2011/02/01

NEW NET Weekly List for 01 Feb 2011

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 01 February 2011, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering at Sergio's Restaurant, 2639 South Oneida Street, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.

Bring your Android tablet app suggestions and questions; we'll see if the magic ViewSonic 8-Ball can answer those questions.

The ‘net

1. No opting out from Facebook turning your check-ins, likes into ads http://arstechnica.com/web/news/2011/01/no-opting-out-from-facebook-turning-your-check-ins-likes-into-ads.ars Better go check your Facebook profile pic to make sure it's suitable for advertising—the company has begun using real users' postings in ads being shown to their friends…users won't be able to opt out of their posts being used to advertise to friends. The new "feature" started showing up quietly on Wednesday morning without any kind of fanfare from Facebook…users are not notified that their posts are being used in ads, and cannot block their posts from becoming ads unless they change their privacy settings to make the posts private…users' off-Facebook activities are basically part of the Facebook ecosystem thanks to "Likes" published all over the Web. If you click the Facebook Like button on any given site, that data is transmitted to your own Facebook profile and can be promoted by marketers in ads to your friends…”

2. Is AOL Scamming Old People? http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2376166,00.asp The decline and fall of AOL is one of the great stories of the digital age. At its peak, AOL was a…Internet gateway for more than 35 million Americans…Today, AOL has just 4 million subscribers. But…those people are still paying. AOL.com, of course, is free. It used to be a pay service, but has been free for years. You can access the AOL.com, read all of its content, and check your aol.com e-mail without paying a dime. If you already pay for an account, however, AOL will continue to bill you…[M]any of [AOL's subscribers] are older people who have cable or DSL service but don't realize that they need not pay an additional twenty-five dollars a month to get online and check their e-mail…seventy-five per cent of the people who subscribe to AOL's dial-up service don't need it"'…Auletta estimates that these subscriber revenues generate 80% of the AOL's profit. How much is that? In the third quarter of last year these suspect subs generated about $244 million! All because AOL subscribers don't know they don't have to pay anymore…”

3. Blekko Bans Content Farms Like Demand Media’s eHow From Its Search Results http://techcrunch.com/2011/01/31/blekko-bans-content-farms/ Blekko, the perky little search engine startup that lets you customize your search results, is taking the fight against web spam to a new level. It already allows searchers to mark results as spam and keeps a spam clock that counts how many spam pages are on the web (743 million and counting). Now it is about to block content farms like Demand Media’s eHow and Answerbag entirely. The top 20 sites its users have marked as a source of web spam will now be blocked (see full list below)…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

4. How Apple and Google will kill the password http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9206998/How_Apple_and_Google_will_kill_the_password_ Imagine sitting down at a public PC, surfing the Web, visiting Facebook, checking your online bank account and buying something on Amazon.com -- all without entering passwords or credit card information…You get up and leave without even logging out. Some shady criminal type sits down at the same PC and finds his attempts at cracking your password foiled at every turn…because your phone is no longer on the desk…Hop in your car and press the "Start" button -- no key necessary. The car knows it's you after you wave your phone over the dashboard…you swing by Starbucks…To pay, you wave your phone over a terminal on the counter, grab your drink and head for work…at the office, you sail past security with doors unlocking automatically as you approach them…a co-worker walks in talking smack about the game yesterday -- and the ill-advised bet…You owe him $10, so you both pull out your phones. You launch an app, type in the number 10, and tap the phones together to transfer the money. All this has taken place without a single password or credit card. The magic happens when you…combine a biometric ID system…some kind of scan from a smartphone to verify that you're actually in possession of the device…with a secure short-distance wireless communication technology that other devices…can read…Apple…appears likely…aggressively pursuing the development of technologies that replace IDs, passwords and credit cards…with Apple apparently taking the lead when it comes to using a cell phone as a debit card and a universal ID, you can be sure Google will step up and do whatever is necessary to compete…”

