2010/07/20

NEW NET Issues List for 20 Jul 2010

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 13 July 2010, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering. This week we're upstairs 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. Old Spice Man Answers Tweets On YouTube http://techcrunch.com/2010/07/13/old-spice-tweets-youtube/ What if commercials really did talk to you? What if a familiar spokesperson addressed you by name and responded to your thoughts and feelings. In what is definitely one of the more creative social media ad campaigns in a while, Old Spice is doing just that. Its shirtless, muscled spokesman, the Old Spice Man, is shooting YouTube videos in response to people’s Tweets. Many oft these are well-known people with tons of followers like Kevin Rose and actress Alyssa Milano, who retweet the videos and spread them virally…Digg founder Kevin Rose Tweeted out that he was sick, and in response the Old Spice Man created the video embedded above, in which he tells Rose that he has never had a fever himself because his body is “98 percent muscle.” He even talks to Rose in binary code so that Rose can understand, to which Rose responded on Twitter: HOLY SH*T, best get well video EVER from the old spice man! http://bit.ly/dpSeOs...The Old Spice Man also made multiple videos for actress Alyssa Milano, as well as ones for Olympic skater Apolo Ohno, actress Justine Bateman (who Tweeted, “Can the Old Spice guy do ads for ALL the world’s products?”), and Gizmodo. But he also responds to less famous people on Twitter like “Gabe” (see below). The responses are often hilarious. (“My concern is that if I did ads for all the world’s products, it would cause global prosperity”)…” [http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/how_old_spice_won_the_internet.php “…We just brought a character to life using the social channels we all [social media geeks] use every day…In the room there are two social media guys and a tech guy who built a system pulling in comments from around the web all together in real time…The social media guys and script writers are collaborating to make that call in real time. We have people shooting and we're editing it as it happens. Then the social media guys are looking at how to get that back out around the web...in real time…Those people are having more fun than I've ever seen anyone have in a shoot like this. That's part of why it's doing so well. It's genuinely infectious, it transmits itself through the internet in a massive way…”] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ArIj236UHs&feature=player_embedded

2. Windows Live Introducing Centralized Contacts http://thenextweb.com/microsoft/2010/07/14/windows-live-introducing-centralized-contacts/ “…you can now access all of your contacts, across all of your Microsoft services, from a single location: http://contacts.live.com... Not all of the people you know are going to be in your address book, though…I know a lot of people on Facebook and LinkedIn, but I don’t have contact info for every one of them available in Windows Live…we built a set of features that connects Windows Live to the social networks that you use and keeps track of your entire list of contacts. When you connect a service like Facebook, MySpace, and soon LinkedIn to Windows Live, all of your contacts from those services will be available in Windows Live automatically. The service will also look for duplicate contacts, and allow you to select which service you’d like to use to stay in touch with them. This compacted view will act as a profile page for each contact, showing you all of your connections with them…”

3. Health Appointment Platform ZocDoc http://techcrunch.com/2010/07/14/khosla-ventures-and-founders-fund-invest-15m-in-health-appointment-platform-zocdoc/ “…ZocDoc automates a task that can be incredibly frustrating and time-consuming for consumers. ZocDoc allows users to book their doctor appointments online, even for same-day appointments (around 40% of ZocDoc users schedule same-day appointments). Patients can see real-time availability of doctors in their area, confirm who accepts their insurance plan and read feedback and reviews of doctors from other patients. The service currently offers patients more than 1 million available appointments across 20 specialties. The company has launched regional sites in New York, Washington DC, Chicago, and most recently San Francisco.One of the biggest barriers to expansion is the challenge of signing up and indexing all of the doctors in a given city, says founder and CEO Cyrus Massoumi. But as the site’s notoriety has grown, Massoumi says that doctors are now approaching ZocDoc to be listed…”

4. Optimizely Makes It Easy To Run A/B Tests On Websites http://techcrunch.com/2010/07/15/optimizely-ab-test/ If you’re running a website, you’ve probably heard of A/B testing, which entails running multiple versions of a site at once and tracking which one performs best with users…The service is looking to make all aspects of running an A/B test as easy as possible, and it looks quite impressive. In fact, when I showed it to our lead developer, he responded “This is brilliantly simple. Can we get an invite?”…Optimizely makes it easy for novices to tweak their pages. Want to make an image bigger? Just drag its edges. Want to move a widget that showcases your most popular posts to the other size of the screen? Drag it over…it also lets experienced developers directly edit the page’s code, so they can adjust multiple items at once, or make other more sophisticated edits. You can create multiple experiments for the same page at once…Optimizely tracks the performance of each experiment…to compare the engagement rates of each experiment side by side…Optimizely will pay attention to all user actions, like clicking links, but you can also tell it to analyze how often users are clicking through on specific links…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

5. A hidden world, growing beyond control http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/a-hidden-world-growing-beyond-control/print/ The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work. These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight. After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine. The investigation's other findings include…1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States…In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings - about 17 million square feet of space…Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks…In the Department of Defense, where more than two-thirds of the intelligence programs reside, only a handful of senior officials - called Super Users - have the ability to even know about all the department's activities…one Super User…recounted that for his initial briefing, he was escorted into a tiny, dark room, seated at a small table and told he couldn't take notes. Program after program began flashing on a screen, he said, until he yelled ''Stop!" in frustration. "I wasn't remembering any of it," he said…retired Army Lt. Gen. John R. Vines…was asked last year to review the method for tracking the Defense Department's most sensitive programs…"I'm not aware of any agency with the authority, responsibility or a process in place to coordinate all these interagency and commercial activities,"…The result, he added, is that it's impossible to tell whether the country is safer because of all this spending and all these activities… an ultra-secret group of programs for which access is extremely limited and monitored by specially trained security officers…are called Special Access Programs - or SAPs - and the Pentagon's list of code names for them runs 300 pages. The intelligence community has hundreds more of its own, and those hundreds have thousands of sub-programs with their own limits on the number of people authorized to know anything about them. All this means that very few people have a complete sense of what's going on…Such secrecy can undermine the normal chain of command when senior officials use it to cut out rivals or when subordinates are ordered to keep secrets from their commanders. One military officer involved in one such program said he was ordered to sign a document prohibiting him from disclosing it to his four-star commander, with whom he worked closely every day, because the commander was not authorized to know about it. Another senior defense official recalls the day he tried to find out about a program in his budget, only to be rebuffed by a peer. "What do you mean you can't tell me? I pay for the program," he recalled saying in a heated exchange…” [if you want to be enlightened, amazed, impressed, worried, terrified or driven to read “Little Brother” again, read the whole article]

