2010/08/24

NEW NET Issues List for 24 Aug 2010

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 24 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. Hipmunk Is a Fantastic, Surprisingly Usable Flight Search Site http://lifehacker.com/5615169/hipmunk-is-a-fantastic-surprisingly-usable-flight-search-site Web site Hipmunk re-imagines flight search, translating the information you're most interested in to a user-friendly chart of possible flights. Most popular flight search engines are cluttered, full of text, and difficult to understand at a glance. Hipmunk takes the most important flight information…and organizes it into an actually useful visual…interface…you also get an extra search category called agony…a combined function of price, duration, and number of stops—basically the total agony you'll experience in your butt and your savings…”

2. The Future of Internet Search http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/dyson23/English “…Even as the online world has turned its attention from searching to social networking, search is getting interesting again…Social networking brings a new insight. People are likely to buy what their friends recommend, which is why marketers should spend time on social networks and join the conversation, rather than interrupt it with traditional advertising…what people want (and are now getting) in product search is not a list of pages, but a set of products displayed in some meaningful fashion. They want a map of the product space, not a list. The challenge of course, is that each kind of product has a different structure and a different set of attributes…To “map” travel properly, the software needs to understand such things as time zones, flight duration, layovers, and the like, along with concepts such as coach or first class, deluxe and standard rooms, double vs. single…For a long time Google didn’t need to do much to remain the leader in Internet search…But runner-up Microsoft went out and bought Medstory in 2007 and then Powerset in 2008…Medstory has a deep understanding of health care, including the relationships between diseases and treatments, drugs and symptoms, and side effects. Powerset, a tool for creating and defining such relationships in any sphere of interest…around that time, Bill Gates uttered one of the smartest things he has ever said: “The future of search is verbs.”…To me, the meaning was clear: when people search, they aren't just looking for nouns or information; they are looking for action. They want to book a flight, reserve a table, buy a product, cure a hangover, take a class, fix a leak, resolve an argument, or occasionally find a person, for which Facebook is very handy. They mostly want to find something in order to do something. As a result, Bing launched…forays into vertical integration…Google has begun to react…it bought ITA Software, which provides the underlying data to several travel-booking sites (Hotwire and Orbitz) and to Kayak, as well as to Bing…last month, Google acquired Metaweb and its user-generated database Freebase…You can ask (and get the answer) to “movies directed by Roman Polanski” and get only those movies – not those in which he only appeared. Try doing that with Google. You soon will be able to…”

3. "Up to" broadband speeds are bogus http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/08/your-worst-fears-confirmed-real-broadband-speeds-half-of-whats-advertised.ars Broadband providers in the US have long hawked their wares in "up to" terms. You know—"up to" 10Mbps, where "up to" sits like a tiny pebble beside the huge font size of the raw number…no one gets these speeds…a new Federal Communications Commission report…makes a sharp conclusion: broadband users get, on average, a mere 50 percent of that "up to" speed…FCC wonks have concluded that ISPs advertised an average (mean) "up to" download speed of 6.7Mbps in 2009…FCC analysis shows that the median actual speed consumers experienced in the first half of 2009 was roughly 3 Mbps, while the average (mean) actual speed was approximately 4 Mbps," says the report…The gap between advertisement and reality isn't a function of technology—it applied to all kinds of broadband connections, from cable to DSL to fiber. The less-than-ideal speeds aren't necessarily the "fault" of the ISP, either; crufty computers, poky routers, misconfigured WiFi, transient line noise, and Internet congestion all play a role…the FCC has concluded that advertising the "up to" speed is so inaccurate (and so confusing to consumers) that something better should be tried…recommending that a standard truth-in-labeling form should be drafted…”

4. Skype Etiquette http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/22/skype-etiquette/ Skype is one of the most important work and social tools I use…you can use it for chat, or audio, or video…I’m starting to go a little crazy from the way people are using it. So it’s time for a friendly primer on appropriate Skype etiquette…It’s not a conversation until both sides are engaged…The best way to start a Skype conversation is to message something like “are you free?” If I respond then we’re all set. If not, don’t take it personally…Instand messaging is both synchronous and asynchronous…Don’t abuse the Enter button…Don’t just jump right into a phone call. It’s polite to send a chat message first saying “time for a quick Skype call?...Video calls are not a God given right…Don’t assume confidentiality…”

5. AirDropper Requests Files via Email and Saves to Your Dropbox http://lifehacker.com/5615351/airdropper-requests-files-via-email-and-saves-to-your-dropbox Not everybody's down with free file syncing service Dropbox, but that's not a problem with free webapp AirDropper. Use it to request a file, through email or password-protected link, and when they upload it, it goes right into your Dropbox space…It's a nice go-between agent for clients who can't send a large file out via email, or for pinging you friends and reminding them to send along that MP3 you were talking about last night. AirDropper is free to use while in beta, but will eventually take on a "freemium" tiered pricing model that keeps a free option…”

6. Monetizing Content is a Product Problem http://www.thisisgoingtobebig.com/blog/2010/8/20/product-friday-monetizing-content-is-a-product-problem.html They say people won't pay for content. They say that paywalls are stupid and that its just not monetizable. Remember when they said that people wouldn't pay for music? What Apple proved, and what I suspect is the issue with web content, is that monetization was a product problem. I never would have paid for music back in 1999 or 2000…Enter the seemless iPod + iTunes experience, and the next generation goes back to paying for music again as if no one had ever heard of Shawn Fanning. Same goes for television…plugging a computer into your TV is still just too…hard for the average person. Cable is easy. You call them up, they send a redheaded guy with a box and you're done. People pay for cable because its one less thing they need to think about. The same absolutely can't be said for web content. Despite over 15 plus years of progress, little has changed about the way we consume articles on the web since the internet started. It's still largely a desktop experience driven and produced by publishers clinging to siloed production and consumption experience…The best hope you have for sending me an article that I read is to e-mail it to me or DM me on Twitter—and to hope that wherever I’m reading the web, I’m also checking messaging services…Here are the things that I think a real web content consumption product should have which would enable better monetization…Read Everywhere…Social…Remix, Comment, Blog, Tweet…Easy Payments that Ensure Virality…Publisher Friendly…Consumer Friendly…”

7. Yahoo starts Bing transition, kills Search Monkey http://news.cnet.com/8301-30684_3-20013871-265.html Starting this week, searchers on Yahoo will start to see a little "Powered by Bing" message at the bottom of the results page, as the two companies start the public phase of their huge search deal completed last year…Microsoft is to provide the back-end crawling, listing, and ranking technologies that generate search results while Yahoo retains responsibility for presenting those results on search pages…”

8. Chomp Wants To Be The Google Of Apps http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/23/chomp-app-search/ “…Chomp, a sort-of Yelp for iPhone apps…formally launched as an app recommendation engine for Apple’s App Store…App Store…Discovery is continually under attack by developers trying to game the system by putting bogus words in their titles…with over 250,000 iPhone apps out there now, there simply needs to be a better way to find the best ones…Co-founder Ben Keighran calls this latest version of Chomp “the most personalized way to search and browse for apps.”…they have more reviews in many cases than Apple itself does on apps. The reason is that Chomp makes it very easy to do a review…Keighran also says that Chomp’s system is better than Apple’s own Genius feature for apps because that’s simply based around what you’ve downloaded. This is all about what people you trust enough to add to your social graph have downloaded and love…Chomp’s larger goals: to be the place people go to find the best apps no matter what platform they’re on…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

