2010/10/05

NEW NET Issues List for 05 Oct 2010

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 05 October 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. There is no Plan B: why the IPv4-to-IPv6 transition will be ugly http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2010/09/there-is-no-plan-b-why-the-ipv4-to-ipv6-transition-will-be-ugly.ars Twenty years ago, the fastest Internet backbone links were 1.5Mbps…In 1993, 1.3 million machines were connected to the Internet. By this past summer, that number had risen to 769 million— and this only counts systems that have DNS names…But all of this rapid progress is going to slow in the next few years. The internet…about to run out of addresses, needing to be gutted and reconfigured for continued growth…it has become clear that the change from the current Internet Protocol version 4…to the new version 6 will be quite a messy affair…we spend enormous amounts of money and effort on keeping older, "legacy" systems running…planes circle around in holding patterns burning precious fuel because air traffic control can't keep up on systems that are less powerful than a smartphone; WiFi networks don't reach their top speeds because an original 802.11(no letter), 2Mbps system could show up…For instance, the original 10 megabit Ethernet specification allows for 1500-byte packets…Then Fast Ethernet came along, which was 100Mbps, but the packet size remained the same so that 100Mbps ethernet gear could be hooked up to 10Mbps ethernet equipment…and 10 Gigabit Ethernet needs almost a million packets per second…The need to connect antique NE2000 cards meant sticking to 1500 bytes for Fast Ethernet…At each point, the next step makes sense, but the entire journey ends up looking irrational…Network protocols are built as "stacks" where a number of layers each provide a part of the required functionality. The famous OSI reference model has seven layers, but the TCP/IP stack has only four…in contrast to the other layers of the stack, IP is everywhere…So changing the Internet Protocol means changing all hosts and all routers…”

2. Qwiki + iPad: The Future of Information Distribution http://www.cultofmac.com/qwiki-ipad-the-future-of-information-distribution/61378 Qwiki, a startup offering a new way to get informed, won the $50,000 first prize and Disrupt Cup at the 2010 TechCrunch Disrupt conference…Founded by Doug Imbruce, a self-described recovering software engineer, and Louis Monier, sometimes called the Father of Web Search for his role as the founder of AltaVista, Qwiki has the ubernerd community all aflutter over the prospects for its automagical transformation of the way we search for and obtain information. Combining text, audio, video, and images presented together in a seamless interface, Qwiki is meant to generate dynamic movies of whatever a user searches for. The company’s software is designed to run on the web as well as in apps on mobile device…”

3. Facebook and Skype ‘set to announce deal’ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/facebook/8032889/Facebook-and-Skype-set-to-announce-deal.html “…Facebook and Skype are on the verge of announcing a strategic partnership that would allow users of the social networking site to send text messages and make internet telephone calls from their Facebook profile page…Neither Facebook nor Skype have commented on the rumours…Facebook integration is expected to form part of the Skype 5.0 update, due in early October. The deal will ensure that Skype’s hugely popular internet telephony service is more easily available…the deal will allow users to call Facebook friends and send them text messages through Skype…Facebook has more than 500 million users worldwide, while Skype has around 560 million registered users, with 124 million of those using the service at least once a month. Facebook is also rumoured to be working on an "own-brand" mobile phone. Despite vehement denials from the social-networking site, speculation about a so-called “Facebook phone” persists, with mobile maker INQ believed to be the manufacturing partner…” [http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2369913,00.asp Skype announced a partnership with Avaya…Skype and Avaya plan to launch a further integrated communications platform for U.S. businesses which will include telepresence technologies…Facebook and Skype are poised to announce a significant and wide-ranging partnership…Facebook has previously tested a video chat product, which unfortunately they can not refer to as "Facetime." In addition, meshing Skype's 560 million registered users with Facebook's 500 million make the team a mighty VoIP competitor to Google Voice…”]

4. All Media Will Be Personalized in 3 to 5 Years http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/facebook_exec_all_media_will_be_personalized_in_3.php Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said in New York today that in the next three to five years, a website that isn't tailored to a specific user's interest will be an anachronism…"People don't want something targeted to the whole world--they want something that reflects what they want to see and know," Sandberg said at publisher Arianna Huffington's Advertising Week event today. So much for all the news that's fit to print - Sandberg's vision of the future sounds more like all the news that's relevant to your taste profile and social graph…you'll be shown first and foremost content on topics that you have expressed an interest in already, which is described in the same ways you describe your interests and that is deemed valid by people you trust…The upside? A deep dive into specialized news and analysis, on the topics that are most important to you, will be easier to discover than ever before…The other side of the coin is perhaps more familiar: the argument that personalization is an information silo. It leads to self re-enforcing political perspectives, unchecked extremism, a shortage of empathy, stunted learning about the world…There's something about a highly personalized stream that feels contrary to the public square feeling of a democracy…Personalized recommendations have long been the holy grail of advertising and commerce, but learning, discourse and media have different goals in mind - don't they?... a good balance of personalization and general interest content…might be ideal from a media consumer's perspective, but for publishers enjoying a newfound ability to squeeze more and more pageviews and advertising dollars out of a customer's interest profile - why stop short of 100% personalization?…”

5. Skype To Appoint A New CEO, Cisco SVP Tony Bates http://techcrunch.com/2010/10/04/skype-new-ceo/ “…Skype’s new CEO is going to be Tony Bates, a senior VP at Cisco, who runs its Enterprise and Service Provider groups…Skype has a completely new executive team, including a new CFO, general counsel, chief marketing officer, and head of engineering…Bates is a heavy hitter, especially in the enterprise world, where the bulk of Skype’s future revenues may come from. He was responsible for about 80 percent of Cisco’s business and even more of its profits. He had 12,000 employees reporting to him. Someone like Bates doesn’t leave that kind of a job unless he thinks Skype is going to become a major company with serious upside…Skype is on track to pass $1 billion in revenues next year (its revenue run-rate for 2010 is $800 million). In June, Skype was averaging 124 million active users a month, but only 8.1 million o them were paying. Skype has the scale it needs to negotiate lower telecom connection fees around the world, but it needs to ramp up the number of paying customers and convert more free users…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

