2010/09/07

NEW NET Issues List for 07 Sep 2010

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 07 September 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. Sal Kahn: Bill Gates' favorite teacher http://money.cnn.com/2010/08/23/technology/sal_khan_academy.fortune/index.htm “…Bill Gates…is a voracious consumer of online education…a colleague at his small think tank, bgC3, e-mailed him about the nonprofit khanacademy.org…Gates replied within minutes. "This guy is amazing," he wrote. "It is awesome how much he has done with very little in the way of resources." Gates and his 11-year-old son, Rory, began soaking up videos, from algebra to biology…at the Aspen Ideas Festival in front of 2,000 people, Gates gave the 33-year-old Khan a shout-out…Gates touted the "unbelievable" 10- to 15-minute Khan Academy tutorials "I've been using with my kids."…Khan wasn't even there -- he learned of Gates' praise through a YouTube video. "It was really cool," Khan says…in a converted walk-in closet filled with a few hundred dollars' worth of video equipment and bookshelves and his toddler's red Elmo underfoot…Salman Khan produces online lessons on math, science, and a range of other subjects that have made him a web sensation….In any given month, Khan says, he's reached about 200,000 students. "There's no reason it shouldn't be 20 million."…There are the core subjects in math -- arithmetic, geometry, algebra, trigonometry, calculus, and statistics…But Khan also gives lessons in Economics of a Cupcake Factory, the Napoleonic Wars, and the Alien Abduction Brain Teaser…With his MBA from Harvard, he has three degrees from MIT: a BS in math and a BS and a master's in electrical engineering and computer science. He also was the president of his MIT class and did volunteer teaching in nearby Brookline for talented children, as well as developed software to teach children with ADHD…His gift, like that of many teachers, is being able to reduce the complex…In the summer of 2004…Khan learned that his seventh-grader cousin, Nadia…was having trouble in math class converting kilograms. He agreed to remotely tutor her. Using Yahoo Doodle software as a shared notepad, as well as a telephone, Nadia thrived…Word spread to other relatives and friends. Khan wrote JavaScript problem generators to keep up a supply of practice exercises…"I started to record videos on YouTube for them to watch at their own pace…and the blueprint for Khan Academy was created. On a typical day he tapes a few tutorials, answers posts from students, calls experts when he's stuck on how best to explicate a concept…He maintains he has no interest in monetizing the operation by charging subscriptions or selling ads. "I already have a beautiful wife, a hilarious son, two Hondas, and a decent house,"…Not long ago a PayPal donation on Khan's site came in for $10,000 (a typical gift is $100). Khan e-mailed the donor. Her name was Ann Doerr…He e-mailed her to say thanks. She suggested lunch. When they met, Ann Doerr told him she couldn't believe hers was the largest donation. "This is, like, criminal," she said. "I love what you're doing." When he got home, he found a message from her: "There's $100,000 in the mail."…Later, he met John Doerr and has since relied on both Doerrs for entrée to others in the philanthropic establishment. After Gates mentioned Khan in Aspen, John tweeted it to his Silicon Valley legions. In July the academy received another $100,000 -- from John McCall MacBain, a Canadian entrepreneur who made a fortune in publishing…”

2. Skype hits another milestone: adds 10-person video calls for Windows http://social.venturebeat.com/2010/09/02/skype-hits-another-milestone-adds-10-person-video-calls-for-windows/ Skype just released the latest beta version of its Skype 5 Windows client – which…adds…the ability to video chat with up to 10 people…At the beginning of the year, video chats were limited to two people — the same as when the service launched in 2003. In May, it released a Windows beta client that supported five-person video chat, which I argued would help make group video chat the next killer webcam feature. Competing video chat services like Yahoo Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, and Google’s Gmail video chat only allow for two-person conferences…”

3. Adioso, Flight Search For People Keeping Their Options Open http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/31/adioso/ “…Adioso today launches its third iteration as an online destination for adventurous travelers who want to take vacations but are not constrained by specific days or even places…Examples of the natural language-enabled broad or open-ended searches…San Francisco to Europe late September under $800…San Francisco to anywhere…There are really no other services that let you know where you should go, and what days are the cheap days. You go to a website and you’d spend two hours trying to find the cheap deals…Before Adioso, the only solution to the “What are the good days at this location?” kind of query was to manually do separate searches on different sites until you stumbled across what you were looking for…that service will create opportunities both for casual travelers (the most rapidly growing segment of the travel industry) as well for airlines who are looking for ways to best monetize left over seats…”

4. Why Ping Is the Future of Social Commerce http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/sep2010/tc2010092_114158.htm Apple announced on Wednesday, Sept.1, a cornucopia of new hardware and software…the most impressive to me by far was Ping, the music-only social network that Apple is opening up to its 160 million existing iTunes users…Ping…could have a tremendous impact on social sharing and commerce…there are three different types of media we love to talk about: • movies we see • music we listen to • books we are reading…Amazon…encourages bloggers and others to link to things they like and then get a piece of the action. This separates social from commerce and treats them as two discrete activities. On the post-Facebook Internet, I don't think anyone can afford to keep these two actions distinct…The problem is that there's too much data coming online too quickly, and the traditional method of search that involves first finding and then consuming the information is not going to work for much longer…With 12 million songs and 250,000 apps, the best way for Apple to enhance the iTunes Store—aka its shopping experience—is through the use of social…” http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/pda/2010/sep/03/apple-ping-spam Apple chief Steve Jobs's trumpeting of the 160 million credit card holders on iTunes was a siren call to spammers. As if they needed any invitation. The most common incidence of scamming on Apple's latest social venture, Ping, is the offering of free iPhones from a dodgy URL…"[Ping] implements no spam or URL filtering," says internet security firm Sophos, adding that the service is "drowning in scams and spams"…”

