NEW NET Issues List for 23 Feb 2010

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 23 February 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. How we built secret London in a weekend http://eu.techcrunch.com/2010/02/16/guest-post-how-we-built-secret-london-in-a-weekend/ The website build weekend drew to a close two days ago and it is only beginning to dawn on me that we might just have achieved the impossible…One week ago, secretlondon put the call out on its blog, Facebook wall and Twitter feed for volunteers to help us build a site for the rapidly growing ‘Secret London’ Facebook Group and migrate the existing content across to a new home…over 40 people committed their weekend to make it happen. The challenge we were trying to solve was simple enough. The Facebook Group in just a few weeks had already attracted over 195,000 users, and completely outgrown its Facebook home…Members were telling me that there was too much information for them to possibly trawl through. We had to find somewhere for this restless and growing crowd to go before they lost interest, and quickly. The problem was there were only really four of us (me, plus the guys at onefinestay), and we had almost no money. What’s amazing, though, is how much you can do cheaply if you are working on a project that inspires people…Including the domain names for us and future secretcities, catering and all the other out of pocket costs, our total cost for the entire process have been less than £3,000…”

2. Apple’s Massive iDataCenter http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2010/02/22/first-look-apples-massive-idatacenter/ “…Apple’s new iDataCenter in Maiden, North Carolina…as illustrated by this aerial video…apparently taken by an area realtor…The new $1 billion data center will be nearly five times the size of Apple’s existing 109,000 square foot Newark, Calif. facility, and is seen as a key component of Apple’s cloud computing strategy…Apple’s data center in Maiden is expected to provide the back-end for a larger move into cloud computing, with most speculation focusing on a shift of iTunes user libraries from user desktops to online storage…”

3. The Mysterious Social Search Abyss Of 2010 http://techcrunch.com/2010/02/22/the-mysterious-social-search-abyss-of-2010/ “…At some point in mid January, a group of sites including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, and Foursquare saw a huge drop in number of searches for their domains…large social sites saw the most pronounced drops that all seem to be aligned. Weirdly, google.com did not see any drop (though I’m not sure who uses Google to google google.com)…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

4. PleaseRobMe.com posts when you're not at home http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/02/17/MNMQ1C3A0V.DTL Frank Groeneveld, a computer science student in the Netherlands, was fast asleep not long ago when a burglar tried to enter his home. Groeneveld, 22, managed to scare off the intruder but was left wondering: What if I wasn't home?...he found himself inundated by status updates on Twitter from users broadcasting…the fact that their home was likely unattended and vulnerable to a burglary. It led him and two friends to launch a Web site this week provocatively called PleaseRobMe.com, a mashup of users' content from Twitter, the San Francisco microblogging service, and FourSquare, a site in which users share their location. While little more than a gag, PleaseRobMe raises serious questions about the potential ills associated with publicizing information online, particularly a user's whereabouts…”

5. School used student laptop webcams to spy on them at school and home http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-10457126-71.html “…the Lower Merion School District…has been accused of remote-controlled Webcam spying on its students. The student at the center of the allegations, Blake Robbins, claims the school, having produced a still photograph taken remotely by a school official, falsely accused him of selling drugs…the school district has admitted activating students' laptop Webcams 42 times over a 14-month period. The district claims each activation was merely an attempt to locate a stolen or missing laptop…district spokesman Doug Young told the Post that the documentation signed by students when they received the laptops did not make it clear the Webcams could be activated remotely…” [http://www.philly.com/philly/education/85022542.html “…A lot of people think this is being blown out of proportion," said senior David Freedman, 18. "I believe the school when they say they only used it to find lost or stolen laptops. People realize this is not a real threat…Senior Bonnie McFarland, 17, said students knew that when the green light on their computers came on, "if you're not activating the camera, someone is…It an invasion of privacy, but I'm sure we signed stuff in waivers [when we got the computers]…What's more bothersome is the media attention the case has drawn, she said…” http://blogs.pcmag.com/securitywatch/2010/02/how_harriton_high_school_monit.php “…one Network Tech at the Lower Merion School District has been blogging and posting on Apple mailing lists how he did it…The tech, Mike Perbix, was used in a promotional video for the LANRev, the monitoring product used by the school…he talks at length about how he used the product to take surreptitious remote pictures using the webcam…how he used LANRev to perform location-tracking on remote notebooks and to disable the webcam for user access, but retain it for administrative access. He also blinked the light next to the webcam to give the impression it wasn't working at all…the notebook policies in the school: Possession of a monitored Macbook was required for classes…Possession of an unmonitored personal computer was forbidden and would be confiscated…students were disciplined for bringing other computers to school, and threatened with expulsion for trying to "jailbreak" their notebooks…” http://strydehax.blogspot.com/2010/02/spy-at-harrington-high.html ]

6. The Future of the Internet, Where Everybody Knows Your Name http://www.fastcompany.com/1554403/does-the-future-of-the-internet-require-the-end-of-anonymity Is anonymity online coming to an end?...Experts were nearly split down the middle, with 55% agreeing that Internet users will be able to communicate anonymously and 41% agreeing that, by 2020, "anonymous online activity is sharply curtailed."…there isn't even a consensus on whether anonymity is universally desirable…We'll see a wide range of online identity options, from anonymity, to different levels of reasonably verified identity. Whistleblowers, for example, need anonymity. Public discussion boards need some modest level of verified identity, whereas home banking needs strong authentication…the theme of the online world coming to mirror the physical world certainly emerges…”

7. Why becoming a data thief is all too easy http://content.usatoday.com/communities/technologylive/post/2010/02/why-becoming-a-hacker-is-all-too-easy/1 “…anyone with $325, average computer skills and a stomach for larceny can begin to amass a trove of corporate data like the one plundered in 30 days from 2,411 large organizations worldwide…Current versions of ZeuS sell for up to $10,000, and are used by elite cyber gangs to wire funds from of the online banking accounts of small- and medium-sized businesses. But older, free versions of ZeuS work just fine for turning an infected PC into a bot and harvesting all the PC's account logons that are stored in Web browser cookies…Shell out $25 and you can hire a spamming specialist to send out email lures to 250,000 people enticing them to click on a corrupted Web link that will infect their PCs with your free copy of ZeuS…The only other thing you need to do is shell out $300 to rent an Internet-connected server to collect and store the harvested account logons that your bots will obediently harvest…It was one of these type of servers that NetWitness tracked down and accessed in late January. NetWitness' report on what it found -- 68,000 account logons stolen from 75,000 botted PCs in corporate networks -- drew big headlines in the Wall Street Journal…compared to other ZeuS operations, this was minor league…Amateurs are getting more widely involved in harvesting data because there is a rich and robust market for valid account logons…it remains true that many people use the same username and password to gain access to multiple accounts…”

8. UBS to Deploy IBM Secure Banking USB Device http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20100222/tc_pcworld/ubstodeployibmsecurebankingusbdevice Banking giant UBS has started deploying a device from IBM that ensures online banking transactions aren't being interfered with by hackers.IBM's ZTIC (Zone Trusted Information Channel) is a smart-card reader that attaches to computer via a USB cable. During an online banking transaction, it bypasses the Web browser and makes a direct SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) connection with the bank…UBS chose the ZTIC for use primarily with corporate customers setting up new payment beneficiaries in their online banking system, according to a bank spokesman. Those corporate customers will get the ZTIC for free…It is also available to retail customers but they will have to pay 65 Swiss francs (US$60)…The technology that is in the ZTIC has been around for a while, but IBM is the first company to get a major bank to deploy it…”

9. 'Chuck Norris' Botnet Hides in Your Router http://news.yahoo.com/s/zd/20100222/tc_zd/248598 Czech researchers have uncovered a botnet running on broadband routers and DSL adapters…They said the main purpose of the botnet was to steal the usual sensitive data: bank accounts, e-mail inboxes, etc. Vykopal added that the botnet could be used for attacking other systems…This bot has been named "Chuck Norris" for a comment in the source code referring to the American actor…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

10. NTT Docomo demonstrates Eye-Controlled Earphone technology http://www.macworld.co.uk/ipod-itunes/news/index.cfm?newsid=28691&pagtype=allchandate Possibly the most mind-blowing demonstration at this year's MWC (Mobile World Congress) show in Barcelona is NTT Doccomo's remote control earphones that work just by moving your eyes. According to Docomo the left and right side of your eye emits positive and negative electrons, and Docomo has developed a system that can use this to track eye movement. The earphones look like regular earbuds with three small metal sensors attached. When wearing the earphones you can control a music player by making specific eye movements. Double looking left or right skips backwards and forwards, rotating your eyes controls volume, and so on…”

11. AT&T Becomes Last of Big Four Carriers To Offer Android http://news.yahoo.com/s/nf/20100218/bs_nf/71736 “…AT&T will, for the first time, offer a mobile device based on…Android…the device is Motorola's Backflip smartphone. AT&T is the last of the big four carriers in the U.S. to offer an Android device…AT&T said on its web site that it plans to add at least two more Android-based devices in the first half of this year -- a new smartphone from HTC, and Dell's first smartphone. The $99 3G/Wi-Fi Backflip…has a touch pad, a 3.1-inch HVGA touchscreen, and a flip-out QWERTY keyboard. AT&T described the keyboard as featuring "an original reverse flip design." By flipping the keyboard backward, the device can be set in tabletop mode for listening to music, looking at videos and photos, or acting as a digital alarm clock…social networking "brought to the forefront" is becoming common on many Android-based devices…allows a carrier to position Android as "a platform that can be all about you…”

12. How smartphones are bogging down some wireless carriers http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2010/02/how-smartphones-are-bogging-down-some-wireless-carriers.ars “…Even though AT&T has made improvements to its network…those improvements have done little to stem the tide of complaints from consumers…To make matters worse, AT&T has announced a number of initiatives to add a even greater number of 3G data devices to its network, including Android smartphones, e-book readers, mobile data modems, and now the iPad…newer smartphones are changing the assumptions that carriers use when configuring their network…the iPhone uses more power saving features than previous smartphone designs. Most devices that use data do so in short bursts…Normally, devices that access the data network use an idling state that maintains the open data channel between the device and the network…to squeeze even more battery life from the iPhone, Apple configured the radio to simply drop the data connection as soon as any requested data is received. When the iPhone needs more data, it has to set up a new data connection. The result is more efficient use of the battery, but it can cause problems with the signaling channels used to set up connections…Cell nodes use signaling channels to set up the data connection, as well as signaling phone calls, SMS messages, voicemails, and more. When enough iPhones are in a particular area, these signaling channels can become overloaded—there simply aren't enough to handle all the data requests along with all the calls and messages…this technique is not limited to the iPhone. Android and webOS devices also use a similar technique to increase battery life…”

