NEW NET Issues List for 27 Apr 2010

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 27 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. Top 10 Ways to Access Blocked Stuff on The Web http://lifehacker.com/5516305/top-10-ways-to-access-blocked-stuff-on-the-web The web is a generally free place, but some sites and services want to make it annoying to navigate and enjoy. Stream any video you'd like, see the sites you need, and get at services you thought were down with these tips…10. Skip Past Annoying User/Pass Requests…9. Read Articles That Rupert Murdoch Wants You Paying For…7. Get to Gmail When It's Down…The Gmail team itself has recommended using an IMAP client when Gmail isn't loading, and the How-To Geek has quite a few other work-arounds to recommend, including keeping a link to Gmail's HTML-only and mobile versions handy…3. Download YouTube and Other Flash Videos…To get at YouTube and other streaming video sites' goods, the How-To Geek wrote up a complete guide to ripping and converting Flash videos. Among the recommendations: YouTube Downloader or the Get YouTube Video bookmarklet, along with the old Vixy.net webapp standby. If Hulu's where you want to grab from, StreamTransport is, at the moment, working for that purpose. For conversion to nearly any format once the download's done, try the Format Factory…2. Access Country-Blocked Streaming TV…”

2. Pandora and Facebook: So Happy Together http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/04/pandora-and-facebook-so-happy-together/ The leading online radio service and world’s biggest social network have forged a bond that will solidify both companies’ dominance, while offering music fans a way to share music with each other that appears to lack any significant downside…integrating your Pandora and Facebook accounts won’t pollute your Facebook stream with endless notifications about what you’re listening to. The upside for Pandora users is significant, due to the ways in which it broadcasts their taste, helps them discover and enjoy new music through their friends. There are countless ways to do these exact same things elsewhere on the web, and you’ve already been able to share Pandora stations with friends. But Pandora + Facebook = such easy math that even the busy or excessively lazy can integrate it into their lives…if this aspect of Facebook’s initiative takes off it will make the company the de facto storage point for our musical preferences, while boosting Pandora’s utility…”

3. Time to Audit Your Facebook Privacy Settings, Here's How http://www.fastcompany.com/1624745/time-to-audit-your-facebook-privacy-settings Now that Facebook is loosening its data-sharing policies with third-party Web sites and applications, it's the perfect time for users to consider tightening up their privacy settings. This week the mega social network announced new personalization features that extend the Facebook experience to third-party Web sites--unless you opt out, that is. Here's a rundown of the new features, and how you can opt out if you choose…”

4. Inner Workings of Global Encyclopedia 'Better than a Soap Opera' http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,690402,00.html Wikipedia, the world's largest encyclopedia, is a massive project…behind the scenes of the German-language version of this intellectual utopia is a group of small and dedicated volunteers. Their passion for truth at times leads to bitter disputes. It was only one word that Wladyslaw Sojka changed on Wikipedia. But by doing so, he set off a running battle that lasted two and a half months and took on a tone so hateful that it even surprised Sojka…It started one night when Sojka modified the first sentence of the German-language Wikipedia article on the Danube Tower in Vienna. He changed "The Danube Tower is an observation tower" into "The Danube Tower is a television and observation tower."…The very next morning, Sojka saw…"Elisabeth59" had undone his modification and added a comment: "The Danube Tower is definitively not a television tower…Thus began one of the most absurd debates ever carried out on the German Wikipedia website. It amounted to pages and pages full of insults and corrections, reaching a length of 600,000 characters -- as much as a book. The underlying issues soon became much greater than just the Danube Tower -- it was about the truth and who has the right to enforce it. Wikipedia is the world's largest encyclopedia and it soon may be the only remaining one, so those issues are crucial. The print version of the German-language Brockhaus Encyclopedia as well as Microsoft's CD-ROM encyclopedia, Encarta, have been discontinued, and the Encyclopædia Britannica is experiencing financial difficulties. The days of thick encyclopedia volumes lining bookshelves are past…Wikipedia seems like a utopia come true -- global knowledge compiled by everyone, administered, amended and corrected by everyone…The miracle of Wikipedia, though, is how all that bickering can actually give rise to knowledge…The vast majority of Wikipedia's millions of users never even noticed the dispute over the Danube Tower. These users access the online encyclopedia to quickly look something up, and they know, for the most part, that not every single thing they find there is necessarily true…”

