2010/06/22

NEW NET Issues List for 22 Jun 2010

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 22 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. Xobni goes retro, selling boxed version in retail stores http://venturebeat.com/2010/06/16/xobni-retail/ “…Social email plugin Xobni, which was previously only available as a download from the Web, is releasing a boxed software version to be sold alongside Office. That’s something you hardly ever hear startups doing nowadays — they all distribute their software via the web or mobile app stores like Apple’s…With Office 2010 hitting stores, Xobni is an obvious extra purchase, since it enhances the Outlook email program (which is part of Office) with your contacts’ social data and fast search. Xobni Head of Communications Terra Carmichael writes: Being in-store builds brand awareness and validation. Someone could see the box, say oh I’ve heard of this, and feel encouraged to purchase because… if it is on shelf it is the real deal – automatically more trustworthy…According to our survey, nearly two-thirds (62%) of respondents said they are more likely to buy software if they’ve seen it in stores. Even having a picture of the software box online will help convert more sales…”

2. Amazon Wants To Become The Primary Shopping Option On Bing http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-bing-2010-6 “…After Microsoft announced it would shut down its Bing Cashback program, Amazon decided to aggressively pursue talks with Bing about taking over the shopping experience on Bing…Amazon is trying to convince Microsoft that it doesn't really understand shopping, and therefore it should basically outsource the shopping tab on Bing to Amazon…From Amazon's perspective, it makes sense to try and own the search experience for products on Bing. The more people it has coming into Amazon to buy stuff, the better. From Microsoft's point of view, it could be generate revenue depending on the deal terms. It could also produce a good user experience if done right…”

3. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg Is Embracing the End of Email http://www.fastcompany.com/1660619/facebook-coo-sheryl-sandberg-on-the-end-of-e-mail-branding-in-social-networks If you want to know what people like us will do tomorrow, you look at what teenagers are doing today," Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told the audience at Nielsen's Consumer 360 conference…according to Sandberg, only 11% of teens email daily--clearly, a huge generational drop. Instead, they are increasingly turning to SMS (or Twitter) and social networks for communication. "E-mail--I can't imagine life without it--is probably going away," she said…this transition will be good for businesses and brand marketers…Because while it's very difficult to gain access to a consumer's email address, connecting with them via social networks is quite simple. Indeed, with Facebook's 400 million members and 100 million daily mobile users, the network enables brands to connect with more customers than ever before--or, as Sandberg explains, "On any given day, you can reach twice as many people in the U.S. as watch American Idol--and that only makes up 30% of our global audience…”

4. Encrypt the Web with the HTTPS Everywhere Firefox Extension http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/06/encrypt-web-https-everywhere-firefox-extension Today EFF and the Tor Project are launching a public beta of a new Firefox extension called HTTPS Everywhere. This Firefox extension was inspired by the launch of Google's encrypted search option. We wanted a way to ensure that every search our browsers sent was encrypted. At the same time, we were also able to encrypt most or all of the browser's communications with some other sites…even if you're at an HTTPS page, remember that unless Firefox displays a colored address bar and an unbroken lock icon in the bottom-right corner, the page is not completely encrypted and you may still be vulnerable to various forms of eavesdropping or hacking…”

5. No Power? No Problem: ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ Relies on a Webcam http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/22/no-power-no-problem-jimmy-kimmel-live-relies-on-a-webcam/ “…when a power failure struck Jimmy Kimmel’s show on Monday evening, he really went the extra mile: he grabbed a laptop computer and shot the entire episode on a Webcam, becoming director, cameraman and lighting designer for the night…That episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” which ABC was to show on Monday, will instead be shown on Tuesday. And it will still feature segments with Seth Rogen (who was on hand to introduce his new movie, “The Green Hornet”) and the comedian John Henson, as well as a performance by the country musician Dierks Bentley — only slightly more pixelated than home viewers are used to seeing…Following a failure earlier in the day, the show’s control room automatically switched to a backup battery that was soon depleted. “We were left with no power in the control room,” Mr. Kimmel said. “We had lights, no camera or audio.” For fun, Mr. Kimmel picked up an Apple MacBook, opened the Photo Booth program, and began walking through his offices and interviewing his staffers on its Webcam. “I was like, maybe we can do this if we’re not able to get on the air,” he said…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