13. MIT's Sketch-Interpreting Software Turns Tablet Computers into Smart Whiteboards http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-02/mits-sketch-interpreting-software-turns-tablet-computers-smart-whiteboards “…computer science colleagues have begun developing sketch-recognition for tablet computers such as Apple's iPad that can interpret stylus drawings of chemical bonds and element symbols for chemists, circuit components such as batteries or capacitors in an electrical engineering diagram, and even family trees…We want to interconnect this with some of the other things we've done with speech and web-based lookup so that one could walk up to the whiteboard and sketch a molecule and say, 'Has anybody published anything like this…I point at the corner of the molecule and I say, 'What if I put a methyl group there?' Not draw it, but just gesture at it…The MIT software then breaks down the drawn symbol into different parts such as horizontal, vertical or diagonal elements. Algorithms help clean up stray marks and enhance intentional strokes. And a database allows the system to compare drawn symbols to known symbols…”

Open Source

14. Microsoft, Amazon strike patent deal covering Kindle and Linux http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2010/02/microsoft_amazon_in_patent_deal.html Microsoft and Amazon.com have reached an agreement that gives each company a license to the other's patent portfolio, in a way that could revive one of the Redmond company's longest-running controversies…as part of the deal, Microsoft says it's granting Amazon patent-related "coverage" for its use of open-source and proprietary technologies in its Kindle e-reader, and its use of Linux-based computer servers…the deal could raise eyebrows in some corners of the technology world, if it's interpreted as Amazon implicitly endorsing Microsoft's claims that Linux and other open-source technologies violate its patents. Open-source advocates have long disputed those claims…Amazon is paying to avoid a possible patent claim from Microsoft…Microsoft roiled the open-source community in 2007 when it claimed that Linux and other open-source technologies violated more than 200 of its patents. The company sued TomTom last year over the navigation company's implementation of the Linux kernel in its devices. TomTom ultimately settled with Microsoft in an agreement that required it to remove Linux-related file-management technologies from its products…”

15. Sage Bionetworks Snaps Up $6.7M Grant to Train Young Network Biologists http://www.xconomy.com/seattle/2010/02/23/sage-bionetworks-snaps-up-6-7m-grant-to-train-young-network-biologists/ Sage Bionetworks, a fledgling Seattle nonprofit attempting to launch an open-source biology movement, has nabbed a $6.7 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to train young scientists to learn to better use genomic data to help improve drug discovery and patient care. The grant lasts for four years, and it may be supplemented and extended…if this vision is going to become reality, it will require a culture change in biology, making it more open and less proprietary. The new training program is one key step toward making that happen…”

16. A handbook for the open source way, written the open source way http://opensource.com/business/10/2/how-manual-open-source-way-written-open-source-way Remember the Seinfeld episode where Kramer had the idea to make a coffee table book about coffee tables? I always thought that was a pretty elegant idea. Well, a few months ago, some of the smart folks on Red Hat's community architecture team had a similarly elegant idea: Write a book about building community the open source way... and write it with a community, the open source way. Meaning, open the text up, allow interested users to contribute, and see what happens…The book is entitled The Open Source Way: Creating and nurturing communities of contributors and you can access the current text here…”

17. As Cars Get More Complicated, Maybe Open Source Is The Way http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100217/1208458199.shtml “…Michael A. Spiegel over at the Software Freedom Law Center makes an interesting point about this situation: If Toyota truly wanted to repair its public image and reputation for quality, it would make its source code available to anyone interested, not just a single government regulator. The public is far more likely to discover bugs and suggest improvements than a relatively small number of overworked and potentially inexperienced government employees. This is a intriguing proposition for a number of reasons. By releasing its software to the open source community, they could become key participants in the growing open source car ecosystem. By doing so, they could potentially benefit from the collective intelligence of that community looking at their code. Sure, Toyota may scoff at sharing what they consider to be proprietary IP with potential competitors, but…while software definitely is playing a critical part in automotive systems, by itself, it is not the selling point of a car…”


18. Google Buzz Privacy Backlash Not Anticipated, Google Says http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Messaging-and-Collaboration/Google-Buzz-Privacy-Backlash-Not-Anticipated-Google-Says-212091/ “…Google did not expect the negative backlash that befell Google Buzz when it launched Feb. 9. Horowitz acknowledged users were "unhappy," which led Google to work around the clock to address concerns…Google launched Google Buzz Feb. 9 to let users post status updates, links, photos and videos within the application that leverages Gmail users' e-mail and chat contacts as a ready-made social network…Google has taken several steps to ameliorate the ensuing privacy backlash, making privacy controls more visible and making the service auto-suggest instead of auto-follow…while Google tested Buzz with its 20,000-plus employees, it failed to run Buzz through the Trusted Tester program, a network of friends and family of Google employees who are given access to products before they launch…”

19. Stop Playing Tag: Publish Your Google Calendar Now http://www.pcworld.com/article/189667/ You can save a lot of back-and-forth making appointments if you publish your calendar to the Web…I've been publishing my calendar to the Internet for a couple of months. It really paid off yesterday, when I had to set up five interviews for an article. In the past, there would have been lots of back and forth in e-mail. "Is this time good for you?" "No, I'm sorry, how about this time?" Instead, I just pointed the interview subjects to my public calendar, and I had nine appointments set up within an hour…I started publishing my calendar in December, when I saw a friend doing it and thought it looked potentially useful. At first I was worried that I'd be giving away too much of my privacy. But the calendar can be set to show only busy and free time, without revealing details of what you're busy doing. It doesn't hurt me for you to know when I'm busy, and the payoff is big in saved time…"People tell me all the time that they love being able to see my calendar," he said. "I’m surprised more people don’t do it, because Google makes it so easy…”

20. Google Calendar’s Upcoming Facelift http://techcrunch.com/2010/02/17/google-calendar-ui/ “…Google Calendar may not be the sexiest product Google offers, but, as with Gmail, there are plenty of people who use it to manage their business and personal lives…we’ve gotten our hands on a screenshot showing what appears to be an internal build of Google Calendar, giving us an idea of what a forthcoming UI refresh might look like…the changes are all aesthetic and fairly minor but they add up to make a difference — the new version looks more modern, and it also looks more like Google’s other Apps…These aren’t part of the default Google Calendar site now, but you can activate it through Google Calendar Labs…”

21. How Google’s Algorithm Rules the Web http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/02/ff_google_algorithm/ “…Want to know how Google is about to change your life? Stop by the Ouagadougou conference room on a Thursday morning. It is here, at the Mountain View, California, headquarters of the world’s most powerful Internet company, that a room filled with three dozen engineers, product managers, and executives figure out how to make their search engine even smarter…The decisions made at the weekly Search Quality Launch Meeting will wind up affecting the results you get when you use Google’s search engine to look for anything …just as Google isn’t ready to rest on its laurels, its competitors aren’t ready to concede defeat…Facebook…would rather get information from their friends than from an anonymous formula. Twitter’s ability to parse its constant stream of updates introduced the concept of real-time search…Yelp helps people find restaurants, dry cleaners, and babysitters by crowdsourcing the ratings…the biggest threat to Google can be found 850 miles to the north: Bing. Microsoft’s revamped and rebranded search engine…The new look, along with a $100 million ad campaign, helped boost Microsoft’s share of the US search market from 8 percent to about 11…while Google does a great job of searching the public Web, it doesn’t have real-time access to the byzantine and constantly changing array of flight schedules and fares. So Microsoft purchased Farecast — a Web site that tracks airline fares over time and uses the data to predict when ticket prices will rise or fall — and incorporated its findings into Bing’s results. Microsoft made similar acquisitions in the health, reference, and shopping sectors…The algorithm is extremely important in search, but it’s not the only thing,” says Brian MacDonald, Microsoft’s VP of core search…Google’s response can be summed up in four words: mike siwek lawyer mi…The top result connects to a listing for an attorney named Michael Siwek in Grand Rapids, Michigan…Type those same words into Bing, for instance, and the first result is a page about the NFL draft that includes safety Lawyer Milloy. Several pages into the results, there’s no direct referral to Siwek. The comparison demonstrates the power, even intelligence, of Google’s algorithm…It possesses the seemingly magical ability to interpret searchers’ requests — no matter how awkward or misspelled. Google refers to that ability as search quality…Google has offered to give me an unprecedented look at just how it attains search quality…”

22. A web clipboard for Google Docs http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2010/02/web-clipboard-for-google-docs.html “…we’re launching a new web clipboard that improves copy and paste in Google Docs. This new clipboard temporarily stores items you’ve copied in the cloud, then allows you to paste them with proper formatting into other Google Docs…The new web clipboard lets you copy content between documents, spreadsheets and presentations more easily and with improved fidelity, and this is just our first step…”

23. Google gets go-ahead to buy, sell energy http://green.venturebeat.com/2010/02/19/google-gets-go-ahead-to-buy-sell-energy-just-like-a-utility/ “…Google…just got the green light from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission — giving it the same rights and abilities as any other utility company, just like PG&E…It still seems unlikely that Google will actually set up its own utility company…it plans to buy lower cost energy wholesale to slash its own massive energy bills. On top of that, it claims that it will use its new authority to buy more energy generated from renewable sources…Wal-Mart set up its own energy venture, Texas Retail Energy, after it got similar approval, in order to reduce its annual electricity costs. It makes sense for corporations with huge energy demands (think of all Google’s gigantic data centers across the country) to buy it in bulk…Wal-Mart hasn’t propelled itself into the utility market…it seems like Google will follow in its footsteps…”

24. Google’s Music Strategy: Past, Present and Future http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/02/google%E2%80%99s-music-strategy-past-present-and-future/ “…it would be nuts to count out Google in the race to replace iTunes’ pay-per-download model with a cloud-based music service that is easy and attractive enough to convince non-music-buyers to open their wallets…Apple has owned the digital music market since…the launch of the iTunes music store in 2003…the company’s one-two punch of iTunes and iPod has fended off all comers…we’re approaching a major inflection point in the short history of digital music, a time when we stop administering our own music collections on local hard drives, and instead build them online, where they can be accessed on a multitude of connected devices — smartphones, netbooks, tablets, computers, televisions, bookshelf systems and cars — without the tedium of managing each and every file transfer by hand…Google’s approach to music has been very un-Google: Send users to the walled gardens of Lala, iLike, Pandora and Rhapsody…Google has been playing nice with the music industry — not only with Google music search, but with Vevo, the music video site owned in part by Sony Music and Universal Music Group. Vevo is already working well, tallying 35 million visitors and 13 billion views in December…hardly anyone is going to Vevo.com to view these videos — instead, they’re going to Google’s YouTube…Even before it launches a dedicated cloud-based music service, Google might already be the top cloud-based music company in the world, in a sense, due to the popularity of music streams on YouTube. (It’s even possible to download full MP3s from YouTube without paying a cent, using Dirpy or other tools.)…Google is considering purchasing a U.S. and Israeli company called Catch Media, as reported by CNET…”