5. Egypt’s Last-Standing ISP Goes Dark http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/01/egypt-isp-shuttered/ A small Egyptian ISP that continued sputtering along after the government ordered Egypt off the internet Friday is now offline…the Noor Group, believed to be the last Egyptian ISP in operation, had provided access to the aviation, banking and financial sectors — including the Egyptian stock market…Egypt’s major providers — Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt, Etisalat Misr — and all their customers and partners, went dark Friday. Renesys said the Egyptian government’s actions were “unprecedented in internet history.”…Facebook, Twitter and other online forums helped fuel large-scale protests against President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule. Mobile-phone communications have also been shut down…Egypt has also closed Al Jazeera’s office in Cairo, arrested a half-dozen of the news outlet’s reporters…”

6. Flickr Accidentally Deletes a User's 4,000 Photos and Can't Get Them Back http://www.observer.com/2011/tech/flickr-accidentally-deletes-users-4000-photos-and-cant-get-them-back “…a Zurich-based photoblogger says Flickr deleted his account by mistake and lost his 4,000 photos…the photos from his extensive Flickr collection had been linked to from all over the web, including the official Flickr blog. Those links will now point to deadspace. Additionally, the followers he had accumulated, tags, photo captions and copyright information have been wiped out and may not be restored…Mr. Wilhelm was shocked when he tried to log into his five-year old Flickr account and was prompted to create a username. Then he remembered a support ticket he had submitted to Flickr a few days before, complaining about another user who had posted photos Mr. Wilhelm suspected were stolen. Had Flickr received his support ticket and deleted the wrong account? In fact, that's exactly what happened…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

7. Android tops global smartphone ranks http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-20030029-94.html Android has now surged past Symbian to become the world's top smartphone platform…Global shipments of Android-based phones hit 32.9 million in the final quarter of 2010, pushing Nokia's Symbian down to second place with 31 million smartphones shipped…HTC and Samsung accounted for almost 45 percent of all the Android phones shipped in the fourth quarter of 2010…third-place Apple nearly doubled its fourth-quarter iPhone shipments to 16.2 million from only 8.7 million a year ago, though its market share dipped a bit to 16 percent from 16.3 percent. BlackBerry maker Research In Motion saw its shipments rise to 14.6 million from 10.7 million the prior year, but its slice of the market dropped to 14.4 percent from 20 percent…”

8. Researchers enable mesh WiFi networking for Android smartphones http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2011/01/researchers-enable-mesh-wifi-networking-for-android-smartphones.ars An Australian research group has found a way to apply WiFi mesh networking onto the Android operating system, allowing phones to act as access points over radio waves to transmit voice calls as data…The system, named Serval, can relay VoIP calls between phones using their WiFi networking. Individual phones can also act as relay points, and theoretically should be able to bridge together a phone in a remote area with no service to one with access to the cellular network…In its present state, Serval can only connect between phones that are no more than a few hundred meters away from each other, and the call quality is horrendous…the Android phones with Serval also seemed to be a decent substitute for walkie-talkies, as two phones can connect and exchange voice data without network access. The researchers are planning to make the software free and open-source…”

9. Why App Developers Are Celebrating the iPad http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2376903,00.asp “…iPad is unquestionably a success story for Apple…for app developers who jumped on the bandwagon, the early support has paid off…before its launch, the tablet ignited a firestorm of controversy, with critics deriding it as a laptop without a keyboard, or just a larger iPhone…Apple sold 7.33 million iPads during its most recent quarter, up from 4.19 million a quarter ago…That success, in turn, has trickled down to Apple's app developers…with several app developers…the only common thread was surprise - not that the iPad had been a success, but such a resounding one…Ty Jacobs, the president of Simple Genius Apps…said that he has sold 13,000 copies of his various apps to users in 65 different companies, at $10 apiece. "It took me by surprise," Jacobs said of his apps' success. Jacobs and other developers of business apps shattered the stereotype that the iPad was a consumer device. But the appeal to businesses really didn't begin to take off until Apple introduced the 3G version of the iPad…”

