2010/12/14

NEW NET Issues List for 14 Dec 2010

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 14 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. You Don't Want Tiered Internet Costs http://www.pcworld.com/article/213484/why_you_dont_want_tiered_internet_costs.html The FCC is closing in on a final vote on a net neutrality policy that endorses Verizon, Comcast and other carriers' argument that tiered Internet service contracts would benefit both consumers and carriers. Carriers would be able to charge more for bandwidth hogs like Android users and Netflix content. Consumers or businesses would be able to choose the tier of service they need…Except... the tiers carriers are talking about start pretty high -- the minimum you could pay is likely to be about the amount you're paying now for the bandwidth and quality of service you want. Anything more would come with big costs…If carriers offered a real tiered pricing structure, many consumers would ring in for a dirt-cheap Internet rate that lets them check email and look at a few YouTube videos at a little more than DSL speed. Rather than take that revenue hit, carriers want a flat rate they can charge everyone, impose usage caps to keep them from having to upgrade networks too quickly, and add premium-tier costs on top of that. It sounds like all benefit, no risk for the carriers, exactly the opposite for the rest of us…almost every consumer advocate or end user who has weighed in on the debate has called it tiered pricing a rip off…”

2. CityVille Hits 6 Million Daily Active Users In 8 Days http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/11/cityville-6-million/ Zynga’s newest game, CityVille…had nearly 300,000 players in the first 24 hours, and 3 million daily active users in its first week. But it’s growth ramp keeps on going crazy. Now, not quite two days after it hit the 3-million user mark, it is already at 6 million daily active users…How did CityVille, a social city-building game, grow so fast? It was the first time Zynga did an international launch in five languages…with a big marketing push and localized games in different countries. It also leveraged Zynga’s other existing games to kickstart CityVille. With Zynga, every new game seems bigger than the last. It’s kind of scary.”

3. Social media blackout wins converts http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101210/ap_on_hi_te/us_social_media_blackout A social media blackout at a small Pennsylvania college won over some skeptical students who initially disliked it…Forty-two percent of students responding to surveys at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology ended up supporting the exercise, which temporarily blocked sites like Twitter and Facebook on campus. Only 23 percent approved before the blackout…Results released Friday showed that 25 percent of respondents reported better classroom concentration that week, while 23 percent found lectures more interesting…The 800-student private school in Harrisburg…had drawn both ridicule and admiration for the blackout in September. Staff and students alike were affected by the ban, which included social networking sites and instant-messaging but allowed e-mail, texting and other Web surfing…the point was not to prevent access so much as to get people to think critically about the role of social media in their lives…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

4. WikiLeaks supporters used 30,000-node botnet in MasterCard, PayPal attacks http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9200598/Group_used_30_000_node_botnet_in_MasterCard_PayPal_attacks “…online activists continued their Web attacks on companies that have severed their relationships with WikiLeaks. The activists have recruited volunteers, who have banded their computers into a distributed denial of service (DDoS) botnet, but they are also using hacked machines to carry out these attacks…we also have knowledge of a 30k node botnet…This botnet infects computers via peer to peer filesharing systems, but it can spread via Microsoft Messenger and USB sticks as well…PayPal was hit late Wednesday afternoon…There have been attempted DDoS attacks on paypal.com this week," said company spokesman Anuj Nayar. "The attacks…did not significantly impact payments."…Unlike Visa and MasterCard, the website is critical to PayPal's business…MasterCard's SecureCode service -- used to add a security code for use in online transactions, similar to a PIN (personal identification number), also suffered a disruption Wednesday…Representatives of the Anonymous group's Operation Payback said that they were responsible for this disruption…Both MasterCard and Visa also had their public websites knocked offline by a "hive" of as many as 3,000 activists who had downloaded Web-attacking software…Operation Payback has gone after websites belonging to organizations that have cracked down on unlicensed music and movie copying -- the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). This week, the project took up cyber arms against companies that have cut business ties with WikiLeaks, making it harder for the website to raise money and continue operations. They have also hit websites belonging to WikiLeaks critics such as U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin…”

5. Former Googler Launches Disconnect, Browser Extension That Disables Third Party Data Tracking http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/13/former-googler-launches-disconnect-browser-extension-that-disables-third-party-data-tracking/ You remember Facebook Disconnect, the browser extension that allowed you to remove Facebook Connect functionality from websites? After 50K active users in two weeks and hitting the top 10 Google Chrome extensions, creator Brian Kennish has left his job at Google to focus on building Disconnect, a browser extension for Chrome and Rockmelt that disables multiple third party data tracking while browsing…Disconnect prevents major third parties like Digg, Facebook, Google, Twitter and Yahoo from gathering information (cookies) about the pages you go to and the searches you do…“I called it quits at Google three weeks ago so I could help web users better understand the data they’re unintentionally sharing and develop tools that make it simple for them to control this data (I’ve been referring to this effort as Web 2.1, a privacy patch for the web).”…Disconnect is easier to use than conventional ad blockers and does not impair web functionality, i.e. you can still access services like Gmail while your searches remain anonymous. Disconnect also conveniently allows you to see blocked requests as well easily unblock services from your browser toolbar. Kennish has a Disconnect for Firefox and Safari in the works…”

