption for blocking one's own outgoing caller ID information, and law enforcement isn't affected. The change will affect "any real time voice communications service, regardless of the technology or network utilized," so VoIP calls are included. In fact, the Congressional Research Service summary of the initial text makes clear that VoIP was a key target here…”

6. EFF Backs Yahoo! to Protect User from Warrantless Email Search http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2010/04/13 The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) along with Google and numerous other public interest organizations and Internet industry associations joined with Yahoo! in asking a federal court Tuesday to block a government attempt to access the contents of a Yahoo! email account without a search warrant based on probable cause. The Department of Justice is seeking the emails as part of a case that is under seal, and the account holder has apparently not been notified of the request. Government investigators maintain that because the Yahoo! email has been accessed by the user, it is no longer in "electronic storage" under the Stored Communications Act (SCA) and therefore does not require a warrant, even though that same legal theory has been flatly rejected by the one Circuit Court to address it…”

7. Spam Suspect Uses Google Docs; FBI Happy http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/04/cloud-warrant/ FBI agents targeting alleged criminal spammers last year obtained a trove of incriminating documents from a suspect’s Google Docs account, in what appears to be the first publicly acknowledged search warrant benefiting from a suspect’s reliance on cloud computing…The warrant demanded the e-mail and “all Google Apps content” belonging to the men, according to a summary in court records…From Beers’ account, the FBI got a spreadsheet titled “Pulse_weekly_Report Q-3 2008″ that showed the firm spammed 3,082,097 e-mail addresses in a single five-hour spree. Another spreadsheet, “Yahoo_Hotmail_Gmail - IDs,” listed 8,000 Yahoo webmail accounts the men allegedly created to push out their spam…Privacy advocates have long warned that law enforcement agencies can access sensitive files stored on services like Google Docs with greater ease than files stored on a target’s hard drive. In particular, the 1986 Stored Communications Act allows the government to access a customer’s data whenever there are “reasonable grounds” to believe the information would be relevant in a criminal investigation — a much lower legal standard than the “probable cause” required for a search warrant…”

8. The Rise of Fake Anti-Virus http://googleonlinesecurity.blogspot.com/2010/04/rise-of-fake-anti-virus.html “…Vulnerabilities in web browsers and popular plugins have resulted in an increased number of users whose systems can be compromised by attacks known as drive-by downloads. Such attacks do not require any user interaction, and they allow the adversary to execute code on a user’s computer without their knowledge. However, even without any vulnerabilities present, clever social engineering attacks can cause an unsuspecting user to unwittingly install malicious code…One increasingly prevalent threat is the spread of Fake Anti-Virus (Fake AV) products. This malicious software takes advantage of users’ fear that their computer is vulnerable, as well as their desire to take the proper corrective action…At Google, we have been working to help protect users against Fake AV threats on the web since we first discovered them in March 2007…We conducted an in-depth analysis of the prevalence of Fake AV over the course of the last 13 months, and the research paper containing our findings, “The Nocebo Effect on the Web: An Analysis of Fake AV distribution” is going to be presented at the Workshop on Large-Scale Exploits and Emergent Threats…Our analysis of 240 million web pages over the 13 months of our study uncovered over 11,000 domains involved in Fake AV distribution — or, roughly 15% of the malware domains we detected on the web during that period…”

9. Crime Prediction Software Is Here and It's a Very Bad Idea http://gizmodo.com/5517231/crime-prediction-software-is-here-and-its-a-very-bad-idea There are no naked pre-cogs inside glowing jacuzzis yet, but the Florida State Department of Juvenile Justice will use analysis software to predict crime by young delinquents, putting potential offenders under specific prevention and education programs. Goodbye, human rights! They will use this software on juvenile delinquents, using a series of variables to determine the potential for these people to commit another crime. Depending on this probability, they will put them under specific re-education programs. Deepak Advani—vice president of predictive analytics at IBM—says the system gives "reliable projections" so governments can take "action in real time" to "prevent criminal activities?"…I don't know about how reliable your system is, IBM, but have you ever heard of the 5th, the 6th, and the 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution?...No? Let's make this easy then: Didn't you watch that scientology nutcase in Minority Report?...But what really worries me is that this is a first big step towards something larger and darker. Actually, it's the second: IBM says that the Ministry of Justice in the United Kingdom…already uses this system to prevent criminal activities. Actually, it may be the third big step, because there's already software in place to blacklist people as potential terrorist…IBM clearly wants this to go big. They have spent a whooping $12 billion beefing up its analytics division…”