6. China seeks to reduce Internet users' anonymity http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100714/ap_on_hi_te/as_china_internet_6 A leading Chinese Internet regulator has vowed to reduce anonymity in China's portion of cyberspace…Wang Chen, director of the State Council Information Office, called for perfecting the extensive system of censorship the government uses to manage the fast-evolving Internet…"We will make the Internet real name system a reality as soon as possible, implement a nationwide cell phone real name system, and gradually apply the real name registration system to online interactive processes," the journal quoted Wang…The restriction on cell phones apparently would be aimed at China's 233 million mobile Web users. As part of that Internet "real name system," forum moderators would have to use their real names as would users of online bulletin boards, and anonymous comments on news stories would be removed…”

7. RIAA paid its lawyers more than $16,000,000 in 2008 to recover only $391,000 http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com/2010/07/ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-riaa-paid-its-lawyers.html “…The RIAA paid Holmes Roberts & Owen $9,364,901 in 2008, Jenner & Block more than $7,000,000, and Cravath Swain & Moore $1.25 million, to pursue its "copyright infringement" claims, in order to recover a mere $391,000…As bad as it was, I guess it was better than the numbers for 2007, in which more than $21 million was spent on legal fees, and $3.5 million on "investigative operations" ... presumably MediaSentry. And the amount recovered was $515,929…”

8. Improving Your Internet Security http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/securitysecretsthebadguysdontwantyoutoknow “…You know to keep your antivirus program and patches up to date, to be careful where you go on the Internet, and to exercise online street-smarts to resist being tricked into visiting a phishing site or downloading a Trojan horse…when you've got the basics covered, but you still don't feel secure, what can you do? Here are a few advanced security tips…security is all about trade-offs. With most of these tips, what you gain in security, you lose in convenience…Avoid Scripting…may be the one piece of advice that will do most to keep you the safe on the Web: Steer clear of JavaScript…Back Out of Rogue Antivirus Offers…Use Less-Popular Apps; Verify That Your Programs Are Up-to-Date…Use a Service Like Gmail or VirusTotal to Check Documents That You Do Open…Sharpen Your Password Game…”

9. Lessig responds to ASCAP's bizarre anti-free-culture smear campaign http://www.boingboing.net/2010/07/13/lessig-responds-to-a.html The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) has launched a campaign to raise money from its members to hire lobbyists to protect them against the dangers of "Copyleft." Groups such as Creative Commons, Public Knowledge, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are "mobilizing," ASCAP describes in a letter to its members, "to promote 'Copyleft' in order to undermine our 'Copyright.'" "[O]ur opponents are influencing Congress against the interests of music creators," ASCAP warns…As a founding board member of two of those three organizations, and former board member of the third, I guess I should be proud that a 96 year old organization would be so terrified of our work…Creative Commons, Public Knowledge and EFF are not aiming to "undermine" copyright; they are not spreading the word that "music should be free"; and there is certainly not yet any rally within Congress in favor of any of the issues that these groups do push…”

10. Hacker arrested for spying on schoolgirls via their own webcams http://www.thelocal.de/society/20100717-28569.html A man has been arrested for spying on more than 150 girls in their bedrooms by hacking into their computers and using their webcams to watch them, provoking warnings that others will be doing the same thing…the little lights on their webcams were not going out when they had finished using them. On examining one of the computers Floß discovered a so-called Trojan computer program which was being used to control the equipment, and which had been spread via the chat service ICQ. The hacker had allegedly broken into the chat service account of one schoolgirl, and used it to choose which others he wanted to spy upon, and send the Trojan to their computers…Floß said he believed many more people were doing the same thing. “I have visited 50 to 60 schools, and every time at least one schoolgirl tells me they have such a problem…”

11. IBM Device Secures Online Banking http://www.pcworld.com/article/201389/ IBM this week rolled out a security device it says will protect online banking and keep cyber-criminals from being able to make fraudulent funds transfer even from a compromised PC. The IBM technology, called Zone Trusted Information Channel (ZTIC), is a UBS device that uses X.509 certificate-based encryption to set up a trusted channel with bank servers that routinely handle funds transfers and payments requests to make sure these requests are real. The password-protected ZTIC device is plugged into a PC to allow the banking customer to verify logins and authorize any transfer by pressing a "yes"or "no"button related to payment details. Use of ZTIC doesn't replace Internet banking applications but simply intercedes with strong security at the critical moment an online decision has to be made about authorizing an exchange of money…what IBM does want to change how criminals brazenly exploit PCs, often by means of sophisticated viruses and trojans, to add fake payment information to funds transfers so that money is transferred to cybercrime "money mules."…ZTIC is basically "a security window between the user on the one end and the application running on the other end…Swiss banking giant UBS is the first bank to use the ZTIC technology and since March of this year has made the ZTIC device available to customers. But IBM is making ZTIC available globally…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

12. App Inventor and the culture wars http://radar.oreilly.com/2010/07/culture-wars.html Google's new App Inventor gets to the heart of the cultural difference between Apple and Google…What's different about App Inventor is that there's practically no coding per se; it's an entirely visual language. Its heritage goes back to Logo, but more directly, to Scratch, which has a snap-together, building-block model for describing behavior. App Inventor's intent is to enable people who wouldn't normally program to develop the apps that they want…This is revolutionary; they're not trying to lower the bar, they're throwing it away entirely…contrast this with the iPhone, which has a much different model…many commented on Apple's focus on the perfect user experience…I think Google is unlikely to match that. Apple has an app store to guarantee that poorly designed apps never get to the user…The user gets the perfect curated experience…Google has taken another direction altogether: the user's experience isn't going to be perfect, but the user's experience will be the experience he or she wants. If you want to do something, you can build it yourself; you can put it on your own phone without going through a long approval process; you don't have to learn an arcane programming language. This is computing for the masses. It's computing that enables people to be creative, not just passive consumers…”

