2011/01/04

NEW NET Issues List for 04 Jan 2011

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 04 January 2011, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering. This list will be updated prior to the 7 PM meeting start. The 2011 schedule of informal NEW NET (NorthEast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology issues) tech enthusiast gatherings will launch with tonight's meeting at Sergio's Restaurant, 2639 South Oneida Street, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.

Two topics to be included in tonight's discussion are:
  1. Cool, innovative, or breakthrough technologies that NEW NET meeting participants expect to have a big impact in 2011.
  2. High-opportunity areas of technology that people in the Fox Valley and northeast Wisconsin should discuss and consider collaborating on 2011 startups or projects to generate meaningful revenue streams.

The ‘net

  1. China Declares Skype Illegal http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2374898,00.asp “…The People's Daily, a Communist Party-run newspaper, declared that all Internet phone services other than those provided by the two state-run telcos, China Telecom and China Unicom, were illegal…The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is expected to make Skype, China's UUCall, "and other similar services" unavailable. The ministry is even soliciting the public's help, setting up a hotline to collect reports and…appealing to the public for clues for illegal VoIP cases…the announcement is a subtle warning to Skype not to grow too large. "If the ministry hadn't made this announcement, I think Skype would have offered its services in a very large scale. Now, with the announcement, it can't," he said told AP…Professor Kan Kaili at Beijing University…told the Telegraph that "it is very unlikely that they will manage to shut Skype down." "Skype is the market leader, but there is also MSN and Gmail Talk. The children of Chinese government officials, who are studying abroad, use these services to call home, so I do not think anyone is going to cut the lines…”
  2. Skype brought down by double whammy of overloaded servers, client bugs http://arstechnica.com/software/news/2010/12/skype-brought-down-by-double-whammy-of-overloaded-servers-client-bugs.ars Skype's substantial period of downtime last week has been traced to overloaded servers triggering a bug in the most widespread version of the Windows Skype client…At the height of the problem, only a few hundred thousand users were showing up online; normally, the voice and video chat boasts in excess of 20 million…The initial problem was that…servers handling offline messaging became overloaded and slow to respond. Windows client version 5.0.0152, representing about 50% of users, responded to this condition by crashing, with about 40 percent of those clients failing…widespread client failures caused 25-30% of the supernodes to fail, which in turn caused the remaining peer-to-peer network to become overloaded—a problem exacerbated by the large number of Windows users restarting their crashed clients. The result was widespread service outages…The incident points to a certain kind of fragility of Skype's network. Any issue that causes widespread client crashes is liable to deplete the number of supernodes…The company was quite vague about how it hopes to prevent similar issues in the future…Skype is by no means the first company to have a service outage after a supposedly robust network infrastructure suffered wholescale failures as a problem snowballed. Facebook went down for several hours in September after a problem in its fault-tolerant architecture caused repeated system failures, and Amazon's S3 cloud storage service has had outages, again due to errors propagating through a network…the distributed and decentralized nature of these networks seems at times to come with a tendency to distribute problems, greatly magnifying them…”
  3. Facebook Users Uploaded 750 Million Photos Over New Year’s http://techcrunch.com/2011/01/03/facebook-users-uploaded-a-record-750-million-photos-over-new-years/ “…over the New Year’s weekend, Facebook saw 750 million photo uploads from its users. That’s a lot of celebrating…Halloween…has historically been the biggest day for Facebook Photos…in July Facebook said that more than 100 million photos get uploaded every day…Flickr had its 5 billionth photo uploaded in September 2010…That’s a little apples-to-oranges…but it gives a sense of the scale of Facebook Photo…”
  4. Firefox overtakes Internet Explorer in Europe http://gs.statcounter.com/press/firefox-overtakes-internet-explorer-in-europe-in-browser-wars Firefox overtook Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) to become the number one browser in Europe in December 2010…in December, Firefox took 38.11% of European market share, compared to IE's 37.52%. "This is the first time that IE has been dethroned from the number one spot in a major territory…This appears to be happening because Google's Chrome is stealing share from Internet Explorer while Firefox is mainly maintaining its existing share…Chrome in third place is gaining market share in Europe and has grown to 14.58% compared to 5.06% in December last year…In North America IE still retains a clear lead in the browser market with 48.92% followed by Firefox (26.7%), Chrome (12.82%) and Safari (10.16%)…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