25. Google Acquires reMail http://techcrunch.com/2010/02/17/google-continues-shopping-spree-acquires-remail-and-former-gmail-employee/ “…Google…has acquired another email-based startup, reMail.ReMail developed a powerful iPhone application that gives you instant full text-search for all of your Email. Launched in August, reMail is an alternative to the native iPhone mail client, which has a number of shortcomings…The startup was incubated at Y Combinator, and was founded by Gabor Cselle, who completed his Master’s thesis on Organizing Email, worked on the Gmail team, and was also VP of Engineering at Xobni, which he left last year to pursue his own company…he will be joining Google in Mountain View as a Product Manager on the Gmail team. reMail will be discontinued and has been removed it from the App Store…” [http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/the_5_most_interesting_things_about_googles_remail_acquisition.php ]

General Technology

26. Toward a Grand Unified Theory of n00bs http://dangrover.com/?action=view&url=toward-a-grand-unified-theory-of-n00bs “…It’s like…if you asked a friend if there was a Starbucks in his neighborhood and he said, yeah I think there’s one half a mile down, maybe. And you drive half a mile and see a big carwash place, and you park and walk in and ask to speak to the manager. And you tell the carwash manager how unhappy you are with this terrible new Starbucks redesign."…As a computer savvy person, it's easy to forget how different the average joe is from you. This disparity is the source of much frustration and inefficiency in the world. And it's only going to get worse, unless we do something about it…The initial reaction of folks like me, of course, is to dismiss these people. After all, they don't know what a browser is. They don't seem to understand what site they're on or who it's run by. They're unfamiliar with basic design idioms used universally across the web (e.g. headings, subheadings, navigation, comment forms). Some seem to lack even basic reading comprehension, and no amount of redesigning or copyediting will enhance the understanding these people take away from a page. They can only be described as n00bs…there are legitimate excuses for this kind of behavior that can be found by examining some key differences between those who build software and those who use it…”

27. Touchscreen Computers You Don’t Even Need to Touch http://www.economist.com/sciencetechnology/tm/displayStory.cfm?story_id=15536460 “…touch-screens on mobile phones means that a swipe, tap or a flick comes as naturally these days as the click of a mouse. But existing touch-screens have their limits. Those relying on changes in electrical resistance tend to have poorer resolution than is needed for modern applications, while those that rely on capacitance require an ungloved finger…a new generation of touch-screens, known as optical liquid crystal displays…embed tiny light sensors next to many of the screen’s pixels. In the brief moments between each successive screen image, the backlight is turned off. In these periods of darkness, undetectable to the human eye, sensors are able to pick up light coming from outside the device. Although such sensors are designed to detect only the presence or absence of a finger touching the screen, Ramesh Raskar, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wondered whether this new type of device could be turned into not a touch, but a touchless screen by using the sensors to detect more distant objects as well. His idea was to treat each sensor as if it were a pinhole camera…then stitch the two-dimensional images from each pinhole together to obtain a three-dimensional picture. This could then be used to determine which bit of the screen a distant finger is pointing at…”

28. Bloom Box: revolutionary fuel cell technology or just black magic marketing? http://www.dailytech.com/Is+the+Magic+Alternative+Energy+Bloom+Box+for+Real/article17752.htm “…The "Bloom Box" a roughly cubic structure has already been embraced by eBay, Google, Staples, FedEx, and Walmart…But is the new box the solution to all of mankind energy problems or a snake oil remedy for the world's fossil fuel habit?...So what is a Bloom Box exactly? Well, $700,000 to $800,000 will buy you a "corporate sized" unit. Inside the box are a unique kind of fuel cell consisting of ceramic disks coated with green and black "inks". The inks somehow transform a stream of methane (or other hydrocarbons) and oxygen into power…To get a view of the cost and benefits, eBay installed 5 of the boxes nine months ago. It says it has saved $100,000 USD on energy since. So assuming the maximum cost -- $4M USD -- the investment on a Bloom Box would appear to take 30 years to recoup…Mr. Sridhar originally invented a similar device when he was working for NASA designing infrastructure for a prospective Mars colony…Inside the box, one disc can produce energy to "power a lightbulb" (60 W, assuming a full power lightbulb). The discs are produced from baked sand and then painted on each side with the special ink…best of all it can produce at full power 24-7 -- something no solar or wind generator can claim…the only thing that's for sure is that Wednesday's announcement should be intriguing.” [ http://earth2tech.com/2010/02/21/10-things-to-know-about-bloom-energy/ http://earth2tech.com/2010/02/22/10-fuel-cell-startups-hot-on-bloom-energy%E2%80%99s-trail/ ]

29. NEC develops 16Gbps link usable for USB 3.0 http://www.electronista.com/articles/10/02/17/nec.usb.3.controller.triples.in.speed/ NEC…developed a new chipset whose bus speeds could more than triple the speed of USB 3.0…it has conquered the interference that plagues very high speed data and provided considerably more headroom. It expects that USB 3.0 or a similar technology could reach 16Gbps, or about 3.3 times faster than the peak 5Gbps of the official spec. The speed would amount to about 2GB per second…NEC would still need to obtain approval from an organization like the USB Implementers Forum to make its technology part of a standard but could potentially cut down even very large data transfers to a matter of seconds…”

30. Super Velcro http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/24539/?a=f “…researchers have made an extremely strong adhesive that comes apart when heated. The adhesive is 10 times stickier than Velcro and the reusable gecko-inspired glues…The polymers in the glue bond to each other within minutes when they are initially heated…The adhesive could lead to cars that are easy and cheap to customize. Xie envisions interchangeable car bumpers and trim in different colors. Customers could even specify where they wanted their radio, GPS system, or cup holders placed…strong, switchable adhesives could make it easier to recycle computers and electronics, if these adhesives were used to glue them together…The glue could find use in any application requiring a strong but alterable bond, such as furniture, toys, and buildings. Geoghegan envisions offices or hotel rooms that could be tailored to accommodate a handicapped person…”

31. Reinventing the Wheel http://cleantechnica.com/2010/02/21/columbia-university-students-reinvent-the-wheel/ “…students at Columbia University has made it to the next round of Walmart’ s Better Living Business Plan Challenge…by yes, reinventing the wheel. The team has proposed a business venture that would make energy efficient, lightweight composite wheels for buses, trucks and other large vehicles…Lightweight composite wheels are familiar to bicyclists and ATV enthusiasts, but their use in wheels for heavier vehicles has been limited…Three of the four members of the team are Boeing employees involved in the distance learning program of the Columbia School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, so a likely inspiration for the project is the growing use of durable, lightweight composite materials in aircraft. Durability is the key to translating composite wheels into use by trucks and other heavy vehicles, and another factor is cost…”

Leisure & Entertainment

32. Clicker: The TV Guide Of Online Video http://techcrunch.com/2010/02/18/clicker-funding/ “…Clicker doesn’t actually store content on its servers, but instead makes it very easy to search through the vast amounts of content available online. Clicker’s index includes over 600,000 full length TV episodes spanning 10,000 shows. The service also allows users to search through premium content including Netflix’s Instant Streaming movies and Amazon Video on Demand (though you have to pay to watch them). The site also offers music videos, and has started teaming up with schools to index their lectures and other original content…”

33. Phone Game Needs No Server http://www.technologyreview.com/communications/24624/?a=f A new augmented reality game can run on two Android phones, over 3G or Wi-Fi, without an additional server. The unique networking method used for the game could be quite useful for those working on disaster relief or in the military…Multiplayer games on mobile devices like phones usually require remote servers for communication between devices and game hosting…The game uses a computing middleware system, called Ibis, originally developed for high-performance, distributed computing tasks, such as image processing or astrophysics research, but which Kemp and colleagues have adapted to run on Android phones. "It allows each phone to run a lightweight communication server…the game offers a modern-day take on the old gun-slinging shootouts of the Wild West by fusing the real world with virtual play. It's simple enough: two players walk three steps away from each other, turn and shoot. But instead of firing bullets, a player tries to shoot a photograph of his opponent, lining up the onscreen crosshairs in the camera's viewfinder with the opponent's face. Each player has up to six shots, and the first to "shoot" their opponent in the face wins…The accelerometers and digital compass built into Android phones allow the game-- distributed on both phones--to act like the referee, making sure each player has taken three steps and doesn't turn too soon. "And to evaluate if it was a hit or a miss, we use a face-detection algorithm…”

34. Lego Creating Multiplayer Online Game http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20100218/tc_pcworld/legocreatingmultiplayeronlinegame “…Lego Group plans to launch an MMOG (massively multiplayer online game) in the second half of this year, to be called Lego Universe…the game…was four years in the making…The Lego Universe will be aimed at children 8 to 12 years old, though the company hopes the offering will be appealing to older individuals as well…Players cannot be killed, but they can be reduced to a pile of unassembled bricks. The idea is to play the game and collect bricks, which will allow users to build more interesting models…Some worlds will have traditional Lego themes, such as pirates, ninjas and castles, while others will be novel for the Lego space…Users can also graft behaviors onto their creations…”

35. Wal-Mart Picks Up Digital VUDU http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/feb2010/tc20100222_235241.htm “…Wal-Mart said it would buy VUDU, which sells and rents downloadable movies and TV shows that can be viewed on such Web-connected devices as Blu-ray disc players and some LG televisions…Buying VUDU pushes Wal-Mart further into the online territory dominated by Apple, Amazon.com and Netflix and helps the retailer compensate for weakness in demand for CDs and DVDs sold through brick-and-mortar outlets. "The one area of Wal-Mart's business that's under threat is digital…Sales of digital entertainment can also fuel demand for the hardware needed to play music, TV, and movies…The VUDU purchase may help Wal-Mart generate sales of flat-panel TVs and Blu-ray players. VUDU expects to be built into more than 150 products this year, compared with 8 in 2009…”

