2010/05/25

NEW NET Issues List for 25 May 2010

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 25 May 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.

This Week’s New Tech Terms: WebM, tabnabbing, Qbo, megamaser

(If you see a tech term new to you, please send it to me for inclusion on this list and discussion at the NEW NET meeting.)

The ‘net

1. Chrome Makes an App Store for the Web http://www.readwriteweb.com/enterprise/2010/05/chrome-app-store.php At the Google I/O developer conference today the company is unveiling a number of remarkable new technologies, but one of the most notable is a paradigm shift more than it is tech. Chrome, Google's Web browser, is now adding an application store to help with discovery and sales of Web applications. That's amazing. Apple's App Store, the seductive jungle of little bundles of functionality that changed the mobile market, has also changed the open Web. As Google said at the event, it can be hard to find good Web applications. Now the Chrome App Store will make that easier, including posting user reviews of apps. It will also allow developers to sell full-screen, browser-based Web apps. It's one thing to experiment with charging for Web content like newspapers are - but charging for casual consumer-level tech functionality on the Web? That's crazy. It's so crazy that it just might work…”

2. UrbanSpoon Challenges OpenTable With Restaurant Reservations Service http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/urbanspoon_challenges_opentable_with_rezbook.php Restaurant review site UrbanSpoon is slowly moving into OpenTable's territory. About half a year ago, the company launched a very limited test…for restaurants in the Seattle area…restaurant owners could only use UrbanSpoon to tell their customers whether they had last-minute openings. Now, however, UrbanSpoon is launching RezBook, an iPad app and online reservations platform that will allow restaurants to bypass OpenTable and manage their tables and reservation books…the company plans to expand this program nationwide over the next few months. UrbanSpoon will first concentrate its marketing on large markets like Seattle and Los Angeles, but anybody with an iPad will soon be able to download the application and use it. The app will be available in Apple's store within the next few weeks…The application will store its data on UrbanSpoon's servers. Besides allowing restaurants to manage their reservations, the service will also include a customer relationship management database…the iPad is an ideal device in the restaurant context, as it gives the host far more mobility than the regular large terminal that you can find in most restaurants today…Lowry noted, the iPad is also very "cool and sexy," something that a lot of restaurateurs appreciate…”

3. Obama Administration’s Redesigned Data.gov http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/05/sneak-peek-the-obama-administrations-redesigned-datagov/all/1 One year ago this Friday, United States chief information officer Vivek Kundra launched an ambitious website called Data.gov to make the government’s vast stores of data available to the public…in the hope that they would create useful tools for analyzing a range of information, from air quality by county to crime statistics by neighborhood and foreign aid by nation…Data.gov launched with 47 datasets on May 21, 2009. On its first anniversary, Data.gov will have ballooned to more than 250,000 datasets and racked up 97.6 million hits — not bad for a website whose main attractions are massive databases and wonky graphs…Federal Computer Week complained..it was too hard for the average person to figure out what to do on the site and where everything was. Kundra’s team redesigned the entire Data.gov with that sort of feedback in mind, and we’re inclined to agree that the new homepage…is markedly more intuitive and user-friendly…” [a Drupal site ;-]

4. Stanford University prepares for an amazing "bookless library" http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_15112885 One chapter is closing — and another is opening — as Stanford University moves toward the creation of its first "bookless library." Box by box, decades of past scholarship are being packed up and emptied from two old libraries, Physics and Engineering, to make way for the future: a smaller but more efficient and largely electronic library that can accommodate the vast, expanding and interrelated literature of Physics, Computer Science and Engineering…”

5. MySpace Invites Developers to Work in Its Offices With Games Lab Program http://www.insidesocialgames.com/2010/05/21/myspace-invites-developers-to-work-in-its-offices-with-game-lab-program/ As part of its drive to make social games a central part of its network, MySpace is launching a new program called Games Lab today, in which it will invite game developers to work in its Seattle and Los Angeles offices alongside MySpace employees for weeks at a time. Games Lab is the result of a collaboration between MySpace and Playdom, as well as a few other social gaming companies, according to MySpace’s brand-new head of its gaming platform, Manu Rekhi. “The typical relationship involves an evangelist, but we’re trying to get developers behind closed walls and make sure we have the right level of communication, rather than playing a game of whack-a-mole…”

6. Pac-Man eats up work time http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/10153286.stm The Pac-Man game Google put on its home page gobbled up almost five million hours of work time…The playable version of the classic video game was put on Google's front page on 21 May to celebrate 30 years since the launch of Pac-Man in Japan. The search giant reworked the game so the layout was arranged around letters forming its name…The statistics on how many people played and for how long were gathered by software firm Rescue Time. It makes time-tracking software that keeps an eye on what workers do and where they go online. On a typical day, it suggests, most people conduct about 22 searches on the Google page, each one lasting about 11 seconds…Extrapolating this up across the 504 million unique users who visit the main Google page day-to-day, this represents an increase of 4.8 million hours - equal to about 549 years…”

7. New Kind of Optical Network – Innovator’s Dilemma? http://gigaom.com/2010/05/24/with-bandwidth-demand-booming-a-new-kind-of-optical-network-is-born/ Allied Fiber said today it’s begun construction of a nationwide wholesale fiber network that will span 11,548 miles…in order to feed the increasing demand for broadband capacity resulting from everything from the ever-growing number of cellular towers to cloud computing…it’s aimed at changing the underlying business model of providing long-haul telecommunications networks…targeting data centers, high-bandwidth sites, rural ISPs, wireless companies and long-haul networks providers…It’s a plan similar to Google’s experimental fiber network for consumer broadband, but enacted on a much larger scale, and for businesses. Newby believes that in underserved areas where Allied Fiber will have a presence, the cost of bandwidth will be driven down significantly because Allied will be willing to sell access to the long haul network, at competitive rates, to anyone who wants them — something the incumbents aren’t inclined to do…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

