2010/12/07

NEW NET Issues List for 07 Dec 2010

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 07 December 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. Four Technologies for Faster Broadband in 2011 http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20101207/tc_pcworld/fourtechnologiesforfasterbroadbandin2011 A number of different technologies are being developed or improved to offer higher speeds for fixed and mobile broadband networks…Broadband speeds have arrived at the point where increasing them is a challenge for most types of fixed and mobile networks as providers move toward offering 3D and other more advanced services…broadband speed isn't just about the connections in the "last mile." Equipment that connects users to a network, for example, mobile base stations, also needs to be able to keep up and not become a bottle neck…raw capacity isn't the only way to increase speed -- content delivery networks, which push content closer to the user so it can be obtained more quickly, will become more widely used…In addition to those advances, these are four network technologies that are likely to become more important in 2011…10G GPON…VDSL2…LTE…HSPA+…”

2. Burlington, Vt. stumbles in effort to do telecom itself http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101206/ap_on_hi_te/us_troubled_telecom Tired of waiting for state-of-the-art communications technology, voters of Vermont's biggest city decided in 2000 to form their own company to provide telephone, Internet and cable TV service. Nearly 11 years later, city-owned Burlington Telecom offers Cadillac service — fiber-optic broadband — to nearly every home and business in the city. But it has signed up far fewer customers than hoped, it's $50 million in debt…The saga may be a cautionary tale for cities around the country that are fed up with waiting for their onramp to the information superhighway and contemplating getting into the telecom business…The city of just under 40,000 is home to the University of Vermont and is famous for left-leaning politics…The city electric utility is well regarded…many who have signed up for BT are happy with it…"If you decide you are going to do this, understand that you are going to have to deliver customer service…said Gary Evans, CEO of Hiawatha Broadband Communication, which manages both municipal and its own for-profit telecom networks in Minnesota and Wisconsin…the roughly 70 municipalities offering fiber-to-the-home have a combined market share of about 3 percent of the industry…some municipalities have take rates in the high 50s. Burlington's is about 30 for residential customers and much lower for commercial users…city officials are convinced more residents and business will sign up for BT services, and that its fiber optic network will come to be seen a key to economic development…”

3. YAFR – yet another Facebook redesign http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/07/new_facebook_revamp_privacy_concerns/ “…Facebook's latest revamp…is designed to encourage punters to expose even more information about their day to day lives to the dominant social networking site…“Many Facebook users are online ‘friends’ with complete strangers and so we’d advise Facebook users to consider their privacy settings, make sure they’re only sharing information with people that they know and trust and to think carefully about how much personal information they want to make public.”…Users have progressively been encouraged to share photos and comments among wider and wider groups…by default via a series of changes, most notoriously a revamp of Facebook's privacy policy late last year…Although it has never admitted as much, more detailed user information in profiles make Facebook a more attractive platform for advertisers; hence Facebook's direction of travel is always towards encouraging users to share more with a wider pool…”

4. Zynga’s CityVille Springs To A Metropolis Overnight http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/06/zynga-cityville-stats/ “…Zynga launched CityVille, its latest flagship title that’s sure to draw millions of rabid fans. The game represents Zynga’s entry into the very popular…city-building genre, which also includes Digital Chocolate’s Millionaire City, and competing titles from Playfish, Crowdstar, and Playdom. But Zynga’s got this down to a science, and its late start hasn’t kept CityVille from quickly gaining a ton of users…in the game’s first 24 hours, over 290,000 people played CityVille. That’s more than double the 116,000 that Zynga’s last title, FrontierVille, saw in its first 24 hours. And FrontierVille is no slouch — it’s now at 6.5 million players a day, with 29,872,423 monthly active users. Zynga says CityVille is its biggest launch to date…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

5. When cyber thieves use PayPal as portal to bank account http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-lazarus-20101130,0,704588.column A Valencia woman's checking account has been drained four times over the last two years by scammers who have fraudulently linked it to online PayPal accounts…each time Mills, 54, has had to close her checking account and open a new one. The latest breach occurred this month. "It's been a huge hassle," the Valencia resident told me. "I have a lot of automatic bill pays, and each time I have to shut them all off and then reset them. I've also had a lot of bounced checks as a result of this."…neither Wells Fargo nor PayPal has been able to get to the bottom of the problem…Mills' troubles highlight the ease with which con artists can access people's money using digital-age financial services like PayPal…nobody knows how the scammers were able to obtain Mills' checking account and routing numbers, even though she was issued new numbers each time. It's possible the scammers have access to Mills' computer via a software virus or some other high-tech means. It's possible the account of one of Mills' business associates has been hacked, providing access to her financial data. It's even possible the leak comes from someone at Wells Fargo. Mike Vergara, PayPal's director of risk management, said he's betting the problem lies with Mills' computer…"Even if she keeps changing her account, the malware gives access to the new number."cases like this are still relatively uncommon. "But, regrettably, they're growing," he said…In most cases, a would-be scammer wouldn't know how much PayPal was putting in someone else's bank account. But if a hacker has infiltrated that person's computer, ascertaining the amount deposited may not be difficult at all…Vergara advised all consumers to routinely check their bank accounts for tell-tale deposits of less than $1 from PayPal or a similar service, especially if you don't regularly use these cyber-payment services. They show that someone is probably trying to access your cash…Vergara also said people should do everything they can to keep their computers safe, using the latest browsers and security software…"You can never be 100% safe," he said. "But if you're vigilant, you can probably keep the bad guys away…”

6. AVG Free Update Bricks 64-Bit Windows 7 PCs http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/212313/ If you haven’t already downloaded the latest mandatory AVG 2011 Free software update, it may be best not to if you want your computer to turn on again. The December 1 update is causing 64-bit PCs running Windows 7 to totally breakdown…AVG have since pulled the update so no more computers suffer, but if your computer got caught then all is not lost. AVG have released a handy set of instructions to follow, detailing how to disable the software if it bricks your system…”

