2010/06/15

NEW NET Issues List for 15 Jun 2010

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 15 June 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. Starbucks Announces Free Wi-Fi, Proprietary Content Network http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/06/starbucks-announces-free-wi-fi-proprietary-content-network/ “…Starting July 1, Starbucks will let anyone connect to its WiFi network for free. This fall, the company will add a content network called Starbucks Digital Network, in partnership with Yahoo and other sites, which will include local content you won’t be able to read anywhere else…McDonalds has free Wi-Fi too, of course, as does just about every other coffee place in the country other than Starbucks. Schulz admitted that both of those stratas have been competing with Starbucks on coffee as well as internet service, with McDonalds stealing bargain-oriented customers and boutique independent coffee shops in urban areas grabbing some of its loyal epicures…none of Starbucks’ direct competitors have their own localized content networks on the level of what Schulz described. In some communities, Starbucks functions as a sort of community center — a “third place” between home and the office…”

2. The New Hotmail Rollout Starts Now http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-20007776-56.html Microsoft has started upgrading Hotmail users to the new version of the Web mail service…The company is upgrading to the new service one server cluster at a time--and it has hundreds of such clusters--so not everyone will get the upgrade right away…the Hotmail update now allows attachments of up to 10GB, the creation and viewing of slideshows from attached photos as well as integration with the new Office Web Apps for viewing and editing document attachments. The new version also allows users to view photos or videos from third-party services, such as Flickr, SmugMug, Hulu, and YouTube, all without having to leave Hotmail. It also adds a new "sweep" option that lets users easily divert mail from a particular sender into either a new folder or into the trash…”

3. Mobile video calls the next frontier, says Skype CEO http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100615/tc_afp/asiatelecominternetskypesingapore Making video calls from a mobile phone to TV sets or computers will be the next frontier for information technology…Chief executive Josh Silverman told a technology conference in Singapore that communication was moving from a "hardware-based" industry to one driven by software allowing people to keep in touch using a wider range of devices. "What's the next frontier? I believe it's about ubiquity," Silverman told delegates to the CommunicAsia 2010 technology conference…"The basic idea is that any computing device becomes a communications device with the addition of our software and you can communicate however and wherever you want."…Currently, mobile video calls using the system can only be made using certain handsets such as Nokia's N900 smartphone and Apple's iPhone, but the company said it plans to introduce more platforms…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

4. New concerns arise over body scanners http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-body-imagers-20100611,0,3090646.story As the government begins deploying whole-body imaging machines to replace metal detectors at airports nationwide, some security experts worry that the new technology could make it easier, not harder, to sneak weapons and explosives onto airplanes…The machines are best-known for the privacy issues they pose, because they can peer through clothes and present screeners with an image that some have likened to a virtual strip search. The government has addressed those concerns by obscuring the faces of those being screened, preventing examiners from seeing the passengers, and allowing the option of a physical pat down…."I can overcome the body scanners with enough explosives to bring down a Boeing 747," said Rafi Sela, former chief security officer at the Israel Airport Authority, who is now a security consultant. The TSA won't talk about specific capabilities but says the body imagers will better enable screeners to find nonmetallic weapons, including concealed powdered and liquid explosives that do not set off metal detectors…”

5. Computing with Secrets, but Keeping them Safe http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/25537/ “…In 2009 Craig Gentry of IBM published a cryptographic proof that was that rare thing: a true breakthrough. He showed that it was possible to add and multiply encrypted data to produce a result that--when decrypted--reveals the result of performing the same operations on the original, unencrypted data. It's like being able to answer a question without knowing what the question is. Called "fully homomorphic encryption," it has been dubbed the holy grail of cryptography…”