  1. New Microsoft Office Malware Incredibly Efficient http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-20026912-83.html “…malicious code on the Internet that can take advantage of a flaw in Word and infect computers…The flaw was addressed in November, in a fix issued on Patch Tuesday…One of the most dangerous aspects of this vulnerability is that a user doesn't have to open a malicious e-mail to be infected…All that is required is for the content of the e-mail to appear in Outlook's Reading Pane. If a user highlights a malicious e-mail to preview it in the Reading Pane, their machine is immediately infected. The same holds true if a user opens Outlook and a malicious e-mail is the most recently received in their in-box; that e-mail will appear in the Reading Pane by default and the computer will be infected." Users of Microsoft Office should be sure to install the fix…”
  2. Advanced Trojan Could Zombify Your Android Device http://mashable.com/2010/12/30/advanced-trojan-could-zombify-your-android-device/ An advanced new Android trojan named Geinimi has been found in the wild…The trojan is possibly the most sophisticated piece of Android malware so far, with the ability to steal your personal data and send it to a remote computer, as well as take commands from a remote server, which would effectively turn your Android device into a zombie inside of a botnet…The real threat to end users isn’t very big, however. You can install Geinimi on your Android device only if you install an infected app, and Lookout reports it only saw those in third-party Chinese app stores…” http://www.pcworld.com/appguide/app.html?id=449285&expand=false “…The Lookout app for Android offers up a triple-threat of protection for your phone-and it is completely free…Lookout offers a mobile anti-virus scanner…you can back up your personal data including your contacts, photos, videos, e-mails and text messages…if you lose your phone, you can track it with the Lookout browser-based dashboard…can also sound an alarm…to freak out that shady thief…you can do a remote-wipe of the device so the thief can't get access to your data…”
  3. Stay Smarter Than Your Smartphone: Ten Tips To Stay Safe http://blog.mylookout.com/2010/12/stay-smarter-than-your-smartphone-ten-tips-to-stay-safe/ “…a quick list of tips to help smartphone owners stay safe…1. Set a password…2. Download the updates for your phone…3. Treat your phone like your PC…4. Use discretion when downloading apps…5. Pay attention to the private data accessed by apps. Applications have the capability to access a lot of information about you…6. Download a “find your phone” app…7. Exercise caution with links in SMS messages. Smishing, or a combination of SMS texting and phishing, is when scammers send you a text to a malicious website or ask you to enter sensitive information…8. On Public WiFi, limit email, social networking and only window shop…9. Never enter your credit card information on a site that begins with only “http//”…10. Enable a Wipe feature on your phone…”
  4. Empty Hotmail accounts http://www.liveside.net/2011/01/01/empty-email-accounts-and-some-bad-buzz-for-hotmail/ In the past few days, a number of Hotmail users…accounts, some up to 10 years old, appear completely empty. No emails, no folders, nothing, just what appears to be a new account…Some disgruntled users even set up a Facebook group, and posted directions in the Hotmail forums on how to leave voicemail for Hotmail Group Program Manager Dick Craddock and Corporate Vice President Chris Jones…"At this point it appears to be a limited issue, and Microsoft is working with individual users who are impacted. We apologize for any inconvenience to our customers," Microsoft spokeswoman Catherine Brooker said…”
  5. Invasion of Privacy http://www.attackvector.org/invasion-of-privacy/ “…I happened to receive a piece of spam at the exact moment as I was going to start a post about privacy and anonymity on the internet. I will consider this to be a sign…that this dude needed to be set straight…none of what I’m about to do is illegal. It’s a serious, serious invasion of privacy, and you definitely don’t want it to happen to you, but all of it can be harvested through public record, social networks, forum posts, etc…Here’s something to really think about.. I was able to obtain all of the information in this post for 16 cents and by just using an email and IP address from a piece of spam. Family members, ages, schools, anniversary dates, marriage lengths, hobbies, interests, phone numbers, addresses, property records, property taxes, pictures of their house, pictures of them, pictures of their children and grandchildren, deeds on their house, bankruptcies, employment history, previous addresses, previous creditors, and bits of social security numbers. I’m pretty sure I’d be able to fake my way through one of those password reset forms.. you know, where you set up a “secret question” asking what your dogs name was, or where you went to school…at this point, if I were to call his bank and pretend to be him, I could easily pass when they asked me personal questions…you really need to pay close attention to what you’re posting on the internet…I could ruin this guys life using this information. There are a lot of douches out there that are doing this type of stuff right now. Given an email address, phone number, or whatever, they build profiles on people which can be used to exploit them and steal identities…” [the post from which this excerpt came is a long one, but well worth the read; if you know someone who puts too much information on Facebook or other publicly-accessible websites, have them read this post – ed.]
  6. Vizio launching Android smartphone, tablet http://ces.cnet.com/8301-32254_1-20026964-283.html TV maker Vizio…will launch the Via Phone and Via Tablet, both of which will feature Google's Android operating system…With a 1GHz processor and a 4-inch high-resolution touch screen, the Via Phone will offer 801.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections, a MicroSD card slot, and HDMI output to play video on an TV. The phone also includes a front-facing camera for video chat and a 5-megapixel rear camera for photos and high-def video. Also running a 1GHz processor, the Via Tablet will offer an 8-inch high-resolution touch screen, 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, a MicroSD card slot, HDMI output, and a front-facing camera for video chat. It also includes built-in GPS and three separate speaker…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