8. UC Berkeley plan to test freshmen DNA criticized http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iRnonozkqI3lZkKJ-88_mIdWc73gD9FR4J2O0 A plan by the University of California, Berkeley to voluntarily test the DNA of incoming freshman has come under fire…it will send test kits to 5,500 new students to analyze genes that help control the body's responses to alcohol, dairy products and folic acid. The voluntary tests are intended to spur conversation about the growing field of personal genomics, not predict the likelihood of disease…We thought that this would be a more engaging vehicle for discussion than having them read a book or an article…”

9. WSJ Calls Facebook's Referring URLs a Privacy Violation http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/unbelievable_wsj_calls_referring_urls_a_privacy_vi.php In a jaw dropping move of bizarreness, Wall St. Journal writers Emily Steel and Jessica E. Vascellaro have called out major social networking websites tonight for violating user privacy apparently by passing profile page URLs to advertisers as the referring URLs when users click on ads…Update: Vascellaro has responded by email, emphasizing an apparently now-resolved if legitimate issue discussed vaguely as "in some cases" in the original story…it does appear that there was some grounds for debate around what was being communicated in some URLs. I've added some more thoughts…I don't think the situation is as crazy now as I did when I first read it and wrote this post. "Facebook, MySpace and several other social-networking sites have been sending data to advertising companies that could be used to find consumers' names and other personal details, despite promises they don't share such information without consent," the article begins…” [Facebook caught sharing secret data with advertisers http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/05/latest-facebook-blunder-secret-data-sharing-with-advertisers.ars ]

10. Tabnabbing, A New Type of Phishing Attack http://www.azarask.in/blog/post/a-new-type-of-phishing-attack/ “…Too bad my parents brought me up with scruples…we don’t expect is that a page we’ve been looking at will change behind our backs, when we aren’t looking…A user navigates to your normal looking site…Replace the favicon with the Gmail favicon, the title with “Gmail: Email from Google”, and the page with a Gmail login look-a-like…the user will most likely simply think they left a Gmail tab open. ..they’ll see the standard Gmail login page, assume they’ve been logged out, and provide their credentials to log in…you redirect them to Gmail. Because they were never logged out in the first place, it will appear as if the login was successful. We’ll call this new type of phishing attack “tabnabbing“…”

11. Travellers to be searched for porn http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/travellers-to-be-searched-for-porn-20100520-vh09.html Australian customs officers have been given new powers to search incoming travellers' laptops and mobile phones for pornography…Patten said officials now had an unfettered right to examine travellers' electronic devices, marking the beginning of a new era of official investigation into people's private lives. She questioned whether it was appropriate to search people for legal R18+ and X18+ material…Customs confirmed the new reference to "pornography" on the Incoming Passenger Cards and the search powers, acknowledging that searches conducted by officers may involve the discovery of "personal or sensitive possessions"…"Including an express reference to pornography is intended to enhance the interception of prohibited pornography at the border, by making passengers aware that some forms of pornography may be a prohibited import," the spokesman said…the change appeared to have sneaked under the radar…”

12. Facebook predicts your next date http://gawker.com/5543723/ Facebook's CEO came up with a way of predicting who a given user would be dating one week in the future, according to a new book about the social network…CEO Mark Zuckerberg found it entertaining to dive into user data and look for patterns, according to an excerpt from Fortune columnist David Kirkpatrick's The Facebook Effect…As the service's engineers built more and more tools that could uncover such insights, Zuckerberg sometimes amused himself by conducting experiments…by examining friend relationships and communications patterns he could determine with about 33 percent accuracy who a user was going to be in a relationship with a week from now. To deduce this he studied who was looking which profiles, who your friends were friends with, and who was newly single, among other indicators. This kind of predictive capacity could be used for some pretty creepy targeted advertising opportunities: flower delivery, restaurant reservations, advice books, sexual products of various sorts. If you don't think Zuckerberg is interested in systematizing this sort of data mining, consider that he's created an entire "data science" team to find interesting patterns…”

13. IBM distributes virus-laden USB keys at security conference http://www.smh.com.au/technology/security/ibm-distributes-virusladen-usb-keys-at-security-conference-20100521-w1gv.html IBM has been left with egg on its face after it distributed virus-laden USB keys to attendees at Australia's biggest computer security conference. Delegates of the AusCERT conference…were told about the malware problem in a warning email this afternoon by IBM Australia chief technologist…The incident is ironic because conference attendees include the who's who of the computer security world and IBM was there to show off its security credentials…attendees may have thought they were experiencing dejavu as Telstra was left red-faced at the 2008 AusCERT conference for also distributing malware-infected USB drives…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

14. Sayonara, iPhone: Why I'm Switching to Android http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/techtonicshifts/archive/2010/05/20/sayonara-iphone-why-i-m-switching-to-android.aspx I was already fed up with my lousy AT&T service, and was seriously considering switching to the HTC Incredible, an Android-powered phone that runs on the Verizon network…after seeing Google's new mobile-phone software, I've made up my mind. Goodbye, Apple. I'm ditching my iPhone. Seriously, I'm gone. I don't even care if Apple does manage to get off the awful AT&T network and strike a deal with Verizon. That may or may not happen…I used to think that would be enough, that if I could just run my iPhone on Verizon, I'd be happy…The new version of Android—version 2.2, a.k.a. Froyo—blows the doors off the iPhone OS. It's faster, for one thing. It also will support Flash, something Apple refuses to do, mostly out of spite. The new Android OS will support tethering…just to be mean, Google showed an Android phone tethered to an Apple iPad at Google's developer conference this week…Froyo also will let you buy songs over the air and download them directly to your phone. It will also stream songs from your music library to your phone…it's impressive that Google has this feature and Apple still doesn't. I'm assuming that Apple could have done this already, but chose not to. Who knows why? Maybe they want to keep people locked into their old way of doing things. Or maybe because they were a market leader with no real competition and just got lazy…while Apple might one day match what Google just introduced, the point is this: Apple now is chasing Google…”