5. Twitter Will Actually Help Information Overload http://gigaom.com/2010/09/02/ev-williams-twitter-will-actually-help-information-overload/ “…Evan Williams…an unusually theoretical CEO…contended that the medium of Twitter is (gasp!) actually well-suited to handle information overload…The problem with email is that it’s sender-driven, and sender-driven media doesn’t scale…the recipient hates email for being spammy…the sender may be dissatisfied because she’s not reaching the right audience…she may not even have email addresses. Blogging (Williams was previously the founder of Blogger) and Tweeting can be different (and better) than email, he said, because people who have something to say can find their audience…So recipient-based media can scale better “in a world of infinite information…“Google is very good at ‘I need to solve a problem, I need to buy something, I need an answer,” he said. “Twitter is more ‘I’m interested in many things, I don’t know what I need to know.’”…Williams also said to expect forthcoming products that would help filter relevant tweets around events, similar to what Twitter is doing with location…”

6. SpeakerText Automates And Crowdsources Video Transcripts http://techcrunch.com/2010/09/07/speakertext-crowdsources-micro-tasks-to-automate-video-transcripts-100-beta-invites/ “…One way to make video more SEO-friendly is to add transcriptions, but that can get expensive…SpeakerText is (re)launching today with a very clever way to automate the transcription process and attach the full transcript as part of the video player in a drop down window…Not only is all the text visible to search engines, and thus should help drive more search traffic to individual videos, but the text is all time-stamped…you can click on any sentence and it will jump to that point in the video. Anytime somebody cuts and pastes a portion of the transcript in a blog or other site, a link back to that point in the video is also included…SpeakerText works with video players from YouTube, Brightcove, and Blip.tv, and there is also a WordPress plug-in…Video publishers submit videos they want transcribed. Using open source speech-to-text software…the videos get a rough first pass…These then get broken up into 5 to 8-second chunks, which are distributed to to human transcribers via Mechanical Turk…humans correct the text and punctuation in a digital assembly line…Different workers get ranked based on their work history…transcribed video chunks are then pulled back together and reassembled into the complete video, with speech recognition software aligning the text to the video and adding time stamps. Natural language processing software is then used to determine where sentences begin and end, and to create meta tags for more SEO goodness…”

7. A virtual counter-revolution http://www.economist.com/node/16941635 “…The internet was a wide-open space, a new frontier. For the first time, anyone could communicate electronically with anyone else—globally and essentially free of charge. Anyone was able to create a website or an online shop, which could be reached from anywhere in the world…without asking anyone else for permission. The control of information, opinion and commerce by governments—or big companies, for that matter—indeed appeared to be a thing of the past…Fifteen years after its first manifestation as a global, unifying network, it has entered its second phase: it appears to be balkanising, torn apart by three separate, but related forces. First, governments are increasingly reasserting their sovereignty. Recently several countries have demanded that their law-enforcement agencies have access to e-mails sent from BlackBerry smart-phones…Second, big IT companies are building their own digital territories, where they set the rules and control or limit connections to other parts of the internet. Third, network owners would like to treat different types of traffic differently, in effect creating faster and slower lanes on the internet. It is still too early to say that the internet has fragmented into “internets”, but there is a danger that it may splinter along geographical and commercial boundaries…Just as it was not preordained that the internet would become one global network where the same rules applied to everyone, everywhere, it is not certain that it will stay that way…Before the internet and the world wide web came along, this balkanised model was also the norm online. For a long time, for instance, AOL and CompuServe would not even exchange e-mails. Economists point to “network effects” to explain why the internet managed to supplant these proprietary services. Everybody had strong incentives to join…The more the internet grew, the greater the benefits became…The internet was able to develop quietly and organically for years before it became widely known,” writes Jonathan Zittrain, a professor at Harvard University, in his 2008 book, “The Future of the Internet—And How To Stop It”. In other words, had telecoms firms, for instance, suspected how big it would become, they might have tried earlier to change its rules…the internet is an open platform, rather than one built for a specific service, like the telephone network. Mr Zittrain calls it “generative”: people can tinker with it, creating new services and elbowing existing ones aside. Any young company can build a device or develop an application that connects to the internet, provided it follows certain, mostly technical conventions. In a more closed and controlled environment, an Amazon, a Facebook or a Google would probably never have blossomed as it did…”

8. Backupify Backs Up Data In The Cloud http://techcrunch.com/2010/09/07/backupify-raises-4-5-million-to-back-up-data-in-the-cloud/ “…Backupify, a cloud computing service that backs up data on other cloud computing services…backs up all your data on services like Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, Flickr, WordPress, Blogger, and YouTube. The service keeps all the raw data for you and creates a downloadable PDF with, for instance, all your Tweets, direct messages, followers, people you follow, and profile info. Backupify offers free and premium versions of the service…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

9. California students get tracking devices http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_15815706 “…officials are outfitting preschoolers in Contra Costa County with tracking devices they say will save staff time and money…When at the school, students will wear a jersey that has a small radio frequency tag. The tag will send signals to sensors that help track children's whereabouts, attendance and even whether they've eaten or not…the system could save thousands of hours of staff time and pay for itself within a year. It cost $50,000 and was paid by a federal grant…” [http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/08/reading-writing-and-rfid-chips-scary-back-school “…If RFID records show a child moving around a lot, could she be tagged as hyper-active? If he doesn't move around a lot, could he get a reputation for laziness? How long will this data and the conclusions rightly or wrongly drawn from it be stored in these children's school records? Can parents opt-out of this invasive tracking? How many other federal grants are underwriting programs like these?…”]

10. New malware detects browser, shows fake malware warning page http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2010/09/new-malware-detects-browser-shows-fake-malware-warning-page.ars Microsoft is warning about a new piece of malware, Rogue:MSIL/Zeven, that auto-detects a user's browser and then imitates the relevant malware warning pages from Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome. The fake warning pages are very similar to the real thing; you have to look closely to realize they aren't the real thing…the actual malware looks like the real deal: it allows you to scan files, tells you when you're behind on your updates, and enables you to change your security and privacy settings. Performing a scan results in the product finding malicious files, but of course it cannot delete them unless you update, which requires paying for the full version. Attempting to buy the product will open an HTML window that provides a useless "Safe Browsing Mode" with high-strength encryption. To top it all off, the rogue antivirus webpage looks awfully similar to the Microsoft Security Essentials webpage; even the awards received by MSE and a link to the Microsoft Malware Protection Center have been copied…The goal is to get the user to download and install something, shelling out some cash in the process…It's also not hard to check that the supposedly detected files do not actually exist on the user's computer. All of these missteps should raise red flags immediately; having said that, we've still not before seen this level of detail and effort from the bad guys…”