36. iPhone Game House ngmoco Raises $25 Million, Buys Freeverse http://techcrunch.com/2010/02/22/ngmoco-25-million-series-c-buys-freeverse/ Neil Young, the CEO of iPhone game startup ngmoco, wants to “amass enough scale” to accelerate “away from the pack.” He just raised a $25 million series C round and acquired Freeverse, another top iPhone game developer…Two of its games alone—TouchPets and Eliminate—have been installed 9 million times, and hundreds of thousands of people play every day. Last year, ngmoco switched to free-to-play games with in-app purchases for virtual goods through its Plus+ social game network. All of Freeverse’s games, such as Skee-Ball, Flick Fishing, Flick Bowling, and Moto Chaser, are paid apps. Skee-Ball is the No. 4 ranked paid app in the App Store. But Young plans to move the Freeverse games over to the free-to-play model…Young also acquired the $0.99 game Charadium from another game developer and plans to convert that over to free-to-play as well…Young says TouchPets had “its biggest revenue day” last weekend, and its next two games, We Rule and GodFinger (a “social god game”), were designed specifically with the free-to-play model in mind. “On any given day, you have about 2% of your audience paying you money…”

Economy and Technology

37. For Chip Makers, the Next Battle Is in Smartphones http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/22/technology/22chip.html “…The going rate for a state-of-the-art chip factory is about $3 billion. The plants typically take years to build…the chip wars are about to become even more bloody. In this next phase, the manufacturers will be fighting to supply the silicon for one of the fastest-growing segments of computing: smartphones, tiny laptops and tablet-style devices…ARM Holdings…owns the rights to the core chip design used in most smartphones and licenses that technology to manufacturers…Intel…has long been held up as the gold standard when it comes to ultra-efficient, advanced chip manufacturing plants…GlobalFoundries…a new player in the contract chip-making business, was formed last year when Advanced Micro Devices…spun off its manufacturing operations…helped by close to $10 billion in current and promised investments from the government of Abu Dhabi…Even without the direct investment of a factory, it can cost these companies about $1 billion to create a smartphone chip from scratch…these types of chips have made their way from smartphones like the iPhone to other types of devices because of their low power consumption and cost…Nvidia and Qualcomm want to get their chips into as many types of consumer electronics as possible, including entertainment systems in cars, and home phones with screens and Web access…Intel is about to enter the phone fray, both to expand its market and defend itself against the ARM chip makers…Intel executives argue that consumers will demand more robust mobile computing experiences, requiring chips with more oomph and PC-friendly software…”

38. Yuri Milner: DST Has $1 Billion for Social Media http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/feb2010/tc20100218_270634.htm In early 2009, as Russian investor Yuri Milner scoured the social media landscape for possible targets, he didn't wait for Facebook to call. Milner hopped on a plane and met directly with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Palo Alto, Calif., paving the way for his company, Digital Sky Technologies, to pay $200 million for an almost 2% stake. "I am making big investments," says Milner, who estimates that he spends as much as 75% of his time traveling. "You just have to be personally involved…Digital Sky Technologies, which in December led a round of funding in social gaming site Zynga, plans to invest more than $1 billion in social Web startups around the world, mostly outside Russia…Digital Sky tends to take small stakes in large, established social media companies that might otherwise be on the verge of an initial share sale. Such a big infusion—typically at a higher valuation than earlier-stage investments—gives an enterprise time to pursue growth without facing the pressures of a publicly traded company…Milner says he invests for the "very long term," comparing his style to that of Warren Buffett, an investor he admires…In January, the average Russian Web user spent 9.3 hours on social sites…U.S. ranked 18th, with users spending 4.5 hours on social sites…”

39. Hertz To Add Nissan Leaf EV to Rental Fleet http://www.wired.com/autopia/2010/02/hertz-rent-nissan-leaf/ “…Hertz…is adding the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle to its rental fleets in Europe and the United States next year…it will begin taking reservations for the car in April and begin putting them in driveways in December…Nissan is of course stoked by the announcement, which will give people a chance to try out an EV without forking out the dough to get one…it’s said to be shooting for something in the $26,000 to $33,000 ballpark…”

Civilian Aerospace

40. Dubai inaugural World Space Risk Forum http://www.bi-me.com/main.php?id=44590&t=1&c=35&cg=4&mset=1011 The World Space Risk Forum…will be held…in Dubai from 1 - 3 March 2010…Delegates attending the event will include CEOs and CFOs of satellite manufacturers, satellite operators and launch service providers, in addition to all the major global insurance brokers and underwriter companies…A panel of industry experts will debate each session topic giving the audience an opportunity to gain insights on new developments in the space industry and their economic consequence…”

41. Where’s the ore for Mars miners? http://news.discovery.com/space/mars-prospecting-ores-gold.html “…On Earth, surface waters, ground waters and even chemicals left by living things play major roles in leaching, concentrating and depositing valuable metals and minerals like iron, gold, silver, nickel, copper and many more…on Mars there are no oceans or surface waters; no microorganisms either…So where does a starving miner look on Mars for usable quantities of ore?...The vast volcanic landscapes of Mars, for instance, are analogous to what geologists call the "Large Igneous Provinces" (LIPs) of Earth. These are areas where lots of lava poured out over the surface…Elements that are extracted from Earth's LIPs include nickel, copper, titanium, iron, platinum, palladium and chromium. Mars' large volcanoes mountains themselves might also prove fruitful…Other potential mineral hot spots are the abundant large impact craters on Mars…”

42. SwRI-Organized Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference a Hit http://eon.businesswire.com/portal/site/eon/permalink/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20100219005694&newsLang=en The Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) has brought the research and education communities together with suborbital vehicle providers and government funding agencies for the first time. “When we conceived the idea for NSRC last summer, many people were skeptical that such a meeting would generate much interest…“But people voted with their feet and came to NSRC, over 250 of them…featuring more than 80 presentations during nine sessions, NSRC, held in Boulder, Colo., Feb. 18–20, also included a public lecture night for Boulder-Denver residents, a multi-state university student contest and a press conference. NASA also turned out in force, with more than 20 participants…researchers from the U.S. Air Force and the Naval Research Laboratory, as well as six foreign nations attended…”

43. Warp drives for space flight http://news.discovery.com/space/warp-drives-making-the-impossible-possible.html “…advanced propulsion expert Richard Obousy is concerned that citing problems with a theoretical futuristic warp drive is a little shortsighted…a warp drive is a purely theoretical device at this stage, and no evidence exists that indicates that a warp drive could actually be built," Dr. Obousy told Discovery News. "There are, however, some research papers which lay down a mathematical and physical framework for how such a device might function…Dr. Obousy gave Discovery News an exclusive look at his "warpship" concept (a piece of 'sufficiently advanced technology' itself), a spaceship that could generate its own warp "bubble," compressing spacetime in the front of the vehicle and expanding it from the rear…to warp spacetime, the warp drive would need to manipulate the "dark energy" that is theorized to pervade all space…Also, microscopic extra dimensions as predicted by superstring theory would need to exist. Assuming these theories stand the test of time, then perhaps Obousy's warp drive could be a reality in the distant future…”

44. Falcon 9 rocket hoisted upright http://news.discovery.com/space/falcon-rocket-rises.html “…Over the weekend, Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, hoisted its first Falcon 9 rocket at a new launch complex just south of the Kennedy Space Center, where Endeavour touched down…Just four flights remain before NASA retires Endeavour and sister ships Atlantis and Discovery, due to safety concerns and operating costs that eat about $3 billion a year…SpaceX plans to pump fuel through its Falcon 9 booster this week to test the rocket and its Florida launch team…In addition to the Falcon rockets, SpaceX is developing a capsule known as Dragon, which will carry cargo -- and possibly crewmembers -- to the space station…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

45. The Cost to Play: CUDA Programming http://www.linux-mag.com/id/7707 “…With all these options, the one that seems to have the most “buzz” is CUDA. I often wonder about language adoption and I am constantly amazed at how fast CUDA has gained ground in the HPC space…the “buzz” around CUDA (Compute Unified Device Architecture) is more than marketing hype. People are using it for real work, i.e. it is past the curiosity stage. NVidia recently released some statistics related to CUDA usage: 2700+ CUDA-related citations on Google Scholar…800+ CUDA-related videos on YouTube…300+ Universities Teaching the CUDA Parallel Programming Model…I attended the NVidia GPU Technology Conference this past fall and it was full of CUDA programmers attending workshops, building relationships, and learning as much as they could about this new programming method…The rapid uptake of CUDA applications by programmers was no accident. NVidia did an excellent job making CUDA accessible and promoting the toolkit…For those looking to duplicate the success of CUDA, it may be worth considering the following points…”

46. Supercomputer on your desktop http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9154198/The_supercomputer_on_your_desktop High-performance computing (HPC) has almost always required a supercomputer -- one of those room-size monoliths you find at government research labs and universities. And while those systems aren't going away, some of the applications traditionally handled by the biggest of Big Iron are heading to the desktop…processing that took an hour on a standard PC about eight years ago now takes six seconds…Monumental improvements in desktop processing power, graphics processing unit (GPU) performance, network bandwidth and solid-state drive speed combined with 64-bit throughput have made the desktop increasingly viable for large-scale computing projects…”

47. Berkeley discusses progress in parallel programming http://eetimes.com/news/latest/showArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=BITM4KVK4EOA3QE1GHPSKHWATMY32JVN?articleID=222900125 Researchers gave an update Thursday (Feb. 11) on their work to find new programming models for tomorrow's many-core processors…Kurt Keutzer, a professor working at Berkeley's Parallel Computing Lab, described more than half a dozen applications researchers have written using a new parallel methodology called Pallas…Using this approach, one team created a program that reduced the time needed to create an MRI image from one hour to one minute. The code is already being used at a local children's hospital. In another example, the approach reduced the time to handle object recognition from 222 seconds on an Intel Nehalem processor to 1.8 seconds on a massively parallel Nvidia GTX 280 chip. Other efforts in areas including speech recognition, option trading and machine learning showed results ranging from 11 to 100-fold performance gains…The Copperhead framework being co-developed with Nvidia is focused on generating fast executable code for data-parallel applications. It will work both with Nvidia's Cuda and the OpenCL environments…”