13. Apple acquires online mapping company Poly9 http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/10/07/14/apple_acquires_online_mapping_company_poly9_report.html “…Poly9 has been purchased by Apple, and a majority of the company's employees were moved to California. Poly9's official website is no longer available. Among its products is Poly9 Globe, described as a "cross-browser, cross-platform 3D globe which does not require any download." The interactive software allows users to spin a three-dimensional rendering of the Earth, while providing real-time statistics on the user's virtual location, including altitude. The total application, which includes high-resolution imagery for U.S. metropolitan areas, is just 303kb…It can also be seen in action on a number of other websites, including Skype and Surveys.com…It was said that the Cupertino, Calif., company asked Poly9 employees to not discuss the matter…”

14. Microsoft Pays Mobile App Developers to Help It Catch Apple http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-07-14/microsoft-pays-mobile-app-developers-to-help-it-catch-apple.html Microsoft Corp. is paying developers to build mobile applications for its Windows Phone 7 system to help it narrow a lead by rival products from Apple Inc. and Google Inc…The company is providing financial incentives ranging from free tools and test handsets to funds for software development and marketing…In some cases, Microsoft is providing revenue guarantees, and will make up the difference if apps don’t sell as well as expected, he said…Some developers may be reluctant to sign up before they know Windows Phone will lure enough customers…While Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, has used similar compensation programs for previous versions of its mobile operating system, it’s devoting a larger sum this time…Windows accounted for 6.9 percent of the worldwide smartphone-software market in the first quarter, from 10.8 percent a year earlier…Shipments of the iPhone rose to 15.8 percent, while Android handsets had 9.9 percent…”

15. Handset world: Don't speak for us, Steve Jobs http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-20010902-37.html “…no cell phone is perfect, but the handset world isn't taking too kindly to Apple CEO Steve Jobs' public assertion that other smartphones suffer from the same antenna and signal problems that have been widely reported regarding the iPhone 4…Hui-Meng Cheng, chief financial officer at HTC, told The Wall Street Journal…"the reception problems are certainly not common among smartphones," and a representative from Samsung said that it "hasn't received significant customer feedback on any signal reduction issue for the Omnia 2," one of the phones that Apple singled out as suffering from similar reception issues…The two Asia-based companies are by no means the only ones to come out swinging against Jobs' remarks that "every phone has weak spots" at the press conference that addressed the reports of poor reception…The most forceful remarks may have come from BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion (RIM), whose co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie…Apple's attempt to draw RIM into Apple's self-made debacle is unacceptable…Apple's claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public's understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple's difficult situation…”

16. LucyPhone Waits On Hold for You, Saves You Time and Minutes http://lifehacker.com/5587956/lucyphone-waits-on-hold-for-you-saves-you-time-and-minutes If you're agonizing over lost time and cell minutes while waiting on hold…LucyPhone eliminates that problem by waiting on hold for you…LucyPhone's web site is pretty straightforward: Search for a company you want to contact (or enter their phone number), enter your callback number, and LucyPhone calls you back when someone picks up on the other line. In some circumstances you may need to navigate through a customer service option tree, but as soon as you've finished navigating and are waiting on hold, you can press ** to disconnect the call. LucyPhone will know to call you back as soon as someone is available. The iPhone app makes this process just a little bit easier since you can circumvent the web site and do everything directly from your mobile…”

17. Ford’s SYNC Platform Gets A Bigger Voice http://gigaom.com/2010/07/15/ford-sync-commands/ “…MyFord Touch, the latest generation of SYNC, raises the number of voice commands from 100 to 10,000 first-level commands. This wider range of speech recognition is the result of technology from Nuance…the new SYNC is capable of doing more with a single command. Previously a driver would have to say “Phone” to navigate through to the phone commands — now a driver can simply say “Call Liz Gannes,” which saves a step…By allowing a variance of voice commands for the same task, drivers don’t have to remember the specific commands to take a certain action…in the video demonstration by Ford Voice Recognition Engineer, Bridgitte Richardson…uses three distinctly different — but very logical and conversational — commands: “warmer”, “increase temp”, and “temp up.”…GigaOM PRO analyst, Dr. Phil Hendrix…believes that majority of smartphones will offer a fully voice-activated interface by 2012…”

18. Android Poised For Dominance In China http://techcrunch.com/2010/07/18/android-china/ Android seems ready to leapfrog competitors to grab dominance in China…drastic price drops on Android phones and custom Chinese mobile apps supported by the massive domestic market is bound to push Android past the entrenched leaders, setting the tone for how the mobile internet is built and interacted with around the world…Number of Mobile Internet Users in China (projected for 2014): 957 million…Population of USA + EU (2010): roughly 800 million…counter to China’s apparent ambitions to kill Android and Google, officially sanctioned versions of Android are flourishing, starting with last year’s Ophone OS from state-owned China Mobile…Motorola is developing a line of Chinese flavors for Android with Baidu as its default search engine…As Chinese developers and mobile carriers replace native Android services with their own email, app stores, search engines, and maps, they sidestep those pesky issues of information freedom while limiting Google’s revenue from advertising and app store purchases…Mediatek supplies chips for 85% of China’s phones, and less than $60 can buy a 3.2in touchscreen phone with Wi-Fi/GPRS/Edge connectivity…iPhone 4 in China: $1,285…Bootleg iPhone 4 “HiPhone”: $100…Bootleg Nokia E71 with internet connectivity: $14…What will crack this nut wide open is Mediatek’s new Android chipset, which is slated to hit the market later this year. As Moore’s law applies itself to mobile devices, and sub-$100 Chinese-flavored Android 2.2+ phones are released, the over-$600 gray market iPhone will only occupy a niche of the market in China…When OEM’s and carriers use the flexible and free Android platform to make cheap internet and Flash-ready phones for China’s 739 million mobile users, lesser competitors will get crowded out. As mobile 3G prices approaches $3/mo on some carriers, Chinese users and their powerful devices will redefine how they interact with games, music, pictures and information online…”

19. Top 10 Free BlackBerry Apps 2010 http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2366226,00.asp “…BlackBerrys are still the number one line of smartphones in the U.S. by installed base. Unfortunately, they're really missing out on the app revolution…popular apps often don't pop up in searches because they haven't been certified for a certain model of BlackBerry—even though they may work fine. The only way to pay for apps on App World in the U.S. is via PayPal, which has its own issues…App World isn't the only place to get BlackBerry apps. The independent store GetJar does a brisk business…Over the past six months, we've seen less interest in BlackBerry apps…than on other platforms. Therefore, we've trimmed our BlackBerry list to the top 10 apps…AP Mobile News…BOLT…FlashLight…Google Maps…Kindle for BlackBerry…Qik LiveStreaming…Slacker Radio…Twitter…Viigo…WeatherBug…”