15. Nvidia's Android Tablet: Okay, I Could Want This http://gizmodo.com/5543026 “…Nvidia's latest Android tablet prototype…8.9-inch tablet…is Nvidia's Tegra 2, the heart of which is a dual core ARM Cortex A9—a chip that's a generation ahead of the silicon the iPad's A4 is based on—meaning this thing will zooooom. It's also got a gig of RAM (the iPad's biggest technical limitation now is its puny amount of RAM), two USB ports, and a front-facing camera…it's hard to tell what it'll be like to use generally, like with the front-facing camera and how the widescreen aspect ratio feels outside of a game, but the games did feel and look great, as you'd expect from the kind of horsepower inside…”

16. Get a new 16GB iPhone 3GS for $97 http://news.cnet.com/8301-13845_3-20005840-58.html “…Do you jump on a killer iPhone deal right now, or wait for the new model that's coming next month?...Apple will be unveiling the iPhone 4 at the Worldwide Developers Conference, which kicks off June 7…Walmart is making a big push to unload its existing iPhone stock, as evidenced by this fairly spectacular deal: The 16GB iPhone 3GS for just $97…For that price you're probably expecting a refurb, but, no, these are new units…”

17. Nokia and Yahoo Team Up on Mobile, But Few in the U.S. Care http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/05/nokia-and-yahoo-team-up-on-mobile-but-few-care/ Nokia and Yahoo — two market leaders struggling to keep up in the U.S. mobile market — joined forces Monday, announcing that Nokia would use its purchase of mapping giant NAVTEQ to power Yahoo’s map and navigation services globally…Unlike its competitors, Google and Microsoft, Yahoo no longer powers its own search and has no mobile-phone operating system. Yahoo remains the top webmail service in the U.S…Yahoo’s media properties for Sports and Finance also remain leaders on the net and are used as the defaults in Apple’s iPhone system. The Finland-based phonemaker Nokia retains its global lead as the top mobile-device maker, including smartphone and the more familiar feature phones. But Nokia’s smartphones have never resonated with U.S. customers…”

Open Source

18. Qbo, Based On Linux, To Join Growing Field Of Open Source Robots http://ostatic.com/blog/qbo-based-on-linux-to-join-growing-field-of-open-source-robots Slowly but surely, the field of open source robotics has expanded, and we've covered some of the most promising robot projects before. These include the iCub, which runs on an open source software platform found here, and open source robotics competition entries, with participants from all around the world. Now, one of the more interesting new open source robots is Qbo (shown), a Linux-based robot from the folks at thecorpora.com…”

19. Open source innovation on the cutting edge http://www.infoworld.com/d/open-source/open-source-innovation-the-cutting-edge-582 “…Proprietary software vendors, including Microsoft, would have you believe the open source movement has produced nothing but knockoffs of existing products…Numerous projects founded by universities, loosely knit communities, and individuals are exploring areas yet to be taken on by mainstream, proprietary software products. Here are just seven examples of exciting new ideas in software…you can only get for free from the open source community today…Alchemy…Bespin…Bitconin…eyeOS…KDE Social Desktop…Ksplice…Ubuntu Light/Unity…”

20. Battery Status 0.1 - Improved Battery Applet For The Gnome Desktop http://www.webupd8.org/2010/05/battery-status-01-released-improved.html “…Battery Status is a project for GNOME, that shows information about laptop battery state. It comes with a lot of additional features…Battery Status dialog…Power Statistics…CPU frequency scaling…remaining battery (either minutes or percentage)…”

21. 10 Linux Alternatives to Songbird http://www.testfreaks.com/blog/information/10-linux-alternatives-songbird/ “…Songbird has left the Linux flock and gone on to perceived greener open source pastures. But what are the Linux faithful to use to replace this one time music player gem that was heralded as the alternative to iTunes? Apparently there are a lot of choices. In fact, I doubt if Songbird will hardly be missed. So what are these Linux alternatives to Songbird? Let’s take a look at our 10 favorites…”

SkyNet

22. Google debates face recognition technology http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/3cf20b4a-6373-11df-a844-00144feab49a.html Google executives are wrestling over whether to launch controversial facial recognition technology…a series of public disputes over privacy issues had caused the management team to review its procedures and the launch of new technologies…facial recognition is one of the key topics of internal debate…Facial recognition has the potential to be the next privacy flashpoint. Google already uses the technology in its Picasa photo sharing service. This lets users tag some of the people in their photos and then searches through other albums to suggest other pictures in which the same faces appear…Google has held back on launching the technology more broadly…Privacy campaigners have raised fears that adding facial recognition to Goggles would allow users to track strangers through a photograph, making it into an ideal tool for stalkers and identity fraudsters. Google’s dilemma is that other companies, such as Israeli start-up Face.com, are developing face-recognition tools, and Google fears that it could lose an important advantage by further delaying a product launch…”

23. Um, Did Google Just Quietly Launch A Web-Based iTunes Competitor? Yep. http://techcrunch.com/2010/05/20/um-did-google-just-quietly-launch-a-web-based-itunes-competitor-yep/ “…Gundotra also showed off a new section of the Market — Music. Yes, an iTunes competitor on the web from Google…here’s how this basically works. You go to the Market on the web, find a song you like, click the download button, and just like with apps, the song starts to download on your Android devices. So it’s iTunes, over the web, with auto-syncing…Gundotra also announced that Google recently made an acquisition: Simplify Media. Using this technology, Google will soon offer a desktop app that will give you access to all of your (DRM-free) media on your Android devices remotely.”

