2010/08/17

NEW NET Issues List for 17 Aug 2010

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 17 August 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. PayPal to Offer Micropayment Service by Year's End http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/paypal_to_offer_micropayment_service_by_years_end.php “…online payment service PayPal "plans to roll out a payment product by the end of the year" that will make micropayments - transactions involving small amounts of money - quicker and more seamless. The company has already dabbled in making micropayments possible…but a more seamless integration with other services could really make the micropayment mode…viable…Services like PayPal have worked to solve these issues, offering quick checkouts and lowered fees for smaller transactions, but a bigger problem still exists - the consumer is often pulled out of what they're doing to complete the transaction…this would be the main issue the service hopes to tackle with a new micropayment offering - a more seamless integration…The micropayment space has been heating up lately…we reported on NewsPass, Google's entry into micropayments for media websites. Another company, Flattr, has made a splash recently, offering a micropayment system that allows users to designate a starting amount and then divide that among any number of content creators…Even Facebook has been getting into the action with its Facebook Credits…The big deal here, of course, is that PayPal is a name that has become synonymous with online payments…The key to PayPal's plan is to make it so that the consumer doesn't have to leave what they're doing in order to make purchases by "compiling consumers' transactions." That is, the service would allow users to purchase up to a certain amount, $10 for example, before settling up and sending them a bill…” [How do you, or how will you use micropayments? – ed.]

2. Is this the burger joint of the future? http://news.cnet.com/8301-13577_3-20013587-36.html “…4food, a burger shop opening next month on Madison Avenue and East 40th Street in midtown Manhattan, might have put forth the most idealistic concept that the fast-food industry has yet seen…custom online orders with more than 140 million possible combinations, employees armed with iPads, free Wi-Fi, and a socially minded "green" mission that aims to use local, high-quality ingredients and compost everything that's thrown away…having spent about an hour on 4food's Web site the prior day to lovingly craft a customized salmon burger on a brioche roll with Brussels sprouts, gruyere cheese, and hummus, I can say that the food component of 4food really is surprisingly good. The three-level space is impressive, with power outlets at every seat (your receipt comes with a Wi-Fi password) and a massive video screen that projects, among other things, recent tweets and public Foursquare check-ins to the venue…there will be a half-dozen iPads for self-service orders, as well as iPad-equipped employees walking around to speed things up…Rather than spend money on traditional marketing, 4food encourages customers to save their favorite burger combinations in the 4food system, give them catchy names, and use the likes of Twitter and Facebook (and even YouTube video ads) to convince their friends to buy them. Every time a custom burger is ordered, the creator receives 25 cents in 4food store credit. A burger normally costs between $5 and $10, depending on the ingredients…”

3. N.Korea uses Twitter for propaganda offensive http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100815/tc_afp/nkoreapoliticsinternettwitteryoutube North Korea's propaganda campaign has surged into the 21st century with a new Twitter account, hot on the heals of its foray into video with clips posted on YouTube. The secretive regime has begun micro-blogging under the name @uriminzok, with a number of posts pointing its few dozen followers to anti-Seoul and anti-US statements on the country's official website…One tweet dismissed accusations that a North Korean torpedo sank a South Korean warship…Another criticized US-led sanctions on North Korea and Iran…Last month it opened an account with YouTube, a popular global video-sharing site, uploading video clips which praised leader Kim Jong-Il and denying its role in the sinking. North Korea operates an army of elite hackers. South Korea's spy agency has said that the North was behind cyber attacks that briefly paralyzed the web sites of South Korean and US government agencies…” [is @uriminzok really an official N. Korea Twitter account; are Twitter, YouTube or other ‘social’ media cost-effective marketing/propaganda tools for countries – ed.]

4. Microsoft Windows Live Essentials 2011: New beta is ready to roll http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/microsoft-windows-live-essentials-2011-new-beta-is-ready-to-roll/7139 “…Microsoft is making a new beta of its Windows Live Essentials 2011 (known currently as “Wave 4″) available for download on Tuesday, August 17. Windows Live Essentials is a bundle of a number of the Windows Live add-on services, unified via a common installer. The Wave 4 suite includes updated versions of Messenger, Live Mail, Writer, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Live Sync (which is now Live Mesh plus the existing Live Sync), Family Safety…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

5. Web Photos That Reveal Secrets, Like Where You Live http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/12/technology/personaltech/12basics.html “...Adam Savage, host of the popular science program “Mythbusters,” posted a picture on Twitter of his automobile parked in front of his house…Embedded in the image was a geotag, a bit of data providing the longitude and latitude of where the photo was taken…since the accompanying text was “Now it’s off to work,” potential thieves knew he would not be at home…geotags…are embedded in photos and videos taken with GPS-equipped smartphones and digital cameras. Because the location data is not visible to the casual viewer…many people may not realize it is there; and they could be compromising their privacy, if not their safety…Mr. Savage said he knew about geotags. (He should, as host of a show popular with technology followers.) But he said he had neglected to disable the function on his iPhone…“I guess it was a lack of concern because I’m not nearly famous enough to be stalked,” he said, “and if I am, I want a raise.”…“I’d say very few people know about geotag capabilities,” said Peter Eckersley, a staff technologist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation…disabling the geotag function generally involves going through several layers of menus until you find the “location” setting, then selecting “off” or “don’t allow.” But doing this can sometimes turn off all GPS capabilities, including mapping, so it can get complicated…By downloading free browser plug-ins like the Exif Viewer for Firefox (addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3905/) or Opanda IExif for Internet Explorer (opanda.com/en/iexif/), anyone can pinpoint the location where the photo was taken and create a Google map…since multimedia sites like Twitter and YouTube have user-friendly application programming interfaces, or A.P.I.’s, someone with a little knowledge about writing computer code can create a program to search for…those accompanied with text like “on vacation” or those taken in a specified neighborhood. “Any 16 year-old with basic programming skills can do this,” said Gerald Friedland…you can easily find out where people live, what kind of things they have in their house and also when they are going to be away…”

6. ‘Sophisticated’ Trojan, Which Is Undetectable, Has Emptied Bank Accounts Worldwide http://www.crunchgear.com/2010/08/11/new-sophisticated-trojan-which-is-undetectable-has-emptied-bank-accounts-worldwide/ “…A new version of the Zeus trojan, called Zeus3, has wreaked havoc on thousands of bank accounts worldwide, stealing just over $1 million…There’s pretty much no way to detect the trojan if it’s on your system…M86 Security, the first group to discover the trojan, says: We’ve never seen such a sophisticated and dangerous threat. Always check your balance and have a good idea of what it is…Oh, it only affects Windows systems. But you knew that already. The scariest part is that the trojan, after clear out your bank account, serves up a fake bank statement page. It looks like you have all of your money, but you actually have $50 left in your entire account…no current anti-malware software can detect the trojan…”

7. Feds: No charges in Pa. school laptop-spying case http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gdwlE3DpcMD9gNAnFMrQ7iNHCS6AD9HLBH6O1 Federal prosecutors will not file charges against a school district or its employees over the use of software to remotely monitor students. U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger says investigators have found no evidence of criminal intent by Lower Merion School District employees who activated tracking software that took thousands of webcam and screenshot images on school-provided laptops…The district has acknowledged capturing 56,000 screen shots and webcam images so it could locate missing laptops…” [Can you say flabbergasted; they must have had a LOT of missing laptops…time to re-read ‘Little Brother’ – ed.]