NEW NET Issues List for 16 Feb 2010

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 16 February 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. Microsoft Adds "Augmented Reality" to Bing Maps http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/24800/?a=f “…Microsoft just added an interesting new feature to Bing Maps--augmented reality. Actually, it's a bit more like augmented reality in reverse. A new function, called Streetside Photos, takes real images and video clips and neatly stitches them onto the Bing Map's street-level view…This means you can, for example, zoom in on a street and see an image of a particular storefront that was just uploaded to Flickr or Twitpic instead of the standard one. Steetside Photos, which is available for Seattle and San Francisco maps, also includes some nice historical imagery. Blaise Agüera y Arcas, architect of Bing Maps…presented another image-stitching program called Photosynth at TED in 2007. He tells me that the new application's algorithms are similar to Photosynth's but effectively work in reverse…Perhaps most impressively, it can overlay moving video on top of a map, creating a "lens" type of effect, as illustrated in the video at Pike Place Market in Seattle below…” http://searchengineland.com/bing-demos-streetside-with-flickr-photos-live-video-bing-sky-35994 “…Microsoft’s Blaise Aguera y Arcas demonstrated a new crowdsourced-version Bing Maps that integrates photos and even live video that is shared by others. Microsoft will also soon launch what we’ve dubbed “Bing Sky,” the ability to use Bing to look up in the sky and see what’s in space above…also demonstrated live Webcam feeds perfectly which enables real-time video to be overlaid seamlessly on street-level imagery, adding another dimension to the mapping experience. Imagine – you can see how long the line is at Five Guys before you head over for a burger. In the coming year, we think you will be pleasantly surprised with how far Bing takes this new technology…You’re now able to see what that club looks like at night (is it really THAT scary?), see if you’re really going to get a good sunset at that B&B you’re looking to book, or check out the crowds on a Saturday morning at Pike Place Market in Seattle or get a view of the same market from decades prior…Microsoft also highlighted its many map applications available for Bing, for those using the Silverlight version…”

2. Aviary online image editor http://techcrunch.com/2010/02/11/aviary-free/ Aviary is easily one of the best online image editors out there — maybe the best. But to take full advantage of all it offers, you had to pay for its full suite, which cost you $24.99 a year. Well, that is until now. Starting today, the full service is now available for free to all users…our recent round of funding (by Spark Capital, Bezos Expeditions & others) enables us to finally achieve this goal as we shift revenues to other areas that don’t limit individuals in any way…He goes on to note that the focus is on building an app marketplace where people can buy and sell goods and services which Aviary would take a cut of…”

3. Full Screen Weather Is a Giant, No-Frills Weather Map http://lifehacker.com/5470766/full-screen-weather-is-a-giant-no+frills-weather-map We've always liked Weather Underground for its no-nonsense, real-time weather info. Today they've released a new service called Full Screen Weather that mashes up Google Maps with weather data for nothing but maps and up-to-the-minute weather info. Just point your browser to fullscreenweather.com, enter your ZIP code, and get browsing. By default the map displays temperatures as measured from stations across Weather Underground's extensive reporting areas, but you can also switch to Precipitation and Cloud views (you can even play back cloud or precipitation movement over time)…”

4. Opera Mini reaches 50 million active users http://www.opera.com/press/releases/2010/02/12/ Opera Mini, the world’s most popular mobile browser, has crossed the 50 million unique monthly users mark in January 2010. This milestone proves the popularity of Opera Mini compared to other mobile browsers, as users seek out the Opera Mini experience over other options by downloading it on their mobile devices…”

5. Life's important documents stored safely online http://www.suntimes.com/technology/guy/2045730,CST-NWS-ECOL13.article Liz Robinson, head of planning for a major ad agency, and her actor husband, John, find themselves on the road frequently, and their three grown children in constant need of information. So what happens if the youngest daughter needs to know when she was immunized against mumps, or John wants to check that the last mortgage payment cleared the bank? The information is an iPhone click away now that Liz Robinson has stored her important documents -- account log-ins, passport data, last will-and-testament and credit-card information -- into a secure Web site with the odd name Orggit -- short for organize it….Liz Robinson said anyone who wants to do the same must summon the discipline to scan documents and type in data for about half a day, but then it's finished. The Orggit program costs $49.99 a year. Orggit enables the Robinson parents to give their children access to information that they choose. So the children may see their doctors' records but not their parents' bank accounts…The system includes an "alerts" and "reminders" process that signals when a driver's license or passport is set to expire…Nancy Nally, a tech writer who reviewed Orggit for Web Worker Daily, fell in love with the application because it met her needs for a virtual and instantly retrievable medical alert bracelet…After an Orggit member fills out his or her medical history, he gets a card to put in his or her wallet with instructions for emergency medical providers on how to download the information…I like the idea of maintaining a constantly updated medical file online that's connected to a card in my wallet," she said. "Orggit even knows when I got my flu shot…”

6. Zoho Launches New Version Of Invoicing Application http://techcrunch.com/2010/02/11/zoho-launches-new-version-of-invoicing-application/ “…Zoho…is releasing a new version of its Invoice, dubbed Invoice 2.0…over the past two years, there have been a plethora of online invoicing startups that have popped up and Zoho is catching up to its competitors with version two of its offering…The version also has full organization, multi-user support so that several employees can access and collaborate on invoices for a particular account…and email history which tracks your email exchanges with your clients…Zoho’s invoicing application…ties into its other productivity applications seamlessly…its affordable, with a free version and the most expensive version coming in at $35 per month…Zoho has definitely reached over 2 million users…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

7. Every Expat’s Favorite Software, Hotspot Shield http://gigaom.com/2010/02/12/the-man-behind-every-expats-favorite-software-hotspot-shield/ “…ad-supported VPN, Hotspot Shield, has been on a tear in the last year. The tool, which people use to protect their browsing privacy and also to access blocked web content, now has more than 7 million monthly users and 1.3 billion pages encrypted per month. Hotspot Shield’s userbase, which tripled in the last 12 months, is filled with expats — such as U.S. Army soldiers and businesspeople in China — according to CEO David Gorodyansky, who stopped by GigaOM today for an interview (see video below). More than 80 percent of Hotspot Shield users are browsing in English, while more than half of users are international…” [use for privacy/security or just to get around blocks? better than Tor? watch the video in post]

8. Feds push for tracking cell phones http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10451518-38.html “…Two years ago, when the FBI was stymied by a band of armed robbers…that had robbed more than 20 Texas banks, it came up with a novel method of locating the thieves. FBI agents obtained logs from mobile phone companies…recorded at the time of a dozen different bank robberies in the Dallas area…records showed that two phones had made calls around the time of all 12 heists…those phones belonged to men named Tony Hewitt and Corey Duffey. A jury eventually convicted the duo of multiple bank robbery and weapons charges…the Obama administration has argued that warrantless tracking is permitted because Americans enjoy no "reasonable expectation of privacy" in their--or at least their cell phones'--whereabouts. U.S. Department of Justice lawyers say that "a customer's Fourth Amendment rights are not violated when the phone company reveals to the government its own records" that show where a mobile device placed and received calls…Not long ago, the concept of tracking cell phones would have been the stuff of spy movies. In 1998's "Enemy of the State," Gene Hackman warned that the National Security Agency has "been in bed with the entire telecommunications industry since the '40s--they've infected everything."…Whether state and federal police have been paying attention to Hollywood, or whether it was the other way around, cell phone tracking has become a regular feature in criminal investigations. It comes in two forms…retrospective data kept by mobile providers for their own billing purposes that may not be very detailed, or prospective data that reveals the minute-by-minute location of a…mobile device…In the case that's before the Third Circuit on Friday…U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa Lenihan in Pennsylvania denied the Justice Department's attempt to obtain stored location data without a search warrant…Lenihan's opinion (PDF)--which, in an unusual show of solidarity, was signed by four other magistrate judges--noted that location information can reveal sensitive information such as health treatments, financial difficulties, marital counseling, and extra-marital affairs…the Justice Department claims that Lenihan's opinion…should be overruled…Verizon Wireless keeps "phone records including cell site location for 12 months… wireless carriers have recently extended how long they store this information. "Prior to a year or two ago when location-based services became more common, if it were 30 days it would be surprising…”

9. U.S. To Be Hit By Massive Cyber Attack On Feb. 16. Asterisk. http://politics.theatlantic.com/2010/02/_recreating_a_s_ituation.php On February 16, at about 10:00 am ET, the U.S. will be hit by a massive, crippling cyber attack from an unknown entity…The reason I felt compelled to write a pseudo-serious lead to this post is because, for the first time, a cyber attack is going to be war-gamed, in public, for all the country to see. It will be quite realistic, featuring senior intelligence and national security officials, including former directors of intelligence agencies and combatant commands and homeland security advisers. A production company has been hired to re-create a White House Sit Room in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, and professional scriptwriters have been working with experts…sponsors of the event include companies with financial stakes in the future of cyber defense -- General Dynamics is one -- but also companies whose transactions are the lifeblood to the American economy, and who want to foster a greater sense of urgency among the public and policymakers. (PayPal has joined as a sponsor.)…It will be, I can say, dynamic -- runners with cards will enter the "Sit Room" with new information…At the end, participants will step out of their roles for a hotwash -- open to the press and the experts…” [Apparently this was a micro “War of the Worlds”, with lots of people (see previous NEW NET item about people only reading new article headlines) getting upset and worried.]

10. 4chan's moot takes pro-anonymity to TED 2010 http://arstechnica.com/staff/palatine/2010/02/4chans-moot-takes-pro-anonymity-to-ted-2010.ars “…moot is the founder of 4chan…the 21 year-old took the stage after an awkward introduction. He revealed that the site produces 700,000 posts in a day, from 7 million unique users…4chan is "raw" and "unfiltered." One of its community-generated rules is, "If it exists, there is porn of it. No Exceptions."…The story of Dusty the Cat changed the tone of the talk quickly. moot described how, in only 48 hours, the community tracked down a man who had posted videos of cat abuse. The man was arrested, and moot used the story to illustrate how digital communities can do more than make funny pictures of cats….he insisted that anonymity is a good thing, yet we're all giving it up voluntarily. He wasn't talking about the NSA or tech policy or anything like that. Rather, he said sites like 4chan may go the way of the dinosaur because people are choosing to join social networking sites and persistent identity services…He seemed puzzled as to why everyone wants their identity tied to so much of what they say and do online…moot said that money wasn't the goal of creating 4chan. "The commercial picture is that there really isn't one," he said. More laughs, mostly uneasy, and I was left with a sense that many people in the room did not understand. I did, because like 4chan, Ars was started not to make money, but to service a community. Whether or not 4chan has a real commercial future isn't clear, moot said, but he was going back to school and hoped to apply all he has learned from 4chan to some future venture…”

11. Microsoft halts Windows Update distribution of security fix after blue-screen reports http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=5250 Microsoft has removed one group of patches it released as part of this week’s Patch Tuesday — MS10-015 (KB977165) – from its Windows Update service until it can investigate reports by some users that it is causing havoc with their PCs. Microsoft provided an update on the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) blog on February 11 about its actions, after a day of reports by users with problems, including some XP users claiming blue-screen-of-death (BSOD) issues seemingly resulting from application of the KB977165 patch…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