6. 4 Effective Tools for Monitoring Your Child's Online Safety http://news.yahoo.com/s/mashable/20101207/tc_mashable/4_effective_tools_for_monitoring_your_childs_online_safety “…If you're concerned about your child's online safety, you aren't unusual. Seventy-eight percent of respondents to a survey conducted by Yahoo had similar worries, and more than 70% of them took some action to manage their children's online and mobile activities…cyberbullying, online predators, and your child's reputation warrant some effort toward keeping track of what your child is doing online. These four services make it easy by alerting you when potentially damaging content involving your child is posted online…SafetyWeb…SocialShield…AOL SafeSocial…GoGoStat Parental Guidance…”

7. RSA Turns Android Devices Into SecurID Tokens http://www.securityweek.com/rsa-turns-android-devices-securid-tokens RSA announced today that its SecurID Software Token will be available for Android smartphones, enabling users of the popular mobile operating system with secure, two-factor authentication to enterprise applications and resources using their Android powered device as an RSA SecurID authenticator…Two-factor authentication is based on something a user knows (a password or PIN) and something they have (an authenticator such as a hardware toek or mobile device)—providing a more reliable level of user authentication than passwords alone. The RSA SecurID Software Token for Android generates a one-time password that changes every 60 seconds. Using this one time password along with a users “regular” password or PIN, organizations can enable secure access to corporate resources…"The smart phone will become the default strong authenticator for users in the near-term; it means one less device that the user must carry. It's important that strong authentication methods like one-time password devices are supported on smart phones, and that developers have an easy way to embed this high-quality authentication method into mobile applications…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

8. Navteq acquires Trapster http://www.autoblog.com/2010/12/10/navteq-acquires-trapster/ “…the ink dried on a deal for Navteq to acquire Trapster, the speed trap and road hazard tracking company that makes GPS apps for iPhone, Android and Blackberry…With over nine million downloads, Trapster has both the reach and programming knowledge to expand the depth and breadth of the firm's traffic data…Trapster was established in 2003, growing considerably once it received funding in March of 2009 which allowed it to bring on a handful of employees…”

9. Android users biggest data hogs of them all http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/guides/2010/12/android-users-biggest-data-hogs-of-them-all.ars “…Android phone users are the biggest data hogs of all according to a new report…while the iPhone 4 is definitely near the top of the rankings, Android is king pig…Phones like the HTC Desire and the Samsung Galaxy were highlighted as being "particularly data hungry," consuming higher data volume than both the iPhone 3G and iPhone 4. Android-based handsets also made more data calls and spent more time connected to the network…the study observed no increase in the number of voice calls…nearly all of the networks (at least in the US) have been looking for ways to either make more from bandwidth-snarfing customers or limit their consumption. Data usage caps are becoming the de facto standard among 3G networks…”

10. Nvidia seeing popularity grow in tablet PC market http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20101213PD226.html Nvidia's Tegra 2 platform has recently become a new spotlight in the tablet PC market as most of the tablet PC vendors including Acer, Asustek Computer, Toshiba and Samsung Electronics as well as several regional brand vendors in China, Germany and the UK, are all set to launch Tegra 2-based models…Affected by the strong sales of Apple iPad, consumers have started to learn to accept non-Wintel platform and are helping demand for platforms such as Android/ARM to grow. Tegra 2's strong graphics performance and supports for Adobe Flash and 3D games are the drivers for brand vendors and tablet PC makers to decide to adopt the platform; meanwhile, Nvidia is also offering price discounts…”

Open Source

11. OSSEC: the Open Source Host Intrusion Detection System http://houcemhachicha.blogspot.com/2010/12/ossec-open-source-host-intrusion.html With over seven years of active development, and more than 20000 downloads a month, OSSEC has become the de-facto standard for open source Host-based Intrusion Detection. If you have ever worked on information security, than you must have heard of Snort, the Open Source Network Intrusion Detection System. Together with a Firewall, a well configured Snort sensor placed between your LAN and Internet, is a good protection against external threats…the majority of security breaches involve internal employees, with some estimates as high as 85 percent…Host based Intrusion Detection Systems, namely OSSEC, are a solution…The project went so popular that contributions poured in from all over the world. Trend Micro, global developer of security software and services, brought OSSEC by 2008, keeping it open source, while increasing its commercial support. OSSEC's recommended architecture is client/server. Clients are cross-platform, so you can deploy them on Windows, Linux, BSD, etc. Devices like routers and firewalls can also be monitored without installing the client on them…”

12. Miro: Download, Play videos and Internet TV in HD http://www.unixmen.com/software/1345-miro-35-is-released-enjoy-hd-tva-free-hd-video-player “…Miro is a free HD video player. It can play almost any video file and offers over 6,000 free internet TV shows and video podcasts. Miro has a simple…interface designed for fullscreen HD video. Since Miro downloads most videos, you can take your shows with you…Miro is a better way to watch all the video you care about. Miro Guide connects you to thousands of free High Definition video shows, it downloads video fast and stores it on your local computer for a level of quality that is often impossible on streaming video websites. Also Miro…makes BitTorrent RSS dead simple-- when a new episode is available, it will download automatically and be ready to watch…Download youtube video in HD : Search, download, and save videos... from YouTube, Google Video, Blip, and more. You can even save a search term and automatically get new videos as they are posted…Play Almost Anything : Forget about the format wars. Miro can play MPEG, Quicktime, AVI, H.\264, Divx, Windows Media, Flash Video, and almost every other major video format…”

