2011/04/26

NEW NET Issues List for 26 Apr 2011

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 26 April 2011, 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. Things Fall Apart: Amazon’s Epic Cloud Failure Reveals Shortsightedness by Well-Known Tech Companies http://www.xconomy.com/seattle/2011/04/22/things-fall-apart-amazons-epic-cloud-failure-reveals-shortsightedness-by-some-other-well-known-tech-companies/ “…Major service providers and websites—companies with enough money and talent to avoid the problem—didn’t spend nearly enough energy planning for the inevitability of a breakdown…Exhibit A is San Francisco-based Heroku, the hugely popular development and hosting platform that relies on Amazon’s service. When Amazon went down, Heroku went with it—taking along more startups than it had to, if the middleman had hedged its bets more effectively..,.Heroku is no scrappy little startup—the company was purchased just a few months ago by Salesforce.com for more than $200 million…Heroku, which literally hundreds of startups use…should start thinking about, ‘OK, what can we do to spread the risk?’…People are quick to point fingers at Amazon or whoever their cloud provider is—’They’re down, and they took us with them.’…But in reality, your whole business relies on being up. And there’s 100 different ways that they could have avoided having to say, ‘We’re down because of Amazon.’…Perhaps the company most vital to Silicon Valley startups isn’t even located here—it’s in Seattle…” http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20056545-264.html A serious Amazon Web Services outage has extended well into its second day, but Amazon said Friday the end is in sight…AWS is a flagship example of one facet of cloud computing, a flexible collection of online computing services that can ramp up and down according to varying needs, with customers getting a flexible infrastructure and paying only for what they consume…the problems with some services in the East Coast region laid low many…including the Web sites of…FourSquare…The problem was first logged at 1:41 a.m. PT yesterday, the result of a "networking event" that triggered a cascade of other problems…” http://gigaom.com/cloud/the-good-the-alright-and-the-ugly-of-cloud-architecture/ “…The four-day-long Amazon Web Services outage was no doubt a traumatic experience for many customers, but that didn’t have to be the case…there…were plenty that stayed up, were minimally affected or that acted in a hurry to resolve the problem…here are a few stories that might provide some food for thought on how to do that…The Good…Twilio…SmugMug…Netflix…The All Right…Zencoder…DotCloud…PagerDuty…RightScale…The Ugly…Anonymous heart-monitoring company. On Friday, an anonymous company that monitors “hundreds of cardiac patients at home” posted on the AWS forums that it has been unable to read electrocardiogram measurements for its patients for more than a day…Anyone running a truly mission-critical or, in this case, life-or-death application in the cloud has to take absolutely every step necessary to ensure it remains available. Maybe that means running redundant copies of applications and data in AWS regions across the country, or perhaps not using AWS at all in lieu of an “enterprise-grade” cloud such as Terremark’s aptly named Enterprise Cloud. Maybe that means not using a public cloud at all, at least to spare any potential negligence lawsuits should an outage occur…”

2. Bing Rewards Now On Bing’s Header Bar http://searchengineland.com/bing-rewards-now-on-bings-header-bar-74359 Bing…added the Bing Rewards program…to the top header bar of Bing’s search results…when you search on Bing, you will see the “Rewards” link and icon on the right of the “sign in” link…integrating this Rewards link into the header will give Bing users “easy and quick access to earning credits and redeeming rewards.”…for all US users using Internet Explorer 7 or later and the latest versions of Firefox, Chrome, and Safari browsers…”

3. Using Skype for Your Job Interview: Jeff Garber of 360 Job Interview http://blogs.skype.com/enterprise/2011/04/using_skype_for_your_job_inter.html An increasing number of employers are leveraging Skype video to conduct face-to-face job interviews. This is often a first step to screen out candidates who seemed "good on paper" but didn't have what the employer really needed. Employers feel that a Skype job video interview provides a cost-effective way to see the candidate interact with new technology, express themselves on video…I had the opportunity to talk with Jeff Garber, the CEO of 360JobInterview about this powerful use of Skype. His company specializes in coaching job seekers on how to present their "best foot forward" in that all-important job interview…In the interview Garber shared with me some pointers that can help you the next time you're looking for a job --- or just presenting yourself on Skype…it is good to know about these tips, and keep them handy, before you have that next important Skype video interview or presentation…”

4. Office 365: Bait-and-switch for free Office Live Small Business customers? http://www.neowin.net/news/office-365-bait-and-switch-for-free-office-live-small-business-customers “…Recall the launch of Microsoft Office Live way back in late 2006…Upon its launch, it promised a no-frills service for small business to take advantage of for free. Office Live Basics offered a company domain name, a site with 500 MB of storage, 25 company email accounts, company instant messaging, and tools to create and promote their site. All for free…Live Workspace was closed last year in December, and Microsoft moved over all documents to their consumer-oriented collection of Windows Live services, placing them on SkyDrive…Microsoft has made it clear on the Office Live site that Office Live Small Business will cease to exist this coming October…Unfortunately…if you were one of those businesses counting on the free services…There is no free equivalent in Office 365. Businesses are given three months of free service if they elect to switch to Office 365, but beyond that, it's standard pricing. Office 365 offers more than its predecessor, but at a cost of $6 per user. Say there are up to 25 employees…What about Microsoft's chief competition, Google? Small businesses could get basic collaboration and messaging services for up to 50 users for free…For some businesses, the only solution may be to deal with Office 365 and pay for features they did not need…some people, pricing is king. The competition has won on that end. And for Microsoft, they may have unintentionally created a bait-and-switch situation for small businesses who were perfectly content with a free basic service. But who knows - just as they did in 2008, Microsoft may release a free subset down the road once they see the error of their ways.”

5. Facebook Launches “Social Deals” To Challenge Groupon & LivingSocial http://searchengineland.com/no-teeth-whitening-facebook-launches-social-deals-to-bring-social-experiences-offline-74658 “…Facebook is launching its second deals program: Social Deals. The new effort more closely resembles Groupon-style daily deals, with several twists. The original “Facebook Deals” is now being called “check-in deals” to distinguish it from the new program. Check-in deals are free to users; they’re mobile centric and operate like conventional coupons. By contrast Facebook’s new Social Deals, like Groupon or LivingSocial, must be purchased up front using money or Facebook Credits (the first use for real-world products/services). You actually buy a voucher that is then redeemed offline. Check-in Deals are directed toward national entities and small businesses alike. However Social Deals are more focused on local businesses. They contemplate friends discovering, planning and coming together for offline events and experiences…”

6. Website Provides Coupon Codes For Hundreds Of Online Stores http://www.onlineprnews.com/news/125496-1302699379-website-provides-coupon-codes-for-hundreds-of-online-stores.html There are three types of online shoppers. Some people would just window shop and never end up buying anything. Others would search for the cheapest deal and buy from a store that charges the least, and there are really smart people who would look for coupon codes because they know that these coupons can give them substantial savings. However, finding these coupons isn’t easy. After all, how can you know which website is offering these special discounts at this time…ECouponCodes.com has made this possible. The website has carried out extensive research and browsed through thousands of web stores to find out the largest online stores that are offering good discounts. ECouponCodes.com has then published the list on the website…All this information is absolutely free. Anyone can visit the website and access information about the coupon codes available, and utilize the special discount offers on the respective website…”