5. iFixit wants repair manual for everything http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2010/04/fixing-the-planet-ifixit-wants-repair-manual-for-everything.ars “…iFixit CEO and cofounder Kyle Wiens…believes that repairing and maintaining the devices we already have, instead of tossing them aside for new ones, can do more to help the problem than even recycling can. "Repair is better than recycling," Wiens said. "We can become vastly more sustainable by fixing things when they break rather than mining them for raw materials." To further that goal, iFixit is launching what it calls "Repair 2.0." iFixit's staff has written repair manuals for nearly every Apple product, but volunteers testing iFixit's new platform since September 2009 have written detailed repair manuals for game consoles, cell phones, cameras, and even the brakes on recent Dodge Caravans. "In the last six months, [volunteers] have written manuals covering as many devices as we've been able to write at iFixit in the last seven years…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

6. McAfee apologizes for crippling PCs with bad update http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9175940/McAfee_apologizes_for_crippling_PCs_with_bad_update “…a McAfee…antivirus signature update wrongly quarantined a critical Windows system file after identifying it as a low-threat virus. Reports, confirmed and anecdotal, put the number of affected PCs in the thousands, the majority of them in businesses. Only systems running Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3), the newest version that Gartner analyst John Pescatore estimated had a 50% share of the enterprise market, were clobbered by the bad update. Computers crippled by the update crashed and rebooted repeatedly, and lost their connection to the network, a symptom that forced support staff to visit each downed PC, thus dragging out the time required to resuscitate machines…” [http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-20003399-83.html ]

7. The glass box and the commonplace book http://www.stevenberlinjohnson.com/2010/04/the-glass-box-and-the-commonplace-book.html “…a long and fruitful tradition that peaked in Enlightenment-era Europe and America, particularly in England: the practice of maintaining a “commonplace” book…“commonplacing,” as it was called, involved transcribing interesting or inspirational passages from one’s reading, assembling a personalized encyclopedia of quotations. It was a kind of solitary version of the original web logs: an archive of interesting tidbits that one encountered during one’s textual browsing. The great minds of the period—Milton, Bacon, Locke—were zealous believers in the memory-enhancing powers of the commonplace book…Each rereading of the commonplace book becomes a new kind of revelation. You see the evolutionary paths of all your past hunches: the ones that turned out to be red herrings; the ones that turned out to be too obvious to write; even the ones that turned into entire books…Locke’s scheme…provided just enough order to find snippets when you were looking for them, but at the same time it allowed the main body of the commonplace book to have its own unruly, unplanned meanderings…this magic was predicated on one thing: that the words could be copied, re-arranged, put to surprising new uses…By stitching together passages written by multiple authors, without their explicit permission or consultation, some new awareness could take shape…The overall increase in textual productivity may be the single most important fact about the Web’s growth over the past fifteen years…Apple’s new iBook application for the iPad…when you try to copy a paragraph of text. You get the familiar iPhone-style clipping handles, and you get two options “Highlight” and “Bookmark.” But you can’t actually copy the text, to paste it into your own private commonplace book, or email it to a friend, or blog about it…the book in question is Penguin's edition of Darwin’s Descent of Man, which is in the public domain. Those are our words on that screen. We have a right to them…the Kindle – even the Kindle app for the iPad – does allow you to clip passages and automatically store them on a file that can be downloaded to your computer…You are apparently limited to a certain percentage of the overall text of the book, which is perfectly reasonable in my mind…This is a page from the NY Times Editor’s Choice iPad app, showing what happens when you try simply to select text from an article. You can't do it…A single piece of information designed to flow through the entire ecosystem of news will create more value than a piece of information sealed up in a glass boxPeople who spend a lot of time on political sites are far more likely to encounter diverse perspectives than people who hang out with their friends and colleagues at the bar or the watercooler…This study suggests that Internet users are a bunch of ideological Jack Kerouacs. They’re not burrowing down into comforting nests. They’re cruising far and wide looking for adventure, information, combat and arousal…The reason the web works as wonderfully as it does is because the medium leads us, sometimes against our will, into common places, not glass boxes…”