6. Zeus Trojan Rules World of Online Bank Fraud http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Security/Zeus-Trojan-Rules-World-of-Online-Bank-Fraud-465305/ “…The cyber-crime ring is accused of stealing $70 million, with its targets ranging from small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) to municipalities and individual users. The weapon of choice in these bank heists was a variant of the infamous Zeus Trojan…“It is the most popular Trojan toolkit going today,” said Dave Marcus, director of security research and communications at McAfee Labs. “It’s also the highest priced and most effective.”…The malware is spread by a variety of means, including drive-by downloads and spam attacks. The constant development of Zeus variants allows it to evade anti-virus software, researchers said…Cybercriminals love it because it’s a money-maker.”…Recently, Zeus operators took their activities to mobile devices in an attempt to trick their users into giving up their mobile phone numbers so they could infect those devices with a SMS monitoring program that can be used to steal transaction authentication numbers sent to users by banks to authenticate online bankers. “The banking industry needs to be doing more,” said Alex Cox…”

7. FBI Drive for Encryption Backdoors Is Déjà Vu for Security Experts http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/09/fbi-backdoors/ “…The FBI now wants to require all encrypted communications systems to have back doors for surveillance…Back in the 1990s, in what’s remembered as the crypto wars, the FBI and NSA argued that national security would be endangered if they did not have a way to spy on encrypted e-mails, IMs and phone calls…the security community prevailed after mustering detailed technical studies and research that concluded that national security was actually strengthened by wide use of encryption…Now the FBI is proposing a similar requirement that would require online service providers, perhaps even software makers, to only offer encrypted communication unless the companies have a way to unlock the communications…According to the proposal, any company doing business in the States could not create an encrypted communication system without having a way for the government to order the company to decrypt it, and those who currently do offer that service would have to re-tool it. It’s the equivalent of outlawing whispering in real life…back doors aren’t a feature — they are just a security hole that will inevitably be abused by hackers or adversarial governments…While the scope of the proposal isn’t clear, it would seem to target Hushmail, Skype, RIM and PGP, each of which use encryption to make it possible for users to communicate without fear of being eavesdropped on…There’s also a number of open-source software packages that might also get swept up by the proposal, including OpenPGP (an open protocol for sending encrypted e-mails), TOR (a system for disguising the origin of web traffic), and OTR (a system for encrypting instant messages)…Skype routes calls through peer-to-peer connections in order to be able to offer free internet calls, uses encryption to prevent the computers in the middle from being able to listen in. Under the FBI’s proposed rules, that architecture would be illegal…“It would make Skype illegal,” said Peter Neumann, a scientist who testified to Congress…In the 1990s, the NSA created the Clipper chip intended for telecoms to use to encrypt phone calls. The NSA initially refused to let outsiders see the chip, which had a backdoor for the government. “We, meaning Matt Blaze, Peter Neumann and [Columbia University professor] Steven Bellovin, got them to show us details,” Dempsey said. “Then Matt broke the Clipper chip.” That put an end to that proposal. “No disrespect to Matt, but there are 10,000 people who can do what he did, and my worry is half of them work for Moldovian criminal hacker groups,” Dempsey said…wiretapping requirements in software have a tendency to be used not just by governments bound to the rule of law…Nokia and Siemens were lambasted last year for selling telecom equipment to Iran that included the ability to wiretap mobile phones at will…sophisticated wiretapping capabilities became standard issue for technology thanks to the U.S. government’s CALEA rules that require all phone systems, and now broadband systems, to include these capabilities…”

8. Homeland Security, Obama Administration and Mark Zuckerberg agree: there is no privacy http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-byrnes-jpl-20101005,0,5348761.story A Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist whose career started on the Apollo program in 1968 heads to Washington to fight background checks for NASA's JPL staffers…My responsibilities include technical oversight and review of all aspects of spacecraft dynamics, trajectory design, mission design and navigation for all missions at JPL from the earliest studies to the completion of flight operations…I have worked on the Viking Mars landers, the Voyager project to explore the outer solar system, the Galileo exploration of Jupiter and many other missions…I am told by my peers, associates and by JPL and NASA management that I am very good at what I do…I am not a civil servant. My duties do not include classified or sensitive work…results of my work are publicly available…As is the case with 97% of the people who work at JPL, NASA deems my position "low-risk."…However, in 2007, I and all other JPL employees were told that we would be required to submit detailed personal data and sign a release form allowing investigators to look at all aspects of our personal lives. Anyone who refused would lose their access to JPL…I, and many of my colleagues, found this appalling and quite unacceptable…as a hiring manager at JPL, I was the one who decided which potential employees had the qualifications and skills to do this work — sending incredibly complex spacecraft to the farthest reaches of the solar system…to succeed, we need the most creative and talented people we can find…Under this new regimen, bureaucrats and investigators with no scientific or engineering background will decide who has access to JPL…the criteria for suitability will apparently include irrelevant information about our personal lives…You may ask what can be so bad?...the release form required to keep one's job gives part of the answer: "I authorize any investigator, special agent, or other duly accredited representative of the authorized federal agency conducting my background investigation, to obtain any information relating to my activities from schools, residential management agents, employers, criminal justice agencies, retail business establishments, or other sources of information…The administrator of NASA, at a public meeting at JPL in 2007, told me, "If you do not like the situation, you should go to court." In August 2007, scientist Robert Nelson, the lead plaintiff, 26 other JPL employees and I did exactly that. The U.S. Justice Department, representing NASA, lost several appeals at the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. It appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court…I want to be very clear. Neither I nor any of the plaintiffs have anything to hide. I care nothing for my personal privacy. I care for the terrible damage being done to the guarantees of our Constitution. I care for the loss of trust most of us once had in our government. I care that the longstanding trust and collegiality between engineers and scientists at JPL and their management is being destroyed and replaced by a poisoned atmosphere of mistrust by employees and heavy-handed paternalism by management. I care that all across the country, many talented technical people will leave government service or choose not to apply in the first place because of this unwarranted assault on their constitutional freedoms…The justification for these background investigations stems from a Homeland Security presidential directive issued by President George W. Bush in 2004…that…only required "a common identification standard for federal employees and contractors…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