13. 56 Open Source Replacements for Popular Web Development and Design Tools http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/osrc/article.php/3917001/56-Open-Source-Replacements-for-Popular-Web-Development-and-De “…The open source community offers a huge array of applications that are useful to Web developers and designers. In many cases, these open source tools are even more widely used than their closed source counterparts…Some blogging platforms are robust enough to build an entire site. Content management systems often have some features you usually find in Web app development frameworks, and text editors begin to look more and more like full integrated development environments…As Web tools offer more features, it makes Web professionals' jobs easier, and it opens up new opportunities for hobbyist and home users whose coding skills might not be as well developed. Here are 56 of the best open source Web development and design tools that provide good alternatives to popular commercial, closed source software…”

SkyNet

14. Chrome OS early overview http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/12/google-shows-off-chrome-os-along-with-a-store-to-fill-it-up/#more-26264 Google unveiled a beta version of…Chrome OS and…its branded netbook Tuesday morning…Early adopters can sign up to get a black, unbranded Chrome OS notebook (codenamed Cr-48)…Chrome OS relies entirely on web-based applications for basic productivity tasks like mail, document editing, photo sharing, social networking and reading news…every Chrome OS laptop will ship with both Wi-Fi and cellular connections…when you buy a Chrome OS laptop, you get 100 MB of free data per month for two years…no long-term contracts…Chrome OS users can buy a day pass from Verizon, or choose from a few long-term plans starting at $10 a month. Acer and Samsung Chrome OS laptops will go on sale in mid-2011, with more OEMs to follow, the company says…Chrome OS is extremely fast (the demo we saw was running on the Cr-48 laptop) and…takes under a minute to get up and running…the company…posted a page for getting started with its Google Cloud Print service that lets you print a page from a laptop or mobile to any printer hooked up to a Windows PC with internet access…If you want to try it out today, you can join Google’s developer program and install Chrome OS on a wide range of hardware…”

15. First Day Review: The Google Chrome OS Cr-48 Notebook http://searchengineland.com/first-day-review-the-google-chrome-os-cr-48-notebook-58322 “…My Google Chrome Cr-48 notebook has just arrived…These days, it’s possible to do word processing, email, photo editing and much more all from within a web browser. The software — along with your data — lives on the internet, or the cloud…Google believes so much that the web will make standalone software applications obsolete that it has developed an entire operating system around the Chrome browser. That’s what Chrome OS is…My regular computer is a high-end 2010 15″ MacBook Pro, running Windows 7 through Boot Camp…I’m really looking at how well the new Google computer can work to replace my main workday computer…The Cr-48 immediately recognized my wireless network…Left click on the touchpad by using one finger; right click with two. Scroll with two fingers, and there’s a scroll speed setting…my external hard drives weren’t recognized…I plugged my Microsoft Arc mouse’s USB transmitter directly into the USB port, and it worked…how am I going to get my pictures off my phones and into this post? The Android phones have memory cards. I pulled one, shoved it into a USB memory card reader, and I could see the files. Unfortunately, there was no thumbnail version available…I could sync with Picasa or a variety of other places online to get my pictures eventually to my desktop. But going through the cloud is much more complicated than just pulling them off my device directly… the Chrome netbook is that it has a built-in cellular connection with 100MB of data free per month, through Verizon…Daily unlimited, $10…1 GB, $20 per month…3 GB, $35 per month…5 GB, $50 per month…it’s important to understand that this isn’t a finished consumer product…I’d say the Chrome notebook is mostly like an iPad with a full-sized keyboard attached. I find the iPad limiting. It’s mainly, to me, a consumption device…for people who approach it with a completely different perspective — coming from no legacy machine, downloading stuff only from the Chrome Web Store and growing up, if you will, that way, the experience may be much different…” http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/10/chrome-os-review/ “…Chrome OS has a few other tricks up its sleeve to make you feel more at home, the biggest of which is its Panels feature (which is actually pretty slick by Google UI standards)…In practice these are small widgets that rest toward the bottom of the screen, peeking up just enough that you can point your mouse at them, but taking up very little real estate when you aren’t actually using them. Move your mouse down toward these panels, and they’ll slide up a bit further to reveal their titles; click one and it will slide all the way to reveal your IM conversation, notepad, or whatever you’ve got open. You can adjust both the height and width of these panels…quite handy for anything that you need quick, frequent access to…In case it wasn’t clear, Chrome OS is going to be a big deal…” http://blogs.computerworld.com/17506/google_chrome_os_notebook “…Google has made much about the fact that its Chrome OS systems will boot up almost instantly -- and it definitely isn't lying. Starting the Cr-48 up from a full powered-down state seems to take around 10 to 15 seconds for me. If I leave it in standby instead of shutting it down, though, I can get it back online, on the Internet, and ready to roll in less than a second…” [booting up from standby mode in < style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">

16. Google Cloud Printing takes on HP ePrint and Apple AirPrint http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/37228/google-cloud-printing-eprint-airprint Google has announced that it will be taking on Apple’s AirPrint technology and HP’s ePrint offering with a cloud-based printing service of its own - Google Cloud Printing - when the next version of its Chrome browser, version 9, is launched. “Our goal is to build a printing experience that enables any app (web, desktop, or mobile) on any device to print to any printer anywhere in the world”, says Google…Apple’s AirPrint and HP’s ePrint technology are gunning for the same ease of use, as the three company’s, in their own separate ways, try to eradicate the need for printer drivers and long set up processes…But like HP and Apple’s system, Google Cloud Print won’t be available to everyone from day 1…“The ideal experience is for your printer to have native support for connecting to cloud print services. Under this model, the printer has no need for a PC connection of any kind or for a print driver”, says Google…The trouble is that none exist yet, so Google is still waiting for printer company’s like Kodak, Canon, Epson, and HP to jump on board. Bold as ever Google doesn’t see this as a problem…“We are confident that cloud-aware printers will soon be a reality.”…HP’s latest line of ePrint ready printers are also AirPrint ready and are web connected. Users can print to them by simply sending the printer an email of what they want printed…Google plans to get around this problem by bundling the software users will need within Chrome, much like the company already does with Adobe Flash. Printers connected to that PC will then be able to use the Google Cloud Print service. The downside is that the PC must be powered on, and connected to the Internet in order for print jobs to get to the proxy (and hence the printer). Not ideal compared to HP’s and Apple’s proposition…”