7. RockMelt: Google Chrome, only better http://www.pcpro.co.uk/blogs/2011/04/22/rockmelt-google-chrome-only-better/ “…there’s a new kid on the block, RockMelt, that’s coming mighty close to replacing Google Chrome as my default web browser…Down the left-hand side runs a series of mini mug shots of your Facebook friends (you need to sign-in with a Facebook account before you can use the browser). A little circular light indicates if your friends are online, and you can conduct IM conversations with your Facebook friends from within the browser. It’s convenient if you natter away on Facebook constantly, but I’ve got a day job, and all this feature has really achieved is to provide a pervasive reminder of how old my friends are looking. The bar down the right-hand side, the so-called App Edge, is a hundred times more useful. Here you can set up feeds for anything from your Twitter or Gmail accounts to your favourite news sites…The App Edge also acts as an excellent feed reader for news sites. If you want more detail than is on offer from the news feed itself, you simply click on the link and the full story appears in the browser window…RockMelt has a separate Search box…Type your search terms into the box, and a pop-up menu appears with the top 10 Google results. Click on any of those results and the page loads in the browser window, while keeping the search pop-up open on the right-hand side of the screen, so if the site you clicked on didn’t deliver the goods, you can move to another search result without having to hit the back button…Aside from the odd extension glitch, there are other Chrome features absent from RockMelt. There’s no built-in Flash or PDF reader, meaning both plugins have to be downloaded separately from Adobe. Also missing is Chrome’s built-in audio player…I’d be happy to run RockMelt as my default browser. The social networking tools are magnificent, and as someone who needs to keep a constant eye on breaking news, the feed updates are perfect…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

8. iPhone and Android in privacy crosshairs http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-20056505-94.html “…Privacy concerns surfaced earlier this week when researchers announced that they found what looked like secret files on the iPhone that track user location and store it on the device without the permission of the device owner. It's still unclear what the data is used for and why Apple has been collecting it in iOS products…for nearly a year now…Among those demanding answers is U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, who wrote a letter Apple CEO Steve Jobs seeking an explanation…not only have law authorities long known about iPhone and iPad tracking logs, they and have used that geolocation data to aid criminal investigations…they might also be getting the same type of information from Android devices…” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703387904576279451001593760.html “…Research by a security analyst this week found that an Android phone collected location data every few seconds and sent it to Google several times an hour. Apple disclosed…last year that its phones "intermittently" collect location data, and the company receives it twice a day…users can prevent the data collection by turning off location-based services, although doing so limits functions such as maps…a Google spokesman said "all location sharing on Android is opt-in by the user." However, this definition of "opt-in" doesn't mean the system is off by default for people who use the typical Android set-up…when a user activates an Android phone, a screen appears saying Google's service provides location to applications and that it will collect anonymous data even when no apps are running. The box to accept this is checked by default, but the user can uncheck it. For users who bypass this process entirely, location services aren't turned on. "We provide users with notice and control over the collection, sharing and use of location in order to provide a better mobile experience on Android devices," the Google spokesman said…Android phone…transmissions included a unique ID that is tied to the phone…The user can change this number by performing a "factory reset" of the device, which deletes the phone's data…” http://mobilized.allthingsd.com/20110422/google-of-course-our-location-based-services-require-your-location-info/ “…Google: Of Course Our Location-based Services Require Your Location Info…” http://www.bloomberg.com/video/69007174/ [short video worth watching about this topic – ed.]

9. US Man Pleads Guilty to $36.6 Million Worth of ID Theft http://www.pcworld.com/article/225898/ “…U.S. Secret Service agents found more than 676,000 stolen credit card numbers on computers and e-mail accounts belonging to Rogelio Hackett Jr…Hackett, 26, of Lithonia, Georgia, faces up to 10 years in prison on the access device charge and another two years on the identity theft charge. Hackett also faces fines of up to twice the losses suffered by victims. Credit card companies have identified tens of thousands of fraudulent transactions, with a total of more than $36.6 million, using the card numbers found in Hackett's possession…Since 2002, Hackett trafficked in credit card information he obtained either by hacking into businesses' computer networks or by purchasing stolen credit card numbers through online "carding forums,"…”

10. Dropbox attempts to kill open source project http://razorfast.com/2011/04/25/dropbox-attempts-to-kill-open-source-project/ “…One headline in particular caught my attention: “Dropship — successor to torrents?“. The name was an obvious reference to Dropbox and the suggestion it could replace torrents was enticing…I had no idea that by the end of the day I’d have received a fake DMCA takedown notice, correspondence with Dropbox’s CTO, and witness the near killing of an open source project. The HN post linked to a blog post about an open source project called Dropship that allows users to exploit Dropbox’s file hashing scheme to copy files into their account without actually having them. Dropship will save the hashes of a file in JSON format. Anyone can then take these hashes and load the original file into their Dropbox account using Dropship. This has some real potential benefits for Dropbox’s users. Anyone could easily share a private file with someone else by simply giving them the JSON string. No need to make the file public…Dropbox’s CTO and cofounder, Arash Ferdowsi, did not like Dropship. His reaction was swift. According to the project’s creator, Wladimir van der Laan, Ferdowsi contacted him soon after and requested “in a really civil way” that he take the project off of github. van der Laan complied…At 1:46PM ET I received the following email from Dropbox support…Dear Dropbox User: We have received a notification under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) from Dropbox that the following material is claimed to be infringing…A DMCA takedown being issued against an open source project? I immediately looked up the proper format for responding to a takedown and replied with the following: The material in question, a file stored on Dropbox under the filename and path of /Public/laanwj-dropship-464e1c4.tar.gz, is not infringing the DMCA…Soon after Ferdowsi contacted me directly…He requested that I not only remove the archive from Dropbox but delete my posts on Hacker News, which at that point included the fake DMCA takedown. He outlined his objections, that Dropship reveals their proprietary client-server protocol and that it could be used for piracy. He told me that the DMCA takedown was a mistake and reverted the lockdown on my public files…His argument implied security by obscurity. Security by obscurity falls completely flat on its face in this case since their client can be analyzed by anyone with the proper skills and could be deciphered again…I asked Dropship’s author to find out if he had issued a takedown. He told me he had not and that “my code is MIT licensed anyway, you can do with it what you want.” One person told me he took Dropship down for fear of losing his Dropbox account. A few of them expressed support for my resistance to the takedown attempts…”

11. Michigan Police Use Device to Download Cellphone Data; ACLU Objects http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-20055961-83.html “……” http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/state-police-can-suck-data-out-cell-phones-un “…since the high-tech mobile forensic device in question can grab data in one-and-a-half minutes off more than 3,000 different cell phone models, it could be used during minor traffic violations to conduct suspicionless and warrantless searches without the phone owner having any idea that all their phone data was now in the hands of authorities…Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED) made by Cellebrite can extract data off 95% of cell phones on the market. It can also grab GPS information from units in most vehicles…The ACLU of Michigan has been trying to get more information to determine if the Michigan State Police (MSP) are using these gadgets to "violate Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches if a warrant is not issued."…in 2008, after the ACLU filed the first FOIA request for logs, reports and records of use, the MSP said Okay but it will cost $544,680 to retrieve and assemble the documents to disclose how five of the devices were being used…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