11. A Strong Password Isn’t the Strongest Security http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/05/business/05digi.html MAKE your password strong, with a unique jumble of letters, numbers and punctuation marks. But memorize it — never write it down. And, oh yes, change it every few months. These instructions are supposed to protect us. But they don’t…Keylogging software…records all keystrokes — including the strongest passwords you can concoct — and then sends it surreptitiously to a remote location. “Keeping a keylogger off your machine is about a trillion times more important than the strength of any one of your passwords,” says…a principal researcher at Microsoft Research who specializes in security-related topics…sites that allowed relatively weak passwords were busy commercial destinations, including PayPal, Amazon.com and Fidelity Investments. The sites that insisted on very complex passwords were mostly government and university sites. What accounts for the difference? They suggest that “when the voices that advocate for usability are absent or weak, security measures become needlessly restrictive.” Donald A. Norman…makes a similar case. In “When Security Gets in the Way,”…he noted the password rules of Northwestern University, where he then taught. It was a daunting list of 15 requirements…unreasonable rules can end up rendering a system less secure…Northwestern has reduced its password requirements to eight, but they still constitute a challenging maze. For example, the password can’t have more than four sequential characters from the previous seven passwords, and a new password is required every 120 days…Amazon has only one requirement: that the password be at least six characters. That’s it. And hold on to it as long as you like…commercial sites can block “brute-force attacks” by locking an account after a given number of failed log-in attempts. “If an account is locked for 24 hours after three unsuccessful attempts,” they write, “a six-digit PIN can withstand 100 years of sustained attack.”…the university is unfortunately vulnerable to brute-force attacks in that it doesn’t lock out accounts after failed log-ins. The reason…is that anyone could use a lockout policy to try logging in to a victim’s account, “knowing that you won’t succeed, but also knowing that the victim won’t be able to use the account, either…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

12. Your Own Hot Spot, and Cheap http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Your-Own-Hot-Spot-and-nytimes-362333608.html “…If you want ubiquitous Internet today, though, you have several choices. They’re all compromised and all expensive…The MiFi released by Virgin Mobile this week ($150) is almost exactly the same thing as the one offered by Verizon and, until recently, Sprint — but there’s a twist that makes it revolutionary…The Virgin MiFi, like its rivals, is still an amazing gizmo to have on long car rides for the family, on woodsy corporate offsite meetings, at disaster sites, at trade show booths or anywhere you can’t get Wi-Fi…three things about the Virgin MiFi are very, very different. First, Virgin’s plan is unlimited…unlimited-data plans are fast disappearing — but here’s Virgin, offering up an unlimited Internet plan as if it never got the memo…Second, Virgin requires no contract…it’s totally O.K. with Virgin if you…activate it only for…two summer months…Third, the service price for this no-commitment, unlimited, portable hot spot is…$40 a month…You’re getting exactly the same 3G speed you’d get on rival cellular modems and MiFi’s. That is, about as fast as a DSL modem…the Virgin plan doesn’t include roaming off Sprint’s network…that you might be out of luck in smaller towns…the Virgin MiFi can’t plug directly into your computer’s U.S.B. port to act as a wired cellular modem, like other carriers’ MiFi units. You can connect to it only wirelessly…”

13. Samsung and LG Both Go Dual-Core http://www.everythingandroid.org/samsung-and-lg-both-go-dual-core/2010/09/07/ Two major phone manufacturers have just announced their plan to produce dual-core devices for the mobile market. Samsung is bringing out the Orion, a 1GHz ARM® CORTEXTM A9-based dual-core application processor…LG has teamed up with NVIDIA for the Tegra 2 processer, a 1GHz chip…I guess this means that dual-core is going to be the next big thing in smartphones, along with dedicated GPUs…” [http://mobile.venturebeat.com/2010/09/07/samsungs-new-orion-processor-brings-dual-core-power-to-phones/ “…Intel is looking to finally get a piece of the smartphone pie with its new dual-core Atom processors, and Qualcomm is also working on a dual-core version of its popular Snapdragon mobile processor…”]

14. Share files from your mobile with a flick of a finger http://crave.cnet.co.uk/mobiles/lg-optimus-7-packs-windows-phone-7-dlna-support-and-nvidia-tegra-2-chip-50000654/ “…the LG Optimus 7, a Windows Phone 7 handset that will…put the first smart phones with WinPhoSev -- and a fancy new Nvidia Tegra 2 chip -- into customer's hands…the Optimus 7…will let you transfer media wirelessly via DLNA connectivity…a standard developed by the Digital Living Network Alliance…The Optimus 7 features software that lets you flick a finger to transfer a 720p, high-definition video, a photo or a music file to other devices within a Wi-Fi network…the Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core mobile chip…packs two 1GHz processors for seamless 1080p video playback and improved graphics. The chip will debut in Optimus phones before the end of 2010…”

Open Source

15. Linux for your kids http://hubpages.com/hub/Linux-for-your-kids “…I'll present not one but five choice between Linux distributions dedicated to childrens, each of these has been designed specifically for use by children alone…Edubuntu…LinuxKidX…Sugar…Foresight Kids…Qimo for Kids…”

16. Open Hardware Summit http://www.eyebeam.org/this-week/10-08-02/open-hardware-summit-and-call-for-proposals “…On September 23rd, Alicia Gibbs (buglabs) and myself are chairing a summit as part of MakerFaire: the Open Hardware Summit. We will be discussing the [open source hdwe] definition, and hope to put version 1.0 out to the world! We now have a call out for submissions for speakers…Please join us, sponsor us, support us, or just follow us…”