9. Iris Scanners Create the Most Secure City in the World http://www.fastcompany.com/1683302/iris-scanners-create-the-most-secure-city-in-the-world-welcomes-big-brother “…Biometrics R&D firm Global Rainmakers Inc. (GRI) announced today that it is rolling out its iris scanning technology to create what it calls "the most secure city in the world." In a partnership with Leon -- one of the largest cities in Mexico, with a population of more than a million -- GRI will fill the city with eye-scanners…"In the future, whether it's entering your home, opening your car, entering your workspace, getting a pharmacy prescription refilled, or having your medical records pulled up, everything will come off that unique key that is your iris," says Jeff Carter…"Every person, place, and thing on this planet will be connected [to the iris system] within the next 10 years,"…To implement the system, the city is creating a database of irises. Criminals will automatically be enrolled, their irises scanned once convicted. Law-abiding citizens will have the option to opt-in. When these residents catch a train or bus, or take out money from an ATM, they will scan their irises, rather than swiping a metro or bank card. Police officers will monitor these scans…"Fraud, which is a $50 billion problem, will be completely eradicated," says Carter…GRI's scanning devices are currently shipping to the city, where integration will begin with law enforcement facilities, security check-points, police stations, and detention areas. This first phase will cost less than $5 million. Phase II, which will roll out in the next three years…Scanners will be placed in mass transit, medical centers and banks, among other public and private locations…I tested these devices at GRI's R&D facilities in New York City last week. It took less than a second for my irises to be scanned and registered in the company's database. Every time I went through the scanners after that--even when running through (because everybody runs, right, Tom Cruise?) my eyes were scanned and identified correctly…”

10. Why Intel bought McAfee http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2010/08/why-intel-bought-mcafee.ars There's been quite a bit of head-scratching over Intel's decision to purchase McAfee…Intel CTO Justin Rattner did a Q&A session with the press in which he was asked something to the effect of, "What do you spend most of your time working on these days?" Rattner didn't hesitate in answering "security." He then told an anecdote about how he was watching Intel CEO Paul Otellini being interviewed by Charlie Rose, and Otellini told Rose, "I've given our company a charter to make [security] job one." Rattner…told us that this statement seemed to come from out of the blue, and it took him and other Intel execs by surprise. But from that day forward, Rattner was focused on security…he referenced the Aurora attacks against Google and other tech companies as a kind of call to arms for Intel…he and his team at Intel had looked into them closely…the sophistication of those and subsequent attacks he has seen was insanely high. Rattner told us that the attacks—both the Aurora attacks and others that he has seen more recently—have had such a high degree of sophistication that they're clearly not carried out by garden variety criminals and vandals…Rattner described a few chip-specific efforts that Intel was making in the security arena, such as an on-chip random number generator and a crypto acceleration module. But these were just a small glimpse of what Intel had in mind for security…Intel's years of experience with vPro and its predecessors have no doubt confirmed to the company that providing silicon-level support for advanced security and remote management technologies is a waste of time if no systems integrator or popular software vendor implements them in some kind of consumer- or business-facing product or service…vPro still isn't in common use for remote troubleshooting and general software security…I haven't really seen much in the way of…people building new home IT automation and tech support services and business models on top of vPro. However, one of the big software vendors that did take up vPro and try to build consumer-facing products and services around it was McAfee. Intel has clearly indicated that the real impact of the purchase won't really be felt in the computer market until later in the coming decade—this is a long-term, strategic buy…acquiring McAfee is Intel's way of bringing vPro and subsequent security efforts directly to businesses and consumers by just buying out the middle-man…it's pretty much what Intel's press release says it is: Intel wants to be (and feels that it needs to be) in the security business, period…they believe this because they know that security is about systems—not just hardware or software…”

11. The real iTunes fraud vulnerability: Gullible users http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-20014481-37.html So these reports of a major security hole in iTunes, one through which people have had their PayPal accounts drained? Not much to them, I'm told…There's no security hole in iTunes, and if you've been unfortunate enough to have hundreds of dollars in unauthorized purchases charged to your iTunes account, it's likely because you've fallen victim to a phishing scam--a variation on the one that's been around for years now…Apple offers this bit of common sense advice…if your credit card or iTunes password is stolen and used on iTunes we recommend that you contact your financial institution and inquire about canceling the card and/or issuing a chargeback for any unauthorized transactions. We also recommend that you change your iTunes account password immediately." PayPal…told me that any unauthorized charges sent through its service will be reimbursed.”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

12. Inkling adapts school textbooks for iPad http://www.macnn.com/articles/10/08/20/mcgraw.hilll.wiley.cengage.books.forthcoming/ A new developer, Inkling, is bringing a variety of high-profile school textbooks to the iPad. The first four are…in biology, economics, marketing and psychology…at an early cost of $3 per chapter or $70 for an entire book…prices should be hiked to $4 and $85…the books have been enhanced with a number of multimedia elements, such as quizzes, video lectures and 3D models. Interface features make it possible to highlight text, access Google or Wikipedia, and create notes that can be shared with other students in real time…College textbooks have reportedly been slow to sell in the digital realm. The titles can still be expensive in spite of foregoing paper, and are dwarfed further by the cost of the hardware itself…a "blossoming of touch-enabled tablets,"…should drop their price…”

13. Broadcasters want FM on cellphones; phone makers balk http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/technology/2010-08-23-fm23_ST_N.htm Cellphones…may also offer an old-fashioned service — FM radio — if a controversial new proposal gains traction in Washington. Groups representing broadcasters, musicians and record companies say they may ask Congress to require that new mobile phones include equipment to receive FM. The idea emerged in a proposed compromise for a dispute over whether musicians and record companies should receive royalty payments from radio stations that air their tunes…others say that FM radio chips and antennas would drain batteries, add to costs and take up space that could be used for new technologies…”

14. Intel Releases Faster Dual-core Atom Netbook Processor http://www.pcworld.com/article/203895/intel_releases_faster_dualcore_atom_netbook_processor.html Intel on Monday released a dual-core Atom N550 processor…The processor will operate at a speed of 1.5GHz, and include 1MB of cache…Netbooks with the new chip will offer similar battery life as its single-core predecessors, the company said…Though popular, netbooks have been heavily criticized for underperformance and poor graphics, due partly to the limited processing power of Atom chips…Intel also had to bump up Atom's performance to stay ahead of rival Advanced Micro Devices, which will soon start shipping processors for netbooks and ultramobile PCs…a low-power chip code-named Ontario, which combines a CPU and graphics processor in one chip…An AMD spokesman said that computers with the new chips are expected to hit shelves early next year…”

15. Road Trip puts iPhone 4 and iPad to the test http://news.cnet.com/8301-13772_3-20014360-52.html “…throw in the bumper for free…and suddenly you've got yourself a really great smart phone--and nothing to complain about. That was my reaction after picking up the iPhone 4 for the first time earlier this summer while on Road Trip 2010. I've owned an iPhone 3G for nearly two years, and though I loved it, I also found myself tempted to toss it in a lake nearly every day because it was slow and would sometimes just sit there and not do its job…when I go on Road Trip each summer, I generally get review units of its latest gear to take with me and test out as I go…I had another smart phone with me on Road Trip this year, and the truth is, I never had the time to take it out and learn how to use it. Being already familiar with iPhone, it was a one-minute process for me to get used to the iPhone 4…FaceTime is a nice feature of the iPhone 4--though it does require Wi-Fi…the camera is hugely improved…Within a week of getting the new iPhone, I had basically abandoned the Canon and was now using the iPhone as my basic camera and with no regrets…my favorite element of the iPhone 4 was that it is simply fast…Would I recommend the iPhone 4? Without hesitation…while there are certainly other smart phones with similar feature sets, I would venture to guess…that the overall user experience with them doesn't measure up…I'm not sure how useful the iPad is…of course, the 3G service isn't free…while I like the iPad a lot, I'm not 100 percent sold on it…not owning one, I don't feel like I'm going to miss that much after I send the one I have back to Apple…with me on Road Trip 2010 was a 13-inch MacBook Pro. With a 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 4 GB of RAM, it was a very good road computer. My work computer is a three-year-old 15-inch MacBook Pro, so adjusting to the smaller display took a bit, but once I did, I learned to love its bright glossy screen. The other thing I loved was the long battery life. While it was not entirely consistent, I would say I could always count on a minimum of three hours of battery, even if I was doing some heavy-duty tasks, like watching movies, processing photos…It's hard to know how to characterize my road-testing of Apple products…I know they tend to be a bit more expensive than comparable products from other companies, yet myself and many others keep on choosing Apple because our user experience tends to be so much better…As a reviewer--even someone who doesn't do it very often, like myself--our ultimate challenge is to try to get enough of a sense of a product to know whether we'd recommend it. With the three Apple devices I had with me this summer on Road Trip, I'd have little trouble doing so…”