  1. Skype Unveils IPhone Video Calling Over 3G and Wi-Fi http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/215158/skype_unveils_iphone_video_calling_over_3g_and_wifi.html “…With Skype 3.0, you can place video calls from Skype on the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and 4th-generation iPod touch, and you can receive video calls on the iPad and the 3rd-generation iPod touch. Video calling works over both Wi-Fi and 3G…Apple's FaceTime technology is currently limited to Wi-Fi calling only…”
  2. Set Up and Get to Know Your New Android Phone http://lifehacker.com/5717356/set-up-and-get-to-know-your-new-android-phone We'll run through some of the most helpful Android coverage on Lifehacker that still applies to modern Android phones in this article. If you wanted a deeper read on everything to discover in your Android, your author is also the writer behind The Complete Android Guide, a paperback and ebook that explores Android in-depth. The Guide is also available as a free wiki at this site (click "Browse the book"), where you can also grab a free print-and-fold PDF template with a list of 10 things to do right away on your Android phone…” [if you’ve got an Android and are at least a little bit geeky, read through this extensive Lifehacker article and you’ll find one or many new apps or tricks you can use – ed.]
  3. Nexus S and Android vs. iPhone http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/31/nexus-s-iphone-review/ “…We’ve…done a…comprehensive review of the Nexus S, the latest and greatest Android device. But…I’m going to look at it from the angle of an iPhone diehard…this is widely considered to be the best Android device yet. So will it be enough to make any iPhone user jump ship?...the Nexus S is a great smartphone. I’ve been using it for a little over two weeks now and…I can safely say that in a world where there was no iPhone, this is the device I would use…The few calls I’ve made on the Nexus S were rock solid. Unlike the iPhone, I didn’t experience any dropped calls, even when going indoors. Of course, the Nexus S is on T-Mobile while the iPhone is on that carrier that shall not be named…Android 2.3…does seem to run significantly smoother than its predecessors. And that’s saying something because Android 2.2 ran significantly smoother than Android 2.1. The Android team is clearly making good improvements in this regard quickly. Overall, the system is still not iPhone 4-smooth. But it’s getting very close…Google-made apps continue to be the killer apps of Android. Gmail, in particular, continues to be better than it is on the iPhone simply because there is no native iPhone Gmail app…Navigation and Voice Search also give you capabilities that you can’t get on the iPhone. Google Voice finally just came to the iPhone, but it’s still much better on Android because it’s seamlessly integrated…the newest version of Google Maps…is perhaps my favorite aspect of Android now. The latest version, which includes 3D buildings and the ability to spin maps around, runs loops around the iPhone version of Maps…Nexus S and Gingerbread…are still behind where Apple is with iOS 4.2 and the iPhone 4. This is true in both hardware and software…the Nexus S is a great device…I would highly recommend it to any and all people who want an Android phone…much better…than the crappy Android experience on devices like the EVO and Droid 2, compliments of the carriers…it’s hard for me to believe that anyone would choose an Android device other than the Nexus S. Having a physical keyboard is the only excuse I can somewhat see. Maybe Verizon’s network — maybe…” http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2010/12/31/apple-vs-android-the-view-from-google/ “…Don Dodge, who posted his predictions..In the horse race between Android and iPhone…"Both will win because they are playing different games. Android will win the market share battle, but Apple will generate bigger profits."…Apple goes for the high end of the market where they can charge high prices and enjoy great profit margins. Apple has been successful with this strategy multiple times, and will do it again with iPhone…Google provides software (Android) for free…Mobile search and advertising are the revenue streams for Google…Tim Bray…sees it differently…I think Apple will sell a ton of devices because they're good, and superbly marketed. I think a bunch of people will sell a ton of Android devices because they're good and there are so many options for different needs and networks and price-points. "I wouldn't be surprised if Apple shipped a cheap iPhone. And there's nothing fundamental in Android that would get in the way of a industrial-design and user-experience rock-star team, whether at Google or one of the handset makers, testing the hypothesis that these things are central to Apple's success…”
  4. AppBrain for finding good Android apps http://blogs.wsj.com/tech-europe/2010/12/30/apps-we-use-appbrain-android/ “…with Android…How do you find the good apps?...AppBrain doesn’t distribute apps, and doesn’t accept payments, and doesn’t replace the Market. What it does do is to allow you to search through apps via the web…promote apps on social networks and via email…maintain lists of apps you have installed…see what other people have installed, rate apps, see reviews etc. In the very open Android world you have to be careful about what you put on your device…Without the protection that a controlled App store provides, services like AppBrain help you navigate the plethora of Android apps with some level of protection…”
  5. The Best "Evil" Apps for Android http://lifehacker.com/5675311/the-best-evil-apps-for-android With a more wide-open app Market and some seriously dedicated hackers, there's all kinds of mischief you can get up to with an Android phone. Here are some of our favorite apps for skirting fees, defeating corporate branding, and other kinda-sorta "Evil" maneuvers…Google Voice…PDAnet…ADW.Launcher & LauncherPro…SuperOneClick, Universal Androot, and Their Friends…iSyncr…Shopper…Dial Zero and Slydial…” http://lifehacker.com/5675362/the-best-evil-apps-for-iphone [read the comments for additional suggestions and people’s opinions about the apps in the post – ed.]
  6. The Start to Finish Guide to Rooting Your Android Phone http://lifehacker.com/5563924/the-start-to-finish-guide-to-rooting-your-android-phone Rooting your Android device is much like jailbreaking an iPhone…There are a number of great reasons to root your Android phone, highest among them being speed (through custom ROMs and through overclocking), tethering, and installing apps and widgets from other builds…There are tweaked versions of the Android OS out there, also known as custom ROMs, which fix some small annoyances with the stock version of the OS. For example, some ROMs turn the "sound off" slide on the lock screen to a "vibrate only" slider, or allow the phone to go into landscape mode just by turning it on its side…This particular guide is for the Motorola Droid, which is still the most popular Android device at the moment. The rooting process is going to be different for every phone, so you'll have to look up specific instructions if you don't have the Droid…The second half of the guide, on installing your ROM installer/backup utility, ROM Manager, should be compatible with a few other Android phones (such as the Dream, Sapphire, and Nexus One, to name a few), but not all of them. If you aren't sure whether your device is supported, run a quick search on the available ROMs for your device and see if ROM Manager has them in its database…”