10. Thousands of laptop webcam photos allegedly taken by school http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-20002697-71.html A new motion in the Lower Merion School School District Webcam-spying case has presented extraordinary suggestions as to the frequency and intimate nature of the photographs allegedly taken remotely by the cameras on school-issued laptops…lawyers for 15-year-old Blake Robbins and his family claimed that thousands of images were taken by the laptop Webcams. Included in these were…"pictures of Blake partially undressed and of Blake sleeping."…lawyers claim that each time the LANRev software took Webcam shots, it sent them back to school district servers, where employees found entertainment in "a little LMSD soap opera."…The Robbins' family motion…specifically named Carol Cafiero, one of the employees placed on leave. The family reportedly suggested that Cafiero "may have been a voyeur"…When the accusations first came to light, the school district admitted that it had remotely activated the Webcams 42 times. An assistant principal at Harriton High School, attended by Blake Robbins, denied that she had ever authorized any of the alleged Webcam spying. The LANRev software was activated, the school said, only in the event of a reportedly lost or stolen laptop…Perhaps the most interesting part of the judge's order is that it was reportedly faxed to 17 different lawyers…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

11. Verizon’s Lynch: LTE Going Live in Q4 http://www.sidecutreports.com/2010/04/15/verizons-lynch-lte-going-live-in-q4/ “…Dick Lynch…helped announce the groundbreaking for a new Long Term Evolution (LTE) Innovation center in the Boston area…In a quick phone conversation from the innovation center launch festivities in Waltham, Mass., Lynch said that Verizon’s LTE testing in Boston and Seattle is now complete, and that the company will test systems with friendly users (usually company employees and other partners) during the third quarter of 2010. “In the fourth quarter, we’ll be turning on [commercial] markets as planned,” Lynch said, confirming that the stated goal of 25 to 30 markets covering a population of 100 million people is still the target Verizon intends to hit…The innovation center, a 60,000-square foot three-story planned addition to Verizon’s existing facilities in Waltham, will help Verizon help potential LTE startups, Lynch said, by allowing them to learn and collaborate with Verizon’s telecom engineers and software experts…”

12. RIM chief: no market for tablets, touch-only phones http://www.electronista.com/articles/10/04/16/rim.co.ceo.questions.ipad.iphone.staying.power/ RIM's co-chief Mike Lazaridis downplayed many of Apple's efforts…The executive was concerned that there wasn't necessarily a market for tablets like the iPad and that any devices would have to be put in the context of computers and smartphones…He added that smartphones are getting more powerful and more computer-like over time; he implied this would reduce the need for a tablet due to the amount of overlap in features. The company leader also downplayed the importance of touchscreen-only phones…touch-only phones (like the iPhone) aren't as popular anymore, Lazaridis argued. He claimed that most of the people who bought touchscreen-only phones in the past two years were going back to phones with hardware QWERTY keyboards, whether touch-enabled or otherwise…”

13. HTC Droid Incredible Solidifies Elite Standing http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/HTC-Solidifies-Its-Elite-Standing-With-Droid-Incredible-845955/ “…on April 15, HTC introduced the Droid Incredible—an Android 2.1 smartphone that will replace the swift-selling Motorola Droid as Verizon's flagship Android device. The Droid Incredible features a 3.7-inch WVGA AMOLED capacitive touch screen, a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, an 8-megapixel camera, integrated GPS and WiFi, and a "leap" view, for quick navigation across its optional seven home screen panels. It will become available April 29…”

14. Apple Rejects Kid-Friendly Programming App http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/04/apple-scratch-app/ “…40 years ago, tech legend Alan Kay invented the idea of a lightweight tablet computer that children could use to learn programming. Apple’s iPad delivers on the tablet part of that vision — but the company has blocked a kid-friendly programming language based on Kay’s work from getting onto the iPad. Apple last week removed an app called Scratch from its iPhone and iPad App Store. The Scratch app displayed stories, games and animations made by children using MIT’s Scratch platform, which was built on top of Kay’s programming language Squeak, according to MIT…Though the Scratch app wasn’t made by Kay…he wasn’t pleased…“Both children and the Internet are bigger than Apple, and things that are good for children of the world need to be able to run everywhere,” Kay told Wired.com in an e-mail. Kay…is credited for conceiving the idea of a portable computer…He called his concept the Dynabook. In his conception, it would be a very thin, highly dynamic device that weighed no more than two pounds, which would be an ideal tool for children to learn programming and science…Steve Jobs took a tour of Xerox PARC in 1979, and some might even say that his visit is still unfolding with the release of the iPad tablet, which resembles Kay’s description of the Dynabook…Jobs this month personally mailed an iPad to Kay, who praised Apple’s tablet as “fantastically good” for drawing, painting and typing. But Kay declined to give his full evaluation of the iPad to Wired.com until his question of whether Scratch or Etoys, another educational programming language Kay developed for kids, would be usable on the device…”

15. Will FaceCash, the mobile payment application, kill the credit card? http://mobile.venturebeat.com/2010/04/19/will-facecash-the-mobile-payment-application-kill-the-credit-card/ “…Greenspan demonstrated FaceCash today for VentureBeat, by using it to demonstrate how he could pay for a lunch he had at the Indochine Thai restaurant in Palo Alto…Here’s how it works: You can download the FaceCash application on any leading smartphone — it will be available on iPhone, BlackBerry or Android phones beginning next week. Then you type in your bank account information, Social Security number, and driver’s licence number, and upload your picture. That’s it. You can now use your phone to make pretty much any in-person transaction, whether at a restaurant or at a grocery store — as long as the merchant has signed up for the service. To accept your payment, the merchant simply scans the FaceCash barcode on your phone with a scanner, and your picture will pop up on their computer screen — which helps them avoid fraud. They then approve your payment. Dead easy…The company plans to formally launch FaceCash at the Electronics Payments Association conference this coming weekend. FaceCash is impressive because its payment system is built from the ground up. If Greenspan pulls it off, he’ll boast complete control over the payment processing system, and thus can offer a cheaper and more efficient payment feature than any other company. Of course, it will take a massive amount of work to get there. But if he does get it right, there’s huge potential: The mobile payments market is expected to be $510 billion by 2012…”