12. MeeGo: Intel joins Nokia in Android attack http://www.pcworld.com/article/189335/nokia_and_intel_launch_new_mobile_operating_system.html Nokia and Intel will merge two of their mobile operating systems into Meego, a Linux-based, open operating system for everything from advanced smartphones to netbooks, connected TVs and tablet computers…The new operating system will combine the best features from each operating system, including the Moblin core and the UI (user interface) toolkit from Maemo. Intel developed Moblin, and Nokia developed Maemo…The first devices based on the operating system are expected to arrive during the second half of 2010…The operating system will support both Intel's Atom and ARM architectures…”

13. Wi-Fi Turns Rowdy Bus Into Rolling Study Hall http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/12/education/12bus.html Students endure hundreds of hours on yellow buses each year getting to and from school in this desert exurb of Tucson, and stir-crazy teenagers break the monotony by teasing, texting, flirting, shouting, climbing (over seats) and sometimes punching (seats or seatmates). But on this chilly morning, as bus No. 92 rolls down a mountain highway just before dawn, high school students are quiet, typing on laptops. Morning routines have been like this since the fall, when school officials mounted a mobile Internet router to bus No. 92’s sheet-metal frame, enabling students to surf the Web. The students call it the Internet Bus, and what began as a high-tech experiment has had an old-fashioned — and unexpected — result. Wi-Fi access has transformed what was often a boisterous bus ride into a rolling study hall, and behavioral problems have virtually disappeared…” [is the loss of ‘social interaction’ on the bus necessarily a ‘good’ thing?]

14. Skype Over Verizon 3G http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-02-16/verizon-wireless-puts-skype-on-phones-to-fight-at-t-update3-.html Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. mobile-phone carrier, will include Skype…calling service on handsets such as the BlackBerry…The service will work on Verizon’s third-generation network, on phones including Motorola Inc.’s Droid and Research in Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry Storm…Customers need a data plan to use the service. Verizon Wireless, based in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, is relying on 3G data plans for growth as demand slows for voice calls…Over 15 percent of all iPhones now have Skype downloaded on it, so there’s huge demand…AT&T’s iPhone subscribers can use the Skype service only when they are in Wi-Fi hotspots. Skype said this month that a version of Skype for the iPhone that works over AT&T’s 3G phone network is coming “soon.”…AT&T said in October that it would allow Internet-calling services such as Skype to work on its phone network…

15. Sagem Orga outs SIMFi, a SIM card/WiFi router hybrid http://www.mobilecrunch.com/2010/02/12/sagem-orga-outs-simfi-a-sim-cardwifi-router-hybrid/ “…SIMFi is…a SIM card with an embedded WiFi radio, so provided you have a suitable data plan, the card itself puts out a WiFi signal instead of relying on the phone. For anyone who’s ever needed internet access on a laptop, with no other tools besides the phone in their pocket, this is a potential godsend…”

16. Samsung unveils Bluetooth 3.0, 802.11n smartphone http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/02/15/samsung_unveils_bada_wave/ Samsung has taken the wraps off the first phone to be fitted out with its Bada operating system. It also has 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0. Called the Wave, the handset sports a 3.5in, 800 x 480 OLED touchscreen. While Bada runs behind the scenes, users interact with the third incarnation of Samsung's established TouchWiz UI…”

17. Motorola's Quench Marks Company's Eighth Android Phone http://www.pcworld.com/article/189333/motorolas_quench_marks_companys_eighth_android_phone.html Motorola released its eighth Android smartphone on Monday called the Quench or Cliq XT, which comes with a touchscreen and a virtual keyboard. The phone is based on version 1.5 of Android and features Motorola's own Motoblur, which, for example, syncs e-mails, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter messages…The Quench will be available in the first quarter of 2010…In the U.S. the phone will be called Cliq XT and be available next month exclusively through T-Mobile USA…”

18. Android now shipping on 60,000 handsets per day http://www.mobilecrunch.com/2010/02/16/google-now-shipping-60000-android-handsets-per-day/ “…Google and their hardware partners are now shipping 60,000 Android handsets each day…If that’s a true average rate and it holds true for the next year, that works out to about 5.4 million handsets per quarter, or 21.9 million per year. Not only that, but the rate seems to be growing fairly rapidly; according to Schmidt, the rate has nearly doubled over the last quarter…”

19. Do E-Readers Cause Eye Strain http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/12/do-e-readers-cause-eye-strain/ “…The act of reading is going through a..fundamental…shift from reading on paper to reading on screens. As consumers decide whether to make this jump and which technology to use, one key question is how reading on a screen affects the eyes…Most of what our mothers told us about our eyes was wrong,” said Dr. Travis Meredith…Sitting close to a television, or computer screen, isn’t bad for our eyes. It’s a variety of other factors that can cause physical fatigue…there is a lively debate among fans of e-readers and paper books about which type of reading experience is most friendly to the eyes…It depends on the viewing circumstances, including the software and typography on the screen,” said Mr. Bove. “Right now E Ink is great in sunlight, but in certain situations, a piece of paper can be a better display than E Ink, and in dim light, an LCD display can be better than all of these technologies.” E Ink has a very low contrast ratio. Although it can offer an excellent reading experience in bright sunlight, the screens can become uncomfortable to use in dark settings because of the lack of contrast and backlighting on the screen. LCD screens, meanwhile, have long struggled to offer good viewing angles for reading. Apple’s latest IPS LCD screens include extremely wide viewing angles, but the reflective glass on the screen could be a hindrance in brightly lit situations…When we read…a series of ocular muscles jump around and can cause strain, regardless of whether we are looking at pixels or paper. “While you’re reading, your eyes make about 10,000 movements an hour. It’s important to take a step back every 20 minutes and let your eyes rest…Today’s screens are definitely less tiring to look at than older displays…The new LCDs don’t affect your eyes,” Mr. Taussig said. “Today’s screens update every eight milliseconds, whereas the human eye is moving at a speed between 10 and 30 milliseconds…”

Open Source

20. TeleKast Is a Snazzy Open Source Teleprompter App http://lifehacker.com/5471419/telekast-is-a-snazzy-open-source-teleprompter-app “…free, open-source application TeleKast is a solid desktop teleprompter…TeleKast if a free download for Windows and Linux only. It's currently an alpha release, so you might expect a little bugginess—but it worked like a charm in my tests. If you'd prefer a little teleprompter action without installing an application, check out previously mentioned CuePrompter.”

21. Ten tools trusted by Linux veterans http://resources.zdnet.co.uk/articles/comment/0,1000002985,40037145,00.htm “…I thought it would be fun to list 10 of these old-school Linux utilities and see what other tools people refuse to abandon, regardless of platform. Not only will it be a trip down memory lane for some, it might bring to light a tool that could solve a perplexing problem…Enlightenment is my desktop of choice and has been for some years. Recently, I have been using the Elive distribution, which pairs E17 with Compiz. But it is still Enlightenment in all its speedy beauty. If you have never experienced Enlightenment, you should do yourself a favour and give it a go…”

22. OpenOffice.org Releases Version 3.2 http://news.yahoo.com/s/zd/20100211/tc_zd/248317 OpenOffice 3.2 is now available for download, the organization announced Thursday…the productivity suite – which is intended to be an open-source alternative to Microsoft Office – boasts faster start-up times, ODF support, proprietary file support, support for postscript-based OpenType fonts, and more. The release comes after OpenOffice.org hit a milestone of 300 million downloads over the course of its 10-year history…”


23. The buzz on Google Buzz http://gigaom.com/2010/02/11/google-listens-to-critics-and-tweaks-buzz/ “…many people wound up exposing their email and GTalk contacts to the outside world without realizing this would happen. Some users said they had turned Buzz off as a result, while others said they had avoided following friends because they didn’t want to expose their profiles or emails in this way. Others complained that they couldn’t block users who didn’t already have a public profile, and that it wasn’t clear who would be shown on their public following list and who wouldn’t. So what did Google do? It listened, and even though the feature has only been available for two days, it has made changes to respond to these criticisms…it has made the “public or non-public” setting in Buzz more obvious so that users make that decision explicitly, and it has also made it possible for users to block those they don’t want following them…” http://techcrunch.com/2010/02/11/reply-google-buzz-exposing-email/ “…another privacy flaw in Google Buzz that can expose private email addresses to everyone who follows you. Google Buzz borrows the @reply convention from Twitter so that if you want to reply to someone or direct a comment to them you simply put the @ sign in front of their name. Google autosuggests names from your contact list as you start typing. Normally, this doesn’t cause any problems if you select the Gmail account or chat name associated with that person’s public profile. It ends up posting their name, and not their email address. But if you select a name or account that is not public, Buzz will fill in with their private email. For example, I wanted to direct a comment at TechCrunch writer MG Siegler, so I typed in “@mg” and up came three of his different emails. I picked his TechCrunch email, not realizing that his public profile is linked to a different Gmail account. What this means is that the 231 people following me on Buzz can all see MG’s private email address in my comment even if they had no direct connection to him before…” Disabling Google Buzz -- http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10451703-2.html Hacking numeric Google profile url back to an email address -- http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/hacking_google_profile_gmail_email_addresses.php

24. How Google Buzz for mobile can change your life http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2010/02/12/urnidgns852573C400693880002576C8007B7D43.DTL “…Almost all the talk is about using Buzz from a PC. Now it's time to meet the other Google Buzz…two new features rolled into the mobile version of Google Maps, called "Near me now" and "Explore right here," partially realized the long-held vision of "virtual graffiti." The idea is to post "invisible messages" in the air…That's what the mobile version of Google Buzz does. "Near me now" and "Explore right here" functionality is baked right into the mobile version of Buzz. That, combined with cell phone GPS capability and Twitter-like posting, is mobile magic…When you launch the mobile Buzz app and touch the "Nearby" button, you'll see all recent posts near your location, listed in order of proximity…You can choose not to reveal your location at all or you can reveal your general location or specify exactly which building you're in, all with a click or two…location features on Twitter, or location apps in Facebook…are vastly inferior, and far less immediately usable…Google Buzz will trigger a culture-changing "network effect." That's where a snowballing of usage occurs: The more people use a network, the more valuable it becomes…Google Buzz on a PC is a closed experience…Google Buzz on a phone is the opposite: You don't need Gmail. And you can see the tweets of people whether you're following them or not. In the "Nearby" mode, you're automatically "following" whoever happens to be or has been near wherever it is you are. And they're following you. When you leave the area, you stop "following" them and start "following" the people near your new location. The power of Google Buzz on a GPS-enabled cell phone is abstract, and it must be experienced to fully understand it…let me tell you eight things you can do with Google Buzz on a compatible iPhone or Android device that can change your life: 1. Promote your business…2. Share your 'business card' at industry events…at the next major IT industry event…early adopters will start an invisible, back-channel, ad-hoc social network during the show based only on GPS location…people won't need to know the URL for the official message board or chat room. They'll just use Buzz's "Nearby" mode, and everybody nearby will be a conference attendee. People will introduce themselves to fellow attendees by broadcasting their Google Profiles page -- a kind of "business card exchange." A few speakers will draw crowds by promoting their presentations on Buzz. Attendees will arrange meet-ups. The people on Buzz will get more out of the conference…From there, it will spread to non-tech conferences. Within a year, I think Buzz will become the de facto source of information and networking at all industry events…”