9. Wireless Voice Calls are Obsolete http://dilbert.com/blog/entry/wireless_voice_calls_are_obsolete/ Is it just me, or have cellphones become useless for voice conversations?...Generally speaking, a cellphone conversation is a frustrating failure if any of these conditions is true. 1. You have a weak signal. 2. You are using an earpiece or headset. 3. The other person has a weak signal. 4. The other person is using an earpiece or headset…6. You are multitasking and can't think. 7. The other person is multitasking and can't think. 8. You are in a noisy environment, such as Earth. 9. The other person is in a noisy environment, such as Earth…13. You have a phone that drops calls for no good reason. 14. The other person has a phone that drops calls for no good reason…16. You are in a restaurant and you're not a jerk. 17. The other person is in a restaurant and isn't a jerk…that covers almost every situation…In my life, voice calls using cellphones fail more often than they succeed, and the situation is getting worse. There was a time when most cellphone calls involved a land line on the other end, so at least one end of the conversation was likely to be trouble-free. Now most of the calls I fantasize about making would be between my cellphone and another cellphone. I don't like those odds. So I send text messages instead…My situation is worse than most because I have an iPhone, and it decides on its own when my calls are done, no matter how strong the signal is. (I suspect that my ear is using the touchscreen without authorization from my brain…”

10. Virgin Mobile Launches No-Contract Android Phone http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2370184,00.asp “…Virgin Mobile…announced it would be selling the Samsung Intercept Android-powered smartphone for $249.99 with no contract…The Samsung Intercept, which we reviewed in its Sprint version, is a "solid if unremarkable" Android phone with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, 3G speed, and a 3.2-megapixel camera…Virgin Mobile's Beyond Talk plans cost $25 per month for 300 minutes, $40 per month for 1200 minutes or $60 per month for unlimited use…”

11. Android Invasion http://www.newsweek.com/2010/10/03/how-android-is-transforming-mobile-computing.html Nobody ever imagined how quickly the Android mobile-phone platform would take off–not even Andy Rubin, the Silicon Valley engineer who created it. Five years ago Rubin was leading a startup that had just been acquired by Google and was trying to develop software that could power a smart phone. Two years ago the first Android phone hit the market and, frankly, it was a bit of a dud. But the software kept getting better…Rubin, a 47-year-old über nerd–he has a retina scanner on the front door of his house and robotic helicopters cruise his backyard–has helped build a string of tech companies over the past two decades…nothing he’s done so far compares to what’s happening with Android. “This,” he says, “is the most fun I’ve ever had.” The software was written by a small team of engineers tucked away in a nondescript building on the Google campus…While it contains 11 million lines of code, the whole program takes up only 200 megabytes of space…despite its tiny size, Android is changing the mobile industry in profound ways…The mobile revolution may be the biggest wave ever to hit the world of computing…By next year 5 billion mobile phones will be in service, out of a total world population of about 7 billion, according to Yankee Group…over the next decade the technologies will become so cheap that virtually every phone sold will be what we, today, would call a smart phone…So what happens when most of the residents of planet Earth carry a device that gives them instant access to pretty much all of the world’s information? The implications–for politics, for education, for global economics–are dizzying…Nokia…remains the industry gorilla. There are already 1.3 billion Nokia phones in use, and 200 million of them are smart phones…Instead of trying to modernize an older system originally created for voice-centric phones, Rubin and his engineers started with a clean slate, developing a modern mobile operating system…Unlike older operating systems, Android was created to be good at rendering Web pages and to run many applications at the same time…Google CEO Eric Schmidt says Android-based phones already generate enough new advertising revenue to cover the cost of the software’s development…Schmidt envisions a day when there are 1 billion Android phones in the world…if Google could get just $10 from each user per year, it would be a $10 billion business. That’s real money even for Google, whose revenues this year will be $21 billion…Rubin believes this open-source model gives Google an advantage over rivals selling closed systems, like Apple…Apple’s tight control enables it to deliver an exceptionally smooth user experience, where everything works seamlessly together…Rubin worked at Apple from 1989 to 1992…He later cofounded a company called Danger, which developed the Sidekick smart phone. Rubin was CEO of Danger but resigned in 2004 after agreeing with the board that the company needed new leadership. He was hanging out on a beach in the Cayman Islands when he came up with the idea of creating an open-source operating system for mobile phones…Rubin won’t say how many engineers work on Android, only that “it’s much smaller than you would think.”…One of the top priorities right now is to improve the user interface to catch up with the iPhone. A bigger challenge is making sure that the…open-source model…does not also become its undoing…Android could splinter into many different versions, none of them completely compatible…To counter it, Rubin and his team have created a compatibility test suite, a list of things a phone must have in order to carry the Android brand…Rubin believes this will induce phone makers to keep all Android phones fundamentally compatible…Right now Rubin’s engineers are putting the finishing touches on the next version of Android, code-named Gingerbread, which is scheduled to ship before the end of this year. They’re also developing a version of Android called Honeycomb, which is designed to run on tablet computers and will follow on the heels of Gingerbread…”