6. Apple Increases Mac OS X Malware Protection http://www.informationweek.com/news/hardware/mac/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=225700624&subSection=Vulnerabilities+and+threats “…Apple this week, in an undocumented move, tweaked its OS X malware defenses…OS X 10.6.4 now provides better protection against a Trojan application called HellRTS, aka Pinhead-B, which has been turning up in fake iPhoto software being circulated by attackers. "This Trojan can give hackers the green light to send spam e-mail from your computer, take screenshots of what you are doing, access your files and clipboard, and much, much more," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, in a statement. "But what's curious to me is why Apple didn't announce they were making this update in the release notes or security advisory that came with Mac OS X 10.6.4. It's almost as if they don't want to acknowledge that there could be a malware threat on Mac OS X…”

7. Putting a Private Detective in Your Laptop http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/17/technology/personaltech/17basics.html?ref=technology “…a thief had taken his MacBook…his father had installed Undercover, an antitheft program, on his computer. He remotely activated the software, which grabbed screen shots of the thief’s online activities, while the Mac’s built-in camera shot pictures of him. After eight months of activity on the Mac, the software had given police enough information to identify the thief and put the MacBook back in Mr. Sienna’s hands…laptops, iPads, e-book readers and smartphones…are easy to steal or misplace…According to a study by the Ponemon Institute, 12,000 laptops are lost each week in American airports. Most people assume they are gone for good; only a third of those turned in to the airports’ lost-and-found departments are reclaimed…A number of good programs are available for laptops, phones and tablets…to locate the computer when it is connected to the Internet. Others log keystrokes, take snapshots of Web pages visited, monitor e-mail being written and even take a picture of the user with the device’s built-in Webcam…Adeona…Created by faculty and students at the University of Washington, Adeona reports the Internet address that the laptop is using, takes photos of the user (in the Mac version only) and provides information on the user’s current wireless access point. Adeona is open-source software…the software is available free for Linux, Mac and Windows…GadgetTrak…Laptop Cop…LoJack for Laptops…”

8. Employers Can Read Text Messages http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/wire/sc-dc-court-text-20100617,0,5541952.story In its first ruling on the rights of employees who send messages on the job, the Supreme Court rejected a broad right of privacy for workers Thursday and said supervisors may read through an employee's text messages if they suspect the work rules are being violated…the justices said a police chief in southern California did not violate the constitutional rights of an officer when he read the transcripts of sexually explicit text messages sent from the officer's pager…Police Sgt. Jeff Quon had sued the chief and the city of Ontario, California after he learned the chief had read through thousands of text messages he had sent to his wife and a girl friend…”

9. Verizon Wireless Making It Harder to Avoid Charges http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/17/technology/personaltech/17pogue-email.html?src=me&ref=technology “…the cellphone industry is one step away from a big-city mugger. Some of their practices are outrageous rip-offs…Last month, I heard from a customer-service rep…working for Verizon Wireless…He wrote with two alarming internal developments at Verizon that could affect you: "Effective this past month, all CSRs [customer-service reps} were versed on the usage of blocks. A new policy has gone into effect regarding how to handle Escalated Calls regarding data charges. Now, a representative can be reprimanded and even terminated for proactively offering to block any of the following: Web Access Blocks…Data Blocks…Premium SMS blocking…Application download blocking…Vcast Music or Vcast Video download blocks…Customers are not to be credited for charges unless they ask for the credit. And in cases such as data or premium SMS, where the occurrences may have gone months without the consumer noticing, only an initial credit can be issued…”

10. Apple Already Knows Where You Are All the Time — and Is Telling Others http://www.nytimes.com/external/venturebeat/2010/06/21/21venturebeat-apple-already-knows-where-you-are-all-the-ti-31273.html “…Apple…knows exactly where all of its iPhone users are in real-time, and is sharing this data with its “partners and licensees” for all users who agree to its just revised privacy policy. This sounds reasonable, except that all iPhone users who want to download applications or media via the iTunes Store are forced to agree to the policy. Otherwise they are blocked from downloading anything, so it really isn’t an option…Apple iPhone users want their phones to know where they are most of the time — it improves application performance. Just look at the popularity of Foursquare, or the geotagging features built into Twitter’s mobile application, and Yelp’s. It’s only a disconcerting concept when it’s stated so plainly — and because the names of the partners and licensees with access to the data remain undisclosed…the audience for this information is also poised to explode, with Apple’s iAd platform launching today. A lot of the advertisers looking to run iAds plan to bake in location, allowing users to access all kinds of new information about their brands, like where the nearest branches of a chain are, or whether there is a sale ongoing at a nearby location…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