16. iPad banned on some college campuses http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/more_details_about_the_ipads_connecitvity_issues_e.php “…some colleges have banned the iPad from their networks. Princeton and Cornell, for example, are seeing major networking and connectivity issues…quite a few iPad owners have experienced WiFi connectivity issues with their devices. There seems to be a wide variety of issues, ranging from bad WiFi reception to regular drops on the WiFi connection…at least one of these connectivity problems can be traced back to how the iPad handles DHCP leases. DHCP, which stands for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, is responsible for assigning IP addresses to computers on a local network. Normally, these IP addresses are renewed at regular intervals. If the device doesn't request a renewal of the address, the DHCP server can hand this address out to another device…under certain circumstances, iPads renew their lease of a given IP address once but then allow the lease to expire. Once the lease has expired, however, these devices still try to use the same address without asking for a new lease, which is bound to fail, as the router doesn't remember the device anymore…”

Open Source

17. Did Google Just Kill Ogg Theora? http://newteevee.com/2010/04/14/did-google-just-kill-ogg-theora/ “…Google is going to open source its VP8 video codec at its Google i/O event…speculations have been abounded as to what this means for Ogg Theora, the video codec of choice of open source advocates…Theora is currently supported by the Mozilla foundation, whose Firefox browser utilizes the format instead of H.246 for HTML5 video playback… is Google going to kill Ogg Theora by open sourcing a superior video codec?...Ogg Theora is based on an erstwhile proprietary video codec called VP3.2, which was developed by a little company called On2 Technologies. On2 introduced VP3.2 in August of 2000…On2 meanwhile continued to develop new codecs, reaching its 8th generation with VP8, which was announced in September of 2008…VP8 came out eight years after VP3.2, eight years in which…Consumers got increasingly faster broadband connections, video hosting sites moved towards HD, and codec developers figured out a whole lotta tricks to improve things like HD streaming…Google’s Open Source Programs Manager Chris DiBona…said last year that it would need “substantive codec improvements” before Theora could power a site like YouTube…Firefox and Chrome would likely support VP8 as well as Theora…also enthusiastic about VP8’s potential. “A royalty-free codec that’s indisputably superior to H.264 will be very disruptive…”

18. CloudMade’s OpenStreetMap Surges On Wikipedia-Like User Passion http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/17/cloudmades-openstreetmap-surges-on-wikipedia-like-user-passion/ Many people describe CloudMade’s OpenStreetMap project as “Wikipedia for maps,” and they aren’t far off. The project allows anyone to add and edit map data around the globe, and the project is now a viable open and free source of mapping data…In some parts of the world, OpenStreetMap’s data is far more detailed than the data provided by TeleAtlas to Google and Navteq to Microsoft and Yahoo…A year ago 110,000 individuals had added or edited data. Today it’s up to 245,000 individual mappers. An average of 7,000 edits an hour are made to the data…Perhaps the most stunning case study is Germany. In 2007 it was a blank canvas. Today, the level of detail goes far beyond what any other service provides. It includes all major points of interest (even trees are now being added by users), the entire road network and turn by turn navigation…”

19. Linux: Strong and getting stronger http://news.cnet.com/8301-13846_3-20002478-62.html “…At the Linux Foundation's annual collaboration summit in San Francisco on Wednesday, Executive Director Jim Zemlin kicked off the event with some interesting perspectives on the state of the Linux marketplace…Linux is going strong and getting stronger…the macro-economic trends have played to the strengths of Linux and open source…Would Google be the company it is today using proprietary technologies like Microsoft.NET? The answer is likely not…Linux is much more attractive--especially for the mobile Internet…Zemlin argues that the new PC economics look much more like the cell phone industry than it does the PC value chain…Zemlin predicts that in the next two to five years hardware will become free. People won't buy software and they won't buy hardware, they'll pay for services like Amazon Web Services…”