Mobile Computing & Communicating

8. Kno: Why we need this giant 5.5 lb tablet computer http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/mimssbits/25590/ “…the forthcoming tablet computer / ebook reader called Kno is…ginormous. Each of its two 14.1" screens is slightly larger than a regular A4 sheet…The thing weighs five and a half pounds…"Rather than build a generic consumer devices and ram it down the throat of educators, we looked closely and figured out what it is a student needs," says Osman. What a student needs, according to Kno's research, is something that faithfully reproduces a full-size textbook…it doesn't hurt that faithfully reproducing the existing textbook form factor means that publishers can port their content to the Kno painlessly: Publishers just give Kno the existing PDFs they use to go to print…Backed by the likes of Marc Andreesen and Kno's founders, who are veterans of other successful startups, the company certainly seems to be making all the right moves… none of that matters if students don't take to the platform…starting this fall, 100 students at three unnamed colleges will begin testing the device in advance of a possible pre-holiday launch of the first generation of the Kno…can students learn as effectively, and study as hard, using a backlit screen that has essentially the same resolution as the average laptop? A small study (24 subjects) has suggested that, for example, people read slower on iPads and Kindles…no one has yet to attempt to run so much screen territory off of a processor designed for mobile devices, the NVIDIA Tegra 2…a prototype…showed it responding sluggishly, a killer of usability in touch-driven tablet devices…an avalanche of other tablet devices are…putting to the test the Kno's basic premise: too-small screens just won't do for the serious business of learning from textbooks…"I had a meeting with CEO of a Silicion Valley company, and he said I really want to use the Kno…The CEO wanted a device on which he could view PDFs, annotate them, (the Kno supports a stylus as well as a touch interface) and share them with others…no tablet or e-reader can currently do exactly what we all find so natural on paper: full screen viewing with no scrolling, with unlimited room for editing, note taking, highlighting, etc…”

9. Notion Ink Adam: Pricing and more http://www.slashgear.com/notion-ink-adam-pricing-and-more-1297402/ In part one of our Notion Ink feature, we looked at the reasons for the delay in production of the Adam slate…Where Adam initially was expected to ship with WiFi b/g, that’s now been replaced with WiFi b/g/n. Perhaps better still, rather than A-GPS, all versions of the slate – irrespective of wireless connectivity – will have true GPS…the company is still working on securing patents…The tablet will also come with Unreal Engine Support, preloaded with a few games titles (that are yet to be launched) from NVIDIA…Notion Ink has around 90 major US developers and 17 in India registeredFour versions of Adam will be launched: each will use NVIDIA’s Tegra 2, but there will be Pixel Qi and LCD models and a choice of WiFi-only or WiFi and 3G. The company has confirmed that all will come in under the cost of a basic iPad; our source tells us that the LCD version will cost $399 for the WiFi-only and $449 for the 3G model, while the Pixel Qi version will cost $449 for the WiFi-only and $498 for the 3G model…there will be special discounts for universities and students…”

10. Dual-core smartphones on the horizon http://www.networkworld.com/news/2010/081210-dual-core-smartphones-on-the.html “…Phone makers haven't officially announced plans to put dual-core chips in smartphones, but the chip makers are getting ready. Qualcomm has already shipped its first dual-core processor, the MSM8660, and is due to start sampling a faster dual-core chip, the QSD8672, later this year. Texas Instruments is scheduled to ship a dual-core chip, the OMAP4430, later this year…People are running demanding applications on smartphones that require more computational power…For example, Apple's FaceTime video-conferencing application demands a lot of performance with multiple video streams and picture-in-picture capabilities…This benefit allows for far more concurrency in applications. You've got an additional processor to handle background tasks, running multiple applications or updating multiple web pages simultaneously…Dual-core doesn't necessarily bring power reduction since you are exercising more silicon area with two processors versus one processor…TI and Qualcomm are bringing unique power management capabilities to manage processing over multiple cores. The companies are introducing features to dynamically switch cores on and off…depending on the task, one CPU core will be able operate at full speed, while the other could be clocked down to idle…”

11. Groupon + Foursquare = GroupTabs, Group Deals for Check-Ins http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/groupon_foursquare_grouptabs_group_deals_for_checkins.php GroupTabs, a new New York City-based startup, is offering yet another twist on location-based social networking services…GroupTabs' deals are just for local businesses, and are only provided when enough people check in to get the deal, a business model similar to that of group-buying service Groupon…The GroupTabs service addresses one of the drawbacks with the current crop of so-called social check-in apps…some can't see the value in checking in if it doesn't come with tangible rewards…Daily deals…are published on the service's main site, and while achieving a critical mass to get the group deal is the goal, side deals will be provided to users who check in prior to the tipping point…The company won't require hundreds or thousands to check in before the deal is achieved - it will be closer to a dozen, or maybe 20 or 30…the service isn't trying to replace your current preferred check-in application. "We'll automatically check you in to your existing LBS accounts," he explains. At launch, GroupTabs will support Foursquare, but Brightkite and Gowalla are arriving shortly. Twitter and Facebook integration is also supported. Another distinction between GroupTabs and the rest is that GroupTabs thinks the key to its success is in partnering with actual brick-and-mortar local businesses…”

Open Source

12. Google SketchUp in Linux with Wine http://wine-reviews.net/wine-reviews/applications/google-sketchup-in-linux-with-wine.html Google SketchUp is one of my favorite applications. It’s a free 3D software that I use to create my fabulous 3D models. It works well and lets my imagination and fingers do their magic…There’s only one problem…It has been designed to work on Windows and Mac only, with no Linux version in the offing…it turns out you can have Google SketchUp in Linux. It requires Wine. Overall, the installation is very simple and you will get a decent experience. It wont be a perfect one, mind you, but its a great beginning…”

13. 10 Things You Can Do To Make Your Linux Hosted Website More Secure http://securehostingdirectory.com/10-website-security-tips.php “…Make sure your host is updating their software at the server and network levels. This includes any available kernel updates, as well as updates for packages such as Apache and PHP…Use a file integrity checker available for the Linux OS, such as AIDE (Advanced Intrusion Detection Environment)…Use the Unix/Linux command SCP or SFTP instead of FTP…FTP is an unencrypted protocol, which means that all data sent through FTP, including your username and password, are sent across the internet in plain text…if anyone is monitoring your connection with a packet sniffer such as Wireshark, they can view all of your data as well as capture your account login information…Review all available server logs, including access logs, traffic logs, and the file integrity checker logs…go into your account and clean it out periodically…deleting pages, scripts, databases, mail boxes, email addresses and FTP accounts you no longer use, as well as uninstalling software that you no longer need…Change your passwords regularly…Create an ACL for non-public sections of your site…an Access Control List…using a .htaccess file…allows you to block specific IP addresses or only allow access to specific IP addresses…make sure all permissions are set to 555 (all read and execute) for directories and 444 (all read) for files unless a specific program requires them to be set to something different…Keep current with updates from 3rd party vendors…”

14. Oracle Kills OpenSolaris, Moves Development Behind Closed Door http://www.osnews.com/story/23683/Oracle_Kills_OpenSolaris_Moves_Development_Behind_Closed_Doors “…Oracle went from one of those big enterprise-serving companies most of us don't deal with to one of the more hated companies in our little community. Not only did they just sue Google over Android and its use of Java-related technologies, they also just officially killed off OpenSolaris. Solaris will still be open source, but source code will only come after each major release - development will happen behind closed doors…until now, open source Solaris development took place out in the open, like the Linux kernel or GNOME. You could see exactly what was going on, and Solaris source code was updated continuously with nightly releases and all that stuff. This is going to end. Development will take place behind Oracle's closed doors, and only after each major release will source code be released to the public…”

15. Oracle: Quite the firestorm http://nighthacks.com/roller/jag/entry/quite_the_firestorm The last couple of days have been quite an entertaining firestorm of press and blog-o-sphere…there are some topics I feel I should briefly say something about: In Sun's early history, we didn't think much of patents…But then we got sued by IBM for violating the "RISC patent" - a patent that essentially said "if you make something simpler, it'll go faster". Seemed like a blindingly obvious notion that shouldn't have been patentable…Nearly put us out of business. We survived, but to help protect us from future suits we went on a patenting binge…There was even an unofficial competition to see who could get the goofiest patent through the system…the platform providers wanted the freedom to make their platforms as sticky as possible. Microsoft was the poster child for stickiness: they signed a contract saying that they'd support interoperability. Shortly thereafter they broke that promise by making it the case that if Java programs were developed on Windows, they wouldn't run anywhere else, so we took them to court and won…that commitment to interoperability is why Apple dislikes Java. Having OS X apps run on Linux or Windows doesn't make them happy. Apple wants to add your technological distinctiveness to their own…When Google came to us with their thoughts on cellphones, one of their core principles was making the platform free to handset providers. They had very weak notions of interoperability…Android has pretty much played out the way that we feared: there is enough fragmentation among Android handsets to significantly restrict the freedom of software developers…Google did have a financial model that benefited themselves (that they weren't about to share). They were partly planning on revenue from advertising, but mostly they wanted to disrupt Apple's trajectory, and Apple's expected entry into advertising. If mobile devices take over as the computing platform for consumers, then Google's advertising channel, and the heart of its revenue, gets gutted…” [adds clarity or at least perspective to three issues: 1) sad state of affairs for software (and ‘high tech’?) patents, 2) dislike of Microsoft and Apple for open systems, 3) Google’s reasons for launching Android – ed.]