12. US Army picks Android to power its first smartphone http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2011/04/us-army-picks-android-to-power-its-first-smartphone.ars The Army wants every soldier to carry a smartphone to stay networked…An initial answer: Google’s Android…There will be a mapping function like the kinds the defense industry is developing for soldier smartphones and tablets. A Blue Force Tracker program will keep tabs on where friendly forces are. “Critical messaging” will exchange crucial data like medevac requests and on the ground reporting…it remains to be seen just how rugged the smartphone is…when connected to a radio, the Army says its Joint Battle Command-Platform weighs about two pounds. That’s way lighter than the Nett Warrior suite of sensors, computers, radios and mapping functions…that’s not to say the current phone prototype will be what the Army ends up issuing soldiers…But…that’s an early indication that the Army’s leaning toward Android devices…rather than iOS, which is tied to one specific (i)Phone…”

13. The Only Honeycomb Tablet You Should Buy http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2383447,00.asp “…If you want a Honeycomb tablet, I suggest waiting for Google's own Nexus Tablet, which is rumored to be released later this year…Just like with Android smartphones, Google's Nexus-branded handsets are the only models that get prompt software updates…Google Nexus One and recently released Google Nexus S are the only Android phones running the most-current version of the OS that's designed specifically for smartphones—Android 2.3.3…You should never buy a phone, a tablet, or a computer that has a history of going a year without getting a software update…Choosing a tablet that will deliver prompt updates should not be a feature you compromise on…the first Honeycomb tablet, the Motorola Xoom runs Android 3.0. It's fresh now, but just wait for the next major version of Android for tablets to come out, and see how long it takes for Motorola to issue an update…Only Google's Nexus-branded line of hardware has an A+ track record of delivering updates, while other vendors simply fail…”

14. How Cheap Tablets Could Be the iPod Touch for Android http://gigaom.com/2011/04/25/how-cheap-tablets-could-be-the-ipod-touch-for-android/ “…Android is still trailing iOS’ larger ecosystem when you count the installed base of iPhones, iPads and iPod touches, according to recent figures from comScore. But the rise of cheap ebook readers turned tablets from Barnes & Noble and possibly Amazon, could help Google close that gap by serving a role similar to the iPod touch in the iOS ecosystem…The iPod touch has quietly been a sales success…and we’re only now realizing its full impact…Apple said as of last month, it has sold 60 million iPod touches…108 million iPhones and 19 million iPads. That has helped iOS build an attractive, multidevice ecosystem that developers can leverage…the installed base of iOS devices in the U.S. is 37.9 million devices, compared to 23.8 million for Android…the iPod touch has been a key ingredient in the overall success of iOS, which has translated to widespread developer support…Android will certainly gain traction with developers and it’s clearly the No. 2 platform. But it could use the help of cheaper tablets in building an installed base and encouraging developers to build tablet-specific apps…The platform needs apps that shine on tablets too…If Amazon keeps costs down, or offers an ad-supported model like it’s doing with the Kindle, it could offer an Android tablet at under $300, well under the competition, including Apple…having a solid competitor from reputable names like Amazon and Barnes & Noble can convince people these devices are worth the look and the money…Android on the tablet…has gotten off to a rough start…many of the early tablets don’t provide enough value at the price they’re going for. But if they’re priced well under $300, it could draw in a lot of people in…who can’t spring for Apple’s $499 iPad price tag…Developers building apps for these devices will likely sell them first on Amazon’s Appstore and the Nook App store but it’s a no-brainer to also offer them in Android Market. It will mean more work for developers…Android benefited from strong carrier partnerships but they don’t matter as much in the tablet space. Apple is also competing heavily on price and seems to be a product cycle ahead of its competitors. Gartner is forecasting that Apple will still have 47.1 percent of the tablet market by 2015 ahead of Android at 38.6 percent…”

Apps

15. Building a Web Application that makes $500 a Month – Part I http://tbbuck.com/building-a-web-application-that-makes-500-a-month-part-i/ This is the first part in a series of posts about the first web app I wrote for myself, TweetingMachine. I’ll cover every aspect of its creation and development, starting at how the idea came to me, the many, many mistakes I made, and how eventually I improved the tool so much that it now brings in $500 a month, a figure that increases with each month…December 2009: The Idea…At the time, I was getting freelance work from RentACoder, and I started to see a lot of requests asking for coders to work on various Twitter-based applications…I realised that I could write a web app in my free time…I had my great idea, time to get cracking on what would turn out to be the easy bit: writing the code. I’m a web developer…I know how to write web apps. Find a cheap VPS (prgmr.com – incidentally, highly recommended and have far exceeded my expectations), sketch out some database and object designs, choose a framework, and that was me up and running, coding like a demon for a good few weeks…I’m very much a developer; I have all the design skills of a dead fish. So I took a look at a few sites out there, and attempted to make something similar…I was still naively optimistic that my poor design skills would be ignored by…customers…Check emails. Zero sales. Check server. Apache has been crashing. Cron jobs not running. Sit down. Cry. Fix up the code…I decided to scrap the tiered pricing, and stick to a single price: $9.99/month, with a week’s free trial beforehand…I was starting to notice a rather nasty trend: my visitor numbers were dropping, sharply…I was starting to wonder what I should do…started to read every basic guide out there for how to market your web app. All of them made it seem so simple…Sadly with TweetingMachine that didn’t happen. I started to realise that its design could really be holding the tool back…”

16. Barnes & Noble treats Nook Color to Froyo; unveils Nook Apps http://www.zdnet.com/blog/gadgetreviews/barnes-noble-treats-nook-color-to-froyo-unveils-nook-apps/23904 “…Barnes & Noble rolled out a major update for the Nook Color…which has the 7-inch slate looking even more like a tablet than an e-book reader now…no need to hack the Nook Color into an Android tablet anymore as B&N is giving out the power for free. The biggest feature found in the v1.2 firmware update is the inclusion of Android 2.2…The Nook Color even has something that the BlackBerry PlayBook doesn’t have (at least for now): a pre-loaded e-mail app…thanks to the inclusion of Adobe Flash Player support in this firmware update, the line between apps and books is becoming somewhat blurred…This is best seen (and most useful) in two places: cookbooks…and children’s books…Adobe AIR is also included in this firmware update, so that should speed up the development process exponentially. If you’re a developer interested in creating some apps for this platform, joining the developer program is free, and developers will receive 70% of the revenue from any paid app…The software upgrade is available immediately to download manually, or Nook Color owners can wait for the over-the-air release…”

17. Android Provides More Eyeballs to Advertisers, iPhone Offers Most Revenue to App Creators http://mobilized.allthingsd.com/20110414/android-provides-more-eyeballs-to-advertisers-while-iphone-offers-most-revenue-to-app-creators-study-finds/ “…In terms of advertising impressions, Android is the clear leader, with devices running that operating system accounting for nearly half of all ad impressions shown last month. Measured on that basis, 14 of the top 20 devices run Android, though the iPhone still tops the list and the BlackBerry Curve is the second most common phone model…in terms of app revenue by platform, the numbers are largely reversed, with iOS apps generating 47 percent of revenue, as compared to 36 percent of revenue generated by Android apps. BlackBerry apps accounted for 7 percent of sales…non-phone devices such as the iPad, iPod Touch and Galaxy Tab are seeing strong ad growth…such devices now make up 17 percent of the total mobile ad market, as compared to 64 percent for smartphones…The report also breaks out ad impressions based on the type of phone. On that basis, 59 percent of ads were viewed on touch-screen only devices, 17 percent on models with both a keyboard and touchscreen…”