17. 8 of the Best Free Linux Personal Information Managers http://www.linuxlinks.com/article/20100829110810697/PIM.html A personal information manager (often known as a PIM tool) is a type of collaborative software that can help you manage your life by offering personal organising functionality. This type of software enables you to more efficiently manage and plan your business and personal life by keeping track of contact information, appointments, tasks…to-do lists…we have compiled a list of 8 of our favourite PIM tools…For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, screenshots, together with links to relevant resources and reviews…”

SkyNet

18. Chrome celebrates second b-day with sixth release http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2010/09/chrome-reaches-second-birthday-version-6-goes-stable.ars “…Chrome has over 80 million users, a 7.52 percent global market share (21.87 at Ars, making it the second most popular browser here behind Firefox)…the browser is an important part of Google's platform strategy and long-term aspirations for the future of the Web. To mark Chrome's second anniversary, Google has announced the official release of Chrome 6…The new version brings significant JavaScript performance improvements, some user interface enhancements, built-in synchronization capabilities, and an autofill feature that can automatically populate form data…Starting with version 6, they intend to push out new stable release every six weeks, a faster pace than most other browser vendors…Google cites hardware accelerated rendering, which will arrive soon in the Chrome developer channel, as one of the key areas where they are working on performance…Google also has a compelling vision for enhanced synchronization…The eventual goal is to create a "stateless" browsing experience where the user can log into any Chrome instance and have instant access to all of their settings, bookmarks, history, and add-ons…”

19. Google Blogger Real Time Traffic Stats Better Than Clicky.com, Worldlogger http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/abraham/detail?entry_id=71691 Blogger.com, owned by Google, has added something this blogger has wanted to see for a long time: a "real time" traffic statistics system. It's a real improvement for Blogger.com, and can go a long way toward revolutionizing blogging…Real time traffic estimation, or "real time web analytics," is where a software program updates estimates of such common web traffic measures as unique visitors and pageviews. A good system can do this within four to six minutes of the installation of a blog post…Clicky.com…became a tool for another effort: real time blogging. Real Time Blogging, or "Trend Blogging" is developing a blog post in response to what the top searches are on a service like Bing X-Rank or Google Trends. Using real time traffic reporting allows you to see how your blog traffic responds to your posts ability to "hit" the keywords people are using to find out about a subject in a search…I happened on Worldlogger.com after just searching around and evaluating different services. For all of it's poor customer service, Clicky.com's dashboard was terrific. So that became my model for the next service to use. I did investigate Chartbeat.com but I did not like their dashboard layout…What Worldlogger.com did have and has is a team of people who really want to help you. They are the direct opposite of Clicky.com from a customer service perspective. But the design wasn't what I wanted; Worldlogger took my input and those of others to make a terrific interface…”

20. Google TV to launch this year http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/sep/07/google-tv-internet-apple Google will launch its Google TV service…in the US this autumn and around the world next year, its chief executive, Eric Schmidt, said today…Schmidt said the Google TV service, which would allow full internet browsing via the television, would be free…Google TV will consist of software written by Google embedded into hardware made by other companies: in the US, Schmidt said, it will launch on three products – an HDTV set and a Blu-ray player from Sony, and a set-top box from Logitech. Google will also run a marketplace for small apps to run on Google TV. The content will use Adobe's Flash Player, used on video sites such as YouTube and Vimeo. Demonstrations of the TV at the show suggested that it will look like a simplified computer interface, with widgets offering information about the weather, time and calendar, but also with links to web browsers, Facebook, email and YouTube…”

21. Google Sync http://234next.com/csp/cms/sites/Next/Money/Business/5615622-147/google_sync____.csp “…What saddened my colleague the most was not the loss of the physical handset, but the data, such as important phone numbers and email addresses…with the advent of the smartphone, there are services that can prevent this akwardness from happening. Millions of people use Gmail and a variety of other Google services such as Calendar and Contacts. If you're one of them, you would no doubt want to have a way to wirelessly sync your phone to your computer, and vice-versa. Google granted that wish over a year ago in the form of Google Sync. If you have a smartphone such as a BlackBerry, an iPhone, Nokia, or anything running either Android, Symbian or Windows Mobile, you can sync your Google Contacts, Calendar, and even Documents with your mobile phone of choice, wirelessly, and for free…The only caution that keeps coming up, however, is that Google may have access to your data. Google themselves deny this though, and assure us that our data on their servers are completely encrypted…I really could care less. I had backed up all of my contacts to my gmail account, and when my Android phone suddenly stopped working a few weeks ago and I replaced it with a Blackberry, the prospect of manually typing out 1354 contacts did not look good at all. After a quick install of Google Sync, and synchronisation with the cloud, it was like I never missed out on one contact…Apple offers a service called Mobile Me…Microsoft also has an online service called My Phone…Google's software has one undoubted advantage: it's available to everyone for free across ALL platforms, while Microsoft's My Phone, although having a free version, is available only to Windows Mobile users, and Apple's Mobile Me is subscription only…”

General Technology

22. Attention cheese-heads: Wisconsin e-cycling in effect http://www.zdnet.com/blog/green/attention-cheese-heads-wisconsin-e-cycling-policy-now-in-effect/13881 “…Wisconsin…established an official policy banning the disposal of electronics devices — from mobile phones to televisions to computer monitors to central processing units — in landfills. The policy, described under the E-Cycle Wisconsin program, went into effect on Sept. 1, 2010. Wisconsin is a producer responsibility advocate, which means that it is looking to manufacturers to take primary responsibility for providing the means of keeping technology out of state landfills and incinerators…the law covers consumers, manufacturers, schools, recycling collectors, retailers, and local governments…”