Open Source

  1. LibreOffice RC2 now available http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/LibreOffice-RC2-now-available-1159242.html The second release candidate of the Document Foundation's fork of OpenOffice, LibreOffice, has been made available…the release is "beta quality software", ask for users to…test and give feedback…LibreOffice forked from the OpenOffice.org office suite following Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystem…”
  2. Archivematica: Future-proof your data archive http://news.cnet.com/8301-13880_3-20026801-68.html “…make sure copies of your most important records, documents, photos, videos, and other personal data will be readable/viewable/playable long after the hardware and software used to create the files have bitten the dust…four keys to safe data archiving are to choose file formats that won't become obsolete, use storage medi a that won't deteriorate or become inaccessible, make multiple copies stored apart, and check your archived data regularly to ensure it's still readable…files you want to archive are likely in proprietary formats, such as Microsoft Office's .doc, .xls, and .ppt for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint…these formats will become obsolete one day…Even if you archive files in their original proprietary formats, it's a good idea to save another version of the files converted to an open-standard format… the open-source Archivematica data-archive service…maintains the original file format but also converts the files to appropriate "preservation" and "access" formats…Archivematica's media-type preservation plans convert .doc, .rtf, and .wpd word processing files to the XML-based Open Document Format (ODF) for preservation and to Adobe's PDF for viewing…the system saves .bmp, .jpg, .jp2, .png, .gif, .psd, .tga, and .tiff raster image files as uncompressed TIFFs for preservation and as JPEGs for viewing…”

SkyNet

  1. Is spam ruining Google searches? http://techcrunch.com/2011/01/01/why-we-desperately-need-a-new-and-better-google-2/ “…my students…researched the VC system from the perspective of company founders…we were able to get premium access to LinkedIn…But some of the founders didn’t have LinkedIn accounts, and others didn’t respond to our LinkedIn “inmails”. So I instructed my students to use Google searches to research each founder’s work history, by year…you can’t easily do such searches in Google any more. Google has become a jungle: a tropical paradise for spammers and marketers…We ended up using instead a web-search tool called Blekko. It’s a new technology and is far from perfect; but it is innovative…In addition to providing regular search capabilities like Google’s, Blekko allows you to define what it calls “slashtags” and filter the information you retrieve…if you are looking for information about swine flu, you can add “/health” to your query and search only the top 70 or so relevant health sites rather than tens of thousands spam sites. Blekko crowdsources the editorial judgment for what should and should not be in a slashtag…results become much more relevant and trustworthy when you can filter out all the garbage…If you are doing searches by date, as my students were, Blekko allows you to add the slashtag “/date” to the end of your query and retrieve information in a chronological fashion. Google does provide an option to search within a date range, but these are the dates when website was indexed rather than created; which means the results are practically useless…The problem is that content on the internet is growing exponentially and the vast majority of this content is spam. This is created by unscrupulous companies that know how to manipulate Google’s page-ranking systems to get their websites listed at the top of your search results…This is exactly what blogger Paul Kedrosky found when trying to buy a dishwasher…Paul concluded that the “the entire web is spam when it comes to major appliance reviews”…Associated Content, which produces 10,000 new articles per month, was purchased by Yahoo! for $100 million, in 2010. Demand Media has 8,000 writers who produce 180,000 new articles each month. It generated more than $200 million in revenue in 2009…This content is what ends up as the landfill in the garbage websites…And these are the first links that show up in your Google search results…we’re fighting a losing battle for the web and need alternative ways of finding the information that we need. I hope that Blekko and a new breed of startups fill this void: that they do to Google what Google did to the web in the late 90’s—clean up the spam …”
  2. Google Cr-48 with Windows and Mac OS X http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/01/windows-and-mac-os-x-make-it-onto-the-cr-48-look-great-in-matte/ “…Google built the Cr-48 with hacking in mind, so it's no surprise that we're seeing other operating systems crop up…enterprising hackers have got most of the usual suspects up and running: first Ubuntu, and now Mac OS X and Windows…Just hit up those source links below for instructions, and follow after the break for video of OS X in action…”
  3. Yext Organizes The Anti-Google Local Advertising Alliance http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/29/yext-aniti-googe-alliance/ Google…is making a big push into local advertising…offering $100 million in AdWords credits to new small businesses that sign up and promotes Google Places results for all local searches…In local, Google is already a big snowball getting bigger and bigger…Yext, a New York City startup which specializes in pay-per-call advertising for local businesses and dashboards to help them manage their reputations and listings online. On Monday, it will launch a new feature called “Tags” which will let small businesses highlight their names with a little tag and customizable message across about a dozen local listings sites. Launch partners for this…include MapQuest, Citysearch, Yellowbook, Local.com, SuperPages, White Pages, MerchantCircle, and Topix…Google also offers similar sponsored tags to small businesses for $25 a month. Whenever a local business advertising with tags comes up in an organic search result or on Google Maps, a yellow tag with a line of text appears beneath its listing to help it stand out…Yext is offering basically the same product across all the other major local search and listings sites on the Web for $99 a month per business location. Yext will end up splitting that 50/50 with its partners where the tags will appear…from one dashboard…small businesses will be able to create tags, activate them across all the partner sites, and change them or take them down at will…”