10. 26% of Mobile Apps Used Just Once http://www.localytics.com/blog/post/first-impressions-matter-26-percent-of-apps-downloaded-used-just-once/ “…customers seem very willing to give new apps a try—it took only two weeks for 8th grader Robert Nay’s Bubble Ball to unseat Angry Birds. The bad news is that 26% of the time customers never give the app a second try. So make that first impression count and look beyond download statistics to understand real customer engagement. Localytics studied the thousands of Android, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 apps using its real-time app analytics service…The resulting analysis shows that for customers using an app for the first time between January and March, about 22% of them never open the app again. In the second and third quarters, the rate of one-time usage is flat at 26%...having 74% of new customers go on to use your app at least once more is pretty encouraging. More good news is that the number of US smartphone users grew from 42.7 million in November 2009 to 61.5 million in November 2010. But at the same time, the number of apps also increased dramatically…in order to build a profitable business in this hyper-competitive market, publishers need to understand who their loyal users are and how to continue growing a loyal user base…”

11. More than 2% of world's Web traffic comes from Apple's iOS devices http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/11/02/01/apples_ios_reaches_2_worldwide_web_browser_market_share.html Apple's iOS, which powers the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, cracked 2 percent of all Web browsing in January, with a share north of 5 percent in both the U.K. and Australia to start 2011…in the month of January, Apple's iOS mobile operating system and the Mobile Safari browser cracked the 2 percent barrier for the first time…Apple has the greatest market share presence in Singapore, where iOS devices represented 9.98 percent of all Web browsing traffic. Also noteworthy was Australia, where 5.6 percent of browser traffic came from iOS devices. The U.K. also had a strong showing, with 5.1 percent of total Web traffic originating from iOS users. In the U.S., 3.4 percent of all browser traffic is represented by Apple's mobile operating system…”

12. Mobile Data Explosion: 75 Exabytes by 2015 http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/mobile_data_explosion_75_exabytes_by_2015.php Worldwide mobile data traffic is due to increase 26-fold to 75 exabytes annually, says networking giant Cisco in its latest report, the Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2010 to 2015…By 2015, there will be more than 5.6 billion personal devices, like smartphones and tablets, connected to mobile networks as well as 1.5 billion machine-to-machine nodes - a stat that's equivalent to nearly one mobile connection for every person on earth…Today's average mobile connection generates 65 megabytes of traffic per month, which is about 15 MP3 music files. By 2015, that will increase 17 times to 1,118 megabytes per month…”

Open Source

13. Natty Narwhal Ditches OpenOffice for LibreOffice http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/71715.html “…Version 11.04 of Ubuntu, also known as "Natty Narwhal," is expected to be the first release to incorporate LibreOffice…a fork in the OpenOffice suite that was created by the volunteers behind OpenOffice.org, who felt Oracle wasn't supporting the open source community as strongly as it should. Those volunteers set up The Document Foundation in September and began working on the fork, which they named "LibreOffice."…The Document Foundation announced LibreOffice 3.3 Release Candidate 4 last Thursday…”

14. SourceForge Speeds Move to New Security Model http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/218231/after_attack_sourceforge_speeds_move_to_new_security_model.html “…SourceForge is speeding up its move to a new a security model following a targeted attack that may have compromised the passwords of its large user base. SourceForge, which hosts more than 260,000 projects, discovered the attack last Wednesday…Our analysis uncovered (among other things) a hacked SSH daemon, which was modified to do password capture…We don't have reason to believe the attacker was successful in collecting passwords. But, the presence of this daemon and server level access to one-way hashed, and encrypted, password data led us to take the precautionary measure of invalidating all SourceForge user account passwords."…In the aftermath of the attack, SourceForge said it would accelerate the implementation of a new security model already under way. Many security decisions were made 10 years ago, but the site has grown from a few hundred users to millions…Project Web includes a new security model that moves us away from shared hosting while preserving the scalability we need for mass hosting…Because of this attack we'll be accelerating the rollout of Secure Project Web services as part of the process of bringing the project web service back online…”