SkyNet

20. Goodbye, Gears - Google Docs Boots Plugin for HTML5 on May 3rd http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/goodbye_gears_google_docs_boots_plugin_for_html5_on_may_3rd.php “…Google Doc's offline mode is going...well...offline. Starting May 3rd, offline access for Google Docs…will be disabled. Previously, users had been able to take advantage of the offline functionality provided by Google Gears, an open source browser extension which allowed for both the viewing and editing of files when an Internet connection was not present. Soon, the Gears-enabled feature will be no more…In the plugin's place, there will be a "new and improved" HTML5-based offline option which will replace the former solution…At the moment, these web apps go offline if and only if you've installed the Google Gears browser plugin. Unfortunately, not all browsers can properly run this plugin…Internet Explorer users could never view spreadsheets offline…Google Gears on the iPhone? Forget about it. A better solution is HTML5, the next revision to the markup language used to code the web…HTML5 is a web standard, not a browser plugin. That means it will be supported across web browsers and operating systems, assuming users have updated to a modern browser instead of continuing to run IE6…The end result will be an Internet-based document creation tool and editor that can work anywhere, anytime, even when the Internet doesn't…”

21. Cutting Through the Fog of Google’s Cloud Print http://gigaom.com/2010/04/16/google-cloud-print-explained/ “…Google introduced its new approach to printing yesterday with the announcement of Google Cloud Print. But “cloud” in this case is equating to “foggy” for some…A web-based printing solution hasn’t been implemented yet by Google…for now, Google has simply outlined the plans, checked in some publicly available code and floated an innovative idea…Google is attempting to remove the computer from the middle of the print equation. In today’s world, we use an application to send a print job to the print server running on our computer. That software manages the task by communicating through a driver (more software) to the physical hardware of the printer. In the Google Cloud Print solution, the computer and accompanying print server software go away…Google handles the print job and communicates directly with a cloud-aware printer — these don’t exist yet, which is why I said the solution isn’t implemented yet. You may not need to replace your current printer with a cloud-aware one, though — Google will include a proxy software solution in the Google Chrome browser…Google’s cloud printing concept has merit and solves a problem that could otherwise hamper adoption of Chrome OS devices…yet Om made a good point with the opposite point of view: What’s the point of sending a print job up to the cloud only to pull it back down to the printer sitting three feet away?...I see that situation as the exception and not the rule because Chrome OS is meant for mobile use much more so than home use…”

22. Localized Google Suggest and Smarter Auto-Corrections http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_introduces_localized_google_suggest_smarter.php “…Google is…launching an improved version of Google Suggest that also takes larger metro areas into account. Now, Google Suggest will offer different suggestions for users in New York City and Portland, OR, for example…Google is also rolling out smarter corrected spellings for names. As Google notes, people often search for names, but don't know the exact spelling. Now, whenever you add a person's profession, affiliation or other related keywords to an approximation of this person's name, Google will offer better suggestions and more useful spelling corrections…”

23. Google: U.S. Demanded User Info 3,500 Times in Six Months http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/04/google-warrants-transparency#ixzz0lfkJtncK “…search engines and ISPs have refused to tell the public how many times the cops and feds have forced them to turn over information on users…on Tuesday, Google broke that unwritten code of silence, unveiling a Government Requests Tool that shows the public how often individual goverments around the world have asked for user information, and how often they’ve asked Google to remove content from their sites or search index for reasons other than copyright violation. The answer for U.S. users is 3,580 total requests for information over a six month period from July 2009 to December 2009…Brazil just edges out the U.S. in the number of requests for data about users, with 3,663 over that six months. That’s due to the continuing Brazilian popularity of Google’s social networking site, Orkut…”

24. Google Puts Its $50 Million To Work, Starts Using Aardvark For Help Support http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/16/google-puts-its-50-million-to-work-starts-using-aardvark-for-help-support/ “…Google acquired promising social search startup Aardvark for around $50 million. The service allows you to ask questions and get responses almost immediately from other users who are knowledgeable about the topic…we’ve already come across what may be Google’s first use of Aardvark in the wild: Help support. Visit the YouTube Help page and you’ll notice a prominent link prompting users to “give Aardvark a try!”…Google has put an identical message on the Help page for Google Toolbar…Most Google services offer Help guides, but there’s almost never a phone number or email address to contact an actual human (which isn’t surprising given that most of these services are free). Aardvark could serve as a good compromise for Google, adding a human touch without the need to set up phone banks of support personnel…I decided to put Aardvark to the test with a basic (but probably common) YouTube support question: “What file formats does YouTube support…I had my answer, complete with a link to the appropriate help article on YouTube, within around five minutes…”

25. Google Places http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/do_you_deliver_out_here_google_places_says_so.php “…Google has announced…several…new features, under the umbrella title of Google Places. According to Google, one out of five searches on the search engine are related to location…Google Places is primarily a merging of its Local Business Center with its Place Pages, of which there are more than 50 million…Google will be offering businesses the ability to define their service areas, allowing them to show customers which geographic areas they serve. That, coupled with real-time updates, should allow for some interesting uses of Google with not only delivery services, but completely mobile vendors and other such businesses. Our other favorite new feature offered by Google Places is its customized QR codes, which allows businesses to download and share QR codes in any number of ways…”