8. Texas beauty school's cell phone jammer leads to $25K fine http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/04/texas-beauty-schools-cell-phone-jammer-leads-to-25k-fine.ars What does a cosmetology school just outside Dallas need with a 5W adjustable cell phone jammer? Blissful quiet in the classrooms, apparently. But the school's decision to install the jamming unit…was one link in a chain that last week led…to…a $25,000 fine against the company hawking the products…The CommLawBlog, which highlighted the FCC's proposed fine, concluded with this parallel: "Ironically, in both Texas and Florida it is legal to openly carry firearms into a Starbucks, say. But not a phone jammer. So when the cell phone at the next table erupts into The William Tell Overture and its owner bellows, “HELLO? HEY! YEAH, IN A STARBUCKS! IT’S RAINING HERE! SO WHERE’RE YOU?” pulling out the jammer is not an option. It’s the firearm or nothing…”

9. Senators complain about Facebook privacy changes http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/04/facebook-privacy-changes-get-senatorial-ftc-attention.ars Facebook's latest privacy policy update has once again gotten the company in hot water, this time with four US senators. Senators Al Franken, Charles Schumer, Michael Bennet, and Mark Begich wrote an open letter to Facebook on Tuesday, urging the company to take "swift and productive steps" to make user information more private and warning that the Federal Trade Commission may get involved if certain concerns aren't addressed soon. Being questioned is Facebook's decision to categorize a user's hometown, current city, "likes," interests, friends, and other info as "public information." Now, even the most private user cannot have a Facebook account to communicate with friends while also keeping this information hidden from public view…Schumer…said that Facebook should change its policies so that sharing all this information is opt-in instead of opt-out (in some cases, users can't even opt out if they wanted to)…”

10. Tool to see what Facebook says about you http://gigaom.com/2010/04/27/want-to-know-what-to-know-what-facebook-is-saying-about-you-try-this-tool/ “…Developer Ka-Ping Yee has come up with a simple tool that shows you everything the social network sends to anyone whose app or service decides to plug in to the new feature — all it requires is a user ID or user name. You can find out what information you’re sharing via your public profile by looking at your settings within Facebook,too, of course. But Yee’s tool shows you exactly what data a developer would get when it asks Facebook for info via the API, such as your name, birth date, location, etc. and also any public information such as your “likes” (formerly pages you were a “fan” of), your photos and so on…Yee…found that the API was showing what events he had recently attended, and even those he was planning to attend, information he didn’t recall giving Facebook access to (another developer says the old API provided this as well). Thanks in part to Yee flagging the issue in a blog post and contacting the social network, Facebook now appears to have fixed it so that the API no longer makes this available by default…Even though this glitch has been fixed, however, Yee’s tool has managed to surprise even some of the savviest tech users with what it reveals. Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr and Hunch.com, for example, on Twitter called it “immensely useful [and] potentially scary. I’m a sophisticated privacy vet & found things I hadn’t known I was sharing…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

11. RIM Launches Voice-Over-Wi-Fi Service http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/194990/rim_launches_two_new_blackberrys_and_voiceoverwifi_service.html “…RIM introduced its voice-over-Wi-Fi service for business users. BlackBerry MVS 5 works with Cisco Unified Communications Manager to allow users to use a single work number between their landline desk phone and BlackBerry smartphone over a Wi-Fi connection. Some key features of BlackBerry MVS 5 include incoming call filtering, network preference settings (the option to switch between Wi-Fi or cellular for making calls), and Wi-Fi network access controls. BlackBerry MVS 5 will be available later this year…”

12. Motorola drops Google’s location services in favor of Skyhook wireless http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2010/04/26/businessinsider-motorola-to-use-skyhook-wi-fi-gps-on-android-phones-replacing-googles-built-in-location-services-2010-4.DTL “…Motorola will build Skyhook's location service into "much" of its Google Android-based phones worldwide, replacing Google's built-in location service. This should, in theory, provide more accurate location positioning for apps that need it…Skyhook's location service is interesting: It's based on a huge grid of wi-fi hotspots. Your phone triangulates itself based on how far away you are from certain wi-fi hotspots, which tends to be much faster than GPS, much more accurate than cell-tower-based location, and works indoors…Motorola is the first Android phone maker that will replace Google's built-in location services with Skyhook. Apple already uses Skyhook in its iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and in the latest version of its Mac OS X operating system…”