20. Top 30 Free Google Android Apps 2010 http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2366244,00.asp Google's Android OS is now a major player in the smartphone world…we're seeing "super phones" like the HTC Incredible, HTC EVO 4G, Motorola Droid X, and Samsung Galaxy S that are bringing world-class hardware capabilities to the platform…All of the apps we list below are available from the Android Market…Google Maps Navigation…Google Sky Map…Google Voice…Jewels…Mint…Pandora…Photoshop.com Mobile…ShopSavvy…Talk To Me Classic…TV.com…”

21. Top 40 Free iPhone Apps 2010 http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2366274,00.asp “…it seems as if the iPhone and its iOS-powered compatriots, the iPad and iPod touch, will continue to set the standard for a great third-party app ecosystem…The iTunes App Store now carries more than 225,000 apps, with an average app price of $2.80…We've handpicked 40 of our favorite free apps…Apple iBooks…Dragon Dictation…Dropbox…Evernote…Google Earth…Kindle…OpenTable…Pandora…Siri Assistant…Skype…”

22. Free BlackBerry Protect http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/07/13/BUBC1ED4GO.DTL&type=tech “…a new free security application called BlackBerry Protect…allows you to wipe, lock or locate a lost device from a PC. Users can erase their information on a phone, lock it or locate the device on a map. You will also be able to activate a ringer to find the device, or you can put a message on the lock screen so the finder of the phone can contact you…back up your contacts, calendar, tasks, browser bookmarks and text messages over Wi-Fi or easily port over your info to a new BlackBerry…BlackBerry Protect will be available in Limited Beta later this week, and available via Open Beta later this year…BlackBerry…has released a video on its forthcoming 6.0 operating system, expected by September…”

Open Source

23. An Open Source 8-Bit Computer to Save the World http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/open-source-8-bit-computer-save-world “…Braddock Gaskill gave a wonderful presentation on an open source 8-bit computer he had created. This was his first public debut of the device…the Humane Reader & Humane PC. The goal of the project was to create an extendable, hackable 8-bit general computing platform, designed for both hobbyists and developing nations, that can be displayed on televisions. The Humane Reader can be used as an ebook reader and comes with a 2GB SD card where you can put about 5000 ebooks or, roughly, the entire contents of Wikipedia…Braddock is shooting for a price point of $20US for the Humane Reader! There is also the Humane PC which allows you to hack on a smaller scale which uses an 8-bit microcomputer. Both the Humane Reader and Humane PC are based on open source software and hardware…The AVR ecosystem is built using Arduino. The Arduino platform provided access to a wide variety of extensions ("shields") and its software provides an educationally-oriented "easy" IDE…This is a wonderful project that could, potentially, have far-reaching and positive effects on the global community…You can read all about the project, view presentation slides and see a video of the presentation taken while at SGVLUG at the Humane Informatics website.”

24. Using Compiz As A Window Management Tool http://maketecheasier.com/compiz-windows-management-tool/2010/07/15 You’ve seen the wobbly windows, you’ve seen the cube, you’ve seen the raindrops. Compiz is just a bunch of useless eye candy right? Wrong…Compiz is a top-notch window manager…This guide will cover each of the best window management plugins for Compiz and explain how each can be used to create a more productive desktop…Desktop Wall…arranges your workspaces into a table, and allows you to switch between them with the keyboard…It is this author’s opinion that Expo may be the single most useful plugin in all of Compiz…Compiz isn’t just a bunch of eye candy – it’s a genuinely effective window manager with some quality features. These Compiz plugins, when combined with other desktop tools like Gnome Do, Specto and Conky can be invaluable to a Linux user…”

25. Open-source hardware standards formally issued http://news.cnet.com/8301-13772_3-20010354-52.html There are 13 million-dollar open-source hardware companies, but there have been no standards governing what defines the still nascent field…But already some of those practicing its general principles have become household names among the geek set: Arduino, the programmable single-board microcontroller and software suite; Chumby, a popular Wi-Fi device; MakerBot, a low-priced 3D printer; and Adafruit, a maker of do-it-yourself hardware kits for things like MP3 players…Late Tuesday, a group of signatories including Wired magazine editor and DIY Drones' Chris Anderson, Phil Torrone of Make magazine, David Mellis of MIT Media Lab and Arduino, Limor Fried of Adafruit, and Ayah Bdeir of New York's Eyebeam publicly issued a formal definition of open-source hardware. The basic elements of the standards are as follows: documentation; necessary software; derived works; free redistribution; attribution; no discrimination against persons or groups; no discrimination against fields of endeavor; distribution of license; license must not be specific to a product; license must not restrict other hardware or software; and license must be technology-neutral…The decision to issue the new standards stemmed from a meeting in March organized by Bdeir and attended by many of the endorsers and participants, as well as a lawyer from Creative Commons…Prior to the March meeting, there had been many opinions about exactly what open-source hardware is…one of the more elemental tenets of the field is that those selling products give away their designs, and allow others to make and sell products based on those designs, or even give them away for free…by putting product designs out into the community for free, open-source hardware companies are allowing others to improve upon their work. "Someone could say, hey, you could use a different component here, or save money here…In some ways, Torrone argued, the new open-source hardware standards are tantamount to "an accelerated patent system that's instant." By that, he means that while someone may copy another's design, they also have to give full and fair attribution…”

SkyNet

26. Google Begins Using Its Planned Fiber Network to Flog ISPs http://gigaom.com/2010/07/13/google-begins-using-its-fiber-to-flog-isps/ Google today created a site to provide information about its broadband plans, and to encourage the thousands of people who submitted proposals to the company — trying to convince it to launch its experimental fiber-to-the-home network in their towns — to take action to improve broadband…Google is trying to create a community-action network around better broadband, starting with the more than 200,000 people who have already weighed in hoping to get fatter pipes. When Google announced its plans to build an experimental 1 Gbps fiber-to-the-home network in February…the search engine wasn’t just looking for new web applications, but also for information that it could disseminate in order to show people and governments what a modern broadband network should cost– possibly lighting a fire under ISPs who are reluctant to upgrade their networks. Its new site gives people and municipalities a match to help with that fire…”

27. Picnik's editor now built into Picasa Web Albums http://news.cnet.com/8301-27076_3-20010388-248.html “…three months after acquiring Web-based photo editor Picnik, Google has gotten around to integrating the service into Picasa Web Albums…if a Picasa Web Albums user wants to make a quick edit to a photo, they can do so without leaving the photo page…While a seemingly minor move, it's the first step by Google to integrate the Picnik editor into additional Google services…Google's photo team is in the process of simplifying the Picnik.com experience for Google account holders, who will soon be able to log into the photo-editing site (from Picasa) without having to sign up for a new account.”