General Technology

26. Definitive 2TB HD Roundup: WD, Seagate, Samsung http://hothardware.com/Articles/Definitive-2TB-Hard-Drive-Roundup/ “…it feels like the good, old, reliable hard disk drive (HDD) doesn't get any respect. When it comes to storage, Solid State Drives (SSDs) are getting all the attention these days--and it's no wonder, considering the speed, durability, low-power, and silent-running attributes of current solid state drives. But SSDs are also very expensive and offer relatively low-capacities when compared to traditional HDDs…With costs as low as $0.07/GB (seven cents per GB), there's hardly any reason why your next 3.5-inch HDD shouldn't be a 2TB drive…In this roundup we take a look at a total of nine 3.5-inch, SATA, 2TB hard drives, from Samsung, Seagate, and Western Digital…”

27. Intel Light Peak Optical Cables May Succeed USB http://www.pcworld.com/article/194226/ Intel sees its Light Peak technology for linking devices by optical cable as potentially succeeding USB 3.0, a change that in several years could mean the disappearance of a port used almost universally in gadgets today…Intel will make the technology available late this year and expects partners to start shipping devices with it next year…A trend toward optical instead of electrical links raises the risk that separate optical cables could appear for many protocols, such as USB and serial ATA…Light Peak can run multiple protocols at the same time over one line, so all the data meant for the separate cables could run through one Light Peak cable instead…Light Peak can currently transfer data at a speed of 10G bps (bits per second), or fast enough to send a full Blu-Ray movie in less than half a minute…the technology could be scaled up to 10 times that speed in the next decade…”

28. World Robot Population Reaches 8.6 Million http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/industrial-robots/041410-world-robot-population The world's robot population has reached 8.6 million…The study divides robots in two categories: industrial robots and service robots…the number of industrial robots grew to 1.3 million in 2008…and service robots grew to 7.3 million …The report keeps these two categories separate…because these are very different robots in terms of complexity and cost: an industrial robot can be a multimillion dollar manipulator…whereas a service robot can be a $50 dollar toy robot…First, industrial robots…2008 sales reached 113,000 units, which is about the same as the previous year…the culprit, as you might have guessed, is the global economic meltdown…world industrial robot sales amounted to about US $6.2 billion in 2008…this amount doesn't include cost of software, peripherals, and system If you were to add that up, the market would be some three times larger, or around $19 billion. Now on to service robots…According to the report, 63,000 service robots for professional use were sold in 2008, a market valued at $11.2 billion. A breakdown by application: 30 percent (20,000 units) for defense, security, and rescue applications; 23 percent for milking robots; 9 percent for cleaning robots; 8 percent each for medical and underwater robots; 7 percent for construction and demolition robots; 6 percent for robot platforms for general use; and 5 percent for logistic systems…”

29. HP Designjet 3D Printer Now On Sale http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-04/hp-prints-three-dimensions-release-designjet-3d “…HP-branded Designjet 3D fabrication machines…based on Stratasys's Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology…turns three-dimensional CAD drawings into tangible prototypes by extruding partially molten ABS plastic in extremely fine layers one atop the other, forming the entire 3-D model in a single piece from the ground up. Designjet 3D will print in ivory-colored plastic only while Designjet Color 3D will print single-color parts in up to eight different colors…the idea is to offer a point of entry into 3-D printing for those who want to prototype in-house directly from their computers. That kind of convenience can save a lot of time and money on product development…HP today announced that the Designjet 3D would retail starting at less than €13,000, or just under $17,500…”

30. Brain games don’t make you smarter, study finds http://www.healthzone.ca/health/mindmood/brainhealth/article/798025--brain-games-don-t-make-you-smarter-study-finds Playing computer brain games may boost your ability to track a ball or land an on-screen helicopter, but it won’t make you a rocket scientist, according to a new U.K. study…The study of 11,430 participants is the largest examination so far of brain games — an exploding pastime for baby boomers and seniors who are terrified of losing their minds. That fear has fuelled such a boom in online brain games, from Nintendo’s Brain Age to Posit Science’s Brain Fitness, that sales are expected to hit $5 billion by 2015, up from just $265 million in 2008… “If you’re doing the games with the hope of getting some kind of general cognitive improvement, the evidence suggests you’re wasting your time,” says Grahn. “It seems there are no shortcuts. Improving cognitive function requires more than just some fun games — like maintaining an active social life, eating well, doing aerobic exercises, keeping your stress levels low and learning new things like a language or how to play an instrument. Those are things that evidence shows can help brain function.”…A year-long study is now underway among people over the age of 60 to look at whether the games may have more of an affect on older brains or those with dementia and Alzheimer’s…” [http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vnfv/ncurrent/pdf/nature09042.pdf ]

31. Meteor Fragment From Wisconsin Fireball Discovered by Farmer http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/wisconsin-meteor-fireball-fragment-100417.html A small chunk of rock believed to be a fragment from a meteor that burst into a stunning fireball over Wisconsin Wednesday night was discovered by a farmer after it fell on the roof of his shed. The meteor fragment is peppered with gray, white and reddish minerals, though one side is covered in what scientists called a "fusion crust" – a layer of dark material forged during the meteor's fiery passage into Earth's atmosphere. It weighs just 0.2 ounces (7.5 grams) and is about 2 inches…long…A camera mounted to a campus building at the University of Wisconsin-Madison caught the Wisconsin meteor's explosive demise. The meteor's sonic boom and explosion…sparked frantic 911 emergency calls across six different states…When the meteor exploded, it unleashed as much energy as the detonation of 20 tons of TNT, NASA scientists said. Their analysis found that the parent meteor was about 3.3 feet (1 meter) wide before it blew apart…The rock includes traces of magnesium, iron and silica compounds, as well as other common minerals like olivine and pyroxene. The meteor fragment also contained iron-nickel metal and iron sulfide…”