7. Amazon booted WikiLeaks due to copyright ownership and potentially endangering people http://technolog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/12/02/5570297-amazon-booted-wikileaks-due-to-copyright-ownership-violation Amazon…just issued a statement refuting the notion that it had discontinued service to WikiLeaks because of a government inquiry or a massive DDOS attack…it was…WikiLeaks' own failure to comply with Amazon's terms of service agreement…There were indeed large-scale DDOSattacks, but they were successfully defended against…AWS does not pre-screen its customers, but it does have terms of service that must be followed. WikiLeaks was not following them…our terms of service state that “you represent and warrant that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to the content… that use of the content you supply does not violate this policy and will not cause injury to any person or entity.”…WikiLeaks doesn’t own or otherwise control all the rights to this classified content…Further, it is not credible that the extraordinary volume of 250,000 classified documents that WikiLeaks is publishing could have been carefully redacted in such a way as to ensure that they weren’t putting innocent people in jeopardy…We’ve been running AWS for over four years and have hundreds of thousands of customers storing all kinds of data on AWS. Some of this data is controversial, and that’s perfectly fine…when companies or people go about securing and storing large quantities of data that isn’t rightfully theirs, and publishing this data without ensuring it won’t injure others, it’s a violation of our terms of service, and folks need to go operate elsewhere…”

8. 15+ Google Chrome extensions for better privacy control http://downloadsquad.switched.com/2010/11/01/15-google-chrome-extensions-for-better-privacy-control/ “…recent Firesheep shenanigans have taught us…we all need to take Web security and privacy a bit more seriously…Google Chrome includes a number of privacy-minded features out-of-the-box…blocking plug-ins, JavaScript, and the transmission of your location via its content settings to disabling prefetching, custom error messages, and usage statistics…for the truly privacy-minded, those features may not go far enough…there's no shortage of…options in the Chrome Extensions Gallery that can help provide you with better…browsing privacy…AdBlock…Flashblock…NotScripts…JavaScript Blacklist…Google Analytics Opt-out…IBA Opt-out…NOREF… Facebook Disconnect , Facebook Blocker, and Facebreak…Vanilla…Explode… Facebook Secure Connection…Kill Evil… Better Pop Up Blocker…Ghostery…BugMeNot…” http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/3-steps-to-regain-your-privacy-in-google-chrome/ “…Remove the unique browser ID…Either you do it manually or you use a tool. Tech Yard has a thorough walk through on changing the ID manually, and preventing Chrome from re-assigning an ID later on. Tech Yard also recommends the tool Google Chrome Anonymizer, which provides a new exe file to be used to launch Chrome to create an anonymous session. Alternatively, you can use UnChrome from Abelssoft. However, the tool is only available in German at this point…”

9. Online Trackers Peel Back Curtain Before FTC Steps In http://gigaom.com/2010/12/03/online-trackers-peel-back-curtain-before-ftc-steps-in/ A collection of data miners and tracking companies is banding together to create a one-stop shop for consumers to see how ads are targeting them and how they can opt-out of databases if they choose. The move to self-regulate is a preemptive attempt to head off a possible “Do Not Track” registry that could limit the way consumers behavior online is tracked, something the FTC called for earlier this week. When it launches in January, the Better Advertising Open Data Partnership will allow consumers to see interest-based data collected about them from eight firms…with more expected to join later…Consumers will have the ability to access the data directly from publisher sites and ads that include special icon prompts…When a consumer clicks on an “i” icon in the corner of an ad, they will see their interests and a list of companies that have collected data on them. Opting out may not stop the tracking but will prevent the information from being used to deliver personalized ads…”

10. Consumer Group Accuses TSA Of Manipulating National Opt Out Day http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?ContentBlockID=3f7aa0e8-64ba-43f8-9048-6e8802f5e343&Dynamic=1&Range=NOW&FromDate=11/30/2010&ToDate=12/03/2010&Category=/index.cfm A group which purports to "Defend Individual Liberty" says news and personal reports from around the country indicate that TSA deactivated many of their controversial body imaging scanners on Wednesday, November 24th…the group says TSA defused "Opt Out" activities…resulting in shortened waiting lines and quelling public dissent over recent changes in security procedures at our nation's airports. "We'd like to think that the TSA has been listening to citizens concerned about being given a choice between naked imaging or pat down searches of people's private parts…However, it's far more likely the reason was political and we think the public should be made aware of the motivations of our country's security chiefs…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

11. Why is Google's new Nexus S like no other smartphone http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/07/nexus_s/ “…Google…Nexus S will be…the first mainstream phone packing NFC…Nexus S features a slightly curved screen…which will either be annoying or a revelation…It also has the latest Hummingbird 1GHz processor…but it's the inclusion of Near Field Communications that is most interesting…NFC enables short-range communication for reading radio tags…as well as enabling proximity payment systems such as…Visa's PayWave and Mastercard PayPass. NFC, or N-Mark as the standard is properly known, includes both an induction-powered tag and a tag-reader…Payment systems need a secure vault on the device…Google would be the obvious key-holder in this case…The NFC chip in the Nexus S is a P544 from NXP…enabling the network operator to hold a secure vault on the SIM chip…it is possible Google has another secure vault on the device, or is planning to pursue a tokenised approach…authenticated in the cloud…” http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4211286/Reviews-mixed-on-Android-Nexus-upgrades “…the Nexus S is very similar in design and IC selection to the Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant which makes sense given the Galaxy S was a huge hit for Samsung…this phone’s key attraction will be the use of the Gingerbread…version 2.3 of Android, which will be released as open source code "in coming weeks…A software developer kit for Gingerbread is available online…Ultimately NFC is expected to be one approach for making mobile payments, but initially uses will include a variety of short data exchanges. Gingerbread also supports Session Interface Protocol to enable voice over IP links…the software is expected to support gyroscopes, rotation vectors, accelerometers, barometers and gravity sensors. Android 2.3 also supports a new class of larger displays…” http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/Nexus_S_confirmed_android_phone_youve_been_waiting_for.php

12. MacBook Air uses iPad technology to add brawn to beauty http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-12-macbook-air-ipad-technology-brawn.html “…Building on many of the technologies that power the…iPad, the engineering teams in Cupertino…have rethought the inner workings of the MacBook Air…The result is an incredibly thin and light enclosure, longer battery life and instant-on…I found the battery life to be just shy of…five hours for the 11-inch model and seven hours for the 13-inch…I tried to hang both machines by launching 10 programs and opening 15 tabs in Apple's Safari Web browser, but neither model showed signs of slowing…the 11-inch MacBook Air packs a full-size laptop keyboard and a super-sharp screen with more pixels than Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro, all in a package that weighs just 2.3 pounds…Some of its software - like the iWork desktop publishing suite - is available only on a compact disc or as a pre-loaded option when you order on Apple's Web site…for the Air, which lacks a CD/DVD drive, there's no way to get iWork installed if you buy in-store without also buying the optional external DVD drive…The Air ships with a USB drive that allows for fresh operating system installs. A similar option should be made for Apple's other software titles…MacBook Air also inexplicably has shelved the backlit keyboard of its previous generation - a real perk if you find yourself typing in low-light conditions. Is the new MacBook Air expensive? Yes. Prohibitively so? Probably…But we're clearly not going back to…back-breaking portable computers prone to hard drive failures as they get jostled around in messenger bags and backpacks…”