General Technology

  1. Intel debuts 2nd-gen 'Sandy Bridge' Core i-series CPUs http://ces.cnet.com/8301-32254_1-20026858-283.html “…Intel has officially unveiled…its new line of…CPUs. Code-named "Sandy Bridge," these chips will…carry the same Core i3/i5/i7 naming as the 2010 generation of Intel processors…highlights of the second generation Core processors, built around a new 32nm microarchitecture, include more energy efficient performance and improved 3D and graphics performance…Turbo Boost 2.0, lets each core boost performance past its base clock speed as needed for dynamic workloads, while balancing the thermal headroom to avoid overheating…the most interesting new feature is the completely revamped Intel HD graphics system…we're not sure the era of the dedicated video card is behind us, but in some anecdotal use with a generic Sandy Bridge test laptop, the integrated Intel HD graphics were usable, running Street Fighter IV at 1,600x900 at about 27 frames per second…this was with a high-end quad-core i7-2820QM CPU…for playing World of Warcraft on your basic integrated graphics laptop, it should more than do the job…Intel's Wireless Display…WiDi…allows one to beam the video output from a laptop to a $99 Netgear receiver box, which in turn connects via HDMI to any TV or other display…Here is a complete list of the new Intel laptop CPUs…”
  2. AMD Fusion family kicks off http://ces.cnet.com/8301-32254_1-20027019-283.html “…AMD…APU, its Accelerated Processing Unit…uses a single die to contain, according to AMD, "a multicore CPU, a powerful DirectX 11-capable discrete-level graphics and parallel processing engine, a dedicated high-definition video acceleration block, and a high-speed bus that speeds data across the differing types of processor cores within the design."…AMD hopes a Fusion APU in a laptop will take the place of the traditional dedicated CPU/dedicated GPU combo, as well as improve on laptops with a CPU and mediocre integrated graphics…AMD…Fusion…will support 1080p video playback, DirectX graphics, and 3D video and game content. The company also has high hopes for battery life in systems that use Fusion, claiming "10 hours or more" for the dual-core E-350 chip meant for 11-inch and mainstream laptops…”
  3. 'Spiral' escalator could give crowds a lift http://www.theengineer.co.uk/spiral-escalator-could-give-crowds-a-lift/1006662.article A monorail-inspired design could help create the world’s first continuous spiral escalator…This could reduce the floor space needed in buildings for personal transporters and cut the cost of putting escalators into underground railway stations. The escalator, which is technically helix shaped rather than spiral, overcomes the problem experienced by conventional machines that are angled so that they travel further horizontally than vertically…The Helixator is also driven by a linear motor instead of a chain system where the top link in the chain carries all the weight of the steps…It allows us to build a particularly flexible system and presents no mechanical limits for geometry, length or height. David has produced numerous designs for different sized and shaped Helixators, as well as several 3D-printed scale models. One example is a 100m-high model with accelerating walkways to transport around 20,000 people per hour in both directions, saving floorspace equivalent to 15 elevators…”
  4. Windows 7 breaks 20% share barrier http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9203021/Windows_7_breaks_20_share_barrier Windows 7 cracked the 20% share mark last month, a milestone the problem-plagued Vista never reached…Statistics…put Windows 7's online usage share at 20.9% in December…Vista, meanwhile, fell by half a point to 12.1%, its lowest share since July 2008. Vista peaked at 18.8% in October 2009, the same month that Microsoft launched Windows 7. Overall, Windows' usage share slipped by half a point to 90.3%, down nearly two points during 2010…Windows' losses last month translated into gains for mobile operating systems, as Apple's iOS boosted its share by three-tenths of a percentage point in December and Google's Android increased by one-tenth of a point. Mac OS X stayed flat at 5% last month…Windows XP fell the farthest during December, losing 1.2 points to end the year with a 56.7% share…”