SkyNet

16. Google Acknowledges That Verizon Owns Your Internet http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2367680,00.asp “…Google's deal with Verizon to give up on wireless net neutrality shows that the phone carriers want to have an absolute lock over the way the mobile Internet will run. And unless the government steps in, they'll run it for their benefit, not yours…basically, the two companies said that the wireless Internet is what carriers say it is. Carriers should be free to speed up, slow down or block any traffic they want. Implied in that, floating in its penumbra, is the desired right to lock phones, block applications, or install un-deletable bloatware on your phone. This is a far cry from the utopian dream Google's Erick Tseng described to me back in January. The Google Nexus One Android phone, he said, was the beginning of a new era for U.S. wireless…Android was freedom! That was nonsense. Google realized it was more profitable to play along with the wireless carriers than annoy them, so they never really marketed the Nexus One…announced Sprint and Verizon versions of the phones never appeared, and Google killed the whole project after less than a year…Android is becoming every wireless carrier's operating system of choice for smartphones, largely because of its flexibility in creating completely carrier-customized phones. Tseng has left the company, and there will be no Nexus Two…” http://attpublicpolicy.com/government-policy/wireless-is-different/ “…the Verizon-Google net neutrality announcement…brought into focus a critical aspect of the net neutrality debate – the treatment of wireless networks in any net neutrality regime. There is…a genuine lack of understanding about the limits technology and physics impose on wireless networks. It was therefore a pleasant surprise to read Fortune’s take on the matter…“Unrestricted access rules for wireless networks would hurt users more than help them. They just don’t realize it.” We’ve been making this point for several months…wireless is simply different…Policymakers can help by…protecting wireless broadband networks from onerous new net neutrality regulations…wireless carriers must to be able to dynamically manage traffic and operate their networks in an environment free from burdensome, arbitrary and unnecessary regulations…” http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/08/the-siege-of-google.ars “…a dozen or so protestors (and Ars) rode from the city's Opera Plaza to Mountain View, California, headquarters of Google, now fallen from grace since the release of its watered-down net neutrality manifesto with Verizon…what we do have, so that everybody will be really loud and excited and show the press how important this is, we have a few, like, rally cries," our bus captain continued. "You guys want to practice?" We'll spare you the results…40 minutes later we and several other caravans arrived at the Googleplex—maybe 100 people all told, plus reporters…After about five minutes of this sort of commentary, somebody asked a sensible question. "Do we have an appointment to see Google or anything like that?" "Yes," came the response. "We're standing outside just to let Google officials know how we feel about this deal that they have made with Verizon…The Bay Area, it should be noted, is full of activists who have years of experience laying siege to big buildings full of computers…Not surprisingly then, one attendant began pushing the envelope. "Well, can't the rest of us just go up there?" she asked. "It may be trespassing. I'm not sure," the main organizer explained. "Well if it is trespassing then they have to tell us!" she shot back. "Ok! Let's go!" the coordinator relented…security staff appeared, looking right right out of Google central casting. One officiously whizzed around the demo in a company laminated moto-tripod. Others sported bright blue Google t-shirts and rode mountain bikes while sipping bottled water. At first they seemed nervous, but not for long. Many of the demonstrators—twenty-something web developers and content site managers—were far more interested in tweeting on their handsets then trying to get into the building…Eventually Google permitted a small team of demonstrators to carry the petitions into the building and present them to the company's policy division staff. The search engine giant issued a brief statement in response to the plea. "This is an important, complex issue that should be discussed," declared Google's Nicklas Lundblad, Head of Public Policy. "But let me be clear: Google remains a fierce supporter of the open Internet. We're not expecting everyone to agree with every aspect of our proposal, but we think believe that locking in key enforceable protections for consumers is preferable to no protection." With that, the Siege of Google concluded…”

17. Google Unveils Awesomely Fast And Accurate Voice Actions For Android http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/12/google-voice-actions/ Today at Google’s office in San Francisco, the mobile team took the stage to unveil a couple new products...The first new feature Google showed off was the ability to send text messages with your Android phone — using only your voice. This is a part of Google’s new Voice Action feature in their new version of the Voice Search application which is available starting today for Android phones. It’s awesome — but that’s not the only voice action, there are 12 of them (plus search) — and growing...Also included is the ability to dictate email messages — and again, it actually works. Google showed this off in a live demo on stage...Apple offers similar voice control features for the iPhone — but it’s extremely limited compared to this…”

18. Innovation driver? Vlingo sets $10 app free after Google Voice Actions announcement http://www.androidguys.com/2010/08/13/vlingo-sets-10-app-free-google-voice-actions-announcement/ In light of yesterday's Google announcement of Voice Actions, Vlingo has decided to free up their own voice application…the app which previously cost $9.99 will be now be offered at no cost…unlike the new Google feature, the voice activated app/widget will work on Android 2.1 "Eclair"…in case you wondered if Vlingo was upset about Google stepping on their toes, here's an excerpt from their blog…our conclusion is: Awesome Product. The Google guys have done it again…Voice Actions has set a new standard that the teams at Apple, Nokia, RIM and Microsoft are going to be measured by.…”

19. Oracle sues Google over Android and Java http://mobile.venturebeat.com/2010/08/12/oracle-sues-google-over-android/ Oracle announced today that it has filed suit against Google for alleged patent and copyright infringement. The business software giant headed by Larry Ellison said that the suit concerns intellectual property related to the Java programming language, IP that Oracle purchased through its acquisition of Sun Microsystems…Oracle…said, “In developing Android, Google knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle’s Java-related intellectual property…Google’s Android competes with Oracle America’s Java as an operating system software platform for cellular telephones and other mobile devices…” http://siliconangle.com/blog/2010/08/13/how-google-tried-to-end-run-java-and-why-oracle%E2%80%99s-lawsuit-has-merit/ “…This unexpected move by Oracle sends a strong and threatening message to Google and the entire Android community—specifically that Oracle will use its intellectual property rights to get compensated for innovations around the exploding mobile marketplace. Oracle’s CEO Larry Ellison is inserting himself in the middle of an ever-evolving battle between Google CEO (and former Apple Director) Eric Schmidt, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, a long-time friend of Ellison’s…”

20. Google, undisputed heavyweight champion of mobile search http://royal.pingdom.com/2010/07/29/google-undisputed-heavyweight-champion-of-mobile-search/ “…if you look at mobile search, i.e. search on mobile devices, which is more or less the smartphone market, Google is utterly crushing the competition to a level that it’s never managed in the regular search market…These are global stats…Google’s mobile search market share dominance is almost complete…Google’s mobile dominance has been increasing. One year ago, its share of the mobile search market was 95.58%. That’s significantly less than today’s 98.29%. Who knows, in a few months, perhaps they will pass 99%. At this point this actually seems plausible. What can change?...Android is Google territory, so…Google will remain the search engine of choice on that platform. Then there’s the iPhone, which is another story entirely. Google’s grip on mobile search could be broken if Apple kicks Google out of the iOS platform…we don’t think that is likely to happen. For one, we suspect users would be too annoyed…”

21. ‘Chrome to Phone’ connects desktop and Android phone http://mobile.venturebeat.com/2010/08/12/googles-chrome-connects-your-browser-to-your-phone/ Google launched a new feature today that connects its desktop Chrome Web browser to phones using its Android operating system. This “Chrome to Phone” feature will allow users to, for example, send directions to the Android map application and to send phone numbers to their mobile address book…As people perform more tasks in both their browsers and their phones, this kind of integration becomes more important…”

22. Google Calendar Sync now supports Outlook 2010 http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/google-calendar-sync-now-supports.html “…Google Calendar works with a number of desktop applications and mobile devices including iCal, iPhone and iPad, Blackberry, Android, Nokia/Symbian, and Windows Mobile phones…Google Calendar Sync now supports Outlook 2010 — our top feature request. Outlook 2010 comes in 32-bit and 64-bit versions, and currently only 32-bit is supported. To start syncing your calendar with Outlook 2010, download Google Calendar Sync version 0.9.3.6. Once you install it, a Settings window will appear. Enter your account’s email address and password, choose your sync option and sync frequency, and you’re done…”