13. Viber For iPhone Aims To Rival Skype’s App http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/02/viber-iphone/ Today sees the launch of Viber, a brand new, free iPhone application…that…functions the way…every iPhone user wishes Skype’s mobile application would…Viber for iPhone allows you to make 100% free calls to other Viber users over 3G and WiFi, is capable of running completely in the background without draining your battery…works over Bluetooth and still manages to boast both speedy call connections and excellent audio quality…the only thing that would hold Viber back from overtaking Skype’s dominance on the App Store when it comes to free VoIP applications is the fact that it’s a fledgling company, which means it could take a while for people to learn about the app and its capabilities…Skype is modeled after a buddy list – you need a user ID and password, and in order to talk to someone you need to ‘add them’, get approved, etc. Viber, on the other hand, is modeled after a phone. So your ID is your phone number (authenticated via SMS) and you can call anyone, as long as you know their number…unlike Skype, the Viber iPhone app promises to not drain your battery when it’s running in the background…I can acknowledge having Skype run in the background on my iPhone 3GS definitely makes the battery run out of juice…The cool thing about Viber is that, even if the app is closed and not even running in the background, you can still receive calls through the service. The user is sent a push notification via Apple’s servers, a ring is generated, and as soon as the user clicks “Answer” on the notification, the app is launched and a connection is made…The company…was founded by the people behind the…p2p file sharing service iMesh…it has dozens of servers deployed all across the globe to handle the load…the company is hard at work at a similar app for Android handsets, and aims to release it in the first quarter of next year…”

14. Google Maps for Android, now Faster, Smoother, in 3D and Works Offline, sparks jealousy among iPhone owners http://venturebeat.com/2010/12/07/new-google-maps-for-android-to-spark-jealousy-among-iphone-owners-with-3d-offline-mode/ “…Google Maps update for Android phones looks like it’ll blow the iPhone’s aging Google Maps app out of the water. New features include dramatically faster performance, 3D building rendering, and an offline mode. Google Maps 5.0 for Android will offer “dynamic map drawing” with vector graphics, which are smaller and load more quickly than the flat 2-dimensional maps the app previously featured…There’s also support for 3D building models in over 100 cities…the new Maps app will support tilting, so you’ll be able to get a sense of a building’s height when rendered in 3D. The app will be able to automatically rotate maps using your device’s compass to help you maintain direction…the app will also be able to cache map data that you use most often to let you view maps offline. The app will download map locations overnight when you’re connected with WiFi. Google says that this feature will make up for over 90 percent of the times the Maps app fails when there’s a bad connection. The app’s Navigation feature will be able to take advantage of the offline maps and re-route you even if you’re without service…”

15. Snowe and Warner want WiFi in all federal buildings http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/131969-sens-snowe-and-warner-want-wifi-in-all-federal-buildings Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) introduced legislation on Friday that would require all public federal buildings to install WiFi base stations in order to free up cell phone networks…The bill would require all new buildings under construction to comply and all older buildings to be retrofitted by 2014…The bill is aimed at preventing dropped calls that occur indoors and in rural areas due to poor cell phone coverage, while also hopefully boosting wireless network capacity by more effectively deploying broadband wireless networks. The bill is also an acknowledgement of the crucial role that cell phones and smartphones such as BlackBerrys play in the daily routine of federal workers…Given that approximately 60 percent of mobile Internet use and 40 percent of cell phone calls are completed indoors, utilizing technologies such as Wi-Fi and femtocells will dramatically improve coverage…”

Open Source

16. Why Microsoft loves homebrew and hacking http://thenextweb.com/microsoft/2010/12/01/why-microsoft-loves-homebrew-and-hacking/ When the Kinect came out around the world, excited hackers took to the high-powered gadget with glee, taking it apart, and recoding it to new purposes. Microsoft initially registered unhappiness with their work which it later fully recanted, coming out in favor of tinkering with the Kinect. A similar cycle seems to have taken place with Windows Phone 7. When the ‘unlocking’ tool ChevronWP7 took to the internet, Microsoft condemned it, warning people that it could brick their phones. Then today the company reached out to the team behind ChevronWP7…we were contacted by Brandon Watson, Director of Developer Experience for Windows Phone 7, to discuss the ChevronWP7 unlocking tool…we established a mutual understanding of our intent to enable homebrew opportunities…Brandon Watson has agreed to engage in further discussions with us about officially facilitating homebrew development on WP7. To fast-track discussions, we are discontinuing the unlocking tool effective immediately [??? How does this contribute to open hacking? – ed.] …this willingness by Microsoft to praise and work with the very people who are buggering about with their products is not new. Back in 2006 Microsoft started to work on homebrew development for the Xbox, something that took many by surprise…It was a strategy that worked well for the Xbox: play into the hands of the trend-setters, taste-makers, bloggers, pundits, and experts, and by letting them do their own ‘thing,’ give the platform in question its own personality…This has led some smart, well positioned people inside of Microsoft to, instead of combating the situation with a knee-jerk reaction, tactfully let people break some of their house rules and open their gadgets. There are real people inside of the borg after all…”

17. LibreOffice RC1 arrives http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/LibreOffice-RC1-arrives-1147964.html The Document Foundation has announced the availability of the first release candidate (RC1) for version 3.3 of LibreOffice, the free open source office suite. LibreOffice forked from the OpenOffice.org office suite following Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems the original copyright holders of the name and main sponsors of the project…”

18. Apache loses Java showdown vote to Oracle http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/07/apache_google_vote_no_oracle_roadmap/ The Apache Software Foundation – one of tech's most influential open-source groups – is closer to quitting Java's governing body after losing a stand-off vote against Oracle on Java…with 75 per cent of qualifying Java Community Process (JCP) members having voted on whether to ratify Oracle's proposed roadmap for Java 7 and 8, Oracle's plan has been accepted…only ASF and Google voted against Oracle's roadmap…Apache and Google have qualified their "no" votes, saying the decision was not based on the technical merits of Oracle's plan. They say they objected to field-of-use and licensing restrictions imposed by Oracle…”