11. IBM steps up smartphone strategy http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/ibm-steps-up-smartphone-strategy/article1606775/ IBM…unveiled a slew of new software and services on Wednesday in an attempt to tap the booming smartphone market. Aimed at service providers and smartphone makers, IBM is looking to further expand its software business…New offerings unveiled by IBM include analytics software and services for managing cell towers, as well as secure collaboration software for Android-based mobile devices. The tech giant is also introducing software to speed up business processes such as retail sales on mobile devices…The Armonk, N.Y.-based firm has vowed to derive 49 per cent of its profit from software by 2015, up from 42 per cent last year…”

12. Android Team “Laser Focused” On The User Experience For Next Release http://techcrunch.com/2010/06/16/android-team-laser-focused-on-the-user-experience-for-next-release/ Google’s Android team…more or less has the core features they want at this point…although more tweaks are certainly coming. But Google wants to put an end to the desire of handset manufacturers and carriers to add their own UI layer on top of Google – things like Sense, Motoblur, Ninjablur, etc…shells aren’t all that great…and they tend to slow down the device…Google’s goal is to make those “skins” as pointless as possible. That’s a big goal, particularly since Android is a flexible operating system…When you don’t lock down the hardware it’s very hard to make the UI perfect. Which is why Apple’s Macs, with locked down hardware, have always been a better experience than the hugely hardware-flexible Windows…”

13. Microsoft Intros Mobile Software Platform http://www.informationweek.com/news/windows/microsoft_news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=225700620&subSection=News Microsoft has announced plans to add to its mobile software platform arsenal with the launch of a brand called Windows Embedded Handheld…already has two software platforms for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to use in their enterprise handheld devices: Windows Embedded CE…and Windows Mobile. The Windows Embedded Handheld software platform is geared at boosting mobile enterprise workforce productivity by enabling users to capture, access, and act on business-critical information…The new platform is the starting point in a transition in terms of how Microsoft will be supporting the ruggedized class of devices, which have relatively unique requirements in terms of lifecycle, said David Krebs…Microsoft came to a "fork in road," Krebs added, since it isn't getting enough traction in the smartphone space and has been losing share, so the company decided to separate its activities…”

Open Source

14. 8 Linux-based Live CD/DVD and USB Distros For All Occasions http://www.linuxplanet.com/linuxplanet/reports/7097/1/ “…you might not have heard of live disc or USB distributions yet. They let you run a operating system on PCs without installing anything on the hard drive. It loads directly from the CD/DVD disc or USB flash drive. Many full Linux desktop distros, such as Ubuntu, can be ran in this live mode. However, there are also live distros created for a wide-variety of other specific applications and solutions. Here we'll review several of these…”

15. 50 Open Source Tools That Replace Popular Education Apps http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/osrc/article.php/3888901/50-Open-Source-Tools-That-Replace-Popular-Education-Apps.htm The educational community has discovered open source tools in a big way. Analysts predict that schools will spend up to $489.9 million on support and services for open source software by 2012, and that only includes charges related to operating systems and learning management systems. Teachers, professors and home schoolers are using open source applications as part of their educational curriculum for a wide variety of subjects. In addition, educators have created numerous organizations and Web sites dedicated to open source educational software, including SchoolForge, the Open Source Education Foundation (OSEF), OpenOptions, the National Center for Open Source and Education and FlossEd.org. For this list, we've collected educational apps from a variety of categories that can replace popular commercial software…while we limited our list to 50 apps, you can find many more on the Web…”

16. OpenOffice at the crossroads http://www.h-online.com/open/features/OpenOffice-at-the-crossroads-1023702.html OpenOffice.org is a flagship for free and open source software, released under free software licenses and achieving downloads in the hundreds of millions. OO.o is a success by most measurements, but there have long been murmurings of discontent among developers resulting in complaints of "non-responsiveness and lack of leadership" on the project. The argument is not that the project is a failure, but that OpenOffice.org could be so much more, given a less top down approach to project management and a looser rein on developers' ability to get involved. The code of OpenOffice.org is released under free software licenses but the copyright for all internal and third party contributions are assigned to Oracle/Sun, and the OpenOffice development team within Oracle/Sun dictates the rate of progress…”

SkyNet

17. Google Voice Is Now Open for Everyone (in the U.S.) http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_voice_is_now_open_for_everyone.php “…Google just announced that Google Voice is now open for everyone. Until today, Google Voice was an invite-only service, though Google slowly opened up the doors to more users over the last few months and the service already has over one million users. Starting today, anybody with a Google Account in the U.S. can open a Google Voice account and get a Google Voice phone number without having to wait for an invitation. Google Voice gives you a new phone number that can ring all of your landline and mobile phones simultaneously and provides automatic voicemail transcriptions. In addition, Google Voice offers free calls and text messages in the U.S. and Canada, as well as cheap international calls. The service is based on GrandCentral, a service that Google acquired in July 2007. Last November, Google also acquired Skype competitor Gizmo5, though the company hasn't integrated any of Gizmo5's functionality into Google Voice yet. In the long run, though, Google Voice could easily morph into a full-blown competitor to Skype…”