23. Google buys virtual-currency firm Jambool http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/08/14/BUS71ETSDH.DTL Google Inc. has bought Jambool Inc., a provider of virtual-currency software, as the company steps up acquisitions in social networking…Jambool, also known as Social Gold, helps online companies manage virtual currency, which can be used to buy items within games and other applications…More than a week ago, the company acquired social games maker Slide Inc…In the first half of the year, it bought…AdMob Inc., Aardvark, Invite Media Inc., reMail, Ruba and Simplify Media Inc…In addition, either Google or its targets have confirmed this year that the company snagged Agnilux, BumpTop, DocVerse, Episodic, LabPixies, Metaweb Technologies Inc., Picnik and Plink. Google's purchase of On2 Technologies was announced last year but completed this year…”

24. Google Buys Microdrone, Imaginations Run Wild http://blogs.forbes.com/andygreenberg/2010/08/09/is-this-flying-drone-googles-next-privacy-controversy/ “…Update: A Google spokesperson writes that Google hasn’t purchased and is not testing any Microdrones: “This was a purchase by a Google executive with an interest in robotics for personal use.” If you felt that Google Street View violated your privacy, wait until you’ve got one of these hovering over your back porch…Microdrones, a company based in the city of Siegen, Germany, has sold at least one of its flying surveillance robots to the search giant for testing. Sven Juerss, Microdrones’ chief executive, told the magazine that the radio-controlled devices–four rotor helicopters about a meter across–could be helpful in Google’s mapping projects, and that he think there’s a good chance Google will buy more of the airborne bots…Google may…be using the drones for a silly one-off experiment–remember the Street View snowmobile?–rather than as a large-scale fleet of floating cameras…even if the Microdrones are intended for mere experimentation, the suggestion of flying Google drones would still almost certainly set off another round of protest from privacy advocates, particularly in Europe, where Google Street View photography has faced years of criticism…” http://www.wiwo.de/technik-wissen/zivile-drohnen-fuer-google-437756/ ‘Chrome translation’; watch the video The German manufacturer drones Microdrones confirmed…Google's headquarters already supplied to have a Mini. "We have a good chance Google lasting business to get into with", says Microdrones boss Sven Juerss…"The UAVs are well suited to provide more timely recording of the map service Google Earth," says Juerss. Civilian UAVs are unmanned flying objects with a range of several thousand meters, which can fly at a speed of up to 80 kilometers per hour fully automatic whole neighborhoods…it could also inspect farms, the company invested in the moment." Google said…"The problems could be even more profound than with Google Street View," says the North Rhine-Westphalia Supervisor Ulrich Lepper. For the near-silent aircraft were able to penetrate completely unnoticed in non-public areas: You can live pictures from gardens and balconies provide…The flying robot might even go unnoticed…using night vision devices, even if it's dark. They also equip with thermal imaging cameras…they were even able, through curtains and walls…says Juerss: "It was always forbidden to enter by means of photography and film in the privacy," he says. "Our drones that legal position has changed…”

General Technology

25. Outdoors and Out of Reach, Studying the Brain http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/16/technology/16brain.html?ref=technology&src=me&pagewanted=all “…For the first time in three days in the wilderness, Mr. Braver is not wearing his watch. “I forgot,” he says…Mr. Braver…was one of five neuroscientists on an unusual journey. They spent a week in late May in this remote area of southern Utah…It was a primitive trip with a sophisticated goal: to understand how heavy use of digital devices and other technology changes how we think and behave, and how a retreat into nature might reverse those effects…stepping away is easier for some than others. The trip begins with a strong defense of digital connectedness, a debate that revolves around one particularly important e-mail…The believers are Mr. Strayer and Paul Atchley…They argue that heavy technology use can inhibit deep thought and cause anxiety, and that getting out into nature can help…The skeptics use their digital gadgets without reservation. They are not convinced that anything lasting will come of the trip…technology has redefined the notion of what is “urgent.” How soon do people need to get information and respond to it? The believers in the group say the drumbeat of incoming data has created a false sense of urgency that can affect people’s ability to focus…a seminal study from the University of Michigan that showed people can better learn after walking in the woods than after walking a busy street…Behavioral studies have shown that performance suffers when people multitask. These researchers are wondering whether attention and focus can take a hit when people merely anticipate the arrival of more digital stimulation…Working memory is a precious resource in the brain. The scientists hypothesize that a fraction of brain power is tied up in anticipating e-mail and other new information… “There’s a real mental freedom in knowing no one or nothing can interrupt you,” Mr. Braver says. He echoes the others in noting that the trip is in many ways more effective than work retreats set in hotels, often involving hundreds of people who shuffle through quick meetings…“Time is slowing down,” Mr. Kramer says…the group has become more reflective, quieter, more focused on the surroundings…Mr. Strayer, the believer, says the travelers are experiencing a stage of relaxation he calls “third-day syndrome.”…even the more skeptical of the scientists say something is happening to their brains that reinforces their scientific discussions — something that could be important to helping people cope in a world of constant electronic noise. “If we can find out that people are walking around fatigued and not realizing their cognitive potential,” Mr. Braver says, then pauses and adds: “What can we do to get us back to our full potential?”…Mr. Kramer says he wants to look at whether the benefits to the brain — the clearer thoughts, for example — come from the experience of being in nature, the exertion of hiking and rafting, or a combination…Even without knowing exactly how the trip affected their brains, the scientists are prepared to recommend a little downtime as a path to uncluttered thinking. As Mr. Kramer puts it: “How many years did we prescribe aspirin without knowing the exact mechanism?”…Mr. Kramer also mentions a personal discovery: “I have a colleague who says that I’m being very impolite when I pull out a computer during meetings. I say: ‘I can listen.’ ” “Maybe I’m not listening so well. Maybe I can work at being more engaged.”

26. ‘Computerized’ science renaissance: USB microscope http://www.bit-101.com/blog/?p=2722 “…I got a new toy, something I’ve been wanting to get for a while – a USB microsope…The family had great fun playing with it tonight – looking at everyone’s skin and hair and dirty fingernails and bug bites, and paper and money and cloth and salt and sugar, etc. I could barely pry my daughter away from it. The software allows you to capture images and videos and even notate them with actual measurements…I held it up to my computer screen and my Nexus One screen and could clearly see the pixels. Neat…I wondered what the Kindle’s screen looks like…Quite different! I then compared the Kindle’s screen at roughly 26x and 400x with the iPad’s screen…”

27. A Rubik's Cube Can Be Solved in no More Than 20 Moves http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-10929159 “…Rubik's Cube…can be solved in 20 moves or fewer…The figure is known as "God's number" because an all-knowing entity would know the optimal number of steps needed to solve the puzzle…there are more than 100 million starting positions - of a possible 43 billion billion - that can be solved in exactly 20 moves…the majority of solutions take between 15 and 19 moves to solve…"We were secretly hoping in our tests that there would be one that required 21," he said…researchers split all of the possibilities into 2.2 billion groups, known as cosets, each containing 20 billion positions…The team eventually managed to reduce the number to 56 million sets of 20 billion combinations…Google stepped forward and offered to run the computation," he said. "We still don't know what machinery they used."…"It's come full circle for me," he said. "Rubik's Cube was an icon of the 80s when I was growing up and was the reason I went into mathematics…”

28. Nvidia CEO: We have a CPU strategy http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-20013543-64.html Nvidia's chief executive officer is emphatic that his company has a strategy for building processors beyond its mainstay graphics chips…On Thursday, Nvidia reported a second-quarter net loss of $141 million…In the earnings announcement, the company addressed a longstanding issue--and ongoing financial burden…The problem was first cited by Nvidia in July 2008 when it announced a charge ranging from $150 million to $200 million to cover costs to repair and replace GPUs and chipsets due to "weak die/packaging material" in older laptop products…the total net charge related to the issue comes to $475.9 million…Nvidia has been supplying its first-generation Tegra chip to portable music device makers such Microsoft, which used Tegra in the Zune HD. The second-generation Tegra 2 is targeted at smartphones and tablets but has yet to make an appearance in a product from a first-tier device maker. All Tegra chips are based on a design from United Kingdom-based ARM. "Our CPU strategy is ARM," Huang said, referring to the fact that Nvidia was, unit last year, only a supplier of GPUs. "ARM is the fastest growing processor architecture in the world today. ARM supports (Google's) Android best. And Android is the fastest growing OS in the world today…its dual-core Tegra 2 chips currently come in two flavors, the AP20 for smartphones and the T20 for tablets. "And both of them are being designed into products," Huang said…”

29. Off to the Office Aboard the AutoTram http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100812093122.htm Electric and hybrid vehicles will take over the cities: cars, bicycles, buses and streetcars. New concepts are needed for individual and local public transportation. In the large-scale project "Fraunhofer System Research on Electric-Powered Mobility," researchers are developing solutions for mobility of the future…Closing time: the passengers are patiently waiting at their bus stop…buses will not be the only vehicles propelled by electricity, hydrogen or a combination of hybrid propulsion methods. One of these vehicles of the future is the AutoTram®. As long as a streetcar and as agile as a bus, it combines the benefits of both vehicles: with no need for rails or overhead contact lines…Unlike cars, which remain parked for an average of 23 hours a day, buses and trams are in motion all day long. Which doesn't leave much time to recharge the batteries. One solution approach for the AutoTram® involves fast-charge docking stations positioned at the stops along the route. Current can then be drawn at every third or fourth stop. The requisite amount of energy must be recharged in just 30 to 60 seconds at more than 1000 amperes and 700 volts. Accomplishing this in such a short period of time requires super-capacitors. Researchers are working to develop the modules required: for instance on energy storage units based on double-layer capacitors, on high-performance converters and on contact systems for the transmission of current. Unlike batteries, double-layer capacitors -- also known as 'supercaps' -- have a high power density…” [there are already buses in at least once city that are powered by supercapacitors – ed.]