17. Google Voice Search For Android Can Now Be “Trained” To Your Voice http://www.mobilecrunch.com/2010/12/14/google-voice-search-for-android-can-now-be-trained-to-your-voice/ “…This morning, Google is announcing an optional “Personalized Recognition” mode for Voice Search on Android. By analyzing the little snippets of audio you send its way, Voice Search will eventually be “trained” to know all those little quirks of your speech patterns*. Before you plop on the tin-foil hat and swear to never use Google Voice Search again, let me reiterate: this is an opt-in feature…You’ll need Android 2.2 or higher on your handset, you’ll need to be in the U.S.…”

18. What's Google's Interest in Zetawire? An Android Mobile Wallet http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_interest_in_zetawire_android_mobile_wallet.php Google quietly acquired mobile payments firm Zetawire…So what's Google's interest in a low-profile, early stage startup like the Toronto-based Zetawire? Apparently…Google is developing a full-fledged mobile wallet technology for its Android-based phones. The only notable asset the small Canadian company had in its possession at the time of acquistion was a patent for "mobile banking, advertising, identity management, credit card and mobile coupon transaction processing." Yes, all of that, in one single patent. These are the ingredients for a complete mobile wallet application - one that can do everything, not just payments. That's a big difference from other mobile wallet initiatives we've seen lately…including AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, as well as Visa's NFC-based In2Pay solution…It looks like Google wants to do it all, from banking to credit cards to coupons flashed at checkout prior to the mobile payment itself…near-field communications, is a technology that uses special chips to transmit data over short distances. All of the services in the Zetawire patent would presumably be handled by phones equipped with NFC chips, which Google's latest version of its Android mobile operating system (code-named Gingerbread) now supports…”

19. Google’s TeachParentsTech.org: keeping tech support a family business http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/teachparentstechorg-keeping-tech.html “…Talking to fellow Googlers, I learned that I wasn’t alone in my role as the one-man family tech support team. In fact, I was hard pressed to find anyone who didn’t have a similar story about getting their parents up to speed. This got a few of us thinking. Why isn’t there a site designed to help “kids” teach their parents about computer basics? So we…built a new site: TeachParentsTech.org. TeachParentsTech.org lets you select from more than 50 basic how-to videos to send to mom, dad, your old college roommate, your neighbor or anyone else who could use a little help with tech tasks…Wrap up your video with a custom email and off it goes! The recipient will receive your message and a link to the video(s) you selected…”

20. Why does Microsoft want to stop Google from buying flight search provider ITA? http://venturebeat.com/2010/12/13/microsoft-joins-fairsearch/ Microsoft..joined an increasingly large bandwagon trying to keep Google from purchasing ITA, a provider of flight information for search engines, for $700 million…The deal seems innocuous enough — Google said it had no plans to sell plane tickets and would direct Google search users to other sites to purchase tickets. Still, a number of companies including travel search company Expedia and Microsoft, which runs search rival Bing, have launched the Fair Search Coalition to try to stop the acquisition…Google also already embeds some flight data in its search engine, as does Bing. The acquisition of ITA promises to make Google’s data more accurate and up to date than it already is…The coalition argues that it would increase prices and drive down competition and business innovation, but it really all boils down to advertising revenue. Travel is a huge part of e-commerce — worth around $80 billion a year…ITA’s software handles around 65 percent of all e-commerce flight bookings…”

General Technology

21. New York’s central nervous system is growing http://www.parking-net.com/News/36127/New-Yorks-central-nervous-system-is-growing--here-s-what-it-can-do The lump, an ultra-low power sensor, will communicate with other white lumps under parked cars all over the island, telling each other when you pulled in, how long you've been parked and when you rumble away…the new "smart" parking spaces, created by a company called Streetline, will help ease double-parking snarls and short-meter-time frustrations. By embedding sensors, Roosevelt Island will have the ability to assess its parking situation and make changes, like adding more parking spaces in certain areas or boosting fares in particularly congested areas…Now imagine the sensors…citywide…The sensors would beam real-time data to your phone, letting you know where there are spaces open within a few blocks of your destination…Once you've found your spot, you could make sure the sensors text you and let you know when you should come out and feed the meter…The city is thoroughly laced with technology that transforms the physical activity of the city into data, from crowd-sourced information collected when people scan barcodes with smartphones to these white lumps on Roosevelt Island to systems as old fashioned as red-light cameras that take photos, identify license plates and send out tickets to red-light runners. Sensors in weather towers record temperature, air pressure and cloud coverage so eventually we will know whether to take an umbrella to workor whether our plane will land on time. Traffic cameras tell us which bridges are snarled with traffic so we know whether to re-route our daily commute…They quietly collect data which tell us stories about how the city works, and, if the information is used right, they can New Yorkers' lives easier and more efficient…Gunshot sensors, for example, are already embedded in more than 30 U.S. cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. The tiny acoustic sensors attached to rooftops and telephone poles can detect when a gun is fired, geo-target the location, and then dispatch police to a street corner…The city has also put a scannable "QR" code on its garbage trucks, allowing citizens with Iphones or Androids to point it at the sticker, which fires up a website and plays a video explaining where the garbage is headed…Nick Bilton, an adjunct professor at New York University and the lead blogger of the New York Times technology blog, organizes a technology class that revolves around telling stories with sensors, data and humans…”