6. Linux Trojan Raises Malware Concerns http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20100613/tc_pcworld/linuxtrojanraisesmalwareconcerns I've got good news and bad news for those of the misguided perception that Linux is somehow impervious to attack or compromise. The bad news is that it turns out a vast collection of Linux systems may, in fact, be pwned. The good news…is that the Trojan is in a download that should have no bearing on Linux in a business setting. Unreal IRCd Forums states…We found out that the Unreal3.2.8.1.tar.gz file on our mirrors has been replaced quite a while ago with a version with a backdoor (trojan) in it. This backdoor allows a person to execute ANY command with the privileges of he user running the ircd. The backdoor can be executed regardless of any user restrictions (so even if you have passworded server or hub that doesn't allow any users in)."…Unreal IRC is an Internet relay chat platform. I don't have any numbers on the total downloads since November of 2009, but it seems safe to assume there are a lot of Linux systems out there compromised by a backdoor Trojan…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

7. Verizon Wireless Making Skype Available on Feature Phones http://www.lanewsmonitor.com/news/Why-Verizon-iPhone-Release-Is-Still-Highly-Desired---Verizon-Wireless-Making-Skype-Available-on-Feature-Phones-1276364901/ “…there is good news for non smartphone users of Verizon Wireless. Skype is not going to be a monopoly of smartphone users for very long now. Verizon plans to make Skype feature available to "3G multimedia phones" soon. Once this plan comes into action, the non smartphone users would have their hands on the same features and service that are already being enjoyed for free by smartphone users…Skype calling application made its entry on about a dozen of Verizon's smartphones earlier this year. The way Skype works on Verizon is different from the way it works on the desktop or other smartphones. Skype on Verizon calls through its CDMA voice network and not VoIP. This allows Verizon Wireless to provide some sort of guarantee about what sort of service Skype users should be able to expect…”

8. Galaxy Beam: world's first Android projector phone on sale in July http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/15/samsung-galaxy-beam-worlds-first-android-projector-phone-on-sa/ “…Samsung's other cellphone with an integrated projector just got an official launch date. The Galaxy Beam (codename: Halo) with its 3.7-inch Super AMOLED display is now slated to hit Singapore in July. That means that the European and broader launch across Asia should be just around the corner if Samsung's claims from Feburary hold true. At launch, the world's first Android phone with a built-in DLP pico projector will be served version 2.1 of Google's confectionary delight. Specwise, we're talking 7.2Mbps HSPA data on 900/1900/2100MHz and quad-band GSM/EDGE, Bluetooth 3.0, 802.11n WiFi, an 8 megapixel autofocus camera with flash (front-facing VGA) and HD video recording, A-GPS, FM Radio, and an 1,800mAH battery…”

9. RIM Developing Tablet, New Touch Phone http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2365077,00.asp “…RIM's new device…is being built specifically to better complete with Apple's prized device. The iPhone, combined with the growing number of Android-based handsets, has been chipping away at RIM's share of the mobile market for too long…According to the latest blog-driven rumors, RIM's updated BlackBerry will be called the Torch 9800 and will debut on AT&T sometime this summer…BlackBerry Torch 9800 will feature swipe-style controls, a universal search bar, and home screens with support for user-selected icons. Other suspected specs for the new BlackBerry smartphone include 4GB of internal storage and a 5-megapixel camera. The device would likely use RIM's upcoming BlackBerry 6 OS, which features an improved Webkit browser and built-in social networking integration…the one thing RIM's new BlackBerry really needs to compete is something that can't be listed on a spec sheet. What the phone needs is sexiness…”

Open Source

10. An open source Dropbox alternative with collaboration http://www.downloadsquad.com/2010/06/11/sparkleshare-open-source-dropbox/ “…Dropbox has a great user experience, but it has downsides as well: you can't host your own server; it's not open source and has some freaky things in its license agreement…Dubbed SparkleShare, Bons is building his project using Mono, GTK+, and Git. Like Dropbox, SparkleShare sets up a local folder which is automatically kept in sync -- though not in the cloud. Instead, you and your friends/coworkers set up connections to each other's shares (or you can keep everything to yourself, of course). That'll make SparkleShare an extremely interesting option for teams who need to collaborate via the 'Net -- and for users who want to keep files in sync without floating them in the cloud…”