DHMN Technology

  1. Creative manufacturing innovation: Parrot AR.Drone http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/30/manufacturing-predictions-201/ “…what is my favorite gadget?...It’s the freaking Parrot AR.Drone…Here’s why, and here’s what manufacturers can take away from this toy. It was completely out of left field – I wrote Parrot off a few years ago as a second-tier Bluetooth manufacturer…Then, suddenly, they produce something so wild and compelling that it becomes a must-see…It took multiple existing technologies and mixed them in an amazing way…It mixes the mini-helicopter craze with Wi-Fi and with a totally unique and intuitive control scheme that anyone can use. No more pitch and yaw – you just move your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad around. No difficult set-up – you just connect to a Wi-Fi access point that is built right into the drone…It put the future in our hands…It’s as if suddenly Parrot brought something out of the research labs into our homes…It wasn’t designed by committee…it seems more like a device made by a mad genius in a basement somewhere…”
  2. 3D-Printed Flute Is Here; 3D-Printed Stradivarius Next http://www.pcworld.com/article/215148/3dprinted_flute_is_here_3dprinted_stradivarius_next.html “…Amit Zoran from the MIT Media Lab printed a flute using an Object Connex500 3D printer…the flute…is composed of a couple different materials: A rigid material for the flute's body, a different one for the mouth piece, and a softer material for sealing the air properly. Only springs were manually added later. The flute took around 15 hours to print and was printed in four separate pieces which were then assembled later…”
  3. Hacking the Hacker Stereotypes http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/12/hacking-the-hacker-stereotypes/ “…Agnes Meyder is explaining a complicated diagram depicting enzymes and cell walls…Cäcilia Zirn describes sentiment analysis…allowing computers to learn whether human writings…are positive or pissed-off. These aren’t stereotypical subjects for hackers, but this is the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) Congress and Meyer and Stilz are hackers indeed, part of a loose 22-year-old group of women within the club called the Haecksen…There is no immediate agenda here, other than to meet each other, share coffee and ideas, and let other women know there are others like them…Much has been written about the relative scarcity of women in information technology professions, but in hard-core hacking and free-software circles, the gender divide is even starker…a 2006 EU study that found women making up just 2 percent of the population in free or open-source software development. Women in the United States and other countries have formed many other groups similar to the Haecksen…the point is to talk to each other, to get ideas, to get support for each other’s projects and plans. It’s about showing the men that there are women who can sling code with the best of them, and that this is normal…Hacking and its hierarchies can too often be viewed within the narrow definitions of code-crunching or IT security, the women here say, while in fact the skills and curiosity of many in the scene take them ranging across a broad spectrum of technical and scientific interests. The background of the four women organizing this year’s meeting show precisely this diversity. Meyder, the bioinformatics student…was convinced early that her blend of biology and computer science and deeply complicated math was the future…Bauer got involved with a group of male gamer friends, and learned early on that she loved taking computers apart and putting them back together…Melanie Stilz studied both anthropology and computer science in university, bouncing back and forth when she found one or the other respectively too fuzzy or too rigid. She now works with technology in developing countries…Zirn found her focus in artificial intelligence by combining an interest in language with a fascination with computers…”
  4. DIY Ultimate Note-Taking Notebook http://lifehacker.com/5611648/diy-ultimate-note+taking-notebook “…Here's how to make your own personalized, customized notebook…Criteria…paper must be of a high quality…paper must be set up for Cornell Notes…pages must be perforated and three hole punched…cover and binding must be made of durable materials…For our Ultimate Notebook we’re using 32lb HP Premium Choice Laser Printer Paper…The Cornell Method is a powerful note taking technique which separates a piece of paper into 3 sections; notes, main points and summary…We’ll be printing a lined Cornell Note template onto both sides of our pages. You can grab blank, lined or grid PDF templates…We’re very diligent when it comes to backing up our computer data, but what about our physical notes? A paper perforator will allow you to tear individual pages out of your notebook so that once you return home you can scan your notes to your computer and file away the originals…A 5-in-1 paper trimmer with perforating blade can be bought at Staples for $45. Once you’ve prepped all of our pages for binding, it’s time to bind your notebooks. Head to your favorite print shop and pay the extra few bucks for quality binding materials. Stay away from Cerlox binding, it’s inferior to Coil and Wire-O…”
  5. Using the Canon Hack Development Kit http://spectrum.ieee.org/geek-life/hands-on/using-the-canon-hack-development-kit/0 “…What if you could have full command of your camera's hardware? Such thoughts motivated an anonymous programmer going by the online name VitalyB to reverse engineer the firmware for Canon's PowerShot series of digital point-and-shoot cameras. With hacker-level control, he could do things the engineers at Canon had never thought of. In 2007, he made public the fruits of his labor: the Canon Hack Development Kit, or CHDK, which Andrei Gratchev, a programmer working for eASIC Corp., of Santa Clara, Calif., and other developers have since broadened…The CHDK firmware resides on the camera's memory card, but the original Canon firmware remains on the camera's internal flash memory. So you're not likely to "brick" your camera by using CHDK inappropriately. Indeed, you can return your camera to its stock configuration merely by restarting it without CHDK on its memory card or by switching the locking tab on the card to its unlocked position…Just by loading CHDK, you'll be able to coax things out of your camera that you couldn't before—saving RAW images, for example, or getting the LCD to display the battery voltage or live histograms of pixel brightness before you shoot. But the real power of CHDK comes from its ability to run scripts on your camera. You can write your own or install ones that others have posted on the CHDK wiki…”
  6. Turn a Projector into an Interactive Whiteboard with a Wiimote http://lifehacker.com/5721337/turn-a-projector-into-an-interactive-whiteboard-with-a-wiimote If you teach or have to make a lot of presentations, you can make your life a lot easier with an interactive whiteboard like a Smartboard. Instead of an expensive piece of technology, though, you can DIY it with a Wiimote…a Smartboard is essentially a computer projected onto a touch screen. You can touch the screen to move forward a presentation, make annotations, highlight text, or do anything else…DIYer Johnny Lee, however, realized that a Wii remote can track up to four different infrared signals at a time…Check out the video to see a demonstration…”
  7. The top 5 wildest Kinect hacks so far http://dvice.com/archives/2010/12/top-five-wildes.php Microsoft's body sensing game system is pretty cool, but it took the hacking community to unleash Kinect's full potential. The software behind Kinect's tricks was broken open just over a month ago, and here are our five favorite hacks so far…1. Immersive Virtual Reality…2. World of Warcraft Control…3. Autonomous Quadcopter…4. Telepresence in Star Wars and Doom 3…5. Gesture Control à la Minority Report…”