28. Use Chrome like a pro http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/07/use-chrome-like-pro.html “…some of the Chrome team's favorite extensions…They can all be found at chrome.google.com/extensions…Google Voice: All sorts of helpful Voice features directly from the browser. See how many messages you have, initiate calls and texts, or call numbers on a site by clicking on them…AutoPager. Automatically loads the next page of a site. You can just scroll down instead of having to click to the next page…Turn Off the Lights: Fades the page to improve the video-watching experience…Google Dictionary: Double-click any word to see its definition, or click on the icon in the address bar to look up any word…Invisible Hand: Does a quick price check and lets you know if the product you are looking at is available at a lower price elsewhere…Secbrowsing: Checks that your plug-ins (e.g. Java, Flash) are up to date…Readability: Reformat the page into a single column of text…Note Anywhere: Digital post-it notes that can be pasted and saved on any webpage…”

29. Google Maps sends destinations directly to more than 20 car brands http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2010/07/google-maps-can-now-send-destinations.html “…We see more and more cars with connected navigation and entertainment systems leaving the assembly line and the trend is here to stay…drivers of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles in the US enabled with Ford SYNC can now send business listings or addresses found on Google Maps directly to their cars…millions of OnStar equipped GM vehicles can now make use of this innovative service…drivers can send destinations from Google Maps directly to their connected vehicles…In the US alone, Send-To-Car is now available on more than 15 car brands…”

30. New York Times Says Government Should Regulate Google's Search Algorithm http://www.businessinsider.com/no-the-government-should-not-regulate-googles-search-algorithm-2010-7 The New York Times wants the government to start regulating Google's search business…the Times thinks "it is worth exploring ways to ensure that the editorial policy guiding Google’s tweaks is solely intended to improve the quality of the results and not to help Google’s other businesses."…that is a terrible idea…Google doesn't have a monopoly on search…there is no barrier to switching search engines…Regulators wouldn't be qualified to evaluate Google's algorithm…Google should be using search to help its other businesses, because search is free…Google's search product is one of the biggest things going on the Internet, and, like most successful Internet products (but unlike the New York Times) it's 100% free. That means Google has to come up with indirect means of making money off search…”

31. Google revenue climbs 24 percent http://media.venturebeat.com/2010/07/15/google-q2-earnings/ Google just released its earnings for the second quarter of the year, with revenue increasing to $6.82 billion, up 24 percent from the same period last year…Google made $5.1 billion in revenue, more than the predicted $5 billion…Google now has $30.1 billion in cash, up from $26.5 billion at the end of last quarter…”

32. Google expansion helps economy, hurts stock price http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100716/ap_on_hi_te/apfn_us_earns_google “…With its payroll swelling at the fastest rate in four years, some of Google's expenses are climbing faster than its revenue…Both net income and revenue rose…but that didn't impress investors because the earnings missed the target set by analysts…Google is spending more to maintain its commanding lead in Internet search while it also tries to diversify by developing products in other promising niches such as online video, mobile devices and computer operating systems…Google's management left little doubt substantially more people will be joining the company…"Google is building a business not for this quarter or the next quarter, but an infrastructure for the next half-decade to decade," Patrick Pichette, Google's chief financial officer, said in an interview…Google had $30 billion at the end of June, up from $26.5 billion. And it might not even use that money to invest in new technology or buy more companies…it may borrow up to $3 billion on the premise that its money managers can realize investment returns that outstrip its borrowing costs…”

33. Google News Brings Back Its Old Home Page … Kinda http://searchengineland.com/google-news-brings-back-old-home-page-kinda-46593 In response to sometimes loud and angry user feedback, Google News has tweaked its home page tonight…The most noticeable is a new option to show personalized content in a two-column format that looks just like the home page did…Almost immediately after Google re-launched Google News a couple weeks ago, the Google Help Forum was filled with angry replies from users…some of you wrote in to say you missed certain aspects of the previous design, such as the ability to see results grouped by section (U.S., Business, etc.) in two columns…Another change is the display of the full article cluster for each story, which had only been appearing on a mouseover event. And the local weather can now be removed from the right column of the Google News home page…”

34.

General Technology

35. Rex, the robotic exoskeleton, aims to make wheelchairs obsolete http://www.engadget.com/2010/07/15/rex-the-robotic-exoskeleton-aims-to-make-wheelchairs-obsolete/ New Zealand…bionic legs…the Rex exoskeleton is capable of supporting the full weight of a person -- making it suitable for paraplegics -- and moving him or her around in a familiar bipedal fashion. It's operated using a joystick and control pad and is simple enough for handicapped users to self-transfer in and out of. The best news, perhaps, is that it's about to go on sale in its home country this year, with an international launch following in 2011…$150,000 (US) initial asking price…”

36. US army heat-ray gun in Afghanistan http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/10646540 A newly-developed heat-ray gun that burns the skin but doesn't cause permanent injury is now with US troops in Afghanistan. The Active Denial System (ADS) is a non-lethal weapon designed to disperse violent crowds and repel enemies. It uses a focused invisible beam that causes an "intolerable heating sensation", but only penetrates the skin to the equivalent of three sheets of paper…They often scream but the US military says the chance of injury from the system is 0.1%...There's been much talk about the need to keep civilian casualties in Afghanistan to a minimum. The heat-ray gun could help. The beam produced by the ADS can travel more than 500m (1,640ft) …”