12. Skype Released For Non-Verizon Android Phones http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Skype-Released-For-NonVerizon-Android-Phones-110739 “…Today Skype proudly announced on their blog that Skype is "now available for Android phones."…Except way down at the bottom of the blog entry you'll note that this new Android version only works over Wi-Fi in the U.S., meaning you've got to choose Verizon if you want a version of Android Skype that works everywhere…you'll recall the exclusive Verizon Skype version only works over 3G, and until recently a bug prevented users from using Wi-Fi at all while making calls, something Verizon blamed on wiretap laws and Verizon gnomes. The iPhone version of Skype works over both Wi-Fi and 3G, but also has caveats. While Skype figures out…making a mobile VoIP app that just works, a company by the name of Fring this week announced their mobile VoIP app for Android -- which they're quick to point out works over whatever network you'd like, unlike Skype…”

Open Source

13. Is it time to fork Java? http://gregluck.com/blog/archives/2010/10/is-it-time-to-fork-java/ This year’s JavaOne was a dismal affair…the feeling was that Oracle had ruined the conference…the dual conference idea also caused Java people problems: those that tried to attend the key note at Moscone with JavaOne passes were turned away – instead needing to go to the Hilton ballroom to see it televised…The beer talk I heard at the Thirsty Bear, was that the JCP has stalemated for the past year on Java 7 over Oracle wanting to add a “restricted field of use condition” to it restricting the OpenJDK to desktop and server, not mobile…The other rumour floating around is that future free versions of the JDK will be reference implementations, with higher quality or more fully featured versions only available under commercial license. All of this suggests to me that Java as we have known it is over. Should we wait for Java to lose momentum and popularity to other languages? Or should we as a community step up and go in a new direction. I prefer the latter. Following is a sketch of how this could be done…”

14. Blender Made Movies and Animations http://www.techdrivein.com/2010/09/6-more-blender-made-movies-and.html “…two weeks ago, we featured some of best and most popular blender made short movies in our 8 stunning blender made short films and animations post. Now, let's take the road less traveled. The blender movies we are going to showcase here are those rare ones which you guys probably haven't seen before…Big Buck Bunny Outtakes…Taste Lab…Particle Garden…”

15. OpenOffice.org Draw: Objects and Their Problems http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/openofficeorg-draw-objects-and-their-problems OpenOffice.org Draw is all about objects -- items inserted into a document, each of which can be edited independently…whether you insert a picture from a file or create an object selected from the primitives (basic shapes) in the Drawing toolbar, everything in Draw is a frame. Even text in Draw is an object, and behaves differently from ordinary text in Writer. For this reason, knowing the basics of objects is essential for all work in Draw…Fortunately, the basics are straight forward enough. All objects are contained within a frame that allows you to edit and manipulate them…Handles can be one of three colors. When the object is newly added, the handles are cyan. This color can be useful in picking out the new objects in a crowded document, so that you can immediately modify it by right-clicking…When the handles are cyan, you can also manipulate the selected object…With a complicated document full of objects, the first thing you should do after adding an object is to select Name to give it a unique identification. This identification displays in the Navigator below the Slide or page's name, so that you can jump directly to it. If a name is not enought to identify an object, consider choosing Description to add a title and description…Probably, this overview is enough to orient you to objects. However, some of the ways of manipulating objects can be tricky to learn in their own right, and require a williness to experiment, but you should be able to figure them out through trial and error…”

16. An Interesting VPN/Remote Project http://blog.eracc.com/2010/10/03/linux-an-interesting-vpnremote-project-1/ “…a long-time client who lives and works in Alaska…and his sister have pooled their resources and bought a vacation property in New Mexico. They are having a vacation home built there that will be shared between them…Wayne is an avid stargazer and has contracted for a small observatory to be built on the property about 200 feet from the home. This observatory will have a computer controlled, motorized retractable dome and computer controlled telescope…Wayne is also looking at Axis PTZ outdoor video surveillance cameras…Wayne wants to be able to do the following: Have remote access from Alaska to New Mexico for running the telescope system over the internet…Have remote access to video surveillance at the observatory and vacation house during the months that no one will be occupying the vacation home…Be able to remotely power cycle all devices on the remote LAN…Have a support person who can access these systems remotely to set it all up once connected…Do all this on a budget that he can afford…This is where I come in and Linux enters the picture. Wayne has already ordered one of our Tiny PC (Mini-ITX) systems that will be his router and VPN host for the vacation home. This Tiny PC will be running CentOS Linux with OpenVPN and sshd accessible over the internet. Wayne will be ordering a second Tiny PC for his Alaska home to set up a persistent VPN between the locations over the internet. The New Mexico home and the observatory will be connected with 8-port or 16-port ethernet switches that connect with fiber-optic cable. There will be a single Category 6 cable run between the buildings as well. The fiber-optic cable will handle the data stream between the obeservatory and the home…The power management switches can be controlled over the phone using touch-tones to cycle power on individual devices connected to one of the 8 power ports on each device…Wayne has already ordered these power switches and a UPS for the base unit from my company as well…”

SkyNet

17. Google Acquires Touchscreen Keyboard Startup BlindType http://techcrunch.com/2010/10/01/google-acquires-impressive-touchscreen-keyboard-startup-blindtype/ Google has just acquired BlindType, a…technology that allows you to type on touch screens without even looking at them…BlindType doesn’t force you to type using a virtual keyboard at the bottom of your screen, which is the norm on most smartphones. Instead, you just start typing wherever it’s convenient— BlindType analyzes the position of your finger taps relative to each other to determine which characters you’re typing…BlindType’s…video demos are very impressive — I’d love to see this technology make its way into Android…”