24. Google rolls out encrypted Web search option http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_rolls_out_encrypted_searches.php Google just announced that it is rolling out a new beta feature that will allow users to enable Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption when using Google's Web search. Currently, whenever you search on Google, your search data is not encrypted and anybody with enough interest in getting this data can do so by listening in on your connection. Now, Google will use the same encryption methods that banks on e-commerce sites use to prevent others from snooping on your searches…Google's move towards encrypting your data as it moves between your browser and Google's servers means that it will be very hard to hackers and governments to spy on your searches…To access this new feature, head to https://www.google.com. Google, however, is only rolling this feature out slowly, so it might not be available for you yet. It's also important to point out that this secure connection is only available for the main Google Search page right now…”

25. FTC OKs Google-AdMob Bid For Mobile Domination, Citing Apple’s iAd http://mobile.venturebeat.com/2010/05/21/ftc-approves-google-admob/ “…Federal Trade Commission gave the green light for Google to buy mobile advertising network AdMob after the deal had been held up for six months in a competitive review. The search giant agreed to buy the San Mateo company in November for $750 million, but the inquiry stalled the two companies from finishing the acquisition. Apple’s acquisition of competing mobile ad network Quattro Wireless in January and its forthcoming iAd service seems to have pressured the commission into letting the deal pass despite concerns about Google’s power in online advertising markets. The commission specifically cited that move in its decision and voted to close the inquiry by 5 to 0. “As a result of Apple’s entry, AdMob’s success to date on the iPhone platform is unlikely to be an accurate predictor of AdMob’s competitive significance going forward, whether AdMob is owned by Google or not,” the Commission’s statement explains…”

26. Google opens up, divulges its ad commission rates http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Enterprise-Networking/Google-Preempts-Apple-iAd-by-Revealing-AdSense-Revenue-Share-438830/ “…Google May 24 came clean on its revenue-sharing practices for its two core AdSense advertising products, weeks before Apple is expected to turn on its iAd platform. Google said it pays its "AdSense for content" publishing customers 68 percent of the money the search engine earns from AdSense advertisers for content ads that appear on those publishers' Websites. This revenue split has been the same since AdSense for content launched in 2003. Google said it pays 51 percent of sales to publishers that use its "AdSense for search" product, which lets publishers place a custom Google search engine on their sites and make money from ads shown alongside search results. This revenue ratio has remained static since 2005, when Google increased the share. Google said it keeps the remaining portion of sales from both AdSense products—32 percent from AdSense for content and 49 percent from AdSense for search…”

27. Google TV Coming This Fall http://blog.louisgray.com/2010/05/while-apple-slept-on-their-hobby-google.html “…today saw the gloves come off as Google came out swinging against its competitor - and it had to be noted, even from this longtime Mac customer - that many of the punches landed, again and again. Most damning? Google actually took TV seriously…The result…is the latest and most credible offering yet that could unify the worlds of Web and television in one place - on the biggest screen in the house…Back in 2007, I had high hopes for the Apple TV…But it seemed Apple had other ideas for the device - pretty much ignoring it, even as the company saw tremendous focus in other places - first with the iPhone, and now with the iPad. Yes, the Apple TV still works. Yes, it can still show photos and YouTube and my music and pull down films from iTunes. But it's a siloed dinosaur. Google made its antiquity especially clear today…the company promises to bring the Web to the TV, complete with a search box that finds content, no matter where the source. The reason this has a much better chance to succeed than Apple TV ever could? Commitment. Commitment from the company's leadership, from partners, and to the word they keep smacking us with - openness…”

28. Google, Mozilla, And Opera Take On H.264 With The WebM Project, A New Royalty-Free Video Codec http://techcrunch.com/2010/05/19/webm-google-h-264/ http://www.zdnet.com/blog/google/is-googles-webm-a-game-changer-or-a-big-mess/2129 Just when the H.264 video codec is starting to take over a large portion of new Web videos, along comes Google to shake things up again…along with Mozilla and Opera, it is launching the WebM Project, an open, royalty-free codec that can run in HTML5 browsers without the need for Flash…the battle between Flash and HTML5 video has centered around the H.264 codec, which is gaining broad adoption. Apple supports H.264 in all of its devices such as iPads and iPhones, and it is one of the technical reasons Steve Jobs cites for why there is less and less need to support Flash. H.264 is a modern codec, fast and light. It’s great except for one thing. It is owned by the MPEG-LA consortium, which doesn’t charge royalties for its use today, but currently plans to start enforcing royalties in 2015. The royalty threat is the reason Mozilla supports an older open codex called Ogg Theora in Firefox instead of H.264…Google is donating a much better codec, called VP8, which it acquired with its purchase of On2 Techchnolgies…It includes the VP8 video codec, the open Vorbis audio codec, file extensions and a new mime type. Any video player can adopt it, including Flash…,Flash is one of the 40 launch technology partners supporting WebM…”

29. Google Wave Now Open to Public http://www.pcworld.com/article/196737/google_wave_opens_up_finally.html At 2009′s Google I|O developer conference, the big news was the debut of the company’s uberambitious Wave workgroup service…I got all giddy and called it the new epicenter of the Google-Microsoft wars…And then not a lot happened. The service stayed in private beta. It was a hot ticket for awhile, but a running gag quickly developed: “Hey, I got into Google Wave–now what?” References to chirping crickets were common. After a while, people stopped talking about Wave much, period…Almost a year later, I|O 2010 is kicking off today. And one of Google’s announcements is that it’s finally letting everyone into Wave as part of its experimental Google Labs offerings…”