11. Linux PC Robot <> http://www.handlewithlinux.com/diy-linux-robot Looking for a cheap DIY Linux robot? This is the Linux PC robot project. The objective of LinuxPCRobot is to build a fully functional robotic development platform for $500 or less using linux, commonly available components, a little skill, and some good old fashioned scrounging. The robot can be build from junk taken out of old children's toys, there's even a tutorial for building an actuator from a mouse. With the children's “ride around” toy wheels and motors, it can accommodate some serious weight (60~80 lbs total, is that enough for a water gun?)…”

12. Five Simple Photo Fixes with digiKam http://www.linux-magazine.com/Online/Blogs/Productivity-Sauce-Dmitri-s-open-source-blend-of-productive-computing/Five-Simple-Photo-Fixes-with-digiKam “…digiKam is an immensely powerful photo application, so learning all its features requires time and effort. But this capable photo management application also offers a few easy to use features which you can use to instantly improve your shots…”

SkyNet

13. Google's new search index Caffeine goes live http://news.cnet.com/8301-30684_3-20007157-265.html Google…announced the release of its Caffeine indexing technology--which it has been testing for almost a year--in a blog post late Tuesday evening. "Caffeine provides 50 percent fresher results for web searches than our last index, and it's the largest collection of web content we've offered. Whether it's a news story, a blog or a forum post, you can now find links to relevant content much sooner after it is published than was possible ever before…Google started testing Caffeine in August 2009…Google said the new index would be the most significant change it has made to the basic technology that crawls the Internet and ranks Web pages since 2006…”

14. Google Music to Launch This Fall? http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_music_to_launch_this_fall_the_race_is_on.php “…CNET's Greg Sandoval is reporting this morning that Google, after years of rumors, is finally getting into the music business this fall…Google recently moved further in the direction of competing with the dominant duo in the music world, Apple's iTunes and iPhone (or iPod), with its acquisition of Simplify Media. As the company demonstrated at its Google I/O conference, Google will use Simplify Media's technology to allow Android users to stream music directly from their desktops to their phones. Already, some are questioning whether or not this, in addition to a Google music service, could overthrow Apple's complete dominance in this sphere…”

15. Should Google worry about Microsoft Web Apps? http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/jun/15/microsoft-office-web-app-reviewed Microsoft has launched a web version of Office – and unlike Office, it's completely free if you have a Hotmail account. That's remarkable on a number of levels – it means that it's finally trying to fight Google on Google's turf … or that it's trying to defend its turf on the PC. Which is it, Microsoft?...Excel Web App runs smoothly, and is actually the best implementation of these three: you don't get bothered about the difference between "editing" and "viewing", you can download a snapshot or the entire spreadsheet, and it autosaves. That's more like it. It's even quite fast. And while it doesn't have the (desktop) option of inserting a chart – unlike Google Docs, where you can – it's tolerably good. I got the impression that the expectation was that this would be the most-used of the three. On balance, though, this product has a long way to go. If you saw this and didn't know the brand name, you'd say that this was a company which didn't really get the web: where's the embed code, so you can include a spreadsheet or presentation in another web page? You'd say that it hasn't picked up on autosaving, that it seems to have learnt little or nothing from Google's implementation…”

General Technology

16. Shell, Cargill invest more in Virent for biogasoline http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-20007072-54.html “…Madison, Wis.-based Virent Energy Systems said on Tuesday that it raised $46.4 million in a third round of funding…The money will be used to expand the company's existing demonstration plant, which makes a gasoline equivalent, called biogasoline, from plants at a rate of 10,000 gallons per year. The investment agreement also calls for research on making diesel fuel with the company's technology. Virent's technology is unlike most alternative-fuel companies in that it uses a catalyst to convert the sugar in plants into a fuel that can be used to replace gasoline…”