18. Amazon Hints at Android Strategy With Latest App Promotion http://emoney.allthingsd.com/20110424/amazon-hints-at-android-strategy-with-latest-app-promotion/ Amazon is rolling out a new promotion on Monday…The first promotion–kicking off at midnight–will give customers who buy an Android device from Verizon Wireless $25 to spend on applications from the Amazon Appstore. The offer ties together Amazon’s wireless store, which sells a variety of phones for all the major wireless carriers, and its brand new Appstore…The promotion will continue for a week, and is only valid on Android phones purchased by Verizon, including the new HTC Thunderbolt…The promotion is designed to give Amazon’s Appstore, which just launched last month, a boost. But it also hints at the company’s interest in Android…it’s unclear how well the storefront, which is accessible on the computer and the handset, has been received–and Amazon is not sharing download figures. But it has almost doubled the number of apps available for sale from to 7,500 from 3,800 over the past few weeks…”

19. New App Sparks National Community For EV Owners http://shareable.net/blog/new-app-sparks-national-community-for-ev-owners “…To soothe EV owners' range-anxiety, software innovation company Xatori Inc. created an iPhone app designed to provide instant access to electric vehicle charging stations and other EV owners all over the country. PlugShare is a community-driven electric vehicle charging network that allows iPhone and iPod touch owners in the United States to share their outlets with one another. The app gives electric vehicle drivers an instant map of an area’s available, paid charging stations and homes or lots that will allow them to plug in and recharge for free, making it similar to AirBnB or CouchSurfing, but with cars instead of beds…”

Open Source

20. $5 million judgment against Google and Linux http://www.zdnet.com/blog/google/google-infringes-on-linux-patent-5-million-judgment/2912 “…the case of Bedrock Computer Technologies, LLC, vs. Google, Inc., became public yesterday…the case should have Google, Linux developers, and Android developers worried…Google’s counter-argument of patent invalidity were thrown out by the presiding judge…this doesn’t bode well for the 41 Android-related patent infringement suits that are going on at this stage…This shows that having deep pockets to afford the best lawyers isn’t enough. Google is obviously making money hand over foot because of Android…This has made it a target for those looking to cash in, especially because the company has leveraged so much software (e.g., Java) with questionable patents interspersed with open sourced code…It remains to be seen what ripples this judgment will have exactly, but Google, Android, and companies that are actually profiting from open source software are obviously not immune behind the protection of open source licenses…”

21. 6 of the Best Free Linux Web Caches http://www.linuxlinks.com/article/20110420162039800/WebCaches.html “…A slow-loading website is a recipe for online disaster even if the site is informative, well structured and organised…Web caches have become a vital mechanism for optimising the amount of data that is delivered in a given period of time. Good web caches also help to minimise latency, serving pages as quickly as possible…Web caches optimise the data flow between client and server. They also help to converse bandwidth by caching frequently-delivered content. If you need to reduce server load and improve delivery speed of your content, it is definitely worth exploring the benefits offered by web cache software. This type of software is primarily used by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), backbone providers, large intranets and enterprises. Web caches are very versatile, and are used in a number of different systems such as search engines, web proxies, and forward caches…we have compiled a list of 6 of our favorite web cache software. Hopefully, there will be something of interest here for anyone who needs to reduce bandwidth usage, improve latency, and minimise server load…nginx…Varnish Cache…Squid…Traffic Server…Polipo…eAccelerator…”

22. The iPad already used more than Linux on the desktop http://mashable.com/2011/04/21/ipad-linux/ Just a little more than a year since its launch, the iPad is already accounting for more views on website pages than longstanding open source operating system Linux. According to data from StatCounter Global Stats, iOS accounted for 1.17% of U.S. April browser visits to the more than 3 million websites that use the company’s free web analytics service. Meanwhile, Linux only accounted for .71%…The visits currently represented in the iOS category only represent iPad use, not iPod or iPhone…”

23. Open Source Biology Deserves a Shot http://www.xconomy.com/national/2011/04/11/open-source-biology-deserves-a-shot/ “…no one disagrees that today’s approach to drug development takes too long, costs too much, and is too unpredictable. Stephen Friend thinks shared data would change all of that—and allow researchers to see patterns they wouldn’t otherwise see, and make insights that would never emerge any other way…he did something two years ago that most people would consider quixotic: He quit his high-powered job as a senior vice president of cancer research at Merck to go on a mission to disrupt biology. The founding idea, at a nonprofit called Sage Bionetworks, was to spark an online movement like the one we’ve seen with open-source software or Wikipedia, in which thousands of loosely affiliated people around the world pool their brainpower to do something great…the wisdom of the crowd could improve drug development and personalize medicine. The Sage Commons is built on the notion that the genomic symphony is too bewildering for any individual or team—even at a place with as many dollars and brainiacs as Merck—to figure out…two years into this endeavor, Friend has learned how many people still resist any change to business as usual. Academic institutions still cling to their intellectual property out of a hope it will someday make them money. Scientists, by and large, keep their experimental data close to the vest in the hope they can get career-making papers published in Science or Nature. Many drugmakers can’t really imagine sharing anything valuable outside their corporate firewalls, lest it undermine their competitive standing…” http://fora.tv/live/sage_bionetworks/sage_bionetworks_commons_congress

24. An open-source geek-out, Latin American style http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20052662-1.html “…the open-source gestalt…fits well with Argentina's independent streak--whether it's the lasting legend of the altruistic gaucho cowboy, rough and rugged while looking out for his fellow man, or the smell of fresh croissants in the air and certain continental flair that make Buenos Aires share more in common with Paris than Caracas, Venezuela…By mid-decade surveys indicated nearly half of businesses here were using Linux. With more than a third of Argentina's population centered in Greater Buenos Aires, the city is today home to a thriving open-source community that appears to make the country a leader of open source in Latin America…Guillermo Movia, who works with Mozilla Argentina…pointed me to the University of Buenos Aires, one of nearly three dozen sites in Argentina--and many more across Latin America--where Flisol, or the Festival of Latin American Free Software Installation, took place last Saturday…The daylong open-source geek-out took place upstairs in part of the university's business school not far from the center of Buenos Aires…While Linux has already proven its worth in the business sector, the people who attend this event, and others like CafeConf--Buenos Aires' open-source conference, whose attendance has swelled from the hundreds to the thousands in recent years--are out to push open-source as a movement, not just a cost-cutting measure…The vast majority of attendees brought their devices get to injected with Ubuntu, but Debian was also popular, another organizer, Hernan Saltiel, told me. Saltiel wore an OpenSolaris T-shirt and a goatee; he speaks fluent English--people here know him as "Hecsa." "I've been in this community 15 years," he said, adding that Argentina has seen a recent upswing in interest in open source…”

SkyNet

25. Google Offers launches, a Groupon competitor http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-20056252-93.html The first market that will get Google's new Groupon competitor will be…Portland, Ore…Google has already put up a page where people can sign up to receive deals that will be e-mailed each day. Like the Groupon service, users can receive discounts of 50 percent or more at local businesses. But unlike Groupon, the deals won't need to hit a user threshold before they're valid. Google says it will expand the service soon to other cities, including New York and San Francisco…”