18. Google TV Will Ship With Netflix, Twitter, Pandora And More http://techcrunch.com/2010/10/04/google-tv-apps/ “…Google unveiled a new standalone portal for its upcoming Google TVplatform, which will be landing in living rooms this fall…Google says that it’s “been overwhelmed by interest” from third parties, and that Google TV will be shipping with at least the following applications: Netflix, Twitter, CNBC, Pandora, Napster, NBA Game Time, Amazon Video On Demand and Gallery. Some of the big ones, like Netflix and Amazon Video on Demand, were already briefly mentioned during Google TV’s debut…Others are new, and it’s clear that Google TV is seeing adoption from both web companies, like Pandora, and the content creators themselves…In addition to these native applications, Google is also showcasing web applications built by content owners, including VEVO, CNN, New York Times, and Cartoon Network (the TNT shot below is of a web app, the rest are for native apps)…this is good news for other TV-based platforms that come with a web browser, like Boxee. Right now Boxee does some interesting technical gymnastics to make web video play nicely on your TV — web apps should make their job a lot easier…” http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_tv_will_change_the_way_people_live_their_li.php “…Mike Hudack, the respected CEO of free video publishing platform Blip.tv, wrote today that Google TV is the real deal - a technology that will knock down the walls between traditional broadcast studio TV and the long-tail of open video content produced by consumers, producing free choice and competition…Google vs Apple will once again be the Open Web vs. the Curated Web, this time on TV…"Every once in a while a product comes along which promises to change the way people live their lives," Hudack wrote in a post today. "Google TV is one such product." We've had a Google TV in our New York office for a few months now. It's good. Very good…once and for all, demolishes the boundary between traditional broadcast and cable television and Internet video. People with a Google TV will no longer differentiate. It will be as easy to watch a blip show as it will be to watch a CBS show…Google TV will take a while to change the way people produce and consume video. But it -- and the other products it inspires -- will most definitely, over time, change the way we think about television itself. And that will be a fundamentally good thing…a TV landscape powered by the Open Web, millions of TV watchers will be able to see video content made by Iraq war veterans, Mexican immigrants, victims of human trafficking, critics of industrial pollution and countless other examples of content that major TV broadcasting stations would never or far more rarely put in front of millions of people because they couldn't sell ads around it…As author Patty Seybold wrote last month: "Open Source application development platforms, like Google's Android TV, will also make it easier for developers to provide all kinds of useful applications to both direct our attention to content we would otherwise miss and/or to mash it up and make it more accessible in interesting ways." Long-tail content, easy publishing to the TV, applications that provide discovery and recommendation beyond "Googling for TV" - that's a potent combination…” http://www.crunchgear.com/2010/10/04/google-tvs-secret-weapon-video-calls-from-your-tv/ “…I think the real killer app will be video calling using devices like Logitech’s Google TV box, the Revue…While we’ve been able to make Skype video calls on PCs, mobile phones, and laptops for years, imagine if you could do it from the comfort of your couch…it’s a visceral gut punch in the happy glands to be able to see the person you’re talking to, especially if your partner is a two year old girl made up partially of your genetic material who is just waking up from a nap with her pillow and Elmo doll. Say what you want about hating video calls – your mom isn’t going to buy a Google TV device unless you can convince her she needs it to make video calls to you. There is an entire generation of users who couldn’t give the steam o’ their piss about Ooyala integration but they would stand in line to see the grandkids in living HD on a big screen…”

19. Google's new VP8-based image format could replace JPEG http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2010/10/googles-new-vp8-based-image-format-could-replace-jpeg.ars In an effort to speed up page loading, Google has introduced an experimental new image format called WebP. The format is intended to reduce the file size of lossy images without compromising the quality…the format delivers an average reduction in file size of 39 percent…WebP format relies on the advanced, still-image compression methods that the VP8 video codec uses to compress individual frames…Due to its efficacy for compressing lossy images, WebP might someday replace JPEG as the standard format for photos and similar content on the Web…Google obtained the VP8 video codec last year when it acquired media technology company On2. Google later opened the source code of the standard VP8 implementation and introduced WebM, an open multimedia format for the Web that relies on VP8 and Ogg Vorbis…Google's experimental WebP project reflects the possibility of putting On2's technology to work in unexpected ways…practical adoption of the format will have to wait until it is supported in browsers…”

20. Chrome rapidly catching up to Firefox http://royal.pingdom.com/2010/10/04/chrome-rapidly-catching-up-to-firefox/ Google’s Chrome web browser has only been around for two years, but with an almost frantic pace of development it’s already gone through more iterations in that brief time than many other software products do in a decade. Chrome is now up to version 6…It’s now in third place after Firefox and Internet Explorer…Firefox growth has flatlined. It’s still by far the largest web browser after Internet Explorer, but it’s no longer gaining market share…Internet Explorer is losing market share (as it has been ever since Firefox arrived in 2004)…Firefox is neither growing nor losing market share…Chrome has more than tripled its market share in the last year. It’s growing much faster than any other browser…Looks like we’re heading right into a new browser war, with IE, Firefox and Chrome duking it out…” http://www.geek.com/articles/news/internet-explorer-share-degrades-to-below-50-for-the-first-time-2010105/ “…Internet Explorer fell below 50% of the worldwide market for the first time…”

21. Introducing the Google Android Phone Gallery http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2010/09/introducing-google-phone-gallery.html “…to make the selection process a little easier for people who are in the market for a new one…we’re rolling out the Google Phone Gallery -- a showcase of Android-powered devices that deliver the best Google experience today. Check it out at http://www.google.com/phone. All the phones in the gallery include Android Market, Google Search, and other Google Mobile services such as Gmail, Maps, and YouTube. There are tools that make it easy to compare phones side by side…”

22. Google CEO: the Internet of things will augment your brain http://venturebeat.com/2010/09/28/google-internet-human-augmentation/ “…Computers will clearly handle the things we aren’t good at, and we will handle the things computers clearly aren’t good at,” Schmidt said…And there are a great number of things that humans aren’t good at — including driving, Schmidt said. “It’s amazing that people drive cars, computers should be the ones driving cars,” he said. “It seems to me like a bug that cars were invented before computers.” Google’s own goal is to help provide users…with autonomous searching and new applications that delve into everyday aspects of daily life, Schmidt said. One obvious starting point was Google Maps, which has killed the traditional map and has kept users from ever getting lost again, he said. The most recent augmentation came in the form of Google Instant…The search giant’s next step is to index just about everything else — including email and other data that people typically keep close to the chest. Google hopes to access that information “after asking for permission about 500 times” and provide users with an easier way to access the pore through the massive amount of information that a human brain typically couldn’t keep track of…the next logical step is mobile, which the smartphone revolution has brought to the forefront with mobile apps like Google’s own Maps, he said. LTE, the next generation of wireless networks that promises speeds of up to 50 megabits per second, will open up a whole host of data-intensive applications that will again “do the things that humans just aren’t good at…”