23. Memristor revolution backed by HP http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11165087 Electronics giant HP has joined the world's second-largest memory chip maker Hynix to manufacture a novel member of the electronics family. The deal will see "memristors" - first demonstrated by HP in 2006 - mass produced for the first time…They are considered to be the "missing link" in electronics, a fourth element to supplement the more familiar resistor, capacitor and inductor that together form the basis of every electronic device yet made…it is a resistor with memory: applying an electric voltage can change how much the device blocks electric current - and memristors can "remember" that level - even when the power is turned off. That makes it a candidate for memory that requires little energy to store information - like the current standard for non-volatile memory, Flash. "Memristor memory chips promise to run at least 10 times faster and use 10 times less power than an equivalent Flash memory chip," said Stan Williams…Memristors can also in principle be used in logic circuits, replacing the actions of the billions of transistors that make up a modern microprocessor…The joint effort between HP and Hynix will aim to develop memristor memory chips known as resistive random access memory (ReRAM), with an aim to have the first products ready by 2013…”

24. Netgear offers 500Mbps powerline networking http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2010/09/netgear-offers-500mbps-powerline-networking-via-next-gen-standard.ars “…Netgear announced its line of Powerline AV 500 adapters that incorporate the HomePlug-compatible flavor of the standard. The new devices theoretically promise up to gigabit Ethernet speeds over home electrical wiring…While hardcore geeks won't settle for anything less than running Cat 6 cable all throughout the house, powerline adapters have the benefit of being able to utilize existing electrical wiring to move data from point to point, and could be convenient for homes or apartments where running new cable would be impractical, prohibitively expensive…While the IEEE P1901 standard promises speeds up to 1Gbps, no powerline adapters come close to the top theoretical speeds…Still, it can provide greater and more consistent bandwidth for applications like networked AV equipment or gaming consoles compared to increasingly crowded home WiFi networks…The new Powerline adapters are up to 2.5 times faster than competing products and provide a useful supplement to WiFi networks…Powerline AV 500 line starts at $159 for a kit, and will begin shipping this fall…”

25. Laser-powered helicopter hovers for hours http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19389-laserpowered-helicopter-hovers-for-hours.html “…LaserMotive, based in Seattle, Washington, has kept a 22-gram model helicopter hovering for hours at a time on a few watts of laser power. LaserMotive won $900,000 from NASA last year by beaming power to a robot that climbed a 900-metre cable dangling from a full-scale helicopter…with space elevators still at the concept stage, LaserMotive is keen to find other ways to turn a profit from its technology…LaserMotive…focused light from an array of semiconductor-diode near-infrared lasers down to a 7-centimetre beam, which automatically tracked a modified radio-controlled helicopter. The aircraft carried photovoltaic cells optimised for the laser wavelength, which converted about half the laser power reaching them to generate a few watts of electricity…"That little helicopter sounds like a nice demonstration," says Robert Van Burdine…who demonstrated laser-powered flight of a fixed-wing craft in 2003. His group manually aimed the laser, but the 300-gram radio-controlled plane with 1.5-metre wingspan had enough momentum to glide if the beam drifted off target…Although many people expressed interest at the time, he knows of no follow-up work…”

26. Toshiba warns of fiery laptops http://news.cnet.com/8301-31021_3-20015470-260.html “…Consumer Product Safety Commission on Thursday issued a recall of 41,000 Toshiba laptops…The CPSC said 129 instances of "overheating and deforming the plastic casing area around the AC adapter plug" had been reported. Two of those reports resulted in "minor burn injuries that did not require medical attention" and two in minor property damage…the problem stems from a "faulty DC-In harness," which can lead to the computer melting where the AC adapter plugs in…The solution is a BIOS update, which…is available on Toshiba's Web site…”

27. With iPod Refresh, Apple is Fixing Mistakes http://www.pcworld.com/article/204770/with_ipod_refresh_apple_is_fixing_mistakes.html “…Looking back at Apple's press event yesterday, it seemed like each new iPod was intended, at least in part, to right the wrongs of 2009…iPod Shuffle…Steve Jobs said people…"clearly missed the buttons" of the second-generation Shuffle. By moving buttons onto the earbuds, Apple prevented people from using their own sets without pricey adapters…the new Shuffle combines "the best of both worlds," which is a nice way of saying Apple messed up…iPod Nano…He avoided mentioning the third-generation Nano's addition of video playback, or the fifth-generation's video camera…probably because the new Nano has neither…a response to the iPod Touch's increasing popularity…iPod Touch…at $229, the 8 GB version is $30 more expensive than last year's model -- and now the iPod Touch has front- and rear-facing cameras…Apple TV…Jobs said the…people who own Apple TVs love them. Now, the strategy for Apple TV revolves around affordability. The device is now $99 instead of $229, without the big hard drive of the previous generation, with an emphasis on renting $4.99 first-run HD movies and 99-cent Fox and ABC TV shows…”

28. Nvidia’s new graphics chips will give you laptops with long battery life and 3D http://venturebeat.com/2010/09/02/nvidias-new-graphics-chips-will-give-you-laptops-with-long-battery-life-and-3d/ “…The new Nvidia GeForce 400M series of graphics chips will be used in a number of new notebook computers…with Nvidia’s Optimus technology, which is also known as “switchable graphics.”…They have low-end graphics integrated into the chip set on a motherboard. They also have a discrete graphics chip that is more capable. Optimus enables a laptop to switch back and forth between the lesser graphics and the more powerful graphics…The switching happens seamlessly in the background…Nvidia is releasing seven new notebook graphics chips today. The GeForce GTX 470M and GTX 460M are for enthusiasts, while the rest are targeted at users who can get by with less performance…The chips are all based on Nvidia’s Fermi architecture…The chips will compete against integrated graphics chip sets from Intel. Nvidia says its chips are three times faster than Intel’s chips at doing tasks such as editing and sharing high-definition video. They are five times faster at retouching photos and 50 percent faster at browsing web photos. Games such as Starcraft II are unplayable on the Intel graphics, while they run fine on Nvidia Optimus-based notebooks. New 3D Vision laptops coming this fall are the Asus G53Jw, with a GeForce GTX 460M graphics chip, and the Acer Aspire 5745DG with a GeForce GTX 425M chip. Some 425 games now support stereoscopic 3D on a PC…”