30. PARC launches Kiffets to solve information overload http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/kiffets_xerox_parc_aims_to_solve_info_overload.php “…PARC (which stands for Palo Alto Research Center) tackles large computing problems…Information overload is something that afflicts web users on a daily basis. PARC wants to fix it with a product called Kiffets, a topic-based news aggregator which quietly launched in beta recently…These types of products aim to filter, categorize and personalize news. Unfortunately for PARC, there are a lot of similar products on the market…Our favorite topic trackers include Google Alerts, LazyFeed, Topikality and PubSub…More interesting is the ability to add a custom channel…The system then lists types of news sources - such as Google Alerts, blogs, Reddit, Technorati, Twitter feeds - and asks you to select which ones you'd like in your channel…The proof of a topic tracker is, of course, in the pudding. The content in my Kiffets channel for 'Internet of Things' is (at this early stage) underwhelming…right now I'm getting far more interesting Internet of Things content via my equivalent LazyFeed channel…”

DHMN

31. Big Brand AR Marketing http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/big_brand_ar_marketing_roundup_nike_ray-ban_more.php “…big brand acceptance of AR as a viable digital marketing platform is a huge precursor to mainstream popularity…several big brands have jumped on the AR bandwagon…Ray-Ban,…has been around the block with AR marketing…Previously, customers could sample potential buys by using their webcams as a virtual mirror to try on different pairs of sunglasses. More recently, Ray-Ban and AR developers Total Immersion have returned…taking the experience to a new level…By holding up one of the company's Rare Finds print advertisements to a webcam while on the Ray-Ban website, users can view interactive 3D experiences which unlock special exclusive content. The content includes interviews with musicians and rare concert footage, and watching the content provides users with codes to win prizes…a year ago, Zugara launched the Webcam Social Shopper which allowed users to sample clothing and navigate with hand gestures…A similar virtual dressing room experience recently launched from a partnership between publisher Hearst and clothing store JCPenny…the magazine Seventeen, a Hearst property, allows visitors to sample styles and share them with friends using augmented reality…Nike has done some AR marketing in the past…Adidas, one of its competitors, has been very active in the space. Just last week, Nike promoted its 6.0 running shoe with a virtual slot machine kiosk display at the Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, California. Attendees were able to hold a VIP ticket up to the display, which transformed the ticket into a 3D slot machine which they could then use to test their luck for a pair of 6.0 shoes…”

32. Cars hacked through wireless tire sensors http://arstechnica.com/security/news/2010/08/cars-hacked-through-wireless-tyre-sensors.ars The tire pressure monitors built into modern cars have been shown to be insecure by researchers…The wireless sensors, compulsory in new automobiles in the US since 2008, can be used to track vehicles or feed bad data to the electronic control units (ECU)…Earlier in the year, researchers from the University of Washington and University of California San Diego showed that the ECUs could be hacked, giving attackers the ability to be both annoying, by enabling wipers or honking the horn, and dangerous, by disabling the brakes or jamming the accelerator…new research shows that other systems in the vehicle are similarly insecure. The tire pressure monitors are notable because they're wireless, allowing attacks to be made from adjacent vehicles…The pressure sensors contain unique IDs, so merely eavesdropping enabled the researchers to identify and track vehicles remotely. Beyond this, they could alter and forge the readings to cause warning lights on the dashboard to turn on, or even crash the ECU completely. Unlike the work earlier this year, these attacks are more of a nuisance than any real danger; the tire sensors only send a message every 60-90 seconds, giving attackers little opportunity to compromise systems or cause any real damage…”

33. Where Else in the World Will Kids Think to Put the Web? [VIDEO] http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/where_else_in_the_world_will_kids_think_to_put_the_web_video.php “…our open innovation study, "Children's 'Future Requests' for Computers and the Internet,"…asked kids 6-12 years of age to ideate future Web technology concepts…The results discussion focused on the myriad ways in which kids are bringing digital into the physical world - to enhance interactions with everyday objects, spaces, and social activities…MIT's Fluid Interfaces Group is working on a "food printer" that realizes a concept submitted by one of our study participants…I'd like it if my computer could convert images or food and make them real." Joanna*, Age 10…Of course, MIT got a bit more sophisticated with its prototypes, but we were heartily impressed with the predictive power of our 6-12 year-old innovators…To see what our other participants created, check out the two-part study results series here: "The Future of Tech According to Kids: Immersive, Intuitive and Surprisingly Down-to-Earth"…"Creation and Design: What Kids Want From Tech"…”

34. NVIDIA finalizes Tegra 3 design http://www.semiaccurate.com/2010/08/12/tegra-3-tapes-out/ “…Tegra 3, has taped out…Tegra 3, aka T30, looks to be every bit as successful as the last two, with dozens of design win announcements expected soon. Once the chip is available, currently slated for mid-2011, expect most of those to vanish quicker than an overclocked Kin…we can't see how Nvidia is going to make a dent in anything other than a few eardrums with this chip. The biggest wins to date for the prior two generations likely haven't hit the 100K unit sales mark…have you ever seen a Zune HD in the wild?...Nvidia management is finding skapegoats while watching Tegra 2 volume pricing going from a mid-$30s asking price to $15 to $10. This price drop hasn't done the one thing they wanted it to, customers keep canceling 'design win' after 'design win'. Until Nvidia actually delivers on their promises, this slide won't end…” [not looking good for Tegra, will have to do more research to find out what main problem is on this product – ed.]

35. Artificial bee eye could improve robotic vision http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19272-artificial-bee-eye-could-improve-robotic-vision.html Miniature robotic aircraft could soon have insect-like eyes to go with their insect-like wings. Neurobiologists have developed an artificial bee eye, with a 280-degree field of vision, which should enable robots to see more of the world around them. Wolfgang Stürzl…wanted to capture as wide-angled a view of the world as possible using a single camera, in order to minimise the weight of robotic aircraft…the team used a so-called catadioptric imaging system, which captures an image using both mirrors and lenses…a dome-shaped mirror, with a lens at its centre, was placed 20 millimetres in front of the camera's charge-coupled device (CCD) image sensor chip, with its convex surface facing towards the camera. The lens focuses light from in front of the camera onto the CCD to create an image with a 110-degree field of view. At the same time, the convex face of the mirror captures a reflection of the world behind the camera and focuses this light onto the CCD, widening the field of view to 280 degrees. A computer algorithm stitches the two sets of images together, creating a composite image that looks as if it was captured through a fisheye lens…to represent 280 degrees of information as a 2D image, the composite image passes through a system that mimics the several thousand hexagonal facets of the honeybee's compound eyes. This reduces the resolution of the image, but makes it easier…to interpret the extremely wide-angled view of the world…”

36. Gee-whiz factor high at augmented reality conference http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_15213839 The first-ever global gathering devoted to the business potential of augmented-reality technology kicked off Wednesday at the Santa Clara Convention Center…this exotic branch of computer science…superimposes digital images and text over live real-time images. It's sort of trapped between the real world and your computer monitor or smartphone screen. Think of those yellow "first down" lines scribbled over a live shot of a televised football game…"I'm kind of blown away right now," said Rachele Maurer, an interactive marketer from Los Angeles wandering the exhibition floor. "The potential for augmented reality in education and medicine and industry is just overwhelming." Maurer wasn't the only attendee in a dropped-jaw stupor. All around her, engineers and startup cowboys peered into the exhibitors' iPhones and Androids and laptop screens as if they were seeing gold for the first time…There were products that allow you to "look" into a sealed box and see the toy inside and how it works and even make it fly away, all in 3-D. There were online kiosks where you could "try on" one pair of virtual sunglasses after another… there was an overriding sense that augmented reality, which just months ago was still relegated to a geeky gang of digital dreamers and sci-fi visionaries, was about to make its big debut before the content-hungry masses…"Over the last couple of years, both the hardware and software have matured to a point where we can now bring this technology to the mass market," said Ori Inbar, a 45-year-old New Yorker whose gaming company Ogmento just announced it had raised $3.5 million in venture capital money. He said the proliferation of smartphones was key…”