22. Car Commuting Without Driving: Computerized Convoy Hits The Road http://www.fastcompany.com/1708789/road-trains-en-route-in-europe-five-car-convoys-in-2011 “…Road trains have been proposed for decades as a safe eco-solution for driving cars on freeways…The "Safe Road Trains for the Environment" (SARTRE) system puts advanced automation and sensing technology into typical cars, giving them the ability to join a convoy that moves in sync down a freeway with only the lead vehicle needing the control of a human driver…the economic cost of these automatic systems…are easily off-set by the benefits of driving in convoys. You get faster average journey times, reduced chances of accidents…Best of all, while you're in a convoy, you don't actually have to drive. This could add to business productivity…SARTRE relies on one professional driver in a truck or van to lead the train, and includes sensors to check this person's alertness, blood-alcohol level, and so on. SARTRE is running a two-car test this month, then a five-car test in 2011…”

23. System Builder Marathon, December 2010: $2000 PC http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/build-a-pc-overclock-ssd,2792.html “…This month’s $2000 build packs a full range of killer performance components (even a pair of top-end SSD drives), without sacrificing luxury features…Motherboard: Gigabyte X58A-UD3R LGA-1366 Intel X58 Express, ICH10R $210…Processor: Intel Core i7-950 3.06 GHz Quad-Core $295…Memory: Mushkin 998586 6 GB, DDR3-1333 Triple-Channel Kit $80…Graphics: 2 x EVGA 012-P3-1470-AR, 1.25 GB GeForce GTX 470 $520…System Drive: 2 x A-Data S599 64 GB, SATA 3Gb/s SSD $220…Storage Drive: Samsung F3 HD103SJ 1 TB, 7200 RPM HDD $70…“RAID 0” mode (striping) could nearly double the transfer rate of our system partition. Most of our systems need at least 100 GB for programs, so two 60-64 GB drives would work nicely…”

24. AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Review: The New Six-Core Flagship http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/phenom-ii-x6-1100t-thuban-amd,2810.html “…the Thuban-based six-core X6 can overclock up to 4 GHz relatively easily…Fusion isn't here yet, so let's concentrate on the here and now: the 3.0 GHz Phenom II X6 1075T is $200 at the time of writing, but it performs better than the Core i5-750 in most applications, and is generally on par with the Core i7-920 in our benchmarking suite. Priced $35 higher, the Phenom II X6 1190T Black Edition sports an unlocked CPU multiplier for overclockers and is…likely to hit 4 GHz…$265 gets you AMD's fastest hexa-core desktop CPU $600 below Intel’s entry-level six-core model. Don’t foget the new Phenom II X2 565 with its 6MB of cache, high 3.4 GHz clock, unlocked multiplier, and (if you’re lucky) the potential for triple- or quad-core operation at $115 dollars. Last but not least, the $87 Athlon II X3 455 promises a speedy 3.3 GHz clock speed and triple-core ability for well under a hundred dollars…we would be remiss to ignore the overclocking potential of Intel's more advanced 32 nm manufacturing node compared to the 45 nm process AMD continues to massage…Athlon II and Phenom II lines continue to offer very impressive performance for the price…”

25. Seagate releases first 1TB 2.5-in enterprise hard drive http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9201019/Seagate_releases_first_1TB_2.5_in_enterprise_hard_drive Seagate today announced the industry's first 2.5-in enterprise-class drive with 1TB of capacity…The next generation Constellation allows a standard 2U (3.5-in high) storage array to store up to 24TB, and a full server rack to store up to 500TB…Western Digital was first to the table with a 1TB 2.5-in hard drive with last year's release of the Scorpio Blue, which was targeted at laptops. That 5200rpm SATA drive had 3Gbit/sec throughput and contained three 333GB platters. Seagate's new drive spins at 7200rpms, contains four 250GB platters, and has 6Gbit/sec throughput…”

DHMN Technology

26. Bigger and better than Wi-Fi http://www.economist.com/node/17647517 “…In over-the-air VHF broadcasting, the channel between two analogue stations had to be left unused so that it would not interfere with adjacent ones. When UHF broadcasting came along, empty “guard bands” were added to each channel for the same reason. In some places, this “white space” of unused frequencies separating working channels amounted to as much as 70% of the total bandwidth available for television broadcasting…the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Washington, DC, has finally given the go-ahead for white-space frequencies to be put to use. In 2008 the FCC voted to reallocate the various segments of white space and unused channels between 54MHz and 806MHz (channels two to 69), which would no longer be needed when…television transmitters switched to digital broadcasting in…television broadcasters now need little more than half the spectrum they hogged before switching to digital…The most valuable frequencies of all, those in the 700MHz band (channels 52-69), have been auctioned off to…Verizon, AT&T and others…The reason these channels are so valuable…is that their signals travel for miles, can carry a lot of information, are unaffected by weather and foliage, and go through walls…white space freed up below 700MHz is to be made available for unlicensed use by the public. By doing this, the FCC hopes to trigger another wireless revolution…the frequencies being released will allow much higher data rates…802.11n, shuttles data at 160-300 megabits a second (Mbps). White-space devices are expected to be able to zip data along at 400-800Mbps. And whereas Wi-Fi signals peter out after 100 metres or so, their white-space equivalents could have ranges of several kilometres…white-space transmitters have to avoid interfering with both local television stations and the wireless microphones used in conference halls, sports arenas, theatres and churches. As a white-space gizmo moves around a city, the channels it can use will change, depending on how close it gets to various transmitters…wireless microphones are to be allocated two separate channels of their own…equipment-makers now expect that the chips needed to make the technology work in phones, laptops, tablets and other gadgets will start trickling out over the next year. White-space consumer products could then hit the retail market by late 2012. If Wi-Fi is anything to go by, white-space networking has the potential to change the way people live, work and play…”