Leisure & Entertainment

32. All things technical at Spain's Campus Party http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100418/tc_afp/spaininternetit “…Campus Party, one of the world's biggest online entertainment events, where robots play football and visitors enjoy all things technical. The robots are the result of months of work for the students of Braga University in northern Portugal…Around 800 IT enthusiasts are taking part in Campus Party, which lasts until Sunday and is aimed at sharing ideas, experiences and all types of activities related to computers, communications and new technology as well as showcasing new talents. Some of the projects are just for fun, but some are serious…Seated behind their computers in a massive room of the Magic Box, an ultramodern complex that normally hosts tennis tournaments, are Matthias and Deborah, a German and a Spaniard…the Campus Party, which began in Spain in 1997…was held last year in the Mediterranean port of Valencia…Matthias said he drove 1,500 kilometres to show off his toaster-computer. "The idea is that when I feel lazy, when I don't want to get out of bed or to go to the kitchen I can grill my toast with a touch of my PC," he explained. Other projects are more serious, and even educational, such as that of Naima and a group of students from the Paris region. They have built a video game aimed at children to fight bad eating habits which involves using a joystick to separate carrots or tomatoes from packets of chips or hamburgers…” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campus_Party ]

33. "Shrek", the Web, transform Tribeca Film Festival http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100416/media_nm/us_tribeca “…the Tribeca Film Festival shifts into a new gear and embraces the future of film when it opens next week with a 3D "Shrek" movie and online streaming for Web audiences. The festival begins April 21…Tribeca was co-founded by actor Robert De Niro in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center as a way to bring people back to the Big Apple, and in those years it has ripened into a high-profile launch pad for independent films and world documentaries…this year they are opening a virtual theater door to several films so North American audiences can watch movies online…This year's Tribeca Film Festival will screen 85 feature-length films, including 55 narrative features and 30 documentaries, as well as 47 short films…"Freakonomics," is adapted from the best-selling book co-directed by "Super Size Me" director Morgan Spurlock and Oscar-winner Alex Gibney, who is also showing two other films…This year, movie lovers who can't make it to Manhattan can instead pay $45 for a virtual pass that will let them watch eight full-length features and 18 short films online. At the same time, they can comment on the movie in a chat space simultaneously as they are watching it. Festival co-founder Jane Rosenthal said Tribeca was keeping up with way younger audiences were watching films -- whether via mobile phones, IPods or computers…”

34. Seagate and Paramount ship 21 movies with FreeAgent Go drives http://www.geek.com/articles/news/seagate-and-paramount-ship-21-movies-with-freeagent-go-drives-20100413/ Paramount Digital Entertainment and Seagate have teamed up to start offering movies with new…500GB FreeAgent Go portable hard drives…with 21 DVD-quality movies preloaded on the disk taking up 50GB of drive space…Star Trek (2009) will be unlocked and available to watch out the box. The other 20 will be locked and require an additional payment to become watchable. The price of the license is thought to be between $9.99-$14.99 per movie, adding as much as $299.80 to the price of the hard drive if you wish to view all of the films. The license does allow for the transfer of movies off the Seagate hard drive and on to other portable devices or your desktop PC…if you are going to buy a 500GB portable hard drive anyway you might as well get the free film. But beyond that first movie this offer is terrible value for money. Nearly $300 to watch 20 films in digital form? No thank you…”

35. Comic publishers go tech for new readers http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/books/2163594,chicago-comic-entertainment-expo-041610.article Superheroes, aliens and vixens invade the city this weekend when the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo -- C2E2 -- touches down at McCormick Place…Comic books are making their transition to the iPad, which could net publishers a new audience for the genre…The new season preview of "Doctor Who is at 8 p.m. Friday…One of the newest trends emerging in the industry is savvy books that are cross-generational and cross-genre, such as the movie "Kick-Ass," which opens today; the comic book serial based on the film will follow. "Movies like 'Kick-Ass' introduce a new audience to characters that will transfer to comic book form, which puts [the audience] in on the beginning of the serial…"[Digital media] is a way to draw a new crowd without losing our long-time fan base," said Ryall, "[though] nothing can replace the physical experience of owning your favorite comic book…”