30. Android Has Won — Time for Chrome OS to Move Along? http://gigaom.com/2010/05/24/android-vs-chrome-os/ “…while Chrome is still waiting for its day in the sun, Android has taken on a life of its own. By the time the Chrome OS becomes available via devices on store shelves, who knows where Android will be…look at some of the most recent Android-specific stats: 100,000 Android-based phones are activated every day…on 60 devices from 21 OEM makers on 59 carriers in 48 countries…50,000 apps in the Android Market…In the first quarter of the year, it was the second-best selling smartphone OS after RIM’s BlackBerry in the United States…what makes Android special is its adaptability. From e-readers to set-top boxes to cars to even refrigerators, the OS has shown tremendous adaptability…it makes perfect sense for Google to marshal all its resources behind Android the way Apple has done with the iPhone OS. But what of Chrome? “Android has evolved over the past four years and Chrome OS hasn’t launched just yet, so it’s an unfair comparison,” Rubin said…I took his comment to mean that Google was purposefully following a dual strategy…Gundotra candidly admitted it’s a strategy the company may adjust down the road — specifically, that there may be a way for the two technologies to converge…”

31. Google VP leads purchase of his ex-boss’ travel site, Ruba http://venturebeat.com/2010/05/21/serial-entrepreneur-mike-cassidy-sells-ruba-to-google/ Mike Cassidy has scored multiple hits as a serial entrepreneur. His latest coup is selling his online travel site Ruba to Google today…Ruba is just 15 months old. It has created a visual travel site and community with a focus on guides, photos, maps and interactive tour listings — all for improving the online travel research experience. Google will integrate Ruba into its iGoogle personalized information service. Cassidy scored big with other company exits in the past, including Xfire, Direct Hit and Stylus…Cassidy’s last startup was Xfire, an instant messenger system for gamers that MTV Networks bought for $110 million. Cassidy’s co-founder and head of marketing there was David Lawee. Lawee is now vice president of corporate development at Google in charge of mergers and acquisitions, and he’s buying his old boss’s new company…”

32. Google evangelist Vic Gundotra is the company’s new star http://venturebeat.com/2010/05/20/vic-gundotra-google/ “…add this name next to Sergey and Larry: Vic Gundotra…What the guy really does is evangelize Google’s technology and worldview to the people whom the company hopes will build their businesses with it, or on top of it…Gundotra spent the Nineties and most of the Oughts at Microsoft…This guy got software developers to put down their seething hatred for anything Bill Gates touched and actually try Windows Live…Google wanted Vic so badly that they waited for him to take a year off after leaving Microsoft in 2006 in order to keep from violating his non-compete agreement. Today, Gundotra seems to get more face time than CEO Eric Schmidt or search-engine manager Marissa Mayer…”

33. Google Pac-Man: The FAQ + Kill Screen Winners http://searchengineland.com/google-pac-man-the-faq-42619 “…people are loving Google’s version of Pac-Man that’s playable on the Google home page today and tomorrow. They also have questions about it…How long will it be up on the Google home page?...May 22. Is there a way to play after that date?...Google’s made a special page at http://www.google.com/pacman/...Can I put it on my own site? For now, yes. See How To Get Google’s Pac Man Game On Your Page for a third-party solution…”

General Technology

34. Sensor & RFID Apps of the Future, Part 1 http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/sensor_rfid_apps_of_the_future_part_1.php “…I convened a session about emerging mobile applications for sensors and other Internet of Things technologies…a lively discussion on the possibilities for new types of mobile apps that will take advantage of sensor and RFID data…Sensors, barcodes and RFID tags are all emerging methods of connecting real-world objects to the Internet…smart phones are increasingly being used to read and write this data…Sensor technology is one of the most intriguing areas of innovation currently in smart phones. Firstly, the phone may read and act on sensor data from real world objects; data like temperature, noise and activity. Secondly, the phone may be used as a sensor itself; for example enabling other phone-toting people to sense your proximity to them…shipments of mobile phone motion sensors (accelerometers, compasses, gyroscopes and pressure sensors) will increase five-fold over five years: from 435.9 million in 2009 to 2.2 billion units in 2014…”

35. GPS is getting an $8-billion upgrade http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-gps-20100523,0,3054578.story Without it, ATMs would stop spitting out cash, Wall Street could blunder billions of dollars in stock trades and clueless drivers would get lost. It's GPS, and it's everywhere…the Global Positioning System…has become a nerve center for the 21st century rivaling the Internet…It's a ubiquitous utility that everybody takes for granted now…scientists and engineers…are developing an $8-billion GPS upgrade that will make the system more reliable, more widespread and much more accurate. The new system is designed to pinpoint someone's location within an arm's length, compared with a margin of error of 20 feet or more today…”

36. Can Soluto really make PCs less frustrating? http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/can-soluto-really-make-pcs-less-frustrating/2164 A tiny software startup in Israel is trying to make your PC less frustrating…Soluto…currently in beta and free for the download—runs as a background service that watches your PC as it works, detecting slowdowns and trying to analyze the cause. By comparing those events and possible causes against a database of apps, drivers, and other software…the software can suggest solutions…The company’s long-term goals are ambitious, but it’s starting with the simple, manageable task of speeding up overly long boot times…The real innovation that Soluto is bringing to the table is in its PC Genome knowledgebase, which still sports an “Under Construction” sign. Eventually, it will consist of a database of applications derived from the Soluto agent installed on users’ PCs…the plan is for “a team of analysts to wake up each morning to a list of prioritized applications that need to be mapped…Soluto’s software is lightweight and unobtrusive, although, ironically, it notes that it delays startup by a few seconds. On the two systems where I’ve installed it, I’ve seen no untoward side-effects…”

37. GOP Blocks Federal Funding for Technology http://www.hpcwire.com/blogs/GOP-Blocks-Federal-Funding-for-Science-and-Technology-94543364.html “…the House GOP voted down H.R. 5325, the bill that would have committed more than $40 billion in federal science and technology programs over the next three years…the 2007 America COMPETES Act targeted money for basic and applied science research at national research labs and universities. The US federal agencies involved in such work include the National Science Foundation, National Institute for Standards and Technology, and the Department of Energy's Office of Science, and NASA, among others…Despite general bipartisan support for the bill in committee, Republicans blocked its passage with a minority of votes…even though 15 Republicans plus all the Democrats voted in favor of the measure, the final 261-148 vote was 12 short of the supermajority needed…H.R. 5325 was actually a compromise bill from the original H.R. 5116, which provided for $85 billion worth of funding for five years instead of $47 billion for three…”