Open Source

16. Oracle aims to destroy open source software industry http://www.zdnet.com/blog/open-source/oracle-aims-to-destroy-open-source-software-industry/7172 If proprietary companies like Oracle can buy up open source projects and then take back their open source status, how can an enterprise depend on open source software? It is with the aim of creating this kind of FUD that Oracle has made its moves against Java and OpenSolaris. Most analysts now expect similar moves against mySQL and OpenOffice…Why would Oracle destroy assets it just paid good money for? Two reasons…It didn’t really pay good money for them…It pushes enterprise buyers away from all open source…Oracle’s moves against high profile open source projects like Java…also serve as a warning against enterprise dependence on other open source projects. Open source companies practically live to be taken over. It’s the pot of gold at the end of their rainbow…This has always been an Achilles heel for open source businesses. They can’t make people buy their stuff…Thus proprietary companies have a big advantage whenever an open source company wants to cash in. They’re still the most likely buyers…Solaris and the other projects Oracle has bought could be forked. Or can they? Didn’t Google fork Java for Android, and isn’t Oracle now saying in legal papers its control of Java is protected by patents?…”

17. SSH: Tips And Tricks You Need http://symkat.com/35/ssh-tips-and-tricks-you-need/ SSH is one of the most widely used protocols for connecting to remote shells. While there are numerous SSH clients the most-used still remains OpenSSH’s ssh…Adding A Keep-Alive. A keep-alive is a small piece of data transmitted between a client and a server to ensure that the connection is still open or to keep the connection open…SSH does not enable this by default. There are pros and cons to this…Multiplexing Your Connection…Using SSH As A Proxy. Even Starbucks now has free WiFi in its stores. It seems the world has caught on to giving free Internet at most retail locations. The downside is that more teenagers with “Got Root?” stickers are camping out at these locations running the latest version of wireshark..Using One-Off Commands…Making SSH A Pipe…”

18. Top Free Linux for Netbooks http://www.techtree.com/India/Features/Top_Free_Linux_for_Netbooks/551-112649-899-1.html “…Netbooks were not designed to replace laptops and are meant to be used for basic tasks…Linux has enough alternatives that will get your basic tasks done easily…Easy Peasy, Jolicloud and Meego…support Live-booting. This lets you run the entire operating system from a flash drive…there's no need to re-partition, as it can be used with Windows…Basic stuff works: Some of the Linux distributions we're going to talk about has everything you need pre-installed. OpenOffice, multi-protocol instant messaging, Skype, codecs to play all types of audio and video files…no need to install an antivirus: Netbooks already have paltry power resources…running heavy-duty antivirus suites…is only going to make it worse…It is ideal to have a Live-boot flash drive handy…Easy Peasy…is based on Ubuntu's Netbook edition and is very similar in terms of look and feel…Easy Peasy comes bundled with all the proprietary tools that we need on a day-to-day basis…this is probably the best Linux distribution that I have come across in terms of completeness. On my Eee PC 1000H, it runs swifty without any slowdown. Everything from my sound to my Wi-Fi to my webcam worked without installing any drivers separately…”

19. Open source lecture recording tool http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/Matterhorn-Open-source-lecture-recording-tool-1063304.html “…the Opencast project under the patronage of the University of California Berkeley has presented the Matterhorn 1.0 lecture recording system. The German (virtUOS) Centre for Information Management and Virtual Teaching at the University of Osnabrück was a major contributor…The free open source software can be used to capture time-controlled images from several cameras as well as the lecturer's computer screen. The system sorts the material into video portals, learning platforms or data storage media for editing…the video player allows users to navigate, edit and search the recorded material…”

SkyNet

20. Another reason to use Google Docs http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-20014093-17.html Google is broadening the reach of Gmail Search with the help of a Labs tool that allows users to find e-mails and documents…The Apps Search feature, which is available in Gmail Labs, provides search results from a person's e-mail messages, as well as Google Docs. So if someone saves a presentation in Google Docs and e-mails that to a colleague, a search for that presentation would display results from both Gmail and Google Docs…I tried using Apps Search. Upon enabling it, the old "Search Mail" button next to the search box is changed to "Search Mail and Docs." The search tool works just as it did prior to enabling the feature, but below the Mail results, the app displays results from both Google Docs and Google Sites…”

21. Memeo Tries to Revive the GDrive http://cloud.gigaom.com/2010/08/18/memeo-tries-to-revive-the-gdrive/ “…Memeo Connect…fills a glaring hole in Google’s product offering…a document- and file-syncing tool built on the back of Google’s infrastructure. Memeo Connect creates a drive that is mounted and accessible from a Windows or Mac OS machine, with the files residing on Google’s infrastructure…I questioned Spencer Chen, Director, Strategy and Business Development at Memeo about their key differentiator. He said: Memeo Connect’s unfair advantage will always be our back end … Google. Our deep partnership and even deeper product integration provides customers with the ideal joint solution…Memeo is being adopted by small business (SMB) users, rather than the enterprise customer base. Chen agreed with this analysis, adding that…Google Docs adoption remains in the mid-market…the SMBs and very small enterprises. The disruption always comes from the low-end off the market…”

22. Gmail Improves "Undo Send" http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2010/08/gmail-improves-undo-send.html Gmail has a very useful Labs feature called "undo send" that lets you "unsend" a message immediately after sending it. If you accidentally clicked on the "Send" button or you realize that you forgot to attach an important file, you have a few seconds to click on "undo"…When Gmail launched this feature, you only had 5 seconds to undo sending a message, but Google…added new periods: 10 seconds, 20 seconds and now 30 seconds …”

23. Google Chrome Web Store coming in October? http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/18/google-social-games/ Earlier today, it was revealed that development of the Chrome Web Store is well underway, and Google hopes to deploy it around October [suggesting that Chrome OS devices are likely on a similar schedule – ed.]. That’s good news, and the fact that Google apparently only plans to take a 5 percent of revenues from developers is great news…it appears that this new store will play nicely with Google’s new social strategy…Something tells me the Chrome Web Store isn’t going to be built around Orkut’s social graph…we can probably expect the Chrome Web Store, like many other Google properties, to take advantage of the new social project Google is currently working on. While the company still won’t officially talk about it, they have acknowledged such a project exists…”

24. Like.com confirms purchase by Google: Supercharged visual search coming soon? http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/20/its-official-google-acquires-like-com/ “…Google has acquired Like.com…we’ve heard it’s valued at upwards of $100 million…In late 2005 Google was on the verge of acquiring a company called Riya, which was Shah’s first attempt at image facial recognition and tagging for consumers. Google eventually walked away…In 2009, Riya was shut down…the company…refocused its efforts on ecommerce – using the Riya core technology to let people search visually by seeing images that are similar to other images. Like.com was born…the company raised nearly $50 million in venture capital since 2006 and has revenue in the $50 million/year range…it’s unclear what Google wants with Like.com. It could be that Google, which has experimented with visual search, likes what it sees…If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

General Technology

25. The odds are good that Lyric Semiconductor will change computing http://venturebeat.com/2010/08/16/mit-spin-out-creates-a-new-way-to-compute-probabilities-for-a-host-of-applications/ Lyric Semiconductor…has created a new kind of computer circuit that calculates probabilities much faster than traditional computer chips. And its first real application is in error correction chips for flash memory devices, which have become ubiquitous in everything from cameras to servers. If the technology works properly, Lyric could create processors that are a thousand times more efficient in cost, power and size…the company’s first chip, the Lyric Error Correction, is 30 times smaller than today’s flash memory error correction chips. It is 12 times better in terms of power consumption, and it can operate faster than traditional chips…Ben Vigoda…worked on the technology starting more than a decade ago…with professor Neil Gershenfeld…“The biggest computers in the world are being used to make educated guesses about what you really want,” Vigoda said…Probabilities are very important, but computers are not designed to calculate them.” A digital computer uses a processor that steps through calculations one at a time, in a serial fashion, to perform a function. Lyric’s processors are designed to handle many probability computations in parallel. Where it might take 500 transistors for a digital computer to calculate a probability, the Lyric approach would just take a few…The applications are many, says Mira Wilczek, director of business development at Lyric. Lyric’s approach can be used to accelerate search, fraud detection, spam filtering, financial modeling, genome sequence analysis…”