General Technology

23. Geckos inspire new method to print electronics on complex surfaces http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2010/09/learning-from-lizards.html Geckos are masters at sticking to surfaces of all kinds and easily unsticking themselves, too. Inspired by these lizards, a team of engineers has developed a reversible adhesion method for printing electronics on a variety of tricky surfaces such as clothes, plastic and leather. Researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign designed a clever square polymer stamp that allows them to vary its adhesion strength. The stamp can easily pick up an array of electronic devices from a silicon surface and move and print them on a curved surface…Key to the square and squeezable polymer stamp are four pyramid-shaped tips on the stamp’s bottom, one in each corner. They mimic, in a way, the micro- and nano-filaments on the gecko’s foot, which the animal uses to control adhesion by increasing or decreasing contact area with a surface… “Design of the pyramid tips is very important,” Huang said. “The tips have to be the right height. If the tips are too large, they can’t pick up the target, and if the tips are too small, they won’t bounce back to their shape.”…The researchers conducted tests of the stamp and found the changes in contact area allow the stamp’s adhesion strength to vary by 1,000 times…”

24. Change to 'BIOS' will make PCs boot in seconds http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11430069 “…the 25-year-old PC start-up software known as Bios that initialises a machine so its operating system can get going…was not intended to live nearly this long, and adapting it to modern PCs is one reason they take as long as they do to warm up. Bios' replacement, known as UEFI, will predominate in new PCs by 2011. The acronym stands for Unified Extensible Firmware Interface…the Bios was starting to hamper development as 64-bit computing became more common and machines mutated beyond basic desktops and laptops…Bios expects the machine it is getting going to have the same basic internal set-up as the first PCs…"At the moment it can be 25-30 seconds of boot time before you see the first bit of OS sign-on," he said. "With UEFI we're getting it under a handful of seconds…"I would say we are at the edge of the tipping point right now…”

25. Scratched glasses give perfect vision for any eyesight http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20827806.000-scratched-glasses-give-perfect-vision-for-any-eyesight.html Ditch those bifocals. You might soon wearing spectacles whose lenses allow you to see clearly regardless of how long or short-sighted you are. With age, the lenses in our eyes often lose the ability to change shape enough to focus light from near objects onto the retina - a condition called presbyopia…Bifocals offer a solution by having two lenses in the same frame, but users must get used to tilting their head up or down to switch focus. Zeev Zalevsky…has developed a technique to turn a standard lens into one that perfectly focuses light from anything between 33 centimetres away and the horizon. It involves engraving the surface of a standard lens with a grid of 25 near-circular structures each 2 millimetres across and containing two concentric rings…The rings shift the phase of the light waves passing through the lens, leading to patterns of both constructive and destructive interference. Using a computer model to calculate how changes in the diameter and position of the rings alter the pattern, Zalevsky came up with a design that creates a channel of constructive interference perpendicular to the lens through each of the 25 structures. Within these channels, light from both near and distant objects is in perfect focus. "It results in an axial channel of focused light, not a single focal spot," Zalevsky says. "If the retina is positioned anywhere along this channel, it will always see objects in focus…”

26. Wind farms can change the weather http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2010/10/wind-farms-can-change-the-weather/1 “…according to a new study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences…the San Gorgonio wind farm near Palm Springs, Calif…caused the local area to cool down during the day and warm up at night, according to authors Somnath Baidya Roy and Justin J. Traiteur of the University of Illinois…on one day of the study, the temperature at 1:00 p.m. upwind of the wind farm was about 100 degrees, but was about 93 degrees downwind, due to the effects of the windfarm…Because many wind farms are located on agricultural land, the scientists say, local weather changes can affect crop productivity…impacts of wind farms on local weather can be minimized by changing rotor design or by siting wind farms in regions with high natural turbulence," the study found. "Using a 25-year-long climate dataset, we identified such regions in the world. Many of these regions, such as the Midwest and Great Plains in the United States, are also rich in wind resources, making them ideal candidates for low-impact wind farms…”

DHMN Technology

27. BART utilizing 'augmented reality' technology http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/drive_to_discover&id=7704105 BART has become the newest company to exploit a new consumer technology called augmented reality. "AR" cannot only point you in the right direction, it can tell you what you are pointing at…No public agency and probably no company has more of its own data open to the public than BART (allowing any programmer to get inside), making it an ideal candidate for an app like Junaio…Different from all those GPS technologies that tell you only where you are, it adds the camera to identify what you are seeing, government offices, museums, taxi stands. New York hasn't done this. Chicago and Washington haven't done this…Point it at a building and it tells how much floor space is available, for how much, and dials the leasing company. Lisa Murphy works for the company behind Junaio, Metaio, a San Francisco company pioneering augmented reality. Point a Junaio-enable phone at an augmented magazine and the pages come to life with additional text, even movies. Zombies come to life on your desk in an augmented video game played through the phone's camera…much more open information like this is needed if augmented reality is to grow…You know about face recognition. This is place recognition.”