26. Google Offers New Tech Workshops for Employees to Encourage Startup Culture http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110426/ap_on_hi_te/us_tec_google_s_garage “…at Google Inc., there's one benefit a lot of employees don't even know about: a cluster of high-tech workshops that have become a tinkerer's paradise. Workers escape from their computer screens and office chairs to weld, drill and saw on expensive machinery they won't find at Home Depot. Besides building contraptions with a clear business purpose, Google employees use the shops for fun: They create elaborate holiday decorations, build cabinets for their homes and sometimes dream big like the engineers working on a pedal-powered airplane with a 100-foot wingspan. The "Google Workshops" are the handiwork of Larry Page, who co-founded Google with Sergey Brin in a rented garage. Page authorized the workshops' opening in 2007 to try to reconnect the company with its roots…"There is a feeling here at Google that all good things start in a garage," said Greg Butterfield, an engineering lab manager who oversees the workshops. "Larry wanted to create the same kind of environment he and Sergey had when they started Google…To gain entry, workers must pass a test that includes such questions as "When you are using a band saw, what speed would you use to cut through aluminum?" There are four separate rooms — for metal, wood, welding and electronics…Engineers also have used the shops to work on early prototypes of smartphones that run on Google's Android software as well as other products still under development…Most Google employees, though, use the shops for personal purposes. The ideas percolating in the workshops are so unpredictable that employees are encouraged to drop off scrap metal or other detritus just in case the junk might suit someone's project…Google's workshops are free to all employees, like virtually all the company's perquisites…All employees must be certified to run the machinery before they are issued a badge to enter. The screening usually falls to Rodney Broome, 63, a veteran machinist who teaches the craft at nearby San Jose City College when he isn't busy as the foreman of Google's workshops. "I feel like I am running my own company within the company here," Broome said…About 300 Google workers have been certified so far. Most of them are engineers, although badges have been given to a few who work in ad sales…”

27. Google’s Map Maker Could be Businesses’ Long-Awaited Yelp Killer http://blogs.forbes.com/erikamorphy/2011/04/23/heres-a-thought-googles-map-maker-could-be-businesses-long-awaited-yelp-killer/ “…some companies have been very aggressive in targeting complaining consumers with legal action, both on Yelp and Facebook…Companies that are not willing to go the legal route have few PR tools at their disposal…I am proposing a…way for local businesses that find themselves at odds with a customer complaint, courtesy Google’s Map Maker feature that it just introduced for the U.S…Map Maker allows people to create and edit Google Maps…It is rolling out here where there is wealth of online map resources and a population quite savvy in the use of online maps. The new feature means that users can add locations of stores, or any number of possibilities in fact, to Map Maker that might get included in Google Maps. Says Google: “You can fix the name of your local pizza parlor, or add a description of your favorite book store.”…Hear that? A description. Could that not mean also a review?…”

28. Back up Gmail with Thunderbird Portable http://www.computeractive.co.uk/ca/pc-help/2033228/google-mail “…I…use Google mail…I also use Mozilla Thunderbird as a backup just in case something goes wrong with the account…I use the Portable version of Thunderbird so the program and the backed-up emails are in the same place...”

29. New Google Analytics V5 Now Available http://www.seroundtable.com/google-analytics-v5-open-13305.html “…Google Analytics Blog announced that the new version of Google Analytics: Version 5 is now available…you can currently toggle back and forth between the old and new version…Here is a list of new features…Improved report performance for faster reports…Multiple dashboards, build a custom dashboard for each department…Event Goals! Track your PDF downloads as goals with events, or configure 2 minutes play time on a video as a goal. Read Kayden's great blog post on this feature…”

30. Google Account Security Best Practices http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2011/04/google-account-security-best-practices/ “…A family member recently asked me some questions about how to keep his Google account secure, and I wrote up a bunch of recommendations for how to stay safe. I then realised after I sent the email that this was probably good stuff to share for people who might not know about all of the options when it comes to protecting their account…”

General Technology

31. New battery produces electricity where freshwater meets saltwater http://scienceblog.com/44552/new-battery-produces-electricity-where-freshwater-meets-saltwater/ Scientists are reporting development of a new battery that extracts and stores energy produced from the difference in saltiness at the point where freshwater in rivers flows into oceans…which could supply about 13 percent of the world’s energy needs…Scientists long have known about the possibility of producing electricity from differences in the salinity, or saltiness, of water…the new study focused on development of more practical ways of tapping that potential. The result was a so-called “mixing entropy battery.” Alternating the flow of river water and sea water through the battery produces electricity to charge it. The process also can be reversed to remove salt from ocean water to produce drinking water…”

32. Optical microscope without lenses produces high-resolution 3D images on a chip http://scienceblog.com/44621/optical-microscope-without-lenses-produces-high-resolution-3d-images-on-a-chip/ UCLA researchers have redefined the concept of a microscope by removing the lens to create a system that is small enough to fit in the palm of a hand but powerful enough to create three-dimensional tomographic images of miniscule samples…An optical imaging system small enough to fit onto an opto-electronic chip provides a variety of benefits. Because of the automation involved in on-chip systems, scientific work could be sped up significantly, which might have a great impact in the fields of cell and developmental biology…the small size not only has great potential for miniaturizing systems but also leads to cost savings on equipment…The system takes advantage of the fact that organic structures, such as cells, are partially transparent. So by shining a light on a sample of cells, the shadows created reveal not only the cells’ outlines but details about their sub-cellular structures as well…The end result of this process is an image taken without using a lens.”…The platform’s 3-D images are created by rotating the light source to illuminate the samples from multiple angles. These multiple angles also allow the system to utilize tomography, a powerful imaging technique. Through the use of tomography, the system is able to produce 3-D images without sacrificing resolution…”

33. Laser sparks revolution in internal combustion engines http://scienceblog.com/44560/laser-sparks-revolution-in-internal-combustion-engines/ “…At this year’s Conference on Lasers and Electro Optics…researchers…will describe the first multibeam laser system small enough to screw into an engine’s cylinder head…the new laser system is made from ceramics, and could be produced inexpensively in large volumes…Spark plugs work by sending small, high-voltage electrical sparks across a gap between two metal electrodes. The spark ignites the air-fuel mixture in the engine’s cylinder…If engines ran leaner — burnt more air and less fuel — they would produce significantly smaller NOx emissions. Spark plugs can ignite leaner fuel mixtures…by increasing spark energy…these high voltages erode spark plug electrodes…fast, the solution is not economical…lasers, which ignite the air-fuel mixture with concentrated optical energy, have no electrodes and are not affected. Lasers also improve efficiency…lasers inject their energy within nanoseconds, compared with milliseconds for spark plugs…The more precise the timing, the more efficient the combustion and the better the fuel economy…lasers that could meet those requirements were limited to basic research because they were big, inefficient, and unstable…Taira’s research team overcame this problem by making composite lasers from ceramic powders. The team heats the powders to fuse them into optically transparent solids and embeds metal ions in them to tune their properties…The laser-ignition system, although highly promising, is not yet being installed into actual automobiles made in a factory. Taira’s team is, however, working with a large spark-plug company and with DENSO Corporation, a member of the Toyota Group…”