25. Google Maps Labs http://blogoscoped.com/archive/2010-02-12-n86.html “…following many other services, Google Maps received a Lab icon. Click the green flask at the top of Google Maps and you get a chance to enable features like the following: Drag ’n’ Zoom: Click the Drag-and-Zoom button, then draw a box on the map to immediately zoom into that place. Aerial Imagery: Available for certain areas, aerial imagery “gives you rotatable, high-resolution overhead imagery presented in a new perspective.”…Where in the World Game…Rotatable Maps…What’s Around Here?...LatLng Tooltip…”

26. YouTube Video Speed Dashboard http://youtube-global.blogspot.com/2010/02/speed-matters-introducing-youtube-video.html Your YouTube video speed can mean the difference between a fast and fun video viewing experience, or a slow and frustrating one. That's why, today, we're launching a YouTube video speed dashboard to make the speed information available to you. YouTube video speed depends on many different factors some of which are the speed of your Internet connection, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) you are using and the distance to the video servers. The goal with this dashboard is to give you insight into what your YouTube speed looks like compared to the YouTube speed of users in other regions and different ISPs. We may also list the YouTube speeds for users in you neighborhood but with different ISPs…”

27. Announcing Google Chart Tools http://googlecode.blogspot.com/2010/02/announcing-google-chart-tools.html “…A good chart can take an elusive concept and clarify it in a visually appealing manner. This ingenious XKCD strip, http://xkcd.com/688/, uses a pie chart, a bar chart and a recursive scatter plot, to demonstrate the concept of self description. Whether you need a simple line chart, an interactive Geo Map or a complex Motion Chart , Google can help you add live charts to your web page using our Chart and Visualization APIs. Both of these APIs are free and simple to use, however they each have distinct advantage…”

28. Google Buys Aardvark Social Search Engine Run by Former Googlers http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/02/google-poaches-social-search-service-aardvark/ The coolest search engine you’ve never used got snapped up by Google Thursday for a reported $50 million. Aardvark, a company that lets you use IM, Twitter and e-mail to ask full-text questions and then get answers from people in or close to your social network, confirmed it signed a deal with Google…Given the focus on local and mobile, Google has made a smart buy here. Pair Vark’s technology with its new social network Buzz and its mobile applications, and Google has leading-edge technology in search that uses humans as much as algorithms to find answers to questions…Aardvark was founded in late 2007 by several ex-Googlers, including Max Ventilla and Nathan Stoll (formerly Google News engineer), along with programmer Damon Horowitz…Users who sign up give Vark access to one of their social networks — Facebook, LinkedIn or the e-mails in their contact list. Users then say what things they are confident answering questions about (e.g. chess, cooking, country music). Vark then routes future questions — such as what’s the best country band out of the south from the 1970s or where’s a good sushi restaurant near Santa Monica — to the right person. A series of algorithms keeps tuning the targeting by watching if a user’s answers are quick and useful, deciding whether their friends are also experts, and checking if a user is online or has been asked to answer too many questions recently…Vark has a relatively small user base — 90,000 or so as of last October — but its reputation in the tech community was stellar and user growth seemed to be skyrocketing…Vark users aren’t usually asking factual questions as one might with the mobile ChaChaCha answer service. Instead, users are most often asking local questions with subjective answers — e.g., what’s the best dry cleaner in Seattle for my wedding dress? Some 87 percent got answers and more than half got answers within 10 minutes. Mobile users were far more active than desktop users, while more than half of users answered questioned — more than double the ratio that Yahoo Answers has…” web quotes: “Yesterday at Vark, I asked “Why did Google acquire Aardvark?” These are two of the three answers which came in” ; Aardvark uses artificial intelligence to find the right people to answer a user's query. It then trusts those people to provide the desired information and refine the query as needed. I've used Aardvark a great deal in the months since, and I've found it invaluable for answering questions that benefit from human guidance or opinion. It's a great place, for example, to ask "How do I get started making electronic music?" or "What's a mind-blowing novel of first contact?

29. Would you like 1 Gbps internet access from Google? http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/think-big-with-gig-our-experimental.html “…We're planning to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States. We'll deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We plan to offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people. Our goal is to experiment with new ways to help make Internet access better and faster for everyone…”

30. Top 10 Google Settings You Should Know About http://lifehacker.com/5470671/top-10-google-settings-you-should-know-about As the outcry over Google Buzz's privacy has shown us, it's smart to explore settings in Gmail, along with other places you're sharing data with the search giant. Let's take a look at 10 privacy, convenience, and annoyance fixers you should know. 10. Turn off auto-displayed pictures from Gmail contacts…9. Fine-tune Google Apps for your domain…7. Turn off Buzz, Chat, and Labs in Gmail…3. Turn off Search History, logged in or not…2. Back up Google apps' data…1. Control what Buzz says about you on the web…”

31. Email as Identity: Google Turns on WebFinger http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_enables_webfinger_for_google_profiles_email_as_identity.php “…you may remember the old UNIX finger command…Today, Google enabled the next generation of the finger command - WebFinger - for all Gmail accounts. WebFinger provides users with a standardized and decentralized way of sharing their profile and identity information online…Google's Brad Fitzpatrick announced that the company has now enabled WebFinger fall all Google accounts with public profiles…You can think of WebFinger as an email-centric cousin of OpenID…”

32. Google shuts down music blogs without warning http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2010/feb/11/google-deletes-music-blogs In what critics are calling "musicblogocide 2010", Google has deleted at least six popular music blogs that it claims violated copyright law. These sites, hosted by Google's Blogger and Blogspot services, received notices only after their sites – and years of archives – were wiped from the internet…Although such sites once operated on the internet's fringes…many blogs are now wined, dined and even paid (via advertising) by record labels…not all of the record companies' legal teams have received the message…Bill Lipold, the owner of I Rock Cleveland, cited four cases in the past year when he had received copyright violation notices for songs…by Jay Reatard, Nadja, BLK JKS and Spindrift…even when the respective MP3s were official promo tracks…Apparently DMCA…even requested that the BLK JKS' official blog remove the song…”

General Technology

33. Must-Have Windows Software http://www.catonmat.net/blog/must-have-windows-programs/ “…Windows is my primary desktop from which I connect to all the other boxes and do my work on. During the years of Windows usage, I have accumulated a list of must-have Windows programs that I wouldn’t be able to work without. Some of them are commercial, some are freeware…” [good list of programs, some I hadn’t heard of before]

34. How we learned to love Photoshop http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/feb/11/photoshop-20-years-old-verb “…Photoshop…turns 20 next Friday…Photoshop has, like Google, transcended its origins in the world of ­computing, and become a verb. But whereas "to Google" is almost always used positively to express usefulness, Photoshopping is almost always a term of abuse: "That picture was Photo shopped" has become a shorthand way of saying it is untrustworthy and misleading…Examples of its use, or misuse, are legion: a faked image of John Kerry and Jane Fonda apparently sharing a platform at an anti-Vietnam war rally which dragged at Kerry's 2004 US presidential bid…Kate Winslet's legs magically elongating when she appeared on the front cover of the February 2003 edition of GQ…her picture had been manipulated "no more than any other cover star", and that "practically every photo you see in a magazine will have been digitally altered in this way…In other words, that's not actually what she looks like. And, Jones is saying, we should be used to it by now…The technique of "retouching" photos and fiddling with negatives has a long and inglorious history dating back to the 1860s…But it was Photoshop that made altering images routine. It began ­circumspectly as a program written by Thomas Knoll, who, in the autumn of 1987, was doing in a PhD in computer vision but for fun wrote a program to display images with grey in them on a black-and-white monitor. Knoll called the program Display, writing it on his Mac Plus computer. Then his brother John, who worked at George Lucas's Industrial Light and Magic company, which did the visual effects for the Star Wars films, noticed its potential. They collaborated, bought a Macintosh II – capable of displaying colours! – and set to work; the program's name mutated until they hit on Photoshop…”

35. DIY Group Sends $25 Balloon to 70,000 Feet http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/02/spacebridge-diy-balloon/all/1 DIY projects are all about sweat, tears and learning from mistakes. Just ask a group of electronics hobbyists that recently launched a $25 balloon bought off eBay with a payload carrying an Android G1 phone, two cameras and other assorted electronics up to nearly 70,000 feet in the air. “Fundamentally, we are all space enthusiasts,” says Mikolaj Habryn, one of the participants…The team successfully launched the balloon and gathered some great photographs but also made some fatal mistakes in their planning. The entire project conceived and launched in just about a week comes from members of Noisebridge, a collectively operated hacker space in San Francisco…”

36. You, Too, Can Soon Be Like Tom Cruise in ‘Minority Report’ http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/15/you-too-can-soon-be-like-tom-cruise-in-minority-report/ “…John Underkoffler, who led the team that came up with the interface that Tom Cruise’s character used in the 2002 movie “Minority Report,” co-founded a company, Oblong Industries, to make the gesture-activated interface a reality. Using special gloves, Mr. Underkoffler demonstrated the interface — called the g-speak Spatial Operating Environment — on Friday at the annual TED conference in Long Beach, Calif., a series of lectures by experts across a variety of technologies. He pushed, pulled and twisted vast troves of photos and forms that were on a screen in front of him, compressing and stretching as he went. He zoomed in, zoomed out and rotated the images using six degrees of control. In one part of the demonstration, he reached into a series of movies, plucked out a single character from each and placed them onto a “table” together where they continued to move…Oblong officially came out of stealth mode in November 2008, but Mr. Underkoffler said the TED demonstration was the public “coming out” of the company’s technology. Oblong, which is based in Los Angeles, now has around 25 employees. The old model of “one human, one machine, one mouse, one screen” is passe, said Mr. Underkoffler, who spent 15 years at the MIT Media Lab before co-founding Oblong…”