SkyNet

15. Google looking for a few good mobile-app developers http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-20030021-94.html Google is recruiting developers to work in-house on mobile apps for its Android operating system…Benjamin Ling, a Google product-management director, has been supervising an attempt to coax software engineers, user-interface specialists, and product managers into the Google fold, The Wall Street Journal reported…The Journal added that some current Google workers have shifted their positions at the company to join the app project, which will be spread across Google's global offices and cover everything from Angry Birds-like games to Foursquare-like check-in apps. The resulting apps will probably be free, with ads included to generate revenue…” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703554204576112723686094898.html Google Inc. plans to hire dozens of software developers to create applications for smartphones and other mobile devices…The Internet company has begun recruiting software engineers, product managers, user-interface experts and others who have ideas for mobile apps, the people said. Some current Google employees have changed jobs to work on the effort…adoption of Android also helps ensure that Google's search engine, the principal revenue source for the company, and other Google services are prominent on mobile devices. Google so far has created only about 20 mobile apps in house, and they are largely extensions of its Web properties, such as Google Maps. A few apps, including Google Sky Map, which lets users identify stars and constellations by pointing their phones at the night sky, were started by employees in their spare time…The company, they said, will bankroll small groups of engineers to create a range of apps…” http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2379113,00.asp

16. Google Buys Voice Messaging Application Developer SayNow http://techcrunch.com/2011/01/25/google-buys-voice-messaging-startup-saynow/ Google has just acquired voice messaging startup SayNow…SayNow’s platform allows voice messaging, one-on-one conversations, and group calls to be integrated into Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Android, or iPhone applications. The startup has built a number of applications, which have over 15 million users, with this capabilities, including SayNow Phone, SayNow Broadcast, Big Call and Chit Chat…Since 2005, we’ve explored fun and entertaining ways for people to talk with each other. Through the web, smartphones, and even land lines, our products brought communities together through the power of voice. And as Google has some of the best voice products in the world, we believe combining forces with the Google Voice team will let us innovate in new and unexplored areas…”

17. Google buys Fflick, a movie tweets site http://www.pamil-visions.net/google-fflick/222397/ “…it is pretty obvious that Google means business and that the aim is social. But buying fflick?...I cannot understand why Google would throw $10 million at a site that’s doing nothing but grabbing tweets about movies…The media reports enthusiastically that you can also see show times and buy movie tickets on Fflick, and add certain films to your Netflix queue. No you cannot. The show times button takes you to Google search results, the “buy tickets” button takes you to fflick’s affiliate account at fandango.com, and the Netflix queue is no biggie…fflick is not movie reviews, it’s movie tweets…If there is any value at all in fflick, I just don’t see it. They don’t have a community, the technology is simplistic…” http://youtube-global.blogspot.com/2011/01/share-and-share-like-weve-acquired.html “…We've always believed that there are great conversations happening all the time off of YouTube.com, and that commentary has the potential to enrich your experience when watching and discovering video on YouTube itself. So…we’ve acquired Fflick, a talented team that analyzes social media data to surface great content and the discussions around it. We were impressed by the technical talent, design instincts and entrepreneurial spirit of the Fflick team. As part of YouTube, the Fflick team will help us build features to connect you with the great videos talked about all over the web, and surface the best of those conversations for you to participate in. We look forward to rolling out more features that help you enjoy and discover new videos to watch…”

18. Google & Twitter in Egypt: speak2tweet http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/some-weekend-work-that-will-hopefully.html “…Over the weekend we came up with the idea of a speak-to-tweet service—the ability for anyone to tweet using just a voice connection. We worked with a small team of engineers from Twitter, Google and SayNow, a company we acquired last week, to make this idea a reality. It’s already live and anyone can tweet by simply leaving a voicemail on one of these international phone numbers (+16504194196 or +390662207294 or +97316199855) and the service will instantly tweet the message using the hashtag #egypt. No Internet connection is required. People can listen to the messages by dialing the same phone numbers or going to twitter.com/speak2tweet. We hope that this will go some way to helping people in Egypt stay connected at this very difficult time…”