Leisure & Entertainment

37. John Carmack shows 'Rage' 60 fps game engine on iPhone 4 http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/10/08/12/john_carmack_shows_rage_60_fps_game_engine_on_iphone_4.html Speaking at QuakeCon, id Software cofounder and video game luminary John Carmack demonstrated the company's id tech 5 gaming engine running a Rage-themed demonstration on iPhone 4 at an impressive 60 frames per second. The demonstration…profiled…the new Rage engine in an iOS title which Carmack said would run on not just iPhone 4 but also "runs great on an original 2G iPhone" and is "incredibly cool on an iPad."…Calculating 60 frames per second is a major battery draw on mobile devices, so Carmack said the game would ship with an option to run at 30 frames per second as well. The new App Store title will serve as a low-priced promotion for the later, larger Rage launches aimed at console gaming platforms next year. The iPhone app sprang from an initial experiment to do something on the Nintendo Wii. Carmack also noted that an effort to deliver DOOM 3 on the Wii turned into a project that instead created Doom Resurrection for the iPhone App Store…Carmack said id could bring some of its iPhone games to Android, but is still "spot-surveying the market," and that "it won't happen this cycle…”

38. Of Words and of Worlds http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/the_technology_of_words.php It's an old idea by now that writers can influence technology…How has speculative fiction, whether in film, television, book or graphic novel form influenced not just what we make, but what we expect and want, and how we use what we have?...Terry Pratchett…is best known for his series of novels set on "Discworld" (a planet the shape of a dinner plate that travels through the universe on the back of four gigotious elephants, who in turn stand on the back of the cosmic turtle…His novel Thud, details the frustrations and challenges facing Samuel Vimes…One of those frustrations is a device given to him by his wife. The "Gooseberry" is an imp-powered personal organizer. Vimes decides finally to set the imp to work at processing an immense amount of his neglected paperwork, looking for criminal patterns of activity…A non-scientific poll of co-workers brought the Six Million Dollar Man, Orson Card's Ender's Game and the comic "Transmetropolitan to the fore…Justin traces his dalliance with the social web back to Card's book about a militaristic society's training of one of its soldiers. It "predicted social networks, blogs and online influence." Adrienne says of Transmetropolitian's protagonist, "Spider Jerusalem epitomizes the brainy, badass, afflict-the-comfortable ethos of journalism in a future where technology and the Internet take corruption, injustice and mainstream madness, and the art of reporting about them, to the next level…”

39. The Internet is The New Seattle http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/the_internet_is_the_new_seattle.php “…a web site in the backwaters of Illinois is making a name for itself as a live recording studio. Daytrotter records indie bands and releases those recordings on its web site for free, accompanied by unique cartoon imagery…Does this mean that musicians should wear their pajamas on stage now, instead of flannel?...Daytrotter records indie musicians in a live and low-fi manner and then distributes the recordings free on the Web…In the 1990's bands flocked to Seattle, donned flannel shirts, grew their hair long…and waited for the money to roll right in. Nowadays, indie musicians may well be better off trying their luck with Daytrotter, NPR's All Songs Considered, and other online sites devoted to showcasing new music…the Web is certainly putting a lot of power and leverage back into the hands of musicians - and fans…Arcade Fire released its new album 'The Suburbs' on its web site…at a slightly lower price than Apple's iTunes…the band included an interesting add-on called "synchronised artwork" that was only available in the download from its web site. This feature allows listeners to simultaneously view images, lyrics and videos…It may seem like a small bonus feature, but…this was not available on the iTunes download. Perhaps a sign of things to come…as a music fan, Daytrotter I thank you for the awesome live recordings of Local Natives, My Brightest Diamond, and Band of Skulls that I downloaded for free tonight…”

40. Nikon's New Projector-Camera Has Business Appeal http://www.pcworld.com/article/203381/nikons_new_projectorcamera_has_business_appeal.html “…there are few reasons to carry a point-and-shoot camera with you into a conference room. The Nikon Coolpix S1100pj…wants in on your business meetings…The 14-megapixel Nikon Coolpix S1100pj has a a front-mounted projector with a brightness rating of 14 lumens, and the camera replaces last year's innovative S1000pj. In a new twist, the S1100pj offers a USB-in port that lets you use the camera's built-in projector as an LCD projector for Windows and Mac computers…the S1100pj's built-in projector is powerful enough to project image slideshows and videos from its SD/SDHC card or presentations from its USB-in connection at distances of up to 7 feet…”

41. Five ways eBooks are better than dead-tree books and vice versa http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/5_ways_that_ebooks_are_better_than_paper_books.php http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/5_ways_that_paper_books_are_better_than_ebooks.php “…the digital wiles of eBooks are looking increasingly attractive to me. Below are five eBook features that may tempt you to buy electronic books…Social Highlighting…Notes…Look-up of words…Ability to tweet and facebook quotes…Search…in order to highlight how far eBooks have to go until they seriously challenge for the hearts and minds of book lovers, we present here a list of reasons why paper books are still better than eBooks…Feel…Packaging…Sharing…Keeping…Second-hand books…”

Economy and Technology

42. WePay Raises $7.5 Million For Hassle-Free Group Payments Platform http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/12/wepay-raises-7-5-million-for-hassle-free-group-payments-platform/ “…WePay is an easy way to collect, manage and spend money for groups. WePay’s platform based around a prepaid debit card system, which makes its accounts easy to set up as well as more flexible when it comes to setting up group paying…With PayPal, your account is tied to your name, without any way to separate the payments associated with a group. On WePay, you can create a unique, FDIC insured account for each group…Group money can essentially be kept separate from any individual accounts you may have. You can also designate specific individuals to have control over accounts…WePay makes money by charging a 3.5% transaction fee (there’s also a different plan that charges 50 cents per transaction and limits you on the methods of payment you can accept)…Payment volume grew 80 percent in the month of July, with WePay adding over 1000 groups in the month. Groups that have participated in WePay range from fantasy football leagues to group vacations to girl scout groups…”

43. What happened to Yahoo? http://www.paulgraham.com/yahoo.html When I went to work for Yahoo after they bought our startup in 1998, it felt like the center of the world…What went wrong?...Yahoo had two problems Google didn't: easy money, and ambivalence about being a technology company...The first time I met Jerry Yang, we thought we were meeting for different reasons…I thought we were meeting so we could show him our new technology, Revenue Loop…Revenue Loop was the optimal sort for shopping search, in the sense that it sorted in order of how much money Yahoo would make from each link…as users buy more stuff the search results get better and better. Jerry didn't seem to care…The reason Yahoo didn't care about a technique that extracted the full value of traffic was that advertisers were already overpaying for it. If they merely extracted the actual value, they'd have made less…Yahoo was the beneficiary of a de facto pyramid scheme. Investors were excited about the Internet. One reason they were excited was Yahoo's revenue growth. So they invested in new Internet startups. The startups then used the money to buy ads on Yahoo to get traffic. Which caused yet more revenue growth for Yahoo, and further convinced investors the Internet was worth investing in…Both the Internet startups and the Procter & Gambles were doing brand advertising. They didn't care about targeting. They just wanted lots of people to see their ads. So traffic became the thing to get at Yahoo…I remember telling David Filo in late 1998 or early 1999 that Yahoo should buy Google, because I and most of the other programmers in the company were using it instead of Yahoo for search. He told me that it wasn't worth worrying about. Search was only 6% of our traffic…It wasn't worth doing better…the people running Yahoo might have realized sooner how important search was. But they had the most opaque obstacle in the world between them and the truth: money. As long as customers were writing big checks for banner ads, it was hard to take search seriously. Google didn't have that to distract them…The first time I visited Google, they had about 500 people…It was still very much a hacker-centric culture. I remember talking to some programmers in the cafeteria about the problem of gaming search results (now known as SEO), and they asked "what should we do?" Programmers at Yahoo wouldn't have asked that. Theirs was not to reason why…I remember coming away from Google thinking "Wow, it's still a startup."…the software business, you can't afford not to have a hacker-centric culture…So which companies need to have a hacker-centric culture? Which companies are "in the software business" in this respect?...The answer is: any company that needs to have good software. Why would great programmers want to work for a company that didn't have a hacker-centric culture, as long as there were others that did?...And without good programmers you won't get good software, no matter how many people you put on a task, or how many procedures you establish…Hacker culture often seems kind of irresponsible. That's why people proposing to destroy it use phrases like "adult supervision." That was the phrase they used at Yahoo. But there are worse things…”