18. Google gets the fabled GDrive, courtesy of Memeo http://venturebeat.com/2010/06/16/memeo-connect-gdrive/ “…GDrive is finally here, kind of — it’s part of the new document syncing application offered by a company called Memeo…Google Docs serves as storage on the backend. Memeo said it developed the application with help from Google…With the first version of Connect, users get a way to easily upload documents of different formats into Docs, then access those documents on their desktop computer, including when they’re offline. If a document is edited, the content is updated across the user’s computers and in Docs. Version 2.0 of Memeo Connect, which is available in a test version today… can really integrate with your computer’s file system, rather than just working as a standalone app. After you install and launch Connect, your files show up as the “GDrive” on your computer, and you can interact as if it were just an extension of your desktop…there are already so many other syncing services out there. Online storage and collaboration startup Box.net launched its sync feature last week, and more-established consumer services like Dropbox and SugarSync also exist…The average company that has purchased or is evaluating Memeo Connect has 10,000 employees, and more than 40 percent of the 30 biggest customers of Google Apps (a bundle of business apps including Docs) are using or testing Connect…”

19. YouTube adds cloud-based video editor http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20007866-264.html “…The YouTube editor isn't going to put Apple's Final Cut Pro or Adobe Systems' Premiere Pro out of business anytime soon, but the tool is useful. With it, you can trim videos and combine multiple videos into a single composite…With Google Docs, Google's acquisition of online photo editor Picnik, and now editing YouTube videos, it's clear Google's vision for cloud computing extends well beyond consuming content but to creating it as well…”

20. Google Adds OCR for PDF Files and Images http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2010/06/optical-character-recognition-ocr-in.html “…what started as my 20% project is now ready for everyone to use -- Google Docs now officially supports importing scanned documents. What we launched as an experimental feature for the Documents List Data API last year is now available on the upload page: check the “Convert text from PDF or image files to Google Docs documents”, upload your scanned images (JPEG, GIF, PNG) or PDFs, and Google Docs will extract text and formatting from the scans for you to edit away. For the technically curious: we’re using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) that our friends from Google Books helped us set up. OCR works best with high-resolution images, and not all formatting may be preserved. The original images will be included in the new document to make it easier for you to correct mistakes. Supported languages include English, French, Italian, German and Spanish, with more languages and character sets on their way…”

21. 5 Ways Google Can Up Its Game Against Office 2010 http://www.readwriteweb.com/enterprise/2010/06/5-ways-google-can-up-its-game-against-office-2010.php “…just last week Microsoft released Office Web Apps. It may seem like Microsoft is encroaching on Google's territory, but Google doesn't have much territory to defend…only 4% of U.S. online consumers use Google Docs…But Google Docs still leads Office Web Apps in features, and if Google can patch some of its weaknesses and exploit some of Microsoft's, it still stands a chance to make a respectable showing in the enterprise…Offline Access…Mobile Editing…Pricing…Collaboration…Google Chrome…”

22. Working at Google - the first 6 months http://dondodge.typepad.com/the_next_big_thing/2010/06/working-at-google-the-first-6-months.html So, what is it like working at Google? How is it different than working at Microsoft?...Google still feels like a startup. Larry and Sergey are very visible and active…Everything moves fast, and can change at a moments notice…Microsoft was 10 years old in 1985. Google is 10 years old now…Microsoft was THE place to work in 1985. They hired only the best. Google is THE place to work today, and they hire only the best and brightest. How I got through the interview process is still a mystery to me…Google has that same culture of nothing is impossible…The atmosphere at Google exudes confidence, success, optimism, dedication, hard work, and winning…That winning atmosphere makes everyone work harder and achieve more than they could anywhere else…The quality of the people at Google at every level, at every position, is amazing…Nearly all the top management at Google have engineering backgrounds. Marketing, sales, business development, product management, are all more likely to be former engineers. The engineering background brings a rigorous thought process that questions assumptions and requires accurate data in the decision process…Google sets the bar very high, measures results every quarter, and generously rewards achievement…Achieving 65% of the impossible is better than 100% of the ordinary…You have heard the cliche' "If you aren't failing, you aren't trying hard enough". No one accepts failure at Google, but the definition of failure is very different…Google still operates like a startup in many ways. Things can change very quickly if necessary. People and resources can be redeployed to solve big problems or jump on emerging opportunities…People work hard...and love it. Most nights I work late and eat dinner at Google. Last night there were at least 400 people eating dinner at 8:00PM. Larry Page was there too, sitting at the table next to me. This is not unusual…Yesterday I went to have lunch at Building 43. Over 500 people were outside eating lunch, playing volley ball, listening to the DJ, playing scavenger hunt games, etc. Ben N Jerry's was serving ice cream. Popcorn was everywhere. It was like a carnival. Last week I went to a Crosby, Stills, & Nash concert with some co-workers and sat in the Google suite. A few months ago Google bought every seat to a Cirque du Soleil show. Every week We Are Hiring - Google is growing and hiring…”