19. Thunderbird Conversations, View All Conversation Emails At Once http://www.ghacks.net/2010/12/07/thunderbird-conversations-view-all-conversation-emails-at-once/ “…Conversations is a new add-on for the Mozilla Thunderbird 3.3 email client that came out of Mozilla Labs. Conversations basically collects all emails of a conversation in Thunderbird and displays them on a single page in the browser, so that it becomes possible to read all messages without having to switch to another email or frantically trying to find the one message that you cannot find somehow. Probably the best feature of the add-on is the global reach of it. It does not only find emails belonging to the same conversation in the active folder, no, it finds them globally so that users can be sure that every message gets included in the view. Unread messages are automatically expanded while read messages show up collapsed, just like in Gmail…”

SkyNet

20. Live Blogging The Google Chrome OS Netbook Press Conference http://searchengineland.com/live-blogging-the-google-chrome-os-netbook-press-conference-58014 “…Chrome OS. Worked hard to make it as much as possible…just the web…We’ve made it possible for you to use this device even if you don’t have connectivity. But realize in today’s web, really need to be connected…Every Chrome notebook will ship with built in cellular connectivity. Can even print using Google Cloud Print to any device connected with his network, from the back of the cab (hell, I can’t print wirelessly to my wireless printer half the time when it sits on the desk next to my computer. We’ll see if that works). Partnered with Verizon to give this in every notebook. No contacts, no committments. Pay for what you need. 100MB free (that’s like nothing) every month for 2 years. Plans start at $9.99. Hmm, this also means North America…Still, cool it is built-in and there’s some free data right from the beginning…” [woo-hoo! the free internet from Google I thought I’d get with the first Gphone; I already applied to be part of the pilot program – ed.]

21. Andy Rubin Shows Off Prototype Android Honeycomb/Motorola Tablet http://www.shanzai.com/market-mayhem/news/2101-google-veep-shows-honeycomb-tablet-gingerbread-sdk-bursts-out-the-door.html Google has been a busy bee in the last few days…their own eBookstore…the latest Google phone in the shape of the Nexus-S…the latest Google Android 2.3 SDK…a Motorola tablet design…with Honeycomb 3.0…Andy Rubin…ended up answering questions about how their cell phone buying strategy will affect the current carriers in the US, how open Android is compared to iOS and how Nokia is doomed to failure outside of the Droid fold. But nobody is addressing the far reaching consequences of what an improved Android OS could mean in China and how the smaller or Shanzhai manufacturers would be rubbing their hands…we've plotted the inexorable plod from Android 1.5 to 2.2 and how the Shanzhai tablet manufacturers have quickly adapted and refined their hardware…the 2.2 devices we're seeing today are head and shoulders above those early efforts. While the Honeycomb (3.0) is expected to be a real shift, Gingerbread…will probably offer some tangible improvements…smaller chip vendors will already have started work on optimizing their products for 2.3 using the new SDK that came out today. We're hoping that Google's strategy to embrace the tablet will extend to direct engagement with…the smaller vendors who are helping to facilitate a Chinese tablet manufacturing revolution…If you thought, like us, that Android 2.2 helped put much needed shine on a functional, if not overly slick experience, then hold on to your handsets folks - Gingerbread 2.3 will take your ShanzhaiPad to the next level. We daren't even dream Honeycombed dreams…” http://news.cnet.com/8301-30684_3-20024807-265.html

22. Google Acquires Phonetic Arts To Make Robo-Voices Sound Human http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/03/google-acquires-phonetic-arts/ “…Google…just acquired Phonetic Arts, a company based in the UK that works on speech synthesis in games. Phonetic Arts makes technology that can convert lines of recorded dialog into a ‘speech library’ — feed it a few hundred lines of recordings using your voice, and it can then piece together those sounds to generate new sentences that sound surprisingly realistic. Up until now Phonetic Arts has primarily been focused on using this technology for games…Google has been paying a huge amount of attention to its voice recognition and transcription technologies over the last few years (they’ve been researching it much longer, but now the tech is making it into products). YouTube now includes automatic voice transcription captions for millions of videos; Android has voice recognition integrated throughout the OS; and Google has voice search apps for other mobile platforms, like the iPhone…” http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/can-we-talk-better-speech-technology.html “…We’ve recently made some strides with speech technologies and tools that take voice input…we launched Voice Search, Voice Input and Voice Actions for mobile phones, allowing you to speak web searches, compose emails by voice, ask your phone to play any song…we started automatically transcribing speech to produce captions on YouTube videos. But what about when the computer speaks to you…Google Translate “speaks” translated text in multiple languages…you can listen to navigation instructions as you drive…we’ve acquired Phonetic Arts, a speech synthesis company based in Cambridge, England…delivering technology that generates natural computer speech from small samples of recorded voice. There’s a particular focus right now in the U.K. on technology and innovation, and we’re delighted to be deepening our investment in the country with this acquisition. We already have a strong engineering center in London and look forward to welcoming Phonetic Arts to the team…”

23. Google’s New Bookstore Cracks Open the E-book Market http://gigaom.com/2010/12/06/google-ebooks-store/ Google today launched its long-awaited electronic book store, called simply Google eBooks, with more than 3 million titles and 4,000 publishers participating as partners, including most of the major industry names. Independent booksellers will also be able to offer Google eBooks through a partnership with the American Booksellers’ Association, and the company is launching an affiliate network that will allow any website to do the same…the electronic book market…until now has been dominated by Amazon and Apple…the company has scanned in over 15 million books through its massive book-scanning project, which “makes us one of the largest libraries in the world.” In the Google eBook store, there will be 2.8 million books available to download free of charge, since they are in the public domain, and the rest will have a “buy” button next to them that takes readers directly to the eBook store…Google will pay the publisher 52 percent of the list price if a title is sold through Google’s store, or 45 percent if it’s sold through the company’s retail partners, which include Powell’s and Alibris…”

24. Chrome 8 released, includes PDF viewing http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20024520-264.html Google helped…Adobe Systems' PDF files..by building the ability to read them into its latest browser, Chrome 8, released yesterday…when people click a PDF link, the document will open directly in the browser. Chrome's built-in PDF reader is…within a sandbox, lowering the risk that security issues will…facilitate a broader attack on a computer. The PDF reader is among 800 improvements in Chrome 8, including 12 security fixes…Google paid out $1,000 to each of three discoverers of high-risk vulnerabilities…The new Chrome 8.0.552.215…arrives just about six weeks after Google released Chrome 7…Building Flash and PDF readers into Chrome means, among other things, that they're upgraded rapidly and typically invisibly whenever Google wants to distribute a new version for performance, features, or security reasons. Chrome's PDF reader appears to use the Foxit PDF SDK software, but the built-in Flash Player is from Adobe…”