17. 2TB Hard Drives Crack the $100 Barrier http://www.gearlog.com/2010/06/2tb_hard_drives_crack_the_100.php 2TB drives are down as low as $100 street, a year and a half after first coming to market, at $250 and up. That's $100 on promotional sales, for moderate-performance drives. Over the weekend, NewEgg.com offered the Seagate LP ST32000542AS, a 2TB 5900-rpm internal SATA drive, for $99.99 to its mailing list customers. This drive falls into the energy-consious, moderate-performance part of the spectrum. Other resellers with these Seagates and with competing drives are hovering in the $105-$130 price range. Highest-performance 7200-rpm drives with 6Gb/s transfer rates are in the $200-$300 range. These lowered prices may been helped by the recent news that 3TB drives will arrive sometime near year's end…”

18. Merely Human? That’s So Yesterday http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/13/business/13sing.html?partner=rss&emc=rss “…a future that the Singularity University founders hold dear and often discuss with a techno-utopian bravado: the arrival of the Singularity — a time, possibly just a couple decades from now, when a superior intelligence will dominate and life will take on an altered form that we can’t predict or comprehend in our current, limited state. At that point, the Singularity holds, human beings and machines will so effortlessly and elegantly merge that poor health, the ravages of old age and even death itself will all be things of the past…Singularity University…represents the more concrete side of the Singularity, and focuses on introducing entrepreneurs to promising technologies. Hundreds of students worldwide apply to snare one of 80 available spots in a separate 10-week “graduate” course that costs $25,000. Chief executives, inventors, doctors and investors jockey for admission to the more intimate, nine-day courses called executive programs…courses include face time with leading thinkers in the areas of nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, energy, biotech, robotics and computing…”

Leisure & Entertainment

19. OnLive Remote Gaming Launches Thursday, for Free http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2365047,00.asp “…About an hour after the E3 show closes this Thursday, June 17, OnLive will begin. For free. The remote-gaming service will begin activating accounts on Thursday, according to Steve Perlman, the chief executive of OnLive. There's one twist, however: instead of charging customers for the first year of service, those customers who sign up from today, June 15 until July 15 will be receive the first year of service for free…”

20. PlayStation Move coming in September starting at $50 http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2010/06/playstation-move-coming-in-september-starting-at-50.ars “…the PlayStation Move—the console's upcoming motion control add-on unveiled at GDC—finally has a price and a release date. PS3 owners in North America can expect to test the Move waters on September 19. The controller and its various components can be purchased in several ways, with a few different bundles being offered by Sony. The controller itself will cost $49.99, while the subcontroller will be $29.99. You can also purchase one controller packed with a PlayStation Eye camera and a copy of Sports Champions for $99.99…”

21. Nintendo Reveals 3DS Handheld Gaming System at E3 http://www.pcworld.com/article/198903/nintendo_reveals_3ds_handheld_gaming_system_at_e3.html “…Nintendo 3DS…hardware looks fairly similar to the mock-up that's been making the rounds. It has a 3.5" widescreen 3D display up top, and a 3:4 touch screen below. No glasses required for the 3D and you can control how much of a 3D effect you want (or even turn it off altogether). Graphics are improved over the DS but don't reach the 'near 360 quality' that has been rumored. The 3DS has a Slide Pad (which seems to be a kind of analog controller), motion sensor and gyroscope sensor. It was two outward facing camera lenses so you can take 3D photos, and one forward facing lens so you can photograph yourself…Nintendo will offer 3D movies that you can watch on the 3DS. How To Train Your Dragon was one example mentioned. The 3DS also has a kind of passive multiplayer system built in. As you bring your 3DS near WiFi hotspots or other 3DS owners, you'll unlock various hidden content in your games, even if that game isn't running…”

22. Microsoft Demos Motion-Controlled Gaming with Kinect for Xbox 360 http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fasterforward/2010/06/microsoft_introduces_kinect.html Microsoft has introduced its answer to the Nintendo Wii's gesture-based controls, an Xbox 360 add-on called Kinect that doesn't even require a remote…the upcoming Kinect -- called Project Natal in such earlier demonstrations as its brief turn in the spotlight at January's Consumer Electronics Show -- uses an image sensor to track your movements, then translates that into motion on the screen. A video on Microsoft's Web site shows how this can work: Two parents run and jump in place to guide their onscreen avatars down a running track and over sets of hurdles; their children dance in front of the TV to control their characters in a music video game; a father holds up one hand and moves it to the right to skip to the next segment in a video episode. Kinext will ship in the United States on Nov. 4…”