27. The pi4-workerbot – more adaptable than the average industrial robot http://www.gizmag.com/the-pi4-workerbot/17265/ “…the EU-funded PISA research project has developed the pi4-workerbot. The multi-tasking robot is similar in size to a human being and features two arms, three cameras…The robot’s size allows it to be employed at pretty much any modern standing or sitting workstation…Whereas most conventional industrial robotic arms have six degrees of freedom with one swivel point at the shoulder, each of the workerbot’s two arms have seven degrees of freedom with an additional rotation joint that corresponds to the human wrist. This gives the robot the ability to transfer a workpiece from one hand to the other…pi4-workerbot’s three cameras include a forehead-mounted 3D camera to capture its general surroundings and two other cameras that are used for inspection purposes. This allows it to inspect one aspect of an object with its left eye and another aspect with its right eye at the same time…The team even gave the workerbot a variety of facial expressions. When work is going smoothly it will smile, while a bored look will indicate it is waiting for work so the production manager knows the production process can be sped up. The robot was designed to give German manufacturers the technology needed to adapt to a variety of different product versions and fluctuating volumes…the idea is for manufacturers to lease the workerbots from pi4_robotics when needed.”

28. A Steam-Powered Record Player http://www.asciimation.co.nz/bb/2010/11/30/a-steam-punk-record-player “…it’s a steam powered record player. Playing a punk LP. The Sex Pistols…You can’t really get more steam, or punk, than that!...This all came about when I decided to build my own small steam engine from bits of junk around my garage…steampunk is…not really my cup of tea and I got somewhat annoyed after I posted details of my Google Maps Brass Wristlet Navigator that people called it steampunk. That wasn’t the intention! It just happens to be made from brass. But I thought well, if people want steampunk then let’s do something that’s really steampunk. Hence the steam powered gramophone…I used some magnets, a coil as a pickup and an Arduino driving a servo to move the throttle to control the speed…”

29. IDEO constructs RFID turntable, hearkens back to mixtapes of yore http://www.engadget.com/2010/12/12/ideo-constructs-rfid-turntable-hearkens-back-to-mixtaps-of-yore/ “…design studio IDEO recently decided to see if they could get back in touch with their audio roots, and -- taking a page right out of the industrial design treatise I Miss My Pencil -- they built the above machine. To put it simply, what you're looking at is a box filled with specially-angled Arduino Pro Mini boards constantly searching for RFID tags on top, and a set of cards each with two RFID tags, with each tag representing one song. When you drop one on the turntable, it begins playing within a second, thanks to the clever array of Arduinos underneath, and you and your High Fidelity soulmate can leave multiple cards on the table to create an impromptu mixtape, or, presumably, flip one of the "cassettes" to play Side B…”

30. USB Hacking with Arduino http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2010/12/usbhacking.html USB devices are so common nowadays - wouldn't it be nice to use one with your homebrew electronics projects? I wanted to use my compact USB-MIDI keyboard with my homebrew synth circuits. It seemed a simple enough prospect at first - listen to the data output, press buttons, note the changes, and then program a microcontroller to turn those changes into something I could use (like basic serial MIDI data). After a little investigating, I learned a bit about how USB works and that I'd need some extra hardware…Enter the USB Host Shield from Circuits@Home. This Arduino compatible shield uses a MAX3421E peripheral/host controller + supporting code library chip to quickly solve my 'USB-without-a-computer' problem…After figuring out what messages I was receiving, I redirected those bytes to an outgoing serial connection, and voilà - a USB-MIDI to MIDI converter was born!…”

31. Helium Balloon Imaging "Satellite" http://makezine.com/24/ballooncam/ “…Snap aerial photos from 300' up by suspending a hacked drugstore camera from 3 tethered helium balloons…” [DHMN could do multiple projects with a 300’ skyhook; still photos, video, wifi, weather – ed.]