19. Google Brings Street View Tech Inside World's Greatest Museums http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2379146,00.asp “…Google today unveiled the Google Art Project, a virtual tour of some of the world's greatest museums that uses very similar technology, and has nearly the same interface, as Google Street View. "It started when a small group of us who were passionate about art got together to think about how we might use our technology to help museums make their art more accessible…While many museums offer virtual tours of their galleries and stills of their best pieces online, Google's project adds information panels, YouTube videos with additional information about the works or artists, super high resolution images of selected works, and most important of all, the culmination of these features across 17 museums, with more on the way…”

20. Microsoft's Bing Caught Copying Google Search Results http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/02/01/microsofts-bing-caught-copying-google-search-results/ “…Google…alleges that Microsoft has been using its Internet Explorer web browser and the Bing Search bar to harvest information on Google users…Amit Singhal, a Google Fellow who oversees the search engine’s ranking algorithm, was crystal clear about the findings. “Our testing has concluded that Bing is copying Google web search results,”…"I've spent my career in pursuit of a good search engine," Singhal told Search Engine Land. "I've got no problem with a competitor developing an innovative algorithm. But copying is not innovation, in my book." Bing, although denying that they outright copy results, and has all but admitted the claim. Director of Bing Stefan Weitz told FoxNews.com that the strategy is one of many that Microsoft uses to provide the best search results…”

21. Google’s Android Design Expert Outlines the Vision Behind Honeycomb http://mobilized.allthingsd.com/20110201/exclusive-googles-android-design-expert-outlines-the-vision-behind-honeycomb/ Although the immediate focus of Honeycomb was to get Android ready for tablets, the operating system is really designed to enable Google’s software to power all manner of mobile devices…Honeycomb lead designer Matias Duarte told Mobilized. “It’s about really eliminating all the barriers to all the different kinds of form factors that people might want to interact with.”…Duarte, who joined Google from Palm last year, said there were really three major areas of focus…one was to change the way Android worked so that it was suited to devices larger than a phone. But beyond that…Honeycomb was about evolving Android to be better overall at mobile computing tasks. Finally…Honeycomb is designed to make the operating system more usable…”

General Technology

22. Intel Sandy Bridge mistake to cost $1+ billion and delay new PCs http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/jan/31/intel-warns-cost-chip-fix “…Intel has halted shipments of its new "Sandy Bridge" processors and says it will have to spend a total of $1bn (£600m) fixing a fault, delaying hundreds of new PC models for up to three months and potentially stifling growth in the personal computer market…Intel said today it had found flaws in a support chip, called Cougar Point, which would have led to failures over time in connections to hard drives and DVDs. The fault will upset production on more than 500 computer models that were to have used the processors…AMD shares jumped by 5% in early trading in New York, while Intel shares slid by 1.5%. Intel…has shipped 8m of the defective chips…Had the problem gone undiscovered, about 5% of PCs using the new chipsets could have failed over a three-year period…It would be a low and continuing failure rate over the life of the systems…” http://www.betanews.com/article/Intels-Sandy-Bridge-issue-could-affect-Apple-the-most/1296598501

23. GRIN Plasmonics: A Practical Path to Superfast Computing, Ultrapowerful Optical Microscopy http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110124184434.htm “…researchers…have carried out the first experimental demonstration of GRIN -- for gradient index -- plasmonics, a hybrid technology that opens the door to a wide range of exotic optics, including superfast computers based on light rather than electronic signals, ultra-powerful optical microscopes able to resolve DNA molecules with visible light…Like all plasmonic technologies, GRIN plasmonics starts with an electronic surface wave that rolls through the conduction electrons on a metal. Just as the energy in a wave of light is carried in a quantized particle-like unit called a photon, so, too, is plasmonic energy carried in a quasi-particle called a plasmon. Plasmons will interact with photons at the interface of a metal and dielectric to form yet another quasi-particle, a surface plasmon polariton (SPP)…GRIN plasmonics can be immediately applied to the design and production of various plasmonic elements, such as waveguides and beam splitters, to improve the performance of integrated plasmonics. Currently we are working on more complex, transformational plasmonic devices, such as plasmonic collimators, single plasmonic elements with multiple functions, and plasmonic lenses…”