Economy and Technology

23. Online Ad Revenue Will Soon Surpass Print http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/report_online_ad_revenue_will_soon_surpass_print.php “…Soon…Internet advertising revenues will surpass those of print advertising to become the second largest segment of advertising in the U.S. behind television…in 2009, online ad revenues continued to climb to $24.2 billion, while print ads fell 28.6% to $24.8 billion. Online ads are expected to rake in $34.4 billion by 2014, which means print ads should dip below their online counterparts in a matter of months. PwC's figures for online revenues don't include mobile advertisements, which they believe will nearly quadruple in the next four years from $414 million to $1.6 billion…increased access to broadband has played a large role in helping boost online ad revenues. The Wall Street Journal reports that broadband penetration in the U.S. nearly doubled from 34% in 2005 to 64% in 2010 thanks partly to $7.2 billion in federal stimulus money put towards expanding broadband access…”

24. Maine says biomass report doesn’t apply to burning waste wood products http://www.mpbn.net/News/MaineNewsArchive/tabid/181/ctl/ViewItem/mid/3475/ItemId/12571/Default.aspx “…A new report that questions the environmental-friendliness of burning forest wood is sending ripples through Maine…The report from the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences claims that burning wood for electricity releases more heat-trapping carbon dioxide than fossil fuels…He agrees with the industry that biomass is renewable, unlike coal or oil. And that carbon emissions from biomass get cancelled out by the CO2 absorbed by trees before they are turned into wood for burning. But…Hagan says. "So if it's a large electricity plant, like a 50-megawatt electricity plant, the debt period could be 20 or 30 years before you start to appreciate a carbon benefit."…a representative of Maine's biomass industry says…Harvesting forests is not what the biomass industry does -- it's certainly not what the nine biomass plants do in Maine…virtually all of the biomass in Maine comes from wastewood, such as tree tops and branches left over from logging or landclearing…”

25. Foxconn units to leave Shenzhen after wage hikes http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/2010-06/13/content_9974878.htm Foxconn Technology Group, which supplies Sony, Apple and Nokia with IT components, is moving part of its major plant away from costly Shenzhen after hefty wage increases at its factories in the southern city, affecting hundreds of thousands of workers…The Longhua plant, which comprises 11 business groups and has 300,000 employees, will retain only two highly profitable groups and merge with the Guanlan plant, which employs 100,000 workers…Other business groups will also move to less expensive Tianjin, Yantai or Wuhan…Suicide-plagued Foxconn announced on June 1 that wages for ordinary workers in Shenzhen will increase to 1,200 yuan from 900 yuan, and another announcement on June 6 said the wages would be raised to 2,000 yuan for workers who pass a three-month assessment…”

Civilian Aerospace

26. SpaceX inks deal to launch commercial satellites http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/15/AR2010061504695.html SpaceX has signed a $492 million deal with a satellite phone company to launch a fleet of next-generation commercial satellites aboard its Falcon 9 rocket…Satellite phone company Iridium Communications previously announced plans to launch six dozen next-generation satellites between 2015 and 2017 to replace its current satellite network. The effort will cost $2.9 billion…”

27. Team LaserMotive Announces Latest Sponsors for Power Beaming Competition http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Team-LaserMotive-Announces-Latest-Sponsors-Its-Entry-2010-Power-Beaming-Competition-1276172.htm “…LaserMotive, an independent R&D company specializing in laser power beaming and winner of the 2009 NASA-sponsored Power Beaming Competition, has announced its newest sponsors for its entry in the 2010 Space Elevator Games. At stake is a purse prize of up to $1.1 million. Sponsors announced today include Zaber Technologies, a manufacturer of computer-controlled linear actuators, stages, mirror mounts, motors and other devices; Ophir Spiricon, a global leader in precision IR optics components and laser measurement equipment; and National Instruments, pioneers of virtual instrumentation for the measurement and automation industry…”