Leisure & Entertainment

37. Meet the guys behind Pocket God http://brainstormtech.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2010/02/11/meet-the-guys-behind-pocket-god/ Their pygmy-killing iPhone game is the unlikely winner of this year's "Best App Ever" award. It started as a week-long "sprint project" — a bit of bare-bones entertainment for Apple's (AAPL) iPhone, written as quickly as possible and published last January. Within hours, users were complaining on the Internet that the game — which involved bumping off tiny island dwellers by flicking them into the water or launching them toward the sun, with no way to score points or win anything — wasn't worth the 99-cents they paid for it. Surprised and little hurt, its creators — programmer Dave Castelnuovo, 40, and graphic artist Allan Dye, 39 — promised to put out a new version. Which they did the following week, incorporating some of their users' suggestions and sending it back to Apple for approval. They did it again the next week. And the week after that, for 14 weeks straight. Thirty updates later, Pocket God is not only a perfect example of something sort of new — user-directed software development — but one of the best-selling programs on the App Store…”

38. Toy makers' crystal ball: High-tech on the cheap http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hkdsPkTFXBMzMrAumMygHgPXH90gD9DRFU800 If the Zhu Zhu Pets taught a lesson, it's that a bit of technology and a low price tag can go a long way…Zhu Zhu Pets, the furry mechanical hamsters that zoom around, were the runaway hit of the holiday season. One key to their success: a price tag under $10…Some other technology-infused toys planned for 2010: Mattel is offering Sing-a-majigs, plush characters whose mouths move as they sing and who harmonize when activated together…Hasbro developed Scrabble Flash Cubes. The word game uses cubes that each display one letter digitally. When players fit cubes together, the game can recognize whether they form valid words…Hasbro also expands its Furreal Friends line with smaller Snuggimals that wag their tails and move when you pet them…Jakks Pacific is offering some high-tech spying gear for kids in its Spy Net line, including a video spy watch for $54.99 and a Pen Audio Bug for $24.99. Yes, they're just what they sound like — miniature video and audio recorders…”

39. Triangle Game Initiative Partners with C.H.A.T. Festival http://carolinanewswire.com/news/News.cgi?database=000001news.db&command=viewone&id=1108&op=t The Triangle Game Initiative (TGI), a non-profit trade association for the Raleigh-Durham, N.C. interactive entertainment industry, has announced a partnership with C.H.A.T. (Collaborations: Humanities, Arts & Technology), a digital arts and humanities festival scheduled for February 16-20, 2010 on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The festival will explore the ways digital technologies are transforming the practices of the arts and humanities…festival attendees will explore entrepreneurship, gaming, art, literary mashup, pedagogy and more as leaders in industry and academics discuss the challenges and opportunities of technology in arts and humanities…Games are a cornerstone of the digital arts, so when we were invited to support the C.H.A.T. festival we knew it would be a fruitful collaboration…”

Economy and Technology

40. Amazon Wants To Give A Free Kindle To All Amazon Prime Subscribers http://techcrunch.com/2010/02/12/amazon-wants-to-give-a-free-kindle-to-all-amazon-prime-subscribers/ “…A reliable source tells us Amazon wants to give a free Kindle to every Amazon Prime subscriber…These are Amazon’s very best customers – the ones who tend to make multiple purchases per month…likely to buy multiple books per month on their Kindle devices. If those users buy enough books, and Amazon gets the production costs of the Kindle down enough, Amazon can get Kindles into “millions” of people’s hands without losing their shirt…”

41. 60 Million on LinkedIn http://techcrunch.com/2010/02/11/linkedin-now-60-million-strong/ Professional social network LinkedIn has just added its 60 millionth member…its grown by 5 million in less than two months…half of LinkedIn’s membership is international…The company was valued at around $1 billion in its last round of financing in 2008, and has been profitable for the past years…” web quote: “…As industries struggle, [Hoffman] says more workers [will] shed the illusion that they’re safe and protected inside companies…Those workers will network outside their company, and they will increasingly turn to LinkedIn…Networking activity has stimulated a lot more people to join LinkedIn as they’ve lost their jobs — and an awful lot of people are still looking…people might sign up with LinkedIn when they lose their job, but they don’t quit when they find another. LinkedIn’s user base is permanent…”

42. Enhanced Small Business Listings http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/business/14ping.html “…one of his sure-fire ways to drive Web visitors and foot traffic — buying search ads on Google — got to be pretty expensive…Mr. Cowie is trying something new: for a flat fee of $25 a month…Whenever his shop comes up in a search page or on a Google map, it is adorned with a bright yellow tag…Yellow may be an appropriate color for the tag. Google’s new enhanced business listings, which it started to test quietly in Houston and San Jose, Calif., early this month, have an obvious competitor: the Yellow Pages. “I think Google is going to be the new Yellow Pages,” Mr. Cowie said. “More and more of these younger kids are used to Google. They are looking at their phones rather than opening up a phone book…advertising from mom-and-pop businesses like dry cleaners, hair salons and cafes is a $29 billion market…Individual local businesses are hard to reach at scale…The only people who have been successful at capturing local businesses have had massive sales forces…Google’s auction-driven search advertising system, AdWords, has confounded many small businesses. So Google tried a new course…Google has been laying the groundwork to get into the local ad market since at least 2005, when it opened its “local business center,” a directory of businesses whose listings show up in Web searches or maps. Google lets owners post their listings free, allowing them to add information like hours of operation, phone number, address and directions. Google says that more than one million businesses are listed in its local business center….Now, Google is ready to cash in on its investment, offering businesses enhanced listings at a small-business-friendly price…”

Civilian Aerospace

43. Commercial space takes center stage http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1566/1 “…the FAA’s annual Commercial Space Transportation Conference…took place this year just over a week after the White House released its fiscal year 2011 budget proposal, one that emphasized more than ever before the development of capabilities by the commercial sector to transport cargo, and now crews, to low Earth orbit…wrote conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer in his latest column…It’s too expensive. It’s too experimental.” Defending NASA’s new plans on both charges was deputy administrator Lori Garver…NASA is also playing a role in promoting commercial suborbital spaceflight. “I do anticipate that one day soon that these [suborbital] vehicles will be safe enough that NASA will pay for hundreds of astronauts and scientists and technology developers to fly into space each and every year,” she said. To ensure that these vehicles are safe enough for NASA, she said the Dryden Flight Research Center would lead the safety assessment of these vehicles…“Right now I think we’re on the very brink of commercial human spaceflight and regular suborbital space tourism,” said FAA administrator Randy Babbitt…SpaceX has been one of visible companies in the wave of entrepreneurial “NewSpace” companies…NASA’s new emphasis on commercial providers means more attention to SpaceX as it gears up for the inaugural launch of its Falcon 9 rocket, the vehicle the company plans to use for cargo and, hopefully, crew flights to the ISS…That launch is currently scheduled for as soon as March, but Williams acknowledged the launch would likely slip to April or even May as the company deals with issues common with the first launch of a new rocket…”

44. New Commercial Rocket Reaches Launch Site for Assembly http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/new-falcon9-rocket-assembled-100211.html “…Built by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., the new Falcon 9 rocket is a two-stage booster designed to launch the company's Dragon spacecraft to orbit. It is the lynchpin rocket behind SpaceX's plan to launch cargo ships to the space station under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA. The rocket is being assembled in Cape Canaveral, Fla…The final delivery of Falcon 9 parts included the rocket's second stage, which successfully completed a full-duration test firing at the company's proving grounds in Texas in January…Orbital Sciences, Corp., of Virginia, is building its own Cygnus vehicles and Taurus 2 rockets under a separate contract…Under the NASA's new space plan, which nixed the Constellation program building its next generation spaceships to send astronauts back to the moon, commercial spacecraft will receive more attention as the best option for future human spaceflight. The agency's 2011 budget request includes setting aside $6 billion over the next five years to spur commercial spacecraft development…”

45. Blue Origin gets NASA grant http://www.pnwlocalnews.com/south_king/ken/business/84249252.html “…Kent-based space business Blue Origin last week received a grant of $3.7 million from NASA for the private, commercial business' work to support transport of crew to and from low-Earth orbit. Blue Origin, founded in 2000 by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos…has successfully launched its "Goddard" capsule three times…Blue Origin is one of five companies that is splitting $50 million in the federal Space Act Agreements grant program, designed to foster entrepreneurial activity leading to high-tech job growth in engineering, analysis, design and research, and to promote economic growth, as capabilities for new markets are created…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

46. SGI unveils monster HPC cloud http://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/news/article/0,289142,sid201_gci1381359,00.html SGI, formerly Rackable Systems and Silicon Graphics, kicked off a unique offering in the world of on-demand infrastructure today with Cyclone, a high-performance computing (HPC) service…It also enters a rarified new market: graphics processing units (GPUs) on demand. GPUs have taken on new importance as scientists and researchers have found new HPC applications that are better suited to GPUs than CPUs. Cyclone will offer Software as a Service (SaaS) with third-party applications in five areas of "functional computing": computational biology, computational chemistry and material, computational fluid dynamics, finite element analysis and ontologies (data mining)…”

47. Siemens uses graphics chips to create better 3-D views of babies in wombs http://venturebeat.com/2010/02/04/siemens-uses-graphics-chips-to-create-better-3-d-views-of-babies-in-wombs/ Siemens is using Nvidia’s CUDA graphics technology to create three-dimensional ultrasounds of babies in utero and other medical applications…With CUDA, Siemens can take the images and view them in stereoscopic 3-D. It can take images of a heart beating so that doctors can figure out if there is an abnormality in how the heart beats…The Siemens technology will launch in May. The company will set it for about $5,000. To use it, doctors’ offices would need 3-D monitors (which are fairly cheap these days), 3-D emitter systems and glasses — all of which are fairly cheap compared to the $120,000 cost of 2-D ultrasound systems they already have. And the picture you can get, which is viewable via 3-D glasses, is far more detailed…”

48. GPU computing for hyperfast medical imaging systems http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9149841/Gaming_tech_spurs_development_of_hyperfast_medical_imaging_systems University and hospital researchers have taken a cue from the gaming industry by using 3D video graphics chips to develop a parallel software platform that can speed the processing times, in this case for medical digital imaging, by 10 to 1,000 times. Northeastern University in Boston and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) were jointly awarded a $1.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation in December to develop the technology and use it to enhance several biomedical imaging applications, including software designed for breast and brain imaging…”

49. NVIDIA nTeresting http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=750&Itemid=47 A summary of recent NVIDIA happenings and articles