29. 8 must-see TED talks for IT pros http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9181220/8_must_see_TED_talks_for_IT_pros “…TED Talks videos show some of the most intriguing presentations from the many TED events -- the main TED conference held every spring in Long Beach, Calif., the TEDGlobal conference in Oxford, England, in July and an ongoing series of local gatherings around the world…there are now more than 700 online. If you're pressed for time, here are eight amazing talks that every IT pro should watch for their insight into the future of computing…John Underkoffler on gesture-based computing…Gary Flake on extreme data visualization…Jane McGonigal on how gamers can save the world…Stephen Wolfram on creating a computational theory of the universe…Pranav Mistry on a gesture-based interface that goes everywhere…Eric Topol on wireless tech in medicine…Tim Berners-Lee on making the world's data open source…Ray Kurzweil on machines that think and grow…”

DHMN Technology

30. The first step is to start http://37signals.com/svn/posts/2538-the-first-step-is-to-start “…you don’t need learn anything new in order to begin. The most important thing is simply to start…If you want to learn web design, make a website. Want to be an entreprenuer and start a business selling web based products? Make an app. Maybe you don’t have the skills yet, but why worry about that?...If you want to build something on the web, don’t worry about learning HTML, CSS, Ruby, PHP, SQL, etc. They might be necessary for a finished product, but you don’t need any of them to start. Why not mock-up your app idea in Keynote or Powerpoint? Draw boxes for form fields, write copy, link this page to that page…Not computer saavy? Start with pencil and paper or Post-it Notes…Many times the reasons we don’t start something have nothing to do with lack of skills, materials, or facilities. The real blockers are self-criticism and excuses…We want to design a website or build an application but if our own toolset doesn’t match up to the perceived skillset we never start…It’s easy to feel inadequate when you compare yourself to the very best, but even they weren’t born with those skills and they wouldn’t have them if they never started…People who succeed somehow find a way to keep working despite the self-doubt…there are many things that can get in the way of the things we should be creating. To never follow a dream because you don’t think you’re good enough or don’t have the skills, or knowledge, or experience is a waste…”

31. Lego NXT Latest to Use the Robot Operating System (video) http://singularityhub.com/2010/08/30/lego-nxt-becomes-latest-to-use-the-robot-operating-system-video/ “…Lego robots you’ve been building just became much more powerful. Willow Garage recently announced that it designed code to link the popular Lego Mindstorms NXT to the formidable Robot Operating System (ROS). ROS is an open source collection of robotics software that has been used on everything from autonomous cars to humanoid bipeds. We’re talking world class robotics research here. Now that versatile library can be accessed by amateur and beginning robotics engineers using Lego NXT. To demonstrate the new capabilities, Willow Garage plugged models from Lego Digital Designer into ROS’s 3D visualization display. Using ROS code, the NXT robot can build maps of its surroundings, and it can use those to navigate around…”

32. Fast-forward fashion http://www.theengineer.co.uk/blog/fast-forward-fashion/1004693.article “…CuteCircuit, has unveiled a…black dress that doubles up as a mobile phone…the garment allows wearers to place a sim card into the label of the dress and using gesture recognition software, respond to calls by raising their hand or by dropping it to their side…CuteCircuit is also behind the ‘Hug shirt’ which allows wearers to send a hug by transmitting heat and vibration sensors via a mobile phone’s Bluetooth to another person wearing a ‘Hug shirt’…The Reactiv cycling jacket…is fitted with red, green and amber LEDs that respond to movements and warn drivers about whether a cyclist is accelerating, turning or braking…engineering students at Northwestern University have developed a data-logging compression shirt to help baseball pitchers avoid torn ligaments…even more significant are the variety of sensors integrated into fabrics that can constantly monitor the health of patients even while out of hospital, and not only provide data, but react to the situation by adjusting the temperature or sending an alarm to a healthcare worker…”

33. New technology for multi-tasking motorcycle officers http://www.engineersedge.com/engineering/Engineers_Edge/new_technology_for_multitasking_motorcycle_officers_5553.htm “…The EU-funded research project MoveOn…set out to make ordinary operational procedures, like changing a communication channel, quicker and easier, and to maximize the information that an officer can send and receive without being distracted or having to stop the motorcycle… MoveOn researchers realized that simply funneling more information to motorcycle officers – for example via a heads-up GPS display or a sleeve-mounted touch screen –might not help them manage their missions more efficiently…researchers set out to monitor an officer´s moment-by-moment information processing capacities, assess situational demands, and provide information accordingly. They accomplished that in part by building a set of sensors into the officer´s jacket to monitor key body functions such as heart rate, respiration and blood oxygen levels. Combining that biometric information with the officer´s recent interactions and with data about driving conditions such as speed, acceleration, the tilt of the motorcycle, and proximity to an intersection allows the MoveOn processor to estimate the officer´s stress level and current ability to process visual, auditory and tactile information. We´ve developed an algorithm that sums up all that information, estimates the overall cognitive load on the driver and the demands being placed on the visual, acoustic and tactile channels…When the overall cognitive load passes a threshold, we cut off all information and let the user devote full attention to driving the motorcycle,” says Kalapanidas. “When the load settles back below the threshold, the information flow starts up again As an example, an officer careening around a corner in hot pursuit of a speeding vehicle will not be distracted by a GPS update or by a request for a description of the suspect…By coupling that robust speech recognition algorithm with advanced noise suppression and signal enhancement systems, says Kalapanidas, they were able to build a reliable voice command system…Officers can manage the MoveOn system through a joystick mounted on the motorcycle handlebar and through a touch screen built into the sleeve of their jacket…Despite the helmet´s camera, microphone and LEDs, its look and feel is much like that of any helmet,” says Kalapanidas…The jacket is a bit heavy because it includes the system´s CPU, he says. “It feels like a heavy protective garment…the system comes to life when the officer switches it on. “You don´t feel like an individual separated from the operation,” he says. “You feel connected, part of what´s going on…”