25. Chrome Browser to Start Sandboxing Flash Player http://www.webmonkey.com/2010/12/chrome-browser-to-start-sandboxing-flash-player/ The latest developer channel release of the Chrome browser now supports sandboxing for Adobe’s Flash Player…This feature should provide extra protection against malicious browser exploits through the Flash Player. The dev channel releases of Chrome on Windows already support sandboxing for HTML rendering and JavaScript execution, two of the most common paths people can use to run malicious code on an unsuspecting user’s machine. Sandboxing keeps these sensitive parts of the browser more secure while still allowing web pages and apps to access the other, less-sensitive parts of the browser…Once the kinks are ironed out, all of these sandboxing features will begin making their way into proper stable Chrome releases. Google’s Chromium team has been working with Adobe to build better Flash controls into Chrome, and to utilize Chrome’s sandboxing technology for the plug-in…Wednesday’s update makes Chrome the only browser on XP that sandboxes Flash…”

26. Google's Cloud Picker: Still Not GDrive http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/googles_cloud_picker_not_gdrive.php “…Cloud Picker is an upcoming Google feature, accidentally revealed…prompting a public statement from Google which essentially said "oops."…Apparently, it's a storage product that ties together several of Google's services - YouTube, Docs, Maps and Picasa photos - to allow for easy insertion of media into other Google services like Blogger and Google Sites…Gdrive, the long-rumored Google competitor to Microsoft's now 3+ years-old SkyDrive cloud storage service has never officially been revealed…Cloud Picker only appears as a pop-up when you go to insert media into Blogger or Sites…it's a dialog box, not a service…it's not all that different from Microsoft's "Quick Add" functionality, which let you add Maps, Images, Videos or other online media into Windows Live Hotmail. The only difference is…Cloud Picker pulls from your own files, as opposed to those publicly hosted…Even though Cloud Picker isn't a standalone service, wouldn't it be nice if it were?...I've personally longed for a single interface that would allow me to manage, edit and share all my Google-hosted files from speadsheets to YouTube videos…integrating Cloud Picker into Google Chrome or Chrome OS would help transition users more fully to the cloud. That would be a good thing, of course, but we're stilling hoping for a Gdrive launch one day…”

27. Google Exec: Android is Profitable http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2373942,00.asp Google doesn't charge its carrier-, OEM- and developer partners a dime for its mobile operating system, but apparently the search giant is still making money in the mobile space…the advertising on Android-based phones is a revenue stream for the search giant and, in fact, makes the Android enterprise within Google profitable all by itself…even on phones where users do not have the Google search bar pre-installed (some carriers swap Bing for Google), a large number of people still type in Google.com to search on their phones, driving organic search on these Android phones…Rubin said he still sees Android as an early adopter platform built for tech enthusiasts, but expect that situation to start improving with the introduction of the tablet-oriented Honeycomb version of Android…There are now, according to Rubin, 172 different phone SKUs offering Android, many of them modifying the interface and swapping in and out Google features and various propriety pieces of mobile software. Rubin said that this is the reality of offering an open platform…”

28. 5 Reasons Google Bought Widevine http://gigaom.com/video/google-widevine-acquisition/ “…Google announced today that it will acquire Widevine Technologies, giving it access to technology necessary to securely deliver video to a wide range of connected devices…the Widevine purchase will also bring deep Hollywood relationships and improve its chances of getting Google TV deployed on consumer electronics devices…Here are the top five reasons Google had its eyes on the company…Everyone needs DRM...Cozying up with Hollywood…Connecting Google TV to more devices…YouTube Everywhere…Android needs adaptive streaming…”

29. U.S. General Services Administration is going Google http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/us-general-services-administration-is.html The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) today announced its decision to move 17,000 employees and contractors to Google Apps for Government…GSA’s decision to switch to Google Apps resulted from a competitive request for proposal (RFP) process that took place over the past six months, during which the agency evaluated multiple proposals for replacing their existing on-premises email system. GSA selected Google partner Unisys as the prime contractor to migrate all employees in 17 locations around the world…email and collaboration tools will help make employees more efficient and effective…GSA expects to lower costs by 50 percent over the next five years…”

General Technology

30. Ephemeralization: Increasing tendency of physical machinery to be replaced by software http://paulgraham.com/tablets.html “…I was thinking recently how inconvenient it was not to have a general term for iPhones, iPads, and the corresponding things running Android…what we'll end up calling these things is tablets…The iPhone isn't so much a phone as a replacement for a phone…it's an early instance of what will become a common pattern…This is already clear in cases like GPSes, music players, and cameras…We funded one startup that's replacing keys. The fact that you can change font sizes easily means the iPad effectively replaces reading glasses. I wouldn't be surprised if by playing some clever tricks with the accelerometer you could even replace the bathroom scale…a good recipe for startups will be to look around you for things that people haven't realized yet can be made unnecessary by a tablet app…Buckminster Fuller coined the term ephemeralization to describe the increasing tendency of physical machinery to be replaced by what we would now call software…The iPhone and the iPad have effectively drilled a hole that will allow ephemeralization to flow into a lot of new areas…It has turned out to be a great thing that Apple tablets have accelerometers in them. Developers have used the accelerometer in ways Apple could never have imagined. That's the nature of platforms. The more versatile the tool, the less you can predict how people will use it. So tablet makers should be thinking: what else can we put in there? Not merely hardware, but software too…”

31. Nano-Optical gyroscopes http://esciencenews.com/articles/2010/10/05/a.tracking.device.fits.head.a.pin “…Optical gyroscopes, also known as rotation sensors, are widely used as a navigational tool in…airplanes, measuring the rotation rates of a vehicle on three axes to evaluate its exact position and orientation…researchers have developed nano-sized optical gyroscopes that can fit on the head of a pin…These gyroscopes will have the ability to pick up smaller rotation rates, delivering higher accuracy while maintaining smaller dimensions…Conventional gyroscopes look like a box, and weigh two or three pounds…At the core of the new device are extremely small semi-conductor lasers…These lasers are a few tens-of-micrometers in diameter, as compared to the conventional gyroscope, which measures about 6 to 8 inches…Measuring a millimeter by a millimeter…the device can be built onto a larger chip that also contains other necessary electronics…”