37. Vibration-powered Generators Replace AA, AAA Batteries http://techon.nikkeibp.co.jp/english/NEWS_EN/20100716/184262/ Brother Industries Ltd developed small vibration-powered generators that can replace AA and AAA batteries. For example, when the generator, which the company calls "Vibration-powered Generating Battery," is set inside a remote control, it is possible to use the remote by shaking it to generate power…When used with a low power consumption device such as a remote, the generator can replace a battery…the generator can be used for a device that does not always consume electricity and has a power consumption of about 100mW…the power consumption of a normal remote is 40 to 100mW…Brother Industries prototyped the generator in AA and AAA sizes. Inside a battery-shaped case, there are an electromagnetic induction generator and an electric double layer capacitor with a capacitance of about 500mF…”

38. Bye-Bye Batteries: Radio Waves as a Low-Power Source http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/18/business/18novel.html “…his interest is in a real hat now in prototype: a hard hat with a tiny microprocessor and beeper that sound a warning when dangerous equipment is nearby on a construction site…the hat’s beeper and microprocessor work without batteries. They use so little power that they can harvest all they need from radio waves in the air…Until recently, the use of radio waves to power wireless electronic devices was largely untapped because the waves dilute quickly as they spread…there are plenty of radio waves in the air to provide fodder for him as they spread from Wi-Fi transmitters, cellphone antennas, TV towers and radio stations…Ambient radio waves,” he said, “can already provide enough energy to substitute for AAA batteries in some calculators, temperature and humidity sensors, and clocks.” At Intel, Dr. Smith, working with the researcher Alanson Sample of the University of Washington, created an electronic “harvester” of ambient radio waves. It collects enough energy from a TV station broadcasting about 2.5 miles from the lab to run a temperature and humidity sensor. The device collects enough power to produce about 50 microwatts of DC power…That is enough for many sensing and computing jobs…power consumption of a typical solar-powered calculator, for example, is only about 5 microwatts…that of a typical digital thermometer with a liquid crystal display is one microwatt…”

39. Seagate battles Netgear in home storage servers http://venturebeat.com/2010/07/19/seagate-battles-netgear-in-home-storage-servers/ “…a week after Netgear introduced a similar product, Seagate is launching its own new family of centralized storage servers for home use…Seagate believes that families need it because they’re storing so much media, from home videos to digital movie collections…consumers want to access this media from anywhere in the house or while they’re on the road. Seagate’s GoFlex Home network storage system is bundled with software that makes it easier to attach all of your computers and other devices to a central storage system…the Seagate box has just two cable connections and an illustrated installation tool that explains what’s happening when it configures the software. You can click on an icon to add a new computer or storage to the network. It comes in 1 terabyte ($159) and 2 terabyte ($229) capacities…Netgear also has a cheaper, consumer-focused existing line of Stora storage devices, priced $189 to $200…Home networking is now within everybody’s reach,” said Greg Falgiano, a Seagate senior product marketing manager…“You can set it up in as little as five minutes.” Market researcher In-Stat predicts that the consumer network storage market will grow 25 – 50 percent over the next five years as people attach more devices to a network…”

40. Chevy Volt Battery Warranty is eight years/100k miles http://www.crunchgear.com/2010/07/14/gm-chevy-volt-battery-warranty-is-eight-years100k-miles/ “…Chevy Volt is finally coming together. GM just went public with the details surrounding its battery warranty and it’s on the same level as the Prius’s. The auto maker will cover the Volt’s LG Chem lithium-manganese pack for eight years or 100,000 miles. This comes after extensive testing over a three-year period in which testers logged over 1 million miles of driving and 4 million hours on the battery packs…GM-Volt posted some of the Volt’s key features…the intrinsic thermal management system allows teh pack and car to operate flawlessly from -13 degrees Fahrenheit (-25 C) and as high as 122 degrees Fahrenheit (+50 C). In cold weather the cells are warmed by the generator and in cold weather they are chilled…there are more than 500 diagnostic tests on the pack that run 10 times per second. 85 percent ensure the pack is operating safely, 15 percent ensure durability…not fully charging or discharging the battery ensures the longest possible life.…”

41. China now world’s biggest energy user http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/937fdd2c-934b-11df-bb9a-00144feab49a.html?ftcamp=rss China overtook the US last year to become the world’s biggest energy user…Beijing’s new status is expected to make it even more influential in global energy markets..China clinched the top slot more quickly than had been expected because the US has over the past decade far outpaced China in using energy more efficiently. On a per capita basis, the US still uses far more energy than China and remains less efficient than Europe…In the 2000, the US consumed twice as much energy as China, now China consumes more than the US…”

Leisure & Entertainment

42. Valve releases free new game on July 19: Alien Swarm http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/07/16/valve-to-release-new-alien-swarm-monday/ “…Remember Alien Swarm? A total conversion mod for UT 2004, with four-player co-op top-down action. The team behind it, we’ve just learned, were hired by Valve two years ago, and have since been working on L4D and now Portal 2. Except at the same time they’ve been making Alien Swarm all over again in Source. And it’s coming out on Monday. And it will be free…The new version of top-down shooter Alien Swarm can be seen in action here…But it’s not the only thing that’s coming. Along with it the complete SDK and code base is being released, all available for free this Monday (19th)…”

43. Nintendo Testing Healthiness Of 3DS, Advising Young Children To Avoid 3D http://kotaku.com/5566671/nintendo-testing-healthiness-of-3ds-advising-young-children-to-avoid-3d Some people got "Nintendo thumb." Others complained of "Wii elbow." Should we next worry about "3DS Headache"? The novel glasses-free 3D display of the Nintendo 3DS has "no health issues," Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime…The 3DS' top screen uses undisclosed technology and optical tricks to make a user looking directly at the screen feel as if the graphics of the game they are playing have added depth…The one population of players he would like to keep from using the optional 3D display of the 3DS are children under seven. "We will recommend that very young children not look at 3D images," he said. "That's because, [in] young children, the muscles for the eyes are not fully formed... This is the same messaging that the industry is putting out with 3D movies…”

44. Core Technology for Gesture-Based Home Entertainment and Computing http://www.marketwatch.com/story/jdsu-provides-core-technology-for-gesture-based-home-entertainment-and-computing-2010-07-13 “…optical technology for gesture recognition systems…let a person control technology with natural body gestures instead of using a remote, mouse or other device. Emerging gesture recognition systems simplify the way that people interact with technology, and are first being used in applications for home entertainment and computing…The latest segment on www.jdsu.tv explains gesture recognition technology and its potential impact on consumers and businesses…near-infrared light source technology and optical coatings are integrated into gesture recognition platforms, such as a 3D sensor or set top box, to detect and extract external information from a person's movements. The information is then mapped into a 3D image, and incorporated into the system so that a person can easily manipulate an application. Examples include a gamer's movements being tracked and translated within a video game, or a person in a living room using a hand gesture in front of TV to pull up a movie or a web site…”