38. Seagate Introduces Hybrid SSD/Platter Hard Drive http://www.hardwarecentral.com/hardwarecentral/news/article.php/3883801 Seagate is offering the best of both worlds with a new hard drive, the Momentus XT, that combines the capacity of a platter-based hard disk with the speed of a solid-state drive (SSD). Combining the two is a special algorithm that learns the user's habits and stores the most commonly retrieved data on the SSD, or moves data off when not used…Momentus XT comes in 250GB, 320GB and 500GB capacities, all running at 7200 RPM, but at a much lower price than a solid-state drive for the same capacity. While a 500GB SSD drive is available, prices can be as high as $1,399. The 500GB Momentus XT has a retail price of $156. The SSD part of the drive is 4GB of single-level cell (SLC) flash technology. If that memory should ever burn out, the platters on the drive are still usable and it just becomes a normal hard disk drive, said Clark. But in a Seagate test simulating 24/7/365 use, the company found that after five years of wear only 10 percent of the cells had worn out. The self-learning algorithm that decides what is stored on the SSD portion is the "magic juice between the two," said Clark…”

39. Microsoft Makes Robotics Studio Available Free http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-software/052010-microsoft-shifts-robotics-strategy-makes-robotics-studio-available-free “…Microsoft is upping the ante on its robotics ambitions by announcing today that its Robotics Developer Studio, or RDS, a big package of programming and simulation tools, is now available to anyone for free. Previously, RDS had multiple releases: one free but with limited features, a full commercial version that users could purchase, and an academic version distributed only to partners. By releasing a single version with full capabilities and at no cost, Microsoft wants to expand its RDS user base, hoping to amass a legion of hobbyists, researchers, entrepreneurs, and other robot enthusiasts who will come up with the next big things in consumer robotics…The company estimates it has about 60,000 active users…Not everyone is convinced the new plan makes sense. "This is all just a non-event," says Herman Bruyninckx, a robotics professor…Bruyninckx, an advocate of free and open source software who started OROCOS, or Open Robot Control Software, a framework for robot control, says that making RDS free is not a change in strategy and nobody he knows in the robotics community is "talking about RDS, let alone using or planning to use it…”

40. China plans 11-fold rise in GPS sats http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World/China/China-plans-11-fold-rise-in-GPS-sats/articleshow/5970591.cms China's new indigenously developed satellite navigation system, called Beidou, is expected to focus on storm and earthquake forecasting and disaster rescue operations…This is in contrast with the NAVSTAR GPS in the US, which allows its defence to locate and hit terrorists and military targets with missiles in remote areas in Pakistan and Afghanistan…Its plans include putting up five geostationary satellites and 30 non-geostationary satellites by 2020 to ensure global coverage, PLA Daily said. This will mean more than an 11-fold increase in the number of such satellites from the present level of three…”

Leisure & Entertainment

41. Netflix Is The Latest To Talk The HTML5 Talk http://techcrunch.com/2010/05/19/netflix-html5/ “…the battle between Flash and HTML5 for the future of online video is raging. But what about that other plugin some sites use for video? You know, the one made by Microsoft — Silverlight? A new posting tonight may call that platform’s future in video into question as well. Because arguably their most important client is looking to jump on the HTML5 video bandwagon: Netflix…Netflix’s Director of Web Engineering, indicates the company’s intention to embrace HTML5 going forward. The move is apparently spurred on by Netflix’s move to Amazon’s cloud, which will require a re-architecting of the codebase, Cockcroft notes. So what better time to start supporting the latest technologies…”

42. The Digital Download Is Dead http://slate.com/id/2254532 “…despite its omnipresence, iTunes hasn't aged well. Unlike most Apple products, it's gotten slower and more unwieldy over the years. The Windows version is the most annoying program I use on a regular basis…For one thing, it requires constant upgrades. These days the best desktop apps refresh themselves automatically; Chrome, Google's fantastic Web browser, remakes itself without any user input…iTunes takes the opposite tack: It wants to be upgraded about twice a month, and it demands constant attention…You've got to approve the 80-plus-megabyte download, you've got to click several times as it installs, you've got to agree to a new license, and you might be asked to reboot your computer. And for what?…The worst part is syncing my music and photos with my iPhone and iPad. I usually try to do this when I'm leaving the house—in other words, when I'm in a hurry. iTunes doesn't care…It's 2010—why do I have to plug anything into anything to get files from my computer onto my phone?...Soon Android will be completely untethered. An upcoming version will let you buy apps and music from any computer—the files will then appear instantly on your phone. The best part, though, is that Android will let you play all the music on your computer without syncing your hard drive to your phone…you'll do this by installing a small app on your desktop that will send your music—whether it's in iTunes, Windows Media Player, or anywhere else—to the Internet. (This only works with non-copy-protected music…Once the files are online, your phone will have access to your entire music library whenever you've got an Internet connection…”