44. Microsoft's lost years online: $6 billion down the ‘tubes’ http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/microsofts-lost-eight-years-online-more-than-6-billion-down-the-tubes/37988 “…the financial hit from…Microsoft’s Internet follies is staggering…Microsoft’s online unit has delivered more than $6 billion in operating losses on revenue topping $19 billion over the last eight years…In fiscal 2010…Microsoft reported an operating loss of $2.35 billion…for its online services division…Fiscal 2009…had an operating loss of $1.65 billion…In fiscal 2008, Microsoft lost $578 million…In fiscal 2007, Microsoft’s online unit lost $732 million…In fiscal 2006, Microsoft’s online unit reported a $5 million profit…In fiscal 2005, Microsoft’s online unit reported a profit of $402 million…In fiscal 2004, Microsoft’s online division—then classified as MSN—reported a profit of $121 million…In fiscal 2003, Microsoft’s online unit (MSN) reported an operating loss of $567 million…In fiscal 2002, Microsoft’s online unit (MSN) reported an operating loss of $909 million…The big question after losing more than $6 billion chasing Google—and AOL and Yahoo—around: Is Microsoft getting anything out of its Internet quagmire?...Microsoft has generated no return on its Internet ventures…you could make an argument that Microsoft would have been better off avoiding the Internet. Strategically, that argument is absolutely crazy. On the financial front, shareholders may just want a dividend…”

45. Startups Or Behemoths: Which Are We Going To Bet On? http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/14/startups-or-behemoths-which-are-we-going-to-bet-on/ I knew I would be touching a raw nerve with my last two posts, on patents. But I was really surprised at the divergence of opinion. Entrepreneurs overwhelmingly supported my stance that software patents hamper innovation and need to be abolished, but friends at Microsoft, IBM, and Google were outraged at my recommendation…I do know one thing for sure: it isn’t the big companies that create the jobs or the revolutionary technology innovations: it is startups. So if we need to pick sides, I vote for the startups…Let’s start with the question of who creates the jobs…Half of the startups go out of business within five years; but overall they are still the ones that lead the charge in employment creation…there is an important lesson here for the states and cities that offer huge incentives to companies like Dell, Google, and Intel to locate their operations there. The regions should, instead, be focusing on creating more startups, not providing life support to technology behemoths…I challenge you to name another tech company that innovates like Apple—with game-changing technologies like the iPod, iTunes, iPhone, and iPad. Google certainly doesn’t fit the bill—after its original search engine and ad platform…Google did develop a nice email system and some mapping software, but these were incremental innovations. ..what earth-shattering products have IBM, HP, Microsoft, Oracle, or Cisco produced in recent times? These companies constantly acquire startups and take advantage of their own size and distribution channels to scale up the innovations they have purchased. They let the startups take the risk and prove the business models…Google and Microsoft have always prided themselves for hiring the cream of the crop of software developers. It is ridiculously hard to get a job at either company. But when technology’s top guns join these companies, they seem to make a smaller impact than those that don’t get hired. So would these companies be better served by releasing their most brilliant developers into the wild and arming them with seed financing to start companies?…”

46. Ultrinsic Lets College Kids Bet On Grades http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2010/08/11/businessinsider-ultrinsic-sells-gpa-insurance-2010-8.DTL “…college kids can now bet money on their grades through Ultrinsic, launched by some recent college grads. You bet more for higher grades, less for easier ones — and if you get the grade, you keep your money, plus a reward. If you don’t, Ultrinsic keeps it…You can also buy insurance for a grade in a class, and get cash if you get a bad grade…not everyone's sure about how effective, or ethical, Ultrinsic is…Some students worry about handing over their transcripts. Officials are unsure if the site could be considered online gambling…”

Civilian Aerospace

47. Space contest offers $36 million reward http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_694317.html Landing a robot on the lunar surface is becoming a more lucrative endeavor…NASA officials announced Friday that the space agency will pay as much as $10 million per mission if contractors collect data about launch, trajectory, hazards and more. Astrobotic could earn another $24 million for achieving certain goals in the Google Lunar X Prize competition and an additional $2 million from Florida's government if the company launches its mission from there…”

48. 50 years of space elevator dreams http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/08/13/4881974-50-years-of-space-elevator-dreams “…Soviet engineer Yuri Artsutanov…thinks the first space elevator will rise into the heavens 30 years from now…Artsutanov is among the optimists who have come to the Microsoft corporate campus in Redmond, Wash., for the 2010 Space Elevator Conference this weekend…The basic idea is that payloads and people could someday ride vehicles attached to ribbons of super-strong material, reaching orbits as high as 100,000 kilometers (62,500 miles). Similar, shorter railroads in the sky could be constructed on the moon and Mars, creating the outer-space analogs of commuter rail systems. The concept's proponents say the cost of access to outer space could fall to as little as 1 percent of the current cost - if and when such elevators are built…Next-generation materials incorporating carbon nanotubes are thought to be a requirement for those space elevator ribbons, and could also be used in earthly products ranging from bulletproof vests to aircraft and spacecraft. In fact, up to $2 million in prizes could be won today at the conference as part of the NASA-backed Strong Tether Challenge. The elevators would have to be powered by laser-based energy transfer systems - gizmos that could be used by NASA and the military as well. Last year, Seattle-based LaserMotive won $900,000 in another NASA-backed challenge aimed at encouraging the development of lightning-fast robots powered only by light beams. Experts are trying to figure out how tethers interact with Earth's magnetic field and orbital debris, in order to make way for a space elevator in the long term. But such expertise can be applied to making space operations safer in the near term as well…The way he sees it, materials science is the key missing piece in the space elevator equation…Others might say money is the big problem…The late science-fiction guru Arthur C. Clarke once said that the space elevator would be built "about 50 years after everyone stops laughing…”

49. Tethers tortured in $2 million contest http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/08/13/4883934-tethers-tortured-in-2-million-contest Three teams brought lengths of string to the Strong Tether Challenge today in hopes of winning as much as $2 million of NASA's money. But they all went away empty-handed ... except for the shreds of carbon nanotubes and glass fiber they had to pick up off the floor…The aim of the contest is to promote the development of lightweight materials that can outperform the strongest fibers available today…such materials could be used in the construction of space elevators…But there are more immediate applications for ultra-strong, ultra-light materials: to make stronger ropes, better bulletproof vests and body armor, lighter and hence more fuel-efficient cars and airplanes, and hardier spacecraft. NASA has been putting up the prize money for the Strong Tether Challenge since 2005…The Strong Tether Challenge is structured as a tug-of-war, matching lengths of experimental fiber against a heavier woven loop of Zylon fiber on what's known as a "tether torture rack," If the Zylon breaks first, then the challenging team wins a prize…The $2 million purse is structured with a sliding scale, based on the tether's length and mass. One of the teams entered in today's competition, the Tether Addicts from Florida…could have won the whole shebang. The other two entrants…could have won $300,000 to $600,000, depending on the combination of winning outcomes…none of the challengers came close to hitting the 5-megayuri mark…The most spectacular sproing came during the final test, when pressure was put on the Tether Addicts' meter-long entry, woven from glass fibers that were coated with carbon nanotubes. Brambilla told me that he and Klappauf had a length of fiber in their lab that could have won the prize - but that a cleaning crew accidentally threw that fiber in the trash. "It ended up in the vacuum cleaner," he said ruefully. The replacement fiber had to be made in a rush, and Brambilla wasn't all that happy with the result…”