13. Power your cellphone by walking http://news.discovery.com/tech/piezoelectronic-device-electricity-motion.html Every move you make, every step you take, you can generate electricity. By cramming 20,000 nanowires into three square centimeters, scientists from Georgia Tech have created the world's first device powered solely by piezoelectric materials…Within three to five years piezoeleectric nanowires, woven into a cotton shirt or housed in a shoe heel, could charge a cell phone or laptop battery after even a short walk…according to the two new papers published by Wang's group at Georgia Tech, piezoelectrics can generate voltages up to 1.26 volts, and soon will produce voltages much higher…The wires work with each other, amplifying the electrical charge to record levels as the single layer is pushed back and forth with only the most slight and gentle of nudges…”

Open Source

14. The White House: open-source Drupal developer http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2010/04/the-white-houseopen-source-drupal-developer.ars “…not only is the Obama White House using plenty of open-source software, its technology team is contributing back to the community…the Senior Advisor to the CIO of the Executive Office of the President, Dave Cole, announced that his team was contributing three new pieces of code to the Drupal content management system, which powers the White House website. "By releasing some of our code," Cole wrote, "we get the benefit of more people reviewing and improving it…”

15. Makers share their lore at Maker Faire http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/7196304/article-Makers-share-their-lore-at-Maker-Faire Take parts of a hamfest, craft fair, computer security conference and science fair. Mix them together and you have a Maker Faire. Sanctioned by MAKE magazine but organized locally, a Maker Faire brings together inventors and creators of all kinds of materials…"You get robotics people who talk to textile people," said organizer John Danforth, and people comparing notes on topics from honey bees to boiling freon. The event was held in conjunction with the ShopBot Jamboree, which he knows through Techshop, a local do-it-yourself shop…The 3-D printer, explained Maker Faire staffer Drew Nelson, is a Replicating Rapid Prototype Machine that is designed to make itself and other plastic parts…At the Triangle Arduino Hackers Club table, Dante Cassanego of Durham explained Arduino, which is open-source hardware and software that allows people to simply control electronics…Visitors also learned about bees, habitats for bats, designing your own fabric, leather bookbinding and modern quilting…”

16. LinuxFest fosters ingenuity, software, robotics http://westernfrontonline.net/2010042712186/news/linuxfest-fosters-ingenuity-software-robotics/ At Bellingham Technical College, people were talking about computer software, astronomy and robotics — all in the same room. It was during LinuxFest Northwest 2010, and it took place April 24 and 25…The Bellingham Linux Users Group is a loosely organized group of people who have an interest in the Linux operating system and open-source software, Wright said. The average attendance for each festival for the last several years has been about 1,500 to 2,000 total, with Saturdays having the biggest crowd. The event is free and open to the public…The festival also featured Sehome High School First Robotics, a team of students from Sehome High School…Sehome's robotics team received aid from another local technology group, Bellingham Artificial Intelligence Robotics Society…a group of robotics enthusiasts…The Whatcom Association of Celestial Observers…was also at the festival…“Everyone here has a curious mind,” Bunker said. “Our connection to Linux is very tenuous…”

17. Vancouver City Hall's Open Data Experiment http://thetyee.ca/News/2010/04/26/OpenDataExperiment/ “…Over the past year, Vancouver's city government has launched a program to make large amounts of information to the public. These data sets, posted online at data.vancouver.ca, include garbage pickup schedules, drinking fountains and motorcycle parking…Mayor Robertson has gone even further, making a motion in city council that the city manager release the mayor's and council's budget and expenses, beyond the relatively scant information already available in financial disclosures…In May 2009, Coun. Andrea Reimer made a motion in city council to share as much data as possible with outside parties, to adopt open data formats and to put open source software on an equal footing with commercial applications…One of the biggest problems with this practice is changing the flow of information with government so that, instead of a single static dataset on the web, the public dataset is updated as the information changes…The idea is that people in the private sector, both companies and private citizens, can use the public data sets on the site to create new services. This has already sparked a number of ideas and experiments in making use of the open data…”