26. Honda Civic Hybrids Encounter Battery Life Problems, Software Update Problematic for Some http://www.dailytech.com/Honda+Civic+Hybrids+Encounter+Battery+Life+Problems+Software+Update+Problematic+for+Some/article19357.htm Honda Motor Co.'s line of Civic hybrid's from 2006 to 2008 have encountered problems with battery life…Honda's high-tech batteries for these hybrids have been losing their ability to hold a charge years before the warranty is up, but Honda's policy is to not replace any batteries until they are completely dead. So instead of exchanging the old batteries for new ones, Honda began installing software updates that are supposed to extend the life of the battery and "improve performance,"…According to Jason Marchesano, a 2007 Civic hybrid owner from Overland Park, Kansas, his car battery lost its ability to hold a decent charge last year, and when approaching Honda about the problem, they installed a software update that cut the vehicle's fuel efficiency and made the car's response much slower. Several weeks ago, Marchesano went to Honda once again with the problem, which prompted yet another software update. With each additional update, his Civic became slower and less fuel efficient. Today, the vehicle receives 33 miles per gallon, when it originally received 45 mpg brand new…Nearly one third of complaints about the 2007 Civic hybrid are regarding battery troubles, and mention potential concerns like loss of power while trying to pass someone, or while on a freeway onramp. Honda sent out a letter to over 100,000 owners of these vehicles to let them know that their car batteries "may deteriorate and eventually fail" much earlier than previously expected, and instructs the driver to consider a software update. "This is certainly not a financial decision," said Chris Martin, a Honda spokesman…Some Honda Civic hybrid drivers agree with Martin's stance, saying that software updates have improved their vehicle's mileage and pace…Martin…did mention…that shortened battery life on these vehicles is due to "certain circumstances" such as using the air conditioning too much or driving in stop-and-go traffic.”

27. Take a deep breath - why the world is running out of helium http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10668231 “…helium is also a non-renewable resource and the world's reserves of the precious gas are about to run out…the world's most commonly used inert gas is being depleted at an astonishing rate because of a law passed in the United States in 1996…experts warn that the world could run out of helium within 25 to 30 years…hospitals…MRI scanners are cooled by the gas in liquid form…anti-terrorist authorities…rely on helium for their radiation monitors…Helium is made either by the nuclear fusion process of the Sun, or by the slow and steady radioactive decay of terrestrial rock, which accounts for all of the Earth's store of the gas…practically all of the world's reserves have been derived as a by-product from the extraction of natural gas…Liquid helium is critical for cooling infrared detectors, nuclear reactors and the machinery of wind tunnels. The space industry uses it in sensitive satellite equipment and spacecraft, and Nasa uses helium in huge quantities to purge the potentially explosive fuel from its rockets…it is being depleted as an unprecedented rate and reserves could dwindle to virtually nothing within a generation, warns Nobel laureate Robert Richardson, professor of physics at Cornell University…the US Congress decided to sell off the strategic reserve…The motivation was to sell it all by 2015…The Earth is 4.7 billion years old and it has taken that long to accumulate our helium reserves, which we will dissipate in about 100 years. One generation does not have the right to determine availability for ever…the US established a National Helium Reserve in 1925. During the Second World War, helium was strategically important because of its use in military airships. When the Cold War came along, it became even more important because of its uses in the purging of rocket fuel…The national reserve was established in the porous rock of a disused natural gasfield 30 miles north of Amarillo…A billion cubic metres - or about half of the world's reserves - are now stored in this cluster of mines, pipes and vats…in 1996, the US passed the Helium Privatisation Act which directed that this reserve should be sold by 2015 at a price that would substantially pay off the federal government's original investment…The law stipulated the amount of helium sold off each year should follow a straight line with the same amount being sold each year, irrespective of the global demand for it…Professor Richardson co-chaired an inquiry into the impending helium shortage convened by the influential US National Research Council, an arm of the US National Academy of Sciences. This report, which has just been published, recommends that the US Government should…reconsider its policy of selling off the US national helium reserve…Professor Richardson also believes that party balloons filled with helium are too cheap, and they should really cost about $100 to reflect the precious nature of the gas they contain…”

28. Microsoft beats Intel, AMD to market with CPU/GPU combo chip http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2010/08/microsoft-beats-intel-amd-to-market-with-cpugpu-combo-chip.ars “…Microsoft's Xbox team unveiled details of the system-on-a-chip (SoC) that powers the newer, slimmer Xbox 360 250GB model. Produced on the IBM/GlobalFoundries 45nm process, it’s…the first mass-market, desktop-class processor to combine a CPU, GPU, memory, and I/O logic onto a single piece of silicon…Microsoft engineers presented the new SoC and apparently did a lot of the layout (or perhaps all of it) themselves…the triple-core CPU is there, as is the ATI-designed GPU…It would have been easier and more natural to just connect the CPU and GPU with a high-bandwidth, low-latency internal connection, but that would have made the new SoC faster in some respects than the older systems, and that's not allowed. So they had to introduce this separate module onto the chip that could actually add latency between the CPU and GPU blocks…Compared the discrete, 90nm CPU/GPU combo in the original 360 from 2005, the new 45nm SoC draws over 60 percent less power and reduces the total silicon area by over 50 percent. The power and die area savings mean that Microsoft can do with a single fan and heatsink what previously required multiple heatsinks and fans…”

29. AMD 'Bulldozer,' 'Bobcat' Processors Debut at Hot Chips Conference http://www.eweek.com/c/a/IT-Infrastructure/AMD-Bulldozer-Bobcat-Processors-Debut-at-Hot-Chips-Conference-410698/ Advanced Micro Devices is unveiling the technical details of two new microprocessors, "Bulldozer" and "Bobcat," during the Hot Chips conference at Stanford University. It’s the first time in nearly seven years that AMD has updated the microarchitecture of processing cores…Bulldozer, which promises to deliver 33 percent more cores and a 50 percent increase in throughput compared to AMD’s current 12-core Opteron 6100, previously codenamed Magny-Cours. Bulldozer, which is being built with 32-nanometer manufacturing, also promises better energy efficiency. AMD has already revealed that Bulldozer supports up to 256-bit floating point execution, which is important for high-performance computing applications…While most high-performance chips use either SMT (simultaneous multithreading), which places two instructional threads on one core to allow for two tasks to execute at the same, or CMP (core multiprocessing), which essentially just increases the core count, Bulldozer combines both techniques…Bulldozer is a chip design that AMD has been calling a "module." The module structure actually contains two cores and each have their own integer scheduler units and shared floating-point scheduler. Each core has one instructional thread and dedicated L1 cache. The module also contains two, 128-bit floating-point math units. The two cores and two floating-point units share fetch and decode units, as well as an L2 cache, L3 cache and a north bridge…Each Bulldozer processor will be composed of these different modules – an eight-core processor, for example, is made up of four modules…What will make Bobcat different than Atom is its out-of-order execution engine, which breaks data apart and allows for instructions to run in parallel, as well as offering improved performance. Intel’s Atom chips, on the other hand, use an in-order execution pipeline…The design…allows the chip to work with portable devices while saving battery life…the out-of-order execution engineering combined with the low-power design will give Bobcat an advantage over Atom since it allows for high performance…the most important part of Bobcat is that it will be the first x86 processor core to work with AMD’s APU, or accelerated processing unit, design, which looks to combine graphics and the CPU on one piece of silicon…”