28. Armadillo's Mod completes in-flight restart test http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2010/06/15/343262/videos-armadillos-mod-completes-in-flight-restart-test.html “…Armadillo Aerospace has had a successful in-flight restart test flight with its vertical take-off/vertical landing (VTVL) modular rocket vehicle, known as the Mod. The Mod lifted off and boosted to about 2,000ft before the engine was shut down for about 5sec. After a brief, freefalling tumble with a small drogue parachute deployed, the engine restarted…Flight tests will eventually push Mod to an apogee above 100,000ft…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

29. For AMD, All Paths Lead to CPU-GPU Fusion http://www.hpcwire.com/features/For-AMD-All-Paths-Lead-to-CPU-GPU-Fusion-96343899.html One of the more interesting aspects to the GPU computing craze is the diversity of solutions that are emerging from the chip vendors. NVIDIA is currently out in front of the pack with its CUDA-architected Tesla GPUs, purpose-built for HPC. Intel, with the reintroduction of its Larrabee technology (now known as the "Many Integrated Core" (MIC) architecture), is pursuing the un-GPU model of data parallel computing. That leaves AMD, with its dual path of FireStream GPUs for "stream computing" and CPU-GPU Fusion technology for everything else…AMD is only now gearing up to launch its first Fusion processors, also known as Accelerated Processing Units (APUs), sometime in 2011. These first CPU-GPU products are aimed at the desktop and laptop market to improve the visual computing experience for PC users (mostly via Microsoft's DirectX framework). But technical computing users are starting to look at the Fusion architecture as a way to bring GPU-style parallel processing much closer to the CPU…”

30. Gaming Chips Score in Data Centers http://www.networkworld.com/news/2010/061010-gaming-chips-score-in-data.html When Axel Kohlmeyer, the associate director of the Institute for Computational Molecular Science at Temple University, needed a large cluster of computers on which to run his models of physical molecular interactions, he could not always get time on the supercomputers managed by the major academic centers…Yet, thanks to specialized graphics chips, or graphics processing units (GPUs), used by video-game consoles and high-end PCs, Kohlmeyer and his team were able to continue their research work. A server with six of the specialized processors allowed his group to carry on with their computationally intensive work without continually begging CPU cycles from the academic computing facilities. For technical applications, GPU-based computing is a natural fit. Yet, the specialized servers and supercomputing clusters are also finding their way into data centers in the business world. The reason is easy to see: For many difficult problems, graphics processing unit (GPU) clusters can deliver up to 100 times more calculations than a typical system with the same number of processors, take up less space and use far less power…”

31. Harvard ... Where no CPU is safe! http://www.articleant.com/gen/84698-harvard-----where-no-cpu-is-safe----harvard-school-of-engineerin.html What do you get when you mix some of the greatest scientific minds of our time with a university that sees the societal and academic benefits of parallel computing and a tech-savvy professor who's so psyched about GPUs that you can feel it in his words? You get potential solutions to some of the world's greatest mysteries for starters. You also get a small army of students who believe they're embarking on a future that might just push sequential (CPU-based) computing and old school lab work into a background role…Harvard is unique in GPU computing," says Pfister, "because we have some of the world's best scientists doing cutting-edge research on some of the great scientific challenges of our times. How is the brain wired? How did the universe start? How does matter interact at the quantum level? how can we predict and prevent heart attacks?...Harvard is veritably awash in GPUs. You'll find not one but two GUP_based clusters/supercomputers on campus, the first with 16 quad-core CPUs and no less than 32 (!) NVIDIA Telsa T10 GPUs divided equally over eight NVIDIA S1070 rack mount units. The second cluster? Virtually identical to the first. But GPU clusters are just part of the deal. Beyond them, Harvard boasts 30 Quadro FX4800 cards in an instructional classroom at its Harvard Extension School, various desktop systems throughout the campus fitted with high-end Tesla C1060s and Quadro GPUs, and a Femi pre-production unit that's now being made available to the wider scientific/GPU community in Boston…”


*****

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