Economy and Technology

36. Zillow rises to No. 2 online real estate site behind Realtor.com http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2010/04/report_zillow_rises_to_no_2_online_real_estate_site.html Zillow.com surpassed Yahoo Real Estate to become the second most visited online real estate site during the month of March, according to a new report from Experian Hitwise. Zillow -- which for the past two months had ranked third -- recorded a search market share 3.49 percent. That compared to industry leader Realtor.com which came in at 6.51 percent. Yahoo Real Estate finished the month at 3.38 percent, while Rent.com came in fourth at 2.75 percent and ZipRealty finished fifth with 2.52 percent. Zillow.com's key rival, San Francisco-based Trulia, finished sixth with a market share of 2.32 percent. And Redfin continues to climb the online real estate charts as it expands service into more markets…”

37. Can You Live A Year On Virtual Currency? http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/16/can-you-live-a-year-on-virtual-currency-dibspaces-founder-will-find-out/ “…Canterbury is trying to prove that he can live his life (from rent, to food, to the clothes on his back) with just virtual currency for an entire year…Dibspace.com calls itself an “Overstock.com” for local services that trades in (yes, you guessed it) “Dibits.” One Dibit is worth one dollar but you can never cash out for real dollars. Businesses, like a local inn or a yoga studio, who have excess availability/products can post their wares/services on Dibspace. Interested consumers call “Dibs,” and then the vendor selects a consumer and invoices when the service/product has been rendered. There are multiple advantages from the small business perspective…private consumers can also post goods and services and receive Dibits for those transactions. You get 10 Dibits when you open an account, 10 Dibits for referring friends (30 if you refer a business), and 10 Dibits for posting an offer (up to 5), there is also an option to buy credits at different points throughout the year. The site is still relatively small, with just 4,000 users, but there should be enough on Dibspace for Canterbury’s venture. There are 1,500 offers on the site and roughly half-a-million dollars in goods and services have been traded (currently, the site is focused in the Puget Sound/Seattle area). Canterbury will embark on his virtual currency journey in 42 days…”

38. Daily Grommet Raises $3.4 Million For Invention Marketplace http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/15/daily-grommet-raises-3-4-million-for-invention-marketplace/ Daily Grommet, a curated online marketplace and video review site for quirky inventions and products, has raised $3.4 million in Series A funding…The site features one creative invention or product per day, with an in-depth video review. Daily Grommet will also sell the product on its site and take a small cut from sales. Think Etsy meets social product development platform Quirky. Daily Grommet features products of utility, style or invention that haven’t hit the big-time yet…The company receives submissions from consumers and spotlights products with a video review explaining what’s compelling about each day’s product and the story behind its creation…”

39. Apple revenue jumps almost 50 percent http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-20002964-37.html “…Apple reported revenue of $13.5 billion and profits of $3.07 billion, or $3.33 earnings per share. That's a 49 percent increase from the $9.08 billion in revenue reported in the same quarter a year ago…Mac and iPhone sales were up, by 33 and 131 percent, respectively: Apple says it sold 2.9 million Macs, 8.75 million iPhones, and 10.89 million iPods during the quarter…”

40. For A123, Government Funding Brings Both Job Creation and Innovation http://www.xconomy.com/boston/2010/04/14/for-a123-government-funding-brings-both-job-creation-and-innovation-ceo-says/ “…A123, whose nanoscale electrode technology comes out of MIT, was initially funded in 2001 with a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, but grew over the last decade to pull off a $380 million IPO in September 2009. A123’s first product, a battery for handheld electric tools, was used by Black & Decker, but the company has since evolved to focus on batteries for electric vehicles. It put its first production facilities in Asia because the region possesses all the materials, equipment, manufacturing, and development knowledge surrounding lithium-ion battery production…Last year, A123 won a $249 million grant as part of the DOE’s push for electric vehicles, and used the funding to begin construction on its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Livonia, MI…”

Civilian Aerospace

41. 3-D Printing Device Could Build Moon Base from Lunar Dust http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/3-d-printer-moon-base-100416.html Future astronauts might end up living in a moon base created largely from lunar dust and regolith, if a giant 3-D printing device can work on the lunar surface. The print-on-demand technology, known as D-Shape, could save on launch and transportation costs for manned missions to the moon…Dini's D-Shape has created full-size sandstone buildings on Earth by using a 3-D printing process similar to how inkjet printers work. It adds a special inorganic binder to sand so that it can build a structure from the bottom up, one layer at a time…”

42. Robonaut ready for duty http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2010/04/14/2270479.aspx When Discovery's six astronauts take the final space shuttle ride to orbit in September, there'll be one more rider sitting in the back of the bus: Robonaut 2, the semi-humanoid robot by NASA and GM. The 300-pound (137-kilogram) robot, known as R2 for short, is being outfitted for its first tour of duty on the International Space Station - a tour that marks one small step toward a world where robots and humans work side by side in space…It's only a robo-head and torso, equipped with two arms complete with humanlike hands and five fingers. But that's enough to start seeing how humanoid androids perform in zero-gravity. "This project exemplifies the promise that a future generation of robots can have both in space and on Earth, not as replacements for humans but as companions that can carry out key supporting roles," John Olson, director of NASA's Exploration Systems Integration Office, said in today's announcement about R2's itinerary. "The combined potential of humans and robots is a perfect example of the sum equaling more than the parts…”