23. Introducing the Google Command Line Tool http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2010/06/introducing-google-command-line-tool.html Ever wanted to upload a folder full of photos to Picasa from a command prompt? We did, a lot, last summer…So we wrote a program to do that, and a whole lot more. GoogleCL is a command-line utility that provides access to various Google services. It streamlines tasks such as posting to a Blogger blog, adding events to Calendar, or editing documents on Google Docs…Read more at the GoogleCL project page, or jump right to the examples…”

General Technology

24. Intel's Westmere-EX Chip to Include 10 Cores http://www.nytimes.com/external/idg/2010/06/21/21idg-intels-westmere-ex-chip-to-include-10-cores-93708.html Intel's next-generation server processor code-named Westmere-EX will pack in 10 cores…Westmere-EX will succeed processors code-named Nehalem-EX, which include up to eight cores and are considered the company's fastest processors to date. Each Westmere-EX core will be able to run two threads simultaneously, allowing the CPU to run 20 threads simultaneously…Advanced Micro Devices will, however, continue to hold an advantage in the number of physical cores included in a CPU. The company already offers a 12-core processor code-named Magny-Cours and is scheduled to release a 16-core server chip code-named Interlagos next year…Westmere-EX…will be made using the 32-nanometer manufacturing process and are due for release next year…”

25. Drobo and DroboShare http://jan.rychter.com/enblog/2010/6/18/drobo-and-droboshare-a-review.html Convinced by people on podcasts (mostly TWiP and This Week in Tech) raving about how great the Drobo…storage device is, I decided to budget two into a project I'm working on. Expectations were high — Drobo marketing pushes the devices as easy to use, reliable and flexible. Being a Mac user, I expected an "Apple experience": plug it in and forget it's even there. Nothing could be farther from the truth. To begin with, the Drobo is…REALLY LOUD…one single Drobo with ultra-quiet WD Green drives spun down is louder than my 8-core Mac Pro…You won't want to have a Drobo under your desk, or anywhere in your vicinity, trust me. And that means the fancy fast FireWire-800 interface that you just paid for is pretty much useless…”

26. Silent Power’s Neighborhood Solar Batteries http://earth2tech.com/2010/06/16/silent-power%E2%80%99s-neighborhood-solar-batteries/ Solar panels make electricity when the sun shines, but the suburbs start using the most power when the masses come home from work (ie. night falls). How can utilities shift that solar energy from day to dusk, when it’s most needed?...Silent Power…was named as a partner, along with GridPoint, SunPower and lithium-ion battery maker Saft, in a project funded with a $5.9 million Department of Energy smart grid stimulus grant…Silent Power’s “OnDemand” system will hook up about 15 houses in the Sacramento suburb of Rancho Cordova with inverters that connect rooftop solar panels with batteries…For about $5,000 more than a typical solar installation, the startup can add its inverter-energy storage system…for homeowners to store cheap self-produced power for later in the day…Saft will be supplying cells for 10-kilowatt-hour batteries — enough to ride most homes through several hours — that can be stored comfortably in basement or garage…it allows the battery or the solar panel to take the place of shutting down air conditioners or appliances in response to brownout conditions. Key to the whole enterprise is Silent Power’s inverter, which can also disconnect the house from the grid when there’s a power outage…That would let them keep the lights on with battery power while other solar-powered homes go dark…”