28. AR.Drone, the flying iPhone accessory (and Aeroquad) http://www.electronicsweekly.com/blogs/gadget-master/2010/09/ardrone-the-flying-iphone-acce.html “…The AR.Drone - from 'augmented reality drone' - is a flying iPhone accessory, seemingly packed with enough on-board sensors and processing to wet the appetite of even the most jaded artificial intellegence researcher…For fans of four rotor flight who want even more customisation potential, Aeroquad is a DIY project based around the Arduino embedded computer which has gyro-stabilised flight through built-in control loops for roll, pitch and yaw…”

29. Qualcomm Releases Augmented Reality Tools For Android http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=136991 Augmented reality…remains firmly in the experimental stage of implementation -- more talked about than actually experienced. Aiming to expand adoption of augmented reality, or AR, Qualcomm Monday announced a new set of tools for Android developers to build the technology into mobile applications. ..By making the Qualcomm AR SDK available at no charge, we are encouraging all developers to start building innovative applications and services today," said Jay Wright…The biggest advance, according to Qualacomm, lies in its use of computer vision technology rather than GPS and a phone's compass for AR-based mapping applications…Mattel has been among the first companies to test Qualcomm's AR technology with a concept application that lets users play a virtual version of its classic "Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots" game by pointing a phone's camera at a flat, printed surface…He also highlighted AR's potential for instructional apps, such as one that might display arrows showing what buttons to hit when setting up a car stereo…To help encourage creation of AR-focused Android apps, Qualcomm has launched a developer contest awarding $200,000 in prize money for the top three entries…”

Leisure & Entertainment

30. Cloud Gaming Service OnLive Throws Out Monthly Fee-Based Biz Model http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/30765/Cloud_Gaming_Service_OnLive_Throws_Out_Monthly_FeeBased_Biz_Model.php “…With no monthly fees, OnLive hopes its service is more accessible and inviting to users. "The key thing for us is keeping it free simplifies our pricing structure so it is entirely based on games rather than on access…Since its June launch, OnLive was implementing a Founders Program that waived monthly fees for a full year after joining, so customers had yet to pay any monthly fees anyhow. But the company planned on charging $4.95 per month after that year…With OnLive, customers buy games, but they are hosted on remote servers, and stream directly to users' computers instead of downloaded to the player's hard drive…We actually got the first indication that the business could be supported without a monthly fee when we let beta testers start purchasing games before we launched the service…after getting to scale, we found that what we had suspected was true: that the business model works without a monthly fee…We surveyed users and almost everyone was fine with a $4.95 monthly fee (e.g. it's similar to Xbox Live's fee)…OnLive said that it would mark the confirmation of no subscription fees with a new, ongoing free trial program that gives users access to the service with no credit card required…”

31. A year of Geek Atlas sales http://blog.jgc.org/2010/10/year-of-geek-atlas-sales-or-some-facts.html So it's been over a year now that I've been collecting royalty statements from O'Reilly for The Geek Atlas, and the other day someone commented to the effect that I must be living large off book royalties. Clearly, this person either mistook me for J. K. Rowling or knows nothing about books. Here's how book sales work..The cover price is $29.99. O'Reilly sells the book to the retailer for much less than that: the publisher is getting…I get 10% of what O'Reilly gets. So if the book sells for $29.99 and O'Reilly gets 60% ($18) then I'd get $1.80 per copy. In practice, the actual amount I get per copy is around $1.25 because different retailers have different discounts…It was a great privilege to write that book and I'm happy whenever I do get some money back from it…if you are thinking of writing a book bear that in mind…Interestingly, I make less money now from eBooks than physical books…”

32. Unity 3 brings very expensive dev tools at a very low price http://arstechnica.com/software/news/2010/09/unity-3-brings-very-expensive-dev-tools-at-a-very-low-price.ars Indie game development tool Unity got a big update today with version 3. Unity is well known for its use in mobile Web and 3D mobile game development, but this new release brings some desktop and console graphics features usually only seen in more expensive high-end development packages…Unity 3 brings deferred rendering (allowing for many real-time lights with little added rendering overhead), a built-in tree editor, native font rendering, automatic UV mapping, audio filters, occlusion culling for desktop OSes and, most notably, integration of Illuminate Labs' Beast Lightmap tool…The included Bootcamp demo game in Unity showing off its screen-space ambient occlusion, Beast-generated lightmaps, depth of field lens effects and deferred rendering…Unity 3 also adds Android support, although it's still undergoing polishing. Unity remains free for commercial use for Web and desktop game development and Unity Pro remains $1,500 per seat…”

Economy and Technology

33. You’ll Be Able To Deposit Checks To PayPal Via Mobile Pictures http://techcrunch.com/2010/09/29/paypal-mobile-check-deposit/ “…a new version of their iPhone app that would be more check-friendly…should be released in the next day or so, PayPal’s Laura Chambers revealed on stage today…Chambers said that this new app will allow you to take a picture of the front and back of a check with your iPhone camera, and it will be added to your PayPal balance…the ability to do this actually stemmed from the terrorist attacks of 9/11 nine years ago when much of the infrastructure of the U.S. was either shut down on purpose or was struggling under the weight of demand. The U.S. then started to pass legislation to make things like this possible. Such a system allows you to easily transfer money under a variety of situations…”

34. Why Twitter's New CEO Will be Good for Everyone http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/on_twitters_new_ceo.php World-changer Evan Williams has stepped down as the CEO of micromessaging social network Twitter, the company announced today, and will pass that role to serial entrepreneur and company COO Dick Costolo…Williams seems to spawn revolutionary publishing platforms…Blogger.com, Twitter and, though it didn't work out as well, the podcasting platform Odeo…Costolo wrote:…for many technology companies, you need not necessarily have any idea how you will make money when you get started, and if you show good progress on the product and customer adoption, you need not make any commitments to a business model for some time…When asked about Google's lack of a clear business model when he backed the company, John Doerr is said to have responded "With this kind of traffic, we'll figure it out"…Evan Williams told TechCrunch today in an interview about the new roles for himself and Costolo: "I'm all about vision, he's all about execution." Costolo is hardly short of vision, though. His leadership in creating advertising products for Twitter has been remarkable…Now that Twitter's user-base has exploded, now that it's seized huge mindshare around the world, it's time to put the man who lead the creation of the company's monetization program in charge of the company…”