DHMN Technology

24. NVIDIA ahead of TI in dual core ARM http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-20029421-64.html “…ARM is the basic chip design being used by Apple, Nvidia, Samsung, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments for tablets. TI licensed its first ARM design back in 1993…Nvidia, by contrast, is an upstart in the ARM chip market…Nvidia's dual-core Tegra 2 processor is most notably in Motorla's Xoom tablet…expected to go on sale as early as next month. Texas Instruments' answer to the Tegra 2 is OMAP 4, TI's first dual-core ARM processor for tablets…TI is supplying the dual-core (OMAP 4) processor for RIM's upcoming PlayBook tablet. To be exact, that is an OMAP 4430 1GHz processor (see graphic above) with two ARM Cortex-A9 cores…”

25. Developer interest in Android nearly equals iOS http://www.betanews.com/joewilcox/article/IDC-Developer-interest-in-Android-nearly-equals-iOS/1295993954 “…based on a survey of 2,235 application developers conducted between January 10-12…businesses large and small are accelerating their efforts to build a mobile application strategy to deal with an explosion in apps, mobile devices, operating systems, and capabilities…With the Android Tablet market set to explode this year and the recent success of Samsung's Android-based Galaxy Tab, 57 percent of developers say price will be the most important factor for success…then Android Honeycomb OS capabilities (33 percent),"…Among mobile phone platforms, iPhone leads with 92 percent of developers "very interested."…Android interest rose 5 points to 87 percent…a common refrain: after iPhone, do I go Android or iPad?" It's an interesting question considering that upscaling apps for iPad should conceptually be easier than porting to Android. "Our common recommendation for pure market share and design reuse, think Android. For enhancing the experience, go iPad,"…2011 is queuing up to be the year of the mobile, with tablets being a driving catalyst…The number of apps developers plan to create is…6.5 this year…respondents said they plan to deploy apps on at least 4 different devices (eg: iPhone, iPad, Android phone, Android tablet)…I need my iPhone app' was a common phrase in 2010. No more. Cross-platform is mandatory, as is deploying to multiple form factors like tablets…”

26. CompuLab introduces its smallest, most energy efficient mini-PC to date http://www.gizmag.com/compulab-announces-tegra2-powered-trim-slice-mini-pc/17664/ “…CompuLab…announced a new miniature computer powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 2 processing platform…The 5.1 x 3.7 x 0.6-inch…Trim-Slice is the company's smallest and most energy efficient model to date, having an average operational draw of just 3W. Within the rugged all-metal, nickel-plated housing beats the Tegra 2 heart, where a 1GHz Dual Core ARM Cortex A9 processor and an ultra low power, high definition GeForce graphics unit sit together on the same chip. Supporting players include 1GB DDR2 memory and 64GB of solid state storage…a foursome of USB 2.0 ports, a USB device port and an RS232 Serial port, as well as HDMI-out and dual head DVI. Getting online is made possible with Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11n wireless connectivity…”

Leisure & Entertainment

27. Announcing the winners of the Kinect contest http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/kinect-contest-winners/ When the Kinect launched, Adafruit Industries ran a contest for the first person who released open-source code to extract video and depth from the Kinect…So I decided to run my own contest: The first $1000 prize goes to the person or team that writes the coolest open-source app, demo, or program using the Kinect. The second prize goes to the person or team that does the most to make it easy to write programs that use the Kinect on Linux…There’s been so many cool things going on with the Kinect that instead of two winners, I ended up declaring seven $1000 winners…” [videos and links to winning projects in the post – ed.]

28. Appgun turns your smartphone into an augmented reality scope http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2011/01/25/iphone-gun-game-augmented-reality-alien-shoot-out/ Apptoyz are releasing…the Appgun…it’s almost like your iPhone is the add on for the gun. Appgun turns your iPhone in to an augmented reality alien shooting game…The Appgun gaming app is “free”, and the gun costs £20. It uses the camera on your iPhone to display your surroundings, and pastes aliens on top of that view. It registers your movement through the iPhone and you have to shoot the aliens…they could be anywhere around you – behind you, above your head, or at your feet…”