Leisure & Entertainment

  1. You Should Self-Publish http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2010/12/you-should-self-publish.html “…For many years, I said DO NOT SELF-PUBLISH. I had many good reasons to support this belief…Self-publishing was expensive…Self-pubbed were impossible to distribute…Chances were, the reason you had to self pub was because your writing wasn't good enough…Most POD houses were scams…I'd done enough local signings with self-pubbed authors to see how epic their failures were…Then, in 2009, I became aware of the Kindle…1000 ebook sales a month for a $2.99 self-pubbed ebook is a very conservative number--I have ebooks regularly selling 2000 or 3000 a month…I'm also very concerned that many print publishers, in the next few years, are going to go bankrupt. I'd hate to wait 18 months for my book to come out, then have it canceled…I'm on track to make over $200,000 on ebook sales in 2011, and have made over $100,000 this year. So I can earn more in two years on my own than I could in seven years with a traditional publisher…These days, you can grow yourself. You can put out books quicker than the Big 6, earn more money, reach more readers, and have more control over the entire process. But don't take my word for it. Go to Kindleboards.com and look at all the self-pubbed authors selling like crazy…”
  2. Amazon turns on Kindle ebook lending http://venturebeat.com/2010/12/30/amazon-kindle-book-lending/ “…Amazon…introduced the ability to lend Kindle ebooks…The feature…lets Kindle users lend ebooks for a 14-day period…while the book is lent out, the original owner won’t be able to read it. Amazon also says that it’s up to the book publisher or rights holder to determine eligible titles for lending…You can loan a book via the “Manage Your Kindle” section of your Amazon account settings. Or, even easier, you can just click the “Loan this book” link from the product page of an ebook you’ve already purchased. Amazon gives recipients seven days to claim loaned ebooks…”
  3. Nintendo 3DS not for kids under 6 http://news.cnet.com/8301-10797_3-20026728-235.html Nintendo…3DS, its eagerly awaited glasses-free 3D gaming device, should not be used by children under 6 when the gadget is in 3D-viewing mode…Nintendo's Japanese-language Web site notes that the eyes of children under 6 have not yet fully developed and that 3D viewing on the 3DS could disrupt that development…parental controls on the 3DS…allow for the blocking of the 3D function while leaving 2D play accessible…The advisory reportedly also suggests that older players take a break after 30 minutes of 3D viewing on the device--as opposed to a break after an hour of 2D play…” [seems like guaranteed lawsuits…”but the game was so engaging that the plaintiff played for 6 hours straight and now his eyes are permanently crossed” – ed.]
  4. Man hit by SUV while playing real-life Frogger http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1342483/Frogger-man-23-hit-car-enacting-video-game-4-lane-road-South-Carolina.html A prankster was injured by a car travelling on a four-lane highway after allegedly playing a real-life version of the video game Frogger…Police say he and his friends had discussed beforehand how it would be fun to re-enact the game in whuch players move frogs through traffic on a busy road and and a hazard-filled river…The highest score on the original Frogger belongs to Pat Laffaye of Westport, Connecticut, who scored 896,980 points last year…” [mayhaps they combined alcohol with reminiscing about video games they played in their youth – ed.]

Economy and Technology

  1. Facebook worth $50 billion? SEC getting involved? (when) Will the bubble pop? http://techcrunch.com/2011/01/03/apple-300-billion/ “…the Internet was set ablaze by the news that Facebook was taking more money at a valuation of a cool $50 billion…But it’s actually only 1/6th of the value of another closely-watched company in the tech space…Apple hit the $300 billion market cap milestone today after their stock surged 2 percent to open 2011. That makes them only the second public company with such a high value, the other is Exxon Mobil…A year ago, they were the fifth most valuable public company at “only” a $213 billion market cap…That changed in May when Apple zoomed ahead…Exxon is currently valued at $375 billion…Shifting back to Facebook, obviously it’s not fair to compare a private with a public one…At $50 billion, Facebook is already worth more than Yahoo and eBay, both of which are public. They’re behind Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Apple. But if and when it’s determined that they should IPO (or if that’s determined for them by the SEC), that value should change quickly…”
  2. FitOrbit Gains $3.2 Million To Help You Lose Pounds http://techcrunch.com/2011/01/04/fitorbit-gains-3-2-million-to-help-you-lose-pounds/ “…people make all sorts of commitments when a new year kicks off. If one of your New Year resolutions is losing weight or generally getting in better shape, check out FitOrbit, which connects people to professional personal trainers online, which in turn can help them achieve their goals. The company launched in June 2009…the company has now raised an additional $3.2 million in funding to finance further growth…”