43. Hulu on Android Foreshadows Google TV War http://newteevee.com/2010/05/24/hulu-on-android-foreshadows-google-tv-war/ Hulu videos can be viewed on any Android phone with Android 2.2 and Flash 10.1…Hulu blocks mobile phones for licensing reasons, but the trick to get them to play on Android handsets is actually pretty simple: Users just have to change the user agent setting of the phone’s Chrome web browser to make it think the phone is a desktop computer…Hulu videos will inevitably find their way onto the Google TV platform when it launches this fall, and Hulu won’t be happy about it…the site’s corporate overlords could force it into an all-out war on over-the-top streaming devices…Google TV Product Lead Rishi Chandra did a search for House when he demoed the platform at the company’s developers conference last week. The search results clearly included episodes from Hulu…he didn’t demonstrate Hulu streaming and instead proceeded to watch a trailer from Amazon.com’s VOD platform…Google would like to play Hulu content on the Google TV, but it can’t promise that it will work…the most recent version of Chrome for Android allow users to switch user agents, which means they’re essentially pretending to access a web site with a different browser and device…there are even dedicated Android tools to mask the identity of your device. Many of these apps should run on Google TV out of the box…Hulu will likely respond by stepping up the security cat-and-mouse game, which will result in developers coming up with even better ways to circumvent these roadblocks. Who will win? I think it’s too early to tell…”

Economy and Technology

44. Buy.com Gets Acquired By Japanese E-Commerce Giant Rakuten For $250 Million http://techcrunch.com/2010/05/20/buy-com-gets-acquired-by-japanese-e-commerce-giant-rakuten-for-250-million/ “…Rakuten…the biggest e-commerce site you never heard of…currently used by over 33,000 Japanese merchants…Rakuten (which, in its home market, is much bigger than Amazon Japan) today announced [PDF] it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire California-based shopping portal Buy.com for $250 million next month…Rakuten in Japan counts 64 million members, while Buy.com claims 14 million customers who are mainly located in the US and Europe…”

45. Microsoft Lawsuit Could Mean Big Trouble for Salesforce.com http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Cloud-Computing/Microsoft-Lawsuit-Could-Mean-Big-Trouble-For-Salesforcecom-698481/ “…Microsoft filed an intellectual property suit against Salesforce.com May 18, alleging infringement on nine of its patents. Patent-infringement suits are a regular occurrence in the tech industry, and larger companies often use this type of suit as part of a broader strategy. The question is, What sort of motive lies behind Microsoft's legal action against the cloud-based software provider?…Microsoft may be seeking ways to "monetize" its large patent portfolio, by exploring where a rival company's technology potentially conflicts with its existing intellectual property…It doesn't seem as if Microsoft is challenging the core intellectual property of Salesforce. It's really about Microsoft having looked over Salesforce's operations and seen some pieces of plumbing that looked like it could belong to them…”

46. Y Combinator Closes New $8.25 Million Fund, Sequoia Is Lead Investor http://techcrunch.com/2010/05/21/y-combinator-closes-new-8-25-million-fund-sequoia-is-lead-investor/ Startup incubator Y Combinator has just closed $8.25 million new fund…The new fund is four times larger than $2 million fund raised last year. This is because it’s meant to be a long term fund and Y Combinator is planning to increase the number of startups the incubator funds. At least 35 (give or take) startups will join the summer 2010 funding cycle. The previous YC funding cycle, winter 2010, had 27 startups, with 20 of the companies hitting profitability or securing commitments for further funding. Y Combinator has invested in over 207 startups since summer 2005…The incubator is currently seeing 1,000 applications per session, so the expansion is good news for fledgling entrepreneurs…Many of its startups have seen considerable success, including DropBox, Posterous, Loopt, Justin.TV, and Scribd. And several of the startups have been acquired…”

47. Fitness Social Network DailyBurn acquired by IAC, TechStars class of 2008 http://www.techstars.org/2010/05/20/dailyburn-acquired-by-iac-class-of-2008-breaks-the-seal/ “…DailyBurn announced that they had been acquired by IAC and will be part of their MindSpark Interactive Network…DailyBurn built a fantastic product and has attracted about 500,000 members. It’s simple and intuitive, and it’s also just a beautiful product. The 2007 class has had four meaningful exits (Socialthing to AOL, Intense Debate to Automattic, Brightkite to Limbo, and Filtrbox to Jive Software). But… DailyBurn is a TechStars company from 2008! This exit marks the first one from the class of 2008 and while IAC is not disclosing details of the transaction, I can tell you that it too falls into the “meaningful” category. This means that 5 of the first 20 companies have had strong exits in just a three year period…”

48. Symantec buys authentication assets of VeriSign for $1.28B http://venturebeat.com/2010/05/19/symantec-buys-authentication-assets-of-verisign-for-1-28b/ “…Symantec said today it has agreed to buy the authentication business of VeriSign for $1.28 billion in cash. The deal includes the secure socket layer, certificate services, public key infrastructure, VeriSign Trust Services, and VeriSign Identity Protection Service. All of those technologies are aimed at making sure people are who they say they are online. Since malware and identity theft have largely robbed the internet of trust, the goal of this deal is to help restore people’s faith in online services. Mountain View, Calif.-based Symantec wants people to have simple and secure access to their information from anywhere…”

Civilian Aerospace

49. Twin hurdles for commercial human spaceflight http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1633/1 Some time in the next few weeks—the current schedule states this Friday, the 28th, but that date has been slipping for some time—the first SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will lift off from Cape Canaveral…The rocket…will also be carrying a far heavier payload: the perception of whether the commercial sector is capable of handling the task of ferrying astronauts to and from low Earth orbit…A successful launch could help demonstrate that commercial ventures are ready to take over something that until now had been in the realm of governments; a failure could add fuel to doubts that such a shift is unwise, if not unsafe. Perception is powerful…Putting all that pressure on the upcoming Falcon 9 launch is arguably unfair to both SpaceX and the commercial space transportation industry…launches of new rockets are prone to failure: unlike aircraft—or even suborbital RLVs—that can be tested incrementally, the first time all the elements of an orbital expendable launcher are put together and tested as a single vehicle is on its first launch…The debate about commercial crew in the president’s budget proposal is really about answering two different questions: can commercial providers safely transport crews to and from low Earth orbit, and can they do so on a truly commercial basis?…”