18. Counting down to Pengicon http://www.dissociatedpress.net/2010/04/26/counting-down-to-pengicon/ “…Penguicon, North America's finest science fiction and open source software convention…runs from April 30 to May 2 at the Marriott in Troy, MI…Penguicon seems to go all day and all night. Plenty of good and geeky talks as well as tons of gaming, crafting and Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream…you can still register at the door for the low, low price of $50 for the weekend. If you're in or around Troy, MI or can get there on short notice you should definitely make your way to Penguicon…”


19. Google Brings Earth View to Google Maps http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Search-Engines/Google-Brings-Earth-View-to-Google-Maps-403811/ Google…integrated Google Earth into Google Maps, providing an Earth view to Maps as a different way of looking at the world on the Web. Starting April 26, users can click the "Earth" button in Google Maps. Users will be able to zoom to any location and use navigation tools to pan around the browser. Users can "tilt" their view by holding down the shift key and the left mouse button while moving the mouse…” [ http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2010/04/earth-view-comes-to-google-maps.html ]

20. Google SkyMap for Android Puts Detailed Star Gazing in Your Pocket http://lifehacker.com/5524793/google-skymap-for-android-puts-detailed-star-gazing-in-your-pocket “…Install Google Sky Map for Android on your phone and you don't just get a chance to scroll through the heavens—although you can switch it to manual mode for fun zooming around—you actually get to see the celestial sphere as you would see it with perfect telescope-vision…Tilt the phone up towards the sky and you see what's above you, thanks to the GPS, compass, and tilt-sensors in your phone…”

21. Google Adds TV Episode Search http://mashable.com/2010/04/26/google-tv-search-2/ Google’s latest search engine feature enables users to search for individual TV episodes and sort the results by season in each series. Just search for a TV series like Mad Men or The Office, then click the “Show options…” button above the results. A panel appears on the left with several options; you can click “Videos” to narrow your search to videos, and after that the option to search for “Episodes” instead of “All videos.”…you can pick the season you want to watch and see only those episodes…It includes YouTube, Hulu, Vimeo, Amazon, Dailymotion, and network video sites like NBC.com, BBC.co.uk and AMCTV.com, among others…Television search engine startup Clicker has these features and more…”

22. Google Chrome OS kernel source code hints at ARM, Tegra 2 http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2010/04/chromeos-kernel-source-code-hints-at-arm-tegra-2-hardware.ars Google's browser-centric Chrome OS hasn't reached the market yet, but development is progressing…Google's operating system uses a Linux kernel and is partly based on the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution…Samsung revealed earlier this year that it is planning to ship Chrome OS on some upcoming products… likely that Samsung's first devices to ship with Chrome OS will be ARM-powered smartbooks…A look at the commit log of NVIDIA's branch indicates that the graphic chip maker's engineers has been busy adding Tegra support…”

General Technology

23. Driving With Your Eyes, Not Your Hands http://translate.google.com/translate?js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=1&eotf=1&u=http://www.fu-berlin.de/campusleben/forschen/2010/100423_eyedriver/index.html&sl=de&tl=en “…computer scientists at the Free University…have developed "EyeDriver" software: steering a car only through eye movements. It has the basic equipment for the new project initially quite unostentatious. You need: a car, a bicycle helmet, a laptop…the bicycle helmet with cameras…One of the helmet cameras recorded the eye movements of "driver"…movement is converted into control signals for the steering wheel, the vehicle can be steered with the eyes…"Routing Mode" on the other hand most of the time itself, goes so autonomously. Only at forks, such as intersections, stops the vehicle and asked the driver via voice, to determine the next route. This requires the support of the helmet for three seconds left and the right look. His gaze lingers long enough in one direction, is confirmed to him by the eyeDriver software acoustic, that the election has been accepted…Famous are Professor Rojas and his team for a long time: last year they introduced a car controlled by iPhone…”

24. AMD Launches Six-Core Phenom II at Bargain Price http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20003458-1.html “…In addition to introducing six-cores, the Core i7 980X Extreme earned the single-chip speed crown, complete with a high-end $1,100 price tag. AMD's new Phenom II X6 won't beat Intel on speed, but at a top-end price of $295 for the Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition, AMD makes six-core computing far more accessible. It may also make life uncomfortable for Intel's quad-core chips at that price. The Phenom II X6 actually has two iterations launching Monday--the overclockable 3.2GHz Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition ($295), and the 2.8GHz Phenom II x6 1055T ($199). Specs for both include 125W power draw, 3MB L2 cache, 6MB L3 cache, 4000MHz HyperTransport bus, and socket AM3/AM2+ motherboard support…”