DHMN Tech

30. The Future of Interfaces is Mobile, Screen-less and Invisible http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/mimssbits/25623/ “…Reto Meier, an "Android Developer Advocate for Google" recently laid out a fairly science-fiction account of where computer (or at least mobile) interfaces are headed…from Augmented Reality eye glasses to advanced batteries…You Can Never Have Enough Monitors…Meier's Prediction: Five years from now, we'll have the first widely-available flexible displays and built in HD projectors…Meier's Prediction: 10 years from now, transparent LCD patches that can be applied to regular glasses will be available…even Apple's "Retina" display is only matches the resolution of the human eye when held at arm's length. Two or three orders of magnitude of increase in LCD resolution would be required - in addition to transparency…Meier's Prediction: 20 years from now, we'll have contact lenses that project a visual feed directly onto your retina. Reality: This exists, but again, the resolution is terrible…never, ever bet against the progress of microfabrication…But: transmitting images to such displays will be non-trivial. Wouldn't it be easier to simply perfect augmented reality specs?...Meier's Prediction: 5 years from now, we'll have larger multitouch screens, better gesture input, and flawless voice recognition…there is plenty of reason to think we'll never get flawless voice recognition - for one thing, progress in speech recognition accuracy flatlined years ago. One of the reasons is that even humans aren't capable of it - count the number of times you say "what," ask someone to repeat themselves or otherwise seek clarification and you'll realize that substantial amounts of error-correction are built into human speech for a very good reason. Meier's Prediction: 10 years from now, full virtual keyboards and voice input eliminate physical keyboards entirely…The problem, of course, is that no one knows whether or not humans can master "typing in midair." Regular typing, on the other hand, resembles the playing of a musical instrument…Meier's Prediction: 20 years, from now, we'll interface with computers through mind control. Reality: Attempts to control computers with our minds run up against a very basic limitation of human physiology: brains do not have any high-bandwidth interfaces built in, other than the physical body…In other words, if we want to meld with our machines, it has to be a fairly intrusive physical interface…”

31. Augmented reality http://halfbakedmaker.org/2010/07/12/augmented-reality/ “…I have yet another half-baked project: an augmented reality game (ARG) for smartphones with cameras, GPS locators, and tilt sensors. The general interface for ARGs is simple: show the user the real-time input to the camera, and then based on the player’s location and orientation of the phone, overlay game graphics that can be interacted with. The game mechanics are then worked in, and since it is a multiplayer ARG, there will have to be a central server…The only things I haven’t quite figured out are: How to prevent someone from writing a program which spoofs http requests to make it look like they are walking around with their phone, when in reality they are sitting at a desk?...How to interact with objects that are within the range of the current GPS accuracy, and how to deal with GPS accuracy changes. The accuracy, based on quick let-me-google-that-for-you technology, should be anywhere from 1 meter to 30 meters…As for the game itself, I think it would be cooperative, similar to A Tale in the Desert. Resource collection, building, trading, exploring, and leveling…I have been considering…how to ensure that there are enough resources around a player’s starting location so that they don’t have to get stuck in a “bad location”. My idea is that upon starting, a player gets a number of “seeds”. The player can drop a seed, which will let the server generate resources in a circle (maybe 10 km in diameter) around the player: all the common resources, and some rarer resources. Seeds cannot be dropped within, say, 5 km of any other seed…”

32. FabLabs: remanufacture the world http://www.internetactu.net/2010/07/15/fablabs-refabriquer-le-monde/ What would happen tomorrow if anyone could make almost anything?...Whatever their names (TechShops, hackerspaces, FabLabs...) hundreds of spaces of this type have recently seen the day around the world…What new insights do they allow these places? That was the question that the Lift conference in Marseille wanted to ask some of those who are behind these new spaces…Adrian Bowyer, the British mathematician and engineer, inventor of the RepRap, this 3D printer capable of printing free of objects in three dimensions, began by quoting Karl Marx…the proletariat means workers who are forced to sell their labor power to live because they do not own production tools…Bowyer proposes another solution to the problem through another revolution, that of having easier access to production tools. It's the idea behind the RepRap he designed: a 3D printer capable of printing some of his own plays, about half - the remaining parts can easily be purchased at most cities…It is capable of repairing itself by producing its own spare parts (known as self-replicating machine)…the specifications of the machine are free and open, allowing everyone to build his own…Users can share and disseminate plans objects designed for the RepRap eg via a site like Thingiverse…Bowyer recalls that it is permissible to print any type of object. If there are constraints, while not prohibited, however. For example, if you wish to repair a broken mirror…It is not illegally reproduced if a patented article does not wish to sell…This last logic is that the RepRap ... with the hope that one day people will own their homes more and more tools for performing work long reserved for industries…When he was five, Ton Zijlstra (Blog) believed that his grandparents were very rich people: they had their own garden and a workshop where his grandfather could repair anything he wanted…As an adult he found himself working alone, isolated, even though he held the post of director in a company…thanks to his blog…he…had lots of connections in the world…has begun to become interested in FabLabs…For him, a FabLab must be "free", and be equipped with machines (3D printers, vinyl cutters or laser, RepRap, etc..) And software to design, build and manufacture…projects are independent, but connected: meetings meet regularly, not just their leaders, but also users, annual conferences to enable them to meet other FabLabs worldwide…but they also share certain skills and human resources, like this expert pointed to the 3D printing, which passes from one to another and FabLab can pool their expertise, and cost. Asked whether these FabLabs could be competing Ton Zijlstra said that "no, because each is unique, well grounded in his community, his city, with its own ecosystem, that they meet the local needs and are sufficiently different to avoid stepping on toes. We have an infrastructure which provides a network effect, and each new FabLab increases the value of others, because it brings new expertise, because you can say such a thing as it is better to apply to a particular FabLab "…In his presentation FabLabs Ton Zijlstra shows an organized community network…that still has the challenge of continuing to strengthen its community, the successful construction of a local ecosystem…Haakon Karlsen Jr., is the creator of the FabFoundation and Norwegian FabLab installed above the Arctic Circle. It all began with the installation of antennas and sensors on sheep which Haakon owned track their movements in the mountains. It is to find a technical solution to this need that has developed the first FabLab Norwegian…opened in June 2003. At first it consisted only of a milling machine, a cutter and a few computers installed in a large farm…The Norwegian FabLab, despite its special geographical position supports some 120 projects per year…The FabLab the beginning was a place of rapid prototyping to reproduce anything and everything. But now it is primarily a network of people willing to cooperate and share their knowledge. The tools to achieve this goal, as the video conferencing network that connects them…It became difficult to count the number of existing FabLabs in the world…Many small businesses are launched, little by little, starting a production unit. The FabLab Kenya produces anti-malarial drugs, and have twenty employees…Despite these successes, we still work to be done to better outline the network of FabLab", says one who is the supervisor…inviting us to organize its annual Boot Camp in the depths of Norway…”

33. Ford and TechShop to launch Detroit Makerspace http://www.techshoprdu.com/node/791 Ford and TechShop, the world's first and largest membership-based do-it-yourself (DIY) workshops, announce a collaborative effort to open a communal work center in the Detroit area for individual inventors…Ford and TechShop first met up in May at the largest DIY event of its kind, 2010 Maker Faire in San Mateo, Calif., where Ford was invited to show off its "American Journey 2.0" open- innovation vehicle app project with University of Michigan students. That gathering ignited the idea for the matchup that has taken form in less than three months…"The talent pool and level of skill and knowledge in and around Detroit is incredible," added Bill Coughlin, president and CEO of Ford Global Technologies…"TechShop can provide a physical hub for this inventive community, allowing us to connect with them in a way never done before…With TechShop, we are bringing the concept of individual involvement to life in a physical space where people can develop their ideas, create prototypes and display them," said Coughlin. Ford also hopes that the TechShop will inspire its own Detroit-area engineers, designers and scientists to innovate on their own time. "Inventors don't have access to the same type of equipment or tools during off-hours as they do during work hours," said Hatch. "We want to offer them an affordable place to go that has the necessary equipment and resources to make their inventive ideas a reality." A leader in licensing technology, Ford also sees the broader business potential of TechShop and streamlining the process for inventors looking to not only make physical prototypes of their ideas but license their technology to the masses. "We want to create a mercantile exchange of innovations and ideas - a one-stop shop where makers can dream, design, develop and license their innovations for the real world…”