32. Ellison/Oracle Challenges HP, IBM with New SPARC Cluster database power http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4211222/Oracle-lights-Sparcs-breaks-database-record Oracle announced a system using its Sparc processors and Solaris operating system that executed more than 30 million transactions/minute, leapfrogging competitors IBM and Hewlett-Packard…a new Sun Sparc cluster delivered 30,249,699 transactions/minute on the TPC-C benchmark, beating a four-month-old record on an IBM cluster of 10 million. HP held the previous record with an Intel Itanium based Superdome system at four million. The Sun team integrated flash memory into servers in a way that Oracle's database software can use it as a new part of the memory hierarchy, optimizing performance…the T4, its next-generation Sparc processor…will sport up to eight cores running up to eight threads each…Ellison said the next version of the Solaris operating system will be available soon. Oracle's middleware and applications are already being based on Sun's Java language, he added. In a study of its customers before the Sun acquisition, Oracle found…Solaris and Linux represented nearly 80 percent of its installed systems…”

33. Software Edits Huge Images in Seconds Instead of Hours http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101027090841.htm University of Utah computer scientists developed software that quickly edits "extreme resolution imagery" -- huge photographs containing billions to hundreds of billions of pixels or dot-like picture elements…By sampling only a fraction of the pixels in a massive image -- for example, a satellite photo or a panorama made of hundreds of individual photos -- the software can produce good approximations or previews of what the fully processed image would look like…The new software -- Visualization Streams for Ultimate Scalability, or ViSUS -- allows gigapixel images stored on an external server or drive to be edited from a large computer, a desktop or laptop computer, or even a smart phone…Pascucci defines massive imagery as images containing more than one gigapixel -which is equal to 100 photos from a 10-megapixel (10 million pixel) digital camera…In one example, they used the software to perform "seamless cloning," which means taking one image and merging it with another image. They combined a 3.7-gigapixel image of the entire Earth with a 116-gigapixel satellite photo of the city of Atlanta, zooming in on the Gulf of Mexico and putting Atlanta underwater there…Pascucci, Summa and colleagues also used a camera mounted on a robotic panning device and placed atop a University of Utah building to take 611 photographs during a six-hour period. Together, the photos covered the entire Salt Lake Valley. At full resolution, it took them four hours to do "panorama stitching," which is stitching the mosaic of photos together into a 3.27-gigapixel panorama of the valley…But using the ViSUS software, it took only two seconds to create a "global preview" of the entire Salt Lake panorama that looked almost as good…”

DHMN Technology

34. MoNETA: A Mind Made from Memristors http://spectrum.ieee.org/robotics/artificial-intelligence/moneta-a-mind-made-from-memristors/0 “…MoNETA, the brain on a chip…(Modular Neural Exploring Traveling Agent) is the software we're designing at Boston University's department of cognitive and neural systems, which will run on a brain-inspired microprocessor under development at HP Labs in California. It will function according to the principles that distinguish us mammals most profoundly from our fast but witless machines…It will perceive its surroundings, decide which information is useful, integrate that information into the emerging structure of its reality, and in some applications, formulate plans that will ensure its survival…about two years ago…HP built a new class of electronic device called a memristor. Before the memristor, it would have been impossible to create something with the form factor of a brain, the low power requirements, and the instantaneous internal communications. Turns out that those three things are key to making anything that resembles the brain and thus can be trained and coaxed to behave like a brain…memristors are small enough, cheap enough, and efficient enough to fill the bill. Perhaps most important, they have key characteristics that resemble those of synapses. That's why they will be a crucial enabler of an artificial intelligence worthy of the term…”

35. Tegra 2 in Motorola Olympus http://www.mobilemag.com/2010/12/05/motorola-olympus-high-end-android-phone-rocks-tegra-2-spotted-for-real/ “…One of the latest devices to get leaked out on the Internet is the Motorola Olympus…Also known as the MB860, the Motorola Olympus is one of the new generation of smartphones getting powered by the Nvidia Tegra 2 processor. This is supposed to be a step up from the Qualcomm Snapdragon processors that we’re seeing on so many devices today. You’ll also notice the beautiful four-inch display; from what I hear, it’s not AMOLED, but more likely SLCD…”

36. Motorola Hands-Free Wireless Computing Headset http://files.shareholder.com/downloads/ABEA-2FO3VV/1088633496x0x421734/1fb871de-f8a7-4905-ad39-26ca38c900ed/MOT_News_2010_11_22_Press_Releases.pdf “…This new device category is a head-worn, mobile computer headset with full voice, audio and PC capabilities, leveraging Kopin's advanced system and micro-display technologies to create a virtual 15-inch monitor that supports simulation software, streaming video on-demand and other large-screen enterprise applications…”

Leisure & Entertainment

37. Christmas consumer technology: Xbox Kinect is holiday season's 'It' gadget http://www.informationweek.com/news/hardware/peripherals/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=228400188 Microsoft…said it sold more than 2.5 million Xbox Kinect units since launching the product earlier this month—making it one of the hottest selling E-toys for the crucial holiday shopping season…the hands-free controller system for Xbox 360 is such a hit it's sold out at many retailers and is commanding premium prices on Ebay…Microsoft is offering Kinect bundled with a 250GB Xbox 360 for $399 while the 4GB version is selling for $299. The Kinect sensor bar is also available as a standalone product for $149…The Kinect bar features a camera, audio sensors, and motion-sensing technology that tracks 48 points of movement on the human body. That means players can control on-screen action simply through physical gestures and verbal commands. The sensor bar is designed to plug directly into the Xbox 360 console…” [I played with a Kinect last week and it was lagggggy. I think Kinect tech is more about what it can develop into than what v. 1.0 offers. Other articles suggest the iPad is the must-have Christmas gift for this year. Which will sell more units? – ed.]