32. Rocket Sensors and gnuplot http://www.sparkfun.com/news/499 “…Recently, we completed development of our new 9DoF Stick IMU. The goal of the project was to make a very small and powerful 9DoF board with the simplest interface possible. What we came up with is a very slim, lightweight board with three sensors and a single I2C interface. We made the PCB itself thinner (0.88mm), resulting in a total weight of 0.9 grams. It's a light, simple, and versatile IMU, so naturally, we shoved it in a rocket. ..Out in our back lot, we powered the device, placed it in the rocket, wired up the engine, and fired…The rocket flew beautifully (C6-5 engine), seemed to deploy its parachute correctly, and then triumphantly drifted down…Our electronics were intact, but one of the rocket fins was not…The data log from the launch showed that the device logged at 59Hz for 1,512,225ms, or about 25 minutes. We have a huge amount of data, the task now is to analyze it as easily as possible. Since Excel and OpenOffice Calc have a max of 65,536 rows of data, we used gnuplot to analyze our 89,000+ rows…we found that only the first three minutes have interesting data. The remaining 22 minutes are just the rocket recording the conditions on our neighbors roof, so we cut it down to just view the action. Below are the three graphs that we got from the sensors…”

Leisure & Entertainment

33. Google’s New eBookstore Might Save Indie Booksellers http://www.fastcompany.com/1707599/google-ebookstore-bookseller-launch “…Google is taking a different approach to selling e-books than Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Rather than create a closed system that leaves others out in the cold, Google is actually partnering with independent bookstores to sell its wares--and share the profits…You can buy Google’s e-books directly from the company’s ebookstore…But if you’d rather support your local bookstore, you can buy the exact same books on their site…as Google Books began partnering with publishers and contemplating a program to sell books…it made a philosophical decision that brick-and-mortar bookstores are critical to the literary ecosystem…Google has arranged to get 30% of every book sale, with publishers retaining the remaining 70%...bookstores that sell Google e-books will get a portion of that 30 percent…Bookstores seem to be cautiously optimistic about the Google program…The Kindle, the Nook, and the Sony eReader all use the traditional approach to e-books: They sell DRM-protected files that customers download to devices and which must be read with specific e-reading software…Google e-books will be able to be read on any device that has a browser. Until now, independent bookstores have been effectively shut out of devices like the iPad and smartphones…Kindle and Nook are formidable technologies, but they’re islands,” Sennett tells Fast Company…What Google does is fill the oceans between them…”

34. Shazam Tops 100M Users http://news.yahoo.com/s/zd/20101206/tc_zd/257760 Music discovery app Shazam now has more than 100 million users, adding 25 million users in the last six months alone…The company has also moved beyond music to allow you to Shazam a TV commercial or show…Shazam is an app that identifies a song and provides links to purchase the track, view lyrics, watch the video on YouTube, and more. Shazam has been around for 10 years, but grew in popularity after it was released as an app for the iPhone and Android phones; it's also available on Nokia…BlackBerry…Windows Phone 7...”

35. Tron: Legacy Builds a Groundbreaking Architecture of Light http://www.fastcompany.com/1707732/tron-legacy-joseph-kosinski-director-interview “…Tron: Legacy -- a follow-up to the 1982 film Tron -- chronicles a son’s (Garrett Hedlund) search for his father (Jeff Bridges) who disappeared into a video game 20 years earlier. With the design and visual effects integral to the story, Kosinski and Tron: Legacy are a synchronistic match. Kosinski drew from his mechanical engineering training at Stanford University; architecture degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; and years directing commercials utilizing cutting-edge technology for clients like Hummer, Halo3, Nike and Apple…Kosinski…pulled in real-world auto designers for the vehicles…“There are a lot of cool vehicles in this world and I wanted them to feel like they actually worked.“…Daniel Simon…re-imagined the film’s iconic Light Cycle -- a man-machine hybrid motorbike…I was inspired by calligraphy and Japanese art, but also mindful of the fact that we had to sell this at toy stores–-so I needed to impress two-year-old kids.”…Four separate software rendering programs were used in the making of the film: Mental Ray (for Clu, an anthropomorphized computer program that looks like a youthful Jeff Bridges), V-Ray (for the Tron world), RenderMan (for various technical elements) and proprietary code developed at visual effects studio Digital Domain to connect the disparate programs. Even with the experience…on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the effects team required six-months preparation time before working on the film. “The hair rendering for Clu was probably the most difficult thing to do…says Tron visual effects supervisor Eric Barba…The effects team also had to adjust the technology for the different the acting styles of Benjamin Button star Brad Pitt and Tron’s Jeff Bridges. ”Brad did a lot of work in front of a green screen, which gave the effects team more control, but Jeff wanted to be onstage interacting with the other actors…We had to change the data acquisition at the front end, in the helmets and cameras, so that we could capture the data we needed in a smaller footprint on set that easily synched with other technologies. It involved writing a whole new suite of software…”

Economy and Technology

36. Remote Tech Support Company iYogi Raises $30M http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/13/remote-tech-support-company-iyogi-raises-30m-round-from-sequoia-others/ iYogi, an independent remote consumer tech support company based in India and New York…has secured $30 million…iYogi…plans to use the proceeds to expand its on-demand remote tech support services outside the existing consumer market and the Windows OS platform, and to address the growing need for supporting mobile consumer devices…The company says it has solved more than 2 million tech problems for consumers since its inception – it claims 300 percent growth for its premium annual subscription service in the past 12 months alone…”

37. Google's Motion to Dismiss Paul Allen's Patent Infringement Complaint Granted http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20101210205849673 Paul Allen's patent infringement complaint against the world and its dog has been dismissed. The court agreed with Google et al that it "lacks adequate factual detail to satisfy the dictates of Twombly and Iqbal" and also "fails to provide sufficient factual detail as suggested by Form 18"…Go Google…”