Leisure & Entertainment

27. Thoughts on OnLive http://blog.wolfire.com/2010/06/Thoughts-on-OnLive Today OnLive officially launched…OnLive is an ambitious new gaming service with a unique proposition: instead of downloading and running games traditionally on your computer, you run the games on their remote data centers and they stream the audiovisual output to your computer…When it was first announced, it was met with incredulity from pretty much everyone…Most stories about it inevitably focused on how unbelievable it is and how it's at least several years too early…today the veil and all media embargoes have been lifted. I have been part of the beta program, and have been playing it on my MacBook Pro and PC pretty extensively…this is the real deal. It's not perfect, but at least for beta users in San Francisco, it works pretty well. At the very least, OnLive serves as a proof of concept that some of the most ambitious, computationally intensive software applications can be virtualized and streamed in real-time at extremely low latencies. What this means for the game industry and consumers is…fascinating…”

28. Ray Kurzweil Vows to Right E-Reader Wrongs http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/18/ray-kurzweil-vows-to-right-e-reader-wrongs/ “…Ray Kurzweil, the famed inventor, thinks people deserve yet another option when it comes to reading books and magazines with an electronic device. And so, Mr. Kurzweil presents Blio, a software package that can run on everything from PCs to hand-held devices. It displays colorful images and varying fonts with formatting similar to what people find in physical texts. The Blio free software should become more widely available to consumers over the next two months, Mr. Kurzweil said, as large PC makers and retailers…offer it on their own devices. Mr. Kurzweil argued that the existing e-readers and tablets had limitations in the text formats they support and the way they handle the original images and layouts in printed texts. Blio preserves the original formatting, making it particularly attractive to publishers of things like cookbooks, how-to guides, schoolbooks, travel guides and children’s books…He said, “The iPad launched with just 30,000 books, which are all in the ePub format. Apple showed one jerry-rigged Winnie-the-Pooh book on TV, which they had to craft by hand…”

29. Kindle & Nook prices drop, e-book reader death predicted http://www.pcworld.com/article/199429/dedicated_ereaders_will_be_dead_in_a_year_if_not_sooner.html Barnes & Noble just launched a new Wi-Fi only version of the Nook for $149 and cut the price of the original, with both Wi-Fi and 3G from $259 to $199…and Amazon drops the bottom-line Kindle's price to $189…It's…just postponing the end of all dedicated e-readers…I like the Nook and Amazon's Kindle…I don't think there's a chance in heck that dedicated e-reader devices will still be around, except as vastly discounted electronic toys by 2011's holiday season…”

30. 5 gaming trends from Electronic Entertainment Expo http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/jun/18/5-gaming-trends-from-electronic-entertainment-expo/ With a new 3-D gadget, motion controllers and a buffet of never-before-seen gaming goodness, this week's Electronic Entertainment Expo was a feast for the eyes - and hands - of 45,600 folks from the video game industry. Here are the trends that emerged from the 2010 show…POETRY IN MOTION…By the end of the year, every major console is slated to have some from of gesture recognition…GOING FORWARD…The future is here, judging by the plethora of hereafter-set first-and-third-person shooters showcased at E3…OLD IS NEW AGAIN…Several beloved franchises were awakened from a deep slumber at E3…GROUP DYNAMICS…Developers showed off innovative ways to battle online with new multiplayer modes. The most monstrously enthralling was the new beast mode for "Gears of War 3,"…UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL…3D…”

Economy and Technology

31. Former BP Exec Cynthia Warner Left Big Oil for Big Algae http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/147/from-big-oil-to-big-algae.html “…Cynthia Warner was in Morocco on April 20 celebrating International Earth Day, when a friend emailed her with the news: An explosion at a BP oil well off the Louisiana coast had killed 11 men and ruptured a pipeline almost a mile underwater, sending waves of crude into the Gulf of Mexico…the former head of global refining for BP, she was one of Big Oil's highest-ranking woman executives until she abandoned petroleum to become president of Sapphire Energy in 2009…the network Warner built during her 28 years in the oil business kept her in touch with what she calls the "huge drama underneath the surface -- all the technical people who are working night and day, trying to figure out what to do. This one is really tough because it's extremely deep water." In such challenging situations, "it is just so much harder to resolve any problems that arise." And that difficulty, she says, was at the heart of her decision to leave Big Oil. "They have to drill this deep because it's getting harder and harder to find new sources of oil. The harder you work to find additional crude, the more environmental impact there is…Warner is not the only former BP executive to have come to this conclusion…the company's award-winning "Beyond Petroleum" campaign, with that heartwarming sunburst logo…may have succeeded all too well in raising expectations inside the company -- expectations that were frustrated as new CEO Tony Hayward backed away from the clean-energy positioning…I wanted to know how to throw a wrench around a pipe and be able to crack a valve," she says. "I had a refinery manager tell me it was over his dead body that I'd get out in operations. It wasn't until he retired that I got out in the field." She worked her way up slowly, at refining company UOP, Amoco, and then BP… I had an epiphany that if I was going to put so much personal energy into making something happen, it was a lot better to create the key to the future than to nurse along the dying past…What I want to do is leave a legacy for my kids where energy is secure…I don't want to leave them a world where we're fighting for the last slice of the pie, but one where we're baking new pies. The particular pie Warner wanted to bake was industrial-scale production of liquid hydrocarbons. While solar, wind, and geothermal work for electricity, she argues, the transportation sector needs energy-dense, portable fuel…Algae's time frame is long and the numbers are daunting. Mark Bünger, a top biofuels analyst at Lux Research, says today's technology is still too pricey and delicate to scale. "Algae makes corn ethanol look like the most above-board business you've ever seen…the true challenge is not only to figure out how to breed the best pond scum, grow it as easily as rice, and bring it to market, but to do it all at a cost approaching that of conventional gasoline. The really inconvenient truth is that no one in the biofuels world anticipates that green crude will earn any real premium from consumers over the Deepwater Horizon brew…The challenge excites the competitive spirit that Warner has nurtured since she joined a swim team at 5 years old. She's made her decision: She'll dedicate 100% of her energy to advancing a radical energy solution that has at least the potential to scale…”