50. Doom, Ultima Creators Talk Space at QuakeCon http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2010/08/carmack-garriott-rockets/ “…id Software co-founder and Doom lead programmer John Carmack will address the computer-toting QuakeCon masses with a keynote speech Thursday evening. Immediately following, Carmack will share the stage with fellow Texan Richard Garriott, creator of the classic Ultima…Carmack hasn’t been to space yet, but he founded Armadillo Aerospace in 2000. Armadillo rockets have participated in several X Prize competitions. In 2009, Carmack’s team took second place and a $500,000 purse in the Lunar Lander Challenge…Carmack: It is all spilled milk at this point, but I am still a little bitter about it. The rules called for two attempts in two days for each team. We completed the challenge on the first attempt, on the first day, despite inclement weather. After Masten failed on their first two attempts, we thought everything was wrapped up. Then they got a third attempt, which they also failed. We thought for sure it was done at that point, and we were very upset when the judges decided to give them a fourth window on the third day, delaying the final competitor’s slot. They finally completed the challenge, and beat our landing accuracy for first prize. I don’t blame the Masten team for taking every opportunity they could wrangle out of the judges, but I do think the judges exercised their discretion in an unfair manner. Ben Brockert, who we considered the driving force behind Masten’s LLC effort, has since joined the Armadillo team…Carmack: I had a pretty standard geek-child level of interest, with model rockets and science fiction, but I didn’t really think much about it for well over a decade while I was completely focused on software. I run into a lot of hard-core space proponents now that have been passionate about it their entire lives, but that isn’t really the slot that I fall into…Carmack: I can’t imagine myself spending six months in Russia to prepare for a flight on a Soyuz, and I would rather put the $20 million-plus into technology development, so I expect that I will be going on one of my own vehicles. I’m not a test pilot, but I do plan to be in the club of the first thousand humans to reach space…Carmack: As a teenager, I was quite envious of “Lord British” — I felt that if only I had my own Apple II, I would be writing games like Ultima. I finally met him many years later when PC Gamer had a “Game Gods” cover shoot with me, Richard and Sid Meier, but that was still pre-Armadillo. We are now partners on some level, since Richard is involved with Space Adventures, which has a development arrangement with Armadillo Aerospace for suborbital passenger vehicles…Garriott: My spaceflight was a $30 million event. That was the majority of my net worth at the time. I was so devoted to doing this that I was willing to give, basically, all the money I had in the world to it. Because it was that important to me...Garriott: If you look at the early days of vidoegames where one person made a game by themselves, which both John and I started in those days, and compared it to now, where it takes a team of people often years and often many millions of dollars, in that way they’re very similar. And they’re both technological and they’re both a lot of trial and error in their process…Carmack: Game developers should thank their lucky stars that they do not need to interact with the government to the degree that an aerospace company does. The world of regulators, bureaucrats and congressional bills isn’t a fun place for people that just want to create value. Rather depressing, actually. The more we can make aerospace resemble software, the better off we will be…We try hard to have a tight design-build-test-fly-crash-redesign cycle for our vehicles, but it is still hard to do more than a couple cycles a year…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

51. Passwords No Match for GPGPUs http://www.gtri.gatech.edu/casestudy/Teraflop-Troubles-Power-Graphics-Processing-Units-GPUs-Password-Security-System “…supercomputer-level…capability comes in the form of a readily available piece of hardware, a graphics processing unit (GPU) costing only a few hundred dollars. Georgia Tech researchers are investigating whether this new calculating power might change the security landscape worldwide…Right now we can confidently say that a seven-character password is hopelessly inadequate - and as GPU power continues to go up every year, the threat will increase."…today's top GPUs can process information at the rate of nearly two teraflops…in the year 2000 the world's fastest supercomputer, a cluster of linked machines costing $110 million, operated at slightly more than seven teraflops…Nvidia…tools allow users to directly program a GPU using the popular C programming language. "Once Nvidia did that, interest in GPUs really started taking off," Boyd explained. "If you can write a C program, you can program a GPU now."…a rainbow table…is essentially a database of all previous attempts to compromise that password hash…if an attacker wants to crack many passwords quickly, once he's built a rainbow table it might then only take about 10 minutes per password rather than several days…”

52. DARPA Sets Ubiquitous HPC Program in Motion http://www.hpcwire.com/features/DARPA-Sets-Ubiquitous-HPC-Program-in-Motion-100369774.html “…DARPA…selected four "performers" to develop prototype systems for its Ubiquitous High Performance Computing (UHPC) program. According to a press release issued on August 6, the organizations include Intel, NVIDIA, MIT, and Sandia National Laboratory…The first UHPC prototype systems are slated to be completed in 2018. The overarching goal of UHPC is, in the words of the program's mission, "to reinvent computing." Of course, nearly every DARPA computing program purports to do that…DARPA has dubbed the intended architecture "ExtremeScale" supercomputing…UHPC systems will need to deliver a petaflop of High Performance Linpack (HPL) in a single cabinet and achieve an energy efficiency of at least 50 gigaflops/watt…these ExtremeScale machines will need to be on the order of 100 times more efficient than today's supercomputers…the machines have to be easy to program…the programmer should even be able to implement parallelism without using MPI, or any other communication-based mechanism…the operating system for these machines has to be "self-aware," such that it can dynamically manage performance, dependability and system resources…NVIDIA is teaming with Cray, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and six unnamed universities to design its ExtremeScale prototype…”

53. Multicore Processing: Breaking through the Programming Wall http://www.scientificcomputing.com/articles-HPC-Multicore-Processing-Breaking-through-the-Programming-Wall-081010.aspx “…The first petascale supercomputers — now deployed in the U.S., Germany and China — employ more than 100,000 processor cores each, multiple processor types in most cases, and distributed memory architectures…the vast majority of HPC applications were originally written to be run on — you guessed it — a single processor with direct access to main memory…An IDC survey showed that more than half of the codes (56 percent) do not scale beyond eight way, and only about six percent can exploit more than 128 processing elements. That’s a tiny fraction of the hundreds of thousands of cores on today’s biggest supercomputers…to save energy and control heat, more multicore processors, on desktop computers and supercomputers alike, tend to have tuned-down speeds. Instead of the 3 to 4 GHz single-core processors of the past, it’s increasingly common to see multicore processors in which each core runs at about half that speed…12 percent of the HPC sites said some of their applications were running more slowly on their newest HPC system than on the prior one. More than half of the respondents said they expected to encounter retrograde performance like this on some applications…The relatively poor bytes/flops ratio of x86 processors has limited cluster efficiency and productivity by making it more and more difficult to move data into and out of each core fast enough to keep the cores busy. Adding accelerators via a slow PCI bus adds another dimension to the balance problem…massive hardware parallelism from skyrocketing core counts and system sizes has raced ahead of programming paradigms and the time available to programmers. Alternative “manycore” processors, such as general-purpose GPUs, are adding to the programming challenge…it seems almost inevitable that a fair number of HPC applications will need to be fundamentally rethought and rewritten within the next five to 10 years to take better advantage of highly parallel supercomputers…”

54. Armored vehicle designers turn their sights on vetronics http://www.militaryaerospace.com/index/display/article-display/3919651904/articles/military-aerospace-electronics/exclusive-content/2010/8/armored-vehicle_designers.html Termination last year of the Future Combat Systems (FCS) manned ground vehicles program by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) was met with tremendous concern…military and aerospace industry partnered with DOD officials to ensure…vehicle electronics, or vetronics, innovations resulting from FCS would be delivered in the hands of awaiting warfighters in the field. "We have learned from the Future Combat System (FCS) program -- over 40 technologies -- and we have incorporated that inside of a Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV)…The GCV is to be a first-of-its-kind -- a versatile, nine-man squad infantry carrier that protects against improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other threats, moves in urban and off-road terrain, and accommodates emerging technologies, such as new electronics… High-quality imagery and information is integral to the realism or fidelity of military simulation and training, yet it is also critical to warfighter intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR)…what is becoming really hot is vision systems -- acquiring video data from cameras, processing it, and turning it into useful information. The challenges are in processing the image in the first place -- decluttering it, tracking multiple targets, working around obscuration and decoys -- and then compressing the resulting video stream such that it can be transmitted at high speed with minimal bandwidth consumption and minimal loss of quality.” Parker, like other mil-aero industry executives, is witnessing an increase in the number of vetronics developers who are evaluating GPGPU…He notes growing interest in GE Intelligent Platforms’ Nvidia CUDA-enabled…IPN250, a multi-slot solution capable of delivering 390 gigaflops of performance from a single slot. “One customer achieved a 15x increase in a radar application by using Nvidia GPGPUs.”…The use of these cards in a military environment presents a challenge for VPX, due to the form factor, and standard rugged servers, because they are rarely rugged…”


*****

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