DHMN Technology

34. Carnegie Mellon researchers build time machine to visually explore space and time http://scienceblog.com/44607/carnegie-mellon-researchers-build-time-machine-to-visually-explore-space-and-time/ Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute have leveraged the latest browser technology to create GigaPan Time Machine, a system that enables viewers to explore gigapixel-scale, high-resolution videos and image sequences by panning or zooming in and out of the images while simultaneously moving back and forth through time. Viewers, for instance, can use the system to focus in on the details of a booth within a panorama of a carnival midway, but also reverse time to see how the booth was constructed. Or they can watch a group of plants sprout, grow and flower, shifting perspective to watch some plants move wildly as they grow while others get eaten by caterpillars…The system is an extension of the GigaPan technology developed by the CREATE Lab and NASA, which can capture a mosaic of hundreds or thousands of digital pictures and stitch those frames into a panorama that be interactively explored…To extend GigaPan into the time dimension, image mosaics are repeatedly captured at set intervals, and then stitched across both space and time to create a video…time-lapse photography has long been used in biology, but the GigaPan technology makes it possible to observe…what neighboring plants are doing and how that might affect the subject plant…time-lapse GigaPans of entire landscapes could be a powerful tool for studying seasonal change in plants and ecosystems, an area of increasing interest for understanding climate change. Time-lapse GigaPan imagery of biological experiments also could be an educational tool, allowing students to make independent observations and develop their own hypotheses…Nourbakhsh provides a guided tour of GigaPan Time Machine’s features on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_SZdTk-MDk…”

35. Tenth Annual NASA Student Rocketry Challenge http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2011/11-053.html “…young rocketeers from all over America gathered…in a sunny North Alabama cornfield April 17 to launch 39 rockets they designed and built themselves during this school year. The 2010-11 NASA Student Launch Projects rocketry challenge drew more than 500 students from middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities in 23 states. They vied to see whose rocket could come closest to the 1-mile altitude goal and safely return its onboard science payload to Earth…This year's preliminary awards, sponsored by ATK, included…Best Vehicle Design…Best Payload Design…Best Web Design…Project Review Award…Education Engagement Award…Closest to Altitude Award…Teams designed and built their rockets and experiments starting in fall 2010. They maintained websites to document the experience and visited schools and organizations in their communities to share their enthusiasm for rocketry and inspire younger students to pursue study of technical subjects critical to the work of NASA and the nation…More than 40,000 viewers also watched live via the streaming video service UStream. Archived launch day coverage is available at: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-msfc…”

36. The Sharing Economy http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/155/the-sharing-economy.html “…the self-described "sharing hacker" has come a long way in a short time from his past existence as a corporate exec. In 2004, he was a strategist for a division of shipping giant DHL, splitting time between San Francisco and company headquarters in Brussels…"Our mission statement at DHL was something like, 'To be the best box mover in the world,' " recalls Gorenflo, who resembles a compact Kris Kristofferson. "I thought, What am I doing?" One afternoon, after a jog through the parking lot of his Brussels hotel, he quit his job. Since then, Gorenflo has deconstructed every aspect of his personal and working life, "removing all the things that don't add value and concentrating on the things that deliver value."…In late 2009, he started Shareable, a not-for-profit web hub that provides individuals and groups with a playbook for how to build systems for sharing everything from baby food and housing to skills and solar panels. "Business has spent centuries making buying really easy," says Gorenflo. "We're just at the beginning of making sharing easy."…Spawned by a confluence of the economic crisis, environmental concerns, and the maturation of the social web, an entirely new generation of businesses is popping up. They enable the sharing of cars, clothes, couches, apartments, tools, meals, and even skills. The basic characteristic of these you-name-it sharing marketplaces is that they extract value out of the stuff we already have…Contends Rachel Botsman, coauthor of the recently published What's Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption: "This could be as big as the Industrial Revolution in the way we think about ownership."…people are saying, 'I can apply the same technology to share all kinds of assets offline, from the real world.' " The 33-year-old Brit, schooled at Oxford and Harvard, ditched her career as an innovation consultant for companies like GE and IBM. "In marketing, we spend so much money on research and understanding the consumer psyche -- and all that investment goes into selling more stuff," she explains. "I just can't help companies sell more stuff."…Access to goods and skills is more important than ownership of them. Botsman divides this world into three neat buckets: first, product-service systems that facilitate the sharing or renting of a product (i.e., car sharing); second, redistribution markets, which enable the re-ownership of a product (i.e., Craigslist); and third, collaborative lifestyles in which assets and skills can be shared (i.e., coworking spaces). The benefits are hard to argue -- lower costs, less waste, and the creation of global communities with neighborly values…”

37. Sustainability and Design: The Key to Efficiency http://gigaom.com/cleantech/sustainability-and-design-the-key-to-efficiency/ “…Autodesk…is pushing the idea of using its software earlier in the process…to identify materials or ways of constructing a building that could make it more environmentally efficient, before a prototype is even created…decisions about sustainability and other considerations “are best made at the beginning of developing a project.”…Autodesk is working with a design company called Granta to help designers make some of these decisions, particularly when it comes to the materials they choose, earlier in the process…With the new features in its software, “we’ve enabled people to do better material selection as part of their design…the only asset that is getting cheaper over time that you can deploy towards these kinds of questions is computing, and it’s getting exponentially cheaper…When a designer needs to model what the impact will be of rotating the building on the lot to reduce energy use, or using triple-pane windows instead of double, Autodesk allows them to do that…The company has also set up a cleantech partner program, which donates up to $150,000 in software to environmental startups…”

38. Wireless network hacker targeted Seattle-area businesses http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Police-Wireless-network-hacker-targeted-1344185.php Law officers have moved to seize a Seattle man's car they claim was used in a "wardriving" spree that saw Seattle-area wireless networks hacked and harvested for information…prosecutors describe the seizure requested last week as a small piece of a years-long investigation into a string of network intrusions and commercial burglaries…Seattle Police Detective Chris Hansen said the car's owner is suspected of using sophisticated electronic equipment to break through networks using a 12-year-old…WEP protection -- since superseded by more modern defenses. A search of the car…uncovered network tools, antennas and other items used to break into wireless networks…Hansen noted that the "wardriving" suspects would, after locating a network, then "piggyback" on the networks to obtain financial information…computers in the vehicle can be used to run programs such as port scanning software and password recovery software designed to breach security on machines within the network…thieves then pull identifying information and financial data off the network for later use…” [included this because it reminded me of how Loki started out in Daemon – ed.]

Leisure & Entertainment

39. Netflix Now Officially Bigger Than Comcast http://gigaom.com/video/netflix-1q-2010-earnings/ “…Netflix added 3.6 million subscribers, ending the period with more than 23.6 million subscribers…up 69 percent from the 14 million subscribers it had a year ago…Comcast ended 2010 with 22.8 million pay TV subscribers. While it’s…possible the cable company could report subscriber additions in the first quarter, it’s unlikely…given its declines over the last several quarters…Internationally, Netflix added an additional 290,000 subs, to bring total international users to 800,000…”

40. Amazon Kindle Library Lending to Roll Out This Year http://www.geek.com/articles/gadgets/amazon-announces-new-kindle-library-lending-program-20110420/ “…Amazon has finally decided to announce library lending for Kindle e-books. The new service is expected to roll out later this year, and initially it will be available at 11,000 libraries within the U.S…lending will work with all generations of Kindle and with the free Kindle apps too across Android, iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Blackberry, Windows Phone, and Windows or Mac computers…Amazon is also planning to preserve any information added to the books by a borrower. So if a user adds a load of annotations they will be stored and made accessible to them if they take out the book again, or alternatively, if they purchase the same e-book form Amazon…Amazon is working with OverDrive, which already offers digital assets to libraries including e-books and audiobooks…Libraries will probably benefit from the ability to lend books to Kindle readers since it means some folks who haven’t checked out a library book since getting an e-reader will once again be interested in the services the library has to offer…Kindle Library Lending will definitely bring more visitors thorough library doors whether that’s physically or just online …”