32. Intuit Power Outage Hitting Consumers, Businesses Shows Cloud/SaaS Pitfall http://www.informationweek.com/news/security/app-security/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=225700579&cid=RSSfeed_IWK_News Intuit, which has more than 300,000 customers using its online network of small business applications, has restored services that were down for almost two days. The company's online versions of TurboTax, QuickBooks, Quicken and QuickBase were brought back online Thursday. The Web applications, used mostly by small businesses, had been down since Tuesday night…The service disruption occurred during a routine maintenance procedure when an accidental, but severe, power failure affected Intuit's primary and backup systems, bringing down a number of Intuit's Web sites and services…The company said the number of customers on its Web sites offering services, such as payroll, employee management and financial services, grew by 80% year to year…”

Civilian Aerospace

33. 7th-Graders Discover Mysterious Cave on Mars http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/students-discover-mars-cave-100621.html A group of seventh-graders in California has discovered a mysterious cave on Mars as part of a research project to study images taken by a NASA spacecraft orbiting the red planet. The 16 students from teacher Dennis Mitchell's 7th-grade science class at Evergreen Middle School in Cottonwood, Calif., found what looks to be a Martian skylight — a hole in the roof of a cave on Mars…"This pit is certainly new to us," Cushing told the students. "And it is only the second one known to be associated with Pavonis Mons."…The young researchers had initially set out to hunt for lava tubes, a common volcanic feature on Earth and Mars…The class commissioned a main photo and a backup image of Mars' Pavonis Monsvolcano, targeted on a region that hadn't been imaged up close. The pictures were taken by NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter using its Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) instrument. Both images showed lava tubes, as the students had hoped. But the backup photo provided another surprise: a small, round black spot. It was a hole on Mars leading into the buried cave, researchers said…”

34. SpaceShipOne, government one? http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1649/1 Six years ago today—like today a Monday—history was made in the skies above Mojave Air and Space Port in the California desert. A small rocketplane with a single pilot aboard detached from its carrier aircraft, ignited its hybrid rocket engine, and soared to an altitude of just over 100 kilometers before gliding to a landing back in Mojave. That vehicle, of course, was SpaceShipOne, and on June 21, 2004, it became the first manned private vehicle—built by Scaled Composites and funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen—to fly into space, if only suborbitally…Mike Melvill, who flew SpaceShipOne on its historic flight, can be seen standing on top of the vehicle clutching a sign handed to him from one of the thousands who came to see the flight. The sign’s message: “SpaceShipOne, Government Zero”. The sign seemed to encapsulate the message from that day. Who needed bloated, slow government space programs when the private sector now appeared capable of taking over the crown jewel of spaceflight: carrying humans into space?...six years later, a more sober assessment of commercial human spaceflight is in order. SpaceShipOne flew two more times, the two flights it needed to capture the $10-million Ansari X PRIZE, later in 2004…Since that last flight there have been precisely zero commercial suborbital human spaceflights, despite the promises made by some in those heady days six years ago…we’re in a period of transition. Few would disagree that commercial ventures have growing capabilities. Given enough time and effort—and likely a fair share of failures—commercial providers will develop suborbital and orbital crewed vehicles on their own…the future of human spaceflight is more likely to be a partnership between the public and private sectors to some degree rather than parallel, separate programs. Such partnership might be distasteful for those who still seek to relive Apollo or want commercial ventures untainted by government money and influence. Yet the realities of budgets, investment, and contemporary capabilities suggest that pragmatism, not ideological purity, is required if both government programs and commercial ventures are to be successful in the long run. The sign Mike Melvill held up six years ago today suggested a victory for the commercial sector over the government. Today a partnership of the two might eventually be a victory for us all.”