34. Micro-supercapacitors have the potential to power nomad electronics http://www.printedelectronicsworld.com/articles/micro-supercapacitors-have-the-potential-to-power-nomad-electronics-00002572.asp “…micro-supercapacitors have the potential to power nomad electronics, wireless sensor networks, biomedical implants, active radiofrequency identification (RFID) tags and embedded microsensors…Supercapacitors, also called electric double layer capacitors (EDLCs) or ultracapacitors, bridge the gap between batteries, which offer high energy densities but are slow, and "conventional" electrolytic capacitors, which are fast but have low energy densities…These new devices have been dubbed "micro-supercapacitors" because they are only a few micrometers (0.000001 meters) thick…We use electrodes made of onion-like carbon, a material in which each individual particle is made up of concentric spheres of carbon atoms, similar to the layers of an onion…the first time a material with very small spherical particles has been studied for this purpose…The surface of the onion-like carbons is fully accessible to ions, whereas with some other materials, the size or shape of the pores or of the particles themselves would slow down the charging or discharging process…”

35. DIY micro-technology for SMEs http://www.engineersedge.com/engineering/Engineers_Edge/diy_microtechnology_for_smes_5510.htm ”… The EU-funded microBUILDER project was established with these SMEs in mind. It brought together partners from every stage of micro-device production to develop a one-stop shop for any company wishing to produce a micro-device…“We have created a set of tools that should reduce the time it takes to get from a good idea for a micro-device to a commercial, sellable product,” says Liv Furuberg, the project's coordinator. The microBUILDER system supports companies, especially SMEs, in designing prototypes and then launching commercial production of highly innovative micro-devices…The partners produced several prototype devices to demonstrate the project's achievements, including a cell counter, a gas detector, a DNA extractor and a flow sensor. The PZT technology has already been used by a Norwegian firm to build a tiny auto-focusing lens for small CCD cameras…perhaps the most important output from the project is the accompanying 500-page handbook and training materials which will make the development of micro-devices accessible to European SMEs. “We are making it possible for small firms to build much more functional, intricate and innovative micro-devices. They can mix and match the materials to optimize functionality and they now have standardized procedures and components for their designs which can be rapidly prototyped and then commercially manufactured…”

36. Japan’s Augmented Reality Teleconference Room http://singularityhub.com/2010/08/27/japans-augmented-reality-teleconference-room-video/ “…NTT, the world’s second largest telecomm, has developed a new video room that allows users to share an overlapping virtual environment. Dubbed the t-Room, NTT’s next generation conferencing solution takes real time video of your friends and displays them on tall window-like screens surrounding you. Your image, in turn, is shown in a window in your friend’s t-Room. When you overlap in the same window you can see the other person ‘behind you’ in the screen. It’s a sort of shared augmented reality. As each person moves, the window they are displayed in changes as well. This gives the t-Room a sense of a three-dimensional space. Multiple users in multiple locations can participate in the same conversation, a background image can be projected behind the users, and documents or other files can displayed in one of the windows…”

Leisure & Entertainment

37. Sony challenges Apple for music dominance Qriosity http://mobile.venturebeat.com/2010/09/02/sony-again-challenges-apple-for-music-dominance-with-cloud-based-qriosity/ “…Sony is basically looking to compete with Apple’s iTunes platform through a different venue. iTunes has long focused on its devices and physical media — using CDs and owning actual, physical copies of songs — while Sony is attempting to bring its service to all its capable devices, including the workhorse jack-of-all-trades Playstation 3. The service is called Qriocity — which may sound familiar, as it already exists as a video-on-demand service. This isn’t Sony’s first foray into a music service — Apple and Sony already have some history competing for music sales over the Internet. Apple previously beat down on Sony’s Connect music service, which went dark in 2008…”

38. New Apple TV is iPod Touch in sheep's clothing http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9183569/New_Apple_TV_is_iPod_Touch_in_sheep_s_clothing “…TechInsight's estimate pegged the Apple TV's "bill of materials" (BOM) at approximately $50, including packaging and the device's miniature remote control…the smaller and less expensive Apple TV…streams rented movies and TV programs to television sets. Apple's priced the new model at $99, a 57% discount from the original Apple TV's $229…The new Apple TV is powered by an A4 application processor, the Apple-designed system on a chip (SOC) made by Samsung and built around an ARM CPU. The A4 also powers the iPod Touch, iPhone 4 and iPad. Going with the A4, which Brown estimated costs Apple $15, let Apple drop the Intel Pentium M processor inside the older Apple TV. By yanking other components, including the hard drive, standard computer memory and most of its input-output functions, Apple was able to ditch other Intel chipsets that managed memory and I/O…Other cost savings came from discarding the original's hard drive and fan…We estimate that the board area in the new Apple TV is ten times smaller than in the original," said Brown. "It will be very similar to the size of the boards in the iPhone 4 and the iPod Touch."…TechInsights is "very confident" that when it opens up an Apple TV later this month it will find that "the guts will essentially be the same as the iPod Touch…”

Economy and Technology

39. Reimagining Coworking for Writers, Women and Green Entrepreneurs http://gigaom.com/collaboration/reimagining-coworking-for-writers-women-and-green-entrepreneurs/ “…As the first generation of coworking spaces begins to reach maturity, it’s gratifying to see this innovative model of working now permeating beyond the technology sector into other industries…Green Spaces is seeking to provide local incubators for environmental and sustainability entrepreneurs…plans range from $50/month to $495/month, covering everything from a hotdesking to a permanent desk, with drop-in access available from $20/day…it’s actually a hub for progressive people and projects…The Writers Junction…is a haven for writers of all persuasions. The membership plans offer full- and part-time usage from as low as $89/month up to $140/month. Residents include journalists, screenwriters, directors, doctoral students and actors…Each of these coworking spaces appears to be successfully nurturing and serving the needs of communities that may have lacked a focal point or hub prior to having a physical home. I’ve heard rumors of…a coworking space for physical fitness professionals — bringing together gym coaches, dieticians, physiotherapists and “wellbeing” professionals, among other healthcare disciplines. Could we be seeing a reboot for many industries…”