25. A Brain-Recording Device That Melts Into Place http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100418155449.htm Scientists have developed a brain implant that essentially melts into place, snugly fitting to the brain's surface. The technology could pave the way for better devices to monitor and control seizures, and to transmit signals from the brain past damaged parts of the spinal cord. "These implants have the potential to maximize the contact between electrodes and brain tissue, while minimizing damage to the brain. They could provide a platform for a range of devices with applications in epilepsy, spinal cord injuries and other neurological disorders…”

26. Lousy tech support makes "Computer Stress Syndrome" worse http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2010/04/lousy-tech-support-makes-computer-stress-syndrome-worse.ars Tech support: two words that send chills down the spines of both computer experts and tech novices. Hours spent waiting on hold, techs with questionable communication skills, costly and time-sucking solutions to seemingly simple problems…The report, Combatting Computer Stress Syndrome, was compiled by the marketing think tank Customer Experience Board…two-thirds of those surveyed have experienced "Computer Stress Syndrome" thanks to spyware and viruses, overall slowdowns, loss of Internet connections, and other problems. This is despite the fact that 78 percent of those surveyed consider themselves to be computer-savvy. The most significant way in which computer failure had affected users' lives was increased stress levels, followed by interrupted work or play time, loss of valuable data, dropped network or e-mail connections, and the inability to complete an online purchase…Forty-one percent of those who called tech support were not happy with the experience, citing long wait times, the inability of techs to fix their problems, the cost of service (among those who didn't use free services), and limited language skills as the reasons for their dissatisfaction. A full 13 percent went so far as to rate their tech support service as either "poor" and "terrible…”

27. We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/27/world/27powerpoint.html Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the leader of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, was shown a PowerPoint slide…that was meant to portray the complexity of American military strategy, but looked more like a bowl of spaghetti. “When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war,” General McChrystal dryly remarked…The slide has since bounced around the Internet as an example of a military tool that has spun out of control. Like an insurgency, PowerPoint has crept into the daily lives of military commanders and reached the level of near obsession… “PowerPoint makes us stupid,” Gen. James N. Mattis of the Marine Corps…(He spoke without PowerPoint.) Brig. Gen. H. R. McMaster, who banned PowerPoint presentations…followed up at the same conference by likening PowerPoint to an internal threat…when a military Web site…asked an Army platoon leader in Iraq, Lt. Sam Nuxoll, how he spent most of his time, he responded, “Making PowerPoint slides.” When pressed, he said he was serious. “I have to make a storyboard complete with digital pictures, diagrams and text summaries on just about anything that happens…Despite such tales, “death by PowerPoint,” the phrase used to described the numbing sensation that accompanies a 30-slide briefing, seems here to stay…”

Leisure & Entertainment

28. Rent full-length films on Youtube http://www.fastcompany.com/1625836/youtube-quietly-begins-renting-movies-warming-up-for-fight-against-apple-netflix-hulu-et-al Google knows it needs to compete with Apple, Amazon, and Netflix on content. That's why they're digitizing libraries. But considering Google also owns the world's largest streaming video site, they've stayed remarkably quiet while Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Hulu have begun to figure out how to make boatloads of money off video content…Back in January, YouTube began offering five movies for rent as part of a partnership with the Sundance Film Festival. The five movies--The Cove, Bass Ackwards, One Too Many Mornings, Homewrecker, and Children of Invention--are selections from the 2009 and 2010 Sundance lineup. But they've now expanded that to a larger selection of mostly indie and foreign fare, including many recognizable titles…also a few TV shows, but nothing particularly interesting…prices of rentals vary between $1 and $4, with few exceptions, and are available for 48 hours after purchase…You pay through Google Checkout, which is pretty convenient, and since it's YouTube, you can view the movies on pretty much any device. Of course, there are also a boatload of easy, one-click ripping tools for YouTube…”