34. Hands on with the AR.Drone iPhone-controlled quadrocopter http://www.macworld.com/article/153601/2010/08/ardronehandson.html “…Parrot’s $299 AR.Drone kicks iPhone-app control up a notch, turning your iOS device into the primary—nay, the only—way to control this four-propeller, flying gadget…Parrot calls the AR.Drone a “quadricopter,” the company’s name for a quadrotor or quadrocopter—a rotor-based aircraft that uses four independent rotors. While quadrotors may seem more complicated than traditional helicopters, the design is actually both simpler and more economical: Instead of complex mechanics that control the aircraft by varying the pitch of each rotor blade as it spins, a quadrotor uses fixed-pitch rotors. You control the aircraft by simply varying the relative rate of rotation of each rotor…inside is a CPU running Linux, and a wireless access point that creates a network for controlling the AR.Drone, letting you play games with other AR.Drone owners, and even uploading firmware updates to the AR.Drone’s built-in FTP server (more on those features in a bit). Finally, the AR.Drone features not one, but two onboard video cameras: one in the front, facing forwards, and the other on the bottom, facing straight down. This isn’t your parents’ RC plane…When you connect the AR.Drone’s battery, the ‘copter automatically creates a standard wireless network with a range of approximately 50 meters…Parrot recommends against using the AR.Drone in an area with other Wi-Fi networks. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, finding a place with no wireless networks is nearly as difficult as hunting unicorns, but thankfully the AR.Drone worked fine even indoors in a room blanketed by multiple networks…As cool as it is, this accelerometer-based control isn’t the Free Flight feature that generates the most oohs and aahs. That would be the fact that the app’s buttons and controls float over a live view from the AR.Drone’s front-facing camera—you see whatever is directly in front of the vehicle. Tap the camera-cycle button on the left side of the screen, and the view switches to that of the AR.Drone’s bottom-mounted camera…Besides providing an “I’m in the future!” feeling, the iPhone-app approach to remote control lets Parrot do things you can’t easily do with a dedicated hardware controller—at least not without charging as much for the controller as, say, an iPod touch. For example, you can change many aspects of the AR.Drone’s behavior: You can adjust the trim, pitch, roll, and yaw settings; tweak the sensitivity of the app’s accelerometer control; limit the vehicle’s altitude; switch to a one-thumb controller mode; and change the vehicle’s performance based on which hull you’re using and whether you’re flying indoors or outdoors….Parrot will be releasing iPhone-app games for the AR.Drone. The first, AR.Flying Ace, is scheduled for later this year and will let you have onscreen dogfights with other AR.Drones connected to the same AR.Drone wireless network. The company is also providing a software development kit (SDK) for third-party developers to create their own games…as much as I tried to be objective while testing the AR.Drone, more than once I was having such a good time that I forgot to take notes, mental or otherwise. Although flying the AR.Drone can be frustrating at first—it takes practice to master the controls and how the ‘copter reacts to them—once you get the hang of it, it’s a heck of a lot of fun…the 14-year-old version of me would have done just about anything for a “toy” like this…”

35. Smart clothing could power electronic devices http://www.theengineer.co.uk/news/smart-clothing-could-power-electronic-devices/1004390.article “…Researchers at Southampton University have revealed their plans to develop clothing fabric that generates electricity through wearers’ movement and body heat. This technology could be used to power personal devices such as MP3 players…The smart fabrics will be made by using rapid printing processes to attach a film of piezoelectric or thermoelectric material to a textile base, which will then be able to harvest and conduct electricity for potential use…For the attached film of material, the team will test a range of polymers with piezoelectric properties – either from the polymer itself or from ceramic powder in the polymer – meaning they generate electricity when mechanical strain is applied. The thermoelectric material will be made from two attached semiconductors (p-type and n-type), which create a voltage by a process known as the Seebeck effect when they are at different temperatures…”

36. Forget Hall Monitors, School Investigates Tracking Students with RFID http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/forget_hall_monitors_school_investigates_tracking_students_rfid.php So much for bathroom passes and hall monitors - these days it's technology that is making the art of skipping class much more difficult for students…school district in Connecticut is looking to crack down on wayward students, faculty and even equipment by making use of radio frequency identification (RFID)…New Canaan Public Schools hopes to increase the efficiency of its security efforts by embedding RFID tags into student and faculty identification cards and onto various pieces of school equipment. The tags could be used to track where specific students and faculty are located throughout campus, as well as hunt down missing laptops…SecureRF Corporation, a company specializing in secure RFID software, proposed the project to the school district. Funding for the project could come by way of a $100,000 grant from the National Science Foundation…”

Leisure & Entertainment

37. Microsoft brings back Flight Simulator as Microsoft Flight http://www.geek.com/articles/games/microsoft-brings-back-flight-simulator-as-microsoft-flight-20100817/ Microsoft Flight Simulator was a niche game for the aviation enthusiast, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t a popular series. When Microsoft shutdown ACES Studio in January last year it was the end of Flight Simulator as we knew it...it seems Microsoft is resurrecting the flight sim under the new name of Microsoft Flight. A new website has been created for the game which states: Twenty-eight years after the debut of “Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.0,” Microsoft GameStudios announces the internal development of “Microsoft Flight.” “Microsoft Flight” will bring a new perspective to the long-standing genre, welcoming everyone, including long-time fans to experience the magic of flight…”

38. Neverwinter Nights Reborn as Online Roleplaying Game http://www.pcworld.com/article/203897/neverwinter_nights_reborn_as_online_roleplaying_game.html No more lonely Neverwinter Nights, that's what Atari's signaling with today's announcement that Neverwinter Nights is returning as an online roleplaying game…Cryptic Studios, the guys behind online games like City of Heroes, Champions Online, and Star Trek Online, are handling what'll amount to Neverwinter's third coming…they'll be fiddling with what fans might deem canon, re-envisioning Neverwinter as a once proud city presently down on its luck (okay, so maybe not much re-imagined there). The last Lord of Neverwinter is dead, no one agrees who's in charge, factions struggle to gain the upper hand--all the usual disconcerting bits at the heart of fantasy fiction these days. Oh, and the dead are rising, as the dead often do…We've been working closely with Wizards of the Coast and R.A. Salvatore to create an authentic D&D adventure filled with compelling fiction and exciting gameplay."…he's even written a tie-in novel, launching October 5, called Gauntlgrym and subtitled 'Neverwinter Book One'. According to Atari, it "previews the settings, characters and monsters from the PC game and details the events that lead up to this highly anticipated PC gaming experience."…you'll select one of five classic D&D classes, then play cooperatively with friends or solo employing computer-controlled allies in five-player squads. Like D&D Online's city of Stormreach, Neverwinter will apparently limit players to the eponymous city itself, so think dungeon-delving in honeycombed urban nether regions, and plenty of it. Atari also claims it's devised a way to allow players to "create their own storylines and quests utilizing an extremely user-friendly content generation system, tentatively codenamed Forge…”

39. In the Living Room, Hooked on Pay TV http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/23/business/media/23couch.html “…a fantasy shared by many Americans: dropping cable television and its fat monthly bills and turning instead to the wide-open frontier of Internet video…Bill Mitchell, a 40-year-old engineer…canceled his Time Warner cable service and connected his flat-panel television to the Internet to watch sitcoms and his other favorite shows…His experiment lasted 12 months…he returned to his $130-a-month cable subscription, partly because his family wanted programming that was not available online…we’re hooked on shows on HBO and Showtime, like ‘True Blood’ and ‘Dexter,’…The proliferation of Internet video has led to much talk of “cord-cutting” — a term that has come to mean canceling traditional pay TV and replacing it with programming from a grab bag of online sources. But so far Americans are not doing this in any meaningful numbers…This is all the more remarkable…because it seems to defy the way the Internet has disrupted and challenged virtually every other major form of media — from music to newspapers to books…Heavyweight distributors and producers have protected their business models by ensuring that some must-see shows and live sporting events cannot legally be seen online…To keep customers, especially the price-sensitive ones, the carriers are getting creative. They are trying to bring the living-room experience to every other screen in a customer’s home, including laptops and tablets…Craig Moffett, a cable industry analyst at Bernstein, says the fortunes of pay TV companies are nevertheless destined to flag, given customers’ dissatisfaction with prices…Entrepreneurs will “keep storming the castle until somebody figures it out,” Mr. Moffett wrote…The Times/CBS News survey found that people under the age of 45 were about four times as likely as those 45 and over to say Internet video services could effectively replace cable. “I pay for the Internet; why would I pay for cable?” said Breck Yunits, 26…”