35. EFF, Apache Software Foundation, and Microsoft Urge Supreme Court to Revise Patent Law http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/eff_apache_software_foundation_and_microsoft_urge.php The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Apache Software Foundation…filed an amicus brief in support of Microsoft today…The EFF brief, filed alongside 10 others - including ones from Facebook, Intel, and Apple - stems from the $290 million patent infringement judgement against Microsoft. In 2009, a district court found Microsoft guilty of infringing on the patents of the Canadian software company i4i. i4i holds a patent for building a method of processing custom XML…Microsoft argues…defendants should be able to challenge patents with the less onerous "preponderance of the evidence" standard. In other words, writes EFF, "'Clear and convincing' means that the facts are 'highly probable,' which is a much more difficult standard to meet when trying to invalidate a patent than just a preponderance."…John Thorne, deputy general counsel at Verizon…submitted a brief alongside Google…saying that "For the whole high-tech community, this issue of bad patents being asserted by trolls is a huge issue. More patents are issuing, products are getting more complicated, and lawsuits are increasing…”

36. How Restaurant Owners Can Spare Patrons the Long Lines Using Textaurant http://www.readwriteweb.com/biz/2010/09/how-restaurant-owners-can-spare-patrons-long-lines-textaurant.php As we become more accustomed to instant digital gratification, scenarios in which we have to physically wait for something begin to feel less and less tolerable…if you want to go your favorite restaurant, and it happens to be packed, there's no way alternative: You need to wait in line…Textaurant that aims to eliminate that problem…go to a URL and sign up for a seat at a…restaurant by entering some basic information, including their cell phone number. The page showed a list of everybody waiting in "line". Attendees later got a text telling them that their table is ready. In a real use case, diners can opt into receiving special offers via text message, which adds a long-term marketing opportunity for restaurant owners. The concept is not unlike the hand-held buzzers that restaurants give to patrons now, except that Textaurant doesn't require patrons to carry around an extra device, they can venture as far from the restaurant as they want, and it's self-service…”

Civilian Aerospace

37. Exploring space on the cheap with an iPhone, Droid, and Flip http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2010/09/yavin-iv-exploring-space-on-the-cheap-with-an-iphone-droid-and-flip.ars Many a nerd has dreamed of exploring space—the final frontier—as a child…that dream is still far from reality…a handful of "self-admitted nerds" from the interactive design firm Sevnthsin are taking to the skies with a weather balloon, a hacked cooler, and the latest in mobile technology. Calling their project Yavin IV (after a rebel base in the Star Wars universe), the small group from Minneapolis, Minnesota completed their first full launch on Friday…The project first started after some interoffice goading from Sevnthsin senior developer Jessie Ross…"It stems from being an open office of self-admitted nerds," Erickson told Ars. Sevnthsin is an interactive design firm focused on mobile and social networking technologies, so the idea was hatched to leverage the advances in mobile technology to explore space. Taking a cue from a similar experiment performed recently at MIT, the pair decided to send up a weather balloon to the threshold of "space," with an iPhone shooting still images, a Flip camera shooting video, and a Droid Eris for GPS tracking…”

38. Russian to offer space tourists an orbiting hotel http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/russia-space-tourism-commercial-space-station-100929.html Two Russian aerospace companies are teaming up to build what they say will be the "world's first commercial space station" – an orbiting outpost open to private citizens, professional astronauts and scientists…Called the Commercial Space Station, the orbiting space laboratory and hotel will be able to host up to seven people at a time. It is being planned under a partnership between the Russian companies Orbital Technologies and RSC Energia…The space station is expected to launch sometime between 2015 and 2016. The cost of individual trips may vary based on launch vehicle, duration and purpose of missions…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

39. GPUs in strange places: cloud rendering, armored tanks http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2010/09/gpus-in-strange-places-cloud-rendering-armored-tanks.ars “…NVIDIA's recent GPU Technology Conference could probably be summed up as, "look at all the non-gaming places where GPUs are now being used."…the show floor boasted a fairly impressive array of non-gaming GPU options…even outside of high-performance computing, the GPU is finding its way into some interesting niches. One of the first demos that we saw on entering the show floor was the MAGIC1 by GE's Intelligent Platforms division…the unit is essentially a small form factor PC wrapped in a giant heatsink and rated to operate in temperatures from -40C to 55C…I/O is done through a pair of threaded ports on one end of the unit…One of those large ports is a video connector that has leads for a pair of DVI/VGA outs and a TV in. The other port is for general I/O, and it has leads for three Gigabit Ethernet connections, four USB, a PS/2 mouse and keyboard, two RS-232 legacy ports, stereo line in and out, and another VGA out..The GE reps at the booth told me that the military is a popular customer for the MAGIC1, but they also have some industrial customers…”

40. HP Builds GPU-Optimised Server http://www.eweekeurope.co.uk/news/hp-builds-gpu-optimised-server-10374 Hewlett-Packard has endorsed the use of graphics processing units (GPUs) for faster, cheaper scientific processing, and launched a modular processing system which uses them to pack 1 TeraFLOPS per unit of rack space…The HP ProLiant SL6500, announced today in Barcelona, is a blade server system, whose modules include the SL390s, a blade which can have up to three GPUs in it (one GPU is shown on the left). This adds up to one TeraFLOPS…While vendors have been building systems that can include GPUs, this is the first system from a mainstream vendor, that is optimised for GPUs, said Mark Potter, HP vice president for enterprise servers…One SL6500 chassis can hold 100 GPUs, providing 77 TeraFLOPS, which would put it in the top 100 supercomputers in the world - at a fraction of the cost, said Potter. “These are game changers…The use of GPUs in scientific computing started two or three years ago,” said Peter Groth, product line manager…”


*****

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