29. Goodbye CableCARD, hello "AllVid" http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/04/fcc-goodbye-cablecard-hello-allvid.ars “…Federal Communications Commission has asked for feedback on a new video interface to replace its failed CableCARD policy—an "AllVid" adapter that would, in the FCC's words, "act as an intermediary" between home theater gear and pay-TV services. Under the proposal, cable, satellite, or telco video providers would send their signals "to a small adapter on the customer's premises that would present a standard interface to all consumer devices," explained FCC Chair Julius Genachowski at Wednesday's Open Commission meeting. "The adapter could be connected to the customer's TVs, computers, or other devices that can display multichannel video programming and Internet content…”

30. How to get your photos out of Flickr, Picasa Web Albums http://arstechnica.com/software/guides/2010/04/how-to-get-your-photos-out-of-flickr-picasa-web-albums.ars Photo sharing services are no longer used by a select few—for some Internet users, Flickr and Picasa Web Albums are the place to store and organize photos. But what happens if you decide to just pick up and go to another service?...Backup lecture aside, there are numerous reasons for you to want to pull your photos down from the cloud. Some services make this task easier than others, but after finding out on Twitter that numerous readers of ours have wanted to get a mass download of their photos stored online, we figured it would be useful to give a brief how-to for Picasa and Flickr, two of the most popular photo sharing services…”

31. Burn Blu-ray Disks on Regular DVDs With x264 http://newteevee.com/2010/04/26/burn-blu-ray-disks-on-regular-dvds-with-x264/ The developers of the open source h.264 codec x264 have just released an update that makes it possible to burn Blu-ray discs on regular DVD-9 or even DVD-5 DVD-Rs. x264 uses advanced compression to fit Blu-ray movies on much cheaper DVD-Rs “with a reasonable level of quality,”…Most players will treat these discs like a regular Blu-ray disc. x264 has gained some notoriety as the codec of choice for file sharers trading Blu-ray discs via BitTorrent, but it has also been used by a number of high-profile video platforms, including Facebook and YouTube, to encode their assets in h.264. The x264 developers see the announcement as a step towards putting affordable high-quality Blu-ray authoring tools in the hands of end users…”

Economy and Technology

32. Credit cards losing ground to mobile technology and the Internet http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Credit+cards+losing+ground+mobile+technology+Internet/2941629/story.html “…The credit card industry is caught in a perfect storm," the report said. "Record net loss rates driven by rising consumer bankruptcies are occurring at a time of increased government regulation."…credit cards have gone from being one of the most profitable to one of the least profitable areas. Emerging trends in the industry will change credit cards, with the Internet and mobile technology playing a central role in payment systems…Social networking sites and personal digital assistants will be used as a payment platform with online purchases made possible through such means as virtual currency that is purchased through debit or credit card transactions. And e-wallets such as PayPal could extend their online reach by developing micro-payment solutions for social media platforms like Facebook…Loyalty programs will increase between card issuers and retailers…”

33. Bechtolsheim network switch goes for another win http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2010/04/19/bechtolsheim-thinks-new-box-changes-the-game-again/ “…Andy Bechtolsheim…past exploits include co-founding Sun Microsystems, selling a networking company to Cisco Systems and becoming the first outside investor in Google…Bechtolsheim has come up with a switching device that he says trumps the competition by dramatic margins in every way that matters…“We are three to ten times better in every metric,” Bechtolsheim says…It has 384 ports…that connect to racks that each may have a stack of 48 servers…A comparable Cisco device is about twice the size of the Arista device, draws 10 times the power and offers only 64 ports…And it lists for about $10,000 per port, Bechtolsheim says, compared with a little above $1,000 per port for the new Arista 7500…Assembling a combination of competing boxes that would pump the same amount of data as a $400,000 Arista switch at maximum speed would cost $13.7 million…Bechtolsheim opted not to develop proprietary circuitry but to cleverly package components that are available from commercial chip vendors…”

34. Apple expands in-house chip resources by acquiring Intrinsity http://deals.venturebeat.com/2010/04/27/apple-intrinsic-a4/ Following rumors earlier this month that it was acquiring mobile chip company Intrinsity, Apple today confirmed the deal…it seems like part of a larger effort to move more of the design and manufacture of its products inside the company. The A4 chip in the iPad was the first big example of that, and there’s speculation that Intrinsity’s chip was “the basis” for the A4…The acquisition should help Apple expand its chip efforts to its other devices like the iPhone…”