38. Winamp Wants To Be The iTunes Of Android http://techcrunch.com/2010/11/30/winamp-android/ “…Winamp for Android is coming out of beta, a month after its initial launch and more than 500,000 downloads later. The public Android release lets you manage your music downloads on your Android and will offer a couple new features, including wireless syncing over WiFi with Winamp on your desktop computer and the addition of Shoutcast radio stations…Winamp is a popular music management software for Windows, with 60 million users predominantly overseas…AOL is making a big push with Android, hoping to attract a lot of new U.S. mobile users and become the iTunes for Android devices…Winamp is going to be positioned as the best music management app for Android. Of course, there are other contenders for that title, including doubleTwist and Songbird. Just like with iTunes, Winamp lets you mange and play your digital music collection…”

39. In the Name of Art, Wafaa Balil is a Walking Tripod http://www.pcworld.com/article/212441/in_the_name_of_art_wafaa_balil_is_a_walking_tripod.html Iraqi-American Bilal, an assistant professor at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, has implanted a titanium plate into the back of his skull for the sake of his art. The plate allows Bilal to attach and remove a camera to the back of his head magnetically, for his project which is called "The 3rd I."…off-campus he'll be beaming photos every minute via a notebook computer he'll be carrying at his side (and connected to the camera) to his "The 3rd I" exhibit at the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, which is scheduled to open this month in Qatar…The project is "a comment on the inaccessibility of time, and the inability to capture memory and experience…Suffering for his art is nothing new to Bilal--in 2007, he locked himself in a gallery in Chicago with a remote-controlled paintball gun that could be fired at him by visitors to a website…”

40. Mobiles, iPod touch killing off Nintendo DS, Sony PSP http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/10/12/07/mobiles_ipod_touch_killing_off_nintendo_ds_sony_psp.html “…According to a new report by Interpret, mobile phones now make up 43.8 percent of the mobile gaming market, which includes Nintendo's DS and Sony's PSP lines of handheld devices. While the proportion of games played on phones has increased by 53.2 percent over the last year, the number played on the DS and PSP have actually fallen by 13 percent…Devices which satisfy a variety of entertainment and utility are fast outstripping single-function devices as consumer favorites…By the end of 2008, gaming legend Jon Carmack of id Software went on record as saying the iPhone was "more powerful than a Nintendo DS and PSP combined,"…Since then, smartphones have advanced significantly in processor and graphics capabilities while Nintendo has largely only offered a bigger DS screen and Sony has done little to advance the PSP. Both Nintendo and Sony have also made only the barest of attempts to push downloadable games…Sony is rumored to be readying a PSP2 as a successor to the existing PSP toward the end of 2011…Nintendo…will be launching its first major upgrade in the spring of 2011 under then name 3DS, featuring games with 3D screen effects that don't require glasses, 3G mobile connectivity, an accelerometer and GPS features…I think the PSP is dead on arrival and I think the PSP2 is going to be dead on arrival…young kids are just as happy playing with an iPod Touch…what’s the difference if you play Tetris on an iPod Touch or on a DS? Well, you pay a buck on the iPod Touch, you pay $20 on the DS. Parents prefer $1 or free software. I think the iPod Touch is going to sell really, really well. I really think as the iPod Touch gets more and more powerful, you’re going to see a lot of free games over there…”

Economy and Technology

41. The Rise Of The Gentleman Hacker http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/03/the-rise-of-the-gentleman-hacker/ “…two entrepreneurs…made a ton of money by selling their companies in the last couple of years. They’re both working on a slew of new projects, and the way they’re doing it is fascinating. What does a person do after becoming fabulously wealthy?...I’m hearing more and more about people who are simply setting up an office somewhere close to their multi-million dollar home in Silicon Valley or San Francisco, hiring a handful of hackers, and just building stuff to see what happens…A million dollars or so will get you an office and a handful of hackers, and keep them well paid for more than a year. Get someone really young…and they may even work for next to nothing in exchange for big equity stakes in their projects…Michael Birch…is doing this through an entity he calls Monkey Inferno. He’s got gobs of cash from his $850 million sale of Bebo to AOL two years ago…The other entrepreneur I spoke with tonight hasn’t given me permission to say his name. But he also had a multi-hundred million dollar exit recently…his plans are much the same. Open up shop with a bunch of hackers and just build stuff…”

42. POS Systems: Apple introducing new product line? http://www.9to5mac.com/38474/apple-opens-up-new-business-in-point-of-sale-systems “…there were rumors that Apple would release their EasyPay point-of-sale system as a commercial product to third parties. Last month Apple’s first customer, Gap Inc’s Old Navy subsidiary began piloting them. We’re told there is one per store and they are kept in a safe when not in use…a customer checking out at her local Old Navy store via the Apple-developed point of sale system…is signing for her purchase with her finger…The Apple PoS system prints customer’s receipts wirelessly to stationed printers throughout the retail stores…apparently some employees are wearing mini-printers on their belts. According to some Old Navy employees the Apple POS system is perfect for the holiday sales rush as the device’s portability cuts down lines and is simply more efficient for everyone…”

43. Ebay Acquires Milo For $75 Million http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/02/confirmed-ebay-acquires-milo-for-75-million-investors-make-a-killing/ “…local shopping startup Milo has in fact been acquired by eBay, for $75 million…the site lists real-time in-store product inventory for over 50,000 stores accross the country; featuring over 3 million products at from Target, Macy’s, Best Buy, Crate & Barrel and more…Google has started playing in the same space. Earlier this year, Google Product Search launched Blue Dot, on mobile search. Similar to Milo, Blue Dot allowed users within search to see if a product is in-stock at nearby stores…A few weeks ago, Google unleashed a new version of Product Search, with more inventory listings from 70 popular retail brands, many of whom also list with Milo…Milo struck back with a coupon feature and also previously launched an Android app…For eBay, Milo represents just another way to get into the $917 billion market of online research to offline buying…”

44. LivingSocial Confirms $175 Million Amazon Investment http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/02/livingsocial-confirms-175-million-amazon-investment/ “…Amazon and daily deals site LivingSocial…confirmed their partnership, with the e-tailer investing a whopping $175 million in the latter…Groupon commands 79 percent of U.S. visits to the group buying category, whereas No. 2 in the category LivingSocial only commands 8 percent of the market. While that is a formidable gap in marketshare, LivingSocial is on track to bring in $500 million in revenues next year which is a really positive sign…Some are saying that this most recent funding has skyrocketed LivingSocial’s valuation to over $1 billion…”

45. Groupon gets greedy, tells Google to go away http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/dec/05/google-groupon-discount-websites “…Groupon, a two-year-old internet startup that may be the fastest-growing firm in history and has just spurned a $6bn takeover bid from Google. Chicago-based Groupon is the hottest company of the moment in the US technology industry. Its decision, late on Friday, to walk away from a multibillion-dollar buyout by the world's biggest internet search company is a sign of remarkable audacity on the part of founder Andrew Mason…Groupon specialises in providing customers with discounts that are triggered when they encourage friends, family and colleagues to purchase in bulk. Its 12 million subscribers are emailed one deal a day, tailored to their location and profile. Groupon has rivals, including LivingSocial and the UK's Groupola, but it's the biggest group-discounts website and has global ambitions; local deals on items ranging from breakfast at a tea shop in Manchester to tickets for museum shows in Chicago soon add up. Analysts calculate the local advertising market is worth more than $300bn globally…Blenkey-Tchassova offered a Groupon promotion on her Burlesque Bikini Bootcamp last week – 10 classes for $49 rather than $99. She sold 800 within hours. Half that goes to Groupon, but Blenkey-Tchassova is confident the sale was just the start…Groupon is a very different business to past targets of Google. For a start, it relies more on people than algorithms and Mason has publicly worried about losing his corporate identity. Groupon has a staff of 3,000 and Mason has described it as a "hybrid human-technology company". The firm employs comedy writers to come up with witty ad copy…”