43. Space: The "New West" Frontier http://www.huffingtonpost.com/da-barber/space-the-new-west-fronti_b_539744.html “…California and Colorado rank #1 and #2 respectively in private space industry workers, as well as designing almost all the spacecraft launched by the United States…Obama's changes in the mission of NASA could mean a windfall for the commercial space travel industry. And that's where the West could win in the long run if the "new" NASA is funded adequately…The administration decided to pursue a "flexible path" to get astronauts back into space quicker and build a slimmed-down version of the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle that would only be used as a crew lifeboat on the International Space Station. Other highlights include…Launch robotic exploration missions to scout locations for missions to Mars, to prepare for human landing by mid-2030's…Develop in-space refueling and inflatable habitats for living in space...According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the space industry employed nearly 263,000 Americans in 2008 with average salaries of $90,000 per year…”

44. Company To Focus On Small Space Payloads http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/asd/2010/04/16/06.xml&headline=Company%20To%20Focus%20On%20Small%20Space%20Payloads&channel=space Andrews Space has formed a service company focused on providing routine, low-cost space access for small payloads. SpaceFlight Services is kicking off its business venture by signing an agreement with Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) to manifest payloads using excess capability on upcoming Falcon 9/Dragon missions…The company will be a commercial provider of small payload flight services for fixed and deployable cargo and spacecraft. It will use a process which “allows payloads to be rapidly manifested, certified, integrated and flown to space by simplifying launch integration planning and providing a single customer interface…”

45. New Mexico Spaceport Authority director resigns http://www.lcsun-news.com/las_cruces-news/ci_14903115 New Mexico Spaceport Authority director Steve Landeene announced his resignation Friday…"I now have a need to regain some work-life balance that cannot be accomplished given the current stresses and time commitments of the Spaceport America executive director role," he wrote…"We appreciate Steve's service and wish him well in the future," said Mondrag-n, in a statement. "The authority will move aggressively to find a replacement and move forward with the construction schedule for Spaceport America…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

46. NVIDIA Invests in Computing's Future http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nvidia-invests-in-computings-future-with-awards-to-top-phd-students-2010-04-15?reflink=MW_news_stmp NVIDIA…is awarding $250,000 to 10 top Ph.D. students to help solve complex visual and parallel computing challenges. Each student will receive $25,000, as well as engineering and technical support, to further their advanced research in these fields. Participants…were selected from 268 applications from 28 countries. Sponsored projects involve a variety of technical challenges, including light-transport simulation, computer vision using neuroscience, and programmability and optimization for heterogeneous systems…”

47. eyeon unveils Fusion 6.1 for nextgen GPU supercomputing http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/eyeon-Software-Unveils-Fusion-61-90879039.html “…Fusion 6.1 now supports the OpenCL language, which allows tools to take advantage of the GPU in modern NVidia and ATI graphics cards…benchmarking improvements of up to 1,000 percent on some of the most processor-intensive tools in Fusion (such as Defocus and Noise generators)…Instead of just doing 3D OpenGL rendering on graphics cards, more general processing can be achieved at orders of magnitude faster than possible with CPU-only processing. Fusion 6.1 now supports RenderMan renderer directly. This demonstrates the open plugin flexibility of the 3D rendering system…Fusion 6.1 now supports Python 3.1 right within the interface…”

48. Blackmagic Design introduces Da Vinci on the Mac http://www.macvideo.tv/editing/news/index.cfm?newsId=3220767&pagType=allchandate “…In the past DaVinci Resolve systems were pre built and priced from $200,000 for a 1 GPU based system, to over $800,000 for a 16 GPU top of the line system…The new Mac based software only version of DaVinci Resolve will retail at only US$995 and includes all the powerful DaVinci Resolve features…In the company’s performance testing, the single GPU performance on Mac is similar to the single GPU Linux systems that cost $200,000 only 6 months ago…a Linux based system that allows multiple GPUs and CPUs for faster processing…Linux license is US$19,995…Linux version lets them upgrade simply by adding GPUs as they need…most powerful system that’s possible to build would still be less than $150,000 including all hardware and software…dramatically less than the over US$800,000 it cost only 6 months ago…”

49. NVIDIA Quadro Enables High Resolution Real-Time Video Editing in Adobe Creative Suite 5 http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nvidia-quadro-unleashes-high-resolution-real-time-video-editing-in-adobe-creative-suite-5-production-premium-2010-04-12?reflink=MW_news_stmp “…Adobe CS5 with Quadro graphics is a godsend for production pros," said Matt Silverman, creative director/partner at San Francisco-based Bonfire and Phoenix Editorial. "When you add NVIDIA GPU acceleration to Adobe Premiere Pro CS5, the performance gains and time savings are enormous. There's simply no comparison between using CPU acceleration versus GPU acceleration. I can stack more layers and effects without affecting real-time playback, meaning I can be that much more creative in less time." A cost-effective NVIDIA Quadro-based workstation with Adobe video software now enables film and video professionals to achieve the performance and creative freedom previously reserved for dedicated edit suite systems costing upwards of $100,000…”


*****

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