Economy and Technology

29. White House launches new program for startup firms http://www.thestreet.com/story/10990487/1/obama-unveils-initiative-for-startup-america.html President Barack Obama launched a national initiative Monday called "Startup America," saying it would promote entrepreneurship and private-sector investment in start-up firms and address challenges faced by small-business owners…the Small Business Administration will commit…to…seed early stage investing in firms with high-growth potential through its Small Business Investment Company program…the SBA and Department of Energy will increase mentorship for so-called "clean tech" start-ups…the Department of Commerce is expanding its i6 Challenge to help foster the commercialization of clean technologies…The Veterans Administration is also launching training programs for veterans who want to start businesses…initiatives in the private sector include expanding seed funding and mentorship programs such as the Astia network, MassChallenge program and TechStars. It also includes expanding programs that prepare students to start companies…The White House plans to hold events throughout the week geared toward innovation and job creation in industries of the future…” http://www.smallbusinesscomputing.com/news/article.php/3922926/White-House-Launches-Small-Business-Initiative.htm “…The administration has tapped AOL co-founder Steve Case to chair the Startup America Partnership, a broad consortium that aims to drive investment from tech companies, startup accelerators, foundations and other members of the private sector. Intel, HP, IBM and Facebook have signed on as early supporters of the initiative…to help incubate new businesses…at the start there is over $400 million of private-sector commitments being made…a new Early-Stage Innovation Fund to help startups secure their initial seed funding. The agency will administer the funding through its Small Business Investment Company…The administration is…launching a training initiative for veterans to launch their own businesses…Carl Schramm, CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, a philanthropic and research group focused on entrepreneurship, will serve as a founding board member of the Startup America Partnership…” http://www.whitehouse.gov/startup-america-fact-sheet

30. 2011: Year of the desktop app store? http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9205878/2011_Year_of_the_desktop_app_store_ “…many developers who already have iOS apps for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad are hoping for big financial gains from selling their apps, rewritten to run on Mac notebooks and desktops, through the Mac App Store. Since the store's launch, for instance, developers at Evernote say they've seen a huge increase in the number of new users of their note-taking application. Because signing up for Evernote is free, that change doesn't directly affect the company's bottom line, but it stands to reason that some portion of those new users will sign up for Evernote's for-payment Premium service…The apparent early success of Evernote in the Mac App Store notwithstanding, download and sales numbers for the other app stores we've mentioned…are currently too small to determine whether app stores will become a significant player in software distribution…Baker thinks app stores will have a tough time catching on as a means of selling software in the notebook/desktop market. "App stores for computers would have to have a demonstrable advantage over searching for products directly on the Web…many apps for smartphones and tablets are specifically designed to take advantage of mobile devices -- think mapping or augmented reality software. "App stores have been successful because they offer products allowing consumers to more easily complete specific tasks [on their smartphones]…So what would be the point…of notebook or desktop users downloading and buying software from an app store?...Discovering and managing applications on Windows is still one of the most frustrating experiences you can have as an end user…The scope of an application store is…a complete environment to make it easy to discover, buy, install, update and reinstall applications, be they paid or free….Another selling point of an app store…is that it would give customers a sense of trust and security about the software they buy…App developer Tacconi adds that the sense of security provided by an app store should extend to the suitability of an app for a user's hardware. The store should help users buy software guaranteed to run on their notebook or desktop…The app store business model is a "win-win-win…hardware vendors like Intel, Apple and Acer win by running an app store to promote and nurture their platform and brand, developers win by having a place to market, sell and make money, and users win because they get a one-stop shop they can trust."…the app store is more of a bridge than a barrier; he calls it the "missing link" between developers and consumers that will encourage distribution and sales of mini-applications for computers…it is a huge new business opportunity for application developers…First you bought CDs, then you downloaded MP3s on Napster and finally you bought songs on iTunes. The same goes with software: You bought boxes, then you downloaded setup files and finally you'll buy apps…it's clear that app developers and companies…are betting that a significant portion of software for all computer devices will be sold through an app store. "Over time, app stores will be how most software becomes distributed," says Hilwa…”