Civilian Aerospace

46. SpaceX gets set for next giant leap http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/12/06/5600599-spacex-gets-set-for-next-giant-leap When Space Exploration Technologies sends its Dragon capsule toward orbit atop a Falcon 9 rocket for the first time, hopefully sometime this week, the spaceship company's founder figures it will have only about a 60 percent chance of coming back down successfully…SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says he's feeling "calmer about this flight" than he did about the last one, back in June, when the Falcon 9 made its debut…The Falcon 9's maiden launch turned out to be nearly flawless…that only raised the expectations for the second launch -- which is just about as risky as the first…it's considered the first official demonstration flight in a test program that would turn SpaceX into one of the prime cargo carriers for the International Space Station. Sending up cargo will earn the California-based company $1.6 billion over the next six years. If NASA ever gives the go-ahead, SpaceX's Dragon could someday carry astronauts as well as food and supplies into orbit…SpaceX and NASA said today that the mission would be put off until Wednesday or Thursday…Musk…has put more than $100 million of his own money into the SpaceX venture..he estimates…chances of success at…60 percent or thereabouts…"Historically, the track record for the second launch of a new vehicle is not that great," he said. "The statistics improve dramatically around launch 3 and 4."…Next year, SpaceX plans to send up a Falcon 9 with a Dragon that would approach the space station, and perhaps even hook up with it…Why does he do it? Musk said that if he was in this just for the money, he'd go back to setting up Internet ventures instead. "Making money there is like falling off a log," he said. "I'm sure I can make something better than, say, FarmVille."…He's even starting to think ahead to the next giant leap -- the development of a super-heavy-lift rocket, more powerful than the Apollo era's Saturn 5, which could put 150 metric tons of payload into Earth orbit…he's willing to build the rocket for $2.5 billion. "Anything above that, SpaceX will pay for," he promised…The way Musk sees it, going to other worlds is just an extension of the course laid out by Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama 500 years ago... NASA needs companies to build the ships to carry the Vasco da Gamas, and the Magellans, and the Columbuses," Musk told me. "If Columbus didn't have a shipbuilding industry that could build ships to cross the ocean, there would be no America. We're making those ships. I will do everything in my power to make that happen…”

47. X-37B spaceplane returns to Earth http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11911335 A prototype spaceplane…has returned to Earth after seven months in orbit…the craft is expected to return to space in Spring 2011…the reusable spaceplane is about one-quarter the size of the space shuttle, with a large engine mounted at the rear of the ship for changing orbit…powered by a solar array and lithium-ion batteries. The Boeing-built spacecraft returned to Earth on "auto-pilot"; the successful return marks the first autonomous re-entry and landing in the recorded history of the US space programme…According to amateur satellite watchers, who have been tracking the experimental vehicle since its launch, the craft changed its orbital path around six times…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

48. GPU Vs CPU Smackdown : The Rise Of Throughput-Oriented Architectures http://highscalability.com/blog/2010/12/3/gpu-vs-cpu-smackdown-the-rise-of-throughput-oriented-archite.html “…the original Amazon cloud…was like that really cool house that when you stepped inside and saw the old green shag carpet in the living room, you knew the house hadn't been updated in a while…In a typical house you might just do a remodel…But Amazon has a big lot, instead of remodeling they simply keep adding on entire new wings…The first new wing added was a CPU based HPC system featuring blazingly fast Nehalem chips, virtualization replaced by a close to metal Hardware Virtual Machine (HVM) architecture, and the network is a monster 10 gigabits with the ability to specify placement groups to carve out a low-latency, high bandwidth cluster…The newest addition is a beauty, it's a graphics processing unit (GPU) cluster…The shag carpet is out. In are Nvidia M2050 GPU based clusters which make short work of applications in the sciences, finance, oil & gas, movie studios and graphics…Having both CPU and GPU clusters seems a bit strange. Why have two? Dr. Vogels does a good job explaining the reasoning: GPUs work best on problem sets that are ideally solved using massive fine-grained parallelism, using for example at least 5,000 - 10,000 threads…Modern CPUs strongly favor lower latency of operations with clock cycles in the nanoseconds and we have built general purpose software architectures that can exploit these low latencies very well…The ACM has a timely article about using GPUs for high performance computing… techniques suitable for four parallel threads may be entirely unsuitable for 4,000 parallel threads…GPUs are specifically designed to execute literally billions of small user-written programs per second… for a surprisingly large number of problems there is now a ready supply of GPU supercomputeryness…”

49. Intel Charts Its Multicore and Manycore Future for HPC http://www.hpcwire.com/features/Intels-Charts-Its-Multicore-and-Manycore-Future-for-HPC-111157394.html A lot of discussion at this year's Supercomputing Conference was devoted to manycore architectures and exascale computing…as the community hurtles toward the exaflop milestone, it has become clear that the natural evolution of multicore x86 CPUs won't get the industry very far toward that goal. Manycore GPGPUs, on the other hand, do appear to be a viable path to exascale computing…Intel's answer to GPGPUs is its new Many Integrated Core (MIC) architecture…the recycled Larrabee technology…Today Intel is the dominant processor supplier for all HPC platforms, from top 10 supercomputers, to clusters, and down to high performance clients…MIC architecture…will be the basis for its manycore processor design for the next decade…rapid ascension of general-purpose GPUs into high performance computing over the last three years has given NVIDIA, and to a lesser extent AMD, a formidable head start. As of October, the fastest supercomputer in the world, the Tianhe-1A, is a GPU-CPU hybrid. That machine delivers 2.5 petaflops on Linpack, with the vast majority of those FLOPS being supplied by the GPUs…If Intel doesn't have a viable alternative to the GPGPU juggernaut, its chips will be relegated to the role of supporting player in a lot of future supercomputers, not to mention mainstream clusters and high performance workstations…”


*****

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