Civilian Aerospace

  1. Louisville engineers at Sierra Nevada building new generation of spacecraft http://www.dailycamera.com/ci_16983404 “…Sparks, Nev.-based Sierra Nevada is building what could prove to be the next generation, or one of the next generations, of space shuttle…It's called the Dream Chaser…Two hundred engineers at Sierra Nevada's offices in Louisville are some of the biggest brains behind it while University of Colorado aerospace graduate students help design the Dream Chaser, which sits in a cavernous basement room in the school's Engineering Center…It stands about 40 feet long and 25 feet wide and is made of a black carbon composite shell. It will weigh about 25,000 pounds when fully equipped. Its first mission is expected in 2014. "It's sort of an SUV that can go to space," Sirangelo said. "It fits seven people but the interior is re-configurable. It's kind of like you can flip the seats up and down and make it how you want it."…The Dream Chaser is ideally suited to shuttle fragile experiments back and forth, he said, because of its low g-force flight dynamics and its ability to land on the runway of any major airport in the world…While the Dream Chaser could become one of several replacement vehicles for the space shuttle program, Sirangelo admits that the spacecraft is not the product of sheer private-sector entrepreneurial foresight. The Dream Chaser, he said, was originally a NASA vehicle. Two years ago, the space agency awarded Sierra Nevada $20 million in seed money to take over development of the spacecraft. "We made a good NASA vehicle better," Sirangelo said…”
  2. Reinventing the wheel for the moon http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/01/03/5758134-reinventing-the-wheel-for-the-moon “…Researchers from Canada's McGill University have received a…contract…to develop the…iRing. The wheel is made of an external chainmail fabric (think medieval armor) and filled with granular particulate matter. "This distinctive design provides both flexibility and sturdiness when traveling over extremely bumpy lunar terrain…Videos of the wheel prototypes demonstrate how its shock-absorbing characteristics reduce requirements for the rover suspension system, give it the grip necessary to climb walls, and conform to the surface they roll over…This rover "will be capable of a variety of functions, including exploration, mapping of the lunar surface, drilling for water, excavation, preparation of landing sites for lunar landers and transporting astronauts to their lunar bases…”
  3. Student-led Race to Space http://today.ucf.edu/moonstruck-student-led-race-to-space/ “…a student-led group in central Florida is in the thick of the competition to send a remote- controlled rover to the moon as one of the first steps in the private sector’s ambitious leap from Earth. Earthrise Space, an Orlando non-profit launched by aerospace engineering students and advisers, may not win the race to the moon but it has achieved several milestones, including snagging a NASA contract that could be worth $10 million. NASA is trying to spur private industry participation in space exploration, and the agency has agreed to buy data from Earthrise and five other companies working on lunar robot projects. The contracts are worth at least $10,000 each and as much as $10 million. “This is huge for us. It gives us more credibility,” says Ruben Nuñez, a senior engineering major at the University of Central Florida and a founder of Earthrise and its lunar rover project called Omega Envoy…Earthrise and the other NASA contract winners are among dozens of companies, university consortiums and groups participating in a race-to-space competition called the Google Lunar X Prize. The $20-million grand prize will go to the first competitor to land a robot on the moon, explore at least 500 meters and send video and images back to Earth…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

  1. NVIDIA CUDA: Week in Review http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=13398&Itemid=99999999 PhD student Martin Peniak at the University of Plymouth in the UK is creating robots that can develop cognitive capabilities…Palo GPU is available via Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)…New Molecular Dynamics Code with CUDA Support: DL_POLY is a general purpose molecular dynamics (MD) simulation software developed at Daresbury Laboratory…Graduate research assistant to work on Monte Carlo methods accelerated by GPUs. http://gcl.cis.udel.edu/...Scientific Computing in the Americas: The Challenge of Massive Parallelism, Jan. 3-14, 2011…CUDA: Week in Review on the web at: http://www.nvidia.com/object/cuda_week_in_review_newsletter.html
  2. Bright Computing Teams with Brazilian HPC Cluster Provider http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/Bright-Computing-Teams-with-Brazilian-HPC-Cluster-Provider-112869399.html Bright Computing…and Scherm Brazil…are now partnering to provide state-of-the-art CPU and GPU cluster systems to the Brazilian market…Bright will also greatly reduce the important task of managing their HPC clusters, freeing resources to address their other needs. Our customers will quickly realize the benefits of a powerful management platform with very little system overhead…The Scherm ClusterTop Series is available in eight variations optimized for specific purposes, from large systems to compute-intensive servers to support cloud computing systems and high-speed GPU-based graphics systems…”
*****

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