38. Intellectual Ventures Files Its First Lawsuits; Giant Patent Troll Awakened http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20101208/11073712190/intellectual-ventures-files-its-first-lawsuits-giant-patent-troll-awakened.shtml “…Intellectual Ventures has avoided suing companies directly, while building up a portfolio of tens of thousands of patents…Its business model, to date, has been about shaking down giant tech companies for hundreds of millions of dollars in exchange for letting those companies use IV's patent portfolio either defensively or offensively against others…the company had avoided suing others directly for quite some time -- though, it's always hinted that it would eventually. About a year ago, we started to see IV patents showing up in lawsuits, but they had been licensed to other companies first. The…company would never comment on whether or not it had any stake in the results of such lawsuits…Intellectual Ventures has finally stepped up and filed three separate patent infringement cases against nine companies, including Symantec, McAfee, Trend Micro and others. Of course, some of these companies have a history of questionable patent activity themselves…”

Civilian Aerospace

39. Space Dragon Soars! http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/photos-spacex-dragon-spacecraft-test-flight-101208.html “…SpaceX, launched the world's first commercial space capsule into orbit and returned to Earth today in a huge leap forward for California-based company, private spaceflight and NASA's plan to rely on such spacecraft in the future. SpaceX's first Dragon space capsule, as it is known, blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 10:43 a.m. EST (1543 GMT) today (Dec. 8), completed two orbits around Earth and then splashed down in the Pacific Ocean 500 miles (nearly 804 km) off the coast of Mexico…”

40. Space tourism overview http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/technologies-rapidly-being-developed-to-put-space-tourism-within-reach-2010-12-10 “…For decades, if not longer, many science fiction stories simply assumed that, one day, tourists would enter and traverse space, with space tourism simply forming a background element in their plots…it was not until April 2001 that the world’s first space tourist, American Dennis Tito, blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan, in a Russian Soyuz spaceship to visit the International Space Station (ISS) and spend eight days in space. However, Tito had to undergo full cosmonaut training before the flight and the jaunt cost him at least $20-million…But the price of space tourism is set to plunge dramatically…Virgin Galactic…full price is $200 000 for each ticket, which is only 1% of the minimum cost for an orbital flight on a Soyuz. Commercial flights should start within two years…Bigelow Aerospace…Xcor Aerospace…Astrium…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

41. Understanding Throughput-Oriented Architectures http://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2010/11/100622-understanding-throughput-oriented-architectures/fulltext “…Commodity PCs are now typically built with CPUs containing from two to eight cores, with even higher core counts on the horizon. These chips aim to deliver higher performance by exploiting modestly parallel workloads arising from either the need to execute multiple independent programs or individual programs that themselves consist of multiple parallel tasks, yet maintain the same level of performance as single-core chips on sequential workloads…Processors like Sun's Niagara and NVIDIA's graphics processing units, or GPUs…focus on executing parallel workloads while attempting to maximize total throughput, even though sacrificing the serial performance of a single task may be required. Though improving total throughput at the expense of increased latency on individual tasks is not always a desirable trade-off, it is unquestionably the right design decision in many problem domains that rely on parallel computations, including real-time computer graphics, video processing, medical-image analysis, molecular dynamics, astrophysical simulation, and gene sequencing…GPUs have evolved as exemplars of throughput-oriented processor architecture…this article explores the fundamental architectural design decisions differentiating throughput-oriented processors from their more traditional latency-oriented counterparts…Two fundamental measures of processor performance are task latency (time elapsed between initiation and completion of some task) and throughput (total amount of work completed per unit time)…Traditional scalar microprocessors are essentially latency-oriented architectures. Their goal is to minimize the running time of a single sequential program by avoiding task-level latency whenever possible…Single-core scalar CPUs typified by the Intel Pentium IV were aggressively latency-oriented…multicore CPUs…reflect a trend toward somewhat less-aggressive designs that expect a modest amount of parallelism…Throughput-oriented processors, in contrast, arise from the assumption that they will be presented with workloads in which parallelism is abundant…throughput-oriented processors rely on three key architectural features: emphasis on many simple processing cores, extensive hardware multithreading, and use of single-instruction, multiple-data, or SIMD, execution. Aggressively throughput-oriented processors, exemplified by the GPU, willingly sacrifice single-thread execution speed to increase total computational throughput across all threads…”

42. NMSU Professors put to use state-of-the-art graphics processors http://www.lcsun-news.com/las_cruces-news/ci_16844005 “…NMSU professors and student researchers are working to collect and process more data, more efficiently, and faster….electrical engineering professors at New Mexico State University are utilizing state-of-the-art graphics processing unit computing processors to enhance their research…Using state-of-the-art GPUs, research that 20 years ago would have taken a supercomputer, can now be performed using a processor able to fit within a regular desktop computer, cutting processing time the equivalent of a month into a couple of days…Creusere, who has been researching humans' perception of quality changes in audio, utilizes the NVIDIA Tesla to collect and sift through the immense amounts of data collected through electroencephalography (EEG) brainwave testing…Creusere, director of the Center for Telemetry and Telemetering at NMSU, in partnership with Jim Kroger, associate psychology professor, have received a $38,762 Interdisciplinary Research Grand Award from NMSU…Utilizing a similar GPU, De Leon, director of the Advanced Speech and Audio Processing Laboratory at NMSU, plans to apply high-performance computing using GPUs to digital signal processing in several areas of research. His research is supported by a $140,000 grant from the U.S. Army…"We use the GPU to perform many of the complex signal processing operations at both the encoder and decoder stages in parallel," De Leon said. "Some of our signal processing routines are running 40 times faster than before." De Leon, graduate student Richard Gutierrez and undergraduate Greg Hinojos are also developing new methods for recognizing and identifying persons from live audio streams…”


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