40. 'Plants vs. Zombies' debuting on Nintendo DS next year http://content.usatoday.com/communities/gamehunters/post/2010/08/plants-vs-zombies-debuting-on-nintendo-ds-next-year/1 PopCap Games will release a version of their popular defense title Plants vs. Zombies for the Nintendo DS next year…slated for release in January 2011 for $19.95…The game pits players against hordes of zombies attempting to invade their houses. To fend zombies off, players use special plants such as Pea Shooters or Potato Mines…”

Economy and Technology

41. Securing the Internet of Things: Intel Buys McAfee http://www.readwriteweb.com/enterprise/2010/08/securing-the-internet-of-thing.php “…Intel has entered an agreement to purchase cyber security company McAfee for $7.68 billion. According to…Intel: "Today's security approach does not fully address the billions of new Internet-ready devices connecting, including mobile and wireless devices, TVs, cars, medical devices and ATM machines as well as the accompanying surge in cyber threats." Earlier this week we reported that the number of Internet connected devices is expected to reach 22 billion in the next ten years as cars, sensor networks, security cameras and more come online. Cisco already puts the number of Internet connected devices at 35 billion and forecasts trillions in coming years…According to Cisco's Mid-Year Security Report…In just a few years, every door lock, card reader, video camera, vehicle, power meter, and light switch will have an IP address-- at least in the business world…” [ http://www.businessweek.com/idg/2010-08-19/intel-s-mcafee-acquisition-a-mobile-play.html Intel's acquisition of security company McAfee could help the chip maker make a splash in the handheld and embedded markets, in which the company has struggled to establish a presence, according to analysts…"The bottom line is this will better protect Internet users and their devices," said Intel CEO Paul Otellini…some analysts were baffled by the acquisition as there was little connection between the companies, and raised questions on how Intel would implement McAfee's software. Intel is primarily a chip maker and does not sell PCs or mobile phones directly to customers, while McAfee is known for its malware products…other analysts thought the acquisition made sense as security enablement is becoming essential. As more devices connect to the Internet, improvements in hardware and software are necessary both on devices and in the cloud for data protection …” http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-20/intel-s-otellini-after-mcafee-deal-may-find-mobile-security-a-hard-sell.html “…Otellini yesterday announced his company’s largest-ever takeover…that may prove a hard sell for consumers and businesses unconvinced that mobile electronics are vulnerable to the same threats that plague computers…So far, I haven’t heard about massive virus attacks hitting smartphones or iPads.”…there’s little evidence of widespread security threats to smartphones and other mobile devices, said analysts… “Right now nobody is screaming for security in their cars and in their cell phones,” said Gartner’s Peter Firstbrook…”]

42. Cell phone profits: ‘Innovator’s Dilemma’ Case Study? http://www.asymco.com/2010/08/17/androids-pursuit-of-the-biggest-losers/ “…the iPhone has had a huge impact on the industry…three years’ financial performance of seven competitors…covers the iPhone’s participation in the market so it allows for “before-and-after” comparisons…from…operating earnings (EBIT or Earnings before Interest and Taxation)…Motorola and Sony Ericsson have been generating losses for most of this time period. They have both reached profitability in the last quarter, though at very low levels and after having lost a large part of their sales. LG has turned negative this past quarter after being a modest earner for some time…the pure smartphone vendors RIM and Apple…went from about 7% profit share to 65% in three years…Apple in particular is capturing about half of the available profits with three percent of the units…All that in three years…giant multinational incumbents in a vast and rapidly growing industry, enjoying all the advantages that size and incumbency, have had their profits taken from them. And they don’t seem to have put up much of a fight…this is not about incumbents growing the pie. Two thirds of what should have rightly been theirs moved from the incumbent shareholders to the entrant shareholders…This shift of profit occurred over an unprecedentedly short period of time…it’s an order of magnitude faster than what happened historically to other industries…Disruptive innovation leads to asymmetric competition and this is what we just witnessed…Can Android affect this redistribution of profit once again?...Google is making a bet on those same vendors who are now squeezed in the middle of that last pie chart: Samsung, LG, Motorola and Sony Ericsson…That means Android is aligned with the biggest losers in the industry…how likely are these disrupted ex-giants to recover and take Android forward?...It is not a foundation for long-term profitability…the real challenge to Android: partnership with defeated incumbents whose ability to build profitable and differentiated products is hamstrung by the licensing model…Android’s licensees won’t have the profits or the motivation to spend on R&D…the same lack of symmetry with licensed software vendor Microsoft is what led the the failure of the same incumbents to make a dent in the industry with Windows Mobile…”

43. AT&T, Angie's List Take Cues from Groupon http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/aug2010/tc20100817_786167.htm Angie Hicks, co-founder of business review site Angie's List, overheard employees raving in late March about the great deals they got from sites such as Groupon…Days later, Angie's List followed suit. "I said, 'Let's do it. Let's do it now,' " Hicks says. Angie's List began sending daily coupons offering discounts on such services as carpet cleaning to users…Spurred by the success of Groupon, which has amassed a more than $1 billion valuation since it was founded in 2008, phone service provider AT&T (T) is weighing a push into e-mailed daily deals…Within six months, Angie's List expects to e-mail coupons for everything from air-conditioner repair to driveway high-pressure water cleaning to several million people in 200 markets…Besides threatening direct-mail companies, coupon providers may also crimp demand for services provided by phone book publishers…Groupon charges no up-front fees and takes 50 percent of sales it helps generate…Four-month-old Venus Allure Salon & Spa in Portland, Ore., sold 900 gift certificates through Groupon on a single day in late July. "For us, it's 900 potential clients; our books are jam-packed," Jasmine Enciso, manager of the salon, says in an interview. The spa opted for Groupon over radio or online advertising. "People could be clicking on it all day long, and no one would be coming," Enciso says of online ads…”

44. The End of IT Outsourcing (As We Know It) http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/aug2010/tc20100810_440259.htm In the next five years [IT] outsourcing as we know it will disappear. The legion of Indian service providers will be sidelined or absorbed. U.S. and European companies that pioneered this corner of the high tech industry will suffer similar fates if they don't wake up…Google and Amazon.com will become better known for outsourcing. Ludicrous? Not if you follow this industry. Desktop computers yielded to laptops. Web portals AOL, MSN and Yahoo! are giving way to social media sites Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Software once distributed by disk is now available as apps over the Web…Traditionally, outsourcing companies sell customers deals that can span a decade and easily run to tens of millions of dollars…Accenture is a good example of the old model of outsourcing, which involves long-term contracts; customized software, legacy software, or both; and on-site systems integration work…Why is this happening now?...the relentless pressure to cut costs…outsourcing vendors have maxed-out efficiencies, both from automation and from moving the work to lower cost-of-labor destinations…To get to the next level of savings, a ruthless search for greater economies of scale is necessary…The Losers: Mid-tier Indian outsourcers will be acquired by larger, more aggressive companies…Leading Indian players like MphasiS (MPHL:IN) and eServe (ESV:AU) have already fallen prey to Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and TCS, respectively. Some larger players such as Infosys (INFY) and Wipro (WIT) are at risk of losing their competitive advantage…The Winners: Amazon and Google are the future leaders in outsourcing. They are already providing services to such enterprises as Eli Lilly and Pfizer. They own data centers on an enormous scale and know how to operate them efficiently. They will gain capabilities they don't yet have—such as industry-specific know-how and low-cost workforces—by acquiring Indian or other global outsourcers…The Possible Winners: Software giants such as Microsoft, Oracle (ORCL), and SAP (SAP) have knowledge around enterprise platforms and applications that can unlock further efficiencies for clients…Those on the Fence: Xerox, HP, and Accenture have the technical and financial resources to expand their capabilities…Unless companies such as HP, Xerox, and Dell continue to increase their momentum into the cloud, they may find their multibillion-dollar acquisitions go to waste…”