Civilian Aerospace

35. Will private spaceships have the right stuff? http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36678222/ns/technology_and_science-space/ “…Many veteran engineers from NASA are skeptical about the idea that less experienced teams with fewer resources could possibly replicate the space agency's success at developing spacecraft to carry humans…But the task may be far less daunting than the skeptics think. This is because the "goal posts" in human spaceflight have shifted over the decades, and the required know-how has spread even as the general level of aerospace engineering capabilities has risen…space taxis being created to serve the new policy are being designed for an entirely different mission. Unlike America's previous spaceships, these new taxis will be focused only on delivering passengers from Earth’s surface to an existing space facility and back again. There’s no need for long periods of independent orbital cruising. There’s no need for carrying equipment to be later used for moon flights…The crucial systems for the taxis have mostly already been built and are available as off-the-shelf technology — which means the spaceships could be much cheaper, much smaller and much more reliable…”

36. Time to bring Silicon Valley spirit to space industry http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_14929987 Just over five years ago…Thousands of people gathered under the crisp Mojave Desert sky to see SpaceShipOne, the first privately funded spaceship, take flight and ride a rocket-powered boost all the way to space…SpaceShipOne gave us a glimpse into a future many thought we could only dream about…NASA will now partner with commercial space companies to bring that Silicon Valley spirit to all of NASA and breathe new life into the space industry…NASA should focus on pushing the frontier rather than operating a trucking service to low Earth orbit like today's space shuttle…Back in Silicon Valley, 30 years ago, we could never have imagined all the uses for computers, but as prices dropped new markets and capabilities opened up…commercial vehicles won't just transport NASA astronauts and private citizens; they'll also contribute to zero-gravity research, development of drug therapies, and sectors that we have yet to imagine…”

37. Towards a smarter future in space http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1613/1 “…We do not know if humans and other terrestrial creatures require the gravity of Earth to live and reproduce over generations. We do not know if resources can be cost-effectively utilized to create self-sustaining environments for humans beyond Earth. However, today we do have the tools and the ability to answer these questions without large budgets…the International Space Station (ISS)…is the one location we have to run the fundamental long-duration animal life cycle experiments to determine if there are biological barriers to low-gravity development and living…An assessment of space resources is also needed for purposes of fuel, shielding, and other raw materials to build up a space transportation infrastructure…The Moon would be a near-term target of automated in situ resource utilization demonstration experiments. Whether the Moon could be a site for future settlement, however, would depend upon the outcome of low-gravity biological experiments conducted on ISS…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

38. A double parallel, symplectic N-body code running on Graphic Processing Units http://gpgpu.org/2010/04/26/double-parallel-symplectic-n-body-code This paper…discusses the characteristics and performances, both in terms of computational speed and precision, of a code which numerically integrates the equations of motion of N particles interacting via Newtonian gravitation and moving in a smooth external galactic field…The code, called ”NBSymple”, uses NVIDIA CUDA to perform the all-pairs force evaluation on an NVIDIA TESLA C1060 GPU, while the O(N) computations are distributed across CPUs using the OpenMP API…”

39. Venom T4100 Personal Supercomputer http://www.businesswireindia.com/PressRelease.asp?b2mid=22386 “…Venom Personal Super Computer…delivering a staggering 1,792 GPU compute cores…the Venom 4100 provides in excess of 4TFLOPS of computational power. This remarkable power-house is encased in a single desk-side Supermicro tower enclosure which can also be rack mounted to suit installation needs. Powered by Supermicro servers using NVIDIA’s latest generation of Tesla graphics processing unit (GPU) compute processors, the Venom T4100…systems represent today’s cutting-edge solutions for a wide range of graphics and computationally intensive applications in fields like medical imaging, oil and gas exploration, quantum chemistry, financial simulation, genomics and astrophysics…”

40. EM Photonics Unveils New CUDA Training Classes http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/EM-Photonics-Unveils-New-CUDA-Training-Classes-92201314.html EM Photonics, Inc., the developer of the GPU-accelerated linear algebra library CULA, announced today the immediate availability of its new CUDA Training Program. With hands-on experience and real-world examples, the multiday customizable training is ideal for anyone interested in learning the essentials of programming on the NVIDIA CUDA platform as well as advanced optimization techniques…The two-day standard training program covers parallel computing basics, CUDA programming, cross-platform development, debugging, deployment concerns, GPU optimization…”



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