45. Digital Illusions Unveils America's First Holographic Nightclub http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/digital-illusions-unveils-americas-first-holographic-nightclub-98594219.html “…Lolita's Cantina and Tequila Bar… is going to change the world of entertainment in Sin City…grand opening on July 22, 2010…Designing the theater as the centerpiece of the club allows all guests to enjoy the custom holographic entertainment while eating, drinking or dancing. The theater looks like any other stage environment with a hidden trick…"The hologram truly looks real! It really did make me look twice when I first saw it. I didn't believe the girl wasn't up there!" said one viewer…Virtual dancing girls and entertainment at night, mariachis at lunch, and so much more, all mixed with the best DJ entertainment in Las Vegas. Custom software allows the DJ to mix in the holographic audio and video with their own mix…This technology really will change business as usual in Las Vegas. Imagine having a library of hundreds or thousands of clips of entertainers, magicians, comedians, dancers ... well, the list goes on and on. Each one is ready to perform at a moment's notice…”

46. Electronic reading devices are transforming the concept of a book http://www.latimes.com/news/la-fiw-0718-reading-20100718,0,106596.story Emma Teitgen, 12, thought the chemistry book her teacher recommended would make perfect bedside reading. Perfect because it might help her fall asleep. Then she downloaded "The Elements: A Visual Exploration" to her iPad. Instead of making her drowsy…118 chemical elements, from hydrogen to ununoctium, came alive in vivid images that could be rotated with a swipe of the finger…Teitgen was soon engrossed in a world of atomic weights and crystal structures. Three hours later, the seventh-grader looked up to see that it was 11 p.m., way past her bedtime. "It was like a breath of fresh air compared to my textbook," said Teitgen, who lives in Pittsford, N.Y. "I was really amazed by all the things it could do. I just kept clicking so I could read more."…new technologies as revolutionary as the printing press are changing the concept of a book and what it means to be literate. Sound, animation and the ability to connect to the Internet have created the notion of a living book that can establish an entirely new kind of relationship with readers…”

47. Amazon Says E-Books Now Top Hardcover Sales http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-20010975-93.html “…We've reached a tipping point with the new price of Kindle--the growth rate of Kindle device unit sales has tripled since we lowered the price from $259 to $189," Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said…"In addition, even while our hardcover sales continue to grow, the Kindle format has now overtaken the hardcover format. Amazon.com customers now purchase more Kindle books than hardcover books--astonishing, when you consider that we've been selling hardcover books for 15 years and Kindle books for 33 months."…Kindle titles continue to outpace hardcovers, statistics from Amazon showed. In the past three months, 143 Kindle books were sold for every 100 hardcovers…”

48. Sony, TiVo, NCTA and others chime in on CableCARD's replacement http://www.engadget.com/2010/07/15/sony-tivo-ncta-and-others-chime-in-on-cablecards-replacement/ The FCC has been unsuccessful in spurring competition in the set-top box market since Congress passed a law requiring changes in 1996. The current situation is exactly why we don't see some of our favorite companies making cable compatible devices…CableCARD is a failure because…it is expensive to implement and requires the customer give up certain aspects of their service, like video-on-demand and guide data; on top of that it is a cable only solution and some people prefer satellite TV…FCC issued an Notice of Inquiry (NOI) in an attempt to devise a new mandate that would make give you as many options for a DVR as you have for something like a smart phone…Two sides are clearly forming with Sony, TiVo and the Consumer Electronics Association leading up one side and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), its members, and satellite providers on the other…the consumer electronics companies make suggestions for an IP video gateway nick named AllVid, which they hope will bring consumers choice in both hardware and software without having to change providers or sacrifice features…on the other side, they believe that things are just great the way they are and that innovation is happening…”

Economy and Technology

49. Ideas Are a Commodity, It's Execution Intelligence That Matters http://www.inc.com/rob-adams/2010/06/ideas-commodity-but-execution-intelligence-matters.html “…The idea somehow must be unique and stand-alone in its market. The simple act of describing it needs to cause people to take out their wallets and give you money –or- cause your competitors to copy it. Prepare to be disabused of that notion. Your idea doesn’t matter…ideas are commodities…to the customer they are nothing more than incremental improvement around the financial return, usability, quality, or experience of your competitor…it’s execution by the management team…that makes the difference…Are you worried about someone stealing your idea? Don’t worry, not one wants to take something that isn’t proven. Get successful and you’ll find them very interested in what you’re doing. So don’t waste time worrying about your idea getting stolen, spend time making your idea successful…Any opportunity worth pursuing has competitors and substitutes or you don’t have a real opportunity. And don’t forget the biggest competition right now, a customer keeping their money. Make sure you have competition or you may find you are the only customer you have…”

50. Nokia Board Faces Call for Change on $77 Billion Lost Value http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-07-15/nokia-board-faces-calls-for-management-change-after-77-billion-lost-value.html “…Nokia…shares plummeted 67 percent in the three years since Apple Inc. started selling the iPhone…Nokia, the world’s largest phone maker, has lost almost 60 billion euros ($77 billion) in market value since the iPhone’s 2007 debut, with the stock falling 25 percent this year alone…The Finnish company has split its smartphone energies between two platforms, Symbian and MeeGo, confusing developers and customers. It still hasn’t introduced a credible competitor to iPhone and Android on either of them…”