Civilian Aerospace

31. New inflatable module will attach to ISS, blow itself up http://www.space.com/10686-nasa-bigelow-module-international-space-station.html The International Space Station could get a new inflatable module supplied by the private American company Bigelow Aerospace…NASA is apparently in discussions with Bigelow to acquire a Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, called BEAM for short, to enhance use of the International Space Station (ISS)…Bigelow's BEAM module is likely to be an upscale version of the already orbiting Genesis module - two of which have already flown into Earth orbit…NASA hoped to greatly exceed the usable space of the International Space Station at a fraction of the usual cost. Lately, the company has focused on ever-larger expandable modules, notably the Sundancer and BA330 modules…No agreement has been signed yet…Bigelow Aerospace is working with the ISS National Laboratory program, as well as the space agency's Space Operations Mission Directorate, the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate and the Office of Chief Technologist…”

32. Elon Musk looking to get into 'black' spy sat market http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/02/01/spacex_cosies_up_to_nro/ “…SpaceX, helmed and bankrolled by renowned internet nerdwealth tycoon Elon Musk, is already taking NASA business away from the established American rocketry industry. Musk now appears to be targeting the potentially much bigger market for launching secret US spy satellites…SpaceX announced that it would open a new office in Chantilly, Virginia, "to serve customers looking for reliable, affordable launch solutions"…There are of course many prominent tech firms to be found in Virginia. But it seems rather more significant that the headquarters of the US National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and the National Reconnaissance Operations Center are both located in Chantilly. The NRO, a joint operation of the US military and intelligence services, is in charge of the nation's huge fleet of surveillance satellites…it seems quite reasonable to suppose that the black space programme, including the NRO and other agencies, might easily dispose of a budget in the order $25bn+ – conceivably more. By contrast, NASA's entire budget, much of which is spent maintaining the space agency's large staff and extensive facilities across the USA rather than on space operations, amounts to just over $18bn in total…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

33. This is Our Tianhe Moment http://www.hpcwire.com/blogs/This-is-Our-Tianhe-Moment-114760979.html “…President Obama's State of the Union address this week was heavily laden with talk of increasing government support for science, education, and technology…But Obama could have used a better symbol to make his case…the President pointed to the launch of Russia's Sputnik satellite in 1957 as a defining event that was used to spur US technology leadership in the latter half of the 20th century…The better symbol to point to would have been Tianhe-1A supercomputer, which recently took the Gold Medal in the TOP500 as the most powerful system in the world…HPC is…a foundational technology underlying science and engineering R&D. From climate research to alternative energy development to biotech, high performance computing is the 21st century's tool of choice that can be applied to nearly all areas of research and development. The President could have made that case this week and used Tianhe as an example of how important this technology is being viewed by our fastest-growing economic rival…Obama actually did mention the Chinese system in passing (although not by name) and even called out the DOE supercomputers at ORNL that are running nuclear power models…Congress recently passed the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010…But funding…has yet to be accomplished…Peter Harsha…doesn't expect much science and tech love from the incoming Republican-laden Congress…Tianhe might be the more potent symbol for generating enthusiasm from the small government crowd. China itself has become both a serious economic rival and a potential military threat, two things that are known to inspire conservatives to action…the Chinese believe such technology leadership is critical to their aims…”

34. Intel Labs to Invest $100 Million in US University Research http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/Intel-Labs-to-Invest-100-Million-in-US-University-Research-114815304.html Intel Corporation announced plans to invest $100 million directly into US university research over the next five years to drive innovations in computing and communications. The company will open Intel Science and Technology Centers across multiple universities throughout the year. The centers will focus on projects in select technology areas that align with the company's research agenda including visual computing, mobility, security and embedded solutions…The new centers will be Intel-funded and jointly led by Intel and university researchers. They are designed to provide more dollars in the hands of researchers, and to encourage tighter collaboration between academic thought leaders in essential technology areas such as visual computing, security and mobile computing. For maximum flexibility, Intel will be able to tune its research agenda across the research centers over time. Intel plans to invite proposals from the academic community to continue pursuing the creation of additional Intel Science and Technology Centers…”


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