40. Eyeing The Enterprise, Skype Certifies IT Consultants In The U.S. http://techcrunch.com/2010/09/07/eyeing-the-enterprise-skype-certifies-it-consultants-in-the-u-s/ “…Skype looks to build out revenue streams following its IPO, the company has been launching programs targeting enterprise customers…Today, Skype is unveiling its Skype Channel Partner Program that allows partners in the United States to sell endorsed IT support for Skype’s enterprise products…Once trained and certified by Skype, Skype Channel Partners can provide their own consulting, installation, configuration, maintenance and support services to business customers who want to use Skype’s business offerings, including the Skype Business Client, Skype Manager and Skype Connect…While channel partners cannot resell Skype products to customers, partners can sell third-party hardware and software for use with Skype…”

41. Online Workers Doing Fine, ODesk Passes One Million Hours A Month http://www.techcrunchit.com/2010/09/07/odesk-one-million-hours/ While full-time tech jobs might not be making a roaring comeback, freelance and part-time work seems to be picking up the slack…Online outsourcer oDesk passed one million hours of work on its system for the first time in the month of August. A year ago, workers on oDesk were logging less than half of that, about 400,000 hours per month…The work on oDesk is spread across 215,000 employers and 720,000 contractors…The top three job categories on oDesk are Web Programming, Web Design, and Blog & Article Writing. Cumulatively, employers have paid out more than $185 million to online workers through oDesk, up from the $100-million mark last October…While many of these online workers are overseas in the Philippines, India, Pakistan, and Russia, the U.S. is the the largest source of online workers on oDesk. California is the top state for virtual workers…”

Civilian Aerospace

42. Google space competition to be held in the Isle of Man http://www.isleofman.com/News/article.aspx?article=28746&area= THE fourth Google Lunar X PRIZE team summit will be held in the Isle of Man…22 teams from around the world will compete in the international competition which requires engineers and entrepreneurs to develop low cost methods of robotic space exploration. Senior executives from the competing teams will come together, on October 4 and 5, with representatives from Google and the X PRIZE Foundation, industry experts…To win the grand prize of 30 million dollars, teams must successfully soft land a privately funded spacecraft on the moon, explore the lunar surface by moving at least 500 meters and transmit a specific set of video images and data back to the Earth…”

43. Copenhagen Suborbitals rocket left standing in cloud of smoke http://www.news.com.au/technology/failure-to-launch-copenhagen-suborbital-rocket-left-standing-in-cloud-of-smoke/story-e6frfro0-1225914644315 The first launch attempt of a homemade rocket built by two Danes has failed due to a technical glitch…Peter Madsen founded Copenhagen Suborbitals with Kristian von Bengston two years ago with the aim of building the world's largest amateur space rocket. The pair raised more than $71,000 through online donations and used volunteers to build the HEAT1X rocket and the micro spacecraft it was supposed to launch, called Tycho Brahe-1…the likely cause was a failure of the ignition system…Mr Madsen and Mr von Bengtsson intend "to show that with little financial means anyone can send a rocket into space, which is a privilege not just reserved for rich countries"…The duo hope to send a person into space within three or four years…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

44. GPU vs. CPU Computing http://www.deskeng.com/articles/aaayet.htm “…Benchmarks that focus on floating point arithmetic, those most often used in these engineering computations, show that GPUs can perform such computations much faster than the traditional central processing units (CPUs) used in today’s workstations—sometimes as much as 20 times faster, depending on the computation…The GPU remains a specialized processor, and its performance in graphics computation belies a host of difficulties to perform true general-purpose computing. The processors themselves require recompiling any software; they have rudimentary programming tools, as well as limits in programming languages and features…Commercial GPU-based systems are becoming increasingly common. NVIDIA, in addition to providing processors to third parties, also builds its own systems and clusters under the Tesla brand. These include the Tesla Personal Supercomputer, which has up to 448 cores in a multiprocessor configuration, with up to 6GB of memory per processor, in a deskside configuration for under $10,000. The cluster systems include either straight GPU or GPU-CPU systems in 1U configurations for the data center. A 1U NVIDIA unit with a quad processor configuration can do four teraflops of single precision operations, and about 340 gigaflops of double precision…NVIDIA and AMD are expanding both the sophistication of their processors and the software development tools for developing, porting, and debugging GPU code. NVIDIA has an intriguing software tool called Nexus that should go a long way toward helping software developers to trace and debug application code from the CPU running on Windows into the GPU, including parallel applications on the GPU, and back to the CPU. These enhancements mean it will be easier to get existing software running on GPUs, although it will still require a software development effort…NVIDIA’s Compute Unified Device Architecture (CUDA) parallel computing architecture…is a key to getting high performance out of certain computations that are important in engineering analysis and simulation…”

45. South Koreans Develop High-Performance Software Router with CPUs/GPUs http://www.hpcwire.com/news/South-Koreans-Develop-High-Performance-Software-Router-101401434.html “…researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) are using high-end graphics processors to accelerate networking in a software-based router. The prototype system, called PacketShader, is built from commodity CPUs and GPUs and has demonstrated speed of up to 40 gigabits per second (Gbps)…software routers can use cheap commodity hardware and accommodate specialized networking applications. The downside has been performance. Commercial software routers support limited bandwidth -- typically in the single-digit Gbps range, although the top-of-the-line software routers…deliver 20 Gbps…general-purpose GPUs can greatly accelerate some of the network processing. Due to their inherently parallel architecture and high memory bandwidth, GPUs are much more suited to data-parallel work than their CPU counterparts. For certain types of packet processing, like encryption, GPUs can greatly speed up throughput…The PacketShader system consists of 2 quad-core Nehalem CPUs (2.66 GHz), 6 GB of DDR3 RAM, 2 NVIDIA GTX480 (Fermi-class) GPUs, 4 Intel dual-port 10GbE NICs, and a Supermicro motherboard. Total system cost was $7,000. That's less than one-tenth the cost of a custom-built box delivering comparable performance.”


*****

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