35. NASA Hosts New Space Technology Industry Forum http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2010/jun/HQ_M10-094_OCT_Forum.html NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist will host an industry forum July 13-14 to discuss the agency's proposed new space technology investments and announce three new Centennial Challenges prize competitions…During the briefing, NASA officials will discuss the importance of innovation and technology to agency exploration plans, review the planning status of new Space Technology Programs and explain the three new Centennial Challenges. Reporters must be present to participate in the briefing. The first day of the forum and media briefing will be carried live on NASA Television and streamed on the Internet…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

36. Supercomputing's future: Is it CPU or GPU? http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/it-strategy/2010/06/16/supercomputings-future-is-it-cpu-or-gpu-40089202/ “…The big question in high-performance computing (HPC) now is: "What about graphics processing units (GPUs)?" While the bigger question is "What about the software?", GPUs are getting more attention…I'll use the term GPU here to cover all many-core computing devices, meaning GPUs or accelerated processing units (APUs). Are GPUs here to stay, perhaps even to become the dominant HPC processor? Will GPUs go away as people realise they are hard to program? Which kind of GPU or accelerator is going to emerge as the market choice?...If we had to develop a major application now, for a longish use-life, we'd have to make a gamble between OpenMP or Cuda or OpenCL or the various products that hope to bridge the gap. Until that is fixed and GPU is generic enough to mean it doesn't matter at develop-time whose product will be used at run-time, the investment of effort to get the performance and cost rewards is a hard call…once standardisation happens, the final lesson from history is that cost-of-deployment — and sometimes cost-of-ownership — wins against the best option…The painful programming transition from the dominant CPU to the promising GPU might slow down adoption of potentially better price-performance, but is unlikely to stop the eventual changeover…”

37. Japanese Supercomputer Claims to Be High-performance, Low-cost, Greenest http://techon.nikkeibp.co.jp/english/NEWS_EN/20100618/183587/ The Tokyo Institute of Technology announced the details of the "Tsubame 2.0," the next-generation supercomputer system for the university that will start operation in the fall of 2010…"It will be the first petaflops computer in Japan," said Satoshi Matsuoka, professor at the Global Scientific Information and Computing Center (GSIC) of the university…The system has the "vector-scalar mixture architecture," Matsuoka said. But the computation capacity of its graphics processing units (GPUs) accounts for 90% of the total computation capacity, making the system more like a vector computer…the performance of the system slightly differs depending on the type of calculation. Specifically, the performance target in terms of the Linpack benchmark is 1-1.4 PFLOPS (double-precision value), which ranks third or fourth in the Top500 as of June 2010. On the other hand, for calculations that are suited for vector computers such as weather prediction, the performance can be more than 150 TFLOPS (teraflops), which is much higher than the world record (50 TFLOPS). The backbone of the supercomputer system consists of 2,816 units of Intel Corp's "Xeon 5600" microprocessor (developing code: Westmere-EP), which has six cores and operates at a frequency of 2.93GHz, and 4,224 units of Nvidia Corp's "Tesla M2050" GPU…"The performance per node (two microprocessors and three GPUs) is 1.6 TFLOPS," Matsuoka said. "The performance per rack is 51.2 TFLOPS, which is higher than that of early earth simulators…”

38. GPU Computing: The Inevitable Transition? http://www.hpcwire.com/blogs/GPU-Computing-The-Inevitable-Transition-96611294.html “…for the past four years or so, I'm sure you realize that a lot of digital ink has been spilled about the ascent of GPUs in high performance computing…Part of this interest is due to the fact that, as HPC goes, GPU computing is one of the industry's more exciting topics…The fact the GPUs can also deliver superior performance per watt is especially relevant now, given that post-petascale computing will require much more energy-efficient processing than that afforded by traditional CPUs. From the code jockey's point of view, what could be more fun than having to rewrite your software for an entirely new processor architecture? Well, the truth is that a lot of programmers (and their masters) don't see that as fun at all. Outside of the halls of academia, the dominant mantra of software developers is: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." And that's one of largest impediments to GPU computing today. Despite CUDA, OpenCL, and whatever other programming frameworks get layered on top of them, writing code for data-parallel architectures like GPUs requires real work by skilled programmers…”


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