41. Nintendo: Wii successor coming in 2012 http://news.cnet.com/8301-13772_3-20056950-52.html Nintendo today confirmed that it plans to release a Wii successor in 2012. In a three-paragraph note (PDF) issued this morning, the game company said it "has decided to launch in 2012 a system to succeed Wii." Nintendo said it had sold 86.01 million Wiis since the console's launch in 2006. A playable version of the new system, as well as its specs, will be unveiled at the giant E3 video game show in Los Angeles in June…”

42. Google Forces Roku to Take Down Its YouTube Channel http://gigaom.com/video/google-forces-roku-to-take-down-its-youtube-channel/ Google has forced Roku to take down its YouTube channel, making it impossible for owners of the video streaming device to access YouTube videos…Roku never had an official YouTube channel, but users were able to watch YouTube clips through a so-called private channel…Roku…weren’t able to meet Google’s specs to officially add YouTube to the device. A third-party developer filled the void with a so-called private channel, which wasn’t officially listed in the Roku channel store. Roku told its users about ways to add the channel in its FAQ, and it even hired the developer of the private channel, who kept maintaining it in his spare time after being hired…users indicate that previously installed instances of the channel still work, but new installations aren’t possible anymore. Roku’s private YouTube channel utilized the MP4s hosted by YouTube to stream…which…means that pre-roll ads and other ad formats weren’t displayed. This method of access likely violated YouTube’s API terms of service, which prohibits the access of videos through “any means other than use of a YouTube player or other video player expressly authorized by YouTube…”

Economy and Technology

43. X PRIZE Visioneering http://techcrunch.com/2011/04/20/x-prize-visioneering-and-the-mother-of-all-business-plan-competitions/ “…I spent the weekend…participating in a competition that was really different and that promises to change the world. There were so many great ideas that emerged from this that judges said they would fund some of the losers themselves. This was at the X PRIZE Visioneering Workshop, in Beverly Hills, CA. The participants…were a hundred of the greatest engineers, scientists, and thinkers in the world. Many had already built billion-dollar businesses…attendees included Eric Schmidt, Dean Kamen, Ratan Tata, Simon Worden, Aneesh Chopra, Carl Bass, James Cameron, Will I Am, Jim Gianopulos, Ali Velshi…senior executives of GE, GM, Novartis, Celgene, Shell, Kauffman Foundation, PepsiCo, Qualcomm, and Sprint. The purpose of the meeting was to brainstorm on what radical innovations can be created over the next two to eight years that will positively affect humanity; to conceive ideas on creating new industries…These ideas, documented in the form of a short business plan, will form the basis of new X PRIZE incentive challenges…There are several X PRIZE competitions in progress, such as the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE…The Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE is offering $1.4 million to anyone who can speed the pace of cleaning up seawater surface oil resulting from spillage…the Archon Genomics X PRIZE is offering $10 million for a device that dramatically reduces the time and cost of sequencing the human genome. I saw at first hand how productive great minds can be in conceptualizing radical breakthroughs…There were dozens of great ideas…unlike venture capital…incentive competitions inspire a multitude of solutions; they build robust industries and ecosystems…It is very possible that some of the of the technologies we discussed over the weekend will come to fruition and change the lives of billions; that investments of a few million dollars will do more good for the world than the billions that are invested in the me-too social media technologies that Silicon Valley is so excited about. My hope is that more of world’s greatest minds do what some did last weekend…”

44. Startup America gets Microsoft, Google, HP support http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-20055621-76.html “...companies are providing funds and resources to the Startup America Partnership…More than 15 companies will kick in a total of $400 million in money, services, training, and other benefits that will go directly to entrepreneurs trying to get their ideas and businesses off the ground…the Startup America Partnership tries to network entrepreneurs, investors, non-profit groups, and corporations in a bid to create the next generation of employers for American workers. The new round of funding and other resources will go to qualifying entrepreneurs who are members of Startup America…Google…has committed $100 million to help entrepreneurs promote their businesses through Google ads…HP will offer start-up businesses discounts on…PCs, smartphones, tablets, printers, and servers…the total savings could amount to $100 million over three years…Cisco Systems has pledged free training for around 6,000 entrepreneurs by January 2014, a service valued at more than $3 million…LinkedIn is setting itself up as the overall platform through which members of Startup America can promote themselves and build their businesses. The social network will also donate training, services, and products to qualifying members. And Intuit has promised special offers and discount pricing for its various products and services…non-tech companies, including American Express, Ernst & Young, and Silicon Valley Bank, have also pledged money and resources. Further, Startup America is tapping into the nonprofit sector through contributions from The National Center for Women & Information Technology, The National Venture Capital Association, and Palindrome Advisors…” [check it out to see if it’s a useful resource for your entrepreneurial venture: http://www.startupamericapartnership.org/ ]

45. Customer Catches Best Buy Breaking Law, Gets Banned From Store http://consumerist.com/2011/04/customer-catches-best-buy-breaking-law-gets-banned-from-store.html Some companies…are sore losers. Take for example the folks at Best Buy, who were not only caught violating consumer protection laws, but who then banned the customer who called them out in court for doing so. Here's the story from Consumerist reader Jed: Back in January, I broke the digital-audio-in port on my Sony home theater system's receiver. I looked into repair option, and found I could mail it to Sony or take it to my local Best Buy. I opted for Best Buy, and I paid Best Buy the $34.99 non-refundable deposit, relying on the following three statements by their Geek Squad agent, Joe: (1) that my receiver would be sent from the store to their repair facility; (2) once at the facility, it would be diagnosed and I'd get a call telling me how much the repair would cost and requesting my authorization for the repair; and (3) the estimated completion date for the repair was February 1, 2011. February 1st comes, no word from Best Buy…On February 6, I got through to a Geek Squad agent and I was told my receiver was sent from the store to their repair facility, then sent on to Sony on January 26th…On February 17th, I went to the Best Buy Store in person…and I was told it would be returned sometime before February 25-27th, the repair was already made, and would cost an additional $115 over the $34.99 I already paid. I pointed out that I didn't authorize a repair and this was unacceptable…Michael (not the District Manager) called back and asked would I pay $94.92. I explained that I did not authorize a repair for any amount of money…Within the hour, I got a call saying I could pick up my receiver when it comes in and not pay any more than the deposit. I got a phone call on Feb 19th that my receiver was in…Best Buy violated three consumer protections: First, I was told my receiver would be sent to Best Buy's repair center…Second, consumer protection laws and regulations…say you can't charge someone for work they didn't authorize. Third, all they had to do to avoid violating the completion estimate regulation was inform me of the revised date before the previously stated date passed, which they didn't do. I filed suit against Best Buy in DC's small claims court alleging three violations of the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act…At the trial, I won two out of three counts. When Best Buy sent me a check to satisfy the judgment against them, they enclosed a letter banning me from shopping at, seeking services at, and/or entering any of their stores, threatening to have me cited for trespass if I do so…”