50. Human-Rating Commercial Vehicles http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/awst/2010/05/24/AW_05_24_2010_p29-228837.xml&headline=Human-Rating%20Commercial%20Vehicles&channel=awst NASA will try to “tailor” the approach it takes to human-rating commercial vehicles for its astronauts, looking for middle ground between the prescriptive approach it has taken with its own human spacecraft and the analysis it gave Russia’s Soyuz vehicles before U.S. astronauts started flying on them…Bryan O’Connor, NASA’s chief of safety and mission assurance, says the draft is intended to shape a discussion with potential commercial crew transportation providers over just how to ensure their vehicles are safe enough to get crews to the space station and elsewhere in low Earth orbit…”

51. Wow! Shuttle and Space Station Photographed Crossing the Sun http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/shuttle-atlanits-space-station-sun-photo-100520.html An eye-popping new snapshot taken by a Florida photographer has caught the International Space Station and shuttle Atlantis in silhouette as both spaceships crossed in front of the sun. Photographer Thierry Legault took the stunning photo on May 16 from Madrid, Spain…In the photo, the shuttle and space station can clearly be seen as two separate spacecraft. They appear as dark silhouettes in the upper right region of an otherwise bright yellow sun. Even the wings of Atlantis can be discerned along with the station's expansive solar arrays as both flew 200 miles (354 km) above Earth. When Legault took the photo, Atlantis was flying below the space station and about to perform an orbital back flip…”

52. First solar powered spacecraft successfully launched http://www.gizmag.com/ikaros-solar-sail-launched/15175/ “…the idea of a solar sail was first proposed some 100 years ago…none has been successfully used in space as a primary means of propulsion. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is looking to change all that with its IKAROS project…a space yacht that gathers energy for propulsion from sunlight pressure (photons) by means of a square membrane measuring 20 meters (65.6 ft) diagonally. The IKAROS won’t just employ a solar sail, but rather a “solar power sail” in that thin film solar cells on the membrane will be used to generate electricity. However, any electricity generated will not be used by the craft, as the goal of the mission is to verify acceleration by solar radiation and power generation of the thin film solar cells. If successful, JAXA then hopes to use the technologies to build an explorer that can travel to Jupiter by combining solar sail technology and a high-performance ion engine powered by electricity gathered by the solar cells…on May 21, Japan Standard Time…H-IIA F17 flew smoothly, and, at 27 minutes and 29 seconds after liftoff, the AKATSUKI was separated from the H-IIA. IKAROS will travel towards Venus with the AKATSUKI for about a month, after which it will deploy its sail…”

53. Megamasers: message from distant water http://news.discovery.com/space/megamasers-distant-water-and-precision-cosmology.html “…The Megamaser Cosmology Project, or MCP, has busted that model and is making accurate geometric distances to whole galaxies. Their latest result uses a clever technique to measure the distance to a galaxy, UGC 3789, 162 thousand light years away, with a precision of 530 light years…the distances to galaxies hundreds of thousands of light years away are not known to very high precision. Unless, that is, you can detect water megamasers…Masers are just like lasers, emitting a coherent beam of light at a certain frequency, only they occur in the microwave regime of the electromagnetic spectrum. Thus, we can detect them with radio telescopes. Also, they can occur naturally under the right conditions. Megamasers are extremely bright masers that can be seen in distant galaxies. In this case, the strong emission coming from near the supermassive black hole in the center of a galaxy excites water molecules in a disk around the black hole such that they act as a maser…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

54. IBM supercomputer mixes Intel, Nvidia chips http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-20005218-64.html IBM announced on Tuesday a hybrid high-performance computer that combines Intel and Nvidia processors…The IBM iDataPlex Dx360 M3 is powered by both Intel Xeon central processing units (CPUs) and Nvidia Tesla graphics processing units (GPUs) and is designed to be clustered with other Dx360 M3 modular servers to form a supercomputer…this is the first time IBM has offered a high-performance computer with an Nvidia GPU…"This is not the first hybrid GPU system in the world…But the difference is…it comes from IBM means that you have a company with some mass behind it to back up customer initiatives…”

55. Mellanox Provides Adapters for Chinese Petaflop Supercomputer http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/Mellanox-Provides-Adapters-for-Chinese-Academy-of-Sciences-Petaflop-Super-94747519.html Mellanox Technologies, Ltd…ConnectX-2 40Gb/s InfiniBand adapters with GPU-Direct technology, IS5600 648-port switch with FabricIT fabric management software and fiber optic cables are providing the Institute of Process Engineering (IPE) at the Chinese Academy of Sciences with world-leading networking and application acceleration for the Mole-8.5 system, the first petaflop GPGPU supercomputer in China. IPE is currently utilizing the Mole-8.5 to conduct scientific simulations in areas such as chemical engineering, material science, biochemistry, data and image processing, oil exploitation and recovery and metallurgy. "By incorporating Mellanox 40Gb/s InfiniBand with GPU-Direct technology, we have been able to conduct scientific simulations using GPUs at performance levels that we would never have been able to achieve using a different interconnect…”

56. Cubix Visual Intros New GPU Compute Products http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/Cubix-Visual-Intros-New-GPU-Compute-Products-94545744.html Cubix Visual & GPU Compute Solutions...releases the first of its new GPU-Xpander products developed for various general purpose GPU (GPGPU) compute markets. Xpander for Octane Render is an external graphics host device featuring between 1-4 high performance, discrete NVIDIA CUDA-enabled graphics cards or GPU cards…connecting externally beside any PC or Apple Mac Pro with PCI Express 2.0 slots, and is tuned specifically for Refractive Software's revolutionary Octane Render, the world's first fully GPU-enabled, unbiased physically-based renderer…According to Cubix Visual, it means the ability to add more computing cores to a user's current PC or Mac workstation than any other hardware solution available…the capability to render much larger photorealistic images at higher resolutions in a fraction of the time (and cost) it would take dozens of dual Quad Core Xeon workstations to produce the same pictures or animation frames…”


*****

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