45. Yahoo Eyes CafeMom for $100 Million Acquisition http://kara.allthingsd.com/20100817/exclusive-yahoo-eyes-cafemom-for-100-million-acquisition/ “…Yahoo is eager to close a deal to acquire CafeMom, a social-networking and community site aimed at mothers, in a move aimed at turbocharging its often-meandering strategy in the important women’s space. The price being offered, said sources, is hovering at $100 million…The deal might not happen, of course…CafeMom, sources said, has wanted to hold out for a higher price of closer to $200 million or more. Other interested buyers include Disney…CafeMom has been knocking around for a long time in Internet terms, morphing from a sister company owned by CMI Marketing called ClubMom back in the Web 1.0 days…In the women’s space, Yahoo has its Shine site, which is very pretty but in desperate need of a social boost that CafeMom can presumably provide. Yahoo’s head of M&A…reportedly took a strong look at Sugar, an innovative San Francisco women’s site. But the start-up declined to sell. The women’s market is a big one for advertisers, with many competitors–from iVillage to AOL…”

46. AngelPad: Seven Ex-Googlers Launch A New Incubator http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/22/angelpad/ The problem is obvious: it’s hard to launch a startup. But one potential solution, great mentorship and support, isn’t so easy to come by. With their own startup of sorts, seven ex-Googlers are going to attempt to solve that…AngelPad is a mentorship program founded by a team of ex-Googlers to help web-technology startups build better products, attract additional funding and ultimately grow more successful businesses…While at first, it undoubtedly won’t be as structured as something like Y Combinator or TechStars, given the pedigree of the people involved, AngelPad could be a hit among young startups in the Valley…”

Civilian Aerospace

47. Armadillo Aerospace Aug 2010 update http://www.armadilloaerospace.com/n.x/Armadillo/Home/News?news_id=371 Armadillo is now seven full time employees. Most of the core group is now full-time, with Neil Milburn as the most recent addition, finishing his last year of teaching high school in June…I, Ben Brockert, joined the company in late June, having previously worked on VTVL rockets at Masten Space Systems. John Carmack and Matt Ross both continue their work at id Software, and contribute to AA in their copious free time. Mike Vinther is a pilot and a skydiver who has been working with the Rocket Racing League…Space Adventures is working with Armadillo Aerospace to begin developing a new suborbital vehicle…We put a new landing gear concept on that mod, and have been testing it in the shop. It is a series of concentric tubes, making the legs pneumatic pistons…This mod will be on display at QuakeCon this week…We just put together another electronics box…It is shared between the mods, Pixel, and the horizontal test stand…we're looking at switching from brushed DC actuators to brushless motors; the driver electronics are more complex, but the motors themselves have much better power to weight and are more compatible with operation in vacuum…James completed the welding of our first 48" 5059 spherical tank, which has been sent off for burst testing…This 48" tank project is part of our work with Nasa. We had a very fruitful visit from expert industrial technologist Daniel Rybicki, who is a contractor for Nasa. He has a number of patents and papers to his name, and contributed a lot of interesting concepts on how we could continue to improve our tank manufacturing practices. It's been great to have access to people with practical knowledge on the problems we're working on…”

48. Danish rocket ready http://www.bt.dk/danmark/dansk-rumraket-klar [translated by Google Chrome] Two enthusiasts…is now close to making their punk dream of a high-flying reality. In a few weeks they will pop a home built rocket into space…Kristian von Bengtson and Peter Madsen…would build a personal manned space rocket and thus make Denmark the only the fourth nation to send a human into space. The plan is now approaching reality…the first test firing occur east of Nexø. Bornholm. The rocket will not have people in this game, because as Peter Madsen explains, is the risk that it goes wrong big…Kristian von Bengtson believes that the manned opsending may be far off…somewhere between three and ten years will probably be realistic…They are the driving forces behind Copenhagen suborbital, a non-profit and opensource space agency, based solely on sponsors and dedicated volunteers…The project is funded through grants from more than one thousand individuals and some businesses. We have not sought money from the state, as experience from my time at NASA shows me that aid may quickly disappear and stop a project, "says Kristian von Bengtson…The project has shown that space is not necessarily cost millions…”

49. OpenLuna - An Open Source Project Aimed at Returning Humankind Back to the Moon http://www.techdrivein.com/2010/08/openluna-open-source-project-aimed-at.html The idea called Open Source is fast spreading into non-computer sectors as well…The OpenLuna Foundation was founded to return mankind to the moon through private enterprise…first through robotic missions which will be followed by manned exploration mission and finally…the deployment of a permanent outpost in the moon…One of our specific goals of the OpenLuna project is to reach out to the community and educational systems to spread interest, enthusiasm, and involvement…All aspects of the mission plan and hardware will be open source…Mission hardware will be light and geared toward continuity from one mission to future missions…Access to all scientific data and acceptance of outside research proposals will be encouraged…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

50. A GPU on Every Chip http://www.hpcwire.com/blogs/A-GPU-on-Every-Chip-101104834.html “…GPGPU is a technology that will continue to shake up the way computing is done for years to come…The most noticeable effect from GPU computing will be the way it redefines what we think of as a general-purpose processor. Historically, specialized processors get swallowed by the CPU when their functions are no longer thought of as specialized…We're already seeing CPU-GPU designs coming from the two big x86 chip vendors. AMD is blazing the trail with their Fusion APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) processors, the first of which are slated to show up in early 2011…where does this leave CPU-less NVIDIA? Right now, the company sits atop the GPGPU computing market, but has no public plans to integrate its high-end GPUs with a CPU…NVIDIA actually does have a CPU-GPU platform in its current Tegra line of processors for mobile devices. The CPU in this case is the ARM processor, a compact little chip that is quite popular for low-power platforms like cell phones. It's not too far a stretch to think NVIDIA may be designing a chip that marries its CUDA-class GPUs with ARM CPUs…”

51. AMD turns up the heat on Nvidia's GPGPUs http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/feature/1727688/amd-heat-nvidias-gpgpus “…Nvidia…focus on producing general purpose graphics processing units (GPGPUs) has lowered the cost barrier to HPC, allowing small companies, researchers and even hobbyists access to serious computing power. So it seemed Nvidia dropped a bit of a clanger when it revealed that the number of cores on its Tesla board would decrease and the thermal design power (TDP) would be higher than first reported…The reason for Nvidia's dominance of the GPGPU accelerator market wasn't by chance or even due to the firm's own actions. The truth is, AMD simply didn't take using GPUs for HPC seriously…Speaking to Nvidia, it's blatantly obvious that the firm needs Intel more than Intel needs the GPU designer. According to Nvidia's Tesla product line manager Sumit Gupta, all the firm wants to do is "get people to use the GPU"…The…immediate problem is that at long last AMD is taking GPGPU computing seriously…As for reasons why Tesla boards have such a perceived high power draw, one aspect could be the deployment of ECC memory. Gupta is adamant that ECC is "vital for acceptance in HPC" while AMD's director of stream computing Patricia Harrell says it's something AMD simply hasn't needed…Gupta referred to AMD as a company that has made "zero investment in GPGPUs". The reason for this was simple, said Gupta. "GPGPUs are at the lowest priority" because AMD is "compelled to sell CPUs". Gupta continued his attack on AMD by saying that the firm is "completely torn internally" between selling its old cash cow, the x86 CPU, and the future of HPC, GPGPUs…AMD's Harrell flatly denied this claim of internal strife…Harrell echoed Gupta's view that GPGPUs are "critical for success" in HPC…”


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