Civilian Aerospace

46. SpaceX aims to put man on Mars in 10-20 years http://news.discovery.com/space/spacex-elon-musk-mars-astronauts-20-years-110423.html “…SpaceX hopes to put an astronaut on Mars within 10 to 20 years…"We'll probably put a first man in space in about three years," Elon Musk told the Wall Street Journal…"We're going all the way to Mars, I think... best case 10 years, worst case 15 to 20 years." SpaceX…has won $75 million from the US space agency NASA to help its pursuit of developing a spacecraft to replace the space shuttle…Our goal is to facilitate the transfer of people and cargo to other planets, and then it will be up to people if they want to go…The US space shuttle program is winding down later this year with final flights of Endeavour set for next week and Atlantis in June, ending an era of American spaceflight that began with the first space shuttle mission in 1981…"A future where humanity is out there exploring stars is an incredibly exciting future, and inspiring, and that's what we're trying to help make happen," Musk added…”

47. CU role in Dream Chaser spacecraft to continue under new NASA grant to Sierra Nevada Corp http://www.colorado.edu/news/r/54e8b1c817bc93efcb5d179f02eb2f7f.html “…the University of Colorado Boulder will continue to play a significant role in the development of the Dream Chaser, a commercial spacecraft that will be used to carry astronauts to low Earth orbit, thanks to a new $80 million grant from NASA to Sierra Nevada Corp…one of four companies to receive grants this week from NASA's Commercial Crew Development program. The grant is a follow-on to Sierra Nevada's NASA grant of $20 million for the Dream Chaser last year…the 30-foot-long Dream Chaser is slated to launch vertically on an Atlas V rocket and land horizontally on conventional runways, similar to the much larger space shuttle…Sierra Nevada will fund "human rating" research led by CU-Boulder Professor David Klaus…Human rating research is aimed at developing a methodology for evaluating safety and operational aspects of spacecraft intended to transport crew…Sierra Nevada also will sponsor and fund a continuation of the CU-Boulder graduate student project involving Dream Chaser displays and controls, Voss said. The graduate project is focused on cockpit design and ergonomics evaluation to determine the best placement and type of controls to be used by the crew…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

48. Meet Tanuki, a 10,000-core Supercomputer in the Cloud http://www.bio-itworld.com/news/04/25/2011/Meet-Tanuki-ten-thousand-core-supercomputer-in-cloud.html “…Cycle Computing has been helping…organizations run high-performance computing projects…in the Amazon EC2 cloud…Last year, Cycle began spinning up several clusters in the 1,000-2,000-core range. Stowe started blogging about their success, including one large GPU-based cluster, and…started receiving a few requests…last January, he decided to push the envelope…Rather than spin up 1,000 cores, let’s try a 10,000-core cluster. Would anyone be interested…Genentech…was running a series of protein-binding analyses…As part of a proof-of-concept with Cycle, we ran a two-hour, 4096-core test…Since that went smoothly, we decided to get some work done on a real problem, and push 10,000 cores for eight hours on a scientific problem.” Corn and colleagues study the prediction and design of protein interactions, and use computational methods to evaluate hundreds of thousands of possibilities. “Then I cherry pick the most promising looking outcomes to…test in the lab…On March 1, Stowe looked on as Genentech pushed the button, thereby submitting 10,000 jobs to their queue. That simple action effectively harnessed more cores than the 115th-ranked computer on the Top 500 supercomputing list…The job ran for eight hours, utilizing 10,000 cores, 1,250 servers, and approximately 8.75 Terabytes (TB) RAM aggregated across all machines…The cost of the exercise was $1,060/hour, including all infrastructure costs and Cycle’s costs as well…Having run the same code on Genentech’s internal clusters, Corn says the quality of the results from Tanuki was essentially identical…“I had been running these simulations internally for a few weeks, and estimated that I probably had 1-2 more weeks remaining,” says Corn. “With the 10,000-core [cloud] cluster, that time was slashed down to eight hours…”

49. TACC Steps Up to the MIC http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2011-04-21/tacc_steps_up_to_the_mic.html As Intel prepares to roll out its Many Integrated Core (MIC) technology…Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) announced it has teamed up with the chipmaker and begun porting a handful of research applications to the pre-production "Knights Ferry" MIC processor…TACC will build a cluster of such chips for further development, with the intent to deploy a system based on the commercial "Knights Corner" MIC processor when Intel starts production. MIC represents Intel's entry into the HPC processor accelerator sweepstakes…MIC is essentially an x86 processor, with more cores (but simpler ones) than a standard x86 CPU, an extra-wide SIMD unit for heavy duty vector math, and four-way SMT threading…Knights Ferry is Intel's development implementation spun out of the chipmaker's abandoned Larrabee processor effort for visual computing. The chip sports 32 IA cores and runs at 1.2 GHz. Since each core supports a four-way SMP (as opposed to the two-way HyperThreading on Xeons), each chip can manage up to 128 threads in parallel. Memory-wise, Knights Ferry has 8 MB of cache and 1 to 2 GB of GPU-flavored GDDR5 DRAM. Like its current GPGPU competition, Knights Ferry is meant to be hooked up to a PCIe bus, acting as a co-processor to a standard x86 CPU. Knights Corner will be Intel's first commercial version of MIC, will have upwards of 50 cores per chip, and will be implemented on the company's 22nm process technology…Knights Corner is slated for release sometime in the second half of 2012…”

50. Animated Film 'Rio' Driven by NVIDIA Graphics Solutions http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2011-04-21/animated_film_rio_driven_by_nvidia_graphics_solutions.html In the new animated feature "Rio"…a cast of characters comes to life in stereoscopic 3D, driven by NVIDIA Quadro professional graphics solutions…coming in number one at the box office with a $40 million opening weekend…The animated feature was produced in stereoscopic 3D, and Blue Sky Studios introduced a host of new tools into their pipeline which benefit from the speed and flexibility of Quadro graphics processing units (GPUs)…"After attending the NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference, I learned how other production studios were leveraging the capabilities of the NVIDIA Quadro GPU," said Hugo Ayala, Blue Sky Studios Senior Research Associate…we immediately set out to integrate advanced parallel processing capabilities into our workflow at Blue Sky." "Rio" was animated and produced in stereoscopic 3D, so reviewing image sequences required massive computing power…With the GPU optimization of "Roll," Blue Sky artists not only saved time, but also reduced the amount of storage required to view frames, since the need to process, down-res, create and store stereo pairs for viewing had been eliminated. "Without Quadro, it would have been impossible for us to review full film resolution HDR images in stereo in real time…”

51. PRACE Industrial Seminar Bridges Gap Between Industry and Academia http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2011-04-20/third_prace_industrial_seminar_bridges_gap_between_industry_and_academia.html The 3rd PRACE Industry Seminar: "Europe goes HPC: Industrial Competitiveness" was held on March 28-29, 2011…in Stockholm, Sweden…Present were large industries, such as Saab, Renault, ABB, AIRBUS, as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs), such as Rila, Vratis, EURO/CFD, and Vestas…independent software vendors…along with HPC vendors…The aim of this seminar was to bridge the gap between industrial HPC users and researchers from academia…Representatives from industry identified their currently existing HPC needs and discussed a roadmap of tight collaboration with the PRACE Research Infrastructure…logistic support of pre-competitive research and the common platform where academia and industry can meet…will lead to an enhanced focus and exchange of ideas and a faster pace of progress…Industry representatives were very open in their presentations and in discussions about the challenges they face in modeling, simulations, HPC resources and business environment. As an example of a medium-size company with large HPC challenges…Vestas (http://www.vestas.com/), described their approach to both identifying suitable locations for wind energy parks and short-to-medium term forecasting of wind energy production from wind energy parks…”


*****


0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home