Civilian Aerospace

51. NASA Thinks Big in Quest for New Space Technology http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/nasa-space-technology-program-overview-100715.html “…"It's different from anything NASA has done before," said Robert Braun, NASA's chief technologist, in a Tuesday presentation to representatives from industry, academia and the federal government. "This is a competition of ideas. This is a meritocracy…Braun outlined the program, which was conceived using the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency as a model…The Space Technology Program incorporates 10 initiatives that fall into three categories: Early Stage Innovation, Game Changing Technology and Crosscutting Capability Demonstration…In the Early Stage Innovation phase, research teams can submit creative ideas regarding future NASA systems or solutions to broader aeronautical needs…projects in this category include: Space Technology Research Grants Program…NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program…Center Innovation Fund Program, which aims to stimulate aerospace creativity and innovation at the NASA field centers…Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)…Centennial Challenges Prize Program…Research projects that are eligible for the Game Changing Technology stage will focus on advanced space technologies in preparation for potential system level flight demonstration. Programs in this category aim to mature technologies that could lead to entirely new approaches to NASA's future space missions and produce important solutions to national needs…The third division of the Space Technology Program focuses on the maturation of a small number of technologies to flight readiness. These so-called "crosscutting capabilities" have the potential to benefit several customers and advance multiple future space missions…”

52. SpaceShipTwo Makes First Flight With Crew Aboard http://www.wired.com/autopia/2010/07/spaceshiptwo-makes-first-flight-with-crew-onboard/ SpaceShipTwo staged a dress rehearsal for its glide flight and flew with a crew for the first time…the flight test team at Scaled Composites has been busy preparing for the first glide flight. There have been four flights of WhiteKnightTwo in the past month where the crew has made practice approaches similar to what will be flown in the VSS Enterprise…”

53. Inventors to Unveil Private Spacesuit in New York http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/private-spacesuit-unveiled-100716.html Two inventors, one American and the other Russian, plan to unveil their new spacesuit design Friday in New York. The new cosmic suit is designed to be worn inside a spacecraft during launch and re-entry, and is fully pressurized and includes high-tech gloves and a dome-like space helmet. Moscow-based spacesuit engineer Nikolay Moiseev and Brooklyn-based inventor and artist Ted Southern teamed up to create the suit in a partnership they've dubbed Final Frontier Design. They plan to unveil their creation Friday at 6 p.m. EDT in New York at Eyebeam, an art-technology forum…The inventors don't have any customers yet for their suit, but hope to eventually attract commercial space companies such as SpaceX, Orbital Sciences and Virgin Galactic, which are currently working on building the first private ships capable of flying humans to space…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

54. The Trouble With Multicore http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/software/the-trouble-with-multicore “…Chipmakers are busy designing microprocessors that most programmers can't handle…the semiconductor industry threw the equivalent of a Hail Mary pass when it switched from making microprocessors run faster to putting more of them on a chip—doing so without any clear notion of how such devices would in general be programmed. The hope is that someone will be able to figure out how to do that, but at the moment, the ball is still in the air. Why take such a gamble? In short, because there wasn't much of an alternative…around 2003, chipmakers found they could no longer reduce the operating voltage as sharply as they had in the past as they strived to make transistors smaller and faster. That in turn caused the amount of waste heat that had to be dissipated from each square milli meter of silicon to go up. Eventually designers hit what they call the power wall, the limit on the amount of power a microprocessor chip could reasonably dissipate…although transistors will still get smaller and more numerous on each chip, they aren't going to operate faster than they do today. (Indeed, peak clock speeds are lower now than they were five years ago.)…the core has become the new transistor…That is, from here on out, chip designers will concentrate on how to gang together lots of cores, just as the previous generation of microprocessor engineers thought about the circuitry they were creating at the level of individual transistors…president and CEO of Intel, Paul S. Otellini, announced in 2004 that his company would dedicate "all of our future product designs to multicore environments,"…"a key inflection point for the industry"…Otellini was announcing that…software applications in the future will run faster only if programmers can write parallel programs for the kinds of multicore microprocessors…”

55. NVIDIA Quadro GPU Technology Helps Create Effects in 'The Last Airbender' http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/NVIDIA-Quadro-GPU-Technology-Helps-Create-Effects-in-The-Last-Airbender-98424129.html Paramount Pictures' latest film, "The Last Airbender," features extraordinary battle visual effects created by Industrial Light & Magic…The film, released in theaters on July 2, features dramatic sequences in which characters are empowered to harness the four ancient elements -- fire, air, water and earth -- and manipulate them as weapons in battle. Giant fireballs, tendrils of water, walls of earth and overwhelming air blasts are a few of the digital simulations created by ILM as part of the film's 485 visual-effects shots resulting in over an hour of screen time. Central to achieving many of these sequences was the use of a tool created by ILM called Plume. Plume is both a fluid simulation system and a GPU-based renderer that utilizes the NVIDIA CUDA parallel computing architecture. ILM realized dramatic speed increases with Plume by running simulation renders on a 12-machine GPU-based render farm…That represents speed improvements of 10-15x over CPU-based simulations. Access to CUDA and NVIDIA GPUs has entirely changed the way we approach a variety of complex visual effects challenges."…ILM's primary toolset on "The Last Airbender" included NVIDIA subsidiary mental image's mental ray software and Pixar's Renderman for rendering, Autodesk Maya for animation, The Foundry's Nuke for compositing, and proprietary tools Zeno and Saber for CG and effects creation. ILM plans to incorporate additional NVIDIA CUDA architecture-based tools into future project pipelines…”

56. First GPGPU Cluster Contract to Orange Business Services http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/CHPC-Awards-First-GPGPU-Cluster-Contract-to-Orange-Business-Services-98613214.html Orange Business Services has been awarded the supply and implementation order for the first GPGPU…high performance computing cluster at the Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) in South Africa…The specific GPGPU HPC will initially be utilised for molecular dynamics codes designed for simulation of large molecular systems, weather and climate prediction codes and computational fluid dynamics simulations…”

57. New Nvidia gaming chip gets plaudits http://www.pcworld.com/article/200886/nvidia_introduces_sub200_directx_11_graphics_card.html Nvidia on Monday introduced a graphics card priced at US$199 that will bring high-end gaming and Blu-ray 3D movie playback to desktops…GeForce GTX 460 is Nvidia's most inexpensive desktop graphics card based on the company's Fermi architecture…The card includes 336 processing cores and 768MB of graphics memory. It is also Nvidia's cheapest graphics card to support DirectX 11, a set of tools to bring realistic images and sound when playing games or watching movies on Windows 7 PCs. The hardware will decode Blu-ray 3D movies for playback, provided PCs have the relevant drives…The graphics card will have two outputs for displays. One graphics card will be able to play a movie across two monitors…The card will also be able to harness the parallel-processing capabilities of graphics processors to improve gaming and application performance…”


*****

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